#metoo

This blog post has been weighing heavily on me. It isn’t crunchy or mom realted and I was unsure if I even wanted to share it, but ultimately (obviously) I decided to. In the spring of 2012, I was sexually assaulted. This blog post discusses that event and what followed. If for any reason, you do not want to read this post, please don’t read any further.

When I was 22 years old, I was sexually assaulted. By someone that I thought was my friend, we’ll call him Ron. I had known Ron for almost 10 years. We went to middle and high school together. We hung out as teenagers. A group of us used to hang out in his basement as kids. He had kissed my best friend.

I trusted Ron, and he took advantage of me while I was sleeping. We went out to a couple of bars together, and I went back to his house to sleep it off before driving home. I woke up to my pants unbuttoned and his unwanted touch.

I’m not going to go into excruciating detail about how exactly Ron assaulted me, because to me, that’s not the point of this post.

My reason for disclosing this story is to share who deeply it hurt when people didn’t believe me about the assault. And how deeply it hurt when people judged me for what happened.

It hurt so much more deeply than you might think it would. Growing up in a very conservative and religious home, I was taught that sexuality was bad. That women are supposed to cover their bodies and be virgins until they get married. Although I wasn’t a virgin anymore, I still felt a lot of shame and embarrassment in sharing what happened to me. Like I had done something wrong.

I had my own stepmom tell me that it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been drinking. Like my drinking was an open invitation to my vagina.

I had a friend completely delete me out of her life because she didn’t believe me. She had also been friends with Ron, and somehow, chose his “side”.

These people added so much salt to my open wound.

I didn’t want what happened to me to happen to any other women. So the next day, I reported it to the police. Ultimately they decided there wasn’t much they could do legally with my case. However, Ron did escalate in his behavior and a short while later, he raped. The woman reported it, and charges were pressed against him. After years of legal hoops, drama, and battles, Ron is now in jail for the rape.

Because I reported what happened, and the rape he commited, it all ended up in the newspaper. People I went to high school with didn’t know part of the article was about me, but still said I was a liar. They commented on the online article that I was a liar and a slut. They said there was no way that’s what happened. They said I must have misunderstood what happened. Like it’s easy to misunderstand someone’s hand in your pants.

Admitting you were assaulted is scary, difficult, and embarrassing. Then add to that people may not believe you, or may shame you. This is only part of the reason that only 20-30% of sexual assaults get reported.

So if someone in your life tells you that they have been sexually assaulted, please believe them. Odds are, you already know someone who has been sexually assaulted. Every 92 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.

Now, I feel much more comfortable talking about what happened to me years ago. I have learned so much more about myself, and I am in an extremely loving and happy marriage. My husband is supportive and a wonderful listener. Assault victims need to be given safe spaces to talk about their experiences.

It’s never too late to talk about your experiences. Friends and family are a great place to start. There are therapists, hotlines, and support groups. Most importantly, you need to know that you’re certainly not alone.

https://www.rainn.org/get-help

http://ncdsv.org/ncd_linkshotlines.html

Let’s be honest

Today, I’m going to share one of our longstanding favorite crunchy products! We have used this product since the birth of our first son, who almost 4 years old.

The Organic All-Purpose Balm (formly called Organic Healing Balm) from the Honest Company is a staple in our home, and we never go without it. It costs $12.17 on Amazon for 3.4 ounces.

We use this balm for diaper rash, chapped lips, dry skin, random bumps and rashes. It clears up these things and more really quickly. We prefer to use this balm instesd of petroleum jelly, or diaper rash creams. These products can be filled with seriously toxic and dangerous chemicals.

It has a rating of two from the Think Dirty App. This is on a scale from 0-10. If you don’t have the app yet, go download it right now! You won’t regret it!

The Honest Company has not always been squeeky clean and honest about their products, so some people may feel unsure about supporting them. We love this product so much that we still choose to purchase it.

As always, I recommend for you to do your research and make an informed choice for you and your family.

Snackies Lunch

As a parent of a toddler, I’ve quickly learned that my life is a lot easier if I let Dexter make small choices throughout the day. I give him options and he decides what he wants. It lets him feel like he has some control, while still allowing me to put some limitations on things. Almost every single day for lunch, I offer Dexter a couple of choices. Some of these choices include peanut butter and jelly, grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese, random leftovers, and his current favorite…snackies lunch.

Carrots and hummus, blackberries, sliced cheddar cheese, and fruit pouch

Snackies lunch is just a term we started using for lunch that is made up of random little snacks. Just like every other toddler, Dexter goes through phases of loving certain foods and meals. Right now, he is very into snackies lunch.

