Munch Reviews | Reusable Ice Pops + Giveaway

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Ice block Molds

Ice blocks, Popsicles, Ice Pops, Ice creams…………….. whatever your favourite frozen treat, consumption is always 1000 x more complicated, messy and prone to spills, drops and tears when you share with little people.  Nix is (of course!) in love with frozen treats and eats them with such gusto that I pretty much have to hose him off after the last sticky bite has either been devoured or has fallen off the stick onto the ground ::::::cue tears::::::

The convenience, savings and quality control of making homemade popsicles is nothing new, however, the mechanism with which to do it is now simply brilliant.

Hello Munch Reusable Ice Pops!New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Ice block Molds

There is a popular ice block here in New Zealand that pretty much makes mummies rejoice every time we spot them in the store.  Entirely self-contained in a waxed-paper type tube – no drips, sticky paws and minimal mess.  The smarties at Munch have made this concept even better with their take-home, make-at-home version.  

Made from BPA food grade silicone, the conical shape of Munch Pops works brilliantly and is so easy for little hands to manage.  For our first batch of thousands I’m sure lol, we kept it simple by using  my fave cold fruit tea.  I was a bit worried about the lids leaking and having a mess to clean up in the freezer, but the ridges on the caps make for a super firm, secure fit.  I was really surprised.  The benefit of this is that you can pop the cap back on and re-freeze for later – love this!
New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Ice block Molds

Nix quickly got the hang of the push-up action and sat and enjoyed his treat until he was able to tip the tube and drink the rest of his tea, which is a huge feat of focus for him!  

So, I LOVE the Munch Reusable Ice Pops for the following reasons;

  • The colours are rad
  • The design is perfection – no drips!
  • The lids WORK
  • Zero waste
  • Perfectly priced (buy yours here, $17 for a pack of 4)
Comment below to win a four pack of Munch reusable Ice pops.  Contest closes 7/4/16.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Ice block Molds New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Ice block Molds

Toddler Style | Merino Kids A/W 16 Spotlight

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Merino Clothing

Before merino was the hot buzzword (and rightfully so!) in kids clothing, there was one brand that had already identified it as a wonder-fibre and was creating innovative sleepwear that would be imitated the world over.

Merino Kids has been setting the standard in kids sleepwear since the company’s inception in 2003.  Founded by a Mum/Designer, Amie Nilsson, the company continues to innovate and is passionate about producing products that conform to a strict code of ethical and sustainable practices (you can read more about that here).  

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Merino Clothing

mummy-blog-new-zealand-mummy-blogger-mommy-parenting-merino-clothingEthan slept in the original Go Go Bag (he’s now 11) and I purchased three 2nd-hand bags to use after Nixon was born – the quality is SO good they just last and last and wash beautifully.  I actually can’t comprehend how anyone deals with sleeping babies and the myriad problems that present themselves throughout the varying ages and phases without Go Go Bags – they are top of my baby shower gifting list every time!

Autumn is here and winter will follow soon enough so I’ve made a promise to myself that I will season-proof the boys wardrobes before that first cold/wet snap hits and I’m scrambling because they have nothing suitable to wear.  This happens every year and I end up rushing to the nearest large-format retail store and impulse buy.  The Merino Kids Autumn/Winter 16 Lookbook is gorgeous.  Muted brights, classic stripes and luxe merino of course!  It’s hard to narrow down my faves from such a great capsule collection but I’ve picked my Top 4 pieces that Nixon will be snuggling up in over the coming months.

Merino Kids Winter Essentials 2016

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Merino Clothing

1.  Merino Vest $69.95
2.  Merino Leggings $59.95
3.  Merino Pajamas $99.95
4.  Standard Weight Merino Go Go Bag $199

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Merino Clothing New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Merino Clothing New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Merino Clothing New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Merino Clothing

Exactly how good WAS Auckland Kiddie Limits at ACL?

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Auckland City LimitsSo good.

Let’s see; live music, temporary tattoos, storytelling, dancing, painting, bubbles, COFFEE, drumming, craft………..

Are you getting the picture?

