Jenn

Farewell, Naturale Mamas!

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Farewell, Naturale Mamas!
Mar 232017
 

headI wanted to give a heartfelt thank you to the thousands of people who have been reading this blog. Some of you newer, some of you since Day 1. It was an anonymous blog written by someone who had no idea about motherhood. You’ve watched it morph and grow. You’ve watched me do the same.

And now it’s time to close this chapter. I invite you to join me over at my new blog A Yogi Mama’s Guide.

In joy,

Jenny Bee

 

 

 Posted by at 2:13 pm

The Universe of Astérix at Grévin Montreal

 Things to do  Comments Off on The Universe of Astérix at Grévin Montreal
Feb 232017
 

grevin1On Tuesday night, my family was invited to see the newest temporary exhibit at Grévin, L’Univers d’Astérix à Grévin Montréal.

The invitation was rather vague, and none of us had ever been to the Grévin museum before. We really had no idea what we were in for. We told the kids we were going to see Astérix and Obélix and maybe even the Druïde. Sometimes it’s nice to walk into the unknown. With an open mind and heart. We had no expectations but if we had, Tuesday evening at the Grévin wax museum would have surpassed them.

The Astérix exhibit or “universe,” was the last we saw, and before we got to it, we were fortunate to see all the other universes. My girl’s favourite wax people were Michael Jackson and Montreal’s Mado. My boy was into Lady Gaga and Frankenstein.

My husband, Mike and I were rather on edge at the wax museum. The statues look so real we weren’t sure if they were going to start moving.

grevin2Mike and the kids are huge Astérix fans. He grew up with the movies and passed on his love to the kids. Most of what happens in the movies is lost on me, but they laugh like there’s no tomorrow. The entire museum caters to children (though we had to remind them not to touch, or to be gentle) but there are accessories throughout the scenes, encouraging children and the young at heart to get dressed up and take a photo.

My girl got a little pouty when the Druïde was nowhere to be seen. She went back to the colouring table to finish her picture of Obélix and then we found the Druïde costume hanging up on the wall. Mike put it on and it was one of the best laughs we’ve all had in a very long time.

I really recommend taking the kids out to see this new exhibit while it lasts, it runs until April, 2017.

grevin3

Grilled Aubergine, Haloumi, Portabello Mushrooms

 Recipes  Comments Off on Grilled Aubergine, Haloumi, Portabello Mushrooms
Feb 052017
 

IMG_4262 Portabello mushrooms are kind of a staple here. My kids, who say they don’t like mushrooms, eat them every time and they gobbled this up! We didn’t have buns, so instead of my go-to Grilled “cheesy” Portabello Tabouleh recipe, I made up this one, and it was so, so good. We ate them alone but would be good with rice or pasta.

IMG_4253Ingredients
2T avocado oil (olive works too)
1T apple cider vinegar (or balsamic)
1t dried oregano
Himalayan salt
2 small or one medium/large eggplant
2 big cloves of garlic, chopped
4-6 portabello mushrooms
1 large can tomatoes
A block of haloumi cheese

How to:
Heat grill to 300 degrees, grease with avocado oil.

Prepare mushrooms: remove stems and chop them, and scoop out the inside of mushrooms. Mix the mushrooms with oil, vinegar, oregano and garlic. Let it marinate.

Prepare eggplant: slice eggplant into 1cm-rounds. Place them on a plate and cover with Himalaya salt. Let them sit.

Place mushrooms on the grill.

Put mushroom mixture in a fry pan and let it cook on medium.

Use a paper towel to get moisture off eggplant and put it on the grill.

IMG_4258Evenly distribute the warm mushroom mix into the portabello caps–right on the grill. In the same fry-pan you’ve been using, heat one large can of tomatoes. Add eggplant once it’s grilled.

Now there’s room to grill the haloumi.

IMG_4265Everything ends up ready magically around the same time. Serve the mushrooms by placing a mushroom on the plate, topping with the tomato-eggplant mix and a piece or two of grilled haloumi on top.

