A Family Blog

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Our surprise road-trip to Castleburn (Southern Drakensburg)

A few weeks ago..(this has now turned to months, I forgot to post it…ooops)  we took the kids on a surprise road trip to the Berg to celebrate both Kivesh’s and my birthday. The bookings were done quite some time ago, but the kids had no clue and thought we were just popping out to buy some bread and milk. 2 hours into the journey they hadn’t even made a peep to question this maddeningly long trip to Checkers.

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The bakkie was serviced by Praven that morning so according to him the drive was relatively easier than the first time we’d been there. I must admit to me it did seem a lot quicker, especially because Thavina fell asleep just as we got close to Pietermaritzburg.

It was an idyllic getaway. We left the resort grounds only once to stock up on a few food items, and other than that the weekend was spent making good use of all Castleburn had to offer. The kids went on horse rides every morning, we went out on the lake in the afternoons, Praven being our designated oarsman and early evenings spent walking the trails close by. We (Praven) lit a fire every evening, we ate supper together and just unwind-ed… unwound…. chilled. To us nothing beats a Berg getaway. The serenity of your surroundings the peace and quite, the log fires and long walks were just what we needed as family to reconnect and take sometime out from the hustle and bustle of our everyday “city lives”. Besides the fact that of course all cooking and packing and most other task still fall on the mothers plate, I still felt like such a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. By now I might have amnesia, but I don’t recall unnecessarily nagging the kids about behaving etc. There was that one time Thavina vomited in the van just as we were leaving for a picnic. But honestly what’s an outing without some stinky toddler milkshake vomit?









So guys even if it means planning ridiculously ahead like I do, please take the time to have a few days away from the everyday grind. Use the time to recharge your own batteries and to reconnect with the kids and your partner. It was so blissful, of course the downside is that we had to leave at some point. And the fact that Thavina now thinks we own a holiday home that we can visit at any random point in the week. next post ” How to explain to your toddler that holidays are like birthdays, they come once a year,… but with no presents”.




The hunt for “Age appropriate” gifts

With each new birthday or Christmas comes the inescapable hunt for “age appropriate ” gifts. Kivesh is going to be 7 soon, so the search is on for birthday gifts.

Seven is kind of hitting the transmission phase, he’s still a baby but he’s figuring things out. He still believes in Santa, The Tooth Fairy  and The Easter bunny, but he knows Paw Patrol isn’t real. I want to encourage some growing up, but I don’t want him to entirely lose the magic of childhood. That being said, we’re not a family that’s into gaming be it on a tablet. pc or whatever else (I want to say video games, but that immediately gives away when last we played one of these games)….We don’t own any Box’s, X or otherwise, no Playstations and no Nintendo, it’s just not something we personally encouraged. So that eliminates a huge chunk of what kids his age are currently “In To” and for a while that left me stumped as to what we could get him. Google played its essential part in giving me “about 70 000 000” results for my search, which mind you, didn’t prove entirely fruitless.

I’ve eventually found a few items that I think would be appreciated and not add to the clutter that we call the toy box. Kivesh loves reading and really enjoys owning his own books, but I kept away from the usual educational type items like books and puzzles, which are all well and fine, but do kind of lack the excitement factor of an actual toy. Instead we opted for a science kit, of which there is quite an interesting range. From making your own soap to botany and electricity and the old favourite “Make your own Volcano” which is the one we got. We also got him a new addition to his Lego collection, a nifty little set that comes with 2 figurines and builds up a mini fire-engine, and last but not least a little blow up punching bag. I’m really excited to see his reaction, and to also take a more supervisory role in the use of his new gifts and let him take the lead in assembly and execution, I’m also liking that I have a few ideas on what to get him for Christmas… never too early to start planning.




The smell of a childhood memory


I know right of the top that that sounds weird,  but I’m sure most of you know exactly what I mean.

