Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Power to Carry On... Don't Give Up!

Hello everyone!

Well, after many requests from Susan, I have finally sat down to put together a post. I really hope you enjoy it, it’s simple and I hope encouraging – as I see it, sometimes the important things are found in the simple and the ‘everydayness’ of life.

My year has started off strong, as you have read Susan and I are committed to getting into shape, plus I have decided that I am going to put more time into ME. Unfortunately this is something that has gone by the wayside over the last few years, being a mother of 3 and having other requirements on my life I sort of put ME at the bottom of the list. This year I am changing that because I realise that in order to give more of myself I need to keep my tank on full.

Today I thought I would share with you about my amazing TWIN sister Caroline (or Caz as we call her). Caroline is the same age as me, she is 37 years old (that was a joke…..hope you got it, we’re twins), she is a single parent to 4 fantastic kids and over the last 3 years Caz has had to fight the biggest battle of her life…… Breast Cancer. The picture above is of Caz and I - Caz is on the left and that's me on the right :)

I am continually amazed as I watch my sister walk through this part of her life, I can’t walk it for her but I try and be there in any and everyway possible. Her strength, dignity and sheer determination inspire me everyday. Regardless of the day Caz may be having, and some are harder than others, she continues to give of herself to her children and to those in her world. I am so proud of her!

I wanted to share this story with you to encourage you – you know, by encouraging each other we give COURAGE. Courage to deal with whatever it is we are facing and whatever mountain is in front of us. Courage tells us we can climb that mountain it just needs to be done 1 step at a time (remember Rome wasn’t built in a day). Also, strangely enough a lot of our healing and strength comes from helping others. Like my sister I encourage you to extend a hand to someone else in need – it’s amazing how great you will feel.

As I watch Caz walk this journey (and as I walk it with her) I can honestly say it doesn’t matter what your mountain looks like, it may be your health, your marriage, hassles with the kids or your parents or something else. Or, maybe like me you have decided that this year you are going to build health into your life through exercise. Whatever it is you CAN do it and you WILL.

Be brave in whatever situation you find yourself in. I know my sister has a long way to travel to be well, but she would say, “Don’t give up, within you lies the Power to Carry On!”

Belinda xxxooo

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sacrificial Parenting....

So often we hear amazing stories of how many parents gave up so much to provide for their children. Being 1 of 9, I have seen this first hand a million times over. My parents gave up so many material things to see us all feed well, clothed well, sheltered well, schooled well and launched well. I will never cease to see them with a slight halo perched on their heads.

I was reminded again of their constant sacrifice recently when my daughter came back from a weekend at her father’s house, which is a new move in our family’s dance. I was naturally happy for her to be spending this time with him and his family. I knew she would return home full of excitement and stories, but I wasn’t prepared for her not missing me.

That’s right…she didn’t miss me! What?! I am her mother for heaven’s sake… I gave birth to her and raised her alone and she professes to not miss me? I have relatively thick skin, but this hurt. This was my baby spreading her wings. Ouch!

Whilst listening to her stories of obvious delight, I kept hearing my mother’s advice to me pounding in my head…“parenting is not about you dear”. I could have easily responded to my daughter with ever so sweet manipulation, reminding her of the fact that I was her mother (as if she had forgotten!) or that I had missed her the entire weekend, but instead I chose to swallow my hurt to allow her to be free and uninterrupted in her happiness. Allowing my insecurities to taint her joy would never be fair. It was only at this moment that I truly felt that I had sacrificed as a parent.

The more affordable home, the less expensive shoes, the fewer overseas trips, the nights in rather than out, etc….these are only material and often pre-warned or expected things for parents. This new sacrifice for my daughter winded me without warning. I am so glad I chose to listen to my mum’s advice at that moment that otherwise could have hurt us both. She was truly free to rave about her father and her time with him – guilt free and all smiles. After all, it’s actually not about me when it comes to her.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Welcome to MONDAY Day 4!

I’m calling this Day 4 because I took my ‘break’ over the weekend. Unfortunately Saturday and Sunday didn’t see much exercise - other than chasing the kids and walking the 1K IKEA parking lot. I’m blaming it on the rain (which we desperately need!).

