{Product Review}: The Nap Strap: What Do You Do When Your Child Flops Forward When Sleeping in the Car?

the nap strap sleepOn Monday I was rather distressed. Nicky had fallen asleep in the car and I couldn’t find the Nap Strap.  You’ll probably laugh at me, since we have been coping for so long without it, but to be honest I really just hate that head flopping forward when he falls asleep and it distresses me even more to know I had the means to keep it up, but just could not find it.

I did find it in the end (under my seat where Nicky had unceremoniously thrown it) and my relief was palatable. 

I think I have tried so many things to make my little munchkin comfortable while sleeping and all of them have helped to some degree.

the nap strap sleepingThere’s the safety catch from 4akid (which you’ll see I keep forgetting to clip together) but that is more to make sure he doesn’t bust out from his seat. When his head flops forward he actually gets marks from this thing on his head. But it does help when he is in that naughty mood to escape.

There are various pillows you can use to prop up the head which I have used with various degrees of success. They do cushion the head but it still flops forward.

The Nap Strap is there to support the head and prevent it from falling forward. It has a velcro strap at the back and soft material in front. You can choose different colours and designs. I liked the clouds (I associate them with pleasant dreams).

the nap strap packagingThey deliver nationwide in a really cute package that comes with instructions.

I guess I should have read them properly or at least have been more prepared. I have a bad habit of attending to Nicky at red robots and one traffic light is not sufficient time (for the first time) to get that nap strap on your kid. In the end I pulled over and sorted it properly. After you have it in place on the car seat, it can be lifted over the head in seconds of course.

the nap strap awakethe nap strap lowerIt’s important to have it there and ready to go or else you will be like me and have a tantrum kid going “I want my Nap Strap!” in the middle of heavy traffic (because sometimes he likes it when he is awake too… go figure…)

We’ve used it quite a few times since then and it has been great to have that support. There was that time when it slipped down a bit low, I guess I needed to tighten it a bit, but it did not seem to bother him. 

In conclusion I would say that if you are looking for aids for your child’s comfort when sleeping in the car, the nap strap is a great support. 

Just make sure you keep it in place and don’t lose it!

You can find them on their website Facebook , Pinterest and Twitter.

{Guest Post} My daughters Peacock Themed Birthday Party

I love kids parties, they are one of my favourite things to organise and plan. General my kids have always chosen themes that aren’t mainstream – we have had butterflies, Bart Simpson, Monsters, Rainbows, Pirates and a Cute as a Button (to name a few) but I think Rushanah’s daughter takes the cake for most original idea with her Peacock themed party.Peacock party | SA Mom Blogs

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, my kids love birthday parties and party planning. They choose their birthday party themes months ahead, and it remains one of the main topics of conversation until the actual event.

This year my daughter chose a very original theme for her 8th birthday party. Actually, the theme was chosen by her in 2015 already. She’s still over the moon about her awesome party and so glad to have spent the day with her school friends and cousins, that she has not YET mentioned her 9th birthday party theme. Waiting to see how long that lasts! My family always remind me, that they get it from their mom. I love party planning, and hence the kids will love it as well. So as always, I prepared a variety of themed baked treats, from scratch.

You can read the entire post on Rushanah’s blog.

More about Rushanah Peacock party | SA Mom Blogs

I am 33 year old Capetonian wife and mom of 2. I am a full time Chemical Scientist, with a PhD in
Chemical science and a part time baker and cake blogger. This started as a hobby, the first cake I baked was in 2015 for my mom’s 61st birthday. My next cake was in 2016, for my son’s 5th birthday. My work colleagues then motivated me to pursue baking as they believed I was talented, and started ordering birthday cakes from me.

You can follow Rushanah on Instagram and Facebook.

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, WE WOULD LOVE IT IF YOU SHARED IT WITH YOUR FRIENDS! DON’T FORGET YOU CAN ALSO FIND US ON TWITTER, FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM AND PINTEREST. 

