Saturday, 28 January 2012

Short Lived ADSL

I have been going on and on about my ADSL for weeks now, struggling without Internet Connection and finally a Technician came out on Thursday and fixed the line, but the splitter for my router was hit by lightning or burnt out and now my router is broken. A router I bought from Mweb in June 2011, when I converted to ADSL, the biggest mistake I made. Fortunately, when the splitter burnt it did not set alight anything else in my office, causing everything to burn down. After all my budgies are in my office and a fire could have spread through out the house and property. I don't know when it actually burnt out, considering it first went down during a storm on the 8 January 2012, then worked after a technician came out to fix it on the 12 January 2012, but had no access to my property as they were meant to phone first to let me know they were coming, because I was not at home and they did not bother. It then went down again on the 13 January 2012 and has been down ever since. It burnt out at some stage and I am now very reluctant to buy another router and go through the same frustrations that I have had with Telkom and Mweb since June last year. Having no line and Internet connection at least 15 times in 6 months. Baring in mind I have had my Telkom land-line for at least 12 or 13 years. At first I thought it was 10 years, but thinking back, it is definitely much more than 10 years and during those ten years if my phone line was down three times it was a lot. My home land-line, which comes from the same pole has not been down once during the time that I converted the other line to ADSL and it has also hardly ever been down in the years that I have had it, like 15 years. There is no doubt that converting it to ADSL is the problem. Now I need to find another means for Internet. Either going the Neotel route, which is Fibre Optic, but fairly new and I don't know how good they are, although you do get a free router when signing with them, whereas if I stay with Mweb, I need to go buy another router and hope it lasts longer than 6 months. Or I need to just go back to 3G through one of the Cellphone Service Providers, perhaps I will get a MTN Share-link modem so that Chad can still connect with his phone -one of the reasons why I have put up with Mweb and Telkom all these months and have endured all the stress and aggravation.

We are almost into February and I have not managed to post stuff from Christmas and New Year, thanks to not having ADSL and pay as you go MTN 3G is so expensive and I can't always use Mark's modem, which I am using now. I did manage to post all my seven changes before turning a year older. Well I should say before my birthday, because we don't turn a year older on our birthday, it is a process over a year and then the start of a new year. I am sure it will already be March before I post Christmas stuff. I have to now give a calendar month's notice to MWEB to cancel my subscription and not be able to use the service I am paying for, because I don't have a router, never mind the month I paid them and could not use it, because of Telkom and their bad service. Frustrations Frustrations Aaargghhh!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Smoking - Number Seven And Final One

I gave up giving up smoking a long, long time ago and yes I know it is a very disgusting and dirty habit, but there are worse things in life than smoking. One thing that really annoys me, is people who don't smoke, be they ex-smokers or totally non smokers, who go on about smokers, but drink alcohol. Yes, I enjoy a drink from time to time, but don't call smoking unhealthy if you consume alcohol. Smoking does not alter your brain or make you do stupid things. Smoking is not the cause of most road fatalities, smoking is not the cause of child abuse, rape, murder or anything else. Passive smoking might be bad for you, but travel on the roads with fumes spewing out of trucks and buses and un-roadworthy, un-maintained cars then tell me the toxins don't go into your body. I work in the motor industry, have non smokers cars come in for repairs and breathe in all those nasty toxins, but can't smoke in my office, when half the time the office is filled with toxic exhaust fumes. What hypocrisy and double standards. Texting, talking, tweeting and taking photos whilst driving is far more dangerous than second hand smoke and I know plenty of people, health fanatics who hate smoking who do that. If I smoke whilst driving, which I don't often do, but I do when stressed out on the roads, stressed out from all the road users who have no respect for the rules of the road, my smoking will not kill you or your child, but your texting, tweeting, talking and taking photos on your phone whilst driving will kill someone or their child. My point being unless you live a life where you live by all the rules, don't touch alcohol and are a complete health fanatic, don't talk to me about how unhealthy smoking is.

Now that I have had my rant, lets get to why smoking is on my list of changes, it was never meant to be on my list, so it is a shocker to me too.  I mentioned in my post about The Full Blast Musical that I went into the smoking casino to have a smoke and it smelt so bad that I wanted to get sick. Now bare in mind it is packed with people smoking, combined with the smell of alcohol and body odour in an area much smaller than the area for non smokers and everyone is jam packed inside there, puffing and drinking away. Plus you get some brands of cigarettes that really stink and people smoke cigars or cigarillos, probably pipes to and who knows what else they shove in their cigarettes, so smoking areas in casinos are disgusting, probably also in clubs and pubs, but I don't go to such places so wouldn't know. Walking out of there made me think about how disgusting it is and yes if you are a non smoker you will inhale second hand smoke, you will also stink like old smoke and who knows what else. You will probably get drunk on the alcohol fumes too. If there were designated areas for drinkers only it would smell just as disgusting. They should actually have designated areas in restaurants and public places for drinkers, so that non drinkers don't have to put up with the loud drunken uncouth behaviour of people who drink too much.

