Tag Archives: michelle oosthuizen

Giraffe House and Wild Clover (2015-08-08) Photo Gallery 13 AUG 2015

Taking advantage of the stretch of good weather we had been enjoying for the last big, Saturday saw me abandon Chantelle with her work and the need to sort out the baking/braai room, and head out with the girls to the middle of nowhere, corner of the R304 and R101 to be precise.

This is of course the location of The Giraffe House wildlife awareness centre, and where we happened to be meeting up with Michelle and little Logan for a fun day out looking, touching and feeding the animals!

IMG_20150808_115800 michelle oosthuizen at the giraffe house wildlife awareness centre

(Naturally, the moment Michelle arrived I pretty much lost Jessica, with her absolutely refusing to let go of Michelle’s hand for more than 30 seconds at any point in time!)

Thanks to the earlier spell of wet weather, everything was pretty slushy and muddy, but regardless (or perhaps because) of this, the kids thoroughly enjoyed a day out in the sun, seeing the various animals (Gerry the giraffe was, as expected, a big hit), feeding the farmyard goats and ponies, taking in the entertaining reptile show, and of course clambering all over the central jungle gym!

IMG_20150808_105049 jessica lotter at the giraffe house wildlife awareness centre

(Pleasingly, unlike the last time I found myself there, I walked away without having a tarantula clamber all over my face!)

In case you aren’t familiar with The Giraffe House, I grabbed this off from their website:

“At The Giraffe House Wildlife Awareness centre we provide easy access to some of Africa’s wonderful wildlife and bird species. Focusing on African wildlife, Giraffe House aims to provide a place for people to enjoy the outdoors, whilst experiencing and learning about animals and why they are special.

Most of the animals at Giraffe House form part of our wildlife education program. The giraffe, for instance, is the tallest land animal on earth, eland is the biggest antelope, the blue duiker the smallest antelope and ostrich the biggest bird. We are also proudly South African by having our national animal, the springbok and national bird, the blue crane bird forming part of our team.”

It certainly is a varied selection of animals housed, that’s for sure. Jackals, servals, flamingos, snakes, bat-eared foxes, goats, ponies, chickens, crocodiles, warthogs, springbok, zebra, blue cranes, eland, giraffe, duikers, ostriches, monkeys… well, you get the picture.

IMG_20150808_110449 emily lotter at the giraffe house wildlife awareness centre

In other words, more than enough going on to keep the little ones entertained! :)

(Oh, a nice touch that I forgot to mention. On entry each child gets handed a bucket full of food to feed the farmyard animals with – which Emily usually promptly trips with and spills half out all over the floor. Judging from the amount of feed lying all over the place, this is a relatively common occurrence though…)

At the end of what was a good outing, we opted to head down the road to Wild Clover, in order to meet up with Damen who had just finished his archery session at their field.

This was the first time I’ve ever been to the wine farm / brewery / restaurant / archery field / model aircraft flying strip / farmyard animals / accommodation establishment that is Wild Clover – and I have to say, I was seriously impressed.

Extremely kid friendly in terms of a great outside play area, the restaurant features both a great indoor and outdoor space, and quite frankly, it really has everything that makes for a ‘lekker kuierplek’.

(In other words, I’m pretty sure I’ll be back again!)

(I ordered a pizza to share with the girls. Happily, they turned out not to want much, meaning that I ate most of it. Oh, and it was quite a treat to watch a couple of guys flying their model aircraft about. One sometimes forgets just how big they actually are!)

Related Link: The Giraffe House | Wild Clover

A Cake Pop Class in the Making (2014-07-15) Photo Gallery 30 JUN 2015

Before Chantelle finally made the decision to wind down her little baking business and its unreliable income in favour of a job back at the guest house where things worked out financially a little better, we toyed about with quite a few ideas on how we could boost Chantelle’s Cupcakery’s profits/business in order to keep it alive as a viable option.

One of the more interesting plans we had was for Chantelle to start offering various cake/baking themed classes under her Chantelle’s Cupcakery banner.

Chantelle settled on Cake Pops as being the best class to start off with (they were super popular at the time), and so to test everything out, we roped in friends Michelle and Natasha to pop in and learn how to make cake pops.

IMG_20140715_094647 natasha granger, michelle oosthuizen and chantelle lotter do a cake pops class together

The end result?

