Here's a hearty winter favorite around my house. I tend to use this recipe if I have potatoes or other veggies I need to use up.
1.5 - 3 lbs of beef stew meat (depending on the size of your clan)
2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 yellow or white onions, sliced
1 6 ounce can of tomato paste
4 cups/1lb of potatoes cut into 2 inch chunks (or you can just use those little potatoes)
2 cups of regular or baby carrots cut into 1-2 inch chunks
3 cups of liquid - I use at least 1 or 2 cups of dry red wine like a merlot or pinot noir and fill the rest with beef broth
1 tablespoon sea salt or a bit less regular salt
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of dried thyme or 4 or 5 springs of fresh thyme
Optional ingredients if you have them on hand:
1 rutabaga (chopped like your potatoes)
3 or 4 celery ribs cut in 1 inch chunks
1 cup of frozen peas (in the photo I have a lot of peas featured, that's because I accidentally poured an entire bag of peas in my slow cooker)
I love this recipe because you can easily scale it up or down depending on your family's needs. This makes dinner for 2 adults and 1 toddler with enough leftover for 1 adult and 1 toddler lunch the next day.
5 large sausages (We like to use the Chicken and Apple Sausages from Costco)
1 or 2 bell peppers, sliced (any color will do)
1 medium or large onion (or 2 small)
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes (if you have tomatoes in your fridge you need to use, dice those up, too)
salt and pepper
Seed and slice your peppers. Cut the ends off the onions, cut in half (stem to bottom), peel the outer skin off, and slice into onion 'rainbows'. Put the onions in your slow cooker first then pile everything on top. Cook for 6-8 hours on low, you can cook it on high in a pinch, but I think it turns out better on low. Serve by itself or over rice or egg noodles.
See you at Mama Yoga! - Michelle Rodriguez
If you’ve spent any time at Enso, you know how you birth matters. But did you know how you shop matters too! The way you spend your money, is the way you vote for what you want in our community. Do you love the community that Enso brings to Colorado Springs? Do you love our annual Baby Halloween Party, Baby Tea Party, hosting of not profit groups such as La Leche League and Baby Wearing International? Has Enso touched you or your family in a positive way? Then cast your vote for Enso, by shopping local.
“As tempting as it might be to head over to a big box store or add item after item to your online cart, the holidays present a great opportunity to support local businesses. With Small Business Saturday rapidly approaching the day after Black Friday, consider skipping the day-after-Thanksgiving madness and shopping close to home the following day instead.”
All of us at Enso care about you more than Amazon, Walmart or Target! We know your name and of course we want you and your family to be happy!
Here are a few more reasons to shop local! Why and How to Shop Locally on Small Business Saturday and Beyond -- Even on a Budget
What Enso offers is far more than yoga! The biggest thing we offer is community.
We believe in the ole' saying, It Takes a Village! Enso is where you begin to build your village.
We want our offerings to be accessible to all. There are a variety of packages to fit your needs. But if the packages are still a bit out of reach, then that’s when we get creative!
How about adding Enso to your online registry? Baby List is a perfect option! Simply sign up and begin building your registry. Here are instructions on how to add Enso to your registry.
2. Now answer the question with “THIS COMPUTER”
3. You will be brought to this page next. Click the answer that is appropriate for you. I will move forward with “I’m comfortable on the web…”
4. Now you will drag the blue “Add to Babylist” to your bookmark bar
5. Now navigate to what you need help with, whether it’s yoga, childbirth class or doula support.
6. Now click on your bookmark button scroll to “Add to Babylist”
7. Boom! There you go. One step left. Click “Add to Babylist”. Easy Peasy!!
I had just married my husband and moved to the Springs when I discovered I was pregnant with my first daughter. After the exhaustion of the first trimester passed, I searched for a prenatal yoga class -- I had loved yoga and pilates back in DC, so it seemed like a good option for getting stronger and acclimating to the weird new shapes and feelings of my body. What I hadn't counted on, though, was that it allowed me to find my village. It turns out that *that* was what I really needed -- a community of mamas and mamas-to-be and mama-helpers, who would listen, and share, and be there for me.
