Monday, January 30, 2012

From my kitchen table

Looking out of my kitchen window I can see a very fine dusting of snow falling outside. This is the first snow we've seen since the 16th of December when we had  a very quick and short lived snow fall. For the most part this winter has been more like spring.

I love the snow. It might have something to do with the fact that growing up I only saw snow twice. Which was a lot considering that Himself only saw snow for the first time when we moved to Belgium. And yes, your read correctly it's a Monday morning and I'm sitting at my kitchen table because of the strike! 

No I'm not trying to prove a point by going on strike of not doing any household chores anymore (they wouldn't notice in any case!). Half the country has gone on strike today to complain about the fact that our newly formed government has decided to increase our tax (and let me tell you we are already paying nearly half our income in tax) and the retirement age. 

So while half of the country is on strike about a half of the other half is sitting at home, like me because there are no trains running. Not a single train! Ok, I am available to work from home so I am keeping an eye on my email to be able to follow-up on incoming work. Which means that I'll be paid for today, which is a good thing.

My kids are also off school today. Unions are very big in Belgium so everyone has been under a lot of pressure to strike, including the teachers.  The kids, are loving the long weekend and who can blame them, not me!  Tiger is lying on the couch watching Transformers telling me, that it actually is a sad movie and Cat had a sleep-over at a friend last night so Himself will go pick her up later.

Speaking of things that kids like, we went to watch our first ever pantomime yesterday. One of my best friends has a friend who's girls were taking part. It was really good. 

The production was by the British & American Theatrical Society or BATS as they like to be called. It was called Cinderella in Monsterland. What a hoot! We were laughing so much the kids were embarrassed, until they got into the spirit of things and started taking part as well.

The only down side was that not all the non-native English speakers got all of the jokes. At times it was only Noreen & I laughing. But it was great fun. After the show Cat was running around chatting to all the 'actors'. My friend Noreen is also thinking of joining the troop so who knows, next year we might be there to support her as well.

Now I had better get another load of laundry going cause it's not going to do itself and we need to wear real clothes tomorrow. 

Friday, January 27, 2012


Thanks so much for putting up with me during my pity party and for all your kind comments.

I'm feeling much better!

How can I not?

Sun is shining, sky is blue (for the first time in ages!)

Himself is back from South Africa, with lots of nice presents for us.......

ultra mel, biltong and droë wors

What might that be?

Well, biltong and droë wors is like jerky but 1 million times better!
Sorry but it's true, I've had jerky and it's just not the same.

This is bilton, it's made in big pieces and then you can cut it into bite size pieces yourself or have it cut that way for you.

This is what droëwors looks like

The biggest difference is that biltong is dry cured, not cooked. This means that it has a soft chewy texture. The other big difference is the spices. Real biltong is made with 22 different spices.

Droë wors is basically the same but it's more like a thin dried sausage.

If you live in the States and would like to try it I see you can now order it online from biltongusa

Let me know what you think, I bet you never eat jerky again!


To be honest it's nothing other than ready made custard, but it is o sooo good!

It's just sweet enough and just runny enough and is perfect on it's own. Needless to say it also makes everything better.
Jello and ultramel, pie and ultramel, vanilla ice cream and ultramel the list can go on and on....

When I had my tonsils removed as a kid (like many, many other kids) I lived on ultramel.
Same, when I had my wisdom teeth removed. Nothing quite like it to make you feel better.

I also got a lovely pair of antique earrings, and I'm sure you know a girl can never have too much bling!

Speaking of too much bling... the Oscar nominations (did you make that connection too? Not? Oscars ... red carpet .... stunning gowns ... even more stunning bling on show! Never mind! )

The nominations included Bullhead for Best foreign language films.

Bullhead is a Belgian movie and it's not everyday that we make the news, well for things other than the fact that we were without a government for 541 days or Tennis/Kim Clijsters. So we are very proud of the nomination.

No I haven't seen it, but I've heard that it's a really good movie so if you don't mind the subtitles you should go and watch it. I'm planning on watching it and I'll need the subtitles as well since they speak in the local dialect that only people form Limburg understand.

Now go on and enjoy your weekend, I'm going to!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pity-party for one

I'm currently feeling very sorry for myself.

