Wednesday, January 27, 2016

New Year's Day, favourite drinks and weighing less

It's about time I started blogging about the new year.

The kids slept at Granny's house and we went over for lunch, and to fetch them.

They were running through the sprinklers to cool off, and then used towels to make themselves costumes.

 This is me coming outside and seeing someone (Kendra, I think?) with my camera!

I thought for a minute that this pic was in the wrong folder because surely the light wasn't that amazing after we arrived home.

Yes it was - this photo was taken at 6.16. CT folks won't know what I'm on about but for the light to still be that amazing this late... it's high summer here!

Also, I love my mason jar glasses. If you want some, Mr P Home has them for about R130? in a set of 6. My favourite drink at the moment is cold water with a squeeze of lemon juice from the bottle. My kids are into this too, so much that we're buying a 500 ml of lemon juice every two weeks :o

What's your favourite non-alcoholic drink at the moment?

And then on the matter of goals, my four main focus areas this year are God, relationships, health and fitness, and my word of the year, joy.

I go into it all a lot more here.

But on that health and fitness bit, I joined Weigh-Less on 2 Jan, went on holiday (!) and have gone back every week since. My goal is to lose 1 kg this month while holidaying and getting back onto the eating plan.

I am going to have to be VERRRRY good for the next two days because the first half of the week was a bit hit and miss.

What are you doing differently for your health this year?

Monday, January 25, 2016

When you're in a funk

(I'm trying a new thing where I blog for 15 - 30 minutes and then get off because it's too easy to get on, and blog forever while taking a break to read a blog or 15, etc.)

Anyway, I finished working through my Shining Life Workbook this weekend and it was amazing.


I know this intellectually but I'm still amazed at how putting in the work actually yields results :)

I had such clarity around what I want for myself in each of the areas of my life - spiritually, financially, relationships with friends, family, work, body, creatively (!), etc.

I wrote my mottos, habits I want to cultivate and more.

A glorious, dedicated time of intention-setting.

One of the exercises was about knowing what brings you comfort (she phrased it in a different way) especially when you feel blah... and need to get out of the funk.

Here are some of the things I wrote down:
  1. going for a walk
  2. playing with my camera - I found if I just take my 50 mm lens, or I turn the f-stop down, and go walk around the garden, or play with vases/ stationery, etc. to get a focal point, I can have no end of fun and .... 300 pics later, I'm good (10 minutes)
  3. cuddles with the kids
  4. talking to D
  5. worship
  6. cleaning/ organising... but furiously 
  7. reading with a big mug of tea for just 10 - 15 minutes (obviously longer is better but the trick is to find quick things)
Tell me, what are a few things you do to take you out of a funk?
PS It's not too late to set intentions for the year - read my OQ post :)

(13 minutes to write this post)

Friday, January 22, 2016

What these 6 and a half year old kids are up to, and the disequilibrium

I started a page in my notebook on things Connor currently says because I think it's so cute.
  1. Here you go, my dear (98% of the time, he says this to me) - no, I don't know where he picked up the "dear". I do say "here you go, my love" but I'll take it!
  2. astounding
  3. devastated
  4. blurb - tonight's one. D took out a library book and Connor said, "read the blurb, Daddy". I was organising in the bathroom but D and I both burst out laughing. Nobody taught him that word apparently.
Kendra has taken to mothering Connor. She speaks exactly like I do, and I hear things like, "no, my boy, that won't do" which is very funny from one 6-year-old to another.

Anyway, moving on from their chit-chat.


We've had 8 days of school and I am yet to see homework.

They had more homework in Grade R last year (every day was a few books to cover or a different set of forms to complete).

I suspect the homework will start on Monday. So therefore, why are the 3 flipfiles sent home every day? 

On the bright side, they tell me they are very well-mannered (!) because they both have stars at the top of the chart or some such thing.

On growing

They leap out of bed every morning, get dressed and we have not been late once! Can I just say my heart gets a little bit sore when I see how cute they are in their school uniforms, and how big! Of course, I say this to them and they tease me when I tell them I get just a little bit sad because they're growing too quickly.

I'm happy to have them growing nicely but it also makes me realise how quickly time passes. If the last 4 years passed so quickly (0 - 2 took its own sweet time), seems like when I blink a few times they'll be teenagers.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves.


Favourite lunches are peanut butter and jam, with apples. They've both gone off bananas for lunch.


This was the holiday of card games. I shouldn't even have bothered taking any activity books because all they used was the pencil and a notebook to keep score. Uno, Bicycle cards (which we bought in Ballito one rainy day) and some other games D bought, as well as Ludo.

