How to make taralli

How to make taralli

Taralli are like very crispy bagels and are made to various recipes all over Italy. My kids’ Nonna makes hers with fennel seeds and they are moreish and perfect for an afternoon snack, to serve instead of bread at the dinner table or with dips, olives and gooey cheese at parties. Taralli are also unbeatable in soup.

Nonna tends to make bagel-sized taralli, but I prefer the mini versions. These make a fab lunchbox snack.

You can bake taralli for less time to make them softer if you like, but traditionally they are baked almost as hard as bricks. Just like a brick, they last pretty much for all eternity when stored in an airtight jar in a dark pantry.

Nonna has a ready supply of taralli on hand at all times, baking them at least once a month or more regularly if needed. Nonno says that a well-stocked taralli jar is comforting and satisfying.

How to make taralli

How to make taralli

Makes about 25 bagel-size taralli or 60 mini versions.*
Takes about an hour

*Nonna triples this recipe to make her taralli in bulk.

4 cups plain flour
About 2 tsp salt
3 tsp freshly ground black pepper (leave this out if the kids don’t like it)
1 cup warm water
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Small handful of fennel seeds

On a clean, flat surface, mix together the flour, salt and pepper and fennel (if using).

Make a well in the centre and pour in the water and olive oil. Bring the flour into the liquid until a rough dough starts to form.

Lightly knead the dough until it start to come together and then knead firmly for about 10 minutes until it becomes springy. Helpers are good at this stage!

Cover the dough and allow it to rest for about half-an-hour. Your arms will be grateful for the time out too.

Form the dough

When the dough is ready, put a large pot of water on the stove to boil and preheat the oven to 200°C.

Now it’s time to take pinches of dough and form each into a ball before it rolling out like a long sausage.

This is how to make taralli

Shape each sausage into a ring, and press the edges together then place on a damp towel to keep them from drying out. Nonna makes her taralli on the kitchen table covered in a slightly-wet bed sheet.

Boil away

Drop about 6-8 tarallis into the boiling water – don’t crowd the pot. You only need to boil each taralli for less than a minute before they float to the surface. Remove floating tarallis immediately and place them on a clean cloth to dry and cool.

Now bake

Once cool, lay the tarallis on baking sheets lined with baking paper and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until golden.

Remove and place on racks to cool and harden. Once cool store in an airtight container for many weeks.

Notes:
  • You can make your taralli as small or large as you like, but you’ll need to adjust cooking times so experiment to see what you like best.
  • You can also bake the taralli for less time to serve them less crispy – they make a nice bread accompaniment at dinner.
  • Throw some mini taralli in the lunch box – they make a crunchy and satisfying little lunch.

What traditional recipes do you cook at home

What to do if your tween or teen is being bullied

What to do if your tween or teen is being bullied

So many of us have experienced the heartache of learning that our tween or teen is being bullied. In fact, three in five Australian kids will experience bullying at school or online. It’s a painful feeling of helplessness, sadness and dread. We know how this is probably going to go down and it’s a bloody long road for our darling kid to have to travel.

The angst you are feeling for your child is well placed. Despite how dishearteningly widespread bullying seems to be, it should never be dismissed as being “just a part of life”.

“Bullying is not just a part of growing up,” Dr Sally Fitzpatrick, Cool Kids Program Manager and Conjoint Senior Lecturer at the University of Newcastle, wants to remind us. “There are poor outcomes for kids that are victimised, right through to adulthood.”

Worrying long-term outcomes of bullying

According to Reach Out, these immediate outcomes can include, and aren’t limited to:

  • feeling alone and helpless
  • feeling unsafe and afraid
  • feeling guilty, with kids often blaming themselves for the bullying
  • feeling stressed and anxious
  • feeling depressed, sad or down
  • poor academic outcomes.
According to the Bully Zero campaign, up to 100,000 school children stay home each day because they feel unsafe. Longer-term impacts when a teen is being bullied include a higher risk of depression, anxiety, suicide ideation, eating disorders and psychotic experiences. Research conduced by Dr Michelle Tye, Senior Research Fellow at the Black Dog Institute has found that the effects of bullying on social, health, and economic outcomes can last for up to four decades.
 
