Monday, 30 January 2012

This weeks plan...

I am juggling back to school with studying with my Mum's ill health at the moment, so as I promised back here, I am planning out meals to save my sanity.


On this weeks menu, we have -

Beef Burritos (low carb, served in lettuce cups rather than a tortilla...)
Crunchy Lemon Spice Chicken Salad
Glazed mustard pork steaks
Chicken Schnitzel
Pan Fried Fish and veggies
Shepherds Pie (low carb version)
Coconut Curry and cauliflower rice



Tony Ferguson Beef "Burritos"

Sound OK?

My last two weeks weight loss enjoyed as a result of My Special K will be built upon too. I am road testing a new eating plan - for the next three weeks I shall be following and road testing the Tony Ferguson Weight Management Program.




If you go way way way back in my archives, you'll see that when I very first started to lose weight, I was on a shakes program. The lovely husband and I were chatting about this a week or two back, and saying how very prescribed plans do actually work well for me. It takes away choice and temptation, keeps me highly motivated, and shifts weight quickly. I am lucky that I am already educated about food and intake. I am also lucky that I maintain weight well. So a program that involves shakes that is low on carbs is an effective plan for me to follow in the shorter term.

The meals above are all from the Tony Ferguson Cookbook - all are low carb and low GI, and are my evening meals. For breakfast and lunch I shall be drinking shakes and enjoying fruit for morning and afternoon tea.

So, I shall let you know how I go!

Tell me - shake based diets - are you a fan, or skeptical?


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Friday, 27 January 2012

Lemon Melting Moments...




The kids go back to school on Monday.

We have nothing much more planned for this last weekend of holidays aside from lawns and laundry.

I realise I have to deal with the lunchbox monster again as of Monday.

So I asked Olivia (who is just about to go into year three. How did THAT happen?!) which home made baked treaty thing she loved best.

Straight away she told me that she loves "Grannies chocolate crumble cake" best, but her second best favourite is "the crumbly round white biscuits squashed together with lemon icing stuff".

Ahhh, they'd be Lemon Melting Moments then...

Ingredients:

  • 125g butter, softened

  • 3/4 cup (115g) plain flour

  • 1/4 cup (45g) icing sugar

  • 1/3 cup (50g) custard powder (or cornflour)


  • Icing

  • 60g butter, softened, extra

  • 2/3 cup (110g) icing sugar

  • Juice and zest of one small lemon 

    1. Preheat oven to 160`c
    2. Line 2 cookie trays/baking sheets with baking paper.
    3. Use an electric mixer to beat butter until pale and creamy. Add the flour, icing sugar and custard powder (or cornflour) and then use a wooden spoon to stir to combine.
    4. Using your hands, roll teaspoonful of the dough into balls. Place the balls 3cm apart on the lined trays.
    5. Use a fork dusted in icing sugar to gently flatten. Bake in the preheated oven, swapping trays halfway through cooking, for 20 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
    6. To make the icing, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and icing sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the lemon rind and juice and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
    7. Spread the icing mixture over the flat side of half the biscuits and sandwich together with remaining biscuits.
    8. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

    Tell me, do you make homemade stuff for your kids lunchboxes? What is their best favourite?
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    PS I have linked, through this recipe, to a whole load of beautiful bakeware on Kitchenware Direct. I shall be linking to them ongoing for a few reasons. I have worked with them before, and the lovely people at Kitchenware Direct have been kind enough to sponsor my attendance to the upcoming Digital Parents Conference. As well as this, they are a brilliant online store for all my cooking requirements and I use them a lot!

    Thursday, 26 January 2012

    Serendipitous!



    When I was drowning a sea of nappies and suffocating in the fog of mundane, caring for three little babies, I often wondered whether I would EVER be able to go back to work.


    I used to be a career girl.


    Then the three under three situation made it virtually impossible to return.


    Something inside me told me that I was not ready to return. Would I ever be confident enough to return?


    The three little people at my feet made it hard to even contemplate.


