Posted in Family Life, Parenting

Mountains … A letter to my younger self

Day 16 of the #blogbosswinterblogchallenge called me to write a letter to my younger self.

As the mom of teens and young adults now I think one of the first lessons I would want myself to know at that age is that life comes with hurdles.

There will always be a mountain Infront of you. This could be an obstacle in your life, career or relationship. It’s how you climb that mountain that counts.

Lifes mountains

( First shared on Sparkarella in 2016)

We all come to the mountains in our life and stare up in wonder and trepidation.
How malviolently looming those mountains seem to our inexperience.

Many of us, choose to turn back on the path we came, never to summit the overbearing mountain before us. Too afraid to attempt to discover what’s on the other side.

Others have no choice but to climb as the mountain looms as an obtrusive obstacle in their path to a desired destination.

They struggle with each agonizing step, left breathless and exhausted by the height and magnitude of the mountain.

Most reach the top but many are lost amid the cracks and crevices.

But some, view the mountain ahead and instinctively, whip out the hiking boots , grab the compass and navigate the best route over the mountains path. They mentally and emotionally prepare themselves for the hurdle and endure the climb step by step.

And so it is with the problems we face in our daily lives . There are so many ways for us to approach and handle them.

We can ignore them, in our fear, knowing they don’t go away and never discovering our own strength or the joyful reward once the problem has diminished.

We can struggle through them begrudgingly , negative and feeling sorry for ourselves , leaving us emotionally and mentally drained. Having lost a part of our souls in an issue that is long past.

Or we can choose to acknowledge the problem and deal with it the best we can, positively and confident that this too shall pass.

I choose to climb my mountains victoriously …. What do you choose?

Posted in Blog posts, Family Life, Parenting

Hamish and friends on the Expresso show with Meg Faure and Lara Schoenfeld

On Thursday Hamish was invited to the Expresso studios to be part of a group of adorable toddler’s who would feature on the Morning shows segment with Meg Faure and Lara Schoenfeld from Playsense as they discussed music and toddlers and introduced their new cd Dinosaurstomp.

We woke at 5am to be at the studio for 7.30am. I’m still trying to process the 45 minute drive with a half asleep toddler in the back as he sipped on his tea and kept telling me it was dark outside.

The Expresso staff are amazing. So warm and welcoming

The toddlers arrived and Hamish was in his element, now dressed as a fireman. We have a huge box of dress up clothing at home so for him dress up always means fun.

The adorable stars were each dressed up as a variety of characters to represent the imaginative songs on the cd.

There was a fireman, dinosaur, princess, tiger and Spiderman.

So much of excitement as they waited the hour to go live. Their parents were equally as excited 😋

Thankfully we were kept in a comfortable waiting area where the kids could be as loud as they needed, have a snack breakfast and play.

Meg Faure popped by to greet the kiddies and took the time to sit on the floor with them and play the fireman song.

And then, they were called into the studio.

Hamish was immediately impressed with Thabiso Makhubela and ran up to him to give him a spontaneous hug.

This amazing man hugged straight back, put down his tablet and greeted each child at their level.

And before we had time to take it all in it was time for action as the children found their way infront of the cameras and Lara Schoenfeld led them into the fireman song.

They were just the cutest group of toddler stars.

After their singing and dancing, Hamish decided to follow Lara onto the couch and finished the segment near her.

Then it was over and time for us all to grab a few photos before heading back to the real world.

Hamish was by now catching up with the gorgeous Leigh-Anne Williams about all things fireman, as she helped him put his walkie talkie onto his fireman suit.

He had so much fun with all his new friends that he honestly didn’t want to leave the studio 😂

Thank you Expresso for such a fun, child friendly experience.

Posted in Crafts, Family Life, Parenting

3 Christmas baking ideas for toddlers from just 1 recipe

I’m a simple mom and am happiest when I can use one recipe for a multitude of items and so last year Hamish and I created these three cute biscuit gifts from just one recipe.

