Growing things

Last time we talked about sniffing and growing Rosemary. At the moment, a certain supermarket is onto a really cool thing – giving out little pots of flowers or veggies with every purchase over R150. I know many kids are hounding their parents to go shopping there to increase their collection, but fear not if you don’t get it right.

You can easily grow your own veggies without any fancy little pots.

All you need are egg boxes, seeds and soil (seedling soil really works the best – but it’s not completely necessary).

Get a group of kids together and share resources. One bag of seedling soil goes a really long way. If you don’t have any money for seeds, ask friends who have gardens if they have any to spare. Marigolds grow very quickly from the seeds that you can harvest from a dead flower. So do lots of other things – like tomatoes.

Simply fill the egg boxes with soil – poke a little hole in the middle – about 1cm deep and plant a seedling. Cover it up with a bit of soil. Water gently and put them on a windowsill or somewhere light. They don’t like direct sunlight too much because then they dry out.

Make sure that you keep them moist – if the soil gets dry your teensy babies will never sprout.

The time it takes to sprout depends on what seeds you have planted. Some spout much quicker than others – for instance, Sweet Alyssum starts sprouting in about 3 days but onions take around 10 – 15 days to poke their little green shoots out into the world.

Once they do start sprouting, plant the whole egg box in the ground. Or you can carefully cut the little sections apart and scatter them around your garden or into pots. The egg box material is biodegradable. Just (obviously) make sure you do not use plastic egg boxes!

You can even have fun making your own artistic signs out of ice-cream sticks or bits of cardboard box so that you know which seeds are which.

Consider having a race with your friends and see whose seeds sprout first.

By the way – if you want to know how to make a veggie bed the size of a door – my book – Sibo and the Veggie Bed (check out the cover above) is available this month as a free read on the website.

Explore your green-fingered side guys!

Have fun.

Sibo

Xx

Sniffing Stuff

Sometimes, in very old kid’s stories they would write stuff about tying a knot in a handkerchief to help a person remember something.

Hah! That’s a joke. For starters, very few people use hankies these days – definitely not kids. Tissues are the in thing now and trying to tie a knot in skinny bit of paper would be just silly! Not to mention trying to remember what the knot was for in the first place!

Apparently what does help boost your memory is sniffing the herb, rosemary.

According to the clever dudes, when you sniff rosemary (either essential oils or the plant itself), volatile particles get the olfactory nerve receptors in your nose all excited and are then absorbed into the bloodstream. Thereafter, the memory-enhancing mechanisms of the essential oil zoot up to your brain (via your bloodstream) where they act on your memory systems.  Sounds a tad complicated to me but seemingly it works.

It might be worth sniffing some rosemary when exam time comes around again.

Evidently, in the ancient times, students actually used to wear garlands of rosemary around their necks, or put sprigs in their hair, to help them remember stuff.

Even better, if you’ve got a headache or aching muscles, having a soothing bath with a few sprigs of rosemary in it is supposed to help. Don’t forget to dunk your head under the water too – if you have an itchy scalp problem that is.

Rosemary is a treat to cook with too – both tasty and healthy. It’s a great way to spice up spuds. Boil some potatoes until they are almost soft.  Put them onto a dish and smoosh them slightly with a fork or spatula. Then drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle some salt and some chopped up rosemary all over the potatoes. Pop them in a hot oven and roast until they get crispy. The most delicious roasties ever!

So tootle off to your local nursery and invest in a rosemary plant. Not only are they hardy and easy to grow, but they are one of the plants that can actually survive a Springs winter too.

You can also put sprigs of rosemary in flower arrangements – just imagine – it not only makes the whole room smell fresh and lovely, but nobody will forget anything either.

Have a great week people.

Sibo

Xx

STRANGER DANGER – but sadly they are not always strangers.

Last week we mentioned those horrible statistics of 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 8 boys being sexually abused before they turn 18. And these are only the reported stats – they’re probably much higher than this.

SCARY FACT: Pedophiles are mostly people who come across as very likable souls. They are friendly and engaging.

The sad truth is usually predators are most often hidden in plain sight.  This means that ninety per cent of the time they are people you know and trust.

But really they are sneaky weasels who target their victims very carefully. They select their victim and then make a plan to get the child (and their family) comfortable with them before they strike.

