Saturday, October 20, 2007

Ten Things You Can Do Right Now to Love Your Body

From Courtney E. Martin, the author of Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body

1. Make the radical choice to commit to healing your relationship with your body.
2. Never diet. Never ever. It is a $31 billion industry that fails 95% of the time. That's just stupid.
3. Reconnect with your authentic hungers. When are you hungry? When are you full? What are you hungry for?
4. Move in ways (African dance, yoga, running, sex...) that make you feel happy instead of adhering to strict fitness regimens.
5. Add a compassionate voice to the chorus in your head.
6. Don't spend money on products made by companies that make you feel inadequate. Duh.
7. Stop hanging out with toxic people that make you feel bad about yourself.
8. Change conversations about weight to conversations about wellbeing.
9. Nominate someone for the REAL Hot 100.
10. Redefine your notion of success to include your own wellness--including joy, fulfillment, resilience, and self-love.

Shameless plug alert. For more ideas of how to heal, check out my book: Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body.

Add a compassionate voice to the chorus in your head

I consider this one of the most inspirational adages I have ever heard. Can you imagine how much better things would be if we tempered our thoughts towards others with compassion? Words to live by if I have ever read them.

Redefine your notion of success to include your own wellness--including joy, fulfillment, resilience, and self-love.

I like that one a lot....and I think I will be picking up this book as soon as I can, I have heard of it before, but forgot until she posted a couple days ago on a feminist blogging site I like to read. One of the best lists of 10 I have read in a while!

I want to make this a "sticky" on my blog, I am going to come up with a smaller version and keep this posted on the side permanently somewhere..

Weekend Therapy

Aaah, nothing better than a weekend full of therapy....

First, a truly enjoyable movie with Amanda...

: Three American brothers who have not spoken to each other in a year set off on a train voyage across India with a plan to find themselves and bond with each other -- to become brothers again like they used to be. Their "spiritual quest", however, veers rapidly off-course (due to events involving over-the-counter pain killers, Indian cough syrup, and pepper spray), and they eventually find themselves stranded alone in the middle of the desert with eleven suitcases, a printer, and a laminating machine. At this moment, a new, unplanned journey suddenly begins.

And tonight Mike is having his time out, and I, in turn, am enjoying a new wine:

Full-bodied with the perfect balance of fruit, oak and soft tannins by one of Australia's most successful wineries. A touch of spice is complemented by the ripe, juicy flavors of dark plums and black currants. Nice and easy on the palate.
My added comments : "Dries out my throat" and "Not bad but the merlot is bettter to gulp" as well as " As long as there is an alcohol content, who really cares what it tastes like??"
Really, I should be reviewing wines for a living, I am so eloquent with my descriptions.
Hope everyone is having as good a weekend as I am!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Dr's Sears and a Healthier Halloween

I received my newsletter via email the other day, and besides the usual Halloween safety tips, there were a few "health" tips that I liked as well.

How to Minimize Your Child's Candy Intake During The Halloween Season:

Out of sight, out of mind - Keep your child's candy on a top shelf of the kitchen cupboard. This way, your child must ask for it and you can keep better track of how much they eat. But even better is that they will probably forget about it. Kids tend to forget about their easter and halloween candy after a few weeks. We eventually eat some ourselves and throw the rest away after a few months.

Buy it back - Buy your child's candy back from them, then take a family trip to the toy store and let them pick out a few toys. This is a nice treat, since it's another long two months until Christmas.

Weed out the real junk - Allow your child to keep chocolate candies, but eliminate the artificially colored stuff. This will keep most of the chemicals to a minimum.

One junk a day rule - In our house we have a "one junk a day rule" that we have taught our kids from an early age. This doesn't mean they actually eat one every day, it simply means that when they DO eat a candy, they can only have one.

