Over the past few weeks we have been following the Give Your Child the World Book Tour with Simple Homeschool. I thought it might be a good idea to put all our posts and collections of books as we journeyed along, all together in one spot. We began our journey by welcoming folk from around the world to our particular corner of the world in sunny South Africa… with outings, recipes and of course our favourite books…
And the next step of our journey was to pop over for an interview on Simple Homeschool… with all the details of Growing up in South Africa.
Se7en+1 Journeys Around the World
Each of these links takes you to a post, with some tips for virtually traveling through that region and a heap of books to help you on your virtual journey.
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Tags: Brilliant Books · Geography · Se7en at School
August 30th, 2016 · 1 Comment
A while back we posted a review of Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home… and months later many of those recipes have become part of our family food culture. The thing about Jackie Cameron’s recipes is they are classics, packed with nostalgia – your childhood could literally flash before your eyes and then she adds a subtle South African twist and you literally want to sigh for joy. When I saw that she had launched a new cook book, Baking with Jackie Cameron, Published by Penguin Random House South Africa, I was really keen to try it. What can I say, another collection of recipes that did not disappoint, this book is simply packed with stunning recipes, from breads to pies, to cakes and treats.
There are tons of recipes in here that you want to try right now, and you will most likely have the ingredients in your kitchen already. The recipes are totally doable and easy to follow… and many of recipes you will be able to include into your family recipe repertoire very quickly. Also, I love the South African twist to her recipes, there is nothing better than a local tweak that makes a recipe more like home. This has become the cookbook that my kids turn to when they are looking for something to bake and I know I can leave it to them and they will produce something great. One thing they have learnt, and it is a good thing, is to read the recipe right through to the end before you start and otherwise lay out and measure all your ingredients before you begin. I have been trying to teach that for years… well this is the book that achieved that!!!
Se7en + 1 Recipes We Tried and Tested
- Granny Dot’s Jam-Drop Biscuits: I love that she includes so many family favourite recipes in her cookbook, and these biscuits reminded me very much of my own childhood. We had to try them. They were so quick and easy to make, and a little flare with the jam takes them up a level from ordinary biscuits… to a tea-party, with almost no extra effort.
- Maids of Honour Biscuits: I remember these as a tray of treats as a small child, talk about a walk down memory lane… a layer of biscuit, a layer of jam and then a sweet topping of coconut meringue. I can see we are going to be making a lot more of these… trays and trays of them in fact.
- Lady Finger Biscuits: I have always wanted to make finger biscuits, yes, I am that person that wants to make tiramisu from scratch. But here’s a recipe that I don’t think we could get right. We tried a few times because the flavour is perfect, they taste exactly like finger biscuits… but somehow when we folded the egg whites into our cookie mixture… these biscuits cooked flat… and then my son pointed out that another name for them is “cat’s tongues” and we thought… hmmm they do look like those, so we weren’t too far off.
- Chocolate and Cinnamon Malva Pudding: This pudding is a game changer for our family. We only have dessert about once a week, when granny comes for dinner… well this has become that dessert. Half way through this recipe you have to pour more liquid over it and the first time we did that… I thought, “This is never going to work!” But it did… this is a lovely rich and delicious dessert… click on the link and try it… you can thank me later!!!
- Beer Bread: We have our standard daily bread recipe, that we use almost constantly. What I have been looking for, for a long time is a quick alternative, especially one that you can add a few little surprises as well, this one has rosemary and roast garlic hidden inside it. Actually this recipe is so easy to make that you wonder why this little gem isn’t ingrained in all of our minds for whenever we need it. How useful to have this little loaf ready in a jiffy, for any number of events.
- Bar One Chocolate Cake: I am just going to whisper this… if you buy this recipe book for only one recipe, then this is the one. We loved it so much that we made it for Yuppie Chef for their birthday. This recipe comes with a warning, it takes time and you can start two days before… well no kidding!!! There are a lot of components and there is a lot to learn with this recipe, and so very worth it… how to make caramel sauce, a bar-one sauce, a rich chocolate cake with yogurt and bar one chunks, and then finally a bar-one icing. There are many steps and while we made it in a day, it literally took all day. One thing is, it just can’t be eaten in a second, it is so good that you can only have small morsels of enjoyment. This cake went straight onto everyone here’s wish list, as the cake they would like to have baked on their birthday.
