Back to Reality

Yesterday was back to reality and back to my first day at work in the new year. Traffic was a breeze as most of the country is still on holiday until next week. The office was even more quieter, as I think all of our minds were still in holiday mode.

I am really looking forward to 2012 and the exciting times it will bring for our family. We have quite a few big events already planned.

Any day now, our newest nephew will make his grand entrance into the world. It’s a shame he is in New Zealand, but thanks to Skype we will get to see and talk to him often. Hopefully we will get to meet him sooner than later. This little guy is already loved by so many people all around the world, all who can’t wait for him to arrive!

stole the pic from Facebook. Isn’t my sister in law gorgeous?!?!

Ava turns one in a few weeks and I am still busy putting together her party. You’d think I would be finished, since I started planning in October. Yet, there is still lots and lots to be done. I still need to pay the deposit on the cake, which I am a bit nervous about as it’s not like the baker has made before the cake I have requested. But, I’ve seen her previous work and think she can pull it off. Fingers crossed as we wait and see.

As we get older and our friends begin families of their own, it means lots of more birthday parties to attend. Not sure what’s better? The first birthday party or the subsequent birthdays where they actually enjoy their friends and the excitement of the day. Ava’s first might be a little OTT (shh! don’t tell her dad), but hopefully our friends will brush it off as her mom just being a crazy American… Thank you over the top kid’s parties tv shows!

a little message in a bottle

In March, Johan will travel to China for ten days with work. I am so excited (and jealous) for him to see this part of the world. China isn’t one of my top places to visit, but nonetheless, I would jump at the opportunity to go. Not really sure how I will cope without him for ten days, but at least I have Ava and my iPad to keep me company.

We also have a friend who is planning on coming to visit in March from the States. Super exciting. I love getting people’s reaction of South Africa and where we live. It’s my norm now and I love hearing an outsider’s opinion and their questions. Watching them try new food and then coming to the realization that it actually isn’t so much different from home then they had imagined. Well, except for the Zebras they will see on the side of the road. Oh, let’s not forget all the goodies we get shipped to them to bring over for us. Going to start my Baby Gap wish list now!

I want this…
and this…
and she most definitely needs a pair of these!

The seventh of August marks my thirtieth birthday. SCARY! Hoping sparkles are still in style then, as I would like to wear something really sparkly on my thirtieth. Break out of my fashion shell a bit.

 like these pants, out to lunch with the girls

this shirt, on a surprise trip to Cape Town

or this dress, just dancing around the house*


All year we will be trying to save as much money as possible. So if you have any good tips on saving, PLEASE, please pass them along. I, for one, have never been a person who is good at saving. What are we saving for you ask? Our trip HOME to America in December! Oh I cannot wait to introduce Miss Ava to our family and friends!! By then she will be a proper little girl, full of life and personality.

Our plan is to stop in New York City to see my old friend Sherrill, travel down to Washington, DC and meet my brother to do some sight seeing. Then head to North Carolina for about three weeks of fun with family and friends. Really looking forward to Christmas with my brother and sister and their families. And hopefully a grandma or two, my aunts and uncles, and cousins too!

I am in talks with the BFF to organize a massive play date in December, at one of my favorite hangouts and her business, Kate’s skating rink. Will keep you posted on the details and let me know if you want to help out!

Well, those are the things we are BIG things to look forward to this year. What do you have planned?

Happy New Year!

Blair

PS: Will post pictures of our holiday soon!

*I found all these pics on Pinterest

The Gypsy Mama


I like to get lost on the internet. Weaving my way from from this site to that. Sometimes not even knowing how I ended up where I do. Tabs open further than the screen can hold. Sites full of different stories, stories from people I know, mostly of people I don’t but feel like I do. Images of people from far off lands or right door.

These days I am still in love with Pinterest and the beautiful inspiration I find there. Before the year ends, I have promised myself a craft weekend and plan to make something I have found there.

