Fudgy Brownies

(っ◔◡◔)っTreat yourself to some fudgy, chocolatey brownies! Not only that, but they are also perfect for sharing with family and friends

★彡[ᴅɪᴅ ꜱᴏᴍᴇᴏɴᴇ ꜱᴀʏ ʙʀᴏᴡɴɪᴇꜱ?!?!]彡★

Okay, so this recipe isn’t exactly the healthiest but kids love them. I do plan on posting a healthier brownie recipe in the future, but for now, this is the one that I am using. Because these brownies are made with simple, standard ingredients, they’re pretty much guaranteed to be a show-stopper!

If you’re looking for a healthier, plant-based dessert recipe, then I recommend checking out this chocolate cake recipe by Peppa Pig. Kids love Peppa Pig so you really can’t go wrong with this healthier alternative.

Anyways, back to the brownies. The fudgy brownie recipe is fairly simple and straightforward. To make the brownies extra special, you can dust them in confectioner’s sugar or add a few chocolate chips. Another advantage of this recipe is that it’s simple enough for children to help. Let’s get started, shall we?

FUDGY BROWNIES

Servings: 12                          Time: 40 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • confectioner’s sugar (optional)
  • chocolate chips (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease an 8-or-9-inch square baking pan.
  2. Using a mixing bowl, mix together the cocoa and sugar. Add in the melted butter and stir again. Finally, whisk in the eggs and vanilla.
  3. Add the flour and salt, and mix just until smooth. Gently incorporate the chocolate chips (optional). Don’t overmix it.
  4. Scrape the mixture into the pan and spread it out n an even layer. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the brownies just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  5. Take the pan out of the oven with oven mitts, then let it cool on a heat-proof surface before cutting. Sprinkle confectioner’s sugar to decorate (optional). Enjoy!
Just so you know, Rebecca is the one who approved this recipe.

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

great-vibes.regular (1)

Easy Hummus Dip

Continuing on with the challenge from yesterday, you probably have a can or two of chickpeas in your cupboard, right? I sure do! To accompany the guacamole dip, why not try some hummus dip? It’s just as tasty and quick to make.

While I usually can find store-bought hummus for a cheap price, I think it’s important to remember that it’s not always the best idea to buy something just because it is cheap. Store-bought hummus can be of lower quality than homemade, and sometimes you don’t get the same true taste. With my recipe, though, I’ve found that even though you might have to spend more time making your own, it will be worth the effort because this homemade hummus usually has a better taste.

EASY HUMMUS DIP

Servings: 5-6                         Time: 40 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 can (15 oz.) of chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tbsp. plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1.5 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • optional: sliced veggies, pita bread

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add a few inches of water to the saucepan and bring it to a boil.
  2. Add the cloves of garlic (still in the skin) and cook them for 10-12 minutes, or until the cloves are tender.
  3. Take the saucepan off the heat and run cold water over the garlic to cool it down. Once the garlic is cooled, peel the skins.
  4. Add the peeled garlic and canned chickpeas (drained) to the food processor. Add yogurt, olive oil, water, lemon juice, salt, and water to the mixture.
  5. Process the hummus for approx. 30 seconds, stopping periodically to scrape down the sides with a spatula.
  6. Scoop the hummus into a serving bowl and add a drizzle of olive oil.
  7. Serve with sliced veggies, pita bread, tortilla chips, etc. Enjoy!

Image source: https://www.dreamstime.com/

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

great-vibes.regular (1)

Easy Guacamole Dip

𝒩𝑜𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝒾𝓈 𝒷𝑒𝓉𝓉𝑒𝓇 𝓉𝒽𝒶𝓃 𝒶 𝒻𝓇𝑒𝓈𝒽, 𝒽𝑜𝓂𝑒𝓂𝒶𝒹𝑒 𝒷𝒶𝓉𝒸𝒽 𝑜𝒻 𝑔𝓊𝒶𝒸𝒶𝓂𝑜𝓁𝑒!

I have a challenge for you! Using everything you have in your cupboard, come up with a recipe and actually make it. You can “cheat” by referencing google for inspiration if you need some ideas. Tomorrow, do the exact same thing. I bet that you will come up with two different recipes without the need to buy any new ingredients. Keep repeating this process and make a mental note to add your recipes to a database for easy access. If you do this for 30 days, then you should end up with ~20-30 unique recipes for your family.

With the avocado craze dying down and Canadians finally being able to find avocados for a reasonable price, it is easier to use avocado in my dishes. I love avocado toast, but guacamole is way better! 🥑😋 Guacamole pairs well with fresh tortilla chips and I no longer have to resort to store-bought guacamole on days when I am craving this healthy snack.

EASY GUACAMOLE DIP

Servings: 4-6                         Time: 20 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 green onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 3 ripe avocados, halved
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 bag tortilla chips

DIRECTIONS

  1. Chop the green onion and tomato into small pieces.
  2. Slice the avocados in half and use a spoon to remove the pits.
  3. Scoop the avocado sections into a bowl. Add the garlic powder and lemon juice. Mash it all up with a fork.
  4. Add the chopped onion, tomato, and salt. Mix everything together.
  5. Serve with a generous portion of tortilla chips. Enjoy!
Cute kawaii smiling avocado. Source: https://www.vecteezy.com/

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

great-vibes.regular (1)

Social Media Anxiety

First, let’s start with some housekeeping. I am re-sharing my Medium article on the blog (same article but listed under a different title). If you use the following link to read this article, I will earn a small commission. It might be only a few pennies but it’s better than earning nothing at all. This article is behind a paywall on Medium but I want to make it available for everyone to read.

♡ Medium Article: Is Social Media Making You Anxious?

Photo by Rahul Chakraborty on Unsplash

Social Media Anxiety

It is no surprise that technology has become predominant in everyone’s lives in the past 20-something years. People now have smartphones and smart TVs, and they don’t even bat an eyelash. Smartphones especially have been making life a whole lot easier by enabling people to stay in touch with friends, classmates, and family at any time of the day. It can be hard to not check your social media sites or text your friends constantly but we love being connected. With the click of a button, we can find pictures and videos of animals, recipes for some of our favorite foods, or any photo from friends’ latest vacation. We have everything at our fingertips and everything that we could want in the palm of our hands.

(っ◔V◔)っSerious Question: What is Social Media Anxiety?

