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You’re so excited….you’re 13-20 weeks pregnant and the gynae asks: Do you want to know what it is? Your spouse is beaming, you’re grinning…and go ‘YES’!! Then he/she says those 3.5 words…..’It’s a BOY/GIRL!’….and your heart drops. You fake smile, something feels heavy inside you, but you don’t quite know what that feeling is. It has nothing to do with all the donuts you just ate. Right? Everybody asks you and you always said: I just want a healthy baby! I don’t care about the baby’s gender! So what’s this weird feeling about? Is gender disappointment a thing??? The forbidden confession I have been pregnant a bunch of times now…..and I can tell you: Yes, it’s the biggest gift to be pregnant. I know I’m lucky to be able to carry a baby to full term. It’s a blessing to not miscarry. My pregnancies were no walk in the park. It’s a miracle that Addison was born healthy…I was fighting for both of us for the whole 9 months, up to the day she was born. If you’ve been a reader for a while, you know my last pregnancy was AWFUL. I’m no hero, most woman know this. They live through this and worse. There is this taboo sort of idea that if you’re pregnant: shut up, stay quiet...you’re lucky, blessed.… You have NO RIGHT to complain about pregnancy being hard and you sure as hell have no right being disappointed that the healthy baby you’re carrying is not the sex that you expected! We don’t talk about gender disappointment! BUT I know….us moms, we confess to those who we feel will understand. I have friends, at least 5 off the top of my head….that up to the day their kids were born, they wished things would change. They cried for days and days after finding out they were having a boy, yet another boy, yet another girl…..  I picture them alone in this dark room, because that’s the only place they have a right to those feeling. Alone in a dark room. The world is not ready to hear about this level of ungratefulness. My experience My husband and I wanted to start our family off with a daughter. We just knew instinctively that we wanted a little pink fluff bum to start our journey into family-hood. The audacity to have a preference. How freakin lucky were we that we then ended up finding out that she was indeed a she??? Then we fell pregnant again and we got to that moment where we could find out the gender. The sonographer said: It’s a boy! We should have been over the moon….pigeon pair right? Somebody to carry on the family name….as the men want apparently. And we were happy, but maybe a week after we found out….we were driving down William Moffet (yes I remember the exact spot) and I asked my husband if he felt weird. If he felt like me, like maybe we had wanted another daughter? He replied that he thinks maybe we did. Gender disappointment anybody? Girls let’s go to lunch I had this vision of 2 little girls in tiaras and tutus, being besties. My ‘girls’ and I would be going out for lunch, to a spa day…. Life was going to be so awesome, and Gerard would look at us…’his girls’ and think about how lucky he was to be around all these female hormones! LOL. So with the news that ‘It’s a boy’……there went that very superficial daydream that I had. I mean, reading it, it’s ridiculous….you know? I wanted an extra daughter to go and do my nails with??? *sigh* Oh Simone…you know there are people dying in the world? People unable to even have kids? Yes, Simone does know this. BUT….. Gender disappointment is a thing…no matter how gross people want to make you feel about it…it’s a real thing. No matter how superficial the reason, it’s a thing. I’m not a shitty human (or undeserving of being a mother), because of these feelings. Then there were 3 Joshua was born and to say that he is quite possibly the light of my life is an understatement. Joshua is referred to as ‘The Golden Lamb‘ by my husband in reference to how I see him. This boy….that I supposedly didn’t picture in this life I had planned…I’d inhale him if I could. The love is strong and real and intoxicating. When we found out that I was pregnant for the 4th time (we’ll just skip number 3, because you know that obviously didn’t end well)…I had the hindsight of knowing: All pregnancies do not end in a baby. Some pregnancies can even kill you. I also knew that Joshua was the most amazing boy in the world. BUT I still wanted a bestie for my little girl. So a part of me hoped, but another part of me thought that – hey, Joshua also deserves a bestie right??? I think 3rd time round I really didn’t have a preference…okay maybe I’m lying a little, maybe a part of me still hoped ‘the girls’ would become a reality. You obviously all know how that turned out, but…..gals….calling ‘the boys’ is as satisfying as I imagine it would have been calling ‘the girls’. Also, can you imagine my life without Adam??? I mean, where would my blog and instagram material come from? The reality and some advice Acknowledgment If you’re going through this, and feeling guilty……please don’t. Acknowledging that maybe you wanted a different sex does not make you a gross person, no matter what society wants you to think. Acknowledge those feelings, chat to your spouse about it….heck make it a joke eventually, but don’t try to sweep it under the rug. You have a right to those feelings! I had this vision for my life…my kids, I am ridiculously close to my own sister, so that was a major part of why I wanted Addison to have a sister. Is there an alternative for her? Yes…there’s me, there’s her aunt…there’s cousins….and hopefully she’ll have a very best friend one day who feels like a sister. Whatever the vision was that you had for your child/children…..I promise you, the things work out as they will work out. Love wins Guys…..you will love that kid….that 4th son or daughter, the pigeon pair you weren’t really hoping for (or were hoping for), and you will never be able to imagine a different scenario. I don’t say that 5 sons or daughters later, your heart won’t still yearn for the other sex, but those kids that are there, you will love, more than anything…the minute you see that little squishy face! If you’re done having kids, and still yearning, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean we love our existing kids any less. Your feelings are your feelings…and we all have feelings…that are valid, no matter how ridiculous it seems to another human. If anybody has anything to say about it, tell them to sod off! Would you believe this started out as an Instagram caption….and the longer it got, I realised….Simone, this is a blog post girl!! Reign it in! Please let me know if you can relate to gender disappointment on any level…have you found yourself feeling a little disappointed about the sex you ended up with? Or even a lot disappointed? *All images taken from Pexels.  

