• Family,  Giveaway,  Travel

    Dreambaby® Review and Giveaway!

    Dreambaby® Giveaway

    So it seems that sometimes, the universe sends you things you need.  Little things, big things, important, not so important.  Recently, the universe sent a little, but very useful thing to me by way of a chance to review AND giveaway some new “On-The-Go” Travel products by  Dreambaby®.  Now, this has been very useful for me because since we got our current car, I have not had a big enough sun shade for the back windows, and the new range includes The Dreambaby® Adjusta-Car Shade® Stretch-It, Shape-It, Fit-It™ and the Dreambaby® Insta-Cling™ Car Shades.  Sweet!  And just in time, I received the products to review just before we took off for our little Cup Weekend getaway.  Road trip sun shades sorted!

    Did you go away for the Cup Weekend?  We go away every year with a group of four other families – chaos and madness!  But super fun.  We all pack up and travel off to a Big 4 somewhere in Victoria and hang out for five days.  This was our fifth year, and the tradition is going strong.  Such a fun way to catch up with friends that we don’t get to see as often as we’d like.  Lots of jumping pillows, swimming, usually rain and wine.  Lots of wine!

    Dreambaby® Adjusta-Car Shade® Stretch-It, Shape-It, Fit-It™

    Now to the products.  Firstly, the Dreambaby® Adjusta-Car Shade® Stretch-It, Shape-It, Fit-It™.  This is perfect for our car – we have a bigger, suv type, and this just stretches right to all the corners.  Which is great for Ms 4, because she is at that stage where she is VERY particular about things.  Like the sun touching her at all when she is in the car!  It was easy to use, it sticks right on with big suction cups that don’t pop off easily, ie when little hands are trying!  (RRP $19.95 two pack).  

     

    Dreambaby® Giveaway

    The second one we got to try, was the Dreambaby® Insta-Cling™ Car Shades.  The static cling shade just attaches to the window, you just smooth it on and there you go! There is no need for suction cups, and it doesn’t affect any tinting surface that may be on the window already.  Really easy to use, and it’s stayed on for a couple of weeks now.  Hasn’t fallen off  and it’s great for Mr 2 – he can’t reach the window, so he can’t pull anything off!!  These have UPF 50+ sun protection, the mesh screen can help to reduce glare on sunny days and they simply fold away into a compact, easy-to-store, re-usable bag.  (RRP $11.95).   

    Dreambaby® Giveaway! Dreambaby® Giveaway

    Are you starting to think about the Christmas and Summer holidays?  Any road trips coming up?  Then get your fingers clicking and enter toot sweet!  These have just been fabulous for us, and the kids have been much happier in the car, without the sun annoying them.  To enter, check out the options on the little app below – please consider sharing with your social media pals as well – it’s good karma!  

    If you would like to know more about the new Dreambaby® Travel range, you can check out their website here, or visit their YouTube account here.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Walk For Prems 2015 - Melbourne
    Family,  Health,  Social

    Walk For Prems 2015

    Walk For Prems 2015 - Melbourne

    Last week, our little family, The Mister, Ms 4 , Mr 2 and myself, participated in the 2015 Walk For Prems.  It was a great day, and we all had fun!  Although it was quite windy for much of the day, it didn’t seem to put anyone off and there was a great crowd gathered around Albert Park Lake in Melbourne.  The Walk For Prems is a regular Walk, that raises funds for the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation.  Life’s Little Treasures Foundation is Australia’s leading charity dedicated to the families of babies born sick or prior to 37 weeks gestation. This year, the aim is to raise $250,000 and the walk was held in six cities around Australia simultaneously.  The major sponsor for the race, was Medela.  Medela understands the importance of human milk in the NICU and know that the content of human milk makes a considerable contribution to the best possible development of premature babies.  According to Medela CEO, Jarrod Percy, the organisation is looking forward to helping the foundation in the very valuable work it does to support the families of premature and sick babies.

    Medela Sponsored the 2015 Walk For Prems

    We have been blessed with healthy, full term pregnancies with both our children, and feel incredibly grateful for this.  When I was presented with the opportunity to participate in the walk with Team Medela, to raise awareness and funds, I discussed it with The Mister and we both agreed it would be a great way to support those that have not been as lucky as we have.  

