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!

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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

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

Competition Day: Win With Clever Little Monkey

If you don’t know this little fact about me by now, then do you actually even know me at all? I am obsessed with special pieces of decor that get their special spot in our home. And, over the past year – I have loved being on the hunt to find unique and trendy bits and bobs as well as larger pieces of furniture and home decor pieces that fit in beautifully for Olly’s bedroom and play area too.

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I’ve been really blessed to work hand in hand with Clever Little Monkey over the past year, and we always find the most magical things on their website. You have also had many opportunities to win some of these products over the past year! And, today is no exception! It’s another chance for you to WIN!

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This time, we are giving away a Lorena Canals Bubbly Basket that are brand new to their website. They are valued at R550.00. Which colour would you choose? https://cleverlittlemonkey.co.za/?s=basket&post_type=product

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It’s super easy to enter, and you can gain three entries into the giveaway!

Right here!
Right there:  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/onemodernmom/photos/a.1413740795622584.1073741829.1409931466003517/1811840692479257/?type=3&theater
And over here too: Instagram: @onemodernmom

How to enter here:

1. Subscribe to my blog!
2. Head over to like Clever Little Monkey on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cleverlittlemonkey/
3. Leave me a comment below telling me which colour Lorena Canals Bubbly Basket you would choose from their website (link above).

 

 


TERMS & CONDITIONS:
You need to be residing in South Africa.
The prize will be couriered directly to the courier at our expense.
The prize may not be redeemable for cash or exchanged for anything else.
The giveaway will end on Friday 28th July 2017 at 15h00, and the winner will be contacted via email.
If you have not claimed your prize within 5 working days, a new winner will be randomly selected.
If ALL steps are not completed, your entry will not be accepted.