I killed the microwave

 Health, Natural Home  Comments Off on I killed the microwave
Feb 042017
 
Old school stove works really well to reheat and cook!

Old school stove works really well to reheat and cook!

There’s something I’d been meaning to do. But I knew my husband would be annoyed. We’d talked about in in the past and it was something he didn’t want any part of. So I decided to it anyways and I have no regrets. I killed the microwave.

Okay, I didn’t kill it. It wasn’t violent at all. But I took it out of the kitchen and put it in the basement. I was also skeptical of how we’d live without it.

We used the microwave way more than I ever wanted to. Because it’s there. Here’s the thing about the microwave–it’s convenient. Life is busy and out lifestyle is anything but convenient. We do need to cut corners here and there. But I’d had enough of this. Some people believe microwaves are perfectly safe. I do not. And I’d kept my head in the sand for long enough.

As adults, we all get to make our own decisions about what is right for our families. I won’t even list the reasons they skeeve me out– googling “dangers of microwaves” is a good start, if you’re inclined.

The microwave has been down in my basement for a month. It’s like we never had one. How do we cope? We’d never cooked in it, but we reheated leftovers–especially coffee. Now we use the stove. And it honestly hardly takes any time at all.

I think today is the day we get rid of it for good.

What’s one healthy thing you decided to do for your family this year?

Why new moms should roll out the yoga mat

 Yoga  Comments Off on Why new moms should roll out the yoga mat
Jan 292017
 

guest post by Ben Stanford

It’s hard to imagine doing much other than care for your newborn when you first give birth, but as the weeks fly by it’s a good idea for new mamas to focus on caring for themselves, too.

Self care is KEY in the sanity-saving department, and a big part of being a good parent.

IMG_4201 When it comes to self care for new mothers, yoga classes are probably one of the most valuable uses of your time. As little as one hour on the mat per week has mental and physical impacts that will get your through all the challenges of raising a wee one.

Let’s start with the physical benefits of yoga, and get right to the point.

Shrink the uterus and tone the abs
During pregnancy the uterus grows in size to accommodate the fetus, and the hormone Relaxin encourages the muscles of the abdomen to release, to make for an easier birth experience.

Both of these are perfectly normal, truly amazing functions of the female body, but after giving birth there are ways to gently help the body back to its natural, non-pregnant state. A strong, tight lower abdomen is essential for all sorts of mama-related duties, like lifting, carrying, and cuddling baby.

IMG_4203Yoga poses like twists, planks and core strengtheners (think “boat” pose) are marvelous for revitalizing the lower abdomen post-pregnancy. What’s even better, yoga focuses on gradually building strength and flexibility, which will ensure you don’t strain such an important part of your body. It’s important to make sure you do not have an ab separation (diastasis recti) before working on your abs in this way.

Build upper body, baby-lifting strength

The abdomen isn’t the only thing affected by Relaxin: you may find that you come back to the mat (or the gym) with a little less arm and shoulder definition than before.

As new moms learn at Mothering Touch, in Victoria, you’ll be lifting a pretty precious load all day long, and arm strength and flexibility prevent against the aches and pains that can ensue (especially since Relaxin will have depleted a lot of your previous strength).

Yoga is a full-body practice, which means you’ll be using your upper body as much as your core and lower body. The overall effect will mitigate back and shoulder issues that are often attributed to holding baby (especially while breastfeeding).

Ease and/or prevent Postpartum Depression

A huge component of yoga is mindfulness, the ability to notice our thoughts and feelings, without allowing them to control us. Mindfulness is thought to be one of the most effective natural antidotes to depression and anxiety, which, let’s face it, a significant percentage of new mamas face.

When you go to a yoga class, expect deep breathing, subtle reminders to come back to the present moment, and lots of silence. These elements might throw you off at first if you’ve never been to a class, but they’re all a part of training your mind not to downward spiral.

Whether you’re suffering from PPD or not, lack of sleep and being at the beck and call of a tiny, crying being can bring even the most mentally tough woman to her knees. Training your mind to stay present and move through challenges with grace certainly can’t hurt.

