Tag Archives: Day Zero Project

101 goals for the next 1001 days

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Note: In case you missed my previous posts relating to this new list of goals, you might like to first stop by here, here and here 🙂 Goals 1 through 47 are adapted from my previous list, and goals 48 through 101 are the most recent additions. Where I’ve been working on an old goal but haven’t quite finished it yet, you’ll see the weird numbers reflect where I’m at today as I begin the new list (applies to goals 6, 9, 12, 16, 23, 26, 27, 30, 33, 34, 36, 40 and 47).

Enjoy! And let me know your thoughts…

Wood pennyfarthing

101 things in 1001 days

From 21 March 2014 to 16 December 2016

1. Read through the Bible in a year

2. Knit a couch throw with natural yarn

3. Get to my goal weight and/or goal size and maintain

4. Finish our wedding scrapbook

5. Go on 3 hikes

6. Go on 2 motorcycle rides

7. Work through Love Dare again

8. Get a pretty girly camera bag

9. Paint 4 artworks on canvas

10. Assemble an emergency kit

11. Visit a cave

12. Make a list of 48 things I’m grateful for

13. Complete a 1 000+ piece puzzle

14. Go on a rollercoaster

15. Find a personally inspirational quote and work it into a piece of art or home decor

16. Read 73 books and keep a list of them

17. Make a custom recipe book

18. Visit 5 different museums and/or monuments

19. Have a sleepover party

20. Go for a bicycle ride

21. Take 101 (poster-worthy) photos of my new pet rats

22. Grow a plant from a seed

23. Invite 5 different friends/couples over for a visit

24. Try 5 new cocktails

25. Write a letter to my favourite author

26. Apply henna 3 different times

27. Get 7 more hat badges

28. Navigate a maze

29. Use up a sheet of temporary tattoos

30. Write a list of 25 things I’ve already achieved in this lifetime

31. Leave an inspirational note inside a book for someone to find

32. Take part in a colour run

33. Eat at 2 new restaurants

34. Take 10 photos of 10 different birds

35. Go to Gold Reef City

36. Celebrate 3 obscure holidays

37. Make a time capsule

38. Visit a bird of prey centre

39. Revisit our wedding venue

40. Watch 6 movies I’ve never seen starting with K, N, Q, U, X and Y

41. Read Pilgrim’s Progress in the old English

42. Revamp my lingerie collection

43. Enjoy another spa day with my best friend

44. Photograph 10 old buildings in South Africa

45. Play the lotto with numbers from a fortune cookie

46. Put away R10 for each completed task

47. Write 4 letters to 4 people who changed my life

48. Buy 5 music CDs for my collection

49. Throw a housewarming party

50. Plan my 30th birthday party

51. Buy 3 more legit Bollywood movies

52. Complete a one-month photo challenge

53. Celebrate our 10-year dating anni in a special way

54. Get a good pocket/handbag camera

55. Interact with a raptor

56. Make a classic ‘Sunday roast’ meal

57. Get 5 new movies for my collection

58. Ride in a hot air balloon

59. Donate blood

60. Do 5 random acts of kindness

61. Find 5 inspiring new blogs to follow

62. Investigate becoming an organ donor

63. Plant a tree

64. Plant a vegetable garden

65. Go to the Lion Park

66. Host a Christmas gathering

67. Go to a theatre show

68. Visit an animal sanctuary

69. Go berry picking at Just Darling farm

70. Visit Lindfield Victorian House

71. See a movie at Rosebank’s Ster Kinekor Cinema Prestige

72. Have a ‘pretty boudoir’ photoshoot for Ninja

73. Hire an old car and go for a drive

74. Celebrate Raksha Bandhan in some way

75. Do a SCAD dive

76. Try 5 different natural foods from Organic Emporium

77. Get new running shoes

78. Get glasses frames that suit me better

79. Make or buy 2 decor items for the bathroom

80. Make or buy 2 decor items for the bedroom

81. Make or buy 2 decor items for the lounge

82. Make or buy 2 decor items for the kitchen

83. Get more potted plants

84. Upgrade our medical aid plan

85. Hire or buy another camera lens

86. Pay off our building loan

87. Make my own vanilla extract

88. Visit an organic/farmers’ market

89. Get a new set of bed linen

90. Make my own air freshener

91. Make my own potpourri sachets

92. Make my own jelly sweets

93. Make 5 new desserts

94. Create a photo album of all our pets

95. Cook homemade soup in winter

96. Define my own smart fashion style

97. Define my own casual fashion style

98. Buy 3 completely new smart outfits

99. Buy 3 completely new casual outfits

