Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I'm still alive ...

I guess I was a little naive believing that the builders would finish on time on 19 December. Now, they're rushing just to finish my kitchen and entertainment area so that we can move back into that part of the house. There's been hick-up after hick-up and we really got a taste of the bad building experiences that people told us about.

But it's not all bad news. They completed installing the kitchen cupboard units in my main kitchen and scullery. It looks absolutely fab - even better than what I imagined! They must still do the wall tiles and paint and one half of the area doesn't even have a roof. Then it's ceilings, doors, windows, plumbing and electricity.

I took a couple of pics of the kitchen but decided that I'm not ready to share it with you just yet. You'll have to wait until it's all done.

In the meantime life is carrying on. Saturday we celebrated Leon's b-day. We couldn't even invite friends for dinner because everything is such a mess. We went out for dinner with the kids instead.

Oh - and I'm glad to say that I've completed my Christmas shopping in between as well. Don't want to see the inside of a shopping mall until next year.

I went to visit my friend Tanya in Pretoria last week and we went on a bit of a scrap shopping spree. I haven't bought stash in months so it really was a great treat. It's all still in the bag - waiting patiently with the rest of my stash for the big day when I move into my new scrap room.

Now I'm off to pay a long overdue visit to some of my friends blogs.

Next time I'll have some pictures for you - I promise!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Quick update

I really miss blogging! I especially miss being part of the daily lives of all my blogging friends. One day I know things will settle down and I will have time again for all of that but in the meantime I'm almost starting to enjoy life on the run! Once your brain gets used to it, it's actually rewarding to be able to do so many things in one day. Every night when I lie in bed before I fall asleep - I try to think of everything that I've accomplished in the day that's gone and try to make a mental list of all I need to do the next day. I'm really starting to enjoy this little "project"!

Now for the update: This are going sort of according to plan. The rain has kept us back a little but when the sun's out the guys really make up for the lost time. We had to vacate one half of the house so that they can literally break out almost every single thing inside. The other half of the house is looking more like a storage site than a house - we hardly have space to sleep. We spend most of the time in the old house now and just pop in to check if everything is built the way we want it - which a lot of the time isn't! Then they need to make corrections and so on.

They will start fitting the new kitchen on 8th December and should complete it by the end of that week. The plan is that all the building and inside finishing must be completed by 19th December. Phase 2 will then start again mid January to complete the outside finishing touches, the swimming pool, paving and the garden.

The other great news is: my old house is sold! It was a rather emotional moment when we had to put up the "for sale" sign at the front gate. When the fist prospective buyers pitched up it was almost like they invaded our privacy. At the same time I was anxious because I was afraid that the house will stay in the market for months / years (like a whole lot of other houses in the neighborhood) and that I would be forced to rent it out in the end. I didn't really want to do that because I've heard so many horror stories about tenants who ruin your house and the rent would only cover about half the installment!

I was blown away when the agent phoned me about an hour after they came to view the house. The couple wanted to buy the house! It's a young newly wed couple and they love my house and wanted to buy it. The very first people who came to view the house! Mixed emotions filled my heart. I was so glad that the house was sold (at the price that I wanted!) but I really feel sentimental about that house! This is the house that I bought after I got divorced. It was the refuge for me and the boys. We made it into the safe and happy home that we all wanted and needed. I realise that now it is time to move on but I know that a couple of tears will flow the day we will have to say goodbye to "our house" permanently! I'm not sure when the move will be. The new owners want to wait for final registration before they move in. Hopefully this will only happen in the new year. At the moment there is just no way that we can move in to the Parys house before the building is completed.

Here are a couple of picture updates of the building in progress. These pics were taken on Wednesday, so they are already outdated but it will give you a general idea of the progress.

My new en-suite bathroom and walk in closet:
The "flat" where the boys will stay:
The patio:
What's left of the old garage on the left and the new garage on the right:The old kitchen after we moved out. By now it's only an empty shell with nothing inside - they broke everything down - even the ceiling!!Gotta run again - on our way to visit some friends for dinner - some kind of French meal with a VERY strange name - can't wait to taste it!

Will try to be back soon!

Buy for now!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I got a surprise in the mail!

