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There is so much information, tips and advice on breastfeeding, especially regarding milk supply, establishing a routine, facing challenges and more. Kicking-off your breastfeeding journey can be difficult but so can deciding to stop. It took me weeks to feel okay about weaning our toddler.

I had to look past the mom-guilt and “expert voices” telling me it will happen when Ava is ready. Ava, ready to stop nursing? Not this girl! She could have gone for at least another year (or two) but I couldn’t. At 22 months the all day buffet needed to close it’s doors…

Eliana self-weaned practically overnight at 14 months.

We decided to wean Lia at around 16 months and things went pretty easy as soon as she realised milk from a bottle flowed a lot easier – yes that’s how long she took to take a bottle.

Ava however was breastfed the longest. 22 Months and although I thought I’d go for two years, I actually realised I missed having my body to myself and after a lot of back and forth I started to gently wean her at 20 months.

* Please note I’m not a lactation specialist or breastfeeding expert of any sorts. Just a mom sharing her own approach and what weaning our 3 girls have thought me. All of them were over a year when we weaned so this post might not be of any use to a mom looking to wean a baby.

Steps we took while gently weaning our toddler:

I say “we” because I really wouldn’t have been able to wean our girls alone. Like with most (if not all) aspects of parenting, Mr. Perfect and I try to figure things out together. His support is key.

Then I also say “gentle” because over the years that has been what our parenting style has evolved to. Time has taught us not to rush and put pressure and unrealistic expectations on ourselves or our girls.

“Don’t offer, don’t refuse”

This is probably the number one tip you’ll find anywhere and it really is a good approach. I know I certainly used breastfeeding as an “easy out” when Ava was upset or I couldn’t get her to sleep so I needed to break this habit by not always offering my breast as a first solution.

Also remember, weaning does take time and it’s a big step for both mommy and baby. So, when your little needs a “milk fix” don’t simply refuse. Understand it will be a gradual processes.

So what did we do? 1. Stop nursing to sleep

I know, we shouldn’t be nursing our babies to sleep from day one but, it happens and what’s better than holding your little close to our breast as they drift away? As soon as we decided to wean I re-introduced a comforter to Ava. She’s always had her Ewan the sleep sheep as part of the bedtime routine but now she needed something extra to hold onto. Something soft and warm that smelled like mom. It would be her new “security” replacing me as her main source of comfort.

2. Drop night time feeds first

This one is tricky and sometimes the most difficult. That’s exactly why we took it on first.

Offering water instead of readily available milk takes effort and your toddler will most likely fight you on this – at least for the first couple of nights.

This is where dad plays a crucial role. I found it very difficult not to simply take out my breast when Ava was crying and tugging at my shirt. Having dad wake up to calm her instead, proved much more effective and within a week or so everyone was back to enjoying a good night’s sleep.

I actually handed over bedtime too.

The routine changed from:

bath time – massage – getting dressed – bible – story time – breastfeeding TO

bath time – massage – getting dressed – bible – breastfeeding – story time (with dad – I needed to remove myself from the room)

* Don’t worry mama, you’ll be invited back, just as soon as the sleep/feed association is broken. 3. Reduce one feed at a time

As soon as Ava felt comfortable not being nursed to sleep and wasn’t fighting dad at night I felt confident to start taking away feeds. Gradually, one-by-one.

I explained to her that mommy’s milk was done. I offered an alternative in case she was thirsty and distracted her with a story or favourite game / toy.

First night feeds disappeared, then the midday / afternoon feed and lastly our morning wakeup feeds.

* I missed our morning cuddles so much but I couldn’t hold Ava without her wanting to nurse so we needed to break our “wake-up / cuddle / feed routine”. As soon as Ava woke up I would get up too. We would have breakfast together and enjoy a cartoon or two. This went on for a month. Now when she wakes up she sneaks into our bed, holds me tight and sleeps peacefully – no breast needed. 4. Let dad help!

Be prepared for some tears (baby’s and your own) but I promise it won’t last forever. This is a big change and you need your husband’s support. You’ll need to let go and give over to dad and at times you’ll need to follow his lead.

So, if dad travels a lot be sure to wean when you know he’s home for a few weeks or so. Having a tag-team partner while weaning our toddler made a world of difference.

5. Find new ways to still have your “special time”

Nursing all of our girls was amazing. I’ll never forget those big, beautiful eyes staring up as me, their tiny hands holding my breast, their fingers lingering in my hair and the soft baby suckles that soon became toddler gulps. It’s an experience I feel blessed to have had and I feel proud of my body for doing such a good job at feeding our girls. Now it’s time to find new ways to still nurture our special bond…

It was something different for each of our girls. Eliana wanted to be cuddled close while we read stories. It always calmed her down. Lia has been our problem solver from day one and we still make special time to sit together building puzzles. Ava only weaned a month ago and are still figuring something out… For now she just wants to be held, still holding onto my breast till she’s ready to let go.

It took us just over a month to completely wean Ava with most tears being shed in the first weeks. Of course a little piece of my heart still misses breastfeeding but I am excited for our new chapter!

Always follow your own instincts and do what you know is best for yourself and your family because there never is just one “right” way. These steps worked well for weaning our toddler and I hope they will help you too – when you are ready to stop breastfeeding.

For more information on breastfeeding and other aspects of motherhood click HERE.

PHOTO CREDIT | Anje-Ilana van Dalen from Madison & West Lifestyle Division.

The post #normalisebreastfeeding: Weaning our toddler appeared first on Just A Mamma.

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We live in the beautiful city of Pretoria, South Africa. The capital! A city known for it’s warm people and purple Jacaranda streets. The only BIG city with a small town vibe. Perfect for families. We’ve spent most of our lives here and although traveling is our favourite thing to do, “Snor-city” will always be home. Today I’m listing our top places to visit with kids. Places we think you’d enjoy as a family too, especially during the school holidays.

BEST places to visit with Kids in Pretoria If you’re an outdoor family…

Cape Riding Horses provide outrides at the Voortrekker Monument. (Experienced and inexperienced riders welcome.) This is the ideal place for kids to experience horse riding for the first time.

Open Tuesday to Sunday offering daily rides.

Children aged 7 years and older allowed on the outrides, weight limit is 110kg. Booking is essential for all rides.

Website: http://caperiding.co.za/index.php/voortrekkermonument/outrides

Why not pack a picnic and spend the day relaxing, playing and exploring the lush greenery  of the Pretoria Botanical Gardens? You’ll be surprised how much the kids enjoy just being outside. Keep an eye on their events page too for the next Park Run, Open Air Movie Night, Music Show and Banting Market.

Open Mon-Sun: 08h00-18h00 (No entry after 17h00)

Remember: No bicycles, braais, skateboards or animals allowed.

Website: https://www.sanbi.org/gardens/pretoria/

Looking for something a little smaller? Zita Park is a gem hidden in the heart of Garsfontein (Cnr Zita & Len Brown street). Think old-school playground with jungle gyms, slides, swings and more. During summer kids enjoy the waterslide and paddling pool. You’ll also find clean ablution facilities and a small tuck shop but I would advice packing your own picnic and don’t forget the blankets!

We love Zita Park and definitely think it’s Pretoria’s best public park for families.

Open Mon-Sun: 08h00-18h00.

Expect to pay a small visitors fee. Warning: Weekends tend to be crowded.

Website: http://www.tshwane.gov.za/sites/tourism/Swimming-Pools/Pages/ZitaparkPaddlingPool.aspx

Want to get creative?

Clay Café at the Red Barn, Centurion is the perfect spot for a leisurely family painting day. Choose from a variety of unfired bisque pieces plus a wide selection of colourful paints to create the coolest (most unique) crockery for you to take home and treasure forever.  All while enjoying a cup of coffee, delicious freshly baked piece of cake or treats from the cafe menu. They even make their own ice cream!

