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, Giving back, Tweens & Teens

Ms. Monopoly- Celebrating Women Trailblazers

Hasbro Introduces Ms. Monopoly – First Game in the Franchise that Celebrates Women Trailblazers

Hasbro has introduced the first-ever game in the Monopoly franchise that celebrates women trailblazers with Ms. Monopoly.

The Ms. Monopoly game marks the first time in the franchise’s history where a new character will grace the cover – and while Mr. Monopoly is a real-estate mogul, Ms. Monopoly is an advocate whose mission is to invest in female entrepreneurs.

Ms. Monopoly was created to inspire everyone, young and old as it spotlights women who have challenged the status quo. To celebrate, in lieu of Monopoly winnings, Hasbro surprised three young female inventors and entrepreneurs with the recognition they deserve – approximately $20,580 in REAL money to fuel their inventive spirit and further their projects – which just so happens to be the same amount of Monopoly money featured in the game.

You can see all of their reactions to the surprise

To celebrate, in lieu of Monopoly winnings, Hasbro surprised three young female inventors and entrepreneurs with the recognition they deserve – approximately $20,580 in REAL money to fuel their inventive spirit and further their projects – which just so happens to be the same amount of Monopoly money featured in the game.

You can see all of their reactions to the surprise here.

All of the young inventors come from very different backgrounds, but with a common goal to help others using their inventions:

  • Sophia Wang, a 16-year-old from Connecticut invented a device that can detect sinkholes before they occur, and after two years of work, her prototype is now 93% accurate. She is hoping to get it patented and in the hands of communities in Florida that are vulnerable to sinkholes.
  • Gitanjali Rao, a 13-year-old from Denver came up with an invention that helps detect lead in drinking water so that individuals can do the test themselves and get results sooner. Her goal is to create an inexpensive, easy to use, portable device so that people all around the world can use it.
  • Ava Canney, a 16-year-old from Ireland, invented a spectrometer that measures the amount of dye in candy and soda. After studying the harmful effects of additives in our food, Ava set out to help people make educated decisions about the toxins they put into their bodies.

Ms. Monopoly gives new meaning to the franchise, as properties are replaced by ground-breaking inventions and innovations made possible by women throughout history and instead of building houses, you build business headquarters. From inventions like WiFi to chocolate chip cookies, solar heating and modern shapewear, Ms. Monopoly celebrates everything from scientific advancements to everyday accessories – all created by women.

From inventions like WiFi to chocolate chip cookies, solar heating and modern shapewear, Ms. Monopoly celebrates everything from scientific advancements to everyday accessories – all created by women.

Ms. Monopoly is also the first-ever game where women make more than men – a fun spin in the game that creates a world where women have an advantage often enjoyed by men. However, if men play their cards right, they can make more money too.

Ms Monopoly will be landing in South Africa in early December, just in time for the summer holidays and will be available from leading retailers including; Toys R Us, Toy Kingdom, Toy Zone and Takealot.com

Follow @MonopolySouthAfrica on Facebook for more information.

Posted in Brands we love, preschoolers, Toddlers

Saving the day with Lieflap superhero felt dress up dolls

Hamish is a typical boy who loves anything to do with superheroes.

He spends hours submerged in imaginary play, pretending to be Batman or Superman as he saves the day from evil.

So, when I came across these little felt dress up dolls from Lieflap I knew they would be a hit with my adventure loving little boy.
The set comes in an attractive carry bag that has big strong plastic pockets on the outside to store your dolls in.
I was impressed that the pockets are wide enough for little hands to easily slide the dolls in and out.

The bag zips opens to reveal velcro strips on which to store clothing, masks and accessories.
Each one  of the pieces is handmade with so much attention to detail.
Hamish recieved this stunning superhero kit on Saturday and immediately launched into play. Inventing a make believe crisis for the  Hulk and Batman to rush off to and save the day.


As a young girl I remember spending hours playing with my paper dolls and love that these little felt dolls will give Hamish the same joy.


It’s the perfect quiet time activity, great for travel, classrooms, play therapy or to gift .


His kit included:

  • A green hulk
  • 2 boy dolls
  • A batman outfit and mask
  • A spiderman outfit and mask
  • An iron man outfit and mask
  • And a superman outfit and Cape


Lieflap do a beautiful range of princesses and other characters/accessories aswell.

