Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016 - You are done and dusted!

2016
There are years that are rather "meh" and "what happened?"
2016 has been such a year!
Not bad, but nothing to report as well!
(That's why I know 2017 is going to be much better! It has to be, right?)

This meme is doing the rounds, grabbed from Nafisa's blog. (Thanks Tanya (Dear Max and Rebecca) for reminding us!)

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
Nothing! I should definitely address this issue! (Note to self!)

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
No, I do not do New Year's resolutions any more, but I got up on the 2nd of January this year and decided that I am a vegetarian. I still am!

3. How will you be spending New Year’s Eve?
I do not like being at home this time of the year! I even tried unsuccessfully last night to book us two nights through Lekkeslaap and Airbnb. Of course it did not work because everything is fully booked. I am very disappointed that you can't search for places that are still available. You have to apply for each and every place on the sites! (Thumbs down from me!)
But Hubby organised a braai with friends at home and New Year's Eve does not seem so bleak any more! We also went to the Wonder Caves at Kromdraai today, and it was a great outing! (Definitely something to put on the to-do-list with the family!)

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No! Thank you, Universe!

5. What countries did you visit?
None! (*crying*)

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
I do not have anything lacking in my life!

7. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
No, can't think of anything! That's why I call it a "meh" year!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
? Meh!
I nearly forgot! I got a certificate for an Online Social Media short course through UCT.

9. What was your biggest failure?
? (That's not so bad!)

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My car

12. Where did most of your money go?
Necessities and school! A new car! (Also a necessity!)

13. What song will always remind you of 2016?
The Kiffness: "Away from here"

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Spend time with friends.

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Eat.

16. What was your favourite TV program?
This is us

17. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No

18. What was the best book you read?
The Red Fish Project, by Andrew Gillmore

19. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The Kiffness - only noticed them this year

20. What was your favourite film of this year?
Rogue One - Stars Wars

21. What did you do on your birthday?
I only made a small mention on my blog about my birthday this year! It was very low key!
Next year I want to go to Mauritius and I want a Star Wars party! (Ha-ha-ha! But it's on my list for 2017!)

22. What kept you sane?
My family! Not taking everything too serious!

23. Who did you miss?
We miss the family who are overseas, especially with family get-togethers!

24. Who was the best new person you met?
Boyfriend of the Eldest! He makes her happy!

25. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016
Do not take life too seriously, and do not get overwhelmed by other people's negativity!


Happy New Year!
2017 is going to rock! For everybody!

Thursday, 22 December 2016

It's a 8!

Little Miss

Little Miss is 8 years old! Our girl is big with a big personality!

(She celebrated her birthday yesterday, and I would have liked to to put this up yesterday already. But we have been offline for a week! Thanks Telkom!  I have been struggling to get anything out!)

Such a short time to get here! And such a very long time! It has been an epic adventure for all involved! We have trekked the "mountains" of baby and toddler and school-going girl. Next year she will be going to standard three in a new school!

Even Little Miss had the following to say: "This year has gone by very quickly. Hands on face! I can't believe it!"


I asked her a few questions about this past year.


Best of 2016

Roller skates (She got roller skates this year, although she has been asking for them for years now. We took her roller skating yesterday, and she loved it!)


Worst of 2016

To give a speech to the whole class for the first time


Favourite food

Pasta


Favourite drink

Ice tea


Best friend

Alyssa


Best teacher

Teacher Salome (Teacher in Grade 1)


Best music

Flute


Favourite pet

Petite Peu


Best game

Gymnastics


Mom or Dad

Dad, because Dad does more of my stuff! (Take that, Mom!)


Best book

Die geheime bestanddeel in Petra Pienk se piesangbrood


Best day

My birthday! Because she is going to roller skate!


Best holiday

With the Voortrekkers


Best doll

Ken

Why don't you play more with him? Because I don't have somebody to play with


Best swim

The swimming pool at the beach


Best sport

Netball


Happy birthday, Little Miss!
Thanks for all the adventures!
We love you to the moon and back!

