Archive | March, 2012

Bubba Crazy

26 Mar

Keena LOVEs babies.

There is just no way to stress this enough. The girl is nuts about them.

Every pram (stroller) we pass gets an excited scream- “Bubba! Bubba!” while Keena cranes her neck to get a glimpse of the baby. Every sign we walk or drive past gets the same reaction. Each product package that has a print of baby on it also gets an excited exclamation. If you think I’m exaggerating, a friend from overseas who was staying with us recently said that when we went shopping and we would split up to do our own thing, she never had to worry about finding us. She would simply follow the sound of “Bubba!”.

Our regular maid had her second child recently a beautiful little boy named Bryant. She brought him over for the girls and I to meet last week and Keena’s reaction was totally priceless. She got so excited when she saw the baby up close that she started jumping up and down, flapping her hands in pure joy with a massive smile on her face! I wish we’d had the sense to film it, but we did get a few pictures…

Trying to get a handle on her excitement while admiring bubbas tiny fingers.

Holding Bryant all by herself:)… more or less.

Adoring the baby.

At least I know I’ve definitely got a little helper for the next time I have a baby.  Sweet.


Nutritious Toddler Meals

21 Mar

My girls are just under 20 months old now. They’ve always been good eaters but only really liked a handful of things. To be honest, they more or less eat the same thing every single day. I find it incredibly boring but they don’t seem to mind so I’m rolling with it. There are bigger fish to fry, yah know.

Also, they aren’t really that interested in food at the moment. Exploring the big world around them is so much more interesting which means that I have to box wisely when I do feed them something.

Since  I first fed them solids, I’ve always been very concerned about getting good nutritious stuff in them. I am by no means a guru in this department but I feel like I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve that I can share with you.

 Before we dive in I should just say a few qualifiers about my baby/toddler food philosophy:

1) Nutrition comes first, always.

2) Always make as many ingredients of your child’s food as possible instead of buying store bought options. It’s worth the extra few minutes of time and effort. (eg: make pizza bases, make your own baby puree – you get the picture)

3) Hide or add as much goodness as possible to each tiny meal.

4) Accomplish goal 1 & 2 in the simplest and most time efficient way possible. (If you’re expecting fancy toddler meals you’re going to be disappointed. I’m all about simple nutrition, especially those that take the least amount of time to fix.)

5) Make in bulk as much as you possibly can.

I think that pretty much sums it up.

So here we go. For months- and I mean for like 9 months- my girls literally ate these exact meals every. single. day.

Breakfast: Oatmeal (real, not instant) with a mashed or puree banana, a big tablespoon of natural peanut butter, 1/2 tsp of honey & a little milk to thin it out.

Lunch: Scrambled eggs with spinach or cauliflower puree mixed in, whole wheat screw pasta & a few slices of cucumber.

Dinner: Plain yogurt & a slice of rye bread with cream cheese.

Snack #1: Fruit slices or raisins & pretzels

Snack #2: Fruit smoothie or green smoothie & peanuts

So that’s what they’ve eaten for ages now. Below are some variations & other meal options that have been a big hit (some days) as well as some notes about food prep.

Variations- Oatmeal with…

  • mashed banana, honey, ground almonds & cinnamon
  • coconut flakes, milk & butter
  • apple puree, cinnamon & brown sugar or xylitol
  • fruit puree & ground pumpkin seeds
  • fruit puree with any ground nut or seed
  • 1/2 oatmeal, 1/2 pureed brown lentils with fruit puree and ground nuts or seeds (My girls looooooved this variation for months. You can’t even taste the lentils & you’re packin’ in the protein at the same time!)
  •  natural peanut butter, coconut milk, cream cheese & honey.

 Options– Breakfast

  •  Scrambled eggs (with spinach or cauliflower puree) & fruit chunks
  • Yogurt with cottage cheese, fruit puree & ground nuts or seeds
  •  Homemade banana bread with natural peanut butter on it
  • Biltong & fruit (biltong is basically what Americans call ‘jerky’ except biltong is made fresh and is a.m.a.z.i.n.g)
  • Power smoothie- oats, banana, natural PB, milk, whey protein

Options- Lunch/ Dinner

  • Macaroni & cheese with cauliflower & cheese sauce
  • Cheese cubes, honey glazed carrot sticks & pasta screws/spaghetti
  • Fish cakes
  • Mini meatballs & spaghetti
  • Finger vegetables (cucumber, peppers, carrots, celery-whatever) & dips (PB, Humus, Cream Cheese)

Options- Snacks

  • Whole wheat crackers with natural peanut butter
  • Apples or carrots dipped in natural PB
  • Biltong
  • Granola bars
  • Cinnamon baked apple slices

Food Prep Notes

  • Bulk oatmeal can be made in a pot on the stove,  frozen in portion sizes and then reheated when needed. It can also be cooked in the microwave with water for a few minutes each morning.
  • It’s a huge time saver if you can make everything in bulk one afternoon a week. Take an hour while the kids are asleep, grind a bunch of nuts and seeds (takes 2 minutes) and puree a bunch of fruit. Then you have that extra bit of goodness to pop into just about any meal. The fruit can be frozen in ice trays and popped out whenever needed.
  • Banana bread can also be frozen. When you do make it, after it’s cooled down set aside a few slices for today and tomorrow. Slice the rest up, put it into a zip lock bag and pop it into the freezer.
  • ALWAYS KEEP PUREED OR FRESH SPINACH HANDY! Seriously, this is one of the easiest ways to add a tons of goodness to a simple meal. It is also a big comfort to me to know that I’m getting my kids an extra vegetable that’s very nutritionally dense  that they wouldn’t otherwise eat. So right before you sit down to check your email, turn on a burner, fill a pot with water and put a steamer full of spinach on top of it. Set your timer for 15 minutes- go check your email- come back and puree. When you make scrambled eggs, use 1/2 cup of spinach puree for every 6 whole eggs and add a little milk. Simply beat the puree in with the eggs before transferring to the pan. Scramble like normal. Boom. Two minutes of effort and so much goodness for your littles!
  • Similarly with macaroni and cheese- make noodles like normal. Turn a burner on medium, melt a bunch of cheese, add a little milk, stir in 1/2 cup of cauliflower puree and presto! You have a nutritious sauce for your noodles.

