Posted in Family Life, Mamma bears, Parenting

Tell a mom …

All day I’m busy.

I do not stop from the moment my eyes are open.

Mental load

I’m constantly teaching, watching for negatives, alert for danger, setting an example, worrying about my children, my husband, my home and trying to be present whilst also micro-managing every aspect of my life and multi -tasking the entire day to fit in my own needs.

Physical load

On top of the mental load, there is also the very real physical load mother’s carry.

Hundreds of cups of tea, never ending meals and snacks and not to mention the cleaning… I am always cleaning something.

Who cares?

And do you know who notices ?

No one!

Do you know who cares?

No one?

Do you know who praises me? Who says Thank you ?

Yes, you guessed it …

No one!

Not alone

But

I am not alone in this. I am joined by every other woman who has a home and family.

Every new mom hoping their child’s green poo is normal and every grandmother who still worries if she should have let little Billy cry it out or if her child’s inabity to stay in a stable relationship at 35 is her doing!

Yes, as moms we carry the unspoken mental and physical load of raising our families, working, looking after our home, being a partner, a good friend and still trying to remember who we are.

And more often than not we cry into showers and worry late into the night if we are doing it right …

Are we being good moms?

Judgmental motherhood

Surprisingly

Although we know we are not alone in our overwhelmed and busy mom/wife life. Although we wished someone knew how we felt and saw all we did….we loudly and competitively judge the mom next door.

We judge her for her parental differences.

We judge her for her beliefs, her cultural differences and the choices she makes believing they are the best for her family as she cries in the shower hoping she is doing this mom thing right.

We judge Mary for not breastfeeding and Sally from church for still co-sleeping.

We look at Jill disapprovingly, whispering how her child was expelled and to the lady in the bus we shake our head whilst her toddler screams through it’s 5th temper tantrum of the morning and we tsk! under our breath judging them for being bad parents.

Change of mindset

How strange our behaviour.

We long for approval, support and acknowledgement and yet, as moms …as women …we are the first to criticize and judge another mother who only wants the same as us.

A mom with the same worries, the same fears and the same tired black marks under he eyes as she tie up her unwashed hair into a mom bun.

This seems illogical and totally counter productive.

What if instead of judging and running down mothers we reached into the pockets of our empathy and became their greatest supporters?

What if we changed our mindset to see ourselves in that new mom, to identify our children in the toddler throwing yet another tantrum, to support the mom walking a hard journey the way we would want to be supported.

What if we stopped judging and started praising?

What of we looked at every fellow mother and told her what a great mother she is.

Posted in Family Life, Parenting, preschoolers, Toddlers

I love you more than daddy :- when a child prefers one parent.

I spend the vast majority of my day with Hamish as opposed to Brent who spends 90 % of his day at work away from the home.

Because of this I am Hamish’s primary care taker.

I also take on the roles as his friend and teacher. Which means I have an incredibly large influence in his little life.

But even I was rather taken aback when my 4 year old, giving me a huge hug said last week ” I prefer to you to daddy”

He continued with sentences like ” I love you more than daddy” , “I don’t like daddy” and “I love you more”

Concern

Naturally this concerned me. So, I asked Hamish why as Brent is really great with Hamish when he is home.

They play, chat and watch stories together.

From a child’s mouth

The answer he gave was that Brent spoke less gentle than I did and was grumpy.

He said I was calm and Brent shouted.

Which if you know us is the exact truth. I am more calm and patient, using gentle tones and words.

I’m less quick to get angry or upset and my children all have me wrapped around their fingers.

Brent is more stern and his words, to a child, could seem angry or punishing.

He is also faster to get annoyed or bugged by small issues.

So, it stood to reason that Hamish, who is naturally gentle, identified with a more gentle tone and approach and thus preferred to be around me.

But …

Still wondered if there wasn’t a more logical and proven answer to this favoritism.

Primary care

Children under the age of 5 are completely reliant on their care givers in order to survive.

This natural instinct, allows them to navigate and identify who their primary care givers are and how to meet their needs.

