Screen Off Fun

Screen Off Fun!

Now the children are back at school and in some parts of the world we are feeling touches of Autumn creeping towards winter, it’s not always possible to play outside and all too easy to rely on screen entertainment. That may be TV, Netflix or social media channels and while there are certain benefits to be discovered in those virtual places, it can become addictive and unfortunately can be very unsociable.

When you walk into your sitting room is everyone glued to their phones or slumped in front of the TV?

And when you ask a question do you get any coherent answers? If you do, you’re on a roll because all too often this doesn’t happen when the whole family is locked into their own virtual world.

And trying to make rules about screen time or banning phones between 6 and 7 o’clock can cause resentment, arguments and moody kids… oh dear.

So, is there a way out of the pattern? Yes, there’s always a way but it will need a little encouragement and perhaps some crazy parental behaviour, but then again we are all a little crazy and kids deserve to enjoy their craziness as well.

The secret is play!

Yep, simple ay? and if you think you’re too old, consider this wonderful quote – one of my personal favourites – from George Bernard Shaw.

“You don’t stop playing because you get old, you get old because you stop playing”

Right or right?!

So get in the play zone and make up some silly games to play with your kids. A few tips though:

1. Don’t ask, show them. For example put a waste paper bin in the middle of the room then throw a soft ball or a screwed up piece of paper from somewhere in the room, even it’s from your armchair. Get up, retrieve the ball, then move to somewhere else in the room. The fact that you are behaving out of sync will invariably get noticed and probably one of the little darlings will want to do a better job of getting that ball in the ‘basket’. Before you know it, you have a full on game going on.

2. Whisper something exciting or fun to one of them and tell them to pass it on very quietly. It could be about an upcoming family party or holiday or something silly like “I’ve just written to Santa Claus”

3. Invest in a few very inexpensive props like a pack of ‘Beat your neighbour’ playing cards, a set of ‘jacks’ or some yahtzee dice. Leave them in an obvious place in the room. When one of the family ask about them say “I thought I’d buy myself some toys” and take it from there. If no-one notices (aaargh!) then simply start playing. If you have a partner willing to join in your quest, start playing together and make a show of how much fun you’re having.

The benefits of a few minutes of getting the message out there will be huge.

– Quality fun family time – loving and being with each other in the real world
– Conversation – finding out what each other feels and thinks about
– Laughter – always a good thing

And the extra bonus is that those screens may be voluntarily turned off for a while! When my children were young, we traveled and then lived off the land for many years with very little money, and it was before the age of everyone having mobile phones – So we made our own entertainment and encouraged each other to be creative and enjoyed our time together.

Give it a try. You really really really won’t regret it 🙂

Have Fun!

Linda x

P.S. If you want a few ideas, I’ve put together a fun ebook you can download right now and get started tonight. There are 30 indoor family game ideas – that you could still play outside, weather permitting…. Choose from your favourite supplier..

website-IndoorFamilyGames

Indoor Family Games

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Fun Family Games

indoorfamilygames

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw

Before the days of computers and gaming stations, children were obliged to make their own entertainment. This wasn’t a hardship as we didn’t know any different.

Many of us spent our childhoods outside (even when it was raining); riding bikes, climbing trees and generally having fun while working up an appetite for dinner…

However, during longer winter evenings, without a TV or the internet, we found other sources of amusement. These came with very simple materials and often very simple rules.
Finding the fun in everything you do is probably the first rule of thumb. (Getting a Mary Poppins flashback here) A sulky child who won’t play needs another approach maybe, but when they see the fun to be had, most children will gladly join in. It may be a good idea to exaggerate a little at first if you come up against resistance to turning off the computer.

Many of the games in this fun downloadable book can be played outside as well as inside, depending on the weather of course.

As we are never too old to learn, we are never too old to play, and these games, with a few allowances here and there of course, can be played and enjoyed by all ages – all you need to do is find the kid in you!

Pencil, paper and marbles at the ready and not a charger, battery or a plug anywhere to be found!

(intro from Indoor Family Games)

website-IndoorFamilyGames

 

Indoor Family Games

Download here from your favourite retailer

Amazon US , Amazon UK , iTunes , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes & Noble ,

 

 

Have Fun!

Linda x

Growing Beansprouts

beansprouts

Growing beansprouts isn’t a new age veggie thing – the Chinese have been growing and eating beansprouts for thousands of years.

