Fun Yum!

On Sundays, my daughter and I try and make something sweet for the week. We call them “Sunday Sweets”.  Always looking for a new twist on old favorites, I recently came upon a trend that I am far behind on…cake pops! How cute are these!

As it is Spring Break for those of us with kids in school, this week is dedicated to ease and fun. If you are looking for an activity, maybe you could try your hand at making a sweet treat for the week.

Here’s a link to a recipe blog I stumbled upon that gives you a step-by-step recipe to follow. They make it look pretty easy. All you have to do is add your twist!

What MindFULL twist did you add to this new twist on an old favorite? Let us know!

Let You Be

“When you surrender and stop resisting and stop trying to change that which you can’t change, but be in the moment, be fully open to the blessings that you’ve already received and those that are yet to come & stand in that space of gratitude and honor and claim that for yourself and look at where you are and how far you’ve come and what you’ve accomplished and who you are- when you can claim THAT and SEE that, the literal vibration of your life will change.” — Oprah

Now, I am not one to often quote Oprah, but this spoke to me. It was on the website of one of the most inspirational blogs I read, Jamie Ridler Studios.

The quote prefaced another interesting link; Geneen Roth reading from her book, Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything. You can check it on YouTube.

Both got me wondering about going easy on ourselves. A simple concept complicated by inner voices and pre-conceived notions. However, rather than ponder, I am taking this MindFull Monday to simply surrender. Please join me. For one day, Let It Be. Let YOU Be.

How about if we say the Song Of The Day is Let It Be…come on, hum it with me. When ever a stab of something comes to mind today (it comes in different forms for all of us) hum a few bars and turn on the ease.  For one day. Let It Be.

How do you MindFULLY find ways to Let It Be? Let us know!



Bring Back Boredom

Children learn from, and are changed by, the media they use. It begs the question, how many of you have any idea of the number of texts your kids send or how many hours a day they are truly involved, on-line, in some way? Have you really played their video games with them? Would it surprise you to know about a recent study showing that 8-18 year olds use media for 7:38 each day? With multi-tasking, they are exposed to 10:45 of media content each day. “That’s alot o’ screen time, Lucy…”

These facts, and other insightful observations, came to me Thursday night, when I had the honor of attending a speech being given to Denver Pediatricians by Dr. Michael Rich, Director of Center on Media and Child Health (CMCH), at Children’s Hospital Boston. Dr. Rich is a Hollywood writer, turned Pediatrician, who has become an expert on the health effects of social media on adolescents. CMCH studies the environments kids are growing up in and the acquired health risk behaviors as a result of screen time. Michael’s work inspired me years ago, when I was fresh out of graduate school with my Masters in Technology in Education.  The way we met is hysterical, but the way his work has influenced my life as a parent is profound.

How kids take in information and what they do it with it, is not for the faint of heart. Norms are shifting in our culture because kids are not paying rapt attention to what they are doing on-line; they multi-task and information filters in. Kids brains don’t turn off and what they are playing, or barely watching, gets absorbed. Take video games for example; the more time kids are exposed, the higher the correlation to violence. Just look at the huge bullying epidemic in schools today. Virtual violence desensitizes kids and can bring on violent behavior, fears, nightmares and even PSTD.

Entertainment media is the #1 way kids get their information.  As such, it is so important for us, as parents, to understand the media world and to ensure that our children are “Media Literate”. Teen sex urges and curiosity, plus clueless adults, plus no executive function or future thinking capabilities for adolescents, spreads the perfect storm. Information moves fast today and it is important for all of us to understand what it is made of and how to manage it.  One way to do that is talk with your kids about what they are watching on TV (shows and commercials), at the movies and on-line.  5 questions Michael suggests using to engage in Media Literacy at home are:

  1. Who is really the seller and what are they selling?
  2. What techniques are used to attract your attention?
  3. What lifestyles values and points are they presenting?
  4. How might different people interpret the message (other races, cultures, orientations)?
  5. What is omitted from this message?

