Posted in Blog posts, Crafts, Family Life, Family Time, Parenting

6 family activities to start the year

The New year is always a good time to introduce new ideas or concepts to your family.

Here are 6 family activities that you can introduce over the next few days as you welcome in 2020 that will enhance your parent / child bond and make family time fun.

Many of these ideas could become annual traditions and would make wonderful keepsakes to look back at.

1. Family Brainstorm session

Sit the family at the table and using a large sheet of paper with the date in the centre, write down all the things you as a family would like to accomplish by the end of 2020.

This could be simple activities like plant a vegetable garden or more long term plans like save for a Disney land holiday.

2. Resolution journals

Give each family member a blank book and explain that these are their New year journals.

In here they are free to express themselves, use any medium to draw or write, add stickers or cut out pictures,add photos ect.

They can record :-

  • Their new year resolutions
  • Daily moments of gratitude
  • People they want to spend more time with
  • New skills or activities they want to try
  • Books they want to read
  • Places they want to visit
  • Or a toy wish list

3. Thank you card day

The chances are that by New year the kids are bored and looking for something to do. Give each child some stationary and card and let them make Thank you cards to friends and family for Christmas gifts recieved.

You can then visit the post office and use snail mail to post off their cards.

In days where everything is online, this would make a wonderful suprise to an older relative.

4. Interview

Interview your children at the beginning of each year.

I love looking back at these interviews to see how my children have grown.

You could ask questions like :

  • Name
  • Age
  • Year
  • Where do you live?
  • Favourite food
  • Favourite colour
  • Favourite movie
  • Favourite book
  • Who is your best friend?
  • Who are your pets?
  • School
  • Grade
  • Name one word to describe yourself
  • Whatfoyou like doing?
  • What are you good at?
  • What do you like doing?
  • Where is your favourite place to go?

5. Memory jar

A memory jar is similar to a time capsule.

In a clean jar, let your child add small things like photos, trinkets,small shells, a movie ticket., ect throughout the year. Seal these and store them until your child is older.

6. Wishing tree

Make a wishing tree by painting a dry tree branch that has been planted in a pot.

Cut several paper star shapes for each family member and let them write their wishes for the new year.

Attach these to the tree with sewing cotton.

You can remove them as soon as the wish is ganted.

I would love to know if you currently do any of these fun activities with your family or if you have new activities we could try. Letme know in the comments below.

Posted in Christmas, Crafts

The Advent Spiral

Each Christmas we look for a way to introduce the heart of Christmas to Hamish and for a new and reusable advent calendar.

What does Advent Mean?

Advent is a term from the Latin word ‘adventus‘ which means “arrival“.Advent is a time, in the Christian calendar, of waiting for the arrival of Christmas and represents the coming of Jesus to earth when he was born as a baby at Bethlehem about two thousand years ago

The Spiral Advent

Last year I came across a spiral Advent calendar and was blown away by both it’s simplicity and possibilities.

The spiral was formed from wood or using a clay and had groves etched into the clay before it hardened.These little groves were used to hold a candle, marble or bead to count down the days until Christmas.Often there was a candle at the centre.

Our advent calendar

My inner craft mamma knew I could make one and sat down one afternoon with Hamish to make a spiral advent calendar.

We first gathered our supplies:

  • Some unused plaster paris to mould with
  • 24 beads
  • Craft paint
  • Paying brushes
  • Candle
  • Elastic band
  • Fir tree foliage
  • A toilet roll inner to form a nanger
  • Dry wet wipes
  • Red felt
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue
  • Some Christmas decorations to make a donkey, Mary and Joseph
  • Marker
  • A3 sheet of paper

How to make your Advent Spiral

To make the spiral I first drew a spiral shape onto a piece of paper.

This helped me to both keep to size and form as I molded the plaster paris on top of this outline.

Plaster paris was all we had in the house, but I would recommend using air drying clay, river clay, playdough,modeling clay or salt dough.Once the spiral was formed, I made 24 faint marks to mark out where each bead would bead to be inserted.

Hamish then used his finger to push each bead in.

These would become our daily markers.

Again we used beads because that is what we had avaliable but you could use marbles, candles, small toys, hearts,sequences,ectI wrapped some of our fir tree leaves around a candle using an elastic band to keep it in place and this became the centre of the spiral to represent Christmas day and the birth of Jesus.