Get true, deep rest

Our nervous system is comprised of two distinct systems: the sympathetic, and parasympathetic nervous systems.

The sympathetic system is associated with our body’s “fight or flight” response – it’s where we go when we’re stressed.

The parasympathetic system is dubbed “rest and digest”; when we’re in this state our body actually relaxes and regenerates.

Only one system can be activated at one time. Want to take a guess which one sees a lot of action when we’re waking up every hour to the screams of our most precious loved one?

The aforementioned deep breathing and mindfulness of yoga allows your body to slip into the restful state we enter when the parasympathetic nervous system is engaged.

In short, when you attend a yoga class as a new mama, you actually get the chance to REST.

Enough said, really.

Where to Go to Get a Yoga Hit

IMG_4202Any city is likely to have yoga studios that offer gentle yoga classes, and pre-and-post-natal clinics that offer postpartum yoga. Jenny Berthiaume offers a variety of yoga classes for new and expecting moms in the Montreal area.

Whichever way you do it, if you’re a new mother you might want to think about making time for a weekly yoga class. Your mind & body will thank you.

Ben Stanford writes about various services to help you to achieve optimum health. He likes to provide you with the tools and knowledge to achieve your goals, move better again, and lead a strong, happy, and healthy life.

But who mothers the mother? Sometimes we need to ask for help

 Health, Postpartum, Yoga  Comments Off on But who mothers the mother? Sometimes we need to ask for help
Jan 212017
 

IMG_4140I was laying in bed, off work and feeling very unwell. I’m not used to doing nothing. I texted a friend to say I was sick and he asked where my caregiver was. I had no idea who he was talking about.

My mom lives in BC… I am my own caregiver.

Turns out he meant my husband. But my husband wasn’t home taking care of me, he was at work making up for the money I was losing as I rested and recuperated. He was at work after being up in the morning and single-handedly getting them up and ready, fed, and driven to two separate schools 45 minutes from home. The night before he worked til 2am. He left just after bathing and feeding the kids and getting them in bed. So I didn’t even expect him to take care of me.

DSC_0261But who, then? I’d spent the week with the kids in my arms. Helping them blow their noses. Dosing elderberry syrup and raw honey. I prayed that their illness would leave and I would gladly take their place. My prayers were answered.

This illness came at such an interesting time. This week my yoga classes had been themed around the first chakra. What is support and basic needs. One’s connection to family and tribe. In my post and prenatal yoga classes, this brought up discussions of support. Who is your support? Your tribe? I heard many stories from women who in the postpartum period, had relatives close by to help. None of them seemed to take this for granted.

It’s a subject that is so important to me, especially in my work as a postpartum doula and postnatal yoga teacher. Too many new moms, myself included, wind up utterly exhausted and even on medication because they just can no longer cope with what it is to be alone. Lacking support. Not enough community. No village. But more and more, it seems, the women I’m speaking to are finding support. They have a mother in law move in, or they learn the value of hiring a postpartum doula or mother’s helper.

When I found myself, feeling comatose after a week of these sort of questions, I felt a bit of despair. My kids were finally well enough to go to school and I was alone and in pain in a dark, empty house. I don’t have any family in Montreal. I felt like I had no one to take care of me. I’m a big, girl but sometimes I want someone to rub my back and make me some tea.

Paleo Rolls, Veggie soupSo I reached out. I did the thing that many of the women in my classes also say is hard for them. It’s so hard for me. But I asked for help. I texted two friends. Two angels I am blessed to call my friends. They have their own families and very busy lives, but they each brought me delicious soup. I felt a lot less alone, and I felt the love they put into making the soup.

When my husband got home, he was of course busy with the kids. I felt well enough to sit at the table with them. Then we watched a movie. We lay in bed together as he read the Big Friendly Giant until they fell asleep. And then again, I did something I don’t ever really do. I asked my husband to take care of me. He was still running around the house trying to deal with the chaos of me being out of commission. But when I asked, he came to me. Put socks on my feet, brought me warm water to drink, and talked to me until I fell asleep, too.

What are your goals this year? How will you attain them?

