Friday, 29 May 2015

We can't wait for our next box from MySmartKid



There is nothing like the allure of a package that arrives on your doorstep!

We have received our second package from My Smart Kid! I have won a year's subscription from The Mommy City in March, and Little Miss has really been enjoying opening them up and playing with the games and activity sets that's included.
Previously I could only give Mysmartkid away on the blog, but now we are getting all the fun stuff as well!


The latest box included the Jenga game, which is a really cool game for the whole family. Little Miss has been building the towers, as well as houses, and making the blocks fall like dominoes.
The Line-up game has also been a favourite for the past few days.

Jenga

A video posted by Karen Du Toit (@karentoittoit) on

It is Mysmartkid's first birthday! 
It seems they have a winning formula here!
Happy birthday, Mysmartkid!


This play-based educational initiative for children from birth to 6 years old has taken the local market by storm and revolutionised the way in which Early Childhood Development (ECD) is promoted in South Africa.  Mysmartkid has quickly become a leader in this field through its “learn through play” philosophy. The subscription programme promotes school readiness through the use of age-appropriate toys, tools and activities and was designed with the help of a panel of experts who share their professional insights and expertise.  

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Netball

Goalie


The netball season is nearly over for this year. It has been a huge learning curve for Little Miss! 

She wants to play, but complains about the heat on the field. And then she doesn't want to play any more...
I have a rule that if she said she wanted to do something, she has to stick it out for a whole year!
Most probably she will feel differently next year again...

Little Miss has had to learn about the rules the hard way last week when she was hit in the head by a ball. There was a count-down to get back in the game, but she did not want to go. When she realised that she could not go back for the second half, she was extremely disappointed, and there was a melt-down. (To the embarrassment of the parents!) She later told me she learnt her lesson, and that she did not know that the rules worked that way! She was just crying because she was sad!

I take my hat off to the schools organising these events. The logistics must be a nightmare! 

We have had four tournaments for this season, with about five school competing at the same time. (The parking around the school  is a nightmare to the parents.) They have two 12 minute sessions, before the bell goes. The children are sorted in their positions before the time, and gets their bibs according to the tags on their t-shirts. They also get a chance to play in all the positions. 

It is extremely cute watching them! In the beginning they were not even running or throwing the ball in the direction of the goalie, but were just playing to get the ball to any one of their teams on the field. They are also constantly reminded by the teachers and the parents to watch the ball. We have had to send Little Miss back in when she wanted to leave because she was thirsty or hungry! (A standard excuse, but it is more directed to the nearby tuck shop that is open while the games are on). 

They are also not keeping scores for the younger teams. But you would not say it if you watch the parents and grandparents standing next to the fields!

I am glad that the season is nearing the end. 
We have another event this afternoon! ("This too will pass!")

Monday, 25 May 2015

WIN a Winnie the Pooh soft toy


Winnie the Pooh launched on Disney Junior on DStv Channel 309 from Sunday 24 May with Springtime with Roo.

It is such a special edition, with all the characters looking forward to Spring and Easter, but Rabbit planning a special spring-cleaning session... (I hope you were able to watch it or record it for later!)

Good news is that it is starting to run with back-to-back episodes from 1 June 2015:

CET
12:30
12:45
12:55
13:20
13:45

To win one of five Winnie the Pooh soft toys, please write in the comments below about your favourite Winnie the Pooh moment with your kids.
My favourite moments are when I am reading or watching the stories with my kids. All of them!


The Eldest says her best quote is still this one. She had a poster of Winnie the Pooh quotes when she was growing up.
“What day is it?", asked Winnie the Pooh
"It's today," squeaked Piglet
"My favorite day," said Pooh”

― A.A. Milne

I will select five winners on Friday 9 am via Random.org.
(This is unfortunately only open to South African viewers.)


WINNERS: 
Jozi Wahm, Luchae Williams, Adele, Lisa Labuschagne and Elise Du Toit. 
Please send me your email that I can forward it!


Related post:

Winnie the Pooh coming to Disney Junior from Sunday 24 May - watch to win a Winnie the Pooh soft toy!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Winnie the Pooh coming to Disney Junior from Sunday 24 May - watch to win a Winnie the Pooh soft toy!

Winnie the Pooh to premiere on 24 May on Disney Junior (DStv Channel 309).
Who does not love the cute Bear who's tummy is always rumbling for honey?! I did not knew him when I was little as we did not have access to the Afrikaans translation at that stage. But I have been enjoying and reading Winnie the Pooh with both my daughters.

There's nothing quite like a Winnie the Pooh quote:
"Some people care too much. I think it's called love.” 
           “It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?”  
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Please watch the first episode Springtime with Roo at one of the following time slots to be able to win one of five 61cm Winnie the Pooh soft toy (teddy bears) next week. I will ask a question about the episode next Monday, and five people will be able to win.

