Posted in Family Life

National Siblings day – 10 April

Today is National Sibling Day.

Nat. Siblings day
National Siblings Day – 10 April

Siblings are sometimes your best friends or your worst enemies.

Growing up my younger sister was always someone for me to look out for which would annoy me tremendously, but I also remember many hours of quiet tea parties and busy Barbie doll games.

Today both in our 40’s, we are each other’s sounding boards and voice of reason.

My own 7 children are lucky enough to have a wonderfully huge family full of siblings to bond with,to make memories with and annoy because truthfully no one can annoy you like your brother or sister.

My family
My children- Tammi, Dylan, Shaun, Byron, Ronan , Kerri and Hamish at our wedding

No matter what, a siblings will be your biggest competition, strongest source of encouragement and keep reminding you of those embarrassing moments all too frequently.

About National Sibling Day

National Siblings Day was founded by Claudia Evart in 1995 in honor of her siblings.
She wanted to celebrate both her siblings whom she had lost early in life in two separate accidents. Living without her siblings she knew the important role that siblings play in each others lives.

You can read more HERE

Sibling Day follows in a similar spirit as both Mother’s and Father’s Day, as an uplifting celebration honoring people who have helped in your development and who have shaped your values, beliefs and ideals.

Siblings
Siblings – source best quote

SHARE THE LOVE

To help your children to celebrate their sibling here are some ways you can show some love today.

1. Take some fun photos together

Grab a box of props or some dress up outfits and make some memories. Take some crazy pictures to remember the day.

2. Make a card

Explain to your children what Sibling Day is and help them to make a homemade card listing some of their siblings best traits.
Even if your children fight every 10 minutes, you will be suprised at how well they know each other.

3. Host a Sibling Day picnic

Grab a blanket and pack a quick picnic for the kids and let them engage in a few old fashioned activities like hide and seek or playing tag.

4. Gratitude Moment

After supper take a moment to have your children say something nice about each other. What are they grateful for about their sibling.

5. Board games

You can’t go wrong with board games. Bring out your children’s favourites for a fun evening.

Research has shown that siblings spend the most time together. They are each other’s first friends and even if your children fight like cat and dog, their sibling bonds will always be one of their strongest relationships.

Happy Sibling Day!

Sibling quote
Quote -Clar Ortega

Note: this blog was first published on www.funmammasa.wordpress.com April 2019

Posted in Life with my bears

We are moving but my nostalgia is making it bitter sweet

Brent and I moved into our apartment in March 2015.

It was the month of his birthday and we had been dating about 6 months. At that time one of my sons moved in with us.

In that time this little 2 bedroom home has seen all of my children, except my eldest daughter, live with us, at some point. Some permanent, others just needing a place between jobs.

We have had many family meals, birthdays, Easters, Christmases and holidays all in the crammed little lounge.

Brent and I have planned our own wedding here, as well as hosting my eldest daughters bridal shower and getting everyone ready on the morning of her wedding.

We celebrated our gender reveal and that of my eldest son and first grandbaby here.

We’ve welcomed our own little boy and watched him pass all his milestones from his first smile to learning to walk up and down these horrid stairs and potty training in the bathroom where we had to change the toilet seats.

It’s seen loss and tears but also known friendships and joys. There has been laughter and fun and of course fights. But mostly it has felt love.

It’s here that I broke my leg on the steps whilst Hamish was 3 weeks old and here that I, through many frustrations, learnt to walk again after many months.

It’s a home that has known bad health but one where we have healed.

We’ve seen career changes and unemployment and weathered it all.

It is also here that I started not one but two businesses, turned the lounge and garage into a costume shop and painted murals on the wall.

It’s been a home for us to express ourselves from painting the glass windows with Hamish and crafting with the teens.

It’s been a home …

My first consistent home ever in my 45 years. The first home I’ve not had to pack up and move from in a year.

It feels strange to write that and I think I never truly understood the sentiments behind why people struggle to move, as I’m most likely one of the least materialistic people I know.

