Ava- 2 years old!

Well I have been super slack when it comes to posting.. we can call it lack of inspiration! Guys.. what would you like to see posts on? Apart from photos of my amazing daughter I am totally lacking in the inspirational field.

If you follow me on insta you’ll know that Ava turned two last week! I took some quick photos the week before so I would have a current photo to post for her birthday (yes, I’m that mum)! Just as her little scratch on her cheek has been healing (it’s been almost 5 months) she fell and knocked her head on the heater two days ago and now has a gash near her eye… I thought only boys were supposed to be rough?! Anyways.. On a happy side note- I thought Ava needed 2 year old immunizations (yes, I’m also that mum that immunizes her daughter)..wellllllll…she actually doesn’t get any more until she’s 4! Woohoo for Ava!

So.. here is our baby girl.. 2 years on..

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Twenty Facts about Steph

Hi Guys!

For those who are new here I wanted to introduce myself. I don’t think I have ever posted one of these “fun facts” posts. It was soooo difficult to come up with things so don’t be too harsh..ha!

  1. My middle name is Carmen. It is a tribute to my great grandmother Nana Carmen who was born and raised in Malta. She moved to Australia later in her life. Fun side fact- Ava’s middle name is named after her great grandmother Nana May.
  2. I lived in the U.S.A for a year where I was studying music which is where I met Greg, my now husband. We have been together for over 10 years.
  3. I have lots of friends, but my best friend of 22 years is Liz. Our mums met on the first day of kindergarten and have been best friends ever since. She is now living over the other side of the country and it’s slowly breaking our hearts. Fun side fact- for my wedding Liz bought me a stand mixer which I love and think of her every time I use it. For her wedding 2 years ago I bought her a stand mixer!
  4. I am able to teach Classical Piano and am self taught (but not very good at all) on the guitar, bass and drums (I took 10 lessons on this one).
  5. I love watching Ice Hockey- my dream is to one day sit behind the glass at a game!
  6. I will, any hour of the day, eat a donut. Glazed, unglazed, hot, cold- It really doesn’t matter to me. My all time favourite though is a classic Krispy Kreme or Strawberry Glazed.
  7. I work outside of the home selling ingredients into cosmetic products such as anti-ageing peptides and collagen boosting actives.
  8. I currently take a boxing class two mornings a week and absolutely love it. I was tired of the same old gym routine so this was an amazing new challenge.
  9. I have climbed the Harbour Bridge.
  10. I played Rugby League in High School.
  11. I hate mushrooms. Fun side fact- When I was about 10 years old I heard one of my mums friends say she hates mushrooms and from that day on I would never again eat one (except for that one time my grandad had slaved away in the kitchen cooking Greg and I a meal which included mushrooms… I ate them)
  12. I am training for my first half marathon- Hello Canberra 2018!
  13. I have visited 7 countries. On one of these trips (when I was 4 months pregnant) we experienced the biggest Cyclone Fiji had ever seen.
  14. I serve as the music director at the church we attend. I work alongside 22 amazing team and talented team members that push me to be better every single day!
  15. I played netball for around 10 years in my teen years. Centre and Goal Attack were my positions of choice.
  16. I love the ocean like I love donuts.
  17. I studied Japanese in High School for 4 years. I could read, write and speak!
  18. I love dead silence in the car. No music, speaking.. just pure blissful silence
  19. Every house I’ve lived in prior to moving out of home when we were married was built by my father! He is amazing at what he does!
  20. I am not lucky when it comes to winning things but one time about 4 or 5 years ago I won a $500 voucher to stay at a 5 star hotel downtown Sydney.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Travel Essentials- Toddler Edition

Well friends, tomorrow we embark on Ava’s 16th flight in her short 13 months of life! Not going to lie- we feel like pros at this thing nowadays.. We have had seamless flights (13 hours to the states with a 13 month old who slept for 11 of those hours).. and we have had terrible flights (the 4 hour internal flight that followed that 13 hour flight where the hostess and I took turns rocking Ava and being puked on).

