Posted in All about Mamma bear, Life with my bears

Moving journal….Part 2 : we move

I was super excited at the thought of all the new space, moving after so many years and the adventures that come with discovering a new town.

I couldn’t wait to start packing.

For the next few weeks, I sorted, cleaned and packed daily.

Mercilessly nothing was spared as I savagely threw away, gifted or donated the accumulation of 5 years worth of living in one home.

Hamish donated many of his bigger toys that he had outgrown to our local charity and I gave away furniture we knew we wouldn’t need in our new house.

Soon the entire house was packed and sorted and we were living out of suitcases, counting down the days …to moving day!

Giving notice

Because of our lease, we gave a full months notice and set to work repairing any damages, painting chipped paint, ect before moving.

We knew we would move on the 27th which was a Saturday and started rallying the kids for help.

Let the games begin

The Friday night, our last in the house, my eldest son popped by and we had fetched Kerri who then decided to sleep at her brother ( 5 minutes away from our flat) promising to be back by 7am the next morning.

The two boys who were moving with us had hardly packed up their room and were also not home that evening. I was starting to stress that we wouldn’t all be on schedule to start moving at 6am the next morning.

Chaos reigns

The next morning Brent and I woke at 5am and started taking down our bedroom curtains, moving the last few things in our room downstairs to get ready to pack.

I discovered the milk finished and with no coffee and me frantically trying to get hold of the kids to help us, with no luck.

Things got panicky.

At one point I remember telling Brent if we were on The Amazing race, I was picking another side. My mom nerves were frazzled.

It’s also a good thing most marriages are stronger than the vocal power of annoyed spouses.

Why rush?

We had to move everything downstairs and into the garage before the carpet cleaners arrived at 8am.

With the kids who needed to move their still half packed room MIA , I considered throwing their stuff away.

Eventually at 7.45am all kids returned home.

By then, both Brent and I were working on complete separate teams, each with our own agenda and the kids had their own plan on how this move was going to go.

With total chaos, rain plastering down, no one working together and the carpet guy continuing to trip the electricity, my older kids still missing in action,I finally agreed to let two of the kid’s friends help us.

Move it! Move it!

Somewhere after 8am the landlord and his painters also arrived and he finally understood that he wasn’t going to get much done before we actually moved out the flat and until the Monday when the carpets were dry.

By now I was ready to abandon ship and move with no belongings.

At 10am, with us finally getting everything into the garage and ready to load, the truck arrived.

Loading up

We managed to use an open truck from Brent’s work, which sounded so awesome at the time of our romantic dream move plans but was looking like a really stupid idea as the rain kept pouring down on is.

Thankfully as we loaded up it stopped raining for a bit.

The young adults were awesome and loaded our entire home in minutes.

By 10.30 we were loaded and on the road to our new home.

Part 3 …A journey over the mountain

Posted in All about Mamma bear, Blog posts

Thinking of buying your house…we are!

We have recently moved to the most gorgeous house in the small town of Kommetjie in the Western Cape.

The house is a huge upgrade from the tiny apartment we were renting and I have fallen in love with our new house.

With it’s huge yard and big spacious bedrooms, we fit very well into this home.

The next step in our relationship,obviously after 3 years of marriage and nearly 6 years together,we are now looking at buying a home.

In fact we are talking very seriously about buying this home.

Rental vs home owning

We have been renting for 5 years. We rented for many reasons and honestly were not too keen on buying a home.

Personally I now think it was because neither of us were ever really settled in Tableview and did not anticipate the changes in our relationship that would go from us both being single to married with a little red haired boy.

But there are many benefits to renting a home:

  • Lower costs on rental
  • No extras each month like taxes
  • Home improvements or repairs are the owners responsibility
  • A shorter commitment is required enabling you to move provinces or countries faster.

As there are also many benefits to owning a home:

  • You have more privacy in your own home
  • You are more stable
  • Buying property is a good investment
  • You can build strong community ties
  • You can build onto the home to accommodate your family size or style

Why buy?

For us buying does seem like the right choice right now.

We are in the perfect area for Hamish to fall into the school of choice for his foundation years. We both love the town and lifestyle.

