Ella & Ziggy

There’s a lot about having multiple kids that people don’t tell you. Like how much fighting there will be, how loud they can be, how they care for each other and love on one another.

They also learn from their siblings and I love that Matthew can read to his brother and sister. When Matthew was younger, I used to wish I had tools that helped with teaching him to potty train, tell time and when he just started school, a timetable of sorts. I recently found these exact tools I was looking for called Ella & Ziggy.

Ella & Ziggy magnetic boards include a range of fun magnetic games for children to use their creativity while learning the alphabet, concept of time, weather, planning, calculation, shapes and much more.

The Ella & Ziggy magnetic boards also include a weekly timetable and various reward charts to help parents stay organized and kids stay motivated.

ALL ABOUT TIME
All About Time Magnetic Board is a simple and colourful magnetic toy for pre-school kids to learn the concept of time in a fun and simple way. 12-hour and 24-hour clock with moveable hands.

POTTY TRAINING CHART
Potty Training Magnetic Chart is a simple and easy-to-use tool to help children potty train and learn good bathroom hygiene in a fun and interactive way.

WEEKLY TIMETABLE
Weekly Timetable Magnetic Educational Planning Chart helps kids plan their week ahead with cute and colourful magnets on a magnetic board. A handy and useful planning tool for children and parents.

They also have the following magnetic boards available:

ALL ABOUT THE ALPHABET
All About Alphabet magnetic learning board is a simple and colourful magnetic toy for pre-school kids to learn Alphabets in a fun and playful way.

ALL ABOUT COUNTING
All About Counting magnetic learning board is a simple and colourful magnetic toy for pre-school kids to learn counting from one to ten happily.

ALL ABOUT TODAY
All About Today Weather and Calendar Magnetic Board – Children can learn the concept of days, dates, months, weather and seasons in a playful way. Available in pink & blue.

ALL ABOUT BODY ORGANS
The Magnetic Body Organs Magnetic Board is a fun interactive game to tell the allocation of the body organs. Choose the correct magnetic puzzles and place them in the space provided.

I CAN DO IT REWARDS CHART
I Can Do It! Magnetic Reward Chart is a simple and easy-to-use tool. Children can monitor themselves independently. The more stars they get, the quicker they can get a reward from parents. It can be used by 1 – 3 children with colour-coded stars.

Ella & Ziggy magnetic boards are available at Toy Zone, selected Clicks stores and online from  Charley’s Boxes and Loot.

I seriously need to get my hands on the potty training board soon. We’re starting with Harper in April. Wish us luck.

Have you purchased any of the Ella & Ziggy magnetic boards? If not, which ones would you purchase?

Positivity for 2020

I started this post with a bit of a negative vibe. I was going to talk about being close to the anniversary of my mom’s passing. Of how different things are, yet still so the same. I was going to go on about how much I miss her still and how I wish she was here. But I have had enough of the negativity of the last year. I’ve promised myself I will bring more positivity into my life in this new year.

Grade R, Grade 1, Grade 3

The school year started today. Matthew surprised me with his confidence and bravery. When he started Grade R, he was this timid little mouse, scared of his teacher, was always walking around with his head down. He told me he was a bit nervous this morning (but I suspect that was normal back to school jitters). When I chatted to him earlier today, he said “school was lekker Mommy”. He strutted into his class like he owned the place. Chatted to his desk buddy like he’s always known her. I’m so proud of that big, little guy.

Ethan started Grade R today. Although, he’s doing this through the educare/creche. It makes financial and logistical sense for us to do it this way. That boy has confidence by the bucket-load and I’m sure will give his teacher grief this year (Lord help us).

Harper is a mischievous little miss. She loves pretty dresses and shoes. She loves brushing her own hair and putting in bows and hair slides. She also loves running outside barefoot, chasing after her brothers, playing in the mud and dirt, and getting down and dirty. I am excited to see her personality develop as she grows.

I started this year with a word. But I’ve since added a few more words.I asked myself why I should define my whole year by just one word, when I feel that a combination of a few words will have more impact. My chosen words are a combination of things I want for myself and how I’d like the rest of my life to go.  

Do you have a word(s) for 2020? Care to share?

