Annie’s Baking Club *sponsored*

Do you love baking with your kids? Despite the mess that’s bound to happen. Despite them wanting to do everything themselves. Despite the nagging of when will it be done. I know I enjoy baking with Ethan (as he’s the only one that is willing to help out in the kitchen lol). When Tessa’s Bakery contacted me to test out their new baking kits I nearly jumped out of my skin with excitement and couldn’t wait to start.

There are 7 different types of baking kits available. Think unicorn, dinosaur, emoji and many more. The kits start at R195 and include everything you need to make baking memories with your child. They can be found at Annie’s Baking Club. They’re also launching a monthly subscription box in November. These are R295 each and I am so getting in on that!

We were sent the Marvellous Monsters Cupcake Kit. The kit includes the Vanilla Cupcake Mix, Buttercream Icing Mix, White Cupcake Cases, Monster Cupcake Wrappers, White, Black and Blue Sugar Paste, Tooth Picks, Green and Purple Gel Colours, Piping Bags, Grass Piping Nozzle. And to make your cupcakes at home, you need eggs, oil, butter, milk and vanilla essence (the usual ingredients for premixes I think).

The instructions are bright and kid friendly. The easy to follow step by step instructions made it so that Ethan could see what he needed to do next. We had so much fun playing with the sugar paste, although I had to remind myself to take a step back and let him do this on his own. I think the most tedious part was cutting out the monster cupcake wrappers lol.

He was so proud of his creation and couldn’t stop telling everyone about HIS cupcakes. I can’t wait to try every kit in the collection. It’s a wonderful way to involve the kids in the kitchen, spend some quality time with them and make wonderful memories.

 

Do your kids help out in the kitchen? Which kit do you think would be the first one you’ll try?

Mother’s Day without mom

It’s Mother’s Day tomorrow and I’m dreading it just a little bit. I suppose this is what happens when you lose your mom. The worst is seeing all those posts on social media, “Get mom something she’ll love”, “show mom how much you love her by getting her this” or “tell us why your mom is the best and we’ll send her a card with your message”. I actually like that last one. Because if they could send a card to heaven then I’m in!

I’d probably say the following in my card.

Hi Mommy. I miss you so much. The children miss you and I wish you could have met Harper. I have so many questions and I’m sorry I never got to say goodbye. I love you ♥

Yeah, probably not something that particular brand would’ve been up for. But seriously, Mother’s Day without your mom is hard. Even if you have a mother figure in your life, or friends that are always there for you, or a close aunt or your mom in law or the next door neighbor. Nothing compares to having your own mommy here.

I miss my mom’s cooking. I miss seeing her sit in her usual spot in the lounge. I miss hearing her speaking to her grand babies. I miss when she just used to pop in by me just to find out how I’m doing. I miss her phonecalls complaining about my sister.

If your mom is not here anymore, I understand. The grief can get much. I don’t know if it’ll ever get better but I hope it will.

If your mom is still here, I hope you are able to spoil her rotten and have an amazing Mother’s Day. Tell her you love her (even if you feel awkward doing it, she needs to hear it trust me), talk to her, tell her how important she is to you.

A thin person in a fat person’s body

I look in the mirror and I’m happy with what I see. My clothing flatters me, my hair looks good, makeup is subtle but makes me look fresher and not as tired as I feel. We’re going to a little party you see, so I’m glad I look good because then I feel good. Fast-forward a few hours. I’m sitting at home, relaxing on the couch. Kids are asleep and I’m scrolling through my phone. I go onto Facebook and the pics of the party are up. Awwww, look how cute Harper looks. Hahahaha Ethan and Matthew look so big. WTF is that?!?!? IS THAT ME????? How does my mirror reflect one thing but when I look at a photo of myself, I seem to have tripled in size???

Has this ever happened to you? You look at yourself and you’re happy with what you see, then you see a photo of yourself and you get such a big fright as you can’t believe that you’re actually that big.

I am a thin person in a fat person’s body.

I am so scared to eat at work. Where we have 1 or 2 people in our office that watch what you eat and will make some type of comment. I have friends that are disgusted with the fuller figure and would rather not look at me. I am the bigger friend that gets kept around out of pity (I can only assume, I would never ask). I try not to let my husband see me walk around naked. When the kids see me in my underwear, I try not to physically cringe in front of them.

I was always teased about my weight growing up. Mostly by my dad. He’d laugh and say something along the lines of “You need to go to the airport. They need your legs to kick-start the Boeing.” I’d laugh with him but inside I’d be crying. I only weighed around 65kg but he was saying I was fat. I swam a lot, so my shoulders were broad and that got made of fun of too. An uncle of mine once looked me up and down when I was around 19 years old. He said to me “at least you have good child bearing hips.”

