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Friday, October 30, 2015

My dairy free child can still eat yoghurt

Brought to you by NuLac Foods

When bub's dairy allergy was initially diagnosed one of the first things I thought of was all the foods she'd miss out on. Having dairy + soy allergies I assumed there wouldn't be many alternatives out there for her. So I figured she'd just have to miss out on things like butter, milk, cheese and yoghurt. And for the first year of her life she pretty much did, because I didn't know any better.

When the other kids in our mothers group started eating yoghurt, cheese and biscuits, she was still eating pureed fruit and veggies. One of the hardest things about being an allergy mum is telling your child they can't have the same food as everyone else. It's even tougher when your child is only a toddler and doesn't understand why. So after months of saying no, I decided to start researching to find alternatives that she could have. 

After joining a few allergy support groups online I discovered there are quite a few dairy free alternatives out there, I just hadn't been looking in the right places. Going shopping for allergy friendly foods can sometimes feel akin to going on a treasure hunt without a map. The obvious place to look is in the health food aisle, but there are other gems hidden throughout the supermarket, you just have to be willing to look a little harder. I quickly worked out most of them are hidden way up high on the shelves you never think to look at. Seriously if you're an allergy mum, looking up can change your life. That's how I found her special yoghurt and it opened up a whole new world for us.

While shopping in Coles about a year ago I stumbled across Alpine coconut yoghurt hidden high up on the top shelf of the yoghurt section. Alpine yoghurt is a coconut milk based yoghurt which is dairy free with no added colours, flavours or preservatives. It's one of the best kept secrets when it comes to dairy free foods. I wish I had of known about it earlier. If you have a child with allergies you'll understand just how exciting it is to find a new food they can eat.

A photo posted by Toni {Finding Myself Young} (@tones84) on

Coconut yoghurt has a lovely creamy texture with a delicate coconut flavour. Its perfect for breakfast {especially on the mornings she refuses porridge or weetbix} or as a snack. I also blend it with fruit to make home made ice-blocks during the warmer months.

Over the past year coconut yoghurt has become one of bub's favourite foods. Yoghurt is one of those rite of passage foods all kids should get to experience and I'm so glad that she gets to enjoy it despite her allergies. The best part is she has no idea that its slightly different to the yoghurt her friends eat. To her its just goghurt and I swear she'd eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner if she could {some days when she's refusing other food I've almost resorted to doing this}.

A word of warning though, although it's slightly thicker than normal yoghurt, it can still result in a lot of mess if you look away for a few seconds. There have been many times where I've looked over at the high chair only to discover she's covered the tray, her face and her hair in yoghurt. Apparently she was "painting". She's lucky she's so dam cute.

Yoghurt fun
Yoghurt is not only yummy, it also makes great face paint.
Posted by Finding Myself Young on Saturday, October 31, 2015

A few months after I first discovered Alpine yoghurt in Coles they replaced it with No Udder coconut yoghurt so we've switched to that instead. Coles have also brought in No Udder almond yoghurt which is also a dairy free yoghurt, however we're yet to try that. For now bub is quite content with the No Udder coconut yoghurt, but I plan on introducing the almond yoghurt later on as well. Alpine coconut yoghurt is also still available exclusively at Woolworths.
Dairy free yoghurt alternatives - alpine coconute yoghurt, no udder coconut yoghurt and no udder almond yoghurt.
I can't tell you how amazing it is to have so many dairy free yoghurt's available, considering a year ago I thought she'd never be able to eat yoghurt at all.

Toni x

Disclaimer: This content is not intended as a substitute or replacement for medical advice. Please consult with your advising health professional and thoroughly read the ingredient lists prior to consuming these products. 

Linking with Grace, Kaz & Sonia
Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Mummy Must Have Review | Bop Along Buddies

Bub loves to jump and bounce. Like really loves to jump. She takes every opportunity she can to jump, including {much to my disapproval} constantly jumping on the couch and beds, jumping on the spot and most recently jumping on our tiny little floor trampoline. I'm pretty sure her love of jumping is intertwined with her sensory issues. She finds the repetitive nature soothing, and anything that helps her to chill out is ok by me. I just wish she'd stop doing it on the couch.

She gives me a slight heart attack each day when she jumps on the couch so I've been searching for alternative places for her to jump. Living in a townhouse we don't have enough room to get a proper trampoline for the courtyard, so I've had to think outside the box. I've finally found a really cool alternative though. I recently discovered Bop Along Buddies online and they're the perfect toy for my crazy on the go toddler, and they can be used inside as well which is great for our townhouse.

