Masterchef launches Cooking Sets for Kids

Masterchef Cooking SetCooking with your kids usually requires yummy ingredients, a mop, and a good dose of patience from mom. We have had some fun making chocolate cookies, fairy cakes and breakfast bars, amongst other recipes. I can’t say I have enjoyed all my time with the kids in the kitchen, but we have made some delicious, spoon-licking treats and memories, which made it worth it. Whilst the kids are small, I do prefer their help with baking rather than cooking, as it involves less knives. They do also like to help out with the washing up, but that usually involves even more cleaning afterwards!

My motives in getting the kids helping in the kitchen at a young age are somewhat selfish in that:

  • I imagine a day when I can sit down to a breakfast or meal prepared by my children. A meal without broken egg shell, burnt bits and all the dishes are cleaned by my helpful kids.
  • By instilling a joy for food, they will be more willing to experiment with different food types and become less fussy.
  • My children will start to enjoy grocery shopping, and become more involved in writing down a list and buying ingredients.

A brand new Masterchef Junior product range is now available for children who enjoy cooking or want to experiment in the kitchen. Designed especially for children the new MasterChef Junior cooking range recreates the fun and excitement of the hit TV series at home.

Each set includes real cooking tools with kid-safe, non-slip silicone grips and features three unique recipe cards for all levels of experience – line cook, sous chef and master chef – plus one blank recipe card to write your own recipe.

Masterchef Cooking Set

There are five sets in the range including the Cooking Essential Set Breakfast Cooking Set, Pizza Cooking Set, Burger Cooking Set and Baking Kitchen Set.

The product sets come in playful colours and the cooking tool sizes are perfect for a child’s hands. Ideal for ages six plus. The Masterchef Cooking Sets are available at toy stores countrywide from R599.99.

This is not a sponsored post. The information and the Masterchef Cooking Essential Set was given to me.

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MONOPOLY has new tokens thanks to their fans

MONOPOLY Token MadnessWhen I think of MONOPOLY, I remember the hundred or so times my younger sister beat me at the board game. She just had incredible luck of the dice or made shrewd purchasing decisions, either way, she was a legend at the game. I was better at other Hasbro games like Cluedo, Guess Who?, Jenga and Operation. How I miss those days, spending endless hours playing games as children. I still love board games, but until Paige and Ethan are old enough, I will have to get my mom and older sister around the table for a game. My younger sister may, or may not, be invited…

Back to MONOPOLY. They have some exciting news after they asked fans across the globe to vote on their favourite tokens.  From 64 possible options, and after an incredible 4.3 million votes, the top eight tokens were picked for the next generation of the MONOPOLY game. The tokens set to “pass GO” in the next generation of the MONOPOLY game are the Scottie dog, top hat, car, battleship, cat, T-rex, rubber ducky, and penguin tokens.

MONOPOLY Token Madness

Next generation MONOPOLY tokens

  • Scottie Dog Token: The best friend of Mr. MONOPOLY since the 1950s, the Scottie Dog token proved its popularity by receiving the most votes – making it the overall first place winner.
  • T-Rex Token: The mighty T-Rex token stomped its way into the new game, garnering the second most overall votes and making history as the first dinosaur token of Mr. MONOPOLY.
  • Top Hat Token: Coming in third place in overall votes, the Top Hat token – a staple in the game since 1935 – will keep Mr. MONOPOLY looking dapper well into the future.
  • Car Token: This 1930s roadster will continue fueling adrenaline rushes for Mr. MONOPOLY in the next generation of the game; coming in fourth place in overall votes.
  • Rubber Ducky Token: Coming in fifth in overall votes, the new Rubber Ducky token is truly all its “quacked” up to be.
  • Cat Token: Fans voted the Cat token into the game in 2013, and she clawed her way back in as one of the eight winning tokens, coming in sixth place in overall votes.
  • Penguin Token: Waddling into the game in seventh place in overall votes, the Penguin token is the new style muse for Mr. MONOPOLY.
  • Battleship Token: The beloved Battleship token represents the first round-the-world trip for Mr. MONOPOLY; securing the eighth spot in overall votes, this token’s legacy will cruise into the next generation of the game.

So long MONOPOLY tokens

While the Scottie dog, top hat, car, cat, and battleship tokens can breathe a sigh of relief, the iconic thimble, boot, and wheelbarrow tokens didn’t make the cut. Instead, they’re planning to take some time off and will not be part of the next generation of the MONOPOLY game.

