Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Is this the start of the teenage thing?


The last few mornings has been a bit, well, how will I put it? Trying? Difficult? Maybe not more than the usual, it's just that the tone has gone up that one, two notches. The same girl that now prepares their lunchboxes every evening, helps out so much and in general is the sweetest child will explode into a raging animal for a few minutes, to switch back to the sweet cuddly girl we know within another 5 minutes.

It has only been a few times now - I can count them on my one hand - but the frequency is picking up. I know it's probably hormones that are at work in full force. It is also the end of a very long first term with some late nights for the ballet concert. She has been busy. But dressing takes soooo much longer these days - even for school.

I would love to have a great loving open relationship with her but I struggle with the animal that takes over once in a while. I want to shout and scream at that animal - the only problem being that while the animal is in place she hears nothing. And then the sweet girl returns and who wants to shout at her? But geez guys - I need some advice here from those who have the been there done that teen T shirt. Help!!!!

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Dinsdag en tyd vir boeke - n lekker jeugboek vandag

If one good thing came out of my inactivity after my little accident, it is the reading. I have  read more books in the last 3 weeks than what I usually read in about 2 months. So I have lots to talk about on Tuesdays, but today I start with a wonderful Afrikaans youth book - so if you are looking for a great series of books to improve your daughters' Afrikaans from about 12 (even for second langauge ) - read on.

Meeste van ons boekwurms se kinder herinneringe sluit boeke in. Ai die lekkerte van Saartjie! Saartjie en Trompie was vroeë leesgenot - kortop gevolg deur die Uile en die Lennet reeks. Maasdorp was nooit my gunsteling reeks nie - seker omdat Kobie net eenvoudig nie my tipe meisie was nie - maar was Saartjie dan? Ek weet nie regtig nie - my gunstelinge was steeds die onnutsige maar goedhartige Uile van Kranskop - al was ek 'n meisie. Wat ek wel weet is dat ek elke liewe Maasdorp boek gelees het ten spyte daarvan dat ek nie regtig van Kobie gehou het nie Die aantrekkingskrag was natuurlik die koshuislewe so lekker uitgebeeld daarin. Almal wou koshuis toe - hoekom dan nie? Dit klink asof alles lekkerder en meer avontuurlik is in Maasdorp koshuis as by ons eie huise in voorstedelike Pretoria/Kaapstad of Johannesburg.

Ons wil almal ons lees passie en lekkerte met ons kinders deel en daarom het ek gretig vir A die eerste Saartjie omnibus gekoop - net om deur my boekwurm ingelig te word dat dit regtig nie lekker lees nie. So ook Trompie vir die seuns - dit lyk asof alhoewel vermoderniseer, die stories nie ons kinders aanstaan nie. Toe ek dus later hoor dat die Maasdorp boeke, hoewel nuut uitgegee, nie regtig geniet word nie (ons het een by die bib uitgeneem en ja, is nie eers halfpad gelees nie) het ek so half in my mou gehuil oor die lekkerte van koshuisboeke wat my kinders nou gaan mis. Tot my groot plesier ontdek ek toe die Gravitas reeks van Christien Neser. Ek het voorheen oor haar briljante "Amper Einstein" geskryf en Christien is beslis iemand wat 'n jeugverhaal kan skryf wat volwassenes net so geniet.

Heel gepas met 'n Cream Soda float in die hand gelees.
Die opgewondenheid van my 12 jarige meisiekind by die sien van "Pienk Bikini" moes voorspel het dat sy en ek die boek gaan geniet. Ons het amper loodjies getrek so groot was die afwagting maar ek het ingegee dat sy eers lees aangesien ek 'n stapeltjie het wat wag op my bedkassie.

