Liesa Cross, Magnificent Mom

My life is filled with love and laughter thanks to the amazing people I get to hang out with. As well as being awesome moms, they’re creative, talented, generous, and fun! I thought you might like to meet them so I’ve asked them to come and give us a behind-the-scenes look at what they’re passionate about. I have to warn you though – creativity is contagious!

 back of Liesa's head

Liesa Cross is one of my best friends. I think we met at mom and tot gymnastics and I’m sooooo happy we met. Early on, we spent a lot of really fun hours together at play groups, parties with our families, and camping.


Liesa, when we were raising our kids, you had the best ideas! My favourite was sneaking nutrition into everything the kids ate! Pure genius! How did you start that? L: I became very interested in nutrition when I was in university, took several courses as part of my degree. It was also at this time that my father, at the age of 50, took up triathlon training and began competing at the world-class level. Nutrition is such a major component of elite athlete training.

When my children were born, I wanted to do the best I could to ensure that they were getting all necessary nutrients. As every mother knows, kids can be picky eaters. Mine were. I did a lot of research looking for inventive ways to ‘trick’ my kids into eating things they didn’t want to eat.

 Any funny moments when your children realized you were doing this? L: I don’t know if they realized it at the time, but now, at age 20 and 23, they talk about some of my tricks. My daughter tells me that she remembers when I used to tell my son that every white meat (pork, fish) was chicken because he liked chicken and if I told him what it really was, he wouldn’t eat it. My son won’t eat bananas now because he says I fed him too many when he was a kid. (I would cut them into coins then roll them in graham cracker crumbs and called them banana cookies. They loved them!)

Recently my daughter was home and watched me cook beets for dinner. She said, “Eww, yuck, how can you eat those? That was always my least favourite no-thank-you helping.” I always made my kids eat a no-thank-you helping of anything they didn’t want to eat or try. It would just be a bite or two.

That’s a great way to get them to try new foods! You shared a lot of excellent parenting resources. I remember listening to Barbara Coloroso’s Kids Are Worth It! audiobook while I was making a pie and watching Thomas Phelan’s Magic 1-2-3 video with my husband – both borrowed from you.  How did you find these resources? L: I have to give credit a psychiatrist that I was working with in the early 1990s when my children were toddlers. She had specialized in pediatrics before coming to work with us on the adult unit. She introduced me to 1-2-3 Magic. (It really worked like magic with my kids!)

Barbara Colorosa did a seminar/talk in town about that time too, and I attended with some other mom friends. I loved her advice: “Say what you mean, mean what you say, and do what you said you were going to do.”

Remember how she described the 3 types of parents-jellyfish, brick wall and backbone? I strived to be that ‘backbone’ parent.


balloon-boylittle cartoon girlI’ve raised 3 sons and you’ve raised a son and daughter. Are there any differences in raising girls and boys? L: I don’t think there are any major differences in raising girls vs boys. They have different interests, but as far as raising them, I believe that was the same. We treated them equally, expectations were the same for both.

What was your favourite thing to do with your children? L: Holidays and travelling with my children. These were always happy times. It was fun to see them so excited to explore something/someplace new. And it was time spent together.

Any advice for new moms? L: Relax, enjoy the time with them, it passes all to fast!

Can you share a recipe? L: Here are 2 of our favourites. Mitchell’s Bionic Spice Cookies (made with baby pablum) and No Sugar Muffins (sweetened with dates I pureed in the blender).

Mitchell’s Bionic Spice Cookies

½ cup soft margarine               ¾ cup whole-wheat flour

¾ cup brown sugar                  ½ tsp baking soda

1 egg                                       ½ tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice

1 tsp vanilla                              ½ cup finely chopped nuts (optional)

2 Tbsp orange juice

2 cups infant cereal

Combine the first 5 ingredients. In separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Mix together. Roll into small balls and flatten with a fork. Bake at 375°F for 7-9 minutes (if small), until slightly golden.

No Sugar Muffins

Combine and mix in a blender:

1 apple, unpeeled but cored

½ cup pitted prunes

½ cup pitted dates (soften in ¼ cup boiling water and add the water too)

Add and blend again:

2 small bananas

3 eggs

¼ cup butter, softened

¼ cup orange juice

1 tsp vanilla

pinch salt

 In a bowl combine:

1 ½ cup whole-wheat flour

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup skim milk powder

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Pour blender mixture over flour mixture. Mix until combined. Spoon batter into greased muffin mold or silpat muffin mat. Bake at 350°F oven 20-25 minutes. Makes 1 dozen.

Mmmm. They sound delicious! What would you pick as a superpower? L: I’d love to be able to speak every language on earth to have the ability to communicate with anyone, everywhere.

Oh – good answer! That would be handy. What’s your favourite dessert? L: Anything with caramel and chocolate!

That probably explains why I have about 10 chocolate and caramel dessert recipes!

Bella card by Karen 2 friends on a bench


Liesa, thank you so much for stopping by. Now that the kids have grown, we’ve moved from doing mom and tot activities to having girls’ night out activities. I’m so glad you’re part of my life!