I don't really have reason to. I mean, I got a new laptop, I got a car (which has been sorely needed!).
My kids are healthy. I have a hard working husband, I have a home, and a job ....see so many things to feel good about.

Instead I'm focusing on feeling tired and sore like I'm coming down with something.

I've had a head ache for two days, I got up with a nasty cough this morning and my entire body is sore.

I can't afford to take time off work to be sick and get it out of my system. You know, some TLC time for myself.


Because we are understaffed at work as it is and currently we have two people off sick which means that we are drowning in work even more than usual.

Also, Himself is in South Africa on a business trip. He got to see his family & my brother and his family and friends whom I have not seen in four years!

All of which is leaving me feeling homesick even though I don't have a home there anymore and honestly I really don't want to move back there. I just want to be able to go visit.

I'm not even going to get into my house..... and it's my own fault I know. I procrastinate and then things just pile up and get worse. But knowing that it is my own fault doesn't seem to make things better.

I feel like eating junk, comforting junk and drinking loads of hot chocolate. I love coffee but when I'm feeling like this I want hot chocolate. And cookies, I would love some cookies. And my bed with no reason to get up until I feel like it!

Right, I guess I'll have to pull myself together and get sorted. I have work to do and kids to fetch from school in 1½ hours. But I might just procrastinate a bit more tonight and go to bed early with a cup of hot chocolate and cookies.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Too much work makes Jo's life too boring to blog about

18 January ....

The reason why I've been so quiet is two fold.

1. -> I have been so busy at work I haven't had time to do anything other than work. Then when I get home my brain feels so numb I do the basics like feeding everyone and I must admit that Himself have been a super husband when it comes to cooking dinner nearly ever night. So it's not even like I have to cook I just have to dish up and clear the kitchen, make sure the kids had a shower put them to bed and then I just crash. After about 40 min of some mindless tv I am asleep.

As a result the pile of ironing is getting bigger and bigger and I think the house is being taken over by dust bunnies.

2. - Life has not been exciting or interesting in the least. Meaning I would feel terribly bad about boring you'll to death with tales about, well, nothing.

The only 2 happy things which happened to me were:

I got a new laptop! Yeah! I'm super excited about that. Only wish I had more time to actually discover all it can do. I suggested to Himself that we go have a look at the laptops on sale. Thinking that I'll just replace my old little notebook. In the end we walked out the store with a Mac Book Pro. Even on sale it makes me gasp for air thinking how much I just spent on it but I love it!

The other happy thing that happened to me was the fact that I was mistaken for ....... a 16 year old!

Yeah I could not believe that either. I mean, honestly I know I don't look quite my age but it's been years and years since anyone thought I was 16! When I told the lady that I was in fact ... (much more than 16!) she was shocked, then when I told her that I had 2 kids aged 9 & 7 she thought I was joking.

O & my dad is back in town. He has been in South Africa for the past 4 month taking care of his businesses. So I was very happy to get a text message from him this morning saying he's back and he has lots of gifts for the kids.

So on that note I'll get back to my boring life & hope that something exciting happens for me to blog about.

23 January ...

So as you can see I'm still barely coping with my work load. To top it all Himself is away on a business trip which means that I have to handle everything at home as well. I really do not know who single parents cope! Honestly, Hat's off to them cause I don't think I could or would want to do it full time.

I am happy to say that I managed to buy a car! WHOOT WHOOT! It's only a little biddy one, not my dream Range Rover but it means that I'll be able to go wherever I want whenever I want.

I am now the proud owner of a Suzuki Alto.
Mine is a lovely blue grey. I'll add photo's of it when I have it

We don't have it just yet but I signed the papers for it yesterday so we'll go and get it once Himself is back from South Africa.

Right, I still have loads to do here at work and then I have to rush home to go pick up the kids from school.

I promise to try and find time to write again soon.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

That note . . .

Without even realizing I started scratching my head while still reading the note.

I knew it! I knew it! I knew it!

We have all been infected! Did I not see both kids scratch at their heads just moments ago?

Yip you guessed it! We got that note from the school.

It is only if you don't have kids in school that you have not yet received that note. The one that says:

' Dear parents, we would like to bring to your attention that there has been an outbreak, an infestation a discovery of lice on some of the kids in the school. Please can you check your kid(s) and take the appropriate action.'