Some of my closest friends today were made in those very first classes, sitting in a circle, working on weird low back pain, chatting about getting kicked in the bladder at 2 a.m., and learning that we could all get through the miraculous craziness of pregnancy and childbirth, however we chose to do it. It was my absolute favorite part! of being pregnant, and I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.
- Leigh Kaplan, mama of two
Ina May did a great job of collecting birth stories from women. We believe that these stories allow women to begin to envision their own labor. This is the story of Gavin, told by his Mama. This is just one example of what birth can be.
January 7, 2015
Nick and I found out we were pregnant on May 19, 2014. We were both as surprised as we were excited. We wanted to be respectful to Nick’s sister, who had just lost her twins in March, so we kept the pregnancy to ourselves, close family, and close friends well until the start of the second trimester. It was very difficult for me to be around the people at work without saying anything.
When we did start sharing our exciting new addition, I quickly told one of the supervisors at my work, who also taught a yoga class I frequented, why I hadn’t been attending. She told me about a great yoga studio that did prenatal yoga called Enso Prenatal. I went to my first class later that week and was completely blown away. It happened to be the largest class I attended with about 15 women in all different stages in their pregnancy. The instructor, Bea Wilds was amazing; she had this unique, kind quality to her. She really treated us like these special women holding these very special lives within us, and I loved it. We introduced ourselves, one-by-one, and described what we were going to use as a coping skill during labor. At 18 weeks pregnant, I still cringed at the thought of birth. I loved being pregnant and was so eager to meet my baby, but was scared to death of the process to get from pregnancy to a baby in my arms. Not to mention, my entire life my own mother told me she gave natural childbirth to her 9 pound babies and I could do the same. I had the idea in my head that I wanted a natural childbirth, but I was scared and had no idea how I was going to do it.
As we shared, I heard inspiring strong women go to places they thought they would go during labor. Women shared their doctor’s names that were empowering them to give natural childbirth. I heard different coping skills; like putting her mind directly where the pain is and conquering it, or leaning on the idea of all the women who have given natural childbirth before medical intervention was an option. I learned more in that class than I had in any book I read! When Bea introduced herself, she stated she was also a doula. Bea was pretty much the equivalence of “love at first sight” when it came to me picking my doula, but I knew I had a little work to do with Nick who wasn’t sure a doula was worth the money. I purchased an 8 pack of classes before leaving and left feeling really excited about this amazing little birth world I had discovered. I continued yoga throughout my pregnancy. Nick agreed to meet and invite Bea into our birth as our doula. Bea had Katie shadowing her at one of our prenatal visits and later asked if she could shadow the birth. We agreed to have Bea and Katie be a part of our birth.
My contractions started at 11:00pm on January 6th. They woke me up hourly so I assume I had one an hour from 11:00pm to 2:00am. At 2:00am, they started happening about 7 to 10 minutes apart. I couldn’t sleep anymore and woke Nick up to let him know what was going on. I wanted to get up and work on a task to keep my mind off of it, but Nick reminded me I really needed to sleep. I stayed in bed and eventually was able to fall back asleep at 3:00am. From 3:00-6:00am I was able to get some sleep between the contractions. I would get out of bed and lean against the bed for the contraction because that felt better than just lying in bed through the contraction then get back in bed and sleep until the next contraction. At 5:30am, Nick asked if I mind if he went to work for an hour and a half. He had three things he really needed to get done at work that would take thirty minutes each and then he would be able to give me and the baby the next two weeks of his undivided attention: I agreed. Nick left the house by 6am. My mom was in town, although it wasn’t a part of my birth plan to have her in the room as I labored, I knew I could use her for the next hour and a half. Nick’s birthday is January 9th so I grabbed his birthday present and I yelled up stairs to my Mom, but she didn’t answer. I walked up the stair yelling, “Mom!” which of course triggered a contraction. She opened her door and I grabbed the stair rail and hunched over, she quickly realized what was going on. When the contraction stopped, I handed her Nick’s present and told her I needed it wrapped. (That part of the story makes me laugh, with everything going on I just had to get that present wrapped!) My mom came downstairs and we hid the present in my hospital bag. As contractions came, I leaned over and my mom massaged my back with a massaging tool. Looking back, I’m glad my mom and I had that time. It was a special moment from a mother to her daughter as we embarked on our passage to grandma and mama.
