My pasta made me cry…

Pasta

The other night I made pasta for supper. Now this is not an uncommon thing, I mean, I am the self professed Pasta Queen of my family. But for some reason I started bawling my eyes out! The pasta made me sad… which is illogical, and one can only blame my female hormones for it. But, I confess, the pasta made me sad because…. it reminded me of my grandmother and how much I miss her.

I’ve always been in denial about missing her, just like how I was in denial the months following her sudden illness. She needed to be cared for 24/7 and family member’s jumped in to help out. I didn’t want to help out. Looking back at my wack state of mind, back then, I realize that I could not handle seeing the strong lady, who practically raised me, lay there fragile and unable to do a thing for herself. I did not want to deal with it. And so I just did not.

I was in denial about her death. I mean, I cried the day she passed away. I cried at her funeral. And then, I cried no more. At one point, I found myself forgetting that she passed away. I locked that little bit of information in the back of mind. I refused to allow emotion into it. “Why cry?” I asked myself. She’s gone. She’s not in pain anymore. She doesn’t have to deal with the burden of life anymore.

I was in denial about being a sucky granddaughter. Man, I was a sucky granddaughter. I sucked. I could have done more. I should have done more. But I did not want to have to deal with the guilt, so I locked all of this away, in the same box I kept all the other stuff in, and shoved it into the deepest, darkest recesses of my brain.

My grandmother was like any other grandmother, but she was also different to any other grandmother I’ve ever met. I mean, she did all the grandmotherly things like bake biscuits and buy us underwear for our birthday but she was also different in that she grew up having to be tough, strong and independent. So that’s the way she was all the time. She came from an era where showing emotion was frowned upon. But she showed loved in other ways. We grew up living in her house and she did everything for us. Cooked, cleaned, washed windows – stuff you probably pay your domestic to do for you. She could come across as callous, but she was a proud, hardworking, selfless woman who gave all that she had for her kids and grandkids.

There is so much history, so many reasons, why I could be stirring my pasta pot and crying about my grandmother. But the image that moved me to tears was the sudden memory of my grandma’s face, after her sister had passed away. When they declared her dead, the look of anguish on my grandma’s face was so deeply sad, that it shocked me. It shocked me because I had never seen her put on anything other than “strong woman”. She stood there, her grief on display, sobbing out her sisters name as the tears rolled down her face. And then she saw me staring at her. Our eyes locked….  and she immediately pulled herself together. She was “strong woman” once again. The moment was gone. If I had blinked, I would have missed it.

So that night while cooking pasta, I suddenly remembered that bittersweet moment, where my grandmother – the woman who shaped me – allowed herself to take off the mask and mourn openly and I realized that in my whole life, those were realest few seconds I had ever shared with her. And it made me cry.

DIY nail art using koki pens

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Thats right. I said koki pens.
Firstly, do people still use the word “koki”? Coz suddenly I am feeling a bit outdated.
Secondly, yes, you can use your average fibre tip permanent marker to bedeck your nails!
Let me show you how in this very easy leopard print accent nail tutorial.

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For this mani I made extra sure I applied a base coat, to protect my nails. I then grabbed a couple of my favorite Sinful Colors polishes and painted all my nails, except the ring fingernails, with a dreamy Winter brown, Nirvana. I coated my accent nails with the creamy/pinky Easy Going. The trick, with this color, is to make sure you apply the polish evenly, distributing it quite liberally across the whole nail, to get that pretty color.

Right, once the basics was done, I could get on with my koki nail art. I used a nail art brush to paint squiggles of brown polish on my accent nails. If you don’t have a nail art brush – no problem! Simply use a toothpick or the end of a hair grip! The beauty of this particular pattern is that it does not have to be perfect and 1 squiggle does not have to look like the next. Once your squiggles are dry (make doubley sure) use your felt tip marker to paint an outline around each squiggle, making sure you don’t outline the entire squiggle, in order to get the leopard spot effect. (I realize that I’ve said squiggle alot. So here it is again: Squiggle.)

Once you’re done with that, apply your top coat and hakuna mata! You’re done! Easy peasy leopard print nail art! And hey, if I can do it, with my minimal “i draw stick people” drawing experience, imagine what you profesh artists are capable of. :)

What do you think? Would you try this at home? 

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“Being married sucks!” I told him

HeadingThe other night, while in heated debate (let’s call it a heated debate, okay?) with my Hubstopher about something so mundane I can’t even remember what it is anymore, I said to him “I don’t know WHY people want to get married! It sucks!”

