Posted in 30 Days of Gratitude, Art, Baby OL, Baking, Children, Family, Ironman, Ironman 70.3, Medal Displays, Medal Hangers, My Art Work, My New Business, Ordinarylife, Paintings, Parenting, Running, Sketches, Trail Running, Training

Happy 5 year Blog Anniversary!

I have had this blog for 5 years – wow time has flown.  Before I started here I had an iBlog account for a short while as well.

Over the years my blog has changed quite bit.  It has gone from being mostly about Ironman training to a real mix up of stuff, Ordinary Life stuff!  I have had a baby, I have started baking and icing cookies, I have shown you all some of my paintings and sketches, I have started a new business – SA Medal Hangers.  And very importantly I have made some great friends!

Thank you all so much for joining me on this journey, I am thoroughly enjoying it!

Here is the link to my first post – published on the 1st September 2008

Posted in Baby OL, Family, Gardening, Ordinarylife, Parenting

How much do you outsource?

I am not talking at work.   I am talking about stuff around the house, personal stuff and for your kids.  Stuff that the mom traditionally used to do.  Would you outsource more if you weren’t restricted by finances or a weird sense of mommy guilt or do you enjoy doing the all stuff you do?

This conversation has come up in our family lately.  Especially with Little OL’s birthday party.  I did it all myself, designed and made the invitations and printables, made the cakes, biscuits and everything else, including the party boxes.  I even blew up all the balloons.  I however LOVE doing all that stuff (well maybe not the balloons part).  I love creating stuff, making stuff and being busy.  Mr OL on the other hands says he would gladly pay somebody to do it all.  He would prefer just arrive on the day.  I have told him that when all she wants to do is go to the Spur or something similar then he and his wallet are on duty.

It got me thinking about other aspects of my life.  How much do I outsource and if I outsourced more would it simplify my life and let me get on with doing more stuff I enjoyed or do I really enjoy what it is that I do anyway?  I do have a lady that cleans my house; she comes 4 days a week.  She does all the cleaning, laundry, ironing etc.  But, I have been wondering if I could utilise her time better for example by getting her to prepare the veggies for the evening meal?  We also have a garden service that mows our lawn and have had a gardener every other weekend.  (He went and got a full time job and we have not found another).

Then there is Little OL’s After Care, I work full time so am in an essence outsourcing the care of my child, prior to her going to day care / school we had a full time nanny/domestic.

There are so many services out there, au pairs, night nurses, transport to after school activities, pre-packed lunches, party planners, pool cleaners – the list is endless.  How many of these kinds of services do you use or plan to use as your child gets older or do you feel it your responsibility where feasible to do as much of it as possible?


PS:  Sorry about the overuse of the word “outsource”.  It’s a hot topic at work too.

Posted in Baby OL, Children, Family, Ordinarylife, Plettenberg Bay, Swimming

More photos…

Here are two more pictures from the weekend.

The first one is of me throwing Little OL as far as I can in the pool. She loves it!  If you look carefully at the photo you will see that, at that point, only her feet are in the water.  She goes right under and comes up laughing.  I love the fact that she loves swimming.

Throwing Little OL around in the pool
Throwing Little OL around in the pool

The second photo I just like.

Relaxing at the Beacon Isle pool.
Relaxing at the Beacon Isle pool.
Posted in Baby OL, Busy Bags, Family, Ordinarylife, Parenting

Busy Bags No. 1 Using a Pool Noodle.

When Little OL was even littler I stumbled upon the idea of “busy bags”.  I can’t remember where I got all my ideas from and it was before I started using Pinterest but there are loads of sites out there, just Google “Busy Bag ideas”.  Basically I wanted them to be easy and cheap to make, easy to store and keep her occupied

Once I made them I kept them all in a large plastic container and would pull them out randomly so she would not get bored with one.  I also find that they are great in the car and if we are going on a road trip I just put the container within my reach in the car.

