Blog for kids

Towards the end of last year, our eldest daughter began asking if she could have her own blog - since she sees both of us blogging a lot.  Euan wrote a post about our initial thoughts on this, and we had lots of great comments encouraging us to let her have a go!

Well, she has now set one up and started posting, about the cakes and sweet things she makes:

I have to say that it certainly seems like a fantastic thing for her to do!  I helped her set it up - but it took very little direction from me - she's very good with comupters already at age 8!  She designed and made her own header - see the picture above?  and has no problem writing her own posts - editing the photos and putting it all together!  I'm very impressed!

We waited until the long summer holidays to start this with her - so that it was established before back to school.  That done, school now starts again in just over a week, and we'll have to establish a bit more of a routine to bake cakes and post about them.

Not only are we getting some tasty cakes baked for us, which is helping her cooking skills, measuring the ingredients and following instructions.  She is also getting practice typing, composing texts and  editing her photos!

She loves the fact that she has her very own blog - just like mummy and daddy!

As to how her blog can grow and develop - I stumbled upon an interesting website the other day which may belp us:
It's called Kids learn to blog, and is full of articles and resources all about this topic.  I haven't had a chance to explore it yet - but certainly will as our daughter continues to blog, and our younger daughter has now started asking to set up her own blog too!! 

Do any of your kids blog?  Have they asked to?  What do you think about kids blogging?

And please do go and visit our daughter's blog, she's put a lot of effort into it, and loves getting comments! 


Did you know?

Watch this video and see why it's so important to help our kids be the best they can in each and every way to help prepare them for the future! Things are growing and changing fast - who knows what they will face when they grow up!
The stats are a few years old now - which makes you think about the growth and changes that have happened in the short time since then! 


Scary ages - men and women

Have you pondered your longevity?
I have always said that it would be great to be given your expiry date from the get go and then be able to live your life to it's fullest before knowing the inevitable has to happen. There are some definite positives (and negatives) in this- think about it!
I had never heard of scary ages and haven't even watched the Sex in the City movie (or series) which gave the phrase recent popularity but the topic is interesting.
When you are a kid, time is so slow, as a teenager you wish it would speed up and only live in the moment and then time flies in your late teens and 20s as there are never enough hours in the day. The it seems the world catches most of us up and whether we have kids, partners or work and mortgage or rent in our lives, we are caught and forced to think about the future. The endless time stops, we have to plan ahead, not all the dreams are readily attainable and reality sets in. Reality or mortality- interesting how they rhyme.
From a female perspective, look at a typical 23 year old-young, no?
A different slant can be taken if you imagine a fairly standard definition of what life may be like at 30 if you asked a young teenager (or older one, perhaps). Many would respond that by the ancient age of 30, they would have two kids (the traditional stereotypical 'one lovely daughter and an energetic son too') which would mean that marriage would be by 27, engaged by 26 and then needing to meet the correct or perfect partner by 24. Wow, where did the years go!!!
I can understand women discussing the fertility issue or watching the body clock. It certainly seems unfair that the first half of a female's life has worries regarding falling pregnant too early or earlier than personal freedom may dictate and the second half wishing they were pregnant and wanting kids! You can also fast forward from there and look at the paradox of singles enjoying life of holidays and ongoing experiences but no kids with the opposite of marriage, family and school fees. It is certainly true that the grass always looks greener on the other side.
From a male perspective it is only really the event of kids that forces a man to mature and accept responsibility. The teenage years and young adulthood has traditionally allowed huge scope for freedom and lack of boundaries both self imposed and societally for males. Moving from one conquest to another whether personal or business is often the norm. Settling with a single partner falls into place and then either becomes a norm or something to escape from. Assuming becoming a parent and sending the kids to school happens, it is then that the mortgage and family experience force you to think of longevity, caring for others unconditionally and even the idea of passing on a legacy all come in to play.
Wow, isn't life complex!?
Whilst consistency and caring is a key part of a successful partnership and provides the foundations to build a family on, it is always vital to continue living in the moment. Yes, we should all have plans and goals, both long and short term but if we lose sight of now, the journey that is life ceases to have the same meaning.
Carpe diem. Seize the day. This was one of my New Year themes and one which I think we can all benefit from revisiting.
What is you take on scary ages and also the male - female differences in experiencing them?

Jobs for kids

After being sick last week, and as a result not getting much housework done, it has made me realise that it's time our kids stepped up and learnt how to do more of the small household tasks and chores to help out, so making things easier for me - in general, but also when I'm sick, or things are busy!