Prinses A skryf oor die boek: Pienk Bikini is die storie van Elle na sy verkies word as die hoofmeisie van Gravitas skool. Elle is baie opgewonde maar ter selfde tyd baie onseker oor haar nuwe rol. Sy betwyfel heel tyd of sy dit verdien en goed genoeg kan doen. Dan is daar nog Shia en haar inmengerige ouers wat net wag dat Elle 'n fout maak sodat Shia kan oorneem as hoofmeisie.  Elle se werk met die kinderhuis se kleuters sorg vir 'n baie prettige maar op die ou end problematiese modderstoeigeveg. Ek het regtig lekker aan die boek gelees en was bly om al my gunsteling Gravitas karakters weer raak te loop in die boek - ek het reeds Koshuiskofiie en Blou Sjokolade gelees. Ek hou veral baie van Refilwe wat so 'n prettige vriendin is. Sy is altyd vrolik en sal jou nooit in die rug steek nie. Sy het ook vir my my nuwe gunsteling woord gegee - "gomverdorie" Hierdie was 'n heerlike boek!

My opinie: As volwasse leser het ek heerlik aan Pienk bikini gelees - dit is werklik een van daardie jeug boeke waarin die taal, storie en skryfstyl nie vir een oomblik sy jeugdige lesers en hulle ouers onderskat nie. Vir my was elke karakter en die hele Gravitas omgewing nuut en vars en n absolute lekkerte. Ek hou daarvan dat Elle effe onseker voorkom - dit is iets wat ek dink meeste meisies van die ouderdom mee sukkel - al mag hulle dit dalk self nie noem nie. Ek weet my dogter is soms onseker en ek dink dat Elle so suksesvol is ten spyte van dit is 'n heerlike aansporing vir die meisies. Dit is nie maklik om 'n tiener te wees nie en Elle en haar maats spreek daardie onsekerhede en angstigheid goed aan met 'n prettige ondertoon. Elle is beslis my tipe meisie en ek hou sommer baie van haar en haar vriende. Ek gaan beslis die ander Gravitas boeke in ons huis lees - en seker maak my Prinses A kry die res ook onder oë. Ek moet natuurlik ook soos sy Refilwe uitsonder as die aller lekkerste karakter. Sy is daardie een vriendin wat elke meisie of vrou nodig het - lojaal, prettig, positief en so effe astrant.

Die Gravitas of dan Elle reeks is ons keuse van geskenke vir die graad 6 meisies in ons "jaar van boeke as geskenke" Die boeke het als wat mens kan verwag van 'n goed gebalanseerde jeugreeks en elke meisie was tot dusver erg in haar noppies met haar geskenk.

Pienk Bikini kry van albei van ons af 'n vrolike pienk 9/10! Gomverdorie maar dit is 'n heerlike boek!

Friday, 24 March 2017

Five for Friday edition 28

So yes! It's Friday and the first one in a while that has a small semblance to the usual.

 1. The Friday morning coffee club met for the first time in 2017 in full numbers (we are only 3). Gosh the first term has flown past. We generally only have coffee but this morning turned into delicious breakfasts. It was such a great hour spent chatting and listening and eating at our little local coffee shop. There is something to say for one that opens before 7 am every day.



2. I got my stitches out yesterday and was promoted to one crutch and being able to drive a bit. I am so very very happy - am starting to feel relatively like myself again.

3. The rugby season started yesterday and the boys' team won their first match in a very convincing way. L made a huge tackle on a much bigger boy to his own great delight.

4. It was A's yearly ballet concert last night and the night before. It was once again spectacular and featured the most beautiful costumes. She also danced in a Spanish number for the first time. It was a lot of Saturdays and nights and extra hard work but so worth it.


5. It was world Monopoly day on Sunday and to celebrate Monopoly released the results of their Token Madness vote. I am glad to say that Scottie the dog lived to survive another round There is even a T Rex now! Tonight is Monopoly night in our home as we upgrade from the Junior version to the special edition token madness one.

So, any five for Friday from your side?

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

I had many plans for the next few week


I had a wonderful canine nurse at home - Ocean took such great care of me.
I was really excited to take photos for A's dance teachers of their concert. I was really excited to walk my first Parkrun and do so many things. There were two book launches I had my eyes on - and so much more. But one never knows what will happen the next moment - and an accident is the last thing on your mind.

