Monday, 31 August 2015

Glorious Summer

It seems we are skipping Spring this year, and jumping straight into summer! 

We've had high twenty degree temperatures for the past few weeks!

(There's not much else we can boast about here on the south point of Africa... 
Suffering from a bit of Monday bleh...)

We had a great weekend of outside braais (barbecues) and family and friends! 

After we finally got Little Miss to finish her weekly CMaths homework, we could still squeeze in an afternoon ride in the park. That was a perfect ending to a great weekend!

What did you do this past weekend!

Friday, 28 August 2015

Bullying: We are stronger than we think!


I was alerted to Elsa’s website, Stronger than you think, by Lynette (A work in Progress) who is her sister. Elsa’s daughter disappeared with a friend, and was only found 4 days later. (This is of course great news!)
All because of bullying at school!

They knew that her daughter was unhappy and that she was bullied, but they were hoping to sort it out with the school. This did not have a satisfactory result.

Elsa has learnt a couple of lessons along the way. I am also worried about the girl politics at school and the fact that little girls can be so mean to each other! We get feedback on a daily basis about the ugly things the little girls say to each other! It makes Little Miss very unhappy!

Elsa wrote me the following, and she agreed that I can share it on my blog:

“Since I started making noises about the prevalence of bullying and what I perceive to be the inability or unwillingness of the school staff to deal with it, I have had a lot of responses from all over the world... it is quite overwhelming.

I am hoping that the website I am setting up will be a place where people can find encouragement, support and maybe some help/advice for dealing with their own situations. 

Three of my four children have had to deal with bullies. My son has been the only one subjected to physical bullying. We spent quite a bit of time on phone calls to and meeting with the principal and teachers. Unfortunately there was very little done about it, but we most certainly made a lot of noise. My son is no longer being bullied. Not because they stopped being bullies but because he started Muay Thai which has given him the confidence to stand up for himself.

Both my daughters were subjected to verbal bullying directly and through the spreading of rumours as well as cyber bullying. My eldest dealt with it by facing up to them, but my youngest is a marshmallow who could not deal with it at all - she became so paranoid that she no longer felt safe at home, even. She ran away with a friend and was missing for 4 days. It was hell. Since her return we have moved her to a private school and she is also seeing a counsellor. We are hopeful that she will be able to deal with any new problems in the future. 

I am sorry to hear that your daughter already has to deal with other mean kids. I unfortunately don't have any fool proof answers as to how to stop it. Emma (my youngest) was teased and insulted daily when she was that age. It broke my heart. Unfortunately the only thing I could do was to counsel her not to resort to the same bad behaviour, to avoid the nasty girls as much as she could and to tell the teacher when she felt she couldn't cope with it. My husband and I raised the matter with the school several times and insisted that something be done about it, with no noticeable results. Eventually they found someone else to pick on and left her alone. There is no feeling of victory in that, is there?

As a parent, you have the right to insist that the adults where your child is attending keep her safe. You may be able to reach out to the parents of the children involved - hopefully they will be receptive. Quite often they are not, but it is worth a try. You can also look into your legal rights and whether you can involve the police.

I thought I would mention to you what a friend of mine's gorgeous child is doing, because I think it is a brilliant idea.  She started a colouring-in club at her school (she is 9). This provides a place for children who do not feel safe during break times to get together and participate in activities. She started the club about a month ago and now has 21 children who regularly participate. Her mother, I and a few other people are providing the supplies. It is inexpensive and effective. So at least for now those little ones are safe from their tormentors.”

Thanks Elsa!

I was just reminded again that we can’t ignore these things or tell our children to ignore it!
We have to act and to help them to handle the bullies! I love the idea of a colouring club!

Elsa is based in Australia, but the problem of bullying is a worldwide one!
You can help Elsa by sending details of where to get help in your own country:
elsa @ stronger than you think .me
Elsa's website is also going live next Tuesday, and it will be worth checking out more stories, including an interview with Kitty who started the colouring club at her school.

Related post: 

iSchool giving Young SA a Voice to speak out against gender based violence #endGBV

Thursday, 27 August 2015

The yin and the yang of a Thursday

Today is Thursday!

Not yet Friday, the most glorious day of the week!

Today started out with a glorious sun!

But it was cloudy...

It was very pleasant inside our air-conditioned offices

But it was extremely hot while running in the afternoon sun back to my car when I discovered my phone was not with me...

