Thursday, 28 July 2016

Inspiring: Lauren de Swardt of Kids Emporium

Kids Emporium, pregnancy, parenting, style
Lauren de Swardt of Kids Emporium
I always love hearing stories of success and entrepreneurial spirit. Of course it is even greater when it is a woman who started her nationwide Kids Emporium when she was only 22.  This was 13 years ago. Kids Emporium has also launched their online store this year, as well as opened up an international store in Surrey in the UK.

Emoyeni Estate
I was invited to a bloggers’ breakfast in the beginning of July at the lovely Emoyeni Estate, and was struck by this quote:
“Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers and the believers and thinkers but most of all surround yourself with those who see greatness within you” – Kids Emporium

This is exactly what Lauren de Swardt has has done with her business. She was looking for the best in products when she was pregnant, and to cater for the little ones when they got older. She has sourced the best products, brands and people through the years to make Kids Emporium the sought-after go-to place for pregnant women and parents.

Kids Emporium combines the practical for easier parenting, but also includes the “style” factor being pregnant and raising children.

Lauren de Swardt
The Kids Emporium website makes me wish for a do-over! (Not really! ;-) There is enough pregnant moms I can spoil, and one day in the distant future I will become a grandmother! (Not soon, though!)
In the meantime the maternity wear, the childrenswear, the travel systems, furniture, décor, toys and gifts are drool-worthy!

I love that Lauren has a reconstructed family of four which she manages to juggle with being a successful business woman as well!
Inspirational! She makes it look easy!

Thanks Lauren and Kids Emporium!
It was a treat!

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Xander Apps in 6 South African mother tongue languages

Xander apps

We have been downloading Xander apps for a while now. It's the only apps I kept on my iPhone after we downloaded most of Little Miss' apps on an iPad. We love the fact that it's in Afrikaans, our mother-tongue language.

The apps are available in 6 South African languages: Afrikaans, English, Xhosa, Zulu, Tswana and Swahili.
Every now and again the apps go for free. On Mandela day this Monday they were again for free. They are available on iTunes as well as the Google Play Store, and most of the times for free or for a very reasonable price.
Xander apps have been created to meet the school curriculum requirements and to prepare children for school in their own language.
Learning themes include ABC, 123, Wardrobe, Shapes & Colours, Animals, Fruit & Vegetables and Symmetry; while also creating opportunities for children to practice skills including fine-motor skills, sorting, matching, rhyming, literacy, numeracy, pattern recognition and problem solving.
It is well worth downloading it!

Xander featured MomAgain@40 on their blog today: Xander Mom: Karen du Toit 

Have you downloaded any of the Xander apps yet, and what are your thoughts on it?

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

5 Reasons why school holidays are the best even though we did not go away!


We have three weeks of school holidays during winter in South Africa!
It was back-to-school yesterday already, and we are back to reality!

Although we did not go away this year, it felt like a break for us as well!
We continued working and Little Miss had to go to Holiday School, but it was a break from the daily rat race!

Five reasons why school holidays give everybody a break

1. The traffic is tolerable and we get a break with regards the volume of the traffic and the time we need to get out of the house! Especially in winter where it is still dark at 6 am.
This alone gets all the marks for school holidays! My daily commute is a lot less stressful and shorter!

2. We can sleep in for a bit longer! I had 30 minutes more in bed each morning, and Little Miss could also get at least an hour more!

3. We don't have to rush home to do homework, and we can be more relaxed with bed-times.

4. We don't have to rush from one extra-mural activity to another!

5. At work it is also a more relaxed as many people are on holiday, and we have to give them time to get back in the office again. My calender was not as full as always!

I can have more of these, and you?
How was the holidays?

Friday, 15 July 2016

So Mom fails the number patterns in Grade 2 Maths

Number patterns
Little Miss had a fantastic report for the previous semester! She is doing very well!
There was just one score that was glaringly obvious! The number patterns did not get a great score!

And guess whose fault is that? I thought it was super easy, we did not have to check it at home. She does her homework already at aftercare, and we just have to follow up at night...

She even has a numbers card which I thought was so glaringly obvious that we don't need to look at while going through the numbers... (No, says a Grade 2 Teacher! She still needs to look at it!)

