Friday, 20 October 2017

35 Smiles in 35 Days - Here's how you can help Operation Smile SA

Operation Smile South Africa
Operation Smile #35MilesIn35Days
Operation Smile is doing wonderful life affirming work! I love to hear about children getting their smiles! Ever since a friend got involved with Smiles for Kinshasha, I have been applauding the work that they do!

The new campaign #35SmilesIn35Days is in support of those suffering from cleft lip and palate conditions. It has also been created in support of the global campaign Until We Heal and celebration of Operation Smile 35th year.

See the campaign #35SmilesIn35Days video 

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Dog dynamics in the family

dog dynamics
Camera shy beloved dog PP
It seems that this dog do not feel the loss of our Yorkie Benji like we do!
We feel the empty space...
(Maybe not Hubby...)

But Petite Peu is having her best life! She slept the winter with the Eldest on her bed, but pretty soon she was waking her up to come and sleep on our bed. She's been playing musical beds. When we get up in the mornings, she goes and snoozes with the youngest until it's time for Little Miss to get up.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

A Quick Corn Bread recipe in the spirit of Disney Cookabout Season 2

Quick Corn Bread with Amasi
(Disney Cookabout Season 2)
Season 2 of Disney Cookabout started on Saturday Disney Channel (DStv Channel 303) on Saturday 14 October.

In sharing the excitement, Disney Africa send us a basket with all the ingredients (except the egg) to make a Quick Corn Bread. In true African spirit, the ingredients included Amasi (Very popular in South Africa: A fermented milk that tastes like cottage cheese or plain yogurt).
I am not familiar with baking with it, but came up with three uses over the past weekend. It works very well with vegetarian dishes!

Monday, 16 October 2017

I know I am not the only one worried about car seats for older kids...

Be Safe car seat
Thumbs up for a new car seat - BeSafe iZi Up X3 #CarseatFullstop
It sometimes feels like nobody cares about car seats when kids grow older! We have had to deal with Little Miss as well, whose whole peer group seems to go without car seats and happily sits in front with their parents!

We have had to deal with Little Miss being bullied about using a car seat, and this year I have had to insist again each time when other kids ride with us that they strap in. I always tell them that I don't want to be the one that tells their parents they flew past us through the window because they were not strapped in! They have to strap in before I drive off!
CarseatFullstop logo

I have been following Mandy-Lee Miller's CarseatFullstop campaign, and it makes me even more aware of how vulnerable our children are when cars collide. The statistics are scary!

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Holiday survival products

Holiday survival beauty products

As much as I love holidays at the coast, it does not do my skin and complexion very well. I tend to break out in spots. My hair goes frizzy! My skin also burns immediately. I go blood red, and after that my skin starts peeling. This year I only spend two hours in the sun. I had sunscreen on my face and arms, but thought that my legs would be okay without sunscreen. Big mistake... (Don't you think I should know by now?) I am still peeling two weeks later!

Little Miss also struggles with her eczema, and we had to look after her feet very well. It dries up underneath her toes especially, and cracks open in sores. We still haven't found the magic formula to take it away completely, but the Oh So Heavenly Cream has been a lifesaver!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

The Child Friendly App - we found two great spots in Ballito

South Africa, places to go, things to do
Child Friendly SA

I think I heard about the Child Friendly SA Mobile app on Twitter.  I downloaded it especially for our trip to Ballito as it was the first time that we were going to be on holiday there!

The weather did not play along each day, but you will never hear me complain. It is on these days that we try to explore and get to know the local places and entertainment spots! As we had Little Miss who would gladly have stayed watching Disney Junior all week long, we had to make sure that she also wanted to go on the excursions. We also searched for places nearby, as our budget were low, and we did not want to spend hours on the road.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Safe travels, Ouma Violet!

Violet Virginia Theunissen 
Our Ouma finally took her leave from this earth. She was 96 years!

Finally, because it could not have been that comfortable to still be here. The eyes and the hearing were not good anymore, and she was confined to her bed and a chair. Her children and grandchildren are scattered, and could not visit her often. Luckily she had her daughter nearby!

