March 16, 2017

Q&A With Aunti Marissa

Today, Ilana and I had breakfast as we do every Thursday (or sometimes Tuesdays or Wednesdays depending on our schedules) with a special guest joining us:  Aunti Marissa.

Aunti Marissa is my Aunt now Great Aunt to my boys who she shares a very special bond with. She lives in Toronto and is Head of the Guidance department in a secondary public high school. She has been a teacher for her entire career and this year won Teacher of the Year in her board. Pretty huge and so deserving.

She’s a person I trust deeply when it comes to advice about my children and today I opened up the Q&A to her instead of Ilana and I. There was an overwhelming response from you all on Snapchat. We were going to each answer 3 questions however we ran way short on time.

Because Aunti Marissa has such great advice to share we decided to answer the third question chosen plus a few additional questions asked on the blog today. Hope you find Aunti Marissa’s answers helpful! I think you will…

How can I get my 5 year old to want to clean up? Pick up toys and such…

Prior to the situation occurring, parents must sit down and have a discussion with the child about household responsibilities. You need to create a chart defining everyone’s duties one of which will include “tidying up after playing”. It is important that children realize what the parent’s expectations are beforehand. If you try to address it in the moment, there will be tension and resistance. Now, with expectations come consequences if the expectation is not met. These consequences need to be decided beforehand as well with the involvement of the child so that they are clear. If and when the situation arises again there are no arguments. If the child does what they agreed to do by cleaning up their play area, great if not consequence number one is put into action. The child knows that you mean business. There is no loud voice on the part of the parent. Calm and cool. Just remind your child of the agreement. Have the chart in plain view so that you can refer to it. In time, the child will take control of their own duties and only the odd reminder may be needed. NOTE: The consequences must be acted upon or this plan will be for naught.

What techniques do you have for getting really smart kids to listen and behave in class when they already “get” the lesson?

This is a very difficult situation to be sure. You will have to have some strategies that you can work through with your child while you are at home first. They need to learn to take control of their own behavior. Your child needs to have “tools” in his/her toolbox that they can draw upon when the situation in school arises. Secondly, you need to set up a meeting with the teacher to discuss some options for classroom behavior management. What plan is the teacher willing to facilitate? For example, when your child is finished their work ahead of time, will the teacher be willing to allow your child time to research an extension to the topic? Would you be able and would the teacher allow you to provide some materials that could enhance your child’s learning? As an example, would your child’s teacher be willing to allow your child to create an easy experiment such as the one I have copied and pasted below. This would be an engaging extension and give your child something to look forward to. They could make predictions and then chart the progress and then explain it to the class. Sometimes teachers will give “extra” worksheets to children who are finished quickly but it is not always received by the student as a positive solution. Maybe there can be a “maker space” created in the classroom that could be used by all students but would be a positive addition for your child to be sure. This space gives children the opportunity to understand the concept being taught by using physical manipulatives or technology to enhance their learning. Maybe all parents could donate materials to build up this space.

I’m a mom with disabilities. I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and MS. It’s hard to keep up with a 10 & 2 year old. How can I make sure they feel like they have my attention? I’m in chronic pain and feel like I miss a lot of their life. I want them to know how much they mean to me.

First of all, I cannot profess to understand or identify with your situation. It is a very difficult one to be sure. Here are some ideas:

I am not sure how much your older son understands and if he comprehends your limitations. You need to have a discussion with him to discuss what you can and cannot manage. He needs to be able to be allowed to help plan ideas around what works for you. Secondly, he needs to be invested in his younger sibling. By that I mean he can become not just a brother but a mentor to your younger son. He can be the one to teach him how to do certain things and maybe read to him so that they develop a special bond and your little man looks up to his older brother. Now as far as your older son’s needs go, you must give him the opportunity to participate in his normal activities as much as possible. This may mean that someone else takes him or if you can manage it you take the little one with you. If you are able to go too, maybe there is another adult who could watch your younger son to give you some special one on one time.

