Have you been to Mouille Point lately?

For Heritage Day we decided to get out with the kids. With the weather being pleasant we wandered down to Mouille Point Light House to see what new facilities were around. And we were happy with what we found there.

There is a wonderful new Jungle Gym in the open commons near the promenade. Plenty room to climb and the facilities seem to have been well built with lots of kids in mind. It is a large and sturdy construction with two slides, a hoard of fireman’s poles, climbing ramps, climbing holes, suspended bridges, tyres to peek through – you name it!

Zoe is nearly three so some of the climbing items were a little hard, but she went up them nonetheless with a push and shove every now and then to get her where she wanted to be.

There was a huge See-saw in use by kids with daddy’s doing the obligatory up and down. Swings placed around a giant arc with mom’s pushing to their kids delight. A very happy atmosphere. It is nice to know that there are areas around Cape Town that are open to the public without any fees or obligations were kids can still be kids.

Then of course our eldest was attracted by the Blue train that does circuits along a track in the area. It is run by Rotary and costs R10 for three circuits of the track. A little squashed for dad – but each time she came around Zoe was waving and laughing like a banshee. The price is not bad for a little bit of fun. I am happy to say that the whole area seems very well maintained.

Going over the bridge into the area inside the Train track, there are jumping castles free for use, there are tables positioned in the shade for picnics. If you wish to host a kiddies party there, Rotary has posted contact details. But for a family outing the environment was great.

Inside the area there are a number of activities, including a Climbing wall (kids size!), some items to climb through, on and over. For Beatles fans there was a Yellow submarine to captain too! Our one year old preferred to mosey around in and out of cement shapes that were around the area, following her more daring sister at a distance. I saw a number of families in and around the area and I have to say for the volume of people, the area did not seem overcrowded at all.

So if you are looking for somewhere to go – why not spend a little time near Mouille Point? It is right next to the Green Point Gardens – another expedition all of its own!


Ladybugs 1st Birthday

My youngest daughter has turned one. Definitely growing so fast and developing into a real lady.

Ladybugs and goodie bags

To match this I created a Ladybug theme for her party. Full of ladybug spots and red balloons. All the things that make it colourful. While I did find some ideas for parties online, finding actual items in the shops was challenging.

The Invitation
I created my own invite with Coreldraw, working out a bit of a rhyme for the wording. I folded it in three and placed a some small ladybugs resting on a leaf of green paper on the outside. I also sent the invitation out digitally to those friends and family I do not see often enough to hand deliver.

Bug Serviettes from Woolies

The Decor
We were lucky enough to discover some party items at Woolworths – this included bug masks and some bug serviettes. The focus was on colours so we went with red party bags, spotty bugs on the bags with labels as well as red balloons with black ribbons. For the kids party table I got a bright red plastic tablecloth in case of any unlucky spills!

The Party

Emma Bug at her party

The kids attending were all encouraged to wear spots or stripes as bugs and all entered into the spirit. With wings and feelers and all crazy outfits it was really great. To keep some of the older kids busy I also baked some cupcakes and mixed some icing. Giving the kids some smarties, jelly tots and some plastic knives they decorated their own bugs. One or two dads had to eat the result – but when it comes to parties – it is all good.

Ladybugs are easy, fun and with some pipecleaners feelers are a breeze!!

Your milestones – or your kids?

Growing with our family

My daughter are going through some milestones at the moment. My youngest is turning one next month and the eldest is going to be three in November. Little one finally popped a tooth (yes my kids tend to take their time on this issue) and I remember stressing with Zoe the eldest. When will her teeth come – when will she crawl (then walk) … and the list is being repeated as I see Emma reaching her personal targets.

What made me think was The Blind Side movie with Sandra Bullock. Right at the end of the movie she turns to Michael after he was drafted to a University and asked him – Do you actually LIKE football?

Do we as parents see our kids developing and growing and enjoy the moment? Or do we (optimistically wanting the best for them) start pushing them to the next level or the next belt or the higher grades. When do we as parents say “my kid did his best” instead of “well next time you can improve X or Y” … and are we wrong to want them to do more?

I don’t want to be the parent that turns to her child and berates her for a mark when I should be seeing how happy she is with the result she got. In no way am I saying I want my kids to sit back and be happy with status quo. But how do we as parents encourage our kids to THEIR goals – and not the ones we set for them ourselves?

Where do you believe we can find balance?

Easy Crawley Creatures .. for kids

My daughter has been dying to paint lately – and piles and piles of painted paper seemed a little of a waste. So we decided to create our own jungle creatures. All it took some empty toilet rolls, paint, googley eyes and some pipe cleaners. The pipe cleaners, googley eyes and some ‘pom poms’ come in a pack for R15.99 at Crazy store. For little ones crazy also sells smocks in a 3 pack for R19.99.

One day one we painted some toilet rolls (weather has been wet so we needed time for them to dry). We painted dots and stripes and wild colours so we could be creative with animals later. At 2, Zoe is not dedicated to painting one colour – so different ones were extra fun for her.

Day two was inserting pipe cleaners in small cuts into the rolls. I cut the pipe cleaners shorter to make sure you can make more animals and to keep them in proportion. I added tails and wings to some rolls to make bees and other jungle creatures. Pom poms were added on top or inside the roll (at my daughters whim). I used simple glue on the balls for eyes.

And one, two, three we have some jungle creatures. I am thinking of converting them into a bit of a mobile for her room.

Treasure Hunt for Rainy Days

Teddy Bear's Picnic for the Girls

So how do we think of new and exciting things to do on rainy days? Well how about a scavenger hunt with a purpose?

The idea started for Easter when I created a photo clue hunt for my daughter for her Easter Eggs. I took photos of all sorts of toys/places in our house where we hid some eggs. We printed the photos on paper and gave it to Zoe as clues. She can’t read so the photos worked brilliantly.

