Posted in Health & Wellness

Keeping your family active during winter

The days are getting colder and we are all looking at ways to snuggle up and keep warm.

However, as a family it’s still very important to stay active. The best way to do this is to set put togther a family plan that includes physical activities.
Children spend an average of 3 hours a day watching screens and many teens and children do not get regular weekly exercize.
Children should, ideally spend 1 hour a day outside, engaged in play and vigorous activity. Adults need 30 minutes exercize a day to stay healthy.
So, exercising as a family is not only benefits our health but it also teaches our children how to become healthy adults.

How to set out a physical activity plan for your family

With so many other things to do a week, taking care of everyone’s physical health may seem really overwealming but this is where a good schedule will help co-ordinate your family and keep you all physically healthy.
So, how do you set up a physical activity plan for your family? 
  • Existing activities – examine which physical activities your family currently take part in. Prehaps your child does an extra mural, you enjoy an evening run or your family hikes each Sunday. Chart these into your plan first.
  • Options – for those families not yet active, or for the families wanting to add more activities that include all family members sit down and brainstorm some activities first. Make a list of options that meet your family dynamic, interests, energy and physical level and that are age appropriate.
  • Time limits – set time limits to how much physical activity you wish to participate in each week. This could be a 30 minute walk or a 1hour hike. By having a time limit it will help the less enthusiastic members of your family to  complete the activity. This also sets the basis to physical activity becoming a habit in your weekly routine.
  •  Be flexible – Remember that life happens and many factors could determine you not reaching your goals for the week. Mood, health, weather or other engagements. Instead of feeling guilty or frustrated rather enjoy your family in a less demanding way.

Some low cost family activities

Not every family has the resources to join gyms, add additional extra murals or endulge in new exercize equipment.

But

Every family can enjoy these low cost and free activities to become healthy.

 

Low cost family activity ideas

  • Walking – walk around your neighborhood, in the park, at the beach or walk the dog
  • Ball games– winter is the perfect time to bring out those soccer balls.  cricket sets or other ball games.

 

  • School yard games – games like tag, hide and go seek or red rover on the yard or park will keep the kids entertained.
  • Fly a kite– Cape Town autumn winds are perfect for kite flying. You could make your own first then see who flies their kite the highest.
  • Park runs – join a local park run . These are every Saturday morning and great for all ages.
  • Beach clean ups – use your physical time to do good and join a beach or river clean up

 

  • Bike rides– family bike rides or scooter rides are great to not only see your neighborhood but to keep fit too.
  • Roller skating – Go roller skating, roller blading or ice skating.
  • Dance parties– for bad weather you could turn up the music and have a dance party.
There are so many other inexpensive ways to get moving as a family and stay healthy. The goal however is to always have fun.
Posted in Life with my bears

I’m Raising a Wild One

I’m raising a wild one

The child who needs to run and jump and explore
The child who grabs life and swings across her adventures with the courage and enthusiasm of an adventurer.
The child who knows no limits and tests boundaries, determined to find his own path.
The child who leads and seldom follows.

I’m raising a wild one

A self confident traveler whose spirit dances with the wind as he sings songs that only he can hear, whilst dancing to his own tune.

The loud one.
The strong one.
The child who dies not hide in shadows and who isn’t afraid to say NO! He isn’t afraid to take up space or to question the roads already travelled.

I’m raising a wild one

The stubborn child. The smart child. The child who looks back at me and says “but mother you are wrong because I’m being raised by the wild one.

By the mother who will not break my will as she guides me to be free to be myself ….a wild one.”

And I look back, knowing, as only a wild one knows…..

That I’m raising a wild one.

The Wild one
By Judy MacGregor ( 2022) 

Posted in Family Life

Tap and Go …. What you need to know

A few months ago Brent discovered a transaction on one of his accounts that he definitely did not make.

This was reported, investigated and his account was suspended for a while and he had to go through the process of awaiting a new card and changing his banking Pins, etc
Now, we are still not exactly sure how this transaction was processed but I had wondered if it wasn’t the Tap and go feature on his bank card.
As a consumer, I’m still wary of this feature so I was interested to read a recent article where a consumer journalist, discussed the relevant questions regarding the tap and go facility offered by banks.

