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4:43 PM Fri-11-Apr-2014 - 0 comments
Filed under: Other


What's better than a great bargain? A freebie! Here's a round up of the freebies from around the internet this week, plus a few Kidspot specials for good measure!

If you spot a freebie that you think may interest other Kidspot parents, feel free to post the info and a link in the comments below, but please, no spamming!


There’s more to MILO than just great taste. It’s packed with nutrients and has been a Kiwi family favourite for the last 80 years! Register to be a trialist and you could be one of 100 lucky Mums Say members to try them for free. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER AS A REVIEWER


This friendly creature is Kune, a kunekune pig who loves to create delicious dishes for kids with Chef Hugo every day on Kidzone24. The kids can have fun with Kune and test out their observation skills in a Spot the Difference picture. CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE PDF PRINTABLE


Looking for inspiration for making school and kindy lunches fun and interesting? Why not pop in some cute notes or cheesy jokes with our free printables. Plus we have a weekly lunchbox planner to keep you organised. CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE PRINTABLES


Head to your nearest Westfield centre during the school holidays for free entertainment for the kids. There's activity sheets, plaster painting, colouring in, augmented reality photo booth plus the Rio 2 Angry Birds Experience to win prizes. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION



Be in to win a LEGO DUPLO Toddler Build and Boat Fun set. Just tell us about your child's role play fun and be in to win! CLICK HERE TO ENTER but be quick - entries close Sunday 13th April 2014!


  • Friday Freebies can only be claimed by New Zealand residents.

  • This list of freebies has been compiled in good faith, but Kidspot cannot be held responsible if any offers aren’t honoured by the promoters for any reason.

12:49 PM Fri-21-Mar-2014 - 2 comments
Filed under: Other


What's better than a great bargain? A freebie! Here's a round up of the freebies from around the internet this week, plus a few Kidspot specials for good measure!

If you spot a freebie that you think may interest other Kidspot parents, feel free to post the info and a link in the comments below, but please, no spamming!


Are you looking for some inspiration to return the "yum" to lunchboxes? NEW Tip Top Wraps are great for providing kids (and adults!) with a tasty alternative for lunches. Register to be a trialist and you could be one of 150 lucky Mums Say members to try them for free. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER AS A REVIEWER


On a tight budget? Low cost doesn't have to mean unhealthy. Get this free PDF recipe book from The Heart Foundation for budget-wise meals. CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE PDF RECIPE BOOK


Easter decorations made easy, courtesy of Kidspot. This bunting template can be used to make a quick decoration or a really impressive long bunting. CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE PRINTABLE


Love the Vodafone Warriors? Keep tabs on everything from fixture dates, player birthdays, Meet the Team events and more with this free eCalendar that syncs with your mobile, tablet, computer or social calendar for FREE! CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE ECALENDAR


The three official languages of New Zealand are English, Maori and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Learn to sign your name with this handy alphabet chart. CLICK HERE TO PRINT YOUR FREE SIGN LANGUAGE POSTER


Be in to win a LEGO Friends Sunshine Ranch set. Share a photo of your child having fun with their friends, animals or pets for the chance to win a Sunshine Ranch set from LEGO Friends! CLICK HERE TO ENTER but be quick - entries close Sunday 23rd March 2014!


  • Friday Freebies can only be claimed by New Zealand residents.

  • This list of freebies has been compiled in good faith, but Kidspot cannot be held responsible if any offers aren’t honoured by the promoters for any reason.

3:47 PM Fri-14-Mar-2014 - 3 comments
Filed under: Other


What's better than a great bargain? A freebie! Here's a round up of the freebies I uncovered around the internet, plus a few Kidspot specials for good measure!

If you spot a freebie that you think may interest other Kidspot parents, feel free to post the info and a link in the comments below, but please, no spamming!


Get your FREE Sample of Post-it Super Sticky Notes CLICK HERE TO REQUEST YOUR FREE SAMPLE. They're perfect for use on vertical surfaces, which make them the ideal tool for a range of kids’ activities. Get creative with Post-it Super Sticky Notes and get your FREE sample Now!


Before summer becomes a distant memory, grab the last of the good weather and try out some healthy and appetising recipes from the Heart Foundation's Tick Recipe Guide CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE PDF RECIPE BOOK


Brighten your St Patrick's Day celebrations this year with bunting decorations! Download the FREE printables below and follow the directions. Then, hang them up for all to enjoy - and make this St Patrick's Day your best one yet! CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE PRINTABLE


Ever fancied a right royal holiday? Grab a free digital issue of Britain magazine and start planning your holiday of a lifetime. CLICK HERE TO REQUEST YOUR FREE E-MAGAZINE


Enjoy safe boating with your family and friends CLICK HERE TO ORDER YOUR FREE SAFE BOATING PACK from Maritime NZ including Safe Boating Essential Guide, cellphone bag, stickers and handy leaflets on safety.

Be in to win the ultimate Family Picnic Pass to the V8 SuperTourers at Pukekohe! A great day out for the whole family - free BBQ’s, bouncy castles, hill slide races, race simulators, picnic area, grid walk and more. Prize includes: Picnic Pack, Family pass (2 adults, 2 kids), VIP parking, Grid Walk. CLICK HERE TO ENTER but be quick - entries close Sunday 16th March 2014!

  • Friday Freebies can only be claimed by New Zealand residents.
  • This list of freebies has been compiled in good faith, but Kidspot cannot be held responsible if any offers aren’t honoured by the promoters for any reason.

2:19 PM Fri-14-Feb-2014 - 6 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Grief & Loss
I've been putting off writing this blog for a few days. As much as I want to write it (being cathartic and all that), I know that as soon as I get into it the emotions will take over again.

Over 19 years ago, my husband and I, newly married, decided that we would adopt a kitten from a workmate. Right from the get go she was a fiesty, stroppy madam! She had had a pretty rough start in life, getting dragged around by a toddler who thought the kittens would make great toys. Nevertheless, she soon stole our hearts. Her name was Rosie ... but not for long. We could see she didn't suit her name and her long black fur with a white scruff around her neck leant itself perfectly to the name, Scruffy. Not that we didn't call her plenty of other things - scruffy chunkles (long story involving Welsh women!), guffer, guffergirl and on occasion, "you annoying tart!".

The first night we had her she managed to set off our house alarm which is still a mystery to us. In the first few weeks I had plenty of scratches and bite marks on my hands and arms - testament to her habit of attacking any bare piece of skin she could see. One of her favourite games was to sit at the end of the bed early in the morning and test your reflexes as she went for your toes under the duvet. We learnt to sleep with the duvet tucked under our feet ...

She was a moggy but about 90% Maine Coon - a breed of cat with a huge amount of personality and an odd chirping sound that was in preference to any sort of normal cat miaow. She was incredibly intelligent and would even play tag or hide and seek with you.

She would sleep anywhere she chose, but only for around a week, then she would find a new spot. Too bad if it was your spot on the couch - you had to find a new one for a while! Scruffy was never one for cuddles and sleeping on people's laps (unless the cold of the British winter demanded it). She would tolerate you when she wanted feeding and then you were just a disruption to her sleeping/napping/dozing and bird/mouse hunting. For some reason she would always bring the animals inside and take them to the bathroom still alive. An early morning trip to the toilet was often met with a horror scene!

Scruffy didn't have nine lives like most cats - she had about 99! And oh the stories we could tell and often do tell, especially to our boys who have known her their whole lives. I could fill a book with her misadventures. In her younger years she would sit on my shoulder like a parrot as I walked around to the in-laws then make herself at home, much to the dog's disgust. Although she was not a "cuddly" cat she still showed amazing personality and if I was really upset she would sit close to me, putting her paws on my lap.

She was my first pet and my only pet for 16 years. When we emigrated to New Zealand we brought her with us - it cost more than for the kids but we wouldn't have left her behind as she was a part of our family. A few years ago we adopted a two year old cat called Ellie. Scruffy was not amused. Three years later and they had progressed to being able to be in the same room as each other with minimal fuss. But she was still queen of the house, demanding her breakfast in a very vocal and annoying way. She was more effective than any alarm clock around.

In her later years she became stone deaf to the point where you had to try and warn her when you were approaching or she would get a real fright. Kidney failure was treated successfully and she decided that going outside was a bit too much for her old bones so she became an indoor cat. Apart from the occasional infection she was a picture of health. Numerous vets could hardly believe that she was as old as she was.

On Saturday she was behaving oddly. Then a frightening and massive seizure followed. I wrapped her in a towel to keep her from hurting herself. When it stopped I wept. I knew it wasn't good and that this was likely the end. A trip to the vets and she perked right up. The vet said as it was a one off we could do some blood tests to determine the cause. We took her away to consider our options. But that evening and throughout the night she had more seizures. Between them she was disorientated but OK, even begging chicken off our dinner plates. But when we took her back to the vet the next day the amount of seizures was a telling sign. It was likely due to brain trauma, a common affliction at her age. The kindest thing was to let her go. But it was definitely not the easiest thing. My kids came into the exam room to say goodbye to her. There were floods of tears from all of us. I held her head as the vet gave her an injection and within seconds she lay down. The vet listened to her heart and the words "she's gone" were too real for me to handle and I broke down even more.

We took her home and she is now buried in our flower garden - in a spot she used to sleep in, enjoying the sunshine. I miss her every day. I have to resist the urge to do things that I would usually do for her. Everything reminds me of her and this house no longer feels the same.

RIP my special girl.
12:42 PM Wed-12-Feb-2014 - 0 comments
Filed under: Baby Names
What were the most popular baby names in New Zealand for 2013?
The Department of Internal Affairs
' Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages have released their statistics for the most popular name for boys and girls born in 2013.
Oliver has taken over from the ever popular Jack as the most popular name for boys. For the girls, Charlotte has regained the number one spot after seven years.
Click here to see the 100 most popular baby girls' names from 2004 to 2013 (PDF)

Click here to see the 100 most popular baby boys' names from 2004 to 2013 (PDF)

Top 10 Girls' names for 2013:


Top 10 Boys' names for 2013:

The most popular baby names in 2013 in New South Wales, Australia were William, Oliver and Jack for the boys and Charlotte, Olivia and Amelia for the girls with the top 10 lists looking very similar to our own. Which shows that our mates across the Tasman aren't that different from us at all. In England and Wales, the most popular boys' names for babies in 2012 were Harry, Oliver, Jack, Charlie and Jacob and for the girls, Amelia, Olivia, Jessica, Emily and Lily.
For 2012, around the world, the most popular baby names were:
Canada - Olivia and Jacob
France - Emma and Nathan
Germany - Mia and Ben
Russia - Sofia and Alexander
Spain - Lucia and Hugo
USA - Sophia and Aiden

Do you know the meaning and origin of your children's names? Find out in Kidspot's Baby Name Finder.
1:15 PM Thu-17-Oct-2013 - 9 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Grief & Loss
So, this is no happy, the sun is shining, the world is wonderful type blog. That's not an apology, just more of a heads up.

Yesterday my baby girl would have become a teenager. It's almost hard to believe that it's been 13 years since she passed away. "Born sleeping" they called it. I think it's officially classed as stillborn because she was 20 weeks and 3 days when she made her impromptu entrance into the world. It was only a matter of minutes before she left us again. The doctors and nurses tried but I'm sure in reality they knew there was nothing they could do. It hurts that it wasn't until that point that they seemed to give a damn about me and my baby. I had been in the hospital for several hours complaining of pains - bad enough to make me vomit, to make me ask for the doctor over and over again - to no avail. Basically, they failed in their duty of care. I don't dwell on what ifs - that would make the whole thing even harder than it is. I can't turn back time, I can't make them listen. I don't want to think of her like that.

We have photos and hand and footprints. I haven't looked at them for some time. November 1st was the funeral - the hardest day of my life. That saying about "no parent should have to bury their child" - yep, that's the one. You don't know the true meaning of that until you are THAT parent. The one that everyone avoids talking to because they aren't sure what to say. Funnily enough it was the blokes who nailed it. There was no "it'll get better" or "you'll have another baby" from them. They were just honest. One just said "I don't know what to say" and that seemed like the only perfect thing to say.

We had been trying for a baby for around four years when I fell pregnant with her. We had just been told that the chances of us conceiving were very slim due to a myriad of complications. We were even on a waiting list for IVF treatment. It seemed like we had beaten the odds. I went into early labour just three days after my 20 week scan which was all clear. I had a divided womb and the placenta was under weight due to the lack of blood flow in that area of the womb. The autopsy revealed that she was perfect. Not a thing wrong with her. I didn't know whether to smile or cry because it felt like I was the one who had failed her.

And then our number came up on the IVF waiting list. We had to delay it for a few months as I was scheduled to have surgery on my womb to remove the divide. The surgery went well but the IVF was hard and although an egg was transplanted, the pregnancy failed. We decided earlier that if everything had gone well we would go to Ireland for a holiday (we were in the UK at the time so it was a short hop). If it failed we would take a fantastic holiday in America. We had an amazing time in Canada and the USA. At the end of the first week we were in Montreal when I started feeling odd. Finding a drugstore in Boston revealed that I was in fact pregnant - naturally! My son is now 11 years old and makes me proud every day. The way I see it, his sister's passing has meaning because of him. I was monitored like no mother-to-be on this planet when I was pregnant with him! My files (yes, plural!) were so big they had their own trolley at the hospital. I had 40 appointments, numerous scans, an MRI, blood tests, the lot. It all worked out fine and then when we decided to try for another baby it took just six weeks to fall pregnant!