Do you remember that song ‘I Don’t Like Monday’s'? Well today was my Monday. It was a soggy morning – one of those mornings where you are sticky from the moment you get out of the shower (sorry Northern Hemisphere readers, you guys are still i longed for the cold today). Anyway, Belinda and I faithfully met after school drop off to keep ourselves going however we both looked at each other and said, “I so don’t feel like this today.” Isn’t it funny how those are the days you most benefit from doing what you don’t want to do. I had just received a visit from a VERY regular monthly guest (come on girls you know who I’m talking about….) and we were both tired but hey we are determined and we weren't about to let ANYTHING (especially fatigue) take us off track so away we went.

We had a great walk!

Upon returning home I only had 1 hour before I needed to head out of the door again for an appointment. I asked my hubby if he thought I had time to skip, shower and be out of the house in an hour to which he replied, “Of course, come on I’ll set the timer – it’s 7 minutes today right?” I should have known that would have been his answer, I was secretly hoping for a no but he was right.

As I was skipping my little heart out I told him how grateful I was that I was back in the swing of exercising regularly and how you never regret exercising because you always feel great afterwards. The problem with exercise seems to lie in our heads and that painful journey towards the first steps. As I see it we need to mentally prepare ourselves for change and for continued patterns of change, which result in lasting change, which conquers bad habits turning them into good habits.

It’s all in our minds and once we renew our minds our bodies seem to (and will) follow very willingly. When it comes to exercise it’s almost like our bodies have been craving change but the change needs to start in our minds. I really hope that makes sense for everyone.

Friends today we walked because we didn’t feel like fartleking (my monthly guest was really playing up) but we walked further than normal and I skipped for 7 minutes rather than 6 or 6.5 minutes. It was hard today but in the midst of what seemed hard we pushed ourselves further and the end result was GREAT satisfaction, personal gain and strength and increased joy because both Belinda and I know that we can and we are moving ahead in this crucial area of our lives. Today was a CHOICE and we made a great one.

Before I sign off I want to tell you that I ran into three people today who have been inspired by our increased level of exercise and our funny stories about how it's all working out. I wonder who would be encouraged to make a difference in an area of your life if you chose to have a go!!!

We love you, totally believe in you and know that the world ALWAYS looks better through smiling eyes. Have the best day and remind those in your world how much they matter to YOU!

Susan xoxo

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Great Meals in NO TIME AT ALL!

Here I am sitting at my kitchen table on Sunday night. The kids are all tucked into bed, the sound of the dishwasher is my current companion, the washing machine and dryer are both going at full speed (when do they EVER stop?) I have washed my kitchen floor, folded two baskets of laundry and finally have found time to sit down and relax…..what a GREAT feeling.

We’ve had a fantastic weekend full of fun, friends, laughter, a day out on the boat, great food and being chased by the police (yes, that’s true but it’s another story for another time….we weren’t doing anything illegal just found ourselves in a funny spot at a funny time).

Anyway……today I ran into a friend and she said she had made Annie’s ‘Carrot and Coconut Soup’ from the blog this morning – I’m sure it was great. I told her I was going to post my weekend recipes tonight because they were fantastic. So Liz this is for you – thank you for trusting our tastebuds and trying some of our family favourites.

I planned my weekend menus on Thursday which allowed me time to pick up all that I needed and time to organise what I was cooking and when. Both meals required overnight marinating which sometimes puts us off (I know) however both of these recipes are so easy and so healthy it’s worth it. And to top things off, they literally take about 10 minutes to prepare, pop in the fridge and then pull out to either pop on the bbq or in the oven.

Both recipes are great for company (I served the Portuguese Chicken to friends on Saturday night and they loved it), a busy weekday dinner or a lazy weekend lunch with friends. Plus my kids all gave the all important familyroom tried and true thumbs up of approval – a definite bonus.