(Open to South African readers only)

Disney Junior (DStv Channel 309):
Sunday 24 May
Springtime with Roo: 10:25 – 11:15 (Premiere)
Sunday 24 May
Springtime with Roo: 15:30 – 16:25 (Premiere)

Monday 01 June 2015: 
Back-to-back episodes will be running

 CET
12:30
12:45
12:55
13:20
13:45

Did you know the following about Winnie the Pooh?

10 Facts about Winnie The Pooh:

1.  Winnie the Pooh was brought to life on Christmas Eve in 1925 when the first Pooh story, written by AA Milne, was published in the London Evening News. (Source: approved factsheet)

2. The story was based on a bedtime story read by AA Milne to his son, Christopher Robin. (Source: approved factsheet)

3. The first Winnie the Pooh book, simply named Winnie the Pooh, was published in October 1926. Now We Are Six followed in 1927 and House at Pooh Corner was published in 1928. (Source: approved factsheet)

4. A first edition of Winnie the Pooh was sold for $13,200 at Christie’s of New York on 18 November 1988. (Source: The Brilliant Career of Winnie the Pooh by Ann Thwaite)

5. Having been published in October 1927, Now We Are Six sold 94,000 copies in England by Christmas that year, overtaking the original Winnie the Pooh story. (Source: The Brilliant Career of Winnie the Pooh by Ann Thwaite)

6. After 80 years of friendship and adventure, Winnie the Pooh has become a worldwide favourite with mothers and children of all ages, with near universal familiarity among mothers with children aged 2-5. (Source: approved factsheet)

7. The characters in AA Milne’s stories are based on toys once owned by his son. The original stuffed toys are now kept in New York Public Library. (Source: approved factsheet)

8. The original Pooh bear was bought in Harrod's department store and given by AA Milne to his son Christopher Robin on his first birthday, 21 August 1921. He was called Edward Bear at the time.  (Source: www.nypl.org, New York Public Library website)

9. Christopher Robin named his stuffed bear Winnie the Pooh after a Canadian bear that his father took him to see at London Zoo (Winnie) and a swan near the family's country home (Pooh). (Source: approved factsheet)

10. The Canadian bear at London Zoo got her name from the Canadian town of Winnipeg and was taken to London Zoo on a long loan in 1914 by Harry Colebourn, a soldier in the First World War. (Source: The Brilliant Career of Winnie the Pooh by Ann Thwaite)

Friday, 15 May 2015

A Nickolodeon Festival coming to Silverstar in June #NickFest


Nickelodeon (DStv channel 305) is teaming up with Tsogo Sun and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust to stage its first ever family-centric festival, NickFest, in Johannesburg at The Globe at Silverstar on Saturday 13 & Sunday 14 June.

Nickelodeon has been a firm and "save" (with regards the content) favourite in our house since Little Miss was small. She loves all the characters!

This festival partners with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust by way of The Celebrity Slime Challenge! Well-known celebrities will get doused in slime to raise funds for the charity, which is currently constructing the second paediatric hospital in Parktown, Johannesburg.

The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital began construction in April 2014, and is targeted to open in the second half of 2016. The Trust continues to fundraise towards its R1 billion target, of which R620 million has been raised. NickFest will donate 10% of the ticket funds to the Trust.


NickFest will showcase live music from SA A-listers, character shows (at 10:00 am and 14:00 pm) and appearances by Nickelodeon superstars SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There will be designated activities for pre-schoolers, primary school kids, tweens and teens. The best of all: There will lots of Nickelodeon’s trademark slime – tons and tons of gooey green stuff…in the awesome Slime Area! (I don't know if it's good news to Moms?)

Tickets have already gone on sale from 11 May via Computicket, priced R110 pp (children under two for free)

For more information on NickFest please go to www.nickelodeon.com

Twitter @NickAfrica
Instagram @Nickelodeon_Africa
Facebook NickelodeonAfrica

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Tips for travelling to the USA with children


Kathleen Taylor (aka KatinAfrica from East Coast Life), promised me a few tips on travelling with kids to the USA on my blog post about What kind of tourist are you? As we are planning our own upcoming trip, these tips are really great to keep in mind! Thanks, Kathleen!


My brother lives in the USA and I have been lucky enough to visit him twice since I had children. Before I had kids, packing took ten minutes and I was happy to arrive at the airport with just minutes to spare before take-off. Now life involves planning and this is especially true of an international trip. Luckily the USA is one of the easiest countries in the world to travel to. They speak English and as a general rule, kids love American food. 

