About nicolehennessey

Mom to Hunter (born March 2013) and Vivian (born October 2015). I was born and raised in London and can't wait to share everything London has to offer to its mamas!

Taking a look at your Eating Habits

Take some time to examine those meals and snacks for which you’d like to improve the variety of food choices. Record what you eat and drink for 3 days. Use a diary or app and discover your eating patterns.

Some questions to ask yourself…

  • Are there long gaps between meals and snacks?
  • Are you eating most of your food late in the afternoon or in the evening?
  • Are you skipping breakfast?

Knowing the answers to these questions can help you better determine your eating patterns and what you can do to improve upon your own eating habits.

Use your food diary to enter each food you and your family eat and which food group they belong in. Take a close look at what you drink as well.

If you plan to make changes only make one or two changes at a time. Too many choices can be overwhelming and too much too quickly.

If you’re ever unsure of your eating patterns, you can always contact a registered dietician.

Making Some Loaves

Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 small ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

Directions

  1. Mash the bananas in a medium size bowl
  2. Add honey, butter, baking soda, salt, eggs, and flour (in that order)
  3. Mix well. Pour into an oiled 9×5 inch loaf pan
  4. Bake at 350F for 45-60 minutes
  5. Remove from pan at once after baking and cool on a wire rack.

Lemon Loaf

Ingredients

Loaf

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lemon rind, grated
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Dash of salt

Glaze

  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl
  3. Add eggs and cream well
  4. Mix lemon rind, flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl
  5. Alternate adding the milk and flour mixture
  6. Pour into greased and lined loaf pan
  7. Warm together lemon juice and sugar in small saucepan on low until sugar dissolves
  8. Pour glaze over loaf and let saturate
  9. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and cake tester comes out clean
  10. Remove loaf from pan and cool on a rack

Homemade Flubber

Again, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, my kids love squishy things. I think it’s a great sensory experiment for them and they gain more experience in their own senses. So this past weekend we decided to make homemade flubber. It’s easy to make and in fact, quite squishy which was perfect for their little hands!

Supplies

  • Two bowls
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 1 cup Elmer’s glue
  • Liquid food colouring
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon borax (you can find this in a box in the laundry aisle)
  1. In bowl 1 – mix together the cold water, glue, and food colouring. set aside.
  2. In bowl 2 – mix together the hot water and borax, until the borax is completely dissolved.
  3. Slowly add glue mixture to borax mixture. mix well. pour off excess water.

Benefits to Playing Outdoors

Studies have shown the playing outdoors has many benefits for children, especially with the decrease in physical activity, it is quite essential for children to get at least 1 to 2 hours of outdoor play each day. Below I have posted some benefits of outdoor play.

1. Learning
Playing outside helps children to develop their learning abilities. By putting educational equipment outdoors, children are soon learning through play, which is a fun way of helping children to learn new information and skills. As well as this, outdoor learning encourages children to think of learning is an ongoing process instead of just something done in the classroom.

2. Creativity
Outdoor play is great for encouraging children’s creativity. Away from the constraints and confinement of indoor play, being outside children’s imaginations are often stimulated by the objects around them and they quickly tap into their creativity.

3. Health
There are numerous health benefits to playing outside. With more room to play in, children are often more active when outside, which helps them to build strong bones and good fitness levels, while also enabling them to burn off extra energy and calories. As well as this, being in the sunshine, even in winter, means children naturally absorb vital vitamin D, a lack of which can lead to Rickets.

4. Social skills
As outdoor spaces are usually less crowded than indoors, it is less intimidating and helps children to naturally come out of their shells and be more social. This means that children will be more willing to join in games and activities, while they will also be more likely to talk to different children and make new friends. This all encourages children to learn social skills and how to interact with other children away from adult supervision.

5. Well-being
Giving children the freedom of playing outdoor helps them to feel happier and calmer. As already stated, being outside means that children naturally get vitamin D, which is proven to help improve moods and create a positive mental attitude. The freedom outdoor play also encourages children to get rid of built-up energy, particularly if they tend to be fidgety when sitting for long periods of time, this leads to them becoming calmer and ultimately helps them to be more focused when in the classroom.

6. Independence
The large space in which to play means that when outside children are often away from direct adult supervision. This helps them to learn independence when socially interacting with other children, as well as learning to play by themselves. They learn how to take turns playing games, to pick themselves up when they fall, and how to negotiate unfamiliar equipment, resulting in children learning how to be independent and self-reliant.

7. Explore
Often outdoor play equipment has a little more risk than indoor toys. Whether it is encouraging children to use slides they might be a little afraid to go down, or to try challenging play trails; outdoor play equipment can help children to learn to push their boundaries and become good at risk assessment. It also teaches them to explore new games and become confident in learning to try new things without being guided by adults.

