Posted in Blog posts, Family Life

30 Fun things to do with your children

As the mom of many I was always looking for new ways to keep my home schooled brood entertained.

While looking for a specific post on my Fun Mamma S.A. Facebook page I came across this list I first shared in 2012 of 30 Fun things to do with your children.

We as a family have personally done each activity at least once, some a few more times. I thought I’d share it with you.

1.Make fresh lemonade

You will need:

2 lemons that are cut in half

a juicer

spoon

jug

1 cup of sugar

and 1 litre of water.

To make the lemonade, squeeze the lemons,add the juice and the sugar to the water and stir.

2. Splatter painting

Each child needs a large piece of paper some paint and a toothbrush . Have the child put paint on the brush and rubbing your finger on the toothbrush splatter the paint onto the paper.You could also place objects down first and then remove them after splattering the paint to reveal the shape.

3. Apple star prints

Cut an apple in half width ways. You will notice the star design where the seeds are. Dip your apple in ink or paint and print.

4.Listening walk

Each child takes a walk and writes down or describes the sounds that they hear.

5.A bubble fight.

Mix a bubble solution in a bucket
A quarter cup of dish washing liquid to 1 litre of water. Add a few drops of food colouring for different teams.Make a wire blower for each child.
The object of the game is to see which team pops the most of the other teams bubbles.

6.Say it in letters

This is a letter writing activity so those of us who remember snail mail can reminisce. Relatives beware you have been warned many letters are coming your way……

Let your child write or draw letters to your family. Put these in envelopes and take them to the Post office to see how a letter is sent off.

7.Opposite day

Declare it opposite day and do everything opposite, say everything opposite.

8.Music looks like this

Play a piece or several pieces of music and have the child paint what they think the music looks like. Use a variety of music styles.

9.Pin the tail on the donkey

I loved this game and honestly do not think that many children today have played the traditional version. We would make our own game and pin the tail on.

10.Foil rubbings

This is an activity that my gran told me about many years ago . It bought back such fond memories of my crafting days with her. On a piece of A4 card place several items..a key, coin,string,ect. Place foil on top, covering the entire picture. Gentle rub over it with your fingers . Your picture is now complete.

11.Me Box

Help your child to decorate an old shoe box and start filling it with items that reflect your child. So , if your child likes to draw you could put in a favourite picture, or if they like sport a small ball, ect

12Gardening in a tire

This will lead us to hunt down an unused old tire or two this week. I think a nice bunch of Sunflowers growing in each should look amazing. You could also allocate each child their own tire and let them grow vegetables.

13.Sun prints

For this you will need dark construction paper , rocks to hold the paper down, a few small objects like a spoon/coin/key/ect and obviously the sun.
On a very sunny day place the construction outside, weighed down with the rocks ,and place your small objects randomly on the paper.
After several hours the sun will cause the paper to fade and when you lift up your objects the paper will appear darker to highlight the object.

14.Rock person

This is an old one and I am sure many moms will remember making rock pets and people.
Use yarn for hair (super glue works best to glue the yarn on). Paint your features with poster, pva or acrylic paints.

15.chocolate leaves

For this you need to melt chocolate and dip a non poisionous leaf in.I have mint growing outside my kitchen in a pot and so we will often use those leaves. Leave the dipped leaf on wax paper to set. Gently peel off the leaf from the hard chocolate when set.

16.Obstacle course

“For this we will have the older Sunflower brood set up an obstacle course in our back yard that the younger children can run through. I see several puppies following.” These were often made from climbing over or under the garden furniture.

For Hamish I set up inside obstacle courses using pillows, his tent and the couches.

17.BEAN BAG TOSS

On a large sheet of card write the 26 letters of the alphabet. Use bean bags to toss at the letter.

Little ones can identify the letter.Older children could hit the alphabet in sequence from A-Z or Z- A, they could only hit vowels or only hit consonants.
Allow them to hit the letters of their name or use for spelling…hit the letters of a word.Try to call out a letter and have the child hit that letter,

18.Bug feast

Set out in your garden some salt, sugar, oats, syrup, seeds, crumbs and potato peel.
Sit quietly and watch which bugs eat what.

