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 :)



  • 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?


{Giveaway} Mums on the Run Workshop

My mom is a teacher, I grew up around teachers, teachers who were passionate about being teachers, passionate about teaching and passionate about the children they taught. I was lucky enough to have some really great teachers, including a really dedicated extra Maths teacher who was the sole reason I got through my Matric maths. Obviously I did have some teachers I didn’t enjoy but they were still good teachers.

I think this is probably why I found it so hard to deal with many of the educators my children have had over the years, I come from the assumption that you become a teacher because you love to teach and at the very least you enjoy children to a certain degree. I have been disillusioned and have felt my children (and others) have been let down on more than one occasion.


I have recently crossed paths with some really passionate educators, including Raquel from A to Z Tutoring. Raquel is what teachers should be, she is passionate about teaching, passionate about the children she tutors and passionate about helping parents help their children.

Raquel invited me, and three other moms, to attend one of her Moms on the Run workshops.The workshops are aimed at helping parents to incorporating learning into every day life. We often associate learning with sitting down, doing homework, writing spelling words but it doesn’t have to be this formal at all and doesn’t have to begin once your child is in school.

The workshops are kept small so they can be interactive and intimate. Raquel has a wealth of knowledge that she shares openly and easily.

Our session was really informative and a few things I took away from the morning were;

  • Start early. Right now we are teaching Emma her body parts, shapes, colours etc because those are the basic things and we assume that that’s all we can teach them right now. Raquel suggested we start from early on (ok maybe not a year) talking to our kids about things like measurements, amounts, concepts etc. Baking is an easy one to use. Even at Jacks age start talking to them about kilograms, mililitres – get them to see how much 250ml is or feel how heavy a kilogram is. If you continually do this, by the time they get to Grade 4 when they start learning about it, it won’t be a foreign concept. Funnily enough I talk to Emma constantly about what I am doing. We discuss what items to buy while shopping, how far I have to drive to fetch Cam or what time we need to leave to get to school etc.
  • Make it fun. There is so much stuff around us that we can use. Make words from the letters on the number plates or add the numbers. Play iSpy in the car during traffic. Currently I am getting Kiara to write her extra spelling words with a white board marker on the tiles. She actually asks me what words are we doing this week and will sit and teach Jack the words.
  • Don’t transfer. I am very guilty of this, I often say “I couldn’t do maths, wait for David”. Its not a lie but it is not the best choice of words because it creates a negative perception about the subject. Chose your words carefully, focus on the positive.
  • Link motivation to emotion. Instead of motivating with money or a toy, rather try to motivate with something like “If you do all your homework without a fight this week then you get to chose dinner on Friday” and then make a big deal about why they got to chose the dinner.


Raquel have given me a spot at her next workshop to giveaway.

The next session is 13 March and it is specifically aimed at moms of kids in Primary School from Grade 1 to Grade 4. Focusing on starting school and then the adjustment to exams etc that starts from Grade 3 to 4.

If you have a child that falls into this age, then you want to attend this workshop, trust me the exam prep alone will make it worthwhile.

All you need to do to enter is leave a comment and tell me your favourite teacher at school.

Competition closes on Friday 20/02/2015 at 12h00.

Belinda also attended and shares her thoughts here.

This too shall pass – valuable advice

This too shall pass!

If I had a slab of chocolate for every time someone has said those four words to be I would be richer than Switzerland!

Usually people share those pearls of wisdom when you are exhausted because you managed to close your eyes for a total of 20 minutes the night before or you have just wrestled your toddler into the car or your teen has just slammed the door in your face, again! Instead of listening or accepting those words you imagine beating that person with a rolling pin or letting them try get the toddler to eat his dinner, then they will see just how quickly things will not pass.

While it may not always be received well, it is probably the best piece of advise and a mantra we, as parents, need to remember ever day. It always does pass!

Remember how Emma never slept? Remember my moaning, desperation, exhaustion and utter frustration? In those dark moments of weariness I was convinced that this is what life would be like, David and I playing tag team every hour with the baby, the two of us snapping at each other, me biting the big kids heads off for no reason, not wanting to go anywhere or do anything because the baby was miserable and I was tired.

Fast forward to yesterday, Emma’s first birthday.

Emma Sleep

I am in her room sorting her clothes out (for a fourth child she really has a rather large amount of brand name clothes) when she starts trying to climb up the side of her camp cot, she then starts moaning and is insistent that she go into the cot. I look at the time, its nap time! I make her bottle, pop in the cot and in 5 minutes she is asleep and she slept for 3 hours, like she does every single day now!

