Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review: Ubuntu 12.04

Yesterday I bought a laptop.  It came with Windows 7 Starter Edition, which is a really limited version of Windows 7, I couldn't even change the background of my desktop.  I was already planning on putting Ubuntu on the laptop, but I wasn't sure if I was going to dual-boot (run 2 operating systems for those who are not geeks) or remove Windows completely and put Ubuntu only on the system.

Well, when I saw that the supplier had installed Windows 7 Starter without giving me the option of any other Operating System, but also partitioned (separated) the hard drive into 2 parts (one for the OS and one for Data - I hate that).  I decided I was going to run Ubuntu exclusively.

I downloaded the install and a little application to turn my flash drive (pen stick) into an install disk.  Plugged it into my laptop and presto, the PC picked it up and asked me how I wanted to proceed.

I chose the option of completely removing Windows, and the partitions on my hard drive, then I just filled in my information, hit the continue button a few times and within 20 minutes I had a fully functioning Ubuntu notebook.

Setting up my 3G Internet connection was even simpler than it was on Windows.  I didn't have to install any software.  I just plugged in the 3G stick, clicked on the connect option and off I went.

What is more, is that Ubuntu is completely free, and there is so much free software so easily available.  This strongly appeals to my rebel side because I am against any organization which makes me feel as though I have no other option but to buy their product.  I like options.

So go to the Ubuntu website:


Take the tour, and perhaps consider it the next time you buy a PC.  I strongly recommend.

Monday, July 30, 2012

In My Day... 30 July 2012

Today, I had a great day.  My new mini-laptop arrived.

What I accomplished:
  • Was up at 4:30am
  • Went for a walk with Zoey at 6am
  • Mopped kitchen floor
  • Read/replied to emails (cleaned my inbox)
  • Installed Ubuntu on my new laptop (and took off the stupid Windows 7 Startup Edition that was installed by the supplier)
What I am grateful for today:
  • My new laptop
  • A safe walk
  • Lunch date with Mark
  • All my awesome friends (online and offline)
  • A warm bed

Exercise Benefits and Tips

Why should I exercise regularly?

  1. Countless health benefits:
    1. Good for your heart
    2. Prevents osteoporosis
    3. Lowers High Blood Pressure
    4. Prevents Colds
    5. Reduces the severity of asthma (just start a lot smaller than other people and increase a lot slower too!)
    6. Reduces diabetic complications
    7. Promotes a healthy pregnancy
    8. Plays a role in preventing cancer
    9. Promotes brain health
    10. Helps prevent strokes
    11. Helps manage arthritis
    12. Helps prevent back pain
  2. To loose weight
  3. To de-stress
  4. Has anti-ageing effects
  5. Improves sleeping patterns
  6. Good for the mind and soul (combats depression)
  7. Improves oxygen and nutrient supply to all cells in your body.
  8. Improves muscle strength, joint structure and joint function
  9. Boosts energy levels
  10. It can improve your physical relationship with your spouse (see how well I kept this PG13?)

(Sources: http://www.health24.com/fitness/Getting_started/16-474,31214.asp, http://www.nutristrategy.com/health.htm, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise/HQ01676 )

What is the right exercise for you?

You can do a great quiz over here:


My result was to do outdoor exercises.  So as a thought for myself, running, walking or cycling would be good options for me.  Running and walking cost the least amount of money.  I’m going to focus on running in my life.

What is the best time of day for exercise?

I read this in a magazine a couple of years ago, and I’ll never forget it:

Morning: Cardio exercises (running, walking, cycling etc.)
Late Morning to Midday: Co-ordination and balance exercises (Yoga, Dance etc.)
Afternoon: Team sports
Early Evening: Strength Training

Tips for sticking to an exercise routine:

  1. Get exercise clothes you are proud to wear.
  2. Schedule it into your calendar as a non-negotiable appointment with yourself.
  3. Start slowly – do less than you feel you are capable of doing for the first few days and build from there.
  4. Get your family and friends involved in your fitness.
  5. Allow yourself to slow down if you feel you are not coping, but never give up completely.
  6. Set goals that you think are just out of your reach.
  7. Have fun with it.
  8. Make it a routine… remember it takes 30 days to make something a routine.
  9. Always exercise on the first day of the week.  If you miss the first day you will miss the rest of the week.
  10. Reward yourself regularly

(Sources: http://happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2008/05/11-tips-for-sti/, http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=73, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fitness/HQ01543 )

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Week 3: Exercise Regularly

I have a new challenge for you this week.  I want you to develop an exercise routine that will suit you.

You see a Queen or Princess doesn’t have all that excess flab, they are not lazy because they are royalty, they look after themselves.  Kate (who married Prince William) played field hockey (among other sports).  Even doing some stretches and walking on the spot for 5 minutes is better than nothing.  My grandmother has a very simple morning exercise routine and she climbed a mountain at 87! Granted, it was a small mountain, more of a large hill really, but she still did it!

Now, I admit, that I have never been one for jogging or any form of exercise really.  I enjoy walking, but I dislike walking while it is still cold and dark.  I enjoy Wii Fit, but I keep putting off doing it.

I am taking a challenge however.  I am joining Shape Magazine’s challenge to train to run 10km in 12 weeks.  Wow – this is going to be a big one for me, especially since running is the sport I have enjoyed the least in my lifetime.

My dad was a jogger though, he finished the Comrades Marathon and the Two Ocean’s Marathon 6 times each!

While I have no intention of doing any marathons yet, I’m definitely going to try to start jogging.  Especially since we are heading into summer here in South Africa.

So here is my challenge to you.  Find an exercise routine that works for you in this next week, then I want you to do it at least 3 times a week.

