• Alfred Nicholas Gardens
    Family,  Kid Friendly

    Autumn in the Dandenongs

    Victoria had a long weekend recently, so we took advantage and headed up the mountain for a picnic lunch.  We live a stones throw from Mount Dandenong, and it is such a beautiful place to live.  We decided to head to the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens, in Sassafras.  I have never been there before, which is amazing, given I grew up in the area!  

    So we drove up the mountain, winding our way past the huge line of cars and people who had decided to visit the Dandenong Ranges National Park and, I’m assuming, the 1000 steps Kokoda Memorial Trail.  Yep, you heard right, the 1000 steps.  Have you been there?  It is a three km 1.5 hour return walk, that was created in the early 1900’s and was adopted by Victoria Veterans of the Kokoda campaign (WW2).  Apparently, the walk is very similar to the first 100 metres of the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea.  People were parked for miles up the road!  

    Alfred Nicholas Gardens

    We kept going though, and found ourselves at the lovely Alfred Nicholas Gardens.  They’re amazing, and we didn’t even get to see the majority of them.  Because, you know, small children.  We took a picnic and a pram, but the next time we go, I would not take the pram and I would pack the picnic in a back pack.  The paths are great, and if you need a pram, they are definitely suitable, but it would have been easier without I think.  Unfortunately they were draining the lake for maintenance when we visited, but there was still a lot to see.  Ms 3 insisted we would find fairies, and took along her wings to help the search. 

    Autumn in the Dandenongs

     The paths lead down to the lake, and to a boat house, and to a fabulous large space, where the kids just wanted to run and run.  They found a ‘fairy’ tree, they were amazed by the size of the trees and it was just so wonderfully quiet and peaceful.  Just gorgeous. 

    Autumn in the Dandenongs
    Fairy Tree

     If you’re in Melbourne, and haven’t been, I recommend making the drive up the mountain.  Especially now, as we head into Autumn.  The colours are always amazing this time of year, and I think we’ll be taking another trip soon.  Plus, all that walking tuckered out the little ones! 

    Alfred Nicholas Gardens

    Do you like to take breaks in your own backyard?  Tell me about it! 

  • Cocobella Kids Coconut Water
    Food,  Kid Friendly,  Product Reviews

    Cocobella Kids! – A Review

    *This is a sponsored post.  I received product for myself and for the kindergarten my little one attends for use in fundraising.  All opinions are my own.*

    Cocobella Kids Coconut Water Do your kids love juice?  Mine do, and I am reticent to let them have too much.  So much sugar!  But I wouldn’t mind if they wanted to drink coconut water.  I drink coconut water, and find it refreshing when I want something other than plain water.  It’s not sweet, and love it after some exercise.  Mr 2 doesn’t mind plain coconut water, but Ms 3.5 – no way.  Scrunches her nose up, and I receive a resounding ‘yuck!’ whenever I try to get her to taste it!

    So when I was presented with an opportunity to test the Cocobella Kids Coconut Water on my little ones at the recent Kids Business Bloggers BBQ, I gave it a go.  And was pleasantly surprised!  Ms 3.5 loved it – especially the Apple Berry Breeze flavour.  And Mr 2, well of course he drank it down as quick as a flash.   

    Cocobella Kids Coconut WaterSo I was very happy to do a review of the coconut water, as were the kids – there was much excitement when the box arrived!  And it was perfect timing – with kinder starting, these little packs are the perfect size for lunch boxes.  Now, let me tell you some of the nitty gritty.  Cocobella Kids is a lunch-box-friendly and healthy coconut water drink for kids made from 70% coconut water, 30% fruit juice and nothing else.  No added sugar, no added colours or flavours and no additives or preservatives.  This is why I am happy for the kids to have this drink.  The majority of it being coconut water, massively reduces the amount of sugar they are taking in when they drink it, compared to average fruit juice drinks (see table below for some comparisons).  I really love the size of these packs – they fit in the lunch boxes, they’re easy to hold for my toddler and they can even slip into a bag easily.  They freeze, so are great for keeping snacks cool and fresh as well.  I’ve been a fan of coconut water for a while now – it’s naturally rich in minerals, particularly potassium, so I have no issues with giving it to the kids.

    Cocobella Kids Coconut Water

    And the most important opinion, being the kids?  They have loved having these in the house!  They get 10 out of 10 from the kids.  I will buy these again for the kids, and I think they would be great for kids parties too.  I really do like having this option available, and I’m sure the kids do to – because I wont buy straight juice for them and this is the only way they will get ‘juice boxes’!!  And yes, to any family members reading this, I am well aware that I have now become my mother!!  Hehehehe.  

    Tell me – do you buy juice for your kids?  Do they like coconut water?  

    If you want further information about the Cocobella Kids range, you can check out their website here www.cocobellakids.com.au or search #cocobellakids on your favourite social media site.  Cocobella Kids is available in 200ml Tetra-Pak (BPA free) and in two yummy fruit flavours (apple berry breeze, tropical island) Cocobella Kids retails for $3.49 per 3-pack in Woolworths supermarkets nationally.  

