Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Baby

Here she is.....she wakes me up any time between 3 and 4 am every morning, I take her outside, and she goes back to sleep again shortly after. She is really quite good, now that we have moved her crate into our bedroom....she no longer howls for the WHOLE night!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Jingle comes to stay.

Well, Christmas has come early in our the form of a little 8 week old Dashund puppy. Her name is Jingle (as you can guess, for obvious reasons....)

I do not have any photos of her yet, as my few feeble attempts have come out blurred and hazy, due to the fact that she is too fast, and doesn't stay in one spot long enough to capture her!

I will try again, of course. And post the photos for you all to see. She is really cute, and is now the star of the house. She likes to chew the bottom branches of the christmas tree, and any thing she can find, including my necklace, which she seems to have a penchant for! And we put her in her doggy crate to sleep last night and she cried for 10 minutes, and we never heard her again the whole night......I awoke at 3 am with thoughts that something had happened to her, because I couldn't believe she was so quiet! And at 7 am this morning I went in to find her sleeping on her bed, but happy to see me.

We are otherwise ready for Christmas, I would like to make some fruit mince pies if I can though, and presents need to be wrapped. I thought I'd end off with a little video once again (I do apologise for all the Tangle vid's, but they have helped in bringing in the Christmas cheer n'all).

The reason I enjoyed this one, was because of the way they end their song. I just love Toto's "Africa" song....I will admit to feeling rather homesick when I heard it. In South Africa at this time of year, everyone is outside in the heat, and sun. Barbeques, or 'Braais' as we call them in SA, abound, and one cannot drive anywhere on a weekend without smelling the aroma of grilled steak, and 'boerewors'. There's nothing like it!

Friday, December 18, 2009

That's what it means to me.

This little video made me smile.

There are people all around me arguing about the details of Christmas, should we celebrate it, shouldn't we? Was it really in December, or not? Should we be saying Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays?

One thing I know.....Jesus was born, I don't know exactly when. And without His life, and life would be meaningless. That's what I know. That's what I celebrate, and why I celebrate.

The Christmas tree, the decorations, the christmas cookies, and stockings on the mantlepiece.....they are all things my family has done since I was little. They are not of paramount importance to why I choose to celebrate, if you took them all away I would still be thankful for Jesus. And I would still celebrate His life. That's what Christmas means to me.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'm dreaming of a BRIGHT Christmas........

Coming from a land that doesn't really decorate their homes much for Christmas, which is most likely due to the fact that no-one can see the houses from the road because of the 6 foot walls around them. It truly is a delight to see some of the streets here being lit up for the festive season. Some homes go to more effort than others, and I'm convinced that some streets can be seen from the space station! But they are really worth looking at.

We will be taking a tour through some of the suburbs next week to see some more of the really wonderful lights, and that will be another post for another this space!

In the meantime, however, I thought I'd give y'all a glimpse at the effort some people go to with their Christmas lights....really amazing!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's Christmas time........

It's Christmas time, and my white board in the kitchen has now become a "Countdown to Christmas" board instead of a "helping-me-keep-track-of-my-kids-school-life" board! They have marked the day we had snow in Houston, there are christmas trees and stars adorning it too.

Yes, my kids are excited....super-excited.

In the midst of this, however, I have been racking my brain trying to find ways of bringing  their focus off the presents ONLY, and onto more important things.  One thing we have decided to do this year, is to make a "present" for Jesus. Each one of us will be making a gift in some form or the other, from our heart. Something we want to give to Jesus to show Him our love and thankfulness for Him. I told the kids we all have to do it on our own, anything we want, and we will wrap it up, and put it under the Christmas tree. Then on Christmas Day we will open Jesus' present first, and tell everyone else what and why we chose to give Him what we did.

I have NO idea, what my kids have decided to do, and look forward to seeing what they choose to give Jesus on Christmas morning. I'm not sure if they even understand what I am trying to get through to them. But I do hope it gets them thinking more about the King of Kings, and a little less about the latest Wii game.

Obviously Kellan has been giving this whole idea some thought though. Because last night during supper, he came up to us and very seriously said, "Mommy, but Jesus is not gonna get a surprise when I show Him my present, because he can see EVERYTHING!!"

Out of the mouth of babes............

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cafe owners VS "Mama's"

So back home in South Africa, people are gearing up towards the 2010 World Cup Soccer. As far as I have heard from family and friends, electricity is getting more expensive, roads are a nightmare as there are road works everywhere in anticipation of all the traffic. Hotels are renovating and extending. Tourism companies are going all out to advertise and pull in overseas visitors. School holidays are being readjusted to coincide with the big soccer event. And I'm sure the street vendors and traffic-light intersection vendors are preparing 2010 memorabilia to hound the public.

But in spite of all the worries, concerns and scepticism, there is an underlying excitement and I personally can't wait to see the opening ceremony.

