Adventuring|Children|Lifestyle|Mom life|Parenting

My 10-year-old and I faced our fears together

I recently took the boys on a Mom and Sons weekend away. We are a crazy yet fun threesome who love new experiences. Let’s just say we are a bucket list family who plan to bring you many more adventures. So, off we headed to the quaint little town of Cullinan, but we were not in search of diamonds. We were in search of adventure and exploration.

You can read more about our entire weekend away to Cullinan on my blog post Sho’t Left to a little town called Cullinan, but now I’m going to share the decision we made to face our fears.

Ashton, my 14-year-old is an adrenaline junkie who doesn’t fear much. He’s a thrill seeker who’s ever-ready to try the most daring thing out there. Skylar on the other hand, (my little baby … okay, not so little, as he is 10-years-old), is afraid of almost everything. In fact, Sky and I are a lot alike in this respect, but we decided a few years ago, that every adventure requires that we challenge ourselves to step outside our comfort zones.

We headed to Adventure Zone Cullinan and signed up for Ziplining. Ziplining, when 2 of the 3 of us are terrified of heights! How incredibly brave are we ??

Anyways, we arrived and were suited up with safety harnesses, helmets and gloves. As a person who works in the Quality and Safety environment on a daily basis, I asked the necessary questions like :-

  • When last were the harnesses load checked
  • What were the weight limitations? (apparently the straps can carry the weight of a bakkie, so I was good)
  • What if we got stuck in the middle? (my biggest fear)
  • Why was it so windy?

All my questions were answered without any hesitation during the safety briefing. Our group then climbed onto a truck and we made our way to the first zipline. At this point, I thought I had the option to choose the zipline of my choice, but I was wrong. Four ziplines formed part of the adventure and it was an “all in” commitment that was required. I had already paid, so there was no turning back. Oh, and talking about paying … we made use of the Entertainer App’s buy 1 get 1 free deal for the Adventure Zone. Yay, for saving money on a weekend away.

As we approached the first tower it dawned on me that I was adventuring alone with the boys. I was faced with choices of who would go first, was the line secure, what if Sky decided to bail at the last-minute. Was I being paranoid, over-protective or just being a mom whose instincts naturally kicked in??

I eventually calmed down and sent Ashton on his way, who faced his first zipline without any hesitation. Then it was Sky’s turn, but he panicked the moment he set foot onto the platform. He started hyperventilating and wanted to cry. He insisted that I go first, but how could I go first and leave him behind. Chances are he would panic again and derail the process for everyone. So with a stern mom-voice and darting eyes we got him secured onto the line. He looked at me and begged to get off. The guide then looked at me wanting a decision to made …. and then my mom instincts to protect and nurture disappeared for a second. A nod of the head gave our guide the go ahead to let him go. My heart sank for a split second as there was complete silence as he was pushed on his way, and then I heard a scream of exhilaration. He was good and made it safely to the other side without getting stuck along the way.

I was relieved but now it was my turn. I freaked out and I couldn’t do it. I was standing on the platform losing my mind and the guide said to me, “Your kids just did this. There’s no way you are going to bail”. I was honestly terrified, but I had no choice. I guess the saying “Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you” applied. As my foot left the platform I felt my heart rate increase as my body temperature rose. I’m very sure I held my breath for a few seconds, but before I knew it I was enjoying the zipline. It was pretty damn amazing and the view was incredible. As I reached the boys, their faces were beaming and they were pumped. They were so happy and thoroughly enjoyed the first zipline. They are always inpressed and proud when I try out activities with them.

Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children. – Charles Swindoll

We continued onto the next 3 ziplines. The speeds varied on each zipline and weirdly enough the fastest one was my favourite. I was utterly relieved that we chose to go through with the experience and face our fears. Had we not have pushed ourselves, we would have missed out on an amazing experience.

