Posted in Brands we love, Family Life, Family Time, Health & Wellness, Parenting

Practical presents for kids who love gardening

Hamish and I love to spend our time ouside and starting a little garden with him has been a goal since I bough him home from hospital.

And whilst we’ve done a few little gardening projects, I really wanted him to be able to enjoy his new hobby with kiddy sized garden tools.

So, when I saw the stunning little garden kit from Practical presents, I knew I’d found the perfect way to start his hobby.

Who is practical presents ?

Practical presents is owned by a mom who understands the practicality of including quality essentials without breaking the budget but who is also mindful of the excitement of the little ones opening their gift.

With a range of gifts that suit most price ranges you can find practical gift hampers for a mom to be , toddlers and even for the young adult moving on their own for the first time.

I love that not only is the pricing affordable but these gift boxes can be ordered online and delivered to the child as a fun way for a distant relative, like a grandparent or aunt, to send a memory making activity.

The garden kit

Hamish’s kit contains everything you need to get your spring garden growing.

🌸watering can
🌸garden tool set
🌸decorative flower pot
🌸Starke Ayres kids flower seeds

Why you should Garden with kids

Gardening with children promotes responsibility, a love of nature and helps to strengthen the child/parent bond.

A child also learns early biology by understanding the plant life cycle and learning how to care for plants.

Our gardening experience

Hamish was very excited when we planted our little pot and there was so much giggling as he slowly dropped little stones into the pot.

Next he filled the pot with some soil, added some seeds and watered everything ,while I explained how the flower was going to grow from a seed to a plant but it needed sunlight and water.

The watering can is his absolute favourite part of this little garden kit.

When we had finished he carried the pot inside and asked about eight times if the flower had grown yet.

Wish me luck as we wait for the first seed to sprout.

* garden update …..Unfortunately Hamish overly loved his plant and gave it far to much water, so we are currently trying a second time to grow some seeds.

To order your own kits visit http://www.practicalpresents.co.za

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 Cape Town - Things to see & do, Events, Giving back, Life with my bears

Waddling for penguins

Today is International African penguin Awareness day.

A day to celebrate and highlight these cute aquatic birds.

Extinction

This species is still on the brink of extinction with only approximately 50,000 birds left in the wild.

It is estimated, that with the current level of decline they will be extinct by 2026….

A short 7 years from now!

A waddle for penguins

We headed to the V & A Waterfront to join the Two Oceans Aquarium in a fun waddle for penguins.

Dressed in black we were ready for the easy 3km walk around the waterfront district.

Before setting off we were encouraged to paint our faces

and enjoy a penguin cup cake treat.

Hamish was extra excited and although scared of the mascot,

he really loved the soft toy penguin and happily let me get some photos of him with it.

Just after 9.30am we set off on our hour long walk. The excitement was in the air as aquarium staff and public encouraged motorists along the route to HOOT FOR PENGUINS!

Hamish got caught up in the excitement very quickly and joined in with all the energy of a 3 year old.

He however, decided he wanted to be the leader and joined the amazing aquarium staff up in the front of the group to lead the waddles.

It was a lot of fun. Hamish managed th entire 3km walk and I’m looking forward to many opportunities to share with Hamish why we were hooting for penguins this morning.

About the African Penguin

The African penguin feeds on fish such as anchovies and sardines.

Adapted for its aquatic lifestyle, the African penguin can reach speeds of 12 miles per hour (20 km per hour) in the water and travel from 18 – 42 miles (30 to 70 km) in a single trip.

An average dive last for 2.5 minutes, reaching depths of almost 200 feet (60 meters).

How you can help

  • Support our aquariums: they use the funds for much needed education, research and to look afte the birds in their care.
  • Refuse single-use plastic:
    Penguins can ingest or become entangled in plastic packaging, their food, the fish are ingesting microplastics which are passed to the penguins.
  • Say no to all plastic: Plastic is made from oil, if we reduce our demand for plastic we also reduce our demand for oil. Oil spills are disastrous for penguins.
  • Join beach clean ups: help to remove the plastic which could end up in their home.
  • Recycle
  • Consume only sustainable fish
  • Educate others: on both the bird and how to care for the oceans.
Posted in babies, Brands we love, Family Time, Fine motor activities, Parenting, preschool, preschoolers, Toddlers

Fit and Fun Mr Ring from Chicco

Hamish was gifted this stunning Fit and Fun Mr Ring from Chicco

He absolutely loves it but it’s taken a few weeks for him to learn to throw the discs over this modern ring toss game, instead of just placing them onto the poles.

