Saturday, October 16, 2010

Life is a learning party!

Realising that learning takes place all the time is one of the mindset changes you learn to make as a home schooling parent. Our children learn while they're doing the shopping with us, while they go on mountain walks, while they set the table for supper time and even when they go to parties!

At a recent birthday party we attended we were entertained and taught all about snakes by Sean the Snake Man. A while back Jenna had seen a picture of one of her friends with a snake around her neck. Ever since then she has wanted to do that too. Seeing as mommy was dragging her feet in taking her to the snake park she was very excited to hear she'd have to wait no longer when we were invited to a snake theme party!

Now if you're squeamish about snakes (like me) be warned there are pictures here that may just make you sssssshhhhiver.......

This is the Cape Cobra. When Sean took the Cobra out I was wondering if I'd heard him correctly. I've only seen pictures of cobras with their hoods flared out. Where was this one's? Well, not only our kids learn everyday, but so do we! The typical Cobra picture you see in a book is of a cobra giving you a warning: Don't come near! If they're relaxed and happy, there's no hood! It's a good thing I know this now as just the other day our neighbour found one in her garden and had to call the Snake Park to come and remove it!

This is the Black Boomslang (Tree Snake-literal translation)-apparently one of the most venomous snakes around. She likes to tie herself into knots, this is meant to help her hold onto branches when she is in a tree.

At first Sean tried to convince us that this rather large snake was also harmful to us, but then he let us know that in fact she is just a young mole snake. Now if she's a young mole snake just how big does an adult mole snake grow to?! And yes, we have found these in our garden too! Or rather, I should say our cats have found them.

Do you recognise this stripey fella? I mean the colourful one by the way! Yip, that's my little man who jumped right up and volunteered himself as the first candidate to hold a snake. Guess that's what you get when your mommy keeps on insisting "You're the Bravest Little Man I Know!" Sorry I have to admit I didn't get the snake's name-too busy reeling at the shock of my little man about to hold a snake! :-) Perhaps one of you know?

And if that was a little too squeamish for you, just take a look at this little lady's necklaces!
And she just stood there and giggled gleefully! The innocence of youth!!

We've been reading through the Creation Story in Genesis again and we'd recently read about how God says to the snake: You'll crawl on your belly from now on. Well this got me thinking why did He say that? I think I got my answer: This creature looks like a snake.....or is it a lizard? She has snake like features, but she has legs! Sean said that she was (scientific) proof that once upon a time, long, long ago snakes had legs. This reminded me of what we'd read and I'm wondering if that is why God said that snakes would forever more have to crawl on their bellies? Perhaps they all really did have legs long ago. {Sorry I missed her name too-my only excuse is I wasn't standing near enough. Reptiles creep me out!}

And then it was our friend James' turn to be brave! Here he is with an iguana on his back!

Everybody (including Jenna) feeling his scaly skin.

After that it was time to get the really loooooooong snake out. He had everyone stand in a line.
With arms outstretched, waiting patiently for ........

Monty, the Python! Look at him! He's so long and fat!

And this is where I decided to get brave.... I knew I had to overcome my fears...... so I stepped a little closer..... reached out....... and touched him! And it actually wasn't too bad. He felt warm, soft and smooth. Nothing like I had imagined. See, I can be brave too......

But not this brave! (So proud of himself!)

And definitely not brave enough to actually look at him when he's in my hands!

Probably a little more uncertain like Rachie-but even she is braver than me!!!

If I am to be perfectly honest though, I preferred to look at the beautiful view!

In the end a wonderful time was had by all! Jenna had a dream come true, mom overcame her fear (even if it was just a little step) and the birthday boy had an awesome party filled with lots of fun and learning too!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Trains, planes and automobiles!

Things have been a bit serious around here lately and so I've decided to have a break from my educational ponderings to share a few photographs with you ;-)

Both Jen and Mikey (and Ray) love learning about different forms of transport. For a very long time Jenna has wanted to ride on a steam train. So when I saw an advert in our local newspaper for a ride on a steam train in Cape Town, we jumped at the opportunity!
The Atlantic Railway Association had organised a special day for displaying their trains along with some old motor vehicles and an old fashioned bus! Not only could we get a close up look at a steam train, but we all got to get on board and chug a little out of the station to get a feel for what it would have been like in the old days.

the red devil

just look at all that old wood work!

they just don't make 'em like they used to!

this was the train we got to squash into along with all the other enthusiastic steam train lovers

One day mommy, I'm gonna have a car like this!

dream big my boy!

Another highlight of the day was getting to ride on an old Beefeater Bus. We had a lovely little trip into town and around the waterfall in the center of Adderley Street. The kids and I didn't get to do the Fan Walk during the World Cup, so this was a little bonus for us getting to see the Soccer Fountain.

That's my "little" girl in the stroller-poor little chicken was still recovering from the flu so she needed her own means of transport to conserve her energy. Michael happily supplied the power behind her wheels.


When Jenna was around 18 months we took her to her first airshow. She was still so sensitive to loud noises that she spent most of the time with a scowl on her face and her fingers in her ears!
During a creative spell recently she created a picture of the air show which prompted her into asking if she could go again. So Ray did some researching and discovered that sure enough there was going to be an air show again this year! After excitedly counting down the sleeps to the long awaited day it finally arrived.

We were shuttled, very kindly, by the fancy airforce taxis to the display area-no long walks and fights for parking for us ;-) Besides seeing different types of aeroplanes the kiddies got their first up close and personal looks at different army vehicles.

G.I Joe and Josephine on board a tank.

Inside an American Medic vehicle.

A brief look inside a Russian Helicopter.

And please, don't ask me to remember this huge air bus' name!

Unfortunately walking around all the displays meant we missed a lot of seeing the up close action of the airshow. When we tried to find a place to sit to view the take offs, landings and action stunts we found the crowds of people too much to infiltrate. So having been unsuccessful at getting beyond enemy lines we retreated back to the transport vehicles and watched the final stunts at the wheels of this huge truck!


Every now and then Ray takes one of the kids on a Dad's Day out. Last week-end he took Michael to a Street Rod Car show.

A serious little boy discovers suped-up engines.....

taking a closer look inside.

Now that's more like it Dad-the Fast Cars!

His first official driving lesson.

After a lovely morning checking out all the big cars, Michael declared that the Drifter remote control cars were definitely the coolest! Boys and their toys!!!!