Eliminating Sugar – Ceres Fruit & Water Swirl.

Sugar, sugar, sugar.

As a child, I remember sugar and sweet treats predominantly being party food. Dessert consisted of peaches and ice cream or jelly and custard, once a week. It wasn’t a privilege, it was a luxury. Something we knew not to even bother asking about. We knew when it was allowed.

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Fast forward to 2018. Lunch boxes are packed with treats and snacks packed with sugar. Schools have to send notes home to parents requesting for junk food to NOT be sent in their lunch boxes. I see families out with their young kids with fizzy drinks bubbling away in their juice bottles. What is the world coming to?

Sugar doesn’t full a child’s stomach.
It doesn’t feed their brains.
It feeds cancer cells.
It creates obesity.
Sugar is an addiction.

Feeding your kids wholesome foods and keeping sugary treats for parties, and special occasions is not depriving them. It is doing them a favour. Providing your child’s body with goodness is one of the best things you can do for them.

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I’ve heard many parents saying that it is easier for them (perhaps working parents) to just throw a couple of snacks into a lunchbox because they don’t have time to prepare lunches. I don’t agree! This post was created for those parents. It is possible to choose healthier alternatives to junk food.

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Here’s my list featured in the photos:

– Rice Crackers (the ones without any flavouring – avoid the ones that are covered in a powdery flavouring). My son also loved the ones covered in carob and yoghurt as a toddler.
– Droerwors (I buy a few sticks, and then just break the longer strips into about ¾ pieces. This goes a long way!)
– Dried fruit (Again, I buy a big pack, and only put 2-3 pieces into his lunchbox – remember, even when feeding your child healthy snacks – it’s about portion control).
– Berries/fruit (I wouldn’t usually add both fruit and dried fruit into his lunchbox on the same day, but just wanted to show options).
– Animal crackers (I buy them from Woolies, they’re plain with no flavouring).
– Baby Tomatoes / Baby Carrots / Cucumber

#Ceresfruitjuice challenged me to creating three nutrient packed lunches for Olly over three weeks. Less sugar – more goodness relating it to the new lunch box solution – Ceres Fruit & Water Swirl.

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They have already diluted the juice with water meaning that there is no fuss and no arguments with the tiny humans. They taste delicious, and are perfect for party packs, outings, and school lunch boxes. I’ve seen the difference in my 3 year olds behavior and attention span when unnatural sugars are eliminated from his daily diet.

The Ceres Fruit & Water Swirl comes in three delicious flavours:

– Apple: 45% Less sugar than Ceres 100% Apple Juice
– Raspberry & Apple: 40% Less sugar than Ceres 100% Secrets of the Valley.
– Fruit Punch: 50% less sugar than Ceres 100% Medley of Fruit.

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They taste great with the benefit of less sugar and are high in Vitamin C.

They are available in all major retail stores.

Tell me which healthy snacks you add to your kids lunchboxes on days where you are in a rush. Do you keep things on hand for days like these?

Share your thoughts & ideas, and you could win one of the Ceres Fruit & Water Swirl flavours in a pack of 6.


#Sponsored

Photos by Criene Images.

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Getting Creative – Ceres Fruit & Water Swirl.

When my three and a half year old son returns from school, I often find myself feeling rather uninspired by what to give him for lunch. Sometimes he’s so exhausted when he gets home that he goes straight to his bed for a nap, but other times he’s starving.

It was actually great to be challenged by Ceres to create a nutritious lunch for him, which has really made me think out of the box. What he eats for lunch AFTER school, is just as important as what I put in his lunch box. It needs to fuel his brain and give him energy for the rest of the day. I often find that when he has junk – his attention span goes from 10-1 in the blink of an eye and the tantrums begin. My son really is sensitive to sugar, and as he gets older I notice it more.

