Monday, August 31, 2009

In A French Frenzy Part 4

We had a very successful French dinner! We had some friends of ours round to join us. We usually just do it for our family, but this time we decided to have some friends to join us to make it more exciting! We have had some really nice meals for school when we study a different country. We have done China, Italy, America and now, France. It was such a lovely evening, though we were absolutely finished by the time the evening was over!

Our Chinese dinner, 2007

Our American dinner, July 4th, 2008

We had some lovely French music to go along with the evening. I must just tell you it was my dad who organized the music. He was really sad for us when he heard what happened to us at the library. Well, I guess you would like to know what happened to us at the library?
Nancy, Beth and I went into the library by ourselves while my mom was in the car with Rebekah, who was sleeping. The librarians were extremely unhelpful and in the end gave us some classical music by French composers which DID NOT help us! Of course Nancy and I did not know any better - I mean what do I know about French music? I don't even know normal music! Of course my dear daddy was extremely unhappy when he heard what had happened to us and went out and bought us a lovely French CD - which he never normally does! It felt quite special to know the story behind the music playing! And, as it turned out, we really all enjoyed the CD immensely and are still listening to it!

Nancy was in charge of setting the table while I finished off our lovely lamb stew. She did an excellent job and made the table look beautiful! She put the model Eiffel Tower in the middle of the table with some flowers from our garden around it. I am very proud of her for doing such a lovely job even though she knew the time was running out!

Nancy and I dressed in blue and red clothes. We did not have any white clothes, so we just wore red and blue!

We had planned on eating beforehand so that we would be free to serve and do everything we were meant to do, but ended up eating with everyone else due to the time running out!

We had such a lovely evening and we really enjoyed giving our presentations before a course and serving AND eating! Everything was soooooo yummy, though I liked the stew and the cheese board the best!

I really must say, we were absolutely finished by the end of the meal and just about fell into bed once everything was tidy. What did not help was that we had our food market (I will post more about this another day) early the next morning! We really enjoyed our evening and that really made up for the tiredness!

Here are the photos of our French evening:

The Crudites we served before the meal.

Me sticking the menu onto card stock.

The table Nancy beautifully set.

All of us enjoying our dinner.

Nancy saying her piece while I get stuck into my piece of Nougat!

The yummy cheese board!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Best Thing About Being A Big Sister Of A Baby

I would like to tell you about what I think the best thing is about having a baby sister in a Q and A's format.

Well here we go!

What is the best thing about having a baby sister in the house?

Probably watching them grow up and develop into sweet children. Another thing is watching them sit on their own for the first time. Watching them stand up for the first time. Watching them take their first steps and watching them take their first spoon of food.

What is the most special thing about having a baby sister?

I personally think the best thing about having a little baby sister is when they fall asleep while you are holding them. Their little snuffles as snores and their cute eyelids, closed, are amazing. The sucking noises while they are sucking their dummy is very cute and special. It is like they trust you enough to actually fall asleep and know you will look after them. For me, it is the most special thing!

What is the worst thing about having a baby in the house?

When she cries and when my mom needs to see to her when I need my mom. That is probably the worst thing.
The good about having a baby sister definitely outweighs the bad!

What is the cutest noise Rebekah has ever made?

Probably the cutest noise would have been when she gurgled when I took her for a walk outside.

Are you happy you have a baby sister?

Oh yes!!!! My life would not be the same without her - in fact, my life would not be the same without any of my sisters!

If you have any other questions about a baby sister, feel free to comment and ask, don't feel shy!

In A French Frenzy Part 3

As I have written before, I am in a French frenzy organizing everything for our French dinner on Friday.

We are going to put crepe paper on the table as a table cloth. We are laying it out so that it looks like a French flag - blue, white and red.

We made a big model Eiffel Tower for the centre of the table. Nancy is going put some flowers around it for decoration.

We made some little French flags to stick in little pieces of Nougat, which comes from France. We just cut them about two centimeters thick and stuck a toothpick flag in it and used it as a table setting ! That was my Mom's clever idea!

The Eiffel Tower we were making was a real challenge! It just wouldn't stick! I eventually used sticky tape to stick in the inside!

We gave Gabrielle some blue paint and paper and let her paint to keep her quiet and to make her feel like she is part of the whole thing.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

In A French Frenzy Part 2

As I wrote before, I am in a French frenzy, organizing everything for our French dinner! I am really excited!

Yesterday we went to the shop to get everything we need and later today we are going to make the stew and probably the soup. Tomorrow we are going to make the French Tart and the Crudites.

Here is our menu:

  1. Crudites
  2. French Onion Soup
  3. Lamb Stew
  4. Cheese Board
  5. French Apple Tart
Here are the recipes for the tart, stew and soup if you would also like to have a French evening!