I am not sure if that was what was on my mind last Monday morning, but whilst I was doing my hair and makeup, smoking of course I decided I had enough of smoking. I had two smokes left and decided that is that. I am giving up. Easier said than done!! Most of my smoking is habit more than addiction. When I wake up, I smoke, when I have coffee I smoke, after I have eaten I smoke, when I am bored I smoke, when I am stressed I smoke. I am a chain smoker. So what do I do instead of smoking after I have eaten, when I drink coffee etc. I ended up looking for something to do with my hands and mouth so I ate. I cannot afford to put on weight and whats the point of stopping one bad habit, just to put on weight which is as unhealthy. I persevered, but went up to the shop and bought a loose cigarette. I had three for the day and my last cigarette was at 3pm until I got to work the next morning, when I bought another loose cigarette. Selling loose cigarettes is supposed to be illegal and yes it is breaking a law, but what a stupid law. You cannot sell loose cigarettes, because there is no warning on the cigarette telling you smoking is bad for you. If anyone does not know that, then they are stupid.

For three days I managed to go without smoking from 3pm until around 9 the next morning. I asked Chad and Mark if the house smelt better without me smoking in it. They did not even know that I had not smoked in the house at all for 3 days. Not very observant are they, but if smoking in the house was so bad, then surely not smoking would have been noticeable. So is it just all in the mind, when you see a person smoking then it stinks and affects you. Mark and I ended up having a huge fight, he blamed it on me being irritated because I could not smoke, when in fact it had nothing to do with that, but everything to do with him and even if I chain smoked, we would have fought. I ended up buying a packet of smokes on Thursday and am smoking a packet a day again. Well I was smoking two packets before then.

The last two days have been bad and I have started chain smoking again, what I really want to do, if I don't stop completely, is to cut down drastically. It is an expensive habit anyway, but at the same time I could spend that amount of money on sweets and chocolates and get fatter, which is not an option. The main reason why I want to stop or cut down is because it is unhealthy, Chad does not like me smoking, saying that, Clint also hated it and I don't enjoy it anymore. Mark gave up smoking about 12 years ago. He says he just gave up, but he started cutting down a long time before that. I would smoke half his box and he would have a few drags and then throw it away or give it to me and that he did for months, but still insists he gave up just like that. He never smoked as much as I do anyway.

Well I will try and see how long it lasts, if I give up, if I go back to my couple a day or if I stay chain smoking. So maybe I will be saying good bye to these.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Exercising - Number Six On My List

My plan to post a new goal/change each day, did not plan out that way. Mainly, thanks to Telkom, I have not had Internet Connection since the 8 January 2012 and ran out of MTN pay as you go bundles for my 3G modem, which I bought to cover me during the time that my Telkom line was down, not expecting it to be down for three weeks. No amount of throwing my toys out, makes any difference, because all you do is talk to a Call Center Agent, who can do nothing but log the query. The Managers and Area Managers hide behind Call Center Staff and you don't get to speak to them to complain about their poor service. The other reason was because I had to finish my Vat recon and that is top priority. It is done now and paid, so I am free to blog, but still without ADSL.

So here is number six on my list. I don't exercise, I have never been the exercise type of person. I am lazy and am not embarrassed so say so, but I used to enjoy walking. That was my only exercise. A few years ago, Mark bought me a treadmill, because walking in the streets became a bit of a risk. I walked in the mornings around 9am or 10 and most people are at work or school and the only people who are in the streets are layabouts, hanging around under the pretext of looking for a job, but sadly most are there under suspicious circumstances. I was followed twice and then stopped walking so Mark bought a treadmill.  He also bought a home gym and in fact it was the year before Clint died. Clint used the home gym all the time, Mark sometimes, I walked on the treadmill and so did Mark and Clint. Chad buggered around on it. It was new and a novelty. After Clint died, neither the treadmill or the gym was used. They both lay there. I have since used the treadmill from time to time, the home gym has not been touched since the night before Clint's accident - four years, ten months and ten days!!!  It is under the carport and is covered in rust, spider webs and dirt and will most likely stay like that. The treadmill is in my office, begging to be used. I last used it about 6 or 7 months ago.

