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How to enjoy a Gluten Free Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is celebrated by sitting around the family table with your extended family eating a huge, calorie laden dinner. It’s easy to eat until you’re bloated and too full/ tired to function but it’s a huge pain when you’re on a gluten free or any other restricted diet and need to avoid getting sick. You see the sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie and stuffing and already know you can’t eat those but what are your alternatives? Are there any other foods to watch out for?

Main Dish

The turkey (or ham) is the default with Thanksgiving. Make sure the seasoning is safe. If they use anything other than normal herbs and spices, it could have hidden gluten and not be safe. The gravy is another big no- unless you make it specifically yourself, you cannot be sure what it’s thickened with and it’s best to avoid.

The best ways to be safe are to make sure your turkey has no skin and no topping but spices. Keep away from gravy, or take some broth before it’s made into gravy and add your own ingredients to thicken it.

Sides

Stay away from stuffing, unless you get a gluten free bread or stuffing mix and make it your own. Stuffing is bread, so it’s obvious that it will not be safe traditionally.

Stick with normal veggies. You can ask about the ingredients in the sweet potato pie and there is a decent chance it’s safe, but is it worth the risk? To know you’re safe, stick with green beans, spinach or any other side that contains no additives. If that sweet potato pie only contains sweet potatoes, brown sugar, marshmallows and a few other items they can easily list (or show you) it’s safe. (Yes, sweet potato pie is my favorite dish)

Stuffing- gluten free version

Stuffing isn’t hard- take your favorite gluten free bread and tear it up, add it to broth (or gluten free gravy) and let it soak, then toss it with the celery, onions and anything else you use and wrap it in aluminum foil and bake it the way you normally bake your stuffing.

They also have gluten free stuffing mixes for people who don’t cook it totally from scratch- located in the gluten free section of the local grocer.

Hot Rolls

Rolls are another obvious issue- they are nothing but flour but there are gluten free options out there, more than other subs. You can find frozen gluten free rolls, normal rolls in the bread aisle and there are countless recipes out there for gluten free rolls, so you have many options. My personal favorite is to take a normal hot roll recipe and convert it- they taste almost the same and are a tried and true recipe.

Deserts

Pumpkin Pie

I think it’s safe to assume, the pumpkin pie is one of most peoples’ favorites. The pumpkin itself is fine- pumpkin, milk (or milk sub), cinnamon/ginger/nutmeg/whatever other spices you use, sugar, eggs- all of that is gluten free. You can bake it all in a pan to make a pumpkin pie pudding type of dish or you can head to the local Kroger (it’s the only store around here that sells them) and pick up an extra gluten free frozen pie shell. (Wholly Wholesome makes a really good crust- but pay attention to the label because some of their crusts are whole grain- meaning wheat and they are usually together in the frozen coolers).

Pecan Pie

There are plenty of recipes out there to make gluten free pecan pie and I’m not sure, besides the crust how much needs to be avoided.

Use your other Wholly Wholesome pie shell and find one of the many pecan pie recipes and test it out

 

It may be a bit more time consuming on your end and you may end up offending family members by your “diet choices” but it is very possible to be included in the big family Thanksgiving meal while staying safe and not getting sick.

If this is your first year, it will be more challenging but just remember- your body won’t care if your aunt was offended by you not wolfing down her rolls. Your body won’t care that you had a moment of weakness and took a few bites of that pie or stuffing- your body will mind that you just put an ingredient in it that it cannot tolerate and your comfort is more important than someone’s feelings. If it’s store bought, always look for the gluten free label and if you’re in doubt, keep away.

 

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This past week has been crazy

Since leaving my job, I have been working on my Nano project- which turned into a short story I will be putting out somehow when I get it finished and a novel I am wanting to self publish when I get it finished. I have decided that, instead of trying the traditional route, I’m going to go ahead and self publish. I’m still looking into the different platforms but I still have time.

On top of that, I’m trying to prepare Bethcessories for the holidays- including my first print advertisement for local business. My word count for Nano is suffering, but my businesses are picking up right now. I guess you always have to sacrifice one thing for another. In the very near future, I’m going to be working more on my DIYmommy page, I’m trying to come up with a good domain for it since DIY mommy is taken. I want this to be different from this website but I’m not sure what to name it.

