Thursday, April 19, 2012

Another favourite thing

On the subject of favourite things (see previous post), another of my favourite things is Geocaching and I felt that this one deserved a post all of its own.  We started Geocaching about 18 months ago and I have to say it is hands down our favourite family activity.  I really, really urge you to give it a try!

For the uninititated, geocaching is something like a grown-up form of treasure-hunting.  You use a GPS device to find the geocache (a container with a log-book in it, that you sign to claim the cache) and then you log your find on your geocaching profile (vaguely like a facebook page)  It's free, it's fun and it often takes you to places you would never have been to otherwise.  (We have been to some stunning places thanks to geocaching, have a look at my dedicated geocaching blog) There are geocaches hidden everywhere, in fact, I'd hazard a guess there is probably one hidden less than 5kms from where you are right now.  (Note: that not all geocaches are out in the sticks, there are geocaches all over the place, in shopping malls, underneath post boxes etc etc)

All you need to start geocaching is access to a computer and a GPS device (we use either a hand-held Garmin or, more frequently, Grant's iphone, which has a geocaching app loaded onto it)

To get started you would go to the geocaching website which you can find here.

The website has a wealth of information (try not to get too bogged down by all the info at first.  My advice is to rather go out and get your first cache asap!) and it's also the place where you would create your geocaching profile (click on "register" at the top on the right).  Your profile page will record the geocaches you have found etc.  This is a small section of our profile page:

Once you have set your profile up, you will want to go and hunt for your first cache.  At the beginning we found it easiest to hunt for caches near our home location.  So we clicked on the link that says "search for geocaches near your home location" - see above.  Otherwise you could click on "Play" and then "Hide and seek a cache" -  this lets you find caches based on address, postal codes, country, co-ords etc etc.

A list of caches will come up, beginning with those nearest to your home.  It'll look something like this:

Click on one that interests you and you will be taken to that cache's page.  The cache below is a cache that Grant and I hid:

So on the page above you have all the info you would need to go and find the cache.  The co-ordinates, the size of the cache (to give you some idea of what you are looking for), the difficulty and terrain and a little information about the cache.  You would put the co-ordinates into your GPS and off you go to find the cache.

Caches can vary widely in size and contents.  The smallest caches are called nanos, and they can be as small as a bullet casing and contain nothing but a tiny roll of paper for you to sign.  Large caches can be as big as a lunch box and contain a log book, pencil, odd little toys (the idea is to give kiddies something to take home with them :-) ) and travel bugs and geocoins

This is what our cache looked like when we placed it:

When looking for your first couple of caches it's probably a good idea to look for the easier, larger caches (often called traditional caches).  Read through some of the recent logs, making sure it was found recently and possibly even look at the photo gallery on that cache's page.  If you go to "Play" => "Hide and Seek" as mentioned above, scroll down to the bottom of the page and check the block next to "highlight beginner caches" you will find some nice easy, first-timer caches.

Once you have found your geocache (yay!) you will come back to your profile on and go to that caches page and then log your find by clicking on "log your visit"

And "voila"!  You have your first find and are probably already as addicted as I am :-)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

These are a few of my favourite things.....

Karma soap by Lush The best smell in the world!  I will go to great lengths to get my hands on my Karma soap.  It's not available in South Africa, so I have to beg everyone I know (and some people I don't!) to buy it for me when they go overseas.  It's also very expensive when you convert to Rands, so I don't even think about that!  It's not a luxury I need my Karma.....

Love, love, love it.

Satsuma shower gel by The Body Shop.  Okay, so it's not Karma, but it does have a lovely fresh, Summery fragrance and a better texture than any other shower gel I've ever used.  I use the whole Satsuma range, the lotion and the body butter are really nice too.

Lindt Intense Mint.  I cannot survive a day without my Lindt Mint.  It's my medicine.  I must have it in order to function normally. 

 Project Life - I bought the Project Life kit at the beginning of the year and am so enjoying this "scrapbooking-lite" way of storing our photos and recording our memories.

 Graham Beck Railroad Red - man, I'm loving this wine at the moment.  Can't think of a better way to end the day :-)

Neutrogena Hand Cream - the ONLY hand cream that can cope with my OCD hand-washing tendencies.... gotta love it!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Some questions

I found this over at Conversations over soup and thought I'd answer the questions just for fun. 

