Monthly Archives

February 2016

EAT

MEAL PLANNING MADE EASY

29th February 2016
Meal planning

{image source}

I am a meticulous planner of everything but I never really mastered meal planning until this year and it has truly changed my life – making the subject of ‘food’ and ‘eating’ so much easier in our house, especially now that I also have to think of all Francie’s meals.

Here are a few tips on how to make meal planning much easier and truly make your life less stressful:

Online shopping! Online shopping for groceries has made my life so much easier. Firstly, I don’t spend an entire morning doing groceries with a babe, lugging a pram, a trolley etc. and can rather spend a free morning doing something fun. Secondly, I buy exactly what I need instead of random aisle shopping and hence save a lot of money. The delivery happens at a time that is convenient for me.

*Tip: If you use Woolworths online shopping always reserve a time slot at the beginning of your shop to ensure your delivery arrives exactly when it suits you.

*Tip: Create your “master list” of your grocery basics like bread, yogurt and milk – your weekly items that, without fail, you buy each week.

Commit to a time for meal planning. Unless you prioritize meal planning at a specific time, it won’t happen. Every Sunday night, after dinner while my husband watches Cart Blanche I meal plan for the week.

Take your time. A follow on from the above tip but take your time when planning. Check your kitchen cupboards for ingredients you already have and cross reference what you need, for example if you are using celery in a stir-fry then allocate the extra to your babe’s snack. Do not try and hurry your planning and do it in 5 minutes, after bath and before MasterChef starts, it won’t work – trust me.

Look at your overall routine and plans. Don’t think just because you are now meal planning your entire routine will change, plan around your current routine. For example Saturday nights are take-aways in my house – my husband is responsible for them and that’s that. Instead of now planning a meal for Saturday night, I skip Saturday night as we already have plans. Also look at how you like to eat as a family over weekends – for example if your husband braais on the weekend factor that in. We always go for a coffee and breakfast before swimming so I don’t plan a meal for that morning.

Basically for any meal planning ask yourself these questions:

  • How many meals are you planning for?
  • What do you have time for? (No point planning a slow roast when realistically you want dinner made in 20min)
  • What is your food mood?
  • What is your budget?

Separate your planning and shopping list. I like to plan my week and then create my shopping list, it keeps one focused on each day’s meals before checking how much pasta you have in the cupboard.

A sneaky saviour dish. This is for when the wheels come off and although you planned perfectly, life is unpredictable. I always have a delicious frozen lasagne in the freezer for disastrous days and it really is a rescue dish. I also always have a frozen ‘stove top’ dish for example a pasta sauce or something like that for when there is load shedding, so then we can use our gas and still have a delicious dinner.

Try something new. I have found that planning my meals out properly has given me a better opportunity to try out new dishes. But my golden rule is to any try a new dish once a week otherwise it can be overwhelming (and exhausting night after night).

Do you have any other tips? Please share them with us, we’d love to hear.

BABE, BUMP, MAMA

FAMILY ALBUM & THIS WEEK’S READING LIST

26th February 2016
CR_Summer-Wonder_REF4_05-2

Gemma Ward and baby Naia for Country Road

Happy weekend beautiful mamas. We’re looking forward to one filled with garden playtime, delicious meals and lazy nights.

Here are some great reads that we found interesting/funny/crazy this week:

The sound of crying 

The job of cuddling newborns

Experiencing infertility? You are not alone.

7 easy week night meals

I think this is quite romantic.

The ugly reality of short maternity leave.

Guess which relationship has the strongest bond.

4 year old Harper Beckham = street style star. 

Best kept secret of child birth 

Why teenagers roll their eyes. 

Haute home schools. 

Kim K finally showed off Saint West – he’s a cutie

Talking about having a miscarriage.

I’m trying to do this.

Lego introduces a stay-at-home dad character.

What to eat during pregnancy (according to Chinese medicine).

This is pretty awesome. 