The post Dealing with gender disappointment appeared first on An Ordinary Gal.

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A few weeks back, my daughter came to me and asked me what she thought was perhaps a simple request: Mom, can I go to the park with Jazmine? Kids say the darndest things right? I almost broke out into hives. My husband answered immediately with ‘NO WAYS!‘. Thank goodness….I then pretended he was the asshole parent and I totally would have said yes. Addison totally knew I was lying though. She spent the rest of the afternoon sulking and crying. Probably wondering what she did in life to deserve such asshole-type parents! It got me thinking to when I was her age: I knew all the neighbourhood kids and visited their homes anytime I wanted to. Half the time my parents has NO idea where I was. I went to parks that were kilometers away from my home. My curfew was determined by the time the street lights came on for the evening. That’s when all the kids would break up and head home. My brother was about 6 and I think he had pretty much the same privileges as my 10yr old self. Thinking about this gives me shivers! a 6yr old and a 10yr old….walking around as if they didn’t have a care in the world. Like the world wasn’t the evil prison that it is now. I wonder WTF my parents were thinking….didn’t they love us???? lol. Then a part of me is really really sad. That my kids will NEVER know this kind of freedom…those kinds of friendships….. They will never have these life experiences. Part of me thought, well…just offer to walk with them to the park Simone. The other part of me was busy putting on the next episode of Married at First Sight. Guess which one won? A whole new world Addison was born over a year after Madeleine Mccann went missing. I was not a mother when Maddy went missing, but I was a human being…. My soul ached, wondering what happened to her, hoping that she would be found. It is now 12yrs later, and we all still wonder: What happened to Madeleine Mccann? Welcome to the party There are many many horrific stories of kids going missing….in the days of my youth, it was Gert and Joey….. but ‘luckily’, they only took white children. So us kids of colour were safe. Well safe, with the exception of the ‘Welcome to the party‘ van that was apparently driving around in the coloured areas…trying to tempt kids to climb into their van. This van was apparently packed with balloons and cake…and their ‘tagline’ was ‘Welcome to the party’. Me thinks this was an elaborate ploy by coloured parents to get us to eat our vegetables….. but nonetheless, I promised I’d never get into a van promising me there was a party happening inside….. Back to the topic at hand I went into my daughter’s room (where I was very unwelcome) and I said to her: Addison, google Madeleine Mccann. See how a little girl was ‘taken’ from the bedroom window, from a bedroom where her siblings were also sleeping. That was 12yrs ago and Maddy’s brother and sister have NO idea what happened to their sister…..they never knew her and never will. My child….12yrs later I am asking: What happened to Madeleine Mccann??? I NEVER want the world to be asking: What happened to Addison Macintosh (not really her surname, but let me pretend I keep some things secret)? That question….. that question makes me teary….and my child, I would die if I ever had to not know where you are. In this house, you are safe. Under my watchful eyes, you are safe. My life’s mission is to keep you safe….and I don’t care how angry you get with me for just doing my job. *Mic drop*  Will our kids ever know freedom? That was good right??? Just kidding…. it sucks….it sucks so badly that my kids have to live such a sheltered existence. We went to Spar over the weekend. I was standing by the frozen veggies and Addison asked if she could go to the next aisle to grab a different packet of chips. I very boldly said yes….and I told myself…Don’t follow her Simone…don’t follow her. I stood in my aisle…well at the entrance…waiting for her to reappear. A gentlemen kind of nodded at me: like….here she comes. He obviously spotted my turmoil. Addison looked panicked herself…like…HOW COME YOU DIDN’T FOLLOW ME?? Then she asked me if I knew the man that nodded. I said no…. She asked: So why did he smile at you. I said: He smiled at me, to let me know that you were on your way. This panic and fear is not good for the soul….. I don’t know how to let go and let my kids be more independent. I worry I’m going to raise kids riddled with anxiety and who can’t think or do anything for themselves. How do we strike a balance? If you’re in Spar….do you let your kids walk to the next aisle? Or *gasp* maybe even 2 aisles away? If I’m in the queue and I forgot cereal…. I leave with my kid….and go get the cereal and stand in the long ass queue all over again. I know I spoke a bit about these limitations in the post I did about speaking to our kids about rape over HERE, but I guess it’s an ongoing issue we are faced with, and I could probably dwell on it every single day. Do you let your kids walk to the park or the corner shop?