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He thrives from wholesome food and meals that are packed with nutrition. Being a growing boy, he needs to be fed food that is healthy rather than food that has been processed. I’ve often said that you know you’ve done a healthy grocery shop when you haven’t gone down any of the middle aisles of the grocery store, simply sticking to the bordering aisles which are home to all the fresh food.

He squealed with delight when he saw his dinosaur themed lunch – it was amazing watching him remain calm while eating, and being able to wind down because there was no junk. Had I added any sugary treats or junk, he would have wound up and become wild instead. I do believe that when their food has created to be appealing to the eye, even the fussier kids are more likely to eat it. Perhaps decide on a weekly theme with your little ones to keep things exciting!

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I also love being able to simply grab one of the new Ceres Fruit and Water Swirl juice boxes to add to his lunch. Keeping hydrated, especially in this hot, dry weather that Cape Town is handing us, I love that these are diluted with water too. As good as fruit juice tastes on a hot day, as well as the natural sugar giving us the energy that we need, the water is really what quenches our thirst. Again, instead of having to add water myself to dilute his juice, it has already been done for us! This specific one featured – Fruit Punch has 50% less sugar that Ceres 100% Medley of Fruit. This is phenomenal for our little people. Giving them just the right proportions of each.

It is boiling hot in Cape Town today, and instead of giving my son ice cream to cool him down and as a treat, we will instead be enjoying fun ice lollies made from these juice boxes!

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Kids are so sensitive to sugar and they don’t understand why they are feeling hyped up, or feeling strange because of their energy crashing down after the sugar high wears off. And we often take our frustration of not understanding why they are behaving differently out on them. I’ve seen how sugar affects my son, it always has. It isn’t a pretty site. And I am learning to keep junk food out of the house which means that it is kept sacred for parties and special occasions. So, I really do love that Ceres has launched this new Fruit and Water Swirl which is just an extra helping hand to us moms to limit the sugar intake for our kids. Keeping their bodies as well as teeth healthier.


I would love for you to share your thoughts with me, telling me how you control your childs sugar intake. And I will choose one of you who I will send a pack of the Ceres Fruit and Water Swirl 6 packs to to try for yourself!

#CeresFruitJuice


*This post was in collaboration with Ceres.
*Photography: Criene Images
*Wardrobe: Minimi Atelier

Let’s Be Blunt. A Letter To Businesses & PR Companies.

So what is it that you actually want? I wanted to take a moment to get very real with some thoughts that have been crossing my mind lately. I’m not pointing fingers at anybody in particular, but I do find that situations accumulate to the point where something needs to be said.

 

I work with brands and businesses, big and small. Local and international. Each company I work with seems to have a different view on how things work when working with/collaborating with a blogger or an influencer. So, let me make it easy for everyone to understand.

 

