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 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.

Posted in babies, Life with my bears, preschool, preschoolers, recipes, Toddlers

How to make Pirate bananas

Each year on the 19 September we celebrate International talk like a pirate day.

To celebrate this year Hamish dressed up in his pirate mask and ran around shouting “Arrrr! Me matey!” as he pretended to be Jake from the Neverland Pirates before we settled down to a breakfast of Pirate bananas.

Pirate bananas

I hear you asking what a pirate banana is….

It is simply a banana with pirate face drawn onto it. I saw one online somewhere and it has stuck with me.

Hamish loves them.

To make your own

To make your own you will need :

Bananas

A piece of cloth or serviette as a bandana ( I used Johnson & Johnson baby wipes)

A black permanent marker

To make up

Draw your pirates face onto the top half of the banana.

Fold your material to form a triangle and tie on.

These make a really cute lunch box suprise or party favour.

Hamish, being just short of 3 years old decided of course, that I wasn’t allowed to break the face when opening the banana.

Have to love a preschooler 🤦‍♀️

Posted in Cape Town - Things to see & do, Family Life, Parenting, preschoolers, Toddlers

50 budget friendly fun holiday activities to keep the kids busy.

It’s the holidays and you have 2 weeks to keep the kids busy.

Whilst there are many amazing and wonderful programs, workshops and activities for the kids, often there are also parents who just can not afford to use these options as they exceed the budget.

Here’s my list of 50 budget friendly things you can do with the kids these holidays.

  1. Perform a puppet show
  2. Make magazine collages
  3. Play board games
  4. Have a bubble bath or fill a small plastic pool with bubbles
  5. Have a dance party
  6. Listen to an audio book or make your own by recording a book you read
  7. Make paper chains
  8. Build a blanket fort
  9. Make box cars, boats or houses
  10. Bake together
  11. Play dress up
  12. Go to the library
  13. Play a card game
  14. Build puzzles
  15. Blow bubbles
  16. Have an indoor picnic
  17. Go on a scavenger hunt
  18. Be superheroes with homemade capes made from towels
  19. Draw or paint a picture
  20. Start a scrapbook
  21. Make a video of your child singing or saying a poem
  22. Make paper aeroplanes
  23. Make and play with playdough
  24. Make friendship braclets
  25. Play with balloons
  26. Make your own musical instruments
  27. Paint each others faces
  28. Watch a movie
  29. Play hopscotch
  30. Have a tea party
  31. Make a car wash for toy cars
  32. Have a foam fight outside
  33. Make mud pies
  34. Finger paint
  35. Play in puddles
  36. Play hide and seek
  37. Go on a nature walk
  38. Plant flowers and start a garden
  39. Make shadow puppets
  40. Build a shoe box city
  41. Paint rocks
  42. Play charades
  43. Write letters to friends and family
  44. Write it tell a story
  45. Learn new songs or rhymes
  46. Read a book
  47. Build Lego towers
  48. Make a toy hospital and let your child be the doctor
  49. Run races or have an indoor obstaclean course
  50. Cuddle up and say I love you

How ever you choose to spend the holidays may then be full of love and memories.

Posted in babies, Family Life, Family Time, Parenting, preschoolers, Toddlers, Tweens & Teens

School Holiday challenge … Day 3

Sunday’s are family days. A time to connect and spend time together.

One of the easiest ways to do that is to get outdoors. Put on those Takkies and take the family for a walk. This is both healthy and fun.

A fun way to make this more exciting is to challenge the kids to a nature hunt.

A nature hunt is a list of items they need to find in your back garden, the park, or on your stroll through your neighbourhood.

Try to make your list relevant to your childs age and abilities. For example a little child may just look for a flower, whereas an older child can be asked to find a specific flower like a rose, sunflower or lily.

Here are some examples of a few fun nature hunts.

( photo credit unknown or on image .)

Make your own

Take a piece of paper or card. Draw or list a few items you want your child to collect.

Give your child the list and a marker to pick off each item found.

Just for fun

You could also divide into groups and see who finds the items fastest.

Happy hunting mammas.