Wednesday, October 31, 2012

{Wordless Wednesday} My last day being 37 at a Jeffery Deaver lunch

D sent me a mail advertising a Jeffery Deaver lunch to see if I wanted to go and I was like "YESSSSSSS. What a great birthday lunch for me :)"

MIL came over to babysit and the two of us went to have a very nice lunch and listen to one of our favourite authors.




my notes... with a borrowed pen, Julia :)
beautiful hands! For this pic, I just said to her, "G, I have to take a pic of your hands because they're beautiful!" She laughed and that was that :)
it may be weird but there is such satisfaction in rolls of hand towels :)
cushions on patio furniture - I love the green and the print! and of course, TEXTURE!
my D :) this went in my "faces" folder
The camera pic wasn't doing it justice so I used Boost in Picasa and then scaled it back about 30%
my last day as a 37-year-old
Which is your favourite pic?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pre-school update, iPhone-ography and cooking with kids

You were all right - clearly I'm not as mysterious as I think I am (ha!). I absolutely told them there's something wrong with the invoice but I was late to a meeting so I didn't carefully word my email and you'll never guess what - they took off even MORE money. Now they've undercharged by R400-odd. When I went today I told them I will send them my spreadsheet (!) and they can send me a proper invoice because they're robbing themselves blind :)

Heather in Scotland - YES it's the same dude! A calmed down version since we had a very serious chat about what I expect from my trainer :)

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It's been 3 weeks since I went to see the third school.

Wait, let me go back a little bit.

Remember the first two schools?

Well, we were put on the waiting list for the one furthest and accepted for the nearer one.

D paid the registration fee (one for both kids - I like that!) and they told us they'll be in touch late November.

Then this 3rd school (my first choice just based on the website and our Christian values) contacted me to say they had two places.

I went on a Tuesday morning exactly 3 weeks ago - it was POURING with rain so all the kids were inside but well behaved :)

The one lady showed me around - it wasn't clear which one was in charge - I got the feeling like they didn't have those issues but this one was more the parent liaison and the other was the money person :) :)

The school is as nice as I imagined (which stuffs everything up, doesn't it?) and the teachers are great. I met the lady who would teach our kids and she reminded me a lot of Nanny V - the same great energy, love of life and total love for the kids.

I did like that they also worked on an 11-month fee structure which is slightly higher but then you buy no supplies and levies for this, that and the other.

I like when there are policies like no sweets, chips, fizzy drinks, biscuits. Suits me down to the ground :) Yes, I'm a control freak.

I also like that they're loving, caring and their themes are Bible-based.

I left with all the forms and a day or two later, the third school also let us know they have space for us.

Crikey.

C & K eating Woolies mini doughnuts under the table one Sunday afternoon!
















After much to and fro-ing, I actually calmed down and realised that even though a school is Christian and it's nice to have that back-up, their spiritual upbringing is still up to us. How we live, the values we teach them and what they learn and observe right here at home.

And I think we're doing really well with all of that already. My kids pray for themselves, their siblings and for us. Tonight we also prayed for the people affected by Superstorm Sandy. I'm also working on getting them to listen to God's still small voice inside their hearts (they think it's in their tummy but at least they get the gist of it).

However, the biggest thing is the transport thing.

Everyone I've spoken to (the last one being my wonderful ex-boss) said that location basically trumps almost everything else. And so now all I have to do is politely decline those places. D wants to just check out transport prices (why, I don't know)...

As for money, the furthest two schools are almost exactly equal and the one where they're registered (nearer to my home) is about R4000 cheaper over the whole year. Which is a Sabie holiday, right? :)

In other news, I'm getting really jealous of seriously beautiful iphone pics.

I found a guy I work with on instagram and he has SUCH a good eye. He is a designer so it makes sense that he's good visually but still. He told me when he saw the Newtown pics Jeanette took that it had good "visual tension" because of the very sweet babies with their teddies against that dirty, grungy background. I still laugh when I think of that.

I'm determined to start getting good at using my iphone camera. Look out world!



**********************************

Connor and I have started cooking together. By this I mean I'll chop the carrots and he gets to put them all in the pot. Or I'll measure out the rice and he adds it to the pot. He LOVES IT.

D says it's because he likes eating :) When I walk in the door, he says, "Mummy, let's go cook" and so we do.

Tonight we made pizza. I saw something on Pinterest as I was searching for a recipe on one of my boards, it looked easy and so we did it.