Closed Tuesdays, Monday and Wednesday to Friday: 09h00 – 17h00, Saturdays and Sundays: 08h00 – 17h00

Website: https://www.claycaferedbarn.co.za/

Be entertained and inspired by one of the many plays on show for kids at the Atterbury Theatre, just be sure to book in advance.

Website: https://www.atterburyteater.co.za/shows/

A MUST for foodie-families!

Every Saturday morning the Greenlyn Village Centre, (Cnr Thomas Edison & Mackenzie street) transforms into a little food haven. Yummy smells of freshly baked breads and pastries invite you in. Dishes, produce and spices from local farmers and chefs are all on display and ready to be tasted! Buy top quality deli meats, organic veggies, coffees, teas and more all before lunch.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/hazelfoodmarket/

Something for Nature Lovers…

With an excess of 500 000 trees at any given time on the property, Willow Feather Farm is one of the largest growers of frost hardy indigenous trees in South Africa with the majority of the trees grown specifically for their Greening Program.

Let the kids run and play in their large established garden while interacting with a variety of farm animals too. Alpacas, sheep, potbelly pigs, goats, swans, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens and more can be fed and admired. Giving city kids a glimpse into farm life.

Enjoy light meals in the quaint tea garden or order one of their lovely picnic baskets to enjoy in the scenic green gardens. (Picnic baskets need to be ordered in advance).

Open 08:00 – 17:00 every day including Weekends and Public Holidays

No visitors fee for kids under 2.

Website: https://willowfeather.co.za/

I’ll be honest, I never understood the value of a zoo. My heart breaks for any animal in captivity but we live in a time where we need to protect our animals. Pretoria Zoo has the most incredible conservation program aimed at education, research and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of animals in Africa. (And the world). They do however need help. Government funding simply isn’t enough.

So, going to the Zoo is always a good idea and much appreciated by an organisation in need of our support. The Pretoria Zoo is truly wonderful with so many wildlife for the littles to see and learn about. The animals are healthy and well kept. Explore the zoo by foot, by gholf cart or even cableway. With lots of secure parking too. Do pack your own lunch but remember to stop for ice cream at the Zoo Shop – I still remember sitting on those same steps as a child.

Tickets are sold from 8:30-16:30 and the zoo closes at 17:30.

Website: http://www.nzg.ac.za/

Go for a game drive in the city… With 40km of roads within the reserve this makes for a pleasant outing with the family. Game is readily seen along the roads and includes Cheetah and Rhino. Many of the roads are tarred and in good condition. Birdhides, toilets, picnic spots and braai facilities are available along the roads too.

You’ll completely forget you’re even in the city.

Please note: Summer and Winter operating hours do vary so be sure to checkout the website below.

Website: http://www.tshwane.gov.za/sites/tourism/NatureConservation/Pages/Rietvlei-Nature-Reserve.aspx

The Irene Dairy Farm is a MUST! We’ve been there so many times, we’ve lost count. Where else in the city can you view cows being milked, pat a baby calf in the barn and stroll along pathways next to open farm fields? Look for creepy crawly bugs, try to catch butterflies… Sail paper boats down the waterway, enjoy the tree swing, jungle gyms and old tractors.

Relax at either of the two restaurants whilst the kids safely entertain themselves. Fresh air, laughter, fun and excitement – all the things needed for a good night’s rest!

Viewing of the dairy cows being milked takes place every day from approximately 14h30 to 15h30.

The Deli is open from 08h00 to 18h00 every day for farm fresh milk and other delicious treats.

THE DECK RESTAURANT: Monday to Sunday: 8am -5:30pm.

THE BARN RESTAURANT: Daily, 8am – 5pm.

Website: http://www.irenefarm.co.za/

Adrenaline Junkies how about…

Wolwespruit is a mountain bike and trail run park located in Erasmuskloof. Named after the river that runs through it, the park’s hand crafted single track trails provide a flowing and adrenaline filled adventure for beginner to advanced skilled riders, runners and hikers. Everyone is welcome, even the fur babies!

The park is fully fenced and provides a safe environment to enjoy the outdoors right in the heart of Pretoria east. At the moment the park has 23 km of MTB single track and 10 km of running trails which can also be used for walking.

Dogs are welcome to join riders, runners and walkers. Just remember the leashes and NO HELMET, NO RIDE. 

Visit Pltfrm too. Their child and dog friendly open-plan restaurant.

Open daily 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Website: https://wolwespruit.co.za/

Tarzan swing, dangle from branches, balance in the air like little monkeys and have the most incredible tree climbing experience ever! Every course at Acrobranch is designed with specific ages in mind to challenge and keep kids entertained but also safe. And in Pretoria we are lucky enough to have 3 Acrobranch locations:

  1. Acrobranch at Rosemary Hill.
  2. Acrobranch Pretoria North at Musaiek.
  3. The Big Red Barn Acrobranch near Irene.

Open Wednesday to Sunday, school holidays and public holidays 9am to 5pm. Walk-ins are welcome but booking is recommended.

Courses suitable for kids 3 years and older.

Website: https://acrobranch.co.za/kids/

A great way to learn the basics of rock climbing in a controlled and fun environment with the help of a professional instructors to guide and keep you safe. Booking is essential.

Mon-Thurs : 4pm to 10pm, Fridays :  4pm to 9pm, Saturdays : 10am to 6pm, Sundays : 10am to 6pm, Public Holidays : 10am to 6pm

No kids under 7.

Website: https://www.climbingbarn.co.za

Menlyn Park’s new in-door go-kart track. Perfect for some fast-paced fun with your teens.

Operating Hours: Mon-Sat 10Am-10Pm and Sun 10Am-6Pm

Ages 12 and up. 

Website: http://dynokarting.co.za/

Learn a new skill together as a family with skateboarding or rollerblading classes at Thrashers.

Saturdays from 09h30 to 10h30 with park access for the entire day! Booking essential.

Website: https://thrashers-skatepark.co.za/

For the sporty family…

Situated in Moreleta Park, Kimiad Golf course has a wonderful driving range perfect for hitting some golf balls as far as you can. Afterwards enjoy something to eat or drink at Rustica while the kids play on the beautiful lawns.

Open daily 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Website: https://www.facebook.com/Kimiad-Golf-Course-Driving-Range

We all know BOUNCE right? If not, then this should be your 1st stop at Menlyn Maine. It really is one of the coolest places to visit with Kids in Pretoria!

It’s just the biggest indoor trampoline park in Pretoria and home to the Supertramp, South Africa’s biggest trampoline! This 5 x 5 metre monster is like jumping around on the moon.

Other cool areas you don’t want to “bounce past” are the Free-Jump Arena, trampoline Slam Dunk, Big Bag, Dodgeball and Wall tramps in the Performance area.

In addition to all of these epic areas, Menlyn Maine features a first of it’s kind, never before seen Adventure Challenge Course called X-Park. Here, BOUNCE Menlyn Maine combines elements of climbing, jumping & free-running before zipping on the aerial runway to the finish line!

Just go. Everyone go. Mom. Dad. The kids. You can thank us later.

Open: Mon – Thurs: 12pm – 7pm. Fri: 12pm – 9pm. Sat: 9am – 9pm. Sun: 9am – 6pm. Booking essential and be sure to mention or include the age of your children when making the booking.

Please note no kids under the age of 3. Also see important info regarding Junior Jumpers HERE.

Website: https://www.bounceinc.co.za/menlyn-maine

I never knew but kids as young as 3 years old can hire skates (and a little penguin buddy) at the Ice Rink in The Grove shopping mall. We went last school holidays and the girls had a blast!

