Tuesday, 27 November 2012

My rant on Bebi Juice for Infants

There have been two things being marketed recently and the technique to snag consumers has been driving me crazy. When I look at these items and their advertisements  I get this little red ball in my belly which usually travels up and explodes out of my mouth in one big rant about how ridiculous and appalling these marketing techniques are. My husband nods his head, and continues reading the paper when this happens...

Today I give you...
Bebi Juice for Infants: One morning I was sipping my cuppa and half tuning into Sunrise as per usual, and that doctor, Gina-somebody was talking about the amount of sugar in juices and soft drinks and how harmful they can be for children. Then she said, and I QUOTE: "In fact, water and milk is the only thing children need". Fantastic. Good information. Very true. Then along came The Morning Show and lo and behold, what are they advertising? This monstrosity of a product....


I watched in shock as they sold it as 'convenient' 'sterile' and 'healthy'. And don't forget that word that suddenly makes everything good for you, 'organic'. What is going on here!? It's juice with a TEAT on the end! I couldn't believe it. It's aimed at children 6 months and over. I popped onto their Facebook page where many people were attacking the company and the product, but there were others defending it. They were saying it's so diluted that there's hardly any juice in it, and that their baby just loves the flavour.

Here's an idea: A baby doesn't know sugar until you give them sugar. They have no idea that this thing exists until you give it to them, and if you're going to start that young, you will be in for a treat in a few years time.

I have taken away children's water bottles from their desk because they are filled with Coke. Yes, I'm talking about 5 and 6 year olds, working at their tables, building up their knowledge and expanding that beautiful mind of theirs, all while sucking on something that's packed with sugar and a ridiculous amount of invisible chemicals. It's a disturbing fact. There are people out there that think this is OK. That a product like this was even allowed to be on the market, is a real concern.

Juice for children, sure. Juice for infants? Are you kidding me.

I'm a believer in giving children an education on food. I don't believe in completely banning 'junk food'. They have to live in the world. But it's all about teaching them what's good for you, and what's a treat. So as an adult they have an understanding of what they are eating and can live within a balanced diet. A child at a mere 6 months can't understand this. And their beautiful, fresh, erupting teeth aren't going to understand either I'm afraid, as they are blasted with a wash of sugar. Oh, but wait, it's organic.

PS. They've now removed their Facebook Page. I wonder why.

Rant over - stay tuned for product 2. Have you seen this on the shelves? What's your take on it?

Monday, 26 November 2012

Three Countries, Two Recipes and a dash of Christmas and Baker's Delight!

Brought to you by Baker's Delight...

On Sunday, I popped into Baker's Delight to pick up some goodies for a few Christmas posts I have coming up. The lady went into the back to get them for me and walked out with two shopping bags laden with Christmas goodies...then she reached behind her and said "Oh and these" and out come a beautiful loaf of bread and two giant French Bread Sticks.

Immediately my brain started ticking with ideas and when I got in the car I came up with a few recipes so I could use those sticks up. I resisted the urge to munch on them (I hadn't had lunch and the car smelt bready amazing! Yes, bready) and when I came home I was able to use them without even going to the supermarket.

In case you didn't know, I'm Egyptian but I was born in Australia and I have an Australian husband. I cook with love, passion and spices! But I can also make a mean parma. So I put together these three countries- France, Egypt and Australia to bring you some simple recipes which will hopefully give you a little inspiration this Christmas.

Garlic Bread
This is so simple! It's perfect as a little appetiser before the main course or to serve with the main meal. I can see it being used to mop up all that beautiful gravy off a plate at Christmas!


















Ingredients
1. French Stick from Baker's Delight
2. Margarine or softened butter
3. Italian Herbs
4. Minced Garlic (fresh or jar)

Directions
1. Slice French Stick into thick, even pieces
2. Spread butter/margarine on each slice
3. Sprinkle Italian Herbs onto bread
4. Place on baking paper and grill until brown



Dukkah

My mum used to make this and whole house would smell of it. She would store it in a large jar and my brother would eat it in a sandwich. Which was very weird to me. I didn't understand how good it was until I had it when I was older, served like below, with a glass of wine. You can add all sorts of things, including hazelnuts, but I kept mine simple.

Ingredients
3 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
A pinch of salt
A pinch of peppercorns
French stick, olive oil and balsamic vinegar to serve

Directions


1. Brown sesame seeds with a small amount of olive oil
2. Add all the ingredients to a mortar and pestle or blender
3. Grind until coriander and peppercorn seeds are finely crushed 
4. Taste and season to your liking with more salt or pepper

Serve with chopped bread, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Yum!












