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 Power Of Touch.

Hands up if, as a parent, you’ve heard something along the lines of ‘stop smothering your child’. Well … don’t! Today I talk about how important the power of touch actually is, and how it differs from child to child.

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If you’re anything like most parents, you don’t want to stop kissing, cuddling and feeling your baby’s delicate skin. Truth is, this rarely changes as your kids grow from babies to toddlers to young children. Many parents have mentioned that they’ve heard remarks like ‘stop smothering your child’. Well… don’t!

Want to know why? Touch is the first of our senses to develop. Touch is a love language. Touch plays a huge role for babies even before they enter the world. Think back to the days you spent lying down and stroking your belly, enjoying the little flutters in your stomach. Then, as baby grew, they started responding to your belly strokes and tickles.

Once a mother has given birth, direct skin-to-skin contact has proven to provide a number of benefits for your infant. Months pass by and the story doesn’t change… a simple kiss on your little one’s stomach can have them cooing with a toothless smile on their face. I loved massaging my little boy after his baths, and I continue to do this. He often goes from wild child to completely calm in a matter of minutes.

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Touch gives you a sense of security. How do you feel when you’re scared or anxious, and your other half gives you a tight hug? Or when you’re upset or happy and a parent or family member holds you close? You feel safe, calm, and loved.

Some children get over stimulated by too much touch, so be sure to understand your child’s body language so that you know when to stop. Light touch (stroking, rubbing etc.) is more likely to make a sensory sensitive child reach his brim faster, but firm pressure (hugs, rough-and-tumble play, massages and playful squeezes) are calming and reassuring for almost all children – and adults for that matter.

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Many believe that a parent’s touch wears off as a child gets older. False! An older child needs your physical attention just as much. The way you administer it just changes a bit, like a hand on the back, a bear hug or even playing a game with your child that requires skin contact. Skin contact releases positive brain chemicals which will leave both you and your child feeling happy and loved.

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The power of touch is a mind blowing thing. Sometimes we struggle to describe how much we love our child in words, yet a simple hug can explain it all in a matter of seconds. Holding their hand can trigger an out pour of emotions which could have been trapped inside before. A gesture as simple as placing your hand on your child’s shoulder and saying ‘I understand’ or ‘I forgive you’ can move mountains.

So, I encourage you to ignore opinions on how much touch is too much for your child. You know your child’s needs more than anybody else – positive touch is healthy and crucial for children, just as it is for you and me. Touch is a powerful healing tool and is vital for building your child’s confidence, self-esteem and sense of self-worth.

XX – @onemodernmom

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I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments tab below!

The Reality of A Happy Home.

I wish that the world explained to parents that there is more to life than a clean house. Look, I’m totally on board with keeping things hygienic, but when it comes to choosing between folding a mountain of laundry or saying ‘yes’ to playing with your kid, you’d think that as a parent, the answer would be an immediate ‘play with the kid’.

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However, social media and society tends to have the ability to leave us feeling as if a slightly disorganized home means that we are failing as mothers or even fathers. Apparently it means that we don’t at all have things under control. I’ve walked into the home of many a mother. When baby was very little, I would feel slightly guilty when arriving at another moms house. With everything in place, the glass coffee table freshly shined, and babies little play area totally organized, I DID feel as if I was doing something totally wrong. Was I lazy? Was there something wrong with me? Did I belong on the show ‘Hoarders’? Did someone forget to give me the memo?

But then, it was my turn to have a few moms over for tea. I spent hours the night before sorting, shining, polishing, vacuuming and setting up. I, too had the response from moms about how my life seemed so in order. I was flabbergasted. It was all a show!

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As moms, especially with younger kids, very few of us have our houses totally in order, (at least not done by ourselves). When I had a nanny that would come once a week, that was the only time that my home was remotely in order. With an incredibly busy toddler and four dogs as well as my partner, I’ve stopped apologizing to people saying, ‘I’m so sorry – excuse the mess’, because this mess means that although I may not have my home in order, I have a very happy child who has parents that take time to play with him. It means that he explores the house, and he PLAYS! It means that we invest our time in the moment, and it’s about the memories that we create with our child each day, rather than having a house that looks like it has fallen out of the pages of a magazine.

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Don’t get me wrong – our home is CLEAN – I make sure to use the hours that Olly is at playschool to get household chores done, and our home doesn’t look the way you’re most likely beginning to imagine it to look, but what I am trying to say is that IT IS OK to skip a day of laundry to take your kid on a special outing, to make yourself that cup of tea (and to drink it…while it’s hot) or to have a break by meeting your girlfriends for a glass of wine.

People are so quick to show off the positives in life. It’s time to create the awareness that life doesn’t have to seem perfect to the rest of the world. It’s time to stop pretending. Creating a happy environment for yourself and your family is all that matters at the end of the day.

