Tuesday, 12 December 2017

The Beach at The Mall of Africa - put it on your Staycation list!

The Beach at Waterfall Park - The Mall of Africa
We have The Beach in Gauteng! We are sorted this year! We don't even have to have FOMO when we see beach pictures on our feeds. This year we can also write the YOLO. It is summer and it is hot in Gauteng, but luckily The Mall of Africa has us sorted!

We were invited to The Beach at Waterfall Park at The Mall of Africa on Saturday. Our Miss did not want to leave. But we will go back! At the price of R25 entrance it is well worth going for a day (or more)!

This is on my Staycation list!



Monday, 11 December 2017

The Magic of Emperors Palace Garden of Lights

Emperors Palace kick-starts the festive season with the dazzling Garden of Lights
Christmas Lights! There's nothing that kick starts the festive season better than Christmas Lights! Emperor's Palace has switched on their magic Garden of Lights for the tenth time this year.

Best of all! You spread kindness by going! The proceeds from the R25 entrance fee will be donated to The Cancer Association of South Africa, and the Peermont Childrens and Education Trusts. Children under two go in for free, and a family of five only pays R100.

This is the first time we saw the Garden of Lights! It is well worth the drive to Emperors Palace if you are not staying nearby! The Garden of Lights was switched on on Thursday night, and the night was perfect at the Peermont D’oreale Grande Hotel gardens. The rain gave us a little break to have a wonderful unforgettable experience!
Emperors Palace sunset

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Questions to the nearly 9 year old

Miss faces
It's been a year, and it's always good to sneak in a few questions to our daughter. There's some "Ah-hah" and some "Really?".

She's been with me at work for the first day of school holidays, and she's managed to use up 4G of my 5G dongle before lunch. Now she is tasked in making me a picture for my office, and I try not to look at the mess... (This is going to be a long 6 weeks!)

Monday, 4 December 2017

Happy birthday to the best Dad!



To the best Dad in the whole wide world! Happy birthday!

You are the best Dad!
We appreciate you so much!

A car seat with built-in airbags - Maxi-Cosi sets a new standard

blog drop, A Little Something, #maxicosisa
A Little Something blog drop #maxicosisa
Once a new standard has been set, it is difficult to go back to the old way of doing things. I have not thought about car seats for children with airbags, but now, of course, it is the ONLY thing to focus on! It's the future, and that's where all car seats should be!

I was invited to the launch of the Maxi-Cosi car seat with built-in airbags, at MamaMagic at the Ticketpro Dome. Warren Murray, Exhibition Director of MamaMagic SA, introduced the new technology!

Warren Murray introducing the Maxi-Cosi car seat with airbag technology

Friday, 1 December 2017

Kindness Online

Kind
I am a subscriber to the Screenagers Movie newsletters. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I definitely want to in the future. It is a movie that all parents should watch. The impact of screens on our children's lives are not yet fully understood, and the consequences will only be comprehended much later... We hope it won't be too late. See the trailer below.

As much as I am an advocate for the use of technology and how much it is enhancing our lives, I am also aware that we should control this tool and not the other way round!

The latest newsletter is about encouraging small acts of kindness online! As it is the month of kindness, and kind is my word of the year, I love this idea! Sometimes you don't know how to be kind! Is it only the money I give at the robot (traffic light), or are there other ways in my daily life to be kind?  How do I teach my children to be kind online?


Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Kindness for Christmas: Consider Maitland Cottage Children’s Orthopaedic Hospital

Thundafund

Christmas is a time for giving and being kind. This is the one thing in our lives where we have control. Being kind, and spreading the kindness. I am so glad I have chosen KIND as my word of the year. It has helped me to focus in uncertain times. Maybe I will keep it for 2018 as well?

If you are still unsure about where to spread your kindness this season, there is this campaign you can get behind. 

A Christmas campaign has been set up on Thundafund for Maitland Cottage Children’s Orthopaedic Hospital. The campaign aims be to buy a Christmas present for each of the 85 children at the hospital, as well as one big present for the hospital.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Festive Giveaway with the Bring Disney Home Campaign

Bring Disney Home
Disney and holiday cheer! Disney and fun! Disney and magic! We have already started a Christmas movie binge-watching tradition this year. The whole family is re-living Disney memories or experiencing them for the first time!

Disney’s Bring Disney Home retail campaign started from 13 November already. It will run until 31 December at all major retailers.

"With Disney’s seasonal cheer hitting stores, expect to see some brand-new Disney friends as well as some firm favorites -  from the brand new Disney Emoji range to your favourite princesses, there’s toys, apparel, games, DVD’s and so much more, a perfect gifting solution the whole family."