On Friday the 24th of February I had a half written Five for Friday post open on my laptop as I rushed to take something for the performance arts teacher at school and then pick up A to take her to a camp a bit later the afternoon. Her classroom is behind the stage in the hall - with a small passage leading to the stage. She and the kids were not in her classroom and I heard A's voice on the stage - I peaked in and saw them busy with a drama performance. I turned around to wait in her class and as I put down my left foot I stepped on a round orange pencil - I can still see it in my mind - neatly marked and round. It caught in the groove of my tekkies and I slipped - hitting a wet spot on the floor. My foot just went and went - I could not control it for one minute. In slow motion I realized that I am falling- and falling hard.

To make a long story short it was off to hospital, extreme pain and xrays, MRI scans and sonars. The end result being operated on on the 6th of March to repair my hamstring - partially torn off at the origin and with about 5 tears in itself - one rather big one. The last two week was spent lying mostly (as due to the laparoscopy I have 3 holes right under my sitting bone) and a very sore leg, There has been physio and frustration. Work had to be taken care of by my wonderful peeps at the office who have been simply amazing and at home Hunter had to fill in - a lot! He was simply amazing - I can not even start to tell you how he seamlessly took over everything I do and I kept doing all his tastks You can do very little for yourself flat on your back and on two crutches. Luckily our wonderful au pair was there for afternoons and to get me to physio. Our Lucy took care of me during the day - making sure I had ice on my leg and something in my tummy.

One wonders why this had to happen - I was a tad  quite angry about this! Why do things ike this even happen? ( just goes to show to how very important a good medical aid is too). Myabe it was God's way to slow me down a bit. I was running life fast and furious - maybe I had to slow down for a few weeks. Who knows? I though I would blog a lot, I thought I would draw an bit but it transpires you can not work well lying down with a computer or draw for that matter. I did colour one picture and read quite a bit. But that is about it. There was however a bit of quality time with each kid as all of them at some stage cam to sit with me on the bed and play a game, or simply chat.

I have learned a lot these past few weeks - and will share some thoughts later Mostly we spoil out kids and they can do so much more than we think they can. And none of us is as irreplaceable as we think we are. 

There will still be  a road of rehab to follow and lots of hard work - I guess some pain too. But I am feeling a lot better today and stronger. Onwards - but maybe a bit slower than before.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

It's Tuesday - and booksday!

The All - Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion - Fannie Flagg

Sookie has just married off her last daughter in Alabama and it seems the biggest issue in her life is to keep the Bluejays from eating all the bird food before the little ones have their share. It seems 2005 is going to be her year to at last relax until a package arrives for her dominating elderly mother . Sookie opens it up as she does with all her mother's affairs she had to take over and it changes the whole way she thinks about herself - who she is and where she belongs. The package sends her back to Pulanski Wisconsin in 1941 and the world of the Jurdabralinski sisters and how World war II not only affected the men fighting but also the whole of America. 

The book seamlessly moves between the two time frames and is filled with wonderful characters that really come to life. I love how I could picture almost every one of them in my head - not only in the way they looked but how I would imagine they sound and hold themselves. The description of the places that house the book is rich and colourful and one can clearly imagine living there.

What I particularly enjoyed about the book was that I learned a bit of history that I had no idea even took place. Did you know that the first US female pilots were already recruited in World War II? It is a fascinating piece of history and have prompted me to do a bit of research myself.

I totally fell in love with  Fanny Flagg's writing - it is so charming and easy to read. You may remember "Fried green tomatoes at the Whistle stop cafe" - her best know book (turned into a lovely movie). If you loved it this book will not disappoint. It is a great family saga well told with lots of sensitivity. Many laughs but also a tear or two.

A great 9/10 for a great read. 





