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

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