Childhood memories and Fisher-Price® toys

SponsoredFisher-Price #BestPossibleStart

Looking through old baby photographs has made me feel nostalgic of late. I only have a few of my own photos, as compared to Paige who will have a few thousand to sort through one day (the joys of digital). I even have a few of my maternal grandparents as children and I love to see their younger versions captured in black and white. As I look through these photos I can’t help but notice the shared feelings of joy and love for our children, and the family resemblance. Time passes quickly and already I feel the pangs of sadness when seeing how much Paige has grown. She is no longer my baby, but  my beautiful little girl with long flowing hair and a purple handbag big enough to store her treasures which she carries everywhere. My mom, and her mom, must have felt the same way looking back at how much our children have grown. My grandmother is amazing at 90 years of age, and when Paige was born she flew out from England to be here. She held her daughter’s, daughter’s, daughter in her arms and saw four generations come together. That was a special moment.

Like photographs, possessions passed down through the generations also have sentimental value for me. A piece of jewellery, a book or a toy can hold memories and be treasured for years. I have a box of my own treasures which I keep safe, and will be handed down to Paige and Ethan one day. For now, they get to play with our old Fisher-Price® toys which their grannies kept boxed for 30 years, waiting for their grandchildren. I can remember pulling around my Queen Buzzy Bee and the sound of dialing my Chatter Phone. My husband can remember playing with his truck and his sister singing for hours into her microphone tape recorder, which still works today. These toys probably mean more to me than they do to my children at their current age, and are a happy reminder of my childhood.

Fisher-Price #BestPossibleStart

As you can see, we do have quite a few old and new Fisher-Price toys, and this doesn’t include the baby toys already stored away. This is thanks to the grannies who kept our old toys safe all these years, and continue to buy Fisher-Price for their grandchildren. The toys are built to last and even though there have been improvements over the years, their toys still remain timeless and relevant. It is a trusted brand which I grew up with, and still choose today. These are the toys which I will once again store away for my grandchildren and watch with joy as they are continued to be played.

There are a number of new additions to the Fisher-Price range, as they continue to develop toys with a child’s developmental milestones in mind. Please visit their Facebook page for latest news, giveaways and #throwback moments (my favourite). If you are looking for a toy to get your child moving, BeatBo is set to be this year’s ultimate Christmas present. Fisher-Price Still the #BestPossibleStart after 30 years

Cooking and baking with Nature’s Farms

Nature's Farms review by The Mommy CityYou have probably already seen the Nature’s Farms range on Pick ‘n Pay shelves, and even tried out some of their pastas, flours, maize and biscuits. If you have, please let me know what you think. Besides the pretty packaging, there are a couple of good reasons why you should pick up a packet on your next shopping trip to try.

Let’s start with the pasta. There are 6 different types available, and I used their macaroni to make my #NaturesFarmsChallenge Macaroni Cake. Did you see it? It was fun to make and a great party dish for the kids (and adults). The pasta boiled in minutes and still tastes fresh even when reheated. Often I cook our meals early afternoon so the kids can eat around 5:30, and then reheat dad’s meal after he gets home. The pasta doesn’t dry out and still good to eat, even as left overs.

Nature's Farms review by The Mommy CityLet’s talk biscuits. Nature’s Farm have 4 types: ginger, shortbread, choc chip and black forest. The black forest biscuits are especially worth a try as they are different from what you usually find on the shelves. The biscuits also stay fresh for a few days if kept in their packaging in a sealed container. The range of flours include brown bread, white bread and cake wheat flour. Just no self-raising flour. They also have maize meal, a local favourite.

What makes Nature’s Farms unique

Friendly to the environment: A container dam was built at the plant for the collection and recycling of storm water, as well as purified sewage water, with which the gardens are irrigated. Energy-saving lighting and motors are installed for propulsion. The orientation of the building was also taken into consideration during the design stage so that the influence of sunlight during the hot summers could be reduced to the minimum.

Totally owned by local producers: The business is totally own by its producers, based in the Northern Cape. Nature’s Farms can guarantee quality products, because they know their origin. On each packet you will see a name such as Highlands, Woodlands or Little Hut. This is the area in which the farm is. There are about 100 skilled and experienced members of staff working on-site and each is responsible for their own, unique tasks.

Uses latest technology: The best, latest technology and equipment in the world was acquired for the plant. A fully equipped, modern laboratory, which constantly monitors and tests to ensure quality control, and Halaal status has been awarded to the factory. The plant also has its own water and electricity supply.

Quality, consistency and origin on the farm. That is what consumers will taste in our local,
but world class products.

