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Newborn

I remember the NEWBORN smell. My daughter was born at home and we wrapped her and then dressed her with bathing her. I would sit and just smell her for days. after a week I realised at some point I would have to bath her. I cried my heart out afterwards as I held her and she smelled of soap, realising that I can never go back and she will never smell like that again. and in all likelihood I will forget what she smelled like. And I did. But I remember what it felt like to smell her. I wanted to lick her little head like and animal their young. Funny isn’t it? did not feel that way with any of my other children or recall such a beautiful smell. I have also asked around and have not found another mother who shared my experience with scent of my NEWBORN. I will never forget how it felt when I lost that. Lost her being NEWBORN. I literally had to encourage myself to enjoy the fact that she is now growing up and that her life is now about her and not anymore just about my experience of her.

I wonder if you can relate. Do you have similar stories of having to release you NEWBORN to grow up? Please share them with me if you will.

I now love the fact that my children are getting older, or youngest is now 3 and suddenly life seems to seep back into my world. We remember what we liked and enjoyed and actually have the time and energy to explore it again. I can go to bed at night and know I can sleep until I wake up. that seem silly to normal ears, but many mother  probably knows what I mean. what it means to be at a dinner date and look at you watch and KNOW you are running out of sleeping time, because after 12am your baby will need you again on a regular basis! none of my 3 kids slept through until they were at least 2years old, so by the time one started sleeping better, the next one came. I remember before I had kids one of my friends told me that it has been a year since she slept through the night. I though it impossible to survive that and look so normal! she must be joking! but I had 7 years of that experience and live to tell it. my kids were good eaters and bad sleepers. yours might be the other way around. xxx But to finish my story, so now I go to bed at night without that feeling of dread. of being totally exhausted and KNOWING that you will not be rested by morning. No I get up early to go running! because once again I have energy left to spent. But there is one bad thing about the kids growing up, no two: I can never go back – they will never be NEWBORN again, never smell that way again, never toddle around and say things in that super cute way again and I WILL FORGET! Too much, I will forget too much. And that’s terribly, even though normal. The second thing is that I am loosing my ability to relate with NEW mothers. And I hate that. It is a very different season in your life with a NEWBORN even if it is your 2nd or 3rd, that to have older kids. And I think it is important to have grace with each other’s seasons.

So this month it is with great joy that I celebrate our NEWBORN ONLINE Market. I get to see NEWBORN babies, meet NEW mothers, and discover NEW ideas and products. If you are in this season of all things NEWBORN, remember to visit and browse through the stands at your own leisure. Comment at the bottom or send me an email or comment on Facebook to I can meet you a little. And share this precious season with you. It goes by so quickly.

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Almost July, Almost Newborn!

Wow! it has been an interesting month for me. Entering the ONLINE market, editing my own website, smoothing out hiccups, meeting with the designers, discovering new exhibitors, contact with new visitors. Oh I hope that this means we can now reach the whole South Africa via the internet. Both to support my exhibitors but also the visitors.

We reached 1000 visits within 4days after our launch! How great is that? I am so excited that I want to celebrate by making July a special price for exhibiting as well!

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So after our Introduction Market. July 2014 will be our NEWBORN market. To celebrate the birth of our NEW market with all things NEW – NEW babies, NEW mothers, NEW products and NEW ideas.

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So remember to visit and share with new mothers. As most of my feedback suggests – climb into bed with your laptop in the evening when you have a little time to yourself between kids and husband and sleep and browse through the market at your own leisure. See you there!!!

NEWBORN MARKET GOES LIVE 1 JULY 2014.

Going Online – where we come from and where we are going

I started my website about 4 years ago after the birth of my second baby. I loved finding interesting and lovely products that really worked and was looking for a platform to share these on. I also had such a heart to encourage mothers through tough seasons and days of motherhood. I asked every young mother I knew to share with me their Favourite Things for certain seasons, but also their Favourite Advice to make things better. Many wrote in and could share mine.

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Then life happened and the website stood still. But people started to contact me telling me of the great products they make or import for babies and kids. Would I not be interested in advertising these on my website? But the website was not meant for advertising, merely for non-imposing referrals and advice from mother to mother. So I got the idea to start a market that sells only baby-and child-related products. The first My Favourite Things Baby and Kiddies Market was held at our private home in the garden and living room. Over 30 exhibitors sold their goods and 150 visitors walked through that morning. Over the past 2.5years we have had many markets in Durbanville, Paarl, Stellenbosch and Somerset West areas. We visited shopping malls, wine farms, restaurants and play schools. Always with the same quality events and products. Every market brought new products, exhibitors and visitors and we grew.

