Author: TMP

Kyoto With Kids: A Family Holiday In Japan

Want a family holiday destination which combines Zen gardens, temples, bamboo groves and deer? Take your kids to Kyoto, Japan’s cultural capital. Kyoto With Kids: A Family Holiday In Japan Japan is a fascinating country with friendly, helpful people. It’s safe, easy to travel around and full of interesting places to go. Our holiday in Japan starts with an evening arrival at Narita International airport in Tokyo. We’ve arranged a night in a local hotel near to the airport which can be best described as shoebox size. However, it’s comfortable and contains all the mod cons we need. The following morning,...

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‘How To Be The Big Person Your Little Person Needs’ Book Review

How To Be The Big Person Your Little Person Needs is a fantastic parenting book and one that I wish was written five years ago. I’ve come across lots of parenting books and this is one of the most comprehensive but yet down to earth books that I’ve read. Author Claire Broad has spent ten years as a nanny. Her experience dealing with little people (as she refers to them) has resulted in writing this book. It’s a fantastic resource best suited for those looking after kids from 18 months to 7 years old and an ideal companion for dealing with the challenges of parenthood. In addition to speaking about what little people need, she spends time discussing the needs of parents and caregivers. These include eating well, exercise, maintaining a social network and having a break from the responsibilities of children. These are really valuable as I can speak from experience that parents and caregivers need to look after themselves so that they are best able to look after their children. Her book is packed with actionable items delivered in a warm and  non-judgemental tone. It actually makes you feel like you’re receiving advice from a trusted and knowledgeable friend. Claire provides parents with effective strategies to manage sleeping, eating and behavioural issues.In addition, she covers issues such as routines, sibling rivalry, tantrums, night-time wakeups, aggression, control battles and...

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Welcome to My Table: Caribbean Christmas Ham

Welcome to My Table is a new section on my website. The goal of this project is to promote tolerance and understanding by sharing food and family stories from all corners of the globe. My reader Siggy shares a favourite family recipe for Christmas ham from the small island country of Curaçao in the Caribbean. ‘Here is my famous recipe for Caribbean Christmas ham. We usually have to make two as the first one gets eaten while it’s cooking as all the family members have to taste to see if it’s ready when they baste the ham in the juice.’ Ingredients 1 fully cooked whole boneless ham Original mustard 1/2 cup whole cloves 1 can of pineapple slices in heavy syrup 1 jar of whole maraschino cherries For the juice: 1/2 cup cooking red wine (must be sweet) Worcestershire sauce to taste Sugar or maraschino cherries juice to taste Heavy syrup from pineapple can Instructions: Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celcius (325 degrees Fahrenheit) Place ham in roasting pan and spread a thin layer of mustard on top. Score the rind of the ham with a diamond pattern and press a clove into the center of each diamond. Drain the juice from the pineapple slices into a medium bowl, and stir in cooking red wine, sugar or maraschino cherries juice and Worcestershire sauce. Apply the juice mixture to the...

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Welcome to My Table: Okra and Meat Stew

Welcome to My Table is a new section on my website. The goal of this project is to promote tolerance and understanding by sharing food and family stories from all corners of the globe. My reader Christian shares his family recipe for Beef and Okra Stew from the African country of Ghana. This traditional dish provides energy as the stew is full of meat and veggies while the Banku is full of carbohydrates. Ingredients 1kg of lamb or beef meat  finely chopped Couple of chopped spinach leaves 1 cup of fresh okra (trimmed) 1Tsp of crushed ginger 1Tsp of crushed garlic 1/2 Tbsp salt (to taste) 1 piece of hot fresh chili 1/2 onion 150grams of tomato paste 60ml palm oil (optional) Instructions Cut up meat to the required sizes Add water up to half the level of meat in the pot Add onion into the meat Add crushed ginger, crushed garlic and salt Steam the meat till well cooked (add a little bit of water in case it runs out of water from evaporation) Add 1 piece of chopped hot fresh chilli and 150g of tomato paste while meat is cooking Wait until the meat is teamed till tender and add chopped spinach Cut up okra into cubical sizes,( divide okra longitudinally and cut it up into smaller sizes and add to meat. Stir sauce often to avoid sauce sticking...

