These are the big questions in life…
1. What’s for dinner; and
2. What to do with the kids?
I can happily say that I now have the answers to both of those!
The Adventure Clubs app is honestly one of the best entertainment ideas for kids (and parents) that I have seen in a long time. It would take me days to research and come up with half as many fun, educational and interesting things to do with the kids.
Even if I could manage to make a list of fantastic activities, there would be heaps of admin involved in making the arrangements. It would probably be far more expensive and I wouldn’t have any idea what the quality of the experience would be, whether it’s safe or not and trying to figure out friends’ schedules to go in a group is a nightmare on it’s own…
Adventure Clubs has a huge selection of super adventures for all kids between ages 6 months and 10 years of age. From hip hop dancing and baking classes to helicopter flips, there’s something for everyone and when you’re watching your kids make wonderful memories, you will definitely enjoy sharing those moments with them too!
Every experience is designed by parents, for parents. Well planned and coordinated, the experiences are attended in groups with other parents and children as well as a group coordinator/leader.
Our first experience was at La Cremosa in the Dainfern Square shopping centre, where we got to go behind the scenes inside the gelato “factory”. We were taken through the entire process of making delicious, creamy gelato from pouring the milk all the way through to eating!
My boys really enjoyed every minute of it and got chatting with the friendly staff as well as the other children. Of course their favourite part was the eating!
I could go on and on about the benefits of this concept but it’s really something you just have to go and experience with your family as soon as possible! To give you a push in the right direction, I have one adventure to give away to a lucky reader!
It will be one of your choice, available in Johannesburg, Durban or Cape Town, to the value of R300. All you need to do to enter is to download the Adventure Clubs app easily on either App Store or Google Play, browse the range of experiences and then comment here with your favourite one. Easy as gelato!
Winner will be announced on 5 January 2018. In the meantime, make sure you are following Adventure Clubs on Facebook to see all their great news and of course, follow MammaChef Jozi so that you don’t miss the announcement!
I am so glad that I discovered this before leaving on holiday and we’re definitely making use of it while we are at the coast. When you don’t know the area all that well, it’s not easy to find new and interesting things to do… Adventure Clubs saves the day!
Download and have a look through the Adventure Clubs app and comment on this post (or on the same post on MammaChef Jozi Facebook, Instagram or Twitter). Names will be placed into an online hat and a random winner will be drawn.
The Democratic Meal Planner – One kid, one vote!
In light of all the political goings on around us recently, I decided to give democracy a chance to rule the meal planner. I feel like I’m making myself sound very much like a food dictator… She who holds the wooden spoon, rules the plates! It’s for their own good though, trust me!
The boys are very modern in their political views and combined their votes to effect community rule over the first two days. This worked out very well for them as they got to have both their favourites. SuperDad is always happy with pasta and basil pesto is also a favourite. Of course they go so well together as a combo! Somebody had to be the carb police and that happened to be me (can’t quite get rid of the dictatorship). My favourite treat as a meal must be salmon. It has become so expensive, even in frozen steaks, that we really only have it on the odd occasion.
Fish shopping tip!
I did discover something quite interesting though… Our local Food Lover’s Market has a fantastic fish section and if you can hold your breath long enough, you might just find a very good deal!
As an example, the prepared, fresh salmon portions on the day were R299.00 per kilogram. In comparison, Woolworths’ fresh Norwegian salmon portions are R500.00 per kilogram, but that’s not the point. If you select a whole salmon, they will fillet it for you, package the quantity that you want and the price on the day was R179.99 per kilogram. That is a major difference!
As usual, just going that little bit further to be aware of where our food comes from, I looked into the sourcing of the salmon and found this on Food Lover’s Market website:
Although Food Lovers market currently procures farmed Norwegian Salmon which is on the WWF-SASSI orange-list we are implementing a procurement strategy that aligns with SASSI procurement guideline for Salmon. This means that all Norwegian on Food Lover’s shelves will come from farms that are affiliated to the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI – http://globalsalmoninitiative.org/) by January 2019. These farms have committed to work towards meeting the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standard for responsible aquaculture by 2020. Food Lover’s has full traceability back to all source farms and is annually tracking progress of these farms towards their 2020 ASC target.
Sustainable is good and I like the accountability and action plan.
This post really is becoming quite political! I have a soapbox and everything! I think it’s about time for the good stuff!
The Recipe Cards
Remember you can sign up to the newsletter to get your meal planner and recipe cards all together in advance, in your inbox! Alternatively you are two weeks behind… and have to come all the way here to MammaChef Jozi to download them… Then again, I love your visits and the more the better! So I tell you what, do both!
Needless to say, we all thoroughly enjoyed this week’s dinners. Blake, who is four, has recently taken to proclaiming every meal as the best food he has ever eaten! The people have spoken!
Alright, I think that is more than enough of my political commentary. I will leave you with this thought. Whatever your mood, whatever is going on in life, try to get yourself just one level up on the emotional scale! If you’re feeling dejected, try to find something that makes you feel content. Anxiety looks for something that brings peace and so on. The point is to raise your vibration! I’ll expand on this a little more later on. If you can (and it’s always possible)… Smile!
This post is inspired by MomofTwoLittleGirls who has asked several parents to open their hearts (and skeleton cupboards) by sharing their shiniest #ParentingWins and scariest #ParentingFails. She also bravely set the example with her own post here.
Several disastrous moments flashed through my mind as I considered which ones I would pick to expose to the world out there. I have had quite a few epic fails and many beautiful wins with my two boys. I’ll start with Wade, being the oldest and I’ll lead with a mommy fail that did not cause permanent damage to either of us…
Let me begin by saying that this boy has the most gorgeous temperament and gentle manner about him. Thinking back to his baby and toddler years, he was generally such an “easy” child but when he did throw a full blown tantrum he really did give it his all!