No, bullying should never be seen as “just part of life”.
 
Is there any way to bully proof your child

Bully-proofing your kid

There’s no doubt that we need to support our kids to stand up to bullying, but can kids ever actually become bully-proof? In a word, maybe.
 
The fact is, bullying is about the bully, not their victim. Kids bully other kids for many reasons, including:
  • to draw attention to themselves / become more popular
  • because they’re jealous
  • to look tough or feel powerful
  • because they are being bullied themselves.

Being bullied is an awful thing to go through, no matter how old you are or how ‘strong’ you are as a person. Even for a kid with stronger self-esteem, the feeling of injustice is the hardest to deal with: the fact that its so unfair that a bully has made you the target when you feel like you’ve done nothing wrong.

The fact is, anyone can become the victim of a bully, depending on the bully’s personal reasons for victimising someone in the first place. There are, however, certain characteristics that mean a child is less-likely to be bullied than others.

Bully-proofing starts with family

According to Evelyn Field, OAM author of the classic book Bully Blocking (available as an ebook here), kids who are part of a connected, communicative family are generally more bully-proof than others. 

“These are kids who have learned to call out behaviour that goes against their values from a young age,” Field says. “They’ve been taught to stand up for themselves at home, and so are more likely to stand up for themselves elsewhere.”

A connected family is the most important way to bully proof your child

Field’s definition of a “connected” family includes a family that has meals together, most likely talking about their day. There’s plenty of eye-contact, and everyone is interested in everyone else. The family is courteous and gives each member the space to talk and be listened to.

“This family culture builds important skills that help kids block bullies,” says Field. “They make eye contact with others, their body language shows them to be confident and assertive, and they use a lot of ‘I’ references. Less assertive kids tend to be more vulnerable to bullies.”

Field is quick to stress that qualities like assertiveness, confident body language and standing up for ourselves are all learned skills. Families often rely on schools to teach these skills, but often schools are failing. Parents therefore need to step up and do some role playing and deliberate skill building with our kids.

Which is all well and good to prevent bullying, but what to do when you discover that your tween/ teen is being bullied already?

Four ways to help if your tween/ teen is being bullied

Dr Fitzpatrick’s first piece of advice is to believe your child when they tell you they are a victim, and be there to support them. It’s a big step for your tween or teen to tell you they are being bullied in the first place, so they need to feel heard and supported right from the start.
 
Many kids – boys more than girls – won’t tell a soul that they are being bullied. Still more won’t tell their parents. “Older children often keep their hardships to themselves out of a desire for independence or because they fear retaliation,” says Dr Edward F Dragan, The Bully Project.
 

1. Listen to your child, every day.

The best way to keep the lines of communication open for any reason is to make catching up a daily occurrence between you and your child. Ask open-ended questions that will get them talking about their daily life at school and beyond. Getting your child comfortably talking about mundane stuff means they will feel more comfortable talking about the hard stuff.
 
Listen when your child is being bullied

2. Work on your child’s self-esteem

“Help children to have enough confidence in themselves so that they don’t believe what the bully is saying to them,” Dr Fitzpatick says. Basically, you want your child to have many sources of good vibes to counteract any sources of bad.

Dr Fitzpatrick says that this may mean fostering friendships outside of school. It also applies to spending time with grandparents, family friends and other people who care deeply about your child and love the way they are. By building good, supportive relationships with a diverse range of people, kids know the messages the bully sends don’t apply to them.

3. Teach them how to stand up for themselves

“Teach them some skills in how to deal with an incident,” says Dr Fitzpatrick. “Be explicit and practice them. Teach them how to break that interaction, or startle the bully so the child can move away.”
 
Field agrees that standing up for yourself is what she calls a “life survival skill” that can be taught. “Eye contact, good posture and walking with confidence are all body language that tells others that we can manage ourselves,” she says. “It’s all about holding onto your power and sending the message to would-be bullies that it is not easily taken from you.”
 
If that all feels daunting to you, it’s worth getting some outside help from a program like Cool Kids Taking Control. This is the online self-help program that Dr Fitzpatrick manages through the Centre for Emotional Health at Macquarie University.
 
