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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Kidz Thingz: How do you keep things clean with kids around

Greetings to all moms, dads, and anyone else who has an involvement with kids.

I’m excited to introduce a new guest blogger – Petra, she is a veteran mom with two little ones. Angelo being the blue-eyed 4.5 year old first-born and Gia the gorgeous newest addition at only 9 months. Every last Tuesday of the month we will be hearing about the antics of these two, as well as the thoughts of a mommy who still learns something new in the ever-changing world of being a mom. I look forward to taking this journey with you.

xoLDxo

How do you keep things clean with kids around??

Seriously moms!!! How do you keep your homes spotless with little ones?  In my case my 9 month old girl Gia –  who is teething as if teeth will go out of fashion, if she doesn’t cut all hers at once, – is drooling over everything and my 4.5 year old son Angelo, whom the teacher claims is such a nice ‘pack away-er’,  is simply the opposite at home.

The answer is probably to invest in a full-time nanny???

Another messy moment is feeding time!!!  Yes, yes, the famous bib the baby should wear, but I don’t always get around to putting one on or even remembering to add  a few in the nappy bag…not only do I always mess food on Gia’s clothes, but somehow always on mine!  So it was refreshing to see that on a recent play date (G’s 1st ) with her friend Cadi (5 weeks younger) that Cadi had taken a strawberry and squashed it on mom’s white linen pants.  Now don’t get me wrong I don’t take pleasure in other people’s misfortunes but it did help me feel ‘normal’ I guess.  Also when my friend Sam, admitted over breakfast the other day, that one thing she’s not good at is to feed without messing….You see we mom’s are way to hard on ourselves.

Oh wait here comes Angelo, he has gone for a ‘swim’ in the newly renovated water feature/fountain – clothes and all.  The problem?  He is dripping on the freshly mopped floor aaaarrrgghhh ok I can’t win…. Till next time…breathe in, breathe out…

Petra

 
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Posted by on 31/01/2012 in Guest Blogs

 

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I made it to India part 2

Top of the day to you!

If you enjoyed part 1, then I’m sure you will love part 2!

Off the beaten tracks:

India is a country of fragrant spices and curries, in such their food is something to be experienced. There is something for everybody – from piping hot to lightly flavoured.

A restaurant you have to make a turn at is KYBER – 145, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Fort, Mumbai.

After entering through a wooden door decorated with Urdu couplets, you are served authentic Indian cuisine, which they have coined as Ambrosia – the food of the Gods. There are lots of nooks and crannys – suitable for small intimate dinners or a group of people. A definite must on the menu is their Chicken Badaami – Chicken cooked in a rich, fragrant cream and badaam (almond) sauce… really to die for!!! Oh and don’t forget to order Masala tea – basically a spice tea, even if you are not a tea drinker you still have to try this!

           

Have you ever heard of the book “Shantaram” by Gregory David Roberts? If not, the first thing you have to do before going to India is read this incredible story, it explains India in all it’s good and in all it’s bad.

If you have well then you will know of the next place I love in India “Leopolds”  as it is extensively mentioned in the book. Yes it exists, yes it is there and yes it is amazing.  You will find in on Colaba Caseway in the Fort area of Bombay. (Across the Colaba Police Station) Unfortunately it was one of the early sites of attacks during the 2008 terrorist attacks and was extensively damaged, but opened about 5 days later.  Established in 1871 it started as a wholesale oil store and over the years has been a resturant/store/pharmacy.  Here you will find a mixture of locals and tourists in the know. Come here for cheap food, a beer and relaxed atmosphere. With regards to the food all I can say is I still dream of their Chicken Tikka Masala with Garlic Naan Bread (real garlic pieces) eaten with your hands in true Indian style!!! Simply divine! Also if you are super lucky you might just pick up an already signed copy of Shantaram to treasure!

 

Go to a temple – Be advised go with a guide, as there are many rules and regulations which you will not want to break. The architecture and design of all of them are beautiful. And you might even find a few nuggets of advise such as: “Every man is the architect of his own fortune”.

 

Need to do some laundry? If you have the nerves, try doing it the way the locals do and head over to Dhobi Ghats. Clothes are dropped off at laundry shops throughout the city and then brought to the “Bombay Laundry”, personally I’d be worried of losing my clothes, but it seems to work! Approximately 5000 men literally beat the dirt out of the clothes using open-air troughs. A good view to see all this in action is from the bridge across the railway tracks of Mahalaxmi Railway station.

