Nygpmo is celebrating its relaunch... and you could win a free trip to anywhere! sounds good to me...somewhere warm, I'm thinking.
If you are a Brit planning a “staycation” in England, or travelling to explore this ancient island nation
from elsewhere, then you will soon discover that this is a country that holds a wealth of hidden
delights for the younger members of the family. As a small country, England offers wide range
activities within easy reach of each other offering families the chance to introduce their children to the
excitement of travel without too wearisome distances.
Transport Choices for Families
If you are planning to tour England with young children then you have a few choices as to how to go
about it. Many families will take their own vehicle or look into online car rental as this option offers the
optimum level of family flexibility. However, if your children have reached an age where you can do
away with some of the accompanying equipment (such as potties and pushchairs which really are
best toted about in a boot) then don’t discount the public transport options as many children find the
prospect of a train journey or short domestic flight is an exciting activity in its own right.
English Beach Breaks
The British seaside holiday has long held a place in the hearts of young families, with generation
after generation trekking off to the coast for sandy sandwiches and rock pooling. If your kids tire of
traditional beach pastimes, why not try some of the many organised beach activities on offer around
England – from fossil hunting on the Jurassic coast to surfing in the southwest, families are sure to
find something to suit.
Active Breaks in England
Enjoying outdoors activities with your children can be a great family bonding experience and there
are a number of centres across England that offer just this. Head for the peak district for climbing and
walking fun, think about horse-riding breaks in the Yorkshire Dales or even Potholing in the Midlands,
the choice is endless for active families.
Top English Attractions for Families
One great thing about England is the fact that the sometimes inclement climate has made the
entertainment industry a little more imaginative when it comes to putting together packages for
families – wherever you are in the country you are likely to be able to find an attraction that can be
enjoyed whatever the weather. Some favourite family outings in England include:
The London Eye: The largest Ferris wheel in Europe is situated on London’s South Bank
and offers a great ride with breathtaking views over the city and surrounds.
Alton Towers: Arguably the country’s favourite theme park, Alton Towers in Cheshire
caters well for families with rides to suit all ages and themed attractions featuring some of
the kids favourite characters.
Legoland: This family fun park at Windsor is built around and mostly out of the well-loved
kiddies building bricks.
National Trust Properties: Historic stately homes, ancient Castles and posh palaces are
great places for a family outing – helping to fire little imaginations with exciting facts from
So now that the girls are in school again we are dealing with daily lunches. Sigh. Not my favorite thing to make in the cold, dark mornings. So I just recently ordered some fresh Bento supplies to liven our lunch making up a bit. And we are having fun. Japanese moms would cringe at our attempts at the bento, but for the girls it's fun to create their little lunch boxes. Here are some inspiration pieces we've been eying lately...
What's in your lunch?
So, we're finally settling in. Wow! A move across the coutry is no joke! Girls are in a new school and are loving it. After a few years of unschooling, they are quite happy to be back with friends and are really enjoying the more structured aspect of life. I must say, I am too. I really do feel better with more structure. I feel more productive, which I'm finally able to acknowledge, means more satisfied, which in turn translaes to greater sense of happiness. And I too was ready to be part of a larger community again. So, things are looking good here in GA. I really love the countryside and being able to reach it so quickly from the city.
And I am thrilled to be living somewhere with so many trees! The leaves are just starting to turn here and already I am in awe... Hope all of you have a wonderful autumn as well.
This is a fantastic new book finally bold enough to address the real questions that come up with making big life changes. Travel is fun and fantastic and it is so wonderful to see the world and open ourselves up to more of what life has to offer. But the little talked about issues that this triggers is that any change in our lives that is that dramatic usually effects other areas of our lives. Did you know that it is common for many women to become obsessive about cleaning while living overseas? They often lack the feeling of control that they are used to so focus it intently on cleaning. I've personally experienced this through a few different women I know. Is a man more likely to cheat on his wife when returning from an overseas assignment? Read the book to find this and so many other really fascinating facts about how travel affects our personal lives and more than just the physical world changes- money, housing, language - that we're used to hearing about. A really fantastic book!
As many of you know, Bali is one of my all time favorite spots on earth. There is just something so incredible about this little island that is like no other. A great new guidebook is out specifically for families traveling to Bali. I only wish this was out before we went there.
