May 312014
 

With the Queen’s Birthday public holiday just a week away I can’t help but think back to the same special day two years ago, this yearly event will forever hold a special place in my heart as it was on this public holiday that I discovered I was pregnant with baby no.4, our little Sybil. After celebrating with my hubby and doing another series of pregnancy tests just to be sure I headed out to the shop.

Blackmores Pregnancy

Some people celebrate their pregnancy by buying something beautiful for the nursery, others go and pick a gorgeous newborn outfit, a sweet cuddly toy or even a pregnancy guide, for me the first stop is always the chemist. Just like for most (expecting) mothers for me pregnancy and a ‘pink bottle’ go hand in hand, during all my pregnancies and while breastfeeding I have religiously taken my Blackmores Pregnancy Vitamins and it always gave me peace of mind knowing I was doing the right thing for my (unborn) baby.

Blackmores PBG Australia’s leading natural health brand Blackmores has got pregnant and nursing mothers covered with their famous pink bottle, Blackmores NEW and improved Pregnancy & Breast-Feeding Gold ($63.95, 180 tablets). It’s as easy as a daily dose of two small vanilla flavoured capsules that contain 20 important nutrients for mother and baby including folic acid, iodine, DHA and vitamin D3. Did you know being low in vitamin D during pregnancy carries serious healthy risks like decreased birth weight, pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes?

Obviously we all know eating healthy is important but recent research has revealed that even with a healthy balanced diet many young Australian women are not achieving key nutrient levels recommended for a healthy pregnancy, quite a worry! A supplement that reflects current nutritional recommendations for pregnancy, like Blackmores Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Gold, could correct this and help you give your baby a great start in life.

Blackmores Pregnancy IronMany pregnant women are diagnosed with iron deficiency but luckily this common problem is easily corrected with 1 Blackmores Pregnancy Iron ($11.95, 30 tablets) tablet a day. During two of my pregnancies I was described iron supplements and as someone who is very prone to nausea and vomiting I can really appreciate the special low nausea, low constipation form of iron used in the Blackmores Pregnancy Iron.

Blackmores Conceive Well GoldAside from the well known Pregnancy & Breast-Feeding Gold capsules the Blackmores Pregnancy range includes several other fantastic products to support mamas-to-be in this special and very important time in their lives, e.g. Blackmores Folate, Blackmores I-Folic and Blackmores Morning Sickness Formula. For those women who are hoping to fall pregnant soon there is Blackmores Conceive Well ($40.95, 56 tablets), an easy way to provide your body with all the essential nutrients needed in preparation of, and in the early stages of, pregnancy.

To find out more about Blackmores, to locate a Blackmores retailer near you or to order online visit www.blackmores.com.au.

Britt SnugglesThanks to our lovely friends at Blackmores we have three fabulous Blackmores Mum & Bub Prize Packs (RRP $200 per pack) to give away. Each pack is filled with lots of great products for pregnancy and beyond: Blackmores NEW & Improved Pregnancy & Breast-Feeding Gold, Blackmores Pregnancy Iron, a Britt Snuggles Bear, Treasured Aromatica Belly & Body Balm and a carry bag. Get your entries in below for your chance to win.

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May 302014
 

When I fell pregnant with the twins I expected life to get pretty crazy but nothing in the world could have prepared me for those first six months. It was an exhausting, overwhelming and also special time of feeding around the clock, there were many days were I could hardly keep my eyes open and stayed in pyjamas all day long. I vividly remember the sound of two screaming babies waiting for their bottle which could never come fast enough, but as a tired mum you can only go so fast when it’s 2am!

Perfect PrepA few weeks ago I found myself unexpectedly with a tin of formula in my hand again, after months and months of worrying our paediatrician decided miss Sybbie (15 months old) really needed to put on weight so she has been prescribed Neocate to add extra calories to her very limited diet. With several bottles to be made up every day (and night) I figured it was the perfect opportunity to put the new Closer to Nature Perfect Prep™ machine to the test.

