Shopping For One

No, don’t panic, I’m talking about shopping for my knucklehead!

Its been quite an adjustment not having him at home, and we’ve had to work out how to shop for him so he eats properly, and enough. He has a fridge with a small freezer, a microwave, two-plate stove, kettle, toaster and snackwhich so I have to shop with that in mind. I also know that if its raw, he’s probably not going to make the time to cook it.

I started teaching him to cook when he was about 12 as a solution to his “I’m bored…” moments, so even though most of his meals are heat-n-eat, he knows how to mix things up a bit and he likes making flapjacks for himself too.

Anything that doesn’t need refrigeration is good – tuna, bully beef, two-minute noodles, bread (which he freezes if he has space), long-life milk, muesli, baked beans and and tinned meals like spaghetti and meatballs. He doesn’t have an oven so frozen pies and pizzas aren’t an option. I do buy him paninis which I freeze individually for him as they are already cooked and they make awesome sarnies.
PnP and Makro both have a nice range of frozen meals for the micro that aren’t too expensive – cottage pie, beef lasagne and mac-n-cheese, and I&J has an awesome “mealbox” that he loves – chicken curry, red curry, sweet & sour chicken and a tika masala curry, but I can only get those if I find them on a special offer as they can be pricey.
I also buy big packs of vienna sausages which I split up and freeze in portions, when I make supper I serve a portion for him and freeze it in a ziploc bag, and I pre-cook a whole lot of chicken breasts which I buy in bulk, then freeze in portions for us and for him so he can heat them up and stick them on a sandwich or eat them with noodles.
I try to make sure he has some fresh items like eggs, apples, tomatoes and onions, but if he doesn’t eat them they will go off, and I’ve taught him how to check if the eggs are off before cracking them.
And he gets coffee, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, mayo, tomato sauce, chutney, cheese, pickles and bread spreads, and if I can I pack in a couple of packets of crisps, cookies, gumballs and cool drinks.
Ooh, and this weekend we discovered this – cooked chicken in single portions, ready for a sarnie or pasta, or just on its own, in four flavour varieties. It doesn’t need refrigeration and its not ridiculously overpriced either so its definitely going on the shopping list!

20150221_151435

I try to get out to see him every two weeks, and take his groceries with me. He has Mondays off so I try and go then, sometimes we’ll head out to a mall nearby and we’ll do his shopping together, thats always fun.
He even sends me a shopping list now when he runs out of things, and he had to wrap his head around thinking about things like toilet paper, washing powder, razors, toilet duck and dishtowels.

He’s so grown up. He’s so independent.

My heart wants to burst with pride and happiness when I see him and talk to him.

Do you have any tips or tricks when it comes to meals-for-one?

And as per my Ladybloggers pledge, just in case you were wondering, I wasn’t asked, paid or given anything to mention the brands I’ve included in the blog post.

Happy Tears… Often…

20140506_111829

Out for coffee with his mom last year.

20140506_125023_Wakaberry

His first Wakaberry on a date with his mom!

Have I mentioned lately that our son, our knucklehead, our gawjiss boy, is happy? Not since October last year I don’t think…

😀

I tell you, he’s in his element. He’s found his niche. I see pictures of him and he’s grinning from ear to ear. He’s tanned and healthy and if you can believe it – he lives in shorts and slops and if he has half a chance he’s shirtless!

Knucklehead_Sodwana_6766812574209251704_n

20141221_14265820141221_151500

He’s working his backside off six looong days a week, and he’s an intern which means he doesn’t get paid. He’s getting distinctions for his exams and we only ever hear good things about him. He now has to share his little cottage-slash-chalet with another intern, which has been a bit of an adjustment for both of them, but they’re coping. He works with several other interns as well as the other staff and management, and he works with their customers so he has to be polite and presentable at all times.

I am so impressed and proud of him! He phones me and we actually have conversations! We chat on WhatsApp! We haven’t had a fight since I can’t remember when – even when he’s at home!

20150202_130047 (1)

His first Cinnabon experience, on a date with mom!

As for the internship, he had to take his earrings out and cut his hair neatly before he could start last May, and he came home from his interview and did just that!
The chalet he lives in is small, and now he has to share it,  but they spend very little time at home – mainly eating and sleeping, studying in the lecture rooms and using their day off to do housework!
They don’t do inspections or anything, but they are expected to clean up after themselves and keep their houses neat.
Some interns have their own cars but not D, so he has to do his own washing too.