French Onion Soup:


15 g/1/20 oz/1 tbsp butter
30 ml/2 tbsp olive oil
4 large onions (about 675 g/1 and a half lb), thinly sliced
2-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 ml/1 tsp sugar
2.5 ml/half a tsp dried thyme
30 ml/2 tbsp plain flour
125 ml/4 fl oz/half a cup dry white wine
2 litres/3 and a half pints/8 cups chicken or beef stock
30 ml/2 tbsp brandy (optional)
6-8 thick slices French bread, toasted
1 garlic clove
340 g/12 oz Gruyere or Emmenthal cheese, grated (we used Cheddar)

  1. In a large, heavy saucepan or flam proof casserole, heat the butter and olive oil over a medium high heat. Add the onions and cook for ten to twelve minutes until they are softened and beginning to brown. Add the garlic, sugar and thyme and continue cooking over a medium heat for thirty to thirty-five minutes until the onions are well browned, stirring frequently.
  2. Sprinkle over the flour and stir until well blended. Stir in the white wine and stock and bring to the boil. Skim off any of the foam that rises to the surface, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for forty-five minutes. Stir in the brandy, if you are using.
  3. Preheat the grill. Rub each slice of French bread with a garlic clove. Place six to eight ovenproof bowls on a baking sheet and fill about three quarters full with the onion soup.
  4. Float a piece of toast in each bowl with grated cheese, dividing it evenly, and grill about15 cm/6 in from the grill for about three to four minutes until the cheese begins to melt and bubble.
Lamb Stew:


60 ml/4 tbsp olive oil
1.3 kg/3 lb lamb shoulder or other stewing meat, well trimmed, cut into 5 cm/2 in pieces
45-60 ml/3-4 tbsp plain flour
1 litre/1 and 2 thirds pints/4 cups beef or chicken stock
1 large bouquet garni
3 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
5 ml/1 tsp tomato puree
675 g/1 and a half lb small potatoes, peeled if wished
12 baby carrots, trimmed and scrubbed
120 g/4 oz French beans, cut into 5 cm/2 in pieces
30 g/ 1 oz/ 2 tbsp butter
12-18 baby onions, peeled
6 medium turnips, peeled and quartered
30 ml/2 tbsp sugar
1.5 ml/quarter tsp dried thyme
175 g/6 oz/1 and quarter cups peas
55 g/2 oz mange-tout
salt and freshly ground black pepper
45 ml/3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or coriander, to garnish

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add enough of the lamb to fit easily in one layer (do not overcrowd the pan or the meat will not brown). Cook turning to colour all sides until well browned.
  2. Transfer the meat to a large flameproof casserole and continue browning the rest of the meat in batches, adding a little more oil if needed. Add 45-60 ml/3-4 tbsp of water to the pan and boil for 1 minute, stirring and scraping the base of the pan, then pour the liquid into the casserole.
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the browned meat in the casserole set over a medium heat. Cook for 3-5 minutes until well browned. Stir in the stock, the bouquet garni, garlic, tomatoes and tomato puree and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bring to the boil over a high heat, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 1 hour until the meat is tender. cool the stew to room temperature, then chill over night.
  5. About 1 and a half hours before serving, take the casserole out of the fridge and remove the fat from the surface, wiping the surface with kitchen paper to remove all tarces of fat. Set the casserole over a medium heat and bring to a simmer.
  6. Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 15-20 minutes until tender, then, using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and add the carrots to the same water. Cook for 4-5 minutes until just tender and transfer to the same bowl. Add the green beans and boil for 2-3 minutes until tender, yet crisp. transfer to the bowl with the other vegetables.
  7. Melt the butter in a heavy frying pan or saucepan over a medium high heat. Add the onions and turnips with 45-60 m/3-4 tbsp water and cook, covered, for 4-5 minutes. Uncover the pan, stir in the sugar, thyme and cook, stirring ans shaking the pan occasionally, until the onions and turnips are shiny and caramelized. Transfer them to the bowl of vegetables. Add 30-45 ml/2-3 tbsp of water to the pan to deglaze and boil for 1 minute, scraping the base of the pan, then add this liquid to the lamb.
  8. When the lamb and gravy are hot, add the reserved vegetables to the stew an dstir gently to distribute. Stir in the peas and mange-touts and cook for 5 minutes until they turn a bright green, then stir 30 ml/2 tbsp of the parsely or coriander and pour into a large warmed serving dish. Scatter over the remaining parsely.

French Apple Tart:

In France you can buy fruit tarts, pastries and cakes at pastry shops called patisseries. Each region has its own special tarts - this one comes from Normandy.