Knowing this, you can understand that a child who makes a statement preferring one parent to the other, does so out of need and survival and not as personal attack on the other parent.

What has in fact happened is that the child has identified one parent as more avaliable than the other and so they attach themselves to that parent and fight to keep that care and connection.

By voicing their favoritism, your child is protecting the relationship that they have identified as consistant and beneficial to their needs.

What about love

Just because your child has verbally chosen the other parent or physically fights to stay with their primary care givers does not for one minute mean that they do not love the other parent.

Pushing your child away

And whilst the words may sting or be hard to hear, the parent who is not being favoured should recognize this for what it is –

Your child’s ability to have their basic needs met.

Sadly,often times, on hearing that one parent is favored, the other may instinctively start to push the child away, taking the favoritism of the other parent personally and as a form of rejection.

What should you do?

According to most of the articles I read the first step is to :-

  • Acknowledge your child’s favoritism without taking it personally

You can also:-

  • Accept that your children are identifying where to get their needs met with the least resistance.

As a Parent it is best to :-

  • Offer to assist more in your child’s daily activities or be more present during the times you spend with them so that your child knows that you are also avaliable
  • Do not push your child away because you have taken their preference personally.
  • Know that children respond to consistency, safety, acceptance and connection

And importantly…

  • If you are the parent who is favoured, build up the other parent infront of your child and let your child know that they can rely on them.

Lastly

No one can be avaliable 24/7 for their children but the most effective way to build love and trust with your child is to be 100% present when you engage with your child.

At the end of the day your child really just needs you to be consistent, avaliable and love unconditionally.

Posted in Family Life

Fabulous February babies :- why your child may be happier than his peers

My eldest son turned 25 in February and I remember as a baby he was miserable He cried for 18 months solid and I cried for 18 months along side him convinced he hated me and wondering how I could fix my poor unhappy child …

Well, years later I smartly learnt that his problem was colic, mine was PND and that neither of us was doomed to a life of tears and broken hearts.

So, I was quite fascinated to read that February babies, according to studies, are regarded as the happiest children.

True Valentine’s

Perhaps the reason why children born in February are regarded as the happiest is that they share their birthday with the month of love and Valentine’s day.

One can picture little cherubs dancing over their cribs as they lay waiting on their parents adoring gaze.

Aside from being blessed with Cupid’s arrow, here are some other fun facts about children born in February.

About February

February is the second month of the both the Julian and the Gregorian calendar and is named after “Februa” – the early Roman festival and cleaning ritual.

“Februa” is Latin in origin and means “to cleanse”

With only 28 days, February is the shortest month of the year and also the only month to be affected in. Leap year, resulting in 29 days every 4 years.

It is also the only month that can pass without a full moon. Whilst this is rare, the last time no full moon appeared was in 1999 and the next time there will be no full moon will be in 2037.

February birthstone is the gorgeous purple Amythyst and the flower to represent the month is the violet.

And those born under this month are Aquarius or Pisces according to the zodiac signs.

Interestingly ….

Uncommon

Not only is February a short month, there are also fewer births recorded in February.

Those born on a leap year, on the 29th, are also relatively uncommon and only get to celebrate a true birthday every 4 years.

Your odds for being born on 29 February are actually 1 in 1461 and if you are born on this day you are known as. ‘Leaper’

It is universally decided that someone born on the 29th February will in fact celebrate their birthday on the 28th each year.

Celebrate

February is also the month to celebrate the Chinese new year, Valentines day and many worthy and noble causes.

Some of these being:-

  • Black History month
  • National boy scouts day
  • Friendship month
  • Teen dating violence Awareness month

Academically strong

According to studies, children born in February may do better than their peers academically.

Being born earlier in the year than most of their classmates, they may have learnt a concept or developed a skill before their friends.

It has also been proven that older children constantly perform better throughout their academic career than their younger peers.

Artistic

A study done by the UK Office of National Statistics proved that the month a child is born, plays a significant role in their career path.

Several famous artists seem to have been born in the month of February.

