Decorating our Playhouse

We recently installed an outdoor wooden playhouse, designed and manufactured by the amazing Charlie’s Playhouses.

We have been having a ball decorating the playhouse, adding little touches and generally making the interior a pretty space for the Twincesses.

I must say I probably enjoy the decorating part a bit more than the girls, and as I add a new decor piece, I always think back to how awesome my own childhood would have been with a dreamlike playhouse like theirs. Living vicariously, I guess 🙂

So I wanted to share some of the cute and functional details we added, but bear in mind, this is still a work in progress. I doubt it will ever be complete, really, as I’m sure the furniture and decor will ‘grow’ with the kids, and we will add and remove as we go along.

For now, this is what the interior looks like:

  1. DECOR PIECES:

We went with cute little sleepy eyes in pink and gold and a beautiful dream catcher in pink satin sourced from Shongweni market. A grey bunny door hook and a ‘love’ plaque from MRP Home.

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Adorable self-adehsive Ballerina sticker collection, ‘LOVE’ wooden letters and Princess canvas from MRP Home.

Pink and grey bunting custom made locally by Heather’s Buntings.img_6098-2

Pretty heart stickers in silver (made these myself) and happy cloud cushions, also from MRP Home.

The kiddies ottomans were bought second hand.

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2. STORAGE:

We always knew storage was going to be a major concern, as the Twincesses have TOO MANY TOYS. I didn’t want the playhouse to look cluttered and chaotic, so we have not one but TWO toy storage organizers.

The first one from MRP Home is a pretty pink design with convenient plastic storage boxes that can be used to not only store, but also sort toys. The girls are then able to just take their favorite box to their desk to easily access their chosen toys.

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Their other toy organizer was gifted by their aunt, and they love it because its FROZEN!

The boxes are fabric, but durable and the side panels are in rich, glossy color and is scratch-resistant.

3. FURNITURE

One of the first items we purchased for the playhouse was a large wooden kitchen from Kings Toys. We had looked at the options in stores and Takealot, but they were just so small! I wanted the girls to have something they could enjoy for years to come, and Kings Toys provided just that! Their kitchen is made in pink and white with an oven, stove top, microwave, fridge/freezer, clock, chalkboard, hang rail and plenty of storage.

We kitted it out with an array of toys: toasters, coffee machine, pots and pans, fruit basket and lots and lots of dishes, all found within the aisles of Toys R Us.

We invested in some beautiful wooden items like the Melissa and Doug 3 layer birthday cake. The cake comes with decorative items, , candle, cake board and server. The girls love singing Happy Birthday to everyone and offering them a slice of cake. This particular cake can be ‘cut’ and velcro-ed back together.

Theo from Mr Tickles also went out of her way to source the Viga wooden eggs for me, and I am so grateful. I highly recommend the store for beautiful and quality toys. img_6124-2

The playhouse wouldn’t be complete without a spot for the Twincesses to draw, colour, do puzzles and ‘eat’ whatever they ‘cook’.

I found this table and chair set on Takealot and was so pleased when I saw that it matches their FROZEN toy organizer exactly, right down to the same high-gloss, scratch-resistant finish. We do have some squabbles over who gets to sit on the ‘Elsa’ chair, but they generally don’t last long as there is so much to keep the girls busy.

There are still two items I am yet to source, which I think will make perfect additions to our playhouse: One is a few floating book ledge shelves. Because the Twincesses love their books!

The second are these gorgeous house shelves for storing pretty keepsakes and adding another decorative element. I’d welcome recommendations for a local company that makes these items.

If you are looking for a way to keep your kids entertained for hours on end, I’d definitely recommend giving Charlie’s Playhouses a call on 076 106 0612.

And if you do, please do share your decor ideas with me! 😉

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5 Tips to keep kids Rear Facing as long as possible #CarSeatFullStop

You’re probably already aware that having your kids in a rear-facing car seat is much safer than forward facing, right?

A 2007 study in the journal Injury Prevention found that children under age two are 75% less likely to die or to be severely injured in a crash if they are rear-facing, while other studies have confirmed that riding rear-facing is much safer than forward-facing.

American Academy of Pediatrics now advises parents to keep their children in rear-facing car seats until at least age two, but preferable longer (until age 4) if your car seat weight and height limits allow for it.

