Snooze you lose! There’s another next year … Greyton Rose Fair

Greyton Rose FairAhh the Greyton Rose Fair… full of pungent smells, delicious food and friendly people. celebrating 25 years this passed weekend of the 29th -30th October 2016, if you missed it this year be sure to make a stop by this beautiful town next time round! With lineup Programmes like, the Rose Show,  opening parade and the open gardens there were plenty of things to do and see at this time of the year.

Don’t forget the outstanding Greyton market that is held every weekend. Goods at the market range from 2nd hand books to breakfast stands, plants to accessorize your garden and veggie patch, odds and ends and much, much more…

Accommodation available in the Overberg

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If you haven’t heard of VLOEDBOS  … well, I don’t know … here is some detail on just ONE of the places on this wonderful HOLIDAY FARM … 1 x 10 slaaphuis beskikbaar met eie warmwater splashpool vir die komende naweek , langs dam gelee, helemal privaat met trapbootjie.. lieflike buitebraai en binnebraai in die huis…ruim leef area en kombuis.. R1700-00 per nag (minimum 3 nagte) skakel Lani 083 359 1505

Big house

Mom – what can I do? … (part 3)

There are only 3 weeks to go until the start of the school holidays and in an effort to alleviate some of the stress many parents feel during that period here are some more suggestions on how to keep “little Johnny” amused during that period – following on from Part 1 and Part 2 of the same title (please read them as background to this piece):

Now that so much of our world is dependent on technology and the children have access to so many applications at school and at home, it makes sense to harness some of that interest and focus it in a way that you can exercise some control. By forbidding a child to get on the internet or to play video games or use their cell phone won’t actually stop them (remember what you were like at that age?) so rather embrace the opportunity to channel correct activity and at the same time interact with them … if you can’t beat em, join em!

  1. Create a family Facebook page – something that you can all do together and at the same time this is the ideal time to educate the children about things like settings, security, appropriate things to post and share, applications and all the things that comprise Facebook. Family albums can be created and photos loaded, captioned and shared with other family members. Devote no more than an hour a day online to this combined project where everyone is involved, the children can prepare photos or content to add during the online time.
  2. Create a Family Tree. This will also allow the children to use technology by downloading a free genealogy programme and learning to use it offline. An easy and free programme is available for download from Legacy. Once the programme is installed on the computer the ‘tree’ can start to grow – this will also help the children to feel the sense of belonging to the greater family they are part of – it can also open doors to learning more about history, geography etc. Other skills can be incorporated as they learn to add photos and scanned documents to the programme.
  3. Teach the children to use your camera. If it’s a point-and-shoot type you can teach composition and subject rather than concentrate on settings, but even the point-and-shoot types have setting options that are useful to learn to improve the snaps! You might have to brush up on your user manual information before you start this (step 1, locate your User Manual … just saying)! Once you have a budding photographer, teach them to enchance and edit their photos using an online Photo Editor – they will learn to crop, clarify, enhance, add borders, frames etc … many things they can do now on their cell phones.
  4. Create a family online picture album (not Facebook) that can be shared or remain private. A place to store your photos in organised sets. Use Flickr to create a profile and upload your photos – organise them, caption them, tag them. Share selected photos on Panoramio and stand the chance of having them selected for use on Google Earth.
  5. Visit a museum, or some historical place before going for an ice-cream. Some kind of cultural experience can be very enlightening for a child, especially when they’re not expecting it (so don’t tell them in advance) and when home, reinforce the experience by looking up on the internet one or two things in which they had shown an interest. Let them do the “search” under your supervision. Show them how to search using keywords – you might need to do some homework here if you’re not adept at this! Don’t make the visit an onerous thing by dragging it out for hours – rather let the children want more by leaving before the boredom or tired legs grab a hold.
  6. Teach the children to read a map. If you don’t have a map of your area, any tourist office will provide one – show them how to find and identify landmarks on the map and relate it to the real location. Show them how to orientate the map so it “faces the correct way” in relation to the way they are facing. Extend this map reading to Google Earth or Google Maps where with the click of the mouse you can show the map or the satellite view … and while you’re at it, show them how “street view” works … you might need to do some homework here if you’re not adept at this!
  7. Write a family “newsletter” to close family members that you can send off as part of the Christmas festivities. As a family, create a document (either on the computer or a sheet of paper) and start putting in the news others might want to know about – make it a project of adding pictures, drawings, sound bytes (recorded on a cell phone and made into an MP3 on the computer). Make this an ongoing project that you spend no more than half an hour on each day. Within a few days you’ll have something different and interesting to send out to the family that everyone has had a hand in.
  8. Make Christmas decorations. Spend about an hour a day making something, store it in a box until it’s time to put it up. Add to the box every day. Smaller children, especially like the cutting, colouring, pasting experience! Special hint – keep the radio and TV off during this exercise, maybe even hum a carol or two and watch what happens to the children.
  9. Make an occasion out of going to “see the lights” in the town or displayed on other people houses – build up to it by talking about the trip – pack a picnic that you can all share in the car rather than hitting a local restaurant. Give the children different tasks to do in preparing the picnic – even if it’s just buttering a roll, but plan the preparation and let them have a hand in the menu. Hope you like “Nik Naks” and marshmallows!
  10. Give to those less fortunate – as a project, talk about those less fortunate and have a “clear out” of things, toys, clothes etc, that the children have grown bored with or have outgrown. Mend them if necessary and drop them off as a donation at the local church or Welfare Department for distribution to those in need. It is very important for the children to be part of the process of giving and to see the place they give to – don’t just give them to dad to drop off on his way to work.
  11. Let the children learn to touch-type – find a programme on the internet and let them spend 15 minutes a day doing exercises where they learn this skill that is becoming more and more essential in the age of technology. If there is more than one child doing this, run a competition.
  12. Teach a child to cook, bake, decorate – but teach them to clean up afterwards as part of the process. Show them how to use a mixer or blender. Show them how to use a knife correctly. Let them make what they have learned without any help or interference.