19.Cloud pictures

This is one of my favourite activities. As a young girl many of my happiest hours were spend lying on soft cool grass or sun warmed beach sand watching the clouds and imagining the mystical creatures, waiting for a glimps of my unicorn in the bright blue sky above.

Enjoy lying on the grass with your child and prehaps bring back a little of your own childhood magic.

20.Saving ideas

Use this as an ongoing saving idea to teach your children how to save their money .

Lable coffee cans, that have a slit cut in the lid, with:
5c
10c
20c
50c
R1
R2
R5

Have the child place the coins in the correct can.Exstend this to counting activities by counting the totals of the can, ect,

Also good for estimation, adding, subtraction, and working with change.Use the contents of the full cans to treat your child to a day out or an for an ice-cream treat.

21.Learn to hula hoop

Did you know the first hula hoop came out in 1962? Why not grab one for you and the kids and teach them to hula?

22.Build a block tower .

How high can you go? Be as creative as possible. You can use a variety of different blocks. Hamish loves to make towers with his soft blocks but you could also use wooden blocks or plastic construction blocks.

23.Have a family picnic

These were always a favourite in our home. Just lay down a blanket and fill it with snacks. Our favourite time to picnic was when it rained and the children would have a large indoor picnic.

24. Paint or draw

Drawing and painting kept my children busy for hours. We had a special drawing box full of different crayons, pens, markets, stamps and stencils. They were able to go to the art box whenever they felt inspired.

25.Make a family scrapbook

This is really easy. Take a large exercise or scrapbook and paste in photos of your family, drawings, momentous from an outing or special event. Place them low enough for the children to page through.

26.Play a game from your childhood

I love introducing my children to games I played as a child. Often it’s new to them and they are usually captivated by them.

Try:

Rock, paper , scissors

Tic, tac, toe

Eye spy

Clapping games

Jump rope with elastic

Egg and spoon races

Potato sack races

Bopping for Apple’s

Charades

27. Have a board game evening

What are your children’s favourite board games? Give each child a turn to pick which game to play.

28.Make potato prints

Cut a potato in half , carve out your shape . Dip in paint and print.

29. Go on a family nature walk

You don’t need to be in a park or a game farm to do tjis. You could just walk around your neighbourhood. Take notice of the leaves, trees, bugs and animals around you.

30.Make a popcorn string

Pop a pot of popcorn and thread onto a long string of thread .

Most importantly, which ever activity you do … Have fun !

Posted in Blog posts, Parenting

What your child learns at preschool

Going to preschool is a big adjustment for little people and it may take some children a whole lot longer than others to adjust to the routine of a structured day, learning to share both time and toys with others and navigate big emotions.

I think as a society more parents are slowly beginning to understand the importance of Early childhood education and the thousand and one hidden lessons behind what looks like play.

But what exactly is your child learning during a day that looks mostly like play?

I decided to show you…

  • Story Time:

Just by listening and watching the teacher read your child is becoming familiar with basic literacy concepts, like reading left to right, and what words and letters are.

If you walk past the book corner, you may see preschoolers “reading” by turning the pages and narrating what they see — a great precursor to real reading.

  • Puzzles:

Puzzle time is my favourite in any class. Children improve their fine motor skills, concentration, and hand-eye coordination when they play with puzzles.

Working independently also gives them practice problem solving. And their self esteem grows from creating an image and completing a task.

  • Sand/water table:

Sand and water tables help teach science concepts like cause and effect and introduce early maths concepts.

Since there’s no right or wrong with these materials, children feel a sense of success when they play with them.

  • Science projects:

The class pet or growing beans are great ways for children to observe living things and learn what they need to grow.

Other science tools like scales and magnifying glasses allow children to examine, experiment, predict, question, and problem-solve.

  • Circle time:

Learning to sit patiently, saying good morning, and talking about the day’s events is a key part of your child’s day.

These are the foundation blocks to introducing new concepts , learning colours, taking turns and learning to listen.

This is a time where a teacher may introduce a serious topic like bullying or how to make friends.

  • Art area:

Crayons, markers, safety scissors, glue, and paintbrushes are all great tools for mastering fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Children love to talk about their artwork — this gives them practice with language and self-expression.

