The Three-Week Family Meal Rotation, by Sarah Wilson

Three Week Family Meal Rotation

What’s for dinner? It’s an age old question isn’t it and getting dinner on the table is a significant daily task in most families. We seem to be busier and busier these days and I don’t know about you, but I want a meal system that is quick and easy to organise so that I have time for other pursuits. I’ve always planned out our family meals on a weekly basis, because I’ve found that it works well for us. I typically shop on a Monday morning and I buy all the ingredients that I need for seven meals at a time. Then I write down the meals on my little blackboard:

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Now that we live in England, my two eldest children receive school dinners every day. And the school dinners work on a three weekly system. It’s similar to the system I recall having as a boarder in a…

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An invitation to express our concern… 305, 000 kiwi kids now live in poverty, by Kirsteen McLay-Knopp

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Has anyone seen these postcards around recently?   They are available in various places including churches, schools, libraries and charity-supporting organisations.  Basically the idea is that you write how you feel about recent statistics from the “NZ Child Poverty Monitor” on child poverty here in Aotearoa, New Zealand.  The postcards can then be sent (Freepost) to the poverty monitor, to gauge how we kiwis feel about the situation 29% of our tamariki are currently living in.  You can also download a PDF of them (and then write your comment) by going to :

http://www.childpoverty.co.nz/

The stats are sobering.  As mentioned above, 29% of New Zealand children currently live in situations which are officially classified as “poverty”… that’s 305,000 kiwi kids and just under one third of all kiwi kids.  Back in 1984 only 15% of tamariki were classified as being in this situation… just under half of the current number.  Some more statistics are below…

Poverty Collage

By expressing our opinions via these postcards, we can help give a voice to our most vulnerable children here in Aotearoa.  All too often we express our outrage upon hearing statistics such as these, even voicing them to others, before going back to our own lives and forgetting them. Flooding the “Child Poverty Monitor” with these postcards shows that we, the people of New Zealand, are concerned about this very important issue and it will also help keep Child Poverty in the spotlight.

I don’t believe in hiding the reality of Child Poverty in New Zealand (or anywhere else for that matter) from our children.  It doesn’t need to be pushed into their faces daily, but it is something which is having a major impact on their generation and will shape the society in which they will be adults– and not in a positive way.  From time to time my husband or I talk to  our four kids about  this and other issues shaping their world.  With regards to the postcards,  I felt it was actually quite important that our children do their own and express their views about this issue.   I would really encourage other parents to get their kids to do this– even pre-schoolers can understand the concept of poverty, if it is explained to them in an age appropriate way, and parents can write their children’s responses onto the post cards themselves if their children are too young to express themselves clearly in writing.  Pictures can “paint a thousand words” as they say too, the response could be a drawing.

Personally, I found it an interesting exercise, getting our kids to stop, think and then respond to this issue.  Of course, there is also the benefit of encouraging empathy and altruism in our children.  Anyway, I will paste our four  kids’ responses below:

Pov 2

Son age 10

Son age 8

Son age 8

Son age 6

Son age 6

Pov 1

Daughter age 5

My response…

Pov 5

Just to clarify, where I have written “regardless of the parents’ actions”, I am meaning that children in poverty should not be judged by why their parents are living in poverty. From time to time when I speak with people about child poverty here in Aotearoa, I hear responses such as, “well, what can you expect, the parents are on drugs/ on booze/ are ‘no hopers’/ caused their own poverty/ are lazy…”.  I love the line “it’s not choice”, as it epitomises what we here at “The Forever Years” use as our guiding statement… “through the eyes of a child”.  Regardless of how a child’s family has ended up in a situation of poverty (and there are so many different cases, we cannot use blanket, judgmental statements such as those above to describe them all), the results for the child are the same… a lack of basics needed for them to thrive and consequently, less opportunity.  Surely all children, here and around the world, are entitled to an equal “starting line”.  We have the resources in both our national and global communities to make this possible– if we put it as a priority and draw awareness to it, awareness by governments and by ordinary citizens.

Have your say, New Zealand about poverty here in Aotearoa and help your children to have theirs as well… it will affect them far more than us.

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Committed public servant? Give up your paycheck for children in poverty, by Bennett Morgan

NZ Poverty

Public servant: A person in local, state or national government who performs duties for the public. When did this stop becoming true of politicians?