20140513_151949

20140513_165314

And here – for my own enjoyment – are some of the selfies I have started taking every time I see him, to make up for the fact that there are so few pictures of him and I together!
I read a blog post last year – or late in 2013, I forget exactly – that really struck a chord with me. It was written by a mom who said she was so self conscious about what she looked like in photos that she always took the pictures, and as a result she had no pictures of herself and her children together! I had realised before how few pictures I had of my boy and myself together, and after the blog post I decided I wouldn’t miss another opportunity if I could help it.
I can’t find he exact post I read… but there are a few around the interweb. Here’s the one point that stuck with me: “Have you ever seen a photograph of your own mother and thought to yourself how fat she looked? Or how she wasn’t wearing make-up? Or wasn’t dressed in a glamorous outfit?” Of course not!
And now I tell every mom-to-be to make sure she takes lots of photos of herself with her child as they grow – as I read in one post, “you can’t put yourself back into the pictures”!

20141221_15131320141009_19421220141018_20353220140906_16400420141129_183904

One On One…

I got to spend some one-on-one time with my mommy and daddy darling this weekend past.
My Glugster had a bit of a social get together and a meeting with his hunting club, so I grabbed the chance and got him to drop me off at my folk’s place.

I can’t tell you when last I had the opportunity to do so, and it was so good to do it again. My mom and I strolled around a mall, did a little shopping, laughed a lot. We had lunch with my daddy darling, window shopped some more, giggled together.
The afternoon was spent setting up my mommy darling’s new phone, looking at photos, and listening to music.

It was glorious.

And I am truly blessed that I am still able to do things like that.

Penny Is A Mutt Indeed…

Remember we sent Penny’s saliva swabs to MuttMix in December for a DNA test?
You will never guess what her results are, and BOY were we far off the mark!!

20140716_195614_Android

So, keep this statement in mind when you see Penny’s results:
The MuttMix test is based upon our database of AKC™ (American Kennel Club) and South African
recognized breeds. If your dog contains other breeds not in our database, that DNA may assign to
the most closely related breed or breeds, or may result in the identification of breeds earlier in your
pet’s history and may therefore provide a seemingly unlikely result for your dog. For a complete list of
the breeds currently found in our database, please visit our website at www.muttmix.co.za

20140724_140004_android

The couch damage is all Penny too!

So here is our Penny’s certificate:

MuttMix_Penny Certificate (BP04040)-page-001

Level2 (37-74%) Miniature Pinscher Level3 (20-36%) Bullmastiff Level4 (10-19%) Cocker Spaniel

No Vizsla, Brittany, Weimaraner, German Shorthaired Pointer, Labrador or even Greyhound! Seems crazy doesn’t it!? We’re still giggling!
Now check out some info on the breeds:

MuttMix_Penny Breed Info (BP04040)-page-001

Does this sound like Penny or what!??! Stubborn, smart, demanding and headstrong, love to bark, may show aggression to other dogs…
Reading up on them I found that Bullmastiffs were bred to guard game and catch poachers so they are fast, and they need a gentle firm hand in training – let them go their own way and they’ll soon be running things and early socialisation is essential. “Bullmastiffs need early training that continues throughout their life. Training and socialization help curb unwanted aggression and willfulness.
The Miniature Pinscher, or Min Pin is a small, well muscled dog with a dynamite personality. Contrary to popular belief it is not related to the Doberman at all and was bred to hunt rats. It also needs a firm hand in training and is apparently a bit of an escape artist, and loving attention they may act up to elicit a response. “Without proper training and supervision, he can quickly become a tyrant in the household.
The Cocker Spaniel is also a hunting dog with a sensitive personality. If they’re in pain or afraid they may growl or snap and if they’re bored they resort to digging and barking, they may also be hard to house train.
All three breeds are fabulous as affectionate, make great family pets, wanting to be with their people.

