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lean green mama machine | Family Lifesty.. by Lean Green Mama Machine - 9M ago

Disclaimer :: Always make sure to check with your doctor before you start any type of fitness program.

I have been taking yoga on and off for over 10 years now and when I got pregnant with my first baby, I was so excited to try prenatal yoga.  Now, on my third pregnancy it is a must.  Although I do not always have the time to squeeze it in with two toddlers and my husband’s busy schedule, I do what I can.  I highly recommend prenatal yoga to all of you expecting moms out there.  Pregnancy takes a toll on my body, being a naturally slim and petite person, I get a huge belly which often leads to back pain and lots of it.  For a person who really likes hot and fast paced yoga, going into a slower yoga class was a challenge at first.  Now I look forward to just taking it easy and stretching.  It gives me time to reflect on my pregnancy and feel even closer to my baby and body.  I often don’t make time for myself so going to an actual class holds me accountable and is totally worth the money.  A women’s body is going through so many changes during pregnancy and it is a time to really take good care of yourself.

Why so good for you?
  • Increases stamina, strength, and flexibility :: holding yoga poses while controlling your breathing will increase endurance and strength.  Regularly stretching will increase your flexibility.
  • Relieves tension in the lower back, upper back, hips, neck, etc.  ::  Pregnancy can take a toll on your body, especially as baby grows.  Yoga will teach you the proper ways to stretch to relieve all of those aches and pains.
  • Strengthens Ab muscles ::  During pregnancy, your abdominal muscles are expected to expand to accommodate your growing baby and with that comes a lot of discomfort.  Your abdominal muscles provide support for your entire body and can throw everything off when they are not strengthened during this important time.  Diastasis recti is when your abs separate, usually from pregnancy, and do not go back.  Regular strength training can help prevent or cure this during and after pregnancy.
  • Increases balance ::  As the baby continues to grow, your balance is starts to shift forward.  Practicing regular yoga will help focus your balance in both mind and body.
  • Prepares for labor + delivery  ::  Yoga will prepare you for the unpredictability of labor by teaching you to stay calm and take long deep breaths.  The strength training and stretching exercises help prepare your body for the extreme physical challenges it will go through as well as show you many different hip opening moves to help baby move further into the birth canal and speed up the labor process.  If baby isn’t in the head down position certain yoga positions can help rotate the baby to avoid having a c-section.
  • Increases circulation ::  with the additional blood in your body during pregnancy, it is really important to help improve circulation.  Stretching in yoga class will help increase your circulation by elongation joints and muscles.
  • Builds friendships  ::  Pregnancy is a beautiful thing, but can also be very difficult.  Being surrounded by other expecting mothers can be very fulfilling and lead to new friendships.  You are all going through this life changing experience at the same time and is nice to have someone to talk to who understands exactly what you are going through.
  • Helps reduce stress  ::  The calming affect from a yoga practice can be a natural stress reducer.  Pregnancy can be a very stressful time for expecting moms and setting aside a time to focus on breathing helps to be truly present in the moment.
  • Connect with baby + body :: life can get pretty crazy at times and sometimes all we need is to slow down and be present.  Prenatal yoga is a great time to reflect on how your body is feeling and connect with that beautiful baby growing inside of you.
  • Improves sleep  ::  doing any type of moderate exercise can really help improve sleep.  The breathing techniques taught in yoga help reduce your stress and calms your body/mind.
  • Decreases nausea  ::  when you feel nauseous all you want to do it lay down, but sometimes doing gentle stretches can help calm that nausea.  There are several yoga poses that aid in digestion, check out this blog post for 5 different poses to try.

Can I watch prenatal videos at home rather that going to an actual class?  Yes, of course!  I would however recommend you go to a class a couple of times throughout pregnancy to make sure you are doing the poses correctly.  Going to a trained prenatal yoga teacher is important since a pregnant women’s body is going through so many different changes and can be injured easily if not properly practicing.  A pregnant body is susceptible to injury due to the many different changes going on to grow another human.

My favorite part of prenatal yoga is what I learn about my body during the class.  My teacher is extremely knowledgeable about pregnancy and will show you what your body is going through with the use of props, such as a skeletal pelvis and images.  It is truly fascinating what a women’s body does during pregnancy and prenatal yoga is a great way to connect with yourself and baby.

Resources

Fit Pregnancy : 10 Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

American Pregnancy Association : Prenatal Yoga

Parents : 7 Amazing Prenatal Yoga Benefits

Parents : Prenatal Yoga for Easier Delivery 

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The links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking my link.