I have lots more to say about toys and such, and how D was WOWED by our visit to the Se7en gang, but let's just share this nugget:

In Pringle Bay, I didn't have to say once, "go make your beds" and so I said to them, "what's going on, guys?" and they said this..... wait for it....

It's easy to make our beds and keep our rooms clean because we only have 1 teddy bear in it.

I literally said, WAIT. Did you just hear what you said??????? 


Remember in years past I would speak about the half year disequilibrium? It's a real thing. So I bought "your 6-year-old: loving and defiant" - I buy the age book every year, and both D and I read it. It's been great.

D went to renew his driver's licence when we got back from holidays and I gave him my Kindle so he could read this book in the queue. For the record, he started and finished the entire book while standing in the queue. Yes. And then still had time to chat to some people.

Anyway, D was dealing with them one way when he left that morning, and when he returned he was saying things like, "oh shame, they're going through the disequilibrium," which is remarkably satisfying for someone like me to hear. :)

A quick tip - for the boys, the moms are the best friends when things are well, and the worst enemies when things are not. Things I hear regularly - I'm never speaking to you again! and You're my favourite person in this house. So there's that.
(Read your age's book!)

This should all ease off in Feb sometimes so we wait and see.

I'm going to write a post next week on Organising Queen about how I'm doing goals this year but basically, one of the things I'm doing is to read and listen more to things that tie in with my goals. It's not earth-shattering but it's something I don't know why I don't do more consciously.

At the moment I'm listening to Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids (how to stop shouting). The 3 sections of the book are: Self-Regulating (for parents), Connect then Correct, and Coaching.

So far so good - this is helping while we're in the disequilibrium......

How are you settling into the new year with your kids?

PS these pics were taken on the last day of 2015, just before they went to their granny's for a sleepover.

Monday, January 18, 2016

5 things I'm not doing in 2016

Thanks for weighing in on the deodorant situation.

Gosh, the things we blog about!

While you're thinking about deo, tell me what is most effective at not leaving the white residue on clothes....

Last year you all seemed to like my post, 7 things I want to do less of in 2015, so let's do the 2016 version. I was reminded of the idea at Modern Mrs Darcy.

1. Finishing books I don't enjoy

I had this same one on my 2015 list and.... I didn't finish two books. Yay me! That is big for me. Already I've abandoned one book for the year so I'm doing well.

I'm a big finisher and especially with book goals, I keep thinking about the opportunity cost of having partially read the terrible book....

2. Holding onto things that don't spark joy

I made really good headway from August last year when I read the Konmari book. Apparently I liked the idea of the book so much I wrote 16 posts. A bit excessive but you know me - when I like something, I really like something.

I've got really good at not thinking too much as I put things in the donate pile even when they're perfectly good. They just don't spark joy.

3. Torturing myself by going to sales

I went into a shop (H & M) for a sale in Cape Town and then I said to D, "now see, this is why I don't go to sales". I really hate crowds, people attacking sale racks of clothes, etc.

Everything about the experience is unpleasant.

My "mantra" now is ... if I need it, I can afford to buy it at full price. This is usually true and I'm going to resist the marketing psychology.

Of course, if I do need/ want something and it happens to be on sale, HAPPY DAYS!

4. Having loose boundaries

I love the topic of boundaries and I've spoken before about the Boundaries book. I read the book many years ago and listened to the audio book last year.


Read it if you feel like yours could use a tune-up. I used to buy this book for my coaching clients, it's that good.

Small example - I used to flip my lid on Saturdays when I'd clean the kitchen and D would return with the shopping, pack the fridge stuff away and then leave 3/4 full bags all over the table and floor, and disappear.

Then there's me, huffing and puffing. Don't pretend this stuff doesn't go on at your place.

And then I thought about it. The thing that drives me mad is my nice kitchen "messed up" and no space to walk around. So now I calmly take all those bags to the laundry area where I don't have to look at them.

When family members ask where this or that is, I say calmly, I don't know, check the shopping bags in the laundry.

Back to this year's boundaries - I already tried to befriend someone at the school, apparently not interested, so I've moved on. Such progress, I'm amazed at myself. I still like the person so if she picks up her end of the stick, I'll pick up mine. Otherwise, we'll be friendly acquaintances :)

Same story with work stuff. I used to stress out about people not doing their bits (I am overall managing this thing but these people don't report to me, you know?) and this year, I sent out my email, and then calmly but objectively stated facts in the meeting. "There has been very poor participation" being a favourite phrase at the moment. But it's on their side of the fence - I can't force people to do their work.

