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.

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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

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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What To Do When Extended Rear Facing Car Seat Isn’t An Option?

I have often found myself in a situation where I have felt guilty about having my three year old son in a forward facing car seat rather than in a rear facing car seat.  This feeling generally occurs after I have had a discussion with another mom whose child has been in a rear facing seat since birth. I’ve found myself feeling very anxious and perhaps even slightly uneducated when it has come to car seat safety – so I decided to brush up on my knowledge.

And, for those of you who may be in the same boat as me – with a child who is in a front facing car seat, I actually have some good news for you.

Did you know that a high end forward facing car seat may very well be safer than a 123 seat that can rear face?

As a parent, we always want to do what is best for our kids, yet sometimes it can all be quite overwhelming and confusing. But, sometimes we just need a gentle nudge in the right direction. Being a new mom is even more overwhelming and I recall so vividly being on the verge of an emotional breakdown when car seat shopping for my newborn. There was far too much to choose from, and I just wanted somebody with the correct knowledge to tell me exactly what I needed. My belly and myself did not do a good job at walking down the car seat aisle of the local baby stores because truth is, it isn’t all about the price – but about the tiny details of each car seat that is so incredibly important. Why didn’t anybody tell me this?

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I had my son in a rear facing car seat from the moment he left the hospital until the day he outgrew it. With money being tight, I wasn’t able to afford a decent rear facing car seat. My heart sank. Now what? I had seen so much about the benefits of a rear facing seat for your kids until they were much older than what my son was at this point, but I just couldn’t afford it. I settled with a higher end front facing car seat, and oh how comfortable my little man was.

I made sure that our chosen car seat installed safely in our car and that it matched the weight, height and age of my son. Always be sure to try to have the seat you are buying fitted into your car and have your child sit in the seat before you purchase it. Most stores will allow you to do this. Some seats do not fit your car or your child, which is the first no-no! Having a seat that doesn’t properly fit in your car can be incredibly dangerous. So even if you can afford a rear facing car seat, make 100% sure that it fits safely in YOUR car. If it can’t install properly, according to the manual; it offers no protection in a crash.

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A few facts for when you are buying a car seat:

1. The base of the seat should not move more than an inch in any direction when you give it a firm shake.

2.The harness height on a forward facing seat should be in line with or just above the shoulders.

3.The head rest should be easy to adjust, so that your child’s head and neck are always protected.

4.You should never put a child under 13kg’s or 1 year old in a forward facing car seat. They need to be in a rear facing seat designed specifically for infants until 13kgs, or 75cm. Their bodies cannot withstand a crash at any speed forward facing when younger because their neck is incredibly weak and their head is a huge percentage of their body weight.

I’ve sadly come across moms who tried to keep their baby or child in a car seat for as long as possible to try and save money, however, you cannot keep your toddler in their baby car seat, nor put a baby in a toddlers car seat because they have each been created for specific weights and lengths for the safety of your child.

When browsing for car seats, you may come across seats that say they are from birth to 36kgs. These seats are much higher up to allow them to be used for older children. What this means is that the child is closer to the roof of the car than they should be, which can be incredibly dangerous in a roll over.

If you find yourself in a situation, like me – where you really cannot afford an exclusively rear facing car seat, then you need to use the above tips to ensure that you find the safest front facing seat for your child.

Moms, what I am saying is that your child’s car seat safety will never come cheaply. But it is worth every cent of investing in the best car seat that you can afford for your child. And if you find that the your best investment is in a front facing car seat, like I did – then make sure that you get the safest one that you can find that is in your budget.

Do your research, and follow a trusted source such as #CarseatFullstop. I find that just because another parent is suggesting one or another car seat brand, it is vital to do some research of your own with your own child.

With statistics saying that up to 93% of people aren’t strapping in their kids… We ALL know somebody who is adding to that number.

You have the power to save a little life.

One share, seen by one person, who straps in one child, saves a life.
#CarseatFullstop. Every child. Every time. No matter what.

Please follow us on our social media channels and share them to encourage others to follow along too.

https://www.facebook.com/CarseatFullstop/

https://twitter.com/CarseatFullstopxx

https://www.instagram.com/carseatfullstop/

https://plus.google.com/+CarseatfullstopOrg

Sign up for our newsletter

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support@carseatfullstop.org

If you have an old unused car seat gathering dust in your garage, please consider donating it to our very favourite NPO, Wheel Well. You can drop your seat at your closest Renault dealership and they will get the seat to Wheel Well. They will clean and safety check it, before giving it a new home with somebody in need for a small donation.

