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Baking Food

Delicious Pfeffernüsse Cookies

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Pfeffernüsse or German Gingerbread cookies have been a staple in my life for years now. I have always bought the store versions and have found them to be overly sweet. With notes of cinnamon and ginger, these cookies will surely not last.

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German Gingerbread Cookies

What is your favorite dessert? My favorite is gingerbread during the holiday season. More specifically, glazed German gingerbread, also more commonly known in Europe as pfeffernüsse. These cookies have always been my favorite, ever since I was a little girl. I made them for the first time and they are now my favorite again. I especially like homemade dishes because they don’t have the overly sweetness of the glaze that is put on during the process.

When I was little, I grew up on these delicious confections. Sometimes going as far as, begging or sneaking a bag up to my room. These cookies are deliciously warm, sweet and complex.

This recipe is just the start of my Christmas cookie countdown to Christmas. I may be a little late, making cookies everyday during the month of December. However, I am sure that I will be making up multiple cookies in one day and individually talking about them.

The spices are what make this delectable dessert so iconic. All within one cookie, there are hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, allspice, and cloves. If you make the spices together they make what is called lebkuchengewurz or German gingerbread spice.

If you’re looking for a new Christmas tradition or trying to remember a taste from your childhood, I am excited for you to give these treats a try.

What Are Pfeffernüsse Cookies

Pfeffernüsse cookies are small spiced cookies that are super popular in European countries. They are typically served on December 5th or 6th, when people celebrate the name day of Saint Nicholas.

Everyone has their own version of these cookies. I glaze mine with a homemade glaze, that doesn’t overpower the spices in the cookie, as well as it is sweetened with a molasses and sugar mixture.

What you need to make Pfeffernüsse cookies

  • measuring cups and spoons
  • 2 baking sheets
  • Parchment Paper
  • Mixing bowl
  • a small cooking pot
  • your hands
  • small spatula

How To Make Pfeffernüsse Cookies

Don’t worry, the process is a lot easier than trying to spell the name of these cookies. Here’s how you do it.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Measure your ingredients, as the first 2 are crucial and important. Please make sure that all ingredients are ready for insertion.

Pour the molasses and the granulated sugar into a pot. Turn the heat to medium and proceed to heat up the two ingredients. Constantly stir to prevent burning, as well as stirring to the point where the sugar has melted and the molasses is no longer grainy.

pfeffernüsse

Next, take the pot off of the heat and immediately mix in the spices. Let cool to a touch and mix in the baking powder, milk and egg. I find that the sugar molasses mixture starts to harden, so I put the pot back onto the heat for 2 minutes to soften. After its soft, I mix the next 3 ingredients into the mixture.

Pfeffernüsse

After you add those 3 ingredients, it will foam up like in the photo below.

Pfeffernüsse
pfeffernuse

After this, place a cup of flour at a time into the mixture. Mix until all the flour is incorporated. You may have to transfer to a mixing bowl to knead. Knead once you are unable to stir any longer.

Knead until the dough is tacky and the rest of the flour is incorporated into the dough.

Once the dough comes together, take out the kitchen scale, pinch off and measure 20g of dough. Otherwise you will have inconsistent sizing. Roll into a ball.

Place the balls onto a baking sheet covered by parchment paper and bake for 9-11 minutes. While those are baking make the glaze.

Mix together the 2 ingredients and coat the baked cookies. You can either dip the cookies or you can brush them on with a pastry brush.

Pfeffernüsse

These delicious cookies have a bit of a spiciness to them. not like hot spices, but more like a bite of black pepper. They are best a few days after baking, as they are better aged.
Servings: 24 cookies
Author: Crystal Brunsdon

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • measuring spoons
  • measuring cups
  • Spatula
  • baking sheets
  • parchment paper
  • cooking pot
  • scale

Ingredients

Cookies

  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 6 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp Whole Milk cold from the refrigerator
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg cold from the refrigerator
  • 2 ½ cups All-purpose flour

Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp water

Instructions

Cookies

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Pour the molasses and sugar into a pot, stir until the sugar is melted and the molasses is not grainy.
  • Take the pot off of heat and pour the spices into the mixture and stir. Cool until just warm to the touch. It may be a little difficult to stir for the next step. I usually place the pot back onto the heat to heat up the molasses until easier to stir.
  • Insert the egg, milk and baking soda and stir until fully incorporated.The mixture will foam up as you stir. This is normal.
  • Add flour, one cup at a time, until the dough starts to form. Transfer to a mixing bowl and need until all the flour is incorporated.
  • Pinch off a small 20g, 1 inch ball and place on baking sheets. Continue until all dough is used.
  • Bake for 9-11 minutes. While the cookies are baking, make the glaze

Glaze

  • In a separate bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and 1 tbsp. of water. The mixture should be a little runny but still firm.
  • After cookies are baked, let them cool so not scalding, but hot enough to let the glaze stick and to be handled.
  • You can either brush the glaze on, or you can take the cookie, turn it upside down and dip it into the glaze, making sure to get the whole sphere.
  • Let it cool completely and enjoy.

Notes

These cookies are best served a few days after baking. Gingerbread ages which gives it that unique taste. 
STORING:
Storing these cookies is easy. You can place them into a sealed container and they are as fresh as when they are first baked.  
 
 
Categories
Parenting

How & Why You Should Make Self-Care A Priority as a Mom

When thinking about self-care as a mom, you don’t really think about it. We always put other family members’ needs before our own. Self-care is an important part of mental health and it can do wonders. However, when you really think about it, it is mostly neglected as of the reason I pointed out above.

The definition of self-care is, as Google puts it, “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.”

The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own wellbeing and happiness, in particular periods of stress.

Self Care Definition

When I get stressed, I tend to neglect my own self-care and put others in front of me. I am a people pleaser. My husband is constantly nagging me to take care of myself and I don’t listen. Self-care can be as simple or as complicated as you like. You can choose your own version of self-care as you see fit.

The reason why you should make self-care a priority is that it helps maintain your relationship with yourself, so that you may transmit your happy feelings to others. Treat yourself the way you would love to be treated.

There are many different ways of making self-care a priority. I will be touching base on just a few of them.

Self-care with flowers and coffee

Cup of Tea

An act of self-care is making and savouring a cup of tea or coffee. (whichever you prefer) I love to think about the process of making it therapeutic. Just the feeling of emptying out the Keurig pod from the day before, filling it up and inserting it into the machine, and starting the machine is nice. Especially when the smell of coffee starts to fill the place I live in.

