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Magical: live in the moment with aconitums, asters and grasses such as calamagrostis

Magical: live in the moment with aconitums, asters and grasses such as calamagrostis 
 

A sunny autumn border makes this time of year much more enjoyable than a garden full of prematurely “tidy” brown soil. Rather than an early bedtime, think of this season as a planting opportunity to be grabbed with both hands; not only is there a rich palette of grasses and perennials to be explored, but the crystal clear light of autumn adds jewel-box sparkle to herbaceous borders. As the sun sinks lower, it slants through airy stems picking up texture, silhouette and movement in fading light. When frost arrives the seed heads sparkle and, if you’re lucky, hungry flocks of finches frisk through.

Now, of course, is the ideal time to plant, so pick a site that will be spotlit by the low sun and visit some well-planted autumn gardens for inspiration (see box). You need to plant in threes at least, and balance those dominant golden yellows with strong foxy reds, purples, pinks, mulberries and deep blues. This prevents a late-flowering scheme from taking on the bilious look of piccalilli. Autumn is also daisy time, and the aster family is invaluable. Long before flowers appear, the tiny buds, the black stems, the whorls of leaf that unfold from sheathed cigarillo-like stems hold the eye.

The daisy flowers, like spinning saucers, tend to face heavenwards as they wait for a late butterfly or two, and they need contrasting shapes to prevent monotony – vertical spikes and spires, airy wands, umbels and bobbles. A grassy backbone is an essential too, because grasses add movement and unite your planting.

Spikes and spires

Connect ground to sky with spikes and spires, such as those of the September-flowering, rich blue monkshood bred by Georg Arends in 1945: Aconitum carmichaelii ‘Arendsii’. The spires have black-lashed flowers in delphinium-blue supported by glossy foliage. And this one is fashionably late to flower, following ‘Spätlese’, ‘Kelmscott’ and ‘Barker’s Variety’. Aconitums flower in shade, but deadhead them to prevent inferior seedlings from taking hold. Be aware they are toxic, particularly the root, as the common name, wolf’s bane, indicates.

Other spikes, such as Veronicastrum virginicum, have faded now, but the five-feet-high tapering seed heads and black stems of ‘Fascination’ look magical in low light. Waist-high verticals placed towards the front work well, too. These might include late-flowering red hot pokers, such as Kniphofia rooperi, which come through winter even in my cold garden. The warm-orange heads are well-spaced and crisp in outline.

Mopheads and bobbles

Modern planting is airy by nature, so cloudlike heads, light umbels or bobbles should be part of the mix. In fertile ground the damson-red Eupatorium ‘Riesenschirm’ will reach six feet, and its dark stems and whorled foliage are a bonus earlier in the year. Vernonia fasciculata, an aster relative known as smooth ironweed, provides an irregular puff of violet, and both set off Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’.

Puffs of paler smoke emerge from Selinum wallichianum, and its bright green lacy leaves and purple sheathing are prominent for months. I am also fond of Thalictrum lucidum for its lime-yellow down which contrasts with the high-gloss, lance-shaped herringbone of leaves. Add a late sanguisorba, ideally ‘Cangshan Cranberry’, with maroon bobbles that darken into winter.

The shorter Verbena hastata f. rosea lasts well into autumn, with spires of tiny violet-purple flowers that branch into a candelabra arrangement. But the airiest of all is the tall Althaea cannabina, a wiry mallow with small raspberry-eyed pink saucers threaded along the stems intermittently.

Dazzling daisies

Every gardener should grow the three-feet-high bushy aster ‘Little Carlow’, with lavender-blue flowers that appear from red buds like a gas torch. Aster laevis ‘Calliope’ has paler, slightly ragged daisies, but it’s really grown for its substantial black presence. The floppier ‘Vasterival’ tends toward pink but the sooty foliage and buds flatter the confetti-coloured flowers.

Use yellow as your spinning thread but do opt for tight clump-formers such as the green-coned Rudbeckia laciniata ‘Herbstsonne’ and the lemon-yellow sunflower Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’, rather than the rabid spreaders. Like all sunflowers, the latter will chase the sun, so place it carefully and find dusky partners for both. I also like the cool-lemon daisy Ratibida pinnata which droops its petals in a swoon. Commonly known as the yellow cone flower, this can flower in July following an early spring, but normally it comes later. Finally, find room for a brown and yellow front-of-the-border daisy (such as Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ or Rudbeckia tricolor) and some echinaceas. ‘Fatal Attraction’, a black-stemmed Day-Glo pink, is the flashiest.

Transparent grasses

The following grasses are well-behaved and don’t run, or self-seed to nuisance levels in Britain.

Stipa gigantea, a tall golden oat grass, is early season but keeps a skeletal presence as it forms its Roman fountain of golden sparks. A tendency to untidiness can be fixed by removing ungainly stems.

If you’ve room enough, the July-flowering toetoe grass from New Zealand, Cortaderia richardii, will produce one-sided feathery awns in shades of natural wool, above grey-green, sword-sharp foliage. Both shine in low light.

Cast an airy veil with Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea ‘Transparent’, which provides a mist of darkish beads. Tall molinias always have subsp. arundinacae in their title, but they vary greatly in form and are often wrongly named. Use a specialist nursery (see box). If you can’t find ‘Transparent’, grow Molinia ‘Karl Foerster’ instead. Also make use of the upright Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’, its stems rise like a rocket heading to Mars.