The whole experience was very cute but verrrrry messy!

Do you cook with your kids?
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Monday, October 29, 2012

Honesty or stupidity?

 

Okay, so I couldn't resist.

I got my invoice from the personal trainer and he undercharged me by R222 (just under $30).

What would you do?

Tell him or just pay the lower invoice?

Well, I wasn't sure initially but my instinct felt it was off so I just spent 10 minutes doing a little spreadsheet and sure enough - R222 off.

Can you guess what I'm going to do?
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K&C after the mulberry incident - a video

video

Some random chit-chat from the babies. About wolves and lions and whatnot. I suspect it's from a bedtime story I don't know....

Also, see the mulberry mouths :)

I probably won't post again tonight - I have had wordpress issues so I'm two posts behind and I want to get up to date.

How has your Monday been?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Weekend spontaneity and a pavement photoshoot

We had a brunch plan for Bambanani yesterday and I was only too happy to get an email from 1 of the 3 people on Friday to say his little man had a runny tummy and could we postpone.

this is just SO Connor lately - that little tongue out and him doing his own thing

Connor had a bit of a cough and on Friday when I got home, Kendra had started too.

They're fine now but I still didn't want them infecting or getting further infected by other sick kids.

 

In addition to that, I had a SPLITTING headache on Friday night. I was asleep by 9:30 (totally unheard of for me) but I woke on Saturday with that same headache, just a slightly milder version.

I hauled myself to gym anyway but there were no classes due to an event so I blogged and read blogs for an hour :)

 

Once I got home, D went to run errands and I stayed with the kids. I put them down for naps and went to lie down myself. D said when he got back the kids were running around the house...and I was fast asleep.

The headache persisted so I took another 2 Panado at about 5 and then I started feeling relief. Especially after I drank another litre of water.

I personally think it's both hormonal plus this cold weather (in spring!) really doesn't make me want to drink any water.

 

D and I had a date night and watched Marley and Me (I do recommend it.. and there's a friendship Friday post in there for me!) while eating popcorn.

 

Today the kids woke in a good mood. I say that because about the second thing I said to Connor was "go to time out" and he didn't freak out like he normally does, but went. Wow - the discipline course is working (I still need to tell you all about it).

I rewarded the kids because they did their morning routine nicely by letting them play with window paints. D thinks I'm mad; I say why should Nanny S be the one who gets to do all the fun things with them?

They thought they were in heaven; I was... because the light was beautiful and I was snapping away. Pics to follow once I download.

They also played in the mulberries (I didn't see them otherwise that is most definitely not allowed) and the cuffs of their jeans plus their t-shirts are ruined (I think. I've sprayed with stain remover but let's see). But the biggest accomplishment is I didn't freak out!

We also went for a picnic today (a spontaneous one suggested by me!) and made doughnuts in my new doughnut maker! The kids helped - lots of pics to follow...

 

So despite the two kids under the weather, we had a really, really good day. When we were walking down the path at Gillooly's, Connor said to me, "I love this!" and my heart just melted.

Only 3 days left of 31 days so let me write my last 3 posts and get to bed.

How was your weekend?
PS these pics were taken on our little photo walk two weeks ago (that's how far I am with pics!). I sat down on the pavement in front of a random house and handed the camera to D.
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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Halloween - please don't toilet paper my house :)


So Halloween.

I'm increasingly horrified at how many Halloween traditions have crept into South African society.

Over the last couple of years it's got worse.

Last year one retailer (CNA) had full window displays. This year I saw full-on displays in CNA (of course), Woolworths and a party shop in my beloved Bedford Centre.

I moaned and griped to a few work friends and some in the computer but it reached all-time proportions when I got a Jhb.co.za newsletter FULL of Halloween activities.

And that's where I draw the line.



I love (a lot of things about) America but I love more that each country has a flavour. I don't want to go to my mall down the road from my house and feel like I'm in America.

I know that we've embraced a lot of things over the years but do we really need to do this too?

What actually saddens me is that South Africans are so keen to embrace all things America and shun all things South African! We have lots of traditions here to be proud of!

I maintain that to fully love your country you need to travel and experience the good and bad elsewhere. D jokes that he had never seen me so fully patriotic as when I first travelled overseas to Singapore/ Australia in 2004. It's true. Yes, it was GREAT but South Africa is a WONDERFUL place to live. We are so very blessed here.