175 g/6oz plain flour
85 g/3oz chilled butter
30 g/1oz caster sugar
1 egg yolk, beaten
1-2 tablespoons cold water
450 g/1 lb cooking apples
55 g caster sugar
3 eating apples
2 tablespoons apricot jam
2 tablespoons hot water

a 20 cm (8in) flan dish

Oven temperature:
200 C/400 F/Gas mark 6
  1. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and add them to the flour.
  2. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add the caster sugar.
  3. Mix in the beaten egg yolk and enough water to make a ball of dough. Put it into a refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Turn on the oven. Peel the cooking apples . Cut them into quarters and cut out the cores. Slice the quarters.
  5. Put the apples, cold water and sugar into a saucepan. Cook them over a low heat until the apple slices are soft. Stir well.
  6. Sprinkle some flour onto a board and onto a rolling pin. Roll the pastry into a big circle about 2 cm/1 in. thick.
  7. Grease the flan dish and line with the pastry. Prick it with a fork and trim the edges with a knife. Bake it for ten minutes. Spoon the cooked apple into the pastry case.
  8. Slice the eating apples and arrange them in a circle on top.
  9. Mix the jam with the hot water and brush it over the sliced apples to glaze them. Bake the tart for thirty minutes.
  10. Serve slices of the tart hot or cold with a spoonful of whipped cream.

We really enjoyed making and planning everything!

We got these recipes from the Usborne Little round the world cookbook and from The French Recipe Cookbook. Both books were very helpful!

Photos Of Rebekah

Here are some pictures of Rebekah. She is growing so nicely and is a real joy to our family. She smiles at us and makes content little gurgles. Have a look at how she has grown!

She is so cute!

Butterfly Mobiles

Here are the instructions for the butterfly strings that we made last Friday. I promised I would give you the instructions - and here they are! I hope you enjoy making them as much as I did!

Butterfly Mobiles:

  1. Cut out two squares of clear book covering film. (contact) Peel the backing paper off one of the squares. Then it lay it with the sticky side up.Check Spelling
  2. Cut two or three long pieces of embroidery cotton into lots of little pieces. You can use different colours to make your butterflys more exciting. Cut out lots of pieces of thin material, net and tissue paper, too.
  3. Sprinkle the cotton and material over the sticky film and gently lay it on top.
  4. Fold a piece of card stock in half. Draw a butterfly wing against the fold and cut it out. Unfold the wings and lay them on the film.
  5. Trace around the butterfly pattern and cut the butterfly out. Make about four butterflys.
  6. Cut out a long piece of thread. Push one end of the cotton through a large bead and tie several knots. Then trim the short end off the cotton.
  7. thread a needle onto the cotton. Push a little bead onto the needle, then sew through it again to secure it. Add more beads above it.
  8. Push the needle through the middle of one pair of wings and push it down onto the beads. Then, thread on more little beads.
  9. Add more beads and the other wings in the same way, leaving short lenghs of cotton showing in between each set of beads.
Be careful not to put too much cotton on your film, otherwise the two pieces of film will not stick together and your butterflys will fall apart.

We had great fun making these, though I had a struggle cutting the cotton. You can shake some glitter onto your piece of film as well. You can also put some sequins on to make it look pretty.

Nancy sprinking the cotton over the film.

I cut my cotton over the film, so I did not have to sprinkle the cotton.

My butterfly mobile. I put different coloured beads on mine.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

In A French Frenzy Part 1

I am in a French frenzy! We are planning a French meal for Friday! Today we went to the shop to buy all the things we need. We had such an annointed morning, the Little Ones behaved so well, including Rebekah!

There will be a few parts to this, this is part#1.

For every book we do for school that is based in another country, we make a meal to celebrate the end of the study. We have done Italy, America and China. It is great fun making all the food and doing the decor.

This time we decided to invite some friends around to join us, which is really exciting! We really have to get to the library soon to find some French music!

We went to Blue Route mall in Tokai to get what we needed and had a ball choosing everything!

The lady at the butchery in Checkers really got into this whole thing and, as my mom was taking pictures, she offered to bring the whole lamb out for us to stand next to and take a picture. Poor Nancy was in a bit of a tizz as she thought that the lamb got on her hair - I am sure it did not!

At Woolworths we got the onions and baby corn and a few other things. I had fun weighing the onions to make sure they were less than a kilogram!

We took some muffins with to have as a snack as buying snacks for five people is jolly expensive! My mom baked a batch of muffins and made some juice to take with. We bought some yogurts to have as a treat from Checkers.

We had to just stop in at CNA to get my magazine. I get the HQ (Horse Quarterly magazine every two months)

We did everything in about two and a half hours, which was not bad considering that we made a very long (as always) trip to the bathroom which takes some time! We also spent about 15 minutes having our snack!

We came home and Mom made lunch while I held Rebekah and Nancy entertained the Littles outside.

Choosing the baby corn.