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What’s your passion?

“What’s your passion?” It’s a phrase asked by a lot of different counselors and coaches but how many people truly know what their real passion is? What exactly does passion mean? Does everyone have at least something they’re truly passionate about and can you have more than one if it’s truly a passion?

I read a status a friend posted recently and it had me thinking about the subject. My husband was really obsessed with computers when we met- until taking a class and burning out. He has also been into cars as long as I knew him. The difference was that he took a course in mechanics and is now working on cars professionally as well as for friends and family on the side and our cars and still far from burned out. He’ll swear up and down it’s not, but he is passionate about cars. He talks nonstop about cars. loves car shows and cars are his life. I always envied that. I have had friends who grew up super obsessed with stuff and now they are living it. The hobbies are now in their careers and those hobbies are enmeshed in their lives.

A passion is more than an interest, you can easily burn out from doing something you’re interested in too much. You can burn out or find out you’re not as interested in something like you first thought. If you’re passionate about something, truly passionate, you will never burn out. You could spend your whole life doing it and do it 20 hours a day and you’ll still want to do it. It could be a mechanic who goes home to work on his own car or play video games where he fixes cars or the make up artist who spends their free time studying make up techniques and practicing 24/7. It could be music, sports, dancing, a hobby that isn’t a career but you want it to be a career or you could be lucky and have it as your career.

Passion gives you motivation to get through the day, to wake up and get to work. You will never get tired of it like you do everything else and if you do manage to make it into a career, you will never work a day in your life. Passion is what it takes to truly succeed, you just have to find it. Everyone has the ability to find their passion, some have more than one but most haven’t fully realized it.

To find it, just look at every job you have held, everything you have burned out on and everything you love doing. You will likely find one thing you dream of doing and one thing you’re able to see yourself doing for years to come without it getting old.

After years of looking, I finally found mine- what’s yours? Can you pinpoint what your true passion is?

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I’m Opening Shop On Here

Bethcessories is now opening on this site

From now until the 12th, on purchases over 15.00 get 5.00 off with coupon code Grandopening5

I’ve been selling on Etsy and in person a few years now, I’m bringing it to this site.

Get your stocking stuffer wax melts and candles, decorative Christmas pillows, napkins and gift bags (will be listed this weekend) along with a body pillow for kids or adults, pillow cases, stockings or gift wrap packages.

It’s your one stop shop for candles, melts, gifts and decor

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Frozen Perfectionist

I am what is known as a “frozen perfectionist.” I was diagnosed with OCD as an adult, after discussing my childhood with a therapist after losing a child (the symptoms got too bad to ignore). I finally found out why I obsess over nearly everything but some of the symptoms didn’t add up. I started researching self help and found the term frozen perfectionist- when a perfectionist gets so afraid of failure, they can’t move forward. When I found that, it summed where I was in life. I wanted to go back to school, was too afraid of what could happen. I had a rough draft of a novel- I was too afraid to go any further. I had tons of dreams but I was so afraid of failing, I was stuck working in a dead end job afraid of going after anything better.

The book that changed me was “Stop Self Sabotage.” It made me stop and really start looking at my own issues. When I was 18 and a college freshman, I had confidence. I knew I had my life in front of me and since I was out of my parents’ rule, I had freedom. I messed up and starting skipping classes. That led to me being put out on academic suspension and I was talked into dropping out instead of going back the next semester. That summer, I started dating an old friend from high school who literally beat the confidence out of me. It took me two years to get away from him but in that time, I was shattered. I wasn’t “allowed” to open the business I wanted to open (even though my plan impressed the woman at the SBA so much I would have gotten the loan immediately). I wasn’t “allowed” to go back to school- if he was unable to graduate, I wouldn’t be able to either- he was “insanely intelligent” and I wasn’t- so if he couldn’t do it, I couldn’t. I dealt with tear downs along with those subtle insults for 2 years until I finally got him to kick me out of the house (after he cheated) and took advantage to finally break up with him fully. By that time, I was 21 and a wreck. It compounded on my own perfectionist traits.

