Break the Rules: Sanity Saving Mom Moments Part 1

I am all about healthy eating and exercise.  I am all about organic whole foods.  I am all about cooking as much from scratch as possible.  BUT….sometimes I don’t…and that’s okay too.  You see, if I never allowed myself to break the rules and ignore the screaming angel on my shoulder reaching ten decibel level as she reminds me why I should NOT give, then I am sure I would go slightly insane!  I am a working mom, running a small business on the side, tying to help her pre-teen and teen boys grow into great people…that’s a LOT of work people!!!!  So…I cheat every now and again…and it feels great (until I read the labels so I avoid that).

So here’s how I cheated today:

organic hotdog and chips

It was Superbowl Sunday yesterday and half my household were thrilled by the outcome…the other half, not so much.  We had junk food in…Hubby had been in charge of shopping so the Red 40 and Yellow dyes were everywhere.  Chips, of every conceivable variety were in abundance…crazy huh?  Anyway, we chowed down on organic hotdogs and burgers with these horrendously popular chips as a side.

Today, we have LOTS of leftovers.  I could take the high road, throw out the chips and cook a hearty homemade soup for lunch…but no.  I made hotdogs and a lovely side of chips!  Yep….me….moi…I did that.  Why?  Because it is a snow day, I’m trying to get my new website off the ground, and I felt like cheating.  And that’s okay!

So go ahead…cheat now and again.  Use paper plates.  Give in to laziness.  Just don’t do it too often.  Tomorrow’s lunch?  Homemade organic baked potatoes with salad and grilled chicken.

The moral of the story is…let it go sometimes…give yourself a mommy break…life is too short to be a supermom all the time.

How do you “cheat” a little?  Share your stories and help us all feel better!

Health – A Year Later

As I have not been using this blog, I have not tracked my successes and failures in keeping healthy. Please note I call it healthy rather than ‘slim’, ‘trim’, or ‘skinny’ as these words do not describe my idea of healthy.  Don’t get me wrong, I know it is unhealthy to carry too much fat on one’s body, and I do like to fit into my clothes without feeling like the buttons are going to pop, but healthy is more than just measurements and appearance.  


However….I am SHOCKED by my big fail over the past year.  I have been mindful of eating well (family dinners have been regular and always organic, healthy foods).  I have enjoyed many fun games with the kids..a great way to exercise and bond at the same time.  The fail happened recently….over the summer vacation when my common sense just seems to fly out the window.  You see, we love to do day trips and spur of the moment adventures’ which I am totally useless and planning for in terms of food.  We end up eating out all the time and my love of pasta and rich sauces seems perfectly reasonable when I am paying for it and someone else is cooking it…not to mention  the accompanying drink that seems just part of the package!   

In addition, I have not danced in months.  My schedule was the initial block, followed by the dance studio closing for the summer.  I did not realize just how much that exercise helped me stay fit!  

Here are the stats from last August:

Weight: – 144lbs

Height:  – 5’6″

Waist: – 33.5″

Chest: – 37.5″

Hips: – 40″

Thigh: – 22.5″


Now take a look at today’s stats….eek!

Weight: – 152 lbs

Height:  – 5’6″

Waist: – 35″

Chest: – 39″

Hips: – 40″

Thigh: – 23″


What on earth????  So reality hits home and I am disappointed in myself because I had done so well with my plan from February.  Blast those wonderful summer days of over-indulgence and zero self-discipline.  Mental note to self – be mindful of summer temptations and be stricter about packed lunches.  (Yes, I know I wanted to get away from the grind of making packed lunches every day which we need for school…but I can’t let myself go like this again!)

I will be posting my efforts to get my curvy but not quite so uncomfortable body back.  I will also share the daunting  but very worthwhile attempt and joining Team in Training for a half-marathon.  Yep…I am going to try 🙂  More on that soon..I just have to get up the nerve to send in the application forms…can anyone say procrastination?

Breakfast Sandwiches – Mediterranean Style!

Simple meze of feta cheese and olives: charact...


Today is the last day of summer vacation for the boys.  We are about to head off on a family day out….not sure where..we like to just go and see where we end up 🙂    To set us up for the adventure,  I made a delicious breakfast for the family.

My boys are beginning to appreciate stacking and building food, burger-style.  Peanut tends to add more variety than does Button, but adapting the presentation of the food, a la family style, helps encourage them to experiment.  Scouring the fridge for ingredients my boys might eat, I pulled together the following hearty and protein-packed breakfast. Continue reading

Summer Smoothies

I am a Smoothie fan. I like to create my own versions and discover new and interesting tastes. Not everything works out, especially as I am not good at following measuring rules, but sometimes I hit the jackpot!

My shining glory this morning was a recipe inspired by recent posts on other blogs to do with Kale. I am not a lover of this green, leafy vegetable, but I do know how wonderful it is nutritionally. Naturally, I have never managed to get my kids to eat it, as I don’t cook it much. Continue reading

Food for the Fourth!