Bop Along Buddies Happy the Horse kids inflatable bouncer review

Bop Along Buddies are inflatable animal shaped bouncers, perfect for little kids who love to jump and bounce. They're designed to teach balance, co-ordination and to help develop core strength. They're also a great therapeutic toy for children with sensory issues and special needs children with autism and cerebral palsy. Bop along buddies are a great tool to help kids explore movement and improve muscle tone, posture, balance and core strength all whilst having loads of fun. They're also great for imaginative play {cowboy races anyone?}.

Bop along buddies are made from child friendly {Phthalate free} PVC that exceeds current Australian standards. Each bop along buddy comes with its own hand pump included so you have everything you need to put it together and start playing straight away. It does take a couple of minutes to pump up though so I'd suggest pumping it up before showing the kids {because dealing with impatient kids is never fun}.

There are 13 different bop along buddies to chose from, including the standard range and XL range. The standard sized animals are suitable for kids from 1-5 {and can be used with adult assistance for children under 1} and the XL range are designed for kids aged 5+. We got happy the horse, but I'm seriously considering getting an XL one just so bub and I can have animal races {not even joking}.

I chose Happy the Horse for bub because she loves farm animals. I also chose Happy because I knew the saddle would help bub know exactly where to sit while using him, which it does. I thought I'd need to show her how to get on him and bounce, but she proved me wrong by getting straight on him and bopping around. Although apparently his name is just "horsey" and she was "jumpin" not bouncing. Jeez mum get it right.

Happy, sorry horsey, is 54cm long and 42cm high {with the seat sitting approximately 24cm off the ground}. He holds a total weight of 120kg, but its recommended no more than 70kg for regular use. Of course once I read 70kg was the limit my first thought was hell yes I can play on him too. And I totally did {would you really expect anything less}. Although I have to say it probably wasn't the most elegant thing to watch {sorry neighbours}. Just imagine me with my knees up around my ears trying to bounce on a horse that comes up to about the middle of my shin. Like I said not pretty, but still oh so much fun.

Bub's just a little bit in love with him. Well that may be a huge understatement since she has to say hello and jump on him every time she walks past him. Plus the other night she walked up to him cuddled his chin and said "awwww horsey I love you". Less than 24hrs after meeting him she declared her love for him. I think that's a new record for her. But I totally understand why, look how much fun she has on him.

Bop along buddies are safe to use inside and out on lots of different surfaces {just make sure there's nothing around that can puncture the PVC}. Bub's used Happy on concrete, grass, timber decking and the tiles inside without any dramas. The only thing she hasn't mastered yet is actually racing him rather than bopping up and down on the spot, but I'm sure she'll work it out over time.

Bop along buddies happy the horse on grass

Bop along buddies are great toys that encourage kids to exercise and have loads of fun, all while developing motor skills. They're basically a high tech version of the jumping balls that were around when I was a kid, just with loads more personality. I don't know about you, but I definitely think an animal bouncer would've been much more fun than the bouncey balls I got around on. At $44.95 I think they're a great investment given they can be used up until 5 years old, plus they're great quality. I know we'll definitely get years of use out of ours. If you'd love to have a bop along buddy at your place too, or know someone who would, then make sure you enter the giveaway below.


Win a bop along buddy, choose from digga, mily, darcy, dixie, brutus and happy.

Bop Along Buddies have kindly given me a bop along buddy to give away to one lucky Finding Myself Young reader {you can choose from any of the six included in the image above}. To enter fill in the rafflecopter prompts in the widget below and then leave me a comment letting me know which bop along buddy is your favourite and why? You can see all the available bop along buddies here.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions
Competition commences 12:00am October 27th 2015 and ends 12:00pm November 9th 2015. Entry is open to Australian residents only, excluding ACT. One reader will win a Bop Along Buddy valued at $44.95. Winner can choose one bop along buddy from the 6 options shown on the prize image. Prize will be delivered by Bop Along Buddies, Finding Myself Young are not responsible for prize delivery. 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. By entering this competition you are agreeing to sign up to Finding Myself Young and Bop Along Buddies newsletter. Winner will have 72hrs to respond or prize will be redrawn. This competition is in no way endorsed, promoted or administered by Facebook.

Disclosure - I was gifted Happy the Horse for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own based on my experience with the product. I did not receive payment for this review.

Linking with JessCaroline & Raychael.
Monday, October 26, 2015

Do you do Halloween?

There's no denying Halloween is HUGE in America and has been for years, but growing up in Australia it never really meant anything to me. I never went trick or treating and I don't think I've ever had any kids come knocking on my door on Halloween. Which has been a blessing the last few years because I always forget about it and never have any lollies so they'd no doubt be very disappointed.

