Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Top iPhone Apps

by Becky from beckyandjames.com
I {heart} my iPhone. Almost daily I wonder how I ever got through live without it (honestly). I am not the only person in love with the device. I have to fight off my hubby and two girls to get my hands on it (and yes, it is my phone). When I DO get a go; these are my go-to apps (see if you can see a trend...):

1. Facebook
2. Instagram
3. Hipstamatic (this would probably be #2 if it had the kind of social side Instagram has)
4. SwankoLab
5. iDarkroom
6. Camera+
7. Words with Friends
8. Gloria Jean's Coffees
9. Jamie Oliver 20 Minute Meals
10. CamWow (just because it keeps the kids and I entertained)

My girls are loving these apps:

1. Poket God
2. Talking Gina
3. I Close My Eyes
4. Toy Story 3 memory game
5. Dora saves the Crystal Kingdom lite (yea, I am a mean Mumma)
6. Toddler Teasers
7. Baby Karaoke
8. ABC For Kids

What are your favourite apps?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Birthday traditions

By Bec

Today is my daughter's birthday.  My baby girl is 2 years old.  It seems like only yesterday she was born.  And now she is an independent, chatty, loving girl.  I have to face facts, she isn't a baby anymore.  She moved into a bed a few weeks ago.  Her choice, I wasn't ready.  I was sure she would be in her cot until she was 5!  But as the bed had been in her room for a while as we got her brother a new king single, she just decided she was going in...but that's another story!

Birthdays are a big deal in our house.  I love throwing little parties for them, so they have one every year.  Just a few friends for a catch up.  I love making their birthday cakes.  Last year I made Savannah a giant cupcake. It was a real hit.  Now that Hunter is older, he really appreciates the cake I make for him.  The look on his face when he sees the cake for the first time is priceless - worth the hours spent icing and decorating.
Savannah's first birthday cake.
When my son turned 1 we took him to the zoo.  When he turned 2 we did the same thing, so began the family tradition. We go to the zoo for the kids birthdays every.  The zoo is a great family outing to celebrate another birthday (this year we are doing it without hubby as he has to work). 

We also go out for dinner on their birthday with family.  It's a celebration for us as parents too, to have survived another year!  We have been to Fasta Pasta for Hunter's birthday every year so far!  Last year he fell asleep in the car on the way there, so spent his birthday dinner asleep.  We are heading there again tonight for Savannah's birthday. 

I have a friend who blows up 100 balloons and puts them in her daughter's room the night before her birthday so she wakes up to a birthday surprise...I tried that one year but only managed about 20 balloons - didn't have the same effect..but I love that birthday tradition!

So as I ponder my baby growing up, and get ready to head off to the zoo, I would like to know does your family have any birthday traditions?

Thursday, March 24, 2011


by Becky from beckyandjames.com

Four years ago tomorrow my dear Other Half and I were married in a private ceremony in Broome, Western Australia. It was beautiful.

4 years has gone so fast. I suppose having added three little people to our lives in that time has helped with the whole speeding-up-of time thing.

As I have been happily perusing the Little YoYo Styles store, I thought I would share a list of things I would LOVE to receive for a fourth anniversary present.

I saw the Pink Gingham Gift Suitcases first and love, love, LOVED them. Then, noticed the Blue Gingham. *Die*. A few more clicks and I found the multicoloured Gift Suitcases. I want them all. Yes, when I say them all I mean all. three. sets. Decorative? Check. Cute? Of course. Practical?Indeed. Perfect photography prop?  OMG yes!

Now, with so many adorable suitcases I figured I would need many, many stylish things to fill them. And as I am obsessed with photography I am looking at things and wondering if they'd make perfect additions to shoots with my kids; so if my choices seem strange, that might be why (or I might just still be a kid at heart)!

I {adore} hats

I can't totally see my girls in these!

Something cute for my hair
Something cute for their hair
Is this not the best cushion, ever?
Yes, most of those are purely to make my kiddos adorable, which makes my heart full, so that I can snap away with my camera. I can't help it. I am obsessed! Just for me, I would want;


And of course those three sets of suitcases. I'm not asking for much, surely.

