28 June 2010

The Seven Things that Keep Me Going

24 June 2010

Danika’s Card Making Party

This year was Danika’s last big birthday party - we only give big birthday parties for the first 7 years. She wanted to have a Princess party... again! So we asked her if she won’t consider something else, since the last TWO parties were Princess parties.  

She choose a card making party.  
Heidi-Mari and I made each of the 8 birthday friends a pre-cut card making set, the same as the sets we made Danika for a birthday present - they just had to assemble the cards. 

Heidi-Mari painted every girl’s stamped image to fit the colours of the paper.
They enjoyed it so much, as did the mothers!

Look at some of the beautiful cards:

By now the girls were hungry and thirsty!

We didn’t bake a cake this time, only small, sweet, girly treats which Danika chose from the Cupcakes for Princesses recipe book. 

Princess Cupcakes, Rocky Road Brownies, Princess Doughnuts and Princess Heart Butter Cookies. 
Rocky Road Brownies
(makes 18 slices)
350 g Digestive biscuits (we used Tennis Biscuits)
125 g plain chocolate, broken into pieces (we used 85% Lindt Chocolate)
225 g butter
4 tbsp honey
2 tbsp cocoa powder
85 g mini marshmallows
85 g white chocolate chips
  • Put the biscuits in a bag, seal the bag and using a rolling pin, crush the biscuits into small pieces.
  • Put the chocolate, butter, honey and cocoa in a saucepan and gently heat until melted.  Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
  • Stir the crushed biscuits into the chocolate mixture until well mixed.  Add the marshmallows and mix well then finally stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Turn the mixture into a 20 cm / 8 inch square cake tin and lightly smooth the top.  Put in the refrigerator and chill for 2-3 hours, until set.  Cut into slices before serving.
Princess doughnuts
We made our own doughnuts in our Panasonic bread machine, using the basic dough cycle.  We then rolled out the dough about 10mm thick and pressed out small circles with a glass and put on a baking tin.  Leave at a warm place until double in size.  Make holes in the middle of the circles (we used a clean thick colouring pencil).  Fry in vegetable oil until brown at both sides.
For the topping:
2-3 tsp water
2-3 drops pink food colouring
200g icing sugar, sifted
decorating sprinkles
  • Make the icing by gradually adding the water and food colouring to the sugar until you create a smooth but thick consistency.
  • Use the back of a teaspoon to spread the icing over the tops of the doughnuts to make an even, smooth coating.
  • Sprinkle your chosen decorations over them and let the icing set for about 30 minutes.
Princess Heart Butter Cookies 
(This recipe is wheat-, diary- and sugar free)

3 1/3 cups spelt flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
250 g butter (at room temperature)
1 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 egg yolk
  • In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Using a whisk, a handheld beater, or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the honey and vanilla until fluffy.
  • Beat in the egg and egg yolk.
  • Sift the flour mixture over the butter mixture.
  • Combine with a wooden spoon - don't’ beat it with a handheld mixer at this point, it’s too stiff - or the stand mixer with the paddle attachment just until it’s well combined and there’s no loose flour.  If you’re using a stand mixer, start on slow speed so flour doesn’t fly around, then increase to medium speed and beat for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, if forms a cohesive mass, and your hear the motor straining.  
  • If there’s any loose flour on the bottom of the bowl, fold it into the rest of the dough with a silicone spatula and combine for about 15 seconds more.
  • The dough can be stored, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator.
  • When the dough is cold, cut it into shapes with cookie cutters and pull away the excess dough.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees F or 180 degrees C.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until very pale brown.  

Danika also chose a very delicious homemade Strawberry and Cream Milkshake
(serves 2)
175 g frozen strawberries (we used canned strawberries and put it in the fridge)
125 ml single cream (sorry, it isn’t diary free!) but we used raw organic cream.
175 ml cold milk (we used rice milk - which gave it an extra vanilla flavour)
1 tbsp castor sugar (we used honey)
  • Put the strawberries, cream, milk and sugar/honey into a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
  • Pour into glasses and serve (can be decorated with mint leaves)

They enjoyed the party so much! 

21 June 2010

Let the Celebrations Begin!

