Stop searching for your other half. You’re whole already. 

I’m not searching for my other half, because I am not half.

Mind blown. Why did I feel pressure to search for my other half? As if I wasn’t fully and wholly enough just as is. As if there was something missing. Something needed to complete me, to complete my family.

Photo Credit: Steve Brandt at Creative Compassion Photography
A dear friend pointed this out to me a few months back, as I voiced how I longed for my son to witness me in a healthy marriage. For him to watch healthy interaction between a husband and wife. I voiced my concern of a man not being daily present in his life. That me, being only mom couldn’t teach my son the things a boy learns from watching a father. When that friend challenged me, I realized that even though I felt confident to raise my son on my own, I still struggled with being me, only one person. Only half of the typical two parents many children have present daily.

Society, and often times religion, like to impose the necessity of a partner to be considered complete. That idea that children need two parents to thrive. Not just that, there’s the stigma that both a male and female are needed. And I call bull–bullion cubes on that one! The reason I felt inadequate, is because I was told and made to believe that parenting alone is just that, an inadequate way to raise a child.

Photo Credit: Steve Brandt at Creative Compassion Photography
As people, we often follow in the direction others have proclaimed over us, or generalized over a group of people. It creates a cap on success, communicating a limit to the success rates. As if before we start we’ve already been proclaimed as a person destined to struggle. Because of that, we enter into situations expecting difficulty. Expecting to endure unnecessary hardships and trials.

I’m here today to tell you that through my personal experience I’ve learned that’s a lie. A freaking delusion. I orchestrated under a mindset of confidence but yet feeling inadequate because it’s me alone. Failing to see the very truth, that I’m far from missing my other half.

I arrived to the battlegrounds of single motherhood ready for just that, a battle. Preparing myself by scrounging for the tools to help defend against the hardships that I thought were bound for me in the dreaded roll of [insert blinking red sign] “Single Motherhood”.

Photo Credit: Steve Brandt at Creative Compassion Photography

As time went on I realized all I needed to do was just “be”. To change my mind set on my self. Open my mind to see my self the way I was designed. Whole! NOT half way complete. Only then I was able to see my self through that new identity, through His lens. One of kingdom identity. Where God proclaims over me that I am Enough. Through re-wiring my brain I saw that I was equipped. Designed to thrive. Made in His image, and through the union with Christ I lacked nothing. See, my dear friends, Christ bridges that gap for us. Where we lacked. We now lack nothing in Him. I don’t lack a half. Because with Him I’m whole. Single motherhood my booty. There’s nothing negative about this role. I’m a mom, there’s nothing single about what I do.

Photo Credit: Steve Brandt at Creative Compassion Photography
It doesn’t take a mom and a dad to raise a child. It doesn’t require two people, 4 hands. It requires loving humans, loving on the tiny human and breathing empowerment through Truth to parent them. I’m in no way dismissing the impact a village can have. I believe my village, the people that have lavished love and support on me, are the whispers of the Father’s heart. Reminding me I can do this–and why I can.

Single motherhood was never intended to be a burden. Not a hardship. It might be a result of a broken relationship. But that brokenness doesn’t continue into the next chapters role of continued parenting.

Nothing is broken about “single” parenting. It’s just an old mindset that needs to be rejuvenated to see things new.

Breathe deep and plant your foot down for that next step, confidently. You’re enough. I am enough. Because He is never lacking, and we lack nothing in Him!

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Super Mom Self Care 101: Part 1

The struggle is real! How to care for all those around us without running on empty.  I’ve been there and I know you probably have too. 

The first time I realized how critical this is was during my divorce. A newly single mom, stressed beyond words. Feeling like I was running on empty. I had forgotten in the chaos to take time for me.  

On my Column Hello World. It’s Me! at True-Conversations I am writing a two part series on self care and how us, as moms, can make that happen! 

 But the tricky thing is to make sure that we don’t lose ourselves. We need to carve time away each day for ME. Am I just “mama”? Or am I Sarah who’s favorite role she plays right now is “mama!” Yes! That is me, I am Sarah! And you, sweet friend, you are YOU! Who is also a mama! But who are You…

When you travel on a plane and the flight attendant instructs, ”In the event of an emergency… If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your own mask first, and then assist the other person.” I’ve realized that this is exactly how it is with motherhood. Here we are in chaos that surrounds us. The emergencies of the day might be toddler sized but they are there.