Miscanthus sinensis is the most essential of all grasses, although some varieties are grown for foliage, not their plumed flower. The fine-tined, variegated green and cream ‘Morning Light’, for instance, and the thicker leaved brash white and green ‘Cosmopolitan’ are for foliage. My favourite, with light green leaves subtly banded in gold, is ‘Pünktchen’, but even in good summers the flower heads are hardly noticeable here. ‘Ferner Osten’ does produce lots of wine-red plums, although these will turn mink-brown within three to four weeks, whatever the weather.

If you’ve never grown a miscanthus, the most reliably floriferous is ‘Silberfeder’, which performs in cool and more northerly gardens. Add a pennisetum to curtsy at the front of the border; the pale brown caterpillars of ‘Hameln’ survive bad winters in my cold garden. Finally, add the silky feathers of Stipa brachytricha, again at the front, as their mauve heads pick up the colour of almost every aster.

By threading grasses through your late-season borders you’ll find that the dying of the light has never looked more beautiful.

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                                                             Definition of dream (n)

 

                                                                                                                                 dream
                                                                                                                               [ dreem ]
  1. sequence of mental images during sleep: a sequence of images that appear involuntarily to the mind of somebody who is sleeping, often a mixture of real and imaginary characters, places, and events
  2. daydream: a series of images, usually pleasant ones, that pass through the mind of somebody who is awake
  3. something hoped for: something that somebody hopes, longs, or is ambitious for, usually something difficult to attain or far removed from present circumstances

Top 10 Common Dreams And Their Meanings


Everyone dreams (even if we don’t always remember them after the fact) and researchers have found that the majority of us have dreams with similar themes. For years people have tried to uncover the meaning of dreams—the fleeting images that we see when we go to sleep. Some interpretations are outright bizarre, while others are pretty understandable. This is a list of the interpretations that the Association for the Study of Dreams has given to the most recurring and common types of dream. Be sure to tell us whether you think it is accurate from your own experiences.

10 

Car Troubles

Car Flying Off Cliff

In these types of dreams you are usually in or near a car or some other type of vehicle which is out of control or has other problems that seem insurmountable. For example, the brakes may have failed, you may have lost control of the steering, or be heading over a cliff or crashing. You can either be the driver or the passenger. This is a very common type of nightmare and it occurs in all people – not just those who can drive. This dream usually means that you are feeling powerless over something in your life – or that you are heading for a crash (metaphorically speaking).

Faulty Machinery

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In the faulty machinery dream you are trying to operate mechanical equipment which either fails to work, or fails to work in the way that you expect it to. The vast majority of these dreams involve a telephone – either trouble dialing, losing a connection, or dialing a wrong number. It can involve a lost Internet connection, or something manual like a jammed or broken machine. This dream often means that you feel you are losing touch with reality, or that a part of your body or mind is not functioning as it should. It can also occur when you are feeling anxious about making a connection with another person in real life.

Lost or Trapped

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Dreaming about being lost is very common and will usually occur when you are having conflict in deciding how to react in a situation in real life. In the dream you are trying to find your way out of an area – such as a forest, city streets, a large building, or other maze-like structure. Another way this dream plays out involves you being trapped, buried alive, caught in a web, or unable to move for some other reason. This is often accompanied by a feeling of terror. This dream usually means that you are trapped in real life – unable to make the right choice.

Missed a Boat or Plane

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In this type of dream you are rushing to catch a bus, train, plane, or other type of public transport – but you miss it – usually by a fraction of a second. Rather than feeling fear in this dream, you usually feel frustration. This dream can also occur in a different form, in which you arrive late for an important performance or sporting event that you are supposed to participate in, only to find that the event has already begun. This dream usually means that you feel that you have missed out on an important opportunity in your real life. It will often occur when you are struggling over an important decision.

Failing a Test

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This dream usually manifests itself in people who have been out of school for a long time. In the dream you are prevented from passing a test in a variety of different possible scenarios. In one scenario you find that you are unable to make it to the test on time, often through being unable to find the test room. In other versions you are unprepared (either through lack of study) or you are missing equipment. This dream usually means that you are feeling tested in some way in your real life. You may feel that you are unprepared for something or playing the wrong part in life.

Ill or Dying

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In this dream, you (or a loved one) are ill, injured, or dying. It is a moderately common dream and, not surprisingly, occurs often at the onset of an illness. Aside from becoming ill, this dream can mean that you are emotionally hurt or are afraid of becoming hurt. The dream may also be warning you of an upcoming physical risk to yourself or a loved one. When it is someone else in the dream that dies, it can mean that you feel that part of yourself (that you see represented by that person) is dead. It may also mean that you wish the person would go away, or that you fear losing them.

Being Chased

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Dreaming of being chased can be a truly horrifying experience. Most often the chaser is a monster or some person that is frightening, and occasionally it may be an animal. You may be surprised to know that this is the most commonly experienced nightmare theme. The meaning of these dreams is that someone, something (possibly something as obscure as an emotion) is making you feel threatened. One way to determine the root of the threat is to ask yourself who or what in your real life most closely resembles the “creature” or circumstance in your dream. It is also worth noting that sometimes this dream is a replay of an actual event in your life.

