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Nothing earth shattering

12 October , 2016

I am so tired…and EMOTIONAL! Lots of fun to be around at the moment as you can imagine.

I’m in between contracts (aka unemployed) at the moment. It’s not really how I envisaged my 2016 to go down, but oh well, you know. These are the punches that need rolling with at this stage.

Also this rental house, which has been on the market for mooooonths now, and had 6 different agencies all trying to flog it at the same time, has been sold. And we have to be out end November.

If I don’t sort out my work situation soon, we might be looking for a cardboard box for 5 soon.

Also my car (aka the little engine that could), looks like it’s had enough. If you drive with more than one window open now, the ceiling fabric comes loose and flaps excitedly in the wind. It’s different, I’ll say that…

So yeah, I’m a bit down. If you see me, don’t ask me know I’m doing please. That seems to be my water works button at the moment. It’s awkward. Let’s rather talk about the shifty weather we’re having, or the students torching the University they want to attend for free.

Just don’t ask me how I am…please. I am not fucking great. Let’s leave it at that. I know this is all temporary and at some point I will have a chuckle about how dramatic I felt about it. I am really looking forward to that!

Okay, now some photos.

This is a week’s washing for us. This (on me, that you can’t see) is my no comment face.

Emergency dental visit. Of course. I’m glad it wasn’t serious obviously, but you know I could have spent that R700 on something else. Like petrol. Or rent. Or box tape for the move. Or food. Or phone bills. Or credit cards.

Oh well…*shrug*…it is what it is.

This too shall pass.

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Venterskroon 2016

8 October , 2016

Grr…so many photos and the app has chucked them in all out of sequence. Oh well…*shrug*

From the 30th till the 4th Nicola and I headed off to her 2nd big Voortrekker kamp at Venterskroon.

She did the Junior Cook badge and I threw my lot in with the kitchen again. You might be right if you’re wondering why I would do that to myself again after the previous camp where I worked like a galley slave, and you’d be partially right…only I still feel she gets more out of this experience if she doesn’t have me hovering around in her course, plus I had it on good authority that this kitchen was run considerably better than the previous one (it was).

Also I am currently operating under a personal amount of stress and pressure that might make cooking for 450 people seem relaxing.πŸ˜‰

Anyhoo, on with the photos!

The top one is of where the kids wash their own dishes (with varying levels of success).

My partner in crime at the kitchen and coffee station. We shared a lot of laughs and squeezed every last bit of fun out of this experience that we could.

It was an absolute hoot!

Nicola and her bestie. If you’re wondering about the hats, the camp allocates a specific colour to each group and you have to wear it. This way it keeps the sun out of your face, you write your name on it so it also serves as a name tag, and it’s easy to spot anyone who has wandered off from where they’re supposed to be.

I wore mine mostly strapped to my apron since I established in day one that hats give me head aches.

Dishing for the masses.

The easiest way to stir a giant pot of porridge is with a whisk attached to a drill!

Stirring…lots of that going on.

Andries – the master chef. Cooking in bulk can sometimes lead to bland, but I have to say every single meal was delicious!

Hats in action.

Bestie at our tents.

There is almost no signal in the crater (Vredefort dome), so if someone comes across some bars that spot quickly becomes very popular.

The Grade1s and some of the grown ups slept in dorms, everyone else pitched a tent.

As you can imagine that means a lot of tents. It can be tricky to navigate for the first few days until you pick some landmarks.πŸ˜‰

Watermelons!

What we pack for one night away is more or less what we pack for 5. Obviously most of our stuff isn’t clothes.

Nicola’s group in action.

My pink terrorist…oh! Guess what?! She’s done with her pink phase. Her new favourite colour is black.

Pudding cups stampede.

The girls handing out apples.

This group of youngsters were called Taakmag. Shame, they worked very hard. It was nice to see them relaxing a bit too.

Anna, aka the hat pimper. Every morning she handed out a new hat embelishments for the adults.

In search of signal, not actually taking a selfie with the loo in the background.

