Saturday, December 22, 2012

New neighbours and naming 2013?

Oh boy! We have new neighbours. They moved in yesterday.

Last night we became aware that they also have a dog.

The whole night we were aware that they have a dog.

Poor thing. Probably very frightened, in a new home, new sounds and new smells. The house was previously the home to three other dogs. So the poor little thing could probably smell them all over but couldn't quite find them.

At 23h20, I got up and out and down the street. Not counting any gifts at that moment. When I got to their front gate, they removed the door bell. Who does that? Who removes a doorbell??

Grace. I turned around and went back. It was silent. For an hour or so.

This morning it was all quiet. Little one probably catching up on some lost sleep.

Boy oh boy. This is my weak spot. A barking dog.

#55 Thank You Lord for a barking dog the whole night, thanks that he is quietly resting this morning, oh and a BIG thanks that my husband wasn't here last night and I know that tonight the little one will be all quiet and well behaved. 

#56 Thank You for new neighbours (to love)

#57 and thanks that the children slept soundly through it all.

And here's a question for you: Have you ever named a year? Like naming a new baby. 2012 was the year of doing hard things and dreaming bigger dreams.

What will you name 2013? The year of ...


Friday, December 21, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

To tree or not...

For years we didn't have a Christmas tree.
For years we tried hard not to celebrate Christmas.
We still did the gift thing, but without the man in the red suit.

We tried to celebrate Jesus without the tree and the lights and glitz and the whole festivity thing of the world, but with little children fascinated by lights and shiny objects hanging from trees everywhere in all the shops and even in church, we started to rethink our thinking.

After watching this musical performed at our church, I realized that we have a good reason to celebrate.

Last year we had a tree again, all because we started to do the Jesse Tree Journey by Ann Voskamp. 

And how the little ones and even the older children enjoyed the lights and the decorations!

So this year, we are having a tree again.

As Christians we can get so caught up in the small nitty gritty of having a tree or whether or not it is an idol (Jeremiah 10:3-5) and this is wrong and that is so and this is not.

I've been there. I know. I cleaned out our house of all possible idols and threw out all but the one eyed monster!

But there was a night, long ago, that angels sang in heaven and if we were there that night, we would have been able to see and hear and it would surely have taken our breath away! How can we not celebrate the birth of this Child. Or sing a song of praise?

How do you celebrate this time of year?


Friday, December 14, 2012

Why after counting to 2793, I'm starting over...

I'm ungrateful. Ondankbaar. Beauty has become ugly and I can find fault (with a flick of my finger) just like that. Its on my face, its in my veins, thumping like sin. Ungratefulness. Unthankful. Sin.

After counting gifts for how long... 2 years maybe... a bad habit formed and ugly stuck its head out and ungratefulness and complaining started to fill my days.

I am a grateful person don't get me wrong but giving thanks in my head here and there and forgetting to pause and really give thanks on paper is were things went wrong. Suddenly I'm misplacing my little booklet, and then a week or two goes by without putting thanks on paper. Before I know it I'm complaining about sea sand on my floor instead of saying thank You Lord for sea sand and wind and out and playing and being together!

Yes yes yes we do give thanks, but there is just something about pausing and giving Thanks to Him in black on white were I can look back and see page after page of His open hands giving gift upon gift upon gift and seeing His faithfulness day after day...

I need to give a thousand thanks again and see one thousand gifts and I need to say Eucharisteo to find charis JOY again.

I've started over

#1 Thank You Lord for a new booklet
#2 Thank You Lord for praying with my daughter about a relationship full of ugly
#3 Thank You Lord for a microwave oven (someone else's) and an easy chocolate cake
#4 Thank You Lord for being able to take care of a feverish child

and counting...

I know God can turn ugly into beautiful again... through Eucharisteo, gift upon gift, miracle upon miracle.

Have you ever counted gifts? Ever counted to one thousand? Please join me as I count again...

Monday, December 10, 2012

How to have a balanced life?

I'm picking up a half eaten piece of brownish apple from underneath the couch, remainders of food and sticky fingers all over, sea sand on the tiled floors and the washing is piling up, and the ever growing heap of ironing waiting... I asked a child to water the plants on the back patio and when I returned there were potting soil spills against walls and water puddles everywhere...

