• 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 🙂

  • Just For Fun,  Kid Friendly,  Product Reviews,  Toddlers

    Too Busy Sleeping: A Book Review

    Have you heard of the delightful new book, ‘Too Busy Sleeping’?  Recently, I had an opportunity to put my hand up to review this lovely, lovely little children’s book, through the Parent Talk Australia collective.  I was very excited when the author, Zanni Louise, contacted me to say she would be happy for me to review her first book.  

    Too Busy Sleeping:  A Book Review

    It’s just gorgeous!  It is a little story about a new baby coming home – how will Eleanor, now a big sister, react?  It is delightfully illustrated by Anna Pignataro, with a kind of vintage, crafty feel to the drawings.  Ms 4 tells me every time we read it, that she thinks the first and last page looks like stickers and buttons, and she tries to take them off.

    Too Busy Sleeping by Zanni Louise

    Both my kids love this book.  Little Mr 2 just loves babies at the moment, and on every page points to Reuben and exclaims “bebe!”  It’s a positive story, that looks at the arrival of a new sibling through the eyes of a little one eager to play and eager to love.  

    Too Busy Sleeping: A Book Review

    It’s a lovely book whether you are preparing your kids for the arrival of new baby or not.  A little story about excitement, learning patience and love.

    Too Busy Sleeping.  Gorgeous books for kids.

    I love Too Busy Sleeping because it is positive and joyful, and shows that older kids, even preschoolers, can look forward to the homecoming of a new baby.  Even if they’re not quite happy with the sleeping needs of said newborn!  

    If you would like to get your hands on a copy of the gorgeous Too Busy Sleeping, you can here*.

    What books do your kids love to read?  Is it the same one, over and over, or a new one every night?  Let me know in the comments, I love to hear from you!

    Linking up with Mamma Raj Says for #ReviewRoundUp!

    *This is an affiliate link.  If you click here and purchase, I will receive a percentage of the sale.  This won’t affect the price you pay.  

  • 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!

     

  • The Book of Once Upon a Time
    Just For Fun,  Kid Friendly,  Product Reviews

    Disney Junior: The Book of Once Upon a Time

    Bought to you by Nuffnang and Disney Junior.  

    I don’t know about you, but Disney stories are very popular in our household.  The modern and the classics.  We have quite a collection of Disney DVD’s, most bought post children, but not all J.  Toy Story, Cars, Tangled, Aladdin and of course Frozen have all been watched over and over here, and still retain their magic for the kids and for us too. 

    The Book of Once Upon a Time

    However, I have to admit that until quite recently I did not know about Disney Junior The Channel.  Now, we don’t have pay tv (where it is found on Foxtel, channel 709) but for those like us, it’s also available online here.  And this week, Book Week, they are launching the new season of ‘The Book of Once Upon a Time’, a beautiful, locally produced storytelling series hosted by Kate Mulvany, a fabulous Australian actor and playwright.  And it’s brilliant to hear and watch an Australian accent!  Kate’s storytelling is fabulous.  They kicked the new series off on Monday 24th August at 7:10pm with “Snow White and the Great Jewel Hunt” and they’re going to follow up with new stories from “Winnie the Pooh”, “Aladdin”, “Sleeping Beauty” and, wait for it, “Frozen”.  Yes that’s right, there will be more Frozen for the kids to shout wildly about. 

    The Book of Once Upon a Time

    Last night, we watched “Snow White and the Great Jewel Hunt”.  Our normal bedtime ritual is reading a story all together in Ms 4’s room, before Mr 2 goes off to bed.  Last night we all watched the story together on the couch and it was lovely to see how the kids reacted to it.  The story was approximately 6 minutes, perfect for toddlers and preschoolers, who can’t always sit and concentrate for too long, especially in the evening when they’re tired.  It was a lovely little magical moment to watch the kids faces as the story was told.  The format is a little nod to the tradition of classic story telling – Kate Mulvany sits in a comfy chair, turning the pages of a lovely big book, not only using character voices but also jumping up and re-enacting different scenes.  And there are moments of animation that add to the magical quality.  I was thrown back to my childhood, watching the seven dwarves and the classic Disney animated characters.  And I could see Ms 4, her face alight, loving the story telling as well. 

