Friday, 15 August 2014

Evil Geniuses & Mermaids - What do your kids see for their future selves?

Children have a tendency to say, "I want to be (insert job title here) when I grow up." Some children decide on something when they are very you g and stick with the idea throughout life. Most children just test the waters with an idea of what they could become when they grow up and it changes frequently as they find new interests.

One of my daughters wanted to be a police officer for most of her younger childhood, then a chef and then a firefighter. She still wants to be a firefighter, but she is old enough now that, if she really wants it, she can work towards that goal now.

Another daughter wanted to be a "famous ice skater" when she was very young. That idea didn't last long. Now she is an free-lance editor.

Another daughter wanted to be a ballerina when she was really young, but ballerina changed to veterinarian in her later youth, and she is on her way to becoming one now with a degree in bio-veterinary science.

I still have young children. My youngest four are aged 11, 9, 7 and 5. They have had dreams of what they will be when they grow up, but, even for them, those dreams keep changing and evolving. The 11 year old wanted to be a writer, but now wants to be a teacher and an artist. The nine year old wanted to be a clothing designer (of princess dresses), but now wanted to be an author and a mermaid.

No, I did not type that incorrectly. She really wants to be a mermaid, a professional mermaid. And there are professional mermaids in the world, with realistic looking tails that propel them swiftly through the water - mermaids such as Mermaid Kariel and Mermaid Melissa.

My boys change their idea of what they want to be almost daily. My youngest varies between wanting to be a superhero, a firefighter and any number of other things. His older sister claims that he is going to be an evil genius. As long as my children are happy with the choices that they finally settle on, I will be happy for them, and as proud as any mommy can be.

I look forward to seeing what they do with their lives! I'm sure they will all make the world a better place. they do that already just by being in it.

What about your kids? What do they want to be when they grow up, or are they already grown up? What do they see for their future selves?

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Our children will change the world

My family often joke with one another about how this child or that child is clever enough and devious enough that he or she will someday rule the world. We joke, but one thing is for certain, as I gaze upon my children with all of the love in my heart and the wisdom of my years, I know that they have the power to change the world.

Today, I happened to capture a moment when my younger kids were all sprawled across the sofa, playing a video game together. And then and there, it dawned on me that, if my children ever learn to work together, there will be nothing that can stop them. If they learn to work together, with the combined force of their creativity, intelligence and skill, the world won't stand a chance against them.

So here are my questions to you:

If you knew without a doubt that your children would someday rule the world, what would you want them to learn before that day? What would you hope to teach them, as you raised them, that would help them to be a better ruler when that day came?

And, if you knew that the key to your children's success was for them to learn to work together, what would you do to help them learn to work together? How would you teach them this very important lesson?

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Word clouds for the family

I found a site that creates word clouds for you using the words you type in. It's called Wordle and can be found at Here are some examples I made using the program and the names of family members along with our family relationships. To an extent, it lets you choose colors and whether you want a black background or a white one. You can't save it as a file to your computer, but you can save it in their public gallery, print it or paste the code in elsewhere (as I have done here.) If you don't like the way the words are displayed, you can click the "random" to see a different layout.

Wordle: Fyfe Family1

Wordle: Fyfe Family

Wordle: Fyfe family 2

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Year's Resolutions for 2013 - Do your kids make them?

I tried asking my youngest four children what their new year's resolutions were going to be for 2013. They didn't understand what resolutions meant, so I explained that resolutions were just goals.  I had to explain that goals were things they wanted to achieve or learn during the year.

I found that they really weren't interested in learning anything new or setting goals for bettering themselves. As far as they were concerned, that kind of stuff was boring. I had to drag some goals out of them and then work with them on what it actually meant. Cameron still doesn't really understand them, but I didn't have to drag anything out of him because he had ready answers for what he wanted to do this year. 