I do wonder what she would have been like - as a little girl and now as a teenager. Probably as stubborn as her mum, but hopefully as laid back as me too. Friends have daughters around this age and it's brought things more to the surface lately as they grow in to young women.

My boys know about their sister. They mention her sometimes in passing. We have no fond memories of her, no family photos, no stories to tell. She was with us for just a fleeting moment but she still has meaning in our lives.

Happy Birthday Daisy
2:03 PM Mon-6-May-2013 - 2 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Grief & Loss
I arrived back from a week away at my parents place with the kids to find out that my friend's mum had passed away. Tomorrow we will be attending the funeral. It will be the first one I've been to for several years - the last being that of my nana.

My friend is one of those wonderful people who is the centre of the community. She makes friends with everyone. She is the one who approached me when we first moved into the area and introduced me to her friends, who are now my best friends and my support network. Her house is constantly inundated with friends and their children and her mum was always in the thick of things, trying to nip out for a ciggie, but stopping to talk to all the ladies who all knew and loved her as a hardworking, single mum who raised a fantastic daughter and a doting grandma who was always willing to help out with the kids. She had some health issues over the last few months which were unfortunately overlooked by her doctor and when cancer was diagnosed recently it was unfortunately well progressed. My friend and I haven't had much time to sit and chat lately and the last time I saw her was when she was awaiting test results. As bad as I feel for not finding time for my friend lately, I know that she will feel so much worse, having lost her mum quite suddenly.

That church will be packed tomorrow. Our tight-knit community will be there not only to say farewell to a warm and generous lady but also to show our support for a wonderful woman that is a friend to so many of us.
12:13 PM Tue-23-Apr-2013 - 2 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Travel/Holidays


Scroll down for printable Car Bingo cards for the kids!

Our family has a selection of games that we play in the car. One is known as Yellow Car. Whether it's short trips to the shops or the long haul to the grandparents up north, hopping in the car has taken on a competitive edge with the introduction of this game. We started playing it about four months ago and it is now officially driving me round the bend (if you'll excuse the pun).

The object of the game is simple enough. If you see a yellow car, you say "yellow car" (told you it was simple) and you get a point. Most points wins. Except, nothing's ever THAT simple when it comes to kids, is it? To avoid any arguments, we have now established rules that are so drawn out that they would give the US Constitution a run for its money! Gold cars count as yellow, you can't claim the same car more than once in a day, you only get a point if someone else verifies your call, taxis and vans don't count and mum has final say on any disputes over car colours (especially as dad's colour-blind). You would be amazed how many cars are sort of greeny yellowish.

Now, every time we drive anywhere a pleasant conversation about holidays, school, etc, is abruptly interrupted with a call of "yellow car" from the back. That immediately descends into whinging about how "I didn't even know we were playing" - and that's just from dad. It's swiftly followed up with "we're ALWAYS playing" in unison from the kids. The driver complains that they are at a disadvantage as they need to concentrate on the road and the game is on with yellow cars being spotted on overpasses, back roads and up driveways. Conversations now just flow around the calls - you throw in "yellow car" calls in sentences without even knowing your doing it.

Is it getting out of hand? The kids even make yellow car calls when watching TV (hence why taxis no longer count - a shot of Manhattan was a yellow car nightmare!). I've been taking my son and a couple of other kids to another school one day a week and the longer trip has meant more opportunity for yellow car spotting (they all know how to play!). Upon driving back home I've found myself making yellow car calls to an empty car. The first day, I got home and texted my husband just two words ... yellow car. I've got to get my points up somehow!

Another of our favourites, especially on longer journeys is car bingo. The kids get a list of things that they need to find and usually work as a team but these holidays I've made some new Car Bingo cards for them to use. Print them off, cut in half and then either use a pencil to tick off the ones you see or laminate them and use a wipe-off marker to reuse them over and over.


Click and print:

Car Bingo Card 1
Car Bingo Card 2
Car Bingo Card 3

10:53 AM Tue-12-Mar-2013 - 2 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Books
In an attempt to get back to some sort of credible post-summer routine in our household, I've implemented an earlier bedtime for my boys, with 20 minutes of reading before lights out. Mister 10 is reading a novel about assassins in ancient Italy ... whatever floats you boat, I say ... with a sprinkling of bible stories. Mister 8 meanwhile is reading The Fellowship of the Ring, the first of JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings books. It's hard going yes, I mean he's only eight after all. But he is so determined to read the whole book having watched the movies a dozen times that I'm not about to stop him. His reading is improving each and every night. Though how he manages to read words like "impossible" and "magnificent" but struggle with "felt" and "supper" is slightly amusing. The night before last we came across the passage below. It was such a wonderfully descriptive paragraph full of colour and imagination that when he had finished reading it I tucked him up in bed, told him to close his eyes and re-read it so that he could imagine the fireworks as Tolkien had so beautifully described them, without having to worry about blending letters and announcing sounds. He said it was cool. Got to love 8 year olds.

Here's Tolkien's description of the fireworks that the wizard Gandalf set off at the party.

There were rockets like a flight of scintillating birds singing with sweet voices. There were green trees with trunks of dark smoke: their leaves opened like a whole spring unfolding in a moment, and their shining branches dropped glowing flowers down upon the astonished hobbits, disappearing with a sweet scent just before they touched their upturned faces. There were fountains of butterflies that flew glittering into the trees; there were pillars of coloured fires that rose and turned into eagles, or sailing ships, or a phalanx of flying swans; there was a red thunderstorm and a shower of yellow rain; there was a forest of silver spears that sprang suddenly into the air with a yell like an embattled army, and came down again into the Water with a hiss like a hundred hot snakes. And there was also one last surprise, in honour of Bilbo, and it startled the hobbits exceedingly, as Gandalf intended. The lights went out. A great smoke went up. It shaped itself like a mountain seen in the distance, and began to glow at the summit. It spouted green and scarlet flames. Out flew a red-golden dragon — not life-size, but terribly life-like: fire came from his jaws, his eyes glared down; there was a roar, and he whizzed three times over the heads of the crowd. They all ducked, and many fell flat on their faces. The dragon passed like an express train, turned a somersault, and burst over Bywater with a deafening explosion.

9:20 AM Sun-17-Feb-2013 - 9 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Baby
What were the most popular baby names in New Zealand for 2012?

The Department of Internal Affairs
' Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages have released their statistics for the most popular name for boys and girls born in 2012.

Jack is the new king of the list as the most popular name for boys. Olivia has moved up from second to be the favourite girl's name.

Click here to see the 100 most popular baby girls' names from 2004 to 2011 (PDF)

Click here to see the 100 most popular baby boys' names from 2004 to 2011 (PDF)

Top 10 Girls' names for 2012:


Top 10 Boys' names for 2012:


Which of the popular names above appeals the most if you were to have another child? Does your child have one of the more popular names?

Discover the meaning and origin of your children's names or find a name for your next baby in Kidspot's Baby Name Finder.
9:44 AM Thu-14-Feb-2013 - 6 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Food & Cooking
I have just watched a Campbell Live report on the comparative cost of groceries between the UK and New Zealand. You can see the report here

Same groceries, NZ $200.30, London $130.

Except, it's not really the same groceries. For starters why was the NZ shop not done at Pak n Save, the cheapest supermarket in New Zealand as a direct comparison to Tesco, one of the cheapest in the UK?

And it's my belief that the products they were buying were not indicative of a "typical" grocery shop. Why were they buying organic carrots at $6.50 a kilo when a normal human being buys carrots for $2 a kilo (sorry organic growers!)? The UK has more customers, therefore more market for organic produce and therefore lower prices for organic. It's called supply and demand. Why did the kiwi buy the premium Anchor cheese when the UK woman bought a budget version? The lettuce that the UK woman bought was about a third the size of the kiwi one. Even the Stella bottles were smaller. And the chicken that she bought was NOT a size 16. Oh, and our beef actually has beef in it - not horse!

Yes, our groceries are expensive but they are no better in the UK, if you actually make a realistic comparison.
12:00 PM Mon-31-Dec-2012 - 1 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Just for fun
2012 was definitely a year of ups and downs. Our sporting champions brought home well-earned medals from the London Olympics and Paralympics. Barack Obama was reinstated for another term whilst the world recession continued. There were volcanic eruptions and devastating tornadoes. The yeah-nah give way rule was changed and in lighter moments (or should that be darker?) the Marmite ran out! And so, as 2012 draws to a close, it's time to reveal the Top 10 discussions from Kidspot Social for 2012. All of these topics are still open for you to comment - just click on the question.

1. The price of groceries

The cost of feeding a family was a major talking point this year. As the recession bites, our hard-earned dollar is stretched further and further! Theboysmummy sought saving tips for feeding her family of 6.


2. Too sick for school?

Just how sick is too sick to be at school? Tessyjoy asked where you draw the line


3. Are parents to blame?

Child poverty was brought to the forefront of our minds after a lunchbox test on TV. But are parents to blame for children going hungry or eating an unhealthy diet?


4. Pregnancy's most annoying question

Was it planned? Should you be eating that? Our readers shared the most annoying questions they were asked during pregnancy.


5. Toilets and boys!

Enough said? Our Mums who are Raising Boys group threw up some of the more interesting topics this year.

6. The great thing about being a mum

... and other reflective questions! We got all soppy and reflected on motherhood's good points.


7. Is your family complete?

How do you know when your family is complete and you don't want any more children?


8. Oh MumBum!

Kidspot mother MumBum is never one to keep her thoughts to herself - and we love her for it! This year she took on:

9. Celeb baby names

There were some weird and wonderful names selected by the world's celebrities for their offspring this year - we shared our favourites.


10. Dummy do or dummy don't?

It's just one of those topics that divides parents - cast your vote.
2:25 PM Mon-10-Sep-2012 - 13 comments
Filed under: Health
So, a few months back I had a headache that lasted for weeks. Just a dull thud unless I coughed or sneezed or, heaven forbid, laughed - then it was excruciating pain down one side of my head. I had been to the doc and we'd tried migraine medication but it had no effect. We'd also been checking out my high blood pressure. Back at the docs a week or so later he sent me to the hospital for tests. Four days later I managed to get out again! A cat scan and two MRIs failed to find anything sinister (although at one point they thought they had found a clot but seems it was just a smudge!). I was started on meds for blood pressure and the headache got better - oh yeah! Except one week into taking the meds, I started with a persistent cough, sort of a dry tickly cough that wouldn't shift. After a few weeks I was back to the doc as it was driving me to distraction. Sometimes the blood pressure meds can cause a dry cough so we swapped to another lot of meds. A month on those and the cough is worse than before - now it comes in waves, and when I feel it start to tickle my throat I have to dash for a drink which relieves it a little bit but I almost always end up gagging from the sensation. A week of conjunctivitis, a random nosebleed and earache on both sides thrown in for good measure and I was ready to head back to the docs. I never have trouble sleeping and usually fall asleep within minutes but this cough gets worse when I lie down and then I can feel the gagging sensation returning. Two hours later I'm willing, nah begging, for it to stop so I can sleep! I have more new meds - fingers crossed this is the end of it! But it may not even be the meds. It might be hayfever or my asthma or ... something else! I'm constantly tired, which makes me grumpy and needless to say, I am over it.

Have you ever had meds that gave you unwanted side effects?
10:44 AM Thu-28-Jun-2012 - 9 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Mums like us
A knock on my door this morning was the friendly Fastway Courier man. Yeah, a parcel for me!! But wait, what? Not only do I have to sign for the parcel but their new fangled machine also takes my photo! Oh goodness no! This is my just-crawled-out-of-bed-barely-long-enough-to-make-kids-lunches-not-had-breakfast-haven't-found-the-hairbrush-yet-wearing-daggy-clothes look! Add to that the fact that he is down one step pointing his machine at me with some red light like a bicycle reflector and the resulting photo was less than complimentary (for either chin!).

I wonder if soon we will need to do a retinal scan to claim our parcels ...

So that was the bad and the ugly. And the good - a very gorgeous parcel from the Kidspot Team for my birthday this weekend! Thanks girls!!
1:07 PM Fri-22-Jun-2012 - 4 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Kids like ours
I took my 10 year old and six of his mates to McDs for his birthday tea and they were playing in the playground afterwards. After a while a mother walks out of the playground with her three girls and told the staff that there were some unruly boys creating havoc and she had to remove her children. I told the staff I would deal with it, which they seemed grateful for. I just told them to calm it down.

When I went back in a few minutes later they said they didn't know what the problem was as they had stuck to "the lady's rules". I'm sorry, her what?! Yes, she gave them rules - no running, no loud noise, no going up the slide ... These boys are by no stretch of the imagination rude, aggressive or disrespectful. They are intelligent, community-minded kids who would never dare to upset a little kid. Some people just need to chill out!

