Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The teacher had to phone to remind me & 4 new recipes for {Project 25 recipes}

I'm not going to lie - I've been less than my usual organised self in the other areas of my life for the last 3 weeks.

I didn't return a form plus money that was due on Monday... so today Teacher C phoned me just to remind me that my kids are the bakers on Thursday.

What this means is that each of them has to take 12 cupcakes to school so the other kids can buy them....

Yes, makes no sense to me too. But over here I focus on the big picture.

I'd planned to just pay to get the school baker to do ours but I suddenly got a bee in my bonnet.

I asked Connor (mistake - he is ALWAYS game for anything food) if we should bake cupcakes tomorrow and of course he said YESSSSSS.

He was quite specific - they need to be banana cupcakes - but I told him I don't have bananas so we'll have to use whatever's in the pantry.

And so I've been Pinteresting (like googling, but on Pinterest).

I think I'm going to make some vanilla cupcakes with a peppermint crisp pudding "frosting" - let's see how that turns out. If it's a flop, I'm dashing to Pick and Pay for some of their cupcakes.

Hopefully there'll be time to take some pics tomorrow but don't hold your breath, I usually have no patience for pics while cooking and baking.


Speaking of Pinterest, Project 25 recipes is going swimmingly.

This month I made 3 new things so am now up to 17.

Recipe post 1
Recipe post 2
Recipe post 3

15. Cinnamon roll in a mug

I love any "in a mug" recipes because it makes the perfect amount of cake for two (with two kids having a forkful each) and there's nothing left to tempt you the next day.

This one needed an extra 30 seconds to cook in my 1000 W microwave but I suggest checking every 15 seconds with a toothpick.

Was delicious but I preferred the other mug recipes I've tried.

I want to try a mac and cheese in a mug and a meatloaf in a mug - sounds perfect for lunches in winter, right?

16. Kidney bean burritos 

Well, I made my normal kidney bean sauce. 
Onions, garlic, coriander, some red chilli flakes, salt, pepper, SUGAR, at least 2 cans of tomato, about 200 - 300 g kidney beans. Cook together for about 20 - 30 minutes.

I portion these out usually and have on pasta or baked potatoes for lazy nights - the latest batch was DELICIOUS. I put lots of garlic (for immunity in winter). 

I'll have to make another batch on the weekend because the last batch I made about 3 weeks ago is now done :(

Back to the burritos.

I put the sauce in wraps, rolled them up, added cheese and baked them. The kids weren't fans but D and I loved them. In fact, we still have two in the freezer so we can have those tomorrow.

(I don't fuss with the kids - all I said was "yippee, more for Daddy and me!")

17. Korean Beef

HUGE hit. Thanks again, April.

I added the broccoli into the dish after partially cooking it in the microwave. When the kids saw the broccoli mixed in, they said they don't want it.

Again, WOOHOO - more for Daddy and me :)

Next time I'll have to use two broccoli cubes ;)

18.  Jamie Oliver's flatbread

(with a Marcia twist)

I just added 150 g spinach. That's a lot (just weigh it) but Nanny S slices it nice and fine so I could add to the dough easily.


And the recipe makes a TON!

(I hid some in the freezer :))

So tell me, are you getting hungry??? :)

Who has a lovely, EASY recipe for me to try in May?

Monday, April 29, 2013

18 years!

Thank you so much for your amazing comments and emails - they mean the WORLD to me. If I wasn't cried out, and I was the crying type, I'd cry :)

You guys think much better of me than I do... clearly ... but I had a really good day today. One day at a time, right?

Today D and I have been married for 18 years, almost half my life! When we told the kids it's our anniversary, Connor said, "do you get presents?" :)

Right now we're going to do what married people do on special days when they don't have babysitters - eat supper together and watch The Amazing Race :)

Have a great evening!
first time I'm using this pic :)

i love this one too... but in black and white
I haven't done anything with this one... yet
this one is at our door
this one is on D's desk
this one is hanging in our bedroom
Posted by Picasa
All these pics make me want another Newtown photo shoot... watch this space :)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

I really hope I haven't made a huge mistake


Today I spent 3 hrs 10 working (I decided to keep a home timesheet too!) and another 15 minutes crying.