Recipe

Basic Butter Biscuits
(Recipe Credit unknown)

250g Butter
3/4 cup icing sugar
1 cup Maizena (corn flour)
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
1/2 tsp baking powder
+-2 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar until creamy and white.

Add oil, vanilla essence, maizena and baking powder and mix well.

Add enough flour to make a soft dough.

Roll and cut with a cutter or pipe through a nozzle.

Bake at 180 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes.

Decorate as desired

To make each biscuit

1. Reindeer cookie

You will need to roll out your dough and with a knife cut large heart shapes. Sprinkle with sugar before baking.

To decorate use a paint brush or ear bud dipped into food colouring to draw on facial features.

2. Name banner

I used a large floral shape cutter to help Hamish cut out enough banner shapes to spell out his name.

Ice each biscuit with your favourite icing recipe and using food colouring on an ear bud write your child’s name.

3. Snowflakes

To make the snowflake I used the same floral cutter and iced the cookies in white icing. Hamish then used raisins to form snowflake patterns.

Happy baking

Posted in Blog posts, Family Life, Parenting

The person who influenced me… My grandmother

Day 4 of the #Blogbosswinterblogchallenge.

The person who influenced me

My grandmother, Edith Marion Owen Jones was born the daughter of the mayor of Stanger,KZN.

As a young girl she would tell me the most amazing stories from her youth. Stories of a loving father and a strict authoritive mother capable of yanking table cloths off a fully set table if it was not in place.

She would speak fondly of her 3 siblings and tell tales of how she played piano and sang opera.

She always wore a dress and stockings. Her hair was neatly brushed and she had just a hint of make up.

I spent much of my young life with her.

I remember endless porcelain tea set parties and her sitting next to me teaching be to play piano.

I remember going to go shopping and stopping for blue soft serve Ice cream cones and holding her hand as she walked me to Sunday school.

As I grew we did other crazy things together like make our own perfume and feed birds. She read me stories and we sat and sang country western songs together.

We danced in her kitchen and she taught me to bake.

I was 6 when I got my first embroidery ring from her and when she first started telling me the story of how she came to be a toy maker.

She made the first Miss SA a feathered doll as part of her prize.

When I entered school she did home work with me and we explored the ocean. She would become a mermaid as we swam in the waves and together we build giant sand castles.

She moaned that I read to much and taught me to make tassle dolls which I sold and kept the money.

She bought me fancy dresses to twirl in and brushed my always nitty hair with care. She let me feed the ducks alone and bought the sweets I needed to feed the “poor children” on the farm.

She filled my days with dolls and dress up clothing, fairies and fancy tea parties.

In my teens I heard her life story, and I began to learn this amazing strong woman who had guided me to believe in myself, stand alone and find my inner courage.

At 19 she met a Belgian man and they were married. Two sons later she discovered he was still married in Belgium and her father helped her have the wedding annuled.

Over night she was a single mom with two small boys to care for.

Needing to go back to work her mother refused to allow her to come back home. Her father assisted her financially and she went back to work in her oversized maternity clothing to put food on her boys table.

There were many jobs, much hardship and an abortion before she met my mother’s father.

Her boys were 9 and 10 years old and she met my grandfather when she rented out her rooms to lodgers. He was a builder from Holland.

They married and had a little girl. For 16 years she was blissfully happy and her love for my grandfather was always expressed in a soft voice.

He passed away on New year’s Day 1974, I was born 8 months later.

She went on to marry 3 more times.

My grandmother made many waves in her life. She spoke her truth, called a spade a spade and wasn’t afraid to stand up for the down trodden.

Her heart was her largest asset and she would often in my adult years tell me the tales of her good deeds, and how others had let her down not having the same heart.

She ran several businesses from shell collecting, baking, making home made pickles, selling antiques, African curios and soft toys.

She taught me to hustle. She taught me to never give up and to think creatively.