I also have a list of goals I’d like to accomplish this year. Not resolutions as they never work for me. I’m not going to share my list but it’s there. And I’m hoping I can tick off a lot of those goals this year. I’ll think about sharing that list at the end of the year.

 

 

 

Superbalist Black Friday Showdown

Black Friday is on 29 November this year. I’m not one to set my alarm for midnight so that I am the first to get into the specials. But what I always do is put items in my wishlists year round. This way, I always have access to the things I like (also, I have a memory like a fish) and most retailers put discounts on items that are wishlisted often by customers.

To avoid disappointment this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, download the Superbalist app and start building a wishlist now. Come 29 November and 2 December, you can check all the items in your wishlist to see which ones have been discounted. I’m sure most items will be, especially with Superbalist.

Here are some of items I have on my wishlist:

For Mark

Jacket; joggers; cable box; shoes 

For the Kids

Backpack, swimming costume, dress, tracksuit

For the Home

Rug; bedding; basket 1; basket 2

For Me

Sneakers; nail polish, boots, jeans

Most of these items are already discounted, so I’ll be super lucky if they get a further discount this Black Friday! If you’re unlike me, set those alarms and get ready to shop.

BUY NOW

Dear Diary

Dear Diary is a little thing I used to do a while ago. It would be the safest way to let out my frustrations, anger, gratitude for people I won’t/don’t want to say it to face to face. It’s also a way of getting things off my chest that is bothering me.

Dear Daddy
Thank you for every single thing you do for us. Thank you for always being there and loving on your grandbabies the way you do. I know you miss Mommy, we do too, but you’re doing great. Please look after your health and that diabetes of yours. I love you!

Dear Fear
I’m getting really tired of being scared in my own home. I’m tired of every single groan and grunt of the house giving me heart palpitations. Please can you go now and leave me the hell alone?

Dear Universe
Please see my positive attitude and bring that positivity as something tangible into my life. New job, better salary, new opportunities, anything I’m asking for.

Dear Creativity
Where you at huh? It’s that time of the year where I need you. Halloween is coming up and then it’s Christmas. And this little blog and my Instagram page needs a little help too. Step up ‘kay.

Dear Insects and Varmin
Get out of my house, okay? I am moer tired of cleaning up after you and hearing you scurrying around at night. Oh and our security company is tired of calling us between 2am and 3am because you keep setting the alarm off #LeaveMyHouseMouse

Dear Weightloss
Come on and give me a break please! I’ve been eating better, cutting out a lot of the junk and you still fronting me? What am I doing wrong?

Dear Anxiety/Depression
FUCK OFF!

Dear Bokke
You’ve got this guys!

A break in, a flooding, coping mechanisms

 

A few weeks ago, we had our very first house break in. We had only been in the new house for 3 months and were still in the process of putting in an alarm system. The Friday before the break in, we noticed that one of the vibracrete slabs had been broken and pushed in and looked like someone might have been in the yard and looked around. We then contacted the alarm company to urgently install and setup the alarm. Unfortunately, it was a little too late.

Mark normally gets home earlier than I do. This Monday, he walked into the house and immediately noticed that the tv in the lounge was missing. I have no idea what went through his mind at the time, but he walked into the kitchen and then noticed that the backdoor was standing open. He had the kids with him and instead of being able to deal with the situation, he had to ensure the kids didn’t touch anything and get them to my dad.

They had gotten into the house by unclipping the aluminum window from the frame, and jamming a thick wooden plank between the burglar bar and the wall in Harper’s bedroom. They ransacked our house. Took all our electronics, valuables, name brand shoes. The police took 4 hours to come take our statement, it took us a couple hours to straighten the house and make a list of things that were taken. We sent our list to the insurance in that week but still found things missing 2 weeks later.

Then, dealing with the insurance assessor was another headache. Gosh, I understand why the insurance companies are so thorough but they seriously need to find another way to talk to claiming clients. I was made to feel like I had stolen my own things. I honestly do not want to go through something like this again.

To top off things, 2 weeks after the break in, our geyser apparently burst. We walked in the Sunday to a house flooded in most of the rooms. Water was gushing out of the bathroom lights, the passage ceiling, there was water in the kitchen, the playroom, the bathroom, Harper’s bedroom, just freaking everywhere! It took forever to mop it all up and then another few days before the assessor came out to see the damage. It’s been a week and a half and we still have no idea when they’re coming around to repair the ceilings, flooring and cupboards.

