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Hello Did you want something?  

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Yes us Kangaroos have taken to readings maps – but only after stealing them from little girls hands!

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Pretty aren’t I?

Ballarat wildlife park Kangaroos feeding

 Feeding time at the zoo.

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 The cute factor just went into overdrive.

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What’s up sleep head. 

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 Emu times two.

20140421_094235The bushman’s hut.  

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Post image for Moving Bodies Moving Boundaries {e.motion21 ~  Ballarat}

Today I want to share with you about an amazing, energetic and boundary pushing organisation that teaches dance to children and young adults with Down syndrome. I would love to be able to convey just how special this program is, and how much it means to those involved, but in all honestly I know words won’t do justice to what happens during an e.motion21 class. Seriously, if you could bottle the energy, enthusiasm and delight shown by these dancers you could probably solve world peace before you finish your morning coffee! It’s really that extraordinary.  

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But high wattage smiles and funky dance moves aside e.motion21 is all about sharing the amazing abilities of its dancers and using these abilities to change outdated beliefs about just what a person with Down syndrome is capable of doing. I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in our local Ballarat dance group for a little while now. I’ve gotten to know the people behind those massive smiles and been blown away by the skill and dedication of the dancers and their families. I’ve also volunteered in the class room and watched first-hand the commitment and skill of the dance teachers as they present dance and movement to their students with fun, excitement and an understanding of Down syndrome. Such an amazing experience and one I’m so glad I’ve had the opportunity to be part of.

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 There are many reasons this program is so special.  It was founded out of one family’s need for their own daughter and has grown explosively because it mirrors the needs of many other families. (You can read more about Cate Sayers and this amazing journey here.)  It also connects deeply with the common human love of music, movement and fun and crosses all boundaries when it comes to building self-esteem, peer groups and personal wellbeing for people with Down syndrome. These are not just empty words either.  Last year, RMIT University conducted research in to the effectiveness of the program and the results were eye-opening. (You can find out more about the research by visiting the emotion21 website here.)

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So how did you go?  Can you get a sense of just how special this program is?  I hope so because what e.motion21 Ballarat really needs is for more people to get involved and support the program. That might mean considering becoming a volunteer mover in the classes.  If you have a heart for dance or people with Down syndrome I think this option would suit you perfectly. Full training is offered and the experience is amazing. Or perhaps you could offer a donation. As a not-for-profit organisation money is always tight and all donations, big and small, make a huge difference.  Donated funds are used to train new volunteers, buy dance class equipment and support the dancers to perform in the community. If you are a business owner and would like to be involved, I would love to talk to you about working in partnership to secure and build the future of the program in Ballarat. This might mean sponsorship or ‘in-kind’ donations of goods and services – all support is gratefully received and truly appreciated for the difference it makes.

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 You can find out more about e.motion21 by visiting the website . If you’d like to ask a question or offer support for the Ballarat site you can email me at ballaratrm@emotion21.org.au.  e.motion21 also is also on facebook and instagram – both awesome ways to stay in touch and show your support too.

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Post image for For the love of sausage (gluten free ones!!) + $100 giveaway pack {Congratulations Rachel}

This is a sponsored giveaway for Peppercorn Foods

I love a good snag, especially if it’s cooked on the BBQ.    Not surprisingly  when I embarked on my 2014 unprocessed challenge sausages were one of the things I dithered about most.    Dropping the bread and sauce didn’t really phase me, but the actual sausage that was just asking a bit much.   So as a way of compromise I decided to look for a good quality gluten-free alternative that would help nourish my body – rather than filling it with fillers and low quality meats. 

Peppercorn gluten free sausages

The Pepper Corn Food Company produce sausages (as well as burgers and meatloaf) made from best quality local ingredients that have the heart foundation tick of approval and  are completely gluten-free.    And as an extra added bonus, that really speaks to me, they also use fully biodegradable and compost-able packaging.  Now I think you’ll agreed that’s a huge step in the right direction when it comes to company ethics.

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Peppercorn sausages come in extra lean beef, chicken, pork and Italian style – all of which are available at your local Woolworths.   Don’t be fooled my by cruddy barbecuing skills (I usually leave the BBQ to the Nature Boy) because they cook up a treat and are absolutely delicious.     Their claim to being ‘extra lean’ proved to be pretty much spot on as they didn’t leave a single drop of fat on the grill.  