So, between scratching my, now incessantly itching head, I grabbed the kids, checked their heads and for good measure washed their heads, sprayed their heads and put new bedding on the beds (despite having just changed the bedding 3 days ago). Then I tumble dried all the soft toys that can be found. I also boiled the hair brushes in anti-lice shampoo.

Every time one of them just rubs their heads they are subjected to a search. And I've warned both of them that tonight when they get home I'm washing their hair, and my own again! I'm not taking any chances, don't want those nasty little buggers in my house, again.

Yeah it happened before, the first week after moving back to Belgium both kids got the gift of lice.

I took me ages to rid them of it, in fact I was starting to think about shaving Cat's hair off since it worked with Tiger. Thank goodness sanity prevailed.

Has it happened to you? What do you do when you get that note from your kids school?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Worst case scenario

I was switching off my computer while still on the phone, not even sure if I had actually saved anything before closing the programs.

As I put down the phone the girl sitting next to me asked what had happened. My kid's been in an accident I replied and then started looking around for my supervisor. I'll tell him you left she said. Grabbed my coat & my bag and ran out the office.

Frustratingly enough I had just missed a train so I had to wait ½ hour for the next one. It's the waiting that is so frustrating. Well that & not really knowing what was going on.

O wait you don't know either. Let me back up.

I was at work when I got a call from Himself. The school had called him and said that Cat had been in an accident. He was on his way to the school. (We live in Alsemberg, the kids go to school in Waterloo & I work in Brussels). I had to take the train and then switch to the bus to get home since Himself would be at the school.

On the way to the station I started thinking .... Cat knows my phone number off by heart. She always gets the school to call me if she's sick or hurt. The fact that they phoned Himself means they checked the file to see who to call, meaning that she could not talk (panic sets in). He said they said she had been in an accident. That sounds like a car. How would she have been in a car accident. The only thing I could think of was that I had happened in the car parking lot when their Logopede (a Logopede is like a speech therapist but they also help kids with dyslexia) came to pick them up. But then Tiger would have been involved. O sh!t, what if she got hit in the car park by another parent, that is going to be bad, especially if Himself finds out cause he'll just totally loose it! (more panic).

Isn't it crazy all the things that goes through your mind in such a short period of time, not to mention that your mind always comes up with the worst possible possibilities, well mine does in any case.

Once I was on the train Himself called me back to say that Cat was ok. She had fallen at school & was having difficulty breathing. He could not get hold of our GP (he doesn't have a receptionist so he answers his own phone), so he was going to take her straight to the hospital.

About 2 minutes after I got home our friend Jay dropped Tiger off at home after fetching him from the Logopede. Why are you so stressed mommy, Cat will be fine, were the first words out of his mouth.

So I tried to carry on as usual, fed him, checked his homework, shower, pj's and bed time.

I also spoke to Himself who told me they were still at the hospital waiting to see a doctor.

5, I'm not kidding you, 5 hours after getting to the hospital they finally got to see a doctor. X-rays showed that she had cracked a rib. The doctor prescribed some pain medication and sent her home with instructions that she was to take it easy for at least 2 weeks. No sport, no carrying her school bag.

We decided to keep her home from school today despite the doctor saying she can go to school. Really, sometimes I wonder about doctors thinking. The kid is in pain, breathing hurts and she got home and to bed close to 11 o'clock last night, why on earth would he think it would be a good idea for her to go to school?

Needless to say I am so glad that my worse fears did not come true and that it's 'only' a cracked rib.

The other thing that I find strange is the fact that this is the second time that Cat gotten seriously hurt at school (another kid tried to pick her up and dropped her resulting in a concussion about 3 years ago) and Tiger is still 'uninjured'. One would expect that if you have a boy and a girl it would be the boy who was getting hurt.

Touch wood, nothing bad is going to happen to either of them.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Weekend roundup

My mom is back!

Ok, she was only away for 2 weeks but it was really nice to see her again.

I got the kids to make Welcome back signs on Friday night.
Then, to their horror made them go to bed early on Friday evening. When I woke them up at 8 o'clock on Saturday morning Tiger was horrified that I would wake them up in the middle of the night.

