Category Archives: Uncategorized

Purple People Eater Art


T1 often requests we listen to the same song over and over whenever we are in the car. For a very long time, that song was the Christmas carol, We Three Kings, but recently he decided we should listen to the Purple People Eater song. Having now heard it many, many times, I find myself singing it in the shower, under my breath at work, while I’m out walking…. I remember singing it when I was young, but in case you don’t know the song I’m talking about, it goes “one eyed, one horned, flying purple people eater, sure looks strange to me.”

That line got me thinking about what the purple people eater would actually look like. I challenged the kids to think about the song, and the way the creature is described, and then put their vision onto paper. We chose to use crayons for this artwork, as we have a big box of crayons with lots of different colours, including lots of shades of purple.

My Purple People Eater

I got in on the art as well, coming up with my own version of the Purple People Eater. All of the kids had a go, and I was very impressed with their efforts. One of T1’s monsters was carrying a school backpack and was called ‘X’, which I thought was interesting.

X carrying his school bag

This one was definitely the cutest!






Kids Books for Early Sexual Education


When kids start asking those awkward questions (or when you overhear your preschooler explaining to his friends how babies get pooped out of butts), it’s time to arm yourself with some great picture books about sexual education.

A few things to consider when choosing early sexual education books includes the child’s age, whether the book is to be shared or read alone, and how inclusive the book is. I think the best books are the ones that also discuss alternate methods of having a baby, such as IVF, surrogacy and adoption, as well as vaginal and caesarean births. Some might also picture different family configurations, such as two dads or two mums, and parents of various cultural backgrounds. If you’re looking for one comprehensive picture book, my vote goes to The Amazing True Story of How Babies are Made by Fiona Katauskas. However, I’ve always found it useful to use an array of books, and to keep them lying about for the children to peruse at their own leisure.

Below, I have put together a list of books I have used with my own children, and have found useful. Some are about our bodies, and some deal directly with intercourse and reproduction. You might be able to find some of these at your local library, or at second-hand bookshops (I have also included an affiliate link to each picture for convenient purchasing of the books).

Picture Books for kids aged 3 to 7 

The Bare Naked Book by Kathy Stinson with art by Heather Collins


Mummy Laid an Egg! by Babette Cole


Amazing You! by Dr. Gail Saltz and illustrated by Lynne Avril Cravath


What Makes a Baby by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth


The Amazing True Story of How Babies are Made by Fiona Katauskas


Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle


Overall, I personally prefer to get the kids reading sexual education books early (sharing picture books) before they realise there is any potential for embarrassment, and then provide a range of age appropriate sexual education literature for them to peruse as they get older. By the time they are adolescents, I think it’s important to have books available covering the changes occurring to both girls and boys, sexual health, pregnancy, sexuality, and how to be sexually safe and responsible. I try to be open to questions, and answer them as honestly as I can. If you appear embarrassed and reluctant to discuss sexual education, this conveys to the child that there is something “wrong” or “taboo” about our bodies and reproductive abilities. I also try to keep things light.

And I have never managed not to laugh when one of my kids has mispronounced the word vagina as ‘bagina’ or told a helpless (and increasingly embarrassed) adult that the penis fits inside said ‘bagina’! I try to stop them, I do, but often the words are out before I can intervene, and then what is there to do, but apologise and laugh? I have talked to my children about not sharing their knowledge at school, but they all seem to find this very difficult too.

Do you have or know of any sexual education books for younger children that you recommend? Let us know in the comments!


*Please remember that I am not an expert, just a parent speaking from experience with my own children (two girls and two boys).



Youpine: a new way to review


I was recently introduced to a new website called Youpine, which I think is pretty neat.

Youpine is a review platform with a twist! Instead of giving a star rating, or writing a review, Youpine allows you to rate books and movies using sentiments, or emotive words, such as exciting, heartbreaking, awful, dark. You can leave up to eight sentiments per title, providing others with a concise description of that item. Whilst adding sentiments to each title, Youpine will also make suggestions of similar words to those you have entered. In the screenshot below, I have described The Hunger Games as fantastic, and Youpine has provided me with synonyms that might also suit the book. I like this feature, as it prompts me to think about words that might be better to describe what I’m feeling.