  1. When you request to work with me, I will always respond accordingly with my media kit and rate card. Stated in these documents, which I have spent a lot of time and thought compiling for you – is everything you need to know as to how I work, how payments need to be made, and regarding what you will receive from me. I also state what I require from you, as the business owner, or PR agency. Just as you expect for me to stick to my end of the deal – I expect the same from you.
  2. When a company agrees to send you product, please do not send me the sample to keep. Something that has been passed on from one person to another over a long period of time. That’s basically like me copying and pasting a review that I have previously written for somebody else. I do believe that I have standards, and that I deserve to review and keep a product that has been made with love and that, for example, isn’t stained or chipped, or faded.
  3. If you are a PR company, send me a press release that I get closure from at the end. Some press releases are so open ended, I don’t know if you are just wanting me to copy and paste the info, which means that there is no monetary value, (which I will then ignore), or if you are wanting me to attend an event, therefore, please give me more information. I understand that many of you are sending in bulk, but take a moment to personalize it which will mean that I am more willing to do something with that information.
  4. Please stop just expecting. My content is created with many weeks or months of planning. Nothing happens over night. I work with a handful of photographers only. They have a high standard of work. I will not just simply send you all of the images. Again, if we have made a verbal or written agreement that you will get (x) amount of edited images from a shoot, this will happen. BUT, then be sure to tag and credit all relevant parties, and do not go off and crop or edit the images the way you want it/or to just show your product. This is ruining the photo. You may as well take a permanent marker to a painting or piece of artwork in your home, because these images have been created by a team of creatives. They are worth money.
  5. Don’t go behind my back and use my images. If you love a photo which may feature one of your products, (I spend a lot of money buying products to complete a photo/story I am working on), that makes them mine. I own it. Just because I am a blogger doesn’t mean I am entitled to tag you. This also means that the photograph belongs to me. You can send me a message to request using the photo, which I may or may not agree to.
  6. My son. He is little and precious, and I am not always happy having companies reshare or post photographs on him. So, unless I send you a photo of him – please do not use photographs of him without my permission.
  7. After almost 4 years of blogging, I have come to the point where I do predominantly take on paid work only. This does not mean that I take on everything that comes my way. I firmly believe in working with and associating myself with brands that are authentic to I am as an individual as well as to what my family stands for. However, please do respect me, as well as my standard of work by requesting my rate card and media kit if you would like to work with me.
  8. If you do not have the budget to work with me/have received my rate card and would prefer not to work with me – then please be respectable enough to just respond and thank me for my time. I feel that mutual respect moves mountains.
  9. DO NOT ask to send me something without even having requested my rate card or media kit and then send me 500 messages asking me when I will be reviewing/photographing/posting about it. That is not the agreement. If I love it enough, I may mention it. But, I do not work this way. Don’t be sneaky by pretending to be kind and sending me something when you are just trying to get free marketing. It isn’t happening. Don’t be cheap.
  10. Lastly, if you are a company/PR agency who is sending me a product to review, please don’t tell me that it will be delivered on a certain day and then not keep in touch with me if it doesn’t get sent that day. I do have to shift things around to make sure that myself or somebody else is home in that specific time frame to sign for it.

 

That is just a list of things I know that many influencers and bloggers feel. Just as many companies often feel used by a handful of bloggers, we often also find ourselves feeling used and expected a lot of for nothing in exchange.

Please be mindful of the above when choosing to work with me. I do not expect a lot, but I do expect respect. I put my all into everything I do, and always fulfill what I promise a brand.

Thank you for taking the time to read through these things, and I hope to work with some of you in the near future!

Lisa x

Feeding Their Brains With Ceres Fruit & Water Swirl.

As moms, many of us find that part of our household responsibility is doing the grocery shopping. We make most of the decisions as to what we will be putting in our children’s lunch boxes – ensuring that they have energy and are well fed. Either us or our child’s carer will prepare meals for them when they return from school, but generally influenced by us.

We are officially back into the swing of things with our kids back at school. And, when better a time to start a healthy routine for your kids than now? In the beginning of the first term.

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Something I am a firm believer in is keeping my toddlers lunch boxes free of any junk food. I like to only put fresh food in his lunch box, which means that I avoid anything that has been processed. In fact, one of the reasons I chose the school that he goes to is because of their strict lunchbox guidelines.

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Ceres challenged me to prepare nutritional lunches for my son. This was a simple task for me, because it is an honest post from my side as we always prepare healthy lunches that are sent to school with him.  I truly do believe that sugar does nothing for a child. Kids need food that will feed their brains, keeping them awake, alert and eager to learn. Sugar gives a child an unhealthy high that leaves them crashing in record breaking time.

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I don’t know about you, but I have always diluted Olly’s fruit juice with water. It’s a 50/50 ratio of water to juice. I do sometimes find it challenging, especially with the water crisis in Cape Town  – we are either running short of bottled water, or the bottle is so big that I end up spilling half of it when adding it to his juice bottle. But now, Ceres has launched a brand-new Fruit and Water Swirl juice box in three flavours!