So yeah, I’ve had several people feel that it was okay for them to comment on my weight, my body shape, my eating habits. I am so tired of the drama surrounding my weight. I was never a thin girl. Okay, maybe not in my eyes. I think the lowest I weighed when I was 17/18 was probably 65kg and I wore a size 34 pants. I want to be beautiful. I want to feel confident. I want my clothes to flatter me and make me feel great.

But, my body is strong. I need to remember that and give myself credit for that. I played sport at school, I used to swim, I can still run around and kick a ball, I can run an 8km obstacle course race. My body carried 3 babies, withstood major abdominal surgery to get them earth side. I’ve had so much happen to and done just as much to my body and yet it’s still going.

I know I need to put aside the worry, the stress, the judgments and snide comments. But how? I follow body positive people on social media. But I still feel alone and stranded and unable to make a change.

I just turned 37 years old and I wonder if I’ll ever love my body. If I’ll ever have a healthy relationship with food. If I am going to pass my issues onto Harper.

Has anyone felt similar? Do  you have any advice for me?

Not a lover of the cold

Am I the only one that hates the cold? I am seriously not looking forward to winter, with the icy cold winds, thick jackets that restrict my movements, struggling to keep a wriggly baby warm at night, laundry that doesn’t dry in one day and rushing to get dressed after a shower. Although the only plus side to winter is probably the soups and warm drinks and comfy foods. My waistline might not agree with that last statement.

Anyway, I have no idea where I was going with that. I have been neglecting writing here for 2 reasons. The one is something I’ve been grappling with for a few weeks now and it’s started keeping me up at night. I have lost my writing mojo. I need to channel Austin Powers and figure out how to find it because I have lots of work that I need to complete, people have trusted me and are counting on me to help get their message across. I can’t disappoint them and need to get my act together.

The second reason is that two thirds of my kids were sick. Ethan was sick about 2 weeks ago. He had an ear, nose and chest infection. His chest sounded like a tractor struggling to start and I was so stressed out when just a few hours after visiting the doctor with a normal temp, his temp then proceeded to skyrocket to almost 41°C. As we were about to leave for the ER, I took his temp again and it had started to come down. Luckily we managed to avoid going to the hospital and his fever seemed to have broken after that. Then last Thursday, Harper’s chest started to wheeze. The mom guilt was too real because even though I knew she was getting sick, I still sent her to creche because I needed to get to work and I had no one else to look after her. Her fever then spiked on Friday and we managed to control that. Unfortunately, she seemed to be getting worse as the weekend wore on and we ended up at Panorama Hospital’s ER on Sunday evening. I was fully expecting the doctor to admit her, that’s how bad her breathing was but luckily, he just gave a long list of meds and sent us home. When we visited her paediatrician on Wednesday, he mentioned that the paed wards were full, which is probably why she wasn’t admitted. I think I slept 6 hours that entire long weekend.

Winter hasn’t even set in yet and we’re already dealing with sick kids. Immune boosters and multivitamins don’t work on my kids. I’ve tried them all, Zinplex, Vital for kids, etc. I’m thinking of giving them the flu shot. Anyone given their kids the flu shot?

Here’s hoping I I don’t need to demand “one hundred million dollars” with my mini me to find my mojo.

Ramblings

WARNING – this post is literally a brain dump. Proceed with caution.

When the words won’t come out…….
What do you do?
No motivation to write but wanting to say something.

I think I’m tired. I think I need a holiday.
I wish I could just quit my job and find a way to make money from home.

I’m hungry. But I’m picking up so much weight again! Almost back to my pre-pregnancy weight (and I lost 10kgs while pregnant)

Eek, I hope I don’t post this. People will think I’m crazy.

I don’t want to be negative and I don’t want people to see me/or my blog as being negative.

I’m rambling and the thoughts are all jumbled in my head. Writing out whatever pops into my head is fun.

Harper is growing too fast. Ethan is stubborn AF. Matthew is testing me. But I love them more than anything else. I complain about my kids a lot but they are my world and I would do anything for them.

Work sucks.
I wish I had more time to bake.
I wish I liked cooking more than I do.

Can it rain in Cape Town soon please? I feel for a nice warm bath. And to wash my hair guilt free.

Now to find some food.

 

LABEL Collections

Written in collaboration with LABEL Collections

I first heard of LABEL Collections sometime in last year. I jumped onto their website and fell in love with their styles. So when I was contacted by Nadia Turton, who is the creator of LABEL Collections, I was itching to find out more about the brand and who they are.

The collection is produced locally, in Cape Town, where fabrics and trims are personally sourced by Nadia herself. It is then created into absolutely gorgeous wearable garments. They also produce limited quantities of each style, so it’s exclusive.

