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Friday Find: Explore & Learn

Friday Find: Explore & Learn

I’m always on the look out for local businesses to feature on Friday Finds. In particular, I love to feature ideas and products created by clever Mums and Dads. Usually, they have found a gap in the market, and end up creating products that we all need, or have been searching for for ages! I’m always looking for good quality toys, particularly those that develop imagination and fine motor skills. Normally, these products cost an arm and a leg, and a hefty price is enough to turn anyone off even the most beautiful wooden set!

Cue Janette Colbert, who created her own WAHM (Work At Home Mum) business called “Explore and Learn Toddler.” Explore and Learn Toddler was born after her first son Cian (now 2) entered his toddler years (she also has a second son, Sam – aged 7 months). With a background as a primary school teacher, lots of friends would always ask her ‘what can I get for my toddler to help then learn?’. She wanted to show them that schools help children learn through play and hands-on real-life experiences. With this, the hunt begun for high quality toddler toys (she specialises in wooden toys) that support learning through play. Best of all, they come with a very, very reasonable price tag. Perfect for this time of year as Christmas approaches!

She also has a Facebook page that shares ‘Invitations to Explore and Learn’ – hands-on craft, fine motor and sensory play activities for families to try with their children at home.

Here are some of my favourites from her range:

The Peg & Stack Board – $15.50

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Wooden Shape Threading – $15.50

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Matching Expressions Game – $16Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 10.56.58 AM

Wooden Shape Threading – $21Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 10.57.14 AM

Wooden Chocolate Cake – Currently on sale for $18Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 10.57.46 AM

and finally… the Wooden Animal Magnets – $15. These magnets also come in other ranges, including transport!Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 10.58.14 AM

I just love her idea, and especially think that parents will love the quality and price. Janette has been so kind as to offer Happy Ella After Readers the chance to win their own Christmas gift from her range next week. Stay tuned on Monday to learn more.

In the mean time…you can visit her gorgeous range via Explore and Learn. Janette is also offering readers a special $5 discount off shipping rates. Simply use the code word ‘ELLA’ in the checkout!

kate

Friday Finds: Casetagram

Friday Finds: Casetagram

tumblr_ltmuvtM8Ce1r2k7tlo1_1280Last year, I was getting out of the car, baby in tow, hand bag and nappy bag lugged over my shoulder when my iPhone fell out of my pocket and smashed all over the ground. I was not a happy camper. I knew that I should have had a proper case for my phone, but had just put it to the bottom of my never ending ‘to do’ list. After upgrading my phone I invested in a case straight away, and it has proven to be a worthwhile investment by protecting my phone from a number of subsequent falls and general beating around by one small but very active baby. Whilst my phone has withstood a great deal of ‘general use’, it is time to get a new case. I’ve been looking around at various options and was recently showed this amazing new product that allows you to create your own personalised case. Cue ‘Casetagram’.

This fabulous product allows you to create almost any type of case you like. It includes a variety of themes and templates and draws upon photos from your own Instagram or Facebook library. By downloading their app, you can play till your heart’s content. Not only this, but you can create covers for your iphone or android device, and iPad! From $39.95, you can have your own family protect your precious phone!

These screen shots below show the fun I’ve had creating my own case….

Choose your device and case template…

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Add your photos…

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Put it all together…

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Save and share your design!!!

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I love, love this idea. Can’t wait for it to arrive in the mail. For more information about Casetagram, click here.

kate

Friday Finds: Personalised Pillows

Friday Finds: Personalised Pillows

For years, I’ve seen beautiful personalised cushions on sale in stores and have always thought about getting one for Ella after she was born. Whilst I was watching ‘Postcards’ on television a few Saturdays ago, I saw a story about a woman who was creating hand made manchester for children. Sold at via her online store or on show at the Flemington market, Wendy Pamela’s passion is creating beautiful things.

Her website includes a variety of colours and patterns that you can choose to create your own baby blanket, cot or bed quilts, cushions and bags.

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I chose the flower Sugar design to create Ella her very own personalised cushion…

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Nestled on her Alice in Wonderland high back chair, its the perfect place for a pillow to lie!

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To visit Wendy Pamela’s store and see her entire product range and prices, visit her store here.

A gorgeous addition to any child’s bedroom, her products are just divine.

 

 

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Friday Finds: Plug me in!

Friday Finds: Plug me in!

Tomorrow we are venturing off to Queensland for our first big family holiday. This also means that we are travelling with a baby on a plane for the first time! I’m not sure who should be more nervous….Ella or us. So comes the time when we become ‘those’ people who walk down the aisle of the plane, with our toddler in tow. The look on patient passenger faces is displayed with a slight ‘don’t sit next to me’ look. For 33 years, I have been that passenger, waiting with bated breath. Oh well, tomorrow, the shoe will be on the other foot. Whilst I’m more concerned about getting our daughter and selves through the two-hour trip, I do want the experience to be pleasant for those around us….