Namely,

  • Norman Rockwell
  • Winslow Homer
  • Pierre August Renoir

Happier

Those children born in February are also said to be much happier than their siblings and peers.

According to an extensive study in a Budapest University, babies born in February are less irritable. (clearly my son missed this memo in his first 2 years)

Taller

A Harvard University study of over 21 000 children revealed that children born in February were consistently longer and heavier, with a wider head circumference.

Whilst scientists were not able to state exactly why this was they did acknowledge that seasonal issues with things like diet, temperatures and exposure to sunlight played critical roles in helping to achieve these statistics.

Early birth

Studies published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences state that babies born in February tend to arrive early.

(This I can share was indeed our experience as my eldest son was a week early in arriving. His delivery was also increadibly quick compared to his brother’s and sisters.)

Celebrate with celebrities

And if those facts aren’t amazing enough, your child gets to share their birthday month with some pretty awesome celebrities:

  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Rosa Parks
  • Steve Jobs
  • Elizabeth Taylor
  • Jennifer Aniston

So, cuddle those Fabulous February babies and know that they are destined for greatness.

Posted in Health & Wellness, Press releases

San-O-Tizer – A safe non alcohol based sanitizer for your family

SAN-O-TIZERS NEW BIGGER & BETTER SCIENTIFIC FACILTY IS ABOUT TO BE LAUNCHED


By now you would have heard about the controversy as to whether HOCl is more effective and safer to use than sanitizers containing alcohol.

What Are The Benefits Of San-O-Tizer?
Electrolysed Hypochlorous Solution is a completely natural and non-toxic sanitizing agent that is an incredible immune molecule, which is produced in mammalian neutrophils (White blood cells). It is not only a powerful disinfectant but also has other benefits to human health:
– Broad-Spectrum Antimicrobial Biocide = Effective against biofilms, bacteria, spores, viruses, and fungi.
– Anti-inflammatory = Interacts with and neutralizes the production of pro-inflammatory factors.
– Wound repair = Enhances the production and release of cell repairing compounds such as Cytokines, Growth Factors, and Taurine Chloramine.
This powerful biocide is effective within seconds of using it and does not require rinsing or wiping, as it readily degrades into a saline solution. Anolyte solutions have been shown to be 80 to 100 times more effective than potent/harsh chemicals such as bleach.


In contrast to conventional non-alcohol and alcohol-based (ethyl-, propyl-) sanitizers which are dehydrating, hyper allergenic, carcinogenic, and/or toxic to humans, animals, and the environment;

San-O-Tizer anolyte solutions are:
– Hazard free & Non-flammable
– Moisturising, Hydrating, and Healing
– Non-sensitising & Non-irritant
– Hypoallergenic
– Safe for pregnant women, infants, animals, and sensitive skin
– Contain 0% Alcohol
– Ammonia-Free
– No Bleach
– No Sulfates
– Free from Pesticides and Fragrances
– Animal-friendly and Eco-Friendly
– Non-Toxic, Non-Corrosive and Non-Combustible
– 100% Natural

Has San-O-Tizer Been Approved For Its Safety & Efficacy?

Electrolysed Hypochlorous solution is known as “Natures Disinfectant” due to its extremely effective biocidal activity as well as being completely safe for animals, plants, and humans (including pregnant woman, babies, and sensitive skin)
It has been approved both locally and internationally for its safety and efficacy.

A proudly South African manufactured product that is MDS tested for your health and wellness.

To find out more or purchase please contact info@liferetreat.co.za

Or shop at lifestyle shop online

*Press release

Posted in Alphabet activities, Family Life, Parenting, preschool, preschoolers

Are you raising a sharer or a meanie?

Sitting with Hamish after his first week of school, we were going over the class photos and I was asking him questions to learn more about his first week’s experience at his new preschool.

Laughingly he couldn’t remember the kids names, aside from the 3 or 4 he obviously connected with and he spoke me through the activities they had done with his new teacher.

I was impressed at the gentleness that he described his teachers and the new songs and games he had learnt.

The we spoke about the kids and what being a good friend was. Very aware that some kids can be more dominating in a class I asked who played nicely.