Link-up for IBOT with Jess at Essentially Jess




Friday, 23 November 2012

There's only one thing that's as a good as a holiday...

A holiday!

I hate the phrase "A change is as good as a holiday". It's not!
I get changed in the morning - Good as a holiday? No.
I might change what I have for breakfast -
No holiday
Change the sheets? No pleasure there

Perhaps I make a big change and move some furniture around or get a haircut? Still, doesn't cut it (pardon the pun).


                                Image Source

I could go on, but I won't. It's obvious what I'm getting at here. Living in a small country town makes me a little stir-crazy. I have always felt the need to have a little escape a couple of times a year. My husband and I love staying in Victoria. It's cheaper and there's always somewhere we haven't been yet. We've had weekends away at The Dandenongs, Halls Gap, Apollo Bay, St Kilda and the Mornington Peninsula. And there's still plenty of spots we are yet to visit.

We haven't been on a weekend away since the little man was a few months old. And when you live an hour and a half away from anything, and I mean anything, your brain starts to long for a change, whether that be a nature change, sea change, shopping change, culinary change - whatever. You just end up needing to step away from the place where anonymity cannot exist and you've pretty much seen every corner of every street.

So our next visit is Big4 Bellarine in a few weeks time. Especially excited for more reasons than what's above. Here's why.

When I first 'met' Sophie Bone via Twitter from Big 4 on the Bellarine Peninsula, I was but a very small fish. I still am. But she seemed friendly so I asked her some questions about blogging as she seemed to support the blogger world. "How about you give me a call?" she wrote in a message. I was beside myself. Before the call, I made sure Tom had lunch, we were sitting outside and I had a pen and paper all teed up. I was nervous as all hell, but once we started talking that just went away and I got tonnes of advice from her which has now been absolutely invaluable, including getting rid of my egg on Twitter! When she invited us to come and check out her place, I couldn't believe my ears. Me? I have not even 100 followers on my Blog's Facebook page, and I'm an EGG! Seriously!?

                                                          

This used to be me.

Time passed as life got busy and now finally we have locked in a date. When I received the confirmation email from Sophie, I thought for sure this place is going to be unreal. When I think of Big4, I think Caravan Park, and this is so not that. Sophie offers in her confirmation email a lasagne in your fridge when you arrive and she suggests doing your grocery shopping online and having it delivered straight to your accommodation. She also reminds you not to forget to pack your shorts for the indoor, heated pool. And oh yeah, there's massages on-site too.

Um, Caravan Park? I think not! Can't wait to meet this amazing business mum in the flesh and check out her digs! :D

Thursday, 22 November 2012

On the 12th Day of Christmas, School of Mum gave to me...EVERYTHING!

This enormous giveaway has ended! It was a hard decision, but with careful judging with some of the businesses below we found the winner. We couldn't go past this one! Thank you for all those who entered the Extravaganza. Also, a huge thank you to the businesses, brands and bloggers who took part or helped promote!

Congratulations Jenny Swift!



Yes that's right. Remember all those things I've given away over the last 10 days? Let me refresh your memory...

1. Engraved Puzzle Link by Oh My Giddy Aunt 
2. A Modern Woman's Guide to A Natural and Empowering Birth by Katrina Zaslavsky
3. Touch Magic Rockin Guitar by Leap Frog
4. Christmas Bandana Bibs by While She Was Sleeping
5. 50 Shades of Blokes Trilogy by LOL James
6. Sleepy Stories on CD by Dinosnores
7. Little Chefs Cupcake Maker by Kambrook
8. Nappy Wallet by Lullaby Creations
9. $25 voucher from the Perfect Kid's Party Shop
10. Personalised Alphabet Block from Pawmark


         These are the beautiful items that have been delivered to me for the giveaway. So lucky!

All of these can be yours! School of Mum will also be contributing with the addition of Free ad space for your blog/business on the Blog until the end of Christmas! Imagine getting 10 deliveries to your door of all these prizes. How awesome would that be?

THANK YOU!

I want to take the opportunity to thank ALL of these amazing businesses for their contributions. They have been fantastic to work with and we have enjoyed each and every one of these products in our household.