Bad or Missing Teeth

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Teeth dreams are fairly common and they usually involve the discovery of extremely decayed or missing teeth in your own mouth. Sometimes you will dream that you open your mouth and your teeth begin to fall out. The fact that the majority of people today have reasonable teeth (perhaps with the exception of the British), it is not surprising that we feel so emotionally disturbed by these dreams. So, what does it mean when we dream about missing teeth? At the most basic level it means that we are afraid of being found unattractive. At a deeper level, it can signify a fear of embarrassment or a loss of power in real life. Oh – I was just kidding about the “British” thing!

Dream Nudity

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In this type of dream you are in a state of undress, partial undress, or inappropriate dress (for example wearing pajamas to work). Occasionally you are the witness of another person who is naked while you are clothed. This is often accompanied by feelings of embarrassment and shame, but occasionally with the feeling of pride or freedom. The meaning of this dream is that you are feeling exposed, awkward, or vulnerable, or you are afraid that you have revealed too much of yourself (such as a secret or a very personal feeling) in a real life situation. An interesting fact about this type of dream is that it occurs much more frequently in people who are involved in a wedding ceremony in their real life.

Falling or Sinking

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We have all had falling dreams – it is such a common dream, in fact, that myths have arisen over them; the most common myth is, of course, that you will die if you hit the ground in the dream. I can assure you, having hit the ground in more than one falling dream, that this is not true at all. In the falling dream we are usually falling through the air and frightened. Occasionally we may be sinking in water (and in danger of drowning). Typically a person having this dream is feeling insecure or lacking in support in their waking life. These dreams often occur when you are overwhelmed in life and feel ready to give up. If you have this dream you should evaluate your current situation and try to locate the problem that is overwhelming you. Deal with it and this dream should go away.

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Ten Worst Foods

1. Artery Crust

Judging by the label, Stouffer’s Satisfying Servings (16 oz) White Meat Chicken Pot Pie has “only” 590 calories, 13 grams of saturated fat, and 930 mg of sodium. But those numbers are for only half a pie. Eat the entire pie, as many people do, and you’re talking 1,180 calories, 26 grams of saturated fat (more than a day’s worth), and 1,860 mg of sodium (over a day’s worth).

2. Triple Bypass

Can’t decide what to pick from a restaurant menu? No worries. Now you can order not just one entrée, but two… or three… all at once.Olive Garden’s Tour of Italy – Homemade Lasagna, Lightly Breaded Chicken Parmigiana, and Creamy Fettuccine Alfredo – comes with 1,450 calories, 33 grams of saturated fat, and 3,830 milligrams of sodium. Add a breadstick (150 calories and 400 mg of sodium) and a plate of Garden-Fresh Salad with dressing (350 calories and 1,930 mg of sodium) and you’ll consume almost 2,000 calories (an entire day’s worth) and 6,160 mg

3. Salt’s On!

On average, a cup ofCampbell’s Condensed soup has 760 mg of sodium. That’s half a day’s worth … assuming you eat only one of the 2½ servings that the label says the can makes. Campbell’s Healthy Request and Select Harvest, Progresso Reduced Sodium, and Healthy Choice slash the sodium to the 400s. Look for lower sodium lines in the 100s to 300s by Amy’s, Imagine Foods, Pacific Natural Foods, and Tabatchnick.

4. Tortilla Terror

Interested in a Chipotle Chicken Burrito (tortilla, rice, pinto beans, cheese, chicken, sour cream, and salsa)? Think of its 970 calories, and 18 grams of saturated fat as three 6-inch Subway BLT Classic Subs! Skipping the cheese or sour cream cuts the saturated fat to 6 grams, but you still end up with 750 calories and more than a day’s worth of sodium. Yikes!

5. Factory Reject

People don’t expect light desserts at The Cheesecake Factory. But the Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake kicks things up a notch. If it weren’t served on its side, this one would stand over six inches tall. And upright or not, the slab of cake still weighs in at three-quarters of a pound. What do you get for all that heft? Just 1,760 calories and 2½ days’ worth of saturated fat (50 grams), mostly from chocolate, sugar, cream, white flour, and butter.

6. Burial Grands

No one thinks of cinnamon rolls as health food. But each Pillsbury Grands! Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll with Icing has 310 calories and 2 grams of saturated fat plus 2½ grams of trans fat (more than a day’s worth) and 5 teaspoons of sugar. Companies are dumping their partially hydrogenated oils left and right, yet Pillsbury still makes most of its rolls and biscuits with the stuff.

7. Transgression

“Excellent source of ALA Omega 3,” declares the Land O’Lakes Margarine box. Who knew that Land O’Lakes stick margarine was so heart healthy? It isn’t. Each tablespoon of the spread has 2½ grams of trans fat (more than an entire day’s limit) and 2 grams of saturated fat. And beware of other trans-filled sticks by Blue Bonnet, Parkay, Country Crock, and Fleischmann’s. At least those brands don’t imply that a bit of ALA outweighs the harm caused by the margarine’s trans and saturated fat. Shopping tip: Look for tub margarines – most have little or no trans fat.

8. Starbucks on Steroids

The Starbucks Venti (20 oz) White Chocolate Mocha with 2% milk and whipped cream is more than a mere cup of coffee. It’s worse than a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Few people have room in their diets for the 580 calories and 15 grams of saturated fat that this hefty beverage supplies. But you can lose 130 calories and almost two-thirds of the bad fat if you order it with nonfat milk and no whipped cream.

9. Extreme Ice Cream

An average halfcup serving ofHäagen-Dazs ice creamsqueezes half-a-day’s saturated fat and a third-of-a-day’s cholesterol into your artery walls and makes a nearly 300-calorie down-payment on your next set of fat cells – if you can stop at a petite half-cup!

