Happy Father’s Day! Our six children are blessed with a wonderful, amazing, giving dad who loves nothing more than to spend time with them. He makes silly jokes and does funny dances, he plays games and drives them everywhere, he builds LEGO and watches dance shows and I can count on two hands the times he missed the bedtime routine. On this special day of celebration, here’s a sweet bedtime story with a twist from EK Books:
In Bedtime, Daddy! (RRP $24.99) the roles are reversed as we follow the adorable Little Bear who, at the end of a long day, sets off to put his big cuddly Daddy Bear to bed. As good parents know all too well, bedtime routines are tricky and you have do it exactly right…
All the elements of bedtime are there: The delaying, the messy tooth brushing, a story or two or three (but the extra ones a little rushed), the stalling, the strange questions, the mysterious monsters and unquenchable thirst, the open door, the sudden hunger and then that final stretch of waiting around the corner for the breathing to slow down.
This putting people to bed business is surprisingly exhausting! In his final moments of waiting Little Bear is getting pretty tired and his eyes are slowly closing… Thankfully parents tend to outlast their little ones (most days!) and there comes big, strong Daddy Bear to pick up Little Bear and tuck him in for the night.
With its cute illustrations, catchy lines and funny jokes Bedtime, Daddy! makes the perfect bedtime tale for young sleepyheads. Kids just love the familiarity of Daddy Bear’s bedtime antics and my tribe had a good giggle as they recognised their own delaying tactics on each page. What a blessing good dads are, on Father’s Day and every other day.
You can find ‘Bedtime, Daddy!’ in leading book stores across Australia.
To find out more about EK Books, to browse the range and to order your favourite titles online visit www.ekbooks.org.
I won’t lie: These past months have been hard. I have always been someone who worries easily and this COVID19 outbreak has definitely been a challenge for me mentally. Late last year I lost my wonderful Opa and had to fly to Europe unexpectedly, forcing me to leave my husband and babies behind for the first time. Not long after that my dad received the exciting but scary news that after months on the waiting list a donor liver had been found for him and that he would be undergoing an organ transplant that same day.
We had been waiting impatiently to go and spend seven long weeks with Dad and the rest of family but thanks to COVID19 our flights to The Netherlands were cancelled again and again and after rebooking three times (and travel restrictions coming in) there were eventually no travel options left. With infections sky rocketing in Europe and my recovering Dad in a high risk category we have been terribly worried and still are. The disappointment we (and especially the kids) feel about not seeing our (grand)parents for yet another year is just heartbreaking, not even talking about the money lost through it all. Add to that eight weeks of total home isolation with six kids, home schooling and work worries and 2020 has definitely been a mental challenge I will not easily forget!
For me the only way to keep my head above water has been to grab tight our beautiful kids, take every day as it comes and snuggle up in our safe bubble until this is all behind us. We have baked, coloured, painted, crafted, cooked, puzzled and read. We have spent many days in our pyjamas and enjoyed drives through the country side. We stayed up late, slept in and learnt about all kinds of interesting things. We have built a custom garden bed and set up a chicken coop, we have hatched our very own chicks in an incubator and are watching our chicks and vegetables grow.
As Australia slowly eases back into the ‘new normal’ I look back at a special time with my family and am proud of how we spent it. This week the kids will go back to school and I will go back to my readers, time to tell you about some hip and handy finds that we used a lot during our home isolation time…
While I was away for Opa’s funeral hip Daddy did an amazing job at home. Quite the change for our little troublemaker Ted who was still sleeping with us (and breastfeeding) every single night which was getting pretty exhausting! All attempts at weaning and moving him into his own bed had been unsuccessful until then but with Mummy away he had no choice and it has been the start of a better routine for Ted. He now happily goes to sleep in his own bed with a bit of help from this fabulous LeapFrog bedtime buddy.
Packed full of story classics, myths, nursery rhymes, songs and much more this clever story-telling cube is a wonderful companion for any children’s bedroom or playroom. LeapStory (RRP $69.95, ages 3-8) gives children access to a delightful collection of stories, songs and tunes, they can choose their favourites, listen to them being read out loud and enjoy a mesmerising display of images and animations projected onto the ceiling or wall. Parents can even record themselves reading a special story to their child, which allowed Ted to listen to his mama’s voice even when I was on the other side of the world.