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Not only are the sausages lean and gluten-free but they are also flavoured beautifully.   Chicken with lime and spices or pork with ginger and shallots anyone?   We cooked up the chicken, pork and beef and then had a small family fight about which one was the best.  It ended up being three votes for the pork and two for the beef.   (Sorry chicken you were good too – just not as good as your sausage cousins!)

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Cannot tell  you how happy I am to have found Peppercorn sausages.  $7.99 per package is a little more pricey than the regular ‘run of the mill’ BBQ snags – but the quality and taste by far makes up for the squeeze on the purse strings.  In future I’ll probably freeze the Peppercorn sausages in small two packs, so I have a little supply for myself when the hankering for sausages kicks in. 

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the giveaway

 Would you like to try out some delicious goodies from Peppercorn foods?   I have a $100 gift pack of food products and merchandise to giveaway to someone who reads this review.   Want to enter?    Just follow the four steps below.   ( PS: If  you live outside a capital city you will receive  a Woolworths gift voucher plus merchandise to the total value of $100 –  as fresh product can not be transported to regional areas).

  1. In the comments tell me your favourite simple sausage meal for the kids or your best memory about sausages from your own childhood. The best comment,  as judged by me,  will win.
  2. Be kind enough to like Peppercorn Foods on facebook.
  3. Follow The Truth About Mummy in any way you like (Facebook, Twitter, Feed, email or Pinterest.)
  4. Please leave an email address  that you check regularly – as all giveaways are redrawn if you don’t respond within 5 days.  
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  • Giveaway is open until Midnight  26th of March 2014
  • No entries will be accepted after this time.
  • All decision are final and based on skill not luck.
  • (Check the T&C tab for full T&C).
  • Disclaimer: This is a sponsored giveaway.    From time to time I accept payment from companies that I feel fit within the demographic of my blog to post about their products.  I retain all  creative rights and all opinions are my own.   Payment does not purchase my opinion. 

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Beading is beautiful

by Caz on March 10, 2014 · 6 comments

Post image for Beading is beautiful

 These beautiful trays of beads arrived at our place a couple of weeks ago and the girls have been using every inch of pester power they possess to get me to let them create with them.

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 Finally this weekend they won and they got to spend a few hours in beautiful beading heaven!

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Needless to say they loved it and spent hours  matching and threading those pretty little beads into necklaces, bracelets, anklets and headbands. 

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 I was truly impressed with what they came up with.  These girls of mine have style – much more so than their mother!

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 A huge thankyou  Craft Direct  for sending us these lovely beading kits  - the girls loved them.    You might like to check out their website for these and other fun crafty activities you can receive by mail. 

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 It also gave me a chance to break out my camera again.  I’ve got so used to just taking snaps with my phone and forget how amazing it can be to use a real camera.

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 Now all three of my little ladies has a unique collection of jewellery they made themselves.  Along with a few random dolls and teddy bears that make their home at our place. 

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And because the boxes are so generous we still have plenty more beads to bring out another day.  Love knowing I have something to pull out when the ‘I’m boreds’ strike.  

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Do your little people like beading? 

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Post image for Parenting: the days are long but the years are short.

So here I am.  A mum of three school kids.  (Thankfully three happy school kids.)  I have spent the past couple of weeks kicking back a bit.  Enjoying space and time to do exactly what I feel like.  I did have a million little projects I thought I’d get finalised before I geared up for work and more study – but instead I’ve just been enjoying listen to the clock ticking and the fridge whirring and doing what ever boring old thing I please.  Blissful.  Ten years of being home with little people and I’d almost forgot how amazing prolonged silence can be. 

Next week I start my new job.  Next month I start a new course at Federation University.  (So I best enjoy this stillness while I can.)   I’m excited about having a new focus and the change it will bring with it – but also just a little nervous to see how it all unfolds.  I’m not sure what it will mean for this little space. I hope to keep popping in and connecting with the blogosphere – but I know it will be much less frequent.  This blog and been such a huge part of my life for the past five years and I’m so grateful I stumbled into writing it.  The friendship, fun and extra income it’s provided have been such a blessing to me and my family.   I’d hate to let go of any of that – so I won’t.

