Lately

Here are 8 things that have been happening lately and I deemed share worthy news.

 Blendtec– We recently purchased a refurbished Blendtec blender and it has been awesome. It is much more powerful than our trusty magic bullet ant it’s been a thrill to make bigger, bolder smoothies. My favorite thing is the smoothie button with a 60 second countdown on the display. It’s incredible.

Riverdale. This TV series was interesting. I loved the drama, the sassiness and the straight up craziness from some of the characters. Yes, that’s you Cheryl Blossom. But some parts were so cheesy, I couldn’t help but eye roll. ie- Betty’s constant high pony. Have you watched it?

Wedding planning. Less than 80 days to go until the big event. I am really starting to get over-the -moon giddy with excitement for the whole wedding week. We can’t wait to show off our city to our guests and really look forward to being married! Dress has been picked up and it’s all starting to feel very real!

 Books. Similar to how I re-watch Friends and The Mindy Project millions of times over, I like to re-read my favourite books over and over. I have been re-reading three of my favs and I KNOWWW there are other books (and shows) out there that I would love, but something about re-reading a good book that just makes everything right in the world.  Lullabies for Little Criminals, Random Family and The Glass Castle are some of my favs. What can I say? I like what I like ! I am branching out and reading You Are A Badass which is very motivational and I like it.

 Lion. The movie, not the animal. This movie was so incredible, I couldn’t stop thinking about it for three days. It made me cry allllll the tears and feel so many feels. I can not properly describe how amazing this movie was. Go see it!

Birch Camp. One of the (many) amazing things about working at my school is the culture camps. We recently went to tap birch trees and learn the process of making birch syrup/birch butter. So cool and it was a nice sunny day. Perfect class field trip. 

Weekend getaway. Our friends  recently got married in Banff and it was oh so beautiful. It was such a nice weekend in the mountains. Banff/Canmore is a wonderful location for us northerns to get our mountain fix and just relax and unwind.

Chrissy Teigen. To know me is to know I loveeee Chrissy Teigen. She is the best. So when she paired with Becca Cosmetics to launch a glow face palette, I was all over it. It’s beautiful and I love it as much as I knew I would.

That’s an update from my northern world. Sending lots of love to all our wonderful followers! Happy Spring ! xo Janna

 

 

 

 

 

10 Food Rules To Live By or….well….Death Likely.

There is a lot of misinformation out there about healthy eating, dieting, and weight loss. Here are 10 simple rules to help clear that all up.

  1. Eat a diet balanced in fruit and vegetables, grains and starches, meats, legumes, and dairy.
  2. Try not to eat too much red meat or pork and focus on chicken, fish, and veggies to get the youthfulness of those in the Mediterranean. Replace butter with healthy olive oil.
  3. Add butter to your coffee to truly be healthy.
  4. When eating grains and starches, avoid gluten. Always choose gluten free.
  5. Avoid eating grains and starches, legumes as well as dairy to successfully go Paleo. Eat a diet balanced in meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fats.
  6. In addition to avoiding starches, legumes, and dairy, also cut out fruit so that you can follow a low carb, ketogenic diet.
  7. Avoid eating eggs, meat, dairy, and anything that comes from an animal, but feel free to include dairy alternatives such as almond or coconut milk, lots of fruit and vegetables, beans and lentils, grains and starches to properly follow a vegan diet. Don’t even look at honey, what are you some kind of animal!? Sorry, that was offensive to the animals probably.
  8. The grains and starches should not be starchy or processed. Focus on tubers, potatoes, corn, squash, yucca, etc. as part of the Whole Food Plant Based Diet.
  9. Do a juice cleanse often to help pick up the slack for your ill functioning liver and kidney. If it is not expensive, it aint working. Consider organic juice.
  10. Lastly, make sure that your food is clean. Eating dirty food is the absolutely worst of them all. With your clean food, drink kombucha.

With these 10 easy steps you’ll be the worlds healthiest person and all health issues should be cured permanently.

Bon appétit!

Naturopathic Medicine

We feel so grateful here at Ladies that Life to access to so many incredible people, including this amazing guest blogger. Cassandra Goodwin is a licensed naturopathic doctor and taking PEI by storm! I wanted to share my incredible sister with you all, so here is an interview we had recently.  Side note- if there are any specific topics you would like covered by Dr. Goodwin on our blog, please let us know. Stress management? Sleep hygiene? What is acupuncture? An intro to Traditional Chinese Medicine? Fertility help?

