Have you taken time to enjoy today?

I’ve mentioned in other posts how I love to scrapbook. I have been spending the last few days trying to rearrange our front room on a very tight budget ($0!). It’s a challenging space because anyone who comes to our front door looks right into it. It needs to be a multi-purpose room. It is where my “office” space will be when I start taking clients, as well as for my studies. It is also where I will do any crafting and will have to store all my supplies. The kids of course will find their way into the room as it doesn’t have a door I can close and I want it to be a place where I can sit and read. Oh, and it’s where my daughter’s keyboard is that she practices piano on!! Did I mention it’s only about 10×14?!?!

By dinner tonight I was a bit of a bear due to the self imposed stress of trying to arrange this “perfect” room and of course it came out on the kiddies. After apologies and tucking them in I once again returned to the room. As I was trying to arrange some items that were important to me and that I wanted to display I came across an 8×8 album I made about how I was in 2010 (now I’m coming around to the scrapbooking connection!). That was a tough year for me, and this is one of the pages:

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The photo is of a plaque on a bench in a park we often hike at. It reads
“Each day is a gift. Take time to enjoy it.”
I wonder about the person who arranged to have that plaque placed on that bench. I wonder if they realized the gift they gave, when leaving that reminder for us. And no, I didn’t take the time…but the day isn’t over. I think I will make a tea and spend some time looking through some albums. I also think I may try to incorporate that quote into my “decorating”. I have been thinking about a space or board for inspirational quotes. That one should definitely make it! There’s no point stressing and more tonight about decorating, after all, the room will still be there tomorrow. And maybe, with that quote fresh in my mind, and rested eyes, I can enjoy the process as a gift!

Sleep tight everyone! Don’t forget tomorrow morning is a lovely, fresh new calendar page! January has zipped by, here’s to an exciting February!

Wednesday Workout # 5

Today’s exercise is our classic pyramid, with a twist!

Pyramid to reverse pyramid:
Start with 1 rep of each exercise, then 2…3…4…5 of each then reverse…5 of each exercise…then 4…3…2…1
Exercise#1 tricep push up (hands together on diamond)
Exercise#2 plank jacks (half plank, legs open & closed)
Exercise #3 squat squat jump (plyometric)

So it will look like this:
1 triceps push up, 1 plank jack, 1 squat, squat jump; 2 triceps push ups, 2 plank jacks, 2 squat, squat jumps, continue with 3 of each, 4 of each and 5 of each.
Then reverse it! 5 of each, 4 of each, 3 of each, 2 of each and 1 of each.

Have fun, don’t forget to start with a warm up and finish with a cool down and stretch!

Crock Pot Lentil Stew

Sorry I didn’t get this posted for yesterdays Monday recipe. I was sitting down to write and my 15yr old asked to help quiz him for his science exam. Well, anyone out there with a teenager will probably understand when I say that when they ask to spend time with you, you jump at the chance. Mind you, my brain was spinning a little by the end…electricity and ohms never were my thing!

So here we go. This is a great slow cooker recipe I adapted from a vegetarian cookbook. I had never successfully cooked with lentils before so I was excited to try it.

The ingredients:

  • 3 cups dried lentils (1 pound), sorted and rinsed – I used red
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1L of vegetable broth (you can use chicken, but stick with vegetable if you want it to be a vegetarian dish)
  • 1-14oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped (you can use any colour)
  • 4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic (you can adjust to taste, but a minimum of 2)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

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Can’t keep the little fingers away from bite sized veggies!

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and stir. Cover and cook on low for approx 10 hours.

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This dish takes a long time, and it makes a lot!! The recipe originally called to serve over couscous but I choose to serve it over spaghetti squash and found that very tasty. Also, because it makes so much I pureed about 6 cups of it and we had that as soup. In that form it can also be frozen, I am not sure that the stew would freeze as well. This is a dish that I also found was better the next day, probably because the lentils became more tender. I’m excited to try more recipes with lentils now. I’ll keep you posted!!

One Simple Thing for February

Have you started thinking about the one change you will be making in February to add to what you have been doing in January? Did you forget about your one simple change from January? February is around the corner, so why don’t you take some time to sit down and think about one change that you can implement to increase your happiness and mindfulness. The goal can be fitness, nutrition or personal growth based. Pick something to add or remove that will be a bit of a challenge, the best part about starting a month with a goal and reaching the end of that month is the accomplishment, and then of course, there is the added health benefit! Here’s the link that started the plan this year. I’ll be continuing with my stretching and I have to admit I have let a few days lapse with my food journalling so I think that is what I am going to focus on this coming month.

So here we go:

  • 2013: Run 1 km per day and stretch
  • January: Pay attention to my sleeping needs. On nights, go to bed during the day (I feel guilty missing the kids, even though I can be a grump – go figure), and on days off and day shifts, get to bed earlier. **I have been doing okay with this, but it definitely needs more work. For me this is an ongoing challenge, so I’ll keep working on it.
  • February: Time Management! Journal what I eat, and create a workout schedule for the month.

Don’t know where to start? Here are a few ideas, from simple to challenging…and don’t forget what might be simple to you may be challenging to someone else and vice versa. Think about what you will benefit from the most.

  • Drink 8-10 glasses of water every day
  • Walk the kids to school every day (this can focus on a lot of different areas, time management, family time, fitness)
  • Commit to 30 mins of continuous exercise every day
  • Take a special interest class (think painting, writing workshop, Zumba, tai chi)
  • Meditate
  • Start a yoga practice
  • Borrow a new exercise video from the library every week – and do it!
  • Plan a family game night, every week
  • Add a new healthy recipe to your meal plan, every week
  • Eat veggies with every meal (even breakfast!!)

I’d love to hear what your plan is…

Why You Need to Read Food Labels

If your not an ingredient list reader I challenge you to give yourself an extra 30 minutes on your next grocery store visit to spend some time reading labels. I can promise you, you will find some surprises. In fact, take a look in your fridge. Just the other day this is what I found in mine:

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This is my minced garlic. I like convenience as much as the next person, I don’t know how I didn’t realize what was in this. I knew there was oil, didn’t think about what kind, but I was surprised and disappointed by the other ingredients. Then again, I should know better!! It’s a reminder to me to always check.

Here’s one more for you, see if you can guess what this label is on:

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Lemons anyone?!? Remember, read your labels so you can make concious food choices. Don’t let someone else (and that includes me) dictate what you put into your mouth. Become a proactive consumer. And remember, scrub your produce! Happy shopping.