Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Instagram, last week

The sunset last Wednesday night left me breathless. It was stunning. (no filter)

The very ordinary week we had:
Day 50/365 19 Fenraury Summer fruit in stead of veggies went down very well.
Day 52/365 21 February Mr L's first school outing - and so very excited.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

We have found the answer!

Every parent fears that late afternoon hysteria- we seem to have them especially over weekends.Those cabin fever induced fights, niggly crying, fidgeting with everything, tantruming etc. Or often just general tiredness as we seem to have hit a no nap zone, regardless of what we try. Well this weekend we found the very perfect solution - manual labour. Yes, it works like a charm! Our kids have a few chores - making their own beds, tidying their own toys, help with the care of the puppies (feeding, brushing and recently poo collecting with the poop scoop), clearing the table and helping in the garden. Saturday afternoon saw 3 tired and miserable kids. After being called to help in the garden we had 3 smiling happy kids! We repeated the process on Sunday afternoon even before disaster struck. They helped to clean the Weber and the big gas braai and we had happy, tired and dirty kids who enjoyed their swim, dinner and an early evening. It's pretty clear to us that we need to work these guys harder and we will have way less issues!
As to the rest of the weekend :

 According to their instructor they made huge progress in only a week horse riding.

Hunter made friends with beautiful Baltic Sea
The kids love their sticker workbooks I bought at Exclusive Book's sale earlier this year.

A had friend C over for play after ballet practice on Saturday and they spent the afternoon doing experiments with her science set.
 So what chores do your kids do and are we the only people to notice the "joy in work"  thing?

Friday, 22 February 2013

It's a friendship thing

I have never talked much about friendship here. The honest truth is that Hunter is my BFF and this friendship just grows and grows and still grows. My other two BFF both moved really far away - one to Calgary Canada 8 years ago and the other to Canberra Australia 3 years ago. I miss them both, and I am a lazy email friend. Time differences means that Skype is not such a great option either and neither of them are on iPad or iPhone Face time or enthusiastic Facebookers.In fact, the one is not even on Facebook. And although we keep email contact I miss the day to day things, I miss just having an impromptu coffee date. A quick phone chat - which I did with both of them regularly.

Yes, I am trying to build new IRL friendships - I have one mom at the school whom I have met for lunch a few times and will again - she is wonderful - best friend potential right there. Only problem being I am a bit like someone dating - they are planning to move to Australia next year. I do not want to go through losing another good friend.Our friends that we as a family spend a lot of time with does not really "count" here - they are on the brother and sister level - family , well better than family. Pure gold. But I do count I as a great girlfriend - BFF too, but we seem to always visit with the families.  I do have other not so "heart" friends around that I sometimes meet mainly for lunch, but it's not on that great friendship level. That one that you share so much with. They take time, commitment and a whole lot of understanding to build, mostly over years. I have my cousin /friend A who is possibly the closest to this is have at the moment. And the book club girls and other friends I love to spend time with but we still have to walk that mile together, eat that bag of salt together. It may come.

In the meantime, I have a great pack of friends I made here in the virtual word of my computer and iPad. What I love about bloggers is that we also talk about the things that you do not often get the time and chance with IRL. We support each other through comments, emails, Facebook chats. Some develop into IRL friends with time. We talk about our dreams and our visions - and our word for the year. As part of my word for the year "Embrace" I decided to as a friendship gesture ( Embracing friendships) doodle a few blogging friend's words for the year. I have posted quite a few (some delayed thanks to the post office strike) and some are still in process of being made. If you really want one let me know and I may just send you one. I just made notes of words as I saw them and as you know the first part of my year has been rather hectic, so I may have missed a lot. These doodles are giving me so much joy - I love making them and even more love sending them on and the joy they bring on the other side of th epostal system.I include a little Typo note book for each to write about what their word brings to them this year.  (BTW I only took a photo of each and did not scan them and sent the original to the recipients so they are uniquely your little doodle - a one and only original)So let me share the ones that I know have been received.