Social media sites can make people feel anxious when they use them too much. It’s important to think about how checking the sites impacts you and try putting the phone down even if you don’t want to stop using the site for good. We can all relate to the feeling of being sucked into the vortex of social media. It’s hard not to get distracted by all the yummy recipe videos and adorable photos of our family pet, but it doesn’t come without a cost. Look at that mouth-watering slice of pie and think about how your homework isn’t going to do itself. One more scroll is time that could be spent doing something more productive.

♡ Related Article: It’s Time to Stop Procrastinating

Down the Social Media Rabbit Hole

Image Source: https://www.deviantart.com/aya-mei/art/

If it’s not the perfectionist’s rabbit hole, then it’s the social media rabbit hole. You may find it hard to get out of the Facebook and Twitter loop when you spend too much time scrolling through social media. It’s important to take time for ourselves, but these days it seems like it’s almost impossible to do so. With the world at our fingertips and the internet constantly online, it can be difficult to unplug. You are always expecting someone to contact you even if you’re not that social yourself. When your phone is constantly in reach and within sight, it’s hard to avoid distractions from all of this constant connectivity.

Social media can have a negative effect on your life if you mostly use the platform for negative engagements such as arguments or venting frustrations. This manifests as social media anxiety where you worry about updating social media and partake in this compulsive behavior because you feel obligated to check in constantly. And it’s not just the social media platforms themselves that are the cause for concern; some experts say that engaging with these platforms too much can lead to a number of mental health problems, such as depression, depression, and FOMO. 

You might have social media anxiety if you answered “yes” to the following questions. Keep in mind that these behaviors could lead to symptoms of anxiety:

Questions
1. Have you ever compulsively checked your phone, laptop, or tablet?
2.
Do you spend hours scrolling through social media feeds?
3.
Do your friends and family think you spend too much time online?

What can you do about it?

There are a few ways to stay off your phone when you don’t want to. For instance, if you’re talking with someone in person, keep your phone in your pocket. Other tips include turning off all notifications and using an app like Freedom, which automatically blocks apps that cause addictive behaviors while blocking notifications. This is a way to control your social media scrolling by not splitting attention. Stop reminding yourself that there will be more to look at. If you’re unable to access your social media for a while, it will create anxiety in the short term and make you more productive. It’s worth standing up for your social media rights as they allow people to communicate, with friends or family. Pictures are a great way to show people where you’ve been or what’s happening in your life. You can send me photos of your pet any day!

(っ◔◡◔)っKey Takeaway: It’s important to remember that social media is supposed to be fun. If you find that it’s not fun anymore, then it might be time for a break.


(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

I am mindful of the impact social media can have on mental health, so I make a conscious effort to limit my usage. The upside is that by limiting my use, I am not exposing myself to social media as much. Less time on social media means less anxiety. These days, I am mainly active on Twitter and this blog. I’m not active on Instagram (@serene_hilz), but I do check it occasionally. As for Facebook, my account has been collecting virtual dust for some time.

You can also connect with me on Twitter (@hellokitty8404) and I encourage you to subscribe to my website at http://www.sereneluna.net so that you can receive the latest updates from me.

Thanks for stopping by! ❤

It’s Time to Stop Procrastinating

First, let’s start with some housekeeping. I am re-sharing my Medium article on the blog. If you use the following link to read this article, I will earn a small commission. It might be only a few pennies but it’s better than earning nothing at all. This article was behind a paywall for a few weeks but I want to make it available for everyone to read.

♡ Medium Article: It’s Time to Stop Procrastinating

Image Source: Pexels.com

Remember, I am NOT an expert. I am simply a human trying to navigate this thing called life. Apparently, I wasn’t able to live up to the expectations of a blogger who was once a close friend of mine. Last week, she lashed out at me in the most childish way imaginable. At this point, I have lost all respect for her. And for the record, let me clear one thing up right now before we get started:

(っ◔◡◔)っSerious Question: What is this blog, sereneluna.net about?

Using layman’s terms, I write about a variety of different topics, NOT limited to lifestyle, mental health, parenting, and relationships. This is NOT a niche-specific blog. A variety of different topics are welcome, especially if these topics provide value to my readers. I write for an audience rather than for myself.

👉 Now that we got that out of the way, it’s time to stop procrastinating and start getting things done!

“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.” —Mark Twain

Image Source: www.deviantart.com/pinocchio-kun/art

Procastination Can Sneak Up on You

Procastination can be difficult to identify because it often goes unspoken and manifests in different ways. Also, procrastination is often hard to break, but there are ways to overcome it. It is not uncommon to find yourself in a situation where you are feeling tired or overwhelmed by how much work you still need to get done. Breaking the habit of procrastination is important and taking the time to focus on what you need and want to achieve can help you get back on track.

👉 So you might be thinking that this is good advice, but how do we break free from it? How do we stop it from holding us back? How do you get out of this self-sabotaging cycle? It can be difficult to find a way out of the trap, and you might start to feel like there’s no end in sight.

The answer to these questions is quite simple, but often difficult to execute. You see, the key to overcoming procastination is being able to identify what you’re actually doing and then having the motivation needed to overcome that obstacle.

Some of us find it hard to find time to do the things we don’t want or need to do. Some also tend to procrastinate with jobs or tasks we don’t want to do every day for things that aren’t important. This is where the problem arises.

For example, if you are working on a task at work or doing something with a deadline, it is essential to stay on top of things. It might seem like not completing these important tasks or completing others that are less important would be good. However, in many cases, there can be consequences. For example, no matter what the circumstances, often the essays that are due at the last minute always get completed with mixed feelings of relief and regret. Even though writers typically have the best intentions of writing for their favorite publications, they still struggle with procrastination. Writing blog posts is no exception.

The Benefits of Procrastination

You know, procrastinating isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it’s good for us to take a break from the never-ending hustle and bustle of our daily tasks, and it can help us refocus on what is important to us. I like to spend my free time taking a walk outside or spending time responding to comments on this hobby blog. Recently, I have also been finding it enjoyable to engage with readers in the Medium community as well. Sometimes, it is tempting to spend time reading through content on Medium because of the variety of topics and quality writing. Even though I don’t always feel motivated to create new content, it’s not necessarily a sign of laziness. This is an excellent time to enjoy reading and interacting with others.