For now though I’m just sitting around pondering it all.   Thinking about the changes that are about the happen and how lucky I am to have been able to spend so much time at home with my girls.  I can still clearly remember sitting at my work-desk day dreaming about being at home with a house full of kids.  I craved it.  Now, ten odd years later, I’m at the other end of the journey and ready to move back on into the workforce.    Before my big girl was born someone told me it would be the hardest and the most  wonderful thing I would ever do, and you know what, they were 100 percent right.  I never done it so tough or enjoyed anything as much as being home with my kids.  Exhausted and frustrated by constantly living life at the end of my coping ability but amazingly glad and grateful I did it.  

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Post image for The best days of your life are ahead of you {Sponsored}
This is a sponsored post for Nuffnang Australia
 

Right now, I’m at one of ‘those’ times in life when I’m forced to think about the future. For almost ten years I’ve been raising babies, toddlers and preschoolers and then watching them head off to school.  A few days ago, my last baby donned her uniform and gave me two thumbs up as she lined up in front of the junior kids classroom. No tears, no concerns and a whole lotta happy!    

 I am an optimist by nature.  I live my life in a general knowing that there are always better things ahead.   Now that’s not to say I haven’t felt a little sad about the passing of a huge chunk of my life.  Because trust me, there have been a few tears and a lot of contemplation.  But I’ve also secretly been a little bit excited about what lays ahead for me.

 As you’d know, if you follow along here regularly, last years I headed back to study.  I figured a new stage in life deservers a new and exciting focus.  So I went and got myself a sparkly new Diploma of Project Management. (Might as well put my obsessive organisation skills to good use!)  And this year I’m planning to follow it up with an Advanced Diploma of Management and Marketing, while also hopefully working part-time at a fabulously awesome job I’ve just been offered. (Shhhh – it’s not all finalised yet – so I don’t want to jinx myself by talking about it.)  It’s exciting.  Such a rush to be thinking about myself and my career again and to realise you don’t have to be assigned to the work-yard scrap heap just because you’ve been out of the workforce and home with your kids for ten years. 

 What about you?  Do you have dreams and ideas for the future? Goals that make you suck in your breath and think ‘if only’. Tell me about them in the comments if you do.  Sharing your ideas is often the first real step in making them happen.

 One amazing way to turn dreams into reality is to follow my lead and head back to study.  Open Universities Australia has a flexible range of online courses from a whole host of Australian universities that cover pretty much the full scope.  Maybe you’d like to bring your own blog into a new era by studying Creative and Professional Writing or Short Story Writing through an Undergraduate Art and Humanities program.   Then again maybe you’d prefer to turn all of your experience and time on social media into a dream career through an Internet Marketing course.  Or maybe your dreams involve something completely different? 

“There’s always time to grow into the person you want to be, because at Open Universities Australia, we believe your best days are ahead of you.” 

If going back to study seems a little daunting Open Universities Australia also has some pretty snazzy looking support services aimed at helping you reach your dream goals.   Things like preparatory units to help you understand academic requirements, student support and counselling, FEE HELP and a dedicated success hub for students .    

So do you think your best days are ahead of you?  Given the chance what would be your ultimate dream job and what’s stopping you going out and getting it?  Tell me – I really want to know!

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I have always loved reading to the girls.  I started with my eldest when she was three months old!  Yeah I know – a little too keen. But I loved doing it and she was happy just to be snuggled up close hearing my voice.   And do you know what – nothings changed on that front.   At nine she is  the world’s biggest bookworm and still begs me to read to her.  (Mission accomplished.)    In fact all three of my girls love being read to.  

Over the Christmas holidays we were lucky enough to get sent a copy of the first book in a  brand new kids series The Tinklers Three (A Very Good Idea) by Meredith Badger  to review.   The girls decided it would be the prefect opportunity for mummy to read to them and so we did just that.   Hello lazy summer hours sprawled on the couch together – how I love you.

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I would suggest The Tinklers Three books suit a reading age of grade two to grade four. It’s easy reading with big words that flow well.   My seven-year old re-read it herself immediately after we’d finished.   But having said that all three girls (5,7,9) loved the storyline and couldn’t wait to start each chapter to hear more about the crazy lives of the Tinklers.   

