photo, Sarah Hopper

To my sweet (and at times, salty) 4-year-old bundle of joy (and energy!),

It’s your birthday and I literally cannot believe you are F O U R! When talking about babies, everyone always says “it seems like just yesterday you were born!” And it actually feels like a lifetime, to me. But, at the same time, you’ve grown up so fast, and the time has seemed to speed by. However, it is true when “they say” the years are short and the days are long.

I remember not so long ago, I was a stay-at-home mama with you. From the day you were born, I was tossed into mom life, having no clue what I was doing (literally, NONE.) I grew up with one younger sister, but all our extended family were hundreds and thousands of miles away, so babies and I weren’t exactly thick as thieves, and I only took child development classes in college to complete a “diverse” theme requirement (and heard that theme was the easiest, but, shhhh….PS, it was actually really hard.) Anyway, after you were born and we were released from the hospital and back home, I remember looking at your grandma have such grace as she carried you along, taking you outside to find serenity under the palm trees and listening to the waterfalls in our old house. I was amazed how much she could do with just two hands, and I looked up at her saying, “But seriously HOW DO YOU DO ALL OF THIS WITH ONE HAND?!” Because she could literally conquer the world with one hand while holding you in the other. She said, “oh, you’ll figure it out in no time.” And sure enough, when your dad started traveling for work leaving me as a solo mama, that one-handed-magic appeared.

I know these last couple years have seemed a bit chaotic for you. You went from one house to two; family-of-three vacations to three different sets of extended family trips, allllll over the country (and the world…what three year old gets to do that?!) But, miraculously, even through the back-and-forth, you always know where home is. And it completely melts my heart when you look at me and say “Home is wherever I am with you.” Remember a few weeks ago when you said you were scared to leave for a week? So I grabbed your sweet little hand (where baby squish has officially graduated and toddler fingers and palms have taken over) and we walked outside into the dark. We sat on the ground and I told you whenever you feel scared or miss me that all you have to do is look up at the sky; we look at the same sun, the same stars, the same moon, and I am ALWAYS with you, whenever you may go. You may not know it, but last week when you told me, “Mama, I’m always with you” and “Mama, we see the same sky,” I totally melted. You sure know the key to this mama’s heart; don’t ever forget our saying….that it’s more important to be kind than handsome. Remember that, always.

Speaking of kindness, I hope you never lose your endless energy, sense of wonder, curiosity, and sweet joy. When you were a baby, people would stop me everywhere we went to tell me you had such a sweet, special soul. I know every mom boasts about their children, but it’s no secret I think you’re an incredible tiny human. You are so brave. You can be so kind. Of course, you can also be Tanner tornado and a complete feisty rascal, but you are also so silly, creative, and loving.

I don’t really know where time has gone (oh, but at the same time, I do.) Thank you for encouraging me to be the best mom and person I know how to be (and become). You give me purpose, something to fight for, and something to live for greater than myself. Your needs trump mine, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Your adventures are my adventures. Your wishes are what I work hard to give you.

I know it’s not easy when it’s just the two of us, and me going back to work full-time was a huge adjustment for both of us. Your ability to adapt to pre-school (and now pre-k; eek!) makes me admire your strength, ability to overcome challenges, and your ability to adapt to new environments. Gosh, I’m proud to be your mama.

Thank you for eating my healthy meals and foods, but always being so excited for our special dates and/or special treats. Thank you for sharing your sweet spirit with me. Thank you for saying please and thank you, and remembering your manners when you’re at other people’s homes. Thank you for being my little cub and best friend. Thank you for being YOU.

On this day, August 30th, 2017, I hope you know you are SO loved, admired, cherished, appreciated, and celebrated. Four years ago, I almost puked everywhere during my c-section, totally shocked this 7lb 13oz baby appeared out of my bump that was always charted “small” and “concerned for growth” (hello, long torso). I never thought I could be a “good” mom because I was never ready to be a mom. Times were tough and I was overcome by the fear of the unknown and anxiety of the future, but you’ve grounded me. You gave my once wanderlust wings a clipping that they needed and we’ve planted roots, together. I don’t need globetrotting “epic adventures,” because I’ve got my own greatest adventure right here – YOU.