Over the last few years though Halloween seems to be becoming a 'thing' in Australia more and more. Instead of having a small shelf of Halloween displays, shops now have entire sections dedicated to decorations and costumes. It certainly seems to be gaining popularity, although I'm not entirely sure its a holiday I want to embrace.
Firstly, I have to admit I am a big wuss and hate anything even remotely horror related. I'm also not fond of supernatural things either, so ghosts, witches, zombies and skeletons definitely aren't my thing. Even watching T play zombies on the playstation freaks me out {although I endure it.. because relationships = sacrifices and all that}. Spiders, bats and ware-wolfs also scare the crap out of me. I just don't understand why anyone would want to dress up like that. Seriously how are kids not freaked out by this? I think I'd be petrified if a zombie turned up on my doorstep and I dare say my first reaction would not be wanting to give them a lolly.

The fact that I'm a huge scardy cat isn't the biggest issue I have with Halloween though, I really don't like the idea of sending kids out to collect lollies from strangers. From a very young age we're taught stranger danger and not to accept food from strangers, yet there's a holiday where its ok to do just that. I can only imagine that it must be confusing for children to be told not to take lollies from strangers, but then to be sent out for the soul purpose of doing just that. Oh I know we said not to take lollies from strangers, but its ok to do it tonight... Doesn't that kind of undermine the whole point of teaching kids stranger danger in the first place? Perhaps I'm just overly cautious {or pessimistic}, but it just doesn't sit well with me.

There seems to be a trend emerging where parents are getting their kids involved in Halloween by setting up small pre-organised trick or treat walks within their immediate neighbourhood or street. This I could possibly get on board with {should bub really want to do Halloween later on}. The general idea is to drop flyers in neighbours letter boxes letting them know what time the kids will be out trick or treating and asking people to leave a light on and Halloween decorations up if they wish to be involved. I'd be ok with this if I knew my neighbours fairly well and if I went with her. Although I'm not sure many of my current neighbours would really want to get involved, but that may change over time.

This is the note Renee from Nee Say has used for her neighbourhood

For now I'm still firmly of the stance that Halloween is an unnecessary, commercially driven holiday that I don't really want to get involved in. However, with more and more people in Australia embracing it I think there'll no doubt be a time where it will become a part of our lives. I'm sure most kids would want to be involved if they knew they'd get lollies. For now though I'm happy to live without it.

Do you celebrate Halloween at your place?

Toni x

Linking with Kirsty, Alicia & Eva
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

What its like being an allergy mum

When I was pregnant I never imagined I'd have a child with allergies. I knew I'd be apprehensive when trying peanuts for the first time given so many kids react, but other than that I never really considered allergies would be a problem. The only allergies I knew of in our family are seafood based and I figured the baby wouldn't be eating seafood for a few years anyway so that never really concerned me.

What I never, ever imagined was that I'd have a daughter who has a severe dairy allergy. An allergy that wasn't diagnosed for weeks despite my constant trips to the drs pleading with them for help because I knew something wasn't right. An allergy that caused her to scream inconsolably for hours on end. One that caused her skin to be flaky and dry and over time develop an extreme eczema rash covering half her body. An allergy that caused her to projectile vomit repeatedly after every feed. An allergy that even caused her to stop breathing on a couple of {extremely scary} occasions.

But that's exactly the reality I find myself in. I'm an allergy mum. And its not just dairy, she's also allergic to numerous other foods {soy, eggs, avocado, apple, pear, nectarine, bacon, pork and sausages to be exact, and probably a bunch of other foods we're yet to try}. On the whole I have to say having a child with food allergies sucks {for so many reasons}. People often dismiss allergy mums as hypochondriac helicopter mums who overreact, but trust me that's not the case. To others we may seem to be over protective, but in reality we're just trying to keep our kids safe like every other parent, we just have to work a little harder to do that. There seem to be a number of misconceptions out there so I thought I'd give you a glimpse into what life's like with a child who has food allergies.

I'm always worrying if she's going to have a reaction.
Trialling new foods with an allergy bub isn't fun and exciting like it should be. Its nerve racking. She's had different types of reactions to each food she has an allergy to, some are mild and she probably doesn't even notice them, but others are quite painful and can become life threatening. Reactions include hives, welts, chemical burns in her nappy, swelling, vomiting, and in some cases she can stop breathing. It means I'm constantly living on high alert. I'd love to be able to give her a new food and not have to second guess whether its going to cause a reaction, but that will never be a reality for us.

