Products we love from 4AKid

#sponsored

We were given some products from Ally Cohen from 4AKid to review sometime last year. I never got a chance to put the review up on the blog, so here you go. Some of my favourites from their website.

Knee pads
I loved these little knee pads. With Harper crawling all over the show, these pads helped protect her knees from scrapes. They stretch to fit over her knees and are very comfortable. They’re not too tight and don’t leave those elastic marks on her legs. They also minimized the stains on her pants that I struggle to wash out. Definitely a win for us! Available in light grey, light pink, and more.

Toothbrush holder
Oh my gosh, do my boys love this little ladybug. Toothbrushes don’t lay all over the basin now and the holder is easy to attach to the wall with little suction pads underneath it. And they rush to the bathroom to catch a glimpse of this cute ladybug and show him how they brush their teeth.

Plush pacifier holder and dummy
I thought this product was a brilliant idea! I mean what better way to find a lost dummy than to just look for the little stuffed dog. However, for us, it just didn’t work out. Harper didn’t like the dummy that was attached to the dog and there was no way we could remove the dummy attached and add our own one. I would definitely consider using this if there maybe a velcro strip to attach your own dummy to the plushie. If your baby is not as fussy as mine, then this is a win. They have other designs in the collections as well. I think there’s a monkey and a teddy.

Magic tracks
Anything to do with cars and racetracks have my boys jumping up and down with excitement. With these magic tracks, you can bend, flex and curve the track magically in 360˚ however you want – even while the race car is zooming around. They’ve even worn the tracks as a crown lol.

 

I also have a few items from 4aKid on my wish list.

Blackboard sticker
I’d love this blackboard sticker for the boys’ rooms. Those old school blackboards on the stands can get in the way and I love that this sticker is easy to apply and can be cut to fit any size you wish. I could even stick it on my fridge to jot down my shopping list or little love messages for Mark.

Unicorn backpack
Man oh man what’s not to love about this baby bag backpack? Not only does it have unicorns on it, it’s a multi functioning, versatile bag. We’ve only had shoulder bags for the boys and as much as I loved those bags, with 3 kids now it’s a bit difficult to juggle them all as well as struggle with a bag falling off your shoulder. Definitely one on my list to get soon.

Responsibility Chart
The boys are going through a stage of not listening to me and creating a mess wherever they go. I’m hoping to get this responsibility chart and start tracking their behaviors. According to the product info on 4aKid’s website, “kids can open the dry-erase boards to reveal a behavior chart on one board, with the 90 magnets on the other, including illustrated responsibilities and behaviors (like Clean Room, Set Table, No Teasing) as well as smiling rewards (Well Done!, Excellent!, You’re a Winner!) also two blank magnets to personalize. The attached sturdy cord is ideal for hanging and the fabric hinges ensure that it will remain durable for many responsible years to come.”

Silicone Ice Lollies
My kids love ice lollies, suckers, bunnylicks, whatever you want to call them. I love these silicone ice lollies because you can add your own fruit juice, yoghurt, etc and freeze. This way, you know what’s going into these ice lollies and they’re mess free.

 

Bake Snake
I try to bake as often as I can. But I’ve only ever baked a round cake. With this little silicone gadget, I can connect the “snakes” into any shape, place it into a foil lined tray and add my batter. And voila! A heart shaped cake for Valentine’s Day? A number 5 cake for Ethan’s next birthday? Maybe even a star to tell the kids they’re my stars? The possibilities are endless!

Have you been onto 4aKid’s website yet? What have you purchased from them or what is on your wishlist? Tell me in the comment section below.

Father’s Day Gift Guide with Superbalist

#Sponsored

Mother’s Day was a week ago and I hope you all had a better day that I did. Not that it was bad but we were extremely busy with getting our house in order after the move and didn’t have much time to rest.

I know I always struggle to find gifts for the men in my life. (Why must it be so hard to find an affordable gift for my husband that he’ll actually like?) I’ve collaborated with Superbalist to put together a gift guide for Father’s Day.

