Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up

Our weekend began with a bit of drama - Belle fell into a lake late Friday afternoon. A friend and I had taken a walk, kids ensemble, and the three of mine were pretending to fish off the end of a jetty, when Belle must have lost her balance and fell in head first. I was right there - on the jetty, but it seemed to take me forever to get myself  to her floating, but submerged body. Her eyes were open the whole time, frozen with fear, and she just kept watching me. I pulled her out, and had the thought as I was doing so - "I don't know how to do CPR, I hope she starts breathing". I whacked her onto the jetty which caused her to splutter and start crying.

King Arthur remained calm, cool and collected throughout this (just like his dad), but Aragorn just dissolved. He was sobbing from the moment she fell in till long after she had had a bath and was wrapped up snug. Belle herself only wanted to call her dad at work and tell him how wet she was and that she went under (which was very precious to see - except when she heard her dad's voice she dissolved into tears and Braveheart couldn't make head or tale of what was going on! It opened up so many discussions that night - all about drowning, swimming lessons etc.

a blink of an eye....that's all it takes. Sobering.

We celebrated a friend's 30th; I interviewed some domestic help; had a movie night with the kids; did a one and a half hour spinning class which was awesome; and went on a lovely Sunday afternoon stroll with my dear friend J and her kids.

This was the river walk at Silvermine - we cleverly dropped one car at the top, another at the bottom, and walked from the top to the bottom (thinking gravity would help those little legs!). What did help was the marshmallows given out at every rest stop! (Yes, King Arthur has one stuck to his forehead, not sure why my children love doing that!).

A lovely, somewhat different, weekend!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ensuing debate

Funnily enough, Braveheart read my post about the Dinosaur Debate, and it has brought up all kinds of things! he was astonished at my ability to categorically hold to the belief that the world is young in age, he's open to it being older, and I fundamentally cannot subscribe to a belief that says it is!

So off I went to the Creation Ministries site, typed in age of the earth, and was rewarded with endless articles. I've included a few here if you've got the time to read them!

  • Questions and Answers on the Age of the Earth: endless links to read! Click here and then follow whatever takes your fancy
  • This is an email written and answered by someone who is genuinely questioning the age of the earth. At it's heart is the question of how reliable the Bible is. Click here
  • This is a book review - The Dating Game - this is how evolutionists categorically state the Earth is old - is it really?
Needless to say I sense a lot of heated discussions between Braveheart and I coming on - neither of us likes being 'wrong'!

Friday, August 27, 2010

What's the point?

Have you ever stopped to ask what the point of education is? I really felt God ask me this the other day. Surely there's got to be an end point, a reason that we believe it is necessary to educate our children. And I think if we stop to examine that and look at it in detail, it'll be telling in showing up what we believe about our lives.

Do we believe that education ensures our children a good job? Do we believe that it will cause them to be successful (and what does that mean to you anyway? Money - if so how much is enough? A job - what kind?). Do we believe that they need a good education to get into the 'right' university, or university at all - and why is that our end goal?

What is the point of education? Is it to show them the wonderful world that God has created and how much there is out there to enjoy and experience? Is it to show them how fearfully and wonderfully made we all are? Is it to equip them to teach others about God's love? Is it to allow them to grow into all that God intended to be so that they can be most satisfied in God and therefore bring him glory (John Piper)?

Just got me thinking - what's the point of education - at home or school?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Heart Gripping

This boy, Damian McGinty, was 14 (can you believe it?) when he performed this song in a show called Celtic Thunder. When Braveheart saw this, he said "A good song cripples me", and it literally rendered the rest of his day somewhat unproductive. He has played it over and over (along with some other Celtic Thunder songs) - so that the boys can now sing it (and others!) word for word.

This song undid me in other ways. It reduced me to tears because of the desire it unleashed within me and the thoughts it provoked. I desire, with all my heart, for my children to be really good at something. I don't want them to have mediocre lives, and I want them to soar.