  • ‘Sew’ long, Thimble: The lucky Thimble token is down on its luck. With just over 81,000 votes, this token will be left out of the next generation of the game after more than 80 years.
  • The Boot gets booted: Mr. MONOPOLY needs a new pair of kicks, because the once popular boot token – modeled after the working shoe of the 1930s – received just over 83,000 votes, and was ultimately booted from the game.
  • Bye, bye Wheelbarrow: The wheelbarrow token, a staple in the game since the 1950s, will wheel no more. With just over 60,000 votes, this historic token was voted out of the next generation of the game.

The next generation of the MONOPOLY game will be available for purchase this August. Until then, you can play the MONOPOLY Token Madness edition or localised MONOPOLY Mzansi edition available at your nearest retailer.

This is not a sponsored post. The information and a copy of the MONOPOLY Token Madness edition was given to me by Hasbro South Africa.

ABC of lice – what they don’t teach you at school

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abc of liceLice. Just thinking about it makes your head itch. It’s even worse to receive a letter from school notifying parents that there is a suspected outbreak and that we should check for nits. We can do our best to prevent it, but it’s just one of those things we all have to face at one time or another. It’s also no-one’s fault and has nothing to do with cleanliness. It’s just unpleasant. I thought you only need to worry about lice when your kids are young because of the frequent head-to-head contact, but I presume that the trending head-to-head selfies are no help to the spread in older children either.

Some more good news is that you can get rid of lice and even protect your child against them using Controlice® products.* Since we are back to school, I thought it would be fun to do an ABC of lice so we can all be educated about what to do when your child starts to itch and scratch their head.

Aniseed: Controlice® Oil Spray is a non-chemical pesticide that consists of plant oils including aniseed. When head lice are already in the hair, the clinically proven Controlice® Oil Spray is one quick way to eliminate the little monsters.*

Bath: Bathing or using a regular shampoo will not prevent or eliminate head lice. In fact head lice are not an indicator of poor hygiene at all.

Comb: Combing is an essential part of detecting and treating a lice infestation. Combing during a treatment assists to remove the nits (eggs) and dead lice from the hair. You can check for lice using one of the Controlice® combs. The Controlice® Lice Buster Comb is designed for long, curly or thick hair. The Controlice® Triple Comb is ideal for short hair.

Dog: The dog and cat (or any other pets) are not to blame for lice. Head lice cannot survive on pet animals, they are only spread by close contact with another person and you cannot get them from the family pets.

Ear: Lice favour the area behind the ears where they usually lay their eggs, so remember to also check behind the ear when finding signs of an infestation.

Frequently asked questions: For answers to some of the frequently asked questions about head lice, click here.

Girls and boys get lice: Lice don’t discriminate on gender, age or even hair length. Girls who keep their long hair are not any more vulnerable to lice than boys with short hair. Cutting your children’s hair to get rid of lice is not necessary.

Hat: Head-to-head contact is a common way for lice to be passed on. This is why they spread easily among younger children whose play typically encourages transfer. This can be difficult to manage. Infestation can also occur through sharing hats, combs, clothing and towels, so we can at least teach youngsters not to share their personal belongings to curb the spread of head lice.

Infestation: A nasty word meaning that lice have set up home in your hair. After being hatched the female louse is ready to mate in 7 to 10 days and will start laying her nits in another 7 to 10 days. Therefore treatment should be repeated within seven days to prevent re-infestation by breaking the lice life cycle.

abc of liceLice: An adult louse (plural: lice) is a crawling insect about the size of a sesame seed. It has six legs and grasps the hair with claws. Lice are clear in colour when they hatch but turn reddish-brown once they start feeding on the blood of their hosts. Female lice lay small yellowish-white oval-shaped eggs called nits which are attached at angles to the sides of the hair shafts. They crawl quickly but do not hop, jump or fly. They normally don’t separate from their human hosts because if they do they die from starvation in approximately 24-48 hours. They spend their entire lives in human hair, dropping down to feed on blood from the scalp four or five times a day.

Mom: The person children go to when they need to fix anything, when lice become a problem or when they don’t feel well. Moms know how to make it all better, and aren’t grossed out by things as they are well prepared after years of nappy changes. Also known as Controlice® Supermoms.

Neck: Check the back of the neck as well as behind the ears for lice and nits. Often lice prefer to lay their eggs in these areas hence could be the first sign of an infestation.

