Tie-dying fun

Its school holidays and sometimes one gets bored – especially when it’s cold.

Assuming you have no desire to read a book (I never give up – do I?)— what about having some fun tie-dying a piece of clothing… or even your socks (cotton ones work best). Although please check with your parental agent first though, before you start adding colour to your wardrobe.

This is what you need:

  • Fabric paint
  • Elastic bands (you can use loom bands – they are cheap and work a treat)
  • Water
  • Old plastic containers
  • Black bag
  • Rubber gloves (or small plastic bags to put over your hands)
  • Paint brush
  • Old white or light-coloured t-shirt
  • Imagination

These days you get Dala fabric paints that actually come in little spray bottles. They make life super easy because you don’t really even need to mix paint in containers with water or extender.

Imagine you want to breathe some life back into an old grungy t-shirt.

First thing you do is make a little peak and wrap a rubber band around the bottom of it. Do many of these all over your garment (including the sleeves) so it looks a bit like a fabric hedgehog.

Put on your gloves, spread out the black bag (or any big sheet of plastic) somewhere where you won’t get into trouble for messing and lay your t-shirt on top of it.  If you’ve got the Dala fabric spray paints, go wild and spray colour all over your t-shirt.  Make sure you do both sides – you can always mop up any excess paint that you’ve sprayed on the black bag too.

If you have jars of fabric paint – put two teaspoons (make sure you wash the spoon immediately or use a plastic spoon) of paint into about half a cup of water, mix it up well and then use your paintbrush to slosh the paint onto your t-shirt.  Two or three colours works best, but one colour will still look cool because it will contrast with the original colour of the T-shirt.

Please ensure you don’t work on a carpet – fabric paint stains. Food colouring is even messier but can be used in lieu of paint. This is why you must cover your surface with plastic.

Hang your T-shirt on the line and wait until it is properly dry before you take the rubber bands off.

Iron it to set the dye – otherwise it will wash out.

Have fun!

Sibo

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No limits to learning

Yesterday my friend Ginny had a flying visit to meet with some people in Durban. Before you imagine she’s turned into one of her fairies or something – she really did fly and she was only there for a few hours. (Hahahaha – I’m a witty girl today hey!)

Seriously though, the reason she went is ultra-cool. She’s going to be involved in writing a series of short stories for little children. These will be based on various topics – lovely things like courage, joy, creativity, responsibility, kindness, caring, accountability etc.

These are values that everybody should be teaching their kids from a very young age. Also, if children from the age of 0 – 6 are not taught various concepts (colours, shapes, fine motor skills etc) it impacts hugely on their future learning.

The Unlimited Child is a national non-profit initiative that started in 2008. These guys are simply awesome. They have an early childhood education model and they provide training for people who work in/or own crèches – normally in really disadvantaged areas where finances are challenged.

But let’s rather use the correct terminology… these ‘people’ are actually known as practitioners. They are not teachers because they don’t have a formal qualification, nor are they care-givers, because they do more than just wipe bums and noses. They aren’t really crèches either… they are known as ECD Centres (early child development). Apparently crèches are places where kids play and don’t actually do too much learning. Not ideal if you want your kid to get the best possible start in life.

Sjoe! All this terminology gets a bit confusing at times.

These guys (actually – they are mainly ladies) work with various government departments to discover which places really do need their help. Then they swoop in, a bit like guardian angels, and offer assistance in the form of this model.

Okay wait… ‘model’ conjures up a stiff image. Banish that picture from your head immediately! It’s more like cool, colourful stuff for the kids to play and interact with, accompanied by lesson plans for the practitioner’s to use along with the toys. Like I mentioned earlier – training is given on how to use the equipment. Thereafter the centres are monitored and follow-up assistance is provided when necessary.

In case you are wondering… NO! They do not provide actual financial assistance to centres.

In 2008 The Unlimited Child started with 5 ECD centres in KZN. Today they assist over 1729 centres in 8 provinces, including Gauteng. Their goal is to have 5000 centres by 2022!

Eventually Ginny’s stories are going to be read to all these kids!

Little kids are so precious – they should be treasured and nourished, on many different levels, to give them the best possible start in life.

 

Sibo

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PS – If you want to know more about The Unlimited Child and the thinking behind it – visit their website.

A Moving Story

My award winning book – whoo hoo!

 

I have to share this exciting news with you all. Last Monday we found out that one of my books “Sibo on the Move” got an award. Actually it got two awards – one national and one international. How cool is that?

The funniest was that we had no idea it had even been entered into any competitions. So the whole thing came as a total surprise when Ingrid Jensen (Executive Manager Reputation at Gautrain Management Agency) called to say that they had won awards for the book in the category of writing.

For those who don’t know, this book was commissioned by the Gautrain a few years ago and the topic was etiquette whilst using public transport.

In a nutshell – manners!

The Gautrain is very spiffy. Clean, safe and lovely to travel in and it’s important to keep it that way. People sometimes forget or just don’t care that they’re sharing a public space with other travelers and it is vital to be considerate. Little things, like not talking, or listening to music too loudly. Or not putting your feet on the seat – so that when the next person sits on it, they get their clothes dirty.

Worse… aaarrrgghhhh… seriously gross… sticking old chewed gum under the seat! Oh my word – that is just so gross.

There are also special spaces on the Gautrain for people with disabilities, to make life a little easier and safer for them. Able-bodied people should not sit there. Just don’t do it… okay?