I also want to thank all the bloggers, businesses and people who have hit the like, share, tweet or comment button. These are the people that help School of Mum to grow as a community and help bring publicity to businesses - both big and small.

So here it is! THE BIG GIVEAWAY!



LIKE School of Mum. You can head over to the other businesses too and like them using the links above (and we would appreciate it very much!), but I'm not going to make you :-)

SHARE this post. Spread the word around! You just need to click the share button below.

SEND in a photo. Yes that's right, send in a photo that symbolises a Christmas tradition in your household. It can be funny, sweet, traditional, silly, sentimental or anything else (within reason). Captions, using any of the products/brands above or speech bubbles are a great idea too. So get your creative Santa hat on and get cracking! :-)

You can send it using the app below

 or email to schoolofmum@gmail.com

Please remember it is NOT based on votes, it will be judged by myself an
d a few of the businesses involved. Feel free to attract voters. We will take it into consideration, but in the end the choice will be that of the judges. Thank you!


Here’s the fine print:
* Entry is open to Australian folk only (sorry!)
Winner will be posted on the Blog ONLY.
* One entry per person
* A valid email must be provided WITH THE PHOTO so we can contact you if you are a winner.
* Entries close 9pm 2nd December, 2012
Winner has 3 days to respond before another is chosen.

School of Mum will not consider unlawful, harassing, defamatory, abusive, threatening, harmful, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, racially offensive, contain objectionable content or are otherwise inappropriate and they will be deemed invalid and rejected.* Each entry  must be an original artistic work of the entrant that does not infringe the rights of any third party, including but not limited to, copyright, trademarks, trade secrets, privacy, publicity, personal or proprietary rights.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

GIVEAWAY - Personalised Alphabet block from Pawmark

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED! CONGRATULATIONS mega05@hotmail.com

Thanks for entering everyone!

The best thing about networking is that one awesome business lady will lead you to another awesome business lady.


Brooke, from Pawmark, creates handmade products, including cards, fabric blocks and other children's items.

She decided to start creating handmade greeting cards when she went to the Newsagent and spent hours and hours reading all the cards to find the perfect cards for several family and friends. Only to walk out with not much change from $50 and deflated because my cards just weren't right.


After that Brooke decided that a handmade gift really compliments a handmade card (of course!) and started making her own gifts.
The personalised fabric blocks are made from all new quality cotton fabric and machine stitched using the smallest possible stitch to ensure these toys meet safety standards and filled with polyester fill. If bought locally they will be wrapped in tissue paper and placed in a brown gift bag; ready to give to a special little one in your life.

I have always wanted one these for my little man. Anything that helps develop his knowledge of knowing his own name is a winner for me. And babies love turning things in their hands over and over. The texture on the stitching encourages bubs to run their fingers over the letters. The tags are of course handy! I have so many toys with tags on them and now that Tom is no longer suited to staying on a mat and watching them dangling, they can sit on his fabric block and come with us in the car, house or anywhere!




GIVEAWAY! - Want to win a personalised,  handmade fabric for you or a friend? It's Easy! Please remember there can only be a maximum of 6 letters on the block.


1. COMMENT below – Tell us who you think would benefit from this gorgeous fabric block

2. LIKE School of Mum and Pawmark

3. SHARE this post on Facebook or Twitter with your friends – By Clicking Share below and either Facebook or Twitter. It helps if you tag us in your entry too.

Too easy! The winner will be someone who has done all of the above and has a creative answer will win! So get entering. Christmas is just around the corner!

Here’s the fine print:
* Entry is open to Australian folk only (sorry!)
Winner will be posted on the Blog ONLY.
* One entry per person
* A valid email must be provided in the comment so we can contact you if you are a winner.
* Entries close 9pm 22nd November, 2012
Winner has 3 days to respond before another is chosen.

Monday, 19 November 2012

GIVEAWAY - A Perfect Kid's Party - Jungle Style

This giveaway has ended! Congratulations Lisa Wood! Thanks for all the entered!

In all the whirlwind of giveaways (and yes, this is one too) I haven't had a chance to write about my beautiful little man's 1st birthday!

We had a Jungle Theme - That's what his room is set up as so it seemed fitting to continue on with that theme.

The Perfect Kid's Party Shop offered to give us a hand and how could I refuse! With Michelle's help, we were able to set up a party table for the kids that looked like this...

Table Runner, Plates, Cups, Napkins, Cupcake Stand, Foil decorations provided by Perfect Kid's Party Shop!

