Free Safety Rules Poster for Families

Here it is! Feel free to download, colour, and personalise yours – it never hurts to have a conversation about safety with your children and for them it’s even more empowering knowing what to do! This file will print at A4 size just fine. I ended up printing an extra one for my eldest who asked to have one to colour herself and have in her bedroom.

Here’s mine before I’d written the address in. This emergency number is for Australia however if there’s enough interest I can do other countries as well just get in touch 😛


I’ve coloured it, laminated it and hung it in an easy to see, and frequently seen, spot in the house. 

Download yours from the Printable Posters page 😛

Thanks for 

12 Travel Tips for Parents when visiting Japan

After returning from our second holiday in Japan (now affectionately known as our “Japanniversary”), I have some handy tips for all of you parents out there to save you time, energy, frustration or embarrassment for your visit to Japan. On this visit we were able to spend time again in Osaka and Kyoto, as well as Nara. Next trip we’re hoping to head to Kobe, up to Sapporo, and most probably to visit our pen pals in Osaka again.


Points for Parents;

  1. Stay hydrated! Since we spent most of our days walking with our eyes wide open and concentrating on the sights and our senses were occupied, we didn’t drink enough and this may effect the little ones more than you. Just a word though, the tap Water is chlorinated, within “safe” levels.
  2. Everything regarding the public transport is so efficient – don’t stuff it up by standing on the left or boarding before others leave the train/bus.
  3. Nishiki Markets in Kyoto are a must do as well but if you have more than 2 small children consider giving it a miss if they can’t handle squashy crowds. Samples and demonstrations are plenty and the food range is awesome.
  4. Proteins & fats are hard to come by  in restaurants and more expensive in supermarkets – considering that weight training and daily movement are part of our family lifestyle, we generally do well on consuming more protein and fats. However, staples for the Japanese are predominantly carbohydrates so bear this in mind. We took along some hydrolysed collagen to help out. Super greens won’t hurt either if you’re used to eating a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables and won’t have access to your own kitchen.
  5. If you’re a coffee snob like myself, consider taking along an aeropress and your own ground coffee if you’ll have access to a kettle. ‘%’ coffee in Arashiyama is excellent, but be prepared to wait atleast 30 minutes as the line often twists out the door & around the corner. ‘LILO Coffee’ in Amerikamura (Osaka) is also a must for coffee lovers.
  6. Teach your children manners – it is normal for people in Japan to be respectful and display manners and courtesy at all times. If you show and teach your children what is acceptable, you’ll find the experience all the more pleasant.
  7. If you’re heading to Osaka an absolute MUST is to take your children to the Kids Plaza Osaka! Perfect on rainy days it’s a 3 level discovery & play Centre you could probably spend 3 days in if they wanted to experience each activity to its fullest. Ages 3 & up is best I think, however there are stations for babies/toddlers which are lovely too. Nature, Science, Culture, Technology, Imagination… everything is physically and mentally engaging. Perfect. The ticket price is more than worth it and well within budget! The link is here; http://www.kidsplaza.or.jp/en/
  8. Another few awesome attractions are the Arashiyama Monkey Park (Arashiyama is approx 25/35minute bus ride from Kyoto) a 160m climb with a mountain top park which protects Japanese Macaques, and Nara Park (5 minutes walk from Nara train station) which is filled with temples, museums, historical buildings, and wild deer roaming free. A word of warning – please please please pay attention to the signage with instruction on how to treat the animals – we witnessed a number of close calls simply because people ignored warnings. They are still wild animals. Make sure you and your children respect them, please. Then there’s the Osaka Castle and citizens park – so much to see in the grounds & surrounds as well as the brilliance of the castle itself.
  9. Be aware of smoking & non smoking in restaurants – if this is an issue for you please keep an eye out for the ash trays on tables, especially if you’re not confident with your pronounciation of “can we have non-smoking please”, or don’t recognize the characters. A positive note though, in public areas and all playgrounds there are designated “Manners Stations” where smokers must smoke – I love these as it’s easy to move your children from those areas when smokers arrive.
  10. Kimonos versus Yukatas – so both are traditional dress however the Kimono is more formal and the Yukata more casual. For both males & females of all ages. But be aware, Kimonos can be worn incorrectly which may offend, so if you’re hiring one please have the attendant dress you or help you. Kimonos are also considerably more expensive and custom made to order according to your social status. The Yukata is much more affordable (and easier to put on) as a souvenir if you’re wanting to purchase something like that. Prices range from $45aud and up where as Kimonos start in the 100’s and 1000’s. 