    Donate to Walk For Prems 2015

    You see, this cause is also important to us, as we have friends who have experienced the roller coaster ride that comes with the premature birth of your baby.  Their little man Thomas was born at 27 weeks.  What followed was three months in the Royal Children’s Hospital with surgeries, IV tubes, humidicribs and more.  The family received support from Life’s Little Treasures, and others throughout this bewildering and scary time.  Eventually, they were able to take their wee little man home, where he received lots of early intervention in  the form of physiotherapists and occupational therapists from the Royal Children’s Hospital. Thomas is now in primary school, and continues to work on his motor skills and is also learning keyboard, riding his bike and participating in running try outs.  He is an amazing little man, who in the words of his mum “is a very caring boy who loves learning about the world he lives in and it has been possible because of the Royal Children’s Hospital including all the staff and availability of equipment”.  

    It’s amazing what babies and families can do when they have the right supports in place.  The Life’s Little Treasures Foundation want to ensure that no family endures the traumatic and life changing experience of having a premature of sick baby without easy access to critical information and community support to help them through their journey.  The Walk For Prems event continues to raise money, and in the last three years has raised half a million dollars.  The actual Walk was great – there was such a fun atmosphere, with families walking with their babies and kids and even their dogs!  There were prams and toddlers and lots and lots of teams walking for the little one in their life who made their way into the world too early.  At the end of the walk, the kids enjoyed music and food and all sorts of fun activities.  It was a great day!

    WP_20151025_009

    If you would like to find out more about the work that Life’s Little Treasures do to support prem babies and their families, click here.  And if you feel like you would like to donate some money, and help the Foundation reach their goal of $250,000 you can do so here.

    Walk for Prems 2015

    Have your kids participated in a fundraising walk/run?  How did they go?  I would love to know! 

  • Last Minute School Holiday Activities by Tully & Mishka
    Family,  Just For Fun,  Kid Friendly

    Last Minute School Holiday Activities

    Last Minute School Holiday Activities by Tully & MishkaWe’ve hit the second week of the school holidays in Victoria and it got me wondering; are you looking (frantically) for things to do with the kids?  Have you run out of ideas, or did you not realise just how awesome the weather was going to be here this week?  Well never fear, I’ve got your back with a list of of last minute school holiday activities that cover the gamut of free to not so free, DIY to out and about.  

    The AFL Footy Festival

    With the Grand Final happening this Saturday, the AFL are putting on a Footy Festival, starting Wednesday and going through to Saturday.  It’s free entry and there is a heap of things to do there.  The kids zone includes Aus Kick activities, kicking competitions, free face painting (winner!) and a whole lot more.  There is also a section where parents can get free coffee, snacks and mini massages whilst the kids are participating in some Auskick.  Sweet!  Check out the site – the trams are free from Wednesday through to Saturday and service the area of the Footy Festival, which is Yarra Park, right next to the mighty MCG.  

    Last Minute School Holiday Activities AFL Footy Festival

    The NGV

    The Gallery has a range of activities and exhibitions on for the school holidays for under 4’s to teenagers.  Some activities/exhibitions are free, some have entry and booking requirements.  I am planning on taking the kids to the Open House Tromarama For Kids exhibition.  It’s free and located at the NGV International.  It’s interactive, and is set up like a real house, allowing kids to move from room to room, experimenting with stop-motion apps and making films.  It looks cool!  I know a few kids who would just love it.  

    Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery

    Have you been here yet? Have you?!  If you don’t mind a bit of chocolate, you should probably check it out.   The chocolaterie is well set up for kids, with space to run the sugar high off outside, and kid friendly menus (of course) and activities.  It’s in a beautiful spot in the Yarra Valley, an hour from Melbourne.  There is no entry fee, and free tastings, but the fun comes in the cafe and the store, where all sorts of chocolatey goodies can be purchased.  Currently, they are hosting Hop For Hope, an outdoor exhibition raising funds for the wonderful Alannah and Madeline Foundation.  Check out their website for more information, including classes, menus and activities.  