I believe that happiness is a subjective and relative experience. Some people say that being happy comes from doing what is most necessary, while others argue that happiness doesn’t even need to be possible because joy comes from everything we experience. If we can make the process of creative writing more enjoyable, then it will allow us to reach our full potential as writers and help us stay inspired, motivated, and focused on our projects. This would contribute to overall success! Not only would it promote productivity, but it would also provide us with a sense of accomplishment that comes from having done something difficult.

(っ◔◡◔)っKey Takeaway: Doing hard work has repeatedly been said to make us happy, so why not find fun ways to make the process more enjoyable?


(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

I know that sometimes as a hobby blogger and writer, I struggle with procrastination. But I know that by overcoming the tasks even when they’re hard, life becomes more enjoyable and appreciating the good things in life becomes easier. This mindset allows me to put aside the difficulties that I face and instead focus on my journey. This has helped me tremendously because it has allowed me to stay focused on my life, happiness, and long-term goals.

This week, I want you to consciously choose to find meaning in what you’re doing by having intention behind the tasks that you have been putting off, whatever that happens to be. What things have you been putting off? Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment below ↓ and I will do my best to reply to you in a timely manner.

Thanks for stopping by!

6 Habits to Stay Focused in a Distracted World

As I cozy up to my laptop while sipping my second cup of caffeinated orange pekoe, I contemplate what to write for my next post. Lately, I have had many days where I feel like my time could have been better spent (I’m looking at you, Twitter). Do you ever feel guilty for not doing the thing that you know you should be doing but really don’t want to do it? It is becoming increasingly more difficult for me to stay focussed and motivated to write blog posts, let alone log into WordPress. I am very behind on replying to comments, visiting other blogs, and interacting with other bloggers. It has become more of a chore which is not a good thing, especially since I still need to flex my writing muscle. Blogging can be a lonely path but it’s the path I choose to take.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-REFLECTION 🍵💕

If you have been following me on Twitter @hellokitty8404, you’ll know that I am struggling to find significant meaning and purpose as I am grappling with difficult circumstances in my life right now. I use Twitter mainly for habit tracking and weekly updates. It has gotten to the point where I am more of an open book on Twitter than I am on my blog, which is kinda ironic considering that social media is the thing that kills productivity and keeps us distracted in this already highly distracted world.

If I have the slightest chance of succeeding as a hobby blogger, then I need to have a list of habits that help me stay focused, especially when writing is the last thing on my mind. Even though I no longer need to focus on studying for exams (I graduated in December 2020), I understand that working on a writing project or reviewing notes for work requires a similar level of discipline and focus. If you have a similar desire to be the best version of yourself, then you too will need to learn how to develop strong discipline skills and a constant desire to learn new things. Personally, I feel like this list I have created below ↓  applies to university students as well as ambitious Millennials. Let’s get started, shall we?

6 HABITS TO STAY FOCUSED IN A DISTRACTED WORLD: A PRACTICAL GUIDE

1. Log Out of Social Apps. You have no reason to be on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc. Log out before these addictive apps take you down a rabbit hole that not even Alice in Wonderland wants to explore. Once you’re an active member of these apps, it becomes even more difficult to leave – good luck with that. Seriously. Don’t kid yourself. 5 minutes turns into an hour. An hour turns into 3 hours. Using your smartphone? Even worse. It’s almost impossible to put the phone down so I suggest hiding it so it is out of sight, out of mind. Log out of the messenger apps too while you’re at it (texting is just as addictive). These apps have no place on your phone which brings me to my next point.

2. Take a Social Media Hiatus. I promised myself in January 2017 that I would not download any more social apps. I seldom keep social apps on my iPhone and use my phone for what it is: a phone. There seems to be a new app released every 6 months and it’s exhausting trying to keep up with them all. This is similar to having a second job but this “job” doesn’t pay your bills. So unless it is a passion with a purpose, why bother? Btw, I am still taking a hiatus from Facebook and Instagram and have no immediate plans to return to these platforms. You can still follow me @serene_hilz so that you’ll receive updates when I eventually decide to return to Instagram. I haven’t posted anything new in years but my thoughts remain the same about social media. Thank goodness I’m done nursing school! 👩‍🎓

3. Go to Bed When You are Tired. Tired at 10 pm? Go to bed. Don’t make the same mistake as me where I end up laying on the couch at night, mindlessly playing Candy Crush or watching dumb TV shows on Netflix. I enjoy staying up late at night when it’s quiet and there are no distractions, but at the same time, extra sleep is really important for mental health and concentration the following day. Nights when I do not get enough sleep, I end up sleeping in and wasting the following day or week playing “catch up.” Go to bed and take cat naps if this is an option for you.

4. Make a Plan every day. This one seems obvious. My MIL suggested that I get a planner. Planners can be purchased from a Dollar Store and it doesn’t have to break the bank. I also bought a journal to write in whenever I am not using the notepad on my iPhone. It helps me stay in the present moment and keeps me focused on important tasks. When I complete a task, I highlight it in bright yellow which gives me a sense of accomplishment. The dopamine rush I get from doing this is much healthier than the brief adrenaline surge from Facebook or some other addicting app. At the end of the month, I review everything I completed plus I don’t feel the temptation to wander mindlessly through my notes, older blog posts, etc.

5. Email is Your New BFF. Forget texting and FB messenger. I once used texting as a way to have deeper conversations with online friends. I thought that these conversations were meaningful but I don’t have a record of them; only a virtual footprint 👣 If I want access to my past conversations, they are buried among hundreds of thousands of text messages that probably won’t be looked at again. I like e-mail because I can keep the important files and discard the rest. The email I use is the same one I had since I was 12 so if a classmate or long-lost relative needs to contact me, they can. Looking back, I remember when we used to send chain mail to our e-mail contacts. It’s bittersweet digging up old emails but I have deleted the majority of them.

6. Classical and Chillstep. If you have a hard time staying focused like I do, try listening to
music. Not just any kind of music, preferably instrumental music. My muse is classical piano music, Lofi, and Chillstep (it’s an acquired taste). YouTube makes it incredibly easy to stream playlists so I recommend starting there. I also used to be into this weird sub-genre called Nightcore, which is another acquired taste. I cannot believe I am saying this, but I even made my own Nightcore songs and upload them to YouTube. At one point, I was so bored that I spent a few weeks pretending that I was DJ Hilz or something.