Happy Fourth of July

This morning has been quite fun. I had my tush kicked in a game of Stratego with Button who definitely had the upper hand being that it was my first time. I thought I had laid out all my players in a strategic order and hidden my flag well. Nope! Button scooted around every bomb I’d placed, managed to scoop up my spy, and take all my high numbered men within about five minutes. Luckily, I’m a quick learner and now have my own set of plans for the next game! I did not miss the irony that my American kid beat his English mommy on this historic day 🙂

Yesterday the Fourth of July festivities began. We had the first party and Peanut’s first Friendship League game. Naturally both occurred at the same time so we decided to divide and conquer: Daddy and Peanut went to game first them party; Nana, Button, and myself went to the party from the beginning.

Today we were invited to two parties and decided which one to attend based on the fact we had just spent a lot of time with one group of friends and felt we should see the other group. Thankfully, all my friends are very easy going and there are no hard feelings. (We are also going camping with the group we are not seeing so we have plenty together time soon.)

Naturally I needed to prepare dishes for the parties. The weather is hot and I really didn’t feel like my usual heavy sides of Stilton and creme fraise mashed potatoes, or roasted carrots and parsnips. Instead I opted for lighter faire.

My first dish was Greek Spinach-Pasta Salad with Feta and Beans. For this I used the following:

Baby spinach
I can of great Northern Beans
Feta Cheese
Dried tomatoes (I like Sundried)
Green onions
Lemon for lemon peel and lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh oregano
Fresh lemon thyme or thyme
Kosher salt or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Dried farfalle pasta (I used the gluten free organic type but not my usual whole grain as I was not sure many people would go for it…my kids remarked at how pale the pasta was and turned their noses up at it!!!)
Shaved Parmesan cheese

Pasta salad

In a large serving bowl I combined 5-6 ounces of spinach, 15 ounces beans, 4 ounces of the Feta cheese, 1/4 cup of the dried tomatoes (not oil packed), 2 chopped green onions, 2 minced cloves of garlic, 1 tsp of finely shredded lemon peel, 2 tbsp of the lemon juice and oil, 1 tbsp of oregano or thyme, followed by a pinch of salt and pepper. Once all ingredients were added and stirred in, they were covered and left to stand for just over two hours at room temperature.

greek pasta salad

Kitchen Tools

Once it was almost time to leave for the party, I cooked the pasta until it was al dente (about 7 minutes), then drained reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. I then tossed the cooked pasta and pasta water with spinach salad mixture. Shaved Parmesan cheese topped the dish and the results were delicious.

Pasta Salad

For the second party, later today, I will make a delicious Three Bean Salad

Three Bean Salad


1 15-ounce can cannellini beans
1 15-ounce can chickpeas
1 15-ounce can kidney beans
2 celery stalks
1/2 red onion
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


After draining and rinsing the beans, I will combine them all in a large bowel and add the chopped celery, onion, parsley, and rosemary. I like to make these really finely chopped as my kids prefer the texture.

I will then whisk together the lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowel. I’ll drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss. This dish is best served at room temperature.

Such easy dishee which taste delicious. The kids can help too. Happy Fourth of July everyone!

Summer Food List


One of the first things I like to do before spending a fortune on food shopping is take inventory of what I already have. Being that it is the first week of summer vacation, I actually have a lot of items in the freezer and dry goods stocked to go. My list generally contains foods that do not last or that we just go through each week. Here is an overview of what I consider things I need for the week:

Don’t think I’m crazy here, I just need a few ingredients for the many versions of the BellyFULL pops by The HopeFULL Company my kids love making.

• Strawberries
• Vanilla soy milk
• Cashew butter
• Infant rice cereal

I am not going to wait until Friday for one of the best Farmer’s Markets to roll around, but I am going to visit and stock up once it is here. Until then, I go to a smaller supermarket with unreasonable prices for fresh, locally grown organic produce.

• Salad
• Cucumber
• Tomatoes
• Bananas
• Watermelon
• Kiwi
• Sweet potatoes
• Corn
• Carrots
• Broccoli
• Green beans
• Asparagus
• Mushrooms
• Kale
• Oranges

Snacks to go are always useful:

• Almonds
• Hummus

Not all of these will be bought in one day. I prefer to buy the day I am cooking them. The chicken for roasting may seen a little wintery, but I can assure you, roast chicken is delicious with salad and in sandwiches, and I love the soup too much to give it up in the heat!

• Chicken
• Flank steak
• Chicken for roasting
• Salmon

The kids get a treat with some sugary garbage…once in a while and I may as well confess it here 🙂

• Cheerios
• Frosted Flakes

Nothing but organic and always devoured rather quickly:

• Milk
• Creamer
• Yoghurts

• Pancake mix – lazy I know but I’m a realist! Check out this amazing recipe, though, at One Food Guy
• Eggs
• Bagels
• Cream cheese

Most of the fruit and veg will be eaten raw, in shakes, and grilled. Some may be pureed into tomato sauce so I sneak extra into the kids. All of it will be eaten by the end of the week.