Here you go I hope you enjoy:

Lamb Souvlaki with Tomato and Onion Salsa (you can easily substitute with chicken or a firm fish if you aren’t a meat person):

➢ Soak bamboo skewers in water for 1 hour to prevent burning.
➢ Add some rich hummus to your grocery list and serve it with this it’s a perfect accompaniment.

800g lamb, chicken or firm fish cut into 1 inch x 1-inch cubes
4 medium pitta breads
2 small Spanish onion (the red one) chopped roughly
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 cup low-fat plain yoghurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup firmly packed fresh mint leaves
3 teaspoons white wine vinegar
4 medium egg tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons tahini

Marinade – Process together until well combined 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped garlic cloves, ¼ cup low-fat plain yoghurt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, ¼ cup firmly packed fresh mint leaves, 3 teaspoons white wine vinegar. Place meat in a large, shallow dish, mix marinade through, cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

Tomato and Onion Salsa – Combine chopped egg tomatoes, 1 chopped onion, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves, 1 teaspoon paprika in a medium size bowl.

Yoghurt Sauce – ¾ cup low-fat plain yoghurt, 2 teaspoons tahini, 1 tablespoon hot water. Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until combined.

Pita Bread – warm pita bread in the oven and serve. You can either cut the pita’s in half and put filling inside or simply use the pita as a base, cover with sauce (both yoghurt and hummus) followed by the lamb, chicken or fish and then the tomato salsa.

Recipe #2 – Spiced Portuguese Chicken


1 small red onion
4 cloves chopped garlic
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 ½ teaspoons chilli flakes
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (this is beautiful)
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1.4 kg chicken thighs
1/3 cup (20g) chopped fresh parsley
Lemon wedges to serve

Put the onion, garlic, lemon rind, chilli flakes, paprika, oil and vinegar in a processor and mix until a smooth paste forms.
Score the chicken thighs with an X, place in a large shallow dish and cover each piece. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven or bbq to moderately hot (approx. 200C or 400F). Place chicken under or on the bbq grill and cook for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer to a roasting tin and roast for 35-40 minutes or until cooked through (if you don’t want to do this just leave it under the grill and turn after 10 minutes and cook until done – same on the bbq).
Sprinkle the chicken with the parsley and drizzle with any pan juices. Serve with lemon wedges

Serve this with a simple salad, avocado slices, corn on the cob or even as a chicken sandwich with Turkish bread. It’s beautiful and very light. Enjoy!

Susan xoxo

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Day 3 – My Little Red Bicycle

Do you remember your first bike? Do you remember days spent riding up and down the street, riding to your friend’s house, riding with no hands (look mum no hands and no legs….whoops…..ouch!). The feeling of the breeze, that rushed through your hair and whipped your face as you whisked up and down and all around. Days spent decorating your bikes with (at times) old cigarette packages, balloons and racing stripes.

My favourite bike as a child was little red bike with a nice seat – I’m sure it was a hand me down from someone, which really didn’t matter at all, because that bike was beautiful. I’m sure most of you have a similar memory of a bike or perhaps another childhood treasure.

I wanted to share my bike story with you to take you back to 'days of old' and then to bring you to where I am right now…at my kitchen table, once again sweating and feeling absolutely fantastic following a 5k bike ride!!!!!

Today was a very busy day, we had our school swimming carnival, which meant Belinda and I were unable to fartlek (if you don't know what that is, read yesterday's post) after school drop off. Instead we were required to put on our cheerleader hats (thank heavens it was only the hats and not the entire uniform...hahaha) and sit, with our amazing hubby’s, poolside and cheer our little angels on as they used every bit of energy they had to make it down that 50 meter pool. It was a great day however we were both determined not to let the day go by without doing some form of exercise.

After dinner, clean up and organising the kids we decided to jump on our bikes and hit the pavement. Now that the ride is over and I am sitting here writing I must admit, as I said above, I feel fantastic and I’m so glad I went.

