Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Fabulous fun with Stikbot and another giveaway

Prima Toys asked the Princess to do a review of Stikbot - one the funkiest tween and teen gift this Christmas. Stikbot is a toy cum app combination that combines traditional toys with social media with a special app.

You pose the Stikbots that come with easy to pose suction cups and create either photos or stop motion videos with them.

There are backdrops, stickers, music and sound effects and simply provided hours of great fun for her - and yes, the brothers adored it too. However what I love most about this is that it successfully integrates creativity and imagination with technology. It is a fabulous idea and a safe way to integrate on social media as it is 'faceless".

I have to tell you that the young guys in our office totally freaked out when they saw this! I will bring it to the office one day soon - they will have huge fun. This is without a doubt one of those "age is no limit" toys.

You have to see their faces when they see the end result of their first movies - it is simply magical! A's first movie was set in the desert and C's is an underwater dive. We obviously need to refine a bit but I love that there are such great instant results. Go check them out on our Instagram account (@catjuggles)

The folks at Prima Toys have give us one #Sitkbot zanimation Studio set to give to one of our readers to the value of R439. This is the top set in the series and a whole lot of fun.

Rules are as follows:

1. Post me a comment below and tell who in your household will enjoy this toy most. No comment, no entry or bonus entries. Just tweeting and retweeting will earn you no entries. Entries close by 5 pm on Sunday 11 December 2016.

2. For bonus entries:  Visit (and a like would be great) our new Facebook page Juggling act of life
                                  Follow StikBot ZA on Twitter 
                                  Tweet the following:" I would love to win the #SitkBotZA zanimation Studio set with  @catjuggles and @Stikbot_ZA http://juggelingactoflife.blogspot.co.za/2016/12/fabulous-fun-with-stikbot-and-another.html

One entry each to a maximum of 4 entries.

3. Please mention every of the actions that you have done so that I can allocate the correct number of entries to you. No mention no bonus entries. I will check that the winners have done the actions as claimed.

Conditions:
1. Winners will be chosen by us and the decision is final.
2. Winners will be emailed and mentioned on Twitter - prizes have to be claimed by 12 December 2016 at 1 pm.
3. Only entries within South Africa are eligible.
4. Prizes will be delivered to the winners by Prima Toys.
5. Prizes are as show or similar and can not be exchanged or claimed in cash.

Best of luck! Thanks to Prima toys.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Airstorm fun - and a giveaway!

There was much excitement in our house this weekend as Just Fun Kidz sent us a wonderful Air Storm package to review. I thought of naming this post "best Christmas toy for boys" but honestly the girl child was just as taken with these as the boys were. The boys are now 9 and A is almost 12 and these are perfectly suited for their ages - in fact, the grown ups in the house had quite a lot of fun with them too.

The Air Storm Sky Ripperz were immediately claimed by Mr L who loves the idea of rocket of any sort.

Wow do they fly! The 75 meters advertised on the packaging is definitely achievable and after a few tries in the garden we took it to a park where it truly showed us how well it flies. The kids have already decided that this is a beach essential these holidays and we will give it a good few flies there. It makes a great whistling sound as it flies. The kids had quite a few competitions with it seeing who flies the furthest and highest.

Mr C is bow obsessed and was so excited to see the two bows! He loves elves and centaurs because the shoot bows and arrow so these were right up his sleeve. He and A tried the two bows out and right from the start competed at target practice and how far they could shoot with them.

























The Air Storm Zano Bow is a nifty little bow that comes with two suction arrow and a handy target on the back. It shoots with great accuracy and lots of target shooting happened. What we totally love about this one is that it can very handy slip into a backpack to take on holiday or visit a friend. Also absolutely fantastic is that both bows can with the switch of up and down adapt for lefties. Mr C actually tried them both ways and love checking with which hand he was most accurate. As a mom I love that both the bows have storage place for the arrows so no arrows lying around.

The big guy of the 2 is the Air Storm Z-curve Bow - the ultimate toy bow. This is one potent and very strong and accurate bow. It comes with one suction cup arrow that provided lots of target shooting fun, and two zonic whistle arrow that screeches through the air. It shoots far and very accurate when the kids get the hang of it. One of A's friends have a 13 year old brother and he was so taken with this bow that he has asked for it for Christmas. I do believe all 3 these but especially the Zano Bow has an age range up to adulthood !

The Air Storm range are available at Toyzone, Toy Kingdom, Kid Zone, Hamleys and on Take a lot.

