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

Posted in Christmas

The legend of the Christmas spider : why we hang tinsel on our Christmas tree

It’s no lie that I’m a fan of spiders.

Somewhere between Charlotte’s Web and owning the cutest tarantula i developed a deep love and respect for these tiny arachnids.

And interestingly

Spiders are just as loved in the Christmas folktales of Germany and the Ukrain.

The legend of the Christmas spider

A long time ago a mother was increadibly busy cleaning her home, getting ready for the most wonderful time of the year. The day the Christ child came to bless the home.

She was so thorough that not a single corner was left uncleaned and even the little spiders has been banished from their cosy corner in the ceiling in her cleaning frenzy.

These spiders moved to the attic to keep safe.

At last, it was Christmas eve.

The beautiful Christmas tree was decorated, waiting for the children to see the delicate ornaments and shining lights.

The spiders were disheartened. They couldn’t see the lovely tree, nor would they be present when the Christ child visited.

Thd oldest and wisest spider suggested they perp through the crack of the door to have a look.

Very silently, they crept out the attic and down the stairs, all the way across the floor to the threshold in anticipation.

The door was ajar and the spiders, knowing how much they longed to see the beautifully lit tree, climbed onto the tree and examined every ornament as they walked from branch to branch.

Finally, they had seen each pretty thing and knew just how lovely the Christmas tree looked.

But

Everywhere the spiders had been was now full of shiny little spider webs. The whole tree was draped in the lightest of spider silk.

When the Christ child saw this he was dismayed. As much as he loved the spiders, as they are God’s creatures, he knew how hard the mother had worked at cleaning her home and how carefully she had trimmed the tree.

She certainly would not appreciate the spiders.

So, He gently touched the webs and turned them into sparkling and shimmering silver and gold threads.

From that day, it has been custom to hang tinsel in a Christmas tree and include a small spider in your decorations.

Posted in Brands we love, Christmas, Press releases

HASBRO REVEALS EXCITING GREAT GIFTS SUGGESTIONS FOR 2020

The festive holiday season is almost upon us, this year unwrap the magic of the season with an exciting range of great gifts brought to you by global play and entertainment company, Hasbro, who is committed to creating the world’s best play and entertainment experiences.With a wide selection of options, to surprise and delight, from popular brands including NERF, Play-Doh, Baby Alive, furReal, Transformers and more plus fun new Hasbro Gaming solutions – there something for each family member, no matter their age, to enjoy this summer!

HASBRO’S 2020 ‘BEST SELLER’ SELECTION FOR THE UP-COMING SEASON:

furReal Pets

Meet this lovable mama from Down Under!Mama Josie the Kangaroo from furReal offers both interactive nurturing play and a surprise unboxing experience.Mama Josie comes with 3 adorable babies – one baby ‘roo is a boy, the other a girl, and the third one’s… a surprise!Unbox all three for the big gender reveal.This loving mama responds to touch with 70+ sound-and-motion reactions, she moves her head and arms, hops to music, and can hold and “kiss” her babies while making loving sounds.There are cute accessories for the babies, and one for Mama herself – a smoothie accessory kids can give her to hear cute feeding sounds… and the occasional hiccup!Whatever she does, she’s sure to captivate!

Watch Mama Josie in action here

To add to your collection of lovable furReal furry friends look out for the Peealots & Poopalots Big Wags Pets collection, another expansion of the brand’s successful pet-walking line, with a range of feisty pups and kittens to choose from.Each Peealots pet comes with a leash system that allows you to take them for walks and a water bottle so you can give them a drink.Of course, after quenching your pet’s thirst, they’ll need to go!Just lift its tail and watch as your pet lifts its leg and pees – but be sure to clean up after them – it’s the polite thing to do!What’s more fun than walking a pet? Walking a pet that poops!Give your cuddly Poopalots pet a few of the included play treats, then take them for a walk to do their ‘business’, leaving a trail of poop nuggets behind!Luckily, your pet comes with its own poop scooper for quick and easy cleanups.

furReal Poopalots pets feature a connectible system that lets kids walk one pet, or their favorite pack!