Note: You can find my YouTube channel @hellokitty8404. I guess people seem to like this music because my channel currently has 538 subscribers to date, and my most popular video has 269,712 views. 💁‍♀️


(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

The world is full of distractions, especially in this digital world, and it is becoming more and more difficult to stay focused. I believe that if you are able to implement my list in your own life, you will be able to focus on the task at hand. ✍📝

If you enjoyed reading this blog post or would like to share some nuggets of wisdom with me, please join the conversation below ↓ in the comments section. I know I haven’t been the greatest at replying to people in a timely manner but I want to get back into blogging again. However, I am always open to discussing this topic with like-minded people who are also motivated and driven to succeed!

P.S. You can now easily save this blog post on Pinterest by clicking here.

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

great-vibes.regular (1)

How to Strengthen Your Resiliency

(っ◔◡◔)っWhat do you think it means to be resilient or have resiliency?

The word “resilience” is derived from the Latin word resilience, which means “to jump back.” Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity and challenges. It is the ability to recover quickly from setbacks and to return to your previous state of mind. Resiliency is not a trait that everyone possesses, but it is something that you have to develop and cultivate over time.

If you imagine what a resilient person might look like, a resilient person is someone who can face adversity, uncertainty, and change with confidence. A resilient person is able to adapt to challenging situations and they have the skills needed to manage their own emotions. These people also have a sense of control over their lives, they can take charge of their circumstances and make things happen. Thus, resiliency increases their chances of success in whatever these people do, and this is something that we should all strive for!

(っ◔◡◔)っDo you wish you had this superpower?

The power of resilience can be developed and strengthened through lots of practice and patience. Resilience is a skill that can be developed, and it doesn’t take long to see some of the benefits. First, you need to know what your strengths are. Then, you can focus on those areas or develop new skills in order to improve weaknesses and challenges.

Before we get started, it is important to note that not everyone has a naturally resilient disposition and that it takes time to develop this skill. All of us have different levels of resiliency which we should try to improve on when possible. Below is a list of 7 key things that you can do to build your resilience. Let’s get started, shall we?

🔑 7 Keys to Unlocking Your Resilience

🗝 Develop healthy coping mechanisms: To succeed in life, we need to find a way to be more resilient. It’s easier said than done when you don’t know the benefits of using healthy coping mechanisms. They might include exercise, meditation, and eating healthy foods.

🗝 Work on self-confidence: Resilient people are able to overcome any challenge and have a positive, can-do attitude. They believe that with enough work, they will be successful in the end. One way to increase your resilience is by being confident in who you are — focus on developing your self-confidence by learning about yourself on

🗝 Create support systems: Networking with friends and family can be quite beneficial. They provide emotional support when you need it and can also help you recover from a difficult experience.

🗝 Develop self-efficacy: People who are resilient have a positive outlook and understand that they have the ability to overcome challenges. If you don’t believe in yourself, it will be difficult to get back up when faced with adversities.

🗝 Set goals and work towards them: If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that anything is possible when you have a resilient attitude. With goals and hard work, you can get past any obstacle and make progress on your goals no matter what challenges arise. When you have a long-term goal to focus on, it will help you stay positive and motivated.

🗝 Improve your problem-solving skills: Resilience is an important quality to have in order to overcome obstacles. People who are resilient are able to identify and solve problems when they arise. They also stay positive and motivated during hard times, which is crucial for developing a resilient mindset.

🗝 Be adaptable to new situations: People who are agile and adaptive thrive under change, they aren’t afraid of new challenges and have learned to roll with the punches. If you want to develop your resilience, it is important to improve your adaptability skills, so that you will be able to manage difficult situations.


(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

Our society has a tendency to glorify resilience and make it seem like we all have it, but in reality, resilience is not something we can acquire overnight. It takes time and hard work to build our own personal resilience. Even if you don’t like your circumstances or think that they are fair, resilience means that you accept it for what it is and stop trying to play the victim. How do you cope with tough times and overcome obstacles? Do you want to read more blog posts like this in the future? Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment below ↓ If you enjoyed this blog post, you might also enjoy reading 10 Ways to Change a Negative Mindset.

Thanks for stopping by! 💕

7 Ways to Stop Wasting Money 💰

Disclaimer: I uploaded this post in 2019 as its own page, but nobody stumbled upon it. I added updates and edited the original blog post to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. Btw, I searched high and low for the original Pikachu x Coffee & Donuts image(s) but I could only find them as re-shares on Pinterest. I cannot take full credit for these, so if you happen to know where they came from, feel free to let me know so I can give the artist(s) credit. Thank you! ✌💖

The Frugal Millenial

As a Millenial, I noticed that I do not fit the typical Millenial stereotype. Yes, I do enjoy homemade avocado toast once in a while, but you probably won’t find me frivolously spending money on daily Starbucks coffee runs or FabFitFun subscription boxes. Don’t get me wrong: there is nothing wrong with Starbucks…. more on that later. ☕ Since moving 2000+ miles away from home, I have learned to embrace frugality and started living below my means, which in turn, helps me save money. I am not saying that you should become frugal like me. All I am saying is that people are at risk of over-spending and buying sh*t they don’t need if they aren’t conscious of their spending habits. Surprisingly, cutting back on unnecessary spending is not as painful as it sounds nor does it have to be difficult. Below ↓ I have 7 practical tips on how to save money, whether you are a college student or a broke Millennial who needs to cut back on frivolous spending and curb your bad habits, once and for all. Let’s get started, shall we?

7 Ways to Stop Wasting Money

1. Think before you buy. When you receive your next paycheck, birthday money, etc. you don’t need to spend it immediately. How can you think like a wealthy person if you keep blowing your money on materialistic things or wants, rather than needs? It’s not about how much money you make; it’s about how much money you save.

(っ◔◡◔)っMy Two Cents: Is a daily Starbucks run really necessary? I go to Starbucks maybe once or twice per year, and even then, I am conscious of how much I am spending on these overpriced drinks. Sometimes, date night is a must so I do splurge from time to time but this is not a daily or weekly thing for us. Being frugal doesn’t mean that I don’t buy nice things. However, we buy what is on sale and only if we need it vs. want it. For example, a few years ago when my daughter was a toddler, we bought a Baby Gap hoodie that was on sale for $10 in the U.S.

2. Less is more. Do you really need 4 tablets, 2 laptops, and 3 smartphones with unlimited data and roaming? If you are being honest with yourself, then you probably don’t need data on your tablet when you travel and you can still live well without the latest tech gadgets. This is not only expensive but it won’t keep you satisfied for very long. Soon enough, you will want the next latest, shiny thing that is within reach. Like video game, manga collecting, etc., it gets old after a while or you will grow bored of it. Most concerning, you will end up burning a hole in your wallet from this compulsive habit. Although some people might disagree, collecting stuff might not give you the sense of satisfaction that you have been searching for.