If you want to join me on the Shape Challenge here is the link to the challenge website: 

Shape 10km in 12 weeks challenge

You don’t have to do this one, but let’s do something.  Remember, treat yourself like a Queen and the world will follow.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Plan for the day… 28 July 2012

I woke up feeling as though my head was swollen this morning.  This is the first sign I experience of seasonal Flu / Cold.  The difference is that when I start experiencing this I drink lots of water and overdose on Vitamin C.  Within 24 hours I am feeling healthy again.

But, because I am not feeling so great now, I plan to stay indoors today and take it easy.

My goals for today:

  1. read and reply to emails – I want a clean inbox!
  2. Read all the blogs I’ve subscribed to and comment as necessary.
  3. Knit while watching a movie
  4. Clean up my kitchen
  5. Play the piano for 15 minutes (just a little bit of practice daily is all it will take)
  6. Read my Bible and go through my prayer list.
  7. Write my blog posts for the upcoming week.
  8. Explore Facebook.
  9. Spend some time organizing my week ahead.

I’ve decided that I’m going to try and start jogging.  My intention is to get to a fitness level where I can jog 5km – I don’t even know if I can jog 100m right now!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Creamy Vanilla Fudge

Creamy Vanilla Fudge

Makes:  20cm x 20cm x 1.3cm


  • 470ml (1.9 cups) sugar
  • 150ml (0.6 cups) evaporated milk
  • 65ml (3 tablespoons) butter or margarine
  • 25ml (1.5 tablespoons) golden syrup
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 5ml (1 teaspoon) vanilla essence


  1. Heat the sugar, evaporated milk and butter together in a saucepan.
  2. Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Add syrup and condensed milk.
  4. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage.  (Drop a small ball of the mixture into a bowl of cold water.  The mixture should form a soft ball when you roll it between your fingers.)  Stir continuously.
  5. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly (1-2 minutes).
  6. Stir in the vanilla essence and then beat with a wooden spoon until the fudge begins to form crystals and to thicken (basically – stir until you get to the point that you wouldn’t be able to pour it out the pot if you stir anymore)
  7. Pour into a greased square tin (20cm by 20cm or 7.8 inches by 7.8 inches) and leave to set.
  8. Once almost set, turn out onto a work surface and cut into squares with a sharp knife.

Note from the cook:

Mine turned out tasting like a mixture of toffee and fudge.  I believe that is how it is supposed to taste because everybody who sampled it says it was the best fudge they have ever tasted.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Luke 17:26-35 - What will you be doing?

26 “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.

28 “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29 But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.

30 “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. 32 Remember Lot’s wife! 33 Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. 34 I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35 Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.”

Luke 17:26-35

This is a short post today.  But just ponder about this.  When Jesus comes back… where will you be and what will you be doing.  If he came right now, would you be ready?  Keep asking yourself this week.  If God came back now, would he find me glorifying his name?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why I won’t be buying an iPad

I’m annoyed at Apple, actually I’m a little worse than annoyed.  I bought an iPod Touch during it’s first generation (about 3 years ago).  The iPod is still in perfect condition.  I still have excellent battery life and I have had absolutely no problems with the hardware.  To me this indicated amazing value for money. 

I had my Kindle application, and many other useful ones, so it was completely customized to my needs… then came the application updates.  One by one my applications were updated to versions that required iOS4 and higher.  The iPod Touch only goes as high as iOS3.1.3 – which I feel is acceptable because it is an old device.

My problem is that my applications stopped working after the upgrade and I cannot find the older versions of the applications anywhere, so now my iPod cannot do anything except the standard things which come with iOS3.1.3.  The older versions of the applications were working just fine, why was an upgrade even suggested if the upgrade was incompatible with my iOS?  Why am I now not able to downgrade?  I have no need to buy another iPod because this one’s hardware is still in brilliant condition, it’s the software that is no longer available. 

I was considering buying an iPad.  I was thinking about it very seriously today, but now I’m going to look for something running with and Android operating system.  It has become a matter of principle.  I’m not going to be buying another Apple device until I am provided with a place where I can install the older versions of software when my device becomes out-dated.  I feel like I’m being forced to discard my older device and buy a new one.  Well excuse me for being the opposite of this throw away culture and want to use something until it is completely and totally broken.

I’m ranting, but this is how I truly feel…

I’ve been hearing good things about the Samsung Galaxy Tab… I’m definitely going to be looking into one of those now that the Apple iPad is out of the question.

Garden Update

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. ~ Genesis 2:15

My peas are growing beautifully in my garden.  I’ve been watering them before leaving for work each morning.  Here are some photographs:

Peas, 2012 - 2.5 weeks

Peas, 2012 - 2.5 weeks (2)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

In my day… 25 July 2012

It’s early morning again.  I’ve been up early 3 days in a row now.  I will say it is getting more difficult to get out of bed so early.  I believe it is because I went to bed a little too late last night. 

Bible Study: This morning I read this from Luke 17:

7 “Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? 8 Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? 9 Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’”

I don’t recall reading these verses before.  Perhaps I have and haven’t taken them in like I did now.

Things that made me laugh:

Below, the electric egg beater of a real man:


Things that made me think:


Things I thought were cool:


Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë


Jane Eyre is by far one of my favourite novels.  Set around 1840 (soon after the Jane Austin novels) a person can already see the difference between the generations.

Jane Eyre is an orphan who was first being raised by an Aunt through marriage.  She was ill-treated in the house and often beaten by her cousin.  Jane was then sent to a school where she wasn’t treated much better.  Finally, as an adult she get’s a post as a governess and that is where the love story begins.

The book is an easier read than Jane Austin’s and it has a sense of darkness and mystery to the story.  There are many twists and turns throughout the novel, and the author captured the emotions of the characters beautifully.

If you enjoy romance and mystery, then I strongly recommend this novel.  And what could be better than knowing it is a free download for Kindle from Amazon!

