Win A Back-To-School Prize Pack

Baby Got Backpack pain?

Win A Back-To-School Prize Pack

My son is going into grade four. Grade four! How did this happen? This year BOTH of my children will be in school all day...every day. Cue tap dancing, followed by guilt, overridden by joy, shadowed by panic. It’s whirlwindy over here.

As a teacher turned work-at-home mom, I know this anxiety will soon pass, schedules will resume and life will go on {though dotted with intermittent freak outs and the occasional mama bear mauling}. In the meantime, parents everywhere are calming themselves with the task of stocking their children’s school backpacks.

I adore a well-appointed backpack; pockets and pouches with purpose, organized and uncluttered. My children’s backpacks start out this way, but by the third day of school I find rocks, leaves, and stowaway sticks stuffed in there! As the year progresses there's crumpled paper, more leaves {now dry and crunchy}, sandwich crusts, fermenting grapes, stinky gym socks, toys and a pile of other disgusting things in there.

It’s unsavoury, not to mention heavy. Did you know 35% of children less than nine years old complain of backaches? Hauling around a backpack filled with rocks and heavy books will do that. It’s a fact that 50% of children carry packs that are too heavy for their developing spines and that over time, improper backpacks and heavy loads put unnecessary strain on the body causing adverse effects on growing back. Source

So, here are a few “Baby Got Back-Pack” tips to consider this year:

• Choose the right backpack i.e., appropriate size, weight, straps, padding

• Get a backpack with a waist strap to distribute weight evenly

• Inspect contents weekly and remove unnecessary items {this absolutely includes rocks!}

• Bring home only the books needed for homework

• Choose light notebooks and accessories

• To reduce weight, replace regular three-ring binders with the light weight, flexible Wilson Jones Backpack Binder (65% lighter than a standard one-inch binder...available exclusively at Costco locations across Canada)

• Use all of the backpack's compartments, putting heavier items, such as textbooks, closest to the centre of the back

• Follow the 15% rule: for example, if a child weighs 52 kg (115 lbs.), the backpack should not weigh more than 7.8 kg (17 lbs.)

• Never sling the backpack over one shoulder {even though it looks cool...says my nine-year-old}

I really miss the fall set-up of my classroom so to distract myself from the heady pleasures of bulletin board paper and sticky tack, I’m giving away a Back-to-School Prize Pack to one lucky reader!

The winner receives:

- 2 packages of Wilson Jones Backpack Binders (2 sets of colours)

- 1 Swingline Anywhere stapler

- 1 Quartet Locker Combination Board

- 1 MotherWord calendar (for mom to organize the kids)

TO ENTER leave a comment about the strangest, grossest, or most annoying thing you’ve found in your child’s backpack.

Yummy Rules and Regs: You must be a Yummy Mummy Club member to win. Click to sign up! It's free and filled with perks. One comment per member. Entries accepted until Saturday, September 1, 2012. Contest open to Canadian residents. Winners will be picked using


Head over to our Back To School Page for plenty of great back to school articles, tips, gear and fashions!


How To Make Sushi At Home

Be A Sushi Sensei

How To Make Sushi At Home

SUSHI is a yummy and healthy hit at any party. You can buy it premade (pricey), but homemade sushi is inexpensive and surprisingly easy to make. It does take some time—about an hour from start to finish, but it's worth it.

I’ve been making sushi at home for years, but I usually cheat a little by using my Sushi Master Sushi Maker machine. God I love my CNE gadgets (yes, I also own a Sham Wow and a Slap Chop).

For the purpose of this blog I left my Sushi Master (which can make heart shaped sushi I might add) in the cupboard and went traditional by using a bamboo mat. It’s a little tricky until you get the hang of it, but once you discover how economical it is to roll your own, you’ll be hooked. Plus, your friends will invite you and your super sushi to every bonsai ball and will probably start calling you “Edamummy!”  (Yes, that was a lame play on words using edamame beans and mummy. “Miso” silly.)

Here’s what you need to know to be a Sushi Sensei!

sushi rice, rice vinegar, nori (seaweed paper), veggies for filling, bamboo mat,soy sauce, pickled ginger, wasabi

1.    Follow instructions on package to make sushi rice.

2.    While waiting for rice to cool, wash and cut up ingredients for the filling.  You can use anything you like.  I used cucumber, avocado and raw red pepper.

3.    Cover the bamboo mat with plastic wrap

4.    Lay a piece of nori on the mat with the rough side up (rice sticks to it better).

5.    Place about 1/2 cup of rice on the nori. Have a bowl of water next to your work area to wet your hands so the rice won’t stick to your fingers. It really helps.

