Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Merry Christmas! Chippy's third favorite game

Christmas is always a bit conflicted for me. Summertime Christmas is difficult for a Wisconsin girl. I prepare all the dough and ingredients for a proper feast and then can't bear to turn on the oven. As long as I keep tat in mind and remember not to stress, all goes well.
Even without the baking, I still spend most of the day in the kitchen. Which can be lonely, but thankfully Chippy the clever dog played her third favorite game with Amy and me. First of all, she's not allowed in the house, so she can only sneak in sometimes.So the game goes like this:

  1. Hang out by the braai(BBQ) area until nobody is paying attention
  2. Sneak into the house through the open door
  3. Trot through the house to the kitchen.
  4. Greet everyone there like long-lost friends.
  5. Wait by the door to be let out.
  6. Stand outside the kitchen door for a minute to see if anyone is coming to play.
  7. Either pretend to hear someone by the gate or just go trotting around the back
  8. Start over again:  Hang out by the braai(BBQ) area until nobody is paying attention
And you can see that she absolutely enjoys each and every step of this game, which is why I can't bear to shut the door at the braai or close her gate to keep her away. She managed about 15-20 rounds on Christmas day.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

the Christmas season begins

 I have been missing but not idle! I have been working on my tin curling for the Christmas craft fair.
 The 2 candle holders used to be cans of cream-style corn. I also did the candles. Writing on candles is an idea I got from my baptism candle where my name is written in gold leaf!
This is just written with a blunt needle, filled with craft paint, and the excess wiped off. I twisted a bit of wire through the red beads to attach them to the wax. 
 We also had a Christmas Carol evening. Here are some of my girls practicing, sorry for the blurriness, I shake it's to protect their privacy.
This picture is supposed to be last, I'm preparing my pumpkin to celebrate Thanksgiving at home. This pumpkin is from my mother-in-law, she grows them every year and thinks I'm crazy for appreciating them soooo much.
 We had our church Thanksgiving already, here is my special girl with her friends(it's not wine, it's Fanta Grape). . .
it was held in the school teacher's lounge.
Times have changed--I remember when the teacher's lounge was a nasty scary place where it was easy to believe the teachers were dragons because of the great clouds of smoke that billowed out whenever some luck-less child opened the door.

The school finishes final exams this week, so next week will be devoted to crafting. I still have that pre-holiday dream that my children will be cheerful industrious unpaid workers while I relax by the pool...

Monday, 4 June 2012

back at home but not to normal

This is not a proper post!!! Just checking in between loads of laundry and house-cleaning. One news flash: The girls' club has got our own venue at last!!

Friday, 13 April 2012

I'm so tired these days!!
After 8 years with a full-time domestic helper, we have let her go. I have honestly had mixed feelings for a long time, especially with how lazy my kids were being, and disrespectful. They haven't had to bother to do chores because they know the lady will eventually do whatever it is--making beds, taking out trash, putting away their toys, the list goes on. When I would go through a phase of 'serious parenting', I would spend two hours in the morning explaining to her that the children must do what I have told them to do, that she mustn't help them. Then the afternoon nagging and reminding the children as well as spying on the domestic to chase her away from their chores. Every day. Aaaargh. Until I would give up and let her do it again.
So now, right in the middle of all these dresses I'm doing, while I'm running around town begging for a permanent girls' club venue, while the kids are having end-of-term exams, as we are planning to leave town for 3 weeks, we fired our cleaning lady / house-sitter. So, yes, I'm a bit tired these days, but I know it's worth it in the long run.

Girls' club today! We chatted about Friday the 13th, bad luck, good luck and personal foolishness. We were supposed to pick up trash, but the girls had good luck when it started to rain! So far the kids here don't seem to take western superstitions too seriously, which is good. Of the 14 girls, 4 had bad luck, 4 had good luck, and 4 had some good and some bad. I haven't got enough knowledge to check the local superstitions, apparently chameleons are very bad omens, and owls, but not bats.
We also made our first public appearance today. My friend donated peel-and-stick paper, so we made name stickers for everyone with their name and "Girls' Club" written. Then I had to explain the apostrophe in Girls'. The Pre-Primary school had it's fund-raiser, so we walked over as a group. Quite nice, we went singing. All we need is some marching moves and we're ready to parade! We didn't collect dues, rather the girls spent their money at the school.

Pictures will be in next post!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

my daughter's horse, and the horse we gave to the dog
2011: Chippy and Horsey were almost the same size!
 First, the dog. She's so much fun. On Sunday, we had a bring-and-braai (cook-out)church social. One of the youngsters came home with us afterwards. We had brought bones, so we decided to show off how cute and smart is our dog. We made her sit and dance and she was duly admired. Then we had to show off Horsey because we had used the pink horse for Palm Sunday Sunday School lesson. So I took Horsey and put it on the laundry line. Usually, Chippy will sit below and whimper and jump for her friend, but apparently the smell of the bones was too distracting. So we gave her the bones and went inside.
A year ago, they were the same size and shape, just different colors
Fast forward to about an hour later, the two girls and I are in the kitchen when we hear this cheeping noise. Amy and I explain to our friend that's how the dog got her name, she cheeps. I assume my son is teasing her and will give her whatever she's begging for. But the cheeping doesn't stop so I go out to tell my teenager not to torture the dog with his teasing. And there she is, standing under the laundry line, staring at Horsey, and whimpering for her friend. Ooops!