Monday, July 23, 2012

In my day… 24 July 2012

It’s 6:17am,  I’ve been awake since about 4am I think.  I was awake before my alarm went off this morning (4:30am).

I’ve been reading Luke 16 this morning.  Verses that stood out for me:

13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

It reminds me of the blog post I made a while ago called What are you living for?

People will either serve God or another master.  The master can be anything, it doesn’t have to be money.  It can be a career, status, power, wealth or numerous other things.

Last night I started reading a certain book.  It described how when a person is confident and stands up for themselves then they earn the respect of others.  To me that is in complete contradiction to the Bible.  The meek shall inherit the earth.  God calls us to be humble, to turn the other cheek, to seek his love and respect above earthly respect and to serve one another.

Personally, I would rather have God on my side than man on my side.

Now it is 6:30am.  Time to put the keyboard away and get ready for work.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

How to wake up early…

You know the saying “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, happy and wise” ?   Why don’t more people apply it to their lives?  I’m reminded of the classic advert where the son walks into the house in the early hours of the morning.  His father is sitting on the sofa and says “Morning Son”, the boy walks past on his way to his bedroom and replies “Night Dad”.

So here are some quick tips on training yourself to get up early:

  1. Wind down before bed.  If you are relaxed before going to sleep, you will go to sleep quicker and also sleep better.
  2. Get enough sleep.  Most humans need 8-9 hours of sleep.  Try not to sleep more than 9 hours though because it may make you more sleepy.  Some people don’t sleep as much as others.  Figure out how much you need and sleep for that amount of time.
  3. Avoid caffeine drinks at night.  Caffeine keeps you awake, so even if you can sleep with Caffeine in your system the sleep won’t be as sound. 
  4. Get an alarm clock and put it out of reach.  This is a classic example.  I know somebody who has a really loud alarm clock and it is next to the kettle in the kitchen.  I heard of somebody else who put it in her cupboard with her slippers and gown.  Make sure you get out of bed to turn it off.
  5. Avoid the screen.  Don’t use anything with a “white” light (like a TV or computer screen) before bed.  A human body is set to feel tired in a red/yellow light, white light keeps you awake.  Use natural lighting around your house too.

In my day… 23 July 2012

Today is the first day back at work after being on leave for 3 weeks.  I will say that it I have a set of mixed emotions.  Eager to get back to a regular routine, but also slightly sad.  It’s not fun leaving the house when it is dark and getting home with only 15-20 minutes left of daylight.  It leaves hardly any time to work in the garden, walk Zoey or do other outdoor activities.  I find I get really depressed if I don’t see the sun.  I can only imagine what the people in England feel like.

Luckily the daylight hours are getting more and more now so I’ll be able to take advantage of them.  Sunrise at 7am today and sunset at 5:34pm.

6am and I’ve made my coffee, done my morning prayer and Bible reading, and packed away the washed dishes.  Next on the list, make the bed and do my morning hygiene routine.

All in all, I think today is going to be a good day.  I didn’t oversleep, any day I don’t oversleep is bound to be a good day.

Week 2: Look your best

Due to my holiday, I skipped last week’s post about treating yourself like a Queen.  Remember, you are a Queen or Princess in your household and you need to treat yourself like one then other people will follow and also treat you like one.

Today I want to talk about looking your best every day. 

This is a big thing for me because I’m the sort of person who will take whichever shirt is on the top of the pile of shirts, then find a skirt and shoes to match it.  If it is winter I’ll throw on a few layers to keep warm, but my entire clothing decision usually rests on what shirt is at the top of my pile of clothing that morning.

Some things that I think I should mention about myself:

  1. I don’t wear make-up unless I am going on a date or I have to dress up for some reason.
  2. I don’t wear heals unless I am going out for dinner or I’m going to a wedding.
  3. I very seldom wear pants.  Once I was a tomboy and wouldn’t be caught dead in a dress/skirt, but I’ve changed my thinking on that recently.
  4. I don’t paint my nails in any way other than a plain French manicure unless I’m dressing up for something.

I have personal reasons for these decisions that are rooted in my beliefs regarding woman and modest dress.  I am not here to lecture you, and I don’t expect everyone to believe the same as me, so I’m going to drop the topic now.

Now I am wanting to talk about us, as Queens/Princesses and dressing/looking our best every day.  Why should we look our best? 

  1. If we take the time to dress and take pride in our appearance in the morning, it will overflow into our daily lives.  If we know we made an effort and we look our best, then the people around us will pick up on it and treat us accordingly.
  2. Renew love with your husband (or turn heads if single). 
    1. Many of the women reading this are married to loving husbands, you owe it to him to dress in a way that he will be proud of.  If you are in your sweatpants the whole day, don’t you think he would be unwilling to bring friends or a business partner home with him unexpectedly?
    2. Many of the women reading this are single and looking.  You don’t know when your husband will be brought into your life.  I’m sure that the right man for you won’t disappear because you are wearing sweatpants to the grocery store, but how embarrassing would it be if you are in your pyjama's and he shows up at your door with a bouquet of flowers and an engagement ring? 
      1. Story Example: I heard a story about a single woman who was running a day care, normally she was in her most comfy clothes when the mom’s brought their children in the morning.  One morning a different man stopped by with one of the boys, he was the single uncle who was babysitting the kids while the parents were off on vacation for a week.  That specific morning the woman had decided to dress up nicely to pamper herself.  He fell head over heals for her, later the week he offered to stay and help her in the day care, a few months later they were married, last I heard they were still happily married.  Later he said that he may not of even taken notice of her if she was wearing her comfy clothes, and he fondly describes the ankle length denim skirt, flower blouse and ballet flats she was wearing that day.  It was only on the second day that he noticed her beautiful personality that matched the outfit.

So now comes the next question: What can we do to look our best?