Kids are kids - they are noisy, they run around and they have fun ... when allowed to!
2:53 PM Mon-2-Apr-2012 - 4 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Health
Last week I got a phone call with upsetting news. My friend and neighbour had taken her little boy, 4 years old, to the docs as he hadn't been well over the weekend and was coming out in bruises with no apparent explanation. Within a day my friend, her husband and their little boy were being whisked away by air ambulance to Christchurch hospital to begin three months of treatment for leukemia. Leukemia. It didn't even seem real. We have a close group of friends and I overheard one of them talking, saying that she could hardly believe it, because this sort of thing happens to other people .. doesn't it? And I think that's how we all feel.

One friend helped the mum pack, because let's face it, when you've just heard that your child has leukemia and you have to fly to another city the next day you're not really going to be in a good state of mind to remember to bring your toothbrush!

Another friend fixed her house alarm so that the property was secure while they were away. Another did her washing. Another took her kitten to the cattery. And that's how it has been for the past week - the whole group of friends, coming together to do anything we can to support our friend and her son. We've sold raffle tickets to raise a bit of money for them, bought a game console to keep him entertained and we're putting together a folder of drawings and well wishes from the kids. Two mums are also flying down to Christchurch for a day - frankly, I'm sure that we wish we could all go.

Today one of the mums told me that she had a phone call from my friend on the weekend. She was crying because she had been staying at the hospital with her boy while he endures 35 days of medication through a drip that makes him feel rather yuck. Her son had told her that he hates her and he only wants his dad to stay at the hospital. Just a reaction to the situation, to the medication, to being away from home, to everything. Something that under normal circumstances most mums would brush off without a second thought. But not this time.

So, my wish is an obvious one - for him to be home, happy and healthy.
1:54 PM Wed-15-Feb-2012 - 3 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Mums like us
And so it has begun. Over the last couple of weeks I have started to untie those apron strings and allow Mister 9 (and subsequently Mister 7) more independence. In a way, he's not really requested it before, but now it seems to be snowballing and I'm not that sure how I feel about it.  It started off with playing outside on his bike - no biggie but as the kids have made friends with a family two doors round it means riding on the road too. Luckily we live at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac so I'm OK with them doing that as I know they'll keep an eye out for cars. Plus they get constant reminders from moi! Then it was going down to the creek that runs along the back of our property. Last week he wanted to go to the library and I surprised myself by telling him he could scooter down there on his own. We are very lucky that we have such great facilities within about a two minute walk. But as he was worried about someone nicking his scooter we all went. Then last night he had Cubs and I told him that he could walk there and back (it's even closer than the library!).

I'm all for giving him his independence but I still worry and wonder what happened to my little baby boy!

How hard did you find it to cut the apron strings? What did you start off with to give them some independence?
1:26 PM Wed-4-Jan-2012 - 13 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Baby Names
What were the most popular baby names in New Zealand for 2011?

The Department of Internal Affairs
' Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages have just released their statistics for the most popular name for boys and girls born in 2011.

Ruby is the new queen of the list as the most popular name for girls. Liam has kept his top spot for the second year in a row for the boys.

Click here to see the 100 most popular baby girls' names from 2004 to 2011 (PDF)

Click here to see the 100 most popular baby boys' names from 2004 to 2011 (PDF)

Top 10 Girls' names for 2011:


Top 10 Boys' names for 2011:


Which of the popular names above appeals the most if you were to have another child? Does your child have one of the more popular names?

Discover the meaning and origin of your children's names or find a name for your next baby in Kidspot's Baby Name Finder.
1:38 PM Thu-22-Dec-2011 - 0 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Just for fun
As another year draws to a close it's time to reveal the Top 10 discussions from our Topic of the Day group on Kidspot Social for 2011. There were some topics that got everyone posting - some were controversial, some were interesting opinions, others were just a chance to share. And don't forget that all of these topics are still open for you to comment - just click on the question.

1. What was the last thing you won?

Some people are born lucky, others enter every competition going to try and win something ... anything! Luckily Kidspot has lots of competitions that are easy to enter.

2. Would you have plastic surgery?

If cost were no object, what would you give a tweak, nip or tuck?

3. How old is too old to become a mum?

Should we put an age limit on becoming a mum? Is it fair to the child when they have an older parent? Join in on this hot topic.

4. Finish this sentence: In my house we never have enough ...

This hilarious topic turned up plenty of answers of 'sleep' and 'time' with the odd suggestion of loo roll thrown in!

5. What's the age difference between you and your partner?

This topic proved that there is no standard answer when it comes to love.

6. Finish this sentence: I get annoyed when ...

Oooooh! This opened up a whole barrel of monkeys ... no, wait ... can of worms! Temporary metaphor mental block!

7. Paediatrician says that babies should co-sleep with their parents until 3

Opinion was definitely split on this topic.

8. What was your first indication that you were pregnant?

Tender breasts, nausea and even vivid dreams give it all away!

9. What would you do if you won $1 million?

Everything from a new house to new pans - our mum shared their desires.

10. Do you take your boy into the ladies bathroom?

and should Dads take their little girls into the mens when they're out and about? Deciding the best way is tricky.

In our Topic of the Day group we have a different discussion every day. Visit the group page here and click on Join this Group so you don't miss a discussion.
11:16 AM Wed-21-Dec-2011 - 3 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Just for fun
2011 is almost over. A year of immense heartache for all New Zealanders following the devastating Christchurch earthquakes. And one of triumph as the All Blacks lifted the Web Ellis trophy as champions once more.

Looking back on the year 2011, what were the highlights for you and your family? Join our blogging challenge.

First of all copy the questions below (you can drag your mouse over them to highlight and then select copy from your browser's Edit menu). Then create your blog by hovering your mouse over "Blog" at the top of the page, click Create a Blog, give it a title and select a category and then blog away (select Paste from your browser's Edit menu to paste the questions into your blog). When you're done, come back here and leave a link to your blog below.

One thing I achieved this year:
The best place that I visited:
One thing I would rather forget from this year:
My family's top three highlights for 2011:
My favourite moment of 2011:

11:08 AM Wed-30-Nov-2011 - 0 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Work
Article by Karen Fontaine


Whether you’re back at work because you chose to or because you’ve had to, finding that work-life balance is no easy task. You could be a career mum, a part-time working mum or a mum working from home – each requires that we find the right equation. Yep, welcome to modern motherhood.

Juggle: v. & n. v. 1 intr. perform feats of dexterity, esp by tossing objects in the air and catching them, keeping several in the air at the same time. 2 tr. continue to deal with (several activities) at once, esp with ingenuity. (Concise Oxford Dictionary)

If this dictionary definition rings a bell it’s either because (a) you read it at the start of Allison Pearson’s "I Don't Know How She Does It", or (b) like millions of women, you have not read it – frankly, who has time? – but instead you are living it: madly juggling work and kids and regularly dropping balls all over the place.

Whether your answer was (a) or (b), make this your mantra: “The Super Woman is dead. Long live the Real Woman.” And here are seven practical ways to lead a more balanced life:

Balancing work and life #1: Weigh up the benefits of working

The term ‘opportunity cost’ is never more relevant than to a working mum. If you stay at home, the opportunity cost is less money. If you go to work, the opportunity cost is less time with your kids. But the opportunity benefit is more money, more freedom and better financial prospects for your family.

Find out what's best for you and your family - perhaps part-time is all you need or maybe full-time suits you. Think about what you need to feel fulfilled as an individual: full-time motherhood or full-time working mum doesn't suit everyone. You may need to try different options before finding a balance you feel comfortable with.

“See yourself as a role model to your children, and tell them that woman are an important part of society, working is part of reality and you enjoy working and contributing to the family. I know I would feel more mother guilt if I was not able to provide for my family, so have never felt guilty about working, I guess it’s a frame of mind.” Samantha, 43, mother of two.

Balancing work and life #2: Resolve that a bit of mess is OK

Unless you’re a single mum, your greatest asset is your partner. Use him! Together you need to get systems in place to ensure the smooth running of a household - it may not be spotless, but it will be happy, and your kids and your partner will feel pride for contributing to the way it runs.

“Try to be organised! Have a specific day a week that you do your groceries and plan your meals ahead if you can - make larger portions and freeze some small meals for the kids on the nights you work. And ask for help! Don't assume housework will get done when you're not around so ask your husband and kids to help by tidying the house when you're out. Nothing is more stressful than coming home from work exhausted and finding the house is an absolute mess.” Kellie, 33, mother of two.

Everyone's standard of cleanliness is different, discuss this with partner and strike a deal - you may have to compromise. Perhaps getting a cleaner in once a fortnight is an option. And ask yourself what's more important: Having a spotless house or having more family time.

Balancing work and life #3: Don’t sweat the small stuff

So what if you’re feeding your baby food from a jar? Many babies in parts of the world don’t have any food. So what if your work suit has a bit of dried drool on the lapel? At least you ironed it this morning! Turn your negative thoughts on their head and focus on the positives - you’ll be surprised at the powerful effect it has on your overall mood.

“Does it really matter if the beds are not made every day, if your husband buys the wrong brand of wipes or if you are late to work by eight minutes? Save your energy and worry about the bigger things in life – and in the meantime, enjoy motherhood, womanhood and all the great things you are surrounded by.” Christie Nicholas, mother of two, author of "The Mum Who Roared: A Complete A-Z Guide To Loving Your Mind, Body And Attitude After Baby".

Balancing work and life #4: Make time for 'me time'

Don't try and be a martyr and do it all - it will only wear you out. As a working mum, you need to recharge your batteries so you have enough energy to deal with everything else! Whether it’s a candlelit bath, a pedicure, two hours browsing the shops by yourself or a weekend away with your best girlfriend – regular ‘me time' is crucial. Not optional – crucial. Think of it as a deposit in your work-life bank account – the more regularly you put in, the more interest you will build up and the more you can splurge on your partner and kids.

“Make sure you have something in your week that is about you. I found a gym with a great creche and go at least three times a week. These times are written in my diary like any other appointment.” Roslyn, 41, mother of two.

Balancing work and life #5: Accept that you can't have it all

Remember how I mentioned in the beginning to make this your mantra: “The Super Woman is dead. Long live the Real Woman.” The days of having and doing it all are over. Get real. It takes time, but the sooner you adjust to the fact that you can’t have it all, the better. And the less you focus on what you don’t have, the more energy you will have to pour into the fruits of your labour – your precious children.

“If you are breathing, walking and have your five senses, you have it all. Everything else is secondary. Life is what you make of it so let’s stop whining and worrying and make the best of what we have.” Sarah, mother of one.

Balancing work and life #6: Let go of mother guilt

Working mums have enough on their plates without a nice big side-serve of guilt to go with it. As Michelle, a 36-year-old mum of one from Adelaide says: “Allow yourself to be upset and angry that you can’t take forever off work with your child. It is only this generation where the expectation and financial requirement has been that mothers return to work so early; but that doesn’t mean that generations of emotions where nature bounds us physically to our children disappears. Always remember you are returning to work to provide a good future for your child.”

Feeling guilty about working, feeling guilty about not working and contributing to the family, feeling guilty about not making enough homemade dinners, feeling guilty about enjoying 'me time' - STOP IT RIGHT NOW! This kind of thinking is a waste of energy - energy you could be using more productively. So turn those thoughts around. You are choosing to work for a reason, you are choosing to spend time with your children for a reason, you are choosing 'me time' for a reason - resist wallowing in guilt.

“It sounds a bit hippy-dippy, but whenever I get an attack of mother-guilt I write it down on a piece of paper – things like ‘I feel guilty for not getting home in time for my daughter’s bedtime tonight’ – and then I literally put it into a shoebox. By the same token I write down those moments when I feel like a genius, such as when I get my four-year-old and 18-month-old to nap at the same time, giving me two precious hours to myself. At the end of the week, I read them all and it always makes me feel better, never worse, because it reinforces to me that I am doing the very best job I can.” Kara, mother of two.

10:29 AM Tue-22-Nov-2011 - 5 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Christmas

Our star blogger, GoMummyJo, has set us up for a new blogging challenge - what do you REALLY want for Christmas?

Now, I know that you all want love, peace and harmony on your Christmas wishlists so let's assume those are a given. Get down to the nitty gritty of what you would really like to find under the tree on Christmas morning. Check out GoMummyJo's blog for some ideal inspiration. Be as practical, outlandish or as odd as you like - its great fun to pretend!

Click here to read GoMummyJo's blog, What Do I Want for Christmas?

Create your own Christmas wishlist blog by hovering your mouse over "Blog" at the top of the page, click Create a Blog, give it a title and select a category and then blog away. When you're done, come back here and leave a link to your blog below.

Happy blogging!
3:50 PM Wed-2-Nov-2011 - 2 comments
Filed under: Other
OK, I am officially freaking out ... just a little ... which is not like me at all. This is going to sound ridiculous. So ridiculous that I will hesitate before I press "Post Entry".

This morning I got a sudden migraine headache which lasted for about 10 seconds, then it was gone. Later we had an earthquake near Blenheim which I felt here in the Hutt Valley. An omen? A sensitivity to the earth's movements and stresses? Thought nah, just a coincidence because that's never happened before - it's not like I'm psychic or anything LOL!