Thursday, 23 February 2017

Lets talk teen/tween skins - well all skins actually

So A have been struggling since last year with the typical skin outbursts the tweens get. We tried face wash and creams - it helped a bit. And then I mentioned it one day at our local pharmacy. They have a nursing sister that works for them and the doctor connected to the pharmacy and she was standing next to the pharmacist that helped me. She quietly hands me two little pill bottles (no brands) and assures me that it will at least help. The total cost was less than R50.

So I started giving A two Brewers yeast tablets in the morning and one Zinc tablet as indicated. My, did it make a difference - in less than a week. Do not get me wrong - the problem is not totally gone, but it is certainly a whole lot better. Our Au Pair at the time also struggled with her skin and promptly went to buy some. She had almost instant results and is still using it. We saw her a few weeks ago and her skin has totally changed. Our student in the office is a beautiful girl but I soon saw that she had a tendency to isolated huge pimples - so I gave her the advice and two weeks on she has absolutely none.

So our secretary started to read up on the benefits of Brewers yeast and it turns out to be a great help for IBS. So from today I am on it too. It of course also contains heaps of Vitamin B too so maybe will help with my tiredness. And the odd pimple - I mean honestly how is it ever possible to have pimples and wrinkles at the same time?

So here's my ten cents of advice for your skin - and your teen or tweens' skin - Brewers yeast and Zinc every day. Any brand - the latest we have is Dischem's house brand and it still works.  Let me know if it helps! Any other teen/tween skin advice to share? What is the best face wash product for them?

Disclaimer - I have no medical or beauty background. This is purely our experience. If you are unsure in any way please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Family gifts for the win!

Let's talk a bit more about gifts. As the kids get older the obvious need for toys get less (I mean they all have so many) and clothes get more difficult (I can not imagine someone knowing what my 12 year old would like - even I sometimes have no idea). Books are always an option. But let's talk Christmas in particular.

We have scaled down a lot for Christmas - maybe I took it too far when they were younger. But we started a new trend two years ago with the in laws - we would agree to buy a family girt for the kids for Christmas and not a gift for each on their own. This means you can buy something more expensive and it is often something that in general can be enjoyed by them all. In 2015 we decided on boardgames and we got Cluedo as a gift. There has been many many games of Cluedo since. (For now we will not discuss the matter or fights around board games....)

In any event in 2016 we agreed on books with the in laws and my children were all 3 delighted to received the Percy Jackson box set. Mr C is almost done with the 3rd book, The Princess has read the first 2 and is waiting to get no 3 fro C and Mr L is patiently waiting until we think his reading level is on par to tackle them. This gift has provided hours of reading fun and will still do so in future.

My mom also gave the kids one gift - Rummikub - which is a fantastic game that I really enjoy playing with them. It has become a somewhat staple Friday night activity for us. It has been apart from the Percy Jackson books the most used Christmas gift of the year. The kids also got a tub of giant marshmallows from a family friend - they have been greatly enjoyed at braais and we still have a few left that I am sure will get demolished soon.

I remember as a child (when we gave way more Christmas presents) there was a general thing with friends, neighbours and family to give say a tin of toffees or Woollies cookies (or homemade ones) to families.I love this idea - as I in general love the idea of boardgames.

I would love to know if you have done or received something similar and what are your thoughts.


Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Dinsdag en dit is lekker boeke dag!

Ek het 'n liefde vir Ierse skrywers - daar is vir my baie ooreenkomste tussen die Iere en my eie ou volkie. Natuurlik het heelwat van ons 'n lekker tikkie Ierse bloed iewers ook maar dit is hoe ons en hulle familie benader wat my in besonders tref - en natuurlik die Italianers ook.  Behalwe vir die hoog aangeskrewe skrywers soos Frank McCourt ("Angela's Ashes" moet die moderne Ierse boek wees om te lees) en Roddy Doyle wat so raak die Ierse samelewing saamvat ("The Commitments" is my gunsteling en "The Woman that walked into doors" is uitsonderlik ) is daar 'n hele string skrywers wat so in die ligte luim skryf. My gustelinge onder hulle is Marian Keyes (lees haar "This Charming Man" ) en dan ook  Sinead Moriarty - sy het die talent om heerlike stories oor gewone families en gewone goed wat gebeur lekker en met genoeg humor te vertel. My gunsteling boek van haar is "Me and my sisters" - so lekker familie storie oor drie susters wat almal op een of ander manier hulself moet bymekaar skraap om deur iets te gaan wat hul wêrel omver gooi - en dit regkry met hul susters se hulp. Gits ek wou nog altyd susters gehad het.

