Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Parenting advice from my friend, Se7en, a mom of EIGHT!

(I don't know what's going on with the formatting - when I try and fix, it keeps deleting my text)

Hoods 2 and 8
I nearly forgot to write about Se7en's parenting superpowers:

1. She's raising those kids to be such well-adjusted and genuinely nice people. I'm really not surprised because they have great role models.
2. She's equipping them with all sorts of practical skills too - the boys' future wives are going to love their MIL for teaching them to cook and clean!
3. She really parents with the end in mind. She is great at asking herself, "what is the most important thing to focus on right now?" and not worrying about things that won't matter even a year from now.

(not forgetting Mr Se7en, of course :))

Don't you love those tips?

My favourite tip is probably the one about setting your kids up to succeed. I actually say this in all my workshops and it's probably the reason I like MBTI and the love languages so much - it helps us to set ourselves up for success.

Also, I'm forever going to listen out for my gym voice now :) People do give me looks but I thought it's because I call the kids Pumpkin and Sweet Cheeks :) :)

Which was your favourite tip?
Do you have a gym voice?

Did you see I'm selling a beautiful green camera bag and the cutest pink camera ever? ;)

If you're interested, let me know.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

I'm selling some cameras!

I'm clearing out stuff I'm not using and I have 3 things for sale:

Moss Green Jo Totes Camera bag

Here is the takealot listing. It retails for R899; D paid R850; offers from R650.

Nothing wrong with it - it is in excellent condition (I even have the bag it came in and the one strap STILL in plastic!). I just don't use it very much because I prefer to use Mandy's camera case and toss it into my normal bag.

I feel slightly bad because this was a gift from D and the kids two birthdays ago.....

Jo Totes Rose Moss Camera Bag

Samsung DV150F Point and Shoot Camera

Here is the takealot listing for R989. Offers from R750. Everything is included, exactly as I bought it.

Less than 100 photos taken with this thing. Super new (like October last year!)

Impulse purchase..

3. My Nikon pink camera

I just am not using it. I used it for six weeks and then we went on holiday with my Canon, and since then, it's been lying in my cupboard.

Here is an amazon listing; the takealot one goes to an error page.

I paid R3000 plus R400 for a memory card. Make me an offer for both, or just the camera :)

I've just looked through some photos I took with it....and I'm rethinking my decision but I'll be strong and not take the camera out just in case I cave!

4. I'm also thinking of selling my beloved Sony Cybershot

That one has lots of sentimental value though. It's the camera I used to take most of the baby/ pregnant pics.... and lots of overseas trips. So I'm partial to it... still. Someone at work desperately wants it and I'm just not sure.

Amazon listing

Would you sell it?

At the time (7 years ago) we paid about R2400 for it and it's been (it is) an amazing little camera.

Let me know either in comments or mail me if you're interested in anything. Otherwise I'm going to send out a mail at work, and failing that, this OLX I hear so much about :)

Thank you for reading!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

5 things I want to do more of in 2015

I forgot to write up this post after the success of the previous one, 7 things I want to do less of in 2015.

Seeing as it's the last day of February already, let's do this :)

1. I want to sleep a lot more

I've started tracking my sleep on a spreadsheet (what? you don't?) and in January, I slept an average of 6 hrs 38 and in February, 6 hrs 40.

(tonight's sleep counts as 1 March)

I had one really good week of sleep because I put it on my goals list (!) which pushed up the average otherwise it would have been really bad!

My main problems are I stay on the computer too long or I'm on my phone checking Instagram too long.

Did you notice I wasn't very active on Instagram this week? All part of the plan.

I've also downloaded an app called Moment which tells you how long you're on your phone every day!

2. I want to read more

I read a TON compared to other people but for me, I could easily do more if I got more disciplined with my computer time at night.

This deserves its own post on the Organising Queen blog but I've started listening to audio books and while expensive, it's TOTALLY worth it to me to not care if I'm in the car because I'm either listening to the Bible or a book.