I need to walk again and I am planning to, I just find walking on the treadmill such a chore and so boring, which means I force myself to get on it and lose interest fast. Walking in the road in the afternoon is not really an option. By the time Chad gets home from school, had lunch, nagged to do homework, it is time to start supper and walking at night is not an option or advisable. Joining a walking group is not for me either, because you are restricted to when they walk. So the treadmill it is - not this week though :-) soon, I promise.

As you can see the duster is out, ready to dust it off, so I am making progress.

Next on my list of changes is going to be a shocker and I am not sure if I should even put it on my list. There are so many other things I can add and should try harder at, but for now it will be the final one........

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Back To School Tomorrow

The long school holiday is finally over. This was one of the longest school holidays we have ever had. January is almost over and they are only going back to school. I don't think Chad is looking forward to going back and I am not looking forward to waking up at 4.45am and the traffic and then the nagging to do school work.

Chad slept over at his friend last night. They first went to Brightwater Commons, Mark dropped them off at about 4pm. They went bowling, then had supper at Mimmos and then he phoned to ask if he could sleep over at John's house. After that they went to play putt-putt and then John's dad fetched them at about 8.30 and he slept over.

Mark went to fetch him at 12h30, he had to come home and shower and change, having not planned to sleep out, then he had to go for a haircut. He shaved his hair, not totally off, but a number two right around and they are not allowed shaved hair at school. I don't know if a number two is classed as shaved, we will find out tomorrow. That is one thing that annoys me about his school and something I can't understand. Boys are allowed long hair, but not shaved hair. It is so stupid. Once in assembly someone asked why they could not shave their hair and they were told, when parents see shaved heads they think the school is full of skinheads. What does long untidy make you think of???  I think long hair looks far worse than shaved hair. Stupid rules!!

Today we had such a bad storm, not only rain, but such a bad electrical storm too. Our DB board tripped four times, lightning flashed through the house so many times, once I think it hit the light in the dining room, because there was a weird bright light that flashed through the lounge and dining room. The dogs and Garfield were all so scared. Usually Piggy and Spike don't get scared during thunder storms, but today was bad. The windows were rattling and I was waiting for them to fall out. Mark had to go give his mother a lift and apparently he drove through a raging river, the roads were so flooded, the water was half way up the car. He should know better than driving through flooded roads. His mother could have waited until the storm had stopped.  I was working, trying to get my vat recon finished, Chad was watching TV and I just switched everything off and Chad and I decided to play monopoly.

We have not played it in such a long time and it was fun. Old fashioned games and board games are so much better than play station and computer games. I am still very much part of the old school and don't think I will totally accept technology. We need it, there is no doubt about it and it makes everything easier, quicker and more efficient, but it also comes with just as much negativity. Playing board games helps you to communicate and really spend quality time together and relax and have fun. I am really happy that Chad is still interested in playing board games and not like some kids his age who are already drinking and hanging around at dodgy places and are too old for games.

That is the end of our weekend and end of the summer holidays!!!

My Weight - Number Five On The List

Well weight loss had to be added to the list, didn't it. My weight has always yo-yo'ed and see-sawed all my life, but it has really gotten out of hand and the older you get the more difficult it becomes to lose it. The first thing I thought about when I read the blog about the Seven Changes for 2012, which you can read over here, was to start using Fatsecret again. Fatsecret is an app that can be used on blackberry and online to record everything you eat, count calories and track your weight amongst other things. You can find the website over here.

After Clint died I started putting on weight at a rapid rate. I would eat and eat to fill an empty hole that could never be filled. I would eat a big packet of chips and not even register that I was eating until the packet was finished, I would do that with anything I ate. I just ate without even being consciously aware of the fact that I was eating. Then I was put on anti-depressants the following year and all they do to me is make me depressed and increase my appetite. I stopped taking them and then the year after that Mark bought the shop and my weight really see-sawed out the park. During that time it was also the court case against the person who killed Clint and again I was put on anti-depressants, because I was close to having a heart attack or stroke. Added to that the stress of working long hours everyday of the week in a "garage" shop, I was living on Battery Energy drinks, we were eating badly and the chocolates, ice creams and sweets were right there,to be eaten and my weight spiraled out of control. I started losing weight after we sold the shop, then in February last year, my GP, did tests, one of which was cholesterol and my cholesterol was sky high, so I had to go on a cholesterol free diet. I was very good for two months and then I was back to eating normally again and I am starting to put on weight again and just don't have the motivation or will power to go back onto my cholesterol free diet.