Father’s Day is on 16 June and below is a great list of gifts for every type of dad. From laptop bags, to workout clothing to shoes for men. Have a look and let me know what you’re thinking of getting your dad or your husband (from the kids).

Gifts for the Office Dad


1. Messenger Bag – R399
2. Backpack Laptop Bag – R1,259
3. Happy Socks Gift Box – R499
4. Formal shoe – R1,699

Gifts for the Metro Dad


1. Lab Series The Grooming Oil 3 in 1 Shave & Beard Oil – R475
2. D&G Light Blue – R2,699
3. Frankees Trunks – R239

Gifts for the Workout Dad


1. Puma Training Sneakers – R1,599
2. Asics Drawcord Hoodie – R799
3. Adidas Sweatpants – R779
4. Reebok Long Tights – R419

Gifts for the Style Conscious Dad


1. Fossil Watch – R2,999
2. Tie Pin with Clear Detailed Cufflinks Set – R149
3. Style Republic Faux Leather Wallet – R209
4. Joy Collectables Tie – R79

Gifts for the Barista Dad


1. Typo Socks – R99
2. Sixth Floor Print – R169
3. 3 Cup Classic Espresso Moka Pot – R299

Gifts for Every Type of Dad


1. 13 inch Laptop Cover – R299
2. Star Wars Galaxy Socks – R99
3. Cable Pinches – R69
4. Beer Time Socks – R99


5. Metal Drink Bottle – R149
6. Anytime Mug – R48
7. Take Me Away Mug – R99

Disclaimer – Superbalist has paid me for this post, but all opinions are my own. 

Not a supermom

I often get asked how I do it. How do I juggle working full time, raising 3 kids, and still have time to blog? My answer is always that I’m not a supermom. I just do what needs to be done.

So here are my tips to juggling life with 3 kids.

      1. Routine – having a set routine is key. Our routine is the kids eat, then it’s bathtime, and then bedtime. Bedtime is at 8pm latest, even weekends.
      2. Bag packing – I pack all bags the night before. A change for clothing for Harper daily, then the lunches boxes get prepped with yoghurts and sandwiches being added first thing in the morning.
      3. Clothing – we ensure school clothes are set out the night before and Matthew packs his aftercare bag himself. He can do this because I’ve managed to pack his clothing in nice little sets so he can just reach in and get what he needs. Mark gets Ethan and Harper ready in the morning while I finish off the lunches and bag packing.
      4. Teamwork – Mark and I work together to make it work. One of us will either bath both kids while the other dresses them or we each do bath and dress of one child each. Matthew is old enough to wash and dress himself, we just check that he’s washed the essentials.https://www.instagram.com/p/BxK7lM8Jnib/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
      5. Meals – we only cook 1 meal for everyone to eat. If someone doesn’t like the food and doesn’t want to eat, they either go without or they get a peanut butter sandwich. There’s no time to cook 3 different meals each night.
      6. Screen time – Don’t be scared of putting the tv on and sitting them in front of it while you get a load of washing done.
      7. Play – my 3 are all 3 years apart, Matthew is 8, Ethan will be 5 and Harper will be 2. They can certainly entertain themselves for a little bit while you can a 10 minute breather.
      8. Sanity – I struggle with this one. My children don’t always listen and it tends to drive me a little crazy when I have to say the same thing 8 times over. I don’t have any working tips for this one but calling in the cavalry normally helps for me (the cavalry being Mark lol).
      9. Take a break – I’m guilty of not doing this. However, we all need breaks from our kids. We all need a little timeout away from the craziness and noise. Get your partner to take the kids one morning while you focus on you. Or when the kids have gone to bed, take that long, warm bubble bath (yes I hear you, Cape Town has water restrictions in place still but maybe do this once every other week or so).
      10. Let go of the mom guilt – it’s going to be there every single day. No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, the guilt will always be there. Be kind to yourself and try to let it go. Try to get through the day and tomorrow it will be better.
      11. There you go, that’s how I am able to be a supermom. With a lot of help and planning. If you have anything to add to this list, please let me know below and maybe you can help some other moms out.

