Tuesday, 23 November 2021

What kind of day will it be? - Lisa & Ryland Goines-Taylor - BOOK REVIEW

What kind of day will it be? - Lisa Goines-Taylor
What kind of day will it be? - book cover (screen print)

Lisa Goines-Taylor, a mother to a beautiful girl called Ryland, has written the most uplifting book for little ones. What kind of day will it be? Her everyday experiences as a mother, watching her daughter grow and learn life lessons, have inspired her to write a book on life, growth, empowerment, and self-confidence for children:

This book resonates so much with me. I know of a specific person who tends to unravel with anything that is not right each day. And regularly proclaiming that this is her worst day ever! 😬

This book, What kind of day will it be? should be one of the most important things we can teach our kids. We can make a choice each day about what kind of day it will be! With a "can-do attitude", although life can throw you some curve balls, you can decide and make each day a great one!

This book can be used as a positive mantra each day. Buy for the little pessimists and glass-of-half-full persons, but also for everybody to learn how to have a better day each day.

I don't want to share too much of the beautiful illustrations by Rachel Rodrigues, but each page is a delight. 

The age group is from 4 - 7 years, but a smaller child, as well as older children will enjoy the uplifting message. This book is also a reminder to myself. What kind of day will it be? 

This is a great gift for all little ones.

Disclaimer: Lisa Goines-Taylor contacted me via email, and notified me when there was a free Kindle option available a little while back. Thank you!

Friday, 5 November 2021

Year 2 in a pandemic

MomAgain family
2021 Family photo (Patrick Pretorius)

It has been interesting times. We have now been living through a pandemic for one year and seven months. Masks, temperature checks and sanitizing are still part of our daily routines. But, we are still forgetting our masks when going out of the gate. At this stage we don't hear about people getting sick and dying around us. There are talks about a fourth wave, but we are hopeful we are not going to see it...

The pandemic put our plans on hold now for nearly two years. But, we have been lucky here in South Africa. After the previous lock-down of Level 3, we have been relatively unscathed. School and work have been going on as close to normal as possible.

We both got our jabs, and Miss Fine is getting hers next week.

I have been working in a new job since April. I am still doing my old job, while taking on managerial duties. With no extra pay and on a very low scale code. I decided to take on the challenge for personal growth, but at this stage I don't think it is worth it. The prospects are not good. This past week I was thinking about my previous life. I went to see the psychologist who was seeing my X at the time. I asked her how much time I must give him, and what I can do with my anger. She told me to give him a year, and ran on the treadmill each day. I did give him a year, and I did ran. But each day when I went home, he was still there and I was still angry at him. In the end I had to extract myself out of the situation to safe myself... The same with the job. I can only motivate myself so much, and ran/walk so far, but I still have to come back to the same circumstances each day. This is not sustainable.  

I have started to give myself a pep talk each day with motivational quotes on Insta. It helps to search for the positive in each day. Barbie has been an inspiration the past week.

We got a beautiful Barbie press drop last week. The Barbie Fashionista range is so inspiring. I got an incredulous reply on Instagram that they can't believe I am a livelong Barbie fan. I did tell the story before of us never having a real Barbie when we grew up. We had a cheaper version of her, and we (my sister and I) always envied our friends with the real Barbies. Barbie is now available in all shapes, sizes, careers and abilities. I am even more impressed with Barbie, and love that I can share her with my girls. And why can't I keep on playing? We are never too old! πŸ˜‰

We have a warm summer weekend ahead, and braai is on the weekend calendar.

I love this time of year; summer, December holidays and festivity vibes. THis is my best time of the year.

Sunday, 25 July 2021

Lola the Buhund and the Empty Sky - book review

Lola the Buhund and the empty sky - book cover on Kindle
Lola the Buhund and the Empty Sky - Elbot Carman

I am a very slow reader. Sorry, Booktasters. But luckily, when a book grabs me, I have to read it till the very end. It takes long, only a few passages each night, but we finally gets there. This book helped me immensely to escape the daily stress of living. Nothing like a great fantasy to start your journey into dreamland. I give Lola the Buhund and the Empty Sky, by Elbot Carman, 5/5

Thank you for the opportunity!