I found my phone still on my desk back at work! (Thank you!!!)

I should do backups more often... (Then I would have been worried a little bit less!)

I like my phone and everything I do with my phone

I am too dependent on my phone!

I was really looking forward to a seminar at the University of Johannesburg!

I missed it because of the phone...

I posted a yin and yang post on my blog!

I was not in the mood to post any of the pressing issues in my email...

The Student is coming home for the weekend today!

I worry about her getting back here in the traffic...

It's pay day!

I have paid most of my obligations already! (All gone!)

We can do a pay day eat out tonight!

We can't go overboard as September is also a very long month with lots of birthdays...

What is the yin and yang about your day today?

Monday, 24 August 2015

Disney Descendants - new Anti-Heroes who become Heroes! - starts in September

The new Disney Descendants movie will premiere on Friday, September 18 at 17:00 CAT on Disney Channel (DStv Channel 303)

We were fortunate enough to attend the Premiere on Saturday and it did not disappoint. I was a bit apprehensive (not much) about taking Little Miss along as she is only 6, and was afraid that the theme would be over her head, or that it would be too dark!

Luckily Disney always takes the whole family (from toddlers to kids to tweens to the parents) into consideration with their story-lines and Little Miss enjoyed it as much as her Mom did! I even had to wipe away a few tears! (But that's just me!)
The whole family will enjoy this!

The characters are believable and funny and witty and charming! Their coming-of-age life encounters as well as living up to their parental as well as peer expectations are extremely well done!
I can see that Little Miss is already hooked on the character of Mal, Maleficent's daughter, who makes the choice for good (as with the rest of them) in the movie!

A photo posted by Karen Du Toit (@karentoittoit) on

"Bad Apples" 

Smoke fun! 
At Ill Grande at Montecasino
The food was divine!

(Spot the Bloggers ;-) )

The story:
The story, set in the idyllic kingdom of Auradon, playfully presents the unexpected possibilities of what happens after the "happily ever after."  As it unfolds, Ben, the benevolent teenage son of the King and Queen (Beast and Belle from "Beauty and the Beast"), is poised to take the throne. His first proclamation is to offer a chance at redemption to Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay, the trouble-making offspring of Maleficent, the Evil Queen, Cruella de Vil and Jafar, who have all been sequestered on the forbidden Isle of the Lost for 20 years. These villainous descendants are allowed into Auradon for the first time to attend prep school alongside the teenage progeny of Fairy Godmother, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Mulan. Only time will tell if these evil teens follow in the footsteps of their wicked parents.
                                                                            Info: Disney

Related post:

Win - Premiere tickets to Disney Descendants, a Disney Channel Original Movie

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Jo Bean Coffee and Waffle House - another great spot for a coffee fix!


I always judge a coffee shop on it's cappuccinos!
Jo Bean Coffee and Waffle House, in an unassuming spot on Beyers Naude Drive, makes a great one!

Jo Bean Coffee

I love the interior in a New York style setting! 

Great waffles!

Little Miss with her clown hair and nose...
We will be back, especially since their menu does not break the budget!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

iSchool giving Young SA a Voice to speak out against gender based violence #endGBV

iSchool partnering with UNICEF 

The iSchool Press Team is an ongoing programme that aims to give YOUNG SA A VOICE.
The iSchool Press Team train, mentor and support media clubs in schools across South Africa - with approximately 200 active young teen journalists.   The youth gets a platform to share their opinions on issues close to their heart.

iSchool Press Team partnered with UNICEF on an inspiring campaign to have the youth of South Africa speak out to end violence against children.

Students are challenged to create a two minute video on one (or all) of the following topics:
(The winner in each topic will win an iPad Mini 16GB.)

 -  I can change gender based violence by…
-  This is my story and why I want to tell it
 -  Let’s speak out against gender based violence
                                                        - Campaign info

Each school will receive information packs, resources and support throughout the campaign to create powerful, impactful videos.  Teams will also be invited to a workshop hosted by award winning director, Ingrid Martens (Africa Shafted: Under one roof).

One of the videos submitted

Website: iSchool Press Team & UNICEF
Facebook: iSchoolAfrica
Twitter: iSPT

Check out the hashtag #endGBV to see more of the submissions.
The call to action videos are also available here:

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Featured blog for August: Just Ella Bella

The Featured blog for August is Ella from Just Ella Bella.

