Going from 3 to 4 was easier than from 1 to 2

Cameron had his inter school league gala yesterday. Now that he is swimming properly, every official gala where we can get accurate times in a 50m pool is important so I didn’t want to miss it but attending it meant taking all 3 of the other kids with me.

A year ago, I probably wouldn’t have gone or organised for them to go to David’s mom but yesterday I took them. All of them. I packed a lunch box and off we went. We ended up having a really lovely time. The pool has a lovely shady grass area where Emma and Jack can run around and enjoy the last few warm days of summer. We ordered some hot chips and had a mini carb overload and watch Cameron swim. We only finished after 17h00 which is usually when we are bathing, eating and calming down but both babies handled it really well. I did a silent high five as we loaded everyone into the car, because while it went well it is still pretty exhausting and with a toddler any outing is one tantrum away from being a failure.

Generally I avoid taking all four kids out on my own but there are times I have to and you know what it actually isn’t that bad. There is always a general sense of chaos when we venture out but it is chaos that I know how to manage.

People always, always ask us how we cope. The answer really is simply because we have to but also because I think we all learn ways of coping, we learn how to manage our chaos, we develop coping strategies, even in our disorganisation we are organised. There are a few things though that I think have made the transition for me easier than I expected.

The age gaps. I think having the older two able to help out makes it a lot easier. Se7en mentioned it in one of her posts, how an older child takes responsibility for a younger one when they go out. We do the same thing. Cameron watches Jack and Kiara, Emma. Now by watches I don’t mean that he looks after him, I mean he has to get him out the car or into the house or put his shoes on etc. It also helps that 2 are able to look after themselves and 3 can use the toilet. I also think once you have three kids, adding more isn’t really such a big deal.

Siblings

I have let a lot go. I have let a lot go in terms of what the ideal parent should do and what the ideal family should look like. A few weeks ago at a gala, Emma was wandering around making friends with a young couple sitting next to us, inspecting what was in their cooler box. I was never more than 4 steps away from her but I didn’t keep trying to get her to sit down and leave everyone around her, the couple were ok with it so I let it go. There are times I just can not manage to get cake for Cake and Candy, I let it go. Some days I am late to fetch someone, I let it go. There are always toys all over my house, I have let it go (ok maybe I am letting it go).

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Team work! We all have a role, not just the 6 of us but Jane, David’s mom, the mom who fetches Cameron from swimming for me when I can’t, the swimming coach, soccer coach – we all have a role to play. I am very lucky that I have an amazing team of people who help our life function well. Jane is reliable and loves Emma, she enables me to work during the days she is here. Davids mom picks up the slack when there is no way for me to be in 4 places at one time. The coaches make sure we know in advance when there are events on. My circle of school moms are always willing to help out when they can. None of us function in isolation, especially when we have children, having a good team is vital.

Getting everyone into the car is an event in itself but we have a system, we cope and we get it done without me feeling too harassed most days!

Whatever the size of your family, how do you cope? What do you do to make it easier for you?

{Tastes on Tuesday} Sweetcorn Pie

This dish has become a firm favourite in our house. I think if Cameron could he would have it with every single meal!

It is super quick and easy to make and is a great dish to take along to a braai.

Ingredients

2 tins creamed sweet corn

3tbsp sugar

3tbsp flour

3 eggs

Method

1. Mix everything together in an oven dish.

2. Sprinkle 4tbsp of sugar and 1tbsp of cinnamon over the top.

3. Bake for 45 minutes in a pre-heated 180C oven.

4. Serve hot!

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On mommy bloggers, integrative medicine and food for kids

With all my car drama last week, I wasn’t really focused on the last minute prep of the #momblogmeet but to say it went off well is an understatement. It was such a great morning.

There was, as always, some last minute packing of goody bags and some changes in our agenda but it all came together so nicely and our speakers were informative and Margy gave us such a fun and interactive food demo.

Usually these events are mainly the “regulars” with a few new faces but this meet was largely bloggers I haven’t met yet which was really great because it means our network is growing and that blogging, most certainly isn’t dying!

In order to get some sort of order and focus for each of the events I decided on a theme for each, it makes it easier to get speakers and sponsors because we have a focus. This meet was aimed specifically at mommy bloggers with the theme being Healthy Living.

We had three speakers.

Georgie from the Exercise is Medicine Institute. I have written about her before, she was a speaker at the CocaCola event I attended last year. Once again she was highlighting why movement is so important for all of us, but specifically in children.

