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My Favorite Winter Recipes

All the parties are over, the resolutions have been made and the cold has set in for winter. If you’re like me, January is a quiet time; a recovery from the busy days of December. I’ve been enjoying cooking this week; getting back into our usual family meal habits after the big gatherings of food and fun over the holidays. Here are some of my favorite winter recipes, from my family to yours. Enjoy!

For the very happiest of winter mornings, prepare this Baked Oatmeal from the editor of Simple Bites. Do yourself a favour and use high quality old-fashioned oats – I use Bob’s Red Mill – they really make a difference! Top it with good organic plain yogurt (Krema 10% is my favorite) and you’re in breakfast bliss. Once you’ve fallen in love with this recipe go and bake everything else on her website – it’s all delicious! Especially the Best Muffin Ever recipe, my go-to oatmeal muffins. Don’t be afraid of the butter in these recipes. Use organic grass-fed when you can afford it (there are so many good, healthy nutrients in good quality butter) but regular butter will work too. But whatever you do, do NOT substitute margarine!

For easy winter salads and bowls I love the website and cook book Oh She Glows. The simple vegan recipes are so delicious and easy, not to mention incredibly healthy. One of my absolute favorites is the Protein Power Goddess Bowl. There are a few versions of this recipe and they are all awesome. I use the basics of the recipe and adapt it to whatever veggies I have on hand usually using quinoa instead of rice (or omit the grain altogether), baby tomatoes, a big healthy serving of spinach or kale plus a pepper and some garlic. The lemon-tahini dressing is wicked – but for a simpler version I reduce the nutritional yeast to 1-2 tsp and just shake it all up in a mason jar. You can also do it without cooking the vegetables. Just toss the cooked lentils with a bowl of chopped veggies. This recipe has the added bonus of being full of folate – excellent for pregnant or trying-to-conceive women.

Another lunch-time or quick dinner favorite is a peanut sauce and tofu noodle bowl. Whip up this wicked peanut sauce (I reduce the sugar to 1/2 Tbsp) and pour over rice noodles and sliced veggies (lettuce, red pepper, carrot and anything else you like). Top with cilantro, green onion, chopped peanuts and roasted or grilled tofu for a delicious and super quick meal. For the tofu: set oven to 400, slice tofu, douse with peanut oil and Bragg’s soy sauce (find it in the organic aisle) and then bake for 10 minutes each side. Or marinate in a mixture of 1 Tbsp peanut oil and 3 Tbsp Bragg’s and then grill 3-5 mins.

For slow cooking Sunday’s I’ve jumped on the Rock Recipes bandwagon (having avoided it in the past only because we don’t usually eat much meat). I’ve been playing around with making my own vegetable and chicken stock and Barry’s recipe for roasted stock is the absolute best tasting thing around. Use it to make a simple and traditional Chicken Noodle Soup for those cold days when the family is feeling under the weather.

In the evening when you want something warm and hearty, a delicious lasagna is a big family treat! I make my own chunky pasta sauce in big batches and freeze the leftovers for easy lunchtime pasta or another lasagna next month. Here’s the recipe:

1. saute a tablespoon or two of olive oil and one chopped onion for a few minutes

2. add two chopped cloves of garlic, cook a few minutes until fragrant

3. add one large tin of diced tomatoes, 1 tbsp of basil, 1/2 tbsp oregano, salt and pepper bring to boil

4. meanwhile, dice one medium sweet potato and add it to the pot

5. simmer for 30-60 mins (or longer) and then use a potato masher to mush up tomatoes and sweet potato (you could use an immersion blender for a less chunky consistency)

I love this layered with pasta, zucchini and mozza. Or replace the zucchini with whatever greens you have on hand (chopped kale or spinach work well) and serve with salad or fresh bread from Georgetown or Rocket bakery.

These are just a few of my favorites. I’d love for you to leave your favorite winter meals as a comment! An old-fashioned recipe swap may be just the thing we all need to jump-start our New Year nutrition.

 

 

What is Chair Yoga?