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

SING -tacular movie for the holidays! - *WIN* 2 sets of tickets at Ster-Kinekor

Ster-Kinekor
SING
I know a Little Miss who will love this movie animation starting on 23 December! She is always SING-ing along to her favourite music!

"Set in a world like ours but entirely inhabited by animals, SING stars Buster Moon (Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey), a dapper Koala who presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times. Buster is an eternal optimist -okay, maybe a bit of a scoundrel- who loves his theater above all and will do anything to preserve it. Now facing the crumbling of his life's ambition, he has one final chance to restore his fading jewel to its former glory"



Ster-Kinekor is giving 2 lucky readers each a chance to win a three ticket set each to come see the movie Sing at anytime from the opening date which is this Friday,  23 December 2016, at their nearest Ster Kinekor cinema.

How to win the tickets:

Send in videos of your kids singing a favourite song of theirs picked from the soundtrack of the movie- please find the list of songs and lyrics attached below.
You can also do a Dubsmash.
(If the kids don’t know these songs, they can also sing their current favourite song/any).

The four songs: (Lyrics below)

Firework
Katy Perry
(Performed by Reese Witherspoon)

Shake It Off
Taylor Swift
(Performed by
Reese Witherspoon, Nick Kroll)

Stay with Me
Sam Smith
(Performed by Taron Egerton)

Call Me Maybe
Written by Carley Rae Jepsen
(Performed by Matthew McConaughey)


Send the videos/clips/Dubsmash to karentoittoit @ gmail.com. You can also DropBox it!
I think that 20 seconds for a video would be fine, but don't hinder our budding talents! ;-)

We will pick the 2 favourites to put up on the blog.
Two winners well each win a set of three tickets to watch at any Ster-Kinekor in South Africa.
This competition is only open to South African readers.
The competition closes on Friday 23 February at 12 pm.


Monday, 19 December 2016

The magic of Father Christmas

Christmas Father
The fantasy and magic of Christmas time! I believe in adding fantasy and magic to the lives of our kids! They love the stories of a Christmas Father, with reindeer, and bringing the presents from the North Pole.

(On that note: How cute is the Portable North Pole videos from Father Christmas that you can personalize each year? For free! (Although there are cooler options when you upgrade.) There are also the birthday video that comes once a year!) We watch them every year!

I can remember my own excitement as a little kid at Christmas time!

I do not want to take this special time away from her. Little Miss has already told us that she knows that it is us who brings the presents! She is nearly 8 years, and it seems this year is the turning point! Some kids at school have also voiced their opinions... But she still gets excited about putting up the Christmas Tree, and musing about her presents!

I saw a video of a pastor in America shouting to kids at a mall that Father Christmas is not real! *Sigh*

I do not think of it as telling lies, but as adding excitement and fun into her life. She will be able to separate the myths from the truths in years to come! How boring would life be without these family traditions?

(It is also not difficult at all to add religion into the mix when you explain the reason why we are celebrating this time!)

I was reminded about the seriousness of her beliefs in a Tooth Mouse when she dislodged one of her final teeth last week. She immediately went to put the tooth in a shoe and kept on checking up on it through the evening. The Tooth Mouse was very tardy, because when she checked up the next morning, the tooth was still there! The Tooth Mouse had a lot of explaining to do (in a letter) about helping Father Christmas at this time of year...


milk teeth

I personally love the magic of Christmas time!
This is the best week of the year building up to Christmas Day!

Enjoy!
Peace!
Happy families!

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Glass full

Screen print from #Aleppo on Twitter
The ongoing tragedy of Aleppo and so many refugees worldwide struggling over this Christmas period get to me. As a mother it's horrifying watching the videos and clips on social media! Watching a boy cry for his dad that was just killed... I can't!! I am thinking about the children and how it must be being stuck in situations like that!

