Sunday 31 March 2013

The Easter Bunny made a couple of rounds

It has been such a great weekend of having the chocolate bunny come around a couple of times.
He was in and out in a whoosh, and each time left a couple of chocolate eggs!
He even came for a quick visit while we were camping last weekend.

I love the way she gets excited about a bunny with chocolate eggs, and the way our family is playing along while Big Sister has the task of hiding the eggs.

It is a family tradition worth keeping, and I hope we will be able to keep the mystery and the story alive for a few more years!

I hope you had a happy Easter as well?

Related posts:

The Easter bunny came round

Easter weekend - Done!

Chickens and cupcakes

Thursday 28 March 2013

An Afrikaans app on the iPad: Die Drie Varkies

Die Drie Varkies
iPad screenshot

Afrikaans children don't have that many choices with regards apps on the iPad, and mostly it doesn't matter. They get along just well with all the English apps and stories that are available!

I found this cute interactive story app in Afrikaans, which is worth the small fee!
Die Drie Varkies (The Three Little Pigs) is an adaptation by Abrie Byeleveld for Lapa Books, complete with the South African lanscape, objects and animals. There is even a plate of koeksisters (a sweet South African delicacy) at the end of the story.

There are three options: a read-to-me, a-read-by-myself, and a-read-and-play-option available.
The characters do somersaults when they are tapped, and blue and red dots signal the child for extra interactive activities.

The story is rewritten by Wendy Maartens, and Jaco Jacobs reads it.

There is also a game of putting a pig together again.

Related posts:

Afrikaans op die iPad

Excited about ZA Books

iPads for children #iStoreMomsandKids

Tuesday 26 March 2013

The first feedback in Grade RR

We had our feedback session with the Little Missy's teacher the previous week.
(Before I forget, I am writing down the important points.)

It seems that most of my fears of her being so young are unfounded. Her birthday is in December which makes her a bit younger than most of her classmates. But her teacher believes that it is better to keep them with their age group, and that she does not perceive any problems of our Little Missy not going to Grade R.

Grade R is of course the final goal for Little Missy!
She thinks that she will arrive when she gets to Grade R.

She must be able to do the following: 
(Which apparently is not yet fully mastered)

- She needs to start helping with small tasks.
- She needs to be able to pack her own suitcase.
- She should be able to listen to the teacher.
- She must exercise her cutting skills.
- And: We have a whole list of stuff to exercise at home. (Which was handed out to all the parents)
(Wow! So small, and so many things to do and know already!)

The teacher tells us that she has a bit of a smart mouth on her:
- She retorted when she used a very bad swearword: "It's not me, it is my voice!"
- She was hitting another child, and when reprimanded: "I am not hitting her, I am giving her a hiding!"

The tantrums are also used very selectively, and also more than we expected.
(*sigh* We know! We still see it at home, but thought that it was more under wraps at school!)

She also has a best best friend, and even in the first week the teacher told me that they were very close. The friend calls the shots, and Little Missy follows.
Jade knows best! She knows everything!
The teacher has them seated at different tables, and she has a rule that they can't help or stand next to each other when they get an assignment.
The teacher overheard her once when she was waiting for Jade, and Jade kept on doing her own thing: "Jade I love you so much! Please come!"

Little Missy says that Jade just wants to play with her and no one else, but we see Jade playing with many other friends.

Always tough on the little ones when they focus on someone and don't see the other friends waiting on the side! (I see other friends hanging around when I go to fetch her in the afternoons...)
I will keep on telling her that it is good to have more than one friend!

I don't think boys have so many issues with friends?

Monday 25 March 2013

Camping the very best with children

Camping with the Toddler had its own challenges, but we are enjoying camping with our Little Missy so much more.

She opens her eyes in the morning, and announces she is going to play with her friends!
Which is just the next tent away.

When she was not playing with friends, she was in the swimming pool. Dad had his fare share of catching, and keeping her afloat! But she announced to each who looked her way that she can swim on her own!
I had an idea of how exhausting it is when I went with her for a swim in the warm water swimming pool..
Thanks, Dad!

No hands!

Look at me go!
YouTube video: Sliding and swimming

Ball playing with friends

Beestekraal Station fun

Beestekraal family photo
(The Student on her own holiday)

Friends still busy at night

Bushveld sunsets - always spectacular!

That was our long weekend of four days! Of course it still feels too short!

Hope you also had a great weekend?

Related posts:

Camping - we should do it more often

Weekend camping

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Free Collins Big Cat apps

Collins Big Cat apps 

I was alerted to the Collins Big Cat apps via Dizzy C's Little Book Blog.

I have downloaded only two at this stage, but I will definitely download the rest as well.
They are very cute and interactive stories, which can be enjoyed by a toddler, as well as school-going children when they start reading by themselves.

I especially love the option to create your own stories with your own voice.
We are having fun already making our own story creations.