L.E.A.N. Corner: Healthy Options for Halloween Treats

Halloween is a once a year time for kids to have fun and enjoy getting dressed up, scaring each other and gathering treats are a part of the fun. Remember that most treats handed out are Red Light Foods and can lead to stomachaches and bad behaviour. Most Kids won't eat all their candy so a majority ofi t gets thrown away once forgotten about.Here are some non red light treat ideas to get you started thinking:

Small boxes of cereal
Cheese and cracker packages
Sugar-free gum
100% Juice box packages
Small packages of nuts or raisins
A package of instant cocoa mix
Non-food treats such as: Stickers, toys, crayons, pencils, colored chalk, erasers, baseball cards, rubber spiders, temporary tattoos, false teeth, little bottles of bubbles and small games, like tiny decks of cards (party-supply stores can be great sources for these)

You can go and visit Dr Sears L.E.A.N Start ( Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude and Nutrition) at

I have been reading the site, and there are some really interesting things on it, lots of good reading. Of course there is more in the books, but you can get a feel for what he is trying to convey.

I think the set is now on my Christmas want list...I am really interested in what he has to say about shaping kids tastes...and I am always interested in the latest studies and research on this.and the Family Fun book looks great!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

If You Could Taste How Good My House Smells

I love fall. With fall comes cooking with fruits and vegetables from the seasonal harvest,(my favorites) hot cocoa emerges as our favorite drink, and the crisp morning air jolts you right awake first thing in the morning.

I have finally perfected my pumpkin muffins recipe enough to share it, after trying tons, all of which just fell short somehow. So I have combined the best from all I have tried, to come up with:

THE ULTIMATE PUMPKIN MUFFIN (did you hear the booming,echoing voice announcing that?)

Bear in mind that any of my ultimates are full of healthy crap and minus as much junk as possible, so you can't compare it to, let's say, a white fluffy, blueberry muffin. However, Mike claims this is the best muffin I have come up with so far, junky ones included. He might be biased. OR, my other muffins really suck.

K's Ultimate Pumpkin Muffin

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix the following together in one large bowl.

1 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup applesauce (this happens to be one of the individual sized cups from a pack)
2 eggs

Mix well/sift in another bowl (I don't sift but it would work here) :

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

Take your dry ingredients, and add to the wet. If you like spicier muffins, add more spices. These are pretty spiced tho. Mix together slowly, until almost completely mixed...hard to 'splain, but perhaps just until you can see the flour still in a few places. Add in half a cup of your choice of chocolate chips, raisins, or walnuts. ALL are fantastic, but the chocolate chips really make the kids feel like this is a HUGE treat. Mix these in, stopping right as soon as the batter is mixed. If you overmix, they turn out like rubber, this is the secret to pumpkin baking. Never overmix. I've eaten pumpkin muffins that bounce off the floor like a ball!

This makes 24 mini-muffins and 4 large ones. That's just how it works out for me everytime. I would spray the pans if I were you, because with no oil, they stick.

Baking times are about 9 minutes for mini, and about 18 for large, but all ovens are different, so gauge yours.

This was all that was left tonight from my morning batch...and there's Mike stealing more lol! And I have been asked to bake some more, there's my Friday morning activity I guess.

Let me know how they turn out. And don't overmix LOL!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Shower Pics

Some pictures from the baby shower on Saturday, I really didn't get good pictures of everyone who was there, hopefully Lisa will email me the family ones she took! HINT HINT!

Proud Daddy...

Princess Ruby (I think. Unless I see them both together I have no clue who's who)

Cuddles with mom....
Mike with Ruby, (I think) He claimed that his ovaries were tingling during the shower. I told him that since he had ovaries, he can carry the next child.

Lisa and moi..
Lisa and moi plus babies....
My oh-so handsome husband and myself.
The proud parents.... and they have a good reason to be proud of those two little cuties.