Yes, I said those words. Mainly to shock him into saying that he was wrong this whole time, and I am right, and he can’t believe that he is married to such a wonderful, beautiful creature such as myself. But no, that did not that happen. Instead, he fumed off and we didn’t speak to each other for the longest time.

Until it was bed time. Ah yes, then everything changed. Why?
Well, dear readers, because it’s Winter. And if ever there is a time that a married person enjoys the fact that they are married it’s during those chilly Winter evenings. So that night, we got into bed (I promise, I’m keeping this post PG13) still angry, laying as far away from each other as possible on a queen sized bed, silently daring the other to as much as put a small toe on the wrong side of the bed!

This lasted for all of like, 10 minutes, when I felt my dear ol’ Hubstopher slowly make his way over to my side (He’s always the one to move. Que: The Script “I’m not moooooooving!”) He snuggled himself up behind me and breathed a content sigh of “ahhhh, now I can sleep”.

And that’s when I roundhouse kicked him, in the face, back to his side of the bed.

Bhaaaa who am I kidding, I let him snuggle. Nah, I snuggled right on back! And as I lay there savoring the moment and falling asleep to the rhythm of his silent snores (He’s the only person in the history of sleeping that can snore silently. I’m convinced), I think to myself: THIS is why people get married. Not for the companionship or the body heat. Though those are definite pluses. No, you get married because you love this other person so much, that even if they made you super angry an hour ago, none of it would matter at the end of the day. Your marriage becomes your safe place and no matter how much your husband annoys the living daylights out of you (how does that work? I mean, what is living daylights anyways?) nothing is more important than having a right relationship with him and nothing beats having him snuggle up behind you at night.

So yes, marriage has it’s sucky times. It has it’s difficult moments where compromising feels like the worst idea in the world and having your way is the ONLY right way. It can get challenging when this other person does things all the way differently to how you would. But it is there, in the mess of trying to make 2 completely different people live as 1, in unity, because they choose to, where you will find the absolute sweet spot of a good marriage.

Needless to say, we woke up the next morning, and the heated debate had become a distant memory… unimportant… exactly what it was in the first place.
Aaaaaaa

Essence The Gel ‘The Oil Slick’

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I was super pleased when our friends at Essence sent us a variety of polishes to add to this year’s #ECMeetUp goodie bags. It’s no secret, I am a huge fan of the cosmetics house and love their nail polish range. So I totally aaacked when I found their ‘The Oil Slick’ polish in my goodiebag. I really wanted that one. How’d it get in there? 😉

Last week, after putting Curly to bed early (Think: 10pm. I know, right?) I had a good half an hour before my brain would begin it’s shutting down process. More than enough time to do my nails!

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With no particular mani in mind, I applied my Essence Gel Look base coat and waited for that to dry. I then applied the wonderful Essence The Gel ‘The Oil Slick’ #29 Paradise to all my nails except both ring fingernails. How pretty is this color, ya’ll?! It’s super shimmery and its aquamarine hue reminds me of mermaids and the ocean and Cassie over at Amazeblog. (I think it’s coz of her favorite leggings). But anyways, I digress.

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I applied 2 coats and then, once it was sufficiently dry, I used my The Polish Diaries stamping plate #M65 to stamp a funky image onto my nails, using another Essence fave: The Matte #22 I love my blue jeans. I think it came out pretty legit. Don’t you think?

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I painted my ring fingernails with 2 coats of The Matte #22 and stamped the same image onto those nails, using The Oil Slick. A bit of a reverse effect there. Top coat on and ta daa!
DIY nail art in under 20 minutes. My kinda nail art.

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What do you think about the Essence The Gel ‘The Oil Slick’? 

Are you embracing your inner ‘psycho girlfriend’?

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7de Laaners, all across South Africa, have been fuming recently as they watch their beloved Errol (played by Christo Davids) be mistreated by his new flame,Tarryn (played by Kay Smith). I mean, this girl has major psycho girlfriend tendencies. From smashing their crockery (on the first night at their own place) to cutting his guitar strings (yoh!). Say it with me now: Issues!

I stifled a giggle while checking out what 7de Laaners had to say on Twitter and Facebook. “Tarryn must build a bridge and get over herself; she has too many issues,” one fan wrote. “She lies to and about Errol. She sucks and is immature!” Bwaaaaa!