Beware: friendships change after having a baby

MAMA

WORK/MAMA BALANCE: LYNETTE

25th February 2016
lynette4

Lynette Botha is a freelance writer, editor, and content producer (with a little social media community management thrown in for good measure); she is 30 years old and a mom of two little girls: Chloé (4) and Coco (3). They live in beautiful Hout Bay. Here’s how Lynette manages to balance it all

What work do you do? How long have you been doing it?
After working for ELLE Magazine for seven years, we packed it all up and moved to live and work in the Seychelles in November 2014. After 10 months, I returned to Cape Town with the girls while my husband stayed on to continue working there for five months (he has just recently returned). I am a freelance writer, editor and content producer, focusing mainly on travel PR and travel writing.

What’s your work schedule?

Since returning from the Seychelles (especially on my own), I knew that I needed a job that allowed me to be home-based and somewhat flexible, to be able to do the school run and any other errands that may crop up. But working from home has its own set of challenges (like hiding from my daughters to get work done – I have to make them think that I have ‘left for work’ as if they know I am home, they will not leave me alone. The day-to-day schedule is generally, drop Coco at playschool at 7.50, drive Chloé through to school, get home by 8.30am and work until 12pm. Fetch Chloé from school (Coco gets dropped off), have a quick bite to eat and continue working from 12.45pm until 5.30pm (I literally don’t leave my desk – my workload is generally always heavy as I jusggle many different projects). The minute I get up from my desk, my nanny leaves, so then it’s straight into mommy duties, but sometimes with a few business phone calls and last minute emails that don’t fit into ‘office’ hours. Some days I do have client meetings around the Cape or an in-and-out trip to Jo’burg.

lynette6

How do you handle childcare?

The girls are both at school until 12ish and when they get home our nanny is there and looks after them until 5.30pm, when I finish work.

When do you typically hang out with your babes?

I like to spend time in the garden with them between 5.30 and 6.30pm, catching up on their day and what they did; hear their stories from school and what they made, before I head off to the kitchen and start preparing dinner for everyone. The weekend is when we spend the most quality time together though – we like to get out of the house and keep busy (going for walks in the mountain, visiting the park, heading out on road-trips to neighbouring towns).

lynette1

Do you have any family rituals? 

As I have been on my own with the girls for the last five months, the honest truth is that most of our routine consisted of: get through the day with your sanity in tact (haha). As much as I tried to implement rituals and routines, the honest truth was that with two children so young (and close in age) it was really tricky enforcing anything. Now that Dad is back, I really to hope we can establish a great routine and some family rituals.

What do you enjoy most about your current set up?

While I am pretty much chained to my desk and do not actually spend any time with the girls while working from home, I love the fact that if there is an emergency or they need me for any reason, I am right there. I absolutely love listening to them talking to eachother and with our nanny from my office, unbeknownst to them. They have the sweetest conversations that quite literally warm my heart or make me laugh out loud – I’d miss those little moments were I in an office all day. I also like the fact that I don’t lose any hours commuting. We stay in Hout Bay, which is around 30 minutes from Cape Town CBD, which would cut off an hour+ from my time with the girls every day if I were not home-based. This is not to say I’d never consider an office job again though, it just works for me right now.

lynette2

What’s the biggest challenge about your current set up? 

Like I say, having to ‘hide’ from the girls during the day so that they don’t interrupt me while I am working is quite tough – I quite literally sms my nanny to find out if the girls are upstairs or in the garden so that I can sneak to the kitchen and make some coffee. Also, as I work in travel, I am getting more and more opportunities to either host press trips or to go on them myself (as a writer) and while I know this is an extremely fortunate position to be in, I absolutely hate being away from my girls. As much as possible, I try and get them to come along, but this is not always viable.

What about time for yourself? Do you take timeouts? What do you get up to and how often?

I am extremely bad with this. I have grand plans in the morning to end the day with a bubble bath, face mask, full exfoliation et al, but the truth is that by the end of the day, I am so exhausted, it’s just a quick shower and brush teeth! While my husband was away, there was literally zero me-time, but I’m hoping now that he’s back I can establish some sort of a schedule – I’d like to take up yoga, spend more time reading and have a girl’s dinner with my friends at least twice a month.

lynette5

Let’s talk about dinner – who handles dinner in your home? 

