Maybe you’re in the thick of it right now.

You may think the entire world is out to get you.

I won’t diminish your feelings, but I WILL tell you my son definitely didn’t receive what he wanted that Christmas and I’m the only one of the two of us who remembers.

It took me YEARS to get over what a fuck up I was to make such a foolish mistake and cost him the Christmas of his dreams… yet HE was fine.

We decorated a plastic tree in our pjs and ate too many cookies and THAT is all he remembers.

Every year since that Christmas I’d find a solo moment (typically in the shower) to shake my fist at the sky and curse the fact that I dispersed nicer gifts than Santa to a bunch of strangers with my cherished possessions I’d worked so hard for… until this year.

The other day I asked my son what he recalled about that holiday and it was cookies. Cookies and a drive thru light display.

He was in no way negatively impacted.

All these years I’ve held on to this grudge with myself. I’ve poisoned myself with anger.

This is the year I forgive and let go.

You may not be able to see an end to your struggle right now and you don’t have to.

You just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other and I have faith that one day you’ll find a laugh, as twisted as it may be, in your pain… and that’s when the healing begins.

You’ve got this. I promise ♥

xo- Deena


When I was a kid you couldn’t tear me away from video games.

In fact, I could probably still whoop some ass in a Super Mario or Yoshi’s Island competition.

I typed that just to make myself feel better because the reality is that I legitimately have NO CLUE what the hell is going on when I attempt any game created over the last decade.

I try… my brain simply can’t comprehend the fast movements and coordination that’s required.

As I’m sitting here watching these guys play a new game they got today I’m understanding EXACTLY how my mom felt wherever we tried to get her to game with us as kids.

Her answer was the same that I now say… “I’m good. You play. I’ll watch.”

And I thought she was SO LAME.

She wasn’t lame.

She was accustomed to what SHE grew up on and she was fucking EXHAUSTED.

Too exhausted at the end of her hectic day for her brain to take on ONE MORE thing.

To the parents who WANT to be “cool” in their kid’s eyes – sitting this one out and watching is absolutely ok and sometimes it’s the only answer.

xo- Deena


“The State of Florida will not budge on this unless you can prove something absolutely awful is happening… Like his father is shooting heroin between his toes on a regular basis.” That was one of the first pieces of feedback I received from one of the many attorneys I’ve consulted with over the years regarding my fight to have my son’s last name legally changed to mine. I also heard “the State of Florida would prefer he have an absentee father than no father at all.” Oh wow! THAT’S not a psychological recipe for disaster AT ALL, is it? I am not a victim. I chose his father. This isn’t a pity party. This is a story about a mom’s attempt to right a wrong.

My journey to have my son’s name changed began when he had just turned 4. His bio dad made it crystal clear that he was not going to be a reliable presence in his life and that’s when I realized I had to make it happen for this little boy. I had to make sure he and I had the same last name by the time he started school. I knew kids were unintentionally (sometimes intentionally) cruel and they’d be asking why he and his mommy didn’t have the same last name. I knew each time it would be a piercing reminder that he’d been abandoned and those were feelings I was laser focused on avoiding for him. Entering a school environment is life-altering enough, I didn’t want to ice the shit-filled cake.

And around every corner I was met with resistance. What the attorney’s said very quickly proved to be true. What concern is it of the state that my child is the only human being he knows with his last name? Why should they care that any time I took him anywhere that paperwork was required I’d be forced to explain (almost always in front of him) why we have different last names? COUNTLESS times I’ve picked this little boy up from school and he’s repeated stories to me that have straight up BROKEN my heart. Of kids telling (not asking) him he must be adopted and he can’t possibly be his mommies REAL child. Him questioning the truth. So many tears have flowed from both of us.

I obviously never accomplished my goal of changing his name before grade school. His bio father refused to allow it. At that point I had already met and fell in love with my now husband and every attorney told us there would be no hope of a name change until we were married and my child would be ASSURED a father. GTFOH with that garbage. But facts are facts. We didn’t rush our wedding by any means, but it has taken a painfully long time to make this happen.