Just be sure to dress warm and take extra long, thick sock too.

Open daily: 9:00 am – 10 pm

Website: http://theicerink.co.za/wp/

A classic family outing! Make time for a round or two of put-put and loads of laughing on two large 19 hole courses with enough places to rest underneath the big trees and sunshine. Players as young as 1 years old are welcome – just remember to pack the sunscreen and hats.

Open Tuesday – Thursday 9h00 – 17h00. Friday, Saturday and Sunday 09h00 – 18h00.

Website: https://www.onestopentertainment.co.za/p/492519/putt-putt

Just for the kids!

Train Rides for young and old! Try one of the two miniature trains for a 1,2km trip around the lake. Afterwards play on the many jungle gyms, outdoor trampolines and large sandpit.

Take a spin on the Flying swings, Cup and saucer ride or Horse Carousel.

In summer the 4 swimming pools with 14 water slides are a HIT!

The small Tuck Shop on has a limited Take-Away Menu. Own food and cooler boxes are welcome.

Open Monday to Friday from 10h00 – 17h00 (during school time), Saturday to Sunday, Public Holidays and School Holidays open from 09hoo – 17h00.

This is an outdoor theme park providing little shelter from bad weather.

Website: http://cedarjunction.co.za/

If ever a place existed that had it all… THIS IS IT! Think sensory gardens, train rides, mud play, bike trails, slides, jumping, running, playing, eating!!! It’s every kid’s dream and you need to go to understand what all the hype is about!

Closed Monday. Tuesday to Friday 9am – 7pm, Saturday 9am – 7pm and Sunday 9am – 4pm.

Warning: Weekends tend to be crowded.

Website: http://www.hytotyto.co.za/

Our number one indoor place space. The girls roam free while we take a moment to breathe, have a bite to eat and talk to one another. The playgrounds are big and colourful providing hours of FUN for kids ages 0 to 12, with a special area dedicated to babies 0 to 2 years.

The friendly staff are also never far away, lending a helping hand and extra set of watchful eyes.

Closed Monday. Tuesday to Thursday: 9:00 – 17:00. Friday & Saturday: 9:00 – 18:00. Sunday: 9:00 – 14:00

Remember to wear socks! Or just buy a pair at the door.

Website: https://thefunroom.co.za/

Did we forget your favourite places to visit with Kids in Pretoria? If so, simply include it in a comment below and we’ll be sure to check it out.

And if you’re looking for more family adventure inspiration? Be sure to checkout our travel posts on UMHLANGA and KAMONANDE IN THE WATERBERG as well.

The post Places to visit with Kids in Pretoria appeared first on Just A Mamma.

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My world is still spinning and I feel honoured and excited to be an official INSTAX SA Blogger! Working with a brand that has been apart of our lives for years is a dream come true and I can’t wait to share our journey with you. First up, our review of the Fujifilm X-T100.

* Please note all of the photos used in this post – except for the ones showing the X-T100 – were taken and posted as shot. NO EDITING or COLOUR CORRECTION of any sort was used.

Let’s talk specs:
  • Weight: 583g
  • Dimensions: 121 x 83 x 47 mm
  • 24.2 Megapixels APS-C CMOS sensor that is 14 times larger than the sensor inside a conventional smartphone with a fast 91-Area Hybrid Autofocus system
  • Full HD video  with stereo sound
  • Wi-Fi + Bluetooth connectivity for instant photo transferal
  • 3 Way Tilt LCD screen
  • Touchscreen Operation
  • Electronic Viewfinder
  • Image stabilizer
  • Eye and face detection
  • Various advanced filters
  • 430 shots/charge battery life (per CIPA rating)
  • Retro look
  • Available in black, dark silver and champagne gold

Price and where to buy:

If you keep an eye out for specials and sales, you can pickup a Fujifilm X-T100 for just over R8 000.

I’m not going to pretend to be a expert. There are many X-T100 reviews by professional photographers on the internet. I’m keeping things easy to understand for fellow families and bloggers looking to buy a good entry-level camera. What we love most about the Fujifilm X-T100:
  • Image and colour quality is amazing. Rich, vibrant, crystal clear images shot after shot with minimal effort. Even our 4 year old Lia took some killer selfies.

  • The camera is small and compact. Fitting into a handbag which makes it a perfect travel camera. (I also loved having a “real camera” handy to capture treasured moments like Eliana’s first netbal match.)

  • The tilt screen makes shooting easy! Flip it horizontally when taking selfies and recording video.

OR tilt it vertically for low or high above shots like flatlays, food styling and those cute sleepy baby memories.

  • Loaded with a variety of functions and special features that are easy to use. I enjoyed playing around with the filters found in the Advanced Settings. It’s a great way to get the creative juices flowing giving you a little more confidence to start exploring more.

  • The retro look is a big plus as well. There’s just something about it that makes my vintage loving heart happy.
What better way to showcase the X-T100 video mode than with a short recording…

Find more reasons why we love the X-T100 in the video below! Also judge the image and sound quality for yourself.

* This was shot without any additional equipment. The camera has a microphone port.

Fuji XT100 review - YouTube

What could be better?

Transferring images from the camera wasn’t as quick and seamless as expected. Establishing the WiFi connection took more than one try but as soon as the two were connected things were easy.  The touchscreen also seemed to have a slight delay. I took beautiful photos of our Easter travels and great content for our blog and social media, especially when photographing objects or subject with minimal movement. Rapid movements proved trickier, even while shooting in the motion setting.

That being said, none of these aspects changed my overall positive impression of the camera.

Is the Fujifilm X-T100 a good camera?

YES, especially as an entry-level camera for individuals starting out in the world of taking good photos. The colour and image quality achieved in each shot is what sold me.  I’ve taken some of our best photos with this little camera.

In fact… Fuji SA, after one month of using the X-T100 it has become apart of me. It is my long lost limb. Now every photo taken with other cameras feels inferior plus, they simply take up too much space. Please be amazing and return the X-T100 home, I just know she’s missing me too.

Fellow Instax fans, be sure to checkout our review of the INSTAX SHARE SP-3 SQ PRINTER too – you definitely need one of them!

The post Is the Fujifilm X-T100 a good camera? appeared first on Just A Mamma.

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South Africa has some of the most beautiful and family friendly coastlines in the world. Kwazulu Natal is particularly popular due to it’s pleasant weather and warm water temperatures, year round. One of our favourite family vacation spots is Umhlanga and for the past two years, Breakers Resort has been our #1 choice.

Situated on the very end of the Umhlanga promenade, right next to the beautiful Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve, Breakers Resort offers everything a family needs while on vacation.

We usually stay in an open plan Studio apartment. These have a king size bed, one bathroom (bathtub with a shower), small kitchenette, a lounge with one sleeper couch suitable for children, some lounge chairs, a six seater dining room table and a TV with selected DSTV channels.

Eliana and Lia shared the sleeper couch and the resort provided a camp cot for Ava (be sure to book this in advance). We had a beautiful view of the ocean and resort. The unit is comfortable, cosy and perfect for a family with young children.

Things to do at Breakers Resort…

During peak season you can expect a fun daily program jam-packed with activities for the entire family. Think water ballon throwing competitions, poolside bingo, water aerobics, dog shows, magicians, a BBQ evenings, Live music, quiz night and more.

Off season things are quieter but a small hospitality team still tends to the children in their kids room on the ground floor.

Another huge bonus is the La Vita Day Spa! Also situated on the ground floor of Breakers Resort. Mr. Perfect and I took turns working in a massage, steam, mani and pedi during afternoon nap times. The spa is beautiful, with talented staff and top class treatments available.