“Cool Kids Taking Control teaches children to be a Cool Kid,” Dr Fitzpatrick explains. “Bullies want their targets to react by becoming sad, scared or angry. We teach children to keep their cool and not react to the bullies. If the bullies don’t get the reaction they’re looking for they’ll eventually get tired of it and give it up.”
 

4. Work with your child’s school

While it can be tempting to directly confront the family of the bully, it’s not recommended. Instead, contact your child’s teacher or Year Adviser to discuss your options. The school should work with you to develop a strategy to support both your child and the bully too.
 
Though it’s not easy to feel it at the time, remember that a child who is bullying needs empathy and compassion. Chances are they don’t have the same support and love at home that your own child clearly does.
 
How did you feel when you discovered that your tween/teen is being bullied? What support worked best?
 
Feature image by Ilayza Macayan; gril by Eric Ward; family by Pablo Merchán Montes; listen by Priscilla Du Preez 
A brand new strategy to help kids with anxiety

A brand new strategy to help kids with anxiety

There’s no denying that our kids are experiencing something of an ‘anxiety crisis’. Reports have found that anxiety is on the increase among kids of every age. That’s not surprising, given the uncertain times we are living in. More than ever, parents have been desperately seeking a strategy to help kids with anxiety. 

Enter Dr Jodie Lowinger, clinical psychologist, founder of the Sydney Anxiety Clinic and author of The Mind Strength Method. Over the past ten years, Dr Lowinger has successfully treated hundreds of anxious kids and she’s founded a treatment plan that aims to help kids move forward through awareness and resilience.

“Anxiety is not something to be ashamed of, it’s not an inherent weakness,” Dr Lowinger says. “It truly, deeply is incredible strength. I say this built on years and years of experience… this is my own evidence-based experience of helping thousands of people at the coal face.”


Everyone can benefit: Mental health vs mental illness: creating a routine for mental wellbeing


This feels like such a refreshing, intriguing take on anxiety and it’s why Dr Lowinger wrote The Mind Strength Method. She knew her clinical strategy worked and she wanted more people to be able to leverage her program in an accessible, affordable way.

Why is anxiety on the increase?

“Anxiety is a natural physiological reaction to a perceived threat in our environment,” Dr Lowinger says. It’s the well-known ‘flight or fight’ response that would have served us well in caveman days when facing down a sabre-toothed tiger, but is triggered in modern days even when we simply experience anxious thoughts.

How to help kids with anxiety

Dr Lowinger explains that the flight or fight response activates our sympathetic nervous system – ready to react to a life-threatening situation – but this shuts down our parasympathetic system. This is the system responsible for releasing feel-good hormones like oxytocin and melatonin. It’s the system that allows us to stay calm and rational.

So, when anxiety hits and we go fully into sympathetic nervous system mode, we’re not logical, we can’t sleep and we make very poor choices.

It’s not about ‘fixing’

If you have a child with anxiety (or you have anxiety yourself), this will sound very familiar. My son has battled anxiety all his life and in the early years we tried many strategies to help him learn to live with it. It’s been a hard slog for him and for us parents, too.


My journey with my son: What raising a kid with anxiety taught me about parenting


That’s a natural reaction, of course. When we see our kids ‘freaking out’ about what we perceive to be inconsequential things, it’s heartbreaking. We immediately want to ‘fix’ the problem.

“Parents want to protect, we want to fix,” explains Dr Lowinger. “Those are heart-driven actions. But it’s important to understand that it’s okay for your child to feel anxious. It’s okay to have these reactions.

“This is the heart and soul of the Mind Strength methodology. It’s saying that all feelings are okay, it’s not about being perfect. It’s about building a language around emotions and experiences.”

Help kids with anxiety to move through fight or flight response

Step-by step to help kids with anxiety

Dr Lowinger’s Mind Strength Method breaks tackling anxiety down into four steps. I’ve read the book cover-to-cover and I can tell you that it’s a strategy with huge value. It reminds a kid that they are not their anxiety and helps them learn to focus on all the things they are.

Step 1: Emotional intel

Becoming aware of what makes us anxious and what we are thinking as a result of this trigger is step one of the Mind Strength Method. This can be as simple as taking a moment to pause, notice and engage in what’s happening around us, rather than automatically respond.