After I read the blog about Seven Changes, I had my old profile on Fatsecret deleted and started a new one. I was determined to start again and start afresh. It did not last, I actually get bored recording everything I eat. It is a wake up call when you actually see how many calories you eat in one day, but because it is so much to record, I lose interest or get bored. Now we are almost through January and I have not started. Baking every weekend doesn't help, so I am going to scrap it for this month and start again on the 1 February.

Cupcakes & Biscuits

Last Sunday Mark felt like homemade burgers for lunch, but on big round burger rolls. We had to go shopping for groceries, but Hypermarket just had normal round rolls, so we decided to go to Fournos bakery to see what they had. I know I said in this post over here that we don't have bakeries anymore, just Home Industries. Well we do, I just forgot about them. There are very few bakeries and not everywhere. Mark actually looks after a bakery's delivery fleet, but they don't open on Sunday afternoons, so we went to Fournos. As we walked in, there were just rows and rows of cakes and biscuits and muffins and petit fours. I have not seen petit fours for years and absolutely love them. I was about to buy some, when I saw this huge ugly green fly crawling all over them. I told the woman that was about to serve us that there were flies walking over the cakes and she gave me this look as if I was mad and did not say a word. That was the end of me buying from them. as we walked out I saw flies all over the stuff laid out on the tables. I am sorry to say, but I will not buy anything covered in flies, especially from a store that does nothing about the flies. Yes flies are everywhere, but cover the food for goodness sake. It made me think that we probably unknowingly eat food all the time that have had flies crapping all over it. Laying out freshly baked goods might look appetizing and tempting to buy, but certainly not with flies all over it. I will never go near that bakery again. When we got home I decided to bake our own cakes and biscuits. They might not look as attractive, but at least they don't have fly crap all over them.

I also tried out my other Christmas present from Mark and Chad, a Russel Hobbs biscuit maker and used the recipe that came with the biscuit maker, but ended up just using normal cookie cutters for the biscuits. It was much easier and I think the present will now just add to the collection of unused things. I also made cup cakes from a recipe that I have always had. As always they tasted good, but did not look that good.


  • Ingredients
1/2 Cup Of Butter
13/4 Sifted All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Sugar
21/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
3/4 Cup Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • Method
Pre-Heat oven to 180 Degrees Celsius
Put butter in mixing bowl and cream
Sift dry Ingredients in a separate bowl
Then mix with butter
Add 1/2 cup of milk and egg, beat till flour fully moistened
Add remaining milk and vanilla and beat for 1 minute
Place paper liners in muffin pan
Fill half full with batter
Bake at 180 C for 15 to 20 minutes
Check with toothpick if baked 
Allow to cool then ice

I made chocolate ganache for icing, but it was a bit messy, but tasted divine. I also used normal Dairy Maid chocolate instead of bitter sweet chocolate, so it was really sweet, but tasted so deliciously chocolate. 

Chocolate Kiss Biscuits/Cookies
  • Ingredients
1/2 Cup Butter, Softened
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
2 Tablespoons Milk
2 Cups Cake Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Milk chocolate Chips, melted and cooled
Coloured sugar crystals or powdered sugar
  • Method
Preheat oven to 180c
Use an electric mixer to cream the butter until fluffy, gradually beat in the sugar
Add egg and milk and mix well
Sift the cake flour and salt together
Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture and blend until smooth
Repeat with the rest of the flour mixture
Mix in the cooled chocolate
*Fill the biscuit maker with dough and select disc 9 or any other disc
Form the biscuits on an un-greased cookie sheet
Bake for 8 - 10 minutes 
Remove from cookie sheet and cool on wire racks
Decorate with coloured sugar crystals or dust with powered sugar

* I used heart shaped cookie cutters and iced them, because I didn't have coloured sugar or powered sugar, that was not the best decision, but they tasted good.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Gardening - Number Four On My List

Number four on my list of SEVEN changes has to be gardening. I have never been a gardener or one for gardening, but I have gone through stages where I would buy plants and plant them or do a bit of gardening. After Clint died, we had a Memorial Garden made for him. It is next to the pool, because he spent a lot of time in the pool and by the pool and it was a happy place, a place of happy memories. There was already a garden there, very overgrown, I have blogged about badly designed gardens in this post here. We had a landscaper come and do The Memorial Garden and it looked so beautiful. After a few weeks, I decided to do the rest of the garden. Our gardener helped a bit, but I mostly did it on my own. He dug the beds, but I planted and I cut down so many branches and cut back plants. Trees are lovely and we need them, but they have their place and we have too many. The shade and darkness from them drove me insane. I could not take the shadows and all the green. I wanted colourful bright flowers and sunlight so I cut down so many trees. they are still there, over grown again, but I cut them right down to let in the sunlight and get rid of some of the green.

