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Pets: when you can’t say no anymore

6 Oct

We are not a pet family. In almost 13 years of marriage, we barely had a forced cat-adoption, a mutant bunny and a hamster that mysteriously disappeared.

I feel that I need to insert a disclaimer at this point to make sure you don’t think that we hate or hurt animals. Our dear cat chose to come stay with us and abandoned her previous owners (surely that speaks well of us, right?) and puberty had the better of the bunny who nearly removed Phillip’s finger before escaping. As for the hamster, while we’re still wondering how he got out of his cage, his body was discovered floating in our pool.

With our kids growing up, we get the occasional “Can we please have – insert flavour of the month – for a pet?”, to which we obviously respond with a “Hmm, let’s think about that” (which means over-my-dead-body). It usually quickly gets forgotten. However, lately, Léanna has been persistent with her idea of having a dwarf rabbit (I guess all this talk about being perseverant did sink in. Darn it!) Fortunately, in spite of my recurrent bunny-from-hell nightmare, I’m not entirely against the idea of owning a Thumper. So we eventually agreed that she could have one for her birthday.

Some reeeeaaaaally cool people in our Bible Study (they’ll be so happy to be mentioned here, they’re my biggest only blog-fan!!!) love DIY jobs and are really good at it. In the same way that I take a book to relax, he builds things in his garage. Besides, they are also bunny-lovers (they don’t have kids, that’s why…) and lately he’s been building rabbit-hutches for Africa. So naturally, I’ve asked politely, in my very non-subtle French way if he would perhaps build a hutch for us; and because they are such great people, they freely gave away their entire Sunday afternoon to come and build with not only the most non-DIY people in the neighbourhood but also with our two boys “helping” – and by helping, I mean “hindering”.

Now by now, you should know that I sometimes exaggerate. So no, we are not completely hopeless, my boys are not so bad and they are not that cool!!





Miko, a very patient (and a little cool) teacher

Miko, a very patient (and a little cool) teacher, with my 2 kids in front and a 3rd one hiding behind, all posing very proudly.

So here we are, with a rustic homemade hutch. I love the rugged look: planks are not completely straight, there is a gap at the back and the roof is not fixed but I would have it no other way. The boys were very proud of their work, Léa was very excited and I am very thankful to Miko and Mary for making this project happen.

All we need now is a bunny… but more of that in another post!

Weddings Galore

16 May

We recently attended two very special weddings. Special weddings because people very dear to our hearts got married. And I don’t know about you but I love weddings. I love everything about weddings.

Here are my top 4 reasons why (there are many more reasons but I do have a life so it’s compacted!):

1. Weddings are awesome because I get to dress up, nicely. Heels and everything.

One of the big let down of South Africa has been the lack of opportunities to dress up. You would think that Christmas, New Year’s eve, and birthday party dinners are all events where we dress nicely…Well, you’d be wrong. Here in SA, they are only another excuse to braai more meat. Back in France, a Sunday lunch is good enough to take out your sexy blouse and your stilettos. Fortunately, weddings managed to pull through even in laid-back-SA and people still dress up. So in the space of 2 weekends, the husband and I (and the kids!!!) could clean up good and look like this:

Léa as a flower girl and me as a dressed up happy woman.

Léa as a flower girl and me, a happy woman, all dressed up.

The really handsome boys, tie and all.

The really handsome boys, tie and all.

The nervous groom and the best man aka my beaaaauutiful husband.

The nervous groom and the best man aka my beaaaauutiful husband.


2. I love weddings because it challenges you to think about the promises of love that were made however many years ago. Those sweet promises are staring at you in the face and asking ‘So??!! How is that selfish behaviour of yours doing??’ and there is no escape! Weddings are a great place to ask yourself how you’ve loved your spouse lately, and while you might shift uncomfortably in your seat, there are two love birds up front saying ‘I do’ thinking that the hard work was planning the wedding. Mwahahahah!!!!