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness? Time spent having fun with my family.  Nothing makes me happier.

2. What is your greatest fear? Dying a slow painful death.

3. Which historical figure do you most identify with?  There isn't really one that I identify with.  I find Anne Boleyn fascinating, but thankfully (See No.2!) I don't identify with her!!

4. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Cowardice.

5. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Cruelty.

6. What is your greatest extravagance? Cosmetics, I like the expensive ones....

7. What is your favorite journey? Travelling to Europe. I have a major on-going love-affair with Europe.

8. What do you dislike most about your appearance? Where do I begin?  My weight, my height, my fluffy, frizzy hair, my skew teeth.....blah, blah, blah....

9.What words or phrases do you most overuse? The word "clearly" and of course "I can't" - see No. 4 above.

10. What is your greatest regret? Having a fight with my brother the day before he died.

11. Who or what is the greatest love(s) of your life? My husband, my daughters and my pets.

12When or where were you happiest? How to pick one time??  Probably our family holidays at Sun City or our vacations in Europe.

13. What talent would you most like to have? The ability to play the piano.

14. What do you consider your greatest achievement? Raising two lovely daughters.

15. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would it be? Always a mother.
16. What is your most treasured possession? The ring I inherited from my aunt Pam.

17. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Genuine suffering of any kind.

18. Where would you like to live? In Europe.  I dream of owning a villa in Italy (a la Bramasole)

19. What is your favorite occupation? Reading or messing about on my lap-top

20. What is your most marked characteristic? Laziness

21. What is the quality you most like in a man? Kindness.

22. What do you most value in your friends? Their unconditional love.

23. Who are your favorite writers? I read purely for fun, so my favourite writers are not necessarily the writers I consider the best writers, but rather the ones whose books I most enjoy reading:  Katie FForde (she's my very favourite) Janette Oke, Lori Wick, Sherryl Woods, JoAnn Ross, L M Montgomery, Rebecca Shaw....there are lots!

24. Who is your favorite hero in fiction? Don’t have one, but my favourite fictional character would probably be Anne in Anne of Green Gables.

25. Who are your heroes in real life? All the people who do the really difficult jobs that I couldn't imagine having the courage to do.... paramedics, people who work in hospices those sort of people.

26. What are your favorite names? Dylan for a boy and Julia for a girl

27. What is it that you most dislike? Cruelty to animals, homophobia and racism.

28. How would you like to die? In my sleep.

29. What is your motto? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Sun City - then and now

We had our last holiday at our timeshare in Sun City last week.  Hard to believe that in all likelihood we will not be visiting Sun City as a family again.  I had one MAJOR lump in my throat as we drove out the gates.

We have always been big fans of Sun City.  I first visited the place with my mom and dad as a 13 or 14 year old, when there was nothing there except the hotel, the Cabanas and the entertainment centre -  the Cascades, the Palace and the Valley of the Waves were but a twinkle in Sol's eye.  Quite what the attraction was at that stage I'm not sure!! 

When the timeshare was first developed we were among the first to buy and got the timeshare at a ridiculously cheap price, which has enabled us to spend holidays at Sun City almost every year since then.  Unfortunately the timeshare had a limited life-span and this year was the final year.  There is a new timeshare development now, but it's way out of our price range.

I know Sun City is not to everyone's taste, but we have loved our holidays there.  The Valley of the Waves is our "happy place" and the hours we have spent there will forever be among my favourite memories. 

So indulge me while I take a little stroll down memory lane:

Jan 1993 (pre-Paula!!)

Jan 1996 (post-Paula, smile)

Jan 1996

Jan 1999

Pops, Paula and Nana Jan 1999

Jan 2000

Paula, Gerda and Kate Jan 2002

Jan 2002

Jan 2003

Jan 2003

Jan 2004

Mar 2007

Mar 2007

Mar 2007

April 2009

Apr 2009

Apr 2009

Mar 2011

Mar 2011
Gerds, Kate (look how she's grown!), Pete and Luke

Paula and Cal, Mar 2012

Mar 2012