A tale of two haircuts

Alex has always sported longer-than-average-for-a-boy hair, and has only ever had home haircuts from yours truly. The first time I took Alex into a hair salon to have his hair cut (by a professional), I came out feeling ripped off and disappointed. I took him to my usual hair stylist, who “dry cut” about 2mm off of his hair for the princely sum of R150.00. It wasn’t entirely her fault, as Alex was not exactly being co-operative during the process. So as much as his hair had a little more shape than when we went in, I wasn’t over the moon with the process.

Then, my lucky stars shone down on me, and I won a competition on Nicki’s blog to visit SNIP SNAP, a children’s hair salon in Parkhurst.

Wow, what a different experience indeed. The salon is cute and quirky, and has lovely decor, and from the minute we walked in, the ladies made Alex feel welcome and comfortable, and he was thrilled to be able to climb into the aeroplane!

His hair was sprayed wet, so that he did not have to endure (shock-horror!) having his hair washed. To my great surprise, he was an absolute angel during the whole process. Even though he had Finding Nemo on the mini-TV-screen in front of him, he was more fascinated by watching his hair fall to the ground (and chatting away to Bev as she snipped away.)

Part of the prize, was a blow-dry for me, so I was treated to having my hair washed and dried, which is one of my favourite beauty treats! Alex was done with his haircut before I was finished, but luckily Debbie was on hand to keep him entertained by looking at the beautiful things in the gift shop, giving him paper to draw on and showing him the garden.

As part of the experience, I told Alex he could choose something from the gift shop, and he chose a ceramic dinosaur money-box which I helped him paint when he got home. (he painted the horns and nose and chose the colours!)

All in all, a great experience and a great afternoon, and a haircut for my little boy that I was (finally) happy with. Yes, it is probably still longer-than-your-average-boy’s haircut, but that’s because I like it that way!

So if you are looking for a great place to take your little one for a haircut, and maybe even a blow-dry for yourself, give Debbie a call on 079 278 6788. Their address is 5 6th Street Parkhurst. You can find them on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SnipSnap#!/snipsnaphair

Are we feeding our kids crap?

I received this link :

(http://www.charlespoliquin.com/Lifestyle/StayHealthy/190/Protecting_Your_Child_Against_Processed_Food.aspx)

from my husband the other day (and see a copy of the article below), and it really made me think about the food I am giving my children. From when Alex was first weened on to solids, I always cooked my own baby food, and made sure that he didn’t eat chips and sweets and other processed food. (He was probably about two years old the first time he had crisps!) Despite this good start to eating, now that he is older, it is hard controlling what he eats. And he is one fussy little guy to boot, and refuses to eat just about everything. (Even his teacher tells me that he hardly eats any of the lunch at school, expect on the days they serve fish! At least he does eat the mid morning peanut-butter-on-brown-bread sandwich though.)

His staple diet consists of fish (in any form), peas, mealies, chicken, plain spaghetti, noodles with cheese, yoghurt, milk, eggy-bread, cheese sandwiches and bolognaise sauce (without spaghetti). He also loves chips with tomato sauce, which are not exactly health food, but are ok for an occassional treat at a restaurant, or a pizza that he can make himself. And from one day to the next he will suddenly think his favourite food is yucky. I try really hard to give him healthy snacks such as blue-berries and other fruit, raisins and nuts etc, but he is not always willing to eat them. Like any other 3 year old, however, he is more than willing to eat chips, sweets and chocolates, which we do allow him to have every now and again, but the ruling is “only after you have finished lunch / dinner”. I have started getting tough with him at dinner time, if he refuses to eat what I have made him, I tell him that he cannot have anything else and that he must not waste food. He typically eats the food eventually. (After a good old fashioned toddler-tantrum sometimes.)

Right now, Caris is willing to eat anything, and once again I make all her baby food, having bought a few “meals for babies and toddlers” type recipe books. So I will try very hard to make sure that she doesn’t eat any rubbish just yet. It amazes me that some moms give their six month old babies flings and cheese curls. Yes, they are easy to eat and all kids love them, but they really are full of salt, fat and preservatives. (Ok, I realise that sounds judgemental, but by the same token, I am horrified that some parents allow their toddlers to stand on the front seat of the car while they are driving, with their own seat belt on nonetheless!) And I know that it is sometimes easier to give your child something easy for a snack or lunch and not have to put up with their refusal to eat “real food”, but it should really be the exception and not the norm.