Bali is a perfect destination for families. In the Balinese culture, children are kings and queens and the people of Bali love spending time talking and playing with them. As a family, you will feel that your kids are welcome everywhere by the locals. Our experience of visiting and later residing in Bali has been so positive that the idea of writing a guidebook just for parents came about.
This guidebook for families is the first of its kind in Bali. It is packed with ideas for visits, restaurants, hotels, shops and itineraries that kids will love. The book lists over 300 venues, from long time favorites to the latest kid friendly venues. Chapters include Nature, Sea, Adventure, Watersports, Babies, Shopping, Kid friendly Hotels and Restaurants, Easy Birthdays, Health, Resident Info and more.
It is suitable for parents of infants up to teenagers and comes in a friendly format to carry around, colorful and easy to read. A must have if you are planning to visit Bali. Our motto is : « Happy Kids Make Happy Parents ! ».
And nowhere else you will get the chance to:
Swim in the King’s swimming pool
Ride an elephant
Surf in the South Seas
Cook with a Balinese chef
Dance the frog dance
Snorkel a torpedoed wreck
Climb a volcano
Fly a traditional kite on the beach
Take on the Climax challenge
… and experience the unique and beautiful Balinese culture.
Makes me itchy to go buy a plane ticket! Oh, Bali- I love you sooo much!
To find out more or purchase book click here.
For winning this weeks dvd.
So, something I noticed in all of these posts...the vast majority of you have found the most enjoyable trips with your kids have been in nature. Nothing grand or pricy, just reconnecting with each other in a natural setting. This is great news for all of us and all those with tight budgets have no excuse to go have the best travel experience of your life...right in your own backyard. That really is great news, huh?
Now, I've seen it all. Have the rest of you heard of the restaurant chain, Modern Toilet? This is a Chinese chain inspired by a Japanese anime character, which can loosely be translated to as, "Poo-poo Man." So, the restaurant logo is a pile of poop and most of the food is supposed to resemble product that leaves our bodies via the great sphincter. yup.
And you get to eat this delicious fair whilst actually sitting upon a porcelain throne. At least they are western style toilets and not squat toilets. But never fear, the squat toilet makes its appearance as serving dishes.
And for those who have never had the pleasure of excreting into a squat toilet before, um... well, yes, it does look like this. When I was teaching Jr. High in Japan the students would often draw what I thought was piles of dog poop and then tell me, "Oh, this is unko." - the Japanese word for poop. I didn't get that human turd could look that way until I needed to use the school's squat toilets. So all those children's jokes we have here in the west about laying a log, laying cable, etc, only happens when it hits a bowl of water, not a solid surface. I know, this is a lot of information! All in the name of cross-cultural understanding, right?
Here is a curry stew with a lemonade in the urinal as the bevie.
I can see this being popular with the teenage set, but interesting choice for family dining... "Hey, Grandma, wanna go to Modern Toilet tonight?"
And definitely an interesting choice for a date dinner.
But one thing I'm absolutely certain of and that's that my kids would get an enormous kick out of this place. But they are 9 and 11.
Like so many I sit in front of my TV these days riveted. I can't keep my eyes off CNN, who very rarely makes an appearance in my home. I called Japan my home for nearly three and a half years, so I feel like I have a personal bond to this country. It is not a foreign destination for me but rather a piece of my own history.
I learned so much from my time in Japan but among the most profound was their sense of community and the importance of the group versus the individual. I would sit in awe as I'd watch a group of Jr. High students all coloring the same collage at the same time. Thirty hands on a piece of butcher paper five feet wide and 2 feet tall- all the markers crashing into each other- and no one balking! Not one argument. Not one person telling the other to stay on their side. Not one person trying to control what the others were drawing. And the whole thing coming out beautifully in the end. I was often left in awe of situations like this that were such a far cry from the American experience of individuals dueling for control and power from the very youngest age. Children did not fight over toys in preschools there and the first word a toddler learns is not "Mine." I was a Child Development major in college and was taught in school that this phase of ego-centrism in toddlerhood was a human stage of development. It is not. It is a cultural stage of development.
