The Dirty Word – Chores.

I grew up labouring away at my bit when it came to household chores. Having three sisters though made the work load that much lighter. I was never paid so to speak for doing chores, however , if ever we needed or wanted something within reason – we didn’t go without. Movies, ice-skating, drive-in, tuck money and so it goes.

My wonderful young teenager recently dug his heels in when it came to a short list of chores I felt were standard for any teenager all of 14 years old. I contacted a few friends and family who too have a child of the same age to compare what is considered a reasonable list, as well as the reward be it financial or other.

I came up with ten chores a week. TEN. I really didn’t feel that was child labour although my son differs. My list was something along these lines.

  • Clean your own room. Inspection is once a week.
  • Unpack the dishwasher after dinner.
  • Mow the lawn once a week – all of a 15 min job. 
  • Take out the trash when need be.
  • Feed the dogs daily and ensure fresh water mornings.
  • Pick up your own dog poop.
  • During school holidays, to help hang the laundry.
  • Make your own bed weekends.
  • Help dad bath the dogs on sundays.

 

Oh wait – that is all of 9 chores. One would think this to be child labour for that is what my child seems to think. Banging heads about this list has left me with migraines. I believe all children should be raised having to do chores. Heck I did. Chores teach children far more than responsibility and the value of a dime.

Then we had the debated issue of what was considered a satisfactory financial reward. Boy, the kid should join the debate team as he sure threw some at me. Yet again I turn to family and friends and what would you know – we seem to pay our teen a little above the considered ‘average’. My sister suggested I start a monthly spreadsheet for him. On which I write down every cent spent on his luxuries –

  • A new clutch cable for his off road motorbike,
  • weekly petrol to run both his bikes – this is recreational,
  • bike parts when he crashes, lately that’s often
  • constant new clothes and shoes as he seems to think they are best used while working on his bikes.
  • The maintenance of his tarantulas,
  • mobile contract
  • Blah blah etc –  

This list can go on and on but it hit me – My sister hit the nail on the head with her advice. Sometimes when kids see things on paper, the reality hits them a little more and they can digest it properly. I’m not talking a childs living luxuries or expenses. I’m referring to his hobbies. 

There you have it. I sat down with my son and asked him what he felt was acceptable and reasonable to be on his chores list. We negotiated the list so not all was selective. What teen is readily going to volunteer a pick up his dog poop before mowing the lawn? Having his participation gave him a sense of having a voice and choices. He is now responsible for his chores list. As for his rewards, they come in many forms and he is slowly realising this. Thank goodness as being the eldest, he sets the example for his two much younger brothers. 

Keep Calm and Parent on.

So what would you feel is an acceptable list or pocket money amount for a 14 year old teen?

 

 

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Santa’s Mischievous Little Helper Or Is That A Manipulating Spy?

 

I love Pinterest. I have been inspired by so much on this little pin-board site in the last year. Over the Christmas period I went the ‘home-make’ gift route for a handful of friends and neighbours. Some, with a dash of humour adding that little sprinkle of ‘me’ to the finishing touches.

It was through Pinterest that I came to know of the Elf On The Shelf ‘new’ Christmas tradition. After a little research on Google I read the pros and cons from various parents and non-parents as to their views regarding the concept of this little Elf that visits your house daily only to report back to Santa evenings. Some parents get a little inventive as to the mischief your little Elf got to over night. I little contradiction since it is the Elf reporting on your childs behaviour through the day and taking any messages back for Santa ala Elf of mouth.

Needless to say, I for one, really liked the idea of the Elf On The Shelf for my two little ones who believe so much in the magic of Christmas. Hubby wasn’t impressed as he felt it was ‘demonic’ to bring such things into our house. Then again my hubby is a little grinch around this time too. But closer to the time, he snaps out of it. Thank-goodness quiet frankly. I joke and make him a packet of Grinch Pills aka red and green jelly beans. Take one a day to keep the grinch at bay 😉   is the note I attach. Boy do I love this man.

