Hello Vegas!

Two weekends ago, myself, Olly and my friend Angela and her three year old son, Elijah drove through to Sea Point for an exciting weekend at the Los Vegas inspired Flamingo. The boys were squealing with excitement, and due to it being so close to home (just a 25 minute drive), as moms, we were obviously totally content with the fact that we weren’t having to travel long distance with two three year olds.

We arrived to a beautiful apartment, complete with 4 very modern en-suite bathrooms, a spare bathroom as well as a gigantic open plan kitchen, lounge, dining room and bar area. Again, being moms, we were thrilled to be greeted with a tiled living area knowing that any spills could be easily wiped up, but also for health reasons.

The entire apartment being air conditioned, we could have happily stayed in our entire stay. It was a warm weekend, so having fresh, cool air in the apartment was such a treat. The boys love how spacious the living area is – they could play games on the floor, play games and run around without being restricted.

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We obviously didn’t have much of a chance to use the bar area, but it is well equipped, and it also makes the apartment that much more suitable for a bachelor or bachelorette weekend. With the amount of people the home sleeps, it is so reasonably priced.

I have always said that it isn’t really a holiday if the place you are staying doesn’t have a dishwasher. Who wants to have to wash dishes while on holiday, right? First world problems, I know. But I was so happy to see a dishwasher on arrival, as well as a coffee machine and even washing machine! Woo hoo! Perfect for families that stay for awhile. I really appreciated the fact that they didn’t have any bath tubs due to our water crisis, however, with young kids, it could be a bit of an issue. I know I have a child who isn’t a huge fan of showering.

The main bedroom, which I stayed in had a TV, aircon, an extra length King size bed as well as a single bed, which was perfect for me as it meant that Olly could be in the same room as me, but didn’t have to share a bed. My bathroom also had a Sauna in it, which is divine for some down time to just relax and unwind.

The boys loved watching the paragliders from the window and we had a beautiful view of the mountains. It is in such a great spot, as we had such fun adventuring out to the Promenade and the V&A Waterfront. And our journey back was so quick. There is a wonderful variety of restaurants, coffee shops, etc within walking distance. Once you arrive, you honestly don’t have to drive anywhere!

I love the Sea Point life. I feel it is such a vibrant, active lifestyle. We all felt so happy and refreshed after our stay, and were sad to leave. The boys both asked us:  “When we come back again, can we stay forever?” and in conversations since then, both have spoken so much about ‘Sea Point’ and would go back in a heart beat.

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As moms, we found it was highly suitable for kids, the only noticeable con would be no baths. The entire apartment and rooms are spacious with no breakable décor which makes it that much more kid friendly. It would be a lovely go-to place for families and friends to meet that is central to many kid friendly places in the Atlantic Seaboard, as well as being so close by to some of the most pristine and beautiful beaches in Cape Town!

We were absolutely spoilt with vouchers for a donut and coffee for each of us downstairs at the Dairy Den. There is also a petrol garage with a shop, conveniently across the road. And lastly, we loved the security of having an alarm that we could set when we left the house. Knowing that our belongings were safe left us all feeling more relaxed.

We will be back again, as we found the experience of booking, checking out and checking out such a pleasure. We found the apartment in pristine condition, and the owners are on top of any little things that need to be sorted out.

You won’t be sorry, and will too leave feeling totally relaxed and rejuvenated after your stay at Flamingo. I must add that I will definitely be heading there again next year for a girl’s weekend WITHOUT my son! I’m sure it will be a fantastic experience too, where we can let our hair loose and enjoy it in a different perspective.

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Do have a look at their Instagram page yourself to see what you are in for. And you can also read more reviews on their Airbnb account.

We loved staying in a place that was minimalist, clutter free and in with the times, and we cannot wait to return, or as our boys say – move in forever!

Photography: @radzphotography_cpt
Also featured: @oursunshinejourney

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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.

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!

Why Did Nobody Warn Me?