As it's almost Christmas I have two great giveaways this week and this is the first one!

Not one but two of my readers can win this stunning Just Fun Kidz Air Storm package that consist of all 3 the products reviewed above valued at R1200 per hamper.

Rules are as follows:

1. Post me a comment below and tell me which one your kids would love most of the 3. No comment, no entry or bonus entries. Entries close by 5 pm on Sunday 11 December 2016.

2. For bonus entries: Visit (and a like would be great) Just Fun Kidz on Facebook
                                  Visit (and a like would be great) our new Facebook page Juggling act of life
                                  Follow Just Fun Kidz on Twitter 
                                  Tweet the following:" Here's hoping we win the fabulous Air Storm hamper with  @catjuggles and @Just_Fun_Kidz athttp://juggelingactoflife.blogspot.co.za/2016/12/airstorm-fun-and-giveaway.html "

One entry each to a maximum of 5 entries.

3. Please mention every of the actions that you have done so that I can allocate the correct number of entries to you. No mention no bonus entries.I will check that the winners have done the actions as claimed.

Conditions:
1. Winners will be chosen by us and the decision is final.
2. Winners will be emailed and mentioned on Twitter - prizes have to be claimed by 12 December 2016 at 1 pm.
3. Only entries within South Africa are eligible.
4. Prizes will be delivered to the winners by Just Fun Kidz.
5. Prizes are exact as show and can not be exchanged or claimed in cash.

Best of luck! It will be two very lucky and happy families that win these. Thanks to Just Fun Kidz for giving me the chance to treat my readers.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Five for Friday edition 24

1. It was our Princess' turn on Wednesday to receive recognition for the year's work at school. We are very proud of her. The list of achievements were long - topped by the much sought after Top ten achiever award.  Also a special mention for their hockey team who won the league without conceding one single goal!

2. We had the very best burgers ever on  Wednesday night as we did a quick celebratory dinner with the kids on their achievements this year. we went to Burger Bistro and my word! Best ever! I had the Marilyn Monroe - melted brie with strawberry, balsamic and black pepper jam. The chips are really exceptional too and the menu is priced well. We will certainly visit them again soon.

3. We are opening the Lego Star Wars Advent calendar this year - to much excitement from the kids. Follow us n Instagram @catjuggles to discover every day's treat hidden behind the windows. It is a great one for the kids - no sweets and sugar and a lot of fun. I can not believe I went to all that trouble to make advent calendars before discovery the Lego ones! We have done the Lego City and Lego Friends ones in the past but the kids are huge Star Wars fans so it is promising to be the best one ever.


4. Today is the last day to get the cheaper pre sold tickets for Pretoria's biggest and most beautiful Christmas Carol event - you can buy them here. I am so looking forward to spread the joy of singing and Christmas! There are also tickets available at the doors and children 12 and under are free! (no ids under 4 allowed)

5. The kids have completed their Stikeez 2 collection - one for the 3 of them, with me only visiting Pick n Pay once. I told them I am totally not doing Stikeez this time - the previous time it drove me nuts as we do not have a Pick n Pay conveniently situated between the work and home route. But my mom took over the task, collected in the retirement villages and in a bink of an eye - and with swopping 4 at school, their collection was done. I relented and bought the collectors box and that was it!


Any 5 or Fridays to share?

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Gabby - my sweet girl


 We knew, right at the start when we adopted our sweet Gabby girl that her time with us will be limited. That we had only a little time to show her that humans care and humans love. She came to us first as a foster and then as our own girl through Labrador rescue. Our vet was convinced that she came from a puppy mill and was bred until her body could produce no more - and then dumped. To us, she was the sweetest girl ever. She just gave love from the moment she came into our house - she literally gulped all the love and attention and just gave and gave in return. With us she experienced the beach and holidays, love and nature walks. Evenings cuddling in the arms of a human sister or brother - and boy did she love those cuddles, tummy rubs and brushing.

Gabby love, rest in peace - we know your body could go on no further. Our love for you will live forever in our hearts. 

We would like to plead to each and everyone of you to NOT support unethical breeding practices. Be careful where and whom you buy dogs from. Report unethical breeding practices and show heart to a rescue. Rescue dogs have a special love to share. Adopt don't shop - almost every breed has a rescue organization that have wonderful dogs available to adopt. And if you want a puppy - makes sure that the breeder does so with the right ethics in place.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Five for Friday edition 23

1. We are two prizegivings down and one to go. Both the boys have made us so very proud. I am proud to know that they have worked hard and did their best - not that they received some or other particular mention.

