Review: Spring Board Books

The lovely people at Shelton Interactive sent Elijah and Naomi some board books to review. Due to some personal crisises and big changes in our lives, we have taken forever to write this up (Apologies to the ever patient Katie). These three books are specially for Spring, so if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, these are for your seasons… but for those in the South, they are still a great buy. I have reviewed some of Callie Grant’s books before, and as usual she is a winner in our home.

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Jesus Saves Me – A sweet book with full colour photos, all about how we are Jesus’s sheep and he is the good Shepherd. Very good for small children, as the photos seem to attract them more than illustrations do, well for my kids anyway.

Little Seed: A Life – This little gem is all about the life cycle of a seed, but brings it back to God who is the one who makes everything grow in His time. The illustrations are wonderfully bright and it is definitely a book that can even be used in teaching some basic biology.

Close as a Breath – My favourite of the three, the illustrations are beautiful, and the story is precious. I relate to it, as I remember walks with my dad as a little girl, and asking a million different questions. Definitely a book to get hold of a treasure.

As I said, these books are a win, so if you can get them, do! They make lovely babyshower or dedication gifts, as they are lovely and chunky for baby hands.

(I was given these books to review, but have not been remunerated for my opinions, and as such they are my honest opinions)

Best coffee ever

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So as you know we live on smallholding, and are attempting the whole simple life, whole food, homesteading thing. Which is great fun, and interesting to say the least.
Since we now have reasonable good internet, I have started reading other homesteaders and real foodies blogs to get ideas for how to run this place and eat better. In the week I was reading Wellness Mama’s blog and came upon an interesting post about how she drinks her coffee. My first reaction was mild revulsion… But then I thought, heck I am fairly open to new ideas, let’s give it a go. So this is how I now drink my coffee, and I swear, it’s amazing!! I struggled with black coffee, but knowing that our processed dairy is really bad, I don’t drink it in my coffee. And everyone knows a mama needs her coffee.

Ingredients

Fresh black coffee
1 tsp unsalted butter (I use salted coz it’s all I currently have, and I don’t like wasting)
1 tbsp virgin coconut oil (I think mine is just normal, but going to get virgin tomorrow -virgin is more coconutty than the processed one and way healthier)
1 tsp vanilla extract (I made my own a while back with vanilla husks I bought for dirt cheap at Wellness Warehouse and vodka)
1 tsp honey/stevia/xylitol (I use honey because stevia taste bad after and xylitol is not something I have in the house)
1 tsp rice milk powder/creamer of choice

Chuck it all in a blender/stick blender and zoosh until it’s nicely mixed . You’d think it’s oily but it’s creamy, kind of like if you add cream to coffee. The butter and coconut oil emulsify and made it sooo good.

The great thing is, it makes it lank easy to consume some of the 1/4cupf coconut oil that’s recommended. The benefits of coconut oil is something I have post about before, in a series, go check it. I’m doing it because a)it’s better than black coffee, b) it helps weigh loss c) it helps prevent Alzheimer’s (something I’m pretty freaked out by).

Go on! Give it a try… It’s awesome.

 

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Jesus

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
― C.S. LewisMere Christianity

 

Eucharisteo

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I’m late, I know. But I’m naming my year 2014, it’s name is Eucharisteo. This year my challenge is to be thankful, to be grateful, to enjoy the small moments, the little things. These are not resolutions, but rather goals, and challenges that I have set for myself.

I’m doing the One Thousand Gifts challenge, and recording my gifts as I go through the year. I have tried this before and failed, but this year is different, this year I feel God is calling me to step back, to breathe and really focus on Him and on my family. Less stuff outside the house, more focus on growing closer to him and teaching my children about Him.

I am reading Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst at the moment, and I am finding it really helpful for dealing with food cravings and realising the connection between food and my relationship with God. It’s crazy how Satan uses food as a way to draw our focus away from God. So this year, I am going to fight back, and instead of giving in to the cravings for junk food, I am going to pray and crave the Living God, who is so much more sustaining than a momentary taste of chocolate (which inevitably leaves me feeling super guilty). This is in part to lose weight and get healthy, but really it is also a way for me to get closer to God… Praying every time I crave food, means I will be praying A LOT!

What are you doing this year?

