Paleo Banana Pancakes

Sep 19, 2014
Paleo Pancakes

If you have been reading for a while then you will know that pancakes are one of my very favourite foods so I have really missed them since becoming Paleo.  I've been trying a few different Paleo pancake recipes but I haven't really found one that I was happy with until my sister suggested trying a banana pancake recipe.  I'm so glad I did,  it worked a treat! We aren't exactly sure where the original recipe came from, but if any of you know we'd love to give credit.

The original recipe was simply eggs and bananas but I added a little coconut flour simply because I like the texture it gives.  For delicious pancakes that are gluten free and Paleo-friendly, I used:

2 large large bananas mashed
3 eggs
1 tablespoon of coconut flour. 
Butter or coconut oil for frying (I prefer butter for pancakes).

1. Mix all the ingredients together
2. Heat butter or coconut oil in a non-stick frypan.
3. Using a ladle pour the equivalent of 2-3 tablespoons of the batter into a hot frypan.  Gently tilt the frypan allowing the batter to run into the desired pikelet/pancake size.
4. Flip the pancake when it is very slightly browned underneath and firm enough to flip without breaking.

The consistency and texture is nearly exactly the same as my original homemade pancake recipe.  However, this Paleo version is not as easy to flip as they are more likely to break apart during cooking. The way to prevent this happening is by keeping them to a smaller more manageable size and flip quickly.

Bon App├ętit!

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Perisher Blue

Sep 4, 2014
Perisher Blue

If you caught my post last week about tips for driving with children, you'll know that we've had a little getaway down to the NSW Snowy Mountains. We stayed in some lovely accommodation in Jindabyne and traveled up daily to one of my favourite resorts, Perisher Blue. Perisher is a fantastic resort with trails that cater for everyone in the family, from your very beginners to your experts.
Perisher Front Valley has some fenced off beginner areas with easy 'magic carpets' (which are a kind of flat snow escalator) back to the top of the slope. My daughter skied for the very first time this trip, and at only 3 years old, she quickly worked out how to get herself on, ride, and get off the magic carpet all by herself. My five year old got to ride the Village Eight Express Chair for the very first time and absolutely loved 'zooming' up the hill and watching some of the professional riders perform tricks in Front Valley's Terrain Park below.

My husband and I have been riding for many years so one of our favourite places to ride is the Leichardt Terrain Park, it is a great medium sized terrain park catering for skilled riders and usually has two size options for the jumps.

perisher blue leichardt park

With school holidays being over, lift lines all moved very quickly and we could always get a table at lunch time which is a huge bonus when your have tired, hungry children! The main building at Perisher has a great variety of food outlets, including good coffee and healthier options for those of us trying to stick to our new Paleo-ish diets while travelling.

Excellent snow, beautiful sunshine and pleasant conditions resulted in a wonderful holiday for all the family. My very favourite part was watching my children enjoy the snow, something that has been such an important part of my life for a long time. Hearing them say 'can we go skiing again tomorrow',  and 'Can we come back again next year?' was music to my ears.

Lake Jindabyne
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Gym or Sports Bag Essentials

Aug 28, 2014
Gym bag essentials

When exercising or playing sports, it is important to be prepared and as comfortable as possible, it incredibly frustrating to arrive at the gym or your game, only to realise that you've left your equipment, your towel, headphones or water at home. To help you prepare for your workout by making sure you've always got all your essential items tucked safely into your gym bag, I've teamed up with Rexona Clinical for men to bring you today's post.

Here is a list of ten workout essentials that you won't want to leave at home:

1. Sports equipment

You should always start here. This is the specific equipment you will need for your sport, for instance, those of you playing soccer will need your uniform, boots and shin pads, swimmers will need goggles. Start with your equipment as it is amazing how easy it is to forget these things once you are concentrating on the rest of your bag.

2. Water or sports drink

Hydration is absolutely vital when exercising. If participating in mild exercise, a bottle of water should suffice, however if you will be sweating a lot, performing a high intensity workout, or exercising in the heat, you might needed the added benefit of some coconut water or a sports drink to replace electrolytes. If you aren't sure which to choose, coconut water is a natural alternative and is very high in potassium which will be beneficial for those completing moderate workouts. If you are sweating profusely or engaging in a very high intensity workout, you might want to choose a sports drink as it is higher in sodium which you will be losing through your sweat.

3. Towel

If you are working out in a gym then you will be required to bring a towel. Most gyms won't allow you to workout without one. To save space, you can invest in a sports towel. Sports towels are much smaller than regular towels, are highly absorbent, fast-drying and often have antibacterial properties. Even if you aren't working out in a gym, a towel will always come in handy.