Let us know in the comments below or email ladiesthatlife@gmail.com   Enjoy! 

Cassandra Goodwin is a licensed ND on Prince Edward Island, working both in Charlottetown and Summerside. She is smart, honest and shedding a wonderful positive light on naturopathic medicine.

 

One of my favourite herbs- Passionflower!

How did you decide on naturopathy as a career?

I grew up with a physician and a registered nurse as parents, and got to see first hand the positive impact health care providers can have on our community. I travelled for two years after my undergrad, and got to see how other cultures view wellness – it blew my mind, and I began exploring options once I was back on Canadian soil. Naturopathic medicine is perfect for me, as I love the blend of evidence and tradition, of science and the art of listening, and the luxury of time I get to really take a through health history from a patient. At times, it is like I am a health detective, diving deep into a case to find out the root cause of why symptoms or disease processes are happening so that we can address the ‘why’ and eventually lead to optimized health.

What are your favourite parts of the job?

I love many things about my profession – each day is different. Since I work in a smaller city, I see a wide range of cases. I also love the fact that the field of naturopathic medicine is constantly evolving. I spend a lot of time reading research and prepping for my patients, which generally involves learning a lot each day. My favorite part about my work is how simple things can have really big effects – for example, simply focusing on being present while eating can really improve digestion verses eating on the run. I always focus on sustainable changes that create lasting impacts, which guides the patient to thriving in their lives in a way that’s maintainable. This is why I do what I do – to help people identify and remove barriers to living optimal lives.

 There is some confusion and misleading information out there about ND’s. Can you clear up a few rumours for us! 

There are some strong misconceptions about naturopathic medicine and naturopathic doctors, especially in an unregulated province like PEI. The most frustrating thing for me is likely that the terms ‘naturopathic medicine’ and ‘naturopathic doctor’ are not protected terms on PEI. This means anyone can claim to be a naturopathic doctor, even if they haven’t graduated from an accredited school or passed the North American board exams. To ensure you are seeing a licensed ND on PEI, make sure she is listed here: www.peiand.ca. Another misconception is that a patient shouldn’t seek care from both a medical doctor or nurse practitioner and a naturopathic doctor. This is in fact the ideal situation, as I can support the care you receive from your primary care provider.

 Final thoughts? 

Overall, running a business and being a naturopathic doctor is a challenging professional life, but I wouldn’t change it. I love seeing patients evolving and progressing, and helping facilitate lasting impact. I know I get better at my work with each passing day, and there is always more to learn. If anyone has any questions about naturopathic medicine, or is interested in learning more about how to become a naturopathic doctor, I’d love to help. I can be reached at drgoodwin@vitalnm.com

Mental Health Nursing

Our post today is another (incredible) guest blogger. She is talking education, communication and understanding when it comes to mental health and her role as a nurse. It is anonymous to protect her privacy. As mental health week comes to a close, let’s keep talking mental health and continue to take care of each other! Happy Friday!

Happy mental health week!

What do you think of when someone says, “I’m a nurse”? I know that before I went to nursing school I thought of the classic Florence Nightingale, a caring woman who holds hands, gives out medication, changes bedpans, helps people stand, etc. I think it is understandable then, that when people ask me what I do, I feel the need to elaborate. There are so many kinds of nursing, so many designations, specialties, and region specific roles that it’s hard to keep them straight. I am a registered nurse who works within the field of psychiatry. I have a BScN (RN) in Nursing, a post graduate certificate in mental health nursing, and a Canadian designation as a Certified Mental Health and Psychiatric Nurse – CMHPN©, and currently am pursuing my masters in program development in nursing and health care; ridiculously complex, right? And given that this is just one person’s career, it’s hard to wrap your head around the many kinds of nurses out there.

I work primarily with children, adolescents, and their families; I have practiced in the community, forensic units, inpatient psychiatric units, and emergency. I complete biopsychosocial psychiatric assessments, emergency follow up assessments, injections, medication check ins/follow ups, as well as a number of other functions which are consultation/administration/case management of clients.

