Monday, October 31, 2011

Teachers on Holidays

What are teachers doing while everyone is whinging about the excessive amount of holidays educators are given?

Annie: went on a trip to Japan, with twelve exchange students.

Bob: wrote a novel.

Cathy: spent the first week caring for her grandmother after an operation and the second week with her teenage children at a ski resort.

Debbie: visited her daughter and met her 4 month old grandson for the first time.

Eric: went to the school robotics championships with a team of 14 year old students.  He was responsible for organising the transport, accommodation and training.  He also had to organise alternative supervision and outings. 

Fred: went on his first overseas vacation in 20 years.

Glenda: photocopied, folded and stapled 200 programs for the school speech night. She also saw a couple of movies with her children.

Henry: spent two weeks watching You Tube videos and googling interesting weather channel images for his upcoming year 7 unit on climate change.

Irene: the single mum, entertained her three children for two weeks.

Johnathon: rebuilt two secondhand computers for his year 6 students to use in his classroom.

Kaitlin: went to three museums, two art galleries and the science centre.

Leon: attended a week long seminar on behaviour management and learning styles.

Maggie: also attended a week long seminar but it was about the integration of information and communication technology in physical education pedagogy.

Naomi: went on a week long development course for teenage girls.

Oscar: went on two chaplaincy camps as a volunteer supervisor.

Peter: read 6 novels and went fishing.

Quinn: power-disced The Sopranoes television series.  Planned three weeks of lessons for his department. 

Roger: took his children to the library everyday that it was open. 

Sandy: took the family camping.

Tina: organised twelve play dates for her children and made a cake from scratch for her sister's wedding.

Ursula: stayed home and wrote six weeks worth of blog entries.

Vera: built a virtual classroom on the internet for her School of the Air students.

Wilbur: finished renovating his second floor bathroom.

Xavier: got married.

Yolanda: went to Canada to visit family. 

Zac: volunteered at the local Salvos Shop.     

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Gift Guidelines: Kids

Some tips for buying gifts for the under fives

Disclaimer: be respectful of the parents of children you are purchasing for... it is not your responsibility to enforce or break traditional gender roles in a child.  If the little girl likes trucks, buy trucks.  If the boy likes dolls, then buy a doll.  When in doubt have a chat to the parent/s.

Babies (0-1)
Bunny rugs and clothes are the fall back for babies, but if you want to get them something to play with or keep for the future look for toys that have at least one or more of the following characteristics:
  • Soft toys are always nice
  • Bright colours
  • Noisy (e.g. rattle or jingle)
  • Tactile: ie as the child touches it (and grows in strength) the toy will provide stimulation to the senses, like soft, hard, rough, bumpy, smooth, rattle, jingle. 
  • big, but not too big: i.e not small enough to fit in their mouth, but not so big that it scares them.
  • no small or attached parts: seamless is perfect but not always possible (basically ensure it is not a health hazard).
Girls 1-3
Again clothing is a great gift here.  Dresses and hair accessories are also practical and pretty.
  • soft toys (always nice)
  • bright colours and noise is good
  • tactile gifts are still good here such as soft/ bumpy variance
  • baby dolls are a winner with the 2-3 year olds
  • teething is still a big part of this developmental stage so ensure gifts are not going to be swallowed if they end up in the mouth.
Boys 1-3
  • soft toys are always nice!
  • bright colours and noisey toys... especially noisy toys
  • tactile gifts
  • teething issues (as above)
  • cars, trains and trucks are a winner with the 2-3 yo but make sure they are big!
Girls 3-5
  • soft toys are always nice
  • bright colours and noisy toys
  • fairy and princess themes are a favourite
  • super heroes are great too
  • relax the "no small pieces rule"
  • dress ups and role playing are important at this age so "grown up" items (old phones, old clothes, clipboards, toy stethoscopes etc)
Boys 3-5
  • soft toys are always nice!
  • bright colours and noisy toys
  • role play toys such as doctor kits etc
  • transport toys (cars, trucks, planes etc)
  • relax the "small pieces rule"
  • super heroes are also popular
Once a child turns 6, they are at school and you should be having conversations with them on a regular basis. Kids are honest folk, it is not hard to work out what they do and don't like.  Definitely DON'T buy clothes... uness you pair it with a toy.  I think it is rather easy at this stage to work out what to buy, but if all else fails... ask them what they want. 