While the photos don't do them justice, the swirls hanging from the ceiling looked amazing!


This look was created so easily with the perfect package put together by the Perfect Kid's Party Shop. The kids were able to scoop popcorn into their buckets and munch while they played and the plates were perfect to have when the finger food and cake came around! One simple little cupcake stand and some green cupcakes later and the table was complete!

Paper bags and stickers provided by Perfect Kids Party Shop!

The fun didn't stop there though! These goodie bags were perfect for the kids! I downloaded a simple zebra border, sticky tape at the bottom and a jungle sticker to seal - So easy and looked so effective! 




For the older children I put together these little 'busy' bags. They were full of crayons, colouring in activities and other little printables. They then took them home and hopefully it kept them busy on the car trip.

Also, a GORGEOUS cake made by my very talented friend and Perfect Kid's Party Shop candles meant the cake looked like this:


Cake by Kellie Mudgeway - Candles from Perfect Kid's Party Shop!

And well, the rest of the party? It went something like this...




And now there's an awesome GIVEAWAY from Perfect Kids Party Shop! You can win a $25 voucher to spend on all the awesome supplies! So check out the website and enter today!

All you need to do is...

1. COMMENT below – Tell us a what your perfect kid's party would be!


3. SHARE this post on Facebook or Twitter with your friends – By Clicking Share below and either Facebook or Twitter. It helps if you tag us in your entry too.

Too easy! The winner will be someone who has done all of the above and has a creative answer will win! So get entering. Christmas is just around the corner!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

GIVEAWAY: Nappy Wallet - Lullaby Creations

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED! CONGRATULATIONS BROOKE! Thanks for entering everyone :-)

When I first got to know Renee to run her first giveaway, it seemed she was really just starting out. I was amazed by the quality and how durable Tom's Santa Sack was. I could see that this was a business that could go places!

I've been keeping an eye on Lullaby Creations' Facebook page and Renee's products continue to blossom! She has some absolutely gorgeous ideas and products available, and so of course, her business continues to rise and is sure to be a great success!

So I was pretty excited when Renee told me she would like to send me one of her latest products. I immediately opted for the 'jungle theme' as my little man is all things jungle!

When it arrived it was no different from the Santa Sack - Quality material and durable. The first thing I noticed was how nice and wide it was. This isn't one of those nappy wallets that won't be used because you can't fit anything in.

Secondly the detail in the stitching and the inside of the pocket are so cute. Such a great touch!


 


The change mat looks easy to wipe down (though I haven't tried that yet) but the best thing is - it can all just go in the wash anyway!

I'm loving some of Renee's most recent products for sale. Check them out:


Renee has a Facebook page and a new Website. She also frequents markets including the Gisborne market and Williamstown market in Victoria.

GIVEAWAY - Want to win a handmade nappy wallet with a choice of fabric for you or a friend? It's easy.


1. COMMENT below – Tell us a brief nappy story from your house!


3. SHARE this post on Facebook or Twitter with your friends – By Clicking Share below and either Facebook or Twitter. It helps if you tag us in your entry too.

Too easy! The winner will be someone who has done all of the above and has a creative answer will win! So get entering. Christmas is just around the corner!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

PANDA - It's not all black and white

It's Post Natal Depression Awareness Week and as a blogger, every now and again you're given the opportunity to write about something that really matters. When I was sent the email about Post Natal Depression Awareness (PANDA) I started reflecting on my own thoughts and ideas about Pre and Post Natal Depression.

Did I have it? No. Did I always know I didn't have it? No. Here's my story...

When I discovered I was pregnant I didn't know what to feel. I knew this was the next step in my life. That this is naturally where my life should be headed, but I was more scared than anything else.

When morning sickness set in, I had no idea what I was in for. I spent weeks running out of a classroom to meet and greet the staffroom toilet and wash my face, silently wishing the bloodshot look in my eyes from crying would disappear. Often, I couldn't get myself out of bed. I took a lot of time off work and I spent days on end crying. Crying because I felt guilty for taking time off, crying because I felt sick, crying because I was doubting whether I could go through with it. I didn't know how long the morning sickness would last. I was scared of being that way, forever. I started to wonder whether I had Pre Natal Depression. I googled. But I spoke to no-one.

My hormones were like waves in an ocean though, and before long, the tide was down, and those feel-good hormones started to take over as the morning sickness dissipated. I was pregnant. I was woman. And I felt good.