I love that their ethos include creating jobs and supporting positive social, cultural and environmental shifts. For me, this means that they support any changes in these environments and may work around them or find ways to include that change in the way their garments are made.

“Feminine, contemporary, effortless chic designs set us apart.”

LABEL Collections is currently having a SALE. I’ve listed some of my favourite sale items below.

 

 

Here’s a few non sale items on my list too.

You can find LABEL Collections at their website, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Guys, don’t forget about the SALE but hurry because it ends 28 February 2018!

How do I put into words?

Featured On CapeTownInsider

I’ve been struggling to write this post the whole day. It’s still fresh even though it’s been 2 years today. It still seems like yesterday that you held a 1 year old Ethan and smelled his neck. (Yes, I saw you and my heart melted). It seems like yesterday that you asked Matthew what he wanted for his birthday that was only a few days away. It seems like yesterday as I watched Mark carry you out of the house because you were too weak to walk. It seems like yesterday that we had to say goodbye, the hardest words we all ever had to say.

How do I put into words how much you’re missed? That Dad is struggling to cope with your death and still  has a cupboard filled with your clothing.

How do I put into words how the children still ask about you? And we struggle to find the right words to explain to them that you’re not coming back.

How do I put into words how I feel that you never met Harper? Or that you weren’t there to share my pregnancy with her as you did with the boys. You would have loved her, I’m sure. A little girl to dote on.

How do I put into words how our lives have changed? Nicole and I especially. Something changed in us the day you died and we seem to be better for it, I think.

How do I put into words what I imagine your last moments were like? My heart breaks every time I think about it. You were alone, with probably only a nurse or 2 around. One day, I’ll imagine that the doctors and nurses tried everything they could to revive you. Another day, I’ll think the worst and that they didn’t try hard enough. I think about this often and something inside of me dies a little every time.

How do I put into words how guilty we all feel for not pushing you harder to go to the hospital when we realised how ill you were? Yes, you complained and you pushed back when we did say something, but we should have just dumped you in the car and taken you. You might still be here. Or not.

How do I put into words how often I think about you? I think about what you would have said about your garden drying up in this Cape Town drought. I think about how you would’ve let Ethan climb all over you even though your neck was paining. I think about how you would’ve sat with Harper in your arms the entire time she was in your company, no matter how many times I would’ve complained that you’re spoiling her.

We think and talk about you often. You are always on our minds and we miss you, Mommy.

 

 

Feeling pressured

2018 has begun and I’m sure some of you set out some New Year’s resolutions or a word to live by for the year. I wish you everything of the best and hope you fulfill your resolutions.

As mentioned in my last post, I have no resolutions, no word, and I don’t feel bad about it. What I do feel bad about, is myself. I have been wanting to get healthier and live better for the longest time but I just cannot get into it. I start and don’t see it through. Then I start again, promising myself I’m going to do better this time. And we all know how that ends up. I just have no motivation, no time, I’m always tired and hungry. Oh I see, these are just excuses. Yes, yes they are. See, I recognise them and should be able to move on from there. But I can’t, because I don’t know how.

Then I see hashtags like #mombodsunited and #selflove, #fitmom or #loveyourcurves and I won’t lie, my first feeling is jealousy. Jealous because I want to be as happy in my own skin as these gorgeous women seem to be. Jealous because I want the motivation and the drive to be able to work out every second day. Jealous because I want to be sexy AF and to not care what others think. After the jealousy goes away, I feel pressure. Pressure to conform and do what the other more popular people are doing. Pressure to love the way I look, even though I know I need to work on certain areas. Pressure to go to gym, to find the right work out clothes, to go to all the super hot classes, to find myself and be on top of everything.

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I just feel so despondent. And helpless. And no, this is not me looking for sympathy and you don’t need to tell me that everything will be okay. I know all that. I just need to find myself. In saying that though, I can’t believe that at 36 years old, I still need to find myself. Am I perhaps going through a mid life crisis? Or is it too early for that? Hahaha. I know what I want and how I want to feel, I just need to find the way to do that.

Maybe I’m putting the pressure on myself to be something I’m not. Maybe I need to unfollow all those ‘perfect’, go-to-gym-every-second-day people on social media. Or maybe, I just need to cut myself some slack. I am a mom of 2 very energetic, stubborn, opinionated boys and a newborn girl. I have good traits, like my friendliness, helpfulness, compassion and empathy for others. Maybe I need to focus my energies on those traits of mine and the rest will just flow.