Happy fourth birthday, my baby boy. Love you to the moon and the stars and a hundred times over. Love you sooooo much. Love you forever. You’re my best friend. I hope your day is more special than anything you’ve dreamed, and filled with infinite butterfly, Eskimo, and princess kisses.

Happy Birthday, Tanny!

Love, Mama 💗

Advertisements

Tonight has been breezy and crisp in Encinitas, and with an endo flare and upset tummy, the only thing I can stomach (literally) is soup. And there’s nothing worse than boring ol’ canned soups that all taste the same (except I def eat those, too, especially when I don’t have the energy after a long work day to make something from scratch, so I’m not judging those canned gems in any way).

Anyway, this soup is comforting, soothing, and perfect for fall. So weather (see what I did there; I know whether is grammatically correct) you’re in the mood for soup because of the changing seasons, or need something gentle on your belly, hopefully this does the trick.

Veggie Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 cartons organic, non-GMO veggie stock or chicken bone broth (if not vegan)
  • 1 small head of organic broccoli, cut small
  • 1 small head of organic cauliflower, cut small
  • 10 organic baby carrots
  • 1/4 cup crinkle-cut butternut squash
  • 4 organic large basil leaves, diced
  • 4 tablespoons organic cilantro, chopped small
  • 5 organic celery stalks, washed and chopped thin
  • 4 organic chives, diced
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2-3 shakes of teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon worchister sauce
  • 1 teaspoon coconut aminos
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Steam all veggies until al dente
  2. In a large pot, add stock and warm
  3. Add all sauces, spices, and veggies to broth and bring to boil
  4. Reduce heat and let everything simmer together for 10-15 minutes
  5. When ready to serve, ladle into bowl and top with fresh basil
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Vegan Optional)

Makes approximately 20 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gluten free baking flour (if you’re not gluten free, you can always use whole wheat flour in any of my recipes)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut sugar (if you’re allergic to coconut, you can use packed brown sugar)
  • 2/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (optional: leave out)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional: leave out)
  • 1/2 cup fresh or no sugar added orange juice
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cinnamon applesauce or plain applesauce
  • 2 heaping tablespoons coconut butter or dairy-free butter (or grass-fed ghee or butter if not dairy-free)
  • 2 eggs or egg alternative (flax egg, etc.)
  • Muffin pan + paper or foil muffin liners (optional)
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon molasses

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Line muffin pan with muffin liners or spray muffin pan with an oil that can tolerate up to 400 degrees F (I prefer sprayable avocado oil by Chosen Foods)
  3. Add all dry ingredients to a medium-sized bowl and mix (excluding chocolate chips)
  4. Add wet ingredients to a separate medium-sized bowl and mix
  5. Add dry and wet ingredients together and mix well until batter forms
  6. Add chocolate chips and mix evenly
  7. Distribute batter evenly into muffin pan
  8. Bake at 375 degrees F for approximately 20-30 minutes, or until batter is fully cooked in the middle / until a toothpick comes out clean. Baking times may vary based on ovens and altitude.
  9. When fully cooked, remove from oven and let cool for at least ten minutes. Serve warm or store in freezer if consuming after 3 days (fresh, moist ingredients like pumpkin and applesauce may cause molding to occur if left at room temp too long; if storing in freezer, let out to thaw or microwave when ready to eat/serve).
  10. Enjoy!

When it comes to craving comfort, whether it’s due to a rainy day, a sickness, a stressful or nerve-racking time, etc…your belly needs something gentle yet full of vitamins, minerals, warmth, and love. And a whole lot of it. This veggie-packed bone broth soup will help heal the soul and the bod, whether it needs a little TLC or not.

