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Punch Your Lunch


For anyone with a little person who doesn’t enjoy eating sandwiches, I thought I would share this post with you.

(Apologies if you have already seen it – it originates from our other blog at Babyjo Bamboo)

I love it! Our friends over at Monkey Caboose have done it again – just arrived, the Lunch Punch makes lunchtime and sandwiches fun!

Speaking from experience, my 3 year old just won’t move past the good old Vegemite sandwich (and even then, she usually pulls the 2 pieces apart, licks off the Vegemite and then leaves the rest!) – not the most nutritious lunch and frustrating for me, as sandwiches can be healthy, interesting and nutritious (not to mention fast and easy to make and take on the run). She is a fantastic “eater” and is happy to much away on most healthy food, she just WONT touch sandwiches for some weird reason.

Enter – The Lunch Punch, an interesting “tool” to add to your parenting toolbox. I was lucky enough to road test one from Monkey Caboose, and I am so impressed. I have never managed to get my little one to eat a full ham sandwich (baby steps here, I will work up to salad and chicken/avocado etc) – but hey presto! The Lunch Punch made the cutest 4 piece puzzle which took her attention and made it plenty of fun – she seemed to forget that she doesn’t eat ham sandwiches, and ended up eating the lot AND asking for another puzzle. (I have always loved that she will eat the crusts of her toast and vegemite sandwiches, however the lunch punch does remove these, so I had to just go with it and see!)

With 4 “punches” in each box, you can make one Monster puzzle (great for if you are feeding multiple mouths at the same time) or you can have 4 smaller size puzzles in varying forms. For just $12.95, I highly recommend trying this one out for a bit of fun – great for fairy bread at a party too – make the giant puzzle, and watch them have some fun!

**Disclaimer – Yes, you WILL end up “punching” out your own sandwich into a puzzle – it can’t be helped. We take no responsibility for this!


Eat Your Salad (Please)


I had an interesting afternoon yesterday. I only had 4 hours of sleep the night before was a little tired and had been racing around Melbourne (Little person in tow) for most of the day. She was a super star I have to admit – no complaining, no tears, and a great little helper.

Suddenly, I remembered the great idea I had earlier in the day – “yes, let’s make Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni for dinner”…. Uh-oh, it was nearly witching hour 3pm and I was not looking forward to toddler wrangling entertaining the little miss while trying messily to get the gooey mixture into too small tubes  of uncooked pasta!

On the way back to our place, I asked Mia if she would like to help me cook dinner and she calmly responded that “yes mummy, that would be nice” – Great! I had a helper. She then told me that she thought I should make dinner in her kitchen (see below image of her pink retro kitchen for more info – purchased from Hipkids) and it would cook well in her oven! Well – there will be none of that , ha ha ha. So I rearranged the furniture a little when we got home, popped her stove and sink next to my prep bench and then placed her table next to it for more room. The fridge was placed next to mine and stocked up with play fruit and vegetables. I provided a useless thing that wouldn’t cut through a sausage at  a BBQ serrated plastic knife and got her little chopping board out and ready.

On your marks, get set, go…………. Mia had a bunch of real food from the fridge, which I had placed (in no apparent order) on the bench. Lettuce, tomatoes from our garden, cucumber, mushrooms, capsicum and parsley. I asked her to make a salad for us all while I did the cannelloni. What would usually be a hectic time running around the kitchen, madly trying to get dinner ready and guarding the fridge from a hungry 3 year old, turned into a blissful 2 hours of cooking together, laughing and having fun!

I have luckily never had any trouble with fruit and vegetables with this little person, she eats a very wide variety of everything, and is happy to have it raw or cooked. For example, her little snack box (at her height in the fridge which she can now open) is usually full of: raw beans, snow peas, red and yellow capsicum strips, raw mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, mung beans, alphalpha, 4 bean mix and an assortment of fruit. She loves to eat frozen beans for some reason, and has very savory tastes.

I was amused to see that she assembled a lovely salad after roughly cutting up each different ingredient, but I am sad to say that by the end of it, there was not enough left to use for our dinner, as she kind of ate it all! (Ah well, snacking healthy food while making dinner is fine with me). As I was still stuffing cannelloni, she climbed up next to me at the bench (on her stool) and asked if she could help. Why not, I thought, you couldn’t get much messier than me at the moment! So I am proud to say that she successfully filled 2 tubes with mixture (and yes, her hands were lovely and clean before we started) and managed to leave just as much mess as me around the bowl and on the bench.

