How to Survive and Thrive as a Single Mother this Mother’s Day

TweetExperiencing my first I remember my first Mother’s Day, it was in 2009 and I was a Single Mother and although my family tried to make it special for me, I still felt left out. I had dreamt about my first Mothers Day and being woken up with breakfast in bed, a little hand written

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Christmas is Coming….

Keep Calm

Its no secret that Christmas is by far my most favourite time of the year.

Growing up I had the most amazing Christmas’s, from the tree decoration, to the atmosphere in our home around this time, till watching our annual movie (tradition). I love everything about it.

Its great growing up in a big family, all these wonderful events means a BIG family gathering. And since coming from a blended family we’ve had the annual tradition of celebrating with a Christmas eve dinner hosted by my amazingly awesome Aunt Karen (if you’ve ever been to one of her gatherings then you know what I’m talking about) followed by a wonderful Christmas lunch either by My Mom, Dad, or in-laws.

This year I thought I’d get a head start with the Christmas planning and do a few posts on ideas for Christmas. These will range from Christmas Eats, Christmas Treats and new traditions.

Since last Christmas our little family has grown with the addition of my perfect little niece Izzy – Rose Petal. Guys she’s beautiful and super bonus is she loves her Lala as much as I love her.

So without further a do… Lets kick off with some Christmas Treats.

Inexpensive Christmas ideas

Gifting Ideas:

  • A few years back, due to the ever growing family we decided that the adults in the family would draw names for presents and all the kiddies would get presents. Its been so much easier this way as the ever growing family just did not fit into everyone’s budget. So score.

The idea is you make up a gift for the person to the value of R300.00. This should include something that they have put on their want list (yes we do 3 ideas for the other person so that they have an idea), and then maybe something else small. Last year I was the lucky person to pick my Hubbys name, perfect for me as I knew exactly what he wanted for Christmas.

  • If you’re feeling creative then make something. Since I’ve taken up a side hobby (Crocheting, yes I can see my little sister rolling her eyes at me) this could be useful when coming to gift ideas. There’s patterns readily available online for the cutest goodies i.e. headbands, cushion covers, placemats, coasters, blankets etc.
  • Have a special photo framed.

One of the most special gifts I’ve received was from my Dad. He gave me a photo of us from my wedding day in a beautiful frame which I display proudly in our lounge.

When embarking on a new project I always check on Pinterest for some inspiration before I get started. I’ve done a quick round up of some of the things I’ve pinned.

Something for the chef in your life

Gift 1 - For the Baker or Cook

For the one with the Sweet Tooth

Gift 2 - Sweet Tooth

For the Grandparent who loves to cook / braai why not get the kids involved and do a custom hand painted Apron

Gift 3 - Hand print Apron

Monogrammed Totes

Gift 5 - Monogrammed Tote

Personalized Christmas Baubles

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Personalized Christmas baubles

DIY pillow (see tutorials below)

Gift 6 - DIY Pillow

Pillow - Puppy

Pillow - Cactus

Arts and Crafts:

  • Salt Dough Ornament

How to make salt dough:

1 cup salt

1 cup plain flour

Up to 1 cup of water (add gradually)

Method:

Combine the salt and flour then pour in the water gradually, stopping when it has become dough-like and not too sticky. There should be no residue left on your fingers when you touch it.

Knead it on a floured surface for a few minutes to make it soft, workable and stretchy, like you would with any dough.

This step is wonderful for strengthening those small hand muscles essential for writing and cutting!

Choose a range of cookie cutter shapes and simply cut straight from the dough. We used Christmas trees, stars and hearts. Poke a straw through the centre, near the top, of each shape so that ribbon can be threaded through later.

Lay them on some greaseproof or baking paper and on a baking tray. Cook them on a VERY low heat (around 100ºC) for up to 3 hours. If the shapes are over 1cm thick then they will probably need to be turned over during baking.

It is VERY important not to have the oven on too high. This will cause the salt dough to bubble up and fill with air, as essentially it is being cooked. What you are really aiming for is to dry them out thoroughly, over a slow period of time.

As soon as they are out of the oven they can be left to cool while your child chooses which colours and decorations to add! We used acrylic paints which adhere to the dough really successfully. Ordinary water-based children’s paint does work, but the colours are not as vibrant and the paint can flake off eventually.

