Monday, March 19, 2012

Blog Fast

There may be some of you that would have noticed that I have been absent from my blog for the last 3 weeks.  Shocking I know - how dare I do that to my followers, readers, friends, acquaintances, strangers, dogs, cats and anybody else who I haven't included in that list. 

But I had a question

Why was I doing this?

You may have read my post about how all of this started because I wanted a Kindle.  But then that changed and I just loved just being part of your lives.  

But I did wonder to myself why? 

I often sat up till late at night..... writing, thinking, looking, reading and researching. Who would have thought that blog writing demanded so much time.  But it does. 

So back to the question..... Why?

And while I was considering the answer to this question, I realised that though I love being part of your lives I need to be careful of neglecting mine. Neglecting to sleep and get enough sleep to wake up refreshed.  Making time to read at night or to catch up with my administration.  I found that everything was about stats - what others were writing about - who was reading my articles.  


And you know what?  Though I have had so many thoughts about topics I would like to write, I have loved not working at night, I have loved going to bed early.  I have loved not feeling driven by a self induced external force (not sure if that's possible but basically feeling like I have to write because of everyone who reads my articles)

What I have been doing online is tweeting on Twitter, pinning on Pinterest, faking on Facebook (kidding - but couldn't think of a catchy rhyme) catching up with my friends and trying to catch up with my Mandarin which has been sadly neglected.  

And as for the question of why I am doing this - when you know the answer - please let me know - because I simply love it and cannot think of any other more meaningful reason than that.

I realised that (surprise surprise) the world did not stop turning when I stopped posting
That life is worth more by living, it than writing about it.
None of you will be in any way harmed if I go missing in action now and again.  
Its good to keep perspective, and its good to fast the things that seem to grab a hold of your life.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Winners of the Yummy Sweet Candy Potatoes Giveaway

And so it only took me up to now to realise that I had still not announced the winners of the coupon giveaways! Silly me - so here they are.
Well done to Wendy, Vanessa, Karina and Jenny!  Look out in your post box for those coupons.  

Now you know that I don't review things I don't love.  Often I am the one to approach companies.  They are not knocking down my door, more like the other way around and in fact I prefer it that way because I only go to those I love.

So here's my new love! My sweet love - sweet potato fries.

The only reason I initially picked these up was because they were on special (of course) for a cool R9 which is a real bargain for ready made, ready cut, pop into the oven type of chips.  And with children who LOVE chips - this looked like a healthier option than regular fries.

Ruthie is a real chip girl.  In fact she is so in love with chips (fried, crisps, chips, roast potatoes) that she can barely think straight when they are in the same room. She can hear the rustle of a chip packet within a half a mile radius (that might be a slight exaggeration but then again I have never tested her on this and it wouldn't surprise me if she has chip-supersonic-hearing).

And in fact her obsession with chips has become an issue of much laughter in our house.  We often tell her that her nickname is Nick Nack and that one days she's going to marry a Simba Chippie.  (My South African readers are the only ones who will probably understand this reference.  For my other readers, these are just 2 chip brands in SA).  I digress.

So I tried these chips out and loved them.  Its like eating candy.  They are sweet, crunchy and absolutely delicious!  If your children are not fans of sweet potatoes, you might convert them yet with this variety. 

I find sweet potatoes are normally a lot more expensive than regular potatoes.  So I was really surprised that these were such a good price.  So I don't know about you but this is a sweet deal for a convenience food! 

Of course I wanted to share the goodness and wanted you all to taste them because they're gooooood.    
And because I love these chips, and I love my readers and I know that McCain would love our readers to love them too - we have some coupons for you to buy some of these snacky, candy, sweet potatoes!  

 I will be giving away 12 coupons for a R5 discount on every packet of sweet potato chips you buy.  

4 readers will win 3 coupons each valued at R15!  All you have to do is post a comment and tell me what your favourite type of oven chip is - crinkle cut or straight cut? 

(Remember that if you don't have a blog, leave your email address when you comment, so that I can contact you, otherwise you might not get your prize!)
This giveaway is only available to our South African readers AND you can enter even if you have won one of the Giveaways before.  Its open to anyone whether you live across the ocean or next door.
The Winners will be announced on Friday 2 March 2012.  


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Simple and Easy Breakfast Ideas for Children

Oh if only there were a chef in our house!  They would be the most appreciated and revered individual in the Grant household - esteemed and adored.  

 But there's not.
Just me. 

And so breakfast is breakfast in our house, like everybody else and I have to face the dilemma weekly to think up original and tasty breakfast ideas.  Cereals?  Yep I do those but I know that they are not the best I can give my children and I want to give them the best and even cereal gets boring after a while. My children love variety and love surprises.

I normally rotate these ideas after a two week period and the choice I make for breakfast is based on how much time I have, what we are having to eat for the rest of the day, my budget and just plain ol' "if I feel like it".

What is a healthy breakfast?
I am of the opinion that breakfast needs to be:
an easy breakfast (no grinding wheat or milking cows- not that we have any, but just saying)
needs to be long lasting (as long as possible in fact before I need to drag myself back to the kitchen to prepare round two)
a healthy breakfast (this one is fairly debatable - but let's just say as healthy as possible, and if you aren't doing healthy, then start doing healthy one step at a time)
they need to be able to eat it (now this may seem obvious, but don't go mad and start preparing odd things that are not even recognisable all for the sake of some kind of health benefit - they must like what they are eating)
breakfast should be based on size/ age/ activity level (I have boys who are very active and need lots of energy, and I have a little girl who spends her days being a princess, their food needs are going to be VERY different)

Time is always a challenge especially for mom's who need to get their children up really early to head off to school.  I know it's really busy already with lunches that need to be packed, books to be found, uniforms to be put on - and all of this before your first cup of coffee (another reason I chose homeschooling - surely coffee is a good reason?).  However a lot of these ideas can be prepared the night before.

Breakfast Ideas
Here is what we eat on any given day (weekends included)
1.  French toast 
2.  Porridge - oats, mielie meal, maltabella, rice porridge 
3.  Scrambled eggs on toast
4.  Boiled eggs with toasty finger things (I forget their name)
5.  Muffins 
6.  Pancakes
7.  Cereal (yep it's there too)
8.  Home made rusks and tea.  (they simply LOVE dipping)
9.  Fruit and yoghurt and toast 
10.  Homemade muesli and yoghurt with banana or apple (in fact any fruit will work if they will eat it)
11.  Left Overs 
12.  Smoothies (this only works as an add on for us - my children never seem to believe that this could possibly be all they are getting)
13.  Scones (so many varieties to choose from and flexible and tasty like muffins)

And to make breakfasts even easier let your children do the preparation and cooking!  Who knows maybe you could even get some breakfast in bed and give up cooking permanently!  

I have decided to work on the most important meal of the day, do some research and try some new recipes for my children.  I will let you know what I find and what works.  What is my motivation?  Well I have a list of 13 breakfast ideas.  I have about another 40 to 50 years of living to do (conservatively speaking) which means that I have too-many-days-to-work-out-on-my-calculator-breakfasts to eat and prepare and I definitely do not want to eat these 13 things for the rest of my life.  Anyone else feel the same? 

What do you find is a winner for breakfast?  What works for you and your family.  I would love to hear your thoughts on preparing a healthy breakfast for kids, why not leave a comment or share a recipe?