Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Traveling with Kids - 26 days to go!

With only 26 days left to go I have started thinking about the traveling especially with two young children. I know my eldest, my six year old will be fine this will be her 2nd long haul flight and at three she was an angel the first time.

As with so many parents I know my two children are very different.  Number two is a little more 'lively' than number one.  Now number One mostly slept the first long haul flight and was quite contented watching the television in the back of her seat or eating and the journey was really a breeze (apart from being seven months pregnant with number two at the time!!)

The one thing I did learn from last time that really worked was the 'magic hand luggage bag' full of goodies, games and books completely unseen before.

I have started getting the magic hand luggage bag ready.  In it I have been collecting various things  to keep the girls amused (I hope) for hours.  I have got them sticky mosaics from the Orb factory, if you haven't come across these look up the link they are simply fabulous for little fingers, fine motor skills and keeping kids occupied from quite an early age.  My youngest is three in August and just loves them already. 

I have trawled Trade me for hours for some new books, especially for the younger one who just adores the Wiggles (with any old yellow wiggle you like, she really doesn't care as long as they sing and dance!!)  I was rather happy to pick up seven very new looking books so they are in ready to go.

For my eldest child, well she loves stickers and being a homeschooler the temptation to get her an Usborne educational sticker book was just too great!!  She has been asking me about the planets recently and there's a rather lovely big sticker book they do on the planets so that should keep her happy for a while.

Another great place to find awesome travel games is a company in Orewa called the Puzzle shop.  It is owned by a really nice man called Steve.  It is as much fun to visit for an adult as it is for a child.  Every game of every description you can imagine and puzzles galore.  For a traditional games person this shop is like Aladdins Cave!!  Steve has a table in the middle of the shop where he will very happily show you various games and just let the kids play.  It's my kids favourite place to go in Orewa, in fact it's the best way to get them to behave nicely on a shopping trip, knowing that if they are good we will go to the Puzzle shop!! My two favourites and ones we have packed for the journey are antivirus and Dobble the website is coming soon so keep an eye out for it http://www.thepuzzleshop.co.nz/

For the plane journey there is one more thing that a nurse told me (believe it or not) that worked a treat the first time round.  She told me to try and do the late night flight and to buy a big packet of chocolate buttons and keep Charlotte awake until the flight (which left at Midnight) I was obviously a little dubious, although Charlotte has always been great at staying up late!!  She told me everytime she got sleepy to give her a chocolate button to keep her awake.  The only time we did this was in the car on the way to the airport by the time we got there she was very excited.  The nurse had told me that her adrenalin would kick in with the excitement and she guaranteed that as soon as the plane took off and the initial excitement of flying was over she would sleep for hours.   SHE WAS RIGHT!!!!!  Charlotte slept from Auckland to Hong Kong 11 hours straight....I was a very happy, very pregnant Mummy!!

We are leaving on the same flight this time so to test whether it was fluke or really worked we are doing exactly the same again!!!  There is a time and place for chocolate afterall me thinks!!  I have bought them both some nice warm PJ's and dressing gowns to travel the first leg of the journey as that also worked well last time and helped Charlotte settle straight to sleep.  Then at Hong Kong a change of clothes and a freshen up along with marathon runs up and down the lovely airport to exhaust both of them for the 2nd leg...he he.

So with the entertainment and plane journey in hand my attention turns to the transport issues I have with a three and a Six year Old.  To hire car seats is insanely expensive in Italy and the UK so next we thought about taking their carseats but they are so bulky.  I wanted to buy them both a Bubblebum seat which are frankly absolutely ingenious

However unfortunately my youngest is only a little three and neither tall enough or heavier enough for the seat, which is frustrating.  If we travel again though when they are older I really do see these as a wonderful traveling option for parents who don't want to lug heavy car seats about.  My friend is lending me one for my eldest and well the youngest is going into a car seat lent to us in UK so we are organised on that front even if we do have to do a bit of lugging around. Another great alternative to the bubblebum seat and one I like the look of is Boostapak.

The next issue was Rosie and her potty training.  Rosie has been dry now for about four weeks night and day now and it will be six weeks by the time we fly.  I don't buy any nappies now so she is completely used to not wearing one.  We have had two nightly accidents where I have not got her up in the night for a wee.  Unlike her sister who could just go all the way through Rosie needs to be got up at around 10pm for a quick one and then goes all the way through no problem.   It got me to thinking how inconvenient it would be if she had an accident on her plane seat or a guest or hotel bed.  I certainly don't want to take a step backwards and put her in nappies after coming this far so I have bought some disposable incontinence sheets the type that we used to use when I was doing auxillary nursing,  nice big size and can easily be tucked in on an plane seat on put over a bed sheet.....another potential problem solved!!  Available from lots of places I found them at www.nappiesplus.co.nz

That just left the pushchair and lady luck was shining on me today as I walked into the new Hibiscus Coast Hospice shop (Great to see you operating again after the fire!).  The first thing that greeted my eyes was a small, lightweight telescopic pushchair for just $10.