We lit the candle on Christmas morning.Lastly I made the Christmas nativity charactes.

We would need a donkey, Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in a manager.

To make baby Jesus snug in his manger I first cut a toilet roll tube in half to form the manger.

Next I wrapped a bead into a dry wet wipe that I folded to look like a swaddled baby.

Lastly I cut a red felt heart and wings and placedar them onto the bead baby. Heart on it’s stomach area and wings underneath the body.To make Mary, Joseph and the donkey I took two Angels off our tree and cut the hair of one to represent Mary and Joseph.

For the donkey, I broke the antler off a wooden reindeer.

This became one of our favourite advents as Hamish, who was two at the time enjoyed moving Mary and Jesus up to meet baby Jesus.

Posted in Brands we love, Crafts, Education, Fine motor activities, preschool

Klei klei rainbow rice … an explosion of happiness

Hamish was sent a colorful tub of Klei Klei sensory rice to try a few weeks ago.This rainbow bowl of Happiness invites you to play with it’s multitude of safely dyed, non toxic colours.We have used coloured rice quite a bit in our sensory play and he was very eager to open the container and start playing.

What is sensory play ?

Sensory play is any activity that stimulates a child’s senses.The senses of touch, smell, taste, hearing, sight.Coloured rice can be used in stimulating these various senses.For example:

  • For touch – the feel of rice on skin, hands, body and face.
  • For hearing- the sound of falling rice through a funnel or off a scoop.
  • For smell: by adding essential oils you can adjust the scent. Purple rice can be scented with lavender, brown with cinnamon, ect
  • For sight : various colours

It’s important for children to discover new sensations and learn how to regulate the sensory inputs.

What is sensory rice?

Sensory rice is simply rice that has been dyed with a food colouring or non toxic paint to use in a container or tray to aid with sensory play.

How to use sensory rice

You can use your sensory rice in:

  • A container
  • A tray
  • To scoop into baking trays
  • With small toys
  • With kitchen type toys for your child to “cook” with
  • With themes for example we used hallowen bugs in ours but you could use small items to reiterate a school theme
  • To hide letters and numbers or shapes for your child to find
  • As a writing tray for your child to draw shapes in
  • To glue onto art work for texture

The benefits of sensory rice

Rainbow rice is not just pretty but also has many benefits of play ….⭐Exploring and developing fine and gross motor skills
⭐Harnessing creative development through the sense of touch
⭐Free play means there are no boundaries and this fosters the imagination
⭐Developing communication and language skillsSensory play with an item like rice can also be a great alternative for children who do not like the texture of things like playdough or slime.For more information contact klei klei

Posted in recipes

Feeding kids …. speeding cars with Spotty Frog lunch punch

I reviewed the Spotty Frog lunch punches a while back and we use them regularly.

See review here

The other day I decided to spruce up Hamishs normal peanut butter sandwich and turn it into a car.

Using my Spotty Frog car lunch punch ( you can use any cookie cutter) I cut out the car shape after making his sandwich and then dipped an ear bud into some food colouring to highlight the detail.

The food colouring does not change the flavour of the food at all.

But a car needs somewhere to travel so I made a berry road using Safari berry bites.

You could of course substitute this for any of the following:

  • Nuts
  • Raisins
  • Dried fruit pieces
  • Sliced vegetables
  • Cucumber rings
  • Lettuce

Hamish gobbled this one down faster than you could say VROOM VROOM!

Posted in recipes

Feeding kids … Orange snails

I’ve often seen images on Pintrest and Facebook where people have creatively peeled oranges to form people shapes or animals.

I thought I would give it a try and make Hamish an orange snail.


It wasn’t as hard as I first anticipated and now that I’ve created this mini orange masterpiece I’m tempted to try a harder animal.

To make your own you need:

  • An orange
  • Knife
  • Marker
  • Lavender
  • Tape

Instructions


I first started by drawing the snails head with marker.

Then cutting the skin away to reveal the flesh, which would become the shell.

Lastly I drew on a face.

To decorate I taped two pieces of lavender on a feelers and placed the snail on a plate surounded by lavender “grass”


Hamish was super impressed with his slithery snail

Posted in recipes

Feeding Kids … banana dolphins

We all know how much I absolutely love to whip up a cute or fun plate of ordinary snacks for Hamish, but this was my favourite to date.