— One Modern Mom

A Toddlers Essentials – Mumu & Me

Funnily enough, for a change Mumu & Me stumbled upon me and wanted to find out more about my blog. I sometimes am quite reluctant to review brands that contact me – but went over to their website to see what their brand was about.

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I logged on, and instantly felt a content feeling rush over me. Beautiful, clean photography that showed off their products well. An easy to navigate website that was simple and uncluttered, and lovely products.

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I chatted to Elizabeth, mom and owner behind the brand – and wanted to find out a little bit more about her company. After a few emails, I chose a couple of products I wanted to try out.

I love everything about stripes on kids. The navy and white striped long sleeve tee won it’s way to my heart immediately. They had his size! Yes!!! Add to cart. I then went on over to the toy section and fell in love with the wooden ‘ABC Sorting’ . Olly is surprisingly quite good with his letters, even though he calls them numbers – but knows the alphabet off by heart and can even fill in the gaps when I sing the alphabet to him and stop at random numbers. But seeing letters is of course a totally different thing. I was curious to see how he would react to the activity.

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He loved it! He squealed with delight when he opened the box and immediately found the closest seat, sat down, put his head down and got stuck in. I was honestly quite surprised to see how well he did at such a young age. I am a sucker for educational toys, and I must be honest by saying that I was really hoping that there wouldn’t be any little splinters or anything in the wood, and that the wood would be neatly sanded down. IT WAS! Joy.

Olly continues to love this activity, it’s a toy that he won’t ever lose interest in. He always goes back to it.

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The long sleeve is stunning. The stripes make those gorgeous blue eyes stand out and there’s just something about the cut that really makes him look so cute! The top is flawless, and I love that on the inside tag, Elizabeth has taken the time to add a little scripture verse. I love it when people add a little something that not only makes a product unique – but tells the buyer a little bit about who they are and what they stand for.

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Their entire range of products are lovely. I felt that they had some handmade toys that are available elsewhere, but made beautifully – such as their kids wooden cameras. They have made them beautifully and with a bit of a twist.

There are stunning birthday party gifts for kids available – such nice ideas for kids between the age of 1-5 (to be safe). Their products are handmade with care and with every little detail worried about.

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They are totally child safe, and I love that I don’t have to worry about having Olly choke on anything that may fall off.

I am so happy that Mumu & Me got in touch with me, I would have lost out and have been so sad to not have the opportunity to share such a lovely small, local brand with you.

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Definitely get your hands on some of their long sleeve tees for your little ones for this Winter. They are a winter wardrobe essential and unisex!

Check out their social media platforms:

Instagram: @mumuandme_shop
Website: www.mumuandmeshop.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mumuandmeblog/

 

A Cowboys Wonderland.

A bedroom fit for a royal cowboy, built by an empire of local companies was created just a few months ago. Set in a little castle on a hill with the view of the ocean and the mountain became home to little Oliver.

His mommy spent months and months doing research on the best local, mostly mommy owned home and decor companies that were based in South Africa. Having picked out what would work the very best for this magical land of Olly’s with the help of the very talented Lauren McCreath, we set to work. First working on a story behind the bedroom that would be a true reflection of the little cowboy himself, we decided on a wonderland that would be authentic to his life.

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Cue, hand crafted rocking horses, whimsical origami horses that gallop around with the gentle breeze that invites itself in through the window, and a magical light that enters the room late afternoon. The white curtains delicately blow on a sunny afternoon while he exits reality and enters his imagination station. With the wooden blocks being built high, and all of his beautiful, handmade soft toys being unpacked, I sit quietly on the soft rug, sipping on my tea whilst watching my toddler play so contently in his own world.

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The tiny details still have me take second glances and leave me with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. The wooden book ledges, filled with all of his favourite stories that we love reading together oh so much, some having been mine that I remember reading with my mommy with such fond memories, that I can now retell him without even looking. The wooden memory blocks that have his birth information on piled up one on top of the other complete with three scripture verses that have molded my life, that I hope to influence his too as he grows up.

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Little Olly can be heard from downstairs racing his cars or playing with his plastic animals up and over the beautiful hills and forest that were hand painted by the incredibly talented Nadine from Sugar Knox. Having been requested to do the mural just two days before the shoot, she created this masterpiece without a second thought.

There’s the little touches of greenery that were purposefully placed around the room, to bring in some life, some nature – some natural beauty. The sweet glass jar with a dinosaur just to add a touch of something unique. This room, it’s magic. Every corner you look, you will find yourself mesmerized by something new that will jump out at you and catch your attention. Each shelf, uncluttered, but complete with truly beautiful, special things that are personalized, but are available right on your doorstep!

