The problem with Australian made baby formula…

I’m back after a long hiatus. Between planning a wedding and an unexpectedly nasty sinus infection, life just seems to have gotten away from me. But here I am, rising from my cyber slumber to write potentially my most dramatic post yet – because Australian babies are in danger.

Baby formula

All You Need is LLUF is all about making consumer decisions that promote the fair treatment of workers, because sadly there are many countries where governments are not prepared to protect their people from exploitation (and of course many companies happy to capitalise on this situation). And in a shocking display of what happens when a government does not sufficiently regulate it’s markets to protect the people, in 2008 contaminated baby formula killed six babies in the People’s Republic of China and put another 54,000 in hospital.

Ever since then Chinese nationals have been looking outside their own country for formula. This has resulted in such massive shortages in the UK and Hong Kong that it has been made a criminal offence to send baby formula out of these countries in bulk. And now it is resulting in similar shortages here in Australia.

So you see, the problem with Australian made baby formula is that there isn’t any left on Australian shelves.

Mothers and fathers all over our country are tearing out there hair trying to get access to food for their small children. Horror stories abound – about driving all over town, reaching out on social media to other families about where certain brands may be in stock, or for short-term loans. I mean seriously – people are borrowing half a tin of baby formula because they cannot get what they need to feed their children.

Caroline Raj, of the baby and toddler blog Mamma Raj, first reported on this crisis just over a week ago after having to buy her little munchkin a different formula type because it was all she could find. Since then she has been inundated with messages from other mothers in the same situation. After realising how many babies are being put at risk, Caroline decided to set up a petition, asking the Australian Government to follow suit with other countries, putting in place safeguards to ensure the food security of Australian babies is protected. You can read and sign Caroline’s petition on change.org or read about other things you can do to help here.

5 alternatives to giving chocolate this Easter

I’m no health nut. And I love chocolate as much as the next overworked, slightly hormonal woman who occassional eats her feelings. But I feel like there are so many more sweet treats in everyday life than there ever where when I was a kid. Maybe that’s just because my Mum doesn’t tell me what to eat anymore, I don’t know. But I don know that there are alternatives out there to giving chocolate:

1) Easter themed books

Like these appropriately themed second hand books collected from local op-shops and second hand book stores.

bunny books

2) Real eggs

Healthy and delicous, and pretty as well. Die your egg shells with food die, or for something more adventurous, try coloured devilled eggs.

Colored Eggs in Easter Basket - Free High Resolution Photo

3) A real chicken or a real bunny

There are plenty of homeless bunnies and chickens available for adoption through the RSPCA. Just remember that an Easter bunny, just like a Christmas puppy, is a lifetime decision. Be a responsible pet owner.

Rabbit

4) Toys

If real bunnies aren’t your bag perhaps you should consider a bag of toy bunnies, like this cute as a button carrot full of fairtrade bunnies.

bunnies

5) Hours of fun

Or sit down with the people you love, no matter what age they are and do some easter crafting. Be inspired by these 40 great Easter craft ideas.

craft bunny

Have a happy (& quiet) weekend with this great game for kids…

This weekend marks the end of National Seaweek. It is also a long weekend in four states which means that a significant proportion of the nation will be tearing it’s hair out trying to keep small children occupied. Unless of course they read this blog, because I am about to share one of my favourite childhood games, that is not only appropriately themed, but also super easy to throw together with things you’ll already have (probably).

Step 1 – take your child for a walk to find the perfect stick. You might wonder what the perfect stick looks like, and I couldn’t tell you, but I can guarantee your child will know it when they see it.

Step 2 – turn your perfect stick into the perfect fishing rod. This involves cutting a piece of string to the desired length, tying a magnet to one end, and then fastening the other to the end of the stick.

Step 3 – ensure there are plenty of fish in the sea. There are multiple options creating fish. Fabric off cuts, paper, old cereal boxes. Whatever you have lying around. Noting that being able to decorate the fish keeps your child occupied for longer, so materials need to be adapted for age and skill level. See some examples of fish below.

go fish

Step 4 – release your fish into the wild. I personally used to love throwing my fish into the stairwell and then fishing through the railing. But if you’d like to keep it a bit more contained (or don’t own a stairwell, of course) then a big blue sheet or an empty paddling pool also works a charm.

The biggest advantage to this game is that putting the ‘caught’ fish in a bucket is a natural extension. Less clean up is always a big plus, as is following up a hard day of fishing with a big serve of fish and chips 🙂

Happy long weekend everyone.

DIY dinosaur – stencils and directions for cooling up girls (and boys) clothing.

We know quite a lot of babies that are due in January. Some are little sisters to girls that were born in March last year, so they will be inundated with hand-me-downs; but others are first babies, making clothes a very appropriate gift. After hours of trawling through baby clothing sites (local and fairtrade, of course) I finally lost it.

