Category Archives for Interwebs

NaBloPoMo and Posts About Yoga

NaBloPoMo November 2013I used to blog.

Then I had a kid

and then, even worse, I made one of my hobbies into my day job.

I watched many NaBloPoMos, Blogher’s challenge to post every day in November, pass without signing up. This year, in an effort to force myself to create fresh written content for Breathing Space Family Yoga, I signed up. In a fit of madness, I signed this blog up too.

So far, the posting her has been minimalist, but I’ve got some ideas . . . In the mean time, enjoy what I’ve been posting on yoga:

Yoga 101: Utthita Parsvakonasana – Extended Side Angle Pose

Parsvakonasana It’s a standing pose introduced in most beginners yoga class, yet its
classic form and variations continue to challenge me years after first
encountering it. Uttita Parsvakonasa (extended side angle pose) is one
of my favorite asana (postures) and I teach it in nearly all classes
from beginner, to early morning open, to prenatal. . . . more

 

 

Kids Yoga Camp FAQ: What do you do all day?

IMG_1286“What do you do all day?” is one of the most common questions about or kids yoga day off camps. No, we don’t do yoga for 7.5 hours.

We do lots of yoga and yoga games, but that’s not all. We’ll do
arts and crafts every day. If the weather is nice, we walk to a
nearby playground for lunch and outdoor time. We have quiet time
every day for both nappers and non-nappers. . . . more

 

 


yoga infographic

How Yoga Transforms Your Body; How Yoga Transforms Lives

After Class:

  • Improved Brain Function.
  • Lower Stress Levels.
  • Alter Gene Expression.
  • Increased Flexibility.

After A Few Months:

  • Lower Blood Pressure.
  • Improved Lung Capacity
  • Improved Sexual Function.
  • Reduced Chronic Neck Pain.
  • Anxiety Relief. . . . more

Writing on Women’s and Babies’ Issues at Care2 Recently

Two Care2 stories hit close to home this week.

The first was a report that drinking water with levels of arsenic considered accpetable by EPA might cause prenatal growth and development problems and reduce the nutrient availability of breastmilk. Having worked on the campaign to get the arsenic limit lowered to its current level while at U.S. PIRG, I remember how hard fought that standard was. New research indicates the new it may not be protective enough afterall.

“Safe” Levels of Arsenic in Water May Harm Babies and Mothers “Safe” Levels of Arsenic in Water May Harm Babies and Mothers

When researchers from the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) and at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth began feeding mice low levels of arsenic considered safe for human consumption in drinking water by the Environmental Protection Agency, they intended to study the heavy metal‘s affect on the immune system and susceptibility to the flu, but they didn’t get that far . . . Read more and join the Conversation at Care2.

Birth Choices Under Assault in North Carolina, 7 Midwives Shutdown Overnight The second story could easily have been written about Maryland, where midwives operate under similar restrictions to the ones that shut down 7 North Carolina midwives when their supervising physician informed them he would no longer sign their licenses.

Birth Choices Under Assault in North Carolina, 7 Midwives Shutdown Overnight

The state of North Carolina is one of only 5 in the nation that requires certified nurse midwives to practice under a physician who signs their license in order to deliver babies. Last week the doctor who worked with 7 of the state’s 11 homebirth midwives notified them that he would no longer certify their licenses, effective immediately. One doctor shut down 4 midwifery practices over night, leaving dozens of women, some very near their due dates, scrambling for alternative care . . . Read more and join the Conversation at Care2

Where to Find Me Online

While I've got several blog drafts in the works and ideas for more, I don't seem to find as much time to post here as I'd like. When the puddles seem a little dry for jumping here, you can often find me elsewhere online:

Websites and Blogs

Jen Mueller Yoga - Kids, Families, Prenatal, Adult Hatha YogaJen Mueller Yoga is my professional yoga teacher page. This is where I post about the benefits of yoga, yoga philosophy, yoga resources in DC, and my teaching schedule. I sometimes cross-post here, but not usually.

image from dingo.care2.comCare2 is a b-corporation site for news and commentary about social issues to promote civic engagement and build support for its sister site, thepetitionsite.com I'm a regular contributor on environmental, food, and health issues. My more personal Care2 blogs will be cross-posted here and I typically push my all articles out on Twitter, but you can also subscribe to my author page RSS feed.

Social Media

Facebook cover image capture sm FacebookMy personal Facebook profile is where I connect with people I know. I post links to Puddle Jumping in DC, social commentary and personal updates not worthy of a blog post, photos of my daughter, and links to interesting or fun things online.  

Disclaimer: I generally don't friend total strangers or friends-of-friends whom I don't at least know as an acquaintance. Regular students in my yoga classes should feel free to friend me if they'd like updates of a more personal nature.

