Packing school lunches is one of a my least favourite chores in the morning. Scratch that. Unpacking and washing lunchboxes after school and finding food uneaten, is an annoying chore. At least I’m almost guaranteed that their yoghurt pots will be empty. Preparing a variety of healthy foods and snacks each day, which your children will eat, can be a task. I’ve got another 16 years of school lunchboxes to pack so I best get used to it and have some fun with it as well.
If you are looking for food inspiration, download this lunchbox menu planner and shopping list. I’m sure you will find fun, healthy food and snack ideas for your kids. To keep lunchtime from becoming boring, mix up your routine and use different character and coloured containers. Choose healthy options and limit treats to once a week. Ask the teacher as to what children can and cannot bring to school. Here are some more tips to keep lunchboxes healthy and fun.
Show them love
Write post-it notes with little messages or reminders to kids. Use fun shapes, colours, character speech bubbles etc
Use food colouring pens to write on sandwiches
Stock up on character reusable straws, forks, spoons
Mini character napkins
Stickers for when they finish their food
Wrap sandwiches in sheets from a favourite comic, foil, coloured cling wrap, tie with ribbons, use left over ends of funky gift wrapping paper
Pastry cutters transform sandwiches into a treat – use a knife tip to make dots, eyes, mouths etc
Use a natural food dye pen to write on sandwiches
Put fruit cubes/cheese chunks in an ice cream cone
A chore making a fiddly sandwich filling or dip? Make enough and you’ve a healthy baked potato filling or toast topper for a lunch for you or a late supper – two jobs done and everybody eats well
Keep a drawer in the kitchen for lunchbox ‘creation’ from dye pens, stickers, funny pots, bottles and containers, cutters etc
Get used to freezing. Invest in good zip-bags
Kids love leftovers and can be made healthy by adding veggies to noodles or rice etc
This is not a sponsored post. Content supplied by Danone.
What is the most you have spent to keep your kid’s happy and entertained? I’m guessing it’s a significant amount of money and you thought it was worth every cent? Whether it is the latest toy, entrance fee to an attraction or the three scoop ice-cream cone your toddler insisted on getting but never finished, the costs all add up during a month. So when I can get a pick of kids series and movies with ShowMax to keep them entertained for only R3,30* a day, I think it’s a bargain. It’s even cheaper than those awful R5 coin machines we try avoid at the shops. We pay our R99 p/m subscription with eBucks so we don’t even notice the expense. There are other payment options including card payments, PayPal and prepaid vouchers (nice Christmas stocking filler). For data, Telkom’s Entertainment Bolt-on is good value – you get 100GB for R99.
ShowMax is even more kid friendly since launching their profiles feature. One of the main concerns for kids viewing TV and the internet is the potential access to adult content. Now you can set up different profiles for each member of your household with optional pin security. Parents can set parental controls depending on the age of the children: teens, older kids or younger kids. This means that children will only be able to access content that is suitable for their age group and the pin security ensures that they won’t be able to change these settings.
To keep the peace in the house, ShowMax allows for simultaneous viewing for two different profiles on separate devices. Mom can watch The Good Wife on the iPad whilst the kids can watch their shows on the TV. If you are already a subscriber, be sure to update your app to benefit from these new features.
So what are my kids watching right now? Popples is Paige’s new favourite, and there are always new shows being added. Fireman Sam, Thomas & Friends and Dinosaur Train are also hit series in our house. My kids usually watch the same show over and over, but if you are looking for variety, the Box Set collections groups similar series together by theme.
Watch all the shows and try out the kid friendly features for free. Sign up for a 7 day free trial and decide whether you think it really is value for money.
* Calculated over a 30 day month at a R99 p/m subscription
I prefer Spring and Autumn best in Cape Town. This has a lot to do with liking jeans and T-shirt weather best, and it’s a lot less windy. I get to pack away the bulky winter jerseys, my fluffy gown and the thick bedroom duvet. This year I didn’t do a big Spring clean because, well, it’s a whole lot of work and we have been working on the house throughout the year. I did, however, give my bedroom a mini makeover with a new duvet set and scatter cushions from Volpes. I also painted my side tables with Annie Sloan chalk paint to match. The painting only took two episodes of The Good Wife and it really has made a difference to the look of the room. For on top of my side table, I bought a beautiful trinket box with lid to store my cables and chargers.
My mini makeover has made a big difference in the feel of the room and my winter duvet can now stay in the cupboard for next season. If you are looking to do some Spring sorting of your own, I have some pointers and a few items on my wish list.
