These days it seems like my teenager is never, ever full. So I’ve been trying to find filling but healthier after school snacks as well as quick breakfast ideas. I used to make these super easy energy balls and can’t believe I forgot about them until now.
The recipe that I have makes a small batch which is perfect for myself and the boy, but it can be easily doubled to make more for a larger family. I’m not sure if it’s the oatmeal flakes or not, but I find that they tend to dry out a bit after a day or so, so it’s good to consume them within a day or two.
You only need a handful of ingredients and you probably already have most of them on hand.
Easy Energy Balls – makes about 12 balls 1/3 cup of creamy peanut butter (or any nut/seed butter of choice) 3/4 cup of rolled oats 2 tablespoons of honey 1/2 cups of mini chocolate chips 1/4 cup of crushed peanuts
Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl until well blended. Let chill in refrigerator for about 30 minutes. After chilled roll into small bite size balls. Makes approximately 12. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Modifications: * If you use crunchy peanut butter, you can omit the additional crushed peanuts. * Chia or flax seeds can be used instead of the crushed peanuts for a nut free option. * Raisins could be added in place of chocolate chips
There are so many recipes out there for energy balls but this is the one I have found that the boy likes the best.
I am going on a journey….with my hair (again). After attempting to embrace my grey, I just didn’t feel myself so I went back to dying it. Now, after almost 50 years, I am going to try and embrace my curls. What I would like is to have beautiful, bouncy curls, instead of the frizzy, lifeless mess I have been living with for years.
I’ve heard so much about and seen some pretty fantastic results with people using the “Curly Girl Method”. So this my journey and hoping to finally love my curls.
I’ve done a lot of reading and there is no one way and one set of products to use. I wish it was that easy. I almost think my Grade 13 calculus class was easier than this.
The Curly Girl method is a set of suggested steps and products to use based on your hair type. And within hair types, you need to determine the curl shape, porosity, elasticity and curl variance. Yes, my head is spinning with all this new lingo.
I am still learning about all of these variables and I know that I am not even close yet . But once I get a better handle on them, knowing these can give me different suggested of products to use and how to use them.
And with everyone’s hair their own unique combination, the Curly Girl Method is a lot of trial and error. Even only a week or so in, I have already had a few things that just didn’t work.
Then how is this a “Method” you ask? As I said before it’s a recommended sequence of steps and products. Steps involving washing my hair, applying products and styling. Most products are determined by ingredients you should look for or avoid. And it’s different for everyone.
For some, they get the hair they have been looking for in just a few months. Others have said they took a year or even longer.
They also say, that sometimes your hair may get worse before it gets better. It’s scary to think about but it’s just your hair’s way of getting used to the new care routine. So if you see me out and about soon and my hair looks worse than usual, you’ll understand why.
I’ve already ready realized somethings that I have been doing wrong all these years. After washing my hair, I always used a regular towel and tried to get to a damp/dry state before applying any products. This is a big no no. Hair should be soaking wet when you apply the products. And then they recommend using a tshirt or microfibre towel to get rid of some of the moisture by scrunching the hair. I totally understand now why I had so much frizz but styling wet is definitely taking some getting used to.
Even just doing that, I am already noticing a bit of a difference. I’ve never been one to blow dry my hair or use straightener all that much (which is something they say to avoid) but this new way seems to take a lot longer to air dry. I’m sure I’ll get used to it all.
So what is my biggest goal? I hear women talking about going on day 3 or 4 without a real wash, with a bit of refresh each day and their hair looks great. At this point I don’t like my Day 2 hair and have always been in the habit of washing my hair almost daily.
So although this seems all so very vague, I admit it is. As I learn things, I’ll be posting more of what methods and products work and anything that isn’t working for me.
So hopefully you’ll follow along my journey and see what the results are.
It’s getting to be that time of year where the weather gets cold and rainy (and soon snowy) and I start breaking out the crockpot more often. In fall/winter, I am a big fan of warm, stick to your ribs soups, stews and chili’s. And with a lot of these recipes, it’s pretty much a dump, cook and serve, so it makes the prep work all the more easier.
This recipe for Chicken Chili is super easy and full of flavor. What I also like about it, is it is pretty much set it and forget it so I can make it in the morning and by dinner time, it will be piping hot and ready to serve.