Head over to True-Conversations to finish reading! Look out for next weeks column on learning to Thrive while being Super Mom. 

Power of the Bikini 

Can we just be real for a moment. It’s the end of summer. Did you feel the pressure–to have that body ready, to look great with a solid ass and stomach “beach ready”? I’ve felt it. The ideal body, by a deadline. And if that deadline arrives, without the body having achieved that exact look, the fear of criticism clouds confidence to wear that bikini proudly.

Moms, heck women in general, why do we do this to ourselves! We hate on our bodies. Let’s be real, that’s what it is: hate.

The body I live in became something I felt wasn’t good enough. Yet it was strong enough to carry a tiny human, house it, and nurture it. Moms, we have so much to be proud of our body for! Yet, I’m guilty of picking out the flaws of my new mom body to focus on. I allowed those thoughts to consume me. But no longer.

10 months ago I made the choice to love my body. To see it through a new lens, a lens that many others saw it through already, yet I was not.. I was seeing it through lenses that had expectations that didn’t need to be there. 


So here’s my journey into loving my skin, my new body! Setting aside high expectations, extending grace, wearing proudly what I used to label as flaws.

Setting aside high expectations, extending grace, wearing proudly what I used to label as flaws.

Three years ago I gave birth to my son. I wanted to be a mom, I desired to bring life into this world. I never desired my body to change permanently, I didn’t give it permission. The “new baby” high wears off and I realized my body was nothing like I had wanted. But regardless of how we exercise, eat, etc during pregnancy, our bodies in many ways change in ways we have LITTLE control over. 


Even after baby is born, we can experience frustrations as women in our new post baby body. Our bodies are re figuring how to work, how to metabolize, our bodies have changed. In ways we couldn’t of prepared for or predicted.

This is something that has been so humbling to me. Prior to baby, I was fit, toned and had a flat stomach without that classic mama pouch. I lived at the beach weekly in a bikini. I never thought about finding a suit to camouflage the fact that, oh you know, I grew a human. Until I did grow and birth my precious son.


When I went shopping for a bikini I just wanted to wear whatever style I thought cute on the hanger, like I used to. But, I found myself trying on more than 14 different bikini bottoms simply discouraged of this new stomach that even once baby weight was gone, was still there. Most likely, this new belly isn’t going anywhere. I was hopeless, discouraged, and even angry at my body for not bouncing back.

“Cover it up, hide it. It’s time, I hit the moment that’s talked about… The moment I needed to accept the reality I’ll wear one piece suits from now on….” is what went through my mind. That was when I realized how damaging my mind set was. I felt I’d never look good enough again. My life dream of having a baby happened and now I felt inadequate in my appearance. I wanted hide the very evidence that I carried that child.

I am living my life dream, I’m a mom. My body is strong, capable, and beautiful. I worked my ass off to get back into shape and finally after 2 years post baby, I was at pre birth weight. Who cares if my stomach isn’t to an old ideal of “perfect”.

It’s perfect for this chapter in my life. It’s perfect to remind me of Life. The life that my body grew and nurtured for 9 months. My new body is perfectly imperfect, by my OLD expectations. But my new expectations are to love myself, be proud, and confident in this body for what it’s done and how it keeps up with an ever active toddler.

It’s perfect for this chapter in my life. It’s perfect to remind me of Life.


Perfectly beautiful is: confidently stepping on the beach, not just accepting my new body, but embracing it. Loving it because beauty isn’t defined by 6 pack abs, beauty is defined by the beholder. Proudly wearing my bikini to empower other women that YES, you too are anything but flawed from growing a human.


I want to say to those of you who feels less then perfect, like you’ll never obtain the prior pregnancy self: You are beautiful, your body ran the marathon of pregnancy. The last thing your body deserves is to be hidden, out of shame and self criticism. Instead, it should be worn victoriously. Carrying and birthing a baby is an extremely strenuous thing on a woman’s body. You mama, crossed the finish line in that extensive race.

You are beautiful, your body ran the marathon of pregnancy. The last thing your body deserves is to be hidden, out of shame and self criticism. Instead, it should be worn victoriously.