We headed into Auckland City Limits as the gates opened at 11am and went straight for the small fry festival – Auckland Kiddie Limits.  Nix was checked in at the front gate and was given a wristband with our names and contact details in case he decided to bounce and hit up Action Bronson sans parents.  En route to the MOTAT village green (the home of AKL) we popped in to the Radio Hauraki tent where they had the fore thought to provide FREE amazing, ear muffs for the little rockers in attendance!  So rad.

So, onward to the Village Green we went.

By this point I could tell Nix was a little overwhelmed with everything.  In hindsight we should have brought the Mountain Buggy so he could relax and take everything in without having to be so ‘out there’ and amongst it all before he was comfy.  He was happy enough, just very quiet.

When we entered the official ‘Home’ of Auckland Kiddie Limits it felt SO perfect.  Nestled around the perimeter of the green amongst the old buildings were the activities and (minimally invasive) vendors, hand picked to provide just the right amount and variety of activities for little festival-goers.  This felt like a calm, chilled out space where families could get down to the level of their kids as well as escape from the hubub of the main festival.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Auckland City LimitsNixon was enthralled with the mural painting and definitely spent most of his time in this lovely shady corner, splashing paint around and definitely NOT staying within the lines lol.  We loved dancing to the infectious Kath Bee and listening to Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes as well as watching the kids get their punk rock makeovers – the face painting and hairstyling was awesome – Nix had NO time for it unfortunately!

The out-of-the-box concept (why this is I have NO idea?) of being able to share the main festival with your kids is long overdue and so much fun.  Ethan had more pressing commitments than spending the day with his parents and the BEST music festival Auckland has ever seen – but that’s another blog post ; )

Another genius value-add was being able to leave Auckland city Limits, drop Nix home to his babysitter and head back to the city to enjoy the evening acts after super-duper, easy re-entry.  Amaze.

Do it guys.  Take your kids to Auckland City Limits and Auckland Kiddie Limits next year.  There were so many little ones of all ages enjoying themselves, taking in the sights, devouring the delicious food on offer (you were able to bring in snacks for the babes) and enjoying the music and atmosphere as much as anyone else attending.  

Taking your under 10’s (at NO additional cost) to see world class musicians perform is a major coup in my books and something we will be looking forward to doing again next year.
New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Auckland City Limits New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Auckland City Limits New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Auckland City Limits New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Auckland City Limits New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Auckland City Limits New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Auckland City Limits New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Auckland City LimitsNew Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Auckland City Limits

 

 

The Tween Years | Fighting the Good Fight – but still losing

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Tweens

So today whilst Nixon was throwing an almighty tantrum because I wouldn’t let him pick up the dog shit with me (I really am doing this parenting thing all wrong aren’t I?), and I was ruminating on how I was going to create a calm, non-combative environment for the after school session with Ethan (yeah right!), I was reminded of a fellow blogger’s description of the post-primary school years of parenting.  Simone who writes at Great Fun Etc wrote an awesome post titled, “Parenting at the Pointy End” which I’ve been thinking about a lot.  The title is just so damn catchy plus she hit a bit of a raw nerve as almost every day with our 11yo feels like someone is stabbing me in the ass with a large pointy stick.  Over and over and over.  Every day.

We’re struggling and fighting and banning shit and yelling.  I even mentioned boarding school on Sunday – yeah, that old chestnut.  

Obviously there’s massive hormone-stuff going on right now, there’s a nut-bar of a toddler in the house who totally runs the place (his rule is fast coming to an end btw) + there’s a lot of coming and going and general chaos in our house as we all lead very full lives.  This is also ‘under review’.

But, I’m still not willing to accept that the current state of non-compliance is the new status quo.  I’m trying to create a calm, face-to-face afternoon tea time when E arrives home off the bus; food ready, a cold drink, no devices within reach (I know he’ll go straight for the food if it’s waiting for him), a quiet chat about his day………….

