Behind starburst eyes

What’s Turkey Without Stuffing???

I love all the things about Yule, and Christmas. I love the lights, the trees, the songs, even the snow. But the thing I love the most is the feasting!

However, a big part of the fest for me is the stuffing. I make my grandfather’s recipe every year, but it’s filled with bread and potatoes so what’s a girl to do?

Re-vamp her grandfather’s recipe into a keto one of course! 😉 Below is exactly that:

Ingredients:

1 loaf of hearts of palm bread

2 heads of cauliflower

2 Tbsp of Poultry seasoning

1 whole garlic minced
1 cooked sausage of your choice

1/2 of an onion finely chopped

1 egg

1lb of bacon chopped

2 Tbsp of butter

2 Tbsp of heavy cream

1 Tsp of pepper

1 dash of salt

Instructions: 1) Roughly chop and then cook cauliflower in a pan on medium heat.
2) Remove from heat, add butter and cream and mash.
3) Dice onion, garlic, sausage and bacon and then add to the cauliflower mash.
4) Rip (or cut) up hearts of palm bread into small pieces and add to mash.
5) Add whisked egg and poultry seasoning.
6) Stuff Turkey and cook as usual.

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Hold On Just A Little Longer

Sometime when I wasn’t looking he became too big for bed time cuddles. I missed noticing the last time his older brother asked for bedtime cuddles, and I swore I wouldn’t miss it with him. Yet, life, my own inability to stay in the present made me forget to pay attention as carefully as I swore I would. I was always thinking of what needs to be done before I go to bed, tomorrow, next week, next month, next, next, next. Never focusing on the now, always on the next. So I missed noticing when the last time he asked for cuddles happened. He slipped out of that stage without a whisper, or a warning.

He still asks for his heart song…most nights. I’ve taken to holding his hand while I sing, a part of me can’t bear to let him go just yet, but I know I must, so I compromise by just holding his hand instead. Normally as soon as I’ve finished his heart song he lets go and repositions himself, his hand firmly tucked beneath his head. Only tonight, tonight he didn’t let go. It was such a small gesture, the gentle extra pressure he used to squeeze so delicately that if I’d not been focused on the present I wouldn’t have noticed…I would have missed his fingers stroking my hand, searching…reaching…connecting with me. So I stayed, my arm outstretched to his big boy loft bed, holding his hand for just a little bit longer. He held my hand tonight not just for his heart song, but until he fell asleep, and my heart overflowed with so much love for my sweet not so little boy. One day he’ll stop asking for his heart song…his brother has, and I’ll stop singing it…but for at least tonight I got to hold on just a little longer…

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One week at a time

I am now on my 7th day of Keto! So far I’ve lost 6.8lbs, and 1/4inch off each measurement (waist, arms, legs, and hips). I know some is water weight bloat disappearing, and I’m fine with that 🙂 I’m super excited to see what I’m at next week for my measurements and weight!

To celebrate, I of course made another mug cake lol. This time I went for lemon flavored 😃 I couldn’t find any specific recipe I wanted so I altered one. As I’ve realized that the base of most of the keto mug cakes is the same for the almond flour, butter, coconut flour, baking powder, and sweetner. Below is my Lemon Mug Cake Recipe and Nutritional info for it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp sweetener (I used Monkfruit with erthyitol)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons of grated lemon peel
  • 2 Tbsp of heavy cream (35%)

Recipe:

  • Melt the butter in the microwave
  • Add all wet ingredients to the melted butter
  • Mix all dry goods in a bowl together
  • Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients
  • Divide batter into 2 microwave safe mugs
  • Sprinkle a half a teaspoon of the lemon peel on the top of the batter
  • Bake each mug cake for 90 seconds in the microwave
  • Top with your favorite keto cream cheese icing, keto whipped cream or keto ice cream
  • Sprinkle the remaining lemon zest on top
  • Enjoy!