I came across this South African advert for the 2010 World Cup, and found it so funny and familiar. For all my South African readers who are still in SA, you will have seen it  already, but for those of you who are away from home, I hope you enjoy it and relate to it like I did, it's a real taste of home ( I especially like the "mama" balancing and carrying the soccer ball on her head.....priceless!!)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ice-Cutters Christmas

After Thanksgiving, we decided to check out an event that was called 'The Ice-Cutter's Christmas".
It's a family who open up their ranch to the public, and decorate it with christmas lights, and ice-sculptures. T.Jay Maclaskey has been an ice-sculpturer for many years, and now uses the sculptures as their own Christmas decorations. They manufacture their own blocks of ice, instead of buying them, and their ice-sculptures have been published in 'Country Living Magazine'. You can see more of their ice art here.  But here are a few I took myself..

 We went on a hay ride around the ranch to look at all the Christmas lights, and the kids had a go on the illuminated bungee-trampolines (what a mouthful...).
And then, we were treated to a display of how this huge block of ice gets transformed into a delightful toy soldier. He had us mesmerized, and made it look so easy. We were all itching to have a go, if not to just hack at the ice with the chain-saw!! And it looked like such fun!

This was the final product after he put a blow-torch to the sculpture, to give it a perfectly transparent and crystal clear appearance.

And to top off the evening, all the leftover ice shavings (which now resembled snow), gets loaded into big cooler boxes, and the kids get to have a snowball fight! We didn't go prepared for this however, and after about 2 minutes, I had 2 moaning kids holding out their frozen, numb hands, complaining that the snow was too cold?????

Anyhow, it was a great evening, and we'll definitely go back next year.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


We are thankful!

We are thankful for every new day, new adventures, new memories being made and old ones cherished. We are thankful for each other.

We are thankful for our first thanksgiving meal in this new country.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday, and one I think we will come to love as other Americans do.
Just a relaxed day of family and feasting.

I made the turkey and stuffing, and we all sat down and enjoyed the time together. We have now eaten enough turkey to last us to next year, so the thought of making anything with the leftover turkey meat and carcass is just too much for me. No turkey stock, no turkey soup....enough turkey.


I tried to make the table look a little festive, although I don't have much of a clue how it's supposed to look.

Kellan has been moaning that we don't eat at the normal" dining table but at the smaller table in the breakfast nook, so we took this chance to make it special for them too.

Serious turkey talk........

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

That's what little boys are made of.

So I have decided I need to buy myself a shot gun.....yes, they are legal in Texas (I just googled it!). And no, I did not wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

The reason for my sudden interest in the purchase of a fire-arm has been due to my (only recently turned) 6 year old son.

Now, now....before you all have the child protection unit showing up at my door, let me explain!

Since starting school in August, it seems my son has become quite the little ladies man!! Every few days he would return home talking about a lovely young lady in his class that seems to have befriended him. There was one, then another, and then another.

Then he would start asking us if one of these young ladies could come over to play. Now I was starting to get worried! He nagged and nagged.
Then I received an email from one of these girls' mother, asking if Connor could come and play one afternoon at her daughters house. He was to be the only boy with 3 girls.

This wasn't so funny any more. (I'm a mother, for crying out loud!)

Anyway, as it happens we already had plans to go to the childrens theatre, so he never ended up at the play date. Much to his consternation.

The other day, I got asked by him to buy a toy he'd seen on the TV recently, it was a girls toy, and before I started to get worried, he quickly informed me it was for the new friend he had made, so that when she came to play at our house, she would have a toy to play with.......he had rendered me speechless at this point!

And now, to top it all off, he arrived home from school, and promptly took a little scrap of paper out of his bag, and on it was a phone number, complete with the number 2's written backwards, mind you. It seemed he and his new friend had decided they were taking matters into their own hands, and were now swopping phone numbers! do I go about acquiring a gun seems I'll have need of one in a few years time, just to keep these girls at bay.....oh my!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanksgiving...the Koeksisters way!

Thanksgiving is next week Thursday. So it will be our first family thanksgiving holiday ever! And today I got a really good taste (literally and figuratively) of what thanksgiving is all about.

Because today was The Koeksisters thanksgiving lunch!

For my non-South African readers, let me first start of by explaining what a koeksister is. The actual koeksister (and not the wonderful bunch of ladies who meet here in The Woodlands), looks something like this.........

"A koeksister comes from the Dutch word koekje, the diminutive of
koek meaning "cake". It is a South African syrup-coated doughnut in a
twisted or braided shape (like a plait). It is prepared by deep-frying dough
in oil, then dipping the fried dough into cold sugar syrup. Best eaten cold,
koeksisters are very sticky and sweet and taste like honey. Koeksisters are
of Cape Malay origin. The Afrikaner version is much more syrupy and crispy
while the Cape Malay version's texture is more like that of a cake, spicier,
and usually covered in dried coconut. There is also a difference in
spelling, the latter generally referred to as koesister.. "
:- Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

Hope that helped .......(isn't it amazing what you can learn from reading this blog, you can't say I'm not educating y'all!)