I’m the kind of mom who doesn’t mollycoddle her kids. It’s a tough world out there and I strongly believe that it’s my duty to challenge my kids; to push them to function and think in situations of difficulty and uncomfortableness. It is my duty as a parent to use every opportunity possible to prepare them for life as an adult. I want them to have inquirying minds and souls. I want them to live with adventure in their hearts and an appreciation for the beauty that exists in the simple pleasures life has to offer.

Disclaimer : This is in no way a sponsored post.

Children|Family|Health|Lifestyle|Wellness

World Diabetes Day 2018 Focuses on Family Health

November is diabetes awareness month and today, 14 November 2018 sees International World Diabetes Day focus on family health.  An issue very close to my heart for two reasons.  Firstly, because 23 months ago doctors told me I was a borderline diabetic. Secondly, because my family’s health is my greatest priority.

I’m of Indian descent which makes me have a higher genetic predisposition to diabetes.  Many South African families sit in the same boat.  Is it partly genetic, partly culture that we have to blame?  Us South Africans have a tendency of showering each other with sweet treats, unhealthy snack foods and TV and computer games is seen as a sign of love.  However, this unhealthy eating and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle could be contributing to the steady increase in diabetes, which is threatening the health and lives of people around the world.

“This international Diabetes Day, South Africans should consider ways to love their families to a state of peak health”, says Novartis South Africa.

According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), around 15.5 million adults aged 20-79 are living with diabetes in Africa, with over two-thirds (69.2%) of them unaware of their condition. More than half (55.3%) of adults living with diabetes in the region live in urban areas.

As is the case in many countries around the world, the incidence of diabetes across Africa and in South Africa is on the rise. Around 1.8 million people currently have diabetes in South Africa, with this number expected to top around 2.7 million by 2045, according to the IDF. In addition, more than two million South Africans may have impaired glucose tolerance (IGT).  What is IGT, I hear you ask.  Well, IGT is a transition phase between normal glucose tolerance and diabetes, also referred to as pre-diabetes which is what I was diagnosed with.

According to the World Health Organization, diabetes rose from 4.7% to 8.5% of adults.  This worldwide increase in trend is cause for makor concern.  Diabetes is dangerous because of all the complications that can occur.  Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.  It also increases ones risk for heart attack or stroke by 2 to 4 times.  Severe cases see people loose limbs and even their eyesight.

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This World Diabetes Day focuses on the family and diabetes, highlighting the important role families play in helping spot the symptoms of diabetes, as well as in encouraging healthy living to reduce the risk of diabetes.

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As a family we have made the decision to adopt a healthy lifestyle change.  Healthy eating, an increase in physical activities and exercise combined with a serious reduction in the consumption of sugar has seen our health improve drastically.  I had gestational diabetes during both my pregnancies which makes my children susceptible to becoming diabetic.  A lifestyle change was not negotiable as I don’t want my children to be affected by this dreaded disease.

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Simple lifestyle measures have been shown to be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes.  As a family, we have done this and so can you.  Diabetes concerns every family.  Could you spot the warning signs??

For more information on World Diabetes Day, visit http://www.worlddiabetesday.org/

Fit Family|Parenting

It isn’t about winning, but more about crossing the finish line

Those of you who follow me, know that my family is indeed a #FITFAM. I couldn’t look at improving my health and fitness level, without including my kids. Being fit as a family is important to me, as it’s created lasting moments of quality time spent together. I know my kids will look back and cherish our moments of fitness fun.

Fit Family of the Month
It’s so important to me that I’ve decided to do a series about Fit Families who inspire me. Today I’d like to introduce you to Emanuel and his family. Mani (as he is better known as), is a Dad blogger who shares Darren’s and his personal journey as gay parents in South Africa. They are the gorgeous family behind the blog Two Dads & a Kid

Mani has generously agreed to share their story as a Fit Family with us and I’m over the moon and grateful to have them on the blog today.

Their Story
Hubby(Darren) and I both grew up during a period that sport was part of the school curriculum. You weren’t expected to participate in every single sport the school offered, but we were expected to participate in at least one sporting discipline in addition to PE (now known as Physical Training). Darren was into athletics and his rugby. He loved rugby so much that it became part of his career. I on the other hand was exposed to and participated in a variety of sports disciplines ranging from individual activities like squash, athletics and swimming through to group disciplines like soccer and cricket.

