Secret Santa

My wish list for christmas. I have joined The Stiletto Mum’s Secret Santa gift swap. So if you want to know what Pinky wants for Christmas here is my list, very obviously some stuff will not fit in the R100 budget but maybe the real Santa is reading this too.

I have just gotten into The Game of Thrones audiobook and am listening to the first half of book one. I have no idea if you can buy an audiobook for someone but I am totally loving knitting and ‘reading’ at the same time and would love the 2nd half of book 1 and the rest of the series.

I love to take relaxing baths now and again when it is quiet in the house so anything nice for the bath is always welcome.

Pretty hair clips or hair scarfs are always welcome, they can be fairly funky

Things to eat, I love chocolate so you can’t go wrong with chocolate, and of course nougat and turkish delight and lint balls

Mugs, I love a BIG mug for my tea and coffee otherwise I just start drinking and it is finished which is very disappointing

I love handmade things, I am a knitter and crafter and appreciate the time and effort in a hand made item.

More knit pro cables ( 100cm) and other 2,5mm fixed cable sock needle. These can be found at

Darning needles, I am always loosing them and could do with 100

I am a bit of a yarn snob so natural yarn ( wool, cotton, bamboo, camel, alpaca, sugar cane etc) is welcome.

I really want some cute Mary Jane’s to show off my knitted socks. Like these ones from Groundcover size 8 in fuschia please

Chai vanilla tea from Woolies is lovely

A wedding planner and person to make all the decorations and take over all the stress would be good.

Any patterns from my Ravelry queue would be nice, you can gift them to me

JoJo rainwater collecting drum

clinique par Amour Perfume

Will add if I think of more

Kids Entrepreneurial Market

Rachel and her friend are going to be at this market on 17 November, please come and support them if you are in the area. She is going to be selling eggs from her chicken, biscuits and meringues.
Here are the details if the picture is not very clear.

Join us for a Kids Market Day run by kids for kids.
No matter how funny or creative the produce, we encourage our kids to have fun making and creating their wares. Our Place Restaurant will provide grownup food and coffee sales for the day.

Theme: Xmas
 Décor: Bunting, Birds,
 Bird Houses, Bird Cages
 Market fee per table:
 R20
 Payable to: L Uys
 ABSA 9106660563
 Ref: Child’‛s name

Kids 7—13 years can apply to exhibit their home baked or homemade wares. Application Fee proceeds will go to SNAP Education (Centre for children with Autism).
Goody bag options available. Suggested Product sales between R5—R20 What to bring: Own Table, decorations, pricing, change/float and shade Table Size: 1m x 1m or 2 kids at a canteen table (1.8m x 0.9m)
Book with Lenore or Renata on
Date: 17 November 2012
Venue: Our Place, Oxford Street, Durbanville Time: 10:00—12:00

Delayed Vaccinations, my reasons and thoughts

I was asked by a friend to give her some info about vaccinations and what I did. These are my own feelings and my decision for my family, while I am a nurse they are not medical recommendations by anyone but me and what made sense to me. I share them as it is hard to find anything middle ground out there.

First it is impossible to find unbiased information on the internet, both the for or against will scare the bejezus out of you and leave you not knowing what to do. I spoke to my dad a GP for many years but when I was little he worked in a community hospital in one of the old homelands. He is now a Professor of Family Medicine and I trust his experience. He did not try to scare me into anything he said there are risks whatever you choose, you as the parent have to weight up the likelyhood of each risk and decide which ones you are willing to live with and which not. Every medication, injection etc that anyone takes ever has potential side effects and these are worse in some and not others and who is going to react and who is not in next to impossible to know before hand.

With that in mind I started at the top and and looked through the shots and the diseases and decided which ones to do. I will list them and my decisions below.

