Why do brussels sprouts have such a bad rep?

So I’m by no means a food blogger, and my husband has now banned me from posting foodie photos on Instagram because he doesn’t understand why the whole world needs to see what we are having for dinner. But sometimes I HAVE to share a really good recipe. Or I HAVE to show off when I prepare a really awesome kiddie dish with tomato wedges for smiles and olives for eyes… you know the kind from Pinterest?


So yesterday after I picked the kids up from school, we had to dash to the shops to find something to cook for dinner. My pantry is empty. It’s these days in between month end-payday-and-actually getting-to-a-shop-to-do-your-monthly-groceries. Does anyone else have that period just after pay day when you need to do a big shop but you don’t have time, so you’re buying a little every night just to take you to the weekend when you can actually do a big shop? I despise this period but here we are again for the 457th month in a row. So the three of us were standing in the veggie aisle, debating about what we should have for dinner. Hannah wanted meatballs and spaghetti as she always does. Liam suggested rice and potatoes, I thought don’t worry boy, those days in the month are coming, but for now we can afford some meat.. ha. And then my eyes fell upon the brussels sprouts and because a friend had brought a brussels sprouts salad for lunch yesterday, I was feeling tender towards the sprouts. So I got a packet of  Bits ‘O Bacon, a bag of baby marrows, some fresh cream and the brussels sprouts.

As I always do in the kitchen, I pretty much winged it. Some times it works, some times it doesn’t. But this worked really well.

I sliced (not chopped) my onions and friend them in some olive oil, garlic and ginger  – a mix my mother in law makes for me.  I threw in some chilli flakes, more garlic flakes and lots of black pepper. Once the onions were starting to stick, I threw in the bacon bits and let that fry up. Then I halved the brussels sprouts, and cut the marrows into biggish chunks and threw those in and put the lid on just to get them to steam through. Added the cream, milk and some Maziena, and I let that cook up for literally five minutes. And voila dinner was ready. I served it with spaghetti.

The kids loved their “baby lettuces,” hubby loved it and I thought it was bloody marvelous. The brussels sprouts were still crunchy, the marrows were garlicky and buttery (I just made those words up) and the bacon… well we just LOVE bacon, you can give me bacon on stale bread and I’ll still love it.

As I said, I am not a food blogger, so this photo is literally my phone in the pot. On second thought I should have plated it and thrown some garnish on the top, and used a really cool filter, but whatever. Here’s how it looked.

brusselsIt took all of half an hour from start to finish, including chopping time, yelling at kids, directing homework, setting the table, washing hands and finally sitting down. Not bad, hey?

Seriously, what’s your purpose in life?

Last night I had a team meeting at church, so the kids were home with their father. When I got back I went into their rooms to say good night and I jumped in with Hannah for a minute:

Hannah: How was your meeting?

Me: It was good.

Hannah: What did you learn?

Me: We learned about staying motivated, about being obedient even when it’s hard or you don’t feel like it.

Hannah: Oh, like Jonah.

Me: Hey? (I have got to stop saying hey)

Hannah: Like when Jonah wasn’t listening but then after he got out of the whale he was obedient to God and he went to Nineveh, but he didn’t feel like it the first time.

Firstly, I was gobsmacked at her absolutely perfect pronunciation of Nineveh, when she can’t even say “probably” properly! She says “pahbly!”

But more than that, I can’t believe how she ‘gets it.’  We haven’t read this story in ages, yet it has stayed with her, and she knows this very important Bible truth. I mean the stuff I was learning about in an adult prayer meeting, this 4 year old summed up for me in a few words.

Obedience rules over emotion.

We have to be obedient to the Will of God even if we don’t feel like it. Even if we’re tired, or life gets busy, or it just becomes too hard. And obedience to God falls out of the parameters of just The Ten Commandments. We always think as long as we don’t kill, steal or commit adultery, we’re doing OK as Christians. Well actually, no. It means being a GREAT wife, even when I don’t feel like it, because God has called me to be a GREAT wife. It means being patient and loving and gentle with my children even when it’s really hard because they can be really difficult, because it is God’s will for me to be a GOOD mother to my children. It’s fitting in quiet time with God during every day because that is obedience to what God instructs us directly to do in His Word – even Jesus went aside from the crowds to have quiet time with His father and he was perfect! It’s helping the poor, it’s going out of your way for someone, it’s being up early every Sunday morning at my post where I volunteer, even if I’ve had a rough Saturday night and I’m tired, it’s staying away from gossip even when it’s REALLY hard because it’s such a juicy story. It’s forgiving others EEEVVEENN when you don’t want to, or it hurts, or you’ve been really offended.