When in conversation I try to not give him the words but to let him express himself fully in his words and experience and so the general question of who plays nicely allows him to relate his experience within his peer group.

Sharers

He rattled off about the kids who play with him, pointing them out to me.

He spoke about the cars and the animals and the little girl who shared the frogs.

Then

He said but mommy there some children who aren’t sharers.

I asked what he meant.

He explained that some of the children did not share the toys and said things like “I don’t want to play with you.”

My heart fell to my feet and I looked at him honestly and said are they meanies?

Meanies

Meanies is our word for children who hurt others, use their words to intentionally upset someone or break things.

We use this word instead of bully, as Bully is a strong word to use for preschoolers who may not yet have learnt the social cues to play with others.

He thought for a moment and honestly answered…

” No they not meanies, they just not sharers!”

And so we carried on talking about why sharing with our friends is important. How sharing is how we show kindness and love and lastly what to do if someone doesn’t want to share with you.

I feel strongly that giving him the opportunity to express himself, the ability to convey how he feels and the coping skills to overcome the effects and interactions with children who may not behave as he does is important for him to be able to integrate into his class, now and in future schools and to not be affected by bullies later on in his school career.

Raising kids who share

For me it has always been so important that my children be the ‘Kind Child’

That they are inclusive, gentle and share with their peers.

But how do you raise a child who will share?

You can read many books, you can pick more gentleness parenting styles and you can introduce as many games as you like but the first and most important way to raise a child who is inclusive and who shares is to model that behaviour in your daily life.

You are your child’s first teacher and the most important influence on their personality and character.

If you use gentle words, share with those around you and are non discriminate and inclusive, it is probable that your child will be too.

In short ….to raise a child who shares, you need to be an adult who shares.

Posted in Christmas, Family Life, Giving back, valentines day

How to gift more mindfully

“Oh we are living in a Material world and I am a material girl …” sang Madonna in the early 80’s

An era where computers were just being introduced in homes around South Africa, the ozone lazer was a hot topic and plastic items graced the shelves of every store.

More than 30 years after we understand the damage we have done to the Earth and now have very conscious steps we can each take to do our part in trying to restore the delicate state of our one and only Earth.

Becoming eco conscious

Whilst becoming entirely eco conscious over night may not be possible for many of us, there are certainly small steps we can each do to make a more positive impact on our environment and change our lifestyle.

And one of these steps is to look at what and how we gift to others.

Gifts of love

Without a doubt gifting plays a huge role in our lives.

In 365 days of a year I personally have 20 family birthdays, 2 anniversaries to remember and all the regular holidays like Valentine’s day, mothers day, father’s day, Easter and Christmas.

Not to mention wedding gifts, birthday gifts to parties my children or I are invited to, thank you gifts, bridal showers, baby showers, gender reveals, retirements, etc

So

With all these gifts we are buying and gifting throughout the year, how much have we added to the pile of unsustainable junk suffocating the Earth?

Are we mechanically just buying a gift to fit a budget ?

And have we diminished the value and love of a true heartfelt gift behind the latest trending items on a gift catalogue?

A change in gifting

Looking at the amount of gifts you give each year and asking yourself how many of them are sustainable, or truthfully given because the recipient honestly needed/wanted or would enjoy the gift, can help you to gift more smartly and with a more mindful sustainable mindset.

How to gift more mindfully

Some ways you can change your gifting habits to be more mindful are:-

  • Don’t gift at all ( I’m personally not sure that I am brave enough to ever not gift but the most eco conscious way to not add to clutter is not to gift)
  • Gift through a charity– many charities offer a service whereby you can make a donation in the name of the gift recipient. Some of these organisation’s offer a certificate or card to hand to the person on their special day.
  • Gift an experience –Instead of gifting yet another item to fill a shelf, why not gift an experience that the other person has always wanted. You get wonderful online vouchers for cooking classes, art classes, helicopter rides, etc
  • DIY – use your skills to make homemade gifts. Bake or make something. Homemade gifts often save you money and are genuinely heartfelt.
  • Second hand – If you are going to shop why not look at vintage stores, thrift shops or second hand stores for good quality gifts to give. Often the charities and organisation’s have their own shops and you get to give back to a worthy cause by supporting them.
  • Upcycle– while you are shopping in the second hand stores look for items you could add a coat of paint to or fix up with a little creativity to gift.
  • Regift – Yes! I said it. Regift that ugly necklace your husband bought or that pair of jeans you’ve never gotten into. If the item is in your cupboards and not being used there is a good possibility it can be used by someone else.
  • New– finally if all else fails and you must shop new try to shop local, sustainably and as mindfully as possible.

