29 November 2013

Dancing Queen

Madam faced her fears and did both her modern and tap exams today. 
Wowzer, the nerves were off the hook as she has such high expectations of herself.

I collected her from her tap exam to find her almost hysterical. She had forgotten some of her routine. She had had her routines down perfectly for months….but on the day her nerves let her down. 

Thankfully she had about 2 hours to recover before facing the same examiner and performing her modern routines. She was more relaxed and enjoyed it far more this time around.

Nerves beginning to kick in before tap exam

The hair! I tried but thankfully there are more talented hair-lasses on hand to help me.

Moments before her modern exam

She loves the dance outfits!
Experience is what is going to help this young lady cope with exam performance pressures.
Her exam marks were not what she had hoped and certainly not reflective of her talent (her teachers words not mine!) but she passed and she gained valuable life experience in the process.

I am incredibly proud of her but somehow wish I could dial back her perfectionist nature!

26 November 2013

A-Road-Tripping We Will Go

One week until our very first 'real road trip' experience.

For the last two years my guys have flown up to PE for the Sevens Rugby International Tournament - they usually fly for a weekend. This year we have decided to go up as a family for the event but to build a holiday around it.

In preparation for this I watched Groupon for accommodation specials in the areas we planned to visit and came upon some amazing deals.

Our first stop is Sedgefield for 3 nights at Shearwater Resort. We love Sedgefield and this will be our second stay in the lovely little town.

From there we head up to PE and arrive on the Friday and spend 4 nights at a lovely self-catering cottage (Abalone Place)  in Seaview which I found via SafariNow website. While in PE I plan to meet up with two of my blogging buddies; one of which I have never met before!

From PE we continue up the coast to Grahamstown to spend 2 nights with wonderful friends of ours who relocated from Cape Town a few years ago. They live on a small-holding; while they both hold down regular jobs they also breed miniature horses as a hobby so you can imagine the kids excitement at being able to see these little animals!

We begin our long drive home on Thursday 12/12 and spend one night in Mossel Bay before setting the compass for MCGREGOR where we will round out our road trip experience by decompressing and spending lots of time with my folks before they head off to my sister in Luxembourg for Christmas.

Exciting times; hopefully a family holiday the tribe will enjoy and remember for years to come!

25 November 2013

Love to Learn

I have never felt settled in my decision to send Rachel back to school. I have wrestled, second-guessed, rationalized and agonized. Not normal for me.

Today I had a chance encounter of a very fortuitous nature that changed the tide completely. I have subsequently ordered the curriculum and given official notice of her departure from school.

A sample lesson sheet

The sweetest thing was when I showed Rach the new Love2Learn curriculum - she took a look and said

"This is the right study stuff for me because I truly do love to learn!"

24 November 2013

Did you say FORTY-ONE?!

my birthday dawned bright, still and hot!

and in came my family, 

singing with a bright, 
hot cake which looked alarmingly 
like it could set the world on fire!

how is it that i am 41 already? 

we headed down to our shark-infested beach upon hearing the nets were up - much jubilation as the kids were able to swim out far and enjoy some fabulous bodysurfing.

The afternoon was spent chatting (and skyping my sis) and generally lolling in a carb coma after we all indulged in my moms spectacular mac n cheese followed by a monumental trifle - my all-time favorite meal and dessert!

Evening was rounded out by a swim and a sunset walk around our estate. A superb day to remember.

22 November 2013

Of Sunshine and Pretty Drinks

A few weeks ago I decided I would host  a small garden party. *ahem* 
Or shall we say a small cocktail party. 

There was much excitement (friends) and google searching (me) about what exactly constitutes a cocktail and whether I should even entertain the thought of making my own.

The google search answered my question. No. It really is just like cooking. 
Except you drink the result instead of eating it.

I wanted to feet up in the sun with my mates and enjoy pretty sundowners with even prettier people.