10. Stone Cold

Cold Stone Creamery’s Oh Fudge! shake(chocolate ice cream, milk, and fudge syrup) starts at 1,250 calories for the “Like It” (16 oz) size. That’s more than a large (32 oz) McDonald’s McCafe Chocolate Triple Thick Shake. The “Love It” (20 oz) has 1,660 calories and the “Gotta Have It” (24 oz) reaches 1,920 calories (just about an entire day’s worth) and 69 grams of saturated fat (3½ days’ worth). That’s the saturated fat content of two 16 oz T-bone steaks plus a buttered baked potato, all blended into a handy 24 oz cup.

 

Ten Best Foods

1. Sweet Potatoes

A nutritional All-Star — one of the best vegetables you can eat. They’re loaded with carotenoids, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Bake and then mix in some unsweetened applesauce or crushed pineapple for extra moisture and sweetness.

2. Mangoes

Just one cup of mango supplies 100% of a day’s vitamin C, one-third of a day’s vitamin A, a decent dose of blood-pressure-lowering potassium, and 3 grams of fiber. Bonus: mango is one of the fruits least likely to have pesticide residues.

3. Unsweetened Greek Yogurt

Non-fat, plain Greek yogurt has a pleasant tartness that’s a perfect foil for the natural sweetness of berries, bananas, or your favorite breakfast cereal. It’s strained, so even the fat-free versions are thick and creamy. And the lost liquid means that the yogurt that’s left has twice the protein of ordinary yogurt – about 17 grams in 6 ounces of plain Greek yogurt.

4. Broccoli

It has lots of vitamin C, carotenoids, vitamin K and folic acid. Steam it just enough so that it’s still firm and add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and a spritz of lemon juice.

5. Wild Salmon

The omega-3 fats in fatty fish like salmon can help reduce the risk of sudden-death heart attacks. And wild-caught salmon has less PCB contaminants than farmed salmon.

6. Crispbreads

Whole-grain rye crackers, like Wasa, Kavli, and Ryvita — usually called crispbreads — are loaded with fiber and often fat-free. Drizzle with a little honey and sprinkle with cinnamon to satisfy your sweet tooth.

7. Garbanzo Beans

All beans are good beans. They’re rich in protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. But garbanzos stand out because they’re so versatile. Just drain, rinse, and toss a handful on your green salad; throw them into vegetable stews, curries, and soups; mix them with brown rice, whole wheat couscous, bulgur, or other whole grains.

8. Watermelon

Watermelon is a heavyweight in the nutrient department. A standard serving (about 2 cups) has one-third of a day’s vitamins A and C, a nice shot of potassium, and a healthy dose of lycopene for only 80 fat-free, salt-free calories. And when they’re in season, watermelons are often locally grown, which means they may have a smaller carbon footprint than some other fruits.

9. Butternut Squash

Steam a sliced squash or buy peeled, diced butternut squash at the supermarket that’s ready to go into the oven, a stir-fry, or a soup. It’s an easy way to get lots of vitamins A and C and fiber.

10. Leafy Greens

Don’t miss out on powerhouse greens like kale, collards, spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, and Swiss chard. These stand-out leafy greens are jam-packed with vitamins A, C, and K, folate, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, lutein, and fiber. Serve with a splash of lemon juice or red wine vinegar.

 

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cross roadI am amazed at how many educational websites will give parents and teachers ideas about teaching preschool children to safely cross the road by themselves!!!! Most children are simply not mature enough to cross the road by themselves before the age of 10, I would say 8 at the very youngest.

I believe that the most important traffic safety we can teach our young children is to hold their parent’s or caregivers hands while crossing the street. I have a two year old who often refuses to hold my hand while crossing the street so I know this can be a hard concept to teach! Children at this age crave independence and often act on impulse. And they simply do not understand the consequence of being hit by a car.

One activity that is likely to be helpful in teaching your child this concept is to gather up toys such as cars, little people and traffic lights and signs. If you do not have these types of toys draw or print off clip arts of these objects.

Choose a time when your child is relaxed and playful and set up your traffic scene together. Talk about the cars driving on the road, the cars stopping at a stop sign or light and then have your ‘people’ walk across the ‘street’ holding hands. Be sure to emphasize that you and your child walk across the street it is important that he holds your hand.

Play this game often to help your children remember to hold a grownups hand while crossing the street.

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8 Kidpower Skills We Can Use Right Away

Written by Irene van der Zande, Kidpower Founder and Executive Director


 

Most harm caused by bullying is preventable! This article is from Bullying – What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe, our bullying solutions book used by many families, schools, and youth organizations to protect and empower their kids.

Unfortunately, bullying is a major problem in many schools and communities. Bullying prevention skills can protect kids from most bullying, increase their confidence, and help them to develop positive peer relationships. Here are some practices you can work on with the young people in your life now.

1. Walking with Awareness, Calm, Respect, and Confidence

People are less likely to be picked on if they walk and sit with awareness, calm, respect, and confidence. Projecting a positive, assertive attitude means keeping one’s head up, back straight, walking briskly, looking around, having a peaceful face and body, and moving away from people who might cause trouble.

Show your child the difference between being passive, aggressive, and assertive in body language, tone of voice and choice of words. Have your child walk across the floor, coaching her or him to be successful, by saying for example; “That’s great!” “Now take bigger steps”, “Look around you” “Straighten your back.” etc.