             

Crawford Market – Wholesale market for vegetables, fruits, flowers, meat and fish!  More colours and spices you could dream of. A food lovers market of note but the meat section is not really for the faint hearted though – the smells can be a bit harsh. P.S. “trade secret”-  I hear this is where Grannie Banana does her banana shopping 🙂

Lonavala – Aaaah mysterious and secretive Lonavala! Hiding deep most thoughts in a shroud of mist and there is a secret around every corner. Known as the jewel of the Sahyadri Mountains, it is 106km southeast of Bombay at an altitude of 625m above sea level. Should you wish to see the famous, ancient Buddhist rock cut caves of Bhaja and Karla then Lonavala will also serve as your starting point.

It is best to come to Lonavala with a guide, else you will get very lost. During Monsoon season the mist is so thick you can barely see your hand, and before you know it you might just walk head first into a camel. There are waterfalls, grassy hills and an abundance of tranquility. The people are friendly and will want to pull you closer for a photo – they are not harmful, but it could get a little crowded. If you have the stomach to hold it (luckily I do) then there is nothing nicer than having a spicy fried onion dish made over a fire, atop these hills served with warm masala tea. Probably one of the cheapest meals we ate, and one that will always remain in my heart. For this I have Pawaan and Mr Singh to thank.

       

As with any trip anywhere you will want to do a bit of shopping! Head on over to Colaba Causeway, which is an everyday carnival of jewlery, crystals, brass items, antiques (or so they say), linen, fabric, clothes, incense, books and the list just goes on!

Two questions you might ask yourself in India:

  1. Will the chemist really find the medicine I’m looking for in this chaos?
           2.  Why is Marine Drive – the promenade which stretches from Walkeshwar to Nariman Point – one of
                the most beautiful roads in Bombay and why is it called the Queen’s Necklace?

Your answers are:

  1. Yes!!!!  Ask for anything and the chemist will be able to pull the box immediately! That’s what I call ordered chaos!!!
  2. And the Queen’s Necklace? Well that is best explained taking a photo of it in the evening, with all the glittering lights:

Mumbai /Bombay – which ever name you choose to use, is only one city in India, but she has captivated my heart.  Why not look past the assumptions you might first make and delve deeper into a city that has many hidden secrets she is willing to share, if you only give her a chance.

xoLDxo

 
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Posted by on 30/01/2012 in Travel, World

 

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I made it to India part 1

Top of the day to you!

In my first blog about India I explained how I neatly got sent home and never quite made it into this beautiful country, but I am happy to report that I eventually did enter India! This is a guest blog I wrote for Grannie Banana. (see sidebar for link to her blog).

Before anyone considers making the journey to India, they need to consider the following statement carefully:

You will either love India or hate her , there is no grey area – none!

Now me: I . LOVE . INDIA.

Arriving at the airport every one of your senses are assalted. The colassal amount of bodies pushing and jostling.The smells of humidity,people, perfumes, spices. The noise of hundreds of voices calling you to take their taxi, book into their hotel, let them carry your luggage and the ever asking for money. The feel of the heat and humidity which hits you like a wall the moment you leave the aircraft. And in your mouth you can taste India – everything you smell, see and hear seems to leave its essense everytime you breathe.  And this is all happening in the wee hours of the morning!

Mumbai – or Bombay as many of the residents still refer to of their much loved city (renamed 1996) – has opened her arms to me and I fall into them willingly.

Why do so many people hate Bombay – India’s largest city and capital of the state?

One word – Slums.

They are all over the city, they stretch for miles – shack upon shack, often as far as the eye can see. The poverty and poorness of the city not hidden from touristic eyes, but almost as if on display.  Homes – where you will find generations living together – will be on the pavement infront of a brand store.

Your eyes tear, and your heartstrings pull, asking yourself what can I do to help? We need to get a Western charity organisation in immediately to help. How can they live like that? They must be so unhappy!

Then you take a closer look. You see the smiling faces, the happiness shining out of these “unhappy” people. You see the children playing alongside each other. You see neighbours helping one another. You see peace. You see love. You see kindness. You see the true face of India.

Now ask yourself again just because we are trained to believe material things bring happiness does that mean that somebody who has never possessed such things will miss it? Ask yourself with all your accumulated “wealth”  who is the better off person?

Now if you are still willinging to journey further, take my hand and I will tell you my story of Bombay – The city that stole my heart.

To start off with; in any city you first need to see the “touristic attractions” – The things you will find in the guide books, as cliched as it might be!

The Gateway to India

Should your travels take you further into India, then this is the most appropriate first stop. Erected to commemorate the landing in India of their imperiall majesties King George V and Queen Mary on the second of December MCMXI (1911) (Quick lesson:  M=1000. D=500. C=100. L=50. X=10. I=1. Any time a smaller number is in front of a larger one, subtract it from the larger one) It’s architectural styles is a combination of Hindu – the decorations and Muslim – the arch. The foundation stone was laid in March 1911 and construction was finished in 1924.