The resort also has 4 pools! A large pool with sun chairs, kiddies pool with slides, water volleyball pool and a lap pool. Lay out on the wooden decks overlooking the forested lagoon, go trampoline jumping or mini-golfing and catch a bite to eat or coffee at Harry’s. (Lunch, snacks and beverages can also be served poolside.)

Best of all – the resort’s access to the beach!

Make your way out the security gate, down a lush wooden path onto the Umhlanga promenade.

With various access points to the beach you can decide whether you’d like to join the crowds on the main beach, walk a little further to the tidal pool or maybe go in the opposite direction towards the lagoon. It really is up to you.

We explored… Fishing amongst the rock ponds, looking for an elusive octopus in the tidal pools, building sand castles and hunting crab during low tide at the lagoon… We aren’t deep-sea swimmers and preferred sticking to the quiet beach just off the viewing deck at Breakers. The girls could wet their toes, ran in knee deep and got soaked in the shallows.

Everyday was simple, and pretty much the same…

Early mornings on the beach followed by a rinse off in one (or all) of the resort swimming pools. We enjoyed lunch from Harry’s – poolside of course – then nap time, afternoon exploring along the promenade and a sunset beach stroll home. We prepared dinner ourselves, ate together as a family, watched some bad cable, played boardgames and ended everyday snuggled together in our king size bed, reading bedtime stories.

It was amazing!

Fun places we discovered in Umhlanga

  • The girls loved seeing the Iconic Lighthouse and walking right to the edge of the Umhlanga Pier.
  • Stop for coffee at ROX Coffee Company, right on the promenade. OPEN 6am – 5.45pm everyday!
  • DON’T MISS a delicious ice-cream cone at The Italian Corner Gelateria – just off the main beach. Flavours vary daily and they are always sure to have a vegan option too.

  • Fellow girlmoms, if you’re feeling fancy – book a seat for High tea in The Palm Court at The Oyster Box Hotel. Kids are allowed but will need to be on their best behaviour – booking is essential.
  • If your little ones want to learn more about sharks – check out the Kwazulu Natal Sharks board.
  • Or why not go Whale Watching with the Umhlanga Ocean Charters? We can’t wait for all the girls to be over 5 years old – definitely a bucket list experience we are looking forward to.
  • Dependant on the age of your kids. Get your problem-solving skills going with a game of Escape Hunt! “Lost in Time” is recommended for children 12years+, but younger kids are welcome too, as long as they are accompanied by adults.
  • Wanting to checkout a mall – Gateway is just around the corner.

Don’t mind driving…
  • Visit the Umgeni River Bird Park – we haven’t been there but a few moms have recommended it.
  • Visit Monkeyland near Balito – The world’s first free roaming multi-specie primate sanctuary.
  • Ushaka Marine World truly has one of the most beautiful aquariums, not to mention the cool waterpark. Just be sure you arrive early.

These are just a select few of things to do in and around Umhlanga so, PLEASE DO SHARE your favourite spots in a comment below and I’ll be sure to add them to our list.

We can’t wait for our next family vacation in Umhlanga!

Not looking for a beach vacation? How about a  MINI-BREAK to KAMONANDE IN THE WATERBERG. Read more about our week of wildlife, campfires and smores HERE.

Special thanks to Just Jump for the girl’s adorable matchy-matchy swimwear.

The post Travel Diary | Breakers Resort in Umhlanga appeared first on Just A Mamma.

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Becoming a parent is the biggest gift one can hope for but it’s definitely not for the faint hearted… That’s probably why “it takes too to tango”. I know for sure that raising ours girls alone would be close to impossible and although I usually think I know what’s best; Mr Perfect has it covered too. I just need to take a step back and appreciate the reasons why Dads ROCK!

10 Reasons why Dads ROCK
  • Thank you for being their first…

Whether it’s being a daughter’s first love or a son’s best friend… Dads provide that very first relationship where trust, respect and love is earned, fostering a child’s sense of self worth.

  • You “see me”.

Dads have a way of looking past the developmental delays and the little things we moms tend to focus on. They simply see the little person standing before them, eager to get to know who they really are.

  • Kids thrive when dad is involved…

Countless studies have proven the benefit of having an involved dad. From better academic results, to healthier relationships, stronger morals and better social development.

  • Together we raise stronger adults!

A dad’s approach to parenting and play differs from a mom’s. We tend to prioritise being loving and providing care. Dads tend to challenge their kids in fun new ways giving them a little more space to explore, make mistakes and learn.

  • We all have more fun thanks to dad.

You are fearless and fun and don’t mind when we ruin our outfits. You let us “break the rules” and bend the routine… You’re the good cop to mom’s bad cop (and vice versa). We swing a little higher, splash a little more and scream louder when you’re around.

  • You’re breaking gender stereotypes!

It’s not the 50’s anymore. You’re not playing babysitter. It’s time to join the new generation of dads – the incredible men who are involved, taking care of the kids, making dinner, changing diapers, waking up at night and helping with homework.

  • Dads teach things mom simply wouldn’t even think of…

We may be equal but men and women are definitely not the same. We don’t think, react or see things in a similar light and therefor we will pass on different skills and life lessons to our kids.

  • You remind us what matter most.

Is staying clean really important? Do my shoes need to match my outfit? So what if life isn’t perfect… We will get things done, we will raise happy kids one day at a time.

  • You make me a better MOM!

I can be really hard on myself – sweating the small stuff, worrying about the future. Trying to be the best, struggling to do it all when it really is unnecessary.

We are a team, we are in this together. When we share the burdens, struggles and joys of parenting I find time and space to remember and take care of myself too. Asking for help, leaning on you and letting go a little more helps me be a better mother, wife and friend.

  • Our family feels whole with you by mom’s side.

We know there are women (and men) raising their children alone – you are real life heroes but, when you’re lucky enough to have a man being an involved dad (no matter the relationship status), it completes your family, especially for the little person you brought into this world together.

Dads, we salute you!

Mr. Perfect has once again teamed up with his all time favourite kids brand, Lullaby Rock Apparel and together we want to spoil one dad with his own “Rebel with a cause” sweatshirt as well as an awesome R1000 online voucher to spend on the littles!

How to enter:
  1. Please leave a comment below telling us why your baby daddy ROCKS!
  2. Follow @justamamma and @lullaby_Rock_Apparel on Instagram  AND / OR
  3. Like @justamamma and @lullabyrockclothing on Facebook.

Doing all 3 means you’ll get 3 entries into this awesome giveaway!

Feel free to SHARE this post with all your Mama friends too.

Good luck and Happy Father’s Day.

Shop all of our looks online at LullabyRock.com

A little more about the #rebelwithacause range:

“Take two mama’s with a love for fashion, each with a retail background and each with a love for all things local. ⠀
Add their children, Luke and Nova, each loved beyond measure and each with an added extra little chromosome. ⠀
Add their passion and fire to change perceptions and fight for their children’s cause…
The end result? The #rebelwithacause range. 

Beautiful “Rebel with a Cause” sweatshirts and “Be the Change” body vests. Sizes range from 0-3 months all the way up to XL adult – so the entire family can be a part of this special initiative. Profits go to Luke when purchasing from Learning from Luke & Nova when purchased from LullabyRock.com

THANK YOU to No.89Hazelwood for letting us use their awesome space to have some pre-Father’s Day fun celebrating dads. Your milkshakes and deserts were incredible – we’ll definitely be back for some food too!

PHOTO CREDIT | Anje-Ilana van Dalen from Madison & West Lifestyle Division.

Helpful info: We were dressed from head to toe in Lullaby Rock Apparel. (minus mom and dad’s pants). Ava’s turban by Annapatat Kids. Our sun glasses by Sun’s Good SA.