This is what she has to say about my questions, which gives an insight into this Mommy's life!

She knows about the loss of a child! But she also is the Mom of a cute toddler!
She has great recipesDIY ideas and style tips!

5 Questions to the Featured Blogger

- What was the best thing that happened to you in your life

Bringing my son home... I know it sounds weird, not pregnancy, not birth, but coming home. Watching my son hooked up to machines I had to fight back the thought of not bringing him home and the day the doctor discharged him a week after his birth I remember feeling like I couldn't breath, I was so happy I couldn't even think straight.

- What is the worst thing that happened to you?

Not bringing my son home... My first son never got to come home, he died two days after his birth and the only time he spent in this house was for his funeral

- What is the funniest thing that happened to you?

Shoo I can't think of anything maybe the time I was mistaken for my own PA at an event...signing up as me they were all, oh you must be Eleanor's assistant , "uhm no, not so much" (I think it's because I look young for my age)

- What is your best me-time activity?

CRAFTING, I love making stuff, seriously seriously

- What music starts playing on your phone when pressing the play button?

"come inside it's fun inside" Mickey mouse club house because I'm toddler whipped, hehe

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Win - Premiere tickets to Disney Descendants, a Disney Channel Original Movie

The teenage kids of Disney's villains are coming to the big screen in September 2015!

Disney’s Descendants is a contemporary live-action adventure comedy that introduces the teenage progeny of Disney’s iconic characters – most notably its evil villains.

Disney’s iconic characters are living out their happy endings in Auradon, a present day idyllic kingdom.  All defeated villains have been exiled to the Isle of the Lost, a remote island where they must spend their remaining days isolated from Auradon’s modern-day luxuries.  Time passes, and the teenage son of King Beast and Queen Belle is poised to take the throne.  His first proclamation: offer a chance at redemption to the trouble-making descendants of the villains stuck on the Isle of the Lost.  The teenaged kids of Maleficent, the Evil Queen, Jafar and Cruella de Vil are allowed into the kingdom to attend prep school alongside the teenage progeny of iconic Disney heroes.  The villainous parents see this as an opportunity to use their children to carry out an evil plan that will finally free. 
Three readers of this blog will be able to win tickets (1 ticket allows 4 people entry) to the premiere at IL Grande at the Movies at Montecasino in Fourways on 22 August 2015 at 10 am.

Please leave a comment on this blog about why you would like to attend?
For more info: Disney

The three winners will be drawn on Monday 17 August 2015 morning at 9 am.
(The winners must be able to get to the venue on their own accounts.)

Dove Cameron stars as Mal, teenage daughter of Maleficent

Booboo Stewart as Jay

Mitchell Hope as Prince Ben and Mal

Here's a short glimpse of what to expect:


Please send me your email addresses?

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

The legacy I want my daughters to make their own #BeautyLegacy

The most recent Dove Beauty Legacy campaign made me think again about the legacy I want my daughters to have! Now, at this very moment!

I want them to know they are beautiful!

When you are young, you are always looking at the flaws and the shortcomings in the mirror.
You are always  trying to get thinner and fitter and working off the big bum.
Always feeling that you are not the optimal version of the version you think you should be!

Now I know how much time I have spend on these time-wasting thoughts and activities.
I like myself so much more now that I am older. When I think about my younger self I know that I was beautiful already, and I should have spend my time on LIVING!
I am definitely not a more beautiful version of my younger self, but I am happy with who I am now!
I like my big bum because I can SIT on it!  (Thank you Wise Age!)

[For health reasons I need to get rid of a few kilograms, but it won't stop me from fretting about how I look and have an impact on what I am doing!]

I look at all the young girls that is the same age of my two daughters.
They are all beautiful!

I want them to know that, and I want them to live that!
To have the confidence to march out with gusto into Life and know that they are beautiful at that very moment in time!

In the spirit of Women's Day and Month in South Africa!

To my two daughters:
You are strong!
You are beautiful!
You can do whatever you set your mind out to do!
You are the best version of yourself right now!

Do not wait for a photograph years later to say to yourself that you were beautiful all long!
Don't let anybody else tell you something different! Because it will not be true!

I am telling you the truth now!
You are beautiful!