Moving on.


I personally don't "celebrate" Halloween for many reasons. Pre-Christian, I just don't do blood, gore, witches and the like and certainly post-Christian, I'm not going to be celebrating the kingdom of darkness.

That's my view in a nutshell. I'm in the business of not going against my conscience so this is not likely to change anytime soon. What will be interesting is how D and I will deal with all this stuff when our kids go to school!!!

I know a lot of you will say it's just fun to dress up and such... like it's just fun to read 50 shades of grey.... :)

I honestly do think your kids look cute dressed up (in non-witch clothes) and I've always loved orange and pumpkins (!) but no Halloween for me.

Julia had a post up about how she can't stand to see food used as decor since there are starving people on our doorsteps in SA. I'd love to know how my American friends feel about that. I said (in case you're interested) that we middle-class South Africans waste plenty already so another pumpkin here and there doesn't really outrage me :) Food wastage on the whole outrages me.

So, friends, tell me your thoughts on Halloween. Have you ever consciously thought about it all?


Next up, my thoughts on the American elections and politics :)

That was a joke :) But I took an online quiz the other day that showed how to vote on the issues, not on the people..... I wish we had things like this here and I'd love the debates too. 

PS I couldn't resist putting pics of the kids in orange :)
PPS Jayme, are we still friends? :) :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Santa Shoebox and {Friendship Friday} - am I too literal?

my 3 boxes - the ladies LOVED the bottom one (!)
I love the checklist printed on the labels


People, I am too busy.

I thought the drop-off was Thurs and Fri and it was actually Wed and Thurs for my area. So I'm putting on a new cell phone cover and a message comes through.

"Your boxes must be dropped off before 8 pm tonight".

I freak, go check and sure enough - yesterday is the 25th!

Mad rush once D got home and I made it with a half hour to spare. Crazy!!!

Thank goodness they were all ready.

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So I have 10 minutes to write this part (9 now) :)

I was wondering this week if I'm too literal.

Case in point:

1. Friend emails - Hi Marcia, I miss you. We should get together. What about supper?"

I say yes, we set a date. I know friend is 50% flakey so I don't panic too much when I realise I'm actually double-booked and sure enough the weekend before, I get an sms cancellation.

No problem, I say, let's reschedule. Let me know a new date that suits you.

And friends in the computer, I'm still waiting.

Another eg.

2. I email something, no reply, phone and yes, everything is fine - kids, hubby, friend, etc. Okay, email again another week. Nothing in particular, just a friendly, chatty mail. Also I text when that doesn't work.

Finally I'm about to just give up because remember reciprocity?

Then I think NO, you need to try harder, Marcia.

So I set up a lunch date to which I get a decline with sorry, I'm just so busy, no suggestion as to alternatives, nothing.

Now you all know I am as busy as most people in Jhb (in fact, I'm constantly working on being less busy) so I get the literal-ness but really, if I want to meet with someone I'll say "Friend, thank you SO MUCH for the invite. Honestly, that's a terrible time for me work-wise but how about on such and such date?" 

For me this shows that my intention is definitely to connect with you, I'm not blowing you off, but I truly am too busy.

Also do you think that people feel guilty about accepting an invite if they feel they "owe" you one first?

My one friend keeps saying WE need to come there (we probably do) but she doesn't actually set a date and invite. The friend doesn't read this blog ;)

So... do you think I'm too literal and no-one actually means the things they say, they're just being polite? Or are these people in fact "busy" or are they blowing me off?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

{Create} Washi tape gift tags/ mini notecards

Last month I made these washi tape notecards and this month I really wanted to play some more with cards and washi tape so I made these ones.

Remember the mini cards I made last year and earlier this year?

I find them so versatile - give away as a set, use for gift tags, or just for a quick random act of kindness note - and that's why I have none left.

So it was time to replenish my stash and also to make some for gifts.
 

What you need
  • A4 project board (white or whichever will match your washi tape) - I like the simplicity of white
  • washi tape
  • gunky scissors or ones you don't mind getting gunky because all that cutting of tape is not "good scissor" friendly
  
I used a guillottine at work and cut a couple of sheets of A4 project board into the right size (I am useless with measuring and think it adds to the charm if the cards are not all exactly the same. What's a mm here or there, right?) 
  • Basically cut into 6 equal sizes.
  • Fold in half
  • Choose shades of washi tape that complement one another.
  • Let loose and stick any which way, on the diagonal, straight on, whatever you fancy.

