Domestic Yogi Photo

Domestic Yogi Photo

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

KG Wrap Up

Recess, lunch and PE. These were his favorite parts in KG. And Chess Club. I have no idea why Chess Club would be the highlight of the year, but it is for him. But I know there is other magic working wonders there in KG, cuz the kid has become a real reading whizz. But he doesn't care about that. Nope, he wants to ask endless questions about the mysteries of math to anyone whom might know, like stuff they do in THIRD GRADE because practicing KG math isn't quite as alluring, plus it just takes too long to do the worksheet.

He can finally write sentences with spaces. These sentences may end in a big bowlingball-esq period, or with an added line on top to make an exclamation mark or two!!! But hey, I can finally decipher them into modern English, like rilly rilly i can. Speaking of which, why did no one tell me you needed to take a mini-course on translating your kindergartener's sentences? Thank-goodness we are past the first semester where even he couldn't translate his own work.

I am very proud to report he only used the word "butt" (correctly spelled) in one piece of schoolwork (that I know of) this year. Strangely, he seemed shocked that was in there, and claimed to not remember writing that. Hmm.

And I'm happy he stuck things out that didn't come so easy. Like his drawings. They are becoming a little more, uh, realistic. I mean, if he really tries. I can usually figure it out. Especially if he sticks to his basics, house, tree, fish, cat, happy stick people, or stick figures with frowny faces and weapons battling each other. But that doesn't stop him from loving art class. He loves art! Wouldn't you know it. The year he leaves me full time he discovered how much fun crafts are. Nope. No offence taken.

See picture above of another new thing he loves, basketball! So much so he wants to be a basketball player when he grows up!

More than any piece of paper my son brought home all year, what makes me the happiest is that after completing his first full-time year of school, his love of learning is higher than ever. That and all the big smiles, waves and excited shouts we heard from all the KG classes today as we walked into the lunch room late.

He is a far cry from his mother whom was doomed by her kindergarten teacher to "have real problems in life" for being so painfully shy. Well, thank goodness there is now social media, and more encouraging teachers!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I am Loving This Winter!

Okay, slap me. I know. It's been a crazy cold, snowy, pent-up, nearly every school day is a late-start or cancelled sort-of-month for me too.

Our backyard winter wonderland

But with the snow and ice and cold brings cozy warm moments snuggled up inside with family. The other three seasons for us are just so chalked full with living life to its fullest, most of which is outside of the house.

At the beginning of this year, I was feeling run ragged after being too externally focused for so long by working too many part-time jobs (that I love), while trying to be all I can be for others. So while the sun seems to be taking a hiatus this winter, I decided I was going to be very focused on cultivating my own inner light.

Focusing on reconnecting with my own inner light has been the best thing I could of done for me and my family this winter. 

I know its helped my attitude to stay positive the last dreary month. I have been genuinely loving and embracing the slowing down and the quietness outside. I am loving the time to bond with my kids, get imaginative, get creative and focused on activities. This time of year, my kids always seem to surprise me with how well they get into their own little play zones, and get so creative.  

My kids also drive me batty at times. Don't get me wrong.

Laying in the snow

To cultivate my inner light, this last month I have been focusing on getting daily time to myself for meditation, pranayama, yoga or self-reflecting. Along side with a daily physical outlet. Each are so important to me to keep myself in balance.

Journaling has always been a wonderful way for me to know myself more fully, and to connect to my creative side. I mostly stopped when I become a mother. Its nice to go back to this practice. It's so magical how getting my feelings onto paper helps me to heal, process and hopefully move on.

I finally felt strong enough to kick up the physical side a notch. On top of my usual yoga teaching and home practice, I added a bit of cardio, weights, and a 2-3 hot yoga classes a week. The hot yoga especially has helped to get my mental focus, and inner fire back. Welcome home pitta, my old friend. I have been so vatta for too long.

I discovered a few gems this month.

*  A daily "good habit" is easier to maintain than the sporadic habit.

* Good habits overall make you feel good and motivate you to keep going.

* Daily practice doesn't always feel good in the moment.

Most people's image of meditation or yoga is one of total serenity. But to just warn you. The raw truth to the matter is this:

Daily practice can be ugly. Downright ugly.

It can be so hard on you physically and emotionally. It can be heart-wrenching and body breaking. Daily practice can make you feel like a God or Goddess. It may make your feel like your highest self. Other days, it a sad, sloppy pathetic mess. It can be downright impossible or utterly uncomfortable. But change, strength, compassion are a few gifts that can come from letting yourself be open, real and aware.

My health is an ongoing "healing project". It isn't a straight line up. It is jagged, but at least it is up. I keep varying supplements, remedies, cleanses, diet and physical outlets. I've said it before, and I will say it again, my health issues have made me accountable for some lazy habits I picked up, and for that I am thankful.

