Monday, 14 August 2017

Engagement celebrations!

Happy couple at Drie Berge 

I have been so excited on my Eldest behalf for a few weeks now. The boyfriend asked the parents a couple of weeks back, and we could not say anything to her!

How sweet that the boyfriend made an appointment with us when she was not around? He planned the whole engagement affair, and we as her parents were asked to join afterwards with a braai (barbecue) celebrating the good news!

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Dandy Dogs to the rescue

Our old Yorkie is living on borrowed time. He is 15 or 16 years, going on 105! He looks as cute as ever, but picking him up you can feel all the growths and moles on his body. We tried giving him away for free, but he is still with us!

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

It's a Cake Party with Play-Doh Kitchen Creation range

clay, creative
Play-Doh Kitchen Creation - Cake Party #PlayDohImagination
Hasbro has come up with another great range of creative play! Who would have thought that these little cans of Play-Doh clay can be used for so many things? The Kitchen Creation range is inspiring mini-chefs all over!

Little Miss was extremely excited when she got her box "Cake Party" last night. For once there was no whining (talking about the parents) and the homework was done in a flash! Before she started to play...

The new Kitchen Creation range consists of 13 playsets, such as Play-Doh Sizzlin’ Stovetop, Play-Doh Magical Oven, Play-Doh Frost ‘n Fun Cakes and Play-Doh Ice Cream Treats. 

Play-Doh Cake Party time is all about making imaginative cakes to celebrate any occasion, using stories, decorative cutters and tools to make the most fabulous cake creations. Little Miss loves helping out in the kitchen and this is a perfect way for her to sharpen her decorative skills. (Without leaving the kitchen in a mess! WIN-WIN)

Friday, 4 August 2017

Easy Black Bean Vegetarian Burger

It is Friday, and Friday is braai day with hamburgers! (Braai = barbecue in South Africa)
In my vegetarian adventures I have tried all the packet versions of vegetarian hamburger patties out there. Not only does it taste like carton, but my dietitian says they are very unhealthy and very fatty! It is not good for any diet!
I also get tired of mushrooms and eggplants as the go-to meal replacements for meat.

Google is such a great recipe book. Nowadays you list the ingredients that you have, and Voila! You've got tons of suggestions. The All Recipes Homemade Black Bean Veggie Burgers jumped out when I did a search for black bean burgers, and here is my take on it!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Breastfeeding until five and a half years. It's possible!

#TBT - Breastfeeding in public 
This is World Breastfeeding Week! I am still an advocate for breastfeeding as long as possible! I do believe that the nutrients our babies get are the best from breast milk that are automatically adapted to suit their age, health and even gender!

I never wrote the post about the end of our breastfeeding journey. It must be that it was such a gradual process of weaning that one day I just realized that she did not ask for it anymore. It was also sad and the end of our special bonding time! But we had five and half years, which made me forty-six-years (46) of age when we stopped. (I am putting up the numbers to see that it is possible! Older moms can do it as well!)

Monday, 31 July 2017

Celebrate Women - Young cancer survivor Jenna Skews

Twinsaver Celebrate Women in August - Jenna Skews
Twinsaver honours special Women in August with a special edition pack supporting breast cancer survivors by donating a portion of the 9-pack to charity.

The story of  one of the young survivors, Jenna Skews, hits very close to home. Our Eldest also had to deal with finding a lump in her breast. It was a big shock, as we realized that 18 year olds can get breast cancer! The first diagnoses was that is was non-malignant, and that we should not even worry. Luckily we got a second opinion, and now we know that she cannot ignore it, and needs to check it regularly. So far the fibroadenoma has not increased in size, and the hope is that it will disappear after a few years. But we cannot ignore it! It needs to be checked!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Prima Top Toys for Girls this season

Chiquita Patrizi -

Parents are allowed to get excited about toys! Yes? I was so inspired at the Prima Toys media launch last week. That's where Warren Murray spoke about dads being equal partners. The new toys that are coming to South Africa are epic!

Play is a very important part of our children's lives! Play shape them and give them a safe space to learn about life!

The upcoming blog posts will be divided into girl and boy toys, but there are also toys that both genders will definitely enjoy to play with! Of course I will be starting with toys for girls, as my little girl loves her girl toys. You can say what you want, but she's not really into cars or robots.

Monday, 24 July 2017

A fringe is as good as a holiday!