Not everyone likes a lot of spice, so you can easily adjust to your liking and can easily accommodate any food sensitivity. This is a recipe that could quickly become a family favorite. And on the plus side, it is WW friendly which makes it even better in my books.
Crock Pot Chicken Chili Servings: 8
1 onion, chopped 1 can black beans 1 can kidney beans 1 can tomato sauce (used a 16 oz can) 2 small cans of corn kernels) 2 cans Rotel (use the Mild for less spice) 1 packet chili seasoning 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts salt and pepper (to taste) chopped fresh cilantro
Combine beans, onion, Rotel, corn, tomato sauce, and chili seasoning in a slow cooker. Place chicken on top and cover. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until chicken is no longer pink inside. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in.
When serving you can top with fresh cilantro, a dollop of sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt). I like to pair it with a fresh baguette as well.
This is a great recipe to warm up the kids after they come home from school, or playing outside.
This past month, the boy turned 13. He’s officially now a teenager. And so begins the teenage years.
As parents, we’ve all read and heard about the dreaded teenage years….the moodiness, puberty, the eye rolls. It’s not like I haven’t seen a bit of this already but I am sure the best is yet to come.
Gone are the days where Mom was cool and he wanted my attention 24/7. Now his days are filled with online gaming with his friends and meet ups at the park. But some days, maybe if I am lucky, he might want his good ole Mom at the end of the day to talk about his day and everything and anything that is on his mind.
These are the moments that I no longer take for granted. We all remember those days when they were little and wanted to change our name to anything but Mom, as we heard it 34968372 a day. So now when I hear him call for me, I make sure I take advantage of the time and conversation.
It’s not like I woke up on his 13th birthday and suddenly everything was different. The past year there have been subtle changes. He had a growth spurt and is now taller than myself and his Nana and he doesn’t let anyone forget it. His voice has about a 3 octave range these days. One moment it’s his sweet little voice and a moment later it’s a man’s voice coming out of him. He now has one of those appetites that make me wondering if I need a second job to support his hunger. Puberty is a crazy thing.
And so far, it actually isn’t all that bad. He likes his independence. We can both be in the house together but we can both kind of do our own thing. He doesn’t need my undivided attention all day. We are able to have conversations about things that actually hold my interest. I know that sounds terrible, but I can only appear engaged in a conversation about Pokemon or Lego for so long. (Am I right?) Although, I still get the odd never ending stories about his video game achievements.
I know there will come a time where it won’t be all sunshine and rainbows. We will butt heads, just like I did with my own parents sometimes. I won’t understand why he does what he does and he won’t understand why I don’t understand. This is just a given. But regardless, I will always instill a rule that I have had since day 1 – we never go to bed angry at each other. We may agree to disagree, and may need a late night conversation to reach that point, but never angry. Some people may think this is wishful thinking but I will try with all my might.
My parents always gave me the respect to make responsible decisions and I will do the same. We both know that if he gets into a situation that he needs to get out of, he can text me or call me and I will come and get him, no questions asked without fear of punishment. I know I wasn’t the perfect teenager (right Mom?) but I knew the difference between right and really wrong and made sure it stayed that way. It’s quite a different world now and a lot more right’s and wrongs. I can only hope he knows the same.
It’s hard sometimes to think about him being a teenager. He’s not my baby anymore, he doesn’t need me like he used to. In 3 years, he’ll be old enough the drive. In 5 years, he’ll be graduating high school, an official “adult” and starting his post secondary life, whatever that may be.
There is a quote by Gretchen Rubin that says “The days are long the but the years are short.” And I could not agree more. So I will appreciate the days and hold on to the years as much as I can. He’s not a baby anymore.
Let me preface this post with saying I am in no way telling you how to dye your hair. It is more just an insight of what can go wrong when you dye your hair at home and how I fixed it. It’s a laughing at my own expense. A tongue in cheek, if you will. And please laugh at my expense as well.
I’ve been dying my hair since I was 16 years old. It’s never been crazy colours, but it’s gone from brown to blonde back to brown to almost black and then all the colours in between. With 30+ years under my belt, you’d think I would be a pro. There have some great results and some not so great results, but never something I couldn’t live with, until now.