Now, the Koeksisters that I have had the great delight in meeting, and who get together once a month, are a fantastic bunch of ladies who all hail from South Africa. They have been a great source of help and encouragement to me, and today was no exception.

A super time was had by all, we laughed, we shared what we were all thankful for, and we ate.....boy, did we eat! It was a veritable feast!

So, I finally remembered to take my camera along with me, and took a few shots of the occasion, I wasn't going to let this event pass by without sharing it with you all.

Here's a few photos, you can click on the collage to view them larger........ the way....that long green stick-like-thing with the green-balls on... (bottom right corner) is actually a Brussel sprout stalk!! Go figure!!! I would never have known they grew like I said before, you never know what you'll learn on this here blog!!

So, thanks ladies - it was a great way to have my first thanksgiving experience!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Signs of life

I have taken to looking around my garden lately....with the fall taking it's toll on the leaves and trees, there is more nature lying on my drive way than on the branches. But it's such a beautiful time of year, the mornings here are crisp and cool, yet the sky is still bright blue. It's a treat to be able to take pictures like these, that shows that nature is still fighting the cold to put on one last display of beauty.....

And these were taken in Discovery Green park, in downtown Houston.

It's fast becoming one of my favourite parks, so much to look at with nature right in the midst of the buildings of concrete and glass .

And last week Wednesday was Veterans day, and even though we are not Americans, there was something really touching about waking up that morning to find that someone had put American flags on every lawn, on every street in our area. You couldn't help but feel a sense of pride, it was special.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ferry to Crystal Beach

My, I've been away from my blog for what seems like forever, and now I've forgotten how to do things! And we have finally managed to kick out all the gremlins in my computer, and many tears and dollars later, have installed Windows 7 and peace reigns in my home once again! (I am miserable without my computer!)
Well, all that aside, let me share with y'all some pics from our ferry trip across the gulf waters from Galveston Island to Crystal beach. It was a lovely day, and we'd read about the ferry, so decided to try it for ourselves and do a bit of exploring.
It was great fun! We were fortunate not to have long queues, and were able to drive the car straight onto the ferry, the boys seemed rather intrigued by this idea, and as soon as all the cars were on board, we hopped out of the car and stood outside to check out the scenery. We passed the battleship and submarine museums that we decided we have to visit next time around. And were joined by some friendly dolphins who were playing very close to the waves around us, it was great, and the kids really loved it. It took about 20 minutes to get to the other side, and once there, we drove for a while till we came to Crystal beach. It wasn't as pretty as we'd thought it was going to be, but it was very quiet and peaceful! Naturally the kids moaned because we wouldn't let them swim, but we figured they would probably only last in the sea momentarily before moaning they were too cold!
Then, it was time to hop back on the ferry and show my mother around Galveston some more. However, it seemed that we had timed our trip to coincide with a Halloween motorbike rally. We were convinced that every biker in Houston descended upon Galveston that day! And eventually it just became too much, getting around the town was a nightmare, and some of those bikers were just downright scary! We didn't fancy getting on the wrong side of some of those dudes, I can tell you. So we made our way out of there as soon as we could, and found ourselves in Kemah.
But that's tomorrows story...........

Friday, November 6, 2009


Yes, I have been AWOL for the last few days, please accept my humble apologies. We have had a week of sick family members (myself included) and once again my computer has decided to take a few sick days of it's own. I am now thoroughly irritated with it, and my current answer is to throw the darn thing out the window!!

I'm sure sanity will prevail, however.

Or maybe not......

Anyway, computer woes aside, I am now quickly typing this to let y'all know I am alive and kicking, and will hopefully add more later. Got a lot to tell y'all about....out weekend trip Galveston, and Kemah. And my sons 6 birthday, and my last Koeksusters meeting.

So stay tuned.... I will be back!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Lavatory laments.

If you are prone to a weak stomach and toilet talk, then stop reading and go have a cup of tea, and come back tomorrow! Today I'm sharing with y'all my lavatory laments.
It's gonna get ugly!

No, this isn't a post about my bowel movements, but rather about the very sad state of my blocked toilet this morning, and my even sadder attempts at trying to unblock it! Let me start by telling y'all that I am convinced the toilets here in the US are not built to flush more than a few sheets of toilet paper at a time, and that's one-ply to boot!