The post Here’s why you can’t take a walk to the park my child…… appeared first on An Ordinary Gal.

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Fortnite Gamers Unite!! If you’re one of the 125 million people whose ears perked up at the word ‘Fortnite’, keep reading to the end of this post for TWO ways to win!  I never care what I am going through….when it comes to my kids celebrating their birthdays, I love to celebrate! Whether it’s just family at home, or we celebrate at a venue….there will always be a cake…and fun will be had! Always. I don’t know…I don’t have any great birthday memories growing up, in fact I’m always crapping on my mom about the fact that she bought my cousins better gifts than she bought me. #DecemberBabyThings! So perhaps I live through my kids? I just figure….if anything happens at any point…we celebrated, we had fun…and we ate cake! Joshua is also a December birthday…..so I think he always has a soft spot in my heart. I know the struggle…school is closed, your friends are not around, you don’t get to have your birthday ring or your civvies day. Added to this, Joshua didn’t have a party last year either….but…finances are always a worry at this stage. I very confidently booked a venue in October for his party and thought I’d worry about how to finance it at a later stage. Guys….I told you 2018 had been a good year, despite the stress. Blessings have showered upon me and my family… Change of venue The owner of Bushwackers, Lauri, emailed me in November and said she loved the blog….and asked if I would like to host a party there. I had already paid a deposit at the other venue, so I said to her…maybe we can do this next year. After some thinking….and realising, this may be our Birthday Christmas Miracle, I contacted Lauri and said…let’s do it! About Bushwackers Passionate about creating unforgettable children’s parties for ages 5 – 12’s, Bushwackers has spent the past 16 years ensuring that each child’s party experience is special, exciting and most of all fun.   So if you’re looking for a memorable party for a dainty little girl or a group of “wild and out there” boys, we have the venue and theme for you. At Bushwackers, we also love to keep up with what is trending, so please don’t hesitate to talk to us if you would like us to theme something completely new for you. Types of Parties offered: Indoor Parties Pamper parties Glow in the Dark dance party Modelling party Parties aimed at kids under the age of 6 Ourdoor Parties Survivor, Army or Adventure parties Water wars Paintball Mystery Adventure Our Experience Off the bat, I found Lauri to be very sweet and on the ball. She gave me party options, confirmed what she would be including and what I would need to provide. She wanted to know what Joshua would like, his theme, party pack options, table cloth options, etc. She’s obviously been doing this for a while! Once we confirmed the date and theme….I received an invitation, that included directions and an instruction for the kids to bring extra clothes and towels. On her website, there are downloadable invitations, so that takes the hassle out of that for you! Alternatively, she does include the party invitation design in her party packages. That was literally it…. I was so bored, because I literally had to do nothing. Bushwackers took care of the decor, party packs, donut tower and coffee and tea for the adults. All I did was bring in the adult snacks and little cakes. That was it. No setup, no stress…..just put down platters and enjoy the day! The activities Joshua was one lucky boy….they had a 2hr paintball session, followed by some water/mud activities and then they still did some obstacle course activities. Are they done yet? Nope…..they then finished off with a game of soccer. These kids were kept busy and entertained for 3 solid hours! Kids I never thought would be running through mud, and obstacle courses…..but they had so much fun! It was so nice…us as parents could just sit back, have snacks….and chat! The instructors were so sweet and friendly….really good to the kids. When we arrived, there were instructors setting up for another party and I asked where I needed to go, friendly, smiling…they