So here are a few tips I have learnt on our USA travels:

1. Chose the airline that you are going to fly with very carefully. America is a long (very long) flight from here. We have always chosen to fly via Europe. The long flight is overnight and the shorter hop across the Atlantic is during the day. You don’t want a long day time flight with small   people, I promise you that they will go crazy. Sleeping kids allows you the time for a movie, dinner in peace and a glass of wine. Make sure that they have back-of-seat TV’s and a selection of kid’s shows and movies. Your tablet will not last the whole flight and charging places tend to be limited in economy. Airlines that provided backpacks filled with toys, get extra stars. Check online for airline reviews and make sure that they are child friendly. As a general rule, the more things the airline offers for kids, the more kid friendly they are. Book the kid’s meal as they always get fed first. In my experience Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Lufthansa are awesome. Emirates is great but the 14 hour flight from Dubai to New York is very long for small children.  Avoid our national carrier like the plague.

2. In the USA, most airlines offer kids under 5 fly for free, ride buses for free and can get into a number of attractions for free. Restaurants often have deals that allow kids under 12 to eat for free as long as an adult is buying a meal. Google the area that you are visiting for kid friendly deals. 

3. Almost every hotel has family rooms that sleep 4 and they are often the same price or only slightly more expensive than a standard room. This makes travel with small kid’s very budget friendly. This works for as long as your kids are willing to share a room with you. 

4. Self-catering places are known as vacation homes and they are often very budget friendly for families if you plan to stay in an area for a few nights. Check out Air Bnb for ideas. 

5. Food is generally purchased in bulk containers at their supermarkets. Buy some resealable plastic bags and decant snacks and other foods. Food is cheap and the variety is huge. You will be amazed by all the kid friendly foods like Goldfish Crackers and string cheese. It is harder to find healthy food but it is there. Check out places like Trader Joe’s and Wholefoods. 

6. Hit the outlet malls. You can buy Gap, Gucci and other big brands for the same price as you would pay for Ackermans or Mr Price here. I go big and buy my kids clothes for the next two years. You should of course treat yourself and have a massive shopping spree. 

7. If you have the time and the funds, go to Disney World. Your kids will love you for it. Disney World would have to be a whole separate post but it really is worth it. The tickets are expensive but there is nothing quite like it. 

8. Let your kids eat McDonalds, Dennys and all the other junk. You are on holiday!!

9. Pack snacks and bottles of juice and water for your days out. Food and drink is very expensive at most attractions. The great part is that most attractions will let you take your own food and drink in.

10. Try to limit your trip to one or two States, depending on the length of your holiday. America is huge in a way that we just can’t comprehend. You will not be able to see everything that you would like to see in one trip. 

Enjoy your trip and most importantly relax. When you travel with kids, you can’t run around seeing things all day. They get tired quickly, so break up the day with swims, naps and calm activities. 



Photo from h3dwallpapers

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

A snippet of our lives - sharing on social media #JoziMeetup



I am constantly being told to take photos of things, but not so much of her any more. 
Only some days...

Here's a food face she wanted me to capture!
It was a win-win! I got her to eat some fruit, and she could use her creative energies!


I loved what Marcia Francois  (The 123 Blog, Organising Queen) said at the most recent JoziMeetup about sharing on social media:

We should always realise the place of social media in our lives. 
Social media sharing is only a short snippet of a life!

Real life moments happen in between social media snippets!

Social media is not life!


It's a good reminder!

(This picture does not show the tantrum that went before, nor does it show the disorder in our house because she has been building houses with chairs and blankets...)


Related post:

Monday, 11 May 2015

A beautiful living #JoziMeetup

@TheBubHub 
I am never disappointed when I attend a bloggers' meeting. The most recent JoziMeetup on Saturday was a real treat in meeting other bloggers as well as getting three inspirational talks that gave me lots to think about!

A special thanks to the two ladies who makes this possible: Heather Step (SAMomBlogs; One Step at a Time) and Laura Le Roux (Harassed Mom)! We appreciate you efforts and getting those lovely goody bags together!

Heather Step and Laura le Roux
The lovely Bub Hub at Broadacres
The three speakers were a good mix of focusing on our wardrobes, our skin and making a beautiful life!

Nastassja Petersen (MrsRog√©ro), a fashion and style guru, told us about tricks of illusion dressing. The peplum cut demonstrated here hides much of problem tummy area. 

Nastassja Petersen


Marcia Francois (The 123 Blog, Organising Queen) knows it is possible to design a beautiful life. The secret to a beautiful living lies in intention and purpose. It starts with determining ones values, and to align that with priorities in one's life!

The secret: 1. Values - 2. People - 3. Other things

People should always be chosen over things!

Marcia Francois

A photo posted by Karen Du Toit (@karentoittoit) on

Melanie Frost of  Mama Mio Skincare (@MamaMioSA) told us more about winter skin and how to look after it in winter. She is also very excited about recent developments in skincare which are made possible by technology. We can get back the elasticity in our skins! (Good news to me!)