#momblogmeet GEORGIE

Nicqui from The Health and Lifestyle Consultancy gave us a fascinating talk on Healthy Eating in a Toxic Lifestyle that including the role of genetics, environmental toxins and the effect of our lifestyles. It really was one of the most interesting talks I have heard. She explained, in detail how insulin affects our weight gain/loss as well as discussing the whole carb/no carb debate. She also talked about genetics and how our genetics affect the types of diets we should be on. One of the things that really stood out for me. Nicqui is also gluten intolerant but she is able to eat bread/cakes etc made by the bakery at Free Range, Not Bread Alone. She says it because the flour they use is pure, organic flour and has none of the added ingredients added to other flours. I have always felt that it is not flour, per se that I can’t handle but all the other stuff they add in and this proves me right.

#momblogmeet Joburg Dietician

Our third speaker was Margy from the Olive Branch Cooking School. She did a food demo for us on how to make a collection of yummy and quick meals for kids. It was so much fun. The meals were all super quick to make and with a little bit of creative effort they also looked cute.

#momblogmeet Olivebranch food for kids

I know I certainly learnt a lot from all three ladies and from all the notes that were being taken, so did the ladies who attended.

The event was hosted jointly by Free Range Lifestyle Centre,  the Lot Restaurant, who provided us with delicious  selection of delicious treats for lunch, Fresh Culture who gave us all divine cappacinos and The Olive Branch Cooking School who provided the venue for us.

Apart from the three speakers we had two brands who shared the morning with us and contributed to our fantastic goody bags.

Lauren and Rachel were there on behalf of NUK SA to do a small demo of their awesome products – really they have some lovely feeding bowls, plates etc. They also gave everyone a set of their food pots which are the BEST! They can be used for so many different things.

#momblogmeet  NUK demo

Zule and Tanya from OV Optics were also there and introduced us to their awesome sunglasses for kids! I may actually do a separate post about these – they are that awesome!

 

Our goody bags were sponsored, together with the name tags, a notebook and pen by Gumtree and they were choc-a-bloc full of amazing products and vouchers!! Really we were so fortunate to have some amazing brands come on board!

#momblogmeet Zule OV Optics#momblogmeet goodybag contents

#momblogmeet gumtree bag

These included

Clamber Club

Pangolin Toy Store

Calico Rose

Babymoov

Ella’s Kitchen

Reusable Pouches

Tangled Tree wine

Beautiful Earth

Baby Tastes

Baby Group

Jules and Milly

I have to say a huge thank you to Heather for all her help in making the day the success that it was!!!

And to all the ladies, speakers and brands who were there – THANK YOU!!

We are now busy with the next even which will be in April so watch this space :)

 

 

{Product Review} Mysmartkid box

I can’t remember when David and I last bought toys for the kids, any of them. Thanks to grandparents, birthday parties and friends, we have a toy room that looks like a small school. There is a mix of educational stuff, cheap noisy toys and classics, like Barbie and Woody.

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Poor Emma has to make do with what there is, but right now she seems, happy to play with the Wii remotes (I have started hiding them, she finds them every time), my mouse and Lucy (the dog). While we do have a few puzzles, Jack’s toy box is full of action heroes and not much is educational.

When Mysmartkid contacted me to do a product review for their products, I was so excited. Their boxes include fun, age -appropriate educational toys and activities. The box arrived with a collection of games and activities for Jack. We were both very excited to open it and when he saw the peg board, he was in heaven. Apparently they have one at school and he played with it for ages, building and rebuilding. He pulls it out most afternoons and builds all sorts of things. It is great for fine motor skills and we are using it to improve his concept of numbers, by asking him to use 3 yellow pegs, 4 blue pegs or to tell me how many reds he has used.

Mysmartkidpegboard
There was also a little shape game that we all had fun playing. There are four little boards each with its own scene, kids playing in the park, a construction site etc and there are 4 shapes that pop out of each, a circle, square, triangle and rectangle. There is a little spinner that you spin and it lands on a shape and you must place that shape into your picture. There is lots to talk about, colours, shapes and what the people are doing. Kiara joined in and the 3 of us played together. Jack is also happy to just take the shapes out and put them back in the box.

MysmartkidEmma
The bag of blocks probably got the least air time. Emma enjoys them, but Jack wasn’t too keen. Interestingly, but none of my kids have really enjoyed playing with blocks.
We also got the Mysmartkid owl bag which is such a great little bag and there is also the Growing Up Step- by -Step handbook which I think is so great because it gives list of early developmental milestones. It covers not only physical milestones, but also includes things like number concepts, senses, drawing and painting etc. It is a pretty very comprehensive guide for parents.
MysmartkidJack
We love the items we got in the box., they have been used almost daily since we got them and everyone has had much fun playing with them.
I can highly recommend the Mysmartkid boxes. The games toys and activities are not only educational, but the kids have fun playing with them which makes the learning easier.

{Week 6} Sunshine on a cloudy day

What Katy Said

 

I had a very negative post typed up yesterday. I felt rubbish writing it and hated writing it which is why I didn’t share it.

