Friday, July 31, 2009

Bye-bye July!

What a week - AGAIN!

Another busy week has flown by and it is the last day of July.
This week saw the start of all the extra-murals at school so the routine was pretty much back to normal, however Abigail has stopped dancing and started Art Club which she absolutely LOVED so the schedule is a little different.
They had a "Cakeless cake sale" at school! Sounds rather strange... I thought so too, but how it works is each child donates R10,00 towards an empty cake box which they then bring home and decorate. Then there is a competition and the box judged to be "the best" will win the cake! Abigail brought her box home and got started right away. I'm still contemplating making a few suggestions on what she could add but here's the box so far:

(this was before it was accidentally "flung" across the room smearing glitter glue all over the back of my jeans in the process!!)

On Thursday Niave started a hospital in the passage. (It was just called "hospital" I suggested "Hutton's hospital" or "Niave's hospital" but NO - just "hospital"!) We had to fish out every "baby" we could find, source a suitably sized "cot" for it (because the wrong size cot will simply not do!) and they were lined up to be nursed by nurse Niave!
(I was not allowed to take photo's so this one I snuck in! The line extends far beyond the ends of the picture!!)

During the week Grant and I were woken up on more than 1 occasion in the middle of the night by a Hill-Billy rendition of "Old Mac Donald" complete with animal noises coming from somewhere in the house! It was a little eerie I'll have to say. It was like a scene form a movie: we'd both open our eyes, listen for a second or 2 and then turn to each other with a confused look on our faces! On investigation we discovered this little green tractormerrily singing it's song, tooting it's hooter and rattling off, moo's, baa's, oinks and neigh's all by itself. Now, all these sounds need to be activated by a button, so while I was glad to have found the source of the midnight barn dance serenade I was a little freaked out by it's self-activating properties ...or not - that's a pretty heavy spider that can push those buttons! So, Grant has solved the problem - he removed the batteries! And now we sleep peacefully once again! (Whoever invented battery-operated toys obviously never had any in his house!!)

Abigail received her DVD of the Dear Edwina Show yesterday and was up until 10:15 watching it this evening! It was really nice to hear all the songs again, it really was a great show.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What a week!

This week was back to school and did we get "back to school" with a bang, or what?!
It was a really busy week, I think I spent 80% of it in the car!
Monday and Tuesday were busy with lifts and shopping, swimming and dentists and all sorts of other things that make up a VERY busy 2 days.
On Wednesday I could breathe. I vowed not to step out of the front door after fetching Abigail from school.
Then Thursday was another mad rush around for all kinds of reasons, Friday was slightly less crazy, the girls spent some time playing together, they seem to be able to play together more and more, with Abigail becoming more tolerant of her little sister and Niave able to play more cooperatively.
This game involved a fairy godmother and Cinderella! Abigail's dress has quite a history! It has been "in the family" since 1982 when my brother wore it in std 6 (grade 8) in their school production of Pirates of Penzance!! It still has the little sewn-in name tag saying "Andrew Koch"(no denying it I'm afraid!!)!! Being at an all boys school the std 6's were relegated to playing the "girl" parts!! It has been shortened somewhat and usually finds itself in the dress-up box at school where it is a firm favourite - amongst the girls and the boys!!
Abigail opted not to go to Kids Club on Friday night as her 2 "lift mates" weren't going and I must say I was really happy not to have to get into the car again.
However at about 7pm we found ourselves in absolute darkness as somebody (as in me) had forgotten to top up the electricity box with units!! So it was into the car and down to the shop after all!
We had a late-ish start on Saturday before heading for the library and then off to Bizzy Bodies (an indoor play place) for a party. We used to visit Bizzy Bodies and the likes a lot more when it was just Abigail (it's a lot more affordable when it's just 1!), the last time we went to Bizzy Bodies was when Niave was really, really small. She had no clue what to expect and had an absolute ball. Abigail's face was as red as a tomato when it was time to leave. They had a lot of fun.
I took these pics of them on the climbing wall for Bev's benefit! The climber in the family!!

