Thursday, 2 July 2015

Featured blogger for July

I am delighted that the featured blogger of the month exchange is up and running again. I was even more delighted to get an old blogging friend of my, Karen at Mom again at 40 to feature. We have met in person and have been following each others blogs for years.

She is currently on a wonderful family adventure in the USA so have a look at the very interesting things she are posting at the moment. In general she talks about life as a working mommy with a student and a grade 1 girl child. She always has something worthwhile to read or share.


Tuesday, 30 June 2015

It's winter school holidays!

And we are just taking things a bit slower. Gosh, how I love it. How I love to be just that bit less stressed in the mornings (ok not stressed at all), to not worry about which time the kids go to bed in the evening. To have the flexibility to eat dinner later, to have friends over on a Sunday and not worry about when we all need to get things in order for school the next day.  Last night you could literally feel the whole family breathe, relax and just be happy and content.

We have nothing big planned for this week - Hunter and I are both working. But there is a visit with friends for the kids, movies today with the au pair. Maybe put put or ten pin later the week. We are just breathing a bit deeper, relaxing a bit more. It's great. Good thing too because work is in the hectic scale and I am very stressed at the moment. Luckily I can shed it all as I leave the office and look forward to love and laughter at home.

So how are you doing? And the school holidays?

Thursday, 25 June 2015

On printing those memories

I have talked here before about my love or memory keeping - (this post sums it up best I think), I love everything about it - taking the photos, keeping the notes, sorting through them and printing photos and then completing the pages in my Project Lie albums. Years ago I used to make photo books - they are lovely but I have found that the regular pockets of time Project Life requires suits me better than the big once off effort of making an end of year book does.

I love turning this (my notes every week on the let with photo numbers added and my planned layout on the right:

And this: (prints)

Into this: (Project life pages or the same week as the notes above)

To me it's therapeutic, it's creative and it's fast compared to traditional scrapbooking. I do think what a lot of moms forget is that photos on a computer or phone is just that  - never really looked at or shared. And certainly not by our children who make up most of those memories in any event. I can not begin to tell you how often they sit and page through either there albums or our older photo books and talk about things we did and places we went to . And with the celebrating the everyday that Project Life offers - the remembering of those everyday bits and pieces too.

It's true that this all costs a bit of money and takes time but its worth every cent and minute. I have been printing my photos at Qphoto for a long time as the quality is always great.  With this in mind I have to tell you of something quite wonderful I have found:
http://www.qphoto.co.za/
You can thank me later. And it's the honest truth - I ordered my first 60 (I only paid or 10) and collected it - in a little box with a contact sheet as in the photo above. They do deliver at a fee - that is still less that 50 prints in any event. So for a year you can order 50 free jumbo prints a month if you register now!( I was in no way asked to do this by Qphoto - I am sharing it or my readers to use) You are welcome. Please tell me if you use this and how you will be sharing your prints - frames, albums, for grandparents - it's 600 free jumbo prints over a year.

So lets print some photos and share the memories.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Oh hallo!

Gosh, I have not blogged in ages nor have I read blogs for a while. It's been a busy week and a bit in the household. With a whole lot of sick people and a lot of resting. Also a lot of tidying and de cluttering. And building huge blanket houses/forts in the garden, picking lemons in the driveway, playing with the puppies, end of season rugby braais and of course Fathersday which we spent at church, at my mom and at a rugby braai. I am so proud of the wonderful father my hubby is - from the letters that all 3 the kids wrote to him I can see that they adore him. It;s the first year that all 3 could really write something so it's extra special.
Fathersday breakfast in bed


Each of the kids have also had a special day at school with heaps of fun. On Friday the grade 1 kids had their annual pajama day - they love seeing their friends and their teachers (with no make up) rock up at school as they woke up. The grade 2 kids had a "build a shelter and have a picnic in it" day. C and his 3 buddies built a lovely blanket tent and had nutella samies and hot chocolate in it. A and the grade 4 classes went to the Ice age exhibit today and I am sure it was also a fun filled morning.

Now it's onwards to Friday and the end of term. They can not wait and I can not wait for 3 weeks of a slower, easier routine. I can get up a full hour later during the holidays - luxury to me.

 


Friday, 12 June 2015

I know I have said it before but honestly I am so thankful it's Friday.

