Happy First Birthday To You, My Boy.

 

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The garden, the best playground for a little boy.

 

 

On October the 24th we celebrated our baby boys first birthday. A whole 365 days young. This little man of ours has brought so much love into our home, we are truly blessed to have welcomed him in our lifes journey. He wakes up smiling, laughs so easily at all and sundry, happy after a long adventurous day to cuddle with good night hugs and prayers before he lay in his cot ready to slip into his pleasant dream land.

 

 

 

 

Mr and I were up till the wee hours of the night baking his chocolate cake, we decided on a construction party theme. Not only is his grand-pops a Diesel Mechanic working on machines such as Diggers but it was a boy theme we hadn’t done yet after 14 years of ‘boy party’ planning. It was a fun filled day with water slides, braai and good friends (seeing as of the 14 million people living in Gauteng – not a single one is family !!) Happy Birthday our little man – we love you to the moon and back, always.

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Digger Cake – Icing a fresh chocolate cake was no childs play.

 

My Dream House.

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This picture has been on my laptop for some time now. It’s my dream house. Knowing myself, I would probably change the outside wall colours to something more natural and neutral.

I so miss living out in the country-side. I grew up living mostly on the most beautiful plots as we call them here in South Africa.  When my hubby and I broke the news to my family that we will be living out in the country again, we had many emails and phone calls advising us otherwise due to safety.  I have never felt as safe as I do, living out in the country. In all our years living on plots, we were only ever robbed once. My sons quad motorbike was stolen but hear this – it was lifted over our cars and taken out of our garage without setting any alarms off. We woke to our concrete wall knocked out. My son noticed footprints in the sand that my husband followed. To our luck, we found it, hidden in the bushes of the near by veld (open field of long grass). My husband was watched by two men sitting near by as he threw the branches off the bike and pushed it back home.  There were a few attempts on the thieving of the quad. To the point, I joked about just leaving it out on the driveway with a huge ribbon. It was after-all insured and I felt our lives were worth far more than this quad bike.  Needless to say – after the third attempt, they gave up trying.

Below I have included photos of the garden of our country side home. I sure miss it so much.

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ImageSpot our house peeping out the top right there 🙂

Our back yard, so to speak, was a private golf course. What’s the point of rolling lawn without a real purpose. We had plenty ‘golf days’ with family and friends. It’s here and because of this, that my now 6 year old took to golfing. By age two, he put most people we knew to shame with his accurate swing. For his second Christmas, we invested in a real, proper child size golf set. Sadly in November of last year – it ‘vanished’ off the removal truck while relocating.  He was devastated.

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Plenty memories flowing through my pretty little head while looking at these. Copious amounts of picnics, crab fishing, frog searching at night, treasure hunts, Easter egg hunts, sunset strolls, snakes visiting  etc took place here.

As for our dream house, hubby and I love thatch, country cottage style living. We both agree my dream house is something suitable to our characters, style and family. Who knows what the future holds 🙂

Beautiful, isn’t it?

It’s Criminal For Sure.

I popped out later yesterday afternoon at our local Pick ‘n Pay store to grab a few odds and ends I needed for last nights dinner. Here in South Africa we have what’s called ‘car-guards’. A car guard is a person who hangs about the parking lot ‘watching’ your car while you shop. Upon your return one is expected to ‘tip’ the car guard. To me personally – this is a fake & utter nonsense of a so called job.

For one, our car insurance is pretty high in our country. Should my car be hi-jacked, stolen or involved in an accident, it is more than covered.  I have often watch women in particular being intimidated, obligated and pretty much harassed into not only ‘paying’ a tip but one the car guard deems acceptable. When out with my sister on a particular day – she had tipped the car guard a R5 where an average tip is R2, before we knew what was happening, he threw the tip back at her and demanded more as he forced half his body through her window yelling. To tip a car guard is something done out of kindness. Needless to say, we drove off rather fast and reeling in shock. This is not always the case but I can definitely say that when I am with my husband, the car guards don’t attempt such nonsense. More often than not, a car guard will see you approaching your car with your trolly and meet up with you to push it and unpack your shopping into your boot, then assist you in reversing. To me, this service is worthy of a tip. The stages of the month generally determine the amount tipped as well as how long I was away. Month end/pay day hubby would tip R10 or R20. Keep in mind R5 for every stop you make adds up. I’m sure we spend on average R400 plus on car guard tips alone in a month.

