Sunday, October 04, 2015

{Project Recipe} 7 dishes I "tried" recently or Getting out of a food rut

I so loved trying out recipes last year and my goal for this year is also to try 25 recipes.


We'll see if that happens, but I did very well during August and September

So I thought I should tell you about those recipes to encourage you to also try/ toss the recipes you're never going to make :)

1. Well, I told you about the disaster that was the cauli-pizza....

2. And then there was a microwave chocolate cake for my birthday.

There's a story to this. The kids wanted me to do little cakes for them to decorate with caramel and smarties, and I thought I'd try this for my birthday. But I used a dish too small so we had a little microwave incident... and so two cakes - one rock-hard and one kind-of okay but basically, I still won't try that ever again.

(my colleague said to me at work, "I still don't know why you'd even TRY to do a MICROwave cake" so there's that, and I agree. God made cakes to be baked in an oven and that's the way we will do it from now onwards... once I recover from the microwave incident)

3. Fudge with white chocolate

I have a really, really bad track record with fudge. Really bad.

I followed Se7en's instructions but I think I may not have stirred and cooked long enough (who has an hour to stir?!). Anyway my fudge didn't set and I can't throw out perfectly good tudge (toffee/ fudge) so I left it in the fridge.

Last year I rescued a batch by turning it into fudge brownies. Gosh that was delish. But this time I scraped it back into a pot, chopped up two slabs of white chocolate, stirred that in, and lo and behold, the fudge set!

It was DELISH.

Never fear, Se7en and I have big plans to make fudge one day. And if it works, I am "retiring" on a good story :)

That was August!

And then in September, my kids went off mushrooms.

Now D and I have always had chicken a la King in our regular rotation, and I make it really nice too!

But suddenly the kids don't eat mushrooms so I said to them, "listen, Daddy and I eat chicken with mushrooms, and you two have eaten it for 6 years so since you don't eat mushrooms now, which vegetable would you like? And they both said, "BROCCOLI!" (like twins... together....with equal enthusiasm)

So I picked up a packet of that Knorr cook-in dry sauce and made a

4. Chicken and Mushroom Pan

(it had BROCCOLI - lots!)

I cut the mushrooms small and they had a big moan at first, but I told them to just taste the sauce they wouldn't even notice the mushrooms.

Thankfully, one said, "this is DELICIOUS" and the other one did too, and that solved our little problem.

I have another packet in the pantry....

5. Thai Chicken Curry

This was another cook-in sauce and while acceptable, it wasn't WOW so I won't buy it again. Though, EVERYONE ate it without complaint (but we each had a big glass of water because it's spicy) and all was well in the world.

6. One Sunday I made doughnuts (every time I make them I use a new recipe on the internet!) - they're all good.

Unsurprisingly the kids were eager to get the Sunday photos done so they could have their tea and doughnuts :)

And last but not least....

7. Sausages with tomato and baked beans

Laura's been inspiring me with her Weigh-less meals. W-L encourages lots of legumes and I do love it, so I experimented and made a dish with onions, sausages, two cans of tomato and a can of baked beans. It made a TON - we've had this meal twice from the same batch with very generous servings (my kids love anything with sausages and tomato), and I have a big helping left.

Only thing is I can't tell you exactly which spices I used - probably garlic, salt, sugar, this Ina Paarman spice and possibly some Robertson's Italian herbs.

This is a definite keeper.

So out of two months and 7 recipes, 2 wins is not bad as stats go :)

Have you tried any good recipes recently?

Friday, October 02, 2015

Photowalk in the Maboneng District

I loved, loved, LOVED walking the streets in the Maboneng District, and it's on my list to go back before the end of the year.

I'll have to bribe my family with Sunday lunch at Arts on Main :)

Which is your favourite photo?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Update on my word of the year, enough

I realise with huge surprise that I haven't updated on my word, enough, since February.

That's terrible!

Nevertheless, let's get to it.

This was a great word for this year.

I keep thinking I'm done with this word and then I have to deal with a situation and I think, "ah, there's still space for enough" :)


Most of you know about my horrible work situation in 2013-2014 that knocked my confidence quite a bit.

I'm pleased to say that I feel completely and utterly enough at work :)


However, work has been hectic. I did some thinking about this because of something a friend asked me, "is all this crazy work worth it?" And I decided, "yes!" I enjoy the people I work with, the work environment, my clients (mostly), the work is challenging and I'm learning lots.

But I have been teaching people to receive responses from me very, very quickly which meant I was always working without a break.