  1. Practice good hygiene
    1. Bath/Shower regularly (daily if possible)
    2. Brush your teeth morning and night
    3. Wash your hair as often as it needs it.
    4. Wear deodorant / perfume
  2. Take pride in your outfit (but don’t become vain)
    1. Choose your clothes the night before
    2. Make sure there are no holes in your clothes (unless they are button holes)
    3. Clothes should be crease free
    4. Clothes shouldn’t be too large or two small
    5. Cover up! – I cannot stress this enough.  If you go outside looking like a street corner business woman, then people will treat you like one.  Dress respectfully and you will be treated respectfully.
    6. Wear something feminine – A pretty bow, a floral skirt, a pink shirt etc.  Just one feminine item or accessory will make you shine in your womanly glory and make you feel more lady-like.Ashleigh Langhein - Valentine's Dance 2003
    7. Make an effort with your hair and make-up (if you wear make-up).  If you don’t wear make-up (like me) try simply a moisturizer or face cream that is not noticeable, just doing that can make you feel like you have had a professional make-up artist do your face for the day.
  3. Dress appropriately
    1. A woman in a red formal dress will turn heads at the grocery store, but it isn’t really suitable to grocery shopping occasion.  The same with a woman wearing jeans to a formal dance.  Dress in a way appropriate to the occasion.

And that is my advice.  Remember you are a Queen / Princess.  If you treat yourself like one, then other people will treat you like one.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Knitting: Single Bed Blanket–Week 2

I’m 2 weeks into my wool blanket project.  The design can be seen here…………..

Here is the progress on the first rectangle.  It’s just over 100cm in length and needs to be 150cm. The photograph was taken on Aunty Di’s table!

Wool Blanket - Week 2 (1)

It is a long way from complete, but I’m really enjoying the process of creating it.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Recipe: Brown or White Bread

For this recipe you can use brown bread flour or white bread flour.  The images are of brown bread.

Home Baked Brown Bread


  • 7 cups (1kg) bread flour (brown or white)
  • 10ml salt
  • 10ml sugar
  • 10g (1 sachet) instant dry yeast
  • 20ml (1 tablespoon) Margarine
  • 650ml (2.4 cups) lukewarm water

The ingredients

Bread Ingredients


The bread dough after step 3

Bread Dough

  1. Sift flour, salt and sugar together.  Add dry yeast and mix.
  2. Rub margarine into dry ingredients and gradually add lukewarm water to mix to a soft dough.  Add more water if needed.
  3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed the dough vigorously for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
  4. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
  5. Knock down the dough and divide into two.
  6. Place each portion in a greased 23cm loaf tin, cover with oiled plastic wrap, and leave to rise in a warm place for 30-40 minutes, until double in size.
  7. Brush top with water and bake in a preheated oven at 200ºC (400ºF) for 35 minutes.

Total time: Approximately 2 hours.

Quantity: 2 loaves

In my day… 19 July 2012

Things I am grateful for:

  1. Two delicious meals on my table
  2. A warm bed to snuggle into tonight
  3. God’s love and forgiveness
  4. All my friends, the ones I have met in person and the ones I met online.
  5. That my peas are growing and no birds have eaten them yet.

Things I accomplished:

  1. Reached 100cm in length on my knitting (50cm to go and the strip is finished)
  2. Had 100 page views on my blog in 12 hours, still 12 hours to go before the next post is up on my main blog ( From Acorn To Oak ) – thanks to everyone who visits – you are all amazing!
  3. Wrote a blog post for tomorrow (the bread recipe from earlier this week)
  4. Made toffee
  5. Did 1 work related task today.

Bible reading of the day:  Luke 12:15 (my thoughts on it can be found here )

Things that made me think:

Things that made me laugh today:

My Day:

I woke up 2 hours after my alarm went off with a message from Florence to tell me she is at my house and asking me to unlock.  Oops!  I completely over slept.  I did my blog post, chatted to friends online, replied to some emails, helped out with a problem at work, walked to the shop next door, made macaroni cheese for lunch, walked to the shop again for ingredients for fudge, Mark visited, walked to the shop a third time for Zoey’s food, finally made fudge which turned into toffee (new recipe, and it doesn’t work as well as the family recipe) and I made Star Studded Hake for supper.

Mark and I watched Stargate SG-1 while he ate with me and I knitted afterwards while we finished the episode.

That has basically been my day!

Luke 12:15 – Greed

Then he said to them, “Watch out!  Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” ~ Luke 12:15

Greed (noun) - Intense and selfish desire for something, esp. wealth, power, or food.

The above verse is the one that stood out for me while reading my Bible this morning.  We live in a greedy society.  People are selfish and think only of themselves and their wealth and their power.

We live in a society where people are looking for a get rich quick scheme, where people won’t do anything out of the goodness of their hearts.  People are always looking for a way to make money from something.

Jesus warned against greed of all kinds, because there is more to life than your possessions.  For all you know you could die from an aeroplane crashing into your house at 2am in the morning, or in a car accident on the way to work.  We don’t know when God is going to call us home.  What is left?  Your children may benefit from your possessions, but because they didn’t have to work for them like you did, will they appreciate them?

I think about the problems in South Africa.  People in government positions drive around in brand new BMW’s and Mercedes Benz, but their neighbours, the people they grew up with, still sit in the rural villages without indoor plumbing or electric lights.  That is greed.  Greed for wealth and greed for power.

How am I better than these people though?  What do I give back?  People point fingers at government officials, but what are we doing to help the community we live in?  How many of us will go down to the park and start picking up the litter, then use our own fuel to take it to the garbage dump or recycling centre?  How many of us will volunteer at a disadvantaged school and teach the children to knit, sew or do woodwork?  How many of us cannot do these things to help because we are greedy about our time, the one thing we all have?