More than that, it’s about understanding why we become anxious and what it does to our body.

Being aware of how we are feeling and not rushing to override it or change it allows us to take the power out of our ‘flight or fight’ response. This is not about “fixing” what makes us anxious, but rather building acceptance.

Step 2: Awareness of your values

While we are building awareness of what anxiety looks like, it’s important to put some time into building our values foundations. These are the values that we want to have underpin our everyday life.

“A strong sense of what we value the most helps centre and calm us,” Dr Lowinger explains. “It helps us build resilience and pulls us towards being the kind of person we want to be.”

Dr Lowinger describes step one of the Mind Strength method as “pushing away from the flight or fight response” and step two as “pulling towards what really matters to us”. So, step two is all about developing strong foundations to provide strong structure to our everyday lives.

Step 3: The Mind Strength Toolkit

The third step in the Mind Strength method is all about practical ways to move from anxiety to resilience through your values. This includes tools to reduce the power of worry like the technique of naming your worries; strategies to boost mindfulness through a process called STOP (Stop, Take long slow out-breaths, Observe your surroundings, Proceed); improve observation skills; and learning to sit with uncertainty through honing acceptance skills.

This is how to help kids with anxiety

As you can see from above, the Mind Strength toolkit is practical and adaptable. It’s a strategy to help kids with anxiety that gives them genuine techniques to practice and sharpen.

Step 4: A way forward

All of the skills learned above are put together in step four of the Mind Strength Method. Kids learn to hone their awareness, understand the values that drive them, stood up to anxious situations and finally, in step four they develop an action plan to move forward.


Don’t forget yourself, too: Happy people raise happy kids


This step helps them further understand the mind-body connection and work towards putting a wellbeing plan into place that will increase their positive mood state and help them learn to keep a grip on their flight/fight response. The wellbeing plan covers everything you would expect: sleep, eating well, staying hydrated, connecting with a wide circle, practising mindfulness and getting moving doing something you love.

It’s this “whole person” approach that I think underpins the value of the Dr Lowinger’s Mind Strength method. As a way to help kids with anxiety, it gives parents a practical guide and kids a useful toolset to move through anxiety to become the well-rounded, multi-faceted person they are meant to be.

The Mind Strength Method is available to buy here.

Feature image  on Unsplash; Ballet  by Solen Feyissa; denim jacket by Hailey Reed; Sunshine via unsplash

60+ ways for kids to make money outside of the home

60+ ways for kids to make money outside of the home

Most kids need/want dollars, but often it’s hard to find the cash to pay one, two, three or more kids the kind of “pocket money” that keeps up with everything they need/want. So finding a way for  tweens and teens to make money outside of the home is pretty critical for many of us.

Raising kids has always been expensive, but there’s no doubt that costs have ramped up considerably for our generation raising the next.

Back in the dark ages when we were kids, we weren’t packed off to school with over a grand’s worth of technical equipment in our school bags. Between the mandatory computer (suggested as an expensive Mac Air at our Apple-connected school) and the phone (iPhone-only and ‘newer than a 7’ according to my three) – not to mention iPads, Apple watches, iPods and all the other i’s – we’re all pretty broke. 

These days, offering 10 bucks pocket money a week to do chores around the home isn’t enough to keep my kids happy. They need money for phone plans, after-school activities and, it’s true, mighty expensive trainers. What is it with the enduring expensive trainer fad?

I created this list of ways to make money outside of the home for my 12-year-old. She’s too young to get an official job, but she’s got super-expensive tastes that I’m tired of paying for. We brainstormed this list together and I reckon it’s a doozy!

For a list of the minimum working age for kids in your state, click here.


 

Hopefully there will be a ‘job’ on here that your tween or teen can do to relieve some of the pressure off your wallet too.

Loads of ways for kids to make money outside of the home

1. Get an official casual or part time job – if you’re old enough and one is available in your area, and you’re successful out of the pool of hundreds of other applicants, of course. 

2. Mowing lawns – there’s plenty of work in the neighbourhood for a kid who can work a mower and an edger.

Mowing lawns is a great way for kids to earn money outside the home

3. Other gardening work – check in with the neighbours for regular weeding, mulching or path sweeping/blowing work.

4. Walking dogs – taking one or two dogs out for an early morning or afternoon walk everyday can soon add up to a good income.

