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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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Photographic diary, Uncategorized

A much needed vacation…

We have been back from our vacation for a week now and I am ready for my next one… Seriously you don’t realize you need to get away from life until you actually do it!


The problem with a vacation is its never long enough, Saint Augustine, Florida 2016 flew by… It took a lot of organization getting all 8 of us on the plane, settled in our condo, driving around in our rental cars and then onto Disney World… I was a tad frazzled by the time we parked our car at the airport on Monday evening, I had been packing, organizing and checking everything was in place for our trip away, it took me quite a few days to relax and enjoy.

 
We were very lucky our condo was fantastic, it was set in beautiful grounds with a gorgeous pool.  Historic Saint Augustine was a 20 minute drive away, well worth the visit, we chose to ride the trolley car, just so we could see everything in the extreme heat wave that was happening whilst we were there, although I have to say riding the trolley car to get around and see everything wouldn’t have been my choice had it not been so hot, I love taking photos and this method of being a tourist is very restrictive for someone with a love of photography.

Not to sound like a tourist guide, but if you ever get the chance to go to Saint Augustine Florida take it, but be sure to avoid July and August, it’s hot and crowded, it is truly beautiful though!
I had planned our vacation with a trip to Orlando, specifically Disney World, this was such a mistake, in hindsight we should have done this first, it was so busy and so hot it was exhausting, we needed a vacation from our two days in Disney.  I love all things Disney, unfortunately some people in our party didn’t feel the same, it was hot crowded, but in my mind Disney is where we all become children again and seeing Florence and Tate’s faces were just the most magical experience in themselves… It was worth every moment of the heat and the crowds…

On our last day in Orland we chose a slightly quieter option, when I say slightly I mean very slightly… Hollywood Studios was our destination for the day.  We got to sit down in the cool quite a lot which was a bonus and we got front row seats for the excellent Beauty and the Beast show, being a huge fan this was so magical and to just watch Florries face was just amazing.


The question now is ‘where shall we go to next?’

Happy Summer everyone 😍

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 👑

Uncategorized

Dressing Florrie…

Friday, a week ago already, saw us traveling down to Somerset Medical center for more blood work for Tate, so of course it would have been silly not to call into Bridgewater Commons Mall… I can quite honestly say that I have only managed to visit 4 or 5 shops in this mall and the food court! I recently discovered that Bridgewater Commons has one of my absolute favorite childrens shops of all times… Naartjjie, and this is as far as I usually get into the mall… Thankfully for my pocket!

In 2005/2006 we were on vacation in California, we visited the Beverley Hills shopping mall and there was this oh so cute children’s clothes shop… Mabel was 4 and Blu was 6 at the time… All I can say is that I fell in love with all the clothes immediately, and of course had to buy a few items of clothing… At the time I thought this shop was higher in price for their apparel, but I have recently discovered they have a clearance rail and even better Memorial Day weekend saw 30% off all their clearance clothes… Yay, fun for a Mommy of a beautiful 3 year old girl and a handsome 2 month old boy!

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Leggings and headband by Naartjie, tutu skirt and top by Cherokee, Target!
Crocs by Crocs for Target!

There is definitely something very different in style about Naartjie, it’s unique style of clothes can be matched together easily with other pieces within the store or put together with clothes from other stores or clothes that you have hanging in your child’s closet! I’ve noticed that across all three age groups the styles are almost identical, for instance a 1-2 year old skirt with attached leggings is made in an older size but without the leggings attached, they also typically use a limited number of color schemes throughout the whole store for girls and the same is said to be true for the boys clothing, so each style of say one top can then be found in the several other color ranges to mix and match together with different items of clothing throughout the store!

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Price range is similar to the Gap, and like the Gap they have a sales and a clearance rail, they also add additional percentage off the clearance clothes regularly, so it’s worth signing up for their emails to know when this happens, this week they have had free shipping online and 40% off a range of clothing within the store… Don’t worry if there isn’t a store near you, like me, my nearest one is a 50 minutes drive away, everything is online and shipping is very reasonable!

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To say I love this store is an understatement… I REALLY love this store and now that I have found it again my two little ones will be dressed Naartjie style much more often!

