Existentialism. Design and Carrots.

I have been procrastinating. There are so many thoughts that would be useful to share and hopefully impact and provoke friends who read it ..but it has been hard to get down to it. I have been exhausted and very challenged spiritually and emotionally of late. I’ve been digesting it all. Yesterday I had a good laugh at myself and thought, yes – I’ll write about that.

I came across the programme for the AZA2012 Biennial Festival, advertised as Africa’s first and largest premier urban culture festival, bringing together leading-edge thinkers and multi- disciplinary practitioners in the built environment from around the globe. Its happening in Cape Town, My Town, next week. Of course I am so excited I can barely contain myself but NO, I wont be going as the registration is R4800 and I’d need ludicrous babysitting help which isn’t really available. Here’s the part where I laughed: I spent a good hour trying in fits and starts to read through the programme to see what I could be missing, but ended just turning off my computer to rationalize with my 3-yr old why she should eat her carrot in smaller bites to avoid choking. In my mind, the only thing keeping me from passionately debating the challenges facing the built environment is some cash and wardrobe choices. The reality is that I am not that person anymore.

I am my greatest deceiver.

I could go headlong into the work vs stay at home debate, quote all kinds of statistics (to convince myself)…but for me there is no debate anymore. I played for both teams. I can’t handle the sacrifices required to be made by me in order to be away from home the whole day (school holidays are a complete other story). The amount of input, teaching, care that my kids require on a day-to-day basis is epic. I had a full-time job, I had some money to throw at this problem and I hated it. I enjoyed working, even more, I enjoyed telling people I worked and I loved getting taken more seriously. I enjoyed the extra money. I hated being out of touch with my kids. It’s a tough tough, tough thing for every mom (and dad) to wrestle with. It’s about priorities, choices.

I miss my career. I really do. I spent 5 years at University, blessed to study Architecture and Urban Design, knowing almost everyday what a rare and precious thing it is to know and follow your passion. I hope that as my defacto homeschooling arrangement develops that I will again have to opportunity to design and engage with the built environment…under the leadership of someone who appreciates my ‘underdeveloped’ CV and ability to create an enthralling color-by-numbers picture.

If not, I’ll remember Robert Frost’s words: “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”





A different kind of shopping list

What a week, what a month. In my last post I was all about finding reasonably priced chickpeas and since then my world has been turned upside down. To start with I began reading Generous Justice by Tim Keller. Journey 1. My dad is now in a Frail Care facility. Journey 2. Long term debt is again knocking down my door. Journey 3…and haven’t planned a meal for at least 2 weeks!

In all of this God has shown himself to be an amazing companion with incredible attention to detail. Lets start with 3 weeks ago. We were wondering how on earth we were going to make it through the month financially. In addition to all our expenses, I wanted the kids to go to swimming lessons again, but that was just another thing on the list of ‘nice to haves’…48hrs later and we can pay for that plus plus plus. My son had to dress up as team Australia in mini-Olympics at school – that morning we received and Australian flag from our cousins in Auzzie (God KNOWS and loves my attention-to-detail child!)

We had no wedding anniversary plans (I dare not even plan that) and we ended up with golden circle concert tickets to see one of my favorite bands (Switchfoot) and sushi dinner with free babysitting- all gifts!

Its so hard, most of the time struggling through, yet I stand amazed and in awe of how God works and wouldn’t change a thing. God’s timing and provision cannot be disputed. So when I face Journey 3, having to pay a substantial amount of money which I owe and do not have, I must pray with a faith He has developed in me and know it will all work out according to His will, for my good, to His glory.




First World Problems

If you are reading this and you don’t have good bandwidth..be warned, mamma’s gonna download!

I just read a great blog (thanks Stephanie) which quoted this portion of scripture. Heavy stuff for a choir girl to read:

Away with your noisy hymns of praise!
 I will not listen to the music of your harps.
 Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice,
 an endless river of righteous living.(Amos 5:23-24)

I was thinking exactly along these lines this week. I am so excited about choir practice – really, if we never sang on Sundays it wouldn’t phase me..i digress. The question is HOW can I come before the One True God in worship when I have not contributed in any significant way to this ‘mighty flood’. The good news is that social justice is actually keeping me awake at night but until desire is action, the question will remain.

We worked on our monthly finances this evening and it is really depressing that there just isn’t enough and we have cut back incredibly, amazingly and totally beyond what I thought possible. Where is the room for giving? We need to free up more income. It’s all terribly frustrating, especially considering that a part-time job on my part could help. Now is not the season though, and I believe that God has been very clear about that.


I’m thinking about a Yard Sale. We have a lot of stuff (not even junk) just really great equipment and home goods that would be cheap to buy and helpful to sell. Possibly we could plan one. Another humbling moment on the horizon I sense, but I just don’t see another way forward in the near future.

rant over.