    Cocobella Kids Brand Comparison

     

  • Eastland Dinosaur Adventures
    Family,  Kid Friendly

    Dinosaurs at Eastland Shopping Centre

    * This is a sponsored post.  I received an pass for my family to attend the preview of this event.  All opinions, words etc are my own. * 

    It’s school holidays here in Victoria, and that means there are activities everywhere, some free, some paid.  At Eastland Shopping Centre in Ringwood, the Dinosaurs have returned for some more adventures.  

    Eastland Dinosaur AdventuresWe were lucky enough to be able to attend the opening event last weekend, and the kids had a ball.  Ms 3 enthusiastically dressed up for a photo, dug seriously for fossils and has not stopped looking through her binoculars.  Mr 20 months enthusiastically dug into the morning tea, had a go at bashing fossils and has not stopped roaring at everyone since.  

    binocularsdinosaur adventures

    Eastland Dinosaurs

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

      There was even a guided tour around the centre, and the chance to have photos taken in a giant eggshell.  This event runs across the school holidays until October 12.  Check their website for specific times.  It’s free entry , $5 for the dino dig and from $12 for photo ops.  There are also various competitions running including a colouring comp and an instagram one, where you can upload your photos with the dinos and tag @eastlandshoppingcentre #dinosaursreturn – you could win a $200 eastland voucher!  How awesome would that be?  No, wait, don’t do that, it’ll reduce our chance!!!  Ha!  

    dinosaur adventures

    I’ll be checking out a few other school holiday/kid friendly activities over the next week, so keep in the loop – like us on Facebook or follow on Instagram for updates.  

    How about you?  Doing anything exciting or is it same old same old?  I’d love to hear your ideas or activities!

  • Dinosaur Adventures Giveaway Eastland
    Just For Fun,  Kid Friendly

    A Dinosaur Giveaway!

    * This is a sponsored post – I received an invite to the event for my family. *

    * WINNER*  The winner is Natasha!  I’ll email you shortly.  Thanks again to everyone for entering.  

    Ok, now I know how popular dinosaurs are with little and big kids, so have I got a great competition for you!  

    Dinosaur Adventures Giveaway Eastland 

    For the September school holidays, Eastland Shopping Centre will be hosting the Dinosaur Adventures animatronics show again.  And the interactive exhibition is free!  Always helpful at school holiday time!    There will also be some paid activities, with the opportunity for the kids to be a Palaeontologist for the day!  They will be provided with a digger outfit,
    and be able chip away at their very own fossil.  There will be other activities as well.  

    Now to the giveaway!  The winner and their family will get to join us and attend the Preview Event of Dinosaur Adventures at Eastland on Saturday 20 September, 9am.  This includes a special DINO morning tea.  The winner will also receive this AWESOME dinosaur prize pack worth $100!!!!

    Dinosaur Adventures Prize Pack

    Yeah, how cool does that prize pack look?  I’m not going to show Ms 3 – she will crack it!!   

    To win this competition complete the rafflecopter form below!  I will announce a winner at 8am Friday 19th September, here and on the Facebook page.  I’ll also email the winner.  Remember to share this comp = it equals good social media karma ūüôā 

     
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

     

    Some of the details about the actual exhibition:

    Dinosaur Adventures Exhibition is free
    Fossil Digging starts from $5
    Photographic souvenirs $12 each

    Eastland Shopping Centre
    171 – 175 Maroondah Hwy
    Ringwood, VIC 3134

    Saturday 20 September to Sunday 12 October
    Saturday 20th September 12noon to 4pm
    Sunday 21st September to Saturday 4th October
    Monday to Saturday 9am to 4pm
    Sunday 10am to 4pm
    Sunday 5th October to Sunday 12th October
    Monday to Saturday 10am to 4pm
    Sunday 11am to 4pm

     

    Aussie Giveaway Linky
    Hosted by Kellie O’Brien Media

  • Dinosaur Adventures Giveaway
    Family,  Kid Friendly,  Parenting

    The Dinosaurs Are Coming! Dinosaur Adventures Giveaway

    Dinosaur Adventures Giveaway

    Oh my god! I’m so excited about this giveaway!  Do your kids like dinosaurs?  Do you like animatronics? Do you just love free stuff to entertain the kids??!!  Then this is for you.  

    Dinosaur Adventures is an exhibition coming to the Caulfield Racecourse in June and July.  You can explore a prehistoric world full of life-size moving dinosaurs! Woo! I don’t know about you, but I have two small people who love dinosaurs, all thanks to Peppa Pig.  They may be surprised when they see how big these dinosaurs are!!

    Dinosaur Adventures Melbourne

    As part of the experience,  kids will be get their own expert digger outfit and be a paleontologist for the day!  Also, there will be a whole lot of other dinosaur activities including dinosaur sand art, dinosaur library, fossil displays, dinosaur
    inflatable activity lands and rides, dinosaur sand pit, photographic souvenirs inside a
    life sized dinosaur egg and so much more!