Gautrain is very safety conscious too. If you have travelled on the train, you’ll know that there is a yellow line on the platform that you have to wait behind when a train is approaching. (This is for your safety – not because they want to be mean.) Once the train stops – the correct etiquette is to let the other passengers get off the train first. But all too often people are worried that they are going to miss the train – or they’re just plain rude – and they barge in without even thinking about the poor folk who are trying to get out.

Seriously people – it’s not hard. Just be considerate. Be kind. Be nice. It costs absolutely nothing and it makes such a difference. This goes for all public transport.

The National award was called the Silver Quill Award and the International one was called the Gold Quill Award of Excellence.

Quite spiffy hey, now I am an award winning girl!

Be kind please people.

Sibo

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History Lessons

It seems as though the powers that be are thinking of bringing the subject of History back into high schools.

It’s probably a good idea but the way it used to be taught was boring beyond belief. Literally!

Kids become disinterested and have no clue why they have to learn such ancient out-dated stuff.

Just reading from the books – blah blah blah… is not the way to teach history.

I guess they will also have to make sure that it is taught from different perspectives. There are always two (or sometimes more) ways to look at anything, no matter what it is. Different sides of the coin, so to speak.

Part of me thinks that schools should just show movies in history lessons. Lump all the history lessons together into certain time periods throughout the terms and show a movie that depicts some event in history. I’m sure there are probably plenty to choose from.

Then have group discussions and debates with the children and get their perspective on whether things happened in a good way or a bad way and what they would have done if they had lived in that particular time.

This way it makes the history more real – instead of a boring old topic that involves dead people – even if they were wonderful, powerful people who risked their lives (and sometimes gave them) to bring about change.

I know that sounds harsh, because history has shaped the world into being what it is today – which, let’s face it – is not always that great and could have been done differently.

Include a bit of everything too – so that maybe people understand each other better. It’s so easy to judge when you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

Maybe it would be a plan to get an older person – who’s lived through some of the not-so-distant history to come and talk at schools. Tell the kids how things were. Make it real.

Most kids today would probably think that history was a few years ago when they had a cell-phone that was not smart. Ten years ago in a kid’s life is very very long time in the past. Something that happened 30 years ago is ancient history to a kid… but our parents can remember 30 years ago like it was yesterday – so everything is relative.

History is cool – but please people – teach it right!

Sibo

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The Blackboard Cat

The other day I took the last toilet roll to clean up a mess I’d made and forgot to tell mum. I didn’t think much of it at the time. In fact… I did not think about it at all! But when mum went to fetch one for their bathroom and found the packet was empty, she was as mad as a snake.

I confessed – mainly because there was nobody else in the house that could have taken it. Don’t think Dad even knows where they are stashed. Mum ranted, raved and performed. Really – you would have thought I had taken something very precious, instead of the last loo roll.

Luckily I still had half of it in my room which I could hand over.

I was telling my friend Nomsa about it at school the next day. She comes from a big family and they are always having some spat or another. Nomsa said that they’d had the same problem – someone was always finishing up something and driving her mum crazy – but they had found a solution that worked a treat.

They had painted a piece of hardboard with chalkboard paint and stuck it up in the kitchen. When somebody saw that the peanut butter was running low – they had to write it up. Or if her brother finished most of the bread (which he was always doing) he had to write it on the board. Her older sister was always making cookies, and used up the sugar at an alarming rate – that got written up too.

Then when her mum was going to the shops – all she had to do was take a photo of the board with her cell phone and she had an instant shopping list.

Their system worked really well – they hardly ever ran out of anything anymore. Even when her little brother ate the last apple – he could not write but he could draw – so he climbed up on a stool and drew a picture of an apple.

So I told mum about this idea after school. She thought it sounded quite good and said she had a piece of hardboard in the shape of a cat that we could paint with chalkboard paint and put up in the kitchen.

It’s still early days – so we’ll have to see if it works for us.

Have a happy day!

Sibo

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Monster Moles

My friend Ginny recently got a bit of a shock. She’s had a mole on her arm for a couple of years – okay – probably more than that – and her doctor has been keeping an eye on it. Ginny is not a very good doctor person – she hates going. But life is a sneaky thing! Her thyroid blew a couple of years ago and now she has to go every six months and lives on little white pills that don’t cost much – but basically keep her going.

Let this be a lesson people – look after your health. Ginny should read some of my healthy posts and take note of them!!!

Anyway, back to the mole… this year her doctor said it looked a tad dodgy and needed to be removed. But of course it had grown and was no longer easily removable in the surgery – so she was referred to a dermatologist. A lovely lady with the ironical name of Dr Carpenter! She did a fabulous job of carving up Ginny’s arm. A teensy little, very neat 15mm cut with three stitches that healed up fabulously after two weeks.

The bit of mole that was removed was sent off to be tested.

But like I said, life has other plans in store when you least expect them. Turned out the mole was a monster mole. Well – not really – it was an early stage melanoma. Could have been much worse, but it does mean that the cutie little cut will become a granddaddy of a cut (60mm).

When they find out that a mole is a baddie – they like to remove a largish area of skin around it to make sure that they have got rid of all the dodgy bits.

Good thing is – melanoma is really easy to treat if you catch it early enough. So check out your bods people and if you have any funny looking spots – get them looked at – because melanoma is also one of the biggest killers.

Through a series of events,  misunderstandings and a crappy doctor’s receptionist – Ginny’s operation was moved from this Wednesday to Friday – which made her miffed as all hell. But what she’s found very interesting in the last few days is that some people are incredibly blasé when it comes to cancer, and dealing with people who have newly acquired it.

Think before you speak peeps!

Sibo

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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 seed (or two). Cover the hole 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

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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

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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
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