October 09, 2018

Family ›   Farmstay ›   Getaway ›   Holiday ›   Kids ›  


A Fantastic Farmstay in the 'Lost World'

Escape the hustle and bustle of city life and head for the hills for some fresh country air and a true digital detox! A Farmstay is a great mini break for the little people where they can experience a true working farm and participate in all the activities associated with it. Not to mention getting them off their screens and into nature. 

After a bit of research of Farmstay options we chose the Historic 'Cedar Glen' and couldn't have been happier with it. Situated in the Scenic Rim at the edge of the Lamington National Park this beautiful part of the world sets a picturesque  backdrop for our stay. The elder O'Reilly lived his last years in this area and named it 'the lost world' in his writings.

As we drive through Beaudesert and into Darlington the stresses of city life begin to melt away as we find serenity in the beautiful countryside, spotting all the animals grazing in the paddocks and slowing down for cattle lazily crossing our path. 

When we arrive at the homestead I run into our delightful historic cottage to hide the TV remote controls and iPads to be sure we get the most out of our stay. This meant the kids naturally went outside looking for something to do. They were thrilled to be met by Hillary the friendly fat farm cat, then they were back inside getting apples and carrots to feed the horses Marco + Polo. From then on the kids felt comfortable with their larger than normal backyard and found their way into all the activities on offer. 

Twice a day there was the highlight of animal feeding, egg collecting and milking the cow. I've been to Farmstays before where there were surprisingly few animals but not at Cedar Glen. This farm is bursting with a happy and harmonious selection of animals to feed including ducks, hens, roosters, peacocks, sheep, cows, horses and pigs. Lots of babies too including one week old lamby!

waiting for the pony ride 

feeding the chooks

cuddle with a chicken

milking the cow

Other great activities at Cedar Glen are taking part in the stock-whip cracking and boomerang throwing, taking a picnic and heading to one of the many watering holes along the Albert River, having a dip, swinging on the ropes and some fishing. You can experience a one-hour trail ride through the foothills of the 'lost world' and picturesque Albert River or a 20 minute led pony ride for the little ones.

In the evenings there's the opportunity to sit down to an authentic home-cooked country meal in the homestead dining room, where all the food is cooked on site and the produce comes fresh from the farm!

After three days of experiencing country life we are happy to head back into the city. We feel a delightful boost to our physical and mental well being and have made a pact to do more mini getaways and adventures that balance out the plugged-in online and indoor world we battle with.

 

This blog was created or shared for the enjoyment of visitors to Little Kisses baby gifts and baby hampers www.littlekisses.com.au 

 

 

 

Is your parenting style helping or hindering?

"As soon as independence has been reached, the adult who keeps on helping that child becomes an obstacle" declared Maria Montessori.

I love coming across a thought provoking quote. They always seem to be so timely as if someone's sending me a message or a helping hand. Reading this on the wall at Kindy this week was a good reminder for me to slow down and try to back off. In our modern way of parenting, where we are striving for perfection and control and fitting so much into every day, we allow very little time for children to take ownership of their responsibilities and to master even simple tasks.

For example, can you believe I am still putting on my Preppy's shoes and socks and helping him to dress after swimming lessons at school. In my mind I am making him comfortable for the day, having straight socks and the perfectly fitted shoe, not to mention saving time! But as I look around me and see many Prep kids putting on their own shoes and socks and getting much satisfaction from doing so, I realise I am depriving him of his own mastery and that 'over-parenting' can become an obstacle to their independence.

Are you a help or a hindrance? Very quickly I've realised my helping is a hindrance and I've thought of a few ways I can encourage independence and the opportunity of mastery at home.

1. Have the kids drink bottles named, filled up and in the fridge door so no-one is yelling out for 'a drink please'.

2. Have the kids clothes available and organised into categories so they can dress themselves for school, weekends, bed-time etc.

3. Have a place for the kids to put their schoolbag and belongings after school. This helps to get all the gear out of the car and packed away.

4. Have evening tidying up time in the playroom or bedroom so they share the activity and take pride in a clean and organised space.

5. Give them a job like helping to unpack the dishwasher, setting the table for dinner, or helping to prepare some part of the family meal, so they feel that they are contributing to the running of the family.

6. You could even do a rough drawing of what you expect your child to do at certain times of the day. For the morning routine you could draw images of brushing teeth, getting dressed, making their bed, putting on shoes, getting out their school bag etc....

Here is a link to a great article confirming confidence is built on competencies. It goes further in suggesting that the current approach to bringing up children may be stifling our little ones sense of adventure. 

Helicopter parenting: What can modern parents do to help their children become independent?

