Sunday, April 29, 2012

17 years

My mother sent us a text after we ignored her "happy anniversary" phone call (do you answer all your phone calls? I don't unless it's super-convenient at the time) and said she can't believe it's already been 17 years.

I also can't believe it's been 17 years. On the one hand it feels like just yesterday and on the other hand, we've come through so much it does feel like we've got lots of time under the belt.

we're living in our 4th place, 3rd as homeowners
6 different jobs between the two of us
8 other countries visited
tons of local holidays
5 cars between us in that time (as you can see, we hang onto our cars and houses :))
2 IVFs
2 babies!!!


This year has been our hardest yet and for that, I'm HUGELY grateful. Not that we've had a hard year, but that we've only had a hard year at this stage in our marriage.

D said to me in another 17 years we'll be preparing for the kids' 21st birthdays which just made me feel VERY old.

He is still the best fit to me in the world and I would marry him again in a heartbeat :)

On 11 October this year, we'll have been together 20 years. Now, friends, that, right there is long!

How long have you been married?

PS I just wrote a comment on a blog on Saturday morning and the next minute my data was done on the iPad. If you don't read my organising blog, I have a hate-hate relationship with the iPad - it's just so much more expensive than what people make it out to be. Or I'm cheap. Anyway, so that was me, totally UNplugged for the rest of our time away.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friendship Friday - do you find it expensive maintaining friendships?

Disclaimer for all spelling blogging on the iPad and I seriously hate typing on this thing!

So I saw on at least two blogs last week people said how they find all the friend activity expensive.

I happen to agree and disagree.

Obviously it really adds up, and quickly. I remember one weekend a few months ago we had plans on both the sat and sun.

Each social was about R200 each, and that's only buying two meals, one kiddies' meal to share and a soft drink. I think you all know my drink of choice is a water.

And that's just one weekend.

This kind of spending is not how we like to manage our finances in the long-term!

But like it or not, while we still have good prices in SA, food and eating out has gotten very expensive. Before overseas eating was a lot more expensive but now we compare on a more equal footing.

Just a few years ago (i sound really old!) a pasta dish was on average R40. These days it's on average R 70). Crazy!

So yes, with my kind of friend goals, it can get really expensive.

But it doesn't have to.

I also make lunch dates with friends and will have a sandwich which is cheaper. And of course, the cheapest is to either meet at one of your houses or do an activity together. If you don't mind having people over, that is. I need to blog more about this because not many people like opening their homes.

My friend came over about two months ago and we had tea and pancakes, homemade by me. Louisa and I have a plan to bake biscuits together next month. Another friend had us over for a playmate and asked us to bring a plate of eats so that's an idea too.

But over to you.

What are your feelings about the expense of maintaining friendships? Has money hindered you? How have you gotten creative?

Of course, I haven't even touched on gifts and so forth :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Create.... Link up your projects

I had a post ready and scheduled to publish but it didnt. When I went in to publish it. I see it's blank so for now, here's the kinky for your creative exploits! Have fun :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Where do I start?

I feel like such a lot has happened/ is happening that I don't know where to start.

I also don't have a lot of time to blog tonight because I want to get to bed at a (relatively) decent hour and I still have to:
  • pack food
  • check babies' clothes, toiletries and toys
  • pack my technology - laptop, ipad, kindle, camera and the assorted chargers

Also, I'm feeling rather poorly. It's this sudden cold we've experienced plus sitting in a freezing office because the "lady that says I'm too loud and moans about bread" is menopausal, and so must have our open-plan aircon on COLD. As in winter temperatures.

We are working up to a rebellion, by the way, because our PA was also sickly earlier this week.

Nevertheless, we are going on HOLIDAY!!!

I should be more excited but there's just SUCH a lot to do.

I wrote a list for Nanny S and she put out all the things for the kids but I need to make sure there are sets of clothes that actually match, as I just said "4 long-sleeved tops" and not which 4 long-sleeved tops.