Final note

And as a final note, if you are still looking at options to gift less physical items why not gather your friends or relatives and each contribute to one big ticket item gift instead of each gifting several smaller, often unused items.

Posted in Blog posts, Health & Wellness

Inspired by Amanda Jo of Organic Bunny to share my 5 top organic bloggers

With our move to the beautiful coastal town of Kommetjie, I’ve been inspired by the abundance of nature and natural spaces around us to use more organic and eco friendly products in my home.

But, like many other women I also found myself lost in an abundance of choices and not sure which products to start using.My natural instinct led me to bloggers who wrote about these products and who had often tried many of them personally. As a blogger myself, I trust a fellow bloggers opinion.This journey led me to discover a treasure grove of information and some wonderful new blogs to follow along my organic journey.

Here is my list of my top 5 organic blogs to follow

1. Amanda Jo from Organic Bunny

Amanda-Jo-Organic-Bunny has been an invaluable resource and trusted source of information for all things green.It is her mission is to give her readers natural alternatives to their favourite products and you can find reviews on home products, beauty products, make up, skincare and hair care products.Her site also has amazing make up tutorials, which my teen loves and she has an organic shop linked directly to her blog.

2.Life Lived Simply

This site is geared directly at those who are on a zero waste journey ( my life goals)Colleen features simple and practical advice with some great interviews to educate you as you move to a zero waste life style.Her blog also covers topics of Christian faith, adoption,travel and some delicious recipes.

3. Eco 27

Jackie from Eco 27 is down to earth and honest.Describing herself as ” a person living in a real world” she is passionate about learning how to look after the planet, making her blog easy to read and relatable. ( for me at least)Although the articles are more informative on eco world news, she is building a comprehensive eco directory on her site.

4. Faithful to Nature

Faithful to nature is my go to store to see what eco and natural products are avaliable and the price at which they are sold.Their inspirational lifestyle blog is full of recipes and wellness articles and they have built a trusted name for their brand.

5.The green vegan chick

Although I am not vegan and most likely won’t become vegan I love The green vegan chick blog.Her blog shares many reviews from eco friendly and organic brands giving me insight into the product before using them.She covers a wide variety of topics from gardening to eating out and where to shop.You can also find a delicious selection of recipes and helpful resources to guide you along a more natural, sustainable and eco concious lifestyle.Although I’ve listed my 5 favourite organic and eco friendly blogs, there are so many more fabulous bloggers using their platforms to share more natural lifestyle choices and organic shopping options.Are you on a more natural or eco concious journey?If so I’d love to hear from you. Pop me a comment below and share your favourite products, resources and blogs with me.

Posted in Family Life

2021 …

As the new year rings in my phone is usually alive with pings and posts.

Well wishers sharing New year blessings from long before the stroke of midnight until the middle of a new days afternoon.

But

2021 hasn’t brought about any of the fan fare.

My phone has remained quiet, subtle hints at new year messages are scattered in social media pages and images of candles burning for those we lost during 2020 have replaced the jovial party images of popped champagne corks and fireworks.

2021 has arrived, quietly. Almost too afraid to bring too much hope as we watch the numbers of those infected by the virus climb and remember those who we lost in 2020.

2021 feels cautious. Aware that not much has changed in the world around us and yet at the same time understanding just how much our lives have changed.

2021 in her subtleness, offers support and empathy.

Knowing, full well, that we are still trying to digest the events of the last 9 months and like a pregnant mother she is prepared to ease us into a new way of life.

