Holiday photos: Thanksgiving at Sand Island Beach

Sand Island Beach

Last weekend we went back to our favorite beach spot, Sand Island Beach Cottages, to celebrate American Thanksgiving with some friends. It’s been a whole year since we last visited the coast, and it was so good to be back! (Remember last year’s travel fiasco?) Here are some photos, if you’d like to see…

Sand Island Beach
Sand Island Beach Sand Island Beach

Sand Island is basically paradise. We love the lovely cottages, especially the shady verandas that are just a stone’s throw from the ocean, perfect for escaping the midday sun. The kids loved searching the grass for gigantic hermit crabs and other creatures. Heidi found the world’s most gigantic snail, and just picked it up like it was no big deal…

Sand Island Beach Sand Island Beach Sand Island Beach Sand Island Beach Sand Island Beach Sand Island Beach

We spent our mornings swimming in the ocean during high tide. Claire and Heidi both love swimming, and Sand Island has this lovely sandy area in the middle of the coral reef that is perfect for splashing around when the tide is high. During low tide, we paddled around the tidal pools, checking out the sea life inside. Every time we go to Tiwi, we find some new, bizarre creature out on the reef. This time, we found a sea anemone with a little Nemo family inside!

Sand Island Beach Sand Island Beach Sand Island Beach Sand Island Beach Sand Island Beach

We also made our usual trip out to the starfish gardens, always a highlight of any trip to Tiwi! The starfish are so gorgeous, I couldn’t stop taking photos. We even found a seven-legged starfish! (One leg away from being an octopus – ha!)

Sand Island Beach Sand Island Beach Sand Island Beach

In the late afternoons we hung out on the beach, building sand castles and enjoying the sunset. Late afternoons are my favorite time at the beach – I always wish those last hours of the day would stretch on forever!

Sand Island Beach

We had such a lovely time – I already can’t wait to go back… Sand Island, we love you!

 

 

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Back to school (Whoopee!)

Back to school

The girls are back to school this week, and I have officially become that mom who dances in the street after saying goodbye to the kids. Don’t get me wrong, I love my two little rascals, but this school break was LONG, and the fights were REAL. A few hours apart will do us all a world of good – especially these battling sisters!

Back to school

Heidi went back to kindergarten on Tuesday, to a teacher and a classroom she knows and loves. She’s grown a lot, and I’m amazed at how easy drop-off was compared to last year! (I think it helps that we weren’t all battling jet lag.) I was wondering how she would handle going to school without her big sister. It turns out, Heidi is totally ready for independence!

Back to school

Claire started class 1 yesterday, with a touching ceremony. The whole school gathers to welcome the new children with songs, flowers, and candlelight. Each new student was matched up with a “guardian,” an older child from class 6 who acts sort of like a big brother or sister for the incoming kids. Claire was in her element, beaming with excitement, ready to start this new chapter in her life.

Back to school Back to school

One of the beautiful things about this school year is the one-on-one time I will get with Heidi each afternoon while Claire is still at school. Heidi and I rarely get alone time – a fact of life for many younger siblings, I’m sure. I feel like I got to know her better yesterday, just hanging out with her on our own for a few hours before big sister got home from school. I’m really looking forward to these quiet hours of one-on-one play this term!

Back to school

How did back-to-school go for you? I’m so happy that this year went more smoothly than last year’s back-to-school debacle… 😉 Cheers to all you mamas and papas who got to enjoy a quiet cup of coffee this morning, or who did your own little dance of joy after the kiddos hit the road!

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School break activity: brewing fizzy magic potions

Fizzy magic potions

The long, cold, dark days of August have arrived, and we’re trying to spice things up with some extra fun crafts and sensory activities. This one was a whopper! And we already had all the materials in our cupboard! (Thanks to Jean over at The Artful Parent for yet another amazing kids’ activity!) Continue reading

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Kids’ craft: marbled paper made with shaving cream and paint

It’s school break, and I’m always on the hunt for easy, fun crafts to do with the kids during the long days at home. Jean over at The Artful Parent is my favorite inspiration for all things crafty! The kids and I made some beautiful marbled paper the other day, and I can’t wait to use it to make some nice cards and gifts! Continue reading

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Island life at Mfangano Island Camp in Lake Victoria

Mfangano Island Camp

Those of you who follow me on social media know that we just got back from the most amazing trip to Mfangano Island Camp in Lake Victoria. We spent three days by the lake, enjoying the waves, the breeze, and getting into island life. (Claire has started calling herself “Lake Girl.” Ha!) Here are some photos, if you’d like to see… Continue reading

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Great camping hack for kids – a bucket and rope!

Bucket and rope

When camping, I usually pack a bin with a few crayons and coloring books in case the kids need some activities beyond climbing rocks, hiking, and running around in the long grass. On our last trip, I decided to also bring a bucket and some rope. I wasn’t sure whether the kids would be into it, but it turns out this was the best camping activity ever! Continue reading

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Rhino Charge 2017: Adventuring in the north Kenyan bush

Rhino Charge

As you guys know, a couple of weeks ago we participated in the Rhino Charge, a charitable race that supports the conservation and protection of Kenya’s wildlife and mountain range ecosystems. This year, chargers raised a staggering 153 million shillings ($1.5 million dollars) to support Rhino Ark Trust’s conservation works, and a further 4.4 million shillings ($44,000 dollars) to support the Songa Community Conservancy. Jesse fulfilled a lifelong dream as a runner for Car 51, The DeRanged Rovers, and the Rhino Charge was raging success! Continue reading

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Happy birthday, Claire!

Happy birthday to this sweet, smart, sassy girl – Claire turns 6 today! We will be celebrating out in the bush, at the Rhino Charge. We got her a new board game and two new books for her birthday – I hope she loves them! Continue reading

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This is how messy my life is right now…

messy

Sometimes life gets messy. It just wasn’t my day. First, I baked Claire’s birthday cake, and it broke apart when I tried to pop it out of the pan. (Yes, ANOTHER cake fail.) Later, I was making one of my kids’ favorite dinners – Thai peanut pasta. It’s easy, they love it, it has broccoli. Wins all around. In the midst of cooking, I ran out of soy sauce. I got a new bottle from the pantry, but…. something was wrong. The soy sauce was thick and viscous, like tar. I thought, well, how bad can it be?

Bad. It can be bad. Like really bad. You don’t even want to know. Continue reading

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Kids craft: crayon watercolor resist

Crayon watercolor resist

We’ve been getting really into watercolor painting in our house recently. The kids love painting, and we used to use mostly tempera paints and our trusty easel. But tempera requires quite a bit of supervision, especially with Heidi, who tends to accidentally flick paint on walls and furniture! The watercolors give the girls all the fun of painting, with much less concern about permanent mess in the house! Continue reading

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