Baby Alive Doll

She loves to bounce and giggle!Baby Alive Baby Gotta Bounce doll bounces up-and-down with impossibly cute laughter when you hold her hands and squeeze her wrist — or repeatedly wave or move in front of her.She actually stands up and bounces on her own!

The interactive Baby Gotta Bounce doll has 25+ cute sound effects, drinks water and “pees” too, like a baby (bottle and a diaper included).Good thing her adorable, removable outfit makes changing-time super easy!Kids ages 3 years old and up will love caring for this sweet Baby Alive Baby Gotta Bounce doll that moves.

Playdoh

Play-Doh fans will love the Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Drizzy Ice Cream Playset.Drizzle a crazy candy coating on your Play-Doh ice cream creations.For the first time ever, this toy ice cream set comes with Play-Doh Drizzle compound – a pretend syrup that turns into a pretend candy shell when you drizzle it on top of regular Play-Doh compound.The Play-Doh ice cream maker is easy and fun to use, load some regular Play-Doh compound and press the handle to create colourful Play-Doh sundaes and cones.Squeeze some Play-Doh drizzle on top and add fun Play-Doh sprinkles and candies to decorate.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.

Elsa and Anna fashion dolls

Kids can sing along with the Musical Adventure Elsa and Anna fashion dolls (each doll sold separately) as she belts out a song featured in Disney’s Frozen 2 movie.Dolls includes batteries so the musical fun can start as soon as kids open the box.All they have to do is turn on the switch on her back and press the button on her bodice to start the catchy tune.Kids will also love their movie-inspired dresses with elegant designs and glitter accents.

Nerf

There is an exciting range of Nerf blasting options on offer- (eyewear recommended – not included):Experience Nerf Ultra blasters – the ultimate in Nerf dart blasting!The Nerf Ultra One motorised blaster has a high-capacity 25-dart dart drum and comes with 25 Nerf Ultra darts.Fire over two dozen darts with the high-performance advantages of this Nerf Ultra blaster.You have the skills and the expertise as a Nerf battler, now you have the blaster and darts for game-changing superiority!Suitable for kids age 8 years and older.

Gear up for battle with Nerf Elite 2.0 blasters that come with double the darts and feature built-in customising capabilities so you can upgrade them and seize the advantage in Nerf competitions.Suitable for kids aged 6 years and older (avaible in South Africa from mid November).The Nerf Elite 2.0 Shockwave RD-15 blaster features three tactical rails, barrel attachment point, and stock attachment point to optimise for battle.This pump-action blaster has a 15-dart rotating drum to swamp your targets.Pull the priming slide back and press the trigger to unleash 1 dart or hold down the trigger and keep moving the slide to slam-fire all 15 darts.The Nerf Elite 2.0 Echo CS-10 blaster includes a removable stock and removable barrel extension so you can customise the blaster multiple ways.Take advantage of five tactical rails to add other battle accessories (not included).Comes with 24 Official Nerf darts – load 10 into the clip and keep the rest nearby for reloads.

Transformer

The Transformers Battle for Cybertron is on!Mobilize for action with Cyberverse Battle Call Trooper Class figures and Cyberverse Battle Call Officer Class figures.Each figure includes a signature weapon, which disassembles and attaches to the figure to create power-up armour.Voice activation offers an exciting new way to play with Transformers.With each Officer Class figure, activate battle sounds and pulsing lights with voice commands and with each Trooper Class figure, activate pulsing lights in each figure’s chest with voice commands.Officer Class figures command Trooper Class figures with interactive sounds.Figures convert between vehicle and robot modes.Assortment features favorite Autobot and Decepticon characters from the animated Transformers series (each sold separately).

Power Rangers

IT’S MORPHIN TIME!The Power Rangers Beast-X King Morpher is inspired by the Power Rangers Beast Morphers TV show (as seen on Cartoon Network), with light up lion eyes.When kids strap the morpher to their wrist and move around, they will hear show-inspired sounds and phrases.Plus, when they use the included Morph-X key in the Beast-X King Morpher, the Beast-X King mane will flip out and the morpher will enter Beast-X mode, for even more sounds and phrases!