Ek was dus heerlik verras om in Bernette Bergentuin se "Stilettos' van Staal" 'n heerlike Afrikaanse storie van drie susters te ontdek wat my net so vermaak het. Sy het dieselfde talent as Sinead Moriarty om families met deernis te ondersoek met 'n lekker storie. Die boek spreek van familie en liefde en hoe situasies daarin hanteer word. Lona, Vanessa en Sienna Beauman het elkeen hul unieke persoonlikheid en unieke stel probleme op die oomblik dat hul pa besluit om die familie besigheid in 'n openbare maatskappy te omskep. Elke vrou gaan iewers aanklank vind by een (of meer ) van die susters - Lona wat op 'n laagtepunt swoeg deur babas en kleuters met 'n lyf wat dit wys, Vanessa wat as professionele vrou besef die lewe bestaan uit meer as werk en Sienna wat sukkel om te voldoen aan haar familie se verwagtinge wat haar studies betref . Die dogters van 'n Afrikaanse pa en Italiaanse ma beweeg in die warmte van 'n heerlik vermengde famlie.

Wat ek werklik geniet het was die heerlike Pretoria verwysings - natuurlik aangepas om soms by die storielyn te pas (en sommige verouderd met nuwe verwikkelinge in Hatfield) - maar ek kon die karkaters in my geboortestad en Alma Mater sien en volg. Tukkies se kampus weer herleef en indrink.

Stiletto's van staal is 'n heerlike ligte romatiese komedie oor familie en susters. Die liefde en grappies, die onderstrominge en die hartseer. Ek het die boek werklik geniet en gaan besis nog van Bernette Bergentuin se boeke lees. 'n 7/10 vir lekker lees en ontspan.

Monday, 6 February 2017

How to raise succesful kids

No , I do not claim to know how to - after all my oldest child has just turned 12 an I am finding the road to puberty a tad challenging at times. I have however talked about over parenting before (I have since remove that post as it went slightly viral and I was a tad scared it may find its way to the eyes of the parties mentioned). But to summarize  - in our school we have a lot of parents who are over involved in their children's lives. Parents that almost live through their children. Children that cheated to get the marks their parents wanted. I do believe this is a global problem and not just our school, our city or even South Africa.

At the parents evening at our school this brilliant TED talk video was shown - and I thought that most of us can benefit from listening to it - to either give ourselves a pat on the back and reinforce what we believe or to think a bit about how we approach our children. Also listen out for her take on chores - I love it because I firmly believe it too. My new word for the year is "self-efficacy" - I am planning to raise my kids with it intact

I would more than any other post love your feedback on this!

Friday, 3 February 2017

Five for Friday edition 27

Gosh Friday already!

1. Oh I adore taking photographs - I took some for a school function on Wednesday and I love love some of them! Some tells stories and some express emotions while others are just beautiful for being beautiful - showing light and composition.

2. The rain has caused havoc with the athletics meetings this season and it seems just like that we are done for now. Just for the swimming season to start in full force this week.

3. I really need to start drawing and doodling again. Our Au pair this year is an art student and she and A turned the humble paper plane into an artwork yesterday - I miss drawing.



4. Tomorrow promise to be a fun day for the kids - all 3 are attending water based parties at two venues - if it looks worth r  I will report back.

5. I can not really say our little dancer anymore, can I? But the dancer in our household has decided to add "ole" to the usual and 5,6,7,8's and attempt Spanish. At this stage it is this term only for the annual concert but we will see how it goes.

With that my 5 for Friday is done - care to share yours?