This month I only read 3 complete books plus 1/2 audio book plus 1/2 book on the Kindle (pity my system doesn't allow me to add those two together and make it 1 :))

3. I want to connect more in my work

This year, in addition to coaching, I started doing workshops in my home.

I can't tell you how lovely it is to be connecting with people in this way. I've truly missed it.

They're work and logistics and chasing up and and and, but for me, sharing my home and my heart is worth it, for now :)

I have two 5 Love Languages workshops coming up on 19 and 28 March. I'll be advertising in the school newsletter so hopefully that brings lots of people. If you were thinking of booking, I'd love to have you.

I can't WAIT for autumn! I'm going to take so many photos it's going to be SUPER awesome!!!

4. Send out more mail

I lost my mojo with the Post Office strike and I want to get it back. Loosely, in my mind, I wanted to send out something every week, but I don't want a hard deadline. Instead I'll say 52 items of mail and that will still get done, whether batch-sent or not :)

Feb update - I've sent out 10 items so far and it's been super fun to get notes when the recipients get them :)

5. Make some money from photography

I've joked about this before that someone needs to pay me to travel and take photos for them.

That would be amazing.

Meanwhile, a seed got planted and I'm toying with the idea of doing a fun photography workshop. Not a technical, boring one - people can google and read those articles by themselves.

My passion is to inspire and motivate people to SEE differently...

Watch this space!

I'm open to other things but not children's birthday parties :) :)

D reading with the kids nearly two years ago (see tiny baby fingers!)

6. Randomly give things to complete strangers

I've done 3 of these already and they are so fun. For one, I took the gift to our receptionist and told her to phone the person in question. Too fun!

Speaking of random giving, please join me and send a book to this library. It can be gently loved or new books. I'm taking the kids shopping next week after work and will let each of them choose a book

What do you want to do more of in 2015?
How was your February?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Enough sleep?

one of my favourites of Connor last year, taken at Champagne Sports Resort

I've been exhausted for the last week or so.

Some of it is due to going to bed too late but I think a lot of it is due to nanny pressures and all of that emotional stuff.

I haven't told the blog even a tenth of what we've gone through because, truthfully, I don't want comments about this being a first world problem, which I do know.

It also doesn't make it any easier.

I find myself saying to D, "it's only ___ days; we'll just suck it up".

So I think because I know Nanny S comes back in 4 days' time, the tiredness suddenly feels like it's overtaking me.

I put on my goals list last Thursday that I want to get at least 7 hours sleep a night. 7 hours is my enough; if I get 8 hours, I'm a machine! I've been doing really great with that - I definitely average over 7 hours now even though two nights were under 7 hours.

Of course a key part of me getting enough sleep is the simplest thing imaginable - switch off the computer at 10.30 :)

With that said, I've got to send out a resized photo for my Love Languages workshop and then I'm off to bed after I pack my lunch.

How much sleep do you get?
Is it enough for you?

Friday, February 20, 2015

{Friendship Friday} The heart of hospitality and a Friday round-up

Hospitality's been on my mind a lot these days, especially since I read Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes in December.

Interesting (to me) - I didn't love a previous book of hers (Cold Tangerines - it felt more suited to a blog than a book) but I LOVED this one, easily one of my best books last year.

Recommended by Modern Mrs Darcy, who has a genuinely lovely blog. I heartily recommend it if you like intelligent, thoughtful debate and good books.

When I read non-fiction, I have to feel like I connect with the person and I totally connected with her heart in this one. Totally.

You should get this book :)

I also watched a series of videos from the Allume conference. You can watch them here.

The thing I took away from that book and from some of the videos is this: the heart of hospitality is when having people over is more about them than about you "entertaining".

Isn't that lovely?

When I teach on the motivational gifts (from the Bible), I always say the gift of hospitality is not about being the best cook or entertainer; part of it is about opening your home to others but more than that, it's about making people feel welcome and at home in any place.

As for me, I can't wait for Nanny S to come back so my home can be completely sorted and then I can start having people over again :)

Have you read Bread and Wine?
What does hospitality mean to you?