I am sure we have no idea!!

I am trying to tell Little Miss to not always recount her half empty glass of woe! She's got nothing to complain about! I try telling her about the situation the children - with their parents - find themselves in, but I can see that she does not really understand. I will also not complain anymore about my holiday blues after we have had our holiday break already! How utterly selfish of us!

The Huffington Post came up with a list of organisations we can donate to.
There's much more if you do a search!

This end of year I will be focusing on gratitude!

How do I teach her being more grateful?
I will go search for ideas to put in a blog post!
Your inputs will be greatly appreciated!


Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Holiday blues after a week at the beach


We had the most wonderful week at the beach the previous week! We are lucky to have been able to go. I do love a beach holiday the most!

My brother joined us at the Kwazulu-Natal South Coast from Seattle. He is chasing a bit of sun as it is winter on that side and very cold now! It was lovely to have him there as well!

Little Miss had a great time! I asked her about her highlights. She only regrets that she did not get enough time in the waves, because it was windy at first! Swimming in the sea is the best! She also loved doing flips in the swimming pool with her dad and on her own. Also getting a tracing pad to do her sketches from her uncle.
(It's the little things that count!)

The Aloes

I know I should not be complaining, but it does not feel right to be back at the grind and working just before Christmas. Most people are only going on holiday now or over the Christmas/New Year period!

The only way I know now of how to cope with holiday blues is to page through our photos! I will be beach-spamming my Instagram account until the blues go away! (Sorry! Not sorry!)

Are you going on holiday, and where are you going?
What kind of holiday do you love the most?
Do you prefer to stay home during the holidays?

Monday, 12 December 2016

Cresta Magical Christmas tree for SOS Children's Villages Homes


Cresta Shopping Centre has put up a magical Christmas tree in the new food court of 800 Mickey and Minnie Mouse Plush toys. These toys are available to be donated by shoppers to SOS Children’s Villages Homes.

Shoppers are able to make a donation of a minimum of R50, which will ensure that a child receives a plush toy this holiday season. Each donor is able to personalize their gift by writing their own Christmas wish on the tag, before hanging it back on the donation tree. At the lighting of the Christmas tree on 1 December R4 700 was raised towards this initiative and shoppers are encouraged to get the tree sold out before Christmas.

Cresta Shopping Centre has made credit and cash facilities available to make it easy to donate, and is ensuring that every donation is recorded.



The concept of this plush-toy tree was inspired by Disney’s toy Christmas tree that was erected for the holidays last December in London’s St Pancras Station.

We attended the lighting of the Magical Toy Tree the previous week.
This is a good cause for the festive season!

Monday, 5 December 2016

Disney's Elena of Avalor - 10 branded hampers up for grabs!

Disney Channel 



A new show has started on Disney Channel called Elena of Avalor – she is the first Latino princess on Disney. The show airs every Saturday at 8:25am. 
 

I have 10 Disney and Elena branded hampers up for grabs!
 
The hamper contains  a pencil case, cup with straw, beach towel, cap and branded bag valued at R700 each. 

To win, answer the following question in the comments below. Please name any other character in Elena of Avalon and who they are in relation to Elena? (Disney Channel - Elena of Avalor)

Only open to South African residents.

The competition closes on Friday 9 December at 12pm. 

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Festive season wishes at Toy Kingdom do come true!

#TKFestiveWishlist #ToyKingdomFestiveWishlist
Toy Kingdom Festive Season wishlist
Kalvin Kodzwa, Little Miss with Zoomer Kitty and Dad
                                                                                                                     #SPONSORED

Little Miss has been wishing for Zoomer Kitty since last Christmas. Every time we went to Toy Kingdom, we had to search for it on the shelve. It was unavailable for quite a while. We also had to ask each time at the counter on her request about Zoomer Kitty and ask them to order it!

