Saving the Environment

Because the 5th of June was World Environment Day thought it might be a good idea to share some tips on saving money and the environment.

These days many people use toothpaste, facial or body scrubs with those teensy plastic micro beads in them.  Well… those little plastic toxic bombs go down the drain from your basin, shower or bath and eventually land up in rivers, lakes and seas. Very simply, the fish cannot avoid them and we eat the fish. These things are causing untold havoc in the environment.

By now we all probably know how useful bicarbonate of soda is for cleaning stuff around the house – but you can also use it instead of various beauty products. Here’s an alternative for your various scrubs. A much cheaper and more environmentally sound one.

Use an old spice jar – one of the ones with little sprinkle holes in the top and fill it up with bicarbonate of soda. Make sure the lid still seals well – you don’t want the bicarb to get wet. Keep it in your bathroom or shower where you can easily access it.

This alkaline substance has antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. But before you start using this – try a test patch on your skin to check that you don’t have any bad reactions to it.

In addition to being antiseptic and anti-inflammatory it helps balance the skin’s pH – so if you have acne or spots you can mix a spoon of bicarb with a bit of water to make a paste. Apply the paste to the affected area for a few minutes and then wash it off with cold water. Do this until your skin clears up.

You can whiten your teeth by sprinkling a bit of bicarb on your regular toothpaste and brushing your teeth once a day. Only do it for a few days though – not all the time – otherwise you can hurt the enamel on your teeth.

Get rid of residue of hair products on your hair – put a blob of shampoo in your hand and sprinkle some bicarb into it. Wash your hair as normal. It removes all the yukky stuff very effectively.

Sprinkle some bicarb onto a face cloth and use it as a body scrub to get rid of all the dead skin and flaky bits. Rinse well when you are finished.

Or simply sprinkle some bicarb into your hand add warm water and gently use it as a face wash/scrub. This works especially well if you don’t wear a lot of make-up.

Take care,

Sibo

To sea or not to see

The 8th of June is World Oceans Day.

Thought to celebrate this day I’d share some cool facts.

Did you know that around 70% of the world’s surface is covered by oceans?

There are 5 different oceans – namely the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean , the Arctic Ocean and the Southern Ocean.

The largest is the Pacific ocean and it covers around 30% of the Earth. The name “Pacific” come from the Latin word ‘pacificus’ – meaning peaceful.

Incredibly, around 70% of the oxygen that we breathe is produced by the oceans.

Only 5% of the oceans have been explored. Not surprising really when the deepest known area of the Earth’s oceans is in the Pacific, near Guam in the Philippine Sea at the end of the Mariana Trench, and its deepest point measures nearly 11km.

The Great Barrier Reef (the largest coral reef near Australia) measures about 2,600km and it can be seen from the moon!

We all know that oil spills in the sea are terrible and kill lots of sea life, but waste matter from sewerage and agriculture gets dumped into the sea too. This sometimes had all sorts of toxins in it that can cause dangerous types of algae (sea plants) to bloom in water near the coast. When these blooms die and rot they use up all the oxygen in the water and then there’s none left for the fish. These are called “creeping dead zones”

Some people just think of the sea as a huge dumping ground. Lots of other stuff (like chemicals) are chucked into the sea – and get eaten by the fish that you and I eat, which causes illness in humans (never mind what it does to the sea life).  It’s very scary how polluted the seas have become.

312 million kilograms of sea food is consumed each year! Our ocean resources are being depleted daily. People often imagine that the sea is full of a never-ending supply of fish but this is simply not so.

Please remember you can consult the SASSI website   and find out which fish are endangered or not.

To celebrate World Ocean Day we are going to make Sibo and the Sea available on the website  for you to freely read if you want to read more about the oceans.

Please only eat from the “green list” people!

Sibo

Go Nuts!

Go nuts!

The other day I went to visit a friend and we were walking in the garden when I felt something big crunch under my sneaker. I looked at my friend… what on earth was that.

The answer was pecan nuts.

I’m a fan of nuts. All sorts of them. I grabbed one and smacked it with a small stone – a bit hard because it shattered into many pieces. I decided to donate those bits to the ants and was more careful when I cracked the next one.

The tree was tall, taller than the house and laden with nuts. I could not believe that anybody could be so lucky as to live in a house with a ready supply of pecan nuts. Of course my friend is used to them and thought I was acting nuts (hahaha).

It was hysterical to see their little worsie dog merrily chomping down nuts too. She cracked them with her teeth and delicately ate the nutty bits.