:) M

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Gifts and Kids

If you haven't experienced it, you have heard of it.  The kid gets a great (usually expensive and difficult to find) gift and spends a few minutes inspecting it before turning their attention to the box that it came in.  They spend hours - even days - imagining the most fantastic adventures in their box.  They sail the seven seas in a box boat.  They take a trip to Mars in a box rocket.  They bake cookies in a box oven.  They hide under their box bin.  The draw pictures on the box and colour it.  They crawl through the box tunnel.  They take photos or videos with their box camera.  The world is waiting to be explored.  The simplicity of a cardboard box can bring hours of fun.  The joyful, carefree giggle of the child at play (with a box! of all things) lifts the heart of one who hears it.  So, what should we give the children in our lives?

I don't mean to brag... oh, who am I kidding? yes I do! 

The kids tend to LOVE my gifts.  M definitely gets the prize for "awesome present"... especially at birthdays!  Unfortunately, this means that I have a bit of a reputation to uphold.  I am expected to wow the kids with a gift they will love.  Let me be clear... it is not the children who expect to be overawed by my gift.  It is the parents.  They are so used to my gifts trumping all the others that they have grown to expect that my gift will be the favourite.  What a scary thought.   

However, I have decided (only a little while ago) to relax and if it lives up to expectations then that is great.  If it doesn't; then too bad.  In the past I seem to have achieved the WOW factor without even trying, therefore I can only hope that I am able to achieve it in the future. 

If you are wondering how I do it... you are not alone!  Put simply: I consider the kid.  I love these kids and I talk to them (have done so since before they could talk).  More importantly, I listen to them.  I take notice of the things that grab their attention and I listen to their stories and laughter and tears.  Then, when I am shopping, I try to imagine them playing with or using the potential gift.  If the kid in my head is smiling, then I buy the gift.  However, there are some basic guidelines for age groups and genders which I will share with you tomorrow. 

If all else fails... buy the kid a box! 

Friday, October 28, 2011


Happy Teachers' Day everyone! 

I hope it is an absolute joy for all of you... especially if you are a teacher. 

Our Student Council is serving a very unhealthy breakfast for the teachers at our school this morning.  I'm hungry!

To celebrate, I thought "we" would do something a bit different.  I am opening the comments today and I think that if you pop in (even if it is like 15 years in the future) you should comment and tell us about your favourite teacher and what they taught you.  Don't limit yourself to the school teachers though...
Teachers are Everywhere! 

Also, today... please... if you are able.... say thank you to the person/s who have taught you something.  When we teach we share a piece of ourselves with someone and when they teach it to someone else they share us too.  So, there are some teachers who literally have nothing left and yet they keep on giving! 

I would love to mention my favourite teacher, but you already know that I am awesome! 

:P M

Thursday, October 27, 2011

More on Teachers and Gifts

Stuff Teachers Love...
  1. Stationery: great gift idea: also a bit of a minefield because some of us are a bit fussy about the type of pens we use!  However, teachers always need a pen and if they are desperate enough they will use anything!
  2. A rest: just a bit of quiet for just a little while... please!
  3. Stickers!
  4. Posters!!!
  5. Things that sparkle!!!
  6. Stationery (I know I have already mentioned this, but that is truly how much we love it)
  7. Books, books and more books!
  8. Almost anything related to the subject we teach!
  9. Chocolate, Coffee and Alcohol.  Some of us like all three... some of us choose just one to increase our endorphins... you should probably find out what your teacher specifically likes.
  10. Children... they taste great on the barbeque. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gifts for the Teacher: Apples

What ever happened to giving an apple to the teacher?  I have never received an apple.  I did receive an apple-shaped perpetual calendar.  I don't think I received it from a student though, I believe it was given to me by a proud mother-in-law.  That poor woman; she really did try.  As you can see from the picture, I don't change it much.  
Teachers don't expect gifts but they do love to receive a thank you gift at the end of the year, and they love Christmas presents too. But, don't think you have to spend loads of money.  I think I have said enough about consideration... but consider how much time a teacher spends with your child and how much effort they put into  your child's education.  That is all I will say about that.  If you are buying a gift for your teacher.... think about what they have done for you and what they like.  

Visit this lovely blog for a cute craft idea to make for the teacher in your life. 

FYI: World Teachers' Day is this Friday,
28 October, 2011!    
:) M

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A different kind of Gift Box

When you see or hear the words gift box you probably think about a Birthday or Christmas present wrapped up in a box with a nice bow and a card attached.  But the one I refer today is more like a storage box of some kind.  It is sizable, but basic.  There are no frills, unless they are on the inside.  

The gift box I refer to is a place you run to when an unexpected gift giving emergency arises.  If you don't have one of these, you need to get one.  

There are a number of ways to fill one of these boxes.  