Today was my aunt, Emmy's birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! She arranged for the family and some friends to go to lunch at Neethlingshof in Stellenbosch. It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky and quite warm for July. I got there a little late because I was following (against my better judgement) a certain member of the family who insists on getting us, himself or me completely lost!
Anyway, I found it eventually and we enjoyed a wonderful buffet lunch with many, many choices. Completely forgot to photograph the food, slipping up on my blogger's responsibilities there! But I did manage to capture the surroundings

as well as Niave and her beloved puddle of mud! She took great delight in throwing little sticks and stones into it, she'd probably still be there if we hadn't dragged her away!

So, a lovely relaxing afternoon to end a hectic week.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Scratch Patch.

Today we visited another well known Cape Town spot for the first time! The Scratch Patch! Although the Waterfront Scratch Patch has been open for years, we have never been!! So today we went off with Abigail's friend Joanna to search for semi-precious stones and discovered there is also an indoor putt-putt course there! Both were really inexpensive, R14,00 for a small bag to fill with stones and R10,00 each for putt-putt.

We started off with the scratch patch, Abigail and Jo scratched and searched and chose their stash of stones.

Niave walked in, spotted the waterfall and spent the entire time filling the pond with stones!
Then we played some putt-putt or "Cave Golf" as they call it as it is inside a kind of cave. Neither of the older girls had ever played before and found it quite tricky, but they finished the course - eventually!! Niave putted along for fun, I loved her style, she has a very eclectic hold on the putter!!

To be honest, next time we want to visit the Scratch Patch I will head out to Simon's Town, I found this one a bit small and cramped. But the kids had a good time anyway.

Dishwasher update!!


The lights are lit, the water worked and the super-silent sound of swishing was music to my ears!

Actually, it is quite nice to wash dishes in winter, I didn't begrudge the broken appliance too much! There's nothing like warm water to warm you up, but had it been summer - different story!!

I am however VERY glad to have it back.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Magic Castle.

Today I discovered a new outing destination, it's indoors (it's been raining here for 4 days), it's cheap and it's not too far away!! Perfect!!
We've been ice-skating at Grandwest before but I did not know until recently that there is more beyond that. I just thought it was a coffee shop or 2, but there is a whole lot more as you start to explore. At first there is the NOISY arcade and bowling alley and then you enter the Magic Castle! How did we not know about this?

One thing that has always bothered me about the ice-skating (especially the mini-rink) is that it is so dark. You have no clue what time of day it is while you are there (all part of the psychology behind the place, I am sure) but in the Magic Castle area it is much lighter and less claustrophobic. It's like a mini, indoor funfair. And the rides are only R5 each! (Except the go-carts which is R10).

They have a roller-coaster (kid-size), bumper cars, a pirate ship, carousel, go-carts and a flying submarine type thingy!! (and 1 other thing that was out of order that I couldn't quite work out.)

When we walked in they all saw the train roller coaster and wanted to start there. I don't have any pictures of that one because I was so worried that Niave was going FREAK OUT and scream the place down that I was too scared to get my camera out in case I had to run and retrieve her from the ride!! BUT, she is a girl after her father's heart! Loved every minute!! I am not fond of roller coasters, actually, it's not the roller coaster itself it's the puking that comes after that I am a little weary of. Grant on the other hand would strap his wheelchair to the Cobra if they'd let him! I'm sure you get the picture! And so we have 2 confirmed adrenaline junkie offspring!

Once we'd finished on the train, I managed to take some pictures:
"It's like Mary Poppins"!

"Abigail Schumacher"!

Ready for a ride!

5 Monkeys!

Not bad after 5 days of quarantine!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Just kidding!

What can I say? Some 3 year olds are just more intelligent than others!!!

Starting 'em young!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


The doctor confirmed that Niave "most likely" does have German measles. Without doing a blood test it is impossible to be 100% sure as most virus's have some sort of rash, but there is 99.9% probability that it is.
German measles as a disease is actually quite mild, especially in children, a couple of days of a temperature, maybe a runny nose and then the rash. By the time the rash comes out the worst is over. However it is the potential risk it carries for pregnant women (or rather their unborn babies) that make it so "dangerous".

Unfortunately, as with most viruses, it is the most infectious before the rash appears so by the time you quarantine yourself you have already spread it far and wide!

