Kid-Friendly Peanut Butter Bites

So I don’t know about you, but I have the hardest time getting my toddler to eat anything. It’s a battle every single day! I’m not a “crunchy” Mom by any means, and tend to celebrate any foods that my kids will eat. Unfortunately, that means a lot of string cheese, pretzels and meat balls. Okay, and fruit snacks among other sugary tastiness.

But every Friday is grocery day at my house, which means until I go shopping The snack stash is pretty low. That means on Fridays I raid my pantry and try to create kid-friendly food using only what I have on hand.  Occasionally I make something so awesome that I want to share it with everyone. One of those said “amazing” treats is 4-Ingredient peanut butter bites. Super fast and simple and my kids LOVE them! Even better, they are pretty healthy, so I feel like it’s a mom win!

What you will need is: 

1-2 cups Whole Rolled Oats

1/2 c. Peanut butter

1 tea.Chocolate spread (like Nutella)

2 tea. Honey

A food processor
1) Grind up the oats in the food processor until it’s a flour-like consistency. Ok this is a matter of preference. If you skip this step it will still work, but the balls will just have slightly more texture to them. I prefer the smoother texture, especially for my youngest who still doesn’t have any back teeth yet to chew bigger chunks of oats.

2) Next, add the other ingredients and process it until it is well mixed. It should be sticky enough to form balls, but not so sticky that you have residue on your hands. If the dough is too crumbly, try adding more peanut butter. If it’s too oily add a small handful of oats and give it a whirl in the processor.

3) When you have the texture you want, form little balls. I recommend about dime size since they are pretty rich, and less goes to waste when your toddler decides they don’t want anymore, but if your crunched for time quarter size works too. *Bonus points if you have an older kid that can roll the balls for you!

This makes quite a few, but I double the recipe anyway since they last so long in the refrigerator and I love being able to just grab them and go.

Have a similar recipe I should try? Let me know!

 

My Experience with the Mormon Church- Part 2 of 2

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So I hope you read Part 1 of this post because otherwise you’ll be a little lost. Unless, of course you have experience with the church yourself. Anyway, this post is not going to be bashing on Mormons, or trying to disprove anything. I believe everyone has the right to practice whatever religion they believe in. My husband is still an active member of the church, as his family, and they are all fantastically great people.

That all being said, I personally choose not to be a member of the LDS religion anymore, and this post is about my journey from entering the church to leaving it. I’ll start at the very beginning. WARNING: LONG POST. It’s more of a diary entry, instead of a help blog, but if you are a struggling member of the church, I hope this will help you!

Why I joined the church

4 years ago, I was working in Hanksville, UT. At that point I had been depressed for many years and was self-medicating using alcohol. I knew something was not right, and that I needed help of some kind, I just didn’t know where to look or what to look for. That’s when I met the man who is now my husband (Teddy). He was amazing and we had an instant connection. He took me to a church service and called the Mormon missionaries over. It was the kick in the butt I needed. It helped me focus on something GOOD for a change, and gave me a reason to stop drinking altogether. I had always wanted more faith in my life, but never had immediate access to anyone willing to take me to church with them.  Over a course of 6 weeks, I had been taking twice-weekly lessons with the missionaries, and they told me they wanted to baptize me. I had developed a friendship with them and didn’t want to let them down, so I hesitantly agreed. From the moment I agreed it just didn’t feel right, but I got praise from Teddy, as well as his family, so I thought it was just my nerves. They were great people, so I figured there might be something to it.  I was reassured that the more I prayed and the more I learned, the better I would feel about it, and to just keep on trying.

On the day of my baptism I was very nervous, but I went through with it. The only thing I felt was relief that it was over and behind me. Honestly, I didn’t even realize how big of a deal it really was.  But what was done, was done, and I told myself I would try to live the Mormon lifestyle. Part of this was because I didn’t want to lose Teddy because in my gut I knew he was the one who I wanted to spend my life with.

