Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Loving right now

This! Oh my word - brilliance! Nestle has realized that a lot of South Africans make peppermint crisp tart so they made us a premix. But never mind that ! It tastes amazing just spread on a Marie biscuit. So tasty!

Plaits! I have never even been able to do the simplest French braid. Then A and I saw this book and we are loving trying out new styles. I am still very clumsy but we are getting there. (book also available in English as Braids .

These lovely colouring in cards (also available in English as Creative expressions). Colour one in and use it as a birthday or just a simple greeting card. Colouring in with a purpose. And you save heaps of money on not buying cards. The whole pack cost under R90. The kids are loving them as I let them choose one for a friend and colour it.
A wonderful blog all about books - Read and seek. I first discovered Nihaad on Instagram and followed her there where she regularly posts about the books she reads (about 6 a month). But her blog is even better - go and have a look as she reviews her newest reads. A must read blog if you love books.

So anything new I should know about?

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Oh hallo!

Golden hour pretty at the koppie
After my full 10 days of my little holiday and silence from my part I was actually surprised to see how many bloggers took the same little break - or a part of it. It's been a good break - and we did not even go away. I loved a lot of things about it and am glad we stayed at home. It was just good solid time together - and we got some tasks done. I have to also mention that magically there has been very little fighting. The odd usual scrap but none of the "I am bored" fighting. The kids have been palying imaginary games, reading books and just doing crafts - I am so glad that they are big enough to do on on their own with this.

My dear Hunter, anchor and compass in my life, had his birthday on the 21st. Honestly I can not imagine my life without him, his love and his special ways. A and I baked him a chocolate cake - just the way he likes is. Dark, moist and no icing. For special effect we added his favorite chocolates , Whispers, inside the cake before we baked it and it turned out super tasty.

Incredible how Autumn arrived smack bang with the Easter weekend. It's cooler in the mornings and nice and warm - well hot , in the middle of the day. As much as I am no fan of Winter I do love Autumn. With it came babychinos and hot chocolate for the kids.

C made us chocolate drops on Saturday - out of the "Cook and enjoy for kids" . He did everything himself - I just stayed and checked that he went about it safely. I can really recommend this book if you want your kids to start cooking and baking on their own.

We spent this last Sunday resting - purely and simply resting. And the kids joined in with gusto. We just had time out - slept, read, watched some movies. We rested. It was magical.

We found the most wonderful mushrooms in our garden after a week of lots and lots of much needed rain. There were 3 different types that were all quire spectacular in size and count. We carefully removed them after the photos - I was scared that the puppies will eat them.

The boys started their holiday with 3 days of solid rugby in their first full on rugby Prestige week. They were exhausted by Wednesday but I think it played a good part in keeping them occupied and happy - and that they learned a lot - especially how to tackle.

Poor A had to have a tooth pulled - a permanent one. It transpires that her jaw is too small and the other 3 similar ones on the other sides will no doubt follow - as will braces later. I was much impressed with our dentist who handled her so well that she says she is not one bit scared to have him do the others when needed. And he is contracted in with the medical aid. Big win. This whole episode actually deserves a blogpost about dentists and medical aids.

I took her and her friend KR for a "little miss manicure" at Sorbet on Tuesday. It was something that I promised to her for the December holidays and that we did not get to with all the things that happened.  It is amazing how special R55 makes them feel.
A with the red and glitter - her friend with the sea colours

I de cluttered all but one of our bookshelves - I donated all the books to Hospice - apart from a few that friends wanted. I just kept 2 categories of fiction - those that I want to read (or read again) and those that I feel is essential reading matter for my kids in the future. It felt great and I had shelf space to store my Project life and photo albums where I want to.

We went to church on Good Friday and Eater Sunday. Although none of the kids believe in the Easter Bunny anymore I did get them a bunny, an egg, those small bantam candy covered eggs and a marshmallow egg or two. They then hid the eggs for each other in the most challenging palces and played "hot and cold" to find them. Great fun. I also did a night time hunt with those "loadshedding' Easter eggs - I love that one can refill them every year with whatever you want to.