Once we get there, I'll be looking forward to lots of reading, sleeping, taking and sorting of photos and blogging (well, writing the blog posts). As usual, I'm a bit ambitious but I'm also taking my little notebook from our UK trip in 2008 to try and catch up on blogging it :)

There is no iburst coverage where we're going and I'm not wasting my bandwidth on the iPad on uploading and downloading pics. My aim is to only look at emails online and to post to my own blog - let's see how that goes.

(That's my disclaimer for "please don't feel bad if I don't read or comment til I'm back in iBurst country next week".)

I can't remember where I found it or what the lady's name is but I happened upon a blog sometime this week about taking self-portraits. She said that they don't necessarily have to be of your face in the usual fashion so I decided to experiment with something else besides my navy blue takkies for a change :)

Because it's me, I took 9 pics (I should blog them all for you so you can see the journey to get 1 pic) and this is the one I like the most. I like the hint of sun and the angle. Look at me, getting all creative on you. Ha! But seriously, I am LOVING Superhero Photo. Best $ I ever spent. Thank you, LauraC, for telling me to just do it!

Do you take self-portraits?

How are you enjoying your weather? If you're in SA, did you take Monday off?

PS don't forget tomorrow is our Creative link-up for the month and it will stay up til the last Thursday in May so don't stress but do link up as quick as you can.
PPS don't forget Friday we're talking about money and friendship. Get the button from any of the other FF posts and link to my blog please. Yay! I haven't found writing a blog series this satisfying in a looooong time.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Teaching kids to make their own beds

Let me start off by saying a lot of my "ideas" come from seeing/ hearing much cleverer people than me trying things.

So, my friend Natalie told me she was teaching D1 (the other son is D2) to make his bed.

"Brilliant" I thought and immediately delegated that task to V.

As we all know, V was a softie and I think didn't enforce it all that much.

(Confession - I never make my bed. That's D's job and I think the one week he was away about two years ago is the only time in our marriage I made it. Moving on)

Enter Nanny S.

Well, the other day I arrived home and Connor grabbed me by the hand and told me to come look in the bedroom.

I went in and he says, "look Mummy, Connor made bed"

Pleased as punch (do you say that?).

I was so proud of him, especially because he was so proud of himself, smiling that gorgeous, big smile.

He told me in detail that he and S made the bed - and laid out all the steps.

Well, he's now become obsessive about this bed. We are not allowed to "make it ugly".

Last night I wanted to tuck him in but he didn't want me to take the blankets that were neatly folded and put them over him.

So we left him but then I crept in and covered him properly when he was asleep.

I'm focussing on the positive at the moment - he wants to make his bed!

Kendra, I assume, does the same, but she is not as attached to having a neat bed.

Anyway, here are pics - finally - of the big beds. For the record, they've had them since 14 March, the birthday of my friend with the twins, C.

Kendra's side
see pink striped blanket - she LOVES it
I looked all over for two of these duvet sets
they remind me of our 2.5 birthday party
Thursday - today I told Kendra I want to wash Thursday. Well. If you live in Jhb, you may have heard the bloodcurdling scream.
little pillow from her baby days - I found this random pillow case in an oddments section at Mr P Home for R15 - love the bird
day 1 of the beds - I don't have all those things on the chest of drawers anymore
happiness is... a boy and his bed (and a mummy and her bed!)

Do your kids make their own beds?
Do you make your bed? :)
What else are you doing to foster independence that I can "steal" from you?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Creating, reading and nail polish

I promised Claudia that I'd write something and link up to her "what's working for you" link party.

The reason behind it (which I love) is that we're all too aware of things that are not working that it's nice to take a moment and write down what is working well for you at this time.

I told her in my comment that I feel like so very little is working right for me but I'll try and scrounge up something :)


This is why I love doing the word of the year because it's a gentle pull toward what you said matters to you.