4. Deoderant

Choose a good deoderant that will withstand the pressures your body will place it under during exercise. You don't want to be that person in the gym that makes life uncomfortable for those around them by not wearing deoderant, or wearing an ineffective deoderant that doesn't stand up to the requirements of exercise.

5. Music and headphones

I love to workout to music, good beats help push me along and keep me motivated. Not only do I enjoy my workout more with music, but I've found that I actually perform better too. Headphones are a must though as not everyone will enjoy your personal choice of music!

6. Snacks

For optimum performance and comfort during exercise, the Australian Institute of Sport recommends that large, healthy meals should be eaten no closer than 3-4 hours prior to exercise. If you need to eat after that here is a list of recommended snacks you can pack into your gym bag:

For consumption 1-2 hours before exercise:
  • liquid meal supplement
  • sports bar
  • cereal bar
  • fruit-flavoured yogurt
  • fruit
For consumption less than an hour prior to exercise, or during exercise when required:
  • carbohydrate gel
  • sports bar
  • jelly lollies

The AIS does note that a small percentage of people will experience an extreme reaction after eating close to, or during exercise which is due to a drop in blood glucose levels. If you experience fatigue, shakiness or dizziness during exercise then you might need to avoid snacks close to exercise, experiment with your meal times to find what works for you, or eat snacks higher in carbohydrates.

7. Strapping tape

Band Aids, sports strapping tape or electrical tape is good to have on hand in case of injuries, blisters, or equipment problems that need a quick and temporary fix.

8. Heat cream or gel

For niggling injuries or aches, a good anti-inflammatory heat cream or gel can work wonders. Apply it before and during exercise always taking care to follow the specific directions of the brand you choose.

9. Anti-inflammatory medication

When you have a strain or injury, ideally you should rest and let it heal but those of you who play competitive sport know that sometimes that is not an option. At these times, taking an anti-inflammatory prior to your game or event can help reduce pain, inflammation or swelling. Just be sure to always follow the guidelines or recommendations of your medical practitioner.

10. Hat and sun cream

These are absolutely essential for outdoor exercise, especially in our climate here in Australia. Choose a sweat or water resistant product with high, long lasting protection as sun cream can become less effective with profuse sweating and wiping with towels.
So there you have my top ten essential items to pack in your gym or sports bag. Having all of these items handy will help get you ready for an excellent workout, so get out there and enjoy!

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driving with children

Aug 26, 2014
driving with children

We really love to travel but anyone who has travelled with young children knows that it can be quite a stressful experience for all involved if you aren't properly prepared. However, I have found that with a bit of extra preparation and organisation, travelling with young children can be a great experience and a wonderful way to spend time together as a family. As we are currently getting ready for a holiday to one of Australia's beautiful ski resorts, I have partnered up with Ford Fiesta to share with you some of my tips for keeping children happy on long drives.

1. Plan your stops.

Take a look at your entire trip, then carefully plan your stops to coincide with meal times, or at least every few hours. Try to pick rest stop locations that offer a park or area for the children to run around and burn off some energy.

2. Choose healthy snacks

During long drives it can be tempting to give the children junk food or sweets to keep them happy, but avoid it wherever possible as these kinds of foods are just a temporary fix, usually resulting in a sugar crash and worse behaviour later on during the trip. Alternatively, have a lunch bag full of healthy snacks available to keep them happy between meal stops. Also consider food that is safe and easy to eat in the car as you don't want big spills or messes to clean up.

3. Pack an entertainment 'goody' bag.

I pack each of the children a little bag full of entertainment. It might include their favourite toys, their toy laptops and some books. I also usually like to buy a few little activities like sticker books that the kids get to open as we start the trip. These bags usually keep them entertained for the first few hours of the trip.

4. CD books

As the novelty of the toys and activities wear off, books narrated on CD are another great way to entertain the kids. If the children have personal CD players with headphones, then they can choose and listen to their own stories, otherwise playing it over the car CD player will do the trick it will just mean Mum and Dad get to 'enjoy' the story too!

5. Music

I have a range of children's CDs in the car and songs downloaded onto my Iphone for car trips. It's amazing how long kids music like Playschool, The Wiggles, and now the Frozen soundtrack will keep my munchkins happy for. I use the Spotify app for music and it really is worth every cent as there is such an amazing range of music available.

