Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Mummy Must Have | Heart in Box

Often when a new baby arrives the baby is showered with loads of attention and gifts, but mum, who quite frankly is the one who's done all the hard yards to bring the baby into the world, is easily overlooked. I kind of understand why though, I mean babies are incredibly cute so people can't help but swoon over them, but it's important not to forget the woman who endured 9 uncomfortable months then a {no doubt} painful labour to produce that cute squishy newborn. Mum's deserve a bit of showering of their own, but what do you give them? 

It's easy to think of gifts for a new baby, because there's so much they need - clothes, nappies, toys, teething products, toiletries etc, but not much of that translates to a gift for mum. Most new mums have toiletries covered before going into hospital {and lets face it showers aren't high on the priority list in the first few days after having a newborn} and well clothes won't fit properly again until that equally squishy belly settles back into the correct spot. I can tell you what I would've loved the first time around, chocolate, a shit tonne lot of chocolate! Unfortunately though chocolate doesn't last long {not around here anyway} and it also doesn't last well sitting in a hot letterbox so if you need to post a gift, or just want a gift that arrives in a gorgeous gift box, I suggest you check out Heart in Box.


Heart in Box is an online gift box company that specialises in curated gifts to uplift and pamper recipients through gifting and words. The business idea was originally conceived after owner Meng had her baby and realised all the gifts she received were for the baby and that mum's were often forgotten {other than at Mother's Day}. Then she received gifts for herself from her girlfriends which immediately lifted her spirits and she wanted to bring that same feeling to others. In just over a year Heart in Box has expanded their gift box range and now offer Heart Boxes for various different occasions including birthdays, housewarmings, weddings and many boxes to celebrate just because and to remind people they're loved and appreciated by friends and family.


NEW MAMA HEART BOX


The New Mama Heart Box was the first ever gift box from Heart in Box and was designed purely for new mums {whether they be first time mums or have multiple children already}. The early days with a newborn can be quite hectic and are a whirlwind of cluster feeding and sleep deprivation, which can lead to the baby blues for even the most prepared of mums. The New Mama Heart Box is designed as a pick me up for new mums to alleviate some of the stress of life with a newborn.




The New Mama Heart Box contains 7 carefully selected items to put a smile on mums face, including:

- A tin of lactation cookies
- A handmade chew safe necklace
- A book of 99 pick me ups for new mamas
- An all natural nursing balm
- An all natural sleep balm
- A custom designed card
- A special note card to pass on to a fellow mum

I can't wait to crack open the lactation cookies {which incidentally are choc-chip, yum}. Last time around I was continuously worried about my supply levels because I had no idea whether I was producing enough milk so it'll be great to have a little boost. The good thing about these cookies is they're also egg, dairy and wheat free which is great because bub was allergic to egg and dairy, so even if I need to eliminate them from my diet this time around the cookies will still be ok.

The handmade necklace is fabulous because it's still something for me to wear and feel a little bit dressed up, without much effort, and it's still safe for baby to chew on. Which will no doubt inevitably happen.

I can also envisage flipping through the 99 pick me ups for new mamas book at all times of the day {most likely when I'm trapped under a breast feeding baby} for a laugh. It's full of so many hilarious pictures and quotes. It'll probably save my sanity a lot during the 2am and 5am feeds when there's nothing else to do.

Also included in the box is an all natural nursing balm and all natural sleep balm. I can actually still remember how sore my poor nipples got while breast feeding so I'm glad I have a good balm ready to go and I love that it's all natural. I also can't wait to try the sleep balm as I had an awful time sleeping when bub was a newborn. I used to lay awake literally counting how long I could sleep before she would need another feed again {she would feed for an hr then take a while to go back to sleep then sleep about an hour and a bit then feed again}, but then by the time I got to sleep 20 minutes later she'd be ready to feed again. It was exhausting, so anything that can help me get a bit more sleep is very welcomed.