Techniques learned, skills taught, and well from the look of it, lots of fun! :)

Even Teddy Bear and Barbie weren’t going to miss out on this “how to” lesson!

IMG_20140719_125751 big stuffed monkey sitting on a tub chair

Looking back at it now, it’s kind of a pity that this one didn’t quite work out in the end. That said, having two small kids at home is work enough thank you very much!

Picnic in the Jack’s Back Garden (2015-03-08) Photo Gallery 12 MAR 2015

It’s ridiculous that I’m still busy posting photo sets from this past weekend, but I guess it just goes to show that I really wasn’t lying when I said we had a jam-packed weekend on our hands! In case you haven’t been following, Saturday saw us feeding ducks, eating pancakes at the Root 44 market, playing with animals (and tarantulas!) at Giraffe House, date night supper at Cocoa Wah Wah in Rondebosch, and if that wasn’t enough, capping it all of with Nik Rabinowitz’s What the Eff at the Baxter Theater.

Sunday saw us eat cheesecake at Lourensford Harvest Market, and getting something to drink at Stodels in Bellville. And before we capped off the weekend with supper with the Montgomery Clan, our last big activity for Sunday was a outdoor picnic with the ducks of Sonstraal Damn.

Except, that isn’t quite how it went down…

IMG_20150308_163344 jessica lotter

You see, it turns out that Sonstraal Dam wasn’t all that inviting on Sunday afternoon, with a miserable wind kicking up sand and dust and in general just making for a rather unpleasant outdoor experience.

So a new plan was hastily hatched, and with the agreement of Damen, Michelle, Evan, Natasha, Dean and Zania, we phoned up Andri and Malcolm (who live down the road) and asked if we could instead set up picnic shop in their backyard garden.

Happily they said yes, and so the next couple of hours was spent on blankets, dipping into picnic baskets and chatting about life, work, and whatever else sprung to mind – surrounded by vibracrete walls and the kids jumping the socks off of the trampoline!

In other words, a great example of making lemonade when life hands you lemons! ;)

New Year’s Eve with Damen and Michelle (2014-12-31) Photo Gallery 04 JAN 2015

For the first time in a very, very long time, I actually had something planned for New Year’s Eve. Yes, it was still a ‘parent with small kids’ plan, but nevertheless, it was a plan. After an afternoon visit to Mom’s place for a quick dip in the pool in order to cool down a little, it was off to Michelle and Damen’s pad for Jessica, Emily and myself (shame, Chantelle was working a late, so no fun times for her I’m afraid).

Of course, I managed to get lost trying to get there, ending up at completely the wrong complex, though luckily nothing so bad that a quick call to Michelle couldn’t fix!

Ryan joined us after he finished up work, and what followed was a lot of kids’ play time (Jessica and Logan enjoyed the park, even if sharing the ball wasn’t at the top of their list), beer and brandy, and of course Damen and Michelle’s famous home made braai pizzas.

Even the little splash pool came out to play (expertly patched by Damen first though!).

After a lot of play time, eventually we got all the kids into bed, and the adults continued the evening discussing all manner of grown-up topics (like electricity usage and solar geysers), eating ice cream, and of course waiting for the clock to strike twelve, ring in the new year, and unleash the neighbourhood fireworks!

(The fireworks were of course pretty sporadic. They’re expensive plus almost illegal to set off, meaning that I have to assume that one drives to a spot, fires a rocket, and then jumps into the car to hit another spot, before the police can catch on to what you are doing. Sounds like a reasonable theory to me.)

So all in all, a good (and very, very late) night out for me and my girls, even if wifey couldn’t join in the fun. Happy New Year to everyone, may 2015 be a good one! :)

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Photo Gallery: Two Oceans Aquarium Visit (2013-06-01 ) Photo Gallery 03 JUN 2013

Thanks to the wet and miserable cold front that hit Cape Town on the weekend, the planned hike up Table Mountain in celebration of Karl’s birthday had to be called off. However, this did give us an opportunity to launch into our backup plan, which was to take little Jessica out for the day to the Two Oceans Aquarium in the Waterfront, and so after driving through in the pouring rain, we met up with Michelle, Damen and little Logan for what would turn out to be a thoroughly enjoyable 3 hour long visit with the fishies.