Now, I do the very best I can do within work hours, and if things are super crazy and I'm going to be travelling which means I won't be able to relax due to huge numbers of unread emails, I will work at night too. But that is totally self-imposed and is for my own peace of mind, not for other people's needs (unless I promised something I couldn't get to do, due to meetings).


Money and finances

It's crass to talk about money but I will say this - with that same work situation, I really could have taken it further. I had plenty of evidence but my God said, "vengeance is mine", and you know what?

He brought such financial blessing into my life. Let's just say He blessed me with more than the salary I "lost" during those 4 months. So I had a free 4-month holiday :)

That company ended up paying for my emotional healing!

Tithing works. I knew this before but you could not ever convince me otherwise.

Too much internet

Well, interesting this one, because I didn't intend to stop blogging daily, and yet I did.

And now I have more time for reading, for D, for the kids, for playing with my other hobbies.

I am more balanced on Instagram. I see it as walking through a room, seeing a few pretty things, talking about them to the ones who pointed them out, and moving on. I'm not obsessing about seeing every little thing from every single person, and that's strangely freeing.


Gosh, I have had some hard lessons this year in letting go.

There's a beautiful turn of phrase I think Momastery uses sometimes, something like "holding something lightly" (someone correct me!).

And that's how I think of it. I'm tending those friendships that I value and that value mine by putting in time and effort, and I'm holding lightly to the rest.

I have heard often that some friendships are for just a season and on this very blog, we've discussed before how some of you have the ability to simply stop being friends. I can't. And I decided that this quality doesn't have to be an all or nothing thing in my life. I can hold lightly instead :)

That said, I have been quieter, more introspective, which is not necessarily a bad thing as I work through all this stuff, but I feel like I'm coming out the other side.

This needs a proper blog post :)


My shouting hasn't stopped completely but I'm super aware of it and I'm working on it. I might have to read unglued again.

Laura also posted recently about Evening Primrose Oil helping with the banshee behaviour. When I mentioned this to D, he said, "WHERE can we get some of that?" so I'm going to give that a try too because the shouting does feel out of control at that time.

One thing I'm also doing is telling a friend every time I shout so that I have someone to talk me down from the "I'm ruining my kids" thing.

So what am I still working on?
  1. Eating not so great
  2. Fitness
  3. Sleep is going great but it's always a war between getting more done and resting :) A lot of you can relate. However, I've been keeping track since the beginning of the year and the strategy of monitoring is really working for me.
Tell me, how is your word of the year working or not working in your life?

Monday, September 28, 2015

The holiday... and 3 things I love at the moment

Well, last night D switched on the TV and switched back off about a second before I saw the name "Nancy Meyers" on the screen.

(I love Nancy Meyers movies!)

It was The Holiday.

I tried to resist since I had intentions of doing photos but eventually I dragged my laptop to bed and did photos while watching the movie.

Guys, it was wonderfully decadent and I realised that I really should "chill" more often.

In other news, our holiday is booked and paid for. Finally.

We prayed, I completely avoided the travel websites for about 3 - 4 days (inwardly freaking out - old habits die hard) but then when we sat on Heritage Day evening, it all just worked out. Flights, accommodation, etc. Best of all, we came in way under my upper limit :)

So we'll be spending just over a week in Cape Town after New Year's.


And then I need to book the next holiday early so I don't lose momentum.

Can I tell you about 3 things that are rocking my world?

1. Airbnb

We'll be staying in an airbnb for part of the time in CT. But more than that, just go click on an exotic destination like Paris or Amsterdam, and you'll see tons of lovely spaces. Another  benefit is things don't feel so crazy expensive when you consider an overseas trip.

I happened on a lovely beach apartment in Brighton the other day (I've been reading a Dorothy Koomson and her novels are set in the area) and I just about had to hold myself back from clicking to book!

Anyway, there's a public service announcement. I can't wait to travel with the kids and use this overseas!

2. Uber

For the love, why in the heck has no-one told me about Uber before?!

It is the way to do this client thing, I tell you. I don't know why I ever bothered to drive to Centurion/ Pta before :)

I've used it twice so far - Gautrained to Hatfield and got the Uber to take me to the client, and then back again.

Amazing experience. I exited the Gautrain, and while I walked to the exit, I requested a taxi. When I got outside, I waited about a minute and then the taxi was there.

On my return trip, the man was downstairs before I even got down and out the lift.

I love the way it tells you exactly who is collecting you in which car, and how you get an immediate invoice (as I was walking into the Gautrain station).