For more information on the Nature’s Farms range of products, please visit the GWK website, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. To find proudly South African recipes using Nature’s Farms product, follow the #NaturesFarmsChallenge on social media.

This is a sponsored post. Nature's Farms Pasta

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A promise to drive responsibly and the #CarseatFullstop campaign

#CarseatFullstop I love my new car. It not only takes me from A to B, it is also comfortable to drive, I get to listen to the radio and I can go just about anywhere when it’s in 4×4. I’ve got it kitted out as well – real mommy wagon style. Baby wipes in my front drinks compartment, tissues in the middle drinks compartment, spare clothes and jackets in the boot, window shades and car seats for the kids. What is not lost on me though, is that I’m driving over a ton of olive green metal and parts, propelling forward between 1 – 120 km/h. My car can take me places, but it can also take lives if I’m not driving responsibly.

Before drivers get behind the wheel, we all diligently take lessons after passing our learner’s exam. We learn how to parallel park and do hill starts, even though it terrified us and our driving instructor. We passed our driver’s test, posed for identity photos and proudly showed our friends and family our shiny new license. Every year we renew our car license, keep our car road worthy, and insure it in case of an accident or theft. But at what point do people stop following the rules of the road? Why do some drivers feel they can pick and choose which rules to follow and feel justified in breaking the law? I’m asking because if we are going to make South African roads safer, we need to understand the human factors which cause 80-90% of road accidents each year.

As part of the #CarseatFullstop campaign, we are raising awareness of road safety and the importance of buckling up your kids. As I mentioned in my previous campaign post, one of my greatest fears whilst driving is the amount of distracted drivers I see on my daily commute. Those drivers seem to have forgotten that they too are driving a big hunk of metal which will kill it’s occupants, other road users and pedestrians, if driven irresponsibly. Instead of paying attention to the road, they are texting, smoking, intoxicated and doing whatever they shouldn’t be doing, whilst at the wheel.

There are some worrying and very real facts that go along with my observations. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), South Africa tops the list of drunk-driving related deaths in the world. According to the 2015 Global Status report on Road Safety, 58% of road deaths are alcohol related. You may not get behind the wheel drunk, but you have little control over other drivers on the road. Strapping your child into an age appropriate car seat can reduce the risk of death by 71 % for infants and 54 % for toddlers. I’m particularly cautious driving after sporting events, long weekends and around holidays.

We all have a story to tell about someone close to us who has either died or left permanently disabled from an accident. I have seen the pain that it causes, we all have. We know the risks. We studied for our learners, took our test and felt all grownup when we started driving without our L plates. We felt a sense of responsibility when driving, and promised our parents we would drive safe. So at what point do people ignore the real life tragedies and forget everything they have learnt? I would like you to please make another promise. To promise your children that you will buckle them up in an age-appropriate car-seat or booster seat. To make a promise to your children’s grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends and teachers, that you will protect them, as they are loved by many. We want to see all children safely strapped in, not just 15% which is the current statistic.

#CarseatFullstopIf the #CarseatFullstop campaign matters to you, please LIKE #CarseatFullstop on Facebook, please SIGN UP for the newsletter, please FOLLOW on Twitter, please FOLLOW on Instagram or on Google+. Please invite your friends and family and colleagues to these platforms. And when you read the #CarseatFullstop stories, please hit the share button.

#CarseatFullstop – no excuses, no ifs or buts. Always, every time.

If you have an old car seat you are no longer using, please drop these seats at a Volvo dealership or get in touch with Wheel Well. Previously owned car seats are cleaned and refurbished by Wheel Well so that they can be donated to families in need. Every child deserves to be safe in a car, and together we can make that happen.

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#CARSEATFULLSTOP IS SPONSORED BY VOLVO CARS. YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE FREE CHILDREN AND CARS MANUAL HERE.

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Laundry made easier with a Spindel

Spindel Laundry Dryer review by The Mommy City

This is not a washing machine. It’s not a tumble dryer either. The Spindel is a specialist laundry spin dryer that uses centrifugal force instead of heat to quickly remove excess moisture from laundry. By spending a few extra minutes spinning your clothes in the Spindel, you can save yourself time and electricity. There is a lot to say about this product and I know that I’m going to be using it almost daily, all year round.

How it works

The Spindel can be used with machine or hand-washing laundry and is safe for all fabrics. You load wet laundry into the drum, placing heavier items at the bottom and pushing down the clothes with your hand as you fill. I have the 6.5kg Spindel and even though it has a decent capacity, I usually split my laundry into two loads for spinning. Leave about a 8 cm gap to the top of the drum and it’s best to use an item of laundry such as a shirt or cloth to cover and tuck down the sides of the laundry. Close the lid, turn it on and let it spin for about 3 minutes whilst the water pours out the spout. To switch off, turn the dial to the middle setting, which locks the lid for safety until the drum has come to a complete stop. Once stopped, turn to the off setting where you can open the lid and remove the laundry.