I believe we have all been given gifts, and talents, many of which go unnoticed.  Am I paying my kids enough attention to realize when they are gifted? To realize what their strengths are? Do I trust God to show me?

I want to fan into flame the giftings God has given my children.

Lord show us how.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dinosaur Debate and Other Things....

King Arthur returned from school yesterday regaling me with tales of dinosaurs and meteors and the beginning of the Earth...and I sighed. He attends a little "Christian" nursery school, but I was just struck....being labelled Christian doesn't mean that the teachers hold a Biblical world view, a correct theology or a sound doctrine at all. School allows them to be exposed to such varied world views. On the upside I get to teach King Arthur how to challenge this, and how to learn to discern. On the downside, its double the amount of work to correct what I believe has been incorrectly taught.

A few months ago I would have been unable to really enter into a debate on the subject. I personally had never been able to explain how dinosaurs fitted into Genesis, or where they were placed in Creation, until I stumbled across this website, which blew my mind. I simply typed in dinosaurs and it gave me an extensive list of articles to read. I downloaded one of the pdf files and read it avidly.

One of the points made that fascinated me was this - did you know the word 'dinosaur' only came into existence in the late 1800's? Until then, dragons were referred to in cultures all over the world. Even the Bible refers to dragons. Dragons were dinosaurs! (now I love that because I am a romantic at heart and love the stories of knights slaying dragons etc). But see the thing is, they didn't all die out before the flood, nor when ice ages were supposed to have occurred, nor when meteorites hit the earth etc. They were around a little over 150 years ago, and that makes sense to me, because I cannot subscribe to the belief that the world is millions of years old. I have loved this site, loved the questions I've been able to search and the answers I'm uncovering. They also have some wonderful magazines that don't seem too bad in terms of subscription costs if you're interested.

I am becoming more convinced that as Chrisitians in the world today we need to have answers, we need to care, and that this is what churches should be teaching  - correct ideologies about who we are, how we got here, and the truths we should know to deflect the flaming arrows sent by the enemy - take down deceptive thinking and hollow philosophies.

This is the Bombadier beetle - it has twin exhaust pipes at its tail,
and fires boiling hot noxious gases at its predators.
 Got me thinking about fire breathing dragons!
A pretty neat God huh?

On other fronts - some bullet points!

  • Our potential future landlady is putting a few spanners in the works re rent, and how she expects us to look after her home. She asked me to water some plants - in spite of my recent success in the veggie garden front, I am notoriously well known for killing plants. It's true. I kid you not. And we were desperately keen to repaint the boys room, (and repaint on leaving) but she's VERY reluctant. Don't think she's ever had tenants before. We've already given notice, but now I'm just not sure where home will be!
  • Braveheart shot his first live action advert on Monday night, so the kids didn't see him for 36 hours. Aragorn lost the plot. He loves his dad so much, that when our normal routine is disturbed, it unsettles him greatly. Not sure if it's a middle child thing. Got me thinking about all those people who have recently lost their husbands... and my heart just aches for them, and their little people. O God.
  • Aragorn stayed home from school today (a little because he had a cough, a lot because he just seems strung out from school. I do this often, give them days off - it affirms them, centers them. Looking forward to the time when they're at home always!), and this is what we did - and I loved the pace and freedom of the morning:
Thanks to Homeschool Creations, a few crafts with lower case 'd' and capital T!

a tea party with his sister - this amused them for over one
 and a half hours. Water and kids, the simplest things!
  • And for good measure, these are our alphabet crafts (capital C) from the weekend (Jolanthe over at Homeschool Creations amazes me! See my sidebar for links)

I'm trying to let Aragorn be creative...
not demand that his looks anything like mine
- a real challenge for my type A personality!
  • This is another great site I've found, from an intellectual Christian man whose books I'm looking forward to using one day - although note he's left the ministry now as it sems to be going off the rails a bit. His books are still sound, and some of his other articles just get my brain churning.
Rightio then! Till another day!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Quick Dinner

Today is a 'park day' for the homeschooling community in our area, and I have offered to organize some games for the kids today - should be relatively amusing considering they range in age from 3 weeks to 10! 

