12.09.2019

Top Five Survival Tips for New Moms

About four months ago I became a brand new mom.  I was immediately thrown into a whirlwind of a crying baby, sleepless nights, raging hormones, and the struggle to communicate with my partner.  I honestly have never been the person I was in those first few weeks.  It was scary for me.  Being thrust into motherhood is something I thought I was prepared for but I totally wasn't.
For some mothers, motherhood comes easy.  And that is great for them!  For others its a couple week long train wreck of survival.  Neither of these is wrong.  If you fall somewhere in the middle, that's not wrong either.  There was once a time that I confessed to my mother that I regretted doing this, I didn't want to be a mom any more, and I wanted it to stop.  Postpartum was hard.  Postpartum IS HARD.  As someone on the other side of a time I thought would never end (and now dealing with a sleep regression) I wanted to share with you the things I've learned that have kept me sane.


Use your Support System

Whether this is a sleep class, a mom friend, a counselor, your midwife, your doctor, your partner, a book.....there are resources out there.  Please do not be afraid to voice what you need.  I know this is easier said than done but the first few weeks after birth you & your baby are just in survival mode.  Do not be afraid to reach for help, surround yourself with support.  This is something I didn't know I'd need postpartum.  I took a sleep class (Taking Cara Babies is the best, I totally recommend it), I read the literature the hospital gave us at various classes, I am a responsible person...I thought it was going to be a breeze.  But I needed more help postpartum.  Don't let anyone tell you that you are fine.  If there were any time in your life to be honest and truthful, now is that time.  Tell anyone and everyone you trust how you feel so that they can advocate for you if you feel that you can't advocate for yourself.  I didn't know what to do so I just said how I felt hoping someone would guide me.

Create a plan of attack  

Following the above paragraph, creating a plan of attack can give you some guidance to go forward as you move day to day.  Things probably won't go smoothing when you're sleep deprived which is why creating a plan can help you keep a level head and know what to do and expect at certain times.  Go over this with your partner too so you both have a plan to support each other.  Hell, go over this with your flipping mom, sister, grandma, best friend so they can support you too.  

The example I have for this and one I keep going back to is the sleep class I took.  I don't have an affiliate link for this class, I'm totally recommending it because its amazing - Taking Cara Babies.  I'd make schedules on my phone for sleep and eating and even though they totally weren't followed it gave me and idea of what to anticipate.  I just did this the night before writing this post.  I created a plan of attack based on Cara's suggestions for the four month sleep regression.  Create a plan of attack around what triggers you.  Create a plan of attack around what will help you survive.

Time moves fast but also incredibly slow

As a brand new mom I absolutely despised hearing 'it's just a phase' or 'this is going to pass' or 'things will get better'.  I wanted to feel validated.  So, I want to tell you - I see you.  When you're in the thick of it you can't see the path to relief.  Time moves unbearably slow.  Sleep deprivation is real.  You think you're losing it.  Right now, in the middle of all of this, focus on surviving.  Use your attack plan but you also need to survive.  You need to make it through each minute.  Your feelings are valid.

I mentioned above that I confessed to my mom that I didn't want to do this.  Things became so overwhelming to me I stopped eating.  In 4 weeks I'd lost 20 pounds.  I weighed less than what I did at my first prenatal appointment.  I wasn't surviving. Use resources, create a plan of attack, survive.  If you take care of yourself first then you can provide for your child the best.  

Mark the little wins

For the first few days/weeks postpartum any little win I felt I had or Marcus had I marked in my phone.  It was a good diary to see progress.  This was a part of my plan of attack too - if I could see where we came from then I knew where we could go.  I marked my first poop (not his, mind you, but mine) after delivery.  I marked that we were at the doctor's appointment on time.  I marked that I brushed my hair, I took a shower, I ate, I slept.  This helped me to feel like I was becoming more me.  This helped me to see that I was getting through it.

Cuddle them when you feel you can

If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed it's ok to go through the motions. Survive. Provide for your child but preserve yourself. Motherhood is hard. That being said if you feel good if you feel like you want to hold him just a little longer please please PLEASE do it. You’ll never regret holding him a minute more.  This is something I struggled with.  I was so overwhelmed that I just wanted him to sleep.  I also wanted to lay a good sleep foundation for him from birth.  But I've never regretted holding him a little longer.  Because time moves painfully slow but also incredibly fast.  Babies don't keep.

I can't stress enough how important it is to remember to survive the first few weeks postpartum.  Self preservation is at an all time high along with your concern for your child.  Motherhood is honestly a team effort.  You need the people & resources in your arsenal that aren't sleep deprived, healing, and feeling like a hormonal train wreck.  


