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Has something ever shown up in your social media feed and hit real close to home. Well that’s what happened to me last night. Like most people I was laying in bed, gwacking at my cell phone because I couldn’t fall asleep and after mindlessly scrolling down my feed I came across a blog post by another mommy whose words rang so very true. Here is what she wrote….

“More often than not, there are days when no coffee in the world can touch your exhaustion. And when you’re ready to tag in your partner, oh wait…that’s you. You’re it.

There are times when things just don’t seem fair, and you know what, it’s probably because they aren’t. But you rise above anyway.

There are moments, many moments, when you question whether or not one person is capable of all you are called to duty for, and whether a human body is equipped for it or not. But somehow you find a way.

There are evenings when all is quiet in the house, and you feel not only a sense of relief, but also pain from the deafening silence. It seems inconceivable that someone could feel both of these things simultaneously, but it is indeed possible.

There are mornings when you wish you could ask for just a few more minutes, but no, those little humans are waiting and ready and depending on you. When you’re called up to the plate, there is no substitute.

There are situations where you simply stop dead in your tracks and ask, “Why?” followed by a quick, “And how will I…?” Despite usually not getting your answer, you still put one foot in front of the other and off you go.

You’re one person for a job that requires more like four.

You’re one caretaker who yearns for the day when you, too, will be taken care of. But until then, you will push on.

You’re one provider living in an economy where the majority of the time it takes at least two incomes to even scrape by.

You’re one parent who is beating the odds, more often than not doing what seems unmanageable even when there are two.

But while you’re one, you’re doing it. Some days are harder than others, but here you are—one more day. Just when you say you can’t, seconds later you are living “I can.”

To all single parents: You were, you are, and you will. You’re incredible.

Here’s to one more day of being a gladiator.”

I don’t know if it was because of the lack of sleep, caffeine levels being very low or the fact that I just found out my washer decided to demolish itself from the inside out but what she wrote was something that I needed to hear. I’m a single parent and yes there are times where I wish someone would just tell me “You know you’re acting dumb, but I still love you” while giving me a kiss on the forehead and a much needed hug. However that’s just not in the cards  for me right now (by my own doing) and you know what that’s ok, it doesn’t change the fact that I will doing anything for my son or change how much I enjoy the time we spend together.  It also doesn’t change the fact that I’m doing the work of many on my own, which even though I’d enjoy a vacation I’m oddly ok with. All this being said I hope that her words make you feel better as well.

Here is the link to Regans’ original blog post:
http://www.scarymommy.chttp://www.scarymommy.com/single-parent-pushes-on/om/single-parent-pushes-on/

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Popcorn is a yummy snack but can some times get boring, here are some ideas to change it up. I haven’t tried these with microwavable popcorn so here is my go to way on how to pop popcorn kernels.

What you will need:
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons canola oil

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Add 2 tablespoons of canola oil along with a few popcorn kernels to a large, deep pot, and set on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Those few kernels are the key to knowing when the oil is hot enough to add the rest.

2. Once the first kernel pops, add 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels to the pot. Cover the pot with a splatter screen, or partially cover with a lid.

3. Gently shake the pot to prevent the kernels from burning, and cook until there’s about four or five seconds between pops. By that point, just about all of the kernels should be popped.

.:Side Note:.
A half-cup of kernels doesn’t seem like a lot, but it roughly makes 10 cups once it’s all popped.

 

Honey Brown Popcorn
What you will need:
1/4 cup of unsalted butter
1/4 cup of honey
1/2 teaspoon salt

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Prepare popcorn as directed above.
2. In a small saucepan brown the unsalted butter.
3. Remove from the heat and whisk in  honey and salt.
4. Drizzle over the bowl of popcorn and stir until the popcorn is well-coated.

 

Matcha & Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt
What you will need:
3 ounces of good-quality dark chocolate
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 teaspoons of matcha powder
1 teaspoon of flaky sea salt

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Prepare the popcorn as directed above.
2. Combine 3 ounces of good-quality dark chocolate and coconut oil in a small saucepan, and melt over low heat, stirring constantly.

3.Sprinkle matcha powder over the popcorn and stir until the popcorn is well-coated.
4. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the popcorn and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Eat immediately or chill in the fridge for 10 minutes to let the chocolate set.