Her flight was landing at 9:26 so we rushed out the house without breakfast cause I thought we could pick her up and then all go get some breakfast together.

Well that was the plan.......

The airline lost/left her luggage in Paris so we spent 2½ hours waiting for her to come through. As you can imagine the waiting around was B O R I N G ! ! for the kids. They even started suggesting that we leave and just let her take the bus into town. My kids sometimes aren't very nice I'm sorry to say.

Finally she made it out and instead of being greeted to two excited grand kids there I was standing holding a sign that said Welcome home Oma with not a kid in sight. They were at the 'kids entertainment area'.

My mom, Cat & Tiger

The airline promised to drop her bags off some time on Saturday and my mother was feeling rather tired so we just went straight over to her apartment.

The kids and I went back to her place on Sunday and spent the day with her. Needless to saythe kids were super excited to go visit and see what all their cousins had sent over for them. While they were playing with their new toys my mom & I got to catch up on all the news, who's doing what, who's had a baby, etc etc. It was good.

Today was back to school for the kids and surprisingly I managed to get them up and ready for school on time without any hassles. Now we just need Himself to get up and ready on time in the mornings. I must say that it really was high time for the kids to get back to school if their behaviour over the weekend was anything to go by. They were doing their best to annoy each other! Meaning they were driving me insane!

O and I don't know if you have seen this on YouTube, if you haven't really do check it out, they are amazing!

Have a great week!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

When they discover sarcasm

So when I got home from work last night the kids are watching a movie starring Harry Connick Jr.

'Oh I like him' I say to them
'I think he is charming' pipes up Tiger
'Hey Babe, Tiger thinks Harry Connick Jr is charming' I shout to Himself who is in the next room.
'For you' says Tiger to me but at the same time Himself is walking into the room
'For me? You think he's charming for me?' he asks Tiger
'Yes, he is just perfect for you' Tiger tells he's dad while rolling his eyes.

My my, I think the boy just discovered sarcasm.... this could get interesting.

Something else that is interesting and exciting at the same time is Amber's first ever giveaway.

Actually no don't enter her giveaway cause I really want to win it.
But do check out her blog Binkertation, she's cool

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 the year of the ....

Hey it's been ages since I posted.... last year in fact .... I know that was so corny but I just could not resist.

We had a lovely and quiet Christmas. I even forgot to take pictures. Himself & I spent hours and hours sleeping and the rest of the time we watch old movies with the kids until we all had square eyes. I'm so glad my kids are now at an age where they can get up in the morning and sort themselves out for breakfast.

And just as I got used to sleeping in and being even more lazy than usual it was new years day.

So obviously before I do anything else I want to wish you a fantastic 2012.

I hope that whatever your plans are for the new year that they will work out with the least amount of hassle.
I hope that you'll laugh more than what you did in 2011 and that you will stick to your new years resolutions this time.

Speaking of new years resolutions, I didn't make any! Shocking I know!

I did decide that I was going to clean out my handbag. I have one big bag that I use every day. It is filled with all the essentials and whatnots that I need and the unavoidable random junk. But who am I kidding I know that it's not going to last past the first 2 weeks of January.

Just to give you an idea this is what can be found in my bag:

ID book (South African so I have no idea why I have it in my bag since I don't need it at all. I haven't been to South Africa is 3 years)
5 pens
1 lighter (I don't smoke)
Anti-bacterial gel
Toothbrush & tooth paste
Breath mints
Anti-nausea pills
Miniature sewing kit
Cap (umbrellas don't work)
Coin purse
3 open packets of tissues
2 teaspoons
1 plastic knife?
1 pocket knife
2 buttons
1.13 euro in change
1 bottle of tommy girl
3 tubes of lipstick
1 mascara
pair of earrings that I've been looking for for ages
sample tube of acqua di parma shower gel
I love raspberry & blackberry lip balm
hair band
cell phone
note book
stack of paid bills (yes I'm really good at keeping our filling system up to date)
pile of receipts dating back to April
5 packets of sugar

Ok, reading this list back to myself is making me shudder! I'm going to have to clean it out even more.

How about you? What are your new years resolutions or don't you have any either.
Tell me about it I'd love to know.