Let’s celebrate that victory with saying “bye-bye” to shame and buying a cute bikini to display this body who won that race! And when I see you, a fellow mama at the beach, I’ll smile a big smile as we pass. Because I honor you, and I join with you in loving our new bodies! I join you in displaying to our kids what beauty is all about.

And when I see you, a fellow mama at the beach, I’ll smile a big smile as we pass. Because I honor you, and I join with you in loving our new bodies! I join you in displaying to our kids what beauty is all about.


I had a great bikini body before, but now it’s a new kind of great bikini body. Our kids think we are the most beautiful women. Why can’t we see that and live that?


Don’t work out at the gym for that beach bikini body. Work out at the gym to be strong enough to run around for hours on the sand with your babies and kids. Most importantly, your worth isn’t in your body, or it’s strength. 


(Photo credits: Steven Brandt and Wilhelmi Studios) 

Run. Live. Let go. 

Running. I hated it growing up. I used to rejoice when my asthma dr would write a “sick note” to the school saying I couldn’t participate in the mile run required in gym. 

Not anymore. I’m addicted to running. The feeling. The reflection. The feeling of flying. 

Now running is my therapy. 


Running is me conquering the world. As Marilyn Monroe said,

Give a girl the right pair of shoes, and she can conquer the world.

-Marilyn Monroe  

Running is my reminder in life that if I face the doubt, I’ll crush it and soar. 

What if I fall? Oh but my darling, what if you fly?

-Erin Hansen

Runners high is the best medicine. The most amazing pick-me-up.


Running clears my mind and regrounds it on Truth.

Running is a reminder to always push my self a little harder then I think possible. 

…you are braver then you believe, you are stronger then you seem, and smarter then you think.

-Winnie The Pooh 

Running helps me reclaim my body and see it as strong, capable, and victorious. 

Running makes me fly, above all life’s worries and cares. 

Running reminds me to live in a forward direction, only lookin back to see how far I’ve come. 

Running challenges me to have grace on my body. 

Running ignites a fire of confidence.

Running reminds me to thank God, for my good health and endurance to run not just 6 miles, but the race of life.

Keep running the race that is set before you with endurance. 

-Hebrews 12:1 

Running is a physical reminder that training and conditioning the body and mind is essential in not just a race, but in every aspect of life. 

Everything is possible for one who believes. 

-Mark 9:23


So why do you run? What has running taught you? 

29 things I learned from my 20’s

1) I’m stronger then I thought. Often times resilient to things I thought would break me. 

2) Don’t just survive. Learn to thrive. In all things, and through even trials. 

3) “Impossible” is almost never an accurate statement. Never be afraid to fall. Because it’s likely I will soar. 

4) Trust my gut always. It never has been wrong. 

5) Dream big. Expect to crush the dreams and go beyond. 

6) Peoples oppinions of me are not what defines me, or my worth. Choosing  freedom over living life to please others, is life changing.

7) To know the difference between extending grace and enabling those I love. But always forgive fully. 

8) Put my own air mask on before assisting others. Putting my self first allows me to be at 100% full so I can give 100% of my self toward being the best friend, spouse, parent possible. 

9) Don’t be afraid of change. Change is often good. 

10) Joy is a state of mind. What I thought would bring me joy actually brought me pain. Yet where I never wanted to be in life, is where I am now, with the most joy I’ve ever had in my heart. 

11) The worst pain is a needle in the palm of the hand or sole of ones foot.  Get cute, fashionable shoes and wear them. protect  your feet from glass. It’s a win win then. 

12) Believing you can do something is half the battle. Once you believe you can you’ve done half the work. “She believed she could so she did.” 

13) Never say never. You just might change your mind one day. I sure did. 

14) Sleep is overrated. Between college and motherhood, I learned this well. 

15) Best mend to a broken heart: loving your self, knowing your eternal worth, and finding peace in the journey. 

16) Inadequacy, and doubt, only sneak in when one looks at others around them instead of focusing up word. 

17) Planning and looking ahead is important. But embracing the present is just as important. Each moment is a gift. Find contentment. 

18) Tough times don’t make you stronger. They just show you the strength you’ve always had, but never realized till you were forced to exercise it. 

19) Sometimes plan B is better then plan A. You just couldn’t see it till you were there in its light. Be open to life’s detours, it might lead you to an adventure of a life time. 