The Landscaper Doing Clint's Garden

We spent a fortune on plants and our garden was looking so pretty. Gardening, especially cutting down huge branches was actually very therapeutic. As I cut into the branch, the thicker it was, the more I took out my anger and hatred towards those responsible for Clint's death. One day Mark asked why I was cutting down so many tress and I told him I was cutting the throats of those that killed Clint. He was shocked and ready to have me committed to a mental institute. I told my therapist about it when I went to her a year later and she said there was nothing wrong with the thoughts I was having and it was good that I was taking out all my feelings on something like tree branches and not bottling it up and acting it out in reality one day. I would sit and pull out weeds from the grass for ages, which was getting rid of all the ugliness and when I planted plants each one was for Clint and to show his beauty.

Almost Finished

A year later I got very sick landed up in hospital and all the gardening stopped. It has bugged me for a long time that I have lost interest. The gardener now does Clint's garden, before I did it and the rest of the garden is just over grown with no colour. He does do the garden, but without me telling him what to cut back and cut down, it is over grown and I don't buy seedlings anymore. Only in March and September for Clint's garden

2nd Birthday Without Clint

One of the things that The Spiritual Healer spoke about was me doing something creative again. Something that I had stopped doing. I told her I don't have a creative bone in my body and have never done anything creative or artistic in my life. She said being creative is about regrowth, even planting a plant is being creative and there must have been a change in my body language,emotions or expressions, because she asked if I used to garden and if I had a special plant that was planted in memory of Clint. I did not go into detail and perhaps she said it, because people do plant plants and gardens in memory of someone who has died. Whatever the reason she said Clint wanted me to start gardening again and to spend more time sitting by "the plant" that was planted in his memory. I don't even sit in his garden that often anymore. It has become too painful and I feel almost angry, because what does sitting in his garden help, he isn't there. Flowers also bring out more anger than joy. I used to put flowers in his room and garden every 16th of the month, until one day I became so angry, because why the 16th, it was not a happy day, it was the worst day of my life, so why was I using that as a special day and not the 21st, the day he was born, a day of joy. So I stopped the flowers too and only do them on his birthday, anniversary day and christmas  and other special days.

2nd Birthday without Clint

Garden Almost finished

I need to go back into his garden and spend time there. Very few people believe this I am sure, even Mark, but Garfield, my cat, Clint's cat actually, reminds me to go in his garden.  No matter where she is in the house if I go into his garden she comes sprinting in there and rubs and purrs and meows. If I sit on the patio, she meows and runs there and I have to go with her. A few months ago, I had not been in his garden for a long time, it was winter and I just did not go there. Garfield cried and cried for about two weeks. I could not understand what was wrong with her. She was eating, did not look sick or hurt and I even bought litter and got her litter tray out in case she didn't want to go outside. She never uses a litter tray, she uses the garden, unless it rains for days on end. Nothing helped, she just cried early in the morning, during the day, whenever she saw me. I was about to take her to the vet when suddenly I thought of going into Clint's garden, she went bounding in there, purring, rubbing all over me and we sat there for a long time and she stopped crying. On the following Sunday, Mark was sitting on the patio and she sat on the floor next to his chair and she was crying. I told him she wanted him to go to Clint's garden and he just smiled. I went on and he went off as if to humor me and my silly notions and as he got up and walked towards Clint's garden, she went running ahead of him. She knows the garden has special meaning or that it is for Clint. If I go anywhere else in the garden she does not come near me only there. When I play with the dogs, she sits either in Clint's garden or by the pool calling me.

I really have to start taking care of the garden again, spending time in it and sitting in Clint's garden. I have been sitting there more often since going to The Spiritual Healer, but still not often enough.

Not Quite Finished

Still Busy


Doggie Biscuits

As per my previous post here are the recipes for the Doggie Biscuits. As I said, they are not my recipes but taken from somewhere online and then baked by me. What is nice about baking for animals is that you can make mistakes and they will still love them, no matter that they might not look good or taste to perfection. I did make a mistake with the peanut butter ones. I used half a tablespoon of baking powder and only realized when I had already baked them that I used the wrong measuring spoon. I also used smooth peanut butter and not chunky as I only had smooth and it made no difference. Instead of using instant bouillon, I have no idea what it is other than a kind of meat stock and I have never seen the stuff, so I use two chicken stock cubes. I also don't have bone shaped cookie cutters and use normal biscuit cutters. I have never seen bone shaped cutters and to be honest haven't looked for them. Do my dogs know?? Nope; Do they care?? Nope, Do they love them?? What a question Do they love me?? I have no doubt.