"That notion of being able to look after yourself and developing those basic competencies of life is the first step in developing real confidence and self-esteem".

 

December 02, 2016

Christmas ›   Family Traditions ›   Kids ›  


Ten wonderful ways to make Christmas time more magical for babies and kids

1. Play Christmas carols and dance around.

2. Let the kids be involved in the unpacking, sorting and putting up the Christmas decorations.

3. Make some Christmas Cookies or a Gingerbread House if you're feeling clever.

4. See what events/workshops are around in your local area, for example, Queensland Symphony Orchestra Christmas Concert, nothing like a good sing along to get us all in the Christmas spirit. Lighting of the community Christmas Tree. Lantern making. David Jones Christmas Parade...

5. Help the kids to realise Christmas isn't all about them by getting them involved in gift giving. Let them choose a gift to put in the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal or be involved in choosing a Teacher Gift to show their appreciation and thanks, or selecting some of their own toys and clothes to give away to an appeal.

6. Reading Christmas stories in the lead up to Christmas helps the kids understand the meaning of Christmas. Personalised books involving the kids names add extra excitement as well as chatting to Santa or setting up a personalised video. If they are old enough writing to Santa is a fun activity.

When a new baby arrives, starting your own family Christmas traditions is a great thing to do and continue on, some ideas below:

7. Let the children choose a new Christmas decoration each year to hang on the Christmas tree.

8. Have the family go to bed in a new pair of pyjamas so they wake up extra fresh and cute ready for unwrapping their presents and lots of photos...

9. Have a special family ritual the night before. Get into new pyjamas, hang stocking, leave out oats for the reindeers, a carrot for Rudolph and cookies and milk for Santa, don't forget a key if you haven't got a chimney! Read a Christmas story or watch a Christmas movie like Elf and Polar Express.

10. Hide one main present around the house and let the kids search for it on Christmas morning. It prolongs the unwrapping and the fun and excitement. 

Don't forget to leave a sign that 'Santa was here'!

 This blog was created or shared for the enjoyment of visitors to Little Kisses baby gifts and baby hampers www.littlekisses.com.au

 

 

Staycation - the surprising holiday destination!

Anyone with babies and young kids should try one of these, I'm sure you'll be booking in again next year!

A staycation is a period in which an individual or family stays home and participates in leisure activities within driving distance, sleeping in their own beds at night.

Family picnic

Sounds good to me.

No packing the car, no setting up home away from home, no ...

I am looking forward to trying one of these! At every opportunity our family packs up and heads for the hills in the hope of a relaxing holiday that will wash away the city stress. I am even surprised when friends don't take up the opportunity to get out of town for long weekends but I am now realising they are the clever ones as it often ends up being more work than holiday. Packing up to go away with babies and young kids is an enormous job, the car ride can be stressful and setting up the new destination to function like home takes a lot of planning and a lot of stuff.

That's why these holidays we are going on Staycation! We will stay put and spend the money on fun local activities, hired help, meals prepared by someone else and at night time all fall into our own beds and have a wonderful night's sleep. 

Babies sleeping

Itinerary 

Day 1. Family in pyjamas until lunch time. Pancakes for brunch.

Day 2. Venture out to one of the fantastic events that you read about in your local paper but yet never get time to do. Winter Festival, Out Of The Box Disney On Ice The Candy Academy Measure Island - we'll need another week!

Day 3. Get a babysitter and have a long lunch with husband and catch a movie at the cinema (wow this is a holiday!)

Day 4. Build forts and cubbies around the house that you never have time to do because you're rushing here and there to the next scheduled event.

Day 5. Finish the photo wall, the kids baby books, buy them new sheets and turn their rooms around. A change is as good as a holiday.

Day 6. Bake - everyone can get involved. Freeze food ready for the new school term.

Day 7. Bring out the board games. Board games and puzzles can be just as much fun for the adults as the kids and it's a lovely way to bond as a family.

This blog was created or shared for the enjoyment of visitors to Little Kisses baby gifts and baby hampers www.littlekisses.com.au

Kids and the importance of Mindfulness Meditation

"Meditation is the most powerful tool we have to create smarter, kinder, more balanced kids. Our planet needs this now more than ever" - Chris Willitts

My mother-in-law offers such an incredible source of wisdom. Having 5 kids herself and now 11 grandkids I don't take lightly the comments she makes. At the time I never think much of them but in hindsight I find myself reflecting on the advice and I'm amazed about how timely and true it is. The latest thing is meditation. There has always been yoga but now it's chanting to a secret mantra by Deepak Chopra! We don't do this as this comes with a private yoga teacher however I often catch her on a Sunday or holidays with a visiting grandchild insisting they lie quietly on the bed and meditate (concentrate on the breath). The kids squirm around and resist the quiet and stillness but before you know it they are fast asleep. In such a busy world with the kids lives often as hectic as the adults they too need to learn how to stop for a minute, concentrate on the breath, be present, be aware and slow down. So why not take the time these holidays to teach your kids the foundations of meditation. We do it with our 3 year old and its simply a few deep breaths lying in bed at night. You can see the benefits after the first few breaths as instant calm washes over him.