A tent bed hand made by little Olly’s daddy, perfect for stories and adventurous dreams – complete with an inside light for stories and chats. A little wooden desk and bench placed purposefully with educational activities in mind, as well as a sweet wooden bunny stool which he loves to sit on when ‘reading’ stories to his soft toys.

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A task that was completely new to me, but one of the most exciting adventures I’ve ever been on. My dream for the bedroom was not only to create something truly magical, but to support these smaller companies, and to hopefully gain some extra exposure for them. My wish was to end up in a magazine that would show off their work, their talent. We all end up shopping at the huge stores, and we forget that there is so much available right on our doorstep. You can literally shop online, with the right resources and create an entire bedroom by simply clicking ‘add to cart’.

I had absolutely no idea how much was actually available out there until I really educated myself by doing the research. So, I have decided to do the work for you. You can find below the list of companies who I collaborated with to make this magical bedroom come alive. This being said, I couldn’t have gotten past Day 1 without Lauren McCreath Interiors and Leslie Hochfellner by my side. You two literally saved my sanity, and helped create something truly spectacular. Thank you.

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So, last but not least, our dreams came true and Garden & Home came in to shoot the bedroom. We are so blessed to have been featured in such a well loved South African magazine. You can also see more of their features on their website: http://www.gardenandhome.co.za/

But, please do get your hands on the May 2017 (available now) issue to see the complete article on how we managed to transform the bedroom.

Bedroom Photography: Karl Rogers



Stockist List:
You can find most of these stores on Instagram & Facebook

Rocking Horse: My Little Woods
Chalk Board: Simply Child
Lorena Canals Aztec Rug: Clever Little Monkey
Black Crochet Rug: Dragonfly Twist
Wall Mural: Sugar Knox
Origami Horse Mobile: Mononoke
Floating Shelves: Simply Child
Block Shelves: Simply Child
Wooden Stump: Coral & Hive
Teepee Cushions: Kideroo
Indian Floppie Darling: Floppie
Racoon: Lily & Grace
Personalized Blocks: Work of Heart
Wooden Rainbow: Sprouts Kids Co.
Bunny Stool: Dovetail
Desk & Bench: KE Manufacturing
Macrame Wall Hanging: Tigerlily Tots
Monochrome Soft Pot: Scandi Home Decor
Round Playmat: LittleME Decor
Campfire Plushie: Clever Little Monkey
Horse Stool: Fox & Moon
Pallet Crate: The Storage Studio
(INSIDE CRATE)
Monochrome Bear: Panda & Frost
Brown Bear (Front): La Fede
Brown Bear: Clever Little Monkey
Fox: Clever Little Monkey Monochrome
Monochrome Fox: Squiggle & Squeak
Lamp: Illumina Lighting

Bed: Timbertouch
Duvet Cover: Clever Little Monkey Green
Blanket: H&M Monochrome
Cushion: Bunny & Clyde
Terracotta Fox: La Fede
Mustard Cushion: Clever Little Monkey
Back Cushion: H&M
Monochrome Felt Garland: Simply Child

Fake Tree: Mr Price Home
Paper Storage Bag: Little Love Kids
Cactus Prints: Homie
Monochrome Soft Pot (on shelf): Scandi Home Décor

Shelf above bed:
Wooden Accessories: Nanook Furniture
Personalized Acrylic sign: Ma Petite SA
Side Table: Stylists Own
Curtains: Woolworths

On Table:
Wooden Nesting Dolls: Tigerlily Tots
Fox Head: Stowe & so
Wooden House: H&M
Wooden Blocks: Nanook Furniture
Wire Baskets: H&M
Blue Wooden Cross: Rose & Vickory

Olly Wears: Romper by Little i
Wooden Crosses: Rose & Vickory
House Blocks: Nanook Furniture
Nesting Dolls: Tigerlily Tots
Bunny Chalk Board: H&M

Illustrations on Wall: Bright Owl
Grey Blanket: Sprouts Kids Co.
‘Lala Bubba’ nightlight: Lily & Grace
Moose Picture Frame: H&M
Leather Shoes: Grace Leathers
Peg Men: Rose & Vickory

A Eurobebe Easter.

I am always on the look out for cute, well made boys clothes for Elijah. I don’t know about you other mama’s but when Elijah was just a tiny bump in my tummy my obsession for buying clothes for myself turned to buying clothes for my baba. Darrell and I were convinced we were having a girl. The nursery was all planned out in my mind(with a bit of help from Pinterest). And I was about to start shop shop shopping for a girl! At our 12 week scan the fetal specialist asked us if we wanted to know the gender of our baby and we sheepishly grinned yes, as we were convinced we just knew. When she said a boy we actually thought she was playing a joke on us. It took us all of 2 seconds to come around to the fact that we were having a BOY! And boy were we happy ;). But as you all know there are a lot more cute clothes out there for girls than for boys. So when I came across EUROBEBE.SA on Instagram I was so excited as the clothes for boys (and girls) are just so gorgeous!

