Boredom Buster in a Box

 Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on Boredom Buster in a Box
Dec 052017
 

Crocodile Creek

I am sure you know what it is like: It’s almost time for bed when your cheeky preschooler decides to tip out an entire box of LEGO (there goes your 7 o’clock bedtime goal) or it’s almost dinnertime yet the kids want to start watching a long movie. I’ve found the best way to avoid the drama is by grouping together a selection of games that are fast and easy, that way your little ones know exactly where to go when there is only half an hour to spare. Miss 4 loves giving her brains a quick work-out with Crocodile Creek:

Packed in a cute storage container this Crocodile Creek 4-piece Mini Puzzle (Ages 3+) is a great little ‘boredom buster in a box’ for toddlers and pre-schoolers. The large cardboard pieces are easy to hold for small hands and I love how sturdy the box stands upright, that way kids can refer to the box lid as they go to help them complete the picture.

The images are bright and interesting and the balance is exactly right: tricky enough to challenge them but also clear enough not to be confusing (and therefore frustrating) for young players. Miss 4 did not need any help at all and by the time she completed the puzzle dinner was ready, perfect timing. Miss just-turned-2 also gave the circus puzzle a try, but I think for now fewer pieces would be a better fit. I would say the recommend age of 3+ is spot on.

Crocodile Creek mini puzzles are available in loads of different designs for boys and girls and come in 12 and 24 pieces, so there is an awesome puzzle for every child. Their pleasant price tag make them a fabulous stocking filler or small gift for a special little someone in your life this Christmas, while the compact size is ideal for holiday backpacks and suitcases.

To find out more about Childsmart and to browse the Crocodile Creek range visit www.childsmart.com.au or get social with @Childsmart on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

Aug 112017
 

On the one hand it makes me sad how quick our babies are growing up, on the other hand it is also heartwarming to see them turning into awesome kids who you can really talk to about a range of topics and feelings. Now that the twins are almost 9 we’re having the best chats and they really enjoy having some special time before bed when the little ones are already tucked in. These last few weeks we’ve shared many laughs playing this hilarious drawing game:

Also known as ‘the world’s fastest drawing game’ Pass the Pen (RRP $39.95, ages 8+) is not a game for slowcoaches, you definitely need to be on the ball to get the top score!

Pass the Pen is easy to play and only has a few components, so it requires pretty much no set-up time which I think is great. Each turn one of the players needs to draw a card from the pile and, using a coloured dice, select which of the 5 challenges on the card they will have to draw. The real fun is in the special ‘Pass the Pen’ ballpoint, a unique pen fitted with a 10-15 second timer. Older players can set the timer dial to 10 seconds, while younger players are allowed 15 seconds for each turn.

In a race against the clock the artist needs to draw and the others need to guess, before time runs out and the pen tip disappears. If guessed correctly within the 10 second time frame both artist and guesser earn maximum points. If no one guesses the right word you pass the pen to the next player who continues on the same challenge and so on, with points decreasing the longer it takes for the right guess.

At only eight years old I was expecting the twins to struggle with some of the challenges, but I was pleased to see they knew the majority of words and they love giving the drawing a go so we all liked playing. Pass the Pen is obviously a fast-paced game so everyone needs to be switched on and there is no time for thinking (or perfectionism in drawing, which miss 8 initially found a bit hard to accept), just draw and guess as quick as you can!

Designed for 3 or more players this is a fantastic game for families or a group of friends to play together. As a parent I know all too well that time management can be a tricky when it comes to games so I love how you can make your game of Pass the Pen last as long or short as you like by adjusting the number of game cards. There are 104 cards with a total of 520 challenges, so there’s plenty of drawing fun to be had!

To find out more about Talkin’ Toys, to take a closer look at Pass the Pen and to discover a whole heap of other cool toys visit www.talkintoys.com.au.

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From first bite to family table

 Baby  Comments Off on From first bite to family table
Feb 232017
 

This post is brought to you by Heinz

I can’t believe how far baby Hattie has come since she had her tongue tie snipped just almost one year ago. After being sent from GP to paediatrician to ENT specialist we finally ended up at a wonderful oral surgeon who listened to our concerns and rectified the issue in a matter of minutes. In the past eleven months our little girl has changed from a grumpy eater who would keep her mouth firmly shut when first starting solids into a inquisitive lady who loves trying new foods!

Harriet 3

Even though we were a bit late introducing solids Harriet quickly caught up and at 17 months old she now joins us for family dinner every day. When feeding baby solids you may choose to start with single flavours/foods so you can easily detect any possible allergies, thankfully Harriet (unlike her siblings) experienced no dramas with most popular solid food for babies so by now she is eating pretty much everything.

french-toast

With 4 siblings to look up to it is no surprise Harriet prefers baby food that she can hold herself, so we’re always trying new baby finger food recipes. You can easily use your child’s favourite homemade baby food or Heinz food pouches and make them into fun finger food for babies that they can eat independently. I love that Heinz baby food is Australian made and approved by nutritionists. You can use the handy pouches on their own (at home and on the go) or as a tasty base to create new recipes for toddlers.