I have been totally silent on the blog for the past few months, mostly due to no internet access but also because I have been praying and debating about whether to continue with this blog or whether to stop blogging or to change the direction of the blog.

it has been decided that I will continue blogging here but that the direction will change. I never wanted to be a mommy blogger (no offense) it’s just not my thing, I felt called to write about deeper issues, possibly relating to moms, but not only reviews and mommy stuff. I would like to write about issues close to my heart or issues the Lord lays on my heart, whether that offends or not.

I am realising more and more that I have spent the greater part of my 27 years, being unhappy about something in my life, I have a big covetousness issue. I am never completely satisfied with myself or what I have. It has dawned on me, via some wise people in my life and some great articles, that that’s not freedom. Freedom is being who I was created to be, where I am…. Bloom where you’re planted basically. I don’t really want or need all the latest hipster outfits or gadgets, but because someone else has them or something online tells me I need to have them, I believe them. But ultimately I’m not happier or more fulfilled by these things, on the contrary, my life is cluttered and complicated by things I want or desires to be something I am not.

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I guess what I am trying to say is that I want to be real and write about what I am passionate about, real life, simple living (still in the process of simplifying my life), homesteading, trying to live as naturally as possible, and of course my faith and everything that goes along with that. I don’t feel comfortable posting so much about my kids anymore, so forgive me if you expect photos and many updates. if we’re friends IRL you’re likely to see them on my FB feed, or we can hang. I would like to honor my kids by granting them a private childhood, they may not like their faces all over the net when they are 18.

i make no promises about post frequency, but I will be around. I will review products if I find them to fit in with our lifestyle and beliefs, but not just any product. that said, i have one review outstanding which does not fit in this framework but as I try to keep my word, I have to write it.

i hope you’ll all hang around and join in the comments and let me know your thoughts.

 

Messy Yummy Edible Paint

Today I had this brainwave. After promising to take Elijah to the beach on the way home from our shopping trek, I saw that the mist was crazy over the beach… which meant beach was a no go with two wee ones. So I told him we could paint at home. Thank goodness I had vanilla instant pudding and a bunch of food colouring. And a gigantic roll of newsprint.

This is the story in pictures… no filters or editing… as I’m posting this off my phone, no internet when Chris is at work.

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Mix up the pudding per instructions. Divide into bowls and mix in the colours.

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Give free reign to babies and toddlers…

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They enjoyed the texture… E wouldn’t taste it.

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Managed to get him to look at the camera.

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That’s paint by the way…

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Naomi had such a ball.

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Tipped all the bowls… much to her brother’s frustration.

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Love that face. Elijah wouldn’t look at the camera at all. I tried.

All in all it was a fab exercise… and one that made me grateful that my bathroom is right be the front door.

Let me know in the comments if you have any fun messy or clean activities that toddlers and babies can enjoy.

The simple life

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We moved to our lovely house on a smallholding outside Cape Town last weekend. This is our view…

We have very limited internet access so I’ll be fairly quiet. I’m also just trying to get back to basics and sort out our stuff.

Hopefully I’ll be back soon with some fun posts.

Book Review: Some Children’s Books

I have been asked to review the following four children’s books which are published by Graham Blanchard Publishing, and written by Callie Grant. I was sent one in hard copy and the other 3 on Kindle.

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Jesus Shows Me is the first book in the “Knowing My God” series, which teaches young children about God’s love by explaining selected scripture through colorful photographs and supportive text. Each page of this board book illustrates a segment of John 15:9-14 with a photo of an animal parent caring for its young, which exemplifies how God loves people.

I liked this book, the photos are of animals, which automatically drew Elijah in. The way that Callie uses animals and their parenting and relationships to explain the bible verse is brilliant. She both teaches about nature and unfolds the scripture for the children. This series is in board book form, which makes it great for babies through to older kids. Even Naomi loves to look at the picture… and eat the books.

Jesus Invites Me is the second book in the “Knowing My God” series, and explains Matthew 11:28-30, in which Jesus calls people to learn from him and to follow him.

Following on the previous book, Jesus Invites Me, is a peaceful book that uses pretty photographs of children to tell kids more about the verse. The author uses verbal images that children can relate to in order to help them understand the peace that Jesus offers us when He invites us to follow him. I like that these books have photos as opposed to illustrations, because I find the kids relate better to real things than someone’s interpretation. I plan to use this book for quite some time to teach my kids.

All of Me that You Can’t See is an beautifully illustrated book for children aged 3-6 which teaches them about their soul, and that although they cannot see it, it is a vital part of who they are and the part that matter most to Jesus.