Mozzarella cheese stick, dill pickle, trail mix, celery with peanut butter, fruit pouch

Mom likes snackies lunch because I don’t really have to do much. I throw some random things on a plate and call it a meal. Dexter seriously gets excited when I put something new on the plate. I tell him to close his eyes and that it’s a surprise. Adding this suspense makes a big difference in his interest in eating.

Roasted seaweed, berries, yogurt, veggies and hummus

I typically try to make sure lunch always has at least 1 vegetable. Of course there are days when I fail at this. One super easy way we incorporate veggies into Dexter’s meals, is with bags of frozen organic vegetables. I buy bags of organic frozen mixed veggies, peas, and green beans. I thaw them in a mug of hot water while I prepare everything else. I thaw them like this because Dexter hates when his food is too warm. I’ve learned that by thawing them in hot water, they will be the perfect toddler temperature.

Mixed veggies, kalamata olives, dill pickle, berries, cucumber and hummus, mozzarella cheese stick, cashews

Here are some of my favorite snackies lunch items:

  • Frozen veggies
  • Nuts
  • Dried/roasted seaweed
  • Cheese sticks
  • Veggies and hummus
  • Yogurt
  • Applesauce
  • Baked chickpeas
  • Beet chips
  • Kale chips
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Berries
  • Pears
  • Oranges
  • Pickles
  • Kalamata olives
  • Trail mix
  • Celery with peanut butter

This possibilities for snackies lunch are seriously endless.

This is also a great way to introduce new things to your children. Since you’re only giving them a small amount of something, they may not feel intimidated of scared. Everything else on the plate can be things they know and love, and then you add one new thing. Tell your child they only have to try one bite of the new thing. This motto has been tremendously helpful with Dexter. We’ve literally been doing it for years now, so he knows he must take at least 1 bite of everything on his plate. More often than not, he likes the new thing. And if he doesn’t like it, he doesn’t have to eat any more of it.

Trail mix, mixed veggies, yogurt, clementine

We also do snackies dinner whenever the adults are eating something that is definitely too spicy for the kids. We really make it a point in our family that we all eat the same meal for dinner, and that Dexter doesn’t get to throw a fit and get something special. But Dexter thinks pepper is too spicy, so sometimes he gets lucky with a special snackies dinner.

The truth about being a SAHM

I’m going to say the thing I’m not supposed to say…being a stay at home mom sucks. Of course not always, but definitely sometimes.

As a stay at home mom (SAHM), I think it’s very common to feel like we shouldn’t complain. We’re supposed to feel lucky. There are so many moms out there who wish they could be stay at home moms so I’m supposed to pretend every day at home is magical. Of course most days at home with my boys are great. I am very grateful that I get to spend so much time with my kids. We get to read books, go on walks, play at parks and do plenty of other fun things together.

I feel like I’m not supposed to complain or talk about how some days are a serious struggle. Since I choose to stay home, I feel like I shouldn’t. It’s almost like an unspoken expectation from society of stay at home moms.

But can I be honest? This stay at home mom shit is hard. Some days I’m up with the baby at 5:30 in the morning and then our day runs until 7:30 at night. Sometimes I’m really lucky and can synch up nap times and get 30 minutes to myself during the day. Otherwise, I go for over 12 hours. I use the bathroom, shower, and do everything and anything else with 2 little humans following me. I share every bite of food, wipe noses and tears, wash dishes and fold laundry with two little boys hanging off of me. I argue with a toddler about brushing teeth, not peeing in the front yard, and explain more times than I know that we DO NOT go fishing for little brothers. My days become a blur of dishes, diapers, vacuuming, and boogers.

I don’t get mandated breaks, or lunch times. I don’t get any praise or recognition for keeping two little humans alive all day every day.

Being a stay at home mom means my needs are often put last, and I’m exhausted and covered in someone elses bodily fluids at the end of the day. But that’s okay, because my babies won’t be babies forever. One day, they won’t need me as much.

So for now, I wake up every single day and get thrown right back into it. Some days are harder than others. Some days I call my husband crying because no one will nap and I’m afraid I’m going to snap. Some days are great and I miss my babies as soon as they go to bed. The good days are so sweet. We spend these days laughing, playing, learning and growing together.

The good days most definitely outweigh the bad. I am very grateful that my husband works as hard as he does so I can be with our kids so much. Like with any job, there are good days, and bad days, and just because I acknowledge the bad, doesn’t mean I’m not thankful, it just means I’m human.

Suddenly, Somehow I’m down to just wiping 1 extra butt a day?

Before I became a mom, I never considered how many times a day I would be wiping someone else’s butt. When I imagined becoming a parent I daydreamed about cute little baby outfits, snuggles and giggles. Not the diapers, massive amounts of poop, and potty training.

Dexter was ready to potty train 1 year ago, when he was 2.5 years old. I say he was ready, because I had attempted it before that and he simply wasn’t ready and things didn’t go well. So we listened to the advice of other parents and waited until Dexter was ready. One day he decided he wanted to go on the big potty and never looked back.

