Summer Holiday 2015

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We spent the week with my Grandmother, Aka Granny by the River, at the Vaal River. It was LOVELY getting out of the city for the week and spending time with my 81 year old Gran and cousin Neil, who is also visiting for the holidays. Poor Papa Steve had to work, so only the children and I went away. Next time we’ll come down as a family. Its only an hour and a half away.
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A few days after we arrived, my Aunt and cousin Liané arrived and spoilt the kids rotten with canoe rides swimming in the river and rough housing in the pool. “Crazy Granny Sha” is the kidets’ new favourite person.
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Here are a few pics of our week out of the city. This week has done me the world of good. Some R&R has been much needed by all of us.
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Field trip to the Cradle of Humankind – Part 2 – Sterkfontein Caves

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On Sunday we took a trip to the Cradle of Humankind, starting off with a tour of Maropeng and then making our way, after ice-creams, to the Sterkfontein Caves. The last time I was here was in December 2006 and I was pregnant with Koko. We couldn’t come to the “Cradle” and not visit the caves too.
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The Sterkfontein Caves are owned by the University of the Witwatersrand, whose scientists have been responsible for the main excavations of the World Heritage Site. They are credited with many of the famous discoveries including the world famous “Mrs Ples” and “Little Foot”, an almost complete Australopithecus skeleton dating back more than 3-million years.

~ Sterkfontein Caves

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Before going down into the cave, we went through the exhibit where they show some of the artifacts they have recovered on this site, and many others. Tools, bones, animals and even dinosaur fossils!
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Going down into the cave there are almost 300 stairs! It was rather nerve racking going down all those stairs with kids in tow.
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Our guide, Fanyaya, gave us a rather amusing rendition of the history of the caves, the formation of the stalactites and stalacmites, the Italian limestone miners and the discoveries of “Little Foot” and “Mrs Ples”. We then went further down into the cave to the underground lake, of which the source is unknown, where diver Pieter Verhulsel lost his life after getting lost in the underwater caves he was exploring (once his life line/rope was severed underwater).
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We then explored the caves even further, going deeper underground, down ladders, through small spaces on hands and knees and eventually coming out to the next, almost, 300 stairs going up. By this point, I was exhausted and the kids were bouncing off the walls from excitement. We finally made it to the top of the stairs to the exit where they have two busts. Professor Emeritus Phillip Tobias that pays tribute to his memory and contribution to the field of palaeoanthropology and The statue of palaeontologist Dr Robert Broom for his discovery of Australopithecus Africanus, better known as Mrs Ples.
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Our FANTASTIC tour guide, Fanayana standing by the Dr Broom statue.

Our FANTASTIC tour guide, Fanayana standing by the Dr Broom statue.


By this stage, I had collapsed and had to lie down so that my heart palpitations could subside. Scary stuff.
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When we were done, we decided to go have some lunch and a cold drink. Its been a HOT few days here in Johannesburg and this head wave has taken us all by surprise.
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I highly recommend doing this tour with your family AFTER visiting Maropeng. It’s rigorous exercise and not for the faint hearted. The children loved it and it was so informative.

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Field trip to the Cradle of Humankind – Part 1 – Maropeng #HomoNaledi

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Living in Johannesburg has its perks. We have Maropeng up the road (about a 45 minute drive away) and since HomoNaledi was discovered, we have been threatening to go. The original fossils are currently on exhibition. The exhibition ends on 18 October 2015, so we went just in time.
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What a fascinating experience. I had never been to Maropeng before. To be honest, I didn’t think a trip was worth it. The building is very unassuming. Its MUCH bigger than it looks. The old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is definitely apt here.
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The Maropeng exhibition is housed in the Tumulus building, which combines cutting edge architecture with clever use of space – all within strict environmental guidelines
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When we entered the building, we read quite a bit of information about Charles Darwin, his colleagues and his theory of evolution and how it evolved, pardon the pun.

After spending quite a bit of time in that one installation, we made our way down a tunnel and read about earths history, from modern times, to the big bang.
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At the bottom of that tunnel, we took a boat ride:
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The boat adventure starts at the present and continues on a trip back through time, retracing the various stages of the creation of our earth. Snow-making and ice-producing machines give voyagers an indication of what the most recent ice age may have been like. The journey goes back further into time, when the world was submerged in water, and beyond that to the formation of the earth’s crust and the shifting of the tectonic plates.