Hasbro gaming solutions

GET YOUR FAMILY TIME GAME ON WITH A WIDE RANGE OF GAMES TO SUITS ALL AGES FROM HASBRO GAMING

Monopoly

Don’t get sad…get even!Say goodbye to the frustration of losing while playing Monopoly and say hello to the Monopoly For Sore Losers board game.This hilarious twist on the classic Monopoly game turns losing on its head and celebrates it instead.Players earn cash by doing the typically frustrating things in the game such as going to jail, paying rent on a property, or going bankrupt.And those who really start sinking can make a comeback using the large Mr. Monopoly token that gives players advantages over everyone else.So get playing, get the revenge you’ve been craving, and feel good about losing!

Monopoly Mzanzi

Still a firm family favourite, Monopoly Mzansi, featuring 22 local locations, makes a perfect gift for the festive season.A definite must have for travellers, Monopoly Mzansi provides an opportunity for family and friends to come together and enjoy some quality time, Mzansi style.

Boggle

Enjoy some fun family time with Boggle.Earn points by spotting words your opponents don’t before time runs out. Shake the grid to mix up the letter cubes, players have 90 seconds to write down as many words as they can find on the grid before time is up.At the end of the round, score the words. The player with the highest score wins.Game comes packed in an easy to store travel case for both timer and dice.

EXCITING STOCKING FILLER IDEAS INCLUDE:

Play-doh Elastix

Stretchy Play-Doh Elastix compound looks and smells like the Play-Doh compound we all know and love, but it has a fun pull-apart effect for a different way to play.

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.

Nerf Elite 2.0 Trio SD-3 Blaster

Fire three darts in a row from the Nerf Elite 2.0 Trio SD-3 blaster that has a tactical rail so you can customise the blaster with different Nerf accessories. Fires darts up to 27 meters.

Transformers

Easily convert and attack with Transformers Bumblebee Cyberverse Adventures Action Attackers toys!Simply convert figure from vehicle to robot mode in a few steps.The last step of conversion activates the figure’s signature Shot move!Once converted, move can be repeated through easy reactivation steps.Collect all the Action Attackers figures, each sold separately.

Hasbro products are available from leading retailers (subject to availability) including: Takealot.com, Makro, Toys R Us, ToyZone, Toy Kingdom, Checkers, Game and Importatoy.

Posted in Brands we love, Christmas, Family Life, Family Time, Fun Mamma SA Products we love, Health & Wellness, Life with my bears, Parenting

Is your child a KRAZI AWSUM KID ?

Every mom believes we have the most beautiful, wonderful and amazing children but how often do we remind our children how wonderful they are?

Now, you can gift your child with a positive affirmation to remind them just how amazing they are.

Krazi Awsum gifts and goodies have launched a range of slogan tshirts for the whole family to remind them just how KRAZI AWSUM they are !

Hamish loves his and likes to shout out “I’m krazi awsum” as a positive mantra. I love that he is developing a strong self value and when he forgets how wonderful he is, this shirt is a cool reminder should I forget to tell him often enough.

Shop

Krazi Awsum kid Tshirts R150 each

Krazi Awsum mama / papa
R220

KRAZI AWSUM custom shirts for any family member:

Granny
Grandpa
Aunty
Uncle
Sister
Brother
Niece
Nephew

Or how about reminding someone what a great job they doing or celebrating a special milestone ….

Krazi Awsum:
Teacher
Boss
Friend
Artist
Bride to be
Matric 2020
Husband
Wife

This design is copyright Krazi Awsum gifts and goodies 2020

( Last orders for 2020 are 1 December in time for printing )

Contact Judymacgregor161@gmail.com

Or follow Krazi awesome on

Facebook

Instagram

Posted in Family Life

Fun Kid’s Entertainment Ideas

Are you tired of stringing macaroni and making yet another batch of homemade playdough to keep the kids entertained?

Not to worry, we have you covered with 3 Unique kid’s entertainment ideas that are both fun and versatile to use for all ages, keeping the kids entertained and saving your sanity.

None of these activities require special equipment and you should have the supplies needed for fun in your home.