I think that's all the bases covered....let's hope so anyway.   Although let's face not sure how you can plan when you are traveling with young children they are so completely unpredictable!!

I have my wonderful folks with me and we have seats together on plane so that will be nice.  We are not at all nervous about it, just incredibly excited.  I am lucky to have two children who are lively yes, full of character yes that too but they are well behaved, polite children (most of the time anyway, like any kids they have their moments!)  

I have shown Rosie a video off good old You Tube of the inside of an aeroplane and that she is expected to sit down.  She got especially excited about the idea of a little television in her seat of her own.  I think it's easy to worry too much about traveling with kids, from experience they are usually tens times better behaved than you give them credit for.  I know it's also easy to worry about those around you and disturbing others but you know what you can't predict children and if the worst happens well at least you will never see those people again....unless you are sat next to them on the flight home!!!

If you have any great traveling tips let me know about them!!

Kate x

Friday, 18 May 2012

Filo Pastry - 31 days to go!

I haven't written in nearly a week how remiss of me!!   Not sure where this last week has gone, I know it's gone quickly!  My parents arrived back from the UK so I have been spending lots of time with them, just enjoying having them back and before you know it's the weekend again!

I did well at weight watchers again this week with a 1.1 Kg loss.  With 31 days left before I go and another 7.1 kg to get to my goal weight I am pushing my luck I think! I would need to lose nearly 2 Kg a week but I will give it my all even if I get close I would be ecstatic.

I have had a fabulous week this week and I am on top of my game.  Exercise is coming much easier now especially since I discovered that if I watch television on my laptop whilst I exercise then instead of a measly 20 minutes on my cross trainer (which used to kill me) I can power through and do at least 40 minutes a session.  The other day I managed to do 60 minutes, I was so proud of myself.  My legs however weren't too sure as I climbed off the trainer they were like jelly!!  I am living proof as the worlds biggest exercise hater that it is possible to exercise and get better at it if you just stick to it. (Something I am not usually very good at doing!!)

When I started out on this weight loss journey I wanted to lose 22 kg and it seemed totally unattainable and the thought of having to do exercise actually made me feel angry because I hated it that much.  I couldn't believe that I had let my weight get so out of hand over the years and was now having to do a full on lifestyle change before my misery took over my life and engulfed me.

You know what it is worth every bead of sweat and I wish at the beginning I could have known how I would have been feeling now it would have given me so much motivation to achieve my goal in half the time!  I look at myself in the mirror and the reflection has changed so much, my clothes fits, my nails are growing and I feel like a beautiful person inside and out for the first time in a very long, long time.  It is achievable, it is but only with help and I am so pleased I decided to give WW another go and this time it is a change for life.

This last week I have been experiementing with filo pastry after discovering it's only 1 point a sheet!!! (woohoo)  having never really used it before I have been having great fun filling it with all sorts!

Thought I would share my favourite invented recipe -

Morrocan Chicken Filo Parcels

50g Chicken (know it seems small but promise it's enough)
20g Sweet potato
20g Pumpkin
20g Carrot
1 red onion
30g Feta cheese (light if you can get it)
2 sheets of filo
1 block of frozen spinach (or fresh)
salt & pepper
Masterfoods Morrocan spices
Spray oil
Herbamare (available from health food shops - absolutely gorgeous)

1.  Chop up the sweet potato, pumpkin and carrot in very small pieces and spray lightly with oil and a generous sprinkling of Moroccan seasoning and bake in oven on 180c for 20 minutes or until soft and roasted and put aside when done.

2.  Spray frying pan lightly (2 second spray) add onion and sweat off for a couple of minutes before adding chicken and spinach cube and cook through until spinach has broken up and chicken is cooked.  Season with salt & pepper or herbamare (if you have any)

3.  Add the two mixtures together and add feta cheese.  Next lightly crush together with either  a masher or the back of a spoon.

4.  Lightly spray one sheet of filo and fold in half.  Add half the mixture and fold ends in before rolling into a sausage shape.  You can used two sheets if you want more pastry at 1 point a time it's not a big deal!!  Repeat so that you have two rolls.