They go to the same church, schools, sports and other activities and spend time chatting to you and your kids.

They specifically look for those individuals that have issues. Like kids looking for extra attention or love. They pick on shy children or those who might lack confidence. They look for loners who could be longing for friendship.

Yes – it sounds much too calculated to be true – but this is often how it happens.

They ingratiate their way into your family, bring the child little gifts and shower them with attention. They look for any opportunity to be alone with the youngster. Often this might seem like a very generous gesture and you can’t believe how nice somebody is being in your time of need. Beware! They could have ulterior motives.

Predators often hug and kiss your kid a lot and “accidentally” walk into the bathroom when they are in the bath or on the toilet. They also test your child to see if they can keep a secret.

Do not let this happen!

  • Encourage open communication in your household. Your children should be able to speak up when they don’t feel comfortable about something. Kids know long before adults do.
  • Have a “no secrets” policy. They don’t keep secrets for anyone or from anybody, ever.
  • Allow your children to choose who they kiss and hug. Don’t force them to kiss smelly old Uncle Fred hello just because he is family. Paedophiles are often family too.
  • Set boundaries. Make sure your kids know what those boundaries are.
  • Be a visible parent. It’s hard to abuse your kid if you are always around and involved.
  • Trust your gut – if something does not feel right, it probably isn’t.

Protect your kids please people – don’t let them become statistics.

Sibo
Xx

Keep your kids safe!

Last week was World Health Day – it is one thing to stay healthy by eating and exercising – but it does not help if you have a healthy body and get yourself into an unhealthy situation!

There have been a number of scary incidents around the country recently where people have tried to steal children – in some case from right under their parental agent’s noses. How crazy is that?

Sadly child trafficking is alive and well and happens much more that we would like to think.

Here are a few simple rules to help keep your children safe:

  • Teach your kids about different types of strangers. You do not want your children to think that everybody they don’t know is a bad person. There are different types of strangers. People who try to tempt children with sweets or stuff to lure them into cars are BAD! Adults who ask kids for help are also BAD.
  • Don’t let them run away from you in the shops or a public place. It’s not cool for them to hide – it gives you a heart attack and it gives some nasty weasel the opportunity to snatch your kid.
  • Teach your kids to STAY WHERE THEY ARE and shout YOUR NAME if you get separated. They should not shout “mummy” because some other kid might also be having a meltdown and be yelling the same thing. Sounds silly – but make sure your kids know your name. Teach them not to run up and down looking for you because that will make the situation worse.
  • Tell you kids to look for a HELPFUL person if they do get totally lost or something happens. A policeman, a teacher, a shop assistant or another mum or dad with a pushchair or kids of their own with them.
  • Impress upon your children that they should NEVER EVER get in a car with a STRANGER. No matter what story the person tells them.
  • If somebody tries to grab them – it really is okay to shout, kick, scream, bite or do whatever they can to get away.

But even worse… people that you know and trust are often the worst offenders when it comes to abusing kids.  Research shows that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 8 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18. Totally horrific!

We’ll cover that topic in next week’s blog.

Kids are precious – keep them safe please.

Sibo

Xx

Healthy is wealthy… and wise!

The 7th of April is World Health Day!  I can hear you all groaning… oh no – she’s not going to blabber on about eating healthily and getting exercise AGAIN… is she?

Hahhahaha – indeed she is. I know it’s really irritating but the thing is – if you feel good – your whole life just gets better from all different angles.

So here are a few simple ways that you can adjust your life style without having to bother too much.

Eat breakfast. The old saying goes – eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and supper like a pauper. This is because your body has fasted overnight (duh… break-fast) and you need to kick-start your body again. If you are not a fan of eating early – at least try a banana and a glass of milk.

Snack on fruit or carrot sticks. Dump the packets of chips and sweets and rather snack on fruit or veggie sticks. Celery sticks filled with peanut butter are pretty delicious too.

Eat smaller meals. If you can, eat five smaller meals a day rather than three huge ones.

Read the labels. Yup really – start reading the labels on cans, packets – whatever. You’ll be amazed at how much sugar, salt and other nasties you are chomping down without even realising it.