Rainy Day (or Any Day)

Healing Bone Broth Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sticky white rice, brown rice, or rice noodles (or gluten free noodles), cooked
  • 2 packages of organic chicken bone broth (if vegan or vegetarian, use veggie stock)
  • 1 large head of organic broccoli, washed and chopped
  • 1 large head of organic cauliflower, washed and chopped
  • 4 large organic carrots or 2 cups organic baby carrots, washed and chopped
  • 1 large organic zucchini
  • 1/2 small organic onion, chopped large, or 2 tablespoons dried + chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Optional: 2-3 heads of organic + non-GMO corn, cooked and kernels removed from head of corn (or use frozen)
  • 6 tablespoons gluten free Tamari
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 small bundle organic parsley, chopped
  • 1 small bundle organic basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • Optional: add cooked protein of choice (chicken, pork, beef, bacon, tofu, Tempe, etc.)
  • Optional: fried egg

Directions:

  1. Steam carrots, broccoli, and corn until al dente
  2. In a large pot, bring bone broth to a slow simmer. Add Tamari if choosing to do so.
  3. If adding protein, add now
  4. Add herbs and seasonings to broth (leaving our basil and parsley)
  5. In a large pan, add all veggies + avocado oil + pinch of each seasonings you added to broth and sauté until slightly browned (but not over-cooked)
  6. When veggies are done, add to broth
  7. Add your starch of choice (rice or noodles)
  8. Simmer on low for a half hour
  9. Serve into bowls and top with fresh basil and parsley.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste
  11. If adding fried egg, top bowl with fried egg
  12. Enjoy with a nice cup of tea and eat up!

There’s no prettier place to make homemade chocolate chip cookies than in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. That’s where we are for the next week; our happy place that we’ve been coming to the same time, same place, since I was a baby. We honor my grandpa who wanted to retire here, but unfortunately never was able to (PSA – don’t smoke cancer sticks). Thank you to my grandpa and my mom for instilling the love of the west coast and the Tetons within our hearts and our souls…

On vacay, I’m a firm believer in eating whatever you want, but with my back injury and my endometriosis, I really have to limit (like 99.9% of the time) dairy and gluten due to inflammation of my body, and the fact it just cannot handle it. Because of that, I have to cater to my sweet tooth (especially when everyone else is), so I find my go-to ingredients and whip up my favorite things, like chocolate chip cookies. But, these gems are gluten free, dairy free, and vegan optional (sub the egg).

Dairy-Free + Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Best when served warm right out of the oven

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups gluten free baking flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter or dairy-free butter, whipped
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs or egg substitute (flax egg or applesauce)
  • 3 tablespoons avocado or coconut oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1/4 cup organic applesauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: 3 tablespoons nut butter or pumpkin purée

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Add dry ingredients to large bowl and mix
  3. Whip coconut butter or dairy-free butter. Add egg or egg substitute.
  4. Add wet ingredients to “butter” mix and mix together. Add dry ingredients.
  5. Mix everything together until dough-like consistency forms
  6. Add chocolate chips and fold together
  7. Scoop 1 1/2″ balls on to non-stick cookie sheet
  8. Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until soft yet cooked in the middle
  9. Serve while warm solo or with dairy-free ice cream

You Know You Have Endometriosis When

You know you have endometriosis when…

1. Your life revolves around your heating pad, especially at night

2. You’ve tried all the anti-inflammatories and pain relievers, and they all do nothing, so you give up on NSAIDs and any prescription(s)

3. Because of #2 and lack of treatment options for endo, you likely lose hope in Western medicine, and find yourself at a naturopath office (and/or saying your prayers there’s a treatment sooner than later to make symptoms and pain more tolerable).

4. Then because of #3, you try all the tinctures and natural options; herbs, teas, oils, acupuncture, bio-feedback…basically anything and everything that may help. Gimme all the crystals, mantras, and all the hippie shit — if it can even make endo 10% better, you’ll take it.

5. You visit the ONGYN and the GI on the reg because your issues “down there,” are REAL. You may have chronic BV or yeast infections, so probiotics are your go-to morning ritual.

6. You probably alter your diet to an anti-inflammatory meal plan (because your GI symptoms and discomfort may be ruling your intestines.) So you give up dairy, gluten, red meat, alcohol, and caffeine. You may have IBS, diarrhea, nausea, and/or food allergies.

7. The irony about giving up caffeine is that endo makes you chronically exhausted and fatigued, so you’re always so tired, and people don’t understand why you give up coffee then. (Insert eye roll).

8. Your friends and family don’t understand your endo pain and symptoms, so at times you feel completely misunderstood, and like everyone thinks you’re crying wolf or an over-exaggerator.

