Category Archives: Marriage

Finding joy where you are


I’ve blogged about this joy-versus-happiness thing before but I need to talk about this again.

Happiness is a feeling or emotion that ebbs and flows as you go through the highs and lows of your natural life. Obviously, we aren’t always happy. And thank goodness because we all need a dose of the sads to keep us humble, right? But more importantly, the beauty of our humanness is in experiencing the full spectrum of emotions we were built to endure. I won’t lie, I love the release of a full blown snot-inducing ugly cry now and again. Sometimes I secretly enjoy being miz and just climbing under my duvet and shutting everybody out. And let’s be honest, we all roll our eyes at the eternally happy colleague who skips down the corridors in the work place spreading sunshine wherever she goes.

However, joy springs from something deep inside of you. It starts off as a choice, and then burgeons into a belief. It is spurred on by faith and it is not moved by or dependent on circumstance. It is not dictated by your mood or your feelings or the number of snotty tears you cry. Joy remains unshakable in the wake of trials. Joy says I believe that even though this situation sucks right now, God is still the King of the world. He has overcome this. He is on the throne. Whether you like it or not, God’s Will, will be done. And God’s will is always good, is always favourable, is always blessing.

Let me give you an example of my own life right now, just in case Facebook or my Instagram feed has led you to believe that it’s all unicorns and sunbeams around here. My husband and I still argue and disagree on a plethora of things, we are not that couple who “turn the other cheek.”  We are either in a silent treatment face-off or a battle of wills over who gets the last word (I win most times, just saying). Now while there is sadness and disappointment and a lack of respect in these moments, it doesn’t detract from the joy I feel every time I consider that this is MY man (Denzel Washington voice) until I die. My children never fail to confuse and upset me. With every age I’m more astounded at how much harder this parenting thing gets, I mean really can I get a break. I got called in for Liam’s behaviour the other day. Me? I never got called into the teacher’s office NOT ONCE while I was in school, but I’m getting called in for my spawn? NOT COOL. While Hannah has turned into an absolute dream of a child, truly she is my most favourite daughter, she is as volatile as a Slinky… can you say up and down? But with all the difficulties of parenthood, the inexplicable and constant joy I feel whenever I think about these two perfect children is just there. And then there’s the circumstances we face… we’re still in the process of finalising our house sale which means lots of money and lots of anxiety. Secondly, I called the school I had planned to enrol Hannah in for next year to be told that they are actually full, now what? If you know me, you’ll know that sorting out schools for my children has been a project I have dedicated myself to fully and to be rejected in this way was like a slap in the face. And then the daily stresses of life… when there’s more month than money, when your appliances all seem to die at the same time, when you’re drowning in the stress of trying to please all your friends. This may not be true for you, but it is highly stressful for me to try and fit everyone in. I have a guilt complex over trying to meet up with all the special people in my life. There’s the loss of a pet, the boy child who has regressed and cries at bedtime because he is scared of the dark, the point on your to-do list you forgot about and now your boss is pissed off. Guys, if we had to focus on the things that were wrong in our lives at any given moment, we would be truly doomed. I’ve seen people in the darkest of valleys these last few weeks. People who have lost loved ones, people who have been retrenched, people who are going through fires that you and I will never understand and I think to myself HOW do you move forward in the face of such adversity?

But then joy steps in. I don’t know where you find your joy, but I find mine in the Lord. I remain joyful and hopeful and reliant on the fact that I will not succumb to the injuries I face. That this season will pass, that goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life (Ps23:6). I remain confident that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Ps 27:13).  You see, joy transcends the here and now and looks forward to the future. It veils your eyes with wisdom enough to see through the pain you may be enduring. Joy is that thing that makes you laugh through your tears, it makes you expectant even when you’re all out of options in the natural, and it comes from a deep-seated knowledge that it isn’t over until God wins.

The life I have been missing: why downsizing your life is the bomb diggity.


Hello guys. I’ve missed you *throwskissesallaround.*

Let me bring you up to speed. There’s so much that has been going on. Stuff I’ve wanted to keep private until now because there was a lot of transitioning that needed to take place. Physical transition, but also a mental transition and while the journey has been difficult, the destination is so worth it. SO.WORTH.IT. And we aren’t even there yet!

If you know me well, you’ll know I’ve been talking about downsizing my life for a while now. I even blogged about it here. Downsizing in the sense of simplifying and streamlining the way we do life. I do believe there are many ways you can simplify your life in small ways every day. But sometimes it takes a huge step of faith to make a change even when the pros don’t necessarily outweigh the cons.

I’ve been listening to lots of people in my life, I’ve been reading lots of blog posts and the thread is always the same. People are busy, their lives are hectic, they are stressed out and finding it difficult to balance careers/parenting/finances/relationships/LIFE on the whole. I’m one of those people. But I got to the point where I knew we had to make a drastic change in order to calm the pace of our lives.