A few weeks ago we had a lovely long weekend. and on the last day, Praven decided (at 8am) that we should take a spontaneous drive down the South Coast. Not like Scottburgh 41 minutes away South Coast, which is way more appealing to me, but Port Edward 1 hour and 41 minutes away South Coast, and more specifically The Wild Coast Sun.

So at 9am , which any respectable road tripping family would know is way too late to be just starting the journey, and with the kids and myself finally “loaded” in the car, we set off. The trip itself wasn’t as daunting as I expected it to be with the kids. (Of course I’m not the one that’s ever driving so most trips are quite comfortable for me), and I only got a bit snappy towards the very end… we’ll just not talk about that for a bit…

We passed all the usual stops, Tiago’s in Port Shepstone, do you guys remember the ginormous burgers? The Nut Shop, I don’t really know what It’s real name is but you know which one I’m talking about, It’s like the size of a single bed and sells divine macadamia clusters and biscuits. And finally passed over the iconic bridge. The moment our front wheels touched it, I felt myself transported back in time. The excitement!!! I felt like a kid again, sitting in the back seat with my sisters with my dad driving. When we pulled up to the entrance my heart sank ever so slightly the Wild Coast logo had been changed and is now replace with squiggly gold letters spelling out “SUN”, and it doesn’t really invoke family fun like the seahorse did.


With the car parked and us approaching the little thatched walkway that joins the main building and parking , I was again just hit with a strong sense of nostalgia almost deja vu-ish-ness. Seriously the smell and sounds and the look of everything made me feel so good inside, like for this one day everything in the world was okay, because I was a kid again. I can close my eyes right now and just get that feeling again, and it makes me smile. I took a photo of the carpet, because its the same! And I remember being little and playing on it while waiting for my dad to get us a bajillion more “Magic Company” Tokens. Aloha Village was just as I remembered, they had the same horsey ride, they still had the whack the crocodile and stomp the spiders game. Plenty has changed, like the food court which was a little disappointing, the ship has been replaced with a generic “mall – style” food court, and I didn’t notice the paddle boats by the river. Of course there’s also the huge new water park, that although we didn’t visit, looked pretty impressive, and might be on the list of “Things to do”.



But overall I was more than happy and definitely satisfied on a deeper emotional level at this trip down memory lane and back to The wild Coast Sun. I am definitely looking forward to the next time Praven suggests it.

I hope you lot have some place that’s tucked away in your memory that can bring back this same sort of feeling of joy and deep contentment of a time that was more carefree and less stressful. And if you do have this place, and if it’s within your means, please go back, it is really like medicine for the soul.


Till next time





So. Exhausted.


Its been a draining week, I’m actually yawning as I write this.  I couldn’t be more ready for this long weekend.

It’s been the usual at work, classes, practicals, tests and admin, but I’m just bushed!

Usually when Praven is off we have busy weekends. We take the kids out, which means tiring weekends. Praven is off tomorrow, so there’s a chance we’ll be out and about, but I’m looking forward to a lazy Monday in, a late morning (which if you have kids means 7:30 am – if you’re luck), I want to watch TV in bed, mooch about in my PJ’s till after midday…. BUT….

You know when you really want a nice mutton bunny from your favourite Indian Takeaway. And you wait all week to go get it, and then the curry isn’t what you’re expecting because they got a new cook aunty?… You know that feeling, I’m afraid that I’m too “lus” for this weekend and somethings going mess it up. I’m anticipating the kids being extra needy on Monday and me losing my cool…I’m also realising that this is quite a useless post…

Nonetheless I’m going to be positive, and try start the weekend off on a good note. We’re hoping to take the kids for a bit of a play session, so they’re “less energetic” when we get home. And then really I just want to put my feet up!

Have a great weekend all – long or not, make the most of it.


Winning at “Mum-ing” – a spectacular production (running this week only)


Yeah, so this week, I have surprised myself and I want to gloat a little about how awesome I’ve been (cue meltdown this evening).