He totally hates these afternoon catch-ups I’m sure but hopefully it sets a better tone for the evening than me yelling at him to make something decent to eat over the roar of the vacuum and Nixie screaming for more food – the two of them never stop eating!  After a familiar argument this evening regarding attitude and anger, Dave and I sat down and listened to E.  We asked him questions in a way that we hoped would help him see that his ‘entire life’ did not suck, there were mainly 1 or 2 key things that seemed to be behind a lot of the conflict.

Look, pandering to the whims of an 11 year old is not exactly how I like to parent, BUT, everyone deserves to be listened to and their grievances taken on-board whether others consider them legitimate or not – this is not pandering, it’s showing respect to your kids.  We needed to show E that we care (of course we do!) about his feelings and emotions, and that whatever those emotions are, they are valid.  He may, however,  need to find a more conducive way to express them to us.

We also identified that there is one XBox One game in particular that seems to raise his aggression/anger levels through the roof.  God I hate that console.  We decided that rather than banning him from the XBox completely (even with time constraints it still causes a lot of tension and arguments between Ethan and his Dad and I), we remove the offending game and see if there’s any improvement in E’s behavior surrounding his allocated game time.  Surprisingly he agreed to this without a second thought, which makes me think he already knows the ‘obsession’ with this particular game could be causing some of our problems.

Aside from that I’m out of ideas.  All I know is that we need to put a rapid cool on emotions that have been running a little too hot in our house.  Ethan and I can push each other’s buttons in a heartbeat and then it’s all on – and the whole house suffers.

I would love to hear your thoughts or frustrations if you’re dealing with anything similar in your households.  

Adulting is  h a r d, who listens to my grievances?  YOU GUYS lol.

Sorry about that :  )

Easter Gifting with Burrow & Be + Giveaway!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter Gift

Easter needn’t be all about chocolate and picking up the pieces after the kids crash from the sugar rush!  Add some style and whimsy to your Easter baskets this season with Auckland designer Catherine Melo’s ‘Burrowers’ collection from Burrow & Be. 

The iconic Mr. Hopkins print is available in a range of soft furnishings, perfect for complementing nurseries and providing subtle, on-trend accents for the bedrooms of slightly bigger ‘bunnies’.  Printed using eco friendly non toxic inks, on quality 300 thread count cotton, bamboo/cotton blend and canvas, this range will win your heart!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter Gift

Shop the gorgeous range and explore more Burrow & Be goodness online at www.burrowandbe.co.nz plus make sure you enter via the widget below to win a ‘Burrowers’ prize pack including 1x Mr Hopkins Shape Cushion, 1x Pillowcase and 1x Muslin Wrap worth over $100!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter Gift

 

DIY: Easter Bunny Treat Cups + Happy Birthday Spotlight Giveaway #3

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY

Happy 20th Birthday Spotlight!  This month Spotlight celebrates 20 years in New Zealand with in-store parties this Saturday, March 12th at all Spotlight NZ stores.  Visit your local for huge discounts, giveaways, games & even birthday cake at 1pm in each store!

Here at The Best Nest we are doing a spot of celebrating ourselves, with three days of Easter themed DIY’s, all shopable at Spotlight, plus there is a $100 Spotlight Gift card to be won each day!

Down to the business end of our Spotlight birthday series You can catch up on Post #1 here and Post #2 here – make sure you have entered EACH day’s giveaway!)

There are so many cute and creative ways to gift Easter Eggs but if I’m going to make something myself, it’s got to be super easy lol.  These little Bunny Bum Cups work really well and are quick to put together.

DIY: Easter Bunny Treat Cups

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY

You will need:

Instructions:

  • Glue pom pom on to foam balls for bunny tails
  • Cut bunny paws out of white felt
  • Cut bunny toes etc out of pink felt and glue onto white paws.  Then glue completed paws onto foam balls.
  • Stuff tumblers with shredded paper and Easter treats

Enjoy!  Happy Easter! (Don’t forget to scroll down to enter the Spotlight Birthday Sweepstake!)

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY

DIY: Easter Wreath+ Happy Birthday Spotlight Giveaway #2!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY

Happy 20th Birthday Spotlight!  This month Spotlight celebrates 20 years in New Zealand with in-store parties this Saturday, March 12th at all Spotlight NZ stores.  Visit your local for huge discounts, giveaways, games & even birthday cake at 1pm in each store!

