Monthly Archives: March 2012

” I radiate warmth and the love I project onto others is returned”

If it is your birthday today, here is an affirmation for you.

Chicken Curry

Fry the onions, brown the chicken, add Coriander, turmeric, Cumin, Pepper, Chilli, Ginger, Mustard, Cardamom, Cloves and Fenugreek.  Add coconut milk and cut up potatoes. Secure the lid of your pressure cooker.

Bring to the maximum heat and then reduce to keep the pressure. Cook for 15mns (approximately).

Serve with rice, steamed vegetables and fresh coriander if you wish.


362 Days ’til 40: Technology Overkill???

As I sit here with my laptop, iPad, iPhone, iPod, flat screen TV, Kindle, Nook (yes, we have BOTH) and video game console I can’t help but wonder how much

via362 Days ’til 40: Technology Overkill???.

Red Mushroom in Paper Bark Tree

Queensland, Australia.


Food groups to include:
• Essential fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6, are
essential for brain development and the prevention of cognitive
decline. The body cannot synthesise these ‘good’ fats, meaning
that they must be obtained from what we eat. Sources include
flaxseed and some other seeds, oily or fatty fish, as well as
some nuts and vegetables. If your child is resistant to eating
these foods, a supplementary dose of quality fish oil such as
krill oil will suffice.
• Amino acids are critical for healthy brain development and
function. The brain uses amino acids to produce the chemicals
involved in regulating mood, sustaining mental clarity, paying
attention and boosting energy levels. A diet deficient in amino
acids can result in depression and feeling tired or weak. About
half of all amino acids are essential meaning they must be
obtained from animal protein sources such as meat, fish and
eggs, and/or plant protein sources such as soya beans and
quinoa (pronounced keen-wa).
• Antioxidants can help to protect the brain against oxidative
damage that leads to cell injury, aging and disease. Essential
antioxidants, such as Vitamins C, E and selenium, must be
obtained from fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains. For a
treat, choose quality dark chocolate containing at least 70%
cocoa as this contains antioxidants called flavonoids.
Food groups to limit:
• Sugars, artificial sweeteners, colours, preservatives and
artificial flavour enhancers have been found to inhibit the
development of new brain tissue and connections when
consumed in high quantities over a long period of time.
Children who consume diets high in sugars typically display
hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating and crankiness.
The jury is still out with regard to artificial sweeteners but
there is some suggestion that these chemicals are capable
of crossing the delicate blood brain barrier and the long term
effects of this are yet to be seen. Most experts recommend
children only consume these substances in small quantities, if
at all.
• Hydrogenated or trans-fats are not only harmful for the body
but can also distort cell membranes and reduce learning ability.
These ‘bad’ fats are found in margarine, some baked or fried
foods, as well as other long shelf-life processed foods. Most
experts recommend avoiding trans-fats altogether and instead
consuming monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such
as those found in olive oil. Another healthy oil choice is cold
pressed coconut oil.
In the real world it can be difficult to feed your child whole,
unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods all the time but it’s very
important to limit their consumption of snack foods that contain
little or no nutritional benefit. Consuming a ‘brain healthy’ diet at
least 80% of the time is not only beneficial for your child’s physical
development but has also been shown to promote healthy brain
growth, positive behaviours and learning development.

Botanic Garden outing

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“Stop Stealing Dreams” by Seth Godin

This edition is designed to be printed, copied and shared.

I you don’t underestimate me, I won’t underestimate you.”    Bob Dylan

Dedicated to every teacher who cares enough to change the system, and to every student brave enough to stand up and speak up.