I adore cooking. I guess this would be considered my ‘me time’ (even though there’s usually a babe hanging on to my ankle or stealing all the veggies I’m trying to chop!) I don’t find cooking a chore at all – no matter how long the day has been, being in the kitchen is my happy place (with a glass of wine, of course). I became vegan a couple of months ago, and while my children do follow more of an omnivorous lifestyle currently, meals do include loads of fresh veggies, fruit and grains for all of us.

Top tip for the work/motherhood balance?

I don’t have a tip, as I don’t have this ‘balance’ thing quite worked out yet (but its on my to-do list!). I do, however, think that we should cut the guilt and just give ourselves a pat on the back every now and then… things will never be perfect. Do the best you can, plan ahead as much as possible and enjoy your children – set a good example about work and work ethic, but always let them know that they come first.

BABE, MAMA

MOM CONVERSATIONS: TALKING ABOUT SLEEP

24th February 2016
IMG_0410

Francie Sugar fast asleep at 8 weeks.

I am part of the coolest group of mamas. We meet every Monday afternoon with our babes, either at our local park or in someone’s garden. We unload our things – picnic throws, babies, hats, water bottles and snacks, and everyone just gets along. Like any women, we chat… a lot, in between peeling litchis or saving a little one from a high jungle gym, changing a nappy or breastfeeding. But, like true sisterhood, each week we have become more and more honest with each other – it is something I value so much in these women. Hence we have talked about it all: husbands, baby daddies, nappies, nannies, food, mothers, mother-in-laws, blah blah and of course SLEEP!

Although advice, support and agreement are often all a confused- or not-so-confused mama may need, it’s sometimes just one or two lines that can make all the difference…

This week one of our mamas, who feeds her babe quite a few times at night, explained he has never been wide awake or needing endless rocking back to sleep but just a little feed every few hours and then they both sleep soundly. She always thought he didn’t sleep well, and certainly didn’t sleep through. But then someone said this to her: “Don’t have a negative response when asked about your baby’s sleep or sleeping through. Moms are so defensive about sleeping and their responses are always full of explanations, regret, excuses… rather than thinking that your situation is wrong, if you are happy or okay with how your baby sleeps, you do not need to justify it to anyone, simply answer, he’s a great sleeper.”

Isn’t that liberating?

DIARY, PLAY, TRAVEL

9 REASONS WHY I LOVE THE ZOO

23rd February 2016
IMG_0048

The other day we took our babes to the Johannesburg Zoo for the afternoon. Every time I go, I am reminded what a great outing it is for children and adults. Here are nine reasons why it’s one of our favourite things to do in the city:
IMG_9945

1. It’s outside. In Joburg we are blessed with close-to-perfect weather we may as well embrace being outdoors as much as possible.

IMG_9961

2. During the week there are no crowds. In fact, you hardly bump into anyone else at all so it’s like having a giant playground all to yourself.

IMG_9947

3. Aside from the odd zoo truck, there are no cars so it’s a great place to walk with my twins. I don’t need to carry them across busy roads or worry about them running too far. I always take the pram because you can cover quite a distance and walking is less fun at the end of the outing.

IMG_0047

4. The animals provide endless entertainment, learning, and talking points. As the zoo is so vast, we only choose a few animals each outing so we can spend time at each one.

IMG_0041

5. It’s around the corner from where we live and there’s loads of parking. I always used to think going to the zoo was a big mission that needs lots of planning but it is a really easy outing.

IMG_0026

6. There’s plenty of shade, open lawns, and jungle gyms which makes it a great place to meet up for playdates (and to escape the summer heat).

IMG_0023

7. Where else do you get to see an elephant when you’re living in the city?

IMG_0014

8. I love my kids getting to know the animals and learn their names. The farmyard is a hit with my toddlers and seeing Crown and Tom Tom the horses is a highlight. They also love the owls. We are still getting used to the spider monkeys.

IMG_0012

9. You can purchase an annual pass. This is not only a great way to support the zoo, but it also pays off if you visit 9 times a year. Children under three go free. I love having an annual pass as you don’t need to pay each time you go so even short visits in an afternoon are worthwhile.