Beginning of The End

I kept on trying my best to be a ‘good Mormon’ for YEARS,  but I ended up loosing myself in it. Because of the depression and alcoholism I never really knew who I was to begin with, but the more time I spent in the Mormon church, the more trapped and lost I felt. By then I was married with a child, so I felt like I had no way out. I kept thinking that if I just tried harder that I would fall in love with it.

So the time came when my husband wanted to take me to the temple. We had been getting pressure from his family and our friends, and I felt like I owed it to him. Going to the temple for the first time is a HUGE deal in Mormon culture which didn’t help my nerves. I couldn’t just play it off like it was no big deal, and I certainly couldn’t ignore it afterward because I would have to wear temple garments. Again, I felt I had no way out. I was trying to put on this front as the perfect Mormon girl for my husband’s family because I was so scared of being the black sheep in the family.

We went to the endowment session first, and the sealing session on another day. From the moment I walked into the endowment session I just wanted out. I kept looking at the closed door wondering if I could just get up and leave. I felt claustrophobic and uncomfortable. They show a church-produced movie in that session so I simply focused on that, and did my best to understand and feel good about it.

The sealing session is when I could not keep it together anymore. We had to take glen with us to be sealed with us since we weren’t sealed prior to his birth, and I could hear him screaming from down the hall. I wasn’t allowed to see him though, so I KNEW this wasn’t right. Everyone was telling me to relax and enjoy the experience but I couldn’t. I was having anxiety attacks, but nobody noticed but Teddy who tried his best to comfort me.

When it was all over, I was done. I was mad, and I never wore temple garments past that day, and started skipping church.

The End of My Mormonism

After my second son was born, I ended up with pretty severe postpartum depression and anxiety.  I started taking Zoloft for it when he was 3 months old and by 4 months, my whole world changed. I felt better than I had since I was 15. It was like I was living in a blurry haze then finally got glasses. Everything became clear, and I felt like a real person again.

I started reflecting on the parts of Mormonism that I believed, those I didn’t, what made me happy, and what I hated. I realized the list of things I didn’t believe was double the size of what I did believe, and the things that made me happy about it, I wouldn’t lose if I stopped being a member.

Finding Myself

Suddenly, it became clear that being Mormon was one of the major sources of my stress and anxiety. I gave it up, and I have not looked back. I feel vibrant and happier than I ever have. I am finally learning who I really am, and have gained the ability to FINALLY speak up for myself and truly not care what others think of me (something that I never had before).

So that’s my story. Are you an ex-member? I want to hear your story too! Leave me a message in the comment box!

 

 

My Experience With The Mormon Church- Part 1 of 2

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I was going to wait for several more posts until I started to write this one, but it has weighed heavily on me for over a year, and I just could not put it off any longer. It is a long, complicated topic, so I broke it up into two parts. To fully understand my feelings on the topic, you must first understand some of basic elements of the LDS Church.  If you are not a member of the church, it will have information that is probably new to you and clarify what you already have heard. This post will be only telling you about the church as I know it, and I will be as objective as possible.   If this doesn’t completely cover all your burning questions about the Mormon church, leave a comment and I can answer any questions you have!

The Rules

The Mormon church is notorious for having strict rules that members must abide by to remain “in good standing” (able to enter the temples). Members take the following rules just as seriously as the Ten Commandments, and breaking these rules are seen as very serious offences:

  • Must listen to and obey the Prophet (aka the president of the church), no questions asked. Members believe he is the messenger of God, and whenever he speaks, it is direct revelation from God.
  • Pay 10% of your total income to the church (tithing). Members are told to pay this before paying any of their bills, rent, or other financial obligations.
  • No alcohol, coffee, or tea
  • No mind-altering drugs, including any tobacco products
  • Must eat healthy and take care of one’s body
  • Must practice the law of c
  • chastity. No sex or masturbation before marriage, and no pornography at all. Ever.
  • Dress modestly and, if the member has been endowed (get to that in a bit), must wear their garments at all times
  • Cannot engage, support, or encourage the LGBT community
  • No working on Sundays, and don’t engage in activities that make others work on Sunday (shopping, eating out, etc..) The only exception to this rule is if you work helping people, like a doctor, nurse, or similar.
  • No talking about what happens inside the temple

The following aren’t rules per-say BUT are strongly recommended. Social pressures within the church require you to abide by these rules as well or else you will be looked down upon by all members of the church.

