Slow Down, Mama

I find myself rushing ALL THE TIME. It has become so ingrained in me to do everything as fast and efficiently as I possibly can that, even at times when there is no reason to rush – I am hurried. I drive with haste (though not recklessly), and am easily annoyed if the car in front of me doesn’t move the instant the light turns green.

I remember a time that doesn’t seem so long ago, when I would trot through a mall, casually stopping to admire something in a display window, popping inside on whim. Nowadays, trips to a mall are rather efficient affairs, generally armed with a detailed list and a plan of action already mapped out.

Grocery shopping is much the same except I write my grocery list in accordance to where the items are located in the store. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking efficiency and planning. That’s my jam! But something happened last week made me stop and think that maybe I need to slow down a bit.

It was a beautiful sunny Saturday. The girls had just finished a ballet lesson in Umhlanga and we decided to pop down to the beach across the road for a morning stroll. I found myself holding Harper’s hand, and ushering her along quickly, before she said: “I know we have to hurry mama”.

I was slightly taken aback, and enquired why we had to hurry. And her reply left me feeling like a real sh*t mom: “because we always have to hurry”. So, my stress, which I manifest as a constant state of ‘rush’ has now been conveyed to my toddler.

I walked the rest of the way to the beach in silence, mindfully slowly, and as the girls got stuck into building castles on the sand, I asked my husband if he felt that I was in a constant state of haste. His response was a loud laugh, confirming that I am indeed moving at breakneck pace and pushing them all to keep up. (Except he said it a little nicer than that – thankfully).

It stayed with me all day until the girls were finally asleep that night and I could really think about how I had been behaving in recent years. They were right of course. Something had happened along the way, and the girl who stopped to smell the roses had become the mother who stopped for well… nothing.

Man, I felt so guilty of inflicting that on my family! I don’t want to be the mom that is pushing them along all the time. I want to be the mom that is present, relaxed, fun. Surely I can be well-organized and still enjoy the little moments with my children? Where do I draw the line?

Firstly, I need to be mindful of how and when I convey haste. If we do need to hurry for any reason (maybe we’re late for something), I am going to communicate that to my children in a manner they will understand. I don’t want them thinking that we need to rush all the time, but allow them to understand when urgency is required, and why.

But more than anything I’m going to start making a conscious decision the be more present. And on the days when we have nowhere to go and nothing to do, I am going to allow then to set the pace. It will not be easy… I have been conditioned to run from one task to the next… but I am going to try my best to slow down and soak up this crazy, messy word of motherhood. I owe to my kids.

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10 Reasons why Checkers Little Garden gets Big Thumbs Up

We love collectibles. There – I said it. We collected all the Stickeez and the mini shop items. We collected super animal cards. Angry birds and McDonald’s happy meal toys. It’s a sickness, really.

The only problem with our OCD collection skills, is that several tiny toys and more than a few cards, are now sitting at the bottomest bottom of the toybox, never to be seen or played with again. And the plastic – so much plastic. It’s not really good for our planet, now it is?

So when Checkers recently announced their new collectable campaign … I was pleasantly blown away! Here’s 10 reasons why the Twincesses and I love, love, LOVE the Checkers Little Garden:

1. It’s eco friendly: The materials used in the Little Garden seedling kits are compostable or recyclable: the pots are all biodegradable, made of wood pulp and peat. The seeds are all natural and the soil pods are made of coconut husk. Isn’t that amazing?!

2. It promotes family time: We just love that this initiative will encourage kids and parents to spend time together when tending their seedlings and the eventual garden that will result.

3. It encourages outside play: Anything that gets the kids excited about being outside, away from the TV or their tablets is a good thing, our humble opinion.

4. The accessories are seriously cute!: From little watering cans to petite wheelbarrows, the accessories that accompany the Little Garden campaign are a shrewd marketing move from Checkers. Parents will not be able to resist the miniature rakes, spades and garden shears in bright, bold colors.

5. It’s sustainable: Unlike the tiny plastic toys that have been long forgotten, the Little Garden promotes growing flowers, herbs and vegetables that should continue to flourish seasonally if tended well.

6. It’s educational: The concept promotes knowledge about growing your own food and food sustainability.

7. Gracie Greenfingers is the coolest kid on the block: The Little Garden mascot and master gardener is witty, sassy and seriously hip. She’s there to offer advice to budding gardeners and she could not be any cuter if she tried!

8. It promotes a new hobby: Gardening need not be reserved for the older folks anymore. With this initiative, kids can maybe find a new, unexpected hobby.

9. It’s water wise: The entire program encourages consumers to save as much water as possible. Some of the seedlings are drought tolerant and others will need just a little bit of water to flourish.