Let your kids help in the kitchen Making food, that is, not washing dishes or laying the table. Figure out some tasty, simple, easy to make recipes and let them help… chop, peel, mix and stir. (And yes – do teach caution when it comes to hot surfaces and sharp knives.)

Eat together as a family. If you know you are all going to sit down in the evening and discuss the day – it makes sense to prepare a healthy balanced meal to enjoy together. (And turn those cell phones off too please.)

Practise what you preach. No good being those parents who make your kids eat healthy food if you stuff your face with cruddy stuff on the sly.

Get some exercise. Walk, run, dance, hula hoop, rebound (aka jump on a trampoline), play a sport, cycle, weight lift, roller-skate, go to the gym or whatever. If you really hate exercise – the very least you can do is park your car at the furthest spot in the parking lot and walk to the entrance. Use the stairs instead of the lift or escalator.

Not so hard hey!

Sibo

Xx

Easter egg hunt and fluffy chicks.

The other day Mum and I were visiting a friend of hers who’s having a bit of a hard time at the moment. Her husband has lost his job and finances are challenged. Aunty Landiwe was moaning about how her kids were not going to understand that they would not be getting fancy Easter Eggs this year.

I looked at her kids – they are only little – how on earth would they possibly know what day it is – let alone that they’re not getting the same stuff that they got last year?

Mum’s friend was sighing and looking really sad.

I had a bright idea.

I asked Aunty Landiwe if she had enough money for some of those cheapie, yet still very delicious, marshmallow eggs that you get. Not a whole box – just a few strings – it would not cost her more than R20.

Mum looked crossly at me. I knew just what she was thinking… Sibo! Keep your mouth shut – you are not supposed to be chipping in on this conversation.

Luckily Aunty Landiwe knows me quite well.

“What are you scheming now Sibo?” she asked.

Told her that I was thinking of an Easter Egg hunt – where she could hide the eggs in the garden and the kids could look for them. It would be much more fun than just being handed chocolate on a plate, so to speak.

Plus… I reminded her… “You are very arty. What about recycling your breakfast eggshells into some fancily painted Easter decorations? You could  get your children to help. I know you’ve got lots of paints and stuff. You could  get the littlies to make their own eggs – even though they are small – give them hard-boiled eggs to paint. They can eat them afterwards.

I was on a roll… “And that little yellow jersey you knitted last year… do you have any wool left? We could make pompoms and make fluffy Easter chicks! I watched a really easy video the other day. It’s not about how much stuff you get – it’s about quality time spent with your kids and how much fun you have rather.”

Aunty Landiwe grinned for the first time that afternoon.

“Sibo” she said “How did you get to be so clever for such a little person? Those are all great ideas. I do indeed have wool left – do you want to come and help me make some chicks?”

I looked at Mum to see if she agreed… she smiled and nodded.

Have a blessed Easter people.

Sibo

Xx

PS – If you make some of these cute chicks – please feel free to post some pics on our Facebook page – we’d love to see them. This is the one that Ginny made.

 

Listen to hear what is NOT being said.

I read something incredibly interesting the other day… research has shown that people who are in happy relationships or who have lots of friends live longer than those folk who are alone.

Duh! One tends to think that is obvious because they are probably happier and more fulfilled than those poor lonely souls who have nobody to talk to.

Originally they thought that individuals were responding to interesting topics or that it was the more stimulating conversations that possibly sparked off something in a person that made them live longer.

But ultimately it seems that WHAT is said does not really matter. It is more about HOW the other person responds to what is being said.

It all boils down to that human touch of caring, really listening and responding appropriately.

There are 3 different ways of responding to a statement that somebody has made.

If Jack says “It’s so nice outside tonight!” What he really means is something like – I enjoy being here with you.

If Judy replies “Yes, it’s lovely isn’t it!” She actually means she enjoys being with Jack too! This subconsciously makes Jack (and Judy) feel all warm and fuzzy and loved.

But if Judy says “Rubbish! The mozzies are biting me – I’m going inside!” this sends the message that she does not enjoy sitting outside with Jack and would rather be inside. This does not make Jack feel all that great.

Or worse, Judy could just ignore Jack totally and walk inside – leaving Jack feeling subconsciously sad and unloved.