If you would like to share a post with us, please email laura@samomblogs.co.za or heather@samomblogs.co.za

{Momentrepreneur}: Meet Doula Callen: “When a mom goes into labour I need to drop everything, no matter whose birthday party is on.”

callenThis week we meet momentrepreneur Callen, who balances being a mom to two kids with a part time job and being on call to labouring moms as a Doula.

  1. Tell us about yourself, a bit of background.

I’m a Durban girl, married to a lovely man from the Netherlands. We met while we were both studying in Sweden and he then moved to South Africa to be with me. We have two young children together who keep us endlessly entertained with their stories and antics. We love raising them here with our multi-cultural society, beautiful weather and big, open spaces.

I trained as a HypnoBirthing teacher after the birth of my second child, because it really did make a massive difference to the labour and birth and I wanted to share what I had learnt with other mothers. From there, it was a natural progression to train as a birth and postpartum doula. I currently run my little business, Gentle Welcome, alongside a part-time office job and looking after my children.

  1. What were you doing before you started this business?

I have worked at a large multi-national in marketing for over a decade now. Before I started Gentle Welcome, I was working full-time but I now work part-time. This has allowed me more time to be with my children (which was the main aim) but also to market my business.

 

  1. Is your business full time or part time and why?

My business is part-time. Childbirth education is actually a great business to have together with a normal job, or alongside raising children, as classes will generally be held in the evenings or on weekends when both the parents-to-be are available. Doula work is, by its nature, extremely unpredictable as you never know when a mother may go into labour. However, I work with a doula partner, who is able to step in and be at a birth if I cannot due to my other responsibilities.

 

  1. callen2How do you juggle the responsibilities of being a mom with your work?

HypnoBirthing actually fits in really well with family life. I teach in the evenings, from our lounge, when my kids are about to go to bed anyway. They find it quite exciting to help me to set everything up and they know there will be leftover biscuits waiting for them when they wake up in the morning! My husband is at home at that time so he is on hand to look after them as needed. As I have been teaching for many years now, there is just a little preparation required before each lesson and I tend to do this in the evenings as well.

Doula work is a bit more difficult with young children! I have deliberately only taken on one doula client a month to avoid strain on our family, but will likely be cutting it back even more. I find the work incredibly fulfilling and a real joy but the downside is lots of broken promises to my children. If a mom goes into labour, I need to drop everything and run, no matter whose birthday party is on or if we are in the middle of a trip to the park. That is really quite difficult for small children to understand.

 

  1. Do you have a business plan? If so, can you share a bit about your strategy to make it successful?

I do have a basic business plan that covers my vision/mission, marketing plan and earnings goal for the year. I find it important to check back in with my vision quite often, and remind myself why I do what I do and why it makes a difference.

 

  1. How do you get clients/ market yourself?

I rely primarily on word of mouth to get new clients, as childbirth education classes – especially outside of a hospital setting – are very personal, and moms are reluctant to go to someone they have never heard of. This means that I need to offer excellent service from the moment that I receive an enquiry about a course to well after that baby is born. Luckily, I am genuinely passionate about pregnancy and birth and I absolutely love working with women so it all comes quite naturally.

I also have an extensive network of other professionals that are involved with pregnant women, from chiros to homeopaths and other doulas. I do have a website, Facebook page and leave business cards and flyers in doctors’ offices and other relevant places.

 

  1. What’s your biggest challenge right now?

Childbirth education is extremely unpredictable. I can have courses that are completely over-subscribed where I am literally turning away clients, and then there are months where I do not have a single enquiry. Luckily, I don’t have any fixed costs or staff to pay, so I try to be really flexible and respond to demand where and when it occurs.

 

  1. Did you need a lot of money to start off? And how long was it before you made a profit?

No! The great thing about this business is that the only really major cost is your training which can be anything from R10,000-R50,00 depending on the course/s that you choose. If you teach from home, your only ongoing costs are your textbooks, notes and tea/coffee, and then your admin related costs like your laptop, internet and so on. I was able to make a small profit after just a few months.