I suggest that you have a family meeting to discuss your needs and create a duty roster, which accounts for everyone’s personal and emotional needs, household duties and chores, (which should include your little one) and activities and school responsibilities. This needs to be a working document that changes weekly. It should include quiet bonding time with mom. The activity could be a craft that is geared to your older son such as putting together a birdhouse (just an example). For your younger son, you can get a pre-made version at one of the dollar stores or a craft store and your little one paints it and puts on embellishments. Same outcome different difficulty level.

Your duty roster must include every part of your day in order to “find time” to make sure that your children feel your presence and include you in their daily ritual without anger or frustration.

I hope that I have provided you an idea that you can use and I wish you all the best!

Any travel tips for a first flight with my 8 month old?   First time momma here!

First of all, I would recommend the bulkhead if at all possible so that you will have extra space in front of you. I was able to put my daughter down on a blanket to play with them. Secondly, I would recommend an arsenal of favorite toys or a book and snacks. Thirdly, I found that nursing (if you are nursing) or giving them a bottle upon take off and landing helps to stabilize the pressure in their ears. Happy flying!

xx, Seri
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Party conversation
  1. Jessica Mischna

    Thanks Aunti Marissa this is great!

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March 15, 2017

The hunt for the perfect eyeliner

For those of you who have been following along on the LMP Snapchat over the past month, you’re knee deep in my eyeliner saga. For those who were not in the loop from the start of all this….let me catch you up to speed.

Last month after the infamous interview where Matt Lauer was grilling Kellyanne Conway I noticed her eye make up was schmeared on her face and she looked like a hot mess. I ran to the mirror and realized oh for the love. MY EYE MAKE UP LOOKS THE SAME!

You see…I’m not a make up person. You know those people? Like me? Who have NO clue how to apply make up and just don’t care to learn? Might be due to my lack of patience, or lack of time in the morning to get ready. Whatever it is, I just slap on some eyeliner and walk out the door.

Well thanks to Kellyanne, the hunt for the perfect eyeliner began and I shared it with you all on Snapchat and never have I received such a strong response from you all. Apparently I’m not the only one with this eyeliner issue!

Since this saga has carried on for one month now I thought it would be fun to round up some of the incredible suggestions I received. Thank you so much to all those who offered to help me out!

Yes that’s right. A Sharpie. That was suggested by my Aunt Debi. Not far behind many of you who suggested I get the ducts of my eyes tattooed which I totally considered.

But it wasn’t until….a few of you spotted the brand called Thrive in an ad on Instagram. After purchasing 6 new eyeliners in the short span of one month, I was ready to throw in the towel. But I thought…let’s give it one last shot so I placed an order. GUESS WHAT? TODAY…it worked! It lasted all day! Not counting my sobbing through the Broadway show Dear Evan Hansen but from 10am until 5pm it was PERFECTLY in tact, in my ducts, no gunky build up in the corner of my eyes….YAY!

So y’all, the time has come. We will now need to obsess over something new. And I’m glad I recently asked because I got such a great response about what we should talk about next! Things like fashion in the LMP office, daily routine with kids in NYC, more on NYC (from those who live in small towns!) and the best suggestion I heard was how to make throwing parties easier. Keep watching and we will be tackling all of this SOON!

And again you guys…THANK YOU for following along, showing your interest and sharing your tips!  We love love love hearing from you and appreciate all the tips and feedback.

In case you’re not currently following LMP on Snapchat you can find us here.

xx, Seri
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March 14, 2017

St. Paddy’s Day Spiked Shamrock Shake

Now that St. Paddy’s Day is almost here, not only am I seeing ads for McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes everywhere, but pretty much everyone I know has expressed their craving for one to me within the past few weeks.

Personally, I’ve never had one, but there’s gotta be a reason for all the hype, right? I decided to try my hand at a boozy version of one, and I gotta say, it turned out pretty delicious.  You guys will have to be the judges as to whether or not it is as good as the original!