"Developed in partnership with Shoo Fly, all  8 apps are free to download until September 2013, and not only support a love of reading but the development of creative writing skills too. 
They feature:
  • an animated, interactive version of the book
  • a record your own narration feature
  • a story creator tool - make your own book using characters, key vocabulary and 
    • backgrounds from the original story
  • support for parents to get the most out of the book."
iPad screen print
In the Garden
(photo courtesy of Collins)

The titles are:

Around the world

The steam train

It was a cold, dark night

My bike ride

In the garden

At the dump

Playing story 

The farmer's lunch

The apps are here: Collins Big Cat apps

The best! They are free until September of this year!!

Monday 18 March 2013

A quiet weekend... The best!

Puzzle building
We had a very quiet and relaxed weekend, without having to go somewhere, or to do anything!

Breakfast at Second Cup and photo taking
I am ordering some more of these this year!
Nothing that restores and gives so much peace than a bit of quiet family time!

The Little Missy spent a lot of time on her art works, and she came up with this all on her own.
She ordered me each time to take a photograph (where we usually have to beg for her to pose for a photo).

I added the second title. Maybe we have a budding artist in our midst?

Little Missy art 1
(Self-portrait: Reflection on love)
Little Missy art 2
(I had to write my name and her name on the paper)
(Self-portrait: Reflection on love)
Little Missy art 3
(Self-portrait: Reflection on love)
Happy Monday!

Friday 15 March 2013

Even I can make sushi with an iPad #iStoreSA

The only relationship I want with food, is by eating it. That I love!

I hate am not fond of making food, unless on very special occasions. 
I did not enjoy previous team building sessions by my Hubby's work team where we were invited to prepare our own food at the End-of-Year function

But I was intrigued when I was invited to become a sushi expert with iStore and iPad. 
Because sushi is a favourite food, and because I love finding new applications with my iPad. Up until now I haven't look that much at the recipes and food applications on my iPad.

Master Chef  Mija Moto (sorry, not sure about the spelling) demonstrated the sushi app Teach me Sushi, which has step by step photo instructions, with a video demonstration added to that! 

We worked in pairs, and I was the "brain" who had to go and look at the hands-on demo of traditional Japanese sushi by the Master Chef, while my partner had to follow the same instructions on the iPad. 
She was also the one who put together our first sushi platter. (With my expert help, of course!)

Chef Karin at work!
It looks much easier than it is! The rice does not stay where it is supposed to, and the filling popped out of the sides, but we got some right! With only an hour and a half of instructions, and trying it ourselves, I don't think it looks too bad. It also tasted GOOD!

I think it is possible to become a Master Chef with an iPad!
(If you wanted to!)

The iStore supplied a whole list of recommended iPad apps in the kitchen:

- Epicurious (free)
- Allrecipes - Your Kitchen Inspiration (free)
- How to Cook Everything
- Vegetarian How to Cook Everything
- The Photo Cookbook
- Table for Two
- Jamie Oliver (free)
- Green Kitchen
- Teach me Sushi
- Grill It!
- Martha Stewart makes Cookies
- Divine Chocolate HD (free)
- Hello Cupcake (free)

Thank you, it was a great afternoon!

Related posts:

Thursday 14 March 2013

Colour blind?

EnChroma Colour Blindness Test Result

The Little Missy struggled from the very start with the recognition of blues and greens.
At age two and three we did not think anything about it

At age four she is still struggling!

I have to tell her to know as fact that trees and grass are green, and that the sky is blue!
She mostly never gets the blues and greens correct, but she is able to identify all the other colours.

I phoned an optometrist yesterday, and she advised that I do one of the test available on the iPad.
I also made an appointment in April to confirm it, and also to try and understand more about it.

We did the test last night.

I thought that she would test a tritan vision deficiency because of the blue/green, but she tested deutan, which is a blue/red vision deficiency.

Apparently there is nothing that can be done about it.
Apparently it comes from the maternal side. My father tested a mild colour blindness when he was in the army years and years ago. I also remember that my grandfather was colour blind, but now nobody can remember...

It doesn't matter.

It is a bit sad to think that our little one will not see the world as brightly and as colourful as we do!

Please let me know if you have any suggestions?

I think it is good to know earlier rather than later; and to be able to tell the teachers at school.

Monday 11 March 2013

It's my birthday, and I can ignore it...

or I can embrace it!

Some years I try to ignore it, but this year I am trying to enjoy it!

I just have to get myself wrapped around the number 46.


The better part of 40. ;-)

I enjoyed Melinda's blog post today: I'm not rude. I'm 40!
Cheers to that!!

I had a weekend of get-togethers with friends and family.

Hubby had to make a favourite Portuguese Trinchado for my birthday on Saturday.

"Master Chef"

And tomorrow Hubby and me and the Little Missy is taking a day on my birthday!
We decided not to take her to school, so that we all could sleep in, and take it easy!

We are going to make it special!
Signing off for a day...

Friday 8 March 2013

Chickens and cupcakes

Looking forward to Easter

Today is Sweetie Day at school, with the Little Missy's class selling sweets and cupcakes, generating a bit of income for the class.
As usual I was not cheering from the sides, eager to start baking those cakes...  