  • Get married young. Couples, until they are married, are not to be alone together in private out of the fear that they will break the law of chastity.
  • Read “the scriptures” daily. This can include the Bible, The Book Of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, and the Doctrine and Covenants, or any other materials put out by the church. The Pearl of Great Price was written by Joseph Smith (the founder of the Mormon church), and the Doctrine and Covenants are “revelations” the past prophets of the church have made.
  • Always talk to non-members about the church, and do whatever you can to get them to convert.
  • Don’t be close friends with non-members unless you are trying to get them to convert.
  • Bare testimony that you believe the church is true every chance you get. It is particularly popular on Sundays and major church events. Verbatim, “I just want to bear my testimony that I know the church is true, and that Joseph Smith is a prophet.” This is engrained even in young children. You will also hear members recite this after the death of a loved one, even write it in obituaries.
  • Men are expected to go on 2 year missions. Females can go too, but the pressure isn’t as great. The entire purpose of LDS missions is to get people to convert.
  • Perform your church “calling”. Basically it is a job within the church. The LDS church does not pay staff, it is all volunteer based. It ranges from the bishop (oversees each sector of the church, like a minister) to people who take care of the children (like Sunday school teachers)
  • Attend the temple often
  • Take care of your family physically, emotionally and spiritually

Basically everything you do has to be in an effort to build up the church. You are never are allowed to speak poorly of it.

The Church Meetings

Church meetings on Sunday are 3 (yes, 3!) hours long. One hour is a basic church service, one hour is called Sunday School, where members can continue learning about the church doctrine, and one hour is for “relief society” and “priesthood”. Relief society is for the women to learn more about their role in the church how to better support their men, and about charity work that needs to be done. Priesthood is for the men to learn about how to better care for their families, their role in the church, and charity work that needs to be done.

On the first Sunday of every month, it is Fast Sunday. Members are expected to not eat for two consecutive meals, and donate the money they saved from not eating those meals to church-run food charities. During the fasting period, members are encouraged to “Fast with a purpose”, meaning pray for answers to specific questions or problems you may have.

The Temples

Temples are different than Mormon churches. They are those big buildings with the gold statue on top. Unlike churches, temples are strictly off limits to non-members, and even some members aren’t allowed in. Going to the temple is every member’s goal, and members are told to go as often as possible.

To be able to go, members must meet with the leaders of the church and be the subject of an interview process to obtain what they call a “temple recommend”. They ask questions relating to all the rules I just went over. If you aren’t following the rules, you will not be allowed inside the temple, as the temple is only for the most devout members of the church. It is said that you are only able to be admitted to the “celestial kingdom” (highest level of heaven) if you are able to obtain a temple recommend and attend the temple meetings.

So what do members do INSIDE the temples?

Well, there are 3 sessions members can choose to attend.

First are what they call baptisms for the dead. They obtain names of deceased, and believe that they can convert them to the LDS church by-proxy. The names can be of recently deceased and added to the list by a direct relative, or someone who died 500 years ago, and found via family history (this is also why Mormons place such a heavy emphasis on studying family history).

  • Second, members can go to an endowment session which is where they make further covenants to God, receive a secret church-given name, gain permission to wear temple garments*, and learn more about what Mormons believe. They can also attend this session in the names of the deceased.
  • *Temple garments are plain white underwear worn by devout members of the church. The underwear extend to the knees and a plain white tee shirt is also worn at all times, under regular clothing. This is true for BOTH genders, and facilitates the modesty code. This is why you will sometimes see Mormon women wearing a tee shirt under a sundress. She wears the shirt to hide her required garments.
  • Third, members can be married in the temple through a sealing. It is not like a typical wedding- no extravagant gowns are worn and only a handful of family members and friends attend the actual ceremony. The main difference between getting married in a temple and outside the temple is if you get married outside, you are only bound to your spouse for THIS life, whereas inside the temple, you are bound to them for eternity. Marriages that take place outside the temple are seen as inferior to those that happen inside a temple. Like the baptisms and endowment sessions, couples can also do by-proxy sealings for deceased married couples.
  • That about covers most of the questions I receive most, but if you still have anything you are wondering, feel free to shoot me an e-mail!
Stay tuned for Part 2, where I will discuss how I became involved in it, and why I no longer choose to be involved in it.