9. You may struggle with infertility depending on your endo level, fibroids, cysts, or other endo grows gone rogue. Speaking of cysts – holy shit, you learn all too well how painful these are.

10. You find yourself Googling “chronic abdominal pain” ALL.THE.TIME. Hoping one day you’ll actually find something that says endo can be cured and treated.

11. You get educated; you learn a hysterectomy or a laparoscopy without excision won’t be a long term “fix.” Neither will that birth control your OBGYN keeps prescribing (it may make your periods a little more regular and tolerable, though. But, endo means you’re most likely estrogen dominant and lacking progesterone, so birth control may make things even worse).

12. You’ve tried alllllllll the essential oils, and if one more MLM seller or “friend” tells you YL or DT oils can “cure endo,” you might just tell them to go you know what.

13. Castor oil and meditation apps become your new BFFs.

14. You’ve been through the ringer of hospital tests and feel like a guinea pig; you’ve had countless ultrasounds, MRIs, a laparoscopy (or a few), have tried acupuncture, and have most likely visited the ER a few times thinking you have appendicitis or something else seriously wrong.

15. Is that a period or are you literally hemorrhaging? You either have periods that completely overflow super plus pads and tampons and last like two weeks (not too mention how debilitating the cramps are before and during your periods), or you may have unpredictable cycles, spotting all month, or perhaps, no period at all. Oh the joys of aunt flow when you have endo.

16. You may struggle with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues due to chronic pain and symptoms that are REAL.

17. What is a healthy, normal sex life? Endo makes sex extremely painful, making you lose your sex drive or be horrified of anything even coming close to you down there…

18. You feel like a flake because it’s nearly impossible to make plans in advance when you have endo. Your flare ups are either unpredictable, or are 24/7, so being a social butterfly is next to impossible (even when you once were).

19. Because of #16-17, you find your friendships and relationships have a huge amount of stress on them.

20. Among GI and pelvic issues and pain, you also may suffer from lower back pain and sometimes painful urination. Although endo most commonly affects the lower body, in sever cases it can also affect upper abdominal areas, and rarely, but sometimes, even the lungs.

If you’re reading this and either think you have endo, or know you do from a confirmed diagnosis from a laparoscopy, you are a FKING warrior and goddess. You still get up each and every day and manage to LIVE. You walk by thousands of strangers in your lifetime who have no clue how much you’re suffering, but you are a queen for battling a disease with no cure or true effective treatment options. You are so brave and so strong. Try to never lose hope – in yourself, your future, or others who may not understand. You are (and have to be) your own advocate 💗

What is endometriosis?<
ccording to the Endometriosis Association, “Endometriosis is a painful, chronic disease that affects at least 6.3 million women and girls in the U.S., 1 million in Canada, and millions more worldwide. It occurs when tissue like that which lines the uterus (tissue called the endometrium) is found outside the uterus — usually in the abdomen on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and ligaments that support the uterus; the area between the vagina and rectum; the outer surface of the uterus; and the lining of the pelvic cavity. Other sites for these endometrial growths may include the bladder, bowel, vagina, cervix, vulva, and in abdominal surgical scars. Less commonly they are found in the lung, arm, thigh, and other locations. This misplaced tissue develops into growths or lesions which respond to the menstrual cycle in the same way that the tissue of the uterine lining does: each month the tissue builds up, breaks down, and sheds. Menstrual blood flows from the uterus and out of the body through the vagina, but the blood and tissue shed from endometrial growths has no way of leaving the body. This results in internal bleeding, breakdown of the blood and tissue from the lesions, and inflammation — and can cause pain, infertility, scar tissue formation, adhesions, and bowel problems.”