In my spirituality, good intentions are created by stirring your drink clockwise, and banishing negative intentions or feelings is by stirring counterclockwise. Some people love creating matcha tea by hand, and that is a whole different process by itself.

The process of creating matcha tea is as follows:

  1. Measure your matcha into a special matcha bowl. Depending on if you go for the traditional matcha or the flvoured matchas, depends on how much matcha you put in your bowl. For traditional matcha, use at least 3/4 of a teaspoon or 1 teaspoon of matcha powder.
  2. Add the right temperature of water and make a paste. In Davids Tea, they have traditional matcha and flavoured matcha. For traditional matcha, use water at 75 degrees celcius and flavoured at 85 degrees. If you have a kettle, then let your boiled water sit for 7-10 minutes. Add 2 oz of water to your powder and use the traditional wisk to make a paste.
  3. After that, add another 2 oz of warm water to create a froth. This will help incorporate air into your matcha.
  4. Add to your cup and fill with warm water from the kettle.

The steps are the same for iced matcha, but instead of filling your cup with warm water at the end, you pour it over ice.

Reading

I love to read. It is one of my favourite past times. It allows me to escape reality even for a little bit. Reading doesn’t take as many steps as making matcha, but it does take time to find the perfect spot.

My favourite spot used to be the little window alcove in my old room back in my foster house. Every room had these window alcoves that I absolutely loved. In my room, I would have pillows and blankets to make it even cozier.

Reading can be fictional (not real) or non-fictional (real). It is all based on your preferences. I love a mixture of fantasy and self-improvement. Currently, I am reading Serpent and Dove, by Shelby Mahurin as well as, The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy.

The Compound Effect is about making small changes in your life in order to make your life better in the long run. Serpent and Dove is about a young witch who runs away from her coven to a place where witches are burned. The main male character ends finding himself married to the young runaway witch.

I find that reading helps alleviate the stress of taking care of kids because you are able to either improve yourself or escape from reality. Sometimes it is hard to get that break from the kid because I don’t live in a place where I have an escape room.

Baths

When we lived in our last places with a bathtub, Kiefer and I would have relaxing baths. When I would get stressed out, he would put candles around the tub, essential oils and Epsom salts in the water and have the candlelight glowing in the room.

It was very relaxing and helped me destress. Now that we have lived in our current place, which only has a shower, neither of us can destress properly. Maybe that’s why we have been at each other’s throats lately. Below is a list of soothing essential oil blends you can put in your bathwater. They each have different benefits as well.

  • Stress Less
    • 5 drops of cedarwood
    • 3 drops Lavender
    • 3 drops Frankencense
  • Ocean Breeze
    • 5 drops Cedarwood
    • 4 drops Lemon
    • 2 drops Rosemary
  • Morning Forest
    • 2 drops Cedarwood
    • 2 drops Peppermint
    • 3 drops Siberian Fir
  • Sleep Better
    • 3 drops Cedarwood
    • 3 drops Lavender
    • 2 drops Vetiver

Exercise

Exercising is a great way of self-care. There are many different ways of exercise. Ways that you wouldn’t even know about was exercising! I like to think that walking through nature isn’t a form of exercise but in all technicality it is. When exercising, you are putting yourself in front of everybody because you want to make yourself a better version of yourself.

  • Yoga – Yoga is a form of self meditation through breathing and slow movements. There are different types of yoga including;
    • Vinyasa – which also means “to place in a special way.” This means that the form specializes in simple movements while breathing. Many forms such as ashtanga, power yoga and prana can be considered vinyasa.
    • Hatha – This form is called hatha based on the sanskrit term “hatha”which is an umbrella term for all physical forms. In the West, hatha refers to all the other physical forms of yoga that is grounding. There are other forms such as kriya, raja, and karma yoga that are seperate from the physical portion of yoga.
    • Lyengar – This form of yoga focuses on alignment as well as detailed and precise movements. Lyengar yoga was founded by B.K.S Lyengar. Generally poses are held for a long time while adjusting the minutaie of the pose. It relies heavily on props to help students perfect their form and go deeper into their poses in a safe manner. This style is great for people with injuries who need to work slowly and methodically.
    • Kundalini – This practice is equal parts spiritual and physical. It is all about releasing the energy in your bodythat is said to be trapped or coiled in the lower spine. These classes are fast-moving, with invigorating postures and breath exercises, as well as involving chanting, mantra, and meditation.
    • Ashtanga – Ashtanga is translated from Sanskrit to read as “Eight Limb path.” It involves very demanding sequences of postures, which is not meant for beginners. Ashtanga starts with the five sun salutation A’s and five sun salutation B’s, then moves into a series of standing and floor poses.
    • Bikram – This type of yoga is named after Bikram Choudhury. It features sequences of of set poses in a sauna-like room, which is typically set to 105 degrees and 40% humidity. It features 26 basic postures with each one performed twice.
    • Yin – A slow paced style with seated postures that are held for longer than the normal 30 seconds. Gravity is mostly the main component, and is great for beginners.
    • Restorative – This is the best form for when you want to wind down from a long day and relax your mind. It also helps to cleanse and free your mind. You spend more time in fewer postures throughout the class and the poses are modified to be easier and more relaxing. Props, like in lyengar, are used and to help you sink deeper into relaxation.
  • Walks – Walking, as well as running, helps you form a pace that allows you to enjoy the scenery around you. There is fast paced walks, slow paced, as well as scenery walks. Scenery walks are different than the other ones I mentioned as you have to pick a place that has beautiful scenery, you stop often to take pictures, and continue on. It also allows you to stop and reflect on what is going on in your mind.

When making self-care a priority, you need to put your needs in front of anybody else. I know it will be tough but you can do it.

Let me know in the comments below how you make self-care a priority.

Categories
Food

The Best Fall Recipes To Warm Your Soul

Fall is only a few days away and I am excited about sweater and scarf weather. The sound of crunchy leaves underneath my feet, the brisk “winter is coming” wind. The sound of children laughing, playing in crunchy leaf piles.

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Especially when Halloween comes in. Children going door-to-door, collecting goodies from neighbours, all decked out in their favourite characters of the year.

This is one of my favourite seasons, aside from winter. Not to mention, the holiday of Thanksgiving. Here in Canada, we celebrate in October. Just before Halloween.

Fall

Fall is the time of year where families get together to have a warm hearty meal, one that warms your soul from the inside out. While I test out recipes for my family, I think about how my husband can have a nice warm hearty lunch the next day. He works out in the cold 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Not only that, I have to think about what my picky eater will eat as well! We haven’t tried him on soup yet, but we are working on getting him to try new things daily.