Jenmuelleryoga facebook cover image captureMy Jen Mueller Yoga profile page is where I share yoga articles and resources for DC yogis and parents of little yogis. Anyone can subscribe to those updates simply by "like"ing my page. I don't cross post most of this to my personal profile so my Facebook friends with an interest in yoga should "like" my page to get my professional updates.

TwitterMy Twitter feed is broader than either of my Facebook feeds. I post yoga updates, select personal updates, photos from my Instagram or Flickr feed, and links to articles I've written or am reading. Topics beyond yoga include breastfeeding, environmental news, parenting, and social issues. I follow Tweeters on those topics as well as local businesses and DC bloggers.

DeliciouDelicious is my online filing cabinet. I tag articles I might want to reference in the future on breastfeeding, child development, environment, health, parenting, sustainability, and yoga. I don't necessarily share these on other channels but they sometimes get referenced in blog posts.

PathPinterest is my magazine clipping file and someday list. In addition good visuals on the topics above, I pin potential art projects, DIY ideas, inspirational or beautiful pictures, places to go or things to do in DC, and info-graphics.

LinkedInWorked with me, met me once professionally, or just want to network? That's what LinkedIn is for.

Photosharing Sites

I share photos via instagr.am and flickr. The former is designed for use and viewing by iPhone users. I post iPhone selections to Flickr along with photos taken on other cameras.

InstagramInstagr.am

FlickrFlickr

www.flickr.com

If You Give a Mom a Muffin

The poem below was emailed to me this week.  If you are a parent who's read the "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie" book series by Laura Numeroff, this may strike a cord.

If You Give A Mom A Muffin

Muffin - IMG_0246 by Beth Brubaker

If you give a mom a muffin,

She’ll want a cup of coffee to go with it.

She’ll pour herself some.

Her three-year-old will spill the coffee.

She’ll wipe it up.

Wiping the floor, she’ll find dirty socks.

She’ll remember she has to do laundry.

When she puts the laundry in the washer,

She’ll trip over boots and bump into the freezer.

Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan for supper.

She will get out a pound of hamburger.

She’ll look for her cookbook

(“101 Things To Do With a Pound of Hamburger”).**

The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail.

She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow.

She will look for her checkbook.

The check book is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two-year-old.

She’ll smell something funny.

She’ll change the two year old’s diaper.

While she is changing the diaper, the phone will ring.

Her five-year-old will answer and hang up.

She’ll remember she wants to phone a friend for coffee.

Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup.

And chances are…

If she has a cup of coffee,

Her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

 ___

**Naturally, we'd be using a veg-friendly alternative around here.

I was unable to find the poem's original source or a website belonging to Kathy Fictorie, the credited author.* See editors note 5/21/2012.

I did find creative moms out there turning the poem into a cute DIY gift. Pamela Donnis designed a 4×6" card (left) for the poem and attached it to a package of muffin mix with a bow.  She has shared the image file on her blog. I found alternative versions using homemade muffin mixes as well.

Maya's current favorite from the series is "If You Give a Pig a Pancake."  We don't own that one and she recently requested it at bed time. I found a version on YouTube being read by another fan. Enjoy.

Is a web video of a child reading a book aloud with copyrighted images an example of online piracy? Probably, but if either piece of proposed federal legislation known as the "Stop Online Piracy Act" and "Protect Intelectual Property Act" passes, a single complaint to my web hosting company could result in Puddle Jumping in DC being shut down over it, no due process, no notice.  Find out more. Contact your members of Congress.

* Editors note 5/21/2012: I was contacted by Beth Brubaker, apparently the actual author of the poem. Read her "If You Give a Mom a Muffin – STOLEN!" post here.  The irony of the topic of this post and the saga of this poem is not lost on me.

Photo credit: Muffin by flickr user Nicola since 1972, used by Creative Commons license.

Gas in the water, toxins in the baby shampoo, coal ash in Lake Michigan!

Found myself writing about chemicals out of place. Recently on Care2:

My Water’s On Fire Tonight [Video]

My Water’s On Fire Tonight [Video]

Recent reports reveal that hydraulic fracturing, a form of natural gas drilling that involves injecting toxin-laden water deep underground, may have been responsible for earthquakes in England and Oklahoma and the Environmental Protection agency announced that it will investigate the drilling method’s impact on drinking water. . . Read more.

Toxic Chemicals in U.S. Baby Shampoo, Why?

Toxic Chemicals in U.S. Baby Shampoo, Why?

It’s pretty clear that formaldehyde, used to embalm corpses, is not a health elixir. What’s less clear is why Johnson & Johnson thinks it’s a good idea to put this carcinogen in baby shampoo. . . Read more.

