Friday, October 31, 2014

{Friendship Friday} October's been a good month for meet-ups

Don't forget to get your photos ready for tomorrow's Saturday Snapshots post. Thanks!


Wow, October's been a good month for meeting up with friends.

First, we met up with our friend, T, before the worship workshop.

And then there was the day when B came to visit. And the night when I met up with K and Caren.

Then we went over to Robyn's for a delicious lunch. Proper photos to come one day when I'm caught up.........

I then had a speedwalking lunch with Mrs FF (I had a meeting I had to get back for).

And then we had Sam and her lovely family over last Saturday.

I would have met up with Jenty on Wed but we had a double-booking situation so that's moved out.

And last but not least, I met up with J last night.


Somehow it feels like there weren't as many as there clearly were (8 if you've counted).

Maybe that's because of the speed-dating or because of the weekday meet-ups? I don't know.

ice-cream on the step with Kade

In my last post, Terisha commented and said she and her friends meet up at each other's house and may I add.... this is TOTALLY my preference. I'm not sure why but that somehow hasn't happened often with my friends? Reluctant entertaining? :)

I used to be very a very reluctant entertainer til I realised I only have to be myself. I'm not a big cook so I do what's comfortable for me, and if people don't like that, well, they are welcome to bring along what they want to eat too ;)

Pros - much cheaper, especially for a family
Cons - washing the dishes (I'm not averse to using paper plates! Remember, we have no dishwasher)

We used to pay Nanny S to come work once a month on the "entertaining Saturday" but the new nanny can't work on a Saturday due to her religion, so I'm going to keep things nice and easy from now onwards.

Are you a reluctant entertainer like I used to be?
Or do you have your friends over?

PS My Irish friends in Dublin said it's very rare to have people over in Dublin.
PPS Please go over to my friend Se7en and donate to the Cuppa for Cansa project. It's SUPER easy and it's for a good cause!!! Take your croissant/ lattes/ cappucino/ soda money tomorrow and donate it. I love supporting my friends when they have good ideas :) :)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Update on my word of the year - shine?

So guys, the last time I thought about my word of the year I remember emailing with Julia and said, "I don't know what God was doing giving me a word like SHINE unless He meant my shiny face from all the tears".

Seriously. I said that.

I just went back and read all my shine posts for the year. Here's the link. And here's the last one I wrote in May, nearly 6 months ago.

Oh my gosh, the thought of me taking those little white pills daily just to get through the day makes me so sad. I can't believe I actually went through all that. Last pill 17 April.

Okay, I want to share something with you.

A mom of C's classmate who I'm very friendly with chatted with me at a recent party. She said her sister worked somewhere for 21 years and then was retrenched. That devastated her but eventually she bounced back and got herself another job. 

A year into this new job, she got called into the office and there her manager and HR sat only to tell her that she was being retrenched again. She just laughed and laughed. They were (rightly) worried but she told them that it was totally fine; she'd made it through before so this was really no big deal. She'd be fine.

And that's how I feel.

That now that I've been through (what I think is) the worst job experience ever, definitely of my life thus far, I will be okay with anything.

I will certainly never ever put up with such abuse for so long again. Next time I will "just resign" because I know I'll be okay. I've learnt that I can live on very little money and that in the grand scheme of things, my sanity (and not depending on a little white pill to get me through the morning without crying) really is worth more than a paycheck. I need to write a post on God's amazing provision.

K asked me the other day if my new boss made me cry yet!!!!! And I said, "no, but Baby, that is never going to happen again".

I read a blog post by someone who reads this blog - I won't link in case she feels weird about it - who went through a very similar situation to me. But far shorter. And reading those blog posts was healing for me.


Because I am not alone. Here is someone just a step away (in the blog world) going through the same thing. So it's probably happening much more than I originally thought. Not just to me.

These horrible work situations that are absolutely unfair happen to good, hardworking people like us as well as to others.

I had a lot of the "why me?" going on. I mean, "seriously, why me, God?!!!" is something I cried probably a couple of times a week at one point. Maybe because I took pride in my work and it's like the worst thing in the world for my work not to work out, you know?