10. It’s effectively free: While the campaign will have you choosing Checkers above competitor stores just so you complete your collection, the seedling kits are free and you’ll receive one for every R150 you spend in store.

We can’t wait to complete our collection and for our seedlings to sprout!!

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Are you loving the Little Garden as much as we are? Let us know in the comments.

A visit to the Chocolate Garden

The Chocolate Garden in De Chamoy Estate (north of Durban) is my new favorite hangout.IMG_0507

Set in a lush garden setting, the wooden pergolas and cobbled paths give the place a hint of a storybook atmosphere. Essentially a cafe/coffee shop, the Chocolate Garden serves delectable breakfasts and light lunches with a good selection of drinks and snacks.

But what draws me to the place time and again, is the fact that it is SO kid-friendly. There’s a colorful jungle gym and playhouse, all set on child-approved astroturf. There’s also a sandpit and a tepee which the Twincesses just love.

IMG_0525But perhaps the girls’ most favorite thing about the Chocolate Garden… the bunnies. They have named each of the fat, white bunnies that inhabit the place:  Thumper, Rascal, Betty, Daisy, Oreo, Lily, Milo and Bella…are but a few.

We linger over breakfast and pots of steaming tea while the friendly waitresses ensure we are well taken care of. Meals are value for money and there is a lovely kids menu that offers a twist on the regular choices. Deep fried mac and cheese balls, anyone?

It is one of the few places where parents look relaxed and peaceful instead of frazzled and hurried, which speaks to the calm that seems to emanate around the place. Of course we had a ton of tears when we had to leave (from girls, although I did not want to leave either), and they reluctantly climbed into the car as I had to make FOUR pinky-promises to bring them back the next week.

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5 more minutes, please mom!

I would highly recommend the Chocolate Garden for a lazy weekend breakfast spot. They can be found here: 1 Robert Armstrong Rd, Barrs Flats, Verulam, South Africa.

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What we got up to this Easter

Easter may just be my favorite holiday. With less stress and craziness than Christmas, Easter has a more chilled vibe going on. And any holiday that centers itself around hot cross buns and chocolate gets a big thumbs up from me!

Our Easters are generally family-focused, time spent together around a braai seem to be the norm. This year was no different.

We had spent the week earlier working hard on our Easter bonnets. Needless to say they did not turn out as expected… not exactly unsightly per say, but definitely one for the comparison Pinterest fail album.

The Easter Bunny visited the girls at school and I was told that this year Harper (surprisingly) did NOT cry! The girls came home from school with a cute Easter card for mommy and daddy as well as some chocolate treats. Thank you Mr Easter Bunny!

On Easter Sunday we planned our very first Easter Egg Hunt for the Twincesses and they had an absolute ball of a time!

The last day of the long weekend was spent relaxing at the beach… what else is a Durbanite to do?

How we beat the winter colds and flus

Spring has sprung! And we have emerged from an uncharacteristically cold Durban winter relatively unscathed.

We have taken special care this winter to ensure that mild colds and early flu symptoms were kept at bay, and didn’t have the opportunity to develop into anything more severe. And while we had the occasional snotty nose and fever, we avoided numerous trips to the doctor and thankfully did not have a repeat of last years hospital stay.

So I’d like to share the flu-fighting formula I swear by, hoping it will help you stave off the bugs next winter!

  • 5 ml Zinplex Junior Syrup (we use sugar free)
  • 1 TurboKidz Smart Multi Chew
  • Sterimar baby nasal spray at the first signs of blocked nose

beat colds and flu 1.jpgZinplex Junior syrup is a zinc supplement which has been proven to be a highly effective immune booster and support mechanism. A 5ml daily dose is said to keep colds and flus at bay while combating oral thrush, runny noses and incidents of diarrhoea.

TurboKidz is a Nativa product which I simply love as it is one of the few multi vitamins I found that also contain probiotics. In addition to this, it contains the necessary vitamins and minerals in far superior quantities than other leading brands in the same price range. I am also thankful for the 1 a day formula that makes it easy-peasy to administer to the girls each morning.

Sterimar Nasal Spray is a staple in my home and we usually ensure we have at least 2 on hand in case we ever run out! A blocked nose can turn into something more severe, so a safe and effective nasal spray is our first line of defense. Sterimar is 100% natural purified sea water and contains no preservatives or additives.

The Twincesses were born at 36 weeks and although healthy as horses, I always tend to worry that their premature birth may leave them prone to immune weaknesses or health issues… typical irrational mom fears, I guess.

But I truly believe the simple combination above has helped us through this winter, and now we say hello to Spring and hopefully and wonderfully long Summer ahead!

Disclaimer: the information provided here is merely a review of my own experience with these products. Please consult your doctor prior to commencing any new treatment.