Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Celebrating 100yrs of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie with a Gumnut Baby giveaway

When you think of iconic Australian children's authors, May Gibbs, is arguably one of the most recognised names. Originally born in England, she emigrated with her family at the age of 4 to Australia and spent her life living and studying between Australia and England. Much of her life was spent in the Australian bush so it's no surprise many of her characters and stories are inspired by and set amongst native Australian flora and fauna. Even though she passed away in 1969, her characters still grace the pages of many books and live on in the imaginations of many children young and old, myself included.

I was first introduced to her books in primary school and even though I've forgotten a lot of what I learned at school, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie are still very much ingrained in my childhood memories. I remember believing they were actually real and thinking the only reason I couldn't find them in the trees near our house was because they were so good at hiding from humans. Next year marks the centenary of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, who are without doubt the most famous of all May Gibbs literary characters.

100yrs of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie


Snugglepot and Cuddlepie are two inquisitive gumnut foster brothers who live in the Australian bush and go on many adventures with friends like Mr Lizard and Ragged Blossom. They featured in their own book The Tales Of Snugglepot annd Cuddlepie, first published in 1918, and have subsequently featured in many of Gibbs other stories. 

To celebrate 100yrs of Gumnut Babies, Scholastic have released 4 new Gumnut Babies books; Tales From The Bush, Tales From The Camp Fire, Tales From The Billabong and Tales From The Gum Tree. We received Tales From The Bush and Tales From The Camp Fire and have copies to giveaway to one of you too.


Tales From The Bush and Tales From The Camp Fire


The new gumnut babies books are collections of stories featuring classic May Gibbs characters Snugglepot and Cuddlepie and their friends Mr Lizard, Ragged Blossom and Mrs Snake. Other bush characters like banksia men, birds, frogs, bull ants and many bush folk make appearances in the tales as well. Each short story is based on a Snugglepot and Cuddlepie adventure, many of which don't turn out as planned. The stories all explore similar concepts about how to make the best of every situation, the importance of friendship and how to overcome adversity.



My favourite of all the short stories included in both books is The Mystery of the Humans. I loved this tale as it shows how the gumnut babies perceive humans, which was something I spent a lot of time wondering about as a child. It's also a perfect way to explain to children you shouldn't make judgement based on preconceived ideas.


The illustrations done by Caroline Keys are inspired by May Gibbs original illustrations and I think they capture the essence of the original characters really well. All of the stories give a greater insight into how the gumnut babies think and perceive the world around them. Reading these stories has transported me back to my childhood and I'm so glad that I have them so I can pass on my love of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie to my girls when they're a little older. The stories are slightly too long to keep bub's interest, but would be perfect for children aged 6+ who are moving on from picture books as they bridge the gap between picture books and chapter books quite well. If you have a budding bookworm, or just want to relive the nostalgia of your own childhood, make sure you enter the giveaway below.


Put some Gumnut Babies under your tree this Christmas



I have two of the new Gumnut Babies books Tales from The Bush and Tales From The Camp Fire up for grabs for one lucky winner. Simply fill in the rafflecopter form below and you're in with a chance. Be quick though, the giveaway ends soon so we can get the prize to you in time for Christmas.

Toni x

a Rafflecopter giveaway



TERMS & CONDITIONS
Competition commences upon publication and ends at 11:59pm December 18th 2017. One winner will receive a copy of Tales From The Bush and Tales From The Camp Fire RRP $39.98. We will send the prize prior to Christmas, but can not guarantee it will arrive before Christmas Day. Finding Myself Young will not be held liable should the prize be lost in transit. Competition is open to Australian residents, excluding ACT. This competition is a game of skill and will be judged as such. All mandatory entry steps must be completed to constitute a valid entry. Winner will have 48hrs to respond or prize will be redrawn. This competition is in no way endorsed, promoted or administered by Facebook or Instagram.

Disclosure - This is a sponsored review on behalf of Brand Meets Blog. 

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Pop the Pig game review

One of the things I've been looking forward to most as bub's been getting older is introducing her to board games. I have fond memories playing board games with family as a child and I want to create my own family traditions, starting with buying a new game as a joint Christmas present each year. I'm excited that at 4 and a half she's finally getting old enough to understand simple games, obviously we won't be playing monopoly any time soon, but her attention span is finally at a point where we can enter the world of family game nights {or afternoons}.

But where do you start with kids games? There's just so many out there. And how do you know which ones they'll like? This is where technology has actually been helpful. A few weeks ago she started obsessing over youtube videos of Pop the Pig. She watched videos of other kids and reviewers playing the game over and over again. Gone are the days of watching unboxing and surprise egg videos on repeat a thousand times, now it's all about kids reviewing games. 

The fact that she kept watching Pop the Pig in particular piqued my interest. At first I thought it was only available in America {because most of the videos she found were American}, but then I started seeing it in shops here, so it went straight onto our Christmas list. As luck would have it an opportunity came up to review it so I said yes straight away because we were going to get it anyway.



Pop the Pig is a multiplayer game designed for kids aged 4+ You feed the pig burgers until he gets so full his stomach pops! The game comes with 16 individual burgers; 4 green, 4 purple, 4 yellow and 4 red. Players roll the dice to determine which colour burger to feed the pig. Each burger then has a number on the back and once you feed the pig you press down on his chef's hat the corresponding number of times. The game continues until the pigs stomach pops, his belt flings open and his arms go up in the air. 


Pop the Pig arrived on a kindy day so bub didn't even know we had it, but it took her about 4.5 seconds to spot it once we walked in the door. I had this whole spiel planned, but she spied it while I was literally still closing the front door. So the big reveal I had rehearsed in my head didn't quite go as planned, but she was super surprised none the less. As soon as she spotted it she started jumping up and down on the spot unable to contain her excitement. She swung back and forth between "mummy look it's the pig off the youtube" to being completely speechless to "mummy and daddy thankyou sooo much for the pig, it's the best". Safe to say she liked it before we even opened it up. We then spent all afternoon {and every day since} playing Pop the Pig at least 3 times in a row, sometimes multiple times a day.