What are all of these assessments? They are discussion, I need to be what the client needs in that moment. Sometimes I refer to it as acting, after introductions and pleasantries are exchanged you feel the room and you respond accordingly. One teen may need someone empathetic, soft spoken, who provides gentle encouragement, while the next may need someone who is firm, straightforward, and not afraid to redirect the conversation when required. When completing these assessments, I’m gathering information about all of the domains of life to find out how well the person is adjusting to whatever is causing them issues, and if it is causing them problems with their basic functioning (ie. sleeping, eating, school, work, relationships). I’m assessing if someone is suicidal, and if so what that means to that person, are they pondering or fantasizing about death, or have they decided that it is time to die and they know how they will do it. How are they handling this? How are they coping? Are they utilizing health outlets like positive social relationships, or do they have maladaptive coping skills like self-harm or drug use? 

This information collecting isn’t just a question and answer, it is a conversation, an easy and logical flow of dialogue between myself and the person which should result in them being heard, validated, reassured, or, when necessary, called on for inappropriate behaviour. Further, it’s about educating parents so they can understand why their child might behave the way that they do. I have counselled parents during the middle of the night, after their child attempts suicide, and I’ve also counselled distraught parents when they learn that their child is cutting, or was arrested, or was intoxicated. Most importantly, I must relate, and I have to speak clearly and provide hard copies of information for parents as the next day they are likely to have forgotten everything we discussed during their time of high stress.

I think one of the most important parts of my job, which is never in a job description, is increasing education and understanding of mental health. The more people understanding that cutting may be a teenagers way of coping, or that depression and anxiety aren’t something that can just be ‘turned off’, and that someone with psychosis is not actually dangerous, then I am doing my job no matter where I’m working. Lastly, never be afraid to ask someone if they are thinking about suicide, it won’t cause any detriment to them, and they will be so thankful you asked.

Happy mental health week all, take care of yourself and listen to the people around you.

Minimal Living

The idea of living as a minimalist is so interesting to me. We are lucky enough to have a guest blogger today, Keith Lawlor who lives (and loves!) the minimalist life. Enjoy the article below as he gives us an insight into his world! 

Minimalism is everywhere, and it’s awesome.

 

People often tend to envision minimalism as an empty space – white, bright and sterile. This is the image that is hash-tagged and tweeted. It’s the one we see from minimalist bloggers, and the one that naysayers love to challenge. But minimalism is so much more than a blank emptiness. It’s a form of freedom that we never knew we needed.

I found my way to minimalism from a desire to simplify my physical life at home. In the living room, I have a shelf under a wall-mounted TV which would gather layers of dust because moving all the items to clean it became too time-consuming. I ignored and avoided the chore at all costs. Yet I knew it was dusty and that irked me. It was a display of my things, but was also a source of dissatisfaction. I had brimming drawers of unused bathroom products, a closet full of rarely worn clothes, and kitchen cupboards with duplicates for no reason; two salad spinners, two can openers, two colanders. It goes on. For a long time, I never even consciously realized how often I had to dig to find something, or was pushing things aside in pursuit of something else. I’d explored some other areas of intentional living – personal finance, zero waste – and quickly realized the benefit of minimalism.

I started with my living room shelf. I looked at every item and asked myself – Does this add value to my life? Does this serve a needed function? Does this spark joy? I got rid of knick-knacks from my travels, I cut my book inventory in half, I tossed the piece of driftwood from Cape Breton. I took the time to look at each item and make the decision to keep it or remove it. I even got rid of all my picture frames. I kept the photos in a box for future enjoyment, but framed on the shelf, they were mundane dust-collectors that I never paid attention to. That’s hardly a way to cherish the people in them. I get more joy looking at them twice a year than I ever did with them on my shelf all-day every-day.

Once I was done, the image of the shelf was lucrative. Bare by former standards, it could now be cleaned in half the time, and the items remaining were the ones that I am most proud of. Newfoundland fiction (my home province), a silver Kiwi bird that brings me back to a solo 3-months in New Zealand, and a ceramic frog that I occasionally slip into Bobby’s boots for an ongoing laugh. Here’s the best part – it was easy. Or at the very least, far easier than I expected it to be.

I was hooked, and kept moving through the home. The bathroom drawers were emptied of colognes, and shaving cream. I got rid of extra razers, old hair clippers, nail files and tweezers, tiny floss containers, partially full travel toothpastes, shabby floor mats and more. I can’t even remember most of the things, which is indicative of how much crap I had. I do recall finding a single-use face mask in a plastic package. How did this come to me? How long had it been there? I still don’t know.