(っ◔◡◔)っMy Two Cents: We all gotta start somewhere. During the decluttering process, you might also benefit from reading this book: “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo.

img_3107

3. Shop at discount stores. If you can find the same brands at a discount store, then shop there. In order to know if I am actually getting a good deal, I shop by unit price to save money on groceries, etc. My husband taught me this trick so that I don’t get carried away shopping at places like Dollarama where smaller items by weight are disguised as being a good deal 😆 Sometimes, upgrading to a larger size elsewhere makes sense, like dish soap or…. ahem! toilet paper! 🧻🙊 Most of the time, I can get away with shopping at Dollarama for the same brands.

(っ◔◡◔)っMy Two Cents: When we were still living in the NW of Calgary, I was excited when there was a Dollarama opening nearby. If you are familiar with the NW of Calgary, it used to be challenging finding a Dollarama within a 10min. driving radius. Since we moved to our townhouse, I happen to live close to a plaza with a Dollarama! 😅 This is the best Dollar Store in Canada in my opinion. I often shop here for discounted brand-name items and cute stationery (see photo of cute tropical stickers). The photo of the Dollarama signage was taken in the NW of Calgary before we moved across the city in May 2021.

41b8787b-0d85-4c51-883e-87436b349bb9
img_3124

4. Don’t collect multiples. This is an ongoing problem at my mom’s house. She often buys multiple items of the same thing because she forgets what she already bought. As a result, items like food in the fridge often get lost and forgotten. Not only is this a waste of money, but chances are you will end up tossing these expired products in the trash. I try not to buy multiples by keeping track of what I own which is easier when you own less stuff in the first place. Do you really need 5 bottles of soap from Bath and Body Works? Unless there is an amazing sale on soap and you plan on giving them away as gifts, skip the multiples. My husband often buys multiples so I have a rule that we have to use up what we have before going to the store to buy more. 🛒🏃‍♀️

(っ◔◡◔)っMy Two Cents: I got a discount on these items which I would normally buy anyway because I bought them in a gift set rather than individually. Best of all, these items are full-sized so I got to try new brands and scents that I would not have tried otherwise. They sell these gift sets at the beginning of the school year, so it is like Christmas in September! To this day, I still don’t know what happened to the dry shampoo… I think it got left behind the last time I visited Ontario. If anyone has ever tried dry shampoo, let me know if it is worth buying in the comments below ↓ I’m curious to know what you think! 🙋‍♀️

img_7793

5. Make it Yourself. Do you have a habit of getting takeaway every time you leave the house? Do you need that daily 3 PM caffeine fix at the drive-thru? Instead of buying drinks, fast food, etc., the frugal alternative is to make it yourself. It is much cheaper to make a smoothie at home but it requires a little effort. I prefer to take the DIY route plus I can control what I put in my body (calories, fat, ingredients). With the internet being readily available to us, there are DIY recipes on YouTube, from Starbucks mock-cappuccinos to bath bombs.

(っ◔◡◔)っMy Two Cents: I never understood why anyone would spend full price on hot water and a teabag at Tim Horton’s, especially when hot water is virtually free and tea costs roughly 10 cents per bag. For this reason, I only order steeped tea at Tims which I cannot replicate at home. Trust me, I tried every hack and my homemade steeped tea tastes nothing like store-bought, even after I tried filtering the teabags at home for a richer, bolder taste. *Le sigh*

6. Cancel your subscriptions. As much as I enjoy reading magazines, much of what I read becomes redundant over time. There are a couple magazines that I really enjoy but even these get old after a while. Magazines are also quite pricey so it makes sense to order a yearly subscription. The only problem is that I was locked into a 2-year subscription to Cosmopolitan even though I got bored of reading them after a few months. I couldn’t care less about the advertisements, makeup, and fashion sections (more ads for expensive products that I don’t need).

(っ◔◡◔)っMy Two Cents: Before discarding my magazines, I made a vision board with snippets of positive messages. Before I moved to Calgary, I mailed my vision board to an online friend who lives in the U.S. For a while, we were sending each other snail mail. Since I reached most of the goals that I had put on my vision board and I didn’t have room for it in my new apartment, I gave it to her. What you are seeing here are some of the snippets I used. At this time, I am unable to dig up a photo of the vision which is probably buried in a file somewhere on our computer.

img_7182

7. Rewire Your Brain. I recommend having a broke student mentality, but not to take it too literally. If you have ever been in post-secondary school, then you will understand what I am talking about. Much of changing a habit begins with the way you think. By thinking a certain way, over time you can reprogram your brain to understand that the sacrifices you are making now won’t feel like sacrifices in the future.

(っ◔◡◔)っMy Two Cents: I have also adopted a minimalist mindset over the years and I am much happier with what I have these days. I no longer chase the latest, shiniest thing that is waved in my face. Learn to appreciate the good things in life and be grateful for what you have. 🙏💕

“Nothing worth having comes easy.” Theodore Roosevelt

img_1426

To all of my Millennial and non-Millennial readers, I hope that you enjoyed reading this blog post! 🙌 If this blog post taught you something or made you think about things differently, feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment below ↓ I will be AFK (working) this weekend, so I will reply to your comments when I have time.

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

great-vibes.regular (1)

10 Ways to Change a Negative Mindset

When I was still active on Instagram @serene_hilz, I posted an IG story about my struggle with handling strong, negative emotions. I realize that I am naturally drawn towards negativity, so perhaps that is why I attract more of it in my life. Lately, I have been reading more negative blog posts than usual, and I believe that this could be due to my newsfeed. Not surprisingly, I tend to follow like-minded individuals who seem to be negative like myself. After all, misery loves company.

(◔_◔)っSerious Question: How are we supposed to embrace negative emotions so we can get on with our day and have more mental clarity? To answer this question, I have compiled a list of 10 things that can help you change your negative mindset. Let’s get started!

10 Ways to Change a Negative Mindset

1. Check your attitude. The way you think about your life, goals, dreams, and desires can make a difference in how you live your life. Think about it: If you ruminate on the things that you do not have in your life, then you will subconsciously attract more of these things in your life. Not only that, but you will also create more frustration which is harnessed from negative energy. You are ultimately doing yourself a disservice by being a Negative Nancy and there is nothing cute about whining to me or to anyone else.