But one of the biggest reasons that parents (even those in the know) prematurely forward-face their care seats is that their toddlers just don’t like it. I’ve heard friends tell me about the epic tantrums their kids throw when their seats are rear faced.. One even had to stop her car en-route to the grocery store, just to turn the seat around because her daughter would not stop screaming hysterically and she just couldn’t concentrate on driving with her daughter in that state.

So I’d like to share 5 tips on how to keep your kids Rear Facing for as long as safely possible:

1. DON’T Forward Face. It may seem like a no-brainer, but if your child doesn’t know of an alternative, they can’t as well protest!
It’s import that family members, babysitters and anyone else who may drive your kids, are aware of this strict policy… as having your child ride forward face – even once – lets them know there is another option available.

2. Sing along songs/ audio books. Distraction is key. Whether it be their favorite nursery rhymes CD, or their most loved story in an audio book format, I find that distracting my kids on their trips usually means I face less protest about being in their car seats.

3. Rear view mirror. Available at most baby stores, the mirror allows you to keep an eye on your child whilst rear facing, but also importantly, allows your baby to glimpse your face when positioned well. We used ours to calm fussy babies, by making brief eye contact and as they’re older, letting them play peek-a-boo!

4. Big Girl/ Boy discussions. I find that my girls just love when I sit them down for a “Big Girl Talk”. They get all serious, like they’re being allowed into the inner circle of grown-ups, and they seem to take the lessons handed out in our “Big Girl Talks” very earnestly. Big Girl/Boy topics can include all the serious matters you want to discuss with your child, from Stranger Danger to the importance of sharing, and how to treat animals. But why not also include a session for Car Seat Safety? During our talk I stressed how much we loved them, how people can get hurt very badly in car accidents, that we didn’t want them to get hurt, and the best way to stay safe was to sit in their car seat facing the back as it was the safest way to travel..
I found they appreciated being trusted with that knowledge, and I rarely have any qualms about them getting into their car seats now.

5. Make it a habit. Consistency is vital! Again, kids should not be given another choice but to ride rear facing in their car seats for ALL car trips. I find that toddlers lean towards receptive behaviors and by enforcing the rule, they more often give up the fight when they realize this is not something that is up for negotiation.

#CarSeatFullStop Every Child. Every Time. No matter what.

Mind your own uterus

When news broke yesterday that a third royal baby was on the way for William and Kate, social media was awash with messages of congratulations and well wishes for the royal couple. But among the tweets of cheers and felicitations, there were also ones that went like this:

“Don’t they have TVs in the Palace?”

“Do they even know how birth control works?”

“She’s been pregnant for like….4 years straight”

“#RoyalRabbits”

Can someone please tell me how it is acceptable to comment on anyone else’s reproductive choices? Have William and Kate asked for public opinion on whether they should have more children? I guess being “celebrities”, their personal choices/decisions for always up for public scrutiny, but what about the average woman?

How many regular women like you and me, are judged daily for our reproductive choices?

When are you going to settle down?

Are you gonna have a baby soon?

The clock is ticking…

You’re not getting any younger…

And then the flip side of the coin when you’ve had ‘too many’ kids by someone’s random standard:

Are you secretly Mormon?

Trying for a soccer team?

You guys don’t waste any time, do you?

Apart from being incredibly rude and downright hurtful, these types of comments can do a lot of damage because we may not have any idea about what someone is going through in their personal lives, behind the closed doors.

That woman married for 5 years without any children…?; she may be undergoing infertility treatments, trying and failing month after month to have a baby of her own.

That couple with their fourth child? Maybe they always wanted a big family after growing up incredibly lonely. Maybe they planned and longed for every child they were blessed with.

You just never know. Which is why, the best thing to do is to always – ALWAYS – mind your own uterus and just keep any comment about someone else’s reproductive choices to yourself.

If in doubt, just keep your mouth closed!

 

* Photo credit: Mind your own uterus pro-choice by Boogiemonst

Diana’s Greatest Role

I remember exactly where I was on 31 August 1997. Much like the day the Twin Towers fell, this date is forever etched in history, as the world woke up to the awful news that Princess Diana had died in a car crash in Paris.

I remember the outpouring of grief, the shock, the TV channels gripped by reruns upon reruns of her smiling face next to the mangled car.

In the 20 years since her death, the world remembers her many roles: reluctant princess, humanitarian, fashion icon, celebrity, activist. A Jane of all trades, she mastered them all, but wore one hat more proudly than any other: that of ‘Mother’.