It made me think about these psycho girlfriend tendencies. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably had your fair share of relationship dramatics. And the thing about jumping from relationship to relationship is that you begin to pick up these insecurities and perceptions that are probably as far from the truth as Tarryn and a GHD is. It is these very same negative perceptions that influence how you respond in your next relationship and eventually your marriage. AAACK.

I’m speaking about those irrational feelings of ‘unloved’ or ‘unwanted’ or ‘not good enough’ one picks up after being hurt. We all show signs of it on different levels (some of us cut guitar strings). It can manifest itself in the forms of depression , manipulation or anger and it certainly makes you wonder if jumping into that relationship is such a good idea, after all. I mean, why risk entering a long-term commitment with the WRONG one, if it means toying with your emotional and mental stability?

Test the waters, they say. It’ll be good for you, they say.

Well, if I could go back in time and undo all the damage brought on by being in the wrong relationships, I would in a heart beat. (Sorry ex boyfriends. It’s not you, it’s me.) Please take this as a reminder that it’s okay to NOT be ready for that relationship. No matter how cute he is when he laughs. My advice to you is to wait until you are ready, have your deal breakers in place and be on high alert for those warning bells. Don’t give the ‘psycho girlfriend tendencies’ opportunity to manifest in your life! You hear me?! Whenever you contemplate giving your singledom away, for an unconfirmed frollick in the sun, picture me, with a police siren on my head and a loudspeaker to my mouth saying: “Step away from the ‘psycho girlfriend.’ I repeat. Step away from the ‘psycho’!”

I mean, look at our young Tarryn. Do you want to end up like her? (And the crowd goes nooooooo). Shame, I kinda sympathize with her. She has it pretty bad, hey? I wonder when Errol will come to his senses. The girl insulted the flowers he bought her (because carnations are “poor man’s roses”) and she even forced him to move out of Aunty Charmaines house. That lady did so much for Errol, how can Tarryn go and do something like that?
No shame!
Kay
Maybe he’s in ‘psycho girlfriend’ denial, but we all know that unless she has an encounter with Jesus, that girl is not going to ease up. Someone needs to give me Errol’s whatsapp number. I mean, hello, she calls him her “sexy shorty”… if that didn’t set off the alarm bells in his head then I give up…

What do you think about Tarryn and Errol’s doomed relationship?

I’m sorry that I’m sorry

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You know all those motivational mantras about being true to yourself, celebrating your strength and allowing your light to shine? Well, funny thing is, up until the other day, I kinda didn’t want to do any of those things. Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever played a weaker role even though you knew that deep down inside, you’re actually flippen strong and capable of so much more than you are showing?

Whew, great! I’m not the only loony around here. :)
While having a heart to heart last week, a close friend asked me why I’ve stopped being… well… ME. The question took me by surprise but I knew the answer without having to think about it. The truth is this: I had become too aware of other people and their insecurities. And because I did not want to intimidate anyone or make them feel less than, I began compensating for what I thought they might be feeling. I tried to be less than who I am, because I thought that it was hurting other people. I made room in MY life for someone else’s insecurities.

IMG_20160604_104159I admit, this was a known decision. It didn’t happen to me. Nope, I continuously chose to act weaker and more timid than I actually am. I mean, there were times where I PRETENDED not to know the answer to something, to give someone else an opportunity to have the upper hand. There were times where I played damsel in distress, so that I did not come across as self-sufficient/self-reliant aka powerful enough to get the job done. And there were times where I took a back seat because I was afraid that my awesomeness would make someone else feel less awesome… that my ability to do certain things well would hinder them and make them feel like they lacked something. We are all equal in God’s eyes. We were created each with our own personality, strengths and giftings. BUT, somewhere in the back of my spreadsheet brain, I began to feel guilty about mine.

Now, this may sound super humble and “oh someone, give me a Nobel Peace prize!” but it’s actually very egotistical and selfish. For starters, no one has ever told me “Uh Luchae, I feel like such a loser when you blah blah blah”. Where did I even come up with these things? Secondly, it’s quite a brain trip for me to realize that I thought that I could affect another person that way. Like, how evens? Get over yourself. And lastly, since when has it been okay to dull your shine? When you allow your light to shine, you give others motivation – permission to do the same. OR it helps them to grow.

So with that said, I look back at my previous stinking thinking and I know that it’s not the truth. It’s so absurd, if I think about it now. It’s NEVER OKAY to not be who you are called to be! In fact, it’s an insult to God.

And so, today, I urge you to be exactly who you are meant to be. No apologies. No excuses.
Sorry not sorry!
You were born on purpose, with a purpose. Your talents are not coincidental. What a waste to put it in a drawer because of *insert dumb reasons here*. You are robbing yourself and others, when you dim your light!