Family Dinner

We were at grandma and grandpa’s place just a couple days ago and we had the most delicious spare ribs. My mother was nice enough to pass along the recipe and since it was so yummy I decided to share it.

Grandma’s Festarini’s Famous Hawaiian Spareribs

Ingredients

  • 1 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • 2 1/2 LBS pork side ribs

Directions

  1. In a medium size, bowl mix the first five ingredients together to create the sauce
  2. Separate spare ribs and place in a shallow pan
  3. Pour sauce over ribs
  4. Bake in the oven at 350 F for 1.5 hours
  5. Stir gently after 45 minutes, remove excess fat

Note: Complete the meal by serving with cooked rice and vegetables

Turkey Craft

Since it is Thanksgiving Monday, I thought it would be fun to share a craft that I have planned to do with my kids and the rest of my family after our big feast tonight. It is a tradition in our family to reflect on what we are thankful for during Thanksgiving time. We are planning on making these fun turkey’s that show us what we’re thankful for.

SUPPLIES

  • Construction paper
  • Googly eyes
  • Red tissue paper
  • Glue
  • Turkey Feather template

DIRECTIONS

1. Traced a circle on brown construction paper and then cut it out for the body of the turkey.

2. Use a turkey feather template. Choose a variety of different colours of construction paper for the feathers and print the feathers on each of those colour.

3. Using a glue stick glue the construction paper feathers to the back of the body by fanning out the feathers.

4. Write what you are thankful for on the feathers.

5. Cut out a triangle for the beak from the orange paper and glue to the body.  Glue googly eyes to the body and a small piece of red tissue next to the beak for the gobbler/wattle.

6. Glue feathers to the back of the paper feathers.

Looking to move? 4 must-do tips before you start

Looking to move? 4 must-do tips before you start

 

The steps involved in buying or selling a home can seem overwhelming, and that’s especially true when deals happen fast. A recent survey by the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) found that the majority of Ontarians who bought or sold a home in the last five years weren’t in the market for very long.

Among the buyers surveyed, nearly 57 per cent said they purchased their property within three months of when they started actively looking.

For sellers, things happened even more quickly: 67 per cent said they sold their property in under three months. Overall, 54 per cent thought the process took less time than they had anticipated.

When you’re ready to make a move, take a deep breath, sketch out a plan and get informed before you enter the market. After all, you may begin by casually browsing listings only to stumble across a place you love, and suddenly find yourself in the throes of a major purchase. By being informed right from the start, you’ll have confidence in the decisions you are making, even if they do happen quickly.

Following these four must-do tips is a great place to start:

1 Shop around before you shop around for a home

 

Real estate salespeople and brokerages vary widely in terms of experience, expertise and services provided, so meet with at least three salespeople before you sign an agreement. When you have a shortlist of representatives, ask each of them some questions to determine which one is right for you:

– Walk me through your real estate experience.

– Describe your general approach to buying and selling, and how your approach will best suit my needs.

– Tell me about the fees and commissions I’ll have to pay.

– Which services does your brokerage provide, and are any of them included in our agreement?

– How often will you provide me with progress updates, and how will we communicate?

– Could you please provide me with some references?

2 Look them up

Before you meet with any salespeople or brokers, be sure to look them up using the “Look up a real estate salesperson, broker or brokerage” search tool in the top right-hand corner of RECO’s website. It will tell you if they’re registered and in good standing, and if they have faced any disciplinary action.

3 Read and understand everything

When you hire a real estate representative to help you buy or sell a home, you will likely be asked to sign an agreement that defines your relationship with the representative’s brokerage. It’s a legal contract that spells out how long the agreement is for, the location it covers and what fees or commissions will need to be paid.

Also, when you buy or sell a home, you will need to sign a legal contract to complete the transaction. This agreement contains a lot of important information in addition to price and conditions, such as whether the appliances and light fixtures stay with the house.

These are just two examples of real estate agreements that are legally binding, meaning you typically can’t back out once you’ve signed on the dotted line.

Whenever you’re presented with a document that requires a signature, read it and understand it thoroughly. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification, or request that your representative walk you through it, line by line. If you’re still unsure about something, consider asking your lawyer for advice.

4 Be an active participant in the process

Your salesperson is a knowledgeable resource who can help you make informed decisions, but you should always remember that you’re the one in the driver’s seat, even when the car appears to be accelerating down the expressway.

Be an active participant in the process. That means being open and candid with your representative about what’s important to you in a home, and which services you expect from him or her. Your salesperson can best help you when you’re clear about what you want.

