Inspiring, Motivating and Keeping it Green!
The holidays are fast approaching, too fast if you ask me, it seems like yesterday it was the beginning of Spring and I was pottering around in the soil getting my garden ready.
I am not sure about you, but for me, the holidays bring a lot of angst, as I just never seem to organize my loved and appreciated ones gifts in time. It is always a last-minute rush to get everything in order by Christmas Eve; when Father Christmas comes down the Chimney!
One way around this is to make your own presents; I feel like something homemade is more sincere than buying something, as so much love and appreciation has gone into the final product. I really enjoy making my own products, even if I am quite the novice.
So how do I know what to do? Well I am glad you asked.
A year or so ago, I participated in one of Back Porch Soap Company founder, Marla Bosworth, workshops here in New York City titled Balms, Salves, Butters and Scrubs which are held at Little Shop of Crafts throughout the year on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I found her class to be extremely helpful. Marla is a wonderful teacher who knows her stuff. She is patient, knowledgable and has a really cool vibe to her (bonus). I highly recommend taking a class of hers if you can, you will definitely walk away with a spring in your step.
I also read a lot of books; in particular A Green Guide to Natural Beauty by UK-based Karen Gilbert. The book has the most gorgeous photos and offers natural alternatives of like-commercial-products which have too much packaging, too much perfume and are too expensive for what they are. Can we just take it back to basics now already please!
Another book in my library is Organic Body Care Recipes by Stephanie Tourles. She offers 175 recipes on how to make your own organic shampoos, moisturizer, balms, cellulite soaks, scrubs and toners. Yes, I just said cellulite soaks!
Have you ever stopped to wonder how many chemicals are contained in the products you put on your body?
There has been a huge focus on the downside of eating many foods of late, and I believe people are becoming more conscious of what we put into our bodies. But, what about the products we put on our body, which soak through our skin and into our cells. If you think about it, our body is still consuming it, just in a different way. This equals = just as dangerous. By making your own products you can control what goes into your cauldron ie no pesticide-sprayed or GMO ingredients.
With a little research and patience, creating your own beauty products can be an easy-peasy way to fulfill your creative needs, save some money or make some money, and put a BIG SMILE on a friend’s face.
Upcoming on the BLOG will be a tutorial on how to make a Whipped Body Butter recipe, just as soon as I get it right.
The cold weather is in full effect here in New York City. Yep, there is no turning back; it is full pledge gloves, beanies and spencer (Australian for thermals) weather.
Being a Stay At Home Mum & having a 3 year-old-Son who is bustling with energy, I am experiencing a new stage with him again. What do I do to keep him busy when it is too cold to spend time outdoors? If you ask me this question again, once Winter is over, I am sure I will be able to reel off a bevy of answers. But for now, I know that movies are a suitable option!
Last week, Miles Storm and I were invited by event extraordinaire The Moms to attend a screening of the much-anticipated 3D Disney Movie Frozen. Frozen is loosely based on Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytale – The Snow Queen; being a tale of good, evil, love and life lessons.
Although, Frozen may look like it may be better suited to young girls, do not be fooled. My 3-year-old Son loved the movie and is still raving about the Talking Snowman Olaf and the Ice Princess Elsa. But just to back up a bit….
Princess Anna and Princess Elsa are 2 sisters who are very different. Elsa was born with special powers where she unwillingly can create devastating ice and snow effects from touch or from feeling emotional, wild and crazy (I know how that goes). Anna, on the other hand, lacks powers but makes up for it with her fearlessness, kindness and never-give-up attitude.
As a child, Elsa harnessed her powers by always wearing gloves and learning to control her mind, but this all goes haywire one day when she puts her beloved village of Arendelle into an eternal winter. Unknowingly, she then takes off to an Ice Castle deciding this is where she will stay.
Like a good sister should, Anna, decides to find her in what becomes a maddening intertwine of sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat events. Along her way, she encounters the help of hilarious characters like lovable Olaf the Snowman, rugged Mountain Man Kristoff and his loyal Reindeer Sven, and my favorite Trading Post and Sauna owner; Oaken. Oaken had me in stitches! Just, loved him.