Marcus Tinkler has two sisters. His big sister has an idea every time she sneezes. And his little sister … well, she thinks she is a turtle.  Marcus thinks that he is the most normal of the Tinkler children. But let me tell you a secret. Come closer so I can say it quietly: Marcus Tinkler is not really that normal. None of the Tinklers are.
Do you read to your older children?   I blame my own addiction to reading and stories on a teacher I had in primary school who read to us every day between 12.00 and 12.15.  Oh those where the days – when someone actually read to me.   Bliss. 

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In the words of Scarlet O’Hara …….

by Caz on February 2, 2014 · 1 comment

i'll t hink about that tomorrow

Well that’s it.  I just put a preschooler to bed for the very last time.   As of tomorrow morning I officially have no stay-at-home children and therefore am a fully fledged school mums.  Wow – where did the time go?   In May it will be ten years since I waddled away from my job at 36 weeks pregnant and embarked on the journey of motherhood. – TEN YEARS!

I can’t decide if I’m ready or not  (Little Pink on the other hand is 100 percent ready) .  I’m a swirl of emotions and think I actually need to grieve the passing of this phase of my life.  But I’m also ready.   Ready to me more of my own person and claim back some of my life.    It’s such a surreal place to be right now.

I’m excited but also challenged by what lays ahead for me.   I plan on returning to work – but will I be able to find a job?  It’s been a long time.  I’ve only worked outside of our home for one year out of the past ten.   I feel like I’m stretching the friendship with all of my referees and despite never having had trouble securing work in the past am really doubting what I have to offer.   Will my skills still stand up?  Has the work place changed while I’ve been away raising my babies?   Oh lordy I’m full of apprehension.

Being a stay at home mum has been the fulfilment of my dreams.   It’s what I always wanted to do –but now I’ve done it and ready or not it’s time to move on.  Over the past ten-years I’ve learned so much about myself and about life.  I would be lying through my teeth if I told you it was always easy.  So not.  Living through sleep deprivation and the relentlessness of life with little people is hard hard work – but it’s also something I know I will never never regret.  Not even those moments when I was literally slapping myself in the face with frustration as a little baby girl refused to sleep for night after night.

But what now for me?  My plan has always been to just sit back and relax for the first month of having all three babies at school.  (Yes I started planning that years ago.)  But now I’m almost there I feel so nervous and simply cannot stop myself looking for what comes next.  I keep calling myself back to the present and reminding myself that I should only be worried about today.  So tomorrow I will take my three babies to school and for the first time leave them all there.  And the rest, well in the words of Scarlet O’Hara “I’ll think about that tomorrow”

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One of the biggest changes I have had to make to my diet since cutting out processed food has been the move away from bread.  I have always been a complete bread addict.  Seriously I’ve  been known to push people to the ground if they get between  me and my Vegemite toast.    But  in an effort to heal my thyroid condition and look after my ‘future health’ I’ve experimentally cut out all processed food,  grains (except occasional rice), gluten and  more recently I’m trialling life without dairy.   This one minute muffin recipe has been a total lifesaver  and helped me get  through the transition phase to life after bread.    No grains, no gluten, no dairy and it seriously tastes okay.   It’s not a new recipe – it’s been around and I’ve found different version on many sites. My favourite is this one from Healthy Living How To.  I’ve simplified it a bit – because I need it to be speedy.

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In a small mixing bowl add 1/4 of a cup of almond meal, 1/4 cup of flaxseed meal, 1/2  teaspoon of baking powder, pinch of Pink Himalayian salt (or regular salt if you prefer), an egg and 1/2 table-spoon of coconut oil (or butter).

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Mix with a fork or small whisk.  The mixture is rather sticky and needs a good strong mix.

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Place the  mixture into a small  oiled (use coconut oil if you have it)  microwave safe ramekin dish.

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Put the full ramekin dish in the microwave on your regular setting for 1.oo minute and remove it.

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Tip the ramekin upside down and let the muffin slide on out.

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Allow to cool and then slice in half ready for whatever you decide to fill it with. Personally I like to use mine to make my own bacon and egg muffin.  But I believe you can fancy it up in all kinds of ways  that I haven’t even tried out myself yet.