Review: Childs Farm

Ethan has always had skin issues. Mostly some form of eczema and we’ve been treating it since he was a few months old. From good old Epimax, to Advantan and some more ointments I can’t even pronounce.

In March, I was sent something that claimed to be specially designed for all skin types, and is dermatologist- and paediatrician-approved for use on sensitive and eczema-prone skin. Childs Farm, the UK’s fastest growing baby and child toiletries brand, has recently launched in South Africa.

We’ve been testing it on the kids for the last 2 months. Firstly, and I’m sure this is the one thing everyone who uses it says, the fragrance of all the products in the range is amazing! I haven’t smelt anything like it in any other baby/child product on the market. The products don’t contain any parabens, SLSs, mineral oils or artificial colours and the majority contain over 98% (by volume) naturally derived ingredients.

I haven’t seen a remarkable improvement in Ethan’s skin but it also hasn’t gotten any worse, so it looks like the Childs Farm products can be used on eczema prone skin without harming your baby’s skin. Harper’s skin is silky soft after using the bath wash and the bubble bath is nice and foamy, with the scent lingering long after. The shampoo cleans well and leaves the kids’ hair nice and soft. I’m a little bit let down by the baby moisturizer as it leaves a bit of an oily sheen after application and seems to dry my skin out. But the bubble bath!?!? Gosh, it makes a lot of foam (which the kids love) and it also scented. Bathtime nowadays smells like a fruit salad on steroids in our home lol. We’ve haven’t tried their 3-in-1 Swim yet but I’ve heard others say that it’s just as amazing as the other products.

All in all, we’ve had a good experience and would definitely continue to use the Childs Farm products.

Childs Farm products are currently available in Baby City, Clicks stores and via takealot.com. Prices range from R99 to R119.99, with a range of over 15 different products to choose from.

For more information on Childs Farm products visit www.childsfarm.com or the local Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/childsfarmsouthafrica/

Mother’s Day without mom

It’s Mother’s Day tomorrow and I’m dreading it just a little bit. I suppose this is what happens when you lose your mom. The worst is seeing all those posts on social media, “Get mom something she’ll love”, “show mom how much you love her by getting her this” or “tell us why your mom is the best and we’ll send her a card with your message”. I actually like that last one. Because if they could send a card to heaven then I’m in!

I’d probably say the following in my card.

Hi Mommy. I miss you so much. The children miss you and I wish you could have met Harper. I have so many questions and I’m sorry I never got to say goodbye. I love you ♥

Yeah, probably not something that particular brand would’ve been up for. But seriously, Mother’s Day without your mom is hard. Even if you have a mother figure in your life, or friends that are always there for you, or a close aunt or your mom in law or the next door neighbor. Nothing compares to having your own mommy here.

I miss my mom’s cooking. I miss seeing her sit in her usual spot in the lounge. I miss hearing her speaking to her grand babies. I miss when she just used to pop in by me just to find out how I’m doing. I miss her phonecalls complaining about my sister.

If your mom is not here anymore, I understand. The grief can get much. I don’t know if it’ll ever get better but I hope it will.

If your mom is still here, I hope you are able to spoil her rotten and have an amazing Mother’s Day. Tell her you love her (even if you feel awkward doing it, she needs to hear it trust me), talk to her, tell her how important she is to you.

Nectar & Spice – an interview (PLUS WIN)

Something a little different today. I’m interviewing Margaret Faasen, the amazing pastry chef and owner of Nectar & Spice.

If you don’t know, Nectar & Spice is an artisanal sweet boutique specialising in baked pastries, cakes and decorated sugar cookies. She’s created cookies for me for Harper’s first birthday, Christmas cookies, teacher gifts, and my cousin’s baby shower cookies. Not only are they little works of art, they taste amazing as well. Read more to learn about Margaret and Nectar & Spice.

