Category Archives: fall

Seven Years and I’m Still Here

I love the change of seasons here.  It is probably my favorite thing about Michigan.  It is nice to always have a different feel to look forward to…and with it a change in scenery.  And fall does scenery the best!!

And then, 7 years ago, fall got complicated.

Patrice was born.  Good.  Postpartum depression, anxiety, and psychosis showed up.  Bad, very, very bad.`

Suddenly, fall became a hard time, a very hard time.  Seven years ago this week I ended up in the hospital for the first time when the mania (cue bipolar disorder showing up) tried to destroy me.

And ever since, fall has been hard. I find myself battling a major depressive episode each fall. It is a time of just working to survive.  So my time I have always loved, becomes instead a season of hunkering down and praying for my life.

But this year.  This year.  It has been hard.  I have been working my self care and medication tools hard and using the insane level of busyness of family life to my advantage–distractions galore!!

And it has worked!!  I was able to enjoy my wedding anniversary this week.  I am laughing real laughs.  I am still nervous as October 28th comes around, but I am hopeful for the first time in 7 years that I just might be okay.

Hope is a beautiful thing!

All That Falls

I found a project on Pinterest and we actually did it!!!

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We painted q-tip fall trees 🙂


Fall is Here

Fall is here.  I know it with every fiber of my being.  I know it NOT because of the pumpkin spice latte M&Ms headed to my grocery store.  I know it NOT because of the calendar–it still says summertime.  The cooler weather hints at fall, but the proof is in my brain.

My mind is racing most of the time.  I am having a hard time controlling my thoughts and my moods.  I want to run away from my life, from me.

It’s happening again.

It’s fall.

Every year at this time, since the very first fall after Patrice was born, I descend into the dark pit of depression.  It’s a little early this year, but it definitely is the fall round of mental torture.

I used to love fall.  I love the color of the leaves, the opportunity to bake and cook more.  I love the decorations.  I love the cooler temperatures.

But my mind makes it hard to enjoy all of those things.  It is too busy thinking over the years that have passed.  It is too busy telling me I am a horrible mother and I need to run away.  It is too busy torturing me.

This year, I recognized what was happening a little sooner so have kicked up my exercise a notch, reaching out to others, reading my Bible, giving myself space.

I am doing what I can to reclaim my season, to reclaim my fall.

It is Apple Season–Yum

I am not a food blogger, but as this time of year comes around, you will find me cooking, baking and crafting more.  One thing I have been making for years is Apple Pie.

We played hooky, this past week, from Church on Sunday and went apple picking at Erwins Orchards.

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We picked Macintosh, Cortland and Empire.  Most of them will become apple sauce, but a few are getting dipped in honey and munch on while others are finding their way into a pie.

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I originally started making pies when my great Aunt gave me a pie plate that had a recipe printed in the bottom and a lid that looked like lattice.  I used the recipe in that plate for a long time.  Then, I believe it was my Junior year of college, one of my best friends got married.  At her bridal shower I won a dollar store cookbook.  It has been the keeper of my go to crust recipe for 18 years.

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The recipe makes two crusts.

I have always been a rule follower, even in recipes. I always did them exactly as written.   My hubby is the opposite.  A recipe is lucky to even be a guide for him.  I think most of the time he sees recipes as something to be proven wrong.

I have made a couple adjustments to the crust recipe.  Here is “exactly” what I did last night.

  1. 3 cups flour
  2. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  3. 4-6 Tablespoons white sugar
  4. Mix the above together

Cut in 1 cup vegetable shortening with a pastry blender or two butter knives into pea sized pieces

Add 3/4 cup very cold water a bit at a time while stirring with a fork until a ball of dough forms. I actually dump in about half of the water to begin., then add it a little slower. I leave the dough ball a little wet. I find it rolls easier and it becomes the right consistency as I work to form it into a crust.

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I form one crust into the pie plate.  Mine is a little deeper plate than some.  The recipes typically call for granny smith apples, but personally, I use whatever I have on hand.

Preheat oven to 375 degree F.