2. Think Better Thoughts. What is the difference between people who feel stuck in life and people who go on to accomplish great things? Successful people think differently than the rest of the herd. Often, successful people have already changed their mindsets, whether they are aware of it or not. The good news is that it is never too late to transform your thinking patterns too. One way to adopt a growth mindset is to become aware of your negative thoughts and actively choose to think better thoughts. Stop ruminating over the things that went wrong or believing that you are a victim in life. Instead, you can channel this negativity into a creative outlet, like blogging.

3. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others. Yikes. I think this one deserves its own blog post. I cannot stress this point enough but comparison really is the thief of joy. We live in a society where social comparison dominates, and whether we admit it or not, humans love to compare and judge. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other social media platforms really do bring out the green-eyed monster in people. Next time you feel tempted to compare yourself to someone you envy, try shifting your focus. Instead of focussing on others’ achievements, turn inwards and start focussing on your own unique qualities. I know this is easier said than done, but try counting your blessings the next time you catch yourself being envious of someone else.

4. Cry It Out! 😭 They say that “good girls don’t cry.” I hate to be the person to tell you this, but mentally stable girls cry. Big boys cry too. There is nothing bad about having a good cry. Most of us are taught that crying is immature, uncool, and a sign of weakness. If that was the case where we weren’t allowed to be vulnerable, then I would not be writing this blog post. More than ever, we need to allow ourselves to feel these feelings, both good and bad, and tears are a natural, emotional release. This, crying is a healthy way to let go of bottled-up feelings and emotional pain.

5. Forgive Others. How much time and energy do you spend being angry towards other people? Anger is obviously serving some kind of purpose in your life; otherwise, you wouldn’t be projecting anger into the universe. That being said, what good does it do for you to hold a grudge against someone who has done you wrong? Learning to forgive others is easier said than done, since negative emotions often cloud our judgment, thus making forgiveness seem like a waste of time. However, learning how to forgive others will give you peace of mind and, in turn, you will become mentally stronger.

“Unforgiveness is like drinking posion and hoping the other person dies.” – Margaret Stunt

6. Forgive Yourself. Do you say cruel things to yourself that you would never say to anyone else? Would you speak to your friends the same way you speak to yourself? Chances are, you probably judge yourself too harshly. AmIright? If you think that you are being too hard on yourself, maybe it is time to practice self-compassion and forgive yourself for being the imperfect human being that you are. We cannot undo our past mistakes, but we can choose to make better choices in the future if we can forgive ourselves and learn to trust the universe.

“You’ve been criticising yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” – Louise Hay

7. Learn to Let Go. There will always be things that you cannot control no matter how much you try to micromanage or wish for a more desirable outcome. And sometimes, feeling out of control can be overwhelming. If you believe that you are a #victim, I cannot deal with you right now. Seriously, nothing annoys me more than people who have a victim mentality. That being said, learning to let go and surrender to the universe is not the same as playing #victim. The universe works in mysterious ways and it is okay to surrender to the divine universe. Acknowledging your weaknesses and letting go of the things yet you cannot control will, in turn, make you a mentally stronger person.

8. Accept Life As It Is. Accepting reality can be scary because it means being okay with the way things are in the present moment. If you have been fighting reality, you might not be ready to accept your life as is. Similar to Point #7 it means surrendering and letting go of your fantasy self. It means facing and accepting what is, which allows you to make wiser choices in the future. Resisting reality might seem like the easier choice, but avoiding and resisting the truth has negative consequences.

9. Do Nothing. What do I mean by this, exactly? Doing nothing seems counterproductive, doesn’t it? However, doing nothing is similar to sitting in a silent room and meditating. I understand that meditation isn’t for everyone, nor am I telling you to meditate. People who have kids and/or busy schedules might not have the time to “do nothing.” A calmer mind can do wonders for your mental health if you are able to shut off the monkey chatter. The brain is not meant to run on overdrive all the freaking time!

10. Practice Mindfulness. If you haven’t been practicing mindfulness on a regular basis, start reconnecting with it by first silencing your mind. By living in the present, you break away from focusing on the past or future. If you have a philosophy background, you’ll know that the past and future are not real; the present moment is real. Since mindfulness enables us to bring our attention back to the present moment, perhaps we should start focussing on the things that are right in front of our noses. Just saying.

“Peace of mind arrives the moment you come to peace with the contents of your mind.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru


(っ◔◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

When you are feeling more relaxed and calm, you will be able to focus your energy on the things that actually matter. Best of all, you will be able to think more clearly which enables you to plan and better organize your thoughts. Remember, insanity is the definition of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, so I challenge you to try something different today. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment below ↓ if this blog post taught you something or made you think about things differently.

This image was edited by me aka. Mama Hillz

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

great-vibes.regular (1)

🌞Sunshine Blogger Award 10.0🌞

I want to continue where I left off since uploading the 🌞Sunshine Blogger Award 9.0🌞. Sure, there are several topics that I could be writing about right now, but I want to finish this before I move on to something else. You see, I tend to get hyperfocused and/or fixated on one thing which I feel inclined to finish before I am able to move on. I have always been like this and I don’t really see it as a shortcoming or problem. I checked my drafts yesterday to see if there were any more outstanding Sunshine Blogger Awards (SBAs) but it appears that I am all caught up! That being said, I really wanted to wrap up and retire the SBAs on my blog for good so the 🌞Sunshine Blogger Award 10.0🌞 will be my last one in this series.

Btw, feel free to leave comments in the comment section below ↓ BUT if you say something generic like, “Congratulations” then I’m not going to reply to you. To clarify, this was an open nomination for anyone who wanted to participate, so I basically nominated myself LOL

The Sunshine Blogger Award is per recognition award for bloggers who inspire readers by promoting positivity and bringing joy. Since nobody nominated me for any recent Sunshine Blogger Awards, I did some digging on WP and found an open nomination from a blogger named Beverly who runs a blog called https://becomingtheoilandwine.com. Honestly, this is the first time that I have read her blog so I don’t really know what her blog is about yet. When I have more time, I plan to catch up on her blog posts.


🌞SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD RULES🌞

The Sunshine Blogger Award has rules (surprise, surprise!). These rules ensure the success of this award, providing exposure to all the award winners. The rules are quite simple and straightforward.

