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What you will need:
2 quarts 100% apple juice
½ cup brown sugar
1 apple, unpeeled and cut in half
1 small naval orange, unpeeled and sliced into ¼-inch slices
2 tsp. whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp. allspice

 

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Carefully insert the whole cloves into the apple on both the flesh and skin sides.
2. Heat apple juice over medium heat in a large pot or dutch oven.
3. Once heated, add the brown sugar and stir to dissolve.

4. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer and let simmer for 20 minutes.

5. Promptly remove the apple halves, orange slices, cinnamon sticks and any clove remnants from the pot.

6. Let cool but still serve while warm.


.:Side Note:.

You can make a big batch of this and keep it in the fridge to warm up again later or serve as a nice cool drink.

If you’re into garnishing your drinks try adding apple chips to the rim or a cinnamon stick in the glass.

If you want to make this an alcoholic Autumn drink try adding any of the following.
Whiskey
Cinnamon schnapps
Grand Marnier
Jagermeister
Brandy
Bourbon
A nicely spiced rum, I suggest Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum or if you can find it Kraken Blacked Spiced Rum

Say goodbye to shoe laces…..

Because I found a great product that makes any pair of shoes with lace holes easy to slip on and they’re amazing.

They’re called Hickies and I stumbled upon them late one night when I was doing some internet window shopping.

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As many know my son has autism so shoes with laces can be rather frustrating for him. We’ve tried those twisty laces but they never seemed to last long or really do the job as good as they should. Shoes with velcro straps were starting to be out of the question as well since many of them are well ugly and the velcro straps quickly wear out meaning yet another shoe shopping trip in which both my son and I will just be miserable.

So when I saw this product I thought “Why not give them a try?”

They were reasonably cheap even with the currency conversion and shipping. Three pairs costed me just under $40 and that included a free pair with one of their bundle deals  as well as shipping cost. Now you may ask why buy so many for just trying a product, simple answer is  I wanted some for my favorite pair of runners too.

They really do work on any pair of shoes that has lace holes for normal laces, here is what they looked like on my son’s school shoes.

 

Not only do I approve of this product my son (age 7.) does as well. He is happy that he has these on his shoes so he can have even more independence with what many people over look as a simple task. I would recommend these to anyone young and old. They’re great for those who face daily challenges when it comes to tying shoes like those with autism, arthritis, hard time bending over…etc and they’re amazing for parents on the go or those morning joggers who find themselves having to stop mid jog/run to re-tie their shoes.

They are easy to “install” and come in many colors so go take a look, see what you like and give them a try.
https://www.hickies.com/

 

 

Sweet Potato Chip

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What you will need:
1 large sweet potato
2 tsp olive oil OR oil spray, for fat-free potato chips
1/4 tsp salt

*optional sprinkle garlic powder, onion powder, rosemary, cayenne, or any other spices you wish

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Heat the oven to 300 F
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a wire cooling tray over the baking sheet.

3. Peel the sweet potato if desired, then slice the sweet potato as thinly as possible, using a mandolin if you have one.

4. Try to cut the chips as evenly as possible so that they all take around the same time to bake without some burning while others are not yet crispy.

5. Soak in water for 10minutes to remove some of the starch, which helps them get crispier.

6. Pat dry, place in a large bowl, and toss with the oil or spray.
7. Toss with the spices, arrange the slices on a single layer on the cooling tray and then place on the middle rack in your oven.

8. Bake for 40 minutes.
9. Open the oven and remove any chips that are already starting to get crispy.
10. Continue baking the rest of the chips up to 20 minutes longer, being sure to keep an eye on them once they start to curl up. Once they start to look browned and a little crispy, remove, let cool, serve and enjoy.

.:Side Note:.
This recipe works great with yams or normal potatoes.

Serve and eat by themselves or use a ranch dressing for a  dipping option.

Quick little shout out….

….to a soon to be big name on YouTube.

If you want easy to follow gorgeous make up tutorials that you can do with both big brand name make up kits or make up found at the local pharmacy stores (like Shoppers Drug Mart), I highly recommending checking out my cousins new YouTube channel.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9Z3ZbinW7WGbpqp2IzBcgQ

Or you can find her on Instagram for daily looks and quick tutorials

https://www.instagram.com/megbaldini_makeupaddict/

I normally don’t do little shout outs like this but I’m so proud of the woman that she has become and is still growing to be. She has worked hard for everything she has done, over came some horrible situations and is now ready to share her passion of make-up with the world.

So go check out her social media and show some love to some of her work.

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Flavor ice cubes are a great idea to keep your Summer drinks cool but not have them watered down by the melting ice. Here are some of my favorite flavored ice cube recipes.

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Strawberry Ice Cubes:
Puree fresh or frozen strawberries and mix in a small amount of water. The consistency should be thick but pourable.  Fill ice cubes trays with the puree and place in the freezer until frozen.

Mint Ice Cubes:
Fill the ice cubes trays half way with water and place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. Remove and top the partially frozen cubes with fresh chopped mint, then fill with additional filtered water as needed. Place back in the freezer until frozen.

Pomegranate Ice Cubes:
Take a couple tablespoons of pomegranate seeds and place them in a small amount of  water. Using the edge of a knife crush the seeds to release the flavorful juices. Pour the mixture into the ice cube trays, toss a few additional pomegranate seeds in each cavity, and place in the freezer until frozen.

Pineapple and Raspberry Ice Cubes:
Puree fresh or frozen pineapple chunks and mix in a small amount of water. The consistency should be thick but pourable.  Fill ice cubes trays with the puree and place in the freezer until frozen.

For the raspberry cubes, follow the same directions as above. These are also fun to do as a half and half ice cube. Just fill the ice cube tray half way with one mixture, freeze, then repeat with the other mixture.