I always have to monitor what she's eating.
When she was a baby controlling her food intake was relatively easy because a) she couldn't move and b) I was her only source of food. Now that she's bigger, mobile and can talk {read: can try and con other people into giving her food she wants} its a lot harder. I have to watch her like a hawk whenever she's around other kids with food. 

Telling a toddler they can't eat certain food is hard.
Most parents have to explain to their kids that they can't have certain foods at some point, i.e. no you can't have ice-cream for breakfast, but I have to do it on a daily basis and not just regarding junk food. I have to say no to the most basic of foods, like apple juice and biscuits, things other toddlers eat every day. There are often tantrums. She doesn't understand why her friends can have certain foods and she can't, but thankfully most of the time she accepts it. But it breaks my heart that she can't eat the same food as her friends.

I make her food from scratch.
I was going to make most of her food from scratch anyway so in reality having to do this hasn't made a huge difference in our lives. However, having to do it, rather than choosing to do it, sometimes does leave me a bit exhausted. Making her food is not as simple as grabbing a few things and throwing something together, it involves scouring the health food aisle to find the limited number of items I can actually use to bake with. It has to be pre-planned to ensure I have the necessary substitutes on hand. There have been so many times I wish I could just buy a packet of biscuits, or muffins instead of needing to bake for her to have snacks. I'd also love to be able to take her to a restaurant and order her a meal off the menu instead of having to make her food and take it along with us {then hope we don't get in trouble for bringing it and not paying for something off the menu}.

I'm an expert at reading ingredient lists.
Although I make the majority of her food from scratch, there's still times where I need to read ingredient lists on foods to make sure they're ok. For example when finding substitutes to use in cooking {like nuttelex, bio cheese and coconut yoghurt}, or when other mums offer her packet food. Years ago I never really looked at ingredient lists when buying food, I just bought what tasted good, as most people do. Now, I'm a ninja when it comes to deciphering ingredient lists, I can spot even the smallest amount of hidden soy or milk.

Birthday parties aren't as fun.
Nothing sends an allergy mum into a panic quite like the words birthday party. I don't expect other parents to cater for her dietary needs when organising their party, that's not fair on them, but it does mean that she's not really left with many options when it comes to eating food at parties. I wish she could just go to a party, eat all the food and have fun like all the other kids.

I can't send her to day-care.
Ok so technically I could send her to day-care if I could find one which would cater to her allergies {which is hard enough in itself}. However, after hearing first hand of how kids sometimes drink each others bottles by accident at day-care, there's no way I'm risking my child ending up drinking milk {even if its completely by accident}. If that was ever to occur her choking is silent and deadly and unless a carer was literally watching her face to face there's no way they'd even know she couldn't breathe. Given the ratio of carers to children in most child care centres I know she won't be watched face to face 100% of the time so the risk that something could go wrong {as minute as it may be}, is one that I can't take. I would never forgive myself if something happened to her.

Some people are just down right ignorant.
I get that people don't understand food allergies and that's fair enough because I didn't have a huge grasp on them before either, but some people actually dismiss her food allergies {because apparently everything the paediatrician has told me is wrong and they know better}. I've also had lectures from people {who aren't drs and clearly have no understanding of cmpa} telling me all sorts of different things that I should do to make her right "oh she's allergic to dairy, just give her lactose free stuff, she can have the lactose free yoghurt and milk she'll be fine". Actually she won't because she's allergic to dairy protein, not lactose and she'd probably stop breathing if you gave her any of that. The truth is none of their {hopefully well meaning} advice would have any affect on her allergies other than to exacerbate them and cause reactions. In the beginning I used to try and educate them, but it soon became clear these people think they know my daughter and her allergies better than I do, so instead of correcting them, I usually just allow them to say their piece and thank them for their advice and move on {while making a mental note to never leave my child alone in their care}.

In a way I understand why allergy mums come across as helicopter mums to other parents. From the outside it probably does seem like we're overly paranoid and coddle our children, but trust me it comes from a very necessary place. The truth is you can't really understand what it's like to care for a child with food allergies until you have to do it yourself. Unless it's your own child who has the potential to have a life threatening reaction you'll never truly understand the enormity of it. You just can't, but hopefully this has given you a glimpse into what its like. And hopefully you can now see we're not crazy helicopter mums, we just don't want to lose our precious babies.

