Big Top Hip Hop- Oaks ‘n Acorns

Oaks ‘n Acorns has a variety of classes for all ages (from babies to 10 year olds) . Morris tried the “Big Top Hip Hop” class for kids aged 2.5-4. It was the first class he had attended without my husband or I in the room with him. I love that at this age (2.5 to 4 years) Oaks ‘n Acorns offers the opportunity for an independent class. Morris was a little reluctant, but since his cousin was with him he agreed to go in. Parents sit outside the room and can either watch through a window or sit and relax at the tables/cafe. My sister and I did a bit of both. Part way through the class Morris saw me through the window and the tears started flowing. One of the sweet instructors gave him a big hug and then invited me to come into the room. After a few cuddles, Morris agreed to finish the class. Afterwards he said how much fun he had. He is now signed him up for the 12 week spring session and has since been to two classes, with no tears! IMG_2572

IMG_2896

After the class, if you stick around until 12:15, the gym area is available for free play. If I let him, we would still be playing in that room now!

IMG_2573IMG_2574IMG_2576

Stayed tuned for more on our favourite local hangout.

Oaks ‘n Acorns

Last month I organized a meet-up with a group of local bloggers and their kids. When we were trying to find a location that could accommodate our large group (18 Mamas and nearly 30 kids) someone suggested Oaks ‘N Acorns in The Junction (there is also a location on the Danforth). I was excited because not only is it around the corner from my house but I had never been.

Our meet-up happened to take place during March Break, there were special events running all week and we all signed up for a workshop to make ‘cherry blossom trees’. Usually Oaks n Acorns has drop-in play and over 40 different classes such as Music, Gym, Arts & Craft, Sports, Educational Baby, Dance, Drama and Women’s group fitness.

IMG_2392IMG_2394

The Manager, Breanne, was very friendly, helpful and accommodating. We all were able to register online with no issue and our meet-up went off without a hitch.

(Next series of photos by: Shane Jeffery from Snapd)

2748651

2748640

maya
Maya from Mayahood and one of her 3 boys
2748641
Sina and her two cuties
2748639
From Amidst the Chaos Christine and her littles
2748642
Megan from Pink to Green and her little guy
2748636n
Katherine and her little man

I met some lovely mamas that day, and found a new local hangout. Morris is going to try the “Big Top Hip Hop” class next, stay tuned!

IMG_2719
From L-R Jessica from The Glaze Brigade, Christine from Amidst the Chaos, Maya from Mayahood, Care from Fifty-Seven, Emily from The Mama Collective, Sina, and Jaclyn from Momspired  

 

Bunny Cake

In 1988 my mom found a recipe for a bunny cake, she made it, we decorated it, we took photos, and we have done the same every year since.

Scan

Directions:

•Heat oven and prepare two 9 inch round baking pans as directed on the cakebox. Prepare cake batter as directed on package. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake and cool cake as directed on package.

 

•When cooled, place one whole 9 inch cake layer on serving tray, forming the bunny’s head. Cut 2 convex shaped ears from each side of the second layer, place on each side of head to form ears. Use concave shaped piece for the bowtie, place about 1/2 inch below head.(see diagram below)

 

•Cover entire bunny (including top and sides) with icing. Decorate the bunny face and bowtie with jellybeans/smarties/candy and use spaghetti noodles to make whiskers.


FullSizeRender 39

Scan 1Scan 2Scan 3Scan 4Scan 5Scan 6Scan 7Scan 8Scan 9Scan 10Scan 11Scan 12Scan 13Scan 14Scan 15Scan 16

 

Scan 17

 

Scan 18Scan 19Scan 20Scan 21Scan 22

 

And now the tradition continues with our kids…

Scan 23Scan 24

Scan 25

This will be the first year Morris and Jane will get to decorate the cake, should be interesting, stay tuned for photos!

IMG_2408

The Expansion of My Body and Yoga Practice in Pregnancy

This is an article I wrote for Parvati Magazine when I was pregnant with Morris. 

Soon after I found out I was pregnant, my doctor advised me not to play volleyball as the contact could be dangerous and to stop running because I have exercise induced asthma. I have always led an active lifestyle and was initially discouraged about having to discontinue activities that I love. Thankfully she did not tell me to stop practicing yoga and instead encouraged it as ‘an excellent form of exercise during pregnancy’.

IMG_2408.JPG

And so as my body has expanded over the past eight months, so has my yoga practice.

One of the first people I told about my pregnancy was my regular yoga teacher. I felt this was important so that she could advise me on poses to avoid and those which would be advantageous. I also did quite a bit of reading to further understand the benefits of practicing yoga while pregnant, which I have learned and also experienced to be endless. Not only can yoga assist with relaxation and flexibility of the hips (both essential during pregnancy) it also helps with breathing, strength and balance.