It’s just been the most stressful few weeks. We’ve never had to deal with any of these issues before, so it’s been a learning curve for us. We have Ethan’s birthday tomorrow week which I have to plan a party for and I have no idea whether our house will be able to accommodate guests or not. I’ve taken a break from social media and blogging as my mind is just all over the place. I’m dealing with some anxiety and mild depression and I’m not coping. Social media also seems to be adding to the anxiety and stress, especially when the lives on Instagram all seem so perfect and I feel like I can’t live up to it.

Do you have coping mechanisms to deal with stress and anxiety?

 

I’m sucking at motherhood

Motherhood has been kicking my butt the last few months. I’m trying to keep it real here but it’s not always easy to post about the sucky bits of life. Most of us want people to think we have our shit together, that the house is always clean, the kids are always well behaved, that you have an amazing sex life. But in reality, this is not always the case.

The kids ignore me. Every, fucking minute of the day! I am so sick of my own voice. I mean I love my kids, don’t get me wrong. I’m just so tired of asking them to do a small thing 344 times. Being ignored and then losing my shit. Then I get the mom guilt for shouting at my kids and not being the “cool mom”. And if you lose your shit with 1 child, you inevitably carry that anger over to the other kids. Story of my life…

Photo captured by Shante Hutton Photography

I’m sucking at motherhood so that must mean I’m doing well in all other aspects of my life right? I mean, with all the balls we juggle, if we drop one we still manage to keep the others afloat? Nope, not in my case. Work is boring. I’m not being stimulated at all. I’ve asked numerous times for more responsibilities (I mean who even does that) but I get ignored at work too. Whoop whoop! So even though I get my work done, I’m done within 30 minutes of of being at work. So let me break this down for you. I get to work at 07:30. My hours are 08:00 to 17:00 with an hour lunch break. So essentially, I spend my ENTIRE day at work doing nothing because I finish what needs to be done before I even start. Go figure.

So being a mom is kicking me in the butt, work is killing my brain cells, that means I should be having the time of my life with my husband. Except I’m not. I love him and I love spending time with him. But because of the guilt (mom), the boredom (work), the complete suckability (not a real word, I know) of my life right now, I’m not giving my all to my husband. I’m questioning everything and being the worst wife. I don’t feel like cleaning, I don’t feel like disciplining the kids, I don’t feel like doing anything except laying in my bed and being left alone.

Photo captured by Shante Hutton Photography

I just want to be myself again! I want to be happy and find joy in my family. Or maybe it should somehow just all end.

Nectar & Spice – an interview (PLUS WIN)

Something a little different today. I’m interviewing Margaret Faasen, the amazing pastry chef and owner of Nectar & Spice.

If you don’t know, Nectar & Spice is an artisanal sweet boutique specialising in baked pastries, cakes and decorated sugar cookies. She’s created cookies for me for Harper’s first birthday, Christmas cookies, teacher gifts, and my cousin’s baby shower cookies. Not only are they little works of art, they taste amazing as well. Read more to learn about Margaret and Nectar & Spice.

Tell us more about yourself and what you do?
I like to think of myself as a creative problem solver. I love having to analyse a problem from different angles and figuring out the best solution. I also love working with colours, textures and patterns and creating something that is both practical and aesthetically pleasing. These elements all come into play with running a business like Nectar & Spice.

Nectar & Spice is a boutique bakery specialising in decorated sugar cookies but we also do cakes, tarts, cupcakes, brownies and many other treats and soon also events. We get to create, decorate, bake and design all while still being focused on exceptional service and amazing flavours – practical and beautiful!

Why did you start “Nectar & Spice”?
I’ve always known that I would like to be a business owner and that whatever type of business it will be it would have to challenge me both creatively and analytically as I fear stagnation.

On the other hand, I’ve been baking with my mom and gran since an early age and really enjoyed the process of creating something out of simple ingredients and seeing the enjoyment others get from eating these creations.

Nectar & Spice combined these two interests of mine.