  • Block area:

Children gaining basic math skills when they counts blocks, identify their shapes, and compares their sizes.

Building houses, roads, and forts helps a child hone spatial skills that will be helpful for geometry and physics later on.

  • Outdoor play:

It often looks like chaos, but all that activity helps children learn what their bodies can do.

Children need to move and experiment to master balance, improve coordination, and develop their muscles.

Group activities on the playground also teach cooperation

There’s a multitude of learning happening all day long and your children may be exhausted at the end of a long day of play.

Posted in Blog posts, Family Life

Celebrating the older mom – Judy from Fun Mamma SA

Lastly as an older mom I thought I’d add myself to the CELEBRATING THE OLDER MOM series. I really wanted to highlight the older mom. As the mom of 7 of my own children I know that raising my older 6 was completely different to how I raise my toddler, Hamish, now in my 40’s.

A little bit about me …..

How many children you have.

I’m Judy and I’m the mom of 7 amazing children. My eldest daughter is 26. My boys are 24, 23, 21 and 18. My youngest daughter is 15 and Hamish is 2 and a half.Having a big family people always ask if any of the kids are multiples …. No, each child was an individual natural birth pregnancy.Secondly they ask if all my children are from the same father ( why this matters will always remain a mystery to me) … No! My first 6 children are from my first marriage and Hamish is from my second marriage.

Why you chose to have a baby after 40.

We went on the most amazing December holiday and were living a pretty busy social life when I discovered I was pregnant with Hamish.I was more than a little shocked.The first question. I asked myself was do I want to do this again? Next could I parent alone if this wasn’t what Brent wanted… when I didn’t hesitate to answer Yes on both those questions I realised this was the next part of our journey. My age just happened to be a number.

How this affected your health, if it did.

My pregnancy was certainly a lot harder than when I was younger. I was still able to have him naturally but I was put on bed rest at 32 weeks and was much more anxious than I remember being with my other children.

How you feel being an older mom has it’s benefits.

I’m much more patient. I’ve ironed out all my ideas and theories on my older children so I’m much more confident in the choices I make. I don’t sweat the small stuff. Also because I’m aware of how fast the kids grow I tend to be more in the moment with Hamish and enjoy our time together much more than I did the busy days of my youth rushing after 6 small children.

Have you come across any negativity being an older mom?

Not much that I’ve noticed. I think making mom friends is harder as we are in a different space to our friends and as I often only have Hamish with me people assume I’m a first time mom so I get mountains of advice I’ll never take.

Something you would change this time round ( if you have other children)

I think having more patience through the harder moments is making me a calmer parent than I may have been with my older children.

Words of wisdom to younger mom’s.

Make memories. Take time to slow down. Enjoy the small things.Thank you for reading. I’d love to hear more about your experience as an older mom.

Posted in Blog posts, Parenting

Celebrating the older mom – Febe from Febe and Mishska in Wonderland

Next up in our CELEBRATING THE OLDER MOM series is Febe Marias.

Febe is the creative mom of a beautiful daughter, Mishka and blogs over at Febe and Mishka in Wonderland .

Read more about Febe.

Thank you so much for featuring me on your blog! I just feel so blessed to be the lucky mom of one beautiful little girl, Mishka, aged seven.

Why you chose to have a baby after 40:

I believe everything happens for a reason. My previous marriage didn’t work out the way we thought it would. Not by choice but by the grace of God did I not meet anyone I could consider as a serious partner for the next 10 years after our divorce.

By that time I was convinced that I would be single and childless for the rest of my life! As fate would have it, I met the most wonderful man, never married, no children at a very unglamorous event my brother dragged me to. We dated for a while and got married when I was 38. We had big travel and scuba diving adventures planned, but in the end we decided that if there was going to be a Marais family it had to happen sooner than later as I was approaching 40 at which felt like an unmatched pace! After six months of trial and error we found out we were expecting!

How this affected your health

I was so lucky to have a beautiful, uncomplicated pregnancy and even decided to give normal birth. Being a stay at home mom helped so much with breastfeeding as I could spend every waking moment with her for those first three years.

