Saturday, 28 December 2013

Lazy days of summer

Halftone 2

We are enjoying thus summer at home! We had an early vacation in the bush in the beginning of December. Now we are totally lazy getting the much needed rest at home!

This year I welcome it. The previous years I felt a bit depressed staying at home over the festive period, but it has been so relaxing to sleep late each day and just chill.

We also love spending time with family and friends!

And deciding on a whim each day to do some of the fun stuff here in Johannesburg...

We went on a drive to Maropeng today, but landed in a loop on the Kromdraai road. (I can see my dad and sister shaking their heads, because they have excellent direction, but even my iPad maps took us to the wrong place!)

It felt like a drive in the countryside and we did not mind. We will definitely go to Maropeng this coming week!

We took a detour to a fabourite place, Maggie's Farm, and of course had pies for lunch.

The pIcture is created by the Halftone 2 app, a comic book creator. It is the free gift available to download today from the 12 Days of Gifts.

The 12 Days of Gifts from the iTunes store are great fun. There is a free fun app or music or game to download from iTunes each day. This is happening from the 26th of December until 6th January. It is definitely worth downloading!

Friday, 20 December 2013

Here comes FIVE with a big tantrum!

Tomorrow is the big day for Little Missy. It has been a long year of waiting for her, but it has finally arrived!

We did not predict that Five would still come with the tantrums, but yes!
It is worse!

It is not pretty to see a big girl starting to wail and kick and hit and scream.

For the first few minutes of the tantrum it is impossible to get anything through to her.
It is during that stage that I would gladly poke out my own eye to make it stop, but not even that would work!

We have tried it all!

And of course we are always question our own parenting skills, and wondering if the gene pool did not drop too many of those aggressive genes into our Little Missy?

I did a bit of Googling psychology, and saw that it is not that strange for a five-year to still get tantrums. Also that they have had years of practise now in tantrum throwing, and they have become experts in the tantrum field of behaviour!

Tantrums play itself out in different stages, and that it is not worth trying to engage in the first stage. They are unable to do anything while their brains are in overload. It is best to ignore the first stage of screaming, kicking and wailing, and to swoop in when they get to the emotional stage. Mostly it is seen when they drop on the floor, sobbing or crying. Or when they asked to be picked up or hold.

We have been doing it right!

The most important for us is to not loose our cool!
To keep calm at all times! (We have not always got it right!)

That will be our New Year's resolution for this year!
To stay calm in the eye of the storm tantrum!

Happy birthday my girl!

I know for a fact that we will laugh our asses off in the future about your big fat huge tantrums!
(But now it is not that funny at all!)

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Last minute gift ideas for Christmas

Little Missy has given us her list of stuff she wants for her birthday and for Christmas. 
We just need some time to go and buy it...
This year it is going to be less expensive gifts than the previous year. One present for a birthday, and one present for Christmas are more than enough. 

This year it is about the family time spent together, which we are seriously looking forward to. 

The iStore has a great gifting section for last minute Christmas ideas. It is worth checking there for great gifts for children AND adults.

Little Missy got these three cute gifts which are great gadgets to have.

Griffin KaZoo AUX Cable for Kids (and adults, because we are using it as well)
Connect most audio devices with a 3.5mm stereo jack with this Griffin Technology KaZoo auxiliary cable that features a caterpillar/butterfly design to add a touch of fun. 

Griffin Crayola MyPhones

I especially love these, because they have a built-in volume limiter, which makes me feel safe to leave the Little One in peace playing with her games on the gadgets. We are always arguing about the noise level, but when she has the ear phones on we don't have to worry that it will is too loud for her ears.

They came with stickers and markers, and Little Missy really enjoyed brightening them even more!

Griffin Crayola Color-A-Folio for iPad mini 

Crayola's Color-A-Folio lets you customise your iPad mini case with fabric markers.
We would have liked a greater selection of colours, but the colour combination works extremely well.

Now I just need to go and buy that iPad mini! (Thanks for the nudge, iStore!)

Disclaimer: We received these three gifts in this cute little suitcase, which is very Cool indeed!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Christmas lights in Appelblaar Avenue in Randpark Ridge

We had to check up on our favourite house of Christmas lights this year. It is a great place to drive by at this time of year. Some people even brought their picnic baskets while enjoying the lights!
The owner of the house left me a message on my blog last year. I am copying & pasting it here! This year is the 11th year they are doing it!