No matter where we have stayed since our time here, whether it 's been in the apartment, hotels or here in the house, the toilets are all the same.......those darn things just keep getting blocked! I now have a wonderful, black, rubbery toilet plunger-thingie ready for the next emergency. And so far, it hasn't failed me yet!
Until today.
Today no amount of plunging and sweating and grumbling under my breath could dislodge whatever was down in there. I tried, I waited, I tried again, I waited. No, it ain't gonna happen, I thought. So what do you think I did next?
That's right, I went to my old faithful, and Googled it!! Don't you just love Google? But I have to admit that I've never Googled a question like how to unblock a toilet before. I just wanted to get some other advice, before resorting to an expensive plumber or drain cleaner. And I could not imagine the wealth of advice and tips to be found on this subject. It seems it's a common enough problem alright, which further confirmed my suspicions about the sensitive toilets here. And it was there I learnt about something called a toilet auger. Now, I had no idea what this gadget was, but everyone was giving it rave reviews, so that sold me! Off I went, with mother in tow, to find a toilet auger at Lowe's.
I was expecting a few items stuck in a corner of the store somewhere......this is what I found....

............ a whole assortment of toilet unblocking products. It was like looking at the breakfast cereal aisle in Wal-Mart! What variety...what choice.....wait a minute we're talking about toilet drain cleaners!!! Well, there was every kind of cleaner imaginable. I found the one I was looking for, amid laughter and amusement between my mother and I, come on.....some of these things looked like instruments of torture for crying out loud! Next, I had to find a pair of long-sleeved gloves, if you know what I'm talking about! And off we went back home, to put our new purchase to good use!

I had to dress for the part. PVC gloves, old clothes and even contemplated wearing my hubby's gas mask (more for effect I'll admit!). And soon I was winding and pushing, and winding. To cut a very long, and not so pleasant story short, I eventually heard the sweet, sweet sound of gurgling water, as the blockage miraculously shifted, and I could once again flush away. What joy!

I could rest after a good scrubbing down later, and enjoy a cup of tea, knowing that I had conquered the commode, or latrine or whatever you wanna call it!!
I am the toilet auger queen!!

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Just some chit-chit.

Following on from our interesting day on Saturday, we decided to try out the children's Theatre on Sunday. Now I'm a big theatre fan, and it seems I'm passing on my love to my children. They loved to go to the theatre in South Africa. So they were very excited about our upcoming theatre trip, to see Robin Hood!

Now the actors are all children, some as young as 5-6 years old, but they were jolly good. The older lead actors were about 16. They danced and sang through 2 hours of merriment. And we all enjoyed it. Now the kids want to go to next production of Aladdin, so it seems they're hooked!

To change the subject a tad, today I went to the hair salon. Nothing that exciting I know you must be thinking, well yes, that may be so. But I just happen to hate going to the hair salon. And in the past 8 months since arriving in the States, I haven't stepped a foot into one. So yes, you can only imagine the current state of shapeless nothingness my hair style has been. In fact to call it a 'style' would be wishful thinking! So like it or not, it was time to pay my local salon a visit. I looked something like this.........


I think the reason I hate going to the salon, is mainly because I'm never sure how I want it cut, and then 9 times out of ten, I walk out looking nothing like I wanted to! Is it just me? Does anyone else ever feel like this?

Anyway, I ventured in and an hour later emerged feeling much lighter! Oh yes, it did feel nice to have a good trim! I can't remember the last time my hair was this short, but I do love it. Should have done it ages ago!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The end of a thing, is better than the beginning thereof!

What words can I use to explain the festival we went to last Saturday.....I'm just not sure!

I was trying to post this last night, and add some photo's, but alas...I ended up deleting the photos from my camera BEFORE downloading them onto my computer......don't ask....I have NO idea how I did it, and I ended up battling with Picasa the whole night! Thus no photos today! So you are all going to have to use your imagination, as I am not going back to take more photos! One trip to the Texas Renaissance Festival was enough for me, and my mother, and my children!

Let me elaborate.

I had searched the Internet for fun, family events over the weekend, as Hubby was studying for his exam he finally wrote yesterday (that's a post for another day). So we needed to get out of the house in order for him to have some quiet.

I had found the Texas Renaissance Festival, and it was supposed to be a pirate themed weekend, which I thought my boys would love. I was advertised as being fun for young and old alike, as people dress up in the theme, and there was supposed to be rides and fun things for kids to do.
Well...... we bought the tickets (which were not cheap either), and off we went, early Saturday morning. There were crowds of people streaming in, and a lot of them dressed up in costume. At first, all seemed well, until we got further into the park. And my mother and I started to see some VERY scantily clad ladies (young AND old, mind you) parading around very casually, in medieval theme (i think it supposed to be anyway). We though it might get better, so we started to look for things for the kids to do, and found about 4 sparse games that were geared to young kids. Like a "cage" that the kids were supposed to crawl through. That's it, no prize, no excitement, no surprise at the end, just a crawl through a cage. And it cost $3-00 per climb through a cage????

We moved on.

The next thing was a round about, that cost $3-00 each, but looked a tad fast for my young ones. So we looked some more.