Then the waves started to get pretty high again. I was tired. Exhausted. I was having difficulty going to work each day. I nearly passed out in front of a parent. There's that guilt again. Feeling guilty that I couldn't handle my work load. I swallowed my pride and spoke to my boss and a lighter load was given to me until I was ready to take my leave. I was grateful and things started to be OK. We were moving into our new home. A baby was on its way. Small waves of excitement entered my heart as I saw my little man grooving on my obstetrician's ultrasound screen.

Eventually, the day came and baby was here. I was tired but I was content. But again, I didn't know what I was in for. He was 9 pound 4. Born hungry. I was exhausted and had no milk. While other babies snoozed during the night, waking to feed and sleeping again, my baby was screaming in hunger. I didn't know it was hunger at the time. I buzzed for nurses who paced the halls with him while they urged me to get some sleep.

Eventually it was discovered that he was indeed, hungry. He had lost more than 10% of his birth weight. I finally let loose. The tears rolled. The one thing I needed to do - nourish my baby, and already I was failing. I felt like the Earth was falling out from underneath me. I pretended. People came to visit. Too many people. I smiled. I chatted. Then they left and I cried and cried. I started to hear nurses talking to my obstetrician outside the door. They were talking in hushed voices and I knew there was some concern but when my obstetrician came into talk to me, I told her I would be OK. It would be OK.

We went home and mostly things were not OK. I cried a lot. And I didn't know again. Is this baby blues? Hormones? Depression? All of it? I googled, but again, I spoke to no-one.

And then finally my milk came in, but my baby was colicky. For hours on end my husband and I would rock him. Sometimes my husband wasn't home and I would rock him for up to 5 hours, until both baby and I cried ourselves into an exhaustive sleep.

External pressures started to come in. Having a baby so close to Christmas meant engagements left, right and centre. All of a sudden expectations of having to appear at these engagements, happy and smiling and not at all ridiculously exhausted sent me spiralling into anger and frustration. I just wanted to crawl into my bubble that was my baby and sleep.

Time passed, and things started to ebb and flow. Sometimes they were good, other times they weren't. I cried less and smiled more. I thought to myself that maybe it was just tiredness and hormones. There was also even a sweet 3 months or so where my baby started to sleep a bit better.

That didn't last though and he got heavy and continued to rely on being rocked while pacing the room for every wake. At 9 months old we headed to sleep school. The admissions nurse asked me if I was feeling depressed and I burst into tears. Finally I spoke to someone.

When we got there, they assessed me. I was told that I didn't have depression, but a high level of anxiety and  I was clearly exhausted. I wasn't surprised. But deep down, I was so relieved that this was not Depression. Over the days that I was at Sleep School I got to know some of the mums there who were admitted for Post Natal Depression, and all I could think was how strong they were to ask for help. And why had it taken me this long?

I didn't want the label.
I thought if I was told I was depressed, it would just make me more depressed.
I thought maybe I should just suck it up and get on with it.
I thought so many people have had worse. I had a supportive husband and a beautiful, healthy baby.
I thought Google was enough.
I didn't want to be put on medication

I don't think I had depression. When the baby was happy I was happy. When I was rested, I was good. But I wish I had tried to seek the confirmation early on. I wish I had reached out for support instead of fearing that I would be jumped on and have medication shoved down my throat.


Babies and giving birth changes your entire physical, emotional and spiritual existence. It's not all black and white. The best thing is, if in doubt, reach out - Talk to a professional or call for help. I wish I had.

PANDA, the Post and Ante Natal Depression Association, are the only national organisation in Australia that raises awareness of depression and anxiety during pregnancy and after birth and provide ongoing support services to families to assist in their recovery. 

I'm opening up my Blog with many others. If you have a story to share. Please do.

GIVEAWAY - A little bit of Christmas and Cupcakes By Kambrook

This giveaway has ended! Congratulations babycakequeen! Please check your email. For everyone else there is ONE more opportunity to win a cupcake maker...stay tuned for the mega announcement on Day 12 of the Giveaway :-)

I say it a million times but I love to cook. Some people show love through presents, affection or words. Me? I cook up giant feasts that have my love injected into every dish.

So when Kambrook asked me to review the Little Chefs Cupcake Maker of course I said "yes". You might also remember my post about how much learning is gained from children cooking.

