Archive for the ‘Bliss’ Category

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New things – Growth

19 February , 2017

So I don’t know about you, but I like to get into a bit of growth after a break up and really 3 days is more or less how long I allow myself to wallow in self pity before I put my game face back on. 

How hard did I wallow? Considering I made the cut myself? Well…I wallowed sufficiently, I guess. For the first 2 days I was only seen in puffy eyes and by the third day I was still pretty sad but at least I didn’t burst into tears every time someone asked me how I was doing.

I guess it also helped somewhat to see him look absolutely unbothered by it all. And you know, remembering how it started. How we used to chat almost through the night in the beginning…and then seeing that he’s been online until the wee hours of the morning. This from a guy who hardly saw 20:00 in the last year and a half. Well, I guess he’s back on the horse then…and it’s fine. Why wouldn’t it be? Just adds a bit of perspective for me.

I reckon in the next week or so the last of his stuff will have been carted away and then it will feel more like the clean break it is.

Anyhoo, back to new things…

The first “new” thing I’ve been tackling is a case of the bants. Techically I have now been banting for almost 4 weeks and it’s been mostly awesome. 

So far I’m down just over 4kg and 11cm round my waist. Ironically this is something Steve and I were going to do together, but all he gave up was Play energy drinks. 

Oh well, it’s all mine now then. 😛 (And I’ll grab it with both grubby little paws since I still want/need to shake somewhere between 10 and 15kg). 

Hats off to those of you have been on this band wagon for years. Turns out, you were on to a fabulous thing and I should have jumped on ages ago. Thanks for sharing your journeys.

And as you may or may not be aware, I have been unemployed since last year July. Economy is in the crapper and my contract just didn’t get renewed. 

So in November, after sending out enough CVs to really be sick and tired of it, I started doing some work from home. It’s not exactly what I saw myself doing to be honest, but it’s work. And I seem to be doing okay at it.

In February I started doing it permanently. It’s kind of killing me now, but there are parts of that I enjoy. I put in a bit of time in the mornings when I get up at 4. Then lots more after I drop Nicola at school. In the afternoons at 15:00 I pick her up again and then we chill and homework and dinner a bit. And by 21:00 I’m back at it untill somewhere between 00:00 and 03:00. Then up again at 4, rinse and repeat. 

Seriously, I am working my ass off and I can hardly keep up. I am hoping with my new drama free homelife, my focus will be a bit better and things will fall in place with a little less blood, sweat and tears from my side.

I do love the lack of traffic, and the super flexibility of this job.

Anyway, I am happy to be working again. It has suckef big time being dependent on the kindness and support of family and friends. But that too, I have appreciated greatly. I really feel that at this stage in my life, I shouldn’t need bail outs as often as I do.

And then lastly (for now at least), a stroke of luck (or destiny), has crossed paths with me. 

For SOoooooome time now, I have known that the little engine that could a.k.a Blue Tazz, needed replacing. But you know, unemployed people aren’t generally in a great position to go car shopping and really my head space was so full of shit that I didn’t really worry too much about it. If it’s meant to be, it will be.

Out of the box isn’t really an option for me at the moment, but second hand I may be able to pull off. Only, I have a bit of a trust issue with second hand cars after what I went through with my first car (that tried to kill me!). 

So imagine how the heavens opened and angels sang on Friday, when I saw a friend who’s leaving the country advertised her car on fb! I know her, and I know her car, and I’m completely okay with it. 

So if all goes according to plan I will have a newer car by the end of this week! With aircon!!! And one whose roof doesn’t flap in the wind like a flag when I open the windows. 

You have no idea how exciting this for me! I have driven my trusty blue for close to 17 years. We have been PLACES, I tell you. Honestly, I’m going to miss it.

But this newer car feels like it’s been sent. It just feels right. I really saw myself in a red car next, but it turns out I was wrong. Because the one that finally spoke to me is silver. 

I can’t wait to see what adventures and new roads we hit first. 🙂

So, all things considered, I am doing just fine. How the heck are you?