The characters for the campfire concert. Shifo (skuifel), Po (poot) and the crocodile bandit (kwaai).

My smoking buddy. We have to smoke skelm on these camps.

Yolandi and I, making a vast amount of pudding…while having some ice lollies.

Sunrise…

The camp leader and her grandbaby.

Love this shirt haha.

No drinking on this camp. When I got home, I jumped in the warmest bath I could stand…and then treated myself to a sort of nightcap before sleeping the rest of the next day and a half.

Nicola and myself.

The kids kept their room spotless for inspections. They got rewarded beans for any good behaviour, and the group with the most beans at the end of the camp won a trophy.

Pudding!

Nicola and L-bestie!

Poot and Kwaai.

The best potjie I have ever tasted…ever!

Other than working in the kitchen, Yolandi and I also took care of the coffee station – a very popular table in a place where everyone functions on little to no sleep.πŸ˜‰

On average the adults had 12 pots of filter coffee (1.7 litres each) and about 2.5 urns of instant coffee a day.

My cutie pie.

Yolandi and Chris’ tent turns into a spider when you take it down.

We named our tents (as you do). Theirs was Die Tabernakel, and mine was Die Driebeen Skilpad.

Some of the rice for a meal.

Camo!

Silezia having her chin tickled.

Sticky vetkoek fingers. T kept all the kitchen stock in order, not a small task by any means.

First day selfie compared to last day selfie shows a bit of wear and tear.πŸ˜‰

One of the kichen geniuses made banana bread from some over ripe fruit. No bread pan? No problem! We Mcguyvered some from empty milk boxes.

Sunrise!

Nicola and L at the Tabernakel.

All the banners!

Campfire concert…

Every group got 30 minutes a day at the pool.

Oh and some of Yolandi’s photos below. See, I was also there!πŸ˜‰

Oh and this photo! I love it…this is how I feel about chopping tomatoes with blunt knives. You might as well just beat them up with a spoon.

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No…I’m not dead

14 September , 2016

There is actually so much that needs writing, but you know…if I’m not writing it, there’s probably a pretty good reason for it.

Today however, I do have something fit for sharing though: parenting hacks!

It’s been quite a ride, changing from a one parent one child household to a two parent three children one. Especially since we only have time share on two and when they’re not here there is obviously a whole other set of rules in their other house with their other parent, that we have no control over. Add to that, that we never actually know when they’ll be here – it gets kind of crazy.

It got to a stage where I felt like a hostage in my own house, cause these babies really bring out the worst in each other sometimes. Of course when you only have timeshare on the fruits of your loins, you don’t always want to be disciplining them and laying down the law…I mean really, who doesn’t want to be the fun parent?! But when it’s a free for all chaos spectacular…no one really ends up having fun. Well I know I wan’t having any.

We needed an action plan that would entail a lot less of me screaming like a banshee and bringing the thunder, and a lot less chaos!

I don’t know about you, but I have always found comfort in a good list. So that’s what we have now…sort of. 

Behold our magic white board on display in the playroom. On the left we have the hooligans listed by age. On a Wednesday each of them get credited with R20. Each time they break a rule (listed on the right), they lose R2. On the next Wednesday they get paid out the balance as a good behaviour bonus.

Occasionally we also have reward challenges to encourage something we want. As you can see, for instance, they’re all on R22 at the moment. They earned R1 each for picking up dog droppings, and then another R1 each for trying and eating all their dinner, which was something new (beef stroganoff). Next to their names you can see their previous Wednesday scores. 

I can’t even begin to tell you how much sanity this has brought to our home! Worst/best case scenario R240 a month between the three of them…money well spent!

Next up…we all had our hands in our hair about missing hair brushes. Specifically Miss Erin’s. She has about 7 in and around the house, but because she likes to stroll and brush they end up nowhere to be founds when you need them, all the time.

Solution: we tied one to the bathroom door handle. It’s been there for about a month and a half now. 

This has made mornings much more pleasant!