5.  Bake in oven on about 180c until they are golden in colour maybe 15 minutes.

6.  If my calculations are right for both rolls if you use just two sheets of filo it works out at 6 points for a very filling main course.  That's if you eat both of them!!!  So only 3 points for each and they are mega filling!!

7.  I like to serve it with stirfried beansprouts and cabbage but would be yum with a salad too.


For those of you with a sweet tooth try wrapping a banana with 4 marshmallows, 15g chocolate buttons in filo pastry for what tastes like a truly decadent treat but is only  6 points a wrap, they are gorgeous!!  My kids really love these treats, if you want to do them without the pastry you can always chop up the banana and put marshmallows and buttons in a bowl and heat up in a micro for 10 seconds or if you don't like using microwaves then wrap in baking paper and either put of the bbq on in the over for 5 - 10 minutes.

Have a great week!


P.s My nails are doings so well I actually have white bits!!! Typing is interesting though it click clacks now as I type!!!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

An Ode to our Mums (especially mine!) - 37 days to go


Happy Mother's Day to all you Mum's out there!

The earliest reference to Mothers Day seems to date back to an annual spring festival that the Greeks dedicated to Rhea the mother of many deities in Greek mythology.  We then jump forward to a more recent history of Mothers Day dating back to 1600's in England where it is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent.  Children would bring gifts to the virgin Mary to pay tribute to their own Mothers.  For many years the traditions of Mother's day dissapeared until a revival of the celebration after World War II.  When servicemen in the States bought presents and cards for their Mum's.  Widely celebrated all over the world now Mother's Day is a great time to show your Mum you car.

If you are lucky enough to have a Mum like mine then one day a year simply doesn't cover appreciating her!  I know that since I have been an adult and a Mum myself you start to realise just what your Mum has done and does for you.  The dreams she has put aside, the sacrifices she has made to give you everything she can possibly give you.  I am not talking about the gifts she buys you or the holidays to Italy(!!) I am talking of the most beautiful thing on earth love from an incredible Mother.

The thing about parenting is that it doesn't come with a manual (let's face it if it did we would all have a copy!)  In life I believe we are hardest on our parents, we blame them for our own inadequacies feeling that somehow it is their fault when our own lives falter or we make bad decisions.  We are quick to put blame on our childhoods and the way we were brought up and the things we lacked.  I am lucky I lacked nothing, nothing at all, I have nothing to blame my folks for at all.  My mistakes and sometimes stupid decisions are all of my own making.  I am just so grateful that they are always there unconditionally loving me and helping me to help me pick up the pieces.

I am lucky, I have known this since I was a child I have two simply amazing parents.  I can actually pin point the moment I truly realised this fact as a young adult and it was when they picked me up from the airport after returning from my trip to work in a Romanian orphanage as a teenager.  I can remember seeing them both standing there, their worried faces trying to smile and the feeling of their arms around me making me feel so safe.  At that moment I can remember the lightbulb going on and understanding and from that moment on I have never or least I hope I have never taken either of them for granted again.  Being a parent is the hardest job in the world and their are no medals, no knighthoods or oscars just stress, worry and expense....oh and a whole lot of love (which makes it worth it !!)

My Mum was there with me at the birth of both my girls, in fact she cut the cord both times.  Those times are my most favourite times I have spent with my Mum.  The overwhelming love on her face as she held her little granddaughters in her arms and looked on me smiling made my soul sing.  I wish I could have saved those precious moments forever and bottled them but I will always, always carry them in my heart.

My Mum is my best friend and the person I tell everything to.  My Mum is the person who picks me up when I am down, who hugs me when I am sad, who laughs with me when I am happy and calms me when I am stressed out.  I hope that I return those same gifts that she gives me and I hope I remember everyday to let her know how much she means to me and how much I appreciate her.  Mostly though I hope a day will never pass when I don't forget to say 'I love you' and give her a hug.

Mum you are the best Mum a woman could have in her life. You are an incredible Nanny to my children who love you as another Mum.  You are the most selfless person I know and your generosity of spirit, your kindness and your gentleness are everything I aspire to in my life.  If I am half the Mum you are to my girls then they will be truly blessed.

I love you Mum

Have a great Mother's Day folks!  We are off out to lunch....weight watchers on hold today!!!

Kate, Charlotte and Rosie xx

Thursday, 10 May 2012

You Tube and doing your Nails!


For some people a manicure is just a regular part of life, like mositurising your face or brushing your hair.  For me a manicure is a word that I have never actually said out loud before 'MANICURE' (have now!)