For years my motto was “Blonde hair with dark roots – acceptable. Dark hair with grey/white roots – not acceptable.” This was just a weird insecurity I had. And since the pandemic, I’ve seen many women totally rock the roots. So that being said, I was always dying my hair. For years I stayed fairly blonde because it hid the grey better when it grew in.
A few years back, I decided I didn’t want to fight the fight anymore and started to grow out my natural hair. It was a long and tedious adventure. And once I had quite a bit of grey grown out, I chopped my hair so I could grow it completely natural.
That lasted about 3 months, tops. I envy women that can go completely grey and can look younger than they did before. For me, it just aged me. So instead of going back to a blonde tone, nope, I made the decision to take it back brown. Dark brown.
If you can’t already tell, when it comes to my hair, I clearly lack any sane decision making. And before you ask, why don’t I stick to the professionals. I won’t lie, it’s the cost and the time. As soon as I see white roots, I don’t wait long until I cover it up. I’ve got the single Mom income with a wealthy women’s hair needs.
Suffering with roots though the pandemic wasn’t so bad, because everyone else was. But as things start opening up, my neurotic tendencies with my hair came back. I was starting to think that as much as I liked the brown tones, maintenance with blonder hair would probably be easier on me. And this is where my trouble this time began.
In the years I have been dying my hair, I know that with at home colouring, you can’t go from a dark brown to a blonde with one dye job. You have to gradually get lighter. So I thought that maybe if I put in some highlights, it would help hide the grey but also give me a bit of lighter look. Seems reasonable, right? So I enlisted a good friend to help me with this process.
I got the dye kit. One of those old fashion ones that have the cap to pull out the hightlights. If nothing else, we spent some time catching up.
We followed the directions properly. So it was definitely no fault of that. And when we were finished, at first it didn’t look too bad when it was wet. Maybe a little brassy for my liking but nothing I didn’t think a good purple shampooing wouldn’t fix.
I left my friend’s house and headed home to use the purple shampoo. I saturated my hair, left it in for 15+ minutes and was sure all was good and washed it out.
My first reaction again when it was wet, was that it wasn’t too bad. Still a bit brassy, but livable. And then it started to dry. And the more it dried, the more I started to resemble a bit of a pumpkin. And resembling a pumpkin, unless it’s your chosen Halloween costume, is never a good thing.
I’ve ended up with brassiness before, I even tried going from blonde back to brown and end up with a tinge of green, but never quite this bad. At this point, I was praying for another lockdown so I wouldn’t be able to go out in public. It was that orange.
I can tell you one thing, I was not cutting this sh$t out. It had taken me too long to grow my hair back. And friends, if I ever say I want to cut my hair short again, slap some sense into me.
So what do I do at this point??? Well of course, Google to the rescue. As I somewhat suspected, I would need to completely re-dye my hair with an ash tone. There were suggestion of bringing in the professionals, but there was no time or budget for that.
I decided to sleep on it, but unfounded dreams that it would magically correct itself overnight. A girl can dream, right?
The next morning, I headed off to get myself another box of dye. I am not going to lie, when I was beyond nervous that this could not work. It was probably the longest 30 minutes of my life.
After I washed it out, I knew there was some good in the world. My dreams of going lighter had been diminished for a bit but at lest the grey was now covered and didn’t resemble a Florida orange grove.
So what did I learn from this…..not much…nothing I didn’t already know but chose to ignore. When it comes to my hair, I know what I have to do to get to the results I want, and that takes time and patience (which I don’t have a lot of). Skipping steps for a faster result, isn’t going to work, EVER.
What is your takeaway from all of this? I am not the person you come to when you want to change your hair.
I think we all had high hopes for 2021. But here we are 5 months in and it’s definitely not close to meeting it’s expectations. We’re in our 3rd lockdown, our children are in virtual school indefinitely and the Covid numbers don’t seem to be getting any better. We knew all the garbage of 2020 wasn’t going to magically disappear but this far in, I didn’t think we’d be in this bad of shape.
Personally, I came into 2021 feeling optimistic. I felt like things would slowly but surely get better in the world. Rebranding the blog made me hopeful that perhaps it would be a little more successful and lucrative for me. I even bought a fancy planner for 2021. But as a metaphor of how things are going with that, it sits barely used.
