Thursday, 19 July 2018

July's Daybook

^Sofia, Rebekah and Gabrielle posing for a picture on an icy cold Saturday morning at the local farmer's market...

 ^Yes, Caleb probably needs a haircut...but oh, none of us can bear the idea of chopping those precious golden curls! 

Outside my window...
 Even though it is now 6:30am, it is still black as pitch outside.
There is a strong, warm wind blowing, making it unpleasantly hot and uncomfortable for a July day...
Thankfully, it is snug and cosy indoors and I am enjoying a little peace and quiet before the day begins...

I'm listening to...
Lately I have been enjoying listening to The Tenor's whilst going about my daily tasks or when I am cooking, much to the delight of one younger sister in particular.   {{smiles}}
I also love soundtracks and have been listening to those from Pearl Harbor, Braveheart and How to Train Your Dragon.  
I have not seen these films so cannot recommend them, but the music is beautiful and I enjoy having them on when I sit down to write or read blog posts...

I'm thankful for...
New opportunities and beginnings...
Sweet memories...
Having Dad home for almost two months...
Daily walks with a few of my siblings and Dad...

From my kitchen...
I confess that I haven't been all that creative in the kitchen of late...
I think there has been a bit too much going on and taking up my attention. 
I have been making homemade Chai tea which is perfect way to warm up on a chilly winter's afternoon...recipe to follow soon! ♥

I am wearing...
I have actually been up since 4:30am (story to follow) and have already had coffee with my parents.
They decided they'd go back to bed for a few more winks of sleep, but I knew that if I did that, I wouldn't be able to get up come 6:30, so I am currently in my pajamas {{gasps}} writing this!
 
Around the house...
This morning I awoke at 4:30 to the sound of activity coming from somewhere in the house...
Upon getting up to inspect, I found my mom and dad mopping up water in the bathroom - apparently a pipe had burst and little Rebekah heard the noise so she could thankfully wake someone up!

In my cup...
Just a short while ago, it was coffee.  Ah...my favourite.

 I am watching...
Life in our home has been a whirlwind of activity since I got home, so I haven't been watching very much of late...
I did, however, treat myself to a movie the other evening and sat down to watch A United Kingdom which I had been wanting to see for awhile.
What a beautiful story and certainly well worth a watch...

One of my favourite things...
 Having Dad home has been such a sweet blessing.
He is definitely one of my favourite things this month!  {{Smiles}}

I am reading...
Oh dear, nothing at all I am afraid...
 Do children's picture books count?  I have been looking after a three year old little girl twice a week and one of our favourite things to do is read stories!  
Little Caleb also loves books which is something we encourage, so whenever he asks us to read, we make a point of stopping whatever we are doing to read to him...

I am hoping...
...to keep up with more regular writing...
...to walk every day...
...to embrace every day as a gift...
...to cherish each member of my family and to keep them close...

I am creating...
Not much at present, I am afraid.  I have yet to sew anything new since my trip to China.
However I am sure I will remedy this soon as my my mom has asked if I could sew two new peasant tops for her...{{Smiles}}

For the love of words...
I read these beautiful words on a lovely blog I follow recently...
I just have to share this quote with you...I know it will inspire you as it inspired me!  

"The true way to live is to enjoy every moment as it passes, and surely it is in the everyday things around us that the beauty of life lies." 

~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

 Quiet moments...
...in this house?  {{winks}}
Right now it is blissfully quiet and I am cherishing every second.
Soon a new day will be underway.
There will be dishes to wash, floors to be swept, washing to be hung...
There will be no peace till everyone is once again tucked up in bed and the lights are off.
But oh, I am thankful for this noisy household and the joy and laughter each day with this family brings.
It may not always be pleasant or all that exciting, but the Lord is present in our home, working in the hearts of all who dwell here and leading them closer to Him.

What is happening in your world, lovely readers...?

~
Happy weekend, dear readers...
Thank you for stopping in and leaving me such sweet notes.  It is a true joy to count you as friends...
Blessings and love in Christ!

P.S.  Thank you to my dear friend, Elizabeth, who allowed me to use her format for this daybook post.  
Do stop in for a cup of tea with her at Ponderings from the Inglenook...I know your heart will be blessed and encouraged by her gracious and uplifting blog.

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Wednesday, 18 July 2018

A Month in China ~ Part One

I cannot describe how wonderful China was and how thoroughly I enjoyed the month I spent with my dad...
I came home with so many precious memories...stories to share and treasures to keep, that I honestly don't know where to begin...

I loved every minute of my trip and hope to convey these feelings of awe and delight in the next few posts...
Thus...how about you pop the kettle on to boil and make yourself a steaming mug of tea before you settle down to this, the first part of my Month in China series...
{{smiles}}

~
I flew out from George on Thursday June 7.  (Thank you all for your prayers for my safety!)
How strange to embrace to my mom, sisters and Caleb in a big hug one last time before walking out of sight and onto the airplane, bound for China...

