Taking a “Breather Break”

Hello all!

I’ve come to the official conclusion that “The Terrible Twos” should be renamed “The Terrible Indeterminate Age Range.” This realization coming from the fact that the twins have started to throw temper tantrums.

Fortunately, it’s only one of them that is actually throwing full blown temper tantrums. Unfortunately, I swear she’s harnessing the energy of the other one to really blow up. But maybe I’m being a bit dramatic. She does, however, end up working herself into such a frenzy she starts hiccuping for breath. At this age, they’re too young to really understand what a “time out” is, and in my experience, they don’t really work anyway. Luckily, I read this article a while back which prepared me for my “tasmanian tot.”

I call their time-outs “breather breaks” and “alone time.” I know it isn’t always best to give tots options, but I’ve actually had success thus far with this course of action. “Alone time” means they can cry it out in their crib and collect themselves alone. A “breather break” means they sit in their elephant chair and we take deep breaths till we can work it out together. Here is a play-by- play of how it usually goes …

  • D grabs a toy out of H’s hand
  • H grabs it back and runs away
  • D throws herself onto the floor in a fit of rage
  • I say, “Since H had the toy first, you can have it when H is done playing with it”– adding fuel to the fire
  • I ignore her for a minute or two (sometimes she gets up and carries on like nothing happened, other times she continues to act like the world is ending)
  • If she continues to carry on….
    ME: ‘Do you need alone time?’ D (invariably gets it together enough to mutter): ‘No.’ ME: “Would you like a breather break, then?’ D: ‘No.” ME (making the decision for her): ‘Alone time, then.’ D: ‘NOOOOOO!!’ ME: ‘OK, let’s sit and take some breaths then.” D: ‘Ok.’
  • She sits down and we either hold hands and inhale our arms up and exhale them down, or we place our hands on our bellies and watch our breath move our hands. Her vocabulary is obviously still pretty limited, but I acknowledge she’s upset and ask if she can try to communicate better rather than acting out.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been grappling to stay on track with this blog, yoga, and life in general, and some days are easier than others. I know my prefrontal cortex is more developed than the twins, but sometimes, I also feel like I’m on the brink of a major toddler-esque meltdown. Yesterday was the first Sunday in months that I didn’t teach a kids yoga class, or even have set dates for future classes on my calendar. I love teaching my Yoga Buds, but in addition to low class attendance, I’ve been feeling a disconnect with my personal practice. Ultimately, I’ve decided to treat my impending tantrum the same way I would with the twins… by taking a “breather break.”

Ok, maybe not in the same exact fashion… there will be no elephant chair, but there will be a break and a lot of deep breaths. I’m a firm believer the universe conspires to give us what we need, and just when I decided to put my kids classes on hold, I was offered a rotating position teaching “Community Yoga and Meditation” 945AM Sundays at Avalon Yoga in Catonsville and a permanent position teaching “Foundations of Yoga” 6PM Tuesdays at Prana Yoga Studio in Annapolis. In addition, I’ll be teaching SUP yoga throughout the summer at CapitalSUP in Annapolis. For now, I’ll be replacing games and galavanting with getting back to the basics because regardless of age or emotional maturity, we all need to pause, connect, and breathe.

In my next post, I plan on sharing some breathing exercises I have found helpful in Yoga Buds, with the twins, and for myself. Stay tuned and Namasté!

yogi-nani

Nani-Foodi Friday: Basil & Parmesan Orzo

Nani-Foodi Friday is here with a simple side dish that will please any palette. I made this last week for the twins to serve with the chicken nuggets from my previous post and it ended up being a hit for the whole family. When I arrived the next morning for work, their Dad apologized for eating all of their leftovers and put in a request for more.

I found the recipe here… and while the only change I made to the ingredients was using gluten-free orzo (which has a more sticky consistency when cooked than regular orzo), I’m positive it would be delicious with couscous, rice, or quinoa.


Basil & Parmesan Orzo

Yields: 3-4 servings    Prep time: 5 mins    Cook time: 15 min

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 1 3/4 cup (14 oz) chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Instructions:

  1. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add orzo and sauté for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  4. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer.
  5. Cook for 15 minutes or until the orzo has absorbed all the liquid.
  6. Mix in parmesan cheese and basil. Serve and enjoy!

 

If you have specific ingredients you’d like to see in future Nani-Foodi posts, please feel free to send me a message or comment below!

yogi-nani

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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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