– Apple

– Raspberry & Apple

– Fruit Punch

Tasting them myself, I could really taste just how diluted they have made them – which is great! I love that I can send fruit juice with him to school that is exactly how I would have done it myself. They really are the perfect lunchbox solution! I love that it still has the same taste, but with less sugar! I feel that many parents get lazy and just allow their kids to drink juice because of the ‘effort’ it takes to dilute it.

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I was curious to see my three and a half year old sons reaction to the new Ceres Fruit and Water Swirl options, because when he does occasionally get juice boxes, they aren’t diluted which I have no control over. However, he just loved it and didn’t seem at all phased by the ‘change in taste’. I now feel better knowing that if we are rushing out of the house, I can just grab a juice box without cringing at knowing that I haven’t had the opportunity to dilute it.

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I want to challenge you to contribute to this conversation by telling me how you control your childs sugar intake. I will send one reader who has commented a 6 pack of Ceres Fruit and Water Swirl in the flavor of their choice to try.

#CeresFruitJuice


Photos: Carina Konig – @criene_images

This post is in collaboration with Ceres.

Taking Back My Freedom – LG Smart Inverter Top-Loader Washing Machine.

‘LAUNDRY’.

It may be one of the most used and dreaded words in a mothers dictionary. A chore that is unforgiving of us if we have had a busy or bad day. And a ‘gift that keeps on giving.’

If only I had the time to tell you the stories of the washing machines I’ve had in my short life after having left home and moving in with my partner. But, I will save you the stress. We had never actually purchased a brand new washing machine before – the first was, well to be quite honest, I am not even sure where it came from. It just was. When that one died on us, we bought a second, third or maybe even fourth hand one which I recall being so excited about because it had a baby function on – (no, not for washing your baby… but for baby clothes). When we moved in with my mother in law, her already having a washing machine lead to ours being re homed outside undercover. And, slowly over time, it became a toy for my toddler who would sneakily collect sand from the garden to pretend to use as the washing powder which he had been putting in the detergent draw. Oh the joys. Another one bites the dust – quite literally speaking!

SO… having been using my mother in laws front loader which is reasonably small – only being capable of dealing with a normal load of washing each time, meaning that I often felt like my washing pile never lessened, I was thrilled to be contacted by LG to receive and review one of their LG Smart Inverter Top Loader Washing Machines, especially because I was able to choose one that holds up to 17kg.

 

Having a hubby that is a carpenter, a toddler and dogs – I often feel that there are times where there is no other option but to WASH THE CLOTHES! There are times where my toddler wets his bed, he comes home from school with clothes that are filthy and with four dogs, I have to wash their bed covers. Hubbies clothes need to be washed as he has a physical job. The beauty of having the LG Top Loader that holds 17kg’s means that I am able to do one large wash once or at most twice a week.

 


With Cape Towns water crisis, I do feel that this is helpful. Although the washing machine does use more water due to its size, it also means that I cut down on washing as much as I used to! Which means that I do tend to use LESS water than what I was before. We try our utmost best to re wear our clothing as much as we possibly can before just tossing them in the wash. Denim I find lasts the longest which is great! And, with summer, clothing isn’t as bulky which means I can really fit almost a week of laundry in one wash! YES!

 

I chose the Silver Top Loader option purely because I feel that it fits in nicely with everything else in my home, and if we move someday, it is versatile.

 

SO WHAT MAKES THE LG SMART INVERTER WASHING MACHINE SO SPECIAL?

  1. Energy Saving with Smart Inverter Control:
    Smart Inverter Technology eliminates wasted operation by efficiently controlling energy use.
  2. Smart Motion:
    Smart Motion is 3 kinds of motions created by Smart Inverter for optimized washing by fabric type.
  3. Turbo Drum™:
    TurboDrum™ enables the most powerful wash and removes even the toughest dirt through strong water stream of rotating drum and pulsator in the opposite direction.