The practice of yoga can be adapted for all bodies and all experiences. But as I often say to new students asking me about how to get started, it’s very important that you find the right class for you. Many yoga classes are physically strenuous and can be at best, intimidating but at worst, dangerous or downright impossible for people dealing with mobility concerns.

Recognizing a huge need for yoga classes that take into account various stages of physical mobility I began teaching Chair Yoga five years ago. This class removes two of the primary difficulties that people might encounter in a standard Hatha Yoga class: sitting on the floor (and subsequently getting up from the floor) and using the hands and arms to support the weight of the body (as in Downward Facing Dog pose and many others).

In a Chair Yoga class students participate in a full range of yoga postures, breathing exercises and relaxation and meditation practices. The classes are calming, relaxing and rejuvenating for the body. Anybody is welcome to attend a Chair Yoga class but they are especially suited for older adults and anybody dealing with an injury or illness that causes decreased mobility or pain in the body. It is a gentle class that incorporates healthy movement to keep the muscles, bones and joints of the body healthy and strong.

Wondering what you might see in a Chair Yoga class? Here are some of the postures we practice:

side bend twist vira 2

1. Seated side bend, 2. Spinal twist, 3. Warrior 2 pose

If you’re interested in learning more about Chair Yoga, join me for my upcoming session of classes beginning on Tuesday September 16.

If you are a yoga teacher or bodyworker/healthcare provider and are interested in integrating Chair Yoga into your existing work, consider joining me for my Introduction to Teaching Chair Yoga course in February 2015. 

 

 

Short Home or Office Yoga Practice

Here’s a quick practice that you can do in about 15 minutes. This is a perfect mid-afternoon rejuvenation for those busy September days when you need a quick boost of energy, blood flow and mindfulness. Let me know what you think in the comments or tell me about your favorite energy-boosting pose!

Click here to follow the sequence in photos.

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

**If you regularly practice handstand or L Pose, do it here**

Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose) – do each of the standing poses on both sides and hold for 5 breaths each side

Virabadrasana II (Warrior 2)

Utthita Trikonasana (Triangle pose) **thank you Bobby for the picture**

Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Leg Forward Bend)

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

My La Leche League Story (and fundraiser information)

Fundraising class information: 

Mixed Level Alignment-Based Hatha Yoga, Saturday Septmeber 20 @ 10am. Yoga Kula Co-op. Reserve your space by making a donation to my Canada Helps page, available at this link (and if you can’t attend the class but would still like to donate, please do! Leave me a note to say you won’t be attending).

This class is in support of the Annual LLL Breastfeeding Benefits Event. Our group will be holding a walk and community potluck on Saturday October 4 at 10am, @ Kenny’s Pond playground. Please join us to support this year’s theme: Breastfeeding for a Healthy Community!

My Story:

I was introduced to La Leche League at Shakti Yoga Studio where LLL information was regularly offered at Prenatal Yoga classes. Bobby Bessey, my studio partner and the prenatal teacher spoke often of the support provided at the local St. John’s group and the importance of having support while breastfeeding. When I became pregnant I assumed I would breastfeed but I didn’t give it much thought. I was preparing for birth by taking Hypnobirthing classes and reading lots of books, but breastfeeding seemed like a much less daunting task when compared to birthing for the first time.

The one important thing I did do to prepare for breastfeeding was pick up (and read cover to cover) the LLL breastfeeding “bible”, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. I happened upon it in a lovely pregnancy and baby boutique in Halifax and something about it appealed to me so I picked it up on a whim. As I flipped through the pages over tea at a nearby cafe I was quickly drawn into it’s casual, calm vibe. It contained lots of information but in a very easily absorbed format.

As I read more and more of that book I came to realize that it was about more than just breastfeeding, it was a guide to mothering. I describe it now as the handbook you wish came with your baby. The sensible advice contained within the book has really been a foundation of my parenting philosophy – perhaps I would have come to many of the same conclusions by simply following my own instincts. But knowing my instinctual insights were backed up by the amazing book and the internationally renowned organization behind it helped me feel confident.