Matty, already pondering the meaning of marriage (not really, I just love this pic)

Matty, already pondering the meaning of marriage (not really, I just love this pic)


3. Weddings are also exciting because it’s good food, that not only is for free but it has also been prepared for you!! Life – As good as it gets! Any food that I don’t have to prepare myself is fantastic food. I’m not going to add a picture to illustrate because, really, who takes pictures of food!!! As for this blog, you can just imagine the ‘filet’, the ‘lamb stew’ and the ‘chocolat fondant’. It speaks louder than any photos. But if you do need a picture of the food, contact Lauren. She takes great pics of the food she makes 😉 (Lauren, I love you and the picture of your bobotie. Really I do!!)

4. Finally, weddings are an easy way to spend time with some of your favourite people without having to plan anything. Okay, that might not apply to everyone but most weddings that I’ve been to, are people from my church. That means that the biggest part of the invitees are cool cats that I really enjoy seeing!  I get to hang around these cool cats (whether they like it or not!) for a whole evening.

Great friends!

Great friends!

Precious Melies

Precious Melies!!

photo 3-1

My silly Andy Pandy…

Basically all the girls of our Bible study!!!! Great girls all around! (Notice how Lauren and I, the shortest girls are the one crouching. We are basically the crouching tigers)

Basically all the girls of our Bible study!!!! Great girls all around! (Notice how Lauren and I, the shortest girls are the ones crouching. We are basically the crouching tigers)


And those are 4 great reasons to love weddings!! There are no more weddings that we’ve been invited to for now, but we’re always happy to gate-crush. That’s how servant-hearted we are 🙂



Valentine’s Day Poetry

14 Feb
It's today.

It’s today.

A good friend of mine wrote me a poem for Val’s Day. When I last saw her, I just shared with her how tough life can be with kids, work, homeschooling and bad hair days… And by shared with her, I mean poured out my own miserable heart selfishly without even asking how she was doing, but she was cool with that because she came, unashamedly, only to use my pool (her words, not mine).

Anyway, she has now upgraded to my new very best friend forever (don’t leave me honey bunny!!) and here is what she had to say, thinking about me, late at night on Wednesday the 13th of February.

Valentine’s Day Sonnet for a Wonderful Friend

My Nutella I will not share
With those who have perfect hair
But my swimming pool is always free
For those who come to visit me.

My name is Ingrid and I homeschool
For that, some think that I’m a fool
But they just don’t know the joy
of learning like it is a toy

Unlimited interest, joyful sharing
Oh homeschooling’s all about caring!
We bond like families should
And bake for all our neighbourhood

Thank you Lord, you know what’s real
And carry me, however I might feel …

On my side, I didn’t write her a poem, because I’m just not that good a friend but also because I hate (oops, I said I wouldn’t use that word so often this year…) loathe Val’s Day.

However, I bought something for my husband. It combines his 2 most passionate loves.

Chocolate and technology together. It almost beats a hot session of love making (blush blush)

Happy Vale… never mind, I don’t do Valentine’s Day…

When I’m big, I want to be a gladiator…

8 Nov

Killian never really said that but I’m sure that he at least thought it! After being stuck for 2 years – almost 3  – on the pirate party, it came almost as a relief to hear him shout for a gladiator party!! We studied the roman time during our school time and it has been a fascinating time period for the kids AND for me!! So I was quite keen about the unusual theme… until I realised that the challenge of living in developing country (emphasis on -ing, as opposed to -ed) is that if your theme is not Spiderman or Hello Kitty or Pirates, there aren’t many available accessories in the shops (which is probably better given that anything with a brand name attached is so expensive!)

After being postponed by a week because of whooping cough threat (!!), and after many days of countdowns from Killian, finally he could have his roman gladiator party. So we made do with a few wooden swords, an old pair of short and some leathery fabric that I bought to complete the look and Killian’s outfit – as well as Matty’s –  was ready. Léa wore a white roman dress (i.e. a white dress that my friend Laure left here because it was torn. It looked almost roman) with a brown belt and was armed with a bow and arrow. She would have fitted the Robin Hood party-theme very well but she thought she looked great and so did I!!

Game wise, I printed some roman pictures and cut them into puzzle pieces. Each cut picture was put in a ziploc bag and each team of 5 children had to find 3 bags, hidden in the garden, assemble the pieces AND name what was on the picture.

Working out the acqueduc, or the arena or the roman soldier.

