Thursday, February 26, 2015

Homemade Granola Bar Recipe

We all love granola bars in this house. Soft, chewy, flavorful granola bars. Buying boxes of them at the store really adds up and I felt like we were always out of them. I wanted to find a healthy recipe that had all clean ingredients, but all the ones I found had lots of butter. So I decided to make my own. And they turned out so well! I thought I would share.


1/4 C Applesauce
1/4 C greek yogurt
1 C quick oats
2 T honey
2 T maple syrup
1/2 C dried fruit (cherries, blueberries, cranberries)
1/2 C mixture of pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and slivered almonds


Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Heat applesauce, greek yogurt, honey, and maple syrup in saucepan over medium heat. Then add in remaining ingredients and mix together. Press mixture into an 8 x 8 pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 30 minutes. 

Let cool completely and cut into squares. Enjoy!

1 comment
Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Death as an Atheist

It's scary writing about topics that you know your audience won't agree with, or worse, ones they will judge you for. But sometimes blogging isn't all about what your audience wants to read, sometimes you have to write for the sake of yourself. So people can get to know you in a transparent way. What your fears are, what sets you apart from the "norm", what sometimes makes you feel alone and vulnerable. 

I think everyone can agree that the saddest thing on this earth is loss. People all handle grieving in different ways; experiencing different stages at different times for different amounts of time: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. I've experienced these emotions with the death of my grandparents. No matter how old a person is that passes, you will still feel a little bit of denial that they are gone. No matter what caused this death, you will still be angry at it no matter how logical or illogical it may be. There will always be the "what if..." or feelings of regret, wishing we could turn back time and change something that could prevent these turn of events or change their last memory with you. Depression is just...inevitable. And then there's the acceptance, which is the end goal right?

But knowing there are stages of grief and knowing that everyone goes through them doesn't help anyone. We just want the blueprint on how to get to acceptance. It's like getting medically diagnosed with something and the doctor just tells you that "it will eventually pass". But what if it takes you 10 years? Or what if you are stuck at just one stage for 10 years?

Religious people who believe in a higher power have the comforting thought of believing their loved one is in a better place, they're not "dead forever", just "dead from earth". And I know how this feels because I grew up with this. I grew up thinking every person I knew who died went on to an aura of white up above the clouds. I realize now that I'm atheist that this was a wonderful coping mechanism in order to get to the acceptance stage. Now, when someone I know dies, I know that I will never see them again. Ever. I am not gonna be meeting them up in the sky when it's my turn to die. They aren't going to be waiting at the golden gates with their arms wide open wanting to catch up on the years they missed out. They are in the ground, gone forever. 

This isn't a cry for help. I don't need anyone to try and "help me see the light". That's not how it works anyway, it's not a choice. Because I think it'd be pretty cool if there was a magic man up in the clouds. Religion, or lack thereof, is a sacred, personal belief that I choose to not be vocal about, and would rather people not be vocal at me about it either. So whoever thinks that I choose to be atheist just for fun and can be just swayed back to the other side can stop reading now. 

“How does a person offer condolences to an atheist?”

Believers will try and offer religious sentiments, like that the person is "with God now" or "it was God's plan", but this just adds salt to the wound. Atheists don't believe either of those things, and certainly a tragic death is not "God's plan". It is a part of life, and often times an accident. We don't believe someone is up in the sky striking death upon someone because their "life blueprint" says so. To me, these words feel like the person is dismissing this loss as something more trivial than it is, even though their condolences are truly from the heart. 

Instead, what believers should do is imagine that there is no heaven (yes, like the John Lennon song) and really put the focus on keeping the person's life remembered forever here on earth. 

1. Simply say you're sorry for their loss. Concise, heartfelt sympathies mean a lot.

2. If applicable, recognize that a horrific event happened. Don't write it off as just another death. Recognize the magnitude of it.

3. Replace the word prayers with "thoughts". BUT I don't get offended when someone says they're praying for me. It's truly a nice gesture. 

4. Let their loved one's spirit live on, figuratively speaking. Talk about fond memories. Make them a memoir with their loved one's name or a meaningful quote or a picture collage.

5. Celebrate their loved one's life from now forward. Whether it's their birthday, the anniversary of their death, or just a random day, consistently do something in remembrance of them. 

Support from others really does help temporarily ease the pain, but there’s still nothing I can tell myself that will make loss hurt any less. Death is and always will be a heartbreaking concept. I'm scared shitless of it. In all honesty, though, the thought of forever used to scare me more. In a different way. Like being shot up in the air out into outer space, no limits, nothing to hold you down. You just keep going. My stomach would drop. I didn't like the idea of no end in sight. So now instead of believing in forever, I believe we cease to exist. And that's actually okay with me. It's just hard when people you love cease to exist before your eyes. 

But death is a deadline that everyone will eventually have to meet and unfortunately we don’t know when anyone's deadline is. The best we can do is be prepared; connect with our loved ones as much as we can and love with all our heart. The more memories we create, the more we will have to take with us when they leave. 
Sunday, February 1, 2015

Easy Natural Bubble Bath With Just 2 Ingredients

Since the natural and chemical-free bubble bath soaps in stores costed us $10-12 per bottle and even the "safest" ones had some preservatives and sulfates, I decided it'd be an all around better option to just make homemade bubble bath. A truly chemical free bubble bath doesn't get as "bubbly" as, let's say, Johnson & Johnson does. But that's only because the chemicals that make the bubbles like that are toxic. I'd rather have a toxic-free, less-bubbly bath. 

All this recipe requires is:

1 C Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap (I use lavender, but they have other scents. The almond one is my other favorite). If you have a newborn and are afraid of soap getting in baby's eyes, they have a baby mild version, too. 

1 Tbsp Vegetable Glycerin

3/4 C Water

That's it! Mix them together and put in a reusable container, like a mason jar. 
*Pro tip: If you have an empty bottle of California Baby or Honest co. bath bubbles this recipe fits perfectly in one of them. 
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