I'm making time to do a little bit of something every week, and I'm taking the time to create memories with the kids, not just with physical stuff but also just reading and laughing together. Although the three of us made coasters yesterday morning - yes we did. Pics to follow sometime :)

Reading time 

I wrote on my other blog how I never seemed to get to all my non-fiction because I'm naturally drawn to read only fiction. Until I had a brainwave and I now read fiction at night and non-fiction either in the mornings or a bit while having a cup of tea on the weekends. This way I get through the non-fiction (and I really do want to read the books, it's just I can't read very much of a book where I have to think about the subject matter and digest it).

This is working out amazingly well. So much so that I've read about 6 non-fiction for the year already :)

My goal is to plough through my bookcase and declutter at least one shelf this year.

Staying connected to friendships 

I'll tell you one thing which is working for me - being intentional about seeing people every month and getting it in the diary.

If you're observant, you'll notice every month my goals that get done are the socials :) Okay, this month won't be exactly the same but there are good reasons.

I can't wait for our cold months because then I start cooking again (!) and it's the type of things that I like to cook when we have people over - pastas, casseroles, hot food, yum!

And one last frivolous thing that's REALLY working for me - nail polish. 

I've been good about not buying nonsense for a LONG time and then I broke loose the other day. I hate just waiting in a queue so when I saw the pharmacist was busy, I had a look at the nail polishes and bought two called "crushed grape" and "blackforest". LOVELY but a bit too dark for summer.

I went back again the other day, had another little browse and they had lovely small bottles of nail polish so I went a bit wild.

Two shades of blue, two shades of pink, brown and a bright red. I asked the salesperson if they (a new brand) were any good and she said, "yes, if you put a top coat on" so I added that to my stash too.

And oh my word, the top coat makes the world of difference - one application (two coats of nail polish plus the top coat) lasts forever. Well, longer than 4 days which is how long manicures usually last for me. I like to change the colour regularly so I change it on a weekly basis anyway.

I feel like such a girl but hey, you've got to have some fun, right?

What's working in your life and... do you use a top coat? 

PS I loved this post in Claudia's linky - oooh, so good. And you've got to love someone who calls herself hot flawed mama LOL

What's the longest uninterrupted sleep you've ever had?

I think I've said it before but I've always been a good sleeper - always.
My mother used to say people would burgle our house, carry the bed out with me still on it, sleeping soundly.
It's true.
But last night I think I surpassed all of that.
I slept 12 hours solid. From 7 ish to 7:15 when someone screamed because someone else was picking a fight with him/ her. I'm not sure.
The kids were bathed and fed and it was reading time so I said to D, "oh, it would be so lovely to have a cup of coffee and curl up on the bed with you all and read my Kindle"
Well, he went and made it for me.
So I read my Kindle and drank coffee while they read their stories.
Very sweet, surreal (I still can't believe I have real, live babies doing things D and I love to do) and special.
Towards the end I started feeling a bit queasy so I quickly said good night to the babies and went to lie down on our bed.
Next thing I know it's today.
Yes, I slept in my clothes and I wasn't even uncomfortable.
Well, clearly I needed it (always my justification for too much sleep). And that's why I didn't blog.
I also had a rather draining afternoon (more later but we're thinking of giving Nanny S notice) so I'm sure that also added to it.
Anyway, off to church now.
But what's the longest uninterrupted sleep you've ever had?
PS the sleeping pic of Connor is one of my favourite pics ever - Feb last year with my Sony Cybershot P&S

Friday, April 20, 2012

{Friendship Friday} What if your best friend has another best friend?

Ta da da dum, it's Friday again.

I'm so very late because I had a little errand to run this morning. Actually, it was a not-so-little errand - my visa is approved!

That was an experience of note and I think I had the most items to check in - my ipad, phone, camera, external hard drive, memory stick, charger cables, etc. I think the security couldn't quite believe how much I unearthed from my bag!

Since I had nothing with me, I was forced to people-watch for the entire hour and 40 minutes. I actually love people-watching so after the initial two minutes of frustration, I got into it and really just enjoyed my time "off".

Anyway, it's done and I paid for it to be delivered to my place of work next week. YES!


Remember last week's friendship challenge?

