Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Balanced Life

Hello everyone.... my apologies for not updating the blog over the past few days. My delay in updating is simply due to the fact that Jane and I have been extremely busy sitting by the pool in Fiji!!!!! Yes, we are still in Fiji, with the Kennedy's (Jane's family) and are currently enjoying a week of sun, sand and total relaxation. Needless to say, we are enjoying every single moment.

I have chosen to blog about The Balanced Life because, through my work with familyroom, I have come to understand that BALANCE in our personal, family and corporate lives is greatly desired however the search for it is proving to be a major struggle.

How do we find balance in the midst of our busy lives? How do we cultivate balance and make it work?

Balance and Consistency go hand-in-hand, it's not the all or nothing or the living with extremes, rather it's about everything in moderation. It's about being wise and considering all situations before acting, it's about making smart choices, it's about breathing through everything and not striving or stressing about the issues of life.

Over the next few days we will post different topics surrounding A BALANCED LIFE. We would love to hear from you........

Have the best day and remember to smile because the world looks better through smiling eyes.


xoxo......gotta run and get my place by the pool :))

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Power of Consistency

Consistency. A word that rolls off the tongue easily, but a word that challenges each one of us every-day. Consistency is something that is required in our lives in so many areas whether it be in area of exercise, relationships, raising children, cleaning, emotions, etc., the list simply goes on and on. Consistency can be our friend or at times our greatest enemy.

I wanted to share this thought with you and allow you time to ponder how Consistency is or isn’t working in your life.

I was talking to my dear friend Jane today about raising children and how so many of us think that in order to get it right we have to be consistent in the way we discipline our children. To this end I totally agree however not only do we need to be consistent in our discipline, we MUST be consistent in our love, our words and our actions. We all know that children live what they see and as we endeavour to raise our children to be strong, confident adults we must allow them to see consistency in our lives every-day.

It is important that we (as the adults) conduct ourselves in our homes the same way we conduct ourselves outside of the home. Our children see it all and I believe that a great deal of insecurity comes from instability whether that be through a different vocabulary behind our front doors, happiness and joy in front of others vs. sorrow and anger at home, or the emotional roller coaster which causes everyone to walk on egg shells……. I think you see where I’m going.

Building consistency into our lives provides a solid, straight path for our children to walk on. The speed bumps of life will remain however that’s all they are ‘speed bumps’ and we can all negotiate a little bump here and there. Take a good look at your life and the life of your family, see where better Consistency could and will make a difference.

One of the main areas in my life that I have recently adjusted and applied Consistency to is health and fitness. As I’ve shared through the blog fitness used to be a huge part of my life until we (Philip and I) experienced change - an overseas move, three children and the fitness I once loved was lost amongst ‘life’. Yes, I did the sporadic ‘holiday workouts’ and ‘Post Christmas blasts’ or the dreaded “Summer is coming and swimwear is nearing’ exercise however that area of my life desperately needed CONSISTENCY. Now that I have made that change everyone in my life is benefiting and I’m so glad I chose to be Consistent.

As parents our children crave Consistency and it is something we can give them that costs us nothing. Consistency is delivered by sheer determination to do things differently, it’s mind over matter and it’s a daily and at times moment-by-moment choice. I encourage you to become or remain Consistent – a decision you will NEVER regret.

Susan xoxo

Monday, April 16, 2007

Health and Fitness (My Fiji Story)

Hello everyone!

Well as most of you already know, Jane, our resident Nutritionist, Naturopath and basic 'good food' Guru lives in Fiji and guess what.....I'm here visiting her! Yes, the kids and I jumped on a plane on Monday morning and headed for Fiji where we will spend the next two weeks. My husband will join us for week two which will be incredible (we are missing him like mad).

I know many of you have been keeping up with Belinda and myself as we journey towards health and fitness - general wellbeing really. In following us you also know that Jane is on the same journey. Well friends I have to tell you that the hard work is definitely paying off!

Jane and I saw each other yesterday at the airport, the first time since Christmas and pre-health and fitness journey, and we were both so excited to see the transformation with our own eyes. Not only do we feel great but we are both looking different - our shape has changed, everything looks much firmer and just in the 'right' place.

It's amazing how encouraged we are simply because we both really see the progress each other has made. The recognition has pushed us to keep going and reach the next goal. It's great to see my friend looking and feeling so great and seeing her confidence increased simply because she is stronger from the inside out. I'm sure she feels the same way about me.

So friends today I would like to encourage you on your own journey. If you've joined us and are on your way WELL DONE! If you're still thinking about it then please stand up, start moving as much as you can and know that each day you will get stronger, feel better and within a short time WILL notice a difference. Put on foot in front of the other and go for it and we promise to cheer you on. Go on, YOU DESERVE IT!!!!