- Cameron’s Chocolate Sponge Cake: After the crazy cake, you do actually need to have a standard chocolate cake that you can make, or your kids can easily make without too much effort and in a short space of time. This cake recipe is one that my kids embraced as their own and they especially loved the icing.
- Cameron’s Crystallised Sugar Cupcakes: When I asked my kids what they would like to make from the recipe book… they could choose anything they liked… this is the recipe they chose. Really easy to make and really effective recipe. I can see this is going to be one of their goto recipes for when friends come round.
So that is se7en + 1 recipes that we tried and tested, and there are still so many that we didn’t get to try. This is one of those cookbooks that we are going to return to again and again… and then again. If you would like to get to know Jackie Cameron’s work better then take a look at her website… and if you are looking for recipes that she has published, specifically from this book, then take a look at this link here.
We would like to thank the publishers Penguin Random House South Africa who supplied us with a copy of the book for review purposes. We were not paid for the review and the opinions expressed are as usual, entirely our own.
Tags: Brilliant Books · Cook Book Reviews · Monday Munchies
Just waving hello from Cape Town, the weather has been glorious… hiking, beaching, and just relaxing… busy weekend of the best kind!!!
Lovely Links from This Week
- On the Art of Simple: The Beauty Quiz You Won’t Find in Magazines… really read this, it is pure gold.
- Simple Homeschool and Write Your Own Permission Slip…
- I just love watching Instagram stories… I can’t want to create my own (yet)… if you feel like you need to know more before you jump in Fat Mum Slim has 15 Tricks and Tips, basically everything you need to know.
- Gotta love Seth Godin’s daily magic, especially this one: Speed is Relative…
- On Desiring God, a great article called: Wait to Date Until You Can Marry.
- Just how dreamy are Alisa Burke’s New Coloring Books…
- Imagine Childhood’s Beautiful Nature Walks… Their Summer Collections.
A Blast From the Past:
Book of the Week
I am seeing these books all over the internet and can’t wait for them to reach here… they look absolutely fabulous, the kind of books that I want to definitely dive in and read… long before I let the kids take a peak!!!
If you have a middle to high school age student, then I highly recommend this free online course for them… Digital Learning: A course for becoming confident with modern online tools. Announcing a FREE seven-week online class. Our kids have done this, it had given them the tools and skills to go much further than they could have done on their own. It is a fun way to learn, students are expected to work hard and meet their deadlines and it is a fabulous way for them to learn a lot of online and work skills in a safe environement. The students work hard, and meet their their deadlines and the progress is impressive. Our kids have really learnt enormous amounts from it… our reluctant to be online ever kid learnt more than enough to work comfortably in an online classroom and our IT loving kid got just as much out of it… working to their strengths… You can take a look at the site and student assignments over here.
Digital Learning is Impact Virtual Learning’s most popular class–great as a stand-alone for your homeschooling teen or as a prerequisite for the Impact Virtual Learning electives. Digital Learning has received terrific responses from parents and students. You can see some of the reviews at www.facebook.com/impactvirtual. The course features website creation, digital citizenship, and working with embed codes and design tools. You’ll love the teacher feedback, and your homeschooler will love the peer-interaction. Registrations are now being processed at www.impactvirtual.com/courses.html
That’s us… Hope you are all had a fabulous weekend!!!
Tags: Fabulous Friday Fun
Some weekend reading for you all… A couple of our kids are in the chapter book reader stage of reading, they all still love reading easy chapter books and there are so many great and creative books in that category that I don’t rush them to move on. This possibly the hardest stage of reading for parents as their kids step out into reading on their own and suddenly the shear volume that they get through means that you can no longer veto every book they read and you have to have taught your children some discernment.
This is the season of endless series and even the plodding readers tend to get into a series and then read themselves through them. I can’t love all the series they choose to read and I mostly don’t read these to them at all, except just to start them off. In fact, I tend to leave them to it at this stage and let them wind their way through to the next series. I have to say I am just happy they are reading, building fluency and launching their reading career. An amongst all the endless series there are sone genuine gems, this is a level of book that is not to be missed out on, there is a lot of new material produced at this level, and a lot of it is well worth discovering.