Toni x

Linking with Jess
Friday, October 16, 2015

Dairy Free & Egg Free Jam Drops Recipe

Apart from tinkering and creating savoury recipes for dinner, I've never really had the need or desire to bake. Especially sweet things. With just two of us in the house it was always easier to go buy a cake or biscuits, because the effort I'd put into baking them and the fact we'd never eat them all, meant it really wasn't worth doing myself. However, along comes a child with dairy, soy and egg allergies {amongst others} and suddenly I find myself with a pretty good excuse to bake everything from scratch. So this year I've been desperately creating recipes for dairy free, toddler friendly foods and at some point that has to include sweet treats {because savoury just doesn't cut it full time when a toddler is concerned}.

So, my latest recipe is classic jam drops, with a dairy free and egg free twist. Until a few weeks ago I had absolutely no idea how to bake jam drops, but Cate is currently running a series of 31 days of cookies where she's baking 31 different cookies over 31 days and she's inspired me to give cookies a go. She shared a jam drops recipe as part of her series and it inspired me to come up with a dairy free and egg free jam drops recipe.

Allergy friendly dairy and egg free jam drops

It's relatively easy to make most recipes dairy free if you know what to substitute things with. In this case I've substituted butter with Nuttelex, and milk with almond milk. I went with almond milk for this recipe instead of oat milk because almond milk {although I use unsweetened} has a sweeter taste than oat milk. I also omitted custard powder, which in most cases would be an ok ingredient, but I don't take any risks when it comes to bub. For our jam drops I've used strawberry jam, but you can use any jam of choice. Just make sure not to overfill the holes as the jam will spread a little as it cooks.

Dairy free and egg free allergy friendly jam drops recipe ingredients

The jam drops have a lovely crumbly texture with the nice sticky gooey jam in the middle. Be warned though they're addictive, you won't be able to stop at one. Each time I've made them they've been eaten within a day {and the recipe makes approximately 25 of them}, so they must be good. They also go really well with a cup of tea as an afternoon snack.

Dairy free jam drops with a cup of tea



  • 80g Nuttelex {softened}
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  •  cup caster sugar
  • Jam of choice


1. Pre-heat oven to 180
2. Beat together butter and sugar until it is well combined and turns pale
3. Mix in milk and vanilla essence
4. Sift in flour a little at a time until well combined and mixture turns to a dough consistency
5. Roll dough into small balls and place on tray
6. Indent a small hole into each ball and fill with jam
7. Bake for 15-18 minutes {depending on size of biscuits}


Monday, October 12, 2015

If only I knew.... everything was about to change

There have been so many times in my life where I wish I knew what would happen. Looking back though I don't think it would've made me change my mind on any decisions, except maybe where my ex-husband was concerned. Most of the other things that I wish were different, and I would of loved a heads up about, I couldn't have changed anyway. But, knowledge still would've been a valuable thing to have, especially when it comes to my dad. There's lots of things I wish I knew when it comes to him.

If only I knew that you would leave me when I was 10... 

I would've tried a lot harder to sear all of our time together into my memory bank so it didn't fade over time, like it did, and continues to do. I wouldn't have taken any of our time for granted. And I definitely would of tried to change your mind and make you stay.

If only I knew the last time I would see your face... 

The last time I remember seeing your face was the morning you walked up to our car as we arrived at school and I asked mum who the strange man was walking over to our car. I didn't recognise you because you'd shaved off your beard. You'd had your beard my whole life and you looked so different without out. I almost feel guilty for not recognising you now {not that it makes much difference in the scheme of things}. I'm not even sure if that was the last time I saw your face, but its the strongest memory that remains.

Well, technically I know its not the last time I saw your face. Because the last time I saw your face was when we saw you lying in a coffin at the funeral home when we went for a viewing mum organised a day or so before your funeral. I remember you looked like you were sleeping so peacefully. Despite the peacefulness, I desperately wanted to wake you up. I asked if I could touch you and they said yes, I'll always remember how cold your face was. I didn't expect it at the time. It was a pretty obvious reminder that you weren't indeed sleeping, although I still tried to convince myself you were. If I'm honest I actually came up with the far fetched theory that you'd run away to Mexico and somehow they'd got someone else that looked like you to lay there and convince us you were gone. It wasn't until Pa picked me up and carried me out of the chapel as we were leaving that it really hit me that it was you and you were gone, and this definitely would be the last time I would see you. I still wish I had of fought to get down and go and see you one last time before we left the building. I wasn't ready to say goodbye, and then when I was you were already gone.

If only I knew how much I would miss you...

I would've tried to spend more time with you. I would've spent more time loving you, instead of resenting you {like I did for the last few months of your life}. I would've asked you all the questions.. so I knew the answers instead of having what ifs.

If only I knew who you were as a person...