On Saturday night we went out to friends, we took the camp cot with, popped her in at bed time and she slept. We could enjoy ourselves without an over tired baby or worrying that she would wake up!

We still have wake ups at night but they are short and she settles again.

6 months ago I would never have imagined we would get to this point!

I am wary to tell people “this too shall pass” because often they would rather you say “Can I bring you some wine?” but the fact is, it does pass. Babies sleep, toddlers eat broken bread, teens pass Matric. We get through, sometimes a little battered and bruised but we get through, our kids get through.

It is a dry white season
dark leaves don’t last, their brief lives dry out
and with a broken heart they
dive down gently headed for the earth
not even bleeding.
it is a dry white season brother, only the trees know the pain as they still stand erect
dry like steel, their branches dry like wire,
indeed, it is a dry white season but seasons come to pass

© Mongane Wally Serote

Isn’t this poem beautiful? I first read it when I was studying English and varsity (I really don’t know why I gave that up).

What passed for you that you didn’t think would?


Burning the candle at both ends – a life lesson or a mistake?

It is not often I am really not sure what to do when it comes to parenting, that is not to say that I have all the answers or always make the right decisions. Rather it just means that even when I am not sure, I make a decision and go with it.

At the moment though I feel like I am wading in uncharted territory and I am at a loss as to what to do or even if it is my decision to make to start off with.

As you know Cameron is swimming now, he trains 6 afternoons and 2 mornings. On a Monday and Thursday he has school cricket training from 14h00 – 15h00 and then he goes straight to swimming. Tuesday he has cricket matches. Fridays are school galas and club galas (one a month). Every second Monday he goes from cricket to soccer. In between all of that he attends school!


It is a lot of physical activity, a lot of competition, a lot of hard work and dedication.

Is it too much thought?

Soccer started a term early because his team won the league last year so obviously have to step up their game and league matches are happening now! He is the goalie, the only goalie so dropping out now means he lets the team down and he doesn’t want to actually drop out.

Cricket is done through school and doesn’t really affect anything much except that it means he has a physical activity for 3 hours on cricket days and has to miss swimming if there is a match.

Swimming is where his heart is. It is what he wants to do if he is forced to choose, we have had discussions about him eventually having to decide and swimming always comes out on top.

BUT right now he doesn’t want to make that choice. On the one hand I understand that but on the other hand I am worried that he has taken on too much and it may come back to bite us all in the bum.

This year is the last year, realistically, he can try to juggle all of these balls. Once he hits high school things move up a notch and he will have to make a decision.

So my dilemma;

Do I let him try to do it all? Offer him support and teach him how to deal with it all and trust that if it gets to much he will know to ask for help.


Do I at some point step in and force him to give up something?

It may sound like a non-issue but it concerns me a lot that he has no time to just be. From the moment he gets home he does homework until bedtime. Saturdays he swims. Sundays are really his only free day.

He is only 12 – should life be this busy at his age? EVEN IF he enjoys it?

What would you do?

{Five on Friday} Back to school

I feel like I need to say more about going back to school. The last two years have been pretty uneventful in terms of back to school. We have a big year next year though – Cameron goes to high school and Jack to Grade 0, so there shall be lots to share then.

Sharon shared her list of must-haves and so I thought I would share my top 5 must have back to school essentials. (After reading Sharon’s post I developed a severe case of label maker envy – I NEED ONE.)

1. Pens (or pencils of you are still junior primary). My kids need pens constantly. They lose them, they get stolen, lost or eating by the dam cookie monster. I try to keep a stash of blue and black pens in my desk because when they ask me, usually at 19h55, they have NONE.


2. Plastic! Those of you who are covering books for the first time, don’t fool yourself, it will not end there. They come home throughout the year needing books covered in plastic. Cameron is very good about reusing the ready made covers but often the books aren’t a standard size so keep a roll or two of plastic (and sellotape, washi tape won’t work, it doesn’t stick properly).

3. Rulers! This may just be my kids but they go through rulers at an alarming rate.

4. Pencil crayons. These are like the pens. You can never have enough. Kiara sharpens hers a little compulsively so by June She needs more. Cameron loses particular colours. They use them daily so you need to have some on hand.


5. Exam pads. If your kids have homework avoidance like mine then the excuse “I don’t have anything to write on” comes up often. So keep exam pads on hand so they have something to write on. Also as they hit Grade 4 they start using these and they go through them super fast!

What are your five must haves? Whats always in your stationery draw for your kids?