1. Hit the post-Christmas sales etc and pick up knick knacks, stationery, basic bath products, gift baskets/boxes/bags and keep them in the box.  If you find yourself without a gift or time to purchase one, you can throw a few things together and create one.  
2. When you go grocery shopping (or you're out and about) look out for items that would make good gifts.  My local supermarket has a small toy section and they often sell small plush toys, Hot Wheels cars and packs of cards at reduced prices.  
3. Maintain a list of friends and family, include their ages and interests.  If you see something you think they will like, buy it, put it in the box, and record on your list that you have the next birthday/Christmas gift for that person done! 

You could also use all three of these ideas to fill your box.  Click here for a few more tips on how to maintain a "present box."

There are many ways to maintain a system of "preparedness" for gift giving.  My sister, wrote the name of a family member on small zip-lock bags.  As she purchased a gift for them, she put it in the bag.  She could easily see the gifts she needed to buy when looking at the empty bags.  She also had a calendar marked with birthdays/ anniversaries and other special occasions posted near her "present box" and made sure gifts were purchased ahead of time.  

I like to have a list of friends and family, as well as keeping an eye out for gifts, I keep a few extra bits and pieces just in case (my memory ain't so good).   
Beside my present box I have a card box.  I keep it stocked with a range of occasion specific, general and blank cards that I can pull out whenever the need arises.  I don't often get to the shops, so I prefer to do my "card shopping" in bulk and then choose a card from my box for specific people or purposes.  Sometimes this isn't appropriate, but it is helpful to have them on hand.  
I understand that we don't always have the money or storage space to keep boxes of bath salts, cards, toy cars and handkerchiefs under the bed, but it does reduce my stress levels knowing that I am less likely to get caught out.  


Monday, October 24, 2011

Present Pictures

Firstly: an update: a photo of the gift I mentioned in an earlier blog.  The pen that Dad bought me during a trip to Tasmania.  This is the pen contraption that many of my colleagues find amusing.  I like it!

Secondly: the BFF showed me this, it is a cute card for another friend that she had to deliver.  I just had to take a photo.  I reckon even I could make this one, and it is versatile enough to fit almost any gift giving occasion.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Gifts for all occassions

If you are going to go down the route of a gift voucher for an "experience" I would recommend Red Balloon.  

Something they do that is REALLY COOL... They offer speciality pregnancy massages.  You see, if you are pregnant you need to have a very experienced professional looking after you if you want a massage because someone who doesn't know what they are doing can really screw things up.  I did not know this, until a colleague of mine was pregnant and could not find someone who could get a massage because she was past her first trimester... SAD! 

Anyway... Red Balloon have experiences for everyone and they will help you find the perfect experience for you.  Even better... they based online so you can shop in your jimjams!!! :D


Friday, October 21, 2011

On the side of Caution

Today I was "Googling" gift websites.  I call it research.  I came across a few quizzes.  You know the type.. "test your gift giving etiquette" etc.  So, I decided to take the test.  I did not do well.  Here is why: I erred on the side of caution.  There are some gift giving rules that it is now acceptable to break (e.g. necessity of thank you notes) but I still live by those rules.  At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what the rules say.  It matters that you are comfortable with your conduct within the arena of the  gift giving gauntlet.  So, if it feels right to you, it is right.  If you are unsure though... I have said it before and I will say it again.... consideration: always consideration!  

PS if you say "consideration" lots of times it sounds really weird.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"0" Birthday Gifts Part 2

In conclusion... If it is a milestone in your mind and in the mind of the birthday person... you need to bring it just a little bit.

A big DO and a big DON'T for your thoughts.

DO: make a memory.  If they have reached a milestone (whatever it may be) they will have memories or events that they will want to remember.  If you have shared a memory with this person... remind them with a photo or if you are creative, something else.  If you haven't, give them something to store the memories: a photo album/ frame.  Alternatively, give them the opportunity to create a new memory.  Gift vouchers for a holiday or day spa are perfect.  Take your mate out on the town and celebrate in style.  Decorate their bedroom or desk at work with something significant from their life.  Have Fun!

DON'T: make an assumption about the age of your recipient.  Let me explain.  If the birthday person is turning 40, don't assume that they prefer a hot bath and a wine on a Friday night.  Once there was a teacher in my teaching team who celebrated her 40th birthday by attending a Kylie Minogue concert with a group of girlfriends.  They followed that with a pub crawl and ended the night in her family room drunk out of their heads singing "Living on a Prayer" with the Karaoke Machine.  Her husband came downstairs and told them to settle down and they giggled like school girls until the early hours of the morning.