    The Yukata is more casual

  11. Dining – everywhere is good. Haha! Some better than others but if you’ve never been to a “real” automated sushi train please do – the kids will love using the screen/tablet to order and the speed at which the made-to-order dishes come along the track.
  12. Take a phrase book or app – as with most countries, an attempt to speak the language is welcomed and often you’ll be able to get by piece by piece even if the person you’re speaking to doesn’t know any English.

I highly recommend Japan as a destination so please go and please enjoy! 

Xx C

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: Book Review

It finally arrived today! Here in Australia we’ve had to wait until April to receive this wonderful new storybook. Not just for girls or teens, but for everyone 🙂

Unfortunately, this book has received labeling (in positive praise of course!) using the term “anti-princess“. While that may be the view of some, I personally think it’s less anti-princess, less “rebel”, but more pro-action, pro-self belief, pro-game-changer, and pro-female.

The stories of each of the 100 inspiring women from around the world are just as the title suggests, and follow a simple, bed-time story format. Easy to read and interesting even for toddlers, each story reveals the lesson or value each person has given to the world in a way that is easy for young minds to digest. 

I personally think it’s less anti-princess, less “rebel”, but more pro-action, pro-self belief, pro-game-changer, and pro-female.

The illustrations on each double page spread are unique to the woman they portray. Completely different styles created (as expected) by 60 women around the world. Simply gorgeous.

After reading only 2 or 3 stories my 7yo decided to write and illustrate her own story (about her) in the allotted pages at the back of the book – very cool 🙂

Highly recommended for all ages 🙂

C xx

Buy it here !!*

Happy Reading!!

* Affiliate link used.

10 Phrases to use instead of “Don’t be Silly”.

** 5 minute read **

I’m tired of hearing people say “Don’t be silly” to their kids. 
I believe children aren’t trying to be silly nor are they trying to embarrass or annoy us. They are simply being children and more often than not are trying to have fun! Or, equally as often, have simply not been shown or modeled the expected behavior or required boundary. I often also hear this phrase used when children are presenting ideas, thoughts, and feelings. Can you imagine how you’d feel if you were told “Don’t be Silly!!!” in a firm and unpleasant or even condescending tone when you were presenting a keynote to a group? Or when you’d been injured and mentioned the pain? Or were crying because of grief or sadness?

Here I give you some alternative phrases to help guide your child and maybe recognize your own need in a situation as well.

1. Wow! – How easy is this one? Put a smile on your face and secure yourself a few seconds to judge your next parenting step, whether it’s a safety, health, or behavior issue.

2. Please use an “inside voice”. (Followed by a reason, if possible) – No explanation needed.

3. That really hurt, didn’t it? It’s ok to cry to let out the pain. (Folllwed by breathing with the tummy or whichever calm-down method you use). – Sometimes I even tell a story of when I got hurt a similar way as a child & kabam! Crying stops and play continues.

4. Looks like you’ve put so much effort in to that! – Another simple one which really only requires you pay attention to what they’re doing to supply an appropriate reaction. No need to judge their creation, just show them you know they’ve put in an effort and be encouraging and supportive by using this phrase.

5. Are you excited? Or, You look so excited! – I allow my children feelings of excitement, and naming the emotion allows them to identify it. As they grew older, their squealing reduced and bright, bold statements of “I’m so excited!!!!” Came out instead. A lot easier when you’re in crowded places as well!

6. Let’s stay calm. – Saying this out loud will also help you stay calm and remember to be the adult and be the parent. I’m saying this from experience!

7. In the ____place name____ is where we sit on our bottoms/in the chair/stand in line/etc. – Attaching a behavior to a location can be very helpful. Consistency also helps with this particular phrase.

8. What makes you think/feel that? – You’ll be surprised at what you discover using this phrase. Especially if your child is 4/5+ years old, then simply “work it out together” as I like to say.