5. Training dogs – our own dog is ‘untrainable’, but only because none of us have the necessary patience to go over and over the same thing with him. If you have patience, this might be an excellent service that will be snapped up by fed-up dog owners like meeeee! Check in with your local vet or dog walking service to see if this is something that might interest them.

6. Running errands – they may need a lift from their personal Uber driver, but elderly people in the community are often happy to pay for prescriptions to be collected, mail posted or collected, grocery shopping to be done, etc.

7. Walking younger kids to and from school – if you’re in walking distance from the school, ask your neighbours if they need help with drop offs and pick ups. This is especially helpful for parents whose school age children have siblings who are babies or toddlers.

8. Minding younger kids before or after school – even if you don’t live near the school, plenty of families do. Do a letterbox drop offering your services as a before and after school carer.

9. Helping out your extracurricular teacher – if you’ve been dancing, gymnasticking, playing an instrument or anything else for years, you may be ready to help your teacher teach younger kids. Being a golf caddy is also a possibility.

10. Sports umpiring – you can earn money refereeing matches on the weekends in netball, soccer, rugby and so many other sports. Find out from your club how to get qualified.

11. Babysitting – it’s been a teen’s job for generations and it’s still a great way to earn some money on weekends now. Start with your parents’ friends with younger kids and go from there.

12. Modelling – if you’re genetically blessed, you might be able to get a gig doing some modelling.

13. Pamphlet deliveries – it’s not a well-paid job, but it might be all you’ve got in your area. Sorting then lugging pamphlets from mailbox to mailbox can be done by tweens as well as teens.

14. Washing cars – washing, vacuuming and polishing cars is a good way for a kid of any age to make money outside of the home. Advertise in your neighbourhood with a mailbox flyer drop and hopefully you’ll soon have some regulars.

15. Recycling bottles and cansReturn and Earn banks are springing up everywhere and are a good way to make money if you ask neighbours and friends to also hold their bottles and cans for you. If you don’t have a Return and Earn in your area, contact your local Council to ask whether there is a similar operator locally.

For older kids: 50+ jobs for teens that will benefit them for life


16. Working with hair – ask at your local hairdressers whether they need a weekend or evening junior to sweep hair, make drinks, shampoo and condition, give head massages, etc.

17. Pet sitting – if you’re open to it, minding pets in the home is a fun way for the kids to make some money. Okay, so it’s not quite falling into the ‘make money outside of the home’ category, but at least you’re not paying! When he was only ten, my nephew took dogs in for $20 per night and loved every minute of it. It’s great value for the dog owner, and the dogs get a loving family home with built-in doting kid to play with.

18. Acting – if you have a flair for the dramatic, becoming an extra (or even a star) in TV commercials, programs, films or professional theatre productions could be a possibility for you.

19. Online admin work – if you’ve got good typing skills, you might be able to pick up transcribing work for writers (where you type out spoken interviews). Other work in this field might be setting up social media posts for an agency, or scanning images onto computer, or any number of things. Have a think about your skills and google whether there’s work in that field online. Fiverr is a good place to start, too.

Baking is a great way for kids to earn money outside the home

20. Baking – clever kitchen clogs might pick up work baking cakes, loaves and bread for local cafes or nursing homes. You could even do a roaring trade in baking birthday cupcakes for busy mums at the primary school. There may be some workplace hygiene requirements to meet, so do check the legals.

21. Produce maker – if you love cooking, then making jars of preserves, chutneys, sauces and jams can earn you a good income.

22. Cleaning – if you’re a capable cleaner, try getting some work cleaning the houses of family or friends. You can specialise in something like “garage cleaner” to make your offer more compelling.

23. Blogging/ Influencer– you can monetise a blog or your socials though affiliate links, sponsored posts or advertising, so look into making your passion into a space on the internet. If starting your own blog isn’t for you, look into becoming a teen writer for an existing blogger or even publisher.

24. You Tuber – warning, one in about eleventy-billion people actually make money from their YouTube channel… but that doesn’t mean it can’t be you. Just remember to create, don’t emulate. You want to offer something unique and different to what everyone else is doing.