Disclaimer: I got the Dove "BeautyLegacy drop.
                  Follow the #BeautyLegacy hashtag to watch the beautiful video and message that goes with it!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

A weekend in the Northern Free State #thingsyoudoforyourchildren

The things you do for your children...

We went "camping" with the Voortrekkers (something similar than girl scouts/boy scouts) at Doornkloof in the Northern Free State.

It was cold and dusty, without cellphone reception!

Little Miss loved it!
And that's all that counts!

Little Miss had a seat in the upper deck of the bus,
which was a real treat going there!

Our "Chalet" for the weekend
(It was much better than a tent, thank our lucky stars!)
Doornkloof is a place of history!
Grave of Sarel Cilliers, whose farm this was

One of the sessions with the Grade 1 Voortrekkers
First Aid lessons - not a real wound
The Grade 1 girls ready  for a night of discovery on the farm
A ride on a tractor
Exploring the indigenous people's housing
Such a beautiful place, even with the dry winter landscape.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Would you tell the mom if their kid steals?

The hockey season has just started at school, and Little Miss had her first official hockey lesson yesterday. We had to go and buy the mouth guard as well, as they are not allowed to play if they don't have one.

When I went to fetch her yesterday, she told me that her mouth guard was missing when she had to get dressed for her hockey practice. She saw that a friend of hers was running around with one that looks exactly the same as hers. She told her different stories about where she got it from. Since she don't have hockey, it is strange that she had the same one yesterday.

I asked the friend about where she got it. She first told me it was from Pick 'n Pay. I then asked if I could phone her mother. She then said now she got it from her father. (They are divorced) I then said could I phone the father. She then changed the story that it comes from her aunt (or lady that is married to the father). I had to leave it at that...

I went and bought another mouth guard as it is already ruined. It is one of those mouth guards you have to heat up and fit exactly to the teeth.

My question is: Do I phone the mother to tell her about a potential issue? It seems the girl is already using the divorce to scapegoat between the two parents. I am sure she told the mother she got it from the father.
Or do I just leave it? (If I am the parent, I would like to know.)

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Girl politics and how to teach them not be bullies!

Girl politics are a nightmare!

This is a second time I am going through the highs and lows of friendships with a little girl.
There are more politics in these friendships than the politics of South Africa! (What it sometimes feels like!) To Little Miss of course, but also to us while we have to listen to all the sad stories each day! I'm sure it is more complex and exhausting than the stuff we hear on the news every day.

I hear about the best friend who do not want to play with her! And then sometimes only at certain times. Then Little Miss is all alone during recess at school, and she doesn't have any friends. Then another girl wants to play with Little Miss, but Little Miss does not want to play with her...

The politics are all about including and excluding!
They are all reverting to this bully behaviour! Little Miss included!

We do not see a lonely girl when we fetch her at school. She is always busy playing with someone! The Teacher has also thrown an eye, and she also doesn't see the "outcast" as she complains she is!

We had a Parent evening last week, and I discussed the friends' issue with the Teacher. Little Miss was there. The Teacher suggested that she plays with a little girl in the class who also complains about being alone. The response was: "But I don't like her! I don't want to play with her!"
(Me: *Throws hands in air with eyes rolling!*)

That made me realise that we have work to do with Little Miss.
We have to teach and preach her to be a good friend. She cannot continue telling girls that she does not want to play with them. If she does not follow this rule, she can't expect other girls to play with her!

I remember that I used to make bed time prayers with the eldest about trying to be a good friend every day! In the end it did pay off!

I hope it works again!
(Because no two girls are the same!)

How are you handling the girl politics?

Related post:

- Girl friends

Monday, 3 August 2015

Disney movies to look forward to

I had the privilege to attend the Disney Showcase of 2015/16.
It is an overload of new and exciting entertainment offerings that I can't wait to see, and also can't wait to share most of it with Little Miss!

Disney movies to bookmark in the upcoming year:

1. Ant-Man (Marvel) - 31 July 2015

The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s new action-packed adventure brings us master thief Scott Lang as the present-day Ant-Man. After being armed by Dr. Hank Pym with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, Lang must embrace his inner hero and help Pym protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.
Ant-Man has already started at the Movie Theaters. Unfortunately it's got a 10 LV restriction

2. Shucks! pay back the money! - 28 August 2015

Our local "Hero" is at it again!