Lola the Buhund and the Empty Sky (Lola the Buhund, #1)Lola the Buhund and the Empty Sky by Elbot Carman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was given a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review via Booktasters and the author, Elbot Carman. Thank you so much, I am most of the time pleasantly surprised with the above average content that I am able to read.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was great to go on such a journey with the characters in the story. A talking and wise dog, Lola the Buhund, and a talking rooster? So possible in the context of this fantasy. Where did the sky, the sun, the moon and the stars disappear to?

It was a great adventure, with the human, a carpenter, and a musician, who joins them on their quest. It takes a while to get into the atmosphere and space of the book, but the suspense and wonder of the milieu keeps you reading. What is happening, and what is going to happen? Where's the light? We get the answers in the end. Just keep reading!

This book is fantastic escapism, and a fantasy that's worth getting immersed in.

Can't wait to read the next book.

View all my reviews

Thursday, 24 June 2021

Apples to Apples is the wildest game - perfect for crazy times


Apples to Apples - Mattel
Apples to Apples card game


Mattel's APPLES to APPLES™ is the best game for family or friends game nights! It's fun! It's easy! And it is a laugh every time you put down your card. Even the Tween thinks it is cool! 

Which one of the red cards would fit the best with the green card dealt by the Judge? You have to convince him/her. It's all fun! The rules says it's for four to ten players, but we played while being only two or three. It still is a hoot a minute! 

Apples to Apples deck of cards
Apples to Apples deck of cards

Apples to Apples is the wild, award-winning card and party game that provides instant fun for four to ten players! It's as easy as “comparing apples to apples”... just open the box, deal the cards, and you're ready to play! Select the card from your hand that you think is best described by a card played by the judge. If the judge picks your card, you win that round. APPLES to APPLES™ is perfect for any get together with family and friends! The Party Box Tin comes complete with over 1,000 cards. Designed for 4 to 10 players, ages 12 years and up. - Mattel

Friday, 18 June 2021

Instax Mini 40 - retro gadget takes great photos

Instax Mini 40 with Contact Sheet Instant photos
Instax Mini 40 with Contact Sheet Instant photos

"The Instax Mini 40 embraces the old-school look-and-feel of film cameras, combined with all the latest Instax features such as Selfie Mode and Auto Exposure."

We had the Instax Mini 40 camera for a week to test out. We were pleasantly surprised with the clarity of the photos, especially since it's an entry-level camera. We would recommend this one especially when you want to start your journey with instant photography. At a retail price of R1399 it is totally worth it. 

We give it a 5/5 for being one of the best when you are searching for the instant gratification of an immediate photo in hand which is also of great quality!

Instax Mini 40 with cat
Instax Mini 40 

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Perfect word for 2021: Patience


I struggled to come up with a word for 2021. My word, grab, for 2020 did not really pan out that well. We were in survival mode, and our plans got shifted quite a bit...

This year is same-same, but this year we know what we are in for. 

I was told last week to have patience. (I need to work on my emotional EQ.) I could have gone on the defensive, but I realised this is exactly the perfect advice for me in these times. I need patience, I must practise patience and I need to show patience to the people around me.

This is the perfect word to embrace when things are stuck and not moving as fast as you want them to. I was saying too much: "This is not acceptable!" 

Patience, my dear, you will get there! 😁

Try it! 

It works! 

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Downtime Shift, by Robert Holding - Interesting AI concepts

Downtime Shift - Robert Holding cover on Kindle
Downtime Shift

Love this science fiction novel. Thanks, again, to Booktasters, for expanding my horizons and for great reading pleasures. My review is up on GoodReads. 

