Starting Kindergarten – The Essentials

Starting Kindergarten

Shut up, I can’t believe it. Yesterday I was giving birth to her, and now she’s on the verge of trotting off to four-year-old kindergarten three mornings a week.


She’s been dying to go since last year, and often makes me drive past so she can see it. She pays no attention to the fact it’s closed and nobody is in there, she wants to go in and play, and is so sad when she can’t. I’m so, so excited for her, and I’m pretty excited to be a kinder mum. I’ve already signed up to be the newsletter and website editor. I am ridiculous.

This week I’ve got plenty of lunchbox inspiration for you so you shouldn’t have to scrounge for an idea this year – just about all of them can be made ahead and frozen (if needed), and they’re all healthy (some are only healthy-ish. But you know me).

A few people have asked where I have sourced the lunchbox and things I’ve been using for the girls, and here they are! I’ve debated getting a new, bigger SoYoung backpack (2), but I can’t imagine she’ll need much bigger than this one this year, so we’ll continue with the toddler size. It has been used regularly for two years now (both girls have one) and they show no signs of slowing down. The backpacks are waterproof, made responsibly, and free from plasticky nasties. The detachable insulated lunchbox clips onto the front, or can go inside the bag.

I’ve recently bought a stainless steel LunchBots lunchbox (1) with three sections, which will replace all the smaller separate containers I had (thank you Japan). It’s probably too small for a sandwich, but it will do for fruit and extras.

I use our YumBoxes (4) a lot, ever since I was sent some to try. It was the first lunchbox I’d seen that was bento-style with a sealing lid that meant compartments didn’t run over into other compartments. Sold. Plastic nasties-free, cute, easy for the kids to use, a dipping sauce section, and each compartment notifying you of what you might like to put in it for a balanced lunch of protein, fruit, grains, etc, even more sold. I love them, and they fit into the SoYoung lunchbox perfectly.

Also a big fan of stainless steel waterbottles and my kids appear to use them with no issue, although they have been using cups at day care and haven’t needed to bring their own bottle. Just in case, this Kleen Kanteen (3) one is cute and will do!

I’ve also had good luck with the vinyl name labels from TinyMe (but not the iron-on clothing ones, unfortunately), so we’ll keep using my stash of them. They’re very sweet (I used the Woodland Creatures and Woodland Flowers designs but they’ve got more cute ones now too!).

We’ve tried plenty of kiddo sunscreens in the last few years, and like most of them – they do what they say they will, at least. We’ll carry on with the WotNot sunscreen and the Little Innoscents, but I’d also like to try the new Eco Tan one – remember when I did the Eco Tan self-tanner review? I still love them.

And the last thing on my list is a hat, but I haven’t found any cool ones I like that are (preferably) ethically made and good for Aussie summers. Any thoughts?



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GIVEAWAY: Win a Four Cow Farm Baby Care Gift Pack {and Discount!} / ended

Four Cow Farm

When one of my littles was born (I’m sure it was the second one, but everything is a bit of a blur), she received a little pack of Four Cow Farm products from a family friend. I thought it was such a thoughtful gift, especially because the products were all natural and handmade on an Australian green energy family farm.

Every single product is still made by hand on that Queensland farm, overseen every day by “Nanna”, the midwife, mum and grandmother who started it all. Her suppliers are all Australian, and every single ingredient is premium food-grade, making them very safe for everyone in the family. The products are also free from parabens, sulfates, artificial fragrances, synthetic detergents, petrochemicals, mineral oils, lanolin, chlorinated water, phalates, and other stuff I’ve never heard of before.

I kept buying the products once our first lot ran out, and I got a little bit addicted to using the baby oil in my nightly bath during winter! A good addiction though, my skin was so soft. When I heard their story, I loved them even more.

The products are also all totally biodegradable and all packaging is 100% recyclable. I’m told even the water that goes into the products is fresh rainwater collected and purified on the farm – it’s a whole family company with whole environment ideals.

Even better – three of you will win a lovely little gift pack from Four Cow Farm, consisting of a Starter Pack of their popular products, and a beautiful Pohnpei Sponge, which is hand-grown and sustainably farmed in the amazing waters of Pohnpei Island in Micronesia.

All you have to do is leave a comment and tell us what was your favourite baby gift? (My other favourite was a Wee Amigo swaddle).

Entries close Wednesday October 29, at midnight Melbourne time. Entries will be judged on merit, as this is a game of skill and not chance.

Four Cow Farm has also very generously given VM readers a 10% discount on all sales – just head to their website and use the code FCFVEGGIE at the checkout. It expires 30/11/14. Get your Christmas presents sorted!

Good luck!

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Kids live here

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Nostalgia TV

Do you know what’s been on high rotation around here?


So much so, that I’ve had to make the big sister a Rainbow Brite costume because it’s not 1984 and I can’t just buy one from the shops. It all began when we were all hanging out in my bed one Saturday morning. Too young for regular Saturday cartoons, I showed my kids a YouTube video of The Wombles. Then Henry’s Cat. Each day was something new, we watched endless episodes of The Sooty Show (this was Biggie’s favourite episode, mine was when they were teaching how to count by counting cups of tea), we watched the Care Bears Movie, and nobody was interested in Pound Puppies but me.

