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  • How to Make a Cheap Christmas Tree Look Expensive

    When our kids were very young we only had a 30+ year old hand-me-down Christmas tree. But one year I saved up and bought a beautiful tree in the after Christmas sale, for 60% off. It cost $140 at the time, but I paid it because I expected it to last us for life. Ten years later I went to unpack the Christmas Tree from the garage, (where I'd safely stored it every other year) and inside the box was a dessicated rat, stuck to one of the branches... Talk about the nastiest Christmas decoration ever. Seems it had crawled in from the Aussie bush, which we live next door to, looking for a warm place during winter. And because it was stored high up we didn't notice any smell. So I went out to buy another tree, two and a half weeks before Christmas. Anything nice in my price range had long gone. To get something equivalent to what I had was over $700. I settled for a medium sized $80 tree and hoped with time I would be able to replace it. But as it turns out I never did. And now I love my $80 tree just as much as my expensive 'old' tree. So what changed? 1. I found a friend who loves Christmas as much as I do and we decorate each other's Christmas trees. 2. Before we begin, I cover a large plastic crate with Christmas paper, which I put under the tree, making it appear taller. 3. And then we begin to decorate the tree with strips of ribbon (which I purchased on spools from the $2 Shop.) Here we've used three different Christmas coloured ribbons. But you can use any colours to match your decor. 4. We begin at the back of the top of the tree and wind our way down, attaching the ribbon to the tree at 12-15 inch intervals. You can either wind the wire branch over the ribbon to hold it in place, or use a 1/2 green pipe cleaner piece and twist them into place. We've chosen to go diagonally as it's easiest to wind it around the tree. And it makes nice spaces for decorations to fit into. 5. Then we add some holly and the Christmas ornaments in the spaces. N.B. Every year our children received a Christmas ornament from their Nan, and from me as well, so over years we have a collection. Some are super-cheap baubles, and dough figures, while others are unique and more expensive. I always space the most beautiful decorations in eye catching positions on the tree. With the most sentimental in areas of prominence. 6. Finally we add three rows of beads and a tree topper to complete the transformation. You could also add tinsel Now all we need to do, is to hang the Christmas stockings. May your Christmas be a kind one and may the new year be full of good health, loving family, great friendships and fantastic adventures. If you would like some other great ideas for living well on a budget you may be interested in the following link to tips that allowed us to pay our house off in just over half the time plus gave us back years of free time over our working lives. https://www.best-parenting-advice.com/time-savers-for-healthy-meals Regards, Deb

  • Five Tips For Thriving At Home With Kids During Self-Isolation

    Bored kids are rarely easy to manage. And if kids are attempting to run the place, self-isolation could be a nightmare, for both kids, and parents alike. But alternatively, self-isolating with kids at home, could be a time when you can build closer relationships and create great memories... If you're smart about it. It could be a bit like going camping and having weeks of wet weather. Not what you planned. But you can still make the best of it and have fun. During this pandemic, rarely being able to leave the house, limits what you can do to break the monotony for your kids. But some of us can relate. I can remember having 25 new preschoolers starting a new year during three weeks of rain. And I knew if I didn't keep them happy and engaged, those who were inclined to be challenging, would be all over me. Because those who tested their parents, were also inclined to test me. So why didn't they? Or if they did, why didn't they continue to do so. Simply put, children got less attention for being difficult. But more importantly, there was so much more in it for them to do the right thing. I always had heaps of interesting things to do, so it was fun to cooperate. I wanted kids to be positive about learning. So I focused on every positive I could about their efforts to learn. e.g. When teaching Year 1 I focused on the best sentence written on their page and explained why that was particularly good. That identified what quality work was. And as a result I got better quality work... For younger kids, it may be as simple as commenting on the best letter formation. E.g. straight backs on letters of equal size. But if you're stuck at home, and there are generally kids screaming and running around the place, it's likely they may not have enough to do. And it can increase the overall levels of stress in a household. But with a little planning, you can turn what is a difficult time, into a positive time. One where you build quality relationships with your family, rather than be saddened by them. Improvements can be made with the introduction of: Simple routines: Kids love predictability. They like to know things like after an activity we wash our hands. Then we have snack break. And after less stimulating activities there will be something more exciting to do. Providing interesting things to do: Kids love to be actively engaged learners. Go to: Things to Do With Kids While Self-Isolating At Home During Pandemic: https://www.best-parenting-advice.com/things-to-do-with-kids-during-pande Boundaries for behaviour: Kids need clear boundaries so they know how to behave. (e.g. using inside voices, using walking feet inside, saying please and thank you. Simple rules keeps the tone of the house calm. And family relationships are better as a result.) Expectations need to be discussed ahead of time. e.g If your child chooses to be difficult, and not complete school tasks, the natural consequences would be they'd miss out on privileges; having to use the time they should have used earlier, to complete work. Noticing the positive: Kids crave attention. You're wise to give it to them for doing the right thing. By noticing the good makes us feel good about ourselves, regardless of how old we are. Our children love to know we see the best in them. Consistent expectations. Kids need to know you're reliable. If you're happy and funny one day, yet losing it the next, it unnerves kids. It makes them more on edge, and the tone of the home overall is more stressful. There is an excellent article on this site called 6 Steps for Improving Behaviour that may help. Go to: https://www.best-parenting-advice.com/6-steps-for-managing-behaviour-well This pandemic can provide an opportunity to build positive relationships and happy memories with your children. And it's perfectly fine for you to still expect some time to yourself. The happier your children are, and the better they feel about themselves, the more likely they are to give it to you. Self-isolation at home, may provide you the time to lead your family into more cooperative ways of relating, so your home is a happy one. If you're home schooling remember: You're attempting to create a positive attitude to learning for life. Having your high pressure to complete an activity, may make your kids really negative about learning. And if your child is not behaving well it's okay to say to them. "I'm not being a good parent if I let you think it's okay to behave like that. We both know you're so much better than that... Are you having trouble with something? Can I help you?" There are over 20 articles on behaviour management on Best Parenting Advice.com that can help you if you're having trouble. Check them out. Fond regards, Deb Arthurs

