Saturday, December 17, 2011

Last minute gift ideas for baby

What's hot in the world of baby for Christmas Gifts this year??  I have a few quick suggestions of products we have in-stock, with same day express shipping included for all orders this week.  So, here we go for some of our best-sellers for under the Christmas Tree for Bub:










Hope you all have an absolutely wonderful Christmas and New Year for 2011, and wishing you a happy successful 2012!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Are you nutty, or not?

Ok, so you probably know I just love Table of Plenty products.  I first discovered the brand when I picked up a box of their delicious 'Heavenly Honey' Muesli in my local supermarket.  Further investigation into the brand revealed an Australian company with incredible ethics and the loveliest and most approachable business Mum (Kate Weiss) as its driving force.

While I am one of the ones that LOVES dried fruit in my muesli (and just about any other food really), apparently there are people who don't like fruit in their cereal.  Can you believe that?!

So, Table of Plenty has listened to its customers and has brought out a muesli with NO FRUIT.  It's called 'Nicely Nutty', and I have to admit its actually REALLY yummy (even coming from a girl who loves her fruit).  As with all Table of Plenty products, this muesli is totally natural with no preservatives.  If you need to rush out and try it now you will find it in your local Coles (and if they don't have it be sure to request they stock it).

Enjoy!!


Disclaimer: I was sent a box of Table of Plenty Nicely Nutty Muesli to try, I was under no obligation to post a review and all opinions expressed are my own honest opinions.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

School holidays equals feeding children constantly

Well the school holidays are almost upon me.  Which is exciting on one hand, and daunting on the other.  Exciting because we will get to laze around in the mornings, swim to our hearts content, and not have to worry about lunches everyday.  Daunting because, for us, it is our first full Summer holiday ever.  That means 2 whole months without school or daycare, time where I will still have to work, and OMG having to listen to the boys bicker all the time over the same silly toy.

I also think it may be a struggle keeping 2 active little boys (and me) constantly fed, in a healthy (but easy) way.  So I'm planning my shopping list now for the coming weeks.

The following list is things for between meal snacks to keep us going on hot Summer days.
  • Big glass of cold milk with Milo (big fave of ours - yummy and filling)
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Make my own ice-blocks with blended up fruit and yogurt (I have those tupperware ice-block moulds)
  • I'll admit I'm a bit of a chip lover.  And so are the boys (what child isn't?  Have you seen how quickly those little packets of chips go at parties!).  We are totally in love with the new Cheese Max Vege Twists from The Vege Chip Company.  Just like Twisties, but they don't have any artificial flavours, colours or preservatives.  Plus they are made from a variety of grains.  So now we can eat chippies without feeling guilty ;)
  • Make a Muesli Slice
  • Fruit in any size and shape.  Most of all, mangoes, watermelon, and stone fruits. Yum yum.
  • Yogurt
I would LOVE to hear your Summer snack options too!  What are some things you like that I haven't thought of??

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Great news for Christmas Gift Buying for Children

Well the count-down in now well and truly on until it's time for Santa to make his visits to children the world over.  But not sure what is on the wish-lists of all the kids in your life?  Well Mattel's Toylab has come to the rescue with it's Top 12 List of Toys for Christmas 2011!

My top pick out of the catalog is the Fisher Price Poppity Pop Musical Dino, for babies and toddlers aged 6 - 36 months (RRP $73.99).  Although I have to say I'm finding it rather hilarious my 5 year old son is quite fascinated to play with it himself.  It's my personal top pick because of the combination of both fun and educational factors for little ones.


The Musical Dino is great because it entertains and stimulates baby in lots of different ways.  The colourful plastic balls pop up and down in the Dino's back to fun music and silly sound effects.  Sometimes the balls pop right out, which then encourages Bub to crawl after them and put them back in the Dino.  Thus, eye-hand coordination gets a great work with this activity.  This toy is also very sturdy and well-made, so no need to worry about it falling apart 2 minutes after opening the box.

Be sure to head on over to the Mattel Toylab for more great ideas on toys for babies, girls and boys.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Moroccan Lentil Salad Recipe

I am so excited to post this delicious Moroccan Lentil Salad Recipe.  It is provided just for the readers of the Your Cheeky Monkey blog from the Mums United Team from The Heart Foundation. This recipe is devised by celebrity chef Janelle Bloom from Ready Steady Cook - plus be sure to check out the many fantastic healthy recipes on the Mums United site.


Moroccan Lentil Salad

This light dish is packed full of mouthwatering flavours and is perfect for a summer lunch, as an accompaniment to fish or a bbq, or as a yummy vegetarian meal.

Serves 4

420g can brown lentils, rinsed and well drained
1/3 cup currants
1/4 cup pepita seeds, toasted (see tip)
1 long red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
1 orange, rind finely grated and juiced
1 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp brown sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil cooking spray

Optional:
700g skinless snapper fillets, trimmed, and cut into smaller pieces if large
Lemon wedges to serve

1. Combine the lentils, currants, pepitas, chilli, onion, mint, parsley and orange rind in a large bowl. Toss well to combine. Combine 1/4 cup of the orange juice, cumin, olive oil, sugar and pepper in a screw-top jar and shake until well combined. Pour the dressing over the salad just before serving and toss to coat fully.

2. Preheat a barbecue flat-plate or large non-stick frying pan on medium-high. Lightly spray with oil. Season the fish with cracked black pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes each side or until light golden and just cooked through. Serve with the lentil salad and lemon.

Tip Pepita seeds are the edible seed of the pumpkin that have been dried. You will find them with the nuts in supermarkets. They are nutritious and add crunch to salads. To toast them place them onto a baking tray and roast in 200C fan forced oven for 3-5 minutes. Alternatively, dry fry in a non-stick frying pan frying pan over medium-high heat.  Watch closely as they burn easily.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Busby Pure Tissue Oil Review + GIVEAWAY

Put your hand up if you hate stretch marks, wrinkles and dry skin!  Yes, all those lovely things that happen with age and pregnancy.