Here at The Best Nest we are doing a spot of celebrating ourselves, with three days of Easter themed DIY’s, all shopable at Spotlight, plus there is a $100 Spotlight Gift card to be won each day!

I love adding simple, unfussy decor items to our mantle to set the tone for the season or celebrate the holidays.  A wreath is always my go-to as it can be placed anywhere and when you DIY, it can be modified and re-purposed very simply.  Plus, it’s such a welcoming decoration to have on your front door or in your home, and can form the basis of your holiday decor by tying everything together if you build you colour palette on the wreath itself. 

This pretty Easter wreath took me 20 minutes tops, so get creative and give it a go!

DIY: Easter Wreath

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY

You will need:

Instructions:

  • Wrap foam ring with the burlap (or your choice of ribbon, fabric or bakers string looks great!), fasten on the back side with floral pins.
  • Place the large artificial flower stems and fix with floral pins.
  • Attach the paper bunting.  This comes with adhesive stickers which are holding just fine on the burlap.
  • Glue the eggs in place using a craft glue.  I used Helmar Craft Glue.
  • Place remaining small flower heads and burlap flowers.

Enjoy!  Happy Easter! (Don’t forget to scroll down to enter the Spotlight Birthday Sweepstake!)

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY 

DIY: Chocolate Easter Nest Spoons + Happy Birthday Spotlight Giveaway!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY

Happy 20th Birthday Spotlight!  This month Spotlight celebrates 20 years in New Zealand with in-store parties this Saturday, March 12th at all Spotlight NZ stores.  Visit your local for huge discounts, giveaways, games & even birthday cake at 1pm in each store!

Here at The Best Nest we are doing a spot of celebrating ourselves, with three days of Easter themed DIY’s, all shopable at Spotlight, plus there is a $100 Spotlight Gift card to be won each day!

My first easy-peasy Easter DIY  is these yummy chocolate Easter Nest Spoons.  They are perfect party favours or place settings if you’re hosting friends or family this Easter, or use them in your egg hunt or as gifts for the kids friends.

DIY: Chocolate Easter Nest Spoons

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter Nest Spoons

You will need:

Instructions:

  • Melt chocolate per directions on the pack, I used the defrost function on the microwave for 2 x 30 seconds, stirring in between.
  • Spoon melted chocolate onto your plastic spoons, underfill slightly.
  • Leave to cool a little whilst you fill more spoons.
  • Stand up 2 Cadbury Mini Eggs in each spoon then sprinkle with either the hail or confetti.
  • Once set, shake off excess sprinkles, pop spoon in the cello bags and tie with ribbon or raffia.

Enjoy!  Happy Easter! (Don’t forget to scroll down to enter the Spotlight Birthday Sweepstake!)

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY

Enter via the widget below to win a $100 Spotlight Gift Card!  Competition closes Sunday 13th March 10pm.  There are 3 gift cards to be given away, look for the next Easter DIY post tomorrow!

Powering Off and Switching on as a Family

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Blog Screen Time

Reigning in our family’s screen time has been high on my list of priorities over the last six months since it has become apparent that little-big Nixon was seemingly getting as attached to his ‘iPad’ as the rest of us are to our phones and devices.

But, to be honest, those lovely (?)  screens are a crutch that we seem to be using more and more.  I freaking LOVE my phone but now that it is seemingly an extension of my arm as both the blogger tool-of-the-trade and the source of much entertainment, it might be time to really take stock of how much power our devices are yielding within our family.

There are screens everywhere in our house.  Total first-world problem I know and I’m almost ashamed to admit that the house is positively littered with electronic devices capable of watching videos of grown-ass men opening toys on YouTube at any given time!

And this is the stuff my kids watch.

So.  It’s about time Dave and I pull our heads out of the sand and wrest back some time and energy from our collective phones, iPads, Laptops, Chromebooks, tablets and iMacs.  Time that would be much better spent on any one of 10,000 things than beating another level in Candy Crush.