Isabella got a new bike for Christmas and has only had her first two lessons on riding a bike without training wheels. She is doing well but has a lot further to go still, so I was a little surprised that she didn't mention it as one of the things she wanted to achieve.

If your children are ten years old and/or younger, do they understand the concept of making goals? And do they like the idea or have things already in mind for them?

 photo taken by Fyfe Photography (many years ago)

Here are the answers they gave me:

Gabriella (10 years old):

 "I want to earn more money from my shops."  (I asked her how she planned on doing that. She answered:)
   - "drawing and adding new designs to my stores"
   - "letting more people know about my stores"
 (Her stores, with her designs on gifts, can be found at:
Through Innocent Eyes (Printfection)
Through Innocent Eyes (Zazzle)
Gabby's Art and
Gabriella's Art

Isabella (7 years old)

"I want to be a hairdresser and a writer." (I asked her how she planned on doing that. She answered.)
    -"practicing cutting hair" (getting old wigs from second-hand shops, old Barbies, or, when allowed,  
     practicing on Cameron)
   - "writing more stories"
(Bella's series of fairy stories can be found on her Tangle Fairies blog.)

Connor (6 years old)

"I want to get better at my video games." (I told him I am not accepting that as a proper goal, so I talked him into agreeing to this variation on it:)
"I try not to throw tantrums when I can't reach levels in my games"

Cameron (4 years old)

"I want to learn how to jump over houses." (Not very practical, so I asked him for one more. He answered:)
"I want to learn how to read all by myself." (Now this one I can help him with!)

What are your children's goals for 2013?

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Favorite Child?

 (This photo was taken before my youngest was born.)

I am struggling to understand something. How is it that some parents with more than one child can have a favorite? How is that possible?

I can't imagine choosing one of my children to love more than any of the others. Each of my children is loved completely. They each have different things about them that I love, but I don't love any of them more or less than I love the others. I can't imagine a life with any one of them missing from it. There is room in my heart to love them all immensely. There is room in every mother's heart, if she's willing, to love all of her children just as completely. I find that I am incapable of  understanding how some mothers can love one child more than the other.

How can anyone compare their children to one another. Would you really want them to be alike? Each of my children has their own bright spark, that special something that makes them unique. I love their individuality. I love the fact that I can have a conversation about the same topic with each of them and have that conversation be completely different with each one.

I love all of my children with all of my heart, so I don't and can't understand the term "favorite child." What about you?

Saturday, 25 February 2012

DIY Chalkboard Craft (guest post by author & illustrator Hannah Holt

Author/illustrator Hannah Holt is favoring us today with a crafty post. She blogs about healthy kid's snacks and crafts over at her Lightbulb Books blog.

DIY Oval Chalkboard

Create your own oval chalkboard for under $10.

Hannah Holt Picture 1

What you'll need:

a 12” by 9” wooden board (sanded, about $4)
black acrylic or wood paint (to prime, $2)
chalkboard spray paint ($2)
a sheet of paper torn from an old over-sized book (free)
½ inch rickrack ($1)
white glue sponge brush
a plastic card a paper towel
this oval pattern (Click "download file" on bottom right.)

Step 1) Prime the wood by painting the entire surface black. Use the sponge brush to create a smooth finish. Let the paint dry.

Step 2) Spray a thin coat of chalkboard paint onto the wood. Let this coat dry and then spray at least one more coat. I recommend 3-4 thin coats. Let dry for 24 hours.

Step 3) Cut your over-sized sheet of paper to fit the board. Then download and print the oval pattern provided here and use this pattern to cut an oval out of the middle of your paper. Be sure to center the oval before you cut. Sadly the pattern is not perfectly centered within the page. My pdf writer was giving me grief today.

Hannah holt Picture 2

Step 4) Using chalk and the cut out sheet of paper, trace an oval on the center of your wooden board.

Step 5) Mix white glue with water in a 1:1 ratio. You'll need about 2 Tbl of white glue and 2 Tbl of water for this project. Paint around the outside of the circle with the diluted glue.