Supplies Needed :-

Activity 1

  • Paints – the best paint to use is a non-toxic poster paint. Alternatively, you can make your own taste safe paint for younger children by adding 2 tablespoons of flour to a tablespoon of water and a drop of food colouring.
  • Paint brushes – pastry brushes, ear buds and sponges make great emergency paint brushes.
  • Baking tray

Activity 2

  • 2 or 3 small jars or glasses

water

  • Food colouring
  • White flowers

Activity 3

  • Empty 500ml water bottle
  • Old sock
  • Elastic band
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Flat bowl
  • Glycerin ( optional)
  • Food colouring ( optional)

Activities:

1.Paint the Windows

Why windows?

Not only is this a fun activity but painting on a vertical surface allows your child to naturally cross the midline of their body because their dominant hand has to reach all the spaces on the surface.

For this activity set out a baking tray with paints and an assortment of brushes and sponges for your child to paint a large glass door or window with. You may want to work outside or put newspaper down before you begin as this activity can get very messy.

Allowing your child to use their hands and fingers to paint will increase the sensory experience of this activity, but, if you find that your child is hesitant to touch the paint, you could allow them to put on a pair of disposible gloves first as the cold, drippy sensation of the paint will still be felt through a thin glove.

2.Magically change the colour of a white flower

Children love magic and you can introduce this easy science activity to even the youngest child.

Take a walk together to find and pick 2 or 3 white flowers. When you are back at home set a small jar or glass for each flower which has been three quarter filled with water and a few drops of food colouring.

Place one flower in each jar or glass and leave over night. The transpiration will occur overnight as the stem pulls the food colouring onto the leaves and flower petals. Although the stem and leaves also absorb the dye, the petals will exhibit the most obvious colour change.

Your child will be delighted at waking to their magic flowers.

3.Foam snake

These are a lot of fun, perfect for summer days and best played with outdoors as the bubble snakes can grow quite long with enthusiastic children.

To make the blower, cut the bottom off of an empty 500ml water bottle.
Place a sock over the cut off edge and secure it with an elastic band.
In the flat bowl, mix water and a few spoons of dishwashing liquid together.
Dip the sock into the bubble water.
Let your child blow from the top and discover the wonder of their bubble snake growing.

For added fun you could host a competition to see which child blows the longest snake or add colour to your bubbles by adding a few drops of food colouring to the bubble water solution.

If you are making this for a large group of children it is advisable to add a teaspoon of glycerin, this will prevent the water from evaporating as fast and produce bigger, stronger bubbles.

With these bordom busters you are guaranteed to bring the fun to the playground. Share with us in the comments if you have tried these activities and how your children enjoyed them.

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Posted in Brands we love, Christmas

The Bramley Luxurious Gift Sets just in time for the festive season

Bramley Cosmetics have launched 3 luxurious gift set boxes just in time for the festive season. Choose from Magnolia, Lavender or Aloe Vera gift boxes, which are guaranteed to leave your skin feeling soft, pampered and beautifully cared for!

Bramley have included a hand wash with their Christmas gift sets this year because it’s important for people during these COVID-19 times to stay germ, virus and dirt free.

Protect yourself and your family with this convenient travel size hand wash.

While it’s very important to wash your hands frequently, your hands may be left feeling dry, sore and irritated.

By using Bramley Hand & Nail creams you automatically put that moisture back into your hands.

Your hands are left feeling moisturised, softer and younger looking.

MAGNOLIA LUXURIOUS GIFT SET

1 x 100 ml Tissue Oil

1 x 75 ml Hand & Nail Cream

1 x 100 ml Hand Wash

R34,99

The Magnolia range is infused with a luxuriously rich floral, long-lasting fragrance that opens with a heady blend of magnolia, carnation and rose. The emerging heart notes develop to reveal a creamy floral character of heliotrope and ylang ylang, whilst resting on a lingering base of sweet musk.

LAVENDER LUXURIOUS GIFT SET

1 x 100 ml Tissue Oil

1 x 75 ml Hand & Nail Cream

1 x 100 ml Hand Wash

R34.99

The Lavender range has a wonderful scent of relaxing lavender. The heart notes open to reveal rustic greenery and wonderful sweet musk.

