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

Why we support #CarseatFullstop

#CarseatFullstopHave 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 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.

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

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Prince Costume Tutorial

Prince Costume Tutorial by The Mommy City

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.

Prince Costume Tutorial by The Mommy City

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.

Prince Costume Tutorial by The Mommy City

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.

Prince Costume Tutorial by The Mommy City

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.

Prince Costume Tutorial by The Mommy City

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!

Prince Costume Tutorial by The Mommy City