Babies – then and now

I was asked recently asked by reader about what it was like having babies 12 years apart, in terms of the types of things we had then versus what we have now.

So much has changed but so much has also stayed the same.

The biggest difference now is that there is a lot more choice. It is not just that there are more bottles and dummies but more everything. There are more nappies. Huggies alone have 4 different types of nappies under the Huggies brand. There are more wet wipes; Cherubs have 3 different types I think. Have you tried buying a baby feeding bowl? Or a baby feeding spoon? The choices will do your head in.  We never had these choices 12 years ago. There were different brands but not as many and within each brand there weren’t as many choices.


We have been convinced we need gadgets of every kind. There are thermometers in dummies or in plasters. There are attachments for the bath water tap. You can buy whole systems to make homemade baby food. There are singing potties. There are blankets that cool, blankets that warm, blankets that heat, blankets that stretch, don’t stretch. Even something as simple as body wash has become complicated. A lot of these things aren’t necessary; they are simply nice to haves.

The audience is bigger. I joined an online forum when I had Cameron but there was no Facebook, I didn’t know much about blogs back then. The amount of people watching me as a parent was smaller. The amount of people I compared myself to was smaller. My access to information was limited despite having access to the internet, I never googled as much as I do now.



There are few things I remember that we used “back then” that I don’t even think you get anymore.

  • Those green sterilising buckets that you put the red liquid in. You used to get them at Game. I had it for Cameron but stopped using it very quickly because it was such a pain.
  • HUGE prams. I know pram size is still an issue these days but I had this HUGE pram that was too big for my boot.
  • Carry cots. I think you may still get them but does anyone even use them? Why? I had one for Cameron but I think we used it once.
  • Safety pins and cloth nappies. Not the funky cloth nappies we have now but those Glodina “spit cloths” that we used to use with safety pins. You used to be able to buy safety pins in the baby shops – I don’t think you can anymore. (Yes there were disposables when I had Cam but we used cloth for a few weeks for our hip issues).

Those of you with older kids – what did you have back then that you don’t have now?

6 things to do to keep kids happy in the car

I spend a lot of time in the car, in the afternoons the kids spend a lot of time in the car with me. We don’t generally drive far but we spend our annual summer holiday in Cape Town and now that there are 6 of us we drive down. This means a lot of time in the car with four kids and a lot of creative ways to try and keep the children occupied.

It can be the perfect time to combine a educational concepts with fun.

Count the cars. Traffic is a part of life here and it can be frustrating but you can turn it into a fun activity. Ask the children to count the number of red cars or the number of cars next to you, combining both number and colour concepts. For older kids you could ask them to identify the different types of cars. If you are heading out on a longer trip then the Ready Set Count box from Mysmartkid offers a great selection of fun activities that teach number concepts.9780755498451

i-Spy/Alphabet Game. This is always a fun game to play and can be enjoyed by any age, anywhere. As long as you can see things you can play. This helps kids to take note of their surroundings as well as learn sounds of words.


Sing. Songs are a great way to make everyone feel happier and they help with memory. You can find kid friendly songs that are also adult friendly and don’t get annoying as soon as they start. Depending how far you are travelling, you could bring out the noisey toys close to your destination/stop and let the children bang on the drums or the accordian.

001928789654120 Questions. This is a really fun game for everyone and isn’t as monotonous as i-Spy can get. This game gets the imagination going because the object doesn’t have to be visible so you can literally think of anything and everything.  All of my kids enjoyed playing this.

Read. Books like Where’s Wally are really great for passing the time. Board books are great for smaller kids, especially the ones with flaps or different textures. Fact Finder books are perfect for older children. Classic books also work well they can be read out aloud to help calm everyone.

Join Mysmartkid. You can also use the Smartbox from Mysmartkid to keep your child busy while you travel. Every Smartbox  is filled with age appropriate toys and activities that combine creativity and learning.


It can be a challenge keeping children distracted in the car but with enough planning it can be done and the trip can be an adventure more than a nightmare.


How to tame a toddler tantrum in 3 easy steps.

This year end has not been easy on us all. I am not really sure why but we are all feeling it. Jack, specifically has been a challenge. There have been tantrums, huge, elaborate, throw himself on the floor, kind of tantrums. It’s mainly about clothes – socks, shorts, jeans, shirts – getting dressed is a fight. If the socks can’t get on right or the jeans have a spot on or the shirt isn’t long sleeve or if Barack Obama wears a black tie then its a huge deal. HUGE. Tears, screaming, whining, shouting, crying.