sent me on my way. As you expect people to be around kids. I’ve been to parties where the pony lady looked like she hated every single kid coming to ask for a ride. #TrueStory I highly recommend that you consider Bushwackers as your next party destination! This was honestly one of (if not THE) most relaxed party I’ve ever thrown! Lauri is so calm and in charge….you honestly don’t have to worry about a thing! Heck, I think she even has a bit of pull in ensuring the weather cooperates! Check the Bushwackers pages out below: Bushwackers Facebook Page Bushwackers Instagram Page So……Fortnite..what is it? When I asked Joshua to choose a theme for his party….he only had Fortnite on the brain. I didn’t even know what Fortnite was until then. I know….such a good mother…. but truthfully…gaming is dad’s department. Fortnite has become a worldwide phenomenon in the world of gaming and the Battle Royale game mode has drawn over 125 million players worldwide! This game was launched in 2017…..so that’s in just over a year!! Impressive stuff! In the game, players can gather materials to create defensive fortifications around an objective or trap-filled tunnels to lure unsuspecting enemies to. Kids love this game so much due to it being silly and the offbeat sense of humour…also there’s apparently a bit of dance moves that Joshua LOVES. Fortnite: Battle Royale has very bright, almost cartoon-like graphics as well as loads of ridiculous items and costumes, such as space suits and dinosaur outfits. In Battle Royale mode, players can quickly traverse the map; protect themselves from enemy fire, or just delay an advancing foe by means of building obstacles and structures from gathered materials. Players are encouraged to be very creative in designing their fortifications.  Although Fortnite is a shooter game, it highly promotes creativity and the most creative and clever methods tend to be that of the winner.  Any gamer in the country knows of, or has played Fortnite and Funko has come on board to bring South African players the collectables of their favourite Fortnite avatars. Funko Collectibles When I saw this new fun range from Funko…..I KNEW Joshua had to have one…or maybe even all of them! The range is bright and eye catching. I think these figurines are so cute! There is the range of collectible figurines, as well as keychains….you know, for dad or the boyfriend…. because men and their games right?? I think these are going to make kids so excited….perfect for any occasion gifts! What I like is that there are a few to collect…is there anything more exciting than building up and completing a collection of anything? Giveaway Now for the fun! Gammatek has kindly sponsored a Funko collectible for one of my readers! If your kid (or anybody you know) is into Fortnite, I am sure they will love this prize! How to enter: Comment on this post or Facebook with the name of the character that is your/your kid/your friend/your partner’s favourite! You can enter/answer on both platforms and you’ll get 2 entries.   Bonus entries – Tag 2 friends on the  Facebook post. Every 2 tags is a bonus entry, but don’t spam your friends or people you don’t know.   RULES: This competition is only open to readers residing in South Africa. The giveaway will run until 8pm, on Friday, 1st February 2019, with a winner being selected at random shortly afterwards.  I will announce the winners of my giveaway on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, so make sure you follow me on all 3 social media platforms so you don’t miss the announcement. If no reply to my email has been received within 72hrs, a new winner will be selected. Ensure you complete the necessary steps to validate your entries. I have no choice but to disqualify any incorrect entries received. Please allow 2 to 4 weeks for delivery. Disclaimer: The experience at Bushwackers was provided with no obligation to review, but I honestly had such an amazing experience, I couldn’t NOT tell you all about it. To WIN your own Bushwackers experience, head to my Facebook or Instagram page to win a party for 10 kids!

The post A Fortnite Birthday Party at Bushwackers! appeared first on An Ordinary Gal.

