Young Mom

The absolute Ups and Downs that has guided me through motherhood.

Sitting here- 19, in the car with my cousin Caitlin. We’re waiting to go to class. This is our first semester in college, and I chose to move away from my family and go to college North East and away from home. Caitlin and I just finished jammin’ out to Luke Bryan’s ‘Corn makes Whiskey’ and I start to investigate my hands.

“hmm, does this look weird to you?” I ask.

“Well, they look pretty blue.” Caitlin replys.

Waiting for the doctor to come into the room. Caitlin has aquainted me here at the doctor.

“What can I do ya for?” Asked the doctor.

“My hands are blue, and I don’t understand.” I reply.

(Doctor whispers something to the nurse.)

Kneeling in the hall of the doctors office, I call my mom.

“Mom, I’m pregnant.” I cautiously explain.

“Oh, geeze. Do you want to tell your dad, or should I?”

“Can you please?” I reply.

(My dad was sitting near, and my mom tells him without hesitation.)

“Goddammit!” Was his response in the faint background

Sitting here, 12 am. 6 months pregnant. Waiting downtown to pick up my boyfriend of 5 years (high school sweetheart), he’s incapable of driving at this point. He’s all wound up after a night out. He’s young, but newly old enough to legally drink. He is being feisty and just wants to pick a fight for the fun of it. I am driving and he is having fun calling me names, trying to get a rise by making me jealous. He starts to make Bruce Lee noises and pretend to karate chop me, and nips my face. I punch him back in the side of the head. I pull over into an outlet. I’m emotional, and he tries to calm me down, but doesn’t seem to work. Nearby security calls the cops.

“I see you left a mark on him, we’re going to have to take you in.” The cop says.

Sitting crouched here, in a holding cell. There is bologna on the walls, and recovering drunks sleeping on the floor. I am crying. I am in a nice long summer maxi dress, that I am dreading having touch the floor of this cell. Holding my belly, the sheriff comes and calls me over to tell me I have been released. I walk out to find my dad and his oldest brother. They both welcome me with the biggest hug and kiss.

Standing soon after child birth, November 2010. My first bon has arrived. Delivery room packed with family.

Kneeling by the tree, Christmas Day, with a newborn baby. My mom leaves.

Laying here, passed out mid daylight at a graduation party next door to my Uncles house. I have my best friend, my dad, brother, and my cousin Danielle with me. I’m drunk, incapable of taking care of my 8 month old. Danielle steps in and cares for my daughter for me. That day hurt. More than words can express.

Sitting here, in my car outside of the doctor’s office. I am interning for a requirement for the end of my trade school certification. On the phone with my first borns father. Arguing about if I even have what it takes to become something of this internship. Our relationship ends that day; I didn’t get the job.

Kneeling here- forehead to the floor, after opening the door to his room. My dads gone.

Sitting here, 21, living with my dad’s sister for she has taken me in. Contemplating life as it truly is. Pregnant with a new boyfriend I had met two weeks before my dad’s passing, thoughts of it being a sign for him to be in my life.

Laying on the couch, 14 hours into my second shift at my second job, trying to stay awake at knock hours.

Am I Standing here? numb. when all signs point to no, when his pupils are pin needle, when my gut aches. Knowing I am both paralyzed and color blinded.

“I do.”

Sitting here, in a crummy apartment, wondering where the rent money is. Working longer hours, sick. To make up for missing rent. Now, face to face with the culprit with my earnings as his loot.

“We need that to put a roof over the kids heads!”

“I’m leaving, I’ll be back later.” he replys.

“You’re not leaving with the rent money again!”

I couldn’t let him leave. I have worked until I was sick physically and mentally drained, I have driven countless hours of commute, I have sweat, been puked on, pooped on, insulted by customers, residents. I worked until I was delirious and driving home just to get by being the only bread bringer. I did the only thing I can think of.

“Sorry, we get a call. We have to take someone in. He had a mark on him.” -Officer

Crouched here, in a cell, once again. This time, he made the call.

Laying– Sleeping on this secret. Too ashamed to tell my family what happened, ashamed my marriage is quickly failing after only a few months of matrimoney.

