Saturday, December 31, 2011

Winding down 2011.

I've been pretty slack this last term about keeping the blog updated but here is a run down of all the things I've missed:
Niave's second Sports Day for which she was much happier than last year!

The Blue Team!

She also did her second ballet display on a stage in a big hall, it was very sweet and she did very well proving that she can listen and follow instructions!

Abigail's grade 3 Prize Giving for which she received a certificate for
"Good Progress in Literacy and Numeracy, Conscientiousness and Courtesy and Commitment to Sport"
(Above - Abs and Mrs. Bain, her teacher)

She also got to take part in her first Trading Day where they have to make something to sell at a craft-market type event.
She made decorated Alice bands

and scented felt pillows.

Niave was an angel in her nativity concert:

Abigail took part in her last Foundation Phase fun gala:

The last day of Grade 3 and Middle Group:

Another chance to be angel at the junior Carol service at church.

Christmas Tree 2011!

We finally got hear about the Volunteer Wildfire Fire-fighters Open Day in advance and had a wonderful morning doing "training" involving abseiling, riding on a fire engine, handling equipment, learning about snakes and helicopters etc. And got to see an amazing helicopter mock expedition.

I ran an Arts and Crafts workshop during the first two weeks of the holidays where they made all sorts of things like a canvas, a library bag, a tie-dye t-shirt, glass lanterns etc.

That pretty much sums up the last few weeks before Christmas! Still to come: Uncle Willies and the rest of the holidays...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

World of Birds.

Our last outing with Bev in the holidays was to the World of Birds in Hout Bay.

We were brave and took 4 children!

SO much to see for these animal lovers, we spent the whole day there.

I think Abigail and Willow would quite happily spend a week there, Niave not so much - you have never, and I mean never seen a child so terrified of a tortoise!

Marley could've spent all day talking to the parrots and cockatoo's who seemed very happy to have a willing audience.

Owls, beautiful and eerie all at the same time.

Various species that we met along the way.

Feeding the penguins (and a greedy gannet).

The majestic eagles/birds of prey.

The funny flamingo's!

And of course it's not all about the birds, there are enough other kinds of animals there for it to change it's name from the "World of Birds" to "The Hout Bay Zoo"!
A wallaby, mierkat, squirrel monkey, rooibok, terrifying tortoises and millions of guinea pigs (I think they were multiplying before our eyes!)

Four cousins and their Aunty!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Trip to Simon's Town.

I'm a bit behind on posts from the last holidays and it's almost time for the next holidays!!

While Bev was here we also took a train ride to Simon's Town with Abigail, Niave and Willow.

The train ride in itself was an adventure, we spotted quite a few whales on the way and got "stuck" at Fish Hoek for half an hour, but once in Simon's Town there was a lot to see and do.

First stop was The Salty Sea Dog, a family favourite restaurant which also goes by the names "The Hungry Bulldog" (Oupa) and "The Grumpy Bulldog" (Bev), by the time we finally got to Simon's Town, we were starving so we all gulped our lunch down (I discovered that Niave may be allergic to seafood as she came out in a little red patch with one spot on her neck after tasting the tiniest piece of baby squid - oh great, just what I need a fatal allergy in the family...will have to try and get her tested).

Anyway, I digress, after lunch we took a walk around Jubilee Square, admiring all the bead work on sale and saying hello to Just Nuisance.

Then we headed to the South African Naval Museum hoping to find out more about Just Nuisance but only found many other very interesting things (Just Nuisance was part of the Royal Navy so we found him in the next museum!)

In this picture Abigail is standing in a real Bridge with a simulated sea swirling around, I felt seasick!!

The helicopter in the picture below is real, life-size, quite impressive!

This museum was really very interesting, I hadn't thought it would grab the girls attention and keep it but it did, it is well worth a visit and I suspect that boys will find it even more interesting. How much?
And how's this for the toilet with the best view in the world? Seriously, this is the view from their toilet!!!

Still in search of Just Nuisance we plodded on to the Simon's Town Museum, home of the Royal Navy memorabilia, this was also a great little museum and best of all, lots of info about Just Nuisance!

The girls enjoyed looking at this gorgeous Victorian dolls house, after looking it over meticulously, Niave pipes up "where's the TV?"!!! Poor addicted child!

(This museum was also "free" however they did ask for a donation.)

Our task completed, and late in the day you'd think we'd take a right and head straight for the station, but no, we took a left, back into "Town" to find a spot for tea! It was worth the trek.

Finally we headed back to the station with 3 weary girls and 2 weary ladies!!

