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Shop for Christmas without leaving your home, with Australian Baby Card's 2017 Christmas gift guide!

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How quick has this year gone? Can you believe there are only 10 weeks left to Christmas? Don't worry though Australian Baby Card has put together a list of their favourite products that make the perfect Christmas gifts, and the best part is you can do all your festive shopping from the comfort of your own home!

First up we have found the cutest gift for a young (or old) budding artist. How cool are these Monster Rocks from CleverPatch? The kit comes with  all components required to create and decorate approximately 40 Monster Rocks. This is also a great pre Christmas craft idea that  kids could make and give to grandparents, friends and family. The rocks would make super cute paper weights and mementos. You can purchase the kit here!

Don't forget to use your Australian Baby Card to receive 10% discount off your next order. Quote the code ABC and the last four digits of your barcode when ordering.

Next up we have a practical gift that everyone in the family needs, the Fridge-to-go Medium Lunch Bag. This is not just any lunch bag though, it has surround cooling that lasts 8 hours, which means ANY food for the day such as dairy, fish (sushi!), meat, etc will be kept cool and fresh. Which also means the food is more likely to be eaten instead of coming home!. You can find out more and purchase here! 

Use your Australian Baby Card and receive  A FREE bag tag with EVERY Fridge-to-go LunchBag (Small or Medium) purchased online. You will need to use the code 'ABCFreeTag'to qualify.

This Kids Vintage white kitchen from Wooden Wonderland will have children entertained for hours, with it's realistic looking features, removable easy to clean sink and doors that open and close it really does look like a mini kitchen. Wooden Wonderland also has lots of other wooden toys for all ages, visit their store here!

And don't forget to use your Australian Baby Card offer and receive 10% off website wide, excluding shipping. Enter discount code AUBABYCARD on checkout.

 

How cool are these Design out loud Cardboard speakers from Haggus and stookles? Perfect for a tween or even teen who loves art and music. Design and create and then plug in and listen to your favourite play list, awesome!

Enter your Australian Baby card and receive 10% off store wide (excluding postage). Type ABCBaby in the coupon code to receive this discount.

 

We all know how fun having a remote control car can be, but what if you could actually make one yourself? That is exactly what you can do with this kit from Magformers not only are they a lot of fun but they also teach Mathematical principles that may otherwise be difficult to understand, even by older students, and because they are so much fun to play with they are easily grasped by children, simply by experimenting with the pieces, and putting different combinations of geometric shapes together, in 2D or 3D patterns. There are lots of different kits to choose from and you can check them out here!

Another great gift from  Magformers is this creators set, it has everything young ones need to make shapes, build animals, flowers, towers and much more. Use the included play cards to lay ideas flat and then roll, pull-up, transform, fold combine and wall to create exciting 3D ideas!

Use your Australian Baby card and receive 10% discount - enter code ABC and the last four digits of your Australian Baby Card barcode to receive the discount.

We all know a little Lah - Lah fan who would love the NEW CD: Lah-Lah Having Fun! Official 2017 tour Album. With popular songs such as Hello Hello and Spagetti For Breakfast, little ones will sure to be entertained an bopping around for hours. Lah - Lah has a full range of products from, cds, dvds and even party related products and you can check them all out here!

Dont forget to use your Australian baby card and receive a pair of socks when the Australian Baby Card is presented at the merchandise counter at Lah-Lah Live in Concert.

 Looking for stocking fillers, kids Kris Kringle gifts or something affordable but still a lot of fun, then these games from Crayons are perfect. Starting from just $3.95 they are supper affordable and sure to be used and loved by kids young and old. There are lots of different games, toys and products to choose from and you can see them here!

And dont forget to use your Australian Baby Card to receive 10% discount off all stock. Quote ABC and the last four digits of your barcode at checkout to receive this discount.

Love this Rainbow Wooden toy from Wooden Wonderland Imagine this beautiful block set in your play room or nursery! Consisting of 6 curved blocks, each a different colour, this block set perfectly fits together to create one brilliantly bright rainbow. What makes this set so unique is the infinite number of ways in which it can be used - create a rainbow, use the pieces as a cradle for dolls, turn it into a tunnel or bridge for toy vehicles, perhaps create a tower or even a fence around the play room, or just build unique and one of a kind structures over and over again!

This rainbow will be rediscovered over and over again as your child grows from their baby and toddler years right through to school age. What a fantastic Christmas present for any age child. You can purchase it here!

And don't forget to use your Australian Baby Card offer and receive 10% off website wide, excluding shipping. Enter discount code AUBABYCARD on checkout.

Looking for a fun gift for a little one? Then this award winning toy the Baby Driver from Toy Room is it.  Young ones can channel their inner driver with a horn that squeaks, gear stick that moves and a wheel that turns and rattles, the large suction cap also makes the toy secure when placed on a flat surface. Lots of fun and a perfect Christmas present that will sure keep kids entertained for hours. You can purchase the Baby drover here!

 

 

Over the next week we will be adding more of our favourite products, be sure to check back and see what we have found!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Awesome Christmas Gift Ideas With Haggus and Stookles!

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This year I am doing most of my Christmas shopping online and I have found the perfect store for unique and great quality gifts for little ones Haggus and Stookles. They have a huge range of products and they also take Australian Baby Card, which is a great saving this time of year.

