Thursday, 15 January 2015

2015: The year I go back to school

After my less than satisfactory report card of 2014, I knew that were some changes needed in 2013 but I wasn’t sure how to go about it. I am not a resolutionite, when I have set resolutions I’ve usually failed within the first week or month. This may be because a year is 365 days long, life changes, stuff happens and I overwhelm myself.

So when the kids went back to school this week, it dawned on me. Approach your goals like school: set goals for 3 months (a school term) and then at the end of the term give yourself a report card so you remain accountable and you know where you need to improve.

This year my goals will be more manageable and by the end of the year I hope to have a better report card Smile

My Goals

I have divided my goals into 3 categories:

  1. I want... 
  2. I need...
  3. How can I help other people...

Each category will have 3 goals which makes it a manageable 9 goals to achieve in 3 months. Term 1 is January to March.

I’m sure 2015 is going to be a great year now that I've finally accepted that setting goals is important. What did that clever man say?  "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail"

The best part of my approach is that if I fail this year, I'll give myself permission to be the same age next year. Not that I'm giving myself an incentive to fail or anything.

Do you set goals or resolutions every year? What’s your approach, I’d love to hear in the comments below.

Friday, 19 December 2014

2014 – The year in review. (Idea from

g o o d n e s s  i n  o n e  h i t

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

I started blogging.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Mine really aren’t new years’ resolutions they kick off anywhere from March-June. I think I steal other people’s ideas.
This year I started Banting, inspired by the success of The Blessed Barrenness. I lost 10kgs and managed to keep it off, but there is still some more weight to be lost… which will be.

3. How will you be spending New Year’s Eve?

At home with my husband-to-be, our tribe and some friends and family.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My Nana Doreen, what a wonderful lady. I’m greatful for the memories and that my children got to know her.

5. What countries did you visit?

South Africa! It’s the most amazing place. This year I got to spend a few days in Sodwana for the very first time.
Carlos & Kerry in Sodwana
My favorite photo of us this year. Taken in Sodwana

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

Patience, understanding and diplomacy.

7. What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

5 November – The day Doug was made a prefect for Grade 7.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Letting go of fear. (See here)

9. What was your biggest failure?

Step-parenting, see number 6.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Yes, beginning of the year but I lived to tell the tale.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

The blender and chopper that I convinced Carlos to buy me.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Debt and Kids.

13. What song will always remind you of 2014?

Budapest- George Ezra. I love this soul filled ballad.

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Spent  more quality time with the family. We used to have dinner together, which was sharing and family time… might be a resolution coming on here.

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Swearing and smoking.

16. What were your favourite TV shows?

The Blacklist, one day I’ll be able to talk to all and sundry like Red does.

17. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No, hate is a very strong word. I believe that if you hate someone it poisons you.

18. What was the best book you read?

Think and grow rich – Napoleon Hill

19. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Journey - Don’t stop Believin’
This song is my anthem, it's such a good vibes song.
20. What was your favourite film of this year?

Blended – Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore.

21. What did you do on your birthday?

I aged. Winking smile I can’t remember that’s why I say I aged.

22. What kept you sane?

More like who? Carlos, he is the calm to my storm.

24. Who was the best new person you met?

The people in my life from the start of the year have been so awesome, there hasn’t been space for more awesome.

25. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014

Cherish your visions. Napoleon Hill Quote

Here's to an amazing 2015!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

My 5 favorite words and what they mean to me

Gelo, Sorry, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocius, Whatyoumacallit, Eina

Gelo – pronounced Jeh-loo

Language: Portuguese
Meaning: Ice, Frozen Water
Why it’s one of my favourites: It’s such an awesome word to say, it rolls of the tongue so nicely and it’s foreign. Think wimpy advert. This is a word I’ll throw into a verbal sentence just because it sounds so lekker.