I did delayed vaccination for a number of reasons:
– I was breast feeding exclusively and so they would have my immunity to all these diseases until 6 month A babies immune system is very very immature and interestingly enough is only ever fully mature to the same level as an adult after 6 years old ( this is the reason that some extended breast feeders use to continue until their children are older, and while I totally understand that and feel everyone needs to breast feed to an age that is comfortable to them 4, 5 and 6 were just too old for me, I got to 2 with all of mine – but I digress)
– My kids did not go to day care or creche when they were young and so were not exposed to large groups of other children all the time where they might pick up stuff earlier.
– It just felt right.
– I started at 6 months ( except the TB but I cover that and the timing below) and then kept the time spacing recommended with the repeat vaccines as they build on each other. The only other timing I changed drastically was the TB but I will explain more below

What I did and what I didn’t
Vit K at birth: No – this is a long explanation and again one you have to consider carefully, if you want more of my thoughts on this ask and I am happy yo tell you all my reasoning. Here is an article from a Midwifery journal

TB: Rachel and Titus have had TB but not Caleb, he was born in the UK where they don’t do it and when we got back I spoke to my dad and he said that she shot really only protects them from TB meningitis and the risk for this is more in those under 18 months and Caleb was over 18 months when I got back. I had a home birth and so it was not done at birth but I went to do it at the clinic later. I was worried that I had left Titus’s one a bit long as I only got there when he was 4 weeks old as The Geek’s sister had died just after Titus was born and we got wrapped up in funeral plans and stuff at the time. Later when I told my dad I was a bit stress for leaving it so long as it was always one of those that one was warned to do ASAP and is done in hospital. He explained that the reason is TB is so very very common in SA and that babies returning to townships with relatives that may be contagious need to be protected from birth. The efficacy of the TB vax is notoriously bad it protects about 80% against TB meningitus and about 60% against Pulmonary TB ( lung) most of us actually get herd immunity for living in a place with a high TB prevalence. Healthy immune systems just develop natural immunity. If I was to have another baby I would wait until 10 – 12 weeks for the TB shot ( NOT THAT I AM EVER HAVING MORE BABIES) you might have a bit of a fight in hospital as it is a standard jab but as a parent you have the final say as long as you make it clearly known you do not want it. But be very clear as there is stuff they just do by routine. The research

chickenpox: no, it is not dangeous, I took the risk of some scars. The CP vax only lasts 10 years and so you have to repeat it every 10 years for the rest of your life or risk getting very very sick as an adult. Adult chicken pox can be very serious. For most children it is a mild irritation and maybe a slight higher irritation for the mom who has cranky kids but getting it offer a better immunity which is usually life long. The very very rare person get chicken pox twice in their life.

Polio: yes this is a debilitating disease which is still prevalent in SA and can be picked up from water that might have been contaminated further upstream ( fecal contamination), so unless your kid never ever swims in a river, pond, lake or any other outdoor natural water source they in my opinion need the polio vax.

Pertusis (whooping cough): not deadly and is a maybe one but it can damage lungs in sever cases and my sister is a serve asthmatic after getting it as a kid, she would always have been an asthmatic and she was vaccinated but she was just unlikey but it did damage her chest. The worst thing about this disease is that it is highly contagious and for a LONG time.I had a friend with kids who got it and she was housebound for 3 months. You have to wait a month after each child first shows signs before you can see other people. The whoop and vomiting in kids especially at night is very draning on the mom and in small babies they can stop breathing. Under 1 it is dangerous.

Diptheria – not common it is a skin and upper respiratory track illness which in and of itself is not too bad and can be mild BUT there is a 20% chance of myocarditis ( heart damage) and 10% of nerve damage which is 2 in 10 and 1 in 10 which are too high risk for me. Things that are 1 in 100 000 are a different story.

Tetanus: causes lock jaw to which there is no cure and most will die, you can get it from common things like a rusty nail so I did this one. You can wait for an exposure to a risk and then vaccinate but I did it from the beginning. It was included because people used to put cow manure on the umbilical cord before it fell off and so babies were exposed. It is also one that needs to be repeated every 5 years I think but most adults wait for an exposure ( the injection hurts like hell as an adult)

Hepatitis B: is actually quite difficult to get. What we used to know as Yellow jaundice it is still common in SA and can cause liver damage

haemophilus influenza: not actually a infulenza at all and not that dangerous in adults but can cause meningitis in babies

Rotavirus: I did not do this one, it is mostly for babies in day care and crèche where they are exposed, it causes a nasty diarrhoea which kids can dehydrate from easily but I felt with breast feeding and limited exposer I did not do this one. Those with babies going to day care and creche from young it is advised.

hepatitis A: did not, very rare in SA it is common in other places in Africa and if you travel consider doing it for the whole family before you go.