Frozen is a clever tale of life lessons, sense of community and perpetual sibling love. Princess Elsa must shape up and embrace her powers to overcome the fear of her somewhat frightening abilities. While Princess Anna must figure out what true love really means and does not mean!
I really do not want to give away the whole story here so I am not going to say too much more…
Frozen is full of music, laughs and wonder. It is a visually appealing movie which my Son and I really enjoyed. The theme of snowy days, is fitting to watch with the Northern Hemisphere Winter upon us. I will also say that from where we were sitting in the Theater, combined with the effects of wearing the 3D glasses, there was a lot of oohing and ahhing in awe – it was clearly a hit with the young crowd.
Frozen opens to the public, here in the United States, the day before Thanksgiving being Wednesday November the 27th. Showtimes, and advance ticket sales can be found at this link on the movie website FANDANGO.
Thanks for getting your Disney on and Reading my BLOG, I hope you enjoy Frozen as much as my Son and I did!
Food Revolution is a Non-Profit Global Organization with the goal of educating people how to eat healthier. One of the ways this is being done is by teaching Children the basics of cooking their own food. It seems like a simple thing, but unfortunately food education in schools is no longer a priority (as it was when I was growing up). In fact, here in the USA many schools do not even include food education in their curriculum at all!
Of course being like-minded, I applied! And, I am happy to write that I am now a Food Revolution Ambassador for the Brooklyn New York area; which is very exciting! I join hundreds of other ambassadors in over 130 countries around the World who are dedicated to “play a leadership role in connecting individuals, schools, businesses and organizations at a local level to ensure their collective voice is heard”.
The Minestrone Soup
Each month Food Revolution HQ send out monthly challenges to all ambassadors -
November Challenge #3: Make our minestrone soup, our recipe for this month, add your own twist to it, let us know what ingredients you add or substitute and why not even pass this simple recipe on to others and teach them how to make it — Food Revolution
I have made quite a few soups but never a Minestrone version, so I was quite excited to get started on this and share it with you all. I added a twist by making my soup vegan and I used all organic and Non-GMO ingredients. If you know me, that kind of goes without saying.
As my substitute to the bacon used in Jamie Oliver’s minestrone soup recipe, I used tofu. Additionally, I used the Peruvian seed quinoa rather than pasta or rice. I prefer Quinoa as it is relatively high in protein and lacks gluten, it is also really easy to prepare.
A traditional vegetable minestrone soup is of Italian origin; which is tomato based with the addition of pasta or rice. Common ingredients include beans, celery, onion and carrot, as well as herbs such as oregano or basil. There are no set rules when creating a minestrone soup which is usually seasonal dependent on what is available.
This soup was so easy to make, and it turned out really delicious. I am even going to go as far as to say, one of the best Minestrone soups I have ever tasted.
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 14 OZ Extra Firm Tofu (I used the Nasoya Brand), cut in small cubes
- 8 Gloves of Garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 red onion, chopped small
- 3 medium carrots, sliced
- 3 large celery stalks, sliced
- 3 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 jar/16 OZ canned tomatoes, grown in our family garden last Summer
- 4 Cups of Low Sodium Vegetable broth (I used the Pacific Brand)
- 15 OZ Kidney Beans (I used Eden organic brand)
- 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary
- 2 Cups of chopped Kale, from our garden
- 2 Cups of pre-cooked Quinoa
- Salt and Pepper to taste
What To Do
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil, completely covering the base
- Add the tofu and sauté for 10 minutes
- Add the garlic, red onion, carrots, celery, and tomatoes for an additional 15 minutes
- Add canned/tinned tomatoes, vegetable broth, rosemary, oregano and kidney beans; simmering for 35 minutes with lid on
- Add chopped kale and pre-cooked quinoa on low heat for another 15 minutes
- Add Salt and Pepper to taste
- Serve with a crusty bread roll, if you like
What about you, are you interested in becoming a Food Revolution Ambassador? If so, you can find more information, and apply HERE. The more the merrier I say!
