It’s Beginning To Feel A Lot Like Christmas – Myer Giftorium

I don’t know about you but with three kids under five, I spend a fair bit of time at shopping malls. Over the past eight weeks or so, more and more Christmas stuff has presented itself and I’m starting to get excited.

Yep, Christmas is just around the corner and with the shops  already a buzz with bon bons, tinsel and inflatable Santas, I’m itching to put my tree up.

Last year it went up on the 1st November but in my defence, it was a tough day at the office and I had run out of activities for the kids to do.

Each year I promise myself that I will be more organised and do my Christmas shopping early yet time and time again, I find myself fighting for a car park and waiting impatiently in lengthy queues.

I was lucky enough to be invited to Myer’s secret Christmas launch last Friday and let me just say, the Christmas Giftorium did not disappoint. For a busy mum like me, the thought of braving the shops during the festive season, scares the living daylights out of me. Myer have it covered though by offering a one stop shop for all your Christmas needs.

Interactive retail shopping

Interactive retail shopping

The Giftorium has been launched across all Myer stores, nationwide and will offer over 2.2 million products, enough to fill the MCG!  It will showcase the extensive product range across all areas including toys, homewares, fashion and cosmetics.

My kids and I experienced the magic of this fabulous event as soon as the lift doors opened.  I watched on as they  were entertained by magicians,  a ballerina dancer and a hoola hoop (or hoopy loop as my daughter calls it) girl. She was also quick to point out that she too wanted to join the circus when she was a grown up.

It wasn’t long before the kids caught a glimpse of the colourful display of lollies that spanned across two large tables and kindly obliged when invited over for some taste testing.

Santa said we could mum

Santa said we could mum

What I particularly liked about the Giftorium was the fact that you can find gifts for just about everyone in the one spot. Once again perfect for time poor mums and dads. We spent a good three hours there and when the kids started getting a little restless, I knew that that was my cue to leave.

When it comes to retail shopping, I think Myer absolutely got it right by creating this interactive,  fun and unique service that takes the seriousness out of shopping during the silly season. Instead offering customers an enjoyable experience with a little touch of magic.

Myer will also be bringing the magic of Christmas to it’s website with a dedicated Giftorium microsite to guide customers through the product offering and services included.

Thank you Kids Business and Myer for a fabulous day out and for reminding me that Christmas shopping is not that hard after all.

Are you an on-line shopper or do you prefer to go in store?

Disclosure: I was gifted with a $50 voucher, a soda stream and a show-bag at this event.  All opinions about the day are my own.

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A Healthy Eating Guide For Busy Parents

Healthy eatingAs a mum, life becomes one big balancing act. Work and family time have to find some way of co-existing and every spare minute you get is usually dedicated to the needs of your children. When this happens it’s easy to get side tracked  when it comes to your own needs, particularly eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. Below are some easy to accomplish healthy eating guides for time-poor parents out there.

Outsourcing is King

Sometimes outsourcing things to make your life easier is not such a bad thing. Not that I don’t have the time to cook but I’m not very good at it. There are some brilliant businesses out there such as 5.4 who offer nutritionally balanced, prepared meal plans that come frozen to your front door. Unlike the frozen meals you buy from the supermarket, these are cooked fresh by qualified chefs, then snap frozen so the goodness stays in. Perfect choices for busy mums and dads as all the preparation has already been done!

Don’t Skip Breakfast

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day as it helps to kick-start your metabolism. Mornings are usually the busiest times for mums as you run around madly trying to get everyone out the door on time. Keep your breakfast simple and force yourself to eat something. Fibre-rich cereals like porridge with fruit on top are great as are a couple of boiled eggs with a cup of spinach. Quick and simple.

Prepare Your Snacks

Snacking is often the downfall of every great meal plan, unless of course you make your snacking just as healthy as the rest of your meals. Mixed nuts are ideal as you can buy these in large packets, and a small handful will actually help to curb your hunger. Fruit is another healthy choice and you can carry it in your  handbag. Raspberries and blueberries are easy snack foods and are chock full of fibre and natural sugars for an afternoon energy boost.

Plan Your Week

Yes, this part takes time but if you plan your week, I assure you that you wont be tempted to reach for the cookie jar. A healthy shopping list is the best way to make sure that you are only buying the goodness you need. It also results in a proper meal guide for the week, and means you can get in and out of the supermarket a lot quicker. Oh and don’t over complicate it. Simple, kid friendly recipes are the way to go. Soups or lean meat like chicken with veggies are a quick and easy choice as is a supermince using lamb, pork, beef or chicken. Just remember to avoid frying or overusing oil, (coconut oil is always a good choice) and steer-clear of too many pre-packaged sauces and take-away foods.

