Yoga Babes: Bakasana & Chaturanga

M+M is launching a new “Yoga Babes” series: highlighting various yoga asana (poses) and celebrating that sometimes you have to just get your workout in when and where you can! So here is to backyard yoga, playroom pilates, sleeping-kids spin biking, homework weight training, or whatever your mommy bootcamp method of choice may be!

Bakasana: “Crane” (often called “crow”) pose

  1. Come into a squat on the balls of the feet (heels lifted) and knees apart
  2. Reach the arms long in front of the body & then draw one tricep at a time snug into the shin just below the knee, creating a “shelf” for your lower body to rest on
  3. Firm the palms into the ground so that you feel locked & loaded – the hands aren’t slipping & you have lots of stability
  4. Squeeze the knees into the arms
  5. Lift your rear end up!! (this is the step most people skip)
  6. Activate your core
  7. Look forward and let your nose & toes act as the counter weights of a scale
  8. As you tip your nose forward you will feel the weight start to come off of your feet, enabling you to lift one foot at a time off the floor
  9. Arms will eventually straighten

Tips:

  • If fearful of falling forward, place a blanket in front of your face
  • Core is the most significant element in any arm balance: aside from having your entire body warmed up before practicing this pose, be sure to work your core a bit to activate more easily; also fire up through the core when balancing to give yourself additional lift
  • Keep your feet active when balancing :it is much harder to hold loose limbs in the air (think dead weight) rather than strong feet that are a part of the posture

Chaturanga Dandasana: “Four-Limbed Staff Pose”

  1. From plank position, activate the legs & core, draw the heels back & tuck the chin slightly in so the gaze is down rather than forward
  2. Lower the body in one elevator-like movement, making sure not to dip lower than the elbows
  3. Elbows track straight back rather than out to the side so that the biceps graze the ribcage
  4. Moving through upward-facing dog is the traditional way to transition out of chaturanga dandasana in a Vinyasa Flow practice

Tips:

Chaturanga dandasana is one of my “soap box” postures as a teacher. It is quite easy to get hurt practicing it incorrectly

  • DO NOT dip the heads of the shoulders towards the floor (so awful for the rotator cuff); instead keep the shoulders in line with the rest of the body
  • DO NOT lead with the belly or chest towards the floor (promotes over-arching in the spine); instead consider keeping the knees on the floor for Modified Chaturanga until your upper body and core strength increase (you will be amazed how fast this happens!)
  • DO give yourself lots of variations to explore different ways of getting to the floor such as Knees-Chest-Chin and Modified Chaturanga. In a Vinayasa Flow practice there are many, many opportunities to practice Chaturanga Dandasana…sometimes too many when first starting out

Playful Combination: Bakasana to Chaturanga Dandasana!

If wrists are healthy and your Chaturange is strong & controlled, you can float from Bakasana directly to Chaturange Dandasana. In Bakasana, the following will happen simultaneously:

  1. Reach the heart forward towards the horizon
  2. Ground more firmly through the hands
  3. Guide the feet back for the balls of the feet to land softly on the mat
  4. Bend through the elbows (so that you do not pause in plank)

Tips:

  • A soft landing ensures less jolt to the wrists, spine and feet
  • Have a sene of humor when trying anything new…or when your tried & true yoga practice feels different, more difficult or lacking energy – we’ve all been there!

 

Namaste!

-Amy

 

Happy Mother’s Day to You!

happy mothers day

Hi sweet ladies! M+M just wanted to say Happy Mother’s Day to you!

When it comes to the days of the year that I get to be celebrated (my birthday, Valentine’s Day, anniversary) this is by far my favorite. I didn’t play much part in being born, though I’m grateful I was! I work hard at my marriage and I love to celebrate the romantic holidays and relationship milestones with my husband. But in no other role (wife, employee, friend) do I ask myself “am I doing my best?” with quite the same frequency. Or urgency for that matter! We all want to make sure we are doing right by our children while also shaping them to be great kids, teenagers, adults…human beings. That is a heavy task, man! And joyful. And one worth celebrating!  So feel celebrated, appreciated, treasured and adored today (and every day) knowing your kids are incredibly lucky to have you for their mother.