Daniel Goleman: Breathing Buddies video is a great starting point to meditate with the littlies. Read through some of Sarah Rudell Beaches techniques to see what resonates.

8 Ways to Teach Mindfulness to Kids by Sarah Rudell Beach - writer, mother, teacher, and blogger at LeftBrainBuddha.com

1. Listen to the bell. An easy way for children to practice mindfulness is to focus on paying attention to what they can hear. You can use a singing bowl, a bell, a set of chimes or a phone app that has sounds on it. Tell your children that you will make the sound, and they should listen carefully until they can no longer hear the sound (which is usually 30 seconds to a minute).

2. Practice with a breathing buddy. For young children, an instruction to simply “pay attention to the breath” can be hard to follow. In this Edutopia video, Daniel Goleman describes a 2nd-grade classroom that does a “breathing buddy” exercise: Each student grabs a stuffed animal, and then lies down on their back with their buddy on their belly. They focus their attention on the rise and fall of the stuffed animal as they breathe in and out.

3. Make your walks mindful. One of my children’s favorite things to do in the summer is a “noticing walk.” We stroll through our neighborhood and notice things we haven’t seen before. We’ll designate one minute of the walk where we are completely silent and simply pay attention to all the sounds we can hear — frogs, woodpeckers, a lawnmower. We don’t even call it “mindfulness,” but that’s what it is.

4. Establish a gratitude practice. I believe gratitude is a fundamental component of mindfulness, teaching our children to appreciate the abundance in their lives, as opposed to focusing on all the toys and goodies that they crave. My family does this at dinner when we each share one thing we are thankful for. It is one of my favorite parts of the day.

5. Try the SpiderMan meditation! My 5-year-old son is in to all things superheroes, and this SpiderMan meditation is right up his alley. This meditation teaches children to activate their “spidey-senses” and their ability to focus on all they can smell, taste, and hear in the present moment. Such a clever idea!

6. Check your personal weather report. In Sitting Still Like a Frog, Eline Snel encourages children to “summon the weather report that best describes [their] feelings at the moment.” Sunny, rainy, stormy, calm, windy, tsunami? This activity allows children to observe their present state without overly identifying with their emotions. They can’t change the weather outside, and we can’t change our emotions or feelings either. All we can change is how we relate to them. As Snel describes it, children can recognize, “I am not the downpour, but I notice that it is raining; I am not a scaredy-cat, but I realize that sometimes I have this big scared feeling somewhere near my throat.”

7. Make a Mind Jar. A mind jar is a bit like a snow globe - shake it up and watch the storm! But soon, if we sit and breathe and simply watch the disturbance, it settles. As do our minds.

8. Practice mindful eating. The exercise of mindfully eating a raisin or a piece of chocolate is a staple of mindfulness education, and is a great activity for kids. You can find a script for a seven-minute mindful eating exercise for children here.

Above all, remember to have fun and keep it simple. You can provide your children with many opportunities to add helpful practices to their toolkit — some of them will work for them and some won’t. But it’s fun to experiment!

Click here to read the full article. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-rudell-beach-/8-ways-to-teach-mindfulness-to-kids_b_5611721.html

 

This blog was created or shared for the enjoyment of visitors to Little Kisses baby gifts and baby hampers www.littlekisses.com.au

March 18, 2016

Craft ›   Easter ›   Food ›   Kids ›  


Hop to it! Easter is just around the corner

(image via Martha Stewart)

Gather some twigs or branches, you can spray paint them white if you like. Put them in a jug, mason jar, silver bucket or vase. Hang some decorated eggs on colourful ribbon. You could even glue on some feathers or add any Easter kindy craft the kids bring home.

(image via Pottery Barn)

Egg/Side walk chalk makes a fun Easter basket filler.

(image via Little Kisses)

It's so much fun putting Easter boxes together for the little ones. There are lots of things the Easter Bunny can bring instead of chocolate. Here are a few suggestions.. Bubbles, coloured Play Dough eggs, Egg chalk, Bunny ears, a new book, sunglasses, hat, water bottle, pyjamas, brightly coloured plastic eggs filled with little toys, a bunny nightlight or soft toy, Easter biscuits. Pull it together with some coloured shredded paper and some decorated eggs.