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Welcome to My Table: Po Po’s Wonton Recipe

Welcome to My Table is a new section on my website. The goal of this project is to promote tolerance and understanding by sharing food and family stories from all corners of the globe. My reader Jaimie shares her mum’s recipe for wontons from China. “Po Po” is Grandma in Cantonese and this is my Mum’s recipe. These wontons are loved by my whole family. When I was pregnant with my daughter, my Mum made 240 wontons, which we froze. These meals were a blessing during the first 6 weeks after our daughter was born. Sleep deprived, frazzled and hungry, we reached into the freezer and dinner was ready within 5 minutes. Yum! Whenever my Mum comes to Newcastle I ask her to make some more wontons. We all stand in the kitchen and help her to make these. I am still trying to perfect my wrapping technique… Ingredients (Makes 120 triangular/tortellini shaped wontons, more if money bag shaped) 750g (free range) pork mince, finely chopped 750g (free range) chicken mince, finely chopped 1 bunches coriander – chop stalks and leaves separately 1 small tin water chestnuts, washed and coarsely chopped 1 stalk of spring onion, coarsely chopped (include enough green section of the stalks) 1cm piece ginger, finely chopped 1 Tbsp sesame oil 1/2 Tbsp white pepper 1/2 Tbsp salt (to taste) 1 Tbsp good quality rice wine...

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Welcome to My Table: Reena’s Indian Butter Chicken Recipe

Welcome to My Table is a new section on my website. The goal of this project is to promote tolerance and understanding by sharing food and family stories from all corners of the globe. I’m sharing my Indian Butter chicken recipe with my readers as it’s a favourite with our family. It’s origin are from the Punjab region in India.  Although the list of spices is long, it’s actually easy to make and devour! You can purchase the spices from Woolworths or Coles and there’s a few specialty Indian shops around like Raj’s Corner on Beaumont Street in Hamilton....

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Pregnancy, Birth and Baby Service for Australian Parents

In a boost for parents across Australia, the national Pregnancy, Birth and Baby service has today been expanded. The Pregnancy, Birth and Baby service offers telephone and Video Call options, available seven days a week, as well as a website that provides extensive information around pregnancy, birth and children’s development. Maternal Child Health Nurses and counsellors will be available to support parents at different stages from trying to conceive, pregnancy, new baby stage, toddlerhood and kids starting school. Pregnancy, Birth and Baby provides support seven days a week across three different mediums: By phone: call 1800 882 436 at any time of the day or night to speak with a registered Maternal Child Health Nurse. Staff can answer any questions you may have, give you advice on what to do next, and redirect you to other useful services. Video call: Pregnancy, Birth and Baby is one of the world’s first health services to offer a consumer led, secure, high quality video call option, 7am – midnight, 7 days a week: Online: The Pregnancy, Birth and Baby website provides information for parents on a range of topics “The telephone and Video Call options mean parents can now seek expert advice and support for their children and themselves from the comfort of their own homes – no matter where they live in Australia. This provides direct verbal or face-to-face...

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‘We’re Going on a Santa Hunt’ Book Review

We’re Going on a Santa Hunt is the latest reinvention of the popular rhyme by the creators of We’re Going on a Croc Hunt and We’re Going on an Egg Hunt. Join the animals as they attempt to hand-deliver their letters to Santa. This book features bright and amusing illustrations as the animals embark on a rollicking adventure. The North Pole Express, giant swishing trees and dark and sooty chimneys are just some of the obstacles that they face. It also includes a CD recording by children’s entertainer Jay Laga’aia. This book set is sure to get your family in the Christmas spirit. We’re Going on a Santa Hunt is published by Scholastic Australia. RRP $19.99.  Ages: 3+. The Mummy Project received a review...

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Draw, Build, Play: A Review of Artline Stix

My five-year daughter loves drawing and playing so when we got to review the Artline Stix marker pens, she was in heaven. Developed for children aged 3 – 9, these unique pens feature patterns which enable them to be snapped together to create different shapes. It’s an unusual product as it encourages writing, drawing and play. The Artline Stix range includes three different types of pens in non-toxic washable ink. These include colouring markers, drawing pens and brush markers. Available in different size packages, each pack contains connectors which enable kids to bend, spin, click and stick markers together. We had so much fun building different models and then breaking them apart to draw. As well as being able to be used for writing and drawing, Artline Stix is ideal for encouraging imaginative play. It’s a sneaky but fun way to develop kids’ fine motor skills. There’s also a range of collectible toy characters, headlined by Mojo and Swirl which can be built into creations such as windmills, planes and puppets. What my child loved (in her own words): I like the markers because they are like LEGO but when you take the lid off, colour just appears so you can write and there are little creatures that stick to the pens. What I loved: Artline Stix kept my kid busy. Artline reports that a recent study by Horizon...

