When I was pregnant I heard of this term “Porridge Brain” and I thought that people must be mad, could this really exist? Um yes, I agreed when I started to chat to hubby and forgetting half way what I was saying or finding my car keys in the fridge. Or while making a beetroot jam, cheese and lettuce sandwich, stopping half way through making it and looking at the ingredients as if an alien had dropped them there as I had forgotten about the sandwich while finding more ingredients in the fridge.
Bella is now 22 months and although it has gotten better, I still have memory problems. I now call it “Organised scatterbrains”! Warning: Forgetful Mom Alert! I can remember to pack all the things that she needs for her baby bag and get her dressed and dropped at school but halfway to work I will realise that I don’t have mascara on or that that I have blue earrings with some random combination of bangle. This morning I had a mini heart attack as I arrived at her school and suddenly started wondering if I had put her shoe on again that had fallen off at home. You can only image the thoughts that went through my head! Luckily she had both on. My new other thing is that I keep messing up the days of the week! The other day I got Bella up and dressed for school and went to wake my hubby up, who was not impressed with me especially when he saw the time and mentioned that it was Saturday. Last Friday morning I nearly let us all stay home for the day when I though Friday was Saturday! This week I keep thinking Thursday is today but that’s because I am going on holiday for the long weekend on Thursday!
So I have come up with a plan to do some more memory exercises and to try to get more sleep as apparently this is completely normal. I don’t find it normal at all and sometimes I miss my “pre-Bella old brain”. Now if only I could find my pen to write down my plan……..
I enjoy baking and have found this to be an easy and quick recipe to make an interesting loaf of bread for my family! Because it is so versatile, you can chop and change the ingredients to suit your mood!
1kg of readymade bread dough
5 rashers of bacon
1 green pepper
1 punnet of mushrooms
Half an onion
1 tablespoon of garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
250 g of Cheddar Cheese (optional)
2 tablespoons of milk (optional)
1 teaspoon butter/Spray and Cook/ Oil to grease pan
Set your oven to 200’c or 392.F and using the 1 teaspoon butter/Spray and Cook/ Oil grease the pan that you want to put the bread onto. I used a nice flat one.
Leave your dough in the packaging and put it in a large bowl. Put the bowl in a dark place or you can cover it with a thick blanket and leave it to rise.
Cut up all of the ingredients just before you take the dough out and have them ready in a bowl. Fry the bacon in a little bit of oil and out it to one side.
Once the dough has risen, sprinkle your counter with flour and take your dough out of its bag. Knead the dough for a few minutes and roll it out flat onto your surface.
Take the garlic and using a spoon, smear it all over one half of the dough.
Put all the other vegetables and bacon on top of the garlic and season with salt and pepper. If you are going to use cheese, cover your vegetables with the cheese.
Fold the half without any ingredients over onto the part that has ingredients and cover the edges where the two sides meet so that you cannot see into the bread.
Using the milk (optional) mix it with the two eggs and beat the two together. If you are doing diary free, only use the eggs and beat them together. Using a brush or the back of a spoon, cover the bread with the mixes as this will help it to brown.
Bake for 30 minutes. Using a knife put it into your bread to test if it is ready. If when you pull it out of the bread, it has crumbs on it, cook it for a little while longer. Remember that the inside may seem a bit soggy due to the juices from the bacon and the veggies.
You can use different kinds of vegetables instead of the ones I mentioned.
Bella has always had a love of music and watching the looks of amazement while listening to the Major for Minors Classical Lullabies made me smile and she was relaxed.
Major for Minors has 13 wonderful CD’s with a wide variety of classical music and they even have a CD on well known Afrikaans songs! There are CDs ranging from Lullabies to Nursery Rhymes to Baroque for Babies! As mentioned I listened to the Classical Lullabies and it was absolutely lovely! It has lullabies that I know as well as Brahms Lullaby and made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside! Bella loved the music and when she woke up the next morning, asked me to listen to the music again! She even gave up Mickey Mouse Club for the music which is a big deal! I would definitely recommend it to anyone out there!
Major for Minors effects
Each of the CDs have been proven to have a calming effect on babies and children, almost like “Ocean sounds” and Majors for Minors worked with Dr Annette Lotter (BA-Ed, B-Ed, M-Ed, D-Ed (RAU), Organisational Specialist (SHL) who did research on the music and found that the music helped to reduce hyper activity and sleep disorders in babies and children! As a parent, you will probably agree with me that sleep is very important in any household! I plan on using it on our upcoming roadtrip!