The warm and comforting scent of lavender is said to be stress, inflammation and sleeplessness reducing.

ALOE VERA GIFT SET

1 x 100 ml Tissue Oil &

1 x 100ml Hand & Nail Cream

R29.99

Pamper your skin with this true gift from nature.

This gift of body care products is beautifully formulated with sustainably selected 100% natural Olive Oil and sustainably sourced Aloe Vera. Its elegance and fragrance will enhance and amplify your mood and confidence.

Aloe Vera is known for its intensive moisturising and cooling properties. It has the ability to restore, revitalise and rejuvenate dry skin. Olive Oil has antioxidant properties, is moisturising and protects skin against premature ageing.

This perfect blend of nature leaves your skin as Mother Nature intended.

All of these pampering skin care products enriched with Bramley’s signature, unique Bio-Pharm oil and Vitamin E oil will provide protection and nourishment to your skin.

Treat yourself to pure goodness and quality you can trust and ensure the best care for you.

Available at PEP Stores Nationwide

Follow Bramley Cosmetics: Facebook Instagram www.bramleycosmetics.co.za

Posted in Christmas

Christmas Traditions -Stir up Sunday

As a young girl I remember my grandmother being extremely busy months before Christmas, in her kitchen making Christmas cakes and puddings.

These images always struck me as odd, until recently, whilst I was researchingold Christmas traditions and I came across Stir up Sunday.

What is Stir up Sunday ?

But what exactly is stir up Sunday and what does it have to do with Christmas puddings?

Stir up Sunday, as it turns out, is the day ( about 5 weeks before Christmas) that you gather in your kitchen to prepare the Christmas pudding.

Traditionally Stir up Sunday falls on the last Sunday before the Christian season of Advent begins

The delicious aromas that waft throughout your home signal the start of the Christmas season.

The whole family stirs the pudding

The forgotten customs of this tradition, bring the entire family together, as according to tradition, each member has a turn to stir the dark, rich pudding mixture from East to West. This symbolizes the wise men’s journey to find the baby Jesus.

Images of an entire family all gathered in a warm kitchen, are the images Christmas cards are made of and the reason we hold onto traditions and customs as we get older.

To remember and hold dear the value of family.

The Christmas coins

As the pudding mixture is being stirred a wish is made and a coin is tossed into the mixture.

Today silver coins, which can be wrapped in foil, are added but as a young girl, I remember finding beautiful silver charms in our Christmas pudding. These would lovingly be cleaned and added to my charm braclet.

My grandmother instinctively knew just which slice of pudding to dish up to make sure I always recieved a treasure. As an adult , I have to wonder if these coins and charms were not infact added in after she sliced our piece of pudding.

Finding these coins on Christmas day was supposed to bring you health, wealth, happiness and ensured that everyone ate a piece of pudding to try get one.

The perfect Christmas pudding

Also referred to as a plum pudding during the Victorian era who dubbed any fruit pudding a plum pudding if they contained raisins, currants, beef suet,citrus zest, almonds and spices.

A perfect Christmas pudding is both dense and moist. It oozes with a rich array of fruit and brandy.

As beautiful as the puddings look they are rather time consuming to make due to the time needed to weigh the fruit, marinate it and steam the final mixture. It is then put away in a cool dark place and steamed for a further hour on Christmas day again.

The pudding consists of 13 fruit and these represent Jesus and his 12 disciples.

Traditionally this rich pudding is flamed before serving and served with a vintage port.

It’s interesting to note that the biggest difference between a Christmas cake and a christmas pudding is that, even though their ingredients are relatively similar, the cake is baked whilst the pudding is steamed.

The pudding also contains either meat or vegetable suet whilst the cake does not.

This year I’m going to attempt to make my own Christmas pudding. I’d love some tips in the comments if you’ve made your own.

Posted in Halloween

Halloween Activity -How to carve an orange

As Hamish is still young I find as much as he really wants to try his hand at everything, there are still some things he needs to be a little older to do.

Carving pumpkins is one of those things.

Pumpkin, squash and butternut are just too hard for his little hands to try to carve right now so we substitute our pumpkins for oranges.

