kids, Life, Meditation, Minneapolis, minnesota, Parenting, Yoga

YGKC- I can!

We just finished up another Yoga Garden Kids Club session!  Our theme started out being Balance, and turned quickly into, How to balance trying to do our best and being comfortable asking for help”.  Instead of relying on the words, I can’t do it. Even adults do this, they see a pose that is more bendy or requires more strength and the words that pop into our head first is usually, I can’t do that.  For the kids, I noticed that they would say the words aloud… but then do their version of the pose brilliantly!  (There are probably already million and one blog posts out there about the psychology behind that)

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So, we made a new rule for Kids Club.  They are no longer allowed to say “I can’t do it” until they have tried, then if they need help.  They may say “I can’t do it YET”  and we will work together as a team to find their version!

In our discussion/meditation time, we had really great conversations about things we found hard to do, how we could help ourselves and how to ask for help.  We talked a lot about what a Guru is and they enjoyed hearing that we are all a Guru.  One of the easiest ways to begin learning from each other is Active Listening.  We practiced turning towards and looking at whomever was speaking.  As we spoke of every day topics, we practiced making space for each other to share.  After a few classes of practicing this, I noticed that the children were bringing both topics together while doing our physical practice!  If someone was struggling with a pose, we would stop, see and hear that person and then work together to find a modification.

It was really a joy to see and I am always so grateful that I started teaching kids.  I learn so much.

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Yoga Garden Kids Club is a yoga class for kids ages 6-9.  It is 45 minutes long and in it we practice meditation, yoga postures, play games, tell stories and have a ton of fun!  YGKC is offered in 5 week sessions.  It is $45/ 5 week session.  There are two time/day options for Kids Club.  Thursday 4:30-5:15pm or Saturday 10:30-11:15am

The next session starts on November 10 for the Thursday option, and November 12 for the Saturday option.  Our themes for the next session will Gratitude and we will also be thinking about and discussing what we want to take with us into the new year.

If you are interested in having your child join us for the next session, email me at stephanie.loes@gmail.com.

 

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001Saturday Kids Club during a “Pillow Class”.

 

kids, Life, Meditation, Minneapolis, minnesota, Parenting, Yoga

Just a Moment

Envisioned in my head

My kids and I share a beautiful meditation about gratitude and love.  We hold hands, talk to each other about how each of us have gifts that are uniquely ours.  How we can use these gifts to energize the universe and help others.  At the end of the meditation, we breath, OM and state what we are grateful for in that moment.  Deep things, like beauty in nature, past souls within us… that kind of stuff.  We hug and then go on with our day feeling closer and good.

Reality

I bribe the kids with a snack to sit down with me.  We DO hold hands, but I am instantly aware of the stickiness.  We talk about our Super Powers (compromises were made on the verbage) and after a terrifyingly loud and long OM, their responses to what they are thankful for is Elliot’s “new remote control truck” and  “that the dogs are still alive even though they are SO old and eat their poop”.   They run off to play after a hug, and I feel like I need to meditate with a glass of wine.

Mindfulness in a family is hard to maintain when in the thick of increasingly busy schedules and their seeming unwillingness.  Is it still meaningful?   Yes.  If everyday, we take a moment to notice the changing of the leaves, to think about what we are grateful for, to stop and breath… it becomes habit.  One minute, a moment, Yes!

My expectations need to bend sometimes and that is okay.   The result that I am hoping for looks different everyday.  Some days we will snuggle and have deep conversation and others with will just meet eyes and smile.

A half hour after the above meditation attempt, June came up to me, gave me a hug and said that she was “thankful to have you as my mom too” and she was off again!

That moment was like the sweetest Savasana!

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One of June’s more peaceful moments!

