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by Charmaine Viljoen, Project Manager when she has to earn the money, mom to 3 kids, social network addict, compulsive runner (to keep sane), still waiting to marry well and co-founder of  Alex and Alexa, a children’s clothing range.

Firstly I would like to make it clear that I am not the world’s most organised mother and neither does our life run as smoothly as it is going to appear in this blog post! However, with three children under the age of ten I have to combat my normal personality tendencies of ‘lets just see what happens’ and attempt some type of planning to prevent lurching from disorder to chaos.

This year we have decided to continue with some sort of schooling throughout the holiday and so the children have selected books that they want to read (Reader’s Warehouse in Broadacres Centre in Dainfern is fantastic for inexpensive children’s books) and are taking turns to read stories to the others. My youngest is just six and cannot read yet but can spin a good yarn if given a picture book story book. My kids also enjoy learning phonics and reading at www.starfall.com which has a lot of free stuff. We are also registered on www.ixl.com for math practice (mathletics is also a good website for this) and they all enjoy getting their certificates emailed for each math level that they achieve.

Since I am very determined that each child will play a musical instrument that forms part of our normal daily routine as well. I do dream up novel and interesting ways to make music practice fun and there is a lot of simple music available off the internet so that the four of us can harmonise through Christmas Carols (harmonise does range in meaning…)family_christmas_tree

I have had an interesting year financially, definitely looking up now but it does mean that there is not a lot of money to spend on presents or holiday experiences. Without scaring the children (I hope!) I have explained this to them and we have decided that we will have one outing which they can decide upon – they are currently debating between artjamming in Lonehill or going to see a play at the Children’s Theatre. It has been very interesting to watch them go through a decision making process that is still not finalised! (We use the JoziKids website for any social happenings that we want to attend)

We are also working on sorting out clothing and toys that they no longer use. These will get repaired and cleaned and wrapped for delivery to our local children’s home. (I am not allowed to go because I tend to come back from these expeditions with another baby…my mom takes them instead!)

A new exercise for us this holiday season is that we have decided, as a family, to learn to speak a different language. After much debate we decided on French and I have found a fantastic audiobook that we all listen to and have a lot of fun seeing who can remember the most. The kids were hoping that I would not be able to focus on this and that they would be able to speak to each other without me understanding them and I think that this is still the secret driver that is in play. Luckily I have a bit of a commute to work and an iPod. Languages such as Spanish or French have a wealth of materials to support children and make this engaging and fun.

We are not a regular TV watching family so every few days in the holidays we do go to the local DVD shop and catch up on kids movies as a treat.

And of course, because we have the best weather in the world we get to do lots of cycling, swimming and going to the park.

Have a happy holiday season!

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