Tell us more about yourself and what you do?
I like to think of myself as a creative problem solver. I love having to analyse a problem from different angles and figuring out the best solution. I also love working with colours, textures and patterns and creating something that is both practical and aesthetically pleasing. These elements all come into play with running a business like Nectar & Spice.

Nectar & Spice is a boutique bakery specialising in decorated sugar cookies but we also do cakes, tarts, cupcakes, brownies and many other treats and soon also events. We get to create, decorate, bake and design all while still being focused on exceptional service and amazing flavours – practical and beautiful!

Why did you start “Nectar & Spice”?
I’ve always known that I would like to be a business owner and that whatever type of business it will be it would have to challenge me both creatively and analytically as I fear stagnation.

On the other hand, I’ve been baking with my mom and gran since an early age and really enjoyed the process of creating something out of simple ingredients and seeing the enjoyment others get from eating these creations.

Nectar & Spice combined these two interests of mine.

What did you study – was it in the baking field or was it something completely different?
I have a Bachelor degree from Tuks in Consumer Science with specialization in Interior Merchandise Retail Management (interior designing being my other passion) and a Diploma in Pastry.

What was your first job and how did you progress to this?
My first job was working as an Au Pair. I just finished my degree but realised that I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life. I worked for a family for a couple of years while deciding what it was that I really would like to do with my life. I did my Diploma in Pastry and got the opportunity to move to Cape Town with my husband. Here I got a job as Head Chef at a small restaurant in Stellenbosch which I really enjoyed, but I felt undervalued and underappreciated. I decided to re-direct my dedication towards building my own business and Nectar & Spice was born.

What have been the highlights of starting your own business?
The constant, unfaltering support from my husband telling me each day how proud he is of me.

The amazing, positive feedback and encouragement I get from my family and complete strangers wanting to support me and what I do.

Seeing my business grow and being able to employ others.

What’s the best part of your job?
Getting to try new and interesting ideas.

Seeing a client’s face when they receive their cookies/cake

What is the most challenging part?
Knowing when to push and when to hold back.

Not having any guarantees.

Managing people.

What is your dream for Nectar & Spice?
To grow to be a household name in the Western Cape and known for exceptional service.

To create a space where people can celebrate the special moments in life.

Any tips for people wanting to take the leap and start their own business?
Be prepared to work long and hard with the pay-off often in the distant future. But be sure, if you keep at it and deliver consistent good service, it will pay off.

Please show me how the hell you make your cookies so incredibly perfect? Do you give lessons?
I do give lessons! The first class will be in our new venue for Easter. This class is already fully booked but I will be hosting one for Mother’s Day too.

Ultimately the trick is practice, practice, practice…

If you’d like to order anything from Margaret, please email her at nectarandspice@gmail.com. She can make almost anything in the shape of a cookie.

Margaret has kindly agreed to do a giveaway of one of her Easter hamper boxes. Winning is easy, just follow these steps.

  1. Follow Nectar & Spice on Instagram here
  2. Follow me on Instagram here
  3. Comment below and tell me which of Nectar & Spice’s cookies you like the most.
  4. For an extra entry, tag a friend on the Instagram post who’d love to win this Easter hamper (one tag + one entry)
  5. Giveaway closes on 16 April. The winner will be randomly selected and announced after 7pm that day.
  6. You’ll get an extra entry for sharing to your Insta-stories and tagging me.

IMPORTANT NOTE – only open to Cape Town peeps and the winner must be able to collect their prize at Nectar & Spice’s store in Bellville on 18 April before 5pm.

Good luck!

 

A little life update

Sheesh, I can hear the crickets and had to dust off the cobwebs from not using this little space for a while now. I’m sorry. I’ve explained in my last post about how I’ve forgotten where I came from and why I started this blog. Now for a little update on our lives.