So what’s changed?

We moved house! We now live in walking distance to my work. Hannah walks to and from school. Liam’s school is 5kms away. Church is 3 minutes away. I cannot explain the difference this has made. We wake up when the sun is up, our school mornings are leisurely and everyone is calm. I am home at 4pm most days. This means I can cook peacefully, I can sit down and monitor homework, by 6pm everyone is ready for bed which means we have an hour and a half to do whatever we like. Some days I fit gym in before supper. By the time my husband gets home, I am like a 1950’s wife (without the pressed hair and makeup) and ready to serve him and attend to his needs unlike the past where we were all chasing our tails to bedtime.

That’s the physical transition.

Mentally, it was difficult to let go. Going into a complex when you’re used to living in a house on a street is not without its challenges. Giving up a big yard and lots of space was a mind adjustment. We gave away a lot of stuff, sold off some furniture and threw out all the dead wood. Most difficult of all was letting go of Rocky.  Losing the space meant losing our Rottweiler who needed that space. I am grateful that he has been re-homed and he is happy, but we still miss him of course.

But nothing: not a big house, not a fancy car, not all the yard space in the world, not the swimming pool… nothing is comparable to the peace of mind I’ve gained in moving closer to where we do life. I can’t believe we spent the last eight years travelling first from the Westrand and then from Midrand into Zone 1, as I call it. And this is not applicable to everyone either, if you are not governed by school times, peak hour traffic which is unavoidable, and your personality type is such that sitting in traffic doesn’t send you over the edge (God bless you), that’s great. But for me, this move has been life altering. I’m a better mother, wife and human for it.  And let me tell you, all those things that you think define who you are and what you’ve accomplished? All the niceties we think we cannot do without? I can vouch for the fact that there is absolute freedom in not being bound by those things which we think defines us.

What do you know, I even have more time to blog! Stay tuned to see how else I’ve downsized my thinking (not my dreams) and my life.

Tact. Full Disclosure.


I’ve had it on my heart to write about this for a while, but at the risk of putting myself out there or offending someone, I’ve kinda put it off. But now I think it’s time for full disclosure.

I’m a talk-now-think-later sort of person. I can run off at the mouth and very often later regret what I divulged. I’m impulsive and I generally say what I think. I don’t think this is cool. I don’t think it’s a great quality to possess. In fact, I think it’s quite off putting.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for speaking your mind and “putting people in their place” when the situation calls for it. I’m all for honesty upfront and cards on the table and that bravado that let’s you call out bull dust as soon as you see it.

But. Tact.

Tact.

I believe that being able to guard your thoughts, being able to think something through in your mind, even if it’s just for 3 seconds before you spit it out, being able to hold back when your mind is  screaming at you to pounce… THAT right there is an art. And it’s called tact.

There are some people who have tact down to an art. My mother is one of these people. My mother has such a way of saying things that you cannot help but listen and obey. It’s incredible. She doesn’t shout. Ever. She doesn’t use big words or frighten you into action. She just chooses her words tactfully, her words soothe over you and have the right effect on the listener. Like she could tell you that you totally suck or that your hairstyle doesn’t suit you or that you are not a very nice person, without you being offended at all. And yet you would have absolutely gotten the message. It’s amazing.

There is power in the spoken word. Often HOW we say things is much more pertinent than the actual words we use. But the words we use also have the ability to make or break the intended message.

I am so tired of running my mouth. It’s like a bad hangover, when I wake up the next morning and I regret how I said something, or why I said something. And I replay the scene over and over again in my head and I analyse how I coulda/shoudla said it better. And then you are consumed with anxiety as to how that poor person on the receiving end is feeling. You see, we’ve all been on the other side. I think we’ve all been in a situation where someone has said really hurtful things to or about you, where the person has ripped your heart to shreds with the words spoken to or against you. Sometimes it’s in the heat of an argument and we think it’s OK, but long after the argument is over, the words remain. I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want to be the crass, ballsy, vitriol-spewing person that I know I can be.

And yes, there is a big difference between being loud, fun loving and the life of the party versus the person who always wants to be right, who’s opinion MUST be heard and who says whatever they feel with no holds barred. You see, I used to think I was the former, but often that line is blurred with the latter. And sometimes I don’t even know who I am. I do.not.want.to.be.the.latter.

So I’ve been praying about tact; believe me it’s a spiritual thing. I know this because I have tried/ I BEEN trying to work on it and still I can’t help but POUNCE. If I was an animal, I’d be Tigger from Winnie-the-Pooh: the ultimate POUNCER. Also, people in my circle have been dealing with word issues.. words said out of context / words that hurt / words WOrds WORDS that didn’t even NEED to be said but now it’s too late and those words are out there. I believe the world would be a better place if we all just developed a bit of tact. If the world didn’t view tact as a weakness, I think we’d be onto something. Because that’s what the world thinks, if you hold your tongue, if you allow other people to have their piece while you silently observe… you’re weak. And that could not be further from the truth.There is true strength, beauty and grace in saying what you have to say so that it does not demean, demerit or destruct the next person.  And it takes bravery to say what you have to say while keeping the hearer’s feelings paramount. Be brave.