“Endo belly” (left is normal, fit stomach; right is swollen)What causes endometriosis?<

he exact cause of endometriosis is unknown (nice, right?!). The Endometrosis Association writes:

“The retrograde menstruation theory (transtubal migration theory) suggests that during menstruation some of the menstrual tissue backs up through the fallopian tubes, implants in the abdomen, and grows.  Some experts believe that all women experience some menstrual tissue backup and that an immune system problem or a hormonal problem allows this tissue to grow in the women who develop endometriosis.Another theory suggests that endometrial tissue is distributed from the uterus to other parts of the body through the lymph system or through the blood system. A genetic theory suggests that it may be carried in the genes in certain families or that some families may have predisposing factors to endometriosis.Surgical transplantation has also been cited in many cases where endometriosis is found in abdominal scars, although it has also been found in such scars when accidental implantation seems unlikely.Another theory suggests that remnants of tissue from when the woman was an embryo may later develop into endometriosis, or that some adult tissues retain the ability they had in the embryo stage to transform reproductive tissue in certain circumstances.Research by the Endometriosis Association revealed a startling link between dioxin (TCCD) exposure and the development of endometriosis. Dioxin is a toxic chemical byproduct of pesticide manufacturing, bleached pulp and paper products, and medical and municipal waste incineration. The EA discovered a colony of rhesus monkeys that had developed endometriosis after exposure to dioxin. 79% of the monkeys exposed to dioxin developed endometriosis, and, in addition, the more dioxin exposure, the more severe the endo” (Endometriosis Association, 2017).<
f you or a loved one is suffering from endometriosis, talk to your doctor, your therapist, your friends, and your family. While there is no cure or treatment plan that proves to be extremely helpful (or a major relief), it's important to not isolate yourself, not give up hope, and at least try to find a treatment option that works for you.

Source:

http://www.endometriosisassn.org/endo.html

I’m a huge advocate of mindfulness and positive thinking, so I live 80% of my single mama life with that attitude, and not feeling sorry for myself. I browse through Pinterest in the evenings, feeling uplifted by motivational quotes and chats with friends, and scroll through Facebook reading varying articles on motherhood, where generally, I feel inspired. I also write about single parenting often on my blog/Instagram, Seashells and Sit Ups, and usually chat about the funny moments. However, I also have to admit to the other 20% and how it’s real, too— the 20% of single mama life that is super overwhelming; the part that sometimes puts a pit in my stomach, extra dark circles and bags under my eyes, or a teeny bit of woe-is-me into my soul (because let’s be real; you can rub all the crystals you want, say alllllll the prayers, but sometimes we just need to feel a little sorry for ourselves before recharging our batteries). and that’s the 20% where I admit that being a single mom is EFFING HARD. Like, really exhausting, patience-testing, and just downright lonely and difficult, at times. Like anything, there are incredible moments as well – we get to experience almost every single milestone (depending on our co-parenting timeshare), get extra cuddles, and our hearts are filled with SO much pride and love.

Let me start by saying this – us single mamas don’t want people’s pity or others to feel sorry for us, but we also don’t want anyone to shame us. We all come from different walks of life, different backgrounds, or different situations that lead us here to solo mom life. The biggest thing as single moms, is we just want to be understood, and looked at as an equal when it comes to motherhood and parenting. We know it can be hard to totally grasp the life we lead being a single mom, but we want you to have a little piece in your heart or your mind of what our day is like, and that sometimes, it’s just really hard, and that’s okay. We also know that parenthood and motherhood, in general, is exhausting and difficult, so we get that, Mama. But, being a single mom takes those normal feelings up a notch…

So, if there were a list of things we could tell our happily married friends (or our single friends without kids), it would be the following:

london-scout-41030-2.jpg

Photo by London Scout on Unsplash
  1. Please give us grace. We will probably always be at least 20 minutes late, to like everything. Because when our little(s) demand on one more snack, or we have to cater to a poop that simply cannot wait, or our little love-bug throws a show out the window, or insists on bringing 123 more toys wherever we’re going, we’re a one-woman-show behind the scenes of a circus tamer.
  2. Know that we sometimes have a hard time at family get-togethers and functions, because it’s hard not to feel different when everyone else is “normal.” But, pretty please, never stop inviting us to them, or it’s easy to feel like we’re being left out because we aren’t your stereotypical “family.”
  3. When you come over for a playdate or a dinner date, we will probably never admit that we’d actually love if you helped clean up any mess(es) you made, or help do any dishes you used. Even if we say “don’t worry about it!” we’re the only one ever cleaning up or doing dishes, so even a 5 minute break from any additional de-cluttering or cleaning would be totally amazing. Every mom could use a little fairy godmother sometimes.
  4. We pinky promise, we NEVER want to go after your husband, and it hurts us that we’re ever seen as some type of weird “threat”. Equally, we don’t need to be “hooked up” with all of your single friends or yoga instructors. We dated and were married once, so #wegotthis. Buttttt, on second thought, if you do have a hot (I mean, totally sweet and kind) pilates instructor, feel free to show them a picture of us and give them our number…and then please offer to babysit if they ask us out 😉
  5. When we say we’re too tired to make it to something, we promise we’re not being a flake. We actually are. We do every pre-school drop off, pick-up, make every lunch box, do every bath, read every bedtime story, play good-cop/bad-cop on our own, clean, cook, and play soccer mom (and our work never stops, 24/7). So when we get a free night or weekend, sometimes all the energy we have is to entertain our munchkin(s) at home, or be in PJs by 8pm.
  6. We know everyone is on a budget, but sometimes we can’t afford to do the fun “luxury” moms events or mamas-night-out. We don’t have a husband to watch our babe(s) for a night out, and if we don’t have family that lives nearby, that means we have to pay a sitter every time we need a break. Say we grab dinner and a drink with girlfriends and we’re out for 4 hours; The average sitter costs $15/hour, so for babysitting alone, that’s $60. It’s likely our dinner + drink tab is about the same, so that’s over $100 just for a night out of the house. That adds up quickly, especially when you’re on a one-income household!
  7. We totally know how hard it is to be a solo parent, but when your husband is out of town for a work trip for a few days, it’s just not the same as being a single mom, so please don’t say you “know what it’s like to be a single mom!”. While your hands may be physically full while your partner is away, you still have someone to lean on for emotional support and/or financial assistance. Being a single mom means you have no partner; no one to be there for you physically or emotionally, and therefore, single parenting is not the same as solo parenting for a short amount of time. (but, to military spouses and mamas, we respect you and know how hard that must be, too. In fact, we know how momin’ it is so tough, in general, and we love and respect all the different hardships about being a mom – single or not). But, that being said, unless you’re truly a single mom, you are not a “single mom” because of a traveling hubs.
  8. If we’re dealing with postpartum anxiety or depression, please please please be there for us. Just come over and sit with us. Make us get out and do something. Call us. Text us. Just be present. Personally, I chronically worry about something happening to me, and that my little cub would be all alone if it did (knocking on wood so hard RN). Not having a partner or roomie to look out for you can feel scary, so we really rely on our friends and fellow mamas to just be there for us when we’re feeling anxious, sick, or scared.
  9. …and when we’re sick, we don’t get to just take it easy and rest. We know the same is true for 98% of moms everywhere, regardless if they’re in a loving relationship or not. But we don’t get to clock “out” when Dad comes home at 5pm and take a nap or have someone else cook dinner, so we often get even more run down. So when you say life is hard when you’re sick, as moms, oh how we get it. But if you happen to be in our area when we’re sick, yes, we’d love some of that chicken soup you offered to drop off (that we probably said “oh, no worries – I’m okay, but thank you!” to.)
  10. Lend a listening ear or offer to celebrate with us when a milestone or achievement occurs. We don’t have someone waiting at home to talk to about a raise, success from a project, or how our little(s) earned a friendship badge at school. Pop bubbly with us. Give us a hug. Offer to take us out to celebrate since we don’t have a better half besides our kiddo(s). Or help our munchkins make a card for us – that would mean the world.
  11. If we’re venting about a tough day at work or a shitty guy, be mindful. AKA – probably not the best time to boast about your babe(s) 6:30pm bedtime because your husband is “sooo amazing” and puts the rug-rat(s) to bed while you get to relax with a glass of wine in peace. As a working single mom, I’m lucky if my little rascal is even in bed by 8:30 (especially in the summer when it stays light so late). By the time I get off work, get back from pre-school pick-up, make dinner for two, do bath, stories, teeth brushing, and bedtime, it’s nearly 9pm. So, personally, I end up going to bed at the same time my little guy does. Relate to our situation and realize you are hashtag #blessed to not have to do everything. always.
  12. There’s no such thing as one single mom being more of a “real single mom” than another. Whether a mama has 50/50 joint physical and legal custody and collects spousal and child support, or mama has 80/20 and gets child support only, or another single mom has 100% full legal and physical custody with minimal (or no) child support, THEY ARE ALL REAL SINLGE MOMS. Doing the best they can, with what they can. Of course, all circumstances are different, no matter who you are, where you are, or what you have. But from one single mom to another, we all know the hustle (and struggles) are real – despite a time share, what court paperwork says, or what $ amount gets put into our account every month (to not).
  13. Help us when you can. It’s really hard for us to ask for help, so when we do, we really need you. Of course, we would never expect anyone to drop what they’re doing for our need(s), but what we’re trying to say is it really does take a village to raise littles, especially when you don’t have a better half to lean on. So if we ask for a favor, we probably exhausted 34234 other options before asking you, and would really love your support or help if you can offer it.
  14. Please don’t judge us and please feel free to never stop telling us we’re doing a good job. We get it – it’s annoying and hard to hear about our life’s constant chaos. But, that’s motherhood, in general. So, if you don’t have kids and think our life is a train wreck, just wait 😉 You’ll see how tough it is one day and how much of a juggling act being a parent is. So, as single moms, we know our conversations aren’t always the peppiest, happiest, or most relatable, but we need our friends to love us anyway.
  15. Yes, you can totally steal our phones and “see what Bumble and Tinder are really like.” We may be stuck in this weird in-between phase between our friends who are married with a toddler and a baby and our friends who are newly married with no babes yet, but #mamasstillgotit….because we have to still wash our hair, shave your legs, and keep updated photos on dating apps if we ever want to go on a date again someday. We know you’re “soooo thankful to not be single in today’s dating world,” but kindly remember, we wish we weren’t, because online dating these millennials really is a train wreck. So, give us some good right swipes and some prayers 😉

