Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Too good to share, but I have to! - Cresta Family Room

Cresta Shopping Centre
The new Cresta Family Room facility is a place I want to keep to myself. But... It would be selfish, and Little Miss won't be needing it that much any more. (I wish there was such a facility when she was a baby and a toddler.)

The Cresta Family Room is the oasis all parents want and need while they are shopping. A safe free haven for 45 minutes available to all to go to when you need to.
- There will be a concierge looking after the facility to only let parents with children through.
You are able to: 
- Change the diaper
- Heat up food or a bottle
- Breastfeeding
- Playing
- Resting
- Family toilet (which won't be inaccessible because of workers or selfish adults using it!). This one we will also still make use of!
- Breathing space for the little ones (AND big ones!) This too!
- Cool "prize" to the little ones after a shopping trip!

I was invited to the launch of the Cresta Family Room, but that's not why I am sharing it here. I think it is my duty to notify all parents about something that should be in all shopping malls.
Cresta Family Room launch
Play area at Cresta Family Room

Virginia Bester, General Manager of Cresta Shopping Centre
Nikki Bush, the parenting expert, had a few good pointers (Commandments) when taking children to a shopping mall:

Nikki Bush about smart shopping as a parent
(OR: Parenting on the run)

1.    Avoid rush hour if possible.
2.    Make shopping an outing after nap time. Children need to have outings. Make shopping an outing!
3.    Please work around your children's routine.
4.    Be prepared like McGyver. Never take a hungry child shopping. Let child eat before taking him  to a restaurant.
5.    Keep refreshments on hand.
6.    Hunt in pairs - mum, partner, etc - to help with watching, carrying, distraction.
7.    Have a plan when shopping. Need to be strategic! Include children in planning. Get them to Memorize when 7 or 8. What shops did we visit? (Use their grey matter)
8.    Remember to take a break. Just be with family.
9.    Set rules/boundaries/scene before reaching the Shopping Centre - scenario planning as CEO of family. Predictability which gives security. Rewards that can dangle before kids. Go to pet shops, play area, toy store. Do not have to buy. Window shopping is fun! Need to learn to wait. Bubble gum machine also fine.
10.    Need to be the boss of the show! Parents feeling stressed, guilty but not building emotional intelligence. Use your tone of voice! Calm. Assertive. Lower your voice! Keep your sanity and keep it secure! Stranger danger - opportunity to teach children. Do not play hide and seek!

According to Nikki Bush it is entirely possible to have quality time with children while you are "a parent on the run".
She inspired me to look at my shopping experiences with Little Miss in a different light! It is not always easier when they are bigger, because they want to have a say! About every-thing!
(Or is just us?)

Check out the Family Room at the Food and Entertainment Court at Cresta. I hope the signage will be up, but it is into the same passage as the general toilets. (You will know when you find it!)

Friday, 27 January 2017

A locker is a lifesaver

Little Miss got a locker at her new school.

It has been huge fun each day to take necessities such as an umbrella and tissues to put in it. She did not have the opportunity at her previous school, as they only allowed older children to have lockers. We could really have used a locker the previous years, because the guitar and hockey stick always had to be dragged along...

It made me think about the positives of having your own locker:

- She has her own safe space in a new big environment.
- She has a place where she can put her own stamp on things. She has been taking photos and stickers to school to brighten the interior of the locker.
- She has a place to put all the extra stuff, such as sport equipment and an umbrella.
- She has a place where she can keep her heavy books, when necessary. (It seems not as pertinent this year, but in the years to come I am sure it will help a lot!) Their suitcases are already extremely heavy!
- It helps to have a locker at aftercare for backups in clothes, such as an extra jacket, or backup munchies.

I wish we had lockers when we were at school. I still have one shoulder that is hanging because of the heavy suitcases we had to carry.

What is your thoughts around having a locker at school, especially primary school?

