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We are what we eat…

Getting older sucks… I have gained weight and I haven’t changed the way I eat, your metabolism slows down and the middle age spread begins… are you kidding me? Really?

Ok, so I admit I really do need to excercise more, but I’m a busy Mom of 8 children, I include my older ones too, from first thing in the morning until I sit down with that much needed glass of wine I’m on my feet rushing from here to there, but according to my OBGYN that’s not the type of excercise that is going to burn off those calories at my ripe old age, well he didn’t mention the ripe old part, I’ve just added it in so you get the picture… he says I need at least a 20 minute cardio routine per day that will get my heart racing, so even my gentle morning yoga routine does not fit the bill for getting my heart racing I’m afraid. Food is also important and consistency, 4-6 healthy small meals a day, well the small portions are not a problem for me as I’ve never eaten large meals, but 4-6 is a huge problem, I can go hours and sometimes forget to eat… ok so here we go, new me, I am determined to beat this middle age spread.

I love healthy foods, I love salads, I love soups, I love fish, I love veggies, I even love radishes too, so how hard can this be? 4 to 6 small portion meals/snacks a day together with a low impact cardio workout, just to start me off and some yoga to keep my joints supple. The hardest part of a carefully thought through menu plan is the prepping, to have a healthy menu for Paul to go to work with is the planning a prepping the day before… this week we are keeping it simple and doing a ‘let’s see what we can make with what we have in’ using up supplies in our refrigerator, freezer and pantry… so next week we can start a fresh in an organized way… does anyone else do this once a month, to clear out the old ready for the new?

Let’s start with Breakfasts that I can easily prepare in advance… healthy banana, oats and honey waffles, perfectly preprepared and easily transported if you have to go out…

Serves 2
One cup of gluten free oats
I cup of dairy free milk, almond or coconut (if using coconut I suggest 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup water)
1 egg
1/2 a banana
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of raw honey
1 egg
1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed
1 tablespoon of extra virgin oil

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend for about 1 minute… add 1/4 cup of the batter to a lightly oiled waffle maker and let it cook for 2-3 minute.
Serve with fresh fruit, Greek yoghurt or for a dairy free option a tablespoon of almond butter 😋

My next easy to prepare breakfast is raspberry, coconut chia pudding…

Serves 2
1/2 cup of fresh or frozen raspberries
1 cup of coconut milk
1 tablespoon of raw honey
2 1/2 tablespoons of chia seeds

Take the first three ingredients place them in a blender and let them blend for 45 seconds, divide the blended fruit milk into two mason jars then add 2 1/4 tablespoons of chia seeds, place the lid onto the jar and shake to mix the chia seeds, place in the refrigerator over night… top with a few raspberries and a tablespoon of sliced almonds 😋

Now if I’m staying in I love a slice of whole grain gluten free bread with avocado and grape tomatoes drizzled with balsamic glaze and if Paul is going to work I make him a super healthy veggie omelette ready to cook in the microwave for a couple of minutes and a piece of fruit. Another healthy on the go breakfast is a smoothie served with a hard boiled egg for protein.

Lunches are much easier when you are at home, your choice is endless, I love salad, cheese, eggs, veggies, homemade hummus and steamed veggies, but planning a healthy portioned out work lunch takes a lot of prep… 5 meals, 5 healthy carbs, 5 healthy lean proteins and plenty of veggies ready for a busy week of working… quinoa, brown sprouted rice, sweet potatoes, ground turkey meatballs, oregano chicken and Cajun pork, all leftovers from a past week dinners and lots of veggies, but when you are home you can quickly bake some sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper, add in a little arugula and a lightly fried egg, finally whip up a Harrissa dressing… so good 😃

Heathy fish and chicken tacos are my favorite dinner option, polenta crisped salmon and chicken tenders served with warm corn tortillas, salad and a healthy mango salsa, easy healthy and filling. Dinners are always a challenge in my house, some of us need GF carb options, some of us don’t like veggies, some of us are mainly vegetarian, except for a little fish and some of us are such basic eaters that meat and plain pasta is all they will eat. Salad is my friend, I can add a protein and then a healthy carb and it covers most diets in my house… but soup season is on it’s way, although I love Summer, I personally love soups they are so versatile, healthy and can stretch your budget sideways.

Snacks are my biggest challenge for planning ahead, each time we eat we are meant to have a complex carbohydrate, a protein and a fat, so getting that right in a snack is a huge headache for me… protein bites were simple and nutritional for a snack, gf oats, almond butter, honey and then I added chopped nuts dried fruits and seeds. Another idea is brown rice cakes, and almond butter, or fruit and a handful of nuts… but with all the planning snacks still remain something I think about last and quite often forget to eat myself… I am working at it though… slowly 🙃

… and then we always need an occasional treat, I try my hardest to make these treats as healthy as possible, like lemon muffins made with yogurt and honey… light and delicious 😋

Whatever you eat, try to make it nutritional, delicious and make sure you drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated throughout the day.