It felt like just yesterday that I waited in anticipation to return to the bathroom to look at the pregnancy test to see if there would be one or two lines. It felt like yesterday that I saw two faint lines, and was flooded with emotions – scared and excited. It felt like yesterday that I experienced a million changes in my body – from growing a belly with a baby inside, to the many other changes my body encountered.

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It feels as if it was just the other day that I gave birth to a healthy little boy, held him in my arms for the very first time, and nursed him through long, dark nights. Then he turned one, then two, and uncountable milestones greeted us in between. We felt as if he was such a big boy when he started playschool at the start of the year, and then when he told us he was ready to get rid of nappies, and then turned three. And now, last night, he decided that it was time to go to bed at night in his undies, and no more nappies.

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How have we reached this point of independence already? Where did my baby go?
Nobody explains to you that this, too is one of the challenges of parenthood. It isn’t only exhausting moments, the tears, the tantrums and the constant debates we have with them when they are little. It isn’t only the sleepless nights, the struggle to get them to latch when they are newborns. It isn’t only all of that that leaves us in an emotional state. It’s also watching them grow up right before our very own eyes, and not quite understanding how they got to that point so quickly.

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My little boy can have full conversations with me – telling me exactly what he wants or needs. He wants to do everything on his own. Snuggles are less – but when they do get handed out, they’re shared with meaning and so much love. He doesn’t just mimic me by returning the ‘I love you’, but says it when he really feels it’s the time to use the words. Instead of just asking me for help, just because – he now only asks me when he really feels that he has tried hard and truly does need a little bit of assistance. He doesn’t always need me to read stories to him anymore, but I get to sit around the corner quietly, listening to him repeat and make up words to his favourite stories that we once read together. Once we would tell him what activities he would do, but now he chooses what he loves, and it’s such a joy watching him giggle and to see the happiness beam through his eyes as he takes on these activities, and watching him thrive in what he has chosen.

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It’s truly beautiful, and as emotional as it can be – I feel that we choose how to deal with our kids growing up. And, my goal for the rest of the year and for next year is to live more in the moment. I am 100% one for taking photographs and little videos of cute moments – and that is my way of storing memories for him to look back on when he is older. But, I am also going to be putting away my phone and camera to truly live in these precious moments. Because if we aren’t living in the moment, where are we really?

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I love having a three year old, and before I know it, I will probably be chatting about how I love having a four year old, and then a five year old. And that’s ok, too.
So — although you will encounter many people everywhere you go (especially when you have a newborn) who tell you ‘Enjoy this moment, because they grow up so fast’, smile – and believe them. Because it does. But you get to choose how you will enjoy it.

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Toddler Stimulation – Hello Shongololo

Ladies, I don’t know about you, but I have a nature lover on my hands. Come rain or shine, my little guy wants more than anything to just be outside, exploring – toys or no toys.

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He will return to our big sliding door with mud dripping from his hands to his toes, with mud marks wiped across his face as if he’s just returned from being lost in a jungle. And the tales he has to tell from his adventures in our garden are worth writing a book about.
I’m not one to spend money quickly. I’m THAT mom who does research on a product before I purchase it. I feel that kids don’t need a lot of toys, because the imagination really happens when you place them in what’s already surrounding them. Also, being a stay at home mom that only earns an income from my blog, I don’t have extra money lying around to just spend every time I see a cute toy.

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And then, low and behond – I heard about Shongololo. Huh? You may be thinking, or may have even blurted out loud to yourself, with your kids most likely hollering: “What? What’s huh mommy? Whaaaaat?” (That’s if they’re anything like mine.)
Let me explain quickly – Hello Shongololo is home to a range of beautifully packaged activities for toddlers and pre-schoolers.

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Now, I have once before ordered a box for Olly which was created with a similar idea in mind. It arrived (late) and arrived with literally three rubbish products in the box. Let me just say that it stirred not even an inch of stimulation and was not at all educational. It was overpriced and the products seemed to have been thrown in after being purchased from China Town. There was no theme and just no care involved. It definitely put me off.