Most of you will know Closer to Nature® from its popular baby products: from breastfeeding to bottle feeding products, from soothers to nappy disposal systems, from cups to tableware and much more, they’ve got Australian families covered. Closer to Nature® is all about making a parent’s life easier with practical, innovative products and that’s exactly what the Closer to Nature Perfect Prep™ machine will do for bottle feeding parents.

Perfect Prep machineThe brand new Perfect Prep™ machine has been created with busy, sleep deprived parents (aren’t we all?) in mind. This super clever bottle preparation unit takes the guess work out of making your baby’s bottle. No more fussing with jugs of filtered water, messing around with boiled water that takes ages to cool down and carefully filling each bottle with the right amount, let the Perfect Prep™ do it for you!

Preparing a bottle feed sounds so simple but there is actually quite a bit involved, the Perfect Prep™ machine makes this process easier and combines three of those steps in one clever machine. The Perfect Prep™ machine:

  • Filters tap water to make it clean and safe for your baby
  • Warms the water to the correct feeding temperature in less than 2 minutes
  • Accurately dispenses the exact amount of water needed to make up your baby’s bottle
  • Bonus: Uses an initial ‘hot shot’ of water to kill bacteria that may be present in the formula powder

The three words that came to mind when I first saw the Perfect Prep™ machine were stylish, modern and compact, it was much smaller than I expected it to be (based on the pictures). The neutral white unit is very good looking and it will fit right in on your kitchen bench next to your coffee machine. I’ll be honest and admit that I am not a fan of appliances with lots of buttons, I prefer simple and straight forward so I was relieved to see the Perfect Prep only has one major button (plus three smaller ones that you don’t use that often) and an easy-to-use setting dial. All in all it is a great design for tired mothers, clumsy dads, grandparents and baby sitters.

Closer to Nature Perfect Prep

Before first use a cleaning cycle is required, after this only when the filter is replaced (the filter has a 150L capacity so not very often) or when unused for a while. The process takes just 10 minutes but it is a great way to familiarise yourself with the design and the way the different components go together. To prepare a bottle simply place a clean bottle under the outlet, set the setting dial to the right feed size (120ml-330ml) and press the start button. A small amount of hot water will be dispensed, a solid red light comes on and a double beep sounds.

Perfect Prep Step 1

Time to add your formula and shake the bottle, the hot water will kill bacteria that may have been hiding in the powder. You have two minutes to finish this first part, then it’s time to complete the second and final step. Place the bottle back under the outlet, press the start button again and the remainder of the water will be dispensed. Once finished a double beep will sound and a solid green light comes on, give your bottle a last shake and your baby’s feed is ready and at perfect temperature.

Perfect Prep Step 2

The Perfect Prep™ machine is fitted with lots of handy features e.g. an adjustable bottle platform so your bottle always sits close to the outlet no matter how small/tall your bottle is, a tank empty warning light so you know when it’s time to top up the tank, under the lid of the water tank you’ll find a handy oz vs ml conversion chart (different brands use different measurements) and much more. However what I love most is that you can control the unit with just one button, when you are tired, busy or have a grumpy baby on your arm this is a real sanity saver.

Two small notes: The Perfect Prep™ setting dial has 8 different feed sizes to choose from, starting at 120ml going up to 330ml with 30ml increments. This corresponds with the way the majority of baby formulas are prepared but on rare occasions a different water quantity may be required that cannot be selected on the setting dial. The beep sound is not very quiet which is good for sleepy parents but I do suggest keeping the unit in the kitchen so you don’t accidentally wake up other children while making up your baby’s feed.

