HEALTH

5 KID YOGA POSES with JoBea Kids

We might not always stick to a schedule around here, but we’ve got our morning routine down: The girls wake up by 6:30, we play and eat, then send Daddy off with his peanut butter and jelly breakfast sandwich. Derek feeds each girl a bite of it and kisses them goodbye for the day. Then the girls rush to the front door, Mya whips it open, and they wave and blow him kisses as Derek pulls out of the drive and down the street. It’s pretty much the most adorable thing ever. We’ve had a couple neighbors tell us they see the sendoff every day and I’m glad we have them fooled as totally calm, cool, and collected. Little do they know that when the door shuts, Mya usually has a meltdown of how she already misses Dada and Leah resumes banging on the pantry door for more food. But recently, the one thing that has been the best distraction from this and starts our girl days off strong are little yoga sessions. Mya takes out her yoga mat with this book and takes us through some “moves.” Leah pretty quickly ends up cozying up in the beanbag with another book, but Mya leads our yoga session and it’s always one of my favorite parts of our mornings together.

A couple weeks ago we met my Mom at a yoga studio and she helped us play document some of our favorite poses. My Mom is conveniently an Iyengar yoga instructor, so we pretty much have it made in the sense that she knows what to do and how to do it the right way. Since I can barely touch my toes, we keep it simple. These are our 5 favorite yoga poses for kids. I made myself look smarter by googling the sanskrit names and including them too:

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4 FAVORITE PRESSURE COOKER MEALS

Who would’ve thought that one of my favorite gifts received in the past couple years is a kitchen appliance– a pressure cooker. I guess that means I’m all grown up now. Or lame. Probably the latter, but I don’t even care because this appliance has made dinners easier and so tasty. At first, I was kind of intimidated to use the thing and it sat on our counter for a good month. Growing up, I remember my Mom’s pressure cooker spitting out hot water and steam for a good portion of the day and her wedging a wooden spoon in the top valve for the release, always hoping that it wouldn’t shoot off and punch a hole in the ceiling. Yeah, no thanks. Pass. But as it turns out, the design of these babies has come a long way since then and they’re super safe.

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1 OUT OF 5

Even as I write this, I’m questioning “is this a good idea to share with the world? Do I need people to know that I had a miscarriage?” But just as life has its ups and downs, so will this blog. And maybe some other gal will read this now or later and it will help her cope or let go. Or maybe not. Whatever the case, this is my way to tell everyone in one big swoop, so that you can hear it from me and not a distant source. Because this is one thing that I can control. I kept it PG, but if you already cringed while reading the “m” word, then maybe just skip this one.

SURPRISED. Tuesday. We’ve been trying to get pregnant for awhile, so I was surprised to finally take a positive at-home test. I couldn’t wait to tell Derek! I put Mya in a “big sis” t-shirt– the same t-shirt my parents had me wear when I was 2 yrs old expecting my little brother!– and put the positive pregnancy test and four bouncy balls (courtesy of Mya) in a paper bag. When Derek got home from work, Mya proudly announced, “Baby in Mama’s belly!”

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A HEALTHIER PANCAKE

Don’t be fooled: I do NOT have a make-from-scratch pancake recipe that is healthy. If you have one to share, please send our way! But I do have some sneaky tricks up my sleeve when it comes to adding some nutritious ingredients to a pancake mix. Let’s call them “Harry Houdini Hot Cakes.” Did you know Houdini’s first name was “Harry?” I didn’t. Ok, back to the tasty stuff… Mya loves pancakes. What kid doesn’t, right? But they just seemed like empty calories and I didn’t want to feed them to Mya regularly without altering them a bit.

Don’t mind the pancake cheeks…

PancakeCheeks

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CROCK-POT CHICKEN + CHARD SOUP

My sister-in-law was clearing out her garden for the colder weather and offered to give us a lot of chard. Doesn’t “chard” just sound nasty? I thought so. But who am I to turn down free food?! And I was intrigued by the look of it– so leafy, crisp, and colorful.

chard

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SERIOUS CASE OF THE MONDAYS

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“Serious case of the Mondays” because it was one crazy 24 hours yesterday. (Today’s Tuesday, right? Oy. I’m so thrown off!) I will share the day’s highs and lows, but first lemme back track to this weekend with my 10 yr high school reunion. (It all relates… sort of!)

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ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

I was never big on Brussels sprouts until recently. It wasn’t the taste that kept me away, mostly just a food that I had never really had the urge to explore. That all changed one night when having dinner with some friends at Kansas City’s Pizzabella. We were told we had to to try them out, so we obviously obliged with no particular expectations, just the intrigue that arose from their excitement. One taste and we were sold. Since then, every time I pass Brussels sprouts in the grocery store I consider picking up a few to try to replicate that taste.

