Hot Mom Monday: Beating Spring Fever

 Hot Mom Spa Squad Member Bekah shares tips for keeping the kids active during spring’s unpredictable weather.

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Spring can be a tough season for families to stay active. The weather is up and down, and between extra rain and thawing snow, in many parts of the country it’s hard to get kids outside without getting muddy and wet. Regardless, it’s still important to stay active and help keep the whole family on the move. Here are some bright ideas for families with kids of all ages to stay active:

Active video games

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 If you have a video game console like the Wii or Kinect, take advantage of movement-based activity games. There are many out there that offer at least a moderate workout, and younger kids can mimic parents or older kids. Kid-friendly workout DVDs are also available.

Active board games

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Classic board games like Twister or modern games like Sturdy Birdy encourage whole-body movement. Families can also make up their own games. For example, use a deck of cards, assigning each suit to an activity and performing that activity for the number you draw. (So the 10 of clubs would stand for 10 crunches, as one option).

Inexpensive props

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Some toys and household objects encourage movement. Furniture gliders can become indoor skates. Beanbag toss and knee hockey can make safe indoor games as well. Large bouncy balls, collapsible tunnels, and exercise trampolines also make space-saving large-motor options.

If you’re cooped up inside, you can still encourage large motor activity. It’s a healthy for you and your kids!

Photo Credit 1, 2, 3, 4

meheadshotsmall-150x150Bekah blogs at Motherhood Moment where she writes about parenting topics – family activities and meal ideas, saving money and time, and much more. She lives in Minnesota and works as an online teacher and freelance musician. In her free time she enjoys family activities with her husband and their two young daughters.

Hot Mom Monday: Healthy Holiday Eggnog Smoothie

Just in time for the holidays–a perfect healthy smoothie from Hot Mom Angel!

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I am pretty much the only person in my entire immediate family that doesn’t love eggnog. Seriously the best part of the season for them is partaking in the stuff. To me, it’s just too sweet, too rich, and too thick. Last year I decided to experiment with my own version of eggnog that would taste good and be healthy to boot.

This is what I came up with–a frothy blend of almond milk sweetened with agave nectar and laced with nutmeg and cinnamon. The spiced sweetness is then thickened with Greek yogurt and blended with ice for a creamy smoothie reminiscent of the real deal. A decadent, yet guilt-free holiday treat that may just replace the ‘nog for good!

This healthy rendition of traditional holiday eggnog contains about 6 grams of protein per 8 ounce serving to give you the energy needed for a day full of holiday cheer.

Enjoy!

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Healthy Holiday Eggnog Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 4 Cups of Vanilla Almond Milk, Unsweetened
  • 3 Egg Whites
  • 2 ½ Tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 6 Ounce Containers of Honey or Vanilla Flavored Greek Yogurt
  • Handful of ice

Directions:

  1. Blend the first five ingredients together (almond milk, egg whites, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon).
  2. Pour into a medium saucepan and heat over low flame for about 10 minutes. Stir frequently and do not allow to boil.
  3. Cool the mixture in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
  4. Once cooled, return the mixture to the blender and add the yogurt and ice. Blend until thick and smooth.
  5. Serve immediately in cinnamon/sugar rimmed glasses.

Note: The egg whites can be omitted (although it won’t be as frothy) and soy or coconut yogurt can be substituted for a vegan version.

AngelAngel is a stay-at-home mama to a feisty, rambunctious toddler girl named Jacquelyn (aka Jax). A lover of all things adorable, Angel enjoys party-planning, cooking, napping with her daughter and date nights with her husband. You can catch up with Angel at Yay! Babyblog where she muses about motherhood, shares delicious family favorite recipes and offers tips for fabulous entertaining. There’s always reason to shout out loud – Yay Baby!

Hot Mom Monday: Original Recipe, Healthy Pumpkin “Ice Cream”

‘Tis the season…to overindulge!

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Nothing says the holidays like eating, eating and more eating—stuffed turkeys, glazed hams, buttery potatoes, carbs and calories galore! It’s no wonder so many of us make resolutions for the New Year to lose weight, eat healthier or cut back on sugar. We’re trying to repent for the previous six weeks of our lives!

Here is a sweet treat you can gorge on and not feel an ounce of guilt afterward–Pumpkin “Ice Cream.”

Ingredients

Now, ice cream is in quotes because it’s not really ice cream at all. There is no dairy in it but it still has all the creamy goodness of a bowl full of sin. The creaminess comes from the frozen banana base.