Enough said

:) M

"0" Birthday Gifts PART ONE

I am referring to the birthdays that end in zero.  For example, 10, 20, 30 and so on.  We all seem to believe that these birthdays are more of a milestone than the others that do not end in zero.  I am sure that we all understand that birthdays that end in zero are simply more special due to the arbitrary nature of our base ten system of numerical record and if we were still using base 8 mathematics milestones would be on our 16th, 24th, 32nd and 64th birthdays.  Wait a minute... 16th is important... ain't it.  So is 64th.  It must be, because someone wrote a song about turning 64... didn't they?

I digress.  

Today, one of my colleagues... and let's face it... good friends... turns 30.  I am not going to tell you her name.  Because I don't do that.  Let's call her... Princess Skinny Cow.  I realise that there a number of my friends who are skinny cows, but none of them are also princesses... well not at the same time!  Anywho... Princess Skinny Cow is like totally two years and a bit older than me and I am at a loss as to what to give her as a birthday present.  This is sort of ironic, considering that this month I am apparently dishing out advice about gift giving.  In the past when a colleague has reached an important birthday I have done something a bit nutty like... covering their desk in 45 pieces of paper with "one this day" facts, smiley faces, hand drawn pictures, jokes and birthday messages.  For another colleague, my teaching partner and I made 40 paper lanterns, wrote birthday messages on them and decorated, not only her desk, but the area around it.  We hung and stuck paper lanterns everywhere... it was very cool.  But something tells me that Princess Skinny Cow wouldn't appreciate that kind of fuss.  You see she is the quiet type.  She doesn't like to stand out in the crowd.  She is also blonde and a maths teacher.  The jury is still out on the idea that she would understand my birthday messages if they don't have a fancy mathematical name and sit in an exactly symmetrical pattern.  

So, what do we do for the great milestone birthday of a good friend.  When in doubt... CHOCOLATE!! 

Oh yeah, and if an entire blog post dedicated to her birthday isn't enough... I might just keep the chocolate for myself!


Monday, October 17, 2011

Technological Gifts

Technology and I are having a bit of a feud at present.  I really don't like anything technological and I have come to the conclusion that if it involves technology I am bound to have a crisis on my hands at some point.  Some may say that my attitude is unhelpful.  However, I have attempted optimism and hopefulness to no avail.  In fact, I tend to fall harder and further when I get my hopes up.  What are the technical difficulties I am having?

  • the network card in my work computer broke... when a computer owned by a state government department breaks it takes twice even three times as long as it should to fix it because there is a delightful "procedure" that must be followed.
  • my home computer works, but is very slow... I have nicknamed it "my dinosaur"
  • my phone won't recharge and I am yet to work out if this is caused by the cord, battery, ports, or the whole phone itself... it could be a result of the number of falls it has had... I am very good at dropping things (especially when they are expensive and fragile)
  • the computer program at church was not compatible with the computer program I used at home to create my presentation last week and therefore it did not go according to plan when I presented it at church yesterday.  
  • I keep losing my usb flash drives (probably my fault more than the technology, but still)
What does this have to do with gift giving?  

If you plan on using technology to produce your gifts (either by making and printing or internet purchases etc) ensure you allow time for things to go wrong!  Also, have a back up plan.  I think I have mentioned that before.  Basically we need to remember that technology is only as reliable as the people who made it. Don't leave your brilliant technology based idea until Christmas Eve.  

If you are planning on gifting technology, think twice before you purchase anything.  People are fussy when it comes to their technology... apple vs microsoft... iphone vs android..... sony vs teac.  The other point to remember is that a technology toy that you think is fabulous might be the worst gift your friend can think of.  On the other hand, they might love it, but be totally lost when it comes to actually using it and the gift ends up at the top of a cupboard gathering dust.  So, when it comes to purchasing technology for others, be very careful.  If you really want to contribute to the technological advancement of your friends/ family, give them a gift voucher for a reputable electronics store and let them get what they really need or want with the advice of the experts.  Alternatively, if you buy something for the "digital immigrant" be prepared to teach them how to use it! 

:) M

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Love Languages Week

The last day of Love Languages Week and I have one more thing to say on the matter.  

If you have read all of my entries this week, you may have noticed something.  If you haven't read all of them, or you didn't notice, don't be disheartened.  I will make the connection for you!

The real key in communicating love to our loved ones is consideration.  The real key to being a friend, a good boss, a good employee...and developing good relationships is consideration.  THINK about others.  THINK about their NEEDS.  THINK about their good qualities.  THINK about their likes and dislikes.  