Speaking of confidence, wow, do you ever need it in droves when starting to breastfeed! There are so many “booby traps” out there that undermine a mother’s intention to breastfeed – they exist in places and situations in which we don’t even see or recognize them. When I heard Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC and LLL Leader speak last year she said the #1 factor that determines a mom’s success at breastfeeding is her self-efficacy. That is, the extent to which she believes that she can breastfeed. Thankfully, having read the Womanly Art I was prepared to listen to my instincts, advocate for myself and my baby and to be confident in what my body and my baby were capable of.

When I came up against difficulty in the early days of breastfeeding I called Jan, one of our local LLL Leaders. She was patient and kind and the tone of her voice helped to calm me. She reminded me of a few sections of the Womanly Art that were applicable to my situation, and upon re-reading them I was again armed with confidence and a sense of calm. She was also able to refer me to a local IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) who then helped me with the more technical aspects of my breastfeeding problems.

I began attending monthly LLL meetings. I enjoyed the chit chat among like-minded mothers, the exchange of tips and ideas and the feeling of support that came from being a part of this group of women all striving to do the same thing (albeit, in their own unique ways). Over the course of two years I’ve attended many meetings, had innumerable conversations with women overcoming breastfeeding obstacles and have become very involved in breastfeeding support within the city and online.

Just recently and after a full year of preparation I was accredited as a La Leche League Leader myself. I volunteer my time to lead monthly meetings, help breastfeeding moms by email or telephone and support the organization through fundraising efforts. When I remember back to my time with a tiny newborn, struggling to learn the ropes of breastfeeding I think “wow, I am so much more informed now!” and yet I don’t really feel that I know that much more. So much of what I know about breastfeeding comes from listening to my heart, connecting with my inner voice and standing strong in my own intentions, skills I learned through the practice of yoga. Through my LLL volunteer work I hope to help other moms recognize and listen to their own inner voice.

And so, I invite you to come celebrate this great organization and all that it does – here locally (50% of proceeds stay right here in our group!) as well as nationally and internationally.

Please join me for a 75 minute by-donation yoga class on September 20 @ 10am. The class is Mixed Level and will be held at Yoga Kula Co-op on Torbay Road. To secure your space please make a donation here. If you can’t attend the class but wish to donate to my fundraiser you can use the same link but leave a comment saying you won’t be attending. I thank you so very much for your support for a cause that is near and dear to my heart.

If you or someone you know is looking for breastfeeding support, check out these resources:

LLL-St. John’s: http://www.lllc.ca/lllc-st-johns (get the monthly meeting schedule + contact information for our group leaders. Please reach out by phone or email if you need information or support).

Breastfeeding Support – Newfoundland & Labrador: https://www.facebook.com/groups/breastfeedingmomsinnl/ (join our Facebook group to ask questions, read great articles and info and connect with other breastfeeding parents or supporters).

Baby-Friendly NL: http://www.babyfriendlynl.ca/ (this is the provincial group that supports parents in choosing to start and continue breastfeeding).

Why I don’t love the “do what you love!” mantra

The “do what you love!” philosophy seems to be the work mantra of our time. But there’s a growing resistance to it’s message. Perhaps a growing realization that it’s not as easy or even as desirable as it sounds. And today, as I contemplate the ancient text The Bhagavad Gita I feel called to write about why I don’t buy into this message.

In yoga, “doing what you love” isn’t always the best way to practice. Doing what you love in a yoga practice most likely means you practice similar poses, in similar ways, over and over and over again. This can actually be detrimental to your body. It can reinforce unhealthy habits and perhaps more importantly it can hinder growth and development. If you want to walk the path of spiritual evolution change is most certainly a good thing. As in yoga, so in life. Thus it seems to me that sometimes doing all of what you love and none of what you don’t may not be the best way to grow, develop and contribute.