Although Alex’s diet is not perfect, he has never even been into a McDonald’s or a Wimpy or the like, and it is unlikely that he will in the near future. (Until he starts getting invited to parties at said establishments, but hopefully that is a long time away still.) So, for now, I will try and keep the food he eats as healthy as possible. Everything in moderation is key. I do not believe in banning sweets and chips etc, as that often creates a situation where your child ends up eating those things behind your back anywway. It is hard, but as the old saying goes, “healthy body, healthy mind!”

Protecting Your Child Against Processed Food
by Charles Poliquin

Source : http://www.charlespoliquin.com/Lifestyle/StayHealthy/190/Protecting_Your_Child_Against_Processed_Food.aspx

Comedians often joke that most children’s cereal is so bad that it would be healthier to eat the box. They are not far off – but it’s no joke.
Obviously I’m not suggesting you have your kids eat cardboard, but the present state of food processing is creating outrageous health problems for young people today. Approximately 25 percent of American children are overweight; of those, 11 percent are obese; and of those, two thirds are expected to remain obese in adulthood. Obesity is linked to many health problems, especially diabetes and cardiovascular disease. If this trend continues, a third of the children born in the US today will develop diabetes and the majority of them will not live as long as their parents. Similar disturbing statistics are being seen in European countries.
Many fitness gurus and medical organizations have blamed the excess consumption of high-fat foods as the major problem. Not true. According to the US Department of Agriculture, between 1971 and 1997 the consumption of saturated fat decreased from 53 grams a day to 50 (and protein consumption remained unchanged). In fact, a study published in the 2010 June issue of Circulation found no association between heart disease and the consumption of red meat. Fat is not the problem.
Cause #1: Processed Carbs Although fat and protein consumption cannot be blamed for obesity in recent years, what did happen was an increase in calories. Between 1982 and 1993, the average daily calorie intake increased by 500 calories, and remained so through 1997. But the kicker is that about 90 percent of those additional calories came from carbohydrates, and most of those carbs were processed carbs. It’s not just processed carbs that are the problem, as the same study in Circulation found that eating processed meats increased the risk of heart disease by 42 percent.
One characteristic of processed carbs is that they adversely affect blood sugar levels. If you start your children’s day with a breakfast of pancakes smothered with processed syrup washed down with processed orange juice, such a combination will cause a rapid rise in blood sugar and will result in your kids bouncing off the walls. This will soon be followed by a release of the hormone insulin, which will create a sudden and prolonged drop in blood sugar that will in turn cause your children to turn into walking zombies who will crave even more carbs to raise their blood sugar. (For ideas on how to prepare a healthy breakfast, please read The Poliquin Meat and Nuts Breakfast.)
One way to avoid feeding your family processed foods is to follow the diet used by the Paleolithic people – lean meats, seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables – over the types of diets that became dominant after the Agricultural Revolution. One of my favorite mottos that describes the Paleo Diet is “If it doesn’t fly, swim, walk or isn’t green – don’t eat it!” To learn more about this type of diet, I recommend Dr. Loren Cordain books, The Paleo Diet (2002, John Wiley & Sons) and The Paleo Answer: 7 Days to Lose Weight, Feel Great, Stay Young (John Wiley & Sons, December 2011).
Besides refined carbs, there is another type of processing that you need to avoid feeding your kids. Its deadly initials are GMO.
Cause #2: GMOs GMO stands for genetically engineered organism. It is created by taking the genes of one species and inserting them into the DNA of a food or animal to introduce a new trait. As an analogy, think of the plot of the Resident Evil movies, but using plants rather than humans.
For example, inserting a soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis into plants makes these plants toxic to insects, such that if they try to eat the plant, they will die. The result is higher crop yields. Another trait that can be engineered in plants is resistance to toxic herbicides – again, increasing crop yields. That’s the good news – the bad news is that GMOs, quite simply, are bad for you and your kids. Let’s look at some research.
In the 1990s Dr. Arpad Pusztai of the United Kingdom received a $3 million grant from his government to study GMOs. Pusztai found that when rats were fed genetically modified potatoes, the rats developed problems in the liver, brain and testicles – along with a compromised immune system and precancerous cell growth. But Pusztai is not the only scientist interested in the possible effects of GMOs on health.
In a study on GMOs that was published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences, researchers found that rats that had been fed genetically modified corn developed disorders of the liver, kidney, heart, adrenal glands and spleen. Likewise, in a Russian study, female rats were fed either genetically engineered soy flour or non-genetically engineered soy flour before, during and after gestating their young. Nine percent of the rats that were fed non-genetically modified soy flour died, compared to 55.6 percent of the GMO group. Of the GMO-fed rats that survived, 36 percent were underweight, compared to 6.7 percent underweight rats in the control group. As for larger animals, in 2008 a farm allowed 13 buffalo to graze on genetically engineered cotton plants, and all 13 animals died within three days.
Have you noticed, or perhaps read about the increases in allergies in the US and other countries? For example, between 1997 and 2008, the number of peanut allergies in children tripled; and from 1997 to 2002, emergency room visits for allergies doubled! One reason could be the consumption of GMOs.
There are many reasons to suspect GMOs for the increase in allergies because their modified proteins possess properties of known allergens, and because genetically modified crops have residues of toxic herbicides that can cause allergic reactions. It has also been found that genetically modified soy products can decrease the amount of digestive enzymes in the body. These enzymes affect the body’s ability to break down proteins, and this can cause allergic reactions to foods. Further, it’s been found that, across the board, foods that are genetically modified have lower nutritional quality than non-GMO foods.
Because the government considers GMOs safe, the US doesn’t require informing consumers if foods contain GMOs. This is a serious problem, as an estimated 70 percent of the foods on supermarket shelves contain GMOs. Among the products containing GMOs are soy, corn, canola and cottonseed oil, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, zucchini and crookneck squash.
To help you identify and avoid GMOs in foods, you can download a free guidebook from www.responsibletechnology.org. You can also start buying organic foods, looking for products that say they are non-GMO, consulting a non-GMO shopping guide and avoiding foods that are likely to contain GMOs.
Feeding the world is a problem that needs to be addressed by all world leaders. There are many solutions proposed, but one thing is for certain: Processed foods and genetically modified foods should not be the future of food.
© 2012 Poliqui