6.    Spread the rice over the nori with your fingers, leaving a ½ inch strip of nori uncovered at the bottom.

7.    Place your desired fillings along this strip of uncovered nori on the edge closest to you.

8.    Using the rolling mat, begin to tightly roll the sushi. Start at the side nearest to you, and roll away from you. Make sure you don’t roll the mat into your sushi! When the sushi is completely rolled, use the rolling mat to squeeze the sushi so it doesn’t unroll when you cut it.

9.    Using a sharp knife (wet the knife before cutting, so the rice won’t stick to it) cut sushi into six or eight pieces, sawing gently back and forth while cutting.

10.    Arrange on a plate.  Serve with pickled ginger, wasabi and low-sodium soya sauce on the side.


Formal Dinner Parties For Dummies

Host A Supper Soiree Without Going Mad

Formal Dinner Parties For Dummies

Does the thought of planning, preparing, and serving a lavish seven course meal have you reaching for your cookbooks in giddy anticipation? Or does the image of a smokey kitchen and food poisoning lawsuit send you diving for cover under your dining room table? Maybe a smaller, less intimidating cocktail party is more your scene?

Cocktails parties I can do with my eyes shut. Formal dinner parties? So not my forte. Occasionally I pull out the cloth napkins and use the real china, but that’s as fancy as it gets. Welcoming, I can do. Elegant and refined, not so much.

I've had my share of dinner party disasters, like the time the table caught fire or the night when guests broke out into a full spousal spat over the first course, follow by a drunken dance performance during dessert. We dined in hell that night. I’m happy to say that my savory courses were not the cause of that bitter discourse.

I get a little stage fright before hosting a large FORMAL dinner party. I like to cook, but I’m no Julia Child. I can follow a basic recipe, but the timing of each course stresses me out. Plus, I need to concentrate and focus (neither of which I’m very good at) when preparing a “fancy” meal (read: not take-out or thaw and serve) so I end up missing out on the action. If I’m going to throw a party, I want to be there dammit!

This is why I usually plan casual dinners. Simple fare, buffet style, pot luck, BBQs, “all hands on deck” kinds of affairs. That way I can relax and enjoy. Plus, the microwave is less likely to explode and poison control needn’t be called.

However, there are many amazing mummies who actually relish the challenge of serving an elegant meal to a party of twelve. Party Daddy and I had the pleasure of dining at the home of one of these ladies a few weeks ago. Shelley F. is essentially Martha Stewart, Julia Child and Cocktail Deeva rolled into one. Her house is immaculate, her children are always well behaved, and her food is delicious (like, drool dripping off your chin, tasty).

We had a wonderfully elegant meal and I now…I must reciprocate. Eek! Would they notice if I brought food in and disguised it as my own? Maybe I’ll throw a “Hire A Chef – Kitchen Party?"

Shelley assured me the food she prepared was dead easy. The entire meal was outstanding, but two highlights for me were the starter – a yummy and LOW CAL soup and the delish dessert. Shelley has kindly shared the recipes below.

As Julia would say, Bon Appetit!

Senegalese Peanut Soup (Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook)

1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 cups chicken broth
3 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 tsp peanut oil (I used sesame)
2 onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger powder
1 ½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp ground cumin
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
¼ tsp cayenne
2 tablespoons cilantro

 In food processor combine chickpeas, ½ cup chicken broth and peanut butter. Puree.

 Sauté onions and ginger until soft. Stir in curry, cumin. Add remaining chicken broth, tomatoes and chickpea mixture. Simmer. Season with cayenne and serve with cilantro.

Frozen Pistachio Pie with Raspberry Sauce

1 cup crushed graham crumbs
½ cup chopped pistachio nuts, 3 tbsp butter, melted

1 package light cream cheese
1 box (4 serving) pistachio instant pudding mix
1 ¼ cup skim milk
1 container (8 oz) frozen fat free whipped topping, thawed

1 package (10 oz) frozen raspberries in syrup, partially thawed
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp orange liquor (I actually used Chambord)

Reserved 1 cup topping
1-2 tbsp chopped pistachios

 Mix crust ingredients together and press firmly in bottom of 9 inch spring form pan

 Beat cream cheese until light.  Add pudding mix and milk until combined.  Reserve one cup whipped topping (for garnish) and add remainder of tub to cream cheese mixture folding with spatula until well blended.  Spoon over crust.  Freeze for 4 hours.
 In food processor blend sauce ingredients.  Strain seeds if desired (I didn’t).
 Let dessert thaw for 1 hour in refrigerator.  Carefully run knife along the edge of pan to loosen from sides.
 Top each serving with reserved whipped topping, pistachios and raspberry sauce.