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Florence, Uncategorized

Happy Birthday sweet baby Girl 💟

Today is the last day my baby girl will be 4, her sweet face, her chubby cheeks and her cute little smile are only four for just today, tomorrow she will wake up and be a whole 5 years old… 

It’s crazy to think it was 5 years ago that I was planning to go into the hospital and meet my little girl… From the very first moment I saw her beautiful face I was totally in love and knew that this little girl was going to be very special in all our lives.  Today she is funny, smart and the bestest big sister a little brother could ever have.


Florence’s favorite thing to do is stay at home and play with her toys, she loves her toys so much, babies, Barbie dolls, kitchens, dolls houses, soft toys… the list is endless.  She loves to paint, draw, chalk and write letters.  Another of Florence’s favorite things is water, she loves to have a bath for hours upon end with all her toys joining her, she loves to play with water and most of all she likes to swim in water at the pool or at the beach, she is definitely my little water baby.


We have a crazy life with so many people living in our house, Florrie loves her siblings, each and every one of them, Mabel does her hair beautifully and paints her nails, Blu is just Blu with her and she adores him, her older brothers all adore her and in turn she has a special place in her heart for each of them.  Oh I must not forget our dog Simba, yes we do still have Simba and Florrie enjoys spending time with him.


Florence has been to dance classes which she loved, unfortunately the classes stopped and we now need to find another little dance school which we love as much as the last one, hopefully she will be starting dance again after the summer.  She is right now playing soccer, her Dad is the coach, she loves to run around play the games with the ball and meet the other girls.


This little girl makes me smile every day, she says the funniest things, she loves life and I’m glad at the moment I have chosen to homeschool her, it means I get to spend everyday with her, learning along with her, sometimes I teach her and other times she teaches me, more often than not it is her showing me something… She is crazy, funny, beautiful, but most of all she is simply amazing and we all love her to bits…

 


Happy Birthday sweet Girl… Have a wonderful day tomorrow 👑

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Life through my lens… Easter!

I’m a big event planner for special days… I like Birthdays to be special for the person who’s day it is, I plan what we will be doing, the food, the cake, the decorations, sometimes it doesn’t always go to plan, but I like to try to get it right, and Easter is no different! This Easter started on Thursday for us, unfortunately not for Paul though as he doesn’t get Good Friday or Easter Monday off, so with that in mind we headed to meet Paul for what turned out to be a late lunch at his office…

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The afternoon was slightly rushed due to car restraints that come with sharing your car… the weather was beautiful, if not a little windy, and the scenery was fabulous, so a few photos had to be snapped!

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As the weather was going to be reasonable for the weekend, we decided to head to my happy place… The beach on Saturday! It was a bright sunny day with lots of sunshine and blue skies, but oh, that wind was brutal… Paul was a trooper and spent along time playing in the sand with Florrie, even with the mother of all hangovers (no sympathy there though)!

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Easter Sunday was not a restful and relaxing day for me as I’d imagined, there was the basket making, the gift opening the egg hunt organization, cake making and dinner prep, but thankfully my mum did most of the last one, by late afternoon I sat with my glass of wine and breathed a sigh of relief…

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Easter Monday was girls shopping day out, of course Tate was the only boy allowed until at the last minute Jordan decided to gate crash our fun Urban Outfitters day shopping…

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There is just something about Easter weekend that I love, perhaps the promise of spring just around the corner, or the thoughts of an alarm free week ahead as my children had Spring break… Or just some quality time with my family… One thing is for sure though, getting home after a fun packed weekend, kicking my shoes off and sitting on my new rug, hand dancing with my children to Jordan’s new vinyl was the perfect way to finish our Easter off!

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Will we have anymore children?

A lot of people think Paul and I are crazy, and maybe we are… The standing joke at the moment is when will number 9 be coming along? Of course having 8 children is unusual, well not as unusual as I used to think before I got addicted to the social media and blogging, it is hard work at times having 8 children of all ages to give your love and attention to… But the rewards can be the best ever!

I never saw myself as a mother of eight who wallowed in every moment, I only wanted one child, at the ripe old age of 19 when I had my first son I was very happy, who would have thought 27 years later I would have just had my eighth child and that I would be so happy and enjoying every moment of new motherhood in my forties!

This last weekend, just gone was a crazy mix of celebration and despair… First off celebration, on Saturday we celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary… The first time I ventured out for a couple of hours, baby less… Very weird but wonderful both together! Sunday of course was Mothers Day, most of my children were working or playing soccer, but I did get treated to a little shopping trip together with a slice of cheesecake and a glass of white wine in the very crowded Cheesecake Factory… Thank you Farrel, it was a lovely thought, although next time I think we will avoid the Mall on Mothers Day! I was also lucky enough to have my own Mum here which made it all the more special too! Finally the despair part, Monday saw my Birthday, yet another year older, despair I’m getting nearer to the big 5 0… But there was joy too, eight children come into their own on special days, you realize through all the pain, the heartache and the worry x8, that there is pure joy… Each and everyone of them brings kindness and a love that cannot be compared! Through every worry for each of your children, there is a life you have created and a love like no other… So we may be totally crazy, life is hectic, expensive and sometimes very noisy… But I have come to realize we are very lucky and it’s just the family we are!

