Archive for August, 2012

too many cooks in the kitchen ?

Even though they spend hour upon hour with me each day, my children never seem to tire of my company and always want more of it. One of the places they love to seek me out is in the kitchen and having four kids means it’s a place I spend a lot of time.

The thing is, I really like to be alone in the kitchen. My kids are always eager to help and I’m always shooing them out of my space. Lately, I’ve started to feel guilty about it. Cooking together is such a great thing; learning the importance of healthy choices, working on math skills, practicing cooperation, inheriting family recipes, creating memories.

And I know this because as a child I spent a lot of time standing beside my mom during dinner prep. She wasn’t a Betty Crocker – all bake sale items were bought from the grocery store and dumped into tupperware for disguise – but she is an excellent authentic chinese cook. And I absolutely loved standing beside her sizzling wok, handing her spices or throwing chopped veggies into the sparkling oil.

I was her “taster”, the one who told her if there was enough flavour in the dish-of-the-night before she brought it to the table to be served. I doubt she really needed my input, she made those dishes hundreds of times, after all. But I’m sure it was her way of teaching and I did learn.

Years later, I’m making many of her signature dishes for my family and take great pride in knowing how much they enjoy them. One of our family favourites is my mom’s steamed pork and egg dish (recipe and photo provided by noobcook.com)

Just the aroma of this dish is enough to bring my kids running in anticipation.

And so I’m going to use it as my inspiration to take my ear buds out (okay, so sometimes I like to bring my ipod into the kitchen for company) and pull up some chairs and start the teaching.

What about you? Do your kids join you stove-side?

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Louise Gleeson is a freelance journalist and mother of four. Her professional portfolio can be viewed at www.louisegleeson.com and you can follow along as she shares stories from everyday life on her blog at www.latenightplays.com. You can also find her on twitter @louisegleeson

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13 DAYS TILL THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!!

kevin dooley / Free Photos

And so begins back to school crunch time-as I like to call it. With just a bit less than 2 weeks left of summer vacation, I would like to think that I am just about ready to send my kids back to school.

The question is, are they ready? Have I checked and re-checked my back to school to do/ to buy/ already have list? Have I put my children’s names on all their belongings in black sharpy? Have I made a groceries list of school approved snacks, made sure that I have drink and snack containers that are easy enough to open for all 4 of my children?

The answer, if you were wondering, is YES!! I am ready for back to school…for the most part. the last thing on my list is new clothes but that will be done probably tomorrow. How do I stay organized all year-long? many different colored post it notes and two or three very large wall calendars, a large 4 subject note-book, as well as the memo app on my iPhone.

Here is a sample of my lists as I write them down in my note-book before they end up on post its and memos and calendars.

  • To buy:
    calculators  x 3,
    protractor set  x  2,
    Pencils  x 3,
    Pencil crayons x 3,
    Markers  x 3,
    erasers x 3,
    pencil sharpeners  x 3,
    crayons  x 1,
    Indoor shoes x 4
    all 4 kids need jeans, shirts, underpants and socks
  • Already have:
    Backpacks  x 4,
    Lunch bags  x 4,
    Outdoor shoes x 4,
    Pencil cases  x 3,
    flexible Rulers x 3,
  • To Do:
    Pack supplies in pencil cases
    write names on shoes,
    cases and bags with sharpy
    hang pre packed bags on hooks in closet
    Organize fridge and cupboard for quick and easy access to their favorite snacks
    freeze a bunch of yogurt tubes
    make breakfast muffins, oatmeal, carrot, banana

And there you have one of my many lists.It’s not written the exact way I would have written it down but it is what it is. I have lists for everything and usually start planning for the first day of school on the last day of the previous school year. I start planning for things usually about 2 months in advance. my next gigantic list will be christmas. this will take the most planning and will probably be my november blog post.

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Hello, Baby Yums World!

Hello, Baby Yums World!

Hi everyone! I’m super excited to be guest-blogging today for Crystal at Baby Yums! I can’t tell you how happy I am to be a part of the Baby Yums blog every month!

My name is Mama Lego and I write over at Healthy Foodies, Losing Booties! I am so passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and passing on health and fitness tools (that I’m learning about every day!) for my kids to use in their lives daily. You can also find me on Twitter (finally just made an account!) https://twitter.com/MamaLego and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/MamaLegosHappyPlace

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Apples = GOOD! Candy = well, good, but BAD!

