Posted in Baking, Camping, Children, Children's Parties, Chocolate, Family, Food, Ordinarylife, Parenting

Camping themed 5th party

Camping was not my theme of choice for this year, but Little Miss K wanted camping and I liked the theme so camping it was.  I initially wanted a Book Worm party.

Quite a few of my friends said I was insane to go with Camping…Maybe insane was not quite the word they used, but mad was mentioned more than once, as was tempting fate. Our family record with camping is not a good one. We have been camping 4 times since Kaylin was born and 4 times we have ended up either at the doctors or casualty or both.

I decided actual camping and a camping theme party were vastly different and went with it anyway.

Here are the photos.  (I am quite proud of how it turned out)

The Birthday Girl and Door Stop
The Birthday Girl and Door Stop

She was very excited that I made them both out of icing and that they were both on the cake….

The Party Table - Camping
The Party Table – Camping
Camp Kaylin - Camping themed Cake
Camp Kaylin – Camping themed Cake
Mix your own Trail Mix
Mix your own Trail Mix
The party pack Backpacks (each guest was given a little torch inside)
The party pack Backpacks

 

The backpack party packs, there was little torch inside each
The backpack party packs, there was little torch inside each

 

I made these little backpacks using a little paper bag and some ribbon.  It was actually much easier than I thought it was going to be.  Just make sure you find the paper bags with the flat base.

Campfire Flames aka NikNaks
Campfire Flames aka NikNaks

This is a disposable braai – but the grid was unnecessary as were the legs – so you could just use an aluminum roasting dish.

Wraps or Bedding Rolls
Wraps or Bedding Rolls

 

Bear Poop......
Bear Poop…… (chocolate, need I say more)

So this is what I did differently this year, than any of the other years.

Firstly – the biggest I did not have it at home.  Oh bliss – why did I ever do them at home before.

Secondly – I paid a little extra for the decor.  I looked through their themes, and then chose the closed to the theme I wanted. This is actually the venue’s fairy theme but I told them I did not want any fairy stuff just the woodland look.  I then made everything else to suit – red and green.

Thirdly – all the baked good are box mixes. I love making the little figures for the cakes, but dont actually like baking.  I find it stressful.  This was a lot easier.  Next time I might even just buy a pre-made cake and decorate it.

And then that is about it – once it is over you just pack up and go….

I have also realised that my daughter is nearly as bad as I am when it comes to planning birthdays in advance. She has already told me what themes she would like for the next 3.

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Posted in What are you proud of this week

What are you proud of this week?

A friend and fellow runner ran an amazing race this weekend and she posted about it on Facebook, but she started her post “I am genuinely not trying to brag…”

I totally understood what she was trying to say but it has been bugging me!  Not the fact that she posted about her awesome run, not the fact that she has achieved so much, but the fact that she felt she need to clarify or play it down.  She was proud of what she and had achieved and how far she had come and wanted to tell people about it and rightly so, but….

But what!  I see this so often and I am guilty of it myself.  I am in the business of celebrating achievements but often don’t mention my own for fear of being thought to be big headed, or boastful or that I make somebody else feel bad that they have not achieved the same.  I will often get orders for medal hanger from friends of family members who are proud of each other, but less from people buying it for themselves.  I will also get orders from people who tell me all about their friends’ achievements and how proud they are of their friend only to find out that they have achieved just as much if not more.

And so, in keeping with blog theme and THIS post, we should all be proud of ourselves, no matter what the achievement.  Our first 5 km, our first 100m swim, our Mtb ride, our first Ultra Marathon or even the first cake that did not flop.  If somebody else has not quite gotten there, then we should encourage them to achieve, but not by downplaying our own achievements.  Our achievements should motivate them, not make them despondent.  When did it become a bad thing to brag a little?

So, what are you proud of this week – it does not have to be sports related.  I am very proud of the cake I decorated and party I threw for my daughter.  I think it turned out great.

And for the record I have given up baking from scratch – far too stressful.  The cake was a box mix.   I love decorating cakes but do not like baking…..

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I think should be a regular (hopefully weekly) feature… What are you proud of this week?  What do you think?

Posted in Baby OL, Baking, Children, Children's Parties, Crafts, Family, Food, Ordinarylife, Parenting

Airlines and Teddy Bears – a 4th Birthday party

And just like that she was 4!

I know parents say this all the time but wow. Time really does fly.

When we first started discussing themes for her 4th party, Little OL was very into aeroplanes so I began the planning early.  Unfortunately she saw the photos of her 2nd birthday party (teddy bears picnic) and said she wanted teddy bears again.  As I had already organised some of the stuff (and really wanted to do aeroplanes) we compromised.  I put teddy bears in the aeroplanes…. It worked quite well.

