what’s cooking: blackberry spice muffins

Today I got busy for the first time in a while, baking, cleaning, drying apples, finishing birthday invitations… (I can’t believe Moonglow will soon be five!)

Whole Grain Blackberry Spice Muffins
from Cooking Light

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp apple pie spice
1 cup milk
3 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups frozen blackberries, coarsely chopped
Cooking spray
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 400. Combine dry ingredients (flour throughly apple pie spice) in large bowl. Make a well in middle of mixture.

Combine milk, butter, egg, and vanilla in a small bowl. Add to flour mixture, stirring until just moist. Gently stir in blackberries.

Spoon 1/4 cup batter into greased muffin pan. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake 16-19 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks.   


thrift scores + lantern walk

I know. Two posts in one week. It’s a miracle! No, seriously, it still feels like a miracle that I feel happy and normal again. Well, happy but for the fact my lovable hubby totally watched Empire Strikes Back AND Return of the Jedi with Sunshine and Moonglow today while I was out running errands. For the first time. So totally not cool, man. Sigh.

But at least I got some great stuff! Several skirts and skorts for Sunshine, new dresses for both girls, couple pair of corderoys for Sunshine who is decidedly anti-jeans lately, couple plain shirts since Waldorf schools require no words or commercial characters or logos, couple pair of leggings, a cool pair of owl pajama bottoms, a long underwear top, and, the piece de resistance, a Patagonia down jacket for a year or two from now. All for under $80! Love Goodwill!   

Last night was also our annual lantern walk for the Waldorf school. Always lovely, though I often wish it could be more, somehow. Maybe that’s just my sour grapes that I ended up sitting in dog poo someone tracked onto the bench. :(   


walking on sunshine

Yup. Eighties ear worm. You’re welcome.

But seriously. This is how I’m feeling the last few days. Comparatively, at least. The last few days, I’ve felt… normal. Happy. Content. Not like I can’t handle life and want to cry all the time. It’s… awesome. I’m a little nervous it won’t last, but I can breathe. I can see the light, even on the greyest of days.

My last post in August was a bit of a reprieve in what has largely been a sea of uncertainty and discontent the last few months. The shots didn’t seem to be helping as much as they had initially. And I was at a loss for what to do.

But last month I was drawing close to the bottom of the bottle of vitamin B complex I had purchased from my naturopath last spring. So I tried to buy another, only to find laws had changed and they couldn’t sell it to me. So they wrote a prescription for the pharmacy. And the pharmacist called me to verify if I wanted to proceed since it was costly and my insurance didn’t cover it. How costly, I asked. I used to pay $72 for the 30mL vial at the naturopath. For the exact same vial through the pharmacy, the cost was now $225. And they informed that it only lasted 3 months before it lost effectiveness.

Two things went through my head:

  1. Ouch. $225 each quarter. That’s over $1000 a year for meds if you count the fees for the second type of vitamin B and the syringes.
  2. If the medicine lost potency after 3 months, perhaps that’s why the shots didn’t seem to be helping like they did at the beginning. Hmmm.

So I bit the bullet and ordered the costly supplement. And after a couple of shots (it needs to build up in your system), I started feeling awesome. Starting about last Friday, I no longer felt a weight on my shoulders, tears constantly pricking behind my eyelids. So I’m only four days in, but I’m thankful for a few days of normalcy.

Worked out well since we had a Gentle Hallow’s Eve party for our Waldorf school Saturday night at the local roller rink, where I happily skated all night for the first time in nearly 30 years! We had a blast, and Sunshine and Moonglow can’t wait to go back. Sunshine, true to form, was nervous about going since she had never been, but quickly got past that. Moonglow, as expected, nearly had to be dragged off the floor at the end of the night. Pardon the expression, but that girl went “balls out” all night, barreling around with the “skate mate” (think walker on wheels for young skaters) insisting she didn’t need any help. At the end of the night, her face was red and her hair was wet from the exertion, but she had a smile on her face all night, even when she fell, repeatedly (seriously, the girl looks like a bruised banana!).

In other news, for the first time all year, I felt like doing something productive in the kitchen. I sliced up and dehydrated some apple slices for Sunshine this weekend. She was pretty excited.

So I’m not promising that I’m 100% back, or that I’ll be back to posting as regularly as I once did. But I wanted to report on some rays of light at the end of ten months of mental darkness. To tell others who may be struggling that it is real, to keep talking to people and looking for something that might be your ray of light.

Wish me luck. And I wish you all love and light.

long time, no post

In the words of The Croods (which was a much cuter movie than I expected), “Still alive!” Still taking it day by day, week by week, but I’ve recently started noticing signs that I may see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. One being I had several recent urges to post on this blog, so I though I would cobble some thoughts into a long overdue post.