Mom Tribe Fist Bump,

Amy

Chunky Monkey Muffins

I made mini versions of these muffins yesterday for my (very serious) duty as preschool snack mom. I used sunbutter to follow the no-nut policy (did you know it turns green when baked?! This is due to the chlorogenic acid, mostly found in stems and leaves, but sunflowers also have it in the seeds). I thought I’d repost with some of my favorite new tweaks over the last couple years (100% pure maple syrup, raw cacao powder, etc). Enjoy! Particularly delicious with buttered coffee…oops, sneak peak for my next food post!

milkandmascara

Chunky Monkey Muffins 1

Prepare yourselves for a life-changing treat!  During my first pregnancy I craved baked goods like crazy – not ideal when trying to avoid gestational diabetes and whatnot.  But instead of depriving myself for 10 months, I decided to indulge wisely.  I bought this great book by Frances Largeman-Roth, RD, Feed the Belly: The Pregnant Mom’s Healthy Eating Guide, and in waltzed this delicious answer to my craving needs!  These Chunky Monkey Muffins are delicious for breakfast and dessert – I find it hard to choose just one time of day to enjoy one – and they have remained a family favorite beyond our bun-in-the-oven phases of life.  I have tweaked this recipe to make it dairy-free and to use coconut oil in place of vegetable oil.  Please also assume all ingredients below are organic!

Chunky Monkey Muffins
  • 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup packed…

View original post 379 more words

Santa’s Book List: Best Books of 2015 for the Kids!

In a season full of traditions, this a new favorite of mine: hearing Valerie Lewis’ book recommendations of new publications for our littlest readers. This is my second year attending one of her presentations but Valerie has been doing this for a long time: she founded Hicklebee’s in 1979 and is an author herself. I happen to live very close to the wonderful book store that serves as her home base and have decided it is the least I can do to pass on her fantastic & thorough list of book recommendations for all to enjoy. And just in time for holiday gift-giving (you’re welcome)!

General Favorite Books
Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins – this will have children laughing as they follow the story of goslings who imprint on a grumpy bear named Bruce

Cry Baby by Karen Beaumont –  a soothing and silly story of a dog who knows just what to do to comfort the crying baby

We Forgot Brock by Carter Goodrich – (Hicklebee’s book of the year!) a story about a boy’s unwavering search for his imaginary friend who gets lost

Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer – another book about the importance of an imaginary friend

Harper Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics – Valerie Lewis worked with Harper Collins to create this book of the stories they hope will not go out of print (the pro: the book uses the full-sized illustrations from all the originals / the con: it weighs 5 lbs!)

Bea in the Nutcracker by Rachel Isadora – a child-friendly overview of the story of The Nutcracker (a perfect holiday gift!)

 

Connecting Books Collage
Ask Me by Bernard Waber – a book about exploration and ways to talk about all the discoveries

One Family by George Shannon and Blanca Gomez – a book that explores the various dynamics, cultures and races that make up a family

One Word from Sophia by Jim Averbeck – a great story & a book that embodies how important it is to capture what different families really look like so kids can find themselves in books

 

Problem Solving Books Collage
The Red Hat by David Teague – a book about making a friend with a little hint of a love story

Bernice Gets Carried Away by Hannah E. Harrison – a cranky cat learns she can work through her own crankiness by brightening her friends’ days

Felix Stands Tall  by Rosemary Wells – Felix makes a new best friend & learns how to stay true to himself when he gets teased

Lizard from the Park by Mark Pett – a boy has to find a way to get his pet lizard back to where he came from after he grows from a tiny lizard to a dinosaur-sized pal

Lenny & Lucy by Philip C. Stead – a sweet story about overcoming fears

Maple & Willow Apart by Lori Nichols – when big sister goes to school and little sister stays behind they find ways to stay connected when they are apart & to share each other’s adventures

 

Bedtime Books Collage
Night Animals by Gianna Marino – a silly twist on overcoming nighttime fears

The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein – when a boy’s cat wakes him in the still-dark hours of morning, they explore together until the sun comes up and all is glowing & bright

How the Sun Got to Coco’s House by Bob Graham – following the sun all around the world until it gets to Coco’s house

Beep Beep Go to Sleep by Todd Tarpley – a fun bedtime book for someone who likes robots (*not the last book before bed!)

