Thursday, March 23, 2017

Let's talk about lunches... yours, not kids

The other day I read a post on Cup of Jo about work lunches and this, of course, prompted a discussion in the office, because I am fascinated by the daily minutae of other people's lives.

Or inquisitive. Take your pick.

I generally see food as "breakfast", "lunch" or "supper" food and I don't like to mix my categories unless I'm super lazy.

So I never eat cereal for anything other than breakfast (unless there was food at a 9 am meeting and I had that instead of my cereal).

If I eat too many "lunch" meals which I actually define as "supper", I'll get bored with supper meals and that is not a good thing...

I typically bring a sandwich of some sort with a protein and veg, and then fruits and a yoghurt for my snacks.

Carb - always wholewheat bread, otherwise on a Monday, I may bring a roll if we have any left over from the weekend
Protein - tuna/ egg/ ham/ cheese (rarely, because then I have to bring a grater to work too)
Veg - usually tomato, sometimes cucumber, sometimes carrots

Favourite winter lunches:
  • Garlic roll, my homemade soup (which is lentil and vegetable - always at least 1 P/ 2 V on Weighless)
  • Toast, oodles of cottage cheese, Weigh-Less tomato and roasted pepper soup/ my own homemade soup
  • Wholewheat toast, baked beans and soup
  • Leftover pasta :)
Favourite summer lunches:

Wholewheat toast with
  • tuna mixed with onion, tomato and a smidge of mayonnaise (and a mint sweet for afterwards :))
  • eggs (I either make an omelette with onions, or I "boil" the eggs in the microwave at work, and slice them with tomatoes)
  • cottage cheese mixed with avo, and cucumber slices
Now that I'm looking at my lunches, no wonder I'm so bored.

I'm not the type of person (there are plenty, I've found) who can eat the same thing for lunch day in and day out. I'd go mental.'

And I'm soooo not a salad person. I need salads on my sandwich, not in place of :)

So, some ideas from the comments on Cup of Jo...
  • one lady said she takes supper leftovers for lunch and the fact that she needs food for the leftovers is a great incentive to not overeat at supper. LOVE this idea (in theory) because there are only ever leftovers if I make pasta, and in winter I do take this in maybe twice a month.
  • some people cook a lunch meal on the Sunday and eat the same thing Mon - Thurs... 
  • smoothies...

In our office, some buy a salad from the trolley (pasta for the boys and greens for the girls), some pop to the mall to buy lunch, some bring leftovers and some bring a bag full of stuff to assemble lunch at work (me!).

What do you typically eat for lunch?

PS a post from 4 years ago on the kids' lunches. And another one specifically on school lunch boxes.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Things that are making me super happy

I just checked on the date of my last post and.. it was two weeks ago.


I'm using the writing of this post as a warm-up for my "real" writing on OrganisingQueen because I have a goal to write 5 posts this week.

1. It's practically a public holiday today

I feel very strongly that when a public holiday is on a Tuesday or Thursday, it's almost a sin to not take the Monday or Friday as leave :)

I always take these days off unless I'm out of leave...

Sadly, D is working but I did have a date with my cuties instead.

2. Book club

Oh my gosh, book club is making me so happy. We've started, we've had two meetings and people are reading!

I'm so enjoying all the bookish talk and really, why did I not do this earlier?!

3. Nanny S is back

Nanny S's sister died last weekend so she was off for the week again (that's three weeks in the last month). That part is not happy at all.

But she was back today. I told the kids if she's back then we can have the date mentioned above but if not, probably we'll be working.....probably doing laundry.

We did work on the kids' rooms because they want to share a room and not have their own rooms.

We'll have to see how this goes because their neatness personalities do not align...

Is anything making you happy today?
Share in the comments!

Monday, March 06, 2017

Losing your identity

So I've just read this awesome post on Design Mom about losing your identity (or not) once you become a mother.

Go read.... I'll wait.

I'll tell you what happened with me if you're interested.

I think I lost some of my career ambitions and drive while trying to fall pregnant. I honestly don't know how others get through infertility with everything intact :)

It feels like my 30's were taken up trying to fall pregnant (4 years), being pregnant, having babies, surviving the twins and then I blinked and I was 39 in that awful job.

I'm fine now but I don't think our marriage is even close to what it was pre-twins and I certainly feel like I've lost a lot of my ambition.

