Taking a Step Back

Hello again! I know most people post blogs at least once a week. That’s not what I’ll be doing, at least for now. I prefer writing when I have something to write about.

So, we made the move. We’re in my sister’s home, four of us sharing a room, which is fine. We really prefer the tiny living. (Though for sure this can’t last!) We’re doing good. We cut back on our expenses and it’s given me time to really do a life inventory. A lot of our problems were that we weren’t even really sure we wanted what we were told to want. I think that’s a problem a lot of people have these days.

I went looking for information on how to step through from the “ordinary” life and into something of our own design. I found this neat program called Mindvalley. In one of Vishen Lakhiani’s videos he talked about 12 areas of life you need to focus on to be happy. I decided I would start there.

I went deep into what I really wanted, even so far as to wondering if I really wanted anything. I broke my wants and needs down into small goals and daily actions I could take to achieve them. What I came out with was a life plan and a realization I had already started down the path to some of it without even realizing.

Simplifying things really helps! So does laying it all out. It’s so important to really know what it is you want and to get super honest with yourself about it. I think a lot of times if you’re not getting where you want it’s probably because some part of you isn’t actually on board for it.

What do you think?


Anxiety and Children

I don’t know that many people were following this blog before. Being I started – and stopped randomly – five years ago, I feel like I was a completely different person then. So, hi! My name is Dixie and I have two very beautiful children.

When I started this blog I was a new mommy with big, starry eyes wanting to do anything and everything mommy related (and do it well.) I’m still like that, but I’ve gone through some changes and had a few eye-opening experiences.

Shortly after I dropped this blog, we experienced our first issue with apartment living. Our downstairs neighbor insisted we were running around at 3 in the morning. We weren’t, but we moved anyway. I tried getting a job to help my fiance. Then we got the big news that Elliott was going to have a baby brother. I had hyperemesis gravidarum and lost my job. (This is when you throw up all the time for no reason.)

This was the beginning of our financial struggles. This was also the beginning of some signs from Elliott. In my previous posts, I was proud that my baby was eating just about anything I gave him. He was talking and playing like a “normal” child but was beginning to have more and more tantrums. It was harder to communicate with him. I began using baby sign language more and more to avoid the meltdowns. He was starting to prefer more junk food and refusing to eat our veggies.

Jack came along and I suffered from postpartum depression. We moved in with my fiance’s family. I was having a hard time adjusting. I was paranoid and short-tempered. I was focusing on all the negative things about moving in with them and being smooshed into one bedroom. I knew I had postpartum depression. I was diagnosed with it. But everyone acted at that time like it was just me being a bad person and I didn’t consider getting myself any help. I just wanted to be left alone. I ended up ostracizing his family.

I started taking the kids out to the park all the time so I didn’t have to interact with anyone in the house. I think the sun helped a lot, but I still wasn’t facing my anxiety and depression. My youngest son was diagnosed with eczema and food allergies. We had to cut out wheat, milk, and egg whites. My youngest son ate anything we put in front of him too. My oldest was now only eating pizza rolls, chicken nuggets, and french fries. He was still not talking much, running around the room obsessively, avoiding talking to anyone, and just all-around regressed.


Shortly after we moved back into our own place, I took Elliott to the psychiatrist. I had noticed his symptoms seemed anxious, like mine. I don’t want my children to have anxiety. It’s terrible. The psychiatrist spent two minutes with us and told me he was pretty sure Elliott had autism. He said the signs were very clear. So we confirmed, my little happy, calm, sweet, fun-loving baby has high functioning autism. For years now I’ve poured over what that means for him and for us. I’ve looked up every article I can find. I’ve joined as many autism groups as I can.

I know I named my blog Happiness and Children, and it seemed pretty ironic up until a few weeks ago. I was thinking to myself, I should have named this blog “Anxiety and Children.”

The happy little Pinterest life I was craving was never going to happen because that stuff only holds up on the internet. Life is messy. Life throws you curveballs. I realized recently that I’m so glad that Elliott is my child. I grew up with a sister and a mom who both had learning disabilities. I know what it’s like living with someone non-neurotypical. I understand his anxieties and his tendency to get overwhelmed. And I already had the drive to make our lives the best they can be. That doesn’t change because things got a little bit harder. In fact, it’s the perfect reason to try even harder.