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BUT.. there is always hope, and sometimes one just needs to do a little bit of research – and that’s what makes my blog useful to other moms. I make the mistakes for you, and then help you SAVE money and prevent you from making the same mistakes that I did.
So, here is your go-to for an activity box, and I will tell you why now!

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Olly excitedly opened up his beautifully packaged box, and out popped a gorgeous little bag with a zip complete with a gorgeous wooden Shongololo. He carefully unzipped it with beaming eyes, and shouted ‘WOOOOOAH, COOL!!!’ Out tumbled a bunch of ‘Shongololo In The Garden’ themed goodies that had been chosen and placed in the box with so much thought and care. A desire to enhance your kids hand-eye co-ordination, to encourage creative play and to improve dexterity.
The Shongololo In The Garden box specifically teaches kids about the wonders of nature found in our very own gardens. It contains the following:

– Bug Kit
– Scavenger Hunt (This is my favourite part, and such a fun way to spend a beautiful day outdoors with your child).
– Seeds and Planting fun
– Butterfly Craft
– Felt Tip Pens
– Exciting Story Book
– DIY Gooey Snail Slime (Great for kids with sensory issues)
And the best part is that every one of these products is great quality! They aren’t cheap products that your kid is going to loose interest in our break while playing with them.
Olly has loved his box so far. We haven’t had too much of a chance to go through all of the activities yet, but looking through it has been so much fun, and I promise to post some more photos of him enjoying his Scavenger Hunt and doing some bug catching.
The boxes are wonderful for rainy days, but even for beautiful summer days to go outside and explore! Kids need to get their hands dirty and to potter around the beautiful garden in order to learn, and in order to truly experience what is around them.
As I say, my little guy is happiest when he is outside!

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Now onto the facts – the activity boxes are split between two age groups. 1.5 – 3 years and 3-5 years. We ordered the 3-5 year box.

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The boxes cost R350 which is such good value for what you get! This includes delivery and it takes between 2-7 working days to be delivered. They make wonderful birthday gifts too! You can even order one of their travel kits (GENIUS!!!) to keep your little ones busy on a long flight or on a road trip. Those are priced between R165 and R240, however that cost does not include delivery.

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Do yourself a favour and read the ‘About Us’ section on their website. I always love to learn a little more about the face behind a brand, and it truly shows the passion and love that Natasha has for what she does.IMG_6752-300x300 Another thing that is obvious is that she has a little one and is so educated on what little bodies need to stimulate them and on what they can learn from without even being aware.

You can order your box at Hello Shongololo
Also, follow their social media platforms to see all of their latest news:
Instagram
Facebook

The Only Thing I’ve Judged Another Parent For.

Driving back home from one of the best weekends I’ve had with my little family at our old family farm up at the Breede River, we decided to take the longer, scenic drive back through Robertson instead of our usual route back through Caledon. We weren’t even the tiniest bit phased by the toddler tunes on repeat blaring in the car, or the extra bit of traffic. We were just in our element.

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Dark crept upon us, and we made our way through the Hugenot Tunnel just after Worcester. Still happily chatting about exciting family events to come as well as our special weekend away; a sudden chill hit us as we saw a car that had recently drove over the edge and was smashed up. Added to the scene were emergency lights, and a crowd of people – paramedics, etc. One of my least favourite things to see, especially on a long, happy journey home.

Not even having a chance to get that visual out of my mind, I glance to the left on a road that one can drive 120km/hr and literally find myself taking a second look. My heart sinks, I feel my blood pressure rise at a rapid speed. A little girl younger than my own son – couldn’t have been older than two running back and forth on the back seat of her parents car, jumping forward between the driver and passenger seat. This sounds terrible, but I wanted to get out and just shake her parents. Didn’t they just see the accident? What if that was them? It could have been, and one day it could be!!!

I am shaking, and I feel sick even typing this. If they can afford to have a car, and if they can afford to put petrol into their car – they can afford to prioritize a car seat for their precious little girl! They can afford to protect their baby girl from an accident that can so easily happen. It doesn’t matter how good a driver you are, these things happen in a heartbeat!