All these “suggestions” are just that … hopefully they will get the creative and inventive juices flowing as to what you’re going to plan to do with your little darlings for the 5 weeks of holidays. You could take some of these on board or you could be so busy doing “important stuff” that you won’t have time for any of this. If that’s the case, don’t get upset when you’re asked on day 2 of the holidays, “Mom, what can I do?”

(WARNING / DISCLAIMER: if you think all these suggestions are valid for ALL children and that you have to implement all of them, then YOU need to go to “holiday club” yourself!)

Mom – what can I do? … (Part 2)

Following on from Part 1 about this vexing and recurring dilemma that most parents face, here are some suggestions …

Before getting to specifics, make some of your indoor programme about things they’ve never done before – like showing them how to use a camera for instance, not the usual, “go and all play Twister” or some other game that gets dragged out on a rainy day. Continue reading

“Mom – what can I do?” … (Part 1)

The eternal cry of a child on day two of the school holidays (sometimes even on day one)! When I was a child I was told to go and play outside, or go to my friend’s house. Nowadays that could be seen as ‘putting the child in harm’s way’ by not supervising the child outside, or by allowing the child to make their own way to their friend – how times have changed.

A common complaint parents voice is that children spend too much time in front of the TV or playing x-Box games or spending time on the computer. Yet they don’t seem to have alternatives to offer the children. They are quick to cite reasons they don’t spend time with the children – too busy, work to do, appointments to keep, too busy … oh, yes, and too busy.

The first stage in solving the child-boredom problem is the parent’s commitment to be involved in the solution.

So what are YOU going to do to alleviate this cry from your little bundles of joy this coming year-end, school-free period? With the greatest of respect, I suggest you start planning now. Naturally the age of the children will play a part in the various activities that you line up for them to do, but whatever they are, you’re going to get a lot of mileage from careful planning and by allowing for a variety of activities.

There’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of the “holiday clubs” sometimes arranged by schools and churches that keep them occupied for some mornings – and for busy parents this is an ideal solution that allows you to relax in the knowledge that they are being mentally stimulated in a safe environment. But I think that parents make the mistake of using that club activity as the only thing they “organise” – all they’ve done is organise a scheduled event. What about the rest of the time when they kids are at home? And if Mrs Jones says it’s ok for them to come and play at her house with her kids, are they also being plonked in front of the TV all day too?

The best memories I have of my childhood were those I spent with my family. I have some amazing memories of times with my friends – but they’re not the best. What do you want your children to remember as the best?

That’s not to say that there won’t be times they will be watching TV or playing games on the x-Box, but the idea is to not have that occur for the whole 6 weeks they will be at home, away from school.

By making a supreme effort in planning a programme of special activities these coming holidays will make a profound impression on your children’s memories. Are you up for the challenge?

Let me start with a tip: Design some activities that DON’T involve other families – while your relatives and friends might be important to you, some distance from them and total focus by you on only your kids will make an enormous impression on them. You’ll be ‘saying’ to them that they are special and more important than anyone else.

Prepare a programme that will involve some outdoor as well as indoor activities, but make the outdoor plans close to home so that you don’t have to drive for hours to get there and then hours back home again – must I remind parents of what fun car travel is with restless and cranky children? And while you’re travelling from A to B, plan some stops (apart from toilet breaks) that add interest and variety to the trip. When last did you just stop in the middle of nowhere to look at the view? To take a few photos? To pick some flowers or talk to some sheep? Kids will remember that! Why is getting there at a specific time so important that you have to rush, rush, rush?

Keep watching this blog for more on this subject – with some more ideas on activities! Part 2 will follow …