Sunday, April 17, 2011

SA Trip: Chores, A Fire and a Very Yummy Lunch

Yesterday (Saturday) was an eventful day! We woke up to a beautiful but extremely windy day which, we learned, was especially bad, as a fire had broken out on the mountain above where we are staying. The cause is still unknown but with the strong winds the fire spread very quickly and destroyed several vineyards, farms and homes on the side of the mountain here. The houses above our neighborhood were evacuated.

Jack and Andre spent the morning doing a few chores around the house together and I went for a wonderful pedicure at a spa nearby.

Later, we met up with my Gran and aunt, Tracy, and her family for lunch at a restaurant just over the mountain, where they make delicious meat pies. YUM! They all came back to our place for tea and we ended the day with a lovely walk out on the golf course. We kept going outside to check the progress of the fire but were glad it had burned out quite a bit by the evening. Jack was enthralled with the airplanes and helicopters flying back and forth spraying water over the area.

Helping Daddy sweep the leaves


Yummy lunch with the family

Saturday, April 16, 2011

SA Trip: Stellenbosh

This past week we've been staying in Somerset West, a town about 40 minutes from Cape Town. Some very kind friends have allowed us to stay in their house while they're away and it's been wonderful, as it's much closer to several areas we wanted to explore, than Cape Town.

One of those areas nearby is Stellenbosh, a beautiful wine growing region. We've spent the week visiting various wine estates, eating in delicious farm restaurants (all offering wonderful fresh grown food) and doing a bit of wine tasting.

One of our favorite wineries so far is Tokara and we've enjoyed lunch here twice. Their deli/restaurant is called the Deli Cat Essen (ha!) and has the most delicious food. They even have a playground and beautiful lawn for kids and the views were stunning. No wonder we went back!

The Deli Cat Essen in all its yumminess
Eating out on the patio
(so kid friendly with huge boxes of toys to play with!)

The playground

You could look at these views all day long and never get tired of them

Where all that magic happens!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

South Africa: Braai

In South Africa we don't have barbecues, we have a braai. Pretty much the same thing, consisting of yummy grilled meat. On Saturday night, my aunt Wendy had us over for dinner and her husband Warren did a wonderfully delicious braai for us with chicken kebabs, short ribs and boerewors (farmers sausage) on the grill. We had such fun and after dinner us girls went out to a local store to buy some fudge, one of my favorite South African treats. The photos aren't that interesting but you can see what we were up to :)

Granny, Wendy and me before dinner

Warren, Bryn (4) and Sophie (7)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

South Africa: Tour Bus

We arrived safe and sound in Cape Town last Wednesday. The trip was rather tiring but we made it, as did our luggage, all in one piece, so I'll spare you the details! And we really haven't stopped enjoying ourselves ever since we landed. The weather is still hot here, although with the breeze and cooler nights, it's perfect.

We're primarily staying with my Gran with short trips to other places. On Thursday we got settled and then my Aunt Wendy and her two kids came over for tea. Then in the evening, my other aunt, Tracy, came over for dinner with her husband, Nolan, and their kids David and Lauren. On Friday, we spent the day at my Aunty Sarah's house which was lovely too. Her daughter Camilla is the one getting married, so we talked wedding the whole day with all the cousins while Jack ran around happily in the garden in between naps. (Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos those two days...jet lag got the better of me!)

On Saturday, Granny took us, along with my cousins David and Lauren, on a scenic tour of Cape Town, on a topless bus (yes, that's what they call them here...Andre was intrigued!). This just means they don't have a roof on the top deck of the bus. What a fantastic way to see the scenery! We thoroughly enjoyed the 2.5 hour tour, although poor Jack was pretty wriggly by the end.

We forgot to actually take a photo of our bus, but here's
one from their website

Me with Granny, David and Lauren,waiting for the tour bus

A township we passed on our way

Hout Bay, one of our favorite family haunts growing up

One of my favorite beaches, Llandudno

Craft stalls along the side of the highway

More coastline along the tour

Granny entertaining Jack on the bus

Government building

View of Cape Town harbor

I'm trying to post each day as we do things, so it's not overwhelming when we get back. However, internet access is unreliable so I may not succeed!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

And We're Off!

We have officially begun our big adventure! We're trading the warm spring of the South for the fair winds of autumn a little further south. In Cape Town. Originally we decided to go now because my cousin Camilla is getting married in April (congrats Mill!) and then due to booking issues and visa hassles our three week trip turned into a five week one. Which we're not a bit disappointed about!

Yesterday we flew on the overnight flight to Amsterdam. Nighmarish flight with poor old Jack, who refused to sleep except for a tiny bit at the end. But we made it and checked into this very nice hotel room in the airport (we can't leave the airport because of Andre's visa situation so we're staying here until our flight leaves early Wednesday morning):

They are called "cabins" and are really small but beautifully done and just enough space for everything, including Jack's pac n play. After a good nap for all three of us, we had lunch, explored the airport and were very impressed with what we found. And there's even a tiny RijksMuseum here! (So I did get to see some of the great works of art, despite not being able to set foot outside the airport!) And Jack had great fun playing at this playground with several other little ones:

I think what impressed me the most was the recently added "Baby Care Lounge". It's got these gorgeously done up cubicles complete with a bench for the mom, crib for the baby, and curtains that pull all the way around for naps. And there's a huge counter-top with changing pads and deep sinks to give a baby bath too! Amazing!

Thankfully, we do not need the "Baby Care Lounge" for our 24 hour stay, due to my sweet Husband's forethought in booking us a room. But, if we did, we'd be well taken care of!

So if you're looking for good sightseeing in Amsterdam, the airport's pretty great :)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

13 Months Old

Our Jack boy is officially over a year old now! He's so grown up seeming and toddles around confidently, refusing to hold hands when we're out. He still can't say anything except "gar" for car but knows a lot of words and people's names. He still loves big kids, balloons and anything on wheels. And machinery. And wheel chairs. So much for toys. Give this boy an engine to play with and he's happy!

During our little visit in Chattanooga we had great fun taking Jack to a nearby park. He's never been to a park before and enjoyed everything from the sand to the swings, and of course the slides:

I love this one. It looks like Jack is about to be swept off by gale force winds!!

We are so proud of you Jack boy and love you bunches, you cute little 13 month old!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Room Makeover and The Flood

For the last month our house has been in a state of chaos. Which has slowly driven us mad (although I must say, the Husbie has put up with it all very well considering he's the neatest of neat freaks!). First, we decided to repaint our bedroom. The caramel walls needed a makeover, so fresh pale blue-gray was chosen, after much debating. Then just as we were used to the mess from moving our bedroom into the living room, the washing machine broke, overflowed and caused a flood in one part of our condo (And serious damage in the condo below us. And poured into the basement parking lot. Yes, it really really overflowed!). So we had to move quite a bit out of that area into the living as well. Chaos! It's slowly getting sorted out now, but was rather interesting there for a bit. Here are some pics of all the interestingness :)

Trying to mop up the mess

And there was lots of mess

Anyway, here are the before and after shots of our room. I've still got to put pictures up etc., but you get the idea. I'm really pleased with how the color turned out and am so happy to have a "new" bedroom!



And after

Thank you Husbie, for doing such a beautiful job!