As Ava has gotten older flights have gotten easier and harder. We actually have to entertain her now rather than her sleeping for the duration of the flight.. but they have also gotten easier because she is pretty self-sufficient by way of feeding herself and entertaining herself for at least 5-10min at a time. She is also a very social child so she will talk to the people around her, she’ll wave at most strangers who walk past her when getting on the plane.. she’ll even go to strangers if they reach their arms out to her! Thankfully she has my husbands social traits!

Below are the essentials I’ve chalked up when flying with Ava in this toddler stage.. I’ve given an explanation on what their uses are and why I see them as essentials! Obviously this list will be customised to your child- but let me assure you- if you are thinking of taking that trip with that baby- DO IT! The worst that can happen is that your child is whingy or unsettled (the noise of airplanes are soothing to babies so you should be fine here). Generally most people we have encountered (including on the terrible internal U.S. flight) comment at how well-behaved Ava is on flights- we totally chalk that up to great parenting (haha.. okay maybe not)..no, we chalk that up to exposure! We have continually exposed her to flights since she was 3 months old so she has grown some what used to them.

Travel Essentials for Toddler1. Bento Box– these are super helpful so you can bring different kinds of snacks in the one container. Ava loves blueberries and strawberries which works great because they’ll keep her little hands busy for a few minutes!

2. Kids headphones– we are very new this purchase. In preparation for our flight to the states we bought these early to give them a test run. They are volume controlled, so great for kids. Ava’s not a fan of keeping them on her head though. Any tips and tricks would be greatly appreciated!

3. Her favourite book– when you’re trying to endure a flight you need to be ready to pull out all stops. Now’s not the time to introduce a new book or a new snack.. you’re going to want to go with ole’ faithful!

4. Her favourite toy– ditto on the above.. I stress “Soundless!”

5. Netflix and an Ipad– netflix has the capability to download movies and watch them offline, including kids movies! We have a few downloaded and ready to go!

6. Pram blanket– I say pram blanket here because they are warmer and thicker than a muslin wrap. Unless you are wrapping your baby at the moment, then go with the Muslin wrap. We have used our pram blanket for a number of things over the year:

  • A blanket for the airport and plane if Ava is cold
  • A breastfeeding cover
  • A playmat in the airport when waiting for our flight that she can sit on
  • A light cover to simulate a dark room when I am trying to put her to sleep

7. A baby carrier– I recently purchased the Ergobaby carrier because Ava is getting heavier. Previously I used a Kmart $49 one which worked great! I generally strap Ava to me as soon as we get to the airport- that way we can check the pram in with no issues and walking around the airport is hassle free and easier on the back. Again, with this one- I used a carrier with Ava since she was born so she’s used to being on me which has worked great for us.

8. Appropriate I.D.- Self Explanatory, but as an FYI you generally can’t check-in online if you have a baby with you as they need to sight I.D. at the check-in counter when you arrive. Allow ample time to que in the check-in line!

9. Water Bottle– If you baby is not using a dummy/pacifier/soother you’re going to want to give them water on take-off and landing. the sucking motion will help with their ears.

10. Favourite Snack–  Ava loves these Fruit crushers from Woolworths! They have not artificial colours or flavours and no added sugar! Each pouch is 1/2 serve of fruit so they make really great additions to her diet!

So there you have it. travelling with a toddler is not impossible (trust me).. and the flight is only the beginning of the amazing journey you’re taking!

Let me know if you have any specific questions about brands or other items I may have missed.

A day at the park..

If you live in Sydney and you’re looking for an amazing outdoors area to get those steps in, I highly recommend Mt Anna Botanical Gardens! With free entry and heaps of trails, it’s the perfect area for little kids and adults like! With numerous lakes, wildlife and fauna your kids will love the botanical gardens!

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The Best of- Breakfast (Sydney)

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Ever since Greg and I married (7 and a bit years ago) we have enjoyed going out for Saturday Breakfast. During the work week we tend to rush in the mornings so breakfast is an on-the-go/ how-fast-can-I-eat-this event. We have tried a number of places around Sydney (i.e. barely scratched the surface of all the places we want to try) so I have a few great recommendations that I wanted to share!