On the way to school pick up I was thinking about the first time I ever had a migraine. It was really bad - I had to stay in bed, vision was blurred, I was throwing up. We were living in England. There was definitely no earthquake that day. Then it dawned on me that was Christmas Day 2004 (I remember because it was my youngest son's first Christmas and I missed it all because of the migraine). 2004 ... 2004!! I must have driven all the way to school with my mouth open as I realised that the next day was the Boxing Day Tsunami ... I think I've entered the twilight zone!!

Just waiting for the nice men in white coats to come and take me away alt
2:19 PM Thu-20-Oct-2011 - 2 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Popular Culture
By Chantelle Ellem


Here are five reasons you'll love the new Facebook, which rolls out in October 2011.  I admit I'm a social media geek - it's my job - but there are about to be changes to Facebook and the way we use those pages that keep us connected to friends and family -- my bet is that you're going to like them.

Facebook change #1: Time for the timeline

No, don't stress. It's not some odd history lesson about to bore you to tears. Have you ever stalked a friend on Facebook and tried to piece together what job they're doing, when they hooked up with their partner and what they've done over the past five years? No? That's only me then.

Facebook is bringing out the timeline so that you can piece together your whole life on Facebook. Before the timeline, everything you've ever done on Facebook disappears down your page, never to be seen again. Now you can click back over the years and see what you were doing, what you said, when you signed up to Facebook and even what you were eating at any given time.

You can even go BF (Before Facebook) and add photos into your timeline of when you were born.

Facebook change #2: Bring out the verbs - there's more to like

You've spent that last year clicking 'like' on stuff, but now you'll be able to add a few verbs to the list. You'll be able to have read, watched, listened, hiked and more through Facebook. I think this is a good move because sometimes 'liking' things doesn't seem appropriate. (For example, who wants to "like" a horrible news story about a house fire that's killed someone?)

Facebook change #3: You'll know what your friends do in real time

You may have already noticed a real-time ticker on your Facebook homepage - it's up in the top right-hand corner - that shows what your friends and pages are doing at the present moment. Soon, you'll be able to interact a little more with those ticker updates.

I love learning new music favourites through friends and even movie recommendations. Imagine seeing that your friend is cooking something with chocolate and being inspired to do the same. Or perhaps you can see that you friend ran a course down the beach and tracked it with something like Nike+. You can run the same track yourself another day.

What's more, you will see your friends' photos look bigger and better than ever. You will also have new opportunities to message and even call your friends through Facebook with faster and better tools.

Facebook change #4: The new look of your page

This reminds me ever-so-slightly of MySpace but I'm sure it will grow on me. When people visit other people's Facebook pages they get to know a little more about them in the first few seconds. Usually this is through their job description, the school they went to or who they're married to.

Now you'll be able to get a feel for someone by their cover photo (I've put clouds in mine). You'll still have your profile picture that will be seen when you post around Facebook, but the coverphoto will give your page your own 'feel'. I secretly think Mark Zuckerberg is going a bit soft on us, but shhh.

Facebook change #5: Hiding what you don't want others to see

You will be able to hide any not-so-lovely posts on your timeline, according to Mashable, by:

  • Hovering your cursor over the top-right of the post where it says “edit or remove.”
  • Then click “hide from timeline.” Note that when you refresh, it won’t appear on your public timeline but you can still see a private log of all of your timeline activity over the years by clicking the “View Activity” icon underneath your profile cover, or by accessing
  • You can also restrict who sees your, ahem, more challenging updates by restricting your future status updates or posts. You will need to do this by editing “custom” settings each time you update, but some of you may consider this hassle worth it.
  • You can go to the homepage and click “Lists,” located in the column to the left of the News Feed and hit the “Create a List” icon at the top of the page and name it something like “Limited Profile” or “Parents" or "Boss". Add those people you would like to censor from your full updates to this restricted list.
  • Then, every time you share a post or update your status, you can choose to customise its audience. Click “Custom” from the drop-down box and choose to share with friends, but perhaps hide from a certain list — in other words, the Limited Profile list you just created.
12:20 PM Wed-12-Oct-2011 - 8 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Kids like ours

My 9 year old lost a tooth, the first in a long while. So I just grabbed $2 from the counter, turned to him and said "now that you're nine, can I just give you the money?" He gave me a slightly confused look, then a smile of realisation - I'm pretty sure he knew anyway.

I'm still keeping the dream alive for Mister 6 though not really sure why. He was getting out of the car the other day and totally out of the blue says "I don't think the Tooth Fairy exists, and Santa too, I think your mum and dad buy the presents and wrap them and just write Santa on them". Oh ... I've been rumbled! It took me totally off guard and I didn't even offer a response other than "hurry up and get out of the car".


How did your kids find out that the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy or Santa were made up?
5:58 PM Sat-8-Oct-2011 - 4 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Just for fun

Keep hanging in there ladies – there's only a few more weeks left of the odd-shaped ball competition (apparently I need IRB approval to use the term Rugby World Cup ... aw nuts!). Now that we're at the business end of the competition with the quarter finals upon us, it's time to assess the talent. But unfortunately I'm a league girl so there'll be no in depth analysis of the All Blacks' ability to control the ruck from me. No, I'm talking the OTHER kind of talent … the kind that will no doubt have me branded as a shallow person with no regard for the players' abilities, fitness and intelligence. Mmm, whatever.

Simply put, some women (can 95% be classed as “some”?) really don't care about the team performances – we just need something to keep us interested enough to stay awake during the seventh period of phase play because we promised hubby that we would watch the game together. So here's your Top 5 Reasons to Stay Awake During the Rugby.

Sonny Bill Williams

Need I say more?


Richard Kahui

Try-scoring machine from the Chiefs (see, I do pay attention). 1.90m, 100kgs of yum!


Zac Guildford

Baby-faced Zac is one of the quickest All Blacks in the squad.


Jerome Kaino

The hard man of the All Blacks pack.


Richie McCaw

Our captain may be a little rough around the edges but who can resist the pensive, steely type?


And let's not forget Dan Carter. He may be out of the tournament but you'll still see him around – in the paper, on billboards, on the back of buses …


1:08 PM Wed-21-Sep-2011 - 8 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Just for fun
Some things in life instantly bring a smile to my face - my boys playing together, my husband's humorous songs, funny animal photos ... and George Clooney's head tilt ...

I love this ad - her gormless expression is fabulous! And my goodness doesn't she look like Drew Barrymore? Love it! If you could wake up to anyone in the world lying next to you, who would it be? To make it fun, partners are excluded from your fantasy!
2:26 PM Thu-8-Sep-2011 - 0 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Craft

Let your wee ones paint the town red. And blue. And green, yellow, and orange with purple spots.

Calling all parents – discover the hidden artist in your littlies from 10.30am to 12noon on 10 September in Aotea Square at a free, paint-your-heart-out event to launch the ASG Parent and Child Show Auckland.

Thereʼll be a HUGE, 4A0-sized canvas (thatʼs 2378mm x 1682mm big!) set up with all the paints, brushes, stamps, and other paraphernalia needed to get your wee ones daubing, smearing, splodging, and splattering on a grand scale.

“This is definitely one to wear your old clothes to!” says Dona White, mother of three and CEO of North Port Events, who organises the ASG Parent and Child Show. “Itʼll be a wonderful, fun activity to add to your morning, plus thereʼll be lots of spot prizes, including free tickets to the ASG Parent and Child Show Auckland, an opportunity to win a WotWots appearance at your preschool and prize giveaways from some of our excellent exhibitors. The painted canvases will be auctioned at the show to raise money for Plunket."

“Many thanks to our partners, the Auckland Kindergarten Association, which is supplying staff, paints, equipment, and expertise, and the guys at Produce Pronto, who will be giving out free fruit.”

The event will give parents an early heads-up about the ASG Parent and Child Show Auckland, New Zealandʼs premier exhibition for expectant couples and new parents that provides a one-stop-shop full of essential parenting products in an easy-access, family friendly environment.

Diarise these details now:
ASG Parent and Child Show Auckland,
ASB Showgrounds, Greenlane,
30 September – 2 October 2011,
10.00am – 5.00pm daily.
Tickets are $15 through, under-12s are free, and pre-purchased tickets go
in draw to win a Springfree Trampoline.
You can also enter to win one of five double passes in Kidspot's competition - click here

2:02 PM Mon-5-Sep-2011 - 7 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Culture & Heritage
Whether you love rugby or hate it, there's no denying that the Rugby World Cup is a wonderful opportunity for us to show off this beautiful country, passionate culture, amazing people and our never-wavering pride. It's that immense pride that gave me goosebumps watching this fantastic NZ version of a flash mob that's about to go viral! Turn up those speakers!

11:31 AM Wed-31-Aug-2011 - 5 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Other


Best Site for Families

This past Friday the winners of the 2011 ESET NetGuide Web Awards were announced at a gala event in Auckland. There were over 278,000 votes received from internet users around New Zealand in the 26 categories. And we are pleased to announced that the Best Site for Families was awarded to .... Kidspot!


Thank you so much to everyone who voted for us. We are very proud to win this award for the second year running and are extremely grateful to have so many wonderful Kidspot fans. Kidspot is a success because of the amazing support that we get from our readers and we sincerely thank you for continuing to support our site.

More About Kidspot

Over 120,000 people visit Kidspot every month. That's a lot of mums and dads who use our site to find activities for the kids, parenting advice, favourite recipes, birthday ideas and so much more.

Our Directory is a comprehensive resource for parents in NZ, making it fast and easy to find whatever it is your family needs. Everything from toys and clothing to family fun and events.

The Recipe Finder has a fantastic selection of easy to follow recipes for every occasion. Dinner ideas, BBQs, party food, lunchbox fillers, it's all here and more.

Kidspot Social is our social network where parents can unwind with a bit of chat and some fun. With over 4,700 members, Kidspot Social has evolved into a supportive community for parents to share stories, discuss issues, or ask questions – all in a friendly, private, moderated community.

Want to test out new products before you buy? Mums Say offers members the chance to participate in free product trials and share their reviews with other members.

Kidspot has information and advice for parents from Conception and Pregnancy to Baby and beyond, right up to the teenage years. We also have a comprehensive Family Health section, Back to School information, Competitions and ideas for Family Fun and Entertainment.
9:45 AM Mon-29-Aug-2011 - 7 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Just for fun
Time for a new blogging challenge! Many people would love to blog but often aren't sure what to write or are looking for inspiration. Being a writer myself I've spent many hours staring blankly at the screen wishing words to magically appear! But when the creative juices get going, writing is so much fun. Here's where the challenge begins. Every so often I will set a writing challenge for you all - something fun, to get the creative juices flowing.

Every so often we will set a blogging challenge for you. Interpret the challenge anyway you like - after all it is YOUR blog alt

This challenge is:

Confession time! Share a secret that you have. Is it that you cry during TV commercials, have managed to kill every plant you own or something much deeper than that? Share your story, whether it be funny, heart-wrenching or just plain weird. Just fess up and share a little secret you have.

To create your blog, log in to Kidspot Social, hover your mouse over "Blog" at the top of the page, click Create a Blog, give it a title and select a category and then blog away. When you're done, come back here and leave a link to your blog below.
1:59 PM Fri-12-Aug-2011 - 3 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Health
So, it's been a rather long and difficult two weeks to start the new term. Mister 9 lasted until morning tea time on the first day of school before the phone rang and we were required to go and collect him. He had said he had a sore chest earlier that morning but after two weeks of school holidays that boy was going to school no matter what. Well, at least I tried. He seemed semi OK so he just played PlayStation for the rest of the morning and then watched some TV. My brother commented later on that Lee just didn't seem able to get comfortable - a sure sign of something not quite right. His friend had stayed over on the last weekend of the holidays and had had to go home early as he was very sick so I figured he'd picked up the bug too.

Only, his friend was back at school within a couple of days. Lee returned on Tuesday of the second week! He lasted one day and then needed another day off before finally getting back to school properly. The bug turned out to be a virus - the doc prescribed some antibiotics to combat a sore throat which rapidly turned into full-blown laryngitis. An after hours doctor appointment was a necessity as he went downhill quickly. He checked his oxygen levels which were fine and prescribed some ibuprofen. By this point Lee was vomiting, not eating, coughing, had a headache, chills, fever, you name it. Poor kid!

It's at this point I have to point out that yours truly was also suffering with the same virus. I did not have the laryngitis but got chills, fever, aches and pains plus some bronchitis thrown in for good measure. I can't remember ever being so sick for so long. Just picking up a tray required all my strength - I felt like an old woman, barely able to stand for five minutes before needing a rest. I joked with the kids that I was trying out for a new zombie movie, as my legs barely lifted off the ground as I slowly walked around. I couldn't get warm no matter what and every part of me ached. And so this continued for almost two weeks.

In the middle of it all Mister 6 also got the virus, though somehow he avoided the worst of it and just complained of a fever, headache and body aches which kept him off school for almost a week.

