Gotta have the best for my loved ones…

It was one of my best friends birthday this week and with a kiddo, we decided to stay low key to help her celebrate her by cooking her a delicious meal along with one of her favorite desserts, Coconut Cream Pie. It’s a dessert I have never made before, but I searched through Pinterest and found a gluten-free, vegan version so we could all enjoy it. The recipe seemed simple enough and to cut down on fructose intake I decided to alter the recipe from coconut sugar to brown rice syrup. That was mistake number one because the taste was a bit off. The second mistake I made, was with the coconut whipped cream. I didn’t realize the importance of that the coconut milk, plus the mixing dish needed to be chilled so it turned out as a combination of wet/chunky coconut cream. The third mistake was when I combined this goopy mess into the custard/pudding mixture too soon. I set it in the fridge to see if it would firm up and to my disappointment it was way too runny. Of course, this wasn’t good enough. I needed to make sure her birthday dessert was perfect! She’s my best buddy and I couldn’t settle for a crappy version of her favorite treat!

So, when I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep I threw on my blue light blocking glasses and decided to look up another recipe quick to see if I could find another one. I stumbled on a custard version of Coconut Cream Custard,  which called for eggs and decided to try again. This time, I stuck to the directions and am happy to report that we all loved the pie! It tasted like a coconut crème brûlée, which we topped with a ready made coconut whipped cream by So Delicious. It was a bit too sweet for me but my friend thought it was perfect! The first version was put in the freezer to await it’s fate…  maybe it will become part of a smoothie someday in the near future or maybe I will cut it up and throw on some coconut whipped cream and see if that works. All I know, is that for a friend or family’s dessert, I will stick to the recipe so that I’m not worried about serving a gross meal.

I’ve never really thought of myself as controlling, but with parenting a 3-year-old, and for a few other things that have come to light recently, I’ve realized that I… kind of am… As much as I hate owning it, it’s the truth. I thought control seemed to work well for me. When I “control” or plan to the T, then I’m prepared for what is to come and things run much more smooth. That’s not the truth though because planning and controlling are two different things. I mean, yes you should plan what you can, but for me I would start to obsess about how to get to where I needed so much that it was driving me crazy… and my loved ones. After reading this amazing post from cancer survivor, Kris Carr I put 2 and 2 together and finally came to the realization that I need to learn to let go and let the universe/God or whatever higher power, know that I trust in the process. There are things that you can’t control no matter how hard you try. The more you push, the more you’re pushing people/things away from you. Kind of a self-sabotage.

Now, this isn’t going to be easy, but it is do-able. Plus, the alternative is creating more havoc, anxiety, sleeplessness, etc. in my life and it’s really hurting myself and those around me. I mean think about it, when you are trying to negotiate with a toddler they have a very under developed prefrontal cortex, which can create BIG emotions and reactions that seem outrageous to adults. The key to remember is that they are small and not fully developed and it’s not their fault. Thinking that I can control every situation with my little one isn’t realistic. What is, is seeing them where they are at a difficult moment and letting them know they are safe and loved, which includes them knowing their boundaries.

You can plan and plan for the best intentions and dream big, but the universe/God really knows what you’re meant to do. Look at our adoption, for example. This was something I swore I would do in my life, and who knows maybe some day I will, but for now it wasn’t the right time. We kept planning and pushing and it just wasn’t working. That, on top of having a huge weight lift off mine and my husbands shoulders after we officially decided we were done, confirmed that we made the right decision. It took us a lot longer than we should have realized, but that’s okay.

Are you a person who is constantly trying  to control? How do you deal? The article I referenced above, has some tips on letting go, as well as some on the bottom of this post. Another great tool is a book called “Controlling People: How to Recognize, Understand, and Deal with People Who Try to Control You” by Patricia Evans. It talks about how and why we are controlling from our past events. It’s really interesting! Do you have any others?