Powerplant Mudslide Dumps Coal Ash into Lake Michigan

Powerplant Mudslide Dumps Coal Ash into Lake Michigan

Just weeks after the U.S. Senate voted to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate the disposal of coal ash, what’s left after coal is burned in a power plant, a mudslide on the banks of Lake Michigan sends tons of the stuff into a drinking water source for 10 million people. . . Read more.

Easy Homemade (Refridgerator) Kefir

When I embarked on making Kefir at home, I expected it to be an extension of our long-established habit of making our own yogurt. However, incorporating this fermented food into my diet took a little trial and error. In honor of Farmer’s Daughter‘s Green Moms Carnival this month on preserving food, I’ll describe lessons I learned making kefir, so that you might find your ideal routine more quickly than I did.

kefir ready for new milkWhile kefir and yogurt both ferment milk, the process and our resulting routine are very different:

  • Unlike yogurt, making kefir with live cultures does not involve heating and cooling the milk.
  • Kefir ferments at room temperature (or lower, as I discovered) and does not require being kept warm over night.
  • Kefir continues to culture until it is consumed, even if the grains are removed, so must be eaten quickly. (The same is true of yogurt, but the process is much slower.)

There are many websites with instructions for making kefir, and some of them make the process seem very complicated and involved. It doesn’t have to be. My kefir routine involves just a tiny bit of planning and adds only a few minutes to my smoothie routine every couple of days.

Standard Homemade Kefir Instructions

  1. Put your grains into a clean glass jar.
  2. Add milk.
  3. Cover jar with a clean towel, not a lid (it carbonates), and store at room temperature.
  4. 24 hours later, or when the kefir reaches the desired sourness, strain kefir grains.
  5. Drink kefir.
  6. Go back to step 1.

That system didn’t work for me in the warm climate of Washington, DC, mostly because I found I was making a quart of kefir every 12 hours. Even when I reduced the amount of grains in the jar, I simply couldn’t keep up. I had to figure out a way to slow production, and since I had been storing extra grains in the refrigerator, where they still fermented the milk in which they were stored, I decided to try putting the whole process in there.

Homemade Refrigerator Kefir

kefir cultureStep 1: Acquire live Kefir Cultures

Many natural food stores sell freeze-dried kefir cultures. That’s not what I’m talking about here.  Live kefir grains look a big like giant cottage cheese clumps or wet popcorn. They are a symbiosis of yeast and bacteria.

Many of the sites that explain kefir-making do so because they are selling kefir cultures. I got mine from the Happy Herbalist and it is quite productive.

Step 2: Condition the Kefir Culture

If your kefir culture had been refrigerated or freeze dried, the first few batches will not be representative of the actual productivity of your culture. Since I started out making kefir at room temperature, my cultures were pretty well conditioned by the time I moved to the fridge. I recommend that you do the same because, while kefir does grow and the cultures do multiply in the fridge, they do so slowly. I use much more culture grains in the fridge than I would at room temperature Don’t start refrigerator kefir until you have about 1/3 cup of kefir grains.

Step 3: Shift Your Kefir Production to the Fridge

kefir With about 1/3 a cup of culture grains to a quart of milk, my kefir takes 4-6 days in the fridge.  I maintain a two jar system and every two to three days I strain a jar of kefir and start again for a constant supply. 

Staying on Track with Refrigerator Kefir Production

I find this system to be very forgiving. If I miss a day or two, the kefir is more fermented than it would be otherwise, but it’s still quite drinkable, especially in smoothie. If I miss several days, I might add milk to the finished kefir to cut the sourness. (Even without the grains the milk will continue to ferment in the fridge.)

Missing several days does throw off the production schedule, so what I might do is consume the newest kefir and 1/2 of the older kefir at once. I’ll then top off both jars with fresh milk. The one that only got 1/2 a jar of fresh milk will ferment faster, so it becomes the next jar consumed. And I’m back on track.

I did have one incident where I accidentally used milk that had gone bad. It didn’t seem to harm the culture, but yuck! I ran several batches of fresh milk at room temperature to clear the culture and went back to my routine.

Note: Some kefir connoisseurs only use raw or very fresh organic milk. Kefir will culture in practically any milk. We purchase from a local farm that does not use added hormones, but is not certified organic. I’ve even tried powdered milk, and was using that when it was just to store the grains, but didn’t like the taste of the resulting kefir. Since higher-fat-content-milk kefir can be harder to strain, I’ve found fresh skim to be my favorite.

kefir smoothieStep 4: Enjoy

There are a few differences to keep in mind between homemade kefir and the kind you might buy at the grocery store:

  • No added sugar! (I sweeten smoothies with fruit and the fructose in my protein supplement.)
  • Commercial kefir appears to be homogenized. Homemade kefir separates into solids and liquids quite easily. (You can see that in the photo to the right.) Blending kefir slows, but does not stop the separation.
  • While most brands of commercial kefir advertise “live cultures” there can’t possibly be as much as in homemade kefir because it would continue to ferment between manufacture and sale (even after refrigeration).
  • I’ve been told that commercial kefir uses fewer varieties of culture because manufacturers need to standardize production. If you’ve got a good citation for this bit of information, please let me know.