 

 

 

How To Date Successfully

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Let me clarify the title a bit before we get started. This post is for those of you who have trouble finding someone to get into a relationship with. I’m talking about you if you either NEVER go on dates, or, if you go on dates but just can’t seem to get a second or third date.  Maybe you have heard these, or maybe you haven’t. Either way, you shouldn’t ignore them if you are hoping to find love.

Rule #1 : Have an Open Mind

If you are on a dating site and come across these two people, who would you rather message?

Person A) “I’m looking for someone who is Funny, is successful, and ready to be my wing-person on all my travel adventures.”

OR

Person B) “I’m looking for someone who is funny, is successful, and ready to be my wing-person on all my travel adventures. I hope to find someone who is a good dancer, a good cook, and loves to go for runs and bike rides. Must have brown hair and blue eyes, and an athletic body type.”

Person “A” right? If you go into the dating scene with an open mind and willingness to meet different types of people, you’ll have a greater chance at meeting your next long-term relationship. Perhaps the reason you have trouble dating is because you are looking for one type of person, when you are really meant for someone else.

Rule #2 :  Be The Type of Person You Are Looking For

Ok so now that you have an open mind, lets look at YOU.  I’m going to use deserts as an example this time. Lets say you are looking for crème brule. Rich, delightful, perfection. However, you are better categorized as jello. You are fun and quirky, and a delightful desert, but generally wouldn’t stand a chance of being put at the same table next to crème brule. You either need to adjust your expectations, and be willing to date someone less than crème brule (like box cake or a ‘fellow-jello’) , or work on raising yourself up to be more like crème brule.

Don’t believe me? Try turning the table. Imagine you are smart, driven, and adventurous. Would YOU date someone who still lives at home, doesn’t have a good job, and likes to stay inside all day? The answer is probably no.

Rule #3 : Make Time & Break From Your Routines

People make time for things that are important to them. Going to school, your job, hobbies, etc. So if finding a relationship is important to you, then you have to treat it as such. Try online dating (and spend a lot of time using the sites), go to singles events, go on blind dates. If all you do is work, go home, and occasionally go out with friends, your chances of meeting the right person is slim to none. The more people you can have contact with, the better. You cant expect Prince/ess Charming to just show up on your doorstep (unless they turn out to work for UPS, but that’s a stretch).

Is there something you’ve always wanted to try or learn? DO IT! Who knows, you might meet someone at that SCUBA class or be matched up with them in dance class.

Rule #4 : Work on your appearance

I know that not everyone finds looks important, but most do. If you go on two dates, one with someone who has good style, smells good, and stays in decent shape, and another who basically looks like Shrek and smells like a wet hound, who are you going to choose? That’s what I thought. So don’t let yourself go, and just remember that EVERY TIME you leave the house is a new opportunity to meet someone!

Rule #5 : Be Interesting

This one should just happen if you follow Rule #3. Have you ever been on a date with someone who does nothing but work and play video games? or someone who just talked about their cats? If you have, you know that it is DULL and you’ll leave the date feeling like you just wasted part of your life. You do NOT want to be dull, because that does not lead to further dates. So ask your date questions (your there to get to know them right?) and talk about all your  single-person adventures.

**A note for you introverts: DONT BE A CLAM! By that I mean, don’t make your date have to pry information out of you! I’ve had dates where the guy seemed normal over text, but in person he was like Raj on The Big Bang Theory. AWKWARD. Not many people willing to date Raj.

You may have noticed all of these are ways that YOU can change to up your chances of finding someone. The reason for that is, theres nothing else you can do. You can’t change other people, and you can’t force love. So, the most you CAN do is make yourself free and desireable to date. You never know when your going to meet ‘The One’, so just be patient, and DON’T GIVE UP!

Is there anything I missed? Let me know by commenting!