I am not a girly girl, never had much of a makeup collection, creams and potions or pretty things.  I have realised though so much of that 'I am not a girly girl' is me hiding behind my weight issues.  I have not been a girly girl because I haven't felt like one on the inside.

I am starting to see the payoff from my weight loss now on the inside.  I look differently at clothes when I go shopping actually wondering what I might look like in an outfit, matching it up to jewellery and shoes.  Yesterday was the biggest change for me when I picked up a manicure set in the pharmacy and treated myself.  I can hear so many people laughing but for me this is a mega deal!!  I have never had nails in my life and I am very proud of my new mini nails, so it seemed logical that the next step was taking care of them.

However getting home I looked at all the instruments (which frankly looked like instruments of torture) and realised I didn't have a clue what to do with any of them.  This is where I ask myself yet again...what did we do before the internet and YouTube?  Currently I am learning Samba, Taebo, taking Italian lessons and now learning to manicure and pedicure my nails!!  It's like an online university of knowledge!

The amusing thing about this link for the manicure is that the person doing it is a kid!!  See we can learn heaps from children....lol

As I type I can't help but look at my shiny perfect nails, well not perfect bit early for perfect but certainly better than the half eaten mess they were a month ago!

Great week at weight watchers the insane amount of exercise paid off with a 1.5kg weight loss this week, which means I am totally on course with 40 days to go and another 8 kg to lose about 1.3kg a week to make it.  Possible but probably a little unrealistic but hey you gotta have a goal!!

The question really is how am I going to keep the kilos off with all that beautiful Italian pasta and icecream to demolish??!!

Have a great day folks!

Kate x

P.s Hey girls I have one of those thingy boards you can borrow now!!

Monday, 7 May 2012

I can see my feet and other bits!! 43 days to go

I realised today when I got out of the shower that I can see my feet when I look down.  There is no longer a post baby belly blocking my view!!  Not even just my toes but my whole foot.  I can't tell you how excited I was that I could see my own feet! I was tempted to reach down and kiss them it has been such a long time since I saw them last!!

I have totally beasted myself on the exercise front today.  I started with a 40 minute taebo workout this morning when I got up.  Then whilst we were waiting for my kids Dad to visit we danced to the Wiggles for an hour (not quite sure how to add up those points!) which is frankly nearly as exhausting as taebo!!  Then tonight I got on my cross trainer for 40 minutes which ordinarily kills me after 15 minutes but I have found a trick to deal with the pain and discomfort.....television!  I put 'Bones' on whilst I cross trained tonight and it totally took my mind off what I was doing.  The time flew by much quicker and it seemed heaps easier. 

I often listen to music but I still really struggle to even get to 15 minutes but the last two times I have put an episode of my favourite TV programme on and I get so engrossed I am still going on my cross trainer as the credits roll.  I am so pleased because I know the cross trainer really helps me with weight loss but honestly I find it utterly and completely boring (as I do most exercise!).

I definitely have far more energy than I used to have.  Losing some weight has given me more movement in my joints too, my knees don't hurt anymore and my back pain has eased up considerably.  You don't necessarily think of these things when you first start out on your weight loss journey but there are so many ways in which it improves your life. 

It's been a really positive day today - I took a good look at myself in the mirror today (something I do not enjoy doing!) and I saw huge changes.  My legs especially the bottoms don't look like my legs anymore and I found myself staring for ages at my shrinking butt, happily saying goodbye to the excess pounds that have disappeared from it.  It makes all the difference in the world when you can actually see changes in your body.  Whether the scales will move at the meeting this week remains to be seen but according to my tape measure huge changes are happening and flab is starting very slowly to turn to muscle.

For the first time in very, very long time I looked at the person in the mirror and felt a spark of confidence emerge.  I feel good and the only way from here is to keep at it, keep motivated and get to my goal.  With 43 days to go who knows whether I can kick that final 20 pounds I want but whatever I manage will be the icing on the cake now. 

Look out all you single Italian men, I am on my way!!

Kate x

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Growing my Nails - 44 Days to go

I am attempting something even harder than weight loss to stop biting my nails.  My six year old daughter said to me last week 'Mum don't you think it would be nice if you stopped biting your nails then you could paint them to go with your lovely new dress' there is something about your six year old daughter telling you to stop biting your nails that actually makes you sit up and listen.

Charlotte decided we would have a competition and the winner gets extra cuddles as she said 'that way we both win even if we lose'  bless her I love my kids!