Sitting here, in a salon chair for the first time. Only a few hours until my first shift of the evening. I get a call from my boss.

“Hey, there are police officers who are trying to reach you. They left me their number, it’s urgent you call them back. ”

I call them back, completely confused. My heart dropped, and knew what I needed to do. I called my younger brother to take me to go pick up my baby from Child protective services. I get there and spoke with the officers.

“Your daughter is completely fine! She was fast asleep in the back seat of your car, he on the other hand is in the hospital, recovering. He’s lucky there was an ambulance near by, he could have died.”

“I don’t care about him, his choices, or his state! All I care about is my baby! Where is she?”

In my car, Chin held high, late in the evening. I start to cry- hysterically. I being to pray to my father for the first time. I am angry, I ask for guidance. I beg him to give me a sign on what I should do. Hitting the steering wheel and stressing on my hair and face didn’t do much until I calm myself by burying my face to the palms of my hands in hopelessness. A song plays unusually loud on the radio. A song I never heard of before that day.

She had a dead-end job at the National bank

And a deadbeat husband that always drank

So when he didn’t come home, she had the gin to thank

For the tears in her eyes

So Dixie packed up and said her goodbyes.

Danielle Bradbery- Heart of Dixie

Standing on my own two feet, for what feels like the first time. Although I have made my own choices, they never seem to be the best. It was time to truly reach out. I ran to my dad’s brothers. I asked 2 of his brothers for legal advice being they’re in law enforcement. I told them everything, balling. I ran to my dad’s oldest brother for moral support and to help sketch out a plan to get out. I ran to my brothers for their love, and support. I ran to my mom for ammends and her help as a loving mother as she has always been. I ran to my cousin Danielle, who in essence is also my best friend to be my absolute own self and spill everything and anything with.

I stood there with dignity, with fight, with love and support all around me.

I’m standing here with a plan. I can’t just leave. I plan for a new place without him. I begged him to go away for 6 months to recover as if everything will be okay. I did all the necesary paperwork to protect my family. I got a roommate who can help, so I don’t have to work as hard. I plan to escape in the most subtle and discrete way. The process has begun.

Standing here, with a new job, new career, new car, new benefits. All within just shy of a year, I left toxicity and grew strength I never knew I had because I was oblivious to being weak.

I have fallen so low, I have dropped to my knees from experiences and choices I have made. I have had my lows, but I always got up because of my kids and learning to use my best judgement in the most difficult of times when I had made choices based off my worst judgement. Ultimately, I wouldn’t have ever done it if it wasn’t for me peeking out of the ditches I fell into to see whats around. Being in the now and aware and knowing it was okay to ask for help really changed my life because of that outlook. I didn’t just get up, I saw the hands reaching for mine. I learned to save my energy when I was wounded to give myself a clear mind and continue to fight.

Motherhood is hard, have being a single parent once or twice is extremely hard. Expect that there will be days of discouragement and then there are days you’re motivated, progressing, and feelings of accomplishment.

You’re a mother who is HERE and in the now with love in your heart, care in your touch, and fight that will never lose its strength.

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Growing up with your own Tooth Fairy

When I was younger the Tooth Fairy existed! I loved imagining her, trying to catch her, and of course loved the nice green gifts she left. (There’s no pretending with that one!). It was just all together fun as a child. Now it’s my turn to have fun as a parent, and keeping the spirit alive and watch the creativity and imagination grow with your child. I came up with a fun little activity that starts off with a little bit of effort from you, but after their first tooth, they’ll keep it going as you will juist collect.

I usually have so much fun with my kids and do something creative to get their first tooth out. (We’ve all seen those crazy videos!). My daughter decided to tie a string with one side on a door knob, the other end to her tooth. From there, she Karate chopped the string! Floss works better, but all we had was craft thread that didn’t grip as much as we’d hope. On the third try, it popped right out.