I love my children with an indescribable amount of all-consuming passion but I also know I love when I'm engaged in client solutions at my workplace.

I could never be a SAHM and I'm not sure if that's a brain thing or a personality thing; all I know is that I've had 5 months at home for maternity leave, 4 months on sabbatical and .... it's not for me.

Do you feel you lost your identity when you became a mother?
Or has it, as some of those commenters said, moved you towards your identity?

Tell me what you think.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

We've just about survived!

Here I sit on a Thursday night and Nanny S is due to come back on Monday.

Things I've noticed while she's been away:

she's much, much better at keeping up with the laundry than I am

D took all his shirts and two of Connor's school shirts to an ironing service on Monday because I simply don't iron. Ever.

I've been doing a load every two days - first colours, then whites, etc. I did a whites load today and there's enough for another whites load tomorrow but I'm going to just ignore it until Saturday so D can help.

our food lasts so much longer

for some reason, we have only had to buy fruit (the same fruit we usually buy every week) once every two weeks.

I go through cleaning cloths super quickly

I have a love relationship with microfibre cleaning cloths. I have a ton so I use one a day and toss in the wash because I can't stand the slightest bit of smell :)

the kids are getting away with murder with her

She's definitely picking up after them a bit too much. We don't do that at all and find ourselves telling them to pick up their stuff, wipe down/shake crumbs off placemats, put clothes in the laundry basket, etc.

Connor really loves a star chart

Every day he asks me for his list and tackles that list with singular focus. He's super motivated by a goal like I am.

Kendra is motivated by chilling :)

She couldn't care less about stars but just wants to be done so she can laze around (this is Francois blood!)

So while we're excited to have Nanny S back, it does make me think we could probably do with only 3 full days or half days!

We've planned to go eat out on Sunday to celebrate all of our hard work these two weeks :)

What are you excited about these days?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Wet laundry, nanny stuff and weight

I fell into the Instagram coma this morning while having my tea and watching the rain with one eye.... so I'm taking 15 minutes at work to quickly bash this out while I wait for a client to arrive.

1. It's been pouring with rain for two days now and I'm loving it. I love, love, love rain.

What I don't love is getting my laundry dry. Today when I get home I think I'll use the tumble drier for 20 minutes.

Do you have a tumble drier? I first fell in love with these amazing appliances when I was at Rhodes. I was smitten and we had one before we even had a washing machine!

A pity electricity is so expensive otherwise I'd use it more :)

2. Our nanny's sister is very sick so she's gone home to Zim for two weeks.

We are bribing the kids with a weekend treat (movies this week and restaurant for all of us next weekend) to keep them responsible. But it's actually a lot - working, cooking, cleaning, chasing kids, etc. I was pooped last night and I just collapsed with my book.

I realise that Nanny S does way too much for them simply because it's easier for her. However, it doesn't teach them independence.

3. I need to do something about my weight.

I'm not prepared to do banting or other such stuff. I have no insulin resistance - the two dieticians I consulted about this said this is really the only group of people who should bant.

So I guess that means cutting out something.... I suppose carbs at supper is the obvious one but oh my word, carbs are my love language.....

I don't want to lose a lot - 7 kg is enough - but I also don't want to have to radically alter my life :)

Tips? Tricks?

Anyone else want to share a few things on their mind?

Friday, February 17, 2017

{Friday Five} The "I can't stop talking about" edition

I loosely decided that I need to give myself some boundaries around Instagram otherwise I'm going to end up in an Instagram coma every morning.

Some mornings I go with D to work so there's no break, other mornings I read for a bit looking out the lounge window, with a cup of tea, and other mornings I decided I should write up a quick blog, like today.

So here we go: things I can't stop talking about:

Oh my soul, I love talking goals, intentions, how to get at them, how to get better at them. It's my passion :)

Goals night is my favourite night of the month!

traffic in Jhb this year
I'm boring myself but honestly, I don't remember when last the traffic was this awful. I wised up after a few days and arrive at 9:30 - 10:00 these days and leave at 3.30 to miss the traffic. Even the 3.30 didn't work the other day :o

It's good but it means I'm mixing my lives (working at home) which I'm not a fan of, because I'm a clear compartmentaliser.