We love the fact that LeapStory presents a great mix of well known classics and lesser known content. With more than 80 preloaded tracks spread out over four different categories (classics, myths, legends and fables,sleepy time and learning songs children are guaranteed to discover delightful stories and songs they have never heard before. From Rapunzel to Rumpelstiltskin, from the Tortoise and the Hare to Three Little Pigs, from Little Red Riding Hood to Robin Hood, from Jack and the Beanstalk to the Fox and the Crow and so many others, LeapStory offers loads to listen, learn and love. Ted’s favourite is by far the Gingerbread Man!
We have put the LeapStory on Ted’s bedside table so it is always within hand’s reach, he can see the light-up base and projector and he often turns it on himself to listen to a story or two. After six solid months of use we can safely say it has been thoroughly tested by our big family and the kids still turn it on every night at bedtime, if that’s not a tick of approval I don’t know what is!
Whether they want to select a favourite adventure or hear multiple tales, set a timer to listen to stories as they drift off to sleep, flick through the different options or turn on the light projector, we have found the LeapStory cube easy to control. Featuring six simple buttons and an adjustable projector LeapStory allows young children to feel independent and in charge and they don’t need to ask mum or dad for help with every little change (particularly handy at bedtime!).
Getting tired of the same stories? Need a fresh fable or new nursery rhyme? No problem! Simply connect your LeapStory to your computer and download an additional content pack completely free using the LeapFrog Connect application. The LeapStory device will work on 4 AA batteries (great for holidays, camping adventures or road trips) or mains power using the included adapter.
You can find LeapStory at a Big W, Myer or other good toy store near you and online at selected retailers.
The uggs are back in use, the woodfire is on and the beds are made with flannelette sheets… the cold season has well and truly arrived! She may be old enough for a proper girl bed, but Hattie is definitely not big enough to manage the sheets and keep her quilt on throughout the night. Of course I hate to think that she’s laying there in the cold, so I trust ergoPouch to keep her warm all night long:
Super soft, padded and snuggly warm, stepping into a ergoPouch 2.5 TOG Winter Sleep Suit (RRP $64.95) is pretty much like being wrapped up in a cosy quilt that fits your body like a glove. I secretly wish they made these awesome sleep suits in my size too!
Over the years ergoPouch has become known around the globe for its dedication to natural fibres, offering parents a safe choice for their baby and the environment. By avoiding nasty chemicals and itchy synthetic fabrics ergoPouch has also earnt the tick of approval from the Eczema Association, great peace of mind for those with sensitive skin! The Winter Sleep Suit outer is made with 95% organic cotton with a touch of elastane to allow active kids to move around freely, while the thick 100% organic cotton filling keeps cold chills at bay with a 2.5 TOG rating.
As Hattie is past the sleeping bag stage the Winter Sleep Suit is the perfect next step, it’s just as comfortable and warm and at the same time it allows her to hop in and out of bed by herself and walk around too. Dressing your little sleepy head and midnight nappy checks/changes are a breeze thanks to the special three-way zip, opening up both the front and back. It also has super handy fold-over cuffs at the wrists (up to size 2) and ankles, allowing you to cover tiny toes and little hands in just a flash.
The 2.5 TOG Winter Sleep Suit is currently available in sizes 1 to 5 years and comes in three gorgeous prints to suit boys and girls: Midnight Arrows, Petals and Triangle Pops.
A few weeks ago I wrote about our many broken nights with 6-year old Juliet being the biggest culprit lately. During our 5 week holiday we spent so much time together, the four oldest kids packed like sardines at bedtime, that she has found it hard to go to sleep by herself now that we are home. After a few weeks of daily dramas and midnight meltdowns we were all feeling rather tired, until we surprised here with this…:
Knowing how crazy she is about unicorns I thought this large, loveable FlipaZoo (RRP $29.99) would make the perfect bedtime buddy for our troublemaker. As expected it was love at first sight so after promising to sleep in her own bed Juliet did a total flip and has slept through the night ever since, safely snuggled up with her new friend (of course he makes a great daytime friend too).
But she is not the only one doing a flip, as the name suggests each FlipaZoo plush toy comes with a fun twist too. With a bit of a wiggle, a slide and a pull your FlipaZoo transforms into a brand new character, so you get two animals in one! From a magical unicorn to a friendly dragon and back again, it’s what dreams are made of.
There are currently six different FlipaZoo designs to choose from and they are all equally soft, cute and adorable: Unicorn/ Dragon, Elephant/ Tiger, Bee/ Lady Bug, Hedgehog/ Turtle, Giraffe/ Hippo and Husky/ Polar Bear. It’s not easy to pick favourites but I personally have a soft spot for the FlipaZoo Hedgehog, isn’t he just gorgeous? You can find the FlipaZoo family at Big W stores across Australia and in the Big W Online Store.