At Closer to Nature® they understand that preparing your baby’s bottle isn’t always straight forward, which is why they have created the Perfect Prep™ machine. Specifically designed to make preparing bottles quicker and more accurate this clever device makes a fresh bottle at just the right serving temperature in less than 2 minutes so your baby’s bottle will be perfect every time. The Perfect Prep™ machine is designed to fit most bottle shapes and sizes. You can find the Perfect Prep™ machine (RRP $249.95) at Babies R Us stores across Australia and online at www.babiesrus.com.au.

For all the latest news and special promotions join the conversation on the Closer to Nature Facebook page or follow Closer to Nature on Twitter.

To find out more about Closer to Nature, to browse the range and to locate a stockist near you visit www.closertonaturebaby.com.au.

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May 292014
 

Penguin Australia

A little while ago I introduced you to a wonderful historical fiction book series called Our Australian Girl published by Penguin Books Australia. In Our Australian Girl we follow 10 Australian girls; growing up in different times and in different parts of Australia they all have their own story, their own challenges and their own adventures. What a great way to teach your daughters about Australia ‘in the olden days’! Last time I presented to you the wonderful Grace and Lina, today we’re welcoming Pearlie and Daisy to the Our Australian Girl fold:

Meet DaisyLet’s start with Daisy, a country girl who lives on a farm with her father and sister and loves every bit of it. It’s 1930 and as a result of the big stock market crash her father loses the farm, he has to look elsewhere for a job and in the mean while he sends the sisters to live with family in Melbourne. In Meet Daisy (RRP $14.99) we join Daisy and her sister as they embark on their very first train ride to the big, strange, scary city of Melbourne.

When the girls arrive in Melbourne they quickly discover that the city is not as glamourous as they thought it would be and their auntie is mean and far from welcoming. Weeks go by without a letter from their father, food is sparse, Aunty May is getting more horrible by the day and Daisy can’t find a job. As if life couldn’t get any worse the girls get separated when Aunty May throws Daisy out on the street, what is she going to do now?

Meet PearlieWe first Meet Pearlie (RRP $14.99) in 1941. Slowly but steadily the war between the United States of America and Japan is heating up and Darwin girl Pearlie can see the signs all around her: soldiers, fighter planes, the sound of guns. As always her adventurous friend Naoko Ito is tempting her with another exciting mission, this time they’re off to explore a mysterious cave on the beautiful Darwin shores.

The quiet, careful, animal loving Pearlie and confident, curious thrill seeker Naoko make a great team and when people accuse Naoko’s father of being a Japanese spy the two girls decide they have to find the real spy so they can clear the Ito family name. But that’s not as easy as it sounds and when Naoko and her family are being arrested Pearlie has to continue the task on her own…

I can’t wait to read what’s in store for Daisy and what will happen next in Pearlie’s hunt for the Japanese spy, stay tuned for the second book for both girls to find out.

To find out more about the Our Australian Girl series, to read all about the characters and to order your own Our Australian Girl books online visit www.ouraustraliangirl.com.au.

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Sales & Savings – Week 22

 Sales & Savings  Comments Off on Sales & Savings – Week 22
May 282014
 

Nana Clair’s Gifts
What? 40% off storewide
How? Prices as marked
When? Until June 1, 2014
Where? www.nanaclairsgifts.com.au

Barefoot MaternityBarefoot Maternity
What? Everything in store $35 per garment
How? Prices as marked
When? Until June 3, 2014
Where? www.barefootmaternity.com.au

WDYGTWhere Did You Get That?
What? 20% off storewide
How? Enter the code ‘HIPHIP-HOORAY’ at checkout
When? Until May 31, 2014
Where? www.wheredidyougetthat.com.au

EarlybirdsEarlybirds
What? 75% off Autumn Sale
How? Prices as marked
When? Limited time only
Where? www.earlybirds.com.au

Angelfish DragonflyAngelfish Dragonfly
What? Save up to 70% in the Sale category
How? Prices as marked
When? Limited time only
Where? www.angelfishdragonfly.com.au

Tinypeople
What? 25% off Munster Kids
How? Prices as marked
When? Until May 31, 2014
Where? www.tinypeople.com.au

Reading with Kids: Cheer or Chore?