What did you study – was it in the baking field or was it something completely different?
I have a Bachelor degree from Tuks in Consumer Science with specialization in Interior Merchandise Retail Management (interior designing being my other passion) and a Diploma in Pastry.

What was your first job and how did you progress to this?
My first job was working as an Au Pair. I just finished my degree but realised that I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life. I worked for a family for a couple of years while deciding what it was that I really would like to do with my life. I did my Diploma in Pastry and got the opportunity to move to Cape Town with my husband. Here I got a job as Head Chef at a small restaurant in Stellenbosch which I really enjoyed, but I felt undervalued and underappreciated. I decided to re-direct my dedication towards building my own business and Nectar & Spice was born.

What have been the highlights of starting your own business?
The constant, unfaltering support from my husband telling me each day how proud he is of me.

The amazing, positive feedback and encouragement I get from my family and complete strangers wanting to support me and what I do.

Seeing my business grow and being able to employ others.

What’s the best part of your job?
Getting to try new and interesting ideas.

Seeing a client’s face when they receive their cookies/cake

What is the most challenging part?
Knowing when to push and when to hold back.

Not having any guarantees.

Managing people.

What is your dream for Nectar & Spice?
To grow to be a household name in the Western Cape and known for exceptional service.

To create a space where people can celebrate the special moments in life.

Any tips for people wanting to take the leap and start their own business?
Be prepared to work long and hard with the pay-off often in the distant future. But be sure, if you keep at it and deliver consistent good service, it will pay off.

Please show me how the hell you make your cookies so incredibly perfect? Do you give lessons?
I do give lessons! The first class will be in our new venue for Easter. This class is already fully booked but I will be hosting one for Mother’s Day too.

Ultimately the trick is practice, practice, practice…

If you’d like to order anything from Margaret, please email her at nectarandspice@gmail.com. She can make almost anything in the shape of a cookie.

Margaret has kindly agreed to do a giveaway of one of her Easter hamper boxes. Winning is easy, just follow these steps.

  1. Follow Nectar & Spice on Instagram here
  2. Follow me on Instagram here
  3. Comment below and tell me which of Nectar & Spice’s cookies you like the most.
  4. For an extra entry, tag a friend on the Instagram post who’d love to win this Easter hamper (one tag + one entry)
  5. Giveaway closes on 16 April. The winner will be randomly selected and announced after 7pm that day.
  6. You’ll get an extra entry for sharing to your Insta-stories and tagging me.

IMPORTANT NOTE – only open to Cape Town peeps and the winner must be able to collect their prize at Nectar & Spice’s store in Bellville on 18 April before 5pm.

Good luck!

 

A little life update

Sheesh, I can hear the crickets and had to dust off the cobwebs from not using this little space for a while now. I’m sorry. I’ve explained in my last post about how I’ve forgotten where I came from and why I started this blog. Now for a little update on our lives.

Harper
She’s been growing like a weed and since her grommet procedure, she has been babbling more often. I even heard the word “car” come out there sometime. She says “teacher”, “daddy”, “doe” for her dummy, and some form of Ethan’s name. She has yet to say “mommy” or even “mama” but it’s okay. I’m just glad the grommets are helping and she’s busy thriving now. If only her hair will grow a little longer.

I’ve been such a bad mommy and feel the guilt in my bones. She hasn’t yet had her 12 month vaccination. And she’s almost due for her 18 month vaccination. I’ve made an appointment twice already at our local clinic but every time, something’s come up and we had to cancel. Does anyone know if we can go to Clicks to get these vaccinations?

Ethan
Oh this poor boy of mine. He’s been struggling so badly with his chest lately. He was hospitalized at the end of January with pneumonia again. Doctor put him on a daily inhaler and something to manage his allergies. Touch wood, they’ve been working so far, but it’s only been 2 months and the winter months are on their way.

He’s been good otherwise. Learning loads at creche, and asking me ALL the questions. Especially the ones that start with “why?”. He loves his sister and picks her up and tries to kiss at every opportunity. He and Matthew fight like cat and dog, until they don’t and then they get on like a house on fire. These intense emotions and firecracker tempers make me so exhausted but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Matthew
Matthew had this weird skin infection from the Streptococcus bacteria, called Ecthyma. Luckily it was just one spot and didn’t spread. We managed it and now there’s just a massive scar that I’m hoping will eventually start fading.

