Monthly Archives

February 2018

BABE, MAMA, TRAVEL

MUSEUM VISITS WITH CHILDREN

20th February 2018
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Visiting Monet’s Lillies in the Musee de l’Organgerie when Francie was 18months old

When I mentioned that on a recent trip to Paris we took our babe to the art museums, a friend of mine was surprised. She immediately asked what we did with Francie, and if she was bored. It got me thinking about museums or (non child-specific) exhibitions with children, and how this is actually a great activity to do with them. Obviously we don’t spend hours staring at the paintings listening to audio explanations but that doesn’t mean museums and galleries aren’t an option.

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At the Henri Matisse exhibition at the Standard Bank Art Gallery in Johannesburg (Sept 2016)

Here are a few things that we do to make museum and exhibition trips fun for us as a family:

  1. Book in advance. We avoid long queues and long waits by booking ahead so once we arrive things are relaxed, and no one is exhausted or over it already.
  2. We limit our time. Don’t think that you are going to spend an entire morning in the museum. Decided to spend an hour or so there, depending on the age of your child.
  3. Limit what you see. Again, it is not about seeing everything, everytime. Choose a few pieces of art that you want to visit.
  4. Take the time to discuss the art with your child. Talk about what they see – you don’t need to go into detail on the artist or techniques. Talk about the colours, the subject e.g. the ballet dancer or boat, and the shapes. Ask your child what else they see? What they like about the artwork.
  5. Be enthusiastic yourself! Be excited when you see something that you love, and draw on their enthusiasm and experiences. We were so excited to see a Monet’s La Gare painting in the Musee d’Orsay, since Francie loves trains, and we had been on one the day before.
  6. Finally, as you leave the museum buy a book which features some of the artworks that you saw. This way you can discuss them again at home.

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Andy Warhol exhibition at WAM (Oct 2017) 

I loved this comment on one of our Instagram snaps by reader Iriann “Great that you are taking her to all these museums, I’m sure children take in the colours and images and emotions evoked in art in ways we can’t even begin to imagine.”

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National Gallery, London (Oct 2016) 

Check out Rock That Museum Kid, a cool Instgram account featuring kids in museums.

BABE, PLAY, READ

AUDIO BOOKS TO THE RESCUE

19th February 2018
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I have recently introduced Francie to audio books and it’s the best thing, for both of us. As you know we are screen-free so handing Francie an iPad or letting her watch TV for a bit isn’t an option for us. She has always loved listening to music in the car, and some time ago I introduced her to stories in the car which she loved. It then suddenly dawned on me that I don’t only have to let her listen in the car! I remember loving to listen to tapes when I was a child and I guess it is the same thing.

Although she loves stories and reading books, listening to someone elses voice took some getting used to. Two main things helped to start Francie off on audio books:

  1. I chose stories which she already knows or characters she is familiar with
  2. I chose shorter stories, around 5 minutes – 10 minutes long

These are the times I find audio books most useful/ effective:

  1. Francie is transitioning to no nap so on those days we still have “quiet rest time” where she is in her cot, and I am either in her chair reading my own book (!) or in and out of the room. Our rest time at the moment is 20 minutes, and the last 5 minutes are usually taken up by an audio book.
  2. Today I had a dermatologist appointment, and had to take Francie with me. She sat quietly on the chair and listened to the story while I had my appointment, it was fantastic!
  3. That time when you just have to get something done but your toddler is hungry and tired and just needs to slow down for a bit. A quiet story, while relaxing on the bed/ couch/ floor is a great way to just calm down the energy and get those 5 minutes that you need.
  4. Travelling. We went overseas this month and there was plenty of travelling – buses, trains, and planes. She loved an audio story every now and then (I bought her a pair of headphones for the trip which caused great excitement!)

Our favourites: We use the Audible app which is linked to my Amazon account. Of course there are countless stories to choose from but these are our favourites:

  1. Any Julia Donaldson stories – especially Singing Mermaid, Paperdolls and What the Ladybird Heard
  2. The Very Busy Spider by Erid Carle
  3. Tales of Beatrix Potter, specifically Peter Rabbit and Mrs Tiggy-winkle (her favourite for us to read too).
  4. All Mog stories by Judith Kerr
  5. The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr

Here are a few new stories which we discovered through audio books:

  1. The Penny series by Kevin Henkes
  2. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
  3. The Animal Fair and Other Stories by BBC Audio

I hope this inspires you to download some kids audio books and get those toddlers listening, and if you do already love audio books please share some of your favourites in the comment section.