Back to my point of yesterday – while reversing after my shop, it was rather odd that the car guard hadn’t come harassing me for his tip before I even got my key in the ignition. After reversing extra slowing as I knew he would appear sooner than later. BAAM, he came running but seemed hesitant t leave the car he was at and hasty approached me. I asked him what was wrong. SHOCK, HORROR – he explained to me how he was scared to leave the car further up as there was a baby in it !! The mother decided to just leave her baby to sleep while she went on shopping. This is a criminal offence in our country and if the media got hold of it – trust me, her baby would have been taken away and herself arrested.

Lets not even mention the possible child kidnapping or a stolen car scenario of this.  I had my own baby in my car with the babysitter waiting for me back home with my other two as it was her home time.  So in my rush I sadly did nothing. In hindsight, I should have taken photos and called the police. This is probably the second time at this particular mall that I have witnessed such an incident this year. A third incident made it all over the news & social media. The mother was arrested and the baby placed in the husbands care pending the outcome of her court appearance. Sadly, she really didn’t fathom what the fuss was about.

I tossed and turned the whole night last night questioning myself as to why on earth I just drove off !! That is just so not like me. I’ve had a go at people in traffic driving with their toddlers or babies unstrapped, standing on the front passenger seat.  Or worse – yes, I have seen babies being breast fed while the mother is driving during peek traffic hour.

This morning I sent an email to the managing office at the mall, emphasising how car guards need to  report such cases to security so that action may be taken in future. I haven’t had a reply as yet but I do take comfort in having voiced my concerns and bringing such an incident to their attention.

What would you have done?

Growing Curves

 

Over the last months dew to plenty stress, bad eating habits and an occassional dose of depression, my butt decided it was time to let me know she existed and was growing on me fast. I took a long hard look in the mirror where honesty was the name of the game and there was no kidding myself.

Somehow, regardless of how many years rise to meet us – we tend to always presume ourselves to still be that 20 something year old with that same shape that was effortless to maintain, if at all.

There it was, the truth. Without hesitation I called my mom followed by my sister. The lies we want to hear are all there, laid on thick to appease who really ?!?
Then the big excuse – It’s your thyroid !! Okay, maybe. Off to the doc, blood tests and a few days wait. What do you mean my thyroid is fine ???

Thoughts going through my head – eat less, exercise more. And for crying out loud woman – DRINK WATER. I know deep down my cooking habits changes to accommodate the growing boys with very healthy appetites. Pasta, rice, potato, bread. Not that eating any of this is bad but big portions of the same thing …

I grew up in a house where fresh green salads and grilled chicken breasts or steaks with a helping of beetroot or such was a way of life. Reality check – living in the city is horrid. A simple thing like jogging on your own is not a safe or smart thing to do. After a trip to my dentist where we got chatting about womans health, she recommended a dietician in the same building. I had my appointment the next day. How raw can one be because who would you be lying to but yourself when it came to answering some of her questions. As I answered and heard my own words, I knew exactly where my problem areas were. I was taken back a little when seeing portion sizes too even though the rule of thumb was the palm of your hand. Well then – dinner will be served on a side plate for me. Just to help with the psychological aspect of it.

I’m loving my new eating plan, which I might add is taking some getting use to from a habit point of view. Hubby too has joined me which makes adjusting that much easier. Back to summer foods which I love – grilled steaks and fresh fusion salads, plenty BBQ‘s and activities in the lush sunshine. Ah, just love Africa.

I often joke with my friends when going out for a morning jog escorted by hubby. ‘I will wait till traffic dies down so I don’t get hooted at for a laugh as my butt is smacking me around ;)’

I’m having fun meeting new faces at Zumba and Pilates classes, especially choosing the back row – it’s a whole other picture.

Here’s to all the moms, wives and women out there, celebrating life in our 30’s and the ever changing curves we encounter as the double digits change. Having fun, living life and aging gracefully. As I said to Tumelo when wanting that last cupcake – life is too short, but even shorter if you’re fat.

 

My Mom, I Pray.

I’m not sure if knowing when a loved one is going to die sooner than presumed is a blessing or a curse. We seem to have this presumption that we will all live to grow old and die peacefully in our sleep.  It’s a given that your parents will reach their golden years, enjoy their grand children and even possibly treasured years with great grandchildren.  So when I learnt that it is my mom that will not reach these years and see my children grow up long enough to finish their school years and maybe, just maybe even marry – this news to me felt like someone stuck their hand in my chest and ripped out my heart. I can’t imagine my life without my mom. My mother has been so much more than a mom in being a single parent. It’s far more reaching knowing what I know especially since my mom is also the last remaining adult left in my life. All these amazing family members that I grew up with, who guided me and moulded me – have since died. How so in the last ten years. It’s so surreal to me. My aunties, my uncles, my grandparents, my great gran, they are all gone.

