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Are You? Surviving Your Serengeti by Stefan Swanepoel

August 25, 2011

I recently had the pleasure of reading and reviewing a copy of ‘Surviving Your Serengeti’ by Stefan Swanepoel compliments of  The book is described as an adventure fable that uses metaphors to help you see your inner strengths and use them to overcome challenges in your life both personally and professionally.  The fable part of the book is based loosely on the authors life, which started at birth in Kenya and took him to Hong Kong, South Africa, New York, and California.  The book is broken up into chapters that describe, through metaphor, the seven Serengeti skills.  Each chapter starts with a piece of the fable, which follows a husband and wife on a 3 day safari in Africa, and ends with a summary of the skill written in more plain terms.  Through out the story certain quotes or insights are highlighted by a box to draw your attention to that part of the story.

The good?  The authors use of metaphor followed by a more straight forward description of the skill really helps to emphasize the point he’s trying to make.   He makes it very easy to understand what each skill is, and how it is used in both every day life and the business world.  The book was obviously written for a business person, but yet is applicable to one’s daily doings as well.  I think that the seven animals he chose for his Serengeti metaphors were very well chosen and you could tell a lot of thought went into this book.

The bad?  I felt like the story was forced.  No one that I know talks in the manner that he had the characters talk.  While the story could have been a fascinating one I felt that I wasn’t as drawn in as I should have been.  And the punctuation inconsistencies KILLED me… I could never tell who was talking… was the next paragraph the same person talking, or a new one?  The editor definitely did not adhere consistently to common punctuation rules.

All in all though, I definitely enjoyed the book and I felt like I learned something about myself.  I also couldn’t put it down!  I had it finished in 2 evenings after I put my son to bed.


To find out more about the book, the author, and to find out more information about the African Wildlife Foundation (which the book supports) visit  To find out what animal you are visit


P.S. I’m a Wildebeest



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Reading By Candle Light

August 22, 2011

Ok, so technically it’s not candle light.  But I’ve decided that instead of fighting it, I’ll work it in.  Last night I caught Collin reading under his sheets using an old flashlight that he conned my husband into putting batteries in.  Just like his mommy there!  I was pulling that stunt for as far back as I can remember.  How in the world can you be mad at a kid that’s sneaking a BOOK?!?!  So our compromise?  If he’s in bed ‘on time’ I’ll give him a book light and he can have half an hour of reading in bed.  He still thinks he’s pulling the wool over my eyes.  Silly boy!

Summers Over Already?!?

August 21, 2011

It seems like only a few days ago school was letting out.  Little man wrapped up kindergarten, I saw my students successfully through the AP Statistics exam, and Jon was starting up his last semester of school.  Tomorrow’s the big day though!  Collin’s off to first grade, I get a fresh batch of students… and Jon takes his licensing exam!! The good?  Jon’s done (!!!!!!!) and Collin is excited about his new class.  The bad?  I am so not a fan of his new teacher.  I’d never tell him, but the last time I had this feeling about a teacher ended up being a really traumatizing year for Collin.  His VPK teacher ended up being a yeller, and totally tried to squish any amount of creativity out of those kids.  A plastic toy tiger can too fly… if your 4 and you think it should!  I don’t want to be THAT mom, so I’ll let it lie for now, maybe I’m wrong.  But maybe I’m not.  My mothers intuition is screaming, and I’ve only spent an hour in a room with the lady.

I’ll spend tomorrow thinking happy thoughts… when I get a moment to think!  First day of school madness approaches, and even though this is my 9th year doing this I still feel like there’s at least 3 more things I could do to prepare for tomorrow.  My happy thought for tomorrow?  Taking Collin and Jon to Niagara Falls to visit the University I went to and all of my friends.  Went to the Falls themselves and had a blast on Goat Island doing the Cave of the Winds walk.  Watching Collin revel in standing on the ‘hurricane deck’ under all a gushing torrent of water was a great moment for me.  There’s nothing like standing under a true wonder of nature with two of the people I love the most to call me to  appreciate the beauty of the life God has given me.