I have every intention of introducing Jem, Poochie, Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Bananaman, She-Ra, The Wuzzles, Gummi Bears, The Snorks, The Smurfs, Fraggle Rock, Dangermouse, Inspector Gadget, Barbie and the Rockers, Roger Ramjet, David the Gnome, My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake, Ninja Turtles, and that one show about tiny people on an island cleaning pollution out of the ocean who’s name I can never remember. When I remember it.

Oh my god, wait – it’s The Smoggies! And the little people on the island were Suntots! Man, I’ve asked people this question for YEARS and nobody ever knew what the hell I was talking about.

I have so many more up my sleeve (wait til we get to the ’90s!) What was your childhood favourite?

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Kids Live Here

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Tiny tyrants have taken over the house. It’s kinda fun. But I’m not gonna lie, I can’t wait until they can pick up their own tipped-out pencils twelve times a day.

What’s it like at yours?

What are you sick to death of doing for the eight-millionth time?


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Picasso Baby (otherwise entitled “My Kid Won’t Stop Drawing on Shit”)

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I have a kid who is obsessed with drawing. She will draw anywhere, at any time. If the house is quiet and I’m not sure where she’s gone? She’s at this table, drawing.

Or she’s drawing on the bathroom floor. Or the hallway walls. Or the kitchen table, her bed, the carpet, herself, the closet in my bedroom, and all of her dolls and teddies.

She will fill an entire scrapbook in two drawing sessions. Tight little scribbles, endless circles, every colour under the sun. 

I have always said I hope my children are creative. I feel as though academics and sport and music and all the other things kids like to do and excel at, they can be taught. I think creativity can be nurtured, but is mostly innate. I hope she dyes her hair green and lives on an art farm in France and never shaves her armpits and sleeps with her favourite paintbrushes under her pillow. 

Every single time I think about her drawing, I end up singing this song. So, that’s a lot. But I’ve had this album on repeat for months, anyway. Picasso, baby!

No sympathy for the King, huh?

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Rah! Win a leopard-print onesie for your tiny tot


If your kids are anything like mine, they are on the floor a lot. I see it as a sign of a day well-spent if my kids can get as messy as they possibly can – but then I am a little bit wigged out that the pants I just bought them yesterday are ruined. HOW cute is this little waterproof onesie/pants situation to solve that very dilemma?!


Now they can get all the dirty they want to while looking extremely cute and staying pretty dry.

Posh Grotz (otherwise known as Aussie mum Crystal Bylett), Down That Little Lane, and little ole me are giving away a Posh Grotz prize back to one of you.

The range of onesies and Grubbers are great for little crawlers and explorers on shopping centere or airport floors, great for bush walks, daycare, parks, sandpits, camping, gardening & pretty much anywhere!

If you want the chance to win a Leopard print Onesie and Grubber set for your little ones, then head to the Down That Little Lane blog to enter. You will find all the information you need right there.
Good luck!

Win this*This is a giveaway collaboration as part of the Down That Little Lane Blogger Family.


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Share your childhood fashion memories! {ended}

This is a sponsored post for Marquise

Congratulations Kaite – not sure we could go past that innovative use of a bikini bottom!

My mum used to get so excited about dressing my sister and I as kids. I distinctly remember some fashionable tartan skirts, cute tights and the obligatory ‘80s leg warmers. I also remember going through a boy phase in yellow tracksuits with skating knee and elbow pads sewn in. Accessorised with the latest in children’s binoculars.

Not being much of a frou-frou mum, I tend to buy my kids funky rather than frilly – but I get just as excited as my mum did when decking out my babes. I mean for real, WHO can say no to a kid in overalls?


Even she’s stoked.


I remember corduroy pants, black patent leather shoes, hair ribbons and brown sandals.


A pink parka,


A hand-beaded dress,


And a shirt that said “I love my Grandpa”.


I like to think my girls will have their own fun memories from their early fashions. I hope there’s something as definitive as leg warmers to laugh about in their older years, or at the very least, a Hypercolour T-shirt.

Marquise has a beautiful winter range available at the moment, and most likely won’t give my kids a complex when they’re teenagers. They’ll thank me, I’m sure.

Nothing but cute polka dots, crisp whites, fun dresses for cooler weather, and an array of pants, bodysuits, and cosy sweaters.

Since 1932, Marquise’s classic luxury pieces for kiddos have been the first choice for many parents. Their core collection for babies is absolutely divine, and I’ve eyed off a couple of pieces for new mamas in the coming months. Quality clothes that can be passed down to smaller peeps are something that I look for, and polka dots don’t go astray either…

Marquise are giving away $250 worth of clothes to a reader who shares a memory from their own childhood fashion choices. We’d love for you to bust out the old photo albums and give us a glimpse, if you feel so inclined!

All you have to do is share a memory in the comment section (and add a pic if you like) and we’ll choose a winner from there.

Open to residents of Australia, the contest will end next Thursday, May 1. This is a game of skill, and prizes are not transferrable.

Good luck!

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