100. Revamp my jewellery collection

101. Take at least one mini-break away with Ninja

Autumn: a time for change

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Yesterday, 20th March, was our autumn equinox down here in the southern hemisphere. It was a particularly beautiful, quiet and sunny day – a welcome treat after all the rain that the Gauteng province has been receiving for most of March!

As I’ve mentioned before, this is one of my favourite seasons. I greatly appreciate the chance to stop and reflect on life. This autumn feels especially poignant for me as we’ll be spending the season wrapping up our lives in our current flat and preparing to move over to our new home. By the time the winter solstice rolls around, Ninja and the fuzzbutts and I should all be happily settled in our new cottage.

I really love that this year I get to clean out the cobwebs (sometimes literally!) at a time when I’m already feeling inclined to make changes. And because of that, I thought that today – technically our first day of autumn – would be the perfect time to share with you my updated and improved ‘101 things in 1001 days’ list 🙂

As I explained a while ago, the direction of my life has changed so much since my original list (and even my updated version) that I need to redirect my goals to match my new circumstances. So you’ll recognise the first 47 goals, as they all come from my earlier list. But from Goal #48 onwards I’ve added new ideas that relate better to where I see myself heading over the course of the next 1001 days (all else being equal, and Lord willing). I also have a ‘someday’ list that I plan to set up separately (perhaps with a separate blog page of its own) and update and attempt as I’m able.

So here goes…!

PS – By the way, I don’t think I’ve mentioned this yet… Remember that my husband was facing retrenchment at the beginning of this year? Well to the glory of our great Heavenly Father, Ninja has been granted another work opportunity! Lord willing he’ll begin at his new job in April. We are very very thankful for this provision; it certainly changes the outlook for our year ahead 🙂

Goal #22: Bake 5 different cakes – done!

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Greetings from a very wet and surprisingly cold Johannesburg!

This sure is baking weather we’ve been having, so recently I decided to bake my fifth and final cake to tick off my 22nd goal. You see, even though some goals will be changing soon, I’m still working on a few that are staying on my list 🙂

The cake I chose was a buttermilk and pecan cake, from this recipe.

Buttermilk cake (plain and with pecans)

Unfortunately, I can’t say I was amazingly impressed with the results. Which is no reflection on the original recipe – it’s just that after going from this cake and that one then on to this one and that one, the buttermilk cake with pecans didn’t exactly make my tastebuds samba, if you know what I’m sayin’!

The recipe worked well but the flavours were a bit mild (the plain version was for Ninja, of course, and the nutty one for me). Plus, although the cake was tasty straight out of the oven, it didn’t keep very well and became a bit mushy. So it wasn’t the flashiest way to end off my five forays into cake baking…

Buttermilk pecan cake 2

Nevertheless, my Goal #22 is now complete. Of all the recipes I tried, my favourite by far was Kate Bracks’s lime, coconut and sour cream cake. That was gobbled up so quickly I didn’t get a chance to test how well it would keep! Second to that was the lovely fresh raspberry cake, and in third place I’d rate the versatile eggless custard cake.

This was a great goal to have on my list, especially because previously I used to only bake cupcakes and be worried that actual cakes would be flops. Now I know that if you pick a good recipe, and if you’re brave enough to experiment sometimes, there’s no need to fear the art of caking 😀

What’s a goal if you can’t change it?

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Water lily

As mentioned in my previous post, here are the goals on my 101 things in 1001 days list that I feel need to change so that my goals reflect my new circumstances more closely…

#11: Grow my hair to my waist – I’ve outgrown this goal, I reckon. My hair was waist length when I was younger, and it was lovely and all, but I don’t think it’s ‘me’ anymore. I’m happy with the short crop I have for now. We’ll see!