I don't know why this happened to me... still. Maybe I'll never know? Maybe it was random? Maybe because I was female? Maybe because I came from another background and not the same one the rest of the team came from? Maybe I was singled out because I dared to talk about what I was experiencing in an authentic manner and that rubbed someone the wrong way?

I don't know.

But I do know God brought me through it.

It's so awesome when the Word comes to life.
taken by D in the Drakensberg
 Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
(read other translations here)

Did someone need to read that scripture today? (please let me know - it so encourages me!)

So that's a bit of where I am with shine, which is nowhere I thought I'd be.

Have you been through a hellish work situation and come through on the other side? Did it give you a new outlook?
And in other news, tell me, what was your word of the year again, and please give me a quick update.

OHMYGOSH, I just read this post and I think this is why I struggled so much. One of my highest values is fairness and I clearly suffer from the Just World Hypothesis. I couldn't understand (still can't) why all the horrible things were happening to me when I'd done nothing to deserve it. Oh dear!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

That amazing house - part 2

This week I'm letting my photos do all the talking.

I can't tell you how excited I was by seeing this house.

this is my favourite photo - is this wall not very Nester-ish, Mandy? I love it - it's gorgeous!
you do know grey skies are God telling me He's playing with the skies just for me?! :)

Okay, I'll calm down now.

So which was your favourite? What was the last little/ big treasure you discovered?
PS D and I are married 19.5 years today. Heather and Tom celebrated 20 years last Wednesday - happy anniversary to you two!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Using your phone while driving

my favourite stretch of road because it's always smooth sailing from here :)
A few days ago I was blog surfing and landed on a blog where the lady wrote about a friend who’d died.

The friend was busy taking a selfie,  posted that to Facebook with a status update, was distracted and veered into the path of an oncoming truck.

Needless to say, huge accident. Her car was crumpled up and she immediately died; the truck driver was unhurt.

I’m not going to link to it because the point is not to drive clicks to the blog or satisfy your curiosity.

The point is how sad and senseless that death is.

We’ve all had our phones in the car and used them.

I must say, even I’ve had my phone in the car with me about 2 days a week as I drive to and from work, because the iphone lady (is that who Siri is?) directs me if I veer off from my route (PLEASE PROCEED TO THE ROUTE!) in a moment of spontaneity when I can’t stand traffic standing still and I take another way home.

(Surprisingly, this happens more often than I think - it's like my body doesn't realise I have no sense of direction because I feel myself just taking new ways home). 

I often take photos when my car is stationary in a line of traffic or at a red light (I post to IG when I’m home), or I’ll dial Nanny S while at the red light and talk to her about something on speakerphone while driving off.

Maybe it’s a blessing but I can’t actually use my fingers to type without looking, so I don’t.

But maybe you do?

Friends, please just think about this 32-year-old lady and let her death be a wake-up call for all of us to remember that as smart as we think we all are, we actually can’t do two things at once.

Put away the phone and focus while you’re driving.

Did you hear about this story?
Do you want to share what you do with your phone in the car?

PS I took these photos while D was driving us to work.

Reminder - Saturday's photo challenge!

Hi everyone

Just a reminder that this coming Saturday is the first Saturday of the month which means....

Saturday Snapshots.

Our theme is TEXTURE!

I can't WAIT to see your photos!!!

PS Do you know what's in this photo?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Updates of the nanny kind

A few updates because people have been asking me:

My hand is perfect again – thank the Lord. It was still sore in the morning last Tuesday but by the time Spanish rolled around that evening, I was all better. And it was totally fine on Wednesday.

I’ve also been very careful to not sleep with it in an awkward position.

Thanks for asking, guys.

Connor taught me to make a ring from the loom bands.
By the way, that's not why I didn't post this weekend. As with all habits, it is very easy to fall out of routine, and I must admit, I did think, "what the heck? no one's reading anyway. Might as well read/ do photos/ eat pancakes" :)

So far I'm managing with those 64 stairs and interestingly, it is really not bad at all. I think it's because I cart such a lot of stuff with me - at minimum my handbag and a lunch bag. But I still have deodorant in my drawer... as well as lots of food.

