Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Money money money, must be funny ....

It's Wednesday again which means ...... WWTK with Mamarazzi & Crazymama!

This week Mamarazzi is back:  'Hello Ladies ... I am back. This show opened to full houses this weekend and we will run 3 more shows this week. So much fun. Big Daddy had a great time keeping the blog going for me. I am looking forward to visiting everyone this week and catching up! This week I, Mamarazzi, am asking the questions, with a little help from one of our WWTK participants Christine ....'
So, let's get started ....
{1} What is something that you currently spend money on that you consider a splurge or frivolous?
O this is something my husband and I argue about all the time ... I'm terrible at spending money.  Honestly, I feel that most things are unnecessary if they are not essential for staying alive and your normal day to day stuff. For instance, I feel guilty if I spend money on coffee on my way to work when I know I can get it for free at the office.
This doesn't mean that I never spend money but when I do it's still small fry. Starbucks once every 3 months ....
Himself, on the other hand loves shopping. He's real good at it.
{2} Tell us about your first paying job. How old were you?
Let me see, I had just turned 16, home from boarding school for the summer. I worked as a cashier in a clothing store called Jet stores. It was not a bad job, and we got 20% discount on everything in the store.
However, just before Christmas they decided to have a huge sale. And by huge I mean huge! Nothing like it has ever happened. They were going to sell just about everything at 80% off.
On the morning of the sale there were so many people waiting for the doors to open and they were so impatient that they actually pushed opened the doors and broke two of the big glass 'walls' at the front of the store.  Once they were inside, people were grabbing arms full of clothes, regardless of what they got. 
It was mid summer and the shop was totally over crowded with very aggressive shoppers and the air con died. Then just when we thought things could not get any worse, people started stabbing each other with broken bottles.
The three of us working the check-out were stuck in the middle of the shop surrounded by madness.  It was pretty scary.
Needless to say, the shop never had a sale like that again. And I was put off working retail, for life!
{3} Do you plan date nights and extras into a monthly / weekly budget?
This would imply that we budget.  No, we spend extra money and go out when there is extra money to spend.  My husband has his own company which means I'm the only one earning a fixed salary.
{4} Share one of your money saving tips with us.
The only one I have and it doesn't really count as a money saving tip is hiding cash.  I would love know how people manage to save.
{5} And finally, Christine wants to know: If you won the lottery - would you spend it frivolously or use what you need and save the rest? Why?
O how I would love to win the lottery!  This is actually an easy question to answer, I've daydreamed about this quite a bit before :)
Depending on how bit the win is, but lets imagine that it is huge, I'll:
- Give a lump sum to our parents & siblings
- Buy property and build our dream home
- Spend some money on a luxury holiday
- Go on a guilt free shopping spree
- Enlist the help of a financial consultant and invest a huge lump sum to make sure that the money lasts.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

'je ne parle pas fran├žais'

Way back when we still lived in South Africa my kids attended a daycare run by a friend of the family. She lived just down the road from us and started the daycare to supplement her pension.

The kids loved Linda. She was kind and friendly and had the world’s patience. It was also a very small group of kids. I think by the time we left she had 6 girls and Tiger.  The girls were all roughly the same age as Cat so had we stayed in South Africa they would all have started school together.

And, like you now if you kids go to daycare or school you tend to get to know some of the parents.  I really liked the parents of these other girls. We got on well and often stood chatting for ages when picking up our kids in the afternoons.  Then there were the birthday parties, always fun for the kids and the parents.

I miss that.

Kids start school/daycare at a very early age in Belgium in general. Unless you are one of the lucky few who can afford to be a single income family your kids go to daycare from the age of 6 weeks (at the end of your maternity leave). I am so glad I never had to do this.  This means that the parents get to know each other quite well as your kids will go from day-care to pre-school (age 2½ to 5) to primary school and up together. Often all these stages are available at a single school.