Luckily we have some fabulous Hostesses here at Kidspot Social who have kept up the great work and I probably haven't even been missed! Nice work ladies alt
10:13 AM Mon-18-Jul-2011 - 0 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Kids like ours

Article By Suze English



Rainy days can have even the most hands-on mum begging for a break, but they need not be stress-filled or cabin-fevered! Don't feel trapped by the rainy days - just follow our 10 easy tips for keeping the kids entertained and you'll beat the rainy-day blues!

Create a rainy day box

It can be hard to think of the perfect activity when you're suddenly trapped indoors, so keep a Rainy Day box of fun, hands-on activities and crafts that are only brought out when the weather is grey. Your Rainy Day Box will need to be large, so you can keep it stocked with an assortment of fun stuff. Don't forget to restock your Rainy Day Box when the weather clears up!

Here are some fun ideas for your box:

  • Cheap art and craft supplies
  • New colouring and activity books
  • Pencils, textas, crayons and chalk
  • Old make-up and your latest wardrobe throwaways for costumes
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Old magazines and newspapers for papier-mache or collages
  • Left over party favours like balloons and decorations
  • A deck of cards
  • Family board games

Have a jigsaw afternoon

Jigsaws are a whole-family activity that can be a wonderful bonding experience between differently-aged siblings and their busy parents. Set each member of the family up with a puzzle to suit their skill level, all helping each other finish, or create teams to work on puzzles together. You can even make your own family-photo jigsaws using an enlarged photo printed onto plain paper from your computer.

Indoor fortress fun

What child doesn't love building a princess castle or a fortress indoors? Pick a room in the house that you don't mind being rearranged for a few hours, and use sheets and blankets and lots of pegs or butterfly clips to secure them as a roof between tables, couches and chairs. Encourage your children to use their imaginations - they can create rooms inside with towels and other furniture, dress up and act out stories from their favourite books, and even have a picnic in the fort for lunch. This activity is hours of entertainment for any age, and especially great fun when you have friends over for a playdate.

Family movie day

Rather than watching the same old kids' TV shows all day long, beat rainy day boredom with a fun family movie day. From making fun snacks like nacho popcorn and lolly gobble bliss bombs, to creating a cinema in your loungeroom, this is a great way to keep kids of all ages entertained. Check out our easy guide to creating the ultimate family movie day (or night).

High Tea at home

Cooking with kids can be messy, but it's also a whole lot of fun and a fantastic way to keep them entertained for a couple of hours. Get them busy helping to bake yummy treats for an afternoon High Tea, then set them up with their toys at a table or on a picnic rug. Make a deal with them - you'll help them have a wonderful High Tea if they'll help you clean up the dishes afterwards (this may include washing, wiping, putting away and a fair amount of bowl and spoon licking). This will teach them about compromise and responsibility - but don't forget to keep it fun! Find some gorgeous recipe ideas for your High Tea at Kidspot Kitchen.

Scavenger hunt

A scavenger hunt is a great way to amuse kids large and small. You can hide treats, but if you're health-conscious, hide toys instead - just use a specific set so they know what to look for, such as the Barbie collection, matchbox cars, or leftover party favours like balloons or toy whistles. Give each child a small basket to collect their loot in - they could have some fun decorating this for an extra activity. You could even let the kids create a deck of colourful picture cards to use as your scavenger pieces. To keep them engaged, offer a prize or treat for the child who brings back the most loot each round. This is a game that can be played for hours on end, with the right incentive!

Fashion show spring clean

Here's a fun way to spring clean the childrens' wardrobes - put on a fun fashion show! Place lamps in your hallway and pop some fun music on the stereo, then get your kids to strut their stuff down your makeshift catwalk. Cheer them on from your audience chair at the end of the hall, as you decide whether each item is ready for the rag-bag or op-shop, delegated to the hand-me-down or sewing baskets, or still fine to wear for another season. De-cluttering has never been so fun!

Story book fun

Create a fun memento of your rainy day by letting the kids make their own story books - this is a fun activity for any age. Simply staple some pages together and let the kids use their imaginations to decorate the front cover. They could use photos of your own family, friends and pets to make a family scrapbook. Old magazines are also great for sourcing colourful pictures to stick in your story book, or encourage them to draw their own pictures. Try giving the children some inspiration with a story theme - stick to simple themes like robots or fairies, or ask them to write a story about their favourite birthday party, holiday, family member or pet.

Have a rainy adventure

A walk in the rain is a fantastic thing - you get to beat cabin fever, wear out bored and cranky kids for a (hopefully) lazy afternoon, and get some much-needed fresh air at the same time. Dress up in gumboots, hats and raincoats, grab the umbrellas and go and discover the outside world in the rain! You could head to your favourite local park, take a walk around the block, or just explore your own backyard. Never mind if the children get a little wet from their puddle-jumping adventures, just pop them into a lovely warm bath afterwards - the perfect wind-down after a rainy adventure.

Toy attack

Sorting through a big, mixed mess of toys can be more fun than you think! Dedicate a few hours to making it an enjoyable activity with your kids by playing a series of fun games to get all the toys sorted into each child's toybox. You may like to award points to the winner and runner-up of each game, with an overall reward or prize as added incentive. Plus, here's a mum-secret: keeping it fast-paced will cut down on the urge all children have to stop and play. Ssshhh!

First, you need to place one empty basket or box per child in the middle of the room. Delegate each child to a box and get them to draw a picture of themselves and write their name on it - this will be their label for their personal toybox.


  • GAME ONE: Give each child a mixed box or basket of toys to sort, with clear instructions to fill the empty boxes with the correct sibling's toys. Now you can make it race to see who can empty their basket the quickest!
  • GAME TWO: Set them all loose on one basket of mixed toys, instructing them to fill the middle toyboxes until their mixed basket is empty. Now, count the toys in the middle and see whose box has the most toys.
  • GAME THREE: Place your labelled toyboxes in a straight line and show the children where they are. Then ask the children to sit around a basket of mixed toys, next to the labelled toyboxes. Blindfold one child at a time, instructing them to take one toy from the basket. They must guess who the toy belongs to - each correct guess gets one point. After they guess, reveal who the toy belongs to, and then the blindfolded child must find their way to the correct labelled toybox to put the toy away. The other children can call out directions to help!
2:57 PM Sun-10-Jul-2011 - 4 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Mums like us
Blog by Voluptacon:

Parent guilt!

There are so many things that we as parents are being made to feel guilty about these days, from choosing to not breast feed to our kids watching too much TV. And so much guilt we ourselves create.

So I'm going to refuse to feel parent guilt anymore!... Well at least for these 5 things:

1) I am going to stop feeling guilty about throwing my kids "art" away!
I will no longer feel the need to keep every scribble, every piece of sticky-taped-together cardboard.

2) I refuse to feel guilty when my kids are walking around with hardly any clothes on. After I have tried endlessly to keep their pants and shoes on on cold days, I'll stop feeling guilty when I give up after the 500th re-dressing of the day.

3) If my kids have only eaten a tub of yoghurt, one piece of toast and 3 mouthfuls of dinner, I won't feel bad. I have tried to feed them! I have presented them with 3 meals and snacks! I've done my job! They wont starve themselves.

4) I'm not going to feel guilty because it is the school holidays and I'm not putting on a clown suit to entertain my kids all day, every day. They have imaginations, and they can entertain themselves. I will play with them occasionally, But I'm not their own personal Elvis!

5) If my kids have gotten into the permanent markers and have coloured in their entire bodies, I won't feel guilty that they are seen in public as multi coloured freaks. It will wash off...eventually...

What are the 5 things you have stopped, or feel you need to stop, being guilty about as a parent? (actually just one thing will do)
12:27 AM Wed-6-Jul-2011 - 1 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Mums like us
Article by Joanna Bounds


If anyone knows the triumphs and tears associated with being a working 'supermum', it's Melissa Doyle. As co-host of Australian breakfast television show Sunrise and co-author of The Working Mother's Survival Guide (Allen & Unwin), she returned to prime time TV when her baby was ten weeks old, breastfed in public toilets and travelled around the country with her husband and infant in tow. Here's her advice on getting the balance right:

Know you can work and breastfeed

It is possible to combine work and breastfeeding in the early days although, if you work outside the house, it helps to set a feeding routine. "I returned to work when Talia was ten weeks old. I would breastfeed her at 3am, shower and leave for work at 3.30am,"says Mel, explaining that specific feeding times proved vital with her seriously strange working hours. "I'd host Sunrise from 6am to 9am, then make it home just in time for the 11am and subsequent feeds."

Set a day-time routine

As her children grew, Mel says she partly let her babies set their own day-time routines, with their feeding and sleeping times becoming permanent fixtures in the day. "I'd note down the time of every feed and the duration of each sleep and a pattern would begin to emerge," she reveals. "My two children responded well to routine and still, to this day, it's the only way we manage."

Believe that things will get better

When things are at their most trying (a breast pump that breaks or a sick baby that needs mum at home), Mel says knowing that things will get better can keep you going through your darkest hour. "I wanted to return to work. I love my job. But I can tell you it wasn't easy," she reveals. "The lack of sleep nearly killed me, I struggled with the hours, I struggled with my emotions, I struggled with my weight, but I knew what I was doing was right for me and would eventually get easier."

Nurture your friendships

Working and having young children is one of the busiest times of your life - but try and nurture your friendships, as they will come back ten-fold. "In motherhood, you will come to value your girlfriends like never before," advises Mel. "Someone you can ring in a flood of tears when you can't handle babies, husbands or families and she'll tell you it's okay."

Find good carers - and trust your kids are OK

It's something that almost all working mums struggle with - sending their baby or toddler to a day-care - and the tears that come with saying good-bye. "My son started at day-care one day a week when he turned one," says Mel. "Nicholas cried every time for about the first six months and I think my husband cried just as much. We agonised over our decision - but the staff assured us Nick settled within moments of John leaving."

Write everything down

As a working mum, organisation is the key to happy kids and sane parents. "I make lists. I have post-it notes everywhere," says Mel. "My husband thinks I'm a complete scatterbrain - but that's how my mind works. Anything and everything can run through my head when least expected, so I write it down."

Find a dinnertime routine that works

In a household where both parents work, a structured dinnertime can reduce the number of meltdowns. "Sometimes I feel like an army major, but it's the only way our family can manage, particularly with my crazy hours," says Mel, who explains that dinner has to be underway by 4.30pm and on the table by 5pm. "I serve dessert just moments before the 5.30pm conference call. After the first ten minutes of the 6 o'clock news it's bath time, stories for the kids, then cuddles on the couch."

Share the load

While Mel's early-morning starts work well for her two children - they get to spend afternoons and dinner time together and go to bed at the same time - it means her partner has to work doubly hard to keep up. "John has managed to shift his whole working day forward - he starts early so he can help bath the kids while I do an evening conference call. John takes the kids to school and preschool two mornings a week which means he doesn't get into the office until 9.30am. It's John who has to pick up the slack and it's his boss who allows him to do it."

Are you a working mum? How do you balance work and motherhood?
1:36 AM Mon-4-Jul-2011 - 0 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Other


Article by Lana Hollowes

A family pet can hugely enrich your life. In fact research has shown that pet owners are healthier and happier than those of us without furry family members - even 93% of Kidspot mums say they love their pets more than sex!* But before you rush to the pet store with visions of your kids tossing a frisbee to a long-haired Labradoodle, read our complete guide to picking the purrfect pet first.

More than a mere animal

Today's dog house is more likely to be a suburban mansion, with Rover asleep on his owners' bed, than a wooden hut in the corner of the backyard. Pets are like family members, as loved as the kids and a lifelong commitment. So before you wander down the ‘what pet to choose path' ask yourself these basic questions to check if you're family is pet-ready:

  • Who's going to look after it? - be realistic about this one, a young child probably won't fulfil his pet care duties to SPCA standards!
  • Can we make sure it gets regular exercise?
  • What will happen to it when we go away?
  • How many hours in the day will it be left alone?
  • Do we have a big enough backyard for it? Do we need fencing?
  • Can we afford a pet? - factor in vet and vaccine costs on top of the weekly pet food bill.

Woof, woof or meow?

Dogs and cats are still the most popular family pet and it is possible to choose a breed that will fit in with your family's lifestyle, suit your backyard size and the level of maintenance you're prepared to outlay. But with so many breeds and cross-breeds to choose from, trying to work out which Fido or Silvester will best suit your family can be a headache.

Visit Selectapet to make this step easy-peasy. Simply answer a few questions and bingo, they'll give you a list of recommended breeds that are just right for you!

Fur, feathers or scales?

If you're thinking beyond a cat or dog, your pet choices are endless and include fish, birds, reptiles, small mammals, rodents and even insects. These alternate pet choices can really work in with your lifestyle and home, especially if you don't have a backyard! But don't be fooled into thinking they're necessarily low maintenance - even a goldfish (that can't be taken on holidays with you) needs regular water changes and feeding can be more work than a pedigree Persian cat!

Ask the pet store salesperson all about the level of up-keep required before giving in to your child's wish for a pet mouse. Also check out Kidspot's Kid-friendly pets article to get the lowdown on the most popular pet choices for kids.