COMPETITION RULES: 

  1. Only entries via Instagram, Facebook and comments left below will be considered.
  2. Instagram and Facebook is in no way responsible or associated with this giveaway.
  3. You need to follow both @justamamma and @lullaby_rock_apparel on Instagram and / or Facebook to qualify.
  4. Competition only open to South African residents residing in South Africa.
  5. Winner must be 18+ years old.
  6. Competition closes on the 15th of June 2019.
  7.  The winner is picked at random and announced on the 16th of June 2019. 
  8. This prize is not exchangeable or refundable.
  9. Please enter valid email and contact info. If we can not get hold of you within 48 hours a new winner will be picked.
  10. The greatest care will be taken when mailing your prize but Just a Mamma and Lullaby Rock Apparel do not accept any responsibility for lost, stolen or damaged goods.

Find more cool “Dad content” HERE!

The post 10 Reasons why Dads ROCK with Lullaby Rock! appeared first on Just A Mamma.

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Translated from the original Stanley series by William Bee. The Stoffel series chronicles the adventures of Stoffel – an adorable little guinea pig with a can do attitude. Stoffel could be spending the day on the farm, helping at school or building a home for Miss Mouse. Yet everyday ends the same… With tea time, bath time and bedtime. Because the early reader books we read were in Afrikaans, I will be writing the review in Afrikaans too. So, if you are English, simply scroll to the bottom for our final thoughts on the series.

Wat het ons van gehou?

Die kleurvolle, eenvoudige illutrasies is nie net mooi nie maar duidelik en glad nie oorweldigend nie. Ons kroos kon almal “self lees” en het geweet wat op elke bladsy gebeur. Ons jongste, Ava (23 maande) was veral betower deur die helder kleure en vrolike diere maats.

Saam met die groot font en eenvoudige teks was Eliana (ons Graad 1), opgewonde om hierdie reeks aan te durf. Die eenvoudige storielyn het haar gehelp om sin te maak van nuwe onbekende woorde en dit is eintlik nog ‘n rede waarom ons hou van die Stoffel reeks… Jong lesers kan die sigwoorde self lees maar word ter selfde tyd uitgedaag en blootgestelling aan ‘n ryk woordeskat en teen volgende jaar, die tyd, lees Eliana hierdie boekies vlot.

Die temas, onderliggende waardes en “kan-doen” ingesteldheid van Stoffel maak dat kinders met die reeks identifiseer en sommer baie lief word vir Stoffel. Ons meisies was opgewonde om te sien wat se avontuur op Stoffel wag met elke boek.

Die voorspelbare einde wat altyd herhaal “Teetyd! Badtyd! En slaaptyd! Goeienag, Stoffel.” gee aan elke storie ‘n gelukkige einde en los die jong lesers tevrede en self reg om in te kruip. Daarom beveel ons Stoffel ook aan as ‘n wonderlike slaaptyd reeks vir peuters en kleuters. Selfs klein Ava verstaan dat Stoffel se dag verby is, net soos haar eie, en ons almal moet nou gaan slaap.

Moontlike verbeteringe:

Hierdie boek is regtig ideal vir jong lesers en al ons dogtertjies het dit vreeslik geniet so, dit was moeilik om fout te vind. Eliana het wel gesukkel om die letter “a” te identifiseer as gevolg van die font wat gebruik is maar het vinning gewoont geraak daaraan.

Titels beskikbaar: Stoffel se Skool

Dis ‘n skooldag en daar is baie om te doen! Die kinders gaan na stories luister, leer tuinmaak, skilder en middagete geniet – alles op een dag! 

Author: William Bee
Category: Children & Youth
ISBN: 9780798177931
Format: Soft cover, 32pp Stoffel se Garage

Stoffel moet al weer iemand met ‘n kar help. Sal hy al die karre wat stukkend is kan regmaak? 

Author: William Bee
Category: Children & Youth
ISBN: 9780798177948
Format: Soft cover, 32pp Stoffel die Bouer

Stoffel werk vandag hard. Hy bou vir sy vriendin ‘n nuwe huis. Roffel help hom, want daar is so baie om te doen! 

Author: William Bee 
Category: Children & Youth
ISBN: 9780798177955
Format: Soft cover, 32pp Stoffel die Boer

Stoffel moet saad op sy plaas saai, maar sal dit groei? Freek en Frikkie gaan hom help! 

Author: William Bee 
Category: Children & Youth
ISBN: 9780798177924
Format: Soft cover, 32pp Would we recommend these Early Reader Books?

Yes. The stories are easy to follow and give insight into topics that most young kids are already interested in. Paired with adorable illustrations, familiar characters that make regular appearances and an endearing friend in Stoffel, these are sure to be a firm favourite.

I would definitely add Stoffel to your home library.

Publishers: Human & Rousseau
Price (incl. VAT): R 120.00 – Available at leading bookstores in South Africa as well as Takealot.com

The Stoffel series is also available in English. Simply look for Stanley.

Disclosure: NB Uitgewers sent us these early reader books to review.
I was not paid to do this. All opinions are my own.

For more BOOKS WE LOVE click here. Also please tell us what you though of our review… Would you like to see more of these? Any books in particular you struggle to find? Maybe you would like more Afrikaans suggestions? Be sure to leave a comment below and also share this post with other parent – it’s so easy, simply click on the social share buttons at the bottom – you can even send a WhatsApp link to Ouma – books are always the best way to spoil the grandkids.

PHOTO CREDIT | Anje-Ilana van Dalen from Madison & West Lifestyle Division.

The post Early reader books: Die Stoffel storie reeks appeared first on Just A Mamma.

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Just A Mamma Blog by Mari-louise - 2w ago
{*This post is not sponsored but may contain affiliate links.}

Dads matter! In our home Mr. Perfect adds the fun to our routine, calms the abundance of oestrogen, keeps my #momguilt in check, makes us feel protected and taken care off. We are equals but different and together we make up the perfect parenting team. That’s exactly why we love spoiling him come Father’s Day and this is our list of the Best gifts for Dad!

Best gifts for Dad: The Foodie!

  1. Oryx Desert Braai Salt to season with perfection.  Available from Faithful to Nature – R48.
  2. Who doesn’t like a good pickled onion? It goes well with just about anything. Definitely give Ché Gourmet Korean Pickled Onions a try.  R99 from Faithful to Nature
  3. Sauce it up with the delicious Clarks Kitchen range.  Also from Faithful to Nature – R59 each.
  4. If Dad likes to cook, then he’ll love an Instant Pot! Cook healthy food fast. You can make almost anything in this multi-cooker, offering a variety of smart cooking programs while replacing 7 common cooking appliances in your home. At the moment Faithful to Nature  have them discounted and selling for R1899.09
Best gifts for Dad: The Coffee lover!

  1. WARNING: You may not stop eating these… The Eat Naked, Dark Chocolate Coffee Cups are addictive and totally affordable at R27.50 at Faithful to Nature.
  2. A good cup of coffee should be enjoyed with a tasty rusk. The Eureka Muesli Rusks are our favourite. (R48 Faithful to Nature.
  3. Of course we couldn’t forget about the coffee…Bean There Fair Trade coffee stands for good, ethically sourced, African coffee from Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. Now you can enjoy your mom-fuel even more, knowing every cup is growing the African economy. Mr. Perfect is a coffee snob and he gives Bean There coffee a thumbs up too! Also available from  Faithful to Nature for R99.
  4. Taking that cup to go? The Stojo collapsible cup is a must have. Small enough to fit in dad’s pocket. Unlike other bulky travel mugs, your Stojo can quickly be collapsed, and expanded. Thanks to this unique design, it’s convenience factor now matches those awful single-cups, without destroying the environment. The Stojo Collapsible Cup: making a difference made easy. R199, again Faithful to Nature.
  5. Preeze’s Biobased Coffee Capsules are totally home compostable, thanks to the renewable materials from which they are made. All of the convenience, and freshness without any of the unnecessary waste from typical single use coffee pods. R97 for 10 x 5,5 gram Capsules at Faithful to Nature.
Best gifts for Dad: The Styler!

