Sunday, 17 January 2021

Monster Truck Coloring Books for Kids 3-5

 Our kids had a great time watching the Monster Jam in Winnipeg in January 2020. The events for 2021 in March have been postponed to later in 2021 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

 We watched this video of last year's event again just to console ourselves and we will have to wait till October 2021, all going well.

Have a look at the top 10 Monster Trucks in action here.

Then the kids started pestering us for some monster trucks to color in so we found a great book on Amazon which has got loads of trucks to color and there are some lovely landscapes they can color in too. We also loved the 10 counting activities for the younger kids.

Here are a few more samples from the book:- 

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Why REAL PLANS Meal Prep App Is The Real Deal!

Is there a meal planning app that can do everything except actually cook the food?  Happily, there is!  I was a bit skeptical when I first came across Real Plans. I was especially interested in the WHOLE30 plan. I had heard that it worked for 88% of those who tried it. That is impressive!

In addition, I had to cope with picky eaters, food intolerances, pet likes and hates, then you begin to wonder how on earth could an app cope with all that.
I discovered that it really could although it did take a little while to get it organized. Once it was, Real Plans saved our lives. We started to save money on food too. We found that we were saving up to £75 a month.  Add that up and you save about $900 a year–enough for a nice weekend away from it all where someone else can do all the cooking!

Which type of diet are you into?

It was great to see that Real Plans, not only had a selection of up to 1,600 recipes but they are conveniently divided into Whole 30, Keto, Paleo or even Traditional Food.  Then there are the amazing add ons.  These are the recipes selected by famous food bloggers such as PaleoOMG  (a naughtier version of Paleo!) or AutoImmune Wellness when you want even more recipes which are allergen- free.

Biggest time saver ever.

Could Real Plans really save me time?  I was thinking that it might not be able to cope with number of servings, the schedule, a quickie recipe when needed or change up the diet for the following week. It can easily make these adjustments.
 Then when you add in the shopping list and even which supermarkets you go to, you wonder how on earth it could do all that. Well, it can, and a lot more too. I love the fact that the shopping list goes into aisle-friendly mode!

The Real Plans mobile app is brilliant.

What I love about this is that I do not really need my tablet or PC because everything can be done on the app on your iPhone. But, if you prefer to do most of the planning on your tablet, that is not a problem either.

The schedule feature is awesome.

This is a great feature. It will tell you when to take some frozen veg or meat out of the freezer so you are not tearing your hair out trying to defrost some food!  We were also able to stock up on staples and also avoid expensive ingredients.  We can also make some changes so that there are enough for leftovers, always welcome since our cooking ability has really improved.

If you like the idea of a brunch….

Weekends are a great time to enjoy a brunch or two. This is so easy with Real Plans. All we have to is plan for breakfast and dinner. In the breakfast plan, we just put in a large meal size and that takes care of all that.  Nobody will need lunch!

 Shopping list will be adjusted.

Just by setting your number of servings (that depends on who is coming back for lunch on certain days), then the Real Plans app will adjust your shopping list accordingly.  It will also change the schedule of tasks that you need to do.

Get your groceries delivered and save even more time

Another cool feature is that the app is all set up to deal with Instacart Integration. That means getting your groceries delivered on time and you can get on with other things.

Lots of recipe ideas for all types of diets. Here is one about the KETO diet, for example. 

24 hour live chat

Not many products or apps have this really awesome feature of being able to chat with somebody, should you have a problem with Real Plans.

In conclusion, I found that:-

  • Family loved all the new nourishing food and meals are becoming better and happier events.
  • Less stress caused by rushing around and inefficient shopping and forgetting an important ingredient. Real Plans takes care of all that.
  • We love the  recipe roulette to make a random choice when we get tired of a certain routine.  We also adore the Quickie option when we are rushed off our feet.
  • All in all, it was a great choice and it wasn’t long before we opted for the annual subscription. It is easy to use, great support when you hit a problem, and the iPhone app is really what makes Real Plans truly excellent.

   For more articles on Parenting see my Medium profile

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Who Decides If You Are Normal? Vital Questions To Be Asked

Here we are in October 2020, still waiting for an updated DSM  (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of  Mental Disorders.) Presumably, it will be called DSM-VI.