What would YOU ask for?
If you want to read more about our wedding in Broome; visit BeckyandJames.com tomorrow!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Safe Sippy2

By Bec

The Safe Sippy2 is a stainless steel, BPA free, convertible sippy to straw cup, with a travel plug. The handles are removable, but not only that they are movable so the spout is always in the right spot (there is nothing worse than screwing a lid on a cup and the spout being over the handles making it hard to drink).

I got a little confused with the instructions, but once I worked it out it was actually quite easy. Dark orange valve is the no-spill travel part, the clear valve is for sippy cup and the light orange valve and straw is for straw cup.

But laugh at my expense, I was pushing and pushing to try and get the the straw through the spout, to drink out the straw. My 4 year old said to me “that’s not going to work Mum" and showed me how to use it! The straw goes in the cup and the child drinks through the spout – I thought the straw was for drinking out of.

My children got a bit confused in straw mode. As you can’t see the straw, they didn’t realise it was in straw bottle mode and both my (almost) 2 year old and 4 year old kept tipping it up to drink and were getting frustrated when they couldn’t get much water. We gave up on straw mode and just used normal cup mode.

Originally I though the additional non-spill plug valve was going to be a pain to use. I figured it was something extra I have to take anytime I want to put the cup in my bag (which would be all the time). But in actual fact when I did it, it was easy. I just put the travel plug in the cup and chucked it in my bag, and put the other bits in a snap lock bag in my bag. It was simple to swap over when needed. And that travel valve is FANTASTIC!! No spills whatsoever! This is truly the first no spill cup I’ve used!

I love the colours this cup comes in, and at $24.95 it’s great value.
Check out the Safe Sippy2.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Naked Chef

By Bec

Okay so he is 4, but who wouldn’t want a naked chef in their house? It’s raining outside so Hunter and I decided to make some cupcakes. Firstly, I have to admit, I’m a packet mix snob. We tried a packet mix once, but seriously, open pack and put contents into bowl, crack egg into bowl and mix. Put in cake in tin and voila – cake! How boring. Took a whole 5 minutes and didn’t entertain at all. And the taste, ewww it’s just like cardboard. Why waste calories on that???

So now we bake from scratch. We make a mess, but boy do we have fun.

Hunter was a little scared of the electric mixer to start with and would run into the other room until it was done, then he would come back to crack the eggs. One egg in, run to the other room whilst I mix, then back for another egg in, again run into the other room so I could mix, and then he is back to put in flour and milk and stir.  But now he is 4 he isn't scared of anything!

 I was a bit hesitant at first to let Hunter crack the eggs, so now I make him crack them into a mug so I can take out any shell if required, before he puts into the bowl. He happily puts the patty pans in the muffin tin, and then spoons mixture into the pans. Then for the best bit – licking the beaters and the bowl! Nothing beats uncooked cake batter!

Cooking with kids is a truly fantastic activity. They are never too young to begin learning this necessary life skill. And we also squeeze in a math lesson as we count, weigh, measure and time. And best of all, it’s fun!! 

My favourite cupcake recipe is:
125g butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup milk.

Preheat oven to 160-180 degrees. Grease pans (or put patty pans in muffin trays).

Beat butter, essence and sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time until combined. Stir in flour and milk in two batches. Spread mixture into prepared pans. Bake in moderate oven until cake is cooked. Stand cake in pans for about 5 minutes then turn onto wire rack to cool.

(courtesy of The Australian Women’s Weekly kids birthday cakes)

Do you have any cooking with kids stories?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dressing Up **Review**

by Becky from beckyandjames.com

Like so many other children, my girls adore dressing up. For the most part, it's fairies and princesses with lots of frills, glitter, twirls and magic so when we received this Super smart two pieces gentleman set in Kahlei's size to review I wasn't sure how she would take to it.

Thankfully, she decided it was the perfect Dress-Up piece and created a funny, shuffling little character to go along with her new look.

This 100% cotton long-sleeve romper has the most adorable bow-tie and (attached) braces, it has snap studs on the inside of the legs for easy access nappy changes and comes with a matching suit jacket. Once it's a little cooler she will be able to wear that on top.

