Why I blog...

I use this blog as a kind of therapy. Sometimes I'm happy and want to share it, sometimes it's just a random thought and sometimes it's to deal with things in my past. After all a burden shared is a burden halved

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Teaching and parenting.....they are the same thing but different.

Every year around this time when our academic year is drawing to a close, I stop and reflect on my students. I reflect on their year and what they have learned. I think about what they were like in January and how little they were. I compare it to what they have accomplished during the year and where they are now all the while knowing that I was instrumental in that growth. That knowledge gives me pleasure and I feel like my life has a purpose. I do get a little sad knowing that we have to say goodbye. I tend to go all introspection mode during the last few weeks of school but not today, today I started thinking about all the children I have taught since 1992! All the parents I have met and all of their quirks.

Some were fond memories, some were funny and some were sad. I thought about the ones I really really tried so hard to help (you know the difficult ones) and what a difference it made when the parents were working together with me towards a common goal. And then I thought about teaching, academics and the way we cross over sometimes into being a surrogate parent and vice versa.

Did you know that you can teach a child to read and write from a very young age but they won't be emotionally ready till much later. You see there is so much focus on academics these days (and yes I agree our educational standards are not where they should be in grade school and yes for love of god we need better literacy and numeracy stats) So for context, I am only talking about preschool here.

Parents if there is a problem with your child academically their teacher will inform you! Halfway through the first term of school, alarm bells will go off and we can usually tell if your child needs extra help. So don't worry about the academic side of things in preschool, unless the teacher says you must. Rather (and here is a great concept) how about you parent your child instead and leave the academic teaching to the teachers. I'm not saying don't be interested in your child's education. I love it when parents are involved and want to know about their child's school day. But......

I have had parents placing so much emphasis on rote counting up to 20 (even 100) in perfect sequence because they thought it was an important math skill. Well it's not, unless your child understands the concept of each number fully, he has just learned a nice little poem. Numbers are an abstract concept to little ones and rattling off a bunch of them in an order is not maths, it shows that your child has memory skills. But you know what its okay, you didn't know because you didn't spend 4 years studying early childhood development. So leave the academics to us and concentrate on the real lessons in life. The ones that you need to be teaching your child. 

Here they are (in case you have forgotten) Teach your child to:

Share, especially if he is an only child, he may never have had to share his toys at home so it will be very difficult for him to grasp this concept when he goes to school.

Love, not superficially but with his whole heart. You do this by loving him, unconditionally. This will also help him to love himself and build up confidence.

Responsibility, yes even a preschooler can be responsible. Give him a pet to look after, his job could be to feed it and love it. As they get older they can clean out their pet’s living space. Looking after something is a valuable gift you can give your child.

Manners, being polite and social skills. Integrating socially is such an important lesson. Learning to value people and friendships for who they are not how many toys they have. (I know some grownups who still struggle with this concept). 

Honesty and trust, never betray your child's trust. It will come back to haunt you when they are teenagers. They see you gossiping about your friends and take note. They see you telling that little white lie and take note. They see you! 

Most of all teach them to have fun...... the learning will follow naturally.

Children are always learning, everywhere they go, and they take in everything they see, hear and experience. I love how their minds are like little sponges, soaking up their surroundings. This is one of the reasons I love teaching preschoolers, their inquisitive nature and willingness to learn. I would far rather teach them than teenagers because they already know everything!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Vintage #Blogvember (late post)

Day 9 of #Blogvember: Take a photo of Vintage....

This is in our kitchen, we have not used it yet but it is an original Dover wood burning stove.

If we ever run out of electricity we can still cook or bake in this. Such a treasure to have.

I also like really pretty old tea sets which is really funny since all the pretty vintage things we have in our house comes from the kitchen. (a place I really don't like to spend a lot of time in).

This stove reminds me of an era without electricity an era of hard labour and very little luxury. I can almost imagine a woman who stayed at home to cook and clean while her husband went out to work in the coal mine. Her sole purpose in life was to bear his children, provide him with meals, a clean home and a sympathetic ear.

In almost stark contrast to the above picture, the one below reminds me of a different age. One of Marie Antoinette and opulence.

This tea cup is Royal Albert fine bone china which we found in my husband's parents house. This was part of a series of cups called Flower of the month. It has July written inside it which was his mom's birthday month.
I love the colours and the elegance of it, the fact that it is feminine, delicate and pretty.

Royal Albert fine bone china

It quietly tells me of days spent sipping tea and eating sweet cakes while sunbathing in the conservatory. Children playing on the well manicured lawn and men in top hat and tails.
Isn't it amazing how a single item, piece of music or a saying can conjure up such imagery in your mind and transport you to a different place. Long live our imaginations! Modern technology has not been able to kill it yet.