The other thing is ACTION.  It's likely that you already know what the people in your life like and dislike.  You probably already know their needs and good qualities.  Maybe you already think about them.  BUT... do you ACT on this stuff?  Do you try to MEET a NEED?  Do you TELL them about their GOOD POINTS? Do you give them GIFTS they will LIKE?  

What is my point?  Consider the people around you and do something about it!  

Hey, if you read me regularly.... 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Love Languages Quality Time

Love Languages Week is almost over :(

Today.. my personal favourite.... Quality Time

Spend time with the one/s you love.  Take the TIME to give them some attention! 

I think this one is kind of self explanatory.  So moving right along to the list of suggestions. 

  • Turn the telly off during dinner.
  • Turn off the phone and the computer and the telly and any other electronic distraction for a bit.
  • Play a board game!
  • Book Club (lol... rofl... aahahhehehehehehehehaaaaahahahaha, even I can't say that with a straight face)
  • Walk together
  • Ask how your mate they're doing? and actually listen!  
  • I know this is kind of contradictory, but watch a favourite tv show together.
  • Go on a picnic.
  • Make stuff together... cook, craft and stuff
  • Read aloud.
  • Go to putt putt or mini-golf or bowling
Basically enjoy a shared experience.  This is the stuff that memories are made of!

:) That's that then.  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Love Languages Physical Touch

Love Languages Week Continues...
Today..Physical Touch!

Let's get it out of the way.  Sex is a very important part of a romantic relationship between a man and a woman who are married.  Comment at the bottom... go for it... I realise this is the most controversial thing I have ever said on the internet.  Now you know how mild I really am! 
Moving On!

I am not going to talk about sex.  I am going to talk about the need humans have to experience physical contact with other humans.  It has been proven that premature babies benefit from massages administered several times a day.  Mental health patients are encouraged to have physical interaction with pets and humans on a daily basis in order to increase their endorphin levels.  Patients experiencing high levels of pain often find massage can be more helpful than prescription medication.  When hurt or sad we often reach out for human contact.  It is a natural impulse to hug or touch someone when wanting to communicate love.  

Something else that has to be got out of the way! Some children are not hugged or don't experience an abundance of touch from others.  Some people are physically abused and touch becomes something that is feared rather than desired.  This is truly sad.  This is also the reason that we need to be careful with this particular love language.  We need to rely more heavily on other love languages first and develop a trusting relationship.  This is especially important when adults develop relationships with children that are not their own.  
Moving on again!

If your relationship is stable and there is trust involved touch can add an extra level of communication to the love.  A pat on the back, tousle of the hair, hug, hand squeeze or high five can show love without going over the top.  These also need to be well timed.  I think it probably bugs the BFF when I hug her while she is trying to cook dinner (I still do it, cos it's funny).  We have a rule that hugging while one of us is standing and the other is sitting is just WRONG! (major flashing danger dude)

Consider if the person needs to be hugged before you maul them.  Be appropriate.  When in doubt, go for the bony bits! 

Bony bits: squeeze the shoulder, pat on the head, hand shake or high five.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Love Language Words of Affirmation

My apologies... I slept in!  Actually you know what... I'm not going to apologise for sleeping in, because for the first time in weeks, I actually slept!!! 

Okay, back down to business... Love languages week continues.  

Today Words of Affirmation. 

The greatest suggestion I can give you for this one is The Warm Fuzzy!  

In case you are not aware: Warm Fuzzies are things we say that make our friends feel "warm and fuzzy" inside. Just as our science teachers drummed into us, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Often a Warm Fuzzy is then reciprocated and ends up making you feel "warm and fuzzy inside" too.  Although, get out the sad face because on the flip side of Warm Fuzzies are Cold Pricklies.  These are the not so nice things we say that have the potential to make other people feel cold, unloved and sad inside.  

So how can we give Warm Fuzzies?

  • Say please and thank you
  • When someone does something well, tell them!
  • Notice the good qualities of your friends and help them see it.  
The BFF and I have warm fuzzy bags that don't get used very often.  But that is kind of the point.  Just whenever, or when we think it is needed, we put stuff in the Warm Fuzzy bag.  For example, sometimes I write a letter, or a card, or I cover something with stickers and when the BFF opens her bags she gets a big grin.  The BFF makes me stuff: like cards and paper cranes and paper flowers and writes nice stuff to encourage me. 

Words of affirmation need to be considered and sincere, saying "I love you" is sometimes not enough.  We need to hear that we are special and why we are special.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Love Language Acts of Service

As seen in the last few days, it is Love Language Week.  
Today... Acts of Service

This works nicely as an "everyday" sort of gift, but can also be so beautifully executed on a special occasion. 