The kitchen was a landmine of excess. Table cloths I kept for ‘someday’ were donated, and excess glassware for ‘just in case’ moments were removed. I had leaky water bottles, and a Bubba Mug for resort-vacations. I had wine bottles lining the upper cupboards, which were promptly recycled. Good bye to the duplicate colander, and the pizza cutter, and the loose-handled frying pan, and the olive-pitter, and the brie baker, and the chip bag clips, and the clunky coffee maker that brewed far too much and caused me to waste coffee every day. None of it was needed, and none of it has every been missed. Not once. Ever. I’m not kidding.

The bedroom provided some of the greatest relief. I donated a huge portion of clothing point blank. With my newly-found minimalism focus, I could easily determine 20+ items that were better suited to be introduced to the second-hand market. From there, I took everything I hadn’t worn in the last 6 months, plus about half of my stack of cheap t-shirts and put it in an empty bedside trunk. I made a deal with myself that anything remaining at the end of 3 months would be donated. I took just two items from the trunk – a pair of running pants and a pair of hiking pants. Everything else was purged. My closet looks close to empty, but the truth is, I still wear all of the same clothes I wore before and nothing more. There’s some stat out there that suggests we only wear 20% of the clothing we own. I donated my 80%. I also opted to get rid of Winners wall art, cheap accent pillows, an unused desk and chair, an unneeded dresser and more.

Today, our home has only the items that serve us regularly, and a strictly-curated collection of keepsake items that truly bring joy. And we eliminated more than clutter. We eliminated stress, cleaning time, decision fatigue, and the impulse to purchase every little thing that marketers tell us we need. I’ve learned that the one extra throw pillow doesn’t make you happier – it does the opposite. It occupies space, it robs your money and its power to build future wealth, and it becomes one more item to tidy, move, and eventually toss (likely to just end up in the ocean).

Minimalism has also led me to even broader areas than clutter. I’ve minimized relationships, cutting out the take-take-takers and the toxic ‘friends’ that I erroneously allowed into my space. I’ve cut social media use, realizing that 7 minutes buried in Snapchat videos I don’t care for, and 20 minutes on Instagram browsing filtered versions of other people’s best-moments, added nothing to my life, and only detracted from it. I’ve allowed minimalism to focus my goals into actionable items. I’ve reconsidered the trajectory of my life and realized that when we strip everything away, all that truly matters is our health and our relationships, and that’s where I want to focus.

We should also acknowledge that minimalism is fluid. My minimalism experience will likely vary from yours, and comparison is often unproductive. But experimenting with minimalism is a valuable exercise nonetheless, and I encourage everyone to take a few moments to ask themselves what truly compliments their life, and then cut out the excess.

Minimalism is so much more than another trend – it’s a cultural shift towards intentional living and freedom, and everyone can benefit.

Keith

 

Sleep: The most important word in the parenting dictionary

Sleep. Arguably the most important word in parenting. That might be dramatic but start losing sleep every night and you’ll be on board with my drama! If I could go back in time and tell my pre-baby self “bitch you ain’t that tired” every time I complained of being tired because I stayed out late drinking on a night before an 8am class, I would. That “tired” me wasn’t walking into door frames and throwing kettle bells at the gym because my hands couldn’t coordinate catching them.

The type of tired you experience when you have a child that does not sleep is the type that you could only understand if you went through it, its simply indescribable. I see now why it is used as a form of torture, it is very effective. I read an article stating that sleep deprivation costs Canada 21 billion dollars annually! As it turns out, people who don’t sleep enough undergo more physical and emotional stress and have compromised immune systems. Who would of thought, oh wait…..

Our journey started May 29, 2015, the day my son was born. He slept his first full night 10 months later after some tough love and sleep training (The Sleep Sense Program…incase anyone is looking!). It saved us. In the beginning of the book the author states that most couples contact her for help when they are on the brink of divorce, I get that. If my husband got 2 more hours of sleep than I did I would turn into a resentful, pissed off human. As if he did it on purpose  Obviously that didn’t do much for our relationship but it was the best I could do at the time!

