Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bird's Nest Birthday Cake




This adorable
Bird's Nest Cake by Better Homes & Gardens is a snap to make. Pretzel sticks create the nest's branches, while marshmallow candies make precious baby chicks. Sugar cookies are decorated to resemble the eggs.

Ingredients

• 1 package 2-layer-size chocolate cake mix
• 1 18-ounce roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough
• 1/2 to 3/4 cup milk
• 7 cups powdered sugar
• Desired color pastel food coloring
• 1 16-ounce can chocolate frosting
• 5 cups pretzel sticks
• Chick-shaped marshmallow candy


Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 2, 1-1/2-quart heatproof glass mixing bowls or round casserole dishes; set aside. Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Divide batter between prepared bowls. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of each comes out clean. Cool in bowls on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from bowls. Cool completely.

2. Roll out cookie dough according to package directions. Cut dough with 2-1/2- to 3-inch egg-shaped cookie cutters. If desired, make diagonal cuts across some cookies so they look "hatched". Bake and cool according to package directions.

3. Place 1/2 cup milk in a large bowl; gradually stir in powdered sugar. If necessary, stir in additional milk until icing is a thick drizzling consistency. Remove 1/2 cup of the icing and divide between two small bowls. Tint all icing batches to desired color using food coloring. Remove 1/2 cup icing from the larger batch of icing to a small bowl; set aside. Add additional milk (1 to 2 tablespoons) to the remaining larger batch to make a thin drizzling consistency. Keep bowls covered with plastic wrap when not using.

4. Place all icings into pastry bags fitted with small round tips. Using the 1/2 cup thicker icing from the larger batch, pipe a border around the edges of a cookie. Pipe the thinner version of the same color in the center and spread to cover the cookie. Decorate with various sized dots of the other colors; repeat with remaining cookies. Allow cookies to dry completely.

5. Turn cakes rounded-sides up. Hollow out the center of each by cutting out a 4-inch wide, 2-1/2-inch deep piece to form the nest shape (reserve the center cake piece for trifles or an ice cream parfait). Turn nests upside down. Frost cake bottoms with some of the chocolate frosting. Press pretzel sticks into cakes to cover. Carefully turn cakes hollow-sides up. Frost with some of the remaining frosting. Press remaining pretzels into frosting to cover. Set nests aside.

6. Arrange cookie eggs and chick candies in and around the nest. Makes 12 to 16 servings cake plus about 40 cookies.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Fantasy Creations



We have recently discovered these gorgeous door signs by Fantasy Creations and we are so impressed! Anne from Fantasy Creations hand-makes the door signs individually to order, so you can request a door sign to suit your little one perfectly! Door signs, clocks, chalkboards and coat racks are also available. There are so many samples shown on the Fantasy Creations website, here are just a few that we have fallen in love with! 


Friday, July 23, 2010

Ducky Candy Dispensers




We're all about baby showers this week! We've been exploring the cute and quirky Baby Shower Shop and simply couldn't resist these Ducky Collection Candy Dispensers - the perfect favour to set the mood at your baby shower!

Fill the room with smiles and sweet treats with these Delightfully Ducky Collection candy dispenser favours.

Candy is dandy! Your guests will surely agree when they arrive and find these whimsical rubber ducky candy dispensers as their favours. Each favour measures approx 10cm tall x 3.8cm wide and has an engaging rubber ducky perched atop a clear plastic container and a yellow plastic base with a crank and candy dispensing slot.

Each dispenser is filled with 18 grams of multicoloured hard candy mini bites (produced in Canada). Delectable for any baby shower, first birthday party or any child themed event.

Each favour come individually shrink wrapped with an attached Ducky design “For You” tag.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Pitter-Patter" Baby Footprint Cookie Cutters



Poet Edgar Guest asked, "Tell me, what is half as sweet as a baby's tiny feet?" Nothing, say the designers at Kate Aspen, so they've added even more sweetness to those tiny feet by creating the adorable "Pitter-Patter" Baby Footprint Cookie Cutters. For anyone who's planning a baby shower, this footprint favour is a step in the right direction!

Features:
• Set of two, baby footprint-shaped, stainless-steel cookie cutters
• Each cookie cutter measures approx. 5cm l x 3.2cm w x 1.9cm d
• Gift presentation includes clear gift box with side-by-side cookie cutters on a cream and white-striped insert, a white-satin ribbon and bow imprinted with the words "Pitter Patter" in pink, blue and green, and a round, colour-coordinated tag that says Footprint Cookie Cutters

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

B105 Announces the Little Lookers Search




They have found Brisbane’s Yummy Mummies and now it’s time to find the cutest bubs in town. B105 is on the search for the best little looker under two years old in Brisbane.