So easy to use (even for me) and convenient.

I'm a huge fan!

If you want to try it, you can use my code anytime, and you will get a free trip marciaf201ue.

3. Passbook

This is an app on the iphone. I don't know if you get it on the other phones but it's super cool. I used it for a work trip already and it works perfectly.

When you do online check-in, and you get to the boarding pass printing stage, it asks if you want to add to your Passbook. Say yes and when you get to the airport, you show them your phone. It's like magic - no printing anything. YAY for saving the trees.

My airbnb booking also let me save it to Passbook so all the details are already there. I love technology when it makes my life easy.

So those are 3 things rocking my world :)

Tell me 3 things you love at the moment.

PS This is not a sponsored post at all - you all know I gush when I love something! However, travel is probably one of the things I would most want to promote :)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

I (almost) can't wait for the end of the year

So you all know I'm doing two main projects this year, besides all the other goals I have that nobody but me is interested in.

1. I take a pic of the kids every Sunday #the52project
2.  I aim to go on 52 walks this year #52walksin2015

I posted a pic of the first 35 walks the other day on Instagram. As you can see, I really like sunsets, trees and skies... and blue nail polish :)

Here is a collage I did of the first 35 pics of #the52project.

I can't wait to see all these pics at the end of the year. Today is week 39 of the year (I have a list in Excel) and these pics are up to week 37 (I missed two weeks if you're counting because I was away from the kids).

I want to make a big collage and put it up in their bedroom, probably in black and white.

isn't it too fun?

Are you still having fun with your 2015 projects? 

If you're fallen off the wagon, get back on. Just get one pic a month even...

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A winter photowalk in 30-degree weather

I thought I'd post these pics from exactly two months ago, in the heart of winter.

The blue electricity box (what do you call those things) had been painted and I just had to get some pics.

I'll have to hydrate well over the next couple of days with the impending 30-degree weather :o

I can't wait for October to take more photowalks with the kids.

How are you doing on your projects?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Newly 6-year-olds and Santa Shoeboxes

I was just looking for pics to share with this post and I realised I didn't ever share photos of the kids on their actual birthday.

here you go -

it was absolutely freezing - our coldest day in Ballito

do you know I actually love winter pics on the beach? :)

I love this one!

and this one - I have "summer" pics of the 3 of them like this :)

my 6-year-olds!!!

Anyway, let's talk about Santa Shoebox for a minute.

You all know how passionate I am about it, right?

I have found over the years that the best thing for us to do is 4 boxes. Two years ago I did 12 (twelve!) and to be honest, that felt like a conveyor belt, more like I was working in a factory filling boxes rather than carefully choosing gifts for a special child.

Last year we went back to 4 and it felt good again. The registration process was a big pain in the behind but I persisted and eventually was registered.

This year I was a bit put off by the tone of the site. I am not sure who wrote the copy but it felt a bit cold and demanding. I get that some people may not give good gifts or follow the rules, but I did feel "spoken down to", and always with this kind of thing, I always feel like organisations treat 95% of people as they should treat the 5%.

Anyway, I persisted because I believe in the project, got my 4 kids and we're good to go.

I've been #Konmari-ing up a storm so I had 3 good storage boxes I could use for the presents.

On that note, I can't believe that for someone who declutters regularly (like weekly), how much stuff there is to go.

A lady fetched two big black bags from the house today - one full of good toys (puzzles and books, etc.) and the other full of clothes for a children's home. (I had Nanny S put the stuff in a black bag so I wouldn't reconsider because, let's face it - a lot of the toys are sentimental)

I did a walk around the house afterwards and I'm sure next month she could get another black bag full of clothes/ toys/ books again.

So I'm done - all we have to do is write a letter to each kid, I want D to repack the little girl's box (because he's amazing at packing) so the stuff fits better, and that's it until we drop them off.

Last year once I was finished with the shoeboxes, I did a shoebox for Nanny S's child too (I didn't stick to it 100% but I did fill the box I had). They both loved it so I want to do the same again this year.

Does anyone know if World Vision kids participate in Santa Shoebox? I'll have to phone their offices to see if they will accept shoeboxes for our two kids or if they prefer a monetary donation.

Are you participating this year? 
I hate to ask, but gosh, are you even thinking about Christmas yet?

PS the holiday is still not booked! or decided on! :( From looking at listings, I realised I'm a "luxurious self-catering accommodation" type on a budget that doesn't quite stretch to those amounts :)


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