Looks like February will be another long wintry month. So I hope I can continue to stock the inner fires to keep my mind and body healthy.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Healthy Family Flu Prevention Tips

Looks like there are two sets of flu viruses taking families out left and right around my town. One that is a 24-hr stomach bug. The other more of a week-long fever, chills, and total yuckiness. 

One of us already got the overnight throw-up thing, but the rest of us are home-free. What we do to help boost our immune system:

1) Healthy Gut. A healthy gut helps to kill any viruses that enter into our gut. We try to take a daily good probiotic supplement. My youngest (3-years) always gets a little runny in the poo department so she skips this. We also try to add more fermented and probiotic foods, like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and my latest favorite, fermented beat/ginger juice (sounds gross right. Nope, so good!) 

2) Vitamin C. Did you know your body can only absorb 19% of regular vitamin C? The balance of the Vit C remains in the gastrointestinal tract to attract water and loosen the bowels. We have this awesome recipe that infuses soy lecithin into absorbic acid (vit c) using a jewelry cleaner. Don't worry the jewelry cleaning only is used to make vit c. And the body can absorb something like 93%!  

3) Phlegm-Free. We are cutting back on dairy and wheat or anything that makes us more snotty/phlegmy. Virus/bacteria thrive in mucus! This may be why my mom always said, any time I buy ice cream in the winter the boys (my younger bros) always ended up sick by the end of the week. 

Gluten is a super-inflammatory. I am mostly wheat-free, and now when I cheat and eat wheat, the next day I am so snotty!

We take quercetin/bromelain natural supplements which are my personal miracle pills. Dries up upper respiration like a charm.

4) Don't touch your eyes! We all know about hand-washing. Duh. But your eyes are windows and is a way for germs to get into your body. This one is tricky for me. I had to train myself not to touch them when I am out in pubilc. At least during flu-season. I wear contacts and my eyes are always dry, so I am always touching them. 

5) Get moving. Simple. But making sure everyone in your family is getting their exercise can be tricky. So make it fun. Go bundle up and chase each other in the snow. You'll also soak up some vit D! There are so many health benefits to exercise (or if you prefer the term "increasing your heart rate by play"). So make it a priority for your family.

What else do you do to keep your immune system up this flu season? Tell me!


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Make Family Prayer Flags for 2014

 Try this easy family craft to get your family creating, thinking positively and connected. It's a positive twist on new year's resolutions.

Ask your family what good things they would like in their life in 2014. It's a great way to hear what your children value, as well as find out more their inside world.

My three year old would like: more snowman making and lots of animals in her life, especially cats.

My six-year-old thought it would be great to have buckets and bucket loads of money. As well wanted to have good times at school, including good friendships, and lots of fun and laughing. He'd also like a real-live cat.

For me, I want more yoga in my life in 2014. For me this means, a stronger commitment to self-practice to grow, learn and discover. As well as sustaining the connections and students I have already made, whilel finding more families, adults and children to teach.

To round out the flags we have "lots of happiness, joy and laughing" and " family time".

May your 2014 be full of connection, discovery, joy and spirit.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Parenting: It's the Overall that Matters, Not the Everything

Temptation at three

This morning I noticed my six-year-old son eating his cereal two inches away from two sprinkle contains left over from cookie decorating last night. He didn't notice them, or if he did, he didn't care. I told him, "boy you sure are growing up. Do you remember three years ago when you stole the red sprinkle bottle off the counter and hid behind the couch eating it?" "Oh yes," he said fondly. He would of been three when I found him there all red faced and hands. I think there is still a hint of a red stain on the carpet.

Tonight, I was eating out by myself with my kids. And I was asking my boy about school. He doesn't usually say much. I ask a lot of questions. Today, because my husband wasn't there I pried a little more. He said, "I wanted to tell you something. Someone was teasing me today." He looked a little hurt. We talked about it. It didn't seem like a big deal to me, just someone at school saying his name silly all day. But he did seemed quite bothered.

I loved that he shared this with me. I remember always bottling up things and not being able to talk to adults and probably making things into a bigger deal than it was.

I try my hardest at this parenting thing, but its a tough job. I lose my cool. I called my son "difficult" twice or maybe three times the other day between after school and bedtime. (But man, sometimes he is just so so so difficult for the sake of being difficult!) It was the way I said it. And I hate that I did. I mean, I barely saw him yesterday. I'm the jerk.

When I feel like my son and I are getting into a rough patch, I make a point to do something special with him where we can have great together moments. Even if its just going out to eat. That helps. And at the end of the day, maintaining an overall positive loving connection I think is what matter. Its the overall, not the everything that matters. Or at least that is how I maintain my sanity!