So I failed dismally!

I was again reminded that ALL homework are important, and I can't skip the "easy" ones!

Sorry, Little Miss!
We will be doing a lot more of this for next semester!

Do you know of any great educational sites where I can download some of the number pattern sheets?

Monday, 11 July 2016

Ice Age: Collision Course - the Crazy the kids will love

Ice Age

Ice Age Collision Course is the fifth instalment in the series. Can they dream up any more crazy? Yes, they do! Luckily we love animated movies just as much as Little Miss.

The plot is crazy!
While trying to bury his acorn, Scrat accidentally activates an abandoned alien ship that takes him into deep space, where he unwillingly sends several asteroids en route of collision with Earth. Meanwhile, Manny is worried about the imminent marriage between Peaches and her fiancé, Julian, while Sid is dumped by his girlfriend, Francine, just as he is about to propose to her. During Manny and Ellie's wedding anniversary party, some of the asteroids strike the place and the Herd barely escape with their lives. Meanwhile at the underground, Buck fights a trio of Dromaeosaurs to return a dinosaur egg to its mother and later discovers an ancient stone monument, which he takes to the surface, where he meets Manny and the others...
Read more: Wikipedia: Ice Age: Collision Course
All the enjoyable characters are back from Ice Age Continental Drift (2012), including Sid, a ground sloth and his "Aunty Acid" granny!

There were some activations at Imax cinemas at a number of Ster Kinekor cinemas this past weekend. We only found the Ice sculpture, face painting and colouring stations after the movie at The Zone in Rosebank... (It was not on the same level.)

Little Miss had a ball!

Leopard face 

Ice sculpture 

Ice Age Collision Course is well worth the movies!

Disclaimer: We got tickets to attend the movie!

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Dora's Pirate Adventure - an interactive magical musical stage show

Dora the Explorer, Dora, Nickelodeon, #theblubloodway, #DoraLiveSA
Dora's Pirate Adventure at Emperor's Palace
Dora the Explorer Live! It's a great experience for all children who can't get enough from Dora on Nickelodeon. We thought that Little Miss would be bored with it, but not at all! She even declared that it was her "best day" after the show. She arrived in a foul mood because she fell asleep in the hectic afternoon traffic to the South, and it was not a good day at school!
But Dora changed it for her!


Dora’s Pirate Adventure has already been to Durban. It is now on at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg from 7-12 July, and they are opening up more shows on Monday! They are finally dropping anchor at the Grand Arena, Grand West Casino, in Cape Town from 15-17 July.

Dora and her pals Boots and Diego are on a voyage of discovery as they embark on an exciting trip to Treasure Island in search of the ultimate pirate party. It's a very interactive show asking the children to help them to navigate over the Dancing Mountain and through the Silly Singing Bridge in pursuit of the Pirate Piggies. The kids enjoy waving their flags and singing and dancing along. My fun came from watching the children being mesmerised! Dora the Explorer fans use their map-reading, counting, musical and language skills to help Dora reach Treasure Island and avoid that pesky fox, Swiper!

We attended Thursday night's show at Emperor's Palace.

Dora, Miss Earth
Miss Earth finalists
Nick Jr.
Nick Jr. cupcakes
Dora the Explorer
The kids love a hug from Dora
Bubbles at the end of Dora's Pirate Adventure
It's a great outing for the family during the holidays!

For more information: Nickelodeon Africa 
Twitter @NickAfrica
Instagram @Nickelodeon_Africa
Facebook at Nickelodeon

Disclaimer: We got tickets to attend the show.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Daughter, wishing you only the best on your birthday

Birthday girl
Dearest Daughter

It is such a great journey to have lived with you for 23 years now! I wish you the best on this day and into your future!

I am so proud of you for finally getting that last subject (and getting those marks!), and that you are enjoying your new life as a working adult! (I can't call you The Student anymore, although you have already signed up for an online course...) Although still under "probation" at work, but I am sure it won't be a draw-back! Most probably helping you along the way!