Do you have tips for homemade kefir? Leave me a comment.

Tornados, Fish Farms, and Barbie vs Orangutans – Recently on Care2

Don't Make Connections Between Extreme Weather Events (VIDEO)

tornados, hurricanes, floods and climate change. . . because that might might lead you to conclude that global warming is already happening, warns Bill McKibben in a Washington Post oped.

In the wake of the devastating tornado's in Joplin, MO, and a record year for tornados, floods, and wildfires worldwide, author and environmentalist Bill McKibben makes the case that the extreme weather patterns predicted by climate science models look awfully like what we've been experiencing . . . (more)

June 12, 137 comments

NOAA OKs Factory Fish Farming for the Gulf of Mexico

factory fish farming, gulf of mexicoThat the U.S. government agency responsible for managing the nations fisheries falls within the agency responsible for international trade is painfully clear with Thursday's announcement that NOAA will finalize regulations for open ocean aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico. The press material accompanying the announcement leads with the Commerce Department objective of closing the seafood trade gap, not with the importance of managing a stressed natural resource, fisheries, or ensuring the health of an ecological and biological wonder, the world's oceans . . . (more)

Jun 10, 62 comments

Ken Dumps Barbie to Save the Rainforest, Protect Orangutans and Tigers

Barbie manufactuer Matel accused of endangering Indonesian wildlifeWould you ditch your girlfriend of 50 years if you discovered she was complicit in the deaths of endangered orangutans and tigers? That's the call Ken made when he discovered the boxes in which Barbie dolls are packaged contain mixed tropical hardwood from Indonesia's rainforests. At least that's back story to a campaign stunt by Greenpeace on Tuesday calling on Mattel to set corporate policy eliminating rainforest sourcing of paper for packaging . . . (more)

Jun 7, 70 comments

 

 

Make a Difference Monday: News in Sustainable Shopping and Hydrating

If you missed any of my recent Care2 posts, you can catch up here.  Follow me on twitter @studiojmm and I’ll let you know when a new causes blog is posted.

Probable Cancer-causing Chemical Found in Drinking Water of 31 of 35 U.S. Cities Tested Probable Cancer-causing Chemical Found in Drinking Water of 31 of 35 U.S. Cities Tested

Hexavalent chromium, the chemical made famous by the 2000 movie Erin Brockovich, is in the news again because a U.S. environmental organization detected the probable carcinogen in 31 of the 35 cities where it tested the drinking water. Environmental Working Group found concentrations of chromium in public drinking water supplies that ranged from 1/2 to 200 times what would be allowable by the state of California if a proposed chromium safety limit goes into effect . . . (more)

Is Your Holiday Shopping Exposing You to Dangerous BPA? Is Your Holiday Shopping Exposing You to Dangerous BPA?

Every time you handle a store receipt that was printed on thermal paper using bisphenol-a (BPA), a little bit of this estrogen-mimicking chemical rubs off onto your fingers. When you put it in your wallet, it rubs off onto other receipts and onto your money. Some scientists theorize that exposure from powdery residue off store receipts may be a more important pathway of exposure than the much more high-profile presence of BPA in plastic drinking bottles . . . (more)

Misleading Eco-labels on Seafood Muddy the Waters on Sustainable FishingMisleading Eco-labels on Seafood Muddy the Waters on Sustainable Fishing

Looking to buy a filet of fish for your evening meal but forgot your wallet guide to sustainable seafood? Well, don’t depend on the labels at the seafood counter or on the package to tell you if your dinner is environmentally-friendly or not, says Food & Water Watch in a new report on seafood labeling . . . (more)

Make a Difference Monday: Factory Farms and the 40th Anniversary of EPA

That's what I was blogging on at Care2 this past week.

image from dingo.care2.comData Shows 20 Percent Growth in Factory Farming In Past 5 Years

A new interactive web tool from Food & Water Watch provides a dramatic illustration of the increasingly consolidated animal agriculture industry in the United States. The advocacy group mapped USDA livestock census data from 2002 and 2007, providing a new way for concerned consumers to explore the origin of meat and dairy foods in the United States. (more)

image from dingo.care2.com10 Ways EPA Has Improved Our Lives, An Anniversary Retrospective

To mark the 40th anniversary of the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Aspen Institute convened environmental thought leaders to develop a report on 10 ways EPA has strengthened America. (more)

 

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