Lets start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…. Sunday evening, I am somehow supercharged. Supper is cooked everyone is fed and chilling…. I’m busy preparing meals for the week to come. I’m talking 3 different cooked meals for Praven, brown rice, separate milder foods for the kids, I’m on fire! Not to mention cupcakes and flapjacks and crafts and the usual roaming that takes place over the weekend.

So we start the week off on a pretty good note, I’m not stressed about what to cook, I know that supper is sorted for the next few days so I can get some extra chill time…. BUT DO I ???

No, Tuesday evening – Kivesh – “Mum I want pizza for supper” – Thavina – “OOOOOH yum pizza”  – Me – “I’m going to make my own pizza dough!”   And so I did, I think it came out pretty awesome, Kivesh gave it one look and said ” It doesn’t look like the delicious one we usually get”… thanks son, thanks for that. But my spirit isn’t crushed, it tastes damn good (so I force them to eat it).

It’s Thursday and Kivesh has been learning some new Math concepts in school, so normally homework would be a nightmare, I’m proud to say we’ve had ZERO tears, no “You know what, you can do your math with your father!” threats. I have been calm and super “explain-ery” with him.




AND…. drumroll please, because this is where I felt super awesome, last night, Wednesday night, the second hardest night of the week (Thursday takes 1st place – wait why am I gloating today then, am I setting myself up  – get back to the blog-post)…. I made my own POTATO GNOCCHI!!!! from scratch!! It was “mind-blasting”, I blasted my own mind! I have no idea if it came out the way it’s meant to, I’ve never eaten it before, but it was tasty. I bought a pasta sauce, but gimme a break, I made gnocchi, saying gnocchi is an accomplishment for me.


Now the picture doesn’t look like much, but I have a theory about food photography. it has to be done with “natural light”, because with “artificial light” you get that glistening look on all the food and it just makes it look ick….

So there’s just 2 days left, fingers crossed that we can make it to the end of the week before there’s a massive fight or meltdown or some form of chaos erupts. But I’m going to take this win and

Love                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yash

P.S. – Did  I mention that Thavina cries every morning before school and even vomited on Tuesday and Praven had to clean chunks before work…. you cant have it all…..

P.P.S. ‘Ive also been winning at “wife-ing”…just saying… (wink wink)


Making childhood as magical as possible

I am one of those mums that takes imagination a little OTT. I absolutely love bamboozling the kids into believing that a tooth fairy really walked across their bed, or that Santa and the reindeers really did park in the front yard. and lets not forget those pesky dinosaurs that come to life every November and wreck the house.


I often make the excuse that its me badly prioritising what I really should be doing, but to be honest I don’t feel that way at all. I love going all out in creating these elaborate little scenes that bring about such excitement and wonder in the kids. It is just amazing, their little faces when they wake up and find the dinos have chewed through their cereal and were feasting on their O-Tees, and are now frozen in place and caught red handed. Last year Santa and his messy elves left crumbs all over the sofa and of course glittery snowy footprints all over the floor. creativity

Imagination, creativity and magic and free play is just so important for our kids. There is in my mind no need to teach them how to operate the DVD player, TV or a tablet. Give them a box of crayons and a pile of paper and let them spend ages drawing. Kivesh comes up with the most amazing little scenes, and Thavina… well Thavina scribbles but I’m sure to her its a mermaid or something.

Fostering this sort of excitement and wonder is creating what I hope will be part of their best childhood memories. My little dilemma is when do I realistically end it all?

Kivesh will be 7 in May, Praven feels he is old enough to know the truth about Santa, and many of his friends already know the “truth”. I just feed him more lies (magic), about them being on the naughty list so that’s why their parents have to buy gifts. I don’t want it to end but I know it will have to I just don’t want to kill the magic just yet, there’s too much ugly that can replace it!