So, the theme of her party was and Airline theme (with teddy bears as the pilots)  Here are a few photos

I created the invitation using a template  I found HERE.  I also made the cover, but forgot to take a photo of that.  I created the logo on Inkscape, using an image from HERE

Boarding Pass Invitation

I think just Goggled and checked Pinterest for the rest of the ideas. Here is the link to my Pinterest Board.

 

Baggage Claim
Baggage Claim

I really wanted those old fashioned brown cardboard school suitcases that we used to have and thought I might find some when the “back to school” stuff was out, but no joy.  In the end I found this little lunch boxes and fortunately in the colours I wanted so I bought them.  (Pick n Pay)

 

Cupcakes with marshmallow clouds
Cupcakes with marshmallow clouds

The cupcakes were a disaster, but thank fully with the icing and the best out of 5 batches I managed to get enough.

 

Cake with Teddy Pilot
Cake with Teddy Pilot

The cake went a lot better – I used my favourite cake recipe, the Rainbow cake from the Whisk Kid, but only used shades of pink this time (once again, I forgot to take a photo of the inside).

 

Aeroplane Cookies
Aeroplane Cookies

I also made teddy bear biscuits to go alongside the planes, but Little OL ate them before the party……

Delicious Aeroplane food....
Delicious Aeroplane food….

 

For the adults Mr OL made some awesome sandwiches.  We did Chicken or Beef , poor  Mr OL kept asking if he couldn’t do some salami or ham etc and I insisted it had to be Chicken or Beef…. LOL.  I did do a few vegetarians ones though.

I made a few different signs and added in a few extra elements, like globes, Captain’s hat etc and all in all I am very happy with how the party turned out but, there are a few things I have decided.  From now on we will not be having the party at home. As the kids get older they need more entertainment (and space) and I will also be outsourcing some stuff.  I will not be making cupcakes etc next year.  I probably won’t bake the cake either, although I might make the topper (I enjoy that part)

 

Posted in Children, Family, Ordinarylife, Parenting

My little princess

The other day little OL uttered words that I never thought I would hear a daughter of mine say…. “Mommy I want to wear a dress!”
Thankfully her Great Aunt bought her a beautiful dress for her Birthday in February, which she had not previously worn, so I did at least have something to put on her. She does have a few skirts as well, but they were not good enough – not like a princess.   Sofia has a lot to answer for!!!

 

My pretty princess!
My pretty princess!

Now I have had to go shopping! Urgh, not one of my favourite things to do.  (she does look really sweet in a dress though)

Posted in Baby OL, Children, Family, Food, Ordinarylife, Parenting, Trail Running, Women

Things kids say!

Summer is coming and this year I might have a bit more time to do the beach thing.   With that in mind I have decided to cut down on the junk food – I am not going to say I want to be bikini ready as I very rarely do bikini’s but I would not mind getting back into the same shape as I was December last year (Click for bikini photos from then).  Also with the Dryland Traverse coming up on 5 weeks being a couple of kilograms lighter might make quite a difference!

So, I was about to tell Mr OL my plan and I started with…..“I stood on the scale this morning”

Little OL, who was close by and overheard, piped up “Mommy did you cry?”

I nearly did, with laughter, after that comment!

 

 

It took me a couple of seconds to realise that she thought I had hurt my foot by standing on something.

Posted in 30 Days of Gratitude, Baby OL, Children's Parties, Family, Ordinarylife, Parenting

Fun times

I was in tears this morning. Big tears – 3 times!

I know other things (see way below) are going on at the moment and it was more than just the school thing but still…. I am really battling with Little OL and schooling this year.  I know a lot of stuff, I know that she is too young for a full day at school (without a nap).  I know that she is pushing her boundaries and I know that the school holidays broke her routine.  I know it is more fun with the nanny who gives her whatever she wants (TV and sweets) and I know at school they put demands on her.  I know all this but it does not make it any easier when your child point blank refuses to get in the car and go to school.  Yesterday after eventually managing to get her strapped in the car-seat, she somehow managed to wind down the wind with her food and was SCREAMING (as only a 3 year old can) at all the passers-by in the neighbouring cars “GET ME OUT OF HERE!” over and over.  Not fun.  I turned the radio on loud, put my head down and drove.  I did see a look of sympathy on one woman’s face though (for me not little OL – the others however were pointing and laughing.  I was very surprised nobody pulled me over and asked me if I was kidnapping her.