We would sit in the lounge and look at a new velvet gown I’d bought and both reach for scissors… Her to make chokers and me to sew spiders.

We rumaged vintage shops for buttons and broaches to make accessories and she taught me to make the bodies of my hand moulded clay dolls.

We painted roosters with glass paint all over her kitchen windows and she allowed me to complete a mural on her lounge wall of the wishing tree.

As an adult we spoke daily on the phone. A week did not go by without a visit. I’d find her in the kitchen roasting chicken and baking for the kids.

She would hold my children and sing to them. She would tell crazy stories and put them on the bed for imaginary train rides.

And her and I would spend late nights talking about motherhood and children and the war and her life.

In so many ways I see our similarities. I see the strengths that she passed down to me and if I’m half as amazing as she is one day my children will say ….

She wasn’t perfect but she loved me ♥️

Posted in Blog posts, Parenting

Tips to get your toddler to sleep in their own bed

We introduced Hamish to a mattress bed in our room at 8 month, resulting in us not having any issues about him wanting to sleep in our bed or not wanting to be in his own bed.

But my older children, were not all as easy as Hamish. Most of them really did not want to stay in their own beds, let alone sleep there.

Here are some tips I used to help get your toddler to sleep in their own bed.

1. Make it fun

Before moving your toddler to their own bed, let them help to choose the linen, pillows and soft toys for the bed. This builds up an excitement and a want to be in their own space.

2.Be consistent.

Keep to a consistent bedtime routine (bath, story, kiss and goodnight) This teaches your toddler what to expect each evening and helps them to find comfort.

3. Be positive

Your emotions and attitude towards bedtime will affect your child so, try to create positive associations around bedtime. Fill your child with praise for being so big.

4. Help them feel safe

The more secure your toddler feels, the better they are able to settle themselves if they wake in the evening. You can help them feel safe by letting them sleep with a favourite teddy, keeping a night light on, spraying under their bed with monster spray and reassuring them that you are just next door in the next room.

5. Offer incentives or rewards

Offer your child small rewards for staying in their bed.

There’s nothing wrong with rewarding your child for good behaviour. We all respond well to rewards.

Younger children may respond better to something small in the morning after they’ve stayed in their own bed all night, whereas older children, might prefer a bigger treat at the end of the week. Like a later bedtime in the weekend, extra screen time or a milkshake treat.

The key is to deliver the incentive as promised if they sleep in their own bed and to not reward it if they don’t.

Please don’t ….

Don’t stay with your child until they fall asleep. Children need to learn to self settle if they wake up. If you are rocking them to sleep, they will need to be tucked to sleep when they wake at 2am.

Don’t overreact or get angry if your child appears at your bed. Remember they are learning a new habit, this will take time.

What to expect

You can expect a few tears. This is normal.

In the begining continue to go back into the room and reassure your child or comfort them. Be kind but firm and do not allow them back into your bed.

This is a big milestone for little people but if you are consistent, firm and kind you should over come this hurdle in no time.

Posted in Family Life, Parenting

Dear mom who can’t hold on

Today I was scrolling through a community page and I saw that a young girl I assisted commited suicide.I don’t know her personally, although I had met her once, but I followed her story.I watched from behind the scenes, having been a teen mom myself, cheering her successes and looking if we had any means to help her on her set backs.I had and still have so much admiration for this young girl who was trying her hardest to give her son a future.I remember one night she collected a tin of milk and nappies Hamish couldn’t use and she was gentle, polite and so proud as I asked after her son.I don’t know her full circumstances. I will never try to speculate them.

But as a mother….

I know how alone and desperate she must have felt. How fearful for her son’s future and mostly how she must have believed she failed him.And so, the world became too much and there’s a young boy who is no longer tucked in by his mommy or read a bedtime story. He will no longer get a warm kiss or night time cuddle. No longer can he lie against her chest and feel safe in her loving arms.This has upset me all day.