Beyond a person’s own individual development I also worry that the “DWYL” movement leads to a devaluation of the work of the vast majority of people on this earth. Most people do not do jobs that make them want to stand on rooftops and shout “I LOVE what I do!”. These people do jobs that enable our society to function as we, collectively, have agreed we wish it to function. What if everyone stopped collecting the garbage, clearing the snow, processing the speeding tickets, practicing the law or the medicine? While I’m sure that there are people in all of those fields of work that do love what they do, my guess is that many, many more do not. Is their contribution less-than because it’s coming from a place of necessity rather than one of pure and exalted love?

One of the unintended side effects of this way of thinking is that real, hard work is not seen as valuable. It has led, I think, to a marked change in work ethic. We hear over and over and over about my generation’s sense of entitlement. I think a big part of this is that we’ve all been immersed in the do something you love mantra! We all really want to love what we do, and so, when we don’t love it we just don’t do it. I want my daughter to grow up knowing that sometimes work is just work is just work and yet, it has to be done and it has to be done well. I want her to know that doing good work is meaningful, even if we don’t love every moment of it.

And finally, one major flaw in this line of thought that makes it, in my opinion, unsustainable is our innate desire to improve and become more of who we really are. When and how do we know that we love what we’re doing “enough”? Isn’t it always possible that there’s something right around the corner that we’ll love more? It seems that without cultivating a sense of contentment (in yoga terms santosha) alongside this lust for love we’ll never find true happiness beyond the surface level bliss that comes and goes so easily.

And that there may be the crux of the problem. There is nothing inherently wrong with doing something you love (of course!). The problem presents itself when we are continually looking beyond our current circumstances, trying to find the thing that we love the most. The reality is that love is right here, waiting for us to open ourselves up to it. The possibility of loving whatever it is that you’re already doing is there. The possibility is the point; the work to cultivate contentment and love, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, is the yoga. Do what you love, when it’s taken at face value, adds to our suffering rather than removing it.

I think we should turn the DWYL concept on it’s head. Love What You Do is a much more attainable and perhaps valiant goal to strive for. Yes, we need to make changes in our lives when something (like our work) is not serving us in a healthy way, but if the problem is only that you do not have a giant, bliss-filled, happy-party every time you do your work then I posit that the problem is the unconscious patterns of your mind, not your job! Learn to love what you do. Practice contentment. Work for the sake of work itself. Do a good job for the reward of knowing you’ve done a good job. Sometimes do what you love, but sometimes just do what you have to do…and love it!
“You have the right to work, but never to the fruit of work. You should never engage in action for the sake of reward, nor should you long for inaction. Perform work in this world, Arjuna, as a man established within himself – without selfish attachments, and alike in success and defeat. For yoga is perfect evenness of mind.” The Bhagavad Gita, translated by Eknath Easwaran

My Guest Blog on I Am Not the Babysitter

This week I had the honor of contributing a guest post to a very well-read Attachment Parenting blog (remember the controversial Time Magazine breastfeeding cover last year? That photo was of Jamie Lynne Grummet, and this is her blog. If you want to read about her take on that supposed controversy, start here)

You can link to the original here or read below. And please, go on over and follow Jamie Lynne! She posts lots of interesting content and is involved in some really cool projects.

Yoga Instructor Responds to Viral “Baby Yoga” Video

Yoga is a beautiful thing. It’s an ancient practice that is as relevant today in 2014 as it was thousands of years ago. Yoga has been a presence in my life for a decade; it has followed me through many life changes and stages and has eased all the ups and downs those changes bring.

Since my daughter was born in 2012 I’ve experienced the joy of practicing yoga with her. At first, she lay near my mat gazing at me in my yoga poses. But now she alternates between mimicking me and climbing all over me. She loves to take a big, big, BIG breath in and stretch her arms up high! And then we let out all the breath and relax everything with a big sigh. I like to think that she remembers the feel of the breath and the gist of the movement from her time in my womb when I practiced regularly as a way to connect and relax and prepare for our big Birth Day.