Here are some more articles regarding control:
7 Things You Gain When You Let Go of Control
Learning to Let Go of Control – 6 tips to let go
Let Go of Control – 4 tips to let go

Show the love with healthy treats this V-day

I don’t think anything says love more than homemade goodies!

Here are my top 5 Valentine’s day messages of love. All are gluten-free and vegan. Enjoy!

  1. Chocolate-Raspberry Fudge- my husband+fudge= eternal happiness. The key is to make it not so unhealthy by keeping sugar low. Here’s a yummy recipe to try. Combine equal parts each 1/2c coconut oil, almond butter, cacao powder, 1/4c freeze dried raspberries, 1/4c maple syrup/honey or brown rice syrup, 1/8tsp salt and melt at low-med heat until smooth consistency. Pour into oiled loaf pan and let sit in fridge until set (about 1.5hours)
  2. Raw Berry Tart
  3. Raspberry Brownie Pops
  4. Fruit Bake
  5. Cherry Cheesecake– raw and delicious!

If that fails, the local Breadroot Co-op has a nice variety for you and your sweethearts Valentine’s day needs.

Not wanting to gift food? That’s okay! A nice plant, homemade gift, or a simple love note are all easy and special ideas. It’s the thought that counts, right? Don’t forget, we should be treating our loved ones like every day is Valentine’s Day, not just every February 14th.

With love to you and yours,

How adoption broke my heart…

Ever since I was a young child, I knew that one day, I wanted to change the fate for one child who was born into no family. Over a year ago, my family started the adoption journey which consisted of applications, background checks, multiple interviews and research/training. We learned a lot and because of that, we learned tools to be better parents to our daughter and we learned how to manage our budget better.

The problem with adoption is that it is a business and a lot of redundancy. I understand that an adoptive family should go through certain checks and balances when it comes to proving to be fit parents. But it goes beyond that. It’s A LOT harder than that! I knew it would be difficult but I never imagined how hard the whole process would be. We did the required trainings and planned and worked constantly on ways to raise the funds of $35,000, which is the price from start to finish the process. Our first fundraiser we did okay with a yard sale/pancake feed. The second, we did a little better with a kayak raffle bringing in around $2500, which paid for the balance we owed at the time to continue with the home study. Then, any we did after we barely made a profit. We put in so much time planning, asking for help, and lost a lot of sleep with the fundraising effort. Finally, after 3 failed fundraisers I told the universe/prayed that if our next fundraiser, the Chili Cook-off, didn’t make the money we needed to pay for our next fees of $3750, it would be our sign that it just wasn’t the right time or right choice for our family to continue the process.

After another failed fundraiser, the chili cook-off, I felt heartbroken and like a failure to the child who we were supposed to adopt (we were never matched with a child). At that point, I knew we should throw in the towel but we decided to hold out for a little longer to see if we would get approved for any of the grants we applied for. Then, after receiving denial letter after another, we were done! I then felt guilt toward the people who were gracious to help us through our journey  and I felt angry at the system for allowing money to come between the lives of children who need forever homes. I felt sad that my family dynamic suffered from the constant energy it took to plan the next fundraiser. I knew, for the sake of my family, we needed to take a long, or maybe permanent, break from this process. The problem is if we wanted to eventually continue the process, after a year the background checks and fingerprints expire and same goes for the home study. All of those fees, some at a lower rate, are charged again!

I wish I could say that money wasn’t the reason why we threw in the adoption towel, but it ultimately is. We felt that if we decided to continue the process by taking out a loan for $30,000 to cover the rest of the fees, we would only be bringing a child into a financially stressed home. Plus, the medical/treatment that we may have had to pay for to help the child with would have increased the financial debt. It’s a sad day, when it’s cheaper to just keep having babies than it is to take in an abandoned one.

This is how adoption broke my heart. My family and friends and some self-care have started to mend it. And after we decided to finally quit, a huge weight was lifted from our shoulders, just confirming that it was the right choice for us.

Have you had any experience with adoption? Good/bad? I’d love to hear it!