It is possible to search by title, sentiment or consensus on Youpine. So if you’re feeling like a romantic novel, a funny movie, or a book that has an upbeat tone, you can search for suggestions based on that.

Right now, Youpine is in its infancy, and it needs more people to join (it’s free!) and begin describing books. The more people adding their sentiments, the better the site will be, and the more accurate the sentiments and consensus for each title will become. Once Youpine gets greater numbers describing books, I think it will be quite a good resource for readers and movie lovers looking for suggestions and recommendations.

Apart from the need for more members, the site’s biggest downfall is how the titles are sourced. Most books I have searched for so far have not been in the Youpine database, probably because a lot of them are from smaller or independent publishers, and are not available through the source Youpine are currently using. Hopefully they will be able to source more titles soon. I would also really like to see an option for adding titles to Youpine by members (and authors promoting their books) to help fill the gaps.

Youpine will only get better with more people using it, so hop on over to Youpine and have a look for yourself! Please let me know your thoughts about this new platform in the comments.


Unmasking the April Book Box


Amidst the chaos that is school holidays this little box of joy was delivered. It took me a while to get a quiet moment to open it on my own, but I was thrilled when I finally did.

The YA Chronicles book boxes have gotten even better this month. They have transitioned to a new price that also sees an increase in the goodies included in the content.

It was so much fun unpacking this box! The April book is The Secret Science of Magic by Australian author Melissa Keil. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but it was already on my TBR list, so I’m pretty excited!

I love the Cinderella silhouette artwork, it is just gorgeous. It came from Lolie Freta on Etsy. There was also a The Secret Science of Magic playing card, and a ticket to the Night Circus from RedGoldSparks Press. Seriously cute magnetic bookmarks by Read and Wonder, a Harry Potter inspired notebook from Literary Emporium, and a niffler keyring complete the package.







And as always, there is The YA Chronicles bookmark (I am always looking for a bookmark, so thanks TYAC!) and the postcard that contains information about the box’s contents. 

May is a big month for The YA Chronicles book boxes, with the special pre-ordered A Court of Wings and Ruin boxes coming out on the 2nd plus the regular monthly box. I can’t wait for both to arrive!


Mother’s Day Art


Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mums out there!


These simple art pieces make good cards for Mother’s Day. I think I might laminate the ones my kids made and keep them. They make unique placemats once laminated.

I helped the kids trace around their hands with a pencil. This was easy with the big kids, hard with the little ones. T2 just couldn’t keep his hands still! Eventually we got an outline that resembled his hands, and then we could paint.

Adding coloured dots.

Adding coloured dots.

To make the dots, we used out paint dot markers. You could also make a dot pattern using cotton tips or cotton filters. Fingerprints would look nice too. Or fill in the hand outlines in any way you like!

Add a happy message and give it to Mum! We used paint pens to write our greetings.



Difficulties of technology….


Over the past couple of months I have been experiencing some technical issues, first with my laptop, then with my internet connection. This has kept me from posting regularly, replying to emails and downloading files.

I think all of the problems have now been sorted and I am trying to catch up as best I can. If you have emailed me recently and I haven’t replied, I am very sorry. If you don’t hear from me in the next couple of days, please try emailing me again.

If you are waiting for a book review, please understand that I get a lot of requests, and I try to accept as many as possible. I really want to help get the word out about your books! I constantly have a long list of books to review, and I am working through them as quickly as possible. If you need your review done by a particular date, please let me know! Otherwise, I will email you once your review is up.

Thanks for your patience (and your wonderful stories!).



Re-blog from Booktopia: Win a Random House Australia Christmas Prize Pack!


