Friday, August 30, 2013

Mia's Birthday Party Invitation

My sister is such a talented designer! 

Mia has specified that she wants a "red Minnie mouse party."

We're having a small party for family on her actual birthday which will be Saturday the 21st, and then the party with all the mommies and friends on the Monday morning.  (Tuesday the 24th is a public holiday, so lots of schools are closed on the Monday and people are making a long weekend of it.)

It's the first time we have her party at home, I hope it's going to work out, space is very limited...
Have booked a jumping castle, and am planning a "plant-a-seedling" activity for the kids.  Will do an arts-and-craft station.  And other than that they can eat cake! ;-)

The fun thing is that though I hired the jumping castle for the Monday, the supplier said they will bring it on the Friday already.  So Mia will have her very own jumping castle for her b'day weekend, yay!


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Nanny issues! *cry*

Oh gosh, have been through a stressful time, actually don't even know where to begin.

Last week Celia didn't come to work because she was sick.  High blood pressure, bronchitis, dizziness, tremors.

This week, on Tuesday, Celia and her daughter Salamina came here, so that they could talk to me and so that Salamina could do some cleaning, laundry, help look after Mia, etc.

They told me Celia is too sick to work.  The high blood pressure affects her eye sight and memory, apparently... not too sure about these symptoms!  But she looks bad, very ill, and sometimes couldn't even talk to me and would mumble to Salamina and then she would talk to me... 

Salamina offered to work in Celia's place.  I'm unsure about this, as she's not used to working, and Celia has told me on numerous occasions that Salamina doesn't like to work...  But, Mia is comfortable and happy to stay with Salamina, which is a big advantage, so I have decided to give her one month's trial period for the duration of September, and we can see how it goes.

Now, the biggest stressor comes in with the "retirement package" I offered Celia.  I didn't really know what to call it, as it's not really retirement as such, Celia is only 53.  I didn't retrench her, and she didn't resign.  So it's a tricky situation.

We offered her the following:
 - We will continue to pay off her outstanding electricity account, which we started doing for her a few months ago.  It's a total of R150 per month, and there's still about R2500 outstanding.
 - R1000 cash, either at once, or R500 over two months or R250 over four months.
 - I will continue to put airtime on her cell phone occasionally.

She was unhappy with this.  She says, "after six years, this is all I get?"  So I ask her what did she want, and she didn't specify, just talks about UIF and policies and crap. 

Now unfortunately I am in the wrong because I never registered her for UIF.  I tried a while ago, but I needed to supply MY UIF number in order to get one for her, and I don't have a UIF number, so I just left it...

I personally feel that it's a good deal we're offering her...  Especially as giving her more cash, but not paying her electricity bill wouldn't be beneficial for her, as she won't use the cash to pay her electricity.

She told me she's going to go to the labour department.

I am so distressed, shocked and infuriated, that this is the route she wants to take.

I told her to think carefully about what she wants to do, as no lawyer can tell us we have to pay her electricity bill, so I'm sure whatever other deal they suggest, it's going to be less than what we're offering her in total.

So now we wait.  I think Wyn will have to handle it all, I just get too emotional.

I feel sorry for her, and wish I could give her more, but we literally can't pay her more than that, and besides, if Salamina is going to work for us in her place, there will still be that income for their household, whereas if she's going to go the nasty route, I'll rather cut clean and not have Salamina work here...

I've been really upset the last couple of days, but then a friend gave me a good comparison just now.  "Worry is like a rocking chair.  It gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere."  So true.  What will be will be.

And this way we learn the lesson the hard way, to make sure with any future employees that we do all the correct registrations, paperwork, etc...


Thursday, August 22, 2013

My Little Helper in the Salon!

Celia has been off sick this week, so Mia's had to come with me to the salon a couple of times while I see clients.

She's been so good!  I take her portable DVD-player with, then she sits quietly watching a programme.  Or she rearranges my nail polishes, or plays with my nail files.  Every now and then she'll come and squiz what I'm doing.  Sometimes she'll bring something to the client and say, "here, client!"

Whenever a client leaves, Mia hops up on the treatment bed and I must give her a "facial".  I rub some cream on, and she loves it.  Today, after doing this, she said, "OK, now mommy's turn!" And oooh what bliss having such tiny hands rubbing cream on my face!

I adored how she did it, complete with two hands following the same sequence, exactly how I do it.  Too special for words, I loved it.

What a precious lil helper I have! ♥


Monday, August 19, 2013

We're making our own biltong!

About two weeks ago Wyn bought us a biltong maker!  It's a Mellerware Biltong King.  Got it for R300 from Kalahari, bargain!

At first we did some dried apple and dried strawberry to test it out, while we waited to get the proper spice from the inlaws - it worked well for the fruit, the strawberry was especially yummy.

Last week we started with biltong strips.  We got four flavours from Mom-in-law:  Original biltong, BBQ, Chili, and Coriander.

We bought 1kg of silverside steak at the butcher, Wyn cut off the excess fat and cut into strips, divided into four, so that we could try all four spices.  I was so impressed with Wyn.  Who knew he was such a pro at making biltong!

The biltong was ready after 3 nights!  So quick, woohoo!

One mistake we made, was that we used wire paperclips to hang the strips. (The hooks supplied are plastic, but weren't enough for all our strips.)  Big mistake!  That part of the biltong stick has a very horrible sharp metallic taste, oops.  Had to cut that piece off each one.  Nala didn't complain though!