I texted my doula, Bea, “I think today will be Gavin’s birthday.” We texted back and forth and she made sure I was OK for the time being. Her texts were lovely; she was really excited and encouraging. I called Nick around 7:00am to make sure he was working hard because I needed him home soon. Nick was home by 7:30am and I never knew the time again until they announced the time the baby was born. Nick and I used the skills Bea taught us. Nick was the best birth partner I could have ever asked for. We used a rebozo, massaging tools, hip squeezes, and warm water in the tub. While in the tub, my friend Magi text me, “Praying for you today and this morning! I know it is a weird experience, but it is amazing! Trust your instincts and know you are surrounded by lots of love, family & friends who are sooooo excited!” I felt an overwhelming sense of emotion. (I requested to Nick and my mom to not share when I go into labor. I really wanted a natural childbirth and knew I needed to stay within my small safe bubble to do it.) Tears flooded down my eyes and I said, “How did she know?” but really I felt that God spoke to me through Magi. I felt God told me He got me here and He will get me through it to just trust Him, trust my body, and lean on all the support I received from the wonderful women in my life. It was incredibly powerful. Nick kept in contact with Bea. I asked for Bea to come when the contractions started to get more intense and felt closer together. (Nick later told me I asked for her at 10:30am. Bea and Katie arrived at 11:00am.) I continued to move around through my contractions.
I had the lights off, candles lit, and Deva Premal playing on Pandora softly. I used a birthing ball, walking, laying, on my hands and knees, and more of the tub. The contractions seemed to get stronger and closer together. I got to a point where I didn’t want to do it anymore. Nick gently asked that we try another position. When we walked around the house I saw it was snowing all day. I had the blinds closed in my room where I did the majority of my laboring. Every time I saw out the window I enjoyed the snow but worried about the roads to get to the hospital. Nick told me the cold front got me, that’s what started my labor. One thing that really helped me slow down my breathing through contractions was looking into Nick or Bea’s eyes. We would just look deeply in each others eyes and I would mimic the deep slow breathing they would do. It really helped calm me. Nick often reminded me to breath down so my breaths were productive. I got in the warm tub and the contractions were becoming almost unbearable. Nick was squeezing my hips as hard as he could to relieve pressure. Nick helped me out of the tub and I immediately wanted to sit down on the toilet and push through my next contraction. As I was somewhat squatting over the toilet pushing, Nick came in close to give me a hip squeeze and POP! my water broke all over him. I didn’t expect it to pop loudly, but it did. At that moment, Nick and I both looked at each other with a look like “Holy Shit!” and Nick said out loud, “It’s ok! It’s ok.” Nick told Bea my water broke as she was getting our stuff in the Jeep. Bea was happy with our progression and tried to help me get dressed to go to the hospital. I had read several birth stories that spoke of a strange noise women heard coming out of their bodies that sounded like a cow. I was really excited to hear my cow sound, but the sound that came out of my body didn’t remind me of a cow. I sounded like a Mama Godzilla giving birth! I kept putting my hand between my legs expecting to feel a head crowning. I heard Nick and Bea talking in the bedroom about timing to get to the hospital, but I couldn’t make out the whole conversation. Finally they came in the bathroom and Bea looked me deep into my eyes and gave the pep talk of a life time. Bea said, “We are driving to the hospital. We are going to make it and you are going to tell yourself you are going to make it.” All I could respond was, “I need some panties.” Bea seized the moment, helped me put on some panties, quickly wrapped my pink bath robe around me, got some hot pink fuzzy slippers on my feet and walked me out to the Jeep.
