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 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 babies, Events, Health & Wellness, Mamma bears, Parenting, pregnancy, Toddlers

International Babywearing week 30 September – 6 October

This week sees the start of the International Babywearing week.

A week long opportunity to celebrate, promote, advocate and educate about the many benefits of baby wearing.

The theme for 2019 is “CONTINUING TRADITION” and I encourage you to share your thoughts on this topic in the comments below.

What is babywearing?

Babywearing has been practiced around the world for centuries and includes wearing your baby or toddler close to you in a sling, wrap or carrier, as you go about your day.

Babywearing has been gaining popularity in recent years as a form of attachment parenting.

The benefits of babywearing

There are many benefits to babywearing, they include :

  • Good for development as a baby who is carried is closer to mom and can study facial expressions, learn language and be familiar with body language.
  • Your baby may cry less and get a better quality of sleep and so improve their immune system.
  • Improve bonds with siblings as parents have free hands and are able to give more attention to siblings.
  • Helps premature babies gain weight and thrive as skin to skin contact is vital for babies born premature.
  • Good for hips when done correctly can assist to develop strong, healthy hip joints.
  • Can reduce colic as babies who are wborn tend to cry less.
  • Gives parents the freedom and confidence to perform other tasks.
  • Allows for a stronger bonding experience between baby and the wearer.
  • Can help with post natal depression as moms feel less guilty when wearing baby.
  • Keeps strangers away and stops them from just touching baby.
  • Helps mom lose the baby weight as you use more energy carrying yor baby than pushing a stroller.
  • Allows mom to feed on the go if you are breastfeeding.
( source : www.babywearing.org)

My babywearing journey

I started my parenting journey in 1992 and remember being given a baby carrier.

This was a simple device that clipped onto me, that I refused to use until my baby was a plump 5 months old in fear of her falling out.

Four years later as the mom of a now preschooler, a toddler and a new born I fished out the carrier again as I needed some free hands whilst shopping or cleaning the house.

I never saw this as baby wearing only as a way to free my hands to get things done.

In 2003 my youngest daughter was born and I met a fellow mom who wore her baby in bright handmade coloured slings. She seemed a bit eccentric to me.

Whilst I had a fancy pram to gently lay my baby down in she would pick up her little one and strap him to her back or slip him into his sling.

When I fell pregnant with Hamish, I had gained much more knowledge on the benefits of babywearing and my eccentric friend no longer looked so crazy.

One of my first purchases for Hamish was a ring sling.

But I broke my leg 3 weeks into our parenting journey with Hamish and spent much of his first year immobile. So baby wearing sadly did not become the part of our journey I had hoped it would be.

Still there were days when he fussed a little too much or when he was ill that I would bundle him into the sling (which I’m sure I always wore wrong)

Brent would use the sling for Hamish if we went out, keeping him close by.

Being on crutches I couldn’t carry Hamish and am greatful for the sling as it not only kept our little one safe and secure, it allowed for a stronger bond with Brent who became his primary carer if we were out.

I remember the one day in particular, Hamish hadn’t slept all day. His chest was bad and I was beginning to think he just wasn’t going to sleep at all.

The sling was in the car with Brent at work, I was stuck upstairs unable to move very far with a heavy cast on my leg and close to tears at my own frustration of not being able to stand up and rock my unhappy baby.

In desperation, I remembered my friend from so many years ago with her colourful handmade slings, grabbed a sarong and made a make shift sling to slip Hamish into.

A few seconds later, he slept for the first time in hours without fussing.

For us, baby wearing was a way to strenthen our bond, keep our little man safe and secure and to comfort him when he needed to be close to us.

Do you babywearing?

Posted in Family Life, Health & Wellness, Parenting

LESS LIGHT MORE SLEEP …Innovative specs help with ADHD

ADHD – a modern menace

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has become a modern menace for millions of children and adults alike. 

It is characterised by problems with concentration, impulse control, organisation and memory and makes life difficult for the child affected by the condition as well as parents, teachers and other care-givers; but, most significantly it often leads to a life-time dependency on drugs.

Sleep difficulties and ADHD

 
Sleep difficulties are also often associated with ADHD affected children and now the question is being asked: what comes first – the ADHD diagnosis or the sleep difficulty?  And is one being treated rather than the other?
 
According to commentary by Dr Vatsal Thakkar, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center, one needs to consider sleep problems as a possible cause when evaluating patients for ADHD
 
He notes that many of the symptoms of ADHD are similar to insufficient or poor sleep, for example lack of focus, problems listening, forgetfulness and disorganisation, as well as a tendency to be agitated, excitable and disruptive.
 
These behaviours interfere with a child’s social and intellectual development, causing problems with relationships with peers and adults, at school and at home.
 
There is also particularly strong evidence that children with sleep disordered breathing display many of the same symptoms & behavioural problems as children with ADHD

The problem, however, is that sleep disorder screening is not often done and so problems go undiagnosed.

Does technology play a part?

 
 
Dr Thakkar makes the interesting observation that …

“the escalation of ADHD cases in the 1990’s and 2000’s coincided with the rise of the digital age, and the widespread use of personal technology that now pervades our daily lives.

These devices – our laptops, tablets and cell phones – that enable so much convenience and connection, also threaten the quality and quantity of sleep.

The night-time exposure to the light they emit interferes with the body’s release of melatonin, disrupting sleep cycles and diminishing time spent in the deepest, most restorative phases of sleep. 

More than ever before in history, we must work to create the darkness that is so essential to sleep.

Keeping our bedrooms, and our children’s bedrooms, gadget-free sanctuaries for sleep is one important way to guard against chronic sleep deprivation.”

 
This may be easier said than done, however, as watching television or playing a game on their tablet also helps children destress after a busy day at school. 
 
 
SleepSpec is a non-invasive, non-medicated solution to sleep difficulties. 

These glasses contain scientifically engineered amber lenses, which filter out the blue light which suppresses the production of melatonin.

 
Worn for two hours before bedtime, SleepSpec allows the body to produce melatonin and prepare for sleep, while continuing with watching television or using other electronic devices.  

“The glasses, however, need to be taken off in complete darkness, as even the smallest amount of light can signal the brain to stop producing melatonin and to wake up,” says Daniel.

 
He adds that it is also important to keep bedrooms as dark as possible and use an amber coloured flash light on waking at night so as not to interrupt melatonin production.
 
“Many children suffer from night terrors or are scared of the dark.  If any light is needed, make sure that it is one with an orange or red colour as this contains little or no blue light and so will not disturb sleep,” he says.
 
The effectiveness of SleepSpec is also cumulative so the more they are used the more noticeable the difference.
 
SleepSpec come in various styles including one specifically designed for children. 
 

For more information http://www.sleepspec.com

(Photo credit: Sleepspec)
(Article supplied)