"After losing rugby’s holy grail, the Currie Cup, Schuks (Leon Schuster) sets off on a hilarious journey to pay for what he has done. In lieu of a R1 million fine, the Sports Minister (Desmond Dube) offers Schuks a lifeline to create a documentary film that shows South Africa in a positive light."

3. Star Wars the Force Awakens - 18 December 2015

I am sure many people are looking forward to this one!
Me toooo!

Even Little Miss is up to date with the Star Wars movies...
Unfortunately the information is very little at this stage!!

Star Wars The Force Awakens

4. The Good Dinosaur (Disney Pixar) - 1 January 2016

"The Good Dinosaur" asks the question: What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct?  Pixar Animation Studios takes you on an epic journey into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo (voice of Raymond Ochoa) makes an unlikely human friend. While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of."

5.  The Finest Hours (Disney) - 5 February 2016

Captain Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) to the rescue
"A heroic action-thriller, “The Finest Hours” is based on the extraordinary true story of the greatest small boat rescue in Coast Guard history. Presented in Digital 3D™ and IMAX® 3D, the film transports audiences to the heart of the action, creating a fully-immersive cinematic experience on an epic scale. 
On February 18, 1952, a massive nor’easter struck New England, pummeling towns along the Eastern seaboard and wreaking havoc on anything caught in its destructive path, including two 500-foot oil tankers. The SS Pendleton and SS Fort Mercer, bound for Boston, Massachusetts and Portland, Maine, respectively, were both ripped in half, trapping their crews inside. For the senior officer aboard the stern of the Pendleton, first assistant engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck), he quickly realizes that it is up to him to take charge of the frightened crew and encourage them to work together to keep the ship afloat for as long as possible."

6.  Zootropolis (Disney) - 4 March 2016

Imagine a city where no human exists...

Children (of all ages) are definitely going to love this animation.

"The modern mammal metropolis of Zootropolis is a city like no other. Comprised of habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it’s a melting pot where animals from every environment live together—a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything. But when optimistic Officer Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin) arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman), to solve the mystery."

7. The Jungle Book (Disney) - 4 March 2016 

"Directed by Jon Favreau (“Chef,” “Iron Man,” “Elf”), based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, “The Jungle Book” is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley), and the free-spirited bear Baloo (voice of Bill Murray)."

8. Captain America Civil War (Marvel) - 29 April 2016 

"Marvel Studios has commenced principal photography at Pinewood Studios in Atlanta, Georgia on “Captain America: Civil War,” the third installment of its Super Hero franchise. The production will shoot on location in Atlanta, Georgia, which serves as the base for the film’s production, as well as locations in Germany, Puerto Rico and Iceland.
“Captain America: Civil War” picks up where “Avengers: Age of Ultron” left off, as Steve Rogers leads the new team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. After another international incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability and a governing body to determine when to enlist the services of the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers while they try to protect the world from a new and nefarious villain."

9. Alice through the Looking Glass (Disney) - 27 May 2016 

Filmmakers Return to Beloved Stories of Lewis Carroll for all-new Adventures to Underland and Beyond!

10. Finding Dory (Disney Pixar) - 17 June 2016

I think we are all excited about this one as well!!

When Dory said “just keep swimming” in 2003’s Oscar®-winning film “Finding Nemo,” she could not have imagined what was in store for her (not that she could remember). Ellen DeGeneres, voice of the friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish, revealed details today about Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory”—an all-new big-screen adventure diving into theaters on June. 17, 2016. “I have waited for this day for a long, long, long, long, long, long time,” said DeGeneres. “I’m not mad it took this long. I know the people at Pixar were busy creating ‘Toy Story 16.’ But the time they took was worth it. The script is fantastic. And it has everything I loved about the first one: It’s got a lot of heart, it’s really funny, and the best part is—it’s got a lot more Dory.” 
Director and Pixar veteran Andrew Stanton takes audiences back to the extraordinary underwater world created in the original film. “There is no Dory without Ellen,” said Stanton. “She won the hearts of moviegoers all over the world—not to mention our team here at Pixar. One thing we couldn’t stop thinking about was why she was all alone in the ocean on the day she met Marlin. In ‘Finding Dory,’ she will be reunited with her loved ones, learning a few things about the meaning of family along the way.” 

Which one are you looking forward to the most?

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