BlackBerry and Blueberry Ice Cubes:
Puree fresh or frozen blueberries and mix in a small amount of water. The consistency should be thick but pourable.  Fill ice cubes trays with the puree and place in the freezer until frozen.

For the blackberry cubes, follow the same directions as above. These are also fun to do as a half and half ice cube. Just fill the ice cube tray half way with one mixture, freeze, then repeat with the other mixture.

Lemon and Mint Ice Cubes:
Squeeze 2-4 lemons. Combine the lemon juice with a small amount of water. Fill ice cube trays with the juice mixture, sprinkle with dried lemon peel granules and and diced mint then place in the freezer until frozen.

Coffee Ice Cubes:
Don’t dump that last little bit of this mornings coffee down the drain, fill the ice cube tray and let it freeze to make a nice iced coffee later on this afternoon.

Crab&AvocadoSalad

What you will need:
1/2 cup crab meat
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
1/2 tbsp light mayonnaise
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tsp red onion, diced finely
1-2 tsp jalapeño, diced finely
1 tsp lime zest
Juice from 1/2 a lime
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Dash of cumin
1 avocado

 

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. In a bowl combine the crab meat, mayonnaise, cilantro, red onion, jalapeño, lime zest, lime juice, sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, and cumin together.

2. Slice avocado in half and pit it.
3. Spoon the crab mixture into each avocado half and serve immediately

 

 

.:Side Note:.
If you don’t like the taste of crab the recipe works great with shrimp as well.
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This lovely blog popped up in my news feed and after reading it, I believe it is well worth the share.

It’s easy to group those with Autism with a single label even though each person who has it are/can be very different from someone else who is on the same part of the spectrum as themselves. This blog was not only relatable to my son and my life ( more so him since he is the one who was properly diagnosed with Autism) and a great reminder that not all autistic children will fit your image of what an autistic child may look like or how they may behave.

Enjoy the read.

A Moms Responds When People Wonder If Her Daughter Really Has Autism

Mini Pumpkin Tarts

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What you will need:
30 tart shells
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups of canned pumpkin (or pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1 1/4 cups of evaporated milk
Whipped Topping

 

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk
2. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until mixed
3. Spread out the tart shells onto a cookie sheet (you might need two)
4.
Using a 1/4 measuring cup, spoon the pumpkin filling into each tart shell.
5. Bake at 375F for about 30 minutes or until crust starts to golden
6. Let cool and dollop whipped topping onto each with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

 

.:Side Notes:.
I find the perfect amount for each shell to be just a little less than 1/4 cup, so it’s a good way to keep them even and ensure you have enough filling for the shells

You can also freeze them once cooled (in an airtight container) and take them out to enjoy whenever you like.

If you are looking for a change from the normal everyday pumpkin pie, try adding some crushed walnuts on top for a nice little crunch. You could also add a drizzle of salted caramel, maple caramel or chocolate sauce on top as well.

I’m asked all the time “Why are you so tired?” and it’s just easier to say “Bad nights sleep” then to go into details on how it can be exhausting mentally, physically and emotionally when not only are you a single mom but a single mom to a child who is labeled “special needs”. The problem is most people don’t want to hear real the explanation and much like other parents we know it is because people are busy or simply won’t understand so it’s easy to make up something that won’t bring up many other questions. We also don’t want to feel like a burden onto those around us. Now my lovely readers you’re probably trying to figure out where I’m going with all this and it’s simple…..

YOU’RE NOT ALONE and you’re far from a burden when it comes to asking for help or looking for someone to talk to.

There is a lovely blog written by Life Over C’s that I think can explain this topic a little better than me, because even though everyone’s situation is different her blog entry is very relatable. It’s well worth the read even if you’re not the parent of a special needs child. The link of the blog can be found right below….

Why Special Needs Moms are Exhausted All the Time, But Will Never Ask for Help

Even though she writes about her youngest daughter having Rett Syndrome, I can relate to a lot of it even though my son has Autism. I found myself going through a lot of the same things, like how screen time is a life saver and how we both have the fear of “If I leave the room to go to the bathroom, will my child be ok” and being labeled a neglectful parent if something does happen in those few seconds we took to run to the bathroom to pee.

So go ahead and pop over to her blog and give it a read.

Remember that yes while we are tired we are still normally up for a friend bringing us a coffee and chatting.

.:Side Note:.
I like my coffee chilled like a frappuccino or something iced

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What you will need:
2 pie dough rounds, store bought brand of your choice
3 1/2 cups quartered strawberries, tops removed
3 1/2 cups  rhubarb, diced
3/4 cup  brown sugar
1/4 cup quick cooking tapioca
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Heavy cream

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Get one of your rolled out pie dough rounds to a pan, letting a bit of the crust overhang.

3. In a large bowl add strawberries, rhubarb, dark brown sugar, tapioca, lemon juice and salt.

4. Stir until the mixture is evenly coated.
5. Add filling to the prepared pie crust.

6. Cover the pie with the remaining rolled pie crust, cut all but 1/2 inch of the overhanging crust. Crimp the dough together to create a crust around the edges.

7. Cut 4 slits into the top of the pie.
8. Transfer pie to a baking sheet and brush the top of the pie with a little heavy cream.
9. Bake for 20 minutes and then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes. The pie is ready when the top is golden brown and some of the juices bubble out.

10. Remove pie from the oven and let cool completely before slice.

 
.:Side Notes:.
YES YOU MUST LET IT COOL COMPLETELY!!! If not it will run like crazy when you try to cut out a slice.

Feel free to keep the top simple or you can get fancy like I did doing a lattice style top and using extra pie crust dough to make blossoms. Cookie cutters come in handy too if you want to make stars, leaves, cut outs in a top pie crust…etc