What if we loved ourselves?

What if we loved ourselves?

This week, I was hanging out on Facebook and saw in one of my groups, a woman who had taken her book outside to read. She was sitting, prettily, in a lawn chair on her porch with a huge smile on her face. She wore a dress with flip flops. She looked happy and frankly, excited about the book in her hand. The snow around her would have been up to Hank’s knees. There was a child in the background, in full snow suit, playing in the snow.

She captioned the photo that she was going to be outside reading while in the middle of a hot flash. She ended her comment that she looked like a whale.

I was so happy for her until that last line. In fact, it made my tummy drop. I immediately responded that I hoped that she enjoyed her book and that she was beautiful.

Why do we do this? Why do we allow ourselves to be so rotten to ourselves? I have looked at my stomach and my stretchmarks and belittled myself. Why? I don’t usually care what other people think about my appearance, but I really care about how I think. I know that my body housed two + children and has walked me miles, has treated me with care, but I look at myself and think about my faults.

What if we looked at ourselves and are thankful to those stretch marks? Our bodies expanded to allow for babies to grow. Or our bodies expanded to allow for more of us to love? How amazing is it that our skin does that for us?

What if we look at those added pounds and dismiss them? I’m not saying that being unhealthy is amazing, but not every pound over our “ideal” number is a pound of awful.

What if we look at our curves and be grateful that we have them? What if we look at our straight lines and love them for what they are? What if we look at our puckers, scars and blemishes and just shrug and move on?

What if we tell ourselves that we’re allowed to take that selfie and post it without adding a disclaimer to the world that we know of our faults?

And to those who may decide that they need to point out anything that they feel make us less than perfect? What if we let them go along with our own feelings of discontentment?

What if we choose to be happy with ourselves?

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How to Bread, Allergen Free

How to Bread, Allergen Free

I’ve been asked a few times about how I feed my family and what are our standard go-to products, so I am going to release several blog posts about just that. In this one, I’m going to concentrate on being WHEAT free. Not necessarily, gluten free, but wheat free. I am very, very grateful to those who are allergic to gluten. Without those wonderful eaters, we wouldn’t have as much alternatives at our disposal. The double edge sword is a thing: I hate that they have to eat that way, I love that we can jump aboard.

Please be aware that if you purchase something from one of my links, I may be receiving a compensation through the vendor.

Oh man, how I love bread. I used to be the girl who filled up on the bread basket at restaurants, who fought for the first slice of my mom’s freshly baked loaves, who would just be happy to eat bread and butter as a meal. Oh, my first love, bread, how I miss you.

But I don’t really. We have really great substitutes. We can purchase wheat free at the store, but we still need to take a microscope to the ingredients list. We are avoiding so many items that even though it doesn’t have wheat, it could not be safe.

Pre-made store bought bread

For sandwich bread, I love that I don’t have to make the bread from scratch. I have and have mixed my own flours to do so, but I didn’t get the bread making gene that my mom has and it was apparent when we took the first bite. So, I am very pleased that I can order pre-made breads. Our main stays are:

Schar Gluten Free Artisan Baker White Bread, 2 Count: this bread is soft but dense enough to put up with Hank’s dairy free butter, even when cold. Depending on what you need to avoid, this company has a full range of gluten free options that taste great and are kid approved. Buns, baguettes and crackers are amazing and all available through Amazon and our local grocer.

Katz Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins | Dairy, Nut and Gluten Free | Kosher (6 Packs of 4 Muffins, 11 Ounce Each): These English muffins also come in plain, however are currently unavailable through Amazon. Hank loves these with his dairy free butter. I have used them as hamburger buns, sandwich buns and they always get dissected so that he can eat the parts of the meal that he likes, separately. The Katz company has a full range of breads and desserts/snacks, including cupcakes, filled cakes and doughnuts. As we are able to (if we are able to) add additional ingredients, I am hopeful that we can introduce more from this company as they are delicious.

Again, read the label. I once bought gluten free ready-to-bake pizza crust and double checked that there wasn’t egg, milk or pea protein that I didn’t even see that it contained orange juice. Guess what? Hank is allergic to oranges, like – instant vom. I had gotten that sucker home and was so excited to use it and had the hubs double check and there it was: Orange juice. Boo.

Make your own bread

I’ve made my own bread before using my oven as well as a bread maker. Again, I didn’t get the magical bread making gene from my mother, but I have made *passable* bread by using the bread recipes in the book Learning to Bake Allergen-Free: A Crash Course for Busy Parents on Baking without Wheat, Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Soy or Nuts.