Like I said, for some the transition to motherhood come easily.  Do not compare yourself to anyone if you feel you're not 'getting it as easy'.  The biggest thing to remember is that your feelings are valid and you're not alone.  If you're surviving, you're doing great.

Thank you for sticking through this post and reading parts where I've felt most vulnerable.  I made a promise to myself to never tell a new mom 'it get's better' because that is not solid advice.  Solid advice is listening and affirming.  I see you momma.  I know it's hard.

What helped you navigate motherhood in those first few days?

xoxo, Moe

11.12.2019

Three Keto Dough Recipes I Always Have on Hand

While I was pregnant with Marcus I was advised to start eating low-carb toward the end of my pregnancy.  Turns out I was growing a large baby and we needed to limit the carbs so that he didn't bust from my nether regions like bigfoot.  Too much? Well, that's the truth!
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Eating low carb was not what I wanted to do with my life, especially nearing the end of my pregnancy when I wanted ice cream and Oreos!  (spoilers: this is my favorite low carb ice cream.)  Honestly, when deciding to go low-carb one of my goals was to still be able to eat bread and sweets.  Finding some Keto friendly recipes on Pinterest was an obsession of mine...second to actually testing them out!

Over the last few months of my pregnancy and even into postpartum I've enjoyed finding and making new Keto recipes but there are 3 'dough' recipes that I always fall back on

Fat Head Dough

This was the first Keto 'dough' I discovered and it quickly became my go to for everything.  Fat Head Dough is basically mozzarella, cream cheese, eggs, and almond flour (or coconut flour).  This is the recipe I use each time. Making this dough can get really sticky.  Most recipes advise you to wet your hands often when working with the dough but I find using food prep gloves works the best.
I first experimented with these Fat Head Dough bagels but quickly moved to using this dough to make pigs in a blanket (with everything bagel seasoning!) & little pizza pockets.  Let's also talk about how I paired these pigs in a blanket with red wine.  I've reached ultimate mom mode!  I experimented with making little pizza rolls too...this is something I need to work on more.  I just found this recipe to make chicken empanada pockets and can't wait to have these for easy meals!

For the pigs in a blanket just make the dough as normal & cut the hot dogs into thirds.  With your food prep gloves on, grab a small ball of dough and wrap it around the dog.  Place on your pan and then sprinkle with everything bagel seasoning!  You can even brush a little bit of butter on them for that crescent roll taste but these taste great as is.  I bake them at the same temperature and time as the bagel recipe.

It is also important to cook these bad boys on a silpat mat I find this dough sticks to anything BUT this.  Even greasing tin foil got me no where.


The Chaffle

The Chaffle is something I'm just getting into but I can totally see it being my go to for buns, bread, personal pizza crusts...anything that you need to be hand held & quick!  The basic recipe is a cheese & egg mixture cooked in a waffle maker.  The waffle maker I've found that works the best for these hand held size portions is the Dash Mini Waffle Maker. You may be able to find it on Amazon - it sells out rather quickly - but Target is where I got mine.  Plus you can either order online and pick up in store or get it delivered same day with your Shipt subscription!
I love to whip the simple egg & cheese mix up for a quick breakfast sandwich or a quick pizza lunch.  One of my favorite quick lunches has been a pizza made on a flour tortilla.  Prior to having to cut my carbs I'd use whatever tortillas we had...eventually I'd found some low-carb ones BUT this chaffle cuts the carbs even more!  Just mix 1 egg with 1/2 cup cheese (I usually use mozzarella).  This will make two chaffles which makes it perfect for handhelds!

My favorite chaffle recipe that tastes EXACTLY like bread (so its perfect for sandwiches and toast!) is from Butter Together Kitchen.  I added a few things here in my own experimentation - instead of 3 tbsp almond flour I went with 2.5 tbsp, then added a half tbsp vital wheat gluten (this makes it more bread like) and 1/4 tsp of Lakanto Classic Monkfruit Sweetener.  The vital wheat gluten has been a real fun thing to play with and it is in another one of my fave low carb doughnut recipes.  If you make this recipe my way & with the mini waffle maker you'll get three chaffles.  So it might by worth it to double the recipe and make six so you can have 2 more sandwiches later/the next day.  Its the perfect meal prep!


Psyllium Husk Roll

This was the first 'roll' recipe I came across and I'd used it to make buns and whatnot for things like pulled chicken sandwiches.  (I love to make pulled chicken in my Instant Pot!)  This recipe also uses and ingredient I was interested in - psyllium husk.  This is basically pure fiber so drinking water is a must but apparently this ingredient helps recipes stay together.  Psyllium husk and vital wheat gluten are pretty fun things to play with in low carb cooking!
I didn't have a need to make these rolls recently so this image is from the original recipe maker, here.