When we got the opportunity two weeks back to select toys from Toy Kingdom's Festive Wishlist, it was super easy! The Hasbro Furby, as well as Zoomer Meowzies and Zoomer Chimp from Just Fun Toys are on the list, but Little Miss still wanted the Zoomer Kitty. Luckily Zoomer Kitty is in stock again!

We checked out some of the toys on the list. (The list is included below).  Kalvin Kodzwa at Toy Kingdom Sandton was super helpful. The choices are stunning!
Furby
Furby Connect #TKFestiveWishlist
Choices! Choices!

Hot Wheels Lego

Monopoly

Build a Bear
(Marked for next time!)

Fascination!


She stayed with her first choice and Little Miss got her Zoomer Kitty! The whole MomAgain@40 clan is allergic to cats, and this is the nearest we will be with having a cat in the house!

I am super impressed with some of the things Zoomer Kitty does, and has caught myself speaking to it! But unfortunately it does not recognise voice commands! (*Stupid blush*) It feels like we have an extra being in the house!
Part of the fun - opening a toy



Thanks Toy Kingdom!



If you are stuck with all the amazing choices of toys this festive season, Toy Kingdom has made a Festive Season gift guide (see below) available in store OR even better yet; Get a Toy Kingdom gift card!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Fantasy of Light - mark it for a family outing that's worth it!

The family attended the Fantasy of Light last night, a "magnificent extravaganza of lights, music and exceptional local- and international talent at The Waterfall Park, located at the Mall of Africa."
#FantasyofLight, lights, Christmas, Waterfall Park
Fantasy of Light 2016
The spiel:

A majestic, nine-meter-high set by Juan Boshoff, 104 colourful costumes, 22km of twinkling fairy lights, a giant stage, an acre of captivating festive ornaments with cheerful lighting, a unique 160m waterfall of cascading lights.  Add to this world-class concert and you have a dazzling experience like never before.
The ambience set by the original festive music composed by the internationally acclaimed composer, Brendan Jury and music producer Bernadette Vercellino, creates the perfect backdrop to a humoristic fantasy with a gripping story line and characters that will conquer your heart straight away. Outstanding choreography by Weslee Lauder and cheerful outfits by Delene Holt, Heidi du Toit from Hollywood Costumes and Mercedes de Bruyn, gives life to this pantomime-brainchild of one of our most famous actresses and directors Lizz Meiring, along with renowned designer Juan Boshoff and producer Rudi Kesting from Production Projects.  A very talented cast complements this high-quality production, which will leave audiences wanting for more.
This festive spectacular offers a fun-filled, once in a lifetime experience for young and old. Shows will guests will be amazed by a 70 minute show, transporting them to a gripping wonderland full of holiday cheer. Tickets can be booked through Computicket at R120 per adult entry, while kids under eighteen years of age and seniors will only pay R80.
We were early, but enjoyed hanging around and looking at the lights. There's food and sweets and loads of photo opportunities, even with Santa! The lights were even better when it got really dark, and I should have gotten more photos later on... (*kicking myself*)


Huts with sweets and goodies at the venue

Princesses!

Three Elves looking on

My vegetarian sliders that was available at the venue 

We watched the sunset from here, which was awesome
A word of caution. There are many light toys for sale, and the kids will nag you! We said "No" to Little Miss! But guess what? Dad's resolve did not stay strong...!
Little Miss with her light sword
The show was awesome, and the little ones love it. It is a bit late, because the Show only starts at 8 pm! But Little Miss did not want to move until the very last note! The kids enjoy the larger-than-life characters, and the adults enjoy the humour especially! Our favourite was the Snow-person!
(We wanted to go earlier, to miss some of the traffic going out of the parkade! But luckily the traffic was not too bad!)


The Fantasy of Lights continues until 24 December.
It is a great family outing!