So, I’ve got my bag packed with snacks, a bottle for Ella to drink on the way up and down, and lots of flat toys and books to keep her occupied. All I can say is thank God for the iPad. It too is loaded with dozens of Peppa Pig, Charlie and Lola and Play school videos..ready to occupy any one year old (hopefully).

So this week I set out to find some child friendly headphones that Ella could use to ensure that she both enjoys the trip, and does not disturb those ‘patient’ passengers next to us. Whilst watching tv this week, I came across the new Kmart adds, and bingo! I ventured into the store and purchased a fabulously bright pink set of child headphones. Whilst they are not up there with the Bose standard of quality, for $8 you cannot beat the price. Ella even seems to like them already….lets hope that she keeps them on for long enough to have some effect!

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The headphones displayed are not on the Kmart Website, but similar ones are posted here. Say a little prayer for us!!!! 🙂

kate

Friday Finds: Baby Milestone Cards

Friday Finds: Baby Milestone Cards

Whilst Ella’s birthday has come and gone, its made me think about all of her milestones so far. I recently came across this beautiful idea – baby milestone cards. These beautiful cards can be taken with your child to mark many of the big and small milestones that your baby achieves in their first few years. From their first smile, first tooth and first steps, these cards are a gorgeous way to make a simple event magical.

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Eating solids? sleeping through the night for the first time? These simple little moments just pass us by!

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 6.19.14 PMPriced at $32.95, they are available from Little Me and Little You.

kate

*Images are linked to their original source

And the winner is….

And the winner is….

photo 1Thank you to all of the wonderful Mums and Dads who entered our Cake 2 the Rescue Competition. It was so great reading all of the fantastic responses, and fun memories of Birthdays gone by. Each of us wants to create memorable birthdays for our children and most of us can look back fondly on our own.

The winner of our competition was Lauren from Adelaide. Her entry was: ‘Who doesn’t have great memories of a Barbie cake with a big pink skirt!? That and playing on a slip’n’slide in the middle of summer! Which may be problematic as her birthday is in the middle of winter!’ 

This memory made me think about all of the years flipping through the good old Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake book and choosing my own cake each year. Having my own birthday in June, I could also sympathise with wanting to have pool parties like the ‘cool’ kids who had their birthdays in summer. Ella is so lucky that she can always bask in the sun for hers!

Some of the other responses included:

Bron from Melbourne: ‘Parties in the backyard. Hanging apples from a tree and trying to bite them! Homemade cakes, making our own fun and trampolines with no netting!’

Dionne from Maudsland: ‘Simple, fun games for all to enjoy. Loved apple bobbing but that may have to wait a few years yet :)’

Jenny from St Kilda: ‘My grandma always made cream cakes with fruit on top for every birthday, Christmas and Easter which always had orange squeezed on top to make the cakes moist… I plan to make a cream cake for Alexandra’s celebrations and when she is old enough I will tell her all about her great grandma and how crazy she was!!!!!’

With over 60 entries, I was blown away with the response to my first Blog Comp! Thanks to all who entered! Lauren will receive her very own Cake 2 the Rescue kit delivered to her door! Thanks also to the Cake 2 the Rescue girls for being so generous!

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Friday Finds: Laugh & Learn with Fisher Price

Friday Finds: Laugh & Learn with Fisher Price

Screen Shot 2013-02-16 at 9.36.31 AMBetter late than never, once again my Friday Find is a little late. This week I posted a photo of Ella playing with our iPad and I received a number of requests asking about the App that she was using. Fisher Price have a number of fantastic ‘Laugh & Learn’ Apps that focus on the simple skill of understanding Cause and Effect. Understanding that touching the screen can cause shapes, animals and colour to move and make noise provides children with a sense of awe and wonder. Ella loves these range of Apps because they are filled with colour, animation and familiar sounds. Most of their Apps are free and also can be paired with a range of great tools including the Apptivity Monkey and Apptivity cases for iPhone and iPad.

The following Apps are Ella’s favourite….

FP_ShapesHD_Icon512_tcm169-22414Shapes & Colours Music Show – Babies touch the variety of coloured shapes, each singing and dancing with their own personality

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Animal Sounds for Baby – Babies learn about different animals and the sounds they make

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Where’s Puppy’s Nose – Learn about the parts of the body by following the cute Puppy!

I hope that your babies enjoy these Apps as much as Ella does!

kate

*Images are sourced from www.fisherprice.com