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You know, I often find myself feeling anxious when we go on long trips, and we have a great car seat! I find myself nervous because I know that accidents happen, and my child is securely fastened in his car seat! I find myself praying throughout our long trips because I know that there could be someone who is texting or drunk and an accident can happen, and we spent thousands on a car seat for our son to protect him.

Yet, another parent, their childs life just as precious and fragile as my own child, couldn’t care less to take the precautions to potentially save their daughters life. One doesn’t even need to be educated to know! If you can drive a car, you are educated enough to work out that a child needs to be in a car seat! If you can drive a car, especially one like this family was in, YOU CAN AFFORD TO BUY A DECENT CAR SEAT! Your child’s life is far more valuable!!!

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I am not a judgmental person. And I will never put another parent into a situation where they feel like they are not good enough. Whether you formula feed or breastfeed, whether you had a natural birth or a c-section, you are good enough. Whether you rock your baby to sleep or let them fall asleep on their own, you’re perfect. BUT, the one thing that I will voice my incredibly strong opinion on is putting your child in a car seat! If you are reading this, and don’t and feel offended, or guilty – I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry.

Being a parent means that you need to do what is best for your kids. Sometimes having to invest in something like a car seat is just something that you need to do. Sometimes you have to let your child cry even when they don’t want to be in their car seat, or sometimes your already long trip means stopping an extra 10 times because your kid needs a break from their car seat. But, there are no excuses.

STRAP YOUR CHILD INTO A CAR SEAT.
EDUCATE YOURSELF.
EDUCATE OTHER PARENTS.
SPREAD THE WORD TO PARENTS TO BE!

I can’t express myself enough.

Do the right thing!

My Child, My Rules.

Raising a child is HARD work. There is nothing easy about it. Every single day is a challenge. A well behaved child with manners didn’t just wake up like that. Behind every child is an adult that has worked hard on teaching them those manners. If I think of the amount of times I have to give Olly ‘the look’ before handing him something, or after giving him something which reminds him to use the ‘magic words’, I lose track.

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However, I must say that he has gotten so much better about remembering to use manners at the right times, and even remembers to excuse himself from the table. There were two things that stood out to me over the weekend, that made me think that it’s a good idea to write this post.

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Firstly, Olly had a birthday party over the past weekend, and I wasn’t able to go because I had a kitchen tea which clashed. His Granny took him instead. Later that evening, I got a message from another mommy saying that Olly is so polite. He had such good manners, shared with her younger daughter the entire party and really looked after her, because she was younger than the rest of the kids. My mommy heart wanted to burst at the seams with happiness.

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Another situation, which happens SO often – we went for a play date over the weekend, and 5 minutes before we were leaving I told Olly that it was time to pack away his toys. The mom, so kindly, told him not to worry. I feel that we all do this, because our kids play with them too, and will probably continue to do so once the guests leave. But, I work so hard at having him pack away his toys at home once he’s finished playing, and because it is the polite thing to do at a playdate, I always try to encourage him to do the same.

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Then there are the daily challenges that we face with other parents and adults. Topics such as the food we allow our kids to eat, routine at home, screen time, the list could go on. I get so mad when I ask Olly to do something, or tell him ‘no’ about having something, and right in front of him, I get challenged by the other parent/adult. I’ve raised a child who knows that what I do is best for him, and he doesn’t question it – and then to have another adult question and say ‘Shame, he’s just a child’ in front of him, it creates doubt in his mind. Doubt that I have made the wrong decision for him, and often leads to an argument where he then begs for whatever it may be, and it turns into a battle; whereas without that parent even saying a thing, my son would’ve been quite happy as usual to just go on without it.

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Might I add that this often happens with family members too! Remember this, they’ve had their turn at raising their kids and now it’s your turn!

The amount of time it has taken me to get to this point, where my son knows exactly what he is allowed to have, how much screen time he is allowed, that he chooses water over juice 99% of the time, and his overall manners – it has taken years to get here. (We aren’t perfect, and SURE, we have our bad days). To have somebody else carelessly ruin that for you, and to set you back is just MEAN!