I washi taped two cards at a time and then I neatened the edges with my gunky scissors. You'll fall into your own rhythm...
 

I changed my designs slightly so I'd have the same 3 rolls but I only made 2 cards exactly the same.

Can you see?

This project was a bit like the fabric clothespegs (incidentally, my top viewed crafty post this year :)). I can't get enough of them and I'm going to make TONS more cards.


And there you have it - a very satisfying project full of washi tape goodness :)

I have another little project to show you for this month but I'll only post those pics next week.
 
Which set is your favourite?
 
(my favourites are the purple and the pink/ chevron)
 
Link up your creative projects :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

{Wordless Wednesday... for me} Bambanani

Bambanani sent my kids a little card for their birthday.

We could use it for a little treat, they said, within their birthday month.

Unfortunately for my kids we had their birthday, and then their party and then two weekends of me being away in the US.

D's inclination is to just accept "the rules" but I insisted he phone and ask them if we could come in Aug and of course they said yes. So we went on my birthday weekend.


I have a thing for fathers with their kids - D helping K take off her shoes
"what do you want?!"
all recent pics with Connor look like this
my camera bag made by Mandy (the red and brown one is a reversible tote bought at Sainsbury's in Liverpool four years ago)

reading letters
I am very boring and order the same thing every time I'm here... but each time I read the whole menu and pretend to think of something else. Oh, this is a chicken curry.
looking at a kitten at one of the shops on the main street
my "famous" shoe pics - Kendra
that's half the chicken - I always take it home and have a whole other meal with my own rice
Which is your favourite?

What are you like at restaurants? Do you try a new dish every time or do you stick to your favourites?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October is kicking my butt

 

October goals
I've just had a look at my October goals list and friends, it's not looking good. So far I'm only on 60% of goals achieved with a week to go........

Best I really focus my time over the next week and get moving :)

Still ANYTHING is better than last year October with the emergency op, rest, etc. On the other hand, I was about 5 kg thinner then..... do you think my weight is due to my non-existent gall bladder? No? Worth a try!

See the photo above?
Teambuild

We went on a teambuild today - an Indian cooking class - and it was fabulous. I LOVED IT! And in a surprising turn of events, I didn't get lost going or coming back home!!!

We were only six so we were three teams of two people each. And because of that, we were flat out busy. Actually rather like work because we're under-resourced there too :) I only thought about it tonight but we all worked together really well - no fighting and we started pitching in with one another's dishes (stirring, etc.) if that team was busy. Just like at work.

Each team had 3 dishes to prepare. We did onion bhajias (please forgive all the spelling), a chicken masala and something else I can't remember the name of but basically a potato and cheese fritter with a creamy tomato sauce.

EVERYTHING was delicious.

Cooking class social

So here's the thing - are any of you Jhb girls keen to do something like this? The place does all sorts of cooking and there's a special at the moment. I asked her and if we pay this month, we can do the actual thing early next year.

Otherwise, I'm going to book D and me on a date night there. We work really well together in that kind of situation. I think my one 3 am friend and her hubby will be keen too.

Work stuff

In other news, the company who phoned me last week with the work options emailed me today to ask if they could do credit checks... which means things are hotting up :)

I'm so Zen about this it's frightening. I'm 100% convinced God's got it all taken care of.

Christmas
And lastly, APOLOGIES! I didn't mean to freak you all out about Christmas. I was really just thinking aloud.

So I always have stuff around here I hide from the kids because I don't want them to feel entitled to STUFF all the time... we'll give them some of that and then D wants to get them tricycles. That's it.

I want a lens for Christmas (haven't decided which one yet) and possibly a camera remote too. I need nothing else (besides a house at the beach :))although I'm always partial to a cute handbag. I actually (seriously!) think I have a problem.

I've already told the kids we're going to start making a few Christmas cards this weekend. Since there won't be many, we should get through it all fairly quickly (a few weekends) and then when the lady tells me my photo disc is ready, I can just print the best one (if there's one... otherwise it's that one Cat took of us at Bambanani in April) and slip into the envelope. Sorted... at least in my head.

Over to you!

How's October going so far? Are you sending out Christmas cards? How many do you usually send? 

PS my computer is still not displaying pics when I blog in my old usual manner so these days I click on a pic, click Create in Blogger (or something like that) and it opens up a window to type. Here I can see the pics properly :)
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