For the past few months, I was worried that perhaps my anxiety/depression medication wasn’t doing it’s job and maybe I needed to speak to my doctor about changing the dosage. I wasn’t sad but just felt blah. My creativity level had reached an all time low. The thought of watching yet another series on Netflix seemed like torture. Everything and anything seemed like an effort.
Then I read an article in the NY Times about languishing. Reading the article by Adam Grant, was almost one of those light bulb moments. It was like he had stepped into my life and knew exactly how I was feeling. He wrote:
“Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.”
Afterwards, I spoke to a few different people about it and it was always the same answer. They were clearly languishing too. I know this sounds terrible, but it made me feel a little bit better. It wasn’t just me. It wasn’t all in my head. People are generally in the state of influx…they aren’t happy and they aren’t sad, just existing. And this can be exhausting.
Since reading this article and kind of figuring out this feeling was probably going to be sticking around for a while, I have been trying to make a serious, conscientious effort to do things that will help boost my mental health and lessen this languish I am feeling. It’s the typical things most people do, like getting more exercise, eating better, reducing my screen time, etc but I am really trying to make the effort. And some days are definitely easier than others.
I guess what I want to say is, if you’ve been feeling this way, just know you aren’t alone. A lot of us are clearly languishing these days.
When it comes to breakfast, I am the worst. I used to make a coffee or 2 in the morning sustain me until lunch time but then I discovered Chia Seed Pudding.
Because I make it the night before, it is easy to grab out the refrigerator first thing in the morning, add my toppings and I am good to go. Chia Seed Pudding is such a versatile recipe for anyone with any sort of food allergies or sensitivities as you can use any type of milk that suits your needs and you can choose the toppings.
If you use a milk that has any sort of vanilla flavoring to it for example, Vanilla Almond Milk, I would suggest omitting the vanilla already included in the recipe.
As for toppings for the Chia seed pudding, the options are limitless.
Some of the ones I have tried and enjoyed are:
Sliced Bananas and a dollop of peanut butter
A dollop of hazelnut spread
Even a tablespoon of your favorite jam is good if you don’t have fresh berries
And this doesn’t just have to be for breakfast, it makes a nice snack or dessert as well. It can usually sit for a day or 2 in your refrigerator but I wouldn’t leave it any longer than that. Also, if you can, give the pudding a stir a few hours after you’ve first made it. I can get a bit clumpy in spots, so it’s good to mix it up.
Small mason jar
2 tbsp Chia Seeds
1/2 cup milk (Choose your favorite type)
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Fruit or toppings of your choice
Add all ingredients, except for toppings to mason jar or container with lid
Be sure to combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Let sit overnight (or minimum 6 hours) in refrigerator.
So its official, A Boy and His Mom is now Cathy Unfiltered.
A Boy and His Mom will always be near and dear to my heart but I felt it was time for a change. As the years have passed, not only have the boy and I evolved, what I want for this blog has evolved as well.
When I started the blog, the boy was young and just a couple of years into school and was often eager to participate with my blog. Now, he’ll be a teenager in just a few months and we all know what teenagers can be like. This is not to say, I won’t be talking about him or including him, the focus won’t be on “the boy”.
My focus will be more on my challenges and joys of dealing with a teenager. I will also be focusing on my physical and mental health and wellness. And included in all of that, any Mom hacks I have and recipes to make meal times easier.
If you followed me up to this point, these topics will probably not seem too far off from what I was blogging about before. But truth be told, a lot of times I felt I needed to write more of what I thought people wanted to hear and less of what I actually wanted to say.
I worried about what people would think or say. Not that I can’t take criticism or negative feedback, but I didn’t want it to reflect negatively on me as a Mom or a parent. At the beginning of 2020, I had been struggling with depression and anxiety and that played a huge part on this negative thinking. Luckily right before COVID changed the world, I took steps to change this.
And Cathy Unfiltered is changing now as well. It will be a more honest and open conversation. What I really think about things and what is really going on behind the screen….unfiltered, authentic.
Sometimes when people hear the word unfiltered, they think rude, crude, and obnoxious. That is not what Cathy Unfiltered is going to be. It is going to just be me….real, honest and vulnerable.