The answer may lie in their obscenely large paypackets forked out by the New Zealand taxpayer. It is a commonly repeated mantra of both those inside the chambers, and by taxpayers on the outside, that the parliamentarians residing inside the marble walls of parliament house are employed by the people through the pleasant system of democracy. If this were the case, if the role of a parliamentarian was a humble service to one’s country and one’s constituency, as opposed to one’s party and self interests, would it really be expected of MPs to take home their pay? Or, at the very least, their still annually increasing pay increases?

The current pay rate a backbench MP (including lowly ranked members of the party list of all parties) takes home is a stunningly hefty $156,000 per year with an annual pay increase of $8,200. The mere thought of how much New Zealand’s career politicians of more than thirty years must have soaked up in their decades on the leather couches doesn’t bare considering if you’d like to avoid watering of the eyes. It’s considerate to mention, however, that some MPs do the honourable thing and donate their money to the many New Zealand charities in need.Prime Minister John Key is among the few who have openly claimed this as fact, although this statement has never really been assessed on a bipartisan level and thus cannot be truly confirmed nor denied. What cannot be denied is that the Prime Minister, with his $428,000/annum salary should be donating to charities – which, if true, would account for nearly three million bucks over his (to date) seven year period in office funneled into various charities.
The average New Zealander, meanwhile, collects $45,800 (Statistics New Zealand) over the course of a year. The people supposedly working and serving for them earn $110,000 in excess to that.

(To read more of this article, follow the link below…)

https://insightnz.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/committed-public-servant-give-up-your-paycheck-for-children-in-poverty/

Each to Their Own – My Response to the ‘Birthday Party Guidelines’ Blog Post that Went Viral.

What is your take on children’s birthday parties?  By Sarah Wilson.

Each To Their Own

Anyone who knows me well is aware that I am party mad. I enjoy throwing kids birthday parties. For me party planning is a passion that I enjoy cultivating. Why? Simply because it’s so much fun. Celebrations are big in our family. I look forward to those dates of celebration each year and in our family we use any excuse for a celebration. I’ve been changing nappies for eight long years now, and when my delightful yet slightly obstinate daughter finally nails toilet training, we are going to have a ‘No More Nappies’ Party.

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But I’m also aware that mothers who throw themselves head first into birthday party planning, receive a fair amount of flak from other parents, both spoken and unspoken. I’ve been told that my parties are ‘over the top’. I’ve never spent lots of money on my kids birthdays, preferring to opt for ‘retro’ styled parties at…

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A brief look at what John Key ‘achieved’ for children this week

An unfortunate week for New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key with regards to attempts at reducing child poverty and help for disabled children. “The Forever Years” believes the children of Aotearoa deserve better!

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ACHIEVEMENTS:
Voted down a bill that would ensure a decrease in New Zealand kids going hungry ✓
Voted down a bill ensuring all rentals are warm and dry, fighting off disease ✓
Oversaw a sharp decrease in disabled children getting support ✓
Shut a Taranaki school out of a local museum, so he could use it for electioneering purposes ✓

For a party which claims to support families, albeit the ‘traditional’ family, the National Party really does appear to dislike the idea of supporting children.

Yes, it’s true, by 2017 the country’s poorest families are due for a tax cut which will leave them a stunning $1.60 per/day better off. But does that $1.60 count for anything, given John Key has turned down a $100m plan to end child hunger? Surely a breakfast supplied by the school, taking considerable financial stress away from working class families who are struggling with the rising…

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Kids Aren’t Expensive, But That Other Thing Sure Is – by Anna Barton

An article after our own heart! “The Forever Years” loves this, encouraging reading and something we should all be mindful of as we raise our children. Many thanks to Anna Barton from New York, USA for her great article! 🙂

Kindness Blog

Kids Aren’t Expensive, But That Other Thing Sure Is - by Anna BartonMy husband and I have always wanted a lot of kids. (Of course, “a lot” is a relative term, depending what your social circles look like, but for the purpose of this post, we’re going to call “a lot” more than 3. Ha.)

Over the last 6 years, when we’ve made our feelings known, we’ve often been met with one particular phrase: Kids are so expensive!!

Well, on the one hand, I suppose they are. Depending on your particular situation – medical bills, dental care, school tuition, etc. all definitely add up. So I’m not trying to be flippant with what I’m about to say, but I do think it’s an important distinction to be made when one is saying how “expensive” children are.

Kids aren’t expensive. Greed is.

Kids don’t “need” designer clothes, Etsy outfits, brand new everything, more shoes than they can wear before they grow out of…

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