20) God is so real. More real then I ever knew. His thoughts are good for His children. He’s the constant source of life. My Strength. Redeemer. Provider. Healer. The Rock.

21) People are human. They will fail you. But that isn’t a reflection of you, or your worth.

22) Travel, it’s nectar to the soul. If you have the means, do it! Push your comfort level, explore, seize the oppertunity to experience new places. New cultures. It’s worth it every time. Find who you travel well with, and travel often. 

23) Save money. Plan ahead financially. Yet learn the right balance between saving, and treating your self with nice things from time to time.

24) Always choose love. Let love be the main driver of life. Tell actions driven by fear to get lost. 

25) Never give up on ever lasting love with a special someone. Tell your heart to always beat again. Dont let past hurt scare you from embracing love the next time. 

26) The power of a positive word. It has the ability to change you, and others the same. Always be kind and affirming with the words you speak to yourself, hot body. The positive impact of a compliment to a stranger can make someone’s day. Negotive words can kill a soul. Uplifting words speak life back into the soul though. 

27) Family extends beyond your blood. Build a village with friends who love you. Never be too prideful to seek help from that village. People are made for community. Allow others to be of help when you are in need.

28) Vulnrability and transparency are key components to a life of growth. Not just for your own growth. But for those who hear your story. Inspire others through your testimony. 

29) You have a voice. It’s not small. Use it. Be brave, stand up for truth. 

Father’s Day when you are a Single Mom. 

Someone asked me how will I celebrate Father’s Day. My response. “With my Dad. Him, my son and I are going hiking.” I knew what they meant though. They were not asking that. 

But truth be told. As a single mom. With her childs father across the country.  That has minimal contact…. how does one respond. I’ve thought about this a lot. Because the first two Father’s Days were tough. 

Let me be clear. I’m not bashing or taking down to fathers who live far away from their children. I know many fathers including my son’s, who love their children even through the miles. 

Father’s Day, can be mixed with emotions for single mothers. Disappointment, feeling lost with a lack of responses to questions, dreams washed away of watching kids celebrate as they sit in their Dads lap as he opens gifts… The sadness to know your kids won’t have that. 

As a single mom, life is fairly fast paced. Juggling being mom, breadwinner, care taker, and handling all errends and details in between. With lack of much sleep. So most days I forget it’s just my son and I. I forget we are lacking a 2nd parent in the home. But this day is different always. 

The reality is with the age of my son, and the little contact he has with his Father, its a confusing day for him to understand. He still doesn’t grasp what “Dad” means.

Being a single mom, I’ve been honored on this day by some. If you go by traditional gender rolls, sure, I play both Mom and Dad to keep our lives moving. But, I’m really just a Mom, working double time. I’m not a Father, I’ll never be a Dad. 

Regardless of the things I do for my son. The sports I play with him. The afternoon wrestling games. The sword fights. The specific designated talks I have with my son, that typically a father would have. The one women show when it comes to being a disciplinarian… But still, I’m not a Father. It’s important to note: A mother can do all those things too, just as well. 

Yet, the void, the lack of a daily present father is still felt. My son feels it, even though he’s never known anything different then it just being Mom at home with him. I feel it too, in being a single parent. The void is felt, especially on this holiday. So please, don’t wish me happy Father’s Day. I don’t feel like a Father, and I’m not a Father. 

I’m just a Mom raising her son. Doing whatever needs to be done. Doing whatever it takes to raise him to be an honorable, respectful man in society. One who loves others. Respects both his parents regardless of dynamics. But most of all, I’m raising him to know his worth. Who he is in Christ. His sonship to a Heavenly Father. 

So on this Father’s Day we will call his Dad, and honor him as we will say happy Father’s Day. Every father is important. Irreplaceable. A role a child looks up to, seeks affirmation and love from. 

Although dynamics in our story might be different then planned, it is one we learn to embrace. As a single mother who watches her son grow up with out the daily interaction with his Father, I find comfort that he knows he’s loved! 

Today on Father’s Day, we also celebrate the men who act as role models for my son. We thank God for His roll as a Heavenly Father that we look to for provision, and seek wisdom from, as we lavish in His great love. The love that is ever present in our lives. 