How to carve an orange

Carving the orange is pretty easy and a child of about 4 or 5 should be able to do this with minimum supervision.

You will need:

  • Oranges
  • Black marker
  • Cutting board to work on
  • Pairing knife
  • Bowl to pour the inner in
  • Tea lights ( optional)

Method:

  • Cut the top off of the orange and hollow out the flesh.
  • Wash and dry the orange
  • Draw a face with marker
  • Use the pairing knife to cut out the face.

You can fill the carved orange with fruit or sweet treats as a Halloween suprise.

Or as a decoration on a plate or at a Halloween party.

These also look really pretty lining a path with these little carved out oranges that have tea lights in them.

Posted in Christmas

A complete Christmas Check list

I love Christmas. It is my favourite time of the year.

There is always good food, lots of activities and happy kids. It is a time of holidays and family.

But it can also be costly, especially to a big family like ours, and stressful as moms take on the extra burden of trying to achieve a Hallmark Christmas for our children to remember.

To make this year smoother I’ve compiled a checklist to break down the monstrous list of things to do and help you achieve a stress free Christmas season.

The Christmas check list

October

  • Decide on a family plan for Christmas. Where will you be spending the holiday? If you do holiday themes what theme are you choosing? What type of meals do you want to serve?
  • Book reservations to any restaurants if you are spending Christmas eating out.
  • Make any travel arrangements and book both tickets and accommodation.
  • Start a family WhatsApp group or email if you do not have one to communicate easily about holiday plans.
  • Use a Google calendar to start scheduling holiday events to allow the whole family to schedule items and keep each other informed.
  • Keep a print calendar on the fridge will help to keep track of school plays, carol services and that Christmas lunches.
  • Start baking the items you can freeze like un-iced cookies.
  • Prepare your fruit mix for cakes and puddings.
  • Make a holiday card list
  • Book any professional photos
  • Have holiday card photos taken
  • Design your holiday card to send out
  • Gifting -Purchase or make gift tags, Christmas cards and Christmas wrapping.
  • Send international cards and gifts
  • Measure your family for clothing size and shoe size. Make a list of this to help you shop or to send to grandparents.
  • Order any personalised items to ensure you recieve them before printers shut down for the holidays.
  • Famlly holidays-Make plans for family that will be staying with you. Do you need more linen, sheets, ect
  • Book any leave needed from work.

November ( 6 weeks before Christmas)

  • Decide on a Christmas budget
  • Make a holiday gift list
  • Buy gifts for Secret Santa events, neighbours, friends,teachers and work colleagues
  • Keep several small gifts of chocolates or biscuits for those unexpected people who pop in or gifts you recieve and need to reciprocate.
  • Start Christmas shopping for family. You may want to take advantage of the Black Friday sale for any big items you are planning to buy.
  • Do any online shopping .Make a note of delivery days when online shopping to ensure you recieve items in time.
  • Wrap gifts as you buy them. This will save you time during the busier days leading up to Christmas.
  • Charity– decide on the charity and causes you will support over the season

6 weeks before Christmas

  • Buy a Christmas eve box
  • Buy an elf on the shelf
  • Plan elf antics and get a box ready with activities for the elf to do throughout Christmas

5 weeks before Christmas

  • Celebrate Stir it up Sunday and make your Christmas puddings
  • Check your christmas tree and ornaments and make note of anything you need to replace.
  • Stock up on batteries.
  • Make an intinerary of holiday activities to enjoy with the kids
  • Book kids Holiday Clubs
  • Buy advent calendars or the items to fill reusable ones
  • Wrap 24 books to read 1 a night throughout advent. These are traditionally Christmas themed.
  • Neaten garden and outdoor areas.
  • Clean outdoor furniture
  • Stock up on braai items like charcoal, firefighters, ect
  • Put aside table settings. Items such as the table cloths, name tags, christmas crackers, ect for the Christmas meal. Getting this ready now will save you running around looking for matching serviette rings on Christmas eve.
  • Buy christmas crackers
  • If you are travelling over christmas book a service for your car, plan your route and pack emergency items in the boot.
  • Arrange pet sitters or house sitters
  • Have any photos you need printed
  • Buy instax film
  • Check board games and buy new ones to add to the family board games stash.
  • Bucket list – make a family holiday bucket list of things to do