Today I found The Gypsy Mama, and I can actually trace my steps there. It started at Naptime Diaries with Jessie’s link to her new site, Sashes to the Merchants. A site that is geared more to the online business community side of selling really beautiful and creative things. From there, I was reminded about her partner at Sashes to the Mechants, Handmade Recess. A beautifully written blog, and she sells gorgeous handbags. See my favorite one here. Once I trust the South African mail system again, I will be buying this. Until then I will just have to swoon from afar. Handmade Recess posted remember, which then lead me to the The Gypsy Mama.

The Gypsy Mama host’s Five Minute Friday. Last week’s post was titled Remember. Five Minute Friday’s challenge you to stop, drop and write for five minutes, no editing allowed. Just be free. Think I’ll try it on Friday. Not sure if I will share it, but I’m gonna give it ago, see how it feels and what I come up with.

Here is what The Gypsy Mama  wrote:

GO
It was strange to be unable to move when they pulled you out of me.
Strange not to have been tired and sweaty from the pushing. Instead I was laid out like a plank – these legs of mine numb to the baby girl crying across the room. But my heart. My heart poured out of my eyes and my arms ached with the empty anticipation of meeting you hand to hand, fingers to flesh.
Hungry eyes waited and feasted on that small flailing fist waving at me from the scale a million miles away.
But when your angry face was wrpped up in that cocoon of warm blankets the journey began. They walked you over to me and my world as I knew it bust apart, to meet you my daughter. My tiny made-in-the-image of me woman child.
Flesh of my flesh and heart of my heart they laid you cheek to cheek with me and despite the epidural I danced.
Every iota of me danced to meet you.
STOP
So beautiful and exactly how I felt when I gave birth to Ava, yet would never be able to put it so eloquently. She’s now moved on to the blog list. 
I am so ready for December holiday, it’s not even funny…
My little pumpkin pie this morning, hogging the bed like she does.

Trying to break out the back door.

I love photos of her sleeping in the car.
Babysitting the fam this weekend. 
Let the party planning begin!
~Blair


Preparing for Christmas

The advent calendar is up and looks great! Love having a husband that is good with his hands. He found a spare piece of wood in our storage room, sanded it down, painted it red and attached the little gold hooks. It turned out perfect. What do you think? 

taken with my iPad, will post a better one soon. 





Sometimes when I am feeling a little down, I head over to Scary Mommy Confessions for a giggle. The other day someone posted some advice about Christmas gifts and what they do with her family. They give:


 Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. That’s what my kiddos get for Christmas. And Santa fills up their stocking. 


I love this. Growing up our family had a few difficult financial years mixed in with the comfortable years. Looking back now, my fondest memories of Christmas are of those years when my parents were going through hard financial times. 


When there wasn’t a lot of extra money, my parents became creative with their gift giving. My favorite memory was having to go on scavenger hunts for our gifts. Santa even sent us out into the snow to go look for clues.  We had loads of laughs as we each searched the house, high and low for clues and gifts. Sometimes the gifts were hid right under our own beds! 


As time went by and things got better, the gifts under the tree multiplied and I (as I won’t speak for my siblings and can probably reassure you that they will all say I am the only spoiled one) became more spoiled, Christmas wasn’t as exciting. I was never satisfied by what I found there. It’s no fault of my parents, they tried to give me everything I wanted. Yet I twisted that around and in turn only wanted more and more. 


I never want the magic of Christmas to fade from Ava because I have spoiled her. So as a new tradition, within our little family, we will now only receive something we want, something we need, something to wear and something to read. Now, if Santa wants to spoil the little angel in her stocking, that’s his prerogative. 


Sunday we plan on decorating the house for Christmas. A bit nervous about the tree as Ava is pulling up on everything now and I would hate for it to fall over on her. Johan will have to take extra precautions on securing it to the wall. So excited to see her little face lit up by the lights. 


