Life and Lemons

brown plant and flowers

I cannot believe we are one third into 2021. It has been a whirlwind few months with many changes in our home… we are all still trying to adjust to a new normal. Children are far off at college, our house is quiet and we are adjusting to a so called new-normal. 2020 has shown us that nothing stays the same for long–rather, seasons come and go naturally with the predictable (and unpredictable) transformations that our world endures.

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”

– Alan W. Watts

The change of seasons excites me! Days are becoming shorter, evenings longer. I love autumn! As summer’s light dims and the leaves begin to fall, I like autumn’s reminder that a meaningful life isn’t only about productivity, but transition too.

Autumn is a time of beauty, of harvesting and of shedding the old. While autumn is a time of productivity, it is also a time of completion and transition.I love the quote that reads: If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.

Discerning the seasons of our lives isn’t always easy. The Book of Ecclesiastes says there’s ‘a season for every activity under heaven’ it is wonderful to know that our Lord is involved in all this too. God has tasks for us to do, seasons for us to do them in, and wants to guide us through each of them. I am reminded every day through this new season that it is all a choice- a choice to live expectantly. To live attentively. To live with significance. And embrace the seasons of life.

Breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit! And with all the beautiful lemons in season, I am tempted to bake these easy lemon bars. These are classic lemon bars featuring a soft butter shortbread crust and a tangy sweet lemon curd filling that’s baked to the perfect consistency. The lemon layer is thick and substantial, not thin or flimsy like most other lemon bar recipes.

Lemon bars are one of the EASIEST desserts to make but they’re guaranteed to bring a smile to your face; so bright and zingy with all the lemon flavour from the juice and zest, they’re simply irresistible! So Yes! When life gives you lemons- bake lemon bars!!

Recipe on page 2.


Life is a journey, not a destination.

potted blooming succulents plant in garden
Photo by Gary Barnes on Pexels.com

And the day finally arrived. The day I have to drop my daughters off for college. The day to move them in — hauling boxes, moving furniture, hanging pictures and folding clothes. The day to realise that this is the start of a new season… a new journey for all of us. It is time to say good bye after a (can I call it wonderful?) year of having them both home. Time to say good bye to girly giggles on the drive back from school, shoes and hair ties scattered around the house, long hours next to the netball court cheering them on. It is time for them to leave the nest… to fly… to soar. And for me to take a back seat and watch them thrive.

There are two things we should give our children:one is roots and the other is wings.

Author Unknown

But as you may yourself have experienced, this is easier said than done. We returned home yesterday- the home to countless sleepovers and movie dates, brownie baking marathons and early morning coffees around the kitchen table. Home of wonderful mother-daughter heart to heart talks and memories. And yes I cried… I cried so often, I thought my tear ducts would dry up completely.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

A.A. Milne (Winnie-the-Pooh)

These were not necessarily sad tears, just mama tears filled with mixed emotions, coupled with the reality that my little girls were growing up and this new season of life was here to stay.

It is hard to leave behind the idea of hands-on parenting; realizing that this time they are on her own, soaring, dipping and diving 900 miles away without me watching. I have to reconcile how to shift from full-time to distance parenting with my girls, and thinking about how to avoid smothering Janneman that is still home. I have to let go.

After years of being so intentional about raising your child well, it is hard to take on a new role. Yes, there will be an adjustment in the relationship. I will no longer bear primary responsibility for my daughters. But I am reminded that we have trained them up and now have the joy of watching them grow and learn in adulthood.

Maybe the real challenge of teaching our children to soar is teaching myself. Teaching myself to let go of control and to entrust them to God, who loves them far more than I ever can! As moms, we want to keep our kids safe, protect them from pain, fix their problems, make their decisions and steer them in the right direction. However, there comes a time when we realize we aren’t in control anymore and have to accept that our children’s futures are in God’s hands, not ours.

What a comfort and peace it brings to remember God is always in control and ever present in my children’s lives, even when we can no longer be.

“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; He gently leads those that have young.” (NIV)

Isaiah 40:11

So as I am writing this, I pray for their safety and happiness. I pray that they will grow and flourish, that they will remember their roots and find their wings to fly, to soar! And I cannot wait for their return back home! When I can fill the kitchen with their favourite dishes and sit around the table, sharing in the stories of their new life. I relate to the the quote of Charles Dickens: “The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.” I have joy, for we will meet again.

I love you. – Mom


Rise to the Occasion…and 2021

As we start a new unknown year, we are all overwhelmed with questions and concerns. 2021 seems so uncertain… how do we plan for this year? Last year was a year to reset and refocus… and this year?

Sitting on my Kalahari porch and scrolling through social media , I came upon this writing by Alex Cravens and it touched my heart. It gave me a new perspective. A new excitement. And I have to share it with you!

“Don’t feel sorry for or fear for your kids because the world they are going to grow up in is not what it used to be.

God created them and called them for the exact moment in time that they’re in. Their life wasn’t a coincidence or an accident.