Here’s what you need:
-whisky
-vanilla ice cream
-milk
-mint simple syrup (recipe below)
-green food coloring
-fresh mint
-maraschino cherries
-whipped cream
-blender

Here’s you need for the mint simple syrup:
-sugar
-water
-fresh mint
-small saucepan
-fine mesh strainer

Here’s what to do:
1) Combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan.
2) Add sprig of mint to saucepan, ripping up to release flavor.
3) Bring mixture to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Reduce to a simmer, leaving on stove top for 2 minutes.


4) Remove saucepan from heat and leave to steep for 20 minutes.
5) Once thoroughly steeped, pour mixture into a bowl through a fine mesh strainer to remove mint leaves.

Now, you’re ready to make your shakes!

Here’s what to do:
1) In blender, combine 4 cups vanilla ice cream, 2 oz. of whisky, 1 oz. of your mint simple syrup, and 1/2 cup of milk, and food coloring.  Blend until shake reaches your desired thickness.


2) Add drops of food coloring as needed until you reach your desired shade of green.


3) Once you are satisfied, pour shake into each glass.


4) Top with whipped cream, a cherry, and a sprig of mint.

Add a straw, and sip away.

Happy St. Paddy’s Day… Stay green!

xx, Abby
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March 13, 2017

Heaven on Jumby Bay

Every year my husband and I carve out 5 days to OURSELVES. We plan a trip somewhere fabulous, for just the two of us. I think this is one of the keys to a successful marriage when you have kids: alone time.  It’s also important for your own sense of well-being. To spend time away from the office and stresses of life is KEY.

People always ask me how I leave the kids at home to travel.  The answer is I have a few of the most amazing babysitters.  Girls who have been in my boys’ lives for years now whom I trust fully with my babies. I also rely on family. Whether it’s my in-laws or family members from Toronto, it’s a time where the boys get to spend quality time with people who they don’t get to see all that often.

This year, we went to the Rosewood Hotel at Jumby Bay. It’s our fourth year in a row vacationing on this Island. It’s over the top and totally a luxury resort but we are addicted and it’s an annual treat. The beauty, the beach, the service, the food, the weather…it’s all top notch.

The rooms at this resort are like small villas. They are not like hotel rooms. Each room has an outdoor shower and either a hammock or small plunge pool on the deck. There are no room keys as the island is so safe you just leave all your belongings in the villa and come and go as you please knowing that all will be safe. Each room also comes with bikes to get around the island.

The resort is all inclusive so all your drinks, meals and activities are included in the price. The food is so delicious and you never bring a wallet as the service is included so there is never any awkward feelings about tipping.

The staff there is so sweet, kind and attentive. They know everyone’s name and want nothing but to keep the guests happy.

We spend most of the days on the beach relaxing, reading and searching for interesting sea life like the beautiful starfish that are in the water and on the beach. They offer different activities daily and we pick and choose…my favorite is the cooking class while Adam loves to snorkel.

There are four restaurants that we rotate eating at. The main spot is where they serve a beautiful buffet breakfast with an egg station, fresh fruit, pastries and cereal. Lunch is either at the pool grill or the shack on the beach where they serve the most fantastic chicken curry roti.  Then there is the Estate House. Fancier of all the places to eat and only open for dinner. The bartender is a doll and makes the most fabulous cocktails and the food is divine.

Last but not least is the spa. My favorite part of the resort. So tranquil and relaxing. I always get a massage when we’re at the resort. The therapists are amazing and know exactly how to work my sore, stressed out body.

I couldn’t be a bigger fan of this place. We’re hoping to bring our kids there one day soon as they would love the beach, riding the bikes around and trying out all of the water activities.

xx, Seri
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March 10, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

Two words.

PRETTY PIZZA.

I could probably stop right here and just move forward to the recipe because that’s all you need to know, right?

But of course I can’t go on without my usual and much anticipated ramble.

What inspired me about making this pizza was one simple ingredient – watermelon radishes. I can’t even look at them because they are just too stunning. LOOK AT THIS COLOUR!! A perfect shade of hot pink and a real show stopper for many recipes. Here’s the real story behind me buying ONE, yes ONE watermelon radish.

It’s all because of the popcorn.

Wait.

What?

Yes, popcorn.