A fun day and full of learning too (not to mention the food!!)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

City Rock.

During the holidays we were able to enjoy some time with my sister who was here from the UK for my mom's 70th birthday.

At home in England she takes part in a number of sports such as cycling, horse-riding and also rock climbing. So while she was here she was keen to take the girls to City Rock, Cape Town's indoor rock climbing center in Observatory.

They can climb from the age of 5 so Niave was just old enough, silly me thought she wouldn't cope with the rope climbing and so she spent the first part being very frustrated at not being able to climb as high as she wanted to go in the "bouldering" section, after a few tantrums and a couple of meltdowns we finally managed to convince her to wear the special shoes that they hire out and when she tried the rope climbing in the "auto-billet" section she was like a duck in water!! Niave is a climber and looked somewhat like a natural attached to that rope dangling half a metre above my head!

Abigail went straight to the auto-billet rope, she had been once before with a friend and felt comfortable there. She was exhausted at the end as she really had a good workout, her arms must have been aching!

It was very interesting to see the differences in personality, Niave gets frustrated, voices her frustration loudly but will NOT give up, Abigail persists quietly to a point and then wants to give up. She did very well though as Bev pushed her to persevere and she did - far more than she would have on her own.

It is a great outing if you have "climbers" and an excellent activity to develop shoulder girdle strength - a common area of concern with children who have low muscle tone and struggle to sit at a desk (i.e. the children who end up lying on their work!).

Some pictures:

Niave "bouldering"

Abigail - "roped up" and ready to go.

Bev and Abs having a go.

Spider girl!

Niave having a turn on the auto-billet rope - the picture of determination!

In this section Bev was attached to Abigail and "held" her up or brought her down manually as opposed to the auto-billet where it happens automatically - obviously!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Three Score and Ten.

On the 1st of October my mom celebrated her 70th birthday. Quite remarkable seeing as she doesn't look a day over 60!! And still works a full day 7 days a week.

Never the less she was born in 1941 so that makes her 70.

When you think back to 1941 and what the world was like then it is easy to understand why many people from that era find today's world so confusing and overwhelming, they were born before television or FM radio, before penicillin or polio shots (not to mention the plethora of vaccines that is available today). They were born before computers and cellphones (never mind computers on cellphones!) before credit cards, laser beams and radar, even before the ballpoint pen!

Before dishwashers (!), tumble dryers, electric blankets and pantyhose!!

Before man walked on the moon.

They had never heard of house husbands or computer dating; dual careers or daycare; electric typewriters or artificial hearts, guys wearing earrings (let alone wearing earrings in your nose!) or... yoghurt!

Before pizza, McDonalds and instant coffee!

In those days grass was mowed, coke drunk and pot was something you cooked in.

They were born before commercial airlines and ATM's. Books were made of paper!

Wow, how things have changed! Some "older" people may feel overwhelmed but others like my mom take it all in their stride!

To celebrate this momentous occasion we had a lovely breakfast with family and friends at a lovely venue in Stellenbosch called Hudson's.

Some pictures of the day:

The beautiful venue:

The beautiful people!

And some of the wildlife right there on the farm:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Celebrating 10.

On the morning of her birthday Abigail woke bright and early - 5:15 to be exact! We managed to keep her at bay till 5:45 which is when I normally get up and she couldn't wait to get stuck into her gifts! With a bleary eyed sister and a comatose father next to her she unwrapped them in the semi-darkness of the morning and was overjoyed to find a big box of Playmobil inside as

well as a few other bits and bobs.

Most of their other Playmobil has been in much smaller boxes and required minimal if any assembly but not so this one - so there I was at 6a.m. putting together a "Vet" for the birthday girl!

Then it was off to school armed with an enormous tub of chocolate brownies which my sister helped her bake for the class.

Usually both my children's birthdays fall in the holidays but this year Abigail's was the day before schools closed. Seeing as there was no homework and the next day would be an undemanding one at school, we decided to spend the afternoon at the Greenpoint Park with some friends and family.

It had been decided a loooong time ago that she was going to have a Pizza and DVD party but we chose to keep that to just 6 friends from school, so we invited all her "outside" friends on Thursday, unfortunately many couldn't make it so it was just her 2 oldest friends Kelsey and Joanna and cousins Willow and Marley as well as aunties, uncles, Ouma's and Oupa's!

It was a very low-key affair, the kids brought their bikes and scooters and had a wonderful time exploring the pathways, Niave even managed to stay out of the water!!!