We have put together a great list of products that are useful, worth their money and that parents love. Click on the images below to read more about the products or to place an order.

Starting with My Little One Natural Infant Skin Care from Natralus. This range is designed specifically to help care for babies, toddlers and children's delicate skin and all ingredients are organic. They contain no nasty products and are paediatrician approved. These would make a great Christmas gift done up in a basket for an expecting mum, or parents of little ones in general.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up is Brolly Sheets, these take the Hassel out of bed wetting. They are a waterproof sheet and mattress protector. I love that they sit on the top of your fitted sheet and not under the sheet as this saves a lot of time with changing sheets. They are also great for travelling and generally make life with bed wetting a whole lot easier!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Theses Zum Ride on Toys and Balance bikes are a brand new product of active toys from leading USA brand ZUM. They help promote motor skills, coordination, balance and confidence in your children. Fun while learning that's what we love!

Do you have family or friends who love camping or being outdoors, then the Sunsational Brand Sunscreen and Insect Repellent, would make a perfect gift. Australian made, safe for the whole family to use, a practical gift that is sure to be well received over the school holidays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How cute is this Design your own Birds house? This is a perfect gift for a child who loves art and also animals. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Design your own headphones set would be great for a tween, they come with bright colour paints, stencils and your own set of head phones to deck out as you please!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We always head to the beach on the Christmas holidays and these DriPouch Lite Water Resistant Smart Phone Pouches are genius! This would make a great gift for a teen or adult with a phone, the case is water resistant, splash proof, sand proof and dust proof. the clear front allows you to still use your phone and chat as you normally would. great for taking photos out on the water without risking damaging your phone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out Haggus and Stookles for a range of other great Christmas gift ideas and dont forget you can use your Australian Baby Card to receive a discount as you will save 10%!

Dont have an Australian Baby Card? Thats ok sign up here.

 

 

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11 Perfect Kris Kringle Gifts For Under $50!

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It's no secret that Christmas is the most expensive time of the year, which is why Kris Kringles are such a great idea.

In our family we buy for any nieces and nephews under the age of 18 and then the rest of the family does a Kris Kringle up to the value of $50. It's a great way to save money and it is also fun when everyone gets together and guesses who purchased their gift.

You don't have to head to the two dollar shop just because you are on a budget, you can actually get some really lovely gifts if you know where to look.

Below are 11 gifts that are sure to cater for all tastes, click on the photos to purchase:

For the pet lover, this Heavy Duty Pet Bed is perfect and is a steal at $39.95

 For the gym junkie this Future Bottle and Banana Leaf Carry Cover is sure to be put to good use, it's also on sale for $28.95, awesome value!

 

 

For the adventurer this Ultimate Pen Knife will come in handy on camping and exploring trips and it comes in well under budget at only $29.95.

 

For the entertainer, this 4 Piece Cheese Knife Set will come in handy its almost half price on sale to for $26.95.

 

For The Collector you can't go past these Royal Albert Vintage Spoons Set 4 priced at $49.95.

For the Fashionista this Diamond Portable Beauty Make Up Case is sure to be put to good use and a great buy at $44.95.

 

 

For the Gardner, these Oval Flower Print Potting Gloves will be put to good use and only $39.95.

For the executive this A5 Navy Leather Journal comes with custom initials to really make an impression and priced at $44.95 it makes a perfect gift!

 

For the beach goer this Farrah Cotton Velour Beach Towel will be well received, great quality and only $44.95.

 

For the technology minded this  Dryz iPad Protector is perfect for keeping ipads and tablets dry outdoors and comes in way under budget at $14.95.

For the gamer this Classic Chinese Checkers Set will be put to good use and only $39.95.

Our top tip for buying great Kris Kringle presents is knowing what the receivers interests are and looking for quality items on sale that fit into that category. But most of all have fun and remember to stick to the budget!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 foods to help boost your child’s immune system!

Sunset-chaser-7

With winter now in full swing protecting your kids immune system is integral to helping them avoiding the cold and flu season.

Typically our immune system does a wonderful job of defending our bodies against disease. Every day we come in contact with many potential illnesses through human interaction, holding hand rails and even food. Our immune system is on call 24/7 to safeguard us against these dangers.

“The immune system is made up of the tonsils, thymus, lymph nodes and vessels, bone marrow and the spleen,” says Dr Ryan Harvey of House Call Doctor.

“It is comprised of antibodies, white blood cells and other chemicals and proteins which attack pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses.”

While we may not often pause to think about how we can help our immune system out, ensuring it is functioning to its full potential is vital. Luckily, there are some easy and natural ways to help give your immune system a boost.

If your little one has come down with the sniffles a few times already this year it might be time to look at their diet and the role food plays in supporting their immune system.

 

  1. Green Leafy Vegetables

    “In order to maintain a healthy and functioning immune system fresh food, such as fruit and vegetables, are key,” says Dr Harvey.

    Green leafy vegetables in particular are rich in nutrients that help boost the immune system. “Green leafy vegetables are a rich source of iron,” says Dr Harvey. “This helps with the production of white blood cells and antibodies which fuel your immune system.”

    When it comes to getting kids to eat green leafy vegetables it’s often easier said than done. Try sneaking them into delicious smoothies.

  2. Fresh fruit

    “Maintaining a diet rich in vitamins is important to overall health and immune function,” says Dr Harvey. “This includes lots of colourful fruits which are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and water.”

    The added bonus is that most kids enjoy the taste of fruits, making it easy include more in their diet.

    The best fruits for immune health are:

 

  • Kiwifruit - high in vitamin C and vitamin E

  • Blueberries - high in vitamin C, vitamin A and antioxidants

  • Papaya - high in beta-carotene which converts to vitamin A when eaten

  • Strawberries - high in vitamin A and vitamin C

  • Oranges - high in vitamin C, vitamin A and fibre

  1. Garlic

    Garlic has been hailed since the dawn of time as a miracle working food. “Garlic contains anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties,” says Dr Harvey. “These help stimulate the immune system and increase the production of antibodies.”

    Raw garlic is most beneficial for health as heat and water can activate sulphur enzymes which diminish antibiotic affect. However, adding garlic to the kids favourite pasta dish may still offer some benefits.

  2. Probiotics

    “Foods rich in ‘good’ bacteria, such as yoghurt, can help strengthen the immune system,” says Dr Harvey. “They also help the body digest nutrients in other foods.”

    It’s not yet fully understood how probiotics affect the immune system but studies have identified a connection between the immune system and gut bacteria.

    If you have a fussy eater on your hands there are some other tips Dr Harvey suggest to help give their immune system an extra boost:

  3. Get adequate sleep

  4. Exercise regularly

  5. Teach them to was their hands thoroughly

 

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Simple tips to keep your kids healthy and active!

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 Exercise is a fundamental activity for maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle. For kids, these activities should be enjoyable and and incorporated every day in a way that does not make it feel like a chore.

“Regular exercise has a myriad of health benefits for a young and developing body,” says Dr Tony Tanious of House Call Doctor.

“These include maintaining a healthy weight and fitness level, strengthening muscles, developing new skills, honing coordination and even bonding with others through team sports.”

While most little adventurers relish at the thought of running, bike riding and playing with friends, there are some simple tips to help keep your kids healthy and active.

 

  1. Make it a habit

    “It only takes 30 days to make a habit,” says Dr Tanious. “Set your family a goal for exercise and healthy and try it out for 30 days. You will find it soon becomes second nature.”

    This could be anything from going for an afternoon walk together every day, ensuring you eat nutritious meals for dinner each night or getting the recommended hours of sleep per night for 30 days.

    Small changes to your diet and daily routine can have a tremendous impact on yours and your children overall wellbeing.

  2. Try team sports

    Team sports are an excellent way to get little bodies moving and to foster relationship and personal skills.

    “Team sports are highly beneficial for young children,” says Dr Tanious. “Not only do they provide an outlet for activity, they encourage friendships, personal development and teamwork.”

    This doesn't have to be limited to team sports like netball, football or basketball. If your kids aren’t particularly interested in these, they could participate in swim classes, dancing or gymnastics. While they aren’t directly team related they still encourage social interaction and keeps them on their feet.

  3. Ditch the tech

    While it may seem impossible to ditch technology in today’s world encouraging kids to get outside rather than play on their phones or laptops can help keep them active and healthy.

    “Limiting your child’s access to smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices before bedtime will assist with a good nights sleep and may encourage them to be more active during the day,” says Dr Tanious.

    “Electronic devices disrupt the bodies melatonin levels, which is the hormone responsible for the natural sleep and wake cycle.”

    Instead of playing on devices before bed try reading books to wind down for the evening. During the day try to keep them busy outdoors as much as possible.

    “Simple things like teaching your children to grow their own vegetables or encouraging them to help out in the garden will keep them active,” says Dr Tanious. “Spending time outdoors will also increase your child’s vitamin D levels, assisting with energy, mood and overall wellbeing.”

    Remember to practice sun safety when spending time outdoors and keep hydrated.

  4. Get the whole family involved

    Kill two birds with one stone by including exercise in quality family time. “Making exercise enjoyable for kids is one of the best ways to foster a life-long positive relationship with working out,” says Dr Tanious.

    Working out can be fun for the whole family! Family fitness can be as simple or complex as you like. To keep it simple try a nice bike ride on the weekend, swimming, a mountain climb or just a walk around the neighbourhood.

  5. Make nutritious foods fun

    It’s not uncommon for kids to turn their noses up and vegetables but they don’t have to be boring or bland. “Making nutritious foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables, fun can make encouraging healthy eating easier,” says Dr Tanious.

 

        Here are some tips to make nutritious foods fun:

  • Make faces and shapes from food

  • Make it bright and colourful

  • Use fun names for the vegetables and dishes

  • Encourage your kids to help in the kitchen

  • Try growing your own food

 

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Health benefits of having a childhood pet!

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If you’ve been considering adding a four-legged friend to the family, or are just looking for an excuse to love your pet a even more, it turns out they have a positive affect on children's health.

While stress is something that affects most adults at some point in their lives, what is largely unknown is that stress can also affect children.

“Stress is often a result of what we should be doing, versus what we are actually doing,” says Dr Ryan Harvey of House Call Doctor. “Therefore, it can affect anyone at any time - including kids.”

It may be confronting to hear that your child could possibly be stressed throughout the day, but there is some good news. Engaging with their furry friend can help.

A recent study found that children who pet their cats and dogs when stressed have lower cortisol levels.

“Cortisol is a hormone produced in response to a stressful situation or event,” says Dr Harvey. “The lower the cortisol levels, the less stressed individuals are.”

Just one pat of the neighbours dog won’t do, the study found that the levels of cortisol varied greatly depending on how much the child engaged with the animal. The more they played and petted their cat or dog, the less stressed they were.

“Understanding how stress functions early in life is crucial to preventing stress in adulthood,” says Dr Harvey. “The way we learn to deal with stress in childhood has lifelong consequences on our emotional health and wellbeing.”

If that’s not enough to earn your pet some extra dinner, or to convince you adding to the family is a good idea, the power of pets extends further. Whether you prefer cats, dogs, birds, mice or lizards there are a number of health benefits to owning a pet:

 

1. Increased cardiovascular health

Owning a pet can have an immense impact on your cardiovascular health, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. This can be beneficial for the whole family.

Scheduling regular walking times of your dog can also help keep the family fit and active which is essential to overall well-being.

 

2. Boosts your mood

If you feel happiest around your pet this doesn’t necessarily make you a ‘crazy cat lady’. Science has proved that regular contact with animals boosts your mood.

Being with and regularly exercising pets increases serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine. These are the happy, loving and calming hormones which circulate our body. Higher levels of these can increase our general mental health.

 

3. Strengthens the immune system for children

It may seem odd but research has shown that children who grow up with dogs are 33% less likely to develop related allergies. Overall they found children exposed to animals at a young age have stronger immune systems.

 

4. Encourages responsibility

Owning a pet is a big deal. It’s not all cuddles and wet kisses, there is a lot of work that goes into looking after another life.

“Owning a pet provides an excellent opportunity for children to develop a sense of responsibility early in life,” says Dr Harvey. From changing kitty litter to bathing, brushing and feeding, there is a lot to be done.

Encouraging children to look after their pets can help teach responsibility and empathy for another living being.

 

5. Great caregivers

Somehow our pets just know when we are feeling under the weather. Being curled up on the couch surrounded by a wall of snotty tissues is made infinitely better when there is a furry friend there with you.

 

 

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We Talk ABC Reading Eggs With Jules Sebastian!

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We recently got to speak to the lovely Jules Sebastian from Tea With Jules about motherhood, her and Guys charity and her recent partnership with ABC Reading Eggs.

 

Thanks Jules for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with us today, we really appreciate your time.

 

Speaking of busy, you’re a stylist, TV presenter, blogger, trained make-up artist, and have your own YouTube show TeaWith Jules. You’re also married to Guy Sebastian - one of Australia's top music artists, and a mum to two beautiful boys. If that's not enough you also run a charity, The Sebastian Foundation, with Guy. I am exhausted just saying all that! Tell us how you manage it all?

 

I think prioritising is a huge one. You can only do what you can do. Even if things don’t get done that day, do it on another day and just give yourself a break. For me that’s a recent lesson, just to chill out with myself. I know when I go to bed at the end of the day I’ve done my level best to achieve everything.

 

Talk us through what a typical day is like for you?             

 

So no different to a lot of other mums really – I get Hudson ready for school and Archer ready for day care. After that my day’s taken up with work and various projects. Then it’s school pick up time. In the afternoon we may spend time in the backyard – the boys love jumping on the trampoline. Then it’s dinner time and getting the boys ready for bed.

 

The boys really love us reading to them at the end of the day when they’re nice and calm and need that winding down time. I find Reading Eggs is also a nice thing for Hudson to do before bedtime especially if I’m by myself and I’m reading Archie a story or having a shower! It’s a relief knowing he’s doing something educational. I’ll check in on him doing it from time to time, but he’s mostly fine to navigate it himself.

 

How do you find balance between work, following your passions and family life?

 

I try to take a bit of “me-time” in my day. I will have a cup of tea, watch Netflix and try to get through the 485 books I have next to my bed! It also sounds a bit teenage, but I have started writing in a journal as well, just five minutes each day. It’s like a gratitude journal. However if I could have a dream day, I’d go get a massage, have brunch girlfriends, watch a movie, walk in the sunshine and just chill.

 

So what are you currently watching and reading?

 

I just started watching Jane the Virgin and I also like Suits, The Good Wife and documentaries. I’ll also be interviewing author Jenny Valentish soon for Tea with Jules so I’m reading her book Woman of Substances about addiction and treatment.

 

Your son Hudson started school this year, do you have any tips for parents who are wondering if their child is ready for school?

 

Hudson was four on the first day of school in February and turned five a month later. Knowing he would be one of the younger ones in the class, I really put a lot of time and thought into trying to figure out whether he was ready for big school.

 

So I talked to a lot of friends who are teachers as well as his preschool teachers to get their opinions. I’d advise any parent who’s unsure about this issue to do the same. In the end we went with what we felt was right as well as the advice of his teacher who said if we held Hudson back for another year he might get bored as he’s a bit of a bright spark and handles himself really well in social situations. It was the right decision as he’s done so well, and really loves going to school.

 

Yourself and Hudson recently have partnered with the award- winning ABC Reading Eggs program that encourages children to develop and early love for reading in preparation for school? What is it that made you want to sign up with Reading Eggs?

I think it’s just great for young kids as it’s a really good online program, I’m so glad I discovered it! I think as a parent technology is one of those things you have to keep an eye on, so it’s wonderful that this is something kids can do online which is also educational and helps prepare them for school and continues to help after they’ve started.

 

Hudson likes how the program is easy to follow and gets really chuffed about how much he can now recognise words. He’s really motivated to go through the online books and all the activities and likes the competitive nature of going up levels and getting rewards. He loves it – he thinks of it as a great game!

 

What does Hudson love about reading eggs?

 

Mostly the element of it being competitive. Whenever he climbs up another level he’ll come and tell me about it. He just loves that sense of achievement and seeing the characters dance at the end of each task, it’s a fun affirmation for him.

Four years ago yourself and Guy set up a charity The Sebastian Foundation, can you tell us how this came about, and what is it that the charity does?

 

With our own family feel so blessed and lucky to have two beautiful healthy boys so we really wanted to create a charity which focused on families and give back to others. We support communities, groups and initiatives which benefit children and empower women whilst taking a stand against domestic violence.

 

For example, we’ve donated sleeper beds to The Children's Hospital at Westmead so that families can stay together through treatment and have plans to improve several domestic violence crisis accommodation centres to make them feel more like a home.

 

How can someone get involved or donate to your charity if they want to help?

 

By checking out the website www.thesebastianfoundation.org

 

We can imagine that you and Guy both have full on schedules, being parents keeps you busy enough, let alone all the other stuff you both do. What do you both do to unwind and stay connected to each other?

 

You could just go on and on and on with life after kids and not connect. So it is important to make time together, but it doesn’t have to be a big event. Sometimes we just catch up together at the end of the day and chat when the kids are in bed, or watch a move on TV together.

 

What's next for you? Are you working on any other exciting projects?

 

I’ve always got things in the pipeline. So aside from my usual projects, I’ll also be speaking at an inspiring upcoming event in Avoca in September called She the Change which aims to connect women change makers, entrepreneurs and creatives with their purpose and value the role they have to play in making the world a better place.”

 

Reading Eggs Video  

And finally just for fun!

 

What is the best thing about being a mum?

 

Can I be really evil and say bedtime?! No, apart from that, hearing my kids laugh.

 

If you had to choose another career what would it be?

 

A pilot.

 

Favourite holiday destination?

 

Paris because we went there on our honeymoon and I love it.

 

Listening to right now?

 

I just love pop. Guy is so mortified by my music choices. At the moment I’m obsessed with 2U by David Guetta featuring Justin Bieber. Honestly, I’m not normally into Bieber!

 

One food you could never give up?

 

I want to say chocolate and cheese however I’ve been on a health kick so I haven’t eaten either of them in two months. But don’t worry they’ll be back.

 

Thanks Jules for taking the time to chat with us today, we really appreciate it. We look forward to seeing yourself and Hudson in the up and coming campaign with ABC Reading Eggs.

ABC Reading Eggs also have a FREE trial right now, learn to read in 5 weeks for FREE!

 

You can connect and follow Jules here:

Face Book

Instagram

Website

Charity

 

 

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4 foods to help boost your child’s immune system

Immune-foodsquare

 

With winter now in full swing protecting your kids immune system is integral to helping them avoiding the cold and flu season.

Typically our immune system does a wonderful job of defending our bodies against disease. Every day we come in contact with many potential illnesses through human interaction, holding hand rails and even food. Our immune system is on call 24/7 to safeguard us against these dangers.

“The immune system is made up of the tonsils, thymus, lymph nodes and vessels, bone marrow and the spleen,” says Dr Ryan Harvey of House Call Doctor.

“It is comprised of antibodies, white blood cells and other chemicals and proteins which attack pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses.”

While we may not often pause to think about how we can help our immune system out, ensuring it is functioning to its full potential is vital. Luckily, there are some easy and natural ways to help give your immune system a boost.

If your little one has come down with the sniffles a few times already this year it might be time to look at their diet and the role food plays in supporting their immune system.

  1. Green Leafy Vegetables

“In order to maintain a healthy and functioning immune system fresh food, such as fruit and vegetables, are key,” says Dr Harvey.

Green leafy vegetables in particular are rich in nutrients that help boost the immune system. “Green leafy vegetables are a rich source of iron,” says Dr Harvey. “This helps with the production of white blood cells and antibodies which fuel your immune system.”

When it comes to getting kids to eat green leafy vegetables it’s often easier said than done. Try sneaking them into delicious smoothies.

  1. Fresh fruit

“Maintaining a diet rich in vitamins is important to overall health and immune function,” says Dr Harvey. “This includes lots of colourful fruits which are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and water.”

The added bonus is that most kids enjoy the taste of fruits, making it easy include more in their diet.

The best fruits for immune health are:

  • Kiwifruit - high in vitamin C and vitamin E
  • Blueberries - high in vitamin C, vitamin A and antioxidants
  • Papaya - high in beta-carotene which converts to vitamin A when eaten
  • Strawberries - high in vitamin A and vitamin C
  • Oranges - high in vitamin C, vitamin A and fibre
  1. Garlic

Garlic has been hailed since the dawn of time as a miracle working food. “Garlic contains anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties,” says Dr Harvey. “These help stimulate the immune system and increase the production of antibodies.”

Raw garlic is most beneficial for health as heat and water can activate sulphur enzymes which diminish antibiotic affect. However, adding garlic to the kids favourite pasta dish may still offer some benefits.

  1. Probiotics

“Foods rich in ‘good’ bacteria, such as yoghurt, can help strengthen the immune system,” says Dr Harvey. “They also help the body digest nutrients in other foods.”

It’s not yet fully understood how probiotics affect the immune system but studies have identified a connection between the immune system and gut bacteria.

If you have a fussy eater on your hands there are some other tips Dr Harvey suggest to help give their immune system an extra boost:

  1. Get adequate sleep
  2. Exercise regularly
  3. Teach them to was their hands thoroughly 

 

Continue reading

I Miss My Husband!

I Miss My Husband!

 

“I miss you.”

I say these words to my husband far too often these days. Sure, the man gets home from work around 6 every day, watches TV with me for an hour or so most evenings, and sleeps beside me every night, but it’s not enough. Since having our son 18 months ago, our marriage has changed – in good ways, but also in challenging ways – and our quality time has suffered.

There is one other time in our marriage when this has been a problem – and it was right at the very beginning. We didn’t live together until after we were married, and within weeks of saying “I do” I realised that we were going days without connecting properly. Now that we were finally living together, we were both working on the assumption that we would just see each other all the time at home – which, in theory, freed us up to make lots of individual plans with friends and commitments to other people. But we quickly learnt that living together is not enough, and despite the fact that we were seeing each other regularly, we were not focusing enough on connecting regularly. It was our first lesson on marriage, and luckily we caught it quickly enough to change our habits before we did any damage.

Now with a little human in the Donovan family fold, we’ve fallen into the trap of taking each other for granted again. Don’t get me wrong – we’re fine, we’re happy, we’re very much in love – but still, we miss each other. That connection we’ve enjoyed so easily for over eight years now is a little harder to catch thanks to six o’ clock dinners, bedtime routines, teething, tantrums and toys all over the floor. When we flop down on the couch at the end of the day, it’s not often to spend quality time together – it’s to recover!

Does any of this sound familiar? Do you miss your husband as much as I miss mine? Here are some simple ways that may help you to reconnect.

Really talk

I can go days of building up things that I want to open up about with my husband, but never feel like there’s time to do it. I blame Netflix. Open conversation is so important in marriage though, and shouldn’t be reserved as something that happens once every few days. Go beyond the usual “How was your day?” small talk and delve deeper. Some couples have a set list of probing questions that they ask each other at the end of every day. I find it really beneficial to sit outside in our backyard when I want to have a good conversation with my husband in the evening. Something about the night sky, the lack of distraction and the openness of the space tends to foster our best chats.

Make eye contact

We can let a whole conversation slide by without ever looking someone in the eye these days – whether we’re loading the dishwasher, scrolling through Facebook, getting dressed or wrangling a toddler. Purposefully locking eyes while conversing instantly ups the connection and makes both people feel listened to and valued.

Laugh together

There is something wonderfully bonding about enjoying a laugh with someone – it aligns you for a moment and makes you feel like they just get it. Getting out of the house to enjoy a comedy show might not be the easiest when you’re deep in the throes of parenting, but watching a funny movie at home together (or heck, even dog videos on YouTube) should be equally satisfying.

Snuggle

A lack of physical connection is one of the quickest ways to grow apart from a spouse, so make sure to spend intentional time just holding (and being held by!) each other.

See a counsellor

Though I have not personally gone down the road of marriage counselling before, I have heard many people shouting the praises of a marriage ‘fine-tune’ once in a while, and it makes sense. Sometimes we need help to unpack all of our feelings before we can build our way back to a proper connection. Seeing a marriage counsellor is never a sign of failure – it’s a sign that you care about your marriage, and you want to put measures in place to protect it.

 

Our roles as parents are super important – but so are our roles as husband and wife! At the end of the day, our kids will grow up and leave home… but our spouses are in it for the long haul. Taking constant care of your relationship will help strengthen it and build a connection that will last for years to come.

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STEAM Craft - How to make a Lava Lamp

STEAM Craft - How to make a Lava Lamp

Lava Lamps

Watch gases come to life in liquid and mimic the amazing lava lamps we all love! This experiment is like creating your very own safe and fun chemistry lab and can be completed at home or in the classroom... with adult supervision of course!

What you will need:

Step One - Add colour to your jar

Put a few drops of coloured liquid watercolour in the bottom of your glass jar. Fill your jar a third of the way with water and then sprinkle in some glitter.

Step Two - Add the oil

Top up your jar with oil, filling it almost the whole way.

Step Three - Make the Lava! 

Get ready... Once you drop in the effervescent tablet, the fun will begin! Carefully drop the tablet into the jar – once it hits the coloured water, it will create a gas, pushing the water up through the oil and resembling a lava lamp!

 
 
 
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Simple Beetroot Salad!

Simple Beetroot Salad!

Before Christmas I went looking for a few different salad recipes, we normally do the standard Greek salad and rice salad at holiday events but I really wanted to try something different, I came across this beetroot salad and it was a real hit on Christmas day so thought we would share it.

Ingredients

1 Large tin of Beetroot, not sliced you want it in ball form so it can be diced easily.

1 Cup Walnuts roughly crushed

200 grams crushed Fetta

3 Eggs boiled and sliced in half

Your favourite herbs

1/2 Lemon juice

1 Tablespoon Good quality Olive Oil

 

Method

Dice beetroot into cubes and place on a serving plate.

Sprinkle crushed fetta over the top.

Add the walnuts across the salad evenly.

Place the boiled eggs across the salad scattered.

Add the Lemon juice and olive oil to a cup and then sprinkle  over the salad, it doesn't need to drench the salad just enhance the flavour.

Top with your favourite herbs.

Serves 6 as a side or 2 s a meal.

 

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Christmas Rum balls!

Christmas Rum balls!

Do you have any Christmas traditions at your house? One of ours is to make these glazed Cherry Rum balls. We make them normally around the 23rd of December, then we go and look at the Christmas lights and once home we have 1 or 2 or 3 of these with a cup of tea! What a way to end a night hey?

 

Ingredients

1 Packet Arrowroot Biscuits

395 grams condensed milk

1/2 cup glazed cherries

1/4 cup Cadbury Cocoa

1 tablespoon Rum

1 Cup coconut

Coconut for rolling

1 drop green food dye

1 drop red food dye

 

Method

Pop the cherries in a bowl with the rum and set aside.

Pop the arrowroot biscuits and coconut into a food processor and blitz well.

Add the cocoa and the cherries and run and blitz

add the condensed mil and combine until well mixed.

Add coconut and red dye to a zip lock bag and shake, repeat with the green dye in another bag.

Roll the mixture into approx 1 and 1/2 inch balls.

Mix the red and green coconut together and roll balls in them.

Makes approx 30 balls.

Tip: You don't have to colour the coconut this is something we just do because it is Christmas. if you want them to be more vibrant in colour add more red and green dye. You can also add more run if you like!

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Baileys & Tim Tam Ice cream Slice

Baileys & Tim Tam Ice cream Slice

Ok so this dessert is pretty naughty but since it's the silly season we think the calories can be excused ha! < I have heard if you eat it with your eyes closed that the calories don't go to your hips lol

This dessert is absolute adult indulgence, not only is it delicious but you don't have to share it with the kids due to alcohol in it < win win!

 

Ingredients

1 Litre good quality vanilla ice cream.

1 packet of Tim Tams crushed

250 mils of Baileys

1/2 Block Cadbury Chocolate melted.

 

Method

Line a 30cm tray with baking paper.

Let the ice cream sit out of the freezer until just starting to melt, then pop it into a large mixing bowl.

Add the Baileys and mix with a mix master until just combined, it's important that the ice cream is soft not fully melted.

Add the Tim Tams and stir through, you want it to be quite rustic.

Add the melted chocolate and stir through, you want it to be streaky through the ice cream so you get full on flavour hits, you don't want the ice cream to turn to chocolate, you want chocolate pieces through it. make sure the chocolate is not hot when you pour it in.

Pop mixture onto the tray and press firmly so that each corner is filled and it is levelled.

add another piece of baking paper onto the top and press down, so that it doesn't get icicles on it.

Pop in the freezer and let set for approx 6 hours.

Slice and enjoy!

pour more Bailey's over it if you wish.

Serves 12

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No Bake Nutella Cheesecake!

No Bake Nutella Cheesecake!

This dessert is always well received, mainly because it is a cheesecake and has Nutella in it so what is not to love? You can top it with your favourite chocolates and berries are also good!

 

Ingredients

1 Packet Chocolate Ripple biscuits

80 Grams unsalted butter

400 Grams Nutella

500 Grams cream cheese

1/2 Cup icing sugar

Fererro Rocher's

1/4 cup hazel nuts.

 

Method

Line a 23cm springform tin with baking paper. 

Blitz the chocolate ripple biscuits and add to a bowl.

Melt the butter in microwave until just melted and stir into the biscuit mixture.

Pop the biscuit mixture into the pan and press firmly so that the mixture is even across the bottom of the tin.

Pop in the fridge for 25 mins to set.

In a large bowl add the Cream cheeese and icing sugar and mix on high with a mixer.

Add the nutella and combine well.

Pop the mixture over the base and spread evenly.

Top with the hazel nuts and Ferrero's

Pop in the fridge to set for approx 4 hours

Slice and enjoy

Serves 10

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Chocolate Bounty Balls

Chocolate Bounty Balls

Do you love the Bounty Chocolate bars? Then these are for you! These balls are rich and delicious and will curb any sweet craving. Warning it is hard to stop at one!

 

You will need:

1 Cup Desicated coconut

3 Bounty bars

1/2 Block Cadbury chocolate

1 Tbs coconut oil

1 Cup Almond meal

Coconut for rolling < optional

 

Lets Put them together

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl on high for approx. a minute until just melted.

Add the Bounty bars almond meal and coconut to a food processor and blitz until a fine crumb.

Add the melted chocolate to the mixture and combine well.

Roll into approx. 1 1/2 inch balls.

Coat in coconut and pop in the fridge to set. You don't have to roll in coconut, we didn't for these ones.

Makes approx. 25 good size balls!

 

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White Chocolate, Tim Tam & Cheesecake Balls!

White Chocolate, Tim Tam & Cheesecake Balls!

 Ok let me break this down for you, white chocolate, Tim Tams and Cream Cheese all in the one recipe < naughty we know!

Ingredients

2 packets White cholate Tim Tams

250 grams cream cheese

1 tablespoon icing sugar

1 Cup coconut

100 gram  White chocolate

 

Method

Place the white chocolate into a microwave bowl and heat until melted approx 40 seconds

Add the Tim Tams and icing sugar to a food processor and blend well.

Add the cream cheese and combine.

Add the melted chocolate and combine well.

Add the coconut and keep mixing.

Roll mixture into approx 1 1/2 inch balls and coat in coconut.

Pop in the fridge to set for a few hours then enjoy!

Makes approx 55 balls

 

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Calling All Paw Patrol Fans - We Have Some Great News!

Calling All Paw Patrol Fans - We Have Some Great News!

Our friends at Identity Direct have a NEW Personalised PAW Patrol Storybook that puts your child right in the adventure as they help Ryder and the pups save Christmas!

Imagine the look on your little ones face when they wake up Christmas morning to see that they are staring in their very own adventure with Paw Patrol!

They’ve also just released a new range of personalised PAW Patrol products featuring Skye and Everest. Little ones will love seeing their names on their very own products.

 

 For the perfect Christmas gift for any PAW Patrol fan, order now at http://bit.ly/2g17xMm + use code 34876 during checkout to get FREE standard shipping.

 Hurry, offer ends December 10, 2016. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.

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Planning A Party Is Easy With Lah-Lah Party Packs!

Planning A Party Is Easy With Lah-Lah Party Packs!

Putting on your stripy socks and enjoying a Lah-Lah themed party is a popular thing to do.  Lah-Lah are currently doing a national tour, are on the tellie every day, and they have a dedicated following, so throwing a Lah-Lah party for your little one seems an obvious choice for so many people.  So I was thrilled when I found out about the new Lah-Lah party products. 

 

 

It is such a time-saving and stress-free way to host a party.  After ordering my products online (which was really easy to do by the way), I received my gorgeous box in the post a few days later.  The box comes with a big ribbon printed on it, so you feel like you are opening a birthday present.  I loved opening the box and seeing all of the goodies inside.  The box states you get “everything you need in one box, delivered to your door”, and it really is true because they have thought of everything.  Within the DIY cake, for example, there were disposable baking pans, ready-made vanilla icing, a premium cake mix, a spatula, a cake board, and all the goodies needed to decorate the cake.  Apart from adding eggs and water, there is nothing else you need to buy.  Oh, and the cake tasted delicious!

Another thing I really loved was the decorations were of a quality that I could use them again.  The bunting now hangs in my little one’s bedroom above their bed, which is a big hit!

 

So the process was as simple as 1…2…3…firstly, I browsed the products online and had them delivered to my door; secondly, I followed the simple steps to baking and decorating; and finally, I basked in the glory, and actually got to enjoy the fun & loud Lah-Lah party as much as the guests!

 

If you want to check out the Lah-Lah products you can use this link: Lah-Lah Party Packs. There are three ready-made packs to choose from, or you can tailor make your pack to suit your party needs.

Australian Baby Card Members also receive 10% OFF you can view the offer here: ABC offer!

Not an ABC member don't worry you can sign up here and start saving today: Yes please I want to start saving!

Party Pax has been designed to help busy parents host a fabulous party for their loved ones, whilst saving you time and money.  This is a one stop shop for kids birthday parties, christenings and baby showers.  Each pack has been tailored for the time-poor, party-planner in you.  

You will receive everything you need to host an amazing party - DIY cake, DIY cupcakes, decorations, tableware and a little inspiration - in one box, delivered straight to your door.

LET PARTY PAX TAKE THE FUSS OUT OF YOUR PARTY!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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Homemade Sweet Potato Chips!

Homemade Sweet Potato Chips!

These sweet potato chips are a healthier version of standard packet crisps. They are really delicious and my kids don't notice a difference. You can try different flavours by adding chicken salt or your favourite spices right after they have come out of the oven!

 

Ingredients

2 Sweet potatoes peeled

Spray Oil

Sea salt

Spices of your choice

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees

Slice the sweet potato  very thin, we used a hand held slicer to make it easier.

Place pieces in a bowl of cold water for a couple of minutes.

Remove and dry them well.

Place chips on baking paper.

Add spray oil and sea salt

Cook for approx 10 minutes until they go golden in colour.

Take out of oven and sprinkle with more salt while hot.

Place on a tray lined with paper towel until they cool and firm up.

Enjoy!

 

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Here's your protein snacks for the week. - Boil 12 Eggs At Once In Your Thermomix!

Here's your protein snacks for the week. - Boil 12 Eggs At Once In Your Thermomix!

Did you know you can hard boil a dozen eggs at the one time in the Thermomix simmering basket?  <Amazing!

Eggs are high in protein and a boiled egg is a great snack to have throughout the day. We love hard boiled eggs as they fill us up more then say a piece of fruit does.

Boiling 12 eggs is as easy as this:

  • Add 500grams of water to  your Thermomix bowl.
  • Add eggs to your serving basket.
  • 18 Minutes / varoma temp / speed 2
  • And Wallah Here's your protein snacks for the week!

  What easy tips do you know using a Thermomix?

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