Harper
She’s been growing like a weed and since her grommet procedure, she has been babbling more often. I even heard the word “car” come out there sometime. She says “teacher”, “daddy”, “doe” for her dummy, and some form of Ethan’s name. She has yet to say “mommy” or even “mama” but it’s okay. I’m just glad the grommets are helping and she’s busy thriving now. If only her hair will grow a little longer.

I’ve been such a bad mommy and feel the guilt in my bones. She hasn’t yet had her 12 month vaccination. And she’s almost due for her 18 month vaccination. I’ve made an appointment twice already at our local clinic but every time, something’s come up and we had to cancel. Does anyone know if we can go to Clicks to get these vaccinations?

Ethan
Oh this poor boy of mine. He’s been struggling so badly with his chest lately. He was hospitalized at the end of January with pneumonia again. Doctor put him on a daily inhaler and something to manage his allergies. Touch wood, they’ve been working so far, but it’s only been 2 months and the winter months are on their way.

He’s been good otherwise. Learning loads at creche, and asking me ALL the questions. Especially the ones that start with “why?”. He loves his sister and picks her up and tries to kiss at every opportunity. He and Matthew fight like cat and dog, until they don’t and then they get on like a house on fire. These intense emotions and firecracker tempers make me so exhausted but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Matthew
Matthew had this weird skin infection from the Streptococcus bacteria, called Ecthyma. Luckily it was just one spot and didn’t spread. We managed it and now there’s just a massive scar that I’m hoping will eventually start fading.

I’ve been having a few great parenting moments when I see how things I’ve tried to teach him (and his siblings) have actually sunk in. Things like saying I’m sorry when he accidentally hurts someone, saying please and thank you, being kind and caring. It’s amazing how we harp on and on and repeat things all the time, praying that at least just one thing will stick and then one day, you witness it all and feel like you’ve accomplished something.

Other news
Come Valentine’s Day, I was one of those parents that left things to the last minute. I ended up DIY’ing these tops for the younger 2. They turned out so awesome, even if I do say so myself.

I won a little photoshoot with Shante Hutton Photography for myself and my sister. These are some of those photos. Isn’t she just an amazing photographer? Book her now!

I have been seeing a surgeon since beginning December last year for my elbow. He couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong with my elbow and asked me to attend a meeting with other orthopedic surgeons to discuss my case. This was so nerve-wracking. To stand in front of all these medical professionals while they talk about you like you aren’t even there. But we have an answer and a possible solution. For now, my doctor will do an arthroscope to do a debridement and clean out the arthritis and bone that is there. We will be discussing dates and pre-surgery things by the end of this week. After 2 years of pain, I’m just so glad to be getting something done and praying it all works out.

And then lastly, after 3 months of back and forth, we’re finally getting our key for our new house mid-April!!!! I am so excited, I could burst. I’ve started packing already and I’m hoping to get it all done before the operation. Mark wants to build some pallet furniture for the extra space we have. Does anyone have any ideas where we can get pallets for cheap here in Cape Town?

I forgot

I forgot.

I forgot why I started writing
I got caught up in what others were doing and tried to follow them. Instead of sticking to my plan and my way of doing things. No wonder I wasn’t finding joy in blogging anymore.

I forgot to document
I lost my joy and stopped writing updates about the children. The main reason I started this little space was for me (and them one day) to look back and remember. I want to get right back into it.

I forgot about the people
I need to remember that there are actually real people out there who follow my blog and look forward to updates. (Yes, just those 2 of you 😊) I forgot to show my appreciation for them and keep them in the loop.

I forgot to read
That’s where I get most of my inspiration from. Reading other’s blog posts. Keeping their writing and story telling in the forefront of my mind helped me tell our story.

I forgot to tell our story
Speaking of story, I forgot that this is basically what it’s all about. A story of our lives, and how we each fit into it and mold each other and grow with each other.

I won’t forget
To write about our lives and share our struggles. Even if just 2 people read my posts and realise they’re not alone, then I’ve done what I set out to do.