Bowl

Aside from being a delicious side dish, these bad boys are packed with all kinds of essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and even some cancer fighting properties. To maintain the most health benefit when preparing these mini-cabbages, you should steam or roast them rather than boiling. Our vote is for roasting. Give our recipe below a try and you’ll be one happy, healthy herbivore.

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Process

And now, a side note and short parable for my fellow dads out there. Mya loves helping cook in her own little kitchen– she’s the queen of stews in our house. This kitchen is designed to grow with her, so she can continue to enjoy it as she gets bigger. A few evenings ago, Ashley was upstairs working on a project and I was trying to be a helpful husband and do a little picking up around the house. When I got to Mya’s kitchen, it seemed like a good time to give the “big girl” setup a shot.

LittleKitchen

The next morning, the girls went downstairs and discovered the new arrangement. I can’t quite say they were excited. Ashley said that after seeing the switch, Mya looked at her puzzled. Partially from the remodel, but partially from the sense that Mum was a little bummed out by the change. What I saw as helping Mya with a taller kitchen, Ashley saw as an end of a stage for our baby girl and she wasn’t quite ready to part with that yet. The kitchen converted back to the mini-version for another day so the ladies could say their goodbyes, but now Mya is back to work in her new layout. Ashley felt silly that I had switched it back to the little version that morning. But it just reminded me that these little ones grow up way too fast (and I have an extremely sentimental wifey) and it never hurts to hang on a little longer and cherish each moment while it’s here.

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FOUR FAVORITE COOKING SUBSTITUTIONS

We like to eat. Whether it’s trying something new or just indulging in our favorite recipes, we can make a mountain of food disappear faster than David Copperfield. Despite our big appetites, we try to stay pretty health conscious– exploring healthy ways to mix up our favorite recipes. Here’s a different spin of Foodie Friday with four of our favorite healthy alternatives:

Alternatives

GREEK  YOGURT
This is probably our most used substitute, trading out sour cream, cream cheese, and mayonnaise from recipes with an equal amount of plain greek yogurt (we like Chobani, but Fage has also been pretty good to us). The low-fat, high-protein substitute also adds probiotics, which are believed to be beneficial for your digestive and immune systems. We don’t notice any difference in taste with Greek yogurt in our recipes, but it definitely makes heavy, creamy dishes feel a little bit lighter after eating. We are apparently missing out on some more chances to incorporate it into our cooking, as it is suggested to use in place of oil, butter, and buttermilk as well. If you don’t try any others on the list, give this one a shot – you won’t be disappointed.

UNSWEETENED APPLESAUCE
A great way to enjoy sweets without getting overloaded with fat and sugar cook with unsweetened applesauce. First, the fats: you can substitute 3/4 to 1 cup of applesauce (no fat) for each cup of oil or butter used in recipes. Applesauce works especially well in things that are moist and dense (muffins, cakes, breads, etc.), and not so much if you want something crispy and chewy (cookies and brownies). Applesauce tends to cook faster as well, so you will want to drop your oven temperature by about 25 degrees and reduce the cooking time by 5 to 10 minutes for best results. If you’re not so sure about making the switch, try doing half and half to start.

For sugar, you can replace with an equal amount of applesauce. Mix it into your recipe with the wet ingredients and reduce the liquid added by 1/4 cup for every cup of applesauce (sugar) used in the recipe. For each cup of sugar you replace, you will cut out about 600 calories as well as add some additional vitamins, minerals, and fiber that sugar doesn’t have.

AVOCADO
Another excellent fat substitute is avocado. You can replace butter and oil one-to-one with mashed or pureed avocado. It has significantly fewer calories and less fat than regular oils and butter, and the fat it does provide carries a number of health benefits. Avocado is also packed with vitamins and nutrients which regularly earns it the label of a Super Food. The texture of some recipes may be changed slightly with the switch to avocado, and you may need to supplement with additional liquids to keep the desired consistency. Again, you might start by trading out half of the oil or butter for avocado to start. If you want more ways to work avocado into your diet, try it as a substitute for mayo or as a topping on salads, eggs, sandwiches, and more.

SQUASH
If you love pasta but are looking for something low-carb, gluten-free, or are like us and just want to try something new, give squash a try. Spaghetti squash (winter squash) and zucchini (summer squash) are both great candidates to make the veggie-pasta transformation. Spaghetti squash can simply be halved, seeded, and baked to get a stringy, spaghetti like (as the name implies) alternative to noodles. For zucchini, you can use a fancy slicer or some handy knife work to cut stringy noodles, or just slice it into thin strips to replace lasagna noodles and eliminate the boiling of noodles from the process.

Even Mya is drawn to spaghetti squash… or maybe just the color yellow.

Grocery

We’ll be sharing recipes with these alternatives in the future. Are you experimenting in the kitchen? What tasty, healthy substitutions do you use?!