Why else did you have kids if not for the free labour?


I am LOVING this age. LOVINGGGG this age. The age of “go-fetch.” Come on now, don’t make like you haven’t enjoyed sending your little ones here and there for this and that. This weekend we spent a lot of time at home, which was LOVELY. But even lovelier than that, was been able to lay on the couch and send the kids off when I needed a blankie, or needed the remote, or needed my handbag or needed someone to fill Rocky’s water bowl. The list goes on… Also I love this age when THEY love helping out. I mean I have two people fighting over who’s going to do stuff for me… what’s not to like?

They switch on the outside lights when the sun goes down, and switch them off for me when the sun rises. They tie my shoe laces, and insist on taking my shoes off and packing them away when I get home in the evening. One sets the dinner table and the other takes the crockery and the cutlery from the kitchen to the table. They replace the toilet rolls when they run out… do you know how BIG a deal this is for me? I live with a man who doesn’t understand that once you get to the brown part of the toilet roll, it means it is finished and it needs to be thrown away and a new one inserted onto the holder. For YEARS, I have yelled from inside a closed toilet for “SOMEONE TO PLEASE GET ME A BOG ROLL BECAUSE SOMEONE DID NOT REPLACE THE OLD ROLL!!” Now, the kids do this all by themselves.

They fetch scissors! And carry them properly. There are so many times I need a pair of scissors, is this just me? To cut a lose thread, or to take the tag off something, or to open a container… and I can NEVER find the scissors in that house, even though between the kids and I, we own at least 5 pairs. But now, I yell for a scissors and off they go to hunt down a pair.

They get stuff while I’m cooking. You know when you’re in the middle of something that needs your attention on the stove, and you can’t step away… like in the middle of a white sauce and you need more milk or Maziena or something, one yell and they come running, grab the step ladder if it’s too high and get whatever I need out of the pantry cupboard.

They can CHARGE my devices! I never have a dead device because they make sure my stuff is charged on time! They will pop it into the plug point for me.. first switch off at the wall, insert, switch on at the wall. Strict instructions lest they burn themselves and the house down.

They can occupy Rocky. Some days I just don’t have time to play with Rocky. I know, I know, one shouldn’t have a pet unless you are going to treat it as part of the family. But honestly, there are days when I get home late, and I still need to cook or sort stuff out and I don’t have even 15 minutes to take him for a walk. So I send the kids out and they do laps around the garden to stretch his legs. Works like a charm.

They do stuff for each other. Hannah can’t open her own wardrobe because she can’t reach the handle yet. She used to grab the step ladder and help herself if I wasn’t in the vicinity…until I discovered she was damaging my laminate floors with that blasted step ladder. Now instead of calling me, I’ve told her to call Liam when she needs help opening wardrobes. Only call me if Liam is otherwise occupied – that is the instruction. They also lotion each other’s backs after bath time. This is the one zone they can’t reach, and I’ve taught them to help each other so that I can do other things. Like play Candy Crush, after bath time.

They do just about everything for themselves… except run the bath water. I’m still afraid of hot water. And I still brush Hannah’s hair. Other than that, unless I am in the mood, they are pretty much parenting themselves right now. And doing all the chores that Hubby and I don’t want to do.

This parenting thing is a JOY RIDE!!!

However, I am well aware that one day in our very near future, they are going to turn around and ask “why?”  Like WHY should we do this or that, why can’t you do it yourself… followed by lots of feet stomping and eye rolling and lip pouting. So for now, I shall relish in the moment of having my kids run GOOD circles around me. Hey, I did it for them for the last 5 years. Pay back time, baby.

It’s hard out here for a chick…


We need to talk about this. Like seriously. For the few guys who read here, look away now, I need to deal with lady issues right now.

It turns out I need to choose between my face and my body… now what would YOU choose?

So I went onto the pill in December after been on the injection for 4 years. I suffered no complications or side effects from the injection (although I used to blame my weight gain on it, we all know that that was a cover up) and was pretty happy to stay on it for the rest of my life… well until menopause at least. It was a 3 month jab, no period, no up and down emotions, no pre menstrual and post menstrual mood swings, no cramps, no moodiness, no moodiness, did I mention no moodiness? I felt fine all through the month. Like tip top fine. I’ve always maintained that the injection MUST be dangerous long term, I mean in effect it cuts out your cycle completely… something that your body by its very nature needs to produce – that can’t be good for you surely? I don’t know the scientific details, I’m just saying that to me the injection was never my first choice of contraception but after falling pregnant on the pill, all I wanted was something that was flop proof. Anyway, I digress. Point is, I was physically happy on the injection OK.