We were having so much fun, that we didn’t stop here, Mia suggested we make a pie to put in the oven too (something that she has seen on a cooking show on TV (cooking for kids with Maddi I think) no doubt. “Ok – let’s do it” I said – sure that I had some puff pastry in the freezer somewhere. Lo and behold, there was a sheet (yes, only one!) sitting there, waiting to be made into a pie. As I am a champion pie maker have never made a pie before, I was completely winging it by this stage, and asked her what we should put in our pie (a little sad just having the base and no filling). A rummage around in the cupboards turned up a tin of apricots and that was about it. The fruit bowl had one lovely green apple left though, so Apple and Apricot it was. After a quick look in the fridge, Mia suggested that we  could use strawberries too, so I agreed with this,  having made one before not knowing any better. I realised we didn’t have a “lid” for our pie, so out came the chunk of butter that has been in the fridge since I last made home made muesli bars and a crumble of sorts was made from flour, cinnamon and a little brown sugar. (NB – No, our pie is not pictured above, but it did look fairly similar, just with apricots and strawberries too!)

So the salad got eaten (prior to sitting down for dinner), the cannelloni was delicious and perfectly cooked, and our (VSP) very special pie was stunning and very very yummy. A successful afternoon, easily avoiding the usual dinner time rush and with only a little extra cleaning to do (read: wipe down every cupboard and draw that had something smeared all over it), I thoroughly enjoyed this special time with my little person, she loved every minute and definitely had a ball – try it out with your little person one day soon and have fun covering the benches in food making a masterpiece or two.

So not baby related~


As you know, I love blogging about stuff for your little person, but here is a post for us mums!

We spend all day running around chasing our little people, having fun and being “domestic godesses” that we forget often forget to pamper and look after ourselves. Here is my little bit of “peace” at the end of a long day – our gorgeous, gorgeous bathroom (design c/o myself and built by my lovely husband!) – just thought I would share to remind you that it is ok to be totally selfish and have a long hot soak in the bath, or treat yourself to 30mins of uninterrupted bliss!

and now – our lovely indoor/outdoor shower (yes, it is covered of course, being in Melbourne) – reminiscent of the gorgeous shower style in Thailand Resorts….

The view from inside the shower – serene and calm at night, when some quite time is required!

Anyhow – to all you super mums (and dads) out there – go and take some “time out”, relax and enjoy!

The Baby Show Melbourne


For all you smart and savvy shoppers in Melbourne, The Baby Show is holding a massive event over the 5th, 6th and 7th of March 2010.

Don’t miss the unbeatable shopping, great offers, fantastic entertainment and expert advice – The Baby Show really is an essential part of having a baby!

This brand new event is not to be missed and will be filled with some of the most exciting entertainment acts as well as fantastic shopping for pregnant couples and parents of babies and toddlers:

•    Shop and enjoy exclusive offers on an array of products and all the baby essentials from over 100 big industry brands and stylish boutiques ranging from: Huggies, Tommee Tippee, Mothercare, Maclaren, Chicco, Medibank, Ecostore, Happy Baby, Nestle, Peg Perego, Nintendo, Pumpkin Patch, Babyjo Bamboo and Angus & Robertson.
•    Meet Dorothy the Dinosaur and dance with The Teletubbies live with an exciting new interactive dance show!
•    Get the best advice on parenting and health from leading specialists in free seminars and talks.
•    Try before you buy some of the big name brand strollers.
•    Relax in the Tommee Tippee Baby Feeding Room, The Babylove Changing Room and ask for assistance from our dedicated team of porters.

Everything you need for your pregnancy, baby and toddler – The Baby Show is an essential part of having a baby.

Tickets start at $10 and can be purchased in advance for a limited half price offer via  or you can contact me and I have some freebies to post out if you are interested.

“M” is for Minilala!


Cloth Nappies or Disposables? I am sure that this is one of the most frequently asked questions these days – but how could you go past Cloth Nappies when you see these?

The gorgeous work of Carli from MiniLala is highly sought after and loved by mums and dads (and bubs!) everywhere. Not only are you making the best choice for our environment, you are also giving your bub a funky start to life with MiniLala’s bright, modern and gorgeously designed Cloth Nappies.

Cloth Nappies are great on the budget as well – Obviously, there is an initial outlay, however over 2 – 3years of nappy wearing, the average parent will save around $ 1500 – $ 2500 (or more!). Made from gorgeous prints and funky designs, MiniLala’s reusable nappies are easy to care for, trim, easy to use and highly absorbent! We love these and wanted to share them with you, so head over and read all about “cloth nappying” at their site, and maybe, just maybe, you will be converted too!