Of course Elf On The Shelf hasn’t hit South Africa yet – why would it since its launch in 2008. We get the dvds and books but not the actual elf doll. Thanks to my sister Kerry who has ordered our little Elf from a toy store in the USA. Pretty cool. Our Elf will only be able to join our family for next years Christmas though as he didn’t make the long shipment in time. 

Take a look at this families creative ideas for their Elf, Jingles – http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?feature=related&v=V83q4nZMOXM

Thanks Pinterest – every year I like to add a little something special to our family Christmas traditions.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrated.

 

Black Friday.

Yesterday while watching CNN and all the depressing news around the world, they ran a snippet on Black Friday.

I was blow away at how psycho people went for a $5 item on sale. To the point CNN reported of previous years where there had been shootings, pepper spray, violence and stampedes. Queues of people camping outside stores the night before for that bargain shopping craze.

My thoughts were: Would you actually sacrifice precious, valuable time with you family on a night such as Thanksgiving to go camp out in queues ?!? Apparently so.

I live in Africa and never in my life have I witnessed such a thing happen in my country. Even when Nelson Mandela was released and we had our first Democratic elections – the talk was of our country going into a civil war. The tin foods were flying off the shelves and immigration offices jam packed with applications.  Nope – still even so, I can’t say I saw the behaviour of  those on Black Friday.

I think the people on telly going absolutely crazy need to see themselves on that box. Maybe, just maybe they will feel a little shameful or embarrasses or disgusted at their lack of civil behaviour. Don’t get me wrong here – there were some shop owners who had set out plans as to how they were to handle the masses. Kudos to those who plan extra cautiously. Letting in small amounts of people at a time.

I packed up laughing at the women who noticed they were being filmed and quickly hid their faces shamefully. Who knows – the media shows what they want you to see and try sway your perception of things. Maybe Black Friday isn’t as hectic as they made out and the bits of footage were of random bad incidences over the years.

Either way, I mention this to a close friend in Prague. She tells me she went to a store last year on Christmas Eve and bought 4 of the remaining 5 trifle puddings knowing full well there were people wanting some too. We got into a debate about it cause I’m the kind of person who would take one under the circumstances. She laughed and voiced her point being – well I needed 4 and I got there first – lucky me. My dear friend emphasised how she would not hesitate to use her inner ninja warrior skills if need be to obtain her goods. Now as a joke on Black Friday I tell her to wear a board warning other shoppers of her black belt & to rather back off.

Hope Black Friday went off smoothly yesterday for all in America and plenty bargains were had.

 

 

Come Dine With Me

I really enjoy the UK show Come Dine With Me. The commentry cracks me up wiThout fail. Watching the new season makes me miss my Mum so so much as we always watched it together. Thanks Mum, only you could instill British humour in my already crazy, whacked little head. Here’s to family heritage. Shall I say, “chin-chin darling”

SunshineMac xxx

Thought I Was Done With Silkworms!

English: Fourth Instar Silkworm Larvae

Oh drat, hubby walked through the door today with a huge box of silkworms. His student, who happens to be a school teacher, begged him to please take a couple as she simply had too many and was battling to feed them and care for them. A few – try like about 200.

Since my eldest was a little tot, we have had silkworms, cycle after cycle. Sigh. I thought I was done with them until now. My 6 year old is just in heaven at his first batch of silkworm pets. To demonstrate their friendliness and gentleness, I pick up a few and name them. That was short lived for there really are far too many. As a little tease, I take the fattest worm and pretend to eat him 😉 but he just clings to me like velcro. Explaining to my son how they love to hug, their legs just cling to you for ‘worm hugs’. It works eventually – no fear there. ‘But mom, please don’t eat my pets’

I knew my eldest sister was and still is petrified of silkworms and every time she came over, my eldest would secretly put one on her shoulder. I was a classic case of ninja moves when she eventually spotted the little thing.

It’s the same thing with my youngest sister – my eldest secretly puts Mr Curly aka a curly hair tarantula on her shoulder while visiting. Now her reaction takes the cake as she’s a bit of an arachnophobic . I should film it next time for YouTube 😉

The joys of a house full of boys. Part and parcel.