Why – in the name of all that is civilised –  if baby clothes must be sold on line through seperate ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ pages, do the boys pages have to contain all the cool stuff?

Boys get trains, firetrucks, dinosaurs, spaceships. Do you know what little girls get?

%$#@ing butterflies.

Now I am not saying that girls should never be allowed to wear butterflies, and I think ruffled diaper covers are as cute as the next person does. But wouldn’t it be nice if our girls were encouraged from the day they are born to believe that being feminine is not all about lacey pants and fostering a love of quiet, safe, pretty things?

A simple way around this would have been to buy some ‘boys’ clothes for the anticipated girls – leaving it to their parents to team them with pink leggings or little headbands if they were concerned about having to explain to every new person they meet that “no, she’s a girl”.

But like I said – I lost it.

So instead I bought pink and purple organic cotton onsies from Willy Wagtail (an Australian made kids clothing line) and a jar of Permaset textile paint (also Australian made) and set to work to make some very cool onsies of my own.

Dinosaur_cut

First I drew a rocket, a pirate hat, and a dinosaur – frankly, 3 of the coolest things on earth – and cut them out to create a stencil.

After I had my little stencils, I placed an old diary inside the onsie to stop any paint seeping through, held the stencil over the front of the onsie and got to painting.

Dinosaur_paint

Now you might like to do something fancy – screen print, or whatever – but I just used a paintbrush I’ve had since highschool to brush the paint around. Can’t say I’m too disappointed with the results.

Onsies

Just in case you wanted to make your own onsies I have included an image of my stencils for you. Feel free to copy them, cut them up, and paint them onto the clothing of any child who likes cool things. Regardless of their gender.

Stencils

The best kids movies with an environmental theme

Need some inspiration to by less/used? Try:

The Lorax (2012) – ∗∗∗∗∗

I love this movie. Based on a book by the fabulous Dr Suess and beautifully animated this movie tells the story of a young man who is so busy chasing profit that he doesn’t realise the consequences of thoughtlessly using up the worlds natural resources. It points some very cute fun at our consumeristic society with my favourite moment where Ted’s mother show’s him all the buttons on the remote for their new tree, the Oak-a-matic – ‘summer, winter, autumn and… disco!!!

It also goes against Cartoon Hollywood’s standard stereotypes, with a fat old lady being instrumental in saving the day. But the most important message this movie has to impart is to empower people to take action for the things they believe in:

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.’ – Dr Suess, The Lorax

 

Wall-E (2008) – ∗∗∗

Set thousands of years in the future when humans are living in a giant shopping mall in space and the only thing on Earth is Wall-E, a somewhat romantic robot who’s directive is to compact the disgusting piles of rubbish that cover the entire Earth. Then EVE arrives , a very career oriented lady-bot who looks like a flying tampon and has an inbuilt arsenal which she is not afraid to use. Wall-E is instantly smitten.

EVE’s directive is to scan the Earth for any signs of plant-life and to return it to the mothership, signalling that Earth is ready for recolonisation. When EVE and her new shadow Wall-E arrive at the flying shopping mall hilarity ensues as their actions cause humans to slowly realise that there is more to life than social media and junk food, and that although saving the Earth may be hard work, it’s totally worth it.

 

Happy Feet (2006) – ∗∗∗∗

This is a tale that warns of the dangers of both trash and resource depletion in a much more present context. Mumbo is a penguin who is born dancing into a conservative religious species who do not approve. When Mumbo refuses to repent for his toe-tapping ways he is banished. His subsequent adventures lead him to believe that ‘aliens’ (humans) are the cause of a major food shortage and the near death of his friend Lovelace who’s magical necklace (the plastic loops from a six-pack of cans) begins to choke him.

Enraged by the thoughtless destruction that has been visited upon the Antarctic, Mumbo swims all the way to the US to try and educate people about the consequences of their actions. Funny, cute and incorporating some great mash-up musical numbers, this movie has the added bonus of the message that it doesn’t matter how much of a freak people think you are -you can still change the world.

 

Pocahontas – ∗∗∗∗

Less of a cautionary tale, and more a reminder of just how awesome our natural environment is. The main character is not white, which is a refreshing change, and what’s more is a kick-ass heroine who is not afraid of love, but is careful not to trust her heart to the wrong person. A great role model for little girls everywhere. Although horribly historically inaccurate the most powerful message of this movie is wrapped up in its most famous song – Colours of the Wind: ‘You can own this Earth and still, all you’ll own is earth until you can paint with all the colours of the wind’ (or just generally learn to appreciate nature).

 

Now I recognise the irony in suggesting you consume a movie to inspire you to consume less, so of course I encourage you to source these movies second hand, or buy digital copies wherever possible.