He is an angel at school, obviously. I think the only reason the teacher actually believes me is because we have, at times, both arrived at school in tears. We are trying to deal with it. We are walking that tight rope between setting boundaries and giving in. We all know that line. It usually happens about 30 minutes into a screaming tantrum, you consider giving in, giving up. You know you shouldn’t, you know why you need to stand firm but its 17h30, dinners about one second away from burning, a child needs to be fetched from swimming in 10 minutes, another child needs to bath. You just don’t have the emotional energy or physical time to get down to his level and try to explain you understand his feelings but he really can’t eat the raw chicken drumstick. So you shout or you smack or you send to the naughty corner or you bribe with some sugar – you do pretty much anything you can to just stop the screaming.

Some days, though, you do get it right. You do stay calm, you explain, he understands and calm is restored. At the moment those days are rare in our house but they do happen. On those days I give us all a gold star.


There are a few things I have figured out though to make it a little easier for us all. So when your toddler (or even 10 year old for that matter) is mid tantrum try these 3 easy steps.

1. Grab a glass of wine/whisky/coke/SuperM/tea or a slab of chocolate. Whatever is your comfort food – grab it!

2. Lock yourself in the bathroom with your wine/whisky/coke/SuperM/tea or slab of chocolate and enjoy it. Savor each sip/bite. Breathe. Drink/eat!

3. Look in the mirror, high five yourself, put your warrior helmet on and head back out onto the battleground.

Tantrums are not easy. They can be disruptive and exhausting. They are also very different from child to child. Some kids respond to a time out, some to a star chart, others to a warning. There is no one fit solution, the only thing you can do is “just keep swimming” and remind yourself that tomorrow will be better (and that there is wine in the fridge).

Being Safe Online – thinking long term!

I joined Facebook a few years ago. I was newly single and did a fair share of partying. Back then social medial was pretty new, we didn’t think much of the long term impact of what we were doing so we shared a lot more (well I did anyway). There were a large number of pictures of me at parties, having a good time, drink in hand. No big deal right? I mean we all did and we all wanted to share the good time.

I have removed most of those photos, not because I am embarrassed or have regrets but because my children are getting older now and I don’t really want them seeing some of those pictures.

Recently I was scrolling through one of my twitter feed and noticed drunk photos being posted by teenagers. It was done innocently, they weren’t shaming friends, it was nothing sinister BUT there are now drunk pictures with that persons name attached on the world wide web. These kids haven’t started looking for jobs yet or applying to university but they now have drunk pictures as part of their online footprint. Should a potential employer google them, these are the things they will find. Should they one day find themselves in a custody battle, these photos can be used against them.

I check what Cameron shares on his Facebook feed, he s 12, he doesn’t always make smart choices and often doesn’t even fully understand cartoons or jokes and I don’t want one click of a share button to label him something he isn’t. We all know how unforgiving the internet can be, especially when we mess up.

When I was young we had to have our photos developed and you could only make copies if you had the negatives. So one photo couldn’t really travel too far, too fast and you could cut it up and it was gone. Now a photo is on the web forever and always, even when you delete it.

As parents, we need to make sure our children understand that what they post today will effect them later in life. Every day they are online they are adding to their online CV, they need to make sure that they are proud of everything associated with their name.

We can’t stop our children from being online, it is the way the world is going, but we can make sure they are smart about it!

4 Christmas Gifts for Baby Girls

My mom asked me the other day what she can buy Emma for Christmas. I had no idea. She is at that age where she is happy with a toothbrush and box of macaroni but those aren’t exactly nice gifts, especially from a granny for your first Christmas.

So I did what any self respecting person does  – I googled it and obviously found some outrageous things but also found a few really great ideas for babies 0-1 year old.

Sea Stack and Learn  Blocks  – these are always a win and these blocks have letters, shapes and pictures on so they learn more than just stacking.


Colour Flap Mirror – Emma loves a mirror. She will spend hours playing at the mirror in our lounge. So anything with a mirror is a huge win for her.  This one includes colours so can be used for checking yourself out and learning colours.


Tea Time Shape Sorter – I had a shape sorted growing up and all the older kids had one. They are such fun ways to learn a host of things – shapes, colours, motor skills. I thought this one was a very cute one for girls.


Peekaboo Book – We are huge Dorling Kindersley fans and these books are stunning. Both of these are really cute and you can never go wrong with books as gifts, for any age.


Sensational Kids are having a sale on from the 5 – 7 December! – EVERYTHING on the site will be less 20% and all delivery is free within SA. Book mark it, set reminders because you do not want to miss it!!!!