Dynamo: Shengzhen

Dynamo: Shengzhen - Talking about Tai Chi

THE BACK STORY:

Chinese Grandmas practicing Tai Chi has been an intriguing thing for me for quite some time. Since a neighbor had her baby, her mother has been here helping out and gracing our street with her Tai Chi. I love to know my neighbors, we have a great neighborhood and I feel comfortable with my family living around such kind and caring people. This interview was a perfect opportunity to strengthen that bond.

When we were in grad school at UC Davis we lived in the on-campus family housing. Over half the population of the complex had a Chinese origin. I loved seeing the Grandmas with the babies visiting at the park. I loved how they picked up my super chubby little girl who had one thigh bigger than their little baby’s legs put together, saying “oohhh!” and pointing at her amazing rolls. One of these sweet ladies even brought us homemade dumplings. I think it’s amazing how we have different languages and cultures that bind us together. At the same time, I sometimes wish those barriers were more easily crossed so I could understand these amazing women. One thing is sure, we all think family is important, we all know that hard work is absolutely necessary, and we do what we can to build up those around us.

Since this interview with Shengzhen she has brought me some rice and meat packages tied in green banana leaves. I don’t know their name, how long it took to make them, or the tradition behind them. I know that she made them with sincerity and individual care. I might not speak her language and I might not ever practice Tai Chi, but Shengzhen is a woman of grace and as women we are connected across all boundaries. Shengzhen loves her family, she believes in hard work, and her Tai Chi is both beautiful and inspiring.

Shengzhen’s story is part of Dynamo, a series of posts dedicated to showing real people, real power-houses, who inspire me and people around them in their healthy living. They might not always think they do, but I believe that we each influence others more than we realize or recognize. That inspiration is empowering for others and themselves. I believe in the good of every person and I believe that this and stories to follow can change our outlook, our dedication, and our perception of the people around us. Up next in the Dynamo community, I introduce Dynamo: Shengzhen.

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Dynamo: Shengzhen - Talking about Tai Chi

Where are you from?

I’m from the capital of AnHui, the city is HeFei, in the middle of China. You know the Avatar movie, the capital of our providence inspired that movie. It’s 7 hours West of Shanghai or 2 hours by train.

What is one of your favorite things about home?

Nothing special! It’s home. Family is everything. GaoWan (is what she said family is to her) Gao is tall/high/upmost, Wan is “everything”. Nothing else in the world is better than home. It could be nothing special but everything. 

Why do you do tai chi?

Chinese martial art, I do it for exercise…. 

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Build Your Own Wild Rice Salad

Wild Rice Salad

Things are changing around here, I can feel it.

I’m paying more attention to the things I say yes to, knowing that when I say yes, I say no to something else. (Thanks to my friend Kristin for teaching me that.)

I’m listening to my heart and filling my day with the things that fill me up. I’m running, lifting, and doing yoga. I’m also helping in the school, organizing, and cooking. I’m trying to watch out for my literal & figurative neighbors and I’m connecting with new people. I’m taking time to think and feel and discover my center – that part of you can’t really touch. And I’m constantly trying to spend good amounts of time with my children, making sure every day they know how much I love them and want to listen to them.

Our home gym is getting a makeover – which I’ll be revealing here on Carrot Bowl this week.

Soups are starting to take over the weekly menu, thanks to the changing seasons.

Wild Rice Salad

Tyler and I are gearing up to have the “no Santa” talk with our oldest. He has brought it up several times now, but with the other kids around, and he says that no one else believes it (to which I’m assuming his friends) and “how can their really be magic reindeer, anyway.” A part of my heart feels like it has a hole ripped out even considering this. It seems like we just got to this magical time with all the kids and then it was over so fast! This isn’t fair! But at the same time, I’m trying to think of the positive, how he can help with the magic for his siblings. He’s a good boy and he will be excited about “helping,” but even so, I’m trying not to feel sad…. 

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Lettuce Turnip the Beet

Lettuce Turnip the Beet

This was one of those awesome times that I accidentally had the perfect shirt find. Don’t you love those?! This shirt is the perfect combo of fun, food, and a little sass. I love that my little guy knows what it says and tells lots of people whenever he wears it. Every time, people think it’s clever and I agree.

Graphic food shirts, yes please. I really think I need to get myself one. In case you are pining for this one, I found it at Crazy 8 and they still have some left.

There is actually a whole Etsy shop for shirts with the “Lettuce Turnip the Beet” graphic. The baseball T is looking good. Or maybe just the v-neck.

I want this “Lettuce be Happy” shirt in an adult size.

This “Hangry” shirt should probably be in all our closets. And when kids are hangry…watch out. Do your kids get crazy hangry like mine? It’s scary.

Because it’s totally random, this “Duck, Duck, Goose” shirt is kinda cool.

And because kale is so the thing right now…I know it annoys some people, but come-on, it’s way better than liver being the thing…“Thyme to raise some kale” shirt is looking pretty good.

Or these Kale shirts.

Or maybe these ones.

And still, maybe this one that I’ve had my eye on for a while.

We must like to eat because there sure are a lot of food shirts out there. Aahhh, choices. Happy food shirt day everyone!

Dynamo: Sierra

Dynamo: Sierra

THE BACK STORY:

I have friends who have secrets. They look all regular yet their hidden skills, when known, add so much depth and personality to them. It’s one of my favorite things to get to know these types of inner workings. We are layered beings, where the longer we mesh and the longer we trust each other, the more the layers are peeled back and we find out how to love, admire, appreciate, and accept each other. If we get to this point, we probably know what could hurt each other too. As friends we protect each other’s vulnerabilities and forgive our shortcomings. As a whole package deal, we become privileged to each other’s privacy and heart-thoughts.