Soccer Star Promotes Breastfeeding (football=soccer)

Theo Walcott's in a league of his own

Young Arsenal star Theo Walcott is back after a long injury. He talks to Simon Crompton about fitness, family and fame – and why tackling a breast-feeding campaign is his new game plan

Theo Walcott has a few points to prove. Back this season from a long-term shoulder injury, the wonderkid who was hailed the future of English football has had more than his fair share of frustration since last year’s record-breaking move to Arsenal and selection for the England World Cup squad at the tender age of 17. But events, like Theo, are moving at speed, and the “Theo to the rescue” headlines last weekend show that Walcott is well and truly back in the thick of British football.

Walcott transformed a shaky performance by Arsenal when he came on as a substitute against Sunderland last Sunday and once again showed that Wayne Rooney has a rival for the title of most exciting English footballing youngster. But there’s more to him than body swerve and pace. Today he’s telling me about the benefits of breastfeeding. Understandably, he’s not totally at ease, and his mother is at his elbow to fill him in on the bits that he forgets.

“I was breastfed, all my family were breastfed, and little Aurora here,” he says, dandling his one-year-old niece on his knee. “I see her being fed by my sister all the time. I just think it should be second nature to people.”

A footballer who thinks outside the box

Walcott has decided to lend his name to a new campaign encouraging more enlightened attitudes to breastfeeding (see panel). The fact that one so young, and earning a living in such an aggressively male world, should take a public stand on something perceived to be female territory is little short of remarkable.

But Walcott, who made a headline-grabbing £12 million move from Southampton to Arsenal last January, isn’t exactly a normal footballer. There’s a Jag in the drive of his five-bed Hertfordshire home, but it’s his father’s. His is the VW Golf, hidden behind. And he shares the house, which he bought after the World Cup, with his parents, two dogs and, at some points during the week his brother and sister, brother-in-law, nephew, niece, and girlfriend Melanie.

The siblings, partners and children are arriving as I turn up, and it’s genial chaos. “It’s always like this,” says Lynn, Walcott’s mother, with quiet resignation. Her son has had only three hours’ sleep, having returned at 5am after an European Champions League away game, but he’s making tea for everyone. “Hope it’s OK,” he says, offering me a cup. “Everyone always says my tea is rubbish.”

Not exactly Footballers’ Wives. Walcott admits that his family is hugely influential, and it was his mother, an independent midwife and former breastfeeding teacher, who suggested that he lend his name to the new campaign. Being embedded in kith and kin also seems to have given him the inner steel to be his own man. Which is impressive when you think that the public has always seen Walcott as the baby of the footballing world.

He admits to having been a bit in awe of the rest of the squad during the unsuccessful (and for Walcott, unused) World Cup jaunt (he has not been selected for the main team since, though he has been impressive for England Under21s and Steve McClaren, the England manager, has told him he has not been forgotten).

He seems unconcerned (or perhaps unaware) about the potentially lethal dressing-room combination of being baby-faced and advocating mother’s milk. “I know I’ll get the mickey taken out of me, but that’s always happening anyway. What can I say? It’s the right thing to do. It’s about healthy eating, getting healthy bones, right from the start of life, and men need to support their wives in that. That’s what I’ll be doing with my kids.” He adds hurriedly: “I’m not saying I’ll have them now!” He and Mel, 18, a mayor’s daughter from Southampton, who is about to train as a physiotherapist, have been an item for two years.

The breastfeeding manifesto that Walcott is promoting has been produced by a coalition of 39 organisations, including the Royal Society of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Royal College of Midwives. It not only calls for health-care professionals to be fully trained to support mothers with breastfeeding but also for government support for breastfeeding in public. Walcott says he’s amazed when people give dirty looks to his sister when she’s breastfeeding in restaurants.

“I just work hard and train hard”

You have to keep reminding yourself that Walcott is still a teenager. After that manic year in 2006, he has definitely grown up – wide shoulders, bucket hands and a fetching experimentation with facial hair. He also has a surprising streak of arrogance that appears in glimpses (“It shows how big I am that I can ignore the jokes”), and which you realise is essential to survive in football. Just how tough that world still is becomes apparent when he recalls the battle with injury and the long periods on the bench over the past 12 months. His shoulder first dislocated in a game against Portsmouth in December 2005. He has inherited a congenital fault, in which the shoulder ligaments are too slack, from his father, Don, who now manages his company. Until now, he hadn’t revealed how long-standing the injury had been.