MMR: No, but not for the autism reasons. I will explain each disease separately. The autism link has been disproven but everyone needs to do their own research and make up their own mind on that one. This was not my reason at all

Measles: This might sound like a mild childhood disease, a rash and not feeling great and in many this is all that it is. BUT like diptheria while mild in many it has common complications as many as 20% of all case will get some of the more severe complications like pneumonia and menengitis. The wiki says Between the years 1987 and 2000, the case fatality rate across the United States was three measles-attributable deaths per 1000 cases this might not sound high but these are the death not just those than got very very sick. My dad said when he first started working out in the rural hospital their wards were full of children dying on measles, he said if he has seen any medical miracles in his 40 years as a Dr it was how in the space of the years they introduced the vaccine this number dropped away to next to none. He said it was the hugest case and effect of any health care preventative measure that he witnessed in his years as a Dr. Yes there is high mortality (death) in poorer lower economic groups with poorer nutrition but he said even as a GP in a affluent area later in his career he still saw measles causing nasty complications in healthy well nourished kids.

In SA they start the measles vax at 9 months and again at 18months, but all the research I could see was that they baby was well protected by the mother antibodies until 18 months and if you do it at 9 months the immunity is not very good and it has to be topped up at 18 months. I waited until between 18 month and 2 years and did one shot then for all my kids.

Mumps: Is a mild childhood disease with few life threatening risks. You just look like a chipmunk and have a face that hurts like hell. My reasons for vaccinating was against disease I felt there was a life threatening risk of. I did not feel that with mumps. I will never give it to Rachel as she is a girl and has no risk. I would ideally like the boys to get it and then their immunity is better but if neither of them has had it when they get to about 9 or 10 I will get them vaccinated. It can damage sperm if a teenage or adult man gets it and I want to be a Granny ;-)

Rubella: Again a mild disease but very dangerous to unborn babies if the mom gets it. Therefore women of childbearing age should have this in my mind. As a woman wanting to get pregnant or have more babies gets tested if you have antibodies great if not get the shot. I will tell Rachel the risks to her babies when she is older and advice that she gets it in her teenage years while I am around to remind her, but if she wants to wait and do it when she is older and has moved out then that is fine too.

I think that wraps up all of them, have I forgotten any? If you got this far well done. As I said in the beginning there are risks to everything and some kids react very badly to vaccinations and even have anaphylactic reaction but these are very rare. I thought the risk was worth taking for some of these diseases.

A note about Thimerosal, you might have heard that it is a mercury based preservative and that you can pay and get much more expensive vav without it and in the US it is being phased out.

Thimerosal is an antiseptic and antifungal agent that is used to help preserve the vaccinations. In the past there were cases where children died from infections from vaccinations that lacked preservatives. Unlike some other preservatives it does not reduce the potency of the vaccines that it preserves.

The concern is that, Thimerosal is a mercury compound. The risk were however based on a substance called methymercury and cause Thiomersal to be removed from childhood vaccination in the US starting in 1999. Since then this been found to be eliminated from the body and the brain significantly faster than methylmercury . The late-1990s risk assessments turned out to be overly conservative.

Preservatives like thiomersal are not needed in the more expensive single dose injectable which are available at a private clinic. Yet the World Health Organization has concluded that there is no evidence of toxicity from thiomersal in vaccines and no reason on safety grounds to change to more-expensive single-dose vax. Government vaccinations in South Africa do contain small doses of Thiomersal but after extensive research there is no proof that the more expensive vaccines are needed. But due to world wide pressure and the bad name it has in the general population it will probably be phased out in time. Which one you decide to use is again up to you.