I love my phone but I love my family MORE.

Obviously right?  I mean we all do.  The problem is that despite our very best intentions, societal norms have changed as have our expectations of how/when/with whom we use our devices and what is acceptable on our ‘down’ time – that time not spent at work or school.  Eight years ago I remember worrying about whether or not I was addicted to the internet because I checked my email more than once a day!!!

Can you even?  How laughable is that by today’s standards lol?

So.  This month, on the weekend of the 19-20th of March, The Jacks (that’s us FYI) are making a pledge; I’m signing all of us up for 24 hours of device free time along with thousands of other kiwi families in an effort to put the fab back in our family.  That’s what the Hyundai Power Off/Family On campaign is all about;  sign up online and pledge to power off for a few hours or the full 48, it’s up to you.  Because family roadies are one of New Zealand families favourite ‘do-it-together’ past-times, all who register to Power Off online go in the draw to win one of 100 x $100 fuel vouchers to help get the crew on the road and off the couch!

Check us out wearing our Power Off badges which you can pick up at your local Hyundai dealership! 

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Family

Sounds awesome right?  Get the kids onboard (or don’t and just surprise them lol) and register online NOW!

I plan on making the most of the lovely Autumn weather and getting the kids into the bush and out on the beach for a picnic dinner.

Share what you plan on doing with all of your device-free time over the Hyundai Power Off/Family On weekend below and enter to win a $100 MTA Gift Card to kick off your own amazing adventures!

Recipe Hack for Better Brekkie Pancakes

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Pancake Recipe

Breakfast wouldn’t be breakfast if pancakes weren’t on the menu at least once a week and every weekend without fail you guys go Google crazy for our pancake recipe.

But, there’s always room for improvement and trying new things.  This morning I showed Ethan the Better Brekkie initiative that Celebrity Chef Michael Van de Elzen has been working on with Weet-Bix, with the goal to get kiwi families to eat more healthy and nutritious breakfasts.

Since this campaign launched we’ve has a massive Weet-Bix resurgence in our house.  Ethan’s always been a loyal Weet-Bix kid, but Nixon is also on-board now, eating his crushed with yoghurt, Dave makes the Wake Up Shake every day and while I find that too sweet for me, I’ve begun adding a Weet-Bix to my regular smoothies to keep me going until lunchtime without snacking.  Yum!

So we gave Ethan the task of choosing one of the awesome Better Brekkie Recipes to prep for breakfast.  He picked (predictably!) the Weet-Bix Pancake Roll Ups and recruited his little brother to get involved also.  The boys did an amazing job and worked together really well, plus the result was outstanding!  We devoured these pancakes.  They are def more crepe-like than traditional fluffy pancakes and I love that.  We had been given heaps of black plums by our neighbour last week and had them stewed and waiting in the fridge which made the perfect accompaniment. 

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Pancake Recipe New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Pancake Recipe New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Pancake Recipe

Get into this one guys, the addition of the Weet-Bix makes these pancakes so tasty! 

WEET-BIX PANCAKE ROLL UPS

 INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Weet-Bix
  • 2 small whole eggs
  • 200ml reduced fat milk or milk alternative
  • 100ml water
  • rice bran oil for frying
  • 3 banana
  • 6 plums (fresh or stewed)
  • 6 tbsp low fat yoghurt to serve

METHOD

  1. Sift the flour and combine with salt, brown sugar and finely crushed Weet-Bix.
  2. Slowly add eggs until mixture is well combined. Add the milk, small amounts at a time, and mix until smooth.
  3. Finally add the water to the desired thickness.
  4. Heat a small amount of oil in a 25 cm non-stick fry pan and pour in 60 mls (¼ cup) of pancake mix. Ensure you move the pan around until the mixture fills the bottom.
  5. Cook for approximately 2 minutes, until lightly brown and then flip and repeat.
  6. Cut the bananas in half and roll inside pancakes while still hot.  They will stay rolled as they cool.

For more of Michael’s delicious recipes and information on Better Brekkie see here 

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Pancake Recipe