Sunday, 29 March 2015

An Owl You Say .........

Last night Mark let the dogs out and he always waits outside with them instead of just letting them go do their thing. Next thing he shouts come see this massive owl. There was an owl sitting on the lamppost. Mark thinks I am crazy because I want to build an owl box for it to stay in. The light in the lamppost is faulty and it goes on and off and whilst battling to take a photo in the dark, we were making a noise, Spike was barking because he wanted to play and Mr Owl just sat there watching us. The woman whose house was broken into last year in November has ivy and overgrowth all over her walls and property and we all know mice love ivy and apparently the ivy is full of mice. I hate mice and rats. Even typing the words send shivers up my spine. The feral cats from next door are always in the ivy and now the Owl has discovered a food source. I wonder where the owl stays during the day, which is why I want to build an owl box, but then I thought about it, what happens if it swoops down to grab his prey and then drops it in our garden - no thank you.







Chad has been on holiday for a week already and just after Easter it is back to school again. What I can't believe is that I have not smoked for almost 2 years now. I missed my 22 month post this month and I am finally starting to feel the benefits of giving up smoking. I still crave like crazy some days and still smell smoke from miles away and the smell of stale cigarette smoke makes me feel sick. I have managed to lose the weight that I put on since giving up smoking, but still have a long way to go before I get to the weight I was before Clinty died. When I just started eating and eating to fill a hole that would never fill. A spiritual healer I went to said that I eat, but don't taste the food. I am not sure whether they get somethings spot on or if it is a common thing for mothers whose children have died, to try and fill that place with food and just eat and eat without being conscious of eating, but she was right I did not taste the food I was eating. Giving up smoking just made it worse as I reached out for something to put in my mouth and fill a hole that could not be filled. I now eat air popped popcorn instead of chips and sweets and biscuits. I know popcorn is high on the food intolerance list, but it is better than caving in and turning to biscuits and sweets and chips. I have decided to go on a detox again this week, because it feels like a donkey kicked me in the solar plexus and the Nexium are not even making a slight dent in the pain. It is probably a combination of far too much coffee, I have started drinking such a lot of coffee again, I even drink it at night and it does not keep me awake. So yes too much coffee, popcorn and chewing gum so I need to detox and see if that will ease the pain a bit.








Last night we watched the movie The Frozen Ground with Vanessa Hudgens; Nicolas Cage and John Cusack, based on a true story of the serial killer Robert Hansen. Initially I thought it was junk and then got so involved in it and then saw it was based on a true story. Nicolas Cage is always an excellent actor, but John Cusack was brilliant in this movie and Vanessa Hudgens, how she went from High School musical to this movie was amazing. She was excellent and played the role of the girl who helped get Robert Hansen arrested for the murder and rape of possibly more than 30 women, so convincingly.




Mark thinks it is weird that when I type I keep my pointer finger up in the air and I was not even aware that I did it until he pointed it out a few weeks ago. Now I am always conscious of it and it actually hurts when I think about it. I was just starting to stop being conscious of it when he asked me again tonight if it doesn't hurt and surely I should type with it as well. I don't use it unless I am aware of it like now then I type the wrong letters. I am not a touch typist, I am a "two" finger typer and as soon as I become aware of the fingers I type with I slow down and make mistakes - more than my usual typos - much more. I am sure I have seen lots of non touch typists holding their fingers like I do, in the photo above that I took when Mark first pointed it out, but Mark and Chad both say they have never seen anyone hold their finger up in the air like I do.

Are you a touch typist or are you a two finger typist with a strange way of holding your non typing fingers.

Hope you had a good weekend.