She truly never looked happier or more at peace than when she was with her boys – and the world knows that happiness and peace were two attributes that she deserved more of in her short, often fraught life.

I feel an immense sadness for her children to have been robbed of her love and her influence. But I surely believe that it is precisely due to her early influence and unconditional love that they turned out to be such fine young men.

So on this day, 20 years since her tragic death, let us remember her above all, as the loving, protective mother she was.

“I will fight for my children on any level, so that they can reach their potential as human beings and in their public duties” – Diana Princess of Wales.

* Ghetty Images

White Lies Parents Tell Their Kids

Ever noticed yourself telling your kids a random fib to get them to behave or calm down?

I’ve become quite an expert at this so I thought I’d round up my funniest white lies in a handy list form. You’re welcome.

 

  1. My food is too spicy to share with you.
  2. They don’t sell replacement batteries for that toy.
  3. Every time you touch something in a grocery store, a puppy dies.
  4. The TV has a time limit and can only work for 1 hour a day. Choose wisely.
  5. Coke is actually dirty water. That’s why it’s black.
  6. If you misbehave in a clothing store, you will freeze on the spot and become a mannequin.
  7. The sun won’t come tomorrow up unless you go to bed.
  8. Tooth fairies pay extra for clean teeth, so brush thoroughly.
  9. The candy by the pay points of the store are reject candies that people have returned because they taste bad.
  10. McDonalds gives sad meals to naughty kids. Sad meals don’t contain toys.

 

Ballerina themed Party Ideas

The Twincesses turned 2 and we celebrated them with a beautiful, and very girly, ballerina-inspired party.

Think shades of pink and glittery gold, wafts of tulle and ribbon, dainty details and pretty textures… The themed was whimsical and perfect for any little girl.

We once again reached out to Tricks and Treats (our go-to event decor experts) to put together the party of our dreams!

Below are some of the awesome and intricate details that made my girls celebration so spectacular!

So if you’re looking for inspo on throwing your own ballerina themed event… look no further:

When your child is sick…

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When you child is sick, all urgency disappears. Everything that just couldn’t wait before, suddenly loses all importance. The dishes piled high in the sink isn’t pressing anymore. The piles of laundry become insignificant. The business deadline loses all meaning and time seems like its standing still.

When your child is sick, you can’t help but regret. The scolding they got for dropping milk all over the kitchen floor. The way you lost your temper when you had to break up yet another fight over the Legos. The way you felt so relieved when they finally went to bed. You will regret it all. Every minute spent being what you perceive as a ‘less than perfect’ mom, will fill you with a deep dark regret.

When your child is sick, you notice everything with fresh eyes. That curl that keeps getting in her eyes, the one that annoys you on most days as you search under the couch for a hairclip to hold it back… that very same curl becomes the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen.  The dimple on her left cheek will bring tears to your eyes and her tiny hands might just be the most perfect little hands ever created.

When your child is sick, you make promises. You promise you’ll scream less and have more patience. You promise to laugh, and re-laugh at their silly antics even if you’ve seen it for the 100th time. You promise to join in when they sing and dance to Barney next time. You promise to say “I Love you” at every opportunity, and that kisses and cuddles will outweigh reprimands and discipline. You vow to be better and do better.

When your child is sick, you find yourself bargaining. With your God, the higher powers, the Universe. You make little pleas, and gigantic deals. You’d sell your very own soul for their recovery.

When your child is sick, you become angry. You question ‘Why”??? Why my child? What did she do to deserve this? You get angry because you’re so helpless. Your only job is to take care of them and ease their pain, and yet you find yourself unable to do anything to make it better.

When your child is sick, you voluntarily become unimportant. You’re unconcerned with sleeping, and eating becomes an afterthought. You’d rather sit by your little one, than take a long hot shower, and you don’t care if you look like the walking dead.

When your child is sick, you become a warrior. You track down doctors in the middle of the night. You ensure your child is not just another number on their already too long list. You research and advocate for your child. You find donors, your raise awareness, you fight. And then you fight some more.

There is nothing like seeing your child sick and in pain to bring a parent to their knees. So with this post, I acknowledge all the warrior moms out there who, in this moment may be going through the darkest times of their lives. Love and Light to you, and all your precious little ones.