Hazy Days

the shadow of the life to come

Hazy Days

Archives for outing

October 2013

I am so grateful to live in such a beautiful part of the world.  My worries and prayers for our country centre around lost souls, the crime, the political turmoil, the socio-economic issues.  But, seldom are my concerns about our environment, except for its preservation.  We truly live in a beautiful place that shouts out praises to God with every sunrise and every sunset.  October month of 2013 was one of those months where we got to enjoy so much of Cape Town’s beauty.  My heart feels full right now as I look over these photos and recognise the blessing that they are.

In no particular order: our October…

We visited Cape Point one weekend.  It was one of those spur-of-the-moment family outings that we like to take at times.  Beautiful scenery and lots of fun to enjoy.


Craig and I have been having lots of fun with the pro-HDR feature on our phones which takes two photos of the same scenario within quick succession and then knits them together to get the best lighting across the entire shot.  Of course, if your subjects move while you are doing it then you get all sorts of fun photos – like this one:


We totally splurged and ate at the restaurant there.  Yum yum!



Katie’s creation after her sushi:


We really had a blast:








Kiera found an empty bottle, so she wrote a note and popped it in.  Guess what – if anyone finds her note and the bottle, she’s offering a free book to them.  That’ll be fun if anyone does find it.  Somewhere on a beach in Cape Point!



Heading towards Red Hill after our day at the Point:


And the view from Red Hill itself.  Love it.


The significance of this photo is that it was Kiera’s first time back at kids’ club after a term out for being ill.  Her illness affected her in strange ways, including creating ridiculous levels of anxiety.  She braved it back and, while she’s had a set back or two illness-wise, she’s not stopped going to kids’ club.


On another weekend, we joined the Sutherlands on a 4×4 trail in the dunes on the West Coast.  It was a superb day – cold and windy, but what a jol it was driving Craig’s Disco 3 up and down sand-dunes.


Seekers had a brief appearance at CUM and Exclusive books.  We spotted these guys on their shelves, but they were soon sold out.  They’ve not replaced them as far as I know.  People keep asking about where to buy them – the best way to get them back onto the shelves is to request that they get there.  Phone the stores! Smile  They all have Seekers on their computer systems and can order with stock in store within days, but it takes a request to get it going. 



October was our first hint of warmer weather – and the kids had a blast running in and out of the sprinkler, since the pool was still a little wintery-green!



A visit to Dad’s office:


Bowling with the Grade 5 girls!


A medieval party – loved by all!


My first race in 10 years!  I ran the Gun Run 10km with Russel and his son, Liam.  What a jol!  I felt strong enough to run the 21km, but felt it best rather to train more and leave the 21km for early next year.





Sunday afternoon pile-ups with Dad.  Always fun.


Someone turned 7 with great delight!




Cape Explorers kept us busy this month with some awesome outings.  We went up the loooong trail of stairs to the grave of Just Nuisance, the dog of war-time fame.  On our way down we met these navy trainees doing what is apparently like the US’s Navy Seal training.  They had to run about in that awfully heavy suit and then they had to tackle the same stairs we had just gone up and down – the same stairs that had left our legs like buzzing jelly!  Kudos to them, I tell you.


We started the walk with a special gift to Karen our wonderful organiser.  Tears all round!



Peers’ Cave take two – we loved this!




Bathroom renovations of September were finally finished and ready for some photos:



Home-time activities this month included card-making…


raising funds for the Lost in India initiative.


Cape Explorers at Intaka Island:





Minion cupcakes for a birthday boy!


And a birthday dinner with a certain birthday girl.


And then a few nights later, the birthday boy got his birthday dinner!


This was also the month when the homeschooling community was blessed with a visit from Niki Daly – acclaimed SA author.  He read from his latest book to us (the award-winning The Herd Boy).  It was wonderful and the kids absolutely loved it!



Kiera was blessed to chat to Niki himself.  She was the one who initiated contact earlier that year, so it was super for her to finally meet him in person.