One of the nice things about their website is that you can listen to tracksfrom the different CDs online. Almost like a “try before you buy”! Using PayPal you can buy their CDs from their website (insert hyperlink) and you will receive a link to download your CD. Alternatively y you can buy them at one of the following online places: www.calorababy.co.zawww.kalahari.com www.lookandlisten.co.zawww.musica.co.za or in their respective stores. They make wonderful gifts for friends that are pregnant or have kids!
Now we have a competition that you can enter for two lucky winners to each win a downloadable CD of your choice from Majors for Minors. To enter you need to like their Facebook Pageas well as Baby Bugs ‘n Berriesand share the page to as many people as you can! Competition ends on the 28 September 2012 and the winner will be announced on the 1 October 2012.
Recently I have been feeling like Spiderman climbing the walls with his sticky web to get to the damsel in distress at the top of the skyscraper. The only problem is that my skyscraper is the fact that I stopped smoking and my “damsel” is my craving for chocolate and cake. Now to most people, that would sound pretty reasonable but the fact is that I actually am not a massive fan of either! I prefer dark chocolate once a month and now I have had chocolate 3 times in 4 days! The last time I craved so much chocolate was when I was pregnant with Bella and made Rick leave at 2am to go to MacDonald’s to get me a Chocolate Sundae. Now I can’t stomach those things! And in response to the thought most people would have, nope, no bun in this oven! Apparently these sugar cravings have to do with my blood sugar dropping due to the lack of cigarettes and are actually pretty normal.
I decided to give up smoking for 3 reasons: 1) I became terribly sick with bronchitis, laryngitis and sinusitis and smoking made me cough more than anything. 2) Cigarettes are getting flipping expensive and 3) the money I am saving from not smoking is going towards things that I would not normally buy myself i.e. a pair of stunning shoes that I saw!
Had I known it would be so hard to go cold turkey I would have gotten tablets or gum or something! The problem, I have found, with the patches or gum is that they taste terrible to me! My ex tried this thing, when he stopped, that looked like a tampon and would walk around sucking on it! He used to get so angry at me because I would laugh myself sick at him every time he would suck on it! The other option is those electronic cigarettes but they would just be kidding myself and I would “light up” everywhere.
So I have come up with a plan of action that includes the following:
Have bubblegum in my bag or on me at all times
Eat dried bananas and mangos
I recently lost 11kg and I am not going to put it all on again and hence I will not pick up those chocolate bars and cake
Water is my best friend
Walk and get some fresh air
Take one morning and evening at a time (this is when it is the worst!)
Wish me luck and if you have any tips, please let me know!
Bella loves helping out in the kitchen and I have all these cute little magnets for her to look at and play with while I am busy. The only problem is, I think she is starting to get bored of them so I decided to make her some new ones.
You will need:
Picture of your choice
Strip of magnet
How to do it
Print your picure in colour. I took pictures that I Googled and printed them in colour
Cut out your picture to the shape that you want it
Laminiate the picture so that it doesn’t get ruined or damaged
Cut the magnet to fit the size of your picture and use your craft glue to stick it down
Voila! Stick it to your fridge and let your little one have hours of fun!
“Read a book?” this is a sentence that I have taught Bella and although it is a very good sentence, it can make me cringe! Now you might be wondering why that is but my little girl loves to read and read and read the same books over and over. I have taken to hiding Minnie Mouse and Daisy Ducks Garden Adventure and when I go to the library to get her new books, I look for those that are not going to drive me crazy after reading them for the 100 time! “Nikky Nook, Bam Wham, who ate Minnie Mouse’s flowers? Where is Panda? Spot jumps”, these are sentences that I have been repeating just about every night but in different orders. I suppose it is my own fault as I am a book lover and I have read my favourite books many times, just not after each other! I also like to show her different things in the books when we read them so that she can discover more from them as we read them. Hmmmm, silly mum!
I have also discovered that there are many types of books out there that can also be kind of fun for adults too. I love looking at some of the pretty picture books and those that have nice felts or materials in them also make me smile. There is such a variety out there and sometimes I have to stop myself from getting her books that are too old for her or with pages that can tear easily! Also books that she has “read” when she was younger, I have taken out again and she is so much more enthralled by them, almost asif she has never read them.
Oh well Mom, as they say, suck it up and go get another book, one without a Nikkie Nook and a Makka Pakka, one that has sentences that make sense and don’t drive you crazy! Something like Jasmine the Fairy with the glitter wings or Happy Birthday Lulu that won’t drive you crazy! Any suggestions for books that will keep me sane??
When I think of Rock Stars I always think of road trips and camping on a bus, travelling the world and having a ball of a time. What we seldom remember is that Rock Stars are people too. Many of them are boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives and often parents!