Our favourite flavour was the chili one.  They all needed quite a bit of extra salt.
Our second batch we did only chili and bbq, with added salt, and they came out great!
We put our third batch in last night, we did chili again, hehe, and then coriander with extra salt and pepper.  Already impatient for them to be ready.

I'm stoked about this, because biltong is specifically the main snack the dietician recommended for me, and I'm trying really hard to stick to her plan.  Biltong sticks on tap - perfect! ;-)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Pinterest recipes that I've tried

I drew some inspiration from my friend's blog, where she did this post about Paleo recipes she had tried and tested - and decided to share some of the Pinterest recipes I've come across and tried!

I absolutely adore Pinterest and can spend hours browsing pins!  I have a Food Ideas board, as well as a 'Paleolicious' board with specific Paleo recipes.  Follow me on Pinterest, my username is JessV83!

The recipes I want to share today, are not from the healthier, Paleolicious board, but from the "Food Ideas" - where there are still quite a few delicious-looking and sounding recipes...

Warning - these are not low-fat or healthy recipes... But for a once-in-a-while treat and indulgence, they're absolutely perfect!

Taco Soup
 I absolutely loved this Taco Soup.   I didn't use turkey, just beef mince.  And used red kidney beans, and butter beans. I couldn't find dry ranch dressing, so left that out, and didn't use any yoghurt.  The Woolies mild chunky salsa worked great!  This was a winner, I can't wait to make it again!

Spicy Sausage Pasta
I've already made this sausage pasta THREE times!  It's so easy and quick to make, and truly truly delicious. A crowd-pleaser for sure.  My mouth waters just thinking about it!  The only change I made to this recipe is that I don't know what a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes are, so used a normal can of diced tomatoes, and then added half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to make it spicy!  I used Woolies frankfurter sausages.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
This casserole is a winner, I've also made it a couple of times already, including for all the book club girls when it was my turn to host!
I didn't use Swiss cheese, just mozzarella slices.  That mixture of Salticrax with the paprika, garlic salt and parsley is absolutely divine and so clever!  Another dish that I would highly recommend!

Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff
Quick, easy, tender and delicious!
My hubby isn't mad about things that are too obviously creamy, he ate this, but it wasn't a favourite for him though.  I really enjoyed it!

Chocolate Nutella & Sea Salt Fudge
I have already done a separate blog post on this fudge, but just had to include it in this collection, because it is positively the best fudge I have EVER tasted. Addictive. Make it, now!!! And then go to the gym for 5 hours! ;-)

And then lastly, a recipe that I haven't made yet, but it's definitely on my list to make asap, it looks and sounds so yummy:

Beef and Bean Taco Casserole

Please share if you try any of these, would love to know if you loved these as much as I did!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Learning to Dance in the Rain

I have been feeling a bit unsettled lately.  Disconcerted.  Anxious.

I am frustrated by my skincare business not making me enough money. 

I have spent way too much time lately looking at real estate websites and dreaming about houses that we cannot afford.

My skin has been suffering breakout after breakout after breakout.

I have wasted R300 worth of ovulation predictor tests – all of them negative - seems that where I wanted to fall pregnant as soon as possible, my body has other ideas.

I hate how I lose 1kg, only to gain 1.4kg the next week.  What a frustrating never-ending journey…

I have been very jaded and lacklustre lately, and I really don’t like this version of myself.

So I have decided to make a conscious effort… to just breathe… relax…

I must be thankful and grateful for what I have, because I know that I am very blessed.

I must keep the faith that things will come right – my business might not make me the bucks I wanted, but wow, I work from home, have lots of time to spend with my daughter, and I’m my own boss.  Our dream home might be outside our reach for the time being, but one day, one day.  My skin will come right again… I will fall pregnant again… I will lose weight again…

For now, I must enjoy the little things.  And count my blessings.  And find the contentment I am usually filled with again.  I must see the world through Mia’s eyes, where a tea party is just the best thing ever!

Some words and quotes that have touched me today:


Monday, August 12, 2013

I won, I won!

I am so stoked!  I never win anything, but I do like to enter competitions.  Surely the odds should be in my favour eventually, right? Right!

I love this blog, Lipgloss Kisses, and entered to win a Bio-Oil hamper a few weeks ago.
Today I got notified that I won it!  See the post here.  Yay!!!

Thanks so much for running this competition Chicara & Bio-Oil!  I am super excited and can't wait to receive my hamper!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Zoo Outing!

We went to the Pretoria Zoo yesterday.  It was so nice to spend time with my two loves, just the three of us.  It was a stunning day, sunshiny and bright.

It was the first time we visited the Pta Zoo.  Gosh, horrible part of town!  And the parking wasn't very nice either, R20 for a dirt road parking full of hawkers bugging us, and having to cross a super busy road to get to the zoo.

The zoo itself is huge!  Well-kept - but can see it's seen better days.  The animals all looked fine, and most of them had nice big enclosures.

We spent over 3 hours walking around - great calorie-burn, hehe!  Gosh, what a big selection of animals, let me try and remember what we saw:
Flamingos, variety of buck, variety of birds, leopard, monkeys, hyenas, gorilla, bear, tigers, lions, forest giraffe, elephants, zebras, hippo, rhino, camel, seals, koala bears, kangaroos, penguins, fish in the aquarium, alligator, dassies, porcupine, lemurs, buffalo and owls.

Really a great day out!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Love this quote!

So glad it's a brand new month, July was way too much of a rollercoaster ride. 
Just a month to go til spring time, woohoo! ♥