Ligola's dress top-most, Amy's dress next, and the banner is the arm ruffles for the other six dresses to come
 I have gotten a healthy start on the anniversary dresses. They are all cut out, and all neck and shoulder seams are in. Tomorrow at hobby club I will pin in all the sleeve ruffles and the skirts for the babies and their mommas, or as much as I have time to do. It will be closer to winter when we wear them, so I got a long-sleeve tee-shirt for each of the little ones, but I still expect the African sun so they will also get sun hats which are so much easier to put on babies than the scarves their mommies will get.
Ligola's dress and sun hat
I need to be completely done by the 28th, so I have to do a bit every day.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Photo time at last! first, the Girls' Club:
Making pop-up cards

Macrame bracelets
The date on the photos is wrong, I just set the camera now. I think we need a lesson in photography etiquette-- there are no photos of the girl I gave the camera to!! They all enjoyed making their bracelets, but what they really enjoyed was pounding the nails in further and removing them after we finished. So how am I going to find a free way to do a woodwork project?

And here is the Independence Day cake:
My daughter knew by the first 'A' that the last 'A' wouldn't fit!

with our original
The kids said the cake was too sweet. All these years of putting less sugar than the recipe calls for is paying off at last.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Today's Girls' Club:
We had a nice size group, 12 girls. It's actually my favorite size for a group.One of the older girls visited my daughter yesterday and got involved in my pre-meeting preparation which means I had an extra helper, too. We cut long strips from plastic grocery bags, folded in fourths, did an overhand knot to form a small loop, and then used macrame knots to make a bracelet. I threaded a bead through the end and did another overhand knot to secure it. The bead through the loop formed the clasp and we each had a bracelet! Problems: The knotting was a bit erratic and the plastic broke where the cutting was uneven. Answer: Unevenness and missed knots added texture and charm and we simply tied a new piece in when one broke. One of the mistakes was actually quite nice and I will add it to my knotting list!

We got 4 original new silly songs, one with nice lyrics to challenge the boys to form a club. When we brainstormed activities today, one of the suggestions was a show. I would love to use their own songs in a small skit.

I mentioned pre-meeting prep. We tried making paper beads to see how that would go for a craft. It looks so simple. It takes such simple materials. the finished product looks so beautiful. NOT FOR US. Next time I try narrower strips and using a ruler to cut.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Funny songs went great. "the littlest worm" got a few giggles, but what they REALLY enjoyed was "I'm bringing home a baby bumble bee". They're so funny, they asked for a church song. Luckily I had "Ho-ho-ho-hosanna" to offer them. They insisted they want to meet again this Friday even though it's school holiday, so I'm going with the flow. It's tough to think of an activity that will work just as well with 3 or 30 girls because I can't guess how many will show up. My biggest concern is to have all activities extremely cheap or better yet, FREE! So far, I'm thinking macrame bracelets made with strips cut from grocery store bags. If that doesn't work, the next cheapest is packaging rope. We could even color it with the stubby bits of crayon and the wax will make it easier to work.

On the sewing front, I have started cutting out the dresses I'm making for our anniversary. I'm making a top and skirt for myself and my 'bride's maid', two asymmetrical dresses (one for each of my name-sake's mom), a dress for my daughter(11), one for my 4-year old namesake and one for my 1-year old namesake. That's seven dresses, then another for my friend's 1-year old just because I so much enjoyed making her a dress when she was born. If all works out, the little ones will have matching sun-hats, too. Whew!

Tomorrow is Independence Day! What flavor for the Happy Birthday Namibia cake? Chocolate/vanilla swirl, of course. With the flag iced on top.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Today I will meet with my girls' club. The children in this town are very fortunate in their safety, in the generally Christian (I do mean Christian, not just church-going) attitude of the town.
 BUT! As the town has grown smaller and 'the company' has stopped paying for all the social interaction activities, our children have grown sheltered and naive. Most kid's activities are school-related and have to follow school restraints.
For example, I accompanied a school bus ride to the Capitol last year. The children behave what I would call a 'good normal'--minor disagreements, a bit of seat-hopping, generally peaceful and courteous. With no silly bus songs whatsoever. Church songs, yes. Pop songs, yes. No traditional silly songs for the entire 2-day trip.
So my goal this week is to find a few silly songs we can sing and hopefully make up a few about our town, school, and club.