The home itself is one we both love and one that we could build onto to accommodate any future needs.

We are also not young parents, so the stability and investment of property right now would be a benefit to us both.

Finance

Naturally we would need to apply for a bank loan and bond to buy the house.

And so,we have been looking into how to apply for loans, the types of loans available and which is the best financial institution to approach with regards to home loans.

These companies are very willing to assist you with the requirements needed and information as to how to go about applying for a loan to purchase a house.

Many of the loan companies like Associate home loan also offer easy to use online applications making it easier for you to get the necessary information by filling in forms on their website.

You will be required to fill in an affordability form to first determine if your income and current expenses allow you to purchase a home and then to determine how much you can afford to pay back in each monthly payment, according to your salary.

It is also important to ask your financial adviser or loan company about the type of interest you could expect annually when purchasing your home, as these are sometimes forgotten topics in the goal to purchase your dream home.

Conclusion

So, here we are finally about to commit to the long term payments of a home that we will call our own.

Obviously there are many things to consider, some of which are if our negotiating offer is accepted by the current owner and if the finance is approved by the relevant banking institutions.

We are careful to check our affordability, so that we do not find unexpected financial demands and work in the costs of transfer, any legal documents needed and any alterations we may want to do.

We have currently invested in security for the property and I’ve mapped out what I hope is our long term vegetable garden.

9 weeks ago we decided to move from Tableview to Kommetjie.

8 weeks ago we signed our lease and gave notice on our flat.

3 weeks ago we moved to our house in Kommetjie and yesterday we made the concious decision to buy.

Some houses are just meant to be home.

Posted in All about Mamma bear

Fidem …. a gift of Faith

For mother’s day I won my dream prize from Moms notes magazine.

A custom necklace from violet and Rose jewellers

I have always wanted a disc with my initial and birthstone, so this was a dream come true and I was elated that I had won.

Lockdown

I’ve never waited for a prize with so much longing and then Covid-19 happened and we were forced into lockdown. This meant I would need to wait until couriers were open again before recieving my prize.

The entire time, Victoria & Rose were amazing. Keeping me updated on the progress of my necklace as I drooled over the stunning pieces on their facebook feed.

Fidem

Last week as we waited for an engraver to open I asked if they could change the text …asking them to inscribe the word Fidem.

Why Fidem ?

People often question the Latin inscription of the purple tattoo blazed up on my left wrist.

A single word -FIDEM, tattooed in old style Gaelic purple ink.

The word itself means Faith, but to me so much more than just a word.

Years ago, I sat battered, broken, alone and defeated nursing a dislocated, fractured hip, squashed vertebrae in my back,a broken heart and 6 children to love and care for.

I cried for hours, screaming and swearing at God. What as he doing?What had I done to deserve this punishment? I loved my husband. He wasn’t perfect, but none of us are. I tried hard to rationalize and comprehend the events that had lead to him becoming the monster I’d faced.

It was in these moments, alone and petrified on an isolated farm that I came across the word -Fidem.

I had prayed for an answer and this was the word God gave me.

I didn’t understand. It made no sense. I needed a concrete plan. One that involved knowing how I’d care for my children as a single, unemployed mom who couldn’t walk for the next month or so.

The events that followed included me giving my husband a second chance , and 3 years later looking back at all the doors God opened through my faith to allow me to leave him.

By then I knew God had a better plan for my future, and whilst I don’t always understand where he leads I am always reminded that (jer:9.11)’ He knows the plans He has for me, plans to prosper not to perish.’

So, its with blind faith that I follow His lead and whilst you may not always find me sitting in the front pew of church or baking cakes for ladies teas my faith in God never falters.

I chose to inscribe the word in old style Gaelic as I believe those with blind unquestionable faith are a beautiful,selective few, just as the old manuscripts handwritten in calligraphy styles of print are.

Words have been my solace through many of my lifes hardest trials and I wear my scarred memories with pride.

The purple represents my God. His presence in my life and His grace. Purple is also the colour of the bruises left both physically and emotionally. A reminder that through my faith I can over come anything.

I wear my word of courage and belief on my left arm, because when I feel defeated and alone I am always reminded that my faith is what I have left.