I have some issues with Spanish too. I will need to be very strong in this area. I have loose boundaries because I enjoy the dancing but there are a few other issues I need to deal with.

5. Making excuses

I realise more and more over the years that even though I'm an upholder, I'm someone who needs accountability to eat properly. End of story. Therefore, I better get ready to pay Weigh-Less forever....I happily handed over my R320 and here we go again.

I threw away about 5 Weigh-Less filos (those files) last year in the big Konmari declutter...

I said to Robyn when we had lunch late last year, I tell myself things like "I don't have time to go to Weigh-Less and gym on a Saturday morning". NONSENSE. Of course I have time. I may as well face facts that I'm just plain lazy to get out of bed.

One Saturday down, many many more to go.

There we go.

Over to you - what are a few things you're not doing in 2016?

PS you all need to pray with me for a new job/ reporting line for our "assistant" at work. I thought about my word JOY in the shower before I started work this year and one thing that seriously steals my joy is her lack of work ethic, etc. There are two options because current manager is too scared to deal with it (all of us have complained): she has to get a new reporting line or find a new job. Deal?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Can we please talk about deodorant?

I don't use roll-on, aerosol sprays or the gel deodorants.

I don't like the wet feeling of roll-ons and gels, so I use speedsticks.

First I used Shower to Shower, then Dove for a long time, and for a good few years, Mitchum ladies.

This is not cheap. I think I paid about R55 for the last one (the other cheaper ones are about R36 - R38) and I'm finding it ineffective.

Granted, we have had a TON of super hot days but should these things not be able to do the trick?

I'm also finding that the deodorant cakes into these tiny little white ba.lls. Anyone?

Tell me, what do you use and are you happy with it?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Well, that was our Cape Town holiday!


Friends, I posted about the kids being 6 and a half, and fully planned (in my head) to continue blogging but then we hit Cape Town, and we were on the go for the entire 4 days.

Coffee/ Suppers out/ plans with friends/ faffing (as we do)

We only stopped moving at about 6:45 on Monday when we got home. I insisted we stay home and I cooked to minimise more driving around and eating out.

So let's do the highlights package, and a few more posts may follow.

My word of the year is joy, and I'm absolutely only doing what brings me joy this year. If I don't feel like blogging, well, I won't. For my friends, you'll have to email or phone me to find out if I'm alive :)

Anyway, the very late setting of the sun was one of the best things about Cape Town, and on the flip side, a little bad too.

I tend toward night owl behaviour so I only start thinking about supper when either a child (Connor) said, "what's for supper?" or golden hour happened.

So my nights were VERRRRRY late.

We spent our first four nights in Pringle Bay. And actually, if not for friends in Cape Town, I could have spent a month there. For real.

We lived in a beautiful house with a view overlooking the Bay. The house was stunning and I still miss that kitchen. It was a dream to cook in. We went out to eat one night and the rest of the time I happily cooked.

And for some strange reason (because that has never ever happened before), I woke early - first! - every morning, and took my water/ tea outside to read/ do goals overlooking the bay.

I had a good hour - and three hours the first day - by myself every morning. Divine! And then I could be a nice, calm mother when the kids woke.

So from all that eating, reading, relaxing, beach walking, photo-taking and so on, we went through to Cape Town for exactly the opposite.

I saw friends every day except the last day and it was great.

Julia asked me after 1.5 days if I wanted to cancel or postpone our plans and I said, NO! This will bring me joy. And it did.

I normally don't prefer to go at such a hectic pace but I'm aware that Cape Town is such an expensive holiday, and who knows when I'll see my friends again.

In Cape Town proper, we (kids and D) went lunching with Cathy, swimming with Julia, out for supper, Kalk Bay, visiting with the Se7en +1 gang, church at Hillsong, lunch with friends, a Bo-Kaap walking tour with Julia, out for supper with Julia and Leandra, on a red city sightseeing bus just us, and then home for packing and eating, and back to Jhb.

Crazy, hey?

So Cape Town was people-great, and Pringle Bay was relaxing-great.

this is the one I posted on Instagram

But there's no place like home, and I'm thrilled to be back. For one, I'm a lot cooler and you know how much that brings me joy!

Which type of holiday is more your style - a relaxing Pringle Bay-type one, or the doing and seeing and eating Cape Town one?

PS the Pringle Bay place was only available for 4 days otherwise we would have stayed about a week.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

6 and a half!

Guess which twins turned 6 and a half today?

These photos were taken just a week ago.

I adore these babies so much I could just squeeze them, then eat them, they're so delicious!

We went to a bakery for a treat and otherwise indulged them with beach time and playing endless games. 6 is really about the games!