So after a year of going on the potty on his own, we were in a pretty normal routine. He would tell us when he had to go, he would do the deed, and then call us to help him wipe and wash his hands. But about a week ago, Dexter became very interested in being independent in the bathroom and I knew we had to jump on his enthusiasm before we lost it and were stuck wiping his butt until he went to college.

It’s been a little nerve wracking letting a 3.5 year old wipe himself, but so far he’s done a great job. And honestly I’m surprised how great it feels to only have 1 extra (the baby) butt to worry about.

Dexter also suddenly wanted to learn how to stand up to pee. Which led to some pee on the floor (and other weird places) of course but after just a few days, he got that down too. Now when we’re in a public restroom I’m not struggling to hold him on the toilet, while holding the baby, and trying not to fall over myself, and make sure no one touches anything.

We weren’t sure if he was ready to handle so much on his own in the bathroom, but clearly he is. Matt and I were a little hesitant to let Dexter do all of this on his own.  He is only three and a half years old, and he has been known to make quite the mess.  As parents it can be scary and a little frustrating when we hand over control to our little ones. But allowing Dexter to experience more independence, and take care of himself more has been very positive for him. He is proud of himself, and has more self confidence.

Now I just have to figure out how to potty train an 8 month old…

True Roots (you won’t want to be DUNZO with it)

Like pretty much every other teenage girl in the 2000’s, I was obsessed with Laguna Beach, and later The Hills. The “real O.C.” was a dramatic MTV reality show that followed the lives of spoiled teenagers in Laguna Beach California. It was terribly wonderful, so naturally, my sister and I loved it.

If you watched the show too, you remember Kristin Cavallari. She was the young, beautiful, and bitchy character who was always stirring up extra drama. You loved to hate her.

Fast forward to 2019, Kristin is a pretty crunchy mom of 3. She released a cookbook in 2018, called True Roots. The book contains more than 100 recipes free of gluten, dairy, and refined sugar. Her recipes are healthy, unique, and seriously delicious.

The book begins with an explanation of ingredients and items you might want to keep stocked in your pantry and fridge. True Roots is filled with healthy recipes for salads, lunches, dinners, drinks, salad dressings, snacks, and more.

The first thing I made from this cookbook was the Caramelized Bananas. I cannot rave enough about these candy-like cooked bananas. I make them at least once a week now. The first time I made these, my husband came into the kitchen and said it smelled like I was making cinnamon rolls. They are the perfect addition to oatmeal and french toast. You basically slice and cook a ripe banana in coconut oil, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Delicious.

The Carmelized Bananas on top of my homemade oatmeal

I have also made a Coconut Key Lime Chia Parfait, that really tasted like key lime pie. Kristin’s Date Delight Bars are also a simple and healthy snack for anyone.

True Roots is surprisingly awesome and crunchier than you might expect. Even if you didn’t indulge in her reality shows as a teenager, you can definitely still appreciate her healthy and simple recipes. This cookbook has been a great addition to our kitchen, and I highly recommend it for yours!

Sugar Snap Peas- a toddler approved snack

Our toddler, Dexter will turn 4 years old in July. He’s intelligent, sweet, funny, and also very busy. Just like his mama, he loves to snack all day long. He will happily munch on berries, a banana, or an apple (any fruit really). Trying to get him to eat vegetables for a snack can be a little bit more of a challenge though. We recently bought some organic Sugar Snap Peas from our local health food store, and Dexter couldn’t get enough of them. He ate them raw, without any dips or sauces. Mom win!

Sugar snap peas are high in vitamin C, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin K, B vitamins and minerals.

The only thing I did to prep these sweet little green pods, was rinse them off with some water. Dexter and I ate half the bowl by ourselves in one sitting. They are crunchy, and just the right amount of sweet. They make the perfect snack, and would be great to add to a lunch box!

Thinking Dirty

I’m thinking dirty this morning…but probably not the kind of dirty you’re thinking. I’m thinking about chemicals and other nasty things hiding in our homes! There are chemicals hiding in pretty much everything you can think of.

Things like all purpose cleaners, laundry detergent, perfume, makeup, body lotion, dish soap, and even baby products are FILLED with things that are actually causing our bodies harm. Phthalates, Perchloroethylene or “PERC”, Triclosan, Quarternary Ammonium Compounds, or “QUATS”, 2-Butoxyethanol, Parabens, Fragrence, and Triclosan are just a few of the dangers that may be hiding in your home. Here’s something else really scary- in 2009 the European Union had already banned 1,328 chemicals, while in 2018 the United States FDA has only banned 30. How is this possible? How does the EU recognize that over 1,000 toxic ingredients are dangerous, but the US only recognizes 30? There is simply no way that one ingredient is dangerous in the EU and not dangerous here.