If you were wondering, yes, there is a process and some words "come to me" easier than others. I find very short words or phrases more difficult than single words. Yes, some symbols do have meanings to me but only one is in every single doodle (can you spot which one?) And tell me why I have it? The rest is mostly a process of drawings what the word/person/sketch "feels" like. As to the colours, I try to reflect a bit of what I see in you in those or I may just ask you to pick colours.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

It's Lent

Ash Wednesday has come and gone and I only gave thought to Lent and giving up my usual something this weekend. It is tradition in our church as in many others to do a modified fasting over the 40 days up until Easter Sunday. The idea is to think about Christ and the price he paid on the cross, what he gave up for your sins every time you give up that item.

I have chosen many things in the past.- coffee and all other caffeine (tea, coke etc) - it was pure hell - you actually get withdrawal symptoms, alcohol (way easier than you think), chocolate (rather tough), all sweets (even tougher), salty snacks (way worse than I thought) and soft drinks (easier than you think - water is good stuff). This year I have chosen my "go to":snack - the one thing I snack on when I have that little hole in my tummy (especially late evenings, late afternoons, the 12 am spot in the tummy) - nuts. Yes, I have IBS but small quantities if chewed well enough works well for me - after all it's good healthy food. We ALWAYS have peanuts and raisins int he snack cupboard at home - the kids often get it in little tubs to school. I have almost every day in the last week craved especially peanuts and raisins. Thus a good choice for a fast item. I also adore smooth peanut butter (can be eaten if you have IBS - do not eat the chunky one though) so that is another challenge. (I have some of those Marmite covered cashews in my work drawer - the ultimate temptation but still sealed)

So I would like to know if you are Christian , do you fast over Lent and in which form? If modified like me, what have you chosen (and chosen in the past). Or do you think it is an old fashioned practice?

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Just doing the best you can

As you guys know this year had already chewed us up and spit us out on the other side. In more than one way. I have been sick, Hunter's work is very tough at the moment, Mr L has not adapted well to school and being away from Mr C. We are a little rough around the edges - tired and slightly bleary eyed. What I also have not told you is that we have two boys in OT at the moment - Mr L who will possibly still be for a long time, and Mr C who we had evaluated at the end of last year. His teacher noted that he was very slow with work but a meticulous planner. It turns out he also has a touch of low muscle tone (only in the upper body) and a bit of a brain integration issue. He is left footed, left eyed but right handed.(But I am ambidextrous so it should not be a surprise). It should not be  along course of OT but we know that the sooner we do it the better the result will be.

We have read many accounts of how horse riding therapy benefits children with SID/SPD - in fact, all children seem to benefit in some way or another. It is also indecated for brain integration issues. It even has a positive influence on eye muscle movement. So Hunter went along and found stables that provide this, managed to get a time slot we can manage on a Saturday and sent on their OT reports to the instructor. On Saturday morning they started - to say they liked it is an understatement - they loved it. Yes, it is costing us a small fortune and yes, we will certainly not be able to not let A not ride later (at the moment her Saturday mornings are filled with ballet practice for their concert).But we are doing it and placing high hopes on it. It may be just co incidence but this weekend and this week is by far our best yet this year with Mr L. I am feeling way more positive. Yes, we are just doing the very best we can for them right now. In the meantime, I am loving the smell of the stables, the contact with the horses. The joy of sharing their excitement.

And who can resist a little donkey face? Gosh he is so cute.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

And the winners are....

English  - we had 42 entries and the winner is no 16  - Cupcake Mommy's Facebook entry.

Afrikaans - we had 16 entries and the winner is no 2 - Fabulous mommt's Facebook entry.
(random .org pics available at request)

It goes to show how much those extra entries means!
Congratulations to you both and thanks to all that have entered.
Please email me at rinagous at gmail dot com with a postal address and names to whom the books will be dedicated to.

Keep an eye on Sam's blog for some more great gardening, cooking and crafting ideas. She also has a link at the bottom left hand side where you can purchase the books.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Looking back,

Cute photo that was not a photo of the day - our puppy M recuperating after she had a tumour removed from her one paw. The Princess made sure she was comfortable and loved.
this weekend has been a good one. The first with a vague resemblance to how they used to be before we had this year's upheaval. I have hopes that Mr L is at last adjusting - this morning there was no repeated questions about going to school. no fighting about not going. We live in hope, still. But more on the weekend later, let's do the glimpses into day to day life with project 365.
Day 42/365 11 FFebruary Mr L's little feet both in daddy's hands.
Day 45/365 14 February Valentines day hearts at the office. They were totally yummy.
Day 47/365 16 February A gardening and antique shop find on our way to horse riding lessons.