The cute hedgehog face base rotates at 2 different speeds, which challenges his attention every time and is awesome for building his hand eye co-ordination skills.

The 8 coloured rings, 2 of each colour pole, are made of lightweight plastic making it the best game for playing indoors as I know he can’t break anything.

Also great for little ones who have just started matching and grouping colours, as Hamish first used this to match the pole and discs according to their colours.

Now we play a variety of games, allowing him to learn to follow commands.

For example :

  • Throw the purple disc onto the red pole.
  • Throw 3 discs onto the blue pole.
  • Throw all the discs onto the yellow pole.
  • Throw the colour disc onto its matching pole.

You could make up any combination.

Of course he loves this version of play, as he gets to tell me what to do when I take my turn.

The poles are also removable, making it easy to store or to take with if travelling.

It plays 6 different melodies.The tunes are plesant and not overly loud, so if you had a baby sleeping your toddler could still enjoy this game without it waking baby.

This fun and funky musical game stimulates manual co-ordination and fine motor skills.

A welcome addition to any toddlers playroom.

For more information contact http://www.chicco.co.za

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

Posted in Family Life, Health & Wellness, Parenting, Toddlers

Common mistakes we make when feeding toddlers and how to correct them

Feeding a toddler requires a great amount of patience and creativity.

They can be fussy or picky eaters, often throwing tantrums about food they ate yesterday but wont touch today.

Toddlers also have no regard for nutrition and left to their own devices would live on cupcakes and peanut butter for breakfast.

Because of this, parents often fall into a few bad habits when coaxing their litle one to eat.

So, how do you avoid making mistakes, not give into bad habits , satisfy your fussy eater and encourage life long healthy eating habits?
I’ve compiled a list of common mistakes we make when feeding our toddlers and how to change your behaviour and approach to encourage healthy eating.

Feeding Inappropriate Snacks


Snacks should contain nourishment needed for proper growth and development. Serving your toddler  snacks like chocolates, chips, sweets or biscuits regularly will get them used to eating high-fat and high-calorie foods.

Instead offer your toddler balanced snacks that include fruit, vegetables, protein, whole grains, or dairy products.

I’m particularly fond of the following brands as I know I can trust their snacks to be nutritious and good for Hamish.

  • Safari fruit and nuts
  • Gordon Ramseys Oh so goodness range
  • Happy Baby
  • Kiddylicious

For a few ideas you can read https://funmammasa.wordpress.com/2018/04/25/bears-top-10-toddler-snacks/

Force Feeding.


Never force your toddler to eat a food they don’t want.

Not only will this develop an unhealthy long term relationship with food but by doing this,  both of you will end up upset and frustrated.

Instead of forcing a food, rather don’t make a big fuss when your toddler refuses to eat a particular food. Wait and try again on another occassion. Many times what a toddler doesn’t eat today they will tomorow.

You could also  include your toddler in the cooking process, building up their enthusiasm to eat what they have made or get creative with their food.

You can try :

Cooking on demand


Avoid cooking on demand to prevent sending the wrong message. It’s exhausting and will lead your toddler to be even fussier at meal time if you are constantly trying to please them by making a different meal.

Instead when planning your meals include at least one item you know the child enjoys. For example, Hamish loves pasta but does not like bolognaise sauce so it’s easy for me to dish him his pasta with a little cheese iinstead of cooking an entirely new meal.

I also try to choose child friendly foods like these shape noodles from Pick n pay.


Finishing Their Plates


Avoid giving larger portions than necessary or serve snacks and juice too close to meal time.
Most parents serve a portion larger than a toddler can eat and over crowd the plate making the choice seem too large.


Instead when dishing up use the rule of thumb of 1 tablespoon per age of your child for each meal.

( * a guide but please always trust your own instincts. No one knows your child and how much they eat better than you do. For daily dietary requirements please refer to the dietary chart above)

Serve any snacks about 1½ to 2 hours before mealtime.

I have always worked on a semi flexible feeding schedule of :
Breakfast      7.30/8am
Snack             10am
Lunch             12pm
Snack              3pm
Supper            6/6.30pm

Instead of focusing on a clean plate, encourage eating until they’re full.