I love that the instructions are so simple as she only has to roll the dice and press the head the corresponding number of times. It's been a great way to introduce her to games and concepts like turn taking, waiting and rolling a dice, without adding in any other complicated rules. She's getting much better at waiting her turn, but she's usually so excited she rolls the dice before we've finished pressing the chef's hat, sometimes patience is not her virtue. And even though the rules are super easy, it hasn't stopped her sometimes trying to cheat, if it gets near the end of the game and she rolls a colour she doesn't want she tries to change the colour, or tell us that was our roll not hers. For the most part though she plays by the rules and there haven't been any tantrums yet {which says a lot}. 

As players can roll any colour in any order and each colour can have different numbers each time, no game is ever the same, so it's always a surprise when the pig's going to pop and who's going to be the winner. Which is great because she hasn't got bored with it at all, despite the fact we've already played it 20+ times in 5 days. She's even played it by herself a few times when I've been busy feeding her sister and she finds it just as exciting and suspenseful on her own, despite the fact she's obviously going to be the winner.

On the surface the game may seem super simple and just a lot of fun, which it is, but it's also got a lot of learning thrown in too. While playing kids are learning to recognise, name and differentiate between colours when rolling the dice and picking a burger. They're also recognising numbers when feeding the pig and also learning to count while pressing the pigs head. The more they play, the more these skills are reinforced. 


In addition to this its also helping kids develop fine motor skills by using their pincer grip picking up the pieces, hand/eye co-ordination to put the burgers into the mouth and hand strengthening when pushing down the head. These are all skills that will help them once they go to school. Bub currently uses two hands to push the head down as she's not quite strong enough to do it with one, but I'm sure over time she'll eventually be able to do it one handed.


I love that Pop the Pig isn't a traditional board game, but rather a combination of a toy and educational game in one. It's a great way to introduce young children to games with purposeful actions and outcomes {as opposed to free playing with toys} and it's fun for the whole family, not just the kids. I'm well over 4 and I get just as excited as bub does waiting for it to pop. Even though I'm generally not a big fan of anything plastic, I'm loving this game and all the learning that's happening each time she plays {and the best part is there's no need for batteries so it'll never stop working}.

Pop the Pig is available at all leading toy stores. For more about Pop the Pig and other great toy reviews visit Talkin Toys.

Will you have any games under your Christmas tree this year?

Toni x


Disclosure - This is a sponsored review as per my disclosure policy for Talkin Toys. I chose Pop the Pig to review as we were planning on purchasing it already.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Reliving my childhood dreams with Cabbage Patch Kids

Each year there seems to be the in toy. When I was younger it rotated between Barbie, Polly Pocket, Cabbage Patch Kids, Tamagotchis, Furbys {these just freak me out now, why the hell did I ever like them?}, Puppy Surprise, Cupcake dolls, Tazos, Yowies.... gosh the list is endless now I'm trying to think of them all. Most toys seem to go out of fashion as fast as they come in, but occasionally there's exceptions to the rule that remain popular for years. Barbie for example has been around for decades, but they don't seem to have as much of a cult following as they did when I was younger {although that could just be because I'm not an 8 year old girl anymore}. Another toy that's withstood the test of time and is making a huge resurgence in popularity are Cabbage Patch Kids.

Originally available in the 80's, the ever popular Cabbage Patch Kids are once again filling up toy shelves and little kids Christmas lists in 2017. And I for one am loving it! One of the best parts of having kids is getting to relive {or just recreate} the childhood I always wanted and one of the things I missed out on the first time around was my very own Cabbage Patch Kid doll. As all 80's kids will know, they were the doll of the decade and lots of little girls {and I dare say many boys too} wanted to get their hands on one, me included. Alas I never got my own, but thankfully I get to live vicariously through bub with hers! 



What makes Cabbage Patch Kids so unique?


Cabbage Patch Kids are soft sculpture dolls {with plastic faces, accessories and hair to style}. Legend has it that Xavier Roberts was a ten-year-old boy who discovered the Cabbage Patch Kids by following a BunnyBee behind a waterfall into a magical Cabbage Patch. He vowed to help them all find good homes so he built BabyLand General Hospital {it's a real place you can go and visit in America} where the babies could stay until they're adopted out by loving families.

Each Cabbage Patch Kid comes with it's very own birth certificate listing their name and birth date. Ours is Kathleen Dawn and she was born on December 26th {cool birthday if you ask me}. She also came with official adoption papers that bub can fill out. I remember when I was young I thought the birth certificate was the coolest thing ever. I also love that they have Xavier Robert's signature as a birth mark on their bottom {it's a bit cheeky!}.


One of their other distinctive features is that their faces smell amazing. I know that probably sounds super weird, and I'm not sure how they get them to smell so good, but it's seriously intoxicating. Similar to when you have a real newborn and you can't stop sniffing their heads because they smell SO GOOD. Perhaps I'm the only weird person that does this, but hopefully there's other CPK owners out there addicted to the smell as well {surely there has to be at least one person?}.




While each cabbage patch doll is easily identifiable by their distinctive body and head shape, they're all unique. Each doll has a slight variation in either skin tone, eye colour, hair colour, hair style, facial expression, outfit, shoes or accessories meaning no 2 are ever exactly the same. I was super excited that bub got a CPK that has glasses like her. I wore glasses when I was younger and I remember wondering why the dolls never looked the same as me, so I'm really glad she has a doll that looks {almost} just like her.


The new Cabbage Patch Kids come with a key which can be used with the new Adoptimals. Adoptimals are little electronic pets which can be adopted to a forever home just like Cabbage Patch Kids. Each Adoptimal makes different sounds, their locket lights up and they come with a bowl and brush. The key that comes with each CPK can be used to unlock the Adoptimal's secret heartbeat via the special locket. The dolls and pets are sold separately, but there's photos of each on the respective packaging. Let's be completely honest here, the parent in me sees that as slightly annoying, because obviously the first thing that's going to happen is "muuuum I want the pet" {and that's exactly what she did}, but with my business degree hat on I can appreciate it's a stroke of marketing genius.