Wade was somewhere between terrible two and more-terrible three when, one fateful morning, he just simply refused let me dress him. All moms would probably recognise this story, weekday morning getting ready for work and school, possibly already running a little late when playfully asking leads to seriously instructing, leads to desperately pleading, leads to half an hour later, a frazzled (to say the least) mom and a completely out of control kid.
Long story short, I resolve that empty threats will get me nowhere and the time has come to show said toddler that I also mean business! I manage to carry wriggling and loudly protesting little monster, in his underpants, to the car and stuff him safely into his car seat. The next forty minutes in the car to school was spent trying to block out the deafening screams from the back seat, focus on the road and keep some semblance of composure.
There were maybe 5 minutes of silence before we finally made it to the school parking lot. I turn around to said little monster and ask in my calmest mom voice whether he is ready to get dressed as we have arrived at school. A quiet, calculated “Yes.” was the reply. As my luck would have it, this was only the eye of the storm. As I got near his foot with a pair of pants, the kicking and screaming started again and this was when the Mom-bot took over and I just gave up.
In my mind’s eye, I can remember the gate guard silently clearing the way as I walked into the nursery school, Wade wildly flailing around under my one arm and crying bloody murder. I will probably never forget the teacher’s face as she was sitting on a chair in the middle of the classroom. This wide-eyed mother walked straight up to her and the teacher didn’t say a word but just stuck her arms out. The screaming suddenly subsided to a small wail as I handed him and his bag to her, turned around and walked out. I paused outside the door to hear the total silence as he realised where he was and that all his friends were looking at him in his undies. On the upside, there was no permanent damage and this was never repeated again! It did take me quite some time to pull myself together and get myself to work that day.
Staying with Wade, my parenting win story is short and super sweet. It’s more attributable to him that me, but I must have done something right along the way!
About a year ago, I received a phone call from the mom of a girl in Wade’s Grade 1 class. She told me that she just wanted to let me know how he had just made their day. Her daughter had the most beautiful, long, thick hair and just the day before, had decided to trim her ends herself (just a little bit).
As she was telling me this, I had flashbacks to my own attempt at cutting my Barbie doll’s hair and the devastating consequences!
She had made a complete mess of her beautiful long hair and they ended up having to take her to have it all cut into a bob. Both mom and daughter were distraught and when they arrived at school the next morning, after hearing the story my little boy held her hand and said “I don’t really care if your hair is long or short, you’re my friend and I still like you.”
Smiles made and hearts melted. #WIN!
Even the little spinach critics in our house loved this! Creamy spinach in juicy chicken breast, served with fluffy sautéed potatoes and broccoli (just because I felt like lots of green stuff).
Switch oven on to bake at 230 degrees C.
Peel and dice 6 potatoes, place into a large pan with a pinch or two of salt, cover with water and boil for 5 minutes. Drain, shake them onto a tray lined with kitchen paper and leave to cool.
Cook 2 cups of frozen spinach in the microwave as per packet instructions (or boil in a pot – with microwave cooking there is just less water to squeeze out of the cooked spinach). Empty cooked spinach into a bowl and mix in 1 cup feta cheese and 1 cup cream cheese, 2 teaspoons crushed garlic, salt and pepper.
Lay 4-6 large chicken breasts flat on a glass cutting board. Cut a pocket into the thick side of the breast. Try not to cut right through to the other side.
Use a spoon to divide the filling and stuff into the chicken breast pocket. Season with some more salt and pepper.
Heat some olive oil in an oven proof pan over medium-high temp, then add stuffed chicken breasts, on the flat side and fry for 5 minutes then turn over. Next, place the pan into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Once in the oven, steam broccoli florets.
Heat another glug of olive oil in a large non-stick pan, on medium high heat. Add potatoes in a single layer and let them sizzle but don’t stir until they start to brown underneath. Turn 2-3 times in a total of 8 minutes cooking time, so that they are nicely browned all over. I didn’t use a non-stick pan and mine became delicious fluffy potato squares. Still good but not quite what I was going for! Drain on kitchen paper and season with ground salt.
Check chicken – add an extra 2-5 minutes cooking time if your chicken breasts are super thick. If you poke the chicken with a fork and juices run clear, it is cooked.
My big little boy may be German/South African by blood, but his soul is Portuguese like SuperDad!
Today he played in a junior soccer tournament at the Portuguese Day festival held by Luso Africa soccer club in Germiston. Beautiful sunny winter’s day in Johannesburg, family, fun, pregos and farturas!
I could write an endless list of things that I am grateful for and every day I hear about something else happening in our world, I add some more to my list.
Take a moment, or several, today to think about what you’re grateful for!
Neuroscience has shown that gratitude causes chemical changes in the brain – make it a habit!
Read about it here: http://ow.ly/dqlQ30crPhR
The Mediterranean Diet prescribes lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, healthy oils, minimal dairy and a glass (or two) of red wine every day!
So today, let’s imagine we find ourselves on a beautiful beach in the Med, having a glass (or two) of wine, a good chat, a lot of laughter and a warm, colourful Paella!
Sidenote: I actually didn’t get a photo of the finished dish as my phone was annexed by a certain 8 year old…
#MeatFreeMonday but with loads of cheese! Our chilly Monday comfort food is my secret recipe Macaroni and Cheese, with a super salad on the side.
Okay I will tell you the secret… I only use Ina Paarman creamy cheese sauce and top with matured cheddar and extra parmesan. It’s amazing and we never have any leftovers for lunch.
Salad: cucumber, cherry tomatoes, four beans, olives, feta, olive oil, balsamic, s & p