In the Lues-Household, Birthday-Season is Open! In the next two months we will have 6 birthdays!
On Wednesday we celebrated Danika’s 7th and Andrew’s 5th birthday! 

Danika’s birthday was on the 14th of June and Andrew’s birthday the 15th of June.  I can still remember the night Andrew was born. 

I was in labour the whole day of Danika’s 2nd birthday and by 23h30 my midwife commented: “Linnie you now have to decide quickly when this baby is going to be born, on the same day as Danika or on his/her own birthday!”  At that stage I didn’t care, as long as I could get the labour over and done with.  

Well, Andrew was born 00h12 - Typical of his unique personality, he wanted to have his own birthday, BUT considered his mother and entered the world shortly after midnight!  
Since the 16th of June is a public holiday in South Africa, we decided to celebrate their birthdays on the same day, when daddy would be home and we could all enjoy a day of celebration, without him rushing off to work after breakfast! 
And it was a delightful day!

The two days preceding Wednesday, were freezing cold days, we even had snow on Table Mountain, so we made a family bed in front of the fireplace in the lounge on Tuesday night.  We woke up Wednesday morning, with most of the children in bed with us - they added up during the night!
There is only a 16 months age difference between Andrew and David, so we always buy David a small present on Andrew’s birthday. This year we also bought Daniel a little present. While they are so small they don’t understand when they don’t have a present to open!

All the children in bed with Christo - opening the presents!  It almost looked like Christmas! 

The birthday boy and girl with the beautiful birthday cards Heidi-Mari made them.  Heidi-Mari has been making cards lately and entering them weekly in Card making challenges. She has been asked to be a Design Member for the Stampin for the Weekend Challenge for the next 6 months. 

Danika’s Card
Andrew’s card  
With this card Heidi-Mari was chosen as one of the top 3, in one of the challenges she entered.

Little Michael enjoying his first sibling birthday!  He is growing up quickly - so attentive to everything happening in his busy world.  Everyone just love and enjoy him so much!

Danika with the present Heidi-Mari and I made her - a set of 7 cards she can assemble on her own. 

Everything in this present was off-cuts from Heidi-Mari’s card making supplies!  

A few weeks ago Heidi-Mari helped Danika make a card.  Heidi-Mari cut the pieces of paper, Danika coloured the stamp on her own and assembled the card under Heidi-Mari’s supervision.  They then entered the card in a few challenges.  At one of the challenges they were so delighted to see her entry, that they choose her card as one of the top 4 cards and asked her to be a guest designer for this week
With the cards she received for her birthday, she will now be able to make her own cards on Monday-nights when Heidi-Mari makes her cards!
For Andrew and his little brothers, LEGO, airplanes and helicopters will always be a brilliant choice!  So they all got helicopters and LEGO.

Andrew and his helicopter

CJ helping Andrew build his LEGO helicopter.

Josua helping Danika with her LEGO helicopter. Yes, when you are one of only two girls in a house with 6 brothers, you play LEGO just as hard as a boy!

Daddy helping David with his LEGO airplane.

Daniel making just the right sounds for his DUPLO airplane!

And little Michael?  He fell asleep while being nursed and I sat back and enjoyed all the fun and joy around me, while holding him!
They played for the rest of the day with their presents, while Christo and I sat with them in front of the fireplace.

By 15h00 we had high tea and the birthday cake. Danika had her party the previous Saturday and Andrew had his this Saturday.  For both a special birthday cake were made for the party, so we only had a very simple decorated cake.

One half pink for Danika with 7 candles. 

The other half blue for Andrew with 5 candles.

And then Daniel wanted to blow the candles too!
We finished a very enjoyable day with our own homemade pizza and a MacGyver video in front of the fireplace! 

Do you remember the MacGuyver TV-series?

During the past two years, we bought all 7 of the MacGyver series, and we love an evening of watching an episode of MacGuyver.  At this point in time we cannot afford to let out children watch TV - we, purposefully, don’t have reception for TV, we only use it for DVD’s.  MacGyver is such a roll model for our sons - making plans all the time, hating guns and making a difference in his community - something you don’t see in modern day TV series anymore!

The pizza bases we make with spelt flour and top it with chicken/mince, pineapple, green pepper, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese - Christo and CJ add chillies... 