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  1. Black Elk Espresso– Carnes Hill

We tend to visit Black Elk at least twice a month! It has great food and a great atmosphere! There is a kids playground behind the cafe which makes it a double hit. The cafe has outdoor and indoor seating making it kid (and pram) friendly!

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2. Ristretto & Co– Liverpool

Being directly opposite a carpark makes Ristretto & Co a great little cafe in the heart of Liverpool! Ignoring the fact that we once got a parking ticket (on the street) while grabbing coffee, this place has amazing breakfast options! The breakfast bowl feature image on this post is from Ristetto & Co. While I normally stick to smashed avocado or a variation thereof, the breakfast bowl and coffee are a great combination.

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3. The Grounds of Alexandria– Alexandria

If you are okay with an unpredictable wait for a table in the main restaurant area- Grounds should be one of your go to places. For delicious food every time you visit, I cannot recommend this place highly enough. I usually get the smashed avocado while Greg gets the breakfast burger. You can pick up some great desserts afterwards from the cafe. If you’re looking for a bit of exercise and breakfast- Sydney Park, down the road from The Grounds has a Park Run every Saturday morning.

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4. The Rusty Rabbit– Burwood & Darlinghurst

While it’s not on the main strip (Burwood), you’ll want to make the effort for their great food, fantastic service, and their great coffee!

5. Toco Fresh–  Concord

I’m not going to lie- the staff are intense at this cafe, but their food keeps bringing us back! This is a favourite for our family when we’re in Concord- you won’t be disappointed. Their lunch menu is also fantastic if you’re there after midday.

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6. Social Hideout– Parramatta

We stumbled upon this cafe (it’s hidden from the main roads in Parra) and were blown away by how good the food was! We lived 5min from this cafe for almost 4 years and never discovered it! I tried the Arabian Plate, and Greg picked the Americans (typical..) The food was so, so , so good!FullSizeRender.jpg

7. Big Tree House Cafe– Rydalmere

I was introduced to this cafe by my best friend. Nestled on a very suburban street you definitely wouldn’t come across this Cafe unless you were looking for it! While the cafe is not very pram friendly, and does not have a change mat (I learnt this the hard way) they have great food and coffee!

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Free Activities in Sydney- January 2017

Hello there friends! I cannot believe we’re already into 2017!! I’m so excited at what 2017 is going to bring in! If you live in Australia and have kids you may be going crazy.. the Summer school holidays are so so long!

Below are my top picks for events going on in January for kids. On a side note- I would recommend clicking on the clicks to make sure you don’t need to register in advance for the event!

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January 2017

Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
 01 02  03 04 05 06 07
 
Children’s Play Bus– Redfern
 
Little Darlings Night Owls Kids’ Film Festival Begins- Darling Harbour
Zootopia on the Boulevard Movie Screening- Sydney Olympic Park
Balance Bike Clinics Begin– Alexandria
08 09 10 11 12 13 14
Captain America: Civil War Movie Screening– Sydney Olympic Park
The Good Guys Super Hero Academy begins- Sydney Olympic Park
Children’s Play Bus– Redfern
The Rocks Discovery Program Begins– The Rocks
Heroes and Villains Craft Challenge– Dulwich Hill
Hollywood Movie Magic– Marrickville
Design a superhero badge– St Peters
Storks Movie Screening– Sydney Olympic Park
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
Free Totem Skate School– Carnes Hill
Children’s Play Bus– Redfern
Free Totem Skate School– Carnes Hill
Free Totem Skate School– Carnes Hill
The Lion King Movie Screening– Sydney Olympic Park
The Good Guys Super Hero Academy ends- Sydney Olympic Park
The Jungle Book Movie Screening– Sydney Olympic Park
The secret life of pets movie screening– Sydney Olympic Park
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
 
Children’s Play Bus– Redfern
Little Darlings Night Owls Kids’ Film Festival Ends- Darling Harbour
Balance Bike Clinics ends- Alexandria
Australia Day Celebration– Liverpool
Children’s Festival– Sydney
 The Rocks Discovery Program ends- The Rocks
29 30 31
Birds of the Armory Walk– Sydney Olympic Park
Children’s Play Bus– Redfern
 
 

Special Mentions

Free Activities in Sydney- November, 2016

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Hello there friends! Below are my top picks for events in November. I love this time of year, as Christmas slowly begins to creep into our stores and streets! On a side note- I would recommend clicking on the clicks to make sure you don’t need to register in advance for the event!