We have had a pretty trying two weeks. It feels like we just can not get a break at the moment. We are trying so hard to make things better for us as a family but with each step forward it feels like we are being pushed 5 steps back. Its pretty crap to be honest. I have always managed to see a way out of things (once I get over my own drama) but to be honest I cant see the wood for the trees at the moment.

Anyway I don’t want this post to start drowning in the negative because it is my weekly gratitude/happy post.

As always with life, however dark it may seem, there are always happy things, reasons to be grateful and things making us laugh. There has been a lot making me happy this week.

  • We had a really great day on Sunday with friends. We laughed, ate, drank, went for a boat ride out onto the dam. It was a good day.
  • Cameron played a soccer match on Saturday. It was his first one this year and they won. It was fun watching them play.
  • I have been very lucky that a few awesome moms, and a teacher, have stepped in to help fetch and carry kids for me while I have had no car.
  • I also started working on something recently that I have wanted to start for years. I finally just sat down and did it. It is going really well, better than I thought.
  • Our #momblogmeetup is coming together so nicely. We have a group of amazing ladies attending and some great brands have come on board.
  • Emma is being super cute. She really is a happy little being.
  • I have started painting the furniture for the girls bedroom make over. My mom said to me this morning “do something to nourish your soul” so I did something creative.

And that really is all I have today.

Share the Joy linky at bodfortea.co.uk

{Tastes on Tuesday} Magic veggie sauce (also how I got the baby to eat)

The idea for this recipe started with a tweet by Sharon months ago. It was something along the lines of her blending veggies and then adding them to her bolognaise (I think) because that was the only way she could get vegetables into her girls.

Cameron doesn’t enjoy meals with chunks of tomato in so I have been trying to think of ways to still get the tomato flavour but remove the chunks (I add both a tin of tomato and tomato puree to my mince). Long story short I tried Sharon’s trick and it worked like a bomb. I made the best mince ever! The veggie puree thickens the sauce and adds flavour and the kids never even know!

A few weeks ago I made a big batch and decided to try to see if Emma would eat it. We have really been struggling to get her off Purity. She will eat a wide variety of finger foods, so it isn’t a texture thing but when I try to feed her food I have made she takes two mouthfuls and that’s IT! My mom tried in December, Davids mom has tried, his aunt even tried, Jane has tried – she will take 2/3 mouthfuls and refuses to carry on. She also doesn’t eat much of the finger foods. So I couldn’t just rely on that!

She wolfed down the bowl I dished up for her and half of the second one. I added the new batch I had made to the spaghetti we had for dinner that night, she wolfed a huge bowl down! Since then she has eaten more proper food than purity!!!

I made this recipe up so you can change it, add things, remove things to suit your tastes.

Ingredients

Chopped veggies – I usually make mine on a Thursday with the excess veggies we have. I have used carrots, brinjal. baby marrow, cauliflower, tomato and onion.

Stock – either chicken or beef

Water – depends on the amount of veggies.

Mixed Herbs

Salt and Pepper

Method

1. Place everything in a large pot and boil until the vegetables are soft and the stock has reduced. You don’t want it too runny but you also don’t want it too thick. Almost the consistency of tomato sauce.

2. Allow to cool and then blend in your blender.

3. Pour into bottles and keep in the fridge. If you make a lot then you can freeze it.

I use my often. I made the most amazing chicken curry with it the other day, I just added the sauce and some curry powder!

You could even add some mushrooms and you have a sauce for burgers.

 

 

Don’t ignore the signs!

You know how you wake up one morning and you feel off, your throats a bit sore and your nose is a bit runny but you have to get to work, get kids to school, so you get up and power through it. By lunch time you feel a little better so you figure it’s nothing serious. You ignore the nagging because there are deadlines, school plays, dinners that need to be made. A week later you wake up and can barely talk your throat is so sore, you nose is like a flowing like a burst water pipe and you can’t stand for long without wanting to pass out.

You end up at the Doctor being prescribed enough medicine to medicate a small country and end up paying the GDP of said small country. Three days bed rest and sick note complete the list of things you leave the doctors rooms with!

The smart thing would have been to listen to the initial signs, sort out the niggles and chances are you wouldn’t be wondering what child you can sell to pay for the medicine you need or how you are going to manage 3 days in bed logistically.

Its happened to most of us!

The day before school started when I went to drop Jack and fetch Kiara’s stationery pack, my car wouldn’t start. We managed to push start it and it started fine after that so I assumed it was just a once off. But, to cut a long story, when I was standing in a friends driveway on Friday, trying to push start the car for the 4th time, I realised it was not really a once off and we probably need to sort it out.

I was forced to deal with it this morning when I went to start it and it was dead!