Well, there is a brand new product available in Australia that I have had the pleasure of using, and it is called Busby Pure Tissue Oil.  I am currently 19 weeks pregnant with my third, and I jumped at giving this product a go because in every pregnancy I have had I suffer from extremely dry and itchy skin on my belly (to the point of scratching so much I bleed).  Before the Busby Oil arrived, the dry skin had started.  After using this product every day for the past few weeks, I am so happy to say that I have no more dry itchy skin.  And I'm not just saying that for the sake of the review either.  Busby Pure Tissue Oil is also said to be excellent for stretch marks, but I am one of the very lucky ones that has never developed them (and no sign in sight either even though I am *a-hem* in my late 30's and onto my third Bub).

Busby Pure Tissue Oil is a Vitamin E enriched formula, combining a unique blend of naturally derived Avocado, Grape Seed & Rose Hip oils to nourish and revitalise skin.  It has NO harmful ingredients such as petrochemicals, mineral oil, parabens, preservatives, artificial colourants or animal products.  So it is safe for all skin types including sensitive skin and during pregnancy.

After using this product myself, I can honestly say I will be continuing to use it throughout my pregnancy and beyond.


Would you like to try this product yourself?  We have 4 full-sized bottles of Busby Pure Tissue Oil to giveaway to our readers!

To enter, simply leave a comment here on this post.  Any comment will do!  Tell me something funny, or why you want to give this a whirl.  If you are unable or do not wish to leave a comment you can enter by email - find my email address on my 'About' page, or send me a message via my website Contact Form.

You can also leave separate comments for each of the following for extra entries:

1. Follow the Your Cheeky Monkey blog publicly on Google Friend Connect and/or Networked Blogs
2. Tweet this giveaway =
Busby Pure Tissue Oil Giveaway at the @YrCheekyMonkey blog -  http://yourcheekymonkey.blogspot.com/2011/10/busby-pure-tissue-oil-review-giveaway.html
3. Like both the Your Cheeky Monkey facebook page and the Busby Tissue Oil facebook page

Giveaway Conditions (please read):
~ Strictly Australian Entries only 
~ Be sure to leave your email address in your comment if your profile is protected - if I draw you as a winner but have no way of contacting you I will re-draw the prize.
~ Winners drawn randomly and notified by email.  Prize will be re-drawn if winner does not respond within 3 days.
~ Entries for this giveaway close in one weeks time on Tuesday 1st November 2011 at 11.59pm (EST)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Innovative Products from Snazzy Baby

What Mum doesn't love a baby product that ticks all the right boxes - good value, safe, funky, easy to use, and most of all, designed to make Mum's life easier (because as we all know, being a Mum is damn hard work).  The Snazzy Baby innovative baby protection range of products is super practical and has won many awards.

As a Mum of 2 rough and tumble boys (and another Bub on the way), I know the value of practical, safe, and easy to use products.  So I'm sure you will love the Snazzy Baby range as much as I do.   I was sent the following products to have a close look at, and here is what I thought of them:

Snazzy Baby Mom's Deluxe 3 in 1 PLUS Combo Carrier

The Mom's Deluxe 3 in 1 PLUS Combo Carrier is exactly that.  An easy to use carrier that you can actually use in 3 ways - as a hip carrier for Bub, on a chair to keep baby safe and secure, and in a shopping trolley seat.  This carrier is suitable for babies between 5 months and 2 years (4.5 - 17kg).  It is made from mesh vented panel and breathable cotton mesh so you can even take baby into the water safely.  What I love about it is that it is light and compact enough to keep in your nappy bag so it is always on hand when you need it.  It's even got a zippered compartment so you can pop your keys, spare nappy, etc in to be truly hands free!  Anther great feature is that you can carry baby either facing you or facing out, on either hip, so you can truly find a carrying position that is really comfortable for both you and baby.  Oh, and its perfect for Dad to use as well.  I simply can't wait to use this with our next Bub!

"The Combo Carrier is one of the very few baby carriers to have passed or exceeded three Safety Standards the ASTM Safety Standard F2236-03( equivalent of the USA JPMA Accreditation), The EU Safety Standard BS EN13209-2-2005 and the Australian INPAA Safety Approval, giving you assurance and peace of mind your precious baby is secure when placed in 3-1 carrier"





Snazzy Baby Knee Pads

Oh how I wish I had a pair of Snazzy Baby Knee Pads when my 2 boys were crawling!  I remember cases of red raw knees from carpet burn, and thinking there must be a solution to this.  If you have a good look at the images below you will see they are a very clever design, and they are adjustable and easy to use due to the velcro fastenings.  Ergonomically designed, can be used indoors or outdoors, machine washable, and with non-slip traction beads embossed onto the neoprene to ensure babies legs don't slip out from under him/her.  And to top it all off, these are even able to be used on elbows too as your child gets older and is learning to ride a bike or skateboard.  Another fabulous multi-purpose Snazzy Baby product!

I was sent an obligation free pack of Snazzy Baby products to review, there was no payment for this post and in fact no requirement for me to write a review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

10 Things to do in the Second Trimester

Following on from my post earlier in the year, 10 Things to do in the First Trimester, here is 10 things to do in the second trimester.

The second trimester is the one experts call the most comfortable and enjoyable out of the three trimesters.  You are past the danger of a miscarriage, the morning sickness and tiredness of the first trimester should have passed, your bump is getting big enough that people can tell you are pregnant, but you are not yet too big to enjoy life and be comfortable.

So, here are ten tips that you won't necessarily find in your pregnancy books but are things I enjoyed implementing in my pregnancies.