Ignoring Food Preferences


Toddlers have many more taste buds than adults and so are much more sensitive to the various taste sensations they experience. When eating a food that may not be spicy or salty to you remember it may actually  be too much for your child.

Instead try to be considerate when they tell you they don’t like a food. Toddlers are pretty good judges of what they like and don’t like.

When cooking, try to cook with less salts and spices as these may be over powering for your toddlers taste buds.

I always added my salt after cooking or offered an alternative meal if I made a curry or spicy dish.

Giving Up Too Soon


Don’t assume that if a toddler rejected a food once, that he or she will never like it again. It takes about 20 times of exposing the child to a food for them to accept it.

Instead present the food to your toddler often and allow them to play with it. This will include touching the food, putting it in their mouth and spitting it out. Over time they will accept it.


Using Food as a Reward


When food is offered as a reward it is typically a high-fat, sugary food like biscuits, cakes or sweets.

This may seem like the easy way out now, but it’s sending the toddler down the wrong path by encouraging  not-so-healthy eating habits. It also gives the toddler the impression that sweet food is desirable, where as other healthier options are not.

Instead reward your toddler for good behavior with non-food items like a trip to the beach, a special bubble bath or extra play time.

Not Regulating Sugary Fluids


It is recommended that toddlers drink a maximum of a ½ cup of 100% fruit juice a day. Any more than that only adds sugar and may result in your child not actually being hungry for their scheduled meal times.

Instead introduce water onto their diet from early on. Or consider diluting any fruit juices by mixing  ½ water ½ juice.

Another way to introduce water to your child is to set the example and let them see you drinking water.
Hamish thankfully asks for water before a juice, because we do the same.


Healthy eating patterns are very much determined by a toddlers examples set by role models , habits instilled at meal times and exposure to a variety of foods.
Posted in Brands we love, Family Life, Family Time, Life with my bears

A pledge to play

In July Hasbro gaming sent us a lovely campaign to pledge along with a pinkie promise to make time to play with our children.

Monopoly South Africa interviewed a few kids and the biggest result after being asked what they would do to get their parents to play was that parents realised children wanted them to engage and play with them more.

You can watch the video Here and read more about it Here

How many of us parents actually set aside time to play with the kids?

Research shows that learning through play is an important part of a child’s development.

Through play children learn many different skills they will need in their life such as:

  • Problem solving
  • learning cause and effect
  • Learning how to play with others through compromise, conflict resolution and sharing
  • Development of fine and gross motor skills
  • Nurturing their creativity and imagination
  • Discovering their independence
  • Building a positive self-esteem

Our pledge

We took the pledge and I promised that this would be more than just another campaign for us. Whilst I spend a lot of time with Hamish it is also getting easier as he gets older, to allow him to play by himself whilst I work.

So, I promised to keep my pledge to him.

So far, we’ve had good days and not so good days. But in all of them I’ve tried to remain totally present and engaged in the activity we are doing.

Whether we are busy with Playdoh, a game or reading.

Life changes

Some of the things I have changed to incorporate more time to play in my own busy schedule is :

  • Firstly to be aware of when I’m on my phone and to put the phone away when we are playing or reading.
  • To limit screen time for our entire family.
  • To not watch that last last episode and to rather use this time to bake or cook or read or play a game.
  • To have regular picnics
  • To include Hamish in the kitchen making a game out of cooking
  • To have monthly meals or braai with our entire family
  • To stop working from 5pm to 8pm when he goes to bed
  • To play board games
  • To have regular family outings
  • To make Sundays family only days and focus on play and togetherness
  • To make shopping a game or at least interesting if I cant shop online

Play is an important part of our childrens learning as is engaging with us. Because of this I pinkie promise to keep pledging to make more time to play.

Posted in All about Mamma bear, Events, Life with my bears

We had fun at the first WordPress Wordcamp daycare

One of the events we look forward to each year is the WordPress Wordcamp.

Unfortunately I missed a year as I didn’t have care for Hamish. So, when I saw a call for a volunteer to head a daycare for the parents attending I immediately volunteered.

Many times over the years, with no family support I have missed amazing events and opportunities and know the value of someone offering daycare.

Along with fellow Blogboss mom, Colleen we spent 2 amazing days with the most awesome kids.

Day 1

We arrived at Lagoon Beach Hotel, armed with half my house of toys and not knowing what to expect at all.

The Hotel staff were so accommodating and friendly and we found ourselves in the Rainbow room fully kitted out for kiddies to play.