Love Ya Mango Lemon Cheesecake!


Well, I have to confess that I have never been a fan of cheesecake. It just never sat well with me – cheese? in a cake? are you kidding…..

I am now converted though, after stumbling upon the most delicious cheesecake ever (on Christmas Day in the afternoon, when you have eaten too much, drunk far too much and couldn’t possibly fit in another bite!)

I am in love and I want to share that love with you! Unbaked, this is an easy and effective way to impress your friends, family or just treat yourself (and yes, I mean sit in the corner and eat the whole lot!)

So, here goes – “Bergies awesome Mango Lemon Cheesecake”


1 x 250g packet plain sweet biscuits (or butternut snaps), crushed

65g  Walnuts or pecans finely chopped

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

155g melted butter (or margerine)


5 teaspoons gelatine

1/2 cup very hot water

250g packet cream cheese

1/3 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

2 egg yolks

425 g can of mango pulp, drained and pureed (or even better, fresh mango flesh pureed)

100ml icy water

1 1/4 cups sour cream

2 tablespoons lemon juice


Whipped cream


To make Base:

1) In bowl, combine biscuit crumbs, walnuts/pecans, brown sugar and lemon peel. Mix well. Add butter, stirring until moistened.

2) Press mixture evenly into base and 5cm up sides of a 20 – 21cm springform tin. Set aside.

To make filling:

1) Sprinkle gelatine over hot water and stir vigorously until completely dissolved. Allow to cool.

2) In a large mixer bowl, beat together cream cheese, sugar and lemon peel until smooth. Beat in egg yolks.

3) Reserve a quarter of the mango puree. Beat the remainder into cheese mixture with the icy water. Fold in sour cream, lemon juice and gelatine mixture.

4) Pour filling into prepared crust. Chill until set (several hours or overnight ideally)

To serve, remove from the springform and place on  serving plate. Pipe whipped cream over the top, in whatever pattern is desired. Spoon reserved mango puree onto the top (in between whipped cream)

**Disclaimer** – Love Ya Baby takes no responsibility for the misuse of this recipe. Please be warned that once made, this cake will sit in the fridge and taunt you, making you eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner (if it lasts that long). Do not attempt to make this cake if you are on a diet or you do not like tasty, sweet and oh-so-very-naughty treats from time to time.


Free Play for your little person


I was reading an interesting article the other day. Belinda Butler from Practical Parenting magazine discussed why it is important to provide “free play” for your little person.

Not only does it allow your little one to have fun, it also works on improving fine motor skills, language and memory, family dynamics and the social world, concentration and imagination.

I love reading things such as this – they tend to motivate me to do the very best for my little person and also encourage me to do different things that haven’t been done before. So, $12 and 9 dinosaurs later (thanks to Toys’R’us) we find ourselves out in the brilliant sunshine making “Dino World” in the sandpit. I actually had a lot of fun playing with my little person and we spent a good  40 minutes landscaping and building caves, mountains, lakes and roads (We also fashioned ‘nests’ for the dinosaurs, even though I think they had caves for rearing their young!)

Following the setup, Mia spent about another hour playing away happily with her new friends, imagination running wild, she found a little toy truck that was the park ranger checking on the dinosaurs, a waterfall was built out of rocks and blue cardboard and the Dino’s had a wonderful time frolicking in the sun too!

Allow your child to develop their imagination by helping (depending on what age) them build an area such as this, it doesn’t have to be dinosaurs, it could be water world, the zoo, a farm – whatever! Most toy shops sell plastic animals for these types of things, or you could get creative and make them yourself out of old toilet rolls or similar, then colour or paint them.

Through free play in this type of activity, little people increase fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination by handling and moving the animals and pieces around. When using imagination to act out play sequences, your little one is using memory recall to remember ‘what dinosaurs eat’ or ‘where dinosaurs sleep’ for example. They will show you their understanding of the social world when playing in this way – how do people interact with each other, who plays what role in the game. Exploration of the dinosaur family will show how your child perceives your own family life and who plays which role and lastly, your little person’s concentration is improved by enjoying a game so much that they sit and play quietly for a longer amount of time.

Belinda suggests asking plenty of questions as you and your little person play and also to use lots of foliage and garden material (such as leaves, logs, sticks and rocks) so that you can discuss these objects at the same time.

Watch as your little person becomes immersed in free play, creating and imagining all things wonderful – it comes as no surprise to me that I actually enjoyed this myself as well!