I am strongly against just giving something for nothing, because if a person get’s something for nothing then it won’t be looked after.  So offer to repaint the rural school, but get the children to help.  Remember the old saying “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Remember that when you give back.

This is a challenge to myself and those reading this… don’t be greedy with what you have, because you don’t know when God will call you home.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Holiday (part 4)

The final part of my holiday was the trip back to Bloemfontein from Queenstown.  We drove over Penhoek Pass which was covered with snow, even at midday 2 days after the snow happened!

Here are the photographs:

Mark, at a stop point on top of Penhoek Pass.

Mark Letley - At a stop point on top of Penhoek Pass, Eastern Cape

The stop point on top of Penhoek Pass (scenery)

At a stop point on top of Penhoek Pass, Eastern Cape

Driving up Penhoek Pass, the view.

Driving up Penhoek Pass, Eastern Cape

We got back to Bloemfontein safely after 4pm on Monday.  Mark’s brother, Michael, was good enough to help us offload the furniture I brought back with me (photographs to come after I have arranged it in my house).  Mark and I then rushed to get the trailer back to the rental place before 5pm, only to find out it was open 24 hours and we had until the next day 10:45am to return the trailer.

I had supper with Mark’s parents (his mom is a brilliant cook), showing them the photographs of the trip, and telling them about the trip. 

And that was my holiday!

News: My Holiday (part 3)


Sunday morning I woke up late.  After all the travelling, I decided to sleep as long as possible.  I got out of bed after my mom got home from church.  She called Mark and myself to look outside at the mountain.  This is what we saw from the community balcony at the block of flats where my mother lives:

Snow in Queenstown, Eastern Cape 2012

WOW is all I can say.  The photograph doesn’t do it justice.  This image has not been edited in any way.

We had dinner with my mother, then went out on the Sterkstroom road looking for snow.  My dad always said that if the mountain in the picture above has snow, then we will come across snow on the Sterkstroom road.

Our Sunday dinner (mom did a great job!)

Sunday Dinner, prepared by Janet Langhein

Pictures of the snow (from the car window)

Eastern Cape Snow 2012, Road from Queenstown to Sterkstroom 1Eastern Cape Snow 2012, Road from Queenstown to Sterkstroom 7Eastern Cape Snow 2012, Road from Queenstown to Sterkstroom 12

Pictures of Mark and myself in the snow at a stop point along the road

Mark Letley & Eastern Cape Snow 2012, Road from Queenstown to Sterkstroom

Ashleigh Langhein and Mark Letley, Eastern Cape Snow 2012, Road from Queenstown to Sterkstroom

We quickly hurried home because my mom had to go to work.  She works at Queenstown Girls High School and the hostel girls were coming back to school from Winter break, so she had to be there to help out.

The early evening I spent visiting my Uncle, Aunt and Cousin.  And the late evening I did a bit more research on my ancestors (Carsten Langhein and descendants).

The last day of my trip you will get tomorrow!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

News: My Holiday (part 2)

Today I’m going to tell you about Part 2 of my holiday in the eastern cape.

After finding our way out of Frankfort and back onto the road to Gonubie we stopped over at the caravan resort for the night.  The caravan resort is right on the beach and they also have chalet’s that can be rented.  We basically went straight to bed (after a shower) when we got there and woke up before sunrise in the morning to head off to Port Alfred.

The roads were dark and misty as we left Gonubie and it was only much later when it stopped raining and we saw sunlight.

Port Alfred

We reached Port Alfred at about 8am and went straight to the beach front, considering the rain had stopped.  Here are some pictures of this part of the beachfront:

Beach 4, Port Alfred, Eastern CapeBeach 1, Port Alfred, Eastern CapeBeach 2, Port Alfred, Eastern CapeBeach 3, Port Alfred, Eastern Cape

We after touching the sand on the beach (it was too cold to go to the water), we went to a Wimpy for breakfast and onwards to Port Elizabeth.

Port Elizabeth

It seems like we got there just before the rain started to pour down (God blessed us here).  We loaded up the furniture that I inherited from Aunty Molly.  One is a chest.  Looking at it I am constantly reminded of the Luggage in Terry Pratchett’s discworld novels.  I am half expecting little legs to pop out the bottom and for it to walk around after me.  It would have made loading it a lot easier since it is quite heavy.  Photo’s will come when I am back in Bloemfontein.

Port Elizabeth to Stutterheim

We drove back to Port Alfred, the light rain stopped there and we had clear skies all the way to East London and most of the way back to Queenstown.

We did have a problem with the car though.  We put in Diesel at the coast from a BP petrol station and the car seemed to get hickups.  We were in first gear on an uphill, and it wasn’t even a steep uphill.  My dad’s Mercedes should have handled it brilliantly.  We were not even sure we would get to Stutterheim safely.  We stopped there at a Shell petrol station and put in high quality low sulphur diesel.  The car worked amazingly well from that point onwards.  I’m so glad we mixed the bad diesel with the good.  It was a last minute fix, but it worked.

Stutterheim to Queenstown

Besides for the windscreen wiper deciding to turn on every time Mark used an indicator (it looked like the car got a fright every time he touched the lever), the rest of the trip back to Queenstown was uneventful.  We got home safely, offloaded the furniture and went to bed with a cup of tea.

Sunday News: My holiday

Hello everyone, this is a quick news update post for all my readers.  I’ve been travelling all over the Eastern Cape the past couple of days.

Here is a map of the route we have travelled in the past 3 days.

Eastern Cape Trip - July

We started off in Bloemfontein (point A).  This is the place where I work and live, as well as Mark.

Bloemfontein to Queenstown

On Thursday we travelled to Queenstown.  It was quite a slow trip up until Aliwal North, due to construction on the roads.  They are going to look great when the construction is finished.  From Aliwal North to Queenstown the route was much quicker.

