Thursday, December 31, 2009


The last day of MMIX. Sometime during the course of this year I realised there was no going back. While I obviously already knew that, it became glaring in many ways. There were many moments of almost ruthless reality to contend with and I had to stand in it. When you click 'Hello, you are seriously the adult here!'. When you realise you have aged (in your mind it is like yesterday, not uh, almost 20 yrs ago, you were putting on make-up at 10.30pm to go out while listening to Kurt Cobain), how un-spontaneous you are, now our idea of a wild time is going to a late show at the cinema: nevermind that you will be asleep within the first 10 minutes of viewing and your head will drape a stranger's shoulder - yikes!

This year has been AWESOME in many ways - there were high high's but alas, there have been many times of reflection, where you couldn't turn your face and pretend things away.

And while these circumstances were occuring there was always me in the mix. I think as people we are more alike than we let on, I'm convinced I'm not the only one that has this year felt like 'I'm looking good', 'I'm not as hip as I thought I was', felt like the world's greatest mom, the worst mother ever, the family shield, the encourager, the loser, the good wife, the worrier, the warrior, the hypocrite, the fearful one, the strong one, steadfast, a wimp, overwhelmed by sadness and other times overflowing with gratitude and joy... and its all okay, the journey may be complex but it's also wondrous.

But of this I'm sure, I have not stood alone. Someone had my back. I was on my face often talking with Him. He heard. To be sure, it changes everything. I've been thinking about
how this year affected me (over the last few days) and I don't want to forget any of it, I want to be someone that has grown some character. I don't want to assume, I want to learn and know.
As Ravi Zacharias noted "The science and art of critical thinking has been humiliated in a generation that thinks with its eyes." We had to think this year, long and hard, and I don't want it to have been in vain.

As you reflect, learn from the mess and smile at the milestones!

Monday, December 28, 2009

All the Celebrating

It's been festive and fun... and we get the best of both worlds, a annual Christmas eve dinner which the children (and adults) love 'cause they get loads of gifts, where I eat wonderful 'UK' Christmas fare - lovely gammon and proper Christmas pud with brandy butter (my favourite pudding ever), with Wayne's family. Then the next day I get the rustic 'EU' Christmas lunch on my side of the family tree- traditional, garlicky pork which is cooked for hours with a bread layer on top of it (it melts in your mouth) and vegetables that you can't buy at the local.

We also did some entertaining at home, one of which was a super early breakfast, so I opted for a real easy brekkie. Muesli, fruit and yoghurt layers to start and then a big Breakfast Pie which I just served with a platter of sliced cucumber and thin pork sausages. The muesli cups were made before guests arrived and stuck in the fridge and the pie was whipped up and went in the oven, then relax - so no worries about getting the eggs just right or having five pans on at the same time!

Breakfast Pie
1 roll puff pastry (get the Woolworths real butter one - others can't compare)
1 pkt of bacon, chopped up
7-8 XL / jumbo eggs
a good handful of baby tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup of cream and good splash of milk
salt and pepper to taste
chives or 1-2 leeks, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Roll out pastry (not too thin, you want puff in the pastry - ha ha) and line dish. Prick bottom of pastry. Fry bacon a bit to colour with the leek (if using chives, don't add them now). Spoon into dish. Whisk the rest (except tomatoes) of the ingredients and pour over bacon. (If you don't have cream, you can use smooth cottage cheese or cream cheese) You can also add 1/2 - 1 cup of cheese at this point (sometime I do, this time I didn't). Drop in the tomatoes here and there. Bake for about 45 - 50 minutes till set and golden. A truly delicious pie!

We have fun with this book, it gives you a little background on where some of the traditions started and other fun Christmas ideas.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all! May this be a season of great joy!

These have all been ripped open with glee. God Bless!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


A man travels the world over in search of what he
needs, and returns home to find it.
George Moore

Monday, December 21, 2009

Full of grace and truth

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."

Sunday, December 20, 2009

In the heat of the day

This is what you need in the heat, a ice cold glass of homemade lemonade.

Especially rewarding when in the same month you have fought off (okay, not as dramatic as fought off, but it sounds good) spiders the size of your fist, 3 snakes, 2 veld fires virtually a few metres from our property (are regular people on a first name basis with their local fireman), 2 moles, 2 mice, birds nesting in our roof... and several other pests that I have blotted out of my memory bank. This is how it goes every summer. If you want to live this close to the wild, it comes with the territory.