This is the only recipe I'd ever used the psyllium husk in and it turns out a pretty nice roll.  The are a little odd though.  When you first cook them they will come out hard on the outside and then a little gooey on the inside.  I put them in a ziplock bag to store them and the next day they were soft on the outside and not gooey but still bread like on the inside.  It was odd but this is the results other people got to!  I'm excited to continue to experiment with different spices to make these rolls super versatile.


Another post I need to do is all the sweet things that I eat on Keto!  I have a huge sweet tooth and a love of bread so eating those things was important to me when I went to switch my diet up!

I'm still doing a Keto focused diet though I'm not super strict on myself.  I sub a few things here and there - like all these dough recipes, no sugar in my coffee, heavy whipping cream instead of creamer, monkfruit sweetener or stevia for sweetener - in order to just cut a few things out.  Overall decreasing my sugar and carb intake rather than obsessing over macros is my long term goal!

What are your favorite low carb recipes?  Anything I should try out?

xoxo, Moe

10.15.2019

Getting Started with Candle Magic - Beginner & Advanced

One of the very first spells I did when I started exploring witchcraft, paganism, and all around woo woo things was a candle spell.  Then the next spell I did was another candle spell!  Then I got away from candle magic and focused on a few different things.  In the last year or so I haven't done too much spell work but as we move into our new house I'm ready to focus more on my practice/craft so I think I'm going to jump right back in with the simplicity of candle magic!
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I am super excited to set up my altar in a new space (we have a sun room!) and it will be more out in the open rather than tucked away in our spare room.  I hope that we can also have a family altar in the house!

Why Candle Magic?

First off, candle magic is simple & you don't need much.  You need only a candle & matches (and a candle holder but even that can be improvised), your sacred space, and your intent.  You can even add in the moon phase or day of the week to enhance your spell...but that's about it!  You can also make this out to be a full blow ritual depending on the accessories you add - crystals, oils, herbs....its up to you.

Candle magic can also be discreet.  You don't need spell candles to do this you can use your Bath & Body Works candles, a Dollar Tree candle, a birthday candle....you don't need too much fancy-pantsy-ness to get going and you don't have to be totally out of the broom closet.  Candle magic is also great if you maybe don't consider yourself a witch but want to work with sending out your intent into the universe and to work with your own power.


Supplies for Candle Magic

Like I mentioned before you only need a candle, matches, space, and your intent but you can add extra oomph to a candle spell with other objects:

Candles

Like I mentioned above you just need a candle for this!  Choose a candle in a color that corresponds to your desired intent.  Orange for creativity, Green for abundance (or money!), Blue for communication, etc.  If you don't have a candle in a certain color white will do just fine.  You can add another layer of power by visualizing the color surrounding your candle giving it power.

Essential Oils (or scented candle)

Anointing your candle with an essential oil will amplify and add to the spell.  I love this book for choosing essential oils to associate with emotions and use it a lot to choose essential oils for intention work.  You can use your pink candle and cinnamon for adding passion to your love spell or your green candle and cinnamon for adding oomph to your abundance spell.  While I don't think all spells need to have a significant amount of research involved, the more you dedicate yourself to crafting a spell the more likely it is to mean something and feel powerful to you.

Alternatively you can also choose or work with a scented candle.  Most of the time you'll find candles in the color associated with their scent - a red candle that is scented with cinnamon, for example.  You can also use candles seasonally - a springtime Bath and Body Works candle in the color green for growth and prosperity.  Then you can cleanse and set the intention to the candle and each time you burn it reflect on that intention.

Crystals

There are a couple of things you can do with crystals during and after your spell work.  Again, choose crystals that associate with what you're intentions are: rose quartz for love, pyrite for abundance, carnelian for action, etc.  When in doubt go with clear quartz!  You can choose a few crystals for your spell and create a crystal grid to send you intention continuously out into the universe or choose one crystal to imbue with your intention and then carry it with you as a reminder.


Incense/cleansing herbs

To set up your sacred space and clear it & the candle to make ready for your intention you may choose to burn incense or use other cleansing herbs.  The smoke from these items can be used to cleanse the air and your magical objects from anything that has been imprinted on them.  You may also choose incense or herbs that have a magical association to your spell to add power to it.  Check out this article on 4 ways to cleanse your space.


Tarot Cards

Working with the energy of the Tarot cards is something I love to do to add a little bit more energy to anything!  Choose a card that has the energy you want to work with.  The Strength card for strength and courage, 10 of Pentacles for abundance, 2 of Cups for communication or relationship building, The Star for self care or self love, etc.  My favorite decks are listed here.


Moon Phases

You can track the moon phases and research which phase would be best to perform your spell.  This is another resource that isn't going to cost you much!  And this can lend to focused preparation to show the universe you are dedicated to this spell and that will make it much more effective.