I decided to chill the glasses early because 'apparently' cocktail glasses should be cold.
(as a non-drinker I had to serious research on this event people!)

I decided to also make a big jug of Pimms #1 - we decided this would be offered as a 'life-skills' module for Rachel. The art of the perfect Pimms. ;-) 
Sadly we failed as the general consensus was that our concoction was WAY TO WEAK. 
I am sticking with the story that it was perfect and my mates are just hardcore drinkers. ;-)

LOVE. I could live out here.

Sushi and drinks chilling in the fridge while I am chilling on the deck.

Colour makes me happy.

My official Pic of The Day. Decanting is for sissies. (or people who don't own enough large glass jugs!)

Girl time rocks!

Channelling Lara Croft as I hunt Charly with the water gun! (perfect deterrent to a barking dog!)

I have to say I could get used to Fridays like this  - a perfect start to the weekend!

19 November 2013

Faith and Friends

This week Faith invited a few of her favorite (ex) classmates for a playDate. One of the biggest changes since she left school is her increased capacity for playmates.

Ironically she had zero interest in after-school socializing as she was simply too exhausted and 'peopled-out' to ever want to have playmates. She would spend her afternoons either chilling with her siblings, dancing or reading a book.

Nowadays she is excited about seeing her friends on a more regular basis and her social circle has grown dramatically. She if far more able to hang around all different types of kids across a far broader age/interests range. 

The photos below capture a few minutes of their free-play time at our place this week. I didn't want to interrupt with my camera all arvie but took a moment to snap these highly amusing images.

Christmas Rules

I saw this floating around the interwebz last year and decided to ensure I stuck to this simple shopping guide for Christmas 2014.

Much as I love Christmas I do tend to be left with a feeling of hollowness as I see the abundance of 'stuff'. While I consider ourselves to be pretty conservative gift-givers I still think we can simplify even more.

I have just finished ordering a book for each of the kids from Loot. (READ) The girls showed me various clothing items they like today and I will nip out and get 1 item for each of them. (WEAR)  They all need new swim goggles and towels. (NEED)

The only tricky item is the WANT but I should be able to wrap that up in an hour at our local mall.

Christmas suddenly just so much lighter.

18 November 2013

Weekend In Review

Saturday had the potential to see us all in bed or on the couch for the day as the weather was rather revolting. Capetonians (or perhaps just our tribe) don't have a huge capacity for crappy weather so our default setting is couch and series/movies.

Thankfully a timeous email from a friend had me jumping in the shower; putting on real clothes and heading out to reconnect. She left SA over 2years ago and is now living in Spain. We had such a fabulous relaxed afternoon catching up on each others lives.

(insert photo here …. M…. We need a photo before you go home!)

On Sunday we had Rachel's vocal recital and the family came out in force to support her; including my folks from Mcgregor!  I so look forward to the 'once a year' opportunity to hear her sing. She is unwilling to sing for us at any other time - she sang the theme song from Beauty and the Beast - just amazing.

Very proud of her - she has gained so much confidence in the last year and looked very comfortable on stage despite HUGE nerves.

Uncle Steve sharing some wisdom? ;-)

Some of us headed off to Harry Goeimans, our fav celebratory spot, to indulge in cake and good coffee.

A weekend full of fun, family and good friends. Just what I needed!

14 November 2013

Head vs Heart

The end of the term in drawing near. Things are slowing down at home and at school.

Rachel is writing her Maths and English exam next week; we are mainly focussing on revision.

I have been really lazy this last week and it has affected my mood (as always) so the last two days have seen me rising at sparrow fart to ensure I exercise. I feel so much better and less foggy in my head.

I have also decided to have Rachel complete her primary school career in formal schooling. We always knew that this last term has been a trial period. We have both thoroughly enjoyed it and it is very difficult for me to send her back to school.


She did not leave because she was unhappy or because I was unhappy with the school - she left to see 'how the homeschool-half lived' so to speak. 

