Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Working mothers - We are slaying it!


Kids Emporium Bloggers Breakfast
Janice Windt (Working Mothers Expo)
It's great to hear that we as moms are doing a great job! That working moms are super human! That we are amazing and that we as moms have tremendous value! We sometimes forget it in the thick of things, trying to get the little one to wear that extra jacket to school... Each and every day! Blah!

I was extremely fortunate to be able to attend Kids Emporium Bloggers Breakfast at Olives and Plates this past Saturday. Lauren and her team spoilt us and gave us so much soul food as well!



As far as I am concerned, it doesn't matter to me if you are a SAHM, WAHM or a FTWM, we are all "working moms"! There are ways to deal with working moms guilt, after all!

Janice Windt from Working Mothers Expo spoke to us about the value we attach to the things we do and sometimes that can be too much! We want to believe that the more we do, the more value we have! We want to believe that the time we spent will have intrinsic value regardless of what we do. But it can be too many things that we say yes to! It can be overwhelming! One of the things that working mothers struggles the most with, is time management!

Working Mothers Expo ran a recent survey:
They asked hundreds of working moms: “What is your biggest challenge?”
Without any leading information, 84% answered "Time Management".   
In another survey, which had over 1,000 working moms respond, they found that:
  • 74% of us wake up before sunrise
  • 21% of us never make our beds in the morning
  • 1 in 3 of us spend 9 or more hours at work, our day job, every day!
  • 55% of working moms only get 5-6 hours sleep on a weeknight
  • A third of us check our work email before we even get out of bed in the morning
  • 56% of us never exercise
  • 65% or moms are somewhat or very likely to swear at something in the morning – no judgement here!
Janice Windt also touched on the fact that we might still be craving the approval of our parents? It is necessary to figure out what still serves us, and to let go of the why? We are in a specific time-frame/season in our lives! We are doing it for our kids (or NOT!). We can let go of the exterior motives! We are in our own season! We can decide our intrinsic value and our intrinsic purpose!
We can reap the benefits of our own perspectives!

I am enough! 

Janice reminds us that balance does not exist! We need the stress and the challenge to do what we do and pursue our goals. But we also need to de-stress to be able to handle the stress!

Janice uses the following tools to help her cope: 

Mindjet Mind Manager to organise her life!
- Audible to listen to books while on her way.
- She also tries to go hands-free every once in a while (cellphone limits!) (Check out Hands-free Mama blog)


Working Mothers Expo has created a two-hour Time-Management Make-Over workshop.
Sign up here to be notified: Time-Management Make-over


What do you do to de-stress?


Related post: Inspiring Lauren de Swardt of Kids Emporium

Friday, 23 June 2017

Smartick app - the answer to sharpen math skills for children

mathematics

I got an invite from Smartick Method, a mathematics programme that's run online, to try out the app for free. It's available to try out for free for everybody!

Smartick is an online math learning program that uses the latest artificial intelligence to adapt to each child’s learning style. The first session tests the individual child's math knowledge. From there, each child gets their own exercises based on their own abilities and skills as they progress! It is for children aged 4 -14. Based on a daily 15-minute session, the child progresses at his or her own pace, building self-confidence, avoiding frustration, and developing a positive attitude towards math.
The program is supported by the European Union, and it is also now available in South Africa.

The Smartick Method helps to create a study habit and routine, it avoids burnout and keep children motivated and coming back for more. The recommendation is that children do it at least 5 days a week to truly experience the benefits of the program.

I am very impressed with the scope and range of the programme. It is a great way to sharpen some of the skills and knowledge that children missed during their normal school day. The claim is that 94 out of 100 children improve their calculation skills. Also that 83 out of 100 children improve their school grades in maths. This would work fantastic for homeschooling!

Little Miss got a bit frustrated and demotivated, until I was told it was because I helped her too much. Smartick did not get a true reflection of the level of skill that the child is at, and the child is not able to do the exercises. We started again, and Little Miss is having a much better experience!  She also loves creating the virtual world with extra ticks she earns each day. She is able to create her own avatar and world on the app after she has completed her maths session.

Smartick
The parent gets a daily feedback about the content that has been covered.

The parent also gets a message when the session was missed.


Try it out for free on a 15 day trial: Smartick
The pricing deals are very good when comparing it to paying for a monthly maths tutor.