A picture of Mark when we were stopped at the road construction site, waiting to be let through.

Mark Letley, trip to Queenstown

Queenstown to Frankfort

On Friday we found out that the route we were originally planning to take, through Fort Beaufort to Port Elizabeth had a snow warning, there were rumours that the road was already closed.  We decided not to chance it and rather take the coastal route to Port Elizabeth, which is 2 hours longer.

My mom booked us into the Gonubie Caravan Resort on Friday night, and came with us for the trip.  We left Friday afternoon.  Just after passing through Stutterheim, we saw the sign to Frankfort, and we decided to drive there to take a look.

Frankfort exploration

Frankfort is the town where my ancestor, Carsten Langhein, and his children as well as some of his grandchildren are buried.  When they came to South Africa from Germany in 1858 they lived in Frankfort.  Carsten Langhein was the first Baptist minister of the Frankfort Baptist Church, which doesn’t appear to be a Baptist Church anymore.

I did a little research on Frankfort.  The population is 362 now, and 100% African.  All the German settlers descendants have moved on.  I should have taken photographs, but what I can say is the village is quaint, but in desperate need for attention.  I can see the population there is very poor and unable to care for the village.  They do have a police station, a school, and a post office.

We were successful in finding the graves of my ancestors, the graveyard had street signs showing the way to it, but the entire cemetery is completely overgrown with thorn bushes and various other vegetation common to the area.  We had no problem entering the cemetery because the gate locking it had been broken down by vandals and had never been fixed by any authority.  Carsten’s grave was one of the graves that had had the tombstone smashed, along with many others.  It it hadn’t been for a metal plaque put up by the Baptist church in 1961 we wouldn’t have known it was his grave.

His son Claus’s gravestone was intact.  Here are the photographs from that leg of the trip.

An eerie looking tree greeted us on the way to Frankfort, Eastern Cape

Eerie Tree, Frankfort Eastern Cape

The signs pointing us to the German Graves, the last of 4 (all along dirt roads)

German Graves Signboard, Frankfort Eastern Cape

The entrance to the graveyard.  The remains of the blue gate locking the graveyard can be seen on the ground towards the bottom of the photograph.

German Cemetery Entrance, Frankfort Eastern Cape

The overgrown graveyard of the German Settlers in Frankfort.

German Cemetery, Frankfort Eastern Cape

The plaque on Carsten Langhein’s grave (for some reason our surname is always spelt wrong).

Carsten Langhein, Grave Plaque, Frankfort Eastern Cape 1Carsten Langhein, Grave Plaque, Frankfort Eastern Cape 2Carsten Langhein, Grave Plaque, Frankfort Eastern Cape 3

The Grave as it stood on Friday 13th, July 2012

Carsten Langhein, Grave, Frankfort Eastern Cape

This is what is left of the tombstone.  It is lying face down on the grave.

Carsten Langhein, Vandalized Tombstone, Frankfort Eastern Cape 1

And this is what is left of where the tombstone would have sat.

Carsten Langhein, Vandalized Tombstone, Frankfort Eastern Cape 2

The tombstone of Claus Langhein, Carsten Langhein’s son.  Claus is my great, great grandfather.

Claus Langhein, Tombstone, Frankfort Eastern Cape

The grave of my great grandfather, Julius Langhein and his wife, Johanna.

Julius and Johanna Langhein tombstone, Frankfort Eastern Cape

And this post is to be continued with more of the trip … Adventure is out there!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Recipe: Chocolate Oil Cake

Chocolate Oil Cake

All my recipes can be found In Ashleigh’s Kitchen.


  • 4 eggs
  • 250ml sugar (1 cup)
  • 375ml cake flower (1 & a half cups)
  • 50ml cocoa powder (2 heaped tablespoons)
  • 15ml baking powder (3 teaspoons)
  • 2ml salt (half a teaspoon)
  • 125ml boiling water (half cup)
  • 125ml cooking oil (half cup)


  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF)
  2. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Sift dry ingredients and gently fold into mixture, with water and oil.
  4. Turn into two lined, greased 20cm cake tims and bake for 20-25 minutes
  5. Leave for 5-10 minutes in tins before turning out onto a wire rack to continue cooling



  • 125g margarine (half cup)
  • 375ml icing sugar (1 & a half cups)
  • 30ml cocoa powder (2 tablespoons - not heaped)
  • 5ml vanilla essence (1 teaspoon)


  1. Beat all ingredients together until smooth and creamy
  2. Decorate the cake.  I also used caramel and peppermint crisp (hand grated) to decorate.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Good Samaritan

Good Samaritan

This week, while doing my bible study, I read the story of the Good Samaritan.  If you are not familiar with the story, please read it in Luke 10:25-37.

After reading this I realised something interesting about the story for the first time.  No history was given of the man who had been robbed and left at the roadside.  This man could have been a robber himself, or a beggar, regular Joe, Nobleman, or king.  Nothing is said about this man.

The Good Samaritan helped this man without knowing anything about him.

So often we think people are beneath our help, or we find excuses not to help the person…

“The hitchhiker could be a murderer”

“That beggar could waste the money on alcohol and cigarettes”

“Somebody else will help”

“She should go home to her parents”

“He should be in school”

“It’s none of my business”

True, it is dangerous to pick up hitchhikers, especially in certain countries, so this is something, for safety sake I wouldn’t recommend.  But what is stopping you from giving money/food to the beggar?  You don’t have to invite him into your home, you can hand him a home cooked meal through the window of your car.  You can buy him a pie from the corner cafe.  You can help in more ways than just giving money.

Then the question is, how many people in your immediate area, are in need of a good meal?  What about your children’s friends?  Do you assume that they go home to a delicious meal cooked by their mom every night?  What if they don’t?  What if their mom works all day and buys them MacDonald’s every evening?