As I typed that word, I thought I should write up a full post on Organising Queen because I've realised I have podcasts for a Friday, podcasts for the shower, podcasts for editing photos, podcasts for listening with D, podcasts for driving, podcasts for cooking and also, podcast topics I simply delete once I see the topic!

Any new podcast listeners? (I'm going to keep asking) This is year 3 for me.

Okay, to be fair, I've always talked a lot about books but I think the book club has accelerated my bookish-ness.

Also, you know my friend Se7en builds a library every year, right? Please see if you can donate a book or three. They are gifts to these kids (and over 1000 others) so should be in gift-condition or new. For my US friends, if you shop from Readers Warehouse, Takealot or Loot, they will deliver (for low minimums, completely free shipping!) directly to the address so it's no fuss!

Read more here!

The kids started learning Afrikaans last year but it was very mild compared to this year. I'm the only one who actually speaks Afrikaans so I'm the one who has to listen to Gouelokkies being read a million times a week.

And that's it for today!

I'm looking forward to a quick lunch today and then.... weekend!

What can you not stop talking about?
Will you donate a book?

PS It feels like an orange day today so I looked through my favourites for orange pics :) Which is your favourite orange pic?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Health stuff and what I want more of this year

Okay, here's what I want more of this year.

Now, onto the health stuff.

1. I finally scheduled that extraction and implant simply because it had been hanging over my head, filling me with dread. Now at least I need only think of it the day before and the day of.... (currently 8 March)

I actually had it scheduled for 1 March but a conference came up and I have to go to this one because the alternative is farrrrrrrrr away. And you all know how I "love" driving. So no.


2. Then I had a mammogram (my first! should have been my third!) in the last week of January. I spoke to the doctor and you're supposed to go every year from 40, and start earlier if you've had issues or have a family history. The biggest medical aid in SA only pays for 1 every 2nd year, but that doesn't change the health professionals' view, just by the way.

Oh, it was all clear!

3. This morning I have my annual gynae check-up and Pap smear. I think this is the least dreaded of the 3! This one was supposed to happen in December last year... I just ran out of time.

These 3 were on my list for the year and I'm going to be thrilled when they're all done!

In very sad news, a lady I used to work with who is a close friend of a friend of mine died at the end of January from breast cancer. Like me, she has two young kids (7 and 9) so it is very tragic, and to be honest, threw me completely when I heard the news!

How are you doing with your health things?

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Bookish things and a January update

This year I'm really into getting specific about things and actually writing them down.

For example, I always have had a reading goal for each year and usually I make a goal to read some books off my physical bookshelf. That's solely to get through books otherwise they'll stay there for the next 10 years.

But this year I have lots of specifics. I'll share a few of them here:
  • read 72 books
  • at least 12 of them on Audible
  • set up book club
  • categorise all my Audible books on Goodreads
  • read 10 physical books from my bookshelf
  • re-listen to Better than Before, Overwhelmed, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (I LOVED THIS BOOK!), Marie Kondo (I now listen every year around my birthday) and Present over Perfect
  • track my splits monthly instead of having to do the Big Counteroo at the end of the year
What are some of your bookish/ reading goals this year?

I heard someone on the internet say (or maybe it was an Instagram comment?) that they want to read fewer books but more quality, like if they can see it's a terrible book, stop and rather invest further time in a really good book.

On that note, I abandoned 4 books last year. This is AWESOME for me as I used to "push through" on everything. But I could always do better.

So maybe I should aim to abandon books faster? :)

But now for my January books.

In case anyone is interested, I take a screenshot from Goodreads website (it doesn't lay out nicely like this on the app), I email the pic to my phone (Picasa compresses it), then I use an app called Blur it free to blur out the books that may overlap from the previous month, email that pic back to my computer and insert it into the post. It sounds like a lot of steps but the whole thing takes about a minute :)

No. of books read: 8, 2 of them non-fiction
Physical: Kindle: Audible - 4: 3: 1
Enjoyed the most: Better than before (2nd reading), Chestnut Street and Love in the making

I'm fascinated by the ways other people consume their books. I definitely always have one going in the car and one on my bedside table but I also have a "Gautrain" book, which is a business-y/ career book from my physical bookshelf which I read on my way to see clients. I feel like I'm being paid for that travel time so might as well improve my business-y skills :)

Tell me about your book-reading ways, the books you read last month and which you enjoyed the most.