I figured for my first post, I’d give you a bit of my background.

So, it’s no secret that I was a chubby girl for the majority of my life. I liked to eat. Lots. Healthy stuff too, like ice cream (calcium!), kraft dinner with hot dogs (there’s milk in the cheese mix! And protein in the wieners!), pizza (vegetable toppings, tomato sauce), and Doritoes (well that’s just a feel-good food).

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this is me at my largest, holding my baby boy

I wasn’t overly physically active as a kid. Or as a teen. Or as a young adult. Or (meh, you get the picture). The most running I did was chasing after those ice cream boys pushing their carts on a bicycle? (dickidees, I think they were called?).

And shamefully, the most exercise I got as an adult was delivering my babies (ashamed of my lack of exercise, not the part about having my babies! They’re really cool!).

As the days turned to months, my babies got bigger, I got bigger (well, wider) and I was finding it hard to keep up with my kids. We did lots of puzzles, lots of reading, tons of cuddling … And zero physical activity. Being active was rare for us.

Don’t worry, this story gets better.

Everything changed this past February. My husband and I kick-started our family (Team Lego!) into a healthy, active life. We rarely eat out anymore (we KNOW what goes into our homemade meals!), we live at our local Farm Boy, and are CoNsTaNtLy on the go. Soccer. Park. Walks. Tag.

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Post-run picture with my babies 🙂

I’ve taken up running. ME! RUNNING! And I’m in love with it. The reformed couch potato is now a fitness enthusiast. Who’d have ever thought?!

I’m happier now than I’ve ever been in my life. Awesome husband, incredible kids, making healthy food choices that makes me body feel great, and happily exercising. I’m learning so much about nutrition and fitness and have become such a dork about them!

I’ve lost fifty pounds now on my weight loss journey .. I have lots left to lose, which means I’ll have lots left to blog about. I can’t wait to continue sharing my stories with you!

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Peach Crumble Bars

Peach Crumble Bars.

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Processed Food – What’s in your Cupbord

Go through your cupboards, don’t worry I’ll wait. Take a short inventory on what you have in stock. How much of that is processed? Be honest with yourself and don’t be ashamed. As a promoter of urban homesteading and an advocate of trashing the “crap”, I still have boxes of Kraft Dinner stashed away for those emergency days.

tyfn / Free Photos

Processed and pre package food were brought to North America for conveniences. During the wars, food supplies were low as products were being shipped to the front line. Everyone did their part and soon we were faced with a shortage. Lucky rural dwellers could depend on their own produce, but many families relied on new canned ingredients. The trend continued into the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s when modern appliances catered to a new lifestyle. Women weren’t always in the home and the need for a fast meal was met with the microwave. Mass marketers convinced us that this was the way of the future and it was a low cost opportunity to feed your hungry family, fast.

 

Dannerzz / Free Photos

Why are we now under a food revolution then? With convenience comes a price. Slowly we’ve realized that a lot of these time-saving chemicals are actually harming us. With obesity, cancer and heart disease on the rise we can’t really afford to take chances with what we put in our bodies. We’re hurting ourselves.

When I’m not blogging here, I run a blog called Diet Eats which explores current diet trends and whether they’re worth the investment. During the past few weeks I’ve been exploring some popular diet readymade meals. This is the first time in years that I’ve ate these and I must admit the experience is educating. After getting over the ingredient list and lack of flavor, the price at the end really didn’t justify what I was eating. The saddest thing was that I know people who eat these every day. Frozen fake food, nuked on high. Lovely.

As a working mom and full-time wife, I understand we all can’t put a gourmet meal on the table every night. I have on more than one occasion succumbed to the siren call of pizza on a Wednesday and yes, I do like Kraft Dinner and will serve it as the odd weekend lunch. Processed food is not good for you, but it’s there as a convenience when you need it. When you eat it every day it’s not convenient, it becomes your lifestyle.

Before you throw in a microwave meal for your toddler, stop. Remember that a few carrot sticks, a peanut butter sandwich and an apple sauce will be quicker, cheaper, better tasting and healthier – and you don’t need to be a chef to make it.

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