Happy birthday my baby!
You bring adventure, love and laughter to every single day. You have a beautiful heart and I couldn’t be any prouder of you.
I am the luckiest mom alive and I love you with all my heart. Thank you for being you!
From the 30th till the 4th Nicola and I headed off to her 2nd big Voortrekker kamp at Venterskroon.
She did the Junior Cook badge and I threw my lot in with the kitchen again. You might be right if you’re wondering why I would do that to myself again after the previous camp where I worked like a galley slave, and you’d be partially right…only I still feel she gets more out of this experience if she doesn’t have me hovering around in her course, plus I had it on good authority that this kitchen was run considerably better than the previous one (it was).
Also I am currently operating under a personal amount of stress and pressure that might make cooking for 450 people seem relaxing. 😉
Anyhoo, on with the photos!
The top one is of where the kids wash their own dishes (with varying levels of success).
My partner in crime at the kitchen and coffee station. We shared a lot of laughs and squeezed every last bit of fun out of this experience that we could.
It was an absolute hoot!
Nicola and her bestie. If you’re wondering about the hats, the camp allocates a specific colour to each group and you have to wear it. This way it keeps the sun out of your face, you write your name on it so it also serves as a name tag, and it’s easy to spot anyone who has wandered off from where they’re supposed to be.
I wore mine mostly strapped to my apron since I established in day one that hats give me head aches.
Dishing for the masses.
The easiest way to stir a giant pot of porridge is with a whisk attached to a drill!
Stirring…lots of that going on.
Andries – the master chef. Cooking in bulk can sometimes lead to bland, but I have to say every single meal was delicious!
Hats in action.
Bestie at our tents.
There is almost no signal in the crater (Vredefort dome), so if someone comes across some bars that spot quickly becomes very popular.
The Grade1s and some of the grown ups slept in dorms, everyone else pitched a tent.
As you can imagine that means a lot of tents. It can be tricky to navigate for the first few days until you pick some landmarks. 😉
What we pack for one night away is more or less what we pack for 5. Obviously most of our stuff isn’t clothes.
Nicola’s group in action.
My pink terrorist…oh! Guess what?! She’s done with her pink phase. Her new favourite colour is black.
Pudding cups stampede.
The girls handing out apples.
This group of youngsters were called Taakmag. Shame, they worked very hard. It was nice to see them relaxing a bit too.
Anna, aka the hat pimper. Every morning she handed out a new hat embelishments for the adults.
In search of signal, not actually taking a selfie with the loo in the background.
The characters for the campfire concert. Shifo (skuifel), Po (poot) and the crocodile bandit (kwaai).
My smoking buddy. We have to smoke skelm on these camps.
Yolandi and I, making a vast amount of pudding…while having some ice lollies.
The camp leader and her grandbaby.
Love this shirt haha.
No drinking on this camp. When I got home, I jumped in the warmest bath I could stand…and then treated myself to a sort of nightcap before sleeping the rest of the next day and a half.
Nicola and myself.
The kids kept their room spotless for inspections. They got rewarded beans for any good behaviour, and the group with the most beans at the end of the camp won a trophy.
Nicola and L-bestie!
Poot and Kwaai.
The best potjie I have ever tasted…ever!
Other than working in the kitchen, Yolandi and I also took care of the coffee station – a very popular table in a place where everyone functions on little to no sleep. 😉
On average the adults had 12 pots of filter coffee (1.7 litres each) and about 2.5 urns of instant coffee a day.
My cutie pie.
Yolandi and Chris’ tent turns into a spider when you take it down.
We named our tents (as you do). Theirs was Die Tabernakel, and mine was Die Driebeen Skilpad.
Some of the rice for a meal.
Silezia having her chin tickled.
Sticky vetkoek fingers. T kept all the kitchen stock in order, not a small task by any means.
First day selfie compared to last day selfie shows a bit of wear and tear. 😉
One of the kichen geniuses made banana bread from some over ripe fruit. No bread pan? No problem! We Mcguyvered some from empty milk boxes.
Nicola and L at the Tabernakel.
All the banners!
Every group got 30 minutes a day at the pool.
Oh and some of Yolandi’s photos below. See, I was also there! 😉
Oh and this photo! I love it…this is how I feel about chopping tomatoes with blunt knives. You might as well just beat them up with a spoon.
So now we’re in school…and with school come school holidays. I don’t know about you (but I have my suspicions), but I don’t have enough leave to take off school holidays (actually, now that I do contract work I have no leave whatsoever).
From my own childhood I remember my favourite holiday memories were going on camping trips with the Voortrekkers, and I desperately want those experiences for Nicola too.
There really is nothing better! New friends, new skills, seeing new places. All more or less safe and lots of fun. Plus a bit of independance…
So this past weekend I went with Nicola on her first camp. It was awesome! She is a natural and took to it like a duck to water. I reckon I’ll training wheel this for another 2 or 4 camps and then she’ll be ready to fly solo
Pretoria people, you don’t get to make snide remarks about Joburg traffic ever again, ‘kay?
