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!
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).
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).
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Have your kids participated in a fundraising walk/run? How did they go? I would love to know!
We’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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂
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?
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!)
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!
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!
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!
And it’s pretty scary, actually. We had been taking Mr 2 back to the doctor on a seemingly weekly basis. It wasn’t actually weekly, but that’s what it felt like. Constant coughing that turned into wheezing, that sometimes turned into heavy, laboured breathing where his poor little ribs sucked in and out.
It started about September last year. Initially it was croup – meaning a steroid dose was taken. The next month, we were away on the Great Ocean Road for a weekend, and his breathing became wheezy and his ribs were working hard. So we called the Lorne hospital and they recommended we come in. It was a Saturday evening of a long weekend, and we had never needed to take the kids to an emergency department before. And we weren’t in Lorne, we were probably 25 minutes further on the winding ocean road. That had Mr 2 vomiting with car sickness the day before. Awesome.
So we headed in, with Ms 3 happily bunked in with friends in their cabin. I was, of course, completely anxious the whole way there – was he going to spew on the way, was his breathing going to get worse, was Ms 3 ok with us leaving her when it was night and we were in a strange place. Naturally, he didn’t spew, slept the whole way there and Ms 3 had an awesome time with the big girls! When we got to the ED, the staff was great. Saw us straight away and were lovely. They monitored him for a bit, gave him a dose of steroids and diagnosed bronchiolitis. Rest and fluids, and get another course of steroids for him.
Over the months since, we’ve been back to the GP at least five times with similar symptoms – particularly the wheezing and coughing. Each time leaving with redipred and ventolin, and sometimes antibiotics, but no diagnosis. When kids are under two, there is a reluctance to diagnose asthma, mainly because they can ‘grow’ out of it. Their airways are small and more sensitive to inflammation. So they wait a bit and see if the symptoms will ease off. That’s my understanding.
We had started considering going to a different GP, to push for a bit more assessment. He had turned 2 at the start of the year and it was still happening. Around March, he was wheezy AGAIN. Of course it came on later in the day and I only managed to get an appointment at about ten to five and with a different GP. I got in to the clinic, with Ms 3 and Mr 2 managing to climb all over every inch of the waiting room and the GP’s room. They cannot sit still when we are in a GP’s office!
Well, this one was awesome. She read the file, listened to what I was saying and assessed Mr 2’s presentation. “It is asthma” she pronounced and proceeded to instruct me to take him to the local emergency department for assessment. Wait, what? She was concerned that he needed a thorough assessement that she couldn’t do at this stage of the day. He needed to be monitored over a three hour period, to assess his breathing and his response to medication.
So off we went to the local emergency department. The Mister had just got home from work, so he met us there. Luckily, it went fairly well. We didn’t have to wait hours and hours. Saying that, whislt we were waiting, his breathing worsened and we heard that real rattling, whistle type breath for the first time. That wasn’t great.
He was assessed and monitored and sent home with ventolin and spacers and instructions to see the GP, having responded well to the ventolin. And that was how we found out our child has asthma. Since then, we have had an appointment with the nurse at the GP’s to develop an Asthma Management Plan and to learn a little more about asthma. That appointment really bought home to me how serious asthma is. We don’t have it in our family and neither does The Mister. So I’ve never really been exposed to it. The nurse made it clear that it can and does kill children when not managed properly. Scared the bejeesus out of me. So now he is on preventer medication, morning and night, with the plan to reassess once we are through winter. For Mr 2, coughs and colds appear to be a trigger, so winter can be a difficult period. And we carry ventolin, spacer and mask with us all the time, in case an attack flares up.
Luckily, the younger kids are when they’re first diagnosed, the more likely they seem to grow out of it. Fingers crossed that happens for us too. He’s been travelling well so far through winter, with only a few episodes of needing ventolin, usually when he has had a particularly severe cold/cough.
Did you know there is an Asthma First Aid Plan? I didn’t, I had no idea. Click through if you are interested in knowing more about it. It’s simple and straight forward, and good to know if you’re with someone who appears to be having an attack.
How about you? Do you or your child have asthma? Was it a surprise, or does it run in your family? Let me know, I’d be keen to hear (read!) your experience.
Here are some more links you may find useful:
- The Asthma Buddy App – great for slightly older kids learning to manage their asthma.
- The National Asthma Council Australia – lots of information for those with asthma, or caring for someone with asthma, for professionals and for media.
- Asthma Australia – again, has lots of information and links to state/territory specific sites.