I told them they're SO BLESSED to always be on holidays on their real birthday and their half birthday. 

Wouldn't you like to be on holidays on your birthday?

I fully plan to do that this year... in Ballito. JOY, you know :)

What are your birthday plans?

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

What worked in 2015? A review of my word, enough

Wow - I had an interesting year last year.

My odd years have a record of being, let's say, challenging!

2011 - website hacked 3 times, gall bladder surgery after weeks of "back pain"
2013 - awful job.....
2015 - closed business, etc.

You know, I always say I'll stab myself in the eyes rather than work with numbers... and that's true.

Just because you're good at something doesn't mean you want to do it day in and day out.

However, when I do settle myself down and crank some figures, I always feel comforted.

I fully came into myself at work and realised I know enough and am enough, if that makes sense, especially after those 13 months that eroded a lot of my work confidence.

I also realised that I do more than enough and I can actually relax a bit and still be streaks ahead of the rest of them. This realisation came from Julia who asked me if my crazy work hours were worth it. It was... with a few adjustments. Those adjustments made me work as hard as I can during work hours and only very occasionally after hours (currently about 2 X a month for 3 - 4 hours at a time).

Well, I stopped that after 13 years. I haven't spoken much but it is a big deal to me and a huge part of my identity... gone. I have to trust God in this area and the good thing is I have always followed His Peace, and that is all I have. So one friend told me the other day they are praying like 1 Thess 5:17 for me (pray without ceasing) which I love. That's what I want and need - when you think of me, pray for clarity, for next steps, for guidance, and so on.

This was a year of boundaries for me. One friend stated their boundaries, I didn't like it but I respected it and that was that. No more friendship because I deserve more than those stated boundaries.

It was sort of the trigger for some other stuff - but basically, I know that I'm enough and I deserve more and so I'm no longer chasing people who clearly ("she's just not that into me") are not interested enough in me :)

This sounds terrible but it's actually all Konmari - I've trimmed my friend spreadsheet and now I can focus on investing in relationships that are good for me.

(if you have friend stuff, please (for the love!) read Boundaries)

In a friendship recap, this year I saw 68 people socially and 30 of those were 1:1 dates. In 2014, that was 85 and 49.....


31 days
Oh, this is the best part. I've written extensively about Konmari and it was life-changing for me.

I had more than enough clothes, stuff in the kitchen, bags, kids' stuff, etc. I'm still busy Konmari-ing but I can tell you, I used to teach and coach and speak about this stuff, and STILL I didn't live with just enough.


Finances were, thank God, more than enough. I am a tither (every single month for over 21 years now) and you could NOT convince me that God is not interested in my money.

I reached my big, hairy savings goal and my financial advisor is very pleased, as am I when I see my statements.

The one area I'm still not happy about is all the outgo though. For people who are bond-free (debt-free), we still spend too much. I want to put a debit order on that joint savings account to a unit trust to get that money out so we can't spend it.

Granted, we did plenty of house stuff so that was our biggest expense and then of course, holidays (holidays was number 1 last year), which I never mind spending on.

Social media

This is a biggie. There is just enough and then there's too much. And actually, when your eyes get sore from all the scrolling, that's way too much.

I basically (unintentionally) started doing less and less online, and that was so good.

I created a second instagram account @organisingqueen and because I'm logging in and out of both accounts, it's forced me to be less connected on my main account. Which is great.

So I log on, post my thing, check my comments, respond, scroll around a bit (still too much sometimes but nothing like before) and am off. I don't feel compelled to read everything since the last time I was on, like I used to. So freeing.

Anyway, that's my update on my word for 2015. It was a good year of my word, enough.

This year's word is JOY - more here :)

What is your word for the year? And how did you do with your 2015 word?

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Let's talk health and fitness

So I was doing the Financial Analysis (that's how I think of it - in caps) for 2015 the other day. Part of my process is to see which categories I spend the most money in, etc.

Anyway, we've only spent R1510 on medical for the kids this year. R1200 for the two six-year-old injections and R310 for Kendra who was a bit fluey during winter.

And I paid R1200 for the gynae because by the time I go, the MSA is all done. 

So big picture, this has been a great year, health-wise. Which is awesome.

Everything was fine at all the health professionals - gynae, dentist, optom. Oh, and my bone density is super excellent, which is nice to hear.

2 130 201 - the number of steps I walked last year (average 5836 per day) I'm a little disappointed by this number because I know, know, KNOW it would have been higher (my goal was at least 6000 steps per day) if not for the horrible heat since Sept. As it is, if not for those 9 days of slightly cooler weather in November, and the 2 days in December, I wouldn't have reached my 52 walks in 2015 goal.