If you love South African music or have a radio or T.V, you will surely know of the band The Parlotones who have had some amazing local and international hits like “I’ll be there for you”, ”Rock.Paper.Scissors” and “Dragonflies and Astronauts”. I spoke to Paul Hodgson who is a band member in The Parlotones and who is also a father to a beautiful little girl! I asked him a few questions on what it’s like being a Dad and part of an international band:
q.1) How did you find out your wife was pregnant and did she have any strange cravings?
Well funnily enough, about a week before we found out my wife was pregnant; some friends came to visit with their toddler. He pulled all my neatly organised CD’s out the CD rack, messed juice and food all over the floor and couch and after they left my wife and I said “We’re definitely not ready for a baby yet!” Then a week later we found out she was pregnant…!
2) How did you choose her name?
It took forever to choose a name. If I liked a name, my wife didn’t. A name she liked was from a TV show I didn’t like, and so on and so on… We went through a whole bunch of baby name books and eventually settled on a name we both liked. It clicked with us both instantly. I have her name tattooed on the inside of my arm, which I always joke is so that I can remember it when I get back home from tour.
q.3) What is your favourite daddy and daughter activity?
Well she loves playing “School School” where she is the teacher and I’m the kid, and I have to do maths and spelling and colouring in and stuff. We also play games together on the Wii and go for walks around the neighbourhood. But I’d have to say our favourite thing is swimming, she can swim for hours and hours, just like I used to when I was a kid.
q.4) What is her favourite food and what is her views on vegetables?
She is actually a very healthy eater; she prefers tomatoes and sliced cucumber over chips and sweets. She loves chicken korma. She eats the basic vegetables, peas, mielies, carrots, that sort of thing. She is a bit wary of anything that looks “weird” (which she gets from me!)
q.5) What do you miss the most when you are on the road away from home?
Definitely my family and especially my daughter. You miss out on so many little things that you’ll never get back. You learn to appreciate the time you have together and make the most of every moment. But also things like sleeping in your own bed, your own shower, things like that. The “normal” things that you never think about until you are away from home for 6 weeks.
q.6) Do you have any special traditions that you do together as father and daughter or as a family before you go on tour?
Um not really, we sometimes have a supper out or something, but often (and I don’t know why) we normally end up having arguments the few days leading up to when I have to leave. I think it’s the knowledge I’m going to be away for a long time and it creates stress that manifests in short tempers and arguments. It’s weird, but it happens without fail just before every tour.
q.7) Do you have to bring her any specific toys, trinkets or books from your travels?
Nothing specific, but always something. When she was smaller I would bring back teddy bears from different places that looked like the place they came from. Like one was a teddy dressed like a London cop, things like that. I also got her some little handbags from various airports, decorated with iconic images of that city, like NY or London, pretty cool. Obviously the style of the gift changes as she gets older, but it’s always something small because it has to fit into my backpack. And it’s always bought at the end of the tour; otherwise it’s utterly ruined by the time I get home!
q.8) How does she feel about her dad being a rock star?
It’s normal for her, I think. She often says she’s glad I’m a rock star, but she wishes I didn’t have to go away so much. I think it’s only sinking in now how different our life is. Some of the older kids at school ask her about the band and stuff, and it’s a bit of weird thing for someone so young to deal with. She’s had lot of cool experiences because of the band, we’re often at Sun City and she gets to stay in cool hotels every now and again. She sometimes stands with our lighting engineer during shows and he lets her control the lights, which she loves. I try keep her out of the limelight as much as I can, I don’t put up photos of her on my Facebook and things like that. I try keeping the family life separate from the band thing. It’s a bit sad sometimes, especially when you have an awesome photo you’d love to share, but there’s too many people I don’t know on my Facebook and I’m not comfortable with them having access to my family photos.
If you would like to keep up to date with what Paul is doing, why not follow his blog and hear more! For concert dates, go to The Parlotones official website or follow them on Facebook
Today was one of those days where you realise your wings are cut, the Super Mom logo has been removed and you are just having one of those days when the 100 balls that you are juggling all seem to plop onto your head with the heaviness of a bowling ball. Each one leaves a nasty dent as it rolls to the floor. The thing with being a mom is that before you only had to worry about yourself and your partner. If you had one of these days, getting into bed with a good book, glass of wine or something stronger and staying there until you decided to get up was ok. Now with a kiddie, this seems to only be possible once they are in bed. I still have to get Bella from school, get her home, bathed and fed while playing with her and giving her “Bella Time” and then off to sleep. Once she is asleep it’s time to back her bag for school, make sure she has a bottle for later and get her school clothes ready for the next day. Only then can I start to tackle the rest of the things and then maybe get into bed at a decent time before Bella wakes up and starts looking for me!
