Posts tagged kids products

Christmas silly but fun (festive ways with loo rolls!)

a christmas fairy made from a toilet roll

Fairy perfection! and in January, just chuck her in the recycling

Nothing demonstrates the joy of starting and the hell of finishing a task more than the annual Christmas tree experience. The excitement! The fun! Decorating the tree each December is one of the best jobs of the year. So full of promise and hope! So different to January 10 last year when you finally had to admit that the damn thing was dead and the lovely smell of pine needles had descended into a vaguely compost-tainted stink.

Then of course the rotting tree sat down the side of the house until the council clean up in March, when brave husband lugged the (excitingly big on it’s arrival) enormous thing out onto the footpath, spiders, cockroaches and all.

This year our tree is done. Covered in school-and-daycare-made treasures. Plus some tinsel and baubles to tizz it up a little. And the pinnacle of tree-joy is, of course, the fairy. A stoic, serene little thing. Stuck in the ornament box all year, then dusted off, fixed with sticky tape and shoved precariously on the top.

This year I’m fully committing to the vaguely-daggy-craft-tree experience, complete with my loo-roll Christmas fairy. She matches in perfectly with all the other handmade stuff. A few paper chains and the tree is complete.

And why is my fairy so happy? Well, she’s a loo roll, with a lovely easy spot to shove the tree, meaning total comfort for her throughout this festive season.

Click the pic to download the fairy PDF


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The best way to smuggle… fruit

home made ice blocks to smuggle fruit

Yay! Summer on a stick.

We went swimming twice on the weekend, which means that Summer must be close. For the next few months I will constantly be picking up randomly dumped, sodden cossies and towels, I will struggle to get anyone into bed before 8.30pm and any half decent TV show will disappear for the ‘non-ratings’ period – which is a dinosaur concept that the networks should seriously rethink (note to ‘traditional’ media – Youtube has no such hiatus).

Apart from the crap TV, humidity, sticky sunscreen and mosquitos, Summer is so packed full of so many reasons to be happy. Christmas. Sitting on strange men’s knees. Beaches. Swimming. Holidays. Nectarines. Fireworks. Mangos. Peaches. Cherries. Apricots. Plums.

There are however, some strange little children who are not fond of fruit. Do you have one of them? You’re in luck over the next little while – you can hide virtually any fruit if you blitz it and freeze it into an iceblock. Choose whatever is in season and you won’t need any extra sweeteners. Try out a bunch of combinations until your kids are munching away happily.

And to make it irresistable, invest in fun iceblock moulds. Try this swirly one, or here’s a rocket inspired one.

And what’s in the iceblocks pictured above? The yellow one is mango and peach chunks with freshly squeezed orange juice. The white one is blitzed up rockmelon and vanilla yoghurt. For the other two combinations, you’ll have to buy the cookbook – I do have to make a living somehow!

Off to the pool…

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Awww life turns happy with cute fabrics and abundant plastic

Cute fabrics from Kelani Fabrics

Cute enough to end the procrastination.

Time to start photographing a new batch of recipes, which takes a bit of effort since my studio also happens to be my kitchen and my kitchen ain’t too huge. But a bit of organisation and I’m away. My situation is somewhat makeshift, but I’m happy with the results and thanks to all of you who’ve commented that you like the pictures too.

Apparently, any dodgy old equipment will do if you’ve got some gorgeous little fabrics to use as backgrounds. The latest batch has arrived from Kelani Fabrics. Elissa stocks some fantastic prints and patterns there. And if you don’t know your way around a Bernina, she has a cushion making service too.

Eventually I might even get the time to be mega-crafty and sew something. I’ve got my eyes on this book, Make it Perfect by Toni Coward. It looks fantastic and I always like to support Australian women producing gorgeous things.

With my already full cupboard of kids crockery, I’m having to restrain myself from spending anymore money on plastic and cute stuff. But seriously, who doesn’t NEED something from, particularly the bento boxes. Very lucky for me that they don’t ship to Australia. More of a worry is the Japanese based ebay store Tokyo Gift which DOES ship here. Hmmm.

Stay tuned and see what crops up in the food photography over the next few weeks.

Have you been making any of the recipes on the site? Make sure you post a comment either here or over on the facebook page – I love to get feedback.

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Book excitement fills my world

Advance copies of The Vegie Smugglers Cookbook!

