The easiest cup cakes ever

It was a late Friday afternoon and Mila was begging me to bake a cake.  I decided, in my rather frazzled state, that baking cupcakes would be the quickest and simplest option.  I have a recipe for the easiest cupcakes ever (outside of the pre-mix bought from the shop).

Here it is…

Ingredients: (You’re most likely to have all of these ingredients in your cupboard)

2 Cups of flour

3 t baking powder

125g butter

1t vanilla essence

1 cup sugar

1/2 t salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

Method:

Sift all dry ingredients together. Add the we ingredients. Beat well for 3 minutes with an electric mixer.  Pour into cup cake cups (I didn’t have any so I went without).  Bake at 200 C for 10-15 minutes. Cool and decorate.

 

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I believe that baking and cooking with my kids should be a priority as they learn so much by being allowed to “get stuck in”.  It’s always a huge mess, but who cares I guess…

May you enjoy amazing moments of discovery with your children as you spend time together in the kitchen, loving, sharing and imparting knowledge.

One day we will look back and say “we never knew we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun”…

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Wild At Heart- A Trip To Hluhluwe

Last weekend we were given the opportunity to join Dylan’s side of the family on a trip to the Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserve.  It was a much needed break as Dylan has been studying for the past 16 months and we have not had the chance to recoup for months.  We stayed at the luxurious (4 star) Hluhluwe River Lodge, just outside the reserve and it was awesome!

To anyone wanting to visit the bush I can highly recommend Hluhluwe River Lodge.  The rooms are spacious and comfortable, with air-con, a fridge, mosquito net’s, a large bathroom, 4 beds and more.  Every meal was delicious and the service…outstanding!  I think that above all, the kind and attentive staff were what made this lodge “shine”.  The setting is rustic, with eleven log cabins set in a forest, covered with tree’s and indigenous flora.  I truly got the feeling that I was in the middle of the bush; a perfect escape from the concrete jungles I have become accustomed to. The activities on offer at the lodge and just outside the lodge are abundant- it is a perfect hideaway for adventurous couples and young families wanting to go on walks, mountain bike rides, game drives and more.

What we loved most was the fact that our children were beside themselves they were so excited to be there.  They had plenty of room to run around and the lodge catered for their every need.  They had separate meal times and were served the most incredible, healthy and age appropriate meals.  In the evenings the lodge offered us an amazing baby sitter named Nomsa so that we could enjoy our dinner peacefully with the adults.

On the Saturday we went out in search of wild animals.  Our high hopes were satisfied when we came up close and personal with rhino, a troop of babboons, giraffe, a myriad of plains game, buffalo and more.  To top it all we came right in-between an enormous heard of elephants (about 100 for sure).  I must be honest it was petrifying as they were extremely close to our car. Click here to see the video I posted on Instagram of me nervously whispering to Dylan to GET GOING!

Here are some of the pic’s from our very special time there.  Spoil yourself and visit Hluhluwe River Lodge for a down to earth and humble getaway in the bush.

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Lemon cake and the love language of quality time.

I am sure you have all heard of Gary Chapman’s book “The Five Love Languages”, if not, I can highly recommend this read for anyone wishing to love with intention, in a way that speaks to the unique make-up of the individual you love.  Chapman’s book outlines five ways to express and experience love: gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch.  Chapman uses the metaphor of a ‘love tank’ to explain peoples’ need to be loved.  To discover ones unique love language, one must observe the way your loved one expresses love to others, people tend to naturally give love in the way that they prefer to receive love.

Whilst I completely agree with Gary Chapman’s theory I truly believe that every child speaks or yearns to be spoken to in the love language of “quality time”.  I have noticed how Mila’s good behaviour diminishes when I am stressed and preoccupied.  When I am rushing from one meeting and task to the next and have not taken the time to engage with her, to talk and play with her, to look into her eyes and care for her emotional needs.  I am reminded of the saying, “if the devil cannot make you bad, he will make you busy”.  I have noticed that when I am too busy my tolerance levels toward my children become depleated.  It’s as if they call out through the whirlwind of life to be noticed, to be embraced.  Baking with a child is a time for imparting knowledge, giving affection and talking about life lessons.  Baking can be a time for thinking, breathing and being at peace.

So last Sunday we decided to bake a delicious LEMON CAKE.  This VERY simple and delicious recipe was passed on to me from my friend Janine Day who I am sure also received it from a friend, who received it from another friend.  It’s one of those recipe’s people will ask you to send to them.  The cake is so easy to make, its extremely moist and light.  Please feel free to share it with others as I share it with you today.  I hope you have as much fun baking it with your loved ones as I did.  This Sunday is my sister Chan’s birthday lunch and so we will be making a birthday cake on Saturday to eat on Sunday.