Monday, 23 January 2017

Grateful for this blog!

blog, blogging, Blogger

On this Monday I am grateful for this blog.

I have been contemplating what to do about this specific blog and if I should continue blogging here. I was thinking that I reach another horrifying milestone in age (guess what?) this year, and that the blog title would not fit anymore. Little Miss is also older, and would not appreciate me sharing about her life so much!

At this stage I still love blogging, and I still love this little space on the Inter-webs.

I am grateful about the MomAgain@40 blog:

- I have a journal of our life with our family and the new addition who added so much more colour to our lives! I would have forgotten so many good times, experiences and anecdotes of Little Miss growing up if it were not for this space.

- I have met many great fellow bloggers and parenting bloggers who taught me so much on my own parenting journey. If I needed advice, it always came through on this blog.

- Little Miss had a few challenges at her first week at a new school. I got a call from a fellow Mom blogger who arranged a play date on Friday afternoon. Not only did Little Miss met a fellow school pupil at her new school whom she could play with at school, but I also have a fellow Mom to help me navigate the new school! Thank you, Louisa, it means so much to us!

- I get to attend some great events, such as Hoener met die Rooi Skoene Premiere, through this little blog.

- I get to test new apps and sometimes gadgets which I would not have known were it not for this blog.

- I still use Blogger, and it has been a most stable platform for years! I have not had any issues. It's also free! (FREE!)

- This blog has taught me so much (social media, technical), and has broaden my horizons and my connections!

For now I am thankful for this Blog! The title will still cover me for a few years to come. I am a mother who had her second child over the age of forty! I am an older mother! That won't change!
This year I will look at how I share about Little Miss, but this blog is still intrinsically about how she came to change our lives. And how parenting has changed globally, and has changed us!

Why are you still blogging?

Friday, 20 January 2017

Hoener met die rooi skoene Movie - It's schweet!

Hoener met die Rooi Skoene Premiere at Cedar Square
Hoener met die Rooi Skoene - Translation: Chicken with the Red Shoes🐔👠
(What a crazy movie title, but all is revealed, don't worry!) This new Afrikaans movie starts to show in cinemas on 27 January.

We had the pleasure of attending the premiere at Cedar Square last night! We had a great time eyeballing our local celebrities!

The movie is fun and witty with eccentric characters which makes it well worth the watch! Luckily it is not slapstick humour. We enjoyed the first James Bond scene, and wish there were more of it. The movie could have been a bit shorter, but what do I know? (It was a weekday night, and we were tired!) Lizz Meiring is a genius with the way she portrays a character. This is good escapism, and one of our better Afrikaans movies!
The movie had English subtitles and I hope it will be released like that?

It’s not a children’s movie or a fairytale; neither a drama, but a thriller-comedy from renowned director and producer, Koos Roets.

“It’s an unusual, funny and clever murder mystery filled with unexpected twists and turns. It will keep you on the edge of your seat whilst laughing uncontrollably,” says Lizz Meiring, who is seen in the role of Bonnie van der Byl.

Hoener Met Die Rooi Skoene is magical and original with a cast of unique characters, perfectly suited for the film setting – Klaarstroom, a gem hidden in the heart of the Klein Karoo.

Bonnie is a receptionist at the internationally acclaimed De Waal Theatre Group. Whilst chatting away on the phone, as per usual, her boss, the successful, but unpopular businessman and impresario, Du Toit de Waal (Deon Lotz), is murdered.

Bonnie discovers him on the office table behind her with a dagger in his back.  She phones the police and then goes closer to the body to inspect the situation.  And of course, she collapses, as she always does.  She is woken by the flashlight of Constable Mickey Mentz (André Weideman), only to discover that the body is nowhere to be seen.

The perfect setting for a “who did it?” murder mystery filled with unexpected moments of laughter, twists and turns, orchestrated by Bonnie, her parrot Napoleon and the irritable, flammable, moody inspector, Captain Hendrik Greyling (Louw Venter).