But, two weeks ago I decided to look for a new home and by the Saturday we had found one, were signing a lease and preparing to give notice to move by July.

We have long outgrown this home. We have wanted to move for 4 years and have been in a month to month lease since then. We no longer fit in the space.

But, as I start to pack up, I’m also holding on. Not to physical items but to memories.

That time I crawled up the steps with hot coffee and a leg cast because I’d be damned if a broken leg would stop me, only to drop it all at the top.

Hamish’s first steps in the lounge.

The boys helping me to hang pictures or fix a cupboard.

Kerri coming in after school, leaving her stuff all under my feet in the kitchen.

Friends birthdays, baby showers and so many coffee mornings.

Brent and I sharing a bed picnic, eating sushi off of the smallest ottoman and our first braai in the yard.

Our lovely elderly neighbours and the rather odd families too.

I’ve loved this home, it has been good to us.

And now that we set sail to make new memories from next month, my nostalgia is making this moment bitter sweet.

Posted in Family Life, Parenting, Press releases

Infertility: Don’t wait until it’s too late!

June is World Infertility Awareness Month and there’s no better time to be proactive about your fertility health.


Parenthood is undeniably one of the most universally desired goals in adulthood, and most people have life plans that include children. However, not all couples who want a pregnancy will achieve one spontaneously and a proportion will need to seek medical treatment to help resolve underlying fertility problems.

It’s therefore understandable that infertility has been recognised as a public health issue worldwide by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“Infertility is when you cannot get or stay pregnant after trying for at least a year and you are under the age of 35,” says Dr Sulaiman Heylen, President of the Southern African Society of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy (SASREG).

One in every four couples in developing countries is affected by infertility, while one in six couples worldwide experience some form of infertility problem at least once during their reproductive lifetime.

The current prevalence of infertility lasting for at least 12 months is estimated to affect between 8 to 12% worldwide for women aged 20 to 44.

In recent years, the number of couples seeking treatment for infertility has dramatically increased due to factors such as postponement of childbearing in women, development of newer and more successful techniques for infertility treatment, and increasing awareness of available services.

This increasing participation in fertility treatment has also raised awareness and inspired investigation into the psychological ramifications of infertility.

It can cause stress, depression and anxiety, which is why it is important to know that there are options available for treatment.

Age is a key factor

“Up to 50% of all patients who visit a fertility centre are 35 or older. We cannot stress enough how important it is for people not to wait too long when they consider having children. Young women need to be aware that there is a slow decline in fertility from their 20s until the age of 35, after which it starts to decrease rapidly until the age of 45,” says Dr Heylen.

“It’s extremely important for couples to investigate fertility options and fertility preservation earlier in life, rather than leaving it too late. A woman who is not ready to have a child can choose to freeze her eggs to try to preserve her ability to have a child later,” says Dr Heylen.

It’s estimated that 20 to 30% of infertility cases are explained by physiological causes in men, 20 to 35% by physiological causes in women, and 25 to 40% of cases are because of a problem in both partners.

In 10 to 20% no cause is found. Infertility is also associated with lifestyle factors such as smoking, body weight and stress.

A woman’s age is one of the most important factors affecting whether she is able to conceive and give birth to a healthy child.

This is due to several changes that are a natural part of ageing:

  • The number and quality of eggs (ovarian reserve) decreases naturally and progressively from the time a woman is born until the time she reaches menopause.
  • It is not only more difficult to get pregnant (conceive), but miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities in the child (such as Down syndrome) are more common in older mothers.
  • Fibroids, endometriosis, and tubal disease are more common and can affect fertility.
  • Women who become pregnant at an older age have a higher risk of complications during the pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
  • The decrease in a man’s fertility appears to occur later in life than in a woman’s fertility. In their mid-to-late 40s, men experience changes in their sperm that can cause issues with fertility, and chromosomal or developmental problems with their children.