Obviously, you can serve any of these meal any darn time of day you want.

Some of you may be thinking, that’s great but… ‘how do I get my child to eat in the first place’? Honestly, I’m not really the right person to be asking since my kids have always been decent eaters. All I can say though is that no child has ever died from being offered food & choosing not to eat it. If my girls don’t like what’s being served for that meal, they wait until the next one. Stay strong moms & push through!

If you have any other questions, please just give me a shout. Like I said, not a guru, just another Mom trying to grow my littles as best as possible. After all, that’s all that us Mother is trying to do.

Chivalry is alive in SA

10 Mar
Hands down, one of my favorite things about South Africa is how dag-on well manner the men are here! South African schools are filled with discipline and tradition (even the public schools) and part of what children learn at schools here is manners. Shocker, I know right. 
(South African school boys in uniform.)

Students have to address their teachers as ‘mam’ and ‘sir’. They are taught to stand when their teacher enters the room and say please and thank you consistently when appropriately, along with all the other important manners. And man oh man can you see the effect of this in South African society! Never once in the 5 years that I’ve lived here have a man shouted something sexual at me out of a passing car window. 

Never once has a man undressed me with his eyes (at least not so obviously that I noticed) or said something rude to me as I walked past him on the street. 

 I’ll tell yah what does happen though. At least once a day, when I am in public (so we’re talking about total strangers here)- a man will make a quick dash to get me a shopping cart when he sees that I am off loading two small children from my car that happens to be parked far out in the lot OR a man will open the door for me seeing that my hands are full with two kids OR return my shopping cart to where it belongs because (again) my hands are full of kids and groceries OR carry my dogs big 15kg (30lb) bag of dog food out to my car just to be polite.

 My examples could go on. And let me just add, there is nothing really said when they help me except something “Here, let me get that for you” or “Can I help you with that?”. In other words, there are no funny winks or (super obvious) ass check-outs going on. They’re simply polite men.

 Thank you South Africa for continuing to teach manners to our children. Thank you South African men for sticking to your foundations. This chivalry thing is definitely one of the reasons I fell in love with Husband. I reckon there’s almost nothing better than a well mannered but not cheesy man. Keep pumpin’ um out SA!

And That’s What You’ve Missed…

9 Mar

I have been ridiculously busy the last 2.5 months catching up with some work and have finally managed to jump on here again!

So here’s what you missed…

We had a super relaxing holiday season. In South Africa, the field my husband works in completely shuts down for 2-3 weeks over Christmas. Which means… lots and lots of family time- yippeeeeeee! 

As you can tell the girls were in full holiday mode, sittin’ on the back porch eatin’ peaches just cause they can:)

The last 5 days of our holiday were spent at our families holiday house in a small fishing town that’s about an hour and a half from us. There were quite a few ‘firsts’ for the girls and buckets of fun was had by all. 

First trip to the beach. (This is absolutely shocking considering we live in a coastal city and the girls are a year and a half now.) To say they loved the beach would be an understatement. This particular beach is called Kiddies Beach because the water only takes the girls up to their chest & is very calm. So they can run and play freely, which is nice for everyone. 

First time on a boat. Mmmm, I would say they loved but didn’t hate it either. Just a good experience. 

These next two photos were just to cute to not include…

 While out for sushi one night, Blake decided to copy us and try and eat her bread with her chopsticks. (high five) That’s my girl!

And sweet little Keena just couldn’t bare being separated from her bubba even though she wanted to play with other toys so we turned her into a proper African woman. (See pic below for reference)
The girls have started huggin’ stuff out which is just too flipping cute. And as we like to say around here “Sisters don’t shake hands. Sisters gotta hug!”
I made a comparison pic of myself and Blake just to prove that she is my mini-me. You see Keena is an exact replica of my husband and loads of people have always said that Blake also looks like his side of the family. But it was time I set the record straight.
 Boom. Discussion finished. 

January was just a blur of trying to get back into the swing of normal life but feeling like I was in slow motion and nothing was actually getting down. 

February was pretty cool as it brought with it a visit from a good friend  from the states. It’s actually the 3rd time she’s come to visit us and we LOVE having her every time. On top of loads of laughter, conversations about social issues, politics & parenting and watching YouTube video’s we managed to squeeze in a few superb photo shoots. You see, our friend Katie is a F.A.N.A.T.A.S.T.I.C photographer and hooked us up, yo.  You can and must check out more of her stuff at

Katie and I staged a sweet photo shoot of just the girls and had very high hopes of getting a pic of them standing on this table hugging each other but…

they had different plans. This is actually the only ‘usable’ pic from the whole fiasco. It was an epic fail of note! For whatever reason, the girls were terrified of the balloons (or at least that’s our best guess) and cried for like 20 minutes straight. Big thumbs down. 

So we tried round two a few days later in hopes to get a few good family shots and came out with these…

These are just a few of the lot but its safe to say that we accomplished our mission. Especially considering how hard it is to get a decent pics with 2 toddlers running all over the place!

And that’s what you’ve missed on…