The Vegie Smugglers cookbook is even closer!

Much excitement at Vegie Smuggler HQ (ie, my dining table, where I’m sitting all by myself) as a mystery box arrives with 3 advance copies of the cookbook. 160 colour pages that look great! I’m happy. Should collect the rest of the shipment within a month or two and then when I figure out how, I’ll have them for sale for all of you lovely people.

The Usborne Book of drawing, doodling and colouring

After my book, this is possibly the best book ever!

In the meantime, another book is filling me with joy. After a tip off from the excellent Attic 24 blog, I ordered a copy of The Usborne book of drawing, doodling and colouring for the upcoming birthday of Miss Fruitarian. Like all the Usborne books, it is SO great, that I am tempted to keep it for myself as a little guilty pleasure and order another one for her. I guess the more responsible parenting method would be to give it to her totally untampered with (much restraint needed) and then settle down with her for a pretty good colouring and drawing session.

I may have to beg and be on my best behaviour though. Miss Fruitarian is starting to think that Mum is getting a bit daggy and embarrassing. The other day when we were late for school, she looked at me with panic at the thought that I was going to walk her ALL THE WAY TO THE DOOR! “No mum!” she gasped, “you can stay here”. Oh the scorn!! And she’s only in kindy. Oh well, hopefully behind closed doors she won’t mind sharing a bit of mummy/daughter time.

The page that particularly caught my attention and gave me a lovely idea is this one.

Great doodling page

Possibly the best page in the best book ever!

Luckily for all of you, in my other life (the one where I get paid), I’m pretty handy with a pencil. So here’s my little uber-parent gift to you. Print out this lovely plate picture and enjoy a bit of craft bonding as you draw, doodle and colour with your littlie. Don’t worry if art just ain’t your thing. Fish fingers just require a few scribbles with a yellow texta and peas are pretty easy too (try green paper and a hole-punch).

Hopefully the results will be great. Email me a pic of how you go and the best response (as judged by Miss Fruitarian) will win one of the precious advance copies of the Vegie Smugglers cookbook.
Get colouring!

Download this craft worksheet for some uber-parent warm and fuzzies.

Click this link to download a large PDF version.

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If McDonalds can brain wash my child, then I can too!

Mr Meat & Potatoes tries McDonalds

Mr Meat & Potatoes isn't sure about the pancake

The power of marketing is interesting, isn’t it? No one markets to kids better than all the fast food chains. They are awe-inspiringly good at it. Last week we went to McDonalds. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that this was our first family outing there. I don’t mean to be one of those condemning food-snob parents, but it’s just one of those things that I’ve found quite easy to avoid (my kids are still young). But after a trip to a museum, the nearest, easiest (and most fun) food choice was Maccas. So we went.

Following the rule that it’s best to eat the specialties of the house, I skipped all the healthy options and got good old HappyMeals with burgers and fries. I know they offer apple slices and salads, but I’m suspicious of apple that doesn’t turn brown and non-wilting lettuce. Just give me the junk.

Perhaps I should be quite satisfied that the kids didn’t really like it. The chips were a huge hit (all that salt could make snot quite tasty) but the burgers were ‘weird’ with Mr Meat and Potatoes insisting on calling them ‘pancakes’.

Most interesting though, was the supreme McDonalds talent of seducing my children with cardboard and plastic. The cheap red and yellow boxes were the biggest hit of the day. We had to take them home and they are now lovingly filled with broken bits of car and draft letters to Santa. And the plastic toy, which does nothing except click and count to 9, is amongst the most revered treasures they own.

I guess the lesson is not underestimate the joy of a pretty dinner – if McDonalds can tempt my kids with a cheap packaging, then I can lure them with a range of cute stuff too.

Collection of cute bowls

A bowl for every meal - just some of my collection

Whenever possible, serve food to kids using colourful bowls and plates. Fun cutlery, chopsticks, whatever it takes to make it interesting and worth trying. Half the battle is won once the first bite goes in.

My crockery collection is embarrassingly big, way beyond the usual IKEA kids plates that furnish all family kitchens. But I still don’t mind an online browse. The best range I’ve found locally is Check out some of their gorgeous (and useful) products…

products from urbanbaby

Surely your kids would eat off these?

Good luck and happy eating…

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