Downtime ShiftDowntime Shift by Robert Holding
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you, Booktasters and Robert Holding, for a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. Sorry that it took me so long to read, but it's not a reflection on the content.
I thoroughly loved reading this book, and has already started to read the next follow-up, Infinity Shift. (Thanks, Robert Holding, for sending it as well). It is good escapism in these uncertain times.
I got a glimpse into time travel, an omnipotent AI called EYE and different societies and the ways they live. "Earthers" and "Spacers", and a choice in the way of living. The EYE resetting society, and manipulating it, creating Fork Time... Shifties following their prime directive, or going against it. All interesting concepts that keeps you bound until the very last page.
I would have loved to learn more about the heroine, Evelyn. About her time before Downtime, and also her time with the Spacers. More character development are welcomed for Evelyn and Stan. I would also have loved to read more about Spacers and the societies in space.
For Science Fiction lovers, there are some interesting concepts to wrap you head around.
I give this book 5/5 for the interesting storyline and keeping me hooked until the last page. I want to read more!

View all my reviews

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Shallow Pig Cottage near Parys - great breakaway

Shallow Pig Cottage - exterior
Shallow Pig Cottage - Koedoesfontein

We haven't gone away for quite a while. We had the camping weekend last year at Sondela, but mostly we had been staying home. It's still a pandemic all around, and in South Africa we are not getting the vaccinations just yet.

I was going down the rabbit hole of places to stay on the Internet, and found Shallow Pig Cottage on Booking.Com. I have already made my next booking as well, as there are quite a few good deals and great places to stay. 

We love Shallow Pig Cottage. It is near Parys, but it is the most quaint cottage on a farm, with everything that you need to stay for days and days. Each morning hubby went and fetch our eggs from the nearby hens on the farm. We braaied and looked at the view for hours and hours. Miss Fine was also very happy with her wi-fi that was sufficient to keep her going. She even entertained herself with mud building, and searching for rocks. 

Shallow Pig Cottage - Koedoesfontein
Shallow Pig Cottage - farm 

We drove through and into Parys on Friday and Saturday. We went over Easter Weekend, which was not a good idea, because the place was too busy. Next time we will only spend time on the farm. We were so disappointed with Venterskroon Inn and the Dog & Fig Brewery. Both were not at all catered for the the guests, and we had to go even though we would have loved to stay. Luckily we found LiewerKoffi (based on a recommendation) when we arrived in Parys, and the next day we had a lovely lunch at Cherry On Top. 

Vredefort Dome Information Centre
Vredefort Dome Information Centre

We made the bumpy trip to the Vredefort Dome information centre. The previous time we were there, it was with the Voortrekkers at Venterskroon in the Vredefort Dome, and we wanted to show Miss Fine the significance of this place which is the largest verified crater on earth. 

The cottage was more than we could have hoped for. There was the cosiest beds, purified water on tap, wood to braai, and for the indoor fire-place in the cottage. The bathroom has a lovely view. There is a worker on the farm, but we never saw him, except when he went to open and close the chickens in the barn. We had the place all to ourselves.

Shallow Pig Cottage stay - girl playing
Miss Fine enjoying herself at Shallow Pig Cottage

Our host was extremely friendly, and made sure we had the best stay. Thanks, Warrin!

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Car key gnomes? Yes, exactly - Book review

Car key gnomes and other household pests - print screen of kickstarted cover page
Car key gnomes and other household pests - Miciah Dodge (print screen)

"A book of charming, silly poems of mischievous household faeries; paired with the enchanting, vibrant artwork they deserve!"


We now have names for those mysterious things that happens in a home, especially when kids are around. 

Car key gnomes and other household pests. When you see the cover of a book, and start flipping through it, and each page is a treasure... That's what this book is! I WANT IT as a coffee table exhibit, and I know any child (of any age), would love to browse through it. Miciah Dodge, the author, who is the dad of the boys who gave him the idea, sent me a pdf copy of the book.