So what have we been up to the last, oh, four months? Lots. But perhaps not as much as I once tried to tackle, and I’m accepting that that’s ok. My therapist says I’m not crazy, and don’t need chemical meds, which makes me very happy. I’m doing all the right things, and they seem to be helping. Vitamin B shots are now once or twice a week, at home by my own hand. I take some other natural supplements, have continued my karate and hiking, and have been making more time for myself, which I accept now I haven’t done enough of the last few years. (Here you go, mom. In writing. Sit down. :) You were right!)

I survived the marathon that is the school year. High five for me! Summer has given me a little more breathing room, and the girls have enjoyed a couple weeks at farm camp, Sunshine had a week of musical theatre camp at her Waldorf school, and the whole family (and some friends of ours) enjoyed a week together on an organic farm on Salt Spring Island for our first adventure at fiddle camp (Sunshine’s big birthday present–she recently turned eight!). We enjoyed our week, and I even got away for a couple hikes at a nearby provincial park. And we took the girls on a hike that included a fairy village!

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In June we enjoyed a great “muddy gnome” day that we bought on the school auction (which happened right after I stopped posting in the spring) in which our friends surprised us and brought out their excavator and decimated the hill full of blackberries in one day. I have never been so excited to see someone on my doorstep, let me tell you!

July passed in a blur, with camping over the July 4 weekend up at Mount Rainier, Sunshine’s birthday party, and fiddle camp. While we were at fiddle camp, we got another auction item fulfilled when Moonglow’s Waldorf school teacher came out and painted their room in the same Lazure style that Waldorf schools use. I will add a photo to this post as soon as I remember to take one, but it’s pink on the bottom half of the room transitioning to blue on the top. But until then, here are some Google images of Lazure painting to give you the idea.

Now August is upon us, and I’m busy planning for the upcoming school year, another sign my mental status is improving.


loose ends

I’ve been bad about posting. Time to tie up some loose ends. Not sure I will be posting as regularly for a while, but not shutting down, either.

Let’s see. Moonglow’s hearing test came back mostly fine. All the “normal” ranges were fine, blessedly, with the only losses being at very high or low frequencies that weren’t in their “official” range. The problem with the first test was the undiagnosed ear infection. Blessings and positive thoughts to a friend who had a similar test with her young one recently and is adjusting to different news about his hearing loss.

Moonglow’s nut allergy test came back negative. However, a friend with a severely nut-allergic child told me those tests can be false positive and false negative a surprising amount of the time, so I’m wary. Especially since her reaction was to eating unsalted cashews first thing in the morning; no other food or drink to confuse anything. So I’m wary about giving her cashews, pistachios (often cross-react), and mangoes. But life goes forward.

My whole 30 last year and my recent low-to-no version eschewing sugar but having low amounts of grains and dairy in my diet seems to be doing well for me. I recently saw my naturopath about this ongoing melancholia or depression or whatever you want to call it (hey, I’m an open person; shouldn’t be something we’re afraid to share with others, in my opinion), and while all my hormone levels looked good, it was gratifying to learn that since last year my bad cholesterol went down nearly 50 points and my good cholesterol went up. Yay, me.

Unfortunately that means there’s no easy answer to why I’ve been feeling this way for nearly three months. Not perimenopause. Not a need to adjust my thyroid medicine. And he says I’m doing all the right things: eating right, no alcohol, exercising, making time for myself. I’m really enjoying karate, and have been hiking at least twice a week, much to my girls’ displeasure. But right now out in the forest seems to be the place I feel most at home. Sigh. So I’ve been taking Vitamin D, and started taking a B supplement and getting a weekly B shot. I’m taking it day by day. I’ll be sure to post if I find the magic happy formula. :D

five minutes + 525 days (or less)

Yesterday. Sitting on my deck in the sunshine. Sitting my tea. Heavenly.

I haven’t written about it much here, but what I thought was seasonal melancholy has persisted off and on since the holidays. So I’ve been doing more writing and reading offline, seeking answers and solutions. Perhaps it’s perimenopause. Time will tell. But suffice to say I’ve been struggling. And ten minutes alone in the sunshine? It was just what the doctor ordered. ;)

In other news we entered the lottery for a private trip permit on the Grand Canyon for summer 2016. And we won! We’ll be there for my birthday no less. So I’m stoked about that, as is Mr. S. 

peas, planted

Today in the warm February sunshine, while Mr. Sustainable supervised bike and chalk time (and trimmed some blackberry vines by our front gate), I headed to the garden to plant some peas (shelling and snow) and a few carrots. Topped the newest garden bed with pavers and started planning the next bed to be redone. Then Mr. S. got it in his head to move the long-overdue butterfly bush half-toppled over in its barrel. Prep for that next garden bed. A bigger project than we expected. But now it’s done. And the sunshine ticked us past the 11,000 mark on our solar energy production. Can’t wait for more sunny days and making more headway on the blackberry vines, repainting the fence, rebuilding another garden bed, planting, and more!