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Fortnite Gamers Unite!! If you’re one of the 125 million people whose ears perked up at the word ‘Fortnite’, keep reading to the end of this post!  I never care what I am going through….when it comes to my kids celebrating their birthdays, I love to celebrate! Whether it’s just family at home, or we celebrate at a venue….there will always be a cake…and fun will be had! Always. I don’t know…I don’t have any great birthday memories growing up, in fact I’m always crapping on my mom about the fact that she bought my cousins better gifts than she bought me. #DecemberBabyThings! So perhaps I live through my kids? I just figure….if anything happens at any point…we celebrated, we had fun…and we ate cake! Joshua is also a December birthday…..so I think he always has a soft spot in my heart. I know the struggle…school is closed, your friends are not around, you don’t get to have your birthday ring or your civvies day. Added to this, Joshua didn’t have a party last year either….but…finances are always a worry at this stage. I very confidently booked a venue in October for his party and thought I’d worry about how to finance it at a later stage. Guys….I told you 2018 had been a good year, despite the stress. Blessings have showered upon me and my family… Change of venue The owner of Bushwackers, Lauri, emailed me in November and said she loved the blog….and asked if I would like to host a party there. I had already paid a deposit at the other venue, so I said to her…maybe we can do this next year. After some thinking….and realising, this may be our Birthday Christmas Miracle, I contacted Lauri and said…let’s do it! About Bushwackers Passionate about creating unforgettable children’s parties for ages 5 – 12’s, Bushwackers has spent the past 16 years ensuring that each child’s party experience is special, exciting and most of all fun.   So if you’re looking for a memorable party for a dainty little girl or a group of “wild and out there” boys, we have the venue and theme for you. At Bushwackers, we also love to keep up with what is trending, so please don’t hesitate to talk to us if you would like us to theme something completely new for you. Types of Parties offered: Indoor Parties Pamper parties Glow in the Dark dance party Modelling party Parties aimed at kids under the age of 6 Ourdoor Parties Survivor, Army or Adventure parties Water wars Paintball Mystery Adventure Our Experience Off the bat, I found Lauri to be very sweet and on the ball. She gave me party options, confirmed what she would be including and what I would need to provide. She wanted to know what Joshua would like, his theme, party pack options, table cloth options, etc. She’s obviously been doing this for a while! Once we confirmed the date and theme….I received an invitation, that included directions and an instruction for the kids to bring extra clothes and towels. On her website, there are downloadable invitations, so that takes the hassle out of that for you! Alternatively, she does include the party invitation design in her party packages. That was literally it…. I was so bored, because I literally had to do nothing. Bushwackers took care of the decor, party packs, donut tower and coffee and tea for the adults. All I did was bring in the adult snacks and little cakes. That was it. No setup, no stress…..just put down platters and enjoy the day! The activities Joshua was one lucky boy….they had a 2hr paintball session, followed by some water/mud activities and then they still did some obstacle course activities. Are they done yet? Nope…..they then finished off with a game of soccer. These kids were kept busy and entertained for 3 solid hours! Kids I never thought would be running through mud, and obstacle courses…..but they had so much fun! It was so nice…us as parents could just sit back, have snacks….and chat! The instructors were so sweet and friendly….really good to the kids. When we arrived, there were instructors setting up for another party and I asked where I needed to go, friendly, smiling…they sent me on my way. As you expect people to be around kids. I’ve been to parties where the pony lady looked like she hated every single kid coming to ask for a ride. #TrueStory I highly recommend that you consider Bushwackers as your next party destination! This was honestly one of (if not THE) most relaxed party I’ve ever thrown! Lauri is so calm and in charge….you honestly don’t have to worry about a thing! Heck, I think she even has a bit of pull in ensuring the weather cooperates! Check the Bushwackers pages out below: Bushwackers Facebook Page Bushwackers Instagram Page So……Fortnite..what is it? When I asked Joshua to choose a theme for his party….he only had Fortnite on the brain. I didn’t even know what Fortnite was until then. I know….such a good mother…. but truthfully…gaming is dad’s department. Fortnite has become a worldwide phenomenon in the world of gaming and the Battle Royale game mode has drawn over 125 million players worldwide! This game was launched in 2017…..so that’s in just over a year!! Impressive stuff! In the game, players can gather materials to create defensive fortifications around an objective or trap-filled tunnels to lure unsuspecting enemies to. Kids love this game so much due to it being silly and the offbeat sense of humour…also there’s apparently a bit of dance moves that Joshua LOVES. Fortnite: Battle Royale has very bright, almost cartoon-like graphics as well as loads of ridiculous items and costumes, such as space suits and dinosaur outfits. In Battle Royale mode, players can quickly traverse the map; protect themselves from enemy fire, or just delay an advancing foe by means of building obstacles and structures from gathered materials. Players are encouraged to be very creative in designing their fortifications.  