Into our adult life, sport or rather physical activities have always been a part of our daily routines. We either at the gym for 30 to 60 minutes doing weights or cardio, or we are on the road, running or cycling. Entering races has become part of your weekend routine, not to win but to finish and improve on your previous race time. When our son was placed with us, he was our support crew with whichever spouse was not participating. Early morning starts became part of our weekend game.

Even before our son came home, it was a given that he would be encouraged to participate in sports. So, it was no surprise that we introduced him to swimming at age 6 months. At this point we attended lessons for about 4 months before he had had enough. So, we stopped. I’m so glad that we attended these lessons though, because a Sunday afternoon a year later he accidentally fell into the pool. Thank God for the lesson, because instinctively he turned himself onto his back and started kicking his legs and moving his arms about. What felt like minutes, was a lot less. When I eventually reached him, he was calm. This scenario could have been deadly, thankfully it wasn’t. Drowning is real! Besides saving your life there are many other benefits to learning how to swim. Swimming is great for the heart, lungs, improving your strength, balance, posture and flexibility. In recent years child obesity has become a huge concern, as it may lead to diabetes, swimming is a great preventative measure.

Although our son disliked the pool for a while, today he is loving his swimming lessons. We’ve introduced him to the world of Karate, Basketball, Soccer and Mountain Biking to bring a little more balance. Of all these disciplines, Mountain biking is where his heart is. He is a true MTB Rider. Seeking all the challenging routes while out on the trails. Although the hills are still his nemesis, if neither Darren or I are around, he will give it his best, refusing to give up, and giving him a sense of achievement. As he matures, being out on his bike will be another way for him to meet and make new friends. Although relatively new to schools, MTB is growing at school level with many events now introducing a prize for the school with the most entrants, for example. The best part of MTB or Cycling is that you can go out onto the trails as a family and it’s a skill your child will have forever.

Benefits of Exercise for Families

  • it improves our moods by releasing endorphins in the brain, that natural ‘high’ you feel after a good workout
  • kids that exercise regularly are more likely to pay attention and switch between tasks with better speed and accuracy
  • perform better on tests regular exercise also builds a child’s self-esteem
  • provides an environment for kids to meet and make new friends

Different Strokes for Different Folks
As a family we don’t necessarily all excel in the same sports. So, for example, Darren enjoys MTB more than I do. For that reason, he tends to be the one hitting the trails with our son. Swimming is my fortes, so besides swimming school, whenever I get the chance I hit the local pool at the gym and basically get our son to show me what he has learnt during swimming class. All three of us enter races. There’s nothing like a medal to boost your spirits and push you to do better.

Final word
Their motto is that as a family they do not give up. They may not be the first to cross the finish line, but they will finish! If you would like to follow these amazingly inspirational dads as they keep fit with their handsome son, then go and vist their blog TWO DADS & A KID and follow them on social media.

Eating out|Lifestyle

Eating out with kids at Nostimo

When moms families want to get out the house and enjoy a meal at a lovely adult restaurant, options are indeed limited. The usual suspects in terms of kid friendly restaurants really don’t appeal to me.  So when I came across this hidden gem in the heart of Waterfall City, Midrand I was over the moon. I’m talking about Mythos’ sister restaurant Nostimo.

The phantasmagoric design of Nostimo landed them a finalist spot in International Restaurant & Bar Awards

This Greek family friendly restaurant has an impressive Mediterranean menu, which includes great pizzas and sushi. The kid’s menu includes calamari, chicken souvlaki, pizzas and spaghetti & meatballs. Their breakfasts are really great too and fit my eating plan perfectly.

The highlight of Nostimo is the facilities available for the kids. There’s an arts and craft centre and a pottery studio were the kids can create gorgeous pieces of art under the watchful eye of a child-minder. Prices depend on the items selected by the kids (and thankfully payment is required before the kids commence).