Crying! I'm not normally a crier...

The 3 hrs were to get up to date on last week's work.

I have a list for this week and IF nothing happens, like unexpected meetings or me/ kids getting sick (as it is I am only about 85% well - yes, I fully realise it's partly stress), I may get through it all. No talking, eating lunch while working, no emails, certainly no checking blogs, no faffing, nothing.

I'm really hoping that this is all just a period of adjustment to the new role and that I'll hit my stride soon.

What if I'm actually not cut out for this type of work? What will I do?

I really LOVE the company I'm at.

In any event, it's an opportunity to exercise my word of the year, TRUST.

So if you're the praying sort, please pray for me.

Otherwise, please leave me some encouraging words. Thanks.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

{Superhero Photo} Treasures

I remember these assignments last year and how absolutely chuffed (do you say chuffed?) I was when I got some gorgeous background blur.

I always thought you had to be really clever to do that so it felt AWESOME when I was able to create the same effect.

Here are some of my favourite recent pics with a low f-stop.

place setting at my friend's house
I never get tired of taking pics of the babies' hands
such a boy!
my lovely brown leaf!
strelitzia? (Louisa?) at the zoo (everybody is all "aaaah, look at the _____" and I'm "oh man, look at that gorgeous blur")
fire hydrant for MandyE (I'm obsessed!)
pic at a party
This next set is part of the treasure hunt - the prompt was white on white.

By the way, the things I'm holding are golf clubs the kids made at school. Aren't they cute?


Did you have a good Freedom Day?

Jersey Boys and weekend accountability

pic taken during intermission


Last night we went to see Jersey Boys at the Montecasino's Teatro and it was super awesome!!!!

Energy was high, the sets were just perfect, music and dance, acting was all amazing! And you actually do know most of the songs even if you think you didn't.... :)

I honestly could not think of a single thing they could do better.

Well worth R200 a ticket. I would have paid R500 I had such fun (Jayme, divide by about 9.2 for $).

Of course I always get a bit of stage nostalgia for my own performing days. There is nothing quite like those moments before the "curtain" rises and you start performing, feeling the energy of the audience.


Anyway, so please do go. They were supposed to have the last show tonight (that's why we bought tickets quickly) but I see it's been extended to 9 June.

PS No photos are allowed during the show (obviously) and I'm such a rule-follower. Would you have taken a pic?


And now, some weekend accountability which I normally email to MandyE on a Friday night but let me do here for this week.

  1. Date with D (Jersey Boys)
  2. Watch Seinfeld DVD with D
  3. Weigh-Less
  4. Gym
  5. Post Office
  6. Do 3 errands (returning things - Clicks, Mr P, Edgars)
  7. 2 hours on April photos
  8. Finish Sinead Moriarty
  9. Finish Grace for the Good Girl
  10. Blog 3 X for Organising Queen
  11. Take pics for OQ blogs
  12. Photo walk with the kids - the weather is GORGEOUS this weekend. I want to jump in brown leaves :)
  13. Lunch out
  14. Church
  15. 2 hours on work to get mostly up to date (I won't but i will feel a tad better come Monday)
  16. Make list of people to invite to kids' party

What's on your weekend list?

I'll post an update on Monday morning and you can all comment and say what you did. Yes?

PS driving to gym, I said, "oh MAN, the trees are SOOOO beautiful". Connor says, "so why don't you take a photo?" :) well trained child!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

It feels like Friday but there's still one day to go

My brain is a bit all over the place and I can't focus enough to do work (of which there is plenty) or my weekly timesheet (ugh!) so let me get some stuff out here first.