The Banana Pikelets with Strawberry and Vanilla Custard, topped with a few slices of kiwi, make a great (messy!) dessert and the Very Berry French Toast is always a hit with all our kids. Toddler food should be sturdy enough to hold, yet soft enough to break for little hands and moderately easy to chew. You can adjust the consistency of your toddler recipes as your baby grows.

pikelets

Need some more mealtime inspiration? You can find lots of other tried-and-tested baby recipes and toddler food ideas on the Heinz for Baby website, all recipes are quick to prepare and suited to your child’s developmental stage. You can rest assured with Heinz you’re whipping up wholesome baby meals and tasty treats.

If you’ve got a winning recipe to share make sure to drop by at www.facebook.com/HeinzForBabyAustralia so other families can do the taste test too.

Nov 242016
 

Decor

While I admit that breakfast time with five small kids is rather rushed, it’s often around dinnertime that things get a little ‘heated’ at our house. After a long day this mama is pretty tired, I generally have a grumpy, hungry baby hanging off my leg and a table to clear and set, no wonder I struggle to keep an eye on all the pots and pans at the same time! Thankfully Décor is coming to the rescue of busy parents by taking the hassle out of your next rice dish with this clever unit:

Don’t worry about caked on pans and endless stirring, with the Décor Microsoft® Rice Cooker and Vegetable Steamer (RRP $13.99, 2.75L) your favourite rice will be cooked to perfection every single time.

decor-rice-cookerUsing the Décor Rice Cooker is so easy even grandparents, babysitters and sleep deprived parents can do it: Simply use the included measuring cup to determine the right amount of raw rice and boiling water and pop the cooker in your microwave. Seventeen minutes of cooking and five minutes of resting later your rice is ready to be served, that’s just enough time to whip up a nice sauce, fry your chicken and set the table.

With a generous 2.75 litre capacity the Décor Rice Cooker is big enough to make up to four cups of cooked rice, perfect for a small family or side dish. It comes complete with steam release vent lid, transparent measuring cup and white rice paddle for stirring and serving. And there are plenty of other handy Décor features too: it has cold touch handles, is BPA-free, dishwasher safe, freezer safe and of course Australian made.

decor-1

While you can of course use your Rice Cooker to prepare ‘just’ rice, it is also great for cooking all-in-one meals. Yay for less dirty dishes afterwards! Add tasty vegetables, herbs, spices and/or garlic to your liking to create an entire meal in one single container, easy peasy. If you happen to have leftovers you can conveniently seal and store the closed Rice Cooker in the fridge and reheat it in the microwave later on.

decor-2

Tuesday’s Rice Cooker dinner of chicken, cucumber and Mexican inspired rice was a big hit with the kids. With added tomato, kidney beans, coriander and a mix of spices it was a very versatile dish that covered all the food groups, and hardly any washing up to do!

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

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Sep 292016
 

BabyLove

After travelling across the globe with little miss Hattie on my hip I truly believe that changing a wriggly baby on a plane is an olympic sport. At the cheeky age of 12 months Harriet loves rolling away when you say no, not something I’d recommend on a wobbly change table above a dirty plane toilet! Thankfully I came well prepared and packed a generous stack of these new BabyLove lifesavers in my nappy bag:

Designed with active and curious boys and girls in mind the new BabyLove Wriggler Nappy Pants (size 7-11kg) take the struggle out of nappy changes with a convenient pull-up design.

Wriggler NappyWriggler Nappy Pants feel soft and comfortable and have a 360˚ stretchy waist, making them super flexible and ideal for little busy-bees who are on the move all day long. They are thoroughly tested for excellent absorbency so that they can be worn during the day and at night without having to worry about messy accidents. Thanks to the special ‘Tear Away Side Seams’ there’s no need to pull the full nappy down, just tear open and remove.

Wriggler Nappy PantsUsually Hattie would kick her legs, wiggle her bottom, pull away the nappy or roll over in an attempt to escape the dreaded nappy routine, but the Wriggler Nappy Pants quickly put a stop to all that cheekiness. Once her chubby little feet are in the job is pretty much done, just pull them up et voila! On a few occasions we even changed her standing up which is very handy in cramped spaces.

So far I have no leaks to report (both day and night) and Hattie’s skin is smooth and squishy as usual so it’s thumbs up from us. I am very pleased that there are now nappy pants available for this younger age category, they makes this busy mum’s life that little bit easier and they are simple to use for grandparents and babysitters (the print even indicates which side is the front/back, it doesn’t get more straight forward than that!).

Hip Tip: Do you want to put the new BabyLove Wriggler Nappy Pants to the test with your little wriggler? Request your free sample here and see for yourself what all the talk is about.

To find out more about BabyLove, to take a closer look at the Wriggler Nappy Pants and to locate a stockist near you visit www.babylovenappies.com.au.

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Aug 022016
 

Penguin

Considering I have had a baby (or even two) on my hip for eight years straight I have become quite the multitasker: from making sandwiches to brushing teeth and hanging up the washing, being a busy mum of five I thought I was pretty good at doing things with just one hand. In saying that, with my right hand currently out of action everything takes a little longer and most of the cooking is up to hubby at the moment.