What exactly is “Frozen Perfectionism?”

A frozen perfectionist is someone born with the perfectionist traits who goes untreated for too long and finds themselves frozen in fear- fear of failing and fear of moving forward for whatever reason. It could be considered a side effect of OCD/OCD perfectionism. This has become a nonresearched opinion due to not finding my original sources. The term that is now coming up is perfection paralysis- but it’s the same concept.

What is OCD Perfectionism?

OCD and perfectionism do not always go hand in hand BUT they do in a lot of cases. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is not the quirk of needing everything organized or being really neat. That is a quirk, OCD is an Anxiety Disorder that causes random and truly meaningless (and often totally out there) thoughts- they become obsessions then that leads to a most of the time unrelated compulsion to do something and that will “prevent” the obsession from happening. (As in- fear of your child dying, it becomes a near- phobic obsession that you cannot shake. In order to prevent your child from dying, your anxiety tells you you have to count every step you take. Counting quickly eases the anxiety but now you’re stuck in the trap of having to count every single step you take at all times- otherwise your child will die.

That is the reality of OCD- it’s not a funny little joke, it’s a really severe Anxiety disorder that needs treatment (NOT medication)

Perfectionism also involves a lot of anxiety. It’s an obsession with everything being perfect. It’s the obsessive need to be the best- at everything and anything that does not come naturally is to be given up.

The kid sitting in the front of the class who studies all the time, finishes his test earlier than the rest of the class and still gets straight As is likely not a perfectionist. The kid in the back who writes a few words, erases, writes a tiny bit more and frantically tries to make his writing absolutely perfect while failing tests due to incomplete responses is more likely to be a perfectionist.

Perfectionism can go far enough to be an actual mental disorder- when the desire becomes obsession and anxiety takes over with every failure. That’s where perfectionist paralysis comes in. It’s when the fear of failing is so strong, you freeze in order to protect yourself. You’re unable to complete projects (like my novel) because you’re so afraid of failing, you get stuck.

 

How I am Trying to Battle OCD Perfectionism Without Professional Help

I was diagnosed at 26, after losing a baby. My OCD had got so bad, I was afraid of carrying my living child up or down the stairs. I started grief therapy to handle losing Cassie and started talking to her about my childhood. After mentioning some quirks I have held my whole life, she told me Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I started studying deeper into it and found it to describe my whole life.

She also told me to run from anyone who tried to medicate me because it needs treatment but not medication. She also gave me the advice that helped me more than anything else-

When your brain is stressing- ask yourself, is this a worry a “normal” person would feel or is it the OCD/Anxiety?

I started reading self help books about OCD and ran across Stop Self Sabotage. I ignored the advice that you need to be under a professional’s care to do exposure therapy, and so far, I’ve kicked a phobia of driving and am working on the fear I have of failing. I started cold pitching to different sites and magazines and in a few cases, I have even pitched and applied to places I knew would reject me so I could start to get used to being rejected before my book is ready to be published.

I also have started asking trusted sources if a thought is normal or I try to put myself in a normal person’s shoes.

Those have been helping me personally and I’m going longer and longer periods of time without the OCD acting up. I have read OCD is one mental illness that can totally clear up on it’s own, so I’m hoping with time I can fully kick it for good.

My Tips For Dealing With OCD On Your Own

  1. Step back and think- when you have an obsessive thought, try to determine if it’s a legitimate thought or if it’s anxiety
  2. Remember, above all, OCD is an ANXIETY disorder
  3. The compulsions are NOT going to help- when you learn your obsessions, identify them and avoid the compulsions. They ease anxiety, BUT it hurts your recovery.
  4. The best way to recover from OCD is to avoid compulsions and ride out the anxiety. Once you see that the bad won’t happen, it slowly eats away at the obsession until there is nothing left.
  5. It’s hard, and you may need a therapist but riding out the anxiety (through exposure therapy) is the best way to recover

Look at Perfectionism as a form of OCD- it’s an obsessive need to be perfect. Slowly expose yourself to failing and being seen as imperfect. Me blogging is part of my self therapy. Not being seen as perfect helps as exposure therapy and over time, perfectionism can be overcome.