Rhodes Squish Review plus WIN

Have you ever celebrated a toddler eating just 1 spoonful of food? Or jumped up and down, made weird noises or stand on your head and do 100 cartwheels just to get that toddler to taste something new? Well, you’re not alone. I’ve done that and more 3 times over and I was so relieved when I discovered Rhodes Squish (and even more so when Harper tried it and loved it).

Convenience
The Rhodes Squish pouches are convenient and easy to use. Harper can now suck the puree straight from the pouch but before then, I just used to squeeze a little bit into a spoon and feed her. They are 100% natural and contain no nasties. There is no added sugar, salt, colorants, maize starch and flavorings.

Yoghurt Squish


Rhodes Squish has now added exciting new fruit and veg yoghurt purees and ready-to-eat jellies, adding to its popular 100% fruit and vegetable puree and 100% fruit and veg pressed juice ranges. The Squish yoghurts are made from 100% fruit and vegetables with double cream yoghurt, not yoghurt powder.

I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly


There’s more, Rhodes Squish has introduced four new ready-to-eat jellies. The jellies are free from gelatine, colourants, flavourings and preservatives, and are made with fruit puree. Harper loves the Mango and Rooibos jelly and gobbles it up within minutes. You won’t go wrong with Squish for a fuss-free, easy to use snack for your baby and toddler.

WIN
Do you want to stop stressing over meal times or cleaning up bowls of food that was thrown by your toddler? You can win a Squish hamper with a Zoku slushie maker for some awesome slushies, milkshakes, and smoothies.

How to enter
Follow Rhodes Squish on Instagram here
Follow me on Instagram here
Leave a comment telling me what lengths you’ve gone to to get your baby/toddler to eat.

For an extra entry, you can enter on Instagram.

Terms and Conditions

1. Closing date for entries will be 13 March 2019. After this date no further entries will be permitted.
2. You must reside is SA in order to qualify for the prize.
3. Your prize cannot be sold or redeemed for cash.
4. Winners will be drawn via a Random name generator.
5. The winner will be notified via email and has 42 hours to claim their prize. If the winner cannot be contacted or does not claim the prize within 2 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.
6. Only one entry will be accepted per person. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified.
7. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
8. Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.

That time my husband ended up in the ER

It’s Saturday, a day that’s usually filled with cleaning, kids running around, and Mark doing something or other on the car or around the house. However, on this Saturday, I’m trying to get the kids to be quiet because Mark is laying down with some abdominal pains. It had started the Friday already but he left it as he expected it to disappear on it’s own. I’m worried and not sure what to do.

Later that afternoon, after several restless hours, I eventually asked him if we can go to the hospital. By this time I was scared as none of the pain meds he had taken had worked and I was terrified that it was something serious. I was then even more concerned when he agreed without too much pushing.

On our way to the hospital, with all 3 kids in tow, I called my sister to ask her to come and get the kids at the hospital. The boys were just as scared when they realised we were on our way to the hospital, thinking it was for one of them. We got checked in at the ER and had a nice wait ahead of us. All this time, Mark was still in pain and cringing silently so as not to scare the kids even more.

My sister eventually got the kids and in that time, Mark got called in to see the doctor. So now I’m sitting alone in the waiting room, scared shitless and not knowing what to expect.

I was eventually called in to sit with him. They gave him some pain meds intravenously and he was feeling lots better. They had also done an EKG and taken some blood for tests. However, he hated having the drip in and wanted to pull it out.

The doc eventually came back and gave the final diagnosis as Gastritis.

Source

Mark has had to watch his diet and ensure that he doesn’t overdo it to keep the gastritis at bay. So far, it’s been almost 2 months since the incident and there hasn’t been another flareup.

When we got to my sister to get the kids, Harper had too much fun trying to take the stickers off Mark’s chest.

I am so grateful it wasn’t anything worse and that this can be managed at home.