Have you ever sat in your car on the side of the road or at the traffic lights, just watching the people who drive past? Have you ever wondered what’s going on in their lives? Have you watched couples as they argue whilst they wait for the lights to turn green, and seen the child excitedly tell their parents what happened that day as they drive away from school. Take a moment and observe. Now count the number of people talking on their phones (with no hands-free), texting, smoking, texting and smoking, eating or reading (I kid you not). I count about half of the drivers I see. I don’t do these things, but I have also on occasion driven whilst distracted. I’ve driven tired, my mind occupied with the events of the day, and had the kids shouting at me from the back. I would say I’m a good driver – never had a speeding ticket or accident (touch wood) – but I have been distracted at times.
What worries me on the road is not my own driving, but rather having to anticipate what every other driver is doing whilst they should be watching the wheel. I worry about what’s happening in their lives, what they are doing, which is distracting them whilst they should be focusing on the road. Bad driving doesn’t discriminate between age, race, gender or vehicle type. I have observed all types of drivers failing to follow the rules of the road, jump a red light, and not buckle up their kids. It’s for this reason I insist my children are always strapped in their car seats. Yes, it is a legal requirement and I enjoy the fact that I can lawfully restrain my children, if only whilst in the car. But it’s the actions of every other driver that reminds me that I cannot guarantee we won’t have an accident, but I can ensure that my family has the best chance of walking away from it.
Over the next few weeks, I will be joining the #CarseatFullstop campaign, together with a group of parenting bloggers, media and sponsors. The campaign will raise awareness of car safety and reduce the shocking statistic that 84% of children are unrestrained on our roads. Come on South Africa, let’s drive safe and protect our children. If this 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 any Renault 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.
Ethan’s school is having a Disney Prince and Princess theme day which means mommy has an excuse to do some sewing. I have been so busy lately I haven’t used my sewing machine in months and after a few hours spent on Pinterest, I have plenty of new projects planned. During my search, I was surprised by how few posts there are for boys dress up costumes. Desert Chica has good no sewing required tutorials for Prince Charming and the Snow White Prince, but besides those, not much else. Like Karen, I chose to make a costume for the Prince in Snow White. He wasn’t given a name in the original book, and apparently since he was so difficult to illustrate, he only had a small part at the beginning and end of the story. He was thought to be later named as Florian or Ferdinand, but I’m just going to call him The Prince. My little prince did enjoy dressing up with his sister for the photos and even though there were no toy fire engines in Snow White, he has to have a car in his hand at all times and I guess it’s better than a sword.
I chose materials for the costume from my stash of fabric and sewing supplies as I really need to start using what I have (and in any event, I couldn’t find anything nicer from a trip to my local fabric store). As I started making the costume, I changed some of what I was going to originally use and you should do the same. See what works and what doesn’t for you. I don’t have a pattern or measurements as I used my son’s T-shirt, but will show how I made it as best as I can below. If you don’t have a sewing machine, you could make the same from felt, hand-sewing where required.
1. Materials: I used my stash of polycotton blue and red fabrics for the tunic and cape. Brown ribbon for the chest straps, thin gold ribbon for the edging, thick gold ribbon for the belt, tan felt for the buckle and red felt for the neck trim. I secured the belt with blue snaps (or use velcro). You will also need matching thread, scissors and a sewing machine.
2. Tunic: Lay two pieces of blue fabric on top of each other. Fold the fabric in half right sides together and pin to secure. Place your child’s T-shirt on the fold and you it as a guide to generously traced around it to make your tunic. Since I used a thin polycotton, I decided to cut two identical pieces to sew together. This would strengthen the tunic and I wouldn’t need to hem the fabric. If you are using thicker fabric, you can rather use one piece and hem all sides.
3. Trace around the neck, arms and curve the bottom edges. Even though there are no arm holes, the shaping around the arms sits better on the body. Unfold the fabric, pin the two layers right side together and sew around the edges (except the neck) leaving a 3 inch gap. Turn the fabric right side out through the gap and press with an iron. Tip: pin the edges, trace and cut the one arm hole. Flip over and use this piece of fabric to trace the same shape on the other arm.