Summer is always a great time to travel as a family.  Although we have yet to bring our kids on an airplane (I am too scared of keeping my 1.5 year old busy long enough) we do go on long car trips to NH.  It’s a great vacation spot and has a ton of things to do with the kids.  My 3 year old could definitely watch TV while we were driving, but I am trying to stay away from technology in the car as long as possible.  Plus my youngest is still rear facing and although her attention span is 5 minutes for TV and I never let her watch it anyway, she would be upset if she couldn’t see it too.  That leaves me to get as creative as possible to keep my active toddlers occupied long enough to drive the 3 hours without stopping too many times.

Tips + Tricks
  • try to schedule flights and car trips around nap/sleeptime :  we find it easier to leave post dinner so they will sleep the whole time.  If not possible, then I go to plan B,C, and D.
  • be prepared for anything : diaper blow outs, potty training, hunger, boredom, freak outs, you name it, I am prepared.
  • stay organized and keep a small trash bag ready to collect all of the trash that accumulates on longer trips.  That will make it easier to keep your car from looking like a tornado hit it.  I also keep each kids’ activities and books in their own bags, my daughters love their North Face backpacks.
  • ask your kids if there are any specific toys, stuffed animals, art supplies (within reason) they want to bring.  It’s always easier to bring the things they actually like.  This is also a great time to give them a new craft or small toy when they are starting to get antsy.
  • Create a great playlist your kids will like and everyone can sing to.
Ideas
  • diaper blow-outs : I always keep a packed and stocked diaper bag within arms reach, nothing is worse than realizing all of your extra clothes and diapers are packed in the cargo carrier at the top of the car or at the bottom of the trunk.
  • potty training : I keep this travel potty in my car at all times and highly recommend for any parents with young kids.
  • hunger : Snacks, snacks, and more snacks are easily available.  I make sure to get ones that are easy for my little ones to eat without making too much of a crazy mess.  I also always worry about choking so I tend to stick to puffs, pouches (get these to prevent those little hands from squeezing the puree EVERYWHERE), raisins, and soft granola bars.  I always give my kids healthy snacks while we are at home, such as cut up fruit, etc. but it can be challenging to keep stuff like that cold while traveling.  As they get older and do not need everything cut up I can give them whole apples, bananas, etc.
How to keep kids occupied and fight off the boredom:
  • Melissa and Doug On the Go activities are AMAZING!  The ones we are currently loving are Surprize Ink + Water Wow.  These two are even great for the younger toddlers since they do not create a mess.  I stay away from markers and sharp pencils for my 1.5 year old.  The scratch art is great for the older toddlers.  On the Go activities also have a place to store all of the markers, water pens, and scratch sticks so you can easily pack them away for future use.
  • Coloring books with crayons : I like to use these little travel packs since they have a coloring book, crayons, and stickers all in one and are easy to reseal.  I also have regular coloring books with a zipper pouch filled with crayons to stay as organized as possible.  Usually I put the jumbo crayons in there so it makes it easier for those little fingers to hold and it makes them easier to find underneath the seats!  I have a travel desk I keep in the car so my kids will have a flat surface.  You could also use an over-sized book.
  • Wipe-clean activity books :  these are perfect for trips as well as at home.  They are an amazing teaching tool and can be reused over and over again.  This Getting Ready for School Activity pack has four small wipe-clean books, a dry erase marker and comes in a carrying case.  I love this for the older toddlers, 3+.  100 Things for Little Children to do on a Trip is a set of wipe-clean flash cards and has tons of things to keep your child busy.  It is geared towards older kids, but can be fun for a toddler to trace or scribble.  I also bought an eraser so my daughter can erase herself.  I think she has more fun erasing than actually writing.
  • Sticker books :  What kid doesn’t love stickers?!? With all of the sticker activity books out there, it is a super easy and an inexpensive way to keep your toddler happy for a while.  I really like the Usborne First Sticker Books.  I give these to my 3 year old now that she understands the concept of putting stickers onto certain pages to create a specific scene.
  • Noise books :  These work great for those younger toddlers and even babies.  They can push the buttons over and over while learning about cause & effect.  I have learned to completely tune out these types of books so the sound doesn’t bother me and as long as they are not crying I will do just about anything to keep them happy!  Over the years we have acquired several Disney princess sound books, but these Usborne ones are nice as well, like this Baby’s Very First Noisy Book : Farm.
  • Mini books :  Mini books are great for little fingers.  My newest favorites are the Usborne 9 Books for Little People because they come in a larger box so they can be stored in there when the kids are done.
  • Touch + Feel, Slide + See, Lift the Flap Books :  The touch + feel and slide + see books are really good for the younger toddlers while the lift the flap books are perfect for older toddlers who won’t rip the flaps.  These types of books are interactive and do not require you to read it to your children while driving.
  • Compact Toys : VTech toys and their interactive Touch & Teach books might make a lot of noise, but they are geared toward teaching and with all of the buttons and interaction your child is guaranteed to stay occupied for a while.