The only thing my kids went on was a log that they sat on, and were given pillows to knock each other off the log. It lasted 1 minute and cost $4-00. I know I shouldn't have paid that for it, but by this time all I wanted was for the kids to have a little fun, and feel like I was getting my monies worth for the tickets we paid for. Oh, and they went on a "ride" that was manually pushed by a worker there.

So, needless to say, we were very disappointed, and I really felt like I had wasted my money! And we weren't the only ones, as many other families were leaving when we were. We were on our way out, when we saw a parade of quite a few of those scantily clad ladies who must have been in some competition of some sorts. But when I say scantily clad, believe me they were barely dressed. It left little, if nothing to the imagination. Which might have been fine for all the adults standing around watching, but I didn't like it for my 6 and 8 year old boys let me tell you!

We left, and ended up at good ole "Incredible Pizza", and for those of you who aren't familiar with it, it's like a mixture of Magic Company, and Pizza Hut combined! Great fun for the kids, and a whole lot more family friendly! No wandering half naked maidens around there I can tell you!

Later in the evening My mother and I had been invited for supper and games at a couple in our church, and it was great to meet some more American folk, and just had some good ole fun! We had a really wonderful time, and came home exhausted, but happy! As the saying applies to us, the end of the day was truly better than the beginning!

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Monday, October 19, 2009

My beef!

I have a beef!

That's right, and I don't whinge a lot on this blog, so you are just gonna have to let me get on with it. Although I could say it's more a unanswered question than a genuine beef. But anyway, if someone out there can correct or inform me, I will be only too grateful!

My mother, as you probably know, is out here on vacation from the UK. And she had to get some currency changed when she arrived. We found a foreign exchange store at the airport when we went to collect her, but due to excitement and the hour and a half wait for her to get through customs, we forgot to go there.

So, plan B was to try and find the closest foreign exchange to where we stay. Easier said than done!
We tried our bank....they couldn't help us, and didn't even know where to go either.
Then I googled it, and saw that a hotel close to us exchanged currencies. I thought it a bit odd that a hotel would do that, but hope prevailed, and off we went.
No, they couldn't help us either!

Well, back to google I went, and this time I found another bank who said they could change currency. So off we went once again, and this time the nice lady said, "Why, sure we can help you!" I almost jumped over the counter and kissed her.
But, good thing I didn't, as her very next sentence was..."You do need an account at this bank of course...."
Last I checked , my British mother, and first time visitor to America didn't have an account here!
Apparently, by now, the nice lady could see the frustration plastered all over my face, and gave me a brochure of all the foreign exchange centres in Houston. There were three. That's right...three!!

Now firstly, I couldn't believe that in the whole of Houston, there are only three places one can change currency, and secondly, why-oh-why are they all in downtown Houston? Surely they must be all over the place?

Apparently not!

So, after all that, it was back to the airport we go! (I was not ready to deal with downtown traffic, highway changes and GPS malfunctions just yet!!)

And that, dear friends, is the end of my sad saga! Although it did have a happy mother did manage to change her money, and I conquered my first highway expedition.
So I suppose, all's well, that end's well!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


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I am mobile once again......what joy!!!
I collected my car on Saturday, and let dear husband drive it home (alright.....I haven't had the courage to drive on the Interstate yet!!). But once we were home, I took it out for a spin, and it is lovely. Truly!!
And what space!! For those of you who remember me riding around Johannesburg in my green Mazda Midge a.k.a "the little green bomb", then you will appreciate how spacious this car really is. I feel like the Captain of the Starship Enterprise.....(I know, I DO need to get out more!)
My kids think it's "so cool", and all the space to move is really fun, and the fact that they have a choice of chairs is such a novelty!
Our only dilemma, is the fact that since the acquisition of the new car, our garage seems to have shrunk. No kidding!!
We have since learned how to become contortionists. As you can tell from the way we climb and bend our way in and out of the cars, once they are parked side by side in the garage. I have decided that the trick is to do it on an empty stomach. And forget trying to do it in a lady-like's NOT gonna happen!
But who cares??? I'm on the move...I have a car!

Friday, October 9, 2009


Full MoonImage by auburnxc via Flickr

My mother and I have spent the most part of yesterday and today pondering the latest efforts by NASA to blow up the moon. they weren't really trying to blow it up. But when they tell me they are sending a rocket that weighs 2.2 tons into the surface of the moon, it sounds to me like they are gonna blow it up!

We did laugh about this, whilst drinking our 3rd cup of tea for the day. C'mon....this is serious tea drinking conversation here!!! We asked questions like........have we not caused enough damage down here, without starting to blow things up, up there? Have they not seen enough apocalyptic-Hollywood-blockbuster movies riddled with special effects, to maybe even wonder if bombing the moon would be a good idea or not? Will the moon really spin out of orbit and wreak havoc on our tides and seas? Should we have another cup of tea? (Like I said.....serious questions!!!)