November 2016

Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
 01 02 03 04 05
 
Pram walking group– Wattle Grove
 
Carnes Hill Night Live– Carnes Hill
Herb planting workshop-The Baker & Builder Cafe, Parramatta
Free Bike Clinic– Alexandria
06 07 08 09 10 11 12
 
Mobile Play Bus– Redfern
Carnes Hill Night Live– Carnes Hill
Animal Farm-The Baker & Builder Cafe, Parramatta
North Sydney Community Centre Open Day– North Sydney
St Jude’s Spring Fair– Randwick
Victoria Park Pool Open Day– Camperdown
A very furry Christmas– Alexandria
Christmas Countdown hosted by Cadbury– The Rocks
Prince Alfred Park Pool Open Day– Surry Hills
Free Bike Clinic– Alexandria
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
JDRF Fun 5km Walk and Kids Activities– Cathy Freeman Park
Mobile Play Bus– Redfern
 
Carnes Hill Night Live– Carnes Hill
Yo Yo Competition-The Baker & Builder Cafe, Parramatta
Free Bike Clinic– Alexandria
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
 
Mobile Play Bus– Redfern
 
Carnes Hill Night Live– Carnes Hill
Free Bike Clinic– Alexandria
Toy Exchange– The Baker & Builder Cafe, Parramatta
Free dance workshops for preschoolers– Camperdown
Christmas on the Green Concert– Hyde Park
27 28 29 30
Christmas in Pyrmont– Pyrmont
Mobile Play Bus– Redfern
Storytime in Braille– Sydney
 
Storytime in Braille– Sydney
 

Special Mentions

Bridal Shower Printables

I know Growing a Bebé is based around raising our little girl Ava, however I think a big part of navigating parenthood is having balance. Balance in that we are raising our little girl in the hope that she will thrive as a tiny human (for the time being), but also balance in that I don’t get lost in only being “mum!” The conundrum of life I suppose…

So, to try and stay away from baby things this morning I am posting about my best friend Liz and her Bridal Shower that we hosted last year!

It was a beautiful outdoor event at her parents’ place. We actually had some rain the morning of, so while it was overcast and a little chilly the afternoon still went off without a hitch!

Games

When we were planning her bridal shower we wanted to find games that hadn’t been played 100 times before.. Being Christians we also wanted appropriate games to play.. Do you know how difficult that is? You would think with the internet and Pinterest we would be inundated with choices…guess again!!!

Below are some of the ones we played at Liz’s Bridal Shower and another girlfriends bridal shower I attended last week which were a lot of fun! There are some games that are printables (from other authors as well as myself) and othersthat will require you to purchase a few items):

  • Pin the mustache on the groom– source unknown
    • For this game we got a picture of Roan (Liz’s now husband) and had our local Officeworks blow it up to size A0 (from memory). We then printed and cut out a bunch of mustaches for people to pin on the picture.

Things needed: Picture of groom printed in large scale, printed and cut out mustaches, Blue tack (to stick the mustaches on the picture) and a blind fold.

  • A variation of Chubby Bunny- source unknown
    • This is a game where questions are asked such as “how many children does [the grooms name] want to have?” If the bride answers the question wrong she has to put a marshmallow in her mouth. For every wrong answers another marshmallow needs to be put in her mouth. She can’t chew or swallow the marshmallows as the questions progress.

Things needed: Questions (with answers from the groom), marshmallows

  • Design a wedding cake- source unknown
    • We bought sponge cakes and various decorations and had each table design a wedding cake for the bride to judge.