This post will contain a mix of hearty soups for the crockpot, casseroles for the stove and delicious desserts, all of which will link to a separate page for the recipe.

Kielbasa and Potato Soup

If you are a fan of sausages, specifically kielbasa (a polish type of sausage), then you will love this recipe. It has a good amount of sausage, potatoes and comes with a creamy broth.

This is perfect for the stove or the crockpot. Each recipe is different slightly to average the cooking times but always turns out so good. I love making this recipe not only because I love kielbasa and potatoes, but because this recipe is best when potatoes are fresh.

Going to the farmer’s markets to grab potatoes locally is always best when you want to maintain freshness, as well as avoid green potatoes. The potatoes you get from the store are usually shipped from other places, so they are picked early and shipped to ripen.

Chilli – Fall Favourite

Chilli is a great go-to for fall. It’s hearty, warm and very fulfilling. It can also contain all of the food groups if you include garlic bread.

I love to add cheese to my chilli to make it creamy and cheesy. It comes with ground beef, beans (you can choose any beans, I love using a mix of hickory beans and maple beans), corn. You can also add jalapenos for a bit of heat if you so wish.

My husband and I go to a store that is in Tsawwassen Mills mall. It’s called The Pepper Palace. They also have an online store as well. You can order a variety of different hot sauces, barbeque sauces and marinades as well. He either goes in-store or orders online the Ghost Pepper hot sauce, Doc Habanero, Chili the Kid.

He loves to add one of these sauces to his chilli for the heat. Sometimes I add a little to the whole batch and it gives it a nice little kick. Not too much of a kick that I or Lukas can’t handle, but enough for him.

Squash Soup

Squash soup is a great soup for fall. The benefits of squash are numerous. There is a wide variety of different types of squash. The main 2 types are summer squash, which is harvested when immature, and winter squash, which spends more time on the vine and has a hard exterior.

High antioxidents can reduce the risk of oxidents which can reduce the risk of cancer. It also has the benefits of improved eye health, a reduced risk of depression, as well as improved skin health.

Squash is also a good source of magnesium, calcium, vitamin A, iron, and vitamin B6, as well as high in fiber which will aid in digestion.

Squash soup is prepared by boiling cubed squash, then pureeing the boiled squash. After its heated, you can add other ingredients to make it even more hearty.

Lasagna

If you search up lasagna on the internet, you will be met with a wide variety of different types, such as chicken lasagna, meaty, vegetarian, etc. I personally love chicken lasagna because you get to put alfredo sauce on it. It’s my favourite because its creamy.

I also recommend it for picky eaters, as they love to get messy sometimes and they love noodles. You can also make a deconstructed lasagna, to appease those eaters.

Matzo Ball Soup

Matzo or Matzah ball soup is a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish passover dish. It is traditionally served during passover, but I love to make it during the fall as the benefits of the dish is great during the cold season.

Chicken soup broth has many different benefits such as nutrients like niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and potassium. A traditional Matzo ball soup is made with chicken soup and the matzo balls are a form of unleavened bread.

When making this dish, it is great to make your stock from scratch as you don’t know what additives are put into the store bought. If you are able to purchase chicken stock from a great place, then you’re golden.

Any Type of Soup is Great for Fall

When making soup, I love to think of the different benefits that will help the immune system during this season. Every type of soup has some kind of benefit. When I was growing up, my fostermom made chicken soup from scratch, made a stew called bigos, and also a lovely egg soup.

We travelled a lot to little farms to get fresh chicken, duck, and other fresh vegetables from her friend. Chicken soup is great for the soul, has many benefits like the ones I mentioned above and is great for the immune system.

Apple Pie

The best part of fall is the crisp apples. You can bake them, broil them, and eat them just as it is. Apple pie is one of the many favourite desserts of the fall.

The flaky pie shell, the wonderful aroma of baked apples and the different spices. Now I am not one for pie, but I love this one.

There are many different types of desserts that I can get into that relate to fall, but I won’t be able to get to them all. You can always search my site for the different recipes. (when they come)

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls are perfect any time of year, but the best time is first thing in the morning, with a cup of coffee (or tea if you prefer). To make it more fall related, you can substitute regular butter for some great home made apple butter and cinnamon.

Cream cheese is a great frosting for cinnamon buns, but have you tried spiced cream cheese, or even pumpkin spiced frosting? Those sound so good right now.

Apple Spice Cake

At the time of this post, I wanted to get back into baking and the first thought that came to my head is apple spice cake, with streusel topping.

This cake is great for those who want to celebrate the fall equinox, or even as a great fall item. I haven’t baked in so long, that I worry it won’t turn out right, but I know my husband will eat it regardless of how it turns out.

Let me know in the comments below what your favourite fall dish is.

Categories
Parenting

Modern Marriage: Surprising Positive Secrets to a Long-Lasting Marriage

Modern Marriage is completely different in the 21st century. Women aren’t getting married until they are well established, and men are choosing to further their careers as well before hunkering down with marriage. So, marriage used to be the idea of every girl’s dream. White frilly princess dress, (or a sleek a-line dress), a gorgeous venue with a reception and the best in-laws you could think of.

Now, not as many people are getting married due to family problems, like parents divorcing, wanting to further their career or even just want some time to themselves. I mean who wouldn’t want a few years to themselves to do whatever they wanted. 

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I got married in August of 2014, in a stretchy white dress from Le Chateau, blue flats and 5 months pregnant with my son. We got married in the gardens of Bear Creek Park in Surrey, British Columbia.

marriage-wedding
Image by Tú Anh from Pixabay 

We made the promise that I would eventually get the wedding of my dreams, once our financial situation got better. 4 years later, and we are still struggling. However, we make sure that we have food on our table, a roof over our heads and clothing on our backs. 

I wouldn’t be the type to say that marriage is easy. It is not. I’m not saying that just to make you feel better. Every marriage is different. Mine comes with a lot of ups and downs. We fight over the smallest things, like at the beginning, whose turn was it to change a sh**ty diaper.

It hasn’t been easy because of my mental health. I have been the worst negative Nancy to my husband and I haven’t been exactly faithful to him either. He still took me back after infidelity, and he still helps me fight my battles. 

Divorce Talk

Lately, I have been talking about divorce. Hinting at it and mentioning it in our fights. He thinks it’s in the heat of the moment, that I just want to hurt him, but it’s also the fact that I don’t want him to keep fighting my battles for me anymore.

Sometimes, I feel like I am toxic to him and I have expressed that to him. I get frustrated easily and I don’t like talking about my problems to him. 

He’s pushy and persistent. If he gets just a whiff of me pouting, or he can sense it in my voice, he will push and push until I blow up at him and yell at him to leave me alone.