After this, I started to feel like a real human again, for 8 full months I was a more functional member of society. And then a cold hit, croup, and an ear infection. Cue the two worst weeks ever where there were no rules for sleep, just cuddles on demand. We fucked everything. From that point forward our son would not go to sleep alone and rarely would sleep the whole night alone. We moved him from a crib to a double bed since neither of us are small enough people to fit into a crib! I turned into a co-sleeper, the type of sleeper I absolutely dreaded and did not understand why any other parent did it. I get it now, they did it because they were desperate for sleep and sleeping with their child was their only hope.

Four months later, here I am, writing this article. This past week we have seen the light again. We went back to the basics and showed some tough love and it has been a rocking success. I hate to even say that out loud. Next week I will likely be back here trying to take back these words.

To all you parents and caregivers out there. I get it. I am sorry you aren’t sleeping, I really am. I can only hope that there is a light in your future somewhere that will be your time to get some sleep. Also, I am sorry to the guy who was trying to get me to sign up for a MasterCard at the grocery store a few weeks ago. I owe a roofer an apology too. And my husband. I was tired.

H

13 Reasons Why It’s Not OK

Our guest blogger today is a mental health nurse remaining anonymous due to the controversial opinions of this piece.  Have a read, leave a comment and let us know what you think.

Spoilers ahead, you’ve been warned!

This show has received a lot of attention recently; and I’ll admit, I binge watched it with my husband and it’s well written, it’s creative, and they ended each episode with a slight cliff-hanger that makes you hit ‘yes’ when Netflix asks if you’re still watching. So, one would assume that if binge watched, I must have enjoyed it, right? Wrong. After the final episode, I sat in utter astonishment at Netflix, the writers of this show, and the author of this popular book.

For those of you who haven’t watched this yet, without spoiling the details entirely, this show is based on the young woman Hannah Baker who takes her own life. Hannah had recorded 13 cassettes and left them with a friend, who then passed them on to be listened to by 13 people who contributed to why she ended her life; each tape being the story of one of these people.

I know the argument that many will have; this opens up dialogue between parents and their children, it doesn’t shy away from mental health, death, drugs, sex, or the other no longer taboo topics that are prevalent today. I agree that we need to talk about these things, education and communication is of extreme importance for teens, but this is not how it should be done. Why Netflix has even remotely thought this was okay to share in the world of existential teenage angst is beyond me. So, in the sake of considering my ability of ranting and losing all of you to my rambling, here are my 13 reasons why this show is, an atrocity.

1. Rape – I wasn’t putting these in any order but this seems appropriate for number 1 on the list. In ’13 Reasons Why’ there are two rape scenes, and here I will give Netflix some credit as they highlighted the importance of always believing the victim, and how asking a victim if they said no, or fought back, can further destroy someone’s self worth. There is one particular scene, in which Hannah watches a rape occur as she hides; rather than say something about this when she is alive, she broadcasts it on the tapes. After her death she allows 13 peers to hear the story of her friend’s rape; Jessica was intoxicated and has no memory of this. Hannah… you were yourself raped, you understand the trauma that this is, and yet you further destroy Jessica after your own death by describing this in vivid detail to her peers… this is it’s own form of rape.

2. Blaming – this is quite simple. Hannah has blamed her peers for her death and highlighted why on her tapes. I could write an entire post on suicide and suicidal ideation but for your sake I won’t do that here; nevertheless, when someone ends their own life, ultimately this is their own choice. This is a difficult statement to make and people are likely to disagree and state that there are people to blame, but if people were to blame for Hannah’s death, this would be manslaughter or murder, but it is not, it is suicide.

3. Bullying – what is bullying? What has bullying evolved in to? This show depicts very real bullying of this generation, circulation of photos via social media, stalking, physical violence, and emotional violence. Why is it on this list? Let’s say a teen watches this show without an adult around, they see that these things are why Hannah ends her life, these acts, which are normalized on the show, now becomes a reason why it may be acceptable to end their life.

4. Revenge – Hannah seeks her revenge after death through these tapes. I don’t think I need to explain the emotional torture that places these living and breathing teenagers in.

5. Glorifying suicide – The last episode shows the very graphic death of Hannah, who slits her wrists in a bathtub, and her parent’s reactions when they find her. There is a reason that when someone dies by suicide, how they died is not written in the obituary. Research shows that graphic depictions increases viewer’s chances of becoming triggered by the content.