It’s a journey of self discovery, I guess.

A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent. Proverbs 17: 27-28

This is my jam. And it says succinctly, what I’ve been trying to say in 835 words.

 

 

No words.


Things have been quiet around here… not because there hasn’t been anything to write about, quite the contrary. But sometimes you don’t need to talk about everything. Have you seen those DSTV #feeleverymoment ads? I LOVE them, even the corniness of them.

Maybe it’s because my house has been quiet. Kids are enjoying the second week of their holiday with their aunty. We miss them, wow. I thought I’d miss them less… being older and not as needy and all of that.. but nope, I think I miss them more now, than when they would go away when they were younger. But even that’s debatable. Let’s call it even and say a parent misses a child regardless of their age. Being away from your child is not natural…

But it’s been good.

My husband is back, remember. And the timing was perfect. It has been a lovely few days of just us. Ohhhhhhh, it’s so lovely to have him at home. To have someone there to back you up, support you, help you with stuff, cover you with a blanket when you fall asleep on the couch. I am so happy he is home, even though I make like it’s not a big deal. It is a big deal. It’s a huge deal. And I can’t believe we did this for almost 10 months! I am glad that season is over. And I am glad we got through it, long distance is not for everyone, folks.

We’ve had dinners with friends and lunches with extended family and jumped into bed at 7pm just because. It’s been a wonderful time of refreshing.

And I guess that’s why I like those DSTV ads… sometimes you don’t need words, you just sort of soak up the moment for what it is without distorting it with a million words. And that from someone who wants to say ALL the words ALL the time.

It is well with my soul.


I really liked this post of Cindy’s. I’ve been rather reflective the last week, after first reading, and subsequently stalking, Mindy’s blog. And when I read Cindy’s post this morning and Mindy’s latest post, it really summed up everything I’ve been feeling.

It is well with my soul.

This has nothing to do with the great news we received yesterday, that hubby would be back home at the end of June. Yay! BUT I will say that this news has cemented what I’ve been feeling the last week, and subsequently, my belief that God is in control, and ultimately His will WILL be done, whether you believe that or not.

I’ve been feeling REALLY tender after reading Ben’s story. Again, I’ve read about and mourned with many families who have lost young children,  colleagues who have lost children in the most horrific ways, friends of friends who have lost children.. it’s not new. But Ben’s story has stayed with me for reasons I am not sure about. It has made me take stock of a lot things. How I parent, what kind of wife I am, what kind of daughter I am, sister, friend? It has made me rethink my values and my goals. It is changed the order of things on my to-do list. I’ve always said I don’t have any regrets, my attitude has always been that there really is no use in crying over spilled milk, so get on with it. But I’ve had this nagging thought lately… why allow the milk to spill in the first place? I’m not talking about things you have no control over. I’m talking about living consciously. I’m talking about actively avoiding the pot holes wherever you can. I’m talking about finding your purpose and living purposefully. I’ve just realised that I live a very “c’est la vie” life. And unapologetically, I have to say that that’s a load of rubbish. Sorry if that’s your stance on life. Taking things as they come, accepting that “oh that’s life” – NO I do not want to live there anymore. I feel like I am wasting SOOO much time on things that actually don’t matter. I spend too much time being down in the dumps over stuff that I make up, all on my own, in my head, accepting woefully that I have no control over the things happening in my life. No, I can’t do that anymore.

I waste so much time trying to fix my kids and keep them toeing the line, when truthfully, IT DOESN’T MATTER. Having polite, well mannered poster children who clean up after themselves and do all the right things is wonderful, it’s great I’m sure! But for goodness sake, let them be 4 and 5. Let them make a mess, without going on and on about how they better tidy that mess. Let them be noisy, without yelling at them to use their inside voices. Let them jump in puddles without complaining about the trail of mud through your house. I want to stop my fire-and-brimstone parenting. “If you do x,y,z.. then THIS is going to happen to you” … I’ve just realised that I sap ALL the joy out of anything they want to do because I’m always harping on about the negative consequences they will face! What a killjoy. I want to parent purposefully, I want my kids to enjoy being little and doing stuff that little children do. Full stop. I don’t want them to be obedient because they are afraid of consequences, I want them to be obedient because they know it’s the right thing to do. And even if they are NOT obedient, cut them some slack!!! They can barely tie their shoelaces, let alone absorb and grasp 155 orders from their parents and teachers all day long. I need to change the way I do a lot of things.