Se7en + 1 of the Latest Chapter Books
Alfie Onion written by Vivian French and illustrated by Marta Kissi:
This is really a great book for gaining confidence for an emerging chapter book reader. It is a fairytale, filled with lurking trolls, ogres and forests, not to mention every one has a funny “vegetable” related names. Alfie is on a journey, really his brother
Magnifico Onion is on an adventure, and Alfie is there to carry the luggage. It turns out that Magnifico, who has hero status because he is the seventh son of a seventh son, is not quite the great adventurer that he thought he was and he has to rely on Alfie to save the day. Alfie is definitely the underdog, and has the special ability that he can talk to animals. This is pure fun… and of course everyone lives happily forever after. You can discover Vivian French over here
and Marta Kissi over here.
The 52 Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and illustrated by Terry Denton:
This is part of a series… and if you haven’t read The TreeHouse Series then we highly recommend them… higher than highly!!! In fact these would be my absolute go to book gift for kids, boys especially (my girls read them but my boys loved them) who are a little bit nervous to dive into chapter books. These books are literally inhaled in our house, lovely fat chapter books, illustration rich and the story of the combined author/illustrator’s magnificent treehouse. The author/illustrator team live in this incredible treehouse and every book in the series adds another crazy thirteen stories to the treehouse… in this one there are genuine snakes and ladders, and a ninja snail training academy, as well as a high-tech detective agency. These books are slapstick, they are silly, they are hilarious and packed with good clean fun. They are great for building confidence in beginner readers… everybody wants to say they have read a fabulous fat book. Our reviews of The 13 Story Treehouse
and The 26 Story Treehouse
and The 39 Story Treehouse
and their very own website over here.
The Parent Problem by Anna Wilson:
This is the story of Skye Green, a twelve year old girl who has always wanted to write a book and to this end she keeps a diary, that she hopes someone discovers and publishes someday. Pages of her journal are interspersed throughout the book… and you get a real insight into her life because of it. She has an extremely annoying younger brother called Harris… and then her mother launches onto the scene in a bright and glitzy outfit that goes against all fashion sense… Skye describes her life as mortifying. While Skye is mortified by her mother’s antics, and doubly mortified that the hulky teenage son from next door comes over to babysit her and her brother… her mother isn’t actually at dance class, she is goAnd then new neighbours move in… and more mortification occurs… it is out-loud-laughing funny… there are lots of peaces to the puzzle about and it all comes together at the very end. You can read Anna Wilson’s Blog over here.
Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo: Kate Di Camillo, we love…
and Raymie Nightingale is a walk down memory lane for her… so we love it too. This is the story of a ten year old girl called Raymie, whose father has run off with the dental hygienist and her quest is to get him back. Her “well thought out” plan is to enter a talent pageant, The Little Miss Central Florida Tire Competition, and win… and then her father will notice her in the paper and come back to her… But on entering she gets far more than she bargained for, and here in lies the story, true friendship can be found in unexpected places. Her two friends are complete opposites, between stubborn Beverly Tapinski and dramatic Louisiana Elefante, they all have to learn a lot more than twirling batons. They have have to learn to depend on each other and be there for each other through thick and thin. This is a poignant funny read that like all Kate Dicamillo’s books will appeal to far more than just those who see themselves as the main character. (Spoiler alert) When you read the second to back page, there is a list of things that happened in Kate DiCamillo’s life that were very similar to Rymie’s… that list and possibly that she never could twirl a baton, are the keys to why so many people will love this book… it makes everything relatable.
Notebooks of a Middle-School Princess by Meg Cabot:
Hood #6 absolutely loving this series and has slowly worked her way through them. In the first book in this series, Olivia finds it hard to believe that she is an actual princess, when in fact she always thought she was just a regular school girl with a regular life. In the second book, Olivia is invited to join the extended family as they prepare for an elaborate family wedding and every thing starts to go terribly wrong. The question is, can Olivia save the day? Meg Cabot has written quite a few series… including her hugely popular (especially in our house) teen reads the Princess Diaries, this series is really something she has written for her primary school audience to enjoy. Meg Cabot is popular for a reason,
her books are excellent reads.