If you have small children who have been in contact with Niave this past week, you can check out these 2 sites for info: and for signs and symptoms and any other bits of information you may require - look under "Rubella".
(By the way, those 3 big red spots you can see in the picture are mosquito bites!)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Make way for Noddy!

This week Abigail has spent the mornings at Holiday Club at church. It was called "Treasure Quest" and had an explorer/adventurer theme with an Ancient Egyptian flavour!
(No pictures I'm afraid - Taryn, if you've got some can we share?!!).
They were fortunate to have had 4 rainless days slap bang in the middle of the winter holidays.

With Abigail away until lunch time it left Niave to tag along on mundane errands and tasks - she is quite happy playing at home but I thought I would give her a treat and take her to see the Noddy show that is on at the Artscape until tomorrow. After trying without success to book for Wednesday and Thursday which were both sold out I managed to get tickets for today!

The little girl who plays Noddy is very good and has been playing the part for about 3 years at least. Sly and Gobbo (the goblins) got up to all sorts of mischief and Big Ears was there to sort it all out. (I just remembered that when we went last year, Niave couldn't say "Big Ears" and called him "Ears-beard"!) Unfortunately Niave seems to be coming down with something and was a bit subdued during the show and by the time we got home had a temperature of 38.1 C.
I thought we'd have to wait a day or two to see what develops but on inspection after her bath she has a distinctly Rubella-like rash.

So tomorrow will entail a trip to the doctor and the last week of the holidays will be spent in isolation - marvellous! [Note to reader: please add a dash of sarcasm to that last word.]
Oh, and apologies to anyone we have inadvertently infected. These contagious diseases really have the last laugh - spreading themselves happily before the carrier (or the carrier's mother)even knows they have uninvited cargo on board.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A man of many talents!

Niave has a love of tiny, little toys and from week to week has favourites that will go everywhere with her.
Recently she has had 4 turtles, 2 dinosaurs, a "dog", a cat.... actually the list is almost endless. Sometimes she wants them to have clothes. This is quite a tall order and usually one I weasel out of in some way or another. My mom, on the other hand, has once made a hat for a duck measuring 1cm!

One of this weeks favourite tiny toys is a "dog". I actually think it's a teddy, but she says it's a dog and who am I to argue? So, a dog it is.

The other day, Monday I think, she wanted a jacket for the "dog". I tried to weasel but it didn't work! So I fashioned a pink Shrek-like tunic for the little fellow and slipped it on.

Grant has not been well this week, with a bad chest, dizziness and temperature. As a result I was sent on a mission to the library to "find him something to read"! Grants taste in books is very different to mine. I know what he likes but it's hard to find and almost impossible with a "spirited" little girl to watch after, so this visit to the library was going to be a childless one!

When I came back I found both girls sitting on the bed next to Grant who had, needles, pins and bits of cotton draped all around him. It seems my creation was not quite up to scratch and needed daddy to finish it off, buttons and all!

So here you have 1 pink-clad "dog"!

Picnic time.

This afternoon we popped in at Kirstenbosch for a picnic with friends Kelsey and Bryce.
It was another berg-windy day and very gusty but in between the gusts it was lovely!
Instead of heading downhill straight to the river, we went up - to avoid the water at all costs! Actually it's great at the top part of the garden and a bit quieter too as it's quite a task carrying all your picnic paraphernalia up the steep paths, but I had 4 happy helpers so we managed.
We decided to sit in the part of the gardens called the Erica Garden.

There was a wonderful, steep rolling hill above us that was begging for some little feet to charge down it and almost collapse on top of the photographer perched on the picnic mat at the bottom!
After our lunch we went for a walk and discovered the much needed water fountain. Those hills are deceptively steep!!

Niave was very upset by the wind and went through many "moods"!

But, despite the wind (and the shrieking toddler) we had a good time.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The first week of the holidays.

I have enjoyed this week mostly because of not having to get up at 6:00 a.m and drag a cold, tired girl out of her bed to get ready for school!
I must say, I've overdone the sleeping in just a bit!
But we did also get some other things done.