For more information contact https://www.facebook.com/lieflap1/
Posted in babies, Brands we love, Parenting, preschoolers, Toddlers

6 reasons I love this eco friendly giraffe play mat from Babyluv

We live in a really small space that is mostly tiles and I’ve been looking for a playmat to put down for Hamish to play on.

I specifically wanted one that was easy enough to move around to the area he wanted to play in and that I could take with us if we headed for a picnic or to the beach.

When I saw the Babyluv eco friendly animal play mats I knew I had found the mat I was looking for.

Why a giraffe ?

Looking at the cute designs of bunny, elephant and giraffe I chose the friendly lookng giraffe as he loves giraffes.

If you follow us on Instagram you would have seen the absolute delight on Hamish’s face when he recieved this package. He fell in love with the giraffe and insisted on putting the play mat on his bed to sleep on that night.

Why I love the eco friendly playmat

Firstly, the size…. it’s perfect for babies tummy time all the way up to preschool playtime, ensuring that you are investing in a product you can use for a while.

The mats come in two sizes and this is a large which measures 145cm x 195cm

Secondly, design …it’s just too cute. Hamish fell in love with the friendly giraffe and it will compliment most homes.

It’s the perfect play mat or carpet for bedrooms, playrooms, classrooms, travel, speech therapy, or rainy days at home.

Thirdly, its portable …this playmat folds up into a much smaller size and can be kept or transported in the little bag it comes with making it great for taking along to the beach, on a picnic, playdate or on holiday.

Fourthly, its non slip. ..Soft anti slip cloth underneath allows your kiddies to jump, roll and slide all over the mat without it moving.

Fifthly, its soft … it’s so soft that if you were out your little one , or bigger one could nap on it comfortably.

This breathable mat was made with comfort in mind.

And finally…. it’s easy to clean.

The mat is MACHINE WASHABLE and you can tumble dry (gentle/low) or drip dry.When cleaning use a mild detergent, no bleach. You can also use warm iron if needed to get any creases out afer washing.

This little mat is perfect for childhood adventures and I see many reading moments and puzzle play happening here for us as I love to play on the floor with Hamish.

For more information please contact http://www.babyluv.co.za

#sponsored

Posted in babies, Brands we love, Family Time, Fine motor activities, Parenting, preschool, preschoolers, Toddlers

Fit and Fun Mr Ring from Chicco

Hamish was gifted this stunning Fit and Fun Mr Ring from Chicco

He absolutely loves it but it’s taken a few weeks for him to learn to throw the discs over this modern ring toss game, instead of just placing them onto the poles.

The cute hedgehog face base rotates at 2 different speeds, which challenges his attention every time and is awesome for building his hand eye co-ordination skills.

The 8 coloured rings, 2 of each colour pole, are made of lightweight plastic making it the best game for playing indoors as I know he can’t break anything.

Also great for little ones who have just started matching and grouping colours, as Hamish first used this to match the pole and discs according to their colours.

Now we play a variety of games, allowing him to learn to follow commands.

For example :

  • Throw the purple disc onto the red pole.
  • Throw 3 discs onto the blue pole.
  • Throw all the discs onto the yellow pole.
  • Throw the colour disc onto its matching pole.

You could make up any combination.

Of course he loves this version of play, as he gets to tell me what to do when I take my turn.

The poles are also removable, making it easy to store or to take with if travelling.

It plays 6 different melodies.The tunes are plesant and not overly loud, so if you had a baby sleeping your toddler could still enjoy this game without it waking baby.

This fun and funky musical game stimulates manual co-ordination and fine motor skills.

A welcome addition to any toddlers playroom.

For more information contact http://www.chicco.co.za

Posted in Crafts, Events, Family Time, Parenting, preschool, recipes

World egg day …. 4 fun family egg activities

Eggs are not just a great source of protein, they also feature quite a bit in our activities throughout the year.

I thought I’d share a few of our favourite ways to play with eggs today on World egg day.

1. Marbled eggs

Breakfast is the perfect way to introduce eggs , whether you like your eggs fried, poached, scrambled or boiled….there’s an egg for everyone.

