Nineteen | 52

A portrait of my child each week in 2015. Joining in (late) with Jodie at Practising Simplicity.

You have become a bit shyer. Not sure why. I love the little arm, slipped between my legs and around my knee, the gentle pressure of you leaning against me for reassurance and support while you observe the situation. A brief recharge and then you are off again, my rambunctious, independent little man.

{Last Year}

A weekend at home, and by the sea

I didn’t realise, due to way my calendar was displayed, that Freedom Day (March 27th) and May Day (May 1st) fell in the same working week this year. If I had realised it, we could have taken 3 days leave and had a glorious eight days holiday. But I didn’t; so we didn’t but it was ok.

We spent the first long weekend close to home. I managed to make some delicious muesli (from this lovely lovely blog). Nuts, and seeds, oats, wheat bran, coconut flakes, golden syrup in place of the eye-wateringly expensive maple she suggests. A cheeky 1/2 a cup of cocoa powder. The really good olive oil. Don’t skimp. Mixed by hands big and small. Memories of a kitchen stool, a big blue plastic tub and similar task done with my Mum. A low warm oven and some patience and now we have (had) a big box of very delicious muesli. It’s almost time for another batch…seeing as we only have 1/3 of a the box left…

Holidays at home are such a gift. Time to wander the garden and plan and dream. Time for bedtime stories, whiskey on the verandah bundled up against the cold. Time to build that thing you’ve been thinking of building for ages. Time for child-and-puppy-led rambles before breakfast. An afternoon spent in autumn sunshine, Little Man bumbling around happily. Climbing in and out of his “sandpit” (our empty-for-the-moment veggie bed) bringing me flowers. Some fun crochet done (an Owl Hat) and lots of hide and seek. When we ask Little Man where his nose is, or his ears/tummy/toes/feet/fingers he can show us. But when we ask “Where’s {Little Man}?” he covers his eyes and hides! It’s the cutest thing. I feel like these slow weekends at home are what refills my heart.

John built a “geselsvuur” out of an old plough disc and some bit of metal. A geselsvuur is an Afrikaans term that roughly translates to a ‘talking fire’. The idea is that once the braaiing is done, you pile more wood onto the coals so that you can have flames to sit around and watch while you talk and solve the world’s problems. We lit it one evening, and enjoyed warm toes with a wee dram of good whiskey. I’m thinking of knitting up some shoulder blankets so we can enjoy it throughout winter. One afternoon we braaiied with friends; I’m thankful to live in a place where winter means the wind is cold and we bundle up, but we don’t need snowshoes or thermal underwear just to get to the car! Ridley got her collar and nametag in the post. So now she’s a real dog!

We also found time to make some cupcakes, just because. I use my favourite recipe with a full cup of double cream yoghurt. Gives a light tang and delicious moistness to them. Cocoa covered fingers, snuck batter, fascination with the mixer motion (and how turning the knob makes it go faster and faster!). Hand-prints on my jeans, a blonde swirl, mmm-mmm-mmm to be lifted up.

The second long weekend we opted to make a bit longer by taking a day’s leave on Thursday and spending four full days in Port Alfred. The weather was a bit all over the place, but we went to East Beach every day. Little Man ended up swimming everyday, whether Mom & Dad intended it or not! I have since learnt to pack a full change of clothes, a towel and magic sand-removing baby powder every time! The first evening was windy and the clouds low and moody but the sun peeked out from below and oh, it was lovely! Skittering sand streaming across the beach, lit up and golden.

Ridley has come to love the beach and the waves, though she still doesn’t like it if we get too deep. Also note the child dressed in wellies, tracksuit pants and a jersey and compare with the photo below…

Yeah. We could not keep him out the sea. You try hanging onto a toddler who is DETERMINED to go for a paddle. Anyway he played for about 15 minutes and then we bundled up in Mom’s fleece and headed back home. Swiftly into a warm bath and thence to dreamland.

We quickly settled into a lazy routine. Early morning ambles around the complex. Spotting hadedahs and planes. Chasing tennis balls and inspecting worm casts and molehills in minute detail.

