Top 5 unprocessed kid’s snack ideas

20151124_063714 (excuse the bed head, but yummy parfait, eh? )

1. Plain Yogurt parfaits, plain yogurt, frozen fruit (blueberries and raspberries are our favs), if you have homemade granola add it, if not whatever nuts or seeds you have, and a smiley face of honey on the top… a dash of vanilla if you’re fancy.

2. Veggie sticks, (carrots, celery, cucumber, grape tomatoes) with either hummus, or chickpeas (toddlers love them straight out of the organic, bpa-free can).  Or, for an even easier treat, try frozen corn (please please please make sure it’s organic) … little kids LOVE it!

3. Homemade popsicles!  We normally make green smoothies once a week, and I try to double what we drink, and freeze the rest as popsicles.

4. Banana bread, I do my best to do at least 2 breads at a time, quadrupling the recipe is best.  Slice it when cool, and freeze in a freezer bag.

5. This granola bar recipe is another family favourite.  I also make at least a double batch of these gems.  I let them cool, slice them, and freeze them on the cookie sheet.  Once the bars are solidly frozen, I toss them into freezer bags, and have easy, healthy, fantastic treats.

With all the time you just saved making snacks, enjoy a fun show.  My new favourite is UnReal, a lifetime network show, now available on Shomi.

Kids hate squash?? No more.

We have a local organic farmers around here that delivery mixed fruits and veggies each week.  This week, we got spaghetti squash.  I know it’s healthy, but we are not huge fans of squash around here.  However, I’ve found a recipe that gets the kids eating it by the bowlful!

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Preheat your oven to 350F.  Cut your squash in half.  Have the kids scoop out the seeds and squishy stuff.  Rub the insides with butter, a couple tbsps of brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  Place the halves, cut side up.  Cover in aluminum foil.  Bake for about 90 minutes, until soft.  Use a fork to scoop out.

You could try broiling it for a couple minutes without foil  to caramelize the top.  I also might swap brown sugar for maple syrup next time… no idea how that would turn out though.

Enjoy!

Weight loss 6 weeks post partum

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Any other mamas have a really tough time dropping the baby weight?  It probably doesn’t help that I’ve had really challenging pregnancies, and had to limit my exercise to “activities of daily living”.  Which means in doctor-speak, I can shower and walk around the house a bit.  It also probably doesn’t help too much that I’ve had my 3 kids in 3 years.

I’ve tried a few different weight loss strategies, that have worked well for other moms.  For my first baby, my strategy for losing the baby weight, was having the baby.  …. so that didn’t exactly pan out for me.  After my second baby, I realized that the baby weight won’t just magically disappear on its own because I’m exclusively nursing.  So, I tried eating a strict paleo diet, that worked spectacularly for my dear friend.  But for me, by the end of the month, I had gained 2lbs.  Really??  Really??  I realized then, that when I’m nursing, my body is a very efficient calorie saver.  Which will come in super handy if ever we are in a famine… so there’s that.

Now I’ve just had my third baby about 6 weeks ago, and for the first time, I’ve lost 20lbs (and a .5 if we’re going to be exact).

What was different this time?

This time I did not restrict myself when I was hungry.  I did however stop eating after dinner, except for when Grandma made me the kids her world famous chocolate chip cookies, and coffee cake. mmmm.  I did try to stick to 2 cookies a day, not 24.  I also bulked up most of my meals with veggies and fruit.  And tried reaching for almonds and hard boiled eggs if I was hungry instead of brownies.  Lastly, I also aimed to go for a walk a few times a week.

I have a long way to go before I’ll even come close to pulling up jeans from 5 years ago.

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But I’ll be happy if I even come close!  This body rocks… it helped bring 3 people into my life that I love with all my heart!

Monday September 29th, I’ll be starting a challenge to drop another 5 lbs over 3 weeks.  If you want to join in, comment or e mail me at thecrayoncircus@gmail.com.

What food to bring to a new mom?

She’s health conscious, and you are not gifted in the kitchen… or you’re just lazy… what do you bring her??

Here’s a few ideas that will help her regain her strength in the early recovery days, and I promise, she won’t gag!

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So your friend/sister/coworker/neighbour just had a baby!  Congratulations for the addition of this precious blessing to your circle.  First, and foremost, do NOT show up empty handed.  No matter what!  Worse case scenario, bring her a rotisserie chicken from your local supermarket, or a couple bottles of Guinness (legit, it helps make milk…. or at least relaxes her).

A few years back, before we had children, we visited hubby’s extended family for a week.  They just had a baby days ago.  I am mortified to admit that we let them feed US, and clean up after us!  *red*

Always ask ahead if they have any special dietary requirements or preferences.