PS you need to read the tips on this post and this one

Thursday, February 19, 2015

On dates with kids, and keeping kids busy

These pics of K and C came about because I was bashing nails into the wall (I love to be that girl - I just need a pink drill now) and Connor wanted to have a go too.

I told him we'd get him some wood and then he could have at it, not in my walls!

So the other weekend I had a bee in my bonnet. I have a 1:1 date with each twin every month and so K and I went to have our girl date at Mega Mica.

Don't you love that image?!

Have I told you before how much I love hardware stores? OH MY WORD - you could buy me gift vouchers from there and I would be in heaven. I also really like the way everyone really knows their stuff - you can ask any of those guys and they all know (or pretend to, very well) exactly what you want, what you should get, etc. Perfect shopping for me.

So we bought wood which I had to get cut into random pieces - and now that I know they charge R25, I'm going to be much more specific next time (call me Ana White!).

We also bought some white pebbles which the kids are going to paint with their little friends when next we have little friends over. Caren, you keen?

I bought some hinges for my one cupboard and some door handles that I can't WAIT to show you - seriously, my best buy of 2015 so far!!!

And of course, I bought some stationery - the most divine soft crayons in a little carry case. They were for the kids but I've taken them for me............................

I also brought home 7 paint swatches of grey (I won't say it if you don't...) so I can finally find the perfect shade for the inside of my house, and I decided I'm having an accent dark grey wall outside so I don't have to fly to Ballito every time I crave grey wall pics.

Do you see how easily I can spend money there?

(this lot was R575 and I hardly got going)

Kendra was in her element and told me we need to go back to buy some flowers to plant. Okay then... (she doesn't fully realise the extent of my plant-killing nature).

I'm very comfortable around wood (my father does kitchen and other cabinetry) - I made my own lap desk for homework in front of the TV when I was about 12 or so. It also kills me a little to PAY for bits of wood, but then again, we're not in PE so I have to suck it up. 

By the way, the wood cost R45 plus the R25 cutting fee = R70 = the second best money spent ever. And we only used 2 of the 6 pieces - yes!

These two were bashing nails into that wood and painting it for a good hour, if not longer. You just have to train the kids on safety and show them how to hold the hammer and not to fight while holding said hammer..................

Do you have one-on-one dates with your kids? What do you like to do?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Our last photowalk of the year #summer

Connor and I regularly go on photowalks.

On the last day of the year, we decided to go for one but in another part of our suburb, where we'd never been before.

And it was glorious.

We haven't been back since but I told him we need to put on our takkies (me) and go for a nice long walk again.

don't these look like castanets?

autumn! :) (I can't wait!)

I have this thing for doors...

all sorts of doors...

and grey walls

green on green

perfect NYE weather

I mean, seriously!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Parenting advice from my (somewhat crunchy) friend, Mandy

I sent out my first email to about 6 South African friends - you've seen those responses.

And then I knew I had to include some more with slightly different approaches. Mandy said to me that she sounded crunchy after writing down her 3 but see for yourself.

Mandy's twins are a mere two weeks younger than mine. I'm convinced she had a big fright when she read about K & C being born so early and so hers were born quickly too :)

Take it away, Mandy!

1. Be present and available. When you can be immediately available, follow up as soon as possible. Children live in the moment and so should we. Throw out too many requests for waiting and you'll both miss out. 

2. Less is always more. Don't replace yourself with things or toys. They have amazing imaginations and can be terribly resourceful if given the opportunity. Kids don't need a million toys, they need connections and experiences! It's ok to be bored! Think of your own favorite memories; you remember who you were with and what you were doing. 

3. The best advice I have ever received or have had the privilege to give: all they need is love. Nothing will be perfect and life isn't a competition, so focus on loving your children in the ways they need and the rest will follow. 

I dearly love my crunchy friend!

And to continue with my own take on Mandy's parenting superpowers:
  1. She is the DIY/ crafting/ cooking queen. Acts of service love language if I ever saw one. She's the one who made me my Kindle case and my favourite camera case. She bakes, crafts and builds things (like benches!) for her girls and I know they feel that love even if they can't exactly verbalise it.
  2. She creates memories with her kids. If you read her blog/ instagram, there are pics of them in the woods and playing with animals! Totally a #yesmom and a fun person.
  3. She's going against the grain (some might say crunchy; I say she's living with intention) and passing on amazing values to the ladies. Just one example - kids don't need more activities; they need more time to just play.