To celebrate the festive cheer, Disney Africa has given us one stunning Princess hamper valued over R1000 to give away!

Friday, 24 November 2017

Chilli Non Carne - a great vegetarian dish

Chilli Non Carne with roosterkoek
I have been following Mary-Ann Shearer for many years. Ever since her first book, The Natural Way, hit the shelves more than 30 years back. I believe she has the recipe for health! She is the ultimate health guru! (I am a fan! You probably can tell!)) I have signed up for her 100 days to health programme recently, but I am not doing it religiously. (Although I should! *sigh*)

Mark and Mary-Ann Shearer lost their Health Food business in the recent fires in Gordon's Bay. They have a Fundraising Drive on the go if you want to help! They have some families in the business depended on the business functioning again. You can see some of the devastation in the videos, but I am sure they will be back with more health, energy and motivation!

The Chilli Con Carne recipe is in one of the daily emails of the 100 days to health. It is a lovely rendition of a Chilli Con Carne, but without the meat. Apparently it's Mark, her husband's, version. I used a can of lentils and a can of  white beans in my recipe.

It is delicious!

Thursday, 23 November 2017

5 Lists to survive the upcoming holiday Season

List making
The End-of-Year rush and busyness come with a lot of stress. Although December is a time to love, it is also a time of upheaval and being out of your comfort zone! You know it's near the end of the year, and there is some sort of overwhelm! It's holiday or no holiday! It's family time and friends' time! There's preparations, and sorting out some of the stuff that had been put on the back burner during the year.

I have a permanent feeling of anxiety, and when I try to pin-point the exact reason for it, it's not only one thing. The dietician told me this morning that "stress" is the number one complaint she hears from her clients. They are all stressed at the moment! (And of course the diets take a knock!)

The only way I know how to take control of the end-of-year madness is to make lists. Prioritize the important stuff and what needs to be done! It helps you feel more in control. I always enjoy Marcia's Instagram lists on Organising Queen. Check out her 3 Kinds of lists for your bullet journal. She is by far the List Queen!

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Make every day World Children's Day!

Hope Statue - Nelson Mandela Square
As a Mom I find it very difficult to hear about the suffering of children. There is so much disruption, upheaval and natural disasters in the world, and the most vulnerable is our children who are impacted. I have to limit myself to not read so much each day! It is too upsetting!

I still think about the children denied the basic right of education because they don't have id books in South Africa... (To name but one!)



UNICEF South Africa unveiled an art installation alongside the Nelson Mandela Statue in Sandton City Square yesterday on World Children's Day! (I wish I could be there, but it's still a school night!)

Monday, 20 November 2017

A new hairstyle at Maddy Magoo Fourways

There's a new Maddy Magoo in Fourways at The Gantry. They have been in business for three months now, and apparently it is going well with business. I got a free hair cut voucher from Kids Emporium who runs the joint Maddy Magoo Salon. Little Miss has been growing her hair ever since she got the fringe and haircut in July at Maddy Magoo, Bedford Square. She loved her fringe and her haircut, but she also loves hair styles with longer length hair. She do not want to cut it at this stage.

I phoned Jackie at Maddy Magoo Fourways, and she was more than willing to change the free haircut to a free hairstyle. We saw her own hairstyle on Instagram, and Little Miss got very excited!



A transformation happened. A change of hairstyle is just as good as a holiday!

Thursday, 16 November 2017

It's a World Vacation with Shopkins Season 8

Shoppies
Donatina visits Brazil

Shopkins has launched Season 8: World Vacation! There is nothing that makes a little girl (and mom) more excited than cute dolls and tiny collectables that inspires the love of travel! The Shopkins and Shoppies characters and their friends visit different countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Mom and daughter dates are also needed

Little Miss asked yesterday that we go on a shopping trip alone!

I was planning to go to the shops quickly for the weekly lunch-box shopping in any case. So we just had to agree on the best shopping spot. She wanted to go to China Mall, but I convinced her to go to the newly opened West Pack Lifestyle (big-plastic-and-everything-you-can-think-of-supposed-to-be-cheaper-shop). It was a win-win for both of us, and she got a free balloon at West Pack. We also could do the lunch-box shopping at the nearby Woollies and get that cappuccino!

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Why did she stay for so long?

domestic violence
I haven't taken my soapbox out for a very long time! It's nice to be in a place where I am happy and safe and don't have to worry about going home to an explosive situation! That's possible for all, but only if we do it for ourselves!