Leo: a Ghost Story by Mac Barnett – a ghost who loves people sets off on an adventure and makes a friend

Thank You & Goodnight by Patrick McDonnell – a story with sweet illustrations about animals who go on a sleepover and, as Valerie Lewis says, ends just the way you would want a book to end: remembering everything they are thankful for at the end of the day

 

Interactive Books Collage
Two Mice by Sergio Ruzzier – counting & problem solving

8: an Animal Alphabet by Elisha Cooper – counting & alphabetWater and Alpha Collage

Counting Lions by Katie Cotton – a counting book featuring beautiful charcoal drawings of what animals really look like

How to Swallow a Pig: Step-by-Step Advice from the Animal Kingdom by Steve Jenkins – a funny & imaginative way to show how animals really do what they do

A Chicken Followed Me Home by Robin Page – a picture book full of facts in a question-and-answer format just for kids

I’m Cool by Kate McMullan – all about hockey, ice and machines (the Zamboni!)

Water Rolls, Water Rises by Pat Mora – a poetic book about water and places around the world

Water is Water by Miranda Paul – beautifully illustrated, this book follows
a group of kids as it becomes steam or ice or snow or mist

Frog on a Log? by Kes Gray – fun rhymes, full of humor & alliterations

R is for Rocket by Tad Hills – more fun with the alphabet & words

 

Imagination Books Collage
Beyond a Pond by Joseph Kuefler – a boy scuba dives in his pond & follows his imagination to a world beyond expectation

Evermore Dragon by Barbara Joosse – a girl whose best friend is a dragon

The Wonder by Faye Hanson – great for a child who likes to look at a lot of details & the child who likes to always have a crayon in hand

The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski – a girl has to come up with her own stories from the pictures she sees in a magical book

 

May you have a cozy holiday season sharing the wonder of reading with your children curled up in your laps!

AM-Amy

p.s. If you didn’t find what you’re looking for check out last year’s post, which also includes recommendations for Good First Chapter Books, Books About Friendship, Holiday Books, Books for Construction Lovers & even more options from the categories in this post!

DIY: Personalized Christmas Ornaments

Ornament Collage

At the beginning of this year I cried FREEDOM (as only myself and a blue-faced Mel Gibson could) as I walked my two youngest children into preschool.  It marked what would be my first time home alone in what felt like…ever. Granted, it was technically six hours a week, but us desperate moms take what we can get!
At every drop off I saw a sign up request for “room mom”. I screamed in my brain, “NOT IT!!!” and went sailing past. It’s my personal belief that mothers of 4+ children should be exempt from all such acts of volunteer work.
However days passed and weeks passed and, ugh, why is no one signing up?!!!
Finally. They cornered me. Like a gang in the school office. They told me how easy it is and how low commitment it would be… before I knew it they had me signing forms.
Christmas time is upon us now and, I, the room mom, the one with no spare time and an already low tolerance for projects and to-do’s suggest we should also add a personal gift from the kids.
I scoured Pinterest and she failed me. Nothing was jumping out and everything that looked somewhat intriguing also looked really hard and annoying.
I found myself walking Michaels aimlessly when, voila – the perfect personalized gift appeared to me as if in a dream! Well – it was the sale section- which is like a dream.
My idea was to create 1 ornament for each of the teachers with a collaboration of quotes about her from each of the students.
I picked up these super cheap ornaments that are plastic balls that open up:

Open Ornament

I interviewed all the kids and gathered adorable quotes like “I like her shirts”, “she gives me hand soap” and “I can tell she loves me”. I printed them at home in various fonts (remember I don’t do fancy!) and cut them out by hand into little strips.
I sprayed the inside of each side LIGHTLY (do too much and it will look like a snow globe) with this amazing Scotch Super 77 spray adhesive.

Scotch Super 77

And then laid the quote strips in in random order. I did the same with the other side and let them both dry 10 minutes or so.

Inside Ornament

Then I filled the one side with this precut holiday looking ribbon stuff:

Festive Filler

And closed the ornament!
I added gold string as the ornament hook on top and – boom – my project is complete!