This past week I've seriously wondered if the formula for the circumference of a circle was worth a relationship. In other words: is it worth arguing and fighting and reasoning over mathematics when a relationship suffers because of it. She never likes it when we learn something new. I know this, but when will I learn that harsh words make a child's brain freeze over??? Little minds can't think straight when a mother impatiently raises her voice.

When will I learn that words and attitudes hurt? Didn't I learn this as a child already. I should know better. I remember how the sound of a vacuum cleaner can make you quiver and run for cover. I grew up in a house that was always clean and neat and tidy and never a leaf out of place in the garden. How I also want to have all that. But, at what cost? A clean house, or a relationship? A clear view out of the glass sliding door, or a trip to the park? All the clothes folded and crisp and clean, or dirty wiggly toes and lots of giggles and hugs and hide and seek? Can a spotless house compare to time spent reading a favourite story twice in a row? Three times?

When will I learn that maybe, just maybe, what seems to me a mindless action, can also be about just being together...

Oh how I struggle to keep this balance.

And then there is only just this one thing that stays needful...???  !!!

I am such a slow learner.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Enslaved by motherhood? Tied down? Oh go your selfish way!

Poem: Tied Down?
Author: Edgar A. Guest

"They tie you down," a woman said,
Whose cheeks should have been flaming red
With shame to speak of children so.
"When babies come you cannot go
In search of pleasure with your friends,
And all your happy wandering ends.
The things you like you cannot do,
For babies make a slave of you."

I looked at her and said: "'Tis true
That children make a slave of you,
And tie you down with many a knot,
But have you never thought to what
It is of happiness and pride
That little babies have you tied?
Do you not miss the greater joys
That come with little girls and boys?

"They tie you down to laughter rare,
To hours of smiles and hours of care,
To nights of watching and to fears;
Sometimes they tie you down to tears
And then repay you with a smile,
And make your trouble all worth while.
They tie you fast to chubby feet,
And cheeks of pink and kisses sweet.

"They fasten you with cords of love
To God divine, who reigns above.
They tie you, whereso'er you roam,
Unto the little place called home;
And over sea or railroad track
They tug at you to bring you back.
The happiest people in the town
Are those the babies have tied down.

"Oh, go your selfish way and free,
But hampered I would rather be,
Yes rather than a kingly crown
I would be, what you term, tied down;
Tied down to dancing eyes and charms,
Held fast by chubby, dimpled arms,
The fettered slave of girl and boy,
And win from them earth's finest joy."

Tied down... is good...


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The best day in a mother's life is when...

She woke up with this big question in her heart: "Where is Jesus Mommy?" He is here and He is everywhere and He is in your heart just didn't seem to satisfy this little inquiring mind. When she asked the same question again later in the day I realized that the answer "Jesus is in your heart" is in fact a lie, because Jesus isn't just in someones heart. He can only be there where He is invited and welcomed.

So when she asked again, I very softly asked her if she wanted Jesus in her heart and she replied with a very excited "Yes Mommy!" I asked her again and she seemed very sure of her answer, so we prayed a very simple prayer together.

In my heart I wondered if she is not too young for such a big decision, but then, who am I to decide the age for a conversion???

This morning when I asked her, she answered with much assurance: "Jesus is in my heart Mommy!" as if to say "how could you not know?!"

The best day in my life!
(one of them...)

Ten geraniums in my garden.

Ek is mal oor 'n malva! Hulle is seker van die maklikste blomme om te kweek, en sal maklik oorleef as hulle afgeskeep word. Elke malva in my tuin het 'n besonderse herinnering. Sommige is mét permissie geneem, ander nie...



My Pa se verjaarsdag @ Eensgezindt



Sandbaai Christian camp



Saturday, November 10, 2012

Play dough recipe!

My children love play dough! This recipe can be kept in an airtight container, and needs no refrigeration. So I keep mine in a container at the breakfast nook, always available to keep little hands busy! The last batch I made almost lasted for a full year.

1.) Combine: 550ml plain wheat flour
                200ml table salt
                30ml cream of tartar, and mix these in a separate container.

2.) Combine: 500ml water
               30-40ml cooking oil
               3 teaspoons of food colouring in a cooking pot.

3.) Combine everything and continue to stir over medium heat.

Mixture will start to form lumps, but continue to stir until it becomes quite stiff and all "wetness" is gone. Dough must almost look as if you have overcooked it. Remove from heat and knead (while it is still hot) until completely cooled. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Play often!

PS: I have found that blue food colouring tends to make the play dough very moist!!! Red and green are definitely better. This might be my imagination, but every time I've made blue play dough, it was softer and more sticky - not so nice...