Anyway, as it turns out, all of our concerns proved unfounded. (Well as far as they've told us anyhow!)
The earth is still turning, the tides are, and the moon is still hanging beautifully in the sky! I prefer it that way! It works!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Our first visitor!

Its safe to say that the longest I have ever waited for someone to come through customs at the airport was hour and a half to be precise!

We were at the Houston Airport to fetch my mother from the UK. She's here on a 6 week holiday. And it's her first time to the US. So we were pretty excited to be collecting her. And aside from the long wait at the airport, she arrived safe & sound.

The kids were so excited to see her, they spent the afternoon making welcome posters to hold for her as she came through the airport. And they started off waving those posters around very enthusiastically! However, as we waited.....and waited....AND waited, they kinda lost their focus, and ended up counting the luggage trolleys instead!

Nevertheless, we are all happy to have family visiting, and I am counting the sleeps till I collect my car.......5 more to go!!

Another bonus, is the gift of British chocolate my mother brought with her....Galaxy AND Cadbury' that's chocolate!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday update

friday Pictures, Images and Photos

Don't cha just love Fridays?

I do! The knowledge that I don't have to get up before the sun, two days full of non-weekday-activities....heaven!

It's been a rather busy two days, well considering my life is pretty uneventful, any activity out of the norm is a BIG OCCASION!! For starters, Thursday was my birthday, and dear hubby decided to take the day off and took me out for breakfast and a movie. Good start!!

Then I asked him if we could stop off at a store I had been wanting to check out for a while. It's called Michaels and it's a craft idea of a shopping sanctuary! Being an artsy-crafty person, there's nothing I love more, than to browse through an arts or crafts store, whilst drooling at the endless things I could create! And this is just that kind of place. Scrap booking, beads and jewellery making, art stuff, knitting, framing, a craft, and they have it! I only managed to check out about a third of the store really well before reality caught up with us, and we had to dash off to fetch the kids when they came off the school bus. But the little time I had there was enough to permanently etch itself in my memory....I'll be back!!

The rest of the afternoon was spent with extra tuition for Kellan, and then Open House at the kids school. That's where the kids show us all the work they've done so far, and take us around their class and school.

Then this morning I had my first experience of doing school volunteering duty. This basically entailed helping the teacher with group reading , and then doing odd jobs around the class that freed him up to do more productive teaching!! Was an educational experience for me, seeing how they do things in the school, and I really enjoyed it.

Another milestone crossed today, is that Andrew got his Texas drivers license. Woohoo!! Now I just have to get mine..... But that's a blog for another day!!
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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My son.....

The inevitable has happened.....the words that pierce a mother right through the heart. They came from my oldest boy, Kellan. He's eight years old, that's right eight!
Let me set up the scene for you.
I was letting him know one afternoon, that I would be coming to his class this Friday, in my very first school volunteer opportunity. In South Africa, parents don't get to do that, in fact the Principle of the school Kellan was in there, made the statement that he doesn't want the parents anywhere on the school property!! (Maybe he was having a bad morning?)
Well, Kellan sits back and ponders on this news for a while, while mother dearest waits in anticipation for squeals of joy to emanate from his mouth. And these were his following words....
"Mom, just don't embarrass me okay???"
What is that???? I know I was bound to hear these words eventually, but come on....he's eight years old! Eight!! Well, Kellan took one look at my face and started smiling innocently. I couldn't help it, I just started laughing, and asked him what actions he would consider "embarrassing"? He shrugged his shoulders slightly and looking down at his feet mumbled......"I don't know Mommy?"
So I asked him if I came into his class, grabbed him by the cheeks and kissed him all over his face while saying "Hello, my baby!!!" over and over - would that embarrass him?
He looked up at me and very firmly said "YES Mommy!!!!
I'm seriously considering buying a disguise...... you know, those ones like Tom Cruise wears on his 'Mission Impossible' movies. And maybe getting a voice altering device. I can see I'm gonna be using them a lot in the next few years!

Monday, September 28, 2009


I've had a few days of sick children, and probably ended up catching their bug too, so it's been about 4 days of coughing and blocked sinuses. Medicine, nasal sprays and hugs as well. But kids are once again off to school, and the house is crying out for some attention. However, I thought I'd first catch everyone up on what's been happening in the Hersey home lately. (I will get to the housework.....I promise!!)

The kids are doing really well in school. They love, really!! I kid you not!! Never thought I'd hear myself say that, but it's true. They seem to have gotten used to the longer school hours, as opposed to what they were used to in South Africa. They have made friends, and are now starting to say "class" with an american accent! Some things haven't changed however, it seems the game of "kissing catches" is universal, as Connor has been playing here just like he did in SA. Lets hope it's a health conscious version of the game, what with the school worrying about swine flu etc, etc.