  1. How about some beautiful, hand crafted leather goods from FOM. Freedom Of Movement is a proudly South African lifestyle brand  created by brothers with a passion for design and entrepreneurship. Their range of bags, wallets and accessories isn’t just stylish but also amazing quality. You can’t go wrong with anything from their collection. Find the various prices online on their website.
  2. Socks is a cliché but for good reason when they are this trendy. Sexy Socks have a funky mix of classic yet trendy styles to choose from. For only R155 per pair Faithful to Nature, why not spoil dad with a few.
  3. Get sentimental with Little Fingers Prints. Handmade pure silver jewellery. The adorable personalised cufflinks (R1255) or keyring (R895) is something dad’s sure to treasure forever. I can already see Mr. perfect walking our girls down the isle, wearing his handprint cufflinks.
  4. Is dad a jet setter? The FOM travel wallet is handy and cool. R395.
  5. Lastly, a good pair of shoes! Again FOM designed the coolest “vellies” (R1595) and if you’re looking to splurge… The SIXKINGS hightops (R2500) are sure to help dad put his best foot forward.
Best gifts for Dad: The Groomer!

  1. Start every day fresh and clean shaven with Pure Beginnings Refreshing Shave Crème. (Only R104.95)
  2. Maybe dad prefers a beard? get him the Hairy Eye’s “Bullet” Beard Care gift pack. It includes an all-natural beard balm, beard oil and beard & body soap, packed in a compact branded stainless steel tin that doubles as a shaving bowl. The perfect gift for only R292.50 – Faithful to Nature.
  3. Not into cremes? Try the Significant Organics shaving oil. With ingredients like Marula, sweet almond and Rosehip oils. These ingredients work to keep the skin soft, supple and hydrated; giving a close shave without the irritation, redness or bumps. R169 – Faithful to Nature.
  4. Or treat dad to a day of pampering at you closest Sorbet Man. Find their directory HERE.
Best gifts for Dad: The “Player”!

  1. Buy a 10265 LEGO® Creator Expert Ford Mustang for R2,299.99 between 10 and 16 June and get a 75884 LEGO® Speed Champions 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback valued at R269.99 for FREE! Now you can play WITH dad.
  2. Brighten up dad’s workday with LEGO® stationary. R89.99
  3. Let dad enjoy his favourite beverages from the LEGO® 255ml Ceramic Mug. Shaped like the iconic minifigure head, printed with a fun smiley face. If happiness was a cup, this would be it! R259.99
  4. Add a notebook too! There are so many to choose from. R179.99
  5. And don’t forget a LEGO® pencil case. R109.00

All these are available on the LEGO® Great Yellow Brick Road website.

We’ve tried to make things super easy… All the words highlighted in pink? Simply click on the desired item or brand and be taken to the various online stores where you’ll find the gift you’re looking for. Select, pay, deliver and there you have it, Father’s Day 2019 done and dusted!

The post The Best gifts for Dad appeared first on Just A Mamma.

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Can one ever have enough cute baby outfits? The answer is NO! Dressing our babes in the cutest gear is a mama’s privilege and one proudly South African kids brand you need to know is ForevaV. Suzie de Carvalho is the incredibly talented girlmom behind this luxe fashion brand.

Why ForevaV?

Named after her daughter, Eva Valentina. Suzie wanted to create a South African based label stocking shoes, knitwear, apparel and accessories designed in South Africa by Suzie herself. Made with the highest quality organic fabrics and premium leathers, lovingly crafted with the finest workmanship.

Is ForevaV a proudly South African kids brand?

Yes! At first the kid’s collection was made overseas but as the business has grown so has Suzie’s dream and commitment to building the local economy by supporting trade and craftsmanship within the community. At the moment the majority of garments, as well as all the leather diaper bags are 100% locally made with the exception of a few accessories.

As the seasons pass and ForevaV grows so will Suzie’s goal of all items being made solely in South African.

Now onto my TOP PICKS from ForevaV…

No one does stylish baby shoes quite like ForevaV. Available in soft- and rubber soles. These shoes are cute, comfy and should actually come in grownup sizes too! Don’t you love the touches of glitter in the girl’s range?

Adorable shoes available in sizes 0-3 up to 18-24 months.

For this season’s winter collection ForevaV has stuck to rich tones with loads of pretty details. The bows, frills and sparkle has every girlmama swooning.

Bows, ruffles, glitter and gold -just the right amount of sparkle for your little princess.

Classic styles in muted tones make for the perfect little staples in any boy’s wardrobe. I loved the denim jacket so much, I bought Ava one too. The black hooded onesie is next on our list.

Stylish options for the boys too.

ForevaV is not just for the littles…

With a range of stunning leather diaper bags, mom can spoil herself too. Designed by a mom for moms, these bags aren’t just gorgeous but practical too and when those diapering days are over – simply use it as a handbag.

Genuine leather diaper bags available in various colours.

Because Suzie is such a “girl’s kind of girl” she’s spoiling one lucky follower with a clutch of their choice!

WIN a beautiful 100% genuine leather diaper clutch for yourself AND A FRIEND!

Perfect for on the go moments. Slip it into your handbag with the right amount of diapers, throw in a tube of bum cream and you’ve got yourself a compact little item that won’t take up too much space when you’re on the move.

Available in:

– Hazelnut Two Tone, Black, Bovine Pepper and Black & Kudu Rust.

How to enter:

  1. Leave us a comment below telling us what colour clutch you would like.
  2. Make sure you follow ForevaV on Facebook or Instagram (both would be fab too).
  3. Follow me on either (or both) if you like, but it’s not compulsory. (@justamammablog or @justamamma)
  4. For extra entries be sure to enter on either this Facebook post or this Instagram post as well.

The giveaway ends on Monday, the 3rd of June 2019.

Be sure to checkout the ForevaV online store too. This is definitely a Proudly South African kids brand worth supporting.

For more proudly South African kids brands have a look at our ULTIMATE LIST OF PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN CLOTHING BRANDS FOR KIDS HERE.

COMPETITION RULES: 

  1. Comments left below and on the applicable social media posts count as valid entries.
  2. Instagram and Facebook is in no way responsible or associated with this giveaway.
  3. Competition only open to South African residents residing in South Africa.
  4. Winner must be 18+ years old.
  5. Competition closes on the 31st of May 2019.
  6.  The winner is picked at random and announced via social media and this blogpost. 
  7. This prize is not exchangeable for cash or refundable.
  8. Please enter a valid email and contact info. If we can not get hold of you within 48 hours a new winner will be picked.
  9. The greatest care will be taken when sending your prize but Just a Mamma and ForevaV, do not accept any responsibility for lost, stolen or damaged goods.

The post Add a touch of sparkle with Proudly South African kids brand ForevaV appeared first on Just A Mamma.

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I have loved featuring all the different moms this month. From “Slaying Social Media” to “Taking care of themselves” (and their families) and also treasuring motherhood. I have learnt a lot and feel inspired. Not because I want to be a better mom but rather because while getting to know all these incredible women I have come to realise WE ARE ALL ALREADY the best mamas for our little ones – we just need to realise it too.

Maybe today’s final feature while help you see that as well… Four very different moms, all finding their unique ways to embrace and align their lives with their role as mothers.