Obedience to God rules over emotion – it trumps our feelings.

Oh boy, it’s hard. It’s SO hard. I have two special friends and together we’re trying to plough through the Bible – one book at a time (Captain America voice), and even that can be difficult for me. I get bored, I get tired, I find something else to do in that time. Doing the right thing is not always easy. It takes motivation and it takes making a decision to do so every single day.  Putting aside your own desires, for the  plans and purposes of God.

How do you know what God’s plan and purpose for your life is? Well how do you know what your plan and purpose at your work is? How do you know what your plan and purpose for your marriage is? You talk to your boss and you guys discuss your career path, right? You talk to your husband / wife and you guys discuss your hopes and dreams and your plans for your marriage, right? And you connect often to make sure everything is on track, right? And so it is with God. If we’re not talking to God, reading His Word, praying and praying and praying (x50000), then we may be confused about our purpose.

You know what always amazes me about other faiths and religions? The emphasis they place on KNOWING, MEMORISING, FILLING THEMSELVES with their “scriptures.” Jewish boys need to know and quote the Torah before they reach bar mitzvah. Muslims are urged to learn the Qur’an off by heart. But as a Christian. I’ve only recently come to understand the importance of knowing what the Bible says, what GOD is saying about keeping His words and storing up His commands within me. About guarding His teachings as the apple of my eye, about binding them on my fingers and writing them on the tablet of my heart (Prov 7:1-3).  Growing up in a catholic family, DIRECTLY out of the Bible, I probably only learned the Our Father and I vaguely remember having to learn Matt 5: 3 – 10 before I was confirmed – The Sermon on the Mount. That was it. We had no other urge to read anything else in the Bible, other than a few verses on a Sunday at church.

I was chatting with my mother and sister, and we were talking about getting the kids (and me) to memorise Bible verses that speak truth and life and speak the promises of God. We need to KNOW these things, people. We need to be able to say it out loud, to motivate us and move us, to keep us focused on the goal, to keep us from succumbing to the challenges that life brings. If we don’t know what the Master is saying, how can we possibly know what we need to be doing? Yes, we have an idea but do we know word for word what God Almighty is saying?

My kids can recite poetry for days. And it gives me ABSOLUTE joy listening to them recite, truly I LOVE it! My granny used to love listening to us sing songs and say poems for her, and now I kind of know why. How much more when God hears us singing love songs back to Him? How much more when God hears us understanding and knowing and figuring out our lives according to His will?

So we started. If they can learn poetry, then they can very well learn the  Bible. We’re learning Psalm 91 off by heart. The kids know verse 1 – 2 already. And when we say it together, let me tell you, I get goosebumps. It’s like praying – it’s like an infilling of the Holy Spirit, it’s like God’s Word COME ALIVE.  “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. THIS I declare of the Lord: He ALONE is my refuge, my place of safety; he is MY God, and I am trusting HIM.”

You see, I learned a lot of these things late in my life. But here I have the chance to get it right with Liam and Hannah. And if receiving this revelation so late has made such a difference in MY life (and most importantly in where I spend eternity hereafter), how much more amazing if I get to plant this seed for my kids NOW. If I can help set them up and position them for God to reveal Himself to them. This is part of my purpose, I have no doubt.

Obedience rules over emotion.


The thing about having a girl child

Boys just have it easier in life. Like seriously. Even at the tender age of 4, Hannah is learning that the male species got off light, compared to the fairer sex.