    DIY Fun

    I’ve perused Pinterest for you (no need to thank me, I’ll take one for the team), and found a couple of cool things that we will be trying over the next week.  Check out this easy volcano eruption you can do in the back yard, and will have the younger kids entertained, no doubt for hours.  

    via Preschool Inspirations - easy volcano
    Image via Preschool Inspirations

    Another fun activity, for the backyard or around the neighbourhood park is this scavenger hunt for kids.  The post includes free printables!  Awesome.  And timely, given Ms 4 burst in this afternoon after talking to the kids over the back fence asking for a treasure hunt.  

    Scavenger Hunt via No Wooden Spoons
    Via No Wooden Spoons

    So what do you think?  Will you try any of these or are you all sorted for activities?  If you have some ideas, share them here, or over on facebook for everyone to enjoy 🙂

  • AFL: Who do your kids support?
    Family,  Just For Fun,  Kid Friendly,  Parenting

    Family Feud – who do your kids barrack for?

    We’re well and truly into the pointy end of the footy season here in Melbourne.  Yep, September not only brings spring, but footy finals too.  We are definitely an AFL family, listening to most matches across the weekend and usually watching at least the Friday night match on the television, no matter who is playing.  And we’ve been club members since Ms 4 was about 1 1/2.  Which brings me to the question:  Which club?  Who do your kids barrack for?  As in, if you and your partner support different teams, whether it be AFL, rugby, netball, soccer or basketball, who do your kids support?

    AFL who do your kids support?  #afl #kangaroos #hawks

    Have you left it a clean slate, ready for them to choose when old enough?  Or have you and your partner chosen for them?  I’ve ‘surveyed’ a few friends to get a bit of an idea about this very important issue!  We’ve done the old, one for me one for you.  The Mister got to choose for the first born, because he seemed to care more, and second born was for me.  Because, we do not support the same teams.  Nope, The Mister is a Hawthorn man and I am North Melbourne.  When Mr 2 is old enough to work it out, he may have some resentment toward me………   😉

    So of the 5 or 6 families I asked, I really got a mix of responses.  One couple had a similar response as ours, although they aren’t too interested in the footy anymore.  Another told me that they were going to let their offspring choose for themselves, and had provided scarves in both teams in order to provide a balanced approach.  Although they had quickly removed the Essendon scarf placed in the cot by one grandmother, as and I quote “I ain’t having that shit go on in my house”  (Love it!)

    #AFL Who do your kids support?

    Another friend, and they don’t have kids at this point, advised that he isn’t a fan of the “one for mum and one for dad” approach and will respect any offspring’s decision, as long as it’s not to support Collingwood, or Hawthorn.  Another decided to start supporting his wife’s team.  He says because he just liked the song (he swapped to the Tigers, so fair enough.  I hasten to add this occurred some time before the Tige’s current good form!)

    And one friend told me how they had one for each, but complications had occurred after they had separated and since re-partnered.  The nature of the new relationships has meant that which ever parent the kids are with, one child is not barracking for the team that everyone else is.  It can be a passionate, emotion filled experience, following a sporting team, that’s for sure.  

    There are not many games left now, in this year’s AFL season, another round of finals next week and then the big one.  Which has, for the first time, bought a public holiday to the people of Victoria as well, thank you very much!  No matter who is in, we will be watching the big game and enjoying the atmosphere it brings to Melbourne – please, please, let there at least be one Victorian side in!!!  And there is a remote, vague chance that things could be tense here on the day – at this point, both Hawthorn and North Melbourne could still make it to the big game.  

    So now tell me – has the choosing of sporting teams been tricky for you?  Let me know!

     

  • Coping with changes in parenting routine
    Family,  Parenting

    Hunker Down

    Popcorn and Movies

    This week, we’ve had to hunker down. The Mister has had to go overseas again this week for work, and the only way I can describe my coping process is: hunker down. Especially this week in Melbourne – until Thursday, it’s been cold and wet and grey. So we’ve been coping by watching movies with popcorn, some crazy dancing, baking and eating not so great food. Because at this point, when it’s me and the kids 24/7, and they don’t eat food at the best of times, it’s whatever’s easy. You want pasta with cheese? You got it. Seriously, I don’t know how my kids are growing and developing intelligence. I swear Mr 2 only eats white foods – oats, milk, pasta, cheese, bananas……

    Bunkering down.  Popcorn and movies.