The girls do currently help out by setting the table for dinner, keeping their room tidy and clean - and also they do have a chore chart of jobs they can do for some extra pocket money.

But at the ages of 6 and 8 how much should we be expecting them to do?

We started the chore chart of jobs for cash as a way to try and start to teach them about money - and its value.  This works a little bit in spurts.  When there is something particular the girls are saving for - they may go a few days looking for jobs to do to earn money to buy their new toy.  But there is very little they really want or that excites them enough to want to work towards saving for. - Unless you count a big trampoline for the garden, but it would take several years of chores at the rates we pay for them to save up for that!!

In the last couple of weeks, the girls have started emptying the dishwasher each morning together, and they now have a 'shared' money box for money they earn together.  This is becoming routine for them now - and they can see how the money is adding up for doing a task that takes very little time and effort.

My dilemma now is that I want to get them more involved in household chores, but have I made it difficult to ask them to do more chores without them expecting to be paid for them?

This morning I sat down with them to explain that I wanted to show them how to help out with more jobs about the house.  I tried to use the example of setting the table as something they do every night which helps out but they don't get paid for it.  I explained that last week very little housework got done because I was sick - but if that happens again in future, I would like for them to be able to help me out a little more.  I really think they understood this and took it on board.

So I showed them how to do a few more chores they've never done before. For example empty the inside bins into the larger bin outside and how to sort and put on a load of washing.

 I'm also working on making things more accessible for them. I just moved things around in our laundry - so now they can reach their own sets of pink rubber gloves, rags for cleaning and the white vinegar spray I use for cleaning. 

Each day - particularly in the last two weeks of our school summer holidays here, I want to show the girls how they can help with various household jobs.  I'm not expecting them to take over and do all the housework for me (although that would be lovely!!)  I just want them to understand how things are done, and to help out now and then, so that if the need arises, they could do things for me!

I found an interesting article on how to help you child build self-confidence. In the latter part of this article it mentions what jobs and tasks kids can and should be doing by particular ages!  For example:

 "By three years of age, a child can be taught to clean sinks and tubs "

And then there's:

"By seven, a child can be cooking at least one meal a week from start to finish."

This last one about cooking is one I've been having a chat to our 8 year old about and she's keen to try.  Both girls have helped lots making meals, but have never made one all by themselves from start to finish!  So this is going to be an interesting thing to try this week!  I will let you know how that goes!!

I also found another interesting list of 'Age appropriate chores for kids'.

How about you? What jobs do your kids do? Do you pay them? How do you distinguish between chores they are expected to do, and those that you will pay them a little extra cash for?  Do you think there are particular ages that kids should be doing particular jobs by - or should you just go by your own children and lifestyle?


Losing my voice

Last week I lost my voice - totally, for 4 days. It wasn't just croaky, it was completely gone. Our two daughters are currently home on school holidays, and the day my voice went, was the day Euan returned to work after his Christmas break.

The first day wasn't too bad. I felt very unwell, but our girls are pretty self sufficient and managed without much input from Mummy for the day.  They played together, helped make lunch and watched a movie while I rested.  When I needed to communicate with them, I wrote notes (thankfully both of them can read) and used signs.

By day two I began to get frustrated.  I couldn't catch their attention without going to them, the usual stern tone of voice saying their name if they began to push boundaries with each other or me couldn't happen. Facial expressions only work when they're looking at you.  Trying to help them do things was difficult trying to write explanations isn't as effective as spoken ones. Most frustrating was the fact the the girls weren't speaking to me.  I was trying to use sign language, and so they were doing the same back to me. When I mouthed words to them, they mouthed replies back! 

The first day I lost my voice, I didn't expect it to last, so didn't consider how to cope with silent parenting. Euan came up with an idea after work the second day.  When he returned home he downloaded an app onto this new tablet that would translate my typing into spoken words!  Ironically when  I was finishing cooking dinner and trying to catch everyone's attention by banging on the kitchen bench, then banging a glass with a spoon - everyone ignored the noise - and me, because they were too busy playing with this new app that was supposed to help me communicate!  Doubly frustrating - and I'm afraid tears ensued after a very long day!

The app on the tablet did at least make a little light of the situation.  Typing wasn't really any faster than me writing what I wanted to say - and the pronuciation wasn't always understandable. Plus it was new and exciting to the girls so they would watch me type and read out what I was typing before the tablet had a chance to say it for me!  Still, it did provide some light relief of the difficult situation for me, as we played around with the speed and pitch of the tablet's pronunciation, and made it say silly things!