So I started wondering (a) are pecan nuts good for people and (b) are pecan nuts good for dogs?

I googled pecan nuts when I got home and according to dear old Wiki they are pretty wholesome little snacks. They contain, amongst other things, Vitamins A, B-6, C, E, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium and Zinc. The nuts are also rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid and provide an excellent source of phenolic antioxidants.

Goodness! It’s almost like eating the table of elements.

Originally they came from Mexico but they do grow quite well in South Africa – specifically in the Northern Cape, although the tree I saw was in a garden in Pretoria.

I also found out that as with all tree nuts, pecans are not really nuts – they are hard-shelled fruits. Did you ever?

As far as dogs and pecan nuts go… not so healthy. In fact, according to all the stuff I read this little worsie dog should be long since dead. If not from the Aflatoxin, then from tummy upsets from not digesting the nuts or even having shells stuck in her gut.  But instead the doglet is running around healthy as can be – she’s not even fat.

I took some nuts home – Mum thought she might make some cookies with them but Dad and I ate them all straight out of the shells. Yum!

Go nuts people!

Sibo

More holidays…

Hope you are all enjoying being back at school again. If not – don’t worry – there is another long weekend coming up.

Around about this time of April there are some important days to talk about.

22nd of April is International Mother Earth Day. Actually we should make every single day Earth day because we only have on earth (duh!) and it’s not actually in very good shape anymore. Remember we can all do our bit by practising the 3R’s – reducing, reusing and recycling. Also by saving water where ever we can. Don’t forget to save electricity too – that also helps. Switch off those lights when you are not in a room and unplug your chargers when you have finished charging your appliances. How about planting a tree… a nice fruit tree. Just think how great it would be to pluck your own lemons, oranges, mulberries or whatever type of tree you want to grow (just check that it is going to grow well in your area first though).

25th April is World Malaria Day.  You might think that is a funny day to have because malaria is not an issue on the East Rand, but there are many areas in the world where it is a huge problem.  How scary is this… according to UNICEF: “Malaria kills one child every 30 seconds, about 3000 children every day. Over one million people die from malaria each year, mostly children under five years of age, with 90 per cent of malaria cases occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Malaria really is an extremely nasty disease. It’s carried by a certain type of mozzie called the Anopheles mosquito and it feels a bit like getting flu – you have a fever, headache, get the chills, feel like throwing up and have achy bones. If you have been in a malaria area and experience any of these symptoms – you should go to the doctor or the clinic immediately.

Of course we all get bitten by normal mozzies every now and then. They are not dangerous but they are incredibly irritating and itchy. Here are a few innovative ways of dealing with those little bumps… tee tree oil, a dab of vanilla essence, Vicks, calamine lotion, spit, clear nail polish, aloe vera and some people swear that rubbing a peeled clove of garlic on the bite works well too!

If you want to know more about malaria – you can read my book “Sibo Fights Malaria” freely on http://www.sibo.co.za . Just click on the cover.

Enjoy the long weekend – stay safe!

Sibo

 

Magic Stuff

Did you know that vinegar really is miracle stuff?

You can use it for a number of things and it is much more environmentally friendly that using harsh detergents. It’s also something that most people readily have in their homes.

Here are a few different ways that you can use it when cooking – apart from putting it on your chips that is…

If you add a dash of vinegar to the water when you are boiling eggs it stops the white from leaking out if any of the eggs crack in the pot.

For leafy veggies that are wilted and all sad looking, try soaking them in cold water with a little vinegar and they will crisp up considerably.

You know how your hands honk when you have been chopping onions? Well… if you rub your hands with a bit of white vinegar you’ll get rid of that nasty smell.

Here’s another great tip – often eating veggies like cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower can make a person a tad “farty”. They say if you add a dash of vinegar to the water when cooking, it will not only perk up the taste but also reduce gassiness. This also works when cooking beans. Bean soup is always delicious in the winter but sometimes the “fallout” takes away some of the charm. Vinegar to the rescue!

Some other great uses for vinegar in the home…

Before you wash them – spray vinegar onto shirts or dresses that have those yellow deodorant stains under the arms– it helps to remove the discolouration. Adding a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle of your washing machine rejuvenates bright colours. Acetic acid won’t harm fabrics, but it dissolves the soap residue that can dull dark clothing. It also acts as a fabric softener, a static reducer and a mildew-inhibitor.

Chewing gum that is stuck to car upholstery, rugs and carpeting can be loosened by rubbing gently with vinegar.