These are some of the many different ways I keep my kids busy while traveling and I am sure this will evolve as they continue to grow and their interests change.  What are some of the different ways you keep your kids busy on long trips?

    

   

   

      

  

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The links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking my link.

My oldest daughter just turned 3 last month and she really wanted a Trolls themed party.  We kept most of the decorations low key this time and I wanted to make a favor that was easy and didn’t require too much of my time.  Since kids love play dough, I thought it might be a nice idea for a favor.  I made my own natural play dough to stay away from the chemicals in store bought ones, you can find the post here.

Princess Poppy Favor

Supplies Branch Favor

Supplies Instructions
  1. Make or buy play dough and put in jar.
  2. Cut tulle to fit over the jar and leave extra for the top.
  3. Tie ribbon to secure tulle over the jar.
  4. Trim top of gathered tulle to be even.

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Who doesn’t love play dough?  Not only is it great for fine motor skills in young children, it boosting creativity and can be used as an educational tool.  Unfortunately, the play dough you buy in stores is really toxic, even though it says safe for children.  This post from Living Traditionally, goes into detail about what is in play dough and why we should stay away from it.

“The current manufacture of Play doh has released its ingredients list as: flour, water, salt, boric acid and mineral oil. Additional ingredients include, a starch based binder, a retrogradation inhibitor, lubricant, surfactant, preservative, hardener, humectant, fragrance and artificial color. A petroleum additive gives the play doh it’s smooth texture and borax prevents mold from growing.” -Living Traditionally

There are some natural options out there, like eco-kids Dough if you aren’t a do it yourself kind of person or you just don’t have extra time.  When I introduced my youngest to play dough several months ago, the first thing she did was put it in her mouth.  Thankfully it was one I made myself so I knew it was non toxic and made with natural dye.  Believe it or not, this is really easy to make and fun to use vegetables and spices to make the colors.  The kids will even like getting involved.

I got the dough recipe from here and she has a gluten free recipe as well.  I tweaked the recipes for the natural dyes based on what things are easily available and what worked for me.  Watch the video below to see just how easy it can be to make your own play dough.

DIY Natural Play Dough - YouTube

Play Dough Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup natural dye
1 Tbs. olive oil

Instructions
  1.  Mix flour, salt, cream of tarter, in large pot.
  2. Add olive oil and natural dye and stir well, until combine.
  3. Cook on low/medium until dough pulls away from the sides (about 5 minutes).
  4. Allow to cool and knead to combine.
  5. Store in an air tight container for about 2-3 months.
Red

2 cups of water
1-2 beets chopped

  1. Boil water and beets for 10-30 minutes depending on how dark you want the color.
Blue

2 cups of water
1 cup of shredded purple cabbage
1 tsp. baking soda

  1. Boil water and cabbage for 10-30 minutes depending on how dark you want the color.
  2. Add 1 tsp. of baking soda to turn the purple water blue.
Green

2 cups of water
1 Tbs. spirulina

  1. Bring water to a gentle boil.
  2. Add spirulina and whisk until dissolved.
Yellow

2 cups of water
1 Tbs. turmeric

  1. Bring water to a gentle boil.
  2. Add turmeric and whisk until dissolved.

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“The arts provide children with a vehicle and organizing framework to express ideas and feelings.”  RIELDS

Arts and crafts are big in our house.  We have a designated cabinet for all of our supplies and is well organized so we can see everything.  While I am preparing food or cleaning up the kitchen, I always give my kids age appropriate art to do to keep them busy.  It is a great way to keep them entertained rather than sitting them in front of the TV.  Art is one of the first ways a child expresses his or herself and is really important for their development.

Why so Important
  • develops mental, social, and emotional skills
  • improves problem solving
  • helps children express themselves, especially children with disabilities that can not verbally communicate
  • improves fine motor skills when using paintbrushes, crayons, etc.
  • scissors improve dexterity to help child learn to write
  • builds self esteem
Tips and Tricks
  • set up art space where kids can get messy and have access to supplies
  • store most used items in caddies to easily move to table or art space
  • use clear labeled containers to keep organized and easy to see
  • let kids be free to express themselves with little direction
  • bring in nature by collecting things like rocks, flowers, leaves, etc. and use in artwork

Suggested Supplies

play dough
chalk
paint
markers, colored pencils, crayons
sponges
stamps + ink pads
dot markers
plain + colored paper
tissue paper
felt
pipe cleaners
stickers
scissors
glue (plain + glitter)
glitter
sequins
pom poms
feathers
ribbon, string, yarn
beads
paper towel rolls
popsicle sticks

Resources

PBS parents – The Importance of Art in Child Development

Parents – Why Art and Creativity Are Important

RIELDS – Creative Arts

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The links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking my link.