 

  1. What makes your business unique from other brands?

HypnoBirthing is in itself a unique childbirth education programme. It goes beyond the traditional hospital antenatal classes (which really just train you to be a good patient) to prepare you emotionally, mentally and physically for childbirth. I offer a personalised, intimate service that is tailored for the needs of each couple that I meet. Because my classes are so small, we have time to chat and get to know each other and my couples often keep in contact with me and the other couples in their class long after they have their babies.

As a doula, I also connect very personally with each family that I work with, and many of them have become friends. The work that I do is very special that way! I suppose that you could say that I am my brand, and I do take that very seriously.

 

  1. Share with us your social media links and website.

My website is www.gentlewelcome.co.za

My Facebook page is www.facebook.com/gentlewelcome

 

 

 

How do I get my blog noticed?

Tips to get your blog noticed | SA Mom Blogs

This question, how do I get my blog noticed, was asked on our SA Mom Blogs Group this morning so I thought it would be a nice one to discuss for the new bloggers.

It is a question that comes up a lot and one that no one really tells you about when you start blogging. Everyone says “post good content” or “post often” and the people will come. Well, lets me honest, they won’t just come. There are millions and millions of blogs out there, we are all fighting for our little space and while there is enough space for everyone you have to go out and find it.

These tips have worked for me but like with anything it takes a fair amount of time and effort.

  • Posting regular content does help but you don’t need to post every day. You want your readers to have a reason to come back and read your posts. So posting once a month is not really going to increase your readership dramatically. I have posted about how to create regular content.
  • You need to be on social media. No you don’t need to have a Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, SnapChat, Facebook, Flickr, Periscope etc account but you do need a presence. Decide which  3 platforms work the best for you and focus on those three first. (I suggest Instagram, Facebook and Twitter). These are great platforms to be able to share your content and build your brand. Each one caters to a slightly different audience and allows you to share different – for example you can push content a lot on Twitter whereas Facebook allows for a little more personal engagement.
  • Don’t just share it once. Schedule it to be posted to Twitter a few times during the week and if it is a really good post you feel strong about, share again on Facebook.
  • SHARE your posts everywhere you can. Find out where your audience hang out and see if you are allowed to share into those groups. Join blogging groups that allow you to share your posts. 
  • Look for guest post opportunities. Many bloggers run series, join one’s that are relevant to your audience. You can even create your own, generally the blogger who takes part will also share your post, so it is a win win!
  • Comment comment comment. This is a great way to get other bloggers and readers that you are out there.
  • Get involved in your local blogging community. We have the #jozimeetup, #ecmeetup and #ctmeetups which are great to attend to meet bloggers in your area. 

I hope these helped and if you have any other tips and tricks we would love to hear them.

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WIN 10 Double Tickets to Durban’s Baby Bootcamp

baby bootcampPart of the rite of passage of pregnancy seems to be attending some form of education regarding your upcoming baby’s arrival. If you can have every kind of bootcamp under the sun, then why not have a baby bootcamp too?

Two  companies have paired up to bring this to you! They are Paed IQ (which is SA’s 24/7 pediatric hotline) and Clicks (a company which will give you lots of nice goodies at the event). 

baby bootcamp activities

Tickets cost R200 and guests can expect breakfast treats, an amazing goodie bag filled with Clicks products, expert advice and fun competitions on the day of the event. The events are intended to be like an educational baby shower celebrating children and parenthood.

For more information or to book your seat online, please visit https://paediq.com/babyBootcamp.html

There are a whole lot of interesting speakers, one of which is our very own mom blogger Leigh Jansen (Diary of a Durban Doula). Here is a list of some:

Dr Dani

Dr Dani

  1. Chiropractor Dr Dani: She uses a technique called Neuroimpluse Protocol (NIP) which is a gentle and effective technique for the whole family, including the tiniest babies. Chiropractic care can help everything from colic, reflux, sleep to eating problems. Dr Dani also has benefited from having her own child in 2014 and reaping the benefits of her skills on her child.
  2. Dr Navashnee Dhaver, obestrician and gynaecologist, currently completing her PhD in obstetric haemorrhage to decrease maternal mortality.