Tap and go …the facts 

The Tap and go feature is offered by all banks, however only one of our South African banks does not allow you to turn off the feature.
Whilst incredibly convenient, as you do not need a signature or a Pin code if you Tap for an amount under R500, this feature is feared by many as an easy means for criminals to conduct fraudulent transactions.
However, the banking ombudsman has reported that fraud in connection to the tap and go feature is low, with as little as only 2 cases a month reported.

Banks

These banks offer tap and go options to their clients with the option to turn off the feature.
Capitec
ABSA
Nedbank
Standard bank
However FNB does not. The reason for this is because all FNB are contactless enabled and this is a core feature of their product, thus not allowing the tap and go facility to be disabled.

How to disable your tapped go

Should you wish to disable your tap and go facility, depending on your bank of choice, here is how to find where to do so.
Capitec– Inside the branch or on the Capitec banking App
ABSA – Inside the branch , on the APP or via the customer care contact centre.
Nedbank – Through the Money App or via online banking.
Standard bank – On the App
As banking features, payment Apps, virtual cards and device payments grow in popularity it is important that we as consumers stay educated to make the most informed decisions to protect our money.
Posted in Family Life

Mother’s Day …. My Way

Yesterday was Mother’s day and I got to spend the day surrounded by my children.

The rarity in that statement is that 6 out of my 7 children are adults, living their own lives and who were trying to juggle other mother figures ( mother in laws, step mothers,  friends who are mothers, etc) into their day yesterday as well.
So, the day looked much different to when they were younger but it was still a day celebrating their mother, each in their own way.
arum lily
Arum Lily

Early morning wake up call

My morning started at 2am, when I woke to be awake for my two adult sons, Shaun and Ronan, who live at home, coming in after a long shift at an event. Lying in bed, I listened to the waves breaking on the shore and the silence of the house until they got home.
The boys were only due in around 4am but I always have them message me as they leave so I can time how long it should take for them to get home and so that I am awake to dial our complex gate and let them in. Mothers worry, no matter how old our kids are.
They arrived, tired, cold and ready to sleep. Mumbled a few Happy Mother’s day messages in hushed tones and between grabbing coffee and going to the loo. Then they were asleep.
But they were home safe, which meant I got to relax.
And, their messages were unprompted …now, if you’ve yet raised a child between the ages of 15 and 30 you’ll realise what a big accomplishment that is. Most of the time I send hints for days before events or I run around reminding everyone of celebrations, birthdays, etc….so, the fact that they remembered….on their own…without prompting ….well, that was a good start to the day.

Sisterly love

My sister is awake at 4am. Neither of us apparently inherited the genes to sleep in and so I messaged her and we chatted until about 7am.
All things coffee, and motherhood, and children and how we would be celebrating our day.

Friends & family

I then popped online and sent a mothers day message to a few friends, because as moms we are here to support each other. Whilst the ladies I’m privileged to call friends may not be my mother we are mothers. We understand the hard days, the good days, the joys and challenges of motherhood. And yesterday was a day to celebrate that.
I popped my mother in law a message as well as got to chat to Lynne from Kaboutjie as we shared our morning and our spoils.
I then updated my socials and shared some mothers day love to all the moms online.

Hugs and coffee

Hamish woke me with hugs as he always does and I heard Brent remind him that it was Mother’s day.
He then wished me and he helped me make my coffee.  Being 5 he really isn’t allowed to use the kettle himself, but he can add the spoon of coffee and sugar and we grabbed a quick photo of him proudly showing off the new mug he chose for me. The fact that he can read what’s on the mug makes this year so very special.
We snuggled in and giggled, enjoying our morning coffee, watching as the sun came out from my bed which looks out onto our balcony.
After coffee, I got up gave Hamish breakfast, fed the animals, made beds, put the washing on, cleaned the house, prepped the food for the kids visits and got myself and Hamish dressed for the day ….after all a mother’s work is never done.