You are the reason I don't get despondent about parenting that much! ;-) I raised you as the perfect example of what we want our kids to become! Self-sufficient, able, happy, life-affirming go-getters in life!
If I did it right once, surely we can do it right this time?
But I do realize it's more about you and the person you are, and not about our parenting successes or failures!

Littler Miss was very excited about your birthday! She could not wait to give you the earrings she made for you from the Kids Emporium breakfast stash. (See photo above) She also insisted to buy you toothpaste, because she does not want to share her toothpaste with us.
That's why you got your present with the toothpaste! (We cannot dream up these things, even if we tried... ;-0)

You are very special to us and Little Miss! She was a bit sad that we can't go with you tonight when you see your friends, but the restaurant outing last night made up for it!

Enjoy your day!
Love you!

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Maboneng is an experience

Johannesburg, markets, Joburg
Market on Main
We have always heard about Maboneng, Market on Main and Arts on Main.
We decided on Sunday to drive through for lunch and a bit of browsing.
It is a cultural experience of sounds, tastes and visual bombardments.

It is worth going, and it seems lots of people are doing the same on a Sunday.

It was packed!

We followed Waze to Fox Street, but there was no parking available and we had to park around the corner. Parking In Johannesburg city is still an issue to me, and I was glad my car was still there when we got back... (The only negative of this experience!)

Photobombed by Little Miss

Arts on Main - Photography exhibition

Arts on Main
Arts on Main, arts, photography,
#iwasshot - a cool idea at Arts on Main
Little Miss was sketched by Mwanawasa, an art student
And finally the coffee!!

Did we miss something?

Monday, 4 July 2016

The Red Fish Project - about living abroad as a rite of passage

Andrew Gillmore
The Red Fish Project, Andrew Gillmore
I love this book! It's an honest account of living abroad, but it is also advocating that life is much richer and more rewarding when taking the plunge to explore out of your own comfort zones!

This quote from the book sums it up: "Living abroad should be a rite of passage. It’s so invaluable that there’s no reason to not do it for at least a while. And it’s not enough to just visit another place. You need to live there. And to take it one step further, you need to become a part of that country."

Andrew Gillmore makes me feel that after reading this book I need a do-over in life! Maybe we can still take that plunge?

Read the Amazon Review: Living abroad should be a rite of passage! Im  convinced!

I got this book (for a honest review) also through Carol-Leigh (CupcakeMummy) at Charlie Foxtrot, but it seems the review option has ended! (?)

Sunday, 3 July 2016

"How whoopsey-splunkers!" - The Big Friendly Giant is a delight to young and old

The BFG, Roald Dahl, movie,

The Big Friendly Giant Movie started to show in movies on 1 July. It 's the perfect movie for families to enjoy together. It is the first ever Disney movie directed by Steven Spielberg.

I have been an avid reader and collector of Roald Dahl's books ever since I became aware of his wonderful humour and wit!

Who else can come up with conversations like this?

'Words,' he [The BFG] said, 'is oh such a twitch-tickling problem to me all my life. So you must simply try to be patient and stop squibbling. As I am telling you before, I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they always getting squiff-squiddled around.'
'That happens to everyone,' Sophie said.
'Not like it happens to me,' the BFG said. 'I is speaking the most terrible wigglish.'
'I think you speak beautifully,' Sophie said.
'You do?' cried the BFG, suddenly brightening. 'You really do?'
'Simply beautifully,' Sophie repeated.
'Well, that is the nicest present anybody is ever giving me in my whole life!' cried the BFG.

The BFG movie catches all of the the quirkiness and fantasy of the book!

The BFG movie - photo op
We had the privilege to attend the premiere of The BFG. It was in support of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust. They are setting up the children’s play areas within the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital, by means of stocking a library and mobile library for the use of the young patients, and their families visiting children undergoing treatment. The new hospital is scheduled to open in December 2016.

As part of this drive for the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital Trust they are requesting that you please bring a book or books (suitable for children, new or used, in good condition) to donate to this very worthy cause. You can place the book/s in the branded Book Bin at the cinema, and also at Mango Airlines check-in counters.

The BFG movie, The Big Friendly Giant, Mango Airlines, book, books, book drop
Book drop for The Nelson Mandela Hospital Trust

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