A few things I have come to love about my washing machine:

  • An embarrassing fact, I’m not sure you’d even think possible is that I have slammed my finger and my toddlers finger in our washing machine door. I’ve even dropped the lid of my parents top loader on my finger before, and it isn’t a pleasant experience. So I love that this Top Loader has a slow closing function. It automatically closes on its own when you push it downwards, in a way that WILL NOT hurt you or your toddler!
  • Having said the above regarding my toddler filling up my detergent drawer of my previous washing machine with sand and stones, I am so relieved the detergent drawer of my new LG Top Loader is in fact inside the washing machine and not accessible from the outside.
  • I truly do love that I can accumulate a good 3-5 days of laundry and can do it all in one go without feeling guilty about it.
  • Having boys that sure know how to mess on their clothes, which can be so frustrating, I have loved how little effort it now takes to remove stains and dirt from their clothing.
  • I also love that it has an Auto Restart function. Living in South Africa, you never know what tricks may be pulled, and a huge frustration is when the power goes off when you have a load of laundry on. With the LG Smart Inverter, it automatically restarts from the position it stops to adjust accordingly!
  • Standby Power Save: Even if the power cord is plugged in while power is off, only extremely little electricity will run through the washer. You don’t need to worry about wasted electricity.
  • Having a young baby or family – a washing machine can be a huge distraction or problem when trying to get them to sleep. I love that you barely know that your washing machine is on because it really is so quiet due to less vibration, however, it has higher durability.

Being a stay at home, work from home mom – I know how laundry can start to rule your life. I am loving the freedom that my 17kg Top Loader gives me. Having to only do laundry once or twice a week is a walk in the park! I can highly recommend getting either the 15kg or 17kg.

Do check out the LG website for the complete list of facts and features on the 17kg LG Smart Inverter Top Loader here: http://www.lg.com/za/washing-machines/lg-T1766NEFTF

#LGSmartInverter / #SmartInverter

A Letter To My Wild Three Year Old.

To my wild three year old boy,

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This feeling. It is intense. Thinking back to holding you as a newborn baby, I would have never thought that there would be days that I just did not like you. I feel guilty typing this, but I feel that somebody has to air the laundry.

My blood has boiled so many times over the past week that I feel any medical professional would tell me to take a step back because it’s dangerous to my health. I didn’t know that a human as tiny as you could be quite so powerful. How is it possible that I can say no to somebody my own age and stick to my guns, yet with you, a three year old – you have the power to somehow get me to sway.

I’ve been on my hands and knees wiping up spills since before the sun came up, and until after the sun went down. And, IT’S SUMMER! Which means that its light for more hours than it’s dark… I’ve muttered ‘Are you kidding me?’ more times than I can count. I’ve shouted, I’ve cried, I’ve had a migraine from your screeching, and I have even had to finish off your dirty work of shoving your poop down the drain in the bathroom basin because it was too far gone to save it. You woke me up this morning (on YOUR mattress on MY bedroom floor, might I add) after a sleepless night (because of you) by spraying me in the face with water from the handheld fan and spray bottle you somehow stole from your grandmothers bedroom. I have stood by the stove making your favourite pasta that you begged for to have you say that you are full after two bites purely because you insisted on hunting down a banana and a hot crossed bun that you shoved in before I could say ‘not before dinner’.

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You know, this is motherhood. Some days suck. Some days I find myself laughing hysterically at the end of the day looking back on it, wondering if and how the day that has gone by could have actually happened, and then end up in a heap in tears because motherhood is a whirlwind of confusing emotions. I love you so much, but you also make me so mad sometimes.

But then, then you go to sleep. And I tiptoe in to tuck you in and give you your final kiss for the night, and that crazy, wild three year old boy who is just oh so independent now – he’s just an innocent little boy. Your resting body leaves your lips in the position that they were as a newborn baby. Your face angelic again. And I wonder how I allow myself to dislike something so perfect.

Some days I don’t like you. But, I will always love you – and there will be days as you grow up where you don’t like me either. It may be because I do something you don’t like or because I don’t allow you to do something you’re so wishing to do. Maybe I won’t let you go watch a movie with your friends because you have school the next day. There will be days where we simply disagree and bash heads.