Now, in time – my mom. To make this even harder, she immigrated. Her health deteriorated to the point one of us had to look after her. That someone is my little brother. We have such a tight bond and skype as often as possible. It’s not the same but it’s comforting and better than nothing. Video skype enables my mom to see her grandchildren and maintain the bond she has with them. I still can’t wait for her to be able to travel and come home and meet her newest grandson. I get angry at times that she is in the northern hemisphere while we are down here in SA. I know she is better off and needs to be where she is but it leaves me feeling so robbed of time, very precious time and events. I haven’t seen her now for 2 years, I always think in the back of my head – Christmas, Easter, Mothers Day, Birthdays etc . . .  is this the last! I’m always hoping and praying for the next.

Not seeing her with all her medicines, pumps, oxygen machines and not having to witness a ‘shut down’  etc, at times makes me forget – just forget that there is a time limit. For now, I treasure every moment I can with her, taking it all in. It’s the most difficult conversation to ever have with your parent – their dying wishes. I know she was being subtle before she immigrated in finalising a few things. I chose to act ignorant because I didn’t and still don’t want to accept and acknowledge fully the ‘issue’ at hand.

I never knew what COPD was or that it even existed until it hit home. Advanced stages already they say. I will always pray for a miracle and everyday is just that.

Hug your mom today and appreciate any family you have, for you are blessed.

A Little White Lie.

Boys boys boys and with that – Chocoholics. A slab of chocolate wouldn’t even make it to the pantry let alone the joys of a wee bit daily. I have to seriously be craving a major dose of sugar should I ever finish a slab in one go.  Knowing the life span of the slightest bit of chocolate in our house I take comfort in the fact that I am the only dark chocolate eater in this little family. 

But I hit a snag . . .  my 6-year-old really enjoys testing his taste buds. He recently had an attempt at an oyster while at the Wine & Oyster Festival last month.  There was a moment I thought he would actually see it through but after a few chews and a really desperate look on his face, I knew the ‘spit it out’ had reached its point. Kudos to him for trying. His enjoyment of sushi is enough for me. 

Back to this delicious slab of dark chocolate. In trying to save my slab, greed and all well past a week before being devoured , I lied to my 6-year-old  when he asked for some of mine after finishing his. Mine was clearly different. ‘Uuuummm’ I said, ‘this is mom’s medicine, it’s got special vitamins in just for mom’s.’ Pfftt – it worked. My slab was mine and mine alone. Months had passed since I pulled this one-off. Yes, there were moments I felt a little guilty. Those brief moments would be about the same time as I was opening the fridge in search of a little block. Then one day, there was this familiar little voice again, ‘mom, are you having your medicine?.’ I looked over my shoulder into the big brown eyes of my son and just melted. ‘No my boy, this is mommy’s special chocolate, do you want to taste some and if you like it as much as mom does, promise to always ask before taking some.’ And there you have it – my son loves dark chocolate as much as every other kind of chocolate for that matter.  All in moderation of course. 

Life is too short to hog the chocolate and even shorter than that, are the blessed childhood years we share with our children before they leave the nest.  Make every day count. I often look back wondering where on earth have the years gone! At this stage, I don’t want my boys to grow up and leave the nest . . .  ever, but every day is a day closer to that day *sad face*

 

SunshineMac xxx

A Cake Is Not Just A Cake

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Mom’s Smartie Cake

Another crafty post. This would be the most delicious cake I have ever made. Not the most spectacular but by far the one that didn’t last past the hour.  Knowing all thing chocolate are where it’s at in my house, for fathers day I decided to try this one out for my special man. After baking a lovely moist chocolate cake and icing it of course with chocolate icing. I used a party pack of Chomp bars, you could use anything similar like Kit-Kats or such for the sides. I topped the cake with smarties and lots of. I think overseas M&M’s would be similar – anything that is candy coated chocolate buttons will do all the same.  Both my big and small boys LOVED LOVED LOVED this cake so much so I had a request to repeat it for Austin’s birthday a few day later. Give it a try, no doubt it will be a hit in your home too.