Today it was finazlied, you guys. Today my son became OUR son. It’s never taken me so long to achieve a goal, but we finally have the same last name for this first time in his entire life. He’s been through SO MUCH in his short time here and I can’t stop crying because he’s wanted this for so long. To live life as an adult not feeling like you belong is gut-wrenching and this is what he’s been experiencing all his life.

I’ve never been able to breathe or sleep easy with this weighing on my mind… The pain this boy has felt.

Tonight I will.

So happy



When my son was two it was just us. I was a single mom on a strict budget and the only hobby I had time for was figuring out how to stretch a dollar to make food that was healthy and tasty enough for him not to complain about.

At the time I was working in morning radio which meant getting up and out of the house by 3:30am and returning somewhere in the early afternoon completely exhausted. Thing is, toddlers don’t give a fuck if you’re exhausted. So, I would leave work, drive to a farmers market near my house and load up on fresh produce. Once a month I would hit up $2.99 Tuesday at Fresh Market (not an ad) to stock up on chicken breasts, ground chicken and ground beef. That deal is seriously killer and I still take advantage of it to this day.

It was a nice distraction from the world around me to tinker with flavors and figure out what I could get my kid to eat and which textures he enjoyed. If I’m being honest, it was my only pleasure. So that’s what I did… Just the two of us pigging out on stuffed meatballs and baked salmon and bacon roasted sprouts and butternut squash soup and we were good. Then down the road I met Phil…

Phil can cook. Like, fucking COOK. He could win Cutthroat Kitchen. He’s calm and relaxed in the kitchen in a way I’ve never been. You can hand him a box of random shit and he’ll make something delicious, plated beautifully and served at the perfect temperature. I was so intimidated. I may have cooked two dinners for him before developing a complex that resulted in my unconscious decision to leave dinner to him and stick to breakfasts and quick lunches. I didn’t want to cook for him and it had nothing to do with anything he had indicated or done when I’d cooked in the past. I just felt inferior and I put that on myself.

So I baked. I stuck to baking, but not with much passion because I quickly realized that Phil speaks cooking SO WELL that if he decided to put just an ounce of effort in, he’d be a better baker than me in no time. And the frequency of my baking started to dwindle. Phil had no issue with it cause AGAIN, cooking is a breeze to him and it’s completely effortless. And that was our routine… I’d make sure all the clothes were clean and the house was in order and he’d cook all the foods. Then last week…

We were eating dinner and once again raving about one of Phil’s creations when it got quiet for a second and E said “Mommy, I don’t remember your cooking. I remember when I was a baby feeling like I really enjoyed it.” and I died. I was shocked. Did it really matter who cooked his meals? I guess it did. So I promised to make a few dinners this week. Then he proceeded to Facetime his grandma (Gaga) to scream in excitement about the fact that “mommy is gonna cook again!” WTF have I done robbing him of the experience all these years?

I beat myself up over it for an hour and then I got to work… Pinned a bunch of yummy looking Crock Pot dishes cause I figured there’s no better way to ease back into cooking. I cooked two dinners this week. They didn’t turn out like the Pinterest pics, but I tried and my kid put on a whole encouragement show in response. Clapped and smacked his lips and all.

So now I’m determined to cook, but I’m still cooking with fear for now. I don’t even know why. It didn’t used to be like this. Technology has changed since I last cooked regularly… Instant Pot? I can’t. I’m not ready for that thing yet. I AM ready for all the Crock Pot meals and one pot dishes. That’s the speed I’m driving at right now. Here are the meals I made earlier this week that were delicious. Please link me to some of your beginner level favorites as well! Click the name of the recipe for the lowdown.

I can’t imagine any other adult humans feeling the way I do, but if you exist, please let me know. Why are we like this?

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili via eatwell 101