20140807_IMG_0550_android

There’s a lot of our Penny in there!
She obviously gets her size from the Bullmastiff. Loving her voice, the shape of her body and clowning for attention is from the Min Pin. She gets her high prey-drive and her red colour from all three breeds. Her energy level is Min Pin, as is her love of bolting through an open gate. The house training battle and her love of digging holes is from the Cocker Spaniel.
Considering she spent the first six months of her life without training or socialisation, tied to the tow-hitch on a truck with a leash and generally abused she’s doing really well. All three breeds are not the easiest to train and need work from puppyhood to be well adjusted.

20140702_IMG_9709 - Copy

Of course now I am even more curious about her! I wish I could have seen her parents and her siblings!

FB_IMG_13946161273727994_android

So she’s an honourary Lab ‘coz we adopted her from Lab Rescue, but she’s actually a Miniature Bull Spaniel! 😀

Support #SAB18Plus for Your Child’s Sake

You’re too strict!
Its just a beer…
But its a special occasion!
My mom used to let me have a drink with her before I was 18.
If you never let him have anything he’ll go overboard one day…

I heard these and other arguments many times when my son was growing up, because I did not allow him to have any booze before he was legally allowed to drink at age 18. Not even a sip of my drink.
To put it very simply, it was a case of it being against the law so he wasn’t allowed to do it. I grew up with the same rule.
But there’s more to it than that.

Lets face it, alcohol is unnatural and unhealthy. Its an artificially created substance accidentally discovered thousands of years ago thats been modified and changed and developed to become a part of almost every culture around the world.
That doesn’t make it okay for a child’s brain and body, which is still growing and developing.
I know there are studies that say a glass of wine with your meal aids digestion and prevents heart disease, and-and-and, and if you search the internet long enough you’ll find studies that refute those exact findings, but there’s no disputing that its bad for children.

Alcohol in moderation for adults?
No problem!
If you’re a grownup you can choose how much you want to drink and when and where. Heaven knows I’ve played my share of drinking games and I’ve had hangovers and I enjoy champagne very much.
Make no mistake – I did some drinking when I was underage, and I experienced a tequila hangover that pretty much put me off it for life. I also know my son did so as well. I don’t go around with blinkers on, and growing up he always knew – and still knows – that if he needs a ride or he’s stuck somewhere he can call me. His safety is whats important, we can deal with the fallout later.
I’m not denying that children will try their hand at all kinds of things, but that doesn’t make it okay.

What about drinking in front of your children?
Provided you don’t go overboard, thats also okay in my mind.
Children should never witness drunken shenanigans of ANY sort, and I don’t believe children belong in bars AT ALL. Feel like a drink while you watch the rugby? Get a sitter, or do it at home. I feel it builds a healthy attitude towards alcohol if children can see their parents enjoying a beer at a braai or a cocktail at a party – whatever it may be – and doing so without behaving like an idiot or driving drunk.
If you hide it from your children it becomes a taboo, and that will make them nosy.

If you’ve had to live with alcoholism in any form you may well be doubly aware of the dangers.
Our family has always had a mantra of sorts – that you never drink alone. Having alcoholics in the family makes you more aware of the risks of drinking, and whilst I know there are MANY people who are able to enjoy a glass of wine or a beer after work, especially after a particularly shitty day, I’ve never been able to get that caution out of my head.
My Oupa was an alcoholic, and whilst he was thankfully never particularly mean to his grandchildren when he was drunk, we were aware of his drinking. He was a spiteful drunk to his wife and children but he was amazingly intelligent and sweet and generous when he was sober, and I try to remember those moments.
I also have a sister celebrating her 10th sober-versary this year. I am so proud of her and I admire her so much because fighting an addiction like alcohol is a daily battle, and I have only a vague inkling of what she goes through.

And now my son is a grownup.
He is not an alcoholic. Nor does he drink like a lunatic even when he’s partying. I believe he has a perfectly healthy attitude towards booze, even though I never allowed him to have anything when he was growing up! The choice to imbibe is his – he knows about alcoholism and he has experienced plenty hangovers, a couple of those when he was underage and as punishment I took him grocery shopping with his throbbing head…
But I believe I did right by my son.

SAB has a campaign to prevent underage drinking, a fast growing problem in South Africa. There are a number of PDF’s on the website as well, to aid you in speaking to minors about drinking and behaviour to look out for in preventing underage drinking.
You can find the campaign on Facebook too.

Whats your policy for your children?

Do you have tips for the #SAB18Plus conversation?

Have you spoken to your children about healthy drinking habits?