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Jul
25

Junior Marine Ranger Program

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During the school holidays I was lucky enough to accompany my boys and their friends on a day out at Dolphin Marine Magic to participate in the Junior Marine Ranger Program.

At the risk of sounding a bit “Disney”, it was one of those days that none of us will ever forget. I felt so honoured to share the experience and we are very fortunate that Coffs kids have an opportunity like this!

The day started at 9am with a bit of a ‘briefing’ on what we were going to do for the day. At the end of this session normally parents are asked to leave but I was allowed to stay so I could “document” the day’s activities (that was my excuse anyway…!)

You can read about what’s included on the Dolphin Marine Magic website. There was SO MUCH involved, so much learnt and experienced – but here I will share with you our highlights of the day:

Jasper, 13 years: My favourite activity was hiding the food & toys in the seal enclosure because it was nice to see the seals getting their treats and it was fun. 

Lenny, 9 years: I liked the penguins because we got to feed them and they were so cute and they tried to snatch the fish off me. I learnt how to check turtles. We got to prepare buckets of fish for the dolphins and I learnt that there are different types of fish that have different tastes to dolphins such as M&M, broccoli, carrots. We had to make sure they had a good mix of different fish. Even Mummy had to help!

Zenny, 8 years: Getting kissed by the dolphin was the best because it felt like sushi being pressed on my face. My other favourite part was preparing the fish buckets for the dolphins and penguins because I liked the feel of the fish. When feeding the penguins it was funny because when I dropped a fish the penguins played tug of war with the fish until one of them won and ate it.

Mason, 12 years: I liked feeding the Stingrays, Sharks and fish because it was exciting waiting for them to snatch the fish from the tongs and every time they did it scared me. I also liked getting front row seats at the show because we got to see close up the different behaviours of the seals & dolphins and tricks they can do. 

Mummy: one of my favourite parts was when we went to the Marine Hospital and we got to look very closely at a turtle, learn the reasons various marine animals are bought into Dolphin Marine Magic, how they are cared for and monitored until they are ready to be released back into the wild.

Mason, 12 years: I couldn’t believe we got to get into the pool with Bella, the dolphin. She was so calm and friendly. We learnt more about dolphins close up and got to touch her!

At the end of the day the kids were all presented with their Certificate of Completion for the Junior Marine Ranger Program, then they were given photos of all their seal & dolphin kisses as well as the dolphin swim. These will be cherished forever!

 

Side-note & disclaimer:  Dolphin Marine Magic were extremely generous in allowing the 4 boys and I to experience the Junior Ranger Marine program complimentary. I wish to thank them wholeheartedly for the experience, all the kids were absolutely enthralled the entire day and have already asked if they can do it again. While the cost of the program might seem quite expensive, for the inclusions and experience it is well worth it. When relatives and friends ask what to get your kids for birthday or Christmas, suggest money towards this program. I guarantee you it will give your kids memories and an experience they will never forget!


For more information on Dolphin Marine Magic visit the website:

www.dolphinmarinemagic.com.au

Also follow them on Facebook for news, special offers & competitions

Instagram @dolphinmarinemagic


Jul
18

Bello Food Box

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I loathe buying fruit and vegetables at Coles or Woolworths. The reasons are plentiful: the apples being stored in cold storage for months, the crazy transportation efforts to get it to our local stores, the rotten, tastless fruit, the wastage, the rejected “ugly” fruit and the ripping off of our poor farmers. Then to top it all off the excessive use of plastic to package the food. So to buy organic it has to come sealed up in plastic?

I love shopping at Grower’s Markets, buying fresh, seasonal fruit and veg directly from the farmer but I am also rather time poor and often (sadly) never make it to any of  the weekly markets.

Good news is, Bello Food Box provides the perfect solution: Bello Food Box is a small independent business based in Bellingen:

We distribute local organic & chemical free produce that is ethically grown, affordable, healthy and picked fresh to order every week. With home delivery service from Coffs Harbour, North to Woologoolga & South to Macksville, The Bello Food Box connects farmers with consumers directly, resulting in food that is fresher, tastier and more nourishing than food that is grown and distributed by the larger cooperate supermarket chains. We source real food, grown by real farmers, for real people – food that will make you smile and shine on the inside!

I got a box delivered last Friday and it was such a joy to open it up, take a look at the amazing colour and freshness of the fruit & vegetables IN SEASON. I can’t emphasise enough how differently the produce looked and tasted compared to supermarket bought. I think my son at all the apples in one afternoon!

The amount of produce we received was perfect for us for the week and it was actually a lot easier deciding what to cook for dinner based on the veggies I had in the fridge. The carrot, broccoli and snow peas were delicious just steamed on their own with mash & meat.

No one else is a fan of avocado in my house, so I was lucky to claim it all for myself. And it was THE BEST avocado I’ve tasted in a long time.