Like my counsellor has said before, he’s like a tiger prodding a snapping turtle. Keep prodding, and it will snap back at you. I will be honest. Sometimes, I am the turtle, most of the time, and sometimes I am the tiger. 

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I bring up divorce like it’s an easy thing to me. Like, I don’t even account for the price of it, to someone who is already swarming in debt, and I don’t even think about what the effects it would have on Lukas.

Fears

I am constantly in fear of myself, for hurting anybody. If you talk to me about your problems, I will probably give you advice that I should be listening to myself. 

Here I am, talking about the negatives of marriage, like the negative Nancy I am. The positives, what I feel, are the most wonderful thing. I get someone who actually cares enough to want to talk to me about my feelings.

Someone to let me cuddle them because I don’t like being cuddled (claustrophobia, am I right?), someone who will take care of me when I am sick and feeling under the weather. 

Kiefer does all this for me and more. He makes sure I eat, even when I don’t want to, or when I have had enough. Kiefer also makes sure that I have time to myself when I have been taking care of our son every day.

I love the fact that he brings home funds for me to go grocery shopping with, provides our son with the foods he’s picky about, as well as providing the diapers that our son doesn’t want to forgo during nighttime training.

Modern Marriage: Communication

We found out that a positive surprising secret is that communication is key. When communication comes into the mix, there isn’t anything that you cannot do.

Even with communication, there can be miscommunication. For example, when you forget to mention an important event, or when you omit certain aspects.

Kiefer and I don’t have the greatest communication, partly because he thinks I don’t communicate, even when I do.

In order to communicate properly, you need to make sure that there are no distractions around. Turn off all devices, turn to your partner and really listen.

While your partner is communicating, make sure you really listen. This brings us to the next secret.

Modern Marriage: Listening Skills

From a young age, we are taught to listen to those talking to us. Some of them are good and some of them are bad. It’s up to you to pay attention to what you will listen to.

This is why this secret really ties in with the first secret. When you effectively listen, you are showing you’re paying attention and that you really care.

Kiefer and I have a hard time listening to each other because we interrupt each other. We are constantly going like this;

“Talking about debt payoff….” interruption by another party, “what if we talk about this other subject.” Which leads to one of us getting upset at each other.

Trust

This is a big one. Trust is one of the main factors of marriages failing. When one partner doesn’t trust the other, it leads to problems.

Since I was dishonest and cheated on Kiefer, he has a reason why he doesn’t trust me. However, you cannot gain to trust the other person unless you believe that they have changed.

Kiefer and I have discussed what that looks like. I have told him that because I haven’t been honest, he has a hard time trusting my words. It looks like I am lying when I am being honest.

He is always asking me if someone is with me when he hears other voices in the background. Doesn’t believe me when I am telling the truth, and is constantly checking my location because he doesn’t believe I am where I say I am.

This shows that he doesn’t trust me. Which I understand. However, in order for me to gain even a single bit of trust back from him, he needs to let go of his insecurities.

Modern Marriage Secret: Honesty

Honesty is also a huge factor in a positive modern marriage. All the time, we see other couples being dishonest and it hurts us to see it. When honesty comes into play, it shows the other that you are working together, instead of apart.

If there are children involved, showing that you’re honest to your spouse, shows your children to be honest with their peers and family. When Lukas is being dishonest, we try to correct him, as a joint couple.

Working together

Looking at all the marriages I have seen in my lifetime, I see a lot of couples both working together and working apart. Working together means that you talk to each other and make a joint decision.

Kiefer and I do both. We work together some days, especially when it comes to parenting. However, when I make a rash decision, we are working against each other.

In order to work together, you need to make a decision together about what is going to happen. You need to sit together, talk about what is working and what isn’t working.

During times of not working together, you need to take a step back and talk to your partner about what is happening.

Kiefer and I will chat about what’s going on. We discuss who is going to be the good parent and who’s the bad parent at the time.

Modern Marriage: Intimacy

When it comes to intimacy, most couples will say that they have the greatest intimacy. While that may be true for some people, it may not be true for others.

Intimacy is when 2 people come together and share their emotions, fears and other things. It can be sexual in nature but doesn’t have to be. You can experience intimacy with your brothers, sisters and other family members.

There are 4 types of intimacy. Experiential Intimacy, Emotional Intimacy, Sexual Intimacy, and Intellectual Intimacy. Each type is completely different and relates to what I am talking about.

  • Experiential Intimacy: When people team together during a leisure activity. When they team together, they “sync up” and form a rythym that helps their team.
  • Emotional Intimacy: This is when you feel really comfortable with someone that you trust them with your feelings, even the most uncomfortable ones.
  • Intellectual Intimacy: When 2 people who have opposing ideas and opinions share their topics without wanting or needing to win an argument.
  • Sexual Intimacy: When 2 people engage in sexual or sensual activities. Usually when people talk about intimacy, they are referring to this one.

When we talk about intimacy, this means we are usually talking about sexual intimacy. Kiefer and I used to have the greatest intimacy. Then something changed. I became withdrawn, less like I used to be when we first started dating in 2014.

Dealing with intimacy issues can be hard for some people, but when you have communication, trust and above all else, honesty, then everything will work itself out.

Sometimes it doesn’t work out, but don’t jump the gun and immediately go for separation and divorce. Talk about your issues first, see what you can fix, and then go from there.

Categories
Mental Health

Fall In Love With Self-Care: The Mental Health Way

Everyone needs self-care, but do you know who needs it more? The people who are struggling with everyday activities. The people who don’t want to talk to others, or are having a hard time trying to talk. These self care tips will want to make you go out and help that one friend who is struggling right now.

spiritual self-care

Sometimes the last thing people want when suffering with mental health is help. Only because we try over and over again to do it our selves. However, sometimes, we cry out silently for help, only to get silence in return.

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I only know this, because I do it myself. I try so hard to do everything myself, that I break down. I lose motivation, I end up sleeping all day and I reject my partner and son. Other times, I cry out silently for help, and only one person sees, but I reject him.

When self-care comes into effect, we allow ourselves to destress, and forget the world around us. It allows us to regroup, and reconquer the world, despite everything negative around us.

Self-Care Tip 1: Cup of Tea/Coffee

When I am alone, I crave the warmth of something. Not because I am cold physically, but because I crave the warmth of a person. That person isn’t always around, so I turn to a warm cup of joe. Or tea. Whatever floats my fancy at the time.

When I was younger, my foster mom used to get this tea. It allowed me to focus and zen out. With a lovely blend of green tea, mixed with invigorating scents of spearmint and bright lemongrass, it will help you focus and have a true moment of zen. OHM!!!

