Wednesday, July 30, 2008

1930's marital scale


As a 1930s wife, I am

Take the test!

I recently saw this quiz on Brocante Home and thought it would be a bit of fun. While some of the items are a bit archaic (OK, a lot - crooked seams on pantyhose, anyone?!), I think many of them still have their place in a modern marriage. These items are things that add grace to your household and can help to make your household a pleasant home. What small things do you add to your day to make your home a more pleasant place?

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Premio Award 2008

I just want to say a huge thankyou to Nic and Missy over at Domesticated Sophisticated who tagged me for the 2008 Premio Award. Please check out their fantastic blog which is geared to SAHM's just like us. They have wonderful photos of what they wear everyday, and it is great to see two SAHM's in action who also believe that we don't have to pack away our style genes just because we now stay at home with the kids!

I would like to tag the following blogs - they are definitely worth checking out.

1. Style For the Stay At Home Mom

2. Wardrobe Oxygen

3. Brocante Home

4. Mrs Fussypants' Guide to Life

5. A Year of Crockpotting

6. Sorta Crunchy

7. Home Sanctuary

2008 Premio Award Rules:

  1. When received, you may post the premio to your blog.
  2. Link to the blogger you received it from.
  3. Give it to 7 blogs
  4. Link to those 7 blogs
  5. Leave those seven bloggers a comment about receiving the brilliant premio.

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

How to up your Chic Quotient

The chat on one of the message boards that I belong to has recently revolved around ideas that can be incorporated into our daily lives to help us lose or maintain our weight at a healthy level. In particular, the consensus was that if we feel and act in a chic way, then eating chicly will often follow. I like to think of all of these things put together as a Chic Quotient. A great little book that has helped me immensely is Chic and Slim by Anne Barone which can be ordered from her directly. It has lots of great ideas in it about how to be chic and slim, and how chic as an attitude can help you in your quest to be slim. Today I wanted to share with you some ideas that Marsi, one of my fellow members at the message board, has graciously allowed me to post here. I found them very inspirational, and a great reminder of things to do on a regular basis to help you up the chic quotient in your life.

  • Get rid of all the unhealthy foods in your kitchen and only buy things that are good for you. You can't eat what's not in your kitchen.
  • Keep a food journal
  • Declutter when you move to your new apartment.
  • Buy cute things to work out in so you feel attractive. Target has good stuff.
  • Review your "style book" if you have one. If you don't, then make one now. Like a magazine shot of someone's makeup or outfit? Tear it out. Found a good article about French style? Print it. Put it all together in a 3-ring binder, and review, review, review.
  • Give yourself a manicure/pedicure, take care of your face (masks, etc.), exfoliate your body in the shower and apply a nice lotion, condition your hair and get regular haircuts, etc. Take care of your body, even though it isn't where you want it to be ... yet.
  • Watch movies that inspire you to be chic, whether it's an old Audrey Hepburn, the "Sex and the City" series, "The Devil Wears Prada," French movies, or whatever.
  • Use post-its on your computer monitor, bathroom mirror, etc. to remind yourself to sit up straight at your desk, keep your chin up (literally, to help prevent a double chin), do glute squeezes or raise/lower yourself on your tiptoes while you brush your teeth, etc.
  • Baby steps! Keep them up. Bonne chance!

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cooking from your pantry - Recipe

Last night I forgot to take the meat out of the freezer to defrost, and I didn't want to take the kids down to the store as it was pouring with rain today, so I was kinda stumped as to what i was going to cook for dinner. Inspired by a number of people on some of the message boards I am part of, I decided to shop my pantry and create a meal from the ingredients I had on hand. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised with the wonderful (if I do say so myself!) meal that I came up with. Not only was it delicious, but it was very healthy, and was a vegetarian meal that my DH actually enjoyed, which is no easy task given that he is a born carnivore.