I have to say that riding a bike with purpose (as opposed to the pleasure ride) is a totally different experience especially at 37 and following the birth of 3 children. The excitement and joy I had when I was 8 just didn’t seem to find me. What did find me was a terrible burning sensation in my thighs and butt and I realised for the first time in years that my tailbone does exist - the seat felt nothing like my little red bike with the nice seat. In addition to everything I’m quite sure I swallowed a few BUGS…..which, funny enough did take me back to my childhood. I’m sure you can all relate!

After all is said and done we had a great ride and we will be out again (however our hubby’s are insisting we get lights which is probably a good thing since daylight savings is coming to an end). We are both feeling stronger, more alert and full of energy from simply making a choice to prioritise exercise in our life.

For those of you who have joined us well done. Keep going and share some of your stories with us, we can’t wait to hear from you.

Have the best day and remember to smile.

Susan xoxo

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Day 2 - I Did It!!!!

Well here I am again sitting at my kitchen table feeling totally exhilarated and proud of myself. Day 2 was a huge success and I feel fantastic.

I dropped the kids off at school, met Belinda (whom you know through familyroom), and we decided to fartlek. Which is exactly what I did yesterday I just didn’t give you the term --- isn’t it a funny word ☺

FYI….A fartlek can be defined as a continous run during which the pace is frequently and intentionally changed, where time and/ or distance is each or both left unmeasured.

So, we did that then I came home to SKIP!!! Now you have to understand that my husband is my timekeeper and anyone who knows him knows that he wouldn’t let me cheat. Today my goal was to skip for 5.5 minutes – well I did 6 MINUTES. I’m so happy. It was hard but I pushed myself and I did it.

My exercise didn’t stop there, when I was finished I was so hot and sweaty that I changed into my swimmers, jumped into the pool, and did 20 laps. I’m tired now but I feel fantastic. I’m on my way.

I hope you’re enjoying these posts; my hope is that my story will inspire you to make a few adjustments and changes whether that is in the area of your current fitness level or something else. Go for it!

Have the best day and encourage someone today, remind someone in your world how fortunate you are to know him or her.

Susan xoxo

Monday, February 19, 2007

My Journey Begins......

Hello everyone. Just so you know, this series of posts will be similar to that of Star Wars ~ by that I mean there is so much that has happened to lead me to getting serious with my health and I will share that at a later date. Right now I want to start with me sitting here dripping in SWEAT and feeling fantastic!

Today was my big day, my journey back to fitness and I’ve decided to take you along with me. My hope is that somewhere along this incredible journey you will be inspired to join me.

I’ve made the decision to get fit again, you see I have always been fit and enjoyed exercise however 3 babies later I have found that although my intentions have been great that's all they have remained...intentions. The decision I have made to get fit and strong is ME.

You see I’m not overweight (I am however carrying a little extra following multiple pregnancies ☺); I don’t have issues with food or anything like, in fact, we (Philip and I) happen to be ‘foodies’. We both love to cook, eat out, try different things but in saying that we are very health conscience and eat wisely. My decision has been made purely because I want to feel great, I want to have more energy and I want to build strength into my body. There is so much I have to accomplish and I KNOW that I need to be strong in order to make a difference in this big world and to be the wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend that I want to be.

So, how have I started?

I prepared my exercise wardrobe last night. I laid everything out so there would be no excuse this morning. This ‘mental preparation’ allowed me to wake ready and believe it or not…excited to get going today!

I dropped the kids to school then popped my littlest in the jogging stroller and off I went for my jog/walk. We went for ½ hour and it was great, I was tired, I was sweaty, I felt like giving up and turning back earlier than I wanted to but I allowed myself to be stubborn and I made it! I then came home and planned to skip (yes with a skipping rope) for 15 minutes however upon starting I realised just how hard skipping is (I can’t remember skipping being a challenge in year 4!). I quickly adjusted my skipping time to 10 minutes and then adjusted it once again to 5 minutes……I was done and I felt that exhilaration that comes from stretching your capacity and exerting your body.

You know what’s funny, mentally I already feel better and what’s even funnier is I didn’t realise I was feeling perhaps a little off colour until now, until I did something positive with my body. Tomorrow I will do the same and you know what I bet I can get my skipping up to 5.5 minutes or maybe even 6 – I’ll let you know.

