The hiiiiills are aliiiiiive…with The Sound of Music.

Soundofmusic01Guys, I’m a little late to the party, but I absolutely cannot help but gush. We saw the South of Music a couple of weeks ago (ok, almost a month ago) on our Hebrew anniversary (all the reasons to celebrate, right?) and I loved every second! I didn’t remember the story too well, I knew a bunch of the songs, knew that it had some war-time connotations, and knew it was going to be good. Greg knew that there was someone who was 16 and was turning 17 (and ultimately 18, 19, 20, 21). That’s it and even admitted that during the opening scene he thought it was going to be crap. Soundofmusic04 Soundofmusic05 But seriously – this show. The singing, the kids – it was so much fun! I actually didn’t realise how many of the songs I knew. I did know that it took place during the time of the war and stuff, but I won’t lie it was a little scary sitting there during a Nazi rally and being Jewish. Obviously, it was all part of the show, but when you don’t expect it, and there you are sitting in a crazy part of your history – it’s a little shocking. Soundofmusic03 Soundofmusic02 I’m sad to hear, but utterly not surprised either that the show has been fully booked out. I’m so glad I bought tickets ages ago for Greg and I, we really love these yearly productions. If unfortunately you didn’t get tickets, here’s a little montage of the show 🙂 IT seems like we saw the other cast to the one in the video, but they were great too 😉

I’ll admit it. I couldn’t even make pasta.

My friend who just got engaged recently messaged me after her engagement party:

“I got 3 cookbooks. You know what that means…”

I told her she’d be fine, naturally, as we all know where my cooking skills stood while I was engaged.

Let’s just say, there were none. My cooking life motto today is “you learn fast, or you go hungry,” and no-one wants to go hungry.

The kitchen was the place I ate dinner at home. I never joined in on cooking, and I don’t even recall my mom asking me to help, because she’d probably have gotten a big no. I could not boil pasta, I could not make rice, and I can’t explain the joy on our parents’ faces when we received not one, but four toasted cheese machines for our engagement! (don’t worry, we took two back). Everyone pitied Greg, who couldn’t cook anything either may I add, wondering what this grown boy would be eating for the rest of his life.

We never cooked for the first few weeks of being married. During the week of Sheva Brachot, the week commencing the wedding, we small dinner parties were hosted in our honour at different friends and family. They also gave us all the leftovers, so we were pretty sorted for a long, long time.

 

And when all the leftovers were finished, we needed to learn to cook. We actually went to a friend one night who taught us to cook fish and roast vegetables. Literally. How to roast freaking vegetables. I think I even struggled to cut the butternut. It’s really funny thinking back to those times. We’ve since been cooking fish and roast veggies like pros.

We barely cooked Shabbos supper for our first year of marriage because we were always invited out (ok, often we’d invite ourselves out too). Nowadays, we cook shabbos for 7 – 10 people like it’s no big deal (ok, it’s 10 purely because that’s how many we can fit around our table. Also, I think we only have 12 plates), and people at work always seem to think that I’m cooking crazy shabbos meals every week.

We’ve learnt to make some fancy, and even very simple foods. We make quiche without a base (because who has time to make all that pastry?), make our own delicious challah for shabbos, chicken a la king, risotto is a recent favourite, delicious fish, we’re having foreign friends over and making a South African bobotie.

I wouldn’t even quite go so far as saying I love cooking. I do like to eat though, and I like to try new things sometimes. More than cooking, I like entertaining, and cooking up nice things for guests. I even find baking a mission – even though I somehow got this reputation as a baker – all those measuring utensils, spoons, bowls etc that need to be cleaned? But I do love a good or impressive dessert. Greg on the other hand actually likes cooking. Guys, I kid you not when I tell you we were useless. The other week we even bought egg poacher pod things, and had poached eggs for the first time!

When I think about it, we’ve come a long way in our little food journey over the last few years. I’m telling you, I still surprise myself.

Do you remember the first few things you learnt to cook?

Long weekend shenanigans

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Ah, long weekend. What a blessing. As a student I always looked forward to these days, when I’d be able to spend days doing as I pleased, and not excited about the extra time it gave me to work. It wasn’t a particularly eventful weekend, but we filled it with fun things, times and people that we love – and I guess that’s pretty important in life.

Friday we actually started out at the gym. I wish I could say it was dedication, but it was really just because we’ve been slacking so badly. The allure of warmth as the mornings get colder, and the sun rises so much later. By the time we leave these days, it may as well be the middle of the night and I wouldn’t know the difference. It was nice actually. We don’t gym together anymore. We go at similar times before work, but do our own things as our morning schedules are different. It was nice to be pushed a little harder and laugh together at gym again.