I waste so much time being nasty to my husband, whether to his face or behind his back. The number of times I complain about stuff that REALLY DOESN’T MATTER. Guys, randomly without even thinking about, let me jot down a few things that drive me up the wall about my husband: you pack the dishwasher wrong, you have no sense of urgency about ANYTHING, you are too hard on the kids, you leave crumbs on the counter and you put the butter knife in the jam and it drives me bonkers, you watch too much TV. Whine, whine, whine, whine, WHINE. And the things I say to my girlfriends about my husband… SHAME on me. SHAME!!!! So WHAT if he is and does all these things. So bloody what? I’ve come around to thinking that if you want to see a change, you need to be the change, instead of whining about what’s not changing. At least he is there, at least he packs the dishwasher, at least he makes his kids jam sandwiches, at least he is loyal and loving and helpful and kind and understanding and all the other wonderful things I never tell my girlfriends. I need to adjust my attitude. I don’t want to be that person anymore. I want to purposefully build my marriage in small ways. Overlook butter splotches in the jam tin, or clean them out myself – two seconds, that’s all it would take me. Do I want a WHOLE day ruined by an argument over butter splotches, or do I take two seconds to fix the problem? Sure, I can tell him about it nicely and suggest he uses a clean knife, but if he doesn’t, I don’t want to burst a blood vessel over it anymore. I just don’t. I want to be a nice person to be around, someone he can’t wait to get home to, not the Whiney McWhiner, who just complains 24/7. I wonder what impact that would have on my marriage?

Which takes me back to Cindy’s post… with everything I have, with everything I have been blessed with, with the outright evidence of God’s hand upon my life, how can I be anything but grateful? How can I be anything but satisfied. How can I not live in constant hope, living each day to the full, doing the best I can with what I have in my hand. HOW CAN IT NOT BE WELL WITH MY SOUL??? You know how I feel right now? I feel like it’s just dawned on me. I feel like my eyes have just been opened. And it’s nothing new, its stuff we ALL know all too well, it’s not rocket science, I just want to live purposefully.  God has all this figured out already. He is not surprised by what happens in our lives, NO. He is all knowing. Omniscient. He knew your life’s path before you were even born. So even when you’re going through bad times, God is still in control, he has the ultimate say-so over a situation, all you have to do is believe, and trust in Him. So with this trump card in my pocket, why wouldn’t I plan to live my best life, have the most FUN ever, be joyful even in the storm, parent like a friggen rockstar, be the best wife I can be, show c’est la vie the middle finger and truly plan to kick butt every single day of my life, in every situation? I’m not saying you need to be an ever-ready-bunny who is always pumping positivity – let’s be honest, people like this are TIRING to be around. TIRING. But for goodness sake, I cannot, will not, walk around like my life is so bloody awful. I cannot talk to people about how BAD my life is, that’s a LIE. I cannot let my trials get me down if I believe God has the final say, I cannot continue to bash on my husband and on my kids and be a hater about every little thing that goes on around me.  I just can’t.

Because truthfully, it is well with my soul. Contrary to the children who often behave like zoo animals, the bills that sometime remain unpaid because there’s more month than money, the house that constantly needs fixing up, the husband that works away (not for long), the aches and pains in my body that I always complain about… it is well with my soul.

It is well with my soul.

The Fluffy Stuff that relationships are made of…


My husband has been home all week, since last Friday in fact. I’ve realised that I’ve become so used to him NOT being there, that I forgot how much I love having him around. And yes, it is absolutely about having an extra pair of hands to DO THINGS, and not the romanticism of having my husband around to whisper sweet nothings in my ear.

I’ve only just discovered that one of the love languages I respond really well to is acts of service. But wait. Not ME performing acts of service, but having acts of service done unto me!  Now before you call me narcissistic, selfish  and self centred, let me explain…

My husband has always been hands on. He cooks, cleans, baths/feeds/wakes up for children, ET CETERA ET CETERA. You name it, he does it. The only thing he can’t do and won’t do is brush Hannah’s hair. I’m a feminist, and while this word has many meanings, I am referring to it here in the context that I believe men and women are equal and both can and must undertake to do anything they so wish, across the “excuse” of gender. So I EXPECTED that my husband one day would play as equal a part as me in the home. Yes, as a mother and woman, the nurturing and making our “house a home” does fall more on my shoulders, but this does not exclude my husband from fully engaging in tasks once considered “the woman’s job.” Luckily, his mother raised him well and he lived on his own from the time he left school, so I got myself a very self sufficient man 🙂  (truth be told, he even irons better than I do.) So my point is that I wasn’t blown away about how hands on my husband was, I expected it. And because of this, perhaps I took it for granted (insert sheepish, ashamed little face here).

When he left to work away from home, I found the adjustment very difficult obviously for the reasons stated above. But as one does in these situations, you pick yourself up and get on with what needs to be done. Without making light of death, divorce or single parent homes by comparing my situation to these earth shattering ones, I must say that I felt pretty much like a single mother who had recently lost her better half. But it was OK, we still saw/see him every weekend, it’s not the end of the world, right. Chin up.