 

Cheers to ALL THE SINGLE MAMAS out there, and even bigger Xs and Os to the friends that make us feel normal. Accepted. Comfortable. Loved. Valued. and appreciated. We adore you, always.

SaveSave

When it comes to periods, it’s often considered “gross” or “TMI” to talk about it. But recently being diagnosed with endometriosis, talking about periods is my new normal. Does that make talking about periods the new black? When it comes to U by Kotex® FITNESS*, it sure does…

Nothing should get in the way of fitness – from bad cramps to heavy flow, to emotional ups and downs that come thanks to hormones. U by Kotex® FITNESS* understands that each woman defines fitness in her own unique way. I define fitness as being healthy, emotionally and physically, while doing activities that enhance my body + spirit equally.

 

unnamed-2.jpg

 

When it comes to working out around your period, it’s important to listen to your body. For me, my flows are SUPER HEAVY, so I enjoy yoga, walking, and stretching. It’s next to impossible for me and my endometriosis to do anything physically excruciating while Aunt Flow comes to visit. So, I personally love these moves by Yoga Journal when it’s that-time-of-the-month. I also lean on Heal with Food’s recipes for reducing menstrual cramps which you can find here. 

What are the best meals to eat while on your period? The ones that are “supercharged with anti-cramping nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, calcium, zinc, magnesium and B vitamins” (Heal with Food, 2017).

 

unnamed.jpg

 

So, back to going with the flow (literally)..the new U by Kotex® FITNESS*’ products feature dual-flex zones on pads and liners and are packaged so cute (and practical) with a FITPAK* for tampons and a little drawstring-top packaging so no pads ever escape into the abyss of your purse or luggage.

 

Find your FITNESS* and get a FREE SAMPLE at UbyKotex.com

unnamed-1.jpg

GIVEAWAY!

