July 9, 2020

Things I would tell my 8-year-old Self

This post is a compilation of a bunch of things I've written in my journal over the past few months. There's nothing so special about my eight-year-old self, but since I also once wrote a list of things I imagined my 80-year-old self would say, I thought it was fitting to also look backwards and share some wisdom with myself at age 8.  

Some of these are things I learned over the past three years working with a truly amazing counseling professional. Others are just things I've picked up or heard along the way. Feel free to choose any that you like and share with your younger self too! 
  • Feelings aren't good or bad. They just are.*
*I'm making this one bigger than the rest, because I think it's so important. I didn't realize just how much I had previously believed that only certain feelings were acceptable to have and others were not....which made dealing with feelings pretty challenging. It was while working with my counselor that I started to challenge this belief and have finally started embracing the idea that there are no good or bad feelings...feelings just are. 
  • How you feel matters. 
  • You're not the only one who feels this way. 
  • It's okay if you don't understand your feelings all the time. Just let them come and see what happens when you don't try to stuff them down or shove them aside. 
  • When you are feeling sad or angry or frustrated, take a minute to dig deeper into the feeling. It might be coming from a place of loneliness or anxiety or fear. 
  • You probably won't be an expert at something you haven't practiced. 
  • Not knowing how to put words to your feelings sometimes is normal. Sometimes our brain and our mouth need time to catch up. 
  • It's okay not to want to talk until you've had some time to collect your thoughts. 
  • It's okay to set boundaries about certain subjects or topics. 
  • Nobody has to understand how you feel about your faith, Heaven & Hell, God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, church, etc. 
  • It's okay to cry. 
  • Not everybody is watching and criticizing you, waiting for you to screw up. 
  • It's okay to be wrong and say so. 
  • It's okay to change your mind. Even if it used to feel like things could only be one way, you can decide right now in this very moment to do it differently.  
  • Every breath is a chance to start anew.
  • Where you are is okay. You're always growing and changing, even when you feel stagnant. 
  • It's okay to move slowly sometimes. 
  • It's okay to not know the answer. Not all questions get answered.  
  • It's okay if you aren't sure what questions to ask.
  • It's okay to do things you enjoy without any possibility of turning them into a career or a money making venture.
  • You can set the standard for yourself. There is no outside standard you have to "live up to." Success is what you believe it is. 
  • Being family doesn't mean everybody has to share the same opinion.
  • Everyone is different and every point of view is different too. 
  • It's our differences that make the world a more vibrant, interesting place. 
  • Just because something has always been a certain way doesn't mean that way is working.
  • We all bring hurts and struggles to our experiences because they are part of us. If someone seems to have a perfect life free from hurts or challenges, they are just hiding it better. 
  • It's okay to create the life you never had, but always wanted. 
  • You are okay. 
As you move forward, keep in mind that the only way out is through. 

February 19, 2020

Warm Drinks for a Winter Day

No matter what the groundhog saw, we're still expecting a bit more wintry weather before spring and there's no better way to warm up and add some cheer to your day than with a warm drink! 

Here are three simple recipes for warm drinks to make at home....just like the ones you get from your favorite barista except without the coffee shop prices!

London Fog Latte 

A London Fog latte is a delicious cold weather drink plus it's easy to make and can be customized to your preferences. Basically, it's just a hot Earl Grey tea with steamed milk. Don't have a milk steamer or frother? You can make do at home by just shaking up your milk in a can or jar.

Brew a nice cup of Earl Grey and add your milk. I like to add a bit of vanilla and honey as well. Garnish with a sprinkling of lavender or even just some dried tea leaves. Delish!

Chai Tea Latte

I love Chai and it's so easy to make at home....simple and delicious to enjoy from the comfort of your PJs and no lines or chatty baristas to contend with. 

Brew your Chai tea and add milk (I like flax milk for mine). There are also ready-made Chai concentrates available and some are pretty good. Add a shot of coffee for a dirty Chai. Stir with a cinnamon stick....yum! 

French Sipping Chocolate 

I was recently introduced to the idea of sipping chocolate, which I thought was the same thing as hot chocolate. Apparently the main difference is that it's quite a bit thicker than those Swiss Miss packets we grew up with. I got some at Trader Joe's but I've heard that it's a seasonal product so get yours now if you want to snag some while you still can! 

You can determine the thickness of your drink depending on your preference and how much milk you want to add. Dairy free? Cashew or oat milk makes a great substitution. 

February 5, 2020

Sweet & Simple Valentine's Day Treats

Valentine's Day is nearly upon us and I'm here for all the candy!! In honor of the occasion, I'm sharing some really sweet and simple treats to make for the holiday.

Love Stinks Pepé Le Pew Treats

When I saw this adorable idea on the blog Party Pinching, I knew I had to recreate it! I've always been a fan of Pepe Le Pew and it is true that while love is a wonderful thing, it also stinks from time to time. 

All you need is some sort of dark chocolate candy (heart shaped York patties shown). You could also do this with any sort of chocolate cookie or snack cake. Pipe a bit of white frosting down the center and add a few white sprinkles. 

Valentine's Robots

As soon as I spotted this cute idea, I decided to give it a try, too. I like that it would allow kiddos to be creative with all sorts of sweet treats as they build their own robot. 

All you need to make these cute V-day robots is a juice box for the body, and a bunch of different candy for the appendages. My go-to is Dollar General because they have affordable craft supplies like googly eyes, etc. 

Mini Raspberry Tarts

I've never been much of a baker so I tend to stick with dessert recipes that are a bit more foolproof. This mini raspberry tart recipe is so easy, even I don't feel intimidated by it! 

It's a variation on a recipe I used to make years ago, freezing yogurt in a piecrust. To give it a bit more pizzazz, I'm using canned raspberry pie filling and plain greek yogurt. 

Just mix together your fruit filling with the greek yogurt and put it into a graham cracker crust. Then freeze until firm. I made mine in the mini crusts which creates a fun individual presentation. The final touch is to whip up some homemade whipped cream to top it with. Yum!