So, as we will probably get home quite late and somewhat hungry, this is one of my standard quick fix meals (that may very well offend some purists, but here goes anyway!). 

This is the original recipe:

1 packet brown onion soup
1 packet cream of mushroom or chicken soup
1 litre box mango juice
6-8 chicken breasts

Sprinkle the soup packets over chicken in a large rectangular  dish, pour juice over and bake till cooked! Serve with rice and salad.

Now I have used all kinds of chicken cuts - pieces (drumsticks and thighs), breasts on the bone (this is the most economical - I then take the chicken off the bone once it's cooled down and then it's like a casserole) and skinless breasts (these cook fast like this).

I prefer the cream of chicken as the rest of my family is adverse to mushrooms, and I once made it with apricot juice which didn't work so well! I also add a chopped onion to begin with, and to make it stretch I use beans and carrots (thinly sliced) covering the casserole dish. Works like a charm and it's never failed! So this dish has already been cooked (it's lunchtime now) and the salad can be made ahead too. Then while the kids are bathing later, I'll cook the rice - and voila - dinner is served!

What are your quick never fail meals?

ps -I've also replaced the juice with water in tough times, and it still works!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Home Hopping

After a relatively calm morning catching up with an old friend and doing my weekly grocery shop, the day snowballed...and I am pleased to report we are moving! Braveheart gave notice this morning, and we found someone to take our place before the lease is up, and it's all A for Away! Yip, that's what that cryptic reference was a few posts ago.

A lady phoned us out of the blue and asked if we'd like to rent her house, which is literally just down the road. It is lovely, well actually, it's steadily grown on me. It has a maze of rooms compared to where we presently are, and in my eyes is perfect for me and homeschooling next year. As some of you know, I've been desiring this space for a long, long time. And it's funny, because it made me see how well rooted I am here, in this home, in spite of all the things I don't like about it. It takes guts, and some courage to allow ourselves to follow the adventure of this move, I guess it's that different drumbeat we hear so clearly in our lives.

It's a step of's going to change our daily living in a huge way, but we'll have to curtail our living in other ways. The move will take at the end of September, right in school holidays - groan! i'm going to try and pack beforehand so I get to at least have a holiday with my kids.

So I will loose my recently planted veggie patch, which I will have you know is the first thing I have ever grown successfully! At least the new tenants will have a healthy welcoming!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Diet Debacle

Ok, now this is something I have been mulling on for weeks, possibly even months. This may be somewhat long winded so bear with me.

I am fascinated by us humans. Utterly. We, as a species, amuse me.

This whole 'diet' subject was recently sparked by something I read in a magazine recently whilst queuing in Woolies. In the latest TASTE mag, there is an article that showcases the latest food trend – and in case you haven't read it, I'll tell you. It's to forage for one's own food – be it mushrooms, or truffles, or sea food etc. You can, apparently, pay a fortune to join famous chefs, traipsing through fields or along the coasts to find your own food. Now, is any one else as bemused by this as me? Isn't that what we did as a race in the beginning? (And no, I don't believe in evolution!)

Another article I read recently discussed the global trend towards slow food/green food/organic food. Does anyone else see the correlations? Man is desperately craving a simpler life. Craving to go backward, to escape the confines of this modern, ordered, processed rat race of a world he himself has created.

And within this there is another root issue I have cause to gripe about.

Specific diets. Now, if y'all are honest, every single one of you as tried a diet. True? And what form did it take? Was it the no carbs and protein diet? Was it the finely chopped up one? The eat-accoridng-to-your-blood-type one? The Atkins one? The grape one? The raw food one? The wheat-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, enjoyment-free one (sorry I just couldn't resist!)?