Anyway, the thing is I don’t speak a whole lot of French. I speak enough to get by plus I speak Dutch and since I work only in English I’m not exposed to a lot of French. I realize that this is my problem but unless someone invents more time in every day going for French lessons is not possible at this point in time. In fact, my work paid for me to do a French course a couple of years ago. My French really improved but thanks to cost cutting French lessons are seen as a luxury.

Now what does me not speaking French have to do with me missing the interaction I had with the parents of the kids I mentioned earlier?


These days, due to my lack of French I have next to no interaction with the parents at my kid’s school. (Some of you might wish you were in the same situation). On the odd occasion that I pick the kids up from school I’ve been asked if I was their older sister.

At school functions I stand around like a lost fart in a perfume factory.  Just this week I received an invitation from one of the parents, sent out to all the parents, for dinner. The idea is for the parents to all go out for dinner and get to know each other better.  

This is a great idea, except of you have to attend it without your better half (who is out of the country) and you don’t speak French!  I can’t think of anything more isolating / embarrassing than sitting around a dinner table between a bunch of strangers who all speak a foreign language.  Mind you my French is not that bad, I would be able to understand most of what would be said but I lack the confidence to speak.

I think I need to get a shirt like this to wear everytime I have to go to the kids school

So that is why I miss the parents from the first daycare. I miss being able to bitch chat to other parents about school stuff. About the kids and the teacher and the weather and all those things that one tends to chat about at the school gate.

But I’ll admit, sometimes it’s great to have a valid excuse for not attending another boring school function.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday again ....

By Saturday morning I had recovered enough to get up & do all the things I needed to do, with the help of some more pain killers.
Had to rush the kids out the house to go buy a birthday party present. Then we had to drive into Brussels so I could hand Tiger off to Himself.  This had to happen at exactly 12:00 cause they had to go pick up the  new ride-on lawn mower which Himself 'won' on e-bay.
The birthday party Cat was going to was in Brussels as well, leaving us with 2 hours to spare.  We stopped in at our friends pub where we sat out in the garden with our drinks  (tomato juice and sprite) reading our magazines in the sun. Bliss! Then we walked over to the park and sat watching an impromptu game of cricket.

After dropping her off I got myself an ice-cream, found a spot in the sun and read. Pure bliss. There were loads of people making the most of the good weather.
Our time changed on during Saturday night. I remember until I woke up on Sunday morning.  I was feeling pretty good with everything I had managed to do when Himself reminded me that the time had changed. Blast! Cat was late for scouts.
Pulled on a pair of jeans, rushed her out the house, arrived at the meeting hall ..... no one! Finally found someone who knew what was going on. Seems I missed the email that said that scouts was only going be from 13:30 and not from 09:30.
Back home, we finished getting everything ready for our first BBQ of the year. Hope there will be many more!  Few things in life as good as sitting around the table, smelling the meat grilling, drinking a glass of wine and laughing.
Tiger was also getting to know the drive-on mower, only he's a bit too light for the sensor under the seat so he had to have someone riding with him. This I think is a good thing cause I don't think him driving that thing on his own is a good idea.
Tiger & Allen giving the mower a go

Tiger needs extra weight on the seat to keep the engine going

Which brings us to Monday. Himself is in Portugal for the next two days. He's going to be home for one night and then he's off to Hungary again till after the weekend.  Going to be a busy week trying to rush back and forth and manage the kids and myself.
Hope you have a great week!

Friday, March 23, 2012

No pain no gain?

Turns out I'm a total baby!

Let me explain. In the continued saga that is my jaw realignment I have to have 2 teeth removed. Two perfectly good, healthy teeth. All just because I don't have enough room in my mouth. This is despite the fact that I had my wisdom teeth removed years ago.

Anyway, yesterday afternoon I had the first extraction. 

Words, that you don't want to hear from your dentist at a time like this: 'o it seems you have two roots here, this is going to take a while'.


And it bled a lot! 