“It started to pop out quite frequently in the second half of last season and soon it became an absolute nightmare. We had to keep it quiet because if the opposition heard about it, the first thing that happens is that someone will shoulder-charge you.”

Then he fell heavily in a game against Everton the day after his 18th birthday in March this year and there was no hiding the seriousness of the incident. “Everyone could see the pain I was in. Even just drying myself with a towel, or rolling over in bed, popped it out.”

Surgery to repair and tighten the ligaments became urgent and waking up afterwards was one of the worst nights of Walcott’s life. “When I woke up, I was absolutely in bits. My arm was completely dead and floppy after the anaesthetic. It’s all over now, though. They say I won’t be able to get full extension, but it’s 95 per cent.”

The injury kept him out of the game until August, so this season Walcott is raring to go. He has had six club first-team appearances, two as a substitute. “I just work and train hard, that’s all you can do really. And a smile on your face helps, too.”

“He never went through a sullen phase as a teenager,” his mother chips in, supportively.

Walcott’s just beginning to get used to the idea that he’s a role model. He’s aware that the young kids who support him from the stands want to support him off the field, too. Just how he has felt about his own footballing idols: Michael Owen and Thierry Henri. “You never see them in the newspapers doing dodgy stuff, which shows what professionals they are.”

All good wholesome stuff then. A manager’s dream, as well as a mother’s. Walcott has never been to a nightclub in his life, and Mel doesn’t like partying either. She confides that she didn’t always find it easy fitting in with the other England WAGs (wives and girlfriends) during the World Cup. Mel will be going back home this evening, leaving Walcott for a boys’ night in with his mates. No footballers mind, just old schoolfriends from his home village of Compton, near Newbury. They’ll be playing pool and computer games.

Does he ever feel an outsider? He shrugs. “We’re all different in football,” he says. But I’m wondering whether, at 18, he’s strong enough to be so different, to pull off the feat of demonstrating to young boys that you can be sensible, sensitive and talk about women’s issues, and be more the man for it.

And then, as our photographer says for the umpteenth time “just one more picture”, Walcott says: “No. You said that was the last, and that was the last” and walks off. It’s three o’clock, he hasn’t had any lunch, and he wants it over. That glimpse of steel again. “You’ve got to draw a line,” his father says to me good-humouredly. “I’m glad he did that.” And I am, too.

Breast is best

The Breastfeeding Manifesto, launched by Best Beginnings and supported by Unicef, Save the Children, the Royal College of Midwives, and the British Dietetic Association, calls for:

Better training for health professionals, so that they can better help mothers to start and continue breastfeeding.

Statutory breastfeeding breaks at work.

Governments to encourage greater social acceptance of breastfeeding in public.

Children to be educated at school about the importance of breastfeeding.

Controls on the marketing of formula milk.

For more information about the campaign, or buy a T-shirt in support, visit

Breastfeeding facts:

The World Health Organisation recommends that babies are exclusively breastfed for the first six months.

In the UK, nine women out of ten stop breastfeeding before the baby is six weeks old.

If all babies were breastfed for at least three months, the reduction in gastroenteritis alone would save the NHS £35 million.

I find this article so impressive because not only is he young, popular and famous, and taking a stance that I admire, but he is representing a minority group, which I feel is a focus missing SO much when it comes to promoting breastfeeding. Studies have shown that the majority of breastfeeders are white, university educated, middle class women. We are missing the mark promoting outside this box. So when I saw this, I was incredibly excited.

My fondest wish is that Mr K grows up this enlightened and supportive of his future wife. Not that she will be good enough for him, of course. ;)