If you're after a special gift for a new mum in your life I'd definitely recommend the Heart in Box New Mama Heart Box. It arrives in a beautiful gift box which makes you feel extremely special before you even open it. The products are beautifully packaged and they're all useful items. You can also choose the flavours of the lactation cookies and the colour of the necklace when ordering to cater for individual tastes. Best of all, the gifts are all for mum {even though some come in handy with baby too} so she'll feel extra special when the focus is often on the baby.

Toni x 


Disclosure - I was gifted a New Mama Heart Box for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed in this post are based on my experience with the service and products. I did not receive payment for this review.

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Monday, January 30, 2017

How to teach young children what to do in an emergency

Emergencies can be scary, even for us adults, so imagine just how scary they are for little kids {especially if you, the adult, are incapacitated at the time}. Nobody ever wants to imagine their children alone and scared when something has gone wrong, but its a fact that some children will unfortunately find themselves in that situation. We as parents often do all we can to avoid accidents and do first aid courses so we know what to do if our children hurt themselves, but what if we are the ones that are hurt and they are the ones who need to help us?

This has been playing on my mind a lot lately, especially with T working shift work and me now being in my third trimester. It's often just bub and me and labour is going to inevitably happen at some point, not to mention there's always the possibility of accidents occurring at any time. If something should happen I don't want her to be freaking out by herself, I'd rather teach her what to do so she can get help asap {both to help me, and also so she isn't alone}.

Over the last week or so I've been gently broaching the subject of when to call an ambulance with bub {with an emphasis on not making it seem scary}. We've spent a lot of time at hospitals and the doctors since I've been pregnant so she understands that Drs help people and make people better, but she hasn't really been exposed to ambulances or the concept of calling 000 {she was taken to hospital in an ambulance when she was younger, but she doesn't remember it}. These are the ways I've been teaching bub what to do in an emergency.

IS THIS AN EMERGENCY? THE ADVENTURES OF TOBY THE TEDDY


I'm a big believer in using picture books to introduce complex concepts to young children. I didn't really know how to start a conversation about emergencies, but reading the new Toby the Teddy book was a great way to explain different emergency situations to bub and has also lead to lots of other conversations about what to do in an emergency.

Toby the Teddy is purposely written to facilitate discussions between kindergarden and primary school aged children and their parents and teachers about what situations constitute an emergency and when they need to call an ambulance. Written in collaboration by a primary school teacher and paramedic, the book follows Toby the teddy through a series of scenarios that children may face and explains whether these scenarios are emergencies or not and what Toby should do in each situation. The book starts out with something that every child has most likely experienced, dropping their ice-cream by accident, and then gradually goes through more urgent scenarios such as falling over, an asthma attack and an allergic reaction.

I really like that the book included the asthma situation as I have asthma myself and bub knows that I have special medicine for it, but hasn't seen me have a really bad attack yet. I also like that the book ends with Toby finding his mum unconscious and he has to call the ambulance, because this is the exact situation I'm worried about her being in. The book calmly walks trough the steps Toby needs to take if he had to call an ambulance, which has allowed us to have the same conversation with bub.

The book includes a Notes for Parents and Teachers reference section at the back which provides background behind the book and ways to further discussions on the topic of emergencies after reading the book. There's also a fridge magnet included to write your address on so your kids know the address to tell the 000 operator if they ever need to call {we hadn't taught her our full address yet so its good to show her its on our fridge so she knows where to look if she needs it}. There are also additional free resources available online at Toby the teddy including the Ambulance model shown above.

After reading the book a few times bub's been very interested in talking about ambulances and how ambulance people can help us if we're hurt so we've been incorporating this into other activities as well. Twinkl have a plethora of teaching resources {for both teachers and parents} available to teach children of all ages about people who help us. I browsed through the site and downloaded a few different activities that I knew would appeal to bub.

PEOPLE WHO HELP US CAN YOU FIND POSTER


We've downloaded numerous themed can you find posters from Twinkl so when I saw they had a people who help us can you find poster I knew bub would love it. I laminated it and she's been using her glass pebbles to find all the items on the page. As we play we have conversations about what all the people are doing and how they can help us in different situations.