On the Eve of the Tooth Fairy’s arrival, I typed out a note from her very own personalized Tooth Fairy. With this note, I gave her a name that I knew my daughter would just adore and addressed it to my daughter. I had to mention that her fairy will only take her tooth if she kept it well clean. This might save my butt one day if (hopefully I don’t) I forget to exchange her tooth for moolah. They might be heart broken, but first off, that’s life sometimes. Secondly, they’ll be motivated to keep their teeth clean. The next part of my introductory fairy note, I stated that the next time she lost a tooth was to draw a picture of what she imagined her Tooth Fairy looked like and tape her tooth to the drawing. I thought, this would be so much easier to snatch from under the pillow and by keeping these drawings over the years I can laminate and create a book. Starting with the introductory letter from her Fairy! Rhyming was definitely something I had to incorporate into as well, it just seemed that much magical. Below is the note I created to give you an idea.

With my first child, I was working a lot and wish I did something like this. Luckily, she has only lost two teeth and I knew I can come up with something to redeem myslef for it. I still have her last tooth (Not her first, which is a bummer.) Still, I made an introductory letter assigning her with a Tooth Fairy. The difference in letters is that I will state that her last fairy got relocated or switched jobs to be a garden fairy and planted her first tooth. Might be silly, but Hey! Just have fun playing pretend with them. In the end, you’re allowing their imagination to grow and this will be so much fun to look back on with the years ahead. I hope this inspires you to have fun with the magic of your little one and play along!

The 2 Methods I use to get my kids to act more respectful and responsible.

Oh the joys of having siblings. I grew up with three brothers, two of which were very close in age with me. I remember fighting with them all the time. I can only imagine how stressful it was for my parents to mediate and get us to stop fighting. Now that I am a parent, I understand that there’s more to it than just getting your kids to stop fighting and arguing: It’s how they handle problems on their own, cause and effect, it’s how future problems can get resolved, it’s how your child reacts to others emotions and cues, how they can identify the problem and learn from it.

I have tried many methods when my girls would fight with eachother. When I first started and they were younger about 3 and 5 years of age. I usually kept it simple and had them apologize to each other and let them know “sharing is the nice thing to do” and that was that. Now that they’re older it’s requiring more attention from me. The girls share a room, they have the same friends, share the same after school activities. They’re very close with one another. My girls are the best of friends but fight conistantly. This is getting to the point where I see a lot of anxiety arising, the same issues coming up, and yes, a lot of unnecessary “taddle telling.” Most of kids issues are issues that they can handle on their own with minimal interference from their parents.

Consistency

This is the first point I’d like to make because I feel it is the most important. I am not a very consistant person with much, but know it’s value. You can see results once you commit and stick with it, staying conciencous and catching yourself to stay on it is self discipline. I know when I slip with my consistency man oh man that hits hard. All of your work is just thrown out the window.

Methods

The methods I use now have helped tremendously and are so simple. The girls have gained so much respect for each other and communicate better in order to problem solve at home and in the real world.

  • 5 things they love about each other: When the girls start the name calling and disrespecting eachother over the littlest things, they come to me to taddle. Just today, My daughter came to me saying her sister said to her that she “wished she wasn’t born.” I can feel the hurt in her voice. I spoke to my daughter who said that to my oldest and explained to her why she shouldn’t say those things and the effect others get from the things she says. I sit them both down and usually start with the more calm child because it eases the child. who is more wound up. So, in this case, I started with my oldest who was hurt from her sister’s words. I have her list 5 things she loves about her sister. Typically by the first, the mood changes completely. My daughters usually mention each others laugh and they always start laughing. The end result from this technique always leaves them in a happy mood and grateful for eachother. Follwing this technique there is always an apology from what had happened, therefor it is more of a genuine apology, rather than forced.
Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com
  • Respect and Responsibility Jar: This is a new tactic that has been working. Everytime the girls do something thoughtful that falls under the category of respect or responsibilty I would put a penny in their jar. Nothing is mentioned, nothing is acknowledged- By that, I mean I can notice it, or not. Although it is considered a reward system, I want to make it known that they shouldn’t get praised for doing what they’re supposed to do. So, do what you’re supposed to do and watch your jar fill up. Examples of which I consider penny worthy: Dishes without me asking, problem solving with siblings in a mature manner, reading or homework wiithout being told, getting ready for bed on their own by following their lists (wash face, brush teeth, brush hair, lotion, etc.), asking to help with dinner or help clean. These are just a few examples, but you can imagine the new things everyday that they come up on their own that allows them to be more independent, and thoughtful. Once they reach the top. They can cash it in and spend it on whomever or whatever they want.