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I could have sat on the floor and cried. Like a friend said, my car is my life line. I am literally in my car for hours in the afternoon fetching and carrying kids. So to not have it and not have a plan beyond today (Davids mom is coming this afternoon) is a little stressful. It is my own fault though but because it is my lifeline it is not easy to just drop it off to be checked, I have to plan and organise lifts etc for the kids.

So now its sitting at Hyundai waiting to be seen to, its obviously gone to the back of the queue so they can’t really give me an idea of when they will know whats wrong never mind when it will actually be fixed.

So lesson of the day? DON’T IGNORE THE SIGNS! 

How was your weekend? Tell me something happy and shiny and bright! Please!

 

{Week 5} There is always gratitude

What Katy Said

 

Looking back I didn’t really handle a few things particularly well earlier this week. I worked myself up a lot more than I need to. Life is calmer now though, there is a plan and a back up plan so I am a lot calmer about it all.

There are still always things to be grateful for, things that ground me and bring me back to reality.

  • I stumbled upon some inspirational cards in my scrapbooking stuff and made a little motivational wall above my desk. I LOVE IT!

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  • I have a job. I am finalising the details today but I am pretty excited.
  • I found these beautiful vases at Mr Price Home today for thank you gifts for our #momblogmeetup next week.

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  • I joined the library again. My mom has been on my case about it, mainly for the kids and finally yesterday I just did it! I am so glad I did. Walking around trying to chose books, I was so annoyed with myself that I didn’t do it earlier. We can walk to the library its that close and it was FREE.
  • Emma has been eating so well. She still has purity with Jane for lunch but for the rest of her meals its proper food that we are eating.

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  • One of the moms from Cam’s swimming club helped out so much this week and has offered to bring Cam home if I need help. I am very grateful for her.
  • Kiara is doing really well with her spelling. Its still a struggle to actually get her to let me test her but last night, after 20 minutes of negotiating, she did them, both English and Afrikaans and got all the English ones right second time around (only 2 wrong first time) and Afrikaans the first time! Usually when she doesn’t want to then she switches off so I wasn’t expecting this!
  • Cameron swam in a gala on Saturday and bettered his time by three seconds! That’s pretty big in swimming talk!

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  • To full up my tank is now almost R200 cheaper! I kid you not! I don’t want to cry every time I full up now!

Give Thanks Thursday at Mummy from the Heart

 

 

Share the Joy linky at bodfortea.co.uk

What are you grateful for this week?

I was awarded an award

This week feels so disjointed. I am still knee deep in application forms and getting ID photos and copies of this that and the next thing. The forms all require the same info BUT each one requires at least one item the rest don’t (WHY???). Our internet access has been super slow this week so getting anything done online is taking me double the length of time, it is extremely frustrating.

I am also having an internal battle with the fact that I had to draw up a CV for Cameron today.

A while ago Ella tagged me in the Liebster Award. Thanks Ella :)

award

LIEBSTER AWARD RULES:

  • Thank and link the person who nominated you.
  • Answer the questions given by the nominator.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers, who have less than 200 followers and link them.)
  • Create 11 new questions for the nominees to answer
  • Notify all nominees via social media/blogs.

 

Here are your questions girls :)

  1. What is the lamest joke you know?

Gosh the knock knock jokes that happen in this house almost daily put lame to shame but I can’t think of any now!

  1. What is your guilty pleasure?

I think my baths in the middle of the day. Its why I am not prepared to put our geyser off. I often have a long bath just before I fetch the kids or on weekend mornings.

  1. Would you go shopping in your undies if it meant everything you buy is free?

Tough one but if you see our grocery bill you will understand why I would probably, provided the shop is Pick n Pay though because I can’t feed us with pretty shoes or fancy bags ;-p

  1. Would you rather be invisible or be able to read minds?

Probably invisible, I wouldn’t want people reading my mind sometimes. I would love to watch my kids during the day without them knowing I am there.

  1. If you could only have one breakfast for the rest of your life what would it be?

Hashbrowns and mushrooms and scrambled egg!

  1. What are you scared of but are kind of embarrassed to tell people ?

The dark. I am petrified of the dark!

  1. What is your favourite childhood memory?

I have lots of good memories but if I had to chose a favourite it would be the freedom we were given to explore the valley we lived in. There was a large open space, almost forest like and we would spend ages walking there, collecting tadpoles from the river, playing.

  1. What is the very first thing you do when you wake up

Check my phone – I know bad habit but it is what it is.

  1. What question do you dread the most?

So what do you do?

  1. Do you have any party tricks?

No I really don’t. I am pretty boring.

  1. If you could be remembered for one thing what would you want it to be?

I would love to be remembered as a good writer.

I am a bit late to the party on this so a lot of people have already been tagged so I am not going to tag anyone instead tell me something happy that happened this week?