Then my skin broke out in the worst way… you guys have read all about my adult acne and how it really affected me in a  bad way. Walking around with a pizza face at the age of 32 is not fun. I am not a person who pays much attention to my skin at all, mainly because I have never needed to. I don’t wear lots of makeup and I only started a serious skin care routine at the age of 30. So when this happened to me, I was highly conscious, my self esteem took a knock, I took to wearing thick foundation every day. I was unhappy. And this is really the MAIN reason I switched my contraception method.

So that’s the history.

Since being on the pill, I’ve had the worst periods. Like I feel like I want to call in sick and just stay in bed kinda sick. Please understand that having periods again after like 5 years was in itself a nightmare, but having a bad period with all the cramps and aches and pains has been HORRIFIC. Since being on the pill I spend about 3 weeks of the month feeling weird. Just out of sorts. I can pin this down to nothing else other than the pill as it literally started a month after going onto the pill. If it’s not my stomach that’s always crampy or bloated, my back is sore, if it’s not that I feel like I have an ulcer – weird burning stomach ache that’s not bad enough to take something for it, but it nags at me, and if its not THAT then I’m moody and irritable. This is not a fallacy people, women really and truly experience hormonal “episodes” that affect their moods. I think this pill is turning me into a crazy person. You know what I really feel like… I feel like those first few weeks after you’ve discovered you’re pregnant, where you still feel like you’re getting period cramps and you feel tired and you feel nauseous. That’s how I feel 3 weeks of the month! And no, I am not pregnant.

Now I do have options… one always has options. I can try a different pill – maybe this pill just doesn’t agree with me, right? Or I could go back on the injection. While this option is looking really appealing, I’m scared that my face will go back to pizza-dom if I go off the pill. I don’t want to mess with my face, it is looking too good to mess with.

But will I risk how I FEEL physically for how I LOOK physically? This is not a dumb question and it has nothing to do with looks (truenottrue)… but how you look obviously DOES affect how you feel, right? Right.

Or the husband could go for the snip, which he isn’t against, but planning the logistics with a person who doesn’t work in the city is quite difficult.

But I want to ask people on the pill… do you have side effects? Do you feel pre and post menstrual? Are you happy to spend daaaays of the month feeling out of sorts just because you’re a girl? I’m not happy with that! I just want to feel like my old self again!

Wow, it’s hard out here for a chick.

While this song as nothing to do with contraception, and the lyrics are questionable… I found a clean version for you because I still love its catchy little tune 🙂

 

 

We got into our school of choice!


So you guys know from this post that we were awaiting the outcome of our Grade R application for next year. Well I received the call to say that Liam had been accepted and that we need to come in with him for a little induction in about a month’s time. I am so relieved I cannot even articulate it properly. Like a huge weight has been lifted. Like I have one less thing keeping me up at night. Like when we’re at the school parties and all the conscientious parents are going on and on about how they’ve been on a list for years and their kid was accepted years ago and I just keep quiet because the only list my kid is on is his current class register. Now I can say, “oh my kid has a school” and roll my eyes dramatically like having a school was something we had thought about years ago.

Then I made the mistake of telling Liam that the big school had called and hooray he can go there. Rookie error, I admit, but I wanted him to be excited about it too and also I just could not keep this sort of good news to myself. The kid wants to do a countdown of how many sleeps until big school. He wants me to explain how long a year takes (it’s less than a year but I had to give him a timeframe to work with). So I counted in months because 8 months just sounds closer than a gazillion sleeps, right? Anyway, a part of me is happy that he knows and we have all this time to prepare him mentally and emotionally for this change which is sure to bring about mixed emotions for him.

He has only ever been at one school since he was 20 months old (we don’t talk about that horrible little school we dumped him in for a few months when he was just 18 months old.) So making friends wasn’t an issue really, he just grew up with the same group of kids and they have become fast friends because they’ve known each other since forever. Same thing with church: he has moved up with the same bunch of kids since he was 1. Yes, kids come and go, but he has his special church friends. He hasn’t had to go out there on his own and start over and actively MAKE friends. I am little worried about this, I won’t lie. Also, a lot of the class would have moved up together from Grade 00 so I think he will feel quite odd to begin with, so I’m glad I have this time to prepare him for that. He is an extrovert so I am not unduly worried, my anxiety stems more from the fact that he hasn’t been in this situation before, so I really don’t know how he’ll cope/react. But I’m trusting God that he’ll be FINE.

So now we face the next challenge.. making it all work. This school isn’t up the road. It will mean two different drop offs in the morning before I need to be at work. It will also mean leaving work during the day to take them home.. I am not paying for aftercare at this stage when I have a full time live in helper. Also aftercare is so darn expensive! So yes, I am going to drive A LOT. But of course we thought about and agreed on all these things before we signed up for this, so we know what we are in for. Also hoping that my hours will change as of next year – this discussion is already underway. At the very worst, this will be only for a year. Once Hannah and him are together, it will be easier of  course.