*Side note- I started this post months ago and have been working on adding to it and finalizing it but since then, I lost all sources I found that mentioned “frozen perfectionist” so I can’t link to a proper definition. I believe the term that keeps popping up now is “Perfection Paralysis“*

Also- with any anxiety or mental health problem, you do need to have a diagnosis to deal with things like Obsessive Compulsive. Perfectionism is not a mental disorder in and of itself, but it can turn into one.

 

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Day 3 and I’m crushing my wordcount

I’m 3 days in, 2 of those have been long work days and day 1 my minimonster was as crazy as she could be- so I had to mop the craft room and then kitchen and couldn’t get much typing done until they went to bed.

I’m past the 5000 mark, about to hit 6 and as of Friday, I’ll be unemployed for a spell, so I’ll crush this challenge.

I have decided on 2 different projects- 1 was a short story then I decided on a full novel I’m working on now. The fantasy is almost done but I’m moving that to the side.

The longer one, i definitely want to publish when I finish, but just a few thousand words in and I’m already jealous of my main character.

I really do need to quit this only writing in November thing- I need to keep myself in the habit of writing daily and actually finish these rough drafts I have been procrastinating on.

If my blog isn’t as active- it’s because of my shop plus Nano, holiday prep and more than likely whatever job I end up working next.

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Looking back through my life I am learning

I just left my second longest job.

2 1/2 years and I left.

I enjoyed working there and I’ll miss my coworkers, but I needed to move on.

As I’ve been applying for jobs and working on leaving my comfort zone, I have had some job apps asking for my full employment history. It had me going through and recounting and made me realize something. I have burned out on nearly everything but two stay in my mind.

Skincare and writing. My first job was in high school. It was my longest running job and only ended because I went to college. It gave me a firm love of writing articles. I loved pitching, researching, interviewing and writing. I loved taking the pictures for the articles and attending the meetings. I loved everything about it.

Back in 2011, I was looking at a website devoted to 30 day challenges where I ran across NANOWRIMO which quickly became my favorite month. It gave me a fierce obsession with writing and as soon as I finished the rough draft of my first, inspiration quickly hit me and I started a new draft. Then another.

The first was my first win and so far, only, but I have planned and started yearly since. This year will be my 7th year doing it and will be my second win. I have a finished rough draft of a short story from a few years ago and am planning the next several in the series. Once I get all 7 finished, I’m planning on publishing the full short story series and releasing it.

I read a lot about finding and following your passion and finally realized I found mine a long time ago. I’m a big advocate of following your passion, I guess now is a better time than never for me to listen to myself.

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Right now until the end of this month

40% off all readings at

https://www.etsy.com/shop/newagedreamchick

Also- free tarot for any astrological reading (equal or lesser value- message me in the store for the free reading)

And use coupon code FREESHIPHOLIDAY

At https://www.etsy.com/shop/bethcessoriesdesign

For free shipping

Both end at the end of this month

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How to Raise A Life Long Learner

Fostering a strong love of reading and learning starts before you even give birth. It’s known that baby can hear you talk before they’re even born, so reading to them while you’re still pregnant gives them the comfort of hearing your voice and their first stories. As children reach toddlerhood, it will get more challenging. As a baby, you’re able to sit them down on your lap and read full books. When they get older, they start to flip pages and yank the book out of your hand. It’s important to continue reading to them

From day one, babies are fascinated by life in general. Everything they see is brand new. It may seem mundane to us, since we see those objects all the time, but to an infant, it’s all brand new and needs to be explored. From the youngest age, infants start exploring by putting objects in their mouths. As they get older, the way they learn changes and as they learn to talk they will start asking questions about everything. The best way to encourage them to learn is to answer their questions, encourage exploration, take them out to show them different things and find fun ways to teach them about every day life. Silly songs, fun games, nursery rhymes and even good educational TV shows are all good ways to get your child interested. As they get older, there will be topics they are more interested in than others- make sure to take notice and gently push them towards gaining as much knowledge as they can on those 1-2 subjects. At a very young age, their brains are sponges. It’s the best time to teach them second (and even third) languages. Teach them multiple languages for basic words. Learning is great and it goes further than a classroom. Take young nature lovers on hikes, trails, to the park and to local landmarks. Take them on tours of various caves, caverns and other “field trips.” Make sure they know that life is an adventure, it’s a constant learning experience.