Mealtimes are a general pain in the ass. I want to take our kids to a place where kids get one bowl of porridge a day and are happy and thankful about it. They all seem to think we run a restaurant!

Nicola is the only one of the three that eats vegetables, but she doesn’t eat anything with sauce or gravy. She won’t even look at jam of marmite. Scott seems to only eat yogurt, chips or bread at the moment…occasionally burny chips or chicken nuggets, and is more than happy to have only a big cup of oros for a meal, followed up by half a million half cups of hot chocolate. He will wake up everyone screaming at 2am for his next fix and no amount of discipline will make him desist once he has his mind set on it. Erin loves chicken steakletts, chicken nuggets and fish fingers, and chips. She doesn’t eat banana or anything strawberry flavoured. And other than apples the only other fruit she’ll have is red grapes. Also lots and lots of chocolate nesquick.

So we are piloting a new meal plan, because quite frankly we’re sick and tired of tip toeing the line between all their fusses. 

We came up with a list of things we think are suitable for dinners (all to be had with at least one vegetable of our choice – not written, but expressly noted). Each baby got a day to pick, Nicola got two because she’s here all the time. Steve and I got the weekend days. On Thursdays we are usually at my folks, or we’ll get take aways. 

They could pick off the list for their days. There will only be one meal cooked and eaten. Anyone who doesn’t eat the food will lose money on the board (I still have to add this rule), also they will not be getting anything else. 

I really hope this works. So far so good though. They were very enthusiastic about compiling the list and everyone ate what we made tonight. It’s a good start! 

What handy parenting tricks do you have up your sleeves? Tell meeeeeeee….please. Also clue me in on the reason why you came up with it to begin with if you can.

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Rant…or RANT if you prefer

18 August , 2016

So, it’s come to my attention that my driver’s license needs urgent renewing. Let me just start off my tangent by reminding everone that once upon a time in the not too distant past, once you had your licence it was a done deal unless a court took it away from you for driving like an asshole, or someone liberated your ID book in a robbery.

Then they whipped it out of the ID book and on to a card…that had to be renewed every 5 years. 

And so off I go to the licencing department to go spend a day in the queue, as you do. (That was yesterday). 

My wait was short though, since apparently NOW the new and improved thing is that you have to have a proof of residence to renew. 

Explain this to me though. Where is the logic? You should strongly suspect that I’m not going to be at home when I renew my licence…since I’ll be driving around with it in a legal manner, right? 

Also, side rant, what the fuck is the point of this proof of residence business anyhoo?! It is the BANE of my existence in all things admin. As I understand it, the original purpose was to crack down on terrorism and scammers…I think we can all agree that in this regard it has been a monumental fail. 

Also, I have a really hard time proving my residence because a rental agreement doesn’t count, the utilities bill is in the landlord’s name and all my own accounts arrive at my house via email…yet someone who lives between two pieces of corrugated iron and an election poster will still manage to open accounts and do all manner of admin things without even having a street address or utilities. 

I have come to the conclusion that the whole requirement has been designed with the exclusive purpose of pissing people off and wasting their time. So mission accomplished I guess.

Right, so back to the licensing bit. I left (yesterday) in a huff. Got a utilities bill with a letter saying I stay there, and back into the fray I go. Second day in a row.

Only, still no joy. First off you also need a copy of your ID. You know, the one that now doesn’t have anything to do with your licence anymore. And NO, they can’t just make one if they need it. 

No problem. Some guy has set up a caravan with a copier outside. R6 a copy…only he hasn’t got paper. Eventually someone in a taxi delivers 10 pages and we’re good to go, right? Right?!

Wrong. Nope, proof of residence rejected. It has to have a sworn statement attached, and probably needs to be kissed by a unicorn too – who knows?!

So I did actually say, “Fuck this shit!” this time round, and if someone pulls me over for being unlicensed I might unleash a storm of papercuts on them with my invalid proof of residence and R6 ID copy. After two days at the licensing office I am now in an extremely foul mood about this.