She loves it and I think she looks oh-so-cute (no bias here, hehe).

I am a big fan of dressing up. The role play elements of dressing up encourages social skill building, gives children the ability to play out real life situations and gives them the chance to work on problem solving. And, of course, there's the obvious benefits of allowing their imaginations to develop and soar.

Add the Super smart two pieces gentleman set to your dress up box or buy for your little boy to wear to special occasions for $39.60.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Quick & Easy Dinner Recipe and a Tip About Tinned Tomatoes

I have a confession to make; I am not the cook in our house. There is no Chez Louisa in residence. Cheze le Architect gets home late most days and so if I don't feed the kids, they don't get fed.

As a result I've learnt a couple of really quick, easy and tasty meals that Bliss loves and will eat time and time again.

Tomato Sausage Delight.
(Original name, hey? Don't you think "delight" makes all the difference.)

Prep time: 10mins
Cooking time: 20-30mins depending on the oven.

You will need:
  • Sausages - however many you want to feed your child/ren and some extras if you want to freeze. Hint: if you buy nice sausages it makes this dish even tastier.
  • A tin of whole tomatoes, or two if you are making a huge batch.
  • Herbs to taste and some salt, pepper and chilli.
  • A baking dish.
  • Grease the baking dish.
  • Cut the sausages into bite sized pieces and place them in the bottom of the baking dish
  • Cut up the tomatoes from the tin and pour them, and the tomato puree over the sausages
  • Add herbs, salt & pepper and if your kids are up to it, some chilli.
  • Bake in the oven covered. Uncover for the last 5 minutes.
Serve with a side of veges.


Tinned Tomato Tip:

It's convenient to buy chopped tinned tomatoes but the next time you use them compare them to a tin of whole tomatoes. Do you notice the richness of the whole tomatoes, the thickness of the tomato sauce? To me there's a noticeable difference so I buy the whole tomatoes and just give them a quick chop before using them. Have a look and let me know if you see the difference too.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

$50 Gift Voucher Winner Announced

True Random Number Generator 
Powered by RANDOM.ORG
The winner is entrant #12
Please send an email to info@littleyoyostyles.com.au to claim your prize!

Friday, March 4, 2011

AromaPlay - Sniff Snuff

By Bec
What a fantastic idea. My children love play dough and I have been thinking of trying AromaPlay for a while. I love that it’s suitable for coeliac children who can’t play with the popular commercial play dough and I love the idea of creating scents whilst playing. AromaPlay has a rainbow of colours and scents available, so there is one for every mood. The instructions state the play dough is 100% Gluten free and is not only fun and colourful but is also natural, non toxic and biodegradable. AromaPlay will liven or soothe your child with the release of aromatherapy oils into the air as they create. 

We tried Sniff Snuff, which is great for kids with colds and runny noses. It smells of eucalyptus and was just devine. This dough was so soft and squishy...the kids loved it and I loved it. I’ve found other commercial brands quite tough, but this just felt so nice to mould and squish. The packaging states not suitable for under 3’s, but my almost 2 year old had a ball playing with it!
I’m not sure how the different scents would go together – and to be honest don’t think I would try as my kids seem to mix all the colours so we would just get a big blob of colours and scents, but I will definitely get a few more colours to play (individually) for different moods.

At $9.90 per tub it is a little more expensive than other brands, but I think the benefits of including aromatherapy, being natural, biodegradable and very soft make it worth the price.

There are many advantages to playing with dough. The ones most relevant to me are:
  • encourages imaginative play – my son made a bean bag and lots of aliens!
  • dividing it up helps teach about sharing, counting and fractions
  • it helps to strengthen muscles by squeezing, punching, poking, rolling and cutting
  • it’s great for self esteem as there is no wrong creation
  • And don’t forget – it’s FUN!

 Check out the range of AromaPlay.  

Our showroom grand opening sale Lucky draw winners!