Eina – pronounced ay-nah

Language: I’m not 100% sure if it was originally an Afrikaans word, but I know it is used by many South Africans whose home language is not English
Meaning: Pain, English equivalent would be ouch.
Why it’s one of my favourites: I feel that somehow it eases the pain just a little when you scream it and everyone comes running. When Bob bashed me in the eye I screamed Eina! And everyone came running.

Whatyoumacallit – pronounced wot-you-ma-call-it

Language: Slang
Meaning: When you can’t find the name of the object or person you are referring to
Why it’s one of my favourites: You just say “Please can you bring me my whatyoumacallit?” and then whoever you’ve  asked and you take guesses at what it is until you either point to it, get it or they guess the right name. So using that word starts a game, that’s why I like it. It’s Fun! I rotate the use of this word with Thingymabob and Dingemaleri (I think this one may be unique to our family) but they all have the same meaning.

Sorry – pronounced Saw-ree

Language: English
Meaning: Feeling regret or sympathy
Why it’s one of my favourites: It’s a word that can disarm, it cannot be ignored but if it is abused it loses its meaning completely.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – pronounced super-kala-fragil-istic-expi-ali-docius

Language: English           
Meaning: Really good, wonderful
Why it’s one of my favourites: It was in the Mary Poppins movie which I watched over and over again during my primary school career. We also used to play a game with it until everybody knew what the answer was. We used to go “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, can you spell it?” and you were supposed to say "I" "T" but everyone on their first time playing this game tried their very best to spell  Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Pronunciations are how I say the words.

How many favourite words do you have and what are they? 

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Even if you know me well, you don’t know this…


I believed that heaven was high above the corner house which was diagonally opposite to the corner house I grew up in.

When I was four years old a friend of my brothers, David was killed in a hit and run while he was riding his bicycle. My brother Ryan and David used to go riding together, Ryan wasn’t with him that day. We had driven past the scene and seen the mangled bicycle but we didn’t know it was David’s bicycle.

I remember battling to understand when I heard the news because death had not entered my world until then. I had lots of questions for my parents. I didn’t understand how we were never going to see David again. What happened? Did he get hit off his bicycle and fly up to heaven?

I believed that and also that heaven was up above the corner house because when Mom and Dad broke the news to us we were sitting outside on the stoep, it was a clear day and the sky was blue there were only a few clouds in the sky and they happened to be above the corner house. I remember my Children’s bible had a picture of Jesus standing on clouds and that probably just reaffirmed my belief about where heaven was.

After that day I wasn’t sad when I lost a balloon, they would always fly in the direction of the corner house. The balloons would fly higher and higher and I’d watch them drift until they were just a spec in the sky, I knew they were going to David.

As I grew up there were a few more friends and family that passed on and I always knew that they’d gone to heaven which was above the corner house.

We eventually moved from that house when I was 19. I never discussed my belief of where heaven was with my family, I just assumed they knew it was above the corner house.

It was only recently that I told my folks where I thought heaven was and joked with them that they’d not only ruined the Easter Bunny and Father Christmas and the Tooth Mouse for me, but when we moved from that house I didn’t know where heaven was anymore.

I know where heaven is and it’s not above the corner house.

I believe that there are little bits of heaven sprinkled all around us in our daily lives. It’s in the beauty of a sunrise or a sunset, the innocence of a baby, the laughter of a child, a helping hand when you need it most, a friendly smile on a rough day, a word of advice when you don’t know what to do and a hug that will hold you together when you think you might crumble.

What belief have you held onto since childhood?

Friday, 13 June 2014

21 Cherished memories of you Pops... Happy Father's Day

Have you ever said thank you to your Dad?

For me this is something I haven’t done, yes I’ve said please and thank you to my Pops .

But, have you ever really taken the time as an adult to list the ways in which your Dad made your world a better place. Whether he’s with us or not take the time to think about how your Dad made and maybe still makes your world more awesome. 

Graham Vollmer, Kerry Vollmer
MY Pops and I
Here's the start of my list.