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Saturday, 28 March 2015

Weekly Link Up Week Three

How did you name your blog? Did you put a lot of thought into it or did it just pop into your head one day whilst in the shower or fighting traffic. My blog has had many names as I went from anonymity to openly public, yet personal and private. I can't even remember most of the names, they were that random and then one day Chad discovered that I blogged and he was very upset that I did not have a specific page for him, only one for Clint. He was so upset about it and Chad's emotions are always revealed as anger and angry outbursts. I never meant anything by it and was shocked that he was so upset, but tried to explain why. I made a page for him and it did make sense in hindsight, why have a page all about my animals, but not my son. Sorry Chad I have not kept it up to date, but you are in all these posts and probably a lot more. One day when I decided that I did not like the name of my blog and wanted to change it to Life and Us, I couldn't get the blogger Life and Us url and Chad Life Us popped into my head, because Chad was sinking in my ongoing grief and besides what would Life be without Chad.

The way I write my blog posts is exactly the way I speak in real life - all over the place. I say far too much and NEVER get to the point or go to the other extreme and expect you to know what I am talking about or what I mean when I tell you something. Invariably it is because I went on and on about nothing that I leave out important facts. Chad is exactly the same so you can imagine how our conversations go and the frustration at not knowing what the other is saying - and there I go again.




It is time for The Ultimate Rabbit Hole link up and incase you have missed my previous two link up posts (you can read them over here and here) and you are not sure what The Ultimate Rabbit Hole is all about here is a quick recap. The Ultimate Rabbit Hole is a weekly Link Up that starts on a Saturday morning, Australian time, which in South Africa is late on a Friday night and closes at midnight on the Monday.  In a nutshell, you do a roundup of posts you liked enough to share among other bloggers or you just link your best post and then visit some other blogs in the Link Up, but don't link and run, read and comment and follow. In that way we all get to find new and interesting blogs to follow. I call it Sammy, from The Annoyed Thyroid's Ultimate Rabbit Hole, but Sammy just copilots with three other bloggers. That was what I was waffling on about in my previous paragraph. Although I know Sammy is just a copilot, I never mentioned it in my two previous linkups and just assumed that you can read my mind. I have just read The Annoyed Thyroid for a long time, which is why I call it Sammy's Ultimate Rabbit Hole, but you can also link up over at Calm To Conniption, A Little Part Of The World or Our Urban Box and of course where I link up The Annoyed Thyroid. As frustrating as what technology is and how frustrating I find it, it is also amazing, because you only add your post to one of the awesome foursome blogs and it shows up on all four of them. Why not grab a cup of coffee, sink into a comfy seat and join in. 


We all know what colour the Breast Cancer Ribbon is and the Aids Ribbon, even the Anti-Rhino Poaching has a Black Ribbon, but what I did not know is that the Thyroid also has a Ribbon and the colours are Teal Purple and Pink. Sammy explains how the name of her blog, The Annoyed Thyroid came about and why she chose the colours, Teal Purple and Pink, when her blog had it's extreme makeover a couple of months ago.

Have you ever given any thought to how accessible your blog is to those less abled than ourselves. I have never thought about it until I read making your blog more accessible to the disabled. Click here and read more links confuse screen reading software. Who would have thought - I certainly did not. There is also a link in the post to check the accessibility of your blog.

It is Easter next weekend and South African school holidays and here are two recipes for Easter Cup Cakes and Chewy Chunky Mini Egg Cookies. The Mini Egg Cookies look very easy for little children to help make. I am hoping to be gluten, chocolate and sugar free this Easter, but have already eyed a Kit Kat Easter Bunny, so not sure how that will pan out and I am eyeing out these cookies and I love Mini Eggs.

How awesome are these made to order designed shoes. Sadly the time is coming for me to pack away high heels and wear clumpy ugly flats. My back is getting worse and worse. A few weeks ago, I went to buy some comfortable black shoes as the ones I had were giving me such backache and they were the ones I was wearing when the physio said no more high shoes, they were not even high, just ugly and uncomfortable slip-ons. These in the picture below was one of three pairs I bought when looking for "comfortable shoes" - well they have close to crippled me this week as my back gets worse and worse. I really don't want to give up heels, but I don't want a back operation either.



Well that is all for this week's link up. Are you taking part in Earth Hour 2015 or are you like Chad who says it is Earth Hour everyday in South Africa with load shedding. Have you found any new and or interesting blogs to follow this week. Are you linking up with The Ultimate Rabbit Hole?