The week was a warm, windy one so there was a lot of washing on the go - my no.1 complaint about winter is the washing. It's been a lot better since acquiring a tumble dryer (but then again, with the electricity hike who can afford to use one?!) but wet washing that hangs for days and remains wet is just the worst. I get a great deal of satisfaction out of taking dry washing off the line!! I know, it's absurd, but hey we have a LOT of washing in this house and 1 day of undried washing is enough to put a spanner in the works.

Niave playing in the empty washing basket!
ANYWAY, enough of that, we also entered a new phase in our lives and that is taking Niave with us to the movies! Abigail was a seasoned movie watcher by 3 and a half, but I'd always had (huge) reservations about taking Niave. But when we were heading out on Wednesday morning and she was destined to stay at home, I just couldn't leave her behind so she came along and it was all fine! Granted, we missed the trailers which are always in my mind a) too loud and b) inappropriate so that was a positive spin on the s-l-o-w service at the popcorn counter! Also, it was about DINOSAURS (Ice Age 3)! And Niave LOVES dinosaurs so she was very excited. She sat there eating her popcorn as if she's been doing it all her life! The movie was good and everyone had a good time.

I also managed to get some more decluttering done. I carted a boot load full of recycling to Oasis and sorted out the medicines (boy did I throw away a ton of expired medicine) and now we have a "medicine cupboard"

(Notice how Grant has a box just for his medicines!)

and a lot more space on the counter for other things.

I was so pleased with myself shortly after I'd finished that task, Abigail came to ask me for a piece of cotton wool, and instead of rushing around looking for it and in the end not finding it I was able to say (while nonchalantly opening the cupboard door) "yes, here you are" and ever so swiftly take it out of the box!!! Aaah, that's what makes it all worthwhile!

On Friday we baked some crunchies

there are, let me see.... none left!

Today we went to a Princess party for Niaves friend Grace who turns 4 on Monday.

(The birthday girl is on the right)

Check out this cake: It was beautiful, it's a vanilla cake with lemon curd, iced in meringue!! I didn't dare have a piece, too rich for me, but it sure looked yummy!

We came home via my parents to see cousins Willow and Marley, had some supper and then home to to bed - Niave was exhausted!

Thursday, July 2, 2009


The MAMMOTH task has begun.

This holiday I vowed to get some "law and order" in this house with regard to the mess!

There is "stuff" everywhere!

I was also inspired by coincidentally (or not) switching on the TV twice to find an Oprah show (series) about decluttering called "The Clean Up Your Messy House Tour" where this guy travels around America barging into peoples houses and reorganising them! It's at times like that that I wish we had a show like that here and he would come knocking on my door! Because
a) he makes it look so easy and
b) I wouldn't have to do it myself!
However, we do not have a show like that here and he is not going to knock on my door, so I have to do it myself!

My goal was to do at least 1 drawer, shelf, toy box or surface a day - lets face it I am on holiday so I don't want to spend it all on sorting out cupboards but there's no time during the term.

So, on Monday morning I tackled the cupboard that has been causing me the most annoyance (due to items falling on my head!), it is also probably the smallest cupboard in the kitchen - Ah, there is method in my madness!!! It took all of about 15 minutes and I felt satisfied that I could relax for the rest of the day - on the decluttering front anyway.

On Tuesday and Wednesday I spent more time decluttering my inbox than any cupboards but today I tackled the spice/baking cupboard and I must say that it is addictive - the sense of order and tidiness.
I also had to find 30 library books that had to be returned ( I have a school card that allows me to take 20 at a time as well as the family cards). I located 24 with ease but we were missing 6 so it forced me to sort out the bookshelves - a little bit anyway, there is still some sorting to be done. But we found the books and took them all back: now that has to be a Debbie Hutton first - ALL the outstanding books taken back to the library in 1 go! Amazing, can't say it's ever happened before!!!

Baking cupboard - before.

And after.

The Oprah show guy had this to say to 1 person: you either have too much stuff or too little space, and I'd have to say that we probably fit into both categories: we DEFINITELY have too much stuff, but also not enough space i.e. cupboard and shelf space.
So, I will soldier on, I am intending to be ruthless in the donation/throw away department but I have to admit that I do find that hard, I am a bit of a hoarder (it runs in the family!) so it's going to be tough. I will be sure to let you know how the process is going...or not!