4 weeks before Christmas

  • Test your Christmas lights . Replace any that do not work and see that you have enough.
  • Set up outside decorations
  • Enough to feed everyone – Take stock of your serving dishes, cutlery and crockery. Purchase what you need.
  • Write your local Christmas cards
  • Book any hair, annual medical or beauty procedures you will need until the end of January.
  • Stock up your medicine cabinet
  • Clean windows
  • Put up window decals or fake snow
  • Download a christmas ring tone or wall paper for your phone
  • Play Christmas Carols
  • Have photos taken with Santa

3 weeks before Christmas

  • Mail cards
  • Let the kids write to Santa
  • Christmas tree – Decide on your Christmas tree. Will you use one you have? Do you need a new one? Are you having a fresh tree?
  • Buy or make your tree skirt
  • Decorate your tree
  • Start your Advent calendars
  • Put out the Nativity scene
  • Decorate your home
  • Purchase any greenery or wreaths to decorate with.
  • Finalize your menus
  • Order your Christmas meat
  • Shop for groceries you can freeze and store.
  • Send any out of town gifts
  • Start your elf on the shelf activities
  • Let kids write a wish list
  • Make gingerbread men
  • Make gingerbread house and train
  • Put together a christmas day playlist
  • Fill any gas cylinders
  • Drive to see the city Christmas lights

Two weeks before Christmas

  • Purchase alcohol and beverages
  • Break out the Christmas crafts with the kids
  • Plan your christmas Caroling events
  • Print out free colouring pages and staple together to make a colouring activity book to keep kids busy.
  • Buy Christmas day outfits and Christmas eve pjs
  • Bake or buy Christmas cake

One week before Christmas

  • Spring clean your home
  • Line the oven with foil to prevent too much mess while cooking for Christmas day.
  • Clean out any unwanted or outgrown clothing, toys and books to donate
  • Clear out the refrigerator and deep freezer
  • Plan spaces for guests and clean the linen and towels.
  • Purchase any gift vouchers you are gifting.
  • Have a christmas movie marathon. Dont forget the popcorn.
  • Bake or buy mice pies
  • Christmas dress up – wash , clean and replace all christmas hats, stockings and Santa suits

3 days before Christmas

  • Shop for fresh ingredients
  • Make life easy – Stock up on paper plates, paper cups, serviettes, tin foil
  • Do any baking
  • Buy fresh flowers
  • Dry oranges, pears and apples to make potpourri and hanging strings
  • Go see christmas lights
  • Christmas light scavanger hunt – these are a lot of fun.

2 days before Christmas

  • String popcorn for tree
  • Make pomanders
  • Make a timeline for Christmas eve and Christmas day
  • Go caroling
  • Put fuel in the car
  • Double check all gifts are bought and wrapped
  • Make Christmas deserts
  • Purchase Christmas candles
  • Buy Santa’s cookies and Rudolfs carrots
  • Watch the nutcracker

Christmas eve

  • Prepare Christmas eve meal
  • Watch christmas family movies
  • Have photo taken in matching family pjs
  • Put out children’s Christmas eve box
  • Leave milk and cookies for Santa and Rudolf
  • Read the Christmas story
  • Drop christmas cookies at neighbours
  • Place gifts at tree
  • Christmas day box -Set out bin bag and box with batteries, scissors , ect ready for the mornings excitement
  • Fill stockings or Santa sacks
  • Make trifel
  • Make eggnog
  • Take any meats out to defrost
  • Pre cook some food
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Track Santa on Google tracker
  • Place luminaries in the yard for Santa to find his way
  • Leave out magic key for Santa
  • Charge phones, cameras and laptops
  • Hide the pickle and Rudolfs nose for the children to find in the tree
  • Leave flour Santa and Rudolf prints on the floor
  • Take elf away
  • Bite the cookie, eat the carrot and drink the milk so that it looks like Santa did it
  • Mull your wine

CHRISTMAS DAY

  • Make hot chocolate for the morning
  • Open gifts
  • Cook lunch
  • Take family morning photos
  • Read the story of Jesus birth
  • Kiss under the mistletoe
  • Family- phone, Skype or text family to wish them
  • Send out digital Christmas cards

Posted in Life with my bears

Hamish turned 4 and we went low key

In January I started planning a big party for Hamish. Knowing that he would turn 4 and remember this birthday I wanted to plan a fun day with lots of spoils and all his friends.