Thank you:
  • for playing helicopter with me, raising me in the air on your feet so I could feel like I was flying
  • for bandaging me up from head-to-toe when I told you everything was sore
  • for teaching me to colour in the lines, before that I was just making a mess
  • for teaching me about history with your words and our trips all over the country to historical places
  • for tickling me until my tummy hurt
  • for letting me smell whether your shoes were stinky or not, when you got home after a long day of work
  • for taking me to Santarama Mini-land so I could feel like a giant
  • for showing me the workings of the model you’d built of the first NASA shuttle that went into to space and letting me take it to school to show the teachers and my classmates
  • for hauling out your guitar and delivering a light hearted song about whatever issue I was facing
Graham Vollmer Somewhere in the Karoo
Pops somewhere on the Road to Cape Town on one of our Roadtrips somewhere in the Karoo
  • for letting me help you build the fishpond and the braai in our home
  • for teaching and helping me to service my first car
  • for bringing me petrol when I’d just got my drivers license and forgot to put petrol in
  • for taking me on your road trips to Cape Town to visit Nana and Oupa and see the beautiful flowers in Darling and the family garage in town with our surname written on it
  • for throwing my message in a bottle into the Sea because I couldn’t get it passed the rocks
  • for asking me why I’d locked my keys in my car or left my lights on when you came and helped me (I don’t think I’ll ever have an adequate answer to that question)
Kerry Vollmer, Graham Vollmer, Chapmans Peak Drive
Somewhere along Chapmans Peak
  • for your signature toasted sarmies for breakfast on some days before school (toasted cheese and egg with salt n pepper)
  • taking a detour to work (+/- 20 kms) on those cold winter mornings when I didn’t want to catch the bus
  • for telling me on the way to the church for my wedding that I could still back out
  • for picking me up the day I decided to leave Sean
  • for looking after the kids when I went to visit Carlos in hospital
  • for giving Doug and Demi your time, knowledge and quirky fun in the School Holidays and when they don’t want to go to aftercare
Thank you for all these cherished memories , thank you for being a Dad to me and Oupa to my children. Hopefully next year I'll have another 21 memories to add.

Love you on Father's day and everyday

Sunday, 8 June 2014

The Scubaversity Amazing Race–Malongane 2013

The Scubaversity Diveclub year end trip was where it went down. Seven days of R&R’s, sun, sea, sand, fun and most importantly DIVING in Mozambique. The adventure of a lifetime. Colwin, Mandy (The Cool Kids) and their interns organise the trip and coordinate all the activities with the rest of the Scubaversity Family pitching in to help where needed. Diving happens on a daily basis and dive planning is done in the evening, there is time that isn’t spent diving so there are other activities that are arranged to keep us busy. Carlos has been a member of this family since it was a twinkle in Colwin’s eye.

Mandy & Colwin Scubaversity
Colwin and Mandy (aka The Cool Kids)

Last year we were fortunate enough to be a part of the Family that enjoyed the Year End Trip to Malongane. On the 2nd last day we had the Amazing Race. We were divided into teams of 6, our team was the natural formation of our family. We could do the pit stops in any order we chose.

Race Objectives:
  1. Take 5 photo’s of strangers, posing with the prop you chose.
  2. At each stop the Staff/Barman will tip you for your service, collect as much as you can.
  3. Each team must present a mascot & team name at the final. This can be anything.
  4. Teams must bring all photo’s and badges collected.
Before we began
We had to find a spot within the resort and pick a prop and our first badge. We were second to get there so I shouted at the kids to stay in the car, hopped out ran in and chose the prop Carlos had been appreciating a few days earlier. On the way to the 1st pitstop Carlos was teaching us all Portuguese : “Bom Dia!” and “Obrigado” and I was telling the kids to say hello and smile and ask if they could wash dishes.

Chief Carlos (aka The Voice of Authority)

1st Leg
On your way to Ponta,  find Laurenco’s bar and ask to see their bracelets.