Outbreak: If your child hasn’t already shown symptoms of having lice, you may receive a letter from school informing you of an outbreak. Lice outbreaks often occur during warmer seasons, especially when the children are at school. Since lice spread by head-to-head contact, outbreaks can happen quickly between classmates during play, sport or sharing clothing. The Controlice® Defence products can assist to repel head lice and avoid a new or re-infestation during a lice outbreak.

Pharmacy: Controlice® is available at most pharmacies and leading retail stores nationwide.

Rinse: Controlice® Head Rinse is a non-chemical pesticide lice treatment. The active ingredient in the Controlice® Head Rinse is Dimethicone. Dimethicone forms a wax-like layer around lice that blocks the part of the respiratory system of lice causing them to die(1,2) . Work the solution through dry hair using your fingers. Head rinse is colourless and odourless and requires an 8 hour application time.

Shampoo: If you hear that there is a head lice outbreak at your child’s school, or if you have managed to get rid of the little crawlers and don’t want them coming back, you can use the Controlice® Defence range daily. Controlice® Defence Shampoo and Controlice® Defence Spray can assist to put up a line of defence to stop head lice from moving in.*

Towels: To avoid the spread of lice, teach your child not to share their towels. When you suspect a lice infestation, wash and dry all bed linen and towels on high heat.

Video: Checking and removing head lice can be quite a long process, so try to turn it into a happy mom and child experience. Using tactics such as videos and games like “I-Spy” can assist to distract your child and keep them still while you check or remove head lice.

Wash: When an outbreak has been identified, treat all the affected family members, wash bed linens and towels. Also check coat collars, hoods, hats and scarves for lice and nits and wash them as well.

Ylang-ylang is one of the active ingredients found in the Controlice Oil Spray.

Did you learn anything new about lice? There will be a test you know! Only kidding, but it’s best to be prepared as our patience and family will be tested if we do have an infestation. Reassure your children that it’s not their (or their friend’s) fault that they have an itchy head. With a few treatments, it will be gone and they can go back to school and play with their friends again.

*For a diagnosis or if symptoms persist, consult a medical practitioner. Efficacy of support may vary between users. This medicine has not been evaluated by the Medicines Control Council. This medicine is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Controlice

Reference

  1. Heukelbach, J., Oliveira, F.A., Richter, J. and Häussinger, D., 2010. Dimeticone-based pediculicides: a physical approach to eradicate head lice.Open Dermatol J4, pp.77-81.
  2. Burgess, I.F., 2009. The mode of action of dimeticone 4% lotion against head lice, Pediculus capitis. BMC pharmacology9(1), p.3.

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The magic of Julia Donaldson on ShowMax

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Julia Donaldon on ShowMaxIt was on a day when the kids were finally down for their midday nap. I sat down on the couch for a little break and found myself watching what was showing on the kid’s channel. It was The Gruffalo animation by Julia Donaldson, and it was brilliant. I spent the  time relaxing on the couch and listening to the voice of narrator Helena Bonham Carter as she followed a clever little mouse through the woods. I’m sure you have also found yourself enjoying animated shows even more than your kids, and get so involved you have to find out what happens in the end! Rest assured the little mouse does very well to escape the Gruffalo, and his daughter in the sequel.

Since then I enjoy reading Julia Donaldson’s books and watching the animated shows with the kids on ShowMax. Julia is a talented writer and she collaborated with illustrator Axel Scheffler for the books featured below. Together they have created stories which bring out various emotions and make you engage with the characters. The animations are available online with subscription service ShowMax, and can be viewed from any device and downloaded to watch anywhere. I recommend watching these shows with your children for the first time. The characters in The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child can be a little scary, my kids were very worried for the witch as she was chased through the clouds in Room on the Broom, and sad that Stick Man had lost is family and bitten by the dog. You may feel sad, happy, and even scared, and fall in love with the animation as go on a journey through the woods, over meadows and even out to sea.

The Gruffalo

Julia Donaldon's The Gruffalo on ShowMaxThere is a mouse who takes a walk through the deep dark woods. He meets a fox, an owl and a snake who would rather eat him, than have a nut for their tea. This little mouse outsmarts them with a tale of a Gruffalo, who turns out to be real. After convincing the Gruffalo that he is not little at all, but a Big Bad Mouse, he finally gets to enjoy his nut for his tea. Daddy also enjoys reading this book, but he doesn’t do the voices as well as mommy does. He knows it off by heart and whenever there is talk of a mouse, he recites the lines and how the Gruffalo has purple prickles all over his back! This book is a must read and to watch now on ShowMax.