    Occasionally, I would wistfully look at Seek to see if there were any part time roles that could fit in around the kids, and around childcare options. On one such search, back in about 2007, I also stumbled across the Career Mums website.


    I felt inspired when I found that site. Other Mums, all with great skills, all in the same boat as me, making the choice to get back to work. A website that understood the need for flexibility. It felt hugely reassuring to realise that I was not the only mum dithering over choices.


    As a result of the website, I managed to get inspired enough to apply and secure some part time work around the kids. Just for ten hours a week, but it was enough for my dormant skills to reawaken.

    And It also got my creative juices flowing again, and so I also began to take my blogging and my social media interests a whole lot more seriously.



    Through blogging and writing I have been lucky enough to get to know the talented Allison Tait, whose blog Life In a Pink Fibro was one of my early faves. I remember her blog when it's header was a ropey snap of the Fibro's roof line. And through strange coincidence, it turns out that Allison knows the lovely Kate Sykes, founder of the Career Mums site.


    I find out that not only do they know one another, but they are working together on a book...a book called...Career Mums.



    All of these facts collide at the same time that my youngest, Lexie, starts school.

    Serendipitous indeed.

    I ordered the book on pre-order and devoured it the minute I received it.

    Simple but often overlooked advice is given succinctly. The book is brilliant at the business of confidence building. 

    The practical advice from experts is an eye opener. It made me realise that I had my own personal elevator pitch all wrong.

    The book gave me a huge surge of hope to be honest. The "going back to work" thing, in my head, has become a huge issue. 
    • I want to really contribute to a role, to a business, to help create success. I want to share my skills to drive business results.
    • I want to work hard in a fun environment and be really productive and then hop in my car feeling a sense of achievement as I rush to pick the kids up!
    • I want to work in a role that utilises all of my skills, but I'd like to work part time.
    • I want a job that matches my skill set, where I can really make a positive difference, but at the end of the day, my children come first these days.
    • I want a job that stimulates me, but I also want to be able to walk away at the end of the day and not be stressed to the gills.
    • I want a job that pays well, but that also offers family friendly flexibility.


      Before reading the book, the above statements were all more of a wish list. Fantasy land - not attainable, so I probably was put off before I even started.

      But, now that I have absorbed the book and all it's sound advice, I feel really confident in being able to pitch to organisations and potential new bosses for the kinds of roles I am after.

      I have a copy of the book to give away, so if you'd like to be in the running for to win this, all you need to do is leave me a comment, telling me your current career goal. (And if you'd like to nip over and "Like" Career Mums on Facebook, that'd be tops too!)

      ETA The winner of this brilliant book giveaway is...Mel, of Coal Valley View. Mel, I will email you to get your current postal address!

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      Monday, 23 January 2012

      Diet Road Test Result!


      Last week saw me road test he My Special K personalised eating and exercise plan.



      Cost: $0
      How? Online.
      Variety: Huge variety of foods. The My Special K site asks you to personalise your profile, which I did, and it gave me a weeks worth of menus (as well as a shopping list) which made life very easy. The kids and the lovely husband and I all ate off the menu and so all ate the same, which was great. This meant we deviated from our usual fare, which was great for all of us - I was nicely surprised at some of the really interesting meals that the kids happily ate. The foods and meal plans are low calorie, wholesome, non-processed choices. A wide variety of all foods.
      Ease: Easy to stick to, easy to eat.
      Did I have to eat nothing but Special K? Nope. Any wholegrain low fat low sugar cereal would do!
      Exercise? Yes, daily. (I did two gym sessions and a swim and walked the other days.
      Hunger levels/feelings of deprivation? None. I did fancy a glass of wine on Saturday night, so I had one. This is probably the only time I deviated.
      Results: I lost 1.4kg (And yes, I am happy about that!) and 8cm all over.
      Would I/Could I stick to it? Yes

      So there you have it!

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      Sunday, 22 January 2012

      Smug...