  • What I'd Do Differently

    If I had my time over again, I'd spend more time dancing and singing. I'd dance while I did the housework. And I'd sing all sorts of songs for the pure joy of it: from Nessum Dorma to I'm Just a Love Machine. I'd spend less time worrying about all my past mistakes. It's my mistakes that helped make me who I am. I'd make peace with them, thank them for what they taught me... And I'd let them go. When I'm old, I'd know I'll still feel the same inside, as when I was young. It helps me see my innocence. I'd take more photos of how wonderful each day is. I'd spend more time living in 'this moment.' Life is important and simply living can be wonderful. I'd get out in nature every day. And if I was thinking about doing something new or different, I'd think why not today. I'd spend more time with people who raise me up. And I'd care less about what other people think. Because I'd know, they're likely not thinking of me much at all. I'd know I was replaceable to any employer. And that my kids will grow up too so I need my own passions in life I'd trust myself more and follow my instincts . I'd spend less time sitting on the edges of life and I'd give myself permission to jump in with both feet. I'd cultivate my ability to public speak, and engage in small talk. But I'd also take a breath before speaking, knowing I don't have to have an opinion on everything. Sometimes silence says it perfectly. With relationships I'd follow my heart. But I'd know to take my brain along for the ride. And while I'd still be kind, I wouldn't be a pushover. I'd create my own retirement plan independent of any partner. Looking out for me is my responsibility. I'd be comfortable to know that not everyone is going to like me and I'm okay with that. I'd spend much less energy on it. At last I'd make friends with my mirror. I'm so much more than how I look. And I wouldn't look into my rear view mirror again, except for the beautiful view. I'd worry less about getting old... Getting old is fine, it's getting boring that's the problem. For 6 Tips I use on Saving Money click on the photo link of the two women shopping. Good Luck to You, Deb

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  • Pumpkin and Chorizo Couscous | Best Parenting Advice: quick & easy family dinner