Download on iOS: Smartick - Math for children
Download on Google Play: Smartick - Learn math

Please let me know what you think of the app after your children have tried it?


Disclaimer: We got an extra three months free play, but I was not paid for the review.

Monday, 19 June 2017

An ode to great Dads

Father's Day

Father's Day and fathers!

I have a great Dad! He still shows us the what a true Dad should be and we know that he loves us dearly!
Thanks, Dad, for always being there!

That's why I knew in a previous life that the dad that was being shown to us was not the correct one! I was flabbergasted, because I had such a different upbringing. But I knew it was not right! Contrary to that life, there was no issues and dramas in our house growing up. We had a Dad that worked and was there when we had anything going on at school or needed help or a taxi! He was there! (Not so with the cancelled one!)

Thanks to my Dad who was my original measure of what a Dad should be! That's why I am so thankful to Hubby who is also a great Dad to our two daughters! He is present and involved and doing his bit in the daily rat race! Thank you so much, dear Hubby!

Print-out from Parent24

Some fun facts about Dad, from Little Miss. (For posterity purposes!)

- My dad laughs when he reads something funny.
- My dad's favourite food is meat.
- Something my dad always says is I am a princess.
- My dad is good at making food.
- I love my dad because he loves me back.


We had a lovely day yesterday with the dads and sharing lunch together!
What did you do for Father's Day?

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Parenting is humbling


I have to laugh at myself and my thoughts around parenthood. The Universe has a quirky way of coming back to slap you with your own smugness.

I am the older mom with a daughter that has successfully gone through the stages of growing up and has successfully completed her studies. She is working and doing her thing! I have got the "evidence" that I rock this parenting gig! I was smug!

Ha-ha!

Unfortunately kids do not have the same manual. They are not the same!
What was I thinking?

Suffice to say that I have my thoughts around parenthood handed back to me on a silver platter! I can't do it the same as the previous time!

I am also older (and wiser) and have learnt much from parenting experts and parents around the world. That what I thought was good parenting techniques previously, is also frowned upon today!

So, although I am the older mom, I am doing it again! I am writing a new manual. And it is only for the youngest! (It is child-specific!)

And I won't judge people who struggle with parenting, and I won't judge the judgy eyes when we have the full-blown melt-down! Because I know, karma comes around!


Have you changed your parenting style over the years, since you had your first child?

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

WIN family tickets to Disney Cinderella Kids

shows, Braamfontein
Disney Cinderella Kids
The classic fairy tale being told at Peoples Theatre. 
"Poor Cinderella is endlessly mistreated by her wicked stepmother and stepsisters, and denied a chance to go to the royal ball. With a little help from her mice friends – and a lot of help from her Fairy Godmother – Cinderella’s dreams come true. She goes to the ball, meets the Prince and falls in love!"
The recommendation is that Disney Cinderella Kids as a must-see for the holidays. It is such an enjoyable show for the whole family!

The Fairy Godmother with Cinderella and The Prince

Kaylan Sabbadin, a Trinity College and Tshwane University of Technology graduate (National Diploma in Musical Theatre), plays the title role. She comes from Port Elizabeth and has been trained in singing, dance and drama. Sabbadin hopes to finish her masters in drama.

The Prince is played by Thokozani Jiyane, a versatile performing artist who received his training at the Tshwane University of Technology in Musical Theatre where he featured in Legally Blonde and 9 to 5 The Musical. Most recently he was featured in Mr Popper’s Penguins as Admiral Drake, Delivery Man and Doc Hopper.

Cinderella is “terrorised” by her two stepsisters – Genevieve Olivier (theatre credits include George's Marvellous Medicine and Pippi Longstocking - The Musical) and Tanja Franszen (a student from the School of Creative Arts in Sydney, Australia, and who has theatre credits including Perdekoop and Hoedemoles).

The stepmother and Fairy Godmother are played by Alida Senekal, who portrays the character of Petro Bam in Afrikaans soapie Binnelanders. She has featured in The Legend of King Arthur, The Enchanted Forest, Othello, The Crucible, Animal Farm, Romeo & Juliet, The 3 Musketeers pantomime, Into the Woods and Pippie Langkous at National Children’s Theatre. Her voice can also currently be heard on the programme In Die Bed Met Bibi on VIA TV.


The actors portray their characters so well that it is most enjoyable to everybody watching, not only the children. I can recommend this as a great family outing for the holidays!