Although Fortnite is a shooter game, it highly promotes creativity and the most creative and clever methods tend to be that of the winner.  Any gamer in the country knows of, or has played Fortnite and Funko has come on board to bring South African players the collectables of their favourite Fortnite avatars. Funko Collectibles When I saw this new fun range from Funko…..I KNEW Joshua had to have one…or maybe even all of them! The range is bright and eye catching. I think these figurines are so cute! There is the range of collectible figurines, as well as keychains….you know, for dad or the boyfriend…. because men and their games right?? I think these are going to make kids so excited….perfect for any occasion gifts! What I like is that there are a few to collect…is there anything more exciting than building up and completing a collection of anything? Giveaway Now for the fun! Gammatek has kindly sponsored a Funko collectible for one of my readers! If your kid (or anybody you know) is into Fortnite, I am sure they will love this prize! How to enter: Comment on this post or Facebook with the name of the character that is your/your kid/your friend/your partner’s favourite! You can enter/answer on both platforms and you’ll get 2 entries.   Bonus entries – Tag 2 friends on the  Facebook post. Every 2 tags is a bonus entry, but don’t spam your friends or people you don’t know.   RULES: This competition is only open to readers residing in South Africa. The giveaway will run until 8pm, on Friday, 1st February 2019, with a winner being selected at random shortly afterwards.  I will announce the winners of my giveaway on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, so make sure you follow me on all 3 social media platforms so you don’t miss the announcement. If no reply to my email has been received within 72hrs, a new winner will be selected. Ensure you complete the necessary steps to validate your entries. I have no choice but to disqualify any incorrect entries received. Please allow 2 to 4 weeks for delivery. Disclaimer: The experience at Bushwackers was provided with no obligation to review, but I honestly had such an amazing experience, I couldn’t NOT tell you all about it. 

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Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some gift guides, brand spotlights and some GIVEAWAYS as part of my Christmas Gift Guide series for 2018. Today we kick off with the first post in the series! It’s no secret that I love to read, and my kids love to read…hence the creation of the #BookReviewFriday series every week! I have been so blessed this year to receive the most fabulous books to read and review, so it’s no surprise that I am doing a book guide as suggestions for gifts this year! Whether for yourself, your spouse, your kids….I really hope you’ll be wrapping up some books to go under the Christmas tree this year! I’m going to share some exciting new releases, as well as a recap of some of the books that I (and the kids) have loved this year! The Room on The Broom Cookbook – Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler The Room on the Broom Cookbook is jam-packed with spellbindingly delicious treats, healthy snacks and simple meals – all inspired by the bestselling picture book Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Make your own cheese wands, creepy crawly crackers, roasted dragon or even witch and chips. With twenty-three recipes specially designed for adults to use with children, easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions and lots of hints and tips on what to do next, The Room on the Broom Cookbook is a great way to inspire an interest in cooking and baking. So I love my family, makeup, macarons…..and cooking! I don’t cook a lot though, because my mom lives with us and so she does most of…okay 99% of the cooking. I do miss cooking though, because it’s something I really love doing. My stack of cookbooks are testament to this fact. Addison also really enjoys helping me in the kitchen, but we honestly don’t do it often enough. The kids are always concerned: What if Ma dies??? What will we eat? Who will cook? I usually roll my eyes….because they seem to forget I do also cook that 1% of the time. *insert eye roll* When Pan Macmillan kids sent this book to me…I squealed in delight. Addison herself was so excited and immediately made a list of the items she planned to make. This book is an amazing keepsake item….it’s filled with beautiful illustrations, and recipes that are really interesting sounding for the kids! This would be an ideal gift for your kids…and also ensure you spend some quality time together. Rabbit and Bear Series – Julian Gough and Jim Field In this laugh-out-loud funny story, a rabbit and bear discover that things are always better when they’re shared with a friend. Bear wakes up early from hibernation. If she can’t sleep, then at least she can make a snowman.  Rabbit has never made a snowman, but he definitely wants to make one that’s better than Bear’s.  However, with an avalanche and a hungry wolf heading his way, Rabbit soon realises that it might be nice to have a friend on your side. Especially when it comes to building snowmen. A tale of friendship, gravity, and just a little bit of poo. There are 3 books in this series: Rabbit’s Bad Habits, The Pest in the Nest and Attack of the Snack. This is such a delightful series and Joshua read these books flat-out in under a week. They’re just under 100 pages per book, so quite a feat I thought. It’s really an easy read and the humour???