I got a note in my mailbox the other day to notify my of a parcel that I have to pick up at the post office - something that is too big for my post box at home. Although I was VERY curios cause I knew that I didn't order anything, I just didn't have time to go there and almost forgot about it. Luckily our post office is inside our grocery store and one day this week when I went to buy groceries I remembered about my note and went to pick up my parcel. What a great surprise! My new blogging friend from Tasmania, Sharmaine Kruijver, sent me a thank-you parcel filled with yummy cookies and sweeties and even more yummy scrappy stuff! (to say thank you for the blog banner that I designed for her - silly girl - it was a RAK - she really didn't have to send me stuff in return but I do appreciate it anyway!)

Thanks so much Sharmaine! You made my day!

It's been three weeks!!

And three weeks of mess and rain and mud and fights and surprises (both good and bad!) it has been! At work things are just as busy. I had to take over additional work from one of my colleagues who's went on maternity leave on Friday. I barely touch ground and I have no time for blogging or even blog reading so please please forgive my absence to your blogs. I know that this all have to settle down some time - just don't know when!

Here are a couple of pics I took this afternoon.

We have a couple of fruit trees in the back yard. While I was busy taking photos I saw the one apricot tree was full of ripe and ready little fruit. There and then I decided that all those yummy fruit cannot go to waste. I called the kids and they helped me to pick the fruit. We managed to get about 15 kg of fruit from that one fairly small tree! We all jumped in - Leon included - and we pitted the apricots. Unfortunately I was too busy to even think about taking pics. Can you believe it! I think I'm loosing my touch!
Anyway - the fruit are now pitted, rinsed, weighed and sugared. Tomorrow afternoon after work the big jam cooking episode will begin - midst all the other chaos.
I guess it's true what they say - the more you do - the more you get done!!
I will try my best to be a better blogger and at least post once a week from now on. In the meantime - keep well and enjoy your Christmas preparations. I feel like I'm going to have to skip Christmas totally this year! Just don't have capacity to even start thinking about that now!
Sleep tight! ;o)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Update on the chaos ...

When we came home on Friday – this is what was parked on our front lawn – or should I rather say – the little bit that’s left of our front lawn!
A huge front loader. I don’t have a clue what they intend doing with it – too scared to ask!

They’re making steady progress. All the concrete foundations are done and they started building the first couple of layers of bricks to finish off the slabs. The entire place is a mess and we can hardly reach our backdoor. Our front door is a total no-go at this stage.
Over the weekend we went shopping for tiles, light fittings (I found a couple of beeeeoootiful ones!) and doors.

I’m so excited and exhausted at the same time. There are still a whole lot of stuff to buy and arrange but it feels like we’re slowly but surely getting this thing under control.

On Sunday we went out for supper at my all time favorite restaurant – Primi Piatti and I decided to go all out and celebrate my 10 kg weight loss goal. I had the most devine pasta dish with a creamy gorgonzola sauce and utterly sinful chocolate brownies for desert! It’s honestly the very first time that I’ve cheated since I started my diet 2 moths ago. I actually don’t even regard this as cheating because I made a conscious decision to eat what I want. Will have to see what the real price is I’ll have to pay when I go weigh in on Thursday!

I took these photos on Sunday afternoon of Celine while she was riding one of her horses – yes – she’s one lucky girl who owns two of her own horses! She loves horses and has been riding since she was about 4. She looks like she was born on the back of a horse!

Back to work for me now. Hope all of you are having a great time scrapping and enjoying life!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The mess has begun!!!

Yesterday it all started with a bang! I thought they would just start measuring up but when we got home - only 5 hours after they started - we were shocked by how much they've done in such a short time!!! The entire yard is on it's head! Here are a couple of shots I took yesterday:
I will try to post a few of "work in progress" shots every couple of days. This way I hope to share the joy and pain that will inevitably accompany this process with all of you.

Above all the mess and with the chaos in my head trying to keep track of everything is still an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. Although we had to cut on some of the renovations because it all just became too expensive, I am busy building my dream home! I’ve always dreamt of living in an old house with high ceilings and wooden floors. A big house with lots of character and room for all of us to live and play in.