We had to buy something, we bought a necklace for each child and the mandatory purchase. It was the start of the race we were all in good spirits and the people at Laurenco’s were really friendly. The barman liked us very much and gave us lots of serviette dollars and our badge. Demi made friends with some local lads and gave them some sweets. The lovely lady working in the kitchen put on our prop and posed with us for a photo.

Demi with the local lads
The lady from the kitchen at Laurenco's Bar wearing our prop

2nd Leg
Find a place with a view and a long staircase leading to the beach. Each team member must write their own name in the sand big enough to take a photo from above.

We’d been there a few days earlier and the kids ran down the stairs and played on the beach, I had to run down (and crawl up) because Demi was playing with her friends and you can’t hear someone shouting from the beach to the bar or vice versa.  We all ran down and wrote our names in huge writing in the sand and everyone galloped up the stairs and I crawled up, by the time I got back up they had already finished their refreshments and taken the photo. We went to the barman and got our serviette dollars and our badge.

Kerry, Carlos, Doug, Demi, Pedro, Roberto written on the beach
Our names in the sand

By now the niggles of our little humans had started to surface. Who was going to sit in the car and who was going in the canopy. Who was going to hold the prop and who was going to wear it. Carlos’ cellphone battery was drained so we plugged it into the car charger and prayed it would charge for our next pit stop.

3rd Leg
Find King Neptune. Buy at least one of his awesome R&R Milkshakes to get your badge. Make sure you take a team photo with him before you leave.

King Neptune Mural, Carlos, Kerry, Pedro, Roberto, Demi, Douglas
Showing King Neptune some love

We found King Neptune in a bar above Ponta Da Ouro’s shopping centre. We bought the delicious Milkshake and shared it (Carlos and I) and the barman was having a slow day so he convinced us to buy 2 chocolate milkshakes for Roberto, Doug, Pedro and Demi to share. They perked up a bit and offered to wash dishes. The barman posed with our prop and us, gave us our badge and serviette dollars and off we went to find our next pit stop.

Roberto, The Barman, Douglas, Pedro, Carlos, Demi

4th Leg
Find Gambozini Lodge. Take a team photo at the tree bar. Ask Enzo about his Pancakes & Cappuccinos and your token! Don’t get stuck!

We asked around and were told where to go to find Gambozini lodge. We travelled up the mountain which was really a bumpy ride and Demi and I were in the canopy, we were rattled around and dinged our heads. We found the tree bar and took a photo and Enzo told us about his pancakes and cappuccinos. Demi and Doug ordered a pancake to share and Roberto also ordered one.
At the Tree Bar

Enzo gave us our token and tipped us and was kind enough to pose for a photo with our prop. Yay! off to our next pitstop…OOPS Pedro decided he also wanted a pancake.  Oh boy, we got STUCK, only for a shortwhile thank goodness.

Enzo, the best pancake maker in the world

5th Leg
Find a bar on the beach. Buy at least one R&R for the barman to explain the game of skill you need to play for your badge.

This one had us stumped. We went to the bar on the beach where Pedro had met his namesake a few days earlier but it was closed. We went to the bar next to them and they said it wasn’t them, they suggested we go round to the other bar on the beach. We went there and they said it wasn’t them. 

We decided to skip to the next one which we turned into the fourth leg and come back to this one. After completing Gambozini lodge we went into town and I think I spotted a sign at a motel that said beach bar, we raced in to complete the leg.

We had rands and meticals with us, so with a large family we need to save wherever we can. Carlos asked the people at every stop how much whatever we had to purchase was in Rands and Meticals and we paid with whichever currency happened to be the cheapest.

At the Bar on the Beach

This lady was cleaning the floors, Carlos was ordering the drink and waiting for change so I took the opportunity to take a photo. The drink was ready, the barman had explained the game of skill. We had to dig a hole in the sand on the beach and insert a pool noodle and balance the drink on the noodle without spilling a drop. 

Carlos was still waiting for change, I decided to head to the beach with the children to get started digging the hole. I carried the drink because I didn’t want to spill a drop.