No matter how crazy an interest seems to you, or how mundane, build it up. If they are interested in the strange, paranormal or mystical help them make a collage to show different mythical beasts. There are books about cryptozoology creatures (some of whom have been proven to have actually existed). Take them on a hike through the woods. Take pictures of some of the bugs, reptiles, animals and plants- then go home and print the pictures. Look up any you don’t recognize and create a collage or a small book and have older kids write the names and descriptions. You could even let your child make a presentation on the solar system if they’re interested in space. Remember, the skies the limit with what they can do and the more you encourage, the more interest they will build with exploring and the more they can start to think creatively.

 

I have spent the last 30 years fascinated by life. If I could, I would happily live in school. I love everything about it. From the time I was four, I started reading. By first grade, I was reading at an advanced reading level and was reading everything I could get my hands on. I was that child getting in trouble for reading during class and reading ahead of the class. My friends and I did more than play “house.” We played ghost hunters, we set “traps” to catch evidence of animals (I remember setting up some string, dirt and a carrot to “catch” a rabbit), we played investigators- there was never a dull moment when my friends and I got together. Even now, I write all the time. As a child, I had a huge folder filled with poetry and now I have a whole virtual folder with fantasy drafts. My mom fostered a true love of learning in me and I developed the creative side of my brain naturally. I see it in both my kids now. My seven year old loves reading, books and nature. My two year old is already a story teller with a very strong imagination. We take them to the library weekly- last year, my seven year old won a giant stuffed Macie Mouse with a book.

Tips to Instill a Constant Love of Learning and Natural Curiosity

  • By far, the worst thing you can do is silence your child. By silencing your child when they ask (what may seem like endless) questions, you are teaching them to blindly accept and not look further. You need to be able to explain to best of your knowledge (and to their developmental ability).
  • If you don’t know, give them the resources to look the answer up themselves. If they ask you “why” and you don’t know why, look it up with them. Don’t just dismiss their questioning.
  • Make sure they have an endless supply of books- all different topics to read at any point and never get mad at them for wanting to read. If you don’t have the budget to buy every book, take them to the library regularly and let them research all interesting topics on Google.
  • Begin very early by reading daily to your child- even when your toddler grabs the book out of your hand, try to finish by making up the rest of the story.
  • Take them out on nature hikes, through the woods, to playgrounds and parks and just out in the back yard
  • Take up small hobbies to teach them about the world around them- making up little stories or songs, photography, even researching can be a fulfilling hobby.
  • Teach them to craft- there are sewing machines made specifically for children, teach them to knit or crochet, make jewelry, teach them to cook or bake then help them make up their own recipes- there are tons of options to inspire creativity and the more they find enjoyable, the more they will love to learn.
  • In good weather, take lots of pictures then look up everything you took pictures of and read as much as you can about everything.
  • The best way to teach them, is by example. Let them see you studying, researching, writing or doing other hobbies or crafts. Let them help you in the kitchen. Show them how much fun learning and creating is.
  • Start them young by reading and singing to them daily and as they get older, have them join in and have them to read to you or make games out of making up the silliest song.
  • Make sure they go to school on time and have all the supplies they need. Even though school is only one way of learning, it is still vital- they are there most of the day during the school year.

Teenagers are a bit trickier. They are often pushed for perfection- perfect grades, athletic abilities or test scores. By high school, school starts to feel like work. The best way you can keep encouraging is by not putting a lot of pressure on them for perfect grades. If their test scores aren’t 100s, don’t stress them same with athletics- if they don’t make the winning shot for their team, don’t get mad. Remember, life is a teaching experience. They are most likely on a sports team because they love the sport, in musical theater because they love performing- not because they are trying to be perfect and seeking perfection is the number one way to burn out.