We went for a hike up the Koppie - our usual spot and took some friends along. It was great to do it at a more leisurely pace this Sunday as Monday was a public holiday and there was no rush to get home.

Hunter took the kids to see "Kung fu Panda 3" while I went to see "My big fat Greek wedding 2". We all had fun and it was a huge treat for me to see a "non kiddie" movie in the theater. I love my hubby for this idea. Also if you live in Pretoria go have a look at the umbrella feature in The Grove mall - really something to see.

We also baked muffins, had a few braais at home and A baked Barbie cupcakes from one of those premix boxes - totally without me even seeing it.

Every single photo above was taken with my iPhone - why? Well my trusty Canon is refusing to power on - I feel a tad lost without it. It is still under warranty so I am hoping Canon can fix this soon.

That about sums up our last 10 days - so what were you up to?

Friday, 18 March 2016

Five for Friday edition 4

1. I have very seldom been so delighted to see Friday as it is also the end of term 1. Goodness, we are all a bit tired - the term has flown by. I have been a clever little bird and put in leave for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week and will have a whole 10 days at home with the kiddos.

2. I already have a long list of things I want to do in these 10 days. Mostly house decluttering and a bit of admin stuff. But I also want a bit of just relax and rest. I need it.

3. A has been on crutches since she sprained her ankle and foot during the school's water fun day on Monday. It's still blue and sore. I hope she recovers soon. The only "work" she had for this holiday was to practice Contemporary Lyrical dance and her split. BTW she is loving this more modern approach to dance from her usual ballet and the two add to each other in terms of style and pose where is something like Hip hop works in opposition to ballet sometimes. It's a relatively new style in South Africa - have a look below if you want to know what it is.
4. A also brought home a great report card - as her brothers did last week.. We are very proud but mostly thankful that the kids are doing well at school and are happy and well balanced.

5. The boys played their first full contact rugby game for the year on Tuesday - as the two flanks for the B team . Their little team won 25/0 much to their delight. They are attending a rugby clinic for 3 days over the weekend and I hope they will enjoy it and learn a lot.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

On lost property and responsibility

Let me tell you three stories this morning.

About 4 weeks ago Mr C undressed after Judo and when he wanted to pack his judogi pants they were nowhere to be found. The boys that were still in the dressing room checked their bags but whoever took it already left. The sensei asked in the next two classes that all the boys check their suits but no one came forward. I have this morning emailed all the moms I know of to have a look. My point is surely you would notice when you unpack a bag? I know I would notice and extra pair of white pants in my boys' cupboard. We have looked at the lost property box plenty of times. My question is, is there a mom that just does not care enough to even check?

We have a Whatsapp group for the 0/9 rugby - with the rules "only to be used for important information". Our school has a great arrangement where no one buys rugby jerseys - the school has a full stock for teams. So the boys go to a tournament with their ordinary sport shirts which gets swapped next to the field for the school jersey and swapped back after. On Tuesday after their first friendly match this season 3 boys could not find their shirts - 2 had unidentified shirts but not their own and one left totally without a shirt. So as good moms all 3 on the group asked if someone had their sons' shirt. There was about 6 messages with moms sorting out among each other when a dad messaged " Lets keep this group to the rules and only share important information". So I ask you - is it not important to have your clothes back? Are we so spoiled that we assume that one would just buy another one? Quickly a rugby moms group was formed where the admin said: " You can take yourself off if you do not think it is important but we will use this forum to retrieve lost shirts." I applaud her!