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But know, that I love you. I love you as big as the world. But, some days – I just don’t like you. Never misinterpret that. Dig deep in your heart to understand what that phrase truly means. And someday, when you are a parent – you will finally click and say: “Oh! That’s what she meant.”

 

Your Mama x

A Christmas Tradition – Elf’s Pet

As if having a brand new, cute Elf on the shelf that you can dress up isn’t enough as a special Christmas tradition in your home, they had to go just that extra mile by creating an Elf’s Pet. Because we would hate for Elf to get lonely while we’re out over the Festive Season.

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Having a three-year-old who is already overly excited for Christmas, this truly makes it all just that extra bit more magical for him. As a parent, it is so wonderful to watch his eyes beam as he plays with his special Elf’s pet reindeer. (He was so excited when I told him that, unlike with the Elf on the shelf, he is allowed to play with his reindeer). Sneakily listening into their conversations, and hearing his own understanding of Christmas as they quietly chatter about it between themselves.

For the elf pets, children are encouraged to love their reindeer so that it will help Santa deliver the presents at Christmas, as well as continue to believe in Christmas to create Christmas spirit. And I just absolutely adore this ‘message’ behind the toy.

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The Elf Pets Reindeer is a box set which includes a vividly illustrated hardbound children’s book, which is absolutely beautiful as well as the Reindeer. Having spent some magical Christmases in the States, experiencing a real white, snowy Christmas – I really had a peek into how festive and exciting Christmas can be for a child. This has been one of the first times I have really felt like I have gone back in time to the younger version of myself remembering those moments watching the snowflakes gently fall to the ground with Christmas music blaring in the background. This book took me right back there, which is hard to do.

There are so many Christmas products available for kids these days, but it is still incredibly difficult to find something that really stands out from the rest. Something that has been designed with love in hope to put the magic back into Christmas for kids who seem to be quite a challenge to excite and please in this generation – to encourage them to really use their imaginations and to put themselves into a Christmas spirit just by playing and reading the book.

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It is a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with your kids this Festive season, reading the book, and getting the entire family into the Festive spirit. And, it will be the excitement of unpacking it each year for the next Christmas, and the memories that will be made year after year.

Traditions are truly something wonderful, and this is just one of the ways that I have chosen to enjoy new traditions with my little boy.

You can get yours, while they’re still available at http://www.jeffreystein.co.za/brands/the-elf-on-the-shelf/elf-pets-a-reindeer-tradition

DO give the little movie a watch on this page to get those butterflies going in your tummy as you watch the story unfold. These products really are just one notch above the rest, and it’s so nice to see some original products these days!

Make sure to check in again next week to find out what the last product is I will be reviewing, it’s amazing, slightly magical, and you could even WIN an amazing prize.

Stock Up Your Freezers – Fry’s Give Me Freedom.

We are currently sitting smack bam into a week.
I always find Wednesdays insane.
Half way through the week, but just out of reach of the weekend.

Hanging in there by a thread, longing for the craziness of the week to just slow down a little.
Olly is wild. I’ve started referring to Wednesday’s as ‘Wild Wednesday’,
He’s always a little more clingy, emotional and it’s generally a day of nagging.

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Dinner time arrives, and I used to find myself frantically scurrying through the freezer to find something I could just fry/pop in the oven or microwave.
I must admit that before I started giving Olly meat, I only gave him the Fry’s ‘meatless’ products.
So, they have always been safe in our home. I know he won’t complain, and his tummy will be full.

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That being said, I love having a freezer stocked up with these Fry’s Chicken styled Nuggets. I love them, Olly loves them and so does David.
I just pair them with some fresh baby tomatoes, some carrot sticks and tomato sauce and we are good to go. Everybody is happy.

Dinner time can become such a complicated time in your home sometimes.
I don’t like always feeling like I need to turn to overpriced takeaways when a day gets out of control.
Sometimes, we can plan ahead and stock up our freezers for those days instead.

