Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Yummy Mummy Cookies... for the whole family!

Last month I was invited to review the New Zealand Totally Devoted range of cookies - how could I say no?!?!? I am always on the hunt for healthy snack alternatives, not only for my boys for also for myself and hubby! 

Whilst I am neither pregnant or breast-feeding at the moment, I wanted to share this product because I remember what it was like to have 24/7 nausea for the first 20weeks of my pregnancies, and I breast-fed both my boys and would have LOVED to have a healthy and easy snack such as this around as sometimes you just didn't get a chance to sit an have a healthy snack, let alone meal. 

Myself and my family tried the Family Cookies (which provide a healthy snack for the whole family), the Clever Cookies (which aim to improve memory and brain function) and the Pregnancy Cookies (which aim to relieve morning sickness and nausea) - and they were a HUGE hit! They were fresh, tasty and filling - very important for a snack food for a busy young family. I also believe that they would be great from those suffering morning sickness/nausea as I can distinctly remember not wanting to eat much other than biscuits and chips (carb laden food that's not overly nutritious) and these are a healthy biscuit that is sure to hold that sick feeling at bay. 

Kelly, the founder of The Yummy Food Food Company, decided to bring these New Zealand born goodies out to OZ and share them with Australian mother's and families. The range is dairy, wheat & preservative free and are packed full of nutritious 100% natural ingredients, specially researched and selected to help breastfeeding and pregnant mums to either assist in increasing milk supply or decreasing the symptoms of morning sickness.

The Breast-Feeding Cookies contain all natural ingredients like fenugreek and fennel plus more which are reputed to help you increase your breastmilk naturally and help promote healthy lactation for breastfeeding mums.
The Pregnancy Cookies contain all natural ingredients like ginger and chia seeds which may help to reduce the effects of morning sickness and many of the other not-so-comfortable effects of pregnancy. These cookies though may also assist anyone pregnant or not who suffers from nausea, indigestion or other sensitive stomach conditions.
The Clever Cookies contain ingredients shown to help increase blood flow to the brain to improve memory (so great for 'mummy-brain') and the Family Cookies make a great healthy, immune system boosting treat for the whole family and are great for school/kindy lunchbox snacks.

Follow the links above to learn more about this great product! They will be a staple in my cupboard for a healthy snack, and I'll be sharing these with friends who are soon-to-be and new mums!

(PLEASE NOTE: This is not a paid review).

Friday, 20 March 2015

#GoGinger Anti-Bullying Challenge

Today, March 20th, is National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence. 

Bullying and violence are ongoing issues that affect countless Australians annually – in fact 1 in 4 Australian school students reported that they were bullied in the previous year.

There are some brilliantly unique initiatives happening to raise awareness this year, and one of these is Buderim Ginger’s fiery new social campaign The #GoGinger Challenge. The nation-wide campaign will ask Aussies to take a stand against bullying by snapping a selfie with a ‘Tinge of Ginge’ (this can be anything from a ginger cat to a ginger wig) and posting it to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with the hashtags #GoGinger and #BullyZero

The more people that participate in the campaign, the more money Buderim Ginger will donate. If over 100 people participate, Buderim Ginger will donate $1,000, over 500 participate and they will donate $1,500, and if over 1,000 people, Buderim Ginger will donate $2,000 to the anti-bullying charity Bully Zero Australia Foundation. The Bully Zero Australia Foundation is an organisation that works to provide support for victims of bullying and their families.

Why is Buderim Ginger supporting this? Because it’s no secret that it can be a tough world out there for Gingers, who have unfairly been misrepresented on throughout history. From every day stereotypes to being on the sharp end of teasing and name-calling, gingers have been labelled everything from fiery-tempered, and promiscuous to evil and treacherous.

The challenge will run until 20th April, giving entrants one month to participate, the #GoGinger Challenge will help raise awareness of the cause, and every photo will provide much-needed donations to support Australian victims of bullying and violence in a way that is uniquely ginger. 

Want to know more? Check out Buderim Ginger's Facebook page or Website.

(This is NOT a sponsored post. I am passionate about anti-bullying).

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Being a casual teacher

It's a hard gig being the casual/relief teacher - probably the toughest teaching job going!! You're expected to turn up to a school (if you're lucky you're familiar with it, the staff and students) and take over a class of students for a day. Sometimes instructions, management tips, class and school rules as well as programming and lesson plans have been organised and left for you to follow - but more often than not, you walk into school, are shown what room you'll be in and... that's about it. You're left to sink or swim! 