Education transformed as I was finishing this manifesto, a friend invited me to visit the Harlem Village Academies, a network of charter schools in Manhattan. Harlem is a big place, bigger than most towns in the United States. It’s difficult to generalize about a population this big, but household incomes are less than half of what they are just a mile away, unemployment is significantly higher and many (in and out of the community) have given up hope. A million movies have trained us about what to expect from a school in East Harlem. The school is supposed to be an underfunded processing facility, barely functioning, with bad behavior, questionable security and most of all, very little learning. Hardly the place you’d go to discover a future of our education system. For generations, our society has said to communities like this one, “here are some teachers (but not enough) and here is some money (but not enough) and here are our expectations (very low) … go do your best.” Few people are surprised when this plan doesn’t work. Over the last ten years, I’ve written more than a dozen books about how our society is being fundamentally changed by the impact of the internet and the connection economy. Mostly I’ve tried to point out to people who the very things we assumed to be baseline truths were in fact fairly recent inventions and unlikely to last much longer. I’ve argued that mass marketing, mass brands, mass communication, top-down media and the TV-industrial complex weren’t the pillars of our future that many were trained to expect. It’s often difficult to see that when you’re in the middle of it. In this manifesto, I’m going to argue that top-down industrialized schooling is just as threatened, and for very good reasons. Scarcity of access is destroyed by the connection economy, at the very same time the skills and attitudes we need from our graduates are changing. While the internet has allowed many of these changes to happen, you won’t see much of the web at the Harlem Village Academy school I visited, and not so much of it in this manifesto, either. The HVA is simply about people and the way they should be treated. It’s about abandoning a top-down industrial approach to processing students and embracing a very human, very personal and very powerful series of tools to produce a new generation of leaders. There are literally thousands of ways to accomplish the result that Deborah Kenny and her team at HVA have accomplished. The method doesn’t matter to me, the outcome does. What I saw that day were students leaning forward in their seats, choosing to pay attention. I saw teachers engaged because they chose to as well, because they were thrilled at the privilege of teaching kids who wanted to be taught. The two advantages most successful schools have are plenty of money and a pre-selected, motivated student body. It’s worth highlighting that the HVA doesn’t get to choose its Stop Stealing Dreams Free Printable Edition 6 students, they are randomly assigned by lottery. And the HVA receives less funding per student than the typical public school in New York. HVA works because they have figured out how to create a workplace culture that attracts the most talented teachers, fosters a culture of ownership, freedom and accountability, and then relentlessly transfers this passion to their students. Maestro Ben Zander talks about the transformation that happens when a kid actually learns to love music. For one year, two years, even three years, the kid trudges along. He hits every pulse, pounds every note and sweats the whole thing out. Then he quits. Except a few. The few with passion. The few who care. Those kids lean forward and begin to play. They play as if they care, because they do. And as they lean forward, as they connect, they lift themselves off the piano seat, suddenly becoming, as Ben calls them, one-buttock players. Playing as if it matters. Colleges are fighting to recruit the kids who graduate from Deborah’s school and I have no doubt that we’ll soon be hearing of the leadership and contribution of the HVA alumni—onebuttock players who care about learning and giving. Because it matters.

2. A few notes about this manifesto I’ve numbered the sections because it’s entirely possible you’ll be reading it with a different layout than others will. The numbers make it easy to argue about particular sections. It’s written as a series of essays or blog posts, partly because that’s how I write now, and partly because I’m hoping that one or more of them will spur you to share or rewrite or criticize a point I’m making. One side effect is that there’s some redundancy. I hope you can forgive me for that. I won’t mind if you skip around. This isn’t a prescription. It’s not a manual. It’s a series of provocations, ones that might resonate and that I hope will provoke conversation. None of this writing is worth the effort if the ideas aren’t shared. Feel free to email or reprint this manifesto, but please don’t change it or charge for it.

If you’d like to tweet, the hashtag is #stopstealingdreams. You can find a page for comments at

Most of all, go do something. Write your own manifesto. Send this one to the teachers at your kid’s school. Ask hard questions at a board meeting. Start your own school. Post a video lecture or two. But don’t settle. Thanks for reading and sharing.

Maths game

Today we just finished the maths game!

My little one layed out the rules and instructions for the game, I added my ideas. And we worked together on the making.

We used simple natural materials of course, cotton and my inevitable favourite: wool. This involved measuring, counting, sewing, wet felting, dry-felting and assembling. The only down side was for the making of the cards: we had to use the convenient modern world’s technology: the computer, the printer and the laminator. ;-(

Of course the decoration side of this project is non exhaustive and never ending!! I added some trees again this morning and also made some chance cards. All the pockets aren’t used, which means we have room for more “counters”/ players. I also need to add some buttons for carrying without dropping the cards or dies.

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My children have already had a game. They had a ball!!! It has been a long time since ” petite chérie” laughed so loudly with all her might, freely and excitedly! You know that laugh that comes down from deep down the tummy somewhere from the rib cage…

We looooove maths in our family, always have  and always will. Why? because it doesn’t matter what language you do maths in:  2+2 always = 4! lol

A La Carte



“J” has decided to cook tonight. He is an excellent cook, and he is in the mood, we’re in luck!

Fresh snapper rolled in flour and cooked in butter. This is my favourite because I can choose to eat the greasy bread crumbs around the fish, or not.  Zucchinis and rice. Lemon juice for sauce and a bit of  salt and pepper for some of us.


What a treat! Definitely a winner that one!

Try it some time…

Japanese and Friends Festival

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