Allow me to end off with a quote by our very own Tata Madiba:
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No time for the nail salon? Well, this ones for you…

Avon CoverYou know how you know when your friends love you? When they get you the type of gifts that make you go “AAAAAAAACK!!!” really, really loudly. Well, that’s the sound I made when one of my close friends got me some totally fab Avon nail polishes as a birthday gift! 

I was quite keen to try these out because, to be honest, I was like “okay, what do they know about polishes, like, really now.” When I think Avon I think make up and bath stuff. Not nails. The Avon Gel Finish polishes intrigued me even further with their 7-in-1 claims. They said that my 1 bottle of Avon Gel Finish will give me shine, gel-like finish, vivid color, base coat, top coat, protection and will act as a strengthener. My spreadsheet brain had to see for myself!

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I got my nails ready and applied 1 coat of Avon Gel Finish ‘Roses Are Red’ – a pretty bright red polish. On application, I found the formula to be very opaque and not watery at all. The polish goes on smoothly and evenly and even though the box instructed me to wait for the 1st coat to dry thoroughly, before applying the next, I kinda didn’t because: mom life. It still turned out pretty good though, in my opinion! Avon2

The glittery accent nail is thanks to Avon’s Magic Effects polish. Yep, they are going allllll out with their nail enamel range! I likey alot! What I appreciated about this Liquid Sequin polish (aptly named ‘Sequin’) is that unlike other sequin/glitter polishes, I did not have to apply copious amounts of the stuff to get full nail coverage.

As you can see, I had a bit of “me time” (think: 10 minutes) so I could do some sort of random nail art there on the middle finger. It’s meant to be a glitter triangle. But hey, it’s art, interpret it as you will. Avon1

I am super impressed with the longevity of the Avon Gel Finish polish – it gave me a good couple of days without chipping. I am also impressed with the fact that I don’t have to apply top and base coat. This mani made me feel like I had just been to the salon. The polish’s dramatic color and shine is amazing and the gel look effect is excellent!

I’m excited to try out their other colors! What do you think?

Come get your pack of new Pampers Premium Care nappies! {Giveaway}

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So if you guys recall, Curly and I did a mini-experiment on the newest Pampers Premium Care nappies and made a video to show off our star-like qualities and also how amazing these nappies actually are. Curly has always been a Pamper’s babe, so we were pretty keen to check these out.

The video shows how the new nappy’s super absorbent channels slurp liquid up like it’s nobodies business and how the gel inside locks it away from your babes bum-bums. We also demonstrated how the wetness indicator works (like tha bomb dot com) and how silky soft the actual inside of the nappy is. Check it out below (Also, I’ve always wanted to be a KTV presenter. Can you tell?)

I got a chance to put this nappy to the test again, this past weekend, with my Curly as the human guinea pig. I found that the nappy contained the moisture excellently, so it could stay on for longer. I also liked the way that it fit my girl… comfort is a big deal when it comes to baby’s sensitive bottom area. And saggy nappies are a big NO NO! All in all, twas a good experience.

But guess what! Pampers is giving away 5 packs of new Pamper’s Premium Care nappies, to 5 #myspreadsheetbrain readers, for you to check it out for yourself. How’s that for confidence? :)

To enter the giveaway, follow the prompts below. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Curly update: How to shine your light (with a needle in your arm)

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Big smiles at Kingdom Kids sunday school (Photo: Tyio Pretorius Word of Faith SA)

It’s Friday and I could not be more happy that this week is coming to an end. Our Curls had to go for blood tests again this week and as you know, blood draw days are MEH!

For those who are new around here, Curly was born with only half a thyroid gland. It is a condition called ‘Congentinal Hypothyroidism‘. This means that she is on thyroid medication and we have to monitor the amount of hormone in her body and do blood tests every few months to make sure that she is getting enough of it.Karis Bloods

So this past week was our blood draw week. It takes a week because we do blood draws, then wait for the blood tests to be done, before visiting her specialist a couple of days later for results). We took Curly to Ampath on Monday afternoon for the blood draws and it pretty much sucked! For starters, the nurse could not find a vein that would produce enough blood. She preceeded to dig around in my kid’s arm, with a needle, to try to find a vein that she could milk. My girl was obviously not happy and lay there screaming while daddy had to hold her down, with mommy trying to comfort her while keeping her arm steady. It was horrible. I was obviously near tears and prayed under my breath, asking God to make it go as quick as possible! NOT a fun time!