How you feel being an older mom has it’s benefits

Many women think it’s easier to be a young mom, but for me it was a completely different experience as I took quite a while to figure out what makes me truly happy and I sorted through many issues before I had Mishka. Surprisingly my age gave me more patience, as I now had the time I needed to look after my child, without any rules or preconceived ideas. I did it according to what I knew would be best for Mishka and our family.

Have you come across any negativity being an older mom?

Not really, and if there is negativity I just couldn’t be bothered. What does my age have to do with being a good mommy? I think I have much more life experience and thus can give advice to younger mommies I meet about life in general, not just about motherhood. There’s also the added benefit of being totally ‘streetwise’, I had many years to test many different things, and this will come in very handy when Mishka hits those dreaded teens 

Something you would change this time round?

I would not change a thing! Everything is perfectly according to God’s plan for my life.

Words of wisdom to younger mom’s

The most important thing I want mommies to know is that it is of no use to compare yourself to others. Not on a financial or emotional level. You are so blessed to be a mother and that should be your only focus, to nurture and provide for your family as best you can. The rest is just a distraction. Try to look inwards rather than outwards, and be kind to yourself and other moms, nobody is the perfect mom, we are just different and so your way may not work for me and vice versa. We could all learn from each other just by simply observing others and not pass judgement or opinions. Be yourself and be the mother you always wanted to have.

To follow Febe and Mishka on their amazing journey you can find them here:

Blog:https://febemishkawonderland.com/

Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/febe_and_mishka_in_wonderland/

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/febemishkawonderland/

Posted in Blog posts, Family Life

Celebrating the older mom – Karen from Mom Again @ 40

First up in our CELEBRATING THE OLDER MOM series is Karen du Toit.

Karen is the amazing mom of 2 beautiful daughters and blogs over at Mom again @ 40.

Read more about Karen.

Please tell me about yourself.

My name is Karen du Toit. I am a full-time archivist and in my spare time I have been blogging for nearly 10 years now. I love my job, and could not have chosen it better. I studied Library and Information Science, and spent most of my professional life in archiving. I got divorced when my eldest was 6 after we escaped a domestic volatile relationship. I met a great husband a few years later, and our Miss Fine came into our lives, 15 years after the eldest.

How many children you have?

Two daughters, aged 26 and 10. The eldest is our proof of successful parenting. She is a bright, vibrant working girl, married already with three dogs. We are so proud of her. Our youngest is the love of our lives, and she is the focus of our lives at this point in time! Grade 5 with all it’s extra-murals are keeping us very busy.

Why did you chose to have a baby after 40?

I got married again. My husband did not have kids, and we wanted another baby.

How this affected your health, if it did.

I think my health has been improved because of the late pregnancy. I have no health problems or issues. I also breastfed for five years which I think was also good for my body. The extra weight is my own fault. 10 years later I am still planning to lose the “baby weight”. 🙂

How you feel being an older mom has it’s benefits.

I am more relaxed in my parenting. I know that each phase has a good and a bad side, and I try to enjoy this precious person as much as possible. I KNOW it passes so very quickly, before they are off to do their own things.

Have you come across any negativity being an older mom?

No, not at all! It’s sometimes depressing funny when children think I am the grandmother, but only until they know us.

Something you would change this time round ( if you have other children)

Be even more relaxed, and be present. We now struggle with screen time (our own, and those of our children), which we did not have in the 90’s.

Words of wisdom to younger mom’s.

Enjoy each personality, and do not compare. We get to spent time helping to shape precious beings. We should acknowledge them for who they are, and help them to be the best they can be. How precious to know these new souls. In the daily rat-race of working and school and projects we tend to forget how blessed we are to have them in our lives.

To follow Karen on her amazing journey you can find her here:

Blog: MomAgain@40

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/MomAgain40/

Twitter:https://twitter.com/karentoittoit

Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/karentoittoit

Pinterest:https://za.pinterest.com/karentoittoit/

Posted in Blog posts, Parenting

10 activities to develop your baby’s Fine motor skills

I remember many years ago reading an old dog eared childhood development book and it highlighted setting a good learning foundation for baby.

Now, this was by no means flash cards and wall posters. Rather a series of learning through play ideas that would strengthen your baby’s fine and gross motors and develop their cognitive thinking.