Why?

We read about terrible things all the time. I’m no stranger to teen suicide or the harshness of this world.

So why this one story ….

Because each time I look at Hamish, who is almost the same age as this little boy, I wonder how he would live without mommy and I see images of a lost, lonely, confused little boy.

I see how young this girl was and I see my own elder children. How does a parent live with this level of loss? And I think how much the world has changed in my many years of parenting. The village is no longer a group of wizened grey haired mother’s passing down their knowledge or holding a new mom’s hand through her darkness.Today moms are in competition for everything. We as society have become so self absorbed we’ve forgotten to look at our neighbour and check she is ok.We’ve forgotten that kindness costs nothing. If you are a mom who needs to talk. If you need someone to listen or advise. If you looking for answers, I may not have them but I promise we can find someone who does ….

Please contact me !

Let me loan you my strength. Please don’t let your children wake up without you tomorrow ….they need you….just as you are.

You can email me funmammasa29@gmail.com

Or DM on any of my social media platforms ♥️

Posted in Parenting

5 ways to avoid mom burn out

As a mom we are constantly stretching ourselves into a million different directions as we micro manage and meet the needs of our partners, family, career and social lives.

This can be exhausting and living up to our own ideals is often the cause of mom burn out.

So how do you prevent yourself from burning out when you need to bring your A game to the table?

I share 5 tips that have worked for me over the last 27 years.

5 Ways to prevent mom burnout

1. Make a to-do list

Your day can get extremely busy, very quickly, especially if you leave it up to chance.

I prefer to write a to do list the evening before and update it first thing in the morning after looking at my emails. You may prefer to compile your list when you have a quiet moment with your morning coffee.

On your list write down what you need to do during the rest of the day. Mark each one off as you complete the task.

Seeing your tasks written down can make them more manageable.

Be realistic and flexible with your list and don’t be too hard on yourself when you don’t tick off everything.

There is always tomorrow.

Always put urgent tasks at the top of your list.

When you write up your list up for the next day, transfer any uncompleted tasks from the previous day to your new list.

2. Learn to say NO

This has even hard for me, until last month when I did a time management exercise and realised just how much time I was spending building other people’s businesses for no pay, when I should have been building mine.

For people-pleasers,especially, this may be a particularly daunting task as they don’t want to upset or disappoint anyone.

I find it worked to start practising saying no to the things that you find stressful, and start saying yes to what makes you happy.

It won’t be easy at first, but the key is to practise, practise.

3. Make sure you get fresh air and exercise

I work best after refocusing in nature.

A walk on the beach or park are often enough to change my mood and thoughts.

You could try to wind down and clear your head by going for a jog, hiking, attending a yoga class or meditating.

The rush of endorphins after a workout will leave you rejuvenated, and will allow you to tackle your tasks with a fresh perspective.

4. Practise breathing

We spend so much time hunched over our desks and in cars that we have very little time to concentrate on our posture and be mindful of our breathing techniques.

Deep breathing can alleviate that anxious feeling you get when you are faced with something stressful.

If a stressful situation should arise, you can sit up straight, relax your shoulders, close your eyes and inhale and exhale deeply.

Continue breathing until you feel better.

You will then be ready to tackle the problem.

5. Get enough sleep

Getting a good night’s rest is the best way to start a new day.

Inconsistent sleeping patterns can often contribute to anxiety and stress. By consistently getting enough sleep, you will be well rested and in a better headspace to handle daily stressful situations.

To restore your natural sleeping rhythm start by setting your alarm at an appropriate bedtime each evening.

Do you have any other tips for moms?

Posted in Family Life, Parenting

An Introduction to Fun mamma SA

As part of the #blogbossWinterBlogchallenge I’ll be doing 30 posts in the next 30 days that share a lot more information on me, the mom behind Fun Mamma SA.

The first post is an introduction and to understand who Fun Mamma SA is, what I stand for and believe in you may need a little history.