Sorry to be MIA

Soory I have been MIA and have been delayed in drawing my competition but I am knitting a new pattern. I know if you are not a knitter that this means nothing but believe me it is exciting. Yes really, not like old lady exciting like proper exciting ;-)

Anyway without further ado here is the winner: Congrats Dhesh

A friend asked me to tell her about what I did with vaccinations, which can be a really contentious and one that can be hard to find a middle ground. I wrote a long reply to her and so I thought it might be worth sharing. Will start a new post to do that and then I have one about unschooling in my head too, stay tuned.

Giveaway Rawlicious Recipe Book and DVD

I have a great Giveaway at the moment for a Rawlicious Recipe book and DVD course. It seems just in time for the #twittermomsixpackclub but also for anyone who wants to improve their general health. I am not vegan nor vegetarian but I have this book myself and it is great ideas for Meat Free Monday and other Raw Food ideas. I could never be totally raw but I know that the more times a week we have raw whole food the better for the whole family. I have blogged about one of the amazing Raw Food meals that I made from here that the whole family loved.

There are some great ideas for things to do with your own produce too and an section on starting to sprout which even those who are challenged in the green fingers department can try. Here are my sprouts

The more I read for the Six Pack Challenge the more I see that a lot of what we eat and what is considered to be a healthy diet might be wrong. The amount of carbohydrates that we need is very very little and should come from our fruit and vegetables and not refined carbs like bread, pasta, rice and cakes. We are literally poisoning our boy with carbs and sugar and avoiding fat and protien which we need.

The food pyramid that was introduced as the basics of healthy eating has actually had the opposite effect and people are fatter and more obese than ever. Low fat and low protien diet seems to be killing us from heart disease and strokes rather than saving us.

Atkins started suggesting we had it all wrong and now big names like Dr Tim Knoakes, the sport physician, have joined in the low carb diet to improve health and fitness. My uncle when to one of his talks recently and I must say I am really keen to try go to one myself. Given that my dad with zero risk factors but bad genes had a triple by pass I think I need to take note.

The fat burning diets and all the tips for showing off the 6 pack that might be hiding under the fat is that it needs to be as close to nature as possible. If you can pick it, grow it or catch it then it is okay. Kick out all the refined foods. Well nothing gets more natural than the raw food diet. I am adding meat to mine ;-) but I am careful that we get non hormone meat as packing the body with hormones when I am trying to keep the kids healthy does not seem like a good idea. I love the ideas in this book as it helps me to cut back on our reliance on carbohydrates. I am especially keen on all the morning smoothy ideas as an alternative to cereal. Hopefully this book and a the stomach exercises will help me show off any six pack that might be waiting underneath. They say that it is 80% diet and 20% exercises, but I am not sure if they ( those who quote these stats know how far from muscles and more like jelly my belly actually is)

That is enough of my ramblings, on to the prize. Soaring Free have given me a great prize for a blog reader to win.

Rawlicious Recipes for Radiant Health written by Peter and Beryn Daniel

And a 4 DVD series. I have not watched this and am very jealous. I just have the book but I am sure the DVD has all sort of helpful tips. ( If you live in CT and win I might invite myself around to come and watch)

How to enter:
– Comment here below and tell me why you want to win. Are you a sixpack Mommy, are you going Raw, are you just looking to improve your health?
For extra entries ( you need to let me know here if you have done the extra entries so when I enter them in the draw I enter your name the right number of times)
– Like the Rawlicious FaceBook Page and come tell me you have Liked them
– Tweet “Win a Rawlicious Recipe book and DVD course – enter on @pinkhairgirl blog…e-book-and-dvd/ ”
and come and tell me here that you have tweeted.

-The competition will close on Sunday 26 August 2012 midnight South African Time
– Names are randomly drawn using Random Picker on line
– Open to residence of South Africa only
– Winner needs to write a review/thank you on their blog or if you don’t have a blog send it to me so I can put it up here on Pink Hair Girl
– Entrance must be 18 or older

6 pack challenge – starting point

I saw some of the olympic high jump athletes with their flat 6 pack stomachs. I thought, gosh that would be nice, it was not a very serious thought but I did tweet

“I want a six pack. What are the chances after 3 kids?”