Vegetarian Chili with Rice Pilaf

Saute 2 finely chopped brown onions and 6 cloves of garlic over medium heat in a non stick pan until translucent (about 3 minutes). Remove half of the onion and place in a medium saucepan and set aside. Add three tins of chopped tomatoes, 1 jar of salsa and 2 teaspoons of Mexican seasoning (or to taste). Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.

Add 2 cans of beans (I used 1 can of red kidney beans, and 1 can of cannelini beans) as well as two roughly chopped green capsicums/peppers and half a bag of frozen corn kernels. Simmer for about 30 minutes until thickened.

Meanwhile, place saucepan with reserved onion over medium high heat and when starting to sizzle again, stir through 1 cup arborio rice. Cook for one minute. Add in half a cup of white wine and 4 cups of chicken stock/broth as well as two bay leaves, a teaspoon of tumeric and 1/2 teaspoon of Mexican seasoning. Simmer over very low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is cooked.

I served these with a dollop of lite sour cream, a sprinkling of grated cheese and some avocado salsa made from 1 chopped avocado, 1 chopped tomato (seeds removed), the juice of half a lime and a good shake of Tabasco sauce.

What great meals have you made from your pantry? I would love to hear all of your ideas!

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Snacking Martha Style

I know I posted about snacking just the other day, but after watching a Martha rerun today, I had to add some more info. The episode was part of the Body and Soul Challenge that was run in February in conjunction with Martha Stewart's Body and Soul magazine. One of the great tools promoted by the Body and Soul editor was their Snack of the Day blog which listed (with pics) a different snack everyday, each of which is about 100 calories. The snacks are a mix of sweet and savoury, things to eat on the run and things to eat at home. Most look delicious, all look very quick and easy, and they are the perfect combo of carbs and protein to help tide you over until your next meal. While most are common sense combos, just seeing all the different snacks that are listed can help to break you out of a rut. The presentation of each snack is also inspirational as well.

If you can find the time, sit down at a table to eat your snack. Plate it on proper china and pair it with a cup of green tea. Make it into a mini event that you can look forward to and then savour, rather than a fleeting moment that is over all too soon.

I also recommend checking out all of the other features at the Body and Soul Challenge site - there is a huge amount of great information regarding health and nutrition, with some easy ideas that even the busiest SAHM could incorporate.
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photo from Martha

Friday, July 11, 2008

Recipes: Deliciously Fruity Mocktails

It has been nearly 2 1/2 years since I last had more than a sip of alcohol due to close pregnancies and now breastfeeding, but there are times where i am just craving a fruity cocktail. So it was great when I opened up the July issue of Self magazine and saw these fantastic ones. These would also be great for those of us trying to lose weight as not only are they low in calories, they are also chock full of fruit and antioxidants.

All recipes by Jennifer Iserloh, from Self Magazive, July 2008

Tropical Slushie

serves 4 - 110 calories, 3.4g fat per serving

Blend 4 cups of cubed watermelon, 2 cups cubed papaya, 1 cup light coconut milk, 2 tbs orange zest and 1 cup ice cubes until smooth.

South Pacific Mojito

serves 4 - 90 calories, 0.1g fat per serving

Boil 1 cup water, 1/4 cup sugar and two 6 inch pieces of lemongrass. Allow to cool and puree in a blender until lemongrass begins to shred. Strain and return to blender. Add 1/2 cup cubed fresh pineapple, 1 cup each fresh lemon and lime juice, 1 cup sparkling water and 1/4 cup thinly sliced mint. Blend until smooth; serve over ice.

Green Iced Tea

serves 4 - 107 calories, 0.3g fat per serving

Boil 3 cups water. Add 6 green tea bags and steep for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove tea bags; cool tea. Pour into a blender; blend with 1 cup cubed honeydew melon, 1 cup peeled and quartered kiwifruit, 1/4 cup honey and 1/2 cup mint until smooth. Serve over ice.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Trying to lose weight on a budget

When you are trying to lose weight, not only can it seem like a daunting task, but it can look prohibitively expensive, too. It doesn't have to be that way, however, and in today's economic climate when we are all trying to tighten our belts, the following suggestions can really help with the budget.