 

Dill Pickle
What you will need:
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons dried dill
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon citric acid
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup of unsalted butter

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Prepare the popcorn as directed above.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together ground coriander, dried dill, ground mustard, 1 garlic powder, onion powder, celery seed, citric acid, salt.

3. Melt the unsalted butter over low heat then drizzle the butter and sprinkle the herb mixture over the popcorn, then stir until the popcorn is well-coated.

 

Cookies & Cream
What you will need:
10 ounces of white chocolate
2 tablespoons coconut oil
12 Oreos (1 sleeve), crushed

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Prepare the popcorn as directed above.
2. Combine the white chocolate and coconut oil in a small saucepan, and melt over low heat, stirring constantly.

3. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the popcorn, top the crushed Oreos, and then stir until well-coated. Eat immediately or chill in the fridge for 10 minutes to let the chocolate
set.

 

Buffalo Wing Style Popcorn
What you will need:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot sauce (your favorite hot sauce will work just as well)

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Prepare the popcorn as directed above.
2. Combine the butter with the Frank’s Red Hot sauce in a small microwave-safe cup.
3. Heat on high power at 15 second intervals until completely melted.
4. Toss with popcorn in a large bowl and serve.

 

Cool Ranch Popcorn
What you will need:
2 tablespoons powdered buttermilk
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon popcorn salt (or 2 teaspoons kosher salt)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Prepare the popcorn as directed above.
2. Combine the powdered buttermilk,  ground black pepper, dried dill, and popcorn salt .
3. Drizzle the popcorn with the extra-virgin olive oil in a large bowl and toss to coat.
4. Add the seasoning mix and toss again. Serve and enjoy

 

Lemongrass Chili Lime Popcorn
What you will need:
2 teaspoons grated zest from a lime
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon popcorn salt (or 2 teaspoons kosher salt)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemongrass stalk (the pale green and purple inner parts only), finely chopped

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Prepare the popcorn as directed above.
2. Combine lemongrass, lime zest, cream of tartar, sugar, chili powder, and popcorn salt. 3. Drizzle the popcorn with the extra-virgin olive oil in a large bowl and toss to coat.
4. Add the seasoning mix and toss again. Serve and enjoy.

Being a parent is one of the greatest joys in life, but it also is one of the most challenging experiences one can possibly face. From the sweet moments of laughing and watching your little one discover new things to the difficult moments like an unexpected tantrum over the wrong color cup. No matter what you are always there for them… and sometimes, it can be really easy to get worn out.

I came across  Bethany Jacobs in my news feed and saw a letter she wrote where she describes some of those highs and lows. The lows can feel unbearable, but Bethany has three words for the moms (any parent really) who feel they’re failing: “You are enough”. I’ll share her letter below, it has already touched the hearts of so many moms– and dads- out there.

” To the mom hiding in her bathroom, needing peace for just one minute, as the tears roll down her cheeks..

To the mom who is so tired she feel likes she can’t function anymore and would do anything to lay down and get the rest she needs…

To the mom sitting in her car, alone, stuffing food in her face because she doesn’t want anyone else to see or know she eats that stuff…

To the mom crying on the couch after she yelled at her kids for something little and is now feeling guilty and like she is unworthy…

To the mom that is trying desperately to put those old jeans on because all she really wants is to look in the mirror and feel good about herself…

To the mom that doesn’t want to leave the house because life is just too much to handle right now…

To the mom that is calling out for pizza again because dinner just didn’t happen the way she wanted it to…

To the mom that feels alone, whether in a room by herself or standing in a crowd…

You are enough.
You are important.
You are worthy.

This is a phase of life for us. This is a really really hard, challenging, crazy phase of life.

In the end it will all be worth it. But for now it’s hard. And it’s hard for so many of us in many different ways. We don’t always talk about it, but it’s hard and it’s not just you.

You are enough.
You are doing your best.
Those little eyes that look up at you – they think you are perfect. They think you are more than enough.

Those little hands that reach out to hold you – they think you are the strongest. They think you can conquer the world.

Those little mouths eating the food you gave them – they think that you are the best because their bellies are full.

Those little hearts that reach out to touch yours – they don’t want anything more. They just want you.

Because you are enough. You are more than enough, mama.