The recipes don't have names, Chad and I gave them names when we first baked them. The peanut butter ones we called something like Piggy's Peanut Butter Bites and the Cheese ones, Spikes Chunky Cheesy Treats and then so that Jingles and Pluto don't feel left out we alternate the names and when Sheba was alive we called the cheese ones, Shebies Cheesy Chunks. The Peanut Butter ones are so easy to make and very basic. The cheese ones are more involved and take long.

Peanut Butter

  • Ingredients
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1 Cup Chunky Natural Peanut Butter
1 cup Non Fat Milk
  • Method
Preheat Oven To 180 Degrees Celsius
Grease Cookie Sheets
In a large bowl, combine flour and baking powder
Use another bowl and combine Peanut Butter and milk
Add the milk and Peanut Butter mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well
On a floured surface, turn out the knead, roll out to 1/4" thick, cut out using cookie cutters.
Place on baking sheets and bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Place on racks to cool then store in airtight containers.
Makes about 32 biscuits depending on size and shape

Peanut Butter Biscuits

Cheese biscuits
  • Ingredients
1 Cup Rolled Oats (such as Quaker or Jungle Oats)
1/3 Cup Margarine
1 Cup Boiling Water
3/4 Cup Corn Meal (Maize Meal)
1 Tablespoon Sugar
2 Teaspoons chicken or beef flavoured bouillon*
1/2 Cup milk
1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg beaten
2-3 cups whole wheat flour
  • Method
Preheat Oven To 180 Degrees Celsius
Grease Cookie Sheets
In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, margarine and boiling water. (* I add the 2 Knorr Chicken Stock Cubes to the boiling water and stir till dissolved)
Let the mixture stand for ten minutes
Sir in cornmeal, sugar; bouillon (if you are using bullion and not chicken stock cubes); milk; cheese and egg; mix well.
Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup, level off.
Add flour one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition to form a stiff dough. 
On a floured surface,  knead in third cup of flour until dough is smooth and no longer sticky, 3-4 minutes
Roll or pat out dough to 1/2 inch thickness, cut with bone shaped cookie cutter.
Place 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheets
Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 35 minutes or until golden brown
Cool Completely. Store loosely covered
Makes about 40 biscuits, depending on size and shape.
Cheese Biscuits

 And the grateful recipients wait patiently

Pluto being the only one who would rather go lie in the cool air conditioned lounge instead of the hot kitchen until they are baked and cool. He is the least photographed of all our dogs, although he is my very special baby. Probably because he is always next to me or sitting on me and like me always behind the camera, never ever in view of it. I broke a plate whilst baking, the vibration of the heavy dough mixing caused a plate to bounce off the counter and break. If baking was uneventful and everything went smoothly when I baked it would be boring :D. The part of baking I hate is cleaning up and doing the dishes. I couldn't understand why I had to change the dish water and put fresh water in about ten times and then rewash the dishes, because they looked and felt greasy, until I realized that Mark had bought some Savemor dish liquid or something like that in December, this big 2L bottle and Sheila has refilled the Sunlight Dish Liquid Bottle with the cheap junk. I should have noticed by how thin and watery it was. There is only one dish liquid and that is Sunlight, but to get that in Mark's head is mission impossible. Fortunately, he only buys the wrong one now and again and he gets a bargain at double the price and half the value. You can pour half the bottle in and it still won't soap up or get rid of the grease and not everything can go in the dishwasher. The bottle was 3/4 way full when I started baking and that is the saving from Savemor. Mark you save using Sunlight not Saveless!!!

I then made my other baby some crunchies as well, but he had left to go bowling with his friend John before I had even started making them. He left at about four and they were going to play pool and ten pin bowling. I phoned him earlier to check that everything was OK and they were having supper at Mimmos and now he is sleeping over at John's house. He can have his crunchies tomorrow and for school next week.

Mark went to Warm Baths to fix someone's car, his cousin or second cousin. They work and live on a farm just outside of Warm Baths and he brought back two trays of eggs for us. They farm eggs, if that is what you call it. They are free range eggs, called Boschveld Eggs and they apparently supply places like Pick 'n Pay and some Spars, I haven't seen them Pick 'n Pay or Spar, but they are really nice eggs. We used to sell them in our shop and before trying them I thought eggs all tasted the same,  but they don't and I battle to find eggs that taste good. Most are tasteless. Now that we can't get them, because we sold the shop and the new owners don't sell them, I try different ones all the time and they just don't  match Boschveld and believe you me I am not being biased at all and just saying so, because Mark knows them. In fact it should be the total opposite, because Mark's family and I do not get on at all. We are arch enemies. The people on the farm are OK, but my opinion of the eggs are based solely on the eggs and not the people who farm them. So now we have lots of eggs, pity they don't keep for long.