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We all know what is best for our child, and as you’ve put months or years instilling rules and manners for your family – we have all done the same. MY CHILD, MY RULES.

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And I feel that this is such an important thing to remember when you feel like opening your mouth. You never know the full story behind a family or individual. So, instead of putting your foot in it, rather keep out.

I’d love to hear your thoughts or experiences on this topic. And may I add, that I am in no way saying that myself nor my child are perfect. We are far from, and there are days where he tests me beyond my capability. I just thought that many of you can probably relate to this and wanted to chat about the topic.

— One Modern Mom

Photos by Angela Rea of My Sunshine Journey: https://www.facebook.com/OurSunshineJourney/

Back To School.

It feels bizarre that three weeks has gone by in a flash! I can’t believe that my little guy is back at school today. It has been a successful holiday. We managed to complete the three tasks we really wanted to get out of the way – 1. Potty Training 2. Painting our room. 3. Clearing out the outside room from when we moved a year ago.

But there was one more task that I knew I wanted to work on the week before Olly went back to school, and that was getting his mind prepared for the return to school. It’s a huge thing for their brains and emotions to have so much change in such a short period of time. It’s almost as if the moment they get settled into school, and the routine that goes with it, school holidays arrive and throw them off. It’s all totally confusing, and I can completely understand why – honestly, it sort of catches me off guard too!

The whole of last week, I spent (without Olly even realizing) preparing Olly’s mind for returning to school. Last term was a tricky one – I found that he would moan the night before school and in the mornings before school saying he didn’t want to go. But, once we arrived, he was content – and I know that he loves being  there. So, I didn’t want a repeat of that. I would chat about the exciting things about school, his friends, the fun things he does there. When he seemed slightly bored at home, I would use that as an opportunity to chat about ‘when he goes back to school next week, he’ll probably be doing some exciting messy artwork with his friends..I wonder what it will be.’ And, when we would chat about a certain topic, I would mention that he would probably learn about that at school this term. All of these opportunities that arose were used to the best of my ability to get his emotions ready and excited to go back to school.

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We also worked hard on getting him back into routine. We printed out a very special chart for mornings and afternoons/evenings so that he knows himself by looking at the pictures exactly how each day will go from the moment his head leaves the pillow in the morning until it hits the pillow at night. From putting his jarmies under his pillow after he’s dressed to bath time. This has worked phenomenally well, and I am so content with how he has swung back into routine, and settled so nicely into the new routine I’ve created which involves little chores (things that he did anyway, like packing away his toys and putting his dirty clothes into the washing basket, etc.) which gives him the feeling of being independent and responsible.

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Breakfast, lunch and dinner all happen at the same time each day, and he will help me pack his lunch box the night before, which also stirs up some excitement for school. Mornings start with a healthy, brain fuelling breakfast. Oats, or egg or even a protein packed smoothie if he doesn’t feel like eating. There is NO TV time before school, but sometimes we have a little time left for a story, puzzle or even a snuggle.

This morning was smooth sailing. He rushed into his classroom, leaving me trying to catch up behind him. He was very excited for us to tell his teacher that he’s at school WITHOUT A NAPPY!!! (HOORAY) and he was even more excited to be STIMULATED with puzzles that he hadn’t seen every single day for three weeks, but most importantly, his mind had already been put at ease for the past week, so that it wasn’t all too overwhelming for him today.

I’ve learnt that parenting is ALWAYS a process. Nothing ever just happens. We need to prepare ourselves and our kids for big, scary emotional roller coasters that they will encounter. They are too little to understand and work on their big emotions on their own, and we need to be sensitive and understanding of that. And we can so easily give them a helping hand.

How have you helped your kid(s) be emotionally ready for going back to school today? Do you find that a solid routine helps in your household too?

— One Modern Mom x

The Reality Of Sugar.