PEOPLE WHO HELP US PENCIL CONTROL WORKSHEETS



I also found these pencil control worksheets that teach kids to get people to the correct helpers. There's a few sheets in the set including a sick person who needs a doctor, a fireman that's helping to put out a fire and a robber that gets caught by the police. The great thing is these sheets facilitate discussions about emergencies while she's also working on her pencil grip and pre-writing skills.

PEOPLE WHO HELP US COLOURING SHEETS



There's also numerous different people who help us colouring sheets available from Twinkl, ranging from simple sheets like these ones we downloaded to more complex colouring scenes. These are great to use during quiet time and get kids used to what people who help us look like so they can easily recognise them if needed during an emergency. There are many different sheets available in the sets including police, firemen, ambulance officers as well as doctors, lifeguards, vets, ses workers and numerous other people who have jobs that help others.

Twinkl are also currently creating new resources directly related to the Toby the Teddy book. To be notified of when these will be available click here.

Other non invasive ways to introduce emergencies and people who help us to young children include:

1. Small world play
2. Role play/imaginary play
3. Story stones or other books
4. Tv shows such as Fireman Sam
5. Triple Zero Kids Challenge app.

Since we've started introducing the concept of emergencies with bub she now knows to call zero, zero, zero in an emergency and to ask for an ambulance if we're hurt. She's started conversations with us about when she needs to call the ambulance which has lead to discussions about various different situations, both when she would need to call an ambulance and when she doesn't. We still need to work on certain things, like teaching her our address, but most of all I'm happy she doesn't seem scared of having to call an ambulance, which reassures me that she'd be ok in an emergency.

Do your kids know what to do in an emergency?

Toni x
Disclosure - I was gifted a copy of Toby the Teddy Is this an Emergency? Ambulance to help compile this post. I did not receive payment for this post. Some of the Twinkl resources shown in this post may be paid resources, but there are a huge range of free resources available, simply sign up for a free subscription.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Mummy Must Have Review | Pepper & Penny milestone cards

I normally hate being in photos, except when I'm pregnant. When I'm pregnant all the imperfections I normally focus on are far outweighed by the amazing transformation my body's going through. Of course my flaws are still there, but they no longer matter. I don't even care that I'm gaining weight, I'm just so in awe that my body is capable of growing another human being {especially after our fertility battles to conceive both times}.

Pregnancy is one of the only times I love being in photos. My newfound body confidence means I'm more than happy to document my changing shape, in fact I long to document this amazing journey as much as possible. Both times I've been pregnant I've been genuinely unsure of whether it would be my last pregnancy, so I've cherished every moment {even the shit ones}.

Last pregnancy I took lots of random belly shots {usually a reflection in a smeared mirror with a messy room in the background to be honest}, this time I'm documenting it even more and thankfully my photography skills have improved {and I have a reluctant Instagram husband who helps out every now and then}. I've also added in milestone cards to capture specific moments, because I know how easily I forget things afterwards {aka baby brain, which by the way seems to last for years}. Pregnancy milestone cards didn't seem to be a thing when I was pregnant last time, at least if they were I had no idea about them. Fast forward almost 4 years and they're now all the rage {and I can totally see why}. I'm loving tracking the progress of my belly every few weeks.


28 week pregnant belly with milestone card

The cards I chose are Pepper & Penny pregnancy milestone cards which I was initially drawn to because they're gender neutral and I started using them before we found out the sex of the baby. I didn't want anything overly pink or blue or too girly/masculine. The Pepper & Penny cards are printed on recycled enviro board and the weekly record cards include a number of gender neutral geometric patterns such as stripes, circles, triangles and arrows. There's also It's a boy or It's a girl cards to use for gender reveal photos. We didn't do a gender reveal party or cake etc, but I did do a flatlay with the card to include in my gender reveal post.
baby girl gender reveal flatlay

The pregnancy milestone cards also include 15 other cards to track special moments throughout pregnancy from the beginning through to the end. They include moments such as we're having a baby, today we heard a heartbeat and today we had an ultrasound, as well as funny moments such as I've gone a whole week without puking, officially can't see my toes {I'm almost there now!} and preggi brain. My favourite special moments so far have been today dad felt a kick and this is what I'm craving today... {fyi its always mango}. I also need to capture a few preggi brain shots because there's certainly been a few of those moments!