While sick, he really struggled with his appetite and I made a banana dolphin jumping in a wave of berry bites.

Here’s how you can make your own:

You will need :

  • Bananas x 2
  • Marker
  • Safari berry bites x2 packets
  • Knife

Method

Peel and cut a small piece of banana from the first banana

Cut this in half and set aside

At the stem of your second banana using a knife, cut open to form the dolphins mouth.

Draw on an eye

Place the now dolphin banana onto a plate and position the two cut pieces as tail fins.

Decorate with the two packets if berry bites to form an ocean .

Eat and enjoy

Posted in Christmas, Crafts, Family Time, Giving back

The kindness advent calendar

I love everything about Christmas. I love the old traditions that mark the day, the holiday keepsakes, the cheap tacky decor that some shops sell and the lavish gifts all through the stores.

But more than that I love that Christmas is a time where families remember to include everyone, where neighbours greet and the malls are full of people smiling at each other. It’s a time where secret Santas are endulged in just to make someone else happy.

It is a time of magic and belief …

But it also fast becomes a commercial humdrum of wish lists and debit cards. Of us spoiling our children with expensive toys that to be honest may never be played with after Christmas day or are broken and discardead.

So, as we fill our homes with chocolate advents and cheap toys for bright red Christmas stockings, as we hunt down expensive wrapping and buy gifts that we have just paid off when Christmas rolls around again, how do we teach our Children the true essence of Christmas?

Kindness Advent

This year in our home I’ve started a kindness advent to do just that.

To teach Hamish, and remind ourselves, that Christmas is about our love and kindness for others.

It was incredibly easy to set up and you can use any little advent calendar that will hold 24 slips of paper.

We bought an Advent Calendar DIY kit from Busybean which Kerri stitched together one night a few weeks ago with her friend.

This little felt kit is much bigger than I first thought and each little pocket is big enough to hold a small sweet or toy.

Everything is precut and the numbers stick on with a little sticky tape. At a later stage I want to secure the numbers a bit better,by removing them carefully and gluing them on using bostick to make them more permanent .

This little kit cost R30 and was well worth the buy.

To personalise his tree, I added a few little Christmas pegs and each little advent pocket will hold a little slip of paper encouraging an act of kindness that we will help Hamish to complete each day.

My hope is that this becomes an annual family project and a reminder of the Christmas spirit.

Gifts of Kindness

The acts of kindness that I’ve included are:

  1. Feed the birds
  2. Donate 3 old books to a library
  3. Make Christmas cards for your friends
  4. Bake biscuits for your neighbours
  5. Take a treat to the police station, fire station , hospital or ambulance service.
  6. Phone your grandparents
  7. Make a special ” I love you gift” for your sibling(s)
  8. Smile all day
  9. Donate 3 old toys to a Children’s home
  10. Hug a friend
  11. Hide a happy rock that you paint for someone to find in a park.
  12. Do a chore for mom or dad
  13. Leave a Thank you note and candy cane for the mail man
  14. Gift 3 old pieces of clothing to a charity or homeless shelter
  15. Make a new friend
  16. Pick up litter or join a beach clean up
  17. Tell your family you love them
  18. Pick flowers for someone
  19. Make someone laugh
  20. Share your sweets
  21. Ask mom and dad to help you take treats to an old age home
  22. Help mom and dad prepare dinner
  23. Tell shop assistants to have a nice day
  24. Plant a tree

This is our list but you could write your own adjusting it to suit your family, child’s age and to acts of kindness that you are comfortable with.

Because the greatest gifts we can ever offer anyone are our time and kindness.

Posted in Crafts

Make a nature inspired Summer time hedgehog

Summer is finally here and Cape Town is boasting the most gloriously sunny days.

We took advantage of the good weather today and went on a small nature walk to collect leaves and flowers to decorate our card hedgehog.

To make your own you will need :

🦔 Card

🦔Scissors

🦔clear packaging tape

🦔marker

🦔glue

🦔Google eyes

🦔 some flowers and leaves you collect

Instructions

On the card draw a hedgehog shaped and cut it out.

Cut a square out the centre of your hedgehog.

Place packaging tape on the back, sticky side up.

Glue on the eyes and add details with a marker.

Go for a wall and collect pretty leaves and flowers to decorate the sticky tape area.