Right now, I am just grateful that he has somewhere to go and that he is correctly positioned for where we want him to complete his primary school career. Also, I am taking donations for anyone who wants to contribute to the hefty deposit/placement fee we need to pay, any ‘ol soul who feels like they want to just throw some money my way, I’m your girl.

lee and rocky

What are you REALLY teaching your kids?


You guys know I am not in the habit of posting press releases or just copying and pasting an article from somewhere to “make a post” or create income for myself without you in mind, right? Anywayyyyy, I received this article along with a video – a Santam ad which I personally had not seen before and it blew me away.  It relates to the Santam Safety Survey, which was conducted on 1000 children in South Africa this year, to investigate how children understand safety and what they learn from the adults around them. I wouldn’t waste your time reading this unless I really thought it was eye opening. Please give it a read and watch the video and catch a wake up if you are a parent who falls into any of these categories… I know I caught a serious wake up… and the responses from some of the kids truly broke my heart. Maaaan, we think only serious things like arguing in front of the kids frighten them, but have you ever stopped to think how you freaking out in traffic may freak your CHILD out? We are definitely not living in an age of “do as I say, not as I do,” we need to consciously consider our every move because we have little eyes focused on us ALL the time.

Mothers key to teaching children about safety – National survey shows 

Cape Town, April 2014: Independent research among 1000 seven – to 12-year-olds has revealed that 46% of children are being taught the rules of safety by their mothers – and with 77% polled showing a very strong commitment to following these rules, it is a job mothers would do well to take very seriously.

The Santam safety survey was undertaken by leading short-term insurer Santam to gain a deep understanding of how South African children understand safety and what they learn from the adults around them.

The findings offered both good and not so good news. On the positive side, children are learning the rules and are very eager to follow the rules when they grow up (93% said they would do so). However, a worrying 60% of children had seen significant adults in their lives (parents or adults close to them) break the rules. And with children primed to imitate the important adults in their lives according to leading educational psychologist Anel Annandale, it is highly likely that children will end up adopting risky behaviour rather than doggedly sticking to what they are being taught.

Donald Kau, spokesperson for Santam says parents in South Africa should be asking themselves: are our mixed messages and double standards turning our children from naturally compliant citizens into perpetrators of the risky behaviour responsible for our sky-high accident and crime statistics?

The children polled describe how they feel when their parents put them at risk:

  • “Unsafe; father drives very fast and mommy always tells him to slow down.” 8-year-girl, Johannesburg
  • “I get afraid and my feet become goosebumps. My heart is sore and goes boom-boom. That’s not nice.” 7-year-old girl, Cape Town
  • “I feel very frightened and think that this would cause an accident. If he drinks while driving as he normally does when he fetches us from school in the afternoons, he will lose control of the vehicle and causes accidents and a lot of school children can be killed.” 9-year-old girl, Durban
  • “He was driving drunk in the morning and hit my little sister while we were going to church and I feel very scared and not safe on the road, because we were going on the right side of the road.” 11-year-old boy, Durban
  • “So sad …… They make me not breathe. Driving with one hand on the steering wheel and speeding. Have no control over car if something happened.” 7-year-old boy, Johannesburg
  • “I do not feel safe. I do not want to die in a car accident.” 10-year-old boy, Johannesburg

Annandale offers the following guidelines to mother’s when teaching their children about safety:

1.Don’t set too many rules:

It can be tempting, particularly as a new parent, to believe your child needs to be taught a whole host of rules to ensure they grow into well behaved, respectable human beings. But, according to Annandale, parents should spend time prioritising the rules associated with safety over more general rules.

“I am by no means saying that bathing every day or going to bed at a certain time are not important, but your child should first and foremost understand not to run into the road, not to play with plugs or touch the stove etc.. Don’t bombard them with so many rules that they end up disregarding the most critical ones!”

2. Practice to empower:

A certain amount of exposure to risk is essential to gain experience in making decisions about safety.

For example: when at the playground, let them explore what it feels like to go a little higher on the swing. These ‘calculated risks’ can teach them how to overcome the initial fear of trying something new and teach them how to make judgement calls. 

3.Watch your own behaviour:

“We should always remember something called ‘mirror neurons’. These are neurons in the brain that help children copy exactly what they see. That’s why when you stick your tongue out to a 6-week old they will do the same. Initially, we are primed to first copy actions and only later do we get to the verbal behaviour.”