25. Gift buying – being the go-to person for all things presents is a fun and lucrative junior career. Let family and friends know that you can select, buy, wrap and deliver presents to anyone they feel deserves one. Be it a birthday, anniversary, thank you or congratulations. Putting together gift baskets for different scenarios is a good way to advertise your services. 

26. Resell your stuff – if you’ve grown out of clothing that’s still in perfect nick, try selling it on places like Yourdrobe or Depop or sell books and toys on Gumtree or eBay. You could also book a stall at the markets, school fete or just hold a garage sale.

27. Kombucha brewer – start with a SCOBY and you’ll soon be brewing enough buch to sell to friends and family. Homemade kombucha can fetch a good price per bottle and is super-easy to make.

28. Mother’s helper – it’s quite an old-fashioned concept, but still relevant to any mum of young children today. You basically help a mum out with babies, toddlers and preschoolers during the dreaded ‘witching hour’ – bath, dinner and bed time. 

29. Plant sitting – if animals aren’t your thing, looking after people’s plants and houses while they’re away can be a good way to make money outside of the home. Bring in the mail, water the plants and switch some lights on and off. It’s a much cheaper option for people than having a professional house sitter.

30. Camping packer – no one, NO ONE, likes packing for camping – all the organising to make sure you’ve got everything and then the actual packing. Imagine if someone could do it all for you…

31. Pool cleaner – maintaining someone’s pool by scooping leaves, sweeping paved areas and checking water levels and chemistry is achievable for most tweens and teens.

32. Tech support – if you’re computer or internet-savvy, the older generation might pay you to set up tech like computers, mobile phones and smart TVs. A good way to get business is to let stores that sell computers, TVs, etc know that you’re in business and leave some business cards for them to offer when they sell new items.

33. Ironing – charge by the hour or by the item, but just keep pressing those clothes…

Raking leaves is a good way for a kid to make money

34. Leaf raker – in autumn and early winter you can have an ongoing job raking up all the leaves that deciduous trees drop. It’s hard work, which is why so many people are happy to pay good money to have a tween or teen do it for them. Ask around the neighbourhood wherever you see the right kind of trees!

35. Online survey taker – there are plenty of companies who will pay for your opinion! Try companies like Pure Profile or My Opinions. Always get your parents to check out a website first before signing up!

36. Sell online – if you’re handy with a sewing needle, paintbrush or wood craft skills, make things to sell online via sites like etsy or Facebook. Whatever you can make that people want, you can sell. 

37. Play mate – offer to take kids outside for an hour or two of play (either in their home, your home, or a local park or playground). With enough regular work, this will soon add up to a meaningful job.

38. Video game librarian – if you can collate a great library of video games, you can rent it out to school friends.

Jobs are important: A job might just improve your teen’s wellbeing


39. Stick insect breeding – my own kids did this for a while when they were younger. If you get the right environment, stick insects multiply rapidly and then you can sell the babies for about $5-10 a pop. It’s lucrative if you get it right. The same might be true for mice or guinea pigs, but check with your parents!

40. Tutoring – smarty older kids can tutor younger kids in Maths, English or general research skills. Ask at your local primary school if you can advertise in their newsletter.

41. Kids’ party host – if you love kids and parties, then rent yourself out as a party host. Have a stash of party games to play and an even bigger stash of patience, and you’ll be a hit!

42. Declutterer – if you’re a super-organised kid you can make money outside of home helping people organise and get rid of their stuff. There are plenty of online resources to give you ideas for helping out – try A Bowl Full of Lemons and The Organised Housewife; and, of course, read the Marie Kondo bible The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying.

43. Worm farming – you can keep worm farms and sell their liquid gold to local gardeners by the milk-carton load. The same is true of compost.

44. Pet photographer – if you’re good with pets and can take a mean photograph, set yourself up as a pet photographer. Advertise at your nearest off-leash park.

45. Upcycler – scour the kerbs on hard rubbish night (or just ask family and friends) for discarded furniture or other goods you could turn into something worthy. A lick of paint and a fix-up is often all it takes to make something to sell on Gumtree, eBay or in your local buy/sell group on Facebook.