Lots of people said with diet and exercise it was possible. The tweet that caught my eye was by @AshTordiffe “Ha! Me too, Worth a bash, hey? (After 4 kids for me!)

I thought well if not, why not. I said to her I will if she will and soon others were joining too. #twittermomsixpackclub started. Some are fit and exercising already and just want to tone more and some are complete couch potatoes like me.

People have asked how we should work the club and I was thinking maybe we can all keep a log of where we start and then we can see our progress. I am not sure if everyone has a blog, otherwise FB or just short updates on twitter.

I have a zero extra budget for this so am not going to gym or seeing a dietician or anything fancy. I am just googling and winging it, but for those who can that is great. I found this Wiki which I am going to use 6 pack Wiki

I suggest starting with a Photo ( front and side)
and then whatever info you are comfortable sharing on-line weight, cm, etc
Then maybe what your plan is so we can share diet and exercise plans.
Keep track of how long or how many of an exercise you could do at the start, again so we can compare.

My pre challenge stats

Weight: 69kg ( I was quite surprised it was under 70 actually)
Not sure of body fat percentage and not going to a gym to have it measured as I don’t want to be bullied about joining.
Will measure and add my cms later

My first attempt at any of the stomach exercises was rather dismal but I guess it can only get better

Cruches: 20 ( 2 sets of 10)
Sit ups: 10 ( with pauses in between)
Leg Lifts: 10
plank: A dismal 20 seconds

Not the best pictures ever but I had to use Rachel to help me. These look like my 5-6 month pregnant photos with her.

The group so far me @pinkhairgirl @AshTordiffe @ehdreyer @momallot @AkAMrsC @paddatjie_se_ma @Tazzamom @mlinki @ShazRich7

But anyone is welcome to join the club, you just have to be a mom ( as our stomachs have done things others have not had to and we start at a bit of a disadvantage)
If you add your blog link below in the link box then we can keep track of how everyone is doing. Then I thought we can update every 2 or 3 weeks. I am not sure much is going to happen before then.

Touching lives

I have always believed in the power of sharing your story and owning your truth. I was reminded how sometimes simply sharing your experience can connect you with someone else for a profound moment. Seeing as it was Women’s Day today it seemed fitting to share this story.

At the expo I did in Joburg with Carle I had the following experience. I was chatting to a lady about crocheting socks, she was a vendor at a stall a couple down from us. As we were chatting I overheard 2 of the other ladies saying “not that I will ever get married again, but if I do this is such a nice idea” – she was paging through a magazine. I never saw what she was talking about, but being a bit of a big mouth, I could not help but pipe up “I also said I would never get married again and now I am” She looked at me as if to say; Yes, but you don’t know where I have come from. She then said “can I ask you something personal, why do you have pink hair”. I told her that after my disastrous marriage I came out having lost who I was, and very very sad. The pink hair was the road to finding myself. It made me happy and it reminded me to never again forget who I was or let it get changed or buried by someone else. To be true to myself, even if that person was a bit odd and quirky. She said something like it was lovely and rather brave. We small talked a bit and then I had to go back to our stall.

Later just before I was leaving for the airport she called me over and she said “I just wanted to say that I really admire you, you came out of your bad marriage with pink hair and I came out fat” I looked into her eyes and could see the pain as clearly as if it it had been freshly carved into her soul, yet there were layers of hurt from years of pain. I just said “You are a strong and beautiful woman and you can find the person lost inside again – it will get better” There was a connection and moment when time stood still and I just held her eyes and tried to send as much love as I could. I was then called to leave and the moment was over. I hope she believed me, I hope she knows how special and valuable she is as a person, worthy of great love. I saw someone who believed she would never marry again as she had been so torn down, she did not see herself as able to find someone to love her for who she was. I hope she finds that someone, but most of all I hope there are more women on her journey willing to share their stories that might help her heal.

I hope I touched her life in a small way because she touched mine, she connected with me and gave me a piece of her hurting soul that I will carry with me. I hope I gave her a piece of my vision that it can be better and that it lightened her load a little.

