Archive for the ‘Bliss’ Category

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Salt Rock Family Vacation 2018

15 January , 2018

We usually do a Ballito trip, but this year we tried out neighbouring Salt Rock instead. 

Honestly, we missed the walk way, and the beach at Salt Rock has a fierce current that you need to battle if you want to swim…but the place is beautiful and peaceful. 

We rested, we laughed, we swam, we shopped, we ate like kings…we drove to better beaches. We built sand castels, we saw dolphins, monkeys and many many guinea pigs. We did both the road trip down and back up in team colours!

Believe it or not, even I managed to sleep late-ish! It was an amazing vacation. And afternoon naps every day! (I really miss those naps today).

We took a boat load of photos! These are my favourites. Brace yourself and I hope you have uncapped internet. πŸ˜‰

Family…you don’t get to pick them, but sometimes you get blessed with the best anyway.

Stop taking photos of me mom…

One very cranky ostrich!

Stretches with Oupa.

Can you see how bloody tired I was?!

Visit from our cuzzy AndrΓ© and his Tanya.

Santorini Salt Rock sports a smallish gym…also marked as a whale watching deck! πŸ˜‚

Look at that beautiful moody sky and the stunning colours!

Let me tell you…I had to hold on to my fearless Nicola for dear life on this beach! She described it nicely, “Die see gebruik my soos ‘n besem!”.

Love, love, LOVE this photo!

Rainy day…every vacation needs one. Off to Flag Animal Farm. Well worth it, seriously. This was our first time there, but I can easily see it becoming a regular stop for us.

This photo doesn’t do this chicken’s funky haistyle justice.

Salt Rock rock pools on someone’s recommendation. Won’t be doing that again. We found it dirty and sort of icky.

Haha, ons the LAST day we discover the proper almost olympic size tidal pool right outside our complex. Can you believe it?! 

Full of sea urchins though, so we probably missed out on some injuries too and the way things have been going,the patient would probably end up being me! πŸ˜‰

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Happy birthday sweet potato!

19 December , 2017

What a privilege to be your mom. You are an amazing little girl with a big heart, a big personality. With your fierce brand of loyalty and wicked sense of humour, you add a bit of magic to every day…

It has been quite a year for you, and for us. As always, you just take it all in your stride. I can’t wait to see what comes next, because whatever it is I know we’ll figure it out and make a grand adventure of it together.

Happy birthday my Nicola. I love you more than I can ever put into words. xxx

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Say cheeeese!

13 December , 2017

So you know those questionnaires where they ask, what’s the one thing you wouldn’t want to be stranded on an island without?

My thing is my camera. 

I know there are a legion on more sensible things that should realistically be on that list before camera, like a lighter or a knife for instance…but my thing is and has always been, camera.

I take A LOT of photos. In fact if you want a good gage of my happiness levels all you have to do is take note of my monthly count of photos when I do my backups. The more I take, the happier I am.

What I don’t seem to have an addiction to is printing my photos. It’s actually a finance thing I guess. If I have to choose between printing photos and paying school fees, school fees are going to win every time.

And so, it came to a point where I haven’t printed photos since about 2007, and Nicola has been asking about me printing her a photo album for ages! And then as luck would have it, enter extra money stage left.

So for her birthday this year I thought a photo book might be a nice idea, only to realise that I have so many favourite photos of her that I can’t fit them all in one book! So a photo book per year then? And a firm intention to keep this up annually from now on?

Seemed like a great plan!

For my next trick I had to actually design these books and get them printed, but not for love or money could I get Qphoto’s software installed or working on my laptop…so I found an alternative out of desperation. And boy, am I glad I did!

24HourPhotobooks was such a pleasure to deal with! You can literally create an awesome photobook in about 10 minutes, provided you’ve gone through the process of picking your favourite photos already. And you get your book 24 hours after ordering and paying. Okay, I got mine 2 days later because it was a bulk order, but I still think that’s amazingly fast.
The books came out beautifully! I can’t wait for Nicola to see them. They’re all wrapped up already so I can’t show you, but I have a sneak peek of the covers that I can.