Lifestyle and family history

If you have any of the following risk factors, you may also consider seeking advice earlier:

  • Family history (i.e., mother or sister) of early menopause (before age 51)
  • History of cigarette smoking in either partner
  • Previous ovarian surgery
  • Exposure to chemotherapy or radiation to treat cancer in either partner
  • Shortening in the time between periods
  • Skipped or missed periods
  • History of injury to the testicles
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals (certain pesticides or solvents)

Pregnancy is a complex process

Pregnancy is the result of a process that has many steps. To get pregnant:

  • A woman’s body must release an egg from one of her ovaries (ovulation).
  • A man’s sperm must join with the egg along the way (fertilise).
  • The fertilised egg must go through a fallopian tube toward the uterus.
  • The fertilised egg must attach to the inside of the uterus (implantation).

Infertility may result from a problem with any or several of these steps.

For the pregnancy to continue to full term, the embryo must be healthy and the woman’s hormonal environment adequate for its development.

When just one of these factors is impaired, infertility can result.

Couples, dependent on the ages of the partners, are generally advised to seek medical help if they are unable to achieve pregnancy after a year of unprotected intercourse. The doctor will conduct a physical examination of both partners to determine their general state of health and to evaluate physical disorders that may be causing infertility.

Usually both partners are interviewed about their sexual habits in order to determine whether intercourse is taking place properly for conception.

If no cause can be determined at this point, more specific tests may be recommended. For women, these include an analysis of ovulation, x-ray of the fallopian tubes and uterus, and laparoscopy. For men, initial tests focus on semen analysis.

“Based on the results of the specific tests, a treatment plan will be made which can include medication, surgery or assisted reproduction,” says Dr Heylen.

Treatment options

Not all couples who desire a pregnancy will achieve one spontaneously and some will need medical help to resolve underlying fertility problems.

It is now estimated that more than 9 million babies have been born worldwide since the first IVF baby was born in 1978.

Most assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments take place in women aged between 30 and 39.

The most common fertilisation technique is ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection). Overall, ICSI accounts for around three-quarters of all treatments worldwide, and conventional IVF around one-quarter. Success rates from frozen embryo transfer are increasing, as are the number of frozen cycles. Vitrification, as an efficient cryopreservation technique, has improved the outcome of both embryo and oocyte (immature egg cell) freezing.

Infertility often creates one of the most distressing life crises that a couple has ever experienced together.

The long-term inability to conceive a child can evoke significant feelings of loss. Coping with the multitude of medical decisions and the uncertainties that infertility brings can create great emotional upheaval for most couples.

“If you find yourself feeling anxious, depressed, out of control, or isolated, you are not alone,” says Dr Heylen. “Infertility is more common than you may think, but there is no reason to lose hope. Visit a fertility clinic near you to speak to a doctor about the options available to you and your partner.”

For more information, visit www.merckfertilityjourney.co.za

References:
1. Boivin J, Bunting L, Collins JA, Nygren KG. International estimates of infertility prevalence and treatment-seeking: potential need and demand for infertility medical care [published correction appears in Hum Reprod. 2007 Oct;22(10):2800]. Hum Reprod. 2007;22(6):1506‐1512. doi:10.1093/humrep/dem046
2. Word Health Organisation. Sexual and reproductive health. Global prevalence of infertility, infecundity and childlessness. [March 2020] Available from:https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/infertility/burden/en/
3. European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE). ART fact sheet. [May 2020]. Available from:www.eshre.eu/-/media/sitecore-files/Press-room/ART-fact-sheet-2020-data-2016.pdf?la=en&hash=AB68A67B4FEA7723F2125B02BCB93FB837139CD4
4. The Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Women’s Mental Health. Fertility & Mental Health: Stress, depression, and anxiety associated with infertility and its treatment. [May 2020]. Available from:https://womensmentalhealth.org/specialty-clinics/infertility-and-mental-health/
5. American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Does my age affect my fertility? Fact Sheet from ReproductiveFacts.org. [May 2020]. Available from:https://www.reproductivefacts.org/news-and-publications/patient-fact-sheets-and-booklets/documents/fact-sheets-and-info-booklets/does-my-age-affect-my-fertility/
6. American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Medications for Inducing Ovulation: A Guide for Patients. [May 2020]. Available from: http://www.reproductivefacts.org/globalassets/rf/news-and-publications/bookletsfact-sheets/english-fact-sheets-and-info-booklets/booklet_medications_for_inducing_ovulation.pdf
7. Merck. How is infertility diagnosed? [May 2020]. Available from: http://www.merckfertilityjourney.co.za/about-infertility/