I have decided that the BFF speaks this language.  She is an angel.  She does sooo much for me and when she offers to do or get something for me I know she does it 'cos "we is friends!"  

Imagine out of the blue:
A mate cooks you dinner for no reason.
Ya mum does your washing.
The dishes are done.

But What about the special occasion?
It's your wedding anniversary and the partner cooks dinner. 
It's your birthday and your friends sneak into your house and clean! 
It's Mother's Day and the kids make you breakfast in bed.
It's your first day at a new job and your significant other makes you lunch.  
You get married and your BFF helps create and mail one hundred wedding invitations.  

I think you get the picture!!! 

The key here: consider your friend, their needs and what you can do to meet one or more of them.  

Comment: What is your favourite "act of service" to receive? 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Love Language Gifts

Yesterday I outlined the five love languages and suggested that we should consider these when wanting to give gifts.  So this week, I have decided to suggest some gifts based on each of the five love languages.  

Today... Gift Giving

This is the easy one.  By giving a gift we show our appreciation or love for the recipient.  The key is the existence of the gift so here are a few gifts you can give that simply exist.
  1. flowers
  2. book you love (but can part with)
  3. chocolate or lollies
  4. ice cream
  5. stationery 
  6. gift voucher
  7. small hand made item/s
  8. new necessities (a special version of the ordinary such as a toothbrush, sox, tissues, hair accessories)
  9. an itunes purchase
  10. cutesy knick knacks that say things like: "you are my angel" etc.
The key here is thought.  A gift that says... I thought about you today and I got you this.  

Tomorrow... Acts of Service

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Love Languages

According to Gary Chapman (The Five Love Languages The secret to love that lasts), there are five ways that humans communicate love for each other.  Much like spoken language these five love languages can sometimes get "lost in translation."  While we all have the ability to understand each language and many of us are "multi-lingual" in this area, most of us favour one language over another.  Our most fluent love language is formed by our upbringing, genes, past relationships and life experiences.   Chapman asserts that if we are to be effective in our relationships we need to know each of the five love languages and discern the language we are fluent in, as well as, the language of our partners.  Chapman has written a series of books applying this theory to almost every relationship definition: teachers, students, colleagues, parents, children, leaders.  

You are probably wondering why I am telling you this....

Gift giving is one of the love languages.  However, if giving a gift is for the purpose of communicating love, perhaps we need to consider a different language.  So, below is a crash course in the five love languages.  There is also a link to more info on Gary Chapman and his books if you are interested to learn more.   

The Five Love Languages in no particular order and simply defined: 

1. Gifts: a material gift (possibly as a result of sacrifice) shows love or appreciation.  It is reflected in our society as we give gifts to celebrate most special occasions.  However the material cost does not indicate the degree of love.  It is the thought and existence of the gift that counts. 

2. Acts of Service: by doing something to serve your partner (or child or friend) you can show them love.  For example, cook a meal, help out with housework, run an errand.  Put very simply, take their load and allow them to rest. The key to this language is performance of the act without being asked... a good deed of sorts.  

3. Words of Affirmation: showing love through your words.  Saying: please, thank you, I love you: are just the main ones.  The words need to be sincere and are better if they provide encouragement.  

4. Physical Touch: self explanatory? not really.  Married couples often interpret this as "SEX."  This is important in a married relationship but it is not the only way of showing love through touch and marriage is not the only relationship definition.  Holding hands, a pat on the back, a hug, a massage, a high five, even a friendly punch on the arm can be a way of reaching out to say I love you.   

5. Quality Time: an interesting language.  Quality time is uninterrupted (as much as it is within our control), undivided attention to each other.  This does not mean looking longingly into each others eyes.  It means, talking, playing a game, laughing together or enjoying a shared experience.  Notice it is not quantity time, but quality time.  A five minute phone call can provide quality time for a relationship if that is the only possibility.  

WOW.. that is much more than I planned on saying.  So... be continued...

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Fault in our Stars

We are taking a break from the gift advice this morning.  Today I am giving you a gift.  This video is gorgeous.  Watch it!  You won't be sorry.  

I just can't resist... you could order The Fault In Our Stars (a book by John Green) for the teen in your life.  Check out the video and there is a link you can click to pre-order the book on  Wow.. you wouldn't want to say that fast... link you can click!  clink you can lick?

Happy Friday! 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dad Gifts

Like Dad Jokes... there is a phenomenon that is known as The Dad Gift.  This is a gift that you didn't know you needed or even wanted, but your dad has put so much effort into buying it for you that it becomes one of your favourite things.  I have a number of these at my house! 