These methods have worked almost immediately and with consistency you can see a huge adjusment to your children’s behavior. As a parent, you’re always looking to fine-tune your child’s moral compass, and sometimes you can feel yourself in a bit of a toungue tie. Explain minimal, and allow your beautiful offsprings show you their exeplamary growth.

Tortellini’s and Roasted Tomato & Bell Pepper Sauce

This is such an easy meal to make, and is wonderful if you’re feeling something fresh and light. Although it does have meat in it, you can easily substitute the Proscuitto Tortellini for cheese or spinach stuffed tortellini’s. I bought the Rana (Linked for your convenience.) brand that you can get at most grocery stores. This meal also includes sauteed mushrooms and an easy-to-make sauce that is so good just on it’s own. Topped with Parmasean and a basil leaf. I like to make this dinner on weeknights when I want something that doesn’t take hours of preperation and energy because of after school activities or I am just feeling tired. I usually pair this pasta up with caesar salad and a nice glass of pinot noir!

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

Process:

  • 1 Package Rana Prosciutto Tortellini’s
  • 1 Large Bell Pepper
  • 4-5 Roma Tomatoes
  • 2-3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Large Yellow Onion
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 8 White Mushrooms halved
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • Salt and Pepper for taste
  • Oregeno and/or Italian Seasoning
  • Fresh Basil for garnish
  • Shaved Parmasean
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  1. In a large skillet, warm up to medium heat and add Olive Oil- Once warm, add chopped garlic, Chopped Onion, and Bell Pepper until mildly fragrant.
  2. Chop Tomatoes into quarters and add to skillet. Season with Salt, pepper, Italian Seasoning. Reduce to low heat and allow it to roast.
  3. Meanwhile, boil large pot of water for tortellini. and in a smaller sauce pan, melt butter for mushrooms.
  4. Once Pasta water is starting to boil, add salt and oregano in water for flavor and cook tortellini and drain water.
  5. Sautee mushrooms and set aside.
  6. Once the veggies are fully roasted. (Tenter, and mildly browned) puree in small blender.
  7. Build by starting with tortellini, then sautéed mushrooms, sauce. Garnish with Parmesan and Basil.

Jalapeno Poppers

Two Quick Jalapeno Poppers- An Oddly Satisfying Snack.

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Pizza Poppers

Serves: 2

Yield: 8 Poppers

Total: 35 min

Ingredients:
  • 4 Jalapeno’s ( halved, deveined, and washed.)
  • 1/2 Cup Pizza sauce (homemade, or store bought.)
  • Pepperoni’s
  • 2 Tbsp Cream Cheese
  • 1 Tbsp Parmasean
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Preparation:
  • Preheat oven to 375 F
  • Cut the Jalapeno’s in half long ways and remove the seeds and veins- wash well.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine Pizza Sauce, parmasean, and cream cheese. Mix well.
  • Using a spoon, generously fill the shells in each jalepeno.
  • Rip the pepperoni slices into 1/4 peices and build on top of sauce. I didn’t specify how much, becasue that’s your preference. You can also use sausage or mushroom (Any of your pizza topping favorites!)
  • Top it off with shredded cheese until full coverage.
  • Bake for 20-30 Minutes.

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Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Serves: 2

Yield: 8 Poppers

Total: 35 min.

Ingredients:
  • 4 Jalapeno’s ( halved, deveined, and washed.)
  • 4 Slices of bacon (cut in half)
  • 1/4 Cup Peanut Butter
Preparations:
  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Cut the Jalapeno’s in half long ways and remove the seeds and veins- wash well.
  • Fill 1/2 shells generously with peanut butter
  • Wrap with bacon slice. (I wrapped tight enough, so no toothpick was necessary- You can if needed.)
  • Cook 25-30 min, until bacon is brown and appears to be fully cooked.