Each page consists of an hilarious poem of the mysterious reasons why something disappears, mishaps or mess in the house. These "pests" have the most insightful names: Car-key Gnomes, Sock Goblins, the Forgetting Fairy, the Stink Boggle, Brownie, Messy-room Sprites, Shoe Leprechaun, Knotty Pixies, Eraser Elf...  They have the ability to become household names in homes across the world, because we all deal with these "fairies". 

The art work by Danie Plott is stunning. Three-dimensional clay figurines are placed in real-life household settings. They are the stars who make the poems come to life. I don't want to share more of the beautiful art work, as it deserves to have the book in hand. Check out the website for the art: Car key Gnomes Book.

I love everything about the book, except the font being used. It makes it a bit difficult to read. Maybe it will be different with the hard copy in hand?  

I still give it 5/5. It is beautiful, and funny, and an art work to keep!

I have joined to be notified when the Kickstarter project Car key gnomes and other household pests starts. Please do the same. This book needs to get out in the world!

Thanks, Miciah Dodge, for a copy of the book! I hope we see it soon. 

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Back to a new normal - Covid times update

Cradle Moon Lakeside walk next to Heritage lake

It is going very well with this clan! 

It's 2021 and the Virus is still with us. But the numbers are coming down every day, and the roll-out of the vaccines has started in South Africa. We know of people who died, and people who is still in ICU with Covid... Our immediate family is all safe and still healthy! But we are all wearing our masks, and things are looking up! We are more than surviving this!

The schools opened with a bang. It was a whole month later than previous years, but it is back to every day school for all the students. It was quite shock to our systems. 🀯For some reason, we missed the memo about every day. We thought the schools would continue the same as last year. One day in, one day work at home...

Miss Fine loved it at home, and would have happily continued like this. Luckily, Grade 7 turns out to being a great year. Miss Fine enjoys being part of the seniors at school, and they had a two-day leadership workshop with fellow students this past weekend. She got sunburnt quite bad, because it was held outdoors, but they had a ball. Miss Fine signed up to everything that's happening again at school. There's netball and Revue. There's also Voortrekkers (scouts), which apparently is going to be a busy year for the Grade 7's. Hopefully camps can start again? They are doing it a bit differently (because Covid) this year, but thankfully things are opening up with enthusiasm. 

The peer group is now definitely the focus, and what they do and think and dress are the bomb. We do not get viewed by the same regard of reference. It's all okay.πŸ˜‰ I love this stage! 

I am constantly in awe of Miss Fine and her friends. They are such awesome and beautiful human beings. (I should tell them that more often.) They still get excited about life and things, and happily shares it with us. Of course she thinks she knows better, but it's okay. Sometimes, I really learn new things!😜

I am still not sure about my word for the year? "Survival" doesn't really cut it! I need a more positive focus!

I have a job interview tomorrow. Hold thumbs. It is stressful times. 😁

What's happening with you?

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Instax SQUARE SQ1 - review

Instax SQUARE SQ1 with Instax square prints
Instax Square SQ1

FUJIFILM South Africa launched the Instax SQUARE SQ1 instant camera in October 2020, which is a welcome addition for fans of instant square film. FUJIFILM designed the SQ1 to make photography as user-friendly as possible, with new Automatic Exposure and One-Touch Selfie Mode features.

We got a Terracotta Orange Instax SQ1 instant camera to review for two weeks. We kept it a bit longer to cover Valentine's weekend, as it seemed like the perfect companion for our special Instax Valentine's plans. The instant memories added an extra special touch to special times. 

Valentine's Day photo with Instax SQUARE SQ1
Special Valentine's Day with Instax Square SQ1

See what features we like, and why we think it is the perfect accessory for a selfie creative...