Raise them up to know the power they walk in as children of God.

Train them up in the authority of His Word.

Teach them to walk in faith knowing that God is in control.

Empower them to know they can change the world.
Don’t teach them to be fearful and disheartened by the state of the world but hopeful that they can do something about it.

Every person in all of history has been placed in the time that they were in because of God’s sovereign plan.

He knew Daniel could handle the lions den.

Don’t be scared for your children, but be honored that God chose YOU to parent the generation that is facing the biggest challenges of our lifetime.
Rise up to the challenge.

Raise Daniels, Davids, Esthers and Peters!

God isn’t scratching His head wondering what He’s going to do with this mess of a world.

He has an army He’s raising up to drive back the darkness and make Him known all over the earth.

Don’t let your fear steal the greatness God placed in them. I know it’s hard to imagine them as anything besides our sweet little babies, and we just want to protect them from anything that could ever be hard on them, but they were born for such a time as this.” – Alex Cravens

May we rise up to the occasion! We are all born for a time like this! As our new year begins, take time to reflect on 2020. Don’t let the past year be wasted, instead, let us learn from all we have experienced. Then, commit to live a purposeful life in the year ahead. Don’t live the entire year without purpose, only reacting to what happens from day to day.

“For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the LORD, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭AMP‬‬

God is intentional. God has specific plans and acts accordingly to those plans. If God does not approach life randomly, neither should we. Let us live 2021 with purpose!

I look forward to walking this journey and this year with you. Love from my Kalahari Kitchen, Aldalene



What’s In My Cup?

It’s that time of year. Shop windows fill up with brightly-coloured, twinkly light holiday displays, and living room windows fill up with Christmas trees. Festive music plays on repeat. If you’re like me, this is the time of year when you realize Christmas is fast approaching and the year went far too quickly.

For many of us, this is also one of our busiest times of the year. If you have school kids, you’re swamped with Christmas concerts, school year end functions and the thick fog of final papers and exams. After lockdown it feels like we are still trying to make up for the missed months. In between all the busyness,you want to create the most perfect family vacation and a special Christmas celebrations. Yes, November/December season is packed with parties, decorations, presents, so many events and above all, meeting everyone’s expectations.

I love this analogy I stumbled upon this week. And it reminds me of the scripture that reads “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Matthew 12:34; Luke 6:45).

You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere.

Why did you spill the coffee?

“Because someone bumped into me!!!”

Wrong answer.

You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.

Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.

*Whatever is inside the cup is what will spill out.*

The bumping is simply the catalyst to reveal what was tucked inside.

Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled or busy or frazzled or overwhelmed.

So today we have to ask ourselves… “what’s in my cup?”

When life gets tough, what spills over?

Joy, gratefulness, peace, joy and humility?

Anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions?

Life provides the cup, YOU choose how to fill it.

Friend, I do not know what is in your cup right now but if you are in any version of normal, there is a lot of coffee-infused exam nerves and cinnamon-spiced holiday stress. The demands are overwhelming and if you are like me, this time of year also brings a reflection of all the ways that 2020 did not measure up to expectations.

So today, let’s work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation; and kindness, gentleness and love for others. For life will bump into us. But a heart full of Jesus doesn’t get bruised when it gets bumped.

And when the hustle and bustle of this season seems to drain you from all your good intentions and you get bumped around, there is always ice cream and coffee. Affogato is an Italian classic dessert and means “drowned” in Italian as it is essentially drowning ice cream in coffee. The hot coffee starts to melt the ice cream and forms a thick foam at the top. The best way to eat an affogato is with a spoon, eat the ice cream first and then drink the coffee along with any melted ice cream.

Affogato is so good, you won’t believe it is so elegant, easy, delicious and only needs two ingredients. Perfect to round off any festive menu or as a late night treat. I am filling my cup now! Recipe page 2


The Best Attitude is Gratitude

“I knew a woman once

who waited

for the perfect day,

then the ultimate raise,

then the long applause,

then the mountain retreat,

then the magic number,

then the noticed thanks,

then the wanted affirmation

that never came

and for far too long she had no idea that joy could be found in day just like today with the cotton bedsheets pulled up and made smooth in a messy room,

or even the cold water straight from the earth below her, now there at the edge of the cup tipped at her lips,

or even this regular moment with her heart drumming like a wild anthem within her,

because on any old day, even this one, is never too late,

all she had to do was write down these smallest slivers of grace in her everyday because:

Gratefulness isn’t hard.

Forgetting to be grateful is what makes life hard.“

This beautiful piece is written by one of my favourite bloggers Ann Voskamp. Her writing has impacted by life, especially this year where I had to be reminded to be grateful. Grateful for the small mercies and slivers of grace visible in the bizarre, unpredictable, unknown, uncontrollable life we now call our ‘new normal’.