Faith that this too shall pass.

Faith that tomorrow the sun will shine and the day will begin again.

Faith that I am capable, that I will overcome and that my God has a plan that will lead me through and guide me to my purpose and His desired plan for my life.

Fidem has become my word for each year, my reminder that ” this to shall pass”, acknowledgement of the trials my God has brought me through and a testimony to the faith I have in myself to reach my dreams.

At my vision board workshop with The creative space with sonja I wrote the word fidem, to represent a faith in myself to achieve my dreams.

My prize is delivered

And so on Monday, the first day of our new journey in our new home, as I unpacked the work needed to launch my new business later this month and as I was feeling slightly overwealmed with the new house, cleaning it and the 7 gazillion things I need to do to catch up taking a week off from my blogs and Blogboss …my message arrived at my door ….

FIDEM!
HAVE FAITH 💞

In conclusion

To Moms notes magazine and Violet & Rose thank you for the most amazing prize.

Posted in Family Life, Life with my bears

Hamish gets his first pet

We have been wanting to get Hamish a pet for about 6 months now.

Not something boring like a fish, which he has owned before, or anything, like hamsters or mice, that he might snuggle the life out of.

A pet that was a bit more active that he could cuddle, play with and start learning responsibility from.

I was thinking a dog or even another cat, as ours moved to our neighbour when Hamish was a baby but still visited us all the time.

No dogs

Hamish’s allergies mean choosing a pet needs to be a careful process.

Nothing with too long a hair or that would jump on his bed.

But still I thought a small dog, maybe like a Jack Russell. They have little hair.

Our new lease unfortunately wont allow dogs so I was a little bumbed at that, especially as a dog in a house is a great source of security.

But I was determined that somewhere along the way he would find the right pet.

Just another dog in the park

A few days into moving into the new house we went down to the local park to play.

Hamish discovered the cutest little dog to play with and lost all interest in any of the kids or playground equipment.

In my mind I sat wondering if our new landlord would reconsider that no dog option.

He was so gentle and loving with the little dog and for a boy with a fear of dogs he was increadibly brave.

I was determined to fix this. My boy needed a best fury friend.

An intruder in the garden

The next day, there was a lot of noise outside as the boys called me.

Panicking I ran out to find they had found a tortoise in our garden.

No stranger to tortoise I know that they only have a 3km radius which means this little guy had been in the bushes since we moved in.

Hamish was elated.

He had found a new animal friend.

We automatically set up an open shelter for it and that night I left it outside.

Being a wild animal, I didnt want to disturb it too much and wasn’t really sure we would find it in the morning.

By the next morning I had joined an online tortoise group for people with pet tortoises, so we can learn more about caring for Buddy.

I’d also started to enquire about a licences as you may not just keep tortoises. You have to apply for a special permit. Apparently we can only apply after lockdown.

I’d also prepared myself to explain to Hamish that wild animals need to live in the wild and I was sure Buddy would come back.

Not going anywhere

But there, in his shelter was Buddy, frozen.

The poor tortoise was ice cold when I found him and so we decided that he is obviously keeping us and we will love him like our pet.

Each morning Hamish helps to neaten Buddy’s shelter, throw the old food out and replace it with new food and we let Buddy roam the garden.

I’ve taught Hamish about camouflage and how to find Buddy in the leaves.

We’ve also spoken about respecting nature, hibernation and why Buddy needs the sun to warm up during the day.

Occasionally Hamish will grab Buddy for a cuddle or play alongside him, telling the tortoise made up stories.

Then at night, we bring Buddy in to his little open container bed, that once was a toy box,to keep him warm and Hamish makes sure he has water and food on his soft bed of warm leaves before we settle in for the night.

There is nothing more beautiful than watching the love between a child and their first pet.

Posted in Covid-19/ Coronavirus, Family Life, Life with my bears

Moving journal ….Part 1: Why we chose to move during lockdown

Somewhere in the middle of May I decided to look at the availability of houses to suit us in Kommetjie.

Now, those of you who have followed us for a while will know that I loved our little apartment in Tableview and although we’ve been on a month to month lease for 4 of the 5 years we lived there, I never actually saw myself moving.