 Mum  Comments Off on Reading with Kids: Cheer or Chore?
May 272014
 

Book Shelf

For as long as I can remember I have loved reading. As a child my parents took us to the library every Saturday where I picked six books and by the time the next Saturday came around I had read them all twice from cover to cover. As soon as I could ride my bike I went by myself, often visiting the library multiple times a week. When I was a teenager I would spend the whole weekend in bed reading and if I didn’t have a family to look after I would probably still do the same today.

Family Story Time

I always knew that when I would have children I would be doing lots of reading with them and with four little ones we spend countless hours reading every week. Because English is not my native language all this reading is not only good for the kids, it has always been (and still is) a learning process for me too. From looking at simple picture books with the baby and practising words with miss 3 to now reading longer stories out loud with the twins, as the children grow our reading ways do too.

Miss 3 relaxing with a book

Being able to read does not come easy to everyone and this is particularly obvious with our 5-year old twins. Even though they are the same age and have both been exposed to the same amount and same way of reading they are reading at completely different levels. Master 5 is reading well ahead of his peers and changes reading levels faster than the teacher can hand out certificates. He is reading independently, sounding out the letters, combining them to build words and sentences and he is always spotting words wherever we go. The teacher calls him a little sponge and he really is.

Reading Certificates

Then there is our little miss 5, I love watching her read with her index finger pointing at every word, her little tongue poking out in concentration, carefully making the sounds and trying her hardest to make sense of all these different letters. It’s hard work and very tiring after a long day at school, all she wants to do is curl up on my lap and just listening to me reading the story out loud to her and that’s okay too.

Miss 5 concentrating

I know that after a busy day, cooking dinner for your family, eating and cleaning up and then a quick bath the thought of practising sounds, doing sight words and reading several readers with each child may not be very enticing but I really want to encourage you: Every letter, every word, every sentence and every page you read aloud to your child, whether is with them or to them, matters!

A few reading tips from our wonderful teacher Mrs. T (and if you have great reading tips please share below, I’d love to hear them):

  • Choose a book that is age appropriate and a topic that your child is interested in
  • Find a quiet place to read without TV, radio or noisy siblings to distract them
  • Point at the words as you read, this will help your child to recognise words and follow sentences
  • If you notice that your child regularly has trouble concentrating try reading at a different time of the day
  • If your child is too tired to do the reading him/herself just read aloud to your child, he/she will still learn from it and it is a great way to relax and spend time together at the end of a busy day

Good luck and here’s to sparking a growing love for reading in every child!

ASG

Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) is a not-for-profit organisation and specialist education benefits provider who has supported over 509,000 children and their families to offset the cost of education But ASG is moving towards offering more than just education funds, they’re creating an ever-expanding suite of resources, online tools and guides – like the ‘Motivating children to learn’ e-guide – to support parents and nurture children in their educational journey so they can reach their full potential.

More articles regarding education issues, development, family members and parenting are available at www.asg.com.au/resources.

To find out more about ASG, to discover member benefits and to register your interest visit www.asg.com.au or call 1800 648 945.

ASG is also giving away a week-long, luxury family excursion and entry is FREE! For your chance to win enter here.

Save 20% storewide at Where Did You Get That?

 Sales & Savings, Style  Comments Off on Save 20% storewide at Where Did You Get That?
May 262014
 

WDYGT

Most people would say a six year old is only a newbie but when you are an (online) store turning six makes you almost a senior. This month Where Did You Get That? is celebrating its 6th birthday and they’re far from ready to retire. Over the past years Where Did You Get That? has established itself as a super stylish store that is always on trend, they stock some of the hippest brands from Australia and overseas and new products are arriving all the time. You can join in the birthday celebrations too with this excellent offer:

Enjoy 20% off the entire store at Where Did You Get That?, simply enter the code ‘HIPHIP-HOORAY’ at checkout. Be quick and stock up, this fantastic offer ends May 31, 2014.