The concept for a rainy day is the same: find some household things you will need for a lounge picnic (theme depends on your kids) and send them in search of items for the picnic.
* Blankets
* Pillows
* Laundry basket for the picnic basket
* a few items of clothing to dress up
* Plates/cups
* Munchies
* Themed collectibles (torches, blankets, hats)

Bunny Clue for Easter Hunt

This can be done as images (for the toddlers that can’t read), short word clues for the older kids or a treasure map of sorts of your house with clues on the map. Younger scavengers may need daddy to go with or an older sibling to get them into the understanding of the process, whipping up excitement when they find an item.

High Tea/Party Picnic: clothing items can be a party dress or mommy’s high heels. Munchies can include cupcakes.
Survival Picnic: Hunt items can include torches, bows and arrrows, magnifying glass or sleeping bags. Munchies can be things like sour worms and other ‘bug like’ sweets
Campfire picnic: Situate alongside your indoor braai and time it for dinner. Buy marshmallows and the like for the braai time. Items for your picnic can be camping chairs, kiddies tent, sleeping bags.
Basically you can let your imagination run wild – what do your kids love?
Ask them what else they think they need for the adventure.

The hunt need not take up space – high tea can be at the dining room table or a campsite on your lounge floor. Move over the coffee table and let them get into the swing of things.

Treasure Hunt for Young Pirates

When they finally have all the scavenger items collected you can reveal your indoor picnic for them. Use this as an opportunity not to ‘keep them busy’ but to spend some good creative bonding time letting their imaginations run wild as you see how your kids climb into characters and thrive!

Let us know what other hunts you can think of to keep the kids occupied and excited!

Kids Jumping Into Life

Jumping from early on

What is it about Jumping that has kids fascinated. My daughter walks through the door of her aunts house on a tuesday and right through to the back yard. She has two favourite pit-stops. The trampoline or the sand pit. But of late – the trampoline seems to be favourite. Come Mommy, Come Daddy, Come Granny, Come Pompom, Come (aunty) Gayle. The story is the same – the poor supervisor is the one who resists least.

She will jump as long as anyone is willing to stand with her (and often cries when she has to get off). The reason she needs to be supervised, is that she is two and seems to lack all common sense. But she knows she loves jumping.

But Why?

At two the jumping skills are being refined, from one foot jumping to two foot jumping. There are plenty of published benefits, but an article I found on the web give a few insights to why it is beneficial for kids to learn to jump.

* Have an effect on academic success – By helping a child learn to control movement of the body, it can help a child learn. Because a trampoline teaches muscle control and coordination, many children see an improvement academically when regular use of a trampoline occurs.

*Improve self esteem – A child gains confidence as he masters new skills on the trampoline. This can translate into a better self image that may help improve academic success.

*Teach persistence – It often takes many tries to master a skill on the trampoline, but because it is so much fun a child will often persist. This can teach the important lesson that doing something right is worth the effort.

I like the idea of play being educational but I guess our kids know better than we do that playing is learning. And sometimes my bright little spark knows better than I do what is good for her.

Jumping bunny – I love you!

For something else fun for kids visit our Tea for Two blog

Mother tell your children …

This little chat was inspired by one of those simple polls you get in FB. It was a choice of what advice you would give a younger version of yourself. I started thinking what I would tell my daughters instead. Yes I have regrets, I have things I have learned painfully. Maybe I can spare them some heartsore .. and of course there were the things I was told and never believed.

So I will work on the basics of the poll I would have created from my mom’s advice:
* This too shall pass
* Nil illegitimatii carborundum
* You can’t expect to be loved until you til you love yourself
* If you fall in shut your mouth

This Too Shall Pass
Whatever you are going through in life, be it difficult friendships, exam stresses, depression or just life, given time it will pass. You won’t always be in high school with its inherent strains. Your deadline will eventually pass and you will be able to focus on something else. Your pain at being hurt or dropped or ignored by someone will ease as you make new friends. It will pass – but you need to lift your head and get through it the best you can.

Nil Illigitimii Carborundum
This is the polite way of saying “Don’t let the B** grind you down”. You can’t give anything more than you have to give. Your best is all anyone can expect from you! People will always try to be dominant – try to put themselves in the upper position. You need to learn what your strengths are and not let others define who you are.

You can’t expect to be loved until you love yourself
We all want to be loved. We all want to be accepted by those we look up to. But until you believe in yourself (pimples, cellulite and funny frizzy hair) no one else is going to think you are lovable (well except mom and gran). This was a long life journey for me. I filled a lot of time saying IF instead of saying WHY NOT. I think I missed a lot of opportunities and a lot of potential friendships because I was so busy focusing inwards that outwards passed me by.

I think I also made the mistake of selling myself short. We need to believe that we deserve the best. What makes us less worthy of being happy or loved? Believe that you are worth it and others will recognise that you are too.

If You Fall In – Shut Your Mouth
This one is a strange one. My mom used to scream it when we whizzed around the pool. And it grew later to mean anything we were getting ourselves into. If you fall into a situation where you feel you are drowning – don’t be silly and swallow water. Do something about it. Be prepared. And learn to swim sooner than later.

Falling into the water is not the problem. Deal with what you can control – and control those things. Someone will come along shortly to help you out – you just need to be above water to catch the lifebelt.

Mothers Advice
We all know that just as we had to learn our lessons, so will our kids. It is finding the wisdom to know when to let them buzz around the pool – and when to get the lifebelt ready.

As moms – what advice do you think you should have been given – or believe that your kids will be better off knowing? Please let the rest of us hear it.

And for the best advice we can give to Mothers from Mothers read Mandy’s blog.

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