What kind of seat do you use for your little one? And please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below!

– One Modern Mom
http://instagram.com/onemodernmom

This Is Three!

Three years old. How has 1095 days gone by in what feels like a blink of an eye? It felt like just yesterday that I was nursing a newborn baby, living in a daydream, in what I refer to as ‘the slow life’. 21124086_1557967274223791_1340569444_n
 
It felt like yesterday that we were praising him for rolling over, sitting, getting his first teeth, starting solids and taking his first few steps. Then talking and starting to run.
 
He then turned one, and then two and then started play school. Single words have now transformed into beautiful sentences and words longer than I can count. Such a smart, happy and active little boy! No more a baby.
 
It’s tough and happy writing this, because watching them transform from a baby into a child is so bittersweet. Three, to me has been the cross over. He is officially, 100% a little boy now.
 
What a joy it has been to be your mother, to watch you grow and blossom. To watch you learn new things and see you become such an intelligent little person. Your desire to always try something new is such an inspiration to me, sweet boy!
 
Three years ago, I got to hold your little body in my arms for the first time, and I pray that God will grant me with the opportunity to celebrate uncountable more with you as you grow up.
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I love you so much, Olly! Thank you for changing my life. ❤️ Happy third birthday!

 

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

That Postpartum Self-Image.

When you look at yourself in the mirror, with your pregnant belly or postpartum body staring back at you, how do you feel?

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Without even being entirely aware of it the majority of the time, and rather finding myself in a little bit of an emotional place in my life at times and then thinking back to life since falling pregnant up until now and sort of waking up to the fact that I’ve been feeling this particular way for much longer than I thought, rather than just going through stages of feeling like this.

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It is so challenging learning to love your body with all of the changes that have come with it since falling pregnant. It truly is something that I have struggled with more than I have even been aware of. I love my body for what it has allowed me to achieve. I love my body for blessing me with the opportunity to carry a baby, to birth a baby and to be mostly healthy. But, I also struggle on a daily basis with 100% loving what it now looks like.

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I sometimes find myself in a bit of a negative place. I get frustrated with myself for complaining to myself or to David about weight that I have gained, and then not doing anything about it. I get irritated with myself for getting my mind so set on eating better, and then failing. I get so cross with myself when I spend so much time trying to feed Olly healthy food, and then I give into a quick microwave meal because I’m just so exhausted at the end of a day.

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I find myself feeling overwhelmed, but know that I can so easily avoid that by just planning and preparing weekly meals for my entire family on a day that isn’t quite so overwhelming.

I know I’m totally normal. I know that every mom feels this way at some point or another, and I know that my body has been through uncountable changes, some that I will never truly understand since falling pregnant.

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And then… then I did this photo-shoot with Radiefa Peters from Radz Photography. I threw myself in the deep end by choosing two dresses that I wouldn’t usually choose purely because of how I feel about my body. I took the leap, I did it. And when I got my photos back, it was almost like something triggered in my brain for the very first time since I can remember. I felt beautiful. I looked at the photographs, and for the first time in a very long time, I liked what I saw. Not the story behind the photo, or how Olly looked – but I actually smiled when I zoomed in and looked and re-looked at myself in the photos.

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Not many people are capable of making somebody feel that way about themselves. And I also have to hand some of the credit over to Daff Kansley, the talented makeup artist who partly gave me the confidence to actually leave the house in the first place. And to Jody from Flock Fashion & Accessories for the beautiful wardrobe that you provided me with.

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Getting these images back, and seeing how happy I looked in the photos has just given me the desire I needed to get myself back in shape – to stick to my exercise routine, and to stick to preparing healthy meals for my family. Why? Because a healthy self-image creates a healthy, happy individual. And me being happy means that everybody who crosses my path will leave feeling happier too.

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You can follow the talented team behind these photos on Instagram here:

Radiefa Peters: @radzphotography_cpt
Daff Kansley: @thedrkansley_mua
Jody: @flock_it
One Modern Mom Blog: @onemodernmom

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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