Keep smiling because as I always say, the world looks better through smiling eyes!!!!

Susan xoxo

Saturday, February 17, 2007


I thought I'd take a moment tonight to share my day with you and how PERSPECTIVE played a huge part.

My day was great, it was actually full of chores. We've been away for well over 7 weeks and our re-entry although amazing required a lot of 'hands on' from myself. I spent most of the day cleaning house, doing laundry and re-organising pretty much everything. I like things to be a certain way and I love to be organised and on top of things in my home. I find that being this way allows spontaneity to flow, it actually builds relaxation into everyone because home is in harmony (I'm sure you know what I mean if not, we can give you some tools and ideas that will help you establish a comfortable home life).

Perspective came knocking at my door when my children were in the pool. They had cleaned their rooms in the morning, did the lunch dishes and cleaned up the kitchen and were finally enjoying a much desired break in the pool. As I continued with my laundry and sorting they kept asking me to come in for a swim, constantly reminding me that summer wouldn't last much longer and the opportunity to spend an afternoon in the pool would be gone soon. To responded by saying, "let me finish this basket of laundry and then I'll think about coming out."

After about the forth time they asked and I responded with the same answer something within me knocked.....It was PERSPECTIVE! I remembered something my mother once told me, which was, "laundry will be with you forever, there will always be another basket, another pair of dirty jeans, more ironing. However your children are young but once so take advantage of the time you get with them."

You know how my story ends. I left the basket sitting on the lounge and went straight to the swimming pool, we played marco polo, tag, practiced for the swimming carnival, sprayed each other with the hose, for over two hours. We talked, we drank iced tea, had a snack and pretty much enjoyed an incredible day.

Perspective knocked today and I answered the door and I'm so glad I did. Sometimes we need to walk away from the laundry basket, the TV, computer, telephone or whatever else and get some perspective about situations in our lives. It's interesting how crystal clear things become when we allow a moment for PERSPECTIVE to be our guide.

Have the best day!

Susan xoxo

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The End Product

Recently I attended a family wedding. It was a wonderful event planned by the couple complete with a pyrotechnic display just outside the venue which overlooked the beach. Though that was not the “piece de resistance”.

The thing that brought a smile to every face and a tear to just about every eye were the speeches by the father of the groom and the groom.

The groom’s father gave an emotional address saying how proud he was of his son and his new daughter in-law and how much it meant to him to see how he had grown into his adult life with such a sense of independence and confidence. He also said how grateful he was that the two families were now joined together by this marriage.

The groom’s response was equally moving as he declared his love for his new bride. Then he went on to say how much he appreciated the sacrifices his parents made to get him to where he was today. He said how he now understood why his Dad worked so hard for the family and that how his parents brought him up had helped make him who he is today. He thanked them for the example of marriage they had given him and the love they had shown him.

Knowing this family as I do, I am well aware that they, like every other family have had heartaches and ups and downs when it comes to their children - however, watching this made me realize that even though there maybe hiccups and disappointments on the way, the end product is what matters and that all my lectures and life lessons and “time outs” will help to make the end product all that he or she can be and they will be able to live independently of me and flourish.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It's Valentine's Day

Well everyone the day of LOVE has found us once again. For some this is an enjoyable day full of gifts, beautiful food and romance. For others it has become Single Awareness Day (also known as SAD).

For those of you who are going to enjoy all the excitement of the day with a partner, have fun, be crazy and allow cupid to work magic in your relationship. For those of you who are alone ~ don't be! Find a few friends and turn the activities of the day or night into something fun. Turn the tables on the day and make it GREAT.

has put together a few ideas for everyone to help you make this day special and one to remember:

Find a new recipe and make a special dinner ~ use candles or change the bulbs over your table to orange (this makes everyone look fantastic).

Rent some old movies or go to a new release.

Have a romantic picnic in the backyard, at the beach, on the living room floor, in front of a fireplace.....use your imagination you'll be surprised with what you come up with.

Draw yourself an amazing bubble bath, light candles, pour yourself a glass of wine or champagne and relax.