Luckily the hospital was a straight shot from our home and the roads were clear. I sat behind Nick in the driver seat, but facing Bea who also sat in the backseat with me. I wrapped my arm around my seat’s head rest and every time a contraction came I wedged myself between my head rest and Nick’s head rest, lifted my body slightly off the seat and puuuuuushed! I felt my water bag continue to run down my leg and thought Nick isn’t going to be happy about cleaning this up, but I kept that thought to myself for the time being. I kept my eyes closed for the drive. I only opened my eyes when I felt the baby’s head move down low, but when I peeked outside I could see the hospital and knew we’d be alright. When we pulled up to the hospital, Nick pushed me right past the front desk yelling, “I’ve got a pushing Mama!” as Godzilla Mama was roaring away with a contraction. Nick made sure to keep my robe together so I didn’t flash the whole ER, but we wish we could have the surveillance video of us going through as we’ve often had a good chuckle of the scene we made. A nurse followed us to the elevator with a catch bag and hit the second floor. Nick said, “No, it’s floor 3!.” The nurse responded, “oops, it was 2 at my old hospital.” In the meantime, I was just Mama Godzilla contracting and pushing. We rolled into the Birthing Center where they sent me to triage. At triage they strapped a fetal monitor on me which I tried to shove off saying, “get this off of me!” The nursed insisted I had to have it on to monitor the baby. I will admit, it was wonderful to hear the baby’s heart rate, but still awful to have it strapped around my belly. Then the nurse attempted to check how dilated I was in the middle of a contraction. I told her to stop and wait until the contraction was done. Nick reinforced my request. As soon as the contraction was done she hardly checked for a second before she yelled, “plus 2 or plus 3, get her to a delivery room!” My inner thoughts were a cross between, “Well we certainly didn’t enter the way we did for the drama of it,” and “Thank you Jesus! This baby is coming soon!” They wheeled the bed to a delivery room. They had me get off the bed they wheeled me in on and get on the delivery bed. When we got in the delivery room Bea and Katie were there. A nurse asked if Nick wanted to grab a leg and he did. I remembered the entire pregnancy Nick said he did NOT want to hold a leg; he didn’t want to see my lower half and he wanted to stay up by my head. I was in no condition to start a conversation about it, but I was confused he grabbed a leg. (Later, I was told I kept saying "no" when Nick grabbed the leg and no one knew why. Nick said he’d come so far in the birth up to that point he didn’t want to miss out on the ending.) As I lay on the bed, I got instructions from what felt like 15 nurses. I think there were at least four nurses telling me how to breathe and push. Up to that point, I wasn’t using any breathing or pushing method, I was using raw instinct which I had to tell the nurses.
Bea was right by my head on the right side praising my pushes, breathing, moans and groans. They got my legs in a good position and I pushed with all my might at the next contraction. Someone told me his head was crowning and he had a lot of blonde hair. Words cannot describe how great it was to hear that! I prayed this baby would be a blondie, but I never thought in my wildest dreams that he’d be born with a lot of blonde hair. I reached my hand between my legs and felt his head crowing and a lot of hair. *Sigh* It was amazing motivation to push him out. The doctor told me I was tearing up toward my urethra which isn’t where a lady wants to tear and asked about an episiotomy. I didn’t want to tear my urethra so I agreed to an episiotomy. (This is the only part of this birth story that didn’t go to plan. I wish rolling to my side to move the pressure would have been offered, but hospital births often suggest medical intervention first.) At the next contraction, the doctor froze the area to receive an episiotomy and preformed the episiotomy. It didn’t feel good, but the baby about fell out of me as soon the episiotomy was complete.
