The Octagon with Snacks


The Octagon with SnacksMaybe it’s just me, but I think winter is the hardest time to be a parent. Without kids at home, I could curl up in my fuzzy socks and read all afternoon. I could go to the gym, linger at a local coffee shop with a soy latte, and then go to bed early. I could escape to the sunny beaches of Florida and forget the cold, grey bucket of suck that is winter in the Tennessee Valley.

Instead, here I am serving as the cruise director for a herd of energetic boys whose main goal seems to be either eating me out of house and home or becoming professional Fortnite players.

Years ago I decided that I would not let winter win. Rather than giving into my yearly bout of seasonal depression, I would make a plan for burning energy (my boys’), getting endorphins (for me), and eating delicious food that doesn’t turn us all into the Goodyear blimp.

I call it: The Octagon with Snacks.

While I could just have everyone do 100 jumping jacks, I’ve found that a little healthy competition does my crew some good. Here are some workouts we use around my house:



This is also a good way to work on counting with younger kiddos! We use little counters of some sort: Legos, play money, etc. or place tally marks on our chalkboard.

When all else fails, we take the dog for a walk (on one of those precious sunny days) or turn on music and have a living room dance party. We’ve even set a timer and had a race to see who could pick up toys the fastest!

After working up a good sweat, everyone is going to need a snack, right?

Of course, fresh fruits and veggies are your best option, but I have an absolutely insatiable sweet tooth. Thankfully, there are some incredible food bloggers who have come up with recipes that are quick, easy, healthy, and delicious. My absolute favorite is The Big Man’s World. I tend to use the recipes with the simplest ingredients (who wants to buy almond flour for a family of six?), but nearly all of his recipes have suggestions for substitutes.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

No Bake Peppermint Crunch Bars

1-Minute Flourless Pumpkin Mug Brownie

Winter isn’t as easy as sending the kids outside with some popsicles (I miss you summer!), but I promise we can make it work. Just a little activity and a yummy snack can change everyone’s mood for the better and keep us all from losing our marbles over the next few months.