To those single Moms out there. Regardless of the dynamics. Regardless of the past hurt, pain, maybe bitterness felt especially on a day meant to honor fathers, encourage you to not forget this day. Single Moms, you do by traditional roles, often times play both parents. And holy cow it’s not easy, I know! Instead of focusing on the pain, focus on the way this day can be another day to bond with your child through go doing the other person who helped bring them into this world.  Because no matter how your child’s father plays a current role in their life… They played the biggest role in blessing you with that sweet life you hold on your arms. 

Even if you can’t watch your son/daughter embrace their Fathers love today. Even if can’t have that dream on this Holliday, know that their Heavenly Father is ever present, with an unending love. 

Father’s Day doesn’t have to look like Hallmark pictures. You are the author of how to best spend Father’s Day with your children. Make it a great one, don’t hide in your home waiting for it to pass. 

Firefly Jar Craft for Mom’s

Mom’s you all are really amazing and this is the most adorable craft for a kiddo to give their mom.

I had to give it a shot, since just by staring at the original toutirial by Michelle at craftymorning.com I was gushing already at the adorableness overload. She adds a bow on the jars for the perfect cutsie touch!

I hope you too, find it super adorable! Go be crafty and get your kids hands in some paint. Enjoy!

You will need:

  • Printer (if you don’t want to free hand draw the jar)*
  • Blue card stock paper (or printer paper of the thickness isn’t important to you)
  • Yellow washable paint
  • Scissors
  • Black Sharpie
image
Draw the outline of a mason jar and cut it out.
painted lightingbug jar
Use a sharpie to draw on the rim. Next paint a large oval near the bottom of the jar.
image
This is the fun part! Help your little out finger prints down to represent the lighting bugs glow. How cute his that! Important part is to let it FULLY dry.
image
Get your sharpie to draw the lighting bugs in each of the finger prints. Now, write whatever fun message in the oval.

*Sweetly Scrapped has free jar printable’s. 

Open Letter to My Mom

As Mother’s Day approaches, here’s a letter to my mom, and all the moms out there. A big thank you! For the impact they have had on us.

Dear mom,

I remember when I was 16 I sang the song “Wind Beneith My Wings” to you. Every word, is even more true today. You are my hero.

“Did you ever know that you’re my hero. And everything I would like to be? I can fly higher than an eagle. For you are the wind beneath my wings “

But here’s why.

Thank you for showing me what strength in a women looks like. Being real, raw and authentic in who you are. The trials you’ve gone through. The inner battles you’ve faced. You showed me a strong women is one who isn’t afraid to show moments of weakness. The importance of being vulnerable and the encouragement to others it is.

Thank you for demonstrating the importance of being a fighter. For your self, for your health, for your family, for your children. You showed me no fight worth fighting is ever too big! The ability to rise above. You showed me that even if winning the fight takes years, it just is that much sweeter when the victory arrives.

Thank you for showing me what drive looks like. To take initiative, go after what you want. The drive that keeps any set backs from stopping you. To see a wall as just another obstacle that requires a plan B, C, or D, but never means impossible.

Thank you for being a defender of the weak. Defender of the weary, and help those you can’t carry on. Thank you for showing me the blessing of helping and standing up for those who need it most.

Thank you for your dedication as a mom. Assuring you provided us with the best opportunities, experiences, education, and most of all you were dedicated to make sure we were nurtured and loved. Your dedication in doing all that took more mental strength, physical energy, and sacrifice in ways Im just beginin to grasp. You took your job as a mother seriously, and didn’t follow the trends with out doing research (the reason I research everything in my own life).

Your dedication was selfless, and I’m forever grateful for that.

Thank you for putting your self first. For showing me the importance of making sure I care for myself before I help others. I saw you prioritize time for your self, your hobbies, your passions, and your sanity (and lord knows I know you needed it raising me LOL). I grew up thinking it was normal, every mom took time to rejuvenate, to continue their hobbies, while still knowing how to prioritize kids. What I realized is very few people from that generation knew how to take time away to focus on growing who they were aside from motherhood. I’m so grateful that growing up I saw this demonstrated daily.

That brings me to this point. Thank you for showing me that motherhood doesn’t define a women and take away from who she is at her core. I saw you as mom, my mom. But I also saw you as a creative, passionate women, who loved many different hobbies, history, art, and had a passion for her home state of course! Motherhood was a part of you, of your calling, of your passions.