I’ve been having a few great parenting moments when I see how things I’ve tried to teach him (and his siblings) have actually sunk in. Things like saying I’m sorry when he accidentally hurts someone, saying please and thank you, being kind and caring. It’s amazing how we harp on and on and repeat things all the time, praying that at least just one thing will stick and then one day, you witness it all and feel like you’ve accomplished something.

Other news
Come Valentine’s Day, I was one of those parents that left things to the last minute. I ended up DIY’ing these tops for the younger 2. They turned out so awesome, even if I do say so myself.

I won a little photoshoot with Shante Hutton Photography for myself and my sister. These are some of those photos. Isn’t she just an amazing photographer? Book her now!

I have been seeing a surgeon since beginning December last year for my elbow. He couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong with my elbow and asked me to attend a meeting with other orthopedic surgeons to discuss my case. This was so nerve-wracking. To stand in front of all these medical professionals while they talk about you like you aren’t even there. But we have an answer and a possible solution. For now, my doctor will do an arthroscope to do a debridement and clean out the arthritis and bone that is there. We will be discussing dates and pre-surgery things by the end of this week. After 2 years of pain, I’m just so glad to be getting something done and praying it all works out.

And then lastly, after 3 months of back and forth, we’re finally getting our key for our new house mid-April!!!! I am so excited, I could burst. I’ve started packing already and I’m hoping to get it all done before the operation. Mark wants to build some pallet furniture for the extra space we have. Does anyone have any ideas where we can get pallets for cheap here in Cape Town?

I forgot

I forgot.

I forgot why I started writing
I got caught up in what others were doing and tried to follow them. Instead of sticking to my plan and my way of doing things. No wonder I wasn’t finding joy in blogging anymore.

I forgot to document
I lost my joy and stopped writing updates about the children. The main reason I started this little space was for me (and them one day) to look back and remember. I want to get right back into it.

I forgot about the people
I need to remember that there are actually real people out there who follow my blog and look forward to updates. (Yes, just those 2 of you 😊) I forgot to show my appreciation for them and keep them in the loop.

I forgot to read
That’s where I get most of my inspiration from. Reading other’s blog posts. Keeping their writing and story telling in the forefront of my mind helped me tell our story.

I forgot to tell our story
Speaking of story, I forgot that this is basically what it’s all about. A story of our lives, and how we each fit into it and mold each other and grow with each other.

I won’t forget
To write about our lives and share our struggles. Even if just 2 people read my posts and realise they’re not alone, then I’ve done what I set out to do.

That time my husband ended up in the ER

It’s Saturday, a day that’s usually filled with cleaning, kids running around, and Mark doing something or other on the car or around the house. However, on this Saturday, I’m trying to get the kids to be quiet because Mark is laying down with some abdominal pains. It had started the Friday already but he left it as he expected it to disappear on it’s own. I’m worried and not sure what to do.

Later that afternoon, after several restless hours, I eventually asked him if we can go to the hospital. By this time I was scared as none of the pain meds he had taken had worked and I was terrified that it was something serious. I was then even more concerned when he agreed without too much pushing.

On our way to the hospital, with all 3 kids in tow, I called my sister to ask her to come and get the kids at the hospital. The boys were just as scared when they realised we were on our way to the hospital, thinking it was for one of them. We got checked in at the ER and had a nice wait ahead of us. All this time, Mark was still in pain and cringing silently so as not to scare the kids even more.

My sister eventually got the kids and in that time, Mark got called in to see the doctor. So now I’m sitting alone in the waiting room, scared shitless and not knowing what to expect.

I was eventually called in to sit with him. They gave him some pain meds intravenously and he was feeling lots better. They had also done an EKG and taken some blood for tests. However, he hated having the drip in and wanted to pull it out.

The doc eventually came back and gave the final diagnosis as Gastritis.

Source

Mark has had to watch his diet and ensure that he doesn’t overdo it to keep the gastritis at bay. So far, it’s been almost 2 months since the incident and there hasn’t been another flareup.

When we got to my sister to get the kids, Harper had too much fun trying to take the stickers off Mark’s chest.

I am so grateful it wasn’t anything worse and that this can be managed at home.