The acrylics work as a sealant and keep the colours strong and beautiful!
Once the paint is dry, spread on some PVA (runny) glue and sprinkle over some glitter for a wonderfully Christmassy effect!

When they are dry, thread through with thin ribbon or twine and hang on the tree! You can write the date in the back to remember when they were made too, adding a special memory to the occasion.

And then finally, add a new tradition to your Christmas this year. Why not build a Gingerbread house together!

Sets are available from :

Gingerbread House Kit

Sweetly Does It

R219.00

Sweetly Does It Gingerbread house kit 3

Sweetly Does It Gingerbread house kit 1

Sweetly Does It Gingerbread house kit 2

DIY Kit – Gingerbread House

Harck & Heart

R350.00

Pre-made

Included

ALL YOU NEED IN ONE BOX:

  • easy step-by-step instructions
    • ready baked gingerbread house panels
    • gingerbread door and window
    • gingerbread trees and stepping-stones
    • cake board
    • icing sugar
    • piping bag
    • assorted sweets

Easy to assemble.
Great family fun for all ages

Harck & Heart 2Harck & Heart 1Harck & Heart 3

Let me know what you thought, and if you have any special Christmas traditions!

Till Later

LT

The time we ran away from the kids

Its been exactly a week since our 2 day getaway and I’m still living on cloud 9!

To celebrate our Anniversary (24 September) and my Birthday (25 September) we were gifted with a stay at Mofam River Lodge and it was amazing.

Carl and I haven’t really ever gone away alone except for our Honeymoon which was 4 years ago, and since having Josh join our little family there just hasn’t been time or energy to plan something like this.

When you have kids, its just so easy to let the “US” time move to the bottom of the priority list or fall away completely.

BUT let me tell you, after this breakaway, this is definitely something I want to do more of.

For so long, I’ve wanted to do a romantic weekend away with my Hubby (who doesn’t) but when I get around to checking out places and comparing prices the Mommy Guilt kicks in and I set it aside for another time (like when the boys are older, or when Josh is off the breast, or during school holidays or or and and and). So this was definitely a welcomed and appreciated surprise when we were told by my Mom that she had made all the arrangements and there was no turning back.

(Side note, Mom if I haven’t said it enough, Thank you so much for all you do and for the best gift ever)

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Situated on the shores of the Palmiet River, Mofam River Lodge is the perfect laidback, luxury getaway. You’ll find them deep in the Overberg’s Elgin Valley where the natural backdrop is unrelentingly beautiful.

Mofam River Lodge

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Our comfortable four-star bed and breakfast chalets provide sweeping mountain and river views. We make every effort to ensure your stay with us is as comfortable as possible. This includes super-comfortable mattresses, cotton linen, and good quality pillows so that you wake up fully rested.

Accomodation

11 Standard Chalets, 2 Family Chalets and 2 Self Catering Units

Family friendly chalet Our Chalet Self Catering Self Catering Chalet Standard Chalet

The drive there was so chilled, I think we were both so excited to be child-free for the next 48 hrs. I felt young and inlove again, I know its so silly.

Mofam is an outdoor adventure paradise for couples and families seeking a glitz-free yet creature-comfort holiday or mini break. Our friendly staff is on hand to serve up all manner of exhilarating on water activities. These include everything from water skiing, wakeboarding, bass fishing and canoeing to sunset river barge cruises.

We arrived early, a bit overexcited only to find out our room wasn’t ready as yet. This worked out perfectly because it meant we could have a nice rustig anniversary lunch at Peregrine Farm Stall.

Peregrine Farmstall inside

If you ever head out that side, this is definitely a MUST experience. The food, the vibe, the staff are all exceptionally friendly and great. We loved it so much we went back the next day for breakfast.

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Established in the sixties, Peregrine has been serving generations of travelers seeking honest homemade fare and warm country hospitality. Situated in the beautiful and fertile Elgin Valley, Peregrine offers an abundance of locally sourced artisanal goods and wholesome, responsibly farmed, fresh produce.