The nutritional information was calculated using the app CarbManager and does not include icing, whipped cream or ice cream and is per mug:

  • Calories: 280kals
  • Total Carbs: 18.7g
  • Sugar Alcohols: 12g
  • Net Carbs: 3.1g
  • Fiber: 3.1g
  • Protein: 7.1g
  • Fat: 26g

A note about the carbs, while the original carbs appears high, and the net carbs does not appear to add up to the total carbs minus fibers, that is because of the sugar alcohols. Normally for keto you need to minus half the sugar alcohols plus the fiber from the total carbs for the net carbs. Only, because the only sugar alcohols in this recipe are from the erythritol they all can be subtracted as our bodies don’t tend to digest sugar alcohols from erthyitol. I got that information from:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/net-carbs#TOC_TITLE_HDR_4 and from: https://www.atkins.ca/how-it-works/library/articles/ask-the-nutritionist-the-scoop-on-sugar-alcohols

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My Secret Salvation

As I previously wrote, I’ve started being on a Keto meal plan again. I started full of desire and determination, and after what felt like months but really was only a couple of days I nearly caved.

I have a sweet tooth, and not just a little one, but like a full on I could eat cakes and donuts and pastries all day, everyday. Which clearly is not a thing I can do while also maintaining a Keto meal plan!

Chocolate Brownie Mug Cake topped with keto icing and low calorie caramel sauce: 380 calories and 4 net carbs for this delicious treat.

Enter the magical recipes of Melissa Sevigny! She’s the author of the fantastic blog I breathe I’m hungry (which I mentioned in the last post too lol) Her chocolate brownie mug cake recipe is DELICIOUS!!! Best part it’s also keto friendly 😀 and it totally kept me in ketosis while satisfying my intense need for baked goods!

My humble suggestion to anyone starting out with keto is to 1) check out her blog, and 2) buy yourself some almond flour, coconut flour, and monkfruit and dark chocolate (90%) and keep it in your cupboard for if you get hit with a late night craving like I did!

I admit I could have held out if I’d made my kiddos go low carb with me cause then there wouldn’t have been regular baking goods in my house anymore. But I didn’t make them do it, and for Mr.N with his limited diet due to sensory issues it would be cruel of me to force him to go hungry. So wheat pastas, breads, and mashed potatoes and chicken nuggets will still be staples in my house for him…

But so will almond flour, coconut flour, monkfruit sweetener, and dark chocolate 😉

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Here We Go Again…

Like countless other adults I have gained more weight than I would like, and tried to lose said weight. So it seems a bit silly to announce I’m attempting it again, cause what if I fail, again? Which of course worries me as I’ve been on and off my quest to lose weight so I could book my hernia surgery for at least 4 years now. While I admit I usually have good success for at least a couple of months, it’s around 2-3 months into my journey that I start skipping my workouts and “treating myself just this once” over and over.

I’ve gone through this cycle many many times, and I’m hesitant to say I’ll be successful this time, but more than anything I NEED to be successful this time. I finally have a definitive consultation with a surgeon and I’m told by her receptionist that I’ve got approximately 4-8 months after that appointment for a surgical date. While 4-8 months is quite a vague timeline, it’s far more definitive than waiting till the weight is gone to even begin booking my appointments.

So, I feel I should have the weight gone by the beginning of that window just incase, as the less abdominal fat I have the greater my chance for a successful, pain free (as in no long term pain due to issues or complications) procedure. That means I have 5 months to lose 50lbs. Which is actually reasonable timeline so long as I combine exercise and diet and ya know stick to it.

(Picture of a road with the words: 5 months, 50 pounds, I can do this! written on it.)

For the exercise portion we have a small trampoline, and resistance bands already so it’s just about designing an interval training plan.

For the diet/nutrition portion I’m heading over to I breathe I’m hungry as every time my partner and I have attempted low carb her website has been my go-to for delicious low carb recipes. Last time we attempted this, my partner lost 3 pant sizes and I lost 2 pant sizes with her delicious meals. Had we of stuck to it, we would have lost more and it wasn’t because we got bored with the recipes or they were too hard, it was…

Well to be totally honest it was self (and accidentally partner) sabatoge as I knew I wasn’t going to book my appointments until I’d lost the weight and I was scared of having surgery. I’m still scared, but my hernia has gotten worse and I know if I let it go much longer I’m risking far more serious issues with an emergency surgery for bowel obstruction than a calm, planned hernia repair surgery.