Just LOOK at this little face! I love this kid so much I could burst! 

It has really been quite an emotional experience going through 8 years of memories and THOUSANDS of photos putting these together. (2017 is just waiting for December photos and then it’ll be ordered too).

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That time that Maryna was born…

5 October , 2017

What an adventure! I haven’t laughed this hard for so long in ages. If I had to sum up this camp in one word, that word would be JOY! 

My new mission is to take some of this joy with me into my normal day to day life. There is no reason why everything has to be so serious all the time.

I can probably give you a blow by blow of why this camp was so amazing, but I think the photos will do it better than I could… (and since WordPress decided to pop them in from most recent to oldest, we’re going to time travel while doing it – grab your foil hats and board the Delores).

Nicola’s face says it all…last day blues.

I was assigned to plant knowledge with these two lovely ladies. We had such a great group of kids, and a barrel of laughs. Hardly felt like work at all!

So the story of “Maryna” really starts with Janita (lady in yellow above). Yolandi and I were assigned guard duty for Saturday night 2-4am. You don’t actually guard againts danger as such, it’s more like being on the lookout for crying or coughing kids and sleepwalkers. 

We arrived at our post at 2am sharp and started off our shift with some much needed coffee. Janita then took turns confusing Yolandi and myself for someone named Maryna, and saying we could go sleep as there already 4 other people on duty.

I said we would both happily be Maryna if she let us go back to bed! And so we became the Maryna…to the utter confusion not only of the real Maryna, but also the other 450 campers. πŸ˜†

We weren’t the only ones who picked up new names either. Janita’s husband (man in yellow above) is John and he has a hefty French surname. Camp admin decided to redub him Johan Pieterse! πŸ˜†

Beautiful open skies morning after a spectacularly stormy night!

They look like little well dressed refugees. We had to plan B it for dinner locations when the storm broke loose.

Some of the groups that were a bit more outside than inside, sported wardrobe that I will forever in my mind’s eye see as post apocolypse chic! πŸ˜†

It is actually very cold and wet in this photo and rather unpleasant to wander around in looking for a dry spot to have a quick smoke break in.

Just LOOK at those clouds! Thunder and lightning, my favourite kind of storms, are a little bit less fun in a tent…especially if the wind ripped your tent to confetti (which luckily was not the case for me as Chris secured it well enough to keep it from becoming a kite!).

My tent, frowning at the wind…

Our course had a daily slot at the pool. There was extreme splashing! Which led to the Maryna taking an unexpected fully clothed swim for a splash off with the youngsters…to their delight and the subtle and not so subtle disapproval of some more serious adults in the general vacinity of the pool.
We regret nothing!

Photo booth fun with some dear friends!

My shoes were wet from the storm and the extreme bathroom clean up we had to do.

My friend from last year was in one of the outside groups so we unfortunately had only a little bit of time for a quick catch up.

Someone decided Monday needed blue coffee for the blue-ness of the Monday. It came out more like green hulk smash coffee though…

Love this sky in these wide open spaces.

Pearls of rain on the fence after the first storm.

So each course group gets allocated a bathroom cleaning slot as well. As our luck seems to be, we got one after a short power outage. When the power goes out so does the pump driven water supply…and whoever was unlucky enough to be in the shower at that moment forgot the tap open!
Motivation for the little ones comes in the form of beans. It all forms part of a very elaborate scoring system and the camp cup. 
This bathroom clean up was an 18 bean affair!

My tent when it’s not frowning at a storm. And me, sorting out my bed. Somewhere I actually have a foot pump, but since all my stuff is still in boxes I had to lung it.

Seriously, this has been one of the best camps I have ever been on. It was good for my soul!

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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. πŸ˜› (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. πŸ™‚

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. 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.