2021 ….

May she bring you a year of good health, sufficient wealth and abundant happiness as you start to write the story of this blank book.

May this be the year that we continue to show empathy and gratitude.

A year of growth and progression for us all.

A year where we keep our families and homes our core focus and continue to stay close to nature.

May we in 2021 learn to be kind …mostly to ourselves.

And may we be blessed with opportunities to learn and flourish.

May 2021 be the year you remember , not for struggles or sadness but for love.

Happy New Year !

With love

Judy & Hamish

Posted in Blog posts, Brands we love, Christmas

Play-doh christmas gift ideas 2020

No christmas would be complete for us if we didn’t add a Play-doh gift into Hamish’s stocking,and Hasbro has some fabulous gift ideas for Play-Doh fans this season.

Play-doh slime

This colourful premade slime compound is as much fun to look at as it is to touch!

Stretch it, pull it, let it ooze – Play-Doh Slime for kids 3 years and up gives them a squishable, sensory, creative experience.

Watch how squishy and fun this Play-Doh slime is here

Play-doh colour burst

This is one of our personal favourites. Hamish loves to watch the colours mix into each other.


Have a blast with Play-Doh Color Burst!

With speckles of one color mixed into another, watch the colours swirl and change before your eyes as you mix them together offering an innovative way to mix and play!

Play-doh Elastix


Stretch your imagination with Play-Doh Elastix compound.

With a fun pull-apart texture for new ways to play its perfect to stretch and mould pretend melted cheese, stretchy snakes, and all the other silly things kids like to create.

Hasbro also have some innovative and fun gifting options for your Play-Doh fans.

Play-doh Kitchen Creations Drizzy Ice Cream Playset

Play-Doh fans will love the Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Drizzy Ice Cream Playset, with new Play-Doh Drizzle compound.

Get drizzling and create a pretend candy shell for your Play-Doh Ice cream creations!

Create colourful Play-Doh sundaes and cones and don’t forget to add fun Play-Doh sprinkles and candies to decorate.

Play-doh Kitchen Creations Candy Delight Playset

It’s crazy candy galore at the Play-Doh candy store!

This Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Candy Delight Playset is a treat for the imagination as kids create their own silly gummy bears, pretend candy bars, and play candy cups.

Fill the top with Play-Doh compound, then turn the crank on the candy machine to see the crazy colourful Play-Doh candies pour out.

Scoop the creations into the pretend candy buckets to show them off to friends.

Gift your child the gift of fun and imagination this Christmas with one of these Play-Doh sets.

Available at Takealot, Toyzone or ToysRus

Posted in Book Reviews, Brands we love, Education, Family Life

Storybook stars personalised books make your child the star of the story

Hamish recieved this absolutely gorgeous personalised story book from Storybook Stars.

I’m a huge fan of anything personalised and an even bigger fan of books so this is a huge win in our home.

About Storybook Stars

Storybook stars will personalise a book for your child from the choice of two stories to draw your child into a world of adventure and develop a love of books and reading .

The adventures you can choose are :

-bushveld
-under the sea

How it works

You will also be given the option after choosing your story and personalizing the character ( skin, hair and eyes), of previewing the story before paying.

The process is easy and you choose from the 90 possible features options to represent your child.

Delivery was prompt and the books arrive in a sealed box via courier.

The character

Hamish immediately identified the star of the story character as himself with red hair and blue eyes.

I chose the under the sea book for him as he loves the aquarium and sea creatures.

About the story we chose

This is a beautiful story of a whale that loses his colours and an adventure to find thd colours. Hamish travels with a friendly turtle and meets a lot of different creatures along the way.

The book is well written and the characters are fun and engaging.

The illustrations are lovely and open up for further vocabulary building and conversation starters as you explore all the objects on the pages.

The books retail at R375 for a soft cover and R570 for a hard cover.

Other options

You have the option to add an activity book and poster to match your story. These both have your child’s personalised character on.

The activity book retails at R 130 each
The poster retails at R50 eachFor more information www.storybookstars.co.za