8 Seasonal DIY Face Masks

8 Seasonal DIY Face Masks

Spring: Fresh

Spring is here, the birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming. What a perfect time to feel fresh and glow with vibrance. Below I will offer you some of my favorite masks I make from my kitchen cabinents that only contain just a couple ingredients along with their benefits.

Citrus Dream
  • 1/4 Cup Plain Yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp Citrus Acid (Or you can squeeze 1/4 Lemon or 1/8 Orange.)
  • 1 Tbsp Honey

Process: Mix all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Apply to skin evenly using a facial spatula and leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse in cool to warm water. With any reserved can be stored in the refrigerator for a week.

Benefits: This face mask is very nourishing and brightening and smells so good! Yogurt provides your skin with moisture and anti-aging properties. It also has lactic acid which removes dead skin and minimize your pores. Citric Acid brightens your skin by reducing dark spots, wrinkles, skin pigmentation. Honey is very soothing and is an antibacterial, in essence is perfect for acne and slowing down aging.

Spring Tea
  • 1 Green Tea Bag (Opened and crushed in mixing bowl.)
  • 2 Tsp Honey

Process: Soak Green Tea in warm water. You can either use the tea water and mix with honey or you can cut open the bag and mix the tea leaves with the honey. I’ve done it both ways, and have no preference. Apply evenly to skin, and rinse off with luke warm water.

Benefits: The Green Tea is a great detox for your face and is wonderful for anti-aging, specifically from the the Sun’s UV rays. It helps repair skin’s DNA damage and fights skin cancer. Honey moisturizes and helps with impurities on your skin. Together, a perfect duo.

Summer: Brightening

Summer is the time of year you want to glow. You’re out at the beach or in the sun and it’s hot, so putting on makeup and feel like you’re melting off your beautiful artwork isnt too satisfying. Giving yourself a nice bright glow in your complexion is perfect for that sun kissed feels you’re about to embrace.

Cool Cucumber
  • 1/4 of a whole Cucumber (puree)
  • 1 Egg White – whisk in with cucumber

Process: Puree fresh cucumber and egg white together in small blender. apply thin layer to skin as even as you possibly can and leave on for 15-20 minutes. Rinse with cool water.

Benefits: While the benefit of Cucumber is cooling to the touch and feels refreshing at that, it contains a fair amount of Vitamin C which sooths irritations caused by the Sun or heat. Egg whites minimize large pores and tighten skin. The combination of the two is wonderful for bare face for the summer days ahead.

Sun Kissed Tropical
  • 1/2 Banana
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 1/2 Tsp Tumeric

Process: Combine the ingredients in small mixing bowl, and mash with facial spatula until smooth enough to apply. Leave on for 10-15 min. Rinse with luke warm water.

Benefits: Banana offers an anti-bacterial which is great for blemishes and acne treatment, it is also very cool and refreshing in the heat of summer for application. Honey offers similar benefits but calms irritations and redness that can be caused by the sun. Tumeric offers much more than a nice glow of brightness including but not limited to helping with sun damage (including skin cancer) anti-aging, treating eczema, psorisis, cuts, blemishes and much more.

Fall: Exfoliation

Now that summer has come to an end, it is time to shed all the dead and damaged skin by exfoliating! I have been aiming a bit more towards face masks but keep in mind any of these recipes can be great for body masks as well. Body scrubs and exfliation is great for your whole body, and not just for your face, especially after damage from too much heat, toxins, and sun.

Apple Pie
  • 1/4 Cup Plain rolled Oatmeal
  • 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vienegar
  • 1 Tbsp Apple Sauce

Process: Boiled or canned apple sauce is fine. I boiled a half of an apple and pureed it. In a small mixing bowl I combined the ingredients and mxed well. Apply to skin evenly and leave on for 10 min. Rinse off wiith cold water.

Benefits: Oatmeal is nourishing and an anti-oxidant from pollution, chemicals, and is gentle to rub in. Apple Cider Vinegar is an anti-bacterial and helps treat wounds, infections, opening of pores to give a deep cleanse. (So rinse off mask with Cold water). Apples have many benefits, but perfect for re-building collegen because of the Vitamin C.