These activities are easier than you may imagine to introduce to your baby and here are 10 of my favourite ways to encourage your baby’s fine motor skills development.

Fine motor skills are the little hand and finger muscles that assist our children to write later on.

1. Scribbling and drawing

I introduced Hamish to fat crayons and paper as soon as he could sit in his Bumbo chair. In the beginning he just grasped the crayon and moved it from hand to hand but by 8 months he had begun to make marks on the paper.

2. Stacking

Your baby should be able to start stacking one block on top of each other from about 6 months.

There are many other items you can stack like kitchen cups, boxes and Tupperware.

3. Sorting

From about 10 months Hamish was able to sort items with help but very few at a time. For example he could give me both socks from the bowl with socks and shoes. He could pass me the dummies out of the toy box.

As he got a got older I gave him soft toys to sort asking him to pass me the bunnies or give me the dog puppets.

4. Picking up and posting

Posting came naturally to Hamish also from about 5 or 6 months old as he mimicked what we showed him. Those who’ve followed us from the beginning will remember the washing machine box I made him.

Any container can be used to post items. You can post small toys into an empty coffee can or cut holes in a Tupperware lid and post bottle caps through.

5. Play dough

I love playdough and you will find my blog riddled with play dough recipes and reviews.

Such a versatile product. Great for strengthening those muscles as they pinch, pull, push and raise it to their mouth.

It’s non toxic so totally safe, although revolting, to taste.

I introduced Hamish to playdough as early as I did crayons and at first he really did just feel it and try eat it. From around 10 months he began cutting it with cutters and trying to roll it out.

6. Dressing self or toys

This has taken Hamish a bit longer. He only dressed himself from about 18 months but there are children who from months can dress themselves or toys.

I find giving them a baby doll or teddy to dress with some clothing helps develop this skill.

7. Stringing beads, pasta, ect

Another activity he did not enjoy but really important for both his fine motor and hand eye co- ordination.

By 18 months he was able to thread big beads without help but we started from 12 months of age with pasta on string.

8. Painting

I love painting so my 5 month old painted each time I did. He often just moved the brush tightly gripped in his hand but I kept adding paint.

At about 8 months he learnt to dip the brush into the paint. Finger painting and letting baby use their hands instead of a brush are just as rewarding.

If you are worried about the paint being toxic in anyway or staining baby’s clothing mix a jelly powder with a plain yoghurt for a natural non staining paint.

Painting with food colour8ng on ice is also a lovely activity for little ones.

9.Sewing cards

I only introduced these after Hamish was able to thread beads so that he wasn’t frustrated.

You can make your own by cutting an image from card and punching holes around it.

10. Building blocks

Hamish loves his blocks and I first introduced soft foam blocks at about 5 months . From 6 months he was stacking and transferring from hand to hand his wooden blocks.

I bought inexpensive blocks from The crazy store.

There are so many more activities but these 10 are activities we come back to often .

Posted in Blog posts, Parenting

Understanding Baby sign language

What is baby sign language?

Baby Sign Language is a pre-verbal communication tool using visual cues to communicate before your baby can talk. This can be a very effective communication tool to help baby express themselves and can be a fun way to give you and your baby an opportunity to bond.

Baby signing is thought to give babies an effective means of communication several months earlier than those who use vocal communication.

Between eight months and two years, a baby knows what they want and often feels frustrated as they do not yet have the full verbal vocabulary to express themselves.

How it works:

In terms of childhood development, the understanding of language and motor skills develop a lot faster than the ability to speak. So it is not surprising that babies can learn sign.

Child Development expert Joseph Garcia noticed how babies often point and wave long before they can say the words. He took this information and modified the sign language used by those who are deaf to develop baby sign language.

Children who are taught to sign as babies have many benefits such as ….

Less Frustration: learning to sign takes patience, from both mom and baby but even learning just a few words can really help to understand what baby wants when they are crying.

Signing also bridges the gap between understanding words and being able to verbally express them.

A closer bond: Many parents are delighted to find out what is going through the minds of their little ones once they begin to learn new signs. Even simple signs that communicate can help you feel like you are sharing their day.