Today was a repeat performance – except she figured out how to twist and turn so that I could not get her strapped in…… The escalating frustration level on both sides was not helping and in the end all I could do was burst into tears and walk away…..  I wanted to say “fine, stay with the nanny” but felt if I did that, then I would just have the same thing on Monday.  When I got back to the car she had calmed down, we hugged, she got in her car-seat and we both snivelled the whole way to school.  When I put her in her teacher’s arms I burst into tears again and ran to my car. Can I count that as my first run in 8 weeks?

I drove to work, got myself some coffee and had just calmed down when I received a phone call from her school – I saw the number and my heart sank…… What now – is she sick, is she still bawling her eyes out, can the not calm her????? The secretary said they phoned me because Little OL had told her teacher that she made me upset in the car and she wanted them to phone and tell me she was sorry…. Bring on waterworks number 3!

This however cannot go on….. I actually had a meeting at the school earlier this week – for the next week I am fetching her at lunch time and taking her home to the nanny who we have asked to work full time for a bit.  Hopefully this helps.  I have also asked the nanny to come in later to work so that we have already left the house – on the days the nanny is not there she is perfectly happy to go to school.

Also, in a couple of months this might not be a problem.  I will be unemployed anyway….. –that’s the other stuff that is going on, they are retrenching at work and the PE office will close.  I am trying to take it as a good thing…..

Posted in Baby OL, Children, Family, hiking, Hiking Trails, Ordinarylife, Parenting, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Starting young

I took a couple of days leave last week to spend the last few days of holidays with Little OL and boy was it FUN!  Time flew.  I am not sure I could ever be a “stay at home” mom, but days when I don’t have to go into work are pure joy.  (who am I kidding I could totally be a stay at home mom)

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While off I wanted to do some active stuff with Little OL – she is becoming a bit of a couch potato and I don’t like it.  Unfortunately during the holidays the nanny has been putting her in front of the TV and that is pretty much where she stays – given the option though she would rather be doing something else, so I made sure we did “something else”.

I roped my mom in and we went out.

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My mom is always up for a trip somewhere and on Thursday she suggested we go and climb Lady’s Slipper.  It is a hill just outside PE that my mom climbs regularly but I have never done before.  I was definitely keen!  It was awesome, we did not go all the way up, as I did not want to have to worry about Little OL and her safety, so as soon as it started getting a bit rocky and steep we stopped.  Saying that we still got more than ½ way up.  I loved it and Little OL is still bragging to anyone that will listen that she climbed a mountain.

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It was pretty cool having all 3 generations walking up the hill together and hopefully it was the first of many hikes that we will all do together.  My mom and I used to hike quite a bit together before Little OL was born, and now that she is getting older hopefully I will be able to get back into it.  I think I have mentioned before that for my mom’s 60th Birthday my mom, sister and I climbed Kilimanjaro…… Let’s see what Little OL and I will do to celebrate my 60th…. (thank fully still quite a few years away.

Kilimanjaro Summit 2005
Kilimanjaro Summit 2005

It felt really good to get my hiking boots on again!

Posted in Art, Baby OL, Family, My New Business, Ordinarylife, Parenting, Running, Sketches, Tenants, Trail Running, Training, Training, Women

A quick catch up

My poor blog – so neglected…..

I start a post in my mind and then stop.  Too much information, too boring, said already or whatever the reason the thought gets ditched.

So, I am writing this one, one not thought out ahead of time.  I have nothing much to say but so what…. Here is a basic update of what is happening in my Ordinary Life.

  • I am still doing the Art Techniques course through Coursera.org and loving it.  I don’t feel that I always have enough time to do the art project but you only are required to do 2 to pass and I have already done two, so am not too concerned if I miss a week here or there.  I am just completing all the theory quizzes and that will be enough.  Here is a picture I drew (the London taxi) for one of the assignments, the topic was “Mail Art”

Mail Art

  • I am driving Mr OL batty with thoughts of trying to start (another) business.  I constantly have ideas in my head but generally they don’t get much further than the planning stages
  • I bought another property – think I already mentioned this – and have since found out that the tenants that I was led to believe were “good” have not paid rent in 5 months.  I am hoping that the current owner gets rid of them before I take over.  I am sure that it is a breach of contract or something if he said that they were paying when I signed for it but they were not???  Any ideas?
  • My foot is …. I am actually not sure.  All I do know is that I still can’t run.  I am going to take 6 weeks off and then hope for the best.  We do know that there is no muscle damage, no tendonitis, no ligament damage and nothing else that can be seen in x-rays or an ultra-sound.  These however do not rule out a stress fracture.  In the meantime I am going to go for Gait Analysis because something I am doing has caused this.  I am also going for massages (yay) and to the chiropractor who is doing dry needling as my muscles in my legs are in knots.  I am hoping that this all makes me stronger. I am also trying to stretch in.  I really need to get in the pool and on my bicycle…..
  • I am having a serious case of “mommy guilt” at the moment.  Next weekend I was due to go to the Knysna Oyster Festival to run the HoutKapper Trail… Mr and Little OL were going to stay behind in PE.  Now obviously the running is out – however I have already sorted out my accommodation….. So…….  A weekend away sans husband and kiddy????  I am going to go but why do I feel so guilty about going away by myself for the weekend?  My mom, brother, sister and a multitude of my friends are all going, Mr OL does not want to go….urgh!  Would you feel guilty?