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One minute muffin
Serves 1
Grain free, gluten free and potentially dairy free too.
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup of almond meal
  2. 1/4 cup of flaxseed meal,
  3. 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder,
  4. pinch of salt,
  5. 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil (or butter if you are not dairy free)
  6. one egg.
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a small mixing bowl with a fork. You will need to mix well as it can be rather sticky. Place mixture into an oiled ramekin dish and place in the microwave for 1.00 minute. Remove and tip out onto a plate to cool. Slice in half and top with your favourite topping.
The Truth About Mummy http://www.thetruthaboutmummy.com/
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would you like a new washing machine

Washing.  It would have to be one of the most life defining things about a motherhood. You know the drill. Load goes in. Load comes out.  Load goes on the line.  Load comes off the line.  Load morphs into your own personal Mt Foldmore  (or Mt Ironmore if you’re a little keener than I am.)   Pause.  Take a deep breath. Perhaps wait a day or two until the kids start complaining they have no school socks left.  Load gets folded. Load gets divided.  Load is returned to the wardrobe of its instigator.    Repeat.   Daily.   For the next eighteen years!     Gah –  seriously it’s enough to drive the most picture perfect  parent into a head banging tango with a brick wall.

Okay, I think you get the picture – washing sucks.    But seeing as nudist  behaviour is still frowned upon in mainstream society it’s a necessary evil  - and seriously thank God for that!   So today  I’m  joining with Panasonic to see if we can’t make washing just a little bit easier.   Have you heard about their massive new 10kg ECONAVI front loader?    I think you’ll agree she’s  very perdy!

Panasonic Washing machine Giveaway

Panasonic tell me that many of us underestimate just how big our laundry loads are.  The national average weekly volume of washing is around 32kg.  (Egad – that’s more than my kids weigh.)    Actually it equates to about four loads in an 8kg machine.   (I would like to point out a little proudly here that my own family is obviously above average  - because we do 7 loads a week.)    But that’s about were the  joy ends for me because  Panasonic also tell me that even an extra two loads a week in an 8kg machine can mean up to four extra hours spent doing washing.   Noooooo!   And this is where a machine with a greater capacity can make a HUGE difference for us time poor parents.

The Panasonic ECONAVI 10kg washing machine has an extra-large capacity drum in a compact body – meaning you can do larger loads, without taking up any extra room in the laundry.  Better still, the Panasonic ECONAVI machines automatically sense the size of the load and adjust the wash to suit – great for energy-conscious families.

 Okay, I’m sold – where do I sign up?

I’m very excited to say that the good people at Panasonic have put aside one ECONAVI washing machine valued at $1619.00 with a Truth About Mummy reader’s name on it.   Yays.  You could be saving time in the laundry very soon.   But in the spirit of fairness Panasonic have also provided their top three tips to make washing easier for all of us.

three tips

  1.  The key to stain removal is acting fast! The sooner you put stains in the wash, the easier they are to remove.
  2.  Group each family member’s smalls (such as socks and underpants) together in laundry bags before the wash instead of after. That way, you can just throw in the wash and dryer, without time spent sorting at the end!
  3. Invest in a great, energy-efficient dryer, such as the new Panasonic Heat Pump dryer. The innovative new heat pump technology means you can put any item of clothing straight in the dryer, without the fear of ruining delicate clothing or high energy bills!

the giveaway

Would you like to have a Panasonic ECONAVI 10kg front Loader washing machine come live at your place?  Follow the four steps below to enter:

  1. In the comments below give me your best tip for saving time somewhere in the washing, drying and folding process.  The ten best answers,  as chosen by me, will be sent off and a winner selected by Panasonic’s PR team.
  2. Be kind enough to share this giveaway on Facebook  and then, if you do, please feel free to leave a second entry comment.
  3. Follow The Truth About Mummy in any way you like (Facebook, Twitter, Feed, email or Pinterest.)
  4. Please leave an email address  that you check regularly – as all giveaways are redrawn if you don’t respond within 5 days.  
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  • Giveaway is open until Midnight  13th th of February
  • No entries will be accepted after this time.
  • All decision are final and based on skill not luck.
  • (Check the T&C tab for full T&C).
  • Disclaimer: This is a giveaway only. I have not received a trial product or financial compensation.  For this reason I have not reviewed the performance of this item. 