Case in point #1. HAIR

Poor Hannah cries at least twice a week when I have to brush her hair. And not because she doesn’t want to, but because it’s SORE. I know how sore it is, I can remember being a little girl and my mother pulling my head this way and that. She looks at Liam enviously as he just does forward-down-down-down (the routine he brushes his hair in.) When he gets out of the pool, he just jumps in the shower and shampoos and dries, whereas she has to wash, comb, style. A process that takes at least 45 minutes. I do not make a big deal out of hair, she has a beautiful thick mane which does take time to maintain but I try my best not to make an issue out of it. Husband wants me to cut her hair to lessen the drama, but I refuse to cut her hair short as it would just mean more maintenance for me and more tears for her. Short coloured hair does not equal easier to manage, it equals MORE maintenance! Ask me, I know.

Case in point #2. PEEING

Do you know how much longer it takes for a girl to make a wee, versus a boy? About half a minute. Which in preschooler time, translates into FOREVERRRRR. We’re still at the age where I force pee breaks because Hannah still forgets if she is having too much fun. The fact that she has to sit and wipe makes her mad when Liam just has to aim and make a big joke out of his peeing experience (typical male behaviour right here). I try to make her feel better by whispering in her ear that he gets wee all over his hand and she doesn’t, eeeuuw. She likes that a lot.

Case in point #3. GETTING DRESSED

This is all on her. Because she is a girl. Because it’s in our genetic makeup. Because we were blessed with feeeeelings and emotions. Stuff that the male population just don’t seem to have. For the most part, I let them choose their own clothes. Liam yanks out the first t shirt and shorts he comes across, while leaving the rest of his wardrobe looking like a whirlwind tore through it. Hannah, on the other hand, will take about 7 minutes to decide what to wear – even if she, too, is only choosing a t shirt and shorts. She will pack everything back neatly, and then second guess her choice, and then go back and choose something else. And then shoes, oh the shoes. Slops? Sandals? Takkies? Which colour? OH THE CHOICES ONE HAS TO MAKE. And it weighs heavily on her. It really does. Like how getting dressed in the mornings weighs heavily on me. It’s a girl thing, I am convinced. And even though she is quite tom-boyish, this is still a factor in her little genetic make up. Fascinating stuff, right?

Case in point #4. FEEEEELINGS and EMOTIONS

I touched on it already, but feelings and emotions are just different in girls. Even the rough and tumble girls, like my Hannah. We just can’t help it. Even when we don’t want to, we can’t keep the tears from falling. We can’t help feeling sorry for everything and everyone. We can’t help crying dramatically when our nail polish chips. We can’t help defending the underdog. And we can’t help screaming in a fit of rage when we lose at Uno or Snakes and Ladders. When you hurt our feelings, we will most likely want to punch your head in, and we will lash out and say things that we don’t really mean… like calling your brother a doo-doo-head. Whereas brother in the same situations will roll his eyes, probably pick his nose and wonder what’s for supper.

Oh my baby girl, it’s tough out here for us (you don’t even know about heart break, getting your period, then planning a wedding, then HAVING A BABY, to name just a few). But the other glorious side to being a girl is that we get to be the nurturers, the carers, the moms, the sisters, the BFFs – and we just do all those things really well because of point #4 above. We get to smell good and we LIKE to take baths. We get to share our feelings and eat ice cream straight out of the tub when we want to. We have an excuse every month to get out of doing stuff we don’t want to do. We can wear shorts and jeans AND skirts and dresses. How cool? And if you never ever want to wear a dress, that’s cool too, because how you dress has very little to do with anything anyway. But we have choices; guys don’t have that. They get to wear pants and black socks and only have one pair of smart shoes EVER. I think your Daddy STILL wears his wedding shoes for his “smart” shoes. Shame!

So don’t look at your brother and wish you could be like him, believe me, his time is coming… we are going to laugh for DAYSSSSS when his voice breaks in a few years. DAYSSS!

han and umbrella

I still love it here.

Hello world

This marks the longest I have ever been away from my little (cyber)space. I could tell you that I have just been very busy with life. Or I could tell you that I had nothing to write about. Or I could tell you that I was away on a romantic month long cruise to the Bahamas.

But none of those would be true.

I have been writing words elsewhere.  Oh the BETRAYAL! And what I’ve found is that when I write elsewhere, I don’t have the words to write here too. It’s like I’m all written out. Which is ridiculous because the words I write elsewhere have nothing to do with what I like to write about here.

Anyway. A mini catch up.