      Don't you love it when you find a new item of clothing that is just PERFECT for everything.

      I get a sensational feeling of utter smugness, knowing that a particular item looks good, feels comfy, and that it suits me and my many required "looks".

      School drop off Mummy? Not too try hard, but neat and respectable? Check.
      Studying Mummy? Cool, comfy and crease free? Yep.
      Oh my goddess I have an appointment which I forgot about and have nothing ironed but need to look presentable? Superb.
      Weekend dinner out at a nice pub restaurant? Crisp but relaxed? Can be dressed up with a little classy bling?
      Office day today? Is it smart enough? With tailored pants, oh yes it is! Phew!



      Above all else, despite losing a bit of weight, I still need all my clothing items to be FLATTERING.

      Hence I am totally loved up with the range from Yummie

      I have always been a fan of "shape wear" or "foundation" pieces - a close girlfriend of mine is a stylist and she swayed me this way a year or two back - no matter how much weight I lose, I still have lumps, bumps and crevices. A smooth silhouette is crucial, regardless of my size!

      So when I read about Yummie, and how the control and shape is within the actual clothes, I was immediately intrigued - such a simple and obvious idea, but not something I have come across before.

      Simple, comfortable, classic styles, all with the ability to smooth out my muffin tops and tyres? I am there.

      The full range of lightweight, breathable, super soft wardrobe staples are designed to be worn by themselves (or under anything for a layered look.) Constructed with a patented dual fabric technology, the edge is derived from a firm control midsection panel which secretly smooths and shapes the midsection, camouflaging unwanted lumps and bumps. The genius behind Yummie is that it is a wardrobe essential and is the first shape wear that’s sexy, functional, comfortable and lovely to be seen. The innovative intimates, clothing and denims slim, smooth, and shape with unbelievable comfort, style and trend-setting designs.


      If you would like to win one of the above Yummie tanks (Original, Strappy or Invisible Skinny), all you need to do is this:

      Friday, 20 January 2012

      Who's the boss?

      I am not a big fan of soft drinks, but on the odd occasion, I can be tempted by a can of icy cold fizzy pop.

      The hard stuff for me - if I ever do indulge, I like full strength - none of the diet kind with the fake sugar - give me the real deal!

      And I was amused the other day to realise that the can I grabbed from the servo fridge all had names on.

      (I ducked into the servo whilst leaving my kids in the car in the sun like the perfect mother I am not - but I would rather stab myself in the eye than take them all into the shop to pay for petrol and have them nag me to death for ice cream and lollies....)

      Anyway, here is the name I was lucky enough to see on my can -


      I love this so much that I am keeping the can to recycle it as a pen pot on my desk.

      The kids think this is very funny - that Coke made a can specially for ME, because I AM the boss.

      The lovely husband was mildly amused by it, and of course questioned the kids. "Is Mummy the boss? I thought I was the boss?"

      Charlie cocked his head to one side and said, kindly, but with a little bit of uncertainty -  "You can be the boss, if you want Dad?"

      Olivia looked very worried by this stage. "But Dad, you do know that Mummy really is the real boss? Maybe you should just be the boss of the garden?"

      To which Lexie added - "You can be the boss at the weekends Dad. If you want? Then Mum is always here to make sure you are doing it right?"

      My children know the score, evidently. They understand the hierarchy!

      How about you? Who is the boss at your place?

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      Thursday, 19 January 2012

      I have a plan...


      One of the plans I have committed to this year (one of many, I should add. I suspect I am being a little ambitious!) is to meal plan properly.

      Last year was my year of "online grocery shopping" which I am still truly in lust with. I've been faithful to it.

      I want to add to the satisfaction of online shopping by meal planning properly in the first place, so that my groceries are a little more organised and so that my food dollar goes further and so that we all, as a family, try more new dishes.

      That snap you see up top there? That's Olivia, at the Australian War Memorial this summer where she came upon the Allied Works Council Cooking Guide - from the 1940's - a guide to feeding Australian forces with economy and flavour...