PS book club deserves its own post but it was awesome!
PPS these are all pics taken in January. Something I'm most pleased about with the kids is that they love to read and drink tea like me :) :)

Friday, February 03, 2017

{Friendship Friday} Favourite characteristics of your friends

I follow a podcast called the Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey (from Texas so she's got a really darling accent).

She does a Happy Half Hour every two weeks where she chats to people that have been on the podcast before but the half hour is just to talk about girl stuff :)

One of the questions she asks every guest on these half hours is this:

what are the favourite characteristics of your best friends?

It's so fun to hear what the various people say.

So I want to hear yours.

But of course, I'll share first.
  1. They invite vulnerability. That means they share openly from their heart and so I feel like I can do the same. (fabulous quote on this very podcast: how can you love someone you don't know? - I think it was Lysa Terkeurst but don't quote me on that!)
  2. They care about me and it shows. My love languages are words of affirmation and acts of service, and of course, these two do talk "more" to me but I love when I can see care in whatever form.
  3. Reciprocity of initiative and effort. I'm not a tit for tat girl and I know that I make a lot of effort but what I do need is some initiative and reciprocity. I just have healthier relationships with people who also reciprocate.

Over to you!

Tell me 3 of your friends' favourite characteristics!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Trump, the inauguration, womens's march, Christianity and all the things

These last few months have been very disturbing to me.
  • Obviously I was distraught and unsettled when Trump won the election and I still can't believe it happened.
  • And then there were some voices I followed with a reminder that God is still on the throne and He is to be looked at, not man.
  • This is why I put up Christmas so early. I needed some JOY in my life.
  • That calmed me down and what also calmed me down was people praying and taking action in volunteering, donating to causes they believed in and so on. 
  • There was also enough distance (just over two months) that I was prepared to engage my logical brain and give the man a chance to do his stuff.

And then the inauguration happened.

That speech! I couldn't believe it. I'm not even American and I don't know that America. It felt so exclusionary towards everyone other than those who think like him.

Anyway, I didn't watch much after the formalities.

(by the way, years and years ago, I used to follow a marketing coach and she said on a teleseminar that she only employs American people as she doesn't want to send her money elsewhere. I stopped buying product from her there and then because I was so insulted. For the record, I send my money all over the world and I receive money from all over as gratefully. The speech left the same feeling with me, X 100)

But then, the next day, the Women's March.

I want to say this carefully. I am anti-abortion but if I were a resident in the US, I would have marched for all the other things. The Human Rights things - equality and decency and common human rights.

On this abortion matter... I am firmly anti-abortion... for ME. But who am I to tell you what to do with your body?

I have two friends, one online and one in real life, who have both had terminations. The online one's life was in danger had this not happened; the other had other issues going on and she was desperate. I still think had I been in her situation I would have done differently but how can I be sure? I have not walked those miles in her shoes.

So I believe the thing I am is a pro-choice anti-abortionist :)

If just on this one issue it is so complicated. imagine if we add all the issues at play.

Back to the women's march.

I read and follow a very wide spectrum of women on social media from all countries.

The clear democrats were very vocal with pictures and points of view, and got trolled in some of their comments. I read some and quickly realised this is a thing. Not even a March was about standing for things people can agree on. Everything is so nuanced.

One faction that was very quiet (during the march and the election cycle actually) was that of the white Christian woman.

I follow many of those ladies too.

My own church is also quiet. I don't know if it's just because this is the South African branch (there are US branches too) or if it's the same over there too.

But I want to know how people feel and more importantly, why.

Then one young lady posted something about being disturbed about all the divisiveness in the church, and in her comments, I saw links, followed those and read all that stuff.

You know how this goes.

Some of the Christians voted for Trump based on this abortion thing and nothing else.

I had no idea that this was so nuanced. As I said, if I were in the US, I would have marched but I'm still anti-abortion.

Are these either/ or positions? If so, why? Why can't you believe in everybody deserving dignity and equal rights, and decide that abortion is not for you?

It has gotten worse over the last week (I can't even comprehend!!!) and honestly, I'm staying off social media as much as I can because hours go by and I feel worse.

But still, I feel compelled to speak about these things.

By the way, not one South African I follow is talking about this stuff so I might be talking to myself. That's okay too.

Are you thinking about these things or are they far removed from you?

Okay, happy Sunday!


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