Thanks for reading.


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Stufz Burger Maker And Homemade Burgers

One day we were in Builders Warehouse of all places and Mark saw The Stufz American Style Burger Maker and lobbed it in our trolley. The fact that we were no longer buying Verimark, Glomail or as seen on TV products was totally overlooked. We have learnt the very frustrating and expensive way that they never work as seen on TV. Mark was probably very hungry, because we were still on our strict healthy eating regime at that stage, so it was just grab and throw. It landed straight in the cupboard at home, unopened and the package not even read.





We have been watching Celebrity Masterchef SA on MNet, thanks mainly to the fact that the Legend DJ Alex Jay was one of the contestants and now I am completely hooked and watch it every week. They had the roadhouse episode, which lead us down the road on a Sunday afternoon to one of the few remaining roadhouses for a burger and also a reminder that we have an unopened Stufz Burger Maker lying around somewhere. Mark said those burgers look so good and Chad said hey why don't we use the Stufz and then we drove to the roadhouse for burgers - always easier.




We are now at the stage where I am trying to remain on a gluten and sugar free diet for health reasons, Chad is pretending and Mark is far past the pretend stage and finding meals to make has become more than the usual challenge, so I thought I would make some burgers for dinner last Friday night. I had a look at the Masterchef Red Teams's Burger Recipe, but it had chilli in it and none of us are keen on chilli burgers so I made my own recipe, which looking back was almost exactly the same as the Masterchef recipe sans chilli.




I make meatballs once in a very very blue moon, like every three years and I make them out of my head mostly and I made meatballs with spaghetti for Mark and Chad the other night so I made the burger patties the same way. These were the most expensive burgers ever, because at some point between buying the Stufz burger maker and making the burgers the directions disappeared from the box (since found them) but I just did my own thing and made 5 burger patties out of 1Kg of Woolworths Mince. They were huge, but so good - totally worth the gastric pain from eating bread for the first time in months,I forgot I had bread for the first time in months when I had the roadhouse burger. This is how I made them - no measuring of spices so any reference to mls and cups would be approximate and to personal preference.

Ye I am lazy I don't mix by hand - that's what Kenwoods are for

Ingredients
1KG Lean Mince (ground beef)
1 Egg
1 Cup Bread Crumbs (2 Slices of bread crumbed)
1 Medium Onion
1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Chives
5mls Robertson Mince Spice
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
5mls Robertsons Italian Herbs
5mls Salt
5mls Crushed Garlic
Cheese
500g Bits Of Bacon
Bread Rolls
Woolworths Onion Marmalade
Woolworths Burger Sauce
Lettuce Tomato and Gherkin for garnishing



Method
Chop the onion and chives in a food processor
Crumb the bread and add to the onion and chives and add to the mince
Add the spices, salt, garlic and herbs to the mince (ground beef), add the egg and mix all together
Fry the bits of bacon
Place the meat mixture in the Stufz add the fried bacon and cheese, press shut and you have a burger patty.
Fry the patty, heat the onion marmalade, place on your burger roll and garnish and you have a delicious burger.


Easy enough so what went wrong - but they were delicious anyway.
Firstly Masterchef contestants could never have used Woolworths Burger Rolls - as much as I love Woolworths food and speciality breads, they cannot make normal white bread or bread rolls. Their bread rolls are over processed, never taste fresh and are very small.




I overfilled the Stufz Burger maker, because I lost the instructions and ended up with 5 ginormous patties. Other than the egg, gherkin, lettuce and tomato, I bought all the ingredients from Woolworths that night and it came to R380.00 and made 5 BIG burgers on tiny rolls. I bought a dozen rolls and used 5, I had leftover onion marmalade and burger sauce, but used a whole 1kg of mince, so ye, the burgers were expensive.