He also suggested that another way to engage with your kids is to STACK the deck you are using to understand what’s going on:

Share media you love with your kids

Think about what the media is teaching, not just the content but in the relations it is making

Advise on and discuss what they learn

Control content and time

Know and teach media mastery

So much time spent glued to tvs, computers and phones, puts us all in jeopardy of  losing our ability to let our minds wander and create new ideas. Studies show that kids (and adults)  spend more time inside and less time playing outside. And yet it is so necessary to watch the clouds pass by, the ants build a house or bang around in nature for the afternoon. Down brain leads to innovation and inspiration. Bring back boredom. Bring up awareness.

Check out the CMCH Website at It’s full of amazing tips and advice for navigating this new world. You can also join CMCH on Facebook and “Ask The Mediatirician” at – Michael is the Pediatrician behind the screen and will answer any questions or concerns you have (i.e., “My kid used to be so social and now is withdrawn and listens to his iPod all day”).

Lucky for us,  we have access to helpful information. If you have a question, it could take weeks to get into see your kid’s Pediatrician — and I saw some of Denver’s finest at the lecture. Dr. Rich is where they are getting their advice – and it’s where you can get yours,  too.

How do you MIndFULLY navigate media with your kids? Let us know!

Pilates 9-5

Today’s MindFULL Monday Musing finds us pondering what we can do when we we hit the mid-afternoon lull. Lamenting my 3:30pm tiredness last week, my muse and Pilates instructor, Alison Franco of  Pilates with  Alison& Friends , mentioned there are a few quick moves I could do that might help give me the energy boost I am looking for.  You can do these NINE Pilates moves  almost anywhere, in just FIVE minutes! Read on for a  few of her favorite mid-day refreshers demonstrated by Susan Ely, friend of the studio and avid Pilates practitioner. Although not a ‘belly buster’ series, these movements do call on and develop core strength, while their key benefits and concentrations are varied.

(For those of you who live in Denver, you should check out Alison’s studio in Wash Park ( ).  It’s in her basement, which is delightful and  inviting. I love being down there. Peace washes over me and I am filled with inspiration, on all levels. One level of inspiration is how good my fiend Kim looks after working with Alison for the last few months. Go Kim! That vision alone gets me there when I am dragging…)

I hope the simplicity of the moves below will  inspire you to take a few minutes to be good to yourself today. You don’t have to put on your exercise clothes. Just take off your shoes and hit the floor —  a few of Alison’s moves will help keep you from being scraped off of it.


Short & sweet version of the classic

Pilates ‘Hundred’  – increases blood circulation, oxygenates your entire body, core focus.

Lie flat on your back with knees at chest, hands palm down  at your side.  Roll head and shoulders up – gaze goes to center-thigh.  Extend legs long at a 90° angle, or slightly lower (small of back stays connected to mat – do not go lower than 45°s), and lift arms a few inches off of mat extending them long at

REPEAT entire set 5 times – or until you’ve completed “50” arm pumps.  Focus on core, abdominal control, and ‘scooping’ the belly in, suction cupping navel to your spine – especially as you exhale. May also be modified to table top leg position shown in second photo.


Improves flexibility (lower back, legs/hamstrings), spinal flexion – and it feels ohhh so good!

Lie flat on your back, spine against the floor, hands reaching overhead.  INHALE as you slowly roll up off of the floor one vertebrae at a time, reaching hands forward over your feet, creating a C curve or a horseshoe shape in your lower back.  EXHALE at exertion, and as you deepen stretch.  INHALE as you being to roll back down, ‘lead weighting’ the small of the back to the mat, followed by each successive vertebrae, EXHALING as your shoulders touch the mat.  REPEAT 5 times.

