Internet searching summarised

I just came across a search engine of sorts, one I hadn’t heard of before but really like for specific purposes now.

WolframAlpha calls itself a computational knowledge engine and what it appears to do is collect information on your search term rather than send you to a list of sites which may or may not tell you the whole story at one place.

For examples, see my searches on kangaroosfiction and Melbourne.

I think it’s a great research tool – just to gather an overview of something of interest or a really good summary of key facts for serious research (such as for school work or background for writing an article or story).

It is of course still US-centric, but at least they clearly make those details as such (eg in definitions they give American pronunciation) and do include metric details (by default for searches about Australia).

Age appropriate books for kids’ gifts

Giving books to kids is a fantastic gift.

Why? It encourages reading which is such an important skill, it develops imagination (which helps problem and solving and creativity in life), it is a healthy pursuit, it is a change from computer games & TV (it takes more imagination, too) and broadens their horizons.

But buying gifts that suit the child isn’t always easy – knowing which book is for which age group can be tricky. I wish books had it written on their somewhere – I have seen it on a couple of books but it is not the norm.

And it isn’t just reading ability which is easier to judge by looking at the book – the content of the story is critical but impossible to fully comprehend without reading it.

I’ve found one online bookshop that puts books into 3 groups (babies & toddlers, 4 – 8 year olds and over 9s) which is a great start but it is actually the over 10s I find hardest to pick in a store.

Another one divides children and young adults’ books into some detailed categories, which is uncommon, but doesn’t help much with the age range unfortunately.

So if the bookstores & publishers aren’t making it easy, we’ll have to do it ourselves! Over coming days, I’ll add posts for each age range to share some recommendations and hope you all will share your knowledge, too.

Mothers Day

Yes, it’s almost Mothers Day again – have you thought about how to thank your Mum for everything she has done for you?

As always, we have a mothers day page brimming with ideas  for you, but thought we’d give you a few extras here as well…

Kids and Christmas

Christmas is the time for children. They don’t have school, their family is around them, their house is colourful and decorated, the smell of sweets is in the air and, most of all, Santa is coming.

Children are the ones that keep the magic alive for Christmas as their belief and excitement feeds the cheer that brings the family together. It’s pretty safe to say that without children, Christmas would just not be Christmas.

We would really love to hear any good or funny stories about you and your children over your children’s favorite magical holiday or you could even visit our Christmas and Children page for ideas and ways to keep the kids entertained as well as yourself over the holiday season.

Allergies getting up your nose?

Allergies can be really annoying and prevent your from doing the most basic tasks as you try to deal with the watery eyes, runny nose and the sneezes. Being in the middle of Spring and all the pollen and various other things floating around in the air, allergies and hay fever are at their peek.

With more information and tips on how to recognise and possibly prevent this pesky sneezing we have several articles on allergies for your benefits.

Saving time with parents…

We have just added our blog to the Minti parenting site – savetime.minti.com – so that more parents can find ways to save time online by finding great Aussie sites easily, entering competitions or reading articles and tips.

If you run a blog, do you have it feeding anywhere else? Has it helped you get the message out to more people?

For more info about RSS feeds, our previous posts “What is an RSS feed?” and “Why offer Rss feeds on your blog?” may be of value to you :)

Happy Fathers Day!

If you are giving thanks today or receiving or both, we hope that you have a fantastic Father’s Day that displays the love and appreciation usually taken for granted. Father’s Day is a day that shows us how precious parenting is to our lives and how little we actually thank the most important part of our lives; our parents.

Breastfeeding difficulties

With the World Breastfeeding Week coming to a close it’s needed to say that breastfeeding isn’t always as smooth as something that we are naturally meant to do usually is. There are often complications that prevent or slow down the process of breastfeeding such as nipple problems, infections and abscesses

Usually these complications can be fixed. For more information and links visit our breastfeeding problems page.

Mad libs

I have never heard of mad libs before, but apparently they have been widely used to teach children some grammatical terms in a fun way – maybe this is more common in the USA, or maybe I just missed out!

Anyway, a mad lib is where you choose some randoms words – nouns, adjectives, verbs and so on – and they are inserted into a piece of writing. The end result is usually nonsensical, but funny – and especially so for children I suspect!

There is a website that asks for the words from you and then produces the story for you. I tried it, inserting various nouns and adjectives (in bold below), and got the following story as a result:

Strike Three, You’re Out!
By: Roger Price & Leonard Stern  

If you are sitting in a ball Mary and you hear fans yelling, “Get rid of the Princes Bridge!” you know they mean the Melbourne. An umpire is easy to recognize. He generally wears a rainy suit and has a large, padded Australia to protect his Mother. At all games, there are four umpires – one at home phone, one at first base, one at second base, and the other at silver base. The home plate umpire crouches behind the kangaroo and decides whether the pitch is a ball or a/an gardens. The umpires in the field decide if a player has stolen a zoo, beat out a platypus, or whether a fly ball is brown or foul. An umpire may throw players out of the koala for calling them cuddly names or saying they are as blind as goannas.

Do you think this is a useful tool in teaching children what a noun/verb/adjective/etc is? We’ll be testing this on our kids – well, giving them the chance to play with it anyway!


Want a $1000 goodie bag for Mothers Day?

Well, apparently it is just after Mothers Day but close enough!

The people who bring you Real Mums are running Mums Night Out in Melbourne on Friday 16 May, along with the Real Mums Awards. Everyone who goes to Mums Night Out gets a goodie bag to take home – and each one has stuff valued at over $1,000 in it!

Hope you get to go along and have a great night of eating, drinking, laughing and talking! And maybe some dancing, who knows?! And then enjoy the weekend exploring your goodie bag!