2. Leaving in a Powerful, Positive Way

The best self-defense tactic is called “target denial,” which means “don’t be there.” Act out a scenario where maybe your child is walking in the school corridor (or any other place where he or she might bullied). You can pretend to be a bully standing by the wall saying mean things. Ask your child what these mean things might be because what is considered insulting or upsetting is different for different people, times, and places.

Coach your child to veer around the bully in order to move out of reach. Remind your child to leave with awareness, calm and confidence, glancing back to see where the bully is. Let your child practicing saying something neutral in a normal tone of voice like “See you later!” or “Have a nice day!” while calmly and confidently moving away. Point out that stepping out of line or changing seats is often the safest choice.

3. Setting a Boundary

If a bully is following or threatening your child in a situation where she or he cannot just leave, your child needs to be able to set a clear boundary.

Pretend to poke your child in the back (do this very gently; the idea is not to be hurtful). Coach your child to turn, stand up tall, put his or her hands up in front of the body like a fence, palms out and open, and say “Stop!”.

Coach your child to have a calm but clear voice and polite firm words- not whiney and not aggressive. Show how to do it and praise your child for trying -even though she or he does not get it right to begin with. Realize that this might be very hard and triggering for your child (and maybe for you too).

Children need support to learn these skills. The idea is that your child takes charge of his or her space by moving away and, if need be, setting boundaries as soon as a problem is about to start – so that your child doesn’t wait until the bullying is already happening.

4. Using Your Voice

If your child does get into a situation where somebody is trying to push or hit or knuckle her or his head, you could practice by holding your child gently and acting as if you are going to do the action gently. Coach your child to pull away and yell NO! really loudly. Coach him or her to say “STOP! I don’t like that!” Coach your child to look the bully in the eyes and speak in a firm voice with both hands up and in front like a fence. Teach your child to leave and go to an adult for help.

5. Protecting Your Feelings From Name-Calling

Schools, youth groups, and families should create harassment-free zones just as workplaces should. However, you can teach children how to protect themselves from insults. Tell your child that saying something mean back makes the problem bigger, not better.

One way to take the power out of hurting words by is saying them out loud and imagining throwing them away. Doing this physically and out loud at home will help a child to do this in his or her imagination at school.

Help your child practice throwing the mean things that other people are saying into a trash can. Have your child then say something positive out loud to himself or herself to take in. For example, if someone says, “I don’t like you, ” you can throw those words away and say, “I like myself.” If someone says, “You are stupid” you can throw those words away and say, “I’m smart.” If someone says, “I don’t want to play with you” then you can throw those words away and say, “I will find another friend.”

6. Speaking Up for Inclusion

Being left out is a major form of bullying. Exclusion should be clearly against the rules at school. A child can practice persisting in asking to join a game.

Pretend to be a bully who wants to exclude.

Have your child walk up and say, “I want to play.” Coach your child to sound and look positive and friendly, not whiny or aggressive.

Ask your child the reasons that kids give for excluding him or her. Use those reasons so your child can practice persisting. For example, if the reason is, “You’re not good enough,” your child can practice saying “I’ll get better if I practice!” If the reason is, “There are too many already,” your child might practice saying, “There’s always room for one more.” If the reason is, “You cheated last time,” your child might practice saying, “I did not understand the rules. Let’s make sure we agree on the rules this time.”

7. Being Persistent in Getting Help

Children who are being bullied need to be able to tell teachers, parents, and other adults in charge what is happening in the moment clearly and calmly and persistently even if these adults are very distracted or rude – and even if asking for help has not worked before. Learning how to have polite firm words, body language and tone of voice even under pressure and to not give up when asking for help is a life-long skill.

We have found that practice is helpful for both children and adults in learning how to persist and get help when you need it. Here is one you can do with your child.

Pretend to be a teacher or someone else who your child might expect help and support from. Tell your child who you are pretending to be and where you might be at school. Have your child start saying in a clear calm voice, “Excuse me I have a safety problem.”

You pretend to be busy and just ignore your child! Coach him or her to keep going and say: “Excuse me, I really need your help.”

Act irritated and impatient and say, “Yes. what is it now?” and keep being busy.

Coach your child to say something specific like, “The girls over there are calling me names and not letting me play with them. I have told them I don’t like being called names and that I want to play but they won’t listen. ” or “Those boys keep coming up and pushing me. I have tried to stay away from them but they keep coming up to me and won’t leave me alone.” At school, teachers want children to try to solve their problems first. However, adult intervention is needed if this does not work.

You say: “That’s nice!” as if you heard but did not actually listen. This is very common for busy adults.

Coach your child to touch your arm and keep going “Please, to listen to me this is important”. Now you get irritated and say “Can’t you see I’m busy!?”

Tell your child that sometimes adults get angry and don’t understand but not to give up in asking for help and to say the specific problem again: “I do not feel safe here because (state specific problem again) ______________.”

You minimize and say: “What’s the big deal? Just stay away from them.”

Coach your child to persistent and say again, “Having this happen is making me feel bad about going to school. Please, I really need you to listen.”

Now change your demeanor so that your child can see you are listening and understanding and say “Oh! I am sorry I yelled at you and I am glad you are telling me. Tell me more and we will figure out what to do.”

