And off she goes… with Crocodile Creek

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Jan 222018
 

Crocodile Creek

One week from today our miss Sybbie will be starting school and I am not exactly sure how to feel about that just yet. Long time readers will remember that she has had quite a few challenges to overcome, so as a result I am a bit extra protective of her. Thankfully her confidence has grown a lot this year and as you can tell by this photo she is very excited about the adventure ahead of her:

Even though Sybil’s Crocodile Creek kindy backpack and lunch boxes from last year were still in top shape (big thumbs up for durability!) I felt the transition to big school deserved some cool new school gear, so our little student got to take her pick and instantly fell in love with this adorable bunch of backyard friends. Obviously everything needed a proper try out this week, making sure it lives up to the expectations.

Miss Sybbie is a real girly girl who loves wearing twirly skirts, pretty dresses and sweet headbands, the pastel colours of the Backyard Friends backpack really suit her style. It’s an ideal size for our nearly 5-year old, big enough for her lunchbox, bottle and homework folder but still lightweight and comfortable to wear thanks to the adjustable, padded shoulder straps and did you spot the handy front pocket for some little treasures and special notes from mummy or the teacher?

On the side of the backpack a stretchy pocket ensures a refreshing drink is always within hand’s reach, at the same time it keeps messy spills or wet condensation safely away from school work, library books or homework assignments. The no-spill Backyard Friends bottle (475ml) is a perfect fit and the strong and durable Tritan material is totally kid-proof. Double win: Sybbie adores the animal print and how simple it is to flip open and close, mummy loves how easy it is to clean with a removable straw and being dishwasher safe.

As Adelaide summers get very hot an insulated lunch bag is a real must, this spacious Backyard Friends classic lunchbox has practical wipe-clean lining (that’s free from nasties like PVC, Phthalate free and BPA) and there is plenty of room inside to pack your child’s lunch, fruit and some ice packs to keep lunch fresh and cool for even longer. On the front a zip pocket safely stores cutlery and some spending money for the school canteen.

Speaking of cutlery, I have no doubt these adorable Backyard Friends big kid utensils will be the cutest fork and spoon in class (no mix-ups). They are made for small hands and allow for a greater variety in lunches, think pasta, salad, yoghurt, rice or noodles; after all sandwiches do get a little boring after a while!

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.

Dec 072016
 

Fridge-to-Go

Christmas Countdown – Day 7

Summer or winter, rain or shine, the Fridge-to-Go range of portable snack, drink and lunch solutions for young and old is popular all year around. From lunch for one to a picnic for the whole family, you can count on Fridge-to-Go to keep your food and drinks fresh and cool. Because the Fridge-to-Go team knows we’re all about families they’ve offered this fantastic family-sized prize for our Christmas Countdown giveaway:

fridge-to-go-mf24

Just like the name suggests the Fridge-to-go MF24 Carry All ($79.95) is one of Fridge-to-Go’s largest cooling bags with plenty of room for all the food and drinks you need for a BBQ at the park, visit to the pool or day at the beach. Big enough to store 24+ cans or 6 wine bottles it’s a family favourite that will be enjoyed again and again.

fridge-to-go-mf24-carry-allThe MF24 Carry All is made with durable ‘TempGuard’ fabric and convenient wipe clean lining and can be transported by the practical carry handle. The three removable chilling panels offer surround cooling for a very generous 8 hours, that’s your next day out covered! Because your family’s health is important this Fridge-to-Go Cooler Bag is free from BPA, PVC and lead so you can enjoy your snacks with peace of mind.

To find out more about Fridge-to-Go, to locate a stockist near you and to order online visit www.fridge-to-go.net.au.