Finally the beginning is reached, when the earth was a fiery ball of molten rock, and the ride ends dramatically in a simulated ‘black hole’. Scientists theorise that our world came into existence as a result of the collapse of the first star, creating a ‘black hole’ with a powerful gravitational pull. The force of the explosion created momentum amongst some of the dust, rocks and gas produced in the ‘Big Bang’ 14-billion years ago. These particles were drawn into the centre of the ‘black hole’, gradually amassing into matter which eventually created the earth.

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Once we entered the main exhibition area, we saw a few fascinating interactive tables for the children to explore. This particular table, pictured below, is a sequencing game showing the evolution of plants, animals, humans, etc. Once you have the sequence correct, it lights up. We must have spent upwards of an hour on this table alone.
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We walked through the rest of the homonid exhibition and made our way to the main, original fossil, exhibition where we met HomoNaledi!
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They had various other homonid fossils on exhibition, including a comparison exhibit.
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Once we left, we found a black board where you can leave your name in chalk. It wouldn’t be a field trip, without leaving our mark.
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I highly recommend this facility for people of any age. They have a disabled/stroller area that takes you past the boat ride (but you can still go in at various parts to see the different parts of the boat ride). My children loved it! You can find printable resources for children/students HERE

Keep an eye out for part 2 of our Cradle of Humankind field trip coming later this week!

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Happy Fathers Day

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Happy Fathers Day!
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My Dad and I

My dad and I-we think alike,
He knows just what I mean
Before I even say a word
He reads, well, in between.

My dad and I-we like to fish
Or build a model plane,
Or fix a broken chair or two
Or just a windowpane.

My dad and I-we know the score
Of every single game;
Sometimes he’s really busy, too
But he takes me just the same.

My dad and I-we go swimming too,
Each year and sometimes twice.
My dad and I-we do everything;
My dad-he’s really nice.

by Phyllis C. Michael

Father’s Day

Over the years
As we grow old,
We remember our father
So brave and bold.

In the garden,
Leaning on the plow,
He would listen to me;
I see him now.

He would give advice
And understand;
He was always there
To lend a hand.

God made fathers
Strong and firm,
For he knew our lives
Would have great concerns.

So he gave us fathers
To teach us to pray,
And guide our lives,
And show us the way.

So on his day
Let’s take the time
To say “Thanks, dad.
I’m glad you’re mine.”

by Mary Frances Bogle

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Friday Freebie: Last Minute Gifts for Fathers Day

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Here are some great last minute gifts for Fathers Day!

Father’s Day Poetry Page from The Crafty Classroom
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These make wonderful custom gifts from older children. Have kiddos write different words to describe their Dad, using the grey lines as a guide.

Fathers Day Questionnaire from Meet The Dubiens
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Father’s Day Printable from Kinzies Kreations
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Father’s Day is just around the corner, and I’m already thinking about it. I usually am pretty much a slacker when it comes to celebrating Father’s Day, and I feel pretty bad for my husband. So this year, I’m starting to think about it early, in hopes of making it a bit more special for him. I decided that I wanted the kids (well mostly my oldest) to fill out a questionnaire about Daddy. I could have printed a preexisting one, but instead I decided to design one myself. It prints as a 5×7 and would look really cute framed up for Dad.

Father’s Day Bible Printables from Christian Preschool Printables
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Free Father’s Day Bible Crafts, Activities, Honor your Father Printables, Games, Copywork, Verse Cards, Minibooks, Gifts for kids to make and more! Great for Homeschool & Sunday School Lessons.

It is recommended that you print on heavy cardstock or laminate each sheet for durability.

Most of our games can be played along as a memory game or within small group settings.

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Happy 4th Birthday Fifi!!!

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4 Years ago today, we welcomed our first daughter into the world.  Little did we know how much love and joy she would bring.  Happy Birthday Fifi, our precious BIG girl. We love you lots and lots, like jelly tots ♥♥♥

Here she is opening her presents early in the morning. Papa Steve and Noo leave early to miss the traffic so that neither of them are late for work or school.

Opening all her new presents
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Beautiful birthday girl ♥
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The birthday cupcake
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Singing Happy Birthday to herself
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We’ll be having a small get together with a few friends on Saturday to celebrate her birthday.

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