Fall Into A Book

If you’re like me, you will love a good book. With plenty of choices out there, I am sure you will find your perfect combo. Now pair that with the tea above, and you are set for a lovely self-care moment.

I love books, don’t get me wrong. However, there are certain books that are meant for the right moment, and to me, history books don’t make the cut. I love a book that will get me lost in the moment, forgetting all my worries and realities.

For me, right now that book will have to be The Awakening by Nora Roberts. Its the perfect blend of history and fantasy. The Awakening brings you to modern day Ireland, with the main character wanting to find herself again. She then finds out that she is the granddaughter of a witch. She also finds out about a world of faeries and mermaids.

I am getting ahead of myself. You need to read it for yourself. It’s truly a good book. I cannot wait for the second book to come out this year.

Meditation

As a spiritual person, meditation is low on my list. Not because I don’t like it, but because its hard to stay still. Meditation is all about sitting or laying perfectly still, and letting your mind wander.

I think mindfullness is really my downfall, as being a criticizing person of my well being, I don’t like being alone with my thoughts. I may take up meditation, in order to calm my thoughts.

When meditating, it helps to lay down on your bed, or even sit on a comfortable pillow on the floor. Put some guided meditation videos from youtube on, and let your mind wander.

The way my counsellor puts it, is when you are not thinking about the negative thoughts, you don’t judge yourself. In this state, it is always good to notice your thoughts, and just say “OK,” and let them go.

This way, you aren’t focusing on one thought, but acknowledging them and letting them flow. You can also purchase meditation books, like this one, to help guide you.

Colouring

Now, you may see that colouring isn’t for adults. However, there are many different books out there for different views. I like colouring disney, this horror chibi greyscale book (its my favorite so far), as well as finding childrens coloring books that I like.

Its always fun to take a break from the real world and color your problems away. There are also adult coloring books out there, that might tickle your fancy.

This one seems to be the best for those that love to swear. It may get you motivated enough to do those dishes you have been avoiding for weeks.

A Calming Bath

Now when we had a bath, my husband would put candles around the tub, with epsom salts in it to aid sore muscles, and a book for even more relaxation. He knew I needed the time away from a screaming baby.

Now, we just have a shower, which sucks balls. There is a calming feature about it though. If you pretend that it is a rain shower, then its calming in itself.

Falling in Love

I hope this list allows you to fall in love with self-care as much as it has helped me. Everyone is different, and has their own views on what counts as self-care.

Let me know in the comments below what your ideas of self-care entail!

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Parenting

The New Normal

Can you imagine a world where most of us had to go to a physical workplace before? No? Neither can I. Since the pandemic broke out last March, we had to figure out how to still earn money. So we ended up with our new normal. Working from home. I mean I still got jobs where I had to go to a physical location.

This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a commission at no cost to you. This allows me, fueled by coffee, to keep updating the site. You may learn more here.

I worked in a liquor store where after 3 months, they put me on call. So, in all technicality, I was never fired, but because I was not earning any money. I worked at Amazon for 5 months before I needed to leave. From there, everything spiralled. For the time being, it was my new normal. Constantly having to make excuses on why I couldn’t work.

Not only that, I had a house to take care of, plus a 3-year-old. Daycare had set it set up that he would be dropped off at 6:30, and I would make the shuttles. But I couldn’t even do that. I felt like a failure. My depression got worse, and so did my anxiety.

I started thinking of ways where I could still be at home and take care of my son, and work. My husband convinced me to start this blog. I was constantly finding ways to help supplement the income that we lost when I stopped working at Amazon. You can learn more here.

Working From Home

I chose to start a website, not because I wanted to earn money, but because I wanted to write about my life experiences with parenting and battling mental health, with some recipes on the side.

As a parent, I wanted to be able to stay at home, take care of the place, and take care of my son. I wasn’t able to put him in preschool last year because I was working at Amazon, but because I work from home now, I am able to get a kickstart on his education before he starts kindergarten next year.

My schedule for working on this website is a little hectic as I have to deal with the household first. I struggle with waking up early, due to insomnia. At night, I was struggling with falling asleep because of it. Staying up late, not falling asleep until 3 in the morning, then having to wake up at 5 to get my husband ready for work. Then I had to try and stay awake because Lukas was getting up at 6 in the morning.

In May of 2021, I started my website on SiteGround. I got a hell of a deal. Right now, SiteGround is offering $4.99/month to get started with their StartUp plan. For this price, you get free SSL, daily backup, free email, and unlimited databases. My website is hosted by SiteGround but managed by WordPress.

SiteGround has allowed me to keep up to date with all my work, with daily backups if I need it or when something goes wrong on my site. Whenever something goes wrong that I don’t understand, I contact their support chat and they answer immediately and they are available 24/7.

Through SiteGround, I use WordPress. This has allowed me to keep my site updated, use of themes, and the use of plugins that help with the site functionality. Currently my theme is Cafe Cafeteria. In the future, I may purchase a paid version of a theme for better functionality.

New Normal Update

It’s now August of 2021, I have had my second vaccination towards the COVID-19, and am patiently waiting for my son to be able to have his own. I have been working from home since May, technically since February, and I am patiently waiting to see if my blog is proving fruitful.

So far, it isn’t a get rich quick position, but it works. It helps me get out my passion for writing. Typing everything also helps with my wrist as it isn’t in an awkward position, unlike with a pen.

I have been waiting patiently for Ezoic to approve my site to get started for monetization. In the meanwhile, I have started positions with different companies, in order to get my foot in the door.

Let me know in the comments below, what else you would like to see from me.

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Parenting

How We Improved With Meal Planning In One Week

meal planning pin

Meal planning is the planning of meals in advance and purchasing ingredients needed. If you are a busy parent or even a parent who struggles, this may be for you. Kiefer and I started meal planning last week and it has been going splendidly.

We no longer go through the phase of realizing it is 7:30 at night and asking what is for dinner. It saves so much time figuring out dinner plans, and what would be good for our son.

What we did is we figured out when our paydays were and worked our schedule around that. It has allowed us to master the “What’s for dinner?” We also include the days where we were eating out. We started on Tuesday, and it’s been a blessing in disguise.

meal planning - spices
Spices

There are benefits to choosing to meal plan and I will discuss them all with you. I find that when meal planning, you are able to budget financially. Budgeting allows you to choose where your money goes, and how to spend any extras.

Benefits include saving time, being cost-efficient, avoiding unhealthy foods, portion control, reducing the amount of food wasted, etc.