Melanie Frost
The goody bag is great!

Stationary by Gumtree (name tags, bags, agenda, notebook, pen)
Mama Mio cream sample
Amway: Artistry skin refinisher, lip gloss, lipstick, hand & nail cream
Mascara: Stage Line Professional Make Up - 27 Red
NUK sippy cup
It seems I am also in a winning streak, and won a gift voucher of R500 from Just Cruizen Woman's Clothing Shop at Broadacres Shopping Centre. I had no problem in redeeming it for this wonderful jacket! 

Just Cruizin
It was also great meeting up with fellow bloggers, and nice to put some more faces to the blogs!
My blog list is growing again!

Totally divine Contreau mixes made possible by
Butterknife PR (@Butter_KnifePR)

Friday, 8 May 2015

I know what I want for Mother's Day!

New Mac Notebook
I have a new focus on my Vision Board. The New Mac Notebook was revealed last night, and I had the good fortune to hold it in my hands.

New MacBook reveal at the iStore last night
It's super thin 13.1 mm, very light 0.9 kg and has a 12-inch retina display!
It's got stunning specs, but I was amazed at how light and shiny it is. There is an option between dove grey, silver or gold colours. (The gold one gets my vote!)



I can picture myself taking this everywhere. As you all know that I LOVE my iPad, and that I take it everywhere with me, but there are still some things you can't do with an iPad.
The new Mac Notebook will definitely be great to have to be able slip in my handbag, and take it along as well as it apparently also got super long battery life!

The Reveal Film gives a better idea of how beautiful it is, but I suggest you go to the nearest iStore this weekend to hold one in your hands!

As I know that I have a less than zero chance to get one now - the Dutwats-family is super broke, AND we are trying to save for that upcoming US tour - I can still drool over it!
It's first on my Vision Board of gadgets that I want!
It will be my gift to myself! (Promise!)

----------

For Mother's Day on Sunday I am looking forward to spend the weekend with my family. On Sunday we will be spending it with my parents and an aunt who's also been a second mother to me and to the daughters, at a restaurant. The ultimate treat for us as mothers!

I am grateful for the great mother that I have, and grateful being a mother to two daughters who are bringing me so much joy!
(We will be missing The Student who won't be able to make it for the weekend!)


What are your plans for Mother's Day, and what do you want as Mother's Day gift?


Disclaimer: No, I was not given a new MacBook! (*crying*) 
                 Or asked to write anything, or got anything for writing this! 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

What kind of tourist are you?



We got our visas approved for our overseas tour to America in June! *Happy dance!*

I stressed about all the paperwork, and we went in with four complete files proving that we have work here, with bank statements, letters from my brother, from work and from school. And more...

They did not ask for one single thing. They only wanted to know where we are going, what our occupations are (of course she wanted to know what an "archivist" is), and how we are going to pay for it.
Luckily we could say that we are going to stay with my brother.

It is a relief to finally being able to focus on planning the touristy things!

I am Googling all the free things (with kids) we can do, because our ZAR is worth nothing when converted!
Any suggestions about San Antonio in Texas?

That's why I immediately completed a questionnaire from Flight Centre in my Inbox today: "What kind of tourer are you? 
[Unfortunately it is not available on the web, but if you send me your email, I will be happy to forward it to you.]

I got the following result:
"You are a Youth Tourer!
This is for the young and the young at heart! Party like a rock star in the Greek Islands, leave what happens in Vegas in Vegas, or explore the exotic beaches of South East Asia. You make every minute of your holiday count with the coolest sights, activities and places to go specially selected so that you get all the best parts of each country you visit. You believe life is about making memories, visiting inspiring places and living in the moment."

You can also go and do the following quiz from The Science Channel: What kind of tourist are you? 

This quiz got the following result:
"34 - 66 Proceed with CautionColumbus you're not, but you definitely like to get away from time to time. You appreciate the comforts of home even when you're on the road. Not that we're saying there's anything wrong with that."


Please share what kind of Tourer (not an actual word for tourist?) are you?  


Photo: taken in Publicity on Friday at Silverstar while we were on our date night for our anniversary.


Disclaimer: I am very excited about finally going on an overseas tour. (You will probably see some more touristy things here.)
I was not paid to mention Flight Centre.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

11 years of fun


I cannot believe that eleven years have passed so quickly.


Thank you to a wonderful husband

- Being there for us.

- Being a wonderful husband to me.

- Being a great dad to our daughters.

- Doing your share in everything that's needed to be done. All the mundane nitty gritty that needs to be done to keep a family afloat!

- Thanks for the great food you make every day! (It deserves a special mention!)

- Taking the stress for all of us.

- For taking us on adventures, and being always game for new ones!


You make me looking forward to the next eleven years!
Thank you!

I am the lucky one!