Proud mums, dads, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers and grandparents can now brag out loud – all that’s needed to enter is to upload a photo of your little looker at b105.com.au, and say why they should win. And the prize is enough to make a baby gurgle with glee .... $3,000 cash for first place, a $1,000 Bubs Baby Shops voucher for second and a $500 Bubs Baby Shops voucher for third place.

B105’s Little Lookers was launched last year. The competition generated over 2000 entries from all over South East Queensland, this was the most successful user generated content competition in the history of Austereo,” said B105 Content Director, Mitch Braund (himself a father of one little looker). “In 2009 there were 1.4million page impressions online for this competition and we hope South east Queensland rallies again!”

Registration for Little Lookers is now open, and closes on July 29. Voting will then take place each week from 19 July through to 30 July and finalist voting will begin 2 August.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Baby and Toddler Growth Chart





We have just found a wonderful tool by Essential Baby to help you track your child's growth! The Baby and Toddler Growth Chart tool helps parents to view their child against averages for the same age, as well as upper and lower levels of height and weight range for the age group. It's an easy-to-use visual tool - you simply enter your child's age, weight and height and a graph is produced.


Growth Charts are widely used by Paediatricians and child development experts to track and compare a child's height and weight against the World Health Organisation standards for babies and children.


The Essential Baby Growth Chart Tool allows parents to compare their child's growth using the same standards referenced by industry experts. Using the Baby Growth Chart you can easily track the height and weight of your baby or child aged 0-3 years, yourself!


All babies and children develop at different rates, the Baby and Toddler Growth Chart Tool is intended as a guide only.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Strawberry Sweetness



Looking for a super-sweet birthday party theme for a little girl? We love the idea of a Strawberry Shortcake themed party. Pile up chocolate coated strawberries, coconut ice and pink fairy bread on the gorgeous strawberry crockery from Dot Com Gift Shop and you're set to host the perfect party! In fact, this all sounds so good, we may consider hosting our own, grown-up Strawberry Shortcake Party!





Visit Dot Com Gift Shop

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Macaroni Cheese by Annabel Karmel




This Macaroni Cheese recipe by Annabel Karmel is a quick and easy winter warmer dinner for the family. For more great recipes for kids visit Yahoo Lifestyle.

Ingredients:
Basics:
• 350g macaroni
• 75g sliced ham, shredded (optional)
Cheese Sauce:
• 45 g butter
• 45g flour
• 450 ml milk
• 85g Gruyère, grated
• 60g freshly grated parmesan
• 150g mascarpone
Topping:
• 40g breadcrumbs (2 medium slices bread, white or wholemeal, crusts removed)
• 20g freshly grated parmesan
Method
1. Cook the pasta according the packet instructions in plenty of salted boiling water.

2. Melt the butter, stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add the milk, stirring over a low heat for 5–6 minutes. Take off the heat, stir in the Gruyère and Parmesan until melted, then the mascarpone.

3. Drain the pasta, return to the pan, pour over the cheese sauce and heat through gently. Stir in the shredded ham.

4. Transfer to a greased ovenproof dish (approximately 26 cm x 17 cm x 5 cm (9 in x 6 in x 2 in). Mix together the breadcrumbs and parmesan and sprinkle on top. Place under a preheated grill until golden and bubbling

Visit Yahoo Lifestyle.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Curse of the Celebrity Yummy Mummy.




As Nicole goes in search of her pre-baby body, she makes an unexpected discovery, which she shares here with Practical Parenting


As I rummage through my diminished wardrobe trying to piece together an outfit free of baby vomit/food/drool, that fits and looks reasonably decent, I wonder whatever happened to my pre-pregnancy body. Will it ever come back?


In those first incredible, bewildering months of new motherhood, I was disappointed to find that I was still stuck wearing stretch pants and billowy shirts. During the later stages of pregnancy, as my baby bump got bigger and bigger, I‘d neglected to notice that other parts had expanded too. I stubbornly refused to spend money on bigger sized clothes, certain that I’d be back in my favourite pair of skinny jeans soon enough. But as the months passed, not much changed.


I knew losing the baby weight wasn’t going to be easy, but I didn’t realise quite how hard it would be. In between the quest to establish feeding and sleeping routines, the never-ending piles of laundry, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and the sheer physical and mental exhaustion of new motherhood, there was no time for vanity of any kind.