9. You’re upset! (Followed by ‘Come here and let’s talk about it’) – In the same way as point 5 works, giving a name to the feeling is the first step in being able to identify and manage their emotions. 

10. Try telling me in a clear speaking voice (or if your child has a connection to a favorite adult or character who always speaks clearly, try using them as an example). Forget baby talk or either of you competing in a bout of demands and yelling. Encouraging clear articulation and making a point of its importance simply sets your child up for the future and it makes things SO much easier for you!

I’ve found these phrases work like magic and in addition to that, the children don’t feel shamed, confused, guilty, overwhelmed or overloaded, and they learn (slowly) what is expected. Win win win.

Xx C

Why “Moana” is Disney’s Best Children’s Film Yet

Moana: A Mother’s Review;

I’m a parent of two very different children, and I wear my high alert parenting goggles when I watch or choose films with my kids. I have chosen to be a Conscious Parent and I know children take a lot from movies whether we realize what/how much of it or not. I’ll be writing about how we watch movies in a separate post 😉

As I’m sure most of you know, Western, English speaking “children’s” films leave a lot to be desired when it comes to role models. On the whole I have been gobsmacked at watching only the 2 minute trailers for children’s films over the last 10 years because of the increase in endless violence, sexism/gender bias, terrible role models, and severity of character-on-character mistreatment both verbally and emotionally – and it’s all made out to be funny. It is just incredible ðŸ˜Ķ

But – never fear dear parents! A great film has arrived in Disney’s latest creation – Moana. I will be putting together a list of great films for conscious parents soon (why didn’t I do that earlier?!?!?!) but for now I’ll give you the bullet points as I know you don’t have much time!

1. Strong Role Model

This won me over for point number one as Moana displays so many admirable qualities. She’s physically, mentally and emotionally strong. She must overcome many barriers, trust her instinct, and believe in herself. Despite the fact she yearns for the sea and exploration she does so in wanting to be a better leader for her family and village as opposed to fighting or rebellion. And she’s not “super sexy” or sassy anything like that 🙂

Any “attitude” throughout the entire film is only character frustration or misunderstandings as opposed to plain rudeness or malice. So the biggest things my two kidlets are repeating/taking from this film are; trying to be better swimmers (yay!), being strong, trying hard, courage, females being in positions of great responsibility, seeing through the pain of others, and well, the words “butt cheek” did enter the eldest’s vocabulary but I’m not complaining about that with everything else she’s taken away from the film.

2. Presention of Culture

Although this story and characters (I believe) are not intended to represent a specific South Pacific Island or specific Nationality, I believe that the overall presentation of the island way of life, the region, and peoples to be positive and in many ways true. Happiness, sharing, reliance on the coconut, roles within the community, dancing… And the hair – my daughter wants hair like Moanas now, and even as I write this my youngest is covering her arms with removeable sticker tattoos, haha!! I was easily able to discuss and relate my children to SO many aspects of the movie (from the boats to the dancing, tattoos, language, roles within a village community, etc) not only because of our trips to New Zealand but because I have dear friends from the South Pacific Islands and we (myself and my children) are always involved in cultural and global exploration in order to widen their circle of knowledge, wisdom and tolerance. Moana is definitely a step in the right direction when it comes to exposing your children to this regions peoples if they aren’t already 🙂 And I believe it’s also possible to research the less Americanized/Disney-fied versions of the story of the Demi-God ‘Maui’, for example, if you wish to further educate yourself.


3. No Unnecessary Violence and Minimal SlapStick Humor

What a relief to be able to watch a film without constantly reassuring my children that “we don’t hit others like that”, for example. I think there are two points in the film where it comes close. But this was a huge part of the appeal of this film as well as we saw that it’s only necessary to fight in self defense as opposed to attack or to be funny or provoke others. Or most importantly, when we can’t use our words effectively.

Thank you, Moana Directors, for this!

Oops, I must note though that a few scenes may frighten young children so please cuddle tight and answer their questions through those. I’d recommend ages 4 to 5 and older watch this one.

