The McMum

“The make-ahead-made-by-mom-egg-McMuffin”

My kids nicknamed this breakfast The McMum.  It’s a really great make-ahead breakfast for busy weekday mornings.  Double or triple what you would normally make for your family and you have breakfast for the next few mornings (or if you have teenagers like I do -an after school snack!).

McMum

HOW TO: Lightly oil a muffin tin.  Then, similar to lining each hole with a paper liner when baking muffins, line each hole with a piece of ham (you can also use other lunch meets like turkey, mortadella or salami).  Crack an egg right inside each one.  Sprinkle a little salt and pepper (I also like a little dash of paprika!) on top and bake in a 350°F degree oven until cooked through and firm (about 15 minutes).

Remove the muffin tin from the oven and allow to cool on a baking rack.  Gently remove each McMum and place them in a Tupperware or a plate with plastic wrap over top and store in the refrigerator.  To re-heat simply place in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds (but they are good cold too!).  Serve as is or on a whole wheat English muffin with cheese.

McMum

*Published in the Gazette Vaudreuil Soulange on August 28th, 2013

Check back often for more quick and easy recipes!

Julie

You might also like…

A modern and budget friendly master bath

A modern and budget friendly master bath

Like most people, when designing the master bath, my wants did not match my budget! Still, there were some key elements I knew I had to have. A walk-in glassless shower (think: easy-to-clean), double vanities, decent storage and a large window. Bathroom fans might work well, but nothing beats an open window to properly ventilate and get rid of humidity. Natural light is also perfect for applying makeup!

Master bathrooms are definitely more stressful to decorate then their counterpart, the master bedroom. Picking out the wrong duvet cover or lamp is not the end of the world but choosing the wrong tiles, fixtures and cabinetry can be a pricey and permanent mistake.

Here are three basic factors to consider when planning your bathroom design:

• Paint it. When painting small rooms like bathrooms or walk-in closets, I generally like to paint the ceiling the same colour. It makes the room feel less chopped up, tricks the eye into thinking the ceiling is a little higher and makes the overall space feel more open.

• Don’t decorate. Keep the palette gender-neutral since this space is likely to be shared and of course always consider resale. Baby blue cabinets may go with your beach theme but one day it could drive buyers away. Adding a blue soap dispenser and other accessories however can be a great way to inject your favourite colour into the room.

I’ve always thought bathrooms in general should be clean-looking and not “decorated”. Instead, why not use everyday essentials displayed in an interesting way? This is how boutique hotels and spas make their spaces feel clean and high end. Items like rolled towels, jars of bath salts, lush tropical plants or even a pretty decanter for mouthwash are simple, low cost examples anyone can replicate at home.

• Put it away. Toothbrushes, wrinkle creams, floss, razors and flat irons – no one needs to see all of that, not even you! Take a couple of hours on a rainy weekend and clean out under your sink. Next, buy a few inexpensive, easy to wash plastic bins and baskets. Make yourself a system with a bin for hair stuff, another for mani/pedi products and so on. When there is a place for everything, it takes 20 seconds to plop your deodorant, mascara and hair mousse away, not to mention easier to find and take out every morning!

Check out my blog at www.JulieLovesHome.wordpress.com
Facebook: JulieLovesHome

Wednesday November 28, 2012 – Julie Cadieux

*For more photos of the master bathroom click here!

Master Bath

U.S. Politics. A different perspective

“It’s like being a HABS fan.”

By Julie Cadieux.

As The Hudson St-Lazare Gazette goes to press The United States will be voting for their next president. Last weeks’ column by Suzana Vukic, American’s War On Women, (see her article at the bottom) made some passionate and interesting points about how the Republicans have stirred up women’s rights issues. However, having lived in the U.S. for over a decade I have a slightly different perspective. I can see how to many Canadians it might seem as though American’s have allowed women’s rights to be eroded. But that’s because Canadians understand American politics, from their own experience, not an American’s.