Not being able to speak for four days, made me realise quite how much I do normally speak.  Not just conversations, telling and asking things, but also just little comments and words, voicing my thoughts, and also singing along to songs on the radio. I love to sing with the girls and I've been missing that!

I also found that people do tend to speak to you in the way you speak to them.  Aside from the girls themselves mouthing and whispering words to me, when I ventured out to the shops while unable to speak  I found shop assistants doing the same  - then shaking their heads and speaking properly. I don't think anyone did it consciously, but it was another thing I did find frustrating!

After two days of not being able to speak to my kids, I started to wonder how long this was going to last, and how could I cope with it better.
It made me think of 'baby sign language'..  I remember reading about it when our daughters were both speaking, so really it was bit late for them, but it seems like a good idea.  I wonder if babies who are taught this type of sign language, then find non verbal communication any easier when they get older?

It also made me think of the game of charades.  We've never played it with our girls, but this experience has made me feel that we should!  Perhaps last week would have been easier - and maybe a little more fun, had I been able to use principles from charades to communicate more?  Maybe not, but if nothing else it would be a fun game to play with the kids.

Losing my voice and having to parent silently for 4 days did make me look at how I do things, and what I would like to do differently.  One thing I want to do is to get the girls more actively involved in the house - doing more chores, and helping out more.  This is one area I'll definitely explore this week - and figure out what is possible!  Watch this space!

Have you ever lost your voice? How do you think you would cope if you couldn't speak to your kids for a few days?


Top Ten Films Of 2011

Final tally for the year’s film viewing was 501, of which 418 (83%) were films I’d never seen before.

This list represents the best new films I saw throughout the year and includes feature films that received a UK release between January 1st and December 31st 2011, on any format, but doesn’t include festival showings.

It also includes the 11-20 spots, just for context:

20. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher)
19. Animal Kingdom (David Michôd)
18. Beginners (Mike Mills)
17. I Saw The Devil (Jee-woon Kim)
16. Blue Valentine (Derek Cianfrance)
15. Cell 211 (Daniel Monzón)
14. Cave Of Forgotten Dreams (Werner Herzog)
13. The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius)
12. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi)
11. NEDS (Peter Mullan)

Wuthering Heights (Andrea Arnold)

A list of adjectives I'd use in describing Andrea Arnold’s take on Emily Brontë’s frequently-adapted novel: vital, visceral, modern, immediate, sensual, charged. There’s a raw energy to her earthy take which retains the jist but takes many artistically justified liberties. Boxed-in by the film’s intensely focused 4:3 frame, there’s a real sense of being part of Heathcliff and Cathy’s world, which makes it all the more touching when their close bond begins to fray.

Rango (Gore Verbinski)

What’s been missing from Hollywood studio animation lately? A peyote-fried, psychedelic Western homage populated by a cast of freakish animals. The cry of ‘it’s not really for kids’ has never been as apt as it is applied to this. When it isn’t spending its time hat-tipping Hunter S. Thompson it’s revelling in grisly, morbid detail and following a chameleon on an existential journey. This is as close as Johnny Depp will get to a spiritual sequel to Dead Man.

Tyrannosaur (Paddy Considine)

This tale of two lost souls both troubled by violence, as either aggressor or victim, is an assured feature directorial debut from Paddy Considine. It’s often bleak and troubling but absolutely never treats its characters with anything less than utmost humanity. It’s an exploration of what drives our baser emotions. Peter Mullan imbues Joseph with a fragility at odds with his threatening veneer while Olivia Colman gives an understated tragic performance that completely belies her comedy roots. This is heartbreaking, but ultimately beautiful, stuff.

Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky)

Darren Aronofsky continues apace with making each subsequent film a markedly different beast from that which came before with this masterful psychosexual thriller. Taking elements of The Red Shoes and mashing them with giallo tropes and Cronenbergian body horror, it creates a dark melodrama about identity and repression. A film ostensibly about ballet becomes a hysterical, shrieking nightmare through the use of an intricate soundscape, cunningly engineered jolts and horror prosthetics. It’s not subtle but it’s not required to be.

True Grit (Joel & Ethan Coen)

The Coen Brothers inject more grit into True Grit with this retelling of the grizzled tale which is not without the occasional flash of their usual oddities (witnessed most prominently in the striking image of what appears to be a bear on horseback appearing from the distance). For the most part this plays out as a surprisingly straight-up Western with Jeff Bridges’ shambling souse, Marshal Rooster Cogburn, rallying brilliantly against the impressive Hailee Steinfeld’s buttoned-up, determined child. Its elegiac qualities make way for elements of mismatched buddy comedy as the tone subtly shifts against the backdrop of the beautifully captured landscapes.