Plus I tell the kiddos all the time “it’s okay to be scared, but you still have to do the things” and I’m a mom who believes in less “do as I say” and more “do as I do”. So now it’s time for me to “do the things” as well.

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There’s Always A Reason

During a pandemic isn’t the most obvious time to decide one is going to start working on a trailer and planning a trip across the Americas.

While yes a part of the reason is definitely because we couldn’t go on our grand adventure across Europe, another part was the lump I found on my sternum. I needed something to focus on while I waited for results.

While many people equate Autism with a certain amount of social oblivion, where my boys are concerned momma being upset sets off alarm bells real quick! Couple that with this pandemic already having them more anxious and the inability for me to go off from them for awhile while I process and you’ve got the potential for a whole lot of additional stress and meltdowns on their part (totally warranted mind you!)

So instead I focused on the trailer and creating a sanctuary for the kids and I to have. For a place to make memories for years to come as we adventure together, because the alternative wasn’t something I could afford to focus on in such close quarters with them.

With all the additional medical precautions in place for Covid, getting a diagnosis wasn’t as quick as I would like. It took over a week to be able to physically see my doctor, another 2 weeks for the ultrasound, and then a week and a half for inconclusive results. My actual sternum is inflamed and swollen, so I was prescribed an anti-inflammatory for rheumatoid arthritis to see if it helped to decrease the swelling and then an appt with radiology 3 months from now to look at it again. 😦

The idea that I should just sit around and wait 3 more months to see what exactly it is because most medical procedures that aren’t for Covid or for immediately saving one’s life is so disheartening and makes me wonder how many people aren’t getting timely treatment because our government cut funding for hospitals too much for too long and so they can’t handle both right now.

The bright side is that the pain is less with the medication and I think the lump is smaller so fingers crossed it actually is shrinking, and isn’t potentially life-threatening.

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Mandala inspired sweater

So often I use my craftyness to create things for others. While I take a great deal of pleasure and pride in giving something I’ve made specifically for that person, I wanted something lovely made just for me.

I found a mandala style pillow cover that I used, and then went from there.

The pattern I started with for the back is from Pink Mambo: https://pinkmambo.com/dream-circle/

Then I made the front panels directly from the back, attached the sides of the back and front together, then the sleeves and finally the hood.

I went with a mix of the short bolero style and a wrap style for the front.

I did an elbow length sleeve as I normally camp a great deal in the summer, and a shorter sleeve means I can safely wear it while tending a fire or making hot chocolate on the Coleman stove we use. I’ll be making fingerless elbow gloves to wear with it when I’m not cooking 🙂

I used 5 balls of 3 different variegated yarns, all 3 are Red Heart Colorscape: Barcelona, Acapulco, and Mykonos.

It took me a week to make working off and on between my own schooling, helping the kids with theirs and regular household activities.

What is something you’ve made for yourself? I’d love to see it, please post a picture in the comments below!

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Coronavirus Pandemic and Our Emotional Health

We live in Ontario, Canada and our premier has officially declared a state of emergency this morning. This means in addition to primary, secondary and post-secondary schools being shut down for the next 3 weeks, now our daycare centers, restaurants (dine in portion), bars, cinemas, libraries, museums, major venues such as the science centre, and recreation centers are all shut down until at least April.

We homeschool our 3, but my two stepdaughters attend public school at their mother’s insistence. So this changes some things for us, but not all things. Obviously daycare facilities being closed doesn’t effect us. However, everything else being closed does.

One of the ways all of these closures effect us is through fear and anxiety. My youngest son has asthma and has had to be on oxygen and nebulizers in the past, so I am in a heightened state of anxiety. But I’m not the only one, my children feel it too. Not just through me, but also because news of the virus is everywhere and both kiddos understand the potential implications for their brother, and he understands the implications for himself. To that end we have been working a great deal with the concepts of fear, anxiety and powerlessness.

Acknowledgement of Emotions:

We’ve spoken about how scary it can be to feel like you’re powerless in a situation, and how to work with that feeling to acknowledge it but not let it overwhelm us (a thing I am struggling with myself as well).

Then, I attempt to teach them how to work through their scary thoughts. We talk about their feelings, how their real and valid first. But also that even though their valid, we don’t have to be ruled by them. We can focus on the things we HAVE done, the things we ARE doing, and the things we CAN do during this time.