So the most important thing a parent can do when teaching their children about safety, is to decide to stick to the rules and act on it consistently as a family. The best way to influence your children’s behaviour is to watch your own behaviour: act instead of talk.

“This is something you need to prepare for,” says Annandale. “Unconscious behaviours need to be reprogrammed to lead to conscious decisions. You need to decide on the rules and what’s important.”

4. Don’t send conflicting information:

Children should feel comfortable enough to approach their parents when they break the rules. And when they do approach their parents, a little validation can go a long way in reassuring them that they are doing the right thing.

For example: when a parent isn’t wearing a safety belt and then the child calls mom or dad out on it, admitting their mistake and thanking the child will boost their self-confidence.

Annandale says that it’s vital for parents to show their children that they value their opinion: “As parents we don’t invite them to be our safety-accountability partners. We need to be more open to that.”

Full findings from the study and educational materials can be found on the Be Safe Out There website. 

Watch out Picasso.


So as parents, we’ve all been in the boat where our kids ask us to draw them a picture or a certain item.. like a dog, a car, and so on. When their demands become a bit too higher grade for me, I tell them to go read a book or play outside or something. This, after I attempt to draw “a monkey with a banana hanging out of a banana tree” and they look at me with pure confusion and disgust at my poor attempt at a drawing which, clearly, only Picasso can draw. Or so I thought…

The other day we were visiting friends, and the kids were busy colouring in. My eye spotted one of the books they were using and I was like WHO DREW THIS??? In this book were the most intricate drawings of aeroplanes that land on water, teddy bears, trucks and cars. All drawn free hand. My friend pipes up nonchalantly that SHE drew them for the kids. “Don’t your kids ask you to draw the strangest things?” she asks without blinking. I’m like YES AND USUALLY I JUST SAY NO I CAN’T DRAW THAT! But this friend is a regular ‘ol Picasso! She looks at a picture and can basically copy it, I think that’s amazing! I look at a picture and can still only draw one dimensional things.. like a square or a triangle or a circle. Please tell me I am not alone in this?

I didn’t know she had this hidden talent! I encouraged her to put it to good use; we decided that we’re going to write a book together. I’ll come up with the story line and she can illustrate it! You don’t believe me? Look at these pictures?

plane

bear

She told me they don’t buy colouring books, she draws pictures and the kids colour those. Isn’t that cool? Her kids must think she is ÜBER cool! Mine have come to the sad realization that neither art nor Lego are my strong points. But I am a good “cooker” apparently. I make the best food in the world. So there.

Friend, I think you and your talent are amazing! xxx

Hannah can tie her laces. Brag post. Look away.


Ok serious brag post coming up. If listening to others brag makes you queasy, as it does me, then look away NOW.

But hell, I have to say SOMETHING. And besides, I have to say nice things about the kids here and there because when they read this one day, it can’t ALL be about how HARD parenting was and how sucky they were as kids sometimes. So here goes…

Because I am not a mother who compares her two children. Me? No! Never… I went back on my blog to see when Liam learned to tie his shoe laces. It was on the 16th July last year. That would have made him 4 years and 4 months. And let me tell you, I thought THAT was bloody awesome. I thought he was a wonderboy for doing that.

So this morning we’re on the way to school after a SERIOUS meltdown of epic proportions over wardrobe issues (Hannah). To give you some background.. every evening the  kids choose their OWN clothes for the following day. Liam pulls out the first thing he sees, puts it out and moves onto the next thing. Hannah spends about 15 minutes deciding what to wear, then changes her mind, then changes her mind again, then goes back to the original outfit. So you can see she puts a lot of thought and effort into this. Her new favourite thing to do is to wear Liam’s hand-me-downs – every other day I’m throwing things out his wardrobe and adding it to the pile for The Grace Factory because he has outgrown stuff, and she’ll go through the pile and decide what she wants to keep. Now there are some items that this can work for, but because she is a girl and he is a boy (hello) there are some items of clothing that she CAN’T take over. Like big baggy boy jeans. And please, before you judge, I let her wear whatever, whenever, I don’t force her to wear dresses and the like, I’m pretty chilled about what she wears. But boy jeans that hang slightly off the butt, low slung with patches and seams – which look WAAAY cool on Liam, just don’t fit her nicely. She looks weird in them. Seriously. Anyway, after choosing her outfit last night, THIS MORNING she changes her mind and wants to wear these jeans of Liam’s. First of all, I was annoyed that she was making changes at the 11th hour. I DO NOT ALLOW morning changes, you made your choice last night now live with it because we are going to be LATE. Secondly, I didn’t like those jeans for her at all. Oh she CRIED. BITTERLY. I shouted. A LOT.