Creative #girlmom Leandrie from Poppit & Finch is the 1st mama in today’s feature.

Photos by Genevieve Fundaro

Leandrie is a talented and experienced photographer. (You can see her eye at work capturing Ava’s Frida Kahlo inspired 1st birthday HERE.) After years in the industry, photographing beautiful celebrations and meeting the most amazing suppliers she finally decided to launch Poppet & Finch. A party blog intended to inspire others! Especially mamas and their littles.

Why the name Poppit & Finch?

I wanted to create a playful, fun brand that would resonate with everyone’s inner child. Something appealing to both boy and girl moms. Together with my designer we brought two little “party friends” to life…

  • Poppit, the tea drinking, cupcake baking, ballet dancing, always giggling little bunny (very much like my daughter) and
  • Finch, the ball kicking, tree climbing, bug searching, mud on his cheek little puppy.  

Both these animals hold a special place in my heart sprouting from my own childhood memories.

You help so many families capture their memories. How do you make sure you treasure yours too?

We do a family photoshoot once a year. I make sure to develop the print and we love seeing these special photographs in our home.

Photos by Genevieve Fundaro

5 Tips for moms wanting to take beautiful photos of their own kids.
  • Find the best natural light – open your windows and doors.
  • Be aware of your background – it’s easier to move something than to edited it.
  • Play with angles – move around, get low and high.
  • Be patient – if they are not in the mood, you will most likely never get a smile.
  • Have FUN – tell them a story or ask some questions, you will get real emotions, instead of a big cheese.
What would be the perfect Mother’s day gift for yourself this year? 

Some bath products from Lush, maybe a few macaroons from Nicole’s Macaroons and I wouldn’t mind adding a pair of Blu Betty boots to my collections.

Let Leandrie inspire you even more by following Poppit & Finch on Instagram and Facebook and their Blog.

The next mama captured my attention with the fantastical photos she creates… Monique from Letters to my Wildling

This first time mama to their beautiful 2 year old boy (and “bonus mom”, as Monique likes to call herself) to an 11 year old girl and 14 year old boy only started sharing their lives with the world last year. The Letters to my Wildling blog launched in April of this year – 2019. I love the way Monique celebrates her kids AND she also shares such fun craft ideas – take note mamas.

Why did you start your blog?

Passionate about writing – especially to and about loved ones – I started my blog as a platform where I could write open letters to my boy about our life together. How he makes me feel, the ups and the downs, and our special journey together.

The idea is to one day give him the account details so that he can go “back in time” and read how special our life’s journey was for me and see that I treasured every little milestone, experience and obstacle that we faced together.

Why the name Letters to my Wildling?

Our account has gone through quite a few name changes but “Letters to my Wildling” describes us the best!

I chose the name based on our boy’s wild, curious, fearless yet sweet and friendly personality. His personality reminded me of a wildling – a curious soul dancing to his own beat, always up for a new adventure. 

You make motherhood seem fun! How do you find time and inspiration for all your posts and DIY activities?

Motherhood is fun! It’s easy to make it look like fun when you are in fact, having the time of your life.

We have a very busy little boy, who needs constant stimulation. So, I learned very early on that I was going to have to keep him busy or else he will keep me busy. I look for ideas when he’s fast asleep and I have to admit having access to the internet really simplifies it for us moms.

Pinterest and monthly subscription boxes have helped me a great deal since they not only give you access to many amazing ideas, they also help spark your own ideas.

We have a routine which has helped a lot too.

  • Make Something Monday,
  • Read Something Tuesday,
  • Wacky Wednesday,
  • Tasty Thursday and
  • Messy Play Friday.

This really helps me find ideas and stay focussed. It also ensures that we keep it interesting and fun for the both of us.

5 DIY ideas to show mom she’s special any day of the year.

I’m all about being practical and find activities that are a fun bonding experience for mother and child, but will also create something to serve as a daily reminder of how special mom is. Hopefully by seeing these objects in and around the house it will bring back the special memories made while creating them together.

  • Clay Jewellery Dishes

This activity is simple but special and there are so many different options to choose from.

Firstly you would have to choose what kind of jewellery dish you want to create. Make a clay footprint bowl, handprint jewellery bowl or just a simple jewellery dish. Using air dry clay would be the easiest, but you could use any clay.

  1. Roll the clay into a ball and then flatten using a rolling pin. (It’s easier to roll it out on baking paper so that you can move it with ease).
  2. Make your print in the clay foot- or handprint. Be sure to get a good imprint.
  3. Cut the clay to your needs –  If you’re doing a handprint dish you can cut the hand out. If you are doing a simple jewellery dish you can just shape the clay into a bowl. (Use a small bowl, cover it with some plastic wrap and shape your bowl in there).
  4. Let the clay dry. If you are using air dry clay you can let them dry overnight. Salt clay you can either be let to dry outside or baked in the oven.
  5. Once your dish has dried, let your baby, toddler or child paint it to make it even more special.
  • DIY Bath bombs

This activity is a bit more challenging but definitely worth it.

You’ll need baking soda, citric acid, corn starch, Epsom salt, food colouring and essential oil of your choice.

  1. Mix 200 grams of baking soda, 100 grams of citric acid, 100 grams or corn starch, and 100 grams of Epsom salt using a whisk. Get all of the lumps out.
  2. Then mix a ¾ tablespoon of water, 20 drops of your chosen essential oil and 1-2 drops of food colouring (colour of your choice) in a separate bowl.
  3. Slowly stir your wet ingredients into the dry ingredient bowl. If it starts fizzing you need to stop.
  4. Once your ingredients are mixed you need to test the consistency by pinching it together or rolling a ball. The mixture needs to hold shape.
  5. Place your mixture into a mould of your choice – heart, star, ball – whichever you prefer. Make sure that its tight!
  6. Let them sit overnight to dry, then carefully take them out of the mould and enjoy.

  • Reason Jar

Directed at older kids – this activity will definitely ensure that mom feels special every day.

  1. Have your child decorate an empty jar – let them use their own imagination to decorate it. Paint it, use stickers or cover it with a drawing of their own.
  2. Help your child decide what they want to write about. 20 Reasons why I have the best mom, 12 Ways to know I have the coolest mom, 40 Reasons why I love mommy – these are just a few ideas.
  3. Write as many things down as possible. At least 12 – one for each month.
  4. Cut out the writings, fold them and place them into the jar.

* If you have a younger child ask him/her to tell you why he/she thinks that mom is the coolest. You can write them down for them.

  • Handprint/ Footprint oven mitt, dish towel or apron

This gift is great for mom, but would also make a lovely gift for grandma. Personalise an oven mitt, dish towel or apron by painting a hand or footprint picture onto it. You can add a name and even ask your child to paint his/her own message/picture onto the material.

For grandma make handprints of all the grandchildren and name them. If you want something truly different why not make a mommy and me matching apron? Paint your handprint with a special message onto a smaller apron and allow your child to make his handprint and paint a special message/picture onto your apron.

Remember it doesn’t matter how messy it looks – its about the experience, the memories more so than the gift.

  • Personalised tray

This activity is probably the easiest activity and can be used for many more special occasions. It can even become a bit of a tradition.

  1. Paint a tray with black board paint and let it dry.
  2. Let your child write/draw a special message or picture with some chalk and date it.
  3. Every year you can take a photo of the message or drawing and this can be used for Christmas, mother’s day, birthdays, etc.
What would be the perfect Mother’s day gift for yourself this year? 

I guess saying to sleep-in would be a bit of a cliché, even though that really would be on top of my list. Other than that – just a fun day out with my little family.

Follow Monique and Aryan’s adventure on their Blog, Instagram and Facebook.