Café

The seasonal menu is a result of the close collaboration of local farmers, artisan chefs, and the demands of our discerning customers. The focus is on café style casual dining in a relaxed but stylish venue, and for those wanting a quick bite for the journey, there is a selection of wholesome and healthy ready-to-eat meals too. Peregrine pies enjoy legendary status, with perfect pastry and generous fillings.

Peregrine Cafe Outside Seating

Bakery

Skilled bakers rise at dawn to continue the age old tradition of carefully crafted breads, pies and pastries. We only use locally sourced unbleached stone ground flour and our own natural yeast starter in our artisanal breads. They are allowed to ferment naturally and slowly before being baked in our wood fired oven.

Peregrine Bakery

Peregrine fresh baked goods

farm stall

The shop showcases a variety of locally farmed and produced goods, from artisanal foods, fynbos honey to fresh cold-pressed juices and champagne style apple cider. The aroma of Peregrine’s variety of freshly baked goods fills the air and teases the senses. The wine shop stocks all the region’s top wines and ciders, as well as a growing selection of craft beer.

Once back at Mofam we settled in nicely and took an afternoon nap (yes we’re that old) in the loungers overlooking the river. It was pure bliss.

There’s just something special about this place, perhaps its being in the thick of nature or the fact that there’s little to no cellphone reception and NO TV’s in the rooms which allows you to completely relax. Whatever it was, it worked and I found the conversation and alone time so much more enjoyable.

Later the evening we made our way to the onsite restaurant for a well deserved anniversary dinner, however I was still stuffed from my AMAZING lunch that I only managed to have a toasted chicken sandwich (such a loser).

Flavours onsite restaurant lures guests with our hearty food, comfortable lodgings and incredible vistas. We’re open Tuesday to Sunday for lodge guests, locals and out of town visitors. Where possible, ingredients are sourced locally to make up an A La Carte and children’s menu to suit various palates. Flavours comfortably seats 60 people indoors with additional space on the terrace overlooking the river. Fully licensed, guests can enjoy a pre or after dinner drink at the restaurant wine bar. Be sure to sample from our superb Elgin Valley cool climate wine list.

The food was great, the view was amazing and although there was no water at the restaurant (as they were doing some maintenance) and we couldn’t have a nice coffee everything else was GREAT!

We absolutely cannot wait to go back!

Some of the Activities you can participate in while enjoying the breathtaking views at Mofam are

  • Waterskiing
  • Large Mouth Bass Fishing (Catch and release only)
  • Canoeing
  • River Cruising
  • Hiking
  • Quad biking
  • Taking a chilled walk through the Labyrinth

Parting words…. Go and have a romantic weekend away with your significant other, it will do your relationship the world of good!

Contact Mofam River Lodge

Tel: +27 21 846 8345
Fax: +27 86 295 0084
Email: info@mofam.co.za
GPS S34°13.709min
E18°159.292min
Skype mofam.reception
+27 21 813 6845

On your special day… Happy Birthday Josh

My precious little boy, it feels like just yesterday when Dad and I sat in the bathroom taking the pregnancy test to confirm what we had both known. Within 30 sec up popped the 2 lines.

Our little miracle baby was growing in my belly.

My pregnancy although challenging was amazing, you were amazing and we were thrilled to be welcoming you into our tribe.

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At times this journey of Parenting and Motherhood has been challenging but looking at your precious little face and big bush of curls makes it all worthwhile.

Joshuah Carlisle Thomas, you are one amazing little boy. You are a strong willed, independent, intelligent little boy.

You have a laugh thats (although we only hear 4 times a year) so infectious and warms our hearts. When you speak my heart bursts with pride. I cannot believe that my tiny baby has grown into  this babbling toddler.

You have a love for your big brother that reminds me so much of my brother, your eyes light up when you see or hear Dannys voice.

The day you were born, all the Angels rejoiced as you my darling boy took your first breath. You’re a deep, serious and gentle spirited little boy and we love you.

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This family would not be complete without you in it.

I pray Gods hand of protection upon your life my love.

There is no greater feeling than being your Mama.

Have a happy birthday Joshy!

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The Father

Tweet Growing up I always looked to my Dad as my hero, the provider, the head of our Spiritual home, the protector, my supporter. I think that this is what most little girls do, they love them through the good and the bad. We put them on a pedestal and when we look at them

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