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I feel like I let myself down, like I’m not good enough and that people find fault with everything I do. Perhaps I’m just having baby blues because my maternity leave ends in 2 weeks. I don’t even know where I’m going with this post. I just needed to get the words out of my head and hopefully make sense of it seeing it on ‘paper’.

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Have I managed to convince Mark to sell the car?

**Sponsored**

This year, Mark and I have been married for 8 years and together for 16 years. We’ve moved homes three times and have 3 children together. We also changed cars 6 times in the last 8 years. 6 times!! The first few cars were second hand vehicles that eventually gave problems that kept having to be fixed and wasn’t worth the extra money we were spending. Also, we couldn’t find a good enough mechanic that could fix it first time round.

Do you know the hassle of selling your car? Urgh, we’re all adults here, I’m sure you do. It’s a pain. A big pain in the butt. You need to advertise your vehicle (and hope it’s good enough with sufficient details), then hope and cross your fingers you get someone that’s interested in purchasing your car. To make matters worse, you normally need to meet that person because they want to see the car before they buy. And it’s usually in an area you’re not familiar with, so your nerves are frayed even more. Then you thank your lucky stars when someone hands you the cash instead of worrying if the EFT will clear.

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We’re on car number 6 now and Mark is in love. There’s no way he’s going to sell it unless we’re really in need. But I recently got my driver’s licence and I am struggling to drive this amazingly super speedy turbo charged Mazda. I am trying to convince him to sell it and buy us (read me) a slightly less turbo charged car that I feel comfortable with, as he has a work bakkie that he drives everyday and the car just stands all week. The only way I was going to do that, was to show him the current value of the car and what we can get for that money if we sell.

Problem: I have a 12 week old baby and 2 busy boys that I don’t want to cart around to dealerships to get a valuation of our car.

Solution: CarZar.co.za

CarZar is an easy to use method of getting a resale value of your vehicle and you can advertise your car to hundreds of dealers to get a possible match on your asking price from their website. All you need to do is log onto their website, insert the year, make, model, transmission type, engine capacity and number of kilometers your car has done and boom! The information is available immediately. You can then choose to either receive a cash payout from CarZar or you can advertise on their website to sell your car. Easy right? And all from the comfort of your home.

But that’s not all folks. They also have other tools available on their website. From a car affordability calculator,

CarZar affordability

to a vehicle repayment calculator

CarZar repayment

and a fuel consumption calculator (Mark will love this one).

CarZar fuel

So, have I managed to convince Mark to sell the car after showing him what else we can get? Nope. But I’m not going to stop. I’m keeping these tools from CarZar and will show him again in a few weeks. I seriously need my own car.

Do you know that value of your car? Or are you looking to sell your car? Why not go on over to CarZar and see what they can do for you.

I need your help please (it’s for the children)

It’s that time of year, where the days are warmer, we look forward to some time off from work to spend with our loved ones, we go gift shopping and plan our Christmas meals. The kids page through toy catalogues and make their lists for what they want Santa Claus to leave for them on Christmas morning. It’s a joyous and merry time of the year. Yet, there are children in our country who won’t find the same joy this festive season as our own children. For some families, the festive season sees a rise in substance abuse which means a rise in child abuse and neglect.

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16 days of Activism For No Violence Against Women and Children kicked off on 25 November. The Child Protection Office at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital sees an average of 40 to 50 cases of child abuse every month. That’s close to 600 cases a year. 600 stories of empty childhoods. The Child Protection Office intervenes in every case of abuse and neglect to ensure the best possible outcome for these children. This often means that a child is removed from its home and relocated to a place of safety. In these situations, the child will often leave with just the clothes on their back.

If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll see I’ve been sharing some stories of children that have been removed from their homes. It’s heartbreaking and makes me question how any human being can act in such disgusting ways to a defenseless child. My children drive me crazy and I’m often found seeking a minute of solitude in the bathroom but there is no way I will ever let any harm come to them. And when I read these stories, I just want to hug them a little tighter and teach them to be better humans than the ones that are roaming our streets.

The Child Protection Office creates packs for children in situations like these. The packs are age dependent and include things like hygiene products, toys and snacks. The festive season usually brings with it a critical shortage in the number of packs they are able to supply. So they’ve asked the public for help. Please see the list below and contact either Nicole Lincoln from the Child Protection Office or myself to arrange for drop-offs. If you’d rather make a monetary donation, please go to their website. All funds raised go directly to their priority projects and programmes with the aim is to help fund the amazing Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and support paediatric healthcare in South Africa.

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We need to be the change. If you can make a donation, no matter how big or small as every little contribution helps, please contact me (kimmuller02@gmail.com). Please ask your family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, random dude on the other side of the road (jokes, don’t do that) if they can assist in any way. Let’s see how we can help these children this year.