Hair raising

While long haired dogs and cats are like supermodels of the animal world, they require regular grooming either by you or a professional groomer. So before you sign up for a silky Shih Tzu ask yourself if you're prepared to be its personal hairdresser.

Are you ready to be a new mum again?

Baby animals are almost as cute as newborn bubs and raising a dog from a pup is a wonderful experience. But just like human babies, animal bubs require lot of care - think potty training your toddler all over again! If you're not up for the extra effort of raising a baby, consider choosing a grownup dog or cat as a pet. Animal shelters like the SPCA can match you with kid-friendly orphans.


If you have an allergy-prone child, or an asthmatic in the family, you'll need to think long and hard about the type of pet that's not going to turn your household into sneeze city. Pet fur, saliva and skin flakes can set off a number of allergic reactions and while there are some hairless breeds of dogs and cats (think Mr Bigglesworth in Austin Powers and you'll get the idea!), these are still not entirely hyper-allergic. Chat to a vet about the best pet choice for your allergic family and read Kidspot's Keeping Healthy with Pets article.

Pets and kids

Owning a pet can teach your child responsibility and give her a special and unique companion that simply doesn't compare to human friendships. Unfortunately though, some dogs and cats don't always live well with your tot, especially if she thinks it's funny to pull Fido's ears and tale on a daily basis. Before you invest in a pet, read all about pet dangers and maybe wait a few years until she's passed the tale-tugging phase!

Why Fido can enrich your family's life

Research has found pet owners are a notch above those of us with non-furry friends in the happiness stakes:

  • *Kidspot's own study into what makes Australian women happy found (giggle!) that Aussie women rank their pets above sex as a source of happiness!
  • 83% women say their animals are one of their greatest sources of happiness according to the Boston Consultancy Group.
  • A Deakin University study found kids aged 5 to 12 years were in better shape and less likely to be obese if they had a dog, even if they did not walk it regularly.
  • According to a survey by the Australian Council of Animals 81% of owners say they never feel alone when they are with their pet.
  • Researchers such as University of Western Australia's Hayley Cutts say pet owners appreciate their local environment more because they are motivated to frequently walk local streets.
  • 56% of women and 41% of men say their pet is more affectionate than their partner according to research by The Australian Animal Council.
  • According to a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia, pet owners showed lower levels of risk factors for heart disease, including lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol, than non pet owners
9:34 AM Sat-4-Jun-2011 - 8 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Mums like us
Originally posted by EllaKate

While we all get misty-eyed over our kids’ cherish-the-moment milestones – we tend to forget to celebrate (or at least acknowledge) the parenting milestones we pass as each year clocks by. Sure, we’re quick to take photos documenting those first exciting baby steps, but where’s the camera when we wake up to daylight after the first unbroken night’s sleep we’ve had in years? Or the day we go to the beach and don’t have to wade into the chilly ocean?


Parenting is as much about nurturing and guiding our children to adulthood as it is a rite of passage for us adults. After all, it only takes a couple of months of living with a newborn to really understand what we are truly made of.


Parenting is all about jumping in at the deep-end. No matter how prepared we think we are for this new adventure, we go from being independent and (mostly) clear-thinking beings who have friends and a range of interests, to sleep-deprived zombies living in a world that has shrunk to the size of a dirty nappy and a couple of loads of dirty washing.


So we should be celebrating those parenting milestones with just as much excitement as our childrens’. With my children long past the first steps/first tooth phase, I have the benefit of knowing which parenting milestones you should be kicking up your heels at:

  • Enjoying the first unbroken night’s sleep – this is a biggie! Usually you get one tantalising night of sleep followed by many more nights of broken sleep. But with one night of full sleep under your belt, you know that it is possible and this is a taste of things to come.
  • Teaching your child to swing herself – many would argue that the bigger milestone is when your child learns to ride a bike, but in terms of freeing you up as a parent, my vote is for the swing. The earlier you teach your child to swing herself, the less pushing you have to do. Which means more time for you sitting in the sun drinking coffee and chatting with other mums. Lovely.
  • Watching your child swim – and not having to get wet yourself! After years of standing thigh-deep in freezing water doing lifesaver duties, it is a fine day indeed when you can go to the beach or pool and watch from the dry comfort of your towel.
  • Sending your child to the shops for milk. There is nothing better than having a little messenger at your beck and call and when your child is finally old enough – and responsible enough – to cross roads and handle money, you never have to pack the entire family in the car again just because you forgot to buy milk.
  • Leaving your kids at home unattended. This one happens in increments – five minutes while you do the soccer drop-off, fifteen minutes while you go and collect a sibling from a friend’s house... before you know it, you don’t need to organise babysitters at night and you are FREE!
  • Staying at home on your own. Now this one may be hard to believe for parents of young children, but a time does come when you suddenly find yourself at home on your own. Everyone has plans but you and you get a night at home. Alone. Amazing but true!

What parenting milestones do you think are worth celebrating?

4:50 PM Thu-26-May-2011 - 0 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Health

Article by Joanne Cain

Research shows health and body image are important to how rate our own beauty. These 7 steps to a positive body image show you how to love your body, yourself and your natural beauty.

Recent research carried out on the message boards revealed that many of us frequently have those bad body image days where the mirror is our enemy - and we just can't seem to view ourselves in a positive light. So we put together 7 healthy tips to switch body image loathers back to body image lovers!

Feel positive about yourself as a whole person

Don't dwell on your imperfections, or the occasional diet slip up - instead concentrate on your good points, and your achievements. Are you a good friend? Is there a particular hobby you're good at? Is there something you've been successful at? By focusing on your good traits and achievements, you'll begin to feel good about yourself, your health and your body again.

Don't put pressure on yourself to lose weight too fast

For a healthy weight loss, you should be aiming to lose 1kg or under from your body per week. Try some gentle lifestyle changes to boost your new routine.

Hide those scales - don't check your body weight daily

We recommend you weigh yourself once a week. Resist the temptation to weigh yourself every day, as this will only cause you distress - as your body weight can fluctuate drastically throughout the day and week due to water retention, etc - regardless of any weight your may be losing. And be wary of behaviours that can affect your weight loss.

Try to fit in healthy exercise regularly

Studies have shown that endorphins ('feel good' hormones) are released during healthy exercise and can boost your confidence, lift your mood and may help to make you feel better about yourself and your body. Taking part in some sort of regular exercise may also help you feel less anxious about food and more positive about your body. Choose something you will enjoy or try something new and challenging for your body, such as yoga, meditation, pilates or dance. You never know - you may have a hidden talent! Just remember to drink plenty of water.

Surround yourself with people who love you...

...for who you are regardless, who will help to boost your confidence and make you feel good about yourself and your body. If you find your friends are unsupportive of your health and diet plan, or make you feel uncomfortable - they are not true friends. Give toxic friends the boot and find new ones!

Try to be realistic about your body...

...and come to terms with the shape and size your body is meant to be. We all have a natural body shape that is influenced by our genes. Wear clothes that complement your body. If you're having a bad day, try wearing your favourite outfit as this will help lift your confidence and make you feel better and healthier. An instant body image booster!

Don't let the media influence your body image

We're constantly bombarded with images of beautiful thin models or celebrity mums who've already got their pre-baby body back in glossy magazines, on television and on billboards. These images can distort our image of what the 'ideal' person is supposed to be, and are not an accurate representation of a healthy body or body image. When you look at those mags remind yourself: the photographs will no doubt have been air-brushed to reduce inches from waists or thighs, and remove any imperfections the celebrities may have too. And they really do have them.

If you continue to tell yourself something, you'll soon start to believe it's true - so say to yourself every day: 'I love my body'. It may sound silly at first, but you have to believe it to change your attitude. Positive thinking works! So take some time out and start loving your body now!

3:12 PM Wed-25-May-2011 - 2 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Education

Article by Alex Brooks

Parent teacher conferences are a time when you have a one-on-one dialogue with your child’s teacher, so it’s worth doing more than just showing up to parent teacher night at the right time. To get the most out of the experience, Kidspot explains the questions you need to ask and how to best prepare for your parent teacher sessions.

Be prompt to respond

Usually teachers will send home a parent teacher note explaining the times they are available to meet. If you're one of the first parents to send the form back, you're more likely to get the time slot that you or you and your partner are able to attend. Being there together sends a strong message to the teacher that both of you are interested in your child's education.

Does the school work well with separated parents

Though you and your ex-spouse may find it very uncomfortable to be in the same room together, parent teachers nights are often scheduled so tightly that they are unable to schedule separate conferences for each parent. It’s wise to try to put your partnership problems in the past but if you are unable to manage a civil parent teacher conference or there are legal circumstances that make it impossible for the conference to be held with both of you, do let the teacher know. She may be able to schedule an interview with you at a time outside of the schedule or via telephone.

Ask for double time if you have complex issues to discuss

Time is tight during parent teacher conferences and you'll often only have fifteen or twenty minutes to talk. If there are lengthy issues to address, be sure to ask for extra time ahead of time.

Ask your child what to speak to their teacher about

Ask your child what to discuss with their teacher. Kids become anxious when they know adults are talking about them so giving your child an opportunity to tell you if he'd like you to ask certain questions or talk about something particular can ease his mind. For example, ask him which special talents he thinks his teacher has noticed in him, or what he thinks the teacher is most happy with him about. After the interview, be sure to debrief him so he knows what happened.

Prepare your own questions and take a notebook.

There’s nothing more frustrating than walking out the door and remembering all of the things you wanted to ask. Make sure to have those questions with you and write down the answers. That way you can refer to your notes later, either when talking to your child or if there is something you need clarified.

Broaching the difficult questions nicely

You'll get better results asking why the teacher thinks your son is having trouble in math than if you tell her you think she isn't teaching him the right way. If you're concerned about your child's interactions with other children, it's important not to assume the teacher isn't doing anything to address the concern. Jumping to conclusions or being defensive can put a teacher on the offense, so try to listen and respond respectfully. Sometimes you may need a neutral party to ensure that the parent teacher interview does what it's supposed to - provide information about your child. Ideally, you and the teacher will find a way to communicate and work together for your child's sake.

Communicate relevant news to the teacher

Your child’s teacher will also be hoping to glean what life is like for your child at home, and this is the time to open up. If your child is having trouble sleeping, if you have moved house or had a new baby then it’s worth communicating these things to the teacher as it can affect his learning. Things that may affect how he's acting and reacting are important to mention.
1:06 PM Thu-19-May-2011 - 4 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Kids like ours
I've been meaning to write this blog for a while but never really knew where to start.

My six year old son has ... well ... it's not really something you can label, or something that I WANT to label. So perhaps I will say, he "shows signs of" having autism spectrum disorder tendencies. There, you can't get much more vague than that. I don't want to say my son has autism because he doesn't. He doesn't need special treatment at school and probably no one really needs to be aware of his "tendencies" as I call them. I know that he has them and that is likely all the awareness he needs. I've told a couple of close friends in general conversation and, because they know him so well, they are understanding. But a stranger might think that I'm being obsessive or over reacting as he does not show clear signs of autism.

I've done a lot of reading on the autism spectrum disorders and thinking back, a lot of things fit into place from his behaviour. He is in no way a naughty child, in fact most of the time he's an angel and was the easiest baby ever. His tendencies fall into two categories, touch sensitivity and repetitive behaviour.

Firstly, the touch sensitivity has become apparent over time:

When he was a preschooler he would not walk on the sand on the beach, he would just scream every time you put him down - stick his gumboots on and he was as happy as larry. He has outgrown this one. Since he was little he has rubbed the horn of his soft rhino between his middle fingers whenever he is tired or upset. He will wear the same few clothes constantly, even if he has new ones. He doesn't like to wear trousers other than fleecy ones and gets rather upset when asked to wear something different. He adores anything cuddly and even now, still likes to snuggle.

These are just minor things but the touch sensitivity has two manifestations that are major for him. When he gets sick and gets even the slightest high temperature it is simply not possible to touch his skin. He will react strongly to even a warm hand touching his skin, expressing excruciating pain. The other thing is food texture. He is a very fussy eater and it is now apparent that this is due to certain textures. Disguising foods does not work as he gags on them. Before we knew what the issue was we tried everything to get him to eat including the "he'll eat when he's hungry" option. But he didn't. He would get to the point of being physically sick from hunger and still would not eat certain foods. We now realise he is not doing it to be stubborn or to get his own way, he just simply can not eat some textures. He will try new foods and he will even try old ones that get revisited now and then but if he chooses not to eat something we don't push it.

I saw a video recently about a girl who had severe autism and had learnt to communicate using a computer. What she was telling everyone was amazing. Years of thinking that she didn't understand or comprehend things was thrown out the door when she found a way to communicate her feelings and her thoughts. It is providing doctors with a greater understanding of why autistic children do some of the things they do. The one thing she mentioned which immediately hit home with me was the repetitive behaviour. My son will line things up in rows, he will sort toys into colours and he will spend hours setting up small toys exactly the way that he wants. This is part of the repetitive behaviour but it is the things that used to drive us round the bend like him constantly making noise, humming, groaning, whatever and repetitively flopping onto the couch or banging his feet against the chair that we never understood. The girl in the video explained that she did things similar to this when her brain got 'overloaded' and she needed to calm everything down. Doing one thing over and over meant that she could get her thoughts back into order. We no longer tell my son off for his humming, flopping, etc. We simply wait and then gently speak to him to ease him out of it.