Morning tea

My eldest child, Tammi, arrived with her mother in law and husband and we enjoyed some sweet treats, a glass of bubbly and some great conversation for the morning.
Pre-covid we always got together for all small events, mostly at our home, but with Covid restrictions and our new flat being much smaller, we haven’t held many family events at home over the last two years so it was nice to have a little pre-covid normal return.
I don’t know about you but we are still adjusting to trying to find our normal again since Covid-19.

Friends are family too

No sooner had they left at about 1pm when Hamish’s little friend knocked on the door.
He plays at our home daily and whilst I am normally quite strict on family days being for family only there are always those special friends of your children that you gather along the years to include.
This little one, who is without a mother figure at home, came to play and the boys quickly started a rather loud, boisterous game that had them running from the lounge to the bedroom as the next batch of my kids arrived.

Spoils

Next to arrive were my son Byron, his girlfriend, Hannah, and my youngest daughter, Kerri.
They arrived with a bucket full of energy and a bag of Spoils. With so many other “moms” to fit into their day and to celebrate with I value the time they took to fit a visit in.
Their visit was short but Kerri got to meet Rexy, I got photos and a nice chat with them and then they were off to spread a little love at their next stop.
I love their busy energy. I totally understand it and as someone who could be busy all day trying to do all the things all the time, I totally get it. So, I’m not offended by their quick visits.
I also don’t hold my children with restrictions. We are a big family. Sometimes, not everyone can be somewhere or sometimes not everyone likes each other and that is OK. One day doesn’t make a difference to the overall relationship you have with your family.

Last but not least

I knew my last visit would be from my eldest son as he had spent the morning with my granddaughter and her mother.
As that one child who never phones his mother, who I bemoan and curse at because why does he even have a phone if he never answers it  …True to his character, he randomly messaged in the late afternoon hi can you open please and we went down to meet him.
Hamish had been waiting for his big brother Dylan the entire day. He was so excited and Dylan was whisked off to meet Jason the snake and Rexy the gecko before fixing Hamish’s flashing lights and then being allowed to join me for a conversation.
His visit was also relatively short, but my mom heart was filled. It’s rare as the kids get older to see them all on the same day or at the same event ….we all lead such busy lives. So, this was the perfect day to gather them and I got to celebrate Mother’s day the whole day not just for a few hours.

Spoils from Brent

My husband is the least celebratory man I know in general and every year he will say to me ” You not my mother” and each year without fail I remind him it’s his duty to teach his son to value me as a mother. It’s respectful for him as my husband to see the humongous contribution I bring to the table and to acknowledge the type of mother I am and how this affects our son. And also, I like gifts ….just saying.
Now, Brent’s really good and even though he jokes, he spoils me every year for mothers day but the I’m not your mom statement really gets to me. ( I think he thinks its one of those funny Dad joke things )
Also, I think the reason it upsets me is because I celebrate him as a father all the time and really put the effort in to help record moments for him to look back at, so I just assume he would want to do the same for me. Forgetting that our love languages are so different.
This year I didn’t feel like having the same conversation ( 5 years in it’s pretty repetitive) and so I simply stated that the effort shown on mothers day would determine the very effort delivered on fathers day …
Again, I was not disappointed and saw the effort he made to buy me the boots and shawl I wanted, and help Hamish pick out a gift.
I did however, in the Chaos of my busy day, forget to ask if he did indeed wish his mother, after all she is his mother.

A good day

It was a great mother’s day. I was totally spoilt in love, time and effort and those things are much more valuable than material gifts. They meet me at my love language and fill my cup much more than gifts( which I usually just re-gift)
I  also got to spend the day with all my favourite people.
How was your mother’s day?
Posted in Family Life

When to consider buying a bigger family home?

As a family, we have rented a home for the last few years but as Hamish grows, we have been giving serious thought to buying a new home that accommodates us better.