Colette Martin is an amazing author but also a food allergy mom. She gets it. In her book, she gives tips and encouragement about moving into this new normal of living and cooking. She also teaches how to mix your own flour blends and shares tried and true recipes for everything from the basic bread to scones and doughnuts. She also gives you dairy free options and substitutions.

My best suggestion while using this book and mixing your own flours for other recipes is to measure by grams. I love the Cuisinart Weight Mate Digital Kitchen Scale. It is compact – which means easy to store off my counters. Since bread making is a magical endeavor (ok, not magic, but science), it is important that you measure by weight and not by cup, if the measurement isn’t exact you will get a Pinterest-worthy fail. Trust me, I’ve done it all. My favorite was the raw and runny middle with the burnt outside. That was a special day.

Now, since I don’t love mixing my own flour. I’d rather use a premix blend. My favorite flour is King Arthur Flour, Measure for Measure Flour, Certified Gluten-Free, Non-GMO Project Verified, Certified Kosher, 3 Pounds (Packaging May Vary). Actually, I quite love King Arthur all together. When I post about sweets and mixes, I’ll have a whole section devoted to King Arthur.

As with anything, if you have multiple allergies like we do, check the label, call the company, and observe for any reactions.

Future blog posts will include pasta and sweets for being wheat free, I’ll also start pulling together our other favorite substitutes for dairy and eggs. Is there something that you want to know about? Drop me a message through Instagram or Facebook!

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Leave the Lights On

Leave the Lights On

We’re at the end of the holiday season. We’ve seen the New Year claw it’s way into our lives. It’s time to start taking down the trees, the lights, the merriment that we used to push the end of 2020 out. BUT – What if we didn’t? What if we left those twinkle lights up just for a few more weeks? What if we leave the kissing ball hanging from our doorway up for just a wee bit longer?

We’re running head long into the darkest part of the year and I know that we can ward off the winter depression, the winter blues or whatever you want to call it, with light. We get excited every year when the holiday lights go up, why not let that simmer just a little bit longer? We deserve it. I’ve said it before, we’ve made it through the longest decade ever, known as 2020. We deserve a bit of light and magic to bring us through the rest of the winter.

I will be removing the Christmas tree, I will be removing the greenery, but I vow to leave up my twinkle lights in my home until, Valentines Day, maybe? I want to watch the candles and lights turn on with their timers to warm my home in the evenings. I want for my children to feel the warmth for a bit longer.

Now, I’m off to Pinterest to search for ideas that aren’t Christmas-y to decorate with. As the kids say these days, It’s gunna be lit, fam.

(did I use that right?)

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Let those resolutions live and die!

Let those resolutions live and die!

It’s that time of year! It’s time to say good bye to 2020 and hello to 2021, time to air out the house and bring in the fresh air. It is also time for half of my Facebook friends and family to post that they hate going to the gym and seeing those who made resolutions and then watching them fail. BUT, I say, yes! Yes, to the resolutions. Yes, to going to the gym, only if it is only for the free trial period. Yes, to moving a yoga mat from the closet to the livingroom and letting it sit there.

I think that as humans, we look at new beginnings as an important reawakening, but what are we awakening? Is it the resolution or the idea that we deserve some sort of inner change? Do we need to follow through? No. Did we do harm by failing? Also, no. We get into our heads every day and bog ourselves down with how we’ve failed ourselves, but even through those “failures” there is something we didn’t fail. We put ourselves first.

How do we continue thinking of ourselves when our resolutions get away from us? Small changes! Even the very small.

I will:

  • Carry a reusable bag with me to limit my plastic usage from quick trips to the store. Stored in the car or in your purse, you can pull it out and know that you are making a difference to our world. If we’re taking care of the whole, we are also taking care of the individual.
  • Walk after I eat my lunch. A quick five-minute walk – brisk or otherwise – can put us into a better mood. Get that blood moving!
  • Seek the sun! (with, of course, proper protection.) We need the sun to live, but we also need it to feel good. All that Vitamin D is free for the taking, get out there and soak it in.
  • Drink your water! How many of us are living on coffee, wine, or pop (soda?) and forgetting about water? Drink it up!