Of course I am not defending any of the wrong and backwards remarks that some politicians have made over the last few months. Least of all Republican Senator, Todd Akin (Missouri) who, in case you needed a refresher, said in a televised interview: “First of all, from what I understand from doctors, (pregnancy from rape) are really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” It’s no shock that as of this past weekend his opponent, Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill was ahead in the polls. But the bigger shock is that she only had about a 5 percentage point lead. How is it that this guy (Akin) was still even in the running you ask? Does this mean women don’t care and men agree with him? No, I don’t think so. Let me try to explain:

In the U.S. you are either a Republican (37%) or a Democrat (39%), for life! There is a small percentage of Americans (23%) who are undecided which includes the ‘liberal Republicans’ and ‘conservative Democrats’ who are considered swing voters because their voting patterns cannot be predicted. (Statistics from the PEW Research center, November 5th, 2012.)

For the lifers (76% of Americans), there is little objectivity. There will always be a reason, explanation or excuse that can be used to defend or forgive their beloved party. Need proof? How about the ads that have been running for Akin like this one “You don’t have to agree with everything he says, but you can be sure, in the Senate, Akin will vote for (Republican nominee Mitt) Romney’s policies.” I compare it to sports fans: the same way a Habs fan will always be a Habs fan.  As a fan you might get frustrated with a coach’s decisions or dislike a player, but you still believe in your team and will cheer them on no matter what. This is how U.S. politics is for millions of Americans and why some who might actually disagree and be completely disgusted with Akin, will still end up voting (Republican) for him anyway.

In Canada (and Quebec) there is not the same kind of passion and entertainment in our politics. We have more parties to choose from and the majority of us have no loyalties to one or the other. If we do bother voting at all, we choose the candidate or party we hate the least. We don’t trust or care enough to be faithful. To put it in American political terms, Canadians are mostly all undecided/swing voters.

The next and other very important factor which plays a huge role in U.S Politics and one which many of us here cannot truly relate to in the same way, is religion. There are so many Americans who are very conservative and deeply religious. Their beliefs and values come from their church and bible teachings and this is reflected in their politics and why a variety of women’s and gay rights are still hot button issues. Right or wrong this is why many Americans support candidates who mirror these values.

I am not defending or undermining U.S. politics or trying to say that Canada’s way of doing it is better or worse. I am just trying to explain it. I understand how from the Canadian perspective it might seem bizarre. The same way I imagine from an American perspective having a province that would have an elected party which is against English as its primary language, might seem bizarre to them!

Hmmmm.  I would love to hear your perspective on this: JulieLovesHome@gmail.com

The Hudson St-Lazare Gazette – November 7th 2012 – Julie Cadieux

———

America’s war on women (By Suzana Vukic)

Throughout the course of the year, I’ve been so caught up with my projects that I haven’t found the time to address a very real, pervasive phenomenon that has taken root in our own backyard, so to speak: America’s war on women.

And just to clarify: this is very specifically a Republican war on woman. Americans are preparing for the impending presidential elections. Democrat and Republican leaders are facing off. And a very ugly and all-too real war on women has been taking shape for the longest time now.

Earlier this year, right-wing radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh launched a very personal attack against Georgetown University Law Center student Sandra Fluke, calling her a slut and a prostitute. Why? This was in response to Fluke’s speech to house Democrats in support of mandating insurance coverage for contraceptives.

It was no surprise that Limbaugh lost a lot of support — including sponsorship — as a result. And of course, Republican leaders wasted no time distancing themselves from this man and his remarks.

Yet the onslaught against women continues. And it very evidently comes from the Republican camp. Issues relating to women’s basic health, safety and well-being — ranging from rape, access to abortion and contraception, domestic violence — all of these have come under attack, one way or another.