Hamish is getting older and we would like to do renovations to make his bedroom one that he can grow into and with. He wants friends to sleep over and our small living space is being severely cramped. He really needs more space to grow.
I work from home and desperately need a home office and would love a separate craft room for my Cricut machines and other craft supplies.
Brent likes to entertain and is longing for an entertainment area and our car could do with garage which our current little flat does not offer.
However
We are also comfortable in our small urban apartment that doesn’t require us to clean too much. Where we have no need for extra security measures and where there are no hidden or unexpected monthly costs.
But, how do you determine when you’ve outgrown your current home and are ready to upgrade to a bigger family home?
Some factors to consider if you want to upgrade to a larger family home are:-

Growing family size

The first factor to determine an upgrade to a bigger home would be a bigger family size. In our case, my older children have moved out and we have no intention of growing our family unless it is by pets.
Larger families need more space. You may want separate bedrooms for the children, a playroom or a better entertainment area to rather have friends over when your children are younger than to go out.

Space

If you are like me and work from home, you may need a dedicated home office or need extra space to pursue a hobby or interest. The pandemic has seen a rise in parents working from home and many new entrepreneurs and small businesses have sprung up through the need to work from home.

Renovations

You may have an idea of your dream family home and wish to renovate. Especially if you move from a rental where renovations are not allowed to owning your own home.

Pets

Pets also require more space. In Cape Town, it’s a struggle to find a well-priced rental that accommodates either children or pets. Knowing this upgrading to a bigger home that you purchase would be the next logical step.

Investment

You may be thinking of investing your finances into a bigger home which could easily be resold when you downgrade at retirement age, thus allowing you the opportunity to look after yourself in your old age.

Is it worth buying bigger?

This is a question we regularly ask ourselves as there are several factors that have up until recently stopped us from purchasing.
The ever-climbing interest rate, the hidden costs, how much insurance we would need and bond repayments would be higher than our current rental. Naturally, Covid also made us reconsider buying in an unstable economic market.
With Covid restrictions lowered and the markets slowly recovering, this is not a concern for us. Property is still one of the best investments and would offer us long-term stability.
Our investment would also yield a profit should it be sold later, allowing us to be more financially stable.
The calculated financial costs, as we know very little about finance and property, were my biggest concerns. I came across these great online calculators to assist you to determine how to calculate your mortgage payment and estimate the monthly repayments. 
This helped us to have a realistic look at our finances, work out what price we could afford to purchase at, and start looking at homes we like that are on the market.
Hidden costs do worry me and I understand that household insurance should cover the majority of faults like burst geysers and leaking roofs.
We’ve also had to look at the financial costs that moving to a larger home would entail.
Costs like:
Using more electricity and water
Needing to hire a
Garden services
Pool maintenance
Maintenance of any of the buildings structures
Installing and hiring security services
However, with a realistic calculation of the amount of home we can buy, the interest rates predicted and a full assessment of where we are in our family needs we can now start looking for a bigger home for our family.
Posted in Family Life

How to prepare when traveling from a warm to a cold climate

In South Africa, we are very lucky to have a much warmer climate than many other countries. We enjoy long days of sunshine, especially in Cape Town, and whilst there are certainly some regions that experience occasional snow and where the temperatures drop to minus numbers, as a whole we are regarded as having a warmer climate.

In recent years we have also seen a huge influx of South Africans immigrating out of sunny South Africa, many choosing to live in much colder regions like the United Kingdom,America, Europe or Canada. On arrival, several people we personally know, have then struggled to adjust to living in colder weather and experiencing things like snow days and blizzards more regularly.

One of the conversations that I hear often is how they wish they were more prepared to move to a colder climate.

But

How do you prepare yourself to move from a warmer region to a colder one?

I share a few tips below…

Tips for moving from a warmer climate to a colder climate

Clothing – Adjust your wardrobe to the weather. Scale down on items of clothing that you won’t use as much of in colder weather like bathing costumes and shorts.

