Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We're going home for a visit.

This is a quick post to say that I have been busy packing and cleaning and worrying for the last few days. We leave tomorrow for Denver, Colorado. We will spend the next six weeks between Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. We are leaving the summer here in Cape Town for snow in Denver. This will actually be the third winter we’ll have experienced in one year. We left our home during winter, survived our fist Cape Town winter (similar to where we lived before, but more rainy), and now are going to the USA, which is currently in fall/winter. I feel as though I have been wearing long sleeves all year long!
I made this for my belly dance teacher.
 I have been worrying because we are leaving our babies, our doggies, here . Our landlord, who lives next to us, is taking care of our dogs for free. It is incredibly nice, and one of the only reasons we can afford to go away. What is nice is that although their world will be disrupted greatly, Reeses and Etta will get to play in their own yard and sleep in their own beds. Etta has been refusing to eat the last few days, which has worried us greatly. We are unsure if she is sick, or aware that we are packing to leave. We’ve adjusted a few things and we hope that she will start eating again. We have notified the veterinarian of our leave, so if she does need to be taken in, it’s all set.

There are "my" colors. I adore them.

And now, another crisis steals me away….

This is A Daft Scots Lass' giveaway, all wrapped up!

I’m not sure how often I’ll have internet access, but I’ll try to post about my adventures when I can!


Song of the Post: Leaving on a Jet Plane as sung by Chantal Keviazuk.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Highs and Lows for the week of 21/11/11.

  •  Planning to go home!!

Our backyard, early 80's.

  • Successfully cooking most of a Thanksgiving meal. I’ve never worked with a whole chicken before, the fresh herbs from our garden made it delicious. The mashed potatoes were perfect and the favorite of several. Yellow sweet potatoes threw me for a quick one. And my marshmallows deflated after pulling my candied sweet potatoes out of the oven. My apple crisp turned out much better than the last one I made. Maybe because I followed a recipe! I’m actually pretty proud of myself…

Mashed potatoes and yellow sweet potatoes. Disintegrated marshmallows.

  • We got our December bonus- which is not really a bonus. They just save a part of our monthly paycheck,  totaling a full month’s pay, and give it to us in December, on top of our regular pay.

My two chickens. I wish the skin had gotten crispier!
  • We went shopping for Christmas and Hanukkah gifts for people back home. We were fairly successful, but can’t buy really big, bulky, or expensive things.

  • Seeing months of volunteer work come to fruition. The “fete” that we had been creating various crafts to sell at, was on Saturday.  It was a fundraiser for their non-profit outreach program. They sold potted plants, papier mache pigs, beaded key chains, magnetized note pads for the fridge, Corn Flakes cookies, among other things.

    The thanksgiving feast!
  • Having an “oops” moment while cutting my husband’s hair. That should NEVER happen. I thought I had a comb on the clipper head, but I didn’t. OOPS. But we made it work. It’s reminiscent of a “high and tight.”
  • Feeling extra emotional this week.  I think it’s because of our impending trip home. It’s stressful for me to think of leaving my “fur babies” here, and I’m just so excited to go at the same time.
  • Getting a bug bite on my hand that I couldn’t stop scratching until I cut myself. Then, I must have had an allergic reaction to it because my lower lip puffed up for several hours. 

 I hope your week went as well as mine did!

Song of the Post: A Change is Gonna Come as sung by Afro Blue. They made it to the final four, but unfortunately they were eliminated. They will still perform tomorrow, Monday, on the finale with Smokey Robinson!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving and Giveaway Winner.

I have a lot to be thankful for:

  • For having the chance to live in another culture and experience a different kind of life.

Beautiful. Looking down towards Muizenberg.

  • That I am an American and have all the privileges and resources that come with being born in the United States.

  • For the friends and family that I have who are supportive and caring.

My hubby is his element.
  • For marrying a man who is forever my champion and my hero.
  • For having wonderful dogs who are healthy and happy and know tricks!

My big girl Etta.
My "dittle bitty girl" Reeces.
  • For having the opportunity to go home for visit this holiday season and be there for the birth of my niece!
  • For having a landlord who is willing to take care of our dogs for free while we are gone.

For strawberries on the beach.

I’m making most of a Thanksgiving dinner later today for five people. On the menu: two small free-range chickens roasted with vegetables, mashed potatoes with camembert, candied sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top, and an apple crisp for dessert. Crossing my fingers/holding my thumbs that it turns out well!!

Giveaway: The winner is A Daft Scot’s Lass, based in Johannesburg. She’s really cool and sassy- you should check out her blog. She chose the Tiger Eye ring and I really hope she likes it!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Songs of the Post: Two for your listening pleasure.

Thanksgiving by Deb Talan. She is one of my favorite singers. This video is one that someone made and used her song in the background.

Iron and Teanaway Peaks from Monty VanderBilt on Vimeo.

And on a lighter note,
Turkey Song by Adam Sandler, performed on SNL. If you haven’t heard this, you should- so funny!

***If you're outside of the United States, click here to see it in a web page.***

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Groote Constantia Wine Estate.

A few months ago, we celebrated my birthday by having a wine cellar tour, wine tasting and picnic lunch at Groote Constantia Wine Estate.
We booked the tour online- there is one on the hour 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily. We arrived 15 minutes late; we had to wait for the next tour. So we explored the grounds of the estate. Not a bad way to spend some time!  These blooms were so bright!

 We reserved our picnic lunch at the Jonkerhuis Restaurant just in time (it was their last one). The prepare them ahead of time and usually need 24 hour reservations. They do however, make a few extra each day, and we lucked out!

"Die Jonkerhuis."
The wine cellar tour was interesting and touched on the basics of their wine making, just right for us casual drinkers. It might not be enough information for someone who was really interested in learning about the industry. 