I also discovered that I'm not used to pain pills, had a bit of trip last night :)

On the up side, it's been good for my 'diet' 

Wednesday the second one is being extracted .... I think knowing what to expect is even a little worse than not knowing ....

This better all be worth it in the end is all I'm saying

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

On this day....

Ever since I found Mamarazzie & Crazymama's WWTK I've been linking up on a Wednesday.

However, since today is a special day for me I'm not going to be linking up.
Today, 12 years ago I said 'I do' to Himself.
And, if he were to ask me again today, knowing everything that I do today about the past 12 years, my answer would be: I do

Love that man!

I mean, how can I not, he still wants to be married to me.

When we were young and beautiful, now we are just .... beautiful?

Monday, March 19, 2012

My inner Victoria Beckham

I'm a lazy dresser and will even go as far as admitting that I'm a bit of a dud when it comes to being stylish.

I am more than happy to wear my jeans and sneakers everyday. It's comfortable and quick and easy and you can't really mess up that look.I mean how hard can it be to mach a pair of jeans with a t-shirt and sneakers?

On the other hand, I love shoes! I love pretty shoes and I love high heel shoes. I even own some which I tend to wear on 'special occasions' like weddings and such.
I'm also very bad at shopping for myself, in fact I would rather go clothes shopping for anyone other than myself, including a stranger.

Unfortunately for me my clothes, just like that of everyone else suffer from wear & tear and I recently had to throw some stuff out.  Which naturally meant that I had to go and buy a couple of replacements.

And you know what, I bought myself a pair of ridiculously impractical shoes.  Not only did I buy them, I've actually worn them 3 times already. Once for a night out, and twice to work.

I know they would be much nicer if they had red soles ...

And I must admit because of this I think Victoria Beckham deserves way more respect than what she gets.  I mean I've worn my cheap ass  not Louboutins on three occasions. She wears her fabulous heels every single day! She even manages to go & watch her boys play football without ever once tripping or falling on her face.

Not only that, she never looks like she just pulled on the first pair of jeans she could find and shoved her feet into a pair of uggs/sneakers and put a cap on to hide her 'bed head'.  I don't think I'll ever look as put together as she does on a daily basis BUT, I do admire her for it.

Luckily for me my man is quite happy for me to wear next to no make-up and live in my jeans & t-shirts. But I'm a girl so it's nice to mix it up every once in a while.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A national day of mourning

At 11:00 this morning the entire country came to a stand still for a minute of silence. To remember the 22 children and six adults who died so tragically in the bus crash on Tuesday night.

Even as a parent I don't think I can even begin to imagine what it must be like for the families of those who died. I feel nauseous even just thinking out something like that happening to our kids.

On Wednesday morning after the news reached us we were talking about it. As a parent you want to do all you can to protect your children but you also want to let your child live a 'normal life'. Going on a school trip is part of that 'normal life'. Keeping your kids close to you all the time does not guarantee that nothing bad is ever going to happen to them. They can die in a car accident with you as the driver because, life is unpredictable that way.

What we can do is to show our loved ones how much they are loved every day.

Sorry for the heavy post but it's been on my mind a lot this week.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Food Glorious Food -> it's all in this week's WWTK 48

Another week, another Wednesday means it's time for
Mamarazzi & Crazymama to host:


This week they are talking food and featuring some of their favorite WWTK participants!

1. Ricki Jill wants to know: What do you serve when you have company for dinner. What are your go-recipes?

Well that is a pretty easy one for me to answer. Steak, Fries & Salad.

Fries are sort of a staple food in Belgium. Everyone eats it, all the time. It's called Friet and you eat it with mayonnaise or one of the many other sauces populare here. You can either make your own or buy it from any of the many Friet kot (fries huts) around.

In summer we bbq, as much as possible. Then we'll have cold cuts and olives and bread & cheese to nibble on while we sit around chatting. Himself will have the meat on the bbq (chicken kebabs, saussages, lamb chops, steak). We'll have patato saldad, and garlic bread with some tomato & onion gravy on the side.