Health and fitness are at the forefront of many people’s minds these days, and therefore an array of options out there are making healthy living a more practical option. The important thing to remember is to make a plan. Take control today and you will find yourself with even more energy to dedicate to your kids.

What are some of your favourite healthy snacks?

This post was in collaboration with 5.4.

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It’s A Super Family Active Day – Get Involved

Back in January this year, I launched Family Active Day. A simple concept whereby each weekend throughout 2014, I encouraged people to grab a family member or the whole tribe for that matter and get active either on a Saturday or Sunday.

It could be anything from having a hit of tennis to finding a local trail to going for a long walk along the beach. It wasn’t just about keeping active though, it was about connecting with our loved ones and putting our busy lives aside for a few hours.

I have absolutely loved watching others get involved in Family Active Day throughout the year. Check out some of these awesome families getting their fit on.

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With 2014 coming to an end in a couple of months, I would like to get as many families out and about as possible for a Super Family Active Day  which will be happening on Sunday 16th November.

Haven’t spoken to your sister for a while? Give her a call and arrange to meet somewehere for a walk. Always wanted to do the 1000 Steps in Victoria? Grab your baby bjorn, pack a picnic and enjoy a fun day in the Dandenongs. Make it fun!

Other ideas include:

1. Go for a swim

2. Hire some bikes and go for a ride

3. Have a hit of tennis

4. Set up a mini athletics at a local park

5. Go for a jog

6. Walk the dog

7. Have a kick of soccer or football

8. Have a game of netball at a local court

9. Go ice-skating

10. Find an exercise station at a park and do a mini circuit

Exercise does not need to mean hours in a gym. In fact, I could think of nothing worse. Obesity is a very real problem in Australia and if we don’t start taking action now, our children will be suffering the consequences later.

So who is going to join me in November?

 I’m linking up with gorgeous Grace today for FYBF.

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Get Your Kids Moving On Their Special Day

As an adult, I feel amazing when I exercise so you can imagine the buzz that kids get when they get their little legs moving.

You can also imagine how excited one little boy was last Sunday when I combined his love of soccer with his 5th birthday celebrations.

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How many more sleeps mummy, how many more sleeps mummy, were the words I got each and every night for a week leading up to his big day.

I have just started up my own Active Kids Birthday party business in Bayside, Melbourne and I was absolutely thrilled to trial the first one for our son at Thomas Street Reserve in Hampton at the weekend.

The sun was shining (although a little windy to start with) , and the J man had in excess of 28 kids to help celebrate his big day. No pressure.

Staying true to his passion for sport, in particular soccer, we hosted a soccer themed party.

Rounding two kids and an infant up on any given day can be a challenge so the thought of twenty eight was initially a little daunting.

A soccer whistle, however, did the trick and soon I had 28 kids raring and ready to go.

First up was a game of dribble. (Not the five month dribble that I’m currently getting from our third born).

Teams of four dribbling the ball through witches hats, then back again tagging their next team member. The first team to finish wins.

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The second game was Soccer Blocker. This was one of my favorites where all the kids form a circle and there is one blocker in the centre.

One child starts with the ball and has to try and kick it past the blocker to the other side. If it is intercepted then the person that kicked it becomes the new blocker. There were some very stylish kicks from the youngsters I might add.

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To break up the theme just a little to accommodate those that weren’t overly into soccer, aka my daughter and her posse of girl friends, we ran a sack race.

Teams jumping their little hearts out for the title was so adorable. Dad’s jumping their little hearts out was not on the cards but hilarious to watch all the same.

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It’s hard to gauge when kids are hungry at an event like this and a quick and easy way to find out is to shout out “Who’s hungry?”.

The look in their eyes when I said that took me back to the time when I visited Pampalona for the running of the bulls. Chaos!

Lunch was quickly served before moving on to the soccer pinata. The line seemed to go forever yet they all lined up waiting patiently for a crack at winning a sweet or two.

It was then on to the cutting of the cake then a little more soccer playing before the party sadly came to an end. Well for the guests anyway. We still had some serious present unwrapping to do when we got home. The generosity of all of his beautiful friends was so very kind. Thanks everyone.

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Time sure does fly when you’re having fun. Having an active, fitness party for a birthday is a fabulous way to get kids moving whilst celebrating their big day. The best part is, they wear themselves out so much that you are guaranteed a full night sleep.

For more information on my active, kids parties, please contact me at anitadebortoli@gmail.com. My website is coming soon so stay tuned.

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The next time you go to plan
your child’s birthday, consider an active party. Your child will love it!