That's why I had to drive to three different shops last night to find the right cupcakes, and that would not cost me the last of  my month's food budget. 
I got a "bright" idea to put Easter eggs on top of the cupcakes and call it Easter cupcakes. 
(In my world I am proud of my achievement! Working Mom win!!) 

AND my little one thinks it is great! She helped with putting sprinkles on, and handing me the chocolate eggs. She also scored one to eat!!

Cupcakes with chocolate eggs on top
Dad had to go and buy beer to get us the box
(He did not have any objections ;-) )

The previous week they had chickens hatching at school. They watched the eggs the whole week, and on Thursday the chickens began to appear. Very sweet!
Marked eggs and some chickens in a hatching box
Look Mom!
Luckily the chickens were enclosed
The children all got a turn on Friday to hold a chicken! Very sweet!

Photo by Teacher Marlene
Happy Friday!

Thursday 7 March 2013

Afrikaans op die iPad

Everyone who knows me, or have read some here, knows that I am extremely excited about the use of tablets at school.
iPads for children are really the next big step to revolutionize the education systems, worldwide, but specifically here!

Yes, for us here in South Africa it is still a new thing.
My Little Missy's schools does not have the technology incorporated at the moment! But there are some positive moves in the right direction...

I am excited about ZA Books, the eTextbook solution for South African schools that was launched a couple of weeks ago. There is an app available for the South African curriculum on your iPad.

I got excited last year when Apple in Education had their awards evening, and I learnt that 72 schools have already taken part in the competition, and to see how creative the children are with the technology!

One of the things that gets asked most is about the language barriers for children. I have found that the children does not see it as a barrier at all, and that our Afrikaans speaking children do not have a problem with it.

I attended Afrikaans the iPad way session at the iStore on Monday.
Liande Engelbrecht is the Afrikaans teacher at Redhill School who uses the iPad to make Afrikaans alive to the children.

Linade Engelbrech to the left, and Lulu Burger (Think Ahead)

I was amazed to hear that she does not suggest the apps to use, but mostly gives an assignment, and the children comes up with their own solutions on the iPad.

The apps that they are using in the Afrikaans class are as follows:

- Spelling Free
- 50 Languages: Afrikaans/...
- YouTube
- Google
- Paint
- Garage Band
- Spin Art Studio
- Comic Lite / Zoodle Comics
- Poplets
- Keynote
- Infinite canvas
- Maramedia e-boek
- Notes Plus
- Educreation
- Vegas
- 100 floors
- 4 pics 1 word

You will notice that most of the apps are not in Afrikaans, but are used for Afrikaans language teaching.
A student demonstrating Keynote
The children demonstrated how they used the apps, and showed us some of their work.
Very inspiring.
I have since downloaded some of the apps myself to test it out. ;-) (Feeling like a tech geriatric!)

One other interesting fact is the way how the children handle these devices.
Because it is so very expensive, and because it is expensive to repair, they take care of it!
Their school has built in a system of training of how to handle the devices, and they have lockers for it!

Another interesting development is that iPad Genius Clubs are being launched at schools. The children manage the iPad labs, and the training is for free.

I love the technology that's available now to our children!

Related posts:

Excited about ZA Books

Apple in Education 

iPads for children #iStoreMomsandKids

Tuesday 5 March 2013

Little Missy

(Not looking at you for a photo, Mom!)

The page for the Preschooler needs an update.

She has not been a Little Tortoise (Skilpadjie) since the very beginning, and we have now seen the Toddler phase pass well.
The baby is a Toddler, and the Toddler turned into a Preschooler at 4 years at the end of last year.
(Just a little bit of tantrum behaviour left, but not that much!)

She's a Little Missy now!

I get sad when I look at how small she was and how quickly she has changed into this bright and opinionated and chatty little girl!

But I love each phase with all the quirks and the cuteness!

She is still very much the centre of our universe!

Her Big Sister, The Student, plays a big part in her life.
She misses her terribly when she's away, and she loves spending time with her when she is at home.

She is forever on the move, and we are still searching for the off switch at the end of the day.
If we do not follow a strict routine, we still have issues with not  sleeping problems...

She is in Grade RR this year, and next year she will be in the ultimate elusive Grade R.
 Grade R is Little Missy's most highest goal for everything.
When she is in Grade R, she will be "big", and the world will spin around twice, or something...

(It is coming sooner than we can anticipate, or wish!)

I wish I can have this for as long as possible!

You are growing and developing much too quickly!
But we love You, and we love this!

Monday 4 March 2013

A Big Movie Experience - thanks to the Colonel

We used to go to the drive-in when we were small, but it has mostly disappeared and we do not have any in our immediate vicinity.

Even though it was raining Saturday afternoon, we packed our picnic bag, and headed out to Diggers Rugby Club in Randburg. For a picnic-in with a movie!
The Colonel organised the Big Movie Experience.
For free! With lots of toys for big and small.

The Little Missy loved running around on the open grass, and we watched Avengers with a lot of pyrotechnic light displays!
(AND the rain stayed away!)

We have a Super Heroes photo to show as well!

I hope KFC plan some more of these? It was a ball!

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