The information provided herein is intended to support and not replace the advice of your Healthcare Professional. Always seek the advice of your treating Healthcare Professional if you have any questions regarding your individual treatment plan. Merck (Pty) Ltd. Reg. No.:1970/004059/07. 1 Friesland Drive, Longmeadow Business Estate South, Modderfontein, South Africa, 1645. Tel: +27 (0) 11 372 5000 / Fax: +27 (0) 11 372 5252. Report adverse events todrug.safety.southeastafrica@merckgroup.com or +27 (0) 11 608 2588 (fax). SEA/NONF/0520/0019a. May 2020.

Posted in babies, Brands we love, Family Life, Parenting

Meg faure and the Parent Sense App

I was excited to attend the online launch of Meg Faure’s brand new parenting platform – Parent Sense.

About Parent sense

Parent sense is mobile App that takes the guess work out of parenting your new baby.

I wish this had been around when my own 7 children were babies.


This ingenious App, follows Meg Faure’s practical parenting advise and delivers intuitive, age related content with personalised routines for your baby each day.

The app automatically adjusts to the time baby wakes and takes into account that all babies are different.

Parent sense assists moms to :

*know their babies ideal daily routine

*keep track of milestones

*keep track of your baby’s sleep routine

* keep track of baby’s feeding times

And offers trusted stimulation ideas and nutritional recipes.

With this great app parents will have comfort, control and peace of mind whilst raising their little ones. Taking the guesswork out of parenting.

Download the App on Google Play Store or the Apple Store

Image credit : Parent Sense

Posted in Family Life, Parenting

Just a mom

Mom’s are so often overwealmed as we go about the thankless task of cooking, cleaning and caring for others.

Feeding baby, Fighting with toddlers to brush teeth, Forcing preschoolers to pick up toys, Finding new ways to comfort our children, Fending for our tweens as they start to become independent Focusing on our Teens as they push us away and Forgiving our adult children from thinking we know nothing.

Giving all the time.

No time to go to the bathroom alone, and just when they grow you start to panic more …are they safe, did they eat, do they have winter clothing.

As mom’s we carry our own little worlds, so when I read these words from Emma Heafy, that express this so well, I wanted to share.

Mom, you may need to hear just how amazing you are today 💞

Just a mom

Words by Emma Heafy

“I’m just a mum”.⠀

You are not just a mum, you are someone’s everything.⠀
Their world.⠀
Their protector.⠀
Their comfort.⠀
In you they see a level of safety no one else can provide. ⠀
In you they trust absolutely.⠀
Just doesn’t come into it. ⠀

You are not just a mum, you are the most important piece of someone’s puzzle. ⠀
Their rock.⠀
Their consistent. ⠀
Their superhero. ⠀
In you they see everything you don’t always see.⠀
In you they believe absolutely.⠀
Just doesn’t come into it.⠀

You are not just a mum, you are someone’s jack of all trades. ⠀
Their cook.⠀
Their teacher. ⠀
Their nurse.⠀
In you, they see no limits to your devotion. ⠀
In you they rely absolutely.⠀
Just doesn’t come into it.⠀

You are not just a mum, you are working in testing conditions.⠀
No sleep.⠀
No sick days.⠀
No pay.⠀
Through your sacrifices they get everything. ⠀
Through you they grow.⠀
Just doesn’t come into it.⠀

You are not just a mum, you are raising the future. ⠀
The children.⠀
The parents.⠀
The grandparents.⠀
Through your contributions the world benefits.⠀
Through you it improves.⠀
Just doesn’t come into it.⠀

You are not just a mum, you are so much more.⠀
It’s true.⠀
Believe it.⠀
Say it.⠀
Just doesn’t come into it.