The Gruffalo’s Child

Julia Donaldon's The Gruffalo's Child on ShowMaxThe sequel to The Gruffalo, this is the tale of the little girl Gruffalo who ventures out of her cave one night looking for adventure, ignoring her father’s warning about the Big Bad Mouse that lives in the woods. The little Gruffalo meets the same characters as she searches for the mouse through the snow. She finally discovers why her father is afraid of the Big Bad Mouse and returns home a little less curious and happier to be safe with him. The Gruffalo’s Child – watch now.

Room on the Broom

Julia Donaldon's Room on the Broom on ShowMax

Possibly my favourite of the four books, Room on the Broom has all the characters you could want. There is a friendly witch, a jealous cat, a keen dog, a green bird, a clean frog and even a dragon. The witch welcomes her new friends on to her broom, and they do something very special for her in return. You must also see the broom at the end! Room on the Broom – watch now.

Stick Man

Julia Donaldon's Stick Man on ShowMax

This is Stick Man. Stick Man loves his family and jogging in the morning, but not everyone recognises him as Stick Man. He ends up on a grand adventure as he tries his best to get home to his stick family in time for Christmas. It’s not an easy journey, and my kids were worried about him so I needed to be there to reassure them that it would all be ok. Santa Clause also makes a guest appearance. The award-winning film is an African success story as it was brought to life by South African animation company Triggerfish. Stick Man – watch now.

Which is your favourite?

Julia Donaldon on ShowMax

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Helping kids reach their full potential

Helping kids reach their full potential SSISAWhen I read posts about investing in your children, I usually assume it’s to do with a financial plan for education. However, investing in the future of your children also involves their health and well-being. It doesn’t involve money or savings accounts, but has lifelong effects and the best thing you can do for your child. The Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) is interested in promoting the health and wellness of all South Africans. One of their new areas of interest is how parents can promote the health of their kid’s – particularly physical activity, screen time and sleep. They share their top three recommendations for parents on helping kids reach their full potential. SSISA would also love to hear your success stories about how you get your kids active, put health boundaries on screen time, and make sure they get enough sleep. If you share your stories, you can also stand a chance to win a membership to their Kids on the Move programme. Entry details below.Helping kids reach their full potential SSISA

Moving more

Physical activity plays a vital role in children’s health and well-being, and has a wide range of benefits for not only their physical health – helping to maintain a healthy weight and reduce risk for diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease – but for their mental health as well. Kids who are more physically active have been shown to have better self-esteem; less stress, anxiety and depression; and improved cognitive and academic outcomes.

Physical activity is not just sport and physical education at school, but includes other activities like walking (for example, to school, or on a family outing) and active play. Research consistently shows that children who spend more time outdoors are more physically active, so whenever possible, encourage kids to be out rather than in. The evidence also shows that children who are more active when they are young stay active through childhood and into adolescence, and often into adulthood as well. So it is important to get kids active early, so they can enjoy the benefits later in life as well.

What is recommended

Children who are of school-going age (6-18 years) should be getting at least 1 hour of physical activity every day in order to realise these benefits. This should include activity that is intense enough to get them to sweat and breathe hard, although activity of a lighter intensity is also good for them if it means less time sitting. Younger children (3-6 years) should be active for at least 3 hours per day, and this can be activity of any intensity.

The lure of the screen

In contrast to the benefits of physical activity, lots of time in front of screens has been shown to have a number of negative consequences for kids, which is a sobering thought in this era of ubiquitous screen-based technology. Research shows that kids who spend more time on screens will be more likely to be overweight, and have unhealthy eating behaviours, such as eating less fruit and vegetables, consuming more fast food and fizzy drinks, and skipping breakfast.

Kids with higher levels of screen time are also more likely to score more poorly in things related to their cognitive development and academic performance, including attention, maths scores, reading and language comprehension. High screen time is also associated with a wide range of unpleasant mental health outcomes amongst children and adolescents: increased anxiety, social dysfunction and depression; low self-esteem; school disconnectedness; unfavourable behavioural conduct; and difficulties connecting with parents and peers.

What is recommended

The general limit for daily screen time is not more than 2 hours per day for school-going children, while some recommend not more than 1 hour for preschool children. For children under 2 years, the advice is no screen time at all. Similar to physical activity, screen time behaviours tend to stick from childhood into adolescence and adults, so limiting these behaviours from an early age is essential.