Will keep you posted on when the magic ends and how it went down, but for now, magic definitely lives in our home, and don’t you dare tell my kids otherwise 😛

Some tips on how to make your kids childhood magical…

The wrong way (this is a good laugh, and may have some possibilities) : http://the-toast.net/2014/05/28/make-kids-childhood-magical/

The right way : http://utahvalley360.com/2014/01/27/making-childhood-magical/

& http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bunmi-laditan/im-done-making-my-kids-childhood-magical_b_5062838.html

Love Yash


Milestones for kids and parents, & the dawn of a new era

It’s unreal how excited we as parents get for each and every “milestone” our kids reach, some of them that are more “normal” or appreciated by the greater consensus of parents, like smiling, crawling, talking, walking even pooping in the toilet for the first time. Some of them less normal like first real big nose booger (yeah, I mighta kinda kept Kivesh’s), swearing, eating supper in under an hour, etc. etc.


What I’ve realised over the past few months is that each milestones the kids reach has a butterfly effect milestone for us. I remember a few months back crying at supper, because the kids had eaten, and were happily playing in their room, and I, for the 2nd night in a row, had eaten… wait for it, my supper, sitting down, while it was still hot!!!! Yeah you heard me… hot supper, sitting down, no interruptions!! The reason I cried was all ” Oh! my babies are growing up, look how independent they are, they’re not bugging me 100 times for a sip of water or more tomato sauce….”mgrn161l_jpg

The cliché “they grow up so quick” is so incredibly overused, but so incredibly true. Thavina gets a year older every time she comes back from crèche, and Kivesh is constantly referring to things he used to do “when he was a little boy”, dude is 6! It’s definitely sorta sad, especially if you’re 99.99% sure that the um” factory is closed”, that this will be the “last time” for a lot of things, and most are kinda bitter sweet. No more nappies, yay, but say hello to needing to poo 5 minutes into a trip and peeing, Every. Five. Minutes. I look back and miss breast feeding, the closeness of Thavina and being able to shut her up so easily, but do I miss blocked ducts, NO! I miss being able to give them a random bullshit excuse for something, and them just accepting it now I have to go through the Spanish inquisition to get them to accept that we are having spaghetti for supper. I look back and yearn for when they could only sleep with me holding them (I must have that mummy amnesia thing, because I’m sure at the time I wanted to die).

These milestones and other obvious age-related lifestyle changes have led to the previously mentioned  “Dawn of a new era”, I no longer need magazines on pregnancy and birthing health, or articles on “Toddler led weaning” and “How to potty train in 3 days” (yeah right). I’m now entering the  “A week of nutritious meals”, ” What to pack in their lunchbox”, and ” How to get you (bedroom) groove back” phase. New subscriptions include Your Family, Woman and Home and Good housekeeping (Feminist women…sorry).

And so it goes…

Here’s an enjoyable read on other milestones that don’t often get a mention in the parenting books.


14 Kiddie Milestones No One Tells You About

Love Yash


Our 2 year “Transplant-aversary”


Today marks 2 years since Praven was the recipient of a brand spanking new healthy kidney, the kidney of course being mine. Its almost unimaginable that it’s been that long, and at the same time that its “only” been that long. It seems a lifetime ago that he was on dialysis, before Thavina was born, and when most things were entirely too complicated.

I can’t say that the road has been smooth and hassle free, but i can definitely say that it’s been an integral part of our story. Praven has amnesia, and can’t remember the dialysis days, but as dictated by my female (or is it elephant) DNA, I haven’t forgotten.


I remember the hardship of not only Praven dealing with his illness, but me being the person dealing with the person dealing with the illness. I don’t want to go into it all now, but i definitely look back at it and feel a huge sense of gratitude that it is something behind me.