What Can I Do Today?

One of the first things you can do, is turn off all electronics for a set time daily and go out and play. Even your own electronics- go and play pretend with your toddler, go on a hike with your elementary aged child. Collect costumes and create a costume closet so when your kids play pretend, they can ake believe in costume as well. It doesn’t matter how small or how big it is, get out and start encouraging your child. Show them new ways of doing things (if you can’t think of anything, research it first).

 

Sit down tonight and write your kids’ names out. Under their names, write what they’re good at, their strengths and weaknesses and what their interests are. Then look at all the interests and list five different ways to encourage those interests, build up the strengths and either strengthen or hide the weaknesses. After you have those figured out, start introducing those to your kids in fun ways. Above all, remember to make learning an adventure and life fun.

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Physical Attraction Vs Attraction (part 1 of the series)

I was reading an article saying that no one wants to admit to being unattractive so that makes it harder to fight bias.

Conventional attractiveness has different definitions in different countries and cultures, but not everyone can fit that definition. If people can’t all fit, that means there is a group of people out there who are not attractive. There are also people who don’t care about attractiveness so they have no issues with saying they aren’t attractive- but when someone says that aloud, they get jumped on and corrected.

If you had to choose between intelligence or attractiveness- which would you choose? Same with attractiveness and personality?

They aren’t exclusive- you can easily be all three, but how important is being conventionally attractive in the grand scheme of things? If you’re a model or a related career, it will matter- but it will be short lived since they always want young. After that, how are you going to use your looks? Are you going to spend millions on surgery to upkeep? Would you need to spend millions in order to continue being attractive to your partner?

Most people age- and with aging comes losing that attractiveness so if your only focus is on your appearance, it will do you no good. Most people who grow up less than attractive have to make it up in other areas- intelligence, personality, sense of humor. I am not saying you cannot have a great personality and be attractive, but over compensating does make those traits stand out more.

I did an informal survey of my friends on Facebook and overwhelmingly, personality and intelligence beat physical attraction (intelligence was 100% and personality was all but 1)

Is attractiveness purely physical?

When the attraction stops at physical, it gets boring. If you have no common interests, they have no interests or redeeming personality traits- the attraction will wane. It’s said we are attracted to more than physical- confidence, personality and holding interesting conversations are all parts of why we are attracted to who we are. There are also biological () that attract us to certain people we are biologically compatible with- for primal reproductive reasons. It’s similar to why wide hips and larger breasts are seen as attractive- the breasts nourish newborn babies and hips are an indication of reproductive abilities/fertility and health. Men are naturally born to be protectors and women are drawn to more fit men (biologically) because they are seen as able to protect. Of course, there are men who are skinnier and women who are not built in the biologically attractive way and they still find love. It may be that since we no longer need to produce offspring like we used to, those tendencies are starting to evolve and we aren’t following those instincts any more (plus, we can reason much more than animals) (the evolving thing is MY theory, not a fact I read anywhere)

Is “Conventional Attractiveness” truly ideal?

Conventional is pretty much different in all cultures- in the US culture it’s seen as tanned, blonde, long legs, skinny and tall- think nearly any model but what about people of other races? They can dye their hair blonde, but some seem to hold fat in different places. I was reading about how it’s unfair to other races to use those standards- and it’s not but it’s also pointless. Those standards may or may not even be wanted when it comes to long term relationships. Most models aren’t naturally like that, that’s why they look so sick. I was studying up on the fashion industry and they said they don’t even choose attractive models because models are walking hangers- they want the model to be plain so the clothes stand out. The models themselves follow strict workout routines as well as different methods of starvation (including the cotton ball diet- one of the more disturbing trends) but the sizes they are are hardly healthy.

The hourglass shape tends to be the most wanted- slim waist, curvy hips and breasts and smaller stomach. There is also a method that was developed that rates attractiveness of the face by symmetry.

There may be theories to the science behind what makes people attractive physically, but there will always be personal preference and chemistry in other ways- it’s all subjective.

 

This is only number 1 in my attraction mini-series. I’ll be posting more