Warmth

After the Pie, the Breath

December 2, 2013

Golden Sleepy In-the-Keyhole Pie2 Light In-Thought

We gathered this past week with our family and friends, full of conversation, joy, and lots and lots of pie. This is the time where the holidays kick into high gear. The lights go up, the songs are played, and the excitement of what is ahead is always in the forefront of our minds.

It is also a time for rhythm, for balance, and especially for a deep breath. As wonderful as the holidays are, they can also be a very difficult time to balance emotions, sleep and anxiety for children. When we think about how tired we are at the end of the year, one can only imagine how mentally and physically exhausted our children must be. I remember a few years back, after working so hard to create the “perfect” holiday for my boys, Jacob spent Christmas Day with tissues stuffed up his nose, as one nose bleed after another kept coming. I called the doc, and she very simply told me that he was overly excited, and his body was responding. That was the moment where I realized that while the holidays are amazing, teaching our kiddos a few basic tricks to balance their emotions is essential.

Most of you know that I am a yoga and breath work advocate. I think that most of our daily lives could be greatly improved with a few moments of quiet reflection and sacred movement, and children are certainly no exception. For many of us, teaching kiddos yoga is easy and fun, but breath work is a bit more challenging. One of the biggest questions that I get from parents in regards to children is how to teach them to breathe. I think that most of us feel that breathing is a natural response, and that kids already know how to do it. While that is true to some extent, children are notorious for taking quick, shallow breaths when excitement sets in. That only serves to heighten their emotions, not calm them.

I know no young one who will sit for long periods of time and listen or practice breath work, but in my experience, teaching kiddos for a few minutes a day two simple techniques can make a world of difference (and not just at the holidays). The first is to teach them to take an equal inhale and exhale. I encourage my children to count to ten as they inhale through their nose, and to count to ten on the exhale (again, through the nose). This seems to be a good number to start with, and if they are ever in a place where the stress in really hard (think blood draw), I encourage them to extend that time by a few seconds. If they practice just once or twice in the morning, they have that tool at the ready, and when you see the excitement or stress level rising, simply remind them to count to ten and breathe.

The second is to take a full inhale through the nose, and exhale fully and loudly through the mouth with a sigh. I have no idea why this is so relaxing, but trust me, it works. I use it all the time on myself, especially when there is lots of sibling arguments of noise in the house. It is like a quick reset button, and I have yet to see it fail. I have my boys take a deep inhale, and then let out a long ahhhhhhhh. They love the way it rolls off the tongue, and there is always a smile and giggle at the end. This is such a beautiful time of year, and it should be filled with joy and fun. Allowing rhythm and quiet to seep into our days is just as important as the excitement and activities that fill our calendar. A warm bath each night before bed, a cup of mint tea, a story are all great ways to calm children and encourage good sleep and rest.

Wishing all of you a beautiful and magic filled start to the holiday season.

For more info on restorative yoga for children, please visit this post 

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The-Apple-Cart

Aspens

Pumpkin-and-aspens

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Baby-Knits

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Baby-Knitting

POPCORN

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Autumn has been absolutely spectacular here on the Front Range, and we could not have asked for more golden hues and tones to photograph and play in.

Our days have been filled with mid-autumn activities: soccer tournaments, apple picking, pumpkin carving, and leaf burning to name a few. The boys have been outdoors more this year than in any other autumn in the past, and Emma Jeanne and I have enjoyed the abundant sunshine and lack of wind that is normally so prevalent in these parts. The colder days are coming, but how nice to get all the way into November until they do.

There is still a good amount of casting on, and coming off of the needles, and while I am loving knitting, I have to admit that the recording of the knit wear has been a little slow going. Ravelry is a gift of a site, for so many reasons, but lately I have done a terrible job of cataloging what I have completed. I find myself a good 20+ projects behind, and in desperate need of getting it done before I flat forget just what pattern or yarn was used. If only the sun would go in for just a little bit, perhaps then such a task could get done.

Currently I am working on the Emma Tunic for my Emma Jeanne. This is my second go with this wonderful pattern, as I knit one in Malabrigo Lettuce when she first arrived. The tunic works well for a young babe, and it leaves a bit of growing room, going from a dress to a top over time. I am crazy for pink right now. Not bright, neon pink, but more of a muted rose. It is funny how each of my children have had their own colors, and so clearly, since they first arrived. Jacob was the deepest of blues, Elwood a sea green, and Landon a soft yellow and natural toned little dude. Emma is an earth girl, for sure. Those sage greens, muted roses, and soft creams suit her well, and I now find myself enjoying an entirely new color palette in my yarns.

The boys spent the entire weekend on the soccer field, as did their coach of a dad. Emma Jeanne and I, along with grandparents and friends, popped in and out when we could, but there is only so much soccer that a 3 month old can take. Elwood brought home the championship in his age division for the third season in a row, and he was a very happy guy. One of the concession stands was selling pumpkin and apple and cinnamon popcorn, and of course, both boys were begging up a storm. As we were leaving the field on that last day, I agreed to let them try each of flavors, only to find out that both contained gluten. In my mothering moment of seeing their eyes drop, I agreed to immediately go home and try my hand at a recipe. I am not really sure what I was thinking of here, as those two flavors are not exactly easy to recreate in a home kitchen. I gave it my best shot, but the pumpkin spice is still a work in progress. We did, however, manage a recipe for an apple cinnamon flavor that I think may become a family favorite.

Apple Cinnamon Popcorn

1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup coconut oil – melted
3 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup freeze dried apples
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup candied walnuts (optional), chopped

Place your freeze dried apples in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse into a fine powder. Add you salt and spices, and pulse only until combined.

We love to cook our popcorn on the stove in the Whirly Pop. I am not afraid to admit how much I love this popcorn pan. Never once have I had anything burn or stick, and the popcorn just comes out so fresh and light. My friend Heidi recommended it to me a few years back, and I am oh so grateful she did.

Melt your 1/3 cup of coconut oil over med-high heat, and cook your popcorn any way you choose. While the popcorn is popping, melt your 1/4 cup of coconut oil over low heat. Remove from the stove, and add your maple syrup, apple and spices.

Place your popped popcorn into a large bowl, and stir in your oil mixture. Add in your walnuts, if using, and eat right away.

This popcorn has a nice, tart bite, and can even be enjoyed topped with nutritional yeast.

 

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