It was so funny - Mrs FF met me for lunch on Friday and she whatsapps me to say, I'm outside but I'm not walking up all those steps (or something similar) ;) 

What do you take to work?

(there is a guy in our division who literally has his phone and car keys every day - I presume he has a wallet in his pocket? Anyway, I'm amazed at people who travel so light!)

I interviewed 5 ladies earlier this month for a temporary nanny to replace Nanny S while she’s on maternity leave. I liked two. As I said to D, if I’d interviewed only on the one day, I would have gone with the one person; because I interviewed some more on the second day, I liked one of those too.

D wasn’t any help in making a decision so I told the agency to decline 3 but I would take time to pray about the 2. Well, no sooner had I done that than things flared up a bit. There was some missing information and before you knew it, the one was disqualified and the other got the job. A small matter of being open would have probably got the other one the job but we are very open people and I don’t like omissions of any kind.

Anyway, I’m being vague on purpose….but we have a nanny.

Nanny T starts on Thursday so she can train with Nanny S for two days, and then she’s on her own.

Interesting times ahead.

By the way, is there anything you can add to my list of things she needs Nanny S to show her?

Friday, October 24, 2014

{Friendship Friday} Speed (friend) dating

A few weekends ago our friend B was out from London.

He came for our church conference and how's this for cool - the mother church they go to in London is in Pta and they were also conferencing that very same week. That's God giving him double the blessing for the money spent! 

We were whatsapping back and forth trying to make a plan and nothing was working but I said to him, it will work out - it always does.

So after gym on the Saturday we rushed home, he rushed to us and we spent just an hour and 15 minutes connecting, heart to heart, again and sending him off with hugs for both him and K, his wife.

It was short, it wasn't exactly as I would have had it (perhaps less sweaty? :)) but that was all we had so we made the best of it.

Caren and I had a supper date last week . This had been scheduled more than a month in advance.

Only problem is... it was at 7.30 pm.

There is no point in me driving all the way home to arrive at 5.55, stay one hour, and drive almost all the way back out in the same direction.

So I emailed around to see if any other friend could meet me from 5:30 - 7:30.

It was close but eventually my one friend K said YES, definitely. And we met up.

K said it felt like speed dating :) but it was actually the perfect use of time to connect with two friends in one evening, and not "waste" my time driving back and forth.

Of course I paid R16 for parking but it was totally worth it.

Caren brought me gifts (!) and a card to congratulate me on my new job - so thoughtful of her!

I won't do this very often because it was a very long day for me, being away from home from before 8 in the morning to after 10 that night, and I was pooped.

But connection with friends is priceless and I really value it when we prioritise the friendship. Let's face it - no situation is ever "perfect" in this life stage so we're always making a compromise here and there.

I'm doing another straight-after-work thing next week but this time, it's only one plan :)

Do you ever speed (friend) date?
Tell me some finagling you've had to do to connect with your friends recently.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Making wraps with a recipe from the gang at Se7en

Guys, remember those grocery posts where I told you we very seldom have wraps for supper because they're so expensive?


Well, they are.

Depending on the brand you can pay anywhere from R28,99 for 6 small wraps/ tortillas to R39,99. We used to buy the big ones because it felt like we needed two each of the tiny ones.

Then I saw a post on my friend, Se7en's blog about making wraps.

It looked easy but she makes everything look easy, doesn't she?

Still, I like to give things a good bash at least once. So one Friday we got home from work, and I went to work... in the kitchen.

(all pics by D because wrap-making is messy business)

me pointing to exactly where I wanted the camera :) Also, that rolling pin is 19.5 years old - wedding present
there we go, isn't that better?

It's so, so easy!


4 cups flour
1 - 1.5 cups warm water
120 g margerine
1/4 tsp salt

I made two changes because I'm incapable of following directions (true story!):
  1. I used margerine instead of butter.
  2. I didn't wipe my pan with oil first. I found that the flour and the margerine in the dough kept the wraps from sticking in the pan.

A tip I loved: Cut the dough into 8 pieces, and then cut each piece into 2.