Victoria Train Station  (now known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus)
One of the busiest railway stations in India and one of the largest historical buildings in Bombay. Building started in 1878 and opened for passengers in 1882, it is a beautiful example of Victorian Gothic architecture. Declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2004.

University of Mumbai

Founded in 1857, the university is modelled on those in Britain. The Rajabai Clock Tower, situated in the Fort Campus is one of Bombay’s landmarks and is modelled on Big Ben in London. The tower is named in memory of Premchand Raichand’s (contributed monetarily) mother – Rajabai.

Gandhi Museum (Mani Bhavan)

It is in this three-story home that Mahatma Gandhi lived from 1917 to 1934, whenever he was in Bombay.  Housed is a library of approx 50,000 books and periodicals on Gandhi-related works. There are various Dioramas (scenes which capture a moment in time) depicting major events and turning points in Gandhi’s fight for his nation’s freedom.

These are just a few of the things you will be able to find using your guide book, next I would suggest you do a bit of exploring on your own and if that’s a bit too scary for you then paying a local tourguide to show you the true Bombay.

xoLDxo

A few FYI’s:

  • There are lots of children – they seem very cute and will do you no harm, BUT they will surround you and before you know it they will clean your pockets inside out. Be firm with them and say NO.
  • Bakhshish – is the Hindi word for tip, you will hear this word spoken a lot as the beggars use it to beg for money
  • You might be stopped and asked to star in a Bollywood movie – while at times this might be legit, it is best not to take the chance.
  • Never pay the asked for price for anything you want to buy (except in restaurants etc), it is customary to always bargain down the first asked price. Decide on what you are willing to pay for something, don’t back down and keep your wits about you.
  • Going in monsoon season is not necessarily a bad thing – yes you might have some rain, but prices and costs are generally cheaper than “in season”
 
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Posted by on 27/01/2012 in Travel, World

 

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Wednesday Funnie 25/1

 

xoLDxo

 
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Posted by on 25/01/2012 in Fun

 

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Hints and Tips part 3

Greetings!

Who needs their lives made just a little easier? I certainly do! Below are a few, which might just include something you desparately need! Please go to my hints and tips category to find part 1 and 2.

1. My two hondekinders (doggie children) appreciate this one very much! To stop ants from eating your pets food or ending up drowned in their water, put the food/water bowl into a bigger bowl filled with water.

2. Smelly fridge? No problem! Baking Soda comes to the rescue. Place an opened container filled with baking soda in the fridge and replace approx very two months. (and as a further use pour the contents you are replacing down your drain as it helps clean and eliminate odours)

3. For extra shiny hair: Blondes add a few tablespoons of lemon juice to your rinsing water when washing your hair and brunettes / redheads try adding some apple cider vinegar.

4. Ant problems? You can try lemon juice, pepper or cinnamon to help keep them away. Even talc sprinkled in the areas they walk will block their way!

5. Wanting to impress with light and fluffy rice? Just place a piece of dry bread on top of cooked rice and cover. The bread will absorb extra moisture and starch.

Hints and Tips of your own? Please email me at ladee4@gmail.com – I will add and credit you.

xoLDxo

 
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Posted by on 23/01/2012 in Hints and Tips

 

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South Africa’s National Symbols

Top of the day to you all!

Every country has it’s own national symbols, but not to be biased or anything 🙂 I do think South Africa’s are the best and the most beautiful. May you enjoy learning more about Awesome South Africa and as an added bonus there is even a yummy recipe for you to follow!

Awesome National Animal

The Springbok – a  lithe and beautiful antelope, standing at only approx 75cm in height and weighing in at approx 40kg. The Sprinbok’s name is derived from its jumping display when running (pronk in Afrikaans)

Should you see them, snap your picture quickly as they are also the fastest of the antelopes and can reach speeds of approx 80km/h

Running from the middle of their back to their tails is a pocket-like skin flap. Should they be excited or frightened they lift this flap in order to warn other Springbok, as the white hairs underneath stand up as a conspicuous crest.

Both the male and females have horns, but the female’s are shorter and thinner.

Many many moons ago the Springboks would migrate in herds consisting of over 1 MILLION individuals!!!!!! Farmers would sit for days watching the herds pass over their lands. Unfortunately today most are confined to game reserves….or….on the reverse side of a Kruger rand.

The Springbok also lends its name to our Awesome South African Rugby team – affectionately shortened to “the Bokke”

 

Photo Credit to Bernd Wasiolka/www.wildphotolife.com

Awesome National Tree

An age old family line the Yellowwood has the honour of being national tree, having grown here for over 100-million years. The base of the trunk often reaches 3m in diameter with a height of approx 40m.