I've read all the books (ok well not all, just a lot of them!). And my gripe is that, really, is there a 'RIGHT' one? My point is that with every diet, you have endless research done by specialists that supports that way of eating. It seems these days that every single aspect of life has research that supports it, and research that is against it. So if I choose to be a vegan, there's research supporting my decision. And if I choose to eat red meat, there's research telling me all the benefits.

Now whilst I know first hand and believe that sometimes diet can save lives and transform disease ridden bodies, I take issue with people who FANATICALLY believe that their diet is the only one. And I think more specifically, I take issue with Christians who think raw food is the only 'REAL' diet Christians should be following.

I know about the raw food in the beginning....the fruit and vegetables and seed bearing plants. But...what about Christ using bread and wine at the Last Supper? What about the fact that he twice multiplied bread and fish? What about the fact that Peter (or was it Paul) saw a sheet coming down from heaven that released him from unclean vs clean food because of Christ's freeing grace? What about the manna and quail the children of Israel were given to sustain them in the desert?

And how is it possible that an entire nation (Italy) can become renowned for their pasta and pizza – both made with wheat, and for wheat to be something we should now become intolerant of?

Now look here. If the issue is processed things, if it's the way our food is manufactured in a population pressured world, then count me in. I'm all for eradicating the processed things – I, when I can afford to, will buy stone ground flour as opposed to commercial made flour. And I do my damnedest to buy preservative free products. But the nature of our society is that those things are the most expensive. And last year, when we were really struggling financially, it was a matter of finding the cheapest food and keeping our tummies full! And for my friends who are still struggling, I get stirred up and defensive for them, because of the judgment and condemnation that comes with this.

Just a rant....a vent.

Lastly ( I promise!) as an aside, let me tell you something else that amuses me. In South Africa, the most well known sports drink is Powerade. Powerade are such a HUGE sponsor of rugby (ever notice how many times a Powerade bottle is swung in front of the cameras during interviews?), that it's their money that allows them to clout their brand around. What that does, through the power of advertising prescence, is persuade young boys (my nephew's one of them) to drink the stuff. But here's the rub. Tim Noakes, of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa, doesn't even advocate sports drinks for sportsmen necessarily (only in extreme Iron Man situations!). Another leading raw food author, Mary Ann Shearer, cites
 a chemical breakdown of grape juice and a sports drink in her book
 The Natural Way, that show cases how much better grape juice is than Powerade. Interesting huh? The power of the sports drink industry (who have an entire research personnel behind them)....whose research is right?

*ps if you feel judged for being a raw foodie, please read Read Me First!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pen down....

... fingers are still. Yip, it's true, I AM FINISHED! I came up with this brainwave last night as to how I can finish my part of the book without input from the other half, and came up with a brilliant (if I don't say so myself) bit of direction for Braveheart, who as the creator of Bokkie also has to do a bit of writing. So I can well and truly dust my hands, put away all rugby material, rest my fingers, and welcome back my beautfiul brain. I've missed you dear fellow!

When I woke this morning I had this beautfiul feeling of space in my head: rooms that for a good few weeks have been occupied with clutter are now empty and free. Thoughts were a-tumbling all around me with regards to all the things I want to write about - discourses I've been having for weeks with myself unable to find the time or the energy to commit them to paper.  Alas, a phone call a few moments ago has shattered that serenity. Funny how when you desire something intensely, and are then offered that thing you think you want, the reality of attaining that thing can make you realise in a flash that you really didn't need it as much as you thought you did. Now what to do? What to do?! I seriously need a good dose of wisdom, insight and some very clear discernment. How's that for  a very cryptic insight?

The's continuing, so that's the only thing that is till lingering, but in my head, I'm relocating it to a smaller, more manageable room - I have to, for sanity's sake! And I must be doing something right if he keeps coming back right? And it's getting somewhat clearer in my head. The part I'm enjoying most is actually 'getting' weather - the science part, for the first time ever. For example - I now get why there is a band of cloud over Ou Kaapse Weg sometimes, and that when you get to the top it's a clear beautiful day. My friends, that is a temperature inversion - a layer of stable air sitting on a layer of unstable air (the band of clouds) preventing the unstable air (the air with moisture in it, the clouds) from rising. That's also why we so often see a layer of smog over Cape Town City on our descent of the mountain. And i find that so sweet!

