Showers, Flowers, and an Engagement

Hello all!

I’m trying to get back into the swing of things after taking a brief hiatus from teaching, but life keeps intervening. To say Sunday was a busy day is a vast understatement. In addition to teaching an early morning meditation class and afternoon kids yoga class, it was my boyfriend Brian’s 30th birthday and I was in charge of hosting a party for him that night. If I hadn’t started off the day with meditation, I’m not sure I would have survived. In order to give you an idea of my stress level, I’ll tell you this – I was not born a multi-tasker, I was born a sloth. 

My theme for the Yoga Bud’s class was “April Showers bring May Flowers.” We celebrated the appearance of Spring and praised the rainfall that makes it all possible. As a simple craft, we also made “May Flowers” with a few supplies I had laying around (popsicle sticks, muffin pan liners, and googley eyes.) The class was adorable and particularly special since my old nanny-babe, Nora, was in attendance.

IMG_4001

Afterwards, I rushed home to prepare for the big party and was hands-deep shredding chicken for tacos when Brian asked me to step outside with him to open his present. As I mentioned, I am not a multi-tasker, so I told him he would have to wait. After a bit of back-and-forth, he convinced me to step away from the chicken by telling me “he had gotten me a small present for all my hard work on the party, but it was down at the marina.” (Side note if you don’t know us personally: we live behind a marina where Brian’s paddle board shop, Capital SUP, is located.)

Brian instructed me to wait on the dock while he ran into his shop to get my present. In full disclosure, I was thinking he had bought me a paddleboard… in hindsight, this thought was ridiculous since in addition to not being a multi-tasker, I am not an avid paddler. Instead, he came back empty handed (or so I thought) and started opening his gifts. After he was finished, I told him I had one more surprise for him in store once everyone arrived at the party. However, he surprised me first by kissing me and saying “your gift now…”, before getting down on one knee and asking if we could spend the rest of our lives together. I proceeded to go into shock and have no recollection of my exact response, but “yes” was in there somewhere.

IMG_4006

After taking a few pictures on the dock together (in which I was still in shock and wearing my ring on the wrong hand), we walked back up to our house filled with our family and friends to share the news. We watched the surprise birthday video I had put together for him, drank a little too much tequila, and celebrated into the wee hours of the morning. I may have a fridge full of taco toppings now since I never did finish setting out the food, but I also have a heart so full of love and gratitude for the man I get to spend the rest of my life with and all of the loved ones that shared this special day with us and showered us with well wishes.

Namasté a fiancé!

yogi-nani

Nani-Foodi Friday: Baked Chicken Nuggets

I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to share this recipe since I keep an endless supply in the freezer, but look no further for the best chicken nuggs in all the land (after Chic-fil-a, that is.) Trust me when I say I have experimented with A LOT of chicken nugget recipes. I’ve put chicken breast in a food processor and patted it into nugget shapes, experimented with different seasonings, and cooked them every way possible. However, after much trial and tribulation, this is the easiest and most delicious recipe… the twins could even make them. Just kidding, but ahhh wouldn’t that be glorious? IMG_3976


Baked Chicken Nuggets

Yields: 30-40 nuggets    Prep time: 5 mins    Cook time: 15 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1-1.5 lbs chicken breasts
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1.5 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • coconut oil spray

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly spray with oil.
  2. Combine bread crumbs and seasoning in a bowl.
  3. Cut chicken breast into preferred nugget shape and place in a separate bowl.
  4. Drizzle olive oil over chicken and toss.
  5. Coat each nugget in breading and place on a baking sheet.
  6. Spray top of nuggets lightly with coconut oil spray and place in the oven.
  7. Bake for 5 mins and then remove from oven and flip nuggets. Place back in the oven and bake for additional 8-10 minutes until chicken is golden brown and cooked through.

I usually make a batch at the beginning of the week and keep some in the fridge to serve with ketchup and a side or to throw into various meals for both the babies and myself (chicken quesadillas, wraps, chicken parmesan, chicken and waffles, salads, etc.) and keep the rest in the freezer.

Enjoy!!

yogi-nani

Nan-ecdotes: Teething and the Tough Times

Hello friends!

Sorry I’ve been MIA the past few weeks. Spring Break was a great excuse to take a break from Yoga Buds classes, to take a break from the blog, and to take a break to Puerto Rico. Upon my return to work last week, I was greeted by teething-tortured twins, and promptly started planning my escape back to Rincón. I’ve never seen a rabid raccoon firsthand, but I imagine it closely resembles a teething baby.

In addition to gaining new pearly whites while I was away, the twins had started to rebel against their afternoon nap. I basically felt ambushed by sleepy, angry, tiny humans, and to top it off, my car got a flat tire and my lip broke out in cold sores. When it rains, it pours. Right before I booked my one-way flight back to paradise, I came across an Instagram post by @karlareed that helped put things in perspective.