She also had the angels looking after her at the old age home in eMalahleni. We saw Cecilia again at the gratitude service on Friday, one of the many angels looking after the frail. Ouma Violet used to call her her mother. Even till the end, says Cecilia!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Help save baby rhinos AND learn children about saving for a charity

rhinos, rhinoceros
Rhino Coin Bank

Prima Toys and the Wildlife Act have come together to support the rhino with a great campaign. Buy a cute cuddly rhino coin bank  and save rhinos 'twice'! The rhino coin bank is great as a present! It is also a good initiative to teach children about saving for a cause!

Prima Toys donates R10 back to the Wildlife Act for every rhino coin bank purchased. The Wildlife Act funds various organisations that care and feed baby rhinos. In conjunction with this the saved money can be donated back to the Wildlife ACT – through their ‘Donations’ portal.
Prima Toys is also donating 10 x Toy Hamper prizes in a ‘Lucky Draw’ competition to five boys and five girls who make a donation through the GivenGain website.

Monday, 2 October 2017

5 Reasons why Ballito is the best holiday spot ever

holiday, vacation, travel
Ballito beach 
We had a great time at the North Coast. Of course we could not really afford it, and of course it was not at the opportune time, but we took it! And it was wonderful!

My parents have the timeshare, and usually you can't go during the peak holiday season. It gobbles too much points! Luckily Little Miss only had a week left, and they were finishing off at school already the previous week! I know we won't be able to do it for many more years to come...

I got a little bit back from SARS, and my husband's salary paid in just in time! Shew! Tight times, but the universe aligned! October is going to be lean, but at least we can say we had a GREAT holiday! ;-)

Ballito is one of the best holiday spots there is. We have never been to Ballito, only to Umdloti. Of course I now want to pack my bags and go in stay in Ballito forever! ;-)

Friday, 22 September 2017

Wishes for Benji

Benjamin last night

We had to let our Benjamin Yorkie boy go last night! Our furry dog has gone to a better place! That we believe!

My Benji Boy, we are missing you so much! Even your embarrassing accidents, and running out of the door at the speed of light...

But you were not healthy and we could see you were struggling. You must have been 15 going on 120 already. Your legs were buckling under you. The vet says you had no more blood pressure. You were not eating, although you still did not say no to a morsel from our plates. You stopped drinking water. Maybe your bad teeth caught up with you? We don't know, but we could see all was not well anymore. You were sleeping most of the time! You were a bundle of hair with skin and protruding bones and lots of growths.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Chickpea Tikka Masala recipe

Easy Chickpea Recipe for vegetarians

The end of the month cupboard scratching catches us sooner rather than later each month! When you find a can of chickpeas in your cupboard, a half cup of cream and a half tin of All Gold Tomato Puree... This is what you do! Google recipes always comes to the rescue!

I found this [Vegan] Easy Chickpea Tikka Masala at The Iron You. Of course we got creative with some of the ingredients (or lack there-of).

Thursday, 14 September 2017

The signs are here: Little Miss is a Tween

Miss, Tween, Tweener
Tweener Miss
Little Miss has grown so much this year. She has been slaying the dragons, beginning in a new school. It was an issue to make new friends, but she finally has a very special friend. It's strange how they all want that special BFF!

We are seeing signs of her becoming more independent, and the Tween that is emerging. And Mom and Dad winces because the precious years of baby and toddler is long forgotten! (Too soon, I tell you *sic*)

Signs of the preadolescence, the Tween

Not scientific, but from a mom's perspective. 

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Inspiring Melanie Jacobs leaving footprints

Footprints of Faith
Melanie Jacobs

I have met a most inspiring person through my future son-in-law. She's his sister, and she has a great story to tell. After reading her story, you will understand why footprints are such an important part of her message! Although she has physical limitations, she is a model, motivational speaker as well as a role-model to girls!

Questions to an inspiring woman

Overcoming obstacles against all odds

Monday, 11 September 2017

Beneath African Skies at The Peoples Theatre - take the whole family!

Beneath African Skies - Photo op

Jill Gerard and Keith Smith are responsible again for a wonderful engaging and entertaining production at the Peoples Theatre!