    EASY HEALTHY RECIPES QUICK AND EASY FAMILY DINNERS: VEGETABLES Pumpkin and Chorizo Couscous ​Method Put butter into large microwave dish and heat for 40 seconds or until melted Add diced onion and microwave on high for 4 minutes or until onion is transparent Tip into large baking dish. Using same microwave dish place pumpkin in and cover with water. Microwave on high for 8-10 minutes or until pumpkin is slightly tender. Drain Put a layer of foil onto your griller tray and add Chorizo slices, ensuring they remain flat Grill Chorizo on both sides until it browns a little (This helps remove some of the fat rather than frying it) Put two cups of Pearl couscous into the bottom of the baking dish with onion and stir ensuring that the bottom of the pan is covered HINT : If you stay away from the corners couscous is less likely to stick there Pour pumpkin and zucchini pieces over the top so that they evenly cover the tray Add grilled Chorizo sausage Sprinkle coriander over the top Pour hot chicken stock over the lot ensuring that all of couscous is covered by liquid IMPORTANT: Cover completely in foil and seal edges. Cook for 50 minutes at 180 degrees. Remove foil. Stir couscous mixture Sprinkle additional coriander over as a garnish Serve immediately Pumpkin and Chorizo Couscous is one of the yummiest recipes on this website and it's super easy to make. You might even see the steam coming off it... It was that hot when I photographed it. I could hardly wait to eat it, and every time I eat it, it's even better than I remember it being. ​ Ingredients I butternut pumpkin chopped into small (1 1/2 cm pieces ) Or you can buy it pre-chopped at the supermarket 3 chorizo sausages cut into slices 2 zucchini sliced into 2 cm x 1 cm strips 1 large onion diced 100 grams butter 2 1/2 cups hot chicken stock (I boil kettle and add two Massel stock cubes) 2 cups Pearl couscous 1/2 cup coriander ​​ Cover couscous with vegetables and then pour liquid over the top ensuring all of the couscous is covered with liquid stock. Share this recipe with a friend If you love this recipe as much as I do, your friends might too. Are you after a recipe to wow your guests? This stunning Slow Cooker Lamb Shank recipe will do it. Click on My Favourite Recipes 5 link to learn how: My Favourite Recipes 5: Next Are you after more Easy Healthy Recipes? Check out the following links. Easy Chicken Recipes easy healthy chicken dinner recipes chicken and green olives Easy Pasta and Pizza Recipes easy pasta and pizza dinner recipes delicious tuna pesto pasta Easy Healthy Fish Recipes easy healthy fish dinner recipe salmon mornay Easy Healthy Soups Easy Healthy Lamb Recipes Easy Healthy Beef Recipes Easy Tasty Cakes and Desserts easy tasty cakes and desserts banana muffins Easy Healthy Breakfasts Easy Healthy Rice Recipes Back to Top Best Parenting Advice.com is a high quality parenting website designed with child and family success in mind. This site provides free resources for busy parents who want best practical advice on: effective child rearing strategies, easy healthy family meals, self-care tips for time-poor parents and fun learning games to help best educate children while also encouraging positive relationships within the family. One of the best pieces of parenting advice to help support healthy cooperative families, is to provide regular nutritious meals, eaten together as a family as often as possible. Best parenting advice provides a range of quick and easy family dinner recipes supplied by busy working parents. These are the recipes asked for: because they taste great, they're quick and easy they're family friendly and they're foolproof. ​ This site provides examples of what worked for me over decades and you are welcome to use these ideas as you see fit but you do so at your own risk. This site does not provide any guarantee that this information will work in every circumstance with every family or every child. It is your responsibility as a user of this site to ensure that you adhere to any recommended safety suggestions either implicit or explicit on this site and supervise your children while playing any games suggested. Best Parenting Advice.com is not affiliated with any other groups, clubs, religious organizations or educational systems. Best parenting takes time. The best parenting advice ever is simple: Do your best, don't give up and love your children, no matter what.