To order, just go to the website and choose your “box” (I got the Little Bello Box), you can also choose a “set and forget box” which is a subscription you can order weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Or you can also make your own custom box and order exactly what you like for the online store!

Where they deliver is quite extensive and they deliver to most of the Coffs Coast on Monday, Wednesday or Friday (providing you order by the cut off day & time).


SPECIAL OFFER!

Steve from Bello Food Box has offered Coffs for Kids readers a special discount- 20% off the value of your order (applicable to first time users).

Customer can use coupon code: coffsforkids to reedeem discount at checkout.

www.bellofoodbox.com.au


 

The circus that has exploded in the last 1-2 weeks after the big supermarkets have stopped using single use plastic bags has been flooding my newsfeed, the TV, papers and radio.

And to make matters WAY worse, this afternoon this article popped up: “The Whole World is laughing at us”. I cringed at my desk in horror as I read that newspspers all over the world were running stories on Australia “because we’re throwing giant, howling tantrums over the supermarket plastic bag ban.”

I am one of those people who have been using reusable shopping bags for years. I have a bit of a collection which is great because if I leave bags at home, there are always some still in the car. I have little mesh bags and those bags citrus fruit sometimes come in for my fruit and veg. When I buy a bottle of wine I save the paper bags to reuse at Affordable Wholefoods or Kombu Wholefoods when I buy in bulk.

The images and statistics of how fast and furiously we are destroying the environment is ridiculous. I can’t imagine what our kids and grandkids will say to us in the next 10, 20, 30 years when it becomes apparent just how much we’ve damaged the environment in our current throwaway society.

So something like banning single use bags should be accompanied by celebration, by cheering and congratulating ourselves for taking “small steps to make big changes”. But instead we are seeing new terms being thrown around such as “plastic bag rage” and the result is a backflip by supermarkets like Woolworth’s now giving 15 cent “reusable” plastic bags out for free (until the 8th July anyway).

How about we NOT ban single use plastic bags. We BAN plastic bags full stop. The 15 cent bags are still made of plastic. They are still being use as bin liners (I witnessed this myself at my friend’s house yesterday! I was horrified!) And while we are at it ban the Woolworths & Coles “green” bags. They’re made from polypropylene and are not biodegradable, but end up breaking down into micro plastics and have the same environmental impact as plastic bags.

So what’s the best reusable bag? I found this article interesting which discusses the pros and cons of various reusable bags. There is another great article on “Oh So Busy Mum” which discusses even more options for grocery shopping bags.

Last week I asked the question on the Coffs for Kids Facebook pageWhat reusable bags do you use and where did you get them?

There were some really fantastic comments, here are some highlights & tips:

  • Keep a small folded bag or two in your handbag for those quick trips to the shop to grab milk & bread.
  • Make some fruit & vegetable bags out of curtain netting remnants.
  • Boomerang Bags is a local community group who run sewing bees to make, sew and sell bags made out of recycled material. The next one is 5th Click here to find out more.

  • Local Mum, Just Joyce says “We made ours from some beautiful linen tea towels that we scored at an opshop. The tea towels still had their tags on them. They are perfect grocery bag size, folded in half and sewn, then the base is sewn in (simple triangle), and handles of cotton bias tape (which was wrapped about a set of tea towels that I purchased). I’ve also made bags from fat quarters from Spotlight.”
  • Diana says: “I have variety of reusable bags collected over the last 20 years still going strong, calico, cotton, hessian, these last way longer than the woolies and coles $1 or $2 ones, but my favourites are the EcoSilk bags bought at Go Vita 5 years ago. Lightweight but super strong & easy to wash. Winning!”
  • Keep an eye out for reusable bags for sale where the proceeds go to a charity, then you are doubly helping!
  • DON’T “resuable” bags at the supermarket! Instead, support local business such as:

 

Stained

Local Mum, Trish can colour print on calico bags, there are different shapes, sizes and styles to choose from. Available in any quantity.

Harley B

Visit “craftsy” where you can purchase & download the “market day tote” pattern. The pattern is designed to be quick and easy, perfect for beginners and uses just 1m of fabric.

Kristina will be hosting a Market Bag Tote Workshop at Stitches by the Sea on Moonee St later this month. Check the Facebook event for more information.

Totes Green

Local Mum, Megan. makes and sells reusable cotton muslin produce bags as well as lined cotton tote bags for lugging home your shopping.

Homemade and Sew Cute

Handmade reusable bags using the same pattern as the plastic single use bags. They are gorgeous & fit heaps in them.

Eco Diet – Sustainable Living Education & Solutions

Another local business that sells heaps of sustainable living products such as reusable bags such as jute, hessian upcycled ones made from old clothes. The jute ones are really good quality.

Happy Frog

Sells great reusable bags and gorgeous shopping baskets.

Each Peach

Bellingen based Mum is about to add to her range of essential oil bags and make some reusable shopping bags.

Nourished Earth

Has a range of reusable fruit & veg bags + reusable bamboo straws and other eco-friendly items.