4. Great Story

Easy to follow for the children, and as I say in both points 7 & 9 the lessons were obvious, and it’s a wonderful coming of age story. I personally am happy the main character is female, too, since I have daughters 🙂

As I said in an earlier point it’s a Disney-fied version of a legend, so, research further for the history behind it. Or otherwise simply go and enjoy the film! 

5. Visually Breathtaking

I’ve recently started following Andy Harkness, the creative Director behind this masterpiece, and I would have to say I’m very impressed with pretty much every element. And when you do watch it – check out the amazing texture, look and movement of the hair and also water! I just wanted to touch it all!

6. Beautiful Music

Moana and the supporting characters have far easier voices to handle. This thankfully is not a repeat of Frozen. And yes, I do have the Frozen soundtrack. And yes, I do know all the words.

Secondly the mixture of languages was refreshing and also for my children, exciting. They appreciate the culture behind the music and I think that’s a wonderful thing!

7. Lessons Are Clearer

What I’ve actually noticed with a lot of kids films (Disney’s included) is that there are a LOT of underlying themes that simply go straight over the heads of our children but not without first modeling unwanted behaviors and adding confusion or inappropriate themes to their minds. And no, I’m not a “way out hippy”, or extremely religious, or extreme anything type of parent, I’m just aware of what they’re digesting, processing and regurgitating!

8. No Hate

In this world where there is so much hatred I find it refreshing that Moana doesn’t promote hate or a separatist attitude. Love it.

9. Easy to Explain or Expand On

Winning! Even after the 3rd viewing my children still have “why” questions and I find it is so easy to explain the answers and explore the topic/question raised. We do this with all films but I’ve found this very easy to parent through 🙂

10. Appropriate Themes

Following on from the last point, I don’t have to explain the ins and outs of themes they’re too little to understand or shouldn’t even be exposed to.
That just about sums it all up! I hope that what I’ve shared was helpful for you in choosing whether or not to show this film to your children. But as I’ve said I really do think it’s their best film yet 🙂

*This review is my personal opinion and I have no monetary affiliation with Disney. 

Kids Shadow Puppet Movie

* Apologies if you received this via email unedited! An accidental button bump published it!
My eldest child and her friend meet every week to focus and work on a project of their choosing as part of their homeschooling fun. Yesterday, they just finished off a fantastic shadow puppet movie, inspired by Bunk Puppets and facilitated by my friend Anita! The two girls came up with the story line, characters, props and voices. Very very cool!

I am so proud of both of them 🙂

Here it is if you’d like to check it out! http://youtu.be/j9yq_O7CRcU

Totally Healthy Mini Cupcakes recipe for everyone!

After a small amount of tinkering here is my latest recipe for healthy kids snacks. A friend suggested to me a couple of days ago to use kidney beans instead of flour and I was reminded of the ever popular chickpea cookies I used to make and thought about trying it out.

Now, substitute where necessary as we all have different requirements but this recipe proved to be another absolute winner in my house. Except my husband never got to taste any because they were finished too quickly – oops! 

TOTALLY HEALTHY CUPCAKES 

Ingredients – makes 24

  • 2 eggs (or egg substitute)
  • 1 tbs vanilla paste
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 tbs baking powder 
  • 1 can red kidney beans (or bean of choice eg. Butter bean, chickpea maybe although I haven’t tried)
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk powder
  • 2 tbs coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup honey (or sweetener of choice eg. Maple syrup)

Note: to make these chocolate, simply replace the coconut flour & powder with cacao/cocoa powder. 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180â€ĒC and line mini cupcake tray with papers.
  2. Blend eggs, vanilla, coconut oil and baking powder until well combined, almost creamy.
  3. Add rinsed & drained beans, and remaining ingredients and process until well combined and smooth.
  4. Spoon by teaspoon into paper cases and bake for 25 mins.
  5. Try to let them cool a little before eating!

Enjoy xx

Colour-Me Choices Posters to help deal with BIG emotions

We’ve all been guilty at some point or another for responding immaturely or unpleasantly when our child has a melt down. When more than one child melts down at the same time… Well… I’m putting my hand up first to say I’ve panicked and reacted terribly. I certainly didn’t model the behavior I aim to teach and I most definitely didn’t keep calm myself.  But now that has changed.