I will be talking more about these benefits in detail below.

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1. Saving Time

When planning your meals, saving time at the grocery store can be a lifesaver. You don’t have to spend ages roaming the store trying to figure out what you are going to get.

We (as parents) spend ages figuring out what to eat, what to buy, cooking, then cleaning up after ourselves. It takes time out of what is really important, spending time with family. Since Kiefer and I started, we have sliced our cooking time and increased family time.

It still is an effort sometimes to pull out the protein from the freezer, but I figured out a way. I utilized a concept that I learned from the book I read by Mel Robbins, and it works so efficiently. The book is called The 5 Second Rule. She goes on to explain how this rule has changed her life drastically and allows her to get more done.

Essentially, all you do is; when your alarm goes off, count to 5 and just get out of bed. You can use this rule for anything you have trouble deciding what to do. That’s all it is to it.

2. Portion Control

If your plan is to lose weight, meal planning can help. Prepping your meals in advance allows you to control how much of each food group you give yourself.

When you portion control, you have the power to control how much you eat. I am not an expert in weight loss, as I, myself, have trouble losing weight. I just can’t give up the sweets!

Portion control is also how you limit what you are eating and how often. However, you have to be careful as improper usage can cause harm. You need to be able to talk to your nutritionist about what is the correct portions for your body type.

Now, since we started, our goal right now isn’t weight loss but instead routine. We never really had a routine before so it is all new to us.

3. Reduces Food Waste

In the beginning, we didn’t know what to cook, we were wasting so much food. Not only because our son is a picky eater, but also picking out random things. We, essentially, picked out random food only because we didn’t know what we would be making that night.

We were very successful in finding 2 recipes that our son liked, and actually ate! I was so happy, that my husband and I gave a high five to each other. It meant that we were able to reduce the food waste that we normally accumulated.

4. Reducing Last Minute Cooking Stress

Have you ever come home, only to find out that nothing was prepared? Have you ever had those feelings of “I don’t know what to make?” Planning out the meals that you will be eating reduces the stress of cooking last minute.

I used to suffer through having Kiefer come home, no dinner made, and asking “What’s for dinner?” He is the breadwinner of the family, so he felt like he didn’t have to cook. I chose to stay home, to take care of the house, and our son. So essentially it was my duty to have our food prepped, and ready.

Now, you might say that it’s sexist. It may be, but it shouldn’t be sexist if the woman chose to stay home. I am not going to start political or even other problems on this site.

5. Save Money

Meal planning does save money. When you preplan the foods, you only get what is needed, and you can also get deals. In our last grocery shop, we only bought the items needed and it only cost $200. Now it cost that much because some things are a little expensive.

We only went to one place to get our groceries because we have to think about travel. I didn’t have a car, so I have to pick what is carryable. There is the option of Uber or Lyft, but sometimes we only choose them when we get discounts. Think smarter, not harder.

Only picking up what is needed, reduces the need for impulse spending. As well as reduces what is thrown in the bin at the end of the week. It also helps you become more aware of what is being spent.

6. Avoid Unhealthy Options

When we are driving home from work, we think about easy meals. Which means we go through the drive-thru, to pick up fast food. It isn’t the healthiest option, however, more restaurants are choosing healthier options.

Fast food options are usually higher in calories and can also sabotage your weight loss goals. Knowing you have a meal ready for you at home saves time and money being spent. When you are tired and hungry, it can lead to poor choices, so it’s handy when your meals are available.

7. Enjoy More Variety

When you become stuck in the same thing over and over again, it can feel like a cage. We have been stuck in the cage for a while ourselves. Always going through macaroni and cheese, grilled sandwiches and hamburger helper.

Meal planning essentially allows you to have more variety in your diet. It brings in more vegetables and fruits, allows you to try new foods, and makes for a happy person.

When you have the right foods in your meals, it can help lower the risks of chronic health problems. When following the right plan for you, as well as a healthy option, will also ensure that you are eating the right portion of food.

These are the benefits of meal planning. It is up to you to decide if it is right for your family or not.

In my opinion, meal planning is the best thing that has happened in our family. We finally don’t have to worry about wondering what’s for dinner, asking each other “what are you making” or even just going without food.

Let me know in the comments below your thoughts.

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Parenting

Spooktober: The Best Top 10 Creepy Reads

Spooktober is coming and a good way to spend the coming cold nights is with a creepy book. From Stephen King to classic Bram Stoker. I’m sure you’ll find a book that tickles your fancy in this list. I, myself prefer the classic Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley. Classics, to me, are what they are, classics. They are timeless.

What is scary is the fact that books are becoming obsolete, and more people are going towards the electronic version of books. The perfect smell to me is the smell of the paper and the ink. The feel of paper between my fingers. The accidental paper cuts.

This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a commission at no cost to you. This allows me, fueled by coffee, to keep updating the site. You may learn more here.

Spooktober is one of the best months of the year. All the Halloween decorations, and in Canada, the Thanksgiving decorations as well. We have Thanksgiving in the middle of October, where we celebrate the holiday.

Now onto our top 10 reads of Spooktober:

Spooktober’s # 10: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

“After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.   
 
Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
 
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. 
 
And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.”

#9: The Haunting of Brynn Wilder – Wendy Webb

“After a devastating loss, Brynn Wilder escapes to Wharton, a tourist town on Lake Superior, to reset. Checking into a quaint boardinghouse for the summer, she hopes to put her life into perspective. In her fellow lodgers, she finds a friendly company of strangers: the frail Alice, cared for by a married couple with a heartbreaking story of their own; LuAnn, the eccentric and lovable owner of the inn; and Dominic, an unsettlingly handsome man inked from head to toe in mesmerizing tattoos.

But in this inviting refuge, where a century of souls has passed, a mystery begins to swirl. Alice knows things about Brynn, about all of them, that she shouldn’t. Bad dreams and night whispers lure Brynn to a shuttered room at the end of the hall, a room is still heavy with a recent death. And now she’s become irresistibly drawn to Dominic—even in the shadow of rumours that wherever he goes, suspicious death follows.

In this chilling season of love, transformation, and fear, something is calling for Brynn. To settle her past, she may have no choice but to answer.”

Spooktober #8: I Spy Spooky Night – Jean Marzollo

“Kids of all ages will enjoy a fun and spooky exploration as a trickster skeleton beckons readers from room to room to I Spy for mice, spiders, candles, bats, jack-o’-lanterns, bones, and so much more! From its rickety gate to its cobwebbed attic, this haunted house contains 13 spooky and spectacular photographs.