So in answer to the question on everyone’s lips right now… Will we have number 9… I guess you will just have to watch this space, who knows what the future will bring, but for now we are just enjoying getting to know our new little bundle of pure joy!

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May…

Can you believe it is May already… Ever since the beginning of March I feel like I’ve blinked and totally missed both March and April! I usually love May, it’s my favorite month of the year if only it did not have my birthday in it (turning one year older is just no fun anymore)… I love the trees turning green, I love the warmer sunny days, I love the longer evenings of daylight and I just love the thought of the next few months of summer! This year is different… The trees around our house still look like it’s winter, the weather is not as sunny and warm as usual and I feel like if I blink May will be over too, it’s already the fifth of May and we are heading into our long weekend of celebrations in five days time… Wedding anniversary, has it really been 28 years, when I last checked we were celebrating our silver wedding
anniversary, Mother’s Day followed by yet another birthday!

The month of May is now all about Florrie for me these days… Despite other celebrations her birthday is all I can think about, planning her cake, planning her presents and making sure she has a wonderful day! Florence is a complete Frozen fan, or ‘Let it go’ as she calls it! From the moment she watched the movie she was hooked like so many other little girls, she watches endless YouTube videos of each song, she constantly sings the songs and wants to dress up in the costumes! Frozen came out in December, five months later the shelves are empty in places where Elsa and Anna should be… Really five months later… Is this a marketing ploy by Disney to keep us all interested, well really they did not need to do it, all these little girls are totally hooked!

As you may have guessed the theme for her Birthday this year is Frozen, not that we are having a party, as the day will be spent at various soccer games, but as it is on a Sunday we will be able to celebrate in the evening with nearly everyone home from work… As we could not get a dress up costume we headed to Jo Ann’s for the perfect fabric to turn my little Florrie into Queen Elsa, and yesterday after Dom did a little bit of research we managed to get an Elsa and Anna doll, very, very happy about this! I’m planning a very easy coconut cake with a frozen theme and of course you need a few balloons in icy colors to make a little three year old’s Birthday a Frozen Day!

Here are a couple of links to tutorials for Queen Elsa’s dress if you need a costume and don’t want to spend $150 and up…
Queen Elsa costume ideas
Queen Elsa cape… no sew
Frozen dress up costume

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Birthday Frenzy!

Frozen pizzas, garlic bread sticks, chocolate cake, vanilla ice cream and a glass of red wine all make up a winters Saturday night watching a movie… Priceless, when you just want to relax and forget the events of the past week… Well, that’s how we spent our weekend anyway!

Normally in our house Birthday season does not start until March when Paul kicks off the celebrations, but this year is different as my Mum is staying with us and hers is one of those annoying January Birthdays… Annoying because you just give yourself a huge pat on the back that you have successfully completed Christmas, presents bought, wrapped and opened, food planned, cooked and eaten, children happy and back to school, then BAM, it starts all over again, but this time you have to switch into Birthday mode… This is something I am just not used to and it threw me for a loop!

So my Mum’s Birthday started with a relaxing cup of coffee in bed, then some housework and preparation for the rest of the day… Table laid, cake frosting made and cream whipped! Lewis then cooked my Mum a Birthday Brunch, bacon, scrambled egg and crispy toast… All very delicious! We then chilled out for a while with coffee in the kitchen then it was time to kick off the real celebrations with a glass of wine at our local brew pub down by a very snowy, icy Lake Mohawk!

There is an article in my latest Food network magazine, a Birthday cake for each month of the year, January’s cake was a delicious vanilla cake, so Mabel and I decided that this would be the cake we were going to make my Mum. The ingredients in the sponge were not a conventional equal parts fat to sugar to flour, in fact the cake had considerably less sugar to fat and flour, it also had a large amount of milk/cream and eggs, but I do have to say this was one of the nicest cakes I have tasted, it had a slightly less sweet taste that worked really well with the incredibly buttery vanilla frosting, it was more like a shortbread consistency that really worked well with the whipped cream and strawberries I added to the recipe!

Well my three eldest boys are heading to the Jersey Shore this afternoon… Atlantic City here they come! It will be interesting to see how they have coped since Hurricane Sandy and how much damage there is down there… I have told them I want lots of photos! They have snagged a huge bargain, probably because no one wants to go down there in January, the hotel room for the three of them is only $47 with fees and that is to stay in one of Mr Trumps Casino hotels!

With half the house out tonight it is going to be left over night here tonight… We are having lunch at the trendiest new place in Rockaway, Buffalo Wild Wings, I will report back my verdict of the newest sports bar in town… So my thoughts on dinner are LEFTOVERS, always good to clear out the refrigerator at least once a week!

Two more Birthday wishes go out to my nephews this week, well actually last week too… My brother’s youngest son was 7 last Friday and his eldest son is 12 tomorrow… Where does the time go to, 7 and 12 is just getting too old now! Happy Birthday!

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