My parents went to Tasmania in 2009.  This was a big deal and it is all my mother talked about for the six months leading up to it and the six months after.  My mum bought my sister a lovely pair of earrings from one of the gem stores.  Dad bought me a pen that was magnetised and hung from an oval shaped plastic thing that had a clock in it and this was mounted on another plastic thing that had an hollowed out box filled with memo paper.  I just realised that my description doesn't quite do my gift justice.  One day... there will be a photo :)

In 2010, my parents went on another holiday.  I don't remember where.  I also don't remember what they bought my sister, but I do remember what they bought me.  Dad, found a bookmark made with cream coloured ribbon and a bejewelled pendant (when I say bejewelled, I mean beads that look like jewels but are plastic).  He bought it at the Harry Potter Store that was at the place they visited.  So, obviously he thought that was important to me.  

On my 18th birthday, Dad gave me a three tier wheeled shelf system.  I had to put it together myself.  I used it all the time since then until about two years ago when Dad decided he could use it in his office.  I am sure this was part of some elaborate plan (lol). 

Mum often apologises for these gifts.  My boss claims that my father doesn't like me much.. and finds this hilarious.  My sister laughs and says she's the favourite.  I reckon I'm the favourite.  Dad makes the effort to find something that he thinks I will like.  That makes all the gifts he buys me special.  Some of these presents are a bit odd, not exactly the kind of thing that I am expecting.  But... if I had one... my Dad Gifts would go "straight to the pool room!"  

:) M

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Top Tips for Shopping Trips

I went shopping today (not for gifts, for shoes!) and there were people everywhere.  It reminded me that gift shopping is one of those exhausting, sometimes terrifying, activities that could be classed as an extreme sport! 
Here are some tips to survive the Gift Shopping Gauntlet! 
  1. BE PREPARED  Make a list of people you want to buy gifts for and what you are planning to buy them.  Have alternative gift ideas just in case your plan goes awry.  Consider all possibilities.
  2. HAVE A PLAN This may sound the same as the first tip, but it isn’t.  Before you go anywhere, answer the following questions and decide on the best plan for your circumstances. 
·         Who are you buying for?
·         How much do you have to spend?
·         Is there a shopping centre or mall that will have all the shops you need? Or will you need to go to various locations?
·         How much time do you have to shop, the whole day, a few hours, no time at all?
·         How big are the gifts? Will they all fit in the car?
  1. BE SPECIFIC Don’t fall into the trap of buying 15 boxes of shortbread biscuits in the hope that you are covering everyone at work (for example).  A personal gift that considers each person will be more appreciated.
  2. TAKE TIME Don’t wait until Christmas Eve!  Purchase some items as you see them.  Allow extra time so that if you can’t find something you are not stuck in a gift giving disaster!
  3. EAT FIRST When we are shopping we spend far too much time in the food court.  We are also likely to spend money purchasing unnecessary snack foods or drinks while shopping for gifts.  So eat a proper meal and take some crackers in the handbag. 
  4. STAY HYDRATED If there is a time you are likely to get a headache, Christmas Shopping is one of them.  Crowds, Christmas Music, Children, Sales, long queues!  AAAHHHH! Take some bottled water along with your list.  Dehydration is one of the most common causes of headache and prevention is better than cure!
  5. DITCH THE KIDS If this is one time a babysitter is worth it, it is now. 
  6. STAY FOCUSED You are shopping for gifts, not for clothes or shoes or hats or jewellery.  You are not shopping for yourself.  The quicker you get in and tick each item off the list the quicker you can get home and relax.

There is more to come, so stay tuned.  I have opened up the comments section once more, so if you would like to help out your Blogger or your fellow readers with your own tips for gift shopping, feel free. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sample Wishlist

As promised: a wishlist from a pro.

  1. Coloured pencils
  2. Colouring books
  3. Word/Number puzzle books
  4. itunes vouchers
  5. Books written by John Green (I don't have any of his books so you can't really go wrong)
  6. Norah Ephron (actually I would like her books, but if for some reason you are magical enough to wrangle me an interview with her I would be eternally grateful).
  7. I need shoes and clothes... so a bit of cash would be super!
  8. How I Met Your Mother Season 6 on DVD
  9. Books written by Jackie French, Graham Base or Mem Fox (check with *insert friend name here* for titles)
  10. A Massage!! (*insert favoured beauty parlour here* sells vouchers)
  11. CD's (check with *insert friend name* for titles)
  12. Harry Potter 7 (part 1) on DVD
  13. Gold Class Movie Tickets
  14. Boggle SLAM card game
  15. FindIts (I have the children's edition and the girly pink one already)
  16. Downton Abbey Season 1 on DVD
  17. School Supplies for students in third world countries (you can purchase these through the World Vision catalogue and *insert friend name* has details)
  18. Kingsingle sheets and pillowcases (*insert preferred colour*)
  19. Genie bras
  20. Chocolate!!!! :) *specify favoured varieties*
Don't forget to say please!