About 3 weeks ago L's kicking board was not at the end of the pool where he left it after his lesson. We have 2 that we share as a family as we are never more than 2 at a time in the pool. The next group was already busy in the water with their boards. So the au pair asked the coaches to check and our board was clearly not in the water . The next lesson we all checked the store room where the lost property is and it was not there. For 3 weeks. In the end I bought another board as we could honestly not continue borrowing a board. Last Friday the pool was quiet and C was asked to join another group in an earlier lesson. Lo and behold - a girl in the group had our board. Very clearly in big black letters marked with our surname. So C immediately told her that it was our board. When they got our of the pool she handed him the board and he took it to my MIL who was at the pool with them. Next thing the mom stormed my MIL demanding why C took "her daughter's" kick board. My MIL showed her our surname and C said we have been looking for it for weeks. Do yo know what this mom did? No apology - threw her hand in the air! She turned around, marched to the lost property (after C asked if they have checked it for their board), retrieved another board (maybe it was theirs , who knows) and triumphantly lifted it in the air, making sure my family saw it.

I guess we can go on and on about this type of thing. I find it horrid that parents just assume stuff gets lost - the lost property box at school is overflowing with expensive school jackets during this rainy spell. That they do not check when asked to check and help someone else find things. That it is unimportant to take care of your property and even worse- that a parent would blatantly in front of their kids steal (because yes, that is exactly what it is) someone else's property and then have the guts to confront the person they stole from? Or even when a child loose say a school jacket tell the kids to come back with one - even if it is not yours. I am sure this is not isolated to our area or community.

The question really is - how are we raising our kids? Are we raising a generation that will just loose something and not care about it? Are we raising a generation so focused on disposable that clothes become disposable? Are teaching them that it is ok to take someone else's things if yours are gone? Are we being that irresponsible?

Yes, I know it takes time and effort you may not have. It's not pleasant to have another thing to reprimand the kids on. It's tedious to check jackets, lunch boxes and water bottles every day. But we will continue to do it because I fear their generation may be so spoiled that most are not raised to take responsibility.  To blatantly take what is not theirs.

Your thoughts my friends....

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

There are good weekends, and there are great weekends.

This weekend fell into the great category. Why? Maybe because Ouma was still here? Or because we did some fun things? All that yes, but mainly because we had a weekend without tests, tasks and orals to prepare. And no 8-12 ballet practice or any other school and sports commitments. Yes, we had our early morning horse riding and church , but it still left the whole Saturday and Sunday open to enjoy without thinking of all the things that still had to be done for the week's school. Honestly treasure weekends before grade 4 folks - for 6 solid weekends it was test preparation and way more every single weekend.

So we had a blissful weekend of family visits and quality time together. The cooler weather was a great change and I got to wear my favorite sneakers.
Among the visits and meals we:
Planted a Stapela grandiflora or carrion flower that promptly opened it's flower the next day. It was amazing to see the flies gather in the middle for pollination. I can attest that it does indeed smell like carrion (it's common name is the carrion flower) but only if you smell up close.
We planted a little succulent garden with a sprinkling of salad greens close to the front door. I can not wait to see the succulents grow and the kids love to have a hand in it. They also helped to plant a small veggie patch elsewhere.
Although  A spent most of her weekend catching up on reading she did make us old fashioned lemon and custard tart - it was so yummy.   Always a great fast treat.
We had a lovely family church service where the kids made these little crosses and the story of the muddy heart turned into a white heart with the blood of Jesus was once again told. The crosses came in a gift bag with an Easter egg and the bits of coloured paper to remind them that Easter and Jesus and the empty grave is actually the greatest gift of all.
Ocean admiring the view

 After dropping off Ouma at the airport we hiked up the Faerie Glen koppie - it was lovely and green after the rain. We all had a great time and had a white Easter egg picnic on top.
Miss Ocean and Gabby met the zebras in the reserve and was really well behaved.

It was truly just a great one and I am so looking forward to the next two long weekends of rest and no school work. Roll on holidays.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Five for Friday edition 3

So how has your week been? Mine's been a tad crazy - work and whatever else.

1. Miss A had her yearly ballet concert - every year I am astounded at how much they grow in performance and at how much they enjoy all this. They did a collaboration with the Hip hop girls of "New York New York" and it was different but beautiful. I also love how her brothers praise her and I overheard Mr C talking to a friend about how pretty his sister danced. Sibling love like this makes my heart so happy.