You could donate used clothing to local charities, sell gently used items online, or freecycle in a community freecycle group.
After cleaning out your wardrobe you may be tempted to buy warmer clothing straight away but it is often wisest to buy after your move as winter clothing is bulky and takes up unnecessary space when moving.
Learning to layer your clothing will make a huge difference in how cold you feel. With a few pieces of thermal underwear as a base layer, you can add an insulating layer ( clothing from wool, flannel, or fleece) and lastly an outer layer like a jacket or coat.
Another great clothing investment is a waterproof jacket with a hood.
Treat your skin – Colder weather will chap your skin so you may want to stock up on lip balm, moisturizing lotions, and body butter. Using a lotion on your skin before applying stockings will both hydrate and prevent chaffing.
Higher electricity bills – With moving comes additional costs and the most important being a higher cost in electricity due to the use of heaters and electric blankets. Also as you tend to boil the kettle more and cook longer as you serve more comfort foods like stews and soups.
It’s advised to contact your rental or property agent and discuss average electricity usage for the area. Also, ask what other charges will be billed to you for additional services.
It’s also helpful to know if the roof is insulated, keeping the house warmer, and if it comes with any special heating features that could potentially save you money or save you purchasing any.
Other questions to ask are if the house is equipped with a stove and if that stove is electric or gas.
You may want to investigate further to see if it would be cheaper to use gas for cooking and heating your home over electricity.
Your agent or a home listing site like Calgary Homes for sale,   should be able to answer all these questions as well as show you the sizing of your home choice, map of the area to familiarize yourself with where essential stores and services are, climate risks, activities nearby and rental or purchase fees as well as other costs, like inflation so that you can easily budget the right home taking into consideration extra costs.
Outdoor activities – As much as you may want to bundle up under a duvet, heater on, sip on a warm cup of coffee watching Netflix, this is your new home and it is unlikely that the weather will change so it is advised to get out and acclimatize to the cold.
A change in weather will also bring about new activities for your family to experience and enjoy. You may learn to sled or ski or even build a snowman for the first time.
Snow– If you are moving to an area that has regular snowfall, it is a good idea to invest in snow removal tools, practice driving in the snow, and keep an emergency snow kit both at home and in the car.
Removal company – to limit any stress of moving your entire life to a new home or climate, using a removal company is the best option.  They have the experience to conduct a smooth move and move your furniture and belongings in different weathers.
Most importantly with some research and proper preparation, you can enjoy a smooth move and transition into your new home.
Posted in Family Life

The Last Day on the Carousel

For as long as I can remember, every shopping trip in our local mall has ended in Brent and I fishing out the R5 coins so that Hamish could insert them into the bright children’s rides that scatter along the mall, like circus clowns waiting to pounce on you in bright bellied laughter.

Hamish loves them. He loves the carnival sounds and the silly cartoons printed onto everything from fire trucks to seals.
And, naturally, we love the way his big blue eyes light up and his little mouth forms an expression of delight as the ride moves, or turns or lunges forward.
Those few minutes of innocent, childlike fun and joy are worth all the R5 coins in our wallets.

A ban on rides

Obviously, during the covid waves, these rides were banned for fear of infection spreading. Not that I would have let Hamish climb onto one even if I’d washed it down in sanitizer.
We also stopped going to the malls. No longer were malls a place of enjoyment. They became a war zone of germs as we sanitized and masked up just to buy bread or one or two essentials that we couldn’t have delivered.
For almost 2 years, the laughter stopped. The rides sad silently. No longer enjoying the sweet sound of children’s laughter.

A trip to the mall

Last week, I made my first relaxed, stroll through the mall. I went window shopping and visited some of my favourite stores without the irrational fear of Covid germs jumping on me.
We ate at the local coffee shop without me rushing our food out and spraying sanitizer on everyone.
But more importantly, I stopped at the bright rides, armed with R5 coins. My intention was to bring back some of our previous normality. To enjoy things we once took for granted and to let Hamish ride the rides.

All grown up

And ride them he did. . . .
First, he climbed on a barrel with an odd-looking clown and was quite upset that the baby songs ( nursery rhymes) were playing. The ride was slow in its circular tilts and boring to a now 5-year-old.
Next, he rode the carousel with 2 other kids, but this too was boring and he couldn’t wait to get off, claiming it as a very slow ride.
Lastly, he chose a train. That he has loved and his now long legs didn’t fit comfortably. The train was slower even than the carousel and the track uneventful. He tried to climb off mid-ride and we abandoned the rides as we knew the others would get a similar response.
Being 2 and a half when he last rode these, the rides were now outdated, boring, slow, and no longer held that innocent childhood magic.