One last craft project to say goodbye to summer

August 16, 2011

It’s official… summer is over down here in sunny SoFlo 😦 As a teacher I go back to work tomorrow, and the kiddo is back to school on Monday.  I think he’s more excited than I am…

As a final farewell to summer Collin and I decided to do something with some of the nicer shells we spent all summer collecting.  A few years back I remembered seeing a door wreath made from a grape-vine wreath that had shells glued to it. So Collin and I hit the nearest Joanne Fabrics and chose a wreath, and just to make it a little cuter (and easier to hang) some wire lined ribbon.

I think the hardest part was weeding out the ones we liked best, there were probably enough shells for 5 wreaths! Planning things out isn’t really Collin’s strong suit, so I used this as practice.  He actually got really into it!

We even got dad in on it… Collin wanted to hang a shell down the middle so Jon took over the drilling for us.

I thought for SURE that the shell was going to crack into a million little pieces, but it all came together awesomely!

Someone was super proud of his hard work!  And I think it came out nicely!

New goal: try to do at least 2 craft projects a month with squirtly… should give us something to do on our mommy/Collin Saturday mornings 🙂

Leaf Art and Leaf Bugs

August 11, 2011

Today was a busy day with the little man!  My sister Marcie is in town and she’s been browsing a website called Pinterest ( and found a whole bunch of really cool arts and crafts ideas to do with Collin.  I still haven’t had time to fully explore Pinterest… I’ll have to get back to that!  First up on the list was leaf art, so they went out into the back yard and gathered all of the interesting leaves they could find.  You wouldn’t think there would be that many down here in the land of palm trees, but they found some cool ones!  The basic gist is that you place a leaf into a tray of acrylic paints then lay the leaf on a piece of paper.


The hard part was making sure that we didn’t have too much paint on the leaf, all we got then was a multicolored blob.

Est Voila!  Leaf art!  We had gotten some canvases to put them on, but we liked our trial run so well I think we’re just going to put them into shadowbox frames.  We were having so much fun that last minute we decided to dip squirts feet into the paint and make foot butterflies:

And since leafs seemed to be the theme for today, later when we were at the pool we saw a leaf bug chilling by the side!

I never realized how cat-like bugs could be!  While we were watching it, it was ‘preening’.  It was kind of cool watching it fold its back legs up, bring them forward and then clean them with its mouth like a cat would.  My son, the bug expert, was almost giddy out of his mind to find a leaf bug and 2 crickets at the pool today.  Pretty good for a Thursday!



When good haircuts go bad…

August 10, 2011

Ever have one of those hair dresser moments where about 30 seconds after the first snip of the scissors you know right away it’s not going to turn out well?  File this one under “You get what you pay for”. Yesterday I took my son to the local Hair Cuttery… they’re running a promotion right now where if you take your child in for a hair cut they’ll donate a haircut to a child in need.  Sounds good… and Collin’s cut came out just adorable and exactly what I asked her for.  So, as a spur of the moment decision I decided to cut mine as well.  The hot Florida weather during the summer makes just about any girl think, in the middle of a heat induced stupor, that short hair sounds like an awesome idea!  So here we go:

The new 'doMaybe I’m being too picky… or maybe it’s just the shock of loss of hair… but I just don’t like it.  She just didn’t listen to what I wanted… short, angled, just below the jaw line and whispy.  I got a bob instead.  Oh well… bright side?  In about 2 months I can slink into my normal girl and beg her forgiveness 🙂  Live and learn, right?

Retooled, refreshed and ready to go!

August 7, 2011

For anyone who really knows me, it’s been a really rough year.  After my husband got laid off he decided to go back to school for radiology technology.  It’s been the best decision of his life, and he’s very fulfilled by it, but it’s been a struggle as a family.    The past year I’ve been dedicating my time to helping him, raising Collin, and keeping a house afloat on a shoe-string budget.  BUT… the light at the end of the tunnel is finally here!  Jon’s official graduation date is around the corner, his licensing test date is set, and he’s putting out applications!  That being said, I’ve decided to refocus my blog on the things that really interest me… my son, food, wine, coffee, books and pets!  I know that seems like a really long list, but I was never good at that “If you could only take 3 things to a deserted island with you, what would they be?” scenario.  So… welcome back to me 🙂