 WIN

Two sets of 4 tickets each is up for grabs on the blog! Date and time to be arranged with Buz Publicity!

The rules of the giveaway:

1. Mandatory: Leave a comment on the blog telling me why you would like to see this production with your family? Include your email in the comment to be able to get hold of you.

The following 4 steps will count as extra entries:
2. Visit Peoples Theatre on Facebook, and leave me a comment to tell my that you have done it.
3. Follow Peoples_Theatre on Twitter, and leave me a comment to tell me that you have done it.
4. Visit MomAgain@40 on Facebook, and leave me a comment to tell me that you have done it.
5. Follow @karentoittoit on Twitter, and leave me a comment to tell me that you have done it.

6. This competition will run from today and will end on Friday 16 June at 12 pm. The winner will be drawn via Random.org and will be announced here and on MomAgain@40 Facebook Page.
7. This competition is open to readers who will be able to get to the Peoples Theatre in Johannesburg using their own transport.
8. The prize is not transferable.
9. If you have won here in the past 3 months you will not be eligible to win this competition.

Enjoy the Show!

Congratulations to Aidan and Marcelle for winning a set of 4 tickets each!
The email is on the way.

Wordless Wednesday #328 - Short winter days


Monday, 12 June 2017

Disney Cinderella Kids is a must-see at the Peoples Theatre

Cinderella, Disney, The People's Theatre
"So this is love – Cinderella dances her way to the People’s Theatre this holiday season!"
Disney Cinderella Kids, the most magical, theatrical show for the little ones (and the Big Ones)! We got an invite to opening night of Disney Cinderella Kids on Friday night.

This is definitely a show for the whole family! The story and characters are a delight!

Disney Cinderella Kids - Cinderella with her stepmom and stepsisters
Cinderella Kaylan Sabbadin with her ugly stepsisters - Genevieve Olivier and Tanja Sranszen and her step mother Alida Senekal

We saw a production of Disney Cinderella Kids - also at the Peoples Theatre - three years back when Little Miss celebrated her fifth birthday! It was a blast then, but I think this show is even better! There's a different spin on the classic tale and I can't decide between who makes us laugh the most; the two mean sisters or the little mice?

Luckily Cinderella still lands the Prince!

Kaylan Sabbadin as Cinderella and Thokozani Jiyane as Prince Charming  
“The timeless fairy tale is set to become a new audience favourite in Disney’s Cinderella Kids, an adaptation of the treasured animated film that will charm its way into your heart and remind audiences that A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes and really can come true,” said Jill Girard & Keith Smith, who add this production of Cinderella Kids to their 25-year repertoire.
There is nothing as exciting as waiting for the curtains to rise...


Ready with the right SnapChat filter: "Princess"

Photo-op with Cinderella

The cutest actors/mouses ever!
Cinderella Kids will run at the People’s Theatre from 5 June - 30 July.
There are two shows daily at 09:00 and 11:00 during school times, and 10:30 and 14:30 on Saturdays and public holidays, certain government school holidays and certain Sundays.
Tickets are R130 per person and bookings can be made through WebTickets, or by calling Peoples Theatre on 011 403 1563/2340 or emailing them at info@peoplestheatre.co.za

Peoples Theatre
Twitter: Peoples Teatre #CinderellaKids

Friday, 9 June 2017

Winter does not work well with SPD

SPD

Getting out of the house in the mornings is already a battle. We are all night owls and early mornings does not work well in our family. Little Miss sleeps to 9 am when left to her own devices. But if we don't leave early in the mornings, we get stuck in traffic, and... (fill in the dots!)

But winter is just so much worse. Little Miss  struggles with everything! *SPD does not work well in winter!

- It's cold. She can't get up! Her dad helps her get into a gown and slippers.
- She sits in front of the heater, struggling to put on a next layer of clothing.
- The winter clothes are all uncomfortable. From the vests to the socks and the shoes! We know why it is a fight to get her to put on her shoes, but it makes it soo difficult! It takes ages for her to get all her clothes on that it feels somewhat comfortable. And we have to convince her about each layer of extra clothing.
- Saying it is going to be cold does not help!

We are late each morning!
Sorry, Little Miss! Winter does not work on you!

We try our utmost to be patient and to help you with the clothes. We are not always succeeding and sorry for not always being patient!

It helps to be aware of it!


How do you help your little one with SPD getting dressed with all the layers of clothing?