I am so glad you have been a part of my journey thus far and hope you continue to follow and watch me grow.
It’s hard to believe that I have been blogging now for 5 years. Some days I feel like I know what’s going on but a lot of the days I still feel like such a newbie. But here are 5 things that I definitely learned along the way.
1. Blogging Is A LOT of Work.
Blogging is definitely a lot more work than it seems. I don’t know how many times I heard people saying they want to get into blogging so they can get all the free stuff. If only it were that easy. There is a lot of planning, writing, editing, emailing, negotiating and pitching that goes into any sponsored post. And then for the non-sponsored posts, it’s still a lot of planning, writing and editing. And after all that is done, it’s all about engagement. You need to respond to comments left on your posts but also, like, comment and engage with others.
I’ve often heard people say they can’t understand how people make it their full time job. There is no doubt in my mind it could be a full time job. Even with my little blog, I sometimes struggle trying to juggle it and my full time job.
2. You’ll Make Some Great Friends.
This is my favorite thing about blogging, the friendships I have made. The best part is some are local so we were able to meet in person and form even stronger friendships. I know this will sound cliche but I feel like I have a community of friends now that understand the ups and downs of the industry. They can relate to things that I am going through and bounce things off each other.
3. Social Media vs Reality
Don’t get me wrong, I love engaging with others and getting to know people on social media. But you’ve seen those posts about Social Media vs Reality? Well …. not everyone is who they appear to be on those tiny little squares. They aren’t always the ray of sunshine or the #babesupportingbabes that they preach on their feed. Let’s be honest, in the blogging world, it can be a bit of a numbers game and some will do whatever it takes to get said numbers. I’ve seen friendships fall apart and social media wars raged because of this.
4. Blogging Can Play Tricks On Your Mind
When you are working your butt off to increase your following and not seeing the results you want, it can play with your confidence. You see others that started out the same time as you did now having a following of 2,3 or 4 times more than you, can make you wonder if you’re good enough for this job. Self doubt can really play a number on you. But if you remember that regardless of your numbers, there are people that really enjoy your content, it reminds of why you started it in the first place.
5. Change Is Ok
Sometimes when you first start blogging, you think you know exactly what you want to do and how you want it to look. But over the years, you blog/social media will evolve and you may want to push it in an entirely new direction, change your logo, change your name to make it more cohesive to the person you are now. There is nothing wrong with that. Your followers are probably evolving in their own lives and a lot of them will probably be going through similar changes too. So go for it! If you stick with something that you can no longer relate to or have lost a passion for, it’s going to be really hard to convince others you still do.
So after these 5 years, I have grown a lot as a blogger but am looking forward to the next 5 years to see how things will grow and change. I hope you will follow along too.
Who would have thought I would ever be excited about Brussels sprouts? Who knew that they were actually called “Brussels” and not just “Brussel”? I was today years old when I learned that.
I love trying new recipes, especially one serving recipes. I have a much more adventurous palate than the boy, so I like trying new recipes when he is at his Dads. However, I find most recipes feed 4 or more, and I either end up eating leftovers for days, or wasting a lot if I don’t end up enjoying it.
I happened across this recipe on a TikTok by Halle Burns and decided to give it a try. Brussels sprouts are one my favorite veggies, so her recipe looked so good. One thing I liked about it, it was enough for one meal or two side dishes.
After a few tries and tweaks, I had a recipe that loved and will be making quite often. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Smashed Brussels Sprouts with Lime Yogurt Sauce
3 cups Brussels Sprouts
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp sriracha sauce or hot sauce of choice
2 tbsp plain greek yogurt
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
Preheat oven to 450°
Steam or boil Brussel sprouts until tender
In a medium size mixing bowl, combine oil, maple syrup, soy sauce and garlic
Once Brussels Sprouts have cooked, strain them and pat dry with paper towel.
Toss sprouts in sauce mixture until well covered
Place sprouts on baking sheet and then “smash” them with the bottom of a glass.
Pour any remaining sauce over the smashed sprouts.
Cook at 450° for 25 minutes or until crispy
While the Brussels Sprouts are cooking, mix together the yogurt and lime juice together in a small bowl.
Once the sprouts are cooked and plated, pour yogurt sauce over the sprouts.