And it works, because guess who's been scouring the shops for a few weeks looking for a pet cat? Yeah me. And not any cat, it apparently has to be the grey one like on the box. Kudos guys, this mum is loving searching through all the CPK Adoptimals each time I go to the shops to find the dam cat {I'm only being slightly sarcastic, because the inner child in me is actually loving searching for it}. The jury's still out on whether the cat will be making an appearance at Christmas {i.e. I haven't managed to find it yet}.

As a former preschooler and tween girl myself, I can totally see the appeal of Cabbage Patch Kids and why they're gaining massive popularity again 30+ years after they first graced toy store shelves. I can also 100% understand the need for an accompanying Adoptimal. I mean hello they're like the puppy surprise of the twenty-tens {is that what this decade's called? If you ask me it doesn't have the same ring to it as 80's or 90's}. I'm so lucky I mean bub's so lucky she has one of her very own. I'm definitely holding onto it forever {or at least until she has her own kids who we can pass her down to}.


The new 14 inch Cabbage Patch Dolls and Adoptimal Pets are available {sold separately} from Big W, Myer, Toys R Us and Mr Toys Toyworld. FYI you can buy Adoptimals without a CPK, you just won't be able to unlock the heartbeat. Also the key with each doll will work with any of the Adoptimals not just the one pictured on the box.



Disclosure - I was sent a Cabbage Patch Kid for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are based on my somewhat foggy childhood memories and our experience with bub's new doll. I did not receive payment for this review.

Linking with Kylie

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Monday, December 4, 2017

Can we talk baby snot for a minute and what is a baby nasal aspirator anyway?

crying baby with a cold

As I watched my baby squawk in misery, gasping and coughing, I realised that I have no life experience for dealing with somebody else’s cold. I realise that Netflix, a Vindaloo and a box of Sudafed isn’t going to cut it this time, and so I do it, I reach down and gently stick my pinky fingernail up my baby’s nose…. And then wonder what has become of the old me. I didn’t know about baby nasal aspirators. And why not? You know when you’re in those birthing classes and they’re showing you a ping pong ball and telling you this is how big your baby is this week… it all seems so nice and neat. There’s a ping pong ball bouncing about in me somewhere that will someday be a baby. How lovely. 

What they don’t tell you is that someday rather soon, you’ll be lying on the nursery floor at three in the morning using your pinky nail to try to scoop snot out of someone else’s nose. That doesn’t warrant a mention. The thing you learn in your first year of being a mum is that pre-natal classes are as useful to you now as all that algebra you worked your guts out to master in grade 11. 

So there I am, 3am terrified that I’m going to stab my tiny baby through the brain with my pinky fingernail.

Baby Nasal Aspirators for those reading along at home


Baby Nasal Aspirators.  Lordy.  They’re one of those things that childless people go their whole lives not knowing about.  Nasal Aspirators are machines that literally suck the snot out of your baby.  The old school ones are little puffers that you stick up the baby’s nose and then “release” and the snot gets sucked right out and into a rubber bubble, which you then have a horrible time attempting to clean. 

The modern day baby nasal aspirator looks more like a baby thermometer and can be used right up until your child is ready for school.  They’re about $70, battery operated and work at the touch of a button.  They reach deeper into the baby’s nasal passages and can relieve pressure on sore little ears.  They are waterproof so it’s easy to clean the discarded snot from the collection cup.  It’s all very simple, civilised and not gross.  Let’s face it.  A day where something is not gross is a win in early motherhood.

Baby nasal asporator

Fun facts about baby snot

  • Snot is baby’s way of flushing viruses out of her body! It’s mostly water but that doesn’t make it any less gross. 
  • Using a baby nasal aspirator is the best way to stop germs spreading to siblings as it reduces the amount of snot escaping the baby. Escaped snot is how colds spread. 
  • Green snot is no less infectious than clear snot. It’s all equally germy and gross. 
  • Every baby sneeze can spread 100,000 germs around the room! 
  • Babies can’t “blow” so the snot accumulates in their nasal passages, leading to ear aches and trickles down the back of their throats, making them even more miserable than a grown man with a cold. 
  • Kids under four have an average of 8-12 colds per year. TWELVE. These are mostly in autumn, spring and winter, so if it feels like your bubba has been sick constantly, she has. It makes that $70 baby nasal aspirator sound like a bargain though, right?

So there you have it, everything you ever needed to know (and probably more than you wanted to know) about baby snot and the various methods of removal. As someone who’s been there, I do not recommend the pinky fingernail method. Nobody likes that method. Not you. Not the baby. There’s so many colds ahead of you and your little one, bite the bullet and buy a proper baby nasal aspirator and hang it with pride next to your new ear thermometer and all the other things you never knew you needed until now.


This is a guest post by Laura Klein, mother to three little humans and resident snot expert at www.snottynoses.com.au
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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Gold Coast Holiday Playdate Giveaway

It's almost the end of term 4 in Queensland and the holidays are fast approaching. The kids are exhausted, you're probably exhausted, and now you need to come up with super cool fun ways to entertain them. If you're already freaking out about how you're going to do that, never fear I have a solution {and a giveaway} for you that'll entertain the whole family.

In a world first these school holidays TEG Live has created Holiday Playdate, the ultimate playdate spectacular on the Gold Coast. Be the first in Australia to experience this holiday themed, multi-brand festival December 15, 16 & 17 at CBUS Super Stadium. Holiday Playdate promises a fun, interactive and engaging day for the whole family.




Little kids will be so excited seeing their favourite TV characters in the flesh during rotating shows on the main stage throughout the day. Shows include: PJ Masks - Meet The Heroes with Catboy, Owlette and Gekko, Ben & Holly in Christmas Fun and Games Day, Captain Barnacles in The Christmas Rescue and Elmo and Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.




Older kids will love Nerf HQ as they battle it out as part of a team in the Nerf Battle Zone, or challenge themselves to complete the Nerf Obstacle Run. There’s also Nerf Target Practice and the brand new Nerf HQ Blaster Station. Transformers Autobot Mission will make its Gold Coast debut at Holiday Playdate, offering fans the chance to enjoy an interactive training and mission experience. 