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This year we decided to follow the advice we kept getting. Hold 2 monthly markets at 2 fixed venues, on fixed dates. Quickly we saw that this does not suit both exhibitors and visitors. We are spoilt for choice in Cape Town and people will rather visit a once off event than a regular one. I pulled the plug. This was hard. I knew we had to grow and change once again.

I started toying with the idea of going ONLINE. So many people only shop ONLINE. I regularly receive enquiries from exhibitors in other areas of South Africa who would love to be involved in the markets but the venues are too far away. Also most of exhibitors are mothers themselves with full-time jobs, who cannot just get away for a full Saturday. What if we hold monthly ONLINE markets that run in-between the actual events? This way exhibitors can showcase their products on an on-going basis even though the events are less regular. Exhibitors from other areas of the country can take part. Visitors from all over SA can browse these virtual stands filled with the incredible baby- and child-related goods. Some people love market events, so don’t. Some love shopping online. We can reach them both!

The challenge was to keep the market’s feel. To NOT become another online store, and NOT become another online marketing site. I want you to still feel like you are walking through a market and browsing through the stands and products. Read the descriptions, talk to the exhibitors directly and order your own unique product. Many exhibitors are open to “make one in pink” or “take those ribbons and put it there” or “make the wheels smaller”. And remember to return next month when we will have different exhibitors and different products.

And here we are. I am very excited about this new addition to My Favourite Things. Our first ONLINE market will be an Introduction market that will start in June 2014. Look out for STARS that will mean a market special, or extra Info offered. Remember to comment at the end of the market, even just to say that you were here. It puts you in line to win a lucky draw prize at the end of each month! Feel free to ask for products or services you cannot find or give any suggestions and give feedback. Please share the market and send your friends to visit. I hope that My Favourite Things will continue to bring you new and exciting, quality baby- and child-related products and services that you cannot find in the shops, and things to make the hard days better and the seasons of motherhood extra special.

(some of our flyers over the years)

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WhatAboutAdoption?

To say that ADOPTION is one of my Favourite Things might not be a new idea to anyone who knows me. I have been in love ever since I read about it as a child and it became a full blown passion while adopting our son. But since then it has become deeper and stronger and I have been looking for a door, a platform to share this with the world. There must be a way to encourage others to be brave and curious enough to consider this option. Both from a biological and adoptive perspective.

I dream about going to schools and universities and talking to girls about this 3rd option. Because everyone seems to know what will happen if you keep your baby, or what to do if you want to abort it. But who knows about what will happen if you choose to give it life and give the gift of life to someone else through adoption? Does anyone know who to call, where to go, or what will happen? What if girls could be told in advance that life is a miracle, even if you did not plan it, or want it. And that many couples out there are praying for such a miracle.

I dream about encouraging families to look to the option of adoption in stead of, or as well as In Vitro, or any other medical intervention. I dream about finding families for the children who are waiting, or more even, the children who have stopped to hope that someone will ever come for them. Can you imagine that?! What if its your child out there waiting for you. I would run! Because one more day is just too much.

I have  a market. A market for young families. For grandparents and mothers with prams and kids running around. For mothers with babies in their tummies and mothers with babies in their hearts. When I do share about adoption I find the same fears in the hearts and minds of people. I know people have questions and concerns and stories to share. I will use this platform and create a space and hope that they will come.

So from now on, at every My Favourite Things Baby and Kiddies Market , at 10am, I will be waiting at the take-away coffee for anyone who wants to join me in a time of sharing and asking questions about adoption. Because like someone special once told me, you never know.

Toy Genie

I am privileged enough to know the owner of the new Toy Genie in Durbanville. Annelize has been an exhibitor at a few of my Baby and Kiddies Markets . She imports and sells the most amazing toys that you would not ordinarily find in shops. At the moment she sells them from a huge cubboard at her home that she opens up like a Santa’s bag when you go to find a gift for a child. She has also ordened her website in such a way that you can brows per age group – which is great for me who never knows what to buy! http://www.toygenie.co.za/  Her Facebook page also gives you a peek at new toys in stock.

She lend me one of her toys for the holidays. I love it. Its called Mosaic Magna Pictures.