Facebook Fantasy of Light
Twitter Waterfall Park
Instagram:@fantasyoflight2016


Disclaimer: We got tickets to attend the VIP evening last night!

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Can't wait for this little gem: Moana the Movie at Ster-Kinekor - GIVEAWAY

Disney, Moana, Moana the Movie
Disney's Moana
Ever since I've seen the first trailer of Moana the Movie at The Disney Showcase I knew we would definitely be making a plan to see it! (Luckily we love animation just as much even more as Little Miss!). We are going to see it on Thursday evening!

Moana is an animation about a young girl from the Hawaiian island, who has set her sights on a fabled island and makes her journey towards that place. She uses her navigational talents to set sail for a fabled island. Joining her on the adventure is her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui.
The Moana official trailer on YouTube: Moana 

Ster-Kinekor has given me one set of 4 tickets for a giveaway to go see the movie on 3 December at a Ster-Kinekor cinema nearest to you, anywhere within South Africa.

Ster-Kinekor is having an awesome day of activities planned on 3 December to complement the arrival of the movie at the cinema.

•        Movie date: Saturday, 3rd December 2016.
•        Genre: Animation.
•        Cinema: Nation-wide.

Please tell me in the comments below your favourite childhood fable that inspired you when growing up. Or: What facourite fable are you telling your children now?

Rules of the competition:

- Only one set of tickets (X4 tickets) can be given to one winner.
- The winner must reside in South Africa, and be able to get to Ster-Kinekor cinemas with their own transport on Saturday.
- The competition closes at 12 pm Thursday afternoon
…But remember, the tickets can only go to one winner, so they must be a family of X4 or X4 people who want to go see the movie on the 3rd December 2016.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Kindness - what I want my kids to be!


Kindness! We always aspire to be happy, and I want my kids to be happy! But how do we get happy? Because "Happiness is an inside job!" (My Eldest's most favourite expression!)

In most recent times I have read a number of thoughts around happiness and kindness! A most sure way to get to happiness is through kindness! It makes so much sense!

The prompt for Roxy Hutton's #cgscreative monthly Instagram last week was kindness. How do you show kindness! For sure it is in the little things! Trying to help others as far as possible. Giving that coin at the robot, or helping to collect for a worthy goal. Even kindness to everybody around you, and most of all, your own family!

Kindness is the one thing I can show and learn my youngest as well! It makes me extremely happy when she see people we can help! When she tells me that me must help the man at the robot who she has seen has children. They are sometimes at the robot with him...

To teach kindness is not a difficult thing! We need so much of it in our world!

How do you teach kindness to your children?

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Only 7 days left of being all alone at school!


Little Miss had a little breakdown last night!

She does not have friends at school, and the children do not want to play with her! She walks alone before school, and sits with her jersey pulled over her legs in the mornings. She has no friends in the mornings. She does not have friends who want to play with her at breaks, and she has to eat her food on her own. The ballet girls do not want to partner with her, and she’s the odd one out! (You saw that, Mom! Yes, I did!) This is what she told me again last night!

What can a mother (and father) do? We both wanted to console her last night! (Our hearts are breaking with her!)

Only to remind her that she has 7 days left of this school year! Next year is going to be better because it is going to be in a new school with new friends! (I really hope so!)

She is such a sensitive little person, and sometimes she goes into analysis paralysis! I do not always see a lonely girl when I go to fetch her at school, but if it is her perspective that nobody wants to play with her! That IS her life right now!

I am planning to use Cat’s advice next year, of identifying a strong girl and organising play dates from the start!

Only 7 days! This day included!
Maybe it is just this year that had enough?
You can do this, Little Miss!

Monday, 21 November 2016

Best night at the Phil Collins Tribute Show


We had such a great evening on Friday at the Phil Collins Tribute Show at Emperors Palace! One More Night is a brand new tribute show that features both the story, and the music of legend Phil Collins.