2. A is writing her last exam today - we are all relieved that the weekends of study is coming to an end! Roll on relaxing .... We have two extra mural items that are wrapping up tomorrow and then really - R&R!

3. I have re discovered my love of photography. I always take pictures at school events - I like to treat "my village" of parents with pictures of their kids. It is always so much appreciated. But recently I was asked to do some family pictures for neighbours and yesterday I took some photos for students on the way to their end of studies function. I totally love this - although I am not asking a cent for it there is huge joy in the appreciation I get and the joy it brings to others. I guess I may have missed my calling in some way.

4. Simba sent us their new kettle fried popcorn to taste and try out. The verdict - amazing stuff - try it!



5.Wondering what to do with the kids that will not break the bank?
 
With the festive season around the corner, the FREE fun at The Fun Zone, brought to you by Hasbro, is back and giving kids the chance to play with some of the latest and greatest My Little Pony , Nerf , Play-Doh and Transformers toys this holiday period.

The fun will take place from:
  29 November - 2nd December at the Main Mall Court next to Edgars, Eastgate Shopping Centre from 10:00 am
 9 December - 15 December at the Mall of Africa from 10:00 am

 With that - I hope you have a great weekend! Any 5 for Fridays that you wish to share?

Thursday, 24 November 2016

It' THAT time of the year.....

Aren't these simply gorgeous? The colour variations in one bush from my mom's garden.

The hydrangeas bloom. The shopping centers are adorned in Christmas lights and decorations. The awards functions are following each other in close succession. There's the end of this and the function of that. And work is hectic! Somehow every single year people leave everything to the last 3 weeks until we close for business.

You somehow feel you near the end and the end is just that few millimeters too far. Just out of reach - just.  Or a few glasses of wine too far....

But I guess you all know by now that I am tired. Finish en klaar. Kaput!

As I looked around me this morning at the grade 3 prize giving it struck me that without a doubt I was not the only parent that is exhausted to the bone. All around me they sat - eyes glistening to witness their child's achievements but their bodies tired, their souls exhausted.

Today is Thanksgiving elsewhere in the world. Although not a holiday we celebrate I love the spirit behind it. So let's turn our thoughts to being thankful. Thankful for children that give us reasons to attend prize givings. Thankful that they achieved and excelled each in their own way. Thankful for a work - because times are tough.  Thankful for time with friends and family and celebrations. And yes, for that glass of wine too.

Wishing you strength for the next few weeks ahead - the end is in sight! #2016mustfall

Please share just one thing you are thankful for today.




Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Dinsdag - tyd vir boeke!

Ek is steeds aangenaam verstom oor die wonderlike hoeveelheid goeie Afrikaanse spanningsverhale wat deesdae verskyn. Dit 'n fees van lekkerte vir aanghangers van die genre. Dit was dus vir my 'n ware fonds toe die boeke van Isa Konrad my pad gekruis het. Ek kan nie dink dat ek tot nou toe nog nie haar werk onder oë gehad het nie. Die twee boeke wat ek gelees het is egter elkeen 'n perd van 'n ander kleur en wys hoe 'n veelsydige skrywer sy is.
Moord op Karibib - Isa Konrad

Alet se lewe is op 'n totale laagtepunt toe sy stukkend en verneder op Karibib beland - net om haar vas te loop in 'n moord en die gepaardgande intriges wat op alle klein dorpies voorkom. Die sterwende man uiter sy laaste woorde aan haar en voor sy asem skep is sy betrokke in die moordondersoek.


Die boek het 'n opwindende storielyn wat vinnig beweeg en baie lekker lees. Die karakters is heerlik - kleurvol en volrond in meeste gevalle. Konrad skryf baie beskrywend sonder om langdradig te wees en ek kon baie maklik n prentjie van elke karakter in my kop in detail vorm - soveel so dat ek sommige amper kon ruik. Haar atmosferiese beskrywings van die omgewing is net so raak en mens beweeg met gemak in jou kop na Karibib en die plase daar rondom.

Alet self was die een karakter wat my effe geiriteer het - soms wou ek haar net aanpor om haarself reg te ruk en aan te beweeg. Sy is net te mooi, te ryk en te slim om op te tree soos sy soms doen. Miskien laat sy mens effe jaloers en dan wonder jy hoe sy van alle mense beland waar sy het? Nietemin spreek dit van hoe goed Konrad haar karakters aan mens voorstel dat jy so betrokke word by een van hulle. Wat my ook opgeval het is die omslag - as ontwerper stel ek altyd belang in die omslae en die effek daarvan op die leser. Ek dink werklik hierdie een dra vir my bitter min by tot die boek se atmosfeer en mag dalk 'n invloed gehad het in my siening van Alet.