Trollhunter (André Øvredal)

From the simple premise of following the jaded employee of a bureaucratic agency dealing with Norway's native troll populace, there's a lot wrung from this mock-doc which proves found footage is not a spent force. Troll mythology is scientifically explained with a straight face but there's still room for sly allusions to the fairytales of yore and perfectly-pitched comic moments. Full of suspenseful vignettes, subtle effects and just the right amount of gore, it's a refreshing European take on the well-worn monster movie genre.

Melancholia (Lars von Trier)

The film starts with a rupturing bass rumble, which signifies Earth's atmosphere is being invaded by the eponymous celestial body, and immediately sets you ill at ease. A constant disquieting thrum pervades for the duration as the focus shifts from galactic affairs to a focused tale of depression as a family disintegrates at a country house wedding. Kirsten Dunst captivates as the morose Justine and the cinematography, framing moments like a Pre-Raphaelite painting, is astounding. This is a riveting human drama from Lars von Trier which also happens to feature the annihilation of Earth.

Bridesmaids (Paul Feig)

More than just another ensemble comedy, this is an acute deconstruction of the nature of friendships and a treatise on faded glory and life expectations. It's also an ensemble comedy. Not enough for you? It manages to find time to fit in one of the most charming romantic subplots of recent years, and features a grown woman punching her way through a 4 foot cookie.

Drive (Nicolas Winding Refn)

Without doubt this is the year's classiest actioner, which coolly underplays the little action it does have with restraint. It's a throwback in electric pink, underneath a neon glow and shot through with flashes of burnished gold. Ryan Gosling's stoic turn as he tentatively couples with Carey Mulligan means this is really a brutal, damaged love story as much as it is a stylishly rendered tale of botched robberies and vengeful mafiosi.

We Need To Talk About Kevin (Lynne Ramsay)

This is powerful, stunning filmmaking and a welcome return from Lynne Ramsay after nine years in the wilderness. The back-and-forth structure and recurring symbolism intensifies the psychological torment and leaves your guts torn out by the time the film’s lynchpin action finally occurs. Tilda Swinton has never been better and through both her and Ezra Miller’s performances, difficult questions are left untainted by easy answers. This is a confident mixture of heart-wrenching and horrifying, which impresses on every front.


The worst films of the year list is again dominated by comedies. The notable trend among those in 2011 appears to be raunchy romcoms that want to have the appeal of their sweeter counterparts but also want to be able to say “vagina” every 4.67 words.

Here's the bottom ten:

10. Friend With Benefits (Will Gluck)

By the time an Alzheimer’s subplot rears its ugly head, this vapid mess will already have offended every sensibility.

9. Colombiana (Olivier Megaton)

A few impressive moments creep through the fug of all-consuming stupidity and ineptly-handled action but not enough to redeem it.

8. How Do You Know (James L. Brooks)

A string of contrivances held together by navel-gazing, from a cast and director who really should know better. It can’t even be bothered to punctuate its title.

7. What's Your Number? (Mark Mylod)

One. Out of five.

6. Zookeeper (Frank Coraci)

What’s the only thing worse than an Adam Sandler vehicle? An Adam Sandler stooge vehicle. With talking animals.

5. Sleeping Beauty (Julia Leigh)

Nihilistic erotic drama that’s neither erotic nor dramatic. The film itself is as blank and empty as its characters.

4. Anuvahood (Adam Deacon, Daniel Toland)

Woefully misjudged knockabout comedy that veers wildly between wacky romp and scenes of brutal violence.

3. No Strings Attached (Ivan Reitman)

Friends With Benefits without the relative charms of Justin Timberlake or Mila Kunis. Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman exchange fluids but not chemistry.

2. Just Go With It (Dennis Dugan)

Just don’t. Middle-aged Adam Sandler wank fantasy where he splurges hundreds of thousands of dollars on duping a model into having sex with him.

1. The Change-Up (David Dobkin)

A morally and emotionally bankrupt, misogynist body-swap comedy. High concept; lowest common denominator.

Scouts for boys and girls

Were you a scout or guide?Do you have happy memories of spending time outdoors or does the thought of a couple of days away from home and modern technology and comforts make you scared? Surely you can survive without a computer for a couple of days- or would you sneak an ipad or tablet into the essentials pile of things to take?

