Thursday, January 28, 2010

Quick Clean, No Fuss

Hey, are you struggling because the house is always a mess? Does all your time seem to go on clearing up the living area and school room? Are you totally sick of walking over toys?

Well, if you are, I've got an answer to your cries!! It works for us, so it might just work for you!

You see, there is this most amazing thing called a 'Dump Basket'. "Okay"..., you're thinking, "this sounds interesting". Well, actually it's not. A dump basket is probably the answer to all your cries. It helps clean up your house, till later in the day. Read on to find out how the dump basket system works, and if it will work for you.

A dump basket, or box, gets stored for the day somewhere were nooooo babies can get hold of it. During the day, you can pick up stray toys and belongings that are lying around the house, and 'dump' them in the dump basket. "what happens to the toys and belongings"? you may ask. No, they aren't getting 'dumped' in the trash, they are just 'out of the way' till it is cleaning-up time. Once the day is over, one person can lift the basket onto their shoulder and pack-away the things that are in the basket. No fuss? You bet!

My mom is really the one who uses this most. It just helps her - as it does for all of us, because, I don't know about you, but we cannot function in a messy house, especially a small messy house.

We have found this system to work extremely well around here. We can get very bogged down by the house always seeming to be a mess. Now, we can just pop the stray things in the basket, and not have the hassle of wasting precious time packing away things!!

At the end of the day, Nancy or I will be in charge of packing away the things in the basket. We take turns: one evening Nancy will do the dump basket, the next evening I will, and so on.

Maybe you would like to try this system, see if it can help you!

Have a great evening!!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Our Daily Schedule

Yahoo! School has officially started!!

But of course, school cannot happen if the house is disorganized, chores undone and tummies not filled, so first and foremost, we had to draw up a (very flexible) schedule.

I thought I would share this schedule with you, and I will share what we are doing for school in another post.

WAKE: 6:15am

Maths with dad from 6:30am to 7:00am (Maths-U-See)

Personal Hygiene and Pre-Breakfast Chores
(my mom lists essential chores we each need to do in the morning, we don't eat till they're done!!!)

Clear Table and Brush Teeth

BIBLE (We use a programme called 'Steps - Character Building and Foundations of Faith')

LITTLE ONES: school with mom
BIG GIRLS: chores yes...more chores!!!

NANCY - prepare snack (discussed with mom earlier)
KELLY - clean guinea pig cages and feeding with little ones


LITTLES: free play

BIG GIRLS: school (this is where we use our workbox system, a post for another day!)

KELLY - make lunch
NANCY - quick pre-lunch pack-away, dry-up dishes


BIG GIRLS: clear table, clean kitchen

LITTLES: story time with mom and nap (!)

BIG GIRLS: school with mom and free-time
(usually my blogging time!)

ABOUT 5:00PM: Pre-Dinner chores and helping with meal preparation

ABOUT 6:00PM: Dinner

LITTLES: bath, storytime and bed (in the summertime bedtime is usually later than Wintertime)
BIG GIRLS: help dad clean kitchen, bath, free time (this is when I make cards or read in bed) We usually go to sleep anything between 8:30pm and 9:30pm).

This is just a guideline for us. We cannot expect to live 100% to this schedule, otherwise we will be very frustrated and unhappy
because, anyone with Little people in the house, knows that you actually have to 'expect the unexpected'!! This is very hard for my mom and I, because we are the ones who love to work to a schedule 100%! But hopefully this will just help us to be a little more focused about what must be done, so that we don't waste precious time aimlessly wandering around the house, not knowing what to do, or what is expected of us!

Enjoy the rest of your week!


Wordless Wedneday

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Faithful Friends

Friendship is not just about receiving, it is about giving, and encouraging.

Heidi-Mari is one of my very faithful friends. Even though we rarely see each other as we live about an hour apart, when we do see each other, or talk to each other, no matter how short the time is, we always 'pick up where we left off'!

Last night, I received an envelope in the post, containing 18 stamped pieces of cardboard and a letter. Heidi-Mari knows I plan to start doing the Friday Sketchers Challenge, a card making competition, and also knows that I need stamps to put on my cards. I am going to order stamps off the Internet soon, but while I am waiting for my stamps to arrive, she sent me some to get me going!

Wow! What a lovely surprise! I had no idea she was planning on doing this! It must have taken her a good amount of time, and and she doesn't have a huge amount of free time with 7 siblings! How thoughtful of her! It really made my day!!!

This is truly what friendship is about! Thank you Heidi-Mari! I love you lots!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How It All Started Officially

For Christmas 2009, Nancy, my dad and myself clubbed together to buy my mom a book called 'Jane's Delicious Garden' by Jane Griffiths.