Eating out having fun with jello

Namaste and may you find grace and peace admits a stressful time of year!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Gift Ideas For the Kind-Hearted

I am caught smack-dab in this whole commercial holiday rat-race this holiday season. I am someone who loves to give, and loves to make people feel loved and appreciated. So looking for the most perfect gift or way of sending my love weighs heavily on my mind.

I do like having some presents to open, who doesn't. But, by golly the amount of money that the Western world alone is spending for this holiday season on presents to open has got to be approximately a ga-zillion, or something sickening like that.

And I have a WHOLE LOT of people in my life I need to thank and appreciate. (And that is a good thing). Not to mention, special people in my kid's life that appreciate them and, like my son's bus driver, keep him safe and happy. So, I have a lot of spending to do.

Which got me thinking. What if I spend a fraction of our holiday card/gift money on something that is truly helpful and meaningful to those that are not as fortunate.

I've traveled to poor countries and seen desperation in the eyes of mothers. Heck, I drive to our local co-op and see the desperation in the eyes of men and women holding a sign up on the street corner. I've seen desperate times of my own.

So this year, as part of my gift-giving, I will be donating to Heifer International and YoKid  in honor of a few of my special kind-hearted people in my life. The Heifer donation will help bring a gift of rabbits and a starter flock of chickens to a family in need to help them provide more of sustainable food source and income.

The YoKid donation will help fund a program that helps give children, particularly those living in poverty, with regular access to yoga that can equip them with techniques that can help them better cope with stress, decrease their likelihood of obesity, and improve their general understanding of how to care for themselves both mentally and physically throughout childhood and into adulthood.

For an Animal Lover:
I love Heifer International because you get to give a sheep, a goat, or a flock of chickens, a camel (!) or a bio-fuel stove to a family or various other practical options that will provide a more sustainable way for a family them to feed, earn money, or cook. Plus, you get a nice little donation card to give to your gift recipient. 

For a Yoga-Lover:
Check out this website Off The Mat and Into the World for a whole host of amazing yoga-related charities/ NGOs. I choose to give to YoKid because it seems like all the big youth-based yoga NGO's are all out on the west coast, and I wanted to give our east coast some lovin'. YoKid provides instruction in yoga for kids and teens mostly in the D.C area. They provide affordable on-site instruction for kids, as well, they have a big network of teachers who provide outreach for any school or organization who need it. They also launching a Kids Yoga Conference in 2014! Donate here

For a Teacher or Coach: 
You could make a donation to a great international NGO called Right To Play, who provides regular access to sport and play activities that help them to develop self-esteem, a sense of belonging and become role models for other children. (I am a bit biased because I used to work here! But I have visited their programs in Africa and the kids are super happy and thankful.)

For a Food or Cheese Lover:
Give the gift of four cheese producing animals. The C
heeses of the World Gift Basket is made up of four milk-producing animals: a goat, a sheep, a water buffalo and a heifer. Families will also receive training on the animals' care. This gift provides an abundance of milk to make cheese, butter and yogurt. It increases wealth by providing dairy products that can be sold.

For the Feminist or Scholar:
Send a girl to school for a year, for $56.  In places like Afghanistan, Congo or Ethiopia, girls’ schooling is critical: educated girls become smart, strong women committed to leading their communities toward stability. In Ethiopia alone, The International Resue Committee helped educate nearly 4,500 girls in 2012. Your donation can supply the tuition, books and other supplies a girl needs to attend school for a year.

This holiday season, consider giving a gift that is truly needed. 


Monday, November 11, 2013

Sick of All Those Media-Based Books?

I just got back from my son's school book fair fundraiser and was quite disappointed and turned off by all the obnoxious media-based books, loud and cheesy cartoonish artwork, and general lack of substance. Not to mention the lack of culture and diversity. I mean, this is what the public schools are feeding our kids! Now, some of their books are grounding and classic, and some are very affordable which is great for some families, but it really affirmed to me why I am such a big supporter Barefoot Books. Kids need to a better alternative!

I know you mamas/parents will *get* Barefoot Books. They are so much more nurturing, beautiful and inspiring. Without being cheesy, their stories have characters who model the values I want my kids to strive for, like generosity, kindness, bravery, appreciating the earth. They are books kids want to read again and again.

There is Herb the Vegetarian Dragon (who refuses to fight and kill), Ruby's Baby Brother (featuring a breastfeeding mom), The Girl with a Brave Heart (who shows kindess to an elderly lady) and my family favorite Earth Tales. They are multicultural and diverse - even the Pirate short story collection features a story about a female pirate from Ireland. Their best selling books Animal Boogie has a little guy in a wheelchair, and different races amongst the kids.


So if you are looking for great books for your kids or as gifts this holiday season, check out my webpage. You can use the coupon code "TWENTY13" on my site and get 20% off your order. Or if you are local, and don't have much of a budge, or if you just want more books, you could host a Barefoot Books party and earn money towards books!