This experience has shown me first hand why yoga for babies and children has become so very popular. “Mom & Baby” yoga classes are popping up everywhere! And for good reason, moms who practice yoga during pregnancy want to continue feeling strong and relaxed as they settle into motherhood. They also want to expose their babies to the calm, quiet, peace that yoga offers.

These classes are often geared towards the mom. They offer a gentle physical practice that’s suited for the postpartum experience paired with breathing, visualization and meditation techniques to support a strong bond with baby and deep relaxation (which new moms need so badly). It’s also a place to meet other new parents and to exercise in an environment that’s baby-friendly (breastfeeding, diaper changing & all kinds of baby sounds are welcome and expected!). For baby, these classes are an opportunity to see new sights, hear new sounds and to be exposed to the empowering, self-loving message of yoga. It sets children up to expect a calm environment around them and arms them with the tools (or at least, sets the groundwork for the tools which will come later) to find peace, relaxation and a strong sense of self-worth in their own lives. In a modern life that is so full of busyness, it’s never too early to expose children to a more quiet and healthy way of living.

One thing that mom & baby yoga does not involve is aggressive physical manipulations of the baby’s body. No swinging, flipping or throwing here! Unfortunately there is a video making the Internet rounds that shows just these things, and calls it “Baby Yoga”! Nothing, in my opinion, could be further from the truth. Yoga is a personal practice that each individual does for themselves and to themselves…it’s not something that is done to you as the woman is doing to the baby in this video. It’s unfortunate that this video has gone viral and that it will serve as most people’s only exposure to yoga for babies. But we can all offer a glimpse of what yoga really is. Share this article and let’s show our friends, family and the wider world what “baby yoga” is really about!

Restorative Yoga anyone?

Sometimes you just need to put your legs up the wall. After dinner last night, right in the middle of the kitchen with Lucy’s sticker wall as a background, was one of those times. Thanks to my husband who did all the dishes while I lay on the cold floor getting some much needed restorative goodness. And of course, Lucy joined in (of her own accord, she slid in and flung her legs up, so super cute)!

14 Projects for 2014

It’s that time of year again! New plans, intentions and goals abound as we transition into the new year. I’m very, very excited for the year ahead as it’s going to be quite a different one. I’m thinking of all the wonderful free time I’ll have (yeah right…I have a toddler) and getting excited about projects and ideas that I’ve been putting off. So, here we go! 14 projects for 2014 (in no particular order).

1. Organize my pantry

It currently looks like this:

Image

Gah!

2. Take a new yoga class

An Iyengar class to be specific. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a local teacher. I’m excited for new learnings!

3. Re-learn to play my guitar

Ahhhh that poor guitar has been collecting dust for a number of years. 2014 is the year to dust it off.

4. Finish my 2012 & 2013 Family Yearbooks (and get started on 2014…)

In my new, incredibly organized and time rich life (riiiiiight) I’ll work on this monthly to keep up with all the pictures and things we want to document. For now, I have to dig through two years worth of photos (there are a LOT) and get them organized into pretty book form. We use http://www.shutterfly.com for our photo books.

5. Read a really good book (or 10)

The last time I read a book just for fun I was very pregnant. So, at least 19 months ago. I absolutely have to get back to this; reading has always been one of my favorite things to do. There are a few books in the queue on the bookshelf already including the latest by Kahlil Gibran and I have to pick up Malcom Gladwell’s latest.

6. On that note – use my library card!

I have such happy childhood memories of afternoons spent in the library with my mom and siblings. The last time I took Lucy to the library she ran up and down the aisles pulling books and magazines off the shelves and laughing maniacally. I’m sure the calm, peaceful, cozy moments of reading will come, right?

7. Play outside (almost) every day

To have more fun like this:

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and this:

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8. Learn to bake bread

With the help of my fancy new KitchenAid stand mixer (wonderful Christmas present from my wonderful husband).

9. Finish my La Leche League Leadership Application

And then act as a local leader, facilitating mom-to-mom breastfeeding support

10. Compile yoga teacher training materials into a proper manual

We’ve been promising to do this for a while, haven’t we Bobby?