Ek het redelik vroeg in die boek een stukkie van die ontknopings legkaart geraai maar selfs dit het nie die finale einde totaal uitgespel nie en die laast paar bladsye was van die "kan nie neersit nie" gehalte.

Moord op Karibib is 'n heerlike spanningsverhaal en 'n uitstekende vakansie lees. Ek gee die boek 'n 8/10 vir suiwer lees genot . As jy van Chanette Paul se spanningsverhale hou of 'n Lee Child aanhanger is, is ek seker hierdie boek sal so reg in jou kraal val.


Die Soenoffer - Isa Konrad
 Wessel Janke word gestuur na Pretoria om daar 'n onderhoud te voer met een van Suid Afrika se skokkendste moordenaars ooit - 'n vrou wat as kind 'n reeks moorde gepleeg het. Haar agtergrond is seker van die haglikste wat mens kan indink en stadig leer Wessel haar ken as veel meer as net 'n reeksmoordenaar.

Die atmosfeer deur die hele boek is donker en ongemaklik wat bydra om die hele toon van die boek te stel. Konrad beskryf dit so goed dat jy self ongemaklik en angstig voel net soos Wessel. Ek sal nooit weer dieselfde voel oor die Jakaranda bome in my stad nie. Die minder mooi ontbindende blomme in die strate vervang die mooi wat ek so geniet elke jaar.

Die storielyn beweeg in tyd en gee die agtergond wat nodig is om insig in die reeksmoordenaar se lewe te kry. Die poisie verslae verskaf die feitlike inligting en afwisseling waar die emosionele amper oordonderend word. Ek wil nie veel oor die karakters sê nie omdat dit so reuse deel van die storie vorm maar hulle is almal goed ontwikkel en volrond. Daar word ook heel tyd alle kante van die karakters aan jou uitgewys en jy raak self betrokke in jou evaluasie van nie net die moordenaar se motiewe en karakter nie maar van elke ander van die hoofkarakters.

Die omslagontwerp van hierdie boek is vir my uitstekend gedoen en gee die donker atmosfeer en amper ongemaklike gevoel alreeds deur.

Hierdie boek is meesterlik geskryf en die ontknoping skokkend - selfs al raai jy 'n deel daarvan is dit seker een van die moeilikste laaste twee bladsye wat ek ooit gelees het.

Die Soenoffer is 'n sielkundige riller uit die boonste rakke. As jy van Mo Hader, Gillian Flynn of Lauren Beukes se boeke hou gaan hierdie een jou voete onder jou uitlsaan. Baie sensitiewe lesers moet dalk oorweeg of hulle kans sien vir hierdie skokkende verhaal. Ek gee Die Soenoffer 10/10.

LAPA het die boeke aan my verskaf vir resensie doeleinde - die opinies hier uitgespreek is egter 100% my eie

Friday, 18 November 2016

Five for Friday edition 22

So yes, I missed my usual Friday wrap up because my heart was filled with Leonard Cohen - but in short - this is what's happening in our world:

1. A has her first week of exams behind her - she has prepared well but woke up with a cold on Saturday morning and Monday for her first exam she was all but a happy camper with that blocked nose. In conjunction with the big Maths paper I sincerely hope she felt ok and did her thing.
2. The schools' internal cricket league began on Monday for the boys. It's based on the IPL and features teams like Thunders and Legends with bright colours and lots of fun. I do hope the boys enjoy it to the full. Mr L literally struggled to fall asleep Sunday night - huge excitement. It did mean a full week of cricket and a double session today but the finals are Monday if the weather plays along.

3. I made old fashioned Mac and cheese on Sunday night - just added a bit of friend bacon and onion. It was a huge hit - I made a good almost 1 litres of cheese sauce and it was a cheesy and lovely. Am going to make this way more often. On that note - what are your family staples? I am trying to bring some variations in that will not break the bank.

4.The next two weekends are filled with lots of fun things to do. They will be busy but will be fun - of that I am sure. Just to get the last weekend of studying out of our way.

5. For those that remember my post about singing in The Capital Singers in August (here's the post) - we are busy practicing for our next performance - come and listen to me and 425 others sing the most festive of Christmas songs. Best of all - children under 12 are free - we are singing everything from "Santa Claus is coming to town" to "O Holy Night. It's a great way to start the festive season.
So - any 5 for Fridays?