  1. Think about an exercise program to take you through your pregnancy.  A pregnancy yoga class is a wonderful way to exercise and prepare for the birth, and you also get to meet other pregnant Mums too.  Walking and swimming are perfect exercises for pregnancy as well.
  2. Not all salt is bad!!  Head into your local health food shop and buy a packet of organic mineral or crystal salt and have a sprinkle on your food each day (crackers with cheese, tomato, pepper and crystal salt are heaven!).  I use this type of salt permanently instead of processed table salt which has absolutely no nutritional value at all.  Currently in our household we are using Nirvana Organics Himalayan Crystal Salt which is unrefined and contains 84 minerals and trace elements (including iodine which is vital for pregnancy).
  3. Get shaking! If you haven't already got one, invest in a blender to make shakes.  Drinking a shake each day has so many benefits - they contain water, they can contain fibre (pregnancy can be a case of helloooo constipation), they are full of vitamins and minerals and other nutrients which are easily digested, and they fill you up which puts a halt on the appetite for a while.  My favorite recipe goes something like this: 1/4 - 1/2 cup ice, 1/2 - 1 cup milk of choice, 1 banana, other fruit if desired, 1 heaped teaspoon linseed meal, 1 teaspoon active manuka honey (from the health food shop), liquid fish oil (optional), metamucil or psyllium powder (optional - if constipated).  Whizz up in the blender and enjoy.
  4. Spend a little time each day either lying down with your legs elevated or lying on the floor with your legs extended up the wall.  Helps to combat swollen feet and ankles, which is to be honest rather a scary pregnancy symptom isn't it.  If your swelling is really bad be sure to talk to your health care provider about it.
  5. If you have older children (old enough to understand), start talking to them about the baby in a positive manner.  Say things in passing like "you are going to be such a great older brother to our new baby", but don't fall into the trap of saying things that will put a negative light on the new baby arriving like "the baby won't like you if you are noisy like that".
  6. A natural organic facial spray can be lovely to keep on hand to make you feel fresh and cool.
  7. Eat lots of fruit.  This not only provides you and your baby with lots of fibre and vitamins, but fruit is also high in water content which helps meet you daily water requirements.
  8. Why not start making a list of things you need in your hospital and labour bags.  Have a look at our Hospital Bag Checklist for some ideas. 
  9. Eat fish a couple of times a week or take fish oil tablets.  This is SO important for your babies development but remember to stick to species like fresh snapper or salmon, or tinned salmon, tuna or sardines.
  10. Take some long soaky baths (not too hot) with some salts or oils that will help your dry itchy belly skin.  Plus its nice to feel weightless and even be able to roll onto your front comfortably.
I hope you have enjoyed this post, and feel free to add your second trimester suggestions in the comment section below.

    Sunday, September 25, 2011

    Mission for Health

    As a child of the '70's, Dettol Antiseptic Liquid played a pretty major part in our lives.  Every time we got a scraped knee or other minor injury, out would come the Dettol in a bowl of warm water and cotton wool to wipe the hurt away.  I have to admit I still love the original 'Dettol' scent!  Now as a Mum myself Dettol still plays a big part in our lives (especially having 2 rough and tumble boys!) with their fantastic range of products.

    Dettol is still leading the way in family health with their Mission for Health program, part of which is promoting community awareness of how easily germs are spread.  "Our mission is fueled by passion and backed by our expertise in disinfection and hygiene" is a great summary of Dettol's aims with Mission for Health.

    One area of the website that I found particularly interesting and helpful was the 'New Mums' section - from information about Community Nurse Q&A sessions, to downloadable eduational booklets, to a section on advice from Real Mums.  It's all very user friendly and practical for expecting and new Mums.  I am always happy to see information that is easy to access for new Mums, its such a confusing time where you are bombarded with advice from well-meaning people, so its great to be able to do your own research and make your own decisions about things.

    Dettol has some amazing new products on the market to help Mums practice healthy hygiene habits in their homes.  My top picks are:
    • Dettol Surface Wipes - These are SO handy to keep in the bathroom to quickly clean up little messes around the toilet... an essential for potty training or if you have boys in the house (someone always seems to be off target when doing a wee hehe)
    • Dettol Instant Hand Sanitiser - While this isn't something I have used a lot of, its super handy to keep one of these in the car for those occasions where you might need to use a public toilet or something.  Just use a little after washing your hands to feel confident all the germs are gone.
    • Dettol Spray Surface Cleanser - Fantastic to have on hand to clean the bench with after cutting raw meat for a meal!
    So its a big thumbs up for me for Dettol's Mission for Health Program.  It's a great example of a big company investing in the community and creating a program that is not required of them but instead using their position for education and awareness. 


    I was sent an obligation free pack of Dettol products to use, there was no payment for this post and in fact no requirement for me to write a review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    The perfect snack?

    I am definitely a snack-a-holic.  You know, the sort of person that just can't last any length of time between meals without having to nibble on something.  Which in all honesty is not so good for the waistline.  As you probably also know, I have 2 little boys (now aged 5 and 6) who are pretty much eating machines already!  So I am constantly on the look-out for tasty and healthy snacks for all of us.

    Table of Plenty have now come to the rescue with their brand new range of Mini Rice Cakes.  These are crunchy little wholegrain rice cakes, topped with one of 3 different toppings - Milk Chocolate (creamy Belgian milk Chocolate made with pure cocoa butter), Dark Chocolate (creamy Belgian dark Chocolate made with pure cocoa butter), and Triple Berry (berry yogurt).  To be really honest, I thought I would like the chocolate ones best being a chocoholic... but surprisingly the stand-out for me and the kids was the Triple Berry.  The berry yogurt is just delicious, so yummy without being sickly sweet.

    Each rice cake has only 15 calories, plus they are gluten free with no preservatives or added colours or flavors, no palm or vegetable oil, and they are surprisingly good value at $3.99 a pack.

    These are the perfect little snack for:
    • School lunch boxes
    • After school/kindy snack
    • To keep at work for a healthy nibble
    • Pregnant?  Perfect!
    • As a little treat when on a health kick or when trying to lose weight
    • Travelling
    • And the list goes on.
    So what are you waiting for?  Get into your nearest Coles and try a pack yourself!

    Disclaimer: I was sent the range of Table of Plenty Mini Rice Cakes free of charge to try out with my family, however no payment was received for this review and it is my honest and true opinion.

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    Fun Kids Activity: Rainbow Crayons

    Here's a really fun activity to do with your kids on a rainy day... recycled rainbow crayons.  It's a fabulous way to use up all those silly little bits of crayon left that no-one wants to use anymore.  It's very simple and is pretty much an immediate result, which is always good for impatient toddlers and pre-schoolers.  So here is how you do it:

    1. Get together all the little ends & broken bits of crayons you can find.  Make sure any paper is peeled off them. Preheat oven to 120 deg C.


    2. Put desired amount of muffin cases in a muffin tin, we used 6 for about 1/2 cup crayon pieces.  I find its a good idea to use 2 muffin cases in each muffin tin hole as some of the oils from the crayons does soak through when melting.


