A Day in the Life: Making Healthy Desserts

As a mother of three, no day is even remotely the same, unless you count the usual basics like cooking a meal, mending a sock, soothing a sore throat, being an advice-giver or being the best possible audience for all the wild stories my youngest son comes up with. The rest is always changing and never dull, so I can’t complain that I will ever be bored in the foreseeable future.

However, there are some routines in our lives that I always enjoy, like our watching a movie together on Friday nights, or going to the park on weekend afternoons when the weather allows it. In my town, it’s usually quite windy, so I always make sure the kids have their windbreaker jackets on, unless it’s summer. They hate being overdressed, but I hate having them catch colds, so as a parent you can never be too careful.

The other day, my eldest son complained about a toothache. This was the first time he has ever had a toothache and he was so upset. Tears on his cheeks, he was crying so loud and I was doing my best to soothe him, telling him that he was going to be ok. And so there we were, my son obviously in pain, but as he was crying, he was simultaneously asking for chocolate! Can you believe it? It was hilarious, but nonetheless, this was a serious matter. I almost immediately knew that I had to handle this with caution, as he’s always been afraid of doctors. I thought, how was I supposed to prepare him for his first visit to the dentist, and more importantly, how was I going to get him and his brother and sister to eat less sugary sweets?

So, I figured I’ll have to be crafty and sneak in a healthier dessert every once in a while. However, organic food can be a little pricey, and when you’re a mom of three, you have to abide by the budget you have. Of course, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to buy nice things, like the Hamilton watch I got for my husband last Christmas. But there are so many great recipes out there, you just have to find the one that matches your taste buds and your bank account.

I experimented with making a few these past few days, but the one that stood out the most was a simple recipe for chocolate energy balls that the kids actually really liked, and both my husband and I really enjoyed, and it comes together so quickly! You need equal amounts (in cups) of raisins and sesame seeds, and about a third of that amount of cacao powder. Just throw everything in the blender and blend until smooth, then shape into palm-sized balls and voila! The kids could never tell what was in it and even asked for seconds!

In the end, the scary dentist appointment went well and now I’m hoping my secret weapon will prevent any future upsetting toothaches!


Getting Back my Body

Having a baby takes a big toll on the body. You can’t really think about exercise and fitness for quite some time as you can imagine First of all you are simply exhausted for months and second of all it is a daunting task. Most women pack on more than a few pounds and they want to stay there. Confronting them and putting them in their place takes energy and dedication. Going to the gym is simply a luxury time does not afford you. Since you are up at all hours, you can perform any activity you like when you like.

As for myself, I am planning on betting back my former body sometime in the near future, and I will do it at home between feedings and changing the baby. I am usually dressed rather casually! A home routine works for me. I am going to devise a bare bones no-nonsense program that I will now share with my readers, which can be done affordably with very little additional equipment – you’re not going to need to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on the best elliptical machine after reading this post – the most you’ll need to spend is $50, although you probably already have a lot of the things around your home anyway. It is not complete yet, but it hopefully will give you an idea how it works, why it works, and what is involved. It is based on consultation with trainers and friends who work out.

Things to do in a chair

Many things can be done while seated if you need a break for the feet. This particular set of exercises is for the upper body. Here’s what I recommend:

Lifting small weights of about 6-10 pounds (depending upon your strength and ability). Lift them from the shoulders up toward the ceiling at least 10 times.

Lift the weights to the side ten times from the waist (your lowest position) to shoulder height.

Perform ten curls.

Things to do standing

Most exercises are best done standing if you can. You can do all the above weights and then add the following:

Squats: perform 10 to tone up thighs

Lunges: walking into the lunge perform 10. This will stretch the quads nicely.

Go on tip toe, up and down, twenty times to get the calves.

Things to do on a mat

Sit ups and crunches are most comfortable on a yoga mat but they can be done using the large inflated ball. Put your arms behind your head and repeat the exercise 30-100 times (I am not kidding) to get that belly back into shape. This is your target area as a new mom. Do it daily if you can!

The Plank: to strengthen the core and arms, do the yoga plank position for 60 seconds. This position places all the weight on the forearms and toes. You do not bend your knees. Pulling in the core as you hold the pose is the key.

Stretching: ah, it feels good to get the inner thighs. If you are really tight, take it slowly and work toward more stretch. Put the legs in a V position and move them farther outward as you improve. If you are not alone, someone can stretch you, taking each leg and alternately pushing it toward your chest.