Category Archives: South Africa

South African Finale

We’re saying goodbye to South Africa with unfinished projects and dreams of visiting someday.  This week, we even got to watch Invictus, which was a great story of how Nelson Mandela used rugby to bring the people of South Africa together.  I’m not sure how much of the story is completely accurate, but it was definitely an inspiring movie and I loved learning a little bit more about South Africa.

Our A-Z Animals of South Africa book is almost finished and even dad helped on this one.

I have to say, he can color a mean giraffe when he puts his mind to it.

Today, we began a South African project that I found  from se7en on the crafty crow blog, making South African Rainbow People. We will try to finish them tomorrow as we didn’t have a chance today, but you can check out the link for details on how they are made and I’ll post our finished product soon. Here’s what we’ve done so far-tracing the pattern and cutting out the cardboard people.

Later, we celebrated with our finale dinner.  I had planned on doing a Bobotie recipe with yellow rice that I found on se7en’s blog, which is similar to a shepherd’s pie, but it is so hot here and I felt like a summer recipe would be more appropriate.  (As it is winter in South Africa, I’m sure the traditional Bobotie is a perfect winter dish!)  Fortunately, I got a great idea from se7en to do a braai (pronounced “bry”) which basically means Barbeque.  So, with some tips from her, I reconfigured the Bobotie into  Bobotie Burgers 🙂 (my name) and they were a big hit with our guests.  

Bobotie Burgers

I did neglect to brown the onions ahead of time, but they turned out delicious all the same.  We served the burgers with the recommended yellow rice and BBQ’d corn on the cob.

Basmati rice with cinnamon sticks and turmeric

The flavors in both the burgers and the rice were so nice, not too strong, but enough to delight one’s palate.  I’m sure I will be making both of these again!

Lastly, we finished our meal with a traditional South African milk tart.  This reminded me very much of a vanilla steamer in a cake form…AMAZING and even nice for breakfast (as our dinner guest and se7en suggested).  There are great directions for how to make the milk tart on se7en’s blog as well.  Here’s our milk tart  (with only one small piece left for breakfast, the lucky early riser will definitely get a treat tomorrow).

Marvelous Milk Tart!

Wow, another fabulous journey, another amazing land!  We have really enjoyed our time in South Africa and really really hope to travel there someday in person.

Thank you, South Africa and thank you Se7en for all your help!  We have had such a wonderful week+ and now must say our goodbyes.



This week’s verse:

Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us and we are his. We are his people the sheep of his pasture.  Psalm 100:3

(for the next few weeks we’ll be memorizing all of Psalm 100)

South African Guest!!!

Yippee! Today we have a special guest posting from South Africa. I found her fabulous blog while visiting the Crafty Crow for some around the world crafts. Se7en’s blog has great ideas for mothering, homeschooling and fun. I asked her to share about winter in South Africa as we are in the middle of summer here and thought it would be fun to see the difference. I hope you enjoy this post (and her BLOG!!!) as much as I do!


Hi there, from sunny South Africa!!! I hope you are enjoying your
virtual tour. I am so pleased to be posting here and telling you a little bit about our country. You asked me about Winter in South Africa and I know for most of you that are reading this that you are in the middle of Summer and Winter is far from your thoughts!!! Where you are from you probably experience Winter a little differently to us and like most things in Africa Winter brings some interesting creatures !!!IMG_8316 by se7en.hoods.

Right now we are in the heart of winter, hot chocolate and heaps of stories under blankets.

more interesting creatures

DSC01730 by se7en.hoods.

Here are se7en things about our Winter in Cape Town, South Africa:

sa winter

  • Winter Rainfall: Most of South Africa has Summer Rainfall – hot sweltering rain, but in Cape Town we have Winter Rainfall, which means cold and wet winters. We have lots of cold sunny days and then we will have a couple of stormy days, sunny days then stormy days and so on until the Spring when the stormy weather moves to the south of Africa. Our rain isn’t of the “drip all day” kind but rather bursts of torrential rain and then the sun pops out and then bursts of torrential rain…
  • Cold, cold, cold but no snow: We get snow on the distant mountain tops and the temperature can get down to 3 or 4 degrees (about 40 degrees Fahrenheit) Celsius at night where we live. The other day it only got up to 6 degrees Celsius, which is unusually cold for us, usually it warms up to about 12 degrees in the day (about fifty degrees Fahrenheit). So it gets cold but not cold enough for snow on the ground. And my kids have never played in the snow… The snow on the mountain tops is quite inaccessible and you would not only have to drive far to see it but then hike a way up the mountain to reach it as well.


  • Whales: We get Southern Right Whales in the winter, they arrive from the Antarctica to have their babies in the bays along our coast. They come really close to the shore and they are beautiful to watch.

IMG_4751 by se7en.hoods.

IMG_4753 by se7en.hoods.

  • Baboons: In the winter we get baboons coming down from the mountain looking for food. We stopped growing root vegetables because they will come and eat them. Every time our potatoes are ready they seem to dash down the mountain and eat them!!!

DSC05736 by se7en.hoods.

  • Snakes: We live on the side of a rocky mountain and it is a great place for snakes. Snakes do hibernate but on warmer wintry days they will creep out to laze in the sun. Trouble is because they are cold blooded it is really too cold for them and they can only move about at a very sluggish pace, so they are easy to capture and examine. Mostly we have little brown snakes that are quite harmless. Not my best but I had to overcome my fear and I scoop them up in the dustpan and toss them into the neighbors garden!!!