Anyway. There’s nothing else to say. She won. She wore the jeans. But we were both really pissed off with each other.

Right. So the ride in wasn’t exactly happiness and sunshine. Everyone was rather subdued and she pipes up from the backseat. Mama, I can tie my shoelaces. And because I have never ever shown her how, it’s not even come up yet, Liam or I just tie her laces for her, I didn’t take her seriously at all. I’m all like “yeh, yeh, that’s great, wonderful, whatever.” We get to school and we’re early, so she hops into the front seat and she says look, I can tie my laces! So I’m like OK, show me. And she DOES! I was like WHAT! WOW! WHO TAUGHT YOU THAT! THAT’S AMAZING! WHAT A GENIUS! WONDERGIRL! WOW! And she’s like “yeh, no big deal, I taught myself.” Ok, she didn’t say that, but the look on her face was one of nonchalance… like it was the most normal thing to do in the WORLD. And she did say she taught herself. So I took photos, made a video, posted online (but of course) made her do it like 548 times and then we went into school. I rush into the class and I yell “TEACHER DONNA, TEACHER VIRGINA, HANNAH CAN TIE HER SHOELACE! SHE’S A GENIUS!” And they look at me like, “yeh, we know, calm down.” And I say, WHAT, YOU GUYS KNEW  AND YOU DIDN’T TELL ME?!!! So apparently she’s been doing it for a few weeks now, along with a few other kids in the class (so she isn’t a genius after all). But still, THREE YEARS OLD AND TYING LACES? I think that’s bloody marvelous? Her little fingers are nimble, maybe I should sign her up for piano… or… sewing… ah, or picking out bad potatoes on a production line?

Whatevs, she’s a child genius. Love this child.

ps: check the jeans rolled up… arrgghh.

shoe 1

shoe 2

shoe 3

Big School Application underway…


Today is the day I submit the application pack for Liam’s big school. My stomach is actually in knots. You see, this is it. There’s no second choice. This is IT. If he doesn’t get in here, I’m not really sure WHAT we are going to do. So this HAS.TO.BE.IT.

If you’ve been reading a while, you’ll know that Liam is in Grade R this year. Both him and Hannah go to a preschool (which I LOVE LOVE LOVE) which ends at Grade R and then you have to leave. Boo hoo, I wish they could just stay there forever.  He is, however, very young. He has just turned five, which means he is a year ahead of where he should be. So in order for him to be 6 turning 7 in the year he enters Grade 1, he will repeat Grade R next year. Now, if you remember, I did have my issues with this… I think he is smart enough to enter Grade 1 next year. I think he is emotionally ready purely because I think he is on par with his peers who WILL enter Grade 1 next year. I sincerely think he would have been fine in Grade 1 next year. Hashtag Just Saying. However (and I know Cat will be happy with this!) I’ve decided that that extra year will do him no harm – it will be to his benefit in fact. He’ll be none the wiser, he is moving schools so it’s not like his friends move on and he stays behind, it’s still a new experience for him. Also, he’ll be the same age as his peers, he’ll participate in sports and extra murals with the correct age group, he’ll have a whole year on his peers (having repeated Grade R) so he should be the most brightest and most cleverest and most wonderful boy there (I need to work on this competitive thing, I really do). I’m kidding. The main reason is that I want him to be in the best position to feed into the big school we have chosen. And his best chance of this, is if he attends the preschool which feeds into that primary school – because we do not live in the catchment area and this automatically puts us on the B list and I simply cannot take that chance. No ways.

The primary school is government and because we are going government, I’ve really put a lot of time and energy in selecting a GOOD one.. however, the preschool is privately run and the fees are HECTIC. AND its half day. AND they only get a mid morning snack. Where they are now, although the fees are high, it’s full day and they get breakfast and lunch and two snacks in between. This also means that I’ll have TWO school drop offs because Hannah will stay where she is for another year. It’s going to be quite a change (and challenge) to our routine. BUT, it’s a great school. And that is all. I am willing to make sacrifices NOW in order to make sure this kid gets the education I so desire for him (at a rate I can afford!).

So this is why I’m feeling all sorts of anxious this morning. He HAS to get into this school. I may or may not have overdone it with the application and made it pretty with colourful tabs and a lovely folder and fancy paper clips and a letter of recommendation from MYSELF about my OWN kid. His current principal has assured me that she will make a call and give him (and us) a further glowing report. I’ve prayed over this application and I’m THIS close to spraying my perfume on it – kind of like a love letter. I’m JOKING. Relax.

So hold thumbs for me. I mean for Liam. Who would have thought that big school would be so stressful?

