READ

HAPPY WORLD BOOK DAY! (AND A LIST OF OUR FAVOURITE BOOKS)

1st March 2018
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My favourite books are those that I love to read as much as my babes love to listen to. My all time favourite book to read to my children is the classic Winnie The Pooh, by A.A Milne – it is so beautifully written, full of laugh-out -aloud moments, and contains stories that can be heard a million times over. In honour of World Book Day we are sharing some other of our favourite children’s books at the moment (in no particular order).

We love discovering new books so let us know your favourites in the comments below.

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1.How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers

I am a big fan of Oliver Jeffers books but this is my favourite of all. It’s a sweet story of a boy trying to catch a star written in Jeffers’s usual quirky style.

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2. A Fairy Friend by Sue Fliess

My girls adore fairies so this book really appeals to them as it lays out a plan to find your very own fairy.

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3. In the Forest by Sophie Strady, Anouck Boisrobert, Louis Rigaud

This is a simple story with a strong message about looking after our planet, accompanied by beautiful pop-up illustrations, and a little sloth!

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4. Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli, Francesca Cavallo

A must-have book on every bookshelf, for girls and boys a like. The one page, easily digestible stories of women who changed the world are inspiring.
Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty5. Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty

This is one of my all-time favourite books to read to my girls. The rhythm of the rhyming is spot on, the language fantastic, and the story simply wonderful. We also have Rosie Revere, Engineer, Ada Twist, Scientist, and Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau, all by the same author, and I could read each of these books a million times a day.

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6. Lost and Found by Barbara McClintock

This book has the most beautiful illustrations of scenes throughout China as two children explore the country with their uncle. Part of the story is finding a missing object on each page which adds a extra element to the story telling.

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7. Tiger in a Tutu by Fabi Santiago

It’s hard to go wrong with a story involving a tiger, ballet, Paris, and friendship.

In the Attic by Hiawyn Oram

8. In the Attic by Hiawyn Oram

The magic of a child’s imagination is expressed so perfectly in this simple story about a boy who is cored with all his toys.

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9. A River by Marc Martin

A River takes you on a journey through cities and farmland, mountains, and jungle, and finally into the sea as it and beautifully expresses the wonder of imagination.

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10. The Night Box by Louise Greig, Ashling Lindsay

This story reads like poetry as it tells of all the changes the world undergoes as day fades to night and back to day again.

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11. The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

I love this book as it’s inspired by the incredible High Line in New York, and tells the story of a little boy who transforms an entire city with one small act.

Book_extra yarn12. Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen

Kindness, generosity, individuality and intention are expressed so simply and subtly in this sweet book about a girl who finds a box of never-ending yarn.

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13. Girl and Gorilla by Rick Walton

I used to call New York home, so I love reading stories set in NY to my girls to give them an inkling of this incredible city. I particularly love this book for it’s humour.

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14. Willoughby and the Lion by Greg Foley

Greg Foley is a good friend of mine from New York so his books hold a special place in our bookshelves. This book, with images solely in black and gold, is about finding out what’s truly important.

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15. Jack and the Flum Flum Tree by Julia Donaldson

I used to love reading this book to my niece so when I saw it the other day I nabbed a copy for myself. It’s Julia Donaldson at her best with fun words and silly rhymes.

The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers

16. The Way Back Home  by Oliver Jeffers

Another Oliver Jeffers favourite about a boy and a martian, finding their way back home from the moon.

Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World by Kale Pankhurst

17. Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World by Kale Pankhurst

What a fantastic book to read to daughters!

Dreamweaver by Claire Freedman and Carrie May

18. Dreamweaver by Claire Freedman and Carrie May

The perfect bedtime story if you ask me, all about going to sleep for the night. We love the rhyming too.

Oi Dog by Kes Gray and Jim Field

19. Oi Dog by Kes Gray and Jim Field

This series really makes us laugh out loud. The rhyming is fantastic and we are introduced to animals we didn’t know before.

Thank you Bear by Greg Foley

20. Thank you Bear by Greg Foley

A simple story about a mouse and bear’s special friendship.

Theres a Tiger in the Garden by Lizzy Stewart

21. Theres a Tiger in the Garden by Lizzy Stewart

We love this tale of a little girl and her giraffe who explore grandmother’s garden – a polar bear, giant dragon flies? What’s next. Oh and the last page is our favourite.

