Monday, November 28, 2016

The Grid

So I recently joined Virgin Active. Still trying to lose the extra pregnancy weight and all that. My daughter is now 3. I am pretty sure that I no longer have an excuse for carrying he extra kilograms around.
VA has this class called The Grid. Basically 6 moves that you perform for 40 seconds each and then you get a 20 second break before doing it again. You could say that I am trying to kill my fat. The next day my muscles are killing me and I really curse the stairs in our house.

So today was The Grid day. This was only my 4th session so everything is still a bit new and fun. Every time the moves are different and I really liked today's set. It was all going well until I started feeling faint and had a coughing fit on the 3rd of the 6 rounds. Curse you family for getting sick and passing your nasty germs on to me.

I had to walk out of the class. My chest is still aching and I am waiting for the constant coughing to start. It 34 degrees today and it does not feel like the right weather to be getting sick.

So here is some advice... skip the grid if you feel a vague hint of a cold coming on. I am off to find the Vitamin C and hope that this vanishes instead of getting worse.

Of course I am a Mom and this is the busiest time of year at work for me and for getting stuff done for the kids so I may get the Batman voice but I won't be sick. Just not allowed.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sunday things

Kids making a space ship from their toys.

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Easy Dinner Idea - Bacon and Gnocchi bake

I am trying to out new recipes every week and I will be sharing them here with you. The idea is to give you guys simple meals to make that kids will enjoy and get me to try new things in the kitchen.

So here is the first one and I hope you enjoy it.

250g bacon - diced
Punnet mushrooms- chopped
1 onion - chopped
2 tsp crushed garlic
100g grated cheese
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 pack gnocchi


1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius

2. Fry the onions and chopped garlic in a little oil of your choice.

3. Add the bacon and mushrooms.

4. Fry till the bacon is cooked.

5. Add a tin of tomatoes and simmer.

6. In the meantime, bring a pot of water to the boil.

7. Carefully add your gnocchi to the pot of boiling water.

8. Once the gnocchi rise to the surface they are done.

9. Drain the gnocchi.

10. Mix the gnocchi and tomato/ bacon sauce together.

11. Pour into an oven safe dish and top with the grated cheese.

12. Bake in the pre-heated oven until the cheese has melted.

Dish rating: 5/5

My son adored this and polished his plate. Hubby and I enjoyed it and it goes really well with a glass of wine. Took me about 10 min of prep and 10 min in the oven so the perfect week night dish. Toddler didn't touch it but she is still feeling a bit unwell. Any tips for picky eaters?

Friday, November 25, 2016

sharing a bed with your kid

One of the "joys" of parenting is that occasionally you will need to share a bed with your kid or kids. Kid is preferable to kids. If there is one kid in the bed you may be allowed 10 cm to sleep on but if another kid joins the mix you will end up on the floor.

Don't get me wrong... I loved sharing a bed with E when he was a baby. It made feeding easier and he was such a calm sleeper. He slept with his feet on my head and head on my husband. He still managed to touch both of us even when we got a King Size bed. I still don't know how but he did. I am sure toddlers have the abilities of an octopus for many months.

Z on the other hand is a noisy and wriggly sleeper. She has slept in her own cot or bed from day one. I am now an older Mom and I value my sleep far too much.

Last night she was really sick and I was worried so I let her move into my bed. She was thrilled with the idea and set up her book and bottle on my husband's night stand. I got lots of cuddles and other sleep avoidance for hours. She eventually fell asleep and after finishing up some work I went to bed. I moved her across to the other side of the bed and went to sleep on my side. Within five seconds she had an arm across me. I let her settle and moved her back across the bed. After playing this game for an hour I gave up. I slept on my side with a toddler pressed against my back. Again I will point out that we have a king size bed. I don't how they do it but kids will always gravitate towards the parent in bed.

Lucky for me she is feeling a bit better today. BUT in even better news the husband is home today. So guess who is getting the snotty toddler in bed with him tonight. He-he. I will be in another room enjoying the space.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The results

So, if you read this blog then you will know that we spent close to R20 000 taking E to different Doctors and therapists to diagnose if he had an issue. He sometimes swapped his letters, didn't grip his pen correctly and had a tendency to drift off while working. Turns out that he is BORED. Final conclusion is that he has very high IQ and doesn't find school interesting or challenging. So I have asked the teacher to push him and this term we have seen really great results. The kid is trying harder at school and we are super proud of him. At home I am trying to get him to work with speed. The rush in the morning has improved and we are getting to school with 20 minutes to spare instead of 2 minutes. All progress.

In the holidays we are going to take him for and eye test as he may have a slight vision problem. End result is that he doesn't need a million different types of therapy. I never felt that he did.

Z started moaning and crying in the middle of the night and today woke up with a fever. So I am in the Calpol world and dealing with a three year old that won't let me put her down. My back is already feeling the strain. Luckily I have a few hours off today. It's called work but sometimes as a parent it feels like time off.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

End of the year

Only 11 days left of the school year. How did time go by so quickly? I am sure the 4th term just started, but already I am going to end of year plays and packing sports clothes for the last time. Tomorrow is the last day of school swim practice and the last day of homework for the year. At least the bag will be pretty light each day.

Yesterday we went to watch Z in her end of year school play. She was a monkey and a very adorable one. I can't believe how much she has changed in one year. At the start of the year she hardly spoke and tended to play on her own. Now she was singing loudly and doing all the actions with her friends. She is ready to start Grade 000 now and I know she will have a wonderful time. She has had the most amazing teacher this year. Miss M has loved those kids as though they were her own. Z runs into school every morning to give Miss M a cuddle. I know that her next teacher will be lovely but I am so glad that her school career started with someone as wonderful as Miss M. Such as change from the awful start that E had.