We were having guests Friday night, but we were smart and did all our Shabbos cooking Thursday as if Friday wasn’t a public holiday at all (don’t worry, we’re no superheroes, and even we couldn’t avoid that “Shabbos Rush” feeling). We spent the afternoon at one of my favourite places Kirstenbosch, which is especially lovely on days when the weather is so glorious. I somehow persuaded Greg to take a bit of a walk up towards the protea gardens, they’re way way up the mountain, in search of the bench where he proposed. I also wanted to find that random patch of grass he almost proposed at, which we’d never found since then – but we did this time.

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The afternoon passed with a lunch of one massive salad (I’m really not a salad person. I give funny looks to people who order them at restaurants. But I just had this craving), lounging chatting in the sunshine and playing bananagrams, another thing we hadn’t done in such a long time.

Shabbos was a great one. We had a great evening with guests we loved – you know it’s a good night when you suddenly check the time and it’s after 12! We don’t usually do anything on a Saturday night, but this one was all sorts of fun and filled with so much love (and more food!) and one of my best friends’ engagement party. I still can’t believe how so many of my best friends are getting married in one year. I love it!

Sunday was a bit of admin. I had grand intentions of getting a haircut. I usually go to this small little place at the mall, kind of secluded, kind of closed so not every passer by can see my and my long locks. But they’d disappeared and I didn’t feel like finding another one. So here I am, sitting typing this with hair down my back. After a non-successful mall adventure – almost every shop we needed to go to was “closed – be back in 45 minutes”, we had a braai at friends. Seriously, I don’t think we’ve ever been so social in one weekend!

After the braai, we rushed home because we were actually hosting a board-games night. We’d never hosted one before, but my friend and I had the idea, she organised and I offered to host. No-one really knew how the night would pan out, everyone just brought some snacks and we brought out all the games. Oh, did I mention all our friends happened to be Rabbis and their wives? Let’s just say it was interesting, and the laughs from our living room will remain a secret. We played a great round of Apples to Apples (if you haven’t played, it’s kind of similar to Cards Against Humanity. Just less dodge. Obviously), some bananagrams and even articulate. Guys seriously, a board games night with friends is seriously underrated! Next time Greg and I plan on introducing Settlers of Catan to the mix, but we might need to split up the games a bit. Lots of planning for next time.

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So when I was asked at work this morning the obligatory “how was your long weekend” and I answered “yeah, chilled” as I always do, I quickly took it back when I realised how much we’d gotten up to. What did you all get up to for the long weekend?

 

Don’t let rejection get you down. These guys sure didn’t.

We know that some of our favourite celebrities, authors, musicians had a rough time “making it big”. I mean, it can’t be easy. I imagine it’s equal parts determination, skill, the people you know (or don’t know) and a certain amount of luck or good fortune. As my childhood Harry Potter fan knows, JK Rowling took years to get published and rejected by so many publication houses. I found these rejection letters received by the likes of Madonna, Andy Warhol, U2 and Tim Burton (and by Walt Disney to boot!). It’s funny and sort of amazing to think that someone didn’t think they were “good enough”, and ended up “making it” not long after.

So you see, a little hard work and perseverance really can help push you towards your dreams, be it in your career or personal life. And you know what, even if you don’t “make it” and become big and famous, you’re still wonderful, capable and can achieve big things. Like if you don’t get that job, don’t worry, something better will come along. Dream big, guys dream big.

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(source: Design Taxi)

DIY: Exploding Box Card

So for our anniversary, neither of us landed up spending big monies on fancypants gifts. We went the “sentimental” and a little more meaningful route and made each other things. Yknow, something that takes a whole lot of time and effort and really means something at the end of the day. We were cooped up in separate rooms for days, each crafting our little hearts out (and the fact alone that Greg was making something crafty was taking me by surprise!)

So I found the most wonderful tutorial for what is called an exploding box. Basically, you take off the lid and boom – it basically explodes with the awesomeness you put in.

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You can follow this link for a very detailed tutorial. Lucky for me, I had everything I needed at home (I have a ton of scrapbooking stuff I just never have time to use). The only thing I bought was my very first 3 rolls of washi tape (R60 from Mr Price home!) and I had a lot of fun experimenting with that, felt like I was finally part of the cool kids.

Anyway, it’s a super easy little tutorial, for a freaking awesome gift. You can fill the many, many sides with whatever you want: quotes, photos, reasons you love a person, personal jokes, the opportunities are literally endless. I put things like the Hebrew quote from our wedding invite, and the quote he based his speech on, as well as tons of photos. It’s pretty epic.

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I’m sorry the pictures are so awful. I took them on my phone and then edited them, and I’m not sure whether they look better or worse – someone needs to teach me to use my camera. Anyway, I was (and still am) super chuffed of the result. It’s something personal and romantic and also pretty cool.