There is a spooky graveyard, a mysterious laboratory, a garden of ghoulies — each page has rhyming puzzles with eerie objects to find. It’s time to join the millions of fans who have enjoyed I Spy for over 20 years, and get ready to solve even more riddles with a brand-new brain twister riddle section at the back of the book. It’s been 13 years since I Spy Spooky Night was originally published. Are you ready to start your chilling search?”

#7: The Family Plot – Cherie Priest

“Dahlia salvages items from houses slated to be scrapped, and the old Withrow mansion is clearly something special. But within moments of walking through the door, Dahlia recognizes that the house is also…angry.

Long abandoned and riddled with secrets, the Withrow house has one final chance to make an impression on Dahlia.”

Spooktober # 6: The Demonic – Lee Mountford

“DANNI MORGAN THOUGHT SHE KNEW FEAR, BUT SHE IS ABOUT TO FIND OUT WHAT IT IS TO BE TRULY AFRAID. Years ago a young girl ran away from her childhood home and vowed never to go back. It was a place of fear, pain and misery at the hands of an abusive father. But now her father is dead, and she is forced to break that vow and return home—to lay his body to rest and face up to the ghosts of her past.

However, Danni is about to learn that some ghosts are more real than others. Something beyond her understanding waits for her there, lurking in the shadows. An evil that intends to kill her family and claim her very soul.Experience supernatural horror in the vein of THE CONJURING, INSIDIOUS and the legendary GHOST WATCH. THE DEMONIC will get under your skin, send chills down your spine and have you sleeping with the lights on!”

#5 – Heaven’s Peak – Miguel Estrada

“After the tragic death of his mother, teenage photographer Kevin Miller moves to a new town with his alcoholic father and eight-year-old sister in the hope of bringing the family together and starting over. However, everything changes when Kevin witnesses his sister being kidnapped by a bizarre creature. The police are skeptical of his story, so he decides to unveil the mysteries surrounding the town on his own.

On the other side of the investigation, FBI agent Norman James will do anything to solve the baffling case, except believe a traumatized teenager’s nonsense.

Meanwhile, newscasts predict a blizzard approaching in the next couple of days, as people in the town begin to behave strangely.

Will Kevin and Norman find Kevin’s little sister before Heaven’s Peak is consumed by darkness?”

Spooktober #4: The Silent Patient – Alex Michaelides

“Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations―a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….”

# 3 – The Outsider – Stephen King

“An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is discovered in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens—Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon have DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying details begin to emerge, King’s story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.”

Spooktober #2 – The Shining – Stephen King

“Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.”

Our Top Pick of The Season is …..

IT – Stephen King

“Stephen King’s terrifying, classic number one New York Times best seller, “a landmark in American literature” (Chicago Sun-Times) – about seven adults who return to their hometown to confront a nightmare they had first stumbled on as teenagers…an evil without a name: It.

Welcome to Derry, Maine. It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real.

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But the promise they made 28 years ago calls them reunite in the same place where, as teenagers, they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Now, children are being murdered again, and their repressed memories of that terrifying summer return as they prepare to once again battle the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers.

Readers of Stephen King know that Derry, Maine, is a place with a deep, dark hold on the author. It reappears in many of his books, including Bag of BonesHearts in Atlantis, and 11/22/63. But it all starts with It.”

That Concludes Our List……… for now.

If you so happen to choose these books for your list, I recommend reading them with the lights on or even during the day. I tried to read IT, and I still haven’t even gotten past the first part. I haven’t mustered up the courage to pick up another horror or thriller book since. Stephen King really knows how to scare the pants off of his readers.

If you know any other books that could make for a great list, let me know and I will add it to our collection. Let me know in the comments below your thoughts.

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Parenting

The Best Books for Toddlers

If you’re a reader like me, you would love to get your little one some books. Not only getting started on books, but you also read to them which helps cognitive development. My son tends to rip books apart, which means I try not to buy books that aren’t easy to rip apart.

This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a commission at no cost to you. This allows me, fueled by coffee, to keep updating the site. You may learn more here.

Book buying doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be as easy as following instructions on the cake. There are many different varieties of books that range from fuzzy books, to board books to paper novellas.

books
Shopping at a bookstore

Now there are some people who tend to read chapter books to their kids, but when kids are that small, they love to chew on things as well as rip things out of your hands. So novellas aren’t the way to go just quite yet. Now I will be doing a post for great books for the preteens and teenagers in your life as well. There are so many that I cannot wait to share some of my favourite ones with you.

Moving on. After my little speel, you are probably wondering where are the book recommendations? Well, I have them right here. Let’s GO!

Coming in at #10, we have……

Where Do Diggers Sleep At Night by Brianna Caplan Sayres!

I love this book. It’s perfect for those little ones who just love construction vehicles. My son Lukas, loves this book. He knows all the names and loves to point out which vehicle is which. The best thing about it is that it is a board book, so it isn’t as easy to rip apart. Unless you have a superstrong toddler. I do warn you, that toddlers love to put things in their mouths, which might lead to drooling and peeling of the cardboard.

Books #9- This Is How I love You Daddy

I should have put this book on my post about Father’s Day because this was the perfect gift for my husband from our son. My son is constantly asking me to read him stories every night, and I always pick this one. The first time I ever read it was adorable. My son, after I finished reading it, picked it up and said, “I’ll read it to you, mommy!” He then proceeded to read the book, remembering lines from the book and reading it based on the pictures.

Books #8 – Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?

This book is a little different. It is part of the Brown Bear, Brown Bear series, by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle and it talks about the different animal sounds that is heard throughout the zoo. It is a fun read for your children because they can practice the different sounds and be the different animals. This is a sure book to read before any trip to the zoo!

Books #7 – Just Go To Bed

Just Go To Bed, by Mercer Myer, is one of my classics from when I was a kid. We used to read this author plenty of times during school and at home. This book talks about a little critter’s struggle with bedtime. It teaches kids on how to start a bedtime routine to get ready for bed. I haven’t read it to Lukas, but it is on my shopping list for the next time!

Book #6 – Grumpy Monkey

Does your toddler have meltdowns? Teach them that it’s okay to have emotions and down days with this book. Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang tells a story about a monkey who is grumpy on a beautiful day and his friends can’t figure out why. They try different ways to make him smile and feel better, only for him to have a meltdown.

Book #5 – All By Myself

All By Myself by Mercer Meyer is another Little Critter book. Little Critter wants to do everything by himself. This is the perfect book for you to remember your nostalgia as well as teach your little one about their independance. Remind me to pick up some of these books to go on our shelves.