So for the very first time in my life and I mean the first time I am growing my nails.  It's been a whole 5 days and I had no idea it would be so hard to leave them alone!   I can actually see little white bits appearing on my nails and scratching my head is totally awesome!!  I tell you what though it's much easier to lose weight and exercise than not biting your nails.  I have always hated biting them but it's become such a habit but like everything else it's one day at a time!  I have promised my little Charlotte that we will go to a nail salon before we go to Italy and get our nails down. I have never done this in my entire life and I think at 37 it's time!!

This week we carried on our exploration of the area we leave with a trip to Wenderholm National Park yesterday.  I have been meaning to check out the walking tracks for the last 18 months that I have lived here but yesterday was the first time.  We all really enjoyed it, we stopped for a healthy picnic before taking off on the track for a couple of hours.  I was really proud of my youngest who hiked her little heart out before falling asleep in a heap when we got home.  I think I exhausted the kids Rosie was in bed asleep by 4.30!!!  I thought she would be up again but she slept through till 5am so not bad really.  I tried to wake her up at 5.30pm but she just didn't want to know.  Even Charlotte was asleep by 7pm, I thought about sitting in front of the TV with a nice cuppa but knackered I was also tucked up in bed asleep by 8pm!

On the quest for weight loss I found it hard after weigh in last week and only losing 200 grams however after a clothes try on and a measure I really I had lost heaps.  I can now get into all my old clothes which means I now have Summer clothes to take to Italy without needing to go shopping!!  I also excitedly tried on some of Mum's clothes which I can get into which was a bit exciting. The increase in exercise must have increased my muscle hence the pathetic weight loss.  My clothes are falling off me so must have lost more than the scales actually showed. 

I was tempted to give up the exercise this week to see the change on the scale instead but instead I have upped it even more.  I am so proud of myself at the moment, I have done 5 continuous days of 90 minutes worth of exercise.  I feel great and I can see a huge difference in the mirror now which is helping hugely.  I just really hope I see a change on the scales this week because even though I think I look different there is something very psychological about seeing the number drop on the scales to give you a boost.

I am trying to find new workouts to try each day but I do love my taebo the best.  I have found I quite like Zumba but I find it hard on the hips.   It was also fun to get back on a bike.  I was convinced that I wouldn't be able to ride but as the saying rightfully says 'It's just like riding a bike'  I hired a bike from the local shop with a seat on the back for my youngest.  We only did 5 km as Charlotte got a puncture but we really enjoyed it.  However my butt feels like it has been kicked by a horse!  I also seemed to have acquired a huge bruise on my arm with no recollection how I did it, yet it's too painful to even touch!

That's a rap folks off to try a new weight watchers recipe now as a special treat -

1 Sheet of Filo Pastry
8 Chocolate buttons
Spray Oil

1. Spray filo sheet
2. Half banana and halve again
3. Place the buttons in the middle make a sandwich between the banana pieces
4. Fold filo in half and roll banana and choc up folding ends in
5. Bake for about 15 minutes on 170c ish
6. Pig out and enjoy!!

Kate x

Thursday, 3 May 2012

200g You Have to be KIdding! (51 days to go)

200g you have to be kidding!!!   I was so excited about getting to my weight watchers meeting last night.  With my clothes falling off me and feeling really fit I almost jumped on the scales big smile on my face to find I had lost....200g!?!!

'How is that possible?!' I say to the woman behind the desk 'My scales say something completely different' the woman replies 'Well I suggest you have your scales looked at' at which point I went into cartoon mode and imagined rugby tackling her to the ground and beating her about the head with my weight watchers book!!

I have worked harder this week than I have in my entire life!!  No exercise to 90 minutes of varied exercise a day - 7 km walks, Taebo, Zumba, Samba, cross trainer and eating right without once dipping into any extra points or my exercise points and sticking at 20 odd points a day.  I don't get it how can I only have lost 200g when my clothes are so loose?  I am baffled and cross, with 51 days to go before I fly off to Italy I wanted to lose 1 kg a week and 200 g is not going to cut it at all.

So what's gone wrong?  Usually you can look at what you have been doing a find some little fault or some sneaky thing you have been doing but I have honestly never worked harder in my life and 200g is not a good enough payout for the amount of time dedicated to this over this last week. 

It's a good job Italy is my goal because if I had had nothing to work towards it would be extremely easy to throw it all away and say 'stick it' this week.  Feels like a great big waste of time this week, absolutely fuming but with Italy looming so close I will work just as hard this week and hope that muscle weighs more than fat and that my effort will show up next week on the scales.


Kate x