While you are visiting Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens to view the Proteas, you will be able to tick off another national symbol as the Yellowwood trees grow along the Yellowwood Trail, leading to Table Mountain.  Else you will find them in the ravines of the Drakensberg up to the Soutpansberg and The Blouberg in Limpopo.

Awesome National Flower

The King Protea (or Giant Protea) is the largest of the protea family (of which there are approx 1,400 varieties) and makes up an important part of the Cape Floral Region (a Unesco World Heritage Site).

Scientists have found that the Protea is an ancient flower dating back around 300 million years!

It’s specific name ‘cynaroides’, meaning ‘like cynara’ (the artichoke) was given due to the artichoke-like appearance of the flower-heads and its common name is from ‘Proteus’, the Greek god who changed his appearance whenever he wanted, as there as so many varieties.

Should you wish to snap a few pictures yourself of these beautiful flowers in bloom, then head on over to the Cape Town surrounds:

  • Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
  • Drive either from Cape Point to Kommetjie or Noordhoek to Constantia
  • In November – Cape Point

Our Awesome South African cricket team is named after this flower.

 

Awesome National Bird

This title goes to the elegant Blue Crane.  Should you wish to see this bird you would need to travel to South Africa, as its distribution is almost solely restricted to South Africa. Common in the Karoo, but can also be found in the Highveld and grasslands of KwaZulu-Natal.

While being tall (approx 1m) the Blue Crane is in fact the smallest species of crane. A ground-dwelling bird they live and feed in flocks of up to 40 birds. Pairs are monogamous with long-term bonds, once becoming parents, they have an almost non-existent nest, usually just a few small sticks pulled together.

Did you know that the long black ‘tail’ feathers are in fact wing feathers!

Awesome National Fish

The Galjoen was the choice as it is found only on the coastline stretching from Namibia to Durban.  Not only is it the national fish, but also a highly prized sports angling species – but it is illegal to either buy or sell these fish. They are reserved purely for recreational fishers and the fishers must be in possession of a recreational permit.

Galjoen braai (barbeque) recipe

1 fresh Galjoen, scaled, but not skinned

50ml melted butter

 50ml cooking oil

50ml coarse salt

30ml lemon juice

Open the galjoen, leaving the stomach area intact.

Remove the entrails carefully and wipe the fish clean inside – out.

Mix together the butter and cooking oil and a little of the salt, brush over the skin.

 Sprinkle the coarse salt generously over the flesh and place the open fish in a hinged grid.

 Braai the Galjoen, skin down about 300mm above moderate coals.

When the skin is crisp and golden brown turn the fish over and lower the grid to brown the flesh quickly without letting it become dry.

Baste with lemon juice from time to time.


xoLDxo

 
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Posted by on 20/01/2012 in South Africa, Travel

 

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Wednesday Funnie 18/1

 

xoLDxo

 
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Posted by on 18/01/2012 in Fun

 

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Motivation Quotes

Greetings!!

Who amongst us doesn’t need a little motivation at times – something to make us smile and just give a little lift to the day! Well print these out, cut them out, stick them on your PC, laptop, fridge or keep it in your pocket,  just be MOTIVATED!!!!

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars” ~ Anonymous

“Until you commit your goals to paper you have intentions that are seeds without soil” ~ Anonymous

“You -yes, YOU have what it takes” ~ Zig Ziglar

“Nobody who ever gives his best regretted it” ~ George Halas

“It’s time to start living the life we’ve imagined” ~ Henry James

“It takes a person with a mission to succeed” ~ Clarence Thomas

“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered you will never grow” ~ Ronald E Osborn

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step” ~ Lao-Tzu

“From small beinnings come great things” ~ Anonymous

“Think like a man of action. act like a man of thought” ~ Henri Bergson

xoLDxo

 
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Posted by on 16/01/2012 in Quotes

 

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Photoblog Sunsets

Top of the day to you!

There is something magical about a sunset. It always brings an automatic calm over me and I can’t but help take photo after photo trying to capture the absolute beauty. Somehow though even if the picture looks pretty (and please note no photoshop techniques were used to adjust colours) it is never quite the same.

xoLDxo

 
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Posted by on 13/01/2012 in Photoblog, Sunsets

 

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The Bathtub Test

During a visit to the senior’s home, I asked the director how do you determine whether or not a patient should be institutionalized?

“Well,” said the director, “we fill up a bathtub, then we offer the patient a teaspoon, a teacup, and a bucket and ask him or her to empty the bathtub”

“Oh, I understand,” I said. “A normal person would use the bucket because it’s bigger than the spoon or the teacup”

“No.” Said the director, “A normal person would pull the plug”

“Do you want a bed near the window?”

xoLDxo

 
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Posted by on 11/01/2012 in Fun

 

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