This morning Little OL found them again and started playing with this one – It was actually the first one I made and was really easy.

You will need:

1 x pool noodle – make sure it is the type with the hole that runs through the center.

2 x stiff rope – about 50cm

Sissors to cut the rope and a knife (bread knife worked best) to cut the noodle.

Zip lock type bag to keep it all in.

Lighter or sticky tape to seal the rope ends.

The pool noodle I used was scalloped shaped and when you cut it into pieces they looked like flowers.  You will only need about 30 cm of the noodle – I used the rest to make some bags for all my friends with kids the same age.  Cut the noodle into sections of about 2 – 3 cms.  Tie a knot at one end of the rope and seal or sticky tape the other end so it does not fray.  And Viola – 1 busy bag made and ready for playing with!  (if sealing the rope make sure that it has cooled down before giving to the toddler – those things stay hot for a while).

Completed and ready to use.



Little OL concentrating (yes, her hair is wet)



She is getting a little old for some of the ones I made initially so I will need to start looking for other ideas.

Posted in Baby OL, Children, Crafts, Family, Ordinarylife, Sewing

No Sew Tutu – EASY!

Little OL had a princess part to attend so I decided to make her a “no-sew tutu” and bought her a little tiara crown to match.

It was really easy to make.  Measured some elastic to go around her waist,  took a safety pin and pinned the ends of the elastic together and then just tied strips of tulle over the elastic in alternating colours.  I used turquoise, purple and green.  It was so easy I got carried away and made a matching one for her teddy “Door Stop”

So where are the pictures of her looking cute and adorable in it?  There are none – my little tomboy point blank refused to put it or the tiara on.  I managed to get the teddy’s one on for all of about 3 seconds before she pulled that off. Apparently boy teddies don’t wear tutus!

HERE  is a tutorial and photo of one very similar . (using an elastic headband is pretty clever)

Above image from

Posted in Baby OL, Books, Children, Crafts, Family, Nursery Decor, Ordinarylife

Another fun project – a bookshelf

I posted a while back (HERE) that I had bought a spice rack that I intended to use as a bookshelf.

It is finally up and being used.  I actually spray painted it a while back, but it only made it onto the wall this weekend. Here are some before and after photos.

As you can see it was in a bit of a state when I bought it.

Before – needing a bit of work.

I had been looking for one for ages after seeing something similar on Pinterest.  I eventually found this one at a charity shop.

I sanded it and spray painted it. And am very happy with the result.  It is very narrow and fits perfectly below the window in Little OL’s bedroom.  When the curtains are closed you would not even know it was there.

cleaned, sanded and spray painted


Spice rack turned bookshelf!


Little OL doing an inspection. I think it passed.
Posted in Baby OL, Children, Chocolate, Family, Feeding, Food, Ordinarylife, Parenting

Shaken and stirred!

I am sure that there will be many times while Little OL is growing up that my confidence will take a knock and that I will feel like “a bad mother”. This however is the first one, well first major one that has lasted more than past her next smile, cuddle and kiss.

I know that in the bigger scheme of things it is nothing serious. We found out that she was anaemic early, there is no long term damage and it can be “fixed”.  However it has shaken me.  I have always been pretty good with her diet and although I know that this is not entirely dietary related because of the worms it does come down to a lack of nutrients.

I have always been very strict with sugars and processed foods. She did not have commercially bought cereals when she was a baby and even at her first birthday party did not have any sweets (or even any of her cake).  Until she was about two she had never had sweets, chocolate or juices (fruit juice or sodas).  Her snacks were all healthy and her food all homemade (or from Wollies which I figured is the same thing…. J)  I did however realise that she drank quite a bit of milk, but figured it was good for her.

Now I am beginning to question everything.  It sucks!  I am taking another hard look at her diet.  I am cutting down on her milk intake as well as her carbs.  I need to find a way to get her to start enjoying her greens again and eating her veggies.  At school they  say she eats them no problem, so it is just at home.