Uncategorized

MIA…

This summer has not really gone as planned, it’s been quieter than usual, explanations coming later! The food we have eaten has been oh so bad, junk food to the max, we have been at home a lot, just a few days out and about, and then this last week we did finally organize ourselves enough to vacation for a week… And that really was an oh so much needed break away!

A couple of weeks ago, we finally got our acts together and booked a week away in North Carolina… I was not looking forward to the 8 hour drive to Raleigh, but with 3 drivers, Dom came along with us, it wasn’t too bad. I don’t really know what I was expecting from this southern state but it more than lived up to my expectations, so much so, I think I could easily live there! Everyone was extremely friendly, the roads were easy to drive on, clean, wide and the best thing no traffic or police hanging around in every nook waiting to get you for silly things! The whole place seem to be thriving, new and again so clean, no empty, closed down buildings in sight, everywhere seemed to be booming unlike here in New Jersey! Now if you wanted to eat out there was everything you could imagine and things you hadn’t even thought of, every shop you wanted was all within an easy driving distance… Each town had it’s own identity, Raleigh was more a smaller city with thriving business’ everywhere, Apex was the cutest small quiet town and my absolute favorite Chapel Hill, a thriving college town with lots of bars, shops and a great feel about it!

A two hour easy drive took us to Wilmington NC, home to Dawson’s Creek… Who knew? Here in Wilmington are three beautiful sandy beaches… Wrightsville Beach was the nearest to our hotel, clean, gorgeous blue water and well worth a visit, we spent 6 hours on this beach, Florrie even took a dip in the water here, but she still did not like the sand! I think the beast thing about this beach for us was the Starbucks situated just off the road just before you got to the beach! Carolina beach was a little bit more vibrant with a boardwalk and shops, this beach was beautiful, very clean and the most gorgeous view out to sea, we were on the beach for about 4 hours when a storm came across the beach, it was amazing to see, we maybe stayed too long taking photos of the amazing sky, because when the rain came, it really came hard and we got absolutely soaked… It was fun though! There is also another beach within Wilmington, Kure beach, unfortunately we did not manage to get to that one… Maybe next time!

Downtown historic Wilmington was my perfect town, a gorgeous boardwalk along the water, cute restaurants and shops, antiques, homemade ice cream and lots more for the avid photographer and her camera, unfortunately my younger children did not feel the same so we cut our tour short of this must visit town!

All in all I am totally in love with North Carolina… There was one tiny thing I was not so impressed with though… I do not like pumping my own gas, thankfully on this trip I did not have to do it, I am guessing I have turned into a Jersey girl… As they say Jersey girls don’t pump gas, and this Jersey girl has forgotten how to pump her own gas!

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Uncategorized

Photo’s, photo’s and still more photo’s

It’s been all quiet here on the Windle front, a very chilled out lazy week for my children, but as they say a mothers job is never done, so not so lazy for this very tired Mommy!
I had a few housekeeping tasks that needed doing this week, number one on my list organize Farrel’s GED, check, number two organize Farrel’s driving test, check and number three blood test appointments for Florence and Blu, not check… Still the week is not quite over yet!

Photos are something I have been doing this week, I was in desperate need of catching up with over 2000 photos on my two cameras, iPhone and iPad combined… I have cleared all devices now, backed them up, sorted them and have been sharing some albums… Finally at the end of July I have managed to share Florence’s 1st Birthday photos back in May… Whaooooo!

I have promised my very square eyed children a trip to do some bowling tomorrow and a much anticipated trip to Sparta’s brand new diner… Should be fun!

As far as menu planning this week, not a lot has been happening, we ran out of gas for the grill so cooking has been happening inside mainly, I’ve eaten two lots of McDonald’s for lunch, so much for the flat belly diet and Quick Chek subs for dinner last night… Note to self, get back onto a healthy eating plan… but on the positive side Paul said I had lost a little bit of weight yesterday, so I’m not feeling too guilty about my slightly unhealthy week!

Next weeks list of to do’s are…
Sort and clear out all not needed clothes
Get shelves for mud room cupboard so that I can store pots and pans from kitchen
Get more hangers so Mabel can continue organizing her closet… That girl is Abercrombie Mad!
… And finally, HAVE FUN!

Be organized, stay cool and enjoy the beautiful weather!

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