Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Top 10 audiobooks for young learners

I'm a huge fan of Audio books by Audible .
I especially love listening to Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon . I'm up to Book 5 , each book is over 40hrs.

Everyday I walk , listening to pass the miles. I listen while I iron (not so often) and even while cooking. I love the Scottish accents as well .

When I was asked to share my experience and introduce my boys to the love of  being read to by someone other than me - I jumped at the opportunity.
Books being read aloud can help develop better listening skills and help children learn punctuation, enunciation, and emphasis. 

Top 10 audiobooks for young learners (Stage 1-2)

  1. The BFG

  2. Written by Roald Dahl, Narrated by David Walliams
  1. The Tale of Desperaux
Written by Kate Di Camillo, Narrated by Graeme Malcolm

  1. Alice-Miranda series
Written and Narrated by Jacqueline Harvey

  1. The Jungle Book
Written by Rudyard Kipling, Narrated by Bill Bailey, Richard E. Grant, Colin Salmon, Tim McInnerny, Bernard Cribbins, Celia Imrie, Martin Shaw

  1. Peter Pan
Written by J. M. Barrie, Narrated by Lily Collins

  1. Matilda
Written by Roald Dahl, Narrated by Kate Winslet

  1. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
  2. Written by Lewis Carroll, Narrated by Scarlett Johansson

  1. Anne of Green Gables
Written by L. M. Montgomery, Narrated by Kate Burton

  1. Hating Alison Ashley
Written by Robin Klein, Narrated by Felicity Price

  1. The Complete Chronicles of Narnia
Written by C.S. Lewis, Narrated by Maurice Denham, Richard Griffiths, Martin Jarvis, Sylvester McCoy, John Sessions, Fiona Shaw and Timothy Spall 

We have so far listened to BFG , The Jungle Book and Harry Potter has just started.

Being Cub Scouts they loved the Jungle Book and it's cheeky characters - who their leaders base their names upon. The Jungle Book came to be used as a motivational book by the Cub Scouts movement many years ago.

The animal characters having human characteristics to give moral lessons. The "man-cub" Mowgli, who was raised in the jungle by wolves is a the main character having many adventures and lots of mayhem.

Who doesn't love BFG - (Big Friendly Giant) ... In The BFG,  Sophie (a young orphan in orphanage) meets the BFG one night when she can't sleep. BFG takes her back to his cave, where Sophie meets nine other giants, all of whom eat humans. Sophie and the BFG plot to stop the giants - so they go to the Queen of England, who traps the giants in a pit.


Audio books are great way for young learners to listen to curriculum content together as a family and talk about favourite chapters. 

So many classics and new favourites. So little time for reading aloud.The boys and I enjoyed these brilliantly read books, with a greater range of voices and expression than I can muster. Reading is at a very good pace and you just want to hear more! (Audible does me a choice to speed it up)

It's been useful to wind them down before they go to sleep especially when their eyes are tired after a long day of school and mum is losing her voice or patience.

Twinion 2 - said he likes Audio books because he hates reading in the car but long road trips can be monotonous.

Twinion 1 - loves the dramatic voices and wants to move onto '57 chapter' books.

Many children understand language above their reading age , through listening they learn new words and advanced constructs when listening to a familiar story.

I learnt quite a few new words myself.

Anne of Green Gables is my next choice , not sure the boys will join me though...

Have you a favourite story ?






Monday, 27 March 2017

Magnifier Magnificent



Who knew there about a little known feature in iOS 10 (iPhones) called Magnifier ?

I'm know I've seen it but never used it till today.
I always have a magnifying glass handy now. 

I wear contact lens as I'm long sighted , but I need reading glasses to see small print when I wear my contacts.

My husband won't lend me his reading glasses (I lost his spare pair on the plane to China)
When shopping I struggle to read the fine print especially on labels. 

Magnifier turns your iPhone’s camera into a virtual magnifying glass with a custom UI for easier reading.

Not hidden, but buried in Accessibility settings, especially since the feature was designed for those with vision impairment. 

How you can enable it ? 

In less than 10 seconds or 5 Taps

These hilarious ladies can show you - or keep reading below.





Open the Settings app 



Tap General


Tap Accessibility tab



Tap ‘Magnifier’ -  toggle to enable 





Your done ! Triple-click HOME button to activate Magnifier anytime


There are a few extra features in accessibility you can check out for yourself too.
Toggle Auto-Brightness to enable automatic brightness and contrast adjustments based on ambient light when using Magnifier.

Well what do you know ?



Saturday, 25 March 2017

Breakfast Waffles

or break the rules and eat them when you like.

Browsing through Instagram this morning, on an empty stomach, my feed was full of yummy breakfasts. I didn't have much time to make something.

Twinion 2 has a Mud Run to complete today and later a Cub Campfire night so he was off helping his Dad collect firewood.

I whipped these up in 5 mins with Twinion 1 helping 

(Sadly, he is missing the Kids' Mud Run due to an a Blunt eye injury 3 weeks ago and he can't take any chances or risk permanent vision impairment in his good eye - to his advantage he used the excuse to get out of gathering firewood and he missed almost 3 weeks of school)






  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp caster sugar  (I used 2 of cinnamon sugar)
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • vanilla extract or vanilla bean ground (optional)
Method
  1. Turn on Waffle machine
  2. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. Beat in the egg gradually, then slowly add the milk whisking to get as smooth a batter as you can. Adjust with a little more milk if too thick to ladle/pour.
  4. Once it’s hot, ladle in batter mixture to suit machine size, following your machine instructions until your waffles are cooked to your preference – medium to dark is best - (mine has a green light when it’s ready and hasn’t failed me yet) – carefully open because it can separate into halves.
  5. Top with your favourite breakfast topping combos – omit Cinnamon sugar/ground vanilla if having savoury breakfast combos.
I didn’t need to use any butter or oil or spray to grease – depends on your waffle machine..

PS: I never said I was a food blogger and I had like 30secs to take a photo.

RATING : Super easy - my 10yr and I - took 5 mins tops (with him helping lol) to mix and create first waffle.

Linking in with Ultimate Rabbit Hole

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