 Musings, Yoga  Comments Off on What are your goals this year? How will you attain them?
Jan 062017
 

retreatThe other day, I asked my husband if he had any New Years Resolutions. He answered in a way that is similar to how I feel. He said, “I feel like I’m continuously working on myself. Not just once a year.”

But, starting the calendar year, there are certainly goals (business, health, financial) I want to attain. I have plans. A lot of them. And from experience, I know that when I get those plans onto paper, something magical happens.

When I was studying Yoga Therapy at  Re:Source I took a workshop with Carina Raisman and Peter Lavoie called Move, Meditate, Manifest. We learned very simple ways to get our desires and goals … organized… so the Universe can help make those things happen. I came up with personal, professional and health goals for 10, 5, 1 years and the present moment. When I looked at my goals a year later, I’d reached all my short term goals and was even as far along as five years in the future with some stuff!

Was it magic? Partly. But as Melanie Richards, the owner of Happy Tree, says (or was it Lisa Lajoie?), “The Universe is not your bitch.” What does that mean? We can set goals, send them out into the ether, but most of the time we’re going to have to work towards bringing things to fruition.

retreat1For me, I like to use a simple chart to get organized, based on what I learned with Carina and Peter. Some people like to create a vision board. There are lots of examples on Pinterest, and my friend, Stephanie is hosting a workshop called CRAFTING YOUR VISION FOR 2017: Exploring Your Life Path through Creative Wisdom on Saturday, January 14, if you would enjoy being guided through the process.

I’ve written before about this subject… The Law of Attraction, as it’s sometimes called. But the thing I keep remembering is that this is a process of Co-creation. That a prayer for something is far less likely to manifest into something real, than if we take real and concrete steps toward attaining our goals.

For me, last year I was working hard to achieve a better work-life balance. I can tell you, that I just got to spend nearly two weeks off with my kids, who were off school for the holiday. Career choices my husband and I have made allow us to do this and I don’t take this for granted for a minute. I also set an intention to consolidate my schedule, minimizing the amount of time I spend running from studio to studio, and I decided I would no longer teach regular classes on the weekend. So that was 2016. What about 2017?

My vision board or my goal setting chart for the year, isn’t something I’m going to post here. It’s something I am putting together and will keep close by to remind myself of where I am, where I’m going, and how I need to get there.

What would you like to feel, create or experience this year? This month? Right now?

I’m hoping that by writing this, you will start to think about doing something similar if you haven’t already. And I’m hoping that if you’re a parent, you help your children understand that they really can do and be anything they want.

Happy New Year!

Namaste,

Jenny

 

New year though the eyes of a child

 Musings  Comments Off on New year though the eyes of a child
Dec 302016
 

I’ve been relishing this winter break. Babe has been in kindergarten since this fall and it’s been a pretty big adjustment for the entire family. One of the biggest changes is that we spend less time together. I find the school day sleddinglong and miss the days when I could easily pick the kids up at 2 or even 12:30. All this to say that we’ve been making the most out of the holidays. We opted for a staycation. We have spent a lot of time colouring, doing crafts, and have even dragged our butts out into the Montreal winter to go sledding, skating and to the zoo.

We haven’t even gotten to the New Year, but I’m seeing so many signs of… Newness. And I’m taking the time to see these things through the eyes of my two children. Everything is brand new to a child.

I laughed, as I watched the kids and their first tobogganing experience. They screamed with a look of pure delight on both of their faces. Elation. I actually hate hurling down a toboggan hill, but watching them do it for the first time, my heart swelled.

skatingI got to see Bug skate for the first time. I watched on his face how proud he was to just find his balance on the ice. Babe learned to spin in circles that same day.

She also recently learned to jump rope and is reading more and more every day. Her excitement when she sounds out a word, is my excitement. She is coming to all of these new experiences on her own terms. With encouragement from her parents, but nothing is forced.

I don’t really do New Year’s Resolutions, but I think this year, at least this week, I’m going to try to continue to live life through the eyes of a child. Let everything I do (or at least some of the things!) be done with joy, and awe, and wonder. Want to join me?