After what feels like a very long week I am so glad it is finally weekend. I missed out on a Mother’s Day sleep-in last week so hopefully I can sneak in a snooze today or tomorrow. Getting our cheeky Sybil to stay in bed once we’ve put her down is not always easy but with a few little tricks we’re finally getting there. Our new helper is pink, totally adorable and loves jumping in muddy puddles, any guesses on what could it be?
This gorgeous Worlds Apart Go Glow Buddy was received with open arms by our biggest Peppa Pig fan. In fact, when she opened up her new night light she wanted to go to bed immediately even though it was only midday. Who wouldn’t if they had a cute bedtime pal like this to light up the room and keep them company?
The Peppa Pig Go Glow Buddy (RRP $39.95, ages 2+) is designed with little people in mind, she is easy to hold, lightweight, soft to touch and simple to use. Not only is she a sweet night light that gives a warm, pinkish glow, if you pick her up she instantly turns into a clever torch with a bright beam shining from the bottom (perfect for playing blanket forts, treasure hunts and shadow puppets).
The Go Glow Buddy is cordless so you can easily move it around and works on 3AAA batteries. When in nightlight mode Peppa will automatically switch off after 15 minutes to save you battery, 5 minutes when in torch mode. She can be turned back on by pressing a simple button underneath. Sybbie can carry Peppa from room to room and take her along for midnight bathroom breaks, very handy.
No matter how old you are or where you live, I think we’ve all seen pictures of the boy on the moon… but have you ever wondered how he got there? Incredibly talented Italian artist Rino Alaimo tells the story of the boy and the moon in this award-winning, and heartstoppingly beautiful, animation that has wowed people all over the globe:
Next time you tuck your precious bundles in at bedtime and tell them you love them to the moon and back, why not share Rino Alaimo’s story with them through the stunning picture book version of The Boy Who Loved The Moon.
The Boy Who Loved The Moon (RRP $22.99, 36 glossy pages) is an eye-catching hardcover book featuring magical black and gold illustrations from the hand of Rino Alaimo. See how the lonely little boy first discovers the moon and falls in love with this mysterious light high up in the sky. Then follow him on his journey to find the perfect gift for the moon, it’s a tricky task but he doesn’t give up easily.
To find out more about Exisle Publishing, to take a closer look at ‘The Boy Who Loved The Moon’ and to order a copy online visit www.exislepublishing.com.au.
Loyal Hip Little One readers will know by now that reading is very important to our family. We always enjoy discovering new books and I love sharing our favourite reads with you (and treating you to some excellent giveaways along the way!). This week schools all across Australia are celebrating Book Week and there are lots of different ways you can join in the reading fun:
From bookstall to book week parade and from a visit to your local library to scheduling some extra family time reading before bed, how will you ignite a passion for reading in your little ones this week? Our kids love winding down with a bedtime story after a busy day and it’s one of my favourite moments of the day. Not only does it calm them down before bed, it is also a great opportunity to spend some precious family time and create memories that last a life-time.
Disney Junior The Channel has kicked off Book Week in true Disney style with the launch of a magical new storytelling series called ‘Disney Junior’s The Book of Once Upon A Time’. They have teamed up with talented Australian actor and playwright Kate Mulvany who will bring a brand new Disney story to life every day in a heartwarming way that I can learn an awful lot from! From Snow White to Winnie the Pooh, from Aladdin to Frozen and many more, get ready to rediscover good old-fashioned bedtime stories through different voices, engaging play and the turning of pages (and of course it wouldn’t be Disney if they didn’t include some wise lessons and educational content too).
Australian families can experience the magic of ‘Disney Junior’s The Book of Once Upon A Time’ by tuning in every weekday at 7:10pm (AEDT) on Disney Junior The Channel, or anytime on the website http://mydisney.disney.com.au/story-room. Handy tip: If your family subscribes to Foxtel you can find Disney Junior The Channel on channel 709, make sure you save it under your favourites!
The great thing about being able to watch ‘Disney Junior’s The Book of Once Upon A Time’ online is that the stories are available anytime and anywhere. This means kids can even enjoy story time while on holidays, share their special time with grandma during a sleepover and toddlers like our little Sybbie can sneak in an extra story (or two!) before nap time in the afternoon. We check out the website together and she loves picking a story herself with the click of a button. We check out the website together and she loves picking a story herself with the click of a button.
In case you can’t get enough of Disney story time: ‘The Book of Once Upon A Time’ features Disney stories that are available as eBooks from the Disney Story Central app, available for download from iTunes.