I only knew you as my father, and only from the perspective of a young child. I never got to expand our relationship as I grew older like I did with mum. I never got to know you as a person. I never knew what you were like before I existed. I never knew much about your past, or even your family. I really wish I knew who you really were and I wish I could talk to you today, adult to adult. We could talk about so many more things than what we did when I was 10. You could answer so many questions I've had over the years.

If only I knew how different my life would be after you left...

I could've prepared myself for life after you left. I could've put more support in place around us so we didn't crumble as much as we did. Although to be honest I probably wouldn't have been able to do those things because a 10 year old doesn't really think that way, at least not until they have to.

If only I knew you would become the most influential person in my life...

I would've done so much more.

Toni x

Linking with Kirsty & Alicia.
Friday, October 9, 2015

When your child breaks you.

We all have those moments when we reach the end of our tether and just want to lose our shit or crumble into a useless mess on the floor, right? I know I do. Parenting small humans is such a hard and relentless job. And tiring, oh my god its so tiring. There are bound to be periods of time where we feel like we just can't cope with it all.

Yesterday I had one of those moments.

After a week of up and down night sleeping plus unpredictable day naps {i.e. will she have one or won't she}, I've been exhausted. But I went off to mothers group regardless because I still needed my adult time {with real people outside of facebook} and to ply myself with copious cups of tea {mothers group is always good for that} plus I knew she needed to socialise with the other kids too. We definitely aren't home bodies, it drives us batty being stuck in the same four walls for too long, so we go out more often then not even when we're a little bit exhausted.

Inevitably though there comes a time of the day where all the kids get tired and are losing their shit and start to get frustrated with each other's company. Their play deteriorates into play fighting and we become referees instead of relaxed mums watching our cute kids play together. Coincidentally yesterday this point in time coincided with me having a raging headache, so that didn't help. Funny how kids can always pick the moments where you're at your weakest to cause the most havoc. They're smart like that.

So at this point in time we decided to call it quits and leave. Cue mass exodus of mothers group. If you have kids though you'll know leaving somewhere is not a quick exercise, it takes time. Time to pack stuff away, time to bribe convince them to stop playing with the toy they've recently taken ownership of that isn't actually their's and then more time to get them out the door and into the actual car. This time is often filled with crying, yelling, screaming, kicking, throwing things, and any other way they can exert their displeasure at the situation. It's so much fun.

One of the other mums was doing much better than I was and managed to leave without much fuss while I had a screaming banshee follow me into the toilet. When I finally managed to remove her from the toilet {after yet another tantrum because I stopped her trying to pull off all the toilet paper and shove it in the toilet} I was greeted with an empty peaceful {apart from my still screaming child} room while they were outside. As much as I wanted to hurriedly pack said screaming child and all our things into the car and disappear, I decided to take a moment and sit on the couch and re-group.

And then I lost my shit and cried like a baby right along with her.

I'm usually ok with handling her tantrums. I can usually keep my cool. But given how exhausted I was + my pounding headache + her relentless screaming and kicking I reached my limit and lost it. I just sat there on the couch and cried right along with her. In fact I think I had a lot more actual tears than she did. She broke me and I had nothing more to give.

A few minutes later Lyndi {who's house we were at} came back in and saw pathetic me on the couch in a blubbering mess us having our moment on the couch and went and got a toy to distract bub to stop her crying, and then set up a dvd for her to watch for a bit to calm down. Isn't it amazing how kids will respond to someone else, but will ignore everything you say to them. Anyway that's not the point, the point is she saw I wasn't coping and she immediately offered to help. And on top of that she then told me I was doing a good job.

Those are the best words someone can tell you when you're losing your shit and feeling like a really inadequate parent. You're doing a good job.

Those words made me feel so much better. They justified my feelings and reminded me that I have got this and I can do this. No matter how shit I felt in that moment I knew I was doing the best I could and it was so nice to have someone else essentially tell me you are a good parent. We all have good days and bad. We all have those moments when our child breaks us. But its ok. You're still doing a good job.

Of course today bub is back to being her adorable sweet self, and she's having a nap {hallelujah}. Like adults, kids are going to have their days where they're feeling off and they're going to make their feelings known. And often they will do it relentlessly. They're going to push your buttons, and some days they might break you down to the point where you can't do it any more, but its only temporary. It will get better and you will get through it, even if you need to have a good cry. I want you all to know that you're doing a good job.

Have you had a day where your kid/s got the better of you?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sensory Play with Kinetic Sand

From early on it was obvious that bub was a very tactile baby, moreso than the other babies we hung out with. She's always loved touching and feeling everything and other mums have commented on it on numerous occasions. So I always knew sensory play would be a big part of our lives. Of course we had to wait until she got over the I-must-put-everything-in-my-mouth stage. That stage seems to go on foooorever, doesn't it? But we finally got past it.