      I read the guide with Olivia - perched on a an old bench in the discovery zone of the museum. It was a delight to read and I was transported back to a time when homemade was the only way and everything from scratch with no preservatives was the norm.

      Whilst I won't be serving up chops for breakfast, the book really reminded me of how very satisfying it is to cook and eat from weekly plan. How sensible it is to create meals that in turn create additional meals for the following week. It is an economy of time and energy as well as produce.

      The guide reminded me of how my Granny used to cook. Plain fare, fresh food and plenty of it. My Mother taught me too, to cook with flair. My aim is to combine the two - via a meal plan....which I probably share via my blog.

      I have not started yet - but I do have a idea to scribble down meal ideas of the back of envelope. I have spent time previously being inspired by this post too.

      Tell me, do you menu plan? How? What works? If not, why not? Tell me all!

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      Tuesday, 17 January 2012

      Ten things I know...

      Lissy, aged 19


      I am in a very very busy place over the next few days/weeks.

      I shall go into more detail later...when I get chance to breath.

      In between times, a list - a list of ten things I know, today.

      1. My Mother was once very beautiful. Today she is sick sick sick.
      2. My children are amazing. Their tolerance and acceptance and resilience over circumstance is phenomenal.
      3. I shall never ever smoke again as long as I live. Nor will I ever get addicted to alcohol.
      4. Some shit is so hard to deal with you need to obliterate it with boiling water. Literally. Seriously.
      5. The Aged Care Assessment Team here in Australia are underpaid and undervalued and overworked.
      6. My solicitor (who is also my Mum's solicitor) is worth his weight in gold. He is the calmest and most gentle of gentlemen.
      7. My lovely husband supports me, and strokes my head as I fall asleep, and I am so grateful for him.
      8. You can play a lot of Plants and Zombies on your iPhone when waiting around hospitals.
      9. It is fucking hot today in Adelaide - 36`c and overcast. I'd like a storm please
      10. I have really really great friends - Sue, Dave, Kat, Mike, Paul, Emmy, Linda, Lynda, Tammy, Chad...without you, I could not deal with practicalities around my fragile mother. That you understand, and that you treat my kids and dogs as your own makes me feel safe. Thank you.

      My Mum is even sicker. How is that possible? She is made of strong genes. She hangs on. I didn't think it could get worse, but it has. I just hope for comfort. For her, and selfishly for me too.

      She is hospitalised, and it seems, unlikely to return home. I am not sure if I am relived or sad. She is wasting away, and it is such a futile waste.

      It is a complex thing, when a child becomes the parent. I feel I have parenting her and her habits, for a great many years. The guilt is immense. I am not sure why I feel guilty? Because I feel resentment too? There is a lot of frustration and the premature grief over what could have been. And the sadness.

      But I do know she was amazing, in her day. Those are the memories I need to maintain.

      If your mother is healthy and well, know that she is to be treasured?


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      Monday, 16 January 2012

      Keep Calm...





      Back to reality today. I am ashamed to to admit that I have been as slack as with my usual healthy eating during my holiday - a road trip is so not conducive to a diet. Would anyone like some hot chips with their chips? I feel quite revolting to be honest - fat. But, relieved to be back in a place (mentally and literally) where I can implement my own momentum, my own motivation, my own routines, my own grocery shopping and my own cooking.  One of the (many) keys to my ability and willingness to maintain a healthy eating plan is organisation - which is a whole lot easier at home rather than that from the front seat of the Captivator...

      So, today sees me:

      1. Weigh myself for the first time in months (eeek!)
      2. Start back at the gym
      3. Follow week 1 of My Special K personalised diet plan (Next week I shall report my thoughts and results)
      4. Engage in a whole stack of weight loss hypnotherapy and some early nights!

      Can you tell I love a Monday and a new start?!

      What does this new week bring you?

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      Sunday, 15 January 2012

      Tell me what you want...


      We are back.

      As always, one of the loveliest things about being away is coming home.

