Friday, 28 February 2014

Kellogg's Breakfast for Better Days - Hamper winner #KelloggsBFBD

Helenvale Primary learners line up
to receive their breakfast thanks to Kellogg's

The winner of this lovely one month Kellogg's Breakfast for Better Days hamper goes to....

Kellogg's BFBD - one month breakfast hamper

Congrats to Elise du Toit!
Please send me your contact details so that your hamper can be delivered.

Related post: 

- Kellogg's Breakfast for Better Days - hamper up for grabs 

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Feed Maxi - an interactive speech-language app for children

Feed Maxi 
This guest post comes from Pamela Mandell, the creator of Feed Maxi.
She is the mom to two rowdy boys and a speech-language pathologist who has been working with toddlers and preschoolers for over 14 years. She created Feed Maxi as a means to improve language skills in little ones in a fun, creative, and meaningful way.

Pamela with her e-learning department staff: Maxi Monkey,
Marty Macaw and Freddy Frog 

"Feed Maxi is an exciting new interactive speech-language game app for iPad that is captivating toddlers, preschoolers and kids with special needs with its high quality graphics and 3D animations. Children "feed" the adorable and very hungry Maxi the Monkey requested food items from a field of one, two or three foods that are child friendly (i.e., "goldfish crackers, yogurt, etc."). Maxi responds by commenting and engaging in endearing animations to show his pleasure. During the game, children love to give "FIVE" to Maxi and they look forward to the end scene where they get to explore a rainforest and pop balloons filled with food. 

Joy when playing with Feed Maxi 
The app is unique in that Maxi the Monkey uses simple sign language combined with verbal requests to get the foods he wants. The graphics are gorgeous and the app is highly interactive and intrinsically motivating for kids. Feed Maxi is completely customizable and keeps score for up to 5 children at a time. It utilizes real-life pictures of food items that toddlers can easily relate to & identify.  Feed Maxi enhances all aspects of communication including receptive, expressive and pragmatic language skills - all in one app! Feed Maxi also helps with vocabulary, problem solving, attention span, picky eaters and emergent literacy skills. 

Speak Eazy Apps is a member of Moms With Apps, a parent friendly group of mom & dad app developers that support children's safety and privacy. In Feed Maxi, there are no in-app purchases, pop-ups or advertisements. The only links to outside sources, such as our website & the App Store, are kept behind a parent gate that only adults can enter."


I was given a promotional code and played around with Feed Maxi as well. 
At $2.99 it is a very reasonable app.

What struck me about the app is that it can be used for second language learning as well. 
My preschooler will definitely broaden her vocabulary of the English language, while having loads of fun. I also like the fact that the spelling of the words are shown when the right object has been selected. 

Photos supplied by Pamela Mandell. 

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Children's party at Granny's Garden

Little Missy was invited to a party at Granny's Garden.

It is the perfect venue for a party. They have inside and outside entertainment for the children. The entire house has been transformed into a children's paradise.

The indoor play area consists of a Sand Room, Computer Room, Dress up Room, Fantasy Room, Nintendo Wii, Beach Sand Room, Arts & Crafts and Pottery Painting.

Dress Up Room
Snow White

The outdoor play area has the following on offer: Zip Line Slide, Bike Track, Trampoline, Play House, Jungle Gym, Modular Play Area and swings.

The zip line slide was the most popular with every one sliding again and again...

Gif from Granny's Garden
The best of course was having a nice cup of coffee while other people were busy running around after the children...
Definitely a parent's paradise!

Monday, 24 February 2014

Kellogg's Breakfast for Better Days - Hamper up for grabs

I received the Kellogg's Breakfast for Better Days initiative in my inbox.

Since I am a breakfast person (I cannot do a day without breakfast) and I get grumpy without my favourite meal of the day, I love that they are focusing on feeding the children. We are also always trying to get the Little One to eat something in the mornings. She struggles with breakfast, but can get ravenously hungry at ten... Unfortunately we have to drop her off at seven in the mornings, and we have to force her to eat something before she starts her day!

It makes me extremely sad to think that there are so many children who have to go without a proper breakfast each day. That's why I love this initiative by Kellogg's.