Go for a massage.

Have a group of friends around for a 'potluck' dinner party and play celebrity heads.

Go out to a 'fun' restaurant.

Whatever you do make sure you relax and don't stress about the day. This year I am without my hubby (he's away on a business trip) so I have decided to make a great dinner for my children and remind them how much they are loved, I've booked a babysitter and I'm going to go and see Music and Lyrics (a new release for us) by myself......I can hardly wait to just enjoy my night.

Have fun and let us know how the day unfolded for you.

Love you lots.

Susan xoxo

Monday, February 12, 2007

My Deepest Apologies.....I TURNED 37 - YAHOO!!!!

Hello to everyone. My deepest apologies to everyone for the lack of communication through the blogspot. Unfortunately we have had some CRAZY connection issues (I know you all know what I’m talking about). Anyway, we’re back online now and will continue full speed ahead with stax of stuff for you.

Something I thought I’d share today is that……I TURNED 37 YESTERDAY!!!! Can you believe it I’m 37 and I’m so excited. I LOVE getting older and seeing life unfold. I LOVE that I’m married to an ‘older’ man (he turns 39 on the 26th of Feb and I’m planning a great party…. I love being married to an older man). I love that we’re getting older and we’re doing it together. Everything just seems to get better as the years tick on – who would have ever imagined that!

So friends today as I ponder life (thus far) and what I have learned I want to leave you with a few things that I know:

• We truly are like wine and cheese – we get so much better with age!
• Our bodies do change and it’s OK!
• Keeping up with our grey hairs is a weekly challenge….. Get to know your
hairdresser and your beautician well; they’ll help you through this!
• Our sex drive FINALLY catches up with our husbands/partners (have fun!).
• We finally begin to laugh about the small things and we choose our battles
• We look at our parents with different eyes….perhaps a little more forgiving.

I love you all, believe in you, and pray that everything we put on this spot either encourages, inspires or challenges you. I hope that in everything you do you are trying to get better. We get one shot at life so why not do it really well.

Have the best day and ALWAYS remember that life looks better through smiling eyes.


Susan xoxo

Friday, February 02, 2007

TIME FOR A CHECK UP!!! How are your New Year's Resolutions going?

Well anyone who knows me knows that I’m big on checking the progress of things (especially when it comes to cooking and baking). Anyway, last year I was asked to speak at an event and I spoke about ACCOUNTABILITY……that’s a ‘yikes’ word to most of us I know. Accountability is hard but necessary and wise to have in all of our lives.

Today I want to ask everyone a simple question and hopefully give a few suggestions that will keep you on track this year. We are now into February and my question is, “How are your New Years Resolutions/Hopes/Thoughts or Ideas going”? Are you seeing things happen? Whatever they may be, are you making steps to improve in these areas of your life?

I ask this simply because it is our hope that each one of you will accomplish something that you set out to change or make better this year.

A few familyroom tips on how to stay on top of your resolutions/hopes:

Keep a checklist: Pick a date each month and sit down with a cup of tea or coffee and see what you’ve done the previous month. Through this you will recognise areas that require your attention and you’re able to look at the month ahead of you and set targets and goals.

Find a partner: Find someone you can share your monthly goals with and give them access to ask and follow-up with your progress. This is challenging – you are becoming vulnerable so make sure you have thick skin.

Don’t get frustrated: You will have setbacks but don’t let them get you down. Keep chipping away and before you know it you WILL see progress.

Keep Perspective: Perspective is important (I will talk more about this in a later posting). Perspective allows you to take a breath and sometimes operate moment-by-moment when it gets hard. Keep your eye on the goal and don’t become overwhelmed by surrounding events or situations.

Finally, have fun and know that as you achieve a few of the initial, perhaps smaller goals that larger ones find themselves in your line of vision. This happens because your confidence grows, adrenaline kicks in and you become a person with vision. Vision keeps us going in the right direction.

Have fun and let us know about some of the great things you are seeing happen in your life this year.

Susan xoxo

My Favorites

Clicky Web Analytics