Living life

xxx

Our Baby, The Great Explorer.

Time sure flys ever so fast in the first year of a baby’s developments and reaching milestones. I’m still so much in awe at this little blessing roaming our home, leaving little footprints behind as I mop the kitchen floor everyday. My baby is less than a month away from that awesome #1. He is such a joy, always smiling and laughs ever so easily. As my hubby says while holding him, ‘God sure knew what he was doing when he blessed us with you’

We spoke of the possibility of hubby going over the pond alone for the first three months. Mainly as I would like the time with my sister in Knysna, our bond is a unique, special and strong one. Hubby was quick to tell me ‘NO WAY, I can’t be away from this little guy and big boys’ As a typical woman I replied with a fake pout, ‘Oh, and me ;)’ – ‘Of course you too’ he said with a comforting loving smile.

Personally, I love my hubby but I sure could do with some time in an all girl house, being all girly, doing all the things my sister and I use to do together when we lived in the same province. Home pamper parties, enjoying the whine with the wine, the laughter with the history, the musicals and cheesy dance moves with so much more.

Sigh, I have a silly, wonderland smile on my face thinking of those precious times.

Back to my littlest of sons – this age is the great explorer age. Everything goes into the mouth these days too and by everything – I seriously mean EVERYTHING. Our house has been childproofed except the pots and pans draw and the Tupperware cupboard, for these are the best ‘toys‘ any inquisitive little mind requires to satisfy more than any noisy, bright and colourful toy in the toy box has to offer. Oh and a cardboard box – the best thing since sliced bread for a boy toy. Below is the link for his recent munching down on the tyre of our car while out visiting friends. Nothing poisonous or detrimental to the health of an exploring baby. Keep in mind – he will do it once, know it’s yukky with the lesson learnt.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_dGQwEcbDU&feature=plcp

Have a fantastic weekend 🙂

That Hippo Chased Me!

Pod of Hippos (Hippopotamus amphibius) in Luan...

Pod of Hippos (Hippopotamus amphibius) in Luangwa Valley, Zambia Français

Ah, with spring in full swing early on in the game, I was thinking back to last year where our spring/summer took so long to make it devout. Hippos were dying due to the lack of rain and I remember ever so clearly being upset about this. Hippo is in the top three of my all time favourite wild animals.  October we usually see fantastic rains, most welcomed as they wash away all the dust, dirt and old oil on the roads away. But not last year – November saw our first rains. Sad as our wildlife really battled. This year, we have seen it all way early – now, September. Whoohoo  (as she danced in the rain)

As a teen enjoying the lush beauty of a game reserve in Bela Bela, I stumbled upon a mommy Hippo nibbling on the river bed. It’s not often Hippos will come out in full view to nibble but the summers air was cool enough. About 50m from the Hippo was the swimming pool which I had come down to enjoy.

Here’s where my blonde moment #101 comes in. I’m born and bred African. I know the dangers of the wildlife so why did I think walking over to the Hippo to ‘pat’ it was an ever slight possibility ?!?

For some reason I thought – well, if it’s over this side of the river and so close to the pool, it must be ‘tame’.  Hanging around the pool too where a gang of rangers. Watching me. Looking back at them, they knew what stupidity was about to happen.

I nudged a little closer, slowly . . .  until . . . .

HELP – RUN FOR YOUR LIFE !!!

I was being chased by the Hippo. Where, what, when – the pool. I ran and dived into the pool then swam straight to the deep end faster than any olympic swimmer I bet.

Now what! Oh heck, Hippos live in water. She was lingering around the shallow end of the pool. I’m guessing no slope in or out held her back. Those wildlife rangers were laughing so hard, I bet they had sore stomachs the next day.

I felt like such a fool, stupid and embarrassed. There it was – her baby. We all know, you never approach a wild animal let alone one with young.

I laugh easily at myself as is, so no point not to join in the laughter with the game rangers.

Why? I asked them for sitting back in the know of what was about to unfold! Their response was ‘we couldn’t resist’ They knew this Hippo well apparently. Still to this day, I laugh at that video stuck in my memory.

Love Africa.