This week we had Lorene’s ‘ Mother- Daughter’ evening at school. It is a special celebration of womanhood, as our daughters embark on this journey called life. After 18 years under our roof and 12 years at school, they are ready to fly! It is time for us as mothers to let go. That is difficult! All around me I hear mothers voice their concern for what the future holds, the world an uncertain place. Tears stain our faces. The wish is uttered that our daughters will just be happy… But what does that mean?

This year has taught me many things, but one things is to give attention to what I am giving attention to. To daily train myself to be more thankful, even for the mundane, ordinary things we call life. To stand still and enjoy the endless grocery shopping, the cooking and feeding of a house full of teenagers, the house littered with school shoes and golf clubs and rugby balls. A house that is busy and full of organized chaos.

The result of living attentively and gratefully? Being infinitely more joyful!

And that is my prayer for Lorene ( and all other children soon leaving the comfort and security of home and venturing into the big wide world), that as they embark on this wonderful, scary journey called life, they will be attentive and grateful.

Yes, today is the perfect day. The perfect day to start living a meaningful life. For my daughter soon to leave home and for myself.

A life that is meaningful — starts with a heart that is grateful. All great lives start with a habit of gratefulness.– Ann Voskamp



Love of Food

Over 25 years ago, Dr. Gary Chapman penned the New York Times bestseller “The 5 Love Languages.” It was a revolutionary concept that’s still relevant today, and in case you haven’t read the book ( I can really really recommend it!) here are the cliff notes: humans express love and want to feel loved in return in five different ways — words of affirmation, receiving gifts, acts of service, quality time, and physical touch.

Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.

A Ian D. Wolfelt

Here’s the modern-day twist: some experts believe there’s a sixth omnipotent love language — food. “Food incorporates all the other five languages and all five senses. It’s a very powerful way of creating a connection and expressing love,” relationship and human behavior expert Patrick Wanis, Ph.D. says. I cannot agree more!!

I love this! Yes! Quality time along with food is my love language! What can be better than sitting around a beautifully set table with your loved ones, a delicious homemade meal and sharing life together!!!

The love language of food has a way of bringing down walls, because you’re less guarded and more trusting when sharing a meal.

So on this Saturday, I am setting a table under the Camelthorn tree and lighting the candles for an intimate dinner under the starry Milkyway. Dinner with my loved ones. My love language in action.



Coffee and New Beginnings (and more coffee)

It is another beautiful crisp morning in the Kalahari… day is breaking. As I am drinking my first cup of freshly brewed coffee, gazing over the savannah landscape, I am reminded of one of my favourite scriptures:
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!” Lamentations 3:22-23
These last few weeks and months have been challenging ( to say the least) and all of us have been stretched to our limits. But again and again I have been reminded of His love, His mercy and His faithfulness! Yes, I can smile with the morning sun on my face and look expectantly to the week ahead!

I never woke a morning in Africa when I was not happy

Ernest Hemmingway

But what is a cup of morning coffee without my Ouma’s delicious rusks? Yes, these are biscotti with attitude!

According to the book “Die Geskiedenis van Boerekos 1652 – 1806” by HW Claassens, the Afrikaans word ‘beskuit’ was borrowed from the French, meaning “twice baked”. All our Kalahari Safari guests know that no morning coffee is complete without home baked rusks. Every family has a recipe that comes through the generations and has been perfected over the ages.

This is my version of our family recipe; a recipe that can be changed with the addition of nuts, dried fruit or any dry cereal you may have in the kitchen cupboard. Pour that cup of coffee and get baking!

Today’s goals: Coffee and kindness. Maybe two coffees (and rusks), and then kindness. And together we will keep faith.

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Weekend Bliss (with chocolate of course)

Another week has passed.. a new normal starting to emerge amid Covid-19, masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing. Weekends are our time to recap, recover and dream about a life as we have known it…. But is is also time to rediscover new recipes! As a family, we try and cut the sugar and carbs during the week. So come Friday, everyone is craving something sweet and this weekend we whipped up delicious, delectable, desirable( did I say delicious?) Millionaire’s Shortbread. Known as Millionaire’s Shortbread, presumably because they are so rich, they consist of a crisp shortbread base with an indulgent salted caramel filling that’s topped with a layer of dark chocolate – pure heaven! What more can a girl (or her family) want?

May your life be filled, as mine has been, with love and laughter; and remember, when things are rough all you need is…. CHOCOLATE

Geraldine Solon, Chocolicious
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SETTING THE TABLE

My Kalahari Kitchen is born out of a love for food… and a girl that fell in love with a tall handsome farm boy. Never did I imagine a life of breathtaking sunsets with my toes in the red Kalahari sand, bright starlit nights making a canopy over our heads as we sit at a roaring log fire and herds of Zebra eating my carefully planted herbs… a beautiful, simple life in the Kalahari, Africa.

A sharing of memories, photos, Kalahari moments, recipes and life from my Kalahari kitchen…. this is what this blog is all about. Our journey together.

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