I have a mental disorder!

Can't wait because according to the DSM V, I am mentally ill!  Let me explain. I have various addictions. For example, I check my email obsessively.  This is no simple obsessive disorder and DSM VI may well include it as a mental disorder. That will mean 90% of the western population and they will all be drugged. I wonder what they will call smartphone addiction!  This is very disturbing.

The publication of the last DSM manual (Edition V) in 2013 caused a storm of controversy. Just in case you do not know, this is the so-called Bible which is used by psychiatrists and medical staff to diagnose a whole range of mental illnesses and disorders.

Do we all need to be labeled

The problem is that the net is being cast wider and wider to include every temporary, permanent disorder or mental stability problem. That can include bouts of depression, excitability, distraction, obsessions and of course the great favorite ADHD. It is no longer acceptable to be fidgety, excited, impulsive or even distracted in society. How boring!

Another problem is that people with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) were lumped in with a whole lot of autistic conditions and many people with Aspergers now fear they will lose their rights and privileges. They are now officially under the very big umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is high time this was changed.

Don't lose your temper!

Look at how they are defining temper tantrums. They say that of the frequency and the severity are X times, then the child (or adult) may be suffering from DMDD. Now that stands for disruptive mood dysregulation disorder.  Try saying that and you will lose your temper!  These temper tantrums are of course abnormal but who is going to define what is normal and what is not?

Let us take another example. Eating. Now according to the DSM V says that if you have eaten far too much, like say, twelve times in the last 90 days, then I am afraid you have an eating disorder!

Do you tend to hoard things like I do? Well, join the club. You, my dear reader, and I have a hoarding disorder which is described as ‘persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions regardless of actual value’. The next time your nearest and dearest claims that an object ‘might come in useful one day’ ring your psychiatrist for an appointment!

Let us be serious for a moment.  Red flags have been raised and one distinguished British body, the Division of Clinical Psychology (DCP) which represent 10,000 psychiatrists have called for an end to overdiagnosis and especially want the words ‘illness’ and disorders’ removed from the language of diagnosis. That would be a great first step.

Taking normality too far ...

Are we becoming a society of normal, boring, entirely predictable people who will behave according to the rule book, every single time? Who decides what is normal?  Why is every mental condition treated with psychotic drugs when there could be other solutions in cases where the severity of the condition really does call for treatment.

I am not saying that mental illness should be ignored. It just needs to be diagnosed and treated in a radically different way.

Now, I have decided not to check my email after writing this post. I will mow the lawn instead. Maybe I will be able to overcome my internet addiction without having to take a mind-numbing drug. Hope so!  And what are YOU going to do after reading this post?

      For more articles on Parenting see my Medium profile

Thursday, 24 October 2019

How to Raise Resilient and Independent Kids

Here's my take on overprotective parents. This was written by myself and was an answer on Quora. 

When we were young, my uncle defended his kids even when they were in the wrong and let the headmaster know about it in no uncertain fashion. We looked on in disbelief as our parents had completely different ideas and they would never have done that. We had to stand on our own two feet and they very rarely intervened. When we were mocked in the street, my mother’s response was:-

Helicopter parents are really ruining kids’ sense of autonomy and resilience in the long term. This quote says it all:-
“Helicopter parents. Before I started at Pirriwee Public, I thought it was an exaggeration, this thing about parents being overly involved with their kids. I mean, my mum and dad loved me, they were, like, interested in me when I was growing up in the nineties, but they weren’t, like, obsessed with me.” -Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies
You can watch the video here of Lenore Skenazy who has a great site called Free Range Kids and she defends her position very well in this video and I completely agree with her. She says that society has become obsessed with child protection and some parents are even charged with negligence when their kids are playing unattended in their own backyard!

And what about parents who are just not even bothering to supervise their kids on the Internet?
It needs to be monitored (without hovering around them all the time!) because there may be a need to restrict media activity. Again, parents setting an example can be a great help. They can be much more active in restricting the use of devices at mealtimes, family get togethers and even on outings. 

In a way, overprotective parents are having a knee jerk reaction to hysteria about child safety and protection and that is understandable but this is not the answer to raising resilient and independent kids.

     For more articles on Parenting see my Medium profile