But having him home this week, I’ve realised what a HUGE difference it makes having that extra pair of hands willing to SERVE in the house. Having supper ready when you get home in the evenings, getting someone else to drop and fetch and carry the kids, playing tag with taking time off work to get the kids to the doctor (Liam needed the doctor this morning and I didn’t need to take him). Having someone else to clean up spilt juice for the 100th time in one day. Having someone to fix stuff around the house, stuff you are quite capable of fixing but never find the time to actually fix. All these things: having a partner to do all of this is amazing and wonderful.

And then… it’s the fluffy stuff that I’ve discovered I really and truly miss. And honestly, THIS is the real stuff. All that stuff I mentioned in the last paragraph can go fly a kite, I’d do those things myself for the rest of my life if I had to, because I can. But the fluffy stuff.. it’s the fluffy stuff that really makes a difference, it’s the fluffy stuff that makes me love my husband so much, it’s the fluffy stuff that acts as the glue that holds us together. And so I guess when I said it’s the extra pair of hands in my opening paragraph, I lied… because it is truly the romanticism that I’ve missed, and NO it’s not what you think. My fluffy stuff, the stuff that I’ve only just realised speaks to my heart in a language I love goes something like this:

  • Having a cup of tea / coffee / Milo prepared for me without asking for it.
  • Getting into my car and seeing that he filled the tank, when I was expecting it to be negative because I forgot to fill up the last time I drove.
  • Exchanging ridiculous amounts of whatsapp messages discussing what we should have for dinner.
  • Love notes in my packed lunch.. and FOUR slices of bread, even though I tell him every time that I ONLY eat TWO slices of bread and he tells me NO NO YOU ARE GETTING WAY TO SKINNY SO EAT FOUR PLEASE (and I eat the four slices – this man is a feeder.)
  • Chuckles. Bags of Chuckles. I think we keep Woolworths in business with the amount of Chuckles my husband buys for me. I find them randomly and when I’m not looking for them and there’s not ONE person I know who doesn’t get excited about finding random chocolate. It’s like finding a R20 in the jacket you haven’t worn in ages.
  • Not running out of stuff. Seriously, this makes me so happy. When the toilet paper is mysteriously and miraculously restocked in the cupboard (even though he battles with replacing the roll next to the toilet itself). When he stocks up the kids’ vitamins and medicine chest so that I never have to worry about it. When he fills the veggie draw with potatoes and onions and tomatoes and makes sure there’s fruit for the week. Yes, this is fluffy for me because I run out of day to day stuff ALL THE TIME, and he knows there is nothing more frustrating to me than running out of necessities in the house.
  • Someone to tell you how wonderful you are. I’ve professed it many times on this blog, I LOVE affirmation. I LIVE for affirmation. I love it when he tells me how good I look, how great that meal was, how he likes my hair like that, how good I am with our kids. It may seem ridiculous to look for outward affirmation when I know my self worth, I know who I am in Christ and blah blah blah, but nothing makes me feel prouder than having MY HUSBAND’s pride. Not just anyone’s, but his. And this week with him being home, I forgot how forthcoming he is with praise, he really is. My head may BURST from the pressure of growing so big this week with all the praise I’d gotten used to NOT receiving in his absence.
  • RAK – his Random Acts of Kindness. For me and the kids. This goes above him making cups of tea and seeing to the children’s needs. He is not a flowers-delivered-to-my-desk type of guy, which I complain about allllll the time. He is more the kind that will see me eye a jacket in the shop, will go out and buy it without me knowing and dump it in its packet with price tag still attached on my lap when I get in the car (he is NOT romantic at all, more PRACTICAL which I’ve learned to work with).
  • He is not a words type of guy. I am a words type of gal. So initially, when I got over hearing only my own voice in the relationship, I thought this was definitely going to be the deal breaker. But I stuck around. I got used to RAKs instead of words. And I can’t tell you how happy I am that I held on. I’ve come to realise that while I love and live for words, the old cliché is true, most times (and almost always) actions DO speak louder than words. He has proved this to me.

This is not a dedication or a love letter to him. He doesn’t read here at all, he isn’t a words type of guy, remember. I’m just sharing the revelation I received this week on how important the fluffy stuff really is. Don’t overlook or take the fluffy stuff for granted, like I sometimes do. Consider this a reminder to value your partner EVEN IF they don’t tick ALL of your boxes. With my husband working away, I’ve had ALL my boxes removed and believe me I’ve learned that I’d rather have some boxes than none at all. Furthermore, I’ve discovered that because our “boxes” are different, it doesn’t mean that mine are better or more important than his. So this is a challenge, I dare you to find the fluffy stuff in your relationship and work on cultivating it from today.

