When I read this prompt I laughed and laughed and laughed. Then I cried and cried!
Since the beginning of January I have spent money on…..
- School fees
- Swimming Cap
- New goggles
- Plane tickets to gala
- Swimming lessons
- New PE shirt
- Dancing t-shirt
- Swimming gala entry
- Dancing DVD
- Birthday presents
I don’t even know how there is money left over!
Seriously, this month was a particularly expensive one. Generally though I pay for all the extra kid stuff – sports, clothes etc so the bulk of my money does get spent on the kids.
I try to get a pedi every 6-8 weeks and my hair done at least every 3 months.
When you have four kids, every cent generally does go to feeding, clothing or educating them.
What do you spend your money on?
Last week I popped into my local green grocer to get our fruit and veggies for the week and it was the first time I have really noticed a big difference in the price of things.
I have always been able to get a head of broccoli from this green grocer for R19.99 max – they are R29.99 now. I can usually get potatoes on special somewhere but the cheapest I could find them this month was R54.99 for a 7kg bag. I suppose it is largely due to the drought but it can really make trying to live a healthier lifestyle a challenge, but it is not impossible!
I know it is possible to do because I do it and we have a very very tight budget but we still manage to have fresh veggies with dinner every night.
So how do I do it?
Cut out the crap. Think about how much money you were/are spending on buying a coke every day or a take away pie for lunch? Work it out. I am pretty sure that you will actually realise that you have enough money to buy healthier options. If you buy a buddy coke every day, over a work day week that is R200. With that money alone you can buy fresh fruit and veggies for the week! Just by ditching the crap in your cupboard and not replacing it you will also have spare cash to buy the healthier options!
Watch for specials. There is always someone who is having a special. I often get the R100 special at Woolies that includes a potatoes, tomatoes, butternut and onions or carrots. My green grocer also often has specials on different things and I know you can’t really stock up on fresh stuff but each week if you choose the specials you will save.
Wait for things to finish. I have mentioned this before and I got the idea from Se7en. Wait for the bananas to be done before you buy some more. This prevents food from going off before being eaten AND encourages family members to eat what is there.
Meal planning! I plan all our meals and I buy according to that. This means there is no “extra” food, so no extra expenditure.
Start a veggie/herb garden. This one does require some effort but it can make a difference one you have it established. Plant things that are easy to grow and you now your family will eat – tomatoes, carrots and spinach are good ones to start with. A herb garden is a bit easier to establish and a great way to add flavour to your meals.
Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be expensive, all you have to do is make the smart choices.
My kids often ask me “How tall was I when I was Emma’s age” and Jack is particularly into numbers at the moment so he wants to put a number to anything so if he sees a tape measure he wants too know the numbers. Growth is generally a gradual thing, or at least I thought so until Cameron walked downstairs one morning literally about 15cm taller than he was the night before. I have never really focused on their exact height after we stopped going for their shots but this growth chart from The ToyCraft shop was met with great excitement when it arrived.
The chart we were sent is a unisex one and is so pretty and bright. It has many colours on so will be able to go with any bedroom colour theme but we found the perfect spot for ours in the toy room, this way Jack doesn’t have to venture into the girls room to measure and vice versa (those with more than one know how sacred bedrooms are). It is super easy to hang as well – all you need is a hook or nail or even one of those stick on hooks will work because it really isn’t heavy.
The chart is a really nice addition to a nursery or play room and you can mark the date and the child’s name on the chart and it makes for a nice momento for your memory box.
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Remember I said potty training wasn’t a whole lot of fun? Well it still isn’t but the good news is that Emma seems to have figured it all out and is in panties during the day, we still do have accidents but they are getting less and less.
Next to getting your child to sleep through this is probably the most frustrating part of raising a toddler, but it actually doesn’t have to be. Sr Ann has a few practical suggestions for making the whole process easier.
- It is a good idea to get a potty well before you think you may need it. Place it in the bathroom near the toilet, and explain what it is even if your toddler is not yet ready.
- Let her accompany you to the toilet from an early age, so that she can get used to the idea, and learn from watching you – this will take the mystery and fear out of this new idea.
- If you have a son, ask your husband to invite him to accompany him to the toilet. This way, he will learn that boys do it differently to girls.
- If your toddler is frightened by the noise of the toilet flushing, wait until she has left the room before flushing. Always encourage her to help you flush, but if she doesn’t want to, don’t force her.
- If your child gets ‘stage fright’, try turning on the taps – the sound of running water often helps them relax.
- Consider singing a special song such as “this is the way we go to the loo, go to the loo, go to the loo…” to encourage reluctant toddlers to co-operate. Story books explaining what is happening are also most useful.
- Expect some regression if she is stressed in any way such as starting a new school, the arrival of a sibling or illness. Let her go back into nappies, and with loads of love and encouragement, try again after a short while.
Having potty trained 3 kids before her, we already had a collection of potty training paraphernalia – we actually have all of the below Snookums products, except the no spill potty.
Snookums Non-spill Potty: This potty is ideal for baby toilet training as it has a sturdy and secure base. It is designed to be non-spill and makes an excellent first potty.
Snookums Sitting Pretty Potty: This potty training toilet looks like a real grown-up toilet with the same lid and seat function. It is ideal for baby toilet training as it has a sturdy and secure base and the handle with lid makes it very easy and hygienic to handle.
Snookums Padded Toilet Trainer Seat: This small first toilet trainer seat is ideally proportioned to fit your toddler. The seat has ultra-soft padding making potentially anxious children more comfortable. The easy wipe PVC cover ensures seat remains hygienic. The inside safety rim ensure trainer seat stays secure on top of toilet.