6. DVDs or Ipads.

Towards the end of the trip, when all else is failing, I put on a movie for the kids, or allow them to play on my Ipad. We have a personal DVD player for the kids so that we can either hook them to the back of our chairs, or they can hold onto them to watch. As a rule, I never put these on early in the trip as they tend to end up with media overload by the time we arrive at our destination, and I've found that the trip is much more enjoyable for all of us if we work through the activities as listed above.

So there you have some of my favourite driving tips that will hopefully help your next driving holiday go smoothly. Do you have any of your own tips? I'd love to hear them in the comments below!
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Paleo Banana Slice

Aug 22, 2014
banana slice

My banana and sultana slice recipe is gluten free and Paleo.  It is easy to make and it turns out very moist and absolutely delicious. It is combination of a family sultana slice recipe, and some Paleo energy bars that I will share with you soon. For this recipe I used rice malt syrup as the sweetener in order to entice the kids to eat them.  The good thing about rice malt syrup is that it is glucose only, no fructose. If you aren't worried about fructose you could use honey instead.  I am not a huge sweet tooth so if I was making this for just myself, I would use less syrup.

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius and line a small loaf tin with baking paper.

1 large banana
1/2 a cup of rice malt syrup (or honey)
1 egg
1 cup of sultanas
1 cup of almond meal
1/2 cup of tapioca flour

In a large bowl, mash the banana, then add your syrup, sultanas and egg, mixing well between each ingredient.
Add your flours to the wet mixture, mix well and pour into your loaf tin.
Bake for approx 20-30 mins checking frequently. The slice is ready when it is firm and springy.

paleo sultana slice
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Aug 18, 2014
paleo book

I have been quite busy the last few weeks totally overhauling my family's diet and turning what can probably be best described as Paleo.  You see, despite my supposedly 'healthy' diet and active lifestyle, I have been having some ongoing health problems for quite a while now including an inflamed gallbladder, some serious skin issues and a very low immune system.  Despite my best efforts to get and stay healthy, it all just seemed to be getting worse.  Then a dear friend of mine recommended that I read a book called Hard To Swallow by Julie Van Eps.  This book changed, and possibly saved, my life.  You see, all the things I had learned about Nutrition while at University - for instance, staying away from animal fats, using vegetable oils instead of animal fats, and eating a healthy amount of calcium from dairy daily, they are most likely the very reason my health has been so bad.

If you have any niggling health concerns, I really recommend reading Hard to Swallow, and another fabulous book with information and recipes called I Quit Sugar for Life by Sarah Wilson.  After reading these books, I have had to make huge changes to the way I buy and cook food.  I didn't set out to become Paleo - I am usually the type to steer well clear of fad diets and I thought this whole Paleo 'thing' was probably just another fad.  However, I have always loved the idea of eating natural, healthy foods and after eating our new diet for a few weeks, I am feeling a lot better than I have in a long time. I have also noticed that my skin is improving, I am sleeping better and I am not getting as fatigued as I usually do.  So I started researching my new diet a little more and I have realised that I am actually following most of the rules of a Paleo diet, so I have kind of become a Paleo advocate by default I suppose!

The good news is that you get to come along for the journey with me, as I find great new recipes, I'll be sure to share them with you so stay tuned.. Oh and I'd love to hear about your own experiences about becoming Paleo.  If you have any great resources/recipe books please share them below!

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Firmoo Glasses

Aug 16, 2014
Firmoo glasses

One problem with living a physically active lifestyle and having active children, is that my glasses tend to have a very low life expectancy. If I am not dropping them myself, then they usually get a bit of help from my children playing or bouncing around with me. Replacing glasses can become quite an expensive exercise, so when Firmoo contacted me to see if I'd like to try buying my glasses online, I was excited to give it a try.

I have never bought glasses online before, as I was always a little hesitant to buy glasses without being able to try them on first, but when I hopped onto the Firmoo website, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could upload a photo of myself and 'try on' any pair of glasses that I liked. Once I found a pair of glasses that I liked the look of, I simply placed in some measurements and my prescription and my order was complete. I really couldn't believe it was that simple. I was used to hurriedly trying on glasses in an optometrists, while simultaneously trying to stop my munchkins from also 'trying on' glasses too - never a relaxing experience, so doing all of it from the comfort of my own lounge room really was a pleasant change!

To be honest, it all seemed a little too good to be true, I mean - inexpensive glasses from the comfort of your own home... surely it couldn't be that easy? I was still a little doubtful that when my glasses arrived they would fit comfortably, that my prescription would be correct, and that they would really look like they did when I tried them on virtually. I really shouldn't have doubted though as Firmoo went above and beyond all of my expectations.
The first thing I noticed was the beautiful hard case my glasses came with, the quality was absolutely fantastic. They also came with a cleaning cloth and a small tool for adjustments.