Kids can also play in the ultimate Lego play zone with millions of blocks across multiple build zones including Free Build Tables where you can let your creativity loose, or test your Lego skills against your friends with the Speed Build Challenge and Blindfold Challenge. 



Other fun Interactive Zones include My Little Pony, Play-doh, Ice Age, Thomas and Friends, PJ Masks, and the popular Christmas Art & Craft Zone. There's also life sized versions of popular board games Operation, Connect 4, Scrabble and Pictionary. Plus a giant inflatable obstacle course and appearances by Gold Coast Titans players.



Food and drink will also be available for purchase plus a dedicated parent’s area where you can sit back, relax and recharge with good visibility to keep a watchful eye on the kids below. Naturally any Holiday Playdate in December wouldn’t be complete without a visit from the jolly man himself! Santa Claus will be appearing on the Main Stage at each session to sing a Christmas Carol – maybe two – and to wish everyone a happy festive season.



HOLIDAY PLAYDATE 
Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast 
Friday 15 to Sunday 17 December, 2017 
Three Sessions Daily: 9:00am, 12:00pm and 3:00pm 
Tickets on sale Monday 6 November, 12 noon. 
Bookings can be made through Ticketek 


WIN 1 OF 3 FAMILY PASSES TO HOLIDAY PLAYDATE


I'm lucky enough to have 3 Family Passes to give away to 3 lucky families to attend Holiday Playdate these school holidays. To enter simply fill out the rafflecopter form below {so I can contact you if you win} and leave me a comment letting me know which interactive area you think your kids would love most and why? You can also enter on my Facebook Page and Instagram Page for additional chances to win.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


TERMS & CONDITIONS
Competition commences upon publication and ends at 11:59pm December 3rd 2017. Three {3} winners will receive a family pass to Holiday Playdate on the Gold Coast RRP $101.85. Total prize pool of $305.55. Winners must be able to attend Holiday Playdate on the Gold Coast on either December 15, 16 or 17 in order to redeem prize. Finding Myself Young will not be held liable should the prize be lost in transit. Competition is open to Queensland residents only. This competition is a game of skill and will be judged as such. All mandatory entry steps must be completed to constitute a valid entry. Incomplete entries will be deemed invalid and excluded from judging. Entries can be made via www.findingmyselfyoung.com, Facebook and Instagram and 3 winners will be selected from the total entry pool. Winners will have 48hrs to respond or prize will be redrawn. This competition is in no way endorsed, promoted or administered by Facebook or Instagram.

Disclosure - I was provided a Family Pass to attend Holiday Playdate in exchange for running this giveaway. I did not receive payment for this post, I chose to do it because I love being able to give back to my readers.

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Thursday, November 23, 2017

LeapPad Ultimate learning tablet for preschoolers

One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is just how far technology has come since I was a kid and how different my childhood was compared to my kids as a result. When I was little we were never exposed to mobile phones {I didn't get my first one until I was 17} or computers {we finally got one when I was 14} and iPods and tablets didn't even exist yet. The only screen time we had as kids was in front of the tv watching abc kids, but these days kids are exposed to screens everywhere and screen time has become a wildly debated topic amongst parents.

Some people have complete screen time bans yet in other households each child has their own device. Some kids have time limits and restrictions, some have free access. Should I allow my kids screen time? Will I set time limits? Is it preparing them for the future or delaying their development? Should we blanket ban everything? I imagine these are dilemmas our parents never really had, yet they're very real concerns for parents today.

While I have a huge love for traditional toys, because that's what I played with as a child, I also believe in embracing technology and utilising it for learning. These days tablets are included on school book lists from grade 1 so I personally don't see an issue with exposing my children to them beforehand. The conundrum I have though is creating a balance between making screen time fun but also purposeful, so when I discovered that Leapfrog make their own range of educational Leappad tablets for kids I got really excited. We've been road testing the new LeapPad Ultimate for a few weeks now and I'm really impressed with it as it provides the perfect balance of educational apps that both teach and entertain kids, while also having lots of parental control options to limit access and implement usage time restrictions if you desire.



What is the LeapPad Ultimate?


The LeapPad Ultimate is the latest educational tablet from LeapFrog specifically designed for children. The tablet comes pre-loaded with apps and games to help develop core skills in mathematics, reading and comprehension, science, logic and creativity to prepare kids for preschool and beyond. It also allows access to kid-friendly web content curated by learning experts with parental controls and password protection options that can be used to set play time limits and manage multiple profiles.


The LeapPad Ultimate features:

  • 15 pre-loaded apps and videos including: Pet Pad Party, Photo Fun Ultra, Sing-A-Long, Read-A-Long Video, Letter Factory Adventures, Letter Factory Flash Cards, Pet Pals interactive storybook, Cosmic Cleanup science game, Pet Pals Hide & Seek puzzle game, 5 utility apps + 5 demo games.
  • Kid-safe LeapSearch™ web browser allows access to approved, kid-appropriate content. 
  • LeapFrog® Learning Library access to more than 700 learning games, videos, ebooks and more.
  • Parental controls with password protection provide the ability to set play time limits and add multiple user profiles
  • Just for Me™ learning technology personalises select games and adjusts learning levels between different profiles.
  • Built-in lithium ion rechargeable battery {5+ hrs battery life}
  • Shatter resistent 7-inch multi-touch capacitive screen {1024 x 600 resolution}
  • Stylus pen to encourage correct pencil grip
  • Energy-absorbing bumper
  • 2MP front and back cameras
  • 480p video recording
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/h
  • 3.5mm stereo jack with microphone
  • 8GB Memory
  • Manufacturer's warranty

Kid Tough Design


Regular tablets are often thin and extremely breakable requiring the additional purchase of a tough case to make them safe for kids to use, but the LeapPad Ultimate is quite chunky {yet lightweight} and durable enough to withstand anything a young child can throw at it {or throw it at}. The screen is inset within the casing making it less likely to be knocked or scratched. In addition to this there's a thick rubber bumper that runs the entire way around the side to protect the tablet if it's accidentally dropped, or in the unfortunate event it's thrown, sat on, walked on etc {all the things small children are likely to do at some point}. It also has a shatterproof screen with a film over the glass, so none can escape should there be a freak accident and the screen does get damaged.