The only hiccup we have had to deal with, is Kellan's reading level. It seems SA is much further behind in this area, and Kellan has to have some extra tuition in order to catch up with the other kids in the class. It's actually quite concerning to me just how behind South Africa is, in this regard. I cannot vouch for Private schools in SA, as we only had experience in Public schools. But, I'm trusting he'll be caught up real soon.

Last week, I was invited by some neighbours, whom we have recently discovered are South African expats too, to a ladies get-together. They are all from SA, and call themselves "The Koeksusters". It was really nice getting together with them, and finding some answers on questions I've had since arriving in the US. It was basically the first social get together I've had since we've been here, and because I haven't made any other friends yet, it was great to mix, and meet other people. We had soup and salad, which is a very American lunch menu, and at first seemed a strange mix to me, but I'm really getting into it now. Especially brocolli and cheese soup...yum! It was very encouraging, and in the midst of all my homesickness, and loneliness, it gave me hope that soon I will have friends, and the homesickness will start to subside.
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Computer bugs and Witty Wednesday

Well, apologies for AGAIN getting behind in my blog. My computer decided my life wasn't interesting enough, and caught a Trojan Virus.......nasty little things these viruses!!

So after moving all my documents onto an external hard-drive, and removing EVERYTHING off the computer, we were able to get rid of the nasty and then had to reload all the programmes and documents once again, sans virus!!

So that held us up for a few days. And now my little computer is loaded to the max with high-tech anti-virus software, that annihilates anything that even thinks it's a virus. Nothing is getting past this baby!!

Once again, it is Witty Wednesday. And I especially needed something to make me smile, what with the computer saga behind me. I saw this little video, entitled "Are Women Born This Way?". It did succeed in bringing a smile to my face.

Maybe this is the evidence man has been waiting for, as proof of the fact that women do talk three times as much as men do......even at this age.

Friday, September 18, 2009

What do YOU think of this?

Well, I read a disturbing article this morning. About an Arizona couple who were accused of sexually abusing their children, after some "partially nude" bath-time photos were found on a memory card stick taken to Walmart to be processed.

Now, from what I read, the photos were innocent photos taken during bath-time play while on vacation in San Diego. The children were 1 and a half, 4 and 5. The photos were shown to police, and the parents were not allowed to see their children for a few days, and did not regain custody of them for a month, while the state did their investigations.

The parents are now suing Walmart and the state, for making defamatory comments that they had sexually abused their children and taken "pornographic" photos of them.

Now, one can argue they should or shouldn't have taken the photo's to the store to be processed, and instead have printed them privately. But my goodness, can you imagine the trauma the whole family must have gone through during this whole ordeal? I can't begin to imagine how I would feel if this had happened to me? Now, I have taken bath-time photos of my kids before, granted they were babies, and young infants at the time....they wouldn't let me come near them with a camera now while they were bathing! But never would I have dreamt that something like this could have happened. It sure does make you think twice about what you take to get processed now.

I just found the whole story very upsetting, putting myself in the shoes of those parents, and trying to imagine how they were feeling while their kids were not in their care. It's a terrible thought.

You can read the full article here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Witty Wednesdays

Wednesdays are odd days. It's halfway through the week, still two more days to go until the weekend. And it's sometimes hard to get motivated to push through.

I know I could do with a smile or laugh in the middle of the week to help me feel good about Wednesdays! So I have decided to officially declare Wednesdays my "Witty Wednesday" day!! (well, on my blog anyway!).

I hope you get a smile out of this video....he's one of my favourites.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What's America talking about?

These are a few of the Buzz words, and things that have and still are getting America talking....

  1. 9/11 last week, saw memorials and programmes being shown all over the TV. Still gets to me, even though I've seen the TV footage many times. I still recoil in horror seeing people jumping out of the windows, and seeing those planes fly into the twin towers like they were made of Lego. Unimaginable, and still very, very sad!
  2. 1 year anniversary of Hurricane Ike, that ploughed through Galveston and Houston. It was 420 miles in diameter and devastated the coast line, causing extensive flooding and $32 billion in damage. Crews are continuing to pluck shipping containers, sunken boats and other debris from Galveston Bay.
  3. Michael Jackson is still making some headlines here, although maybe it's his family more so. Latoya Jackson, especially, for saying she believes her brother was murdered, and that Michael himself predicted he would be murdered.
  4. Serena Williams for her outburst on the court over the weekend. But she has since apologised.
  5. Kanye West for his outburst on the Music Video Awards. And he has also apologised.
  6. Lady Gaga, for her very strange ensemble at said Music Video Awards.Lady Gaga was best dressed! Hahaha
    (Photo by John Carson on Buzznet)
  7. The death of "Dirty Dancing" star Patrick Swayze, at age 57. I can't even begin to count how many times I have seen that movie. (yes....I am one of those people!)
  8. Caster Semenya it seems has the sympathy of the American folk, in general. And people don't want to see her loose her Gold Medal.
  9. The new American Idols judge, Ellen DeGeneres. It sounds like a lot of people like the idea of her being the new judge, and hope she'll bring some humour to the show.
  10. The new US Open winner, Juan Martin Del Potro, who beat former 5 time champ Roger Federer.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Chicago dances

So I'm not really an Oprah fan, but I did love this. A Flash-mob dance, (no, it's not anything obscene, don't worry!) that is apparently the biggest one to date. Yes, they stage these things all over the place, so I've learnt. And Oprah knew nothing about it, for once it seemed, they got something past her! It was to mark the start of the 24th season of her show, and 21,000 fans joined in with the Black Eyed Peas, who were also in on the surprise.