Hamish and the other kids spent the time having their faces painted, building puzzles and Lego, reading and painting giant box monsters.

We were able to take some time to play outside at the roof top play area, which I fell in love with.

The Hotel is built on the ocean allowing us to access the beach. The kids had great fun building sand castles, going for a beach walk and collecting shells before dipping their feet in the cold water.

One of the best features of the day was that moms could check in on their kiddies and have them join them for lunch and tea times.

Day 2

For day 2 we were a bit more prepared and took a lot less with us.

The kids had new friends join and our daycare was bustling with kids of various ages.

Cartoons, puzzles, books, paints, Lego and stories kept this busy group occupied.

We enjoyed some sand art and stamping fun.

Their favourite activity was the soccer table and it was very sweet watching the Youth camp older kiddies teaching the little ones how to play.

Again we took advantage of the outdoor play area and spent an hour on the beach where the kids had a sandbuilding competition, dug holes and learnt about some of the ocean treasures that had washed up on the shore.

It was a fun two days and I’m looking forward to next years Wordcamp daycare.

Posted in babies, Cape Town - Things to see & do, Events, Family Life, Family Time, Life with my bears, Parenting, preschoolers, Toddlers

Fun mamma School Holiday Challenge …. a look at our 10 days of fun activities.

These school holidays I set a daily challenge to encourage parents to spend some time just playing with their children.

All of the challenges were inexpensive, easy things to do at home that did not break the bank.

These were the challenges

On Day 1 we went for ice cream at our local KFC.

Day 2 was more messy as we made our own homemade paints to play with.

These paints were made by adding a few drops of food colouring to yoghurt.

On Day 3 we went on a nature treasure hunt. I think this was his favourite out of all the activities.

I drew a list of things for him to find and we took a walk to find each one.

For Day 4 we played an old fashioned game of hide and seek. Playing with a 3 year old has its challenges. He kept hiding in the same place.

On Day 5 we drew self portraits. I tried rater unsuccessfully to get the entire family to join.

This was also a very special activity as I’m going to get Hamish to draw one once a year and note his progress over the years in a special scrapbook.

Day 6 was to build a blanket fort. I managed to get one up but Hamish prefered pulling it down.

On Day 7 we enjoyed some water play. We had gotten home late and so I added an extra cap of bubbles and we filled the tub with bubbles. It wasn’t long before we were throwing bubbles at each other.

Day 8 we got to move it ! move it ! I took our dance party outside as we were at the Wordcamp kids daycare fir the day.

For Day 9 I gave Hamish some chalk and we went outside to draw pretty pictures on the concrete.

Day 10 and the last Sunday of our challenge. It rained and we decided a lazy Sunday cuddling up and watching movies Hamish chose was the perfect way to end our challenge.

The simplistic activities are often the ones our children enjoy the most. These are the fun things that become part of the memories they look back at when our children raise their own.

Spending quality time, even 20 minute a day totally present with your child is important. Doing things they love allows you to connect closer to them and builds their self esteem.

If you joined our challenge I would love to hear your thoughts on the activcities.

Posted in Brands we love, Cape Town - Things to see & do, Events, Family Life

5 coffee-licious ways to celebrate International coffee day

It’s no secret just how much I love coffee so when it comes to International coffee day I celebrate my favourite way to recharge, unwind, focus and start my day.

Here are some fun ways to celebrate International coffee day

1. Coffee in bed

Serve your partner their favourite coffee in bed. Add a cute love note and a flower or biscuit.

Who doesn’t enjoy a good caffeine spoil?

Two of our favourite coffees to start our day are :

2. Coffee date

Call up a fellow caffeine lover and meet at your favourite coffee shop or cafe to catch up over coffee.

My top 3 favourite coffee spots are

3. Support fair trade

Purchase some Fair trade coffee, and support the ethical and environmental footprint of the global coffee trade.

You could try :

To learn more about fairtrade visit http://www.fairtrade.org.za

4. Coffee tasting

Become a coffee connoisseur by enjoying a coffee tasting and learning the origin and history as you sip on your favourite blends.

You can try a tasting at :

http://www.truth.coffee

5. Personalised a coffee mug

Not only do I love coffee, I love coffee mugs and have one to express every mood.

Order yourself a mug each year and very soon you will have a caffeine inspired shelf of slogans to express yourself with.

How ever you choose to celebrate International coffee day I hope it’s full of beans.