We’ll be moving yet again to the great ‘ol Midwest next week. I recently suffered several panic attacks and had a bit of a mental breakdown. Our finances have not improved, but my understanding of what means the most to me did. I now have a plan to address all areas of our lives that have been bothering me. We fell into the two parents, two full-time jobs, no time for the kids routine. We stopped trying to get outdoors, we settled for the fast food, no exercise. It’s really a terrible way to live, especially since we didn’t get paid enough even with the two of us working to do any kind of long-term budgeting!

With a kid on the spectrum and one with allergies, I’m going to make time for good food, fresh air, adventures, and fun learning – all while making a nest egg for the future.

So, hello, WordPress audience. I’m Dixie and I have anxiety. My son, Elliott (5), has autism. My son, Jack (3), has food allergies and eczema. This all leads me right back to the life I was trying to build in this blog five years ago: A life of minimalism, outdoors, healthy eating, mindfulness, and spiritualism (in general.) If that sounds like fun to you, I’d love to be friends.

Avocado, Eggs, and Onion – Mmnn mmn

So far Money Saving Mom is not letting me down! I’ve already been adding veggies to my eggs, of course. Eggs alone are just so boring. But this recipe I snatched off of her list (simple, straightforward, fast and delicious) is one of the best tasting scrambled eggs recipes yet.

Avocado Scrambled Eggs with Onion and Cheddar <–click it

Avocado, onion and cheddar scrambled eggs.
Avocado, onion and cheddar scrambled eggs.

Once again, in just under a half hour I whipped up something scrumptious. And once again it is going into my *favorites*. I served mine on top of some garlic bread since Gerry dropped in for his lunch break and has to go straight back to work. He’s not satisfied with just some eggs. He’ll be wolfing down a pb&j later, too, I guarantee it.

But he loved it, I loved it and the little guy loved it. And that’s what I’m doing here, telling you this is a go for a toddler. If you saute the onions until they’re mushy it’s easy for the little ones to eat even without all their teeth.

And what’s great about this one and the last one, is how easy it is to mix it up. You don’t have to stick with avocado and onions. I used asparagus and tomatoes in one of them and it was just as delicious. Eggs are so versatile! They’ll mix right in with any kind of veggie (or fruit, such as avocado) that you’ve got lying around.

Delicious Veggie Foods for the Young One

I am excited about this one! This post is coming from Money Saving Mom. She gives a list of 52 pretty great recipes and I skimmed over it looking for anything that caught my eye. Here’s what I tried today:

White Bean and Vegetable Burgers <–click it. you’ll thank me. (Made eight biscuit sized burgers.)

These are sooo delicious! I loved them, Gerry loved them, and Elliott couldn’t stop grinning. He was even very satisfied when he pulled some out of his mouth to mush it up. (He screamed in elation as he squished it.)

I cannot even stress how great these are for your toddler. They don’t require much chewing and are packed with really healthy ingredients. They are surprisingly very filling, too.

This only took me about half an hour from start to finish. I opted to use the skillet to brown these little beauties. They’re a bit tough to flip, but held together really good for me. And the taste was nothing like I’ve ever had a vegan recipe taste for me. I am going to make this my first *favorite* recipe and add it to my little *favorite* recipe book.

I chose to put these on biscuits because I haven’t had a biscuit in a while. You can choose a healthier bun, of course. (I gave Elliott more burger than biscuit since it was so filling.)

So tasty.
White Bean and Vegetable Burgers

Food and Toddlers!

When they start eating what you’re eating, you start thinking a little bit more about just what it is you have been eating. If you’re like me, you get a little bit ashamed of yourself. Our food budget is pretty tight, and so Gerry and I used to just buy what was cheapest. (This was usually frozen pizzas and hot dogs.)

So I went and scoured the internet, looking for healthy meals that you can feed a toddler. Needless to say, they all turned out a bit expensive! (I’ll let you in here, our food budget usually runs about $100 a week. Yikes! Not much to work with.) But what can you do? If you could make more money, you’d be doing so already. That little guy still needs to eat, and it needs to be healthy.

My little guy puts it away like a teenager. He’ll eat just about anything and he’ll keep asking for more. Snacks are pretty easy, but when it comes to actual meals, what do you feed a toddler that you can also feed yourself?

I don’t have much of an answer to that yet, but I’ll tell you what worked yesterday. Thanks to a friend on facebook sharing this amazing little pdf, I’m well on my way to knowing. Not all of these are going to be something a toddler with six teeth will want to gum away at, so I’ll be sharing what works, what doesn’t, what’s gross, and what they’ll be screaming for when they learn how to speak a little better.