About our flat

Brent and I moved into this little apartment with one of my sons when we were still dating and in the 5 years we were there,the flat has accommodated my whole family.

Somehow this little 2 bedroom flat was big enough.

It had the worst guest bathroom and each winter we would meet the new mice inhabitants,but I loved our little space.

The garden was teeny and the stairs scared me while Hamish learnt to crawl and walk but it was home.

I painted a feature wall with magnetic paint and we filled the house with vinyl murals and mismatched photo frames that spoke of our diversity as a family.

Last year the neighbours pipes burst and we had severe mould and the wall up our stair case started peeling off. But still I was happy.

I felt safe.

I had no plans to move for the next 2 or 3 years.

So why move?

In the same week that we heard of major building that would take place behind us and affect our current flat with regards to noise and neighbours, we were knee deep in Covid-19 lockdowns and my youngest daughter decided to move to her dad to be homeschooled instead of continue at the high school she was at, as there are other teens homeschooling in the home as well.

My older sons, who had needed to stay with us to get on their feet,were now all living away from home and I just woke up one morning tired of the four walls that restricted us.

I’d been feeling very nostalgic for the same upbringing my older children had for Hamish and wanted a space for him to be able to play outside and interact with nature on a daily basis.

I did not want to continue to bring my adventure loving little boy up behind brick walls.

With us choosing homeschooling for the younger children, this opened up the opportunity for us to look at moving further out.

But Komnetjie is so far

Brent and I had been talking about a move to Kommetjie for 4 years…. you know that ” one day when I’m rich” type of conversation.

We had visited friends out here a number of times and each time it felt like home.

If not …why not?

Just to see the house rental prices I went onto the first agents website that came up in a Google search.

I did not actually expect to find anything near our price range. But I found 2 suitable places.

The first one was already gone and the other never got back to us until after we had actually moved.

In between other agents mentioned a house for rental that we should look at and I fell in love…..

From the very first moment, before I had time to explore the inside if the house, I knew …this was home.

It is perfect. The correct size, spacious with cupboards for days and bathrooms to die for. The kitchen is well built and most importantly there is a huge yard with trees and flowers and rocks and mud for Hamish to play in.

Best of all …it was cheaper than our previous rental.

We had started looking at houses on Wednesday, by Saturday we had driven out to Kommetjie and were ready to sign a lease and start a new journey.

Part 2 : our move

Posted in Family Life, Family Time, Parenting

The magic Kinder App – bringing joy to your family

Hamish is not a huge fan of sweets but for chocolate he will go crazy.

Mind you as much as he lives chocolate, he actually really loves Kinder joy eggs.

Those plastic egg halves that contain a spoon of nutty chocolate and 2 wafer like balls and on the other side a DIY toy.

Something I only recently learnt was that there is a Kinder joy app to continue the fun.

The magic kinder App

Designed with learning in mind, the magic kinder app is a magical family friendly place that brings families together to have fun and play.

The App offers a safe environment for your children to enjoy :

  • Games
  • Drawing and colouring tools
  • Activities
  • tutorials
  • Stories
  • And videos

Designed for children aged 3 to 12, it’s an App to keep the entire family entertained.

The activities on the App are inspired by 6 learning areas needed to make up the appropriate skills, knowledge and experience for families to learn and play together.

The Kinder App is COPPA certified and parents have the peace of mind knowing :

  • There are parental controls
  • No advertising is on the app
  • It does not come with an in-app purchase

Parents are further put at ease knowing that Kinder have partnered with the university of Oxford in a 3 year program to develop content and monitor children’s learning.

Other partners include:

  • University of Auckland
  • The Fab kab
  • Interactive kids

You can download the app from Google play Store or Apple App store.

Posted in Life with my bears

Diggers in the back yard

Two days ago we woke to the most horrendous noise I’ve ever heard.

The earth was moving, the flat shook. There was bashing and banging and I rushed to my bedroom window to see what this huge commotion was.

Imagine my relief when I realised we weren’t under attack, nor was there an earthquake happening.

The house behind us was being demolished and the tremendous sounds were from the yellow digger bashing down the house foundation.