Once the blood draw was done, I picked my baby up thinking that it would take a while to console her. Instead, the girl looked at us (and the nurse who had just stuck a needle into both of her arms) and gave us the hugest smile in the world! It was so huge and so unexpected that we burst out laughing! It was like she totally dismissed what had just happened and basically decided that she was done with crying and was ready for action again! So picture her, tears in her eyes, but blowing kissies to the Ampath staff and showing everyone where her “eina” is.

What a big lesson that taught me… Imagine if we all lived our lives that way… acknowledging your eina’s but choosing to move on from them. Purposefully choosing to SHINE, no matter the adversity or how UNsparkly we may be feeling! I don’t know about you guys, but I feel challenged! :)
Karis Bloods2 The good news is that my girl is amazing (but we always knew thaaaaaaaaat). The latest update is that Curly’s medication must be increased slightly. This could be because she is growing (so there is more of her to medicate haha) She will get an increase in meds 1 day per week. No biggie. We know and believe that she will eventually be off the meds altogether one day!

She is growing so beautifully. She can say “Mama come!” when she wants me to pick her up and “Goooo” when she wants me to take her somewhere. So basically, she is hitting all her developmental milestones (and then some) on time. No development delays or any of those other scary terms that we read about in the beginning of this journey.

By the way, if you ask her to “sing like Barbie” then she sings the word ‘Barbie’ to the melody of Ba-Ba Black Sheep (“Barrrrrbie, Barrrrrbie, Ba-ba-ba-ba-Barrrrrbie…”) bwahaha!

She knows where most of her body parts are… for real! Even her oesophagus! How clever is that? Well, that is all testimony to how well she is doing. Which might not have happened if not for the grace of God and the correct amount of medication. So thankful for doctors and second chances and life!

This girl is going places. Watch this space!

Fried chicken and egg fried rice so easy my teen made it!

Kyle last In a strange turn of events my game-head teenage son has decided that he wants to be a chef. Mama’s not complaining. I am ecstatic that the kid’s found something to throw his passion and ambition into.

The other night he offered to make his “specialty”, fried chicken, for supper. (Keeping in mind he’s never ever made this “specialty” before, so I’m not sure how it became his “specialty”). When we told him that he would need an accompanying dish to go with the chicken, he decided on egg fried rice. Again, I’m not sure where this dish popped out of, but okay….

I took a deep breath, slapped my spreadsheet brain around a bit to calm it down, and then allowed him to crown me his sous chef (aka assistant) while Chef Kyle took over and did his thing in the kitchen.

His recipe, in his own words:
Kyleb The Great Kyles Special Fried Chicken and Egg Fried Rice
Ingredients
Chicken
Flour
Eggs
Chicken spice
Rice
Mixed veggies
Spice for rice
Soya sauce
Chopped herbs
Whatever you find in your mother’s kitchen

kylec Method
Fried chicken: Clean chicken. (Or get your sous chef to do it) Mix chicken spices and flour in shallow dish. Beat 3-4 eggs and transfer it into another shallow dish. (Add milk if your mother doesn’t want you to use all her eggs) Dip the chicken into eggs and then into spiced flour. Once covered, lay chicken on baking tray and grill in oven for however long it takes.

KyledEgg fried rice: Cook rice (Or get your sous chef to do it). Brown onions and greenpeppers in a pan. Add mixed veggies and allow to cook. Add spices and soya sauce. Once this is ready, add rice and mix. Allow to simmer and finally add 3-4 eggs. Stir continuously until the eggs have been cooked.

KyleeQuestions I asked while the master was at work:
1. So why do you want to be a chef?
I was watching this anime series where this boy was trying to be the best chef in his culinary school and decided I want to be a chef too!

2. Okay, but WHY do you want to be a chef?
Because I am Kyle the Great!

3. Kyle, why do you want to be a chef?!
Because I like making food!

4. What is your favorite ingredient to use?

Whatever I find in the kitchen, at the moment.

5. What is your top chef tip, that you’d like to share with the rest of the world?
Don’t be afraid to play around with your spices.

6. How do you intend to hone your skill as a chef?
Watch more anime about cooking and drop out of school after Grade 9 to join a culinary school.

I can’t remember the rest of the interview because I passed out while laughing hysterically at that last answer. What a funny joke. The child’s got a sense of humor. 

And there you have it: Chef Kyle’s specialty: Fried chicken with a side of egg fried rice! (It tasted really good too!) Kylef

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