4. Cape: Fold the red fabric in half right sides together. Place the folded tunic on the fabric and trace around it to create the shape of the cape, adding 1 inch on all sides and an extra 2 inches of length at the bottom. Pin right sides together and sew around the edges leaving a 3 inch gap. turn the fabric right side out through the gap and press with an iron. Top stitch with red thread around the edges of the cape, closing the gap along the way.
5. Straps: Pin 2 pieces of brown ribbon (or closest colour, as you can see mine is more tan than brown as that’s what I had) from the middle of the neck to either side under the arms. Stitch in place.
6. Edging: I used gold ribbon, however bias trim would work better. Stitch the ribbon along the front edge of the tunic, except the neck. Instead of pinning the ribbon as it was so narrow, I slowly fed the ribbon in place as I sewed along the edge.
7. Belt: There are a few ways you can make the belt, depending on what materials you have available. I stitched gold ribbon along the front waist of the tunic, leaving 5 inches on each side. I cut a rectangle out of tan felt and stitched in the centre as the buckle.
8. Ties: Fold over the ends of the ribbon twice and stitch. To secure the belt to the back of the tunic, I used matching blue snaps in two positions so it would fit different child sizes. You can use velcro instead of snaps. Alternatively, use a long piece of ribbon which ties at the back in a bow.
9. Neck: Cut a thin strip of red felt, fold in half and stitch around the neck. You can use bias if you have. I used the colour red as the cape in the illustrations of The Prince, ties to the front of the neck.
10. Cape: Sew the cape to each shoulder of the tunic. I wanted the costume to be in one piece as it had to be easy for my 2 year old to wear, and for safety reasons I didn’t want a loose cape hanging around his neck. The weight of the cape off the shoulders does mean the tunic pulls back a bit. If you want the cape sitting more forward around the neck, spend a little longer in step 4 tracing around the neck hole so the cape comes to the front more.
11. Costume: Now you are done, you can sit back after the 4 hours it took to make it, and admire your work. Match with a white long sleeved top, grey/blue trousers, and boots. What I like most about the tunic (besides being fairly easy to sew) is that it will grow with your child. You didn’t put all that effort in for them to outgrow the costume in a few months. If you ensure the neck hole is generous, the costume will last a few seasons and be handed down to friends and family over the years. Enjoy playtime!
This is not my first feature of the kids subscription box Poppet Post. There have however been a few changes in the last 2 years which are worth mentioning. Poppet Post now offers two options: a subscription box and a selection of once-off boxes. The subscription box is now sent bi-monthly, filled with items such as above, tailored to your child’s age. Each box has a different theme, and we received a farm yard puzzle, reading book, sticker book, felt animals and mat, paint with stamps and a pig poster to cover with muddy paint spots. Along with the toys, is an explanation of what’s in your box and how to make the best use of the items with your kids. Poppet Post have been sending out boxes for a few years now, which means they are doing something right and have a number of happy customers.
- Subscription boxes are tailored with age-appropriate toys and activities for 0-5 years.
- Subscription boxes are sent every 2 months, with free delivery.
- Once-off boxes are great for sending to family and friends when you are unable to attend a baby shower or party. Poppet Post will select the items and deliver the gift direct, which couldn’t be easier and an affordable option from R249 – R299 a box.
- Once-off boxes include a baby shower box, gift box, travel box and holiday activities box (perfect for handing to the grandparents when you drop them off for a play date).
Order via their website http://www.poppetpost.co.za or email Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. You can take a peek into the latest boxes by browsing the photos on their Facebook page.
What I enjoy about the school run and driving around town for errands, is listening to Cape Talk radio. It’s my way of keeping current with the news and conversations that are going on at the time. It’s also strangely relaxing too. So I was driving one day, listening to an interview with Nikki Bush all about family rituals. Nikki is an international speaker, best selling author and you will also recognise her as the parenting expert on SABC3’s Expresso show. She was discussing the importance of establishing family rituals and whether big or small, how they become part of the fabric of family life.