….I wouldn’t even let Joshua read with his dad, because I could not miss a page of this myself! When I told him that the 4th book was in the works…he immediately wanted to know when we could pick it up! His only complaint though, was that the illustrations are in black and white (I think they’re brilliant!), whereas the cover is in colour. He was very annoyed that Bear is black in the book and brown on the cover. I don’t know why that bugged him so much. lol. I would guess that a child upto age 9 would enjoy this series. You’re called what I reviewed this book previously….I think it’s really educational and so fun. Go check out my review over HERE if you missed it. The Everywhere Bear This is one of the first books I ever received from Pan Macmillan and I actually ended up donating it to my son’s Grade 1 class. They have a real Everywhere Bear, with the book, that goes home with a different child every few days and gets up to all sorts of adventures. Joshua has been praying to get the Everywhere Bear again to bring home….ahhh bless him. This is just a really cute book and I absolutely loved the illustrations and the rhyming story telling. Is there anything better than rhyming sentences??? If you missed this review, you can find it over HERE.    So seeing as I started and ended this post with books by Julia Donaldson….it’s only fitting that I have a Julia Donaldson book giveaway for FOUR of you! I have 4 SIGNED COPIES of The Cook and the King up for grabs! What is The Cook and the King about? There once was a very hungry king Who needed a cook like anything . . . . . . but the king is very fussy; he tries all the cooks in the kingdom, but no one is good enough. Then he spots Wobbly Bob. Maybe Bob can whip up his favourite dinner? But how will Bob be able to cook for the king when he’s scared of . . . well, everything?! Discover how the hungry king helps Wobbly Bob face his fears on a cooking adventure across the land and sea. A big thanks to Pan Macmillan Kids for providing these books for the giveaway! How to enter: Name your favourite Julia Donaldson book in the comments below. Make sure you’re following Pan Macmillan and An Ordinary Gal on Facebook. Not a requirement, but it would be great if you tagged a friend on the Facebook post.  RULES: This competition is only open to readers residing in South Africa. The giveaway will run until 17:00pm, on Friday, 30th November 2018, with a winner being selected at random shortly afterwards.  I will announce the winners of my giveaway on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, so make sure you follow me on all 3 social media platforms so you don’t miss the announcement. If no reply to my email has been received within 72hrs, a new winner will be selected. Ensure you complete the necessary steps to validate your entries. I have no choice but to disqualify any incorrect entries received. Please allow 2 to 4 weeks for delivery.      

The post Give the gift of reading!!! {Christmas Gift Guide} appeared first on An Ordinary Gal.

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Gals…..you know we love a good party here on the blog! I did a party series last year and it was pretty well received. A good friend of mine, Natalie Chetty kicked off that series, so some of you may recognise her name in this post. When I heard Natalie was having a Moana party for her daughter, Gia, I knew I needed to feature it on the blog! I knew this was going to fabulous and amazing, because Natalie cannot do anything BUT fabulous and amazing! Honestly….it was fabulous and amazing! Let’s take a shot every time I say fabulous and amazing! So unless you’ve been living under a rock, Moana was the biggest Disney movie released about 2yrs ago. I have so many videos of Adam dancing along to the music….my kids were obsessed! I knew this theme was going to be fantastic…..beach/island sort of vibes…. The possibilities are endless…. and if they are endless, I knew Natalie was going to go all out! When I received the invitation I almost lost my mind…this was such a stunning production and I think an amazing keepsake for Gia for when she’s older. Already, the invitation set the whole tone for this party. How did you choose the theme for the party? Moana has been Gia’s favourite movie, since she was 1, and still is a favourite of hers and our family. We all really enjoyed the movie! My mom so badly wanted me to have 3rd birthday party for Gia, so she was definitely a major influence as well.  Gia also knew exactly what she wanted. When we asked she would say: ‘a Moana Party‘!. The theme was pretty much a no-brainer after that.  I couldn’t wait to plan this party and bring the tropical island vibes to our family and friends. A girl who longs to explore an ocean that calls to her, her dark hair blowing in the wind and catchy melodies that you can’t help but sing along to- what’s not to love? How did you decide on that venue? I have previously used the chapel venue at Running Waters a few years back for Tamia’s frozen party (this was an event of note as well!)…and they had recently expanded with a new venue, called “The Milestone”. This venue was perfect as it had this island feel. I loved their outside enclosed garden area as well as the wooden floors and the thatched roof. I had the use of their tables, chairs and wooden drinks stand/bar. There were also palm trees that I used at the back of the candy table. The venue is just very neat and they are so professional, so they were perfect for me to work with.  