I think we should do a challenge regularly because so many of you emailed or commented to say what you're doing in terms of inviting a friend, having a difficult conversation, strengthening boundaries, etc.

Louisa even read MWF Seeking BFF. That's dedication to the cause right there.

Me? I sent the girl an email and I was very honest - said we always have such lovely conversations we should have lunch so we can talk properly. And she accepted.

I was well pleased.

Our lunch was today and it was as comfortable as ever. *sigh* Sooooo lovely.

We said that "we need to do this again" and of course, I will actually see that we do it.


I noticed that there's also a lot of talk in Christian circles about friendship these days. If anyone reads incourage, do a search on the word friendship and see.

Earlier this week Lysa Terkeurst also issued a friendship challenge - I love it!

Please tell me in the comments how it went with your friendship challenge so I can celebrate with you.


And now for this week's topic.

We were at a work strat a few weeks ago and as we were sitting around at lunch, my one colleague said this:

A (her son) came home from school the other day and said, "Mommy, S is my best friend but I'm not his best friend".

Well, my heart broke for that little boy.

Doesn't yours?

I asked her what she said to him and she was very matter-of fact. "Well, that's life, isn't it? It happens to adults too".

Very true.

It's the whole "she's just not that into me" thing.

I've written about it when I spoke about blog friends and when I spoke about being friend dumped.

I actually don't think I've ever had a best friend who was also my best friend. Except for D.

I think I'd have a huge amount of security if that were so but it's never been the case and so it's never bothered me because I don't know any differently. The closest was my university friend who was my best friend but I was only one of her three best friends. These CT girls :)

Maybe it's my personality? I don't know. I'd love to hear from the ESTJ's (Heather and Nicole) because we tend to be more "male" in our thinking.

Over to you.

Do you have a best friend that also considers you her best friend? How do you know that?

If not, how do you feel about that? Does it bother you?

PS next week I'm writing about how it can be expensive to have lots of friends. If you have thoughts on this, please also diarise (!) to write a post on this subject.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

So, you've all been asking about the new nanny

First, a confession.

I can't keep up with all the emails to my personal address - I may just declare email bankruptcy soon.

But a lot of you have been asking about the new nanny.

She is punctual, forthright and doesn't avoid issues at all.

She can keep up with all the cleaning part of being a nanny too, and the food part.

In my house, part of being a nanny means cleaning the bedroom, kitchen and the babies' bathroom.

I still cook all their food but I get her to peel things for me, cut up chicken, and so on.

I got her to make pizza for them (wholewheat with spinach crust) last week to use up some spinach.

So things are going very well.


I have this nagging feeling that something is not quite right.

Yesterday my MIL emailed us to say since we're going away next week, can she move forward her visit to this week.

I said, "definitely! and while you're there, please suss out S."

I went on to explain that I'm not sure what it is but I'm not 100% comfirtable with something but I don't know what that something is. And I'm not a vague feelings sort of person.

So D gets home and we talk about my email.

And as I'm talking, I get clear.

I think this is why I'm feeling unsettled about this...

She is very strict with Connor. Kendra is just fine with her probably because she listens better.

Let's not beat about the bush - Connor is more difficult, even for me. But I love the boy dearly and as D says, my discipline is balanced by my love.

It seems like she's a bit impatient with him and doesn't give him much time to respond. Here's where I'm a softie.

Like the other morning, I was getting dressed and they come and pile onto my bed and we talk. K went to get dressed first and then it was Connor's turn.

Yes, he should listen the first time but I know he's a quality time child and wants to be with us when we're there (unless food is involved :)) so V used to leave him with me til I was ready to go to work, and then dress and feed them.

For me, the timing of getting dressed is not such a big deal because he will go when I'm done.

Anyway, that's not the point of the post.

The point is what do I do?

I don't think it's serious enough (or is it) to get a replacement but I also want Connor to feel loved. Aaaah (see, I'm a softie).

How do you tell someone, "I need you to be more loving with my child".