But you were not just a mother. To me, you were a incredible well rounded, educated women who continued to follow her passions along side being a mother.

Thank you for creating an environment of security where I could come to you with any questions I had. Thanks for always making time to answer the tough questions, and have the tough talks. For cultivating a place where I could feel safe, be vulnerable to disclose secrets, fears, joys, failures, successes, and dreams.

Thank you for knowing me better then I knew myself at times when I needed it most. For the times I tried to be strong but you could tell I was hurting. The time in college with mono symptoms and I told you I’d be fine. But you knew better. You dropped everything and drove up to be there for support, because, I did need you.

Thank you for all the many sacrifices you made. The countless sleepless nights. The vacations put on hold to instead take vacations us kids would enjoy. The financial sacrifice of quitting your business to school us kids full time at home. Countless hours you put in to volunteer at the Ice Rink so we could figure skate competitively. The weekends dedicated to drive us to those competitions. Financial sacrifice you made to allow us kids to pursue sports we took so much pride and joy in. The sacrifice of peaceful quiet home, because the world now probably knows raising me was not in anyway what would be called “quiet”. The sacrifice of sanity haha… Just kidding. But for real, thanks for all the emotions you poured into being a mom that empathized with us in trials, hurt, and in victories. For your time. Energy.

Thank you for believing in me. Being my cheer leader for me in times that just down right sucked. By believing in me, you instilled confidence. I believed in myself. My abilities. My dreams.

 Thanks for seeing my potential, for speaking truth to me that I could do anything I wanted to do.

Thank you for reminding me always to be true to my self. My convictions. My faith. To NOT be engulfed by the judgment of others. But to stand firm in being me.

Thank you for taking joy in motherhood and in me. The joy on your face when I reached a goal. The radiance your face displayed when I was young and couldn’t wait to show off a project I was proud of.

Thank you for demonstrating unconditional love for my father. Displaying love and respect for him as your husband. The dedication to and priority your marriage is. The manor in that you speek about him as your husband, our father in an honorable, uplifting way.

Thank you for demonstrating how to love, and what love looks like. Loving with out limits, with out discriminating, with out fear. Fully and selflessly. For showing me the importance of having love be the motivator to everything we do.

Thank you for the hugs. The kisses. The positive display of physical touch. The healing ability a hug has when the heart is weary. The tender touch of a mother of reassurance.

Thank you for extending grace to me, and others. Showing me what grace looks like. The importance of second chances. The gift of a fresh start, with out shame and guilt. The source of our Grace, the Jesus who gave everything for it.

Thank you for showing me forgiveness, the power of it. How holding on to others wrong doings is toxic and debilitating to one’s journey and relationships. For showing me how essential it is to ask for forgiveness, the humility to admit ones wrongs. The act of repentance. Making amends.

Thank you for holding me to a high standard when it came to manors, respect for others, and those in authority. For teaching me the importance of being respectful to others, even if I don’t agree with them.

Thank you for demonstrating a solid work ethic. The key to taking self initiative in a job, and in life. Being flexible. Accommodating. Teachable. and the importance of open communication.

Thank you so for teaching me life at times is just not fair. That being entitled isn’t an option in life.

Thank you for teaching me how to see life through a positive lens. The positives above the negatives in life circumstances; through trials that arise. Whether it be people or situations that are outside my control.

Thank you for providing me with the opportunities to travel different places as a child. Introducing me to different cultures, different experiences all over the US. Encouraging a love of travel, the desire for adventure. And of course how to navigate through any airport system. 🙂

Thank you for sharing your love of history, the beauty in different cultures from all different times. Thank you for introducing me to the beauty of music, the art of theater, the love of performing. I love that we share in these interests today.

Most of all, thank you for displaying the heart of Christ to me. The importance of having faith, a relationship with God.

As an adult, I’m thankful for our relationship. How it’s adapted, changed, and grown to what it is today. Thank you for your friendship. Sharing in both laughter and tears. For your encouragement. Words of affirmation. Still believing in me. The random sweet letters. Your continued unconditional love for me; but also now shown through unconditional love for my son, your grandson.

My goal. Desire. What I strive for. Is to be a mother like you. Who loves. Teaches. Equips. Guides. A steady presence of strength that holds a family together in love that conquers all things.