Remind your child that, if the adult still does not listen, it is not his or her fault, but to keep asking until someone does something to fix the problem. Tell your child to please always tell you whenever she or he has a problem with anyone anywhere anytime. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of adults to create safe environments for the children in their lives and to be good role-models for our children by acting as their advocates in powerful respectful ways.

8. Using Physical Self-Defense as a Last Resort

Children need to know when they have the right to hurt someone to stop that person from hurting them. At Kidpower, we teach that fighting is a last resort – when you are about to be harmed and you cannot leave or get help.

However, bullying problems are often not as clear-cut as other personal safety issues. Families have different rules about where they draw the line. Schools will often punish a child who fights back unless parents warn the school in writing ahead of time that, since the school has not protected their children, they will back their children up if they have to fight.

Learning physical self defense helps most children become more confident, even if they never have to use these skills in a real-life situation. Just being more confident helps children to avoid being chosen as a victim most of the time. There are different self defense techniques for bullying than for more dangerous situations — let your child practice a self defense move like kicking someone in the shins, pinching someone’s leg or upper arm, or hitting someone in the chest. You can practice in the air or by holding a sofa cushion. Consider sending your child to a class like Kidpower.

– About the Author

Kidpower Founder Irene van der Zande has been featured as a child safety expert by USA Today, CNN, and The Wall Street Journal. She is the author of The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young PeopleBullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safeand the Kidpower Safety Comics series. Kidpower is a non-profit organization established in 1989 that has protected over two million people of all ages and abilities from bullying, abuse, kidnapping, and other violence locally and around the world. Services include in-person workshops in California and other locations, an extensive free on-line Library, affordable publications, and consulting. Please contact safety@kidpower.org for more information.

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“Cyber bullying” is defined as a young person tormenting, threatening, harassing, or embarrassing another young person using the Internet or other technologies, like cell phones.

The psychological and emotional outcomes of cyber bullying are similar to those of real-life bullying. The difference is, real-life bullying often ends when school ends. For cyber bullying, there is no escape. And, it’s getting worse. Read on to get the facts.

  1. Nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online. 1 in 4 has had it happen more than once.
  2. 70% of students report seeing frequent bullying online.
  3. Over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most common medium for cyber bullying.
  4. 68% of teens agree that cyber bullying is a serious problem.
  5. 81% of young people think bullying online is easier to get away with than bullying in person.
  6. 90% of teens who have seen social-media bullying say they have ignored it. 84% have seen others tell cyber bullies to stop.
  7. Only 1 in 10 victims will inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse.
  8. Girls are about twice as likely as boys to be victims and perpetrators of cyber bullying.
  9. About 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than 4 out 10 say it has happened more than once.
  10. About 75% have visited a website bashing another student.
  11. Bullying victims are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider committing suicide.

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keep-kids-safe

1. Kid Safety in the Kitchen
Toddlers gravitate to the kitchen; after all, that’s where families spend much of their time. Cook on the back burners and turn pot handles away so they aren’t in reach. Drink hot beverages out of spill-proof and unbreakable travel mugs to avoid burns. Never leave dangling cords; unplug items when not in use and store, and those that are used, keep cords wraped tightly with a twist tie. Store cleaning fluids in locked cabinet out of sight and temptation. Don’t allow access into pantry.
2. Kid Safety in the Bathroom
For safety and to avoid expensive plumber calls, keep the toilet lid down and locked when not in use. It’s a good idea to limit access to the bathroom with a safety gate or lock, if practical. There is too much temptation. Never leave medications around; keep locked and out of reach. Also keep items like mouthwash, toothpaste and other kid hazard items away. Plungers can make a fun (if not disgusting) play toy to a toddler; don’t leave one by the toilet. Always drain the bathtub.
3. Kid Safety in the Family Room
With kids, when is there ever not things on the floor? Be on constant guard for small toys and objects that can be choking hazards, batteries, coins, marbles, and pieces of toys from older siblings (wheels, doll shoes, etc.) Keep elecrical cords out of reach and use outlet covers. Child-proof window treatment cords. Secure televisions and other electronic equipment to avoid any potential for tipping over on a child. Use safety gates on stairs. Remove temptations from tabletops.
4. Kid Safety in the Bedroom
Lamps, flowing curtains or drapes, area rugs, and even candles are items that add to the ambiance of a master bedroom but could prove to be a danger zone for young children. Cutesy table lamps and rocking chairs that were so precious in an infant’s room can now spell disaster if a toddler starts standing in the chair or can reach for the lamp and remove it from its stand. Be sure pictures are mounted solidly on the walls and that bookcases are also affixed to the walls, if possible.
5. Kid Safety in the Yard
Be sure to limit access to outside with locks out of reach of a curious tot. Backyard swing sets and play areas are wonderful, but make sure they are safe by having a soft surface underneath. If your yard is fenced, be sure that is locked as well. Always enclose pools, ponds or hot tubs and put a safety fence between any water source and the house. Keep kiddie pools drained when not in use. Keep power tools and garden equipment safe and out of reach; the same holds true for insecticides.
6. Kid Safety in the Car
Be sure you have your child’s car seat installed correctly and in accordance with safety regulations. Utilize a booster seat for as long as child needs one for height and weight factors (which may be longer than your child wants). Be sure that kids cannot open a door or window from their seat (utilize child locks, as needed). The sun shades help with comfort for toddlers on car trips. Set safety practices with the opening/shutting of car doors to avoid smashed finger injuries.
7. Kid Safety at Others’ Homes
Your house may be toddler proof, but neighbors and relatives may not have the need. That means parents must be on particular guard when visiting others’ homes for safety. Medicine cabinets, drawers, and other “unsafe” areas may be a temptation to toddlers, and it only takes a moment to get into danger. If possible, bring entertainment for your toddler and designate a single “safe room” for your youngster to stay in. And, always accompany your toddler to the bathroom (even if potty-trained).
8. Kid Safety Out and About
Parents greatest safety fears can sometimes be when walking with youngsters to and from stores, among parked cars, and in crowded situations–and with good reason. Toddlers are prone to darting around and insistent on walking independently. Kids should be told rules of hand-holding and other safety measures, and parents should enforce those rules at all costs. In crowded stores, consider tying a balloon on a wrist so you can see your youngster in case of an accidental separation.
9. Kid Safety and Toys
Require that your youngster wear a bike helmet and other safety gear. Create/buy a safety flag on a bike, big wheel or other toy when used outdoors so you can distinguish your child and his location at a glance. Carefully consider toys like trampolines, spinning toys, scooters, bouncing balls, in-line skates, and other popular items that can be fun but also potentially dangerous. If you do buy such an item, be sure to follow safety recommendations and supervise your child’s use closely.
10. Kid Safety and Sports
More and more parents are placing their toddler-aged children into sports for exercise and to learn fundamentals of soccer, gymnastics, baseball, basketball, and cheer. Age-appropriate programs can be a great outlet for a youngster’s energy and provide exercise and coordination activities as well. But, beware of programs that don’t take a young child’s limitations into account, or else injuries can occur.