To be completely honest I haven't been game to test these out by deliberately trying to damage it {because I'm not insane}. I'm sure at some point though bub will test out its durability {whether by accident or on purpose} so it's nice to have the reassurance that it should withstand anything she can {literally} throw at it. Plus there's the added bonus of not having to buy a separate case to protect it.

Kid Safe Internet Browsing


The LeapPad Ultimate allows kids to safely browse the internet via LeapSearch the LeapFrog search engine. LeapSearch provides access to online content that has been approved by LeapFrog learning experts as kid appropriate. Children can explore different videos, music, stories and images under a number of categories.


One of my biggest issues with bub having a tablet is what she'll have access to online. On her past devices we've limited her online access to YouTube Kids thinking this would stop her from finding anything inappropriate, but it turns out there's still a lot of weird stuff on YouTube kids. I've had a few quick browses on LeapSearch and am yet to find anything I wouldn't want her to watch. The best way I can describe it is it's like a cross between a more filtered version of YouTube Kids and an online resource directory. There's a good balance between funny and educational content. And yes they'll still have access to the Frozen theme song, that song is everywhere.

Kid Smart apps and games


One of the best features of the LeapPad Ultimate is that it comes with pre-loaded content so kids can start using it straight out of the box without needing to purchase any apps. The 15 apps loaded onto the tablet include a variety of games, music, videos, ebooks and demos which teach foundation maths and english skills such as letters, phonics, reading, shapes, counting, identifying and creating patterns, parts of the human body {and more}. They also explore life skills such as caring for the environment and looking after pets. The apps are all interactive with a lot requiring kids to use the stylus pen to trace lines, shapes or letters helping to build important pre-writing skills and develop correct pencil grip.



Bub's favourite of all the apps and games included is Planet Goop Cosmic Cleanup a game about looking after the planet and caring for the environment. In the game kids can choose between 3 different parts of the planet to clean and then work through various levels helping to clean, recycle or compost different rubbish and spills. At the end of each level there are important recycling or environmental facts explained. Bub's learnt so much about different types of rubbish and what can and can't be recycled just from playing this game. She's now constantly telling us what types of things can be recycled and when they're recycled that means they can be reused forever.

In addition to the preloaded apps, there's  also the LeapFrog app centre {which you can password protect} that has thousands of other educational apps, games, music, videos and ebooks. The app centre allows you to search for apps by age, skill type, category and bundles and download them directly to the LeapPad Ultimate. There's also cartridge games available to purchase in store that can be used in the cartridge slot on the side of the LeapPad. Quite a few of the LeapFrog apps and games feature popular children's tv and movie characters like Dory, Trolls, PJ Masks, Pocoyo, Team Umizumi and Blaze.


As soon as I told bub we can get other games like PJ Masks and Blaze her number one mission in life has been trying to convince me to get the PJ Masks game. She literally asks us everyday "do we have enough money for the PJ Masks game yet mum? And every day her dad leaves for work she says to him "bye daddy, make sure you make lots of money for the PJ Masks". She certainly isn't shy about letting us know what she wants. Little does she know that mummy stealthily went to Big W on one of her kindy days and I have it stashed in the cupboard for Christmas. She's literally going to lose her mind when she opens her presents Christmas morning, I just have to keep coming up with new excuses to avoid her constant requests to go buy it for the next 5 weeks {wish me luck}.

Other features we love about the LeapPad Ultimate


Without a doubt one of my favourite features is the stylus pen as it helps kids develop pencil grip while playing rather than passively pointing and poking the screen with one finger {although with the touch screen function they can still do this}. I love that the stylus pen comes tethered to the tablet and also has a slot where it can be stored inside, which means we're unlikely to ever lose it and it also teaches her to put it away when she's finished using it, which is always a good life skill to learn. Bub started out just touching the screen, as she's used to an iPad, but she soon started using the stylus and now automatically uses it for about 90% of the games and apps.

Another cool feature worth noting is that each of the demo games included actually allow kids to play a level of the game themselves as well as having a video trailer to watch. It's a great feature because it lets them have a proper taster for the game and allows you to determine whether they'll actually like it before buying. Bub actually thinks most of the demos are the real game and doesn't realise it's only one level she's playing.



I'm so impressed with the LeapPad Ultimate and how LeapFrog have managed to combine so many learning aspects into the one device. Just by playing the games that come pre-loaded bub is already learning new facts which has sparked lots of conversations about issues she otherwise probably wouldn't have been exposed to yet {like different parts of the human body, how blood uses oxygen, why recycling and composting is good etc}. I also love how using the device is helping her develop skills both physically {pencil grip, hand strengthening, hand/eye coordination} and mentally {problem solving, logical reasoning, improving concentration}. I'm also completely confident in letting her use it independently knowing she won't be viewing anything inappropriate while I'm not watching.

The LeapPad Ultimate is recommended for 3-9 year olds and given it'll grow with your child as their skills develop, plus the fact that it can have multiple profiles, I think it's definitely a worthy investment. The LeapPad Ultimate is available from Big W in green or pink for $199. Game cartridges can be purchased in store from Big W and Toys R Us or within the LeapFrog app centre on the device itself.

Toni x

Disclosure - We were provided a LeapPad Ultimate for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are based on our experience using the device. I did not receive payment for this review. I have since purchased the PJ Masks game and I'm fairly certain it won't be the last game I buy.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

How we save money while raising a family on one income


Do you remember life pre-kids?

I vaguely remember how carefree we were when we had disposable income. Five years ago I could buy new clothes {brand name ones even} whenever I wanted, we ate out all the time and we went on holidays every 6 months {yes every 6 months without fail, and to pretty cool places too}. If we wanted something we went out and bought it, simple. Those were the days.

It's really amazing how everything suddenly changes when you have kids though. I knew there'd be physical changes like sleepless nights and all the things you need to do to keep a little person alive, but the financial changes took me by surprise. I thought I was pretty budget conscious and money savvy before, but once we became a single income family with a baby to support, my money saving skills had to step up a notch.