I heard a TED talk the other day by Leslie Morgan Steiner about why domestic violence victims don't leave. It resonated so much with me,because a very long time ago in a very different life I was also 'stuck" in such a scenario. For nine years! (What was I thinking?)

The reason why you just don't leave is because it becomes the most dangerous time in your life when you decide to leave. As soon as I decided that I had enough - Finally! Finally! - I announced it to him and to the world. But I started to feel afraid to go home.

When someone shows you a gun with a silencer, when there is no reason to have a silencer... Then you are afraid!

When everything is your fault, although you have done nothing wrong, and you have to say sorry as far as you go. And smile when the person enters the room... I am only learning now about gas-lighting, but at that stage in my life I did not have the words for it! I only realised that he was blaming me for everything that he was to blame for! It worked for a while, as I was so flabbergasted being told that I am wasting our money... In the meantime he was not working, and not contributing!

While I had made a final decision to leave, I had to get my ducks in a row. I decided to tell him that I wanted to try again, but I told my family and friends that it wasn't true, and that I would still be leaving. That's was done to keep myself and my daughter safe! It's strange how many did not believe me, or thought that we had worked it out! It was the most difficult time, but I kept us save by doing the "right" things that would not trigger a violent outburst or make us unsafe.

As soon as we left, it got very dangerous. I had to get an interdict, and had to "hide". It was a difficult time! When you hear about an armed person trying to get into your property, or totally unknown people and friends phoning you and telling you that he has threatened your life! I was very afraid!

But we made it!
18 years later and I don't recognize that person I was, anymore!

Please don't stay!

What Leslie Morgan Steiner also said is that domestic violence flourishes because it is suffered in silence. Do not keep quiet about it! Tell everybody about it!

And ask people for help! People are more than willing to help, but can't help you when you don't want to be helped!

That's my contribution for domestic violence this month!
Don't suffer in silence! It's not your fault!


 Related posts:

- Reasons why you should not stay

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

- Protect you children by not staying


Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Summer Coughs and Prospan - Giveaway

summer coughs
Prospan Cough Syrup
Is a summer cough normal? 

Apparently, summer comes with it's own challenges. That's why we are still struggling with runny noses and coughing at night. There's nothing more exasperating than those coughs that keeps a Little Miss awake! You would think that the heat and bright summer days would chase away all the bugs and that we would get a breather from the winter. But, no! We are struggling to put her to bed at night...
(Which means we do not get a wind-down time at night before going to bed ourselves! Which means we, the parents, are also more tired that usual!)

Prospan sent me a goody package, as well as the same giveaway package to give to one reader!

Some tips on how to treat a summer cough...



Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Shrek JR The Musical

Peoples Theatre
Shrek JR at the People's Theatre
By now we know that a People's Theatre Production is always worth going! It's the best way ever to introduce children to the theatre!

Friday, 3 November 2017

A Saturday night in another city


We had a most interesting Saturday night last week. The Voortrekkers had a Zoo Snooze at the Pretoria Zoo, and Little Miss HAD to be there!

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Hasbro Fantastic Gymnastics - it's fun for boys and girls!

Budding gymnast trying her skills with Hasbro Fantastic Gymnastics
I saw the Hasbro Fantastic Gymnastics video before Little Miss opened up the game. It looked super easy! But it's not! I still haven't mastered the skill.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Once you've gone lip plumping, you cannot go back!

NuSkin Lip Plumping Balm
I have never had lips, but I have noticed that the little bit that I have is disappearing even more! Age does not treat us fair! We get more of what we don't want (like hair), and less gets taken away. In my case it's the eyes and lips. My eyes and my brows and my lips are disappearing. And the nose gets bigger!

Thursday, 26 October 2017

I tell her it's a bit of OCD and sensory issues

Little Miss 

The carversations! Even tough traffic is hectic, and we would like to spend much less time in a car... But there is a positive note to it! A car is one of the best places to catch up on each other and hear the daily news.

Little Miss has always used the car as her after-school melt-down safe place. It is the safe place to whine, and melt down and complain about her day.

This past week she has been complaining/crying that she thinks she is different than the rest of her peers in class. There is stuff that bothers her in class which makes it very difficult to concentrate.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

New Seasons of Disney Junior Shows - Giveaway


Disney Junior - Mickey and the Roadster Racers
Some of our favourite Disney Junior shows on DSTv Channel 309 are starting new seasons in November.
To highlight this, Disney has given me two hampers to give away!

P. King Duckling, Mickey and the Roadster Racers, Sofia the First, Lion Guard and Vampirina (which already launched in October) will start with new episodes.

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


recipe
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!

Ouma
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.