It’s absolutely shocking to hear some of the ignorant remarks made by Republican leaders or leadership hopefuls regarding women’s issues. A good example that comes to mind is that of U.S. Senate candidate from Missouri, Todd Akin, who stated this past summer that a “legitimate rape” rarely results in pregnancy, as “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” More recently, Indiana Republican Senate candidate said that pregnancy resulting from rape is “something that God intended.”

I’d like to see either of these “gentlemen” tell that to Bosnian victims of wartime rape, especially those who were impregnated by their rapists while being held in captivity and released only after their pregnancies were so far advanced that any possibility of a safe abortion was out of the question.

And while Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney makes every effort to distance himself from these PR fiascos, he has nonetheless proven time and again his willingness to undermine women’s rights.

It’s scary to think that in America — a country that’s supposed to represent a beacon of light and freedom for all nations — women’s rights are being eroded today, in 2012. Even more disconcerting is the thought that many politicians are out there actively seeking to pass laws that would curtail women’s rights. Why is this happening?

I’ve come across right-wing rhetoric that espouses and idealizes traditional values centred around the family. It’s a viewpoint that often derides feminist values, blaming the advances made by women for the breakdown of the traditional American family. The solution? Take away women’s rights, bit by bit. Make access to safe, reliable contraceptives and abortion nonexistent. Turn a blind eye to domestic violence. And keep on re-victimizing rape victims.

Do any of these options sound like a solution to you? That shouldn’t be the case. Because if you’re saying that family is essential to the strength of a society and a nation, then you must understand this: when you tear down a woman and her rights, you are tearing down family.

I thought that we women, here in North America at least, had come so far that our rights were practically enshrined in law, if not set in stone. Obviously, I was wrong. Why are we allowing our rights to be taken away from us? The assumption that we are liberated and emancipated — it’s obviously a false one if it’s so easy for (mostly) male politicians to come along and decide to do their best to make sure we end up barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen. Why are more women — and men — not doing more to oppose this?

I certainly hope that American women keep all of this in mind as they prepare to vote next week. It’s insane for any woman to vote for a politician or a party that would work actively to take away her rights. Let’s hope this sentiment is reflected in the outcome of next week’s American presidential elections. And let’s hope the results will help put an end to this misogynistic, right-wing rhetoric for once and for all.

Your home tells a story of who you are

Photo via Pantone.com

By Julie Cadieux – The Hudson St-Lazare Gazette.   Fall is the time of year where, once we are done closing the pool, storing the outdoor furniture and raking all those leaves, we turn our attention back to ­indoor projects like finally cleaning out those cluttered closets and replacing the leaky faucet. For many, it also means spending on new home decor items like a new lamp, installing shelves or painting the living room a brand new colour. This interest to perfect our homes has been fed by the hundreds of home improvement television shows, magazines, books, websites and of course the new home ­improvement stores that are multiplying in order to feed our habit. I personally love it, and I know I’m not the only one who has wasted hours drooling and ­’pinning’ over at Pinterest.com.

The $65.2 billion gifts and home decorative accents market has increased 72% since 2002 and is, according to a study done by Harvard, expected to grow 3.5% per year.

A recent survey done by Houzz.com found that 86% of homeowners who were planning to build, remodel or ­decorate in the next two years, stated “improving the look and feel of the space” as the reason. “We expected that in this economy Americans’ highest priority would be increasing home value, but instead we found people are focused on pleasing themselves.” says Liza ­Hausman, vice president of marketing for Houzz.

Figures released this month from Statistics Canada showed that Canadians household debt ratio is currently 163% (which means Canadian owe $1.63 for every $1 of disposable income). While Americans have actually managed to ­reduced their debt from the 165% since before the 2008 crash to just around 140%. It might look good on paper but compared to the average household debt from over 50 years ago of about 113%, it’s still huge.

Bogged down with so much debt why do we keep spending on unnecessary items like throw pillows and area rugs? I think way before credit cards and Home Depot were invented, we have always had a desire to nest. To put a stamp on our homes and create a personal place by using colour, mementos and objects that not only make our spaces an attractive refuge for ourselves and those who live with us, but also to show others a glimpse into who we are.