And now I need birthday present ideas for husband. If you have any feel free to throw some “for him” gift ideas this way 😉 I hope this gives you an idea for your next big personal memorable milestone. If you’re the crafty type, I promise this is something you’ll love.

Let me know if you give it a try 🙂

It’s been a little quiet around here.

I feel like I’ve been a little scarce here other than my 365 project. I just haven’t been finding time to write, or to think of things to write about. I like to get fresh air (sometimes) during lunch, and like to chill to stay away from the computer when I’m home (I do spend far too many working hours in front of a computer.

Well, we had a pretty rad anniversary. We found some slow background music on 8tracks and cooked a super fancy food (lamb shanks, anyone?) and the entire meal definitely cost us far less than going out. Turn off the light and pop some candles on your table and it’s instantly a whole lot more romantic than any kosher restaurant you can probably find in South Africa. We’re definitely adding candle light to more dinners, everyone deserves some romance, and who cares if all you’re eating are something like hotdogs for dinner. We hand crafted each other gifts, and I was so happy with what I did – I must do a blog post on it. I laughed at how Paleo friendly our lamb shank meal was was – served with green beans (actually, is that paleo friendly?) and cauliflower mash. Deeeeelicious. Thanks to the wonderful people of twitter (and one in particular) who assisted in lending this poor couple a recipe. If in doubt when cooking lamb shanks: the slow cooker.

The best part of our anniversary was definitely watching our entire wedding video. We didn’t get something fancily edited, basically just a recording of the entire night, but the truth is we didn’t want one. Our parents were paying and they said it was important – and we are so thankful that we have it. Pictures are wonderful and beautiful, but there’s nothing like actually reliving the whole night. It warmed my heart to tears (literally) to see my friends, those who have or are getting married, friends who flew from all over the country and the world, the beautiful messages and their smiling faces. There was so much laughter and dancing at our wedding that I can’t even explain. We literally laughed our way through (with some tears along the way). It was interesting for me to see how I seemed a little stressed on the day getting ready, but as soon as we arrived at the venue and the night progressed, I completely loosened up and relaxed. I clearly know what I was doing 😉 We took so many video shots while watching, and this one is my favourite (I can’t watch it enough):

Oh goodness, I may not have mentioned (and maybe I should have, or still should do an actual post about this), but my chlidhood bestie and I started a blog together. It’s nothing fancy as of yet and our posts are a little sporadic, but it’s kind of exciting for us 🙂 Go follow Our Shabbos Menu to see what’s been cooking in our kitchen when we have all those guests over!

One of my best friends got engaged a few weeks ago, and I’m so incredibly happy for them. It’s nice to have a friend’s wedding where you can actually be around to help and discuss and be there for her leading up to the day, which sadly hasn’t been the case recently. Too many weddings out of town. Too many of my best friends are getting married this year (all in different countries around the world may I just add), and it’s difficult to pick and choose. Also, I’m just not rich enough for all of that. I’ve already missed 2 weddings recently, and those were only in Joburg. To top it off I have a serious case of Wanderlust, and it’s not helping that so many people at work have awesome and fun trips planned (today a colleague is on her way to SXSW. I mean, too cool.) I’m tempted to take a trip, but choosing destinations is hard.

I’ve had a couple of “meh” days at work. The ones that make you pretty sad. Maybe I’m just going through a bit of a rough patch. I mean that’s totally normal, right? But it was nothing that a lindt ball, a long shower, nail panting and some super girly series couldn’t fix (Pretty Little Liars is the only thing I watch these days, and it’s very sporadic). I hardly watch series anymore and I have no idea where people find time for it. Perhaps it’s because Greg and I watch such drastically different shows. Occassionally we’ll watch some of the comedy stuff, yknow, 2 Broke Girls, The New Girl, Modern Family (though I don’t remember when we last watched that) FRIENDS, and of course, Survivor. I guess I like to do other things sometimes.

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This weekend, with the colder weather we did something completely uncharacteristic: we watched a movie (at home. We usually choose series over movies). In fact, we watched two movies. Even more uncharacteristic because I usually fall asleep. We watched Mao’s Last Dancer, which I was meant to see years ago with a friend, and  I’ve subsequently read the book (which was at least a million times better). We also watched What To Expect When You’re Expecting, surprisingly it wasn’t quite what I expected and had a lot of heart. I’ve worked on a Fertility Clinic as a client before so I really felt the plight for some of these stories. It was a surprisingly good movie 🙂

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I miss a lot of my friends who’ve moved from Cape Town. That is always hard and a little sucky. I called my friend a couple weeks ago, and it’s funny how the 5 minute conversation we said we had time for quickly turned into 20 minutes. Thank goodness for whatsapp and the interwebs allowing you to keep in touch with people effortlessly. But the truth is, it’s really not the same as a catch up on the promenade or over coffee.

I guess that’s what’s been going on recently. And you? I love to hear from readers 🙂