The Little Chefs Cupcake Maker is aimed, of course at getting those beautiful little people into the kitchen. Here's what I loved about it:

It's compact: Immediately I noticed how cute and tiny this appliance is! Nobody wants just another appliance shoved in the cupboard. This can fit perfectly on any bench.

It's fast: The appliance heats up very quickly and cupcakes are ready in 7 minutes! Mine took a little longer (9 minutes) because I was using patty pans.

It's easy to clean: Even though batter ran everywhere as I poured it into the patty pans, I was able to just slide that off with my finger when the cupcakes were cooked. No nasty scrubbing whatsoever!

You can get creative: I know cake pops and so on are the latest 'rage' at the moment. But I really love the fact that you can really experiment with this cupcake maker. I've already decided to try some bite sized savoury muffins that I can pop in the freezer to pull out at lunch times for Tom!

So here's the recipe for these little guys. The recipe came from the Kambrook book that comes with the Cupcake Maker. The recipe, like the others, is not overly sweet, or sugary. I did reduce the amount of icing sugar in the cream cheese just to reduce the sugar content even further for my little man.

So honestly, I'm trying to think of improvements or something I didn't like, and I can't. I think this would make an awesome Christmas gift! I can think of a few nieces and nephews that would love to get their chef on and try this baby out!

Banana and Coconut Christmas Cupcakes
Makes 21 mini cupcakes
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup coconut, shredded
1/2 cup banana, diced
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1x 59g egg, lightly whisked
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon canola oil

Icing
100g Cream Cheese
2 teaspoons milk, warmed
1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
1/2 cup shredded coconut
Peppermint leaves and red candy to decorate

STEPS
1. Preheat the cupcake maker until the ready light switches on
2. In a bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and coconut until combined

3. Create a well in the centre and add the banana, vanilla, egg, milk and oil.


4. Fold ingredients until combined.

5. Spoon a tablespoon of cupcake mixture into each mini cupcake patty pan.
6. Close the lid and cook for 9 minutes.
7. Turn the mini cupcakes out onto a cake rack and cool

Icing and Decorating
1. To make the icing, mix the cheese, milk and icing sugar until combined. Ice cupcakes, top with coconut, two halves of spearmint leaves and 2 red candies and serve.








GIVEAWAY! You can win a Kambrook Little Chefs Angel Cakes Cupcake Maker too! Just...

LIKE School of Mum and Kambrook
SHARE this post on Facebook or Twitter using the buttons below. Tagging helps!
COMMENT: In 25 words or less share who/how someone might get their 'chef on' with this cupcake maker at your house!
Make SURE YOU LEAVE AN EMAIL ADDRESS so we can contact you if you win.

The person who has completed all of the above and has the most creative answer will win!
Here’s the fine print:
* Entry is open to Australian folk only (sorry!)
Winner will be posted on the Blog ONLY.
* One entry per person
* A valid email must be provided in the comment so we can contact you if you are a winner.
* Entries close 9pm 19th November, 2012
Winner has 3 days to respond before another is chosen.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Sleep Tips Saturday and GIVEAWAY - Dinosnores

This GIVEAWAY has ended! Congratulations MichVee! Please check your email. For everyone else there's still some opportunity in the remainder of the Christmas extravaganza! Thanks for entering!

Now you all know I have a baby who sleeps through the night and is easily relaxed.

.....THE ABOVE SENTENCE IS A COMPLETE LIE!

In fact, it's the complete opposite. Tom's paediatrician described him as 'hyper-alert' and he is definitely that. While he is now sleeping better thanks to our osteopath visits, he can still take hours and hours to wind down  so that he can get to sleep. Everything is too exciting. What's that on the wall? I wonder if I can reach for that thing over there? And did you hear the dog bark? I'm pretty sure these are all the things going through his head as he looks around in a million directions and moves around at the speed of light when he is supposed to be sleeping.

Dinosnores offers a possible solution to a child like this. Relaxtion and meditation for kids.

These CDs are designed by child and language experts and contain stories and soundscapes to encourage relaxation and visualisation. The sounds in the background are calming and the narrator talks in a soothing, soft way.

I really like that the background sounds blend in with the story and drown out household noise at the same time. It helps for a distracted child such as mine.

I also like that the CD runs for 30 minutes and the story starts to wash away as the soundscape takes over - leading (hopefully) into a blissful sleep.

The teacher in me really likes the fact that the stories contain bite sizes bits of fact that the child is more than likely going to learn when hearing it night after night and the instructions are simple and specific.