    3. Put a few pieces of crayon in each muffin case. Mix up the colours, you will be surprised at the end results! You can make them quite thin for older children, or thick and chunky for younger ones.


    4.  Put tray in oven.  It will take 10 - 15 minutes for the crayons to melt.  Keep in mind it doesn't take that much heat or time for the crayons to melt fully.  I'm not sure about you, but I vividly remember leaving a crayon in the back of my Mum's car when I was young and getting in a LOT of trouble when it melted everywhere on a hot day!


    5. Take tray out of oven and leave in a safe spot to cool and harden, about 30 - 60 minutes.  Peel paper off when completely hard.


    6. Finally, enjoy some rainbow colouring!

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    Winners

    A big congratulations to the winners of our recent giveaways, they are as follows:

    Burp Cloths
    Rinny

    The Little Engine That Could DVD's
    Jenn (Bandusta)
    Amy
    Nicole Grant

    And a big thank you to everyone who entered :-)

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    DVD Review: Downton Abbey

    Downton Abbey is an English Drama television series.  It is set in 1912 (just before the wars and social revolution) and follows the stories of both the aristocratic family and the staff of the beautiful manor house Downton Abbey.  The series begins with the news of the sinking of the Titanic, and the major way that affects the family and manor, setting the scene for the whole series.

    Over the past week I have been unfortunate to have been struck down with the flu.  But what a great opportunity to settle in and watch some episodes of Downton Abbey!  I wasn't sure what I would think of this series, as while I love English comedy's and murder mysteries, I am not so much of a drama or soap opera girl.  But as the cover of the DVD says, I found it 'absolutely enthralling'.  Each episode goes for about an hour, and while the overall plot is continuous from episode to episode, each one has its own mini plot that you get quite engrossed in. 

    There are quite a few things I enjoyed about watching this series.  First and foremost, the amazing period detail and beautiful real-life English manor the series is set in.  It is totally believable and most fascinating watching how people lived only 100 years ago.  I also like that the series is about the staff of Downton Abbey just as much as the aristocrats, and shows how intertwined their lives really are.  There is lots of well known faces in the cast, including Maggie Smith who is rather an English acting legend and brings any character she plays to life.

    Final recommendation:  Mums, this one is for you to put your feet up, take an hour out of your day and watch an episode.  Take your mind off things by getting engrossed in the lives and dramas of 1912 England!

    Downton Abbey Season 1 retails for $39.95 and is released today the 4th August 2011.  Rated M.



    I received a copy of Downton Abbey Season One from Universal Pictures to review.  I have not been paid for this review and all opinions expressed are my own.

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    July Teach/Learn

    The theme for this month's Teach/Learn was collaboration. The host, Science@home says "As well as writing myself, I've been looking for other articles about collaboration, including a beautiful video".
    And finally, a beautiful video of collaboration - a classical cellist (Yo Yo Ma) and the most modern of dancers (Lil Buck).

    Thursday, July 28, 2011

    Store News + A GIVEAWAY

    Well its been a while since I have posted any store news here on the blog, but there are a couple of products I just had to write about, plus I thought it was time for a giveaway of one of my products.

    First up, a product that I am just so excited about - BPA Free Teether Keys.  We all know and love the teether keys for our babies, but we have managed to source these ones that are BPA free plastic made from corn (NOT a petroleum based plastic).  So they are totally and completely safe for your little one.  Woohoo!

    Did you know we also have a gorgeous range of bamboo and organic cotton Rattles, Teethers and Cuddlies?  Not surprising we adore cute monkey products and the Bamboo Zoo Cuddlie Monkey is no exception!  Luxuriously soft, babies just fall in love with these.

    I won't bore you all so final mention is our Burp Cloths - 4 new bolts of fabric have arrived in and they are all lovely.  From top to bottom in image below is:
    • Mint Teddy Bears
    • Jungle
    • Aqua Butterflies
    • Cute Froggies


                               Image by Murray Photography


    To celebrate our cute new Burp Cloth fabrics, we are going to give away a set valued at $18.95 to one of our readers!

    To enter, simply leave a comment here on this post and tell me which of the 4 fabrics above you like best, and why you would like to win this prize (maybe you are expecting a baby, or have just given birth).  If you are unable or do not wish to leave a comment you can find my email on my 'About' page, or send me a message via my website Contact Form.

    You can also leave separate comments for each of the following for further entries:

    1. Follow the Your Cheeky Monkey blog publicly on Google Friend Connect and/or Networked Blogs
    2. Tweet this giveaway =
    Burp Cloth Giveaway for new Mums at the @YrCheekyMonkey blog -  http://yourcheekymonkey.blogspot.com/2011/07/store-news-giveaway.html
     3. Head on over and like the Your Cheeky Monkey facebook page

    Giveaway Conditions (please read):
    ~ Strictly Australian Entries only 
    ~ Be sure to leave your email address in your comment if your profile is protected - if I draw you as a winner but have no way of contacting you I will re-draw the prize.
    ~ Winner drawn randomly and notified by email.  Prize will be re-drawn if winner does not respond within 3 days.
    ~ Entries for this giveaway close in one weeks time on Thursday 4th August 2011 at 11.59pm (EST)
    ~ Winner chooses one of the above new fabrics (choice of 4) for their prize, coordinating plain fabric for the set will be at our discretion. Set is as per our store listing for Burp Cloths.

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    My Top Bathtime Tips for a Newborn Baby

    Bathing a newborn baby is both one of the loveliest and most special activities, and one of the most terrifying as well.  I remember well how truly freaked out I was when bath time came around for my first child.  If you have never bathed a newborn before, you would never believe what slippery little things they are!!  Even though I was terrible at bathing a tiny baby at first, with time and practice comes confidence.  But there are some tricks of the trade you can do that make bathtime with your Bub much more relaxed and enjoyable.

    1. Prepare everything before you even start running the water - get out your towel, face cloth (you will need 2 or 3), whichever product you may be using in the water (I recommend using something 100% natural & gentle like a Goat's Milk Powder).  To be really honest, for new babies you will not need shampoo or soap (new babies just don't get that dirty... unlike toddlers!).  A bath every other day is fine too for new Bubs.  Some people don't bother buying a baby bath, but I personally found the cheap plastic ones the best to bath a newborn baby.  Another good point too is to bathe your baby after a feed, that way they are feeling full and content and not likely to get hungry halfway through the bath.