"Thank you so much for this story. It is so lovely to hear how you and your family enjoy the lights, Our solar panels, and LED lights work very hard at this time of year :) but this is worth it as we bring joy, and help to many charities and individuals that need a little help at this time of year, and i think stories like this really do make us continue every year.
I trust you and your families have an amazing and safe festive season. if you would like to pop round, this year is our 10 year anniversary and is very special this year.
Tamryn Paley
14 Appelblaar Avenue Randpark Ridge"

Friday, 13 December 2013

Back from a week in the bush

We just came back from a week in the bush, feeling refreshed and chilled out!

We had very little signal in the bush, and we came back to no Telkom ADSL. It is very frustrating, but it also helped to switch off.

It was great to breathe in a bit of fresh air, and watched the sunsets!

Little Missy loved the game drives! We were a bit concerned, but I remembered how the eldest loved it. The little ones are mesmerized about all the animals, and even little things like chameleons.

We had a great encounter with the elephants on
a morning drive

The absolute highlight of our week:
A walk with rhinos - we got pretty near to them
Breathed in all the sunsets!
(Something we miss here in the city)
Lots of dives into the pool
It was a great vacation!

Why did it feel so short?

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

On the red carpet

Little Missy has been asking us to also go to a musical event. She gets very upset when she sees that we have been to a show and that she was not there.

I took her along to an Afrikaans music show on Friday. I thought that she would enjoy it, especially since she is always complaining that "hulle praat nie my taal nie" (they do not speak my language). We are being asked to translate the English songs playing on the radio.

She loved it! But sitting quietly for one and half hours is not a strong point yet!
It was an exercise in patience and "shhh..." on my side. Especially when she asked whether the artist is a boy or a girl. Very loud!

She was also very interested in the artist in the wheelchair, and why are his legs not working?

I was thankful for a packet of sweets and chewing gum in my bag. Next time I will remember to bring water  along as well. I had to distract her for longer than an hour because she was thirsty! (She had a drink just before the show).

I also had to dislodge chewing gum from her fingers, and mine, when she was finished with it. I ended up chewing the gum, and dislodged another piece of a tooth which needs to be fixed now!

I breathed a huge sign of relief when the show ended!

We will be going to more shows! But next time we will be sitting in the corner, near the isles, and not in the middle of the theatre!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Working parents juggle it!

I got a Whatsapp message from the teacher today. Little Missy was complaining about her cheek, and the teacher thought it was a tooth!

I was in a conference and asked Hubby (also by IM) to phone the dentist to hear if they had an opening for the rest of the week for me to be able to take her.

He followed up, but they were fully booked.

In the meantime I was texting the teacher to ask her to give the little one a bit of Panado.

Then the dentist phone Hubhy again to inform him that they had an opening immediately. 

I must mention the following: Hubby started with a new job today! But off he went to fetch the Little Missy and to take her to the dentist.

I was texting him and the teacher, while trying to follow the conference proceedings...

She has a teeth that needs to be fixed, but not a big issue! In the meantime we will have to get her to sit still! (Not sure when that will happen?)

Hubby had an appointment with his new boss as well. He rocked up with Little Missy in tow, and apparently it wasn't a problem. (We hope!)
She got a little bit difficult in the end, I was told.

And her water bottle leaked all over Hubby's tablet and work papers. 

All in a day's work!

Thanks to my wonderful husband who did not hesitate to fetch the Little Missy, and who took her to his workplace on the first day of his new job!

That's how working parents juggle it!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Feeding the elephants at Glen Afric

We have been looking forward to do this for quite a while. It is only on Sundays that they bring out the elephants at Glen Afric.

Hubby is celebrating his birthday this week, and we treated him with a Sunday buffet AND the elephants.
It was a treat for everybody! Little Missy loved it!

A cool down in the pool afterwards
It was a lovely Sunday!

Hope you had a great day as well?

Related post:

Glen Afric - a place to go for a bush outing

Friday, 29 November 2013

Apple in Education Awards 2013 - the winners! #iPadlearningZA

The 7th annual Apple in Education Awards 2013 arrived on Wednesday. It is designed to award excellence in the classroom. But it does more than that. It challenges the teachers and learners to excel in being creative in their use of technology to enhance their own learning.

I love seeing the finalists and the winning entries! But I must mention that I think that each of the entries in the competition deserves to be mentioned, and especially the teachers who have made a special effort for these kids to be able to take part!