To add insult to injury, as you walk out of the door, there are at least 10 shifty looking characters who swear high and low that they can get you in and out and licensed in 10 minutes, with no supporting documentation…for R300. They’ll drop down to R150 if you don’t look keen. If you still don’t want to bribe your way through the bullshit…they’ll settle for a cigarette to stop traffic for you so that you can get out.

I didn’t go for it. *sigh* I guess I’m in for another day’s queueing once I get a sworn statement. 

Grrrrrrrrrrr…..

PS! I see IDs are also going the card way now, so you can imagine how delightful this is going to be in future.

PPS! Whichever political party promises to abolish this proof of residence bullshit will get my vote in the next round of elections. I am so over it. Really!

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Pet peeves

25 June , 2016

Haha…I have a “few”!

I’ll try to contain myself to my top button pushing ones, or we might be here for a while.

1. Messing with my people, especially my daughter
Look. We grew up learning to stand up for ourselves, a life skill that has proven to be very valuable. So even though I want to go charging in, sword drawn, for even minor infringements, I usually contain myself to the battles I consider BIG. But if you ever encounter me charging in on one of those…run and hide, or start furiously waving a white flag. It won’t end well if you don’t.

2. Self pity
I’m not going to feel sorry for you, if you have it covered already.

3. Micro managers
Didn’t know this was my pet peeve until I had to deal with one. If you get your kicks out of making people feel stupid and inept, I’ve got no time for you.

4. Being late
My dad always says, “Punctuality is the politeness of kings.” I’m usually about half an hour early for every thing.

5. Last minute plan changes for no apparent reason
It gives me a serious case of the grumps.

6. Whining
You can ask for something without being a pain in the arse about it. That kind of thing doesn’t wear me down either. I actively discourage it in the kids. The more you whine, the less likely I am to give in on something. Let your no be your no, and your yes be your yes.

7. Taking things or people for granted
I think this is pretty obvious. If it’s been done to you, it’s probably one of your pet peeves too.

8. Breaking promises and lying
Yes = yes
No = no
If you go around making commitments you couldn’t be bothered to keep, everything that comes out of your mouth after that has a “Yeah, right!” banner hanging over it for me.

9. Sexism, subtle or otherwise
Don’t tell people they can’t do something just because of what they have between their legs. Unless it’s something that you need that specific body part for, I don’t see the relevance.

10. Telling me, “You have to understand” when you’ve wronged me.
I don’t. Especially not when I’ve paid for something you didn’t deliver. See lying and yes =yes, no =no.

I am pretty straight forward actually. Just do what you said you would and don’t be a jack-ass and almost none of these get triggered.

T, who works with me…said I remind her of this fairy. Haha, yes I can see why.

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What are your pet peeves?

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10 Songs I love right now

25 June , 2016

P!nk – I don’t believe you
Snow Patrol – if there’s a rocket tie me to it
21 Pilots – Stressed out
Lucas Graham – 7 years
Anna Kendric – Cups
Justin Bieber – Love yourself
Breaking Benjamin – Diary of Jane
Ellie Goulding – How long will I love you
Linkin Park – Faint
Shakira – La Tortura

A pretty mixed bag I guessπŸ˜‰

Somehow I’ve managed to run behind with these posts again. Expect some catch ups…

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Best on-the-go breakfast recipe

14 June , 2016

Toast.
Or leftovers.
Or something I can eat in the car without messing too much.
Generally I’ll just have coffee and then grab something at work when I get there.

Nicola needs some sort of protein in the morning, but she doesn’t eat eggs, which complicates things a bit. Some mornings she does toast and ham, some mornings she just wants peanut butter straight from the jar. I could do up a proper breakfast for her, but she’s not a morning person and tends to squeeze every possible second of sleeping before we get going…so it’s always a bit of a rush.

Steve doesn’t really wat breakfast, except on Sundays. Then we do our weekly big fry up at his parents’ place.

What’s your go-to breakfast?