Breakfast, morning nap, lunch, afternoon nap, a trip or two to the beach in there. A trip to the shops for essential supplies (Woolies Easter Eggs, 75% off…I bought two boxes. We left one behind for next time!). Knitting for me, snoozing for John. All three Lord of the Rings movies spread over 4 days. On the days with good weather, we strolled to the rocks. Little Man proved as fearless there as he is with the waves. Clambering right up to the top (with a little help from Mom!). Fascinated by the tiny Littorina snails, one or two may have been eaten. Oh well. Protein and calcium! Bright blue skies, can you believe it’s Autumn?

Lazy afternoons spent reading books. Pointing out the multitude of things he can now recognise. Birds, chameleons, lizards, more birds, boys, dogs, pots, flowers, baaaaaa (sheep and goats) mmmm-mmoooo (cows; including the ones framed in a painting next to the dining table! I was suitably impressed, obviously he’s a genius!). Maow; for cats, including the real-life ones at home. We didn’t teach him that, Fluffy meows alllll the time, and so naturally so does he!

We lit up the geselvuur one evening. Little Man is as fascinated by the dancing flames and embers as we are. What is it about a fire that draws the eye so naturally? Early evenings without wind are such a treat at this time of year. I love watching the lights of Port Alfred come on. The hub that is the local PnP, the rumble of trucks crawling up the hill on their way out of town. The far away sound of the sea. Dikkops (or to give them their latest name; Water Thick-knees) calling.

My favourite beach trip was late, very late one evening. We pulled into the sandy parking lot as everyone was leaving. The full moon was rising above pastel dunes into a pale blue not-quite-day-not-quite-night sky. The air was perfectly still and heavy with the scent of salt. We trekked over the dune, Little Man skrieked with delight as the waves came into view. Mom came prepared this time. Nappy off and into the waves with Dad and dog. Not too deep, twilight is not a good time to swim in the ocean where prehistoric creatures lurk with lots of teeth…

Sunday was spent slowly packing and tidying up. We squeezed in one last beach trip; naturally, the best weather of the whole weekend! Three exhausted, happy people and one tired puppy moseyed home. We’ve already planned out next 4-day trip for June.



Taking Stock {April}

  • Making : Slow, imperfect progress on a pair of knitted pants for Little Man. Learning  new skill is equal parts invigorating and frustrating.
  • Cooking :  Homemade granola from {this} amazing recipe. Oh so good. A double batch was made. 1/2c cocoa added.
  • Drinking : Lots and lots of hot chocolate. Want to make store bought that little bit more naughty? Put a scoop of good cocoa and a slab of good dark chocolate in a blender, blitz till crumbly and then add to your plain old powder. Yum!
  • Reading : Nothing at the moment….a sad state of affairs.
  • Wanting : Another cuppa tea.

  • Looking : At the calendar. Long weekends looming. The last in our “productivity month”.
  • Playing : With a pie-maker and fillings. I foresee some epic mince pies this Christmas!
  • Planning : New garden beds, where to find slips, a pretty entrance to our home.
  • Crocheting :  Owl beanies for a cute baby girl. A first commission! {It turned out SUPER cute…and now I need to make Little Man one}
  • Wishing : and waiting…

  • Enjoying: The change in season. Wintry days for warm scarves and tiny blue gumboots. Stunning early sunsets. Lots of tea, read wine and /or home brewed stout
  • Waiting: Patiently. All will hopefully be revealed.
  • Thankful: For slivers of warm sunshine, Provst coffee and and informal play dates.
  • Wondering: Why all my gorgeous giant tomatoes when black on the bush :( Hoping for some good compost and bone meal and another chance next season)
  • Loving: Good news from family!

  • Hoping : For some quiet knitting/crochet time over the coming long weekends.
  • Marvelling : At perfect jewelled spiderwebs
  • Needing : To write a quick catch up on Little Man, it’s been far too long.
  • Smelling : Wisps of wood smoke, lingering in the twilight. Imagining the cosy scenes of someone else’s’ fireplace. One day I will have a tiny wood-burner…one day…
  • Wearing : An infinity scarf I crocheted for myself. It’s real wool. A bag of odds and ends I bought at Festival last year…

  • Noticing: New almost-words every day, so eager to hear his little voice. {fire is the latest, whispered very quietly in awe}
  • Learning : To knit!
  • Thinking: About attempting a knitted pattern that has *gulp* cables in it. I want to make {these} wrist warmers.