I liked the fact that at the start of the song, no-one was dancing or looked like they were having fun except for one lone lady in the front. (I wonder what Oprah was thinking then??) But then things picked up.........the explanation of how 21,000 people pulled it off follows after the dance.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bokomo, Mrs Balls and Bovril

I know it's serious when dear husband berates me for getting slack with my blog! *hanging my head in shame*

However, I have finally found some semblance of order, and routine. And we even manage to fit in an evening bike ride. And now we all have tennis racquet's and Andrew has been teaching Kellan "some moves". He really seems keen to learn, so we will probably end up putting him in a tennis programme at the local Recreation centre. The kids really look forward to the evening ride now, and are enjoying school, so they are doing really well.

On a different note, we had a delivery the other day.....what joy!!! The parcel from the South African Food Shop.....woohoo!

Since Kellan is a HUGE Pronutro fan, and you cannot find anything like that here at all (which is amazing considering the ENORMOUS selection of cereals here!), we decided to buy 5 boxes. 5 BOXES!!! .....I hear you say.....yes..... well considering we got the delivery less than a week ago, and we are already on our 2nd box, I don't think 5 boxes is a lot...really!!

Naturally we had to have Mrs. Balls chutney....duh! Peck's Anchovette Paste hasn't gone down badly either!

A little taste of South Africa......nice!

Monday, September 7, 2009

I love long weekends!

Labor union parade, NY., May 1, 1911 (LOC)Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

Well, in honour of today's Labor Day public holiday, I thought I'd find out for myself what it's all about.
And thought I'd pass on the information to y'all too. (Whether you wanted to know or not!!)

So here is today's American History lesson courtesy of The Herseys! (don't say you never learn anything from our blog!!)

I cheated a bit and have inserted a piece from the History Web site, but if you feel that way inclined you can learn more from their web site here.

"As the Industrial Revolution took hold of the nation, the average American in the late 1800s worked 12-hour days, seven days a week in order to make a basic living. Children were also working, as they provided cheap labor to employers and laws against child labor were not strongly enforced.

With the long hours and terrible working conditions, American unions became more prominent and voiced their demands for a better way of life. On Tuesday September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers marched from city hall to Union Square in New York City, holding the first-ever Labor Day parade. Participants took an upaid day-off to honor the workers of America, as well as vocalize issues they had with employers. As years passed, more states began to hold these parades, but Congress would not legalize the holiday until 12 years later."

That's it in a very brief nutshell!

Most families however see this day as the last long weekend of the summer
months! And I see that many stores here are having Labor Day sales, so I suppose many will spend their day in the mall.

We, however, will just be chilling out. And maybe look at getting out and exploring a bit.
I love long weekends!

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I love my GPS, I love my GPS......really!!

Well, you probably know by now the love/hate relationship I have with our GPS....if not, you can read about it here.

I have tried to make piece with "Roz", she has after all, helped us out of some sticky situations. (I choose to forget the times when she lost her cool with us, and led us on a wild goose chase to dead ends, and the proverbial street-with-no-name!) Let bygones be bygones and all that!

Take a look at this clip......and this guys take on the piece of technology we all love to hate!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Have bike, will travel.

This weekend we joined the hundreds of American families around us in the weekend family! (Well in The Woodlands anyway!)

Yes sir....we all got bikes!

It was originally a trip to the store to buy a bike for mother-dearest, as I thought it would be a great way to get to the shop & the kids school, seeing that I don't have my car yet. Soon however, the kids were on the bikes and riding around the store having great fun. So a purchase of one bike became a purchase of three!

You should have seen the way dear husband got all 3 bikes into his Volvo sedan.....genius!!

Then the bug bit, and soon we were off riding to the park, and later watched the kids ride up and down the cul-de-sac. Sunday came, and dear husband was off to the store again, to purchase his own bike! (We did Walmart proud that weekend!)

My family and I love our new bikes. The same cannot be said however, for my gluteus maximus. It is, at this moment, a slow and steady job to sit down without grimacing in pain. Even in spite of the hi-tech air-gel bike seat that I bought. Oh well, I hope my neighbours think I'm smiling in pure biker-delight, even though I'm actually snarling in anguish!

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