I also plan on making a wreath this weekend from our Rosemary bush. I found this idea on Pinterest, of course. Gorgeous and will smell yummy. 

via All About You

My Crafts I’ll Never Do board is getting smaller, as my Pinterest Items Done is gradually filling up! Yay for me. There are three pins so far, but it’s a start!

If I had a million dollars (because everything in SA is so freakishly expensive) or realistically, lived in the US, these are the items Ava would be getting for Christmas from Mommy and Daddy. 


Ava doesn’t know it yet, but she wants this pram (stroller):

via Timber Toys

Or that she needs this rocking giraffe:

via Your Rocking Horse Shop

Or how cute she would look wearing this:

via Nordstrom

Or how much her Mommy will enjoy reading this to her:
via Amazon

Now for me…

Something I want:

via shopbop


Somethings I need:

via Net-A-Porter

via Piperlime

via Sunglass Hut

Something to wear:

via Forever New

Something to read:


Hint, hint Skippy…

22 days until Christmas!!


Cheers!!




Web Obsessions II

Have I told you about my new obsession with Polyvore? I’ve heard of it before, but only started playing around with it last week or so because they were hosting a giveaway. Well now, I am totally addicted. Polyvore = paper dolls for grown-ups. It is amazing, even for those of us who don’t have any sense of style. You can follow me here. After Ava is in bed, you can either find me on Polyvore or Pinterest.

My first Polyvore – Hello Winter

Inspired tonight by my blues yesterday – Summer Concert Material
Holla –Mango Competiton – I know I won’t win, but it’s fun to play

I need these items – Fall Concert Material

Whenever I am looking for a gift for someone, I head over to Etsy first to get ideas. I would much rather give a handmade gift than a mass produced thing of a sorts. Sometimes mass produced is the only option, but if I can help it, I try to go to Etsy.

Seeing as Christmas is coming up I spend lots of time screen shopping there. So it’s no wonder I found two items for myself….Well, for Ava.

I have mentioned Jessi over at Naptime Diaries loads of times, but not sure if I have mentioned her Etsy Shop. Today, I made my first purchase there, an Advent Calendar. The thing I miss most about home and growing up in the South is all of our traditions. From 4th of July to Memorial day and Christmas Day. Most families have their own special tradition for each and every holiday. I cannot think of one tradition they have here in South Africa. So, it is my responsibility to create our own Scheepers’ traditions. I bought this gorgeous advent calendar even though Ava may be to small to participate, we will always know, the advent calendar came from her 1st Christmas.

Buy yours here.

Not sure where I came across this print, but I fell in love with it the moment I saw it. It will fit perfectly in Ava’s room. Hopefully, the print arrives at my sister’s house in time for my mom to bring it back from the states. If not, we will have to brave the South African postal service…

Buy yours here

Oh Pinterest, how I love thee. Look at what I found this weekend. I will actually make this, well Johan, will actually make this for Ava… Super awesome, uh?

follow me here

Working on Johan’s PC is killing me. I NEED my MAC! I should probably just go to sleep now…Wait,  let me just check Pinterest one more time, I’d hate to miss out on something fabulous.

~Blair

Nighty, night

It’s almost 10 pm and the rest of the Scheepers family is sound asleep. Lucky ducks. Mom’s iPad addiction, has made her Internet addiction much worse.

Before Ava was born we always said, “No way, she’ll never sleep in our bed!” And here we are, almost 9 months down the road and the little princess hogs most of the bed, 99% of the time. At the moment, she’s asleep in the camping cot next to my bed. Sometime before sunrise, I’ll sneak her into our bed. Not once has she slept the night in her own room, in her own, proper cot.

Maybe I am actually a lazy person and haven’t realized it? I honestly don’t know how other mothers put their tiny little babies in the next room and still manage sleep?

Just now, little miss woke up crying, I leaned over and handed her a bottle and she went right back to sleep. I didn’t even get out of bed.