  • Quick Stuffed Potatoes | Best Parenting Advice: quick & easy family dinners

    EASY HEALTHY RECIPES QUICK AND EASY DINNER RECIPES: VEGETABLES Quick Stuffed Potatoes by Debbie Quick stuffed potatoes is one of my all time favourite standbys for if guests are coming. My children loved it and it's been popular with their friends as well over the years. ​ You could substitute sour cream and beans for the bacon filling or just add it to the existing recipe. Ingredients 4 large potatoes 5 rashers bacon 4 spring onions 1 cup cheese 1 cup water ​ ​ Method 1. Cut potatoes into halves 2. Put them into an overproof dish cut side down in the water to cook for ten minutes on high in the microwave 3. Meanwhile dice rashers of bacon and spring onions 4. Remove the potatoes from the microwave and test with a skewer to see they're cooked before proceeding to the next step 5. Cook bacon and onion on high in microwave for 3-4 minutes 6. Remove most of the potato from the centre of the potato and mash 7.Mix the bacon, onion and grated cheese into the mashed potato 8.Put the mixture back into each potato 9. Bake in a hot oven (180 degrees fan forced) for 20 -30 minutes or until the tops of the potatoes goes brown ​ Serve with grilled meats and steamed vegetables HINT: You can instead return the potatoes to the microwave for a quicker option although the tops of the potatoes will not brown Share this recipe with a friend For more Easy Healthy Recipes go to the following links: Easy Tasty Cakes and Desserts easy tasty cakes and desserts lemon slice delicious Easy Healthy Soups East Healthy Fish Recipes easy healthy fish dinner recipe salmon mornay Easy Healthy Chicken Recipes yummy drummy easy healthy chicken dinner recipe Easy Healthy Beef Recipes Easy Pasta and Pizza Recipes Easy Healthy Rice Recipes Easy Healthy Breakfasts Easy Healthy Lamb Recipes Back to Top Best Parenting Advice.com is a high quality parenting website designed with child and family success in mind. This site provides free resources for busy parents who want best practical advice on: effective child rearing strategies, easy healthy family meals, self-care tips for time-poor parents and fun learning games to help best educate children while also encouraging positive relationships within the family. One of the best pieces of parenting advice to help support healthy cooperative families, is to provide regular nutritious meals, eaten together as a family as often as possible. Best parenting advice provides a range of quick and easy family dinner recipes supplied by busy working parents. These are the recipes asked for: because they taste great, they're quick and easy they're family friendly and they're foolproof. ​ This site provides examples of what worked for me over decades and you are welcome to use these ideas as you see fit but you do so at your own risk. This site does not provide any guarantee that this information will work in every circumstance with every family or every child. It is your responsibility as a user of this site to ensure that you adhere to any recommended safety suggestions either implicit or explicit on this site and supervise your children while playing any games suggested. Best Parenting Advice.com is not affiliated with any other groups, clubs, religious organizations or educational systems. Best parenting takes time. The best parenting advice ever is simple: Do your best, don't give up and love your children, no matter what.

  • Easy Potato Bake Recipe | Best Parenting Advice: quick & easy dinner recipe

    EASY HEALTHY RECIPES QUICK AND EASY DINNER RECIPES: VEGETABLES Rosemary Potatoes by Donna Serve with roast meats and boiled vegetables HINT: You can also add pumpkin to add colour and flavour Ingredients 1 large sweet potato 4 large potatoes 2 tablespoons Olive Oil 6 sprigs fresh rosemary Pink Himalayan Salt Method 1. Cut potatoes, pumpkin and sweet potato into approximately 2.5 cm cubes 2. Toss in Olive oil and put in a large baking dish 3. Strip pieces of rosemary from the stalks and sprinkle over potatoes. 4.Sprinkle Himalayan salt over the top 5. Toss in olive oil again and cook in hot oven for approximately one hour 6. Using a metal egg lifter turn the potatoes over and cook for another fifteen minutes Share this recipe with a friend For more Easy Healthy Recipes go to the following links: Easy Healthy Soups Easy Healthy Chicken Recipes easy healthy chicken recipes chicken peas and rice casserole delicious Easy Healthy Lamb Recipes Easy Healthy Beef Recipes Easy Pasta and Pizza Recipes Easy Healthy Rice Recipes Best Lunchbox Story Ever Best Lunch Box Story Ever Easy Healthy Breakfasts Easy Healthy Fish Recipes Back to Top Best Parenting Advice.com is a high quality parenting website designed with child and family success in mind. This site provides free resources for busy parents who want best practical advice on: effective child rearing strategies, easy healthy family meals, self-care tips for time-poor parents and fun learning games to help best educate children while also encouraging positive relationships within the family. One of the best pieces of parenting advice to help support healthy cooperative families, is to provide regular nutritious meals, eaten together as a family as often as possible. Best parenting advice provides a range of quick and easy family dinner recipes supplied by busy working parents. These are the recipes asked for: because they taste great, they're quick and easy they're family friendly and they're foolproof. ​ This site provides examples of what worked for me over decades and you are welcome to use these ideas as you see fit but you do so at your own risk. This site does not provide any guarantee that this information will work in every circumstance with every family or every child. It is your responsibility as a user of this site to ensure that you adhere to any recommended safety suggestions either implicit or explicit on this site and supervise your children while playing any games suggested. Best Parenting Advice.com is not affiliated with any other groups, clubs, religious organizations or educational systems. Best parenting takes time. The best parenting advice ever is simple: Do your best, don't give up and love your children, no matter what.

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