Vinegar can disinfect, deodorize and sort out just about everything. From shower curtains to sofa cushions, there’s not much that it can’t do. You can also spray it on the grout between your tiles, leave it for a few minutes, and then give it a scrub with an old tooth brush.

Wow! Who knew that sour old vinegar was such sweet stuff!

Hope these tips are useful for you.

Lots of love

Sibo

Random Acts of Kindness

I’ve been reading things about kindness lately and I was thinking that we sure could use a little more of that stuff in our world to make it a better place.  It usually only takes one person to start a domino effect.

It’s not hard to be kind – but it does take a certain mind-set. You can start small. By smiling – and we all know that it takes only 26 to smile and 62 to frown!

Smile at random people for no reason at all.  Usually 9 times out of 10 (unless that person is having a really bad day) they will smile back at you. And then you both feel good.

It’s contagious. You walk along thinking about the person who smiled at you and usually you are still smiling. So you end up smiling at somebody else too … and so it goes.

Of course, remember – it’s okay to smile at random people but kids should not stop and chat. And if anybody ever gets too friendly and makes you feel uncomfortable – feel free to tell your parental agent.

If you are at home, or in a shop and somebody drops something. You can bend down and pick it up for them. It takes just a little bit of effort.

You can offer to help your mum or dad without being asked. They might fall over and faint – but try it sometime – I bet they would really appreciate it.

Or maybe if you see somebody at school sitting by themselves looking all sad and lonely you could go and sit with them – even offer them a snack out of your lunch box if you have enough to share.

This is going to sound a little crazy but engaging in acts of kindness actually acts a bit like a medicine chest in your body…

Did you know, it is said that kindness stimulates the production of serotonin. This is a chemical that not only makes you feel-good but it makes you happy and calms you down.

Even better – doing acts of kindness produces endorphins—the brain’s natural painkiller!

They say that people who are always kind have 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone) and don’t get as old as quickly as the average population.

Research has even found that being kind lowers blood pressure.

Go out people and commit random acts of kindness!

Lots of love,

Sibo

Pledge a Book Please!

We all know that South Africa has terrible road safety stats. 

The Minister of Transport Mrs Diplou Peters is always saying that children need to learn about road safety.  It’s true. They do. The Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga is always saying that children must read more. That’s true too – they should.

Here we are… pleasing two ministers with one book!

Sibo Looks Right is a book that contains all the rules of the road, including cycling – in a fun, easy to read manner.

Best of all – you don’t have to take our word for it – you can click on the link and read the book for yourself. Free!

Our plan is to get as many companies and people to pledge books – once we have reached our target of 3000 books (we’d love to get more than this too) we will ask people to honour their pledges and deposit the corresponding amount so that Lets Look Publishers can print these books and we can distribute them to the children.

Science Centres in South Africa have kindly agreed to help with distributing the books.

Here’s the crunch – we’d really like to do this BEFORE Easter!

So we need you to dash off and pledge a book – or two – or as many as you want to.

Challenge other people to pledge books too.

Of course, if you pledge more than 50 books  we can put your name/logo in the back of the book. If you pledge 1000 books – we can put your logo in the front of the book. There are great advertising and marketing aspects to sponsoring books.

If you read Sibo Looks Right you will see that Nash Nissan sponsored a large quantity of money towards our initial crowdfunding campaign and so their logo was featured in the front of the book. If you look on the back cover – there are more logos and names – these are all the lovely people who helped make this book happen in the first place.

Now we need to print more books and get them out to schools and children – FREE.

Let’s make this happen. Please! Pledge now.

A million thanks

Sibo

PS – The Sibo Series is already being read in schools and libraries around the country. In fact, The North West Province Education Department has just ordered more than 500 each of 10 Sibo titles and they are being delivered as we speak!

A lucky girl

Mum and I got home the other day and our little neighbour dashed up to chat to me. She’s such a cute kid and always has funny things to say.

That particular day I noticed that her toe was all smooshed.

“Khanyi” I exclaimed, “Whatever did you do to your toe?”

She shrugged and answered that she had fallen and hurt it. I told her that she should be more careful with her little toes in future – they were not big enough to mess with.

“But I’m always unlucky!” she sighed. “I am forever falling and hurting myself.”

Mum and I looked at each other.

“Noooo…. You can’t say things like that! You have to think of yourself as being a lucky girl. If you think about being unlucky then that just attracts bad luck. Tomorrow you are going to have a good luck day. No more bad luck!”

But she just shrugged and said… “I’ll try – but I’ll probably have another bad luck day.”

We went inside and I felt sad that she is so little and yet she already has such a negative attitude.