6. Graphic Images – rape, stalking, car crash, suicide, underage drug and alcohol use… oh, there is no PG rating for this but the consensus which I have found states 13+… seriously.

7. Respecting boundaries – Hannah highlights how important consent is; however, she gives Clay (the main listener) a tape not because of what he did do, but because of what he didn’t do. Clay and Hannah progress through their friendship and end up getting hot and heavy at a party. Hannah, struggling with anxiety says no and begins to cry. Respecting her, Clay immediately backs off and Hannah tells him to leave. Clay tries to talk to her but she aggressively tells him to go and he does. Clay did the right thing, right? Perfect gentleman by societal standards! Hannah, unfortunately, implies that he should have stayed, what a mixed message!

8. Counsellor – Hannah decides to give life one more chance and goes to her school counsellor. As a clinician, I felt that the counsellor didn’t ask the right questions to Hannah who was voicing passive suicidal thoughts; however, when Hannah leaves the office she speaks in to her recorder and states ‘he isn’t coming after me,’ implying that people are supposed to read your thoughts and know what you’re struggling with. 

9. Kindness – what is kindness? This show emphasizes that kindness and friendship can save lives. It’s important, yes, but it is unlikely this would have saved Hannah’s life.

10. Triggers – this show makes the most well adjusted person have feelings of anxiety and low mood; throw in the graphic images and heavy content and you’ve got a recipe for crisis.

11. Rise in Crisis Hotline Calls – this has been reported in many articles as a huge positive. ‘100% increase in phone calls to Australia crisis lines, thanks to 13 reasons why,’ hold on… now there is no context to this statement in these articles but my first instinct is that this may not be positive. This show doesn’t depict how to reach out for help safely, so are people calling in because they are triggered?

12. Abandonment and Adjustment – Hannah blames two friends for her suicide as they abandoned her and she was left alone socially; without the ability to cope with such things leads to what we would call, adjustment disorder. There is no mention of coping, how does Hannah try to deal with this in a positive way? Why does this show not highlight anything positive to show teenagers that they can influence and regulate their own emotions?

13. Legal Action and The Deposition – Reason 13… the parents have taken legal action against the school and each child on the tape is required to give sworn evidence. I don’t know that I can call this vicarious trauma… it may be… it also could simply be trauma, these students are now under scrutiny by not only dead Hannah, but the law, and they are only 17.

In conclusion, if you wish to watch this show please do, just be mindful of these points. If you have children and they want to watch this show, then please watch it with them; talk about these issues, encourage the use of coping skills, of giving and receiving communication efficiently, the importance of life, and the detriment of suicide. Clear communication saves lives. Accessing services saves lives.

Glorifying suicide, does not.

Better luck next time Netflix.

Lastly, if you need further convincing please see this link from the centre for suicide prevention: https://www.suicideinfo.ca/statement-re-netflixs-13-reasons-series/

 

 

The key to ‘melting’ a toddler’s heart

Now that summer is just around the corner, everyone is dreaming of the beach, patio drinks and barbecued everything. One ‘must do’ on my PEI bucket list every summer is a lobster sandwich on  Ben’s® Bakery fresh white bread. I’m already dreaming about it!

Ladies that Life partnered with Ben’s® Bakery to celebrate their 110th anniversary. To mark this major milestone, Ben’s® is giving two of their traditional favourites- Holsum Fresh White and Whole Wheat – a size makeover! For a limited time, these loaves will be available in 630 gram packages (compared to the usual 500g) offering families 4 extra slices for the same price! With these extra slices, maybe I should be trying a barbecued grilled cheese…mmmm…..I digress.

This cute little lady is a newly minted two years old. For her birthday supper she wanted a ‘cheesy sandwich’. While I may not be a mother, I take my role as her (honorary) auntie very seriously, and I know that a Ben’s® grilled cheese sandwich will always be a winner! I also knew this was no time to mess around if I want to keep my ‘favorite’ status.

We loaded up the cheese, tossed on some butter and grilled it to perfection. Paired with an apple, she was one happy girl settling into her spot at the table.

 

 

It was love at first bite! 

 

 

 

 

This got me thinking of other ‘go to’ toddler crowd pleasers. 