I had a birthday and I am STILL getting presents, isn’t it wonderful to have a birthday? I love my birthday for many reasons. It’s the start of Spring, I LOVE the hot weather. We usually start talking about Christmas and focusing on  the holidays and the end of the year from about September; it’s downhill to the end of the year from here!

Liam sprouted four new teeth. So I wrote about him losing his two bottom teeth, and that space was quickly filled with two yellow-ish jagged-edged teeth. Apparently that initial colouring is normal, according to Google, because I was horrified I can tell you. But a few weeks on, he was complaining about toothache. My initial response was that he ate too many sweets and that his tooth was probably rotten and that he should suck it up. But the kid started to complain quite a bit, so I had a look and way at the back were two whopper molars peeping through. I got the shock of my life, teething stops at like two or three, doesn’t it? I thought this kid was sprouting his wisdom teeth, I mean he is smart, but not THAT smart. Once again, Google to the rescue… he’ll still get quite a few more molars, plus 4 wisdom teeth to take him to an adult total of 32 teeth. Daai’s ‘n mond vol tanne, neh? And, once the front two pop out, it automatically triggers everything else and the back teeth start popping out, the human body is amazing, right? So that little episode was pretty exciting.

Orientation Day for big school is on the 19th November. My kid is graduating from preschool on the 5 November. I cannot wrap my head around it. My kid? My baby? Going to big school? He is so excited, I keep asking him things like “aren’t you going to miss your old friends?” Or “what if you can’t make any new friends?” Or “You’ll show the teacher how clever you are so she likes you, right?” Ok ok ok, I’m joking about that last question. Well, half joking. Anyway, my Prophetess of Doom questions are more my own fears playing out than anything else. I’m terrified for him and I want him to be prepared for how hard it could be. But you know what he says, he says stuff like he can’t WAIT for big school. He can’t wait to make new friends, and he can still see his old friends because I will set up play dates, won’t you mummy? And he can’t wait to meet his new teacher and he is just going to LOOOOOOOVE her. This kid.

We’re going through another girly phase with Hannah. She wants to wear dresses and jewellery and she wants to leave her hair loose. I let her choose her own swimming costume in Woolies the other day, and she went for a bikini. A really cute girly one. Now I’ve read all the articles on how dressing your small girl child in a bikini sends wrong signals and all that, and my own personal view is that Hannah usually swims in her undies, her most favourite thing to do. Adding a little top to that is a step up, believe me. Jokes aside, I will admit that I see no harm in the innocence of a little girl in her Barbie bikini. There is nothing sexual about it at all, and the only place she swims is under my eagle eye. If we’re going to pick on the bikini, then we may as well pick on the teeny tiny shorts I see in the mall, or this midriff craze that shows more belly than t-shirt. Just saying. Anyway, I digress. So I’m loving the girly phase, although she still wants to be a man when she grows up. A daddy to be exact.

The run up to  Christmas is in full force. We have something on every single weekend from now right up until mid December. I am trying to take a friend’s advice and ensure that I only have one social a weekend – for my own sanity – but with so much going on, it’s not always possible. That and FOMO. I don’t want to miss out, even though you’ll hear me complaining nonstop on a Monday morning about what a hectic weekend I had. FOMO, it is a disease.

And lastly, I have a question. For all you tech savvy know-it-alls.. So I bought my very own domain ( I don’t even know if those are the correct words.) Let me try again. I am trying to move over to a self hosted site. Ok, I don’t know if that makes sense. Basically instead of wordpress.com, my blog will be .co.za. Got it? I was so proud of myself. It was like leaving home for the first time.

Until it got complicated.

Man, I have tried EVERYTHING, read a bazillion tutorials, and I can’t export/import all my blog history into the new site. I am so FED UP with it, that I’ve just left it. Now my very own .co.za site stands empty. Believe me, I have tried the usual routes, it.does.not.work. So if you fancy yourself a genius, help a sister out won’t you?

Otherwise, I hope you are all well. Forgive me lack of comments on your blogs, my Feedly Reader was showing close to 280 unread posts. I was tempted to hit the “mark as read” button; Julia said I should. But again, the FOMO got to me. So I am working really hard at wading through all of those.

Happy 4th quarter! The end of the year is almost here! xx