Nikki shared an amusing story of how she wanted to make a celebration plate which is used by a family member at dinner time if they have achieved something great that day. The celebration plate could be used by her son after winning a sports match or improving on his spelling test, or by her husband after receiving a promotion. Extended family and friends could also eat off the special plate if they too had achieved something – whether small or big – to celebrate. It’s not to be used everyday, but when the family think it is deserving. She sent her design off to be made at a pottery house, but when it came back, the colour was a funny brown shade that she disliked. She wanted to get rid of it and replace it with a new, prettier version, but her sons protested. Despite its colour, it had already given meaning to their family rituals and could not be replaced. So on special occasions, the family pulls out the not-so-pretty plate, and acknowledges their accomplishments in a small but very meaningful way. Nikki goes on to discuss more ideas for creating family rituals in her blog post on her website.
This story of family rituals stuck with me, and I couldn’t help but smile when Kids Emporium gave me my own tradition plate at a recent blogger event. This family tradition plate is a much prettier yellow and has all the same sentiments of creating family rituals, celebrating a job well done, a birthday or even Mother’s Day. This is such a lovely gift not only for your own family, but for friends and family to create their own traditions too. So whether an ugly brown homemade plate, or The Yellow Plate which is available at Kids Emporium stores, bring more meaning into mealtimes by creating family traditions for your special day.
Looking for a quick and easy dinner which your husband will love, your kids will eat and is even tastier served with a glass of red wine? This simple pasta dish requires only 4 ingredients, and since the Mediterranean Delicacies Cream Cheese Tricolore is so flavourful, I don’t even have to add seasoning. The great taste comes from the saltiness of the chorizo, with the combination of basil pesto, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts and cream cheese in the Tricolore. For extra flavour, drizzle a glug of olive oil and parmesan style cheese on top. You can make this dish in the same time as it takes to boil pasta, and you can substitute the chorizo and mushrooms, as long as you add the Tricolore as this is where the flavour and sauce comes from. If the kids prefer plain pasta (like mine), set aside some chorizo, mushrooms and pasta, before adding the Tricolore. Try it, and let me know if you really can make a delicious family meal with 4 ingredients.
- 1 packet pasta, cooked as desired
- chorizo sausage, sliced
- punnet brown mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tub Mediterranean Delicacies Cream CheeseTricolore
- Mediterranean Delicacies Grated Parmesan Style Cheese (optional)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)
Cook the pasta as per packet instructions.
Fry the mushrooms and chorizo in a pan. Once cooked, stir in the Tricolore and heat through. Combine the cooked pasta and sauce, and serve. Sprinkle parmesan style cheese as an optional extra.
You know how much I love a giveaway, and this one is a goodie! Open Up with OREO and you could win the Wonderfilled trip of your dreams…in New York City. You and 3 family members could be leaving on a jet plane to explore the iconic landmarks, world famous parks, wonder through historic neighbourhoods and above all else, visit the birthplace of OREO – the OREO Factory. Valued at R200 000 for your group of four, this could be your chance to experience 5 days and 4 nights in the Big Apple.
How can I win this fabulous prize for my family? Grab a 176g or 429g box of OREO before you enter, as you will need your barcode, and then click here. If you needed an excuse to buy OREOs, well here it is.
What is your child’s favourite book at the moment? Ours is The Gruffalo – because “He has knobbly knees, and turned-out toes, And a poisonous wart at the end of his nose.” I have lots of fun reading it aloud for Paige and Ethan, who pretend to get scared and hid away from The Gruffalo. Julia Donaldson is very talented. So, we were especially pleased when we received her other book ‘What the Ladybird Heard’, from Storytime Club, along with other age-appropriate reads for the kids.
What is Storytime? It’s a monthly subscription book club for kids, where they receive 3 story and activity books to enjoy and build up their own library. The books are delivered each month by courier, and the kids have the excitement of opening up their parcel, to see what surprises they have. Look at little Ethan below, chilling out on their reading cushion with his leg resting on his knee! Want to know more? Check out their website http://www.storytimeclub.co.za and Facebook page for more info.