*Sensory processing disorder


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Breaking taboos - Unembarrassing periods!

#fearless
#Unembarrassed

Libresse is breaking taboos with the Vagina Varsity and now with "Unembarrass your perod!" The Fearlessly campaign deliberately makes fun of the world's attempt to use strange metaphors when describing periods and pads!

"Worldwide, women just aren't comfortable talking about pads and periods. In South Africa's conservative society, stigma and shame about periods are entrenched. South African girls and women learn to not discuss vaginal care or associated concerns like odour control out loud and the result is that myths and health problems are common." 
                                                      - Boniswa Pezisa (Net#work BBDO South Africa CEO)
                                                                                   
                                             
We had lots of fun making our own videos on unembarrassed.co.za at the launch of Libresse's "Unembarrass your period"-campaign! Mine is here: Unembarrass your period by showing just how crazy it is when we don't say what we mean when we are talking about periods!

This campaign rings true to home as we have just embarked on our own journey of opening up the world here at home. Little Miss has lots of questions that have to be answered. We have a book that helps, but most of the time we have to be ready with the answers! I had to field questions about condoms in Dischem two weeks back. I have learnt to keep a straight face, and answer as truthfully with the correct terminology as possible. As soon as she gets the answer, she moves on to the next thing.

Libresse has had so much success with their Vagina Varsity campaign. You and your daughters can sign up here for a free four week course delivered to your inbox every day: Vagina Varsity.
Vagina Varsity success
The Libresse pad ad is also not embarrassing! Space rockets, teddy bears and saxophones are part of Libresse deliberately making fun of the world's attempt to use strange metaphors when describing periods and pads.

#fearless #unembarrassed

Live fearless!
There is so much in the world to worry about! Let's make it one thing less for our daughters!

Friday, 2 June 2017

Protect your children by not staying

Protect your children, DV, domestic violence
Keep them save from domestic violence #ChildProtection
It is National Child Protection Week this week. We hear about so many violent situations our children are subjected and exposed to. I don't even want to go there, because as a mother you can't stand it when you hear our children are getting hurt.

I also saw some domestic violence cases being reported on in social media. Of women so scared and so lonely and ostracized that they are prisoners in their own homes. I only hope that they will get the courage to leave the situation.

It is never a good idea to stay!
It is never good for the children to stay!
It always gets worse!

My plea is to all mothers stuck in this situation to get out as soon as possible. Make your plans! There will be a safe time to leave! Take your children with you! Ask for help! There will be people in your family and your community who will help you!

You don't know how frustrating it is for the people on the sidelines seeing you suffering and not being able to help! They will step up when you are ready! But they can't help you when you don't ask and when you think you can handle it on your own.

Think of your children! Is this the way you want them to grow up? Living with violence, physical and emotional?

I am so glad I left a previous life! I asked for help! I saved myself and my daughter! Things get better, much sooner than you think! Now it is only a blip in my past, and we are living a life with hope and wonder! To be afraid in your own home is not a way of life!


Would you help someone asking you to help when they are stuck in a domestic violence situation?


There are resources to contact:

Child Protection Week

POWA Get Help

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

The Entertainer app takes us to new experiences

The Entertainer app was part of the goody bag of a previous meetup of Jozi Bloggers. It was such a hit in our home, that I bought myself the app again for this year! It is R495 for a whole year, and we have already surpassed that amount through savings.

The Entertainer works on 2 for 1 deals. We have mostly used the Food & Drink option, but there are Beauty & Fitness, Attractions & Leisure, Retail & Services as well as Hotels worldwide to choose from. (Kicking myself now for not using it more! I could have!)

app

On Saturday Hubby and I got an unexpected free morning when Little Miss was elsewhere entertained. We switched on The Entertainer app which works on location and we found a quaint breakfast spot in Linden at A la Bouffe! The owner was as gracious to let us use the app for breakfast, as it states "Main Meal". (As we had used similarly at every other establishment we had visited.)


restaurant, Linden,
Al la Bouffe
I must report that we have never had an issue using the app. All the restaurants knew what it was, and accommodated us when we announced that we wanted to use the app. We usually also only announces it when we want to pay, so that it can be reflected in the invoice.

The breakfast was divine!

Vegetarian omelet

Egg and salmon breakfast
We have added a new breakfast spot with some other favourite restaurants! We would not have found it without The Entertainer!