All of this is starting to become a reality right in front of my eyes. Although I know there lies a time filled with chaos and frustration (and probably a couple of tears and fights too) ahead for us, I am so excited and can’t wait for it all to be done!

I pray that God will bless this project for us and that it will all work out the way we planned. There are so many workers busy working there right now, I also pray that they will all work safe and won’t get injured in the process.

Keep me in your thoughts and prayers – I will surely need it! :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm half way there!

Today I'm spoiling myself with a bunch of digi flowers ....

just because ....

... I made it half way towards my ideal weight!!!

It's such a great feeling to know that I am 10 kg (22lb) lighter than what I was 8 weeks ago! I joined Sureslim 2 months ago out of pure desperation because I just couldn’t do it on my own. Needless to say – their customized eating plan which was designed just for me based on my blood test results, age, weight, etc, etc – really works!

I know that the last half will not be as easy (not that the first half was easy by any means!!!) but I'm realistic about it and will allow more time for myself to loose the last 10 kg. My aim is to loose at least 500 gram each week - that means 20 weeks from now - by the end of Feb '09, I should be there. Still sounds like forever to me but with the fast pace my life is going at the moment I know it will be over soon.

Only problem is that all the year-end functions, Christmas, New Year and my boat trip still lies ahead. I will just have to be strong during those times and look past all delicious goodies and chew on the lettuce leaves underneath! L

My willpower is now driven by the weight that I have already managed to loose. I’m not prepared to give up half way. I will have to stick it out to the end.

I also know that the real battle will only start once I reach my goal weight. I know from experience that keeping the weight off is even more difficult than loosing it in the first place. The only thing that works is a disciplined healthy lifestyle.

But it’s sooooo hard when there are so much yummy things around!

Yikes – life is hard!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Where has the time gone?!

I cannot believe that the week is over and gone! And so is the weekend! Feels like life is running away with me at the moment. Hope that one day things will slow down a bit but for now I just have to run to keep up. I hope my guardian angel can also keep up! ;)
This week at work was just hectic! Don't even want to go there. At home, things are equally hectic. Meetings with the builder to finalise the plans, going to the shops in lunch time to try and pick tiles, doors, window frames, etc, etc. The "to buy" list seems endless and I don't want to leave it in the hands of the builder - I want to pick every little thing myself. Only problem is - I can't make up my mind about most of the stuff!
Daisy was sick. I took her to the Vet on Friday after noon and again on Saturday afternoon. She can't really figure out what is wrong with her but it seems like the second bunch of tablets that she prescribed is working. I really worried about my doggy but she looks much better now.
Today we (Leon, Celine and I) decided to break away from the madness and went to Savannah Cheetah Foundation - a game ranch just outside Parys. What a beautiful place! They have a Cheetah breeding program and we could go in with the Cheetahs and even touch them. Kids under 13 are not allowed in with the Cheetah as they still see them as pray and might attack them. What a wonderful experience it was to touch (and get licked by) a Cheetah!
After the Cheetah visit we went for a game drive at the same game ranch. We saw so many animals! Here are a couple of them:
Grey Rhebok:
Blue Wildebeest (Gnu):
Kudu Cow:
Burchell's Zebra:
Red Hartebeest:
Gemsbuck (Oryx):
Sable Antelope:
We also saw Springbuck, Impala and Eland but I didn't get good shots of them.
I still have a couple of hours of the weekend left to enjoy - then it's back to the rat race.
Hope all of you will have a wonderful week - and think of me when you scrap! I don't even think I know how to anymore! :(

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I'm a lazy blogger

I haven't posted all week! I'm a lazy old bag!

I took two days off work (again!). On Thursday I took the kids to the movies. They wanted to see Tropic Thunder. Only after we already bought the tickets I realised that the movie had an age restriction of 16 for violence and language. I never allow my kids to watch age restricted movies over 13. They twisted my arm to allow them to watch this movie and so we did. I wasn't crazy about it all - I really think it was a load of carp! A couple of unnecessarily gross scenes and a couple of foul word but not too excessive. The boys enjoyed it in any case and I guess there won't be any permanent damage to their sensitive little souls.