What do you think? What do you think I should do?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

{SP1} Curiosity and movement

heart-shaped apple
 So, week 1 of Superhero Photo is done and I'm loving it.

I never fully participate in these things because

1) if I get involved in discussion groups and such, I stop doing focussed work at work ...and that's a disaster
2) I have to first focus on the stuff I have to do (kids, husband, house, business) and then when I get a gap, I can do the extra.

Well, I do believe this woman was in my head (and many of yours, honestly) because lesson 1 said to let go of perfectionism.

In our quest to get it right, we often miss the good stuff - Andrea Scher


I'm a recovering perfectionist myself and I'm now on a mission to help others get there too. BUT it's hard.

morning cup of coffee
my desk with my Artsyville print
mirror was filthy so cleaned it and trying something I don't normally do
taken from on my desk :)
I love beautiful pics as much as the next girl (maybe more) and I read these blogs and I know you're supposed to mess around with settings (which I don't do , by the way) to get technically good shots.

I'm very happy with my settings - I know to mainly use sport for my busy kids and no flash when the flash wants to pop up (because I've tried the ISO and I'm afraid my pics look worse like that than on auto). I use macro for my close ups and sometimes if I'm feeling playful, I'll even step out of the box and use creative auto. Ha ha.

So when this lady says set your camera on auto and just have fun, that's a huge shocker.

But strangely freeing.

Like when I came back from maternity leave to find 5 months of emails gone. I had about a minute of shock and then... blessed relief :)

I do enjoy having fun but I need to be encouraged to do so before I go there. Does that make sense? If you set me a goal of having fun, ooh, then I'm in my element. :)

I didn't only use auto because when my pics didn't look talk to me, I switched to the settings I'm comfortable with.

From week 1, we had to try to move more/ differently and with the movement see what happens. 

on the way back from Bambanani - I made D stop the car and reverse (with screaming kid) to get a pic of this lovely blue gate
Sony Cybershot P&S
a riot of colour/ mess :)
this is my favourite riot of colour shot
bakers twine
riot of colour - my time management/ organising section on my bookshelf
popsicle - prop from a photoshoot that I never used
someone I love
trying out my self-timer
Kendra crying and that's my lovely green dresser that I love!
different angle
So tell me, are you a perfectionist with your photos, or in life? 

How curious are you? 

What do you think of my week 1 pics?

(I am very curious. I think it makes me a good coach but can also be annoying sometimes with all my questions :)0

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I caved under the pressure - finally, my Bambanani pics

I must tell you this.

I'm much more the type of person who posts pics about 3 - 4 weeks later, not the one who posts pics  quickly but since I met up with 3 bloggers, they've all had their posts up for DAYS already and I'm the slacker.

Also a disclaimer - this was not a "blogger meet up" since I'm not a fan of those and since I also hate feeling excluded, I don't want this to feel like it was a select group of bloggers.

Since that incident last year where I felt excluded, I realised that I'm actually much better in a small group so that I can connect (otherwise I leave feeling very frustrated that I didn't exercise my intimacy outlier) properly.

The truth with this meet-up is that M said she and I should meet, I said "cool, give me some time since my life is just a tad too busy at the moment", she gave me time, and then it was a month later. I noticed my other two blog friends who I also needed to see all comment on one another's blogs so I said, "HEY! let's all get together" and so a social was born. A month out, but it was set up.

Louisa scared me a little because she'd been saying the whole week that it was going to be SO AWESOME and I just thought, "oh Lord, what if it isn't? What if my kids are terrors, I can't talk properly and they're all disappointed?"

I always drag D to these things because it's family time and I want us to be together as much as we can, and so even if things happen and other people don't pitch, at least we have a nice family outing.

Fortunately everyone pitched and we did have lots of fun.

(I didn't even really notice that the space was so tight; I was far too excited to see them and talk!)

Right, but that's not why you're here - you want to see pics.