Wow, for a post that I did not think about I sure had a lot to write.

Oh, yes – MR OL surprised me with an Asus Transformer – well, he actually surprised me by asking if I would like an iPad Mini – I said no.  After he got over the initial shock I explained why.  So he helped me get the Transformer instead.  I LOVE IT!

Posted in Baby OL, Family, Ordinarylife, Parenting

I have been told she is now 18

At each stage/age of Little OL’s life I have said that “I LOVE this age”.  I always thought that I would prefer just to be given a 2 year old so it came as a total surprise that I would even remotely enjoy the baby stage but I did.

So, as she gets older and changes, grows up and becomes a little girl I once again have to say “I LOVE this age”  I must however put in a little addition – I LOVE this age….90% of the time.  The other 10% I want to run away screaming.

Boy – the 3’s are tough.  (I am assuming it is an age thing and not just the fact that we are the only parents that have an absolute little terrorist on our hands at least 10% of the time – please tell me we are not the only ones…….)  Anyway, I love the fact that she is growing up; the things she does and says are so flipping cute.  I love that we can have conversations about random stuff, go out together, play pretend and that she loves helping me.  I love that in the morning she will open the curtains and say “Mom it’s a beautiful day?” even if it is not.   I love that she can be kind and thoughtful and caring.  And then she is not….

I don’t like the screaming, lying on the floor hitting anyone in sight, little monster that happens at the flip of a switch. (and back again as soon as she realises she is not getting her way).  She will go from laughing to crying and back to laughing quicker than you can say “Time Out”.  Academy Awards have been won for lesser performances!

I also don’t like that she want to grow up so quickly.  I have been informed that I need to give her my car keys and money as she needs to go to the shops – alone!  She’ll drive…. I told her that was not happening until she was 18 and had a licence – apparently she is already 18 – or so I am being told.

Potato Stamping
Potato Stamping

10 or so minutes later the potato stamping turned into potato throwing…..

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

Dear Monkey Land

Dear Monkey Land

Just a heads up…. The troop of baboons that hangs around the entrance to your sanctuary is not very good for business.

Yours sincerely

Mrs OL

We spent the weekend in Plett.

Plett Lagoon at sunrise
Plett Lagoon at sunrise

On the way home we thought we might pop into Monkey Land so Little OL could see the monkeys.  You know how it goes, trying to distract her while in the shops… “Do you want to see the monkeys, should we go see the monkeys, that’s a good idea isn’t it?  If you are a good girl we will go to the monkeys.”  Yay, excitement all round, until about 400m from the entrance where they have a huge sign board with the prices.  Holy moly R240 per adult and well, I did not even read the kids prices….. (or the board properly it turns out)

Mr OL and I looked at each other; I asked if we really wanted to pay that much just to see some monkeys?  We drove on slowly for another 50m or so trying to decide what to do, I mean we had promised to show her some monkeys and could not really back out of it.  Then lo and behold a large troop of baboons!  Big ones, small ones, some sitting on the posts next to the road, the babies playing and chasing each other. Some in the trees and, some even crossing the road right in front of the car.  Ah… Monkey Land came to us… She will never know the difference, right?

“Look Little OL MONKEYS!  See, we told you we’d take you to see the monkeys……”

We sat and watched them play for a while and then we went and fed some goats.  Happiness all round.

Feeding goats
Feeding goats

The actual highlight of the weekend for Little OL – the Bunny Rabbits which provided lots of entertainment

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PS:  Just a side note to add, I have actually been to Monkey Land before, yes, paid and gone inside.  It is fantastic.  I actually have a HUGE phobia of monkeys and even I managed to walk through the whole sanctuary (quickly), I do believe it is worth it, however don’t think that Little OL would have appreciated it at this age.  I do see however on their webiste that there are other cheaper options.  I think the R240 must be a price for all 3 sanctuaries together.