To keep the balls in the air takes quite a bit of planning and making sure that things go according to this plan. If her baby bag isn’t packed the night before, I have to run around like a banshee to get it done in the morning which takes away some of “our” time which means Bella gets whiney and vies for my attention. This makes me even later and then I get more worried about being late etc!
So I put “Back to Sanity” plan into place! I had a big cup of coffee, took a deep breath, did a little gig, resolved to be more efficient and felt a 100 times better! Only I can help to make it better and if it means 5 minutes less in bed, so be it! Tomorrow will hold another day and I am going to be positive that all the balls will be in the air and not stress! As they say “Bring it!”
Have you ever had one of those Monday mornings where you are getting ready to take your kid to school and as you start walking to the car you realise that today there is a birthday party at school and oh s@#$ but you haven’t gotten a present? You remember the reminder that went off on your phone on the weekend, the one that you pushed “dismiss” for and the fleeting moment that you thought about it and then did nothing. I had one of those today and back into the house to try to find if there was anything out that I could give!! After accepting defeat that there was nothing, I started thinking of plans to go and buy presents after work or trying to make a plan to get something there in time for the party!
When I arrived at school there was a sign announcing the birthday and my heart sank into my shoes! What now? I confessed that I had forgotten to get one to which I was told that it wasn’t my turn to buy a present and felt my heart slowly climb back into its place! I had forgotten that the school has a great policy that each parent has a turn to buy a present for a child so that we don’t have to buy for each child and it works out more expensive for the parents!
This has made me realise that I need a board or something to put the notices on so that this doesn’t happen again. One that I will be forced to look at every day and not forget. Also I will now get something so that I can always have something should this ever occur again but that it will not go to Bella and stay closed until it is needed! I can hear what you are thinking “Good luck with that one” but I will try my hardest not to give it to her! Now to go and get the present!
Stunning flowers, beautiful decorations and a lovely time at a wedding is what I think of when I think of Blaauwklippen Vineyards! With its lush gardens and “old school” feel, it is the perfect location for such an event. Now that I am a mommy, I also look for different things!
Blaauwklippen is one of the eldest wine farms near Stellenbosch and in March 2011 started their Family Market that is run on a Sunday. Here you can get organic products like veggies, yummy homemade jams and a wide variety of cheeses and olives, soaps, candles, clothes, jewellery and toys, just to mention but a few. There are also fun things to do for kids like pony rides and 2 jungle gyms, one close to the restaurant and the other where the wine centre is located and on Sundays a jumping castle for them to play on. The jungle gym, carriage rides and pony rides are available most days of the week and Blaauwklippen has lush gardens that provide a fabulous setting for a picnic that can be arranged with the chefs before you come.
Now for the adults they do have wine and also chocolate tasting where you can sample some of their delicious wines and it can be done in a formal setting or an informal setting where you can sit outside and watch the kiddies play. They also have a wine cellar tour that can be combined with the wine tasting to give you some background on where the wine comes from and as the farm itself has such history, it will tell you a bit more about the farm itself. The wine tasting is open every day except Christmas and New Years and can be great fun! Cellar Tours and tastings for groups more than 6 needs to be booked in advance! Imagine yourself sitting under the trees, a glass of wine in your hand and the sun shining while the kids run around and play! Perfection! If you are stuck for a gift, they also have a gift shop where you can buy all sorts of lovely goodies ranging from olive oils, soaps, aprons to some of their fantastic bottles of wine, just to mention a few. You can even make up your own gift packs from the available selection and have it nicely wrapped. They also have a cosy dining restaurant with its Cape- inspired menu and fresh produce that will have your mouth watering. They are closed during winter on Mondays and Tuesdays, re-opening on 1st September for 7 days a week. Pre booking is advised.
We have a great competition with Blaauwklippen Vineyards where you can win a bottle of Blaauwklippen Barouche Magnum 2007! This wine was the winning blend of the 2008 Blending Competition, submitted by the Wine Tasters’ Guild of South Africa from Cape Town. It is full bodied, well structured and well integrated wine and perfect for any occasion! To enter this competition, Like Both Blaauwklippen’s Facebook Page as well as Baby Bugs ‘n Berries and share this post. If you have liked our page already, like this post! Competition closes on the 18 August and is only open to South African residents.
Here is a quick and easy snack recipe that you can make for friends and children alike and it’s easy enough that you can vary it according to your tastes. It can also be given to children with milk allergies but please do read the packaging of the puff pastry to ensure that it doesn’t contain diary and use Spray and Cook or oil to coat the dish.