I first started feeling this little miss popping away at 12 weeks which progressed to proper forceful kicks by 16 weeks. Poor daddy had to wait until nearly 23 weeks before he felt them from the outside though {about the same time as he felt them with bub}. He still has days now where he says he can't feel kicks, but I have no idea how because these days she has mini parties in there and my whole belly looks like a wave pool at times.


Pepper & Penny logo

Pepper & Penny is an online business selling handmade invitations, greeting cards and milestone cards on 100% recycled brown craft enviro board. Owner Jacinda started Pepper & Penny after having her son so she could work part time around him. The business first started with greeting cards and then milestone cards were later added as an extra gift option. The milestone cards are nice and thick and come in a sturdy kraft box for easy storage when not in use. I'd definitely recommend them to anyone who's after a more traditional set of pregnancy milestone cards {with some slightly humorous ones thrown in},
neutral baby milestone cards

I've also got the Pepper & Penny baby milestone cards in branch. The milestone cards also come in 4 other designs - fox, geo, boho and arrow. Each set is available in weekly or monthly milestone cards and with a twin option for mums of multiples. I got the monthly set so I can capture how she changes over her first year. When bub was a baby I attempted to use belly stickers {they were the in thing then not cards} but they were a total pain as they would peel off her outfit or crinkle up as she moved, so I gave up after 2 months. Hopefully the milestone cards will be much easier to include in photos as baby won't be wearing them. I already have a photo board idea for her first birthday using all the milestone photos {hopefully that's motivation enough so I don't forget to take any of them}.

Follow me on Instagram to see the rest of my pregnancy photos using the milestone cards + a never ending stream of baby spam come April.

Did you record your pregnancy or baby's milestones with cards?

Toni x

Disclosure - I was provided the pregnancy milestone cards and baby milestone cards for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are based on my experience with products. I did not receive payment for this review.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Mummy Must Have Review | Little Blue Lamb Shoes

Do you have a child with slightly larger feet? Bub's always had long feet with a high bridge {which if she was a boy I guess would be considered a good thing, but as a girl it's just inconvenient to say the least} and it makes finding shoes that fit quite difficult. So difficult in fact that every pair of department store shoes I'd bought before she was born never fit properly and cut into her feet leaving really painful marks, so I gave up on them fairly quickly. 

Thankfully I found Tiptoe & Co online when she was about eight months old. They stock a huge range of quality {mainly leather} kids shoes that also cater for little ones with bigger than average feet. Ever since then I've been a huge fan and her shoe collection has been exclusively from them {when you find something that works stick to it I say}, even T raves about their shoes {which coming from a guy who doesn't care less about shoes or brands is a pretty big compliment}. 

Recently however I had a bit of a freak out moment as bub grew out of most of the sizes stocked by Tiptoe & Co so we made a reluctant trip to local department stores to {try to} find her some new shoes. Oh my god, if you think buying shoes with a toddler is hard, multiply that by about 100 when you have to try on literally every single pair of shoes {that are apparently her size} in order to come away with only one pair of shoes that badly fits her foot. She was over it after about five minutes and we were well and truly over it after ten minutes but we persevered for over half an hour, because well a girl can't be without shoes and a toddler definitely can't. We ended up buying a pair of shoes that didn't fit her that well, but was the best of all the options, because we were desperate. That night I contacted Chelsea from Tiptoe & Co to ask beg her to please, please, please order me in larger sizes of the shoes we already have. Unfortunately she couldn't, but she did have a new shipment of styles that had just arrived and had a few options in bub's size! Hallelujah. Why I didn't think to ask her before we went through the hell of trying on every shoe at the shops I don't know {won't do that next time}.


I think she's pretty happy having shoes that fit properly again. Truth be told when Chelsea suggested the new Little Blue Lamb Hayley Ballet Flats I wasn't entirely convinced they would work, because of that big elastic band across the top. We've never had luck with any shoes that have an elastic band, no matter how thick or thin it is, purely because bub has such a high bridge, so I was sceptical to say the least, but I trusted her advice. Sure enough when they arrived they fit her foot perfectly and with a bit of wiggle room to boot.