Years ago an old boss told me how after she had kids her new favourite hobby was looking for bargains on baby items and ways to save money. At the time I thought gosh how boring is her life. Now I get it. Now I'm that woman, and I tell you what I'm a ninja when it comes to tracking down which supermarket has nappies on special each week. I've also switched to home brand items, buy things on sale, use vouchers and buy in bulk to save money. Being able to stay home with my babies as long as possible is really important to me, so I do everything I can to continue to make that a viable option for our family.


How to save money while raising a family with one income


I'll let you in on a little secret, one of the best ways I've saved us money {apart from buying nappies on special each week} is by changing our electricity supplier. When I started maternity leave I soon realised our electricity bill would automatically increase because I'd be home all day using electricity when we hadn't been previously. I hadn't even factored in how much extra electricity I'd be using in order to care for my new bundle of joy.

By the time she was a few weeks old I was washing a billion dirty outfits daily {I swear I changed her 4 times a day thanks to reflux}, sterilising bottles multiple times and binge watching tv for hours while she slept on me {because she refused to sleep anywhere else}. On top of all that I was boiling the jug 15 times a day to make 5 cups of tea that I then reheated in the microwave twice before I finally got to drink them cold {yep, it takes lots of electricity to enjoy a cold cup of tea!}. Our electricity bill sky rocketed.

So, I stepped out of my comfort zone and researched companies, compared costs and actually switched energy providers for the first time in my life. It's one of those things we all know we should do to save money, but it was always in the too hard basket before, because I hate change. But it turns out I hate being broke more. I also had no idea how much money I could actually save by switching and I didn't realise you could also get discounts just for paying bills on time {how cool is that}. 

I actually take a lot of satisfaction in saving money these days. I feel like it's my way to contribute to the household now I no longer have an income {in addition to raising the small people, obviously}. Even though my clothes now come from Kmart, eating out means a trip to McDonalds and the only holiday I get is an hour of peace between my 4yr old going to sleep and me crawling into my own bed {on a good night}, we're surviving. In fact life is pretty good {and one day my babies won't need nappies anymore so I can start a long awaited holiday fund}.

How have you saved money since having kids?
Are you as obsessed with buying nappies on sale as I am? Please say yes.

Toni x

Disclosure - This is a sponsored post for Alinta Energy as per my disclosure policy.

Alinta Energy is an established national energy company, with a proud history dating back to 1941. They have 800,000 customers and over 400 employees across Australia. They both generate and retail electricity in Australia, which means they are able to offer extremely competitive pricing. They retail energy in Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and have recently launched in Queensland.
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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Feeling like a fraud


When you're a first time mum it's ok to not know what you're doing. Nobody expects you to pop out a baby and bam you magically have it all figured out. First time mums get help, encouragement, advice {even though a lot of it may be unwanted} and a never ending conga line of visitors who want to come and go absolutely gaga over the baby because oh my god she's so cute and squishy and people can't help but be attracted to them.

Second time around people aren't as excited. Don't get me wrong I got the obligatory gushing congratulations comments on my Facebook status announcing her arrival {and my 3am hormonal self thanks every one of those people because it gave me something to read while feeding a ravenous baby}, but then crickets. I can count on one hand the number of friends who came to visit the baby once I got home, and almost 7 months later they're still the only 3 friends who've come to visit her {although considering the state of my house most days that may not be a bad thing}.

Even the midwives in hospital expected me to get up and recover from my emergency c-section twice as fast {I got kicked out after 2 days instead of 4 because they needed the bed}. You've been through this before love suck it up and get on with it seemed to be the general consensus amongst the staff. Like major surgery is so much easier to recover from the second time around {newsflash it's not really}. Go home and if that massive gash across your belly starts to hurt take some Panadol, you'll be right {because a wound big enough to literally exit an entire human from your body is totally the same thing as a headache}. 

Probably the biggest difference I've noticed though is that society {strangers, family, friends etc} all expect me to know what I'm doing this time. I've done this parenting thing for 4yrs I should know what to do with a tiny little baby. Eat sleep poop repeat, easy right?  Apparently not.

The problem is I've had a baby before, but I haven't had this baby before {even though she looks almost exactly the same as her sister did}. On the surface I know what should work, but just when you think you know what you're doing the universe likes to throw you a curve ball to remind you that actually you know nothing. What worked before just isn't going to cut it this time. The fun part is this time I also get to navigate the muddy {pooey} waters of new motherhood with a demanding 4yr old by my side every day.

Truth is I spent the first few months wondering why I ever decided to have another baby, not because I regret having her, but because the shock of 2 kids was far beyond anything I'd ever imagined and I was frustrated at my inability to magically adjust to the new hell chaos that had become my everyday life. Almost 7 months on and I still feel like I'm constantly treading water trying to stay afloat, but really I'm so close to drowning under the pressure of 2 kids {a baby with multiple food allergies}, a shift working partner and a household to keep together. 

Things that would be 10 minute jobs before now take hours because I have to stop and start 15 times to console a crying baby, fetch crayons, paper, toys, food, drinks for her sister every 5 minutes and re-console, pick-up, cuddle or feed the crying baby in between each time. The kitchen is my arch nemesis at the moment, I can never ever get the whole thing clean. I pack and unpack the dishwasher, wash dishes, make food and re-clean all day long and yet by the end of the day it represents a battle zone all over again. Same thing with the laundry, the lounge room etc. Actually I pretty much feel like the whole house is my arch nemesis. It's just so never ending, no matter how much I get done there's always more to do.

On top of that I feel like I can never satisfy everyone's needs when they want. It's physically impossible. There's 2 of them and 1 of me and they always want or need something at exactly the same time {usually when I'm busting to pee as well}. I'm constantly being pulled in different directions {sometimes literally} and juggling their needs to decide which is more important at the time, and the trade off is either a screaming baby or a frustrated small person. It's just so physically and emotionally exhausting and I feel like I'm always letting someone down.