Bring Spring into your home:
Change your duvet inner for a lighter option. Consider whether 100% cotton, feather, micro-fibre or a multi-season inner is best suited to your needs. Volpes has a new range of Tencel duvet inners and pillows made from a botanic fibre extracted from the pulp of sustainable grown eucalyptus trees that offers exceptional moisture management.
Pack away your winter blankets and opt for a light throw. I still like a blanket on my bed to cuddle up with whilst reading, and it adds colour and texture to my bed.
Give your room a mini makeover with a new duvet cover. This small change will have a big impact on the mood of a room. My favourite Volpes duvet sets from their Spring range include the Edison Duck Egg Blue (top left), Swallows (top right) and Chevron in Mint (below left). Their Spring collection was inspired by ‘air’ and have used light fabrics and textures, pastel colours and feather inspired prints. Design style is such a personal choice and as you may have noticed, I’m a fan of blues and neutrals. There is however styles suited for all tastes and budgets, and I’m pretty sure you will find a duvet set in the Volpes collection you will want to fall asleep under.
Buy black-out curtainsfor the kid’s room. As summer approaches, sticking to bedtime routines is harder with the sun up earlier in the morning and later in the evening.
Clear the clutter by sorting through your items and tossing or recycling what you no longer need. I love the wire baskets from Volpes as they come in a variety of sizes and ideal for neatly storing magazines, toys and laundry.
Bring the scents of Spring in the home with a reed diffuser. They not only look pretty, they give your home it’s own personal scent.
“How can I stay at home with my children but still help support my family?” I see this question asked a lot amongst parenting forums and as a work from home mom, I can tell you it is hard work but it does have its benefits. My advice if you want to make working from home a success is to have a solid business plan, stay organised, have a good support network and treat it like any other business. Even though you work from home, you are running a business and that means you need separate business insurance. Now you can add business insurance to your King Price portfolio as they have expanded their insurance coverage to offer affordable cover for the risks associated with running your own business. Here are a few career options for you to consider, and what potential risks you need to protect yourself against.
Work from home jobs
Bridal florist: if you are creative, organised and love design, you can set up your home based florist and help make someone’s special day even more beautiful. No two weddings will be the same, and you will get to keep up to date with latest trends and event design. The arrangements and set-up are time consuming though, and you will work most weekends. Business insurance considerations include the costs of damage of flowers and accessories during transit, or for wilted flowers if your fridges fail.
Caterer/baker: since parents end up spending so much time in the kitchen cooking, why not make a living from it? Whether you decorate birthday cakes and cupcakes, cater for events, or bottle jams, you must prepare all food according to food safety standards in a hygienic kitchen. Business insurance can cover you in the unfortunate event of food and drink poisoning, foreign objects found in food, spoilage due to improper storage or temperature control.
Hairdresser/beauty salon: if you are a trained hairdresser or beauty therapist, you could set up a salon at your home or offer a mobile service. Since you are working with chemicals and there are risks of infections, your insurance should cover public liability as well as your equipment and product stock.
Graphic designer: I recommend you have the necessary qualifications and practical experience before embarking on a freelance career so that you have knowledge of the industry, running a business and potential client base. Majority of your work can be done after hours once the kids have gone to bed, though you will need to meet with your clients periodically or use video conferencing on Skype. You will need a good computer and software, which should be insured along with the recovery and loss of your data on business premises.
Photographer: my friend is a photographer and I know how much her camera and equipment costs, and it is more than you may think. Whether you do photo-shoots at your home studio or do location shoots, consider the appropriate insurance for replacing the equipment should it be damaged or stolen, and the loss of images. Imagine if, for whatever reason, you lost all the photos from a wedding or birth, events that cannot be repeated? You would need to do whatever you could to either recover the lost data or compensate your clients, which can be covered by business insurance.
Sales: online and Facebook stores are fast becoming popular amongst work from home parents, as well as the traditional franchise and agent opportunities, selling beauty products, clothing, toys, accessories and weight loss products. Your stock is valuable, and theft and accidental damage could mean a big financial loss, and since these are business goods, your home contents insurance may not cover it. Ensure you have adequate contents insurance and increase your home security to protect your business assets.
Liability and your business
For all occupations, you need to ask yourself these three questions regarding business insurance:
Do my clients visit my property? Then you should consider public liability insurance.
Do I employ someone? Then you should consider employee liability insurance.
Do I use my car for business purposes? Ensure you have adequate car insurance that covers business use. Visit King Price for more helpful advice on the risks and challenges facing your business, and what types of cover you need.
All the best for starting up you own business and juggling work and family. It can be hard work, but also personally and financially rewarding. What advice do you have for other work from home parents?