      Back home, back to work, back to routine, back to blogging, back to writing, back to the gym, back to life. (And if truth be known, back to a mountain of laundry!)

      We have had a brilliant holiday away - the time we spent in Sydney was spectacular, with hot sunny weather, and the kids had days and days of beach and sun and cousins and fun.

      We are all rested and very happy. Our pace slowed properly and the lovely husband and I feel very much topped up and re-charged.

      And whilst I have truly enjoyed my bloggy holiday, I have really missed the sense of community and I have missed the interactions. I have missed YOU! I have missed the purpose that blogging gives me.

      This year I will be posting about my personal diet road tests, some domestic goddessness, some foodie temptations, and a little family stuff.

      Tell me, what do you want to read here on Diminishing Lucy? Tell me which kind of posts you like best from me?



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      Sunday, 1 January 2012

      New Year - Diet Road Testing!

      As most of you know, losing weight and gaining health and fitness is an issue that is very close to my heart.

      I started my 40kg weight loss journey as a New Years resolution a couple of years ago. And I have kept the weight off.

      I am still a sturdy girl, and still have a fair bit of weight to lose. But I am healthier and fitter and happier than I have ever been. Making the choice to lose weight was one of the best things I have ever done for myself.

      But I am, like a zillion other women, going to set a goal to lose more weight this New Year.

      But did you know that there is, on average, half a billion dollars wasted on New Year weight resolutions?!

      Australian women are blowing this staggering amount of cash trying to get into shape at the start of each year and many never get anywhere near their goals. Such a shame, such a waste of energy and effort and money.

      I am very clear that I do not really endorse any particular diet plan. But I am a strong advocate of finding a healthy way to eat that helps you lose weight, and then sticking to it. Find a plan that works for you and stick to it.




      There is a new Galaxy study, released last week, by My Special K that shows Australian women have every
      best intention for their eating and exercise habits when it comes to New Year’s resolutions and they’re certainly prepared to splash the cash, but only 10 per cent ever see the benefit.

      In fact, 43 per cent of women investing in their shape said they saw no benefit from the money spent and a
      further 33 per cent said they only saw a short term benefit but nothing that lasted.

      In 2011, almost half (49 per cent) of Australian women made New Year’s resolutions to manage their
      weight and health better. Seven per cent gave up in the first week of January.

      My Special K is a new website hosting a completely free, personalised eating and exercise plans. As a part of it's inception, the research team at Kellogg surveyed Australian women between the ages of 18 and 59 to uncover their New Year’s Resolution habits and subsequent spending habits on weight management plans.

      The new My Special K site goes live on Boxing Day, providing free, personalised exercise and eating plans, and also motivational support from former Olympian, Hayley Lewis, who has co-created the exercise elements of the plans.

      When asked what was needed to maintain their New Year’s resolutions, Australian women said the right
      foods, a great exercise plan, and feeling motivated (47 per cent) were all key. I personally would agree totally. If you know how to eat well and commit to regular exercise, and take time to get your head right, you will lose weight. The My Special K site gives you all that for free.




      It's designed well because it gives you your personalised meal and exercise plans for the
      weeks ahead and focus in on a long-term lifestyle change rather than a quick fix. You can set up your
      personalised plan at the click of a button…and it’s all completely free.

      All of the plans on myspecialk.com.au have been developed in conjunction with expert nutritionists,
      dietitians and fitness experts to harness the latest in scientific thinking and bring users cutting edge advice
      about weight management.

      As well as the plans, the site features expert advice on all aspects of weight management, easy recipes, an
      eating out guide, plus handy tools such as a BMI calculator and exercise tracker.

      I will be road testing the My Special K personalised plans - I am registered already - as soon as I get back from holidays, I shall report in! Anyone joining me? 


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      PS This is not a sponsored post. I just like that Kellogg seem to "get" that weight loss should not cost $$, and are as such they are providing a brilliant free service to anyone who wants to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable fashion.