    Justine

    Justine

  3. Biokineticist Justine van Rensburg who has a particular interest in children and the elderly.
  4. Doula Leigh Jansen offers emotional, physical and informational
    Leigh

    Leigh

    support to families during the child bearing phase. Leigh has had a variety of interesting careers including ballet teacher (that must help with the birth breathing!), teacher, lecturer and business analyst.  Her blog is a lot about advocating for the informed choice. Having recently given birth to her third child, issues of self care and support are particularly of significance to her.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

What’s On for Families This Weekend (16-17 July)

This week we have events around the country: Gauteng, Cape Town, Durban and the Eastern Cape.

 

Joburg, Cape Town and Durban: Kid’s Holiday Event with Wild Magazine/ Cape Union Mart

capeunionmartcape union mart216 July:

Cape Town: Spider Show with Wild Magazine

10:00-11:00 (Tarantula Show) 11:00-12:00 (Climbing Wall) at Cape Union Mart, Canal Walk Adventure Centre, Cape Town.

Johannesburg: Snake & Reptile Show with Wild Magazine

10:00-11:00 (Snake & Reptile Show) 11:00-12:00 (Climbing Wall) at Cape Union Mart, Eastgate Adventure Centre, Johannesburg.

Durban: Snake & Reptile Show with Wild Magazine

15:00-16:00 at Cape Union Mart, Pavilion, Durban.

The events are free but you need to RSVP (using the instructions on this page) so they can cater for snack packs for the kids.

 

 

 

Cape Town

Dora The Explorer Live! Dora’s Pirate Adventure

doraThe last two weeks Dora has been visiting Durban and Johannesburg and now it is Cape Town’s turn to enjoy the lady who travels and teaches in such an entertaining way for the children.

Nickelodeon (DStv channel 305) has teamed up with Life Like Touring and BluBlood to bring pre-school heroine and intrepid adventuress Dora the Explorer and her friends toSouth Africa this winter.

Families and kids are invited to join Dora and her pals Boots and Diego on a voyage of discovery as they embark on an exciting trip to Treasure Island in search of the ultimate pirate party. Help them navigate over the Dancing Mountain and through the Silly Singing Bridge in pursuit of the Pirate Piggies. Along the way, Dora the Explorer fans will use their map-reading, counting, musical and language skills to successfully help Dora reach Treasure Island and avoid that pesky fox, Swiper!

Tickets can be bought at computicket and at Checkers and Shoprite.

15 – 17 July: Grand Arena, GrandWest Casino, Cape Town.

Tickets are priced R185 – R385 (no charge for children under 1). Group discounts are available for parties of 5 or more.

For more information on Dora’s Pirate Adventure, please go to  www.nickelodeonafrica.com,follow them  on  Twitter  @NickAfrica,  on  Instagram  @Nickelodeon_Africa,  or like  them  on Facebook  at Nickelodeon. To join the conversation about the show, please use the hashtag#DoraLiveSA.

Still on: Robin Hood at Canal Walk

Gauteng

  1. Wodac Pet Expo

wodacDog, Cat and Pet Expo – exciting arena events throughout the day including dog agility, dancing with dogs, dog and cat show, reptiles, birds, fish, Koi fish show, celebrity animal welfare challenge, pet fashion show, stands with pet accessories, doggy fashion wear, pet food, pharmaceutical products, animal welfare, animal behaviourists, dog trainers, pet magazines and loads more. Fun for the whole family!