When all the characters and their dirty secrets are brought together for cross examination, weird and wonderful secrets are revealed.
The local Afrikaans film industry is on fire!

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

First week at a new school

Little Miss first week of school, at a new school, has been daunting. We are glad we made the move, and there is a definite positive effect on both Mom and Dad's traffic commutes!

The challenges:

- The new environment is difficult to navigate for a direction-ally challenged kid. (Mom as well!)
- It's not as easy as asking kids to play with them. They already have their friends and groups of their own. They just say "No!" (Heartbreaking)
- We sent a child to school on Monday with stomach-ache which we thought was spastic colon (nerves), but had to go fetch her earlier. It turns out it is bladder infection because she keeps it in (not wanting to go because of dodgy toilets). I even walked past a younger girl with her dad yesterday who just had an accident. She told her dad she was keeping it in until he came to fetch her. It was 4pm in the afternoon already! (Shame!)
- There was a melt-down in class. We got a call! (Horrors)
- The activities that Little Miss is interested in, is overlapping. What do we keep, and what do we change?
- There was a general athletics meeting where Little Miss got sun burnt for the first time, and her nose are peeling. She was also spending half her time searching for me, although I could only be there at 1pm.  (Bad Mom-moment - I should have explained better about being there later...)

The positives:

- Little Miss (and her parents) do not have to sit for hours in the car going and coming from school.
- Little Miss got a playmate during lunch-breaks yesterday, but she does not know the girl's name. (Thumbs crossed)
- Little Miss has been doing handstands with one of the new boys at after-care, and yesterday afternoon there was a new "friend" that she bonded with in class after they both felt sick on Monday.
- Little Miss does not have any issues going to the tuck shop at school. She knows all the new rules! (*sigh* Trying each day to get a few cents from Mom and Dad)
- Little Miss can't stop talking about her new school. She is enjoying most of it! (Big THUMBS UP!)
- Little Miss likes her new teacher.
- I was asked to buy a special file for her yesterday that she can keep in her bag for homework. She enjoyed sorting and marking it yesterday, and was excited to use it today. (The power of the right stationery!)
- BETTER COMMUTE! (Easier, faster, cheaper!)

The positives outweighs the negatives!
The challenges are not necessarily a bad thing, and we will work on it this year!

How's your back-to-school going?

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Yorkie boy update

Our Benji boy is still with us! We got this new addition to the family when he was 7 or 8 years, which means that he is now 14 or 15 years old. That's a lot in dog years!

But the vet thinks he still has many more years to go! (Much to Hubby's disappointment, because he can be a handful!) He is worse than a toddler which made me try to give him away five years back, but here he is! He still loves going on walks with us.

He is now also covered in moles, which makes the doggy parlour owner reluctant to cut his hair shorter. That does not help with his appearance at all! Yorkies can look scruffy very quickly, especially since the other dog "grooms" him, and Yorkie boy loves "vacuuming" the floor for scraps! And the food scraps get stuck in his beard...

Dogs walking their Humans
Last night we wanted to leave him at home when we went for our afternoon walk, but he was waiting at the gate as well. Because he is a boy, he marks every bush, tree and pole in the street! That slows us down quite a bit. We also have to pick him up when he gets tired. But for most we are very impressed with the way his short legs can still keep up with the pace!

The Vet reckon it is his bad teeth that infects his liver, and that's why we get the accidents in the house. (Large foul-smelling puddles!) The Vet proposes that we pull most of his teeth, and that could aid in clearing up the liver. 

It is going to cost me, but I am starting to save! Poor boy! 

What would you do? Spend the R3500 ($259.95)  on the vet's bill?

Donations are welcome! 
(hint-hint family?)

Thursday, 12 January 2017

What happened to the Cresta CSI initiative with the Disney plush toys and SOS Children's Villages?