3) SINGLE STRAIGHT LEG STRETCH Great leg stretch/lengthener, cardio component if down briskly. Lie flat on your back with both legs extended long, feet up to ceiling.  Grasp the back of your right calf with both hands, lower left leg to 45° angle.  Lift head/chin to chest, roll shoulders up off of the mat.  Widen elbows tugging right leg back towards you, pulse it twice.  Switch legs, pull left leg towards you and pulse twice.  REPEAT 5 sets/times.  Breathing pattern is long and controlled, INHALE SLOWLY as you pulse pulse right, pulse pulse left.  EXHALE SLOWLY pulse pulse right, pulse pulse left.  Pace is brisk, this one should warm you up!

4) SOFT TOWER AT WALL Wonderful lower back opener Lie on back hands extended at side, with rear end snug against base of wall.  Legs extend up the wall, soles of feet rest on wall hip distance apart, knees are softly bent.   INHALE as you slowly begin to curl  your pelvis inwards, lifting it from the mat.  Continue rolling up to neutral bridge position – mindful not to arch lower back. EXHALE as you slowly roll down to the mat.   Timing  = 8 count to roll up, 8 down.  REPEAT 3 times.


Lateral extension/stretch, obliques. Sit upright facing side of mat – both legs curled at your right side, knees and ankles stacked on top of one another.  Hold right ankle with right hand, left hand reaches up to ceiling, overhead.  INHALE as you stretch right, up and over your legs, EXHALE to deepen.  INHALE, lift posture upright as you windmill arms overhead, left hand to mat at your left side, right hand reaching overhead stretching to left, EXHALE to deepen stretch.  INHALE back upright (engaging obliques to lift) beginning the stretch to right side.  REPEAT 3 times, change sides, REPEAT 3 times.


Spinal rotation, stretch.

Sit upright and tall on mat with legs and arms extended long in front of you, heels glued together.

INHALE as you rotate to the right opening your arms to a T position, growing taller, twisting further – be sure your heels don’t slip – keep them firmly connected.  EXHALE back to starting position.  INHALE as you twist/open left, EXHALE back to center starting position.  REPEAT 3 times.

*Not advisable for anyone with active back pain, instability, or injury.

7) SWAN *

Extension of spine Lie face down on mat, hands palm down directly under shoulders, legs zipped together and extended long behind you, forehead to mat.   INHALE as you reach forward with crown of head, engaging abdominals to support spine, slowly lifting yourself off of mat in an arch, widening chest.  EXHALE as you reach forward with head/neck, slowly lowering back down to mat.  This should not be felt in lower back, as abdominals are engaged to support – discontinue if you feel any lower back discomfort.  *Not advisable for anyone with active back pain, instability, or injury.

8) Child’s Pose Low back release, complimentary to Swan.

After completion of Swan, sit back on your knees, resting buttocks on or near heels.  Place forehead on or near mat, arms extended out long in front.  Breathe deeply, at least three deep breaths, relax.

9) Plank – Tendon Stretch

Stand upright at one end of your mat, facing the length of mat, with feet in a soft external rotation/heels together.  Lift arms overhead.  Keeping tail/bum tucked, slowly ‘pour’ down the front of your body like a waterfall, until your hands reach the mat – keeping slight softness in knees.  Walk your hands out the length of the mat, until you reach a plank or push-up position, supported on hands and balls of your feet/toes.  Be sure to engage abs, creating a ‘sheet’ of support for the lower back, no sagging in lower back – if you need to, elevate hips slightly.  Lift your right heel off of the mat high towards the ceiling, stretch your left heel down towards the mat, then return left heel to neutral position and lower right foot back down to mat.  Switch legs and repeat.  Walk hands back in towards feet, slowly roll up the front of your body until you are standing upright again.   REPEAT sequence twice.

Upon completion of  second set, while standing upright, reflect on your posture.  Engage abdominal ‘scoop’, roll your shoulders (up, back, and then down- maintain the latter  ‘down’ position, this is good posture).

Take note of how you feel.  Better than five minutes ago, right?  Hopefully lighter, more supple, invigorated, and maybe even a little taller!

How do you MindFULLY get a mid-day energy boost? Let us know!