 Sad heart

I understand. Our children outgrow things daily. They have to in order to grow up.
But
For us moms, we never know when that last day will be. You never know when it will be the last time your child needs you to tuck them in, hold their hand or put them on a cheap R5 mall carousel ride.
So, enjoy the moments. Take the photos and imprint the memories in your mind …
Today could be the last time mamma. 
Posted in All about Mamma bear

Peace is a Priority ……. An update on 2022

Well, it’s been a minute since I wrote a blog post. A few weeks in fact.

Why?

There is no real reason, no hard stop, just a culmination of a few things that required me to slow down, take note and rest.

Covid

Over Christmas our home and family had Covid and it was certainly an experience I don’t wish on others.
Brent and Hamish had really mild symptoms and recoved easily. Which I’m so grateful for. Ronan had Covid two weeks prior and he too managed to get through some really rough days, but thankfully seemed healthy and well. Shaun then got covid just after New year so in essence, we had 6 – 8 weeks of isolation and illness.
I had, a week prior to contracting Covid, had been in hospital to get treated for some blood clotting issues and Covid was not kind to me at all. Some days I couldn’t lift my head off the bed to even try to walk as my oxygen levels were so low, but nonetheless, I was not contagious after 14 days.
My symptoms, however, lasted well into the middle of January and even now. I’m still overcome out of nowhere with sudden exhaustion.
Not one to stop, I continued to push my body beyond its capabilities.

Work

With my quarantine over and a looming backlog of work not to mention new deadlines and clients, I jumped back in straight away.
It would honestly have been wiser to rest, heal my body but when do moms or entrepreneurs ever rest?
So, once again, I found myself pushing limits that seemed beyond my reach. Overwhelmed and frustrated that the small things were exhausting me or taking longer because my brain honestly felt it was shutting down, I would then get anxious about not getting enough down leafing me to get absolutely nothing done.

Rest

Looking at this pattern I knew I needed to take some pressure off myself.
I needed to clear my schedule and take the weeks off that I’d been promising myself since early October last year.
So, we rested.
I cleared my schedule, focusing on keeping our social media pages consistent and a bit of self-care.

Self care

In my case, the self-care was:
  • To recognize the signs of exhaustion from my body and slow down
  • Rest when I needed to and nap if my body needed it (something I never do)
  • Stop my work schedule and rest my mind.
  • Delegate more housework and childcare in my home
  • Take more time in nature
  • Trust my body to heal from long covid and to help it by reading the signs

Back to work

I’m officially back at work. Slower but still here. I’m enjoying writing and creating content again and I’ve learned to prioritize my workload, including turning down clients and work if I need to.
This may seem counter-productive, but currently knowing my limits and the workload that I can manage is vital to be working to the best of my ability and honestly, the only work I’ve turned down so far this year, has been unpaid campaigns.

My conclusion

I think the last few years have been hard on so many, especially moms as we often carry our families, shoulder the weight of our homes as we try to balance our work and personal life, and sadly this means our own health and self-care falls lower on our priority radar.
2020 saw us panic and jump into survival mode as we safeguarded our loved ones from the unknown pandemic. That fight or flight instinct can produce PTS and we, as a generation, face a new level of mental health issues related to Covid.
Then in 2021, we started to go through the motions and grieve all we had lost. Friends, family, hones, jobs, life…. Grief takes its toll on our bodies and minds and many of us are still trying to pick up the pieces of our hearts.
2022 …is our year of healing.  It’s the year to find our inner peace and restore the balance so many of us have lost. It’s the year we try to recover and I want to remind you that it’s OK to take it slow, to start with small steps and slowly, day by day, just do your best. 
Posted in Family Life, Family Time, Health & Wellness

A new me needs new shoes

A new year, a new me is the mantra that many of us chant as we write our New year resolutions. All of us want to become our best selves.  I know I’m certainly chanting this into 2022.

One of my biggest resolutions this year is in relation to my own health and physical fitness.
I’m 5 years into pregnancy weight, bad health, broken bones, blood clots, and covid munching. So to be honest, I’m not at all happy with my weight.