A new lounge chair by the fireplace with a coordinating blanket might not fall into the important-necessity category, but I do know feeling good about where we live is. A home is a backdrop for our lives and tells a story of who we are, where we have travelled, our hobbies, passions and interests. Which is why we want to feel pride when we walk through the door, comfortable when we gather our loved ones around the dinning room table and happy to invite a friend over for ­coffee.

I get it; if I’m not painting, improving or decorating my own house, it’s only because I’ve been hired to help someone with theirs! However I do feel that there is definitely a huge disconnect if we are willing to put our finances at risk because of it. Wanting to make a house a home for our family versus wanting to have the best and most beautiful things to fill it up with at risk to our family’s financial ­future is not the same thing. What story does your home say about you?

Email me: JulieLovesJome@gmail.com
Find me on WordPress, Twitter, ­­­Facebook and yes, even Pinterest: JulieLovesHome

6piccollageJulieLovesHomeHeader

• • •

Feedback on last week’s column All kinds of intelligence:

“I so agree with you. That’s why we are so thankful that our son got into Vanguard. Twelve students per class. Classes are made up of close in age children that have the same types of learning disabilities and about the same level of reading ability. Then let’s say a kid is better than the average in math, he joins a stronger math group for his math classes and so on for different subjects. Plus the teachers are almost all orthopédagogues specialized in helping children with learning disabilities. I too believe our school system is no longer adequate for many children and that you can not blame the teachers, most of the time they do the best they can with what they have. Thanks for the interesting column.” — Cynthia

“You have recognized some really important concepts on multiple intelligence! Keeping up with tech will be just half the battle. Thanks for tackling this issue.” — Guidance Counsellor

“My wife and I agree and feel the exact same way. Thanks” — Peter from St-Lazare

The Hudson St-Lazare Gazette-October 31st 2012-Julie Cadieux

All Kinds Of Intelligence

Do you ever wonder if our children’s education even measures up anymore? I mean sure the internet was already invented when my teenage son was born but companies and people were just starting to try and figure out how (and why) to use it back then (I should know, I used to teach Introduction To The Internet and Computer 101 classes!).

The internet has changed everything. We can communicate, locate, debate, watch, cook, snoop and shop so much quicker. Am I the only one who wonders what this means to the future workplace?  Oh sure, we can tell ourselves that some school boards, like Lester B. Pearson have introduced a new curriculum that includes MAC laptops, but let’s be clear: they are reserved for the select few that make it into their special Matrix program. You could also argue that this sort of education can wait for University, but I’m not just talking about computers and the internet. I mean you don’t need to be wealthy nowadays for your child to have access to an internet active device. I’m not very confident about how our education system is keeping up with how fast the world, business and and the economy is changing. Laptops and the web aside, maybe the way our kids our being taught needs to be completely overhauled.

3 years ago my friend enlisted her son in Brookside Montessori (for children potty trained to Kindergarten age). I remember her mentioning that aside from maintaining a 1 to 10 classroom ratio, the rooms were not busy or colourful (apparently simple, plain rooms are less distracting and more conducive for learning) and that they attempted to teach to different learning styles. I can recall her blowing my mind when she said “isn’t it obvious that all children should be taught for how their brains work?”. My response was probably something like “Uh, yeah sure”. But thinking about how our public school curriculum works for maybe half of the students does concern me. In 2007 statistics Canada claimed 1 in 10 had a learning disability but what does that really mean? How many kids struggle in certain areas and never fall into the learning disability category at all?

I myself just found out that my severe math problems in high school, today would probably (hopefully!) be diagnosed as ‘Dyscalculia’. I was schooled in an era where I believed I was stupid. Has anything really changed?