  • Bookmarking: Baby blanket patterns for a little love due later this year (no, not mine).
  • Opening: The latest batch of home brewed stout. Quite delicious. Well done husband of mine.
  • Giggling: Ridley’s occasional bursts of utter insanity where she runs around and around the garden and then collapses in a heap. Silly dog!

Seventeen | 52

A portrait of my child, each week in 2015. Joining in with Jodie at Practising Simplicity.

You are my son that’s for sure. No, not the white-blonde hair, or the blue eyes. Though for sure, those things count. No, it’s your deep and abiding love of spare ribs. Leftovers from the night before make a fantastic late afternoon snack.

{Last Year}

Sixteen| 52

A portrait of my child each week in 2015. Joining in with Jodie at Practising Simplicity.

When you are actually in the mood to hear a story (and point out all the birds, frogs, mice, snakes, trees and rocks on every page), we drop everything to read to you.

{Last Year}

Fifteen | 52

A portrait of my child each week in 2015. Joining in with Jodie at Practising Simplicity.


You are such a beach bum. We are so lucky to have such beautiful beaches less than an hour from home. Friends in town to celebrate a graduation called for a day trip to the beach. It was a perfect autumn day. The lightest of breezes, clean sand, few other people wandering along. The water was absolutely freezing though, not that you minded. You have discovered that the waves are a lot of fun and you keep us on our toes by running into the water waiting for the wave to arrive. This is a quick cellphone snap, I forgot my camera at home…!

{Last Year}


Easter 2015

We are not big on Easter. Big on eating lots of chocolate, but not so much about the bunnies and hiding eggs and whatnot. I’m sure that will change as Little Man grows older and “gets” it more, but for now we were more than content to have no plans and spend four glorious days at home together. We purposely didn’t go anywhere and I loved it.

We started off with a wander around Burnt Kraal, the commonage near the airfield on Thursday evening. Riddly LOVED the long grass and sneaky mousey/lizardy smells. Little Man loved the tok-tokkies and muddly puddles. We must go more often. The cold wind made my already runny nose worse and I coughed and spluttered my way through the rest of the weekend. But anyway…onwards!

We did get a few things done around the house. Specifically I wanted to create a tea & coffee spot. Clear some of that paraphernalia off out counters and also create a spot to display all my cook books. So on Good Friday, we got started.

We took an old paint-splodged table, sanded it, painted it. There was beer, home brewed of course. Riddly “helped” and only ended up partially purple. One shelf we already had, it just needed to be cut to size. The other is cheap painted pine. Surprisingly, despite this being a low table, Little Man hasn’t been tempted to pull things off it. We’ve since tucked a bed for Riddly under the table and she’s happily in the middle of all the action, without being underfoot!

John and his Brew-Buddy had a brew-day on Saturday so he was out the house all day. Little Man and I hung out (I was feeling crappy and it was raining so we skipped ParkRun). I think we went and did some grocery shopping but I’m afraid I can’t quite remember…I did make my first Jaffle sandwich. Peanut butter, banana and choc-chips…it was yummy

Unfortunately, the rest of the weekend proper was lost to rain. It rained and rained and rained all day on Sunday. We were quite glad we didn’t have to hide Easter Eggs and marvelled at the Easter Bunny who apparently had waders to visit all our friends in town!

We made lasagne, read books, watched dvds. I knitted (or at least tried. I have taken to calling my knitting needles ‘frustration sticks’). We made pizza, Little Man sat and watched it bubble…

We made a start on an outdoor play area for Little Man. Some old tyres and chalkboard paint. Hopefully in time we can add more bits and bobs  to it. He quite likes the tyres so far…

There’s not that much else to report. It was a wonderful weekend at home.