And it means you have a responsibility to perform your own due diligence: asking questions, understanding any required paperwork, conducting your own research (when necessary), and being an active participant through every step.

Remember, you own the process.

 

There’s a lot of information out there about market trends and how to get the best price, but you also need to know about your rights and responsibilities as a home buyer or seller.  The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) can help you with that.

When it comes to real estate transactions, the more you know, the better you’re protected. Visit RECO’s website to learn more.

Looking for a larger home for your growing family? Check out some helpful advice about whether to buy first or sell first and the 5 questions you should ask before selecting a real estate representativ

Preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner

Are you getting prepared for Thanksgiving this Monday? Family arriving? I find my family has certain expectations for how clean my home is. I have some quick easy steps to help you prepare for any guests that may arrive on your doorstep.

  1. Clean the bathroom. If you only have time to clean one room in your house other than the kitchen, make it the bathroom. Most guests can handle a little dust on the coffee table or lint on the carpet, but a dirty bathroom is most unpleasant. Scrub and wipe down the toilet and sink, wipe the mirror, re-stock the toilet paper, empty the trash can, put out a fresh hand towel, and then light a candle right before everyone arrives.
  2. Vacuum. Quickly run the vacuum in the rooms where your guests will be: entryway, bathroom, dining room, living room, maybe a guest room.
  3. Wipe the kitchen countertops. You’ve worked hard over the last few hours, and your kitchen shows it — but it’ll show it less if you wipe off your counters!
  4. Sweep the kitchen floor. The same goes for the kitchen floor. Sweep away the crumbs and quickly wipe up any drips or splatters you see.
  5. Empty the kitchen sink; load and start the dishwasher. Let the first of (likely) many dishwasher cycles run while your guests are arriving. If you have time, unload it before everyone sits down to dinner. If you don’t have time, no worries. At least you’ll have a clean sink and no dishes stacked on the counter.
  6. Straighten and dust. Again, focus on where your guests will be. Remove clutter and then dust the major surfaces. I usually focus on my coffee and side tables, electronics, and low shelves.
  7. Fluff the living room pillows. So you took a power nap while the pies were in the oven? Yay, you! Fluff and floof those pillows, my friend, and your guests will never know.
  8. Adjust the lighting. Turn off overhead lights and turn on lamps. Light some candles. This draws the eye away from any areas that weren’t deep-cleaned and just makes everyone feel cozy.
  9. Clear a place for coats and bags. If you have a coat rack in your entryway, empty it to make room for your guests’ belongings. Or, make up the bed in your bedroom or a guest bedroom for everyone to drop their coat and bag.
  10. Put on some music. You’ve done the minimum amount required to get your place looking good, and that’s totally fine! Now, put on a little music and you’re done.

Thanksgiving Desserts

Thanksgiving is coming soon and I thought it’d be fun to share some homemade pie recipes from my family. We typically go traditional with a pumpkin pie, but because not everyone likes pumpkin pie in my family we always offer cookies.

Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients

Pie Crust:

  • 1 store-bought pie (you can make a homemade crust, but no one in my family ever has the time)

Pumpkin Pie Filling:

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 and 1/4 cups evaporated milk

Directions

To prepare the pie crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Prepare the pie crust by rolling the dough out to 12-inches in diameter. Next, carefully transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate (make sure it’s at least 1 and 1/2 inches deep), gently fit it into the pie plate, trim any excess dough, and flute the edges. Line the pie dough with parchment paper or foil, making sure to cover the bottom and fit it snuggly in the corners and up the sides, then fill with pie weights (dried beans or dry rice work well too).
  3. Bake the pie crust at 400°F for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the parchment paper (or foil) and pie weights. Return the pie crust to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

To prepare the filling:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves until well combined. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin puree and evaporated milk until well combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together until fully combined.

To make the pumpkin pie:

  1. Pour the pumpkin pie filling into the partially baked pie crust. Return to the oven and bake at 400°F for 45-50 minutes, or until the center is almost set (it should be a little wobbly). Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack for 2-3 hours to cool completely. Cover tightly and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 350 F
  2. Cream sugar and shortening
  3. Add egg and vanilla and beat until creamy
  4. Mix flour, oatmeal, and baking soda in a small bowl
  5. Blend into shortening mixture until a dough forms
  6. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes

 

Pinecone Turkeys

Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to make some Thanksgiving themed crafts with my family. We ended up making these adorable little turkeys made from pinecones.

Supplies:
  • Pinecones
  • Orange felt
  • Feathers
  • Googly eyes
  • Hot Glue gun
  • Glue

Directions

Step one: Cut your feathers in half

Step two: Use a small amount of hot glue to add the feathers

Step three: Glue on the eyes and beak