My BrightRock LoveChange competition entry

I have blogged extensively on this subject so you are forgiven for thinking you have read this before but since I didn't make it to the finals I thought I would share my entry.

Happy to be in my comfort zone I was always a little afraid of change. My adult life started when I got married at 16 and become a mom. I was happy for a while until one day I was not. I reflected upon my life and started noticing the things I overlooked. I was such an optimistic person, I kept focusing on the positive and somehow that overshadowed the negative but there comes a point in your life when you can no longer gloss over things and you realise that you have to deal with them. I became depressed and even attempted suicide. What happened to happy me? Until one day I was 37 years old and asked for a divorce.

 He resisted, my family resisted and so I gave in…for a little while.
I tried to make him see that we were no longer happy and have not been for some time. I listed all the things I was unhappy about our relationship. His response was “I was like that when you married me, I haven’t changed.”  That was it right there, I kept thinking, no hoping things would change, that he would change but he never did. I told him the problem was that I had changed, I grew up. I wasn’t that little 16 year old girl anymore. I was a grown woman with wants and needs that were not being fulfilled within our marriage. I saw no way out other than freedom. I began to join social networks looking for friends who will be there for me when I leave. I told myself I can be an independent woman. I lied! I was scared, where would I go? My pride would not allow me to skulk back to my mom who was violently opposed to me leaving. What about my children? How will I sustain myself? I had never been on my own, ever. How do you leave everything that you have ever known your whole adult life? I began to doubt the fact that I deserved more. The uncertainty of the future was daunting.  And then I met HIM!

The him that changed everything!!! He encouraged me to be strong, he offered me shelter with no strings attached but all the while I fell deeper and deeper in love with him. We could not deny our feelings but tried to fight it for the sake of others, knowing that neither of us was in any position to start a new relationship until our current ones were completely in our past. I held back for a while, hesitated and procrastinated. Not realising that I was putting my happiness on hold for the sake of others. Until one day with help and a nudge from new friends and circumstances I jumped, head first into a new relationship, into an unknown future, into my happiness.  I have known more joy, seen more things, been to more places in the last 5 years with my new partner than I have ever experienced in my entire adult life.  Comfort zone? What’s that? Something designed to keep you stuck in a rut forever.

Don’t be afraid of an unknown future, sometimes life can surprise you with things you didn’t even know you were capable of. Talents you never knew you had until someone cared enough to encourage you to explore new avenues. I have a new job, I met siblings I knew of but never met until my partner helped me find them. My life is completely different and I am grateful every day for making that change because without it, I would still be that sad unhappy person I came to loathe.

I am once again optimistic about my future, my life, love and everything else in between. Sure I have bad days like everyone else but they are manageable with the right person by my side.

You can view the finalists of the BrightRock LoveChange competition here: BrightRock LoveChange finalists  my husband is one of them! :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My favourite restaurant

Day 8 #Blogvember: What is your favourite restaurant....

I initially didn't want to do this post as my blog is not for advertisement. I don't do blog giveaways and there is no advertisements on my blog. It is simply an outlet for me to share, regardless of whether anyone reads it or not. I didn't want to have this post seem like a giant advertisement for a particular establishment and so I procrastinated about it and now I am 3 days behind. So here goes...... my favourite restaurant and why.

So technically it's not really a restaurant, it's a pub. They do have a kitchen and they do serve food, so it's a pub slash restaurant and they serve awesome pizza. I love the Toad on the road because it is 2 minutes drive from home and only a 20 minute walk if for some reason I am unable to drive myself home. Their prices are reasonable, I know most of the waiters names and I love the gorgeous view of the mountain from the courtyard.

In a nutshell The Toad on the Road has become our home away from home.

Scott and I have spent many a happy night there people watching. It is our go to place when we have no plans but want to get out for a bit.

This is where we go to:

Have a few drinks
Eat a meal.
Celebrate a birthday, promotion, good day
Drown our sorrows when we have had a bad day.
Meet friends.
Have a bachelor party.
Unwind from the week/weekend.
Make bad decisions.

This is where our dignity is left some Sunday evenings and why Monday mornings hate The Toad.

The awesome downstairs bar

What I am watching right now....

Day 7 #Blogvember:

 Favourite TV series you are currently watching.....

My husband and I are not big on watching television. We have a TV but no aerial so it can't connect to any signal. It is used exclusively by his children as a monitor for watching DVDS.

Having said that, we do watch series that I download on my laptop. If we are really enjoying a series we tend to devour a whole season in the space of a few days.

We have seen most of the latest series out there but at present we are watching .....

Yes, I know we are a little late to this party, we are only on season 1 of Homeland but enjoying it so far.

Of course a blog post about a TV series would not be complete without a little mention of my favourite TV series of all time...