 So what was your weekend like? And how do you feel about kids saving up with birthday money and buying something more substantial? (BTW I love the idea and I love her choice - I think well spent money). But feel free to disagree - I would love to hear your opinions.

Remember, if you have not entered my competition yet, it closes at 1 pm tomorrow

Friday, 15 February 2013

So yesterday was Valentines day

I had 5 kids with great prospects for the day.
Someone dressed in pink and white (the school allows it on Valentines) and got her first Valentines chocolate from a grade 7 - I am not totally confortable with this but I hear he is a sweet boy that takes some of the little ones under his wing as a lot of grade 7's do so I hope it's just that. She in any event is very nonchalant about it all - apparently he calls her Bambi. She thinks his name is Victor but she is not totally sure. She also attended a friend's birthday party the afternoon.

Someone's (MR C's) whole class dressed in red and white and he tells me his teacher is his Valentine ( you have to admit he has good taste). He loved making her a gift (we packaged a slab of chocolate, a heart eraser and a hot pink pencil they covered in washi tape with a handmade card for all the teachers). They all made one little bag with sweeties and exchanged these amongst themselves in class.

3 Someones had a fabulous day at the Pre primary - the kdis donated pet food, blankets and oher necessaries to an animal charity (as they do every Valentines day) who came with their mascot but could not bring actual dogs due to a transport issue. I took puppy M with me to school on Tuesday morning en route to the vet where she had a tumour removed on her one back paw. She loved the attention. The school called on Thursday in panic asking if I can bring her again, and I offered to bring the two dogs. I am always amazed that there are kids who are totally terrified of the dogs and after about 2 minutes they join in the petting.
 The puppies loved all the attention - each class came to interact with them. Mr L was so proud to show off his big sisters.

Oscar Pistorius also shot his girlfriend - to me extremely sad how the media and social media reacted - and that is enough said. For a great perspective one can always trust Mandy Weiner's comments. Read it is you haven't yet.

Important - do not forget about my competition and enter.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

It's competition time again.

 I have a very special competition for Valentines day - a little something for your little ones. Or that special little cousin or godchild.

Meet my friend Samantha van Riet - we met many many years ago (1993 to be exact) as young girls each carving out a spot in our chosen profession. We spent many a happy days drinking tea on my patio, or breakfast on hers, eating my pasta dishes or her wonderful vegetable pies. As time has taken its course we are now living on opposite sides of South Africa, both happily married with kids.

Sam is a wonderfully talented children's book illustrator and you have without a doubt already seen some of her work around. But Sam is also a wonderful gardener and while converting her back garden in the Paarl to a wonderful vegetable garden the idea came to her to write a garden book for kids. The book is in two parts - the first on how to cultivate your own vegetable garden and the second about how to use the wonderful products from your garden complete with recipes and crafts. The book is wonderfully illustrated with Sam's trademark sketches and  great photographs. A real feast for the eye. An ideal gift for any child. She also presents gardening and craft programmes for kids in the Cape area - keep an eye on her blog for those Cape Town peeps.

Sam is new to the blogging world and is kind enough to give away two signed and dedicated copies of the book - one in English (Roots, Shoots and Muddy Boots)  and one in Afrikaans (Knolle, Bolle en Tuinkapperjolle). Want to win one of them?