This is the last year this tight-knit group of (10)  kids will be together and I feel, in the long term, she will regret not being a part of them. At the end of 2014 they will all be going their separate ways and we will decide on her future path.

I broke the news to her today and while she is disappointed she was brave enough to confess that a small part of her knows that this is the right decision for her right now.

I feel a little bit queasy really. I did not foresee this ; I really thought I would have both my girls home next year. 

While I know this is the right decision it is taking some time for my heart to catch up to my head.

07 November 2013

Ships in the Night

Ships passing in the night.

That is Russell and I right now. It is crazy.

Growing this business of his is taking every ounce of him - we used to think he was busy when he worked his day job plus his own business but it isn't even close.

Naturally I am also far busier than I have been in recent years. There are many hours spent in research and prep for school not to mention the household stuff that needs to get done. (we all know how that is going due to my recent 'crap-creep' post!)

Neither of us are complaining. This post is not a 'woe is us' rant. It is simply stating that both of us, passionate about what we do, need to discover ways to switch off our work mode.

We are starting with the race on Sunday. It will be our first road race we have done together.

Okay - about the race : (this is going to be a rant!)

I booked this race 3 months ago. It was pitched as an off road half marathon in the beautiful Cape Point National Park.  I had no reservations - this was the race for me. I had set my goal this year at one 21k road race (done) and one 21k trail race. This was to be the trail leg.

Two days ago I received a letter from the organizers stating the following:

1. There will be no water tables; only large barrels of water for you to fill your camelbaks. (have you ever tried to fill a camelbak bladder on the run, the queueing for this will be ridiculous)

2. There will be no medals. Yes, I am being petty but seriously, I am paying R200 and I am running a long way (with no drinks now either) and you can't give me a momento of the run?

3. The most upsetting part of all. They have changed the route. It is no longer a trail run but a road run. Along the tar roads of the park. I am gutted.

To this end I have decided to not bother running the half. My motivation and inspiration is zero.
I will simply run the 10k - quick and easy. At least Russell and I get to do something outdoors. Together. Doing a short run means we get to go for breakfast after the race before heading home to our sproggles ---- best of both worlds!

05 November 2013

The day arrived.

Yesterday the elusive day arrived. The one I warned my girls about a few weeks ago.

'On some mornings the weather will be picture perfect - school will not happen in the morning; it will happen later in the day when the wind comes up and the sun goes down. Be prepared - it is going to be a mental shift doing school at 4pm but it will be worth it!'

It is not often that days like this present themselves, especially not in November. An expansive bright clear sky. Not a breath of wind. Just no way on earth we will be doing fractions and long multiplication when we can be on our big wide beach.

It felt weird, almost illicit. The girls had such fun in the low tide pools - jellyfish, bluebottles and other creatures were in abundance. I wish I could tell you we had a 'lesson' on sea life but we did no such thing. We simply absorbed the freedom and frolicked.

Although frolicking at 40 takes considerably more effort than at 12; that was my discovery for the day!

04 November 2013

Brave Moms and Daughters

I have been doing some planning and research for our next academic year.  It will be our first 'official' year of homeschool and I do want a real plan of action as oppose to a weekly plan.

I have to have termly goals which will have to be broken down into monthly and weekly goals to enable us to cover all the bases.

Looking back at the last  six months two things stand out for me that need adjusting next year.

1. I need to spend more time consolidating what we learn. My girls grasp things very quickly and they get bored but it has become clear that the solution is NOT to move on but instead to find creative, inspiring ways to repeat the information for longterm retention.

2. I need to spend less time (and money) on external activities. -Some things I cannot teach them (piano) and some things I do not want to teach them (cooking/sewing/baking) but other things I can definitely teach them. (creativity/languages/phys ed/lifeskills)

I have decided for art next term we are going to be doing the online Brave Girls Mothers and Daughters workshop. I did a course with them 2 years ago and it literally changed my life. I do believe this will be a perfect workshop for us - Fridays will be our art day - a reward for a well-worked week!