What about the student living in the next door neighbour’s basement?  Or the widow at church?  Or the newly married couple with 2 young children and a third on the way?  When did that lady last have a meal she didn’t cook herself?

What about the couple going through marriage problems?  When last did they have an evening to themselves without needing to worry about the children?  Couldn’t you offer to babysit for an evening so they can have dinner together?

Being a good Samaritan doesn’t mean you need to pick people up off the street, take them to the hospital and then pay their medical bills too.  It can also be done in small ways.  Cooking a meal.  Babysitting.  Providing company to the elderly.

Ask yourself:

How can I be a good Samaritan today?

Readers, I want to hear from you.  In what small ways has somebody be a good Samaritan to you?  In what small ways can you be a good Samaritan to others?  Feel free to leave a comment with your good Samaritan idea's and stories.

Gardening: Rosemary

My gardening only blog is In Ashleigh’s Garden.

This is my “chart card” for rosemary
File:Rosemary bush.jpg
(Image from Wikipedia)

Sunlight: Full Sunlight

Sowing:  Into seed trays then into pots to prevent the bush from taking over or growing too large.

Season:  Start indoors at any time of the year, can be taken outside during summer months.

Soil:  Soil needs to have good drainage

How to plant:
  1. Plant in seed trays at a depth of 6mm (1/4 inch) with 3mm all around (1/8 inch)
  2. They should sprout in 15-25 days (one of mine sprouted in just 7 days!)
  3. Replant when 5cm in height into pots about 30cm diameter and 30cm deep (1 foot).
  4. The plant can grow up to 1.5m (5 feet) if not cut back, roots can be restricted in small pots to keep the plant smaller.
Harvest sprigs of Rosemary as needed, or cut back entire stem and hang to dry.  Rosemary matures over several seasons, so harvest lightly for the first few years.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Maskerade by Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett - Maskerade

My reviews only blog is called In Ashleigh’s Library.  If you want to subscribe to only my entertainment reviews this is the blog to go to.

Maskerade is 18th book in the Discworld series written by Terry Pratchett.

The Blurb (back of the book):

The show must go on, as murder, music and mayhem run riot in the night…

The Opera House, Ankh-Morpork… a huge, rambling building, where innocent young sopranos are lured to their destiny by a strangely-familiar evil mastermind in a hideously-deformed evening dress…

At least, he hopes so.  But Granny Weatherwax, Discworld’s most famous witch, is in the audience.  And she doesn’t hold with that sort of thing.

So there’s going to be trouble (but nevertheless a good evening’s entertainment with murders you can really hum…)

Prior Reading:

While not necessary, I would recommend reading enough of the prior novels to familiarize yourself with the disc-world.  I would especially recommend Wyrd Sisters and Witches Abroad so you can familiarize yourself with the characters Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg.


I wouldn’t recommend this book for younger readers.  Firstly, there are some skill-fully phrased references of an adult nature.  I would say that if you are old enough to catch it you will be old enough to read it, and it leaves A LOT to the imagination, but the book may result in some awkward questions from those who are not old enough to catch it.  Let’s give it a 16 rating, and an 18 rating in extremely conservative circles.

There are witches involved.  Unlike the Harry Potter witches, these witches tend to natural means to solve the people’s problems.  For example, Granny Weatherwax gave a villager a “potion” for the knots in his back, then clicked his back in one swift manoeuvre and told him to put a pine board under his mattress.  The “potion” was only there because the villager expected to be given a potion for his back.  These witches are able to delve into the occult, but they only do it as a last resort.  I see these witches in the same light as those in Disney Movies.  If you are OK with witches in Disney Movies, these shouldn’t cause any concern, but they are there.

A very brief mention of a “House of Ill Repute” (the authors exact words) were the witches took lodging.

Please keep in mind, while reading the book, it is completely, 100% fantasy, the same way that The Lord of The Rings is fantasy, this is just a whole lot funnier (and shorter).

My Thoughts on the First 70 pages:

  • Skill-fully worded adult humour – I laughed more at how skill-fully it was phrased than at the subject.
  • Be prepared to learn new words and experience a medium to higher grade British wit.
  • This appears to be based on The Phantom of the Opera – in a Discworld way.
  • Brilliant character portrayal (and stereotype portrayal).  I can see the characters in my mind as I am reading this.

My Thoughts on the rest of the book:

  • Exactly my sort of humour, and I loved reading it.
  • Brilliant way of writing, It feels like I was watching a movie in my mind as I read it.  The descriptions are worded wonderfully and in no way boring or drawn out, in fact the descriptions were the humour.
  • The story was enjoyable too.

First growth

My first hint at growth from the seeds I planted Sunday 1 July 2012, and it comes from the rosemary seeds.  I am hoping that it is one of the Rosemary seeds and not a weed.  Here is the picture, sorry that it is blurry, my camera isn’t the best.  I did try to sharpen the image.

Rosemary - First bit of green

The other plants have not sprouted yet, but I am hopeful that I will see something within the next few days.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Dog Training: Become the Alpha

As many of you know, I have a puppy and her name is Zoey.  She is an English Cocker Spaniel in black.  At the time of writing this she was almost 4 months old, and had started developing quite an attitude.  I have been doing some research on how to establish the Alpha Role in the pack.

I found an amazing website with the information.  Here is the link:

Dog Breed Info Centre: Establishing and Keeping Alpha Position

I’m going to place a basic summary of the page below (some Do’s and Don’ts)  You will have to go to the page to get the details of How’s and Why’s.