I need however to get more organised as I need to have a meal ready just to warm up when we get home at 5. Little OL is starving then but if I wait then she won’t eat.  I have been using my slow cooker lately and just putting it on when I leave for work in the mornings so that it is ready when I get home but need to look at other ideas as well.  Maybe putting some of the meal I (or Mr OL) cooks the night before in the fridge for her or something like that.  I have been looking at various meal plans and ideas online (any excuse to search Pinterest…..), but just need to find one that works for us.  The reason I have not done this previously was that Mr OL did all our cooking (he adds too much spices, chilli and salt for Little OL). The nanny or I prepared all Little OL’s food and the nanny would then feed her before I got home from work.  Easy!  Now I am nanny less and Little OL is in school full day.  It has really thrown a spanner in the works.  I know if I prepare a full meal plan I will end up being the one to do all the cooking.  I don’t want to take that on as well.

Do you have a system that works for you?  Do you work from a meal plan or just throw something on when you get home?  Ideas please…..

Posted in Baby OL, Children, Family, Ordinarylife, Parenting

Worms and not the good kind.

Do you de-worm your family regularly?  I knew that it was something that you should do, but did not really realise the importance of it until now!

Little OL’s nanny is sick – very sick.  A couple of months ago she came to me crying and explained that she had worms (I won’t go into details, its gross).  I immediately took her to the pharmacist to see what he could suggest.  For her he suggested a course of tablets taken over 3 days, and then repeated 6 weeks later.  I also bought de-worming tablets for my whole family as well as her kids.

I thought that would be the end of it and all would be good.  Not so.

3 weeks ago I received an SMS saying she had flu and was feeling weak and would not be coming in. That was a Friday, I knew she had not been feeling that great for most of that week.  On the Sunday evening I received another SMS. She was still feeling weak.  Then nothing…. Her phone was off and I heard nothing.  I phoned her ex-husband to find out if he knew anything.  He eventually found her and called back.  He said that she had collapsed and that her family had taken her to the hospital.  She had worms coming out her nose and mouth – URGH!  His English is pretty bad but he said she is back at her family home but there is “something not right in her head”.  Apparently she is in a daze, just lying there and not recognising anyone.

This is absolutely devastating. She is a young vibrant woman with two small children.  Little OL loves her and I rely on her greatly.  And I know what you will be thinking – no her immune system is not compromised.  She recently went to go and get tested.  This is a young healthy woman.

I hope for her family and her sake that this is temporary.  For me it has been a big wakeup call with regards to de-worming and why it should be done regularly.  For kids you can do it from the age of 2.

Posted in Baby OL, Children, Family, Feeding, Food, Ordinarylife, Parenting

A first for me!

Stawberry and Banana is our favourite.

A little while ago the people from Fruit Pack asked if they could send me a couple of samples…  I said “Yes!”

Seriously, what else could I say?  Firstly, it was the first time anybody had contacted me to send me FREE stuff and secondly (kind of defeating the purpose for them) I already knew that Little OL loved them.

When Little OL was still Baby OL I used to buy them all the time.  I always had her nappy bag “ready to go”, so these were the perfect snack to store in there.  I did not have to worry about the fruit going off or spoiling.  She loved them (still does- especially the strawberry and banana) and they are pure fruit.  Wins all round.

I do have a warning though… there have been few incidents where I have ended up with fruit puree in my hair.  The first time was when Little OL was still little and I was holding it for her, she tried to grab the packet (pouch??? sachet??) out my hands, I grasped it tightly – not a good idea.  Puree went up, up and with perfect aim hit me squarely in my face and head (in the middle of a crowded shopping centre).  Thankfully Little OL now seems to have the hang of eating these straight out the sachet and all I need to do is leave her be.  If I interfere she squeezes too hard and it’s not good.

My best advice; give to toddler and let them enjoy while you stand well clear.