Story read out loud- Peace at last by Jill Murphy

Front cover of book
Peace at Last picture book.

This is a story read out loud ‘Peace at Last’ by Jill Murphy with activities included for young children to try.  It is an enjoyable gentle story aimed at 3 – 7 year olds but again most children enjoy it. It contains repetitive phrases and colourful illustrations.

This is the story of Father Bear who cannot get to sleep because of all the noises he hears in his house and garden. Eventually he gets to sleep only to be woken up by Mother Bear’s alarm clock.

Following this reading out loud of the story are a few suggested activities that the children could do. These include finding all the noises made on the different pages, finding the repetitive words and drawing a picture or a plan of the house and garden. Again these are said out loud so the children do not need to read anything and do not need parent supervision in order to try them.

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Aliens Love Underpants by Claire Freedman & Ben Cort

This is a reading of the picture book Aliens Love Underpants by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort. It is a funny story aimed at 4 – 8 year olds but again most children enjoy it. It contains rhymed verses and wonderful colourful illustrations.

This is the story of some very strange aliens. The thing they love most in the whole world is underpants and they come down to Earth to steal them.

Following this reading out loud of the story are a few suggested activities that the children could do. These include counting all the underpants on the different pages, finding the words that rhyme and thinking of some new words to rhyme. Again these are said out loud so the children do not need to read anything and do not need parent supervision in order to try them.

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Please help the children to upload anything they have drawn or written or to ask me any questions about the story. I’d love to hear from them.

Baby Brains by Simon James – a story read out loud by Amanda Miles

Baby Brains picture book

This is a reading of the picture book Baby Brains by Simon James. It is a funny story aimed at 4 – 7 year olds but most children enjoy it.

It tells the story of Baby Brains; the smartest baby in the whole world. He’s so clever that he leaves his family to go into the big world. But Baby Brains realises that sometimes you just want to be at home.

Following this reading out loud of the story are a few suggested activities that the children could do. These include drawing their favourite part of the story, writing out the story but their own version or story boarding; drawing a selection of small pictures and writing some words to tell the story. Again these are said out loud so the children do not need to read anything and do not need parent supervision in order to try them.

Of course there are many other activities that could be done following a reading of the story and over the course of the next few weeks I will endeavor to suggest different activities. I would love to see what the children have drawn or written and if they have any questions I’m happy to answer them. I used to be a Primary school teacher and because of the very difficult situation we are all facing I thought this might help parents out, at least for a short while.

Baby Brains

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A new hope from the Pope.

The first ever Star wars film was later retitled Episode IV – A new hope. With the Christmas release of the latest Star Wars film, I’ve been thinking about that title.

Star Wars book

It’s been too long since my last post. I could blame it on the new puppy, the children, my husband’s working hours, the job. Eventually I will have to admit that it’s my own fault. I always hope I will have more time. I would put off writing until I had finished the emails, ironing, housework, phone calls, ordering on the internet, training of dog, tidying up after kids or insert your own excuse here —. I’ve decided I need a new hope.

woman pulling hair out

I alway hope next year will be different but nothing really changes. I looked back at my old posts and found the christmas post where I was again pulling my hair and running around like a mad woman. I was really hoping to get one last post done before the new year, when my New year’s resolution will obviously be ‘WRITE MORE’ but I’m running out of time. So I have one sweet, short message and in good old christmas spirit I’ve left it up to Pope Francis to remind us about what’s important at this time of the year.

Why the Pope?

Pope Francis

Well, he does do a better job at delivering inspiring messages than myself and it’s actually his birthday today. He delivered this message back in August but it helped me to again focus on what not only Christmas but the rest of our lives should be about.

What does Pope Francis hope we will learn?

“This life will go by fast.

Don’t fight with people, don’t criticize your body so much, don’t complain so much. 

Don’t lose sleep over your bills. Look for the person that makes you happy. If you make a mistake, let it go and keep seeking your happiness.

Never stop being a good parent. Don’t worry so much about buying luxuries and comforts for your home, and don’t kill yourself trying to leave an inheritance for your family. Those benefits should be earned by each person, so don’t dedicate yourself to accumulating money.

Enjoy, travel, enjoy your journeys, see new places, give yourself the pleasures you deserve. Allow dogs to get closer. Don’t put away the fine glassware. Utilize the new dinnerware; don’t save your favorite perfume, use it to go out with yourself; wear out your favorite sport shoes; repeat your favorite clothes.

So what? That’s not bad. Why not now? Why not pray now instead of waiting until before you sleep? Why not call now? Why not forgive now? We wait so long for Christmas; for Friday; for Reunions; for another year; for when I have money; for love to come; when everything is perfect…look…

Everything perfect doesn’t exist. Human beings can’t accomplish this because it simply was not intended to be completed here. Here is an opportunity to learn.

So take this challenge that is life and do it now…love more, forgive more, embrace more, love more intensely and leave the rest in God’s hands. Amen.”

This message means so much more than Happy Christmas. So instead of saying that, share this with everyone and let’s hope we all learn. This new hope from the Pope is now my new hope and I hope you get something out of it too. x

 

 

How do you know what dog food to feed your dog?