You’ll need to search far and wide to get a pizza as delicious as the pizza made by Christo, CJ and Heidi-Mari!

This truly was a blessed day!

13 June 2010

First Do No Harm

A few weeks ago I had to pay a visit to the dentist.  We thought I needed only a few basic repairs.  I had tooth ache on the one side of my mouth, which most probably only needed a replacement of an old filling. I needed the amalgam to be replaced with a composite filling last year, but we postponed it, since I was pregnant with Michael and we didn’t want to take chances with heavy metal poisoning from removing of the mercury filling. 
Unfortunately the visit didn’t turn out to be a few simple repairs.  After about 20 X-rays, trying to locate the cause of the pain, it turned out that I needed a root canal in the one tooth, which would clear some of the pain. After evaluating different options, it also included the extraction of my one and only wisdom tooth!  I don’t have much knowledge about dental procedures, but I realized that I’m in for some pain! 
The local anesthetic was applied and 10 minutes later the right side of my mouth was numb. During the next 2hours my dentist had to increase the anesthetics, my throat was totally numb and I could only pray that I will not die in the dentist chair, due to inability to breathe!  
I was so relieved when he announced that he was finished and I could rinse my mouth and I was still alive! Little did I realize that the worse was still to come!  My friendly dentist, very concerned, asked me if we had any pain tablets at home and then wrote me a prescription for one.  We don’t have any chemical pain tablets at home, only natural remedies like Injura and Traumeel S drops and ointment (which works wonders for painful gums) and White Willow tablets (for any kind of pain).  I couldn’t see myself make use of the prescription, but didn’t want to argue with a numb mouth.
Our dentist is at the opposite of the mountain, in Camps bay, and after the hour long drive home, I was exhausted. The feeling was returning to my mouth, and I could feel a serious pain making its way into my skull!  I decided to go for a nap with little Michael, hoping to wake up after an hour, feeling much better and ready to start preparing dinner.  Wishful thinking!  An hour later I woke up with a pain I’ve never experienced before!  I could hardly breathe or talk due to the pain in my mouth, which made its way up into my skull. I tried to lay still, cover my mouth and be a big girl, but it was impossible.  
Blinded with pain, I got up, carefully, not to wake little Michael, who was fast asleep next to me and got to another room.  I needed help and I needed pain tablets, something I haven’t used in the last 15years!  I Skyped Christo.  I was covering my mouth and could only nod my head, not able to say a word. He promised me he would get the pain tablets and bring them as soon as possible.
It was now 15h20 and I, after trying a hot water bottle and ice cubes, decided the ice cubes maybe bring some relief, but not nearly enough for this unbearable pain!  Hour after hour I was waiting for Christo.  Convincing myself he is on his way with the pain tablets and I most probably only needed to wait another 10 minutes.  By 17h30 I was discouraged and sorry for myself.  How busy could my husband be to not hasten home to his wife in pain?
By 18h00 he rushed into the house.  I could not hold back anymore, and tears was running down my face.  I’ve never experienced such intense pain in my life!  Christo started to explain how he was trying to get pain tablets which was safe for nursing mothers, but I didn’t mind if it was the tablets on the description or not, I only want the tablets NOW!  It was only then that he, with much compassion told me, actually there isn’t any safe tablets  for me to use!  What! Was I supposed to just bear this pain!?  Only then I saw him open a box and bring out a machine, about the size of an A4 book.
He pushed some buttons and put a probe on my collar bone, after two minutes he asked me where the pain was and started moving the probe over my jaw.  