    At the end of each episode, the “Land of Once Upon a Time” lullaby is sung, and it was great!  The kids were about to launch into requests for another episode when the lullaby started.  It encourages kids to prepare for bed and snuggle down.  It was brilliant!  It supported me in pointing out that it was the end and time for bed – thank you!

    I know some parents are unsure about screen time and how to balance it in their kids’ lives.  I know we do, and it’s always something to monitor.  I quite like these little episodes because they are short, we sit with the kids and it’s storytelling, something we are very passionate about encouraging as parents.  Disney Junior know that parent’s want to encourage imagination in their children and that they also want educational content to include things like: Social skills, moral values , good basic habits and creative thinking.  And so, they combine the story telling with the following learning components: Early language and maths skills, encouraging healthy lifestyles and emphasising social and emotional development. 

    We had lovely time last night, and we will definitely be watching more episodes.  If you want to watch online just click here to go through to the Disney Story Room.  Or if you have Foxtel, you can tune in at 7:10pm every day on the Disney Junior The Channel.  The stories are available as eBooks from the Disney Store Central app, available to download from iTunes

    How about you?  Are you surrounded by a small army of Disney fans who will love this?  Let me know what you think! 

  • HomeHello Giveaway
    Giveaway,  Home,  Just For Fun

    HomeHello House Cleaning Giveaway!

    This giveaway is bought to you by HomeHello.  

    *THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED – THE WINNER IS AMY A!  CONGRATULATIONS, AN EMAIL IS HEADING YOUR WAY!*

    HomeHello Giveaway

    Right then people, it’s giveaway time!  In fact, it’s a HomeHello House Cleaning giveaway!  Now, I don’t know about you, but I often dream of the time when I might be able to pay for someone to clean the house.  Oh, to not have to clean the bathroom.  That would be so awesome!

    So when the good people at HomeHello contacted me to offer one of my readers a three hour house cleaning voucher, how could I say no?!  Have you heard of them?  They are Melbourne and Sydney metro based and have an awesome website where you can easily book and pay for their services.  The website lets you specify how many rooms you need done, extra cleaning required, and dates and times.  It also estimates how many hours you would require, depending on what you need done.  Too easy!  

    I know several friends who have started employing a house cleaner, and man, has it made things run smoother for them.  It helps them in terms of the house being clean, obvisously, but also takes away some of that stress the housework can cause.  You know, between you and your partner, the kids, the pets……  And gives them more time to do other stuff that needs doing.  

    So if you have been considering a cleaner, this could be your chance to try it out – three hours free!!  Like I said, they’re Melbourne and Sydney metro based, so unfortunately if you are outside that area, the prize can’t be used.  But refer some friends!  They might win and buy you a bottle of wine if they do!!*

    It’s easy – simply fill in the rafflecopter form below AND don’t forget to leave a blog post comment HERE.  On this page.  That is the only mandatory thing.  Comment telling us the messiest thing you’ve had to clean up in your house and The Mister will choose the one that he likes best (I will remove identifying info and then let him see the answers).

    *Please note, I have no control over your friends.  They may not buy you a bottle of wine for referring them to this giveaway.  

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • 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!

  • Easter Egg Hunt
    Family,  Just For Fun,  Kid Friendly

    Easter Egg Hunt 2015

    Easter Egg Hunt

    Today the kids had their first Easter Egg Hunt of the season.  They had a ball!  A lovely friend organised it, and graciously invited 10 small and not so small kids into her home to find and devour chocolate.  Did I mention she is brave?  The house was decorated with lots of gorgeous Easter themed pretties, and the bigger kids even did some Easter craft.  So Ms 3 managed to get her hit today, without me having to pull out the craft box – win win!  

    Easter Egg Hunt

    And then the kids were let loose on the backyard, and everyone managed to find sufficiently equal amounts of eggs to keep everyone happy. 

    easter egg hunt 1

    And the big kids made sure the little kids had enough, which was lovely.  With minimal prompting from the grown ups.  

    Easter Egg HuntWhat are you doing for the Easter weekend? Getting out and about, or just staying in and making the most of this chocolate overloaded period?  Let me know!

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