#13: Get a belly button piercing – I should’ve done this a decade ago. It’s a bit corny to do it now. And I don’t need it anymore in order to feel sexy 😉

#19: Go horseback riding on the beach – I definitely still want to do this one day, but I live far from the beach and I don’t foresee I’ll afford a holiday anytime soon. So I’m moving this to my ‘someday’ goals list.

#21: Go for a walk in a forest – No forests nearby… moving this to my someday list.

#28: Go on a road trip – Like I said, no holidays expected anytime soon! Someday…

#31: Go camping – Well, we’ll be selling our tent before we’ve used it even once, because we need the dosh. Doubt this will ever come up again, so I won’t put this on my someday list.

#32: Go to a concert – There’s nothing wrong with this goal, but I’ve been to concerts before, so why am I just repeating myself? Besides, it’s pretty rare for bands I like to hit SA, so this can happily go on my someday list, to be fulfilled ‘if and when’.

#36: Go vegetarian for a month – You know, I’ve just realised I don’t want this enough. I still want to eat fish, chicken and the occasional slice of pastrami. And yes I know that it’s pretty impossible to claim to be cruelty free if you still eat animals, but there’s just too much else going on in my life right now. I can’t face the thought of fundamentally changing my diet and cooking on top of all the other major life changes going on at the moment. At best I can make gradual changes over time in this area. I also want to make gradual changes towards more natural, healthy and cruelty-free cosmetics choices too… but that’s a thought for another post 🙂

#47: Do a punk photoshoot – It has taken and is taking me a long time to let go of my awesome punk years! But I think it’s time for this goal to finally go. This goal is only here because I was longing for my past instead of looking forward to my future.

#51: Spend a day without technology – Hah! There’s no need for me to have this as a goal. Our national power supplier (Eskom) will arrange it for me!

#57: Go to Sun City – I don’t know if I should take this off the list or not. Part of me says there’s no way we’ll afford it during this next season of our lives, but the other part (plus my husband!) says it’s still worth aiming for, even for a day trip… someday…

#60: Go on holiday with friends – Can’t go on holiday for the foreseeable future. With or without friends. M’kay?

#67: Visit Namaqualand in flower season – Someday!

#71: Holiday in the Drakensberg – Sheesh, I really did dream big huh! Also moved to the someday list.

#72: Do a 30 x 30 challenge – You know, I tried valiantly to do this. But halfway through I realised that I’ll never stick to it, because for at least one week out of every 30 days, I feel far too unwell for exercise. Hint: Maybe I’ll attempt this one day after menopause! LOL 😀

#73: Get a zoom lens for my camera – Argh. I really wish I could. But I don’t know if I can justify the cost when we’re scraping together every cent to pay off our new home. So I’ll stick this on my someday list… but you can be sure it’ll be right near the top!

#74: Go on a boat ride – I’ve been on a boat ride! Gah! Can I just stop repeating old goals? Where’s my imagination?

#80: Visit Knysna Wolf Sanctuary – Be still, my heart. Someday, hopefully someday soon.

#82: Take the tourist bus around Cape Town – The which to do, I must needs get to Cape Town… someday…

#83: Go on holiday by bus – Someday

#84: Learn to touch type – Erm, shew… not all that inspiring! Striking through this one. If I do learn it one day, great, but it needn’t be on my fun goals list.

#86: Publish my best poems – Someday, when money allows.

#87: Spend a night in a fancy hotel – When money allows, I’d love to still do this too 

#101: Brainstorm an overseas trip – Why brainstorm something that could be light-years away? Rather just stick it on my someday list and plan it properly when it does finally seem to be a possibility.

Well, those are the changes. I’ll be taking the next few weeks to work on a new 101 list that works for my current season of life. And then I’ll share it with you, whether you want me to or not! Hehe 😉

Life is not a straight line

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Pied crows 40_cr

I really don’t seem to get the concept of a 101 things in 1001 days list, do I?!

All I know is that these lists are supposed to inspire you to achieve personal goals… but what if your life has changed so much since the time you first penned those goals that many of them are now rendered useless – depressing, even?

By way of an extreme example, let’s say you had a list full of goals relating to physical activity, and then all of a sudden you’re crippled in an accident. Now what? You can no longer have goals like ‘Climb Mount Kilimanjaro’ on your list… they would just be an annoying reminder that you’re not who you were. The only sensible thing to do would be to make a fresh start with new goals for your new life.