RULES FOR AWARD:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions 👈 optional
  • Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts 👈 optional
  • List the rules and display a Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.

QUESTIONS I WAS ASKED:

1. What is one of your funniest funnest time of the summer? I’m not sure if this is a typo, and even then, this question is confusing. Funnest time of the summer? 🤔 I think the person asking this question meant to say “most fun.” I deal with high functioning depression so I cannot recall the last time I had fun during the summer. If I had to choose something, it would be enjoying refreshing bubble tea on a hot, sunny day! 😎 The husband would agree – this is his drink, not mine!

2. How do you like your ice cream? Plain or Toppings? I think D.W. can answer this question! 🍨

D.W.: Does Muffy have an ice cream machine? If she does, I’m gonna have vanilla with vanilla sprinkles and hot vanilla sauce. Does she have a petting zoo? I wanna pet a whale. I think I’ll pet the whale first, and then I’ll have the vanilla with vanilla sprinkles and vanilla sauce. But if I pet the whale first, my hands might smell fishy, so first, I’ll have the vanilla with the vanilla sprinkles and vanilla sauce, and then… Oh, wait. Whales are mammals, right? I wonder if my hands will smell mammaly.

3. What are your favorite gospel songs? I’ll recognize the songs when I hear them, but otherwise, I don’t know the names of the songs that I like. I don’t keep a playlist of gospel music.

4. Do you like ice skating or riding a bike? I used to be able to do both, but I haven’t ice skated or ridden a bike in over 15 years. I would like to go bike riding again since we live close to a 30-kilometer bike path, but we need nicer weather before I can turn that dream into a reality.

5. What is your favorite food to eat during summertime? How I dream of sunshine and summertime! I look forward to eating watermelon 🍉 and other yummy fruits that are in season during the summer months. Since it is wintertime, you’ll find me eating boring apples, bananas, and oranges. 🍎🍌🍊

6. What is your favorite book to read? I gave up buying (and reading) books in 2020 to save money and I haven’t looked back 😶 If I were to read a book, you would probably find me reading a self-help book or a recipe book from my bookshelf. One of my favorite books is, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life” by Mark Manson.  

7. What dream place would you enjoy visiting? Lately, I have been daydreaming of visiting the Maldives ever since I watched YouTubers vlog about this dreamy place! 🏝

Photo by Asad Photo Maldives from Pexels

8. Do you have any pets? If so, What kind? I have a Pug named Zoë and she lives in Ontario with my parents. My dad spells her name differently: Zoey. Since I live approx. 2,200 miles away, it is rare if I get to visit my dog. I miss my dog terribly. I blinked and she is now an old lady.

In Spring 2019, my husband and I adopted a rescue cat and I named him Timon, after the Lion King. He is a free-spirited cat who is untrainable, but I love him dearly 🐈‍⬛💕 In Spring 2021, my husband decided to get a bunch of fish so we have not one but three fish aquariums. Two fish aquariums are freshwater and the third fish aquarium is saltwater. I told him that cats and fish do not mix but he wouldn’t listen to me. 🤷‍♀️

9. What does Christ mean to you? This is a tricky question for me to answer because I consider myself to be a very spiritual person and only a little religious. What does “a little religious” mean, exactly? 🤔 It means that I lean towards Christianity and share the same morals and values as a Christian, but I do not actively read the Bible and I go to church because my husband makes me is Catholic. That being said, I find that going to church gives me a sense of calm and peace of mind, in similar ways as guided meditation. In the past, I was more agnostic but have started embracing religion a lot more since I became a mother. I am open to change, but I cannot see myself ever becoming a super religious person.

10. What encourages you to keep writing? I enjoy writing for an audience. Knowing that there are readers who give me the time of day and genuinely care about what I have to say means the world to me. Unlike other forms of social media, blogging gives me a voice. Also, I prefer to share my thoughts with like-minded people instead of keeping these thoughts to myself. I am an open book by nature, so this is a great platform for me to be my true, authentic self! 💖

11. Where is your favorite place to go to for vacation? I cannot remember the last time we took a real vacation, except to visit our families in Ontario last summer. However, I hardly call this a vacation; it is more of an obligation. We took a plane there so I guess this still counts? ✈ Ontario is my home province.

This is a photo of my childhood room. As a teenager and young adult, I had this limiting belief that I would be imprisoned between these four walls for most of my adult life. At the time, I was too scared to venture out on my own. Since moving out, my room has been repainted and my parents’ house is currently being renovated. I wish I could have told my younger self what I know now: The real prison is your mind and your limiting beliefs are keeping you stuck in life.

🌞SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD NOMINEES🌞

Again, I have decided to leave it open to anyone who wants to join in on the fun and I am keeping the same questions as last time. Tag, you’re it!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU:

1. Why did you start blogging?
2. What is the theme of your blog?
3. Is your blog a hobby blog or do you monetize your blog?
4. Are you a vegetarian?
5. How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you?
6. Have you ever tried online dating?
7. Do you have a Nintendo Switch? If yes, what is your favorite game? 🍎🍒🍊🍑🍐
8. Do you play Animal Crossing? If yes, what is your Island’s fruit? 
9. Do you believe in magic?
11. What is your favorite cereal?

And….GO!! I know you have very busy lives outside of the blogging world and I appreciate that you took the time to read this blog post! I look forward to reading your answers if you decide to participate in the Sunshine Blogger Award.

great-vibes.regular (1)

🌞Sunshine Blogger Award 9.0🌞

Whoever is reading this post, thank you for taking time out of your busy day to connect with me! I was hoping to wrap up the Sunshine Blogger Awards (SBA) for good with a 🌞Sunshine Blogger Award 10.0🌞 However, to my dismay, I am only on 🌞Sunshine Blogger Award 9.0🌞 which means that I still have room for a final Sunshine Blogger Award if anyone wants to nominate me LOL. You might be wondering why this blog post is so random. If you really want to know why I have the sudden desire to reply to a SBA-nomination from October 2019, it is because January has been a crappy month for me (still is) and I need some sunshine in my life. In case you missed my last post, here is a link to my similar yet different blog post titled 🌞Sunshine Blogger Award 8.0🌞

The Sunshine Blogger Award is per recognition award for bloggers who inspire readers by promoting positivity and bringing joy. Thank you, Steve, for nominating me for the award on October 14, 2019. This date is not a typo – I left the nomination in my drafts for 2+ years, untouched. I am sure that most of you are familiar with Steve’s Country unless you have been living under a snow-covered rock. But don’t worry! Steve has you covered. He has plenty of snow-covered rocks to share with you! And let’s not forget the hot cups of coffee waiting for you when you pay him a visit.


