Monday, 19 December 2011

Christmas round-up

For newer readers and as a reminder for longer followers of Mummy Zen, I thought I'd round-up a few previous posts I've written over the past couple of years relating to the Christmas season ahead:

10 Simple Joys of Christmas 

Big Family Get-togethers: 8 Ways to Minimise Stress & Maximise Enjoyment

Creating and Enjoying Family Traditions and Memories


Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!
I'll be back with more in the new year......

Friday, 16 December 2011

Avoiding the gluttony of Christmas

With Christmas comes rich foods, big meals and lots of edible treats! We tell ourselves it's Christmas so it's ok to indulge but after the event itself we soon start to wish we hadn't eaten quite so much.... You can still enjoy festive food and treats but there are ways to keep your diet a little more balanced in the process. Here are some suggestions to avoid the gluttony of Christmas:

Meal plan: not just your Christmas day main meal but also plan what you're going to have on Christmas Eve and Boxing day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That way you can choose some lighter, healthier meals around the indulgent ones.

Make a shopping list: along with the meal planning, making a list of food you need to buy will help avoid impulse unhealthy food purchases and will encourage you to think about what you will be consuming over the holidays. Just make sure you stick to it and don't get tempted by special offers on foods you don't need!

Watch your portion sizes: on the occasions you are having a particularly rich meal, you can still enjoy a taste of everything but keep your portions small so you don't stuff yourself. You don't need a large amount of something to enjoy it. Use a smaller plate, refrain from second helpings or use smaller serving spoons to help control the amount you eat.

Drink water: keep drinking lots of water each day and a glass before each meal. It will keep you hydrated and means you're not filling your body with food and alcohol alone.Sometimes we eat when really we're thirsty and are not drinking enough water, so make a conscious effort to drink a glass every couple of hours.

Have one or two fast / detox / healthy eating days: put a day in the diary just before Christmas and another one a couple of days after to do a fast, a detox or just to eat extra healthily. It'll give your body a break from the rich foods and make you feel better for eating less or very healthily. You can also enjoy your treats with a little less guilt!

Exercise: it might be cold outside but you can still exercise over the festive period. Wrap up warm and go for a brisk walk, do some simple exercises indoors, some vigorous dancing in the living room....whatever it is will make you feel good and stop you languishing on the sofa grazing.

Are you good about what you eat over the Christmas period or do you tend to stuff yourself and regret it later? Do you have any additonal tips to add to the list above?
Photo credit

Monday, 12 December 2011

The magic of Christmas

My oldest brother has three children, much older than my two. They are all past the stage of believing in Father Christmas and as they got older, my brother felt Christmas lost the magic it once had for him. He laments of the lack of surprise with Christmas presents for his children and the fact they provide their parents with the exact item details of whatever it is they want and where to buy it. He misses the excitement and the delight on their faces when they open up their presents. Hearing him tell me this reminds me that I need to really treasure every moment of the festive spirit shared with my family.

Luckily, my children are still young enough to experience the wonder and awe of this time of year and it is a joy to watch. I was just telling my husband recently how sweet it is every time my son and I are out for a walk and he excitedly points out every Christmas tree or display of Christmas lights in shops or houses. He reacts like each one is the first he has ever seen! Last year was fun having him help decorate our Christmas tree but this year he'll be even more willing and able so I'm looking forward to it. He's been helping me wrap presents, pack parcels to take to the post office and doing little drawings in Christmas cards.

At age three this is probably the first Christmas where my son is aware of what happens at this time of year and can really enjoy the build up, the preparations and family traditions. We will be having a fairly quiet Christmas this year, just the four of us. It'll be an occasion for sharing time together as a family and enjoying the festivities exactly how we want without the pressures of fitting in with anyone else's plans or expectations. Christmas provides the perfect excuse to see and enjoy the world through a child's eyes, however you choose to celebrate it. How will you be creating your own magic of Christmas with your family this year?
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Friday, 2 December 2011

Affordable, fun 'toys'

As we approach Christmas, with stores going all out on the marketing of toys and people buying far too much for the children in their lives, I thought it was a good time to read The 5 Best Toys of All Time on GeekDad. It was posted at the beginning of this year and is a nice reminder of the simple pleasures children enjoy and fun sources of imaginative play.

I would add to his list, tape. Masking tape is especially good. Easy for little fingers to rip off and can be played with on its roll, pulling long stretches of it, tearing small bits off, sticking stuff together, and if an adult sticks a long wide strip to the floor and adds a black line down the middle, it becomes the perfect road for your child to drive their cars along.

What would you add to his list?