Posted in Family Life

Why I deleted my mother in law from Facebook and other brave tales

As a child of the 80’s I remember that long before the days of social media we were blissfully able to keep a certain privacy to our lives.

We wrote in little cat pictured diaries that we locked with badly made little silver locks and we hid them under our bed so no one read them.

We got to express ourselves. Moan about the neighbour, gripe about that teacher we didn’t like and tell the world ( ok …so it was really the whole world, just the pages of a book but it often felt like the world) all about the injustice to our hearts.

Then came social media.

Enter the universe of oversharing and the huge documenting of what you ate for lunch.

Now days Facebook, Instagram and that little Twitter bird are used as regular dumping grounds for all the hardships, judgements and negative moments of our lives.

Much like days of our lives we openly share the good, the bad and the family feuds.

Our lives are constantly on show and living authentically becomes increadibly difficult as you navigate your boss, your family, the neighbours and your high school friends all on a space of judgement.

Now, realistically if I asked you if you’d have all your Facebook friends at your house at the same time I’m sure you’d make excuses as to why great uncle Earl cant sit by aunt Sophie and why your boss should never meet Blair from high school ( I mean did you see who she married?)

So, you see my dilemma….

How do you carefully navigate all these people daily and still express yourself authentically?

What to share

Now, this may seem like a strange blog topic coming from someone who makes a living being online but the truth about bloggers, influencers and those sharing their lives online is that we actually only share the version of ourselves that we want people to see.

We still keep a large part of our lives private. Much like that diary under our bed, we still maintain a level of thoughts and memories that we do not share online.

The great divide

I’ve been quoted when asked how I find the line between how much to share as saying, I share what I would openly tell the lady seated next to me on the bus.

Whilst I love to share the fun things Hamish and I do, the joys of parenting a huge family, the difficulty in co-parenting and blended families, I shy away from sharing things that may embarrass my children, that wouldn’t honour my marriage, my own personal beliefs in religion and politics and often my rather strong opinions on one or other cause.

This doesn’t make me inauthentic. It makes me mindfull of which stories I own to tell. It makes me respect my family and friends enough not to share every detail of my life.

For example, I have several platforms and whilst my honesty and authenticity can be found on all of them, I have chosen to keep my personal Facebook profile as a space I share just with family and close friends.

A space where I don’t have to create content, watch my thoughts, worry about if the image is appropriate for my brand, ect.

So, in essence, Facebook has become a personal diary for me to record our lives, milestones, funny thoughts and family moments. Far from that teenage diary that I sketched little hearts and flowers in I now share our milestones, family news and thoughts on my facebook feed to keep our family who are overseas updated.

It’s become my space.

Watch who you add

By now you asking what has all of this got to do with me deleting my mom in law from Facebook. ..

I’ll explain ….

When I first met Brent I happily added every member of his large extended family. Then came our joint friends and his friends who wanted to know me and before long I was running a page of people I did not know and whose feeds I really did not enjoy, whose political/religious and personal views were being forced on me and who if approached in person I would most likely excuse myself from the conversation .

Nightmares

I started to hate going onto my own page. Navigating the response of all these people became a nightmare.

I started to watch what I was sharing about my children and marriage and almost felt suffocated by the weight of this group of people who, to be honest, hold absolutely no relevance in our current life.

A space I once loved and felt free to be myself on, suddenly turned into the equivalent of a courtroom as my ideas and opinions were constantly debated by one or other person I did not know.

I sat one day , not wanting to share a photo of my son with me because my hair didn’t look it’s neatest and I realised how much my self esteem had taken a knock by the cloud of unsaid judgement on my own space.

Worried that I would upset my husband and hurt his feelings, I went against my own better judgement and kept these people on my feed, all the while becoming more and more withdrawn.

Our relationship started to change as I couldn’t believe these were the people he chose as part of his life and silently I took my frustrations at not being able to have the freedom of my own expression on my feed out on him.

Just fix it damnit!