Leave a comment and let us know how things are going, we would LOVE to hear from you.

Have the best day and start enjoying the new you.

Susan (from Beautiful Fiji!!!!)


Friday, April 13, 2007

Exercise, Sex Drive and Food Diaries, O MY!!!!!

Hey again everyone!

I’ve really been enjoying reading about the exercise antics of various
familyroom team members (Go Susan, Belinda and now Nicki) and comparing them to my own!

My little weight loss program is coming along and although I stayed the same weight this week, (it happens), I’m feeling great and loving the benefits.

Eating less and increasing exercise is really the key to getting in shape and the spin offs are so worth it.

I’m sleeping better, I actually have an appetite rather than eating out of habit or because the food’s there, I have more energy and my clothes are fitting better. My sex drive is greater too, which is fun!! My man is happy!

If you had a look at my last post you’ll remember that I was going to talk to you about what I’m doing differently this time and why it’s working for me, as opposed to the yo-yo thing.

Well as I said, this time I’m doing it for me and I’m doing it for life, I’m not on a diet. Also I have a clear goal, not just ‘well maybe I’ll lose a few kgs’; I’m going for a kilo a week.

Also I’m exercising everyday and loving it…..I think I’m addicted!!

I’m walking, swimming, doing weights and floor work for abs, I’m doing Pilates DVDS (in my living room) and generally thinking more about incidental exercise – you know the kind where you take the stairs instead of the lift and park further away so you have to walk further, etc.

I am also keeping a food diary, which I highly recommend to everyone! When I see clients for a Nutrition consultation, the first thing we do is talk about what they’ve eaten for the last few days. A food diary helps you acknowledge that actually you’re not a great vegetable eater and no you didn’t even come close to 8 glasses of water today!! The diary also helps you work out what your weaknesses are and when you’re eating from boredom or pmt or depression.

Try it and see how you go.

Another key is not eating 2 hours before bedtime. As Oprah says “Not a grape!”

If you’re in bed at 10pm then there must be nothing, not a thing after 8. Your metabolism slows down towards the end of the day and it’s much harder for your body to deal with food. It may sound simple but can be so effective in weight loss.

And one more for the road, give alcohol the flick except as a sometimes or party treat. It has oodles of calories and sugar and while it may not have a lot of fat, it adds a whopping amount to you’re overall daily caloric intake. Instead of alcohol drink water and herbal teas and watch the weight come off and your energy increase! You may not know but alcohol is actually a depressant. It may give us the giggles and some Dutch courage but the end result is a downer for your nervous system.

If I’m honest, it has been hard these past few weeks to stick with the program. It’s been one of those weeks where everything goes wrong and pmt leaves me kicking and screaming. For the most part though I kept it together with the exercise and the good food choices, but it wasn’t easy. Know that there ARE and WILL be weeks like this. And its ok!

It’s not all or nothing.

Have a great week,

Lv Jane

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Creativity is the Answer.......

Hello everyone. For most of us in Australia we are in the midst of Term 1 School Holidays. I love these holidays because the weather is PERFECT and life seems just right (I love going to bed and waking in the crisp air).

This morning we had one of those ‘lazy’ mornings – a morning when breakfast didn’t really get started until 10am. The troop (my children plus Belinda’s daughter Brittany who was here for a sleep over) finally found themselves hungry and requested Pancakes - so Pancakes it would be. I began preparing the necessary ingredients only to find that we were out of flour (a required ingredient for the ‘perfect’ pancake).

Instead of disappointing my loyal troop I jumped online and googled ‘Flourless Pancakes’ hoping that old faithful (google) wouldn’t let me down. To my surprise up came a recipe and I happened to have everything on hand so I went to making this new Pancake. You HAVE to read the recipe and be as shocked as I was:

1/3 cup Oats
1/3 cup 1% Cottage Cheese
1 whole egg
1 egg WHITE
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1. Combine all ingredients and mix really well with a hand beater.
2. Pour into a hot, no-stick pan and cook like a regular pancake.
3. Turn pancakes when bubbles form on uncooked top.
4. Serve with Maple Syrup (and cream if you’ve never tried), Lemon and Sugar, bananas, fresh fruit or whatever your favorite topping is.

These Pancakes were INCREDIBLE. The kids gobbled them up and they couldn’t taste a difference. They were non the wiser and I didn’t disappoint them after saying ‘yes’ to their request. I guess I just stepped out of the box today, allowed creativity to flow and choose to look further than the empty flour jar. I’m so glad I did because I learned something new today.

Give them a go and enjoy. I’m going to try them again but substitute Ricotta for the Cottage Cheese.