So now I can sit back and sip my drink uninterrupted... for a while at least.

I thought you'd appreciate this picture instead of snakes or black earth.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Her offering

She comes every time. She is faithful. She works with her hands.

Her joy is with her and her laughter rises.

We share in what she creates.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The twelve days of Christmas

"On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree."

We are in the twelve days of Christmas... kids know this stuff - they count the sleeps!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bundles of aromatics

Gardening with a little help. She didn't mind a bit that she was racing up and down a big pile of poop (or maybe she thought I was joking).

After cutting back the herbs, I hung marjoram, oregano and thyme to dry. Cut them mid-morning, presumably they are most potent just after morning sun.

I give mine a light splash and then tie the bunches up and store in a airy place. So fragrant! Once they've dried, you just put some newspaper down and rub them between your hands, where all the precious leaves fall and can now be stored.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Homemade Chutney

Last week I had an excess of apples and baby marrow and that coupled with the fact that I had two weeks prior used up my last jar of chutney...

Now its good to go...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Driving, picnics, cherries and heat

Yesterday was cool! Everyone overslept and we had to get ready in about 45 seconds.
Fortunately the veteran picnic ladies in my clan would be providing the ample picnic fare so I just threw a flask of tea and a biscuit tin in the car for breakfast pad-kos. Our annual cherry picking day had arrived!

Then we drove.

Ate well.

Picked much.


Chatted and laughed.

Picked more.

Adults climbed ladders.

Kids climbed trees.

Saw beautiful skies.

Packed up.

Drove back.

Soaked in the tub.

An all-round great experience.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

December Days

We are wrapping up school, baking for Christmas, making Christmas cards...

Putting up our Christmas tree.


Hot chocolate.

Most nights after supper, its twinkling lights and carols.

Enjoying last light with precious friends and Manuela's delicious christmassy punch!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Away in a manger

Today is the beginning of the Christmas march in our home... even though the real event was in about September / October that is not as important as remembering to celebrate this most significant of all world events which began in a humble setting.

"Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord... the Lord is God, and He has made His light to shine upon us! Oh, give thanks to the Lord." Psalm 118

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Summers bounty

You rummage under their leaves and are rewarded as you uncover their juicy prolific fruit.

The takings from our strawberry patch about an hour or two ago.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


I've had a busy week so I haven't read much from my book and today I caught up, reclined on my favourite chair with several cups of hot tea.

"The wet winter promised a glorious spring, and here and there, pushing through the sodden leaf mold, were furtive shoots of green that gladdened his heart. He loved the smell of the woods, and the damp alluvial soil that covered these mountains like a blanket...
'Well if it ain't the clergy!. Come in, come in, make yourself at home!'
The rector and his dog discovered a roaring fire in the old stove, a soup pot simmering on top, and a book open on the little table where an oil lamp burned against the fading afternoon light. In the corner stood the neatly made cot, with two worn quilts folded at the foot."
from At home in Mitford

This passage reminded me of my stays (most weekends as a student) at my friend's farm in Stellenbosch. We would often go walking in the wooded areas surrounding their property and I remember telling her that I loved the smell of the ground and she would look at me like I was a nutter! I would close my eyes and breath in deeply 'Can't you smell the soil?' - it had such a rich earthy fragrance. She was raised there so I guess it smelled normal to her.

Enjoy your piece of earth!

Friday, November 27, 2009


Behold the beauty... these are so fat and sweet... had to grab a quick picture before they all disappeared. In about 2 weeks time our family will go cherry picking and we will eat and pick to our hearts content. When we are wholly full, the leftovers will go into jam and pies. Naturally one or two desserts of the fabulous Cherries Jubilee are made each summer, originally created for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887 due to her affection for this summer fruit.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Entering the day with singing

Rebecca has a guitar. A real guitar for children - it was a gift and I don't even want to know what it cost. Well this morning, she hops in the car with her guitar and we sang songs all the way to school. Normally singing so early in the day would be near to impossible for me (it just don't sound right... I'm not musical at the best of times) but it was such a beautiful morning and I wanted to join the birds in celebrating the dawning of a new bright shiny day! So we did!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Sacred Crown

Spread across her blanket
Dimly lit
Modest surrounds
With closed lids
She wears a wistful crown

Dancing on the grass
Noon day
Bright hues
With mouth laughing
She wears a dazzling crown

Running through the field
Clouds gathering
Hair streaming
Fingers of sunshine follow
She wears a natural crown

Jumping into his arms
Night approaching
Bathed in love
She wears a priceless crown

Friday, November 20, 2009


We were away for a few days earlier this week... far, far away.
Wonderful, relaxing - just time together.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How Great!