I was watching a woman who was rescued last night being piggy backed over the rubble by a rescue worker and when he finally set her down to safety on a chair inside a building she quickly stood up to deeply bow at her rescuer and tell him, "Thank you very much." She had been floating in the water clinging to a tatami mat for two days in freezing temperatures. She told the story of her daughter drifting away from her as she choked back her tears. This woman had just endured what most humans will never have to. And in the midst of the most tragic of human stories she remembered to show gratitude and appreciation to her rescuer. These are the moments when I am incredibly humbled by this society. What makes a society develop in such a way that they have such an incredible capacity for grace? And more importantly, how can the rest of us develop this capacity in ourselves?
My heart breaks for Japan right now and my prayers are with them. It is my hope for the rest of humanity that we can all learn a little something while we watch and open ourselves to greater levels of compassion, gratitude and grace in the process.
All proceeds for our Japan DVDs will go to earthquake relief this month.
We just returned from a road trip from Phoenix to Atlanta and boy was that a lot of driving! We are currently looking for a place to settle down for a bit and so set out on a little stateside exploration. In Texas the girls did a little cotton pickin'.
I just think back to the days of hand picking cotton and think that huge piles of cotton like this would not have been left behind.
We stopped into New Orleans for some yummy beignets for breakfast. This is my youngests newest word and fixation. She's decided that her next birthday cake will be a tower of beignets and cotton candy. This I'm sure is a rebellion against my idea of a healthy birthday cake. It was raining and temps near freezing- brrr. We did not do any strolling through the streets but rather ran in and out for breakfast. The week before the temps were in the 70's- darn.
Right now things are looking like we may be trying out the south for a bit. I have never lived in the south and it is its whole own culture with lots to explore. So what are your thoughts? Any southerners out there that have any input?
I was recently doing an interview and was asked about traveling with a toddlers and young children. As I was talking I started to realize just how old my girls now are and how far away those days really were. As I was reminiscing, I began relaying the story of when we were in Bali. All the street vendors were always asking the girls if they wanted something- 'You like braid? You like shoe? You want nail?' for their nails to be painted and the girls simply replied, 'yes' to every offer. They had no idea at that point about the money involved or that each of those requests were not altruistic. But I absolutely LOVED the innocence of that time. They just looked wide-eyed at the person and usually just nodded yes with a smile.
I recntly read the world's most depressing article in the New Yorker here . The article is about why people hate parenting and pretty much why children's museums should come with a bar. I'm thinking they ought to move to Germany! All the good parks there had little beer gardens for the parents to hang out in that overlooked the kids area. The play equipment was for the kids and they actually had amenities for the adults as well. Definitely a more mature and developed society than our newbie country. Anyway, back to the article, I just wish there was a way to convey to these unhappy parents to let all the hard parts go and truly enjoy the child in its particular age. Those toddler years that so many find challenging can be such an enjoyable time. When I think back to my little one in Bali and Japan- so open and eager to try things. She would taste foods and spit them out if she didn't like them but was still willing to give things a try. The whole world was pretty new to her still and travel was just an extention of that new world.
Maybe it's because I'm such an explorer at heart that I really loved having kids this age that are basically in a contstant state of exploration. I loved watching them explore. I remember when they went to the park with some neighbor kids in Japan, crouching behind cars watching them- not out of fear, but curiosity. How would they interact with these kids that only speak Japanese? Would they 'get' the Japanese play equipment? And why were they comfortable going to this park without me when they will hardly leave my side at parks in the US? Watching my kids always filled me with questions. The same reason I love travel is the same reason I love being around this age. Trying to understand a toddler is much like trying to understand a new country- endlessly fascinating.
I think these parents that hate parenting hate it because they are essentially trying to make their kids do what they want them to do all day and kids being born these days are just not having it. If they could just step back and observe more and direct less, I'm sure their lives would be so much richer.