We sort of convoyed to the camp site with three other cars. I say sort of since we lost the lead car to an e-tag gate that no one else could go though, and then lost the second lead to a red light that cut the last two off. And then the rest of us just got lost and had to separately navigate using locations that were sent through on Whatsapp.
Eventually we all made it there though…
The kids slept in dorm rooms but adults had to pitch their own tents. It was my tent’s maiden voyage (meaning I had no idea what I was doing). Still managed to more or less get it up before dark, even though Nicola was trying to sword fight with the parts, I ended up with an extra pole and the top sail probable back to front and or inside out, and not bothering with tents pegs because I forgot a hammer and it seemed windstill enough to chance it by weighing it down with my luggage instead.
Where the kids slept.
I had the choice of where I wanted to volunteer, but since I wanted to see how Nicola did on her own I didn’t sign up to help with a course and volunteered in the kitchen.
The kitchen is usually the heart of the camp. Hard work and lots of laughs. A great place to meet new people yourself too.
It was all that…and then some. This kitchen was a little bit understaffed to see to the 215 campers, so we all worked like slaves! If I never see another breadroll in my life, I wouldn’t miss it one little bit.
Pic above it about 60 liters of bolognaise sauce for Friday night’s spagetti.
Everyone washes their own dishes…
This bucket was filled with about 360 eggs for Saturday’s breakfast.
This particular camp is musically themed, so all the courses are music related and so are most of the games.
I sang some songs I haven’t heard in 14 years and heard a lot for the first time too. 🙂
Campfire concerts and kuiers – the best!
This is what the kitchen looks like clean and empty. I want a double dry rack like that at home haha!
10 kg of bacon.
My sad looking tent, that decided it wanted to be a kite later that day. Thank goodness for heavy luggage and angels with hammers and storm pens.
Something tells me I may have been better off sleeping outside, rather than with the children. 😉
A few pieces of boerewors.
This is how you braai in bulk.
My visitor for a few minutes. I mainly saw her at meal times.
I had to walk quite a bit to go have a smoke…so my feet were soooo filthy!
Fellow kitchen slaves.
Saturday night’s fire lighting ceremony.
This moment right here, is what makes it all worthwhile.
Storm pen…need some of that! Also I will definitely be packing a hammer next time.
Breakfast line up.
Uhm…I was a bit unprepared for the massive cold front that rolled in. At least I packed us each one set of warm clothes.
I was also unprepared for hearing LIONS ROAR Saturday morning. I kept thinking that it must be one helluva snorer in the tent section, but no, it actually was lions! About 3km away apparently, but they sounded like they were in the tent next door. And there I was, nursing my coffee and chilling on my camp chair at 4 in the morning.(I can’t sleep late, don’t know how *shrug*).
Another sign of a weekend well spent. 🙂
So how does it compare to way back when? It’s the same, but it’s all different…as it should be, since the kids are all different too.
The uniform has changed
There was not one single flag raising parade
Some of the traditional songs still have the same words, but they’ve been retuned! And they are now sung in different voices! (very pretty)
The camp is run almost exclusively by women now – in the past the split was more or less even but most camp leaders I ever saw were men. I hardly saw any men even leading teams this past weekend. Maybe it’s just this camp? Not sure. I asked a few people and they said that generally it goes this way. Interesting. I wonder why this might be the case?
Anyhoo, we had a blast and I can’t wait for the next one!
Sorry, the beginning’s focus is a bit eratic. The girl in front of me kept moving her head and getting my auto focus excited. Got it right a few seconds in though. 🙂
Happy birthday my little angel!
What a year it’s been for you! For a little person who doesn’t like change, you’ve had quite a lot to deal with and you’ve come through it all with flying colours! New school, new teacher, new friends, new family, new house, new teeth!
Your laugh lights up the world, your reasoning and question show insight far beyond your years, your kindness and fierce loyalty to those you love takes my breath away. I also love your stubborn streak…when you dig in those little heels, you WILL NOT be budged. In a go with the flow world, you will go where you want to with that in your arsenal…pick wisely.
Your love for animals, big and small, is so sweet to watch. You are completely fearless with the exception of meeting new people or going to the bathroom in your own.
I am so incredibly proud of you. I love you so much that sometimes I feel as if my heart’s going to burst from it. You make EVERYTHING better!
You are, quite simply, amazing! I am so glad that you are mine, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Yesterday I received a letter from the school about a cancer awareness day they will be having in August. They are going to sell bandannas, have some sort of word they’ll use for a coin-pledge, and there will be a wall of remembrance where you can stick photos, drawings or letters of loved ones that you’ve lost through cancer. They also sent through the proposed topics that they will be discussing with the children.