All the time he was explaining to me how he, a friend - who was dependent of pain tablets and morphine for 8 years before he got healed from lupus, another friend - a Homeopath and the local pharmacist in Durbanville, researched the whole afternoon to find a pain tablet suitable for a nursing mother. All the pain tablets contained a mix of seriously toxic and potentially harmful chemicals and could cause serious kidney damage (amongst others) to little Michael.  The best they could find was (Schedule 5) tablets which would cause ‘hallucinations’ and they suggested I use it only if I could not sleep during the night!  But our Homeopath friend told Christo about this little machine he had, for the treatment of pain.  He was on his way home and would drop it off at the Health shop.
Christo was sceptic about the machine.  Apparently it sends out different colours of light, infrared ‘laser’ and magnetism. He treated me with 4 different frequencies over a period of 20 minutes and asked me how I felt.  To his great disappointment I didn’t feel any different.  I just remember telling myself I need to get a grip on myself, there is nothing we can do about this pain and I’m not planning to drink tablets that will cause me to hallucinate - I have a baby to take care of during the night!  Graciously, while thinking all this, I fell asleep.  
Half an hour later I woke up and realized the pain was gone!  Seriously, I had NO pain at all!  My family was busy having dinner (which CJ and Heidi-Mari prepared) and the only pain I was aware of, was in my tummy, because I last had breakfast and was very hungry! Christo cut the chicken and quince  in tiny pieces and together with rice and gravy, I ate my whole plate of food!
After dinner, Christo gave me another treatment with the RIKTA machine and by 20h30 I was helping Heidi-Mari making a card for her card making challenge. I didn’t have one moment of pain since I fell asleep before dinner!
As I was pondering the care of my husband, friends and pharmacist, I couldn’t but help to wonder what went wrong that we believe only chemical medicine can bring relief to pain and heal.  Hypocrites said: “First do no harm.”  The pain medicine that was prescribed to me would cause beyond others, organ damage to my baby and hallucinations. Do you have any un-natural medicine in your house, that has NO side-effects? What went wrong that doctors don’t even care anymore that the medicine they prescribe can cause serious side-effects? What went wrong that we, the public, so trust the medical professionals that we blindly use the stuff they prescribe without even investigating the side effects? Where is, “First do no harm?”
I’m just thinking about anti-depression- and hormonal medicine, that almost every woman, who walks into Christo’s health shop, takes!  In 90% of cases it is only a lack of Omega 3 in women’s bodies, that causes the imbalance in their hormones.  The side-effects of anti-depressants and hormone replacement is more than what you can ever risk your life on, but still we take them and trust our ‘caring doctor’ BLINDLY! 
I don’t even want to talk about the VERY poisonous chemotherapy stuff (prepared by “scientists” in white coats, wearing gas masks and cloves) they inject into cancer patients to ‘heal’ them. Don’t think I don’t know what I’m talking about! For weeks I sat next to my Lung-cancer-diagnosed-dad while they injected these poisonous ‘medicine’ into his veins! The medical personnel wore cloves the whole time while they were preparing the intravenous drips. Chemotherapy has a less than 2% efficacy over a period of 10 years.  Exactly 4 years after my dad was diagnosed with cancer I had to tell his grandson, he doesn’t have a grandpa anymore.  Since my dad had cancer, we learned mind blowing facts about cancer and alternative methods of treatment (with 80% healing success)! But, that’s “un-$cientific - read more about this in Christo’s latests blog posting - Homeopathy and the Christian.
Over the years there were amazing discoveries in the medical field on treatment of the human body, and as in my case, relieving pain, without harmful side-effects.  For almost every chronic medical condition there is a natural alternative, but most of the time, there is no or very little money involved.  For example, the cure for 90% of sinus related problems, is simply eliminating dairy and wheat from your diet.  This kind of treatment don’t bring in any money for pharmaceutical companies, and money is what the medical world is all about! (My Dad’s cancer treatment cost R 1 000 000 eight years ago!)
“First do no harm”.  Makes you think, doesn’t it?  Since my root canal, Christo got hold of the company who imports this little machine from Russia and we plan to get one for our family in the relieve of pains and injuries, and to help other people with it.
I want to leave you with a challenge: Go search for the pamphlet inserts of all the un-natural , chemical medicine in your house and count the cost of using the stuff. Then try to find a natural alternative that, ‘first does no harm’!