Everyone has moments like this... where you have a "suddenly", suddenly you take a corner and there is a mountain before you - intimidating, fearsome, formidable. You hold your breath.

What now? Hold on to Jesus. Other things might seem to help for a bit but nothing can sustain you like this Person. You lay yourself on the altar and implore & entrust.

He reminded me that "He can do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think ACCORDING to (get this) His power that is at work in us". Its His Power not my pitiful efforts. Another scripture that I mumbled all day long was in Isaiah 41 "Fear not for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you and I will uphold you with my righteous right hand".

You pinch yourself when you get to the top of the mountain - am I really here? The view is so sweet. How Great is He! Confess His Word. It's living and active. His Grace IS sufficient!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

G what?

Rebecca practiced all week for her music concert (it was this morning). On Tuesday evening while practicing (I was holding her book up for her) she says to me, "Is this a G?" and then answers her own question, "Yes it is." I look at the notes, so very thankful that she figured it out because I didn't know what I was looking it. All those lines, dots and other oddities could have been the music to Bach's Flute Sonata in G major or Three blind mice, for all I know.

We got to school a little earlier (I usually arrive late for these events, but not today). I sat in the front row! All her efforts were worth it - she did so well.

On another note (ha ha)... this is why I love American food at the moment. Its easy and they use a good 'ol can of mushroom soup is every other recipe - honestly, what's not to love.

Baked Pork Chops

6 Pork chops
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste (+-1/4 teaspoon each)
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms (smallish pieces)
1 can cream of mushroom soup

Set oven to 190 deg C. Season chops on both sides with garlic, salt and pepper (herbs can also be added now) and place in a baking dish. Spread onion and mushrooms over it and then soup. Cover with foil and bake for about 35-40 minutes (depending on thickness of chops). Uncover and bake for another 15-20 minutes. Nice with mashed potato and green beans.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rebecca's weekend

I'm enjoying a cup of tea with Rebecca. My beloved is on my lap and we are sharing my slippers - my feet are feeling the chill as she presses her cold bare feet into my warm slippers but I don't mind as I get to drink in her fragrance and her sticky fingers hold my face whenever she wants to share something with me.

It was a chilly weekend, complete with blankets, movies, hot chocolate, card games, Vida coffees and some work on the quilt (finally the sewing machine is working).

We also went to a delightful party for Ruby's friend... a bear party. They had to stuff, stitch up and dress the little bear. Meet the newest member to her room, named 'Baby-bear'.
She is now a part of our family and gets tucked in at night with Rebecca.

More fun, Joe's 2nd birthday celebrated. All the cute kids with Granny, enjoying their treats.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Lewis speaks

"My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with, when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction to it? A man feels wet when he falls in water, because man is not a water animal: a fish would not feel wet. Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that then my argument against God collapsed too - for the argument depended on saying the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove God did not exist - in other words that the whole of reality was senseless - I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality - namely my idea of justice - was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there is no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning."

Mere Christianity ~ C S Lewis
Born in Ireland in 1898, Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge


Much practice is going on for a music performance on Thursday.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Tea anyone?

My favourite kitchen assistant...

using her cookbook...

and then we sit down to proper tea, crumpets and cup cakes...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Day of leisure

Sunshine, a school friend, a passage littered with Barbies and empty yoghurt tubs, half coloured in pictures, a patio table filled from corner to corner with bowls containing garden specimens (gravel, rose petals, various leaves, sand, twigs etc), bouncing, laughing. Wonderful lazy day. Little planning... lots of joy.

I usually make a double batch of biscuit dough and freeze half for later. I got this out of the freezer yesterday. It removes all effort second time round. I have to write the instructions on it as I never remember which recipe I used (you think you'll remember but you don't - well, I don't)

Its like something out of an Enid Blyton novel when you have milk and cookies in the afternoon.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Here's my cup

Today I've been counting my blessings - this is a most beneficial exercise! When you lift your face up its amazing what you see. My list is pretty lengthy and I bet yours would be too.