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Want to get your kids started on some new crafts at home? Buy them a book – we’ve rounded up 10 of the best.

Crafting With Kids

Crafting With Kids

This bright, fun book has 35 colourful projects for both girls and boys, including fancy dress costumes and seasonal decorations. Get kids started on potatoe prints, papier mache, sewing, stencilling and puppet making.

By Catherine Woram, it costs £12.99, Ryland Peters & Small(opens in a new window).

Crochet for children book

Crochet For Children

If your kids are keen to crochet, this book will get them started. Basic techniques are covered (perfect for beginner adults, too!) and there are 35 achievable projects – from simple juggling balls to more ambitious ideas, such as a scarf, rag doll and teddy bear.

By Claire Montgomerie, it costs £14.99, Cico Books(opens in a new window).

Craft book

Christmas Crafting With Kids

Ideal as a pre-Christmas gift or just as a year-round sourcebook (who says Christmas crafts have to be limited to the festive period), this book has 35 seasonal projects, beautifully photographed.

By Catherine Woram, it costs £14.99, Ryland Peters & Small(opens in a new window).

craft book

Christmas Crafting In No Time

Packed with 50 step by step Christmas projects, this book is ideal for older kids or young adults who want to have a go at sewing, stamping, decorating and even cooking. Projects include papier mache tree baubles, reindeer and mice and stockings to make.

By Clare Youngs, it costs £14.99, Cico Books(opens in a new window).

craft book

Cute Clothes For Kids

Not so much for kids as for adults who want to make clothes for kids. This book has 25 projects for 0 to five year olds, and includes full-size, pull-out patterns and templates to make over 40 items.

By Rob Merrett, it costs £12.99, Ryland Peters & Small(opens in a new window).

Felt Button Bead book

Felt Button Bead

Get ready to devote your old socks, fabric remnants and clothes they’ve grown out of to their new obsession for fabric-based crafts. This book has 40 fun projects, including sock glove puppets, hand-print tea towels, decorated jeans, and belts and badges.

By Catherine Woram, it costs £14.99, Ryland Peters & Small(opens in a new window).

How To Knit book

How To Knit

This simple introduction to knitting has step by step instructions to get them started, followed by 25 easy to achieve projects, starting with simple ideas, such as scarves, working up to knitted toys and accessories for their rooms and clothes.

It costs £12.99, Usborne Publishing(opens in a new window).

Making Cards Book

Making Cards

If they love making cards for their friends and relatives, why not give them ideas to copy. This book has 26 ideas – from simple swirly flowers to cute fabric collage animals, fold-out and pop-up cards – and there’s also instructions for making envelopes and ideas for wrapping paper.
By Fiona Watt, it costs £9.99, Usborne Publishing(opens in a new window).

Starting Needlecraft Book

Starting Needlecraft

Ideal for beginners to needlecraft, this fun book has simple instructions and easy to achieve projects to get them started. There are also internet links to help them develop their skills once they become more adept.

It costs £4.99, Usborne Publishing(opens in a new window).

Super Cute Felt

Super Cute Felt

This book has 35 simple step by step projects – from hair accessories to toy animals to snuggle with. Fun for kids to do – and adult beginners seem to love lots of the projects, such as coasters, tea cosies and brooches, too!

By Laura Howard, it costs £12.99,

Why not send in your Crafty kids Ideas to poetreecreations@yahoo.com

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ice creammmmmmmmmmmm

Everybody loves to eat ice cream in the hot weather, but have you ever wondered how you could make plain old ice cream more interesting? I am going to share with you 10 quick and easy ways to do just that. Providing you have the ingredients at hand, none of these ideas should take more than a few minutes to prepare.

01. Nuts About Ice Cream – One of the easiest ways to spice up your ice cream is to buy a bag of your favourite nuts or a bag of mixed nuts if you prefer. Put a little hole in the bag (but not big enough for the nuts to come out) and compress until all the air is removed, then take something hard and smash the nuts up in the bag. Simply sprinkle the broken nuts onto your ice cream and mix them in.