Monday, October 3, 2011

What Wishlist: Some Do's and Don'ts!

The Wishlist: a list of items that you would love to receive (for your birthday, Christmas or other special occasion).  As in all things, when this is used for a wedding it has a special name known as the "Gift Registry."

The Problem: Some people struggle with the concept of asking for what they want. Some people find it rude to be asked for a specific gift, wanting instead to choose something themselves. 

My opinion: We don't worry about asking for gifts with a gift registry when we marry.  These days it is even acceptable to ask for cash!  This was an idea for which I was admonished during the planning of my own wedding, as asking for money was clearly the height of hubris!

So, if we get past the problem of asking and being asked we can quite enjoy the Wishlist Concept. 

Here are a few do's and don'ts to make your wishlist experience a positive one. 

Do: Keep it Simple.  List the top 20 items that you would like to buy and distribute the list to a small number of friends. 

Don't: Go Overboard.  Resist the temptation to send your list to everyone you work with, or the family overseas!    This is not a list of all your hopes and dreams for the future, it is a list possible gift ideas.  Pair down your initial list to the realistic stuff.

Do: Consider the Cost.  We are all on a budget these days and while we would all like to go shopping and say that money is no object... it certainly is.  When making your list, include gifts in a number of price ranges and consider the budget you have for the people who will see your list.  If you are going to spend $20 per person and everything on your list is well over $50, then you are definitely off the mark. 

Don't: DIY.  Instead, ask a friend to distribute your list and keep track of the purchases made by your friends.  This way, you still get a surprise and your friends get to feel as though they are making the choices and looking after you. 

Do: Be Practical.  Consider small and large items that you may need or want, but wouldn't purchase for yourself.  Be prepared to receive lots of little things or one big item that a few of your friends have pitched in to buy. 

Don't: JOKE!  To illustrate this one, I am going to tell a story.  Last year my wishlist had a few joke items on it.  I had been nagging the BFF for a kitten for a few weeks and so put this on my list.  Because I knew it was never going to happen, I also wrote: a puppy, a pony, etc.  So the BFF sent my wishlist to friends and family.  On my birthday, I receive a lovely little zoo of stuffed animals from my sister.  A pony, kitten, puppy etc.  You have met the kids!!!  I love them dearly, and I liked the extension of the joke, but some people just didn't get it. 

Do: Be Specific.  If you want a particular brand of something, then say so and give a good reason.  Your friends and family will go out of their way to get the best for you and will be disappointed if they discover that it is not what you wanted.  So if you want BONDS socks, write that on there. 

Don't: Be Greedy.  Consider a charity or organisation that could use some help and make this an option on your wishlist.  Ask your friends to donate something to the charity on your behalf.  People could give you cash/ or non-perishables that you can collect and donate to your chosen charity. 

Do: Be Grateful.  No matter what you get, say thank you!  If someone "missed the memo" appreciate that they have gone to the effort to find something that they thought you would like.  If the gift is on the list, but not exactly what you expected, appreciate the gift anyway.  You may find that what you are given is way better than anything you imagined. 

:D  There is heaps more to come on the gift giving gauntlet.  Including a sample wishlist so you can see how a pro does it (lol).

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Gift Giving: it's time!

1st October.  The shops are selling Christmas decorations.  The Giant Toy sale where you can lay-by until Christmas Eve has come and gone.  The wishlists have been compiled and the shopping begins. 
On a side note: A few weeks ago I mentioned to my mum and sister that audio books would be great gifts for me this year and both of them replied with, "I have already bought your present."  AAARRRGGGHHHH
Anyway, I have decided to dedicate October to a series on Gifts.  Some may say that it is too soon to start talking about Christmas gifts.  However, I am going to broaden my blogging to every kind of gift possible.  Also, for people who really are interested in my opinion and ideas relating to gift giving... as in "What do I buy the person who has everything?" kind of stuff, then this is the time these people should be reading it.  If I wrote about this stuff on Christmas Eve, it would be no use to anyone.
So, Welcome to October!  Pop in and see if you don't learn a thing or two this month.  :)