    2. When you have everything to hand, then run the water.  I used a special bath thermometer for my first son which told me the ideal temperature for a baby, as I was not too confident of judging this myself.  You only need a tiny amount of whichever bath product you are using, and make sure the baby bath is in a stable comfortable spot.  I was lucky enough to have a big bathroom bench, but if you don't why not consider using the kitchen bench.

    3. Now you can undress your baby ready for the bath.  Slowly immerse your baby into the bath, keeping both hands securely under his head and body.  One of the best tricks I ever learnt was to place a washer over your baby's chest (see photo)... I found doing this instantly calmed them if they got upset by being placed in the water.  If you have a boy like I did, this also stops them weeing up at you suddenly (don't laugh, this is a very common occurrence with baby boys).  Also be sure to keep your baby's head above the water (that might sound funny but it's sort of a busy time and you feel like you are trying to do 5 things at once all while holding onto a slippery little body!).


    4. Using a clean washer, wet it and squeeze it out and gently wipe your babies face and eyes.  Then use the washer to wash under babies armpits, and around bottom.  Put this washer aside and use another clean washer to very carefully clean around the umbilical cord.  If your baby is happy hold them floating in the water for a while (some experts say newborns love this as it reminds them of being in the womb).

    5. Ok next comes a tricky bit - getting baby out of the water and wrapped up in the towel.  This was always the bit I found the hardest.  There are a couple of options here.  You can either have a nice thick towel laid out ready to use right next to the baby bath (just lift Bub out straight onto the towel and wrap up), or these days apron towels that fasten around the neck which do make life easier if on your own.

    6. Now on a soft surface, carefully pat your baby dry all over being careful of the umbilical cord, massage if desired, and dress.  Now your baby is probably all ready to be swaddled and put down to sleep!


    Some other posts you might be interested in:
    What Products do you really need for your Newborn Baby?
    10 Things to do in the First Trimester

    Wednesday, June 29, 2011

    The Little Engine That Could Review & GIVEAWAY

    I was so pleased to have the opportunity to receive a copy of the gorgeous animated version of the beautiful story The Little Engine That Could.  We all grew up with The Little Engine That Could book, so its just brilliant it has been adapted so beautifully to animated movie format.

    "The Little Engine That Could comes to life in an all-new feature length movie filled with fun and adventure! Hailed as; “A fun family film” Los Angeles Family Magazine. When Little Engine must leave Dreamland to deliver toys into the real world, she sets her fears aside and learns that with a little determination and courage, anything is possible. "

    To be honest, I wasn't sure if my sons (4 and 5) would be very interested in The Little Engine That Could - I thought it would perhaps be more suited to the toddler age group.   But the boys were surprising captivated, perhaps by the amazing colours and lovely animation (when you see this movie for yourself, you will realise what I mean about the colours and animation, it is just beautifully made).  I for one loved the storyline, it is a feel good movie with a moral and lessons to be learnt.  My five year old loved the scary bits and the nightmare train, but be warned - younger children might be frightened in these bits.  Overall, its just a lovely innocent family movie that is a joy to watch.  I for one get a bit sick of all the violent movies and cartoons, so this is a refreshing change.

    The Little Engine That Could is from Universal Studios and runs for 1hr 22mins  It is released on DVD today the 29th June 2011!


    And we have three copies of The Little Engine That Could to give away to readers of this blog.


    To enter, simply leave a comment here on this post and tell me why you and your children are looking forward to watching this movie.  If you are unable or do not wish to leave a comment you can send me a message via my Contact Form.

    You can also leave separate comments for each of the following for further entries:

    1. Follow this blog publicly on Google Friend Connect
    2. Tweet this giveaway =
    The Little Engine That Could Giveaway at the @YrCheekyMonkey blog - http://yourcheekymonkey.blogspot.com/2011/06/little-engine-that-could-review.html

    You could also head on over and like the Your Cheeky Monkey facebook page if you really wanted to.. you know, to stay up to date with any other giveaways ;-)

    Giveaway Conditions (please read):
    ~ Australian Entries only 
    ~ Be sure to leave your email address in your comment if your profile is protected - if I draw you as a winner but have no way of contacting you I will re-draw the prize.
    ~ Winners drawn randomly and notified by email.  Prize will be re-drawn if winner does not respond within 3 days.
    ~ Giveaway closes in one weeks time on Wednesday 6th July 2011 at 6pm (EST)
    ~ Prizes sent directly to winners from Universal Pictures

    Saturday, June 25, 2011

    Encouraging persistence in our children

    This months theme for the Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival is Persistence.  Persistence is defined as tenacity, or continued effort or existence.  To me, persistence simply means not giving up.

    Persistence relates to how long a child will stick to a task, so a child with little persistence will give up very easily while a child that has learnt to persist at something will stick at it until successful (or at least give it their best effort).

    To be honest this theme has got me thinking, because I never really associated this with children's learning or play.  Persistence, however, is an essential life quality that children would benefit from greatly if it was identified and encouraged.  And it goes without saying that different children have different temperaments and attention spans, which directly affect their level of persistence at a task or activity.

    So, thinking practically and using my own real life subjects (my sons) here are some of my thoughts and real life examples:

    1. This short video shows perfectly a toddler exhibiting very low levels of patience and persistence (that is my youngest son who has a remarkably short attention span, is perhaps slightly hyperactive, and has a temper to go with it... don't you love the bit where he even bites the block!).  It has honestly been a long hard road encouraging him to be persistent at just about any task (perhaps you can tell from the video?), but that is his personality and you have to work with what you have.



    2.  Persistence is easier to encourage when your child is working on something they love.  Actually, thinking about it, its very easy to get them to persist when doing something they love, the challenge begins when you want them to persist with a task they don't want to do.
















    3. Swimming lessons are a great example of continued persistence at a task.  It takes many lessons and a lot of effort to become even a little proficient.  The same goes for musical lessons and other sports.















    4. When strongly encouraging your child to be persistent at a task, you usually end up with a face like this.  But don't let it daunt you, your child is learning persistence and building resilience.