My current schedule at Yoga Garden is:

Yoga Garden Playdate– Tuesday 9-9:45am

for moms and their little ones ages 0-3

Yoga Garden Kids Club– Thursday 4:30-5:15 and Saturday 10:30-11:15am

for kids ages 6-9, taught in 5 week sessions-registration required

Mixed Level Vinyasa– Saturday 8-9am

all levels welcome

Slow Flow– Saturday 9:15-10:30am

all levels welcome

 

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Food, Life, Parenting

Future Foodies Friday- Saved by Sardine

For Memorial Weekend, we decided to take a last minute trip to Madison, WI.  We have good friends that live there with children of similar ages.  It is far enough for the kids to feel like they went on a “road trip” but close enough that we could get there and back easily.   We had one full day in Madison and it was filled with good conversation, the smelling of lilacs and tree climbing at the Arboretum and the ever popular hotel swimming!  970919_10200604586431440_243949331_n

After swimming, we were HUNGRY!!!!  Thankfully, our hotel was right near the Capitol so our Madison hosts said that there would be lots of options within walking distance.  Unfortunately, we kept striking out!  The restaurants we were finding were either closed for the holiday, closed for a wedding, or not optimal for four hungry, tired kidlets.  Desperation and crankiness were beginning to take hold, and it was beginning to rain.  We see a restaurant that looks okay and is open… we start to turn in, when our friend (who are even more foodie minded than ourselves) says… “You know, Sardine is only another few blocks…”  It is where he works and I was a little skeptical knowing how he rolls foodie wise,  I KNEW that it would be delicious, responsibly raised food, doled out by super skilled waitstaff.  My fears were the kids in this place and what kind of reception would 8 weary, and soggy diners with no reservations get…  He called ahead and excitedly informed us that the Harvest Table would be waiting for us.  His son was clearly happy about the decision, so we started off!

sardine

I have to say, it was a little slice of crazy pie getting settled, but we were greeted with smiles and a few crayons.  One of the waitstaff brought over a large sheet of butcher paper for the kidlets to color on and after three trips to the restroom, we were able to finally look at the menu!  YUM! Such delicious options, it was very hard to choose but I finally went with the Sardine burger which had carmelized onions, fig jam, arugula and gorgonzola (I subbed gruyere due to allergies) on a ciabatta bun.  Sardine does NOT have a menu dedicated to kids, but they do have bar and appetizer menus with great options.  All of the kids chose to have the bistro hot dog… it is a hot dog served on a toasted roll with melted gruyere cheese, the hot dog also comes with both a side of fries and greens.  TONS of delicious food… we definitely didn’t eat all of the sides but the hot dogs and burgers were  demolished quickly.  One of our hosts also ordered the mussels… heavenly!   I was very happy that he was willing to share and so was June.

You know, as far as kid friendliness goes… I am not sure if we experienced more because we were with an employee, but this is definitely a place that I would feel comfortable bringing them to again.  It was lovely, and delicious.  My only suggestion would be to add a children’s menu with smaller portions so there is less waste.   Both Elliot and June gave two thumbs up!

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By the time we were done with our meal, it had stopped raining and we able to enjoy a much less frenzied walk back to the hotel.  The kids even got to play on the Capitol grounds for a bit.  It was a wonderful weekend!

Thanks to Sardine for being friendly to even the smallest foodie and to our friends for being amazing hosts!

 

Food, Life, Minneapolis, minnesota, Parenting

Whew, it has been awhile! Future Foodies Friday-Corn Chowder

I have to be honest, with the dreariness of MN these days… I have been feeling uninspired.  So instead of forcing myself to do a post, I decided to wait until I was ready to post something worthwhile.

It is May 3rd, and yes, it is snowing… again.  So we are making soup this afternoon.  Turning to my favorite soup book for a recipe we decided that Corn Chowder would be tasty on this cold day.

We just finished prepping the corn and in a bit I will start rendering the salt pork.  I will try to get a decent picture of it after it is done!