Hamish was in every little boy’s heaven as he watched the digger move it’s big claw round and about and smash stuff like Thor’s mighty hammer.

For the first 15 minutes and the duration of me taking a few photos, I must admit I got very caught up in Hamish’s enthusiasm. We even waved to the digger driver.

Then Bob the builder started to get rather loud and drained out my attempt at trying to make phone calls for the day.

The room was shaking and I was suddenly very glad we are moving before the actual building starts on the new block of flats that will replace this often empty house.

For two days we watched and listened with a running commentary from Hamish about Bob the builder and his yellow digger.

For two days I wished I lived somewhere silent.

And then as fast as the digger arrived, it was gone, leaving only a bare rectangle of soil.

My child is heart broken. He really wanted the digger to stay next door forever.

I, on the other hand am increadibly greatful that Bob the builder is as efficient as he is and that it only took two days to demolish.

I’m also wondering how I can bribe him to prolong any building plans until after we move.

Posted in Brands we love, Health & Wellness, Press releases

Burt’s Bees Milk & Honey Body Lotion :- the perfect winter skin treat

Winter is often very harsh on my skin and one of the products I find perfect essential for winter is Burt’s Bees Milk & Honey Body Lotion.

A key ingredient to this luxurious lotion is milk. Milk’s rich essential vitamins have been used for centuries as one of the most luxuriously natural skin cleansers and softeners. No wonder Cleopatra had such amazing skin!

I love to pamper myself with a daily dose of milk and honey, knowing that all the nourishment my skin needs is in this softening lotion.

Milk and Honey combine with the Coconut and Grape Seed Oils for soothing hydration that absorbs quickly and then moisturizes for up to 24 hours.

Benefits and Claims

  • Clinically proven to moisturize skin for up to 24 hours.
  • Nourishes skin with Milk, Honey, Vitamin E, Coconut and Grape Seed Oils.
  • 98.9% Natural.
  • Dermatologist-tested.

Where to shop

Burt’s Bees® Milk & Honey Body Lotion is available through Takealot and DisChem.

Burt’s Bees® Milk & Honey Body Lotion is Priced from R 220.

About Burt’s Bees

Burt’s ­Bees® has been offering distinctive earth-friendly, natural health and beauty care products for 30 years.

From a beekeeper’s backyard in Maine to the leading edge of natural, Burt’s Bees knows natural body care solutions from head-to-toe and operates with The Greater Good™ top of mind.

No parabens, phthalates, petrolatum or SLS and no animal testing.

For more information http://www.burtsbees.com

Posted in Family Life, Life with my bears

Why your child needs roots and wings

Growing up as a homeschool family, my older 6 children were very close to one another, especially my 4 boys.

Kids and cousins
My 6 children and their cousins :- Tammi, Dylan, Shaun, Byron, Ronan, Kerri, Richard, Camren, Kyle and Luke

We hardly had fights at home and for the most part everyone played together.Our home was calm and quiet. And mostly one of harmony among the kids.

They shared the same circle of friends, most of whom became like family to us and many of whom still hold a very special place in my heart.

Children
My children were each other’s best friends growing up

We had two rules …. The first anyone coming in our home had to get on with everyone and secondly share everything.

Then I got divorced.

Home
Broken home

Two of my boys chose to stay with their dad in Johannesburg, my eldest daughter was living alone in Durban and the other 3 kids stayed with me.

V & A water front
Our first solo holiday to Cape Town 2013 – V & A Waterfront

That was in 2012 …7 very long years ago.7 years in which they grew apart, especially my boys, turned ugly to each other, picked sides against each other and fought to find an identity separate from their siblings.

My mother heart was breaking.

Me
Me- Montague museum

I had raised loyal, loving children who were grounded in family first thinking so how could they be so selfish and intolerant of each other?

Family photo

But life has a way of giving us the path we need to grow and learn and over the years, I’ve watched as each one of the boys have chosen a path unique to them. Some have fumbled and fallen as the world has taught them a few rules. Some have acted out and been rebellious.

And whilst I did not always like their behaviour I tried to love them unconditionally through these phases.

It was a lonely place for me as a single mother. How do you admit your child may not be ok? How do you acknowledge you’ve failed? Which mom won’t judge you if you speak out? Where do you unpack the guilt as your child finds their feet through a roller coaster of their own making ?