Broccoli happiness

Confession – I totally blew my food budget today. Radically and utterly. Instead of wallowing in guilt and legalism I’ve decided to make this soup for dinner tonight and reign it in a little.

Chocolate is always cheaper than therapy, I suppose 🙂

Broccoli Soup

serves 6 ±R4 per portion. Wheat-free.

Broccoli is one of the healthiest veggies available. It’s really hard to prepare it in a way that my kiddies will eat it –  give this soup a try, my kids love it.

1. Scrub and quarter 2 medium potatoes (skins on). Wash and slice 2 carrots (skins on). Chop 1 large onion.

2. Add blob of butter to pot and fry onions over low heat. Add carrots and potatoes.

3. Cut off stalks of broccoli from 1 big broccoli head and add to pot. Keep florets aside for later.

4. Pour in 1 liter vegetable or chicken stock and 1/8th tsp dried origanum (or mixed herbs) and simmer for 30-40mins until tender.

5. Blend/blitz with hand-blender. Stir in 2 cups of milk, salt to taste, ground pepper to taste and 1/2 cup of grated cheese.

6.Cook over low heat for 15 mins.

7. Add florets and cook till tender (about 5 mins). Blend again to utterly hide vegetables from the kids.

Yum.Yum. Thanks to my very good friend and chef Estelle for this recipe!





Okay Tribe,

This year’s Under The Line Challenge was so much tougher than before – and to complicate matters more, I decided to share a snippet of testimony about it. It’s great to help others through testifying to the amazing work of Jesus presently in our lives, but infinitely more humbling than I expected. I suspect a testimony resulting from sharing a testimony is a common thing. I digress.

Thank you for clicking through here to some menu options I have been developing over the past few months. I hope these will be helpful and rewarding. If you have any suggestions, these would be most appreciated as we are at what feels like the start of a journey of stewardship of our finances and our bodies. As a mom I have the awesome privilege of juggling these two godly ideals by what gets served on our plates everyday.

I’ve never really written a recipe before so for starters I’ll share a winner. Written like I make it with an approximate cost per serving. With fluctuating food prices and seasonality of ingredients, always keep an eye out for bargains and substitute accordingly. Good luck.

Mexican Beans

serves 4 adults @ ±R 3.00 per portion (excluding starch). Wheat free. Dairy free.

I love TacoBell. This is as close to healthy pintobeans/refried beans as we can get without the lard and the pricetag. Ideally this can be served over tacos (homemade recipe to follow at some stage), served in a soft wrap (yes..homemade too) or scooped over the easiest starch you have like baked potatoes.

1. Chop 1 large onion as finely as possible. Fry over medium heat until soft. Add 2 cloves of crushed garlic. Add 1 teaspoon of ground Cumin. Stir. Add fresh chilli to taste. Be careful – remove the seeds and use only the skin.

2. Add 2 tins of cooked legumes. This can be 2 tins chickpeas or 2 tins red speckled sugar beans – let your budget guide you. Red speckled sugar beans are my favorite but work out to be about half the price if you soak/cook them yourself so set aside 1 hour soaking + 4hrs cooking to really cut costs.

3. Add 1 chopped tomato, tsp sugar, 1/2 cup water with a dissolved stock cube.

4. Simmer on low heat for 10 mins and let the ingredients ‘gesels’ (talk to eachother!)

5. Remove from heat and mash (use a handblender if you have one). Add salt to taste.

6. Budget dependent, serve with a hint of grated cheddar cheese and sliced avo and scoop on top of the starch of choice. If you have left over/small portions of butternut/pumpkin or other mash-able veggies, this could be the place to use them. Add more spice/salt accordingly.


Tomorrow I’m hoping to share my budget broccoli soup recipe. Super healthy and the kids love it. Stay tuned.






politically correct

who is the tribe.

we share a common language, a common culture, social, economic commonalities. for the most part we are parents with small children who will do what ever it takes. yes, park as close to the school entrance as possible (dare I make my child walk another 10 meters…) we can talk for much too long about birth, nipple remedies, schools, extra murals and my personal favorite *snark* : kids parties (that would be the subject of at least 10 posts..but all in good time)

that’s us.

why blog about ‘the tribe’ when there are hundreds of sites already available to chew up your monthly data allowance? they are better designed, ready to tell you just how inadequate you are, and how you can redeem yourself with said advertised product. my feeling is that the tribe needs a wake up call. we need to be honust, less politically correct, and do what any self respecting tribe does:

rally together, develop and protect itself…

I was inspired a while back by the Discovery Channel show ‘Worlds Toughest Tribes’ where Ben Anderson tries to integrate himself into bands of people working in some of the most challenging conditions on earth. I say give Ben 3 children under age 7, a minivan and all the challenges we face and see how the shows ratings will skyrocket.

welcome to ‘the tribe’