E is getting really excited about the end of the year and the move to Grade 2. I just can't believe how fast he is growing up. He still gives me big cuddles and wants to sit on my lap when he is sad. I know these moments are coming to an end so I treasure every one of them. He tells me that he will still give me cuddles all the time and that he will always love me above every one else. I know that will change and I am okay with it but for now I am going to enjoy every cuddle and sweet word.

This last weekend we went to the Cherry Festival in Ficksburg. I was probably not in the right mood for it but I hated every moment. The R100 entrance fee per adult and R50 per child is really not worth it. I had told E that we would find interesting cherry based food to try. Not true. They have cherry liqueurs and a few cherry jams but that was it. The majority of the stuff for sale was cheap plastic toys. I hate these things and the kids begging for them. They had a police dog show that was vaguely entertaining and the usual very expensive and badly maintained rides that pitch up at all country fairs. It was extremely hot and you have to park miles away and walk past a selection of hawkers, while dodging potholes and trying to look after two kids. I was not happy by the time we got to the entrance so you can imagine how thrilled I was by the plastic and rides. We ended up in a beer tent with loud music playing. It was awful. We left after buying a few boxes of cherries.

The weekend improved in Clarens at the lovely Clarens Brewery. They had yummy cherry juice for the kids and interesting craft ciders and beers for the adults. It was so nice to relax in the cool around the town square.

We did have another sour note with dinner. The German restaurant has lovely views and a nice play area....BUT it took almost two hours for our food to arrive. We got there at six. Kids food arrived at 6:30. Everybody is happy and we watched the kids play together. All great but after a long day in the sun, waiting another 90 minutes for our food was not great. My meal was pretty awful. Bland and badly cooked. The majority of the 8 adults at the table had issues with their meals. So after all that waiting the majority of food was left behind and we grabbed tired children for the drive back to the campsite.

Golden Gate campsite is very pretty. Lush green grass and large trees make a for a lovely camping site. My only objection is the busy road right next to the camp ground. It gets loud at night and we had bikers arriving late into the night. However the views make up for that. Waking up with the mountains towering above you was a great start to the day.

The highlight of the weekend was stopping at Piggly Wiggly in the Midlands. We really need to go there on a more regular basis. The kids had fun on the playground and enjoyed exploring the shops. A yummy lunch at the restaurant followed by a train ride = happy kids.

So what did you do this weekend past?

Monday, August 15, 2016

Monday stories

My draft box is full but I am just not getting to posting anything...

So first the news:

We are still sorting out things with E. I seem to be spending my life in Doctor's waiting rooms. This is not a cheap experiment I promise you. Bills are heading towards the R20000 mark and we are not yet finished. Final appointment is on Monday with the Pediatrician. To be honest I am not even sure what we are looking for anymore. Nobody seems to be finding any issues and since the start of this term he has been getting full marks in all his tests and has stopped swapping his letters and numbers around. Yet they keep pushing that he needs OT. I really don't know anymore.
To top it all off his front teeth are not coming out and the adult teeth are out and being pushed sideways. So dentist on Wednesday. Poor little guy. He is only seven and the schools just seem to expect so much from them now. On the plus side he is really happy and loving every sport he is doing this term. The school has a brand new astro turf they are playing hockey on. He plays twice a week and looks forward to hockey days. The olympics has pushed the love further. Swimming is continuing to be a favourite and although he is not as obsessed with Phelps as I am, he loved watching all the races with me. So some good and some bad in the term so far.

Z just carries on with her happy little life. That kid is the happiest little soul I know and I hope she stays that way.She has an awesome little group of friends in and out of school. She runs to school in the morning to hug her friends and I love watching the super cute moments. The other day I told her to put her shoes on the right feet. She gave me a very cross look and said, " They are my shoes and my feet, so on the right feet." I can't argue with that. Toddler logic is awesome.

We just spent the weekend at Bonamanzi near Hluhluwe Game reserve. I have to highly recommend this spot. Huge campsites with individual bathrooms and kitchenette. We spent the weekend driving around the nearby game parks. A highlight for the kids was watching the huge bonfire that is lit next to the restaurant and pub every night. Be aware that its a popular wedding venue so the restaurant area is generally closed for a private function on Saturday nights. The braai area at each campsite is clean and well maintained but you will need to bring your own braai grid.

Mkhuze was very sad. The reserve is dry and they have massive construction going on. We saw a few giraffe, impala and a small pod of hippos. A warning about Mkhuze, just because the map says toilets and picnic site, doesn't mean there is anything there. Z wanted a pee so we drove a long way up a dirt road to find a rubbish bin and a small clearing. No tables or toilets in sight. I would avoid this reserve until the construction is finished and the rains have come.

Charter's creek is not worth the drive or the fee at the moment. The lake is dry and the buildings have been left to fall apart. We found broken glass in the bathrooms from smashed windows and the whole place had an abandoned feel. The jetty needs to be replaced, the reception area rebuilt and bathrooms fixed. The road was in decent condition but the drive to St.Lucia is short and there is very little to see.

Hluhluwe was fantastic as usual. I love the reserve and the chance that something exciting will be around the next corner. We spent two days exploring the park. Saw huge herds of elephant and about 40 rhino. The kids have each got a tablet and they had great fun taking photos of the wildlife. I had to park to get just the right angle. There is a playground at Hilltop and another at Mpila if the kids get tired of the car. The Centenary center offers great value meals (Burger R35) and a decent selection of beers and ciders if you want to eat out. Avoid Hilltop for food. the prices are high and the food is very average.

I am reviving and it should be filled with articles of mine, travel ideas and awesome photos. I will let you know as soon as its ready. I already have a few giveaways and competitions lined up for the site to make your December holiday fun for kids and adults. Think date night for Mom and Dad:)