🌞SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD RULES🌞

The Sunshine Blogger Award has rules (surprise, surprise!). These rules ensure the success of this award, providing exposure to all the award winners. The rules are quite simple and straightforward.

RULES FOR AWARD:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions 👈 optional
  • Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts 👈 optional
  • List the rules and display a Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.

QUESTIONS I WAS ASKED:

1. What is your favorite fruit? Personally, I love them all so it’s hard for me to narrow it down to just one. I can narrow it down to my top 3 favorite fruits: peaches 🍑 mangoes 🥭 and raspberries! 😍 

2. What is your favorite meat? I think my favorite meat is smoked brisket from Big T’s BBQ!

3. Do you like to make your own juice or buy it? We used to have a Ninja juicer but it took up too much cupboard space and it was a pain to clean. Eventually, I gave my husband permission to sell the juicer and I do not regret this decision. While we had the juicer, we were able to make fresh carrot, apple, and beet juice which tasted amazing. However, the amount of work it takes to make fresh juice is not worth it in my opinion. I don’t buy juice because it is too $$$ in Canada. While we were visiting Singapore in Summer 2018, we bought freshly made juice every day! FYI sugarcane juice is simply delicious!

4. Do you like to bake? Sometimes. I like eating it more than I like making it.

5. Do you like to cook? No. Cooking creates a huge mess so I prefer simple meals. Less mess, less stress! My husband enjoys cooking so he is the chef in our house.

6. Would you rather eat at home or a restaurant every day? If I had unlimited, disposable income and I did not care about my weight, then I would eat at a restaurant every day. It is fun to eat out, so why not? But is it the right thing to do? Probably not.

7. Do you like to travel? Traveling can be fun, but traveling can also be exhausting and pricey $$$. And given the pandemic that we are [still] dealing with, we travel a lot less than we used to B.C. (before COVID-19) 😷 I have never stayed at a resort or have been on a cruise, so maybe one day I will be able to check these things off of my bucket list. In the meantime, I would like to visit Hawaii or visit Singapore again with my family.

Singapore, Summer 2018

8. Do you enjoy walks in nature? Yes, I enjoy walks in nature. I find walks in nature very healing and therapeutic. There is something very special about reconnecting with Mother Earth. I recently discovered a concept called grounding, which I like to do during the summer months when it is warmer outside.

9. Do you enjoy camping? I haven’t been camping in years! The last time I went camping, I think I was 11 years old. It was a lot of fun, and I would not turn down an invitation to go camping. You bring the camping gear and I’ll bring the food, which will probably be takeout. As we have already established, I don’t really enjoy cooking.

10. Would you prefer to live by the sea or in the mountains? We currently live in the foothills of a mountain which sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? I cannot get a good view of the mountains from where I live though. Due to the pandemic, we cannot visit the mountains in Banff National Park which is 1.5 hours away.

11. Would you prefer to live in an apartment/flat, or in a house? I have lived in an apartment/flat and I have lived in a house. I currently live in a townhouse and it is 1000% better than living in an apartment. A townhouse is quiet whereas an apartment is loud and noisy. We bought our townhouse in May 2021 and it feels nice to finally own a house. There was a time when I had to put up with an insufferable human who lived in the apartment dwelling above me. Re: What is “normal,” anyway?

Rebecca enjoying the first snowfall on our new balcony!

🌞SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD NOMINEES🌞

Usually, other bloggers ask me to nominate them for a Sunshine Blogger Award, so I decided to leave it open to anyone who wants to complete it! Please answer the following questions below ↓

QUESTIONS FOR YOU:

1. Why did you start blogging?
2. What is the theme of your blog?
3. Is your blog a hobby blog or do you monetize your blog?
4. Are you a vegetarian?
5. How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you?
6. Have you ever tried online dating?
7. Do you have a Nintendo Switch? If yes, what is your favorite game?
8. Do you play Animal Crossing? If yes, what is your Island’s fruit? 🍎🍒🍊🍑🍐
9. Do you believe in magic?
11. What is your favorite cereal?

And….GO!! I know you have very busy lives outside of the blogging world and I appreciate that you took the time to read this blog post! I look forward to reading your answers if you decide to participate in the Sunshine Blogger Award. 

great-vibes.regular (1)

Banana Bran Muffins

Disclaimer: This recipe was originally posted a very long time ago in a land far, far away. I am reposting the recipe as a blog post to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. Thank you for understanding! 🙊🍌

I have a challenge for you! Using everything you have in your cupboard, come up with a recipe and actually make it. You can “cheat” by referencing google for inspiration if you need some ideas. Tomorrow, do the exact same thing. I bet that you will come up with two different recipes without the need to buy any of your ingredients. Keep repeating this process and make a mental note to add your recipes to a database for easy access. If you do this for 30 days, then you should end up with ~20-30 unique recipes for your family.

I live in Canada and our degrees are measured in Celsius, not Fahrenheit. For baking purposes, I use Fahrenheit because it’s universal and easier to follow. But if you tell me that the temperature today is 45 outside, you’re not fooling anyone given that it’s the middle of November and there is snow on the ground. I will assume that you have mastered teleportation and are probably enjoying a Daiquiri on some tropical island….. and you didn’t invite me, how rude.

This week I made banana bran muffins and the batter was delicious. However, the muffins were dry and slightly overcooked, so I would suggest baking them for 15-18 minutes at 350ºF instead of 20 minutes at 375ºF. You can find the original recipe here.

BANANA BRAN MUFFINS

Servings: 12                          Time: 40 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup mashed bananas (approx. 2 medium bananas)
  • 1 1/2 cups bran mix
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut (optional)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. Combine bran with whole wheat flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and coconut (optional).
  3. Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk the egg. Then add milk, mashed bananas, milk, and oil to the egg mixture. For a smooth consistency, use a blender to pulverize the wet ingredients. I use my Vitamix blender but a simple blender works too.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir gently with a plastic spatula until ingredients are evenly mixed.
  5. Spoon into well-greased or lined muffin tins.
  6. Bake muffins for 15-18 minutes at 350ºF.
banana-2850841_960_720
Mind your banana. Photo from  http://www.pixabay.com

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

great-vibes.regular (1)