For now we have managed to get so much back that we lost during those years, simple things like family outings, weekends away and even just breakfasts together. I am grateful to everyone, even if some of those relationships are now quite strained, for being with us through those years and through the transplant. Friends and family that wished us well and checked on us regularly. I might get on your nerves eventually and you might think “Oh No, this story again!”, but this is a lifelong achievement for us, each check up he goes for, and even each time he goes to the loo, is a reminder to us.

I don’t often thank medical aid, because they can sometimes make all of this unnecessarily difficult, but at the end of the day I am thankful that they were able to make the dialysis, testing, transplant and all his post transplant treatment happen. You wouldn’t believe the cost of all of this.

And the end of it all I breathe a heavy sigh of relief, and look forward, towards all the new goals we want to achieve, and all the dreams we want to make come true. Now we have the “space” for all the regular everyday stuff, you know, kids, school, supper and all that amazing chaos we get to call “Our Family.”


We need to do something outrageous to mark this… Praven… I’ve been thinking, I might like another tattoo….


Love Yash


PS – No, funnily enough I don’t ever feel like I want it back… 😛


Mealtime prep with your toddler

cooking_with_children Firstly… errr… NO.

I recently read an article on the pros of not only eating as a family but also on preparing meals together.

Benefits such as lowering rates of obesity and drug use, and positively impacting a child’s identity, self-esteem and values, while teaching manners and etiquette.

My question is, has the author ever prepared a wholesome meal with a 3 year old, while taking the time to enjoy the “moment”, stay calm and instil values in said 3 year old. Keeping in mind this article was written for a “little kiddies book club”, the target audience would be parents of toddlers.

I definitely agree that mealtimes allow for the family to catch up, bond and stay connected, and is important when your kids are little and as they grow up. I definitely do enjoy the random lets make cupcakes, or blue-cakes moments, those make for great memories and form special little traditions. Just this past Christmas Thavina helped me make stuffing for the turkey, she did ask me why we needed to break up bread (only about 50 times) and ran the size of each and every crumb past me for an inspection before adding it to the bowl, but hey, it was Christmas and a time for family and fun.

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But I cannot even wrap my head around coming home from work and finding the patience to ask my 3 year old if she wants to help mummy cook supper, I have a hard enough time putting it together on my own.

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I do hope as the kids get older I remember that meal prep time can actually be a somewhat chilled bonding experience, but for now its

“dinners ready… eat your food… go to your room”

Anyone care to share tips on including little ones in daily chores, be it mealtime prep or something else, is it something I even need to stress about?



Sibling Rivalry – Thavina’s way


In our house, we do our best to minimise any form of rivalry between Kivesh and Thavina. When we found out we were expecting Thavina we immediately fostered a protective role for Kivesh as “The Big Brother”, not to take away from Thavina, who is a pretty protective little sister. We try our best to be consistent and equal with praise, discipline, treats and treatment. I find it creates an attitude of fairness amongst the 2 of them, and has prompted them to look out for each other. We still try to make them feel special on an individual level, Thavina and I go shopping together, or Kivi and I go for a movie (we call them “only child moments”),  and it works out great.

The kids obviously still bicker about certain things, “he’s talking to me”, “she’s standing on my railway track”, ” but I want the blue crayon”… (we may have a few snapped in half crayons in the house, from when I lose it and go all “Judgement of Solomon” on them)  But I’m glad to say that at this stage we’ don’t have any real rivalry to speak of.

That is… until the music comes on. we play almost every other song, especially the Disney ones, twice. Once for Kivesh to listen to, and a whole separate time, for Thavina to listen to and sing a long. She apparently cannot listen to it, if buddy is listening to it. So every morning we listen to the Moana soundtrack twice, except the crab song, because Thavina doesn’t like crabs…

Can you argue with this face…


I’m complaining but I’m not really complaining because as far as rivalry goes, I’ll take it, and I do get to sing along with Dwayne Johnson every morning, so its a win.


PS – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79DijItQXMM  – You’re Welcome – Moana – Dwayne Johnson