Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Small Steps for Big Changes

Over the past few years I am ashamed to say I have not paid very much attention to my weight or fitness.  With a young family and 2 businesses it really seems to take last place on my list of priorities.  So, while I don't actually feel too unfit, the kilo's have sort of crept up with that yucky re-distribution of squishy bits to hips and tummy (a while ago I even wrote an article about Exercise and Working from Home).

Because I want to start feeling a bit better about myself I have been trying to implement some SMALL changes to my life to incorporate better foods into my diet, eat less calories, and consequently have more energy and be happier.  The main things I have successfully been doing are:
  1. Replacing all the coffee (and milk in it) I drink with green tea.  I still have 1 or 2 cups of coffee in the morning, but the rest of the day I am only having green tea.
  2. Every morning having a good women's multi-vitamin and also Evening Primrose Oil tablets. 
  3. Eating a good breakfast.  At the moment I love 'Table of Plenty' Muesli (with lots of nutritious ingredients), with a little bit of yogurt and milk.
  4. Eating fruit when hungry in-between meals.
  5. Ensuring I have a little 'Me' time each week - doing a facial or body scrub at home, going for a predicure, etc.
I suppose that doesn't sound like much, but I guess I am trying to implement the small changes gradually, otherwise it can be such a shock to the system and you end up giving up and reverting to all the old habits!

What are your 'small steps'?  Comment away, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Learning to Tell the Time

Welcome to the September Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival.

The Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival hosted by Science@home is for anyone, because we are all teachers and learners all the time. This month our theme is "Maths", which isn't just about counting! Our bloggers have written about games, materials, memory, shapes, graphs and more. Check out the links at the bottom to find some other great posts on Maths.


Is it just me, or does it seem a lot of kids (and consequently some adults) are not able to tell the time on an analogue watch?  I'm not sure if its being old-fashioned on my part, but I think its quite important to be able to read an analogue watch or clock (also to understand 24 hour time as well, but that's not what I'm writing about today).  My sons just had their 4th and 5th birthdays, and we bought them a watch each as one of their gifts.  They just looove them and think they are so grown up having their own watch. 

When a child learns to tell the time on their own, it seems to give them more of a comprehension of the sequence of the day,  the process also involves recognition of numbers, number sequences, counting, general numeracy, and even starts the brain thinking about addition of numbers.

Here are some free and low cost learning time ideas I have found:
  • Apple has an iphone application to help pre-school age children tell the time on an analogue clock! How cool is that!
  • There are heaps of books available to help children learn to tell the time.  One of our favorites at the moment about time is "The Grouchy Ladybug" by Eric Carle.  My five year old is enjoying reading it himself, and telling the time on each page (remember to hire from the library if you don't want to buy).  
  • You can find heaps of free online computer games, worksheets, and tutorials for learning to tell the time.
  • There is heaps of fantastic (and good value) resources for parents and teachers at Kids Learning is Fun for learning time.
And the most important thing I am finding at the moment is just repetition over and over again with your child about how to tell the time - What is the short hand pointing to?  What is the long hand pointing to?  How many minutes in an hour? Etc etc.  It can be quite a complicated thing for a child to get their head around, so lots of patience and encouragement go a long way too!

Visit Science@home to find out more about the Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival. Teach/Learn
Please take the time to visit the other participants and check out their posts on "Maths."
  • Marita at Stuff With Thing writes about meal time maths with the help of our dinner table centrepiece and other food related maths fun :)
  • AmandaB at HomeAge talks about numbers, shapes and sizes, who knew that nested building blocks could be so much more fun than just building them up and knocking them down!
  • For Cass at Schooling Choices the car is one of her favorite learning tools. She thinks you could teach a child almost everything they needed to know about Math without ever leaving the car.
  • Deb at Science@home let her kids raid the chocolate to measure and compare with scales and graphs.
  • Backyard Safari is a right-brained person who spent a lifetime struggling with math, but comes to see the light through the wonder of nature.
  • SMMART Ideas is another food learner, estimating with beans, noodles and cereal...and getting a little number writing practice in there too!
  • For Monique at Your Cheeky Monkey, learning to tell the time is an important part of learning for a child, and it incorporates areas of Maths such as number recognition, counting, sequences and general numeracy.
  • Narelle at A Bunch of Keys has a simple sorting activity that can be done with young children using things found around the home.
  • Colin at Super Parents is writing about the discipline of maths, memory, and recall at 7 years old.
  • Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now loves all the Montessori math materials. But there’s one material she says is absolutely brilliant.
  • Miss Carly from Early Childhood Resources has a range of different mathematics activities that you can play with your children of all age groups!
  • Ash from Mm is for Me has been having some number fun for little learners!
  • The Planning Queen at Planning With Kids has games to teach number recognition to preschoolers - so they don't know you're doing it!
  • Julie at Works For Me Homemaking says it might surprise you to know that maths is heavily reliant on language. Here is a brief discussion of some of the "language" of maths and why children struggling with language development may find maths difficult.