Eventually, 2 years later and after yet another post that was completely inappropriate I just deleted the whole lot. Almost every last cousin, aunt and friend of his I had never met.

So, there I sat with a very small handful of his family and friends whose feeds are uplifting, who show a genuine interest in getting to know us, who have followed Hamish and my other children with interest. These are people I feel I can trust should I share a personal detail or thought.

But what about the mom in law?

The one thing I will credit my husband for is trusting my judgement and respecting my choices.

We had always agreed that we do not need to like the same people to be in love with each other. And if anything we respect each others opinions and guard each others hearts this way.

Over the years, this list of mutual people has become smaller and smaller, until eventually a few days ago, I deleted his mother as well.

Explaining to Brent was a little harder. I mean how do you tell your husband, you’ve deleted his mother ?

But, I spent many years changing the cycles in my own life. Those who have followed me for a while know that my mother was a toxic alcoholic and I have fought to become the strong woman I am today by not being as weak as her.

It is an achievement I’m proud of and although I’m I’m increadibly patient, I have no tolerance for toxic behaviour.

So, I sat him down and explained:

  • I’m religious and my children have all grown up with a religious faith but I will never force my religion onto someone. I worship a God of love not of judgement.
  • To me The Easter bunny and Santa are the cutest reasons to dress my child up. Add to the magic to childhood and I won’t rob a child of their innocence by telling them that they aren’t real. I’m also offended by anyone robbing a child of the innocence of their imaginations.
  • Halloween is a reason to dress up, telling my child it is evil is not fair on a 3 year old who will interpret that as he is evil.
  • We homeschool because it was a decision Brent and I made, by asking my child when he is going to a proper school our parental choices are being questioned.
  • I do not compare my children and do not enjoy listening to others constantly compare their children either. No child or adult wants to be compared.
  • We celebrate each member of our blended family as an individual with their own choices and abilities. We love them unconditionally just as they are.
  • Gossip is not a good trait.
  • We speak to each other with respect and kindness, we do not use condescending tones. The way we speak to each other will determine the way our children will speak to others.

How did he take it

Blended families are not easy. My husband is the most imperfect saint somedays ….and when I feel I need to make concious decisions to protect the mental health and self esteem of myself and our family he stands beside me and supports me.

We spoke about it. We came to our conclusion to move forward and we set boundaries.

I personally think it is not easy for anyone to accept a strong, independent women who has raised 6 grown children already, mostly because as a strong women I am set in my way. I am not easily swayed, gave up on impressing people out of obligation and hold my value system very strongly.

Conclusion

Although I may really not want to share my personal space or facebook thoughts with my mother in law, I still have the obligation as my husband’s wife and my son’s mother to not let our relationship, or lack there of determine their relationship with her.

So, whilst we certainly won’t be having any holidays together I’d still encourage Brent to speak to his mother and after our conversation I know that he will put the boundaries in to safe guard Hamish from any toxic influence and be mature enough to end the conversation should it become toxic.

Posted in Brands we love, Family Life

21 days of delicious with a Harck & Heart DIY cookie kit

We recieved this yummolicious DIY box of 21 German ginger biscuits from Harck & Heart.

What is inside the box?

The luxurious biscuits are pre-baked and beautifully packaged.

Inside the box, the kit contains everything you need to decorate the biscuits.

  • Icing sugar
  • Craft sticks to mix and spread icing
  • 2 containers to mix and store icing
  • Chocolate vermicelli
  • Rainbow sprinkles
  • Assorted sprinkles
  • Bag of sweets

There are even instructions, so if like me you are not to sure how to make the royal icing correctly, to decorate biscuits you are easily guided.

Icing your biscuits

This is the first success I’ve personally had with icing shaped biscuits. ( I may need a bit more practice but it was tons of fun) and I was suprised at how easy it was to mix the royal icing.

Just add a little water or lemon juice to your icing sugar.

When decorating the biscuits,I chose just to use the white icing, but you could make any colours by just adding your own colouring.