    Dinosaur Adventures Giveaway Melbourne

    So to the prize itself!  I have one Family Pass (2 adults and 2 children) to the Exclusive VIP Opening Night of Dinosaur Adventures for Friday 20 June, 6:30pm.  You have to be able to make it to the Caulfield Racecourse (Victoria) to participate.  Please fill in the widget below to enter and feel free to share the comp around!  Good luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

     

     

     

  • Muppets Most Wanted Giveaway
    Blogging,  Family,  Kid Friendly

    Movie Review & Giveaway – Muppets: Most Wanted

    Muppets Most Wanted GiveawayOn the weekend, I was lucky enough to receive family tickets to an advance screening of Muppets Most Wanted, thanks to Nuffnang.  This is the first free thing I’ve received blogging, so it was with much excitement that the Mister, Ms 2 and myself headed off to Village Cinemas at the Jam Factory.  Mr 1 stayed with nanny and poppy – he’s not quite ready for the movies.  Or rather, I’m not quite ready for a one year old at the movies!

    This was Ms 2’s first cinema trip.  She spied the poster on the way into the car park and exclaimed “look Daddy, it’s your favourite Weezer!”  The Mister’s fave band is Weezer and both he and Ms 2 love watching this clip.  Now, these weren’t just tickets – they were GOLD CLASS tickets.  Oh yeah.  Somehow I am going to have to explain to Ms 2 that the cinemas aren’t going to be like that again for a long time!  However, we all had a great time.  The movie was funny, if a little predictable, but Ms 2 was enthralled the whole time.  We loved Ty Burrell.  He’s very funny.  And Tina Fey is always great. 

    Now we aren’t the only ones to benefit from this – thanks to Nuffnang, I have a four ticket pass to giveaway to one lucky reader!  Just in time for the school holidays!  Sweet.  If you would like to win, leave a comment on this post answering the following question:

     What kid’s show from your childhood would you like to see turned into a movie?

    The answer I like the best will win! This giveaway will be open until Friday 11th April 2014 at 8pm.  I’ll announce a winner on the blog on Saturday.  Make sure your email is attached to your blog post so I can contact you if you win!  *See below for participating cinemas. 

    Terms and conditions:  Open to Australian Residents Only.
    One entry per person
    The above question must be answered, by leaving a comment on this post. 
    The answer I like the most will receive the prize.
    Entries close Friday 11th April 2014 at 8:00pm Melbourne time
    The winner will be emailed on Saturday 12th April 2014 and announced on this blog.
    The prize is one pass to admit four people to the movie “Muppets Most Wanted”.  Participating cinemas – Ace Cinema, Birch Carroll & Coyle Cinema, EVENT cinema, Grand Cinema, Greater Union Cinema, HOYTS cinema, Independent Cinema, Palace Cinema, Reading Cinemas, Wallis Cinema, Village Cinema.
    Prize is not redeemable for cash.
    Prizes are not transferable.
    The Promoter is not responsible for prizes once they have been dispatched to the winner.
     
  • Nemo party hats DIY
    DIY,  Family,  Kid Friendly,  Parenting

    Nemo & a 2nd birthday party.

    Turning two way before I am ready
    Our Little Miss as a bubba

    Our Little Ms turned 2 recently.  How the hell did that happen so quickly?!  Not that long ago she was our little bub, with no hair and no teeth (for a loooooong time!).  Now she is running around having conversations with everyone and being way too smart for us.

    We decided to have a little party for her Рfamily and some little friends.  And me, being me, kept thinking I had at least a month to sort it out.  Then we realised we had a week and two days.  Gah.  Amazing how time slips away when there is a new little one in the house.

    Somehow I was stumped as to what theme to have for her decorations. ¬†Just a colour? Music? Hmmmm. ¬†Then, when she was watching ‘Finding Nemo’ for the one hundred and eleventh time, it hit me! ¬†Finally. ¬† So ‘Finding Nemo’ it was. ¬†Thank goodness for Pinterest. ¬†So many great ideas – check out my boards to see what I mean!

    So the goal was not to spend too much and not to get too stressed out.  Hmmmm!  Via Pinterest I found a great site that had invitation templates, decoration templates and ideas, name tags etc.  It also has ideas for games, face painting etc and covers all sorts of themes.  We used their invitation template and printed off some of the decoration prints and stuck them to our party bags.  I found blue and orange party bags going super cheap at Spotlight.  Speaking of the party bags, I added these free activity sheets to some balloons and treats.  

    DIY Nemo Party Bags

    We decorated the house with crepe paper and some Nemos that our Little Miss’ super clever Godmother whipped up for us, using this tutorial. ¬†Yup, she is much more crafty (and patient) than me!

    Nemo party decoration DIY

    This link had some easy, printable Nemo party hats – easy to cut out, and staple together.Nemo party hats DIY

     So these were some easy, DIY and cheap decorations and ideas I found via Pinterest.  And best of all, Ms 2 had a great time!  She loved the decorations, and hats and party food РI put a drop or two of blue food dye in a jug of lemonade and bam! Ocean blue drink.  Mostly though, she had a ball running around with her little cousins and friends all afternoon.  Best part of the day.

    What successes have you had with birthday parties?  Do you go all out, or pared back?