One day I should make a list of things I'm obsessed with. On that list I'll have wet leaves and winter sunsets.

Oh man, I can't stop gasping at the beauty of sunsets.

A friend (a real friend, not just a facebook one :)) commented on one of my sunset pics this week and said, "nothing like an African sunset". Yes, please. I 100% agree. Nanny S laughed when I told her. He's lived here and now lives in England (Liverpool) so he knows the gorgeousness that is our sunsets.

Even in town driving home, the start of the sunset is just gorgeous - it paints the buildings with such a beautiful soft light. Mmmmmm.

a recent nap - I need to take more pics because who knows when the naps stop entirely - please note Connor's buddy, Friday.

I had my farewell today (from the old department) and it was wonderful. I've just sent them two pics to tide them over and in my thank-you mail, I said how it was just what I needed to recharge my soul. I took lots of pics - got my 5 faces for April :) :)

I'll show you some of those pics (not the faces) in a separate post.
don't you think she looks like a teenager on our bed?! Taken a few weeks ago, of course.
D and I are going to see Jersey Boys tomorrow night. When we went to that cooking class (I instagrammed a pic) last month, 4 of the people at our table were from the cast. And then a friend said he LOVED it (and he's not the gushing sort).... and then I read the reviews..... and then I told D to book tickets. This is our 18th wedding anniversary celebration for Monday.

this is a pic Connor took - he was being his usual bossy self which is why I'm smiling and if you scroll down a bit, you'll see me laugh too
Speaking of the weekend, now that project baby book is done, I need to get cracking on April photos. I haven't sorted pics since 6 April.....

Since emailing with MandyE, I've also decided I'm going to print all my favourites (so any odd pics of stones, wet leaves, doors, fire hydrants, sunsets, that beautiful campus) and put those in an album.

Almost like a coffee table book, but not :)

There is a lovely pic of stones (seriously) that I want to print and frame in our bedroom - the colours work very well there.

However, I'm going to wait a month or so because the baby book project cost me R915 just for the photos..... and they gave me a 33% discount (I paid R3 a pic instead of the standard R4,50)

This weekend I need to finish two books and read a third, and I probably still won't make my goal of 5 for the month. But let's see - maybe I'll make it now I've written it here....

Also, now that the baby book project is done, I can start party planning. Woohoo!

The kids' birthday is on a Sunday this year. We have church which is not negotiable - what do you think? Should I do it on the Saturday or squeeze it into a Sunday afternoon?

I may just do a project plan in excel...we document every last thing (EVERY THING) so I'm getting used to getting things down instead of keeping it all in my head.

And last but not least, my yellow chrysanthemums have all flowered. I bought two pots last year, they died, put them outside along the driveway and lo and behold, there are actual flowers!

These are my favourite flowers, by the way. They make me smile so big :)

And now, better do that timesheet.

How has your week been?
Have you seen Jersey Boys?

PS Lesley, how are you doing? :)
PPS Sam, your comments make me smile. You are such an encourager!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Photowalk around our neighbourhood - summer

Last year Connor and I took a nice walk around the neighbourhood.

It was May if I remember correctly and the leaves were gorgeous - brown and crisp. I love trampling on crisp leaves. Don't you?

Anyway, I thought it might be a cool idea to take a walk at least once every season. At the very least, it will be cute to see the kids change and them wearing different clothes. We took a quick walk last weekend just before sunset and already we were in sweatshirts.

I know that sounds easily doable but you have to create time for these things and the best way for me to do that is to put it on my lists :)

Here's the summer one - pics taken mid-February.

Connor checking on me :)
you know I love these pics!
look how engrossed they are...
I love how kids enjoy the simple things :)

Which is your favourite pic?
Do you also plan photowalks?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How easily do your kids go to sleep at night?