Although we were supplied with craft sticks to ice the biscuits, I found that by giving Hamish a clean paint brush he was able to ice his biscuits with less mess.

Themes

The 21 biscuits are packaged in pairs for freshness and to allow you to either decorate one a day or all in one go.

We enjoyed guessing each packets theme.

With cute themes like:

  • dinosaurs
  • tea party
  • ninjas
  • cars
  • dogs
  • Gingerbread people
  • Emoji faces
  • and princess

These delicious ginger biscuits cater for the whole family.

Decorating the biscuits

Theres no right or wrong way to decorate these biscuits and your imagination is the limit.

Allowing you to make them as fancy, plain or sweet as you prefer.

There is more than enough icing supplied and it’s advisable to mix up small amounts as you go, as not to waste.

We also chose to separate the sweets as I found it easier for Hamish to decorate his creations with the sweets separated into smaller containers. ( Although I’m still sure he ate more than he decorated with.)

Kids

Hamish was incredibly excited to make his own biscuits and went to town nibbling sweets and decorating his tea time treats as soon as I opened the box.

After weeks of being cooped up inside this was just the right distraction we needed to lift our moods and introduce some fun into our week.

The kit is easy to use and would be wonderful

  • for a family night, with each family member decorating their own dessert.
  • At a birthday party take home treat,each guest could make one to take home.
  • As a luxurious gift to family or friends to tell them you are thinking of them.
  • As a fun activity to break lockdown bordom.

Even my teen, Ronan jumped on board to let his creativity loose and create his own fancy treats.

Taste test

But the proof is always in the tasting and not only were these biscuits fresh, they were delicious.

This really was the most fun in a box and just the thing we needed to beat the lockdown bordom.

Special

Harck & Heart are running a special promotion of 30% these fantastic DIY cookie baking kits until the end of May.

Grab a box today and enjoy these delightful biscuits.

Posted in Family Life, Family Time, Parenting

International families day

Yesterday, 15 May, was International families day.

What is International families day?

Proclaimed by the UN general in 1993, the day reflects on the importance of family, people, societies and cultures around the world.

It is a day to promote issues that relate to families.

Each year, since 1996, a new theme of focus is chosen. The theme for 2020 is ” Families in Development”

A time for family

This year, the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to both value our own families as well as gift those families who may find themselves in a vulnerable situation right now.

Families are the foundation of society.

As the world struggles to adjust to the strange times we are currently faced with, it is according to the UN, the families who bear the brunt of this crisis as they juggle not just their homes and families wellbeing but trying to work from home and educate their children as well.

Why is International Families day important?

Families are the corner stone of society. That one group of people, whether we like them or not, who offer support and upliftment in times of need.

It seems only fitting that we would celebrate them in a day that highlights the importance of family in society.

By celebrating families we place importance on :

  • Building strong family units.
  • Developing healthy communities
  • Creating a better world
  • Recognising the different types of families
  • Open conversations about other families and their challenges
  • Address important issues that factor negatively on families, like:- poverty, unemployment, lack of health care and lack of education
  • Focus on childcare both in and out of the home

How to observe International Families day

There are several fun ways to observe this important day.

Some of my favourite ways are :

  • Spend time with your family.
  • Host a board game night
  • Cook together
  • Create something together
  • Make a video together of your fun moments. We were excited to be part of Primi World video highlighting family moments at their restaurant.

  • Video call each other if you are separated during the pandemic
  • Design a family Crest or research yours online.
  • Sit together and make a family tree
  • Draw or paint family portraits
  • Share your favourite memory of each other
  • Drag out the photo albums and look through old photos sharing family stories
  • Start a digital album, facebook group or blog and let each family member contribute.

  • Volunteer to cook a meal for another family
  • Sort toys for your children to donate to less privileged children
  • Donate clothing or food to a homeless shelter
  • Bake for your neighbours
  • Write thank you cards to our health care staff
  • Write letters to the members of your family and highlight what you like about them
  • Start a family gratitude jar, each member writes what they are thankful for and places it in the jar

Most importantly, as you struggle through the stress of trying to conform to a new normal, remember your family are the people who support you, encourage you and are going through this trying time alongside side you ….love them well.