Lifestyle changes

However, I’m also not a fan of diets or the diet culture and so believe that if I’m going to lose the chicken wings, spare tyre, and double chin it is going to have to be a lifestyle choice.
I eat very healthy and aside from smaller portions, less late-night snacking, and actually sticking to 3 meals a day instead of one with way too much coffee, I don’t need to alter my meals much.
Healthwise I’ve chosen to consult with my medical practitioner and have them check what needs checking to treat any underlying conditions, allowing me to be healthy enough to lose the weight naturally and effectively.
My mindset is also in the right space. My lifestyle change into a more healthy one and my weight loss goal are for myself and I’m motivated by myself. So many times we want to lose weight for others and set ourselves up for failure.
One of the things I love is walking, so for me, that is the best exercise to start with. I’m not yet fit enough to run the park run but I can walk it and so am not taking myself until I feel I can fun it again. Hamish and I walk every day and from next week we will be doing our beach walks each morning.
But walking means we need good, sturdy shoes that will support our weight and offer comfort on long distances.
So, I recently spent some time looking for some new shoes to represent the new me. I was also looking for affordable shoes that looked great with all of my exercise outfits. Often I’ll wear tights if I’m taking Hamish out for the day to the park, beach or on a playdate and I wanted walking shoes that looked stylish and complimented my outfit but expressed my personality at the same time.

Urban Art sneakers

To find my ideal walking shoes I visited DC one online and shopped their stunning catalogue of shoes.
It was incredibly hard to choose just one set of shoes, and honestly, their pricing is so affordable that I could have bought a few pairs. There were also so many styles I really liked.
I finally settled on some Urban art sneakers for both Hamish and I.
Hamish got a light blue pair, which has little mesh holes in the canvas for easy breathing and keeping his feet cool as we walk. Inside the shoe is soft and cushioned for longer distances. I bought his size hoping they would fit as I wasn’t certain with doing online shopping sizing can often be too big or too small. They are a perfect fit.
My shoes are pastel pink and everyone who has seen them has commented on the shade. The shoes look stylish to add to my mom wear wardrobe as well as to exercise. Inside is soft and cushioned, making them super comfortable.
Online shopping is reliable through DC One. Their service is great and their website is user-friendly making your shoe shopping experience stress-free.
In conclusion 
For me choosing great shoes was the most difficult part of getting back to a regular walking routine. However, I am super motivated to keep moving in my Urban art sneakers.
Posted in Education, Family Life, Parenting

Reward Charts – Do they work ?

There is a lot of controversy within the parenting communities about reward charts. Some parents swear by them and others think that they are a giant waste of time.

Now what would you say if I told you they can be both.
I will explain…

Pros and cons of reward charts

I love reward charts for Hamish. I think that being used in a consistent manner they can help a child reach a goal as they are able to see and track their progress.
I love that they motivate a child to perform better and that often they are just total fun.
There is always a danger in a larger group of children that a reward chart will in fact damage a child’s self-esteem as they compare their progress to that of their peers and instead of motivating them, the reward chart will demotivate and set your child up for failure.
So, do I personally believe that reward charts should be used for every child, in every situation ….no!

Personal experience

However,we have personally had great outcomes for potty training, school work goals, bed training, and reading with Hamish using reward charts.

He is the only small child we have in the house and has no one to compare his achievements with, allowing us to use the reward chart to build up his self-esteem, highlight his achievements and assist him to reach a personal goal.
When I had 6 little ones in the home, things were a lot different. I hated reward charts.
As a family, we weren’t consistent enough to stick to one. My younger children were not motivated to learn from their older siblings’ success and I found the reward charts brought about low self-worth and a multitude of sibling rivalry as the kids judged and compared themselves.
So. I think if you are going to use a reward chart …..
  • Be specific.
  • Consider if it is the right kind of motivation for your child or children.
  • Discuss how the chart does not measure who we are, what we are good at or our worth with your children.
  • Keep the goals short and reward quickly so that your child does not get demotivated.
  • Build self esteem daily through words of affirmation, praise and acknowledgement of good behaviour, kindness, etc so that the reward chart is not the sole check list of how well you feel they behave.
We use these Reward charts and stickers from Tower products avaliable in most retailers.