I love you, forever and always I’m proud to call you My Mom!

-Love from me! Your one and only oldest, strong willed, spirited, energetic daughter
(Image by: Steven Brandt)

Gyros from scratch

My love for gyros has been going on ever since my dear friend out east introduced me to this amazing home town Greek restaurant. Forever changed.

Recently I decided to try my hand at making my own gyro meat. I tried a few different recipes and all either came out crumbly or lacked flavor. I found this one by Alton Brown on the footnetwork.com! Let’s be real. Can’t go wrong with trying one of his!

I did want a bit more flavoring, so continued trying other herb combinations. I came across Rebecca’s recipe on foodiewithfamily.com. She had some great extra steps to get the flavor to pop. My heart was pretty darn happy after trying it! I decided to adapted it to the portion size of Alton Brown’s.

After tweaking both of them I came to the perfect combination! Big thanks to Alton who’s featured on foodnetwork often and Rebecca from foodiewithfamily.com for inspiring this recipie.

So here it is… My final results on making home-made gyro meat!

Ingredients: 

1 pound ground lamb

1 pound ground grass fed beef

1/2 medium yellow onion

1 tablespoon finally minced fresh garlic

1 tablespoon dried marjoram

1 tablespoon dried ground rosemary

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoon oregano


Food prep:

I use 1lb of lamb and 1lb of grass fed beef. 1lb of Lamb can be found for around $10 at the higher end local grochery stores. Lamb is very good healthy meat choice for your body. In addition,

Lamb meat is more likely then not to be treated better then port, beef, or chicken. Because sheep typically are raised in more humane environments then other animals. They are less likely to be raised in confined factory farming conditions.

Add the ground lamb and ground beef to a big bowl. And set aside. It’s important for the meats consistency to keep the meat as chilled as possible till it hits the oven. If you are thawing the meat, keep this in mind.

Chop up the onion. Now transfer to a food processor. Pulse the chopped onion till it’s finally chopped. About 15 seconds. Remove the onion from the food processor onto the center of a clean towel. Gather the ends of the towel to ring out all the extra juices left in the onion. Toss the juice. This step is essential in insuring there is not too much moister in the gyro meat, resulting in it crumbling. Add the onion to the bowl with the meat.

I like it to be full of flavor! So if you’re like me and don’t like bland meat, this will not disappoint! Add in the salt, garlic, and all other herbs to the bowl with the meat mixture.

Useing a wooden spoon, mix it all together.

If time allows, at this stage it’s benificial to put the meat mixture in the fridge for a few hours, or over night.  This allows the salt to soak into the meat, playing a big roll in the proper texture. Also during cooking, it’s this step that helps the meat to hold in the liquid juices that are full of flavor. If you need to skip this step, no worries, you’ll still have enjoyable gyro meat.

Place the meat mixture into the food processor for about 1 minute. You want the texture to feel tacky like a fine paste. It will look similar to this…

Cooking instructions:

Preheat oven to 325F. Start boiling a medium pot of water on the stove. This will be used for the water bath later.

Place the meat mixture into a meatloaf/loaf pan. I use my grandma’s glass Pyrex dish that inherited. You know, the ones that were brown and incomparable to the ones made today! Man I love it!

Firmly pack the mixture in the pan to avoid any air pockets in the meat. This is where using a glass loaf pan comes in handy. If it’s not firmly packed down you’ll end up with crumbly meat.

Now to prepare the water bath. To do this I used the large glass Pyrex roasting pan. Line the bottom and sides with a towel. Then place the loaf pan in the roasting pan.

Place uncovered in preheated oven on the middle rack. Carefully fill with the boiling water till it reaches 2/3 of the way up the meatloaf pan. Check to make sure this water stays at this level while cooking. I keep boiling water ready to add part way through.

Cook between 60-70 minutes. Or until meat tempatures reads at 165F degrees and meat is no longer pink.

Remove from oven. Carefully take the loaf pan from the roasting pan, and pour out any extra juices. Place the loaf pan on a wired cooling rack.

Take a foil wrapped brick, lay it directly on the meat. This step helps to compress the meat. Leave it there for around 30 minutes, give or take. Remove the brick. *This step can be optional if you don’t have a brick.* However, even if you skip the brick, still let the pan cool on wire rack enough before the next step.

