Top Ten Xmas Movies For Kids

A Happy Christmas Infant Flowers Victorian Xmas Card

Xmas is a time for family, yes, but when you add children to the mix, it becomes extra special. Nothing can build holiday excitement faster than seeing the wonder on small faces as they watch the Xmas lights or visit Santa at the store.

One way to build your children’s anticipation is to sit down with them and drink a delicious hot chocolate while watching a much-loved holiday movie. Continue reading


Coconut Ice

‘Tis the season to indulge, and what better way to do so than with a classic Xmas treat, Coconut Ice. Pleasing to the eye, and containing enough sugar to satisfy even the sweetest tooth, this is a holiday snack your kids will love to make. I haven’t made my first batch of the season yet, so I don’t have a picture to share, but as soon as I do, I’ll post it here. Makes approximately 18 squares.

Continue reading

Top Ten Horrible Histories Songs

Horrible Histories is a popular British television series based on the best-selling book series by Terry Dreary. The show was produced for CBBC by Lion Television with Citrus Television and ran from 2009 to 2013 with an additional ‘reincarnation’ in 2015. Here in Australia, reruns are constantly being shown and the show is very popular in my home (and not just with the kids!).

The show is ‘hosted’ by a black rat puppet by the name of Rattus Rattus and stars  Mathew Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick, Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond, alongside a large supporting cast headed by Sarah Hadland, Lawry Lewin and Dominique Moore.

Each episode lasts for half an hour and covers different time periods with interesting titles such as ‘Gorgeous Georgians’ or ‘Vile Victorians’. The show consists of  Live-action sketches—which often parody other UK media or celebrities—and music videos, intercut with animations and quizzes, with Rattus Rattus explaining the facts behind each segment.

Horrible Histories was a critical and ratings success, winning numerous domestic and international awards (including being the first children’s show to win best sketch at the Comedy Awards) and has been named among the greatest British children’s television series of all time — with good reason, in my opinion. The show is entertaining for all ages, including adults, with the added benefit of being educational. Some of the most popular sketches and songs from the show have attracted more than half a million hits each on YouTube.

Frankly, I have learned more from this show than I ever did in History class. Continue reading

New Clothes & First Dogwash

HydroDogOnly two things of note happened today. First, Dad took the kids shopping for clothes. Given that they rarely get brand new clothing and that they love spending time with their Grandad, you can imagine just how pleased the children were with this activity.

Dad gave them each between $100 & $200 depending on age and it was interesting to see just how differently they spent their money. Storm bought mainly winter clothing. Annie bought a couple of pretty dresses (one of them brings to mind the tunics the Ancient Greeks used to wear) some practical clothes and a few pairs of summer PJs. Yasmine bought 2 swimsuits, leggings, T- shirts, a dress and some socks. Butterfly bought a couple of beautiful peasant tops and a dress from Tree of Life as well as a fifties-style dress from Myers (and she still has some money left over). However, all were equally excited to show off their acquisitions.

Even Jack got a treat today. Instead of his usual backyard bath, he enjoyed his very first professional clean. For just $45, he was treated to a nail clipping, shampoo, rinse, blow-dry, brush and spray of doggy cologne. He was a little nervous at first, but it didn’t take him long to relax into it. Even Cass, the groomer, was impressed.

A good day all round!

30 Day Book Challenge Day 11:

Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner book cover

Favourite Classic Book I don’t seem to have read a lot of the classic books that others have, though many are on my wishlist. I think it may be because people often make it their mission to read as many … Continue reading

30 Day Book Challenge Day 6:

Book You’ve Read the Most Number of Times I am a bit unsure as to the answer for this one, since I am assuming books read over and over (and over and over and over) to my children don’t count. … Continue reading

Thirty Day Book Challenge Day 1:

The Changeover: A Supernatural Romance cover by margaret Mahy

A book series you wish had gone on longer OR a book series you wish would just end already Warning: Contains Spoilers! This is a difficult one for me because I am generally fairly happy with the length of series’ that … Continue reading

Ditto's 'Keep Safe' Adventure Show

Ditto from the Bravehearts child abuse program Ditto's Keep Safe Adventure Show is waving

I have just had the (dis)pleasure of watching a DVD called Ditto’s ‘Keep Safe’ Adventure Show. This is a show developed by Hetty Johnston’s Bravehearts Organisation. It is pitched at 3-5 year olds and comes with a ‘Keep Safe’ colouring … Continue reading



Osama bin Laden has 53 brothers and sisters, 13 wives, 28 children and is worth over $300 million. But he hates Americans because of their excessive lifestyles.