So now. I breathe. I relax. I'm so looking forward to writing for pure pleasure again.

Enjoy this beautiful weekend.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Home Decor

As promised (ages ago!) I have uploaded photos from Belle's room - there's just one wall awaiting some photos, but otherwise it's finished and I am pleased!

So I purchased the material for the boards from Global Textiles, Main Road, Fishoek, R75 for 10 blocks. Then went to Birchwoods in Fish Eagle park (um....might actually be Heron park - the first one along the Kommetjie Road!) and got FREE off cuts of wood to make the frame. The men who work there were very sweet, they even cut it for me (for a small donation of their time) to my exact measurements. Braveheart then did a bit of carpentry, and made 9 frames for me.

The tricky part was that some of the frames had text on them, which overlapped on the frames so had to sew each of them onto white polycotton so I could stretch them over the frames. It took a while to get them to stretch well over the frames - using a staple gun and my wee hands but I managed. And she loves them!

I recovered this lamp shade as well (tip for the future  - line up your seam with their seam, not just wherever you want it!), and made a cover for her um....'stop-falling-out-of-bed thing' out of stretch lace with these cute dragonflies on it. Not sure if it's clear or not. Now, if I were a more seasoned blogger you can be sure I would have taken step by step photos of everything I did, but alas, you'll just have to trust me!

am still wondering whether to decoupage the table or not....but it's done!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekend Wanderings in Wonderful Weather

We've been enjoying the wonderful winter (can we even call it that?) weather the last two weekends - this has honestly been the best winter I can remember since moving to Cape Town 5 years ago.

Last weekend we ventured along the catwalk between St James and Muizenberg, the boys did really well, not too much complaining. Have a feeling that Belle would much rather have walked the whole way on her own, but we would never have made it anywhere if that was the case!

Yesterday we ventured out for a hike. We parked in the car park on the left side of Ou Kaapse Weg, and ventured towards the waterfall, but then changed our mind and climbed to the top of Steenberg peak. Yes we did! It was good, except my mood could have been better - think I needed time out! We found a lovely rock we dubbed 'pillar' rock to have our first break at, and then found this super cave at the top of the peak, an awesome place for our picnic. The paths were well marked and relatively easy - Belle climbed herself except for the last steep part.

This afternoon we had a little wander on Noordhoek beach, climbing the sand dunes.

A perfect outside weekend just for me!

Birthday Belle

The house is quiet. The kids are sleeping over at my in-laws - praise God for grandparents! Having them move here has changed my life! (I hope to remember this when I too am a granny). And so these quiet few hours have enabled me to upload photos, play a bit on Picasa, and deliver something to you ... And I got to sleep in!

Last weekend (a late post hey?:)) was Belle's second birthday. My princess. She had a 'small people' birthday tea for little people her age - all 5 little people were the third born - how weird is that?!

I love this cheesy grin!

Then we had family round on her actual birthday for another celebration - this is the only year birthday i do not have a picture of the cake - third child I tell you! It was a pretty cake -Braveheart's request - I was going down the Winnie the Pooh route, but given where my mind has been at, I just couldn't quite muster the energy!

First and second cousins

 She knew exactly what presents were, and was not in the slightest bit overwhelmed by friends or family unlike the boys at this age. She loved blowing out her candles, but if we talk about it now, she keeps saying "hot, hot!" as she got her head a wee bit too close to the flames! If you sing happy birthday to her, she'll promptly blow out imaginary candles! 

Belle is a home body - she loves her babies, her (new) stove and mixing and baking.
her brothers getting in on the action!

I, for the record, am LOVING having a little girl, much more than I ever thought I would. And for that, I am most deeply thankful. I think I am even more thankful that every now and again, completely unprompted, this little girl runs to me and plants a kiss on my lips, and asks to give me a 'ug'. Thanks for changing my heart Father, and giving me my own miracle in knew exactly how to melt my heart.