Ps: can someone explain to me, the reason that schools request such a LARGE sum of money as a NON REFUNDABLE application fee?? What do they use that money for? I mean WHAT is the purpose of the application fee? You paying to submit a whole lot of papers basically? And if your child is rejected you don’t even get it back! WAH! And who’s to say that they don’t  just keep accepting applications even though they know they are full, in order to cash up with the NON REFUNDABLE application fee? I don’t know, can someone explain this to me?

BeFunky_school app.jpg

Easter! Yes! Can’t wait!


I’m excited about Easter this year. Firstly because it’s my husband’s first Easter at home in three years because he is usually in Cape Town at the Two Oceans and secondly because my most precious’ssssss are coming for the long weekend (my sister and family). And thirdly because I ADORE Easter. I love Easter way more than I do Christmas. For me, Easter is like THE most important event on the Christian calendar, yes yes yes Christmas is important – it’s the birth of Jesus, yes of course I get that. But Easter is like HUGE. HUUUUGE. The King of the World, the Savior, the Lord of Lords DIED for us. And THEN… He rose again and reigns forever. I mean that is the cornerstone of our faith. That is like UH-MAZING. Here’s a bad photo of the billboard currently outside our church, it gives me goosebumps.

easter

 

The Catholic church is big on symbolism and tradition as we know, and growing up I must say that I enjoyed the pomp and ceremony of the Easter season in the Catholic church. Reenacting Palm Sunday, the Last Supper and the Washing of the Feet on Holy Thursday, the solemnity of Good Friday with enough incense to start a fire, and of course the celebration of the Risen Christ on Sunday. But aside from the ceremonial stuff, which is just that, Easter is like THE best thing that happened in the history of the world. You get that, right?

Anyway, I digress.

The other tradition that comes with Easter is PICKLED FISH. WOO HOOO! Please don’t ask why we only wait for this time of the year to make this dish, but perhaps it’s a good thing. Having it just once a year makes it that much more special. I blogged last year about the Pickle Fish thing and asked if it was only a Coloured thing and turns out it isn’t, but I think the Coloured community take their Pickled Fish pretty seriously. So because I am hosting Easter this year, I need to make the Pickled Fish. Here’s a picture of my sister’s Pickled Fish from last year. You see that turmeric yellow? You see those big chunky onions? You see those black pepper corns? THIS is what real Picked Fish is supposed to look like – the fish is underneath all of those onions for those of you who are wondering. Sidenote and funny story: husband and I had our first Easter together in London like a million years ago and I tried to impress him with Pickled Fish and used a WHOLE bottle of vinegar to brine the bloody fish… OH MY SOUL, it was bad. BAD. My recipe has vastly improved since then.

 pickled fish

 

Hot cross buns. Everyday. All day. We’ve been through a few dozen already. But all of a sudden, these two banana children of mine decide they don’t eat hot cross buns because they don’t like bread and raisins together? Happy to eat raisins on their own. Or bread on its own. But not raisins in bread. But if I toast it and put loads of butter, all of a sudden bread and raisins are cool together. Totally cool. They can eat 3 of those in a row (three halves, not whole buns).

Easter eggs. FOR ONCE I am ahead of the curve and have already bought and stashed my Easter eggs. Usually, I’m the person crying in the chocolate aisle, staring at empty shelves which only house the broken eggs which nobody wanted to buy. But this year I am prepared. And can we just take a moment of silence for the Beacon box of marshmallow eggs which has escalated to SEVENTY SOUTH AFRICAN RONDS this year? Seriously? I understand inflation, but R70?? I got mine for R57 at Spar and even that I bought grudgingly. We use these for the annual Easter egg hunt and this year I have a lekker big yard for it so I am really excited. Although I’ll admit the first thought that crossed my mind when I was planning the hunt in my head is WHAT will I do with Rocky? That dog has a nose like … well like a dog. He will sniff those marshmallows out and devour them before Christ has even risen.

So there’ll be lots of church and lots of chocolate and lots of laughs and lots of tears as we remember the greatest sacrifice ever made. I LOVE EASTER!!! CAN’T WAIT!!! Is Easter big for you?

Random questions I need answers to please.


  1. Has anyone ever actually responded to these sms’s and emails about how you’ve been selected as a recipient for the gazillion dollar estate of the late Mrs Frederica Carrera? Or the one from the Afghanistani soldier who is apparently rolling in the dough and needs to make an urgent deposit into your account. Or how my sim card has won a RICA competition and the prize is  R175 000 and I must contact Mr Molefe to claim my prize. We roll our eyes and hit delete, but has anyone actually contacted these people to claim their millions? Who’s on the other side? What do they actually want from you? Is it just a strategy to build a database of people and their information? Do they steal money out of your bank account? What’s the deal with these things? Come on, be honest, who has responded to these messages? Did you get your share of the deceased estate? It’s ok, we’re all friends here, I won’t judge you.