In regards to raising her three children, she wrote, “I’m realizing how at their most difficult it’s almost always a cry for help and a desperate need for connection. I can’t always give them everything they want or even make life easier for them in some ways, but I can enter into their worlds and tell them that they matter and the things they love matter. And that’s how we’ll get through the tough times.” I immediately wanted to give Karla a hug for the pep talk and give the twins hugs for dismissing their misery and wanting to escape them. I can’t help the fact they’re teething (other than with some Motrin), but I can comfort them while they fuss and gnaw on everything… Because times may get tough, but the storm always passes.

yogi-nani

P.S. I was able to bump their nap back an hour and they slept two and a half hours every day this week! I can see clearly now, the rain is gone. 

Nani-Foodi Friday: Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

It is my first breakfast post and I am super excited for two reasons: I did not create this recipe and; therefore, I can not be blamed if you fail in its execution. I hope I didn’t get anyone’s hopes up with my last Nani-Foodi post because I do love mixing up my own concoctions, but I also want this space to be an archive of insanely good recipes I have found. Ironically, the recipe I want to share is from SkinnyTaste and it’s titled Insanely Good Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins.

I was watching Chopped the other night on Food Network and one of the chefs was reprimanded for using the wrong descriptive adjectives to label her plates. If Gina (the creator of SkinnyTaste) were to go on the show and present these muffins to the judges with the description ‘insanely good’, I believe they’d applaud her accuracy. But seriously, even the twins would agree if their vocabulary extended past “mmmm” and “more.”

IMG_3392

I made these muffins to give the girls a little variety in their morning diet. They usually eat blueberry oatmeal, so I reaaallly stretched it here. Regardless, any change in diet is tricky with the picky eater (it could be hiding broccoli). She refused to eat it, as expected, while her sister scarfed her muffin down without pausing for a breath. Two can play this game, though.

While she continues to fight my attempts at expanding her palette, I’m learning new tricks. I waited about 20 minutes and then walked into the living room eating a muffin. The girl came running with her mouth open like a baby bird. Now, neither of them can get enough nor can their Mom and I. These will definitely be a new breakfast staple and I can’t wait to throw in new ingredients like Skinnytaste suggests!

Enjoy !!

yogi-nani

March Madness

Hello friends!

I was drawing a blank on a theme for Yoga Buds this week when I came across this post on YoYo Yoga School for March Madness Yoga. While I’m not a huge follower of college basketball, I knew it would be the perfect lesson plan to talk about what collegiate athletes and yogis have in common… a lot of practice. I also decided it would be the perfect class to use my new nifty balloon inflating toy, but I quickly regretted that decision.

After our ‘Welcome Song,’  I mentioned the NCAA Championship and asked if anyone had a favorite team. In attendance were two brothers and their younger sister, and to my surprise, not only were they watching the tournament, but they were all rooting for Gonzaga-“Dad’s favorite.” We talked about what it takes to make a great basketball team and then I pulled out the balloon inflater, which gave a whole new meaning to “March Madness.” The class swiftly went from being basketball oriented to a “who could burst their balloon first” competition. To get the class back on track, everyone held their balloon like a basketball as we moved through yoga poses, but as usual, my plan took another unexpected turn. IMG_3372

As we were about to begin warm-ups, the kids thought it would be funny to rub the balloons in their hair and stick them to their shirts rather than hold them. I decided to run with it and we saw how many poses we could move through without the balloon dropping. Then, we played around with keeping the ball up in the air before moving onto a game that incorporated more yoga poses.

I set up a game that looked similar to Skee Ball with the use of hula hoops and a yoga wheel. After the kids were situated in a circle around the hoops, I handed them each three pom-pom balls. They each took turns tossing their pom poms into the hoops. If they made it into one, they picked a card from the Yoga Pretzels deck and had to hold the pose for a designated time; the center hoop was 5 seconds, middle was 10, and outer was 15. Finally, we moved to our craft for the day.

IMG_3325

I found this craft here, and felt like I had hit the jackpot. Any craft that also functions as a game is a tiny blessing in my book. However, I did make a few adjustments to the supplies (you can check them out on the cheat sheet), since the original post had issues with sturdiness. The kids got to decorate the backboards, assemble the parts, and shoot some hoops before we laid down for final relaxation. I may not have had a Final Four favorite at the start of class, but…

Go Gonzaga and Namasté!

yogi-nani

Mindfulness and Mandalas

 

Hello friends!

If you haven’t noticed from previous posts, I love alliteration. I also love coloring and crafting (see what I did there). So to celebrate the month of March (although I guess May would have worked too), the kiddos and I practiced mindfulness and colored mandalas, which just so happen to be two of my favorite activities.