The perfect bread recipe for your bread machine.

I bought a bread machine about four years ago and used it quite a lot, but I wasn't always so proud of my baking. Sometimes the dough would rise perfectly, only to fall flat during the baking cycle or only half the loaf would rise or all the dough will bake in one corner of the tin. I got fed-up and just at the moment when I was ready to through the machine out the window, I discovered a sweet little lie:

All bread machine manufacturers will tell you to ONLY use their recipes and no other recipes. And that is not true!

In a desperate moment I tried my friend's recipe (this link is for a larger loaf; my recipe is for a smaller one) and voila! Never ever have I looked back. Every single bread (whether whole wheat, spelt, 50% rye, whatever) comes out perfect, every time!

The big secret here is to add your ingredients into your baking machine in this exact order:
First your dry yeast, then the flour, followed by the other dry ingredients, then the butter and egg, and lastly add the water.

1 and a half teaspoon of dry yeast
3 cups (750ml) bread flour
1 table spoon of rice milk powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 table spoon of butter
1 egg
200ml water

This recipe is for a small loaf. 

Machine settings: 1. Basic, loaf size 1,5 LB, colour medium. (for Ma Baker Bread Maker by Mellerware)

100% Spelt

Whole wheat spelt rolls
I make my own bread rolls with the exact same recipe! Use machine setting number 8 to only prepare the dough. Here I used my friend's larger recipe (4 cups of flour & 280ml water) to make 15 bread rolls. This is delicious with any home made soup!

Have fun!

Make your own pizza!

Friday nights, are pizza nights! And nothing beats a home made pizza!

You can either use the local Friendly/Checkers dough, but I prefer to make my own. (I use normal bread dough prepared in my bread machine on setting number 8)
I make ordinary bread dough in my bread machine. If you use shop dough, just knead it a bit more to improve the elasticity.
Form a small ball and roll out on a floury surface. Spread a little bit of olive oil on the sides with your finger tips - it makes a nice crispy edge!

Make your own tomato spread: Mix 100g tomato paste, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon origanum, pinch of salt and a little bit of water.

Add your favourite topping (pineapple, mushrooms, garlic, feta) and lots of mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 200'C for 10 minutes. Enjoy! (a big kitchen scissor = a good pizza slicer!)


Whole wheat spelt rusks.

(my mother's recipe - the best!)

3 easy steps, 3 bowls:

1.) Combine: 1,5 cups of sugar, 250g butter/margarine and 1,5 cups boiling water. Slice the butter into smaller pieces as it dissolves. Stir now and then until all the butter has melted.

2.) Mix together: 1kg Spelt flour, 4 teaspoons of baking powder and a good pinch of salt. (Instead of spelt flour you can also use ordinary self raising wheat flour, but then only use 3 teaspoons of baking powder.)

3.) Whisk up 3 eggs and add to the butter mixture.

Add flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined. Do not over mix and do not knead. The dough will be very moist and sticky - don't worry, that's normal!
Form small balls in 3 greased bread tins and let it sit for 10-15 minutes to rise a bit.

Bake at 180'C for one hour.

Turn out onto a cooling rack. When cooled, break and cut into smaller pieces (approx. 3 x 5cm pieces) and dry out in a 90'C oven for 4 hours with a metal spoon in the door to let the moist air escape. Store in an airtight container when completely cooled.



(a traditional South African winter comfort food)

3-4 litres of milk
500g linguine pasta (broken into smaller 5cm pieces)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
2 cardamom pods
cinnamon sugar for serving

Bring the milk to the boil and add pasta and salt, with the cinnamon sticks and cardamom. Put the cinnamon sticks and cardamom in a bag so that it can be removed at the end of cooking time. Cook over low heat until the pasta is quite soft. If the mixture is too thick add more milk, and if too runny you can thicken it with flour or maizina mixed with a little bit of cold milk. (bring to the boil again if you added flour/maizina.) Add 1 cup (or more) of sugar near the end of cooking time. Serve very hot with cinnamon sugar.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wednesday picture joy...

My help arrives and I just want to send her away. Can't she get distracted and go bother someone else. Then I remember to slow, slow, be here because it is here where I find joy... in this moment. I get the camera.

Do you sometimes rush through the moments and forget to just be here?

Don't forget every moment counts, even if the you have to rearrange all the washing... again!

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