For your chance TO WIN, enter to win a LEGIT U by Kotex® FITNESS* Prize Pack…head HERE and let me know what steps you take to make sure nothing gets in the way of you and your fitness goals! Up for grabs:

U by Kotex® FITNESS* Ultra Thin Pads With Wings Regular (15 count)

U by Kotex® FITNESS* Folded & Wrapped Liners Regular (40 count)

U by Kotex® FITNESS* Compact Tampons, Regular, Super, (15 count)

#FindYourFITNESS

 

f16ba8e2-4a02-11e7-a5aa-22000a7d00a4.png

 

Visit U by Kotex® FITNESS* for more info on their new products

Source: http://www.healwithfood.org/menstrualcramps/recipes/#ixzz4oT25GpY9

I was compensated by U by Kotex®, but thoughts and opinions are my own.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of U by Kotex®. The opinions and text are all mine.

https://influencers.tapinfluence.com/assets/cogs/core-v4.js var ts=document.getElementById(‘ti-pixel-tracker’); var axel = Math.random() + “”; var num = axel * 1000000000000000000; var ti=document.createElement(“img”); ti.style.display=”none”; ti.src=”https://tracking.tapinfluence.com/trk/QjUwD/Wanl9/p.png?p=uZ043&#8243; + String.fromCharCode(38) + “i=gJ9Ex” + String.fromCharCode(38) + “ord=”+ num + String.fromCharCode(38) + “s=” + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer); ts.parentNode.replaceChild(ti,ts); JSON.stringify({“program_id”:”cdd99aba-4a02-11e7-bb2c-22000a66c666″,”post_id”:”1ea874c8-4d34-11e7-b64e-22000a7d00a4″});

Clearly weekends = homemade, healthy donuts in our house 🙌🏼🍩

Here's another one of our fav recipes when taking Sunday mornings slow…

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Vegan-Optional Apricot Pecan Donuts

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gluten free flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup pecans, shelled
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Justin's chocolate hazelnut butter
  • 1 heaping tablespoon coconut butter, softened
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened tangerine juice or freshly squeezed tangerine or orange juice
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Chosen Foods avocado oil
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. In a high-powered blender, add pecans and dried apricots and crush until finely chopped. Remove and set aside.
  3. In the same blender, add banana, coconut butter, and Justin's hazelnut butter. Blend until creamy and a mouse-like consistency.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients.
  5. Add pecans + apricots and banana mousse to dry batter
  6. Add wet ingredients to bowl
  7. Mix everything together until smooth (will be slightly chunky with the pecans, but mix until well blended).
  8. Spray donut mold with Chosen Foods sprayable avocado oil
  9. Distribute batter evenly to donut molds
  10. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes
  11. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes
  12. Serve while still warm and enjoy!

I woke up to a tiny human asking if we could make donuts this morning, and after a long and stressful week, of course my answer was YES. I love that Tan values a slow morning at home playing with 16283 of his "favorite toys," playing outside, watching a show, and helping be my sous chef. Those are definitely a few of my favorite things when it comes to Saturday morning.

With that, I made Rocky Road Donuts and Strawberry Ginger Donuts; both dairy and gluten free.

ROCKY ROAD DONUTS (RECIPE 1)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gluten free flour
  • 1/4-1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or water
  • 2 tablespoons ground chia + flax seeds
  • 3 tablespoons ground pecans
  • 1 egg or egg substitute
  • 1/4 cup GF marshmallows
  • 2 tablespoons Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon GF cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon Chosen Foods avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

ROCKY ROAD DONUTS (RECIPE 2)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups GF flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons flavor God chocolate glazed donut seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons ground chia seeds
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/4 cup ground pecans or almonds
  • 2 tablespoons GF mini marshmallows
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 2-3 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 3 tablespoons dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Add all dry ingredients into mixing bowl; stir
  3. Add wet ingredients, and blend everything together
  4. Pour into silicone donut molds (optional: line molds with sprayable Chosen Foods avocado oil)
  5. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes
  6. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes
  7. Remove from molds and enjoy while still warm

STRAWBERRY GINGER DONUTS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups gluten free flour
  • 1/4-1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or water
  • 2 tablespoons ground chia + flax seeds
  • 3 tablespoons ground pecans
  • 1 egg or egg substitute
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon fresh shaved ginger or ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Chosen Foods avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8-10 strawberries, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Add all dry ingredients into mixing bowl; stir
  3. Add wet ingredients, and blend everything together
  4. Pour into silicone donut molds (optional: line molds with sprayable Chosen Foods avocado oil)
  5. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes
  6. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes
  7. Remove from molds and enjoy while still warm