Can't wait for the haircut! - Maddy Magoo at Kids Emporium, Bedford Square
Little Miss has wanted a fringe for years! I have been reluctant, because I know it's an issue as soon as it starts to hang in the eyes. It also needs to be cut regularly.

Little Miss needed the haircut, and of course the whining about the fringe finally worked! (Yes, I know! *Rubber arm!*)

Little Miss could not stop talking about the haircut and the fringe. She was counting the days until we finally took her for the haircut at Maddy Magoo, Bedford Square. We got a free cut and blow from Kids Emporium at the Bloggers Breakfast. Maddy Magoo has opened the new store  In Bedford square in conjunction with Kids Emporium from July this year. It's in a lovely setting! Mom can browse in the Kids Emporium while the kid is entertained on a tablet/monitor while her hair is being cut! (And dad can go for a cappuccino/beer at a nearby restaurant while watching rugby!) WIN-WIN-WIN!

Friday, 21 July 2017

Dads are equal partners in parenting

Warren Murray #equalparenting at Prima Toys 2017 Media Launch
Exhibition Director of MamaMagic Baby Expo, Warren Murray, is all about equal parenting! Dads want to be involved in the whole process of pregnancy, birth and they are 100% involved in the lives of their children. That's true for most men I know. Hubby is an excellent example! Dads are not babysitters, but parents. Full stop!

Warren Murray addressed us yesterday at Prima Toys Top Toys launch of the season. It was a Christmas in July celebration. I am so excited about all the cool toys, but will break it up in a few posts to come.

Warren did not say anything we do not know already, but it was a passionate plea to set the world's record straight, and to get rid of stereotypical notions about the role of dads. Even dictionaries have not been updated yet!

A search on Google reveals the dichotomy between the words "mother" and "father".
Google search 21-7-2017: Mother
Google search 21-7-2017: Father
Dads are involved equally, not only from inception, but throughout their children's lives. Warren and his wife are actively and consciously creating moments as a family! They have found play to be a wonderful catalyst of being present in the lives of their children. Play is in the simplicity of things. It's not about the toys, but about the presence! It's not about the mom or the dad, but the partnership!

Dads are equal partners!

Does your hubby fit the bill?

Prima Toys media launch was so much fun yesterday, but we also got inspiration for the roles we play as parents!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Birthday at Hard Rock Cafe in Johannesburg - Such a treat!

We celebrated The Eldest's birthday two years back at Hard Rock Café in San Antonio. We have never been to Hard Rock Cafe in South Africa, and this year we decided it was time! It's a thing to buy a t-shirt in a Hard Rock Cafes whenever you visit a city worlwide. The Eldest has a nice collection already, and she is planning to get some more... (*Thumbs!*)

We love the vibe and the food! It's an experience. They have a kiddies menu as well.

Sandton Square

The poses!

Happy birthday with a cocktail!

Hard Rock Cafe interior! Such a treat with all the musical legends and paraphernalia

We had the Paul McCartney booth

Paul McCartney signature
And of course, the obligatory selfie with the great man, Madiba, on Sandton Square!

Nelson Mandela statue
Nelson Mandela statue on Sandton Square

Related post: A birthday at Hard Rock Cafe in San Antonio

Friday, 14 July 2017

The Smurfs are Live on Stage

#SmurfsLiveSA #PaintThePalaceBlue

We attended opening night of The Smurfs Live on Stage yesterday evening at The Theatre of Marcellus at Emperors Palace. This is an excellent show for the whole family for the holidays! And beyond!

The Smurfs are a treat, and for the parents there is the wonderful evil character of Gargamel! Let me know if you agree? I think he is the best!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Mom and daughter week

Little Miss
Winter holiday picnic
Little Miss has a three week holiday break. It's a very long break for a little girl who still has to go to school. It is Vacation School, but still... It's at school!

Mom guilt took over, and I decided to take a week (this week) with her! The plan is to relax and sleep late. We are doing it!

Things escalate each day, because she gets me to do more than I think we/I should! Yesterday I promised her a picnic, and soon we were buying sushi at Spar and going to the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens. (I was thinking of having a picnic at home...  Real mom rubber arms, it seems!)

Little Miss packed our picnic basket, and of course I had to carry a heavy basket, instead of the back-bag that I suggested to her. (Why do I do this to myself? Rhetorical question, of course!)

But I was glad we went. It's lovely in the gardens this time of the year. The succulents are in full bloom, the waterfall is full and the eagles are flying overhead.

Sushi picnic - Mom win!