I have been making frozen banana “ice cream” for a while now and I love experimenting with flavor combinations. This pumpkin version is perfect for the season and your family will be begging for more.

Each ingredient boasts nutritional value so you can feel great about letting them indulge! Bananas are rich in iron and potassium, pumpkin is high in vitamin A and can help support a strong immune system, cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties and agave nectar is low on the glycemic index so it won’t spike your blood sugar. How’s that for a perfect treat?

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All that and it’s easy to make too!

Pumpkin “Ice Cream”

Ingredients:

8 Bananas, peeled, cut and frozen for at least 4 hours

1 15 Oz. Can of Organic Pumpkin Puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

3 Tbs. Organic Raw Agave Nectar

2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

  1. Put all ingredients in food processor and blend until well combined and smooth.
  2. Transfer to an air-tight, freezer-safe container with a lid and freeze for at least an hour.
  3. Top with a dash of cinnamon, serve and enjoy!

Angel-150x150Angel is a stay-at-home mama to a feisty, rambunctious toddler girl named Jacquelyn (aka Jax). A lover of all things adorable, Angel enjoys party-planning, cooking, napping with her daughter and date nights with her husband. You can catch up with Angel at Yay! Babyblog where she muses about motherhood, shares delicious family favorite recipes and offers tips for fabulous entertaining. There’s always reason to shout out loud – Yay Baby!

Hot Mom Monday: How Important Is Breakfast? + Three On the Go Ideas

This Hot Mom Monday, we bring you the truth about breakfast and some easy ideas for quick, nutritional morning meals!

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On the run? Skipping breakfast—or grabbing a cup of coffee and calling it “breakfast”—is one of the worst ways you can start you day. “Our bodies are machines and they, like any other machine, need fuel!” explains Nick Perri, trainer and owner of First Place Fitness in suburban Chicago. “And if losing weight or maintaining your weight is one of your primary fitness goals, “burning” carbohydrates as a fuel is a necessary step in the process of “burning” fat as a fuel. With that said, if you’re working out on “E”, you’re not at your best, you’re not getting the most out of your workout and your goals will be much harder if not impossible to attain.”

1. Grab a banana.

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Perfect for on the go, bananas just might be the perfect portable fruit. Their complex carbohydrates and vitamin B6 will kickstart your metabolism and their nature-made wrapper make them easy to throw in your purse for on the road. “Carbohydrates are our first fuel source and usually by morning, most of those fuel stores are depleted. One great way to replenish those fuel stores is by grabbing a piece of fruit” shares Nick.

2. Spread some peanut butter on a piece of whole wheat toast.

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Peanut butter is nutritious and filling, thanks to 2 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein per serving. Spread it on some whole wheat toast so you won’t reach for the candy or sweets as a quick fix mid-morning.

3. Go bake an egg…in an avocado.

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Get your fill of protein, fiber and healthy fats by baking your egg in an avocado! Simply cut your avocado in half, remove the pit, crack an egg in each avocado half, and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Spoon with salsa if you’re feeling spicy!

Photo Credit 1, 2, 3, 4

amyAmy Bizzarri is a teacher, a writer, and a mom to two kids. Follow her on twitter @amybizzarri or on her blog, amywrites312.com

Hot Mom Monday: Six Uses for Coconut Oil

Hot Mom Monday is back–our first guest blogger this go round is Angel Fuchs of yaybabyblog.com! 

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Are you searching for a miracle elixir? One that will get you looking and feeling great from the inside out? A natural, chemical-free catch-all remedy to help with everything from hair and skin care to keeping you regular? Does such a wonder even exist?

It sure does–coconut oil.

The benefits of coconut oil are many—it is a natural anti-fungal so that can help treat yeast infections and athlete’s foot. It’s rich in lauric acid, an MCT (medium chain triglycerides) and has been shown to increase the good HDL cholesterol in the blood and help improve cholesterol ratio levels. Furthermore, coconut oil makes a fantastic personal lubricant (I’m blushing) and can help expedite healing after childbirth.

All that (and more) plus shiny hair, strong nails and smooth skin too!

Here are six life-changing uses for this all-natural elixir of miracles.

1. Everyday Skin Care

Coconut oil makes an incredible moisturizer. Simply swap it out for your favorite lotion and slather it on your body generously. It absorbs easily and leaves your skin satiny smooth. For a bit of added luxury, mix in a few drops of your favorite essential oil.