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Trying their hand at mosaic

There is also a wooden, nature-themed kid’s organic play area which is equipped with a slide, swing, walkway, rocking boat and push bike track. Needless to say that we don’t see much of the kids when we visit Nostimo.

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And if all this wasn’t enough there is an astoundingly marvelous variety of luxury, homemade gelato and sorbet, which my kids make sure we never by-pass.

All in all this is a fantastic greek restaurant that caters for the entire family, while serving up rather wholesome and delicious food.  Nostimo by Mythos is indeed worth a visit.

 

Adventuring|Lifestyle

Hiking Lonehill Koppie

Over the December holidays while looking for a place to take the kids fishing, my hubby stumbled across the Lonehill Nature Reserve. Besides its lone, rocky hill, this archaeologically rich reserve offers hiking, a lake & city views.  The significance of the Lonehill Nature Reserve is that it conserves three stone age furnaces, built around 1600 that were excavated in the 1960’s, so this is actually an important Stone Age site. 
The nature reserve is situated on the outskirts of Johannesburg.  Yes, an actual nature reserve in the middle of a concrete jungle and the beautiful suburb of Lonehill makes for the perfect settings.  The entrance to the Reserve can be found at the dead-end on Calderwood Road.
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The word “koppie” is an Afrikaans word which means little hill.

A few years ago we decided that we were going to swap birthday parties for new experiences and adventuring.  It was definitely the best decision we have ever made.  Seeing as my eldest son was celebrating his birthday we decided to go on a  hike and do some fishing at the Lonehill Nature Reserve.  After some research we were convinced that taking the “Granny path” was the right decision to make considering we had kids on the hike starting from the age of 7. So we entered the reserve and made our way to an isolated picnic bench at the foot of Lonehill Koppie.  Signage in the reserve is seriously lacking and all we could find were white arrows on the rocks.  We however couldn’t figure out which was the Granny path and decided to just wing it.  The kids, filled with excitement and enthusiasm raced up ahead.  I what I would do to have that kind of energy and zest for life.

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The steep, jagged rocks made this hike up, rather challenging.  Within a few minutes we simultaneously asked each other if anyone knew a granny fit enough to make her way up this “far from even path”, then decided we would be bringing my hubby back to do this hike when he turns 55 (he was the event coordinator on this occasion which is normally my job). This hike is definitely not meant for inflexible people with short legs (referring to myself), because I honestly found myself crawling more than climbing.  All the reading I had done prior to our visit, mentioned and some even warned about the  local dassies, but all we came across was dassie poop and lots of it.  It was rather extra and had the kids screaming that the place smelt like a pig farm.  I must admit it got them to the top much quicker than expected.
We made our way through a collection of  boulders, and had to use ladders to get to the very top.  The first ladder was missing a rung  which saw my hubby drag us ladies onto the top of the boulder.  See what I meant earlier when I spoke about short legs ?!?! Ascending another ladder saw us reach the very top.  As the slight breeze washed over our faces we sat there taking in the beautiful views of Johannesburg.  The kids were super excited because they could see Monte Casino and the Mall of Africa from up there Now what makes you think these are city kids?  We also saw many beautiful birds and several lizards, but no dassies.  The kids loved the nooks and crannies of the found at the boulders.

We made our way down but holy hell …. it was steep and I definitely felt it on my knees the day after.  The perks of having a big bum is that it was easy and safer  sliding down those boulders.  Our way down was much easier than the way up that’s for sure.  Within a few short minutes we were done with the hike.  I have to admit that we were left feeling rather disappointed.  We were in the swing of things and our sense of adventure was crying out for more.

All in all it was a fun hike especially perfect for little kids as it isn’t too long.  I love that the Nature Reserve is directly next to the park, which is where we ending up spending the rest of the day.  The adults chilled under the trees while the kids fished at the little lake and played.  A fun family outing that I would highly recommend especially for families with kids.