This makes 16 wraps... and my family of 4 ate those wraps that Friday night, again for lunch one day on the weekend, and once more during the week. And we "fought" over the last few.

I fried them all on the Friday night and kept them in a plastic container. There are some comments saying the wraps went hard. Mine stayed soft. I don't understand the science of baking so I can't tell you why but IT WORKS.

These photos were taken mid-Sept and we've made wraps an additional two times since then.


They are that easy. Matter of fact, I may make some this weekend!

Go forth and make some wraps this weekend.

Have you ever made wraps, tortillas or roti?

PS your kids will think you're wonderful if you put some salted caramel toffee in a wrap for dessert ;)
PPS So far this is my favourite recipe of the year!
PPPS I tried some biscuity things this week which turned out amazing - can't WAIT to blog about those. EASY-peasy. If only I could take photos while baking, I'd be a food blogger. HA!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I found new amazing Jhb views - part 1

So most of you know how much I loved my old work campus. And one of the hardest things about leaving was leaving that beauty behind. I know it sounds crazy but it is what it is.

And then we get invited to a party... in our suburb... and as we walk through the garden, I gasped!

Those gardens were amazing. The views, the space, the beauty!

Okay, I'll stop talking and let you have a look. I had a BALL walking around with my camera taking photos of all the things I love.

(this is part 1 - I'll post part 2 next week)

So friends, this was such a gift from God. It was literally like getting a gift to nurture my soul in the middle of a normal weekend.


The mom said I can come back anytime to read... take photos... whatever... and I'm totally taking her up on it. At the very least I need to go get some sunset photos.

Which was your favourite?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Petunia, the girl who was NOT a princess... and D's first words on the blog!

Well now, my Kendra is way too princessy and I'm... not. I'm as far from a princess as you'll get.

As I say, the nail polish is really one of the only girly things about me.

When I read a post on Cloud's blog where she was looking for reviewers for her new book, Petunia, the Girl who was NOT A Princess, and I saw that it was about one of my favourite soapbox subjects, I jumped on it :)

I had a few technical glitches (when I downloaded in the Kindle app, it was blank except for the cover - I'm sure this is my technical inexpertise) but fortunately the ibooks version worked perfectly.
The first few photos show Connor reading the story to himself. I even have a little video where he made up his own story just based on the pictures. So cute.

But then a few nights later, and for a few nights, D read them the story. See below.

(these photos were taken both with the canon and nikon. I still don't know what I'm doing but done is better than perfect, right?)

Since I didn't read the story to the kids, I asked D to write a review. Here we go (D's first words on this blog!!!!)

I love the heart of this story. It's ok for girls not to be princesses. I liked Petunia as a character and how she also learned it was ok to dress up a bit at times. I liked her friendship with Penelope. 

The artwork was very cute. The artwork and text mostly complemented each other. Two pages were exceptions. One was where she races cars and other activities where there's not enough text to dwell on all the images. The second one is Penelope moving in next door, where there's too much text for one image. Perhaps don't show Penelope's frills at first, so we really feel Petunia's disappointment.

Improvement areas: it loses a bit of dramatic punch near the end. The weakest point is the jump to the dance where new characters suddenly appear - it's all too sudden. Spend a bit more time developing the last few pages - that's where the success or failure of a story is. What does Petunia feel and learn and why should we care? 

Final note: I wasn't sure of the similar sounding names. It was confusing for me and difficult to keep each character separate in my mind easily. 

Otherwise, a lovely story. I look forward to more! 

(D does copy editing and proofreading for his daytime job)

D says Connor really loved the book but we both said it could be because of the ipad. He loves to "control" the ipad.

Kendra liked the story but we could both see she's not quite sold on the idea of girls being princesses AND something else. She often says things like "girls can't play soccer" so she's a work in progress.

And me?

I love the idea of the book because I really believe girls need to grow up with the idea firmly lodged in their minds that they can do anything and still be a girl! The artwork is also very, very cute. I definitely think you should all get a copy especially if you have daughters. Please tell me if you get a copy :)

Do you have a princess or a girl who is not a princess at your home? Which one were you growing up?


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