The Press Release states:
"Dishing Up 5 Million Breakfasts for South African Children 
On Wednesday 14 January, over 12 million learners headed back to school after the long summer break, but started their day on empty stomachs:  nearly one-fifth of South African children are not eating breakfast before going to school1. To help address this need, Kellogg is launching a large-scale Breakfast for Better Days™ Initiative, which will provide five million servings of breakfast to children throughout 2014, with 25 000 school children receiving breakfast every school day. 
With one in eight people around the world facing food insecurity each day2, Kellogg Company and its foundation, the Kellogg's Corporate Citizenship fund, have pledged to provide a billion servings of breakfast and snacks to children and families who need it most, through this global initiative. In South Africa, a breakfast of Kellogg's cereal and milk will be provided to children in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces. Partnering with Kellogg are FoodBank South Africa, the country's largest food banking network and Kellogg's international partner in the global initiative, who will distribute the food; and Parmalat, who will be donating the required milk." 
For more information visit or follow @KelloggsZA on Twitter and on Facebook for regular updates.

I asked specifically about the schools that are targeted in Gauteng. The initiative is in its pilot year and will benefit 56 schools across SA, with the following 8 schools in Gauteng as beneficiaries. Kellogg is however hoping to grow the initiative to other schools in various areas across the province next year.

Letsha Primary
Duduza Primary
Michael Zulu Primary
Monde Primary School
Kabelo Primary
Mogobeng Primary
Thabang Primary
Ikwezi Primary

This little video of Mpho touches my heart.
(I would freak if my Little One had to walk in rain and on his own to school!)

Kellogg is providing one lucky reader a one month's supply breakfast hamper.

Please comment below: How can the power of breakfast give someone a bright start?

The draw will take place on Friday at 12 pm.
(Unfortunately only for South African readers)

(Photo on top: Swelihle Masuku from Gugulethu Primary in Kwamashu, KZN enjoying his first breakfast for the year - supplied by Kellogg)

Friday, 21 February 2014

iPads for teachers in the primary classroom - Tal Slome

Tal Slome
iPad Facilitator at ThinkAhead Education Solutions
I was invited to attend Tal Slome's workshop about Apps in the primary classroom. It was specifically designed for teachers using iPads in the classroom.

I love attending these sessions, because I always pick up some great ideas for my own iPad, as well as great apps to download for my preschooler.

Tal Slome's Prezi is here: Subject specific apps for the primary classroom

There are great apps that are being covered for each subject. An app guide is freely available on ZA Books, the South African school books that are available for download on the iPad.

The suggestions to find great apps are a good reminder of how to proceed. How many times have I not downloaded an app, to delete it after just one use. It helps to do your homework, or to make use of  subject-specific guides.

How to find good apps:

- App or iTunes store reviews. 
Remember to check whether the review is from the developer or the user. The developer's view would of course be much more positive!

- Internet
Do a search on the Internet

- Word of mouth 
It helps to ask around and to hear what others are using. On social media, from colleagues and from professionals.

There are great resources for teachers on the web. Parents and home-schooling parents can also make use of it.

Materials and app finders:

- Teacher's Pet : the apps can be found here: Teacher's Pet: Apps & Games
These are great resources to keep handy, especially for assignments.

- Apps Gone Free:
This is a great app to use when searching for top apps that are available for free.

I am planning to play with some of the apps, and give some feedback here on the blog.
The apps are here: Tal Slome's Prezi 


I love the suggestion of making use of  iFile. It is $3.99 on the app store, but it is worth to file all your documents and file formats in the cloud.
It accommodates Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud,, SkyDrive, SugarSync, AFP (Mac Shares), FTP/FTPS, SFTP, Flickr, Picasa, Facebook, Rackspace CloudFiles, CloudApp, PogoPlug, WebDav, Amazon S3, Ubuntu One Files, ownCloud, 4Shared, also using Amazon S3: DreamObjects and UltiCloud.

Related posts:

- Connecting to the past, delivering the future - with iPads in the classroom with Joe Moretti

- Choosing iPads for your school - Fraser Speirs

- Book Creator great for learning and fun

- Book Creator adding to the learning experience in South Africa

Thursday, 20 February 2014

GR R is a bit of a bummer this year

Little Missy was extremely excited about reaching this milestone! Being in Grade R!
She couldn't wait, and thought that this would be the ultimate place to be...

She has a new teacher who does not give them hugs, and does not even acknowledge the parents when they come to drop the kids off in the class.
The little ones still need their hugs, and they want to feel welcome in the mornings...
She is also very strict, according to Little Missy.

I suggested to Little Missy that she goes on her own accord to give the teacher a hug, but she does not feel comfortable enough to do it.

She has been telling me frequently that she does not want to go to school. She would rather go with us to our workplaces! She also has a frequent stomach ache. Things that she did not say or feel the previous years.