So now that my girls are moving into their pre-teen years they no longer have the innocence of thinking the whole world is offering them shoes because they are 'pretty.' "Pretty girl, you like shoes?" was a phrase they heard about 100 times a day in Bali. Now a days they can barter and haggle with the best of them and get a pair of flip flops at rock bottom price. It's a totally different experience. They make it to the top of a mountain hike before I do and I don't need to carry anyone down the last half because they were too tired. We are in a new place of discovery- more as peers now - basically seeing the same thing when we travel. It's rewarding in a new and different way. But there is part of me that really misses that magical time. I had a friend who would use the phrase, 'like doing a magic trick for a toddler' as a euphemism for 'futile' because everything is magic for them. Turning on a water faucet is a magic trick, unzipping a zipper, pouring water out of a bottle... it's all magic.
I was recently sent this link, Teaching Your Children About Money, from a reader, with lots of great links about teaching children about money. Mine learned their money skills in the trenches of haggling and money exchange, but if you are state bound for a while, these links could come in handy. There are also lots of fun ways to take some of these ideas but mix in some foreign currency to make it fun. I think I've even seen some on Ebay before - or just print out pictures online of foreign currency and figure out which ones have haggling cultures- Japan-no, Bali- yes, Ireland- no, Iran-yes. Then you can play some games with your kids around how much things cost- but never settle for asking price in a haggling culture!
We headed to Yosemite for Thanksgiving this year and were a little surprisedd by the amount of snow. I packed hiking boots and was hoping for a good hike, but alas we were knee deep in snow!
This was a little roadside cheese shop we just happened to stop into for a potty break. This is my favorite thing! A little unexpected treasure when we were just expecting a stinky toilet. This is the most fabulous treehouse we've ever come across. And yes, we could go inside! It was just outside of Fresno.
And there were animals to pet and feed.
And the funniest chicken coup we've ever seen! We ended up spending about 1.5 hours at this potty stop and the cheese was fantastic as well.
Nothing beats a cozy, warm bed and waking up to a snowy wonderland!
Hope you all had an excellent Thanksgiving as well. So much to be thankful for!
These stats are found here http://emfjournal.com/cell-phone-ban/ and are dated Oct, 2009. So many more countries have followed suit since then. In the meantime, the US is amping up its campaign for 'family plans' and continue to market phones to children.
Countries ban use of cell phones by Children
Last year, 46% of US children aged 8-12 used cell phones. Children under the age of 12 should not use cell phones unless in an emergency situation. If they must use cell phones, make sure they connect using a headset.
Me again. Did we all get that JAPAN has banned cel phones under the age of 18?!?!?! If this is not a sign I don't know what is. The average Japanese child watches more TV than any other in the world, and here they are with a 'general ban' for all under 18! The makers of more phones than anyone else and probably the country with the most to lose financially for a ban of this kind. And they've done it.
Most of theses countries also have a ban on wi-fi where children are concerned. Major cities have taken it out of schools and libraries while our schools proudly boast school-wide wi-fi. Libraries, coffee shops & hotels brag the same.
And how about India? Illegal for pregnant women to use! wow. But those countries do not stand to profit from illness the way our American system is set up- so it's a win/win for the corporations. sigh.
On an up note, our cities still do have some local power as recently expressed by San Francisco's ban on Happy Meals (http://articles.latimes.com/2010/nov/02/business/la-fi-happy-meals-20101103).
Though I'm not really in favor of bans and laws and all of that, it is kinda nice to see the tables turned for once and have the big boys have their profit grubbing hands slapped.
We recently purchased Relaxing Rhythms (formerly Healing Rhythms) software program and have been having a blast using it! I love using it with the girls. We love to try to taunt each other out of our relaxed states once we've reached a consistent level of relaxation. I like to nag at them in a tone I do not usually use with them for an even greater challenge. As of yet, they have not quite yet been able to maintain their level of relaxation while under a verbal barrage by me.
We also switch places and I will move into a state of relaxation and they will begin tapping me and start a non-stop crescendo of "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" all the while tapping harder and harder (the tapping is my biggest challenge!) I'm not sure if this is anything to brag about but so far I can successfully tune them out! haha... They feel quite annoyed at this, but I tell them I've had 11 years to practice. And then I remind them that I have given birth! There is no initiation into the realm of 'mind over matter' than giving birth without the use of drugs. I encourage them to keep practicing so someday soon they will be able to tune me out.