I felt nothing like a yummy mummy. I felt frumpy and lumpy. I was hopelessly sleep-deprived and constantly frazzled.


It was only after a chat with a friend that I realised I had been sucked into the demoralising vortex of the celebrity yummy mummy syndrome.


Every magazine I opened was bursting with images of the latest Hollywood mum and her amazing post-baby weight loss story. There she’d be, sauntering down the red carpet or frolicking at the beach without the faintest sign of wobbly bits or stretch marks. It was as if she’d never been pregnant.


My disillusionment was not helped when I learned that Heidi Klum had paraded down the runway in lingerie less than two months after giving birth in 2005. Two months! She later conceded that she’d worked out twice a day with a personal trainer to beat herself back into shape. How many mums with an eight-week-old baby have the time and energy for that?


Despite the images in the media and the pressure we put upon ourselves, the reality is that yummy mummies come in all shapes and sizes. Look around your mothers’ group or local playground. We don’t all miraculously return to our pre-pregnancy bodies within a few months of giving birth.


Ten months down the track, I confess that my skinny jeans still don’t fit. Every so often some sense of masochistic curiosity compels me to dig them out from the back of the wardrobe and try them on. They almost fit, but if I was to wear them for more than a few minutes I’d lose all circulation in my lower limbs.


Motherhood is a constant reminder of the uncomfortable truth that everything changes. Every day is different, nothing is certain and some things, like getting your little one to sleep through or eat their greens, can’t be forced regardless of how much you want it to happen.As I watch my little boy grow I’m struck by one of those moments of blinding insight where you remember what’s really important in life, and I marvel at the fact that my body produced and nurtured a perfect little being. I realise the things that used to bother me don’t matter as much anymore. This revelation is only fleeting of course, but it makes me realise I can live with my jelly belly.


Visit Practical Parenting to read the full article

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

10 Tips to Get Bubs to Sleep



If you’re at the end of your tether trying to get your little one to drift off, try these tips from Bronwyn McNulty of Practical Parenting to soothe your baby and save your sanity.

Soothe the sole

A gentle foot rub for your bub could be just the thing to send her off into the land of nod. Start by warming a few drops of a base massage oil, such as almond oil, in the palms of your hands (both of the infant massage associations in Australia, Infant Massage Australia and the International Association of Infant Massage, recommend unscented massage oils for young babies). Bend your baby’s leg at the knee and gently clasp the ankle, then rotate the foot. “Use your thumb to lightly circle the soles of the feet, gently squeezing and releasing your baby’s toes one by one,” says massage therapist Catherine Cervasio on www.aromababy.com. If your baby enjoys it, you can try massaging her other foot too.

Shake your booty

Life in the womb had more rhythm and movement than a whole season of Dancing with the Stars, so why not try to replicate that on the outside? Calming your baby by getting your dancing shoes on works on the physiological principle of ‘vestibular stimulation’. The vestibular system, the part of the brain that senses motion and balance, is located behind your baby’s eardrum. It is programmed for three types of movement: up and down, back and forth and side to side. Dance steps that use all three are most likely to comfort your bub. Finding the moves that your baby likes best will be a case of trial and error, but chances are she will respond to tracks that get you moving.

Tub time

A warm bath is a time-honoured method for soothing little ones, so why not go one step further by hopping into the tub with baby and adding skin-to-skin contact to the mix? The safest way to get into the bath with your bub is to have your partner hand her to you once you’re in. However, if you are alone, have your baby on ‘stand-by’ in an infant seat right next to the bath until you are ready to bring her in with you.

Noise works

If you listen to recordings taken from inside the womb, you’ll be surprised to hear it’s not a
sound-proof space. Your baby has been listening to ‘white noise’ for months and there’s a good chance she’ll find it comforting to hear again. Many parents find that creating some white noise with the help of a vacuuming frenzy or even a fish tank filter or rhythmic metronome, will help bub get to sleep. Other sources of white noise include tape recordings of ocean sounds or waterfalls, or even just having the radio tuned slightly off the station.

Press play

If white noise isn’t your thing, you can try a more conventional approach by playing bub some soothing music. Classical music often works wonders, as do serene lullabies. Many parents know the power of a gentle lullaby and experts say babies as young as three months can recognise classical music selections they have heard before. The added bonus is that it could help your baby’s brain develop: opinion is divided, but some experts believe that listening to classical music may assist emotional and educational development.