    To encourage persistence, we as parents and teachers need to be the leaders and cheering team for our children.  Using positive phrases such as "I just know you can finish that", "I am so proud of you finishing that even though it was hard", "Congratulations on working so hard at that project", and "Just take one step at a time and you will get there in the end" will positively nudge children in the right direction.  Encouragement, a rewards system, making something seem fun, a positive supportive environment, and awareness of the end goal, are all tools you can use to promote persistence.

    Have you thought about persistence (or lack of) in your children's play and learning?  Do you agree it is one of the most important life skills?

    This month our theme for Teach/Learn was Persistence, something that is needed to string all the pieces together and achieve something big.
    'Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race' Calvin Coolidge, US President.

    Friday, June 24, 2011

    What you can expect from your iPad when you’re expecting


    What you can expect from your iPad when you’re expecting
    The joys of pregnancy and being a new mum are well documented – just ask anyone who’s been pregnant or is a new mum! But that doesn’t mean that we’re not desperate for help. Pregnancy and motherhood can be tiring – exhausting even – which is why we welcome anything that lightens our load or makes this full time job a little easier.
    Did you know that the iPad can be used for just that? When they say there’s an app for just about anything, they’re not joking. And there are a slew of apps just for pregnant and new mums. Yes, pregnancy and motherhood just got digital!
    Here are a few of our favourite picks -
    Just enter your due date into this handy app and you’ll be provided with a wealth of information - graphic depictions of your baby throughout different stages of development, journals for tracking weights, mood, medical visits, filing systems for any pics or interesting pregnancy articles, and BabyBump forums where you can interact with other mums-to-be and ask all the questions (don’t hold back!) you need answers to before the big day.
    Not sure whether that sushi or pate is safe for eating? Just download this app and you’ll find all about what you can and can’t eat while pregnant.
    Once you’ve delivered your little bundle of joy, you’ll want to tell everyone about it. This app allows you to send a picture and all the important information to your friends and family (name, weight, gender, etc). It’s an easy and simple way to get the exciting news across to a lot of people at once.
    Not getting enough sleep? Forgetting when you last fed or changed your baby? This app is for you! Total Baby is a baby logging and tracking tool to help you stay abreast of everything from your child’s doctor’s visits, vaccination needs, feeding timetables, age and growth statistics.  It also comes with a whole lot of other handy tools including automatic measurement conversions. You’ll be the most organised mum around with this app.
    This app helps you monitor your sleeping baby from another room or when you’re moving around the house. Simply leave your iPad in the room with the baby, and if it detects any noise a call is placed to a number of your choice. Just answer the phone and you can listen in to your little tot.
    Help your bub fall asleep peacefully with this iPad app that plays soothing lullabies to your baby at bed time. There’s a wide range of tunes and instruments to choose from and you can set the timer so that it runs for a specified length of time.
    This is just a short list of the hundreds of apps there are for expecting and new mums out there – all designed to help you through what is an exciting, but often overwhelming time in life. Don’t have an iPad to enjoy these from? To avoid the cost of buying one outright, it is possible to rent an iPad from a number of technology rental companies that offer other services such as computer rental. This avoids the initial upfront cost but you still get to enjoy all the benefits of these apps - and you’ll be a tech savvy mum!
    What was your favourite app when you were pregnant or a new mum?
    This post was provided in collaboration with RentSmart.

    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    Having a bloggy break

    I'm having a little bloggy break! I'm sure you all completely understand a girl needs to have a little breather and re-charge her batteries a bit... but I'll be back soon! xx

    Sunday, May 29, 2011

    Outside Play Ideas for Winter

    Winter brings different outside play opportunities to Summer.  Today I thought I would brainstorm lots of outside play ideas for toddlers and pre-schoolers for winter (and the older ones too!).  As we live in a nice warm part of Australia, most of our outdoor play has involved water (swimming in the pool or water play of some sort) or climbing in trees (the joys of boys), but really there is SO much more you can do outside, even when it is cold or wet.  So, some of these play suggestions are favorites of ours, and some are things I want to get out and do with my boys.
    •  Number one is definitely ball play.  Fun as well as teaching gross motor skills.  Toddlers you can sit and roll the ball to each other, and older kids progress to throwing games.
    • Do you live in an area with deciduous trees?  Autumn and winter are wonderful times for playing with the fallen leaves, collecting leaves for collages, or even comparing the different types of leaves.
    • Get in the car and go playground hopping.  This is great fun for kids as its somewhere fresh to play (and free too).
    • Buy those big sticks of chalk and let your kids go mad drawing and writing everywhere outside.  Another fantastic gross motor activity, and one that can build up strength and dexterity in hands.
    • Bubbles!! What child doesn't love bubbles.  Either blow the bubbles for the smaller children and let them catch them, or let the older kids have their own bubble blowers.
    • If you have the time or energy create an outside obstacle course.  Place things to climb over, climb under, balance along, and the list goes on depending on your space and resources.
    • One of my favorites from my childhood is to lie on the grass and look at the clouds.  This is just such a lovely activity and really stimulates the imagination seeing what shapes you can see in the clouds.
    •  If you are able, provide a sand pit.  Whether one built on the ground or one of those clam shell type things, kids adore sand play!
    • Do I really need to mention bikes and trikes?  These are such favorite past-times of Aussie kids and great fun whether it is Summer or Winter.
    • When the boys were little I also had an 'outdoor play' basket.  In it were old books, shoe lacing activities, chalk, skipping ropes, and any other bits and pieces I thought would be fun outside.  Most times we headed outside in the morning for our outside play I would also take the basket and let them sit and read and play as they wished in the sun.
    • Spider or butterfly hunting through the garden.
    • And last but not least, if you are brave enough, let your kids get out in the rain and mud and play to their hearts content. 

    ------------


    I have to congratulate the Teach/Learn participants this month, due to all the insane things happening around here there weren't little reminders sent out. It's nice to know people remembered on their own! But they have come up with some great ideas for getting outside while you teach and learn.
    Have you been getting outside? Add some ideas in the comments or check out these great posts.

