Texting codes to be aware of

It’s always good to know what the little cherubs are up to and at least try to keep up with them. Let’s face it, with this stuff can we ever be one step ahead??text


Being Poor

Whilst skimming through the volunteer support manual for Foster-ed (as mentioned in my last blog post) I found this hand out, which made me stop in my tracks.

Being Poor

Being poor is knowing exactly how much everything costs.

Being poor is getting angry at your kids for asking for all the stuff they see on TV.

Being poor is hoping the toothache goes away.

Being poor is knowing your kid goes to friends’ houses but never has friends over to yours.

Being poor is going to the restroom before you get in the school lunch line so your friends will be ahead of you and won’t hear you say “I get free lunch” when you get to the cashier.

Being poor is wondering if your well-off sibling is lying when he says he doesn’t mind when you ask for help.

Being poor is a heater in only one room of the house.

Being poor is knowing you can’t leave $5 on the coffee table when your friends are around.

Being poor is hoping your kids don’t have a growth spurt.

Being poor is stealing meat from the store, frying it up before your mom gets home and then telling her she doesn’t have make dinner tonight because you’re not hungry anyway.

Being poor is Goodwill underwear.

Being poor is not enough space for everyone who lives with you.

Being poor is thinking $8 an hour is a really good deal.

Being poor is relying on people who don’t give a damn about you.

Being poor is a bathtub you have to empty into the toilet.

Being poor is stopping the car to take a lamp from a stranger’s trash.

Being poor is having cockroaches in the kitchen.

Being poor is people angry at you just for walking around in the mall.

Being poor is not taking the job because you can’t find someone you trust to watch your kids.

Being poor is needing that 35-cent raise.

Being poor is your kid’s teacher assuming you don’t have any books in your home.

Being poor is six dollars short on the utility bill and no way to close the gap.

Being poor is crying when you drop the mac and cheese on the floor.

Being poor is knowing you work as hard as anyone, anywhere.

Being poor is people surprised to discover you’re not actually stupid.

Being poor is people surprised to discover you’re not actually lazy.

Being poor is a six-hour wait in an emergency room with a sick child asleep on your lap.

Being poor is knowing you’re being judged.

Being poor is a cough that doesn’t go away.

Being poor is having couches on the front porch.

Being poor is no sheets on the bed.

Being poor is blankets on the windows instead of curtains.

Being poor is 3 kids in a room.

Being poor is 2 kids in a bed.

Being poor is living in seedy housing.

Being poor is not eating healthy food.

Being poor is people who have never been poor wondering why you choose to be so.

Being poor is knowing how hard it is to stop being poor.

Being poor is seeing how few options you have.

*Copyright CASA Santa Cruz County 2013



My cousin is about to apply to volunteer for this non-profit charity in Los Angeles.


It’s an organisation that helps keep children in care to stay in education. I found it interesting and there are a lot of similarities to MST so worth checking out.

Their mission statement and purpose: FosterEd improves the educational outcomes of children and youth in foster care by ensuring each is supported by an educational champion and strengthened by an education team.


dotted line

FosterEd partners with local education, child welfare and judicial agencies, to implement a continuous cycle of data-driven interventions:

1 Identification and support of ed. champion(s): Educational champions are identified, informed of their rights and responsibilities, and paired with an education coach to help increase their capacity to support educational success. Whenever possible, biological parents are educational champions.

2 Development and monitoring of ed. team: Education liaisons create and monitor education teams for each foster child. Teams include the student (if age appropriate), educational champion, social worker, school staff, caregiver, court appointed special advocate, and any coach, mentor, or other community member able to help the student succeed in school.

3 Individualized ed. plans based on strengths and needs: The student’s educational strengths and needs are identified using a research-based tool and used to develop an education plan.

This model improves the educational outcomes of children while they are in foster care while also ensuring they exit care with educational champions and education teams that will continue to support their educational success.

model graphic






This is a helpful tool I often use with families to help a parent to think before they react. I found it on the  Get Self Help site.

STOP !  

Just pause for a moment


Notice your breathing as you breathe in and out.


  • What thoughts are going through your mind right now? 
  • Where is your focus of attention
  • What are you reacting to? 
  • What sensations do you notice in your body?


  • What’s the bigger picture? 
  • Take the helicopter view
  • What is another way of looking at this situation? 
  • What advice would I give a friend? 
  • What would a trusted friend say to me right now? 
  • Is this thought a fact or opinion
  • What is a more reasonable explanation? 
  • How important is this?  How important will it be in 6 months time? 
  • It will pass.


  • What is the best thing to do right now? 
  • Best for me, for others, for the situation? 
  • What can I do that fits with my values
  • Do what will be effective and appropriate. 


  • Practise the first two steps often for a few days – many times every day at any time.
  • Read through the steps often.
  • Carry written reminders with you
  • Practise STOPP by running through all the steps several times a day, every day…when you don’t need it.
  • Start to use it for little upsets.
  • Gradually, you will find that you can use it for more distressing situations.  Like any new habit or skill, it will become automatic over time.

The steps explained

Stop! Say it to yourself, in your head, as soon as you notice your mind and/or your body is reacting to a trigger.

Stop! helps to put in the space between the stimulus (the trigger, whatever we are reacting to) and our response.

The earlier you use STOPP, the easier and more effective it will be.

Take a Breath. Breathing a little deeper and slower will calm down and reduce the physical reaction of emotion/adrenaline.

Focusing on our breathing means we are not so focused on the thoughts and feelings of the distress, so that our minds can start to clear and we can think more logically and rationally.

Observe. We can notice the thoughts going through our mind, we can notice what we feel in our body, and we can notice the urge to react in an impulsive way. We can notice the vicious cycle of anxiety, sadness or anger (etc).

Noticing helps us to defuse from those thoughts and feelings and therefore reduce their power and control.

Pull back / Put in some Perspective. The thought challenging of CBT. Thinking differently.

When we step back emotionally from a situation, and start to see the bigger picture, it reduces those distressing beliefs. We can do this by asking ourselves questions.

Practise what works / Proceed. This is the behavioural change of CBT. Doing things differently.

Rather than reacting impulsively with unhelpful consequences, we can CHOOSE our more helpful and positive response.

How to get a tidy room

A couple of ideas for parents who go out to work (or want to escape). Although, in the first one I’m not quite sure how the little cherubs would manage to email without WiFi. Yes, i know they might have data on their phones but then if that’s the case they might not be overly bothered about WiFi….

In this one I like the use  of the crackers to prevent smart kids reusing the same pic. pic-2

Feel free to add any other things like this you find.