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A FEW OF MY FAVOURITE JANUARY THINGS

by Caz on January 21, 2014 · 11 comments

Post image for A FEW OF MY FAVOURITE JANUARY THINGS

stamptastic

Have you heard of Stamptastic? It’s a stamp that you can use to name all of your kids stuff.  And I do mean all.   Clothes, toys, stationery, shoes, books, swimming goggles, bags, lunch boxes  - pretty much anything.   And it’s so much easier than writing, sewing or ironing on labels (and then hoping they don’t come  off in the wash).  I love these things and think you will too.

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Stamptastic kindly sent me a set of three of their stamps, with my girls names on them,  and I have been madly stamping their stuff ever since – all in the name a good review.    The ink lasts well and the clear plastic stamping block means you can position the stamp in the right place every time.   I honestly love these little stampers and think they are going to make the whole back-to-school routine much easier.    You can check out more at the Stamptastic website.  I think you’ll be glad you did.   

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parakitoimage

Para’Kito is a new product from Europe designed to naturally stop mozzies attacking our kids.   I’m not sure about you but mosquito bites are on my  list of summers most hated things.  Especially as my middle girl reacts with huge swollen sore lumps that last for days.  Para’Kito uses wristbands and bag clips  (RRP $24.95) with refillable pallets containing a blend of 7 essential oils extracted from plants which naturally repel mosquitoes.   There are no chemicals involved which, along with the fact they essential oils don’t touch your skin, makes them totally safe – even for pregnant women.

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 Para’Kito™ pellets last for fifteen days and are waterproof, meaning that swimming,  heavy rain or any general contact with water doesn’t affect its use.  Each band or clip already comes with 2 Para’Kito pellets –  giving you 30 days of protection.  Refill pellets can be bought at Para’Kito’s online  store for  around $8.00 each.

And of course what  you really want to know is do they work?  Well in our limited test period I’m  happy to report that they do. It’s so nice to send my middle pink off outside in the evening knowing she isn’t going to come back inside covered in itchy bites leaving her up all night scratching.   Para’Kito is in my opinion seriously worth considering for anyone who struggles with insect bites.

bluepagedividerleapreader

I have prattled on about how much my kids have enjoyed using LeapFrog products before.   They love them and I enjoy the smug feeling of knowing that with LeapFrog their  screen-time has educational value.  By far my five-year olds favourite  LeapFrog product has been the  new LeapReader pen we were sent to review way back in 2013.    

She has had fun getting a head start with learning letters and numbers, but what she has loved most of all is soaking up the information presented in the general knowledge books.  Spending time pointing the pen at the countries of the world (and being told the name and how they say “hello”) and learning the parts of the human body has fascinated her.  Just imagine the bucket load of funny facts she will be taking with her off to school this year.  The poor teachers won’t know what’s hit them.  The pen also holds music and  stories – making it very versatile and an awesome preschool activity.

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Disclaimer:  From time to time I am sent products for my family and I to review.  Unless otherwise stated no financial incentive  has been offered or accepted.  All opinion are my own and I attempt to be as honest and respectful as possible. 

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Post image for Eureka Skydeck Melbourne ~ the best views in town

88 floors up above Melbourne’s Southbank the view is pretty fine.   Can you pick out your favourite city land marks in these photos?

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It takes 30 odd seconds to reach the 88th Floor.   Now that is about 9 meters a second and is surely the fastest this family of five has ever moved.  

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Once we arrived we spent over an hour being wowed by  Melbourne from above  - it’s really an impressive and beautiful city.    I confess it took me a little while to get over the driven desire to pull my kids away from the 88 floor drop outside the glass windows – but once I did it was all kinds of awesome.

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Seriously the views are simply stunning.   Such an amazing way to see old Melbourne town.

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Eurkea Skydeck is open every day of the year from  10am to  10pm .  (Closes early Christmas and New Years Day.)   A family day time ticket for 2 adults and 2 children is $42 with extra children $8 each.   You can check out other admission pricers here.

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Disclaimer: My family was provided with tickets to attend Eureka Skydeck.

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