Did you know that over feeding your kids sugar from a young age can create an incredibly unhealthy sugar addiction for them as adults? Also, did you know that rewarding your kids with food isn’t always a healthy idea either. I find that people often laugh at me or shrug off the intensity of sugar. I often find myself cringing when I see the food that kids eat on a daily basis. I’m not judging, but rather wish that I could educate them on how desperately kids need a healthy diet for their tiny bodies and to help their brains work at their full capacity.

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Here’s my own personal story:
SUGAR & TODDLERS = MINIATURE MONSTERS

Copyright © Matt Masson 2017 Image 014

Without exaggerating, it was literally three minutes ago that I gave my son two teenie tiny SweeTarts. (My absolute favourite candy that my dear friend brought me back from the States.) I couldn’t resist sharing with Olly, because, of course, they remind me of my own childhood visiting the States to see my family.

My mistake! He had been happily playing outside in the mud, when he came inside to ask me to roll up his sleeves. I then handed him two of these little sweets. One for each hand. Within a matter of minutes – three to be exact, he turned from a sweet little boy who was happily entertaining himself, to literally screaming, spitting, and just being ugly. Define ugly: shouting, not listening to me, making horrible sounds, and just being all round RUDE.

It is mindblowing what sugar can do! And I think that we underestimate the power of it. I’ve done an article on healthy eating before, and I have always been quite strict on what Olly eats. From a young age, he had a gluten intolerance, which meant that we had to be careful about what he ate. But, as he’s gotten slightly older, it isn’t nearly as severe as what it used to be, thankfully! However, at the same time – it seems that we have sort of loosened the ropes on steering away from sugar.

Olly will generally choose water over juice. He will never get any juice apart from 100% fruit juice that we dilute mostly in water. For school lunches and at home, he will generally get fresh fruit and nuts with his rice cake or sandwich or sometimes dried fruit. He also, surprisingly LOVES having baby tomatoes in his lunch box. Strange kid.

BUT, he’s a kid, and somehow he manages to persuade us to give him the BAD treats. That’s the kind of treats that are okay at a birthday party on the odd occassion. But, NOT to have on a daily basis. I never reward with food – for instance, he will never get sweets or a biscuit or snacks if he goes potty on his own, or does something good. I’ve learnt that it’s a no no, thanks to Munchkins parenting coach, Celeste Rushby who I used to au pair for and learnt so much from over time.

The problem is that when he catches David or myself munching on a biscuit, or a peice of chocolate or somebody happens to open a packet of chips, he comes running from the other end of the house (where he couldn’t hear me calling him from) to see ‘what we have for him’. I know that the immediate and obvious solution would be to just not eat that kind of thing when he is up and about and to rather save it for when he is asleep, and look – it isn’t a daily thing. I’m making it sound as if we constantly have junk food in hand, which isn’t the case at all. We never prioritize pudding for him after dinner. Every now and then he will have a yoghurt with a banana, or stewed apple which is home made with a drizzle of custard.

But – WHEN HE DOES have sugar – it’s as if I have a totally different child in front of me. And it scares the living daylights out of me. I do not like the child he becomes. The high is short and the low is long and dreadful. Totally not worth it! It’s the worst thing you can give your child – honestly.

I want to suggest that you (and I) replace the junk treats for healthier alternatives. Dried fruits, rice cakes coated in carob, dark chocolate, biltong or droerwors – you catch my drift. I struggle to wrap my mind around why I feel the need to give Olly sugar when he’s totally content, happy and polite (you almost feel as if you want to give them something nice as a treat to secretly reward their behavior) just to turn them into the opposite of what they are.

Olly LOVES his healthy snacks. He honestly does, and always has! And so, my July resolution – OUT WITH THE JUNK, IN WITH THE HEALTHY.

Natural sugar in small doses is totally OK! And every now and then, a sugary treat isn’t a bad thing. But, if you want to see a change in your kids behaviour and attitudes, choose snacks that have no added sugar, no colourants, MSG or flavourants, etc. You catch my drift. Don’t make sugar an expected thing in your home. And for those of you with young babies that aren’t yet there – start your babes off not even knowing what it is – because they don’t need it! They get all of the sugar they need through fruit!