Now, I realize I may be shooting myself in the foot here, but in the end, don't we really want children that don't blindly follow directions and can manage their own body and emotions? Wouldn't it be great if our children could teach themselves how to be responsive to a situation rather than reactive? I've run into so many adults that are a complete mess when a stressful situation arrives. I've encountered hysterical (literally) adults in jammed elevators, car accidents, earthquakes, getting fired, fire evacutations and I'm sure there are others. Once when I was very young and working at the YMCA with little kids, there was a small earthquake. One of the teachers moved into complete hysteria- she: fainted, hyperventilated, cried, thought she needed to vomit and carried on for a few hours after the light tremmor. In this situation we were suppost to move the children to safety on the field, but this one teacher required the attention of most of the other teachers and I alone as a high school helper was asked to mind the 30+ small children and bring them out to the field. Developing conscious control over our bodies can really have far reaching, long-lasting consequences. About 25 years after this incident I still think of this woman and wish I had her address so I could send her this program! haha. I often wonder how she's fared through the rest of her life.
Teaching your children how to successfully ignore you as a parent is definitely an advanced parenting task! You can't still be in the place of, "I wish he would just listen to me and do what I tell him!" and wanting to control your children. But I guarantee that if you use this software together with an open mind, both wanting what's really best for each other- a whole new level of cooperation will emerge. When our children feel supported by us rather than controlled by us, everything becomes easier.
To see us in action here is a little video: Some other fun uses- We try it while listening to brainwave entrainment cds, while watching certain shows on TV, while playing electronic games on the iPad, after hard physical exercise- the options are unlimited! I'm not going to give away all of our findings here because each person is so individual.
As the holidays are approaching and so many dollars will be spent for childrens' products that are steeped in violence, destruction and disconnection, wouldn't it be great to give a child in your life a gift that could impact the entire family for a lifetime? No one needs to be told that our society is overrun with stress these days and to give our children a tool of knowing that they alone are responsible for and capable of managing their own state is truly invaluable.
I should note here that this is not designed as a children's game. It is definitely designed for adults but can absolutely be used by children very successfully. So if you have an adult that is still externalizing his or her stress then this could make an excellent gift for them as well and is actually used by fighter pilots and others with very stressful jobs. I really can't recommend this product enough. The impact of gaining control of our own vibration and what we're putting out there and what we're doing to our own bodies could literally impact our future world. But most definitely can impact every aspect of a growing child enormously. To go to their website, click here.
That time of the year again. I can't believe my oldest is now nearly up to the 5 ft marker at the local pumpkin patch when it seems like last year that she was on a donkey ride hangin onto me with one hand the whole time. Luckily I still have a juicy one year old niece that is just taking her first steps and balancing on her own. Such excitement!
Eleven baby pigs only two days old! Unbelievably cute. If there was a way for these to remain this size, I'm just postive they would be found in every household.
Why is it that when we hear the phrase, "It's just human nature" that it is usually refering to something negative like kids fighting or hitting each other, or worse? Why isn't it when we see kids giving each other kisses or wanting to sleep together? Why don't we consider that to be human nature?
When I was in my 20's I lived in Japan for three years and traveled around Asia quite a bit during that time. I noticed the vast majority of families slept together and their relationships seemed much closer physically than ours here in the West, with all of our gadgets and cribs and big houses with separate nurseries. Later, when I worked in the inner city of Long Beach as a Child Development Specialist I noticed that the Asian famlies were far more harmonious than the other cultures that had a habit of less touch. It was very evident at large functions like bar-b-ques in the park. The Asian children would be walking around with their arms around each other or holding hands and the children from the other groups were usually punching each other or yelling at each other- as were the parents.
I made a decision at that time that I would sleep with my children when I had them. My decision was not based on reading some book having to do with co-sleeping or attachment parenting, but pure observation of what I was wanting to include into my experience. I'm happy to say, I think I made the right decision.
Now the girls are 9 and 11 already! yikes. And the oldest is on the brink of her teenage years, having signs of moving into womanhood- and yet, many times at night when I peek into the girls' room, I find them snuggled up to each other. Even though they could have separate sleeping rooms and their beds are less than one foot apart from each other, it is still not close enough. It's just human nature, I guess.