Many beans can be germinated and eaten while still at the sprouting stage. Mung beans are probably the easiest and quickest to grow.

Other beans and seeds can be used though. In general it’s better to sprout beans and seeds that are fairly small and soft. Larger beans can grow mold before they sprout= inedible!

Try lentils, cabbage seed, fenugreek, alfalfa and of course mung beans.
Most seed packets will have instructions for the best way to growing beansprouts. But just in case, here’s a general overview of just HOW to create those wonderful crisp and nutritious beansprouts the Chinese have sworn by for centuries. ( NO fat, LOW in calories, HIGH in vitamin and mineral content and quick to grow in minimal space )

Growing Beansprouts and How To Do It!

You need:

*a glass or plastic jar ( or tumbler )
*a piece of cloth ( preferably muslin but any cotton cloth will do ) large enough to cover the top of the jar.
*An elastic band to secure the cloth over the top of the jar.

Oh…and some seeds to sprout!

Pour seeds in your jar to about a fifth full or check on instructions on your seed packet.

( A cup of mung beans will make 4 cups of beansprouts. )

Pour tepid water over the seeds and swish around the jar for a few seconds. Then cover the jar with the cloth – secure with elastic band – and drain all the water through the cloth.

Place the jar, with cloth cover, in a warm dark cupboard ( 75 degrees F. is good ).

Every morning and evening, pour warm water over your seeds, drain and replace in cupboard.

Your seeds should start sprouting within 2-6 days depending on the type of seed you’re using.

Eat as soon as the sprouts are one or two inches long.

Keep in a dark place for white shoots. If you prefer green shoots, leave in a lighter place after the seeds have started to germinate.

NB: If you find your beans or seeds grow mold before they start to shoot, try soaking the seed in tepid water for 24 hours before you start. This may be recommended on your seed packet anyway.

Try a few different shoots at the same time, and make it a daily part of your household chores to water and drain them. ( It’s easy to forget one solitary jar hiding in the airing cupboard! )

Growing beansprouts is probably the cleanest vegetable gardening you can do – and no back ache!

Get the kids involved. They’ll love it 🙂

Here’s a quick Amazon link so you can get started right away.

beansprouts

ORGANIC SPROUTING SEED – MUNG BEAN – 400GM – BULK

 

 

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

Put the Fizz Back in the Physical

Put the Fizz Backin the Physical

Is the fizz still alive in your relationship or is real life getting in the way far too often?

Lack of intimacy can be the cause of frustration and discontent in an otherwise hunky dory relationship.

Of course, sex isn’t the sole reason we stay together but putting the spring back in your bed-springs can help you feel young and sexy again! Here are five ways to put the fizz back….

 

1. In the evening, when you’re about to disappear into the kitchen to deal with the washing up or the packed lunches for the next day, pause for a moment and suggest (delicately?) that your partner does it instead, while you indulge in a relaxing bath. You will feel less irritated with one less chore to do, and you get to de-stress even more in a delicious bath… restful, sensual… need we say more 🙂

NB: Make sure he’s au fait with who likes what for lunch before you let him loose in the kitchen though!
2. If you are your own boss and work from home, try and juggle the time so you can grab a siesta during the day. Don’t feel guilty. Millions of people have a daily siesta. It’s a very sensible way to deal with a busy day. The stuff you weren’t doing while you were resting will get done in half the time if you are rested. Just an hour will revitalize those tired muscles and crazy thoughts. And if you both work from home, a shared siesta could lead to other things …

If you go out to work, somewhere during the day, give yourself time to meditate. 10 minutes of sitting still with no distractions is better than no minutes. And often in meditation, your inner self will come up with some stunning ideas.
3. Could it be his turn to get up for the kids? A mild suggestion the night before clearly reminding him you’ll have more time for a shower in the morning, may just give the testosterone a kick into gear. And if you know you will have an extra 15 minutes in the morning to relax or spend more time in the shower, you may just feel the urge to demand his body – and in the middle of the week as well – shame on you!
4. Make a date to go out and eat occasionally. Lingering over a brandy and a coffee and then leaving the washing up to someone else is a liberating experience to those who generally spend a lot of their ‘non’ working lives in the kitchen. Float home on a red carpet of regal sexuality and worry about the bill tomorrow. Generally finding time to enjoy each other’s company can do wonders for your relationship and well-being.
5. Get in the mood. Think about sex sometimes – Men do every 7 seconds I believe, or was it minutes, anyway, get into it. Indulge in a daydream/fantasy and go all the way. Truly liberating. But it’s also revealing so don’t go casually chatting about it. Hug any fetishes and fantasies you may have to yourself. Keep it a secret you smile with during the day and when you meet the man of your dreams in the evening, you’ll be ready for anything!
Make time for each other during the day if you can. Click on that sexual refresh button and enjoy some physical exercise that not only burns up calories but also make you feel like a million dollars!