I love Mandy's first point about being present and available. I know I do my best but I could always do better instead of thinking of the next thing on my to-do list :)

Matter of fact, the year of create was great for me, because I created memories and set up some good "being present and available" habits.

Which was your favourite tip?
On a scale of 1 - 10, how good are you at being present and available? (I'm a 6)

MandyE, me, this Mandy :)
I'm putting these photos of my kids in the post because I have just this ONE photo of the two of us together and yes, you've seen it a lot :) I call it Marcia and the Mandys :)

Monday, February 16, 2015

9 days and counting...

There are 9 more work days left in February and I'm definitely counting them down because Nanny S returns on Monday 2 March.

The kids were at aftercare for 8 days and a new (temp) nanny started on Thursday last week.

This is strange and not-so-strange all at the same time but I felt sadder about the kids having to stop going to their amazing aftercare (8 days) than I felt at their graduation from the school they were at for two whole years... I super love their aftercare. On the bright side, when one of them is sick, the other will go, and if Nanny S has a sick day, they will go. So there's that.

because I'm too lazy to go get a photo of laundry from my external hard drive. This pic - clothes not worn on Ballito holiday in January 2014.

With all this to-ing and fro-ing of nannies, we've paid 1.3 times what we would have paid Nanny S over the last 4 months.

That means we've paid more than 1 extra month's salary.

I'm ready for a break from all the financial outflow, disruption in routine and my house is definitely ready to breathe again:
  • My favourite runner (blue and turquoise one for any who can remember) was ruined by December nanny.
  • My tumble drier is kind-of broken by current nanny.
  • The house is ready for a handyman and a painter... but I can't rely on the temps to manage extra staff in addition to their work, so Nanny S to supervise as she usually does.

Best of all, Nanny S is getting a SUPER fantastic increase :) I was going to do so anyway (two months early) because of her baby, but I've nearly doubled that original amount.

Nothing like an incentive to bring her back to work!

What are you looking forward to in March?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

I'm no beauty blogger but let's talk about skin care regimes

I'm super curious about other people's skin care regimes but in the interest of "I'll show you mine if you show me yours", I'll go first.

I wash my face in the morning with a Ponds face wash (R40), apply moisturiser (I'm very happily back to my R89 Olay one), and then BB cream (I used Sorbet, Garnier, and now I'm using Pond's Flawless Radiance). It's not my beloved Wet 'n Wild Intuitive Blend but it's close. When I get back to the US at some point, I'm going to bring back TONS in my suitcase.

That’s my “regime”- HA!!!

At night, I do nothing most of the time (honesty time) but I was very good in Jan and actually washed my face about 20 of the 31 days. If I go to "night" gym, I will shower and wash my face in the shower.

I thought if I bought a nice pepperminty thing from the Body Shop, it might inspire me? Um, no - not so much.

But I need to get onto it. Although I read about something where the girl just kept cleansing wipes on her bedside table.

Now why didn't I think of that?! 

Then, make-up:

Eyeliner from Foschini – R14,95 at the makeup sale twice a year
Eyeshadow on my light eyebrows
Lip liner – R10.95 from Clicks (makeup sale twice a year)
Bold lipstick – R10.95 from Foschini (again, makeup sale twice a year)

That’s it!

(the cheapest make-up routine you've ever seen, right?)

Disclosure - I do have a stayfast lipstick in my handbag from Yardley called N.ude which costs about R120 every 6 months or so...

For gym on Saturdays, I brush my teeth, add lipstick and go. I come back, eat, shower and then do the routine above. I may skip the BB if I'm not seeing anyone and just put some lipstick and eyeliner.

Over to you - what's your skin care regime? Do you wash your face at night? Tell me about your make-up.

PS MeeA - please check your spam folder in WP - i'm sure my comment went there....and a big thank you for all your lovely comments this week :)


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