  • black bean brownies
  • Apple slices with peanut butter dip
  • celery and peanut butter topped with raisins
  • fruit & yogurt smoothies
  • low sodium pretzel sticks with hummus
  • Graham crackers with apple sauce for dipping
  • Zucchini Muffins
  • Peanut butter sandwich cut into fun shapes with a cookie cutter
  • Peanut butter & banana rolled in a whole wheat tortilla
  • Sweet potato banana bites (these are so yum!)

What are your fail proof toddler snacks?

Psss…missed our last post on the greatest recipe for stuffing?! Check it out ->here-<

LTL

  P.S. Ben’s® Bakery products are only available in Atlantic     Canada!

Thank you Madison for allowing me to snap some pictures during our supper date !

Sesame Street for the win!

I need to share how I feel about Sesame Street’s newest character- Julia. Spoiler alert- it’s positive!

Julia came to life a few years ago through a digital storybook, but since she was so well received, she had her tv debut on April 10th. She is autistic (and likes people to know), four years old and has bright orange hair.

Above is the full 10 minute clip where Abby Cadabby and Elmo introduce Julia to Big Bird, with help from their human friend Alan. In brief, Big Bird is confused by some of Julia’s behaviours and Alan and the gang explain that Julia does things “a little different” but they can still all be friends and play together.

Sesame Workshop/ HBO

I was thrilled to see Julia added to Sesame Street mix. In my teaching career, I have had the absolute pleasure of meeting many incredible students diagnosed on the autism spectrum. These students flashed through my mind as I watched this clip and I couldn’t help but tear up. Finally- these kids have Julia. It can be complicated to explain how autism affects children to a classroom (and adults!) but teachers/parents- rejoice. We have this clip. And it’s awesome.

Watch it, share it, and bring awareness to austim spectrum disorder.

P.S. Below is a three minute clip providing a bit more background on Julia and how they decided the puppeteer for this inspiring character. It will hit you in the feels!

Spring Stuffing (Apple, cranberry, pecans, oh my!)

Easter weekend is approaching which means 3 things, 1) 4 day weekend (imagine a 4 day work week every week!?), 2) a Thanksgiving sized meal because we live in the east coast and love a reason to have a big family dinner, and 3) chocolate everything. I can only hope my husband is reading this and fills my Easter treat bag with peanut butter eggs.

This year, Ben’s® Bakery is celebrating their 110th anniversary! As a special thank you to their customers, Ben’s® Holsum Fresh White and Whole Wheat breads will feature more than just a makeover on outside of the package. For a limited time, they will also include a handy 4 extra slices to their loaves. This worked out perfect for the huge demands of dressing from our family! More bread for the same price, sign me up. I will put that leftover money towards some peanut butter eggs in the event my hubby doesn’t pull through.

One thing that we take super serious in my family at said dinners is the dressing (known in other places of the world as stuffing) so we cannot deviate too far from the recipe OR how it is cooked. I took it upon myself to change the recipe this year but I am hopeful that it will be well accepted! I cannot stress enough DO NOT SKIP THE LAST STEP. It is both our family secret and the key to making worlds most amazing dressing (full disclosure, we could have easily stolen this secret from google, I have no idea). Needless to say, you will never see our dressing in a casserole dish, we are ‘dressing log’ people all the way!

Bon Appétit

 

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Spring Stuffing (Apple, cranberry, pecans, oh my!)
This is an Easter stuffing recipe that you must try!
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 30-45 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings
Ingredients
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 30-45 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375F. Grease 2 cookie sheets and spread out bread pieces. Bake for approx. 8 mins until the bread is dry but not too crispy. Spread the pecans out on a third pan and toast in the oven for 5-6 minutes (if you do not have room for a 3rd pan simply put them in a frying pan on medium heat for approx 8-10mins, flipping every 2 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, apples, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until onions start to lightly brown. Transfer into the largest bowl you own and let cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Grease 1 cookie sheet.
  4. Add the bread, broth, eggs, cranberries, pecans, and thyme and toss together. Using your hands will be the most effective to mix!
  5. Now that your hands are dirty, grab the stuffing mixture with both hands and place on the cookie sheet to form two large rows (see photo below).
  6. Bake for 20-25mins
Recipe Notes

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Step 2:

Step 3:

Step 4:

Step 5: The most important step!!

Step 6: Voila!

 

 

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