I landed in Johannesburg later that evening, picked up my suitcase and headed to the arrival area where I met the person the lodge had sent to pick me up.
For me, this was the most daunting part of my trip as it was my first time in Johannesburg, first time to book a lodge and to stay overnight in a strange place all alone.
The Lord was merciful and the lodge I had booked turned out to be the perfect place for me to catch a few hours of sleep before I headed to the airport again early the next morning.

I was pleasantly surprised at how little time it took for me to check in and go through security - I think it helped that I arrived early. 
I was able get some coffee and breakfast and enjoy some plane spotting before waiting at the allocated gate for my flight...

At this stage an overwhelming sense of excitement began to well up in me!
Once I had boarded the airplane, I was delighted to see that I had an entire row to myself which meant I could lie down during the flight. 
There were no good movies on the plane and my eyes burned terribly anyway, so I ended up listening to music for the duration of the flight...




14 hours later, we landed in Beijing and about 40 minutes after that, we were inside Beijing airport where the fun and games really began!

I was completely overwhelmed by the sheer size of the world's second largest airport!
I know that it is only by God's grace that I managed to catch my connecting domestic flight to Hefei.  Beijing airport was something of a nightmare - no one spoke English for starters and then finding where to go to collect my luggage (which involved a train ride to the correct terminal), where to check in for my domestic flight to Hefei, etc. was extremely exhausting and stressful. 
However, I don't remember feeling at all panicky, even when my phone didn't work so I couldn't contact my dad (I had signal for about five minutes shortly before boarding which meant I could at least let me dad know I had arrived safely in China)! 

Eventually I found my way to the right gate. 
I felt a huge sense of achievement when I boarded the next and final flight to Hefei!
It was pouring with rain when we arrived in Hefei which delayed our disembarking of the aircraft by about twenty minutes...

What joy to collect my bag for the last time and make my way to where my dad was waiting for me - it all felt so surreal... 
I couldn't believe that I was finally with my dad in China after such a long, grueling journey!
I actually recovered fairly well from my trip, only I had the strange sensation of being on an airplane for a few days afterwards...

The first week I spent recovering and enjoying a walk once, sometimes twice day...
We also went into the city for coffee one morning which was thrilling!
I didn't take as many pictures as I had hoped in that first week as I found myself simply wanting to take everything in without having to worry about getting a good shot...
Here are the few pictures that I did take...and perhaps I should warn you now that part two more than makes up for the lack of photographs in this post!
{{smiles}}

^Coffee at Starbucks on my first Saturday in China
^Area surrounding the lake...
I walked here quite often as it is relatively close to the school my dad teaches at.

^This track goes around the lake  





^I loved this place!  We stopped in here several times over the course of the month...

And thus concludes this first part of this little series...do stop by next week for part two on Nanjing!

Have you been to China?  Have you ever traveled overseas alone?  

It is always a joy having you stop by, sweet friends...
I truly appreciate your kind notes!

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Sunday, 15 July 2018

Wintry Beach Walk


Hello lovely readers...
As you may already have guessed, I am home from China...
I am actually in the process of sorting through and uploading photographs from my trip which I hope to share in a series of blog posts soon.
But in the meantime I thought I would share these pictures of the winter's day beach walk we went on this past Sunday...








How do you enjoy spending your Sundays?

May your week be blessed!

"My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. I will praise you, O Lord among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth."

~ Psalms 57:7, 9:11

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Saturday, 14 July 2018

Rebekah's Bake-Off Inspired Birthday Celebration


Hello lovely friends...
I just realised that I have yet to share pictures of sweet Rebekah's bake off inspired birthday celebration with you.

In the weeks leading up to Rebekah's birthday we had been watching the first three seasons of The Great British Bake-Off and decided that creating something of our own bake-off, on a much simpler and smaller scale, would be a lovely way for us to enjoy her ninth birthday.

We had a wonderful day creating beautiful celebration themed cakes and afterwards enjoyed a slice of cake and a cup of tea...


We divided ourselves into teams - Beth and Gabrielle baked a cake together, Sofia and I made up another team and Nancy and Rebekah were the third and final team.  
Caleb enjoyed helping here and there and sampling as we went along. {{smiles}}


Mom and I made Rebekah a gorgeous pink apron which we gifted to her on the morning of her birthday.  We made a matching apron for her doll too which I unfortunately didn't photograph.


This is the stunning cake Nancy and Rebekah made...I think the result was quite professional! 


Oh, I just have to share a picture of the sweet birthday girl and her mommy!  


This is the gorgeous cake Beth and Gabrielle made...I love how they chose to decorate it!
I think I may try this technique sometime too...


The happy bakers - Team Beth and Gabrielle


Sofia had a very definite picture in her head with regards to our cake.
She wanted it to be pink.
And we had to use plastic icing.


