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Holidays 2018

Hello Sweet pea's!

Christmas is almost upon us and I wanted to do a quick post before this last week,  leading up to the madness, gets away from me.
I have been quiet on the blogging front this past while as I have been keeping busy doing replacement shifts at work, taking care of my health on my down time, and making my cookie and jam gifts on my off days.
The holidays are always an exciting and happy time for my family and I; this year we are keeping it simple, as I have to respect doctor's orders to take it easy. However, I have learned that I can pick some traditions and leave others aside, which has allowed me to respect my health and keep the holiday spirit going.
One of the things we chose to let go of, was decorating our home.
Every year we make a big event of getting together, having a pre-Christmas meal, and trimming the tree. The house gets decked out, the food is delicious, and we have a lot of fun. As lovely as it all is, my mold recovery has deemed it to be too much. I simply lack the energy and strength, so I prefer to pick what I can do, stick to what stresses my health the least, while making sure I am not taxing my body, so I can still go to work.
I did however come across some beautiful, nature based, Christ-centered, low-cost, decorating ideas that I liked, and may try out next year.

I decided to start my canning in November and that was pretty much completed by the first weekend in December.
This is a yummy Blackcurrant & Woodland Tea Jam, (new recipe) I wanted to try out for a while.
Then I started my yearly Christmas cookie bake fest! We are nearing the finish line with these, and should be done this week.

And, I am finally fulfilling some of my Christmas bucket list dreams. Am feeling super blessed to be well enough to do so. God is good, and Jesus has been my comfort and peace during some really tough times. 
Am back to baking right now, so am wishing you and yours the best for this holiday season!

The Gift of Self-Care During the Holidays When Recovering from Black Mold

Helloodles lovelies!

I know, I know, already with the Christmas posts!
I can't help myself.
I truly adore the holidays, and it's not just about gifts; that's really low on the list.
Although it is nice to receive and give them, this year I made the decision to forego all Christmas gift exchanging.
Mold recovery and the unnexpected move, along with only being able to work part-time, has helped me feel good about no touchie on the gift exchange.
I really cannot afford it, and to be honest, I have gotten irritated by all the commercialism surrounding the holiday season. I made the decision in October and passed it on to family and friends, as everyone seems to be struggling, needing to place that money on other important things, and I wanted to place the focus on something light-hearted with family fun time.
Searching through Pinterest for holiday recipes, I came across this fabulous idea for celebrating Christmas in a relaxed and comfortable way.
It fit right in with my need for not pushing my body, doctor's orders for no stress, my need to be able to wear comfort clothing, and taking it easy after having to work more hours to replace vacation people at my job.
Mold still causes swelling and lethargy sometimes on flare-up days, which makes big 2 week prep, insane. and over-the-top celebrations a no-go. Pinterest comes in with a loverly solution.
We are totally going for the Pyjamas and Pancakes Christmas Brunch this year!!!
This sounds heavenly to us all right now. My family was thrilled with this announcement.
We are also going to be having a movie fest with our brunchy noms! I cannot tell you how excited I am. I will be in my flannels with my fuggs (fake uggs cuz real uggs are cruel to little beasties & ridiculously over priced!) watching elf and some other fun things.

Pinterest had all these cool links to invites, which are very festive and pretty, at and Etsy.
I was just amazed that I had never thought of or heard of this before. Yes, late to the party but better late than never.

I was loving all the cool idea's for foods to serve and quickly began compiling a menu for it.

In keeping with the relaxed, less pressure on me theme, we have assigned everyone items to bring. This is going to be a pot-luck brunch, with all involved contributing a variety of foods. My brother's fiancee was super psyched about this part as she has some new dip recipes she wants to try out, my son is great at cheese and meat platters, along with salad, and we are providing the gluten-free and allergy friendly items other's don't know how to make. My mother is happy to be making her famous cinnamon buns and my grandmother's delectable donuts, we all looked forward to them every year, before she passed away. Now we keep her tradition alive by making them and it always sparks up love and nostalgia, when biting into them while having tea or cocoa.
You should really check out Pinterest for some serious brunch nom idea's! Like these:

I am adding some of my homemade, jams and jellies to our brunch fest!
Open face sandwiches this year instead of cooking a 6 hour turkey! I can make the mix 3-4 days ahead and not have to worry about tiring myself out with multiple night, interrupting my sleep, bastings. Whoohoooo!
I eat turkey bacon because pork aggravates my eczema, but you can do what works best for you.