What an awesome prize! That is going to make one book lover very happy 🙂 The cat is a nice addition too.
Re-blogging at

Fingerprint Christmas Cards


We had so much fun making these cards last year, I think we might have to do some more in the coming weeks.

Today We Did


There were Christmas craft ideas in some of the email newsletters from Educational Experience in the lead up to Christmas. One of the ideas was to create fingerprint Christmas cards. We tried this out at home, making Christmas trees and candy canes with our fingers.

A liked to smudge her fingerprints together for her trees. A liked to smudge her fingerprints together for her trees.

L carefully creating a tree. L carefully creating a tree.

We started with plain white cards. The kids used green paint to create a triangle for the tree, and then brown paint for the trunk. The candy canes were alternating red and white fingerprints in a cane shape.

A making a candy cane. A making a candy cane.

To finish the cards, we added sparkly star stickers to the top of the trees, and little Christmas stickers in the corners of the candy cane cards.

This was a quick activity with minimal mess. And the end result looked good. We gave these cards to teachers…

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Dragons at Crumbling Castle and Other Stories by Terry Pratchett


IMG_4945 (1)Dragons at Crumbling Castle and Other Stories by Terry Pratchett, paperback collection of short stories, 339 pages, published by Corgi in 2015.

This is a delightful collection of short stories written by Terry Pratchett when he was a young man working as a journalist.

I read Dragons at Crumbling Castle and Other Stories with my eight year old daughter. She has marveled at my complete collection of Discworld novels, and wondered why I like them so much, so I thought it was time she discovered Pratchett too. This was a good book to get her started, and we enjoyed reading it together.

My favourite story was “Dok the Caveman”. Dok was a caveman inventor, always inventing something new, and often creating havoc with his new invention, but I loved his enthusiasm. It was a very funny story! My daughter liked the tales of the Carpet People, with their adventures among the fibres of the Rug.

Most of the stories were funny, with insights into the kinds of stories that Pratchett would produce later, but these really are his early work, when he was developing his style and perfecting his tale-telling abilities. I far prefer the Discworld novels, but Dragons at Crumbling Castle is a nice, easy to read kids book. My daughter would like to try some other Pratchett now, which makes me very happy!

There are black and white illustrations throughout the book which to me looked like the work of Quentin Blake, who illustrated Roald Dahl’s books. I was mistaken in this belief though, the illustrator is actually Mark Beech, he just has a very similar style, I guess. None the less, I liked the illustrations, and thought that they complemented the stories very well.

Dragons at Crumbling Castle is suitable for primary school children and up. Many adult Pratchett fans will enjoy it too, just try not to compare it to the Discworld novels!



Letter Writing Organisation


The kids are getting into writing letters, the old fashioned snail mail way. They love to write letters and draw pictures to send to their friends and family members. A also really likes sticking the stamps onto the envelope. They are always so excited when a letter arrives for them too!

Paperwork trays with matching pen holder.

Paperwork trays with matching pen holder.

I bought each of them some letter writing packs, with envelopes, paper and stickers. Over time though, we have ended up with some odd envelopes and paper, stored in various places about the house. I thought it was time to bring all of our letter writing supplies together and store them in a more organised and neat fashion. I was trying to devise a way that I could make a holder for our stationery, when I came across some paperwork trays at a friend’s garage sale. I knew these would be just perfect for our writing supplies.

With the kids’ help, we located as much of the writing supplies that we could and brought them together on the dining table. I took everything out of its packaging, to reduce the clutter. Some packets had a single envelope in them! We tried out all of the pens that had been stored with the writing paper, and threw out the ones that didn’t work.

Mix and match stationery supplies.

Mix and match stationery supplies.

As we had three trays to work with, we divided the supplies into three piles. We used one tray for envelopes, one for paper, greeting cards and note pads, and in the third we placed sticker sheets, address books and stamps. We stacked them on top of each other, and added the pen holder with some pens and pencils to the top tray. It is a lot neater, and far easier to find what we’re after.


The trays.

Our new organised letter writing station.

Our new organised letter writing station.