Helping language develop: Parents might worry that by teaching babies sign language they are interfering with their normal speech development. Research has found the opposite and signing can in fact improve language and vocabulary.

In his research, Garcia points out that signing is about enhancing and not replacing language.

Signing develops the “building blocks” in understanding language.

How to start:

As with any new skill, start when baby is ready and expresses a desire to communicate.

At around eight months babies are more sociable and use noises and facial expressions to communicate with you.

To begin, familiarise yourself with baby signs. You can even create your own signs, but the point is to be consistent with lots of repetition so that baby can learn them.

Every time you say the word be sure to show baby the sign.

To get the most out of your baby sign language, keep these tips in mind:

Set realistic expectations. Experts say that you can start teaching baby signs from about six months old, but they won’t be able to sign back until about eight months.

Remember that every child is different and they develop skills at different rates.

You can start signing to your newborn, but you can’t expect them to sign back until they are older.

Keep signs simple.

Make this process easier by using words that they are familiar with like “Mommy”, “Daddy” and “Eat”. Use words that describe their routine or things that are familiar in their life. Words that have meaning to them will be easier for them to remember.

Start with one or two words and then build the vocabulary from there.

Make it interactive.

Use this teaching as a learning activity where you can bond with baby and make it fun. Place baby on your lap and use their hands to make the signs. Alternate talking and not talking while signing to encourage verbal development too.

Give the signs context by signing while doing the activity, for example signing the word “bath” while in the bath.

Encourage any gestures or signs that your child makes and acknowledge when they are signing a word.

Stay patient. If signing frustrates baby, stop, this is meant to ease communication not cause additional stress.

Don’t get discourage if they sign incorrectly or don’t mimic you straight away.

Happy signing

Posted in Blog posts, Family Life

10 fun activities to keep your Toddler busy

Our children learn best through play below are a few fun and easy activities to keep your Toddlers busy this week.

1. Building sets.

You can make your own building sets by taping up empty cardboard boxes with masking tape to create lightweight, reusable blocks.

Oatmeal boxes make great silos and large boxes can become child-sized rooms or vehicles with just a few cuts.

You can also create design elements with paint or markers.

2. Create collages

Collect a box full of images cut from old greeting cards, magazines and even advertising combine with wrapping paper, packing materials, buttons,silk flowers, feathers and just about anything else to produce collages and other works of art.

3. Explore science

Purchase an inexpensive magnifying glass and teach the kids to examine the details of everything.

Use egg boxes to sort collections of rocks, flowers, seeds or feathers to study later.

You could also punch holes in a plastic container with a transparent top to hold insects briefly for observation. I like to use the see through plastic fruit holders from Spar as they already have air holes.

4. Pillow mountains

Pile pillows and cushions on the floor in a heap of a mountain to encourage the crawling, climbing and running movement young children need to develop motor co-ordination.

5. Balloon bopping

Your kids can blow up a bag of balloons for throwing, hitting and catching on a gloomy day.

Hamish especially loves this activity and as a baby I would tie a balloon to each hand so he could watch it move wirh his arms.

6. Master a skill.

Kids love to work along side us. They want to help with ordinary things like dishes, cooking or cleaning. Let them help and turn it into a game.

7. Play dress up

Dress up is vital for learning social and emotional skills. You don’t need a massive dress up box , adult clothing and accessories provide great props for exploring self-image and learning about the world .

8. Personalized reading.

For a child learning to read, have them dictate a story about themselves. Transcribe it to sheets of paper and fasten them together, then let them illustrate each page.

Your child can practice reading their own words in a personalized picture book.

For smaller children you can video tape or voice record them telling you a story and play it back to them.

9. Do the math.

Buttons, beans, containers lids, and even dried pasta are ready-made tools for counting and arithmetic activities.

Actual coins work well to demonstrate financial transactions. You could put out a few groceries and play shop by letting your child take turns to be the person shopping and the teller.

Measuring cups and spoons teach measurement.

Find ways to introduce mathematical concepts around the house to your kids. Count the bread rolls, measure the milk, divide the cake, fill each cup equally, ECT.

10. Thinking and speaking.

Encourage your children to express their thoughts as you share everyday tasks and family activities. Get them to think and talk about all kinds of things, then, listen to them and give responses that invite even more conversation.