  1. Do people still use Internet Explorer in the real world? Man alive. I work for a French company and even though we are like on the other end of the world, like so far apart that planes can go missing between us, we all run off one amazing system. By “amazing” I actually mean “stupid.” I don’t know the details but basically our servers are housed in Paris. Now perhaps its only the South African version of Internet Explorer that sucks but these Frenchies insist that we use IE as our main browser. It feels like been back in the days of Nokia 3310. It feels like sending a fax. It feels like listening to dial up internet. It feels like going to an internet café to check your Yahoo account. IT FEELS LIKE THE DARK AGES BASICALLY. Even if I download Chrome sneakily, it doesn’t work. You get a whole lotta French people’s backs up if its detected you are not using IE. So I put it to you, are there any other poor sods using IE? I’d like to start a support group. When will they just ban it forever?

  1. Who pays car guards in shopping centres where you already pay for parking? So I almost always choose undercover parking because I don’t fancy getting heatstroke from getting into a vehicle that has been standing in the sun for too long. But hey, these days it’s not even undercover parking that you are made to pay for. Most shopping centres charge you to park in their parking facility. Fair enough, what can one do. But I get the hee-bee-gee-beez when I unlock my car and I am arrested by people wanting to wash my car (ok shame, these guys I need to just be patient with) and the other dude waving hello and signaling that he will watch my car in exchange for money. Hello? I though the fact that I drove into this premium priced parking space with a boom gate meant that my car was going to be relatively safe. And parking is not cheap I tell you! NOW I must still pay some other random dude to “watch” my car? I don’t get it? And I feel baaaad not to give dude something but really, who’s really been suckered here? More so when he is nowhere near my car and then comes rushing to direct me out of the parking? Oh wait, are these guys just there to direct you out of your parking? Is this like a value added service? Do you pay for parking AND pay the man in his reflective shiny “car guard” jacket?

  1. Who are these people who like their own statuses on Facebook and favourite their own tweets on Twitter? At first I thought it was pretty funny but now it really makes me wonder what goes on in their heads:  “Today is going to be a good day! Happy Tuesday friends!”(Ah, that was such a nice status if I may say so myself, let me like it!) What? No man! Stop it! Look if you’ve really done something amazing like won a hot dog eating competition or picked up all the dog poo in your yard, then yes go ahead and like that status, you deserve it, but liking every single thing you say YOURSELF is a bit weird. I love it that you have such a high self esteem, your ooze confidence, that’s great, really I do believe that you can’t love others unless you love yourself,  but go easy on the public self love. Come on, who are the closet self-likers? Have you ever liked your own status? And pray tell, WHY?? Sidenote: have you ever liked something by mistake? I do this ALL the time while stalking people’s FB pages. And then I quickly unlike. And then I have a sleepless night wondering if the person saw that I liked and unliked. But still, I’d rather mistakenly like someone else’s status than openly like my own.

 

Lessons learned from kids who pray


I don’t think there is ANYTHING cuter than listening to a child pray. We try to stifle giggles, as I don’t ever want them to be put off their own unique style of talking to their daddy in heaven, but my word it’s difficult to contain the laughter sometimes. You got to hear the things these kids come up with. Husband and I cover our faces and sneak looks at each other and sometimes I just cannot be serious and I let a small giggle out and have to quickly convert it into a coughing fit because coughing they understand, laughing during praying is, however, severely frowned upon.

But this is nothing new. I remember praying as a child with my brothers and sister and parents. Getting the giggles was contagious and happened often. One of us would start and before long everyone would be hosing themselves, tears streaming down our faces – over nothing in particular. But sometimes it’s just difficult to be serious all the time, isn’t it?

Hannah’s latest prayers include asking Jesus to please make Rocky stop crying early in the morning because she needs to get her sleep in so that she doesn’t feel sleepy in the day because she absolutely does not want to have a nap in the day. Her words, not mine.

Liam prays for his nieces and nephews. We’re like WHO are your nieces and nephews? He says “but you say that?”

They pray for rain – not so that the trees and flowers can grow – but because they want to wear takkies tomorrow and if the sun is shining mommy is going to make us wear our slops.

They DO NOT want their aunty or granny to pray EVER because “they pray for tooooo long” apparently.

Hannah prays for Kanyiso at school because he is so naughty, and he needs help to be a good listener when teacher talks. Again, her words not mine.

They pray for each other’s sores and bumps and bruises, which is fine. But when a person wants to mention every single blue mark, mosquito bite, that time when I bite my tongue and it was sore, that time mommy smacked me and it was sore. And then ask for HEALING in JESUS NAME! Woooooo, I HOSE myself.