Pumpkin Bake
  • 2 Tbsp Pumpkin Puree (I boiled fresh pumpkin, and reserved the rest to make pumpkin bread!)
  • 1 Tsp Tumeric
  • 1 Tsp Honey
  • 2 Tsp Baking Soda

Process: I boiled fresh pumpkin, but you can also use canned pumpkin. After boiling and peeled, I pureed and then mixed all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Apply to face evenly, and leave on for 10-15 min. Rinse in luke warm water.

Benefits: Pumpkin is rich in B3 Vitamins which is great for removing dark spots and evening your skin tone. Tumeric releives dry skin by removing dead skin cells. Honey is an antioxidant for acne, and Baking Soda is a great exfoliant to also help remove dead skin cells, cleansing your pores, and prevent any reoccuring acne.

Winter: Moisture

Winter can be very irritating and damaging to your skin. This is the time of the year when the humidity in the air drops and the water in your skin quickly evaporates leaving your skin very dry. It is important to keep your face nice and moisturized for the months ahead!

Cabbage Patch
  • 1/4 Cup Cabbage (Boiled and Puree)
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 Egg White

Process: I just cut a “slice” from my cabbage bunch and boiled it (Tip: you can reserve your cabbage juice and toss in house plants or garden!) Then in Small blender puree all together. Apply to skin evenly, leave on for 15 minutes, rinse in luke warm water.

Benefits: Cabbage is one of my absolute favorite ingredients to use on my face, it’s high in Vitamins such as Vitamin C, which has anti-aging benefits, and Vitamin A, which improves complexion and encourages the growth of new skin cells. Coconut oil is amazing to use to moisturize your skin, but also is an antimicrobial which protects your skin from bacteria. Egg white is another moisture rich ingredient because of the Vitamin A component, but it also tightens and minimizes your pores.

All I AVO wanted
  • 2 Tbsp Avocado
  • 1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Small Lemon Wedge

Process: Small mixing bowl add Avocado, Olive Oil and squeezed lemon wedge and mash together with fork. Apply using a facial spatula evenly on skin, leave on 10-15 min. Rinse with warm water.

Benefits: Avocado as we most know is high in fatty acids, which is an amazing moisturizer! Olive Oil is a benefit to nourish skin and make it nice and smooth because it has squalene that both moisturizes and a natural antioxident. Lemon is an astrigent, stimulant, and a hydrater! Lemon can treat dry-itchy skin and also brighten.

Roasted Veggie Eggs Benedict

Roasted Veggie Eggs Benedict

Who doesn’t love a good Benny for Sunday brunch? Especially now that Mother’s day is coming up, treat yo mama right to this delicious meal! I remember when I was younger every mother’s day I would make my mama her favorite breakfast which was Salmon Locks Eggs Benedict. Even though I am not a fan of smoked locks, I have had enough practice to now grow in tune to my own taste and liking. So here is my favorite combination of flavor on my Benny!

Serves: 1

Ingredients

Process

  • I start with the Hollandaise sauce. I get a small sauce pan and follow the directions on the back. (Requires you to melt 1/4 Cup butter, add water and mix and stir gradually until thick.) I set this aside on warm or covered.
  • Heat up a frying pan on medium- low heat and add 1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to the pan, allowing it to heat up. Chop up the tomatos, mushrooms, and brussels and add to pan. Stir to allow full coverage from oil and cook until it first starts to soft, then reduce heat to low. and add ham to side of pan to warm up.
  • Toast the two halves of english muffin in toaster and I like it lightly buttered.
  • As the veggies/ham are roasting in pan, you will want to start cooking your eggs. I prefer poached eggs, but I also have cooked over easy on my lazy days. To Poach: Heat up water to a boil. I usually start by grabbing a spoon and make circles in the water along the perameter making into a whirlpool effect- gently crack an egg in the center and continue to circle the pan until the egg is fully white and appears to be cooked. Remove with a small strainer spoon.
  • The Build Up: Place english muffins on plate, then add the ham slices to each slice of english muffin. Add the poached eggs to the ham and lay out the roasted veggies. Drizzle, or pour the hollandaise sauce and top off with 1-2 tsp capers.

Enjoy!