eco living, Parent tips, Uncategorized

Lunchbox musings

As a parent I am swamped with what we should be giving our children for school lunches and also the importance of how they look.

Really? Do we really need to worry about how the food in our children’s lunch boxes look? Not only is this more pressure on parents to pack the perfect, fun looking lunchbox but it is also setting up our children to expect food to look certain ways. This could lead children down the path of only eating carrots if they are sticking out of an apples with sultanas for eyes…

So what should you be trying to put in your child’s lunchbox if it is not only going to be healthy but also better for the environment?

  1.  No single use plastic. You can use sandwich containers, beeswax wraps and smaller containers to pack food in.
  2. Think you need packaged food? Try making your own cupcakes, biscuits or muesli bars  as an afternoon activity. Children learn about measuring and different ingredients through this fun – albeit messy process.
  3. Less meat – try eggs, avocado, cheese twice a week instead of meat products.
  4. Aim for more fruit and vegetables cut into manageable pieces  – these leave a better impact on the environment and have no packaging!
  5. Fill up a drink bottle instead of packing poppers or bottled water. We don’t need more waste when we have access to fresh and clean drinking water. Worried about chlorine and fluoride? Check out these products.
  6. Ask your school to minimise the amount of waste created by students by removing bins, encouraging a waste free canteen and waste free events.

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Book review

You are a Badass. How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life by Jen Sincero

It’s not that the things and opportunities that we want in life don’t exist yet.

It’s that we’re not aware of their existence (or the fact that we can really have them)

This book arrived in my letterbox early January from Hachette to review – perhaps it was a mistake considering the books I mostly review are children’s books BUT I decided to take it as a sign to have a think about where I am heading in my life and how I can turn it around to make it a more positive and self directed life.

Jen Sincero writes with humour, passion and a genuine interest in making the readers of her book know that they can make changes in their lives. She has divided the book into 5 parts and within those 5 parts are chapters in small easy to read sections – perfect for busy people. Each chapter outlines simple steps that you can take if you want to take more control of your life and do what you really want to do rather than always working for the man, staying in that boring job or putting up with places and people that get you down.

But what struck me the most was her focus on self love. Every single chapter ends with  ‘Love yourself’ and after reading this book it really made me so aware of how important our inner thoughts and feelings are. It doesn’t matter what other people think of you or what other people’s actions are towards you as long as you love yourself. Self love and positive thinking is something that can be underrated when we are busy working those long hours, putting up with a boss we hate because we want to earn the money or staying in that job because we think we are not any good at anything else.

Jen Sincero makes it clear that we are the directors in our lives and we are the ones that need to take those leaps of faith to make things work for us.
You are a Badass is an easy read and you could even read different sections at different times as there is no need to read the whole book in one sitting if you need a break (to read some fiction perhaps!).

Motivational books have never been my thing but I am so glad that this book has come my way .

Book review, Indigenous authors, Picture books that address current issues, Teacher tips and resources

In the city I see by Tori-Jay Mordey

Have you been on a trip to the city lately?

Perhaps it is too far away or too busy for you?

Perhaps just for now you can curl up on your lounge and visit it from there! 

Visiting the city is a great experience for young children so in the meantime – take a look at this new book ‘In the city I see‘ written by Tori-jay Mordey and published by Magabala books.

A small , simple and sturdy board book, ‘In the city I see’ will amaze young readers with the vibrant colours on each page that help to add more detail to the simple descriptions.

As you travel through this story you might see hungry pigeons or colourful markets and as you read each of these pages you can talk to your child about the colours they can see, the faces on the people and the different details Tori-Jay has added.

The young art series by Magabala books is a great initiative that showcases young indigenous artists. We have read At the beach I see and At the zoo I see – both fantastic books for young readers.

So what else can you do with this story as you read or after you have read it?

  •  Point out the different colours, name and ask what they are.
  •  How are the different people in the book feeling on the various pages?
  • Who lives in the city?
  •  Why are pigeons hungry in the city?
  • Which flags are flying from the tall buildings?
  • Which show is being advertised on the sign? Check out this video here
  • Visit the city with a camera and an agenda. Choose some places that you can get to by walking or bus and check out places that are child-friendly. A day out in the city is a great way to spend some time!
bees, global guardian project, Uncategorized

Global Guardian Project: Protect our bees

I love bees and was very excited when I came across this module written by Global Guardian Project – Protect our bees.