Making scents

Babies respond strongly to scent and within as little as a week newborns recognise the scent of their own mother. Not long after that most babies will prefer the smell of their own mother to the smell of any other woman. Tucking a T-shirt or nursing top that’s been close to your body into your baby’s cot can go a long way towards calming an unsettled bub.

Wear your baby 

Researchers of baby-wearing are unanimous: babies carried in slings do cry less. In fact, babies carried for three hours or more each day cry a whopping 40 per cent less than other bubs. So, what are you waiting for? Find a sling or carrier that’s comfortable for you and your partner and pop your baby in! If she likes it, peaceful days may be ahead.

Walk the walk

An early evening stroll can calm a restless baby and bring on sweet slumber. The motion of the pram, combined with fresh air and new sights and sounds all add up to a calming effect. Ideally you will perfect the ‘transfer’ from pram to cot without waking your sleeping angel. Cots and basinettes are generally safer places for baby to sleep than a pram.

Face it

You may have been told to avoid eye contact when placing bub in the cot to sleep, 
but if this doesn’t help her to switch off and drift off to sleep, perhaps a session of face-to-face contact could be what your baby really needs. According to American paediatrician, Dr William Sears, on his website, www.askdrsears.com, “High-need babies demand a lot of connecting experiences. Face-to-face and eye-to-eye contact is what they need in order to know they are being heard and seen clearly.”

Change tack

Sometimes trying the same thing over and over can just leave you feeling frustrated – and your baby less likely to sleep. When all else fails, try this: forget about getting your little one to sleep. Instead, take her outside to look at how leaves rustle in the wind; lay her on her back in your arms underneath a ceiling fan and allow the repetitive motion to distract her; or sit before a roaring fire until she’s mesmerised by the dancing flames. Changing the focus will help to calm and soothe a frustrated mum or dad, and your baby will pick up on the change in mood. Often sleep will come when you least expect it!

Visit Practical Parenting for more great tips

Monday, July 5, 2010

DIY Babushka Dolls




The school holidays are finally here! The kids may be celebrating, but are you? If you're concerned about keeping the little ones entertained, we have found a great school holiday activity! DIY Babushka Dolls! 

Above is Olga and her family, and most of the work is done. Like paint by numbers, this will make a great gift for any child. With paint and brush supplied, they can colour her in however they like and will have something they can treasure forever.

This Matryoshka with burnt pattern is ready and waiting for you and the kids to bring it to life using your artistic flair. The kit includes 5-set doll, paint and brush.



Or if you are feeling a little more adventurous you could opt to start with a blank set of Babushka dolls and create a completely unique design!  So let your creative juices flow and start on your own unique DIY project. 

DIY Bubushka Dolls are great projects for kids and adults. If you are pregnant this could be a great project to pass the time while you wait for the arrival of your little one - and you will have a beautifully personalised keepsake created just for them!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Oh Joy for Babies!



Throwing a baby shower  for the arrival of your new bundle of joy? These customisable photo invitations from Oh Joy for Tiny Prints are a gorgeous way to announce your baby shower. 


The invites are available in pink or blue, so are only really suitable if you are letting people know the gender of your baby. If you are letting people know the gender of your baby, the invites are a great way to announce if it's a boy or a girl!


All the wording on the invitation is customisable, as is the photo. We also love the fact that the invites are printed on recycled matte paper - stylish and eco-friendly!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

School Holidays Workshops at the Powerhouse Museum




Looking for some school holiday fun for school-aged children? The Powerhouse Museum is always great value for kids and this school holidays is no exception, with a great school holiday program, including a few fantastic workshops:

Holiday science workshop – zapped!

Through hands-on activities and fascinating demonstrations you will experience electricity in action: both static and current electricity. Explore, discuss and experiment with the natural occurrence, use and generation of electricity. Equipment such as a Van de Graff generator and Wimshurst machine will be demonstrated. Includes Museum admission.

Dates: 6, 8, 13, 15 July, 10.30am – 12.00pm and 1.30pm –3.00pm
Ages 7–12 years
$20 per child, $15 member child

Holiday science workshop – slime time!

Roll up your sleeves and dig your hands into the slippery and squelchy world of slime! It can get a little bit messy and a whole lot of fun when you get to mix together your own slime to take home and see how this strange stuff behaves when you experiment. You will learn some basic chemistry principles, including molecular structures, physical and chemical changes, as well as states of matter. Includes Museum admission and slime to take home.
Dates: 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16 July, 10.30am – 12.00pm and 1.30pm – 3.00pm
Ages 7–12 years
$20 per child, $15 member child

Visit Powerhouse Museum for the full school holiday program