Book #4 – Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault is another classic of mine. I just love sharing all my classic kids books with you. Kids will have fun rhyming and singing the alphabet as all the letters try climbing to the top of the coconut tree. Will they fit? Oh No! Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.

Book #3 – I Spy Letters

Your little ones will have a blast at trying to find the letters of the alphabet. With different pages and layouts of I SPy Letters by Jean Marzollo, you can have endless fun over and over again. It not lonly helps with searching abilities, it also teaches them to recognize your kids alphabet. There are many different I Spy books with different objects to find.

Book #2 – Let’s Go To The Potty

Let’s Go To The Potty by Allison Jandu is a great potty training book. It helps provide encouragment and support. With playful pictures to help guide them on their journey of potty training as well as a catchy short tune, I’m sure your little one will use the potty with confidence.

Book #1 – Where’s Spot?

As part of the classical Spot franchise, little ones are able to search and find for their favourite puppy. With an iconic blue cover and lift-and-find flaps, Your child is sure to have a joy with finding Spot. This book is perfect for those little ones who enjoy opening and closing things and being happy at finding new things!

With all of these book recommendations, I am sure you will find a book that is just perfect for your little one. I have read most of these while Lukas was small, or as a child myself. Some of these books are iconic classics from when I was a little girl. I love to share my childhood favourites with you!

Let me know below what your favourite books are for our next post.

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Parenting

The Best Low-cost or Free Date Ideas

We all enjoy having dates, especially when we don’t have kids. However, when we have kids, it seems like we can never get away from them just to enjoy a few hours of alone time with our significant other. Sometimes, we think frugally and try to save some money when it comes to date nights, but its always good to have some times where you splurge on just the right time, like on an anniversary. Here are my ideas of just a few free or low-cost date ideas that might help you regain some of that sanity.

This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a commission at no cost to you. This allows me, fueled by coffee, to keep updating the site. You may learn more here.

1. Low- Cost Parks

When you live in a rural area or even an urban area, you might have some parks around that you can make a little picnic out of it. Heck, you can even make it a family date. Round up the kids, gather up some yummy snacks and lunch, and head to your nearest park. You can play some games with your family or even be kids again and push your significant other on the swing (Or even try to out swing them).

There are different parks around where I live where you can go hiking, bring the kids to the water park, or even just sit at the beach. Tynehead Regional Park has some great trails that can go for miles, if you choose the right one. Close to the park is a discovery centre where you and the kids (if you choose) can learn about the different animals in the park that surrounds them. We went there during the pandemic, and it was beautiful, walking along the forest, getting the kids to look for certain nature items and animals.

Bear Creek Park is another great park, with 2 playgrounds, a water park, a pool, a free strength training gym, and a track. They also have a train for you to go on, if you decide to bring the kids. This does cost money to go on, around (don’t quote me on this) $15 CAD. Every summer, my husband and I take our son to the park and watch him splash around in the water park, while we look on, spending some quality time together. Periodically, we will get up and splash around with him, but he has so much fun running around with the other kids.

2. Low-Cost Game Nights

If you’re an avid gamer, whether it be through board games or even through video games, then this idea might be for you! There are plenty of games that you can do 2-players or even do a double date night with some other couple friends.

I like to recommend Jenga as a multiplayer game as you can play with multiple people and still have fun. Some people have even gone to the lengths of making their own blocks that included spots for jello shots for a great party!

Not only can you do personal games, you can do a virtual game night as well. Playing with 2 player games, well, you get the idea. My husband and I love to play Mario Party when our son went to bed. It may not be much but those are like little dates to us.

3. Low-Cost Camping

Now I know what you’re thinking, “How can camping be possibly low-cost?” Well, if you have a tent or even make a fort out of your couch, you can camp. You can take your tent out into the backyard, if you have one, and set it up. You can also have a little fire pit going and cook smores and other treats by the fire, if you don’t have a fire ban in your city.

The other option is to create a fort when your kids are in bed, with your couch, like the one below.

Low-cost camping

All you have to do is grab a few chairs, a large blanket, and some pillows to set it up your way. Everyone has their own ideas about how to build a fort, but I am sure that you’ll come up with a few ideas. Best of all, you can take this idea into consideration with your kids.

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4.Low-Cost Libraries/Bookstores

If you have a reader as your partner, you might want to make a date at the bookstore or the library. They will appreciate the gesture. The library is free to borrow books, as wel as purchase some books for a low cost. A great place to get some good books for a cheaper price is thrift stores, or even used bookstores. These places have books that aren’t expensive and usually the books are in great condition.

I am a book nerd, my husband is not, however, he will go out of his way to buy me books, or even go into the bookstore so I can look around the store. I consider it a win! My husband is a gamer, so we do what he likes sometimes as well. We love to wait until our son is in daycare, or in bed before we do anything, as we don’t usually let him have sleep overs at anybodies house.

5. Low-Cost Coffee Date

Ah, remember the times when you were dating your SO and you met them for coffee? Well, you can keep that tradition going by surprising them with a coffee date. All you have to do is make sure that your kids are taken care of and all you need to do is take your SO down to your nearest coffee shop, order 2 cups and sit down and talk like the good old times.

IF you aren’t a fan of coffee, then you can always substitute coffee for another drink of your preference. I know this because my husband isn’t a fan of coffee or tea, but prefers a spiced tea like Chai or even a white hot chocolate. I love coffee, even iced coffee. We couldn’t be even more different. We make it work. Sure we get into little fights every so often, but when we take the time to have little dates like these, that don’t cost a lot, then we make time for our relationship.

6. Low-Cost Berry Picking

Its summer time as I am writing this, which means its the perfect time to go berry picking. Some places charge by the bucket and some charge by the pound. Its truly up to you where you go, but I prefer the Krause Berry Farms in Langley, BC. If Im not berry picking, I can browse their store full of homemade items, and desserts. They have ice creams, pies, fresh honey, etc.

Another farm that I love to go to is Driedeger Farms. They don’t have the whole shop thing like Krause, but they are family owned. I went to school with their daughter. You can always leave the kids with Grandma and Grandpa, and take your SO with you berry picking if you have a vehicle. These aren’t places easily accessible by transit.

In reality, a marriage or partnership doesn’t go the greatest when there isn’t effort put in. I should know. I used to put no effort into my relationship and look where it got me. It got me nowhere, and on untrustful terms with my husband. Im glad he took me back, but at the same time I tell myself that I am not worthy enough for this amount of love.

When you put in effort, your relationship/partnership thrives. It helps you go places. When you support them, they support you. It works both ways. I hope this article helps you choose some of the few low cost ideas for your partnership dates. Let me know anymore ideas in the comments below!