02. Strawberry, Coconut Ice Cream – Something I like to make which is really easy and the kids love, chop up some fresh strawberries and place in a mixer with some vanilla ice cream and then add a bag of coconut flakes. Mix for a few seconds but don’t overdo it. This ice cream is really good inside chocolate eclairs. 

03. Oooh, Saucy Ice Cream – Most people would use some sauces to liven up their ice cream, but the usual chocolate or strawberry sauce can become a bit tedious. I like to use some sauces which are a bit different: apple sauce, lemon sauce, honey or syrup, mocha chocolate sauce, caramel sauce or rhubarb sauce. 

04. Marshmallow, Chocolate and Honey Ice Cream – Take a bag of mini marshmallows and slowly mix them into some vanilla ice cream along with a crushed up bar of chocolate and a few drizzles of honey. Garnish with a sprig of mint. This idea is perfect if you are trying to impress party guests or even your partner.

05. Banana Splits – This is probably one of the easiest things to make but some people never do. Slice a peeled banana in half (lengthways) and place in a dish. Add a few scoops of your favourite ice cream (vanilla is probably my favourite). Squirt a little squirty cream around the banana and ice cream then sprinkle a few broken nuts and drizzle a little strawberry sauce or honey over the top to finish it off.

06. Peanut Butter Jelly Ice Cream – One of Kathy’s favourite things is peanut butter so I made this ice cream for her and she absolutely loved it. Take some vanilla ice cream and add a few spoonfulls of peanut butter and also a few spoonfulls of your favourite jelly, mix gently to combine, but not too much. Serve in a bowl with wafers and sprinkle a few chopped nuts over the top.

07. Apricot Ice Cream – If you are partial to apricots then this one is for you. Take a few dried apricots and chop into tiny pieces and mix into your favourite vanilla ice cream along with some apricot sauce. This is really good when your sat outside on hot, sunny days.

08. Cookies and Ice Cream – Cookies are a really good snack, but cookie dough ice cream is much better. Either make your own chocolate chip cookie dough or use Nestle’s Toll House ready made cookie dough and break it up into pieces and mix with some vanilla ice cream, delicious. You may also want to drizzle a little caramel sauce over the top too.

09. Fresh Mint Ice Cream – This is one of my personal favourites because I love the taste of fresh mint. Take about 6 or 7 sprigs of mint and chop very finely or use a blender (saves time) then mix into your vanilla ice cream. I like to place this back into the freezer for 30 minutes or so to allow the mint flavour to penetrate the ice cream.

10. Rum and Raisin Ice Cream – This is for adults only. Soak a couple of handfulls of raisins in some rum overnight then add the raisins and the remaining rum into your vanilla ice cream and mix until the ice cream turns a light brown colour (add a little more rum if needed). We recommend not driving after this one.

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062110-watermelon.jpgWhen the summer temperatures start climbing, we often don’t feel especially hungry. The temperature extremes of the hot blasting outdoors and freezing air conditioned indoors sometimes takes away our appetite. Here, though, are ten good snacks for for when you feel like it’s too hot ot even eat!

1. Chilled Hard Boiled Eggs: They’re small, easy to consume and pack a punch of protein. Add a sprinkle of salt and you’re all set.

2. Smoothies: The ultimate vessel to deliver whatever nutrients you require to last you throughout the day. Although smoothie shops sell you ridiculously large portions, a small 12 ounces is enough to get some serious nutrition without leaving you with a growly stomach.

3. Frozen Grapes: There is a severe cult following for this simple snack, just toss any bunch of grapes straight in the freezer. The end result is something that requires chewing and has a pleasant tang without being a milk-based dessert or snack.

4. Cold Noodle Dishes: It might be Soba or some Buckwheat noodles, but either way you can create sauces with big flavor and deliver them in a crisp, cool manner. Check out more cold noodle dishes here.

5. Ice Cream: Although it might not offer anything nutritionally, it is still the go to snack for many that are staring high temperatures in the face. A cool bowl of almost any flavor is usually more than welcome (even if it’s only breakfast!).

6. Water: Even though you don’t eat water (though we’ve lived in some cities we swore we did), it’s a great way to cool down your insides and put off hunger for a little while longer until you’re ready to consume a real meal instead of snacking.

7. Spicy Foods: Many will tell you that a good and spicy curry (Indian or Thai) is the way to go because it makes you sweat. We’re still not 100% sure of the science behind this method, so if it works for you, awesome, if not, see number 5!

8. Jerky: Although there’s tons of fresh fruit available during the sweltering heat, you might not always want the sugar (even if natural) that comes with it. A nibble ofhomemade jerky is a great alternative, plus gives you some substance unlike some of the other options above.

9. Watermelon: Growing up, Sunday dinner in the summer was 1/4 or 1/2 of a watermelon and a spoon. We’re not sure if it was the cool melon itself that made us feel better or the eating process where we got a fare amount of it on us during the process, but either way, watermelon is slushy and juicy without busting out a blender!

10. Spring Rolls: We have to say up front that any food shaped like a burrito is a winner in our book, but when the summer sun heats up, spring rolls are an easy dish to throw together, especially if you take a few minutes to do the prep work ahead of time. Add your choice of protein and you have a complete meal without adding any heat!

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