Thanks for telling me about the no-show pics. I deleted and re-added them and they look fine from my side - please check and let me know. Thanks :) (that pic of Connor is worth the click :))


At 8:08 I was listening to Connor sing "whoa whoa whoa, let your light shine" when he was supposed to be sleeping.

I laughed so hard that they got a bit of a fright and were quiet for a moment. Because I do think it's very cute that they're singing worship songs.

The other night it was "one way, Jesus" and I thought I couldn't possibly be hearing properly so I crept out with the iphone and said, "sing that song again, Kendra" and they did. At the end she says, "can I stop now?" :)

So I have a black screen and a video of the cute (at least to me) voices of 3-year-olds worshipping.

Mind you, Connor often says to me, "bye Mummy, I love you and I like you, let your light shine". First time he said that I said, "what? what did you just say?" and sure enough, that's what he said.

these are Naartjie caps and I still have them in the one A4 memory box I have

But back to the topic.

I think it's time to drop the nap and I'm DREADING it. I don't deal well with the brand of crazy for the two hours before sleeptime.... but I may be willing to experiment a bit.

How did you transition to the no naps and do your kids go to bed easily as a result?

I made taco mince for supper tonight and it is so H O T I can't even finish my food! (Bonus - weigh less!) Same sachet of spice so I can only think that I must have used only half a sachet last time?


I'm absolutely freezing... already! I've been wearing flannel pjs for the last 3 weeks, my electric blanket's on and I'm drinking big mugs of tea.

I forgot how nice it is to hug cuddly children in polar fleece :)


And on the work front, I am knackered. I think I have a real feel for this work but the hours are slowly killing me. When I get home I want to do nothing. I'm really hoping it's just for this phase of the project but we'll see. On the bright side, at least I'm being paid more ...By the way, I decided to TRUST God to sort out this working hour thing for now...

Last night I was feeling SO frustrated - I hate feeling behind at work - so I went to gym and it was great. To just lose myself while focussing on the dance.

Today was better but I only got home just before 6, and I left home at 7:45 this morning. So at lunch time, I escaped for a 15-minute walk in the CBD. I left my phone charging at the office otherwise I would have taken some gorgeous pics. My word, either B.ank C.ity is looking amazing these days or I'm really enjoying the beauty of everyday things :)

Returned to the office with a nail polish and a smile on my face :)

How's your week going?

Monday, April 22, 2013

I'm on a roll even though I look terrible!

Connor's baby book is now done too.

In the end, on this baby book project, I did the journals for both kids and I started their 200-photo photo albums intended for the toddler years.

I also did those year-at-a-glance photo frames which I'm too scared to hang because I have wild kids (the one canvas was in a different spot after nap time - or lack of it - today)...

And then, because I looked through about 2000 pics anyway, I also starred "together" pics, had those printed and last night I did that album.

It looks awesome. I'll take proper pics of everything when the light is good and I have time (probably only on the weekend).

I showed D everything and the first thing he says to me, "I can't believe I look so terrible". I said, "WE looked terrible" so he's a little depressed at how no-one threw us a lifeline or just told us we look terrible and perhaps offered babysitting so we could sleep for an afternoon. Ha! Hell will freeze over first.

Nevertheless, he did say, it must have taken you so long to do all of that. Um, yes. About 10 - 12 hours. Of course the worse part was choosing all the pics.

Were we the only ones who looked terrible in year 1 of our kids' lives?

Kendra asked D when they were looking through her book, "Daddy, why were you so tired?" and I gave him a warning look before he said, "taking care of kids is hard work" :)

PS I was already working on these baby books but I must tell you how my friend, Caren, inspired me yesterday. We went over for lunch and she showed me her kids' baby books (complete to 3 years old because I seem to remember party pics). Hers is a very simplified version - thickness and size of a photo book - which encompasses the first 5 years.

PPS I wish you could see my study - my box from work is here plus all these photo things are EVERYwhere. Also, I haven't even started April pics except to put them in folders.


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