You. Are. Amazing. ”

The original post can be found on her Facebook page (it’s also posted below), if you’re looking for a group that was originally founded out of a moms need for support and community in the early days and months of motherhood than I think her page is one you should check out.
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It’s that time of year again but this year instead of a necklace you can show your support via these lovely earrings. They can be bough at any London Drugs location across British Columbia and Alberta, are only $20 and the proceeds go to the newly built Pacific Autism Family Centre

The puzzle piece to me has many meanings the most important part is that it is a small piece to help represent my son. No matter what he will always be my son, my world, my heart and my reason for doing a lot of the things I do. Without him I wouldn’t have a complete picture and don’t think my life, much like a puzzle, would ever be complete.

Autism is something we’re still trying to understand since everyone who is effected by autism is affected differently, even if they are on the same part of the spectrum. I’ve mentioned the following groups / sites before for those looking for support / information or just to see that you’re not alone and your child (or yourself) will be just fine even though they have autism. Autism doesn’t need a cure it needs understanding and less ignorance by those who don’t have it in their lives either by themselves, family or friends. There are many successful people who have kept their autism quiet in fear or being judged or thought less of. We hear about some of their stories but in the end anyone autism or not are capable of wonderful things and can be/do anything they work for.

In case you missed the links to the group / sites I normally mention when I bring up autism awareness here they are again.

Pacific Autism Family Centre,
a centre of excellence / network of supports for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (both young and old) and their families across the province.
http://pacificautismfamily.com/

Bryan’s’ group
, it is a great source of support for those with Autism or parents / friends of those who are living with Autism:
https://www.facebook.com/AspergerSyndromeAwareness/

Autism Speaks Canada, has lots of information and goes into deeper detail then I ever could.
http://www.autismspeaks.ca/

Canucks Autism Network (CAN), they provide year-round, high- quality sports, recreational, arts, and social programs for individuals and families living with autism, while spreading awareness and providing training in communities across British Columbia.
http://www.canucksautism.ca/

Sorry for my absence….

Life gets crazy no matter who you are.

My life as of lately has been sort of a gong show mixed with a delicate balancing act, kind of like one you’d see at Cirque Du Soleil. I wanted to take a quick moment to say I am sorry if you have been waiting for a yummy new recipe, life update or any of my randomness. I will be posting again soon but just need a few more weeks before getting back to my weekly posts.

I promise to make it up with something super yummy.
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When my son Keegan was diagnosed with Autism, it helped shed some light on why some things are the way they are. With his diagnoses came a whole new world of information that would be overwhelming for anyone, let alone a newly single parent who like any parent just wants the best for their child. I came across Puzzled Jewelry while learning about autism activity groups / random information on autism itself and the Pacific Autism Family Centre, since then I have followed their projects that bring more awareness to those with autism.

This year Puzzled Jewelry are doing it again and came up with wonderful puzzle piece earrings that will be hitting the shelves of London Drugs at all locations across British Columbia in March. HOWEVER you can get yours early with the purchase of your ticket to their fundraiser  A Night to Support The Pacific Autism Family Centre . It will be held on February 18th, 2017 and will be a night filled with food, drinks, music, dancing as well as some casino fun! Plus when you buy your ticket you’ll get the lovely earrings before ANYONE ELSE ! !

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Tickets to the event can be bought here:
https://tricitiesbc.snapd.com/#/events/view/1015018

For those who can’t make it to the even but still want to purchase a pair of earrings remember you won’t miss out, these will be available March 2017.

If you want more information for the Pacific Autism Family Centre it can be found here:
http://pacificautismfamily.com/

To find out more about Puzzled Jewelry you can find them on Facebook and their website

Again I’d like to personally thank the moms who started Puzzled Jewelry for not only making cute jewelry but more importantly bringing more awareness to autism and helping the Pacific Autism Family Centre.

More than meets the eye…

When you see a disabled person, do you think about the person beyond the disability? Do you make an effort know the person behind the face you see?

Same goes for if you see someone who looks “normal“, do you ever think their disability is an act for attention or an excuse to get out of responsibilities ?

The bottom line is a person with a disability is a person first, and their disability only make a small part of who they are.

No one wants to be treated different, feel left out or alone. Many over come their disabilities or find ways to cope but when they then speak out about them there is a lot of judgement where there should be understanding.  This needs to change. There are so many people who keep their mental disabilities / struggles to themselves (myself one of them) in fear of being treated different, shown pity or judged. When I finally open up to people about my anxiety, insomnia and newly diagnosed PTSD  (Ok, not so new I was diagnosed in 2013) people seem to be taken back and don’t know how to react. Which is fine at first, because all they have got to know/see is someone who is compassionate, strong willed, understanding, appears to have her shit together…etc. My son gets the same reaction which I’m sure he’ll learn to smirk at or shrug off because he is so much more than his autism. We all have our struggles no matter if they’re physical, mental or us just trying to deal with what life has thrown our way. In the end people need to show more compassion/understanding, not just show pity but try to actually see a persons worth and ability through their disability.