Go Vita

Sell Ecosilk bags which are SO fantastic. I’ve used these for years. They fit so much and seem to be indestructible! They are easy to wash and best of all fold up really small, easily squished in small spaces!

Support these local businesses who support a plastic free July. All are committed to having a plastic free month, some of them are even banning plastic for good!

If you are a local business or individual who wants to find out how to get involved and raise awareness, visit the Our Living Coast website – there is heaps of great information and resources. You can also follow them on Facebook for events and news.

Finally, if you want to find out more about “going green” and more local businesses who can help you do this, read this article written last year by Megan Jones – “Guest Post: The War on Waste Coffs Harbour”.

 

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One month into winter and the maximum temperature today was 22 degrees! Glorious! While some winter days on the Coffs Coast can be raining and miserable here, this winter so far we’ve had a lot of gorgeous, sunny days which means we can head outside and enjoy our beautiful Coffs Coast – even in Winter!

Here it is! Our list of 10 Wintertime Activites in Coffs for Kids:.

1. Sawtell Chilli Festival

Saturday July 7th is the 20th Sawtell Chilli Festival. First Avenue in Sawtell is taken over by all-things Chilli. This year features the Chilli Kids Hotspot with loads of activities, information, 100 stalls, freebies, competitions, live music, activities for the kids and HEAPS more.

Click here for more information.

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2. Buster the Shipwreck

A local secret is that we have our very own shipwreck! Visit beautiful Woolgoolga, head to the Beach Reserve and about a 10 minute walk up the beach North you’ll come across “Buster” which was shipwrecked in 1893. Sometimes it is very exposed whereas other times a fair bit of Buster is covered in sand.

Woolgoolga has an awesome fenced in kids’ playground and a fantastic fish and chip shop called White Salt.

Click here for detailed history on the shipwreck or here for more information on other shipwrecks in the area.

buster

3. Bellingen markets

It gets a little brisk in Bellingen in winter so make sure you wear a nice warm jacket when you visit the Bellingen Markets. On the third Saturday of every month (July 21st, 18th August), there are tonnes of really unique and different stalls. Keep an eye out for the organic donuts (trust me, you’ve never had anything like them!) and lots of other yummy treats as well.

Click here for more information.

While you are in Bellingen wander around the town, we always have to go to the very funky retro Gelato Bar, Kombu Wholefoods and the Swiss Bakery (Wildberry Dampers are TO DIE for!)

4. Jetty Area

A real favourite amongst locals. Head down to the Jetty, park anywhere, then walk towards Muttonbird Island. If you are feeling energetic you can walk (be warned: it is quite steep) over to the other side where there is a whale-watching platform. We are right in the middle of whale season so take your binoculars – you are almost certain to see a few whales!

Click here for more information.

For an easier walk, check out the new plaza and park area then head to walk along the historic jetty. Make sure you keep an eye out for any turtles & dolphins..

5. School Holidays

The NSW winter School Holidays are from the 8th July until 19th July. There are always lots of free and lost cost activities for kids and families to do around Coffs during the holidays. Our School Holidays page will be updated as the holidays approach.

There is also a load of events & activities coming up you can check out under the EVENTS tab on our Facebook page.

6. Sealy Lookout

The turn-off to Bruxner Park is about a 2 minute drive past the Big Banana heading North. The road winds up through banana plantations with some amazing views. Head up to Sealy Lookout and the Forest Sky Pier where you can see a fantastic view of Coffs Harbour and surrounding beaches. There are lots of picnic areas and walking trails around Bruxner, a perfect sunny winter’s day activity!

Click here for more information.

The newly opened Treetop Adventure Park is an amazing and very memorable experience. Take a look at the website for more information on the various courses and prices.

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7. Big Banana Ice Rink

Rug up with your warmest jacket, scarf and gloves and head to the rink for some awesome family fun.  Check out the Big Banana Big Day Out deal for just $29.90 per person.

Click here for more information on prices and session times..

8. Butterfly House

From ice to the tropics, if you need a bit of warmth head out to the Butterfly House.  The average daytime temperature inside is 29 degrees! If you have never been I definitely recommend going. Everyone will love it, the kids and adults alike find it fascinating and a very beautiful experience to be able to walk with butterflies fluttering all around you.

Click here for more information..

9. Head to the Beach

While it might be a tad cold to go for a swim you can still head down to your favourite Coffs Harbour beach for a walk, an explore, to fly a kite or a scavenger hunt. One of our favourite beaches is Charlesworth Bay, dogs are allowed and there are so many parts of the Bay to explore.

Click here for my post on the nature scavenger hunt – the boys loved it!

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10. Made in Dorrigo Hickory St Market & Teddy Bears Picnic

Being held on Saaturday 14th July. Take a toy or book to donate to charity.

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For more kids winter activities,

head over to the Coffs Harbour page on VisitNSW.com

 

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