Food thy enemy

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Last month my hosting came up for renewal again.  I toyed with the idea of taking everything offline but I couldn’t quite bring myself to do it.  I’ve put in a lot of work over the years. A lot of time and money. Since renewing that hosting, my fingers have been itching. I’ve spent hours awake at night with ideas running through my head. As always the fear of failure has kept the words in my head and off the screen.  read more

8 Ways to make exercise fun for kids + giveaway

**I was sent one mobile phone in order to complete this review. All opinions are my own**

When I am having a bad day, you can almost guarantee it is because I haven’t exercised in some shape or form. I’m incredibly unfit and I don’t enjoy exercising, but I do know that when I do it, I feel so much better for it. I’m a big fan of the incidental exercise, much to the chagrin of Mr 8. He got the lazy gene from his Mama.

This year we have been walking to and from school everyday. When we started, Mr 8 complained so much that one would think I was making him complete a marathon each day, not the 1.5km we walked to school. It’s August now and we’ve only just reached the point where he has accepted that we are walking this term.

I knew that I wouldn’t be the only one in this position so I decided to share my tips for a way to get to whinge free exercise!

  • Make it part of your routine. When we first started there was lots and lots of complaining. As hard as it was, I tuned it out. I told him that we were doing this now, and that was the end of it. Any complaints were met with a repeat of that phrase.
  • Distraction: Just like when tantrums plague the world of life with a toddler, distraction works well with a school aged kid who doesn’t want to do something. I used a mix of questions about his day and pointing out things along our route. We would even go through the alphabet and try to find things that started with each letter. The end of the alphabet got tricky!
  • Be honest about the need for a healthy lifestyle. I talked with Mr 8 about how being active makes us feel good and that being fit helps us to play with our friends at school.
  • Wearable technology: Last month I bought Mr 8 a Vivofit Junior after he showed interest in my fitbit. It’s been great for getting him interested in seeing how active he is during the day and wanting to beat his Mum’s step count for the day! It also has the added feature of a chore list with rewards. We’ve used this to help get into a routine before school and for bedtime. He knows what he needs to do and that he gets a coin for completing it.
  • Good old fashioned bribery. When we first started walking, I told Mr 8 that if he walked for a whole week without complaining then he’d get a treat from the shop on the way home from school.
  • Acknowledge their feelings. We all do things that we don’t want to do. We all have to get on with it. However it also helps when someone acknowledges that it’s a crappy thing to have to do.
  • Plan a walk/ride to somewhere they want to go. Exercise isn’t just school runs around here. We also walk to the park, which Mr 8 loves. He rides his scooter while I walk and then he gets to play at the park too. It’s a win-win.
  • Find a fun walking app. Last year I found a walking app that involved a zombie apocalypse. Mr 8 loved it. However I wasn’t so keen on him carrying my phone while we walked. He had an old phone of mine, but the battery doesn’t last very long. So when I was asked if I wanted to review a new smartphone, I knew the perfect use for it. In steps the new Alcatel Pixi Vibe.  The Alcatel Pixi Vibe is small enough to fit in his small hands and still powerful enough to host the games that he loves. Even though the phone itself only has 5gb of storage, it can be expanded with the use of a SD Card. The phone runs on the Android system and is very similar to the Samsung range of phones. This made it super easy for me to use and the features simple to find.
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    Creating memories with games

    *I was sent Chrono Bomb by Talkin Toys in order to complete this review.  All opinions are my own*

    When Mr 8 turned six I bought him junior scrabble. I had fond memories of this game from my own childhood and I was keen to share these with him.  So began his love of board games and the birth of his competitive streak. He annihilated me in that first game of scrabble, I wasn’t even trying to let him win!

    Our game board collection has grown to include UNO, Monolopy, Trouble and Jenga.  Games which Mr 8 has enjoyed sharing with his father and I.  He has especially enjoyed these games when he was kicking our butts! Most of all though it was nice to have a fun way to learn with Mr 8 and teach him about the things we loved from our childhood.

    Another game, of the video variety has had a positive impact on Mr 8.  So often we hear about the pitfalls of video games. We are told that they offer little benefit. However that hasn’t been the case in our household.  Through video games Mr 8 was able to find a voice. Sure sometimes it felt like all he could talk about was the newest video game but it gave him the confidence to begin a conversation.

    Finding his voice wasn’t the only upside to games.  His favourite games provided him with a way to improve his reading and math, while making it fun! It hardly felt like learning to him, when it meant that he could whip his Mum or Dad in his favourite board game.

    Chrono Bomb is a game which calls on a different set of skills. Mr 8 used logic, problem solving and gross motor skills. Paul and I mainly used our facial muscles, laughing at the positions he twisted himself in to make it through the obstacle course.

    Using strings as ‘laser beams’, Chrono Bomb is a physical strategy game that has kids racing against the clock, or themselves to make it through the maze before the timer blows. Mr 8 loved setting up a course to make his way through. Although the sneaky bugger tried just going around the outside of the course a few times!

    The course is set up using the easy peasy clamps. This means that the course can be set up absolutely anywhere. I must admit I was tempted to set up a maze in his bedroom to stop the after bedtime wanderings!

    To make things more fun, the whole course is rigged to buzz when the ‘lasers’ get bumped. Mr 8 managed to maneuver himself through the course he’d set without touching the laser beams. Hence the victory dance at the end of this video of him trying out this new game. I could ramble on about how awesome it is, but I think Mr 8’s reaction says it all!