Looking at the different herbs. Unfortunately they did not have bouquet garni which we needed for the stew.

This lovely lady very kindly offered to bring a whole lamb out for us to take a picture of!

The man cutting our meat.

Nancy taking the meat we needed for the stew.

A Walk On The Beach

On Monday we went for a walk on the beach with Cody. It was his first walk on the beach with us. We went in the evening with my dad. My mom stayed at home with Rebekah, as it was a bit chilly outside.

I took all the photos and Nancy and Beth played in the sand. Dad walked Cody and Gabrielle trailed behind eating her apple.

There was such a lovely veiw from the beach that I thought I just had to take a photo. Maybe I will paint it, we just have to see!

Here are the photos I took. Hope they are okay!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Poetry Tea Parties

On Fridays we have Poetry Tea Parties. We bake something yummy, our choice this week was Chocolate Chip Cookies, and my mom reads poetry while we eat our cookies and drink tea.

After we have our tea party, we do a craft. Our choice of craft this week was to make butterfly strings. I will give you the instructions in another post.

We set the tea table in the kitchen with tea cups and saucers. My mom uses little pink esspresso tea cups and saucers for the Little Ones as she says you cannot drink tea out of plastic, even if you're two! Here are the photos.

Our table, all set.

Our cute pink esspresso cup. Isn't it cute?

Gabrielle really enjoyed her tea and cookie!

Eating, drinking and having a wonderful time!

Our tea set.

Here is my favourite poem that we read:

The Little Things That Happen

The little things that happen
Are tucked into your mind,
And come again to greet you
(Or most of them you'll find)

Through many little doorways,
in which you keep the keys,
They crowd into your thinking -
We call them memories.

But some of them are rovers
And wander off and get
so lost, the keys grow rusty,
And that means - you forgot.

But some stay ever near you;
You'll find they never rove -
The keys are always shining -
Those are the things you love.

Marjorie Wilson

We read many poems, but I just thought I would share this one with you.

We had a great time making the mobiles!
Here are the instructions if you would like to try them.

We are going to invite some friends round once a month to join us. Everyone will have a turn to recite their favourite poem. I am really looking forward to that!

Why don't you try having a poetry tea party, its such a great way to learn how to bake and to learn poems!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here is a very yummy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.
We tried this recipe because we were having a poetry tea party. I will tell you a bit about it in another post. These are such yummy cookies - you should really try them!

Chocolate Chip Cookies:

250 g butter
250 ml brown sugar
1 egg
550 ml cake flour, sifted
7,5 ml baking powder
200 g chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
100 g chopped nuts (Macadamia nuts, pecan) optional

Preheat oven to 180 C and grease two baking trays. Place the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add the flour, baking powder, chocolate chips and nuts to the butter mixture. Stir, using a wood spoon until the mixture forms a sof dough. Drop tablespoons of the mixture onto the tray and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until cookies are golden. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
Optional: Leave out the nuts or add raisins instead of the chocolate chips for fruit and nut cookies.

Enjoy with a cup of tea!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Bad Fall!

This is Flash if you have never heard of her before. We have won a class together before. She is a great pony!

Aaaaaah! I am in so much pain! I took a nasty fall off Flash today.

My wrist is so sore! I landed on it.

There was a very large, 70cm spread jump, that I was doing. Flash and I jumped an almighty jump that caused me to land on her neck my back facing the saddle! I slipped off her side and landed on my wrist.

Flash galloped away at top speed, as she had gotten a fright! My teacher went to fetch her for me.

I had to get on again so that I would not be scared of jumping again! I was full of sand and very wet as the sand was wet from the rains we have been having. I did the jump again, and a second time too, just to be extra certain that I had not lost my nerve. The second time I fell off again - although not so badly this time! I had to do that jump again, and by that time I was very wet and cold, and cross that I had fallen off - again! I jumped that one properly, and rode back to the stables happy that I had mastered it!

We had been doing so well up until then! We jumped 70 cm and 80 cm jumps for the first time and doing gymnastics on a straight line.

I was a bit nervous of that 70 cm jump before my fall, as it was quite a wide spread.

The other children that I ride with are away in the Karoo, so I had a lesson on my own.

I like having jumping lessons on my own, as I can have my teachers full attention. She told me she wanted to see how high I could jump today. I was so excited! Flash is such a great jumper and my teacher says she has little springs in her legs! We jumped 20 cm higher than we usually jump!

I am not really scared of 'jumping high' but I am a bit nervous of a spread!

I had a great lesson otherwise! It is just a bit tricky - doing everything with one hand.

I can't do writing schoolwork, so I am a little frustrated!

I guess these things happen and I just have to learn to get on with it. I have my wrist in a Wrist Guard now! Nancy has to do lots of things for me, including putting the toothpaste on my toothbrush!