Monthly Archives: April 2013

Post-it notes and affirmations

My girls have been inspired by David Levithan. His book, Every Day, finishes with the main character sticking post it notes all over another character’s bedroom. The girls have been inspired. Now their room is plastered with post-its.

They have collected lots of sayings which are inspirational to them – everything from Lilo and Stitch to song lyrics to quotes from important figures. Here’s a selection of the ones that resonate with me:

Ohana means family. Family means no-one gets left behind or forgotten.

If you’re not willing to risk it all, you don’t want it bad enough.

For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.

Be a fruit loop in a world of Cheerios.

I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. (Thomas Edison)

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will get you everywhere. Albert Einstein

The girls have taken this one step further. Daughter number one is not shy about letting the world know she believes she’s awesome. She and daughter number two have applied the awesomeness concept to the post it concept. For each letter of the alphabet, they’ve found an adjective or two to go with awesome. They’ve put this above their bedroom door, so they see it every time they leave their bedroom. Pretty impressive affirmation for a pair of teenage girls. Long may it continue!

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I thoroughly recommend ‘Every Day’ by the way – excellent young adult novel!

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One small job and one big one

Sometimes having a tribe of kids and working full time gets to be too much for me. This results in a meltdown and inevitably a family meeting. We had one of these last week and the concept above came about because of it. I’ve mentioned the concept to a few parents and they think it is a great idea, so I thought I’d share it here.

Here’s how it goes. Each child should do one small job every day and one big job every week. Depending on the age of the child, the small job could be bringing their school bag out of the car and putting their lunchbox on the bench, or unloading the dishwasher – something that’s done every day. The large job could be vacuuming, hanging out washing, cleaning a bathroom, cooking a meal. Again, age appropriate.

They say it takes two weeks to make a habit, so don’t worry too much if it takes a while to get the hang of it. We decided that the children could decide for themselves what the jobs should be, and that will help with the concept sticking.

One small job each day, one large job each week. It seems to be working well so far for our mob – I’d love to hear how it goes for you!

The small boy was much smaller back then and much keener on housework!

The small boy was much smaller back then and much keener on housework!

The other small boy was also much smaller then, but still likes to water the plants.

The other small boy was also much smaller then, but still likes to water the plants.

 

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Cassandra Clare – The Shadowhunter Chronicles

Earlier this year, I wrote was about my favourite three NEW young adult authors that I came across in 2012. Cassandra Clare is not a new author to me, or she would have been top of my list!

My sister (a high school teacher and an excellent source of new young adult fiction recommendations) gave daughter number two the first three books several years ago. She read them. I read them. Her father read them. Her friends read them. We anxiously awaited the publication of the next series, book by book. We went on to Cassandra Clare’s Tumblr (still not entirely sure what a Tumblr is, so I’m just getting by thinking of it as a blog) and avidly pounced on every scrap of news about the new books and !gasp! a movie of the first book!

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What makes these books so good? Where to start? The world, first of all. This is a detailed, comprehensive, dark contemporary fantasy world. It has a rich history (so much so that the second trilogy is set over a hundred years before the first three books to be issued) and is consistent and beautifully described. From the very first page, you’re hooked into this magical world lurking beneath the surface of our world and yet it is instantly believable.

The characters are vivid, and although they make mistakes, these are often out of ignorance or impatience or stubbornness rather than an annoyingly stupid or uncharacteristic choice. The main characters are all teenagers, and their choices often reflect their age and life experience. Clary, the main character, is pitchforked into a world she had never even dreamed of, and her choices are informed accordingly.

There are some delightful characters in these stories; some unexpected plot twists and some satisfyingly evil bad guys. I’d recommend these for slightly older teenagers, although my fourteen year old has been reading and loving these since she was about eleven. She’s getting more depth of meaning and her awareness of the layers of subtlety has increased with each subsequent rereading.

Highly recommended books for keen teen readers or for those adults who enjoy well-written stories.

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