Peace, Love and Plants Make The World Go Around! Thank-You for stopping by to read my BLOG!
When, my 3-year-old Son was born, my husband bought me my first iPhone. The main reason for this gift was so I could use one of the breast milk calculator APPS; you know one that counts how many minutes you breastfeed on each boob for, per day per feeding!
My husband likes to keep track of everything, he is a numbers guy, and this was a way he could keep in tune with how his wife and baby were doing. It was also really handy information to have on a digital spreadsheet for when we visited the Pediatrician. Welcome to the future! At a glance, our Doctor was able to see whether Miles Storm was drinking a healthy amount of breast milk. And, I have to tell you, having to nurse every 3 hours to feed Miles I was of no help in remembering how much milk he was drinking, I was more like a walking sleep-deprived zombie! It was all such a blur. Yep, those were the good old days.
Another thing that my husband signed me up for around that time was the relatively unknown Iphone APP known as Instagram. Yes, I have uploaded photos of my life on Instagram for 3 years, and that time has flown by. I am actually really grateful for this introduction for many reasons. One being that I have dated visual memories that I can go back and visit at any time, and being a Mummy Blogger this is incredibly helpful at times, like now. Social Media; how would we live without it.
From a cute little Father Christmas to this year’s IronMan; I am so looking forward to seeing my Son’s Halloween costumes progress over the years to come. I invite you to enjoy the different stages of my little munchkin growing up through the 4 Halloween’s he has experienced in his young life so far.
Miles Storm was around 6 weeks of age during his first Halloween. I had planned to take him to a Halloween Party with my Mother, who was visiting from Australia, but it did not work out as planned. Instead we dressed him in his Father Christmas outfit, which he posed for with our Bulldog Mohawk, a few weeks later.
Kangaroo and Joey
1-year-old; one of the best ages for Halloween, from a Parent perspective anyway. Miles Storm had just started walking, and did not mind whether that he was dressed up as a cute kangaroo. I was also happy to represent my homeland of Australia. Not to mention, everybody just thought that he was adorable.
Halloween, was for the most part, cancelled in New York in the aftermath of the devastating, Hurricane Sandy, which had hit landfall a week earlier. Miles Storm had picked his costume out, and was very excited about it all, so instead we took him to the Rhinebeck Farmer’s Market where he strutted his stuff. He was loving life this day, literally as proud as punch. As you can see, a picture speaks a thousand words.
Sigh…. this year Miles Storm was adamant that he must be dressed as cartoon character Ironman. It took him hours to choose his outfit from a catalogue which came in the mail, and while my husband and I tried to convince him otherwise, he would not budge! From a cute fluffy kangaroo to a superhero that wants to save the World. Such a boy! This was also his first time Trick or Treating which he just did with the other children in our apartment building.
What are the varying characters that your child/children have dressed as over the years? When do children stop wanting to dress up?
Happy Halloween Everybody, and here is to many more to come!
THANKS FOR READING MY BLOG!
UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund)…
…. Saves thousands of young lives around the world each day.
…. Works towards the day when no child dies from a preventable cause.
…. Does whatever it takes to give children the basics of a happy, healthy childhood.
When I think of Trick-or-Treating and Halloween, what immediately comes to mind is copious amounts of lollies (Australian for candy) and comically scary creatures, with little kids walking around dressed as ghosts having fun. For me, it is a Holiday which I am not really experienced with as I was brought up in Australia where it was not a holiday recognized or celebrated. I mean, of course I saw it on the movies and on TV shows but that is as far as it really went.
However, now that my Son is 3 years of age and I am living in the USA, I am in full-swing learning the Ins & Outs of Halloween as I go along. And, it is really fun!
This week I was invited to an event hosted by NYC Mummy Sensation – THE MOMS – highlighting the 2013 Trick-or-Treat UNICEF campaign. I took Miles with me, as much to his sheer joy, it was held at the most unusual (and perhaps famous) – Dylan’s Candy Bar.