(image via Buzz Feed)

Magical Easter Bunny Footprints.

Leave a cute Easter Bunny Trail for your kids to wake up to on Easter morning, it could lead to their Easter Baskets. All you need is baby powder, scissors and a paper plate to use as the stencil.

(image via Your Cup Of Cake)

Easy Bunny Ear Cupcakes made with marshmallows, so easy and perfect for Easter!

(image via La tana del coniglio)

Easter cookies are a nice alternative to chocolate and perhaps an activity you can do with the kids.

(image via Taste of Home)

Have the family wake up Easter morning with this playfully arranged stack of pancakes.

(image via Worth Pinning)

Heading to a gathering with family and/or friends to celebrate the Easter holiday weekend? How about adding to the holiday fun by constructing one of these quick, simple & delicious fruit trays?

 

This blog was created or shared for the enjoyment of visitors to Little Kisses baby gifts and baby hampers www.littlekisses.com.au

 

February 26, 2016

family meals ›   kids ›   quick and easy ›   shared ›  


Fast friday night feasts the whole family can enjoy

Come Friday you've probably had to frequent the shops a few times, produced several family meals, made a number of lunch boxes and if you are anything like us, you are over it!!!

We have come up with some fast friday night meal inspirations that the whole family can enjoy and will hopefully help you face another meal at the end of a long week! 

Family mezze platter

The shared nature of the dish means no rousing on the kids to sit up at the table. They can pick and choose what they feel like, keeping everybody happy. Why not take it onto the back deck or lawn and enjoy the casualness and the warm weather. The options of what you can put on the platter are endless. Use up what's left in the fridge. Anything you put down will look impressive.

Popular kids additions:

Rice crackers, carrot, celery and cucumber sticks, cherry tomatoes, grapes, cheese squares, ham, sausage, meat balls, hard boiled eggs, hummus, lavish bread, pitas, bread sticks, crackers, olives, dried apples and apricots.

 Home-made hamburgers

Put out a selection of things and let the family members build their own hamburger.

Suggestions: small dinner roll for the kids, meat patty, sautéed onions, cheese slices, egg, lettuce, tomato, beetroot, pineapple and sauces.

 Family sized frittata

I love this dish as does the whole family. I cook it once a week without fail and it becomes the go to thing for a breakfast, lunch or dinner snack. It is nice served warmed and equally yummy cold. You can put whatever you like into it. My base mixture is usually 10 - 12 eggs, 1 small tub of ricotta cheese and a dash of milk.

Method:

Grease and line a lasagne pan

Pre roast your vegetables and fry off any bacon or onions

Lay the ingredients of your choice on the base of the lasagne dish (roast vegetables, pumpkin is always tasty, tin of corn, goats cheese, pan fried onion, pan fried bacon, ham, uncooked zucchini, cooked mushrooms....

Pour the egg mixture over the top of the ingredients and cook in a preheated oven at 180C for 30 - 40 minutes until nice and golden.

 

 

This blog was created or shared for the enjoyment of visitors to Little Kisses baby gifts and baby hampers www.littlekisses.com.au

 

 

 

 

December 10, 2015

Christmas ›   Kids ›   Tablescapes ›  


Christmas Tablescape Ideas

Embrace the joy of Christmas for everyone, from the newest newborn to the family matriarch, with these simple but effective ideas for the Christmas table.   

Use chalkboard paper for your tablecloth and write the names of guests above the plates. Make napkin rings by stringing cranberries on a thin wire, tying it into a circle with a sprig of eucalyptus. Image via www.goodhousekeeping.com

Disposable cutlery for the kids table is always a good idea and if you put a bit of thought into the overall look then there's no compromising on style. Image via www.100layercakelet.com

Tying string or twine around the plate and napkin is always effective. Tuck in a simple arrangement of berries or herbs or attach a christmas decoration - bell, christmas tree, star, deer and the guest name. Image via pinterest

Entice the kids to sit longer at the table by supplying a check list of activities. The kids will have a ball getting through them all and you will buy yourself some extra time to sit and enjoy the day. Image via simplysweetsoirees.com.au

There is no shortage of props around this time of year.  Enjoy building a new tablescape and christmas vignettes out of some of the things on offer; tree trunk placemats, antlers, oversized stars, reindeers and miniature figurines, houses and cityscapes, glass cloche, lanterns and votives, planters and terrariums. Image via pinterest