They immediately put Gavin on my chest at 2:34pm! What a beautiful and magical moment! The moment I finally met this perfect baby that I’ve been feeling in my tummy for months and the moment child birth is over! Gavin wasn’t getting air like they wanted him to so they took him off my chest to a warming table about 10 feet away. Nick stayed with Gavin and held his hands and feet. It was wonderful to watch. I am so grateful for Katie capturing these moments and the birth with our camera. The doctor delivered my placenta and stitched up my tears and episiotomy. They placed Gavin back on my chest. Bea helped me latch Gavin onto my breast. Gavin fed well right away. He fed 20 minutes on my left side and 25 minutes on my right side. It was wonderful. Gavin was so alert. He immediately knew Nick and I were his Daddy and Mama from our voices. The doctor, nurses, and doulas left. The three of sat there in awe. I was in awe of this beautiful baby Nick and I had made. We laughed about what we had just gone through and what we’d just accomplished. It was the perfect beginning to our family of three.
Now that it is all said and done, Nick preaches to other expecting fathers to hire a doula! They are worth their weight in gold. As for me, I will work on Nick to have a home birth next time with a midwife (and Bea of course)!
I have only a few tricks up my sleeve, but making date balls is one of them. If you've been to Dad & Me yoga or Breastfeeding Basics, you've probably enjoyed these tasty treats. They are good for you, especially at the end of your pregnancy (I'm not making that up, it's science!). I'm finally sharing the "recipe" with you… but as I've said before, there is no real recipe. Just follow your heart!
1 c dates (pitted)
1/2 c walnuts (any nuts will work)
1 T coconut oil
Optional (pick and choose):
- Food grade orange oil
- Vanilla extract
- Cocoa powder
- Flaked coconut (unsweetened)
- Dried cherries, blueberries, or cranberries
Add ingredients to a food processor, and process. Roll into balls. Roll balls in dried coconut.
That's it. Not really a recipe, is it?
One thing I've learned: don't roll the balls in cocoa powder. It makes a mess when you try to eat them. Nuts and coconut work really well.
Kari Kwinn, ERYT500, RPYT, Doula, Midwife's Assistant is one of Enso's co-owners.
Excerpt from Birthing From Within by Pam England and Rob Horowitz
When autumn comes to New Mexico the aroma of green chile being roasted fills the air. Locals buy big burlap sacks of chile which are poured into a big drum that turns over a fire until the chile is charred (which then allows the skin to be peeled off).
Chile is mild, medium, hot and very hot!! Locals know enough to ask, “How hot is your chile?”
One day a newcomer to New Mexico stopped at the Grocery Emporium on Girard Boulevard and bought a bag of roasted chile. The aroma made her mouth water all the way home. Using her chile, she prepared a traditional New Mexican dinner. A few bites into the meal, her eyes began to water and her tongue burned painfully.
The following day she marched up to the chile roaster and began complaining that the chile he sold her was too hot. “Look lady,” he replied, “I just roast and sell chile. If you don’t like your chile hot, you should’ve asked me about it.”
Like the chile customer, you need to ask your birth attendant exactly what he/she is selling. Birth attendants and hospitals sell a “product” day in and day out. It’s your responsibility to learn more about their product (philosophy and services), and decide whether or not you want to wind up with a bag of it.
For whatever reason, you’ve had to schedule a c-section delivery date. It is not what you planned, but birth often doesn’t play by the “birth plan rules” we set. So here are a few things you can do to ensure that your cesarean birth is as peaceful and wonderful as a vaginal birth.
1. Get a doula! If you don’t already have a doula, it is time to hire one! I know, we all think that doula’s are only helpful for natural vaginal labors, but it turns out that doula’s play a very big role in assisting cesarean births as well! Your doula will walk you and your partner through a dry run of the surgery. She will discuss the details of the procedure, give your partner tips on how to support you during your cesarean birth and give you methods for creating a calm, beautiful birth space in the surgery room! A cesarean birth can be peaceful and beautiful!