I’m working on a series of posters you can colour in or your child can colour in, featuring the simple yet effective choice wheel. The first I have completed is SAD. Download it here. If I ever get any time I’ll be coloring these all in Photoshop to make them incredibly attractive and mid-feed-scroll-stop-worthy, but until then please enjoy by coloring yourself. Who knows, it may be rather soothing!
I choose to have these on the wall in easy to see places and when my child/ren has a moment we refer to this. Simple. And we get through ok and I hope beyond anything else that she is able to grow her personal toolbox to deal with emotions in a way I never did as a youngster or even young adult.

Enjoy and use as you feel fits in with your family.

Xx

Family Holiday Winner: New Zealand

I’m a little behind on this post, and I can’t find most of the pictures that go with it since my computer died last week ðŸ˜Ķ Actually, the four of us went last year in April of 2015 to Auckland (North Island), and before that when we were a little family of three it was 2012, not too long after the earthquakes when we visited the South Island. Before that it was the first leg of our 12 month honeymoon 10 years ago so the adventures were slightly different 😉 And yet we still haven’t been during snow season!! Lol


Being from Australia, there isn’t too much of a language problem, but as far as traveling with children goes, the Maori homeland, place names and signage as well as heavy cultural art infusion into every day life is exciting!

To make it easier I’ll blurb on about Auckland and then Christchurch. Each holiday was 10-14 days as that was our availability at the time, but being so close (3-ish hours flying from Australia) it’s a nice getaway with cultural and scenic inspiration, which is what we look for when traveling as a family.


Auckland (North Island)

As I said before, we stuck around each of the main cities simply because we only had a short visit. But mind you, most adventures are never far away. The things I like about Auckland were; museums and art centers – always with a children’s exhibit or interactive experience. The Maritime museum was particularly good! Next was food – cafe and fine dining, if within your budget were also impressive, but aside from those the market eats are also hearty, fresh, and unique. The scenery is breathtaking, boat/ferry rides, hillside farms coated in morning dew, street art, kayaking, protected reef tours, magnificent beaches. NewZealand  has a lot to offer and apart from some of the extreme adventure sports the kids can join in pretty much everything with you.

The day to day expenses are pretty much on par with Australia (no surprise there) but like in Oz you can save by selecting self catering accommodation options. We tend to stay with friends, use Air BnB, or go for simple hotels. 


Christchurch (South Island)

We had a blast here – tailoring a lot of activities to “family outdoorsy” stuff. We hired a car and hopped between the main city, the Rare Breeds Farm Stay, and an organic small farm bnb where we slept in a yurt. 

It was such a contrast to see the city half up, and half in ruins after the earthquakes. Heartbreaking to feel the low energy of some of the people trying to rebuild what was lost, but still the same famous smiles, service and hospitality of the friendly Kiwis. 

We enjoyed the botanic gardens immensely, and simple dining while in town. However the real treats were the Rare Breed Farm Stay and the Organic Family Farm. 

Imagine sleeping cosy in a converted barn in the middle of a farm with fields of Alpacas, Llamas, goats, chickens, rabbits, furry pigs, and more. An absolute treat for kids! You get a tour, the opportunity to feed the animals and learn, and genuine smiles from the hosts Chris and Elaine. Some of the breeds are so rare and some so unusual they were even used in the Lord of the Rings films. Just Google ‘Warwickz Farm Stay New Zealand’ 😉

During our stay at the organic farm we went sight seeing to the bays (and funnily enough could really notice the French influence) but also were able to dig up fresh potatoes, cook in the outdoor kitchen, and relax in the funky but fabulous yurt. We could enjoy the shared space (think drums, books, mats, music, guitars) and My family also loved the outdoor shower with a fantastic view – so much fun – and extra breezy!

Another hit with tourists is also the natural hot springs although we didn’t get there.

So whether you’re tripping around or just hitting the snow I highly recommend NZ for a family holiday! Friendly, beautiful, numerous family friendly activities, unique arts, crafts and fashion shopping, prominent culture offerings, and adventure activities. Win win win 😉

Sorry I have zero photos because as I said, dead computer and yes, I’m crying inside.
Happy holidays! The next review on the list will be Brisbane, Australia.

Xx