2. Still on: Gateway to Space at Sandton Convention Centre

Eastern Cape:

  1. Farmer’s Market

Lady Slipper Farmer’s Market at the Dutch Reformed Church in Old Cape Rd in Port Elizabeth. The market is held every Saturday 9am to 1pm from June to August.

aussie circus2. Aussie Circus

Old Selbornian Club East London. AUSSIE is a modern, circus spectacular that represents the daring, inventive, and cheeky nature of the Australian spirit. The show blends traditional acrobatic cirque performances in the air and on the ground, hilarious slapstick comedy, and modern, extreme stunts to ensure that there is something for all of the family to smile, clap, laugh, and gasp at. For more details go here to Computicket.

 

christmas in julyDurban:

Christmas in July Gift Fair: Sunday 17 July at DLI Indoor Complex in Durban. Make sure you get down to the show between 10h00 and 18h00. Great exhibitors, food court and kids area will be on show.

For more information go to the event’s Facebook page.

 

How to plan your blog post content

Planning Blog Content|SA Mom Blogs

One of the questions I get asked a lot is “How do you post every day!”. When I started blogging I was basically just sharing the most random details of my life every day, I was a single mom who was dating so there was never a shortage of content  but when we started getting paid for content (or wanting to get paid for content) I had to start getting a little bit more intentional about what I posted and started actually planning. This is how I plan my blog post content to be able to post as regularly as I do. 

I do just want to say that you do not have to post every day, some weeks I get it right other weeks I don’t.

It’s all about planning your blog post content!

  • Find a planning system that works for you. I have an excel spreadsheet monthly calendar where I write down the basic idea for a post. I do certain posts on certain days – Tuesdays are my recipe days, Wednesdays are review and giveaways etc. So I add those in first because those are the easy ones. There is a field for links I want to link back to and notes etc. I always have it open so I can add in ideas.
  • Set aside some time once a week. It does take time, I try to make time once a week. Sundays are generally my writing day, so I try to get as many posts written and scheduled as possible. Even if I don’t get the time to do it on a Sunday if I know the post that must be written it makes it easier to write it.
  • Schedule as much as you can. I often post my recipes and review and giveaways first and schedule them up. They are the easiest ones to schedule and then I do any sponsored posts. Scheduling is your friend and is probably the main reason I am able to post as often as I do.
  • Plugin Tip. I have mentioned the plugin Calendar before, you can use this to add the posts to your dashboard instead of the excel spreadsheet.
  • App Tip. I have recently started using Trello to keep track of everything I need to do and I have a board that is dedicated to blog post ideas, I write them down there and then add them into my calendar once a week.

Where do I get my blog post ideas from?

  • Other blog posts are a great source of ideas, often I read a post and something in the post inspires me to write my own blog post. 
  • Pinterest is also a great source of inspiration, especially if you are looking to do craft or food posts.
  • Real life stories always do really well, as parents there is generally always something you can write about from babies who don’t sleep to tantrums to teens. 
  • Ask your audience or use comments to expand on certain things.

It does take some time to get into the swing of things but now I have a system and it works well for me.

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5 Tools every blogger needs to be using.

5 tools every blogger should be using|SA Mom BlogsThere are so many super useful tools and apps out there. Every day I am discovering more and more, I am trying not to get sucked in to having all the apps (and spending money on all the apps). There are a few though that I think every blogger should should be using and the ones I am featuring are all free, some do have a paid for version but do work fine if you use them as the free ones.

Hootsuite – I know some people prefer Buffer but this one for me works the best. It is simple to use and you can post to Facebook and Twitter at the same time. The free option allows you to add three accounts which is perfect if you are just using it for your blog.

Evernote – I have tried Evernote in the past but never got the hang of it but I tried it again recently and I am loving it. You can save links, PDFs and more. It is a great way to collect links you want to post to Pinterest or that you want to link back to in articles. You can sync it up to the app on your phone so you can add links when you are on your phone.

Mailchimp – I was bouncing between Mailchimp and Mailpoet on this one. We use mailpoet here but I use Mailchimp on Harassedmom. Mailpoet does allow you to do a little bit more for free but I like the options I get in Mailchimp and it just works a bit better for me but both work well and both have plugins you can add to your blog, so this one is a matter of personal choice. u Whichever one you decide on, you do need one if you have (or want) a newsletter. I am actually interested to hear your thoughts on this? 

