Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I found new amazing Jhb views - part 1

So most of you know how much I loved my old work campus. And one of the hardest things about leaving was leaving that beauty behind. I know it sounds crazy but it is what it is.

And then we get invited to a party... in our suburb... and as we walk through the garden, I gasped!

Those gardens were amazing. The views, the space, the beauty!

Okay, I'll stop talking and let you have a look. I had a BALL walking around with my camera taking photos of all the things I love.

(this is part 1 - I'll post part 2 next week)

So friends, this was such a gift from God. It was literally like getting a gift to nurture my soul in the middle of a normal weekend.


The mom said I can come back anytime to read... take photos... whatever... and I'm totally taking her up on it. At the very least I need to go get some sunset photos.

Which was your favourite?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Petunia, the girl who was NOT a princess... and D's first words on the blog!

Well now, my Kendra is way too princessy and I'm... not. I'm as far from a princess as you'll get.

As I say, the nail polish is really one of the only girly things about me.

When I read a post on Cloud's blog where she was looking for reviewers for her new book, Petunia, the Girl who was NOT A Princess, and I saw that it was about one of my favourite soapbox subjects, I jumped on it :)

I had a few technical glitches (when I downloaded in the Kindle app, it was blank except for the cover - I'm sure this is my technical inexpertise) but fortunately the ibooks version worked perfectly.
The first few photos show Connor reading the story to himself. I even have a little video where he made up his own story just based on the pictures. So cute.

But then a few nights later, and for a few nights, D read them the story. See below.

(these photos were taken both with the canon and nikon. I still don't know what I'm doing but done is better than perfect, right?)

Since I didn't read the story to the kids, I asked D to write a review. Here we go (D's first words on this blog!!!!)

I love the heart of this story. It's ok for girls not to be princesses. I liked Petunia as a character and how she also learned it was ok to dress up a bit at times. I liked her friendship with Penelope. 

The artwork was very cute. The artwork and text mostly complemented each other. Two pages were exceptions. One was where she races cars and other activities where there's not enough text to dwell on all the images. The second one is Penelope moving in next door, where there's too much text for one image. Perhaps don't show Penelope's frills at first, so we really feel Petunia's disappointment.

Improvement areas: it loses a bit of dramatic punch near the end. The weakest point is the jump to the dance where new characters suddenly appear - it's all too sudden. Spend a bit more time developing the last few pages - that's where the success or failure of a story is. What does Petunia feel and learn and why should we care? 

Final note: I wasn't sure of the similar sounding names. It was confusing for me and difficult to keep each character separate in my mind easily. 

Otherwise, a lovely story. I look forward to more! 

(D does copy editing and proofreading for his daytime job)

D says Connor really loved the book but we both said it could be because of the ipad. He loves to "control" the ipad.

Kendra liked the story but we could both see she's not quite sold on the idea of girls being princesses AND something else. She often says things like "girls can't play soccer" so she's a work in progress.

And me?

I love the idea of the book because I really believe girls need to grow up with the idea firmly lodged in their minds that they can do anything and still be a girl! The artwork is also very, very cute. I definitely think you should all get a copy especially if you have daughters. Please tell me if you get a copy :)

Do you have a princess or a girl who is not a princess at your home? Which one were you growing up?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Around here...

I'm sure no-one but Julia even noticed that I took the weekend off from blogging here.

The 31 days series continues, of course, and I think it's really good but what do I know?!

Thing is I fully intended to blog but my right hand has been in quite a bit of pain. I just googled and it's my thenar muscles. I thought it might be due to me playing with photos for about 3 hours on Saturday because suddenly in the evening, I had some pain.

I stopped working on the computer immediately (I considered it a sign!) and went to read.

It was worse on Sunday so again I only did computer essentials and then read.

And nothing had let up by today. Although it feels like work did some good because it feels better now than it did this morning.

Anyway, Connor prayed for my hand this morning and I believe that God's healed my hand.

This is quite serious - does anyone know where I can get some size 7 - 8 plain white takkies for Kendra's school concert? I've looked at Bata, Edgars, Mr P and Pep.

Oh, we need to get it by Friday :)

I saw the perfect Tomy takkies but they only start in size 9 or 10 (?) - can't remember but it was too big!

Please let me know, friends.

I made a few new craftsy notecards that both look awesome and are fabulous to touch. I can't wait for good light on the weekend to take some nice pics and show you.