But as things do, everything passes and the last few years I’ve seen my adult children start to grow closer. To understand yet again the idea that family is first.

My children at my eldest daughters wedding

I’ve seen them bond over tiny things, stand up for each other and be there for one another.

I’ve seen them spend more time together and for the first time in a long time my mom heart is truly happy.

My grandmother always said our children may deviate from our teachings but if their roots are strong they will eventually remember the truth.

She was not wrong. We spend many hours teaching our children from little , the character traits we want them to possess. Through our example they develop their moral compass, their empathy and their sense of family loyalty.

So, long before our children become teens or young adults their roots have been formed…but, with puberty also comes the need to spread their wings.

As parents we need to give our children those wings to fly. We also need to be there to catch them should those wings fail.

These two things can be the hardest parts of parenting.

Love always

There are many mom’s out there, ashamed to admit they feel they have failed. They may have a child who is acting out or exhibiting rebellious behaviour. They may be dealing with children who no longer respect them …to you , the parent who is struggling to see the beautiful child you raised…..Don’t give up.

Continue to love them through this phase.

It will pass….your roots are strong.

This blog was first published on http://www.funmammasa.wordpress.com in 2017

Posted in All about Mamma bear

The greatest fright of my life ….

When I was a teenager we moved to a house that was much further away from the local high school.

Walking to and from school each day meant navigating many hills and crossing a bridge that led over a freeway before finally getting to the main road of our little town in Queensburgh, Kwa-Zulu Natal and then continuing with a further 15 minute walk to the local girls high school.

In total the walk would take us about 45 minutes to an hour to get to school.

If we were running late, the distance certainly did not work in our favour.

A short cut

One day I was asked by a friend why we never used the short cut.

I naturally wanted to know where this magical short cut was and he showed me how to take a path past the church, cross the railway line and then watching the cars carefully we crossed a 6 lane freeway.

Thinking of it now, this was most likely the dumbest thing I’ve ever done, but back then it cut up to 30 minutes off our walk to and from school, so I naturally showed my younger sister and step brother the short cut.

I remember one day, my father discovered us using the freeway as a faster way home and told us we were forbidden to do so.

I’m late

Being teenagers we naturally did not listen to him and crossing the freeway every morning and afternoon became our normal way to get to school and home again.

As teenagers we were invincible, nothing was going to happen to us. We knew how to judge the cars speed and just the right place to cross.

During the exams that year, my sister, step brother and I were incredibly late for reasons I do not remember. We each attended a different school but needed to get across the freeway.

We dressed and rushed out. At the freeway we were distracted by the fear of being late. We were in a rush. We just needed to get across. We saw our chance and ran ….

BOOM!

Screeeetch!

Splat!

The sound of a car’s breaks stopped us on the middle island and I turned to see a white car slow down and then accelerate faster.

My step brother was standing dead still, a look of horror across his face.

My sister lay face down about 3 meters away from us.

A blur

The next moments remain a blur. I remember getting to her and shouting to my step brother to go get my dad, watching with fear as he crossed over the freeway again.

My sister was in pain but the car had only brushed her. It had also sped off without stopping to see if anyone was ok.

What followed was my father arriving in a panic and my sister and I climbing into an ambulance headed to Addington hospital , for her to be treated while our family following in the car.

Hit and run

Ours is a lucky story.

My sister was sore, frightened and thankfully only needed a few stitches for the cut on her thigh where the car had made impact.

We, as teens had learnt just how dangerous our actions had been and were frightened enough not to cross the freeway again.

The car however drove off and my father, because of this never claimed a third party claim. Not being on medical aid, we were lucky that our local government hospital was so well equipped to attend to emergencies.

But what do you do in an instance like this, especially if you do not have medical aid and the car has just driven off?

It’s important to always educate yourself on your rights and the best person to advise you would be a car accident attorney.

With the help of a car accident attorney, my father could have pressed to get my sister the compensation she needed for physiotherapy to completely heal her leg after the accident.

Because, even though we were young, silly teens no one has the right to just drive off after hitting someone with a car.