The SOS Children's Village in Ennerdale received 874 Mickey and Minnie Mouse plush toys as part of Cresta's "Share in the Magic" festive season CSI initiative.
We attended the lighting of the Cresta Magical Christmas Tree for SOS Children's Villages in December. The public was invited to make donations to SOS Children's Villages. The Mickey and Minnie Plush toys that hanged on the Christmas Tree as decorations were intended to be handed over to the children of SOS Children's Villages.

I love good causes, and love it even more when I hear what happens to our donations!

Cresta Shopping Centre donated 874 Mickey and Minnie Mouse plush toys and an additional R21 796,00 to the SOS Children’s Village Gauteng at an event in Ennerdale on Tuesday 10 January. This marks the end to a successful public CSI drive to help a child “Share in the Magic” of the festive season.

“It was such a special and heartwarming experience to see the excited faces of the children as they received their Mickey and Minnie Mouse plush toys, personalized with special messages yesterday. This would not have been possible without support from our visitors and Disney Africa“, said Cresta Shopping Centre General Manager, Virginia Bester.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Back to a new school

Little Miss started in Grade 3 in a new school today. We have been contemplating the move for a couple of years. We drive past her new school each day, and it just did not make economic sense to continue driving through traffic and for longer hours each day for 5 more years.

It was a bit daunting for her, and she was worried about fitting in and finding new friends...
(Daunting for the parents as well, I must add!)

The parents were encouraged to come along with her, and we appreciated that we could accompany her until she was settled into her new class.

We picked her up earlier today as well from the aftercare as well, and she was her usual talkative self as well! It was a great day. She got lost a couple of times, but there's lots of great stories she told us.

The best! They warned the children not to leave their bags open as the chickens and peacocks scratches for food or lay their eggs in them! How awesome! To have chickens and peacocks and bunnies roaming around on the school yard!

O, and she told us repeatedly she did not have any homework. Until we discovered a couple of books that needed to be covered for tomorrow! The joys! NOT!

How was your first day back at school?

Monday, 9 January 2017

Rat Race 2017 - Here we go!

According to the Urban Dictionary:
Rat Race is a term used to describe a frustrating, hard-to-break financial lifestyle. It is a lifestyle that is lived by countless people, oblivious to the very nature of it, to a degree that even when called upon, vehemently deny it.
To summarize the Rat Race, It involves subjecting one's self to a time-consuming job, saddling one's self with heavy mortgages/rents, bills, children, and liabilities, forcing the individual to continue busting his or her ass at that same job. The illusion that working at the same job will be better bars off alternatives.

I have been back at work from last week already, but things are only kicking in this week. The schools starts on Wednesday. The school clothes are ready, the books and pencils are marked and Little Miss is getting excited for a new beginning at a new school!

I do not feel despondent on this Monday, but the rat race phenomenon makes me question the way we are living. From paycheck to paycheck...

Maybe I will find the answer in this earth-shattering (for me! ;-)) 50th year of my life? The older I get, the less answers I have! (sic! I know!)

Are you ready for the new year and the new school year?

Here we go!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

KIND - Word of the year

Kind. Kindness. 
This is going to be my focus of this year!

Kind to myself, but kind to everybody else as well!
Kind to the earth, animals and everything I touch!

I said last year already that the most important thing I want my children to be, is to be kind!
Kindness - what I want my kids to be!

I found this in my mail box today, and it fits perfectly for the new year!

Joy attracts more joy. Happiness attracts more happiness. Peace attracts more peace. Gratitude attracts more gratitude. Kindness attracts more kindness. Love attracts more love.
Your job is an inside one. To change your world, all you have to do is change the way you feel inside. How easy is that?"

Rhonda Byrne (The Secret)

I am not going to make New Year's resolutions this year! I am just going to do it!
The things we all know we should be doing...
- Live more healthily!
- Follow your purpose!
- Get rid of negativity!

What is your word of the year?

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