 Doing the draw in a very tradition way...
 here are our 3 very lucky winners!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

4 Stunning Gifts For The Little Girl(s) In Your Life.

Have you shopped for a little girl lately? There is an abundance of gorgeous little girls toys on the market - we are spoilt for choice. How do you choose the items that your little girl will most enjoy? I'm going to help you with that today by sharing some of the most played with toys in our house. Get ready to fall in love!

I have to start with the best:  Mother Garden. Have you seen the range? Beware. You will fall in love! I am not a huge pretty-in-pink-girl but this range is just breathtaking. It's so fun and well made. We gave Bliss the Toaster Set for Christmas and she plays with it every single day. We have picnics, we make breakfast, the teddies are fed. It goes on and on. She loves it! And she's not the only one.... :)

The cake and tea set is also beautiful. What I love about these two sets in particular is the inclusion of a tea set.

And of course, Bags, Bags, Bags!

It starts at an early age but there is no denying that little girls love their bags. This is a gorgeous basket just perfect for pretend play and an outing with Mummy!

My Bliss was given a teepee for her second birthday and it's been a huge hit. Lots of independent  and corporate play happens with it and I love that we can use it inside  and outside!

Finally, little girls just love jewellery and I just adore this necklace and the hair clips.

What are the favourite toys in your house? Do you have a particular item that you regularly give as gifts to little girls. Would love to hear what you enjoy the most!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Top Rain Play Tips

by Becky from beckyandjames.com

With summer being quite a wet one this year, I've struggled frequently with people who tell my children "Oh, you can't play outside, it's raining!" I realise they think they are helping but I certainly do not subscribe to the 'children can't play in the wet' way of thinking. I believe the chance to experience play in all types of weather is an important part of learning and growing up.
Now that summer's on the way out, I wanted to share some of my top Rain Play tips to help you and your child get the most out of  those autumn days where crunching in the beautiful fallen leaves isn't at option, yet playing in the rain is.
1. Say Yes
I know it can seem easier to say those words; "Oh, you can't play outside, it's raining!" and keep the kiddies inside, but if you simply start by saying yes, that's a great step. We often feel bound to doing what is perceived as the 'right' thing and that, more often than not, is denying rather than allowing. Say yes. It might surprise you how much you enjoy your children playing in the rain.
2. Be Prepared
Being prepared can make a whole lot of difference in your enjoyment of any activity your children partake in. I always get my girls a towel each to wrap them in once they're done, as well as put a towel down inside the back door for foot wiping. Having clothes at the ready and running the bath before they come inside can also be a great stress and time saver.
3. Rain Wear
Appropriate wet weather gear like raincoats, hats, gumboots and even an umbrella are the perfect attire for jumping in puddles, keeping clothes and children dry and gives an opportunity to talk about why these things might be required.
4. Bare Baby
While there are definitely times where rain wear is needed, there are also times when the warmer weather might be perfect for some bare feet or even bare bodies. It's the chance for children to feel and experience what the rain does to the world around them. It's the chance for them to get their feet wet, literally.
5. Encourage Exploration
My girls and I love exploring our yard and I adore the opportunity to discover how things change or work due to different weather. Finding worms, watching snails, counting collecting raindrops on leaves and noticing spiderwebs outlined by resting water are all wondrous things for children.
6. Let There Be Mud
If you have mud in your yard, don't be afraid to let your children play in it. My husband has paved over our mud and I often grieve it's loss. Mud play is a great, natural tactile experience for children. It is one of the messiest of Messy Play, obviously, but it is so rewarding. You don't have to let them in it every time it rains, just occasionally break out of your normal play routine and let them loose. Just be sure you've taken in point two and run the bath before they come in!
7. Relax and Enjoy
This is the most important step. Once you've said yes and got everything organised, don't spend the whole time they're out in the rain stressing about how dirty or wet they are getting or what they are doing. Letting children just be is sometimes hard to do and it's also something that we should all work harder at doing. Not restricting their exploration and play performs an imperative part in forming their self esteem, self belief and understanding of themselves, their world around them and their place in it.
Is it raining today? Why not go splash in the puddles with your kids (maybe sing a song and dance, too)?
For more brilliant play ideas, visit Childhood 101's We Play link up
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