To your good health

Linda x

Herbs can Save the World

herbscansavetheworld

Herbs can Save the World!
I read somewhere that pasta sauces reach 9 out of 10 consumers. How many jars and lids does that add up to I wonder?

I have no idea where to start doing the math, but I think we’re into the billions – of jars sold every year. Ouch.

Where do all those un-recyclable bits go?

Before I start ranting about landfills and killing wildlife, I’m going to share a few points that may make a difference to the way we believe these pasta sauces are convenient. They are certainly quick to use but are we missing something here?

1: The cost of one jar could take 15 minutes to earn… even if you are highly paid, it’s still going to be a few seconds or minutes of your time; working hard to earn enough to buy the jar of sauce that could possibly save 1 or 2 minutes in the kitchen….

2: Whatever way you look at it, it’s processed. There are organic, no-additive sauces available, although usually higher in price (rightly so) but they never have that just-picked taste that you’ll get if you really push the boat out and grow a few tomato plants this year, or buy organic tomatoes.

3: Mini-rant time. The number of plastic tops that get thrown in our oceans and great gaping holes in the ground every day is horrifying. Even if pasta sauces only reach 5 out of 10 consumers, just imagine how many plastic lids we don’t need to make, in the first place.

And now, let’s flip the coin….

Generally a sauce for pasta needs to be a little thick so it tastes and kind of ‘feels’ right. This is where we have to be flexible.. although processing is not so great, a little tomato puree will go a long way..

One tube of puree does, I agree, have a plastic top; although smaller, it’s still a plastic top. I am trying to get some advice about recycling tops but for now, back to the sauce….

Armed with a tube of puree, enter the herb to save the world!

1: A basil plant on your windowsill will repel flies from your home, but more importantly you will have fresh basil leaves available at your fingertips. Pick a few, chop them (a few seconds) and throw them in with the tomato puree.

2: The fresh taste of herbs,whether you use basil, coriander or mint, is incomparible; and every leaf will contain vitamins and minerals you otherwise wouldn’t have had. Oh and don’t forget, almost ZERO calories.

3: You’ll certainly be doing your bit for the environment, if you can reduce your plastic top consumption .. you know what I mean … by a third, that would make a huge difference to the pollution problems the world is facing. Our children shouldn’t have to live with this rubbish.

I snuck in a little extra rant there didn’t I? Sorry..

Growing a plant or two isn’t like an extra chore. How many times a day do you go to your kitchen sink? at least once probably.

Every day, or sometimes less, your plant will benefit from a very small glass of water. You don’t have to make it a cup of tea. A tiny sprinkle of water will do. This takes only a second or two.

Greenery in the kitchen always makes the room feel more alive, and the smells are wonderful. If you have ever thought about growing a few herbs, or branching out into the garden and growing vegetables, do it! It’s one of those things you never regret. If you lose a plant or two, well, so be it. Try again. The most professional gardener will lose a plant from time to time.

But, even if you haven’t got any outside space to play in, a few herbs on the windowsill will not only encourage a healthier diet, but will also help save the planet!

Download a copy of Growing Herbs at Home now and you’ll have inspiration and information at your fingertips…

growingherbsathome

 

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Happy Gardening!

Linda x

 

 

Teens Dreams

Teen's Dreams

As parents, we often complain of troublesome three year olds. Three year olds can be troublesome because they are developing from babyhood to childhood.

Teenagers get the same reaction – developing from childhood to adulthood is not an easy transition, and so much communication can be lost along the way, especially with parents, who could, with a little effort, be the teenager’s best friend…

A certain understanding of the roots of a problem, and a lot of acceptance can bridge so many gaps and ease the changeover from a 3 to 5 year old, or indeed a 13-20 year old.

But how on earth do you find the root of the problem when you hardly know what the problem is, and your teenager certainly isn’t going to reveal it to their parents. In your dreams!