We got to the beach and our race masters, Colwin, Mandy and Melanie were there. The boys started digging, as happens with our family each wanted their OWN hole. Colwin said something about Teamwork and I went to call The Voice of Authority (Carlos) who was still waiting for change. 

He came back to the beach with me and chose the best hole and dug it deeper and we put the noodle in and packed the sand around it so that the drink could balance and we could move on. We had the skill and earned our badge and some more serviette dollars.


6th Leg
Go to 3/4 R / 1/4 R Central. Take a photo of Scubaversity’s 2010 Club Card.

My analytical mind thought this could be 360. Carlos knew better it was Fernando’s. He was wondering how long it would take us to find the card because the place is covered in cards, every spot has a card on it. 

Fortunately for us, there was a group of people sitting at a table as we walked in and a lady in the group pointed to what we were looking for. Maybe she’d seen someone else searching for it? She also volunteered to take a picture with our prop. We went to the barman and chatted to him and he gave us our badge and tip. And off we raced to complete the final leg.
Scubaversity 2010 Club Card

Roberto and Doug with our prop stranger

The final leg
Be at the bar where the sun sets over the lake by 18h00 sharp. Don’t be early or late.
The Sun setting over the lake

We hadn't decided on a team name or a mascot yet, so on the way to the final destination we were brainstorming ideas. We spotted some banana leaves, picked them up and it was decided we would be the “Banana Indians” and Roberto was our mascot.

Our race masters went flying passed us on the way there and Carlos had his window wide open, he was showered with mud and I got a little splash. We weren't too concerned, or maybe I wasn't too concerned the main aim of the game at this point was to get all of us to the finish in one piece.

We arrived at the finish 2nd or 3rd and I was bummed (Miss Competitive) but tried not to show it. We ran to the finish chanting something about Bananas and Indians.

Our serviette Dollars, tokens and clues

We never knew that winning would be decided on how well we were tipped. We had the largest collection of serviette dollars totaling 3800, I think our nearest competitors were 1000 serviette dollars behind us.
The Winners at Sunset Bar
The Winners


It was definitely worth all the trauma, drama, tears and head bumps. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

As the Scubaversity Diveclub slogan goes: “Absolutely, Positively, Without a Doubt, Nothing like it.  Not even a little bit! ” Of course it refers to diving but I think that anything done by Scubaversity is like that.

Thank you to Scubaversity for the photo of us winning & Mandy and Colwin.

Carlos has just read this pre-publishing, he says he thinks it was 4500 serviette dollars. He's busy with the recount. 

Note Demi's facial expressions in the pictures from good to bad, she was upset because her brothers never gave her a chance to wear the prop, I told her to cover her grumpiness with a banana leaf when we got to the finish. The race was accomplished with the help of a 4x4 and 6 pairs of legs.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

My Family: Celebrating our Birthdays in June

Pam Vollmer, Graham Vollmer, Kerry Vollmer, Ryan Vollmer
Mom, Dad, Me and Ryan
We have a very unique situation in our family. We all celebrate our birthdays in one week.

It starts with my Mom on the 15th of June then me on the 17th, my brother on the 19th and my Pops on the 20th. 

I’m convinced that this has something to do with both my grandfathers being born on the 15th of May and maybe a little to do with my Mother’s second name being June. I don’t think that any amount of planning could have got right what my folks have achieved.

Pops and I also share big birthdays, like when he turned 60 I turned 30. I only remember sharing one or two parties with my brother,  the smarties cake birthday when we were small and then our 13th and 15th birthdays. I think it may have also been my Mom’s 40th that year but she decided not to celebrate because Granddad had passed away in April. He had booked the MOTH hall for the occasion and I think it was going to be a surprise for her but sadly he never saw it, so Mom used it for us.

Now that we’re adults, there’s a lot of banter about who’s birthday is more special that year.The week of celebrations doesn’t do much for the waistline, this year I think I’ll find a delicious Banting cake recipe.

Happy Birthday to us and everyone who celebrates in June.