M's gorgeous hands - aren't they stunning?
my drink of choice (actually, I prefer mine with lemon but mint will do)
Cat and M
Cat's boys - my C couldn't stop talking about the green boy and the orange boy. He was also so impressed with their plasters especially since I give them bits of washi tape for plasters :)
Love the smooches! I love seeing Cat with her kids - she is such a calm, centred mother.
I really love M's hands so I'm afraid I sneaked another pic. Can you blame me?
My little family  - I love us so much :) My kids ate their own food, some carrots I brought for snacks and half of Cat's kids' food! You'd swear I starve them but I fed them lunch - promise!
My other drink of choice - tea :)
I love this baby girl - she is so squeezable and this one LOVES hugs
The four of us - M, Louisa, Me, Cat (apparently I'm the only shorty)
Did I not tell you I love smooches?! These two are so precious together.
and last but not least, my pic that I love so much. It's not too late to register for Superhero Photo - I have already enjoyed it enough for half the money I spent and we're only one week in.
M was quieter than I expected but she told me she did, in fact, like us (actually, what is she supposed to say - ha!) and this is her way when she meets new people. She has the most adorable little girl - I think we saw her for 5 minutes tops, if that.

So all in all, a success! I had a lovely time and I love these girls for prioritising friendships, don't you?

What are you like when you meet new people? Quieter than normal? Yourself?

For me, I'm gnerally the same but it depends whether I feel I know them well enough. I know all these girls very well from our blogs and behind-the-scenes comments and our other get togethers.

With new-new people, I hold back a bit til I see if they're genuinely interested in talking to me or are doing that thing where they look over your shoulder for someone more interesting to come along. Grrr.

Did you do your act of courage yet in the area of friendship? I did mine, but I'm only telling you what happened on Friday :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

{Create} Photo canvas art

Well, I've pinned a TON of canvas projects and wanted to get stuck in and start creating.

So when I walked into a stationery shop and saw these canvases for R16 each ($2), I bought 6.

Did you know I like to buy in threes? Well, I do.

  • Canvas (mine was A4 size - 8 X 11) - somewhere in Sandton but I saw them at Mega Mica on the weekend too
  • Mod-podge (Mega Mica) & paintbrush (Crazy Store)
  • Photo (my local Fuji charged me R40 for the enlargement - I don't know if that's good or bad - I just love the service I get there, and it helps that they always tell me my pics are gorgeous)
  • Ribbon
  • No more nails (Pattex product I had on hand - I'm 100% sure normal glue would work too) - this reminds me of the liquid cement (?) I see mentioned on the US blogs
How I did mine
  1. Paint the mod-podge liberally onto the canvas and attach the photo
  2. Smooth nicely with your hands so that there are no unsightly bubbles (this was my favourite part of the craft because I'm so tactile :))
  3. Leave overnight to dry (remember I do everything at night)
  4. Next night, paint a layer of mod-podge on the front. It looks a bit weird if you're not used to the mod-podge like me but it dries clear
  5. Leave overnight to dry
  6. I did a 3rd coat too just for extra sealing and leave overnight to dry.
  7. Get a nice thick ribbon - I love the synchronicity of this.... the pic was taken by Jeanette at our Newtown photo shoot and when she had the pics delivered, the box was wrapped with this same black ribbon. It's a Jeanette craft. Ha!
  8. Cut the ribbon to size depending on where you want to hang the pic.
  9. Apply the No more nails/ glue for the entire length of the ribbon til it meets the edge of the canvas.
  10. Hang and admire your craftiness

We don't have mud rooms here in South Africa (for our flip flops? I'm JOKING!) but I hung this at the entrance and it makes me smile every day I come into the house.

side view

You could also first put scrapbook paper on the canvas and then cut your pic smaller, or you could paint the outline and then put your photo - I didn't know if this would work so I did nothing.

Now that I know how easy (and cheap) this is, I have big plans for those other canvases. I want to do something like this for a gift for my mother.

Only R56 ($7) and it looks gorgeous (to me, anyway).

So... what do you think? Would you do something like this? 

I'm linking this post to all these craft parties.


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