And it's the Friday at the end of A's first exams! Boy am I glad it's over. Four weekends of studying disrupting the usual rhythm. Two weeks with a subject every single day. The kids are tired, the parents are tired. This 4 day long weekend is just what the doctor ordered!

I hope you have a wonderful and peaceful long weekend (if you took Monday off with the kids) - I see it is going ot be a cold done but that next week is going to be even colder. We had one outing planned and tomorrow is the last rugby day of the season, but we may just have to cancel the outing as Mr L has a huge ear infection. No matter what, we are going to rest and have some fun in the mix.

Are you planning anything? Whatever, enjoy the pause in the usual programme.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

He ain't heavy, he's my brother.

Our house is just full of sick - snotty noses, coughs... the newest victim being Mr L. We have kept him at home for Tuesday and Wednesday but today he looked better and it is evaluation time so I do not want to keep him home if not needed.

This morning he was waiting at the door, rugby ball in hand,ready for school. I explained that he can not running around, playing rugby with his cold. He has to take it slowly. Tears! Lots of tears!

The best big sister ever hugged him tight and said: "Don't worry. Wait in front of your class and I will come and sit with you during break". Oh my heart! She realised that he is worried about being alone if he does not run around with his usual mates. The tears immediately stopped and with an :"ok" and a big hug we made our way to the car. When we walked into school she reminded him once again.

The joy of siblings...

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The little tablet that could

A got a lot of money for her birthday from her friends. It seem to be the "in" gift of 10 year olds. She had about R1500 including a bit of savings and by March (her birthday is on 11 January) she was still wondering what to spend it on - because spend it had to. Saving is fine if you are 10 - but with a target in mind. Her target was the almost impossible - an iPad mini. She wanted a tablet of her own and we worked out how much longer she had to save all her pocket money to get there. It seemed a hard to achieve task. But I let her be - that is what she wanted -we are all for saving.
Normal credit card size next to it for comparison.

One day she returned home from visiting her BFF with the news that her brother just bought a small android tablet for just over R1000 and that it was just the thing. It was small and easy to handle and had all the right games (read Minecraft mostly). So she asked that we look around for something similar for her. I was hesitant knowing only Ap*ple tablets but in the end after a bit of research we bought a Proline M7853GDC 7" 3G & WiFi 8GB on what was then Kalahari for R1045,00 (on a special deal). It arrived two days later and I registered an account on Google play and off we were.

I loaded music for her, games and apps, Kindle (which is great because she reads a lot and I can find what she wants to read ) and a whole lot more. It has plenty of space. No social media stuff though. It does not even have a sim card in at the moment. We also still limit screen time - that was the original agreement we made with her.
Just the right size
Boy is it a hit! Its a wonderful, fast little tablet. It runs on Jellybean 4.1 and is faster that my old iPad 2 at times. Easy to operate and no glitches whatsoever. It came with a screen protector on (and a spare one) and a little bag to store it in. Really a great option for the older kids (it's not for toddlers though - it is small and light but will easily shatter screens etc)

Just goes to show that you need to explore further and see what you can get for your money. (BTW she spent the rest on Sylvanian family stuff).

We bought this tablet and was not given anything or asked to review it at all. This is purely out of our own great experience that we are sharing this.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Books I read in May

Funny enough, one of the most searched items on my blog is still, after all the years "Afrikaans Book Review". So I will continue to review the Afrikaans books I read as obviously there is a silent readership for those. I managed to read my target 3 books in May for the first time in a while.

False river/ Valsrivier by Dominique Botha

False river was originally written in English and then translated into Afrikaans but the story is about and Afrikaans family farming in the Free State near the end of the Apartheid era. I realized about half way that Paul and I would have been almost the same age - soon that level I could identify with the being a teen during that era. Dominique tells the story of her family and in particular of her older much loved brother Paul. A young man caught in a world that does not understand his talent and his soul, his thinking.

Other than most of the farmers in the area their parents are openly opposed to the government and Apartheid in an almost innocent way they leave their children open to weather the consequences of being the cast outs in their society. Sent to prestigious English schools in Natal, things keep falling apart for Paul, but if you read carefully also for Dominique.

Nostalgic - I could see my Oumas' farm house in her description of her Oumas' - heartbreaking and at times brutally honest it may not be a book for the faint hearted. It won quite a few awards and is an excellent book - but not an easy read.