While there are many amazing mandala coloring books, I went the cheap/easy route by printing off free ones I found online. When the kids arrived, I had them laid out along with markers, colored pencils, and crayons (which also successfully kept the kids occupied while I got everyone signed in). Once we were ready to get started, the kids slid their mandalas under their mats to come back to at the end of class. Then, as always, we began with our ‘Welcome Song.’

2BD24CA3-BCDE-4222-BF8B-F502C965F389

After welcoming everyone into the space, I had them all close their eyes and listen to the noises around them. They heard everything: from the cars outside, to the heating unit, to each other’s breaths. Then, I had them place their hands on their own bellies to observe the movements of their own breath – to notice the expansion of their bellies on the inhale as well as the deflation on the exhale. I told them how this is a perfect way to practice mindfulness, since mindfulness is simply being aware and focusing. I pointed out how they practiced mindfulness before class even started by trying to stay inside the lines of their mandalas, and how mandala means ‘circle.’ After pointing out mandalas around the room – the clock, our eyeballs, the overhead fans, the prints on a yoga mat –  we jumped into warmups.

Sun salutations became a ‘moving mandala.’ We flowed through three and then came to seated to create mandalas with our bodies. I placed a hula hoop in the center of our group circle and we practiced poses that would look like a human mandala from above. Then, of course, we had some fun with the hula hoop.

As our group game for the day, I had everyone come to standing and hold hands. I placed the hula hoop in the crook of my elbow and joined the circle. The aim of the game was to move the hula hoop around the circle and back without letting go of each other. After we finished, we came back down to our mats for final crafts.

001A19FB-51FD-43C6-B724-EC90F01A406B

Before we got back to our individual mandalas, we created one together. Everyone picked out a crayon and I started it by drawing a flower in the center of a piece of paper. Each student then added a pattern radiating from the center point until we filled the page. Afterwards, they had the option to finish coloring their own or create another with the supplies I had brought with me.

To finish, we laid down on our mats with our heads together to create one final mandala for savasana. As a perfect parting snack and special take home treat, I offered clementines to show once again how mandalas can be found everywhere, even in the foods we eat!

Mindfulness and Mandalas

Namasté!

yogi-nani

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day

Hello friends!

If you know me outside of this blog space, you probably know that St. Patrick’s Day is my favorite holiday. I like to call it my family’s “Christmas in March.” Ever since I was a wee lassie, my parents have thrown an epic party on March 17th. My mom cooks over 200 hundred pounds of corned beef, my dad’s bagpipe band provides entertainment, and friends, family, and strangers (my Dad likes to extend the invitation to anyone he comes in contact with that week) come from far and wide for the celebration! Needless to say, I was just a tad excited to share this holiday with my Yoga Buds.

IMG_3197

As we welcomed each other in “circle time” this week, I asked each student to share their favorite holiday. When it was my turn, I said, “President’s Day!” Juuust kidding, but I do feel the need to share that one little girl said, “Father’s Day because it’s like an extra birthday for my Dad and I love him so much.” After I regained composure from melting into an emotional puddle, we began class.

Our warm-up this week was something I like to call the “wake up wiggles.” Starting at the head and working their way down to the toes, I had the kids massage and wiggle certain areas of the body to wake them up. Once the entire body was awake, we did an Irish jig to make sure we didn’t miss any spots. Then, we stretched with “rainbow breaths.” From a standing position, I asked them to bend their knees and place their hands on the outside of one of their feet. On an inhale, they swept their arms in an arch overhead, and as they exhaled, their hands came to land on the outside of the opposite foot. With each arch, they pretended to paint a color of the rainbow across the sky. We then came to seated for a little story time yoga.

4C98D9FF-3EC6-4A8A-B4BD-DBFDAA215CB5

This weekend, we read “Lucky Tucker” by Leslie McGuirk. Tucker is a dog who rolls in a leprechaun’s bed of clovers and ends up having the luckiest day of his life. As I read the book, I paused every few pages so we could translate the story into yoga poses. For example, we did downward dog for Tucker, tree pose with one foot doing a jig for the leprechaun, and bow pose for a pot of gold. After building some strength, it was time to put it to the test with a “rainbow relay.”

My early class was a bit smaller and competed as individuals, but my late class was bigger and broke up into teams. I placed foam sticks (every color of the rainbow) at one end of the room for each team and had the kids line up their yoga mats at the other end of the room. The object of the game was to get the foam sticks back to their mats and put them in the correct order of the colors of the rainbow. Each trip to the foam sticks required a different type of movement or obstacle; i.e. crab walks, standing twists on a blanket, or walking on blocks. Finally, we ended class with a simple shamrock craft using green pipe cleaners and rainbow beads.

70D7125F-00BE-4EDF-9F07-696B95A29E62

Each week brings new faces, new challenges, and a renewed sense of why I’m doing this… and I’m feeling pretty darn lucky.

St. Patrick’s Day Yoga

Sláinte and Namasté!

yogi-nani