Yes I have my mental disabilities but I am so much more. I am a single mom to a wonderful little boy. I’m a person who rather spend time in the company of animals then with people. I’m someone who is compassionate, very empathetic,  yet is quick witted and very clever. I am a certified trained chef, music junkie (My playlist has everything from classical to dub-step, metal to R&B..etc), lover of the arts and outdoors. My Anxiety, Insomnia and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are all just a small part of me and the positive traits that make me who I am are so much better than the mental disability labels that people like to put on me.

Compassion is something that seems to be fading away in today’s world and I’m writing this in hopes that it helps people remember that a little understanding goes a lone way. Show it not only towards those with disabilities but to everyone. You never know what someone is going through and sometimes offering to listen judgement free helps more than anyone would ever think. So please remember to be kind, show compassion and just learn to love people for who they are and not just the labels that society may put on them.

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What you will need:
3-4 large zucchini
1 cup panko
2 eggs
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried basil
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

 

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Pre-heat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil or parchment paper, then set aside.

2. Combine 2 eggs in a small shallow bowl and set aside.
3. Combine the panko, parmesan cheese and spices in another bowl and set aside.
4. Prepare zucchini by trimming the ends and cutting into ½ inch strips or slices.
5. Dip zucchini strips into egg mixture then in breadcrumb mixture and transfer to the baking sheet. Repeat until all the zucchini strips are coated with egg and breadcrumbs.

6. Bake in preheated oven, turning once, until golden and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and crispy

 

.:Side Notes:.
If you can’t find panko feel free to use normal breadcrumbs, you can use already seasoned panko or breadcrumbs as well.

These are great to dip in a chipotle mayo, ranch, tzatziki, but your favorite dipping sauce will be great as well I’m sure.

If by some chance you have left overs DO NOT MICROWAVE, re-heat them in the oven and they will keep that crispy coating. I normally re-heat items like this on a non-stick baking sheet in the oven while it pre-heats to 425F.

If you want them super crispy you can do the breading part ( step 5 ) twice.

 

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What you will need:
1 piece of ginger, preferably 1-inch long
1 piece of turmeric root, preferably 1-inch long
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon honey
Ground pepper, just a pinch
A juicer

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Peel the ginger and turmeric root then juice it.
2. Mix with juice of 1 lemon, honey, and a pinch of black pepper.
3. Serve immediately.

 
.:Side Notes:.
This is a great go to if you feel a cold coming on. The immune-boosting, pain reliving benefits of ginger and the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric is just the thing your system need to help fight a cold.

If you don’t have a juicer that’s ok, you can use a blender just blend the ginger and turmeric root with the juice of the lemon and a little water and be sure to strain the concoction before you drink it.

If you can’t find turmeric root, powder works just fine.

….be grateful.

It’s easy to get swept up in the every day mindset of always wanting more, or doing better and that’s not a bad thing. Having goals / personal drive is something we should all have however that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be grateful for what we do have.

We see it on the news, hear it on the radio, read it in our Social Media feds there are many families who do struggle and go without. It’s more reason to take a moment to truly appreciate what you do have in your life, a roof over your head, warm food, clean clothes to wear, a place to lay your head to rest, the list could easily go on.

Maybe while you’re taking that moment to realize what you have to be grateful for you can also find it in you to pass it forward and give to a local charity. It doesn’t have to be money, maybe there is an old pair of shoes you don’t wear anymore, some clothes that don’t fit, old books or household goods. There are many charities that will accept all of this and much much more. They will even make sure it gets into the hands of someone truly in need of it, and who knows that one simple gesture may just be what someone needs to make a real difference in their life.

With all this in mind, please be grateful for the things you do have no matter how big or small they might be. However don’t also forget to be kind and show some compassion towards others not only at this time of year but all year as well.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Festive Kwanza, Blessed Yule…etc. Whatever you are celebrating I hope you have a good time filled with loved ones, wonderful new memories and full bellies.