Sensational Sting

Having always had a preference for brains over brawn in potential suitors, one of my favourite set of lines from “Seven Days” by Sting is :

“Does it bother me at all
My rival is Neanderthal
it makes me think
Perhaps I need a drink
IQ is no problem here
We won’t be playing Scrabble for her hand I fear
I need that beer”

But it certainly does help if the object of your affection or admiration is nice to look at too! (And my husband falls into this category of course!)

We went to see Sting last night, and he was just amazing. Nice to look at, and of course nice to listen to, too. He performed a nice mix of old and new stuff, and of course left the classics(Roxanne, Brand New Day) for the encore. (Pity that the Northgate Dome is such a crap venue though.)

He mentioned that one of the questions he inevitably gets asked by journalists, is how he has managed to stay happily married to the same woman for 30 years, and I just loved his response. (… I am ad-libbing and summarising hugely here… )

He said that his wife has fixed so many parts of him that were broken, and that she taught him about how to love. Unconditionally. And then went on to say that when some people are together, they commit to loving each other, but only to the point where they don’t get close enough for that person to really hurt them. And that those types of relationships seldom last. To truly love, you have to be prepared to risk everything. To really give 100%. He said that as much as his wife has built him up, she could just as easily completely destroy him. Real love is allowing yourself to love someone so much that they could ultimately destroy you. It really resonated with me. He said it in a much more eloquent manner of course. Clearly not just a pretty face, but a deep thinker too.

I apologise in advance for the poor quality of the image. I do only have a lowly blackberry after all.

He certainly is one of my all time favourite artists.

Lazy Summer Days

We just got back from a short 5 day break at the coast. March, in my opinion, is one of the best times to go to KZN. The weather is still warm enough to swim and go to the beach, and the evenings are still warm enough to sit outside, but cool enough to sleep comfortably without the aircon blasting.