Funny Stories for 7 and 8 Year olds selected by Helen Paiba:
These books are collected short stories by the “best of the rest” children’s writers and would make great gifts… the only problem with them is that they have an age on them… which means that my nine year old, who would enjoy them… won’t touch them. Authors like Magdaret Mahy, Michael Bond and Dick King Smith, Anne Fine, P.L.Travers, Judy Blume and many more. The stories are indeed funny and a really worthy selection of tales to be told, but I used them as fillers for a quick read, when we found ourselves between books.
Fairy Dust, Fairy Treasure and Fairy Dreams by Gwyneth Rees:
This is light chapter reading, very definitely for girls who like fairy stories. In each book there is a girl going through a difficult time. In Fairy Dust, Rosies parents split up and she moves to an island in Scotland and the new elderly neighbour says, “Watch out for the fairies. And then Rosie starts to discover fairies everywhere. In Fairy Treasure, Connie is sent to stay with her boring aunt and uncle for the summer… her uncle suggests that if she is bored, maybe she should go down to the lake to look for fairies and Connie thinks he is a little bit mad. And then she meets a book fairy, she is a little distressed because she doesn’t love books at all, and so the story winds on. In Fairy Dreams, Evie is sent to stay with her Grandma, her Grandma is very ill. Evie discovers that fairies live at the bottom of her bed and rather than the bottom of the garden. These books are fairly easy reads that my girls enjoyed because they are stories about real children just like them, and the fact that there were fairies who helped each of the girls with their troubles meant they enjoyed the stories better.
Thank you so much to PanMacmillan South Africa for the copies of these books for review purposes. This is not a sponsored post, we were not paid to create it and the opinions expressed are as usual, our own.
Tags: Brilliant Books
The season is changing. There is a definite sense that things are warming up and we know that there is still a lot of wintery spells still to come… and there are caterpillars everywhere… furry, colourful, spikey,… dozens of caterpillars.
Anyway we have been hoping to spot butterflies… some of us are very optimistic about all this… we have been reading this book about how to attract butterflies into our garden…
Gardening for Butterflies by Steve Woodall and Lindsay Gray published by Struik Nature:
There are so many gems of wisdom in this book, it is packed with all sorts of things that you can do in your garden to attract butterflies into it, and I am sure that along with the butterflies a whole host of other interesting visitors will be stopping by and calling your garden home. This is a good thing, greening little patches of the environment, one by one… can only improve our natural habitats and the biodiversity around our homes. The book covers different biomes of gardens in South Africa and different types of gardens… and suggests very specific types of plants you can use to make your garden more attractive to butterflies. There is a chapter on the life cycle of butterflies and their feeding habits and then it goes on to list almost a hundred butterflies… a page spread for each of them, with clear and detailed photographs each life stage and packed with suggestions that would make your garden more attractive to them. It is a fascinating read and my kids have been pouring over it. I feel a new enthusiasm for garden projects over the next little while as we learnt that there are quite a few things that we can do to make our garden more hospitable to butterflies, easy and doable projects.
Se7en Simple Steps to Improving Your Garden for Butterflies
- Create wide open spaces.
- Butterflies are attracted to nectar plants.
- Fill your garden with a variety of textures, and layers.
- Rocks with morning sun, they like to warm up on them.
- They like muddy patches.
- Your garden needs areas that have been left to go wild.
- Areas that provide shelter.
- Feature plants for the butterflies to perch on.
Pocket Guide: Butterflies of South Africa bu Steve Woodall published by Struik Nature:
Meanwhile my team of butterfly enthusiasts have been working their way through the Pocket Guide… It’s a great guide that is small and light and fits in their backpacks no problem. It is has a section on tips for identifying the butterflies: size, shape, colour, markings, behaviour and distribution… not to mention how the pupas look and similar species… what months of the year you will find them. More than 250 butterflies are on display in this book. So much information has been put into this book, but it is carefully displayed and very easy to use, even for junior users who are looking to improve their nature notebooks.
We would like to thank Struik Nature and Penguin Random House for the books, that they provided for review purposes. This is not a sponsored post and all opinions expressed are as usual entirely our own.