For this recipe, we like to add crab meat.  Get the good stuff, it is worth it.  Stir it in with the reserved kernels.  We also used frozen organic corn unless it is corn season in MN.  I do NOT want to be feeding the kidlets pesticide soup.  Tonight we will be eating it with a crusty rosemary olive oil boule.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

10 ears corn (medium), husks and silks removed
3 ounces salt pork , trimmed of rind and cut into two 1-inch cubes (note: I used regular bacon, which worked out fine)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large onion , preferably Spanish, chopped fine
2 medium cloves garlic , minced (about 2 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
2 medium red potatoes (about 12 ounces), scrubbed and cut into ¼-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1 small red bell pepper (optional, my adaption)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves (or ¼ teaspoon dried)
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
teaspoons table salt
Ground black pepper

Directions

1. Stand corn on end. Using chef’s knife, cut kernels from 4 ears corn (you should have about 3 cups); transfer to medium bowl and set aside. Following illustrations below, grate kernels from remaining 6 ears on large holes of box grater, then firmly scrape any pulp remaining on cobs with back of knife (you should have 2 generous cups kernels and pulp). Transfer to separate bowl and set aside.

2. Sauté salt pork (or quality thick-cut bacon) in Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, turning with tongs and pressing down on pieces to render fat, until cubes are crisp and golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to low, stir in butter and onions, cover pot, and cook until softened, about 12 minutes. If using, add the chopped red bell pepper in the last five minutes of cooking the onion.

Remove salt pork and reserve.

Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes.

Whisking constantly, gradually add stock. Add potatoes, bay leaf, thyme, milk, grated corn and pulp, and reserved salt pork; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are almost tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add reserved corn kernels and heavy cream and return to simmer; simmer until corn kernels are tender yet still slightly crunchy, about 5 minutes longer. Discard bay leaf and salt pork. Stir in parsley, salt, and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

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Food, Life, Minneapolis, minnesota, Parenting

Future Foodie Friday- Pineapple Muffins

We have been on Spring break for 3 weeks!!! Lots of eating, baking,  sleeping, playing and adventuring as happened which is why I have been a been MIA here on Yoga Mama.  Here was our favorite baked good from our break, we also experimented with making granola but I think that I will save that for next week.

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In the first week, there was a request made by June to bake muffins.  It was an unplanned baking venture so I had to take a moment to take stock of our kitchen before agreeing.  We had the usual necessities and in addition we had greek yogurt and a fresh pineapple that needed to be eaten STAT.  So I started searching for a recipe and while I didn’t have the perfect ingredients for any one recipe, we enough to make a go of it.  This is the recipe that I used as my base.  http://www.madeinmelskitchen.com/2009/02/pineapple-muffins/

Pineapple Muffins

  • 6 oz Greek Gods Strawberry with Honey yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup of chopped fresh pineapple
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp of vanilla

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Butter/grease muffin pans (or line with paper liners).

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 cartons of yogurt and egg.  Mix until combined.  Add the oil, brown sugar and pineapple to the bowl and mix until combined.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and baking soda.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until just incorporated.

Fill the prepared muffin cups with batter and bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

They turned out delicious even without the glaze!  Both June and Elliot gave them 2 thumbs up.

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Enjoy!

 

Food, Life, Minneapolis, minnesota, Parenting

Future Foodies Friday- Soft Pretzels

I love baking with the kids!  Cookies, breads, cakes… all of it.  Baking gives them many opportunities for them to  actually do the work.  It is fun to let them get their hands dirty and create something delicious.  It is also a good opportunity for me to practice, letting go!

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One of our more recent favorites is Soft Pretzels.  The kids help with the mixing, the kneading and have a great time making the pretzel shapes after I get them rolled out.

We have made them now three times… the first time following this recipe exactly.  http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Buttery-Soft-Pretzels/Detail.aspx

They were delicious, but then I started reading the comments, where there are always good hints on tweaking the recipe.  This is the version we have landed on and loved!  If you have your own favorite pretzel recipe I would love it if you would share it… we love to try new things!

4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
4 cups of flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon melted butter

1/2 cup baking soda
4 cups hot water
1/4 cup kosher salt, for topping

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add the melted butter and yeast mixture.
Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add one or two tablespoons of water. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes.
Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in hot water.
When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each
piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough is all shaped, dip each pretzel into the
baking soda solution and place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes, until browned.

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After they are baked, we brush them with melted butter and sprinkle a couple of them with powdered sugar mixed with cinnamon for an extra special kitchen helper treat!

Enjoy!