Inside this book, is everything you could ever want to know about growing organic vegetables. Jane shares a wealth of knowledge in her book which can help any person who is looking at starting an organic garden.

This book is a guide to organic planting in South Africa, so I don't know if you overseas folks would be able to use it, but for you South African folks, we HIGHLY recommend this book! your garden will never be the same again once you read and apply it!

My mom was ecstatic when she unwrapped this precious book! She had wanted it for a while, and now she had it as her very own!

From then on, while breastfeeding Rebekah, my mom reads a page or two of her book. She decided that, in order for her to 'remember' everything, she needed to 'do'.

My mom reads this book as a novel, not as a gardening guide. Jane has written in such a way that everyone can read and understand it!

At the moment, we have tomatoes that are on the way to becoming ripe, strawberries turning red almost everyday and a strawberry bush that is sending out millions of runners that are going to become new plants! Lettuce that is growing nicely, butternut that is growing at an adequate pace and a few beetroot plants that are JUST staying alive! We have lots of sweetcorn growing, most of which we never 'planted', they just came up on their own, out of the compost we laid in the raised bed! We have more tomato and butternut springing up, also out of the compost we laid in the raised bed! We also have lots of green peppers.......We have a beautiful garden that is well on the way to helping to sustain us.

Our corn is getting bigger by the day!

Our 'mixed' bed. We have to thin out the bed soon!

Each sweetcorn plant grew from a tiny kernel of corn!

Our green pepper bushes are looking great!

The biggest green pepper is as big as my hand!

Mildew is destroying our butternut! We are trying a mixture that we found here, to try and get rid of the mildew.

Snails had a feast......cannot seem to find the culprit!

We are also growing chillies! My dad loves chillies in his supper....I do too, but they have to be chopped very fine, otherwise I cannot breathe, they are so hot!

We have more seedlings coming up in seedling trays, which we will plant soon. We are trying to stagger everything, so that we don't have one month that we eat like royalty out of our garden, and the next month, all our greens are from the shop!

My dad built us two small raised beds in the December holidays. He is planning on building more, once all the veg in the tyres are finished, as the raised beds are so much more attractive than black tyres! We will use the empty tyres to plant potatoes along the wall by the driveway!

He also built a beautiful herb planter for my mom and the herbs are starting grow nicely!

The tall bush on the top right hand corner is yarrow. Our dear friends gave it to us. Yarrow stops bleeding. So if you cut yourself, just chop up some yarrow and put it on your finger - or any other bleeding spot, it makes the blood clot!

Whenever my mom is unsure of something or needs to know what plants to plant with what, she goes to 'Jane's Delicious Garden' for the answers.

We all love to take walks outside to admire all our vegetables and fruit! We still have a long way to go to becoming self-sustaining, but at least we have made a start by planting a vegetable garden. I would one day love to eat everything out of our garden!
We are also looking at getting chickens some time soon, I cannot wait!

Our garden has literally come alive since my mom started reading and 'doing', 'Jane's Delicious Garden'. She loves to go outside in the early morning to check on 'her' vegetables and herbs. It is lovely 'hobby' for my mom, as I am sure you know, moms are forever busy, they hardly ever have 'free time'. Now, one of us will hold Rebekah so my mom can have some time in her garden - anyway, it is benefiting us all too!

If you are unsure of starting a vegetable garden or you don't know where to go to get advice, I recommend visiting this blog, and this website. All you need to know is there! Have fun planting!


Monday, January 18, 2010

Ladies' Retreat

This weekend was spent at a ladies' retreat at Rocklands, in Simon's Town. Our church organized the weekend, and lots of thought and patience went into it!

Special friends from church sponsored my mom and myself. Rebekah came along too, as my mom is still breastfeeding her.

On Friday morning, we had to get up and done quickly, as we had our first market of the year at Long Beach Mall. I stayed at the market till just after 5:00pm, and then my dad drove my mom and me to Rocklands, leaving Nancy to run our stall.

Once we arrived, I helped my mom organize her things, because it is very difficult to unpack clothes with a baby who sucks everything!

I stayed in a dormitory with six other girls about my age.

Then we went for supper which was very yummy, in fact, all the meals were delicious! After that, we went to our first meeting of the weekend. We had worship as well!

One of the little goodies that were put on the table.

We only fell asleep after 11:00pm!

Saturday was fun! We had quite a bit of free-time to swim, play soccer and anything else we felt like doing! We had two meetings and praise and worship! I didn't take many pictures, sorry!

After breakfast, we made a pot out of clay. It was a good demonstration of how the potter, Jesus, is constantly moulding us to perfection.