Isaiah 51.22 applies... "see, I have taken out of your hand the cup of trembling" (Thank You - after last weeks escapades) and moving swiftly along to claim Psalm 23.5... "You anoint my head with oil (symbolic of soothing / refreshing) and my cup runs over (blessings)"

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cry Baby

My world this week held a lot of tears... some days go like that. In fact earlier this week I was reflecting that it had been a while since I had a good sob (now I see it was most certainly the Holy Spirit telling me to brace myself).

So many many things went awry...
- Rebecca had a crazy high fever on and off all week
- I injured my back, was in pain and had to sleep half sitting - not easy to do
- Wayne was away for 2 days
- I broke Rebecca's favourite alice band by mistake (yes, even such a silly thing made us
both cry)
- she had a concert that Wayne could not attend (we were both so sad)
- a metal pipe squashed my middle finger (can't even describe the agony and had no ice nearby)
- my new bank card didn't work (why would you issue a card when the equipment to use it is
not available?) so I had to leave a trolley full of shopping
- I have had hay fever in the worst way, my red eyes bulged like that hamster's in Bedtime

Some week's you would rather just see the back of!
But there is always an 'up' side... you really appreciate all the little things and when you husband arrives you sob again just because you are so extremely happy to see him. Also, when you are poured out, it does something to your soul... it seems to enlarge your capacity for compassion.

Friday, October 23, 2009


This morning I was listening to Gary Thomas talk about his book 'Sacred Parenting' and he noted, rightly so, that character is more important than achievement. If you gain the whole world but have no patience, faithfulness, self-control etc or are unethical, what have you really gained?

I need to remember that the building of character is not an overnight incident, but the steady, consistent application and demonstration over time.

'Education without values as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.'
C S Lewis

Monday, October 19, 2009

all things american

Lately I've been gung-ho about American-style food, eg Cornbread, Southern Beans etc. All the blogs I read have them celebrating Fall (Autumn) at the moment, so as a tribute and because it sounded wonderful, I made Applesauce Spice Cake and boy was it good! My sister and I agreed that we will definitely be making this again and again, especially since we don't have a Starbucks here where we can have Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Fortunately we are only beginning our Spring and we can have an ice cold 'Gemmer Biertjie' instead.

So yum!~

It was such fab weather this weekend that we went visiting a couple of spots along the east coast... the glamour girls in the back...

So cool!~

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Gardening: up and down

Things are beginning to bloom in the garden, happiness is...

But, happiness is not... can you see the trail through my garden, a mole has joined our clan.

I'm off to deal with the intruder. May your cup of joy overflow this weekend!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Penetrating Kindness

Last night I was worn out and a little hormonal. After supper and putting Rebecca to bed, I had whittled my sentences down to mere syllables. Wayne had lots of work to do, so my plan was just to have a bath and get under a blanket... but he noticed my mood. Instead of staying at his computer, he came downstairs with a big smile, made us mugs of tea and stayed with me for about half a hour.

It was such a simple yet grand act of kindness that it surrounded me just like my woolly covering... and I really had a most excellent night's sleep.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The divine exchange

A wonderful passage...

'The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me... to grant joy to those who mourn in Zion, to give them an ornament (garland or crown) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment (expression) of praise instead of a heavy, burdened spirit - that they may be called Oaks of righteousness (strong, magnificent for uprightness, justice and right-standing with God) the planting of the Lord that He may be glorified"

Isn't it great to know that He qualifies us (He is enough and I don't have to rely on my all too evident weaknesses but on Him)
Isaiah 61. 1a + 3 The Amplified Bible

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ball skill

I have no ball skills but Rebecca loves playing ball so most evenings we try to shoot a few hoops or related games but today was hard as I spent the better half of the weekend hacking (er... trimming) trees and some of them hacked back and now I have sore arms. So today I asked her to make up simple games that we could play. This is what you get for asking a 7 year old to make up a game, we did some peculiar bouncing games, left handed throwing and a game where we were not allowed to look at the ball! Go figure?

Now she is sleeping, I've just had a lovely mug of hot chocolate and am watching 'The Amazing Race', then I'll be starting a new book. Happy Day.
Have a good week!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Butternut and Corn Soup

This is yummy, my family loved it and its very easy.