IMG_0005

READ

FAMILY ALBUM & THIS WEEK’S READING LIST

19th February 2016
tumblr_o27koyrtjL1rqgjz2o1_1280

Beyonce and baby Blue Ivy at the Superbowl rehersals.

Happy weekend mamas. We have one filled with playdates, birthday celebrations, lunches, breakfasts and hopefully lovely long naps.

Here’s a whole lot of links that caught our eye this week:

Girl gangs make for good health

Don’t make this mistake at dinnertime

Have you heard of Kiddle?

Mothers in Rich Countries Are Having More Twins

Did you hear our big news?

This mama hit the nail on the head when answering “what is it like to be a mother?”

Brain boosting exercises to do with your kids.

Beautiful pics of moms and their newborns.

The Power of Thinking Like a Preschooler.

How to explain the “parenting gap” on your CV. 

Great advice

This eco-friendly kids dinner wear is amazing, and from Mr Price!

What Kate Hudson says about motherhood is so true.

Getting 4 babes ready for bed, it’s no wonder this video went viral this week!

Overly critical parenting linked with persistent ADHD in kids.

Should you put your babe on a schedule – here’s the answer for everyone.

PS. Just a little heads up Cotton On KIDS (one of our favourite brands to dress our babes in) is opening their biggest store in SA in Sandton City on 3rd of March, so get ready! We are so super excited that the brand’s entire range of style driven apparel and accessories for babies, boys and girls at family friendly prices. Categories include girls’ and boys’ apparel, baby apparel, active wear, dress ups, accessories, sleep, swim, gifting and bedroom – linen and accessories. WE CANNOT WAIT!

BABE, GIVEAWAY

CLOSED: WIN WITH LA FEDE

17th February 2016
aaaaa

CONGRATULATIONS SALLY & LUCY 

We’re huge fans of La Fede, especially their totally cool wooden cameras. But La Fede is also loved for the vintage style rompers and other outfits, and we love that their products are handmade in South Africa. We’re so excited that La Fede is giving 2 lucky Kimmy & Bear readers the chance to win a La Fede gift.

The girls gift consists of a pink wooden camera, a vintage rose romper and headband. And for boys a blue camera with a rhino onesie and shorties.

IMG_3474-2

To win comment below telling us whether you are after the girls gift or the boys gift.

For more great La Fede products visit their website or their Facebook page.

Competition closes on 2 March. Ts &Cs apply

BABE, READ

FAVOURITE MEALTIME BOOKS FOR 10 MONTH OLDS

16th February 2016
IMG_9232

I don’t know about you but mealtime can go one of two ways in my house: either Francie opens and closes her mouth with easy, waiting pretty much whatever I put in front of her but other days getting her to open for mouth at all is a battle let alone trying anything new or having at least 2 bites. That’s where books have come in handy – we love looking at books together during mealtime and it slows us both down. We both seem to relax a bit more and look at the pictures, I tell her stories and talk about the pictures. She in turn feels more relaxed (yes, slightly distracted) and eat… most of the time.

Here are some of our favourite books at the moment:

My first book of Animals (Alain Gree)

51uHA1SBW0L

I love that this book is small enough for Francie to turn the pages herself and even hold the entire book. She has even played peek-a-boo behind the pages. This book divided the animals by “sea animals, woodland animals, pets, farm animals, birds” etc and the pictures are great. Francie loves it when I explain the “bee goes buzz” and I love that I can teach her a flamingo from an early age.

Oh dear! Farm Animal Shapes (Rod Campbell)

51q01ySociL

To be honest we are huge fans of anything Rod Campbell, I think the words are sweet and the pictures are great. This book takes you through a little boy looking for eggs… the cow doesn’t have eggs, the sheep doesn’t have eggs etc. I improvise a bit explain the cow has milk, the sheep has wool (and sing baa baa black sheep)… it’s a bit awkward when I explain the pig gives us bacon (haha).

My First Gruffalo: Who Lives Here (Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler) 

51AEQwX8QiL

What’s great about this book are the flaps to lift – there is only one per page and they are big enough for Francie to lift easily on her own. She suddenly loves lifting flaps!