Susan xoxo

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Secrets from a Working Mum

Hi friends,

I hope you are all REALLY well. Today I thought I would take a moment and share some of the strategies I use to help me function as a ‘working Mum’. I really hope this encourages those of you who have found yourself in a particularly busy season. The BUSY season is exactly where I find myself right now; in the midst of much activity however (thankfully) things seem to be going well…..hence the reason I thought I would share a few thoughts:).

A quick look at my world - husband, kid’s 10, 8 and 4. I work 2 days a week as a midwife and 3 days a week in our cake business (with a shop opening soon called The Cake Tin). I’m currently taking an evening course at college, we have an active social calendar plus church commitments and last but not least I do my own cooking, cleaning, ironing, etc. Basically this is a very busy season as you can see.

I write the above (as I said) with the hope that you are encourage and see that IT CAN BE DONE and you can be happy, satisfied and effective in all areas of your life.

As you read this please, please remember that we are all different. My mother tells me that once I started to walk I charged everywhere (a glimpse into how I approach things!!!). Below are just a a few tips that really work for me, they may however freak you out, or turn you into a raving lunatic so simply enjoy, take whatever you can and if they don’t work for you remember that they may help a friend!

1. I use MS Outlook on my computer. The calendar is amazing. I put everything on it and each month I print it up so we all have a hard copy (not just me). This calendar reminds me/us each day what is needs/has to be done (eg: birthday’s, bills, assignments, car servicing, hair/dentist/doctor appointments, etc.,). This calendar allows my head to remain clear.

2. My big tip: DON”T PROCRASTINATE! Do it as soon as you can. This eliminates feelings of failure, confusion or guilt. Just the pleasure of one more thing completed. It’s much more fun to live with a sense of victory than failure

Running the House: One Word…LISTS
• My pantry cupboards can be opened to reveal what looks like plans to overtake a small nation in 3 days. There is a shopping list divided into: groceries/cold/fruit and veg/non food.
• Another piece of paper is time table listing each child’s weekly activities.
• There is a house- keeping timetable, which fits around my commitments (eg: Monday is floors, ironing, baking and general tidy. Tuesday is groceries, kitchen, and dusting. Saturday is washing towels/linen and cleaning the bathrooms)
• Make sure you include exercise in your timetable. I walk three or four mornings a week. I make this happen by going to bed at a decent hour which provides me with energy to rise a little earlier and as we all know exercise gives us more energy so it’s essential.
• Schedule “down time”. We have family night once a week as well as Richard and I spending time together. Throughout this blog thefamilyroom offers great ideas for family and partners.
• A list of suggestions for lunch boxes (thanks Susan) adorns the pantry door, as do meal plans for four weeks.

Whilst I may sound like a megalomaniac I can assure you in one afternoon, armed with a big cup of coffee, pencil and paper you could get it all sorted. It takes a bit of thinking and consideration of your family but it CAN BE DONE. Also remember that children DO benefit from being involved so include them (whatever age).

Lastly don’t’ be afraid to use hired help if that fits into your equation. Do what works for you and within your family budget. And, if you do take on the lists and you miss a day don’t stress (I should be washing the clothes presently but I’m chatting with you instead). The lists take the clutter out of my mind so I can be emotionally present rather than stressed. They work for everyone.

My little secret is to pray for the strength to do it all well, love the people I get to encounter in my busyness and look at my lists and smile. Susan is so right when she says that the world looks better through smiling eyes!!!

Annie xx

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Fasta Pasta......

Ok friends, here’s a simple, tasty pasta recipe that takes only 20 minutes to prepare. My kids love it as do my hubby and I. It's also a great 'simple' dish to entertain with.


2 rashers of bacon
4 large ripe tomatos
500g of Penne Pasta
1 teaspoon of Olive Oil
2 spring onions – chopped
2 tablespoons of fresh basil
1 ¼ cup of thickened cream
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Cut bacon into small pieces
Using a shape knife, mark a small cross on each tomato, boil for 5 minutes, run cold water over them and peel
Chop up tomatoes
Cook pasta
While Pasta, not Pastor, is cooking, heat oil in a heavy-based fry pan. Cook bacon and spring onion for 5 minutes
Add basil, cream, salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes
Add tomatoes and cook for 2 – 3 minutes

Serve Pasta in bowls, top with sauce.

Tip: Add some crunchy French bread and a nice glass of wine and you have yourself a date night with your husband/partner or simply a nice dinner with friends.

Shopping List:

Bacon Rashers
4 large ripe tomatos
500g of Penne Pasta
Spring Onions
Fresh Basil
Thickened Cream
Crusty French bread
A nice bottle of Red



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