 

Life, Minneapolis, minnesota, Parenting, Yoga

Creating MY Yoga- Adhikara

I started my Anusara Immersion in January of 2011.  The Anusara immersion was one weekend a month for 6 months and made up the first 100 hours of my 200 hour certification.  It was the first time I had done any form of yogic education outside of a regular studio asana session.  I hadn’t done education of any sort since I graduated from Cosmetology school in 2000.

I was definitely scared and showed up the first night with a million butterflies in my stomach and eyes wide.  I got settled into my space and began to learn.

Adhikara: Studentship, competency, qualifications of a student…. Our openness to receive teachings.

Here is a great video of Sianna Sherman explaning Adhikara:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmmKN8AT6U8

Our teachers Ali Certain and Ronna Rochelle likened it to the spicyness of salsa, and declared that because we had chosen to take on this immersion that our salsas were quite spicy.  I wasn’t so sure about that at this time as I felt like this was me sticking my toe in to test the waters, but as the weekends continued, I felt my need to learn more grow.

These Immersion weekends were an intense barrage of foreign concepts…. Tattvas, Malas, differences in yogic philosophies and history,  anatomy,  sanskrit, the spirals, and the Universal Principles of alignment were all hitting a brick wall those first few weekends.  We were warned though, that it was when we stepped away from the classroom was when we would start absorbing it.  Slowly, but surely my unpracticed brain started to take everything in and on this blog I would love to start breaking down these learnings and let them sink further.  It was at this point that I realized that the tantric philophy/yoga that I was studying in the classroom could be applied to my life, my parenting, and my relationships with people.  I was in love and so happy.  I met many beautiful people and learned many beautiful things.  By the end of the six months, I was in tears leaving, not knowing when or how my education would continue.  I was confident at this point of the spicyness of my salsa.

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I started the Immersion thinking that I was testing the waters, and finished it knowing that it was a new beginning.  Knowing that I would not be working in the salon much longer.  Knowing that I wanted to teach and eventually be a doula.  I wasn’t sure how I could become an Anusara Inspired teacher while adding Blooma’s prenatal yoga into it, but I was sure that I could make it work.  I also knew that I needed to keep my Kaphic ball rolling or I would lose momentum.   So I signed up for a John Friend weekend workshop in Des Moines.  I also signed up for Anusara Teacher Training with the Kirk’s in Arizona.

I was on my way and I knew that I was on the right path.  It was good to know.

I need to continue this next week as it is time for me to take my daughter on a spring break adventure to the book store, but it feels good to get this journey out there.

Namaste!

Food, Life, Minneapolis, minnesota, Parenting

Future Foodies Friday- Woe “pho” ly Obsessed

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We are obsessed with Pho.  My husband and I have been for years and now our children are…. it is a pretty delicious addiction though, and I am not ashamed!

Our kids really like having some control over their food so Pho is great because they can create their own flavor.  LBL also likes that his soup can develop through the meal.  Starting it as it is given, then maybe adding some lime and basil and finishing with the rich brown broth of too much hoisin.  LL right now is more of a purist and typically only adds a bit of basil.   I love that they are also learning to use chopsticks!  Something I didn’t master until I was an adult.  A favorite beverage to drink with their noodles is coconut water with shaved young coconut in the bottom.

We have found that there typically is not a “child’s portion” but Pho is usually served in such a large bowl that we just share a bit of ours and it is PLENTY.

For those of you that are local, our current favorite is Quang’s  on Eat Street.  They have plenty of high chairs for the littles and don’t need to be asked to bring the smaller bowls.  LL and I typically share the Pho Tai which is fresh sliced beef.   My son and husband switch it up more often.  A little hint… Pho makes a delicious breakfast and weekend mornings is when Quang’s is at their finest.  The steaming, rich broth is a beautiful wake up and you are surrounded by families starting their day together.

We used to make this at home as well, but lately with the kids it has just been easier to go someplace.  Here is a recipe that we have enjoyed in the past.

http://www.steamykitchen.com/271-vietnamese-beef-noodle-soup-pho.html

Thank you to Quang’s for being awesome and family friendly!

Bye Pho now!

S