When I opened the case and tried on my glasses, they were not only the most comfortable glasses that I have ever worn, but my prescription was perfect and they looked exactly like they did when I uploaded my photo and tried them on. I was over the moon ecstatic about the whole process and my Firmoo glasses have quickly become my new favourite pair. I will absolutely use Firmoo again in the future and really recommend giving them a try.

If you are considering giving Firmoo a try, they are currently offering a 'First Pair Free' promotion for new customers which allows you to get selected frames for free (you will still need to pay for the cost of the lenses).

So thank you Firmoo, I love love love my new glasses..

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Monthly Meal Planner

Jun 29, 2014
Meal Planner
If you a ever feeling rushed or finding it difficult to find the time to plan nutritious meals for your family, then I highly recommend using a monthly meal planner.  I have tried weekly meal planning apps on my phone in the past, but was never completely happy with them, so when my sister suggested trying a monthly planner, I decided to create a printable one and give it a go.

The great thing about planning your meals for a whole month is that it saves you time on a daily basis and reduces the chances of finding out (usually at the last minute) that you are missing crucial ingredients.  A meal planner helps you stay organised, save time and simplify life.  At the beginning of the week you can look at your planner to check the complete list of ingredients that you will need for the week and then quickly add them to your shopping list, and you won't have to spend time agonising daily about what to cook, you can simply check your planner and know that you have your ingredients in your fridge or pantry waiting for you. 

My favourite thing about planning for a whole month is that you can list all your recipes on the planner over the month, then you can simply repeat the same plan every month considering there is plenty of variety already there within a month - long term this will drastically reduce the time you spend planning shopping lists and trying to plan meals on a daily basis.  Whenever you want to try a new recipe then you can simply replace one of your planned meals that week, you could possibly even create a seasonal plan to make the most out of the fresh ingredients available during different seasons!

I am ecstatic about the difference this simple tool has made to me.  If you would like your own then you can download the pdf for my monthly meal planner here.  If you find it useful then don't forget to subscribe for more printable goodies coming soon.  In case you missed it, here is last week's printable - a weekly schedule chart that uses images to help young children learn and understand their weekly schedule.  I will hopefully be turning these two printables (and a few more that are coming soon) into an ebook so stay tuned..

Hope you have had a great weekend :)

Aanie x

linking up with Funday Monday
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Run 2 Cure

Jun 25, 2014
On Sunday I had the pleasure of participating in the Neuroblastoma Australia Run 2 Cure.  I was a member of Evie's Army, who collectively managed to raise a whopping $20,000.  What an outstanding effort!  I was so proud to be a part of this team of wonderful people, and so proud to be able to make a difference and support this wonderful cause.  I want to personally thank any of you who donated or supported, your donation really did make a difference.

Our team's little hero Evie wasn't able to be there as she was in hospital having some treatment on the day.  She is doing really well, but still has a few months of treatment ahead so your continual prayers are greatly appreciated.  The whole team is looking forward to next year when Evie will get to walk in the 1km Little Heroes walk along with her family who walked this year.

Evie's Army 5k
5km team and some of the gorgeous little super hero walkers
 Running in this fun run was quite important for me, not only because I was able to support a wonderful cause, but also because this was the first official (running) race that I have participated in a very long time, roughly a decade.  I always try to stay active and run whenever I can, but with young children I have found it difficult to train regularly enough to prepare for a race.  Racing was a huge part of my life for around 15 years so the opportunity to compete in something again was very exciting.  I love having a goal to work towards, or a new PB to aim for.  Competing drives me and has always been my best motivation.

 In order to make sure I was prepared I had to do some goal setting and decide what I needed to do for my race preparation. I knew I could only commit to training once per week (on the treadmill), so I was super excited to run a huge PB on the day, shaving 3 minutes off my best training time, and coming 11th out of 467 female competitors.  It has left me hungry for more so I am looking forward to participating in another fun run/race again soon, and I am definitely looking forward to being a member of Evie's Army again at the Run 2 Cure next year.  Neuroblastoma Australia are still accepting donations this week, so if you didn't get a chance to donate but would like to, you can donate here.

Evie's Army
Evie's Army
If you are running regularly, I really recommend entering a fun run as it is such fantastic motivation.  If you would like to start jogging or running then check out my series on running tips for beginners.