Sorry about my long rambles, I was just actually so shocked this morning watching how such a small amount of sugar made my sweet child turn into a monster in such a short amount of time.

So, I just wanted to raise the awareness about how SUGAR is really a drug when consumed too frequently. And there are so many alternatives that you can rather choose from. Maybe I should do a post on some alternatives that you can choose from that don’t cost an arm and a leg?

Thanks for reading, and I would love to hear your perspectives and ideas on this.

— One Modern Mom

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Behind The Lens With Radz Photography

I recently shot with the very talented and creative Radiefa Peters from Radz Photography along the beautiful Sea Point Promenade. What a wonderful, strong team of women to work with – Hannah Kruyer from @shewolfsa who did my hair and makeup (I’ve never felt so beautiful) and my wardrobe from Movepretty.

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What I wanted to achieve was a special bond between mother and son. I do try to live a healthy and active lifestyle, and I try not to let being a mother and having a busy life with a toddler, being a work from home mom as an excuse to not have the time to be active – because it is so easy to include them in your workouts, especially from home or not in a gym environment.

I was nervous to climb into gym clothes and in front of the camera – exposing my jiggly mommy tum and prancing around showing it off in one of the most active areas in Cape Town – along the Promenade. But, WOW! I was immediately made feel comfortable and beautiful working with Radiefa (who just knew exactly what she was doing, the best angles and poses). The shoot was quick and simple. We were also blessed to have Hannah on our team who was fantastic to have on set. I think all in all, it was just the best group to work with.

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I got my photos back within the next few days, and was actually blown away by the photos. She just captured us beyond my expectations. Radiefa generally shoots weddings and fashion, and not so much children. But, she is incredibly talented and was just so gentle and guided us so well, that I would highly recommend working with her as a family.

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I was bursting with excitement to share this Behind The Lens with you. So, do keep reading to find out more about Radiefa and how she started in this highly competitive industry as a photographer:

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1. When did you first realize that you could make magic with a camera?
I’d say this was in 2011 after I shot my shot my first wedding! So much people commented after I posted my first wedding pic! Well let’s just say the rest is history lol or atleast still in progression.

2. How old were you when you picked up your first camera?
Hmm probably around 11 years old, My dads old compact camera.

3. What inspires you to keep going in this industry?
There’s obviously so much competition and it can become tough at times but I the fact that it’s my dream to be a photographer,travel and become internationally known, that’s definitely what keeps me going! Also, my lovely clients 🙂

4. Three facts about you…
Go Getter, Love to laugh & Be around happy people

5. A little paragraph on family life.
Family, something so close to my heart, the tears, laughter, fun, secrets.. things that are shared mostly with them.Family is enjoying each other’s company and spending a lot of time doing things together! Family is love. Family is Home.

6. What is your favourite content to photograph?
Happy People! I mostly photograph weddings but I thoroughly enjoy the random Family Portraits 😉

7. If you could choose one wedding to photograph, whose would it be, and why?
I haven’t thought about who yet but someone who would fly me over to Italy/Switzerland even Some tropical island! Yup,that will be EPIC hehe

8. We did a family, lifestyle shoot together, and you were amazing with my son, do you often do kids photography?
When I get asked to yes, I use to do it every weekend but lately I’ve been so busy shooting weddings

9. Your favourite memory since you’ve been in the industry?
Definitely when Kwaito legend Doc Shebeleza called me to shoot his surprise Wedding Anniversary gift to he’s wife! He asked her to re-marry him and he flew her down from Jhb to CPT just to do that! Eek how cute.

10. A few words of advice for someone starting out in the photography industry…
Shoot Shoot and Shoot some more! It’s the only way you going to perfect your lighting and techniques. Also, watch a few tutorials online and give yourself shooting goals!

11. How can we keep up to date with your latest work, specials and news?
You can find me on Facebook under –Radz Photography– , Instagram @radzphotography_cpt or simply email me on info@radzphotography.co.za

12. Lastly, what social platforms do you use to showcase the beautiful moments you capture?
Instagram Mostly but I’m quite active on Facebook as well.