Later in the evening, there was a pyjama party. It was a nice time for all the young girls from ages 12 to 18 to share any troubles and hurts with two Godly women who could talk to them. Fortunately, I have a mom to share any of my troubles with, but some of those girls didn't. It was an eye opener for me! I didn't realise any of the struggles young girls I knew went through! I am not at school, so most 0f those problems I will never have, neither will my sisters!

We all received a little goody bag! We also had some sweeties and cake!

I decided to sleep in my mom's room Saturday night. I tend to miss my mom a lot and cannot go long without seeing her. She is the one who encourages me and helps me, puts me back on track when I stumble. Although she was there all the time, and I saw her often, I felt 'homesick' for her and Rebekah, I needed a feel of home!

The wind was horrific through the night, and I struggled to sleep, and so did my mom!

Sunday morning was still windy! We had a quiet time on our own after breakfast just to meditate on what we had learnt over the weekend. After that, there was praise and worship and a quick meeting, and then it was free-time for 45 minutes before lunch at 1:00pm!

After lunch, we were free to go home. My dad came and picked us up at about 2:15pm.

At home, I felt sad to have left Rocklands, but after a while, I began to feel better! It always takes a while to get used to home life again! I felt so out of sorts! We watched Santa Buddies again, and I had a shower. After that, I was back to normal!

Nancy took great care of my mom's vegetable garden and our Guinea Pigs while we were away! She did some ironing and helped clean the house before we came home. She was a star over the weekend and we are very proud of her! She did the Saturday market and finished the Long Beach one! Nancy, well done!

Rebekah was so cute!

Although we had a lovely break and enjoyed our time a lot, it is nice to be home! We are starting to settle into routine again and clean up the house. My dad went back to work officially on Monday and we are starting to get ready properly for a new school year!

I hope you had a great weekend!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Introducing The Guinea Pigs

At last, I am showing you pictures of the four new additions to our already large family!

Introducing Cocoa, Fudge, Toffee and Candy the Guinea Pigs. Drum roll please......!

Let me tell you the story behind all these new pets!

At first we just had one Guinea pig, Toffee. He was Beth's first Guinea Pig which she got for Christmas, 2009. She had wanted a Guinea Pig for a long time, but we only found one for Christmas.

Toffee, (a male) began to show signs of loneliness and needed a friend, so we went to another pet shop to get a female from a different litter.

Beth named her new female Guinea Pig, Fudge.

Fudge turned out to be a boy, so now we had two males who did not want to be with each other!

We then went to the same place that we got Toffee from, to get a female for Fudge. Beth named her Cocoa.

We got Toffee and Cocoa from Higgeldy Piggeldy Farmyard at Imhoff Farm near Kommetjie.

Beth and Nancy looking at all the different Guinea Pigs.

Beth holding her new Guinea Pig, Cocoa, in the shoebox which we took her home in.

Cocoa on the journey home.

Beth with Cocoa.

Toffee got a wife from the same pet shop that we got Fudge from. Gabrielle called her Candy.

Gabrielle and her Guinea Pig, Candy.

Phew! My mom still gets confused between which is which, which belongs to who, and which wife belongs to which male! Have I lost you yet...? This is quite confusing, I know!!!

So we went from one Guinea Pig, that was just meant to be Beth's pet, to four!

Gabrielle has Candy, Toffee's wife, I have Toffee, Candy's husband and Beth has male and female, Fudge and Cocoa......hmmmm. A nice combination!

Now we not only have a teething baby in the house, we have four more demanding babies who need a cage clean every day and LOTS of food.

Guinea Pigs are the only rodents who do not pass any disease on to children. Rabbits, hamsters, rats (yes, I have also had a rat!), and gerbils can all pass diseases on to children.

Guinea Pigs also don't just bite for the sake of biting. They will try and eat your fingers if you stick them right by their mouth after touching any food!

We have found Guinea Pigs to be ideal pets for a family. They are fun, loving animals who love being cuddled and don't squirm.

Every day I am in charge of making sure that the Guinea Pigs have fresh water and food and that their cage is cleaned. I also include Beth in the cleaning of the cages, as it helps her to learn to take care of her pets herself.

We usually let the Guinea Pigs run on the grass in a cage, but when they are older and have a proper run for them (my dad is busy building hutches and runs), they will eat grass there while we clean their hutches.

My dad is getting two Peruvian females from another pet shop next month, as we are going to breed them.

We are going to be busy looking after six Guinea Pigs, two of which need daily grooming as they have loooong hair! Plus we will probably have a few mini Guinea Pigs to take care of when they are born, so life certainly won't be dull! There will be many Guinea Pigs to cuddle and love and lots of hutches to clean!

Here are some photos of the babies:

Toffee (above) Candy (below) are husband and wife.

Fudge (above) and Cocoa (below) are husband and wife.