MAMA, READ

YES, YOU DO HAVE TIME TO READ

7th February 2018
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I’ll be blogging each month about what I read, new books I’m looking forward to and other book news.
Let me start by stating what may be the obvious, I love reading. Reading is my ultimate downtime – ideally on my own, in a quiet place with a cup of tea and a piece of chocolate but 10 minutes snatched while the kids run in the garden works too!
I read a lot but somehow could not reach 50 books a year, which has been my goal since I started tracking my reads a few years ago. I blamed this on being busy and having two young children but then Bailey sent me this article at the beginning of the year and it has changed the way I think about my day and the hours I spend reading. By being more conscious of reading when I have some free time instead of scrolling Instagram (I still scroll obviously, just with a bit more discipline), even if it’s just for 10 minutes while I run the bath for the kids or wait for school pick up, I read 7 books in January! Disclaimer: I do not spend all day reading! I read here and there during the day for probably a maximum of 30 minutes total and then I read for about an hour in bed each night. A great way to start the year and it looks like I might reach 50 books this year, at last!
This month I read a few books I can recommend:
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Promise Me, Dad by Joe Biden
Joe Biden’s memoir chronicles a momentous year in his life as his son battled brain cancer, he faces the decision whether to join the presidential race in 2016, and serves as Vice President. This book is moving on so many levels – his strong Catholic faith, deep love for his family, hope and grief for his son, and his true friendship with Obama.
What I loved: The insights into his dedicated parenting and his commitment to instill a sense of civic duty and service in his children is inspiring.
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Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
I’m always delighted to find brand-new releases at my local library so I picked up Option B earlier this month. Sheryl Sandberg details her approach to life following her husbands sudden death. With two young children and a broken heart she was lost until Adam Grant proposes the idea of Option B, an alternative look at grief and recovery. When I face grief in my own life, my own or someone else’s, this is a book I will turn to.
What I loved: The idea of Option B, which can be applied to all life situations and the chapter on bringing up resilient children, this chapter alone prompted me to buy my own copy.
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Run by Anne Patchett
My favorite non-fiction book last year was The Story of a Happy Marriage by Anne Patchett, which prompted me to read more of her backlist. Run is a short book that takes place over two days, with flashes to the past interspersed. It follow two adopted brothers, their father, brother and two strangers whose lives collide in a startling set of circumstances. Anne Patchett’s writing is outstanding and I don’t think any of her books would disappoint.
What I loved:  A beautiful and unexpected twist that changes everything.
Here’s a look at a few titles on my to read list this month.
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Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
My brother-in-law and a blogger I follow both raved about this Nike founder’s memoir so I picked it up at bookclub this month.
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Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
I loved her first book Everything I Never Told You so I bought this in December and it’s on my bedside table waiting to be read.
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The Last Mrs Parrish
This book has popped up so many times on my Instagram feed this month so I’m excited to read it when it’s eventually released in SA.
What have you enjoyed reading lately? Follow my bookstagram account @heygoodbooking for more quick reviews and recommendations.
Happy reading!
(all book images via Good Reads)
BABE, MAMA, WEAR

I’VE JUST JOINED WOOLWORTHS LITTLEWORLD

5th February 2018
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Let’s face it, Woolworths is our go to store for all things baby (well, actually all things mama and family too). Ever since Francie was a tiny thing I have loved their white babygrows, and now I love their cool kids fashion for little ones so you can imagine my excitement when I discovered their Littleworld loyalty program  — I immediately signed up.

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Nothing bugs me more than loyalty programs that actually give me nothing, seriously what is the point? But Littleworld has already made signing up worth it: I’ve just received my welcome voucher of R100 off (with any R400 purchase on kidswear). And since I immediately stocked up on new items for Francie Sugar I also received a spa voucher — yip, pretty much any mama’s dream (you are rewarded a spa voucher when you spend R450 or more in the first 3 months of joining Littleworld). All I need to do now is book my mama to babysit so I can head off for a massage!

Other benefits that make it worth joining are the monthly gift card competition (each month you stand a chance to win a R500 gift voucher), other vouchers for birthday outfits, and special savings.

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As a member of Littleworld I am also entered into exclusive competitions such as the amazing WIN AN EDUCATION BURSARY WITH R20 000 TOWARDS YOUR CHILD SCHOOL FEES. Francie is only starting school later this year, and already I can’t quite get used to the cost of school fees so winning R20 000 towards fees would be amazing. Every time I swipe my Woolworths WRewards card it counts as an entry. The competition ends on Friday 9 March so get swiping as soon as you are a member!

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I know our readers are huge fans of Woolworths so make sure you join Littleworld, and enter the bursary competition — it’s really a great program.

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To join Woolworths Littleworld click here.

{Photography: Lad & Lass; Robyn Davie}

BABE, MAMA

THIS IS US

5th February 2018
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“The love a parent feels for a child is strange. There is a starting point to our love for everyone else, but not this person. This one we have always loved, we loved them before they even existed. No matter how well prepared they are, all mums and dads experience a moment of total shock, when the tidal wave of feelings first washes over them, knocking them off their feet. It’s incomprehensible because there’s nothing to compare it to. It’s like trying to describe sand between your toes or snowflakes on your tongue to some one who’s lived their their whole life in a dark room. It sends the soul flying.” Fredrik Backman, The Scandal

We hung out with Emma Jane from Lad & Lass Photography in our parents’ garden a couple weeks ago. Here are some of the moments that she captured if you would like to see.

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Kimmy & Bear-0037

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BABE, MAMA, NEST

FAMILY ALBUM AND THIS WEEK’S READING LIST

2nd February 2018
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{Anna, March 2016 photographed by Robyn Davie}

Happy Friday and happy February lovely mamas. We’re back into the swing of school, classes, new clients and trying to juggle it all! I am off tonight to France, we’re going skiing – with Francie in tow, which should ne interesting. I can just imagine her saying “me not wearing that” as she points to the boots, skis and helmet. So follow us on #KimmyandBearTravels over the next few days for updates!

In the meantime here are some links that caught our eye over the past few days and weeks:

If Apple CEO Tim Cook had kids, he says he wouldn’t let them engage in social media and How Bill Gates limited screen time for his kids.

Pressure much? The best foods for a baby’s brain.

The Art of Raising Kind Kids.

How to minimize your exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals.

The godsend of meeting mom friends online.

Kid’s Lunch Recipes from Chef Moms.

The Times released a 6-piece video series about motherhood.

Fussy Baby? Here Are 20 Things You Need To Try

The question all moms are asked (and dads are never asked).

Why kids in school need helicopter parents

Do Parents Make Kids Fat?

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