Do you have a child with a smart phone or tablet? Are they reluctant to remove their eyes from the tiny screen because someone is droning nasally on YouTube about Minecraft? Do they fail to hear calls for meals or run away from table too early in order to play Angry Birds? Let me share with you an app I came across recently that has aided our parenting and helped us to ease the Queen (aged 13, now a proud possessor of a smart phone on a super cheap but strangely comprehensive contract) into learning some self control:
Seriously, I cannot recommend this free app highly enough. It works by allowing you to control your child’s smartphone or tablet from your own phone. It’s available from Google Play, the Apple App Store and the Amazon App Store. We have the Queen’s set to switch off at bedtime and we can summon her to the table at the touch of a screen. She doesn’t mind, and it can be quite funny to see how quickly she appears once I’ve used the ‘Take a Break’ function.
Of course, I want her to develop self control, but I never had the challenge of having to switch off my phone at night when I was 13. It was bad enough trying not to read under the covers. So this app enables us to help her let go of the phone without having to physically remove it from her grasp. If you are buying a device for a child this Christmas, you could install DinnerTime (or DinnerTime Plus for even more functionality) before the child has it and then bedtime screen battles will not even begin. I have mentioned DinnerTime to other parents and to a headteacher recently, and there seemed to be some keen interest. Perhaps it will help you or someone you know who’s battling in this area. It’s been a blessing to us.
A great weapon in the battle of the screens
Posted in Family | Tagged Amazon, Amazon App Store, android, app, Apple, Apple App Store, bedtime, block, Children, DinnerTime, Family, Google Play, homework, Kids, meals, mobile, parent, Parenting, productivity, selfcontrol, sleep, smartphone, study, tablet, Teenagers | 1 Comment »
This is a brilliant recipe that I mean to post every Christmas but then decide I can’t because I don’t have a photo. Anyway this year I still don’t have a picture of the salad, but here’s the recipe anyway. It is perfect for Boxing Day with cold turkey and ham, and a great way of using up the end of a jar of cranberry sauce or some extra sprouts.
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
1/4 red cabbage
1 celery stick (with leaves)
6-8 Brussel sprouts
1 small eating apple
75g/3 oz mixed nuts or walnuts/pecans
Stilton (optional – for a full meal of a salad)
Dressing: Mix together 3 tbspn vegetable oil, 2 tbspn cranberry sauce & 3 tbspn orange juice
Shred cabbage, apple, celery & sprouts in food processor or finely slice, grate the carrot (I use my processor for this too). Roughly chop the nuts by hand – the processor blitzes them too fine I find. Mix with the dressing and crumble stilton on top, if using. Feel vaguely healthy and like you’ve neutralised some of the Christmas cake and sherry.
No salad picture, so here’s some festive fairylights instead
Posted in Food | Tagged accompaniments, Apple, Boxing Day, carrots, celery, chopped, Christmas, cranberry sauce, gammon, ham, healthy, leftoveres, Nuts, orange juice, red cabbage, salad, side dishes, sprouts, stilton, turkey | 1 Comment »
Shared by a friend earlier, this is from A Charlie Brown Christmas and was made nearly 50 years ago. Good stuff never grows old. I’ve not read a Peanuts cartoon for years (my parents had loads of the books when I was growing up) but this has made me want to revisit them.
Posted in Church | Tagged Bible, Charlie Brown, Christmas, Linus, Luke 2, peanuts, true meaning of Christmas | 2 Comments »
Advent Sunday is fast approaching, so (with apologies to all the fans of Advent carols) here’s a great take on the Vicar’s favourite Christmas carol from Beat Convention:
Posted in Church | 1 Comment »
The blog hits from searches on Halloween have begun. So here is my annual pointer to some good ways for Christians to redeem Halloween without drowning in a sea of witch masks and ghoul costumes. This is a great time of year to bless our neighbours and reach out with the good news of the light that Christ brings to our dark world.
One popular activity in many churches is to hold an alternative party. We’re making our Messy Church next week a Light Party. This year Scripture Union sent us a magazine with some excellent ideas for games and activities that we have used. They have free packs and downloads available. We found last year that a light party held on Halloween itself isn’t so popular as people are off to other parties so that’s why we’re holding ours before half term. The next door parish are holding one on 31st October, though, so we’ll encourage any parents who do want an alternative to go along to that. We are wondering if we still have time to get kids a Bag of Hope from UCB. But if your party is in half term, you should be fine.
Here in the Vicarage we’re stocking up on tracts (try 10ofThose or The Good Book Company) and sweeties to give to Trick or Treaters. And we’re planning our pumpkin carving. Dreamer is holding some afternoon drop in activities in the church hall over half term and plans pumpkin carving as an option. Last year we carved ‘Light of the World’ on ours, inspired by a gallery of other people’s pumpkins I posted a few years back. The excellent cartoonist Crimperman has some other ideas for pumpkins, in case you end up with too many. I have found from bitter – and tasteless – experience that supermarket Halloween pumpkins are utterly hopeless for roasting or making into soup or anything really useful.
Posted in Faith | Tagged 10ofthose, Bag of Hope, cartoon, Children, Christian, Church, Crimperman, Fun, Good Book Company, Halloween, Kids, Light party, pumpkins, redeem, Scripture Union, UCB | 1 Comment »
I was in tow-un the other day when I spotted this sign. How long do your eyebrows last? Can’t honestly say that I’m all that tempted by this ‘experience’.
Seriously. My eyebrows have already lasted more than several months. Without any expense.
Posted in Fun | Tagged advertising, eyebrows, Fun, humour | 1 Comment »