Kernels of delicious popcorn are mixed with a homemade ranch mix! This Ranch Popcorn is addictive, tasty, and super easy to make!

Sometimes you forget how difficult childhood can be. How cruel kids are, whether or not it’s intentional.
I have a daughter entering fourth grade. She’s an adorable stringy little thing. She rocks a mop of super curly hair and honest joy in her soul. She’s a forever optimist and wise beyond her years. Her height and squeaky child voice are the only factors which confirm she’s not an adult, but indeed a child.

I speak to her as if she were an adult. I am straight about the truth of the world, her standing in the world as an afro-Latina, though at the same time instilling a sense that she can do and be anything. I point to women like Kamala Harris, Angela Davis, Maya Angelou, Sonia Sotomayor, and Maria Hinojosa to serve as inspiration. She listens to Ted Talks and podcasts to remain current without the filter of mainstream.
She doesn’t quit. It’s something I never taught her. She lives out loud and for a while she didn’t care that people called her weird. She didn’t care what people thought of her super firm stance against fast food conglomerates or her very astute political views. She didn’t care if other kids flinched when she eats broccoli at lunch or when she waxes poetic on the environment and dog poo.

Then she entered a STEM program this summer and I noticed a slight change. My Moonbug makes friends easily. She injects herself into crowds and they either accept her or they don’t. When they don’t, she moves onto a different crowd. She made easy friends in STEM until the seaweed incident.
My Moonbug loves seaweed snacks. Has loved them since she was a baby. I buy them in bulk and I’m careful to hide them, otherwise she’ll eat every single pack. I brought a bulk pack and she was excited to take them as a snack to her STEM program.

That evening while having a conversation with my son over unrelated matters she sat next to me and said; ‘Mom, I had a bad day’. Which never happens to her. She went onto explain that kids were making fun of her because she loved her seaweed snack. I tried to comfort her and though she maintained that she didn’t care what the kids thought, she said she’d never bring seaweed to STEM again.
This made me so sad. It’s a small thing. But her love of seaweed snacks and the inability of children to be accepting of someone who prefers them over Cheetos bothered me. It didn’t really stop there. She bought some beanie babies one day only to be told they were ugly by some children. Again, something small. And something that she surely would have brushed off six months ago – Now gives her pause. She wants to skip program days. She is giving their judgement weight over her love of coding or engineering or drawing.

I can’t allow that. Because even though my Moonbug is not unique – She is special in my eyes, and in the eyes of everyone who makes contact with her. When children make snide comments, they chip away at her foundation. I won’t stand for it. She’s spirited. She’s wild. She’s confident. She’s kind. I love her that way.

No flow with me, let’s talk about this Homemade Ranch Mix Popcorn. I wanted to use a store-bought ranch mix. The ingredients list, however, made me re-think that decision. I did a quick google search for ranch mix and found everything I needed in my spice cupboard. The ranch mix comes together quickly and makes enough for two batches of popcorn. All that’s left is the popping of kernels and the melting of butter. A quick mix and you’re done.

I enjoyed this Ranch Mix Popcorn with my Moonbug. We had a long talk about how she shouldn’t give a shit what other kids think. That once summer is over these STEM kids will be irrelevant, and so will her elementary school friends for that matter. I urged her to search people like her, even when she feels there is no one like her.
And she may be right about that.

For now.
In the meantime I told her to play to her strengths. I told her to enjoy her seaweed and her broccoli. To draw on her bedroom walls and devise a plan to save the earth.


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