For your chance to win a Fridge-to-Go MF24 Carry All (RRP $79.95) enter our Christmas Countdown giveaway below:

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Get a FREE Lunch Puch at Mikki and Me

 Sales & Savings  Comments Off on Get a FREE Lunch Puch at Mikki and Me
Jul 172016
 

Mikki and Me

I don’t know about you but not having to pack lunches every morning is one of my favourite parts of the school holidays. The kids and I love our lazy breakfasts and improvised lunch (usually warm), so we’re going to make to most of it before school goes back. If you’re back into school routine already and you’re looking for ways to make lunch more fun this awesome Mikki & Me deal is perfect for you:

Yumbox SnackPurchase any Yumbox lunchbox (the brand new snack size or the original) and receive a FREE Lunch Punch Sandwich Cutter. That means the more Yumboxes lunch boxes you buy, the more of those cool sandwich cutters you’ll get too, score! Your bonus gift will be added to your order automatically and LunchPunch designs are selected at random. Offer ends July 22, 2016, or while stock lasts. 

The Lunch Punch is, well, a punch for your lunch (or breakfast, that’s fine too). Bigger than traditional cookie cutters the Lunch Punch is specifically designed for bread, in fact it punches easily through two slices of bread AND spread without crushing and flattening them. They are not only easy to use and clean (dishwasher safe) but they also cut very efficient with very little cut offs for minimal waste. Of course Lunch Punches are free of BPA, Phthalates and other nasties so they’re super safe.

To find out more about Mikki & Me, to browse the range and to order online visit www.mikkiandme.com.au.

Scrumptious Sundays

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Apr 102016
 

Almond Cookies

I generally try to resist after dinner treats but sometimes I just can’t help it, we all crave a bit of something sweet and scrumptious every now and then. Obviously a prepackaged snack would be quick and easy but I have discovered that (while more effort) making my own treats is much more rewarding and at least I know exactly what goes in them.

Almond Biscuits

It can be a bit of a puzzle to create with what’s in your pantry at the time and it doesn’t always work out but I was super duper pleased with how these almond biscuits turned out. They were simple to make and the kids absolute loved them too, in fact I thought they were even more delicious the next day:

Dry ingredients:
2 cups of Almond Meal
1/4 tsp of Baking Soda
2 pinches of salt

Wet ingredients:
70ml Coconut Oil (melted)
4 tbsp of Maple Syrup
4 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste

Dusting mix:
2 tbsp of Cinnamon
2 tbsp of Coconut Sugar

This is how you do it:
Preheat your oven to 175° C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Prepare your dusting mix and set aside for later.
Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl and mix all the wet ingredients in another bowl.
Combine the wet and the dry mixtures into one, gooey, sticky dough
Using a metal spoon create a little ball (roughly the size of a small walnut) and gently roll it through the dusting mix to coat, it will be sticky! You should get about 20 balls out of this but of course you can make your biscuits as big or small as you like.
Place each ball on your baking tray whilst leaving enough space in between (they will grow in the oven) and flatten them slightly with the palm of your hand.
Bake for approximately 9 minutes until golden and still soft in the centre.
Be patient and let the biscuits cool before removing them from the paper or they will fall apart. Enjoy!

Mar 152016
 

Russell Hobbs

A few weeks ago I made the mistake no one on a diet should make: I went to the supermarket on an empty stomach. I admit it took some self control but I made the (diet)wise decision to pass the confectionary aisle and picked up something from the health food section instead. I decided on a nice ‘raw coconut rough’ superfood bar which turned out to be absolutely delicious but sadly also very expensive…

As I sat in the car slowly enjoying my special treat I studied the packaging and read it only had 7 ingredients. It got me thinking that if I could source those ingredients I could try and replicate the same product at home so it would be more suited to our family budget. I found all the ingredients at my local supermarket and health food store (bulk is the way to go with a large family!) and got out my Russell Hobbs food processor.

Russell HobbsThe high gloss Russell Hobbs Colour Control Multi-Processor (RRP $149.95, 850W) with stainless steel finishes is a stylish and versatile kitchen appliance designed for chopping, shredding, grating, whisking, whipping, blending and beating. It comes with a large 1.7 litre processing bowl, 1.5 litre blending jug and a range of accessories to help you take your homecooking from simple to chef.