They apparently also have to work very hard, and she was upset last week when she was sick and she could not go to school. She was going to miss out on the class work and the friends are going to laugh at her. (Her words)

Little Missy loved doing colourful pictures, but this year there was a bit of regression and we are not seeing the same bright pictures than we did last year. (The pictures are getting better, but it is still lacking that passion. Or is it a phase?)

I don't know how long I should wait before I go and talk to the school?
Maybe the teacher should be given a chance to find her feet? (It is her first year of teaching.)

How long should I wait?

Related posts:

- Grade R, bring it!

- Stories by The Toddler

Monday, 17 February 2014

Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs 2 - gets a thumbs up by the preschooler

We saw Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs 2 a few weeks back.

Little Missy loved it, and she did not blink through the whole cinematic experience.

We love it that we can go to the movies now and she really enjoys sitting through the whole cinematic experience. She did not take off her 3D glasses once.

The whole family went with Little Missy, and afterwards we all had to confess to each other that we had some bouts of sleeping in-between watching the food running around on screen.

It is a very colourful and wacky movie, but the first movie was much more interesting...

AND for how long can you actually watch food running around?

The question afterwards. What do they eat now, because all their food are running and talking? We did not get the answer to this in the movie. Not that this question bothered Little Missy...

Thumbs up from Little Missy!
Thumbs down from the rest of the family.

Luckily it is a movie for children. It is worth taking your children to see it!


Related to this, but not from the cinema.
Little Missy got this clay toy with a Wimpy Meal and she loved designing her own 3D picture on the same theme from the movie.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Winner: Poetry of a Hobo Mama by Lauren Wayne

Poetry of a Hobo Mama, by Lauren Wayne

The winner of the give-away of Poetry of a Hobo Mama is...

Congrats to ScaredMom!

Please send me your details at karen toit toit at gmail dot com

Ode to My Valentine!

A Valentine
that brings me flowers
and Ferrero Rocher's 
AND a Pandora charm

Who stays at home with a sick Little Missy
Who dresses her in her chosen Valentine's dress
(not an easy task)
and combs her hair
with her chosen hairstyle for the day

An ode goes out to you
who has brought us so much joy!
Who shows our daughters how a man should treat all girls and ladies
(You are making it a tough act to follow!‎)

We have ‎your masculine DIY skills on call
while enjoying your Masterchef (as Missy likes to say)‎ dishes
(It is true!)

Thank you
For YOU!

You are worthy a much longer ode with more 
Oomph than mine...

You are my lucky Valentine!

(Photo by The MM)

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Sick day for Little Missy

Little Missy started out today with a fever. She complained about not feeling well at all.
That's when I decided to shove that guilty feeling and to stay at home with her.

I got a very early appointment with the doctor. It is all about our polluted air and the allergies giving the little ones' these infections...

After we had fetched the medicines and got new books at the library and I had read all three in one go, she slept for a couple of hours.

Tonight she was feeling better already!

I am so glad I took the day to help her get the rest she needed!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Give-away - Poetry of a Hobo Mama

Poetry of a Hobo Mama
Lauren Wayne of Hobo Mama wrote this beautiful poetry about the first three years of parenthood.

I love the raw and simple honesty of her parenting journey captured in the poetry. I could relate to most of her poems. Even the crunchy mama that she is, she is still struggling with most of the things we all struggle with. It made me aware that by sharing we are never alone in our parenting struggles and experiences and joys AND lows!

I gave my own review when I bought it a while back on my Kindle.

I took part in Lauren Wayne's Weekly Parenting Poetry Workshop last year, and she was so kind to send me one of her poetry volumes.

Since I have it already on my Kindle, I asked her if I could use it for a give-away.

Please comment below to be entered into the draw.

The draw will take place this  Friday 14 February at 5 pm South African time.

Open worldwide to all who comment!

Monday, 10 February 2014

The joy of a library book

We took Little Missy to the library this weekend. That is one of the things we should have done much earlier.

We are buying more books, and are spending more times in book shops, but we should not forget about our local library!

We were surprised at the collection of books available for the little ones, and Little Missy could not make up her mind about which book to take for her first loan at the library.

We were only allowed one book (a concession from the friendly librarian) until her library subscription and card are ready. It takes about 5 days to complete.

We did not pay any fee. It is free, and even the Internet services are free at our local library.

We will be going back. I had so many good memories at my local library when I was small, and the eldest and me had a bi-weekly appointment at the library when she was small.

The joy of finding that perfect library book!

Friday, 7 February 2014

TV Casting for Women over 40

This is a shout-out to anybody who is interested. Apparently you don't have to be residing in the US to be considered.