My kids are big on desserts, getting that from their daddy not me, and I try to make the summer months really about fun foods that are still nutritious. The BellyFULL pops mentioned above are a perfect snack or dessert but I also make frozen yogurt pie. I crunch up graham crackers into a dish and spoon frozen yogurt into the bits, top with fresh strawberries or raspberries, then freeze. I will add a scoop of ice-cream if no other junk has been eaten that day.

I also have a battle with soda. I won’t buy it for the boys but hubby drinks it constantly. I cannot persuade him to stop despite my “lead by example” protestations. I am opting for more healthy alternatives such as mixing 100 percent juice with seltzer or adding real fruit to plain old water or tonic. When it’s really hot, I have the kids make fruit cubes – basically water frozen with fruit inside.

healthy drink

So now I just have to plan out our schedule – I keep procrastinating about that, so I can plan out meals. Baseball is getting in the way a little as I still don’t know when the practices and games are going to be held….that’s it…I can blame the coach for a whole week of unplanned meals 🙂

Summer is Finally Here!

summer time is here

I have to be honest, summer came very quickly for this teacher. I am not saying that I am not ready for it, far from that, I’m exhausted from a very challenging school year. The year, however, really did fly by. I would say this was the most demanding year ever but also the quickest. Strange huh?

Anyway, school is over, and I am about to settle into the summer routine. Usually I am ready for this well in advance; planning summer menus, daily routines and activities for each family member. This year, as past posts (or lack thereof) have indicated, I have been a little busy. I am NOT in any way ready for summer, routines, menus, activities, or general time off with the family. I really feel like a fish out of water!

laundry pileAs I am becoming increasingly accepting of my recent fall from “organized” to “winging it”, I spent the first weekend of the summer vacation cleaning out my bedroom, reorganizing closets, organizing my jewelry (what a mess that was), drawers, and getting my laundry schedule going. I am very happy to have enough time each day to be able to wash, dry and put away clothes. The school year often consists of three-hour folding and putting away sessions on a Sunday afternoon…not fun!

I did get Button to the pool (Peanut was with a friend), and we swam together to get some exercise. Naturally, Button only wanted to play, so I had to mastermind some games involving multiple laps in order for him to feel Mommy was playing, not exercising with him. I think we spent most of the three hours there actually swimming. Chase, flipper races, Who Can go Furthest Underwater? and dive races all helped.

I devoted the next day to gardening – more exercise with the amount of weeding I was doing, and getting the plants into the larger pots for my porch. Peanut, Button and I are also about to plant some apple seeds…I am hopeful that my lack of green thumb doesn’t rub of on my boys, and we are going to grow apple trees. I have no idea how that is going to work out but at least it’s something for us to write about together.

Journaling is a big thing in my house over the summer. I like the boys to write but they are not the most motivated authors. Keeping a science journal is fun and a great motivator. My boys also think about hypotheses, evaluate data, and draw conclusions. I like to keep these journals in notebooks rather than online. I know some children blog and that is great, but I want to keep up the penmanship over the summer too.

Today was very wet! We awoke to a massive thunderstorm…loads of fun as we snuggled in bed watching the lightning and counting the seconds until the thunder-clap to see how far away the storm was. Then, after one disastrous trip to the fish sore (it was closed) later, I played “Hotel” with Button. This is a game of his invention in which he becomes a hotel owner who charges for each item I ask for. He then imagines getting it all and providing me with a high level of service and comfort. I, in turn, get to ask him about prices, and making change. We use play money and it really keeps him entertained.

So, when all is said and done, I have been quite productive already, despite having no plans. My house is becoming more organized, I am on a laundry schedule, I have exercised each day, my kids have been active, learning has happened, and everyone feels happy. Success!

farmer's marketNow I have to think about the weekly shop! I enjoy being able to shop more regularly over the summer so food and meals are often fresher and much less rushed. But….I lack personal inspiration at the moment, so I have to thank my wonderful blogging friends over at The Full Plate Blog or Jeanette’s Healthy Living have a plethora of yummy and healthy ideas for me to draw from. If I’m entertaining, I could even pull from my wonderful cousin over at Smitten Kitchen for advice.

So I’m off to think about getting my butt into gear with some planning. I like to plan, it makes me feel better. But I am glad that we all survived my completely random, unplanned weekend without any casualties 🙂

Belly Fat Zapping Menu- More Ideas

Belly Fat Foods - Fruits

As I continue to try to zap my belly fat, I am working on creating a healthy daily menu plan. I am not good at piecing a whole week together and then sticking to it, so I’d rather share ideas as I actually use them myself. My goal is to eat nutritious food that also contains fiber, protein and the right kind of fats. Continue reading