Things needed: Sponge cakes, cake decorating items- frosting, edible beads etc

Downloadable Printable Games (word and pdf formats)

Because I was so involved in hosting the shower I don’t have many photos of the games, except for the ones below of the Wedding Cake Design. I thought the ladies did amazing with the wedding cakes considering they only had store bought ingredients to use!

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The Decor

Teapots, Teacups etc

We hired the teapots, teacups, champagne flutes, saucers etc from a place in Bexley called High Tea Delights. While they were quite pricey the items were absolutely beautiful!

Flowers

Her mum and I went to our Sydney Flower Market at 4:30am that Saturday morning and picked up hundreds of dollars worth of flowers- the arrangements were stunning if I say so myself..

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If I’m missing any sources or you have any questions please let me know!

Baby Ava, 3 weeks on..

Ava is now 3 weeks old- ahhh! I can’t believe time has gone so fast! Overall she has been an amazing baby- we truly feel so blessed!

We’ve had a few hiccups with her bringing up a feed every few days. We thought we narrowed it down to a particular teat on a bottle (so we’ve stopped using that bottle), but she threw up again this morning. We can’t seem to find the trigger so we’ll need to keep going through the process of elimination. 
Since coming home from the hospital she has slept in 4-5 hour blocks with a few 6 hour blocks in there too- yay! Greg and I have adjusted to the broken sleep quite well if you ask me. We have a process down where he makes the bottles for the night feeds and I change her nappy- I’m so blessed with such a helpful husband, honestly- I have been functioning these past few weeks because of his great help!

Ava eats like a champion- taking both the bottle, formula and breast milk- we have been so blessed!

She loves the car and the pram- and can sleep through any noise (i.e church, vacuuming etc)

I wanted to say a special thank you to my mum. She has gone above and beyond- she visits every week and cooks us dinner- and on the weekends, when we have stayed at her house she wakes up for the midnight feed so we can sleep. I have seen her dote on Ava so much- it’s so beautiful to watch..I can already tell Oma is going to be Ava’s favourite! 

Today, during her midday nap I decided to take a few photos of our little beauty.. she also slept through that.. haha.. Happy 3 weeks my baby!


I love you so much!! 

Free events around Sydney!

CLIMB HIGHThere are a few websites floating around that have lists of free events for kids around Sydney. When I started Growing a Bebé, I wanted to make it a point to post about good free events for other mums however trying to cover all the different websites was a bit hard. Below are my top picks for September for ages beginning roughly at 3. On a side note- I would recommend clicking on the clicks to make sure you don’t need to register in advance for the event!

September 2016

Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
        01 02 03
       
Storytime– Ultimo
Rock ‘n’ Rhyme– Glebe
 
04 05 06 07 08 09 10
 
Lego Free Play– Waterloo
 
Kids Makerspace– Surry Hills
Storytime– Ultimo
Rock ‘n’ Rhyme– Glebe
Smooth Festival of Chocolate– The Rocks
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
 

Smooth Festival of Chocolate– The Rocks
Festival of the winds (Kite festival)– Waverley

 

Mum and Bub- Exercise your mood week begins- Redfern
Lego Free Play– Waterloo
 
Storytime– Ultimo
Rock ‘n’ Rhyme– Glebe 
 
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
 
 
Lego Free Play– Waterloo
 
Storytime– Ultimo
Rock ‘n’ Rhyme– Glebe
The essential Baby and Toddler Show– Moore Park
The essential Baby and Toddler Show– Moore Park
Family Fun Day and Outdoor Movie– Double Bay 
25 26 27 28 29 30  
 The essential Baby and Toddler Show– Moore Park
Convoy for Kids- Truckies care for kids– Sydney Olympic Park
Circus Solarus Dinosaur Dig begins- Sydney Olympic Park
Lego Free Play– Waterloo
Create a giant Peach mobile– Stanmore
 
 
Create a giant Peach mobile– Dulwich Hill

Special Mentions