I forget what quiet is. I forget what personal space is. I forget what being organised is. I forget what me time is. I forget what sleep is. I basically just forget everything, but I feel like it's almost wrong to admit these things. Like I'm failing at being a mum if I can't handle 2 kids. They're pretty small after all, they should be pretty easy to handle, you'd think.

More often then not I have days where I feel like everything is falling apart and I'm getting nothing done. I'm starting to think this might just be what life with a 4yr old and an allergy baby looks like for us {for the foreseeable future at least}. I'm quietly hoping that other mums are sitting at home thinking they have no idea wtf they're doing most of the time too. For the most part my immediate plan is to continue winging it.

Toni x

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Monday, October 30, 2017

VTech Sleepy Glow Bear Review

If you've been following along on my Facebook or Instagram accounts lately you're probably aware of our sleep troubles with baby girl. To put it bluntly she's never slept well {not unless she's attached to me}. This has been the case since day 1, the night she was born the midwives made me co-sleep because she refused to settle without me. After she came home we tried rocking, shushing, patting, boobing, using a dummy as a replacement boob, the bassinet and the cot, but most nights I'd resort to co-sleeping from sheer exhaustion. There's only so many hours you can rock and shush a baby while functioning on no sleep, at some point it becomes more dangerous being upright holding a tiny human while delirious than it is sleeping together. So that's what we did, until I got to the point I thought my baby was just broken and I took her to sleep school.

When we got home from sleep school things were going great, for about 3 days, and then things started slowly deteriorating until we were back at square one. As luck would have it when things started going pear shaped {again} the Sleepy Glow Bear arrived on my doorstep for baby girl. To be honest when I agreed to review it a few weeks before I didn't even realise it was a sleep aid {shows you how sleep deprived I was}, I simply thought it was an interactive bear toy. So, when it arrived smack bang in the middle of sleep regression hell I was pretty excited! Even though sleep school hadn't really helped {it did while there, just not at home}, I was cautiously optimistic the sleepy glow bear would give us some reprieve, after-all sleep aids were one thing we hadn't actually tried and it couldn't really get any worse.

The Sleepy Glow Bear is a soft and cuddly sleep aid designed to be used from birth. It combines a soft glowing night light, white noise & music options with a soft squishy body for gentle visual, auditory and tactile stimulation to help soothe babies off to sleep. The bear has 3 different touch buttons on his belly that either play loving phrases, sing-a-long songs, white noise or nature sounds {there's more than 70 different sound options}. The volume, light intensity and length of play time can all be adjusted via the control panel inside the bear.

When we first started using the sleepy glow bear I introduced it during day naps because I wanted to test out her reaction to it without further upsetting night time sleep {or lack thereof}. Because it was day time I initially used the bear without the night light option and set the volume as low as possible. I also used the bear in the top corner of her cot as far away from her as possible because she was only 5 months old and I'm paranoid about SIDS. After a few days of figuring out which noise she liked the most {for us it's the first nature sound option} it actually worked really well for day naps. She soon learnt her song and being in the cot meant it was time for sleep and she'd fall asleep with minimal fuss. Hallelujah.




After about 2 weeks of day naps with the sleepy glow bear I decided to introduce it at night time as well since she'd formed a sleep association with it. We also added the night light option on low as she seems to like a bit of soft lighting as she falls asleep at night. For some reason at night she needed to be rocked to sleep while listening to the bear, rather than falling asleep on her own in the cot. Using the bear on low volume, 30 minute timer and low glow night light worked well at night time getting her to sleep, but unfortunately it didn't help her stay asleep during the night {although to be honest I haven't found anything that helps her sleep longer than 2-3hrs}.

I love that the bear has so many different sound options, so you're pretty much guaranteed there'll be one your baby will like. For us the first nature tune is always a winner at bed time and she also likes the first melody from the heart button {but just when playing, not at sleep time}. I love that there's a timer which can be set for demo, 15 min or 30 min, for us 30 minutes was the best option, but other babies may fall asleep fine within 15 minutes. The only limitations I've found is that you can't go through the sound options without continuously pressing the button and working your way through each sound, so if your baby likes the fifth sound you need to press the button 5 times, you can't just pick that tune. It hasn't really been an issue for us though as she loves the first tune anyway. The only other way I think it could be improved is if there was an option to have the sound continuously playing, which may help keep babies asleep longer.

If you have a non sleeping baby like mine and you're looking for a sleep aid I'd definitely recommend giving the sleepy glow bear a try, even though it doesn't help her sleep for longer periods of time, it's definitely helped her go off to sleep which was half our battle. It's also a lot cheaper than other white noise/sleep aid toys on the market so it's a smaller outlay and it can still be used as a cuddly toy if on the off chance it doesn't improve your bub's sleep. Babies are fickle little creatures and what works is constantly changing {especially with every developmental leap, teething etc} so at the moment mine has decided she'll no longer sleep in the cot and prefers to be with me again, but we still use the sleepy glow bear when falling asleep at night {and it's actually quite effective at putting me to sleep too}.

Sleepy Glow Bear is $29.95 and available from Kmart and selected toy retailers. For more information visit www.vtech.com.au or follow VTech on facebook or instagram. To read more VTech toy reviews click here.

Toni x


Disclosure - I received a sleepy glow bear from VTech Toys for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are based on our experience using the bear. I did not receive payment for this review.
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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Counting down to Christmas with Smiggle

One of my favourite parts of Christmas growing up was opening the advent calendar each morning during December. It was such a fun way to count down to Christmas and it was super exciting knowing we'd get a little surprise each morning. I knew even before I had kids it was a tradition I was going to continue, and I have, but with a little twist.

We've done advent calendars with bub every year except her first Christmas {because she was 5 months old and had no idea what Christmas was}. I've done it a little different to mum though as I've always avoided the chocolate advent calendars, mainly because she had a dairy allergy until 2.5 so she couldn't eat it anyway, but also because I think it's more fun to receive something that lasts for more than 2 seconds. When you get a chocolate or lolly it's literally gone straight after it's opened, so instead we've usually given mini toys. However, now that she's older and at kindy, bub's really starting to get into stationary in a big way {every day she draws about 50 birthday cards and pictures for me, literally, not even exaggerating}, so when I was asked if we wanted to review the new 2017 Smiggle advent calendar, I couldn't answer yes fast enough.