    Thursday bought sunshine, and temperatures above 12 degrees. Yes! They’ve been in the backyard, and Ms 4 could play outside at kinder. So some of the crazy can be run out of their systems, and maybe tonight they will go to bed with less resistance – ha! Cheeky things know how to push it when there is only one person here!

    You may remember from this post, that my little ones luuuuurve to sneak into our bed at night. They’ve been better, but when it’s only me, I don’t have the energy to fight it once I’m asleep. So this week has seen lot’s of snuggles in the morning, and lots of edge of bed sleeping for me. For they surely cannot use the WHOLE EMPTY HALF of the bed that is free with The Mister away!!!! No, they must sleep attached to me at all times.

    Thankfully, he’ll be back on the weekend, and there are no more overseas trips planned for the year. How do you go when you’re normal parenting routine is thrown out of whack? Do you bunker down, or carry on as normal? Any tips, throw ’em at me!

    Linking up with With Some Grace for #FYBF – go find some more awesome blogs!

  • Music Books and Hand Wash
    Family,  Health,  Home,  Parenting

    Music, Books & Hand Wash – small things change

    This post was bought to you by Dettol.

    Before you have kids, you ‘know’ things will change.  Work, money, some household roles.  Your body.  And you also ‘know’ that you won’t let some things change (bahahaha!).  We’ll still do the things we love to do, baby will fit in with us…..  And to some extent that’s true.  Like, for perhaps the first few months.  Then baby is not a newborn anymore.  Baby becomes a small human intent on making you focus solely on them at all times – for food, for nappy changes, for entertainment, for laughing, for cuddling.  So you know, mostly, it’s all good and pretty much why lots of people have kids.  It’s when they’re slightly older – preschool/toddler – that you realise how the small things have changed.  There are loads of things that have changed for me because of kids and below are just three:

    Music Books and Hand Wash

    Music.  Now I’m not talking about seeing live music.  Clearly that’s changed.  The last live show I saw was Hi 5.  Lord.  But even listening to it has changed.  I do it less, for one, mainly because I listen more to the ABC during the day now.  Because I don’t get to watch the news etc on the tv anymore.  For one, it’s the kids bed and bath time when it’s on and two, I don’t want them seeing it.  I can have the radio on and turn it off quickly if I need.  And also, when we put music on now, it’s with a lot of thought.  Music from the 90’s features a lot and earlier, and we pick stuff that we think the kids will enjoy – that they can jump around and rock out to.  Because they actually love doing that which is awesome, especially for The Mister.  He’s been in bands for most of his adolescent and adult life, so it’s good to see them enjoy music. 

    Music Books and Hand Wash

    Books.  I used to read and read and read!!!  And I do read blogs and new sites a lot but I used to read books.  Stories.  Things that took me to other places and times and gave me different views on things.  Now, books are read and re-read but aren’t quite the same.  Jessie, Iron Man and the Wonkey Donkey have taken over from Elizabeth, Frodo and Jo.  Which is quite lovely in one way, but something I’ve recently tried to change.  I’m so pleased the kids have always been interested in books and stories, but I need to make sure I keep reading too.  Even if it’s re-reading the one’s I love and throwing in a new one every now and then.  I’ve been trying to go to bed a half hour earlier to get some book time in.

    Music Books and Hand Wash

    Hand Wash.  I never used to buy hand wash.  I would have soap in the bathroom and that would be it.  Why would I a spend more on liquid soap, I thought.  Ha!!  Since having kids, the amount of time I have spent washing my hands must of quadrupled.  And that’s being conservative!  Multiple nappy changes a day, washing out said nappies (we use cloth), cleaning up after the kids, and all the normal reasons to wash hands.  It’s now an essential and since using the Dettol No Touch system I’m thoroughly converted.  I think I need one for the laundry as well as the one I have in the kitchen.  The laundry is where we store and wash nappies, feed animals and change kitty litter.  One in the laundry would be pretty handy actually.  I sometimes make my own – I recently worked out how to make the foaming hand wash which is great, but I think the No Touch system is really god for the kitchen – think washing hands after cutting raw chicken and think about what the pump on the hand wash must be covered in.  Yeah.  Nice.  