 

 

Nov 132016
 

bb2There’s been a bit of a buzz about this new eco-friendly way to wrap things up. Something that’s like cling wrap, but not the least bit wasteful. And to be honest, I thought it was a little too good to be true. But when Margaux, owner of Montreal’s B Factory sent me some of her products, I saw for myself that good things do come in…reusable packaging.

Margaux makes food wraps out of cotton and beeswax. The products she calls sandwich wraps can certainly be used for sandwiches, but chez moi, we use them for so much more. I send Babe to school with crackers, cheese, just about anything wrapped up in a pretty little pouch.

We use  the other wraps, which she calls ‘Food Wraps’ for all kinds of things too. I often use them to cover bowls that I put in the fridge, or salads that I bring to a potluck party. You can use the wraps for any kind of cut fruit or veggie. They help keep cucumbers and fresh herbs fresh. You can use these wraps in place of anything you might want to use a plastic bag or saran wrap.

beeBeeswax has a natural antibacterial property that keeps food fresh, and the product is also breathable. The wraps can eventually be composted, but they have years of life in them. Maintenance is easy beezy, too. You just rinse them in cold water, adding a little soap if you need to. You can store them folded in a drawer, but Margaux suggest rolling them and putting them in a jar on the counter in the beginning, until you remember about this awesome new thing in your kitchen

If you think this is something you’d love to get your hands on, check out the B Factory website, and enter the contest to win. Margaux is generously giving away 1 Starter (16$), 1 Large (18$) and 2 sandwich (13.50$ each). A 51.00$ value.

 

How to enter:

  1. Like B Factory and mamanaturale on Facebook
  2. Comment on the original Facebook post—why you want to try out this cool new product, and which sandwhich wraps you want. You can choose from the Fall/Winter collection or Pink Dot.
  3. Share!

Good luck!

Oct 062016
 

How many different versions of Cinderella can you think of? Books, movies, TV, plays, musicals… This story crosses cultures and has many variations. Having a daughter who was, at one time, pretty obsessed with all things princess, I’ve seen my share of Cinderella movies.

placedesartsWhat comes to mind:

  • The Disney Classic, released in 1950
  • Ella Enchanted, which we’ve seen quite a few times, we own the DVD!
  • Drew Barrymore in Ever After, very cool when I was 15
  • A Cinderella Story with Hillary Duff (groan)
  • Another Cinderella Story, starring Selena Gomez, which we watched as a family this summer on our trip to PEI and I admittedly kind of got in to.
  • Kenneth Branagh’s 2005 Cinderella, which I thought was beautiful. Also, I love Helena Bonham Carter.
  • Into the Woods, which was opened in Broadway more than 25 years before the amazing movie starring Meryl Streep

Turns out there are THOUSANDS of versions of this story, the earliest of which was published in published in 7 BC.

As far as Rodgers + Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA goes, in 1957, the Original Television Musical, starring Julie Andrews as Cinderella, aired on CBS, and was seen by over 100 million viewers. It was a pretty big deal.

Fourty years later, a second TV remake starring Brandy as Cinderella, Whitney Houston as the Fairy Godmother, Whoopi Goldberg as the Queen and Jason Alexander as Lionel, aired on ABC, winning an Emmy Award.

The Tony-Award winning musical is coming to Montreal and Babe and I can’t wait to go.

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA is the Tony Award®-winning musical from the creators of South Pacific and The Sound of Music that’s delighting audiences with its surprisingly contemporary take on the classic tale. This lush production features an incredible orchestra, jaw-dropping transformations and all the moments you love—the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball and more—plus some surprising new twists! Be transported back to your childhood as you rediscover some of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s most beloved songs, including “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible/It’s Possible” and “Ten Minutes Ago” in this hilarious and romantic experience for anyone who’s ever had a dream.

If you’d like to win 4 tickets for the premiere of Cinderella on Tuesday, October 18th, enter this contest by:

Liking mamanaturale on Facebook
Sharing the Facebook post and tagging a friend who might like also like to win.
Leave a comment on the post telling me you’re done! Good luck!