Supper last night: quick, easy and cheap


Husband sent me a BBM during the day suggesting we have a mezze platter of sorts for dinner. I cringed inwardly because the last thing I feel like doing after a long day at my day job, is giving myself extra work at my night job. And mezze platters sound like extra work to me. All those many little dishes instead of just one big pot of stew – come on, which tired mother  wouldn’t choose the latter?

Anyway, I bit my tongue and Googled a thing or two and I must say so myself… the results were good. Oh so good. Besides the yummy-ness, it was really quick to prepare and something that the whole family enjoyed.

The first thing we made was flatbread. I got this super easy recipe off Jamie Oliver’s website. It took literally 2 minutes to prepare the dough in my phantasmagorical food processor (remember this post, you know I love my food processor – it literally makes cooking like a dream!) and then Hubby grilled them for me. Each one took roughly 3 minutes in the pan. There’s no yeast in these things, so there’s no “leaving to set” or “allowing to rise” time required. You literally mix, knead, roll and toast. Delicious. I will make these over and over again – as a side dish to curries or potjies, as a snack for the kids or as a delicious “dipping tool” when we have dips or spreads on the menu.

Next I made hummus. Why the heck didn’t anyone tell me how simple it is to make your own? No offence Woolies, but I shan’t be buying your delicious hummus any longer. Because as delicious as it is, mine was close up there, hey. Using my food processor again, I blitzed this hummus up in about 5 minutes. Serious! Here’ the simple recipe I used. The kids thoroughly enjoyed it, or maybe it was the novelty of dipping their flatbread into it – but that bowl got empty fast! I love hummus as a snack on its own with a carrot stick or just on my finger a teaspoon, I can eat it like some people eat peanut butter out of the jar. Or I use it as you would margarine on your sandwich and of course it’s a must for wraps or pitas.

I made tzatziki using another simple recipe. Although I don’t know what Kosher Salt is and I didn’t have lemon zest so I just used normal lemon juice – it still tasted delish. I love the freshness of tzatziki and that little bit of tartness just at the end. This took me another 5 minutes to mix together. Had I made stew, I would still have been sitting with a magazine in hand, waiting for the meat to braise, in the time that I had made all three of the above.

I boiled some eggs, fried some samoosas and cut up some cheese sticks for the kids. And that, my friends, was supper. I laid everything out on pretty platters and we all just got stuck in with our hands.  I am definitely going to use this menu when I have friends over. It makes a nice change to the usual suspects which find themselves on our dining room tables AND there’s so much you can do with this base… next time I’ll add a guacamole dip, or a sundried tomato relish, or even a pâté or two (store bought unless I can blitz it in my food processor and it doesn’t take more than 5 minutes)  – the possibilities are endless!

I am not much of a cook, but I do enjoy trying new things that actually work and that suit my lifestyle – quick, easy and cheap (and I am referring particularly to what I eat over here in case you’re getting any ideas.) This whole meal didn’t cost me more than R60, excluding the samoosas which I always keep handy in my freezer. SERIUUUUS!

Go on and try it and let me know what you think! Happy cooking!

Xxx

Happy Birthday Husband


I couldn’t let this day go by without making special mention of the birthday boy. January birthdays are the worst, aren’t they? Even though the husband’s birthday falls on pay day, it’s not like there’s any time to plan anything amazing because until that beep confirming your salary has been deposited comes through, it’s still all dry crackers and water over here. Anyway, we made it as special as we could – even managed to serve muffins this morning, instead of dry crackers. Here’s something I learned yesterday, don’t EVER tell your three and two year old what’s in the gift wrap. Poor husband knew exactly what he was getting, and still had to act surprised this morning. And they didn’t tell him once, we had to spend the whole evening listening to what birthday presents Daddy was going to open tomorrow, what size and colour and how many of each, and how excited Daddy was going to be… well not anymore!

The kids made birthday cards and after much cutting and trimming and pasting and colouring, they were happy with their work. I took great pride in Liam’s card –he can draw people! I don’t know when kids start drawing actual people, as opposed to just colouring in or scribbling, but he is finally drawing people with arms and legs and smiley faces. He can also write his name, but that is a post for another day. Liam’s card was all about him and Daddy playing in the park and there was a rainbow (I think that’s all he can draw because we get a lot of rainbows). Hannah’s card was scribbling, torn edges, spit and stickers.

This morning we sang, Daddy dutifully blew out his candles and acted surprised by his gifts. Of course we had to light the obligatory candles for Hannah to blow – child thinks it’s her birthday err’day. We were a bit late due to the celebrations but everyone got to school and work eventually and this evening, thanks to the Joburg heatwave, we are going to swim and eat dinner by the pool and probably blow out a few more candles – Hannah, not Daddy.

