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Coffee in bed…

When I wake up I need my coffee, two cups to be exact otherwise I feel like I cannot start my day and function properly… This must be something in my head, a habit because I drink decaf 99.9% of the time, so there is nothing in my cup of coffee that will actually wake me up, just my head telling me I really need it! The question is could I switch to a morning smoothie instead, I have been having smoothies most mornings but after my two much needed cups of coffee. I have been sneaking in healthy veggies along with the fruit and yes I have to say I am loving them as part of a breakfast routine but seriously could they replace the coffee?

Breakfast is another issue, most researchers say breakfast is a vital part of your day, but I struggle with breakfast, firstly it makes me hungrier much faster and secondly it seems I am cramming a lot of meals into my day, maybe just the smoothie is just the answer, although I am loving my new Kashi cereal from Costco, 2 packets of a fruity whole grain that is gluten free and very delicious!

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The dairy free milk that I am loving the most is the rice milk I bought in Shoprite last week, we have used it in hot drinks, milkshakes and cereal, it tastes good, slightly different from cows milk but on the whole I think it’s taste is the nearest to my usual fat free organic milk, the price is good too, so I would say this is a success!

Coconut milk products are a good dairy free alternative to my usual yogurts, ice cream and milk based sauces… Coconut products like oil, water and milk seem to be the new super foods to use in all your cooking and baking, I usually have them on hand but they are not my usual go to products, but I am planning on this changing in the future! I have made pizza dough using coconut oil instead of olive oil, it worked really well, I have also replaced cows milk with coconut milk in cheese sauces, again it worked well but I have never had coconut water which is meant to be great for your digestive health, so something to try!

My biggest challenge with reducing my dairy intake has been cheese… If anyone out there can point me in the right direction for dairy free cheese, you would make me extremely happy, as I love cheese of all kinds… And I am missing it!

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A perfect Easter afternoon…

What do you do when your Spring break is cancelled? You pick a day over your three day weekend and go to the beach… The sun is shining, the temperatures are finally above freezing and we have food for a picnic, so we are going in search of a vacation, even if it’s only for one day!

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We had a wonderful time at the beach, it was windy when we got there but after a while the wind calmed down and it was a very pleasant sunny 66f, making it perfect for our April beach day… This is my favorite time of the year to visit the Jersey Shore, it’s not so busy, the water is cold, true, but the sand is clean and usually empty, there are no fees to get onto the beach or to park your cars… And the weather is cooler than summer but just nice to enjoy the the waves crashing in… Perfection!

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Our Easter Saturday Afternoon began with the perfect parking spot, sad I know, but it really made my day! We bought a small picnic of chicken and cheese rolls, a salad and fresh strawberries, we sat on a bench, on the boardwalk overlooking the beach eating our home made lunch, Tate was sleeping in his stroller and Florrie was talking so excitedly about the sand and sea shells! After lunch it was time to hit the sand, and this in my opinion was the BEST part of the day, because my little Florrie for the first time ever walked on the sand and wasn’t scared, in fact she loved it, she went down to the water with her Dad and paddled her feet… It was truly COLD, according to Paul, but they did it anyway, but not for long! Whilst Florrie searched for sea shells, Paul and Mabel kicked a ball around! I sat on the boardwalk with my camera and people watched for a while, my Mum took some photos and we just enjoyed the moment!

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Frozen yogurt and a spot of shopping strolling along the boardwalk shops, perfected our afternoon… Then a leisurely sit in the Corner Cafe drinking coffee and eating more ice cream, chatting and listening to Florrie sing Let it go from the movie Frozen, this made our afternoon purely wonderful!

The moral of this little story is… Whenever you think it’s not quite the right time of year for the beach… Remember anytime is perfect for the beach, the sea, the sand, the boardwalk, all make a perfect day out whatever the weather!

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My dream is to one day live by the beach and spend all year, whatever the weather loving living right there…

Happy Easter!

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Creating his own adventures…

Pad Thai noodle salad… So good, I had to blog about it, I added a couple of additions like chicken and noodles, personally I think this salad works well without the chicken but in my house a meal is not a meal without meat in it… Boys! I also used my favorite Costco super food salad and Trader Joes sesame seed butter instead of almond butter, but it worked well, so here is the link… Pad Thai salad… Enjoy, we definitely did!

It is a very strange life, that of an ex-pat… My Mum arrived, she stayed, we lunched out, drank some wine and of course coffee, chatted and had so much fun… Then she is gone home and life goes back to normal again, until the next time she is in town, then we get to do it all over again!

Who out there cannot believe how fast 2013 has flown by already, I know I definitely cannot! It seems like only yesterday Blu was bugging me to go the 8th grade trip for 3 days away, I finally gave in and paid the first installment in December… It’s not that I did not want him to go and have fun, it’s just I am a worrier… What if’s always come into my mind, he is my baby and I am not ready for a big trip like 3 days away with the school… Anyway the months have flown by, he is not only sitting on a coach on his way, as I type this, but he is graduating from his school in the next couple of weeks and then heading over to his new school very soon… Where have all the months this year gone to? And for that matter where have all those years gone to since I held my beautiful, blue eyed baby boy in my arms… All grown up and out there making his own adventures in this world… Scary, but so exciting too!

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‘Tis the season…

In tales of houses far and wide, Christmas comes but once a year and with it comes the squeals of joy as families gather to put up their tree and decorate it with frivolous glee! Not in my house this year… I admit I am a total control freak when it comes to decorating our house for Christmas, but I do usually let my children decorate the tree how they want to, then on Monday morning whilst they are safely deposited at school I change it all around and hope that they don’t notice, but they always do! Anyway back to my point our house was not full of the joys of Christmas this year, there was no festive tunes playing on the radio, and the snow had inconsiderately melted away outside, instead our house rang with the sounds of Xbox games thumping away and sulky children, Blu was totally immersed in whatever battle he was fighting in his room to even notice we were getting ready to decorate the house, and Mabel was totally over excited and then sulky about our new refrigerator arriving, she then stayed in her room whilst I, on my lonesome, well I did have a little helper at the bottom of the tree, decorated our house for this season of good joy… Ha, ha!

Every year I try to get a few new decorations to add to my collection, this year I have the mantle above the fireplace to decorate… We finally took the tv down that was above it, I am totally delighted, and love, love, love my new christmas additions for our fireplace! My table once again follows a Cath Kidston theme, much to Mabel’s dislike as it is not your traditional theme, but now it is finished she has come around, and kind of secretly likes it I think! My biggest thing this year was decorating our staircase, this is something I have never quite gotten around to in past years, but with the help of Pinterest, I was totally inspired to visit my local dollar store and create something for less than $10… This I completed last night, my staircase took 4 $1 garlands, I tied on silver and gold bells, 4 $1 packets of 9 bells, with some green gingham ribbon I already had then added larger tartan ribbon bows, present wrapping ribbon from Costco… Voila a traditional green stair garland, all for just under $10! Next on my list is red and green bunting for my tree, a fantastic idea I got from a friend back in England!

My two new favorite items of this month are my two new cookbooks, bought over by my parents from the UK… Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute meals and James Martin’s slow cooking, as many of you know me, you will know I love, love, love cookbooks, strange for a former anorexic to love recipes so much, but now in my 40’s I am a true Taurean foodie, and now much wiser, I realize the only way to keep healthy, maintain/lose weight is to eat a well balanced diet with of course the odd vice here and there, Starbucks salted caramel mocha, decaf, non fat with the whip being my biggest vice these days, and of course wine is still an added staple of every day around 7pm to help me relax and unwind from the chaos that is every day in our house… Happy sunny warm December days, long may they last!

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