So you might want to know...is my little guy falling asleep listening to this? No. But he is 12 months old and for me that just isn't going to happen. I do put it on to help him wind down in his cot though, before I come in and feed him etc. He gets enchanted by the voices.

I think for all ages this is helpful, especially when used early on. I'd be keen on trying out the range for school-aged kids! It could be fantastic for ALL children but especially those with special needs. I think learning to 'stop', 'breathe' and lay still, really is a learned skill. Not even I am good at it. Meditation can reduce stress, anxiety and lead to a more peaceful existence. Who doesn't want that?

You can buy Dinosnores CDs here
And you can listen to some samples here


GIVEAWAY - Do you want to WIN the Kitten Sleepy Story and Forest Night sleep soundscapes by Dinosnores? You can! Just follow the steps...



SHARE this post on Facebook or Twitter using the buttons below. Tagging helps!
COMMENT: In 25 words or less share what you do to relax to sleep
Make SURE YOU LEAVE AN EMAIL ADDRESS so we can contact you if you win.

The person who has completed all of the above and has the most creative answer will win!
Here’s the fine print:
* Entry is open to Australian folk only (sorry!)
Winner will be posted on the Blog ONLY.
* One entry per person
* A valid email must be provided in the comment so we can contact you if you are a winner.
* Entries close 9pm 17th November, 2012
* Winner has 3 days to respond before another is chosen.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

50 Shades of Blokes - GIVEAWAY

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED! CONGRATULATIONS EFFIE! Stay tuned everyone! There's another opportunity to win this trilogy coming up! 



Guest Post by the husband - Steve East


One day, as I was walking through a department store, I came across a display of that book which it seems every lady, sister, mother, grandmother and Aunty twice removed have been reading, Fifty Shades of Grey.  I was a little curious so I decided to pick it up, open to a random page and have a quick read.  Well...what I read was like something from the Scout’s Handbook of Knot Tying... and they weren't using ropes. I put it back down and haven’t given it much thought since.
Until now... 

The other day Ange handed me a book and asked me to review it for her Blog.  She told me that it was the bloke’s version of '50 shades' titled Fifty Shelves of Grey.  I knew I was onto something good when I read the author’s (L.O.L James, of course!) thank you at the beginning.  When someone thanks The Todd from TV show Scrubs, who is the inventor of the 'I’d Double Her Entendre High Five', you know exactly what you’re going to get.

The ‘story’ revolves around two characters; Christina Grey- a well to do home owner whose place has fallen into quite a state of disrepair; and Dave Woode, the Handyman whom Christina has hired to fix her, sorry, the house up.

I read each page with that naughty schoolboy grin and every so often I couldn’t help but release a hearty chuckle as the lonely Christina endeavoured time and time again to seduce the ever helpful and innocent Dave using the language she thinks he might understand- good ol’ DIY jargon.  Needless to say there are many jokes referring to fixing up her plumbing and working on her backdoor and as such this book may not be up everyone’s alley.  But if you like a good double entendre about screws, butts and hot wax then this book could be your perfect Christmas gift.

What’s more it’s slim so that it can fit neatly in an inside pocket of a tool bag. No, I really mean an actual tool bag.

Just like the original this parody has spawned two sequels: Fifty Spades of Grey  for those who enjoy getting a little dirty in the garden; and Fifty Shades of Grass for the sporty bloke who knows the importance of having good ball handling skills.

Fifty Shelves of Grey is perfect for the bloke on the go.  Including an interruption or two, I had it finished in about 45 minutes.  You don’t have to worry about unimportant things such as character or plot development.  Each page is an episode unto itself and the characters are set in stone.  Oh, and don’t worry if you don’t have a thorough knowledge of the DIY language, Dave is quite a patient teacher, just ask Ms. Grey.

Fifty Shades- Erotica for classy blokes.  Enjoy!

The books are available online at www.bigskypublishing.com.au (or any online bookstores), nationally in department and bookstores, Ebooks online on amazon and Ibookstores.

You can also check out the author chatting with Kochie recently on Sunrise


GIVEAWAY: Want to WIN this Trilogy for your man?? Well, my husband has requested that you do the following:

SHARE this post on Facebook or Twitter using the buttons below. Tagging helps!
COMMENT: In 50 words or less share a time where your partner just didn't 'get it' (Keep it clean(ish) though folks) Make SURE YOU LEAVE AN EMAIL ADDRESS so we can contact you if you win.