Bits and Bobs

Alternatively to crystals you can choose a trinket or piece of jewelry to enchant to keep as a reminder as well.  I am all for visual or tactile reminders of the things I'm attempting to manifest or work towards.  You could also make a specific pendant or little ornament to pin to the inside of a jacket for protection, etc.

Casting your Spell

First off be sure you're using your candle safely!  Use a fire safe holder & don't leave your candle unattended.  Use common sense when working with a flame.

Candle Spell Basics

  1. Set up your space.  Make sure you have everything you need to work with as you won't want to leave the space until you've finished the spell.
  2. Cleanse your space with incense, cleansing herbs, or white light visualization.
  3. Cast a circle if that is what you prefer to do.  Say a prayer or invocation to set the space.  I usually envision a white light sphere encompassing me & my work space and then invite my angles, ancestors, and guides in for protection & guidance.
  4. Cleanse the candle and any other objects/tools you'll be working with.  This makes them a blank canvas for you to use in this spell and gets rid of any remnants from previous spells or any energies that may have tagged along after your purchase.
  5. If you're simply using a candle for your spell, light your candle and place it out in front of you.  Focus on your intent as you gaze into the candle. Meditate on it.  If using a white candle visualize a color association surrounding it.  Repeat a mantra or affirmation.  Visualize your intention manifesting - what does success of this spell look like? 
Gaze into the candle focusing on your intention for as long as you feel necessary.  You can also space this out over a few sessions/nights to help you visualize success over the long term.  When you're done be sure to snuff out the candle rather than blow it out.  Firstly because you'll be blowing away your intentions and secondly because you've invited the element of fire into your workings - would you be happy if when someone was done working with you they just slammed the door in your face?

If you want to make this little spell extra special with any added tools, here's how I'd go about doing that:

Advanced Candle Spells

Cleanse your space, cast your circle, invite your guides...all as before.

  1. Focus on your intention now as you dress the candle with your diluted essential oil (or as you light the candle scented in alignment with your intentions!)  If you're looking to bring something towards you anoint your candle (or rub your candle with the oil) from the wick down.  If you're looking to banish something from you anoint your candle from the bottom up to the wick.
  2. Place your candle in its holder and light it.  If you're using a Tarot Card for it's energy it might be helpful to set the candle on top of the card (just be sure to take precautions against wax!)  
  3. Focus now on the candle and meditate on your intent.  Repeat a mantra or affirmation.  Visualize your intention manifesting. 
  4. Set up your crystal grid around your candle with the candle as the center.  Meditate as you create the grid clockwise to bring things to you or counter clockwise to send things away.  If you're working with a single crystal or a trinket hold it between your hands or lay it in front of the candle and hold your hands over it.  Send all the energy of your intention into that object.  Ask that it help to be a reminder of your intention.
After you've spent a time you see sufficient performing the spell, meditating, and visualizing, snuff out the candle.  If you're spacing your spell out over a few sessions and are able to, you can leave the candle at the center of your crystal grid or replace it with a charged clear quartz tower.  If you don't plan to relight the candle over the next few days or if your candle has burned down replace the candle at the center of the grid with your charged quartz and leave the grid for a while to continue to send out your intention.

Whether you're working a basic or more advanced candle spell, be sure to close your circle or your sacred space however it aligns with your practice.  I thank my angels, ancestors, and guides for their protection and guidance and wish them well on their way.  I also thank any others that may have come around during the spell and ask that they leave this place and do no harm on their way.  

If you've used a trinket or a single crystal to focus your intention you can now put it where you'd like it to be a reminder of the spell.


What is next?

Over the next few days, weeks, and even months reflect on your spell and see where your intentions are manifesting.  It might be best to journal about this spell and how you're seeing it manifest.  Add in what actions you are taking as well.

After you feel you've spent enough time on the spell, you've seen the change, or you're just ready to do another, clean up the crystal grid or cleanse your trinket or crystal for work again.  Alternatively, you can keep your trinket or crystal empowered with your intention by charging it up with the spell again.  I think it is important as you reset your tools or your altar to thank each item for its help.  Expressing gratitude is a great way to attract the desired result of your spell.

You may also see that your spell may not completely unfold until a later date!

If you're interested in learning more about essential oils you can use in your magical practice download my Getting Started with Essential Oils ebook. This short book goes over 10 essential oils that you can use mundanely & magically everyday.


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Now that you've got down the basics and a little bit of the advanced ways to do candle magic it is time for you to try!  Because a magical practice is unique to everyone you may find you prefer the simplicity of using just a candle or you prefer the ritual of much more.  Anyway you practice is up to you!

What is a practice you've neglected?  What is something that is back to your roots?

xoxo, Moe