Oishi-m Full of BeansMums all over the country are going gaga over Offspring baby Zoe (who is actually played by a set of twins) and her fabulous Oishi-m outfits, some of which you can find in store at Where Did You Get That?. For big fans this birthday sale is the perfect opportunity to scoop up some Osihi-m pieces at a reduced price. Designed right here in Australia Oishi-m has a huge cult following and all designs are limited edition, savings like this don’t come past often!

Contigo Runabout Lime GreenI myself will be jumping at the chance to buy some new Contigo drink bottles for the kids. The twins take theirs to school every day and often they get forgotten or need a wash, a few spares will come in very handy. Contigo bottles are durable, easy to use, leak-proof and dishwasher safe and they are available in a range of styles, sizes and colours. Remember to use the code ‘HIPHIP-HOORAY’ to save 20% on your whole order.

Claesen's Poodle SweaterReal bargain hunters can head straight to the Super Sale and Summer Sale categories. These sections are filled with the most amazing bargains with savings up to 88% and you can still use the birthday discount code for an additional 20% off, be quick and fill that basket! This funky Poodle Sweater by Claesen’s was originally $49.95, today it could be yours for a tiny $16. You have to be fast as with prices like this stock is sure to sell out fast.

To find out more about Where Did You Get That?, to browse the range and to order online visit www.wheredidyougetthat.com.au.

May 252014
 

The Body Shop at Home

I can hardly believe it but exactly two months from tomorrow we’ll finally leave on a long awaited holiday to The Netherlands to see my family. It has been two years since I have seen my parents, siblings, Opa, aunties, uncles, cousins and friends and none of them have even met our youngest daughter yet. I am sure we are going to have an amazing 5 weeks together and make lots of precious memories, the count down is on.

The tribe enjoying a walk in the forest

The tribe enjoying a walk in the forest

I can’t wait for the reunion at the airport, to introduce miss Sybbie to everyone, to hug my 91-year old grandfather, to play with my nieces, eat loads and loads of Dutch food and shop at a Dutch supermarket, to enjoy the beautiful Summer weather, visit the local markets, admire the Dutch scenery, talk Dutch from dusk till dawn, to swim in the North Sea and go for walks in the forest, to celebrate the kids’ birthdays with my family (for the first time ever) and so much more.

Just an ordinary Dutch supermarket (Oh how I miss my cheese!!)

Just an ordinary Dutch supermarket (Oh how I miss my cheese!!)

As you can imagine a big overseas holiday like this (for all six of us!) comes with a hefty price tag and we have to save up for our holiday for a few years. It’s worth every cent of it and the memories last a life time but it does take a fair bit of budgeting and self control, luckily I am very good at bargain shopping and the blog helps out a lot. The cost of a web domain, website hosting and newsletter service are not that high and the rest is my own time, it makes me feel so happy and proud when I can help with our savings. It’s a great example of how a small investment, a bit (or in my case a lot) of your time and a product you love can help you save up for something special.

Having fun in Opa and Oma's garden

Having fun in Opa and Oma’s garden

At The Body Shop At Home they understand this too and this month they have made it even easier for you to start saving for your big dream. For a limited time only if you join the team at The Body Shop At Home as a new consultant you can get your hands on the $670 Lifestyle Kit for just $199, that’s a huge saving of more than 70%! This well priced kit contains all you need to get your new venture on the way and before you know it you’ll be be putting your first easy-earnt dollars in your piggy bank.

$199 Lifestyle Kit

If you would like to stay up-to-date with the latest The Body Shop at Home news, fantastic offers and exciting new products make sure you give the The Bodyshop at Home Facebook page the thumbs up.

To find out more about The Body Shop at Home™, to take a closer look at all the benefits of being a consultant or host and to register your interest visit www.thebodyshop.com.au.

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