  • The Problem: Our winters are short and most of the year a typical South African would deny that winter even exists. But for a couple of weeks of the year it is wintery and cold. We are totally unprepared!!! We have no heating, in fact I don’t know anyone with any sort of heating. Our homes are designed for summery out door living and they are breezy to say the least and definitely no double glazing. Most South African kids don’t wear shoes all year round and my kids would never dream of wearing gum boots!!! It is quite normal for kids to wear shorts even in mid-winter!!! Mad I know !!! We do have a heater, but never use it, we can’t stand the thought of paying for more electricity than we have to!!! Nights are different, a cold child cannot sleep: they wear wooly hats and socks to bed, extra blankets and hand-warmers.



  • Mid-Winter Traditions: We live in a sea-side town and it is a very popular place for tourists to visit. But almost nobody knows how glorious the beach is in winter. Cold but worth it!!! We visit the beach and have it to ourselves quite a lot in the winter. Also there is no wind so a trip to the beach can be a lot pleasanter than in the summer when we get an awful lot of blustery wind. Also sometime during the middle of winter my kids will take a swim in the pool – yes it is freezing cold, but it is their “cracking the ice” (it doesn’t actually freeze) tradition and I will have nothing to do with it other than run a warm bath for them to jump into afterwards!!!

DSC02845 by se7en.hoods.

That’s pretty much our Winter in a nutshell. If you want to know more about South Africa then you are welcome to follow the link to our South African pages. Meanwhile we are longing for Spring!!!

DSC02678 by se7en.hoods.

Letters to Luxolo

Another country, another child sponsored, Luxolo, 10 years old and living in South Africa.

As we are learning about his country this week, we thought it appropriate to send him a little note  telling him we are thinking of him.

Along with notes, we added some stickers and some coloring pages.  This is the COOLEST thing I have to share: has a program where you can upload a picture of your family and they will create a coloring page of it!  It’s SUPER fun and we decided to send Luxolo a couple of coloring pages of our family.  I’m absolutely LOVING this program!

Just go to and you can do it yourself. 

Someday maybe we’ll be able to meet Luxolo in person.

From Aardvarks to Zebras


Amazingly in South Africa you can find an animal for almost every letter of the alphabet.   

Today we began making a book for our family (that’s our cover at the top), each member assigned a different animal page to color.  Personally, I had fun discovering the Dugong, a manatee-like sea elephant, while Tallinn got serious about the Aardvark and Addie attacked the elephant.  We found a great selection of animal coloring pages here. And some other fun animals here. Another great site with a complete list of African Animals A-Z is here.  While there are a few to choose for most letters, we stuck to the one that seemed most interesting. Here’s our South Africa Animal List:   

Aardvark   Buffalo Cheetah  Dugong  Elephant  Flamingo  Giraffe   Hippopotamus   Impalas  Jackal Kudu
Lion   Monkey  Nyala Okapi  Porcupine   Quagga  Rhinoceros   Squirrel Tortoise GnU   Vulture   Warthog  LynX    

Yellow Mongoose   Zebra

I’m excited to see how our finished book turns out….here’s a sneak peek at our little bit of progress today.   


by Tallinn

by Addie

by Mommy

Maybe when Brian’s fulfilling his dream of swimming with sharks, I can hang out with the Dugongs. They look so friendly!

Pizza and FIFA

What an incredible ending to the World Cup!  Today we watched this big event on a big screen with lots of friends, several Dutch, as we supported our student from Spain-Eva, and cheered for her country.  Munching on pizza and eager to shout “GOL” , we were so excited to be a part of this truly “world” event (sorry baseball fans but I have a hard time buying into the “World Series” as a World event).   

Super Big Screen!




In the midst of it all, we were reminded of the great country hosting this year’s display of athletic prowess and determination.  


Tomorrow we will continue on in our journey in South Africa as this has been a slower travel week for us with all of our flight delays and stopovers :).

A Slow Journey to South Africa

We’re moving slowly this week, perhaps it was the full week of VBS that knocked me off me feet, or the fun-filled fourth of July weekend, or the gloomy weather that has been keeping the kids in their PJs these past few days, or maybe a combo of all of the above.

So now, here we are, mid-week, entering the land of world cup festivities. Years ago I watched a wonderful movie called The Power of One about a girl and boy who fall in love in the midst of the political turmoil in South Africa during the 1950s.  This movie drew me in to this great country and ever since then it has been quite dear to my heart, so much so that we sponsor a young boy from South Africa and would love to even adopt a South African someday (if it opens up to the US).  Of course I would also love to go and visit and take a safari and see the beautiful sights.  Brian wants to swim with sharks but I have told him not in my lifetime.

Today we began with our typical geography lesson, traveling from Korea to South Africa, showing the similar latitude to Australia and the somewhat closeness to Antarctica.  We then ventured on to our yarn flags, which we made by punching holes and threading the six colors of the SA flag through.  This activity was excellent for working on fine motor skills and, surprisingly, Addie was much more interested in completing hers than Tallinn and didn’t even want my help!  (If you know Addie you know what a big deal this is as fine motor has often been a struggle for her.)  Yay, progress!

Finished Flags

And, in case you might be thinking that we completely skipped our own country for the biggest US day of the year…here are a few pictures of our Independence Day celebration. 

Brian attached our flag to the rickshaw for the neighborhood bike parade.

I am so thankful to live in this great land and for all who sacrificed so we could be free!