Lisa is a Casting Director for a production company based out of Los Angeles.

Emmy Award winning production company is NOW CASTING currently pregnant women, recent new mothers (child is younger than 2 years old) and women who are trying to get pregnant that are OVER THE AGE OF 40 for a new docu-series about motherhood in your 40's.  

 If you are pregnant with your FIRST child or have had your FIRST child recently and are over the age of 40, we would love to hear from you! If you are currently trying to get pregnant with your FIRST child and are over the age of 40, we want to hear from you too! 

Please email the following information to
-Phone number
-Current photo
-Brief summary about you and your situation
Lisa Turner
Casting Director
818-333-5711 (office)
Follow me on Twitter!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

"Connecting to the past, delivering the future" - with iPads in the classroom by Joe Moretti

Joe Moretti demonstrating the Augmented Reality app Aurasma
International keynote speaker Joe Moretti, an iPad education expert, demonstrated to teachers on Monday that the use of technology should not surpass the pedagogy in the classroom.

The number of teachers attending the event showed that the vast majority of them has been in the classroom for 20 to 30 years. They are experts in their special fields and experts in teaching. Their knowledge and experience are paramount when adapting to a new environment of using technology in the classroom. Combining that with the children who are digital natives with the use of technology, it makes it easier to make the switch.

Joe Moretti suggested that if there is only one iPad in the classroom available, the teacher already has access to many new teaching methods.

"Connecting to the past, delivering the future"
The pedagogy is still essential for teaching in the future!

New teaching methods with an iPad in the classroom

- Connecting via wireless mirroring to type and show what they are busy with on the iPad. It is not necessary to stand in front of the Black board any more. The teacher can move around with the device in her hand. She can type and draw while moving around. She can ask the students to show what they are doing on the device.

- The camera can be used to record in class, and there are no struggles when saving and searching for the files. It can be uploaded to be made immediately available to all.

- The use of Pages (Microsoft Word) and Keynote (Microsoft Powerpoint) makes it very easy to update and convert the presentations on the iPad. All the previous Word and Powerpoint documents can be uploaded to Dropbox and accessed via the iPad.

- Book Creator is one of the apps that is very easy to use, and it has a myriad of applications in the classroom. It can be learned in 5 minutes. Sound, videos and images can be uploaded as well, and it is very easy to upload it to iBooks.

- SHOWBIE is a great way to share and receive files from students. It has unlimited storage and unlimited class size. It is also free.

- iPad as simulator: There are many ways that the iPad can be used as simulator in the science fields. It can take the students into the human body as well as into space. One microscope that's connected can be shown on all iPad devices in the classroom. The Globilab was demonstrated as a wireless data collection device that makes K-12 science experiments mobile and immediately available.

- Special needs children: Settings were demonstrated to lock the device into a specific app, especially when working with autistic children that gets distracted easily.

- Augmented Reality is a great new way to make old boring posters and learning material coming alive in the classroom. Aurasma was demonstrated as one of the apps to use.

A dinosaurus coming alive on the screen via AR
As always I got very excited when I saw all the endless possibilities and creative uses of the iPad in the classroom. I wish I had an education like this, and I wish my children will be able to have access to this technology!

Related posts:

- Book Creator great for learning and fun 

- Choosing iPads for your school - Fraser Speirs

- Ipads in Education - I want to be a teacher now #iPadSamG

Sunday, 2 February 2014

She's got all the answers

These are some of the examples of the daily discussions in our house.
The 5-year old knows everything!

Little Missy: No, we don't have to do this page for the maths exercises!
Yes, this page is marked for homework.
No, the teacher said we should wait until class! (ON MELTDOWN LEVEL!)

When is the party?
In three sleeps time.
No, only two sleeps
No, it is three sleeps. Today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.
No, only two sleeps. OKAY, MOM, OKAY!

Mom, how old is the boy?
He is 5!
No, he is 6.
He is 5!
HE IS 6!

Little Missy: This must be right!
No, it's not!
The teacher doesn't care!
Of course the teacher cares!

While watching a movie:
Little Missy: They are busy shooting up the moon! Why?
No, they are shooting the spaceship.
No Mom, they are shooting holes in the moon,
The spaceship is in front of the moon. They are shooting at the spaceship.
No, why are they shooting holes in the moon?

Little Missy counts to 50, but skips the 40s.
You skipped the 40s.
Little Missy: My teacher learns us to skip one.
You can't skip one.
Yes, we can!

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