    So tell me, what are the small things that have changed since you had kids?  Is it something that surprised you or were you fully prepared for the change?

     

    Linking up with Mama Raj Says for #ReviewRoundUp & With Some Grace for #FYBF

  • Warburton #ShareAustralia #Voicesof2015
    Family,  Just For Fun

    Picnicking Around Melbourne’s East.

    We love where we live.  We’re in Melbourne’s outer east, nestled at the foot of the Dandenongs, and bordering the Yarra Valley.  It’s not unusual for us to head out for a day trip on a weekend or a long weekend, to explore what’s around us.  And let’s face it.  We’re a one wage family at the moment, so we don’t have money to splash around.  Turns out, our little corner of Australia is perfectly located for all sorts of day trips.  So come and take a look at three of our favourite, family friendly spots to picnic.  

    Dromana

    Dromana #ShareAustralia

    Winter or summer, we love heading down to Dromana.  It’s a 50 minute drive, give or take, from home, so it’s perfect for a day trip.  Located south of Melbourne, it’s on the Mornington Peninsula.  The beaches are smooth and great for kids, and finding a park is never too much of a problem – except maybe mid summer on weekends!  We’ve done day trips and long weekend trips to Dromana and always enjoyed them.  I think it was the first place the kids had their taste of the beach.  

    #ShareAustralia Dromana Mornington Peninsula

    There are loads of places that you can grab lunch or snacks – cafe’s, fish ‘n chip takeaways, restaurants.  But it’s perfect for a picnic, with tables along the foreshore, grassed areas with play equipment and public facilities.  And there are several good places for coffee.  Because even when we’re not spending a lot, we can usually find coin for the good stuff 🙂 

    Collingwood Children’s Farm

    Now you may have heard of the Children’s Farm, and with good reason.  It’s a real farm, 5km from the city of Melbourne.  It’s located in a gorgeous spot along the Yarra River, and is open to everyone – school groups, individuals, families and more.  They host regular Farmer’s Markets and you can even have kids’ parties there!  It’s a gorgeous spot, and whenever we go, it feels kind of surreal that it’s so close to such a major city.  This one does have a fee – $18 or $10 conc for a family.  But if you take your own snacks its a special treat.  Our little ones go up close with chickens and horses and guinea pigs, and ran freely amongst the space.  It is a lovely spot to visit.  Although I think Peppa Pig has confused them a little – they found real pigs to be whole lot more intimidating!!

    #ShareAustralia Collingwood Children's Farm

    Warburton and Mt Donna Buang

    Mt Donna Buang #ShareAustralia

    I love heading further out into the Yarra Valley and the surrouding mountains.  I was raised out this way and I know whenever I drive out through Wandin and beyond it feels very much like home.  Mt Donna Buang is about 15-20 minutes further up from Warburton, a 45 minute drive from our home.  Recently we took an impromptu trip to Mt Donna Buang and thrilled the kids with snow!  It’s perfect for those not able to go to the snow and stay.  Not too far from Melbourne means you can do a day trip.  When we went, Queen’s birthday weekend, it was busy with lots of snow.  There is usually tobogganing as well.  And because it’s so close to Warburton, it’s perfect to take a picnic with you!  Once you’ve been up and seen the snow, travel back down to Warburton and make use of the many picnic tables.  I love Warburton.  The way they’ve set out the public facilities is great.  Along the river there are tables and access to bbq’s and toilets.  Our kids loved the river!  There are many ducks who are pretty comfortable near people, and very vocal.  There is also a fabulous path along the river, where the kids were able to climb and scramble over big rocks, find almost hidden paths and swing on ropes left on the trees by previous kids.  It was lovely.  

    Warburton #ShareAustralia #Voicesof2015

    So these are some of our favourite places to picnic around Melbourne’s east.  Where are yours?  Check out the #ShareAustralia tag for more inspiration from Australia’s bloggers!