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These chicken style nuggets are Olly’s absolute favourite out of the Fry’s Family products.
They literally just need to be popped in the oven for a couple of minutes, and BAM, dinner is served! They are also perfect for adults, might I add. They really aren’t just made for kids. They just love them.

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Also suitable for vegans, BUT, not for people who are gluten intolerant. They are packed with the perfect protein replacements, so one doesn’t need to worry about not getting their protein in their meals.

Fry’s has a large range of meat-free products, so there really is something for everyone. You can find them at most of the leading stores. I mostly buy mine from my local Pick ‘n Pay, just because they have a very large range, and it is just convenient for me.

They have lovely, very inspiring and insightful social media platforms that you can check out too:

Instagram
Facebook
Website
Twitter

Thank you to Angela Rea Photography for the photos!

Be sure to stock up, give them a try – and let me know your thoughts!

You’re welcome!!!

— @onemodernmom

Introducing New Christmas Traditions – The Elf On The Shelf.

This year is the first year that we have agreed that Olly is the perfect age to introduce the Elf on the shelf as a Christmas tradition in our home. I’ve done some research on them, and found that they have many benefits. Parents can use them for many different things – discipline, rewards, incentives, etc.

I must admit that when I stumbled upon some in the stores, I found them a bit creepy. I also didn’t really understand them. But, when I found this very special Elf on the Shelf over at Jefferey Stein (Pty) Ltd, which came with a book and DVD, I understood it so much better. I also sort of fell in love with the entire story and concept.

This sweet Elf, now named Nunu – isn’t just a cute soft toy that comes in a box. It comes with a story book that tells the story which explains not only to you but to your kids how special he/she is. It creates a very unique story in their minds and imaginations of why they have chosen your home, and your family and also encourages good behavior, and a sense of looking after and loving it as it becomes a part of your family for their entire childhood.

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The book is beautifully written and illustrated and has a whimsical and magical feel to it. The DVD that comes with it is a lovely length. Again, beautifully put together and Olly was so captivated watching it. He keeps asking to watch it again and again, and in just a short week, it has become an incredibly special part of our festive season. His elf, Nunu moves around each night to a new spot in the house, and monitors his behavior. The objective is that he reports to Father Christmas.

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Olly often chats to him once he’s found him that morning, and tells him stories and also secretly whispers in his ear what he would like for Christmas for him to pass on the message to Santa for him. Every time he glances up when he’s being slightly mischievous, he quickly adjusts his bad attitude because he doesn’t want the Elf to tell Father Christmas that he has been naughty.

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I love buying something that stands out from the rest. A product that you can see is created with so much love. Something that goes above and beyond. And that is this gorgeous Elf on the Shelf set that we received. I have no doubt that Olly will be sad to pack it away once Christmas is over. But it will be something that we will so look forward to unpacking each year as the festive season begins. It retails on their website for R499.90; but remember you only need ONE for their entire childhood. So you will never have to purchase another one. Also, what I like is that there is nothing breakable about him. It can be popped in the wash before getting packed away.

And just as you thought it couldn’t get any sweeter, any better. Along came a change of clothing for his Elf. Of course, every toddler is semi-obsessed with Super Hero’s, and seeing that this Elf has magical superpowers of his own, naturally he needed a super hero outfit. They also have, as shown below, a hoodie outfit you could choose instead.

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It comes separately to the Elf. And actually makes a nice little reward for good behavior. Something that they can be given in the holidays when they’ve done something that really stands out to you. I thought it was such a fun idea!

I know I have already mentioned this, but this is the most traditional and classic Elf on the shelf set I have seen. It truly has become apart of our family, and I feel that the perfect age to start the tradition is at 3 years old! They really do seem to connect with their Elf, and they just love it!

You can get yours here: http://www.jeffreystein.co.za/brands/the-elf-on-the-shelf

Please let me know if you purchase one, and how your kids and family reacted and responded to it being introduced in your home. You can do so in the comment section below. Do look out for my Christmas giveaways coming up weekly!