Vocalist and drummer Victor James Chapman does a great job capturing the music and the icon that is Phil Collins! Backed by a 10-piece band, they all contribute to a great evening with favourite hits such as Another Day in Paradise, Sussudio, Groovy Kind Of Love and You’ll Be In My Heart.

Phil Collins is part of our history! (Maybe just mine, but judging by the crowd on Friday night, I am not the only one!) The eighties was my high school and university years! It was part of growing up and becoming a person!

Emperors Palace, #PhilCollinsTribute, #OneMoreNight

The two hours went by in a flash! It is definitely worth the drive to the East Rand!

On stage at the Theatre of Marcellus for three weeks from 17 November to 4 December. Great for a date night and great for the whole family as well!

The show is performed at 20h00 from Thursdays to Saturdays, with 15h00 matinee shows on Saturdays and Sundays.
Tickets are priced from R150 per person (regret no children under the age of 4).  Bookings can be made through the Emperors Palace Box Office on 011 928 1297/1213 or by visiting www.emperorspalace.com.  Tickets are now open at Computicket online 

Disclaimer: We got 2 tickets for Friday"s VIP night!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

The Biggest Bollywood Extravaganza to hit Sandton from 2-4 December [WIN TICKETS]

Sandton Convention Centre
Sandton will soon be ‘Bollyfied’ with the biggest Blu Blood Bollywood Experience taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre from the 2nd to the 4th December 2016.  It will be the first of an annual event. The best musical talents to top class comedy, finest local and international fashion and the tastes and smells of the East, will be on offer.

A variety show and a fashion showcase featuring top Indian designers has been included on the line-up for this extravaganza weekend!

With so much to cover, there is something for the whole family!

Friday, 2nd to 4th DecemberThe Blu Blood Mela (featuring 200 unique exhibitors, entertainment stage and kiddies play area)

Friday, 2nd The Blu Blood Variety Show
Be mesmerised as the crème de la crème of top Indian fashion designers - the likes of the acclaimed Vikram Phadnis, Joy Mitra, Krishna Mehtra and Pawan & Pranav - showcase their latest collections in a fashion extravaganza paired up with incredible local musicians, dancers and comedians in the Blu Blood Bollywood Variety Show taking place on the 2nd December at the Sandton Convention Centre.

A highlight of the evening will be the showcasing of India’s Vikram Phadnis’ latest collection.  Vikram started his career as a choreographer before rising to fame as a fashion designer, having dressed a bevy of Bollywood stars.  His journey has been an inspiration to all those who want to make it big in the fashion industry.
Incorporating fashion, Bollywood music and dance with comedy, the variety show – hosted by Riaad Moosa – will feature the hilarities of South Africa’s Indian comedy heavyweights Krijay Govender, Muthu Murugan and Leeanda Reddy with amazing music performances by Shay Ramjee, Suraj Jewan, Imran Mohamed and Zeeshaan Ahmed.
Blu Blood Bollywood


Saturday, 3rdKings Queens of Comedy And All’ (featuring Riaad Moosa, Yaaseen Barnes, Leeanda Reddy and more)

Saturday, 3rdThe Blu Blood Fashion Showcase (top Indian designers including Vikram Phadnis showcase their latest collections)

Sunday, 4thSonu Nigam + Atif Aslam (the biggest Bollywood music powerhouses make history and take to the stage for this first time together on African soil)

The tickets are available at Computicket: Blu Blood Bollywood Experience

I loved the previous Blu Blood production - Mystic India -  and would have loved to attend some of this as well! Unfortunately we will be away for that weekend!


WIN:  (Perfect for a date night to get into the December holidays!)
- One reader of this blog can win two tickets to The Blu Blood Variety Show on Friday, 2 December at 8pm.
- Only open to Gauteng readers who will be able to get to the venue with their own transport.

- Please comment below and tell me who will be hosting the event?

- I will make the draw via Random.org on Wednesday 30 November at 12pm.