Rules for entries:
1. Leave a comment here telling me which veggie is your kid's favorite as well as your language preference and one on Sam's blog's either on the current post or her special Valentine's post tomorrow. If want to win either of the English or Afrikaans versions, tell me and I will enter you in both the draws. (and your chance doubles, just because both Sam and I are both Afrikaans). You have to leave a comment on both blogs for an entry.
2. For extra entries, tweet about the competition mentioning me @catjuggles and leave a comment on my blog that you have done it.
3. For another extra entry share about the competition on your Facebook profile and leave a comment on my blog that you have done it.
4. For another extra entry  blog about the competition and leave a comment with the link on my blog.
The competition is only valid for South African residents or if you can give a South African postal address to post to.
Good luck to you all - it is really a treasure to have.
Winner will be chose by and competition closes at 1 pm on Tuesday 19 February 2013

Do not despair if you do not win this wonderful inspiring book - both languages are available at Loot at the moment at very special prices as well as at Exclusive books, and Takealot.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

To say this year started well...

would be a lie. It's been tough. I have been sick, worse than in a long time. I am exhausted. H is equally exhausted. It's not only the daily run of the mil of 3 kids in 3 grades, 5 parent evenings, netball meetings and all that goes with kids in school. Top that with busy work schedules and nothing much else happens. Yesterday was a day straight out of a very bad dream. I will not go into details but house keys were hidden (L) , ballet bags forgotten at school (A) and mommy rushing around, gates lifted from tracks at home etc etc.

The honest truth is that our little Lion is not adapting well to the change in schools, being away from his brother. We had to go back to separating them in after care -we were left with no option other than that or taking them out and getting an au pair or such. (the reasons are legal technical with grade R being part of the Primary school and responsibility etc). He will have to adapt and we will have to provide him with the support to. In any event, it will be better in the end that he makes his own friends and adapt to being with the younger kids. But it's tiring - the very moment I pick him up at school he starts with reasons why tomorrow is not a school day. He insist on it being a weekend and doing something that is weekend related and insist the he will NOT BE GOING TO SCHOOL. And insist he does, on and on an on and on.... Until we get him to calm down eventually. Every meal is a trial in endurance(apart from toast and eggs for breakfast which is quite possibly his favorite food ever).

But maybe we are seeing the light - the last two mornings he came to our room dressed and his bed made (more than the other willingly do on their own first thing in the morning) and this morning he actually told me he wanted to go to school - the first time this year.

In amongst this all we had a good weekend - yes, Mr L's antics was exhausting but there were many good points too. We had a lovely 40th birthday party with a jumping castle , party packs and icys for the kids and good food and company for the adults. What I will always remember is dancing the night away until late with all 3 kids, the boys falling asleep on their mattresses with some other littlies way after 9. It was a good night. We are hoping for many more somewhere in future. These are the moments that give us hope. The ones I want to embrace with all my might.

With that, let me share our last week in pictures:
Day 35/365 4 February Promise of rain.

Day 36/365 5 Febraury Little butterfly in the office garden.

Day 37/365 6 February Rainy day morning - Mr C loves hi umbrella
Day 38/365  7 February Morning after the night before rain diamonds. One of my favorite iPhone photos ever.

Day 39/365 8 February Mr C's turn to buy tuck shop and he chooses bouncy balls for them.

Day 40/365 9 February Horse tiding at the Voortrekker monument.
And to close off - my nearest and dearest playing on the iPad after bath time on Sunday night (and a silly little girl in the background)

On Facebook I said this morning that today will be a good day, I insist. And yes, it will be. We need to move forward, and we will. Come what may.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Monthly photo challenge

I am at last again joining Marcia in the Monthly photo challenge - and I am 1 pic short of the 5. I am going for a pedi today and there is no way I would take a pic of my feet yesterday. Self portraits are my worst  - I hate them, therefore it was a great challenge for me. I took all of them with my new nifty fifty - still finding my feet with it.
Hands - my office coffee mug and my mani colour from Saturday still in great condition.
Doing something I love - doodling, my at the moment passion.
Something I love to wear - my Janna Clifford long stelm rose pendant and chain (anniversary gift from Hunter) and an ever popular Big Blue skirt.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Bits and pieces on a Friday