03 November 2013

Sunday Sighs

This weekend has not been very productive.

I am finding my weeks are so very busy that by the weekend I am pretty depleted. I can barely think in a straight line never mind come up with 'happy family outings' or anything very creative.

Of course, bland household chores (cleaning out the garage, weeding the driveway, fixing the washing line, vacuuming my car, hanging our 3641 pictures, fixing doorhandles, replacing light fittings, cleaning a million venetian blinds, purging and sorting toys/books/clothes/bags/shoes/allthatothershit is at the very bottom of my 'oh happy days' list.

The crap-creep in my house is insane; it is beginning to strangle me. Little piles/drawers/cupboards are harboring many hours of sorting and purging. Stuff is not where it is supposed to be and nothing, NOTHING, lights my fuse quite as violently as not being able to find what I need.

And yet here I sit, blogging, when I could be sorting.

I need to do the whole 'elephant bite at a time' nonsense.

Maybe I will start tomorrow.


30 October 2013


Some of you know I have  been trying to (unsuccessfully) manage another blog 'The Informal Educator' which was supposed to chronicle our school journey as well as serve as a 'resource hub' for other people interested in alternative education.

Here is the thing.

I don't have time to to that and I realized I am doing all this work for what? For who? 

 Nee jislaaik - I would rather take that time to read a book, have a swim, play with the dog or just veg out!  I seem to have this default 'share' button in my brain that I really need to switch off. Nobody really needs all my sharing! :-)

Back to home-base it is. Consolidate all news and life-happenings right here in this space.

School is going well; the girls are enjoying it. I am very surprised that Rachel is so settled and apparently not missing the social hubbub of school life. Our relationship has only become more solid; she is definitely taking on responsibilities at home with less prodding from me.

I am challenged daily with this new model of life but perspective is a beautiful thing and I regularly remind myself WHY I am doing this and that it isn't necessarily forever. Ironically (and miraculously) this makes every day seem sweeter. My challenge often lies in choosing what I teach; not in how I teach - there is so much information out there. I follow an eclectic curriculum that I have constructed taking the best bits from numerous sources. It is working well.

I have ten days until my 21km trail race in Cape Point. I am not very well prepared for it but am looking forward to lacing up and just enjoying the scenery with Russ and a few other friends. I am road running regularly but getting to the trails is very difficult these days- I really need to focus on a plan to Make It Happen.

I am in denial about Honey (our golden dog) - I think her back legs (or hips) are starting to give in. I noticed this yesterday but was hoping I was wrong. Today I can't help but see she is somewhat unsteady on occasions. I am taking her to the vet this afternoon; am dreading bad news as she has always been my constant trail-buddy.

The crazy daschund, Charly, still continues to delight us daily - she is in the 'chew and destroy' phase but thankfully seems to avoid anything we hold dear and aims at sticks, plastic cups, old balls, stray socks and pegs!

My niece is coming to live with us until mid-Dec. Certainly going to crank up the energy in this house so I think I will put her skills to good use! (driving, shopping, cooking!) As an only child she is about to experience the complete chaos that exists in our lives - thankfully she is excited about that - long may it last! ;-)

23 October 2013

Photo post

A quick look into the last week or so.

Waking up to this kind of day makes mornings far more appealing

Our all time favourite hang-out The Red Couch

Outing on The Jolly Roger pirate boat - rough seas (which you cant see in this pic!)

Faith still has close bonds with her classmates! 

Hard at work.

Levi Warrior Brown

Loving our new outdoor space

Bliss - bring on summer

Thanks Jo! 

The 'soon-to-be' daybed. Where we do tea and reading every morning
Faith got to play stylist for her friend recently

Scenes for The Colour Run

A little blurry colorful me

Making colorful, happy memories

Seeing her 'play' is such a special thing - she now has the time to indulge her imagination again

Chilling with my lad

I still prioritize my own time - no compromise.