11. Maintain a cash-only budget at home

Eeeek this one’s going to be hard. Good bye credit cards!

12. Add a raised bed to our property

We literally have enough space for one single raised vegetable bed. But we’re going to take full advantage! We should have done this in the fall, but spring will work too. This will be a really fun spring/summer adventure for Lucy (and us!).

13. Take a trip before Lucy turns 2 in May

We’ve got points to burn and a child who’s on the cusp of needing to pay for a seat. Let’s go!

14. Learn to knit…again

Maybe it will hold my attention for longer than 3 weeks this time. I have visions of gorgeous hand-knit baby sweaters and longies dancing in my head.

Well all of that should keep me busy! What do you have planned for 2014? Tell me in the comments.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

What is Simple Living

One of the very natural by-products of a long-standing yoga practice is the heightening of consciousness in all realms. Many people find themselves adjusting their diet along with their mindset as their understanding of the mind/body/spirit connection continues to broaden. Over the years I’ve found myself moving towards a plant-based diet that focuses on whole foods over anything processed. I’ve become more socially conscious and concerned about my community and the world as a whole. I’ve found myself cringing more and more at the consumerism that is rampant in our lives today and have taken steps towards reducing my reliance on material goods. These were slow changes and slow realizations over the years but 18 months ago when I gave birth to my daughter all of these concepts were suddenly amplified in importance. Now, my mindset and the way I navigate the complexities of modern life will impact my entire family and this sweet little girl that I’m raising. So, if I want to raise a healthy, happy, socially conscious little being I feel compelled to really understand what it is that is important to me. And so, here is my first crack at writing down (and thus, in a way, committing to) the principles of Simple Living that are important to me and my family.

Simple living can mean many things. There is no one way to live simply. What is really exciting is that there are people all over the world right now standing up and defining their own paths of simple living. And so, for your consideration, here are some of the ways that my family is attempting to “pare down” in order to be happier.

For our family simple living means the following:

1. Living within our means. This is the hardest one for two reasons. First of all, we’re programmed to want more, more, more. We’re hard-wired to want what our friends have and what people in magazines and on tv have. We’re marketed to at practically every moment of every day with the sole purpose of convincing us to buy more. Having a child amplifies this 100 fold. The second reason that this principle is the hardest is that it has the most dire consequences if it’s not respected. Our family does not function well when we are in debt, or when income is scarce or uncertain, or when we have things we need or want to do but no plan in place to make it happen. And so, we strive to live within our means. In recent months stress, uncertainty, and busyness have all played a part in us slipping away from our financial plan. To remedy this I’m working on a shiny new 2014 Family Financial Plan using tools from Gail Vaz Oxlade. She has a great budget planning tool on her website.

2. Being in nature / getting back to the Earth. Much of the modern day stuff we surround ourselves with serves as a box over our experience of life. We need to get outdoors to reclaim our sense of simplicity. When we’re indoors we’re bombarded with screens and advertising and stale air and stuff. But when we’re outside surrounded by trees, ocean, air, earth it’s very difficult to need or want anything more. Regular (daily) trips outside are necessary for keeping us connected. And then longer stints of time at the cabin or camping or hiking help to refresh our connection to nature.

3. Choosing happiness. As much as possible my husband and I choose happiness. Being happy is a choice and it’s a practice. You can choose to see the good in the world and to enjoy your experiences for what they are (rarely perfect). You can also choose to make a change when things in your life are not serving your practice of happiness. (I know that this is a very simplistic view. And i know that there are terrible things that happen all the time that make choosing happiness near impossible. I’m talking about in general, most of the time, when life is chugging along in all it’s wonderful and comfortable mediocrity). Choose to be happy, choose to see the good. Rules to live by in the Simple Life.

4. Buying less & buying wisely. In short, this means reducing consumerism and the drive to want more (see point #1 – most of us can’t afford to have everything anyway. And point #2 – get outside instead of filling your house with more stuff. And point #3 – be happy with what you’ve got! ). When we do buy goods and services, we do our best to buy local, sustainable and fair. I have a particular interest in this concept as it relates to food. I buy whole foods (preferably local) and our family avoids processed food most of the time. We planted our first garden this past Spring and hope to grow even more of our own food next year.