I like to use citrus oil for an energizing burst when I’m ready to start my day and lavender for night when I’m ready to wind down. The possibilities are endless.

2.Treatment for Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis Pilaris Before After Shot

Those unsightly white, rough bumps that appear on your arms have met their match. I found relief from KP nastiness by laying off of super-hot showers followed by an after-shower spritz of equal parts water and apple cider vinegar to the affected areas. After gently patting dry, I moisturized with plain straight-up coconut oil right out of my pantry.

3. Hair Care

I’m not the biggest fan of putting oils in my already oily hair but this is a heat-styled-hair MUST!

Before a shower dampen your hair with warm water. Take one scoop of pure, organic coconut oil and work it into your hair. Since my hair is already somewhat oily, I work the coconut oil into my ends only; but if you have dandruff or dry scalp you definitely want to get it onto the roots. Cover your head with a shower cap and set about your business. I wouldn’t suggest leaving the house, however this is a good time to catch up on some reading or to get some chores done. Leave the coconut oil in your hair for at least half hour. If your hair is particularly dry and damaged you can leave it in for up to an hour. When that time is up you’re ready to wash and style as usual. Your hair will be noticeably softer and more manageable.

To eliminate static in a jiff, take a pea-sized dollop of coconut oil and rub into your palms, then gently work it into dry, static-y hair! Voila, like magic – no more fly-aways to make you look like a mad scientist!

4. Digestive Regularity

Digestive Regularity Coffee Shot

Sometimes constipation plagues our bodies no matter how much fiber we consume. Menstruation, pregnancy, diet, hormones, and medications can all be the culprits of intestinal back-up.

A spoonful of coconut oil in your morning coffee can do just the trick. Coconut oil is pretty tasteless but adds a subtle richness to your cup o’ Joe.

Don’t jive with java? Not to worry. Try blending a spoonful into a fruit smoothie or mixing it into a warm bowl of oatmeal.

Remember the good MCTs coconut oil boasts can help lower your cholesterol and the anti-fungal properties will help balance the flora and fauna in your gut to keep things moving along. Plus, all that goodness can help kick start your immune system.

In addition, consumption of coconut oil can also contribute to glossier hair, healthier skin and stronger nails.

5. Baby Care

Babies and toxic soup aren’t a good mix; yet have you seen the list of junk in some of the products we’re supposed to cake on the precious skin of our most precious beings? Yikes! And the expense of it all can be outrageous.

My daughter suffered from crusty cradle cap on her eyebrows and eczema on her cheeks. Her beautiful face featured dry, red, flaky patches and gunky, yellow brows. I tried several ointments (some natural and some not-so-much) without success.

Then, a friend turned me on to a homemade body butter of whipped coconut oil mixed with tea tree oil (Melaleuca) which I applied to her face and body. The results were fast and astounding; in less than a week her cradle cap was gone and a few days after that there was no sign of the eczema.

Also, because coconut oil is an anti-fungal it works great as a diaper cream.

6. Cooking

Cooking with Coconut Oil

Coconut oil gets the most use in my kitchen; it’s the only oil I use for cooking (except olive oil). You can easily replace heavy vegetable oil with coconut oil for sautees and when shallow pan-frying.

Coconut oil is solid at room temperature so be sure to warm it up to liquify when using it for baking, to help it mix better. You can use it in the same measurements that you would any other oil. The results yield a clean taste with just a hint of the coconut fragrance—absolutely delicious.

Here are a couple recipes utilizing coconut oil for preparation:

Chicken Wraps with Pico de Gallo and Buffalo Bleu Sauce from my blog Yay Baby!

Fluffy Coconut Cupcakes from Chef Chloe

Oh, and you don’t need to buy different kinds of coconut oil; as long as it’s pure it will work for everything listed here. You definitely want to look for an organic oil labeled “unrefined,” “virgin,” or “extra-virgin.” You can find some great ones at stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

Photo Credit

Angel

Angel is a stay-at-home mama to a feisty, rambunctious toddler girl named Jacquelyn (aka Jax). A lover of all things adorable, Angel enjoys party-planning, cooking, napping with her daughter and date nights with her husband. You can catch up with Angel at Yay! Baby blog where she muses about motherhood, shares delicious family favorite recipes and offers tips for fabulous entertaining. There’s always reason to shout out loud – Yay Baby!