Raw Coconut Rough Russell Hobbs

To make my Raw Coconut Rough I used the extra strong titanium coated blades (much harder than uncoated stainless steel) to easily cut through and chop the coconut flakes. The processor has four different speed settings to suit all your prepping needs and you can see by the colour of the handy light-up ring which setting the machine is on, to get my mixture to the right consistency I used a combination of speed 3 (blending) and P (chopping, processing).

Raw Coconut Rough Slice

The only downside of making my own snacks in my food processor is that it does take a bit of washing up. You have to take all the pieces apart for a thorough clean (by hand or dishwasher) afterwards, so the best way to make the dishes worthwhile is by making a few big batches at the same time. After making my Raw Coconut Rough I also made a batch of Raw Almond Bliss Balls, hubby and the kids go crazy for these.

Raw Coconut Rough

The Russell Hobbs Colour Control Multi Processor comes with a generous 2-year warranty for extra peace of mind.

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

Here’s my homemade Raw Coconut Rough recipe and the products/brands I used:

Raw Coconut Rough

  • 4 tbsp Raw Organic Cacao Powder (Power Super Foods)
  • 1 tbsp Raw Organic Lucuma Powder (Loving Earth)
  • 3 tbsp Raw Organic Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Organic Vanilla Bean Paste (Queen Fine Foods)
  • 3 heaped cups Coconut Flakes (try the ‘bin’ section at your health food store for best value)
  • 15 Medjool Dates (pitted)
  • pinch of Himalayan Pink Rock Salt

With the measuring part done the rest is smooth sailing, just throw everything in your food processor and blitz to combine (there should be no big coconut flakes left!). It may take a while to come together and don’t forget to scrape down the sides from time to time. Once everything is combined it may still look a bit crumbly, but if you can squeeze it and it stays together well it will work.

Line a large baking tray with baking paper with plenty of baking paper hanging over on the side. Place your mixture on the baking paper and fold the ‘overhanging’ baking paper over the top. I used a rolling pin to flatten the mixture and smooth it to cover the entire tray, my slab was about 7-8mm thick but obviously there may be some variances. Pop your tray in the freezer for an hour or so.

Your raw coconut rough slab should now be quite solid and not as sticky so it is very easy to cut. I cut mine in little bars weighing approx. 30g each. Remember that due to the dates the sugar content is quite high even though they are natural sugars, so you don’t want to make your bars much bigger than this. I feel this is the perfect size and chocolatey snack to keep me going. Keep in the fridge, enjoy!

Back to School with Décor

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Jan 212016
 

Decor

With just 11 days until the first day of school we are making the most of the school holidays. Arts and crafts, baking treats, playgrounds, bus trips and fun outings, we’re making this last week count! It is also a great opportunity to give our new school gear a little test-run before the big day, yummy picnic coming up:

Decor Lunch Break

Australian homeware specialist Décor has got meals on-the-go covered with a fresh new Back to School range. From small snacks to luscious lunches, from tasty treats to delicious dinners and even thirst quenching drinks, Décor keeps them fresh all day.

Lunch Break Decor

The colourful Lunch Break System is perfect for our big family, it allows me to pack a personalised, homemade lunch for each child to suit their taste, day and meal size perfectly. Featuring a range of Realseal boxes in different sizes and shapes it feels a bit like a fun game of tetris, but the end result is a well-filled lunchbox that will provide my little students with all the energy they need for a big school day.

Decor Lunch Bags

Don’t you hate it when your child’s healthy yoghurt spills into their backpack or when salad dressing runs over homework or expensive school books? As the name suggests each Realseal container features a unique seal in the lid making the container instantly airtight and leakproof, yay for no more mess! And that’s not all, the containers are also microwave-safe, freezer-safe, dishwasher-safe and of course free from nasty BPA.

Realseal Cutlery SetLunch Break boxes are available in 125ml, 300ml, 650ml and 1L sizes and come in four bright colours that kids will love and are quick to recognise for mother and child (our school-aged kids can each have their own colour, no more mix-ups and arguments). Packing a serve of yoghurt, custard, pasta or salad? There is even a matching carry case with Realseal Cutlery Set available, how handy.