Friday, 12 February 2021

Planning a special Instax Valentine's Day

Karen du Toit with Instax Square SQ1

"A Special Valentine’s Day with Instax"

It's Valentine's weekend. We have the Instax Square SQ1 that we are busy reviewing. This weekend is the perfect opportunity to capture all the special memories with family and loved ones. I look forward to Valentine's Day, and I love all the Instax products. Nothing beats the instant gratification of a keepsake photo in hand! We have a special weekend planned with friends and family. All outside, because it's glorious summer, and very safe! (Take that, Covid!) 

Fujifilm Instax has some awesome suggestions on how to make Valentine's Day even more special.

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Disney's Upside Down Magic - our thumbs-up review


Upside Down Magic poster
Disney's Upside Down Magic (cc Disney)

Disney Channel (DSTv 303) premiered Disney's Upside Down Magic on 29 January. We as a family enjoyed the movie so much, and Miss Fine watched it more than once. The movie has all the important elements she enjoys now: magic, suspense, humour, friends and friendships, action, and of course, teens being teens. The outsider element of the nerdy characters of the Upside Down Academy proofs that we don't all have to conform to be valuable. 

We give the movie 5/5 for perfect family entertainment. Hopefully a series is on the  cards, or in the making?

See the trailer here: Disney Upside Down Magic trailer on Youtube

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Where the sun rises - This book is worth 5

Where the sun rises book on Kindle
Where the sun rises: a story of feminine courage and friendship

Where the sun rises
, by Suzanne Strong: I spend my one week of holiday with this book, and after I finished reading, the story kept on lingering, even now. The characters are as real as life, as the war is real! It is truly scary and horrifying that there are still fighting like this happening in the world. Surely we can evolve as human beings and start living together, respecting each other and our differences? 

This book highlights women empowerment in challenging times! This is a book worth reading! 

Rating: 5/5

See my goodreads review below.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

January 2021 - Back to the same


2021 New Year - on letterboard
New Year - Same same

It's fitting that my first post of 2021 is on the 13th. This year feels like a do-over for the previous year. 

We are still in the funk of a pandemic. The numbers of infections and deaths keep getting worse. There are some vaccine roll-outs, but still not here in South Africa. It's still very scary!

We have been very lucky. We are healthy. We try to stay at home most of the time. Hubby and I had one week of leave, between Christmas and the New Year, and we have been back at work from the 4th of January. I am not complaining, as we do have work. After Hubby being retrenched last year, and my workplace in the thick of a retrenchment process as well, we are grateful for being able to earn salaries at this stage. 

We did not go away, and vacation seems like a far-away reality! We also haven't made any plans yet, as the levels of the pandemic keep changing. We are back on an updated Level 3 here!

(But I still feel like burnout... Ignore, Karen, ignore! I should be grateful!)

We had many plans for last year. Now the plans are starting afresh for this year. Breathe, and grab it,  again! I am still not sure what my word 2021 will be? Have you got your word? It always help to focus me for the upcoming year.

Miss Fine is going to Grade 7 this year. The schools only start at the end of this month. We had to go and buy new school clothes, as the Grade 7 group wear a whole new outfit for the year. We were at the shops on Saturday for the new school clothes. We had to stand in a queue to get in, with hand sanitising and temperature checks. Luckily we got most of the necessities. Shew! Now it's only school shoes, and stationery on the list to get. 

It was traumatic buying new school clothes: 

1. Buying school clothes during a pandemic with all the precautions in place! ("Keep your mask on!" Sanitise! Sanitise again!)

2. Buying school clothes with sensory issues in overload. (Man, we get stretched into RED trying on different sizes and shapes, with school clothes that feels like carton! It's not soft at all!) 

3. Having to pay exorbitant prices for these same clothes! (I wish we could also buy the generic versions, then we had at least a choice for the quality.)

I have signed up for Veganuary. I am doing it "undercover".😜 That means that I try to eat even more plant-based, but I am not that hard on myself. I need to sort out my health with regards acidity, and this feels like the best way to do it! I am used to almond milk already, and won't be going back! (This is my New Year's resolution for 2021 for now!)

Happy New Year! 

What's your plans?

Do you have any New Year's resolutions?

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