I have to admit I really love sensory play too. I love feeling different textures {perhaps that's where she gets it from}, but I don't always love the mess that goes hand in hand with it. I don't mind playdoh because its relatively easy to clean up {although when she mixes all the colours together my OCD goes off the charts and my brain almost explodes}. However, playing with playdough all the time gets monotonous and if you're like me and don't clean it up as soon as they lose interest then the stuff tends to go hard and become useless. Yea I've been guilty of ruining a few bits of playdough in my time. So we've been expanding our horizons lately and looking for alternatives to the humble old playdough and have discovered kinetic sand.

Kinetic sand 1kg plus shap cutting tools

Being an avid beach babe bub took to the kinetic sand straight away. In fact I think her eyes nearly popped out of her head when she saw it. "Beach mummy, beeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaach!". Sand + the actual beach are both the beach to her, so she was super excited to have her own beach at home. We don't have a sandpit {I know poor deprived child} and kinetic sand is the closest she'll ever get to one, because cats + a tiny townhouse courtyard = no room for a sandpit. Kinetic sand is heaps better though because I can set it up anywhere {we used her play table out in the backyard} and put it away again when we're done. Totally portable and maintenance free.

We've both had heaps of fun using the shape cutters to make different shapes in the sand. Yes we, because we all know I'm a big kid at heart. Bub was also quite impressed with herself using the knife to cut the sand because mummy still doesn't allow her to use real knives. This one is plastic and completely blunt though so it passes the helicopter mum test. The shape cutters are also great to use with playdough or as cookie cutters {but maybe clear the sand residue off first or they may be a tad crunchy}.

Toddler cutting shapes in kinetic sand
Toddler playing with kinetic sand

Kinetic sand has been around for a while now and everyone's been raving about it, so of course I've wanted to try it for ages {but that I-must-put-everything-in-my-mouth stage meant I had to curb my enthusiasm and wait a while}. Kinetic Sand is really cool, mould-able sand. Its basically like the sand equivalent of playdough. Its 98% sand and 2% magic {aka bonding agent} which means it can keep its shape when pushed together so it can be moulded into all different shapes and sculptures. Its similar to playing with wet sand, but when you pick it up it becomes fluid and takes on a fluffy liquid like texture. It has the best of both worlds because you can run it through your fingers like dry sand and mould it like wet sand {plus it wont fly in your face if its windy}. This video demonstrates the texture of it really well.

I tried to make a log shape and cut it into little pieces like the one they cut up in the promo video, but of course I failed miserably. Here's a tip, if you're trying to do something cool to take a photo, don't do it when your 2yr old is around because they will take over and ruin it. Having said that though she made my pathetic little sculpture into an awesome train and drove it around the table. I liked it better as a train anyway. Kids really do have extraordinary imaginations and can make anything into a game. By some fluke I happened to grab my phone and record it before she lost interest.

We also grabbed some of her sand moulds from her sand and water table so I could show her how to make awesome 3d shapes. Of course that was about as successful as the log sculpture incident as she wanted to pick them up straight away. Kinetic sand makes great moulded shapes, however when you pick it up it becomes fluid almost immediately so it breaks apart pretty quickly. As you can imagine toddlers aren't the most delicate of creatures so my poor sand teddy never stood a chance. She still thought it was amazing though. Note to self next time take awesome mould photos while she's napping. 

toddler fingers playing with kinetic sand teddy bear mould

Kinetic sand is a great alternative to going to the beach, for the days you don't have the time or the energy to get everything packed up and drive all the way there. And it can be used indoors so is great for rainy days when kids are bored. Its a really great unstructured play activity which helps build fine motor skills. Plus it keeps kids entertained for ages, bub normally has a maximum attention span of about 15 minutes, but she sits playing with kinetic sand for over an hr at a time. Just make sure you supervise kids while they're playing as they may be tempted to sneak a taste and its not designed to be ingested. If you're after a taste safe sensory option, I have a recipe for edible dirt here which is a similar consistency to kinetic sand.

Are your kids in love with the beach as much as mine?

Toni x

Disclosure - This post contains some affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, should you make a purchase.
Monday, October 5, 2015

Lah Lah live in concert

Last week Lah Lah were doing live shows in Brisbane as part of their Lah Lah live in concert tour and we were lucky enough to go and see them on Wednesday. To say I was excited was a bit of an understatement, I've been looking forward to the concert for months. I was one of the crazy mums who stalked their facebook page until the QLD shows were announced and then bought 3rd row seats the day tickets went on sale. Yep I'm that mum and I so don't apologise for it.