We only realised that night that the Stufz was a Verimark product but it was worth the R99.00 and the only Verimark item we have bought that works. You can stuff it with anything you like, I chose to just use bacon and cheese, because shopping after a long day at work does not leave much of an imagination and Chad is quite a fussy eater. He does not eat mushroom and if he sees onion he doesn't eat the food or digs it all out. The burger was so good (yes I said it again), you could not taste the bacon and cheese like a normal bacon and cheese burger, it all just complimented each other into an awesome tasting burger. Oh and that onion marmalade - so good



My patties didn't come out into perfect shapes, because I wasn't using the burger maker properly and I would fail dismally at any presentation or plating up challenge, but luckily my judges are all about the taste. I also think it would be a fun thing to make burgers with when your children are still small and are keen to help mom cook.



PS - Chad and I do not eat butter/margarine on hot dogs or burgers, Mark does. If I wanted margarine or butter I would have a buttered roll.

PSS - I was not paid to review this product and it is my personal and honest opinion and I would recommend it



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Monday, 23 March 2015

When Karma Hits You In The Bangs - Our Relationship Is Over

Wow when did I become so Americanised, probably from my son. The other week I told Mark that I needed to have my haircut and I keep forgetting to make an appointment. He said I should go to his barber. Him and Chad have a weekly standing appointment with their young Moroccan Barber - in fact right now they are quite upset that their barber has gone back to Morocco for a month. Mark is bald shaves his head no skill required in that - anyone can do it. Chad's is quite stylish and he is a teenager, but I digress. When Mark seriously suggested his barber, I said No Thank You Very Much!! I do my own mani's and pedi's, don't do tips and falsies, I don't even go for facials or spa days, I am certainly not scraping the very bottom of the beauty barrel and going to a barber for a haircut.

I have been going to the same hairdresser for about 6 years. I used to go to a lady who had a salon at home, but a proper fully equipped salon separate to her house. I started growing my hair and did not go as often as I used to and when Clinty died I was really overdue for a cut. Months and months later when I realised that cutting my hair was now a necessity and not something shallow and superficial, I called the salon and the number had changed. Her house had new people staying there and she was gone. I found a salon close to where I bought flowers and a lovely modern young girl cut and styled my hair and everyone complimented me when they saw it. It was months later, I needed another cut, she had left and another young girl did my hair, it also looked good, but not as good. Months later back again, she left. I was jinxing these stylists. A women my age or a bit younger did my hair and has been doing it since and it has gotten progressively worse. Normally after a week it settles, but this last time she really hacked it. I decided to look for another salon awhile ago when I had a Brazilian Blow Dry, but an even older woman did my hair so I went back to the woman I had been going to all these years. This time she really screwed up my hair. My bangs/fringe was just chopped and chunks cut out the length of either side. It is over a month and it has not settled and I am not going back this time.  I will go to the Moroccan Barber, before I go back to her, I am sure he will do a MUCH better job.




Luckily I received John Frieda in my February Rubybox, because I can't leave my hair to dry into natural curls after my last haircut even using Moroccan Argan Oil. In December I bought OGX Beauty Argan Oil to use whilst we were away. I did not go out of my way to look for it, I saw it at Foschini when I was looking at clothes and I thought I will try it. I had already decided I wasn't taking  my Marc Anthony Oil with on holiday and risk spilling it everywhere. The OGX was R177.00 for 118mls and comes in a spray bottle. It is much thinner than the Marc Anthony Argan Oil. I prefer Marc Anthony, but the OGX Beauty Renewing Argan Oil Of Morocco is quick and easy to use - just spray on wet or dry hair and style as desired, which meant leave to dry naturally. My hair was frizz free and soft and manageable, not as soft as with Marc Anthony Argan Oil. It did not last as long as the Marc Anthony one, so price wise it was more expensive - 3 weeks compared to 3 months. I do recommend it, just don't be too heavy handed with it like I was and I think you can only buy it from Foschini.

This is my true and honest opinion of this product for my Makeup Monday post, I paid for it and have not received financial compensation or free products to do this review.

Now I need to find a new hair salon. I hate change, but when I am pushed my mind is made up.