•One packet readymade Puff Pastry like Today Puff Pastry
•Spray and cook/ tsp oil or butter
1. Let the puff pastry thaw and when it is nice and soft, roll it out flat onto a
chopping board or flat surface.
2. Preheat your oven or convection microwave to 200”C (degrees Celsius)
3. Spray Spray and Cook onto your flat dish that will be going into the microwave
or oven. If you don’t have Spray and Cook, use a little bit of oil or butter
and spread this over the dish so that the puff pastry doesn’t stick.
4. Take a sharp knife and cut the puff pastry into long strips and then divide the
long strips into smaller slices, about the length of your thumb.
5. Spread the marmite onto the smaller strips according to taste (I like a lot of
Marmite so I put it on quite thick)
6. Put the Marmite strips onto the dish and put them into the oven/microwave and
bake them until they rise and become a nice golden colour.
7. When they are done, take them out of the oven using an oven gloves or a cloth
so that you don’t burn your hands on the dish.
They can be served warm or cold, but I prefer them cold so I leave them to cool
before giving them out. I unfortunately don’t have any after pictures as they always seem to disappear before I can take them!
•You can also use cumin seeds, cheese spread or curry powder instead of the Marmite.
•For something fancier, follow steps 1-3 and 5 and take a packet of chips and break
them into fine pieces and put them into a bowl. Chutney, lamb and salt and vinegar
chips work the best! Beat an egg in a separate bowl and then dip the puff pastry
strips into the egg mix and then into the chips covering the strips with chips.
Holding the end sides of the puff pastry, give them a slight turn so that they twist
a bit and then put them onto your microwave or oven dish and take them out when they
are a nice golden brown colour and follow step 7.
As you have probably gathered from my other posts, education is very high on my list. I want Bella to have the best education that she can have and also have manners at the same time. We have been reading books to her since she was little and I love talking so I followed some advice on the net that suggested to just keep talking to her about everything that I do, even if it is trivial. Now like me, she hardly stops talking!
The thing is, sometimes I have no idea what the new words are that she is saying and I must admit it does take some patience to figure out what it is that she is saying sometimes. For example, while driving the other day she said “Ees” and I said all the words I thought she was saying and she kept saying no until I looked in the mirror and realised she was pointing out the windscreen at trees! She can’t see into my mouth and so I’ve realised that she can’t see how to pronounce some of the words and so says them as she hears them. I must admit that it has led to some funny incidents because she often repeats the last word that you say and sometimes I don’t realise that she is listening and I have mentioned a swear word or two! A quick save was when she repeated a word I said and I told her it was sit and not the word with the h in it.
According to the miles stones I have read and seen on the net, Bella is meant to say 20-50 words at her current age of twenty months but two months ago we made a list of all the words she says and we stopped counting at 200 words as this is what she should be saying at 24 months. This has freaked some of our friends out as their children don’t say as many words and I have seen a panicked look on moms with kids the same age when Bella starts having chats with their kids and the kids just look at her and they can only say the words that they are meant to at their age.
So here are some tips that I learnt to help your child to talk more. Please note that this is only on my observations and that I don’t have any scientific merit in it, only trial and error:
Talk to your little one as much as possible and tell them what you are doing even if it is just washing the dishes. They might not seem like they are paying attention to you but they will hear the words and their brains will store the words and remember them. Point out trees and buses and trains and everything that is around you.
Start reading books to them at a young age, everything from magazines to picture books to road signs so that this encourages their vocabulary
Invite friends or family over so that they can speak to other people as well and they might teach them different words that you don’t think of or point out things that might seem trivial to you
Put them in a good school or crèche where education is very important and the school focuses on that. We have been very blessed to have found Bella a school that cares for the kids and really aims at teaching them things on an individual and group basis.
When you are driving and have your little one in the car, point things out and tell them what they are seeing.
Take your child to as many different places as possible so that they can learn new animals, see plants etc. A pet shop is great to learn about new animals and is free. You don’t need to take them to expensive places, kids can learn anywhere! Buses and trains are also amazing for them to go on an s they discover the new sensations and take in their surroundings.
Try to encourage manners in your child by saying “Please, thank you, it’s a pleasure” and more and if they don’t say it when it is needed, say it for them and ask them to repeat it so that they get into the habit of saying it. It can be a bit of a struggle at first but if you persevere, you will get amazing results.
The most important thing that I have learnt and is the one tip that I would suggest using as much as possible; interact and talk to your child as much as possible. I know that this can be hard if you are working and get home and you are tired, but in the long run, spending that extra little time with them can make a big difference! If you know of any other tips that have worked for you, please do let me know! As they say, “Every little tip counts”!