So I know some of you've been reading chapter books to your kids (I don't think Deanna reads here anymore but I know she does) but somehow it took us some time to get there.

Well, we went to the library and took 6 big books for the kids (Enid Blyton) and they love it.

This is one addiction I'm quite happy to encourage ;)

I have a couple more socials to try and sort out but then I'm going to stop scheduling them for the rest of the year.

I still want to make a non-Christmas Christmassy supper/ lunch with friends and then I'll call it a day.

Have you stopped yet, or are you still scheduling?

What's going on in your world?

PS this is spring photowalk 2 :)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fashion Friday - the beard edition

For the last how-many months, I've been observing something rather... interesting.

It's this new-fangled beard thing that I just don't get.

By the way, D and I were chatting in the car about this very topic the other day.

I should write more of it down because it's fascinating stuff - we rip off marketing, corporates, the state of work these days, riveting things. Kind of like Seinfeld but work-related.

Anyway, so this beard thing for men is an actual marketing trend.

For the love!

Now, let me clarify - I don't object to beards. Matter of fact, I like facial hair on some men (granted, Movember sends me over the edge - I can't take these guys seriously who look like they're trying on dress-up clothes).

But I like them very neat and trimmed like stubble. You see, it's the long beards that give me the heebie jeebies.

You see, I keep thinking of food getting caught in there.... and when I see a picture, I literally shudder.

Where are you on the beard thing and why? 
Love it? Hate it? Somewhere in between? Okay for others but your own hubby better not try it?

PS This is not a post about men who grow their beards for religious reasons.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Do you "do" bookclubs? Wait, do you even like reading?

I've never been a bookclub person.

For starters, I don't really like bookclubby books.

If you look at any of those 100 books to read before you die lists, I can assure you I've read none of them, unless they were prescribed for Setwork at school.

True story.

Anyway, so that's my bookclub disclaimer.

I know Cat is a member of a bookclub. Who else belongs to one?

If you do, tell me why you love bookclub so much.

For the rest of you, do you read? Have you considered joining a bookclub?

I've started a new little thing at work due to the fact I can't get onto any blogs or anything really............. (very annoying!)

I read my Kindle app on the phone (yesterday I took in the ipad and it was even more glorious) and usually read a chapter a day of my non-fiction book. It's fantastic.

However, I must be a "sight" as people keep stopping by me in the pause area, confused that I'm reading.

D told me he gets the same reactions (and then we drove past a girl at a bus stop reading a mystery thriller - she was well past the Point of No Return though so she was clearly hooked) at his work and we were wondering if it's maybe a "people who work in the financial district" thing? :)

So, let's all be brave.

This is a book on this year's to-read list.

I did a spontaneous thing last night and decided to read this book as part of an online book club.

Yes, I know I'm not a book club person... but this seemed like fun.

Let's see.

About the author.... I read her 31 days series a few years ago on courage... and loved it.... and that series sparked off this book for her.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Spring photowalk 1

Do you know how many winter photowalks we did? 11 here in Jhb and 6 in Ballito (I don't feel like I can count the beach ones because it felt like summer).

 After I'd blogged about 4 - 5 of them, I didn't announce them as winter photowalks anymore but just sprinkled some pics here and there. Let's see how we do with spring.

When are you going on your next photowalk? :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My "famous" yoghurt pops

I'm not a lover of ice-cream.

I know, it's weird. But there are about 10 other things I'd rather have for dessert first (anything apple!). I do like custard over ice-cream....

Interestingly, the only time I really crave ice-cream is in the dead of winter. It happens so infrequently that we never buy a tub of ice-cream; we just go past Steers or KFC and get soft-serve cones.

So in summer I make yoghurt pops for the kids.

It uses yoghurt just as you buy it in the tub - I like flavours like berry, strawberry or apricot. I'm going to make some caramel ones soon too.

I used to put these into the ice lolly moulds but then I saw something on (I think) a cup of Jo that triggered my thinking.

The lady put ice-cream sticks into water ice blocks for her baby to suck on. Good idea and it gets them used to enjoying water (!) as a cold treat in summer. I feel slightly cross that I didn't think of this myself.

ANYWAY. I made some yoghurt pops in ice trays with the ice-cream sticks. These are the ones I mentioned here.

I love the snack size and we've been having them after supper as our dessert. I will make the standard ice-lolly ones too for when the kids are playing outside properly, but these work really well to cool them down quickly and as a little treat. Pics here of the standard yoghurt pops.

