Chicken Soup: Love Notes

26 November 2014

via Pinterest

I cannot explain what this precious book: Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul does for my soul - so heart warming and genuine.

Love Notes

From the time each of my children started school, I packed their lunches. And in each lunch i packed, I included a note. Often written on a napkin, the note might be a thank you for a special moment, a reminder of something we were happily anticipating, or a bit of encouragement for an upcoming test to sporting event.

In early grade school they loved their notes - they commented on them after school, and when I went back to teachog, they even put motes in my lunches. But as kids grow older they become self-conscious and by the time he reached high school, my older son, Marc, informed he no longer needed my daily missives. Informing him that they had been written as much for me as for him, and that he no longer needed to read them but I still needed to write them, I continued the tradition until the day he graduated.

Six years after high school graduation, Marc called and asked if he could move home for a couple of months. He had spent those years well, graduating Phi Beta Kappa magna cum laude from college, completing two congressional internships in Washington DC, winning the Jesse Marvin Unruh Fellowship to the California State Legislature and finally, becoming legislative assistant in Sacramento. Other than short vacation visits, however, he had lived away from home. With his younger sister leaving for college, I was especially thrilled to have Marc coming home. 

A couple weeks after Marc arrived home to rest, regroup and write for a while, he was back at work - he had been recruited to do campaign work. Since I was still making lunch every day for his younger brother, I packed one for Marc too. Imagine my surprise when i got a call from my 24-year-old son, complaining about his lunch.

"Did I do something wrong? Aren't I still your kid? Don't you love me anymore, Mom?" were just a few of the questions he threw at me as I laughingly asked him what was wrong. "My note, Mom," he answered. "Where's my note?"

This year my youngest son will be a senior in high school. He, too, has now announced that he is too old for notes. But like his brother and sister before him, he will receive these notes until the day he graduates - and in whatever lunches I pack for him afterwards.

 - Antoinette Kuritz - 

Anyone else wiping the tears from their eyes?
I have always loved the idea of these lunch notes, and have packed a few for MC (back in the day). I cannot wait for my girls to be able to read so I can start writing lunch notes again.

Christmas Wish List: For Her

25 November 2014

I cannot believe it is almost Christmas time - time for decorations, Christmas shopping and silly season parties and events. I love the gift of giving and could easily be hired as a personal shopper... I spend ages shopping up a storm, wrapping everything with Christmas cheer and filling Christmas stockings! 

And if Father Christmas were to leave a gift or two under the tree for me (hint hint) - these would be on my list:

Christmas 2014

1. Monogrammed mug. There is nothing better than gold and personalisation to enjoy Christmas tea
2. Fossil tote bag. I am in love with these big tote bags in neutral colours
3. Triangl bikini. All the rage, amazing fabric and this cute colour combo
4. Ugg slippers. Heaven on my feet
5. Avon perfume. The smell I have been searching for
6. Clarisonic. Changing the way we wash our face
7. Fossil purse. Love this leather purse

What is on your Christmas list this year?

Summer is here...

24 November 2014

There is no season that makes me happier than Summer...
And no better feeling than the sun shining down on us...
Summer is here!

This weekend, I spent some quality time with SJ and EN in the sun - we swam and splashed, EN giggled in the freezing cold water and SJ hopped from the big pool to her little splash pool - so confident in the water. An awesome morning in the sun and then falling asleep in the breeze of the aircon smelling like sun tan lotion - a perfect Summer's Day.

Teacher Gifts

20 November 2014

As the year draws to an end, so does the school year close for our little kiddies (in South Africa, we run our school year as per the calendar - start in January and end in December) so our kids are about to start their long six week Summer break. 

SJ's little school is closing at the end of this year as her teacher is emigrating to Australia so she is moving to a new Play group next year. As her first year of school, I have loved thinking of little gifts for her class and teachers for the different holidays and occasions. As a teacher myself, I know how amazing it is to be spoilt at the end of the year - with thoughtful and meaningful gifts rather than quick store bought items that aren't going to be used (teachers are always showered with chocolates and soaps!)

These are a few of the cute teacher's gifts I have found to make for our sweet teacher Jennie:

via Pinterest

Do you make or buy teacher gifts at the end of each year?

Holiday Recap: New York

19 November 2014

Our second stop... New York.

We landed in New York on Wednesday afternoon, checked in at our perfectly located hotel: Park Lane with the most exquisite views of Central Park. A quick shower, unpack and stroll through Central Park before sushi dinner at Whole Foods - our favourite healthy food store. We were lucky enough to get tickets to the NY Knicks opening night game at Madison Square Garden - I love sport and basketball has to be of my favourites. The live games are electrifying with crowds going wild, crazy entertainment, epic DJ's and so many lights and sounds. Even though the Knicks lost - we had so much fun!

We all know I'm not a huge fan of running but with Central Park on your doorstep, you can't not. I really loved our beautiful, crisp morning run through the park. On our last trip to NYC, we found a quaint French cafe: Le Pain Quotidien (only to learn that there are cafes all over America and London). They serve amazing brunches and their signature chocolate spread (think Nutella but better!) on different breads. We are creatures of habit and enjoy a good thing when we find it - we ate breakfast here six mornings, out of six! 

We spent the rest of the day exploring the city: views from Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Centre, walking the streets, more shopping, frozen hot chocolates from Serendipity and then a quiet dinner in and a good nights sleep.

My SIL, Kerry arrived on Friday - she is the main reason for our trip as we went to support her running the New York Marathon (more on that later!) We spent the day sightseeing, visiting Grand Central Station (and all I could imagine was the date night in the empty station in the movie, Arthur with Russell Brand), visiting the marathon expo, canoli's from The Cake Boss Cafe, burgers at Shake Shack and then watching the musical, Matilda on Broadway. What a brilliant production!

Saturday was freezing cold and pouring with rain but this didn't stop us venturing out for a day of eating: brunch at Le Pain, best pizza in New York at Grimaldi's, shopping in sweetie heaven at Dylan's Candy Shop, hot chocolate at Le Pain (yes, twice in one day!) and then early to bed for the big marathon the next day.

Sunday was a cold and windy day - an early start for us to meet Kerry at her first point, 12 miles. A race through subways security barricades, traffic and so many people - all in the freezing cold! But nothing compares to how my super fit SIL ran her first marathon - in tough conditions and in 3h38m. I cannot explain how proud I was - sobbing at every check point and completely emotional when she ran past us towards the finish line. What an achievement! And so glad we could be there to support her. We celebrated that evening with a delicious dinner and cocktails at The Smith and Kez walked the city with her medal hanging proudly around her neck!

Our last day in the Big Apple was pretty chilled - a yummy breakfast, sightseeing on the big red bus, Wall Street and financial district, 9/11 memorials, a Paleo lunch and then early dinner and bed. We had tickets for the NY Giants and Colts football game but with the freezing cold weather, early flight the next morning and a long day in the cold - we gave it a miss! Call us crazy...

There is something about a big city that is scary and dirty and overwhelming but I love it. I don't think I could ever live in NYC long term but holidays are incredible and memories that last a lifetime.

Flying into NYC

View from our hotel room of Central Park
NY Knicks basketball at Madison Square Garden

Runs through Central Park

LOVE in the City

Frozen hot chocolate from Serendipity

Top of the Rock

Grand Central Station

Shake Shack

Mathilda on Broadway

So proud of our marathon runner

Dinner at The Smith

9/11 Memorial

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