(The pdf is free, but if you want to support the author, you can pay for her work here.)

Green Chili and Cheddar Quesadillas

Hot Dog, Asparagus, and Parm/Mozz Quesadillas

I decided to start with the Green Chili and Cheddar Quesadillas on page 24. Since I didn’t have green chilies, (and doubt that my son would ever want to eat them) I used what was in my refrigerator. It turned out to be hot dogs and asparagus. Where we shop, if we had none of the ingredients lying around, this could cost us $11.85. We’d have some ingredients leftover, of course, so it wouldn’t be so bad.

They are pretty easy and fast to make. It took me no more than 15 minutes. They turned out great too. My boyfriend and I loved them.

You use what you've got!
You use what you’ve got!

Elliott? He loves pretty much anything, but he refused to eat the tortilla shell. His dad had to spoon out the innards to feed to him. That’s alright, though! At least he ate something. I feel like if he were older and able to feed these to himself without throwing them at the wall because that’s what one year olds do, he would have loved it. We might even get him to eat the original green chili ones in a few years. We can only hope!

Cornmeal Crusted Veggies (Green Beans)

I also thought I’d pair some grilled cheese and tomato soup with an item on page 29 of the pdf, Cornmeal Crusted Veggies. Since we had a big bag of green beans laying around and I hate green beans without having them smothered in some outrageous flavor, this really appealed to me.

Ordinarily, shopping for all the ingredients for this one would cost us about $14.78 at our store. It cost us nothing right out of pocket this time around, because we had it all lying around. What it did cost me was time and a lot of cleanup. I also ran out of aluminum foil. (I hate cleaning a crusty mess off of my bake ware.) Dipping each individual bean, coating and baking took me almost an hour for just one batch.

Very tedious!
Very tedious!

Then, comes the moment of truth. They do taste a heck of a lot better, I’ll admit. However, the recipe turned out a bit hot for my liking. (Ever since the pregnancy, I can’t really do spices.) I won’t be feeding these to my toddler until I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit. Plus the beans were still a bit crisp and he’s not too good at chewing crispy things that don’t melt into mush just yet.


Quesadilla recipe, good. Cornmeal Crusted Green Beans, not good (yet.) Both very good suggestions from a very thrifty pdf. Look forward to more posts about recipes from this pdf in the near future and if you try them yourself, let me know in the comments! (Also, any suggestions you might have about what to feed a toddler on a budget.)

Not Your Average Mommy Whining…

Being a mother isn’t so easy. My boyfriend and I met online, we aren’t married and we don’t really have it all together. It’s not too uncommon today, of course. Regardless of the how and the why, in the here and now, we are both very happy. Our little angel’s name is Elliott. He is the best baby ever. Really. He was always quiet, contemplative, and cheerful right from the start. Aside from being gassy, he was so easy to care for.

Nowadays, he’s still pretty awesome. Naturally, he’s prone to temper tantrums, having just turned one in May, but he’s also independent and pretty easy-going. He eats just about anything and is easily entertained. With his dad working 10 hours a day almost five days a week, Elliott and I spend a lot of time trying to understand each other. Teaching him a few signs from baby sign language has helped. Yep, my life as a mother is tiring, but pretty nice. I’ve got none of your usual mommy complaints. Rather, my complaints sound like this:

  • I have so many things I want to teach Elliott about how to be a good person and make a difference, but I’m not sure I’ll be a good enough role model. Am I a good enough person as I am to show Elliott what I want to show him?
  • I want to make money while still being available for my son when he needs me. I don’t want him to be raised by strangers, or even family members. He’s our child and should be raised by us. (My opinion for my family only. How you do it is entirely up to you, and good for you!)
  • I worry that Elliott is bored or lonely being the only baby in the house. I want to make friends with other parents, but I want them to have similar goals and standards as I do.
  • I wish I could show Elliott more of the world.
  • I want to feed Elliott healthy on the food budget that we have.
  • I worry that the world isn’t ready for such a sweet little boy. The world is so scary right now.

So this blog will show my progress as a mother and allow me to share with you how I handle these concerns. I’ll share my transformation into the person I am confident will be a good role model for my son, my struggles getting my business off the ground, how I entertain my son (or rather show him how to entertain himself), how I find friends in my area with similar interests, our exploration of the world we live in, and how we’ll help the world get a little better. Or at least, that’s my goal. You’re welcome to follow my blog and see if I live up to these expectations. Maybe hold me to them. 😛