Letter box painting is a good way to make money outside the home

46. Letterbox painter – it’s a left-of-centre idea, but why not? I’d love someone to knock on my door and offer to paint my letterbox right now! Have a few colours to choose from and a stack of numbers to glue on once finished, and voila! A cheap way for a home to get a small makeover.

47. Busking – cute kid playing the big instrument really well = kerching! This is an especially good way to make money outside of the home at Christmas time. Remember to get Council permission to busk. If you’re good enough, you might also be able to get a regular paid gig at a nursing home.

48. Home movie editor – if they take the footage, you’ll edit it into fun videos for the family to watch and keep.

49. Photo book creator – everyone has stacks (STACKS) of photos they’ve been meaning to get around to editing into albums. Help them out! There are loads of photo book places like Snapfish, Momento and Officeworks.

50. Coaching – if you’re good at a particular sport, offer to train kids one-on-one or in small groups to up their skills.

51. Homework helper – get a gig helping primary school kids with their homework in the afternoons after school. Particularly helpful for big school projects that require cardboard and glue…

52. Bin getter – find out if anyone in your street would pay you to put their bins out and bring them back in the next day. Even if you only charge a couple of dollars, if you have enough families say yes, you’ll make enough. Offer bin cleaning as an additional service.

53. Letter writer – another one that the older members of our society might pay you to do – handwrite letters that they dictate for you. Check in at your local retirement village to see if there’s a market for beautiful handwritten notes.

54. Face painting – if you’re artistic, set yourself up as a face painter for birthdays and Council events. Practise on your family and create a ‘look book’ of faces you can create. Also works for hair braiding.

55. Music practiser – my son had a ‘music practise helper’ when he was learning the trombone in Year 3. Tim would come over twice a week for half and hour to help Max with is practise. Good gig, yes?

56. T-shirt creator – Slogan T-shirts are big news. You can design some clever logos, sayings and meme-like shirts at sites like Print Locker or Spreadshirt and sell them to friends or online (see ‘Resell your stuff’ above). If you catch onto a fun trend, this could go gangbusters. Offer your services to local sporting and other clubs, too.

57. Seedling seller – if you’re a green thumb, try growing seedlings to sell to neighbourhood gardeners. The beauty is that you’ll be offering seedlings that are perfect for the local conditions. While this isn’t exactly a way to make money outside of the home, it’s still an income coming in…

58. Green grocer – if you are the green thumb of the seedling seller idea above, selling the produce from your own garden could be a great way to make money outside the home. Fresh, organic vegetables are always in hot demand. Set up a list of regulars and offer weekly boxes of produce where you can.

Selling eggs is a good job for tweens

59. Egg seller – if you can keep chickens, then selling their eggs is a terrific earner. Eight or so chickens will produce enough for your family and one or two others each week. Or you could go large like Blake. Check local council regulations before you bring in your flock.

60. Book coverer – you’ll be run off your feet at the start of every school year, but book covering can be lucrative. Parents will pay good money to not have to ever handle a sheet of contact paper ever again.

61. Christmas tree decorator – another seasonal job idea, but a good one. Plenty of people will pay you to decorate, and later take down, their Christmas tree. Just ask around.

62. Firewood seller – if you’re old enough to chop wood, you could set yourself up as a firewood merchant. Gather the wood in bulk, chop it up to fireplace or pit standard and you’re in business.

63. Party service – you can take around canapes, clear glasses, set out food, wash up, top up water glasses and generally keep a party venue clean and tidy for the hosts. Just don’t go near the alcohol service until you’re over 18 and qualified.

64. Homemade dog treat maker – dog treats are big business, but relatively easy to make yourself at home. Package them up and sell them in Facebook local buy/sell groups. This looks like a good recipe to get you started.

Do you think  your tween or teen would well at these jobs?

Feature image and mowing by Adam Winger; baking by Annie Spratt; autumn leaves by Artur Rutkowski; letterbox by Sandy Millar; eggs by Daniel Tuttle

10 healthy-ish lunchbox biscuits to pack

10 healthy-ish lunchbox biscuits to pack

I love the word ‘healthy-ish’. It implies that while you might not be getting things 100% right, at least you’re trying. Which pretty much sums up a post about making lunchbox biscuits.