I am also allowed to ping the offers which has enabled our working lady to also go out for a couple of dining experiences!

Now where can we go, and how much can we save on our next outing?

What have you found through The Entertainer?

Friday, 26 May 2017

Transformers Animatronics - Guess who had the most fun?

Transformers Animatronics at Emperors Palace
I had won tickets to Transformers Animatronics through South African Mom Blogs. We had SO much fun!

Little Miss also enjoyed it, but not so much the mamarazzi trying to take photos of her with every Transformer Animatronics statue or with their gadgets! (Check the photos!) I mean, how many times do you get the opportunity to pose with the Transformers?



With Bumble Bee - Transformers Animatronics





Showmax Transformers Animatronics

Finally! A Lego creation that we could not pull her way from
 A Saturday afternoon well spent! And I got the photos! (Sorry, Little Miss)

Thursday, 25 May 2017

SnapnSave app review - It helps buying the end of month groceries!

SnapnSave app

It seems SnapnSave has been around since 2015, but I only heard about it this year! Our budget has been severely stretched this year, and we had to make use of all the opportunities we can get when buying groceries.

SnapnSave is an app that allows you to pre-select your grocery list on the app, and to get cash back on each of the items. It depends on each item, but it helps.

I wanted to wait until I had redeemed my first cask-back on the app before I did a quick review. I am pleased to report that is was a quick and easy process. The cashier knew what I was talking about, and I could just punch in the code that the app generated. We got groceries worth R150 this past weekend! Total score!


I would love for there to be more products to be booked on the app. Also the weekly groceries such as bread, milk and eggs are usually all booked out. But it helps to go back just before entering the shop. Or while shopping ticking off the products!

What I have also found is that I have bought items that I would not have previously bought. I booked some items that I knew we would be able to use, and now I am sold on Quorn and Fry's pre-packaged vegan and vegetarian option, where before I would not have know about it! (For example!)

The app is free to download. The SnapnSave website has an option to enter your mobile number and they send the link of the app to your phone! All the biggest grocery stores are included, such as PicknPay, Checkers and Spar. I see on the app that a total of 1044 shops in South Africa are included.

You can use my code Karend870 to get a free R10 immediately loaded on the app when you sign up.

This is not even for the frugal of us anymore! Living expenses are out of control!


Read more here: How it works

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this review.

Related post: Five for Friday #1

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Mom of the Year? WIN a culinary experience AND a chance to win a Grundig Oven #GrundigMomoftheYear


My mom is my hero! There is nothing that makes one realize more the worth of one's own mother, until you are the mother of children yourself! My mother raised four of us! She and my dad were always there, and sat through 12 years multiplied by 4 concerts and parent evenings. After the previous week of slaying seven concerts with Little Miss I truly appreciate it!

In the spirit of Mother's Day that has just passed, and May being a month of mothers, Grundig has launched a Grundig Mom of the Year campaign.

Grundig

#GrundigMomOfTheYear will be open to all the readers of this blog that reside in the Johannesburg area. Readers will be asked to nominate their mother or a mother in their community with a write up on why they are the Mom of the Year.

The winner will be selected through Rafflecopter to win a culinary experience at the JHB Culinary & Pastry School at Maboneng worth R600,00.

I am so excited about this, because as the Blogger I will be attending the culinary experience with the winner! We will be making and decorating red velvet cupcakes! (That can't be too difficult?)

On the day of the experience, there will be a draw where all the attendees (Bloggers included) will stand a chance to win the grand prize which is a Grundig top of the line oven valued at R8 900,00.

The Grundig Multifunction oven has the following specifications. Who does not want to win this?
  • Full multifunction Oven
  • Halogen light
  • Triple glaze door
  • Removable glass inner door
  • Meat probe
  • Soft close hinges
  • Glass control panel
  • H x W x D: 660 x 730 x 580 mm
  • Black Glass

Terms and conditions:
  • This competition will run for a week and end on 31 May at 9am. The winner will be announced here and on MomAgain@40 Facebook Page.
  • This competition is open to Gauteng residents only. The winner will decide if she or her mother who was nominated will be attending. Unfortunately not both!. The winner/Mother of the Year must be able to get to the venue on their own accord.
  • The prize is not transferable.
  • If you have won here in the past 3 months you will not be eligible to win this competition. You are also not allowed to enter this same competition on another blog if you have entered here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway