Friday, May 28, 2010

A bit of everything today

I haven't written a newsy blog post for a while so please forgive me if I ramble on a bit today. I have a big list of things I want to mention & just haven't had the time this week.

Over at the Your Cheeky Monkey Facebook page we are very nearly at 1,000 fans! What an achievement, and thank you to everyone who is a fan - I appreciate your support. Talking about facebook, quite often when I visit someone else's fanpage I sometimes find it very hard to find the URL link to the website for that fanpage. Which sort of defeats the purpose! So make sure your business is easy to get to from your facebook page, you never know when someone is trying to click through to purchase something! This post at the Business Mums Blog has some other great tips also about things to do on your business facebook page. I also wrote a blog post a while ago HERE about some of my thoughts on using facebook.

As I have mentioned in a previous post, the Connect 2 Mums Ausmumpreneur Awards and Conference is coming up. We are nominated in 2 divisions - "Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year" and "Handmade Mumpreneur of the Year". So over the next couple of weeks I will have my head down and bottom up working very hard on the nomination forms! Its very exciting to see all the other wonderful businesses which are being nominated too. The awards night is going to be SO much fun... I have already bought a gorgeous black Charlie Brown dress for the night, but really need some blingy earrings to jazz up the look... I think I saw the perfect pair for me on this post at the Annette Piper Jewelery Blog - Annette must have designed these just for me I think!!

Other exciting news is that I have been accepted to be published in a beautiful book called "Handmade Living" which will be out at the end of the year. All my work is already submitted so now it is just a matter of waiting to see the finished book! If you would like to read more about the book you can visit the Handmade Living Blog.

There is a MEGA GIVEAWAY over at the Handmade Cooperative - Handmade for Kids Blog ~ there is 2 giveaways a day for another week or so, make sure you pop over there and get some entries in to win some gorgeous handmade kids products!! I am giving away a girls mini tote so keep an eye out if you would like to win one of my bags.

Finally, as you all know I always like to say a big thank you to anyone I win a prize from. I have to admit I have been rather slack doing this for quite a while, so here are all the amazing prizes I have won over the last few months.... And THANK YOU again to everyone that has so generously conducted these prize draws.
  • A gorgeous elephant soft toy from Krystie at the Inspired by Children Blog (Woddlebots)
  • A handmade dog collar for my boxer China from a facebook giveaway from Marly Ford Creations
  • A copy of the Kids Issue of Mixtape Magazine also from a facebook giveaway from Kid Independent
  • At a Connect 2 Mums Friday Night Chat hosted by Nik of Wholesale Baby I won a gorgeous pair of funky Styl-Us shoes for my son!
  • A new storybook for my boys from a facebook giveaway from The Little Big Book Club (which is a non-profit organisation to promote reading, the discussion of books, and the promotion of Australian authors and illustrators)
  • A pack of Dove products from the A Dose of Dannie Blog!! Which will all come in very handy.

A big thank you again to everyone.... & keep an eye out on this space, its time for me to pay it forward and have a giveaway of my very own soon! Monique xx

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Child Feature

I am so excited to tell you my TagNCuddle Tag Comforters are featured in the "Infant Shopping" section of the latest issue of MY CHILD MAGAZINE (Issue 17 Winter 2010) ~ Check us out on page 88:


And a big thank you to Maureen Haynes for the product photography

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

5 Places to Teach the 5 Senses

Welcome to the May Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival, 'Kids and Learning.'

The Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival hosted by Science@home is for anyone, because we are all teachers and learners. This month our bloggers have come up with some wonderful suggestions for fun things to do with your kids, ways to help them learn and thoughts on what learning is. Please read to the end to find links to other blogs, you might find a wonderful new blog to follow.

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As a parent, the most fun activity programs I enjoy are things to do with the 5 senses. Young children delight in being active with their learning, so activities where they can explore feeling, tasting, smelling, listening, and looking are all usually a big hit in our household.

I have put together 5 fun places where you can explore the 5 senses with your toddler or pre-schooler. The great thing is kids don't even realize they are learning so much doing fun things like this!

In the kitchen:
Something as simple as juicing some oranges can be used to explore the 5 senses. Look at the oranges and see the gorgeous bright orange colour. Cut them in half and smell the yummy orange scent. Juice them and listen to the squelching as they are juiced. Feel the orange rind texture of the outside of the orange and the squishy flesh inside. Taste the delicious juice!

At the beach:
The beach offers a huge amount of opportunities for exploring the 5 senses. Paddle through the water, dig through the sand, touch some slimy seaweed with your hands to feel the contrasting textures. Taste a little bit of the salty sea water - yuck! Find a shell and look at its colors and shapes. Listen to the rhythmic sound of the waves lapping on the shore. Smell the fresh salty sea air, or smell the rotten fish washed up on the beach (!).

In the garden:
The garden of course is one of the most popular teaching tools for the 5 senses. Even in a small garden there is lots to find to explore. Sit with your child and wait for a bird. Look at the colourings and plumage. Listen to the bird song. Maybe there will be more than one type of bird and you can compare them. Do you have a small vegie garden or some herbs in pots? Let your child help dig or re-plant. Feel the soil texture in the fingers, compare to the texture of some bark or mulch. Taste a little bit of herb. Crush some herb leaves between your fingers and smell the pungent scent. Maybe name the herb and what you might use it in.

In the bathtub:
Bath time is usually one of the favourite time of day for kids. Why not incorporate some fun activities to explore the 5 senses? While the bath is running, pour some fun bubble bath in. Smell the delicious scent of the bubble bath wafting up. See masses of bubbles forming under the stream of water. Feel the bubbles, what do they feel like? Slippery? Foamy? Once your child is in the bath, put in a range of toys. Kids always seem to drink bath water for some reason, why not ask them what it tastes like - is it soapy? Is it yummy? Plonk a toy up and down on the water, listen to the sound. Then plonk a different toy up and down on the water. Is the sound different?

Going for a walk through a park:
There is nothing more gorgeous that seeing a child's wonderment at the simplest things we take for granted. A little bug, rain falling, watching the clouds make formations. On a walk you can have so much fun exploring the environment. On your way through the park, walk through some fallen leaves. Listen to the scrunching munching sound of the leaves. Or if they are wet are they squishing and squelching? There is so much to look at on a walk through the park. Gather a bunch of leaves together. Compare leaves from different trees - how are they different? Look at the shape, some might have smooth edges and some might have serrated. Some might be green toned and some might be brown or red tones. Feel the surface of the leaves. Are they waxy? Smooth? Furry? Rub some leaves in your fingers. What sort of scent is it? Fresh? Musty? And finally taste - after all this hard work maybe the kids deserve a delicious cold yummy ice-cream from the ice-cream stand. Why not ask them to describe in as many descriptive words as possible how their ice-cream tastes!

And to finish off here is an excellent educational video on "The 5 Senses" I found on You Tube:




Visit Science@home if you are interested in participating in next month's Teach/Learn carnival. Please take the time to visit the other participants and see what they have to say:
Thanks for joining us! We hope to see you next month.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Half Price Sale at Handmade Heaven

I HAVE A 50% OFF SALE ON ALL MY THINGS AT HANDMADE HEAVEN!!! If you are in the Ipswich area be sure to pop in for a visit ~ There is kitchen hand towels, bath and shower gift packs for kids and Mums, swimming caps, a gorgeous new baby gift pack of completely handmade products (including one of my crochet bunny rugs), TagNCuddles, applique singlets, & more!! Quite a few things are unique products you won't even find in the Your Cheeky Monkey online store.

SHOP #11 (Downstairs) The Old Flour Mill, 231 Brisbane St, Ipswich

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Interested in Home Birthing?

Home Birthing has been quite a lot in the news lately for various reasons, it is one of those topics that evokes quite strong opinions from most women, especially Mums. Both my sons were born in the hospital under an obstetrician, my first had to be induced after being 2 weeks overdue and a very big Bub, and no signs of going anywhere. My second was a very difficult birth where I was in labour for a long time and my waters would not break & there were complications from that. So I am quite envious of those who successfully enjoy the experience of having their baby in their own home. I can't imagine what a different experience it must be to a hospital environment.

In my travels around the internet the other day I came across a site that has a huge amount of information on home birthing - Home Birth Midwifery Services, so I thought I would let you know about it too. This is an Australian site run by midwives.

VBAC (Vaginal birth after Caesarean) is also covered in depth, I like how this site encourages you to read as much information as you can so you can make your own informed decision. And I love the DECISIONS page and model of care table for each maternity service in Brisbane. Very interesting reading!!

What are your thoughts or experiences on Home Birth? Have you, would you, wouldn't you, and why??


~~~*~~~
Monique Nickalls JP BSc (hons) Dip Prof Couns
Your Cheeky Monkey
Baby | Infant | Mum

Friday, May 14, 2010

This Weeks Features

Have you heard about Family Australia Magazine?? Its a new online magazine published quarterly - Read informative and entertaining articles affecting parents today, discover interesting products from all over Australia, & travel to a different family destination in each issue. Our TagNCuddles are featured in the current issue (Issue 2 May 2010) of Family Australia, you can have a browse through the online magazine by clicking {HERE}

And check out this weeks shopping guide Pirates... Land Ahoy! from The Handmade Cooperative - Australian Handmade for Kids, our Red Skulls Beanie & TagNCuddle Set is featured along with lots of other gorgeous pirate themed kids products (and not just for boys either, have a peek at the super cute girls things too).

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New Review: Aussie Product Review

We have a brand new review on our TagNCuddles and Burp Cloths, with thanks to Aussie Product Review. Here is what they think of our products:

We loved the TagNCuddle Tag Comforter by Your Cheeky Monkey. This is such a fun item for any baby or toddler. Each little tag is different, creating such interest for the little one to hold, grab and rub. Babies can twist and fiddle with the tags which will help build up their dexterity. All the TagNCuddle Tag Comforters have been beautifully handmade making them all individually special.

The design of this burp cloth is so practical; it is a definite must-have for any mum with a newborn. Perfectly contoured for the shoulder, throw it over and be sure you are covered both front and back from any spit-up! One side is designed with soft flannelette fabric and the other side a towelling fabric, which is very absorbent. Again, this item is uniquely handmade and can come gender specific too.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Some of my Favorite Things

I just had to share with you some of the things I have been using lately that I am (dare I say it) a little bit obsessed with. Most of these are just wonderful going into winter too when the dry itchy skin sets in. So here we have it, some of my favorite things:

  1. Fancy Cuticle Oil from Joli Natural Skin Care. I'll be honest, I don't look after my hands in any way shape or form. I try and get pedicures when I can, but I really can't remember the last time I had a manicure. So my fingernails usually don't look that wonderful on close inspection. I have been using the Fancy Cuticle Oil for a couple of weeks now and my nails and cuticles have never looked so good! I just love this product, its definitely one of my must-haves because its so easy to use and so effective.
  2. Angelic Connections Lotion from Vital Earth Traditions. A delicious creamy (but not greasy) cream that smells DIVINE. I generally have a range of body products I use, but at the moment this is the one I pick up every morning without fail!
  3. Lanolips Lip Ointment from Addicted 2 Lip Balm. Growing up in New Zealand in the 1970's, lanolin was what you used on your lips. Then it went out of fashion. And now with Lanolips its back with a whole new style and this is one of the best lip products I have used.
  4. The Milk Wash from Moogoo - I first discovered this product after purchasing cream to clear up the irritations on my hands (which worked after trying many products that didn't) - and now use this wash for the whole family in the shower. I'm very keen on natural gentle products especially for my 2 boys and this fits the bill perfectly.
  5. And something that is a little bit different, my favorite business read the Business Mums Magazine is about to be re-launched and I can't wait for the latest issue to arrive in the mail! I also love checking the Business Mums Blog for inspiration and advice, have a look at this post on Cross Promotion, some fabulous tips for us WAHM's and small business.
These are a few of my favorite things right now! What are a few of your favorite things??

Monique xx

Thursday, May 6, 2010

NEWS NEWS NEWS

This week has shaped up to be a very exciting one for Your Cheeky Monkey!!

Today our New Mum & Baby Bag was featured on Babyology.

Four of our products have been reviewed at Be A Fun Mum - Plus there is a $15 voucher for Your Cheeky Monkey up for grabs there just by leaving a comment.

And the big news is we have 2 products featured in the latest issue of LittleONE baby (Issue 3 | 2010) - which I am so excited about, as you can imagine!

Check us out on page 33 in A Little bit rock 'n' roll with our Red Skulls Beanie & TagNCuddle Set


And on page 57 you will see one of our handmade bunny soft toys!


A fabulous week all in all, I think tonight I just might deserve a glass of champers ;-) Anyone join me?

Monique xx

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Review & Interview at KID Independent

A big thank you to Indi over at {KID} Independent for the fabulous interview and product review on our TagNCuddles today. I'm rather excited to have got a "DIG IT" result!

This was the verdict on our TagNCuddles:

What is it?

The TagNCuddle is a gorgeous handcrafted comforter made from 100% cotton with super soft flannel lining. Around the edge you’ll find a funky assortment of tags, ric-rac and ribbons for curious fingers {and mouths} to explore. The fabric print on our TagNCuddle contained an array of grubs, grasshoppers, bees and butterflies. It was super colourful and resulted in our test subject taking a dive off Mum’s knee in hot pursuit when it was waved in his direction… in short… we dig it!
Five reasons why we dig it!
  1. It was loved by the little guy {the toughest critic}
  2. It’s super tough and can survive grabby {and grubby} hands, teeth, slobber + stains.
  3. It washes well and comes up looking as good as new {well, it would if we ironed it… which we didn’t, cos that would be like ironing undies or tea towels… pointless!}
  4. It’s handmade with love by a Mum with a passion for little folk crafts.
  5. It’s affordable, at $16.

But you can read the whole post {HERE}

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I feel so much better now

In my opinion Television is one of the most controversial topics for parents. Should you, shouldn't you, how much, too violent, too inappropriate? So right now I'm going to tell you loud and proud my kids watch TV. For those that think this statement is politically incorrect :-P

I had a bad experience a few years ago. A girlfriend visited our house one Sunday afternoon (the boys were just babies at the time, and her son was about 1 I suppose). My girlfriend always had very strong views on topics like television for the under-5's, breastfeeding, and co-sleeping. The day they came to visit the TV was on with the motor racing, which my husband loves. When my friend and her family arrived I was TOLD to turn the TV off as it was "distracting" to everyone. In other words, she was afraid her son would be obsessed with the telly and not take his eyes from it. Which does happen in my opinion when you ban a child from something. It really left a bad taste in my mouth - the whole implied attitude that I was a bad Mother because I let my children be exposed to the TV. The funny thing is, after her second child was born I know the television became something of a coping mechanism for her to occupy her first born while she was busy with the second.

I am more of an "everything in moderation" type person and the telly is something I have never felt guilty about. I really don't mind it being on for parts of the day when my boys and I are home. Usually when its on they are doing something else as well like colouring or puzzles (or wrestling or trying to kill each other).

So imagine my lovely surprise seeing a post called TV Day over at the Be a Fun Mum Blog. Monday's for Kelly are 'Regroup Day' (what a terrific term) and the TV plays a big part of the day. Woohoooo! I feel so much better now xx