2. Don’t ditch your birth plan! Don’t throw your birth plan out the window just yet, there are still so many choices and options available as part of a cesarean birth. It is time to get with your doula and create your cesarean birth plan. She can help you to create a reasonable plan that expresses those things that are important to your family while being practical in a cesarean birth space.
3. It’s not all about the birth! This may seem like an odd statement, but it’s true. We often spend so much time in childbirth education classes, learning about our labor options, and reading birth books, that we forget to prepare for our postpartum period. As it turns out, postpartum is often more challenging then labor! After all, that precious buddle doesn’t arrive with its unique “How To” guide! So begin to work with your doula to put together a strong postpartum care plan. It is important to ensure that you and your baby are properly supported and cared for both physically and emotionally during the entire the duration of your recovery. This is not the time to be Superwoman or to “Tough it out” ladies.
You hear it often, what more can you ask for if mama and baby are healthy. I say TONS! With our level of medical technology today, I call “Healthy Mama/Healthy Baby” the basic level of physical care. Of course there is always the possibility of the emergent situation, but IF that situation doesn’t manifest, why not shoot for the moon?
It is sensible to ask for appropriate family bonding considerations to be honored. It is reasonable to expect the proper emotional care from your provider during a cesarean birth. It is acceptable to request respect of your families overall birth experience. After all, it is the one day of your life that you will never forget!
By Bea Wilds, RYT, CLD. Bea is the Co-Owner of Enso. She is a labor doula, teaches prenatal yoga, plans blessingways, creates belly cast art and mama & me yoga.
Recently my 14 month old got some sort of stomach bug which resulted in me washing more loads of sheets in one day than I ever thought possible (9 for the record). Vomit and poop city. He’s normally a pretty good eater of solid foods and breastmilk, but when he was actively sick (i.e. making the sheets dirty) he would not tolerate solid food or water. A toddler that is not eating or drinking is not a situation I would wish to find myself in. Fortunately, we were able to breastfeed through his illness.
It’s pretty common in our country for people to wean their babies from breastmilk at around 12 months, but my thought for my family is, ‘why fix what isn’t broken?’ Having a breastfeeding relationship with a toddler works for my family. I was so thankful that we were still breastfeeding while my son was sick; I knew at the bare minimum he was getting some valuable nutrients and staying hydrated even though he was throwing up all food and the water he drank from his straw cup. I also knew that my immune system was helping him fight off this nasty stomach bug. He was only actively sick for a day and recovering for another day, then back to his normal self.
Unfortunately, I managed to catch the stomach bug and got really sick myself. Again, I was so thankful I was breastfeeding because I was able to feed my just-recovering-from-his-illness son without having to get out of my sick bed/off of my couch. He still wasn’t tolerating solids that day, so thankfully I got to stay out of the kitchen that day.
It actually took just over a week for my son to get his full appetite for solid food back. During that time he was nursing every few hours, and I could tell my supply was going up to meet his needs. It’s so amazing how my body was able to respond to what my son needed without me having to fret over it. When he was just picking at his food because he didn’t want to eat, I didn’t need to worry he was going to starve since he was getting everything he needed from my milk.
We have no plans of weaning now or in the foreseeable future. The value of breastfeeding a sick toddler or breastfeeding to soothe a toddler just learning to walk who falls down a lot is definitely worth maintaining our breastfeeding relationship to me. I know breastfeeding past a year isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s what works for my family. In the end I think most of us agree you need to do what’s best for your family, even if it’s not what everyone is doing.
Michelle is mama to a sweet one-year-old boy. She also teaches Baby Led Weaning at Enso.
This blog is not intended to be a source of medical information or advice. Please discuss all of your concerns with your care provider.