Hannah Holt Picture 3

Step 6) Place the paper with the oval cutout over the glue and smooth with the side of the plastic card. You'll want to remove ALL the bubbles.

Hannah Holt Picture 4

Step 7) Paint diluted glue over the top of the paper. Dab off excess glue with a paper towel.

Hannah holt Picture 5

Step 8) Put a stripe of undiluted glue around the interior of the oval, and press the rickrack into the glue. Let the glue dry overnight, and you're all done!

Hannah Holt

Along with being an illustrator, a writer, a blogger and a crafter, Hannah is also a mother to four.

Friday, 17 February 2012

DIY holidays for the whole family (guest post)

Today's guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey, who regularly writes for accredited online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email at It may seem a bit early for a post about DIY and budgeting for the holiday season, but the earlier in the year you plan and budget, the easier it will be to prepare for all your family's needs.

There’s no hiding that the holiday season comes as a stressful time for most people; big families can have an especially tough time managing the season with so many kids to consider. Whether it’s October or February, people jump from one holiday to the next with a zealous enthusiasm to decorate their houses and buy seasonal ornaments. And the procession of holidays is year-long: Christmas, birthdays, even the Fourth of July bring about high spirits in the family.        
Unfortunately, this season also marks a time of high spending for families who often stretch their budgets thin in order to keep pace with the expectations of each holiday tradition. Given the current rocky economic climate, it’s more important than ever that families safeguard themselves from further monetary peril by spending wisely during holidays. Consider some of these tips the next you’re your family participates in holiday festivities, whatever they may be.  
Budget appropriately       
First of all, you need to draft a realistic budget for the holiday. Some people try designing one comprehensive budget around all the holidays where they expect to spend the most money on their family. I advise allocating funds more towards the end of the year, as you’ll likely spend more money on gifts for holidays (Christmas or Hanukah, for example) than you would for decorations and food on Halloween or Memorial Day. You can set a realistic budget by assessing how many people are likely to be involved in your spending. For example, do you plan on spending the same amount of money celebrating the birthday of your two year old as you would for your seventeen year old? Probably not. Will you be buying gifts for people outside your family? Take them into account. Will you be hosting a large family dinner? Estimate the cost of cooking for many more that month. If you budget proactively then you won’t have reason to overspend!    
Recycle old items   
This rule of thumb primarily applies to the holiday decorations for your home. One of the great things about the holidays is that their themes don’t really change from year to year. Your decorations (unless they’re tattered vintage items from decades ago) will likely fit the bill for this holiday season just as well as they did last year. You can save a ton of money by forgoing the expense on newer and flashier decorations and save for items more deserving of your hard earned money. You can also recycle old costumes and holiday themed clothing from previous years rather than splurging on pieces that only have relevance for a single day.  
Do it yourself
If you’re really dissatisfied with your holiday inventory, try constructing new things on your own. A trip to your local arts and crafts store could cost you significantly less on decorations, trinkets, and baubles that can normally cost a fortune. Why spend tons of money to create the atmosphere for a holiday that will only last a few weeks? If you’re in a tight financial situation, some DIY holiday creations may be just the thing to prevent gratuitous spending this year. If the kids protest, invite them to make decorations of their own. You’ll be met with less resistance if the entire household gets a say in what you create for the house during the holidays.       
Spend only on those closest to you                                     
If you’ve decided to give gifts this year for any of the upcoming holidays, consider limiting your list of recipients. Draft a list of people to whom you want to give gifts, but bear in mind your financial limitations. Don’t be afraid to cross some people off that list. It may sound harsh, but frugality will go a long way to saving your family finances this holiday season. If you do give gifts, keep them modestly priced and practical. In these tough financial situations, no one wants to spend more than they have to; don’t feel pressured to spend extravagantly because it’s likely that others will be just as economical in their gift choices. Above all, keep you and your family’s financial security chief among all your concerns this holiday season.