MOST IMPORTANTLY:

  • I will NOT berate myself for not being able to run that mile, finish that puzzle, have flat feet in downward dog, or finish that book that all my friends are raving over. I will look at my limitations or growing disinterest and decide that sometimes, it is better to let things go. I highly doubt that when I look back at the age of 80, that I’m going to feel bad for not finishing one book out of the thousands that I did read and enjoy.

We’re not competing with ourselves; we should not be seeking approval to treat ourselves poorly because we couldn’t do or follow through with something. We’re coming from a hard year. A really hard year, and it is ok to treat ourselves kindly.

So, feel free to make those resolutions, feel free to tell others about them, feel free to be ok if you can’t follow through with them. But don’t create an inner atmosphere that is more toxic than 2020 was.          

Hank and I were talking today about resolutions. And he said that he had one for me, but wasn’t sure how I was going to work on being even better at it. So, all, here is my resolution that he suggested and I’m going with:

I will be great.

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The Wishing Bridge

The Wishing Bridge

Everyday, Hank comes to me. “Mom, I have a question for you.” I get this question up to three times a day. Rain, shine, snow, wind, bitter cold, blistery hot. I know that it is coming, whether he’s in pajamas or in his day time clothes.

“Want to take a walk with me?”

I hesitate a moment, whether to debate the weather, to finish the drink I was just about to swallow, to decide if the laundry can wait an extra 20 minutes (it always can).

“Please, Cheese, Freeze, Breeze?”

We have a few routes for these walks. We’re lucky to live in a large neighborhood with connecting walkways and sidewalks. Our favorite path takes us in a large circle that has a bridge over a brook.

As we are heading toward it, he collects a rock, snowball, leaf, stick, pinecone – as long as it is small. Well, except the snowball, the bigger the better. Once on the bridge, he takes a second to think about something he wants and then he throws the object over the side to see if it makes it into the water. If it does, his wish comes true. When it doesn’t, he isn’t disappointed, he can do it again tomorrow.

His wishes are for health, for Covid-19 to be over, for us to have a good Christmas, for him to see his friends.

My wishes are for the same, although, I always tell him that I wished for a million dollars.

Taking a moment to focus on the clock as it hits 12:34 or 11:11, I always make a wish. I usually wish for the same things as Hank does.

Do you have a wishing bridge? What are your wishes?

Wendy Price is the author of 10 Little Rules of Hank, available at www.10littlerules.com, on Amazon, and at select retail stores.

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Goodbye Eyebrows!

Goodbye Eyebrows!

This week, I waxed my own eyebrows. I did NOT do a very good job. They are sort of thin, sort of thick, sort of just plain wonky. But I did it. I tamed them into a weird submission. I did them because they needed it and on a normal day, in a normal year, in a normal life, I would have gone and gotten them done by my favorite waxer. Alicia is amazing. She is quick, funny and just an amazing person. I really like her. So much, in fact, when our state was starting to close down in March, I ran to her to get my waxing done. I was so hopeful that by the time I needed it again, we’d have gotten rid of COVID-19 through staying home, wearing masks and washing hands.

Imagine my surprise when we couldn’t even manage to wash our hands or wear a mask to help others.

My eyebrows, and let’s face it, mustache, and beard started growing in nicely. Thicker and thicker with every week that we had to stay locked away. Thicker and thicker as people were mocking our stay at home order. Thicker and thicker as people were laughing at this “flu”. Thicker and thicker as there was a presidentially-approved kidnapping plot against our governor over being locked down. Thicker and thicker.

This week, while cases are soaring, it became time to just wax it myself. So, I did. Was it a pain? Well, yeah. And again, did I do a good job? NOPE. But it is done and in 4 weeks, I’ll do it again. I’ll do it again because I have to stay at home. I don’t have the luxury of being able to laugh in the face of this virus. See, with his many medical issues, if Hank gets a cold, he loses a ton of weight – which is hard since we wrestled with failure to thrive for so long. If Hank gets the flu, we have to worry about how long it will last and whether or not he’ll have complications that will cost him his life. COVID-19, even for those who survive it, leaves lasting medical injury.

COVID-19 can kill one of my babies.

I saw, last night a troll on a friend’s Facebook laughing and mocking her because the father of her children has COVID-19. I removed a friend who ranted that people were putting more concern on COVID than other issues and she was sick of it. I see people on my community Facebook page angry because a restaurant had to be closed due to employees getting this virus – not that people aren’t staying home, but because they couldn’t go out to eat.

