Friday, December 19, 2014

“Happy” holidays, kids!

If you are spending the December and January holidays on South Africa’s sunny coastline, then chances are good that the Happy mobile Express is headed your way. McDonald’s brand ambassador “Happy” is on the road, bringing holiday cheer to families (and also handing out coupons for two free ice-cream cones when you purchase a Sharebox, so don't forget to nab one.)

McDonald’s tells me that Happy will be stopping over at family festivals, sports fields and promenades, and there will be activities aplenty to take part in: a skipping rope competition, there is a ball pit challenge, tandem races, and kids can learn the “Happy” dance. Did I mention prizes? There's prizes!

It’s all about family fun and getting moving! Here is where you can find the Happy mobile Express:
  • 17 – 19 December 2014 at Camps Bay Sports Field, Camps Bay Main Road from 12pm to 4pm
  • 20 December 2014 at Greenpoint Park, Rhine Road from 12pm to 4pm
  • 22 December 2014 at Hartenbos AKTV, 2 B Sandriver, corner Majuba and Port Natal Avenue from 7pm to 10pm
The Happy mobile Express is also hitting KZN, and stopping off in places like Margate, Ballito, Umhlanga and Amanzimtoti. You can find those dates here:

Blogger Tricks

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Why aren’t all tablets waterproof? [VIDEO]

I’ve been asking myself this question ever since Sony came out with the Xperia Z1 smartphone two or three years ago. It doesn’t seem to have an impact on a phone or tablet’s performance as far as I can see. Is it because manufacturers want us to damage our expensive gadgets so that we’re forced to buy new ones?

I’ve already lost two smartphones – one took a dip in the swimming pool, and the other floated in the toilet bowl for about 20 minutes. That ‘leave it to dry out in a bowl of rice trick’ didn’t work for either of them. And yes, both these incidents were child-related.

I’ve been playing with the Sony Xperia Z2 tablet for a couple of weeks now and every now and again I post about the features that I like best (like it works great as a recipe book).

This week it’s the fact that the Z2 tablet is waterproof. Look, it won’t survive an hour at the bottom of your swimming pool BUT it’s more than capable of surviving a spill here and there.

Here is me pouring a glass of water on our tablet...

If you are splurging on an Android tablet for the family this Christmas, and you have small children in the house (our adults with butter fingers) - it makes sense to get one that is waterproof. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

24hrs until our first weekend of respite care

I need to get this off my chest, scribble my feelings into this blog post and then slam the lid on them.

This afternoon I am taking Travis to spend an hour or two at Oakhaven – just a playdate, to give him a chance to familiarise himself with where everything is and the spaces and faces. Because on Friday afternoon, that’s tomorrow, I am dropping him off for a full weekend of respite care. From which we’ll only pick him up on Sunday afternoon.

I’ve been pretty chilled about this. It has been a long time coming and I have had over a year to get used to the idea of Travis going into respite care. But now, at the very last minute, I am feeling all the feelings as I fill in the forms that tell his weekend caregivers everything there is to know about our Lionheart.

He wears nappies; he can walk but you have to lift him in and out of a car. He eats just about everything except fruit. Travis hates fruit. He can’t use a knife and fork, but will finger feed himself. He wakes up screaming in the mornings. This is normal. He likes tea bottles, but not juice bottles. He won’t hold a cup. Travis is sensory seeking and likes a firm cuddle. He likes to be in the garden.

I restrained myself from drilling down into detail. The little things, like: “Careful, he throws his bottle across the room when he’s done with it,” and “he likes to nuzzle the wobbly bits on your upper arm – it’s weird, but just go with it.”

It’s a bit of a mess, emotionally, putting your mentally disabled child in respite care while you spend a weekend with his two ‘normal’ siblings.

You feel incredible guilt, then you feel angry for feeling guilty. Then you are double angry that you have to be in this position AT ALL and you shake your fist at the Big Guy Upstairs. Then you feel like you are failing your disabled child; then you feel like you are failing your ‘able’ children. Then you feel guilty again because it was your uterus that put everyone in this situation – you, your husband, your other children... You feel hopeless. You feel depressed. Then you yank yourself up by the broekies and say: “Get your shit together, Stacey. Ain’t nobody got time for your self-pity.” And then you feel guilty for feeling sorry for yourself, because if there is anyone that you SHOULD feel sorry for, it’s Travis who is trapped inside a broken body with a brain that doesn’t work.

So those are the feelings, and I’ve pinned them down with words in this blog post so that I don’t have to feel them today, because I have Very Important Mom Stuff to do and it is not about me.

I know that Travis is going to have a great playdate this afternoon, and everything is going to go swimmingly. I have 110% confidence in the team at Oakhaven residential and respite care

Hopefully this storm inside of me will also take the weekend off.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Lumia is helping make dreams a reality

You might remember my post a few weeks ago about how this little blog went from a small idea into something big? Lumia asked South Africans what visions they wanted to make a reality, and you told them.

Here’s a clip of one of those dreams being transformed with the help of Lumia. How sweet is this? A proposal!

If you want to Lumia to help you #MakeItHappenZA, share your plans with them here.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Internet is my recipe book!

I’m a stress baker. The more manic life becomes, the more I bake, and the bigger my hips become. It’s because baking is about precision. I can control things like “add 250g of flour” and “pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees”.

This weekend I baked like Nigella Lawson on crack. The kitchen looked like a bag of flour spontaneously combusted! (I hear that can actually happen, by the way.)

I did something different though. Instead of using my plastic flip folder with recipes, I used my Sony Xperia Z2 tablet. Yes, the waterproof one that I have been going on and on about at my other website DigiKids.

I propped the Z2 tablet up on my cute wooden recipe holder that I was given as a gift earlier this year when Safari launched the new packaging for their dried fruit range.

On Saturday I baked my Six Cup Crunchies, which is a recipe I featured on this blog a while back when my mom-in-law, bless, gave me an enormous bag of oats. All I did was connect the Xperia Z2 tablet to our Wi-Fi at home, browse to the page, and ta-dah, it’s bake time. I decided to hell with it and used real farm butter for the recipe, which makes crunchies 110% more delicious (the boys finished them all in under 24 hours).

On Sunday I made Apple Pie from a recipe that I found on a while back. When you open the recipe on the 10.1-inch screen, it reads really well. (If you are going to try this Apple Pie recipe, know that it needs to cook about 20 minutes longer than the recommended time, otherwise it is soggy in the middle.)

I didn’t over-worry about leaving sticky fingerprints on the Xperia Z2’s screen because it’s waterproof, and wipes off easily with a soft cloth. 

TIP: you don’t want to have to keep swiping to unlock your tablet, so that you can check the steps in your recipe, so before you start, go to Settings > Display > and change the Sleep timeout to about 30 minutes.

Have you used a tablet as your recipe book yet? I find I am doing it more and more often. So much so, that I wonder why brands like Le Creuset and Joseph Joseph aren’t making tablet holders as part of their cooking instrument range?