Friday, 15 March 2013

Family fun and paleo shakes

A fab little suggestion for healthy, family fun this weekend from Kendra Thornton, worldwide traveller, writer and mom:

Shamrock Shake – A Fabulous Treat to Share with your Family this St. Patrick’s Day!

There's nothing like a vacation to relax the mind while you recharge the senses.  I stayed at the magnificent Fontainebleau on Collins Avenue, amongst some of the top hotels in Miami, and relished my ocean front view. Sunbathing, shopping and of course, eating and drinking beautiful things was renewing me.  

I love trying new flavors when I travel, and the tropical trips always reveal astonishing surprises.  One of my favorite things that I tasted was a pale green shake advertised as healthy.  It was creamy, light, rich and refreshing all at once – reminiscent of the ice cream based Shamrock Shakes we all know, but much more depth of flavor.  I had to discover the recipe so that I could bring it back home to share with my friends and family in Chicago.

Miami bodies are famously fit.  So how could the locals be drinking shakes and still get into their tiny swimsuits?  I was impressed to discover the shake was a “Paleo” recipe, with no dairy, and only the very best super-foods the earth has to offer.  The recipe for this shake is filled with healthy rich flavors and can be easily adapted to any palate or preference.

For your very own “Signature Shamrock Shake - Healthy, Paleo Version” gather the following ingredients:

-1 can coconut milk (you could substitute 1 ¼ cups of any other type of milk here – I especially like almond milk)
-1 ripe avocado, peeled and seed removed
-2 ½ – 3 Tablespoons of pure raw honey (or other sweetener of your choice)
-1 cup of ice
-1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
-1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract

(This recipe yields about 4 cups)


Put all of these ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth.  Garnish with a coconut wedge, mint sprig or tiny tropical umbrella.  Enjoy!

The pale green color from the avocado is a decadent and natural treat, but if you would like a more festive dark green color, simply add a few drops of green food coloring.  Your friends will be transported to their own ocean front haven while enjoying the benefits of the Paleo health food trend. Enjoy and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Busy Days and Babe Watching

Wednesdays. Usually Wednesdays mean for me, other than the usual early start courtesy of the baby-body-clock, doing some personal training client at CrossFit before dashing home, changing quicker than superman and sprinting to RhymeTime at the library with the Wriggly Man.

It's a busy, hustle bustle morning, but by the to,e we've claimed our place among the floor space filled with the herd of children, babies and mums, the manic pace seems worth it. RhymeTime, a short interlude of songs for kids at the library. Free, fun and under 30 min. Perfect for a little outing for the mum/mom and the not-so-baby-anymore.

Ethan lights up as soon he arrives. Songs, books, people to stare at. All his favourite things. He gets up on his knees and does a little dance, arms flinging wildly, and makes a screechy happy noise. It just says, "Lets rock,"!

He has his favourite tunes. 'Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes' is always a winner, but as he begins to notice all the little actions that go with each song, he is finding new ones to dance for.

He also loves checking out the other children. He watches them walk and toddle with such fascination, open mouthed amazement. He looks at the little ones, the newborns, with wonder and a little nervousness. I start to think that really it would be nice sometimes to be able to do the same. To be able to look brazenly at people that interest me, without shame or fear of judgement.

Instead, all us sensible adults are casting sideways glances at each other. Our process of figuring out if we are friends or not seems more complicated, but really it just takes longer. I notice myself looking around and doing a little comparison, just like Ethan. I marvel at the mums who seem to be juggling about 3 kids, and looking serene. I look at the new mums, with the tiny bundles and get lost thinking of all the ways life changes so quickly.

Doubtlessly, others are looking at me and understandably coming to conclusions. I have just sprayed my sweaty body with a little nice smelling stuff, crammed my tangled hair into a bun and added a splash of mascara while stuffing a chicken breast and broccoli into my face. I could not blame them for thinking that I was a sloppy, scatty lady.

Yet, even with the broccoli in my teeth, I have made as many friends as Ethan at the RhymeTime. Lovely little world where we can all just grab a quick burst of quality time with the kids among what must be crazy-busy days for all of us.

Saturday, 9 March 2013


Tantrums.  The truth is, we all have 'em.  Its just at some ages, they are louder and we are less apologetic about them.  Ethan has discovered the power of his own voice and is practising exerting his will when he can.    He is super sweet about 95% of the time, but the tantrums are becoming a part of daily life.

His Opa and Oma (my parents) have been visiting over the past week, and Ethan has become used to the attention.  His favourite thing - Oma's iPad.  So much so, that he expects to be able to have peek at it whenever he sees it in use.  At first, really cute.  His little techno-fingers seem to be find new ways of getting things done on the touchscreen that our adult fingers can't figure out how to do.

But then there are times when an email has to be sent, or his fingers are covered in mashed banana and not very iPad friendly.  We have witnessed some amazing displays of anger and will when we try to keep him from tapping his way into Elmo's world on the gizmo.  Back arches, mouth wide in full scream, face red with anger.  Wow.

It easy to see how parents get tempted into giving in and setting patterns that become cemented.  He seems to have suddenly arrived at a stage where he thinks he can decide to do whatever he wants and there's nothing we should do to get in his way.  But then again, maybe that's childhood generally.  I'll ask the parents, but I imagine that these stages just keep cropping up and the ways we throw our weight about to get what we want changes.

Possibly even beyond childhood.  Adult tantrums, of sorts.  I can think of times when Thom doesn't do what I'd like and I exert my will by childish means like silence and strops.  I might have learned to control my desire to scream and cry, but not  getting what you want still burns.

So I try to be compassionate while he loses it, appreciating that we all hate to be kept from what we want.  His little will is his personality and has to be loved along with the sweet sides that are thankfully far more frequent.