Dog eating bone

As a new dog parent I need to know what dog food to feed my puppy. I have been asking other dog owners how they choose. There were a tremendous range of answers and one gentlemen delighted in telling me he fed his dog two weetabix with warm milk.

It seems deciding what dog food to give your new puppy is just as difficult as deciding on what to feed a new baby.

There has been a demographic shift over the last few years. More people live alone, retired people are living longer and the millennials are waiting longer to get married and have children. Therefore more people are treating their dogs as if they were children with the time, money and emotional space to devote to them. This is being termed ‘pet humanisation’ and it is helping develop pet products. That’s great news for the pet food industry.

Why is there is so much choice in dog food?

Pet food is big business.

Twenty years ago I started my puppy off on Pedigree Chum. A lovely can of meat in jelly and some dried dog biscuits. With the growth of the pet industry has come a diverse range of different foods for our dogs and it’s a minefield!

Different dog food

The range of wet and dried dog food is staggering. There is puppy food, small breed dog food, working dog food, large dog breed food, senior dog food (over the age of 8), obese dogs, dog food for dogs with allergies or easily upset stomachs, oral care and joint care. The list goes on.

Different dog food

And now to add to the confusion is a new wave of raw dog food. Basically mince (chicken, duck, beef, lamb, tripe and fish) mixed with offal and vegetables.

In 2016 the UK pet food industry was examined by the Pet Industry Federation (PIF). It found that pet owners spent £675 million on dog food with more natural dog food overtaking standard dry food. Although a report by the Mirror said that dog owners spent on average £393 a year on dog food. If there are 8.5 million dog owners in the UK, that equates to £3.4 billion.

How is dog food different to years ago?

Different dog food

Pet humanisation (treating our pets like humans) influences new product development in pet food. Food products for dogs are now more like human food. They are designed to attract human taste buds and are often marketed as the healthier option e.g. non GMO, organic, grain free, raw. Dog owners want the best for their dogs and their health comes at a cost. Just as people spend more on their own food with superfoods, premium products and convenience meals, they now do the same for their dogs.

And it doesn’t stop at the health benefits. For some it’s also a lifestyle choice. In the US Pet Brands like Young Again Pet food promises anti-aging benefits and Natural Balance offers a vegetarian option.

Internet retailing is also changing dog food choice. We now have the convenience of online purchases delivered to our door and regular ordering so our dog is never left without food.

So how do you know what to feed your dog?

Dog owners are very interested in the list of ingredients in their pet’s food. We look at what’s included in our food on the packaging and we do the same for our dogs. Unfortunately it can be very confusing with the terms meat and animal derivatives, analytical constituents etc.  The Pet Food Manufacturing Association (PFMA) who aims to be “the credible voice of a responsible pet food industry” has developed its website to offer information to all us pet owners with some very informative factsheets and video (see below).

Pet Food Manufacturing Association – worksheets

Who manufactures dog food?

Did you know that 90% of the pet food sold in the UK are from just 4 companies.

Guess which ones?

  1. Mars – Pedigree, Cesar, Pal, Chapi, Royal Canin, James Well Beloved
  2. Nestle – Bakers, Bonio, Winalot, Proplan, Purina
  3. Colgate-Palmolive – Hills Science Plan
  4. Proctor and Gamble – Eukenuba, Iams

Different dog food

These companies have the lions share of the pet food market and this will continue due to their large marketing budgets.They can afford the large, lucrative advertising campaigns and supermarket deals. This doesn’t mean they offer the best dog food in terms of dietary and health benefits although they may be the cheapest. Bakers and Pedigree are still the biggest brands.

So who supplies the best dog food?

When you are deciding on dog food, you may decide to just go to the supermarket and see what’s on offer. You may have a recommendation from a friend or colleague or dog breeders. Or you may believe that the best food is the one recommend by your vet.

9 out of 10 vets now recommend foods from one of the big 4. Have a look next time you are at the vets! What I have since discovered is that food sold through the vets often means monitory incentives for the vet and the big companies ‘sponsor’ nutritional modules at veterinary schools.

Whatever you decide to do, don’t forget to go into the small independent pet shops. They often have great advice on products that you might not see in the supermarket and they also allow dogs into the shop!

Ultimately the choice of what to feed is yours. The dog’s happiness and health is our priority and if that means Weetabix for breakfast, so be it!

 

Riverdance and its effect on Irish Dancing and the World Championships

World championships irish dancing 2017
World Irish Dance figure Champions 2017

IMPORTANT UPDATE : Griffin Lynch dance school won the World Championship Figure Dance competition. Here is the video. You might recognise the music too! Congratulations girls, parents and teachers. Well deserved!

In my last post I talked about how Irish dancing grows as a sport due to a number of factors including the effect of Riverdance. Although Irish dancing was considered a form of dancing, it had become tired and old fashioned. The discipline of holding ones arms against ones body seemed restrictive and not sensual like other dances. When Riverdance was aired, it made Irish dancing look exciting and sexy and something different. The dancers used more of their body but still concentrated on the magnificent footwork needed to create that rhythm.

Continue reading Riverdance and its effect on Irish Dancing and the World Championships