Posted in Book Reviews, Cape Town - Things to see & do, Education, Family Life, Parenting

Table mountain Ariel Cableway release Free educational activity book for kids to download

Join the Table mountain friends, Phumi the Protea, Dale the dassie and Larry the lizard and learn all about Table mountain, the history of the cable way and nature in the mountains.

A fun and engaging truly South African educational activity book which you can download free to use here

The book contains:

  • Fun facts
  • Colouring pages
  • Quizzes
  • Treasure hunt
  • Dot to dot pictures

Whilst the activity book is geared at older children, Hamish enjoyed working through many of the fun pages, meeting the cute characters and colouring in the pages.

He loves Table mountain and points it out on our daily walks.

Although he hasn’t yet been able to go up the mountain, he is now aware that a cable car will take him to the top and we have set the treasure hunt aside and decided his birthday gift in September will be a trip up his beloved mountain.

This is a great way to teach the kids and build their general knowledge.

It would make a lovely family project or fun extra activity if your child is completing this assigned school work earlier.

Posted in babies, Brands we love, Education, Family Life, Family Time, Parenting, preschool, preschoolers, Toddlers, Tweens & Teens

Bring Home The Fun With Hasbro – why we use this site

Hasbro has launched Bring Home The Fun, an inspiring, purpose-driven website designed to support families around the world as they spend extended time at home and indoors.

Visit BringHometheFun.com to explore family-focused resources, including tips for family playtime, activity challenges to keep kids occupied, and ideas for using games and toys to stimulate kids’ brains.

The site also features resources to help children and families cope with stress that might be heightened among kids at this time.

Featured content includes:

  • mindfulness videos
  • service projects
  • activity guides
  • other resources developed through our philanthropic partners to help develop empathy and kindness in children.

Fun to watch videos include:

  • Play doh
  • Peppa pig
  • Nerf
  • Pj masks
  • My little pony
  • Transformers
  • Power Rangers
  • Ricky zoom

Fun to do activities from your childs favourite toys like:

  • Play doh
  • Baby Alive
  • Power Rangers
  • My Little Pony
  • Beyblade
  • Transformers
  • Fur real
  • Pj Masks
  • Ricky zoom
  • Peppa pig

Tried and tested

Hamish has been kept busy during lockdown with many of the play doh activities.

Some of the ideas we tried were:

This fun rainbow caterpillar to match our rainbow of hope. Rolling doh balls is a good fine motor activity.

A fire man truck to support our essential services.

A lion.

An elephant

And a lady bird.

There are so many more activities to do, each one designed to keep the kids engaged and entertained.

This has become my go to site for inspiration to keep Hamish happy throughout the lockdown.

Not just for the play doh activities but also to :

  • Make PJ mask character masks for imaginary play
  • Colour in his favourite Transformer characters
  • Make musical shakers with Peppa pig
  • Make a set of Peppa pig puppets
  • Make power ranger posters from the colouring sheets
  • Go on a scavanger hunt with my little pony
  • Complete the fur real Cubby activity book
  • And do some dot to dot activities with Ricky Zoom

As a parent I especially like the parenting resources in the parent solutions.

These activities have been chosen to help parents and children become more mindful and take part in a variety of activities and projects that help to focus on placing emphasis on putting empathy into action.

Some of these activities and projects include:

  • Decorating lunch bags
  • Interviewing a senior
  • Family good scavanger hunt
  • Be a bee helper
  • Making homeless care kits
  • Being water smart
  • Creating a recycled bag
  • Upcycling plastic bottles
  • Bookworm bookmarks
  • ABC flash cards
  • Gratitude journal
  • Gratitude letter
  • Encouraging kindness in kids

With so many resources avaliable to parents, it’s nice to find a platform that encourages character building, emphasizes empathy and kindness, educates parents and offers entertainment and family bonding activities through our childrens favourite characters. Helping them to identify and connect the lessons through play.