I had a bunch more photos that, for some reason, would not load – so this is it for October 2013!  A wonderful month, indeed.

Of Outings and Field Trips

With the Hip Homeschool Moms doing a spotlight on field trips (or ‘outings’ as we call them here in South Africa) I thought it was a good opportunity to spotlight my beautiful city, Cape Town as discovered by the Cape Explorers.

cape explorers elsies peak

Started by my wonderful friend, Karen Dawes, Cape Explorers is an outing club for homeschoolers in Cape Town, South Africa.  Twice a month each CE group meets together to explore another part of our wonderful city.  Karen writes a Living Letter to each family, organises Activity Packs and then takes us on incredible journeys where we all have fun and learn lots.  I think her ideas are brilliant and worth trying out in your own home town.

In Cape Town alone, we’ve explored some amazing places.  We’ve heard and seen cannons fired; climbed down into the bowels of wartime ammunition bunkers; tasted “wine” (grape-juice for the kiddies) at South Africa’s oldest wine farm; explored castles, held tarantulas, climbed lighthouses,

Don’t believe me?  Well, follow these links and see for yourself!

The Cape Town Castle: We saw dungeons and jails, a key ceremony re-enactment, plenty of cannons and learned a whole lot about our over 400-year-old castle.


IMG_6876Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens: World-renowned, these beautiful gardens lie at the foot of our beautiful Table Mountain.  They contain an amazing array of flora (and some fauna).  We learned so much about the gardens, the plants, the medicinal purposes, the history and much more.  Well worth the visit!


Peers’ Cave:

Decades ago, a man and his son discovered a cave overlooking Fishoek bay.  There lay incredible archeological finds, some scary precipices and a whole lot of adventure!  We got to enjoy all three. 


Greenpoint Park Biodiversity Garden:

With the Soccer World Cup 2010 being hosted by our city, Cape Town, we saw some major developments happening in and around town.  One amazing accomplishment was the creation of the Greenpoint Urban Park.  Aside from the recreational advantages, it is a hive of biodiversity with so many learning opportunities.  Karen sent us on a scavenger hunt of note and what fun it was!


The Company Gardens:

Speaking of scavenger hunts, this time Karen did The Amazing Race Cape Town-style!  The kids dashed around the 450-year-old gardens – planted when the first Dutch people arrived at the Cape in 1652 – and, in finding dozens of clues, also learned a whole lot about the gardens and their history.   


Cape Union Mart Adventure Centre:

A local clothing and camping brand, Cape Union Mart, has an awesome store in Cape Town that allows kids to learn about extreme weather and extreme creatures!  This is where kids got to climb walls, experience sub-zero temperatures, put up tents, and play with tarantulas.  I kid you not.  The proof is in the photo of my eldest (then 10) happily letting one very hairy guy park off on her hand!  Ugh!

The list of amazing adventures to be had in and around Cape Town goes on and on.  You can check some more of our adventures out here:

Hazy Days Outings

or head on over to the Cape Explorers website to have a taste of the many other awesome adventures we’ve had under the Cape Explorers umbrella.


Cape Explorers: The Castle

Here’s a whirlwind tour through our latest Cape Explorers outing.  This time to the Castle of the Cape of Good Hope.  We’ve learnt quite a bit about the castle thanks to reading Boy of Two Worlds and from a previous visit.  So visiting again was lots of fun and help more meaning for us this time around. 

Our visit was on September 6th, Micah’s birthday.  It’s a beautiful Spring day – sun shining, flowers blooming, spirits souring – really great weather and mood for everyone!


Ms V points to the rather ginormous keyhole! at the gate door.


Mr Micah and Jem-Jem stuck together like glue.  It seems the allegiance has switched from one Hayes boy to another…


waiting for the tour to begin…



Here is evidence that homeschoolers can walk in a line. Well, sort of.  It was quite funny actually… at each stop, the kids were required to make two lines and follow the tour guide like ducklings.  They did a great job of starting out in a line, but soon enough the line disintegrated and before we knew it they were a orderly non-lined up bunch. 