The solution is to ‘not’ focus on the problem – we know in our hearts that focusing on a problem will not find the solution.So what do we do? We ignore the problem, or more to the point, we put it on hold.

The most certain way to communicate with anyone is to ask them what their dreams are, what they want from life, how they visualize themselves in the future.

Get into their space:

Many teenagers will be dreaming of celebrity type status, footballer, singer, film star. And before you decide for your teenager that these dreams are unattainable, remember someone’s got to be doing it…

Find out what your teenager is interested in, ask them what they dream about, and go with it. Yes enjoy it with them. Let them dream and then help them on their way.Even if you’re absolutely convinced in your heart that your teenager has no acting ability or can’t kick a football to save their lives, that’s not for you to judge.

People achieve stunning things in this world, wouldn’t you love your child to be one of them. A happy fulfilled individual able to share his or her success with the rest of us mortals?!

How many of us grow up with firm beliefs that we aren’t capable of achieving our dreams because someone at sometime told us we didn’t have what it takes?

Don’t let that happen to your loved ones. Following your dream should be an enjoyable experience. Most ‘successful’ people will tell you it’s not the goal but the journey that counts. You need the goal though to be able to begin the journey.

Find out what your teenager is dreaming about…

Don’t make the cringing mistake of making their dream something you’re particularly interested in. Your teenager won’t respect you for this and will more than likely be embarrassed by it.

The best way to help with the dream path, is to take the steps logically, one tiny step at a time. Sit down and discuss the possibilities and the impossibilities. Make some notes together. Buy a homework book to note dreams and goals. Take it seriously.

Do a little research, and come up with the first step in the process. Maybe you could download free scripts from the internet to practise acting skills at home. Have fun acting out the films and learn while you play!

Is there a local football club your budding football star could join and train on Saturday mornings?

Don’t be afraid to NOT achieve the dreams. I was always told ‘you’ll only get disappointed when you don’t make it.’ Well, hey, a little disappointment and a slight change of direction isn’t nearly as devastating as never fulfilling any of your dreams and resentfully working in a job you hate for the rest of your life.

Keep an open mind, we change our minds and ideas as we grow older, take on responsibilities, change our careers… It’s perfectly okay to change your goals and dreams, and this should be clearly stated when you first chat about the dreams with your teenager. As long as you don’t ridicule the idea, you will find a way.

A series of events while pursuing an acting career, could so easily lead to the individual wanting to polish up his/her writing skills. And what’s wrong with that? The contact and experience was necessary to find the right path towards fulfillment. A less than brilliant sporting talent may result in acting the part in the next blockbuster!

We can’t predict the future, but we do all have a perfect right to pursue our dreams and be happy in our lives. The happier we are, the more happiness we share with others, and the happier they are!

To your family happiness!

Linda x

Rescue Remedies

RescueRemedies

Rescue Remedies
I’m all for a little home baking but occasionally things go tins up. Don’t despair – it may not be the end of the world. Here are a few ideas to rescue something from the wreckage…
1. Sponge Cakes:
If the cake is too ‘al dente’ to call a sponge, cut off all the burnt bits and slice the rest into fairly thick slices or break into pieces. Put into a wide bottomed serving dish.
Pour thick fruit syrup (or a tin of fruit cocktail) over the sponge and leave to marinate for about an hour. Then top with jelly, custard, cream or ice cream. Serve chilled.
2. Jams and Jellies:
If the jam or jelly isn’t going to set, pour into your prepared jars anyway. Label the jars as syrup and use it to pour over desserts and ice creams.
3. Bread:
If your home-baked loaf needs an orthodontist standing by, grate it into breadcrumbs and store in a freezer bag. Use to coat rissoles or fish. And if there are some leftover, don’t forget the birds.
4. Chicken:
Too dry to enjoy? Cut meat into pieces and cover with stock in a large pan. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for at least half an hour. Add some diced or sliced veggies, such as potatoes, onions, leeks etc; and simmer until vegetables are cooked.
Add a handful of pearl barley and a sprinkle of sage and onion stuffing mix for extra bulk and flavour.
5. Wine:
If your wine turned to vinegar, don’t flush it away with your tears, bottle it and label as wine vinegar! And it doesn’t have to be ‘grape’ based. Taste it then use for dressing salads and adding a little je ne sais quoi to your recipes.
Oh, and if you let your tea go cold while rescuing your disaster, pour it into a small pan, add a little cinnamon or cloves and heat until nearly boiling, then remember to drink it!