I am sure if we had been following a sleep training course, she’d be sleeping through the night by now and in her own bed, in her own room. But how much fun would that be? It’s not her whose not ready, she sleeps alone at school every day. It’s me, I am the one who needs her close. Any suggestions on how to get her out of our bed and into her own room?

So right now, I am wide awake, waiting for her to wake up, so I can put her in bed with us, playing Words with Friends, pinning on Pinterest, reading Reader’s Digest and day dreaming about taking the Gautrain into work tomorrow.

Really excited about the Gautrain. If it is quick enough, my whole life will change. I’ll save money on my commute. I’ll lower my stress levels by not having to deal with bad drivers. I’ll get at least an extra 30 minutes with my family every morning. That’s 2.5 more hours a week. Life changing people! I’ll let you know how it goes.

Nighty, night.
Blair

Lastest Web Obsessions

I’ve found some awesome new websites that are stealing all my attention these days.

Follow Me on Pinterest

If I am not on my absolute new fav site Pinterest, you can find me on here:

Monkey and the Bug – she started following me on Twitter. Why? I don’t know either. So I investigated her and found her awesome blog and shop. One day I will buy something for Ava from there…

$30 from here

Through Monkey and the Bug I found out about Closet Visit. If I could be only 1% as fashionably cool as any of these people on this site, I would be 1000% times cooler than I am right now. How real and gorgeous is this site? Swoon.

Raquel Allegra’s closet – super jealous

I mentioned on my last Weekend Update that I’ve already started planning Ava’s 1st birthday. Well, I enlisted a little help from the professionals. At In Good Company, they offer The Good Plan. For R50, they design a party plan for you, right down to the menu you should serve. Best part, the R50 turns into a store credit at their lovely little shop. Why I haven’t put them on my blog roll yet, I am not sure. Super excited to see what owner, Julie, comes up with for Ava’s Under the Sea / Coral and Teal themed birthday party!

Their new store

Being Brazen is listed on my blog roll and I have mentioned her before here. My favorite segment, I guess you call it that, is her Local is Lekker or Local & Lovely. I LOVE, LOVE online shopping. Even if it’s just screen shopping. Get it, window shopping / screen shopping. Ha. BUT, my biggest issue is that South Africa hasn’t quite caught up with the whole online shopping thing. If you go to one of our biggest retailers, not to name names, but they are still pushing their Urban Arctic looks and it’s officially Spring Day here in SA. Hello, people?!?!?! What happen to fashion forward? Anyhooo, Being Brazen posts local online shops and products. Not to mention she has killer giveaways. What’s not to love? Check how her most recent post, Lovely & Local.
Local & Lovely

I should actually stop looking at Cool Mom Picks and following them on Twitter. They give me more depression, than joy.

A) proof I need more $$$ 
B) makes me miss home and all the US has to offer

Look at today’s post, swoon…
$78

Last but not least, a NSFW (Not Safe For Work site), There’s a Lion Heart in our Bath Tub. Why is this site NSFW? You try to get through one of her posts without tearing up or laughing out loud. There’s a reason why she was just voted South Africa’s number 1 Mommy Blog by Kidz World

go here

Well folks, if your looking for me, there’s lots of places where you can find me. Facebook isn’t one of them. It’s so last week!
Lot’s of exciting things happening for the Scheeper’s this month. Keep a look out. 
Blair

Overexposed


Well folks, there you have it. Ava has finally discovered her tongue!! 
That little tongue of hers gives me the giggles like you wouldn’t believe. 
Love it!!

On Friday’s post, which you can read here, I created a Bucket List for the weekend. I am quite surprised that we managed to accomplished all but one of the items on said list. Granted, there were only four, but still. If it weren’t for me writing this post last night, I could have probably read a few chapters of The Long Tail, but I’d rather be online clearing my head, then have my nose stuck in a book about economics.