Snookums Children’t Toilet Training Seat: The spill proof seat easily fits securely over the toilet and under the seat ring, making it easier for children to sit comfortably and safely, and is ideal for baby toilet training.
Snookums have given me a hamper containing all four of these products for one lucky reader to win!
To enter all you have to do is leave a comment!
Competition closes 17 February 2016.
Competition is open to SA residents only.
I love Brinjals but no one in my family feels the same. Every now and then I add them into a stew or a curry and cook them until they are almost nothing. I am always looking for things to make with them, that I can make just for me.
I have been struggling recently with my blood pressure, the effects of stress I suspect, so I popped these brinjal chips in the oven, added an extra dash of salt and they really did do the trick.
My oven is a bit wonky so the time and temperature depends on your oven but the key is to dry them out without burning them.
- 1 large brinjal
- Olive oil
- Herbs and spices
- Thinly slice the brinjal
- Lay the pieces out on an over tray and drizzle a little olive oil over.
- Bake in the oven until they are crispy.
Children are pretty easily entertained. They don’t need much to keep them busy but you do need to have a plan of action for a party to keep them entertained when you are doing your party planning.
It doesn’t have to be a formal program of events/games it could simply be a jumping castle or a water slide. The smaller children really don’t need much more than that but the older kids may need something a little more.
There are so many options that you can do that will suit any budget.
Party games – these are quick, easy and cheap to organise. Things like pass-the-parcel, musical chairs, pin the tail on the donkey etc. They are suitable for all ages and are loads of fun.
Outsource – you could outsource the whole party and get someone else to entertain the children. These include pamper parties, craft parties, science parties, baking parties etc. These work well with older children.
Pool party – a pool party is a great idea for a summer party in South Africa. The kids will keep themselves entertained for hours swimming.
Venue activities – a lot of venues include activities like pony or tractor rides or they will even have face painters, clowns etc on site who will keep the kids entertained.
Regardless of what activities you decide on it is important to have an idea of the sequence of events for the day to make sure that it flows and everyone knows what they are doing and no one misses out on anything. Be flexible though with this. The children may prefer to jump on the jumping castle to playing musical chairs – leave them, it will be easier for everyone if they are not forced to do something they aren’t keen on.
If you hire an external person/people make sure you confirm with them two days before the party and that you know how long they will be keeping the children occupied for.
JoziKids has a list of entertainers that you can use for your party.
Whenever you ask a parent (or child) about being part of a large family, they generally say “Oh its great, crazy but we love it”. Parents feel like they won at parenting because their many offspring can entertain each other and the kids feel like they are constantly in a play park.
There is a side though, that few people acknowledge because, well there isn’t really anything anyone can do about it, once you are in a large family you are in it for life.
Almost daily everyone has to make an unwilling sacrifice for someone else in their family.
Big kids have to look after little kids.
Someone always has to get waken up so we can get someone else somewhere on time.
One kid has to wait for a new school uniform.
They have to share bedrooms.
If you don’t like noise, tough, you need to deal.
They have to spend their afternoons watch dancing/swimming/running.
The fight for my time is constant, someone always comes up with the short end of the stick.
Of course this teaches them a lot of things but often they really do not want to learn the lesson, they just want to sleep in or have their own room or not have to wait their turn.
I don’t feel guilty about a lot of things parenting related but this does bother me. It is the only thing the little ones have known but I think sometimes there is a little bit of resentment from the older two. I often joke with Cameron that it is why he swims, to escape the madness!
I do love our large, crazy family but it is not always easy for everyone.
High school has been a rather large adjustment for
me us. We were in primary school for 7 years, 5 of those were at the same school so we were pretty much in their routine, we knew how they worked (or didn’t work as the case may be).
I would just like to say, right now, that this is another reason why I suggest finding a school that goes from Grade R – Grade 12. It makes the transition a lot easier.
Obviously we knew there would be a transition period, what I did not know was that we were entering a completely different world. Cameron also commented that it was a completely different environment but fortunately he seems to have adjusted well.
So what are some of the differences?
Participation! Participation is important at high school. At primary school you can get your child out of pretty much anything pretty easily, high school is not like this. Last week the entire school went to an athletics meet. There was not a “please sign if your child can attend” there was simply “The bus leaves at x and will be back at y”. The kids have to take part in at least one winter and one summer activity – it doesn’t have to be a sport, could be an art/cultural activity. I actually don’t mind this, in fact I think it is really great. It builds school spirit and encourages the children to get involved.
The children are given a lot more responsibility for their work, there is little hand holding and they are made a lot more accountable for their work.
The conversations are different. Yesterday at a gala I overheard a conversation by two moms, it sounded very much like they were discussing girlfriends for their sons, they had pictures and were almost completing a score sheet. The group of young girls sitting next to me where talking about the hot boys they fancied. (I know this is normal but it is very different from the conversations I am used to).
The schedule is busy. Cameron has always been busy but this feels on a different level. I think it is because of the participation thing so there are galas and athletics events that have to be attended and there are dances and after school events that are coming up.
Probably the hardest part, for me and me alone, is that it is apparently not cool to wave at your mom. Cameron is happy to make side eyes to acknowledge I just battled traffic to sit on really crappy stands to watch him but anything more is not going to happen. Breaks my heart a little but I suppose it is what it is.
This parenting really is just one big mind f*&k. Just when you think you are on top of things, something happens and the whole game changes again.