The leaves and flowers will dry over time, but this is a nice activity to celebrate Garden day with little ones this Sunday.

Posted in Brands we love, Health & Wellness, recipes

Do Good and Save Food This World food day

World Food Day 2019
Do good, save food with GLAD

Every year people from around the world come together to declare their commitment to tackle global hunger on 16 October, World Food Day.

World Food day provides an opportunity to shine a light on food waste, our environmental footprint and most importantly the 870 million undernourished people across the planet – and to reaffirm one’s commitment to ‘save good food, from going bad’ exactly like the GLAD slogan.

It is estimated that as much as a third of all food produced goes to waste, in South Africa this is equivalent to a staggering 201kg per person annually!

A portion of this happens during the production cycle and is why ‘odd-shaped’ fruit and veggies are being reintroduced by some grocery stores.

With these figures alone, it is clear, that we need to act in our daily lives to make a difference in any way we can to reduce this number.

Let GLAD help you be the hero to stop good food from going bad:

  • Begin by planning your meals ahead of time and shop accordingly. If you buy in bulk, portion and then store in GLAD Zip Seal Bags or wrap using GLAD Wrap or Press ‘n Seal and freeze, defrost as needed. For example, if three meals require broccoli, separate the large pack into three portions to store. Do the same with your fresh herbs, nuts, meat, chicken, fish and other perishables.
  • Organise your fridge, keeping items with the earlier expiration date in the front and the longest behind. Naturally use in this order too.
  • Love your leftovers! Instead of scraping leftovers into the bin, keep them for another meal, by storing in a GLAD Zip Seal Bag in the freezer. They are transparent, allowing you to see immediately what’s inside and they have a printed white strip already on them, to write the contents and date stored.
  • If you don’t eat your leftovers, share them!
  • Understand the dates on your food. After the “use-by” date food is not safe to eat, and you need to dispose of it. Add fruit and veggies to your compost heap. “Best Before” dates only indicate when the item is at its best, if it has been properly stored it can still be consumed after this date.
For GLAD, every gram counts, and we’d like to invite you to join us in being more aware this World Food Day (and beyond), to save good food from going bad. As all GLAD products are made for your convenience with the purpose of keeping your food fresh for longer.

Please visit www.glad.co.za for more information and follow ‘GLAD SOUTH AFRICA’ on Facebook; All products are available in the GLAD aisle of most supermarkets

( Content Supplied)

Posted in Crafts, Events, Family Time, Parenting, preschool, recipes

World egg day …. 4 fun family egg activities

Eggs are not just a great source of protein, they also feature quite a bit in our activities throughout the year.

I thought I’d share a few of our favourite ways to play with eggs today on World egg day.

1. Marbled eggs

Breakfast is the perfect way to introduce eggs , whether you like your eggs fried, poached, scrambled or boiled….there’s an egg for everyone.

One of my favourite ways to serve eggs to the kids, as I had some fussy eaters, was to give them dinosaur eggs.

Our dinosaur eggs are actually just boiled eggs that have been given a marble look using food colouring.

You can read how we make them here

You could also use the boiled or fried eggs to create pretty food pictures like we did with this egg-stra special breakfast

2. Egg and spoon races

When my eldest, now 27, was about 3 years old we did our first egg and spoon race. Just her and I and a dozen eggs that cracked very quickly. 🤣

There was a lot of mess, a lot of giggles, a lot of fun and the biggest lesson to a little girl that it’s ok to make a mess ….we can clean it.

Over the years we’ve had countless races with friends and families.

3.Blow eggs and paint them

Blowing eggs is a lot of fun and my boys always enjoyed the part as the egg sploshed and slithered out the little hole.

We wash the egg in soapy water, dry and paint using craft paints or undiluted food colouring.

You can also draw on them with markers. One of the easiest ways to work with your egg as you try decorate it is to place it on an empty toilet tube. You can also leave it on here to dry.

We once attended a holiday camp where the eggs were painted with icing sugar coloured in food colouring.

4. Egg rolling

For this you give each child an egg outside and let them roll it to an end point without breaking it.

We once gave the kids wooden spoons and fly sweaters to see which worked better when moving the eggs with gentle taps to the end.

( it’s a good idea to keep extra eggs for tuse little hands that may be a bit too excited)

How ever you choose to celebrate eggs today we hope you enjoy an Excellent day