Well, in a much more mundane way, that’s where I’m at right now. When I started this list I was a housewife with plenty of freedom to dream big. When I later updated the list it was because I’d moved back into the working world and had to adapt to that busy schedule. And now I’m itching to change the list again, because building a new home and having an ongoing career have reshaped my life once again.

Building a home costs me money, and working outside the home costs me time. Together, these factors limit what I can reasonably do for fun.

For instance, I love travelling. But keeping travel goals on my list for the next two years, when I know that there’s absolutely no budget for travelling, is just getting me down. As I see it, there will be no long holidays or trips over the next few years, because of finances.

Another reason I’m ready to rework my list is that I’ve recently realised how many of the goals are there for silly nostalgic reasons. Some of these goals I’ve already achieved once or twice before in my life, but they’re on my list because – until very recently – I’d been hankering back to my past as if I could recreate it in some way.

It’s only in the last month or so that I’ve finally come to realise that yes, my past was pretty cool, but my future could be even more amazing if I’d just face forward and dream again. Sure, some things are great fun and worth repeating… but maybe not if there’s something new to try instead.

I’ve also learnt a lot about the ‘101 things in 1001 days’ list since I first began. I’ve realised that it would be much more realistic if I had two lists: a ‘101 things’ list and a ‘someday’ list. The someday list could record many of the places I’d love to travel to and adventures I’d like to have, but which seem too large, expensive or impractical at this particular time in my life. They’d still keep me motivated, but without the pressure of a deadline. Then the 101 things list could be for the more achievable short- to medium-term goals, which rightly deserve a deadline.

My mom always used to say, ‘What’s a mind if you can’t change it?’, which drove me batty as a kid because I was usually the exact opposite: sticking boringly, tenaciously, stupidly to one thing until I’d completed it – even if the task had long since lost its usefulness.

Well, now it’s my turn to draw on my mom’s idiom and change my mind about some of my goals. So in the next post I’ll take a look at some of the goals that I think definitely need to go…

Valentine’s cake and stargazing

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Valentine’s Day sped by in a blur this year. Remember last year’s fanfare? Well, this year was quieter but still fun, and I used the celebration to work on two more of my goals: #22 (bake another cake) and #30 (visit a planetarium).

We went to the Johannesburg Planetarium for their Valentine’s Day show. It was really funny being in a crowd of about 150 couples! The show was cute, and one could opt to screen a personal message in the stars. This is what I wrote for my man:

Ninja

You are strong, handsome, godly, funny, loving and an incredible husband. No matter what happens in life, always look up!

With love, respect and stars in my eyes,

Zest

All together now: “Awwww!” 🙂

As I mentioned, I also managed to bake the fourth of five cakes on my 22nd goal: a fresh raspberry cake. The recipe for this treat (and all the credit!) for the cake can be found here: http://bakingbites.com/2013/06/fresh-raspberry-cake/. (The only thing I changed was using 1 t lemon juice instead of 1 t lemon zest.) Here are my pics to whet your appetite:

Fresh raspberry cake

Fresh raspberry cake

The batter only fills part of the tin

The batter only fills part of the tin

Then you dot in the raspberries

Sprinkle the cake with sugar

Sprinkle the cake with sugar

And bake till it's lovely golden colour

And bake till it’s lovely golden colour

I can’t imagine this cake with any berries other than these tart red delights, but of course you could try other berries if you wanted to. Next time I make this I might experiment with using less sugar, as a whole cup seemed like a huge portion, but otherwise this was fantastic and gobbled up by all those I shared it with. (FYI: I did notice that it’s probably best eaten fresh, as the longer you keep it the softer the berries will become.)

Thank you, Baking Bites, for sharing this recipe with us! The sweetest side of baking is in the sharing 🙂

Goal #8: Write a letter to my future self

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I’ve completed another goal on my list: Goal #8: Write a letter to myself to open in 10 years’ time.

Anime me

The futuristic me?

In 2024 (Lord willing I’m still around) I hope to open that letter and dissolve the pearls of my youthly wisdom in the vinegar of my aged experience…

Kidding! 😀

It was actually rather enjoyable writing to my future self. Of course I had to assume that many of the basic facts of my life would be the same then as now: marriage, health, home etc. I don’t see how this could work any other way.