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Eating Out In Paternoster - Not An Option

Paternoster is really beautiful and I felt as though I had a cloak of calm over me whilst we were down there. Yes we had to get all uppity with regards to the blocked drain, but it was not my normal intense chest tightening, head exploding stress and anger. It was an on and off throughout the day nothing happening anger and stress, but once we moved and could no longer see and smell the drain, we were calm and relaxed. We had a better view of the sea than the other Villa and we all loved it in Paternoster and felt the peace and calm of the place.

In Front Of The Villa




Chad even lost his key for his motorbike and we looked up and down between the two Villas, in both of them, in the bakkie (pickup truck) and it was nowhere to be found. There was no stress or egos, it was lost and there was nothing much we could do about it then. We googled locksmiths - Vredenburg has everything including a few locksmiths and Chad and Mark were going to take the ignition off the bike and get a key cut the next day.




Mmm I wonder why there was a sleeping owl on our roof. Never mind we were off to explore and go have something to eat. It was after 8pm and we hadn't eaten since our Wimpy breakfast. Off we went, Chad on Mark's bike and Mark and I in the bakkie. They had explored everywhere during the day and were now showing me what they had found. Mark loves exploring and driving around when we go on holiday. Oh the owls were to kill the rats - not near where we stayed, very far from there, strange that they chose to sleep so far away from their food source.



We went up this hill behind the very poor township area and wow what a view. I am sure people who saw us drive up there thought we were looking for some Tik (CAT) Addicts up on this hill. Tourists and holidaymakers don't go places Mark and Chad go. Paternoster is the only place I have ever been to where you have mansions next to tiny one room cottages. Super rich right next door to below the poverty line poor, but there is also a very poor township that we drove past to get to this place where Chad is standing on the rock looking down at the village.









The Hotel Receptionist had given us names of restaurants when we arrived, but said you had to book and all were already fully booked - so why tell us about them. We did find a restaurant that did not appear to be fine dining and where you would have to book. Chad and I had fish, after all we were in one of the oldest fishing villages in the Cape and we had to eat fish - straight from an I&J Frozen Cape Whiting box and Mark had a burger made with bread and a bottle of some overpowering Garlic sauce. Not very nice at all and very disappointing.







Now where as the fishing folk are animated and jovial, the business owners/restaurateurs are sullen, arrogant, unfriendly and miserable. It can't be because they are worried about their high bonds (mortgages) that they have to pay and lack of business, because apparently they bought their properties for a steal. One of the local fisherman told Mark, who not only likes to explore, but also likes to get the inside scoop from the locals, that there is a rumbling of discontent amongst the fishing folk and the rich who came and bought their land and homes. They realised that they could have gotten far more for the property. Theoretically the locals are not allowed to fish for crayfish, but if they were stopped they would go on a rampage and destroy the hotels and mansions in the village. It is hard to believe that there is discontent amongst the people of Paternoster as they appear to live in harmony side by side.



However, if you wake up and feel like a steak, you need to book a week in advance and by then will feel like fish, because that is how their restaurants work. One morning at around 11, we went into a place called "Op Die Strand"  (on the beach) for a cold drink as you do when you are on holiday. A casual looking restaurant, a beautiful setting on the beach, but nothing fancy but imagine cocktails, umbrellas and a fun beachy vibe - oh not so. Someone having a prostate exam or haemorrhoidectomy in public would have been less miserable than the owner of the restaurant.  We had not booked - for a cold drink?? we were half heartedly shoved in the corner of this bar and drank creme sodas, it felt like we were on death row, not sure what it feels like to be on death row, but I am sure very similar to the atmosphere at Op Die Strand. The funny thing was that it was not even half full, so they do one lunch seating and they done for the day and that is fully booked for the week.



They have a Rubens from Masterchef fame and I can understand booking there on major holidays like Christmas and new year, but not at a below average eatery on the beach. Well I guess it is such a beautiful relaxed village, you can't expect the inhabitants to exert themselves in December or anytime of the year for that matter, but I don't expect that many people go there out of season. Home cooked meals were the better option anyway. So if you are planning on going down to Paternoster and want to eat out, remember to book your meals before even getting there.



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Motivational Monday - Aim For ..................................






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