This Annual program of “Kids helping Kids” has been executed in the United States since 1950. During this time, more that 170 million dollars has been raised to help suffering children in 190 Countries by providing the basic necessities like clean water, healthy food, education, immunizations and education.
How it Works
- Standard Trick-or-Treating; collecting money from people who children visit door to door. You can usually order the orange boxes from UNICEF HERE but as it is bit close to Halloween it is not an option at this time
- Download a Canister Label to create your very own fundraising container HERE
- Once all the money is collected, participants download a Donation Form HERE and send it to the Trick-Or-Treat UNICEF NYC headquarters, or money can be deposited at a Coinstar Kiosk
Other Ways To Donate To UNICEF
- During the months of November and December the IKEA Foundation donates €1 (approx $1.40 USD) for every “Soft Toy for Education” that is sold in participating IKEA stores. You can see one of the cute little Snuggles in the photo above
- Donate $10 by Texting the word “TOT” to the phone number 864 233 (USA only)
- Buy Caryl Stern’s, President and CEO of the US Fund for UNICEF’s Memoirs, which is about her travels around the World helping others. 100% of profits benefit less fortunate children. The book retails for $25.99 and you can buy it HERE
- Buy your Halloween cards from UNICEF like this cute box card set for only $10 HERE
- Follow UNICEF on Twitter, LIke them on Facebook, not forgetting INSTAGRAM. By sharing posts through your social media outlets you are helping to promote awareness of the various programs that UNICEF is running
Thanks so much to Denise and Melissa (who are THE MOMS) for inviting Miles Storm and I to the Mamarazzi UNICEF event. If we had not been in attendance, I would still be clueless and not know about this wonderful opportunity to raise money for UNICEF each year.
This Halloween I am sending Miles Storm out with his “I Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF” tote bag and his little orange box, and we are going to see what we get back? Surely, learning about this program so close to Halloween means that we will be somewhat limited in outreach. However, on the Plus Side it means we have 12 months to prepare for our UNICEF Halloween next year!
HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYBODY, and thanks for reading my BLOG!
Every now and again, on a rare occasion, I serve Miles Storm prepackaged frozen foods. My husband and I do try our very best to always serve him home cooked foods, but you heard it here first: we are not perfect!
My husband is away at the moment on business, and driving between 2 homes with 2 dogs and a very excitable little boy really hasn’t left me much time to do anything, let alone cook and clean dishes!
Last week when I was in such a spot, I received a package of the 3 vegetarian options that the New York City based food company Kidfresh had sent for Miles Storm to try. It was kind of like the perfect scenario, I had no time and here was a delivery of KidFresh sitting in my kitchen.
Some of you may recall, that my Son suffered with bad eczema when he was a lot younger, and we were told, by his pediatrician, to cut out all gluten and dairy. If you are interested you can read about that HERE. However, most recently, he has grown out of that allergy, so very occasionally and as a special treat he can have dairy and gluten foods. I am quite proud to write that, we cook the majority of Miles Storm’s food. As a result of this, in his eyes giving him prepackaged food is indeed a Special Treat.
And, I have to tell you, Miles Storm ate the whole bowl. He really liked it!
Kidfresh products are available in over 5000 stores across the USA, including my favorite Whole Foods, and range in price between $3 to $4 per serving.
As a plus, the packaging is BPA free, and there are no artificial colors or preservatives in the meals. Each variety also has hidden vegetables mixed in like Butternut Squash, Tomatoes and Carrots. Yep, the people over at Kidfresh are pretty tricky!
Another thing that makes me feel good about Kidfresh is that they have helped to feed others not so fortunate since 2011 through NYC based non-profit organization – City Harvest!
For me, Kidfresh was a great way to feed my Little Guy at speed. I admit, I do feel somewhat guilty that I was not able to find the time to cook for him. But, on the other hand, I am happy he liked the food and ate the whole bowl. If that is not proof in the pudding I do not know what is?
What about you, if you are in a bind, what quick prepared foods do you serve to your children?
Thanks for reading my BLOG!