Peter Rabbit Touch and Feel Playbook

91WQbT-kpTL

I think this was the first book Francie ever saw. When she was teeny tiny I used to prop it up next to her so she had something to look at. Now, at mealtime, I like it because it has different textures to feel and loads to talk about from animals, to shapes and colours. Plus I am a huge Peter Rabbit fan!

What are your favourite “distraction” books? We’d love to hear.

TRAVEL

OUR GUIDE TO CAPE TOWN WITH KIDS

15th February 2016
IMG_8747

I feel pretty lucky that we can hop on a plane and in two hours we are in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. We go there on a family holiday every year and find that it’s a great place to take kids – there are so many outdoor activities, the beaches are incredible, and most places we find ourselves are kid friendly. Here are our top ten things to do in Cape Town with kids:

 

IMG_9026

1. Walk on the Sea Point promenade

We rented an apartment right on Beach Road and walking on the promenade was part of our daily routine, both on foot and with the pram. The sea views are so magnificent the girls would stand and stare at the waves for ages (well 10 minutes which is ages in toddler time), there are many playgrounds and swings and interesting installations along the way, and it gives you a little slice of life in the Mother city as joggers, tourists, and other families go passed.

 

IMG_0202

2. Catch a cable car up Table Mountain

The view at the top is spectacular, and in itself is worth the trip up Table Mountain. But the girls loved the ride in the cable car, walks upon the paths, and hunting for dassies just as much. How incredible to experience one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature and remind ourselves of how much beauty exists in the world. Now take a deep breath in… and out…

My top three tips for going up Table Mountain with kids are:

i) Book tickets online – it means you don’t have to queue for tickets. Even if you are already in the queue, buy tickets via your mobile phone.

ii) Get to the mountain by 9am – you’ll get better weather at the top and better queues at the bottom.

iii) Don’t attempt to find parking – you’ll end up having to walk a very long way. Park at the bus stop (clearly marked) and catch a shuttle to and from the base.

In general, be prepared for hot and cold weather. In summer it can be sweltering up there with very little shade, but if clouds come in it can get chilly quickly.

 

IMG_8992

3. Visit the dinosaurs in Kirstenbosch Gardens

I love strolling around Kirstenbosch Gardens with no particular aim, seeing where paths will take you or setting up under a shady tree. However, the dinosaurs are pretty cool for kids, and they look right at home on the tropical mountainside. Tip: to see the dinosaurs park at gate 2 (it means less of a trek uphill for the littles and pram-pushing mamas) – once you turn into the main entrance, instead of going to gate one on the left, take the right fork straight up the hill. The Tree Canopy Walkway is also a fun thing to do in the gardens with kids.

 

IMG_8818

4. Explore the Waterfront

If the weather is not ideal, and the wind or rain has picked up, there is plenty to do at the Waterfront with kids without going into the shopping mall at all (something we try and avoid when on holiday!). There are so many interesting things to see just strolling along the harbour like seagulls fishing and ships being cleaned. We took the girls on the Cape Wheel which provided a lot of excitement and great views over the harbour. There is a cool playground just near there, amongst bustling crowds and street performers, which was fun. The Two Oceans Aquarium and Scratch Patch always make for good outings too.

 

IMG_8679

5. Play on the best jungle gym at Green Point Park

We wanted to pack up the Green Point Park playground and take it back to our local park in Joburg. It really is that good – well designed and excellently maintained. There is a separate, fenced-off playground for younger kids which we went to a lot. The equipment there is lower and less daunting for littles. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, the second playground is full of swings and slides and jumping-turning-climbing-twisting things that are lots of fun.

 

IMG_0335

6. Build sand castles on one of the beautiful beaches

You are spoilt for choice of beach in Cape Town and it’s a great way to spend a day with kids when the weather is good. My first piece of advice is to choose a beach where you can rent umbrellas so you don’t have to carry an umbrella, as well as all the other paraphernalia that comes with children on the beach, not to mention the children themselves after a long, hot, sandy day. My second piece of advice is on weekends, if you can, choose a beach you can walk to. If the weather is good the whole of Cape Town descends on the beach and finding parking is tricky. Alternatively, use Cape Town MyCiti buses or Uber Family to avoid parking.