The module is full of colour and facts and really engaged my children (6 and 3)

We learnt about a young girl who helps her family to make honey, we learnt about the anatomy of a bee and we learnt how important they are to us.

We grabbed all our bee books out and shared a few stories over the week (check them out here —-

Bee and Me

The Book of Bees

How to Bee

Being a Bee

And then we read the suggestion in the e-capsule to get outside so we decided – let’s go on a bee hunt! Armed with the knowledge we had learnt from the e-capsule we knew what to look for and where to look for it.

We wrote down which bees we thought we might find and went hunting so we could record the numbers.

As we wandered around our garden we discovered three types of bees, worked out where they liked to be and talked about why they went where they did.

We then drew some maps, coloured in the bee from the e-capsule and talked about how we can get more bees into our garden.

This e-capsule is inspiring and enlightening – without bees we would not have many of the fruit and vegetables we eat every day.

The Global Guardian Project is an inspiring group to join and one for children of all ages.

Head over to The Global Guardian Project page and quote GGPVanessa for a 10% discount.

Follow on Instagram and Facebook for inspiring ideas daily!

Book review, Books with current issues, literacy, Parent tips, picture books, Picture books that address current issues, Teacher tips and resources

Jessica’s box by Peter Carnavas

Know someone starting school this year? Or starting a new school?

Jessica’s box by Peter Carnavas might be one to share with them before they start on their way.

This story was written in 2008, has won many awards and has had many teacher notes and activities written about it, so I won’t add to it all but I really just wanted to highlight how great this story is for young children.

This book shows the young reader how important it is to be true to ourselves and that true friends will see who we really are and will love us for who we are – not what we have.

We can teach our youngsters about popularity and how it is fleeting (despite the messages the media throw at us). Peter Carnavas shows children through this store the importance of  knowing who we are and how by knowing, we will find those who will support us through good and bad times.

We have loved reading Jessica’s box and it is one we will continue to visit in times to celebrate friendship or times when we need to re assess the difficult journey friendship can take.

So what else can you do with this book?

– Play a major role in your child’s education so you are aware of how they are feeling. Talk to them about school, read with them after school and be involved when you can.

– Talk about things you are good at and ask your child what they think they are good at. Tell each other what you are both good at. Do this as often as you can.

– For older readers – find times in the media when people have become popular because of one thing but then faded because that thing was gone or no longer popular?

– How is social media like Jessica’s box? How can we become popular on Facebook or instagram? Does this popularity really count?

How will you play a role in order to help your child thrive?

Book review, Uncategorized

Gregory and the Grimbockle by Melanie Shubert

Oh my goodness – I will never be able to look at a mole on someone’s face in the same way again. Such a fun and creative way to start a story and this wonderful imagination continues right throughout the story!

GregoryAndTheGrimbockle-BookCover

Gregory and the Grimbockle by Melanie Shubert is a self published story about a young boy who encounters a Grimbockle – a small purple creature who looks after humans by ensuring that the threads that tie us all together are never severed as sadness is something that they dislike.

Gregory learns how to help the Grimbockle and together they mend lost or broken Exoodles  (the invisible threads that hold us together with others) around the world.

Not only is this story is magical and mysterious but it allows the young reader to enter into a world that they can only wish existed (perhaps it does…..)

The Grimbockle is a delightful creature who is determined to care for humans who don’t seem to care about losing friendships or family members through lack of communication, worrying only about ourselves instead of others or just being too preoccupied with the latest toy or television show! He works tirelessly to mend the threads which we just wash away every day (perhaps less showers are in order…)

Gregory and the Grimbockle reminded me of The BFG – the Grimbockle speaks in a similar way to the BFG and the magical world Melanie has created was amazing.

This is a story to be read out loud to younger readers (8-9) or read alone with older readers (10-12yrs)  – but definitely one to talk about long after it has been read.

Maintaining positive friendships is so important and something we all need to be more mindful of in the busy world we live in.

See if your local library has a copy (or ask them for one) or buy your own here:

Booktopia

Book review, Parent tips, Teacher tips and resources

Hark it’s me, Ruby Lee! by Lisa Shanahan and Binny.

Ruby Lee is a little girl with a very BIG imagination

Ruby Lee is a young girl who loves school and loves helping but never seems to get chosen for the jobs she really wants to do. Until one day, when the chosen helpers are away, Ruby Lee and her friend George Papadopoulos finally gets the opportunity to take a message to the office.