We were invited to opening night on Friday, and Little Miss had a ball! The African stories are so much fun, especially when the actors ask for willing participants! All the children wants to join in! We love the music which is all well-known to the big ones and the little ones!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Disney Life & Style Exhibition

Disney 2017 Showcase
There is nothing as exciting as the annual Disney Showcase. There is so much we can look forward to in the coming year from Disney. This year Disney Africa paired it with a Life and Style exhibition, featuring the best international fashion and living collaborations and inspirations!

I am sharing some of the photos from the event at the inspirational The Tin Factory venue on Thursday!

I want it all, of course!

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Meh... It's Spring again! Things that are going to change...

Spring is in the streets 
The title is one about dichotomy! Yay! It's Spring!
Meh... It's Spring again and nothing has changed!

As excited as one can be about Spring! It is time for regeneration and spring-cleaning! I love Spring AND Summer! It also seems that we have jumped straight into summer as the temperatures are high already!

We can't complain!


Thursday, 31 August 2017

Tomato and Baby Marrow Tian - All Gold recipe

Baby marrows with All Gold Whole Peeled Tomatoes
I am always in search of a twist on a vegetarian dish. We bought a box full of extra large baby marrows the previous week, and it had to eaten before it got wasted! I found this on the All Gold website. I adjusted it according to our own ingredients.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

My Little Pony on a Friendship Tour of South Africa

My Little Pony Friendship Tour SA
Applejack - My Little Pony

I don't think we can ever get enough of My Little Pony. They are all about magic and friendship! But most of all, they are just cute!

I love the fact that all of them represent an element of harmony that helps share important friendship values. Knowing girls and the importance they place on their friends, it is values that needs to be echoed to them!

Monday, 28 August 2017

POWA - there's an app for helping you get out of a dangerous situation

app, People Opposing Women Abuse
There is nothing as frustrating than knowing about a person who is stuck in an abusive relationship, and can't seem to make the decision to quit. There is nothing that friends and family can do before she calls on them to help her. Most of the time the reasons why you should not stay is more, but it is very difficult to see it in that situation! We also do not protect our children by staying, but by moving out!

Shaney at You baby and I wrote such a powerful story about women abuse and how terrible afraid they are for a woman in their family. They can't do anything because she is staying! I also know of a women who feels she is stuck, but her children and friends are standing ready to help her.

Just ask!


Friday, 25 August 2017

Women in Business - Jessi Low from Boss Babes

Women in Business
Jessi Low  from Boss Babes International
Women in Business - Empowering stories for Women's Month! Who does not love hearing about a successful woman? One of the guest speakers at the Nu Skin conference a while ago is the lovely Jessi Low. She is one of the Nu Skin success stories who has expanded her business internationally in a very short period of time. She and her partner are building their businesses on network marketing and the wonderful term "attractive marketing".  Just looking at her Facebook and Instagram feeds proofs the point!

I was sitting at the same table as Jessi at the Nu Skin Conference and asked her to answer some questions.

Questions to a Female Entrepreneur: Jessi Low

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

It's all Heroes at Prima Toys for Boys this season!

Prima Toys for Boys #primatoptoys

The toys for boys are very exciting this year! Prima Toys has some cool superheroes to check out!
I have already done a blog post about Prima Top Toys for Girls this season, and these are some of the most RAD toys for boys! I am sure the girls will also like to play with some, such as the Omnitrix device. See below!

Friday, 18 August 2017

Women in Business - Empowering stories for Women's Month

Mandy Blignaut

The Financial Mail Private Lounge at Emperor's Palace, in association with Nu Skin, had a conference two weeks back in celebration of Women's Month. The theme was Women in Business. It was extremely inspiring to hear the success stories of female entrepreneurs. I was sitting with so many vivacious inspiring ladies who are doing it for themselves!

There is no reason why you can't become your own boss!
There is no reason you can't have the lifestyle you desire! (You see! The talk rubbed off on me! ;-) )

Check out Nu Skin if you want to do it for yourself, if you have lost your job, or if you want a more flexible arrangement when you have kids. It seems it is possible to get it all! Nu Skin is an international company who provides all the backup for entrepreneurs. It does not seem like it's easy, but it is definitely possible!

I met Mandy Blignaut and asked her to answer a few of my questions. She has a Facebook Group The Velvet Vault where she drives her business from.

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