— Allan & Barbara Pease in Why Men Lie and Women Cry


Powerlessness creeps in as a result of setbacks children experience as they strive to feel confident and self-assured. They can’t do things as well as their older siblings or peers, so they feel frustrated. They are criticized and punished and given grades, so they feel judged. They are flooded with messages about how they are supposed to buy, so they feel inadequate. The combined effect of these feelings leads children to retreat to the fortress of powerlessness, either down to the hidden dungeons (passivity) or up to the battlements (agressive pseudo-power).

— Lawrence J. Cohen in Playful Parenting


Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, quoted in The Unschooling Unmanual

Learned behaviour

People who imagine that children are resistant to learning have a nonexistent understanding of how human culture developed in the first place. Culture is no more and no less than the totality of learned behavior and information that is passed from one generation to the next.

Daniel Quinn in The Unschooling Unmanual


How do unschooling parents know their children are learning? The answer to this question is, to put it most simply, direct observation.

— Jan Hunt in The Unschooling Unmanual


The assumption that unschooling parents somehow lack awareness of their children’s progress, and therefore require formal evaluation of that progress, is related to the fact that unschoolers function outside the arena of the schools, and our philosophies and methods are not always well understood.

— Jan Hunt in The Unschooling Unmanual

Growing children

It [unschooling] is a little like watching a garden grow. No matter how closely we examine the garden, it is difficult to verify that anything is happening at that particular moment. But as the season progresses, we can see that much has happened, quietly and naturally. Children pursue life, and in doing so, pursue knowledge. They need adults to trust in the inevitability of this very natural process, and to offer what assistance they can.

— Earl Stevens in The Unschooling Unmanual


Some people think that a child’s cooperation is something adults are entitled to; they think it is something they can demand. But genuine cooperation cannot be demanded – it can only be earned, and must be given freely. When children feel respected, they want to cooperate.

— Nanda Van Gestel in  The Unschooling Unmanual


It’s nice for children to have pets, until the pets start having children.

— Herbert V Prochnow & Herbert V Prochnow Jr. in Jokes, Quotes & One Liners Volume 2

Sharing Life

Children belong with their families. Nothing is more important than living in connection with the ones you love and sharing life’s experiences.

— Rue Kream in The Unschooling Unmanual

Crazy Joker

Candles spell out the traditional English birt...

Candles spell out the traditional English birthday greeting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We celebrated Annie’s tenth birthday yesterday. We don’t have a party every year, just on the important birthdays – 5, 10, 13, 16, 18, 21 – and Annie wanted it to be special. She requested to have her party at the Crazy Joker. I pointed out that I would be unable to pay for a Crazy Joker party in time for her birthday. She said she was happy to wait. So we had her party a month after her birthday, but she got her Crazy Joker party.

We woke up early and did the whole morning routine (you know, breakfast, grooming and so forth) then caught a bus into Stockland and took a cab from there to the Crazy Joker. We got there a little early but that’s OK. It just gave the kids more time for playing. The kids played for a while as guests slowly arrived. After a while everyone was called into the party room for lunch and face painting. Those who finished early got more playtime while waiting for the others.

Once everyone was finished, the party host held various games for the kids until it was time for the cake. Since we were in the Ocean Room, I chose to have a shark cake. It was huge! Then Annie opened her gifts. Finally it was more playtime while parents gradually arrived to collect their kids. Everyone had loads of fun, and it was really quite economical. Just $290 for ten kids, which included unlimited playtime, a party room, a host, a reserved table for the adults, all the party food, drinks (including one complimentary drink for mum), invitations, cake, lolly bags, games (including a pass the parcel game) – basically all we had to provide was the presents!

Favourite Moments?
Annie: Getting to sit on a throne while everyone else sat on bench seats and the big slides and the twisty slide.
Storm: Playing with Sophie (a girl he met at the Crazy Joker) and the big slides.
Yasmine: The big slides.
Nurture: Being able to sit and chat with Melissa (one of the parents) while the kids had fun.
Earth: Value for money and not having to worry about supervision or cleaning up afterwards.

For anyone living local to Rockhampton – I totally recommend the Crazy Joker as a party venue!


…it is our responsibility as teachers to have in our classrooms what the children need, to make a rich and varied environment for them to live, learn and grow in. ‘The school won’t let me get anything’ is not an acceptable alibi for barren and dreary classrooms.

—John Holt in ‘What Do I Do Monday’