These ballet flats are unlike any other shoes bub's had before because they're an all in one slip on shoe rather than a velcro fastening shoe. If you have kids with bigger feet you'll know velcro shoes are the bomb, but I have to say these are pretty awesome too. I think the key is they're made from super light leather microfibre so they're not too tight. I also usually stick to open toed shoes or sandals with cut outs because it gets quite hot up here in Queensland and heat = sweaty feet. However, these ballet flats have a unique antibacterial foam insole with a breathable moisture reduction system that keeps her feet dry, and it really works {thankgod because sweaty feet = stinky feet and aint nobody want that}.

peach toddler ballet flats

When I found out there was also a new leather sandal available in bub's size I couldn't pass it up. I'm a sucker for a pretty pink shoe {because her shoes are all about me, clearly} and I was sold with the velcro strap. The Little Blue Lamb Hazel Sandal is an enclosed sandal with cute pink flower details. It also has little cut outs above the toes and the same antibacterial foam insole with the breathable moisture reduction system to keep little feet aerated and dry while being worn. Apparently these ones are her favourite ones, because they're pink. I love them because they go with almost every one of her outfits, clearly we have way too much pink.



I'm so glad I checked with Chelsea if she had any shoes in bigger sizes, we're now set for another 6 months at least and after that I'm definitely planning on either buying these same styles in bigger sizes or getting some of the other new Little Blue Lamb styles she recently got in stock. There's even a few cool boys styles in grey and neutral colours that I'm thinking would be great for bub. I'm beyond relieved that we won't need to endure another mammoth department store shoe expedition for quite a while. If you have little ones with hard to fit feet you really should do yourself a favour and check out Tiptoe & Co online, Chelsea has such a great range of shoes available and is always happy to help with sizing advice.

Do/did you abhor shoe shopping with toddlers as much as I do?

Toni x

Disclosure - I was provided the Little Blue Lamb shoes mentioned above for the purpose of review {after desperately contacting Chelsea to see if she had any shoes that would fit bub}. All opinions expressed are based on our experience with the shoes. I did not receive payment for this review and have spent a huge amount of $ on Tiptoe & Co shoes over the last 3 years and will no doubt be buying more of the Little Blue Lamb shoes once she grows out of these ones.

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Must Have Materials for Sensory Play

If you follow me on Instagram you'll be well aware of my love of sensory play. We're constantly using food items, water, craft bits and pieces, left over packaging and basically anything we can get our hands on for sensory play. There's a plethora of items available for sensory play, you just need to know where to look, so this week I've invited my friend Casey from Little Lifelong Learners, who has many years experience as a teacher and a stay at home mum to two little ones, to share her favourite must have materials for sensory play.

Must Have Materials for Sensory Play


As a teacher and mama, my collection of educational toys and resources is ever growing. I’m actually kind of embarrassed to share images of the play room cupboard because it is overflowing with goodies! It’s hard to resist when there are so many amazing resources for play and learning which are so easily accessed. Today I’m thrilled to be guest posting here at Finding Myself Young and sharing my favourite items for Sensory Play at home with your Little Learners!

Must have items for sensory play

The Basics


Sensory Play is notorious for being messy but that shouldn’t discourage you. Large, shallow tubs are great for Sensory Play and you can find them at your local supermarket. I love using big under-bed storage crates or clear plastic containers. I recently bought a shallow Trofast Box from Ikea which has been great for sensory tubs and experiments. The Creative ToyShop also stock a fantastic Activity Tray which is perfect for Sensory Play.


An old bed sheet is also wonderful for catching any spills that might will occur while playing. You can also get splash mats or plastic sheeting which would work just as well, especially for things like edible paint.

Always remember to have everything on hand for easy clean-up afterwards as well. You shouldn’t ever leave your Little Learners unsupervised to go and get supplies. My basics for cleaning include a dustpan and brush, wipes and my trusty vacuum.