1. Buy a bunch of ground meat, and a few simple veggies (onions, peppers, carrots), saute the meat and veggies in a pan.  Let it cool, and put it in a large ziploc bag.  Label it and freeze it flat (or bring it over the same day).  This can be added to tomato sauce for pasta, put on pizza dough, served as tacos, or eaten as is.  Protein is very helpful to mom’s recovery!

2. Go to the organic frozen foods section in your supermarket and grab frozen chopped kale.  This can be added to smoothies, omelets, pasta.  Kale has protein, b vitamins, folic acid and fiber.  What a sweet treat if you pre-made a few smoothie bags for her, see http://onceamonthmeals.com/10-summer-smoothies-to-refresh-refuel-and-detox/ for a few ideas.

3.  Boil 3 big or 5 small peeled sweet potatoes.  Once you can easily squish it with a fork, drain.  Mash.  Add half to a quarter can of organic coconut milk (watch texture).  Grate an apple into it, and add a tbsp of cinnamon.  This sweet dish has a variety of healthy nutrients, and the coconut milk and cinnamon will prevent a sugar crash.

4.  Make or buy a bean salad.  Aim for one with lots of veggies and not too much sugar.  The fiber in the beans will help a new mom’s tummy.

5.  Baked oatmeal is easy to make, there are many good recipes online, our favourite is found here, http://largefamilylogistics.blogspot.ca/2009/03/beyond-cold-cereal.html .  But if even this is just too much, buy a bag of good oats and ground chia seeds (maybe organic almond milk), and bring that over.  Oats are great for milk production, and the vitamins help improve mood.  The chia seeds help with digestion, stave off sugar cravings, and have omega 3’s.

6.  Get a big tub of the best yogurt you can find (organic, low fat, greek is ideal), and some organic berries, and some organic nuts, like pistachios or walnuts.  This has protein, fiber, antioxidants and healthy fats.  My personal fav is to put natural nut butter on the yogurt and mix it in!  Yummy to me, but hubby says it smells like diapers….

All that to say, it’s not too hard to bring over something healthy.  It is an even greater blessing to bring over food and offer to hold the baby (after you’ve washed your hands thoroughly of course), and tell the new mom to have a shower or nap…  Don’t forget to scrub something (anything) while she’s napping!!

 

4 Week Countdown!

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The hospital bag is packed.  The nursery is set up.  And I’m absolutely as big and sweaty as (I think) humanly possible.  …. so really anytime is good.

The two little people running around here though, are not quite as ready as I am, I think.

E has just started a newer and stronger stage of clingi-ness.  We spent a lot of the weekend taking turns holding our cutie.  It may be unfortunately timed clingi-ness, or it may be an act of self-preservation.   In the last week she’s bashed her face in, not once, but 3 times!  Not just a little scrape here and there, but a full on scrape chunks off, and bruise.  …maybe we should be holding her more?

C is a trooper, and is pretty excited to have another baby around.  Although, he has put in his request (demand) almost daily in the last couple weeks that he only wants “a baby bwo-dah”… either he’ll be super excited to have another boy around here, or in a deep depression if it’s a girl.

I am really looking forward to holding that little squishy baby… but what I seem to really be excited about lately is the not-for-a-good-year body that I’ll have once this baby comes out.  How is it possible, in round 3, that I still hold out against all proof and experience, that magically I’ll fit into some super cute outfit 12 minutes after I have the baby?  Besides the unrealistic hope for an instant super bod, I have been eating a little bit healthier this pregnancy.  And of course, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to maintain and intensify the healthy habits once our little one appears. (eye roll).  But I’m also hoping that all 3 kids will willingly go jog/walking with me in the mornings. (bigger eye roll).

I have been re-reading the South Beach Diet, which I did quite consistently through university and grad school until I got married.  I’ve been eating a very loose version of the maintenance phase throughout the pregnancy, and I’ve been researching the safety of following it while nursing.  It appears as though you shouldn’t follow a diet plan for the first couple months, and then once nursing is well established, you could start at the second phase of SB.  Since my babies tend to be jaundiced early on, I will stick with lots and lots of healthy fruits and veg, protein each meal and snack.  But I’ll still eat what I want that’s whole grains, with less healthy stuff sprinkled in here and there…. I’ll want (need) my 3am chocolate, sushi sushi sushi, and my 6pm guinness for when hubby’s working (every day).

For the last 2 babies, milk has never been a problem, so I’m not concerned at all about it affecting my copious supply.  But I do want to make sure I keep a sunny disposition for hubby to come home to, and enough energy to make it through the day.  So I’ll experiment with moving into stage 2, but go back to the maintenance phase if I get too grumpy (or really want a bagel).