IMG_2409

Pranayama breathing in yoga (the expansion of the breath in and out through the nose) is incredibly helpful during pregnancy for calming and centering, and from what I have heard is an invaluable technique for pain management during labour. Increasing my focus on the breath during my pregnancy has also helped me with my asana (yoga postures) practice especially when I have felt like taking a nap instead of practicing.

Another benefit of yoga is that it helps to build full body strength. As the stomach expands, strength in the lower body becomes important to carry the added weight and to adjust for changes in balance, and after the baby is born strength in the upper body is helpful on a daily basis.

IMG_2405IMG_2407

If you had a consistent yoga practice before becoming pregnant, continuing with yoga is perfectly healthy, as long as you are aware of the precautions, such as only doing open twists, not spending more than a few minutes on your back, and avoiding inversions. If you are someone who would like to introduce yoga into your life for the first time during pregnancy, and I highly recommend that you do, many sources recommend waiting until your second trimester (week 12) to start practicing, checking with your health care practitioner and then seeking out pre-natal yoga classes.

During the first four months of my pregnancy I struggled with “morning” sickness that lasted from the moment I woke up until I fell asleep at night. During this time, when I felt well enough to go, practicing yoga was the ONLY time I felt like myself. As I moved further along in my pregnancy I started to feel better and during my 4th and 5th months I completed the in-class component of a yoga teacher training program. I am now in my 8th month and am still practicing. I have continued to expand my restorative postures, my focus on breathing, and the time I spend meditating.

Pregnancy has been one of the most joyous times in my life so far, but there have been challenges, so I am thankful to have had my yoga practice to lean on.

IMG_2406

 

 

Gentle Spirit Kind Heart

I ‘met’ Taylor on instagram about 6 months ago and we started chatting through social media.  I was instantly drawn to her sweet nature. As we got to know each other better and I learned about her life, I began to admire her.  Taylor recently graduated with a Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas.  She is a single mom to her adorable son Jones and has her own Etsy shop: TayloredMade.  Taylor has worked hard to get where she is today. She is a recovering drug addict who has been sober for 8 years this coming April. After an almost fatal accidental overdose that her family was told she likely wouldn’t survive, she stopped using drugs. “I am thankful for God who was capable of proving the doctors wrong” she wrote me. She and Jones’s biological father (her first and only serious boyfriend) split shortly before she found out she was pregnant due to his own ongoing battle with addiction and mental health issues. “I have a special place in my heart for anyone who has been affected by the disease and would love to find a way to help others going through similar situations”. She feels that she has been given more grace then she deserves (I disagree) and is thankful for each and every second that she gets to spend with her boy.

FullSizeRender 5FullSizeRender 2

FullSizeRender 4

Taylor started her Etsy shop about 5 years ago selling tie-dyed t-shirts and onesies but closed it due to lack of sales. When she started decorating Jones’s nursery she made everything herself and when friends came to visit she got a lot of compliments and offers to buy the arrows that she was hand-making.  She reopened her Etsy shop about 10 months ago with her new items and had sales right away.

FullSizeRender 9FullSizeRender 8FullSizeRender 10FullSizeRender 7FullSizeRender 11

Taylor is constantly working on new creations for the shop, her newest venture is making t-shirts. Ever since Taylor found out that she was expecting Jones she knew that she would raise him alone. She prayed for him to have a “Gentle Spirit (and) Kind Heart”. Taylor says her main goal is to raise a man who values honesty and compassion over popularity and success. “It’s more then just a cute saying, its a way of life and a simple prayer from one mama trying to raise a boy into a good man in this broken world we live in”. These lovely t-shirts (pictured on Morris and I below) are available to order here.

IMG_8437

IMG_8441

I asked Taylor how she manages to balance motherhood, school and her shop. “Finding balance in anything is hard” she said and is thankful for being able to complete her degree online.   Taylor is able to work on most of her shop orders during nap times and at night. She raves about her supportive family (she is the oldest girl in a family of 5 children and lives in the same small town that she grew up in outside of Dallas, Texax) and is hoping that someday her orders will increase enough that she can pay her sister to babysit while she works.  Until then she is looking for work as a librarian and enjoying time with Jones.

FullSizeRender 3FullSizeRenderFullSizeRender 6

I feel blessed to call Taylor my friend. I hope her story inspires you as much as it does me. Now I’m off to order more arrows and cuddle Morris in our matching tees! Use code Erica20 to get 20% off your purchase!