An outsider would never know that my son has these tendencies. They may see a happy little boy who's fussy with his food and occasionally goes off into his own world. Some may think I'm seeing something that's not there but I know my son and I now know how I can help him to cope with his tendencies and grow up to be healthy and happy.
9:08 AM Mon-2-May-2011 - 2 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Mums like us


Article by Joanna Bounds

Mother's Day is all about celebrating mothers - this is one holiday when it truly is the thought that counts! So this Mother's Day take the time to think about what your mother really enjoys and present her with a gift that is big on thought but kind to your wallet.

Say it with flowers

A lovely bouquet for mum needn’t dent your bank balance - just gather some beautiful blooms from your garden, or collect some wild flowers, tie a ribbon or bow around them and add a homemade card. Alternatively, buy a single bloom from a florist, and ask them to put it in a bud vase with some baby's breath or fern fronds and a bow, costing just a few dollars.

Buy a plant

For a bouquet that lasts, buy a flowering annual or perennial, so mum can watch it bloom again. If your mum loves gardening, hide a packet of her favourite seeds inside a card, and spend time helping her plant them – also a great idea for getting your kids involved!

Spend time together

It's surprising how little time grown-up mothers and daughters spend together, so give your mum an afternoon just with you. Especially if she helps you out looking by after her grandchildren, thank her by booking in some uninterrupted one-on-one time together. Go for a coffee, visit a gallery or a stroll – it doesn’t really matter - the point is simply spending time together.

Bake a cake

Does your mum have a favourite cake or dessert? Then give her 12 gift vouchers that she can cash in for her most-loved sweet treat once a month over the course of a year. Get your children involved in the baking (and give your partner hints that he might like to do the same for you on Mother’s Day!).

Offer a helping hand

If your mum is elderly or lives on her own, spend a day doing things around her house. Lend a hand with anything she might find difficult - washing windows, changing light bulbs, recycling rubbish or vacuuming her car.

Figure out her favourite treat

Buying a present needn’t mean spending lots of cash, as every mum has small luxuries she covets, from a favourite magazine, to a Fairtrade chocolate bar or bottle of bubble bath. Think about what your mum loves best and then buy it for her.

Send her an extra-special card

If it’s all about the card, make it an extra-special one this year. Design it yourself, and include personal notes from everyone in the family, illustrated with favourite photos or images from magazines. As handwritten letters and cards become rarer (often replaced by texts or emails), this is a gift she can keep and cherish.

Make a memory box

If your mum loves hording theatre tickets, birthday cards and family photos, buy her a memory box to store her keepsakes in from the past year, and then spend a few hours going through them with her.

Have an outdoor feast

If mum loves eating outdoors, plan a Mother’s Day picnic. Take a rug and sandwiches and, to make it special, include her favourite foods - fresh strawberries, blueberries, her favourite cheeses and a baguette to spread them on, along with some pretty cupcakes.

Handprint paintings

Whether this is for your mum, or your kids are making it for you for Mother’s Day (hint, hint!), get your children to dip their palms onto plates of washable paint and then let them 'stamp' their handprints in each corner of a piece of paper. Add a ‘Happy Mother's Day’ message in the middle, before writing each child's name next to their handprint.

12:07 AM Wed-13-Apr-2011 - 7 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Home Keeping

Article by Suze English

Clutter! Every mum struggles to keep it at bay, and most would admit that five minutes before visitors arrive, all manner of junk is being quickly stowed in the nearest room with a closeable door. Here are some simple ways to keep the clutter under control, even with a large family or limited space.

Clutterbusting tip 1 - Never leave a room empty-handed

If you've got a spare hand, grab something that doesn't belong and put it in its place. You'll be surprised how many things get put away if you follow this simple step. Try counting how many times you leave a room each day.

Clutterbusting tip 2 - The golden rule

Follow the ‘one in, one out' rule. The biggest cause of clutter is that mums, dads and kids keep bringing new things home when they simply don't have a place for them. Make it a family rule that if one new thing is brought home to stay, one old thing must go. The kids may feel the sting a little less if you encourage them to give their old possessions to someone less fortunate. Why not teach them good household habits, and the art of generosity as well?

Clutterbusting tip 3 - Think big

It stands to reason that large items take up a lot of space and add to the general clutter in the home. Ensure your larger items such as the ironing board and highchair have a home when not in use. And put them there!

Clutterbusting tip 4 - Be ruthless with clothing

Most families have an abundance of clothing because it is such a popular kids' gift from friends and family. Follow the ‘one in, one out' rule and be sure to get rid of an old item of clothing for each new item you add to your wardrobe. Another fun tip is to hold a yearly ‘fashion show' - try on each item of clothing and decide whether to keep it or get rid of it. The kids will find this lots of fun and mums can see exactly what clothing is too small or beyond repair.

Clutterbusting tip 5 - Paperwork be gone!

Deal with paperwork as soon as you open it. Mail, bills, catalogues, school notes and receipts - it all piles up so quickly! To cut down on the confusion with paperwork, try to sort mail as soon as it arrives - it's much easier to deal with in small doses. Keep a simple system of clearly-labelled folders for easy filing. Do the same with your email inbox - a daily cleanout will ensure you never have to deal with that annoying ‘mailbox is full' message again.

Clutterbusting tip 6 - Super storage

Invest in good shelving and storage solutions, but remember - more storage equals more stuff. In particular, ensure each child has suitable storage in their bedrooms for their personal possessions, including clothes. When their personal space is filled, go by the rule of ‘one in, one out' - whenever they bring something new home to keep, something old has to go. It's amazing how much tidier the house (and the kids rooms) will be when all their stuff has a place to live.

Clutterbusting tip 7 - Quick kitchen cleanup

Take 5 minutes to clear the kitchen bench and table before bed. You'll feel much better in the mornings if you wake to find a tidy kitchen. A quick tidy-up of these two key areas of the home can help your morning stress levels, because you won't be surrounded by clutter during that busy breakfast and school rush.

Clutterbusting tip 8 - Put it away, straight away

Mums are the world experts on multi-tasking, and this can cause a lot of distraction! It's a common habit for busy mums to plonk an object down where we last used it, mostly because we're doing so many things at once. Get into the habit of putting things away as soon as you're done, and you'll cut down on a great deal of the clutter in one simple step.

Clutterbusting tip 9 - Speed cleaning

You might be surprised just how much you can achieve when you put yourself on the clock. Set the oven timer for 20 minutes, choose an area, and clean, clean, clean!

Clutterbusting tip 10 - Many hands make light work

Teach your children that cleaning is a family job. Even very young kids can help with some household tasks, and dealing with general clutter is perfect for little hands. Make sure your kids participate in the daily de-clutter by giving them a couple of small jobs to do before bed. Simple tasks like putting the cutlery away after dinner, sorting clothes or filling drink-bottles for school can make a big difference to a busy mum.
2:27 PM Sat-9-Apr-2011 - 6 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Mums like us
The sun is shining, the birds are singing in the garden and my house is a male-free zone for the next 24 hours! Hubby and the boys have gone camping with Cubs. Oh, the sweet sound of silence.

For the next 24 hours I will be able to close down the mobile catering company that is Mum - no drink or snack demands, no humming and harring over what to make for dinner because X doesn't like this and Y doesn't want that.

I won't have to listen to the incessant noise of the TV that hubby seems to put on the moment he gets out of bed. Seriously, is that a guy thing? Most of the time he's not even watching it! He's listening to music, on the laptop or carefully perusing the inside of his eyelids whilst snoring louder than the extremely "interesting" program he's put on.

I won't have to tell the children off for winding each other up or wrecking the furniture though I do have the same speeches for my two cats!

When 9.30 rolls around I won't have to remind the kids that "go to bed" means now not after I've said it 10 times and made the "I'm done being a mum for today" face!

I will be able to watch American Idol without having to pause 15 times (thank goodness for My Sky!) and I might even get to watch the DVD I bought six months ago!

I won't be required to spend half an hour separating Lego pieces because "mum's nails can do that easy". I won't get called to the PC/PS3/laptop to help work out where the crazy penguins hid the last clue for the challenge or help Luke Skywalker rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader because my six year old doesn't want to be Luke Skywalker (he's more of a Han Solo fella).

Yes, it's going to be a blissful 24 hours that will just fly by (oh nuts I'm down half an hour already!). But I'm sure I'll miss them all, just a little. Now, where's my Coruba and sunglasses, my deckchair awaits!

1:33 AM Sat-26-Mar-2011 - 3 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Other
Here's your latest blogging challenge!

This is one with a bit of a difference. Your challenge is to find a photo from as far back as possible and tell us something about the photo, like who's in the photo, what's happening, where was it, what do you remember from that time (so pick one that you actually remember!). Just let the creative juices flow! You can post the photo in your blog if you like (instructions on adding photos are below) or you can just tell us what the photo is like.

To create your blog, hover your mouse over "Blog" at the top of the page, click Create a Blog, give it a title and select a category and then blog away. When you're done, come back here and leave a link to your blog below.

  • To add a photo to a blog: Hover you mouse over the HOME tab at the top of the page, then click on MY PHOTOS.
  • Click CREATE NEW ALBUM (or use an existing one), give it a name and select your privacy options, then click ADD ALBUM.
  • Click the BROWSE button, choose your photo from your files and click OPEN.
  • When you've added all the photos you want click UPLOAD PHOTOS (it will tell you if you uploaded successfully)
  • Click on BACK TO PHOTOS on the right hand side.
  • You will now see your photos and "To copy image URL click the text area and press Ctrl+C or right click and click copy"  Do just that, then head over to the forum or group where you want to show the photo.
  • In the blog click on the INSERT/EDIT IMAGE icon (the yellow mountain), right click in the box IMAGE URL, click PASTE then INSERT IMAGE and Bob's your uncle!

Happy blogging!
12:06 AM Fri-18-Mar-2011 - 2 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Sleep
WORLD SLEEP DAY - Press release from the World Association of Sleep Medicine

Sleep Well, Grow Healthy: World Sleep Day promotes healthy sleep for infants and children 18 March 2011.

Sleep problems are not just limited to adults, poor sleep affects about 25% of children and lack of quality sleep can lead to obesity, moodiness, aggression, irritability and hyper-activity, and decreases learning which can impact school performance.

Research shows that we spend up to a third of our lives sleeping. Sleep is a basic human need, much like eating and drinking and is crucial to our health. World Sleep Day is designed to raise awareness of sleep as a human need that is often compromised by the habits of modern life.

A good night’s sleep is vital for the health and wellbeing of people of all ages. This is the message the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM) will be promoting during the fourth-annual World Sleep Day on Friday 18 March 2011. Organised by the World Sleep Day Committee (co-chaired by Antonio Culebras and Liboro Parrino), this worldwide event is a platform for medical professionals to deliver the message of the importance of healthy sleep to the public.

Sleep problems constitute a global epidemic affecting up to 45% of the world’s population. Insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), restless legs syndrome (RLS), and sleep deprivation significantly impact physical, mental and emotional health, in addition to affecting work performance and personal relationships.

Sleep problems are not limited to adults. Poor sleep affects about 25% of the world’s children. Lack of quality sleep in children can lead to:
- Obesity.
- Accidental injury
- Moodiness and emotional problems
- Aggressiveness and impulsivity
- Irritability and frustration
- A change in activity levels (appearing “hyper” or “low energy”)
- Decreased memory, attention, learning and reasoning, which can impact school function

To help improve children’s sleep and overall wellness, WASM has created the 10 Commandments of Healthy Sleep for Children:
1. Make sure your child gets enough sleep by setting an age-appropriate bedtime and wake-time.
2. Set consistent bedtime and wake-up times on both weekdays and weekends.
3. Establish a consistent bedtime routine and recommend wearing comfortable clothes in bed, including strong absorbing diapers for infants.
4. Encourage your child to fall asleep independently.
5. Avoid bright light at bedtime and during the night and increase light exposure in the morning.
6. Keep all electronics, including televisions, computers and mobile phones, out of the bedroom and limit use of electronics before bedtime.
7. Maintain a regular daily schedule, including consistent mealtimes.
8. Have an age-appropriate nap schedule.
9. Ensure plenty of exercise and time spent outdoors during the day.
10. Eliminate foods and beverages containing caffeine.

"Sleep is of vital importance for children of all ages, especially infants,” says Dr. Alex Bartle, a New Zealand based GP specialising in Sleep Medicine. “Making sure that your children get a good night’s sleep will help them to function at their best and a good routine is the best way to achieve this”.

Johnson’s Baby offers the first and only clinically proven night time routine to help babies fall asleep more easily and sleep through the night better in three easy steps:
- Step 1: Bath your baby with Johnson’s Baby Bedtime Bath
- Step 2: Massage your baby with Johnson’s Baby Bedtime Lotion
- Step 3: Quietly off to sleep, help your baby wind down further by reading or singing softly. This will help babies learn to self-soothe.