That’s Ethan in my belly there. Four days later and he was born just before Christmas. It’s a busy time for birthdays and celebrations in our family, also with Paige celebrating her birthday in January (for her next birthday she’s having a mermaid theme party – it’s already decided!) Having kept my cool for two summer pregnancies, I have some great tips to share on how to survive the hot months.
7 Top tips for surviving a summer pregnancy
Summer time usually means a busier social calendar with braais, holidays, and a wedding invitation or two. Be careful not to exhaust yourself and don’t feel bad if you have to cancel to stay at home with your feet up. Avoid midday events, keep a camping chair in your car in case your need it and let your guests know that you may need to leave early.
Speak to your doctor first before making plans to travel over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, especially during your last few months of pregnancy. If you do travel, save the addresses and telephone numbers of a local doctor and hospital, in case of an emergency.
Eat healthy and drink water. Swop hot and greasy foods for small, frequent meals of fresh fruit and vegetables. If you are feeling tried, cool down by adding a few ice-blocks to your Mom2B Pregnancy Shake and enjoy. Good for moms and babies, the Mom2B pregnancy shake provides yours and your baby’s nutritional needs. Available in 3 flavours: velvet vanilla, chocolate delight and saucy strawberry. Each tin contains 8 servings. Mom2B products are available at selected pharmacy and retail outlets nationally.
Buy a fan or air-conditioner for home and work. I remember the one day I was so hot I put the humidifier in front of the fan and filled the room with a gentle cool mist – it was glorious. Keep a spray bottle of water near you for when you need a refreshing spray and cool down. Wrap an ice-pack in a towel and place behind your back or head. This works just as well for when baby arrives. Place the wrapped ice-pack between your body and sling, so you can hold baby without overheating.
Buy some hairclips and keep your hair up and your fringe out your face. Not only will you feel cooler, when baby finally arrives they won’t be able to grab and pull your hair – ouch!
Get your bikini on and take a swim. I embraced by preggie body and took a dip in the pool whenever I could. It feels so good to float and a nice way to cool off. Just be sure that the water is safe to swim in.
Pack away your black clothes and wear loose, light coloured maternity wear. Avoid synthetic fabrics and step out in a comfortable pair of shoes.
So what are your top tips for staying cool during a summer pregnancy?
By the time we reach adulthood, we all have suffered a scar or two. Some scars are more than skin deep. They act as a reminder of past events and may even make us feel self conscious. I got the scar between my eyebrows as a baby, the scar on my shin when I fell on climbing bars as a child, and my caesarean scar from my two kids. What scars do you own?
Why we get scars
When an injury to the skin occurs, the body acts as fast as possible to repair the affected area. Whether the injury was from a cut, burn or surgical incision, the body devotes its energy and resources to healing quickly rather than perfectly. As a result, there is an overproduction of collagen at the site of the wound which leads to scarring. There are a number of factors that affect how fast or well the area heals. Factors like skin colour, the immune system, age, extent of the damage, exposure to sunlight and family history, all play their role.
The good news is that scars usually fade over time, and while there is no product that can make a scar disappear entirely, there are various solutions which may improve the scar’s appearance.
Top 6 scar management solutions from experts
Massage. Cosmetic scientist, John Knowlton, recommends applying Bio-Oil to the scar with a massaging action. “The benefits of massage are to reduce scar sensitivity and to help the skin and nerves become tolerant of the normal forces of everyday living. This process of ‘desensitizing’ the scar can take up to 4 months and is best initiated as soon as the skin and repaired tissues have adequately healed.”
Taping. Plastic surgeon, Dr Nerina Wilkinson, advises her clients to manage their scars early on in the healing phase. “In my practice, every patient is instructed to tape his or her scar in conjunction with applying oils. By minimising the stresses placed on the scar, we can reduce the risk of pulling the scar apart which delays the healing time. When we tape, we are actually supporting the scar, which keeps the edges together and dampens down the scaring response.” The following steps should be followed for up to a year for best results.
Avoid UV exposure. Dr Ladonna Davids says to stay out of the sun. “We know that UV radiation prolongs the healing process, and sun exposure can cause permanent pigmentation or hyperpigmentation which is difficult to treat. We therefore recommend that patients use a UV protection over their scars and if possible, avoid exposure to the sun.”
Eat right. Maintain a healthy diet rich in Vitamin C and zinc, which aids in reducing scar appearance.
Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water to keep the skin hydrated and regenerating properly. Avoid alcohol and caffeine which dehydrates the body and skin.
Stop smoking. Smoking reduces blood circulation resulting in less nutrients needed for repair, being delivered to the skin.
Your scars may not fade completely, but follow these solutions to get better results.
This is not a sponsored post. Content supplied by Bio-Oil.
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.
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.