We gave Fudge a weird parting of hair on his face!

Gabrielle and Rebekah looking at Beth holding Fudge.

So, now you know about the new additions to our family!


Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday Favourite

Psalm 125:1-2

1Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. 2As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people both now and forevermore.

Happy Annirversary Mom And Dad

Today was my mom and dad's 16th wedding anniversary. Wow! That is such a long time to be married!

I took some photos of them with my new camera (you can read the story here).

My sisters and I treated my mom and dad to coffee at Bluewater Cafe at Imhoff Farm, near Kommetjie.

It is wonderful to have a mom and dad who love each other, us, and especially, God!

Happy anniversary Mom and Dad! We love you!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

'Guinea Pig Tyre'

Today I planted a 'Guinea Pig Tyre'. A Guinea Pig tyre is a car tyre filled with all sorts of Guinea Pig treats! We plant many vegetables in tyres, and it works quite well! Hopefully it will work, as it is our first time doing this!

I just want to harvest the green part of the plants for our Guinea Pigs, Toffee (mine), Fudge (Beth's) and new Guinea Pig, Cocoa (Beth's). I will write about these cuties some other time.

Mom came up with the idea of the 'Guinea Pig Tyre' (no pun intended!), I must say, my mom is a genius when it comes to thinking of things for our house, garden, homeschool and other things!

I am just trying everything out this time. I am experimenting with seeds that I have never grown before, hoping that something will come up! I don't know if you can plant sesame seeds, but, hey, I am trying anyway!

In the tyre, I planted brown lentils, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, linseed and millet. Guinea Pigs loooove anything green! I threw some linseed into one tyre a few weeks ago, just to see if they grew, and voila! They grew and I picked the green shoots for our little Guinea Pigs! They loved it, which inspired me to plant a whole tyre full of greens for our babies! (As you can obviously gather, I loooooove my new Guinea Pig, Toffee!)

Here is what I did:

First we stuffed crumpled up wads of newspaper into the sides of the tyre to save on soil. Then I added some compost to the tyre.

Then I put the seed in.

I laid some more compost on top of the seed. I didn't have enough patience to dig a hole for every teeny, tiny, little seed to go in!

Then I poured some water onto the soil and it was done! Now I just need to make sure the ground stays moist.

I cannot wait till the shoots come up (hopefully they do, I have my heart set on growing my own Guinea Pig food)!

I will post some pictures as soon as the shoots come up!

Hope the week has been good so far for you!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday


Who needs Superman when you have a Superdad?

My dad has been a superdad these holidays! He has built us so many things to add to our garden!

My dad hasn't really had a 'holiday' these holidays, he has been busy building fences, pergolas and many other things! He has also been building raised garden beds and weeding others! He will actually have a holiday when he goes back to work!

Although yesterday's heat was unbearable, at 36 degrees Celsius, my dad persevered and built a beautiful rustic fence just outside our 'in-progress' vegetable garden where he has been busy weeding and building raised beds.

The fence looks great!

My dad built my mom a herb planter just outside the kitchen door. My mom has been wanting to plant herbs for a while now, so my dad got pallets from the local market here in Fish Hoek, took them apart and built my mom a planter. Even the nails and the plastic to line the inside of the planter were recycled! My mom was so happy! She got to spend some time planting herbs which she had bought 2 days before at Ferndale Nursery.

Taking the pallets apart.

Fitting the sides of the planter onto the bottom.

My mom planting her herbs.

We have a table and bench set that the owner of the market gave to us, outside next to the sewing and craft room. It is so sunny there and we wanted a pergola to go across the area where we sit. My dad had fetched some of his old poles that he had stored at my Grandpa's house, so he built a frame. Then he bought a few droppers from the side of the road and laid them across the top of the frame. He then secured a few nails in place and voila, we had a pergola!

Building the frame.

My dad will buy some more droppers as and when we can to finish laying across the frame, but for now, the pergola looks great!

Cody keeps getting into our already established vegetable garden and dug up some beetroot. My mom was so upset with Cody, as he had already dug up lettuce and tomato seedlings a while ago. My dad decided to make a fence next to the pergola frame with some shorter droppers he had over. It looks so nice and really matches the pergola, and of course, keeps Cody out!

My dad has been busy with lots and lots of work! Work he enjoys though and he enjoys the fact that we can now sit outside in shade with a fence to keep Cody out and a new raised bed which my mom has planted sweetcorn and beans in.

His next projects are building another hutch and run for our new Guinea Pigs (a post for another day) and shelves for our new workbox system we're hoping to implement this year (another post for another day!).

So you see, Superman came in the form of my dad these holidays!

Thanks dad! You're the best! I think we can now call you 'Superdad'!