On Friday I went to "Aardklop" - an Afrikaans Arts festival in Potchefstoom.
I went all by myself because I couldn't get anybody to come with me and thoroughly enjoyed wandering around on my own time. I didn't see any shows - only browsed the hundreds if not thousands of arts and crafts stalls. I bought a couple of nice things for the house and a beautiful charm bracelet for myself. Oh - and gifts for the kids and Leon of course.

We got the quote for the kitchen and although it's way higher than what we hoped for, we decided to go for it anyway. We also met with the builder for the first time this week. They will start with some smaller work that don't require building plans until we get the plans approved. I guess the fun and games and mess is going to start some time real soon. Urg - don't really look forward to the whole process but as they say - no pain, no gain.

We went to look at gas stoves, kitchen sinks, taps and bathroom stuff today. Everything I want is sooo freakin expensive!! I want everything to have an antique look which makes it even more difficult and expensive.
This is the stove that I want:

These are the kitchen taps I want for the kitchen:
This is the kitchen sink I want:
And .... for our master bathroom, I want this bath:
... with these taps:
That doesn't mean that I'll definitely get what I want in the end - we do have a budget for all of this and I guess I'll have to sacrifice here and there. But a girl can dream, can't she?!
It's all very exciting albeit nerve wrecking at the same time.

I can already imagine my completed dream house ....

I want to take lots of "before" pictures of the house - inside and out - tomorrow. I want to do a mini album of our renovations. That is once I have my scrap room all set up - which will probably only be some time next year!
In the mean time it will only be digi scrapping for me - that's if I can find a gap to do one!
Hope you're all enjoying your weekends and having fun. I'm off to read a couple of my favourite blogs now while Leon is busy playing with his new bullet reloading toys.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Manic Monday

It's Monday already and I don't want it to be! I still want it to be weekend! Why does time fly so fast when you're having fun?

On Friday afternoon we finalised the changes we needed done on our building plans and on Saturday we went to the showroom of the people who's gonna make my dream kitchen a reality! I'm soooo excited! We're still waiting for the quote and I'm afraid it's going to be VERY expensive but I really really want that kitchen so bad! I could kick myself for not taking photos of the kitchens in their showroom so that I could show you all what it looks like! It's really something different - that's all I can tell you for now!

We had such a nice weekend with the kids. We played and relaxed and dreamed of our new home. I didn’t get a lot done creatively, but at least I finished Sharmaine's blog banner at last! I also helped her to give her blog a bit of a facelift. You have to go visit her blog. She is such a talented scrapper! This is what her new banner looks like:
If you - like most scrapbookers do - like fonts, you will appreciate this video. I think it's brilliant!

Click here to watch the video (I got the link from Jan's blog)

Now it's back to work for me! :(

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Out with the old - in with the new!

I got my new car on Thursday!

Here is my old car - an Opel Astra. I really loved this car and it was always only a pleasure to drive.

I was a just a teeny weeny bit emotional about saying goodbye to it, but the new car (Mazda 3 - 2.3) quickly cheered me up!
This car drives like a dream! I know I will have lots of fun driving around in this beauty!
I have to say that I'm so glad that this car buying thing is over now! I've had my share of test drives and comparing specs and thinking and considering and and and! I feel comfortable that I made the right choice and now I can carry on with my life ... and hopefully get some scrapping done!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Michelle Ewart

Look what I got in the post last week! A package with these pretty prints that I ordered from Michelle Ewart's Etsy Shop - MeArtDesign a while ago! Unfortunately she's busy moving house and closed down her shop temporarily.I love this girls style! Here's a better look at the ones that I bought:

Can't wait to get them all framed and hanged!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Children of Africa

Last night was Celine's school concert. The theme was "Children of Africa". The entire concert was so well thought out with just the right music, beautiful costumes and well coreagraphed (well - as well as you can expect of primary school kids at least) dance moves.

Celine is in Grade 2. She looked so sweet with her "stage make-up" and costume! And when she danced on staged I had to wipe a tear or two (ok - it was more - I cry easily!) - it was to sweet for words!

Here's a couple of pics of our own little Dancing Queen.
I stood at the back of the hall - taking pictures using my 400mm lens. Needless to say - I had to do a whole lot of Photoshop work on the stage photos to lighten them up as they came out very dark - that's why they look so blurry.