Then, each gladiator had to attend the training school, called a ludus (I bet you didn’t know that!). The training course was an obstacle course in the garden, with weight training too!

Weight training!

Then, the part that Killian had been begging for the past few weeks: the gladiator games!!!! We formed an arena with giant sparkles (except that in the sunlight we couldn’t see them!!), and separated them into 2 teams again. We invited the emperor and his assistant (akaPhillip and Doug) to watch the games and decide who was the best gladiator. The aim was not to win the fight but rather to entertain the crowd, show courage and skills, and die bravely. These gladiators-in-training showed amazing talent and we were thoroughly entertained!! We had some fighting on their knees, some without an arm, some even had to hold their swords in their mouth for lack of any other limbs. All fought showing no fear and all were rewarded for being the best **something**.

Matt, sword in the mouth, and Sebastian hopping on one leg.

Some tragic deaths 😉

Brother against sister. No mercy!

Skilled gladiator! (Laure, thank you for your dress!!)

Hardcore, yet pensive birthday warrior…

My cake disaster was saved by 2 lovely ladies (Kirstin and Kirstin) who helped me turning what was supposed to be a roman soldier into a shield. When Killian saw it, he gasped (of joy) which is all that I needed 🙂

A fun group of gladiators!! Well done!!

I went to Coldplay concert and you didn’t!

21 Oct

…or maybe you did because every second person I know actually was at the concert. In fact more than 50 000 people made the show!

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Any outing at the Green Point Stadium always starts with a train trip – which in itself is pretty exciting for me since I never take the train. Phil and I, en amoureux, walked to the station, took the train and did the fan walk. We stopped on our way to a cute boulangerie, patisserie and had a quick bite before meeting up with the rest of the troop Kirstin, Steven, Ali, Rebekkah, Michelle, Etienne, Derek (whose pics I’m stealing further down!).

Excitement was building up as the Parlotones were already on stage doing a pretty good job!!

I’m ashamed to say that the first part of the concert is probably what I enjoyed the most – The Parlotones. Please don’t lynch me! I really love their music and I know their songs. I really liked Coldplay music but I don’t know their latest songs. It’s a bit frustrating when you can’t sing along. You know, that awkward moment when everybody starts screaming out of intense joy because it is now their faaaaaaaaavouriiiiiite song… and you just don’t-know-the-song… ??

However, the huge balloons were a great hit. The fireworks were spectacular and Chris Martin is an excellent artist. He owned that stage with his presence. His piano was super funky but I wondered if he needed glasses. He was bending very low, very up-close to the keynotes!

The experience was fantastic, I absolutely love the ‘concert atmosphere’, where somehow you almost feel close to the people around you because you share in the same emotional moment.

The Georgia bug…

3 Dec

Last week end, we attended Derek’s last gig at the Arena Theater. With the wonders of technology, Phil could record some songs on his iphone and I could edit… and voilà!! We put the video on YouTube and it finished off all our bandwidth – although it was definitely worth the trouble,  I’m afraid there will only be one video!!!


Over the hedge, 25…

1 Dec

A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated Steven’s birthday… yeah! Go Steven!! He is now in his 2nd quarter of life and fits perfectly into Quarter Life 🙂

Without blowing his trumpet too loud – I don’t want to embarrass him too much – Steven is an amazingly gifted musician and singer and I find it a real priviledge to know him. I can’t say that I speak to him much – He’s not the talkative kind of person and neither am I, and I don’t always understand him – but the little I know about him is well worth knowing!! … In one word, a very happy birthday dear Steven!

A spontaneous (read “last minute”) Kirstenbosch picnic was then organised from his luuuuvely girlfriend Kirstin and so we went. There were lots of goodies to stuff your face with, Jess and Kirstin are happy bakers!! I, on the other hand, am trigger-happy…

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Fruit Feast…

13 Nov

Group shot, 17 kids and a few more missing!

Fruit is healthy. Fruit looks good. Fruit is cheap. We had a Fruit Feast at the Maynardville park. It’s just a name. We had a picnic with loads of kids, quite a few parents, tons of dress-up clothes and much more other food than just fruit. It was fun! Next time we’ll try the fruit 🙂

Jethro and Kaira, a pirate and an indian, although she insisted that she was just a normal person!