0.4 kg - I am that much heavier than I was at this time last year.... and have joined Weigh-Less again. But basically I'm horrified.

55 - the number of walks I ended up going on

46 - times I worked out at the gym

50-something - times I had Spanish classes and/ or practised at home in prep for exams

7:03 The average amount of sleep I've had per night tracked over the entire year. This was an interesting stat - I average around 6.5 hours during the work week and over 8 on the weekend, and somehow it comes out at 7:03. I'm still aiming for 7 hr 30 but I suspect this is where my body wants to set itself.

This year I want to lose weight, strengthen my core (I need to add another gym class into the mix somewhere), sleep a little bit more and stress less.

How was your health and fitness last year? Any health goals?

Saturday, January 02, 2016

2015 - a year in books

At this point of the year (or the blog) I do feel like I'm talking to myself, but oh well, for the two of you still reading and for my own sanity, here's my year in books.

I've been furiously reading reading reading this month and that is entirely my own fault.

You see, I had a reading goal of 70 and by the end of November, I'd finished... wait for this... only 60!

So I've barely been doing anything but reading.

Now I'm not complaining about that at all, but that does mean up to 31 December, I've neglected my year in review stuff.

I reached my goal, by the way. D said, "did you ever doubt it?" and I said, "well, it was touch and go there for awhile".

I like to give it my very best effort. If I still don't reach the goal, then I know it's not for a lack of trying.

Actually that's one of my secrets of adulthood.

Best book of Dec - Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

I freaking LOVED this book and gave it 5 stars. Read my full review on Goodreads but suffice to say I don't think people who had so much to say actually read the book.

Most informative book - Your 6-year-old - loving and defiant. 

Um, yes. I say this every year when I read the new book but do yourself a favour - you will love these.

Other worthy mentions

Always, Joanna Trollope. And my first Maeve Binchy (her last before she died) which I really enjoyed.

This Emily Giffin was probably my worst one. A solid book but I'm not a fan of teenagers as main characters.

Now...some stats on the 2015 books:
  • Total books read - 70
  • Non-fiction - 20
  • Fiction -  50
  • Audible books - 13 (BEST DECISION EVER) - all non-fiction. I can't listen to fiction. I tried, I bought a book by an author I love just to see, couldn't get into it. The beauty of Audible is you can return it!
  • I read two 5* books - Battle Hymn and Overwhelmed (both non-fiction). I said of Overwhelmed - this is the time management book I wish I'd written :)
  • I read 4 2* books - one of which is The Royal We, one of the most disappointing books ever.
  • Longest book - The Woman Who Stole My Life (Marian Keyes) :)\

The two five star books above were the best books and then others that I enjoyed reading were, of course, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Better than Before (I love this book and if you get it and listen to the podcast too, it just increases your reading enjoyment 100-fold), Predictably Irrational and Big Magic.

On the fiction side, I loved The Husband's Secret, Tangled Lives, Three Wishes. One author I will definitely never read again (I said this of Danielle Steel a few years ago) is Nicholas Sparks. 

Now, this year... I was thinking of dropping my reading goal so I can take off the pressure in December but then I saw I dropped my goal already for this year! So let's keep it at 70. Since I've closed the business and am not on social media as much, I can do it, right?

By the way, I should write a post on the other blog but a woman did all her scrapbooks from 2004 (11 years) in the time she used to waste on social media. I am SO impressed and inspired.

So, tell me, how was your year in books? Did you reach your reading goal?
What were your favourite non-fiction and fiction books?

Friday, January 01, 2016

11 most popular Friendship Friday posts of all time

Hey! Happy New Year!

Let's have a great year together of nurturing and nourishing relationships, and strong boundaries in place where all parties feel equally supported and loved :)

Thank you for your blog and real life friendships in 2015.


I've been playing around with the Blogger stats and thought I'd share a few fun facts:

I've written 113 (including this one) posts on friendship (that could be a book!) with the first one on 30 May 2010.

The most commented on post is this one -Do you find it more difficult to make friends the older you get?

But now, onto the top 11. Just like the awards ceremonies, I've started with number 11 and finish with the most popular post of all.

When blog friends become IRL friends - part 1

Do you need more friends?

Spontaneity in friendship

How easily do you let go?

The Se7en plus 1 edition

How easily do you put yourself out there?

The most unsatisfying social ever

When your friends do better than you do

Do you ever feel rejected on Facebook?

Of friendship

Have you been dumped by a friend before (I've been dumped by more friends since I wrote this post)

Do you have a favourite?
Is there any topic you would like me to write about?


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