Spring is here and we finally get to spend more time outside.  Our family is big into gardening and we have been teaching our kids since they were able to walk.  My oldest is almost 3 and has really starting to understand and be more interested in where her food comes from.  Making a root viewer is incredibly easy and will teach your kids how things grow from inside your own home.  In my video below, I demonstrate how easy and inexpensive it can be to make your own.

Materials Tips
  • plant the seeds as close to the glass jar as possible for easy viewing
  • use bigger seeds, such as beans, to view roots within a few days
Why educational?
  • kids tend to eat more vegetables if they are helping to grow and harvest them
  • exposure to dirt can help build their immune systems, especially in our world of chemical laden anti-bacterial soups, sanitizers and disinfectants
  • promotes communication and planning while spending quality time together as a family
  • lets them see how mother nature works first hand and how we are all part of the eco system

DIY Root Viewer - YouTube

Resources:

PBS :: Gardening with Kids : How It Affects Your Child’s Brain, Body, and Soul

NPR :: Healthy Eaters, Strong Minds : What School Gardens Teach Kids

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If you have been following my insta stories lately, you will know I have been really into smoothie bowls.  I have always liked them, but I am certainly on a smoothie bowl kick right now.  They are great for breakfast, post workout or mid morning snack.  Below is my favorite smoothie bowl that I make often.

Raspberry Mango Smoothie Bowl
May 11, 2018
Servings: 1
Difficulty: Easy

By: lean green mama machine

Ingredients
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup frozen mangoes
  • 1 scoop of protein powder (optional)
Directions
  • Step 1 Blend all ingredients until smooth.
  • Step 2 Top with favorite toppings (see below for suggestions).
Suggested Toppings:
  • sliced banana
  • chia seeds
  • kiwi
  • chopped pecans
  • black berries
  • coconut flakes
Other Topping Ideas:
  • sliced almonds
  • raspberries
  • strawberries
  • bee pollen
  • flax seed
  • rolled oats
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The links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking my link.

Over the past seven years, I have been really conscious of the things I put in and on my body.  After trying so many different natural eye make-up removers, I decided to make my own.  It is by far my favorite and works the best.  It also costs very little money and has three ingredients, most of which you probably already have.  I got the original recipe from this blog. Go check it out, if you want to see what went into making the remover.  She also has a warning about keeping it out for more than 3-4 days and putting it into the fridge to prolong its use.  I have been using this for many years without refrigerating and haven’t had any issues, but if it seems bad, do not use and refrigerate.  The witch hazel helps with the bacteria growth.

Natural Make-Up Remover Ingredients Directions
  1. Use a funnel to add all of the ingredients into the glass bottle.
  2. Shake well before use.
  3. Apply to cotton rounds and use to remove make-up.

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The links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking my link.

Lavender dates back 2,500 years ago and is a perennial flowering herb from the mint family.  With a long list of uses and benefits, not to mention the amazing smell, lavender essential oil is a must have in your home.

Benefits:

Relaxation — helps you to relax, improves sleep and mood.  Add 1 – 2 drops to Jojoba oil (or a carrier oil of your choice) and apply to temples and bottoms of feet before bed.  For extra relaxation, add a few drops to Epsom salts and then add to a bath.  Diffuse a few drops of lavender for a calm home.  You can also make this and spray on your sheets before bed.  I roll Gently Sleep on the back of my neck and wrists every night before bed.

Keeps bugs away — certain insects don’t like the smell of lavender.  It helps deter mosquito and moths to name a few.  You can make or buy lavender sachets to put in your closets and drawers to prevent moths from eating your clothing, plus it leaves your clothes smelling great!  Mix a few drops of lavender with a carrier oil in a spray bottle and spray on the skin to prevent getting bit during those warm months.

Helps a headache — breathing in the lavender scent has been proven to reduce pain from a headache or migraine within 15 minutes.  Add a few drops to a diffuser or to boiling water and inhale the smell.

Pain relief — lavender has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.  Apply 1-2 drops + carrier oil to burns and wounds.

Eliminates odors —  add 1-2 drops of lavender oil to a cotton ball and place at the bottom of a trash can.  I make this spray and leave one in every bathroom to help eliminate the odors.  I also like to add a few drops of lavender to my wool dryer balls in place of dryer sheets, which can have a lot of toxic chemicals in them.  This leaves your clothes smelling fresh when they come out of the dryer.

Resources

Seventh Generation : 5 Everyday Uses for Lavender Around Your Home

Pure Haven : lavender and its many benefits

Pure Haven : how lavender benefits health, home and happiness

 

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