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Kids and Obesity-How To Bring Back Real Nutrition

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When it comes to being passionate about things, kids and obesity rank pretty high in this household.

So when this media release dropped into my inbox, I felt compelled to share.

Mums and dad’s out there, this is worth a read.

With one in four Australian children considered obese*, keeping nutrition simple may be a vital key in changing the trend, says nutrition and wellbeing expert Tyler Tolman.

According to a survey conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in 2008, children become fatter as they head toward their teens. Such findings are easier to understand when you consider a recent Cancer Council of NSW study, which found junk food companies can market sugary cereals and confectionary as healthier foods than they actually are**.

Analysis revealed Kellogg’s Coco Pops, Arnott’s Tiny Teddies and Nestle Smarties can be promoted to children according to the companies own health standards, set up as part of voluntary advertising codes.

“Under such guidelines, children are being introduced to highly processed sugars, artificial colours, synthetic preservatives and more; setting them up for not only sugar addiction, but obesity and related health issues into adulthood,” says Tolman, who will be in Australia next month as part of his Health Vibe Tour of Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Yet, it’s not just children being duped by lax advertising standards, it’s also parents who fall into the trap of believing what they see promoted to them.

Tolman, who has assisted people heal from diet related diseases such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and hypertension, says many parents may believe they’re feeding their children nutritious foods, but are in fact helping aid a common, health-destroying addiction.

“I was once giving a presentation to about 400 people about health and nutrition, motivating them to eat fruits and avoid artificial sweeteners and colors that can cause ADHD and other problems,” Tolman says.

“After the presentation, a woman asked, ‘Tyler, I need your help. My daughter is having some issues and I don’t know why.’ So, I asked, ‘What did she have for breakfast?’ She said, ‘She had fruits.’ I asked what fruits — apples? Pomegranates? She said, ‘Froot Loops.’ A massive paradigm shift needs to take place. Processed breakfast cereals marketed to children are sugar, artificial colors and crap. No wonder this child was having massive issues. So when it comes to finding healthy foods for kids, these types of foods are not the answer.”

Efforts to improve what children eat should begin before they even learn to walk, according to findings in a series paediatric nutritional studies published in the US earlier this month***.

How to Keep Kids Nutrition Simple, Fun and Healthy

“Don’t listen to what everybody has been saying; you have got to have this; you have got to have that. You need to keep it simple. Nature is simple,” Tolman says. “And nutrition isn’t just about food.”

Encourage children to play in the sun for at least 20 minutes per day;
Exercise is extremely important. It helps the body to eliminate toxins, digest food better and overall function more effectively. Make it fun so kids don’t see it as a chore;
Ensure they’re drinking clean spring water regularly;
Use fruits as healthy snacks. Kids just like to snack on to something and then go, run and play. Don’t stop them. Get them started eating something healthy as they go.
Help your child to love healthy food. If you give your daughter an apple, she will bite it— one little chunk — and usually, that’s it. But if you take the time to cut the apple, take off the skin and then offer it to her, then it tastes really sweet and she will eat the whole thing. Find the fruit that your children like and feed it to them as much as they want.
Top Kid-Friendly Snacks

1. Apples
Apples have fibre and are good for the digestive system. They literally grab the toxins and throw them out of the body. They add so many minerals and nutrients.

2. Oranges
Oranges, as well as papayas and mangoes have plenty of fibre and hydrate too. Freeze them during summer for an instant nature-made orange ice block.

3. Dates
Kids often love dates thanks to their natural sweetness and chewy texture. They give energy, help with digestion, and get rid of pathogens.

4. Celery
Brimming with calcium and fibre, celery goes great with a dollop of almond butter, which adds in protein and good fats.

5. Smoothies
If your children don’t like greens, make a greens smoothie with them—kids love getting involved. Get them up on the counter to help chop up the fruits and vegetables; take some celery sticks, apples and big handfuls of greens; put in some cucumbers, avocados, dates, and a lot of water and you have got a big fat smoothie blended up.

Lead by Example

Tolman says the best action you can take when it comes to children and nutrition is lead by example.

“Do all of this for yourself, too. Lead by example. If a child sees you doing something, they are going to do it. They want to be like you and if you want to be healthy and want to set a beautiful example, these traits will develop in them as well.”

* Australian Institute of Health and Welfare statistics
** AIHW analysis of the 2007–08 NHS.
*** The package of 11 studies was published in the journal Pediatrics and was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, among others. Investigators tracked the diets of roughly 1,500 6-year-olds, comparing their eating patterns to those observed in a study that followed them until age 1.

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Copyright 2013 Fit Mother Hubbard