Now that it’s not piping hot. Cover loaf pan with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge to fully cool for the easiest slicing. Or if it’s winter you can speed it up by placing the covered loaf pan outside for about 30 minutes.

Once fully cooled, remove the gyro loaf onto a cutting board and thinly slice.  Add to a warm pita with Taziki sauce, avacado, lettuce, tomato, onion and feta cheese. Enjoy!!!

*update* I do pan fry the individual slices to get the crispy outer texture. I fry them up using the juices or olive oil.


To the Tired Toddler Mama

Dear sweet Mama’s of those tiny toddler humans,

You’re worn. You’re drained. Your heart strings are so pulled and stretched out. Beaten down with discouragement. Feeling like the light at the end of the toddler stage is just too far away. Defeated. Sleepy beyond the Zombie stage. Maybe just plain clueless at what you should try next. Concerned you’re failing.

I understand. I’ve been there. At some point on those tough days we all have a little moment of “I just don’t know what to do.” Then the questioning our selves might try to seep in.

Let me tell you though dear tired Mama. You are enough!

Right now, in this moment, in this challenge of raising that tiny human, you are ENOUGH! You are strong. Resilient. Beautiful. Equipped. Talented. Loving. Capable. An Overcomer. Tough. Amazing.

Right now in this moment, in this challenge of raising a tiny human, you are ENOUGH!

 You were designed with a love that loves deeply, unconditionally even through the loud yells of “no” as they refuse to nap on a day you needed it just as much as they did after the rough morning. You were designed by Love for love. You are a Mother!

Through out history, women have been shown to be strong!  The ones to hold a home together when chaos surrounds and seems to engulf it. You’re amazing just like those many women who have gone before you.

Being a mother is tough. No secret there. But you are tougher. Everything you need for this moment, you have with in you. Be brave mama. Be brave, reach down deep for that last bit of energy. It’s there.

Use your village. Don’t isolate your self during those movements of what seem like pure survival mode. And reach out for that village of friends, and fellow mamas, the novice mamas.

Have grace. Not just on the little tiny rambunctious humans running around at your feet. Have grace on the situation. Most of all though, have grace on your self! You’re a super women, but a human one.

Most of all though, have grace on your self!

 Breath. Time is fleeting. Fast. Might seem like it’s dragging on… Never ending. But this time all too soon will be a tiny speck in the rear view mirror of motherhood. Breathe.

Embrace the challenge. Embrace the opportunity for growth. Embrace the time of extra sweet snuggles even on the day that your list was longer then time allowed for. Even on those days your overstimulated and just don’t want ANYONE touching you. Embrace the tiny moments of calm. They might be tiny. But embrace the oasis.

Be confident because you are capable. You will be victorious over yet another chapter in raising that tiny human that was designed just for you to raise, guide and love! Again, you are love dear mama, made from Love!

Thrive! You can thrive during these sleepless nights, runny noses from endless winter sickness, testy tiny human who is just reaching for affirmation in every way in everything, the little who’s not eating anything besides grapes just because. Don’t just think you have to learn to survive in these trials. Learn to thrive in them!

You’re worth is so powerful in those moments. Your value in the little ones eyes is that you are a hero to them… Wait till the tantrum stops, even after they were so angry they still see you as a hero. Even after you broke their heart saying it was time to leave the zoo, they still think you are lots of fun. Even on the days that you just couldn’t get that make up all on, only had 3 minutes to spare since your day started on yesterday’s list of things to do, they still think you are the most beautiful mama. Thrive. Thrive in that worth, the value that not just you were created by Love and loved by Him, but that your tiny humans love you, probably more then anything else. Regardless of the tough week(s), your the best mama in their eyes. You are all they need in that moment. Thrive knowing that! And if they could express just that in their tiny yet loud vocabulary, I know they would.

Those tiny humans would say. ..

Thank you mama! You’re doing great! I wish I could understand what all was going on during these times of growth in my mind and body. But  even though you don’t understand either, you are always there. Thanks for always being there, because I need you, a lot right now.  Thanks for always giving me everything you have to give and more. I believe in you.  I love you, and that super hero cape! I want one just like it one day, to be just like you!

– Your tired, energetic, maybe cranky, confused, growing, smart, born for greatness Tiny Toddler Human

 (Image by: Steven Brandt)