Getting enough z’s

The importance of sleep for the health and well-being of kids is becoming an increasingly hot topic in research, and has been shown to be associated with healthier weight, better emotional regulation, academic achievement, and improved quality of life for youth. Lack of sleep is particularly detrimental to adolescents, and inadequate sleep in this age group has been linked to higher levels of depression, anxiety and pain; low self-esteem, social support and life satisfaction; decreased academic achievement; a greater chance of engaging in future risky behaviour; as well as attention difficulties, withdrawal, tiredness, and aggression. Screen time is a sleep thief – it not only takes up sleep time, but it also displaces behaviours that help with sleep, such as physical activity, and it exposes kids to artificial light that negatively affects their body’s sleep system.

What is recommended

While there are a number of different recommendations for kids’ sleep, the guidelines are generally around 10-13 hours of sleep per night for 3-6 year olds, 9-11 hours for 6-13 year olds, and 8-10 hours for 14-17 year olds.

All of these health behaviours, along with a healthy diet, help to set kids up for a future in which they are physically and mentally health, emotionally and socially adjusted, and prepared to do well at school.

Sports Science Institute of South Africa

The Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) would love to hear your success stories about how you get your kids active, put health boundaries on screen time, and make sure they get enough sleep. With your permission, these stories will be included in online material that SSISA is putting together, and may be used on their social media platforms, either with your name, or with a pseudonym.

If you would like your story to be included in a lucky draw, please comment below before Monday, 27 February 2017. Your email address will only be used for the lucky draw, and won’t be used with the story. Up for grabs is a one term membership at the Cape Town SSISA Kidz on the Move programme (2 days per week, 4-5pm Mon-Thurs), valued at R1030, which includes an assessment.

For more information about SSISA, visit their website and if you have any questions about what we offer for kids, email kids@ssisa.com.

This post is not sponsored. Information provided by the Sports Science Institute of SA (SSISA). Graphic is my own.

 

Date night at home and a Valentine’s Day gift for under R200

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ShowMaxIs this year going past quickly, or is it just me? It’s already February and that means it is Valentine’s Day coming up very soon. We don’t make a big deal about Valentine’s Day. Well, my husband doesn’t because he isn’t a fan of the commercialisation of the holiday. I, however, like the idea of setting aside a day where you show each other some love in your own special way. As long as both partners are happy and don’t feel pressured by unreasonable expectations of gifts, I think it’s up to each couple to celebrate the occasion how they like.

ShowMaxOnce you have kids though, your expectation of date night is a takeaway and an evening spent on the couch watching anything other than kid’s shows. The takeaway will also mostly likely be cold, as it took you an extra hour to get the kids to sleep as they suspected something was up when you tried, and failed, to shower at 5pm and dress in clean clothes. You don’t mind though, because you would rather be cuddled up at home than have to use your last bit of energy going out or arranging a babysitter. That’s how we feel anyway, and so here is my choice of Valentine’s Day gift for him/her for under R200. A blanket + ShowMax voucher + popcorn + bucket. Add in your favourite drinks, and you have a relaxed Valentine’s Day evening all planned out. If you don’t already know how to set up ShowMax, please read by easy guide on how it works.

ShowMaxNow that you have ShowMax, you need to select your pick of romantic movies and series to watch. Going through all the options, it’s hard to choose just a few of my favourites to share. There is something for everyone, and many of these movies are old favourites. One of the funniest movies is What to Expect When You’re Expecting. It has a fantastic cast who explore the funny side of pregnancy and how life changes when you start a family. If I had to pick just one to watch, that would be it. I may have to debate the movie choice with my hubby, who also likes Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Chasing Mavericks. Have a happy Valentine’s Day cuddling up to your loved one!

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Green your home and win with Faithful to Nature

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Going green in your home is easy when you have a fantastic online store like Faithful to Nature. They sell a wide range of food, beauty and home products which are guaranteed to be good for your family and the environment. Being a Cape Town based company, I have received my orders quickly and they always have great specials. They are running a massive giveaway worth R16 000 which you should enter if you want any of these energy saving products. I own a few of these products and you can read my review of the Spindel and the Wonderbag is great for cooking and keeping drinks chilled. I’ve got my eye on the Solar Kit and water filtration system, and would like to investigate the Bokashi Food Waste Bin. Simple changes in the home, can make a big difference long term. So go ahead and enter before the giveaway closes on 13 February – fingers crossed!

Faith to Nature Green your home competitionFaith to Nature Green your home competition