She looks like a marshmallow in this gown!

I love you Belle.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Creeping towards Closure

I'm so sorry that it appears I have slipped off into the nether regions these last few days...or long has it been?! Despite having thought I got publish posts whilst being preoccupied, I have failed miserably! I always have so much to say, but I honestly have had no head space to tolerate anything more in my mind – I am limping towards the finish line. The good news is, there is one page left that requires my creative genius.

The bad news is that it is unlikely I am going to get this page in the next few days – so although I am so close, there is no hope of me actually laying down my pen (so to speak). And I LOATHE that. I hate no begin able to finish, to wrap things up. The bad news continues. I have drawn a line in the sand and refused to meet with the publishers ( I realize I am being somewhat childish, but really, if your constant excuse is that you are too buys to work on my project, then when push comes to shove, I'm going to dig my heels in and do the same). Yip, it goes against everything within my character, but I cannot keep on delaying this process. We're already three weeks over the submission date, and I'm the only one that seems concerned about that. So i'm handing it over to the Bokkie Licensing Agents, and this awesome Jungle Beat brand manager – I am so thankful for Miss N.!

I also spent the last week studying...yip. I tutor a 16 year old homeschool student geography, and this week he asked me to teach him Atmosphere and Weather. Now, that's no small unit in the AS Level CIE syllabus, and it was slightly compounded by the fact that I have NEVER enjoyed the topic, and it was never taught to me in a way that ever made sense. And now, here's a student who needs me to make it make sense to him....o boy. So needless to say there were many late nights studying global energy budgets and local energy models etc. Again, good and bad news. The good news is that I made it make sense (and even had a few revelations about things I had never grasped myself – temperature inversions are so sweet!)...but the bad news is that as a result he wants me to teach another module in this topic next week! Sigh....

So...that means I may be quiet for just a little longer. I'm missing writing, and the clarity it gives me and the freedom in my mind. I shall return assured.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Dragon (Lady)

... needs to be slain. Over the last few days it really feels like I've turned into a dragon towards my kids by the end of the day. Somedays, I swear that by the time Braveheart gets home I'm almost breathing fire, and smoke is coming out of my ears!

The heart of it? My inability to keep my emotions in check when confronted with whining/tell tales/ childish reasoning and emotions. (Sometimes my emotions seem like the childish ones! They're children after all....I'm the adult!). And so I snarl. And hiss. And snap.

I'm recognizing more and more that it's not so much the words that we speak but the way in which we speak them that matter....and too often I forget that in the thick of things. Braveheart has the most amazing nack of seemingly always speaking with grace and love, and perhaps because he isn't at home all day he has a better ability to sustain it until the kids go to sleep. Even when he is correcting and reprimanding, he does it so that they know they are loved no matter what's going on at that moment. He constantly teaches me. ( I can often be heard asking – well what would you have said? And there's no answer there. It's a heart issue.

But there's a danger there too. A danger of him becoming the nurturer not me. Because when I lose it, or when I get angry, I withdraw - it's what was modelled to me growing up.

I was reminded today whilst skimming through my teenage diaries (so feel like spring cleaning!) how important it is to set up a home where children always feel safe, where they truly believe from an early age that you're there for them. You're on their side NO MATTER WHAT. And that starts NOW. It's too late if we wait till they're teenagers.

I need to slay this dragon. Or rather, I need Christ to arrive on a silver white horse of love and pierce my heart.

Oh boy!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Great Links

I've found a new site, an awesome one filled with FREE lapbooks, readers etc. Just thought I'd share it with you!

I have one week left with this rugby book and then I'm home free! Looking forward to really planning my year next year when Elijah comes home - woo hoo!

I'm also in the middle of finishing Belle's room. I spent the weekend sewing - it's true, couldn't actually tell you when I last sewed anything. But it was surprisingly easy once I got started again....will keep you in suspense, but will share soon!