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    Not putting a name on it

    I think I must be a bit of an abnormal parent.  Everyone seems to label the type of parenting they follow or believe in, natural parenting, attachment parenting, strict parenting, slow parenting... the list really does go on.  I've been thinking about this lately for some reason, I never read any parenting type books after my boys were born (don't get me wrong, I love reading and read squillions of books, including lots of birth and pregnancy books) but I just felt I wanted to feel my own way along without someone telling me what to do, or rather, someone telling me everything I was doing wrong.

    In hindsight, I found for me personally that parenting style has more to do with the child's personality than the type of parent I was trying to be.  While both my boys were treated in the same way - fed on demand, carried lots in a carrier rather than using a pram, etc, my oldest son was quite normal in regards to the amount he cried, his sleep patterns and so on.  My younger son however couldn't have been more different, he was extremely difficult from birth, cried incessantly no matter what you did.  He just seemed to be stroppy whether you held him or cuddled him or put him down, and he never wanted to go to sleep.  I have to admit, there were times when I just had to put him down and let him cry.  Does that make me a bad parent?  NO.  Looking at his personality now though it all makes sense, he is just an active, demanding and difficult person (but totally loveable and cheeky too).

    But babies do cry.  That's how they communicate.  And quite often, they have a bit of a cry and whinge as they are settling down to sleep.  That's just what they do.  And I feel parents are made to feel guilty when their babies cry.  I quite often see a baby having a grizzle because they are tired and just want to go to sleep, but the parents panic and try and feed Bub, or pick him up, etc.  Then baby just gets over-tired and harder to settle themselves.  While I am a great believer in always being there for your baby, there does come times when your baby needs your HELP to learn certain things - they need to learn night from day, they need to learn how to settle themselves to sleep (this is a huge one for me, and one of the most important things not only for them but for you too), they need to learn that the people around them can be trusted.  You can do all this in ways that are kind, and those ways might be different for each child in your family.

    So I think what I really wanted to say is don't feel guilty if you are not following the trend with a type of parenting, put down those books, ignore other people's judgements and do what feels right for you and your baby (and their personality).  No-one knows your baby better than you do and believe me when I say - You are a Wonderful Mum and you are doing a Fantastic Job!!!

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    5 Reasons Why I Love to Network

    Are you in business for yourself?  Do you ever take time to network with other business owners?

    Since going into business for myself 3 years ago, one of the unexpected joys has certainly been the networking I have been able to participate in.  Females (in particular) are essentially social creatures, and working from home in a one person business can have some downsides.  So, in my book, real life networking has many multi-faceted benefits, of which I thought I would have a ramble about today.
    1. Running your own business, especially a home based one, can get quite isolating and lonely, especially if you have young children too and don't get the opportunity to socialise much.  Networking creates opportunities to meet other like-minded business people, quite often on a similar path to you in regards to family circumstances and understanding the stresses of running your own business (with sometimes no other income).
    2. You get to meet the 'faces behind the businesses', and they get to meet you. How much more likely are you to support a business that you know and trust?  Lots more!  So be confident when you are out actively networking, meeting people, and making a good impression, you are also giving your business a good name, and creating consumer confidence for future business.
    3. Friendships always develop from networking events!  This is just the most amazing consequence of networking, I have met some absolutely amazing women that have surprised me with their friendship and support, and while you might not get to see each other face to face very often, you know they are only a phone call or email away. 
    4. You realise you are not the only one struggling with different issues with your business and family.  When you have no-one to talk to about things, it can feel like you are the only one having problems.  This is definitely not the case, and it is very strengthening to know others are going through similar things.  On the other hand, its also nice to have someone to share your achievements with as well!
    5. You create the opportunity to brainstorm and think outside the box a little.  You can ask advice from others that have been in business longer than you, and it is also a great opportunity to set in motion some reciprocal advertising or joint ventures with businesses with similar target markets.  Most small business count every dollar when it comes to advertising and marketing, and when you can set up some co-promotion that doesn't cost anything, it benefits everyone involved.
    Well, there is a little of my personal thoughts and experiences about networking... is there anything you would add?

      Wednesday, May 11, 2011

      A Mothers Day Meal to Remember

      On the weekend, I had a delicious meal cooked for me by my husband and 2 gorgeous sons (under my direction of course, I'm not sure if I'd let them in the kitchen unsupervised hehe).  We had some absolutely gorgeous chicken from Lenard's, along with roast vegies and greens.  I thought I'd share our meal with you, and just how easy it is to not only cook a meal with practically no dishes to clean, but what a great idea it is to get your kids helping in the kitchen (no matter how young they are!).

      All the ingredients, ready for the kids to help prepare.  Oops I think I just dobbed myself in, I left my glass of wine on the bench!

      My 4 year old helper - he loooves peeling vegies and helps out every chance he gets (note to self - need to start cooking dinner 1/2 hour earlier than normal when kids peel as it takes absolutely ages!  Frustrating, but the only way they learn... I wouldn't mind my own little masterchefs in a few years time hehe).

      With this meal we had to cook it in stages, however note the one oven tray (hot tip - put a layer of foil then a layer of baking paper on the tray and then you don't even need to wash it when the meal is cooked!!).  The vegies were put in for 15 minutes, then the Risotto Stuffed Quarters were placed on the tray and cooked for another 15 minutes, then the Parcels were put on last and the whole lot cooked for a further half hour.  Broccoli was cooked separately in the microwave.  With other Lenard's products such as the Chicken Cordon Bleu (one of our faves) you can put the vegies and chicken in all at the same time, just make sure the vegies are not left too large.

      YAY our finished meals.  This type of meal (of which I cook about every second night) is extremely easy to dish up for any age person in the family.  For my boys, I chop in bite size pieces, and for younger babies you can just mash with a fork.

      Proudly serving up dinner for Mum.


      I have to admit, our meals pretty much never look like these gorgeous photos, but really, who cares, because they taste fantastic and that's pretty much all my household full of males cares about!

      And finally, a big thank you to Lenard's for supplying their new products for us to try out on Mothers Day.  We are already very regular shoppers at Lenard's and can't speak highly enough of their range and freshness of products.

      Sunday, May 8, 2011

      Happy Mothers Day and a Winner

      Happy Mothers Day to each and everyone of you, I hope you have a very special day with your Mums, Grandmothers and Daughters today!