Ditch the 100 calorie packs - while these are great for portion control, you are paying an awful lot for someone else to enforce some willpower for you. Instead, buy the same items in a larger size, read the nutritional panel to find out how much is 100 calories, and dish them out into little ziploc baggies to create your own 100 calorie packs for a fraction of the cost. I like to portion them out as soon as I get home from the supermarket so i am not tempted to eat too dip into a large packet.

Stop the takeaway - takeaway food can seem like it is quick and convenient, but it is often a disaster for your diet and your wallet! Takeaway is often filled with fat, sugar and sodium; the biggest issue is that you have no idea how much. Instead, stock your house with some basic staples and some great express recipes that can be made in 15-20 minutes or less. Also invest in a slow cooker/crockpot. 5-10 minutes of prep in the morning or the night before can mean a hot and tasty comfort meal for dinner with little effort.

Don't rule out frozen and canned veggies and fruit - these can often have just as many, if not more, nutrients than their fresh counterparts, but are significantly cheaper. Obviously there is a difference in flavour, but this can often be overcome by the addition of spices and herbs.

Bulk up with legumes - dried or canned legumes are ultra cheap and ultra healthy, and can be used to bulk up many dishes while adding healthy doses of fibre and protein. I like adding lentils to meat spaghetti sauce, kidney beans to chili, and chickpeas (garbanzo beans) into my salads.

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Monday, July 7, 2008


Snacking has become a way of life for many of us, and having young children can often mean that Chic Mummies tend to snack throughout the day as they pick a bit here, take a bit there, and grab something mid morning because they ran out of time to have breakfast. Snacking can be one of the greatest diet saboteurs around. However, if done right, snacking can provide valuable nutrients, and actually help us on our weight loss/maintenance journey. The key is to have carefully planned snacks that provide healthy nutrition rather than empty calories. Here are some healthy snack options for when you are at home.

  • Carrot sticks or baby carrots dipped in salsa, yoghurt, hummus or peanut/almond butter

  • Banana smoothie - made with low fat yoghurt, skim milk and some ice

  • Homemade trail mix - made with Cheerios, some nuts and dried fruit. Keep servings to 1/2 cup

  • Peanut or almond butter - 2 tbs spread on apple slices, celery sticks or added to a banana smoothie adds a great protein hit

  • Yoghurt dip - take some plain low fat yoghurt and stir in some fresh chopped herbs and some garlic. serve with veggie sticks

  • Homemade no-fat veggie soup with some low fat shredded cheese

  • Parker's 97% fat free pretzels - not the best option, but great when you're craving a salty and crunchy treat.

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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Home Facial

Last week we took an hour to recreate our own day spa. This week we can recreate a luxurious facial in the privacy of our own bathrooms. This facial was created by Susan West Kurtz, author of Awakening Beauty the Doctor Haushka Way. For an even more luxurious experience, combine with last week's day spa!

Pre Cleanse

  • thoroughly remove your makeup and rinse your face

  • fill sink with warm water and add two to three drops of lavender essential oil and stir with your hand

  • soak a washcloth in the lavender water, wring it out and gently press it against your face and neck for 30 seconds


  • put one teaspoon of almond butter (from the health food store) and a few drops of lavender water in your palm; rub your hands together to form a paste

  • apply to skin using a press and roll motion: press your palms against your forehead and roll them outwards.

  • continue this motion moving down your face and neck until you reach your collarbones

  • return to your forehead, and repeat the process for one to three minutes

Rinse and Tone

  • Use another washcloth soaked in lavender water to remove the almond cleansing cream from your face

  • rinse with cool water and apply toner (i like to use rosewater)

Apply a mask

  • choose one of the following masks, depending on your skin's needs:

  1. to moisturize dry skin: half a mashed avocado, preferably organic

  2. to brighten a dull complexion: organic strawberry yogurt

  3. to rid pores of impurities: honey

  • apply a thin layer to your face and relax for 20 minutes.

  • remove with a warm, wet cloth, and rinse with warm water

  • pat dry with a clean towel

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