These toxic ingredients that are still legal in the US are linked to interference with hormones and fertility problems, developmental problems in children, asthma, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and more.

So as Americans, we must take it upon ourselves to be more educated, and make better choices for our families. Thankfully, we don’t have to be scientists or spend hours researching products and their ingredients. There are trustworthy companies we can turn to for help. The Environmental Working Group and Think Dirty are the two I most often use. I tend to favor the Think Dirty App because it feels more user friendly. You can simply scan a product, type in a product name, or search for a company and immediately see the toxicity of the products.

You will be SHOCKED at what you see. Products are given ratings based on their “cleanliness”. The lower the number, the “cleaner” and “greener” a product is. The higher the number, the more toxic it is.

Another thing to be aware of is “green washing”. This is when companies take advantage of consumers and market their products to seem “green” and “clean” when they really are not. Mrs. Meyers is a company notorious for this. Aveeno is another company that markets their products as “green” but most are not.

I very highly recommend downloading these apps and checking the things in your home. Once you know what’s hiding in your home, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed about switching everything out for healthier options. An easy way to do this, is to switch out your toxic products one or two at a time.There are SO MANY clean and healthy options out there, and they work just as good, or even better than the toxic chemical filled products. There are also companies that I have found that are commited to being clean and healthy that I know I can trust. Our family uses Young Living for many things because of this. We also use Seventh Generation and Dr. Bronners as well.

Have you started making the switch to a toxic free home? How have you done it? What made you switch? Do you have any tips for people looking to make the switch?

Science Wednesday

For those of you that may not know, I used to be a fifth grade teacher. So as a past teacher, I am constantly looking for fun, meaningful, and educational activities to do with Dexter. I found this on the Busy Toddler Instagram.

Dexter LOVED this activity, and I already had all of the necessary materials on hand. They are probably things you have at home too. Setting this activity up took about 3 minutes. SO QUICK AND EASY. If you’re a stay at home parent, or a working parent, you can very easily do this activity at home with your little ones. It would be great to set this up for your toddler when you need to make dinner, fold a load of laundry, or just put your feet up for a few minutes. Just set this up, give them some instructions, and let your little one work, while you get a few magical minutes to yourself!

Supplies needed:
Large clear bin (to contain the mess)
Large Towel for under the bin
Muffin tin
Baking Soda
Food Dye
Vinegar
Squirt Bottle (a water bottle, or even dropper would work here too)

Put a few drops of food dye in each muffin spot, and add enough baking soda to cover the dye.

Fill your squirt bottle with half water and half vinegar.

Then let your little scientist get to work! They squirt the liquid onto the baking soda and watch the magic happen! Bubbles will appear in different colors based on the food dye you put in each container. Once Dexter figured out what was happening, he couldn’t wait to see the next color and shout out what it was.

Dexter really enjoyed this activity, and did it for about half an hour. If you’re a parent, you know that a toddler doing an activity for 30 minutes is absolute magic.

Dexter wanted to keep playing once he had revealed all of the colors. So we dumped the liquid into the large plastic bin, and he kept going. I had to refill his squirt bottle a few times, and even added more baking soda once.

We will definitely be doing this activity again! It was SO simple to set up and cleaning up was a breeze too. This gets a serious thumbs up from us!

Homemade Hummingbird Food

Our feeders in our backyard

One of Matt’s favorite memories with our first born is when Dexter was about 8 months old. They would sit on the porch together in the morning and watch hummingbirds. We lived in Alabama at the time, and had a huge front porch with a few hummingbird feeders hanging. Matt was (and still is) an awesome husband and father. H would get Dexter his breakfast in the morning and hang out on the porch together while I got to get a little bit more sleep. (I got extra sleep so I’m also fond of this memory)

Dexter right before he turned one on the awesome porch

Many hummingbirds spend the cold winter months in Central America or Mexico, and begin migrating North this time of year. Since we live in Northwest Florida, we will be seeing them really soon. We typically see Ruby-throated hummingbirds here. They’re so amazing and beautiful, and I know Matt really looks forward to watching them again with both of our children this year.

Did you know the red dye in hummingbird food is possibly dangerous for these sweet little birds? Don’t worry though, making your own hummingbird food is SO EASY. Dexter helped me make our first batch this year.

Supplies needed:
4 cups of water
1 cup of sugar

My sweet helper

Instructions:
1. Bring water to a boil and remove from heat
2. Stir in sugar until completely dissolved
3. Let water/sugar mixture cool
4. Fill your hummingbird feeder with your mixture and hang up outside

Remember- DO not add red food dye!

Change the food and clean the feeder every 3 to 5 days.

Enjoy watching these amazing birds!