A friend of mine shared that when she told her sister that her son had a been diagnosed with a minor case of Dyslexia she responded with: “oh-no! And I thought he was so smart??!”. FYI: a learning disability has absolutely zero correlation with Intelligence Quotient. In fact, a person can have an I.Q. off the charts but maybe their brain can’t seem to connect the difference between a ‘b’ and a ‘d’. How often have you thought “my child is a visual learner”, “my child can only grasp sciences”, “my child seems so smart but can’t follow simple class instructions”?

In the news, there’s been talk about how we (students/parents) should be able to grade our teachers and how difficult it is for school boards to reprimand a “bad” teacher who already has tenure. But is it really a teacher’s fault when she/he is handed a class of 20 to 30 completely different students and is expected to teach each one of them to their ability? I don’t know what the answer is, but maybe not lumping kids by age and by learning style instead, is a start. But the rest of us would need to adapt also and wrap our brains around the idea that just because your 7 year old is in the same class as 5 and 9 year old doesn’t make him/her less or more than, in any way.

A few days ago I was reading a Fast Company article by Robert Safian (November 2012) who originally coined the term ‘Generation Flux’. He discussed how new companies and industries succeed and fail faster than ever before. His article described what companies like Nike, Cisco, Foursquare and Intuit had in common and showcased how traditional business priorities are no longer working: “standby’s like marketplace and competitive advantage are being redefined and being rendered almost meaningless …business life today can shift radically every three moths or so”.

Safian goes on to give examples of how a decade ago a marketing company might outfit it’s department with an obvious marketing background, but today, that same department might also be staffed in science, technology, music, defence and so on. Requiring that the department be able to adapt immediately to the demands of the industry, consumer and business.

This quote by John Landgraf, president and GM of FX Networks says it all: (quoted in Fast Company November 2012) “…you need all kinds of intelligence in all parts of business… you have to value all styles, because you will never know which type will solve a problem…”.

What do you think? I love feedback!

Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheHudsonGazette

Email: JulieLovesHome@gmail.com

The Hudson St-Lazare Gazette – October 24/2012 – Julie Cadieux

Gossip

The morning news headlines were that Ryan Gosling might play Christian in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie; Justin Bieber threw up twice during his very recent “Believe” tour in Glendale, Arizona; then you caught your neighbour smooching ‘not his wife’ on your early morning jog.

Gossip. We were taught that it’s bad, but why does it feel so good to hear it and re-tell? How come an entire industry has been created around it? Sure there are the reality television and gossip rags but have you also noticed that most news channels today are also more drama than actual real facts? Journalism ethics are less important than ratings and how great you look on camera. It’s a sad and scary state when some of our only unbiased world news comes from shows like The Daily Show and the Rick Mercer Report!

According to CoreCounselling.ca, the word gossip means chatting with our “godsibs” or what we might refer to as god-parents or those who were close to our family. The Scientific American reports that researchers have been researching about the ‘predilection of talking about people who are not present’, basically looking into why we find information about other people so interesting.

Scientists have concluded that when humans lived in small groups the chance of bumping into unknowns was basically a rare event but gossip helped us ‘survive and thrive’. This allowed us humans to bond and make friendships, to learn who to trust, to be taught social skills and this kept us in line. Gossiping about others today can teach us by example and boost our self-esteem (wow, can’t believe Frank would risk his family for a meaningless affair) and gives us an outlet to project our own fears, hopes and jealousies.

But why do we gossip about our children, spouse and others we are supposed to love, cherish and adore? According to some of my BFFs it’s not a harmful thing: “I need to vent, I feel better when I work things out by talking it through.” Having someone simply listen to our worries about our sick grandma, a disagreement with our spouse or our challenges with raising children, makes us feel validated. “It’s like thinking out loud — writing in a diary or seeing a shrink,” explains one BFF. Being surrounded by people who support you, but can also give you advice or just confirm that what is happening to you is normal can make you feel better and that what you’re dealing with is important.

I once had a mom friend, who was nice but would not talk, ever. We would find out certain things through (yes, gossip) school, her husband or her kids. She would be content sitting there smiling and hanging out during parties or ladies’ nights, but would not really chat. It made all of us feel insecure and wonder which side she was on: could she be trusted with our secrets if she never gave up any?