I've been fairly lucky in my teaching career to pick up contracts for a year at a time - but in between having my boys I have done my fair share of casual work and temp blocks, and in some pretty tough schools and neighbourhoods. Being part of a Facebook group for Casual and Relief teachers has prompted me to write this blog that provides some of my tips, tricks and essentials for surviving the life of a casual teacher:

Pre-packed wheelie-box and teacher bag
Those early morning calls can catch you off guard, and the last thing you want to be doing is running around trying to collect resources for the class you've been allocated. Generally I have my wheelie-box in the boot of my car loaded up with the following:
  • Teacher's bag - You can read more about my "Thirty One Utility Organising Tote" or Teacher's bag here - this is the best bag I have ever come across! Trust me, you'll want one! 
  • Casual Teachers Daily Diary - this will be your best friend. You can write your own plans in there, write in what you did during the day, note down student names, issues you had, resources you used etc. etc. etc. Sometimes I photocopy  my daily plan and leave it on the teachers desk.
  • Variety of casual teacher activity books - have a number of books that have a variety of activities that can accommodate a variety of ages (including pre-school and up to year 7/8). Sometimes you just need to make up a booklet of activities that can be used when kids are restless or finished their set work.
  • Bank of games -if you're only on a class for a day, you don't want to go in with just worksheets (you won't get many calls back no matter how desperate the school is) and the kids will revolt! A bank of indoor and outdoor games will provide movement breaks and a chance for the kids to prove themselves, behaviour wise.
  • Supply of Stationary - ensure you have a set of different coloured Whiteboard markers and an eraser, pens, lead pencils, rubbers and sharpeners, coloured textas, crayons and pencils, sticky tape, stapler, hole punch etc. You will be surprised at how many classrooms you'll turn up to where you can't find any stationary (or none has been left for you). 
  • Toiletries bag - stock up on the essentials to ensure you have everything you need handy - in mine you'll find hand sanitiser, tissues, deodorant (no one wants to be "that smelly teacher"), hair ties and bobby-pins, perfume, hand cream, lip gloss, suncream or a tinted moisturiser (I like Natio's 50+), tampons and pads (no one wants to get caught out when AF shows up unannounced) and probably the most important thing - Panadol! (No explanation needed). Some other things I include in my bag are mascara, powder and a nasal spray/inhaler and cough lollies in winter.
***NOTE: Just be careful with deodorant and perfume if you're going into a Special Education setting, as even the slightest scent can be detected by these children and trigger sensory issues. Same goes for hand creams, lip gloss, hair sprays etc.
  • Rewards - I usually have a variety with me including raffle tickets, marbles, small prizes and lollies. Some schools discourage lollies/junk food as a reward so always have something else up your sleeve. And remember, discuss your expectations, rules, rewards and consequences at the start of the day as this will set the tone with the kids.
  • Name labels - this is more for your own sanity, especially if you've got 3 Chloe's, or 2 Jack's in your class! You can use sticky labels which come in a roll, or get some old business cards and get the kids to decorate them then pin them or stick them to their shirt or desk.
  • A Hat - It doesn't have to be fancy or in style, but it should be comfortable and provide some cover from the rays - you will almost always have a duty, or you may well have to cover for the PE teacher, or get called in to help out at a carnival. It's also good to set the example - if the kids are expected to wear a hat, then so should we.
  • A water bottle - It is very important, especially in an Australian summer, to sip throughout the day to maintain moisture - not only for your general health but also your voice! 
Createl's CRT Weekly Planner

A variety of activity books to cover all ages and all interests.
Some other things that I've learnt over the years:
  • Have a bank of 'teacher appropriate outfits' ready to go. Secondary teachers can often wear nice skirts, tops and shoes but as a casual Primary teacher you're best off going safe with a nice pair of flats, nice pants or shorts and a nice top - when you get that call in the morning you aren't informed if your class will have PE, music, art, swimming etc. so play it safe and go with something smart, comfortable and versatile. If you're working in a Special Education setting you'll need shoes and an outfit that you can run in, as you will be chasing after children, even if it's only in the form of play. For more information on appropriate attire, check out this post which provides links to the DEC's employee dress code.
  • Be prepared to travel. I drove an hour each way for a job one year. While it may seem tough and costly, you will have work and the opportunity to learn and be part of a staff is invaluable.
  • Invest in relevant and useful literature and resources. Some of my favourite books are often found on my bedside table and in my teacher bags. The following books are my go-to texts and ones that are well-used. I can highly recommend these texts.
    • Behaviour Solutions for the Inclusive Classroom - Beth Aune, Beth Burt & Peter Gennaro
    • Classroom Management: A Survival Guide - Deslea Konza, Jessica Grainger & Keith Bradshaw
    • Teaching Children with Reading Difficulties - Deslea Konza

I hope you have found this post helpful. If there is anything that has helped you as a casual teacher, please share in the comments below.