Ps! Thanks and sorry to anyone who’s pics I’ve nicked off Pinterest for this post. 

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Happy birthday Nicola!

19 December , 2016

Happy birthday my baby!

You bring adventure, love and laughter to every single day. You have a beautiful heart and I couldn’t be any prouder of you. 

I am the luckiest mom alive and I love you with all my heart. Thank you for being you! 

Xxx

Mamma

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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. 😉

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. 😉

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. 😉

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. 😉

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! 😉

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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Share things you have pinned that you want to try before the end of the year

5 June , 2016

Right.

I think you’ve seen quite a few of my pins already, so I’ll show you a few I’m trying and have tried for today’s family lunch.

I should just point out that baking isn’t really my thing. When I do it, it’s a labour of love…and I expect people to eat it and enjoy it regardless of how it looks. 😉
First up – Rasberry Chocholate Tart

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Nailed it! Hahaha! (I was telling Nicola I don’t know how they get their rasberries to behave like that and she said, mom you only need 4 things…concentration, concentration, concentration and concentration).

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Seconly, a Pear and Almond Tart.

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Now mine…(someone used up all the foil between me seeing it, and me needing it. So I Macguyvered it used another pie dish to weigh it down with the poor beans, and it worked I guess, but it ripped a side off when I removed it. Soldier on I say!).

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And my pears got halfway swallowed by the filling…

For my last trick I’m going to try these:

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I don’t see how this could go wrong. They are meant to look lumpy. I’m pretty sure I can pull that look off.

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Voortrekkers GLAS-kamp 2016

5 May , 2016

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So now we’re in school…and with school come school holidays. I don’t know about you (but I have my suspicions), but I don’t have enough leave to take off school holidays (actually, now that I do contract work I have no leave whatsoever).

From my own childhood I remember my favourite holiday memories were going on camping trips with the Voortrekkers, and I desperately want those experiences for Nicola too.

There really is nothing better! New friends, new skills, seeing new places. All more or less safe and lots of fun. Plus a bit of independance…

So this past weekend I went with Nicola on her first camp. It was awesome! She is a natural and took to it like a duck to water. I reckon I’ll training wheel this for another 2 or 4 camps and then she’ll be ready to fly solo

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Pretoria people, you don’t get to make snide remarks about Joburg traffic ever again, ‘kay?

We sort of convoyed to the camp site with three other cars. I say sort of since we lost the lead car to an e-tag gate that no one else could go though, and then lost the second lead to a red light that cut the last two off. And then the rest of us just got lost and had to separately navigate using locations that were sent through on Whatsapp.

Eventually we all made it there though…

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The kids slept in dorm rooms but adults had to pitch their own tents. It was my tent’s maiden voyage (meaning I had no idea what I was doing). Still managed to more or less get it up before dark, even though Nicola was trying to sword fight with the parts, I ended up with an extra pole and the top sail probable back to front and or inside out, and not bothering with tents pegs because I forgot a hammer and it seemed windstill enough to chance it by weighing it down with my luggage instead.

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Where the kids slept.

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I had the choice of where I wanted to volunteer, but since I wanted to see how Nicola did on her own I didn’t sign up to help with a course and volunteered in the kitchen.

The kitchen is usually the heart of the camp. Hard work and lots of laughs. A great place to meet new people yourself too.

It was all that…and then some. This kitchen was a little bit understaffed to see to the 215 campers, so we all worked like slaves! If I never see another breadroll in my life, I wouldn’t miss it one little bit.

Pic above it about 60 liters of bolognaise sauce for Friday night’s spagetti.

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Everyone washes their own dishes…

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🙂

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This bucket was filled with about 360 eggs for Saturday’s breakfast.

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Hot chocolate!

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This particular camp is musically themed, so all the courses are music related and so are most of the games.

I sang some songs I haven’t heard in 14 years and heard a lot for the first time too. 🙂

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Campfire concerts and kuiers – the best!