Aanie x
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Schedule Printable

Jun 21, 2014
weekly schedule chart
If you have young children, then you are probably familiar with this line of questioning "What are we doing today Mum? What are we doing tomorrow? What about the next day, and the day after that?".  We have this conversation nearly every day at our house, so I decided to create a very simple, child-friendly chart that helps my young children understand our weekly schedule.  The chart uses images instead of words, perfect for children who aren't reading yet.

My kids love our chart so much that I've created a blank template of the chart so that you can add  your own pictures to suit your weekly schedule.  You can download the Weekly Schedule Template here.  It is an image file, so the easiest way to personalise it would be to download clipart to match your weekly activities, then open your template in a good picture editor like Picmonkey and insert your clipart images wherever you need them.

I found it a huge relief to be able to remind the kids to go and check the chart whenever the same line of questions started again.  You can also use it as a good tool to start teaching the names and order of the days of the week.

If you find it useful then I'd love you to share it on Pinterest (pin-it button below).

Aanie x
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$66 Paypal Cash Giveaway

Jun 18, 2014

This is just a quickie today to let you know about some lovely blogging friends of mine who are hosting a Paypal cash giveaway to celebrate the one year anniversary of their blog hop.  If you would like to enter then head on over to visit the lovely organisers, Lena and Hannah for more details about how you could win.  There's only 24 hours to go, so get in quick or you will miss out on your chance to win! 

Best of luck x

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Encouraging children to be active

Jun 11, 2014

encouraging fit active children

With technology constantly improving, and smart phones/tablets always within reach of our fingertips, it is harder than ever before to discourage screen time and encourage our children to get outside and be active.

It is important that we persist when trying to encourage our children to be active, as childhood is such a critical time in shaping attitudes and beliefs about physical activity.   If we don't encourage our children to be active now, once they are old enough to make their own decisions about health and exercise they could be without the knowledge, healthy routines and skills that they require to choose an active lifestyle for themselves.  I think we can all relate to how difficult it is to learn new skills or habits as an adult, so why not give your children the gift of living an active lifestyle now so that by the time they are teenagers or adults, it comes naturally for them?

To help you do this, I have put together 5 tips for raising fit, active children:

1. Be a role model

Children learn by observing how we behave, how we live our lives.  To be a positive role model in the area of physical activity, you don't need to be a professional athlete, you don't even need to be super fit. You simply need to be participating in some kind of exercise or physical activity on a regular basis, whether that is jogging, playing a team sport, walking your dog, or going on a family hike. Your attitude towards physical activity will affect your children's beliefs about it.   If you are sending the message that physical activity is beneficial and enjoyable, your children will be much more likely to want to participate to.

2.  Create the opportunity

As parents, it is important that we allow time in our day for children to be physically active.  Sometimes this can be as simple as having the children go outside in their yard to play, but when this isn't an option, due to weather or lack of a safe place for them to play, scheduling an activity like a trip to a park, bike track or nature walk is a great way for the kids to burn off some steam and get the exercise that they need.

3. Make it a family event

Regularly getting together as a family and engaging in physical activity or outdoor recreation is a great way for children to create positive associations towards exercise and physical activity.  Children love spending time doing new activities with their parents and by choosing to spend leisure time being active, the whole family will enjoy the benefits.

4.  Variety

Keep things interesting by enjoying a wide variety of different activities.  Not only will this help reduce boredom, but it will allow your children to gain skills across a variety of activities, and perhaps find something that they have a talent for, or really love.  If you are looking for some suggestions, you could try: family bike rides, beach walks, backyard cricket, bush/nature walks or hikes, ice skating, indoor rock climbing, indoor trampoline centres, beach touch football/cricket, ultimate frisbee, canoeing, family swims at your local pool, and many more.

5.  Organised sport

Being a member of a sporting team or club is a great way for children to meet people, gain social skills and make friends.  Organised sport not only allows children to learn and improve sporting skills,  but sport can also improve children's social skills and teach them valuable life lessons.   Even though I highly recommend enrolling your child in some form of organised sport, be careful not to overcommit yourself or your child.  These days,  parents can feel pressured to enrol their young children in many different activities all at once (for instance, swimming lessons, kindy-gym, mini-soccer / mini-rugby, dance and the list goes on).  If you have the time and enjoy all those obligations then fantastic, but if you are feeling a little frazzled, do know that it is okay to take things one at a time, your child has many sporting years ahead so there will be plenty of time/opportunities to try each of those things until you find one or two that your child really enjoys. 

If you have found these tips helpful, or have some more of your own you would like to add, I'd love to hear from you over at our facebook group.

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