Spindel

Benefits

From one load, I get about 500 ml of extra water out and this goes onto my plants. The reason why you get so much more water out is that the stainless steel inner drum accelerates up to 2800 revolutions per minute (RPM), compared to 600, 800 or 1000 RPM which your washing machines spins at. My washing machine spins at max 800 RPM so by using the Spindel, I can get my laundry much dryer before I hang it on the wash-line or pop in the tumble dryer to finish off. Synthetic fabrics come out much dryer, whilst cotton fabrics are still damp to the touch. The Spindel won’t dry your clothes completely, it only removes excess moisture to speed up drying time.

Another benefit of a Spindel is that it removes detergent residue that can damage fabrics, fade colours and cause skin allergies. I notice soap bubbles as the water pours out the spout whilst spinning, even though I run my load through an extra rinse. As Ethan has sensitive skin and eczema, being able to remove excess soap residue is a bonus.

After the 3 minute cycle is complete you can:

  • Air dry your laundry in a fraction of the time,
  • Iron certain fabrics with synthetic fibre immediately, or
  • Run a significantly shorter cycle in the tumble dryer to save energy and reduce heat damage

Some more benefits

Since you are cutting down on drying time you can do more loads of laundry in a day or wash later in the day, and it will still dry. You can do an emergency wash and spin at night when your child lets you know they need their sports kit cleaned for tomorrow’s match, and it will be dry and ready to pack in the morning. The Spindel is not only for winter. The summer sun can be damaging to clothes, and after spinning, hang up clothes undercover or inside to dry. The 4.5kg is well suited to pack for holiday trips and camping.

Features

  • Removes up to 80% of moisture from laundry for faster drying time
  • Takes just 3 minutes
  • Uses 100 times less electricity than tumble drying
  • Highly energy efficient
  • Reduced damage to fabrics
  • Removes detergent residue that can damage fabrics, fade colours and cause skin allergies
  • Available in two sizes: 6,5 kg or 4,5 kg

Where to buy

Please visit the Spindel website for a full list of stockists. They are also available online at Takealot, Fancystore, Yuppiechef and Loot. If you are still unsure whether or not to buy the Spindel, do yourself a favour and read the reviews on these online stores. I can tell you that it is rated highly.

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Nature’s Farms and my Macaroni Cake

Macaroni Cake with Tomato and Peppadew© Sauce by The Mommy CityIt’s a childhood favourite. It’s my husband’s favourite too. Macaroni is easy to make and you can hide a few vegetables in there too for the kids. For this recipe, I’m trying out a new range of pastas from Nature’s Farms. Have you seen this new range with the pretty packaging at your Pick ‘n Pay store yet? Nature’s Farms from GWK Farm Foods, is unique in that it is totally owned by its producers and is sourced straight from local farms to the mill. Their promise is quality, consistency and origin on the farm.

To put them to the test, Nature’s Farms challenged me to cook or bake with their products to develop a proudly South African dish with a twist. This is when I came up with the Macaroni Cake with a Peppadew© and Tomato Sauce. Peppadews© are uniquely South African, macaroni is a family favourite and the cake is the twist. Well, it’s not a cake which we are usually familiar with, but I wanted to make it fun and special for the kids. You can just imagine the faces when you place this savoury dish on the table, it’s bound to get some giggles. Make it with one layer or two, get the kids to sprinkle on the toppings, and add in extra ingredients to your liking including tuna, corn, mushrooms and extra tomatoes.

Macaroni Cake with Tomato and Peppadew© Sauce by The Mommy City

Ingredients

  • 1 packet Nature’s Farms Macaroni
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp Nature’s Farms Cake Wheat Flour
  • 100g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 500ml milk
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 can of tomatoes
  • 3-4 Peppadews©, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Worcester Sauce
  • Handful mini tomatoes
  • 1 red, yellow and green pepper, finely diced
  • Parmesan or Edam cheese, shaved slices

Method

Heat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line 2 cake tins with baking paper.
Cook the macaroni as per packet instructions.
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously. Keep stirring as you slowly pour in the milk. Add the grated cheddar, and stir until it melts and forms a thick white sauce.
Combine the cooked macaroni and sauce. Divide the cooked pasta between the 2 cake tins, pressing down with a spoon to evenly spread the mixture. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until cooked.
To make the sauce, fry the garlic for 2 minutes in a saucepan. Add the can of tomatoes, Peppadews© and Worcester Sauce. Cook over a low heat for 20 minutes or until thickened.
Strain the sauce through a sieve or blend smooth.
To remove the baked macaroni, place a plate over the tin and tip over to catch the layer. Remove the baking paper.
Spoon over the Tomato and Peppadew© sauce onto the bottom macaroni layer. Slowly slide the top layer of macaroni off the plate onto the bottom layer. You want the sauce to drip out over the sides to look like a jam or icing filling.
Top the cake with shavings of Parmesan (or Edam cheese), sprinkles of diced peppers, and tomatoes.
Serve with extra sauce (if desired) and enjoy.