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Speers Point Variety Park

How amazing is the massive Speers Point Variety Park? It’s a parent’s dream as there is something for children of all ages. Speers Point Park This 2 hectare, fully fenced park sits on the shore of Lake Macquarie enabling you to enjoy family fun with scenic views and lake breezes. The park features extensive play equipment including a giant 12 metre climbing tower which leads to a 9 metre spiral slide. There are swings and slides galore as well as a double flying fox and a spider web net. Keep an eye out for all the musical features scattered...

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How To Survive Flying With Kids

Flying With Kids? If the thought of being stuck on a plane with your kids for hours on end instills fear, here’s some help. Before our recent long-haul flight to Japan with our five-year old daughter, I canvassed other mums and dads about their tips for flying with  kids. A popular refrain was to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. They also provided me with some great advice which I have to share. Before You Fly Fly a full-service airline if you can. With food, luggage allowance and entertainment included, it’s worth the extra money in...

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‘Drops of Awesome Journal’ Book Review

Everyone has those days when you doubt yourself and your ability to get things done. This is when you need the Drops of Awesome: The You’re-More-Awesome-Than-You-Think Journal. It’s a unique journal with 40+ prompts which encourage you to record the positive acts you’re doing in your life. Developed by American writer Kathryn Thompson, it’s based on her viral blog Drops of Awesome. Thompson encourages people to write down acts, Drops of Awesome, both small and large that you are doing to improve your world. That’s right, YOUR world. You don’t need to be trying to find a cure for cancer or solve the Middle East conflict. You just need to focus on positive things that you are doing in your life in areas such as self-care, education, family, home or your relationships. Whether it’s managing to get your baby to swallow their first mouthful of solids, volunteering at school, decluttering your closet or doing a ParkRun, these are all feats that deserve to be celebrated. As mums, it’s easy to diminish our own actions. But by recording these Drops of Awesome, we can give ourselves credit for the small and big acts we achieve. By focusing on the positive, this can spur us on to achieve more. As Thompson writes: “You are doing more good than you currently realise You are a person of unspeakably good worth You are...

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Upcoming Events

10:00 am Disney Pixar Fim Festival @ Reading Cinemas Charlestown
Disney Pixar Fim Festival @ Reading Cinemas Charlestown
Oct 22 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Enjoy the magic of Disney Pixar with some classic family movies featuring your favourite characters like Woody, Buzz and Nemo. Reading Cinemas is bringing your all-time favourite Pixar films back to the big screen nationally with[...]
10:30 am Art Cart @ Newcastle Art Gallery
Art Cart @ Newcastle Art Gallery
Oct 22 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Visit the Newcastle Art Gallery every Saturday and Sunday morning for art and craft activities in the gallery. Art Cart engages children with the exhibitions on display through discussion and art making. Led by Gallery[...]
11:00 am Free Art Sunday @ MRAG
Free Art Sunday @ MRAG
Oct 22 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Every Sunday families are invited to drop into the art gallery for free art activities inspired by the exhibitions on display. Our activities are designed for kids of all ages, and as a family you[...]
9:30 am Rock n Rhyme @ Newcastle City Library
Rock n Rhyme @ Newcastle City Library
Oct 23 @ 9:30 am – 10:00 am
Enjoy songs, nursery rhymes, dancing, music, stories and lots of fun! These action packed sessions are perfect for children ages 0-3. Each session runs for 30 minutes. Free! No bookings necessary. Monday at 2pm or[...]
10:00 am Rock n Rhyme @ Mayfield Library
Rock n Rhyme @ Mayfield Library
Oct 23 @ 10:00 am – 10:30 am
Enjoy songs, nursery rhymes, dancing, music, stories and lots of fun! These action packed sessions are perfect for children ages 0-3. Each session runs for 30 minutes. Free! No bookings necessary. Mayfield Library – Monday[...]
11:00 am Storytime @ Mayfield Library
Storytime @ Mayfield Library
Oct 23 @ 11:00 am – 11:45 am
Stories, songs, rhymes and craft for children 3 to 5 years. Our Storytime sessions are a fun way to help prepare your child for reading once at school. Each sessions runs for 45 minutes. Free![...]
11:00 am Storytime @ East Maitland Library
Storytime @ East Maitland Library
Oct 23 @ 11:00 am – 11:30 am
Storytellers from Maitland City Library know how to make reading fun! Storytime sessions at Maitland City Library are designed to develop a love of reading in all children and to help eager young minds develop[...]
2:00 pm Rock n Rhyme @ Newcastle City Library
Rock n Rhyme @ Newcastle City Library
Oct 23 @ 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Enjoy songs, nursery rhymes, dancing, music, stories and lots of fun! These action packed sessions are perfect for children ages 0-3. Each session runs for 30 minutes. Free! No bookings necessary. * Rock n Rhyme[...]