But they were well-behaved, none the less.  Good going, guys!


An Egyptian Goose and her goslings…


More of that non-line stuff…


Terrible focus and all that, but I love this photo – more evidence of the “replacement”.  I have a photo of Sam and Jemma like this about 2 years ago!


I have no idea why this random kiosk was set up in the middle of the parade ground.  Still don’t know!


Torture chamber anyone?




This one one VERY dark room when the lights go out ….


And aiming for that line again …


We got to watch the key ceremony.  It’s supposed to include a firing of a small cannon, but funding issues meant no gunpowder.  However, apparently there has been so many complaints that they’re reintroducing it next week. 


It is still fun to watch the re-enactment, however.


Photos and keen eyes!



Our tour continued after that with a visit to the bastians (the five points of the star-shaped castle). 




Here is where prisoners were kept…


I didn’t take as many photos of the inscriptions on the woodwork this time – but a couple reminds me of the amazing script and patience and, of course, ironic humour…



On to the museum – the castle used to have sea water right up to its walls…  This is a picture of what it once was – it’s beautifully done!  The light!


A closer look – can you believe that the floor stones and the doors are painted?  Can you see where the stones and the floor tiles meet?


With our age-range of kids, it’s easy for some of them to get bored, but these guys were interested!  I loved how they absorbed the museum.  It got a little noisy, but it was interest-driven delight powered.  I wouldn’t swap that for the world!


Can you see!?!  This is my favourite photo – such fascination and awe!


And more!  Mom!  Look at this! 


Before long, it was all over and so we enjoyed a picnic between the outer wall and the moat.  Micah, here below, enjoyed a conversation with his granny and grandpa in Hermanus who called him then.  He couldn’t stop smiling with self-importance and delight!


Some kids are just rude! Winking smile 


While others were just in the business of eating!  Good thinking!


Our wonderful guide and her sweet son!


Another wonderful Cape Explorers outing!

Cape Explorers: Groot Constantia

At the beginning of May, Karen took us Cape Explorers to Groot Constantia.  Since we’ve been reading a lot about Simon van der Stel and Adriaan van der Stel, it was really interesting for us to head that way.

But the “interesting” started before we even got going on the outing.  When we arrived, the kids discovered this tree – roots growing inside the trunk of another tree…




For some reason, still unbeknownst to us, the kids were all a little ramped up.  It was like they had all taken a huge deep whiff of silly-powder!  Here is case in point.  Unfortunately, the kids’ crazy behaviour didn’t go down too well with the establishment, understandably.  But, after a good chat, I doubt it will happen again.  In our dozen or more outings together, this was a first.  I take heart that they were particularly amped that day, so it really wasn’t par for the course for these kids. 



Despite their ampedness, they listened politely to Karen and our guide for the day.


And Brent took loads of fantastic photos…


Mine don’t quite compare! But here is a shot of the beautiful avenue that leads up to the main house.



And the vineyards – beautiful…




We toured the museums, but no photos allowed inside.  One room had a beautiful and enormous wardrobe that had the kids and I transported to Narnia in our imaginings.  Beautiful.

After the museums, we toured the slave lodging – which was really cell-like storage rooms.  Declan over here found some creepy webs down below!





Then we did a tour of the winery itself and learnt a whole lot about soil, growing vines and making wines…








These vats are oak and are only used once, if I recall correctly, before they are sold to other wineries and establishments that use them either for more wine-making or other functions like planters and such.


Finally!  Wine-tasting!  Since these kids are too young for the real deal, they got to taste grape juice.  But, they did get the instructions for how to experience wine the connoisseur way – smelling, seeing, tasting.  Yum yum.





A brief lunch in the gardens and then it was home time.  For me, that meant home with just one child.  The rest went to play at Karen’s.  What a pleasure! 



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