 

IMG_0252

7. Chase squirrels and swing in giant bird nests in the Company Gardens

The play area in the Company Gardens, just outside the restaurant, is magical with giant tortoises, bird nest jungle gyms, and lazy swings. And, if your children are a bit braver than ours, they’ll enjoy feeding the squirrels and pigeons that reside there.  The entire garden is actually pretty magical, with winding paths, ancient trees, palm canopies, a rose garden, and lovely lawns. I like the size of these gardens – they’re small enough to explore almost all of them in one outing.

 

IMG_8804

8. Go for a family bike ride on the Sea Point promenade

You can hire bikes, kids’ bikes, and baby chairs from Upcycles and cycle all along the promenade. We have a lot of fun doing this and the babes talk about it for days after.

 

IMG_0134

9. Treat your taste buds with ice-cream from The Creamery

Oh my! I am a sucker for good ice-cream and The Creamery makes some of the best I’ve tasted (think coffee and macadamia, or peanut and dark chocolate). We took the girls there for their very first ice-cream (they use only natural ingredients) and ending up going back three more times during our stay. I also sneaked some tubs back to the apartment with us to indulge in once the babes were asleep. Yip, it’s that good. Go there.

 

IMG_8980

10. Go for a swim in the Sea Point public pools

When it’s hot and you don’t feel like the beach, the Sea Point pubic pools are an easy, accessible alternative. There are lots of pools with different depths which makes it easy for littles. If you go with a pram, there is ramp access, just ask the staff at the door. You can also hire umbrellas and lounge chairs here and some one will carry them to your chosen spot.

 

Aside from its scenery, Cape Town is also known for its fantastic food. These were some our go-to spots on holiday as they are well-located, and generally serve good food for adults and kids.

 

IMG_9041

Grand Cafe Granger Bay

We chose this spot for its location right on the water, rather than for the food. The girls spent the entire late afternoon playing in the sand and watching yachts on the water while we ate an early dinner with them. Tip: When you book, ask to sit at a table right at the front on the water’s edge.

 

IMG_8790

Kleinskys

This became our little local spot as it was just a block away from where we were staying. We would walk there most mornings for hearty breakfasts, salmon bagels and freshly squeezed orange juice while we planned our day.

 

IMG_9014

Bootlegger

While not exactly pram-friendly, Bootleggers makes delicious smoothies which we would get to take-away with us en route to walks on the promenade. If you do manage to get a table, their green omelettes are delicious.

 

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Giulios

The prettiest breakfast in the prettiest cafe with the friendliest owner, Giulios ticks all the boxes for me (I’m already plotting to go back to try the iced coffee made from espresso and ice-cream).

 

IMG_8701

Newport Deli

While I preferred the old venue, Newport Deli is now well located right at the entrance to Greenpoint Park which is convenient if you’re heading there. They bought us a kids’ menu and crayons (always a welcome distraction at meal times). Alternatively, get one of their yummy sandwiches and fresh juices to go and  eat in the park.

Take a look at this post on our family holiday in Cape Town last year for more ideas on where to go and eat with kids. 

BABE, BUMP, MAMA, READ

FAMILY ALBUM & THIS WEEK’S READING LIST

11th February 2016
CindyCrawford_p229-1170x753

Cindy Crawford and her babe

Happy weekend mamas. I’m looking forward to this one – the Joburg summer in perfect and we’re looking forward to times in the garden and having out on Valentines Day. We’re doing some changes to our house so I’m playing with fabric swatches and pinning way into the night.

Some links that caught our eye this week: 

If Ken got a make over too.

It’s okay to pick up your baby every time it cries

What to do when your kids can’t fall asleep without you in the room and Swiss Lark’s tip for sleep. 

The beauty of giving birth

The most wonderful advice for mothering.

6 steps to curb materialism in your kids.

Give your C-Section baby the potential benefits of natural birth.

Your depression can effect your kids’ school performance. 

The science of getting kids organised.

I’m revamping my bedroom – I love the way this bed looks.

6 tricks for raising well behaved children. 

A whole lot of Ted Talks for pregnancy and birth. 

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.Update my browser now

×