As you can see by the little hands waiting not so patiently in the corner up there, bub was just a little excited when it arrived. Not going to lie, I was too, even though it's technically not for me my inner child is definitely keen to see what's hiding inside. It took every ounce of self control not to let her rip into it straight away. I already knew the advent calendar contained 25 limited edition stationary items worth over $70, but I had {and still have} no idea what's actually hiding behind each little numbered box, but I'm certain each item will be pretty awesome {because it's Smiggle and it's stationary, so how can they not be awesome}.


Of course I let her open up one to see what it was {for the purpose of review} and she was super excited to find an ice block rubber behind box number 1. Like really excited, she makes me sniff it every morning {yep, she's weird}. She's desperately trying to convince me to let her open up more, and while I was tempted to say yes so I could share more with you guys here, I put my mean mummy hat on and have told her she has to wait until December. I'm sure she'll ask me another 457 times to open more before then, but I'm also sure it'll be more exciting for her opening one each day in December than if I cave now.


The other awesome bonus to getting a Smiggle advent calendar is that each one comes with a lucky ticket and the chance to win 1 of 25 $1000 Smiggle shopping sprees. Can you even imagine, $1000 to spend on stationary, yes please! I love that the ticket comes in a little envelope, it's so cute, and yes for those wondering I totally felt like I was in Willy Wonker searching for a golden ticket when I opened it. Unfortunately for us we didn't win one of the shopping sprees, but that's good for you guys because it means there's still lots of lucky tickets out there waiting to be found. 


Even though we haven't opened all the boxes yet I'd definitely recommend the Smiggle advent calendar to anyone who has a little stationary lover. It's a great {and useful} alternative to chocolate calendars and it works out at only $1.59 per day which is cheaper than a surprise egg {which is what she'd want if she didn't have this}. I can't wait for December to come around so I can find out what's in each of the other boxes, I have just as much anticipation as her because this year it's a surprise for me too.

WIN A SMIGGLE ADVENT CALENDAR



If you want to know what's hiding behind all the boxes on the Smiggle advent calendar too, you're in luck! Thanks to the team at Smiggle I also have an advent calendar to give away to one of you guys. All you have to do is enter via the rafflecopter widget below {so I can contact you if you win}. If you're having any issues entering either send me an email or leave a comment on my Facebook page or Instagram and I'll help you out.

Toni x


a Rafflecopter giveaway


TERMS & CONDITIONS
Competition commences upon publication and ends at 11:59pm October 20th 2017. One winner will receive a Smiggle Christmas advent calendar RRP $39.95. Finding Myself Young will not be held liable should the prize be lost in transit. Competition is open to Australian residents only, excluding ACT. This competition is a game of skill and will be judged as such. All mandatory entry steps must be completed to constitute a valid entry. Incomplete entries will be deemed invalid and excluded from judging. Winner will have 72hrs to respond or prize will be redrawn. 


Disclosure - I was provided a Smiggle advent calendar for the purpose of review. While we haven't opened it all up yet {because that would be cheating}, I'm confident it is awesome and your kids will love it. I did not receive payment for this review.
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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Have you heard of the alphabet zoo?

The reality of being a second child is that you're inadvertently going to spend the majority of your time using hand me downs, which isn't necessarily a bad thing {especially in this house} because you automatically inherit all your sisters cool toys. And if your house is anything like ours then there's a lot of toys to inherit. To be honest I've just started culling the majority of bub's old toys, but I've kept a few of the baby ones for baby girl, but it's always nice to have toys that are all your own.

Thankfully this little old blog sporadically provides me with opportunities to review cool new toys {when I choose to accept the offers in my inbox} and recently we were sent the Leapfrog Spin & Sing Alphabet Zoo toy, so baby girl has finally got her first real toy {that's not a rattle or a teether} which is all her very own. Of course that didn't stop her big sister from trying to steal it before it even came out of the box {sisters are so much fun}.

The Spin & Sing Alphabet Zoo is an interactive multi sensory toy for babies from 6 months + that makes learning the alphabet fun. Babies can bat the letter wheel in the centre to make it spin which lights up the wheel {on the right}, spins the balls {on the left} and then tells them the animal or letter that it stops on. The 3 buttons at the front change the learning modes between letters, animals or music. 



When we first got it she couldn't do much with it so she would sit in her bumbo and watch her sister spin it around for her. But then her sister decided she liked it a lot so she stole it for a while and hid it in her room {and told me she didn't know where it was, even though I saw her take it}. I decided to capitalise on her interest so I left it in her room for a few days and we used it during story time. As we read animal books she would find the same animals on the spinning wheel and we'd talk about the noises they make and the letter they start with. It was a great way to extend reading time with her while her sister was too young to really use it. But once baby girl started getting better at tummy time she reclaimed it and it's been her favourite floor time toy since.


Now she can hold herself up a lot more and roll around all over her mat she's getting really good at moving over to it and whacking it until it spins. Her eyes light up as soon as the lights flash and it makes noise. Obviously at 5 months old she couldn't care less about the learning aspects in regards to the alphabet and animal information, but it's still been great to encourage her to reach, grasp and push. It's teaching her cause and effect as she knows when she hits it, it lights up and makes noise. It's also been a great motivator for tummy time and rolling.


The toy is guided for 6mths to 3yrs but I've found baby girl showed interest from 4 months watching her sister spinning it and could play with it by 5 months. Obviously it'll be easier for her to do once she can sit by herself and as she grows. Also bub is 4 so technically older than the guided age, but she gravitated towards it straight away thinking it was for her, not her baby sister. While I probably wouldn't buy it as a present for a 4yr old, it certainly won't lose it's appeal as your child turns 4. It's actually been really cute watching them playing with it together and it's probably the only toy we own at the moment that they both play with at the same time, even though they both love it for different reasons.

Toni x

Disclosure - Baby girl was gifted a Leapfrog Spin & Sing Alphabet Zoo for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed within this post are based on our experience using the toy. I did not receive payment for this review.
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