One of my favourite ways to serve eggs to the kids, as I had some fussy eaters, was to give them dinosaur eggs.

Our dinosaur eggs are actually just boiled eggs that have been given a marble look using food colouring.

You can read how we make them here

You could also use the boiled or fried eggs to create pretty food pictures like we did with this egg-stra special breakfast

2. Egg and spoon races

When my eldest, now 27, was about 3 years old we did our first egg and spoon race. Just her and I and a dozen eggs that cracked very quickly. 🤣

There was a lot of mess, a lot of giggles, a lot of fun and the biggest lesson to a little girl that it’s ok to make a mess ….we can clean it.

Over the years we’ve had countless races with friends and families.

3.Blow eggs and paint them

Blowing eggs is a lot of fun and my boys always enjoyed the part as the egg sploshed and slithered out the little hole.

We wash the egg in soapy water, dry and paint using craft paints or undiluted food colouring.

You can also draw on them with markers. One of the easiest ways to work with your egg as you try decorate it is to place it on an empty toilet tube. You can also leave it on here to dry.

We once attended a holiday camp where the eggs were painted with icing sugar coloured in food colouring.

4. Egg rolling

For this you give each child an egg outside and let them roll it to an end point without breaking it.

We once gave the kids wooden spoons and fly sweaters to see which worked better when moving the eggs with gentle taps to the end.

( it’s a good idea to keep extra eggs for tuse little hands that may be a bit too excited)

How ever you choose to celebrate eggs today we hope you enjoy an Excellent day

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, Cape Town - Things to see & do, Events, Family Life, Family Time, Life with my bears, Parenting, preschoolers, Toddlers

Fun mamma School Holiday Challenge …. a look at our 10 days of fun activities.

These school holidays I set a daily challenge to encourage parents to spend some time just playing with their children.

All of the challenges were inexpensive, easy things to do at home that did not break the bank.

These were the challenges

On Day 1 we went for ice cream at our local KFC.

Day 2 was more messy as we made our own homemade paints to play with.

These paints were made by adding a few drops of food colouring to yoghurt.

On Day 3 we went on a nature treasure hunt. I think this was his favourite out of all the activities.

I drew a list of things for him to find and we took a walk to find each one.

For Day 4 we played an old fashioned game of hide and seek. Playing with a 3 year old has its challenges. He kept hiding in the same place.

On Day 5 we drew self portraits. I tried rater unsuccessfully to get the entire family to join.

This was also a very special activity as I’m going to get Hamish to draw one once a year and note his progress over the years in a special scrapbook.

Day 6 was to build a blanket fort. I managed to get one up but Hamish prefered pulling it down.

On Day 7 we enjoyed some water play. We had gotten home late and so I added an extra cap of bubbles and we filled the tub with bubbles. It wasn’t long before we were throwing bubbles at each other.

Day 8 we got to move it ! move it ! I took our dance party outside as we were at the Wordcamp kids daycare fir the day.

For Day 9 I gave Hamish some chalk and we went outside to draw pretty pictures on the concrete.

Day 10 and the last Sunday of our challenge. It rained and we decided a lazy Sunday cuddling up and watching movies Hamish chose was the perfect way to end our challenge.

The simplistic activities are often the ones our children enjoy the most. These are the fun things that become part of the memories they look back at when our children raise their own.

Spending quality time, even 20 minute a day totally present with your child is important. Doing things they love allows you to connect closer to them and builds their self esteem.

If you joined our challenge I would love to hear your thoughts on the activcities.

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 babies, Crafts, preschool, preschoolers, recipes, Toddlers

How to dye pasta

Coloured pasta is very versatile. You can use it in sensory tubs or to do a vatiety of crafts.

Here is how to dye pasta

YOU NEED:

Dry pasta

Vinegar

Food coloring

Parchment paper / wax wrap

Baking tray

Instructions

For every cup of dry pasta in a bowl, pour 1 tbsp of vinegar.

Add a few drops of food coloring

Mix together until all the pasta pieces are fully coloured

Place a sheet of parchment paper/ wax wrap on the baking tray and pour the coloured pasta on top.

Lay out the pasta in an even layer and let out to dry for a few hours in the sun.

Tip – Try to not have any of the pasta pieces touching when you spread them out to dry.