My husband is a real gem. If I look back at last year’s birthday post, I am sure I said the same thing then. But it’s true, he is a wonderful husband and father, he cares for us, worries about us all the time, puts himself into uncomfortable positions to please me (he isn’t much of a socialite but with me as a wife, he needs to keep up), and goes above and beyond the call of his fatherly duties every time. Not because I expect him to, because he loves his kids I guess. Even though we complain about who’s turn it is to bath or feed or put to bed, he will most likely do it anyway. Just because. Even though he is a tough disciplinarian and I sometimes cringe when I hear him disciplining the kids, he has created this invisible line or boundary which the children know not to cross, whereas with me they are just all over the place and I have serious discipline issues that I need to work through for my sake and theirs – again, that’s a post for another day. He does tough love so well and they respect him for that, I just do love. Doesn’t always work, I tell you.

My husband is a real gem. He can cook, clean and bake  – only scones though. He can watch soccer, while drinking fake tea with Hannah and piggy backing Liam. And they say men can’t multitask. He isn’t much of a talker, but he always says the right thing at the right time, and that’s all that counts for me. I love that he is thoughtful and considerate (not when it comes to TV viewing though) but more than that, I love that he loves me, warts and all. Love isn’t easy, especially after a decade, two kids and a bond to pay. It can get downright ugly at times. And you can love someone, but not like them very much from day to day, right? But I love that in all of that, we always find our way back to each other, he is forgiving and doesn’t hold a grudge (that’s my job) and he is quick to smooth things over, whereas I like to stew and make a nice thick chutney out of it. And then some leftovers too for the next fight. He isn’t a gentleman in the true sense of the word, he doesn’t open doors and he leaves the toilet seat up, but he is gentle with me and with the kids.

I love him. Happy birthday Byron. My prayer for you today is that God will grant you the desires of your heart, as you continue to seek Him and walk in His will for your life. I wish you all the wonderful, delightful things you wish for yourself, and I pray that we will have many more birthdays together until we’re old wrinkly pensioners eating dry crackers the day before your payday birthday.

Xxx

Women are from Venus, Men are … Morons


*Disclaimer: Ok this title is a bit harsh, but it got your attention didn’t it?  For the record, I love my husband and no husbands were harmed in the production of this post*

An ongoing problem in our relationship is that my husband says I like to be right, I like to make all the decisions and I think I know everything. So what’s the problem, right? Ok fair enough, I may be a little headstrong in my approach, but that’s simply because I know I am right all most of the time. I’m not one of those people who will argue unless I am pretty sure I know what I am talking about. If I have a shadow of a doubt, I will say so, but still give my opinion. Basically I like to be heard.

Maybe it’s because I am the youngest of four children and needed to fight for my voice to be heard. Maybe it’s because I was my parents’ favourite and all their doting attention gave me a big head. Maybe it’s just because I am so bloody awesome. All I know is, 99% of the time I should be winning the argument because I am right, but sometimes I let my husband win to boost his ego. (Murphy, you know my husband doesn’t read my blog, please don’t let him choose today to have a look-see.)

Ok, so when we moved into our house, we decided that I’d be in charge of the inside of the house, and his domain would be outside. I was willing to relinquish this bit of power, so that he could feel like the king of something. Foolishly I agreed to this, thinking that inside was obviously far superior to have complete reign over, than outside. Rookie error, I admit. So I take care of everything in the house, except stuff like fixing tv’s and microwaves and getting things on the top shelf because I’m short, and cleaning and sweeping because I don’t like housework, and doing dishes because the husband enjoys doing that and taking out the trash. So everything else. He makes sure the yard is neat and tidy, the pool is clean and working, the irrigation system does what it needs to do and the trees, shrubs, verges and flowers look tip-top. He is responsible for keeping the cars clean and working, making sure the bins are put out on dirt day, making sure I don’t get wet between the house and the car if it is raining – outside stuff, you know.

So the other morning, Gentry (the lovely man who looks after our garden) and the husband were walking in the yard, taking stock of the lay of the land, discussing whatever men in the garden discuss. I tried to eavesdrop or lip read to no avail. So I left it. I got home from work and the first thing I see is this big gaping hole along the side of the fence. The big gaping hole which once housed my most magnificent lily bush or whatever that flower was called. I go a little crazy… I’m like “what did Gentry do, that Gentry is going to be in so much trouble, Gentry hasn’t seen my wrath, Gentry you make me so mad” and on and on I went. Enter husband who tells me that HE told Gentry to take that bush out. I think my eyes may have started rolling back in my head and smoke may have come out of my ears – but I blacked out so I can’t recall my exact reaction. But let’s imagine it went something like this… even though it didn’t but this will give you the gist…

Me: Why dear husband would you direct Gentry to pull out that bush?

Husband: Because it was dead.

Me: No it wasn’t dead, it merely needed to be pruned and tended to.

Husband: It was overgrown, the leaves were brown and it hadn’t flowered in two months.