We ended up spending so much time baking our cake though (I will humbly confess that our cake did taste the best...) that the decorating was a little hurried towards the end.

All in all we had a delightful day in the kitchen - I think the bake-off was a wonderful success!  
Everyone was exhausted afterwards, though.

It is also over a month later and I still have no desire to eat cake.  
{{winks}}

Have a blessed Lord's day, sweet friends...

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Thursday, 7 June 2018

A Little Note...and a Prayer Request

Hello sweet friends...happy Thursday!
Just popping in to say that I am leaving for China today...{{smiles}}

I would truly appreciate your prayers for strength and safety for my trip.
I am incredibly excited about this opportunity to travel to a different country and spend quality time with my dad.
I am hoping I will be able to stop by every now and again to share an update with you...

With love and blessings,
Kelly-Anne

Sunday, 3 June 2018

A Little Women Review...


How delighted I was to discover BBC had brought out a wonderful new adaption of Little Women in a three part miniseries...

This week my mom and few of my sisters sat down to watch this adaption of Little Women for the first time.
Today I would like to share my thoughts on this brand new adaption...

~
First of all...let's meet the March Family...

 

Emily Watson played strong and gentle Marmee.  Personally, I love her in this role.  If, like me, you enjoy period drama, you may recognize her from Belle, Miss Potter and War Horse to name but a few...

 "My child, the troubles and temptations of your life are beginning, and may be many; but you can overcome and outlive them all if you learn to feel the strength and tenderness of your Heavenly Father as you do that of your earthly one. The more you love and trust Him, the nearer you will feel to Him, and the less you will depend on human power and wisdom. His love and care never tire or change, can never be taken from you, but may become the source of lifelong peace, happiness, and strength. Believe this heartily, and go to God with all your little cares, and hopes, and sins, and sorrows, as freely and confidingly as you come to your mother."

~ Marmee to Jo, Little Women 


Meg has always been my favourite character in Little Women. 
I think I preferred her in the 1994 film adaption, but Willa Fitzgerald does a good job of playing Meg...


  Maya Hawke was a wonderful choice for Jo!  I really enjoyed her performance...


"I like good strong words that mean something..."

~ Jo, Little Women

 

Annes Elwy played the part of Beth to perfection. She was sweet, gentle Beth in every way...

 

 Kathryn Newton played Amy.  I always find it difficult when an actress plays both the part of a child and the grown woman. 
Seeing Amy as a mature young woman just didn't work for me - I kept imagining her as a naughty, spoilt child!


 Laurie... There is a boyish innocence about him in this adaption. Jonah Hauer-King played the part of mischievous Laurie quite well, but as with Amy, I found it difficult imagining him as an older Laurie. 

 

And I do think he has some way to go when it comes to showing emotion in film. The part when he is refused by Jo felt so dreadfully unnatural!


Aunt March was played by Angela Lansbury.  What a joy she was and brought an element of fun to the screen!


I love Michael Gambon (You may recognize him from Emma, Wives and Daughters, Cranford), and he really was a fantastic Mr Laurence!

 

 One aspect of this mini series I genuinely appreciated, was that there was more interaction between Father and his family shown. I feel this draws the viewer in to the story in a very real way - this is a closely knit family and the bond between father, mother and daughters is plain to see.


 I thoroughly enjoyed this mini series. Even though I am something of a purist when it comes to film adaptions of classic novels like Little Women, I actually liked the fact that this adaption was not completely true to the book. Maybe it is because I have read the book so often...or seen the 1994 movie over and again that I quite appreciated the new twist! 


 I felt I could connect with each character in a special way.
The soft lighting, the scenes of the countryside and animals as well as the touches of lace throughout gave it real charm and made it feel very real which is ideally what you would like to see in any film!


I was, however, disappointed with the soundtrack of this particular BBC mini series. BBC usually does an incredible job of creating beautiful music for their work... Think of the soundtrack from Emma... Or the opening title in Call The Midwife.
However, Little Women sadly does not qualify. I found the choice of music somewhat random and a bit too modern...


 This mini series could have done with another part...things were slightly rushed at the end so as to tie up any loose ends.  But then maybe I simply would have liked this series to never end...{{smiles}}

 
If you decide to watch Little Women, let me know what you think. 
Personally, I would give this mini series 3/5 stars. The acting was a little forced at times by one or two actors, but overall I thought it a lovely version of one of my very favourite books.

  "Now and then, in this workaday world, things do happen in the delightful storybook fashion, and what a comfort that is."

~ Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
 

What is next on my list of period dramas to watch?
Goodbye Christopher Robin should be coming out in South Africa very soon... I have been eagerly anticipating this film and was dreadfully upset when it didn't show in theatres here.

Happy Sunday to you, dear readers...
Thank you for your sweet visits - it always brightens my day to have you stop by!

Blessings in Christ,
Kelly-Anne