I liked this book’s illustrations the most, the story is sweet, but not my favourite. The kids enjoyed the rhyming though, but I find Elijah doesn’t get the whole Jesus and souls thing.

Mud Puddle Hunting Day written follows a young girl’s splashy walk in the rain, as she discovers and celebrates some of life’s little joys.

I love this little rhyming book, that is aimed at kids from 0-6 years. Its waterpaint illustrations, and simple rhymes are great for keeping the kids interested. Its not overtly spiritual, but as the story continues and the little girl sees all the things in nature and enjoys splashing in the mud, its a great way to remind ourselves and the kids that God created us and the world around us to enjoy. Elijah loves to “plash” in puddles with his boots, so he can really relate to this story.

All four these books are available from Graham Blanchard Publishing here.

About the Author:
Callie’s work as a writer and editor has taken her from the Tennessee Valley to Silicon Valley, where she learned about starting new ventures. In the 1990s, Callie was part of the Scholastic, Inc. product development team in Palo Alto, where she developed a passion for educational publishing and children’s books, later authoring two titles. She and her husband Michael and their daughter live with the family pup in Austin.

Review: Snappy Nappy

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And its another cloth nappy! This is the latest nappy I discovered in my search for the perfect and affordable nappy. The Snappy Nappy is different to all the ones I have tried before for a variety of reasons.

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  1. Ease of use: Its super simple to use, just pop the inserts into the covers using the poppers and voila! There is a day time insert and a nighttime insert. The night time insert has a fleecy side which is gentle on the bums. The nappy is sized with poppers, so from newborn to about 16kg. I like the poppers, but sometimes they are a tad challenging to put on a wriggly toddler. They wash easily in the machine, and the drying time isn’t that long, its shorter than your natural fibre nappies.
  2. Aesthetics: I think this is quite a pretty nappy, in its simplicity. The plain colored covers, with just a touch of variety on the edges makes it unique. The inserts are serged with different colours according to their sizes, so although you would use the same cover for all size babies, you use different sizes of inserts. My 9kg baby is in a medium and my 16kg son is on a large.
  3. Effectiveness: I tried the nappies on both kids at night first, as I find thats usually where many nappies fail to impress. I was impressed. Both kids slept through in the nappies, which is usually a fear for me and many other moms, that the child will suddenly wake up as they feel wet. Both nappies did not leak at all, and although the night insert was wet in Elijah’s nappy, it would have lasted even longer I am sure. Naomi’s both inserts were wet, but she still drinks throughout the night, so that is to be expected. There was no gaping, and the gussets kept all the moisture in. I was worried that the large setting would be too small on Elijah, as he is a tall boy, but it was still absorbent.
  4. Affordability: Obviously these work out cheaper than disposables, but that has been established in general with cloth nappies vs disposables. The Snappy covers are R90 each and the inserts R30, so for one day and night nappy, its R150, making the Snappy, one of the mid price range nappies available in SA. I think its totally worth is, as you actually don’t need as many covers as with AIOs or pockets, as you can just wipe the PUL in between uses unless its dirty. So you could even get away with a ratio of 1 cover to 3 inserts for day and 2 or 3 for night. The wetbags are R60, and are pretty and really convenient, and I love that these ones have zips, so I feel like they are more sealed when nappies are in them than the ones with drawstrings.

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All in all I really like this nappy, and would highly recommend it as a night time nappy, almost above any others that I have tried.

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All the pretty covers

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Small (3-6kg) medium (6-10kg) and large (8-15+kg) inserts

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Pink or blue wetbag

(All opinions in the review are my own, although I received a nappy per child to try out, as well as a wetbag, I was not financially reimbursed)

DIY High Chair Revamp

A really good friend of mine blessed us with a dearly loved high chair for Naomi. Her oldest daughter used it for all the baby led weaning adventures they had embarked on, and we are so grateful to them for giving it to us.

Some of the plastic material had started to tear and come off, and knowing kids, I knew it was only a matter of time until Elijah would have picked it all off, so I decided to give this chair a well deserved make over.

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This photo I took after taking off the plastic off the seat.

I had some red heart plastic from when I has wanted to make Elijah a change mat way back when, and it was just enough for this project. Coupled with my new best friend, a staple gun, I recovered the chair in about 20 minutes. The perfect naptime project.

Here is the finished result…

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excuse the mess on the floor, but hey, I think the chair looks awesome.

what cool DIYs would you like to see me attempt? what have you done recently?