Dad is always telling us about the law of attraction. Our minds are the most powerful things that we have. If we decide that we are going to have a good day – then we probably will.

But you, yourself, really have to believe this one hundred percent.

You can’t think in wishy-washy terms. You have to tell yourself that you are going to have a good day. Then you have to envision having a good day. The power of thought!

Of course, in my case it’s pretty simple. I envision eating a nice cold ice-cream at school. Then I take some of my pocket money to school and buy one. It’s a simple as that. The ice-cream man is there, the weather is good for eating ice-cream and I don’t lose my money. Everything works.

Or I see my maths paper in my mind’s eye with a nice big A+ on it. Or course I know that I’d put in a lot of work beforehand and could reasonably expect an A+.

Nothing worth having ever comes free or easy. We probably would not appreciate it if it did.

And on the odd occasions when you do fail, you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself down and try again.

Hope you all have a simply fabulous day! (Go on – imagine yourself having a fabulous day.)

Sibo

Breakfast is Important

Hope you all have survived the first week of school.

I was so tired the second morning that I almost did not make it to breakfast. Sadly my mum nagged me so much that I did not have a choice.

Sibo! She said. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

Whaaatttt?  I am not even hungry yet at breakfast time. I have done nothing but sleep all night.

You’ve been fasting all night, she said. That’s where the name comes from – “Break Fast”. You must eat to have energy to manage for the rest of the day.

I yawned and staggered off to the breakfast table.

Okay – I’ll just have a piece of toast.

No ways – she smiled at me. You will have cereal, egg on toast and a piece of fruit!

I glared at her and she wagged her finger at me. No attitude from you missy! Eat your food.

Research shows that you can remember things better when you eat a decent breakfast. This is because the food restores glucose levels, an essential carbohydrate that is needed for our brains to function. I suppose that this is important so that we can remember what we learn at school.

Also – they say that if you eat breakfast as your biggest meal of the day – you are more likely to lose weight. Probably because then you are not always hungry and snacking on junk food all the time instead of eating a proper meal.

Not only does my mum make me eat breakfast, but she also makes me eat it at the table. Sitting properly too, not slouched all over the place. I’m not even allowed to have my elbows on the table to prop my head up.

She and Dad sit and eat breakfast with me.  Dad tried reading his newspaper once and Mum gave him a very evil eye. No ways – she said. This is family chat time.

She’s always very chirpy in the mornings. Dad tends to answer with just one word. I don’t really think he’s such a morning person.

Must admit though – I do feel a bit more sprightly after eating breakfast – maybe it’s not such a bad idea after all. And remember how good eggs are for you – we’ve talked about that before.

Take time to eat and enjoy your breakfast people!

SiboSibo and eggs

Get off your butt!

Sibo hula hooping

Last week you had to get off your phone – this week you have to get off your butt!

Yip – we’re talking about exercise.

It‘s so important. Like getting enough sleep – remember – we covered that a while ago ago.

Getting enough exercise applies to big people just as much as it does to little ones. Often I ask my friends if they want to come and ride bike with me and they say… nah – I’m having fun watching TV.

Yet there are so many fun things we can do that can be counted as exercise.

Like hula hooping . That’s my favourite. You can either buy one or make your own hula hoop out of irrigation pipe and a hose connector. Then tape it up to look pretty. Moms can do this too – it’s really good exercise, strengthens all your core muscles and gives you nicely toned arms and legs – especially if you learn some tricks. There are loads of how-to-do-tricks videos on the internet.

Another form of great exercise is jumping. Of course if you have a trampoline, or access to one, then it’s really easy to jump – but you can also skip using a skipping rope or play hop scotch. These all count as jumping.

You are wondering why jumping is good for you – aren’t you?

It releases toxins and builds bone mass. Obviously it also increases flexibility too. Bouncing around on a trampoline develops motor skills – because it allows a child’s brain to function bilaterally. That means it gets both sides of your brain and both sides of your body to work together so that you don’t lose your balance and fall over while bouncing! Apparently it also helps improve cellulite – that should get your mom’s attention.

Never forget – when you are outside having exercise, the sunlight encourages the production of Vitamin D – which is responsible for a healthy immune system and brain.

Our brain chemistry is also affected by posture, positioning, as well as specific movements. Try this next time you are stressed and feeling a bit like you cannot cope.

Stand up straight with your feet apart and your hands on your hips for a few minutes. Breathe deeply and imagine you have super powers… let me know if it works please.

All in all exercise makes you feel better – no matter what you do. Plus it’s good for your body too.

Get moving people.

Sibo