Scouts was formed in the early 1900s in England by Baden Powell as a way of passing on useful skills to youngsters in an outdoor setting. Within a few years girls and boys were enjoying ‘scouting’ in their free time– living in tents, cooking their own food and learning through games.

Scouts has since grown to have over 41 million members worldwide by 2011 and aims to be voluntary and open to all young people with no regard to race, religious belief or origin. Scouts have uniforms and the famous ‘woggle.’

Through participating in activities,scouts earn badges showing their successes and competency in a variety of areas from cooking to sports, knot tying to orienteering. It is a great way to get kids outdoors and in some cases outside their comfort zones in a safe environment.

The kids are broken into different age groups and has sections in each country which are used to keep similar ages together. The Australian movement is for both boys and girls and is split as follows:

Our family friends are involved in scouts and as we look at the options for the girls this year, scouts will definitely be one of the options on the table. Fostering identity and team spirit is a great alternative provided through scouts rather than the simple desire to win (individually or as a team) that regular sporting or extra curricular school activities provide.

I’d love to hear your memories of scouts or how your children are currently enjoying scouts.


WWE Don't try this at home

I love wrestling, I remember as a kid not believing that it could be rehearsed or staged. Back in the UK, as a kid, I watched Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks before I even knew about the WWE and glitzy American wrestling.

It is only human for boys, as testosterone and society demand that play fights occur and where better to gain moves from than TV and even wrestling.  WWE wrestling with current starts such as John Cena, Randy Orton, the Undertaker and the rest of the superstars lead the way and provide styalised violence on family times slot TV. It is interesting how the watching demographic for wrestling has dipped to younger and younger kids.  Just look at all the plastic toys and figurines that are available for youngsters.

The ringside leaps, flying and twisting routines to pulverise an opponent and signature moves that are unique to particular wrestlers make the franchise of WWE strong and resilient.

In more recent years the need for the 'Don't try this at home' message has been pushed by both theWWE itself and concerned parents.  This segment is mixed between the fights that make up the show.  'Don't try this at home' shouts at the youngsters watching to not try to emulate their heros and advocates that the wrestlers are trained athletes and should not be copied.  It graphically shows some of the injuries such as ripped muscles or broken bones that have happened outside the planned story lines of the show.  I believe this is a definite and strong message sent by the producers to assist parents. I also understand that in some instances these messages also include pictures of the wrestling heros as kids holding up belts and obviously mimicking their heros of the time.  Commercialism certainly slips into everything!

It is difficult not to be a bit cynical when you think of the money that is involved in the WWE worldwide.

With this discussion in mind, I still love wrestling.  Despite the fact that the vast majority of the show is more acting than sport, the undoubted athleticism and hours of hard work exercising and building superhuman physiques to do superhuman moves is still awesome.

I also enjoy watching it with our girls to show them the boyish aspect of childhood.  Whilst some of their friends are banned from watching the show, the girls do not copy the moves or actually fight between themselves. We always stop for the 'Don't try this at home's' message and I can see the girls breaking up future play ground fights and being one step ahead of the boys with their knowledge of wrestlers and the latest moves.

So, although not sending a peaceful or 'good' message, I understand this and still enjoy the show.  With a little guidance, the girls can enjoy the show and even question what they are seeing on TV (he didn't really hit him there, I saw him slap his hand not head!!) and they are seeing fit people moving athletically (can we join gymnastics again this term??).

Life is not just sugar coated idealism and girls need an understanding of what young boys are up to and after all, it is all good American fun isn't it?


Routines for kids- the good and bad

After reading this article today on the BBC news website about how kids with a routine of set bedtimes and mealtimes do better at school, it got me thinking about routines. What routines do our kids have and what did I have as a child?

I certainly did have structure, and our kids do have set routine times for the basics of getting up, mealtimes and going to bed - these are more flexible in the school holidays of course!

One of the comments on this article surprised me - someone stated that changing TV schedules haven't helped parents keep routines! 

I think that parents need to be aware of their children's needs and able to be in control rather than affected so much by outside influences like TV schedules, or opinions of others.  I believe that we as parents need to demonstrate control of our lives to enable our children to develop a responsible control over their own lives. 

I'm not saying that we aren't influenced by outside factors, but our lives are not controlled by them. 