This morning while going over a botany lesson with my daughter I was struck by the bit about every flower needing its roots to be deep in the earth. The nutrients are derived from the dark, damp, minerals in the soil. The lesson went on to say that in order for a flower to bloom, the roots must be held by Mother Earth, called upwards by Father Sun and fed by water and air. All of those elements must be present in order for the flower to bloom.
So, it struck me that in our current culture we seem rather obsessed with the blooming flower! We seem to focus all of our attention of the beautiful blossom, forgetting that our roots must be buried deep in the darkness in order for that blossom to manifest. I've noticed of late, that particularly with the event of The Secret, more an more people seem afraid to embrace this 'dark side' aspect of ourselves. We seem to forget that going deep into ourselves and uncovering our demons/fears/doubts can actually become compost for that flower. Nowadays we can go to our local Home Depot and just buy a big sack of Miracle Grow 'for longer lasting blooms!' But what is now becoming painfully apparent, is that by artificially boosting the blooms, we are paying the price on a global level. Pouring a bunch of chemicals onto our soil does not feed or nurture our soil. So, yes we get brighter, longer lasting blooms and depleted soil for the next generation.
Wow! Think about this as mamas. If we don't take the time to 'compost' and break down those bits that we don't use or see as waste product- the peels, dead blossoms, and a good compost has um... crap in it! Bunny poop and chicken poop are excellent ingredients for compost. In our own lives, however, we seem to not want to deal with any crap anymore. Each time crap surfaces, everyone is rushing to 'get positive' or you'll attract more negative. Well, that is like saying we should leave the poop out of the compost when that is the most nutrient rich aspect of it! Just like our lives. When we are having 'crap' surface it gives us opportunity to go deep, dig deeper, find more compassion and love for ourselves and others and develop deep, healthy roots. A mother who can say to her child in an honest way, "I just feel like crap today so I'm going to be kind to myself and take some time for myself to see what's going on so I can get feeling better asap." is far more valuable to a child than one who says, "I'm feeling great!" with her words but is a mess internally and just can't wait until afternoon to get to that glass of wine while she's cooking dinner. That is absolutely feeding the blossom while depleting the soil. The point of the crap is to use it in a constructive manner. When we gather bunny or chicken poop for our compost we don't hang on to it and roll around in it. We add it to the compost! We use it. But yes, of course it stinks while we're collecting it. And there are usually little annoying flies involved and we may occasionally step in a pile of it or even slip and fall into it. But we wouldn't dream of staying there! We simply get up, wash off and put it into the compost anyway.
This constant 'feel good' obsession is like digging a hole next to a flower and shining light on the roots because everything should always be sunny! The plant will die and we will never see a blossom if we did that. So, are some of us trying to do that to ourselves? Are we shining a light on our roots in an attempt to be 'all light all the time?' It is the marriage of light and darkness, ying and yang, hot and cold- many plants will not bear fruit unless the winter is cold and long enough- that brings forth the blossom and then the fruit. Our society's current obsession with plastic surgery is very flower oriented. Look how beautiful I am! When the reality is that most of these women are feeling very depleted inside. Their roots are not fed. The soil has no minerals left in it so they try to fix the flower into an every-blooming blossom.
The botany lesson also mentioned that the earth is most active in winter. That also is opposite of what most of us see. It said the summer was when the earth was warm and lazy- all it has to do is bring water from the soil to the plant, but in winter it must hold the seed and imbue it with creation. Wow! When we are still and in our darker places, we may be 'busier' than ever in nurturing our creations. We've become such an action oriented society that unless we're out taking action we are thought to be lazy and not doing anything. This could actually be the opposite of the truth. We're just busy showing off our flowers. But in the stillness we may be imbuing our seeds with life force turning something from a dry little speck into the potential that will someday become a mighty oak, or a rose with an incredible scent or even a cactus full of thorns that can go months without a drop of water and only blooms for a single day every 7 years. We're all so different, yet society seems to judge everyone solely on the blooming power. hm... interesting, isn't it?
I'm not sure anything beats the weather in California in summer time. After the humidity of the tropics and the heat of the dessert there is something so refreshing about wearing the same clothes all day long without dried sweat rings by the end of the day...
Berry picking and picnicking at the water's edge are truly one of life's greatest pleasures...
ooh! the colors on this beauty.