Nature's Farm by GWK Farm FoodFor more information of the Nature’s Farms range of products, please visit the GWK website, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. To find more great recipes using Nature’s Farms product, follow the #NaturesFarmsChallenge on social media.

This is a sponsored post. Macaroni Cake with Tomato and Peppadew© Sauce by The Mommy City

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Converse Kids and their All Star Apparel Styles

Converse Kids by The Mommy CityThe kids will want to get out and active, sporting the Autumn/Winter 2016 Converse Kids All Star Apparel Collection. With the introduction of classic apparel pieces for boys and girls in the collection, boys and girls will be inspired to be the next generation of rockers, dreamers, thinkers and originals. The Converse Kids Apparel Collection is comprised of casual active wear with kid – friendly materials like jersey swing and knit mesh. Ideal for an everyday look, Converse Kids delivers comfort and style with a mix of bold and playful prints in tees and leggings perfect for the cooler weather. Available at Converse online stores and selected retailers.

The distinctive Converse footwear is perfectly matched with the All Star Apparel Collection and their bold prints and patterns. The kids will not only feel comfortable, but they get a chance to show off their individuality and style. For the boys, the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Jogger in fleece provides comfort and versatility for kids on the go. For the girls, classic items such as tees and leggings are given new life through a comfort and style lens. Standouts include the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Drop Shoulder Tee, made with jersey swing and the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Leggings, made of stretch jersey and a knit mesh inset. The collection features fun and playful prints providing variety for girls to wear this season.

Converse Kids by The Mommy CityWIN 1 of 2 Converse hampers! Visit my Facebook page to enter to win hampers for the boys. Entries close Friday, 12 August 2016 and subject to terms and conditions.

Hamper 1 is for a 5 – 6 year old boy including 1x Two pack socks, 1x  Tee, 1x  Shorts, 1x Vest.

Hamper 2 is for a 12 – 13 year old boy including 1x Jacket, 1x Vest, 2x Tees.

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Home from Home and the August Challenge

Home from Home August Challenge by The Mommy CityThis month I am taking part in the Home from Home August Challenge, to raise awareness and funds for this Cape Town based non-profit organisation. The decision to jump all in to their 31 day challenge came after receiving a press release about the work that they do to help care for orphaned and vulnerable children in our local communities. It was a few days after news broke of the Manenberg children who tortured and killed a dog. This story upset me terribly and like many others, questioned how society is failing to protect children who grow up to be violent and cruel. It is my hope that through efforts such as Home from Home, communities will raise children who are loved, and who love.

Home from Home provides support and supervised community-based foster care for orphaned, abused, neglected and vulnerable children in South Africa. In 2005, Jane Payne and Pippa Shaper envisioned a future where orphaned and vulnerable children of South Africa would not have to grow up in institutional children’s homes. This vision led them to found Home from Home, which became one of the first non-profit organisations in South Africa to practice Cluster Foster Care.

They believe that living in a small family unit with a dedicated foster mother or foster parents is the next best place for children who can’t be cared for by their own biological families. The children grow up in a network of small, family homes in their communities where they can retain their culture and grow up speaking their mother-tongue. They have a foster family to support and care for them. The hope is that one day the children will either be reunited with their biological families, or failing that, are provided with the best possible foundation to lead happy, successful lives with the support of the organisation.

The majority of homes are run alongside a community associate, which is either a local community or faith based organisation. These associations ensure community support for the homes. Working with these associates ensures the communities have access to the expertise and resources required to provide a high level of care for their children. Through a network of 34 homes across fifteen communities, they care for over 200 vulnerable children.

So how can you get involved in the August Challenge fundraiser? Set yourself a challenge and get friends, family or colleagues to sponsor you. The challenge can be committing to their wellness programme (which I will be doing), running or cycling everyday or even giving up Facebook for the month! Every cent raised goes towards Home from Home so pledge here. What’s your challenge?

Home from Home August Challenge by The Mommy City

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