2. Mr L attended a dad and son Voortrekker camp - among other things they learned to sail - and experience he totally loved. I really like how they get the opportunity to learn things that may not be in our family's usual scope. They also did their water safety badge over the weekend.

3. We had rain - wonderful wonderful rain that did cause it's good share of havoc. It also caused the postponement of Mr C's Voortrekker camp this weekend with heavy rain predicted in the area where their camp would have been.

4. I am so loving my MIL visiting - everything, her company, the way she spends time with the kids. Everything. But mostly I love being so spoiled by her - in the sense that for the whole period of time she has been here I did not have to think about dinner once (or lunch for the kids for that matter). It's the best possible gift ever. I am sad to see her go on Sunday.

5. Just one more week school before the Easter break! I can see that the kids are tired and certainly I can do with the break in 5:45 wake up calls. The boys brought the most wonderful report cards home and we are so very proud of them. A's will only come next Friday but I am trusting it will be a good one.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Monday, 7 March 2016

Mouthwatering Mondays - Veggy pie

As some of you know my wonderful MIL is visiting. She is all about food - I am sure you all have someone in your lives that is just like that. She just feeds and cooks and it makes her very happy. I had such a huge smile - before she came to visit I told our au pair she was coming the next week - A chipped in "You will have to eat, you know. She will feed you. ". That's her - and just one of the reasons we love her so much. So I though I would share one of her recipes with you today. I love this pie - to me it's the perfect lunch for a Saturday afternoon and makes a great lunch to take to work too - all in one.

Veggy pie (and how to get kids to eat a heap of veggies):
This recipe makes two pie dishes - so eat one today and freeze.
There is no crust - it is quite firm enough so you do not need to add or bake one
It makes a wonderful light lunch but works great as a side dish to a braai. One can then leave out the bacon - or for a Meatless Monday recipe.

1 carrot - finely grated
6 baby marrows - finely grated
1 onion - finely grated
Garlic to taste - finely chopped
6 eggs - whisked
1 tin sweetcorn
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup diced butternut (dice into small blocks)
half a cup of feta cheese - diced
1 packet diced bacon

Fresh parsley if you like the taste
I cup self raising flour mixed with half a cup oil and one cup milk.

Pre heat oven to 180 degrees C
Fry onion until soft. Remove from pan,
In the same pan fry bacon. Remove from pan.
Either fry butternut in same pan or oven grill until browned.
Mix all the ingredients together.
Season lightly with salt and black pepper to taste

Bake for about 30 minutes until eggs are solid and lightly browned.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

On growing old

My mom turned 80 yesterday - and started her day in hospital. It was unplanned - on Friday she was admitted for an emergency operation after her newly replaced hip dislocated. She has spent the weekend and the morning of her 80th birthday in hospital. All thumbs up for Life Little Company of Mary hospital that surprised her with a card, mini red velvet cake and 18 nurses singing "Happy Birthday" to her. Then we took her home where friends visited for a quick cup of tea the afternoon. I took the boys around after work (A is in that crazy week of ballet every evening before concert). She was exhausted by then.

Although my mom is very healthy in terms of heart, lungs etc and with a clear mind (although her hearing is getting a little problematic), her orthopedic issues are quite overwhelming. This has been her 4th time under anesthetic in 3 years for issues on the very same leg. Rheumatoid arthritis is no one's friend. All along she had hope to walk properly again and drive again. I am really honestly hoping we can get there.... really. As frustrating as her loss of independence it is for her, so the extra burden of another household's shopping and accounts is for us. We have made a lot of things easier for us all with electronic banking etc but it remains not ideal.

I am wishing her a wonderful year with some gaining of her independence. Living for 45 years with a horrid disease that see a lot of youngish people wheelchair bound is no mean feat. Really growing old is not easy.

I am wondering how many of you have the same type of age gap thing we have - children not yet grown and needing a lot of attention (where you could do with an extra set of helping grandparent hands - thank goodness my MIL is with us at the moment)  and and elderly parent needing help too?