The main item I wanted to tackle this weekend, was to learn how to properly use our new camera. I know it will definitely take longer than a weekend to fully understand the camera and the rules of photography. It would have helped if I had listened more during my photography class senior year of high school. The ISO, f-stop and shutter speed triangle thingy is still just as daunting as it was back then. 

Needless to say, I was messing around with the camera this weekend, that’s why most of the photos are blurry, overexposed and just plain bad. Shame. I did, however, learn about the functions of all the automatic and professional modes. Should be a professional within a month, tops! hehe. Maybe two months….

Our hike was a perfect example of photos gone wrong.

overexposed, but I like it.

Underexposed? I don’t know. Such a shame, it would have been such a nice shot.
not too bad… 

The rest were really bad, but I am learning.

One thing I didn’t mess up was the Seasonal Crunch I made, from the recipe I found in Notes From My Kitchen Table. DELICIOUS! And so simple, really. Made mine with strawberries.  


These pictures aren’t sooo bad…
I need my brother in law, Charl to give me a bit of guidance with the photography! His pics are amazing.

Still obsessing over Pinterest this week. I  haven’t had this much fun on a site since I opened my Facebook account four years ago. Look what I found yesterday:

Johan and I had the idea of putting a tree house in Ava’s room, long before we even came up with the idea of the tree. See Ava’s tree and bird houses here. This photo, is exactly what I had in mind and I want to start building it right away! Thankfully, Johan is the rational one. He says we can start next month… Will keep you posted. 


You can follow me on Pinterest here.


Don’t forget, today is awesome.


Blair

Weekend Update

The Scheepers’ had a jammed packed weekend full of nothing. We had absolutely no where to go, and nothing to do. It was wonderful. Ava and I didn’t even get into a car this weekend. Normally, we spend our weekends out and about, shopping or exploring the city. But I have to admit, this weekend has been so relaxing, we really must stay home more often.

The warmer weather helps, as we no longer have to coup ourselves up in the bedroom to keep warm. We also turned on the DSTV (cable), again. Johan and I are funny about TV. Every few months, we switch on DSTV, after a month or two, we get annoyed by the repetition of movies and TV shows, that we end up turning it off. I am more excited about having the country music channel again, than I am about anything on TV, with the exception of Carte Blanche on Sunday nights. I missed Carte Blanche.

This weekend, Johan worked in the garden and I worked on Ava’s closet. She’s almost outgrown most of her 3-6 months clothes and I packed away her winter clothes. Plus, hung up her new clothes that arrived from America. Baby Gap, how I love thee? Their clothes really are so gorgeous. Everything I bought for Ava, I would wear.

Last week on iwantthat, she mentioned her Pinterest account, which I had never heard of, and am now totally obsessed with. It’s such a fun way to save your discoveries online, plus view what others find. Since my birthday, I’ve been spending lots of time day dreaming of Ava’s first birthday party. Pinterest is the perfect place to help me realize this dream. I am torn between an under the sea party or just a coral and teal theme. You can check out my inspiration so far by following me on Pinterest. Click the button below.

Follow Me on Pinterest

A peak into our lazy weekend:

Ava and Daddy playing XBox

Heading out on our stroll around the neighborhood

Reason number 5,784 why I need an iphone – Ava’s 1st school photo taken from my Blackberry. How funny is this? 

Reason number 5,785 why I need an iphone – Ava’s 1st birthday dress that just arrived in the mail. Thanks again, Nat!!

Reason number 5,786 why I need an iphone – Ava’s 1st bathing suit. Doesn’t get much sweeter than this.

A few of my finds for Ava’s birthday party on Pinterest:

Another busy week at work for me. We have a huge event coming up in roughly 6 weeks. You can check it out here. Super excited to be apart of the team responsible for this event.

Enjoy what’s left of your weekend and all the best for the week ahead. 
Blair

ps: Ava and I were jamming out to Toby Keith’s How do you like me now? today. She was smiling as I sung at the top of my lungs and we danced around the house to one of my all time favorite tunes.

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