      The winner of the Romantic Flair Original Personalised Mug has now been drawn.  A big congratulations to Joli, I'm sure you will just love the Mug Marthese makes for you.

      Thursday, May 5, 2011

      Today..

      Today I am having one of those 'Mummy' Days, a day of cleaning up from a vomiting child in the night (why is that horrid smell so hard to get rid of?), and trying to get what work I can done.  I have to be honest, I think I'd rather them catch just about any bug except the vomiting gastro.

      Anyway, on a much nicer note the winners of the $50 Lenard's voucher were bento mum and A Dose of Dannie, congratulations!

      Don't forget the Personalised Mug Giveaway is still running, click {HERE} to pop over and get your entries in there if you haven't already done so.

      And hope you are having a better day than mine ;-)

      Wednesday, May 4, 2011

      Lenards Chicken GIVEAWAY - Be Quick!

      Wooohooo who wants a $50 voucher to spend at Lenard’s (Australia’s largest chicken retailer) so you can hang up your chef’s hat and let the kids do the cooking this Mother’s Day? Well, Lenard's is kindly giving 2 Mummy readers of the Your Cheeky Monkey Blog a $50 voucher in time for Mothers Day!

      To enter, simply leave a comment here on this post and tell me if you have shopped at Lenard's before, and why/why not.  If you are unable or do not wish to leave a comment just have a look at my About page for email details.  Giveaway will be drawn in 24 hours time!  If you are a winner, please ensure you are available to respond straight away with your postal address so your voucher can be express posted to you to reach you on Friday.

      Giveaway Conditions (please read):
      ~ Australian Entries only 
      ~ Be sure to leave your email address in your comment if your profile is protected - if I draw you as a winner but have no way of contacting you I will re-draw the prize.
      ~ Winners drawn randomly and notified here on this blog and by email.  
      ~ Giveaway closes in 24 hours time on Thursday 5th May 2011 at 10am (EST).

      ps.  Keep your eyes peeled for my post next week of my boys cooking up a storm with our Lenard's Mothers Day Feast!!

      Monday, May 2, 2011

      Winner of Stubbies Voucher

      Congratulations to Emma, who was drawn as the winner of the Stubbies voucher.  I'm sure it will come in handy for those school uniforms :-)

      Sunday, May 1, 2011

      10 Things to do in the First Trimester

      It's so exciting seeing all the pregnancy announcements from friends and through social media at the moment.  But it has got me thinking that usually by the time most people announce their news, a whole third of the pregnancy has passed!

      The first trimester of pregnancy can be a bit of a funny time for Mums.  While knowing you are pregnant, most don't like to share the news with others until after the first trimester ends (and the risk of miscarriage sharply decreases).  Even though you know you are pregnant and might be suffering pregnancy issues like morning (or should I say all day) sickness, sore boobs, etc, no-one can tell yet that you are growing a little baby inside you.  Having said that, why not take time out to enjoy this special time, and cherish your secret for a while before you tell the world.

      Once you find out you are pregnant, there is lots you can do to start enjoying your baby and preparing for the months ahead.

      1. Find a nice organic herbal tea especially for the first trimester or morning sickness, and drink instead of your regular tea or coffee.
      2. Start a diary of your pregnancy journey.  This could include starting to make lists of baby things you will need.  There are basically 3 types of things you can list - Essentials/Safety items, the maybe items, and luxury items (check out one of my other articles What products do you really need for your newborn baby?)
      3. Start using a massage oil each day on your tummy to help combat any stretch marks and dryness that may start appearing.  There are some really lovely organic ones around these days especially for pregnancy (be sure to use one that is definitely safe for pregnancy).
      4. Start using a prenatal multi-vitamin and mineral supplement if you are not already.
      5. Buy or borrow from the library some cookbooks and nutrition guides especially for pregnancy.
      6. Start looking for maternity clothes on sale, and pick up a bargain here and there.
      7. Read a good book or take a nap if you feel like it.
      8. Sign up for some pregnancy week-by-week email newsletters.
      9. Buy a couple of comfy new bra's with no underwires to support those poor aching and rather larger boobs!
      10. And finally, just enjoy everyday and don't wish the time away.  Pregnancy is such an amazing precious time that really does go by so very quickly.

      And if you are reading this because you are indeed pregnant, I wish you all the very best for your own pregnancy journey and the exciting months ahead! 


      Click here to shop online at Your Cheeky Monkey for all your newborn baby needs!

      Thursday, April 21, 2011

      Stubbies Giveaway!

      Have you heard the news?  The great Australian company Stubbies is giving away more than 300 $30 vouchers over at their facebook page!!  Stubbies wants to outfit your kids in their winter school uniforms and so they are giving away more than $5,000 worth of Stubbies Schoolwear to Aussie Mums.

      To enter all you have to do is pop over to the Stubbies Facebook page then:

      Like Our Page
      Fill Out the Entry Form
      Tell us your favourite subject from school and why.
      Share with your friends who love Stubbies Schoolwear!
      Contest Ends April 29, 2011 @ 06:00 pm (EST)

      We also have a $30 Stubbies Voucher to give away right here on this blog!

      To enter, simply leave a comment here on this post and tell me what grade your child/ren are in at school.  If you are unable or do not wish to leave a comment you can send me a message via my Contact Form.

      You can also leave separate comments for each of the following for further entries:

      1. Follow this blog publicly
      2. Tweet this giveaway =
      Stubbies Giveaway at the @YrCheekyMonkey blog - http://yourcheekymonkey.blogspot.com/2011/04/stubbies-giveaway.html

      Conditions (please read):
      ~ Australian Entries only 
      ~ Be sure to leave your email address in your comment if your profile is protected - if I draw you as a winner but have no way of contacting you I will re-draw the prize.
      ~ Winner drawn randomly and notified by email.  Prize will be re-drawn if winner does not respond within 3 days.
      ~ Giveaway closes on Friday 29th April 2011 at 6pm (EST).

      Monday, April 18, 2011

      Easter Teach/Learn



      Lots of lovely links to Easter ideas today. It seems like most people are on holidays, so here are lots of things to read and do with kids.
      Now you have more than enough to do leading up to Easter, have a great holiday!