Dr. Alex Bartle and world-renowned sleep expert Dr. Jodi Mindell have created an online resource to help you better understand the quality of your baby’s sleep and to provide personalised advice on how to improve it, go to to create a Customised Sleep Profile for your baby.

The World Association of Sleep Medicine is committed to researching and solving sleep problems in infants, children and adults. It dedicates its efforts in 2011 to educating the world on important sleep topics, including improving the sleep of both adults and children.

More information regarding World Sleep Day on 18 March 2011 can be found online
12:21 PM Tue-15-Mar-2011 - 0 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Education

Article By Justin Coulson

Academic success is very important to many parents. Frustratingly for many parents, their children often do not see academic success as important at all! This presents a significant challenge for mums and dads who want their children to do well at school in order to have a larger number of good quality career options following school.

The following tips can be useful in helping your children to become independent students who know how to manage their own time and studies effectively:

1. Make age-appropriate requests

Studying is hard work. Young children will typically have less ability (and less need) to study, whereas older children will have both greater need to study, and greater ability to do so. Don’t have too high an expectation on children under around Year 9 to do significant amounts of study. A great deal of research indicates that high workloads and monotonous study can actually lead to poorer performance and motivation at school, particularly before the age of 15. After age 15, around two hours per night seems to be about right.

2. Force creates resistance, so allow autonomy

Children respond to requests best when they are give the opportunity to make their own choices. If you try to force them to study, they will likely resist. Imagine if your supervisor at work demanded that you to “go into the office and stay there until your work’s done!”

Most adults would find this inappropriate. Yet many parents feel compelled to make these kinds of demands of their children. And like adults, they resist being told what to do.

Instead, it can be useful to ask, “What were you planning on studying today?” or “What can I do to help you with your studies?”

Some gentle reminders may also be helpful, such as “Your exams are only 2 weeks away. How do you plan to prepare?”

3. Encourage routine

When children have a consistent routine that includes study, there is less need to continually harp on about it. Sixteen year-old Alissa knew that every afternoon when she arrived home she had three things to complete before she could have ‘her’ time. She had to practice her musical instrument for 30 minutes, study, and prepare the table for dinner. The rest of the afternoon was hers. This routine meant that there were few family arguments about priorities.

Nine year-old Jacob had an afternoon schedule that consisted of afternoon tea, unpacking his school bag, reading for a short time to his mum, and then working on projects for 30 minutes. Then he played with his friends.

4. Minimise distractions

Let your children know that television, Internet, friends, the phone, the DS, x-box, swimming pool, bikes, and any other distractions will be available to them AFTER they have completed the appropriate studies.

5. Follow up

Parents should be involved in their children’s studies. Ask what your child has done, and review it. For projects, avoid criticisms but ask their permission to make suggestions. Better still, ask what your child thinks of his or her work. For exam study it can be particularly useful to help your child study by asking him or her to write out several questions and answers. Then you can test him or her. The quizzing can become a fun game, and also allow you to be involved in the learning process.

6. Manage your own time well

One of the most powerful ways for your child to learn good study habits is to see you using your time well. By developing yourself as a person (rather than staring at the television), your child will recognise that you value learning and study, and your modelling of what is important will influence your child’s study choices.

Find more homework articles:

3:22 PM Sat-26-Feb-2011 - 1 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Work
Article by Lana Hallowes (with editing by Julie Scanlon)


A job that fits in with your lifestyle, instead of vice versa, is the Holy Grail for many mums who want to earn a living while balancing their family commitments.

Here's our guide to everything you need to know about working from home.

Types of home-based work

There are three types of work-from-home scenarios:

  • Telecommuting - this is where you work from home either on a full time, part time or casual basis and communicate with your office via email, phone, instant messaging etc. If you're on maternity leave and thinking about returning to work, or you're a mum-to-be about to go on maternity leave, you are in a good position to talk to your manger about a working from home arrangement.
  • Self employed contractor - as a contractor you generate your own income from hiring out your services, profession or trade. For example a music tutor, or massage therapist, will charge by the hour for their services.
  • Home-based business - this is most commonly associated with 'work from home' advertisements found in your local rag and unfortunately, get-rich-quick scams. But there are legitimate work-from-home businesses out there, you just have to be savvy and research them thoroughly before signing up (see 'home business must-knows' below).

Is working from home really the Holy Grail?

For a lot of mums, working from home is the equilibrium of the work-life balance seesaw. Being able to drop the kids off at kindy or school, work for the few hours in between and spend quality time with them in the afternoon is more than perfect.

But before you quit your job, or sign up for a home-based business opportunity think about the kind of person you are. If you love the everyday social interaction you get at work, or enjoy working in a team, then solitude and working from home is probably not for you. Working from home also requires self-discipline, motivation and a level of organisation that not everyone has.

Also, don't be fooled into thinking working from home is a childcare solution. If you're expected to be on call during the day and work specific, uninterrupted, hours, you will require childcare.

Working from home pros

  • Independence and control in your work day with the ability to structure work hours around your own schedule and family commitments.
  • Possibility to enjoy more family time
  • Tax advantages - you may be entitled to claim office equipment and utility costs
  • Save time and $ on commuting costs
  • No office politics or distractions
  • Greater flexibility in your working hours
  • Work in your pjs!

Working from home cons:

  • Household distractions and family interruptions
  • Having to secure child care for when you're working
  • Can be isolating and lonely
  • Lack of IT support
  • You may find it difficult to separate work from home life
  • Must be self motivated and organised everyday

Work-from-home jobs

Telemarketing, accounts administrator, home-based educator, marketing, sales representatives and payroll officer are just a few of the work-from-home jobs advertised on various job websites over the past couple of weeks.

Basically, any job that doesn't require a high degree of supervision, face-to-face client contact, or office-based systems and procedures can be done from home with a speedy internet connection and the right set up.

What you may need to work from home

  • A computer
  • A fast internet connection
  • Email access
  • A dedicated phone line
  • An answering machine
  • A mobile phone
  • A comfortable chair and desk
  • A dedicated office space

Where do I find these jobs?

Work-from-home listings on recruitment websites and in the employment section of the paper are a dime a dozen. However, finding legitimate employment opportunities in the sea of scams and dodgy listings can be tiresome. Kidspot's Extra Income and Employment section lists job opportunities for mums. Always be vigilant for scams - if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Business opportunity must-knows

Finding the right business opportunity can be a job in itself. You need to consider your life, your family's needs and exactly how much time you have to dedicate to your business per week. Make sure you do your research, ask questions and get the facts before signing up to anything. You can keep up to date with the latest scams by visiting the Consumer Affairs scams section. Remember, there are no real get-rich-quick schemes so be wary of opportunities where you have a to pay money to make money, or that promise high returns with no guarantees.

FYI Changes in workplace law

If you are already employed and feel you could better manage your work/life balance by working some of the time from home, chat to your employer about flexible work choices. The Department of Labour website has great information on Work/Life Balance.

2:27 PM Sat-26-Feb-2011 - 3 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Cooking


Rocky road is always a hit with kids, and kids at heart, so it helps to have a few recipes up your sleeve. This delicious Rocky Road features white chocolate, and has a surprising crunch that'll delight anyone who takes a bite. Simple to prepare, and ever-so-yummy, this recipe will be a favourite.

Serving Size:


  • 2 x 180g bar white eating chocolate, chopped coarsely
  • 125g pink and white marshmallows, chopped coarsely
  • 150g turkish delight, chopped coarsely
  • ¼ cup pistachios, chopped coarsely
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup Kellogg's Rice Bubbles
  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut, extra


Grease 19cm deep square cake pan; line base and sides with 2 strips baking paper, extending paper 2cm above sides.

Stir chocolate with a metal spoon in medium heatproof bowl over saucepan of simmering water until melted.

Cool 5 minutes.

Combine remaining ingredients in large bowl. Stir in chocolate, working quickly; spread mixture into prepared pan.

Sprinkle over extra coconut.

Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm before cutting.


  • If you prefer, omit the turkish delight and replace with more marshmallows.
  • This recipe also works well when milk or dark chocolate is used instead of white chocolate.
  • This recipe was created by Kellogg's nutritionists.
  • Find more delicious chocolate recipes!
9:27 AM Thu-17-Feb-2011 - 0 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Education

Article by Michelle Barrington


From the pre-schooler fascination of how night and day happens, to the family teenager who needs to negotiate train, bus and movie session timetables to enjoy their night out, learning to tell the time is an important skill which parents can easily support at home.

Children across Australia are taught the concept of time from their first formal year of school and it is a sequential skill which means that new skills are built on the understanding your child already has. There is more to telling the time than being able to read a digital dial.

A good understanding of exactly what your child is learning at school will better allow you to encourage them at home. You as the parent are not expected to teach the skills but rather provide opportunities for your child to apply their knowledge in the safe, fun environment of home.

Time for 5-6 year olds

Children aged 5-6 years are learning how to use everyday language to describe the events happening around them. They are learning to ask the question “how long” and to use language such as before, after, today, morning and yesterday. They are ordering the days of the week and understanding how the weekend is different to the weekday routine. Children of this age are also learning to sequence events in time for example “I brush my teeth before I go to school in the morning”. Children of this age are also learning to read analogue o’clock time.

A fantastic way to support this stage of your child’s development is to create or purchase a calendar for home. Creating a calendar on the computer or, a piece of cardboard for the fridge, allows ownership and for them to have a box big enough to write in. Mark in the family activities such as swimming lessons on Tuesday, Sports day at school on Friday, Daniel’s birthday party on saturday morning.

Visual sequencers - or symbols to mark on the calendar - are also fantastic because they support the concepts taught at school as well as helping mums and dads get their children out the door for school in time. Simple symbols for putting on school uniform, packing bag, brushing teeth, eating breakfast and cartoons can be sequenced in order so children can visually check off their responsibilities.

Time for 7-8 year olds

Children aged 7-8 years are learning to read clocks on the half hour, both analogue time and digital time. They are comparing the duration of events as well as the number of days in a month and the order of months in a year. Examples of this are “We start school in the morning at 9 o’clock and have a break at 11 o’clock”. “My dance lesson begins at half past 4 in the afternoon”.

This is a great age to purchase a watch for your child. Allow them to pick a watch which they like, with a simple, easy to read analogue face. This presents endless opportunities to read the time.

When cooking estimate how long it will take to perform common tasks and (always with adult supervision) allow them to set timers on the oven, steamer or microwave.

Estimation games are also a fun way to compare units of time. With your child guess how many times you can complete the same action in say 10secs, 30secs and 1minute. Then encourage them to work out whether minutes or seconds would be the best way to count the activity for example clapping could be seconds but riding a bike around back and forth on the driveway would be minutes.

Time for 9-10 year olds

Children who are aged 9-10 are reading timetables and timelines. They are converting units of time from 60 seconds into 1 minute, 60minutes = 1 hour, 24hours = 1 day. They are also learning that digitally 15 represents quarter past, 30 = half past and 45 = quarter to. Children should be able to read time in one minute intervals.

Encourage these new skills by reading and interpreting timetables with your children. In the holidays encourage your child to read the movie session timetables and tell you when the movie starts and finishes. At home ask children to read the TV guide and help you program your DVD or Blue-Ray recorder.

An interesting way of looking at timelines is to pull out old family photographs and piece together a family tree across the generations.

Time for 11-12 year olds

Finally children aged 11-12 are learning to use 24 hour time, am and pm notation and to construct timelines for events. Children at this age are motivated to learn through opportunities to authentically apply information (real life situations). So for example, if your job requires time skills, discuss them with your children. If you are holidaying include your children in looking at airline flight schedules and simple travel itineraries.

Daylight savings is a tricky concept for adults but provides the perfect opportunity to discuss an older child's knowledge of time zones in a practical way. No one wants to get it wrong and be late or miss their chance to sleep in.

Learning to tell the time is a complex skill however supporting the skill can easily be done at home. Supporting your child to learn to tell the time will be time well spent together. Find more activities for telling time with kids at Squidoo.
10:30 AM Wed-9-Feb-2011 - 3 comments - [ post comment ]
Filed under: Mums like us
For the Blogging Challenge - All about you

6 names you go by



Mum - the one I hear most often, around 4,000 times a day – or does it just feel like it?

Mom - my youngest has an American accent – yes, I blame Playhouse Disney!

Julie Wulie (can you see my eye rolling?!)

Aunty Julie - though that is mainly from my friend when she is speaking to her kids as all my nieces and nephews are in England

3 things you are wearing right now

Capri pants

Chimp Tshirt

Necklace with a mother and child pendant

3 things you want very badly at the moment

To finish my renovations! 3 years and counting, I'm a bit over it all now and wish it was complete

For my husband to find employment – 6 weeks without a job, but there's always light at the end of the tunnel

My breakfast! I'm not big on priorities, blog now, breakfast later

2 things you did last night

Read a Lego book with my son – well when I say 'with' it was more that I read it to him, he's a rather reluctant reader

Watched the first episode of the new series of Hell's Kitchen

2 things that made you laugh recently

My kids re-enacting an adlib song from Who's Line is it Anyway (and my 6 year old's attempts at pronouncing puberty!)

Jimeoin's song about the third drawer down – I think it was so hilarious because it is so true!

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