    Last week we were #gifted Chrono Bomb from Talkin Toys. Check out the blog tomorrow to find out more. Plus how video games helped Mr 8 improve his reading! . #bloggers #blog #blogger #blogging #bloggerau #blogs #talkintoys #toy #spygadgets #kids #parenting #toys #son #mother #monday #sponsored #camo #pbloggers #mumblogger #geek #geekmum #play #fun read more

    Suicide has no rules

    suicide has no rules

    Whenever a story about suicide or attempted suicide hits the media there is a mix of reactions.  There are the people who don’t care, they see the suicidal as an inconvenience. There are those who have been there and understand the despair behind suicide.  Then there are those in between.  They don’t really mean to be offensive, but they are misinformed and they can’t possibly keep their comments to themselves.

    The comment sections seem to be filled with these in between people. They have possibly read an article about suicide and now believe that those signs are gospel when it comes to a person expressing suicidal thoughts. People who make the news due to their suicide attempts are subjected to the scrutiny of these armchair psychiatrists. I’ve responded to these comments in the past and have been met with disbelief and uproar.  ‘I’m only try to help’, is the outcry. Yet they don’t realise or refuse to acknowledge how unhelpful their commentary is.

    The most common comment I have noticed is ‘if they were really suicidal they wouldn’t have told anyone’. Contrary to the beliefs these people hold, there is no ‘right’ way to be suicidal or to attempt suicide.  Someone reaching out after they have taken action against their lives are no less suicidal because there was something that made them change their minds. A person who admits to making an attempt on their life isn’t any less suicidal.

    Another common catch phrase used is that the person is ‘just’ crying for help. Well, yes they are. It’s a dangerous way of asking for help, but that is what they are doing. A friend once said to me that she found it ludicrous that self harm and suicide attempts were written off as nothing more than attention seeking. The term always said in a derisive tone, with undertones of ‘time waster’. It was her belief that if someone used such a dysfunctional way of drawing attention to themselves, then maybe we need to spend some time giving them attention and teaching them positive ways to express themselves.

    I often feel uncomfortable when talking about my own suicide attempts because I sought help so soon afterwards. I don’t feel that my experiences are valid because maybe I wasn’t really suicidal at all. I buy into the stigma I fight so hard to help others see past. As usual I am far harsher on myself than on others.

    There is no right way to be suicidal. There is no rules for attempting suicide. Someone seeking help doesn’t reduce the validity of those suicidal actions. You can’t ignore someone’s cry for help because you don’t think they are suicidal enough.

    At the end of the day, strangers commenting on the validity of a person’s attempt on their life achieves nothing. I wish that suicide attempts were not used as news fodder, click bait headlines that lure the dregs of society to the comment section. I wish that people would think before they type something hurtful about a person who is already in an incredibly vulnerable position. I wish that they could keep their thoughts and their unspoken rules about suicide to themselves.

    Linking up with Kylie for IBOT!

    The importance of teachers + giveaway

    *I was given a copy of “You’re different Jemima!’ by Empowering resources in order to complete this review. All opinions are my own.*

    Before a child becomes and adult, schooling plays such an large part of their life. Teachers take up a lot of day to day time and their influence can also impact their home life. A good teacher can instill a love of learning. A bad one can break a child’s spirit.

    I’ve written previously about a particularly bad teacher I encountered in my high school life. Her actions ruined science for a lot of years. I couldn’t learn while I had a teacher who thought so little of her pupils well being.  I was labelled as a troublemaker, but would you want to learn in a hostile environment?

    I also had a PE teacher who didn’t appear to see the value in his female students. He regularly split the class into teams of boys vs girls and would place himself on the girls team to make things ‘fair’. One memorable lesson he asked for volunteers to try a new skill we’d learned in class. Not a single male student put their hand up. However two female students did. He chose to ignore this and instead picked one of the male students.

    After only 12 months with that teacher, I chose to actively avoid PE. I will admit that I wasn’t that rapt in participating before that, but he was the straw who broke the camel’s back. Ironically he was recently nominated for a teaching award.

    It wasn’t all bad of course and for a time I wanted to be a teacher myself. I had even begun a teaching degree. There were teachers in my schooling life who encouraged and nurtured learning. There were teachers who pushed me when I needed it and called me on my shit when I was being, well a shit.

    Recently I was given the opportunity to read two titles from the Empowering Resources range.  One of those titles was called ‘You’re different Jemima!’. It tells the story of Jemima and her experience at school. This story broke my heart. It made me realise how lucky Mr 7 has been so far to have teachers who see spirit in their students as something that should be celebrated.

    ‘You’re different Jemima’ shows the impact that rigid learning can have on a child who wants to colour outside the boxes. I remember as a student asking teachers if I could colour things in rainbows and most of the time the answer was yes. I’m so thankful that I had that.  It broke my heart to read how despondent little Jemima was at the end of each school day because she couldn’t do things ‘right’. The schooling system and what it demands of young children was breaking her spirit.

    Thankfully the story has a happy ending as Jemima finds someone who sees her quirks and celebrates them. She doesn’t tell Jemima that she is wrong. She guides instead of demands. I wish that all students could have this experience.

    I have one copy of ‘You’re different Jemima’ by Jedidah Morley to giveaway to one lucky reader.  All you have to do is answer these simple questions. Who is the one teacher who made an impact on your learning? What did they do? This one is open to Australian residents only.  Entries close 6pm Wednesday 3rd May 2017.

    Terms and Conditions:

  • Open to Australian residents only.
  • One entry per household.
  • All decisions are final.
  • Entries close 6pm Wednesday 3rd of May 2017.
  • Please provide a working email address so you can be contacted in the event you are a winner.
  • This is a skill based competition.
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