Someone once told me he did not want to love again because each person he loved he gave a piece of his heart to and felt like soon there would be nothing to give anymore. I think he missed the point or maybe I remember his point wrong. I feel different, I feel that we have to give pieces of our heart and soul away so that we can receive pieces back. These help us see the world through experiences different to our own. I know he was talking about a girlfriend, but when you fear connection, be it in a relationship or in a brief encounter with a stranger, I think you lose the chance to change your life and theirs. Not all people were supposed to stay in our lives for long, some are just a passing encounter. We only have to be open to looking past the masks we all wear and seeing the soul.

This is not a pat me on the back kind of story, see how great I am for connecting with someone. It is to show that sometimes we don’t know how powerful sharing our story can be and how much it can touch someone else’s life. Being able to feel like we are not alone in our experiences, is often what we need to find a way through them. I have had those who have inspired and shared with me that have made my road easier and to each of them I say thank you.

My Dad

My dad has just had a triple heart by pass. This was never a sentence that I thought I would ever type. My dad is thin, he wears the same size trousers as when he got married 40 years ago. He is a non smoker, does not drink, eats well, walked everyday until recently when the dog died, but is active.

He phoned to tell me about having some chest pain when lifting a box at a conference. He went to his friend and the Dr he was in private practice with before he moved to the university, they picked up some abnormality on the stress ECG. He had an angiogram and we were expecting him just to need a stent but it was a huge shock that he had 3 major blockages and needed open heart surgery.

The only good things was that he had the op on Wednesday and I flew up to Jhb on Thursday with Carle to help at her yarn stall so I was able to see him. He is fine and home now and recovering. He was lucky in that he never had a heart ache and so there was no damage.

But when anyone you love has major surgery like that one has a small part of you that imagines the worst. There was a fleeting moment of panic in which I thought that there is no part of my reality that includes my dad not being here.

My parents are such a major part of my life. It is hard to imagine a time without them and certainly not now. 63 is just too young, I need my dad for a lot longer. While I know he can’t live forever like the Highlander, I am not actually ready to face the reality of life without him

I phone my parents for advice on everything, my dad is so wise, he knows about everything. We talk about his work as a Doctor and his training and interest in how people learn. He is always finding ways to touch people’s lives and so many who have met him comment about what an amazing person he his. He is a quiet gentle man with a huge presents. I am planning to make the most of every moment with him.

And to take more photos of him, I could only find this one from my sisters wedding. It is a lovely photo – thanks Catherine from Cazpix

What is your dad like?

Rachel is a cub now

When I was young, girls went to Brownies and Guide and boys went to cubs and Scouts. In fact my ex’s sister and I knew each other through Brownies and Guides when we were growing up, and even though her brother and I did not work out, we were friends before and have remained friends now.

But now things are all inclusive and so girls can go to cubs. Rachel’s 2 good friends Thomas and Oliver go to cubs and so naturally she wanted to go too. She tried it out a few times and then we very happy to learn that her Dad and my Dad did cubs.

There are not many girls but it suits Rachel and what I love about cubs is that it gives her the interaction across a wide age groups. She learns to work in a team and as an individual. I think more than school it is a positive group and social interaction for a home school kid.

Here are some pictures, she was so nervous but she said her law and promise all by herself.

Her sixer and friend Thomas taking her up to the Akela

Look at her little nervous face

A small smile

Saying her cub promise and doing her salute

Getting her new cub scarf and pack colours

The many badges that I have to sew onto her uniform, best she get her sewing badge soon so she can do this.

Being introduced to the pack afterwards as the newest member

Her brother had the sulks and I can’t even remember why, but here he is in his rainbow colour jersey and hat and long hair – he wont let me cut it at the moment

It was very sweet and I hope she really enjoys it. The only problem I had was that although cubs is all inclusive now of race, gender and religion, it makes not allowance for those with no religion. So she still had to make a promise to God and her country. She thought it was a bit odd but we chatted about it and she knows other people believe other things. So it was fine. But still felt a bit odd helping her learn it and somehow a bit dishonest I guess but there was no non religious version.