The verb tenses were kinda funny too. But once I settled down to the task, I found myself feeling by turns motivated and melancholic. On the one hand I can hardly wait to see what I will have achieved by the end of the decade, but on the other hand I can’t imagine the people I love having aged a decade.

Strange how sometimes life can seem both short and long all at once.

Have you ever written a letter to yourself? Or would you ever write one? It’s an experiment I can recommend 🙂

30 x 30 (x 30) challenge

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So! Who’s up for a challenge? :mrgreen:

30 x 30 x 30 challenge

Earlier this week I decided it’s time to tackle Goal #72 on my 101 things in 1001 days list, namely the 30 x 30 challenge of doing 30 minutes of physical activity for 30 consecutive days.

I planned it strategically right at the start of a blazing South African summer, of course.

And that wasn’t enough, so I decided to add another ‘x 30’ on the end of that challenge too. Along with the daily physical exercise regimen, I’ve committed to a personalised detox.

It’s nothing hectic – nothing like my 21-day sugar detox – but I’m cutting out as many fatty foods, processed carbs and sugars as possible for the next 30 days, and I plan to eat a salad for at least one of my three main meals each day. I’ve reduced all my portions too, and I’m stocking my pantry I don’t have a pantry fridge and cupboards with the healthiest foods I can afford.

Or at least I will be, once payday rolls around 😀

But like I said, it’s a personalised detox. I know myself well enough to accept that 30 days without any sugary treats at all is going to be counterproductive – I’ll just give up that way. So each morning with my cup of unsweetened rooibos tea I indulge in a single, small vanilla biscuit. Treat? Check 🙂

Over time I’ve come to accept that some diet fads and detox ideas will never work for me. For one thing, I don’t do low-fat dairy. Period. It’s yucky and a waste of money and full of unhealthy additives. I’d rather enjoy a smaller portion of a full-cream product than mess around with low-fat and fat-free options.

Also, I’ll never stick to a diet plan that involves foods I’ve never even heard of, let alone eaten. If I can’t find it in the shops I usually buy from, it’s just going to be a stumbling block in my detox. Ditto if it tastes gross. You can keep your kombucha and your tempeh, thanks very much!

And finally, I’ll probably never stick to a diet plan that cuts out one or more food groups altogether. Yes, I do intend to give a month of vegetarianism a go e.v.e.n.t.u.a.l.l.y (despite my repeated failures in that area), but I still don’t expect it’ll become something permanent. I like my food, and I love variety in everything, so that’s what my current diet plan is based on 🙂

I started the challenge on the 13th of November, so that it ends the day before my dating anniversary with Ninja… at which point I believe we can celebrate with a well-deserved, detox-destroying romantic dinner.

The salads have been easy to fit in and perfect for the hot weather, but the exercise is obviously the harder part. I often get to walk for more than 30 minutes during lunchtime at work, and there are stairs to climb and weights to lift at home. No excuses!

Being the pedant that I am, I laid out all of this in a handy checklist. And here it is, free for you to download should you wish to attempt something like this for yourself 🙂

My 30 x 30 x 30 challenge

Here’s to good health and achieving our goals!

Zest

Flowers for my mother

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The 56th goal on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days was to surprise my mom with flowers. I crossed off that goal this past weekend, taking my Marzipan a bunch of bright yellow beauties ‘just because’ 🙂

Flowers for my mom

Flowers for my mom

My mom would never say she deserves flowers, and I can’t say we’ve always had that kind of relationship where I’d think of getting her any… but despite our various differences she is a huge blessing to me. This poem reminds me of her:

 

We search the world for truth. We cull

The good, the true, the beautiful,

From graven stone and written scroll,

And all old flower-fields of the soul;

And, weary seekers of the best,

We come back laden from our quest,

To find that all the sages said

Is in the Book our mothers read.

˜ John Greenleaf Whittier, 1807–1892 ˜

Quick pics

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Hello there! It feels like an age since I last posted here… life’s been getting in the way a bit lately 😉 Summer has hit Johannesburg at last and the heatwave has been surprisingly draining. Ninja and I have been very busy with everything from work to trying to get fit for my first 5km run. My to-do list is overflowing, and often that’s meant that blogging drops down a rung or two. Sigh. I do miss my days at home when I was a full-time blogger, baker and bookworm!