Supermarket Items


Many great items for Sensory Play can be found at your local supermarket. Staple household items like flour, oil, salt and cream of tartar can be used to make play dough. Food dyes and essences are a great way to develop the sense of taste and smell too.

Food supplies for sensory play

Large bags of rice are often on sale at places like Woolworths and Coles which you can dye different colours. I save mine in a container and use it for well over a year! Simply add it to a tub with some different sized measuring cups, containers and spoons {from the supermarket too} and your Little Learner can work on their pouring and transferring skills.


Woolworths also stock the plastic variety of the very popular Voss water bottles. They make FANTASTIC sensory bottles which you can fill with just about anything. One of our favourites include musical bottles using things like bells, paddle pop sticks, pebbles and shells. 


voss sensory bottles

Small World Invitations


Small World invitations are a great way to engage the senses, particularly if you use different textures in your play. By using things like dirt, sand, water, ice, beans and rice, you are encouraging your Little Learners to touch and explore while developing their vocabulary too. You can also get fake turf from places like Bunnings which makes a great base for small world play.

You can get beautiful, realistic animals from places like OhIvy, Mini Zoo and even Kmart. Dollar stores also have fantastic items like synthetic aquarium plants, stones and artificial plants which are wonderful for small world invitations.


Bug small world invitation to play

Sensory Art Exploration


Exploring art is a big part of sensory play because it can engage so many of the senses. You can find wonderful art resources from websites like ZartArt and RiotArt and Craft. However, your local shopping centre will be a treasure trove for art resources. Your local dollar shop or Kmart will have everything you need. I love things like ice-cube trays or simple plastic trays for pouring paint into and you can get washable paints by Crayola from places like Kmart, Target or Big W. You can get different textured rollers and paint brushes from these store as well.



As you can see, there are many places you can go shopping for Sensory Play materials, many of which can be found at your local shopping centre. Before you know it, your cupboard will be overflowing with Sensory Play goodness too!
_____

My name is Casey and I am the teacher mama behind LittleLifelong Learners. I love to provide teachers and parents with play and learning inspiration for the classroom and home. If you’d like more play inspiration, feel free to follow me on Instagram or Pinterest. You can also check out my brand new eBook, Sensory Play for your Little Learners.

sensory play ebook


Disclosure - This post contains an affiliate link.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

52 Weeks of Memories is back for 2017

If you've been following along here for a while then you'll be aware I started a weekly photography project 52 Weeks of Memories back in 2014 as a way to capture memories of my daughter. I initially intended for it to be a one off challenge for that year, but due to popular demand have brought it back each year since.

To be honest I was considering not doing it this year as my motivation waned a bit the second half of last year {due to morning sickness and pregnancy issues}, but once again I was inundated with requests for a new list. My friend also reminded me of why I started the challenge in the first place, to capture memories, and with a new baby on the way this year it seemed even more fitting than ever to want to capture special memories. So over the past few days I've created a new list for 2017 {there's a few of my favourite prompts repeated from last year, but the majority of them are brand new}. 

My interests have varied over the last few years since becoming a mum so I've aligned the new prompts with most of the things that make me happy ~ special moments, play based learning and nature. There's also a few prompts relating to seasons and special events throughout the year. I've tried to make the prompts as open ended as possible so everyone can play along, regardless of if you have kids as well. I'll also send out inspiration for each of the prompts in the weekly emails {simply subscribe to the list at the bottom of the page}.



So how do you join in and play along I hear you ask? Well, it's super simple.



1. Follow the weekly prompt for your photo - you can be as creative or literal as you like.
2. Share your photo - there are many ways you can do this:
  • via Instagram, simply use #fmy52weeksofmemories
  • on the Finding Myself Young Facebook wall
  • on your own Facebook wall
  • via the 52 Weeks of Memories Facebook group {subscribe below for access}

To help you stay motivated I've added an email list so you can get weekly prompt reminders and inspiration. I know it's tough to stay focused for a whole year and things often get in the way, so it's nice to have a friendly reminder. By joining the mailing list you'll also get access to the private Facebook group. To sign up simply fill in the form below. 

I can't wait to see all your wonderful photos throughout the year.

Toni x


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