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The company was started by two mama’s who wanted beautiful baby and toddler products akin to their Pinterest and `Instagram mama’s in Europe and just could not find them in South Africa, so they decided to do something about it. And EUROBEBE.SA was born. Their signature look draws inspiration from Scandinavian design, specializing in sourcing the best and latest in European baby and toddler wear.
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I went a bit cray cray ordering things for Elijah on their beautiful and very easy to navigate website. The clothes are not hideously expensive, even though they are imported from Europe and so I was able to buy a few pieces for Elijah’s winter wardrobe. The package arrived quickly and was so beautifully wrapped. Elijah helped me open all the individually wrapped garments and immediately clutched the fox coat to his chest shouting “Freddy Fox!” He wanted to put it straight on and ran to the mirror remarking that he had a tail. Sweet boy.
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We also got bunny suits which Lisa and I thought would be perfect for the boys baking day in the Sweet Lion Heart kitchen with Matt Masson Weddings taking photographs of them helping Nikki Albertyn make some yummy Easter Bunny Rocket Pops. Those two sweet bunnies stole everyones hearts who saw them.
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Thank you EUROBEBE.SA we shall definitely be shopping with you again! You can shop to right here: https://www.eurobebe-sa.com
HAPPY EASTER!!!
Love, Angela

A Sweet Easter To All.

 

Angela, myself and our boys were so lucky to do a little Easter collaboration with Nikki from Lionheart and Matt Masson Photography a couple weeks ago. If you don’t know who Sweet Lionheart is, you’ve probably been living under a rock for the past few months. Home to the most delicious cakes and rocket pops, they are tasty not only to the eye, but to your taste buds too!

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We arrived at the Lionheart studio in Woodstock the morning of the shoot. Our boys fully equipped by being dressed head to toe for the occasion, two sweet bunnies bounced excitedly through the Lionheart doors. With squeals of anticipation and mischievous smirks on their faces, we were slightly curious to see how the shoot would go.


I was immediately inspired by Nikki. Her drive, passion and enthusiasm was contagious. I would define her as a tiny, but trendy firecracker! She is such a talented woman. Graphic design, baker and photographer all in one! I was so taken a back by her. A few minutes later, Matt arrived. With a very friendly smile and his camera ready to start snapping away, we were ready to go! The blenders were spinning, and the colourful decorative bits laid out and ready to be toddler handled.

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The boys were seated on stools at the island in the organized and sparkly clean kitchen, and within 5 seconds, the kitchen had been turned upside down. Nikki smiled and laughed as the boys messed up her baby (her kitchen) without a second thought. The baking begun, and the boys eagerly pushed their cake into the molds for their cake pops with the gentle guidance of Nikki. How she managed to get through the entire thing with two boys on her own, amazes me to this day! I think they ate more than they pushed into their molds, but that’s ok too, right?

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It was then time to get REALLY messy, and they got to dip their bare rocket pops into the chocolate before adding their colourful icing, the decorative bits and of course the bits added to make the bunny an obvious bunny. The entire process was calm, and fun – and the boys were just totally besotted with Nikki because of the way that she interacted with them.


Disclaimer: The Easter Bunny Rocket Pops shown in these photos were made by our two and a half year old boys, not by Lionheart – I promise that your order will NOT look like this!!! 😉

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Matt was just an absolute pleasure to work with. He knew exactly what he was doing, and although he does more weddings than shoots with young children, he immediately adapted to the challenge, and the results are just divine. He was quirky and the boys just loved having him there.

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I will be doing a separate blog post on Matt and his incredible talent next week because he totally deserves to have his own moment of appreciation. But I just had to mention him here to say a huge Thank You for his amazing work and all of the time he put into making this collaboration happen.
Angela will be doing a review on the boys’ sweet bunny outfits from Eurobebe SA tomorrow, so make sure that you check in tomorrow afternoon!

In the meanwhile, go and get your taste buds working and get inspired by following Lionheart:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sweetlionheartpatisserie/?ref=br_rs
Instagram: @sweet.lionheart
Website: sweetlionheart.com

Inspire yourself equally by following Matt Masson Weddings:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mattmassonweddings/?ref=br_rs
Instagram: @mattmassonweddings
Website: http://www.mattmasson.co.za/
You can also checkout the Eurobebe pages in the meanwhile:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Eurob%C3%A9b%C3%A9-1254884247927711/
Instagram: @eurobebe.sa
Website: https://eurobebe-sa.myshopify.com/

You can also follow Angela and myself on Instagram to keep up with all of our adventures as toddler/boy moms:

@onemodernmom // @angievictoriarea