Sierra is one of those friends for me.

When I found out about Sierra’s swim coaching, I was intrigued. As I talked with her, she took me to coaching, to mothering, to loving your body, and moving forward from where you are right now. She is real, she is a mother, she’s a swim coach, and she’s the friend you want to have.

Sierra’s story is part of Dynamo, a series of posts dedicated to showing real people, real power-houses, who inspire me and the people around them in their healthy living. They might not always think they do, but I believe that we each influence others more than we realize or recognize. That inspiration is empowering for others and themselves. I believe in the good of every person and I believe that this and stories to follow can change our outlook, our dedication, and our perception of the people around us. Up next in the Dynamo community, I introduce Dynamo: Sierra.

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Dynamo: Sierra

Who are you?

I think in life and in general we are many things. We aren’t just one thing. With stereotypes we get categorized as one thing but we are so much more than that. I always think about when I was in high school and college and I was into soccer a lot, the only people who asked me out were people who I played soccer with. And I was like, “did they ask me out because I’m good at soccer, is that the only reason? I’m so much more than just a soccer player!” Now I think, like everyone else, there’s so many things that we all do and we’re so much more than just one thing.

You’re a swim coach right now, have you been a swim coach before?

I coached in college. Right after high school I moved to Logan, UT and I started coaching for the summer for a club, the Bronze team. I coached all through college. I also coached a year of high school swim team as the head coach after I got home from my mission.

Dynamo: Sierra

Who has influenced your active lifestyle?

There were lots of people along the way. My dad worked for the forest service and we always went on hikes and were outside and went camping. I remember starting to swim and my sister-in-law taught lessons to me. I was 4.

I think I’ve had some amazing women mentors in my life. Which is actually kinda rare in coaching, you just see more men in general in a lot of things. My sister-in-law Shari Skabelund coached me from the time that I knew her, my brother and her were married before I was born, so she’s been coaching forever. And at a higher level too.

And Yoland Bates who I went to coach with in Logan after high school, she coached club for a long long time and has been very successful. Her and my sister-in-law swam together at BYU and she is actually from Mexico. She was on the Mexico National Swim Team. She now coaches at BYU.

Having and seeing those people in those positions, it’s something that I took for granted. Looking through my eyes now, that’s actually a rarity in having those two very strong women that were close to me to observe…. 

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Chocolate Chip Cherry Torte Bars

Cherry Chocolate Chip Bars

After running the Oregon Half Marathon two weeks ago, the watermelon at the end of the race tasted amazing. On top of that, they had a table full of snack-sized lara bars for everyone to take at will. I had several that I’d never tried before including: Sticky Bun and Chocolate Chip Cherry Torte Bars. Both were so good. I was expecting the sticky bun one to be too sweet, I mean really, it’s named like a cinnamon roll. It was surprisingly light and the cinnamon in it was perfect with the nuttiness. And the chocolate chips and cherries, yes please. I’ve been wanting to experiment with cherries in my date bars, so this pushed me over the edge. I had to make some up.

Cherry Chocolate Chip Bars

I’ve made these a couple times now and really like them. They are the perfect thing to wrap up in some parchment paper and deliver to friends. Like yesterday I took some to a friend for letting me throw a dresser in their large dumpster. (Thanks to an upcoming boy bedroom reveal and that it was simply falling apart). If you are going to make a double batch, make sure to make it in two batches so you don’t burn out your food processor. I might be saying this from experience. I had to dump some of mine out because I started to see smoke. No bueno. … 

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Smoothie Bowl Basics

Smoothie Bowl

Does anyone else have a growing pile of papers on their desk? I think it has something to do with school having started, feeling like I can’t cross off as many things on my list as I need to, and being a full-blown soccer mom for the next two months. Busy means happy for the kids though. They have a balance of school, down-time, homework, and extra activities – like most kids, they thrive on some routine. For me, all this means that I’m squeezing in food where I can. This is where knowing some smoothie bowl basics comes in handy.

This is simple people. If you are looking for something healthy, nutty, fruity, and filling = taaadaaa!! Here it is.

Here’s the super not complicated tricks to a smoothie bowl:
* make a smoothie
* pour it in a bowl
* top it with stuff
* eat it

When I make a smoothie, I like to make lots of it. I use some in that moment and pour the rest into cups that I stick in the freezer. These come in handy for my late night snacks, tomorrow’s breakfast, or maybe just 2nd breakfast. It makes a smoothie bowl even quicker if you have some prepared that you can just soften in the microwave (just make sure not to heat it, just soften).

I like to include fruit chunks in my bowl, mango and blueberries being my top choices. Banana slices will make their way there as well. I always keep frozen fruit on hand for this reason. Fresh peaches, pineapples, plums, nectarines, and kiwis would be great as well. Really, what fruit could make this go wrong? Is there any stinky ones? That would be gross. Don’t do those ones.

To give the crunch factor, I like to add sliced almonds and seeds.  I usually have sunflower and pumpkin seeds around, so that’s easy. For extra crunch, I like to add my granola or some grape nuts.

I often stop there, if it’s morning. But to be honest, if this is an evening snack there’s definitely going to be some mini chocolate chips thrown in there too.

I know I’ve talked about smoothie bowls before, but really, this is an underestimated meal/snack/get-in-my-belly-now food choice. So yah, here I am talking about it again. Cheers to green smoothies today and I hope you have a really good one!

Smoothie Bowl

And because I really believe in you and your amazingness…here’s a little reminder for the day:

magical person you are

(via my pinterest board quotes to live by)