Monthly Archives: November 2012

Small things with great love

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I’m so proud of my girls today.

We’ve just spent a few hours going through their toys and books. This is a job that happens about twice a year. Re-organizing, tossing, finding, matching etc.

Today we had two laundry baskets. One for junk and one for toys to give to other kids. I explained to my girls that there are some children who have very little and by giving some of their good toys away, it will make another child’s Christmas extra special. Miss 5 was totally on board. She wanted to give one of her baby dolls away which took me by surprise. She stayed focused on the task for a good hour before doing the typical kid thing and rediscovering her toys as I neatened them up. Miss 3 had some trouble with the concept of giving her toys away, which is ok. She’s only 3. She did decide to give away one of her treasured dinosaurs that she’s had for at least two years (she loves her dinosaurs). I explained that she didn’t have to give away her most favourite things but she wanted this in the give away box so we did it.

It feels so good to have the toys organized and I know it will only be for a short time before it all goes awry. The Mr. Potato head is with all his pieces along with the train set and wooden blocks. Upstairs in the girls room is where the dress ups and baby dolls (including those small pesky Polly Pockets clothes) are. I’m hoping to be able to keep all the small toys that baby’s like to put in their mouth upstairs and away from Miss 6 (almost) months.

This organizer is now just holding books. The green and pink baskets are all completely empty!

We ended up with an overflowing laundry basket full of toys and books to donate tomorrow and the girls are already excited about our trip to the Salvation Army. I feel like this is an important tradition to keep in preparation for Christmas. Our children will hopefully remember these days fondly. I don’t want it to be traumatic in any way, clearing out their belongings. I strive to teach them a lesson in being selfless and giving with grace. I know this is just a small little thing that we did today but Mother Theresa said “We can do not great things, only small things with great love. It is not how much you do but how much love you put into doing it.”

Only hippies eat Hummus

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Oh this is SO not true.
Besides this being super yummy, which may be the main reason for it’s popularity, hummus is also jam packed with healthy stuff and is an easy way to get protein. If you have kids, even the wee toddlers that may not eat a whole lot of meat, or if you are vegetarian yourself, hummus is an easy way to get your hemoglobin up.
Did you know that one serving of Hummus (this varies from 1 tablespoon to 1 cup depending on who you ask) contains 8 essential amino acids? The name ‘essential’ is used to describe amino acids that our body doesn’t make on its own and must get through our diet. The amino acids are:
-isoleucine -leucine -lysine -phenylalanine -valine -tryptophan -methionine -threonine
The last three in that list are found in the tahini only, not in the chick peas, which is why it’s important to try and keep tahini on hand when you are in the mood for some hummus. This is particularly important for vegans who need to be aware of their amino acid intake as well as protein.

Hummus is high in Omega 3 healthy fats which are a good mood enhancer, helpful for those who suffer from mood disorders like depression and anxiety.
Hummus also contains other crucial nutrients like Manganese, Copper, Sodium, Calcium, Zinc, Iron and Magnesium. It’s relatively high in vitamin C and B6 too. Who would’ve thunk it!?

Hummus has no cholesterol and because of its high protein, fibre and complex carbohydrates, it has been helpful in lowering ones ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL). Also, because you can replace high cholesterol foods like butter, mayonnaise, margarine and cheese spreads with hummus, you can improve your overall cardiovascular health with this wonderful stuff.
Making this yourself, guarantees the quality of nutrition you are getting. It’s also super cheap and you can have fun with it by making simple adjustments to the basic ingredients to suit your taste and mood.
Does that explain my mood yesterday when I made three different flavors from the one batch of hummus?
Here is my go-to basic recipe that is made in our house almost weekly.

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Ingredients
2 15ounce cans of chick peas (garbanzo beans)
1/3 cup of lemon juice
(Fresh is always best but the substitute works. Even adding lime when you’re low on lemon works)
1/4 cup of tahini, well stirred
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped (see below, for a quick way to peel garlic cloves)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons of coarse salt

Before draining and rinsing the chick peas, reserve 1/4 cup of the liquid from the can. Place the rinsed beans in a food processor along with the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth.
It’s that easy!

TIP: To quickly peel garlic cloves, rather than standing there peeling off small slivers of peel and getting garlic juice under your finger nails, you can squash the cloves gently with the side of a knife. This cracks the clove and it’s peel which should then come off in one whole piece.

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So then we move on to the multi-personality hummus.

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I made one batch, scooped out a bowl of the original (about half the mixture) and added roasted red peppers to the food processor. I reserved some of this red pepper hummus but left a little in the machine to then add some fresh basil leaves. (Notice Miss 3’s little hand on the food processor? She helped me rip the basil leaves and put them in). After processing this, I then had three different flavors of hummus for dipping or sandwiches.

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My girls will eat endless carrots, pepper (capsicum, for my Aussie readers) and cucumber, if I serve it with hummus. They have it on sandwiches with cucumber and tuna too.
Let me know how this recipe works for you and if you came up with any other varieties.
Happy Hummus!

Five years of Charlotte

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Wow. Five years have passed since the day we first met Charlotte. A little bundle of 7lbs 12oz (most of that weight being in her cheeks) arrived after a long and anything but peaceful labor and birth. Charlotte’s presence changed us from being a married couple to being a family and it was a learning curve but a fun one.
I stayed up late last night, after kissing Charlotte goodnight and reminding her that this was her last night of being a four year old, and I went through all the photos we’ve taken of the kids in the last five years (yes, it got late). So I put together a few pictures to share how that little baby bundle of cheeks has blossomed.ImageImageImageImageImage

I am so proud of this little girl.

She loves to tell jokes and make people laugh.

She loves to dance and make music.

She loves to cook and bake and paint and draw.

When she grows up she says she wants to be a Mum.

She has an empathetic heart and a cautious nature.

And we love her to infinity and beyond.

Aussie Trip #6~ Perth

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Half way through this adventure our setting changes. We say goodbye to the vines across the street from Mums house and head for Perth where the weather is typically beautiful, the ground is sandy and it faces the Indian Ocean. My Dad and his family were at the airport waiting for us. This is Dad’s first time meeting little lady #2 & #3!
The flight took a little over three hours and I was on my own with all the kids as my Sister-in-law went over by train across the Nullabor Plains (desert). We all did ok staying occupied with my overflowing bag of snacks, coloring books and games and as we landed, the passengers around me were extremely helpful and complimented the girls on how they handled the flight. It’s always nice to feel tightly knit with complete strangers through a shared experience like a flight.
Perth kept us busy, that’s for sure. The girls had many fun days….

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I love the photo of the girls trying an egg salad sandwich for the first time, as I converse with Lis, my stepmum (but that word sounds so harsh) completely unaware of what the girls are doing. What would a vacation be without visiting the local mall, having coffee and buying toys!

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We gave my family a Thanksgiving Day experience. Just a few months early but there was a Turkey and Americans so it is assumed that that means we know how to put on a good turkey dinner. It ended up beautiful, sitting around the table full of tradition food. Turkey, sweet potato bake, a mountain of mashed potato, gravy, green beans and of course, pumpkin pie. P
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We had to work off that dinner and spent the next few days seeing the local attractions.
The Western Australian Aquarium.

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The Perth Zoo. Even our mode of travel was exciting that day. Car then train then ferry. What a fun day!

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The kids had many new experiences. Eating Milo flavored ice cream, riding on a ferry, seeing Australian sea life, writing their name in the beach sand, swimming in a backyard pool. Hopefully they’ll remember some of this.

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