Baking For My Babies

I haven't baked for the dogs for a very long time. Miss Piggy gets terrible diarrhea, if she eats "human" food. When she was a puppy, until just over a year old, all she could eat was Royal Canin Bulldog Food. She had diarrhea when we brought her home from the breeder and she had to go to the vet and from then no matter what she ate, she got diarrhea and had to go to the vet. We then put her on Royal Canin Bulldog food and it stopped, provided she had nothing else. She could not eat dog biscuits or treats or tin dog meat. Once she had really bad diarrhea. I was up with her the whole night, it started during the night, so we could not take her to the vet and were about to go to the emergency vet, when it stopped a bit during the early hours of the morning. She was raw around her little bottom, but was so good she would not mess in the house, but would come running to me and half sit, then I would rush to let her out. I took her to the vet and he asked if she had meat or anything she shouldn't have had, to find out if it was a bug or just something she had eaten. As far as I knew she had nothing that she should not have had, although I was not sure, because Mark always thinks he is treating them if he gives them meat and other junk. The Vet gave her medicine and said if the diarrhea did not stop we had to bring her back, so he could test if it was from a bug and we had to make sure she only had dog food and possibly change her to Hills Sensitive Stomach Food. Her diarrhea cleared up and I watched her like a hawk. I then remembered that Chad had Nestle Smartie Eggs and she was playing with the packet on the Friday morning and I took it away from her, there must have been one or two eggs left, which she must have eaten. She used to climb from the couch onto the lounge table when no one was around and take things off the table. I caught her doing that when she thought I was not looking, just like a very naughty child, that's how she got the Smartie Egg Packet.  They say chocolate is highly poisonous to dogs, but I had a Maltese that lived to the age of 17 and loved chocolate. He was addicted to it I am sure. He just heard or saw the chocolate wrapper and went crazy. He hardly ate dog food, pulled his nose up to it and ate pasta, carrots, chocolate and table scraps mainly, although he was given dog food at meal times. Chocolate was definitely not poisonous to him, but Miss Piggy is another story.

Waiting For Treats

Back to the baking, I stopped baking for them, because the last time Miss Piggy had diarrhea in about October last year, the vet said we mustn't give her anything but dog food. She is on Eukanuba now, like the other dogs. It was becoming difficult stopping her from eating out of their bowls so we tried it and she was fine, but that is all she is allowed now. No more biscuits although she was fine eating them and no more chicken livers which she absolutely loves and knew exactly what they were when I took them out the freezer to cook them for her. I think she knew the word Chicken Liver. I made her chicken livers when the others got tin meat and she could not eat tin meat and did not like it anyway. She was also fine eating them, but we had to stop everything.  Now every time I bake, she comes to the kitchen and wiggles her little bum, because she thinks I am making them biscuits. They all hang around the kitchen when I bake and they don't do it when I cook. The only one who sits in the kitchen when I cook is Spike, the others don't unless they are eating. When I bake, they all hang around and Piggy is the worst, she follows me like a shadow, they really know that baking gives them treats. I thought what the hell, shame they love the biscuits so I will make them this weekend. There they were hanging around the kitchen and this time they were the ones to get the treats. They were so happy, but unfortunately, they have given Miss Piggy diarrhea this time. She really can't have anything but dog food. As much as she loves them, especially the Peanut Butter ones, she goes crazy over them, it is just being cruel giving her stuff that makes her sick. The diarrhea is not too bad, it has just started now I think, well I noticed it now and will have to watch her and she just can't have anymore.

Waiting Not So Patiently

I will post the recipes for the biscuits in my next post. They are not my recipes and I don't take ownership or credit for them. I found them online somewhere, a long time ago and printed them out and don't know where to find them now to post the link. I used to make Garfield treats too, but she is such a fussy cat and doesn't eat them half the time, so I don't make them anymore. You can find recipes for cat treats over here.

Checking The Other 3 Coming In The Kitchen

Mending and Sewing

I don't usually sew and mend things, even sewing on a button is an effort and whatever needs mending usually just gets thrown out or sometimes I take the stuff to the menders at the laundry down the road. Depending on what it is.  Once Chad asked me to put a zip in one of his hoodies, the zip was broken and he was very attached to this particular hoodie. It was almost too small for him, rather washed out, but he still wanted to wear it.  He gets very attached to certain things and doesn't like throwing them out and other things he loses or just does not look after them. Anyway I took the hoodie to the menders and to replace the zip cost more than what I paid for the hoodie. It came from Mr Price and did not cost much, I was in two minds about replacing the zip, then decided to indulge his little whim and just have it done.