I am also surprising the gang with the bean boozled challenge! Nobody knows and I cannot wait to see their faces when I pull it out from the bag, all wrapped and shiny, announcing a special treat for us all, someone unwraps it, and then it's, 
"Oh no! No, no no! We can't, it's  awful, don't make me do this, how could you, why would you bring this, what kind of a monster are you? Okay we should try it cuz I am a little curious."
Then the convos about hearing how gross some flavours are, they might actually puke, seen the YouTube videos, I know someone who did it.
Blah blah blah blah, fun time people!!
Most know the bean boozled challenge by now, it came about thanks to Harry Potter and the Berthie Bott's Every Flavour Jelly Beans, in the books/movies.
The Jelly Belly company had the brilliant idea of making it a reality and thus the bean boozled game became a thing several years later. If you want to see people reacting to the horrors of these flavs, search YouTube's wide selection. It's a guilty pleasure for me, and I giggle my booty off whenever I watch.
I had wanted this a while ago for a family gathering last year but that meant needing the larger game, and when I checked around it was always pricey. Even on amazon, check for yourself below.
I managed to score mine for $19.99 at Winner's/Homesense recently! I  saw it and grabbed that bad boy well quick; he's snuggled on my shelf waiting for his time of grossness to arrive. Mwuah hahahaha!

I came across this festive bean boozled challenge and there have been a variety coming out on the market that are different prices. You can get them for under $10 and up. I even saw it at Bulk Barn recently.

Below are the 3rd Edition flavours. I have the 4th Edition and thank God the liquorice and skunk have been taken out. I am not a fan of either! They have added Dead Fish/Strawberry Banana Smoothie in its stead. Whew! Will be getting some small buckets for spit outs and pukies gagging. Ah, making Christmas memories...

You can also find nice Jelly Belly beans at different candy store's,  we were thinking of bringing some good one's that could be mixed to make some yummy flavour combo's, to ease the bean boozled challenge woe's. Don't some of these sound yummy?

I  felt tremendous relief upon this pajamas party Christmas brunch discovery. Choosing a more restful/less stressful approach is part of my self-care routine for the foreseeable future.
Self-care is seen as somewhat silly, self-indulgent, and even selfish to some. Apparently holiday meltdowns should be considered par for the course and just accepted. I disagree with this line of thinking and it took getting dangerously ill with mycotoxin poisoning, to open my eyes to the necessities of self-care.
It is not a luxury to place one's health, in its entirety, a top priority.

Simple thing's are your aim for self-care. Don't be afraid to say No, people will get it or they won't. That's their problem, not yours. Your health and well-being are what matter most. Believe me when I say, health is the wealth of our lives.

Pretty and sweet, soothing moment's are wonderful! I personally enjoy homemade beauty care pampering,  and have been known to make face scrubs, avocado hair masks, eat biscuits and sip chamomile tea while reading and luxuriating.

This is my holiday self-care & do things that bring me joy, in a simple way list:
Yup, rest is on there twice. And it is with good reason, I still have guilt around this necessary aspect of healing. By putting it on my self-care list, I am reminded that it is not luxurious. It is part of my doctor's orders, and I will stick to it.
This list was kinda fun, you should try making your own.
I really hope you do because you deserve to have happiness, moments of peace, tranquility, and joy. Is not Jesus, who is supposedly the reason for the season, the Prince of Peace?

I hope this has helped to ease the pressures of the holiday season, along with inspiring you to do something different. If you are so unwell, that none of the above are feasible, then that's fine too. You cancel, politely excuse yourself from gatherings and outings, focus on nurturing your needs, loving you, and accepting where you are today. Hunker down with take-out, or a pre-made meal from somewhere, get set up for rest on the couch or bed, grab a great movie or good read, listen to happy music, have the shower or bath with candles and  soapy goodness, just be gentle with yourself. God loves you as you are and wants you to know, it will all be okay.

Take care, be well, love freely...

Chef Kiki