We started watching Lah Lah's big live band on tv almost a year ago now. Lah-Lah, Buzz the Bandleader {and Lola double bass}, Mister Saxaphone, Squeezy Sneezy the piano accordion and Tom Tom have been permanent fixtures in our home ever since and I don't mind one little bit. Lah Lah and the band have certainly had an impact on how much bub loves music plus their songs are educational which in my books is win win. We have their dvd, cd, doll and app, so it was a no brainer to go to their concert as well. 

Leading up to the concert you could easily have mistaken me for the small child who was about to meet her tv heros. Of course bub didn't really have a clue that it was happening {being 2 she doesn't really think ahead more than 5 mins} so I had to inject all the excitement for her. The night before the concert we kept telling her we were seeing Lah Lah in the morning and then on the morning we played their dvd while getting ready to go to the show. On the way to QPAC she insisted on walking {and its a long walk for a 2yr old so naturally she kept losing interest} so to keep her motivated we kept saying come on we're going to see Lah Lah and each time she'd look around and say "Lah Lah hiding, Lah Lah ware ahhhh you?". Once we got to the theatre she saw the show posters and pointed to Lah Lah "there she is, there Lah Lah". Little did she know she was about to meet her up close and personal.

Sometimes this blogging gig opens up some pretty awesome opportunities for my little family and meeting Mark & Tina {Buzz & Lah Lah} was one of them. We got to go into the theatre a few minutes before the show started to have our own quick meet and greet with them. Bub didn't stop smiling, especially when they did an impromptu performance of twinkle twinkle little star just for her {which just happens to be her favourite song at the moment}. I wish I had of recorded it for her because it was one of those once in a lifetime moments that we'll probably be talking about for years to come. Daddy did snap a few photos {although it was his first time using my fancy camera so they're a little blurry}.

Afterwards we settled in for the live show, and it certainly didn't disappoint. It was in a smaller theatre which made it much more interactive and intimate than other concerts we've been to. The whole band involve the audience and the kids as much as possible throughout the entire show. They're definitely seasoned entertainers and can improve when needed, like when Lah Lah's microphone wouldn't work {which at first I thought was part of the show, but soon realised it wasn't}. Buzz and the other band members kept the crowd entertained until Lah Lah returned.

The band bring the excitement and enthusiasm of their tv persona's to the stage and it really feels like you've teleported inside Lah Lah's Adventures {minus the bus}. The show includes a number of their super popular songs {like brush your teeth and Lah Lah's big live band} and a couple of other songs I hadn't heard before. You definitely get a feel for the jazz and gypsy influences in their music throughout the show and there really is nothing like listening to them play live. Its clear that they're all in their element performing in front of a live audience. The band members all bounce off each other's energy and have a ball entertaining the kids {and us adults}. Its obvious they love what they do.

Because the show's so interactive {especially when Mr Saxaphone goes hiding in the audience} it keeps the kids attention for the entire show. At the end when the kids attention is starting to wain everyone gets up to have a little boogy to shake it like this {adults included}. Bub loved that {she's a tad bit obsessed with dancing}. I have to admit I had a lot of fun dancing with her too. Here's a little taste of us dancing, bet it makes you want to dance along too.

Once the show's over the fun doesn't stop. The entire band mingle with all the kids afterwards allowing them to touch and play their instruments. Its clear that they are all very passionate about introducing kids to music and their enthusiasm is infectious. The kids really love the interactive experience and it really brings their tv show alive, off the tv screen and into real life. All the band members clearly love what they do and the kids love being face to face with their favourite tv characters.

The band members are so approachable and have nothing but patience and time for the children. As a parent seeing performers willing to take the time to interact with the kids on a personal level really warms my heart. Its great to see children's entertainers who are so passionate about introducing the kids to music and this really sets them apart from everyone else.

Lah Lah live in concert really is a one of a kind concert experience and is just as entertaining for adults as it is for the kids. And yes they're just as awesome in person. If you're going to go to a live show this year, do yourself a favour and make sure its this one. I can't thank Tina {Lah Lah}, Mark {Buzz}, Nic {Tom Tom}, Matt {Mr Saxaphone} & Gary {Squeezy Sneezy} enough for making bub's day and giving her such a memorable experience.

Lah Lah have more live shows coming up in November and December, you can check show dates and buy tickets online.

Toni x

Disclosure - We were given a private meet & greet as a thankyou for a previous blog post about Lah Lah. I did not receive payment for this post, nor was I obliged to write it, but I loved the concert so much I had to share the experience with you guys.

Linking with Caroline