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Tuesday Booksday - featuring one of my best finds of the year.

Today I have two English books for your reading pleasure. While writing this post I thought a lot about reading habits and how this influence the joy of reading a particular book. I have half a post in drafts about this - so think about your reading habits - we will have a little chat about those soon.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Handful and Sarah grow up in the constricting ways of a southern household in Charleston. Handful is the slave given to Sarah on her 11th birthday as a handmaid. Both of them yearn to escape the constriction of their born to lives - Handful to escape the slavery she was born into and Sarah to escape the given road as a southern woman. From early in her life Sarah knew she was born to be so much more than just a wife and mother.Their stories run parallel until the climax is reached. The book is well written with extensive research into the time it portrays. Sarah Gimke is based on the historical figure that carries the same name.

This is a well written book with a good balanced story. I did however take months to read it as it just did not grab my attention and there were often other books that called me from my bedside table. However I am glad that I did read it and will certainly recommend the book to lovers of historical fiction. I also have to mention that I read it on Kindle and I still prefer real paper books most of the time. I find books that I may want to refer back to difficult to read on Kindle so this could well be why I did not enjoy the book as much as I think I should. Somehow I also never felt like a made a true connection to any one of the characters - they all remained rather distant in my opinion.

7/10 in my rating.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
If you are a regular reader you know that once in a while I get all excited about a book that I feel is a real find and a "have to read" for most people. This is one of my finds of the year.

Arthur Pepper leads a quiet life of routine and loneliness after the death of his dearly beloved wife Miriam. He is irritated by his overly kind neighbour and his relationship with his grown up children is worsening every day. On the one year anniversary of his wife's death he decides to at last clear out her belongings. In a pair of boots he makes a wonderful discovery  - a gold bracelet with beautiful charms that he does not remember at all. This discovery leads him on a fantastic journey to places he never would have visited. He discovers mysteries about his wife and her life before they met but in the course thereof he rediscovers himself and his family and finds joy in life again

A truly wonderful and uplifting read  - a 9/10 for pure joy.
If you enjoyed "A man called Ove" or "The Universe vs Alex Woods" you will love this book.

So now you know what I am going to ask - what are you reading right now? And have you read any of the two books above or do any of them grab your attention?


Friday, 11 November 2016

Dance me through the panic

I do not often blog about the news - not a word about the American election and the no confidence motion against Pres Zuma. But a musical legend died this morning at the age of 82. Leonard Cohen brought an amazing body of work to this world to enjoy - his last album was released this year. Everybody is busy posting their favorite Cohen songs on Facebook today - I am listening to the mix on You tube. A big part of especially my student and single days had some of his songs in my playlist. "Take this waltz", "First we take Manhattan", "Joan of Arc" and later "Closing time" are still favorites. "Hallelujah" is even sang in our church in a slightly altered form and possibly his best known song - even my kids know it by heart.

My favorite however has always been "Dance me to the end of love" with it's beautiful melody and tango rhythm.  But did you know that this song although it has the feel (and meaning ) of a love song was actually inspired by the Holocaust. This is what he said in an interview about the song: "'Dance Me to the End Of Love' ... it's curious how songs begin because the origin of the song, every song, has a kind of grain or seed that somebody hands you or the world hands you and that's why the process is so mysterious about writing a song. But that came from just hearing or reading or knowing that in the death camps, beside the crematoria, in certain of the death camps, a string quartet was pressed into performance while this horror was going on, those were the people whose fate was this horror also. And they would be playing classical music while their fellow prisoners were being killed and burnt. So, that music, "Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin," meaning the beauty there of being the consummation of life, the end of this existence and of the passionate element in that consummation. But, it is the same language that we use for surrender to the beloved, so that the song — it's not important that anybody knows the genesis of it, because if the language comes from that passionate resource, it will be able to embrace all passionate activity."

What I will take as a lesson from Leonard Cohen , his life and this song is to live passionately. Have a look at the live performances of his songs even in his last years - he sings and performs with an elegant passion. I have been lacking the passion for living life to the full for such a long time - it just got lost in the jumble of living, raising kids, losing loved ones - and it been in my thoughts the last while. I am doing a bit better than a while ago but I am really not there yet. I keep wondering if we all loose our passion, our dreams, our connections in the grudge of life. I am so going to turn this around and live fully again.I have to - I need to dance through the panic.

Farewell Leonard Cohen - and thanks for the inspiration and the music.