For dessert, some times ice cream and apple pie or else, if I had time cup cakes.

We have simple tastes.

2. Jill would like to know: If you were told it was time for your last meal, what would you order up or make for yourself?

Mmh lets see, since I would not have to worry about feeling bloated or getting fat I would go crazy.  I would ask for a bit of everything.

Black Angus Aberdeen steak
A burrito with the works
Fries with mayonnaise
Some curry

Starting to get hungry just thinking about all of this.

3. Suzanne wants to know: Sugar or alcohol? or more delicately Drink or Dessert?

I would have to say both. Dark chocolate & a nice glass of red wine .... what's not to like?

I'm a real sweet tooth ... and love wine.

Ok, starting to feel guilty now. Better move on to the next question.

4. Myya wants to know: What is your favorite Crock Pot Recipe?

And I want to know, am I the only women in the world without a crock pot?

5. Mamarazzi is having a hard time getting breakfast in everyday so she wants to know: What are you eating for breakfast these days?

Croissant and a vanilla latte with Himself before going our own way . Or, when I'm feeling guilty, small yogurt and a fruit.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Paddy's Day Parade

Yip, you read that right. We had a Paddy's day parade a week early.  I have no idea why but whatever.

The weather could not have been any better on Sunday. Clear blue skies and sun. 
Sun people, haven't seen the sun in what feels like months!

There was: 
  • the 'parade'
  •  a very very very long queue for food
  •  another very long queue for drinks
  • games for the kids

And as can be expected the kids had a blast. We had a couple scary moments when we thought some of the kids had gone missing. They on the other hand were having a great time in the bouncy castle totally oblivious to the fact that we were frantically looking for them. 

And just in case you were wondering why a South African Belgian would take her kids to a Paddy's day parade .... my friends are Irish. Also, the kids great great great grandmother was Irish.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What they said ...

Cat: Did you hear Tiger, I'm going bra shopping. Do you want to come with?

Tiger: ugh NO! That's disgusting!

Cat: You can come help me pick one

Tiger: Talk to the hand sister!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

WWTK - It's all about birthdays

Hosted by : Mamarazzi & Crazymama



So this week Crazymama is in a bit of a birthday funk due to her baby turning one..... and with birthdays on the mind her questions are all about birthdays and birthday celebrations this week ....

This weeks she wants to know:
{1} what is your favourite way to celebrate birthdays?

For me there is no better way to celebrate than a big birthday party.
I didn't have those growing up so I tend to go a bit over board with the kids, I also bake lots of cakes.

They get to eat birthday cake for breakfast. Which normally is just a plain cake, no over the top decorations.

I bake a cake for them to take to school - decorated according to their theme of choice.

We also have a party for them. Again they pick what kind of cake they want me to make and then we sort of go from there. Weather permitting we try to have a party at home for them. Or, if they would rather do something else we have a party at an indoor venue. Which means less clean-up for me so I can't complain too much about that.

{2} which is more fun to celebrate? Celebrating yours or your loved ones?

I love my kids birthday's followed by those of my man, and friends and family.
Don't like getting older so not big into celebrating my own. But I do like getting presents ... I know terrible I want presents without getting older.

{3} what is your dessert of choice for birthday celebrating?

Cupcakes! According to me nothing beats a good cupcake!

{4} tell us about your best birthday you've ever had.

It would have to be the birthday I had 5 years ago.

Dinner with some friends, followed by the Springboks winning the Rugby World Cup (springboks South African national rugby team) & to round it all of we had a huge party in my husbands pub celebrating the win and my birthday.

{5} Share your favourite birthday song

I do not have one of these, did not even know that people had favourite birthday songs. Looking forward to reading how other people answer this question.

{6} bonus question: if you could pick any age to be again, how old would you be and why?

I would want to go back to being 18.

But I would want to know what I know now .... which would mean that I would make other decisions. I don't want to change everything that has happened since then but I think a couple of changes would be good.