5. Increasing self-sufficiency aka knowing how to do stuff. This is last on the list because it’s probably the one that’s newest to our family. Of course, we’ve always known how to do *stuff*. I can create a blog and reconcile a bank statement and organize a schedule of employees and write a business plan. My husband can program high-tech software, operate a highly sophisticated password protection system that ensures nobody (not even his wife) will ever figure out his banking passwords, and keep track of his daily hiking/running/skiing/snowshoeing kilometers in meticulous fashion. But I’m talking about old fashioned *stuff*. We want to know how to do the important day-to-day tasks that keep a household operating. We want to move towards an urban homestead lifestyle (or really, a true homestead away from the urban landscape…but that’s another discussion).  A few things on the “to learn” list: baking bread, making cheese, canning and preserving, growing vegetables, keeping chickens, building structures (greenhouses, sheds) and furniture, sewing, knitting, composting, homeschooling and more. I think of this category as including the tasks that seem at first to be very complex and time consuming but that turn out to make your life more simple in the end. There’s nothing quite so satisfying as learning to do something for yourself that you previously had to pay somebody to do. And of course we’re not alone on this journey – I know many people who’ve recently put in raised beds for growing veggies or are contemplating getting some backyard chickens to produce eggs for their family. And just a couple of weeks ago we drove through downtown St. John’s behind a car with a goat in the backseat! A GOAT! That was a sight. I’m really excited to keep learning about self-sufficiency and to learn from the many wonderful people in our community who have knowledge and wisdom to share.

So that’s it for now. I’m sure we will continue to refine this list. What would you change about this list for your own family? How do you live (or envision living) a more simple life?

Welcome

Welcome! Welcome to my blog, welcome to a space of jointly learning, sharing and engaging. I’m writing this blog as an outlet for the creative and intellectual juices that still flow through my university educated and business trained mind despite my work these days being more of the heart centered, family oriented variety. You see, I’ve made the decision to stay home with my 18 month old daughter rather than continue my work as an entrepreneur and small business owner. Interestingly enough the decision to stay home came in the same way the decision to open my business came to me 4 years ago. Then I was immensely passionate about something that I thought nobody else could do in the way that I could. Now I feel exactly the same way about raising my daughter.

When I became pregnant I told my business partner that I’d be happily back to work three months postpartum without missing a beat. She, an experienced mom, smiled and nodded. I could tell she didn’t believe me. “No really, nothing will change. I’ll be so excited to get back to my first baby, the business”. Ok she nodded with a slight grin.

The parents reading this will know exactly how the rest of the story unfolds. Baby arrives, parents fall madly in love and decide that there’s nothing in their world that can even touch the importance of this little being. Life things change to accommodate the tiny star who is now the absolute center of the universe.

Since having a baby some of my old passions have taken a backseat to my new passions. These new passions include: birth, breastfeeding, natural parenting, whole foods for families, evolutionary, gentle and/or attachment parenting, free range parenting, baby wearing & co sleeping. Some interests that have been with me for a long time have suddenly been elevated in importance: simple living, mindful living, local foods and sustainability, cross cultural engagement and awareness, travel, environmentalism & “green” products.

The underlying thread that connects my interest in all of the above is the philosophy of yoga, which I have been integrating into my life for over a decade. Yoga has taught me how to make space in my life for the things that really and truly matter. It has taught me to listen to my heart, follow my intuition and to live fully. I feel quite certain that if it weren’t for my long standing yoga practice, I would not be giving myself permission to stay-at-home.

I don’t have one particular goal for this blog but I’m sure many will reveal themselves as I write and share. As they say at my local La Leche League meeting, some of what you read here will appeal to you, some of it won’t. Take what works for you and your family and just peacefully leave the rest. I offer this blog up as a space to learn, engage and share and I hope you’ll join me in that journey.