More presents and envelopes came her way as the day progressed and she ended up with R1000,00 in cash from various people - she knew exactly what she was going to buy - you guessed it: more Playmobil!! She also received beautiful clothes from Bev and real grown-up Scrabble from Ouma and Oupa as well as many books and other lovely things.

A very spoilt birthday girl indeed!!

The celebrations were not over however, Friday night brought 5 little girls from school to our house for pizza, popcorn a torch hunt and a DVD.

I had intended buying frozen pizza bases but then discovered that Pick 'n Pay sells fresh pizza dough for R10.00/kg and thought that was a bargain. That was until I tried to roll it out - not as easy as it looks! Thankfully these 70 year old arms were there to save the day!


The pizza's were a huge hit (one little girl said I should be a chef!!!). So with belly's full and candles blown... was time to hunt for sweet treasure in the dark and settle down for a DVD.

After weeks and weeks spent trying to find the right one it was unanimously decided it would be Tangled.

Probably one of the least stressful parties yet, it definitely gets easier as they get older.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Abigail turns 10!

Today Abigail turns 10.
10 Years ago today Abigail Melissa Hutton came into the world at 6:40 a.m. - much to the surprise of her mother who thought she was having a baby in October!!! I spent much of the beginning of my labour in denial because my baby was due in October and we were very much still in September!!! But, in labour I was and after an emergency Cesarean we had our little girl.

10 years seems such a long time ago yet also like just the other day and I recently realised that in another 10 years time she could very well be living in another country!!!
Anyway, I'm not really good with mushy emotional words and I think ABBA says it best in the slide show below (a friend used this song to do a clip about her daughter a while ago and it was so appropriate that I thought I'd use it too - Debby, hope you don't mind:-))


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Paper Moon.

The Greenfield Team have done it again! Produced a brilliant and most enjoyable play.
Last week was a busy one, with much excitement, a batch of late nights and serious quantities of make up and hair gel!!
But it was worth it, the girls had a fantastic time putting on their show which was superb and being a teacher I know how hard it is to get everything together and running like clockwork - and run like clockwork it did!
It was a "Broadway" style production with many different items and different genre's - song, dance, acting, shadow puppets etc. I suppose it would be best described as a Variety Show, there was no storyline as such or theme but it was all brought together brilliantly by the costumes which were outstanding and all in shades of pink, white and black (a teeny bit of red thrown in).
The first 3 nights ran as an ordinary show with the 4th night taking the form of a Dinner Theatre, it was all very well done.
There is a lot of talent at that little school and the great thing about a small school is that every child took part.

Abigail was a doll in her class's act which was entitled "I've got no strings" - about toys coming to life.
An idea of some of the costumes:

A wonderful, wonderful show - well done to everybody involved.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A day in Kalk Bay.

Most mornings Grant cycles down Muizenberg way and comes back over Boyes Drive, a scenic route through Kalk Bay, St. James, Muizenberg and Lakeside. Last week he saw lots of whales in the bay below and showed us some of his pictures (taken with a bad cellphone camera from a very awkward position!) and we were inspired to go and do some whale-watching! Well, I was inspired and took the girls and my mom with me!

We stopped just above Muizenberg with the surfers and kite surfers enjoying the windy conditions far below.

We saw quite a few whales, they weren't as close as they had been a few days before due to the choppiness of the water but we saw some tails, some flippers and some breaches.

My camera doesn't do it justice, this is the splash after the breach!Whale watching is so funny, you stand there for ages and then everyone gasps in awe for a couple of seconds and then again you wait!!

After we'd stood in the wind long enough we drove down to Kalk Bay and went in search of an afternoon tea spot, we found it in The House of Pancakes and Waffles, service wasn't great but the pancakes were yummy.

After stuffing our faces we took a walk over the road to the harbour where we were entertained by the seals and the fishermen and indeed the dead fish on sale at the market there!!

The colourful fishing boats in all shapes and sizes make an interesting backdrop to this truly Capetonian place.

The seals were so sweet and really "performed" for their "audience", the girls were ecstatic when one lay on his back, flippers up and "clapped" for us! Easy to see why they are such an attraction at sea world type venues/aquariums, they seem to be natural actors!

When a fishing boat came in and brought with it a flock of seabirds it was time to go as we were "blessed" with some offerings from above!

Thankfully this time Niave succeeded in not landing in the water, albeit because I was holding onto her for dear life - there would have been no easy way to "fish her out" as there was in the tranquil pond at Greenpoint, and she does like to hang over the side of the harbour wall doesn't she!!!

On our way back to the car we met this fellow who has to be the most unique piece of beadwork that I have ever seen!