After all…you only turn 4 once.

Pandemic

Then March happened and we entered into quarantine as Covid turn the world upside down.

Months of financial strain on so many, assisting family, a huge move and change in lifestyle has a way to help you reflect on much.

And I started to rethink how we would celebrate Hamish’s birthday.

Quarantine birthday

Now, we could have whipped him up a cute quarantine birthday or organised a drive through party.

We could have zoom parties with his friends or even taken him out, as we are now on level 1 …

Indecisively I asked him how he wanted to spend his birthday.

A humble request

He asked for balloons and a cake!

That was it.

Nothing more!

I was taken a back. The simpleness of balloons and a cake would be enough to make his little heart happy.

A plan in action

So, we decided that if all he wanted was the simpleness of balloons and cake then that is exactly what he would have.

For the first time in the history of Hamish’s gifts, Brent was tasked with choosing a gift and getting a cake to bring home.

I would take care of balloons and a day of spoils.

An evening before

The night before. I blew up a packet of balloons. We don’t have balloons in our home often because of their environmental impact so this was a huge sacrifice in integrity for me… but it would make him happy and the only thing he wanted, so I closed my eyes and blew up those balloons.

I’ve since discovered that you can buy eco-friendly balloons at Cape Town balloon & event

Happy birthday

Hamish woke early to a bed full of balloons.

The happiness was immediate and he came rushing to our room for a balloon fight.

We sang happy birthday and he started to recieve the multitude of wishes you all sent to him.

My mommy heart was so moved at the beautiful and thoughtful messages from so many of you who took the time to show him some love on his birthday.

He was so excited he wanted to make a thank you everyone video, which we posted to Instagram.

A day of fun

The day past in a series of fun games and a friend over for a playdate.

The two kids played so nicely and ran about the garden.

After his friend left, he reluctantly had a nap, but by then he had depleted his energy completely and needed to recharge those birthday batteries.

A cakesplosion

Throughout the morning Brent had called me a few times about the gift and cake.

He settled on a chocolate cake and I got a frantic call to say that the cake had been squished when Brent had to break suddenly for a car.

I told him not to worry, I would try fix it when he got home.

Thinking the worst I was getting ready to re-ice the entire cake.

Dinosaurs to the rescue

When Brent got home, I was relatively relieved to see that the cake was not totally messed up. Infact it was just the corner.

I quickly ran to the toy box and grabbed a few dinosaurs.

With a little creativity I placed them so that it looked like the dinosaurs had gotten to the cake first and taken a few bites.

(First tip they teach you in the mom manual …when in doubt add dinosaurs.)

The birthday fairy

In our home we have fairies for everything…and I do mean everything.

From tooth fairies to bedtime fairies, there is always a new fairy around.

I had told Hamish that the birthday fairies were dropping a gift off at Brent’s work and that he would get it when Brent got home.

We placed the box on the floor and after his bath, He dived straight in to reveal a monster ramp and car.

He was so excited.

Big reveal

And then we revealed the cake he had waited for.

His face was magical as he scolded the dinosaurs for eating cake before him.

A revelation

The day was nothing like I had originally planned.

There was no big party or hoards of children.

There was no big budget or bright decorations.

There wasn’t a mountain of gifts. ..

But

There was one increadibly happy little boy who was showered in love and who spent his birthday exactly as he had asked to.

What a perfect birthday !

So many times we plan a child’s party for ourselves, for the gram or to meet up to the expectations of the neighbours, our friends and the school WhatsApp group.

What if instead of large lavish parties we ask our children how they want to spend the day.

What if we make the day completely and utterly about them and the things that make them happy?

This may not look the same as what we had envisioned and that is ok!

After all you only get your birthday once every year …surely it should be the happiest day of your year.