Obviously the first response is going to nurture and deepen your relationship.

All too often we see somebody we know and, as we pass by, we say “Hey! How are you?” but then keep walking and don’t stop to hear their answer. This inadvertently sends the message that we don’t actually care how that person is.

Try something out – next time you ask somebody how they are – stop and actually listen to their answer.

It boils back down into that kindness pot again. In this busy world, it’s so easy to be self-centred and self-involved, but all it takes is a little bit of concentrated time to make another person feel loved.

Try it out – you’ll find it makes you feel good too!

Sibo

xx

Procrastination really is the thief of time

The other day I got into trouble and it was entirely my fault.

Mum had asked me to wash the dishes. She was going out to have her hair cut and she wanted them done before she came back. She told me she’d be home around five o’clock and needed the kitchen all nice and tidy because people were coming.

When Mum went out it was just after three o’clock so I reckoned that there was plenty of time.

I had stuff of my own to do. Had been promising myself to get stuck into weeding my veggie garden plus I had a new book I was dying to read.

You can guess what happened… right? It was hot so I decided to read first and got so immersed in my book the next thing I knew it was nearly time for mum to come home.

I flew into the kitchen and started frantically cleaning up – but the place was a mess and I knew I’d never be finished in time. Had a brainwave (okay – maybe it was a brain storm) and decided to get creative. Packed all those dirty dishes into a big plastic basin and hid them under my bed. I’d just finished wiping down the counters when I heard Mum’s car roar up the driveway.

Sjoe! With dardly a minute to spare.

Heaved a huge sigh of relief… I’d worry about how I was going to sneakily wash those dishes later.

Mom bustled into the kitchen with bags of chips and started opening the packets. She reached into the cupboard where we keep the bowls… but her favourite snack bowl was nowhere to be seen.

She scanned the kitchen with a perplexed look on her face. I backed out slowly, hoping she’d use some other container instead.

But no…. “Sibooooo” Mum yelled – “WHERE is my pretty chip bowl?”

Briefly wondered whether to fib or not but then decided I was already in trouble and lying would only make it worse. Had to confess.

I was certainly not the flavour of the day! Worse, Mum impounded my new book and said I could only have it back on the weekend. Plus I had to wash dishes all week.

That was a hard lesson. In future I’ll do chores or tasks first and then do the fun stuff later.

See you next week.

Sibo

xx

Let’s all talk more

It was my friend Wayne’s birthday and his Mum took us out for a teatime treat at our favourite place. We had barely sat down when she whipped out her cell phone and started pressing buttons.

I was still examining the menu so didn’t think about it, but then the waitron appeared and asked if we were ready to order.

Both Wayne and I knew what we wanted, but his Mum had not even looked at the menu yet.  She just ignored the dude and carried on reading something on her cell phone.

The waitron stood there patiently for a bit. Then he hopped from foot to foot and sort of cleared his throat, as if to say… well… um… excuse me?

I considered giving her a nudge or saying something but thought that might be rude.

Eventually she looked up, waved her arm offhandedly and said “Just coffee”.

I probably went bug-eyed with surprise. No please. No thank you. Definitely no sorry for keeping you waiting!

I looked at Wayne to see if he had noticed but he was messing with the sugar packets.

His mother went back to her phone and ignored us completely.

Wayne asked his Mum if she’d had a good day, but she didn’t even hear him and so did not reply. He and I chatted quietly for a bit, and then we went and played in the kids section.

“Doesn’t your mum talk to you at the table?” I asked when we were safely out of earshot.

“No,” Wayne replied a little sadly. “She’s always doing stuff on her cell phone, even at home.”

I looked around the place and noticed that quite a few of the parentals were fiddling with their cell phones whilst their kids were sitting at the table, colouring in or trashing the place. There were other people sitting together, looking at their phones too – not talking to each other.

Our food arrived. His mum drank her coffee and hardly took her eyes off her phone. Wayne sucked up the last bits of his milkshake and made a loud slurpy noise.

His mother looked up sharply and said “Wayne! Where are your manners?”

But how could she expect Wayne to have manners if she did not have any herself. My Dad always says you have to earn respect, not demand it.

Let’s all talk to each other more please. Put those phones down.

Sibo

xx