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It consists of small spunge mosaic tiles that you stack on a magnetic board. It works almost like paint by numbers. Every colour has a number and you place the correct tiles on the correct numbers. Some blocks are even half squares – triangles. This makes great exercise for small fingers. Mine were even sore after a while from all those small muscles working hard. Great product for low muscletone and small motor skills.

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It comes with 8 different picture sheets. The organising box is Annelize’s own, so will have to be bought separately but helps a lot!

If you are like me and enjoy puzzles and other monotonous games you will love doing this with your kids this holiday! I must say, I almost enjoy it more than they do!

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Great game. And great new addition to toys in general from Toy Genie. You can contact Annelize and find something special for you to do this wet winter break.

xxx

 

Mama said there will be days like this

My mother always says, when you have days like this, just survive. Do not do anything unnecessary. You stick to getting by. You let the laundry lie. You take the dogs outside. You buy ready made food. You switch on the tv more. You pour that glass of wine a little bit earlier.
I spent most of the afternoon on the floor at the bottom of my stairs, because that is where my sick 2-year old eventually fell asleep in my arms. I did not want to wake her by moving. She has cried most of the morning. Through our fast shopping trip so we could have lunch for the other two, through picking them up from school. She cried because I ate my pancake and only left her hers. She cried because we had to pick up the other 2. She cried because she had to sit in her car seat and only relented while I held her hand all the way back.  My nanny did not show up today, so I had to cancel my twice weekly exercise class. It was tough doing 1st Grade homework with a crying toddler and a bored pre-schooler. The house is full of clean laundry hanging over couches. The shopping bags unpacked on the kitchen table. The medicine everywhere. The older two are very competitive today. They also take great joy in teasing each other lately and I need to rev that in-between.  My husband just phoned to say he will be working late tonight.

I let the dogs in the house, let the baby sit next to the stove while I made dinner and just poured myself a glass of red wine. The nanny will be back tomorrow. I will leave the kids a little longer in the bath tonight. I will survive.

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Review of Rietvlei Holiday Farm

Rietvlei Holiday Farm is just outside of Montagu. It is owned and run by friends of mine, a couple with 3 small children and lovely personalities! They regularly offer weekends there for prizes at my markets, so many of our visitors and exhibitors have been there.

I am very difficult when it comes to some place being child-friendly.( It is one of the reasons I started the Baby and Kiddies Markets and something I always keep on mind when planning one.) Child-friendly to me means that I do not have to entertain or watch my kids. I can also relax and enjoy the experiene without having to get up and swing or pay or run after someone.

Rietvlei offers many types of accommodation. The Swimming Pool Cottages are linked to each other and close to the main farm house and  therefore means ducks, geese, donkeys, sheep, goats, chickens, swimming pool, trampoline, grass, sandpit, swings and FRIENDS. While we were there, there were more than 10 kiddies playing all over. Even my 2year old would walk through the array of poultry to wherever the friends were and come back when she was ready.

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The other accommodation options on the farm give more privacy and is still a nice walking distance away from the farm house or just a quick drive. I wish now that I had taken more pictures of the beautiful cottages and insides. All I have to show is the indoor fire place, the outdoor braai, the welcome gift, and the foam clay and corn to feed the ducks and goats – both great kiddie activities.Rietvlei14 Rietvlei12 Rietvlei15 Rietvlei13

The kids went on tractor rides, and used it as a jungle gym afterwards!

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There is paint ball and you can take your bikes, take long walks and even bring your own quad bikes or motorcycles.

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They have baby bath seats, feeding chairs, camp cots, but a great extra that you can book is a Friday Night Meal on Arrival! What a great idea. Book a meal for the kids, pop them into bed and enjoy a leisurely braai with your mate! (best case scenario!) This and breaksfasts need to be booked in advance.

The fire wood is R15. There are also towels and bedding supplied in the rooms. Most of the cottages have a bath with the exception on 2, so make sure when you book, if this is a necessity for you.

Do yourself a favour: Book your stay at Rietvlei. Meet Koos and Adri and their kids. Watch how they do their impressive pepper farming. Relax. Make some tea, read a book, have a braai, because the kids will only be back when they get hungry or it gets dark! Enjoy! xxx

www.rietvlei.co.za

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rietvlei-Family-Holiday-Farm-near-Montagu/178040168933886?ref=ts&fref=ts