How’s your house smelling lately? It’s the end of winter, the kids have been cooped up for the last few months and you’ve got a dog, a cat and you use cloth nappies. Oh, wait, is that just us?! Thankfully, it’s spring now in Melbourne, and the sun is starting to hang around a bit more and the kids are able to get on outside. And the nappies and the washing can actually go outside on the line – woo!!! Because let me tell you, sometimes I come back to the house after being out somewhere and I think – does the house really smell like that?! Now, I’ve got a pretty sensitive nose to scent, good and bad. But man, sometimes I really hope noone drops in unannounced. That pervasive smell of damp clothes drying over the heat vent (constantly!), a nappy bucket, that is emptied regularly but still, and litter tray sometimes just becomes a little too noticeable.
So when I was offered the chance to review and giveaway some new home fragrance products from Airwick, my first thought was, how did she know and secondly, yes, dear lord yes! And there is a giveaway for you my lovely readers! Sweet.
The little package of goodies that I got to review and you will have a chance to win includes products from Airwick’s new Life Scents Collection – scented candle, plugins and room spray. Now, we don’t often use plug in air fresheners, and at first I thought it was going to be too strong, and maybe irritate the Mister’s hay fever. However, I’ve had it going in the laundry, on the low setting and it’s lovely. And now, when I’ve been out of the house, when I return the smell is much nicer! We’ve liked the Winter Moments scent, and I really like the Mystical Garden room spray. It’s quite lovely. Click through the link to read a little more about this new collection, and the different scents they have. There’ll be one you like for sure!
So, to enter the giveaway, I want to hear from you! Fill in the options below, and comment on this blog post: What is your favourite scent and why? It could be anything – food, perfume, flowers etc. Good luck with the giveaway, and please remember – sharing is caring! Let your friends know too.
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.
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.
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!
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……
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!
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!*
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.
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. 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.
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.
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?
Anyone who lives in Australia can’t help but be aware of the commentary this week surrounding AFL player Adam Goodes and racism. It’s been an issue brewing for some time, and it boiled over this week into a seemingly unstoppable flood of outrage, denial, anger and hurt. For most of the week I’ve listened to and read a lot of people’s opinions. I’ve felt a rising sense of frustration and disbelief. I’ve nearly called ABC 774 several times! I’ve never called radio talk back! Frankly, the only thing stopping me calling in has been the two small children yelling for my attention every 2.3 seconds!
I’ve had a page of notes on my phone and my computer, waiting for me to form into a coherent post. And then yesterday, I decided to email my club, the North Melbourne Kangaroos. I wanted to know what they were going to do to support Adam Goodes. I’m a paid member, so I wanted to know. I intended to write a quick email, just to find out if anything was planned. But it became longer, as I explained why I was so concerned. And it clarified to me just why I have been so upset by the lack of respect shown to Adam Goodes. By the apparent intelligent people I know who have so easily dismissed him as a ‘sook’, as ‘thin skinned’. As someone who needs to ‘man up’. It’s for my children. It frightens me, that in this day and age, our country still struggles to address this issue, to discuss the matter in a mature fashion. So this is what I wrote to the club:
I wanted to contact the club today regarding Adam Goodes. I have become increasingly upset and I have to say angry at the way he has been treated. As a paying member of NMFC I was wondering if the club was planning or talking about ways to show support for Adam Goodes?
The current commentary and fan reaction to Adam has made me feel angry and upset, because it makes me question – can I take my small kids to live matches, when this behaviour is accepted and apparently encouraged (by ex-players saying he is a ‘sook’ etc). I want my kids to feel that AFL is a community that they will feel safe in, that they will feel AFL will give them opportunities, joy and a sense of team. I do not want them to learn that bullying is ‘normal’, that racism is normal or that men cannot express feelings or discuss matters that are emotionally important to them.
I really did not know where else to express this opinion at this point, but I figured as a member of NMFC I could start here.
I love this game, I love this club. I do not love this concerted campaign against one of the greatest players we have.
I’m pleased to say they got back to me really quickly, explaining that they were finalising plans and would be updating fans soon.
Today, I have felt slightly less upset by this, and a little more hopeful. Of course, some actual leadership by our politicians would be nice, but let’s not hold our breath for miracles. But perhaps now, this is a tipping point into a discussion that we need to have. Perhaps this will be a catalyst for broader understanding and acceptance. Let’s just hope we haven’t let an outstanding leader, advocate and person be broken in the process.
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.
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.
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!!
Warburton and Mt Donna Buang
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.
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!