Ornaments

 

Total time: less than an hour
Cost: under $20- (use a coupon on the spray adhesive)
Supplies needed all at Michaels:
-Celebrate It™ Plastic Snap Ornament, 100mm – Ball (Sku 10426141)
Scotch Super 77 spray adhesive
-Festive filler
-String for ornament
-Paper for printing words

Cheers to the Holidays, Mommies!
KC-Kelly

A Fashion Collaboration with Mimic Design

Recently I was approached by Mimic Design, an online Etsy store, to do a collaboration on Polyvore. In return for the sets I created I received store credit to buy any items of my choice. Mimic Design sells custom-made clutches, handbags, shoes and jewelry.

Here are the sets I created for the collaboration with Mimic Design:

mimic7

Mimic Design Polyvore set created by: Edenslove

Mimic Design Polyvore set created by: Edenslove

Mimic Design Polyvore set created by: Edenslove

With the store credit I received I wanted to do something special for my daughter, Eden. I wanted to buy her a piece of jewelry as a mother-daughter gift. Eden has lots of necklaces, earrings and bracelets but I have never given her a ring. Mimic has an adorable age-appropriate Heart Stackable Ring ($20.00) that I felt was the perfect gift for my little girl. Eden was thrilled when I handed her the little teal box wrapped in a white bow (that reminded me of Tiffany’s). She loves her ring and begs me to wear it all of the time. It is 14K gold-plated and I really don’t want her to lose it, so we save it for special occasions.

Eden Mimic Ring CollageWith the remaining store credit I bought myself the Special Edition Asymmetrical Leopard Fold-Over Clutch ($130.00). When I received the clutch I was shocked by how cute and trendy it is but, most of all, by how beautifully made it is. The clutch is made out of calf hair leather, suede and a YKK Zipper. When I wore it to my birthday dinner I received numerous compliments on it. Let’s just say I am very satisfied and excited about my picks.

Mimic Clutch 1

Rocking my Clutch from Mimic Design

Rocking my Clutch from Mimic Design

I loved making the sets for Mimic Design and I also loved the items I received. The collaboration was a success and I hope to work with this Etsy shop again in the future. I am a girl who loves and appreciates fashion. And when I say I love something I mean it.

 

Ever Fashionably Yours,

-Sarah
Sara

Post-It Note Personal Trainer

Post It Note WorkoutOk ok. My youngest child is 2.5…I’m not breast feeding…nap schedules are set…

I really should work out.
(I mean, if I ever hope to get that booty back I’m guessing sooner rather than later is key)

I looked into the local gyms, the child care, the local Pilates studio. Nothing was jumping out. And it is so expensive! Plus by the time I got to the gym, checked the kids in, did the workout and drove home – I’ve burned at least 2 hours! How many times a week am I supposed to do this? “Ain’t nobody got time for that!!”

A month ago, as I watched the downward descent of my mom butt, I realized I had to do something. Something quick and easy and that could be done on my own schedule. I grabbed a note pad out of my desk and labeled it with some exercises. It was a Sunday and I gave myself until Saturday to complete them. The Post-It Note Trainer was born:

60 minutes on treadmill
50 push ups
150 squats
100 lunges
4 min of planks
100 crunches
(You get the idea)

Whenever I found the time I would bang out a portion of the post it note. On the days I had more time I would use the treadmill and do all the crunches. If I didn’t have time to do a full workout but did have, say 5 minutes on my hands, I would do 40 squats and 25 push ups and simply subtract them from the post it. For someone who LOVES the feeling of checking off a list…oh man, this is incredibly motivating! Even if I’m not crossing off an entire line at a time, just ticking off portions of my tasks feels awesome. And I love seeing the numbers go down on my little brightly colored, omnipresent personal trainer.

Now I do own a treadmill, which helps, but the only other equipment I have is a pair of 8lb dumbbells I bought from Marshalls. You could sub in running stairs for treadmill time if you live in a two-story or an apartment building. Or maybe a stroller walk or jog if the weather is decent.  Just doing anything feels better than nothing! Think of what you want to accomplish, write it down for the week’s goal and post that bad boy where you can see it: bathroom mirror, kitchen cork board. Then enjoy that floating heart flutter one only achieves when crossing off a list!

Get ’em girls!
KC-Kelly

post it note motivation