I just love this picture of Aaron Paul and Brian Cranston

Sunday, November 9, 2014

It's all about the shoes.....about the shoes.....no flats...

my standard work shoes

Day 6 #Blogvemebr.... Take a photo of your shoes...

What is it with women and shoes? I have no idea what the fascination is, but I am happy to say I am one of them. I am short, really short but when I have a pair of heels on I feel normal. I don't really like flats, they do nothing for my confidence. After a week of living with Scott back in 2010 I walked into the kitchen bare feet one night and he looked at me and said "Were you always this short?" That was the first time he had ever seen me without heels on. 

Obviously being a preschool teacher wearing heels to work is not really practical and for this reason I do have some flats, so in no particular order of importance here are my feelings on shoes as well as a few pics of the ones I have in my cupboard.

And of course if the shoe fits.....

And now for mine...

my wellies for rainy school days

And some of my favourite going out shoes...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

My favourite time of year

Day 5 #Blogvember....What is your favourite time of year...

December is without a doubt my favourite month for various reasons. The fact that my favourite season is Autumn (simply for the climate, not too warm and not too cold) doesn't taint the fact that December has it all.

As a teacher I get most of December off for school holidays, this means I get to spend time with my family and other teacher friends. Shopping for Christmas presents is always a good way to spend a day. I simply love shopping and presents. We also get really nice gifts from our students just before school closes which really ends the year on a high note. The weather is usually sunny which means, days at the beach or picnicking in the park. There is just so much more you can do with your family when the weather plays nice.

Also the best part of this time of year is that I get to see my best friend. She has been living overseas for far too many years now and only comes home for two weeks during December/January. I look forward to seeing her every year and when we get together, it's as if she never left.

me and Coleen my bff

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Top of my bucket list #Blogvember

Day 4 #Blogvember... Top of your bucket list

The funny thing about my bucket list, is that it keeps getting longer. I know that I'm meant to be ticking off things as I get around to them, but the longer I live the more things I seem to find to add to my list. At this rate I will never complete my bucket list and that's okay I reckon.

There is just so much life to live and the more I live it, the more I discover things I never even thought of before. I have such an appetite for living these days and I attribute it to my new found happiness, which brings me to the top of my list...

I am very happy with my life right now

Be happy!!! -tick!

There are some things I would really like to do, places I would love to go and experiences I want to share with my husband. So in no particular order listed below are a few more of my bucket list items:

Would love to do this

We live in Lakeside just 5 min away from Muizenberg...so Tick!

I love old buildings and art works

Other items that are on my list are things like;

Bungee jump
Be completely debt free
Financially stable
Dance at my great great granddaughters wedding....

And a whole lot more......

Monday, November 3, 2014


Day 3 #Blogvember.... Take a photo of handwriting....

If only I could write like this in real life.... sigh

A woman belongs in the...where?

Day 2 of #Blogvember....What is your guilty pleasure....

And there you have it, I just don't. Not because I can't but because I really don't enjoy it at all.

My feelings towards cooking go something like this:

And this:

This is what I would be like in the kitchen:

Lucky for me, I have a husband who doesn't mind cooking at all and that is why we work. We compromise and work together. I like to clean and don't mind doing all the household chores as long as I don't ever have to cook. That is my guilty pleasure......that I can sit on the sofa and chat to him while he cooks. Also there is just something so sexy about a man in the kitchen, whipping up a delicious meal for you while you sit on the sofa and sip wine.

Boxes full of boxes.......#Blogvember

Day 1 of #Blogvember.... What do you collect...

I have a confession.......I am a hoarder! I love to keep silly little things like....ribbon from a gift, wrapping paper, containers, stationary and various other items that usually end up sitting around the house and collecting dust. Some years ago I decided I was going to be super organised and de-clutter by using storage containers, much like the ones pictured above. I have over the years collected more boxes, baskets and containers for storage than I have things to store in them. In short I have boxes full of boxes.

My thought on this is: rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. The problem of course, is that I have many things that I haven't needed for a long time and although I try (at least twice a year ) to throw out things I haven't used for a while, I still have waaaaaaaaay too much stuff.

I attribute my hoarding to the fact that I have an addictive personality and that I am a preschool teacher. Preschool teachers can find creative uses for almost anything that the average person would call waste. We can turn almost any old item into a work of art. I also think that the recent trend to upcycle things has added to my need to keep (hoard) things.  I am not even going to mention Pinterest!!!! OK I just did but you know what, one day, maybe one day I will get around to filling all those boxes, I may even label them with colour coded stickers (the ones I have been storing in a drawer somewhere for that very reason).

#Blogvember challenge

I love a challenge and I very often want to blog but have no idea what to say. I have very many opinions on oodles of stuff but just never sure how to articulate them. So I decided to join the #Blogvember challenge.... it goes like this..........

So watch this space!