I quite like the idea, but I thought if would probably be a good idea to prep Nicola for the event, so that she known what to expect. I explained to her the day and the coins and more or less what cancer is and that there are different sorts…when we got to the bit about the wall and what it will be used for she pipes up with:
“Mamma, Oom Ben het kanker gehad, ne?” (Mommy, Uncle Ben had cancer didn’t he?)
“Ja Nicola, hy het. Hy het kolon kanker gehad. Weet jy wat ‘n kolon is?” (Yes Nicola, he did. He had colon cancer. Do you know what a colon is?) (followed by a bit on an explanantion from me)
“Ek sal ‘n prentjie van Oom Ben teken vir die muur.” (I’ll draw a picture of Uncle Ben for the wall)
“Mamma, weet jy…ek dink Nala is ook dood.” (Mommy, do you know…I think Nala also died) (a dog my folk my folks had a few years ago that had to be put down. Nicola was too young for the whole stare death in the face discussions – I felt – so we told her that Nala went to the Vet and they couldn’t fix her legs so they put her asleep, but that she wouldn’t be waking up)
“Ja Nicola, ek dink sy is.” (Yes Nicola, I think she is.)
“Watse blerrie veearts het ons haar na toe gevat anyway?! Hulle was veronderstel om haar beentjie reg te maak.” (What bloody vet did we take her too anyway?! They were supposed to fix her lille leg)
“Ek is nie seker nie Nicola” (I’m not sure Nicola)
“Dink jy Oom Ben en Nala speel nou saam in die hemel?” (Do you think Nala and Uncle Ben are playing together in heaven?)
“Miskien, ja…” (Maybe, yes…)
“Ek dink as hulle kan golf speel in die hemel, speel Oom Ben seker golf. Miskien kan Nala sy balle vir hom gaan haal?” (I think if they have golf in heaven, then Uncle Ben is probably playing golf. Maybe Nala can fetch his balls for him?)
“Mamma, in die hemel – moet mens elke dag skoon klere aantrek? Het hulle warm pajamas in die hemel ook? Dink jy Oom Ben het warm pajamas daar?” (Mommy, in heaven – do you have to put on clean clothes each day? Do they have warm pajamas in heaven? Do you think Uncle Ben has warm pajamas there?)
“Ek het regtig nie ‘n idea nie Nicola.” (I really don’t know Nicola)
“En Mamma! Weet jy? Ek het gister gebid vir die Here.” (And do you know Mommy, I prayed to God yesterday.)
“Dis mooi my liefie. Wat het jy gebid?” (That’s good my love. What did you pray?)
“Ek het gebid dat hy moet kom en die duiwel doodmaak sodat daai ou nie in mense se harte kan kom en hulle laat lelike en stoute goed doen nie.” (I prayed that he must come and kill the devil, so that that guy can’t get into people’s hearts and make them do ugly or naughty things)
Aaaawe sweet…isn’t she just adorable?!
I am so glad this little miracle is mine. 😀
So…it’s bloody cold.
I may have mentioned this before…I really dislike winter. 😦
Just look at that face!
I strongly considered giving Nicola a second name way back when. Something offbeat like Mischief or Adventure. In the end I decided against it because I thought it might become a self fullfilling prophecy.
Looking at that little face, I think I may as well have done it. 😉
Dress up day at school. This is the face I got because I couldn’t whip up a dragon costume with 15 mins notice (after she said for a week she wanted to be a pirate).
Close up of some bees.
Pretty pink tree.
So I finally managed to go on my course! This is old news by now, but you know…I haven’t blogged in ages.
Another pretty sunset.
I have “a few” posts that I need to get out. Hopefully some time today…
I finally got to hold the little man…awe…isn’t he cute?
And Nicola lost her first tooth!
The permanent tooth underneath was definitely ready to show up. The very next morning the little white points could already be seen poking through the gums.
Nicola accidentally pulled her tooth opening up a water bottle. There was a bit more blood than she was anticipating I gather, because the tears were huge. After she calmed down a bit and we rinsed her mouth with some cold water, she perked right up and proudly displayed the scene of the crime to anyone who wanted to see.
Shame, it does look a bit sore, doesn’t it?
The little culprit I’ve been keeping a cash float for, for aaaaages!
I printed out some stationery with the toothe fairy in the one corner and the tooth mouse in the other (cover all your bases) and my parents kindly left it out with the money I sent (Nicola arranged a sleep over for herself at Ouma and Oupa’s house just before this happened).
You cannot believe the levels of excitement! My mom said she hardly slept at all, waiting up for the tooth collectors.
This picture above is what she decided to buy with her tooth money. A fishy for the tank. Apparently his name is Sunshine…coming from a little mouth with a missing tooth it’s more like Shunshine though – so cute!
I’d like to say this photo was taken just before Nicola bothered to pick up her own Lego for the first time, but sadly i am still waiting for that particular first to happen. 😉
I do like the photo though…and the lego is safely back in toy jail after i had to pick it up for the third time that day.