Monochromatic and neutral are a good backdrop to let bold but minimal ornamentation shine. Greenery is always complimented with fresh white napery. Aren't these Christmas-tree shaped gingerbread cookies a cute idea. Image via www.marthamoments.blogspot.com.au

Replace red with pink for a fun twist on the traditional christmas colour theme. Image via AO Life

Painted pine cone table runner. Spread along a table, the pine cones are a gorgeous way to centre a festive feast. Just as gorgeous on a mantel surrounded by a snowy holiday scene or in a glass vase or bowl. Image via www.asubtlerevelry.com

 

This blog was created or shared for the enjoyment of visitors to Little Kisses Baby Gifts and Baby Hampers at www.littlekisses.com.au

 

 

 

 

September 29, 2015

art ›   crafting ›   ideas ›   kids ›   playrooms ›   school holidays ›  


Getting savvy about surviving the last days of school holidays

School holidays provide an ideal break from the hectic routine of kids, school and sport. While the break is welcomed by kids, for parents this can mean added anxiety levels about how the kids are going to fill in their time.

If you have some blank days, get them working on household projects that benefit everyone.

Neon twigs

There is something about Driftwood that is aesthetically pleasing. Washed up on the shore by the action of wind, tide and rain, you get the feeling it has encompassed an interesting journey. It always looks gorgeous styled in a home. Attach it to the wall as an interesting art installation or leave it pilled on a side board or in a basket.

What you need:

Variety of Driftwood or other interesting shaped logs

Acrylic paint

Paint brushes (Foam brushes leaves a really smooth finish)

Tape for stripes

 

Method:

Dots, wide stripes and chevron look good

Leave parts of the log unpainted 

Paint right around the wood (360.C)

 

Handmade Thank You Cards - wax resist paint technique

Didn't you just love doing this as a child? Swishing your brush over the wax on the card to reveal the message! It's an easy and fun craft that even toddlers can have a go at. Having thank you cards on the ready and a few items in the gift drawer means you are never caught out. 

What you need:

Watercolour paints

White crayon

Watercolour paper (blank gift cards or white card stock)

Ice cube tray or small cups

 

Method:

Write your words or draw an image on the card. You won't be able to see exactly what you are doing due to the white on white but don't worry about being perfect as the imperfections add artistic merit!

Dip the paint brush into water, then into the watercolour paint and swipe it over the crayon inscription to reveal what was written or drawn. It is a whole lot of fun and also a mini science lesson in 'resist art' creating art out of two materials that resist or repel each other.

 

Milo Balls

(recipe c/- www.stayathomemum.com.au)

Kids love to help in the kitchen! Why not get them involved in some easy recipes you can make and freeze for school lunches, so you are organised for the new term. 

Ingredients:

250 grams Milk Arrowroot

395 grams Condensed Milk

4 tbsp Milo

Desiccated Coconut for rolling

 

Method

1. Crush the biscuits until small or fine (works well in a food processor).

2. Add Milo and condensed milk and mix until well combined.

3. Roll into teaspoon sized balls with your hands (damp hands make the balls easier to handle) and then roll in the shredded coconut to coat.

4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.

 

This blog was created or shared for the enjoyment of visitors to Little Kisses baby gifts and hampers www.littlekisses.com.au

 

September 01, 2015

Babies ›   Kids ›   Mummy Fashion ›   Summer 2015 ›  


The fashion wrap from the front row

The trends from the front row at the recent Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival spoke loud and clear. Time poor Mums can get ahead by knowing the key pieces for the season. This will save time and boost your confidence in getting out and about. We've edited the trends you can expect to see on the streets this Spring.

The 70's printed dress (light and long)

Something suede (fringed s/less vest, long line vest with a kimono belt, bomber jacket, skirt, dress, culotte or fringed bag)

White lace sundresses

All white look (broken up with tan accessories)

The saddle bag

Bright red lips are trending for both day and night. Tone it down with groomed brows, mascara and natural skin

Culottes (faded denim, white and military green)

Weighty denim pieces (A-line skirts and jumpsuits)

Playsuits and utility jumpsuits

Off the shoulder dresses and tops and one shoulder (show those shoulders)

The sleeve is cap, flounce, bell, long, sheer, drop

The leg is wide, crop, flare

The length is midi and maxi

The details in the fringing, raw edges, pleating, lace, crochet, patchwork, volume skirts, cinched waists

The colours are white, military green, classic blue, bright red, monochrome, checks, fuchsia pink

The sunglasses are round

Now that's a wrap! We hope you feel inspired to click into the new season with confidence.

 

This blog was created for the enjoyment of visitors to Little Kisses baby gifts and baby hampers www.littlekisses.com.au