Insulated Cooler bagThe Realseal Compact 2 Insulated Cooler (smaller lunches) and Insulated Cooler Bag (bigger lunches) are specifically designed to keep all your little Realseal boxes neatly together and cool as a cucumber using an Icewall. I find the Compact 2 the perfect size for our children (aged 7 and under). Both styles are durable, easy to clean and free from BPA, Phthalates, Lead and PVC for lunches that are tasty, fresh and safe.

The Décor Lunch Break range is currently available at Spotlight, Howards Storage World and independent supermarkets across Australia.

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

3 Natural solutions for your teething baby

 Baby, Eco  Comments Off on 3 Natural solutions for your teething baby
Jul 252015
 

Natural Teething Solutions

Brought to you by Heinz Infant

Lots of tears, crying and screaming, rosy cheeks, pulling the ears and chewing on everything they can get their hands on… when you spot these early signs of teething you know that first white bud can’t be far away. There is no straight answer to the question ‘When do babies start teething?’ as every child is different but a teething chart can give you some indication.

As mean as it sounds, there is no avoiding this horrible stage so it’s simply a case of battling through (You will get there, we all do!). If you are in desperate need of a few tried-and tested survival tips here are my three favourite teething remedies:

Teething Toys
Kangaroo TeetherTeething toys come in all shapes, sizes and colours but I myself particularly like the plain and simple wooden teethers which are usually finished with a food safe oil. The smooth, natural material and rounded shapes are perfect for little hands and baby can chew to its heart’s content without damaging those new teeth or inhaling nasty chemicals. Think ahead and look for designs with an interesting contour so they can reach the back molars too when they rear their ugly head.

Teething Oil
If your teething baby refuses to let you anywhere near those sore gums you may find a natural teething oil (eg. Grumpy Gums Teething Oil) applied around the ears and jawline is your best call. This gentle non-toxic formula contains safe essential oils well known for their anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, cooling and soothing properties which will help with the symptoms of teething and it’s great for teething rash too, nice bonus.

Grumpy Gums Teething OilThe molecules in essential oils are so tiny that they are instantly absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream so your unhappy baby should start feeling better in as little as ten minutes. Many parents swear by natural teething oil so talk to your fellow mummies or read the reviews online to find one that works for you, it could be just the gentle alternative for Panadol or Nurofen you are looking for.

Frozen Treats
Our four children have always been extra fussy with their meals when teething, so I found a frozen treat was the perfect way to combat those nasty teething pains, cool the gums and get some food into them at the same time. To create a soothing snack for your baby you can use a traditional ice lolly maker to freeze the food or add frozen fruit to a mesh baby feeder. From my experience even the grumpiest baby can be won over with a yummy ice block on a colourful stick, just be prepared for a bit of mess.

HEINZ Baby FoodIf you don’t have fresh fruit on hand or lack the time to cook and mash it, most mums are super busy as it is, you can still make a refreshing teething treat with one of the convenient Heinz Baby food jars. Heinz infant food is prepared right here in Australia and there are lots of tasty fruit combinations (and consistencies) available that babies love. They contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives making it a perfect healthy option and you can use these handy jars of goodness straight from your pantry or even the store shelf, it’s so quick and easy!

Zoku Quick Pop MakerA little tip: A few years ago we got the handy Zoku Quick Pop Maker which allows you to make ice lollies in just 7 minutes and it really is a fabulous invention. You keep the Zoku unit in your freezer permanently and when teething trouble strikes you grab it out, fill the slots with your child’s favourite Heinz baby food (or fresh fruit, juice or other ingredients), slide in the handles and minutes later your teething relief on a stick is ready!

You can check out the entire Heinz Baby range and nutritious recipes on the Heinz for Baby website or join the ‘Recipe for Happy’ conversation on www.facebook.com/HeinzForBabyAustralia.

If you have another awesome teething tip I would love to hear it, please share your mama wisdom below.

TeethingTips_HeinzInfant copy