NB:  When re-heating meat, make sure it’s piping hot right through before serving.

To your culinary success!
Linda x

P.S. Download a couple of free recipe books here

Supermarket Survival Tactics

SupermarketSurvivalTactics

“Supermarket Survival Tactics”

Supermarkets can drain your pocket, your energy and your time. Here are nine supermarket survival tips for successful supermarket shopping….

1. Eat before you go – an empty stomach is sure to guide you towards the chocolate and snacks.

2. Don’t take the kids! – they always find something they ‘must have.’

3. Do it online – no petrol costs, no browsing the shelves wondering what treats to buy.

4. Prepare a detailed list – and stick to it 🙂

5. Be brave and check out shop’s own brand – some are good and often a lot cheaper.

6. Avoid sweets and snacks aisles – you don’t NEED to visit these shelves – so don’t.

7. BOGOF – Buy one get one free if you NEED it – not just because it’s half-price – twice as much chocolate is twice the calories and sugar if not twice the cost.

8. Go on your own or with a good friend – on your own you can think more clearly, and a good friend can steer you in the right direction!

9. Don’t ‘pop-in’ every day – if you have a freezer, a monthly shop could work.

Happy Shopping!

Linda x

Let the Sunshine in

Letthesunshinein-pin

“Let the Sunshine in!”

Welcoming the sunshine into your home can highlight all sorts of murky corners and piles of stuff littered about. So it’s opening windows and cleaning time!

The easiest way to spring clean is to de-clutter first. The word ‘clutter’ comes from, I believe, a Latin word meaning to coagulate. There is no way you want to be coagulating up your world. Sometimes it seems impossible to keep a house tidy, especially if there are little peeps sharing the same space!

The way to do it is to get organized. Take it one step at a time. When we get overwhelmed with anything, we tend to fall into a place of stress – anxiety, panic, sheer lack of motivation. And the job won’t get done. Clutter can be a very dis-empowering state and, after all, our environment does make a difference.

So, start from the top. If you have an attic packed full of ‘stuff’ and you don’t use the space for living, ignore it for now. Get the rest of the house in order, then you can start bringing things down and sorting them slowly. If the clutter in the attic isn’t actually in your way or in your face, it can be postponed.

Things to have before you start:

**rubbish bags
**boxes/containers
**perhaps a cleaning cloth or two.

And most importantly

**A desire for tidiness!

TIP: Don’t try and tackle it all at once. Be realistic. If the house hasn’t been tidied for more than a couple of months, take it slowly. Decide on one room at a time. Then choose one particular category in each room; clothes, toys, etc;
Once you get in the swing of tidying you are rewarded with more creativity, productivity and a boatload of feel-good. Once the house is tidy, cleaning is a piece of cake!

De-Cluttering

 

De-cluttering will help you organize your space. Choose from your favourite retailer:

Amazon US, Amazon UK, iTunes, Kobo, Payhip, Barnes & Noble,

 

 

Let the sunshine in!
Linda x

 

Grow Lemons at Home

Grow Lemons at Home

Although lemons and other citrus fruits are indigenous to warmer climates, in recent years they have become a popular plant in many parts of the world. They do need a little care and attention but they are worth their weight in gold!

Healthy Reasons
Lemons have been used in medicinal preparations for generations. The most well-known is probably a lemon and honey drink which soothes symptoms of coughs and colds.
Lemons are a source of dietary fibre and an average lemon weighing approx. 58g contains around 30mg of vitamin C.
Lemons are used in many commercial products because of their grease cutting and bleaching agents.

TIP: Don’t throw away old slices or pieces of lemon. Use them to wipe round the sink every time you wash up. It cuts through any greasy spots and leaves a lovely smell behind. Leave a slice over the outlet so that the water draining away will contain some lemon juice and help clean through the pipes and drains.

Make your own fresh organic lemonade
This is a quick recipe – no fizz though!
Roughly chop three whole (un-waxed) lemons and put them into a food processor with about 6oz (175g) of sugar and a pint (0.5l) of water.
Blend until the lemons are finely chopped. Sieve into a large bowl, pressing as much juice as you can through the sieve. Top up with another pint of cold water and serve chilled.

Text taken from ‘How to Grow Lemons‘ – downloadable now.

Happy Growing!

Linda x

Lemons

 

 

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Happy Growing!

Linda x