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Archive for January, 2011

Childhood Games

When we were kids at school we used to play marbles, hula hoop, do skipping (both ordinary and French skipping with elastic) and play knuckle bones. Those are the main games I remember playing during our breaks between classes.

The other day I suddenly decided I’d like a hula hoop. We always used to make our own hoops out of plastic piping. I figured I’d get my hubby to make me one. We stopped by the mall yesterday, and I made a quick stop at Rebel Sports where I found a hula hoop for $8.99. Bargain! It took me a little while to get into the swing of keeping the hoop going because it’s much harder than Wii Hula Hoop. I figured it’s a quick exercise to do after sitting down and writing. I jump up, grab my hoop and twirl away.

What games did you play at school? Can you hula hoop?

Melting Birthday Cake

Chocolate Cake

It’s hubby’s birthday tomorrow and I decided to make him a birthday cake. We had a really hot day today with temperatures reaching 28C and 100% humidity. This is extreme for Auckland so we’re all wilting. I iced my cake and it was so hot the icing and the chocolate buttons I used to decorate the side of the cake melted almost as soon as I put them on. I had to put my cake in the fridge. Luckily the end result tastes all right. I sure hope the promised rain arrives soon and cools everything down.

Thirteen Common Sense Suggestions to Help Weight Loss

At this time of the year many of us are thinking about losing weight, especially after all the yummy festive goodies we’ve consumed. I found these tips in a Diabetes New Zealand brochure that arrived in our mailbox. I thought they’d make an excellent TT topic.

Thirteen Tips for Weight Loss

1. Make a plan. It’s the best way to avoid that “grab a snack” thing that happens when you’re hungry.

2. Fruit and vegetables are great. Remember Five Plus a day?

3. Bread and cereals are good to fill you up, but remember wholegrain is best – and avoid sugary cereals.

4. Fruit juice can contain almost as much sugar as fizzy soft drinks. Water is best if you’re thirsty.

5. Chocolate, lollies and other treats aren’t healthy. Keep them as an occasional treat.

6. Know your food labels and learn what they mean. Even when labels say “lite” it’s worth checking the back to make sure they’re less than 10% fat.

7. Go for a walk. It doesn’t need to be far. Even once around the block will get things pumping.

8. Make friends with stairs. Whenever there’s an option, stairs are the way to go.

9. Set easy goals, make a plan and stick to it. It’s easier to do things if you’ve written them down.

10. Join a club such as walking, dancing or even an amateur theatre club to keep yourself active.

11. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day. (60 mins for kids) It doesn’t need to be all at once. You can split it up into 10 minute intervals.

12. During the first couple of weeks weigh foods and keep track of your calories. For a normal woman (i.e. me) aim for around 1200 calories per day to achieve weight loss.

13. Don’t try to do it alone. Recruit family members or friends to join you on your weight loss adventure.

Do you have any helpful diet tips to add?

Labyrinth Relaxation and Plotting

Cottage Grove Labyrinth

I took this photo of a labyrinth at The Village Green Resort in Cottage Grove, Oregon. It’s a simple turf labyrinth and is a replica of one from 9th century Aachen in Germany.

I didn’t realize there was a difference between a maze and a labyrinth and learned differently during my visit. A labyrinth has one entrance and one exit. It doesn’t have any dead ends. A maze has a high hedge (or corn in modern mazes) and is actually a puzzle because it contains lots of twists and turns and dead ends. Mazes are used for entertainment such as the one at Hampton Court near London. I’ve explored the Hampton Court one and managed to get lost but finally made the center with hubby’s help. Labyrinths are used as a compliment to meditation or prayer. I walked this one and found it very soothing. I think it would make a good spot for plotting a book or for pondering plot problems.

Have you ever explored a maze or walked a labyrinth?

Vegetarian Nicoise Salad

Earlier today I was browsing the cook books in Borders while waiting for Mr. Munro. This recipe for a vegetarian Nicoise-type salad caught my eye and I decided I’d make my version for dinner.



1 cup cous cous
1 cup boiling water
knob of butter or a little olive oil
sliced green beans
black olives
2 hard boiled eggs
salt and pepper to taste

Add boiling water and butter or olive oil to the cous cous and combine with a fork until the the cous cous has soaked up the water and is fluffy. Cook the green beans and drain. Chop the tomatoes finely. Chop the parsley. Combine these ingredients with the cous cous and arrange the quartered eggs on top. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with your favorite vinegarette dressing.

Verdict: Very yummy. I’d definitely make this salad again.

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