Tags: Brilliant Books · Se7en at School
We recently reviewed The Young Explorers Frog App… I am so glad we did, because when the opportunity arose for some of us to go away for the weekend and learn about local frogs and toads we were good and ready to learn a lot more… We didn’t have to go very far to find out more about our local amphibians, it turns out we live in the perfect neighbourhood for them.
Silvermine River Valley
I have to say we drive past this corner of Cape Town so often, and I have always said – wouldn’t it be lovely to stay there… so a bit of a dream come true to stay in this old homestead built over a hundred years ago.
We are very familiar with this neighbourhood, it is somewhere we have done a lot of hiking and exploring, there is so much to see around here.
Of course the weekend we were there… was the weekend of one of Cape Town’s wild and crazy winter storms, which means that whenever the sun shone we all dashed outdoors. One thing about Cape Town is though the storms can be really wild, there is always a a break and the sun comes out to tease us, before the storm continues. Some folk were so excited to be away for the weekend, they didn’t even wait for the little windows in the clouds when the sun to came out.
Gotta say it has been a while since I stood in a long queue for meals…
And even longer since I slept in a dorm… fun times!!!
I was with a group of kids, who were there to learn about frogs and it turned out to be perfect weather for frogs… lots of frogs. And what a variety of frogs …
And probably the wildest stormy Saturday night we have had all year we headed out on a night hike to meet the endangered Western Leopard Toad… the rain absolutely poured down and the wind howled around us, and I was very glad that my smaller kids were home safe and sound and in bed… because it really was a wild storm. But what an adventure… and then the rain stopped and there we were in the silence on the dunes with the moonlight shining down on us… all pretty magical. Memories are made of this.
The purpose of the night hike was to find and rescue the Western Leopard Toads that cross busy roads and learn more about the work the Western Leopard Toad Volunteers do. All I can say is volunteering is not for the fainthearted, and these folks have quite a job on their hands, especially since toads enjoy wet and wintry weather. For a very small time window each year these toads cross major roads in our area, as they migrate to and fro from their typical habitat to their breeding grounds and then back again. The volunteers are there to protect the toads, get them across the roads safely and keep a count of the number and size of the toads they spot. This is real live citizen science in action.
These toads are endangered and desperately need help to cross the busy roads that connect the urban areas of Cape Town… you have salute the folk that head out each night to protect these little guys. You can find out more about the Western Leapoard Toad Volunteers here.
The morning after the mighty storm we were able to catch an hour or two for a walk on the sand dunes… Honestly it is hard to believe that you are in the middle of a city when you are here…
Previous Silvermine Hikes
This is the final week of our Read the World Book Club Series. This week we are journeying to Australia and the Arctic and the Antarctic… along with The Simple Homeschool Folk and #Giveyourchildtheworld.
Welcome to Australia, Oceania and the Polar Regions
A while ago we wrote a series on Traveling to Australia… Here is our Great Australian Adventure…
It wouldn’t be Australia without Pavlova…
And sometimes you just have to make Laminations…
It’s always a good time to create a didgeridoo…
And a platypus party…
Traveling in Antarctica
Se7en Travel Tips for Visiting the Antarctic…
Travels in the Southern Ocean…
A Visit to Marion Island in the Southern Ocean…
Life on a Research Vessel…
Our Favourite Books from Australia, Oceania and the Polar Regions
Actual Factual Books
Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill:
This book is on the top of our wishlist, it has had rave reviews and I am dying to spot it. The story is illustrated with pencil crayon drawings and tells of Shackleton’s journey, I have a feeling that this is a book that will inspire adventure and wonder…
D is for Down Under by Devin Scillian:
This is an Australian alphabet book… celebrating all things Australian in rhythm rhyme… a long poetical accolade. Lots of facts and great illustrations.
Not For Parents Australia: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know by Lonely Planet:
What can I say, Lonely Planet books for kids are such fun… Pages and pages of engaging illustrations and fascinating factoids. I am sure there are many parents that really enjoy these just as much as their kids do!!!
This is Australia by Miroslav Sasek:
Let’s be honest, you just can’t travel the world without Sasek books. Beautiful illustrations and heaps of stuff to learn all in a presentable story.