Revive Old Posts – This is a plugin that automatically shares old posts to Twitter and Facebook. It is a pretty cool plugin, you can chose categories you want it to share from as well as the time period. Just be careful if you are using this that the posts you are sharing are relevant and weren’t time specific to a certain period. 

Calendar – Another WordPress plugin that really helps to schedule your posts. It basically shows you a calendar and you can add post ideas with links and notes which makes writing the posts a lot easier. It also helps to keep track on when you have spots  giveaways and sponsored posts.

What are some of your favourite tools?

PS – I just discovered TailWind and BoardBoost – both for Pinterest and unfortunately both paid for but both are SO stunning. You get 100 free pins on both so check it out and tell me if you think its not the coolest thing!

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{WIN} A 6-hour clean with SweepSouth

I think it is only mothers who get excited at the prospect of winning a 6-hour clean, especially during school holidays. Kid’s seem to leave a trail of mess and toys wherever they go.  SweepSouth are a cleaning service that help you get on top of all the cleaning.Sweepsouth Giveaway| SA Mom Blogs

I was lucky enough recently to experience their service and I was super impressed with the lady who came to help out.  She arrived on time and just got on with what I asked her to do.

Don’t stress about the mess, there is a new service on the home scene that will take the hassle out of your household chores. Offering an on-demand cleaning service, SweepSouth’s approach to the domestic service industry is refreshing, innovative and easy to use – for customer and cleaner alike.

Catering to a wide range of clients – from busy corporate climbers, homeowners and holidaymakers to savvy socialites, who may require an extra hand (or two), SweepSouth provides peace of mind and spick-and-span homes for all South Africans. 

So don’t let the dirt hold you back, SweepSouth has it covered, make your booking today and let them sweep your hassles away.

WIN A 6-HOUR CLEAN!

We have a 6-hour clean to giveaway to one our readers. 

To enter tell me any clean hack you have that you use in your house.

T & C’s

  1. Competition is open to SA residents only.
  2. The competition ends 13th July 2016.
  3. The prize is not transferable. The email chosen as the winner MUST be used to make the booking.
  4. If you have won a giveaway on SA Mom Blogs in the last 3 months you will not be eligible for this giveaway. 

 

5 of our favourite holiday crafts

Holiday Crafts|SA Mom BlogsWe are in the 2nd week of our 3 week winter break. Fortunately I am at my mom with the youngest three, so there is an extra set of hands to help and also lots of space for them to run around.But they do get bored and we get tired of taking them out or finding things to entertain them. Kiara loves crafting and she is always making something which is really great because it keeps her busy!

I have put together 5 of our favourite crafts that are easy for everyone to make. 

Holiday Crafts|SA Mom Blogs

These are one of a few things you can do with egg cartons. This is a nice craft for little ones though. Let them lose with the paint or crayons to decorate the cartons for their flowers! It should keep them busy while you get a cup of coffee in.

Holiday Crafts|SA Mom Blogs

I love this idea! The girls have white letters in their room, I may just add some colour and do something like this. It is pretty easy to do and you can do it for everyone in the family or make their entire name, not just the initials. You can also really go wild with the decorations and use pretty much anything.

Holiday Crafts|SA Mom Blogs

This craft does require some skill, so better suited to slightly older kids but with some guidance it is really pretty simple to make and it is ideal for all those lone socks that always end up at the bottom of the washing basket.

Holiday Crafts|SA Mom Blogs

All you need for these are a pile of toilet rolls, some paint and your imagination. You can make forest animals, farm animals or even sea animals. The little ones will love this craft.

Holiday Crafts|SA Mom Blogs

And finally, a craft that uses all the odds and ends lying around the house. You can use any and all pieces of ribbon, buttons and hair bands. This is a pretty easy one as well. You may just need to help sew the ends for them.

Share with us some of your favourite crafts?

You can find links to all of these crafts on our Pinterest Craft and DIY board.