Basically when it comes to gossip, we just want to matter. “We want to have something to give to the group, a way to stand out, belong and be seen and heard,” said one BFF. Sure there is the risk that it could come back and embarrass or hurt you, but apparently the desire to gossip outweighs the risk. Maybe scientists are onto something and perhaps they should be invited to listen in on my next ladies’ night.

What do you think? I love feedback: FB, email or tweet me!

JulieLovesHome@gmail.com

The Hudson St-Lazare Gazette – October 17 2012 – Julie Cadieux

Check out The Hudson Gazette’s Facebook page, click here!

Flash Pants (& letter feedbacks)

I recently turned 38 years old. Yes, my real age in black and white for all to see! I never understood why some of my friends prefer to dance around their number or even lie and drop off a few years the way we all wish we could drop off a few pounds. I just don’t care. Maybe one day I will. But so far my age has never bothered me. To the point where I remember my actual birthday but usually not the age I am actually turning!

Getting older has been pretty good to me so far. For one thing, I gave up and gave away all of my size 6 pants recently and I’m totally OK with it (honest). I eat well (in fact, I eat smaller portions than ever) and work out, but unless I suddenly end up with toddlers to chase around all day and decide to give up wine (150 calories a glass), then it’s just not going to happen! Getting older means your metabolism changes. I have adjusted, but refuse to deprive myself.

I’m also in a good place in the ‘being comfortable with myself’ department. Sure, I had a difficult upbringing, made some mistakes and had difficult times,but who hasn’t? I have worked through some of my demons. I am nicer to myself. I give myself a break, which is huge.

Finally, I care less what people think. I recently bought myself a pair of silver and gold leggings (to be fair they were priced at 2 for the price of 1). Am I too old to wear them? My daughter seems to think so. My husband will be the first to admit they are the ‘ugliest thing you have ever purchased!’ But they make me happy and I wear them as appropriately as I can with dress shirts and tall boots, so as to not embarrass the less mature people of my household! Whatever.

Letter feedback

Thank you for the great feedback to last week’s column ‘Parenting is Hard -Dammit!’

Loved it. With a college freshman to first grader, I can relate. Just recently my husband asked me if I wanted another child. The third (we’ll say he’s actually 3 kids in 1) weighed 10 pounds 3 ounces at birth. His strong-willed character has been just as heavy to carry these last six years. Looking ahead to all of my boys’ scholastic to sporting undertakings, not to mention college tuition, I could not imagine going for it one more time! Love them dearly but that energy I had starting at 21 is long gone, along with my waist. Thank you for sharing! Kathleen PS: I told my husband: NO

• • •

Words of comfort these days. My 8 year-old (going on 16) has been a challenge but seems to have turned a small corner. I sometimes struggle with my babies growing, but try to focus on the human beings they will become. Keep up the great work, Julie. T.

• • •

Love it! Thanks for sharing your parenting tips. They affirm my own. We have kids the same age as yours and, no, they never stop needing their mom. Mary

• • •

Great list, for sure. We’ve just survived one of our first nights without any toddlers joining us in bed. As much as many parents said,“Aww just let ‘em, those years go by so fast!” After many nights of no sleep and getting kicked in the face, we decided to embrace these years during the day, not at 1am. Pastor Wick

Pastor Wick: You’re funny! Yes, it does go by fast but a restful night for everyone is also important! Besides, some days it seems no matter what decision you make, you are destined to feel guilty about it! I remember going through this also and was torn by what others said. “Let them stay in bed and they don’t develop a healthy way to soothe themselves.” “Kick them out of your bed and they may feel scared or unloved.” Oh boy! Nothing about raising kids is easy! My advice to parents, which you already seem to know is: Trust your instincts!

The Hudson St-Lazare Gazette – October 10, 2012 - Julie Cadieux