Each evening ask your toddler what the best part of their day was.
We would love to share in your adventures. If you use any of our ideas please tag #funmammasa in your photos so we can see.

Posted in Blog posts, Family Life

Reliving the memories- midwife to the cows

I love Facebook memories….

They jolt my mind with so many of the amazing things we’ve done. Crazy adventures, brave moments and hours of special times with my older children.

Farm days

Today as I was scrolling to find some photos of my nephews for my sister, I came across this precious memory from when 3 of my children and I lived on a small farm in the country village of Byrne valley, KZN.

We lived on the farm for about 4 months before moving to Montague in the Cape. It was idealic.

A place of healing and learning. I can be quoted as saying that no amount of school learning could replace the mountain of knowledge my children learnt on the farm.

Cows

Although the farm had many animals, the cows were a source of constant amusement. The kids would wake up at 4am to go help the farmer and his children to get them into the fields, go down to the milking shed after lessons and help milk the cow and herd them again before it got dark.

We would often just sit on the grassy green hillside fields alongside them or open our front door and be greeted by a couple of cows grazing on the lawn.

My favourite was a little black and white jersey cow, she had a white heart patch on her forehead.

A once in a life time experience

We had arrived on the farm in time for the cows to birth and there were 4 pregnant cows. The kids were eager to see a live birth as we had missed the first 3 finding the new born calves happily stand in next to their mom’s one morning.

The farmer had been keeping the kids , his 2 girls and my 3 kids, up to date on the last cows progress and everyone was ready to attend the birth.

The entire day they kept checking on her and to this day I’m not sure one cow has ever had so many “midwives”.

Getting them settled that night was a task on its own. Talk was all about the cow. What to do if the calf was stuck. How to help the calf and 101 cow facts I hadn’t known.

And then it happened. At 3.30am, in the darkness of a night lit only by the bright moons glow, the farmer bashed unceremoneously on my door.

He had been sleeping in the field and the cows labour had begun.

My kids, who usually took hours just to get dressed, were out the door and running along side the farmer to watch the birth of the new calf.

My job that night was to make coffee, it was cold and I’d opted to stay in bed a bit longer.

An hour later, 5 excited kids sat around my dining room table drinking warm hot chocolate and telling me all about the birth.

The cow had gotten stuck and both Ronan and Kerri had assisted the farmer by pulling one of the calf legs while Shaun comforted the cow, stroking her head.

The calf had been born safely.

Just Moo-valous

As soon as their hot chocolate was done and the sun shone to welcome day, the kids headed back to the field to go meet the baby calf and play with the cows.

This is one of my fondest memories of this farm. The excitement in the kids voices and their enthusiasm to experience life.

Nature has an amazing effect on children.

Posted in Blog posts, Family Life

Mini Trains at Meerendal Wine Estate

We headed to the gorgeous Meerendal Wine Estate today to experience a ride on the mini steam train.

I had seen an advert on Facebook and knew Hamish would love this.

We arrived at the farm and headed straight to the tasting room to buy our tickets.

3 tickets set us back R75 and this is well worth the R25 per person.

Hamish was so excited he ran straight towards the little yellow engine situated on a miniature track.

The engine is really small and was half the height of Hamish.

We were given an instruction on how to board by the train driver and once we were safely aboard with our feet up, the train started and began its chug chug around the track.

The train seems to be travelling quite fast although in reality it honestly can’t be. I thought I may need to hold onto something as we took the corners but it soon stables and I was very confident in our drivers abilities. ( I was also very glad Hamish was sitting in front of Brent not me )

Throughout the whole ride Hamish was giggling and laughing and his delight at the train blowing it’s horn was evident by his high pitched scream each time.

The train travels around the track twice allowing you to take in the view and in our case peep at the other engines which were still in their containers.

This was tons of fun and something Hamish thoroughly enjoyed.

Getting him off the train was a whole new problem all together 😂

If you are wanting to visit :

Meerendal Express Open!

When: Weekends & Public Holidays
Time: 10:30 – 16:00
Costs: R25-00 per person

Tickets can be bought at the Wine Tasting Room.