  1. DO: Lead the walk when you walk your dog.
  2. DON’T: Allow the dog to eat before all humans have eaten
  3. DON’T: Feed the dog scraps during a human meal
  4. DO: Feed the dog on schedule
  5. DON’T: Allow the dog to walk in front of you anywhere
  6. DO: ignore the dog for a few minutes upon entering a room
  7. DO: make the dog work for any thing from you (even affection) a simple command like “Sit” is better than nothing.
  8. DON’T: Lie on the floor when the dog is around – always remain taller than the dog even when playing.
  9. DO: Always greet newcomers before the dog and make sure newcomers greet you first – the dog is the last to get attention.
  10. DON’T: Walk around the dog.  Step over or force dog to move.
  11. DON’T: Hug the dog when you are still establishing pack position.
  12. DON’T: Look away from a dog once eye contact has been established, the dog must look away first.
  13. DON’T: Allow the dog to sleep on your bed.
  14. DON’T: Allow the dog to mouth or bite anyone – even during playtime.
  15. DO: Only give attention when you want to give dog attention.
  16. DO: Start and end the games played with the dog.
  17. DON’T: Allow dominant dogs to lie on any furniture.
  18. DON’T: Play tug-of-war – if you loose you loose power over your dog.
  19. DO: Teach the ‘Drop’ command as one of the first commands.
  20. DO: Reinforce that everything belongs to the human, the dog has no possessions.
  21. DON’T: Allow the dog to pull on the leash.
  22. DO: Make the dog wait for the food dish until you say it is OK to eat.
  23. DON’T: Allow small dogs or puppies to be picked up whenever they want to be picked up.
  24. DON’T: Leave a dog unsupervised with anyone who cannot maintain leadership over the dog.
  25. DO: Make your dog lie down and stay regularly.
  26. DO: Avoid “weak” emotions such as fear, anxiety, harshness or nervousness – dogs sense these.

At the time of writing this, I have been attempting to follow these rules for only 24 hours and I cannot believe the change in Zoey.  Even now she is sleeping quietly on her blanket beside me and she has been well behaved all day.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Week 1: Dinner fit for a Queen

To only see my challenges on treating yourself as a Queen/Princess you can visit my blog: In Ashleigh’s Palace

You are the queen of your household, unless you live with a parent/guardian, in which case you are a princess of your household.  And as a Queen or Princess you deserve to sit down to a meal as though you were one. 

So for this week.  I want you to set the table as though you are preparing for a royal guest, yourself.  You don’t have to go out and buy fancy things, use what you have got.

Here is my royal table setting:


Please take not of a few items (clockwise from 12 o’clock).

  • A bottle of wine – If you don’t feel like alcohol with the meal or you don’t drink alcohol then some cranberry juice in a wine shaped bottle is great to pretend with!  I don’t know if anybody else played restaurant as a child, but I did.  A bottle of wine (make-believe of course) was always at the table from the time I was 10-12 years old.
  • A pitcher of fresh water – add some lemons and fresh mint leaves for a little something extra special.
  • The water goblet
  • The wine goblet
  • A soup spoon
  • A bread / butter knife
  • A dinner knife
  • A soup bowl (which I used for pasta on this occasion)
  • A dinner plate underneath (which I didn’t use on this occasion)
  • A placemat – notice how it is just one of those cheap plastic placemats, I don’t have better than that so I make do with what I have.
  • A dinner fork
  • A linen napkin
  • A bread plate
  • Salt
  • Pepper (I don’t have salt and pepper shakers, I use the ones I bought salt and pepper in from the shop)
  • A butter bowl (with butter in it)

I was only feeding myself on this occasion, so I only set the table for 1 person, but I recommend doing this for yourself and your family.  If you are the Queen of your household, then your husband is the King and your children are Princes and Princesses.  It is a treat to you and them to dine like royalty.

Some extra notes:

  • If you are single:  Do not do this for a man until you have been exclusive with him for some time.  He is not the king of your household until you have said the wedding vows, however that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat him as though he is a royal guest… just don’t give pearls to pigs.  And don’t treat him like a King, he is only the royal guest (like a duke, knight or a lord) you are the Queen.
  • If you have a husband who won’t appreciate this:  Then don’t expect him to do it with you, but do it for yourself and the children.  I am sure that over time he will realise what he is missing out on and join you at the table… do not try and force him, just go ahead and do it for yourself, even if it is just once a week.  The Queen does not force the King’s hand.
  • Haven’t seen the surface of your table in months? I recommend that you set a timer and spend 15 minutes a day clearing the table.  Then on the day that the table is clear celebrate by doing this, and doing it every meal from there on.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Craft: A Single Bed Blanket

You can take a look at all my craft projects at my blog In Ashleigh’s Craft Basket

Hello crafters.  I’m not here to advertise specific yarns, so when you make this for yourself, just use whichever yarn, whichever stitch and whichever size needle suits you.

I am knitting with Garter Stitch, with 5mm bamboo knitting needles.  I am using whichever wool I can get from the farmers market (because it is cheaper than in the shop).

Here is the rough idea for the single bed blanket.  I was going to make a queen size blanket, but decided maybe that was a little too ambitious for my very first knitting project.

The blanket

I am busy working on my first rectangle, and for this one I am using a pink wool.

The blanket Park 1

You can see the colour I am using in the picture below.  At the time of writing this, the strip measured 79cm.


This is going to be a long project.  I’d love to know if anyone would be willing to do it with me.  My aim from now on is to do 1 rectangle a week.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Recipe: Carrot Muffins



  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate soda)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons melted margarine
  • 3 tablespoons golden or maple syrup
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (the yellow skin part of the lemon)


  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC (400ºF)
  2. Coat a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray or margarine
  3. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, oil, syrup and eggs.
  5. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients, mix until combined.
  6. Fold in carrots and lemon zest.
  7. Divide batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups.
  8. Bake 20min or until golden brown.
  9. Allow muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
  10. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely before serving.  The muffins continue to cook for a while after leaving the oven.