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22. A Great Big Cuddle by Michael Rosen, Chris Riddell

Described as poems for the “very young” which is great way to describe this book. The poems are funny, silly even ridiculous but we’ve read them over and over and love it.

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23. Sparky by Jenny Offill, Chris Appelhans

The sweetest story about a little girl and her pet sloth.

Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack

24. Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack by Lynley Dodd

We are the hugest fans of Mairy Maclary so love all these books but these is something that makes us love the persistence of Zachary Quack.

The Everywhere Bear by Julia Donaldson

25. The Everywhere Bear by Julia Donaldson

Follow the adventure of the Everywhere Bear when he gets lost one day.

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26. The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr

Fancy a tiger coming for tea? And then eating and drinking everything you have in the house.

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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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?

MAMA, TRAVEL

7 TIPS FOR TRAVELLING WITH 4 YEAR OLDS

30th January 2018
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Traveling with four year olds is a lot easier than traveling with 18 month olds – they’re a little more self sufficient, their attention spans are a little longer, they don’t need nappy changes, and they have their own seats.

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Here are 7 tips for making traveling with kids a breeze:
  1. Talk about the travel part of the trip as an adventure. Involve them in discussions and plans, such as how you’re going to get to the airport or when you’re there let them hand in their own tickets, that make them feel like a valuable part of the trip. Even going through the metal detectors is fun for four year olds.
  2. Cheska gave my girls one of these backpacks for their second birthday and we’ve used them for every trip since. They’re big enough to fit their essentials, but small enough to carry the bag themselves.
  3. Pack a lunch box for each child for the trip. Variety is key – smaller amounts of more items. I always include one or two treats too. These lunchboxes go into their backpacks, and they can get them out whenever they want. They love the autonomy, and I love not having to depend on airplane food. The variety keeps them interested. Even if you’re not traveling over a meal time, it’s a good call not arrive on the other side with hungry small people.
  4. Create a little tradition at the airport. Something you always do while you’re waiting for your flight that your kids look forward to and feel part of, whether it’s watching planes take off of getting a bag of popcorn, to avoid just waiting.
  5. I always pack a little bag of toys in my girls’ backpacks that they only see when they’re traveling. My girls’ bags still have a little travel doll and it’s blanket, and a toy airplane that have been in there since they were babies. I’ve recently added another doll and little pony. Avoid tiny pieces that can disappear into the void.
  6. Stickers and a notebook. I say no more.
  7. This is a recently established tip which came about through experience. Black leggings are a winner for travel. They hide things. When I flew home in December our flight was over dinner time. I had brought heated-up melazane onboard for my girls (not advisable). While eating, one of the containers was knocked and I watched in slow motion as it somersaulted down onto my one daughter’s lap. Needless to say I wished they had been wearing black.

We would love to hear your top tips so let us know in the comments!

 

Going on a trip? Here are our:

MAMA, PLAY

#kimmyandbearwraps

29th January 2018
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If you know anything about us you will know that we love wrapping gifts. It’s almost as important as what is inside. Check out our hashtag #KimmyandBearWraps for gift wrapping inspiration.

It was hard to choose but here are some of our favourites:

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EAT

DID SOME ONE SAY CHOC-CHIP COOKIES?

24th January 2018
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My girls and I made the most delicious choc chip cookies on Saturday. We used the choc-chip cookies recipe from Real Food, Healthy, Happy Children by Kath Megaw (such a great recipe book with tons of easy ideas for littles).

 

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There are three reasons why I love this recipe:

  1. They take 10 min to make and 10 min to bake
  2. You can make them your own by using the recipe as a base, and switching out or adding in ingredients
  3. They are really delicious and gooey

 

There was one strange thing with the recipe, it said the batter would make 48 and we got about nine. I am sure it is meant to say 4-8 because who wants 48 cookies anyway?

 

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1 free-range egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp coconut oil

A pinch of sea salt

2 tbsp xylitol

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup almond meal (ground almonds)

1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts (I didn’t have these so we just left it out)

1/4 cup cacao nibs (we replaced this with actual chocolate chips, because, well, chocolate…)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg, then add the vanilla, coconut oil, salt, and xylitol.
  3. Mix in the baking soda, almond meal, macadamia nuts and cacao nibs.
  4. Using your hands, mould the cookie dough into small balls and arrange on the baking tray, flattening each one with the palm of your hand as you go. Bake for 10 minutes.

Best served hot (because of the oozing chocolate) with a glass of cold milk.

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