I bought about a million ice-cream sticks - okay probably 50-100? - at Westpack for R12,95... and I'm washing them to reuse! Let's call it "green" instead of "cheap".

  1. Put a dollop of yoghurt in each ice cube section, insert an ice-cream stick and pop into the freezer.
  2. Warning for the perfectionists - the sticks won't be at perfect 90 degree angles and that's okay. Right? Seriously, the kids won't care and neither should you :)


Tell me about a good idea you're using at your house these days.

Monday, October 13, 2014

So let's talk more about this commute

taken from our 3rd floor window

D has changed from being a total rule-follower into this weird person who actually leaves work early.

I have always kept my own hours. Basically, I always just work til I'm done. Most days that is far longer than what is "required" but Fridays, in my view, are meant for 4 pm departure times.

I think this may be due to having worked flextime for 19 of my 20 years, and technically the 20th year was also flextime except those teammates were super "structured".

I think all Jhb drivers feel a bit smug when the traffic is at a standstill in the opposite direction

I asked D today on the way home what's got into him because I get these emails from him at 3.45 ish asking what time I want to leave, and today I said, "RIGHT NOW" because I worked really well in the morning and was super, super productive. And I was out of there at about 4.15.

He says he feels bad having me wait, and I said I don't feel at all bad that you feel that way :)

on the way to work

As we were driving, I said, "how do people do a one-hour commute every day?" and he said, "well, remember most people are not like you - some of us LIKE time to ourselves in the car".


So do you like alone time in the car like D?

I keep thinking, "there's SOOOOO much more I could be doing if I were somewhere", so much so that I whatsapped Nanny S from the car to tell the kids we were going for a walk when I got home.

First they told me they wanted to stay home and so I bribed them with yoghurt pops (I will write another post on those pops) and that got them out of their laziness.

jacaranda bloom
These days I "amuse" myself in the traffic (when I'm not driving myself obviously) by taking photos of interesting things.

I have a list of about 4 places already that I want to go back to with the kids to take pics!

We've discovered that the time we leave work doesn't make a bit of difference if it's anytime between 4 and 5:15 - it still takes about an hour to get home.

Now I know why all my colleagues fly out of there anytime from 3 - 3:30.

Granted, D and I now play a little game (all my idea to make life more exciting) to set personal best times to get home. Our fastest time is 39 minutes. Today's was 42 minutes. Our longest was 54 minutes.

How do our commute times compare with yours?

PS one of my pet peeves is when I ask people this question and they say, "oh, when there's no traffic it takes me 15 minutes. And I say, "well, when is there no traffic?" Um, never? You're always travelling to and from work in traffic. Unless it's the once every 6 months when you go to the dentist and you go in to work at 10 am!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A weekend full of photos

I set myself a personal goal over this next week to complete organising all my September photos...  and so I started last night.

But I did something really stupid.

You see, when I've been editing and want to save my changes in Picasa, I get this message "disc full or write-protected" so I started deleting folders.

I thought it was a Picasa thing so I started deleting folders like collages, screen captures and then I also deleted my starred folder.

Do you know what that means? All my "favourites" were gone.............

Let's say a folder had 150 photos, and I had 30 starred, those 30 were no longer starred and I no longer knew which were my favourites.


Louisa, recognise the notebook?

So last night I was inspired to just finish the last two folders and put the stars back on the rest of the September photos. It wasn't as painful as I imagined it would be.

Then today I finalised my photo organising, chose photos for printing and did project life.

So I've read nothing but the Bible today but at least the photos are sorted (and to be honest, that feels much better than getting a few more chapters into my book :))

The only thing to do now is to take the flash drive to the store and get the printing done... for the last two months.

I can't wait.


I tried to take a photo of a sleeping child this afternoon and turns out my iPhone was chockablock full of photos so there was no space.

Very strange - you can literally not even click on the camera because it gives you the 'camera full" message :(

So I used the big camera and as you can see, it was worth it :)

I like the "visual tension" of pastels and stuffed animals + dirty "boy" feet :)

And so I spent another hour or so copying photos and videos from the phone to the computer.

I want to delete all the duplicates before I save them to the external hard drive but that will have to wait for another day - I'm all photo'd out!

In other news, this was a bumper weekend of photo-taking. We had a school thing and a party thing, and... the light was way too gorgeous so I went a bit wild.

All of that to come soon-ish :)

Now that I can start on October photos - yay!

But back to you - how was your weekend?


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