Busy Izzy and Friends in the
Another pair of creative partners are songwriters and music teachers Roxanne Kiely and Stephen Kiely, the brains behind Busy Izzy and Friends, an ever-expanding multimedia empire of lively books, catchy songs, interactive videos and even a vibrant stage show for extra colour and movement.
They recently partnered with Prosper (Project Australia) to support the health and well-being of Australian children through performances, nutrition and cooking showcases, literacy and learning activities and other special events.
Aimed at children from three to eight years, Busy Izzy and Friends is all about promoting friendship and fun and healthy food. Central to the website is Izzy's virtual vegie garden where she builds compost and grows organic vegetables and herbs to make "snaxalicious snacks" for her Nix & Nax store.
While web designer and music producer Stephen is more of a suburban boy with a background in rock music, Roxanne - who as a vocal coach helped launch the career of Delta Goodrem and worked with X-Factor winner, Marlisa, among many others, grew up on a dairy farm in New Zealand.
"I would often write songs and poetry while milking cows, she recalls. "I was scared of the big cows and writing songs would take my mind off how big they were. But I loved them just the same and they were my favourite poets.
She and her parents and siblings all pitched in with planting, digging and harvesting: "We grew all of our own food - corn, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, lettuce, broccoli, carrots - and we had a massive orchard with guava trees, feijoa trees, plums, apples, peaches and tree tomatoes (now called "tamarillo"), and grapevines, too."
They also kept free-range chickens and Roxanne remembers how hard the family worked on building and maintaining their compost bins. Her mother made all their clothes, "from underwear to coats", she says, and both parents "worked all day long and, of course, we all followed their lead. We had to."
Roxanne acquired not only a work ethic but a lifetime of memories to sustain Busy Izzy and her garden plot and healthy food store: "Izzy has a compost bin and a puppy, just like I had. It reminds me of my wonderful, natural and healthy life on the farm."
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