We had such amazing weather, sunshine all day, and little wind, barring one afternoon of rain, and one windy day. Alex had an absolute ball. He spent most of each day either on the beach, in the swimming pool, or playing (i.e. jumping around like a lunatic) in the jacuzzi. His swimming has improved hugely, and he can now swim 3 to 4 lengths of the big pool in the complex by himself, with water wings of course. (we are not quite ready to ditch those yet!) He has always hated getting his face wet, or putting his head under the water, but seems to be over that now. He had a little accident riding his “lightning mcqueen fast” little red motor-bike on the patio / balcony, by panelling head first into the balustrade. He split his head open, and there was lots of blood, as head wounds are wont to do, but luckily the bleeding stopped easily and he didn’t need any stitches. And it’s under his hair, which he has a lot of, so the scar won’t matter. An ice lolly (his new favourite thing) helped cool the bump on his head down, and cooled him down too.  (I spent most of my time in the flat, waiting for Caris to wake up from her naps, but that is par for the course being a mom… but on the plus side, Alex had some great bonding time with Daddy. But we did at least get to go to the beach) Don’t you love the ponytail?

We bought the flat in Ballito when Alex was a year old, so this place will always be filled with memories for us, of Alex (and Caris) growing up. The first time we saw the place with the estate agent, was a few day’s after Alex’s first birthday, and he was toddling along the side of the couches on the patio, his head not yet tall enough to look over the top.

As much as we love the flat, it can get a little noisy over the festive season and other holiday periods, which is when we are typically there, so when we were there in December / January just past, we looked at a piece of land, with the intention of building a stand alone house.  Our offer was accepted, and the transfer should be going through in the next few days. We met with our prospective architect and builder while we were there this week, and are excited to start building our dream holiday home in a few months time. Although the prospect is also somewhat scary …. building a house 600 odd kilometers away, and Gary and I are both control freaks … it is going to be an adventure of note! (and no doubt, a test of patience)

So this was probably the last holiday we will spend there, as the flat is now for sale. Both Gary and I felt as if we were packing up for the last time, as we made the flat look it’s best before we came home on Wednesday. We left with feelings of sadness and excitement at the same time. But by Easter next year (hopefully) we will have a brand-spanking-new house to look forward to, where we can continue building memories!

Attention: this blog has not been abandoned!

Hi. My name is Denita, and I have not blogged in 3 weeks. (Not counting my Friday Photo 2 weeks ago).

I was fortunate to attend Tanya and Saul’s technical blogging workshop this week, and was reminded of one of the golden rules of blogging … “blog consistently and often” hmm. #fail!

Anyway.

The workshop was informative and fun, and it was great to see some familiar faces amongst the group of bloggers (and meet some new ones. ) I now (theoretically) know how to “self-host”, upload super-gorgeous new themes, add plug-ins and widgets and do “SEO” (admittedly, I had to google that, and it stands for Search Engine Optimisation.) I am looking forward to revamping my very vanilla blog, and making it look gorgeous (insert a few days of free time here please!)

On Saturday 25 Feb we had a family photo shoot. After cancelling twice already, because of bad weather, we went ahead despite the looming black thunder clouds. Needless to say, it pissed bucketed down just as Celeste pulled into the driveway. So visions of my little ones frolicking around in the overgrown ivy, or with their feet in the fish pond, were shattered. The light was bad, and the incessant rain meant we had to do all the photos inside and on the patio. Celeste even had to brave getting wet, by moving out from the under cover part of the patio, to be able to do the full family shots (which Alex thought was hilarious). Judging from the quick preview I saw on Facebook this morning, the photos are amazing. I am looking forward to getting the DVD with all the photo’s soon!

Baby makes six

Little sweetie pie

very cheesey smile!

During my blogging absence, I also bought a new Macbook Pro. It is beautiful and slick, and I have very little knowledge on how to use it. I like to make the comment that “it is like having a super-hot foreign boyfriend: Beautiful to look at and hold, but I do not quite understand it yet.” Maybe I should take the iStore up on their free training offer …

Hot foreign boyfriend

Alex has very excitedly been telling everyone that he is going to Ballito on an aeroplane, for about the last month, and luckily for him, the day has finally arrived, and we are off to find some better weather for a few days. The last few glorious days of summer, sun, sea and sand.  Hopefully I will find some time to relax, put my feet up, dispel all thoughts of work from my mind, and maybe, even, um… BLOG!