A Christmas Tradition

Traditions are near and dear to me.
Perhaps it partly has to do with being adopted, and grasping onto special memories that really made me feel like we were finally ‘home’ when we moved in with our parents.

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Or, maybe I am just more of a soppy person.
Having family in the States, and have had the opportunity to have a couple of white Christmases with a huge family that filled up the room.
Going on tours of the towns seeing all of the over the top light displays while the snow flakes fall to the ground.
Attending Church services with the most amazing Christmas plays, Christmas carolers stopping by your home, and food – so much delicious food!
Visiting shopping malls with Christmas music, and sales and decorations everywhere!!!


A house overflowing with family – all having driven in and flown in from different states around America – all to be in the same place for Christmas.
All of the kids sleeping on mattresses around the tree on the night of Christmas eve, watching Christmas movies with popcorn, hot cocoa and cookies.
The memories leave me wishing to be my five year old self again, back in this moment.

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But, the part that stands out the most to me is FAMILY.

The years that we weren’t in the States, our Christmas was small, intimate and quieter.
They were still just as special, just different.
We would attend the Carols by Candle light service at our Church at the seaside, in short sleeves, because we aint got no white Christmas here in South Africa.
Christmas morning would mean unwrapping gifts from Father Christmas and our parents.
And then we would rush off to Church for the Christmas Day service.
We would then return home or to whichever family members home and have a Christmas lunch.
When we were younger, we would alternate different family members homes. And then it became just a handful of us as everyone immigrated or after some of the older folks passed away.

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And then, my very own sweet family grew by one.
And, the meaning of Christmas changed oh so much for me.
There was a new spark that was added to Christmas. This year has been amazing to start really teaching Olly some of the Christmas stories. He just adores them.
He attempts to sing along to Christmas carols, and we write down his Christmas wish list for Santa together.
Christmas comes up daily from the day he sees the first Christmas decorations in the malls.

It has become exciting all over again.

Amazing what a little soul can do.

As you can see, traditions are something very close to my heart.
Each year on Christmas we bake Christmas cookies together. It is something I did with my mom, and something I really wanted to do with Olly.
The Christmas music plays throughout our home, and the smell of freshly baked cookies makes its way through our home.
Cinnamon, and peanut butter cookies come out tray by tray as if we are trying to break a world record.

The home turns into a mess. Colourful icing, sprinkles and flour everywhere.
Faces are filled with batter and fingers filled with sticky cookie dough.
The sink filled with mixing bowls and baking utensils.
Trays of imperfect cookies cover the counter.


It really is a happy day. And one that will always be a special memory to me. And I hope one that Olly has as a happy memory of Christmas Day as he grows older.

I know for many, Christmas isn’t a happy time of the year. And I do sometimes feel selfish for loving it as much as I do.
It reminds me of happy times with so many people who are no longer here with us.
It reminds me of times spent with family and friends who live thousands and thousands of miles away.

But mostly, it is a reminder of how many amazing memories are yet to be made with this family I get to call my very own.

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So, here’s to the countdown to Christmas. I must be honest by saying that I’m not sure how we are already here!
BUT, it certainly is the most magical time of the year for me.

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A huge thank you to the incredibly talented Carina at https://www.crieneimages.com/ for these magical photos of Olly and myself in the (early) spirit of Christmas.

I also have to add – the beautiful and fun products available for Christmas these days is just amazing. It really is a fun time to shop for Christmas decorations, wrapping paper, and bits and bobs for Christmas. The featured products were sourced from the following places:

Typo, Woolworths, Clicks and Hirsch’s Homestore to name a few. And, Olly was dressed by Dandylion Kids.

I love to hear about other families Christmas traditions. If you have one of your own, please do let me know in the comment tab below. And, keep an eye out for the exciting Christmas giveaways I have coming up weekly!