  • The boys were so excited to go to school today - they have a water and bubble fun day at school and even went to school in their sun suits.
  • Mr C declared this morning that he has switched his rugby alliance from dad's WP Stormers to mom and sister's  Blue Bulls. No my fault for one second but rather a result of being in a Bulls mad school this year. I guess it is called "fitting in " with the boys in his class.
  • The boys are both enjoying their Judo this year - we hear lots of talk of "groundwork" and such. I am so happy we enrolled them for this.
  • The primary school is taking all the grade 00 and grade 0 boys for rugby once a week. For free. For the love (and growth) of the game. The boys both love it too!
  • I had book club on Tuesday night - I had a bumper reading month in January (a result of being sick??) and I have many great books to tell you about.
  • The Princess informed me this morning that she will not play netball this year if she has to play Goal again. (But that she wants to play). I have encouraged her to talk to her coach as soon as they start training next week. We will see how this pans out.
  • I am looking forward to a pedicure tomorrow morning. My very stunning hubby is sending me for one, after he sent me for a manicure and facial last week. I am totally being spoiled.
  • Due to an unfortunate set of event one of my beautiful birthday Jenna Clifford earrings went missing in a shop on Saturday. I called them and guess what? Someone picked it up and they kept it safely for me. I am so happy about this I even shed a little tear.
  • We are going to a 40th birthday party on Saturday - kids and all. I am looking forward to good company and a night out.
  • I am busy with a little bloggers friendship project which I will only share later but I am getting so much joy from it, possibly because it entails getting creative. It just renewed my belief that giving is often better than receiving.
With that my friends,  wishing you a great and happy weekend! What are you planning?

Thursday, 7 February 2013

2013 - It will always be remebered as the holiday in which...

We saw the famous Mtunzini zebras wandering around town like its nothing out of the ordinary
Scooters and bicycles ruled (and we took ours along for the first time ever in our new bike rack for 5)

Where we only got half way through the 4x4 swamp route due to the very wet conditions.
We saw storks and more storks in the marshland.

 Most memorable for the kids, without a doubt - they caught their very first fish (released back into the lagoon to be caught another day)

And maybe most memorable of all - two little boys swam on their own  - yes the pics are with dad, but these two pics are just precious in their own way. They gained so much confidence. C was doggy pedalling by the end of the holiday while L mainly paddles under water, coming up for air every few bits. They turned into swimming water babies.
It was a great holiday - just too short. We now know that we can camp for more than a week with the kids, the Princess helps at times, they boys have their own little jobs and it's much much easier. I am once again amazed at the progress one makes on holidays - this time with mainly the swimming of the boys, but many more small things. Every year when camping we had leaps from all 3 kids in some or the other area - it must be a combination of relaxed parents, relaxed kids, a lot of time together. I am not sure. What I am sure of is that it works, and that without a doubt it was so worth it. Leaving you with 3 pretty pictures:

Taken with nifty fifty.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The Princess' 8th birthday party

So prepare yourself for a picture overload.

When we discussed her birthday last year she had one wish only - she wanted a "Stop rhino poaching " party. A theme that left me a bit baffled as to how to execute, but very proud of her values and choices. Hunter stepped in with the final format and venue and a party idea was born. We held it almost a month after her birthday due to the start of the year madness and the ballet practices every Saturday. But at last it was this Sunday afternoon.

She invited 7 school friends, 2 family friends (all girls between 7 and 9) and a sprinkling of younger siblings and two older siblings to go rhino watching at the Rietvlei dam reserve. The rest, as they say, is better told in picture format:

The invites, party packs etc all featured a cartoon rhino, zebra stripes for  the graphic effect and hot pink for a bit of girly ness. We decided on cupcakes for ease of use in the bush environment and I added animal figurines, pearl cake decor and cake glitter.
The funfetti cupcakes, something I "discovered" one day when on a whim added funfetti to cupcake dough. It makes a delightful little colour display inside each cupcake.
Favour bags at the back and party packs in the front - washi tape to seal it all.
Her special rhino cupcake with black and white mixed icing

The party favours were little notebooks to decorate themselves - glitter glue and a glitter pen with some foam shapes. Big and small loved this.

Roosterkoek - yummy.
Boerewors and prego steaks
Then we had a game drive - just showing you a  few of the pictures I like.

I have never been more relieved to spot these two little ears

The guests of honour also arrived for the party to the Princess (and our) great joy.. We saw these two quite close, then 3 a bit later in the tall grass and just before we left another 3 on a hill.
She had a great time and I actually think that even the parents had a great time. She certainly had the most original party.