What was the most standout moment for you at the party? Gia literally could not wait for her birthday party! So my daughter having the time of her life and just enjoying herself meant the most to me!  Also, the fun, laughter and happiness on the kids faces as they just had such a fun-filled day. Gia loves music and dancing, so coming from a family that has a love for dance, I thought why not do a few dance challenges at the party…  We had limbo, level up, Gqom, Bangra as well as floss challenges and the kids LOVED IT! They really were competing for the prizes and put their little hearts into it. They really went all out to win!  Special thanks to my brother, DJ Maui (not his real name, but just for Gia’s party I made him do it hahahhaha ) for keeping the beats going. Did anything go wrong? The weather was a bit scary the night before, we had lots of wind and rain, but it was something I could not control. I made peace with it… but it ended up being the perfect day with beautiful weather! Such a blessing!  Anything else that you want to mention? Thanks to all my vendors (all will be listed below) and the great support from my family and friends (oh and the weather), her day really was perfect. So grateful to my mom, dad and husband, my biggest supporters….helping me, keeping me calm…doing what needed to be done!  Thank you my beautiful friend Simone, the best blogger in PE (I swear I didn’t add this myself…lol) for loving me so much and featuring me for the second time! So humbling. Hopefully this is the last one for a while…OMG! I need a break now. I know you and Nikky will say: ‘how can you do this to us?? You can’t stop having parties!’ But….I need a break now girls! lol  My experience as a guest Firstly, I’m always so grateful when I am able to bring all my kids to a party. There’s nothing that sucks worse than needing to split up my family over an always-too-short-weekend! Natalie’s parties are such a family affair. I know this is not possible for everybody….so it’s always appreciated when that offer is extended. Secondly….gals..the venue…when you walked in….It was breathtaking! The garden outside already sets the scene…and you walk inside the venue and it’s just an island wonderland. With catered food! I mean…. nobody wants to be Tom Hanks eating coconuts on an island right? We want the cocktails and the gourmet snacks on hand! Everything really was so picture perfect. There were various candy tables, there was a drink station and even a donut wall! There was the cutest spot for the kids to sit on brightly coloured cushions while they watched the magic act, singing…or just to grab a snack. Outside there was a sand art station that my kids really enjoyed. Then the dancing challenges is where I really saw these kids come to life. I won’t lie…Addison was not super excited about going to a 3yr old’s birthday party….she’s at THAT age. However when she realised it was time to floss….she declared it the best party she’d ever been to! Also…she won the floss challenge. So my girl was super happy! lol. Lastly….what’s a party without good food and snacks? Fat Cats really came through with delicious mini sliders, wraps, snack platters, etc. We were well fed guests and probably ended up wishing we’d eaten more…if only all that flossing wasn’t so much fun, I could have spent more time eating! ha ha. We honestly had such an amazing time…I got to spend some time with my gal pals…Natalie’s parties are usually like mini friend reunions for some of us and we just have an amazing time. I think we forget it was a party for the kids! That’s a bonus though right? The thing that strikes me the most about Natalie’s parties, are the extra lengths she goes to, to make her guests feel special and included. The day is for her family and definitely for her kids….but she just goes the extra mile, where you feel valued as a guest. Like my presence there is appreciated. Final words I know so many people loved the party series last year, I knew this party would be major inspo for parents like me who appreciate a good party. So many of you messaged me when I posted pics on Instagram asking for pics and details…and you were relieved there’d be a post, so as Maui would say: ‘You’re welcome ;)’. I personally love a no party or a small party as much as I love an extravagant one. Thanks to Natalie and her family for allowing the blog to be part of the celebrations! All the fun was had! Here’s a highlight video from the party! Vendors Venue: The Milestone Cake, cake pops, biscuits, cupcakes & macaroons on Main Candy Table: Ginger Pops (Previous feature HERE) Cheesecakes, doughnuts & toffee apples on dessert table: Simply Sweet Food/some desserts: Fat Cats Catering Grass Backdrop with flowers, flower decor on party bags, bamboo wall, wooden decor, Grass runners & Wooden stand: Decor Crazy Kids table pallets: Khans events  Floor Cushions: Angelic Wonders  Flower crowns: Kary M Designs Balloon Wreath: Pretty Love Face Paint: Face Paint by Selmarie Moana Boat: Made by my colleague, Ronnie, made this just for Gia. This was his first attempt! WOW he blew us away! Sand Art: Funky Sand Art Clown: Teaspoon (he was excellent with the kids!) Photography: Odette Gerber Photography Videography {invite video & party highlights video}: Bevan Blignaut Photography

The post Gia turns 3 with the most fabulous Moana party! appeared first on An Ordinary Gal.

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