Jessica is at the perfect age to marvel at all the sights on display, and the addition of an impromptu penguin walk as well as a fishy puppet show, the two little ones appeared to have an absolute blast!

logan and jessica going for a ride at the aquarium

Photo Gallery: Toddlers and Braai at Country Mews (2013-01-19) Photo Gallery 19 JAN 2013

We invited the friends over for a January braai at our place, and answering our call came Evan and Natasha, and Damen and Michelle, all with little ones in tow of course! The wind died down enough to allow for an outside braai and an excuse to put up my new gazeebo, on what really was a sweltering hot day. By all accounts, the little ones all had a whale of a time, whilst the big ones sat around eating their fill on delicious braai food and much desired dessert.

In other words, a successful South African friends get together!

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Photo Gallery: Trish’s Lord of the Rings 30th Birthday Party (2012-03-10) My Life 10 MAR 2012

In celebration of Trish Storbeck’s 30th birthday, they organised a big Lord of the Rings themed party which needless to say, turned out to be a whole lot of fun (as chronicled here).

A photographer was hired to capture the events of the evening, and these are a couple of photos I managed to grab off Facebook once they finally went live! :)

News Year’s Weekend 2011/2012 My Life 04 JAN 2012

Ugh, it had to eventually come to an end, but of Tuesday 3rd of January 2012, I find myself firmly back behind the keyboard, banging out fresh new SurveyThumb code for my wage masters over at Touchwork. In truth, I thoroughly enjoyed my two weeks or so off, having spent a lot of time with family and friends, and just generally unwinding as I recharged my batteries in full preparation for 2012!

New Year’s Weekend was very much a Northern Suburbs affair, with Jessie and I traveling through on the Friday to my mom’s place in Bellville, where the three of us spent a lovely day in and out of the pool, despite the nasty little wind that kept popping up and threatening to drive us away. The evening on the other hand was spent back home in the company of wifey, where we got together to enjoy a delicious homemade pizza over a Eagles DVD after a successful putting Jessica to bed routine!

Saturday was literally Braai Day, and after packing both of our little cars to the brim with all of Jessica’s hardware and software, we sped off back to Bellville in order to offload the little one with all her belongings at the Montgomery Clan stronghold, where she’ll be spending the next two weeks with Ouma and Oupa until the Baby Steps daycare reopens mid January. After settling her in with Cheryl, and then promptly grabbing her away again, it was a quick stop off at the local Spar for supplies, before hitting the N1 to Kraaifontein, where Jessie, Chantelle and I joined up with Damen and Michelle, as well as the rest of our friends who had made the trip through for an afternoon New Year’s braai.

With Damen elected tongmaster and stuck behind the raging fire, the rest of the boys dug out a tennis ball and plank, and proceeded to carefully destroy Damen’s backyard with a hearty round of cricket (in a very confined space). Food was eventually served, before the boys once again peeled off from the womenfolk, picked up the XBOX controllers and proceeded to smash each other with a few rounds of FIFA 11.

From there it was back to Bellville as this time we properly managed to leave Jessie behind with Ouma and Oupa, as Chantelle and I headed out back into the breach, this time to Zevenwacht Wine Estate in Kuilsriver, where we joined up with Malcolm, Andri, Michelle, braai master Gary and all of their collective kids at the Ollewage’s swanky pad. There we enjoyed a fantastic evening of good company, good stories and even better food, making it all the way through to midnight for that all important countdown and many ‘happy happy’ wishes!

Finally, it was back to the Montgomery Stronghold in Bellville, where a tired but happy Craig and Chantelle hit the sack for some well-deserved shuteye, the first of 2012!

Sunday was a delayed start for Chantelle who slept in thanks to a massive headache, but when Jessica and I did eventually manage to get mommy out of bed, we persuaded her plus Ouma to join us for a walk around Sonstraal Dam in Eversdal in order to feed the multitude of Egyptian Geese and ducks that call that spot home. After a successful stroll and having depleted our loaf of fresh white bread, we beat a hasty retreat from the busy feathered fiends, heading off to Tyger Manor McDonalds, where Robert joined us so that I could treat everyone to some McDonalds as a late lunch.

From there Jessica, Chantelle and myself shot off to my folks, dropping in at the perfect time to catch both Great Grans (plus Ryan) at Mom and Dad’s pad. More visiting was had, a watermelon devoured, and then it was finally back to the Montgomery Clan where we handed over Jessica to an excited Cheryl and Monty, before hitting the long road back to Gordon’s Bay, and more importantly, our awesome bed!

So yeah, a pretty good New Year’s Weekend after all then I reckon! ;)