Se7en + 1 Picture Books
Summertime by Franz Berliner and illustrated by Ingrid Vang Nyman:
This is one of my favourite childhood books the I have hung onto for years… it is the story of Nuka and Naja, they are eskimo children that live in a distant land cross the blue sea in the Land of the People. The children wonder if people around the world are like them or if they are completely different. The magic of this story is that it tells you of the life of the eskimo children in rich detail… you can see inside their igloo, you can see the toys they play with… they go on a journey the piece of ice they are on breaks off and they are adrift on the ocean, surrounded by all the wondrous animals of the Arctic circle. They survive and eat fish and birds eggs… one day some men in kayaks spot them and rescue them and take them home to their family. Just a beautiful story that I felt I could climb into as a child.
Diary of Wombat by Jackie French:
If you haven’t discovered Jackie French and her delightful wombats then you are seriously missing out… Funny, funny, funny… even the youngest child will be amused by the antics of the mischief between these pages. The wombat that desperately wants just a little more love and attention, with the very special ability to dig holes…
Edward the Emu and Edwina the Emu by Sheena Knowls:
More fun and hilarity from Australia… who knew Emus could be so funny. Stories written in rhythm and rhyme… Edward decides that his life as an Emu is terribly dull and so tries to be several different animals, all to no avail… he eventually decides that being an Emu is actually his favourite. Meanwhile Edwina lays ten eggs and leaves Ed to sit on them while she goes off on an job hunt. She is truly optimistic to start with, but slowly but surely discovers that perhaps she should be home and helping with raising their family. These books are pure fun.
Where’s Stripey by Wendy Binks:
Another Emu story, Crikey is left to look after thirty eggs and then thirty chicks, while his exhausted wife heads off for a rest. Crikey does his best, but he loses one… and he heads off and asks a number of Australian animals where his chick is. It ends well… and there is a double page spread with a few amazing facts about Emus.
The Platypus Series by Chris Riddell: Pure picture book fun for little people, by one of our absolute favourites, Chris Riddell. These books are stories about a platypus and his sweet Australian animal friends and the antics they get up to.
Possum Magic by Mem Fox: You cannot talk about Australian stories without mentioning the fantastic Mem Fox. This is a story for young foodies, when Grandma Poss makes Hush invisible, she can’t remember how to reverse the process so they travel Australia trying all sorts of flavours and delights, trying to find the one taste sensation that will make the difference. Lots of tasty fun.
Are we there yet? by Alison Lester: This is the story of Grace and her family as they do a road trip around Australia. This is a great story to use to learn about Australia as you take the trip with the family…
Alone on a Wide Wide Sea by Michael Morpurgo: This is a Michael Morpugo, so beautiful and you are sure to cry. After WWII a number of orphans were shipped, from Britain to Australia… to start a new life. They left everything behind and they had no chance of maintaining any ties with the past. This is the story of Arthur Hobhouse, one of the orphans, and his survival through unspeakable hardships. Miraculously he does survive, and grows up to be a master ship builder. He builds a solo yacht for his daughter Allie, who returns to England to look for Arthur’s long lost sister. A fictional story, based on facts… and there are a number of features in this book that make it an absolute winner… the maps, the boat designs, the email correspondence that reads like a diary between Allie and Arthur… nice little touches that add to the authenticity of the book.
Red Sand Blue Sky by Cathy Applegate: Amy, a city girl from Melbourne, went to stay with her aunt in the middle of the Outback. She and an Aboriginal girl, Lana, strike up a friendship. Together they discover that someone is stealing from an Aboriginal heritage site… they set out to discover who and why… this is quite an adventure for children who are confident with chapter book reading.
Previous Posts in this Series
Se7en Are Off on a Book Voyage
Se7en Journeys to Africa with the Read the World Book Club…
Interview on Growing up in South Africa on Simple Homeschool…
Se7en Welcomes the Read the World book Club to Sunny South Africa…
Se7en Journeys to Europe with the Read the World Book Club…
Se7en Journeys to North America With the Read Aloud Book Club…
Se7en Journeys to the Middle East With the Read the World Book Club…
Se7en Journeys to Central and South America with the Read the World Book Club…
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Tags: Brilliant Books · Geography · Se7en at School