Do I still have your attention? If you haven’t scrolled down to the recipe already, I’m going to tell you about my current obsession.

Every night I stuff my face with a good size bowl of low fat popcorn from a very well known company. Before I tell you more, you need to know this. I HATE SHARING MY FOOD. Like HATE. Okay, hate is a very strong word, how about DISLIKE IMMENSELY. Wait. That’s two words, but who cares.

When I go to the movies, I get my very own “pig size” popcorn. If I happen to drop a kernel on my lap while shoveling it in, I get anxious and sweaty. If my husband happens to reach over and steal from my bag when he clearly has his own, that’s grounds for divorce. So  yes, I don’t like anyone in my popcorn space.

The other night, as I was enjoying my bowl of popcorn I noticed that it had a strange, almost sweet taste. I asked Steve to taste it just in case it there was something wrong with ME. This would be the ONLY time I would share this snack because, technically it was yucky. (I actually googled my Med MD website to see if there was a correlation to a change in taste buds due to eating high volumes of popcorn). Ya. That’s how nuts I am.

Then I checked the bag and it was my usual popcorn brand, so I have no idea why it tasted different. I thought about different factory based scenarios that would interfere with the production of MY popcorn. Other than the possibility of a sweet flavour version somehow making its way into the wrong bags on the conveyor belt, I don’t have a clear cut answer. I just wanted MY slightly salted and oh so perfect popcorn, not this sweet crap.

Still with me?

I went to buy another bag of it the next day from a different store. The second I walked in, I spotted these magnificent watermelon radishes and completely forgot about why I was there in the first place. I put ONE radish in the cart, picked up additional ingredients and toppings for a whole wheat pizza and left the store…..

….WITHOUT THE POPCORN.

Wasn’t this worth reading?

NO, but this pizza is worth eating.

WHOLE WHEAT PIZZA WITH BUFFALO MOZZARELLA, GREENS & WATERMELON RADISH

– 1 recipe whole wheat pizza dough (see below)
– ½ teaspoon oregano
– 2 – 3 tablespoons fresh pesto
– 1 watermelon radish, thinly sliced
– 4 – 5 slices fresh buffalo mozzarella
– 3 cups of mixed greens (I used mixed greens with edible flowers)
– ½ cup part skim shredded mozzarella cheese
– fresh basil for garnish

1) Preheat oven to 400F. I like to use the convection option for making pizza. If you don’t have this type of oven don’t stress. Just bump up the temperature to 425F
2) Prepare a 9 x 13 baking pan by greasing it with butter.
3) Stretch the pizza dough onto the pan. Spread pesto sauce over the dough, sprinkle with oregano and top with sliced watermelon radish. Place buffalo mozzarella over the top of the pizza dough. Sprinkle 1½ cups of the mixed greens over the buffalo mozzarella, then sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella. Bake for 20 -24 minutes or until crust is nicely browned underneath and around the edges. Remove pizza from the oven and top with remaining 1½ cups of mixed greens and basil. Slice and serve hot.

WHOLE WHEAT PIZZA DOUGH

– 1 cup water, heated to 110 degrees
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 envelope (2¼ teaspoons) rapid-rise or instant yeast
– 2¾ cups white or regular whole wheat flour (or a combo of both)
– ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
– 1 teaspoon sea salt

1) Whisk water, sugar, oil and yeast in a liquid measuring cup or small bowl. Allow yeast to proof for 5 minutes. It should puff up.
2) Pulse flour, parmesan cheese, and salt in food processor until combined. While running the food processor, slowly pour in the water mixture and process for one minute until a rough looking ball forms.
3) Dump the dough onto a floured work surface and quickly knead dough a few times until it comes together. Cut your dough in half if your are making two smaller pizzas or use the entire ball for a large pizza.
4) On your floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll dough as thinly as possible. Place into prepared pan and stretch it out with your fingers if it bounces back. It can get sticky so dip your fingers lightly into oil to help it spread. Once you have all your toppings on, brush the edges of the dough with olive oil.

See you next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating

xx, Debi
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