More than a fashionista, Louzelle the mama behind Momsy

I met Louzelle years ago, even before the world knew her as the momboss behind Momsy – a stylish, proudly South African fashion label that celebrates moms, breastfeeding and being a woman. Louzelle has always had an air of sophistication, beauty and calm about her. Something that can’t be described in words. You feel it in her presence. It’s connected to her love for her husband and boys, and the passionate way she dedicates all she does to the Lord. I look up to her in so many ways…

What inspires you in motherhood as well as the garments you design?

The way I mother is inspired by our family (circumstances, personalities, visions etc) as well as God’s heart for me as a mother. I try to align our family’s needs and desires with God’s plan.

The inspiration behind the garments I design for Momsy is my own love for fashion, trends and also our mama following and their needs. The fashion we love, is not necessarily mom friendly, so we look at trendy items and then just add a bit of mama to it, with a classic flair.

Why did you move to Spain for a year?

My husband is doing his MBA at IE University in Madrid. It’s a full time 1 year Masters.

He decided to do this abroad for the experience and networking opportunity. It is also one of the best rated universities internationally and he really wanted to make it worth the while.

How has the change been? Any challenges or blessings you’ve experienced?

HUGE! Much bigger than we imagined. It has ups and downs but a lot more ups!

We enjoy having to “make a way”, when it seems impossible. Going through challenges, just us four, has been hard but such a blessing. We’ve learned to lean on each other, ask for help, speak when needed and really work together as a team!

We focus on the things that really matter.

Not knowing what the future holds, and having a temporary home has also taught us to trust in the Lord even more.

What keeps you motivated every day?

My family and relationship with God. They say you can’t do the “what” without the “why” and I am a firm believer of that. At times when I feel like giving up. Or I find myself searching for meaning. I always refer back to my “why” – my family and passion. I want to make them proud and I want to take this passion the Lord has put in my heart and also make Him proud.

What would be your perfect Mother’s Day gift?

I used to be a gift person until I realised that I don’t actually love gifts, but rather the trouble and thoughtfulness that person has gone through getting me something special – just for me. So it’s more about the action.

If I could choose, I’d take a day full of spoils from my 2 boys and husband!

Follow Louzelle and Momsy their Blog, Instagram and Facebook.

Last mama for this year’s May Momspirations; Nicke from Pediatrics and Playdough

Wife to André and mom to Eran, their 20 month old son. Together this little family of 3 moved to Belgium at the end of August 2018. Just 2 weeks before Eran’s first birthday. It’s their biggest adventure to date and we’re all welcome to follow along for the ride…

Nicke led an extremely busy life before pregnancy. In between 36 hour shifts, studying and research papers (her hubby doing the same) – they barely saw one another. Eran’s timing was perfect – born at the end of her residency.

I thought my career would take the back seat, but in reality he’s teaching me how to be a better, more empathetic paediatrician. It feels so good to be out of the rat-race for a while, learning to trust God more, love my husband better, to be a more patient mother, and to run my home more efficiently.

When and why was Peditrics and Playdough founded?

Pediatrics & Playdough was founded in December 2017.

I opened a public Instagram account (flutterby_za) to document my pregnancy and to get inspired by other moms. I really enjoyed being part of the Instagram community but felt like I wanted to contribute more.

I have always enjoyed writing and it gave me a goal to work towards during those first few months of life with a newborn. My passion is to help other parents understand more about the what, why and how of these tiny humans, while raising my own. Blogging is the best way to do so. It’s also a way for me to keep up-to-date with the latest research and build a library of “good advice” for my future patients.

Peditrics and Playdough showcases both my calling as a mother, as well as my career. The “Playdough” part is inspired by my passion for the healthy development of a child’s gross motor, fine motor, visual, speech and language and emotional worlds through play.

What has been the biggest challenge moving abroad?

To leave all our friends and family behind. They were such a big part of our lives.

I am sad that they don’t see Eran’s cute antics as he grows. Thank goodness for video-calling!

We also had winter for almost a full year… I am so happy that the days are finally becoming warmer and sunnier here.

What has been the biggest unexpected blessing..
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A house becomes a home thanks to all the love and memories made by the ones that live their. Our home is full of giggles, full of ruckus and now we’ve started collecting beautiful meaningful artwork too. One of our most treasured pieces is a recent addition from puli. Prints… A watercolour family portrait!

I love how Fabienne captured a little piece of our souls in this fun illustration by emphasising subtle features like Mr. Perfect’s broad shoulders, Lia’s petite frame, Eliana’s independence and Ava looks like she’s about to wiggle out of dad’s arms. Simplistic, yet so US!

But who is puli. Prints?

Fabienne Krusekopf is the talented mama of two behind puli. prints. Founded out of a love for drawing and illustration back in 2016. The name Puli, (pronounced “Pulley”) is actually a nickname that was given to Fabienne while growing up. To this day, the name has stuck and Fabienne’s family still call her Puli.

Being outside, especially as the sun sets, or hearing a favourite song gets Fabienne’s creative juices flowing. From adorable pink mice to fantastical wall murals – this mama spreads joy whenever she picks up a brush and doing family portraits is her absolute BEST!

TOP TIP from Fabienne mom-to-mom: As moms how do you get creative with your kids?

Try to get as into the messy play as they do. Physically getting down to their eye level and being present with them. We have no boundaries when it comes to anything arty (other than staying outside with the super messy and sticky stuff). Also always remember to put on music that makes them groove and feel more free. 

What would be the perfect Mother’s day gift for yourself this year?

A FULL day and night off. I SERIOUSLY need to do something nice for myself soon. Having had our daughter born at 27 weeks and being in hospital for over three months (along with her having open heart surgery and barely making it through that) really took its toll on me, trying to juggle hospital life and expressing every three hours and home life with a (then) just over two year old. I haven’t had a moment off to myself since.

How can I have a family portrait done?

Illustrated portraits take 2 days. Simply pop Fabienne an email at fabskruz@gmail.com or send her a DM on Instagram @puli_prints. Remember to include a few family photos as reference. Don’t worry if you don’t have the perfect pic. Fabienne can help advice you on the best photos and together you’ll definitely come up with something amazing.

The cost of a family portrait varies:

Couples – R350.

Family of 3 to 4 loved ones – R450.

Larger Families of 5 to 10 loved ones – R650 (What an incredible gift for grandparents.)

Now it’s your turn to have a family portrait done by Puli Prints!

WIN an Illustrated Family portrait AND 3 beautiful wall prints for your kid’s room. 

How to enter:
  1. Leave us a comment below telling us what you think of these family portraits by PULI prints.
  2. Make sure you follow Puli Prints on Facebook or Instagram (both would be fab too).
  3. Follow me on either (or both) if you like, but it’s not compulsory. (@justamammablog or @justamamma)
  4. For extra entries be sure to enter on either this Facebook post or this Instagram post as well.

The giveaway ends on Friday, the 31st of May 2019.

COMPETITION RULES: 

  1. Comments left below and on the applicable social media posts count as valid entries.
  2. Instagram and Facebook is in no way responsible or associated with this giveaway.
  3. Competition only open to South African residents residing in South Africa.
  4. Winner must be 18+ years old.
  5. Competition closes on the 31st of May 2019.
  6.  The winner is picked at random and announced via social media and this blogpost. 
  7. This prize is not exchangeable for cash or refundable.
  8. Please enter a valid email and contact info. If we can not get hold of you within 48 hours a new winner will be picked.
  9. The greatest care will be taken when sending your prize but Just a Mamma and Puli Prints, do not accept any responsibility for lost, stolen or damaged goods.

* For more Mother’s May giveaways be sure to visit our GIVEAWAY section too.

The post WIN: Have a family portrait done by Puli Prints appeared first on Just A Mamma.

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