I see this as a positive step towards a future in education where we will be able to address imbalances in the standard of our education, compared to the standard of education globally. The winning entries showed that government schools that implemented the same technology were on par with the private schools!

A few interesting facts, figures and announcements were made:

  • The second edition of the Education App guide has been launched, and there are over 100 000+ education apps that are available to use.

  • ZA Books have now over 1500 South Africa titles 
  • There are great apps that are free on new iPad purchases: iWork productivity apps: Pages, Numbers and Keynote and iLife creativity apps: iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand.
  • From Grade R - Grade 12 have submitted entries in this competition.
  • There are entries from 32 subjects in the competition.
  • 56 schools have submitted entries.
  • 783 projects were entered.
  • The judges were independent from the schools and the learners.

Donnay Torr announcing the winning entries for
the Curriculum Projects Grade 5-7
I had the privilege to be a judge in the category Curriculum Projects Grade 5-7 with Donnay Torr and Karen Walstra. It was very difficult to decide on the winning entries, because the entries were all very creative and innovative. Luckily we had a list of criteria to measure and compare our marks of the different projects.

Grayston Preparatory School winning entry being shown

The winning entry from Grayston Preparatory School deserves their win!

The iTeacher of the year from Gugulesizwe Primary School (I missed her name, unfortunately!) successfully introduced her learners to using the iPads as a way to introduce English as the language of learning and teaching in the school. 

I am sorry I don't have more information about the other winners and about the learners. I was hoping to find some more information about this competition on the web, but so far it has not been made available.

Congratulations to all the enthusiastic teachers, and especially the creative students! 
The students are showing us that there are no limits on education! 

Give them the tools and technology, and they will embrace it with enthusiasm and with positive results!

Related posts:

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Shopping is good for me, says my Fitbit Zip

I got a nifty Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker in the beginning of this month, and I have been checking my steps since then.

I think I have become more mindful of walking, and have seen how much I can increase my steps when I change daily things in my routine, like taking the steps, or parking further away from the mall.

Even though I am working in an office, and having to sit down the whole day, I am able to increase my steps by just making some adjustments during the day, and to not use the lifts when not absolutely necessary.

The day my daughter and I went for a shopping trip to the mall, I had no problem in making my daily quota of 10 000 steps.
I got the badge to show for it!

I love checking during the day to see how much steps I have taken.

I tried attaching the Fitbit to my feet while riding on the stationary bike, but it doesn't work. But you are able to upload extra activity on your profile.
I have my Fitbit account on my computer which syncs automatically when opened, but would have loved if I could have used it on my Blackberry or my iPad2.

This is a great gadget when you are trying to increase your activity rate!
Watch me!

The tech details:

Tracks steps, distance and calories burned.
Upload wirelessly via Bluetooth to earn Vitality Points
Tracks progress with graphs, charts and other tools
Access your free account with free Mac and iPhone apps
Log food and more with online and app tools
Realtime data uploads makes competing with friends easy
Recommended Retail Pricing is R899.00  
                                                                            - Core Group

Disclaimer: I got this gadget as a thank you for being a judge in the Apple in Education Competition Awards 2013

Friday, 22 November 2013

Things to learn at university

I am so proud of The Student. She has successfully completed her second year at varsity. It has been a busy year, but she did it!
Done and dusted!

She blogs about the things she has learnt in these two years, and I thought it would be good to share it here!

Millenium Lady: Things I learnt at university: "There is no guide on what to expect when going to university. Unfortunately, some lessons I had to learn the hard way..."

Thursday, 21 November 2013

A 60th at Stone Cradle

There was a recent 60th birthday in the family.

The family organised a surprise event at the Stone Cradle restaurant, and it turned out to be a very lovely venue, close to the Rietvlei Nature Reserve and Centurion.

It is lovely to have a buffet of enormous varieties with a view over the landscape. There was sushi as starters! Guess where we got stuck?

Little Missy was very impressed with the table that was arranged for all the kids

Table arrangement

The grandchildren entertained their grandfather

The surprised birthday man!

Entertainment at the venue
(great for a Sunday afternoon)

Two other well-known twins, Daniella & Caitlin of The Little Train that CAN-fame
celebrated their 8th birthday as well!
Speeches for a man that makes a difference!

Lovely to end the Sunday afternoon with a downpour of rain!
We will be going back!

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