Here it goes…

LEMON CAKE

Ingredients:

-110 grams of Butter (room temperature)

-1 Cup of Castor Sugar

-2 Large Eggs (room temperature)

-1 and 1/2 cups of self raising flour

-1/2 cup of milk

-1/4 tsp salt

-Rind of Large Lemon

Method:

Cream butter and sugar and beat eggs in one at a time.

Beat well.  Sift flour and salt and add alternately with milk, add the lemon rind.

Pour into greased loaf tin and bake at 180 degrees for 40 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven and place on a plate.  Pour over the juice.

The Juice:

1/2 Cup of castor sugar and 1/2 a cup of lemon juice.

Stir over heat to dissolve the sugar.

Pour over the hot cake and leave it to cool.

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To “three”, or not to “three”, that is the question-

As you may well know, “To be, or not to be… ” is the opening phrase of a soliloquy in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet.  It is probably the most well-known lines of poetry Shakespeare ever wrote.  What Hamlet is reflecting on is the comparison between the pain of life (which he sees as inevitable), and the fearful uncertainty of death as he contemplates suicide.  This famous phrase came to mind after a long discussion with my parents over dinner regarding whether Dylan and I should have more than two children.  My dad’s words were, “if you are thinking of more, you are “mal”(mad in Afrikaans)”

I am one of five children and none of us were “mistakes”- my parents chose to have every one of us and I am so glad that they did!  My two brothers and two sister’s are a part of who I am, they are my story and were some of the tools God used to fashion me into the person I am today.  My siblings are my favourite people in the world, we have an unspoken loyalty to one another, an unbreakable bond.  My husband Dylan is one of four children and I know he feels the same way about his siblings.  There is strength in numbers and children add immeasurable joy and character, but in the same breadth, is life not a little different to how it was when our parents were having children 30-40 years ago?

The pace of life is extreme.  The cost of living is exorbitant and the pressure that is placed on children growing up in a digital age is relentless.  I feel as if it was christmas last week, but easter was already a month ago?  What is going on, am I dreaming?  Where is time going?  Everybody around me is talking about what type of passports they have and what their plan is should things really go “South” in SOUTH Africa.

The thought of how outside influences in this broken world will affect our children is enough to make people never want to have children, I have a few friends who feel this way and I can understand this point of view.  From xenophobia to thousands of people from Northern Africa floating in rubber duckies in the middle of the ocean searching for a better life, one feels depressed at the state of our world.  There is unemployment, poverty, the ANC and their myriad of false promises and insurmountable charges of corruption- this is just to name a few.

Negativity  is everywhere, but it’s nothing new and so surely we were meant to rise above it?   We cannot turn a blind eye but we have to be bigger, to choose not to be depressed and powerless as a result of it.  The time is coming and now is when people will stand up and speak up and do something significant.  I choose to believe in a God that has a bigger plan, a plan that is greater than what our minds can comprehend.  A plan that involves us and our children.

Isaiah 60 calls us to change our thinking and realise the impact we can make when we do.   I was inspired by these words.

“Arise and shine, for your light has come and the GLORY of the Lord rises upon you.  See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.  Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.”

The bad in the world is everywhere but we are given the chance to be light, we are not meant to blend in with the darkness by being overwhelmed and overcome by it.  We are given the opportunity to “arise”, get up out of negative talk and shine.  Could we perhaps be God’s key to transformation in the nations of the world?  Perhaps it’s just a new perspective on the role that our families and our children play that will have us outshining the darkness and living lives of significance.

When a light is turned on in a dark room it infiltrates every crevice.  I want our story and presence to be that light so that maybe some of the darkness that surrounds us will become light and people who are affected by the pain and sorrow of life will be able to see again.

In conclusion you are probably wondering whether we will be having more than two children.  My heart say’s yes, but my head says “it’s hard”.  Logic tells me to play it safe.  Then the joy and pleasure of raising children and the thought of the love we will share and the impact a larger family can make makes me really want another.

Every person has their own road to walk, their own point of reference, their own resources (very important reality) and so this is a very personal question.  I just think that if we do choose to have children, whether one or five, our perspective and vision for our future ought to be right.  I believe we are put here for a very specific purpose, to bring light into the world and infiltrate the darkness, to raise children who will have a meaningful impact.

There was an amazing sunrise at home this morning and so when these little ones woke up we went outside to take a video… Enjoy.

See the video here:

https://youtu.be/L0z2ibq4qmw