Just over two months ago, in fact about a week before school closed, I took him to buy new clothes and two of the pairs of shorts he bought, split about a month ago. Both the same make and same style, just different colours. It makes me so mad, buying stuff and it just breaks and you can't take it back, because it has been worn a couple of times and the receipts are gone and it is just too much hassle to bother. It is not like they are cheap clothes from Pep Stores, which no doubt is better made than brand clothing. They are BadBoy Shorts and really pricey for what they are worth.

I was planning to take them to be mended, because Chad likes them and quite frankly I object to throwing away something I have just bought. I never got around to getting them to the menders, story of my life, so I took them out this morning and was going to sew them with my sewing machine.  I have a sewing machine, but I don't sew. I had this bright idea, once upon a time, that I was going to start sewing and Mark bought me a sewing machine for my birthday, at the time of my "sewing idea". I mended a couple of things and that was the end of my sewing days.

Well the "foot" for my machine has vanished, I remember seeing it in a bowl in my room once upon a time and it is no longer there, so that was the end of my sewing with the machine. I then fixed his shorts by sewing them by hand. It is school on Monday and they don't wear uniforms, so clothes become a problem when you have to wear something different everyday. Sometimes uniforms are better and easier. The shorts were so badly sewn and finished off and it is honestly disgusting that a Company can put their brand on something that is made so badly. The edges were not finished off properly, parts were sewn properly, then the stitching just frayed right off the edge, really bad. Companies and manufacturers, just don't care anymore and it is just about money and mass production

Whilst mending I got to thinking, when we were at school we had to do sewing and knitting and cooking. They really groomed us to be good little housewives and homemakers. It didn't help me much in any event, because I can't do any of them very well and I am sure most people are in the same boat. Now schools don't do any domesticated subjects, other than Hotel & Catering, but then, it is a subject choice in high school, if you want to go into the hospitality field. Giving girls the skills to become good wives is a thing of the past, which is understandable, women have evolved from being barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen and now other life skills are taught at school. Skills that are far more important than cooking and laying the table to perfection and starching collars and sewing on buttons etc, but what about those who want to go into that field. We do have Hotel & Catering for the chefs and cooking part, but what about dressmakers, fashion designers etc? Do they just go through school doing totally unrelated and useless subjects like biology, geography and science and then finish school and start their studies. Seems like such a waste and I have never thought of it in that way before and I wonder if there are still schools that do Home Economics or Domestic Science or whatever it was called in those days. Would be interesting to know. Maybe if there were still teachers who ripped your sewing and knitting to shreds until it was sewn perfectly with no frayed edges, clothes that we buy would be sewn properly and wouldn't fall apart after a couple of washes.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Chad and His Evoboard

After shopping for school books and the stress of not getting all of them, Chad all relaxed and not worried at all about not having all the books for Monday, decides to have fun on his evoboard, adding to my already haggard, worry lined face and adding a few more grey hairs.

Boys and their Toys!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Motivating Chad To Do Well At School - Number Three

The next item on my SEVEN List of things to change in 2012 is to get Chad to work harder at school. He really slid through grade 8, doing as little as possible and his report was a true reflection of the work he put in. I really need to enforce studying and learning, so this is now number three on my list. My goal is his goal.

I have a mental block to pushing him to do school work. He is not one of those children, who love school and sit down and do homework. He needs to be nagged and nagged and pushed to do anything school related. The whole time, I have it at the back of my mind, that Clint was the same and then at the end of Grade 11, he suddenly realized that school is important and by the time he started matric he was working really hard to not only pass matric, but to do well and what happened, someone else stole that dream away from him and killed him. I have this in my head all the time that why nag and fight about school work when he could get killed tomorrow, but at the same time, my logical brain knows that I cannot have that attitude, because he needs an education and cannot fail. So this year, he just has to put effort into his school work.

We have started off badly as it is. He goes back to school on Monday after a very long holiday and we only went today to buy his text books and the bookshop has already sold out most of the books and apparently the printers have not printed anymore. Now I need to find another school book store to try and buy the rest and I have no idea where there is another bookshop or if there is even another one. Now the last day of the holidays has become a very stressful day. all because of me and my procrastinating. Number one on my list of changes. STOP PROCRASTINATING

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