I don’t know how much longer we have until we can get over this virus, but I am hopeful that 2021 is our year. I am hopeful that under a new administration, we can, as a country, bring back science – therefore protecting all of us, even ones who laugh at those of us with wonky eyebrows.

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The cure for jealousy is basil

The cure for jealousy is basil

There is a Smith’s song that I have had in my head while I was writing this post. “I am human and I need to be looooovvvveeeedddddd, just like everybody else does”. I am human. I have human reactions and right now, I have one. I have full on jealousy. I am currently hosting the green-eyed monster (I’ve named him Stan) for the weekend. Why do I have this guest? Well. Looking through Facebook and Instagram, I am seeing my friends and family on vacation. Adult-only getaways. Fun in the sun with the whole family. A singleton who decided to just drive away.

I’m jealous.

So, while making a cappuccino for Stan, I reflected on what else do I not have that I want? Well, for one, I want a clean house. Like, I would be jealous if someone started posting pics of clean floors or bathrooms so spotless, you know that they must smell of lemon.

I finished my coffee and told Stan that I would be back, and I started to clean. I started on one side of the house and worked my way to the other side. Though, I did skip the nightmare of the boy area that is the upstairs in my house. I made my bathroom smell like basil; I don’t have the lemon scent. I vacuumed the carpet and took joy at watching clumps of grass (?!? WHAT?!) being sucked up. I removed dog hair from behind furniture and scrubbed the back splash in the kitchen. I handwashed pots and pans. I refilled the dog food container.

I sat down and can smell the basil scent on my clothes and hands. Stan joined me for a drink; he and I switched to water. He also smelled better, like a favorite herb. It had taken five hours to deep clean one floor of my house. I was now too tired to give Stan much more attention. The hubs sat down in Stan’s seat and asked what I wanted him to order for dinner, because he was not going to get my kitchen dirty. Oh, how I love this man.

I’m less jealous, and I know that next week when I have new grass clumps in the living room, I’ll be too tired cleaning to invite Stan back.

I may be stuck at home, but I am lucky to be able to be stuck somewhere I like. One that smells like delightfully like basil.

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Saying goodbye to 2nd grade

Saying goodbye to 2nd grade

I’m sitting on my deck as I write this.  I’m only half watching Hank as he is playing with a water gun, “not” getting me wet. We’re alone out here, his brother and dad are inside playing a card game. We get a lot of moments like this, him and I. I love them. We talk about nothing, or everything. He makes up games that he takes me through like a storyteller – oftentimes we work together to defeat a larger monster. He tells me what the dog is thinking – she thinks a lot about food and love and bunnies. I really enjoy listening to his voice and the content he shares. He’s interesting and entertaining.

I usually use these times to float topics that I need to discuss with him so that he isn’t distracted by his brother’s responses. Today, I broached the topic of school in the fall.

I asked him about what he thinks about going back into an actual classroom in the fall. He was not excited. I mentioned that he and his brother may be staying home for school again and that if he does, he’ll have to take it as seriously as he does when he is sitting in his classroom. We discussed that what I would be helping teach him would be new information and important to learn for his growth and to be “on track” with the others his age.

He understood that he would need to be serious with me and that it wouldn’t be like it was for the end of the last school year, that he would need to actually complete his work with the thoughts that it is going to be graded. He understood that he was going to have a new real teacher, but that he may not get to meet his new teacher in person. His introductions would be through web videos. I was a little surprised of his reaction to this. He said that he didn’t want to get a new teacher yet. He didn’t feel like he was done with last year’s teachers. He wasn’t ready to say goodbye.

That is a universal trend, from what I have learned from my friends. Their kids understood that they would have an awkward and stunted school year and then a summer vacation that may be different than the ones that they have encountered before. But that they were not going back to those same classrooms or teachers has been hard to grasp, this wasn’t just a weird mid-year break, but the end of the year.

Hank was super lucky; his teachers held a picnic at a local park. When they learned that he wasn’t going to attend as we didn’t deem it safe, they came to our house to say their goodbyes. It was a perfect closure for me, I got to talk to them and it was almost refreshing. But for Hank, he saw that as a lucky occurrence of being able to see them again before he saw them again.

My sweet boy told me that he is looking forward to staying home with me and learning. I feel like I’ve won something. I had begun to enjoy teaching him at home in the last few weeks of last year. His teachers were sending out new lessons that were not review but completely new information and it was exciting to walk him through them. The next school year is likely to be as different and difficult as the last one, but I think that together, we can do this.

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