1-2 leeks (depending on size), thinly sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
+-4 cups vegetable stock
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 butternut, peel and cube
1 can creamed corn
feta (for the topping)

Gently cook leeks and onion on a med heat with a little (1-2 tablespoons) oil. Once softened add the garlic, stock and butternut and simmer for about 20 minutes. Season as necessary. Add the corn and cook for a few more minutes.

If you want a smooth soup, blend it now and then reheat for a minute or two with a good drizzle of cream or milk (I had buttermilk so I used that). Serve into bowls and top with a little crumbled feta.


Thursday, October 8, 2009


'Good manners are similar to good grammar - neither stands out except when they are lacking on the one extreme or pretentious on the other. Etiquette is really just a structured way of letting people know you care about them' J. Otis

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


She skipped through the gates on Sunday...

Click on pic to view larger image

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Farmer Boy and Spring

We are getting to the end of the book and they have just celebrated a wonderful Christmas so naturally we get talking about our favourite time of year and all the traditions that we enjoy...
the November baking, the Christmas cards that we send out, decorating the house, setting up the the tree and lights in the first week of December - which we always do with Christmas carols, chocolate, mugs of tea and red santa caps (all part of the jolly mood). Rebecca also gets random small gifts throughout December to stay in the spirit of giving and she in turn must think of ways to give to others.

Yesterday we went to the Baxter to see 'Little red riding hood'. Then a little picnic under the trees nearby for the four girls. Tomorrow its Ratanga (weather permitting as it's just too hot today) and Monday back to school... Spring break sure has flown but we had a good time and actually we like a little structure around here, so we are looking forward to the last quarter of the year.

Little choices

When God's Word fills your heart, you won't be able to wait to pass on the most important thing in the world to your little ones. As you fall more in love with God's Word, you'll want your children to do the same. So be sure the first little choice on your to-do list each day is your own heart-filling, soul-refreshing, strength-producing time with your Bible.

from 'A mom after God's own heart' by Elizabeth George

Joshua 24.15 "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord"

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Made this two weeks ago. Very easy. I like it as a topping for toast or Madeira Cake but Wayne likes a blob of curd mixed into his yoghurt (plain) in the morning. I once drizzled it over slices of chocolate cake and served it with fresh strawberries (sounds odd but it tasted so good!) and also excellent with vanilla ice cream as a simple dessert. I usually double-up the recipe.

90g butter
1/2 cup of lemon juice, freshly squeezed and strained
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs

Place all ingredients in a ovenproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir or whisk gently until mixture thickens. Do not leave or stop stirring. Takes about 6-10 minutes. Remove and cool in bowl and then pour into sterilised jars topped with wax paper and lids. Store in refrigerator.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My basket

My basket overflows,
Rebecca's quilt has been cut and pinned but my sewing machine is ill so I have to wait to finish it.
I hope I can sort it out in October so that I can give it to her for Christmas.

Regarding the photographs for the family wall. This is an extensive project as there are many, many photographs to catalogue and then finalise which ones I want to use. Most of the frames have been bought, I think I only need another two. Hopefully this can also be wrapped up by November or so... that wall has been bare for ages, awaiting this new display.

I have so many projects to finish. I have a cabinet that I've moved to the garage for some spit and polish. I have 3 vases that need to get mosaic-ed and two other items that just need the filler. Rebecca's bedroom blind broke so I need to make a new one and I am ever so tired of my lounge curtaining. I must either make (but I don't think I have the time) or purchase others soon! Finally and probably most importantly (cause its alive) I have 5 palms that are in a container that I urgently need to plant in the back yard.

Monday, September 28, 2009


My father is one of my favourite people. He is steadfast, kind and faithful. His character and his words say the same thing. He was easy to follow when we were growing up, because he was so consistent.

Everyone these days thinks they are a parenting expert but my dad certainly does not 'cast his pearls before swine' (he knows when to speak and when to be silent). Though a lot can be gleaned if you're paying attention.

This weekend he celebrated his 60th birthday!
Look at this photograph, at 4 years of age...

Both my father and my father-in-law celebrated their birthdays this weekend and I pray that they will have a wonderful year!

Since I'm on parents, Dr John Rosemond was on Focus on the Family for the last 2 days.
I have read two of his parenting books, so practical.