Me: Yes darling husband, this is what flowers do… they flower periodically, NOT CONSTANTLY. The brown bits need to be chopped off and the bush can be trimmed down but it was NOT dead.

Husband: Ok sorry, I’ll buy you a new one.

Me: That bush was well established, it was probably there for years, it was alive and flourishing. You buying me a new one will not fix this.

Husband: Oh well (walks away).

Me (in my head): I HAVE A CRATER IN MY GARDEN, MY BEAUTIFUL LILY BUSH THING IS DEAD, EVERYTIME I LOOK OUT MY BEDROOM WINDOW AT THE GAPING HOLE I WANT TO SCREAM AND PUT A PILLOW OVER MY HUSBANDS HEAD.

Anyway, my green thumbed mother advised me to dig in the dirty black backs of garden refuse and get the bulbs and replant them. Eeuw. I’ll pass thanks. I’m now looking for something that will grow quickly and wildly and close up that hole so that I don’t have to be reminded of it every day. Any suggestions? THIS is why I need to be in control of ANYTHING and EVERYTHING – inside the house or outside, because if I am not, then stupid things like this happen. Going forward, nothing happens without Sergeant Major’s (that would be me) approval, NOTHING.

Please take a look at this.. I’ve entitled this image “From Hero to Zero” – yes my “dead” bush produced these flowers just a few months ago. Go figure.

From Hero to Zero

 

My husband, the hero


No, it is not often that you will hear me use these two phrases in the same sentence. Yes my husband has his fleeting super hero moments, but let’s just call a spade a spade and say that he isn’t exactly Mr Home Improvement. When something goes wrong, we call someone. I have no problem with this, I prefer to get a professional in and pay them once to fix whatever is broken, rather than let Mr Handy Man give it a go, only to spend more money on something that he can’t fix anyway. Since we’ve moved into our house, I do notice that the hubby has become more… hands on… shall we say. He wants to cut his own lawn, paint his own walls, tinker with the pool pump and fix whatever is broke… and some things that aren’t broke.

Right so on Thursday night, our microwave conked. There wasn’t an explosion or smoke or even a little bang. It just went off and no amount of flicking the switch on and off at the wall (why do we do this?) helped in bringing it back to life. Of course I was traumatized, I’m one of those people who eat and drink everything at boiling point. After almost three years of having to eat cold food because I was raising babies, I now like to feel the roof of my mouth tingle from the heat of my food. I boil my milk in my tea and coffee and I do not believe in boosting up the trusty oven, waiting for it to reach 180° to warm something that will take two minutes in the microwave. So yes I was traumatized. I saw Macgyver heading for the shed to get his tools out, I followed him silently to the kitchen and watched him start to take the back off the microwave and then I just couldn’t contain myself, I was like “what the hell are you doing? Let’s stop this nonsense and call someone or go buy a new one.” He was taking photos, talking to whoever on his phone and he then decided that it was a fuse. I asked again when we could go and buy a new one.

Anyway, I was doing my bit by enquiring from my loyal online friends as to the lifespan of a microwave and whether we should fix or replace it. Everyone agreed that it would be cheaper to buy a new one. Macgyver was convinced that he had this in the bag. So on Friday he came home with a packet of fuses which he paid R8 for. He tinkered and prodded for about 10 minutes and from the TV room, I heard the trusted BEEEEEP of the microwave, we rushed to the kitchen to make sure that it was indeed the same ‘ol microwave. Of course, there stood Mr Nonchalant packing up his stuff like he does this everyday for a living. I must admit I was impressed, the kids and I were oooohing and aaaahing  and high fiving. My husband had just repaired our microwave for R8! What a HUNK!

Then earlier in the week, we got a flat tyre on our way to work. Liam and I went directly into crazy mode. I swear you do not want to be with me in an emergency situation. I have never changed a flat tyre in my life. I do not know the first thing about changing a tyre, again I would just call someone. I know what a jack looks like and that’s about it. So there we were on the side of the N1, Liam and I peering over the window ledge watching my husband change the tyre. It took him about 10 minutes and we were back on the road again. Liam and I were so impressed, our dad the hero.

I don’t know about you, but I love seeing a man doing a man’s job. Being all manly and sweaty and fixing stuff that needs fixing. I could watch a man at work all day. Sighhhhh. Makes me want to rush over to his office right now and throw myself onto his desk and tell him how hot he makes me. Ok, stuff like that is only cool in the movies. Can you imagine his face, he’d tell me to pull myself together and get back to work before he loses his job. And I’d have to be assisted off his desk because a chick my size doesn’t gracefully climb on and off desks. It would just look messy.

Whatever. I still get all hot and flustered when I think about my Macgyver fixing stuff ok. I’m going to look for things to break around the house just so I can see him bring out his tool… HIS TOOLS I mean.. HIS TOOLS… his hammer and screw driver and stuff, man.