One Handed Cooks

If you’re looking for some fabulous kitchen inspiration and simple, healthy recipes that you can make (almost) single handedly you will love what this clever mum, dietician and teacher trio are serving up:

Hitting the shelves this week One Handed Cooks (RRP $39.99) is a fun, refreshing and family-friendly cookbook that is specifically developed for carers of young children aged 0-5 (but even I would gobble up most of these tasty dishes!). From the moment your little one has its first taste solids you are on a journey to raise a healthy, happy eater, it may not always be smooth sailing but One Handed Cooks is here to help you along the way.

Rainbow Shreddies

As well as over 100 recipes to inspire you in the kitchen the book covers a lot of important background knowledge that will help you understand how little brains and bodies work. This will equip you with all you need to tackle common mealtime battles and deal with fussy eaters calmly. Rainbow Vegetables Shreddies, Creamy Banana and Apple Porridge, Chicken, Pumpkin and Spinach Bread Pies, Turkey and Cauliflower Tots… getting the kids excited about nutritious foods (hidden or not) was never this easy, the book really contains something for everyone!

Scrumptious lunch

With five hungry tummies to feed it can be a tad tricky to come up with meals they will all love, all it took was one quick flick through this beautiful full-colour cookbook to leave me super keen to whip up some new creations. The recipes look amazing yet surprisingly simple to make, the instructions are easy to follow and there are lots of helpful tips in regards to storage, different variations and allergies. Add all these ingredients together and you’ve got a tasty winner for your kitchen bookshelf.

To find out more about One Handed Cooks by Allie Gaunt, Jessica Beaton and Sarah Buckle and to order a copy online visit www.penguin.com.au.

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Busy Mum’s Cookbook

 Home, Mum, Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on Busy Mum’s Cookbook
May 242016
 

Random House Australia

When people find out we have five children the first comment is usually ‘Gosh, you must be very busy!’. Yes, my large family does keep me busy but I wouldn’t swap it for the world. The key to staying on top of all the madness is being organised, setting priorities and creating your own list of quick ‘tricks’ that will make your day run smoothly. Family meals ares one of those hectic times that can easily get stressful, luckily kitchen queen Annabel Karmel is coming to our rescue with a brand new cookbook:

Busy Mum's Cookbook

Not only is she loved around the globe for her healthy, no-fuss, family-friendly recipes, Annabel Karmel is also a mother herself so she knows firsthand what busy mums really need and want. Fresh of the press Busy Mum’s Cookbook (RRP $55) is a beautiful, full-colour cookbook filled with more than 100 simple, tasty recipes that will get the thumbs up from the whole family without stressing out the chef (or requiring hours of kitchen preparation).

Annabel's Cheese and Tomato TartletsFlicking through Annabel’s new book has left me inspired, it contains so many mouthwatering dishes and there really is something for everyone. Mostly based on simple ingredients that you already have in the pantry or can pick up at any supermarket the recipes are easy-to-follow and have a real, warm, homely feel to them that even your fussiest eater will love. At the same time the meals look impressive and will wow any guests at your dinner table. Annabel has kindly included handy time-saving tips, freezer advice and interesting variations throughout the book to take your cooking fun even further.

So far our family has tested (and unanimously approved of) the Bacon and Pea Risotto, Mediterranean Oven-Baked Chicken Drumsticks, Tasty Spinach Soup and Frittata with Cherry Tomatoes. Miss 3 and I also whipped up these super easy Apricot, Pecan, Raisin and Chocolate Cookies (see recipe below), totally yummy and ready in just 20 minutes or 25 if a toddler is in charge! Next on my to-make list are the Bang bang Chicken Salad, Herb Crusted Salmon and the Chocolate Pear Pudding, I can’t wait to tuck into those later this week.

Busy Mum's Cookbook

From quick 20 minute meals to scrumptious sweet treats, from pantry cooking to entertaining, from lunchboxes and snacks to make ahead meals and more, if you like the sound of nutritious, delicious and stress-free family cooking you are sure to love Busy Mum’s Cookbook.

To find out more about Busy Mum’s Cookbook by Annabel Karmel, distributed by Random House Australia, and to order a copy online visit www.randomhouse.com.au.


Annabel's Apricot & Pecan Cookies

Apricot, Pecan, Raisin and Chocolate Cookies
From Busy Mum’s Cookbook by Annabel Karmel

Ingredients
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g light soft brown sugar
1 large egg
150g porridge oats
75g self-raising flour, sifted
A pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g dried apricots, roughly chopped
50g raisins
25g pecans, roughly chopped
100g dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4 and line two large baking sheets with non-stick baking paper.
2. Cream the butter with the sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy, then add the egg and beat again. Fold in the remaining ingredients until well incorporated.
3. Shape the cookie dough into 20 balls. Place on the prepared baking sheets, well-spaced apart, and press down slightly to flatten. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden but still slightly soft in the middle. Leave to cool on the sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 – 12 minutes
Makes 20 cookies
Suitable for freezing once baked