However, Ruby Lee’s amazing imagination takes them a little off the track and no where near the office where the measure needs to be! Where they end up will surprise you and the colourful illustrations by Binny will allow you to extend your imagination even more!

Back in the classroom, Ruby Lee, despite her best efforts to deliver the message, is disappointed….. until a pigeon flies into the classroom, and that is when she really discovers what she can do best.

Lisa Shanahan integrates the ideas of creativity, friendship and finding your gifts into this story – showing the young reader that it is really important to be aware of your gifts and not focus on what others do best, but what you do best.

A great read for those starting or continuing pre-school or primary school as it really highlights the importance of friends and the importance of believing in what you can do best.

So what else can you do with this book?

 – Look at the end papers – why are there small birds used?

– What do you think George Papadopoulos’ background is?

– Where did Ruby Lee and George travel do on their message adventure? Create your own story about somewhere you might go in-between your classroom and the office.

– What are your gifts? Write down 5 things you are really good at and proud of. If you have trouble ask a friend.

eco living, Parent tips

Pegs for the future

After reading a great article by Gippsland unwrapped, I was inspired to make another change that can help the future of the planet – BUY SOME MORE PEGS!

Yes, buying more things is not ideal but in buying these pegs I will hopefully never have to:

Buy pegs again

Step on broken pegs

Watch my husband mow over plastic pegs that fly up into the sky

Buy into more plastic that isn’t going to last.

These pegs are an investment for hopefully a lifetime and I highly recommend that you look into getting these pegs too.

The price is one thing that you may be concerned about as they range from $18.95-$61.00 depending on the grade of steel.

But if you do the maths, they will work out a lot cheaper over time.

A bag plastic pegs at the supermarket can cost at least $3.00 and most would last half a year – possibly a year if you’re lucky. Once you buy these pegs you will never have to buy pegs again.

BUY: Stainless Steel Wire pegs HERE:
Give them a go – I love mine and make our family’s impact on the environment just a little bit lighter.

CLICK HERE: Search Stainless Steel Wire Pegs.

Book review, gifted education, literacy, loveozya, Teacher tips and resources

Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster

If you had one wish what would it be?

Esme Silver lost her mother 7 years ago and has just witnessed her father remarry a women she doesn’t like at all. She is not only upset at her father for remarrying but also upset that he wants to move on when she can’t. Her mother went missing 7 years ago for no apparent reason and it is this unknowing that draws Esme to a small cottage she has been told to avoid for the last 7 years after her father and his new wife depart on their honeymoon.

Not only does Esme discover more about her mother, she also discovered another world – and this world has many more links to her mother than she would like to think.

When Esme steps into this other world, she makes many true and good friends in the city of Esperance who help her to find out what has happened to her mother. She shows determination, clever thinking and a strong will as she journeys through a city which constantly surprises her with it’s twists and turns around every corner.

Esme’s wish is a marvellous story and a definite page turner. It is full of magic and wonder,imagination and marvel, creativity and friendship. Not only does Esme travel Esperance to find her mother, she travels through it to also save the city from certain destruction.

Esme’s wish by Elizabeth Foster is a book for readers aged 11 and up and perhaps one that may have a sequel….who knows? Perhaps I will have to ask Elizabeth Foster herself…..

So what else can you do with this book?

– Draw a map of Esperance and surrounding islands after you have read the book

– Make a list of the different gifts people can have. How do people have gifts in our world? Are they as revered as they are in this story? Are all gifts equal in this world and our own?

– What is a pearl made out of? Why are they precious? Can you find any stories throughout history related to pearls?

– As you read list the metaphors and similes and other types of figurative language. This book is rich in this type of language and a great way to study how you can add more to your writing.

There are so many more wonderful activities to do with this book – it’s a great book to share or read as a group!

Book review, Books with current issues, eco living, Environmental books, literacy, Parent tips, picture books, Picture books that address current issues, Teacher tips and resources

One small step

Worried that your vegetable patch isn’t growing too well and perhaps isn’t making a difference to the world?

Or perhaps when you only walk once a week instead of driving you wonder if it is really worth it?

And how about the times when you are given a plastic bag because you forgot your reusable bags and you really need to carry something home in it?

All the small steps add up to big steps and every small step will inspire someone else to make a difference. Check out these books and the characters who made a small step to inspire others. ?

Leaf by Stephen Michael King       

Amelia Ellicott’s Garden

The Last tree in the City

The Seagull 

Ada’s Violin

A bag and a bird

What small steps are you going to take today so you can make a difference in some one else’s life

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