That would be Katherine!!

Léa, flying fairy

Little Leah

On the tourniquet...

Mary, aka Leah!

Thanks Renette for organising the crowd, the clothes and the feast!

A Summer Soirée…

9 Nov

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Because we thought that November is not a busy enough month, this year, we decided to add an extra happening in our schedule. Phillip’s birthday and mine are only 2 weeks apart, so we organised a combined birthday bash. Nothing more than a band playing, a patio under disguise, a few dozen of guests and some deluxe catering. Nothing really… 🙂

After weeks of over-anxiety by Phillip and under-stress on my side, a few disagreements over the renting of a tent, some last minute plan including Derek’s Scout skills in creating a tent from (ugly)blue canvas and an unplanned emergency trips for video tape(!!), the party was finally ready to be happening.

Kirstin, Derek and I designed the shelter effect the day before, consisting of tying blue canvases to roofs, green fabric to trees, some crafty knots, a few cleverly arranged flower pots, artful fabric hanging, loads of candles, without forgetting the magical effect of fairy lights (many of them)… and voila!!

Kirstin (H) did all the catering, the least stressful part of the event. This is how difficult it was:

Me:  Kirstin, we need catering for 40 people.

Kirstin: OK.

Saturday evening, 6 o’clock, ding dong… and here are the (amazing) food platters. She utterly outdid herself and we are so very grateful for her hard work, in the midst of her exams!!

On the entertainment side, Derek and the band played for us. If you haven’t heard him sing yet…well, you’re missing out!! (At this point, it is a good time to advertise his next gig. Go to his facebook page and see for yourself at  Fans of Derek Leisegang ) The intimacy of the evening was heightened by Derek’s soft voice, Steven’s skillful hands on the bass and the melodious sound of Nicola’s cello. Even the weather was clement, the rain stayed away and the wind died down.

For the visual effect… The slideshow “samples” the preparations, the afternoon rehearsal, the stomach-talk and the summer soirée… Take the time to watch the pictures, all 48 of them!

Thank you to my special husband whom I didn’t thank on the evening. I don’t say it often enough but he knows what he means to me, much more than (public) words…

Thank you to all who shared that special evening with us…

And thank you to the Lord for keeping us close to Him, in season of rain and in season of drought…

An evening with Derek Leisegang…

8 Oct

A couple of weeks ago, Derek had a gig at the Labia Theater in town. Usually photos speak louder than words but I’m afraid that my pictures don’t speak too loudly this time. The lighting (or lack of thereof) makes it hard to have a clear shot without having the atmosphere compromised… I’m afraid my pictures don’t do justice to the personality of the evening and the acoustic quality of the performance.

However, the evening was enchanting. I brought two friends with me, knowing that they would not be disappointed. And they were not. Derek’s stage presence is simple and real. His natural down-to-earth and humility is felt in his music and makes it only more attractive!

Georgia was the song of the evening – for me at least!! I just knew it would be the ending song, the ‘unexpected encore’…

In pictures…

The beautiful labia,

The empty stage. I think there is something to be said for an empty stage. I absolutely love the ambiance that reigns on a stage filled with instruments, and yet devoid of the artist. It has a personality of its own.


Part of the decor. The people that had agreed to do the sound and the lights cancelled at the last minute. While Derek managed to source out a new sound equipment, the lights had to be completely homemade: it included lights from different homes (ahem ahem), fairy lights, orchids, a red paper lamp – yes, the chinese kind – and even two goldfish.

The goldfish(es?) survived…

Did I mention personality?

Some of the beautiful guests,


View from the stage. Back to the 30s…

First part of the concert: K, Ray and the Bird. Talented musicians, one with a violin, one with a sax – one of my favourite instruments. It has such a soul!

One of their songs was called Truth. Interesting to reflect on. Unfortunately, it is not on the album Waiting for Harmony.

Finally…. the artist of the evening 🙂

This has to be ‘the Derek’s pose’ (maybe it’s just a guitarist pose…)

Talented musician Steven at the bass, look at those long hands…


Chris at the drum,


When all has been said and sung, time to pack up!


Only one criticism though…. it’s always too short!

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