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Bordesakkies!

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This is what the kitchen looks like clean and empty. I want a double dry rack like that at home haha!

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Stunning sunrise!

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10 kg of bacon.

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My sad looking tent, that decided it wanted to be a kite later that day. Thank goodness for heavy luggage and angels with hammers and storm pens.

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Something tells me I may have been better off sleeping outside, rather than with the children. 😉

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Bees!

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A few pieces of boerewors.

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This is how you braai in bulk.

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My visitor for a few minutes. I mainly saw her at meal times.

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Games!

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I had to walk quite a bit to go have a smoke…so my feet were soooo filthy!

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Fellow kitchen slaves.

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Saturday night’s fire lighting ceremony.

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This moment right here, is what makes it all worthwhile.

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Storm pen…need some of that! Also I will definitely be packing a hammer next time.

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Breakfast line up.

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Uhm…I was a bit unprepared for the massive cold front that rolled in. At least I packed us each one set of warm clothes.

I was also unprepared for hearing LIONS ROAR Saturday morning. I kept thinking that it must be one helluva snorer in the tent section, but no, it actually was lions! About 3km away apparently, but they sounded like they were in the tent next door. And there I was, nursing my coffee and chilling on my camp chair at 4 in the morning.(I can’t sleep late, don’t know how *shrug*).

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Another sign of a weekend well spent. 🙂

So how does it compare to way back when? It’s the same, but it’s all different…as it should be, since the kids are all different too.

The uniform has changed
There was not one single flag raising parade
Some of the traditional songs still have the same words, but they’ve been retuned! And they are now sung in different voices! (very pretty)
The camp is run almost exclusively by women now – in the past the split was more or less even but most camp leaders I ever saw were men. I hardly saw any men even leading teams this past weekend. Maybe it’s just this camp? Not sure. I asked a few people and they said that generally it goes this way. Interesting. I wonder why this might be the case?

Anyhoo, we had a blast and I can’t wait for the next one!

Fire lighting ceremony on Saturday…

Sorry, the beginning’s focus is a bit eratic. The girl in front of me kept moving her head and getting my auto focus excited. Got it right a few seconds in though. 🙂

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What do you love about your current life?

29 February , 2016

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Well, I’m in a pretty good space at the moment. Sure, there are always a few niggles…but for the most part things are plodding along nicely.

So here is a list of things that I feel are going particularly well at the moment:
* Nicola is doing very well on all fronts. She’s healthy, happy and well adjusted. Last year was a big change year for her, and at times it was very rocky. This year everything is settled and she’s doing great. Not loving homework, but that’s pretty normal in my opinion. She’s got an abundant level of sass, and I couldn’t be more pleased about it if I tried. That will take you far my girl. Don’t let life push you around just because your small. 😉
* Work for the time being is going quite well too. This is only a short term contract, but the work is manageable, the pay is good, the hours are super flexible and the traffic and travel time are fan-f-ing-tastic! My manager tells me nice things, like having me around reduces his stress by at least 25% overall. It would be great if that could translate into a longer term contract, but I’ll take it nonetheless – it’s a real confidence booster when someone sees your efforts and thinks the sun shines out your bottom.
* My family is doing well. A few weeks ago I was flying out of the office because my mom had collapsed at work and was rushed to hospital, but she’s okay now and when something like this happens you can’t help thinking that it could have been much worse.
* Closer to home, there is quite a bit of upheaval which I don’t like…but we’re working on it together, and that I do love. I guess it’s kind of inevitable that when you merge two households with three very different children there will be some fireworks? Steve and I, turns out, value very different things in our children. I won’t lie…some days are an extreme test in endurance. Other days are the thing white picket fence dreams are made of.
* I don’t feel like I’m in survival mode every day. There are days when I feel in top of the world…there are days when I feel like I’m just coasting along…but very rarely do I hit days where I think that I just have to make it to bed time anymore. This is big for me. I do love this life of mine quite a lot actually. 🙂