Look, a kid has got to eat something. While I applaud the parents whose children are content to munch on vegetable sticks and berries alone, mine are not those kids. Somewhere along the way I raised them to expect lunchbox biscuits and other snackable carbs.

So the trick is to make the biscuits as healthy as possible. That way, the kid gets a perceived treat and a nutrition boost. Making them at home goes a long way to adding a biscuit treat that isn’t stacked with processed nonsense. I try to avoid packets wherever I can. That’s how you win the lunchbox game, right?

Note that many of these lunchbox biscuits recipes contain nuts via things like almond flour, peanut butter and the like. Please be mindful of your school’s nut policy and don’t bring in any bickies that are not suitable.

10 healthy-ish lunchbox biscuits

1. Quick chocolate biscuits

Quick Quick chocolate biscuits that are ready in a jiffybiscuits

Image: Maxabella

When is a chocolate biscuit ever a healthy option? When ish is added to the end of healthy, of course! There’s only half a cup of sugar in this recipe that makes 20 biscuits. Plus they’re made from wholemeal flour and are dairy-free. They also take 5 minutes to pull together. That’ll do, right?

2. Olsac biscuits

Chia biscuits for the lunchbox

Image: Maxabella

Oats, LSA and chia biscuits that are full of so much good stuff you’ll barely need to pack a sambo. They are just as filling as well!

Just in case you still need one: 10 really good lunchbox sandwich recipes


 

3. Coconut atta biscuits

Atta biscuits are healthier lunchbox biscuits

Image: Bake with Shivesh

These dough-based wholemeal biscuits are sweetened with jaggery instead of refined sugar.  The dark chocolate dip will make the kids feel like they’re getting a real treat for recess.

4. Coconut lemon cookies

Lemon cookies from I Quit Sugar

Image: Phoebe McCreath

I Quit Sugar (now run by 28 by Sam Wood) never steers us wrong, as these lemon cookies will attest. Lots of slow-release energy in the buckwheat and a good lemony punch to jazz up a boring ol’ recess.

5. Zucchini biscuits

Choc-chip, oat and zucchini biscuits #cookies #zucchini

Image: Maxabella

I know, I was reluctant to put zucchini in a biscuit as well. But I did it, and these biscuits are GREAT. Like, really, really gooooood.

6. Vegan almond and tahini cookies

Almond and tahini cookies by Cook Republic

Image: Sneh Roy

Cook Republic is one of my favourite food bloggers and friend and she never lets me down. I’ve pulled many healthy lunchbox biscuits from her recipe archives, and this is my favourite. It’s super-quick to put together and the flavour is really delicious and intriguing. My whole family loves these bickies.

7. Vanilla bean shortbread biscuits

Almond vanilla shortbread by Alexx Stuart

Image: Alexx Stuart

Another clever friend of mine, Alexx Stuart, creates fantastic healthy recipes, like this shortbread. These lunchbox biscuits are gluten-free and refined sugar-free. Do watch for the nuts via the almond meal.

8. Choc chip cookies

Healthy choc chip lunchbox biscuits by Veggiekins

Image: Veggiekins

You’ve gotta have at least one healthyish choc chip bickie recipe up your sleeve and this one from Veggiekins suits. Sweetness comes from maple syrup (which is apparently better for you than refined sugar, but the jury is still out on that one). There’s plenty of other goodness here, though, so pack away!

9. Breakfast cookies

Muesli lunchbox biscuits by Recipe Tin Eats

Image: Recipe Tin Eats

All the goodness of muesli packed into a biscuit that’s sure to satisfy the big kids. Go ahead and jam even more in there by adding sunflower seeds, pepitas and flaxseeds to Nagi’s mix.

10. Goodness loaded lunchbox biscuits

Lunchbox biscuits by Wholefood Simply

Image: Wholefood Simply

Wholefood Simply is a go-to for me for healthy eats. Bianca packs so much nutrition into these biscuits you’d be forgiven for thinking they would taste “too healthy”. But instead they taste amazing. 

Got any favourite lunchbox biscuits recipes to share in the comments?

 

 

 

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