Breathing Techniques:

Once I’ve validated their emotions we do breathing exercises. Five deep breathes in through the nose and out through the mouth. This helps to calm the nervous system down and allow the pre-frontal cortex to come back online (center of logic and reasoning).

Mindfulness Exercises:

Mindfulness exercises such as finding 5 things they can see, touch, and hear can also help to refocus on calming the mind enough to work through any scary thoughts.

Positive Actions:

Finally, we focus on something positive, such as on gratitude, love, giving to others, or constructive actions. We do this because in allot of ways our thoughts are like roads, the more frequently their used, the more deeply they become entrenched and at times like this we NEED the positive perhaps more than ever.

For one child, focusing then on how grateful they are for the healthcare professionals or our ability to have things delivered to lessen our chances of exposure is helpful.

For another it’s expressing love through acts of kindness such as offering to play another siblings favorite board game or reading a book to a younger sibling.

For another it’s writing a card to send to someone they can’t see in person right now, or walks in the conservation area to be in nature.

For me, it’s constructive physical acts that help, for example organizing cupboards and labelling jars with our supplies or sorting the kids clothes for donations (I’ll wait to donate, but I’m happy to pop bags of donations in a closet ready to go once this is all over). Each person is unique, so choosing the positive actions that work best for them should be specific to them.

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Taking a leap

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When my mom was in palliative care she spoke with me about all the things she regretted. Only one was some thing she had done, all the rest were things she hadn’t done, dreams she had never chased, moments she hadn’t fully lived, chances she was too afraid to take.

I told her I looked forward to telling her about all my zany adventures when I saw her on the other side. Then to borrow one of her favorite sayings “I put my money where my mouth is”.

I applied to University again and was accepted as a full-time student for my bachelor degree in Anthropology and Psychology. I’m now in my second year, and I’ve worked hard to stay on the honour roll both years.

It hasn’t always been easy, as we still homeschool the kids, and we’re always working on various tools they need to learn to live their best lives too. But, it IS worth it!

I don’t want to regret all of the things I didn’t do, and all of the chances I didn’t take. Nor do I want them to live that way either. Being Autistic, I’ve noticed that my boys are encouraged by society to conform to social norms even more heavily than if they weren’t. Some thing I’ve noticed allot of adult Autistics speaking about lately. So when I say we’re working on the tools they need, a key one of them is the courage to be true to themselves. They are amazing human beings that I’ve been privileged to be a parent to. I never want them to lose sight of their authentic selves, and chase their own dreams. Can you imagine what life could look like if we weren’t afraid to take a leap?

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Why I don’t often write about my sons anymore…

When I first started this blog, I would write quite frequently about my children. I thought that by giving others a glimpse into the world of Autistic children, and the parenting of, that it would help. That it could show the world what our lives were like; both the positive as well as the struggles.

There is a difference though between when a parent of a neurotypical child writes about parenting, and a parent of a special needs child writes about parenting. I didn’t realize that when I first started writing. I didn’t realize that far too often the media utilizes those same struggles to suggest that a parent of an Autistic child should be pitied. Mostly I didn’t realize it, because I don’t pity myself.

I see myself as having been gifted 3 beautiful souls to guide towards their fullest potential. I see myself as a kind of tour guide. I’m only here to help till they themselves feel less like tourists and more like locals. The thing is, I thought that was what all parents have to do.

I have never been a mother to a neurotypical child, so maybe it’s totally different? But from what I have heard, it’s still hard as hell to be a mom; regardless of a child’s neurobiology.

So why is it that having a rough moment or day or even a totally rotten week is viewed so differently when the child is classified as special needs? It’s different because we view having a child with a different neurobiology as something bad, as something to grieve and be depressed about. Only I’ve never felt that way about my kids.

So when I write, I have to consider what kind of impression am I adding to society of the reality of having an Autistic child. I don’t want to add to the gross misconception that they are less for having a different neurology; because, they aren’t. The society that equates how much money a person can contribute to corporations (through working at, or purchasing from) as a human being’s only worth is what should be pitied, and seen as less than; not my beautiful children.   

 

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