Anyway, for now I have a moment to share a few recent pics of our ratties. They’ve been here for almost a month now and they’ve taken over the home :mrgreen:

Open that cage door and a mass exodus ensues

Open that cage door and a mass escape is inevitable

I’ve tried taking a few nice photos of them and have entered a few into a competition hosted by our rat club – which means I can cross off Goal #64: Send in a photograph to a contest 🙂 Would be so great if one of my shots got picked! But for the most part I have dozens of not-quite-awesome-yet-still-quite-cute pics…

Knight greeting Robert the Rat

Knight greeting Robert the Rat

It’s not easy getting good pictures when the rats are on the go all the time, so I also try to catch them unawares for sweet sleeping shots. Here are some of my favourites:

Moon and Knight: heads hanging over the edge of the cage level

Moon and Knight: heads hanging over the edge of the cage level

Moon: rolled into a ball

Moon: rolled into a ball

Knight: absolute innocence

Knight: absolute innocence

So far it seems our first impressions of the boys were pretty accurate. Their personalities are quite distinct and a joy to discover.

Moon (nicknamed Rover) is still the curious adventurer, who’s often awake when the other three are asleep and vice versa. He’s gentle and fast but in some cases still a little unsure of his place. You know how in big families you often find the one quiet kid who’s easily overlooked in the mayhem? Sometimes I think Moon is that kid, though his odd circadian rhythms do make it easier for us to give him special attention 🙂

Knight (nicknamed Tiny) is still very sweet; he’s bold with his brothers but gentle and trusting with humans. He only has one fault: he is sooooo squeaky!! He squeaks for anything and everything, be it a thorough grooming from his brothers or an unexpected poke from a playful human. It’s definitely not pain related – it’s all attitude and noisy protest from the baby of the bunch 😛

Mishka and Vodka with rawhide shoes

Mishka and Vodka with rawhide shoes

Vodka (nicknamed Voddy – I know, it’s lame, but sometimes the good nicks only come after a while) is the bright spark: I’ve been teaching the rats to leap from the open cage onto my shoulders when I ask them to, and Vodka was the first to catch on and make the jump. All the boys know two commands already: ‘Up’ for standing on their hind legs to receive a treat, and ‘Jump’ for leaping onto me or whichever surface I tap.

Mishka with a banana chippie

Mishka with a banana chippie

Of all our lovely rats, Mishka consistently steals the show. Not only is he the biggest and boldest; he’s also the only dumbo so he keeps catching our eye with expressions we’re not used to after our succession of standard-eared ratties. My friends go all mushy when meeting him and even Ninja admits there’s no denying Mishka’s charisma.

As for me, well… this boy is rapidly achieving ‘heart rat’ status. I always said Muesli was my heart rat, as he was my first, but I’m learning that the heart is big enough to hold more than one special furry object of affection 😀

I think what gets me about Mishka is that he has different sides to his personality. Ninety percent of the time he’s the big forceful alpha rat who ‘power grooms’ his cagemates and shoves human hands aside to get to what he wants. But then there are those odd moments when he suddenly turns sensitive. He’s really earned his nickname of Teddy Bear.

Mishka's heart-melting look

Mishka’s heart-melting look

The pic above was taken after I’d disciplined Mishka for nipping my fingers instead of taking the food from them. From the look on his face you’d swear I’d whipped him with a cane or something! All I did was squeak at him and tap him on the nose (trying to mimic a ratty way of saying ‘That’s enough!’)

Well, it crushed him. He backed up immediately and shot me this devastated look. Flattening his ears against his head, he dashed upstairs and leapt into his Sputnik. And there he stayed, refusing to be comforted or bribed with treats; just giving me the ‘Mommy how could you?’ look for over an hour. Oh my goodness! How to make a rat mommy feel like rubbish! LOL

So that’s the kind of thing that’s been keeping me busy… but I do hope to have more opportunities to blog more regularly. I’m itching to bake something new or take a day trip or do something creative again. As soon as I do, you can be sure I’ll share it here 🙂