I was also instructed to pack away my cellphone in my bag!
(Mom fail! Sorry, Miss, I still wanted to take the picture.) It is lovely spending time with you, and I want to remember it!

What are you doing these holidays with the little ones?

Thursday, 6 July 2017

To the Eldest

Happy birthday, K! I am so glad that you are enjoying your life, and having the best time!

May your day today be one of celebration! We are stretching it out until the weekend this year!

Thanks so much for all you are teaching us. You are the kindest and most compassionate person I know! You are always helping others! Thanks for the lovely example you are for our youngest!

Your smile and warm greeting to each and every body you meet makes it a pleasure to be around you! Stay as you are!

May this year be the best yet, and may you still go on those travels you were planning!
Boomerang back as much you want! ;-)

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

I made cupcakes, but I did not win the Grundig oven #GrundigMomoftheYear


The chance to win a Grundig multi-function oven of R8 900.00 does not come around regularly, so I was making cupcakes this past Saturday at the Johannesburg Culinary & Pastry School. The competition was run on my blog at the end of May: Mom of the year? Win a culinary experience and a chance to win a Grundig oven.

The Grundig Mom of the Year event was held at the Johannesburg Culinary and Pastry School in Johannesburg. Slaying in the kitchen is not one of my favourite pastimes, but for an oven I could break my usual misgivings.

I had such a great time working together with Brent Grung of Born Fabulous who had won the culinary experience through Tums 2 Tots Online. Luckily he's got chef skills, and that's why our cupcakes were perfect! Thanks, Brent!

Red velvet cupcakes - Jhb Culinary & Pastry School

The saved story of the day (SnapChat @karentoittoit) is uploaded.
I did not win the oven! (*sad face*)


Melissa Javan (the winner on this blog, but who could not be there), you missed out big time!

Top photo: I decorated those cupcakes and I am proud of it!

Monday, 3 July 2017

Still not sure what special family activity to do this holiday? Go see The Wonderful World of Disney on Ice!

Disney on Ice
We saw a Disney on Ice two years back, but we are absolutely in awe of the most recent production of The Wonderful World of Disney on Ice! It's better, bigger and more entertaining (for the whole family!) than we remember the previous show we saw!

Little Miss
Little Miss all excited!
Maybe it was because it was the evening just before we left for our adventure to San Antonio. Maybe it was because of our seating. The previous time we had seats high up in the air. This time we were seated to the front and more level with the ice-skating rink. Maybe it is just because it IS BETTER and just so much more entertaining! Most probably! Dad, Little Miss and I had the greatest time on Friday night!

The Wonderful World of Disney on Ice

The extraordinary lineup of Disney stories that come to life in The Wonderful World of Disney On Ice! Join Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy on a walk down memory lane with Dory, Nemo and Marlin from Disney•Pixar’s Finding Dory as well as Anna, Elsa and Olaf from Disney’s Frozen. There’s Rapunzel, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and your favourite Disney Princesses plus Buzz and Woody; Simba, Timon and Pumbaa; Jasmine, Aladdin and Genie. Make unforgettable memories as you explore The Wonderful World of Disney On Ice these July school holidays.
All the favourite Disney characters are here, and we love the most favourite snippets from our Disney shows!

If you are still not sure what to do with the kids, this is the show!

The show is still on until 9 July at Ticketpro Dome, before it moves to Durban and from there to Cape Town. It seems the tickets are flying fast on Computicket, and it is better to book sooner than later!

Facebook: Disney on Ice
Twitter:  Showtime Management
YouTube: Disney on Ice
Instagram: Disney on Ice

Disclaimer: We got tickets to the opening night, but I was not paid for this blog post.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

The Boomerang Generation

Millennials coming back home after their studies or doing it on their own. The Boomerang Generation is an apt description for older kids living with their parents! I have many friends who also have these Boomerangers back in the house! (Is that a word?)

The Eldest is still staying with us, working and doing her own thing! But living again with the family after she was a student for three years away from home. This was not the original plan, as we thought she would pack her bags and go off on adventures after her studies...

Strange how life works?!

As a mom I must say that I am grateful for this extra grace in time with my Eldest! I love that we get more time to spend with her! Of course she has grown up too fast! I love that we have this extra boomerang period!

The only drawback is that we worry more about her! (Maybe?) We know when she's out and about, and worry! We also still appreciate and ask for the messages each day of her arriving safe at work and back!

We don't know how long this will last!
But for now I will cherish this special time!

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


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.

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.