07 June 2010

Fascinated by the World of Music

As a young child I grew up in a home full of classical music.  It was still the time of the LP records and my dad had quite an impressive collection.  He loved the music of The Sound of Music, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Liberace.  I remember when still at school we once had a debate on “Should teens allow our parents’s preference for classical music to be ‘forced’ on us?”  Even without the knowledge I now have on peer pressure, and subtle indoctrination, that debate didn’t sound right to me. Even the teachers suggested that we shouldn’t allow our parents to force down there style of music on us and after all, classical music was old fashioned!  I was a very shy girl in those days, hiding in the shadows - what else do you expect :-) - and didn’t dare to oppose the general notion, but I enjoyed it tremendously when my dad put on his classical music. 
When I met Christo, and discovered that we shared a common interest in classical music, it was just wonderful and part of knowing that we were made for each other! But while I was a farm girl, knowing classical music only through records, Christo’s parents had exposed him to real orchestral performances!  He knew all the general instruments, while I only knew and played the piano.  He very quickly introduced me to life performances and I just loved every moment!
After getting married we bought a whole series of classical music CDs and played from Bach to Beethoven to our unborn babies. After their births, we payed it 24hours a day in their rooms.  We still have a video recording of CJ’s home coming from hospital after he was born. I had to sit and wait in the car, while Christo rushed inside and put on the soft baroque music. He then came to fetch me and with hushed tones we introduced our 4day old first born to his new home and the world of music.  
Over the years, as our home became filled with the voices and noises of many little children, we couldn’t play classical music 24 hours a day anymore, but we often had special evenings when we played a certain musicians music and it was always classical music.  It must be in the genes, because they thoroughly enjoyed these evenings.  For a few years CJ played the trumpet, before he discovered horses and Heidi-Mari practiced the violin, before she decided to do ballet more regularly.   When we were not listening to classical music, we filled our home and driving times with the music of Michael W. Smith, Chris Tomlin and my personal favourites, Serene and Pearl.  The little ones would very excitedly ask for the ‘Hallelujah’-DVD of Michael W. Smith and watched it repeatedly on DVD!    
A few weeks ago, on one of or coffee dates, we walked past a big screen video performance by Andre Rieu.  I’ve often seen him on big screens in shopping centers and was fascinated by the beautiful dresses, the glamour and excitement that accompany his performances. That evening we stood for almost and hour in awe and watch his performance on the big screen in a retail shop - without able to hear anything!!!  

The next day Christo came home with a three DVD set of Andre Rieu The 100 Greatest Moments!  

We immediately put it on and then the miracle happened!  

The children were mesmerized!  Heidi-Mari, Danika and my boys with the sweet spirits, Josua and Andrew, couldn’t stop looking at the beautiful dresses and amazing instruments and my boys with the real wild temperaments, CJ and David was fascinated by the flamboyance on the stage - horses, fireworks and the fun and humor of Andre Rieu and his musicians.
Within a week or two, little Daniel 22 months old would excitedly come and ask me ‘Andre Rieu?”.  Many times over the past few weeks, Andre Rieu would calm down my home, during the crisis hour of food preparation before daddy came home! Andre Rieu and his young, enthusiastic musicians, who put their heart and soul into their music performances, had captured something very special in my children’s hearts and soul!  Many an evening Christo and I will hear the older children sing classical music while cleaning up the kitchen or while the two big brothers shower!  This NEVER happened before, the boys are much to macho for this!
On Thursday I had to drive into an industrial area of the Cape to customs to fetch a shipment of Power of Motherhood sent from America.  CJ accompanied me since Christo didn’t want me to go alone with the little ones. It was at least an hours drive.  We were already in the car, ready to go, when CJ jumped out of the car and ran into the house to fetch something.  On his return he had a CD of Andre Rieu to listen to, while we drove!  With great thankfulness I looked at my almost 16year old son, getting excited about classical music! The whole trip of two and a half hours, the little ones were calm and relaxed in the car! 

That evening we took out CJ’s trumpet and Heidi-Mari’s violin!

Oh boy, the children couldn’t believe their eyes!  

We’ve put these instruments away about three years ago and the little ones didn’t know we had “real orchestral instruments” in the house, apart from the piano in the dining room! 

Andrew especially couldn’t stop touching the violin and 

Josua just wanted to know when he could start with trumpet lessons! 

After we’ve put the instruments away, they still sat in front of the piano!  
Now I have a different challenge!  Where am I going to fit in music lessons in our already filled to the brim schedule? 

Praise the Lord for the gift of music! As Andre Rieu himself said: “Music is the most wonderful thing in the world – it triggers emotions and make people happy!” 

I want to fill my house with joy and what better way than through more music!

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