And then of course the mentioning of every single person we know. From the oldest to the youngest. Look, I’m happy to just group people. Parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, friends and so on. Jesus knows, OK. But to mention everyone by name – while the clock is ticking way past bedtime hour. Sometimes it’s funny and sometimes I need to reign that in and yell AMEN just to get them to STOP ALREADY.

What about asking for help to be a good boy or girl. No, not because it is what we are called to do, no. They ask for help  to be good children so that God can give them a prize. A prize? Now I’m not sure what’s been whispered to them in their dreams, but I’m pretty sure God is not like me who hands out prizes (read: sweets) for good behaviour.

And how they pray with a hidden agenda: please forgive Hannah for that time today when she didn’t want to share her toys with me. Loosely translated, what he is actually trying to say is: WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE YOU ARE SELFISH HANNAH AND YA, NOW I’M TELLING ON YOU TO GOD.

One cannot be serious when listening to a small child pray!

I love how they are uninhibited in their requests. I love how they truly trust that God will make it alright. Talk about coming boldly before the Throne!!

Anyway, I was reading this excerpt from Paul Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World, (full article here)

It sums it up PERFECTLY! It’s long but READ IT!

Jesus wants us to be without pretense when we come to him in prayer. Instead, we often try to be something we aren’t. We begin by concentrating on God, but almost immediately our minds wander off in a dozen different directions. The problems of the day push out our well-intentioned resolve to be spiritual. We give ourselves a spiritual kick in the pants and try again, but life crowds out prayer. We know that prayer isn’t supposed to be like this, so we give up in despair. We might as well get something done.

What’s the problem? We’re trying to be spiritual, to get it right. We know we don’t need to clean up our act in order to become a Christian, but when it comes to praying, we forget that. We, like adults, try to fix ourselves up. In contrast, Jesus wants us to come to him like little children, just as we are.

The difficulty of coming just as we are is that we are messy. And prayer makes it worse. When we slow down to pray, we are immediately confronted with how unspiritual we are, with how difficult it is to concentrate on God. We don’t know how bad we are until we try to be good. Nothing exposes our selfishness and spiritual powerlessness like prayer.

In contrast, little children never get frozen by their selfishness. Like the disciples, they come just as they are, totally self-absorbed. They seldom get it right. As parents or friends, we know all that. In fact, we are delighted (most of the time!) to find out what is on their little hearts. We don’t scold them for being self-absorbed or fearful. That is just who they are.

This isn’t just a random observation about how parents respond to little children. This is the gospel, the welcoming heart of God. God also cheers when we come to him with our wobbling, unsteady prayers. Jesus does not say, “Come to me, all you who have learned how to concentrate in prayer, whose minds no longer wander, and I will give you rest.” No, Jesus opens his arms to his needy children and says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NASB). The criteria for coming to Jesus is weariness. Come overwhelmed with life. Come with your wandering mind. Come messy.

What does it feel like to be weary? You have trouble concentrating. The problems of the day are like claws in your brain. You feel pummeled by life.

What does heavy-laden feel like? Same thing. You have so many problems you don’t even know where to start. You can’t do life on your own anymore. Jesus wants you to come to him that way! Your weariness drives you to him.

Don’t try to get the prayer right; just tell God where you are and what’s on your mind. That’s what little children do. They come as they are, runny noses and all. Like the disciples, they just say what is on their minds.

We know that to become a Christian we shouldn’t try to fix ourselves up, but when it comes to praying we completely forget that. We’ll sing the old gospel hymn, “Just as I Am,” but when it comes to praying, we don’t come just as we are. We try, like adults, to fix ourselves up.

Private, personal prayer is one of the last great bastions of legalism. In order to pray like a child, you might need to unlearn the non-personal, non-real praying that you’ve been taught

So instead of being paralyzed by who you are, begin with who you are. That’s how the gospel works. God begins with you. It’s a little scary because you are messed up.

Become like the little children Jesus surrounded himself with. When Nathanael first hears about Jesus, he says the first thing that comes to his mind: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). It is the pure, uncensored Nathanael. When Jesus greets Nathanael, you can almost see Jesus smiling when he says, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” (1:47). Jesus ignores the fact that Nathanael has judged Jesus’ entire family and friends in Nazareth. He simply enjoys that Nathanael is real, without guile, a man who doesn’t pretend. Jesus seems to miss the sin and see a person.

It is classic Jesus. He loves real people.

God would much rather deal with the real thing. Jesus said that he came for sinners, for messed-up people who keep messing up (see Luke 15:1-2). Come dirty.