Thanks for visiting our carnival, we hope you find some interesting new blogs.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lavender Spray GIVEAWAY

As busy Mums we all love natural products that have multiple uses around the home.  Along with Eucalyptus and Tea Tree, one of my absolute favorites is Lavender Essential Oil.  I use Lavender as a natural remedy for headache, sleeplessness, in my essential oil burner, and as a deodorizer and to make things smell great.  Lavender is perfect to use around a baby too to help induce sleep and as a natural antiseptic for areas such as the change table or nappy bucket.  Now Bosisto's have put Lavender into their handy spray cans to make life even easier for us Mums!

The new Bosisto's Lavender Spray (RRP$12.95) can be found in the medicinal aisle in Coles and in pharmacies - if you would like more information you can contact FGB Natural Products through their website.

Would you like to try out some of the new Lavender Spray?  Well I have 5 full-size 100g cans (and info brochures) to give away to my readers!  Read on to find out how to get your hands on one...

To enter: Simply leave a comment here on this post about a use you can think of for Bosisto's Lavender Spray.

You can also leave a separate comment for each of the following for further entries:

1. Follow this blog publicly
2. Join the Your Cheeky Monkey facebook page
3. Tweet this giveaway =
Lavender Giveaway from @YrCheekyMonkey

Australian Entries only please ~ Be sure to leave your email address in your comment if your profile is protected, if I draw you as a winner but have no way of contacting you I will re-draw the prize ~ Winners drawn randomly and contacted by email ~ Giveaway closes in one week's time on Friday 17th September 2010 at 8pm (Qld time).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Thoughts of Christmas Food

Christmas, The Silly Season, and Christmas Food Shopping ~

With the Silly Season fast approaching, thoughts of food for Christmas Day (and indeed the Christmas Season) start knocking at my consciousness.  I don't actually mean getting excited about all the yummy food and having an excuse to make a glutton of myself (although ok I do), I mean its nearly time to order the Christmas Hams and start considering just how damn hot it usually is in Queensland for Christmas lunch!!  I just had to share this poem about shopping for a Christmas turkey I came across with you, it gave me a bit of a giggle!

It was Christmas Eve closing time, nearly
Where a last minute shopper, frustrated clearly
Was rummaging through the freezer cabinet
At her nearest out of town super market
Desperately searching for a frozen turkey
And couldn't find one big enough for her family
Then she saw a young shop assistant pass by
And decided that she would give him a try
"Do these turkeys get any bigger?" she said
Puzzled he replied "No madam, they're dead."

I'm also planning my Christmas Crafts (as I talked about in an earlier post) and Christmas gifts for family members.  It's always a huge challenge of what to buy the adult male members of my family - do you find this too?  And don't forget if you have a little baby to purchase for you will find some gorgeous products and gift sets over at Your Cheeky Monkey :-)

External Links about Christmas you might like:
But we don't have a chimney
Christmas Gifts and the Santa Clause Club
Christmas is Coming
Christmas Gift Ideas

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Yuck its Magpie Season

I really hate being swooped by Magpies in Spring, there is always nesting birds around my house and I literally don't go out of the house I'm so scared of them.  It's even worse seeing my boys being attacked, so my husband put these on the boys helmets to scare the maggies off (he said he has seen cyclists with similar on their helmets) - and guess what, it works!!