The person who has completed all of the above and has the most creative answer will win!
Here’s the fine print:
* Entry is open to Australian folk only (sorry!)
Winner will be posted on the Blog ONLY.
* One entry per person
* A valid email must be provided in the comment so we can contact you if you are a winner.
* Entries close 9pm 16th November, 2012
* Winner has 3 days to respond before another is chosen.



Wednesday, 14 November 2012

GIVEAWAY - While She Was Sleeping Christmas Bibs!

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED: CONGRATULATIONS JENNY! Please Check your email. Thanks for entering everyone. Plenty of opportunities coming up!

A little while ago I featured my first little Giveaway by Jenya from While She Was Sleeping which you can see here.

These days Jenya can be found at Bendigo markets, on Etsy and on of course, Facebook.

There is something very special about Jenya's unique eye for design and style. I'm always telling her how much I love, love LOVE her girl's dresses. So cute, vintage looking and in beautiful colours!




Another thing I love about Jenya is how humble she is about her talent! Jenya is easing her way into the business world, and it's been amazing watching her skills and talents grow as her hobby grows. I know for a fact that she just loves creating and getting satisfaction from pleasing others and creating custom designs.



We were lucky enough to get these bandana bibs from While She Was Sleeping and boy are they CUTE! They are cotton and terry cloth. I've been trying to decide how to use them. I think they would be so cute to use for Christmas Card photos! But of course, great bibs too! They don't get in the way like giant bibs do, I often find my little guy bringing the entire bib to his mouth as he raises food into his mouth. That doesn't happen with these though!





SO...Here it is! The next GIVEAWAY for the 12 Days of Christmas Extravaganza. You can WIN these handmade bibs too. All you have to do is:

SHARE this post on Facebook or Twitter using the buttons below. Tagging helps!
COMMENT: In 25 words or less tell us who in your family might be wearing these!
Make SURE YOU LEAVE AN EMAIL ADDRESS so we can contact you if you win.

The person who has completed all of the above and has the most creative answer will win!
Here’s the fine print:
* Entry is open to Australian folk only (sorry!)
Winner will be posted on the Blog ONLY.
* One entry per person
* A valid email must be provided in the comment so we can contact you if you are a winner.
* Entries close 9pm 15th November, 2012
* Winner has 3 days to respond before another is chosen.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

12 DAYS of GIVEAWAYS - Touch Magic Rockin' Guitar

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. CONGRATULATIONS MELISSA! And thanks to everyone who entered! Plenty more opportunity during this Christmas Extravaganza so check it out!

We have been so lucky to try out the Touch Magic Rockin' Guitar by Leapfrog. After the success we have had with Scout the LapPup (he comes with us everywhere!) and the Alphabet Learning Bus, Tom was more than happy to get rockin' with this guitar!

I love the technology that LeapFrog are taking on board here. The guitar is a smooth surface, and every touch, or swipe brings the toy to life in one way or another.

The guitar has 10 built in songs, including popular ones like "If you're happy and you know it" and the "ABC" song. If you 'strum' the guitar really fast it increases the speed of the singing. So cute! Tom was rocking back and forth to the music and having a blast.

It encourages roleplay and who wouldn't love a bit of rockin' and rollin? Even the hubby couldn't resist whipping out his Ramones t-shirt and getting a bit rock n' roll...




And it gives you some applause too so total satisfaction there!

The Touch Magic Guitar is geared to ages 3 years + and that's definitely where it would be most beneficial. However, at 12 months old, Tom is still enjoying it by learning that different buttons do different things and of course, rocking to the music! He will grow into being able to understand the prompts given to him like "Touch the song button to play a song, then start strumming the guitar"




Let's face it...the kid looks like a budding rockstar already!
GIVEAWAY: Want to win this awesome rockin' guitar by LeapFrog?

SHARE this post on Facebook or Twitter using the buttons below. Tagging helps!
COMMENT: In 25 words or less tell us who in your family would benefit from the Touch Magic Rockin Guitar. Make SURE YOU LEAVE AN EMAIL ADDRESS so we can contact you if you win.

The person who has completed all of the above and has the most creative answer will win!
Here’s the fine print:
* Entry is open to Australian folk only (sorry!)
* Winner will be posted on the Blog ONLY.
* One entry per person
* A valid email must be provided in the comment so we can contact you if you are a winner.
* Entries close 9pm 14th November, 2012
* Winner has 3 days to respond before another is chosen.