The big cisterns in the processing area.
This was on an old wine making machine. I have no clue what it says.
Cross section of cork.

Wine bottles filled and fermenting.
Wine barrels. The ones with stains have been used more than once.
Gigantic barrels!!

At the end, we had a wine tasting of 5 wines. We ended up buying the Port that we tasted and got a discount for having taken the tour. We were not familiar with Port and were intrigued by its rich, sweet taste and high alcohol content. 
The lovely 5 wines.

Enjoying the Blanc de Noir.

After the tour, we went to the Jounkerhuis and were given a blanket and told that we could set ourselves up anywhere in eyesight of the restaurant. We chose a half sunny, half shady spot near a low wall. The waitress took our wine order and brought our basket out. It was amazingly good! The variety of food- including bread and butter, salad, curry, quiche, gherkins, cheese, cured meats, cherries in syrup, and a milk tart. 

Our basket. Full loaf of bread!

Oh, the yumminess!

A fun time was had by all. Next time we will bring our doggies because they are welcomed warmly here. Also, we’d bring a little spending money because there are also some book and jewelry stalls to peruse as well!
Our view.
The vineyard.

It was a wonderful birthday.

P.S. Don’t forget to participate in my first ever giveaway: Beaded Rings!! Ends Wednesday.

Song of the Post: The Way I Am by Ingrid Michaelson. Thanks for a great day hubby!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Beaded Ring Giveaway: Lovely Light Creations

Okay, I’m talking the leap. I’m hosting my very first giveaway. I’m giving away a beadwoven ring of your choice. 

One of a kind, custom made!!

Color, shape, size!

Remember these rings?   

Tiger Eye Cabochon Ring.

Present Ring.
Pillow RIng

Pillow Ring

Dandelion Ring.
Dandelion Ring.

And my newest design: the Twin Peaks Ring.

Twin Peaks Ring.
This design was a happy accident.

You can pick whichever design you like, the tiger eye cabochon, the Present Ping, the Pillow Ring, or the Twin Peaks Ring. 

I have most bead colors, and we can work out a color pattern that you would enjoy.

Are you excited?! I’m excited! It’s my first Giveaway! I’m doing it in honor of reaching 200 followers and 85 posts. I never thought I'd get this far. I just want to show my appreciation to all my readers and thank them for being AWESOME!

Keep on the lookout for future giveaways. I’m thinking I’ll have one when I open my Etsy shop.

Really Easy Rules of the Giveaway:

All are welcome! Friends, family, followers, or potential followers, worldwide!

Here’s what you do: 
  • Please leave a comment for me, saying what colors you’d pick for your ring! 
  • If you don’t have a blogger profile, make sure you leave an e-mail address so that I can reach you if you are the winner! (If you’re worried about spamming, you can write your e-mail address to look like this: “withoutcomplexities at gmail dot com”.)
  • If you want extra ballots, become a follower through Google Friend Connect (it you aren’t already) of Lovely Light and, and/or follow me on facebook and let me know in a comment here (a separate comment for each one). 
  • This means that you have up 3 chances (via three comments) towards winning a beautiful handmade ring! I will use a random number generator to pick the winner.
  • If you are the winner and do have a blog, I’d love it if you gave me a little “shout out” and picture on your blog.
  • The giveaway will be open for one week, closing on Wednesday, 11/22/11.

Good Luck!

Song of the Post: 

I’d Like by Freshly Ground. They are an amazing South African group. I really want to see them in concert.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Highs and Lows for the Week of 07/11/11.

  •  We felt very rested after our overnight stay at the beach at a friend’s house. Lovely. Saw penguins, dassies, and a seal sunning itself on a rock.
The view towards Muizenberg.

  • Created several beaded cabochon necklaces using stones I painstakingly sifted through at Scratch Patch.
The hubby enjoying his morning tea and the view.
  • I had a telephone interview for a small job in the next few months, helping coordinate a 3-day program in January or February. I’m pretty sure I got it, but don’t know when I start.
  • Verifying that I will get a discount on tuition for my PhD.
Some of the beach houses.
A curious dassie. Love the 'stash.
  • Going for a hike on Saturday and loving the open air, pine trees, and ocean views. It ended too quickly!

Dassie poop, if you were interested...
  • Trying to figure out who to talk with to get started on my PhD. Apparently they call it the “new student shuffle.”
Majestic seal.
  • I’m missing some of my favorite American foods. I have not found many of the traditional holiday pre-made foods here, and I’m trying to figure out what to make for Thanksgiving. I might have to make a chicken, my own pumpkin pie from fresh pumpkin (here is a great tutorial for making your own pumpkin puree), and homemade stuffing. A big undertaking for a wannabe cook like me!

And me....

Pretty good week if I do say so! I hope yours was as good!

I'll be linking up here for my High's and Lows.

Song of the Post: Wrong for You by Loyiso, a South African music artist! I kept hearing this song on the radio and I thought it was an American singer; I was so surprised and happy to hear he was South African. I really hope that I get to see him in concert!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Beaded Rings.

I’ve been on a beaded ring kick. They’re quite fun and quick to make, I could easily make 2-3 in an afternoon.

I’m thinking that I will have my first giveaway, when I get to 200 followers! Hopefully that means in just a week or two, I’ll be getting it started. 

And these rings *might* be involved! :)

Faceted tiger eye cabochon.

"Present Ring".

I love this color!

"Pillow Ring".

"Dandelion Ring".

I’m trying out names…what do you think of these?

I'll be linking up to several blog linkys and hops. Check them out here, and here.

Song of the Post: Need You Now as sung by Afro Blue. My friend is on the NBC show The Sing Off and the group is progressing well!