Who am I?

I am the youngest of 5 siblings. A biological sister who is 3 years younger than myself, a “step” brother of the same age as my sister and 2 teenage half sisters.

I’m the mother to 7 amazing children. 4 Adult children ages 27, 24, 23 and 21 and 2 teenagers of 18 and 15. These wonderful children are from my first marriage.

Then I have Hamish with my new husband and partner in parenting, Brent.

My eldest daughter gets married in September and we finally welcome her fiance into our not so small family, making me a mother in law.

My eldest son has the cutest little baby girl who officially made me a glam-ma.

I have 4 nephews on my sister’s side and share a total of 5 nephews and nieces on both my husband and ex husband’s sides.

I’m also step mom to a young man and have 2 children with Asperger’s.

I’ve taught for many years, ran my own cottage school, homeschooled, worked in childcare and volunteered in many positions that involved childcare …Sunday school, youth groups, youth counselling, library story telling, guiding and several others.

So why tell you all this?

Because Fun mamma SA was started in 2012 as a small Facebook page to educate, encourage and inspire parents to value their children and families.

It’s been my vision to share ideas for parents and teachers to uplift, empower and educate children.

About my blog

When Hamish was born my blog developed and it’s very much still a work in progress.

There is so much information and wisdom that comes with 27 years of parenting and I often get overwhelmed at the sheer volume of things I want to share.

Mostly I share personal stories or ideas I use so that, that one mom who feels she’s failed knows she’s done the best she knows how to do. She’s perfect as she is and tomorow is another day to start again.

My goal

My goal, is that you leave fun mamma with a little bit of knowledge, a fun idea or just some hope that tomorrow will be better.

That as you scroll through my random scattered thoughts you will remember just how fast 18 Christmases pass and know that even on your worst day of parenting , you doing a great job.

But mostly that you will remember to ask a toddler for their opinion, stop to smell the flowers, add some fun to your day and know that …

Children are not a distraction from your work, they are the most important works.

Posted in Education, Family Life, Parenting

Teaching about bullies

As the mom of 2 boys with Asperger’s we’ve had our fair share of dealing with bullying over the years.

First from the bully and then from my boys as they retaliated.

Most of the time, it wasn’t physical bullying but verbal or emotional bullying.

But how do you assist young children to understand the damage that words can do?

I used this example both at home and in the classroom ….

(Source unknown)

A teacher in New York was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform.

She had the children take a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stomp on it and really mess it up, but do not rip it.

Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty it was.

She then told them to tell the paper that they were sorry.

Now….even though they said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it.

That is what happens when a child bully’s another child, they may say they’re sorry but the scars are there forever.

The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home.

Most children do not understand the effects of their words, teasing or hurtful behaviour, by giving them a practical way to understand the effect of bullying most often a child will change their behaviour.

Posted in Parenting

The Ugly Truth Launch

I met Melissa and her beautiful family in the doctors rooms. We both have little boys who were not feeling to good.

As moms do we started chatting and I was delighted to find that she shared a universal love of children, blogged about it and was dedicated to inspiring and uplifting parents.

I immediately looked up her website, http://www.theuglytruth.co.za.

After looking at her spectacular site I was eager to learn more and was super eager for her launch.

Brent and I were delighted when we recieved an invite to join her at Canterbury studio in Gardens, Cape Town for the official launch.

Launch day

We arrived to red carpet treatment…

And like true VIP, greeted with bubbly.

The afternoon just got better. Not only did we enjoy the breath taking art works from the Legacy collection , we got to meet several new amazing people.

Melissa and Darwin, her husband, have an amazing vision and they took us through a passionate virtual tour of The Ugly Truth before treating us to a deliciously spread table of treats.

This team are dedicated to reaching each family and offering non judgemental support.

I look forward to big things from this dynamic duo.

You can follow The Ugly Truth on Facebook or Instagram as @theuglytruthza