My Groot Vet Griekse Egskeiding van Pat Stamatelos

'n Heerlike lees - Pat Satmatelos het die talent om karakters te skep wat sommer baie vinnig diep in mens se hart kruip - of jou dadelik ontstig. Hierdie boek is propvol van albei soorte met 'n heerlike storie waarin hulle leef. Baie op die trant van haar vorige ligter boeke (4 Begrafnisse en n troue en Madeliefies van Staal) word onderwerpe wat tog ernstig is op 'n ligte manier hanteer. Pat is een van my absoluut gunsteling skrywers in Afrikaans en een na wie se boeke ek altyd uitsien. Haar boeke is ook baie gewild onder die dames van die boekklub en word gretig gelees.

Wat my egter werklik ontstel is dat so 'n goeie boek 'n lelike redigering/uitgewersfout het. Dit is baie duidelik dat een van die karakters, Neo , aanvanklik Leo geheet het met die skryf van die boek want op ten minste twee plekke is nagelaat om die verandering aan te bring.

Beslis die lees werd - geniet, en lag met 'n traan. As jy nog nei haar ander boeke gelees het nie - doen so. Jy sal nie spyt wees nie.

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

I adored his first book about Don Tillman "The Rosie Project" - review here It is truly one of my favorite books read in 2015 and I always recommend it if I am asked for a great funny read. The Rosie Effect however dulls a bit in comparison for me. Don is still quirky, Rosie is still way too independent and a good cast of original characters fill the book. The story is funny and has a good few very funny episodes. But in the end, it did not leave me with the excitement to recommend as "The Rosie Project " did. Still a good read though.

Any books you read in May you need to tell me about?

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

It's June - and we are just 3 weeks away from the winter solstice.

Today is the first proper winter day in our part of the world. Right on time for the official start of winter. We had a lovely warm autumn so I guess we had the cold coming in force. Quite uncharacteristically for our part of the world it is very cloudy and rainy.


Gosh, where DID the year go? Flying past us. Just the other day we had the grade 4 starting with this challenging year and now we are 3 exams down, 7 to go until it ends next Friday. She did put a lot of effort in and seems well prepared and not really nervous at all. The mom on the other hand....

Mr C is sick  - poor boy. A cold with a nasty cough. We are keeping him home until we feel he is really much better - after the big bag of meds the doctor prescribed yesterday I sincerely hope it will be soon.

Mr L on the other hand is thriving. He was so proud to get his first merit badge last week and to top it all he scored a lovely try in Saturdays' rugby match after seeing a gap in the defence.

Puppy G is settling in very nicely with us as her new family - I will do a full post on her. Puppy M is growing older (she is almost 14) but still in good health and a character of note.

Hunter came home a week ago today after a week long trip to the Karoo - refreshed, sunned and very happy. I love seeing him like this but even more I love having him back. Not just for the help with all that goes on in our household but just for being with me.  I feel totally incomplete without him.

As for me, well work is very busy. I am trying to keep up and catch up on Project Life and enjoying that, always. I am also as always reading and planning nice winter food.

Keep warm! Whats happening around your household?

Friday, 29 May 2015

For the love of music

We have exposed our kids from very young to all types of music - to Hunters' favorite hard rock music, the 80's music we both love and enjoyed as teens, to new music, to classical music, to jazz. Actually we may have gone a bit light on what could traditionally be called childrens music. We also listen mostly to Classic FM in the car, interspersed by one of 4 local radio stations with popular music. As a result their taste in music varies and I actually should more regularly document what they like.

The Princess knew every single word of almost any ABBA song as a toddler - she was the biggest Dancing Queen around. She was so cute - singling out loud, dancing around. Adele and Pink are also favorites. At a stage Mr L's favorite song was Aerosmith's "Jamie's got a gun" and C used to love "Thunder" by AC/DC. But A at a stage was constantly listening to Vivaldi's "Four seasons" in her room and Mr C has a love for Michael Bubles' music. Mr L is a big Simon and Garfunkel fan and "Call me Al" and "Mrs Robinson"are still a huge favorites.

So the current favorites for your entertainment are:
Mr L: "Shangri-la" by Die Heuwels Fantasties (Afrikaans and local) He is constantly singing this, day and night
Mr C : "Sing" by Ed Sheeran
Miss A: Cinnamon by Jacques Terre'Blanche (also local although it really does not sound local - has a distinct George Michael type feel to it)

You can listen to it here on Soundcloud


Enjoy their choice! And what are you or your family listening to right now?