Thinkng about routines in the middle of a 2 month summer break from school is interesting.  Our girls are very rarely at a loss for something to do. They play very well together and have endless imaginary games to keep them amused - or immerse themselves in books, craft or play outside in the swimming pool or just the garden.  But after 4 weeks of holidays I had decided that I wanted to introduce a bit more routine into theirs - and my day. Some time spent exploring their new laptops - a little time playing some games that will keep their brains working while away from school, and also time to get active.  However, starting the new year with these great plans - but losing my voice and being sick hasn't helped us get stuck into the new routine!

The aforementioned article from the BBC states that children with more structured days grow up more confident and with more direction in their lives.  I think routine is just a part of this - but an important part.  Kids need structure and order - but there also has to be a balance.

Several years ago I worked as a teaching assistant in a school in Japan.  I learnt how structured children's lives are in Japan - for example I remember reading a school trip schedule in which every minute was accounted for, down to the times to clean their teeth, get dressed and brush their hair! There was no freetime on that schedule.
 I also remember reading an article about what Japanese teenagers worry about most.  Very high up on the list was 'having free time'!! Simply because they did not know what to do with it!   
Now I'm sure this is not the blanket case across the whole of Japan, but it demonstrates the effect that too much structure can have on children.  They need to learn to think for themselves - but you have to give them the tools to be able to do this sensibly and morally.  That is a parent's job - to provide routines, structure and boundaries within which a child can grow and develop. These children will then eventually learn to push and shape those boundaries and structures to suit their own lives and characters. 

Meal and bedtime routines are important basic foundations that all children need and should have.  Routines beyond that I think depend on the time, (school or holiday) and personal choice of how you want to bring up your own children.

Personally I feel like I would like to have a little more structure and routine in my life - and if I can manage this - and include our kids in that, I would achieve a lot more than I do now.  But once again - balance is key! I certainly don't want to schedule activies into every minute of their holidays - but a little direction and a little more shared time would be a good thing!  Now I just have to get my voice back and we can get started!

How about you?  How much routine do you put into your child's day?  Are you happy with it? How does it compare to your own childhood routines? and is routine a good or bad thing?


Shooting hoops

We have a new addiction in the family!
With the arrival of a full size basketball hoop and basketball, we are ready to welcome a new age of ball skills, throwing and catching activities and the introduction to future team sport (be it netball or basketball).
The construction of a flatpack basketball stand and hoop is stuff for another post, but needless to say it was hot, heavy and challenging in 30 degree heat!
Once standing, we soon realised that at the top of the driveway on a hill is not the most conducive to 6 and 8 year olds trying to shoot their first baskets up hill! It also highlights the need to teach how to throw a basketball for a youngster, a push throw/set shot is the most likely to make the distance. Once we lowered the hoop, the thrill of actually getting a basket could be shared more readily. The look on our youngest's face when she shot her first hoop was priceless.
Understanding that there are clear methods of throwing also helps, having a strong model makes things easier too.
Other than the banner advert, this link  is really useful when looking at how kids can learn to throw and play basketball.
So, whenever possible at the moment, we are out in the garden shooting hoops. When the kids go back to school we will look at basketball and netball and see which takes their fancy.
It will also be good when they get beyond the 'throw the ball and run' as they are no taware where it may come down. I guess in all sports, self preservation is also an important skill but will probably not lead to a future world champion in the making!!
This clip shows the basic shots in basketball and whilst missing the glory of the slamdunk, is pretty informative.
What do you think? Have you seen a better single video showing all of the different shots?

Can you roll your "r"s?

We recently discovered that one of our daughters could not roll her "r"s! Having a Scottish father, should she not be an expert at this?  Apparently not.

  Initially I wondered if this was one of those things that you either can or can't do genetically - like curling your tongue as in the picture.  I remember being taught about that in Biology at high school - this was the example used to demonstrate genetic traits! (although I see that there is some dispute over whether or not genetics is solely responsible for this useful?? ability!)

But back to being able to roll your "r"s.  Have you ever tried to tell someone how to do this?  Not so easy to describe! So I turned to Google!  Wikihow has a great article with 5 different 'methods' to learn how to roll your "r"s! Who would have thought?? From the 'tiger' method, to the 'Rasberry' method.   

We had some fun as as family - trying to follow the various instructions - and all being very 'helpful' to our older daughter who couldn't roll her "r"s naturally. 

I think it's a matter of finding which instructions make sense to you and working with that.  The method that worked in the end, was the 'dR' method, which is apparently the one Lenin used!!  Our daughter found straight away that she could, in fact, roll her "r"s when saying the word "dracula"!!  So now she has a word to start from to practice using those muscles so necessary when trying to imitate Dad's Scottish accent!

So - go on, have a try! Can you roll your "r"s??