Next I peel core and slice them with my peeler/corer/slicer.  I did 5 apples to fill this pie.  If you use a large apple it will likely only use 3.  I chop the apples a little, and then add:

  1. 3 Tablespoons flour
  2. 1 cup white sugar
  3. a very liberal dash of cinnamon (easily a Tablespoon or more)
  4. 2 Tablespoons butter or margarine.  All told, I probably use 3 Tablespoons.
  5. 3 Tablespoons of milk or a splash of milk

Roll out second crust, put over pie, pinch closed, hit with fork tines, put in oven 35-45 minutes.

Here is the pie after the family got home from church and discovered it.



It is yummy, albiet not neat and tidy to make.  My hubby always tells me after I make a pie, “NO more pies!  They make too much of a mess.”–until he wants another pie.

I love fall.  It seems like a return to the wonderful smells an sights of life.  I know some miss the warmth of summer, but for now I am happy.  Now, if you miss the heat, just think, this apple pie will warm up your house as you bake it and your belly as you partake of its “yummy goodness.”

Falling, Will I Fall

September 13th and it is already sweater and coat weather.  That’s okay with me.  I prefer jeans.  Sweaters tend to be more forgiving of my bumps and lumps.  There are amazing family and homeschooling activities–apple picking, cider mills, color tours, pumpkin patch visits.  And the crafts are just so cozy.  I love to make things.  My skills are limited, but I try.  Yesterday, I picked up my loom knitting again.  I curled up on the couch and started in on a pretty cap.  In the summer, it feels like I am wasting the weather if I sit inside and craft, because alas, winter will come. But before that, our trees will become a waving canvas painted so many vibrant colors.  I love the colors.  I can’t imagine ever living somewhere that does not have the color change every year.  I.Just.Couldn’t. 2013-09-21 15.48.58 2013-09-28 17.47.49 2013-09-07 16.57.10 2013-09-07 14.03.04   Some of last years’ fun (we haven’t quite commenced most of this years’ festivities–I believe that will be fixed tomorrow. I love fall and it’s fun things, but it has a dark side. It always precipitates an upheaval in my mental health.  I feel heavier.  I feel like I am thinking and moving through thick apple butter.  It has been this way since Patrice was born.  By this point in her short life, I had stopped being able to sleep, I was crying in the laundry room and bathroom, anywhere I could hide from my girls.  Desperation clawed at the fraying edges. Four years later, the clawing continues.  Mentally and physically I get scared.  I feel like turtle, I need a shell to climb into.  Every moment of thinking is complicated. I am so excited about the season and so scared of the season all at once. Looming in my mind is that first hospitalization 4 years ago (exact date is Oct. 29)–how desperate I was for help, not getting help, on a journey that continues today.  I stand here at my computer wanting to scream that I need help, but all I can is whisper–it’s fall, will I fall apart?

This is Dedicated to My Cousin

My lovely cousin is there day and night to share the highs, the too highs, lows and the too lows.  She is a spectacular mom, friend and worker.

BUT…today…I have something else to say…

Rake, rake, rake, rake, it’s what the family say!

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Going Kapluie

Thursday is often bit of a different day for us.  We  have homeschool co-op in the afternoon.  It changes up our schedule for the day.  And yesterday was another shake-up.  There was no co-op.

So we had Science PALOOZA.

In the morning we made exploding, er fizzing, candy corn foam dough.

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We did the fizzing in the area Stuie used to spend his nights when the bladder was failing.  Some of the yellow leaked out of our experiment box and the girls kept yelling, “Stuie’s back.”  Trust me, the vinegar, baking soda, shaving cream and cornstarch was much more pleasant to clean up than his presents.

You need to check out this fizzing foam.

Then it was on to phase two of the volcano.

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Turns out the photographer got bored and only took this picture.  We tried two different recipes for our paste.  The first one involved boiling and was goop.  It was not what I remembered using in school. So I tried again.  Turns out, you just need two parts water to one part flour.  Dip the strips in and pile them on the form.  The form is currently drying, with the  help of a fan.  The goal is to paint it today and go KAPLUIE sometime this weekend.

Here’s your chance to vote.  Should we use a baking soda and vinegar mix or 6% peroxide and yeast mix?  What do you think will give us the biggest KAPLUIE???

As a few side notes, we caught up on our science reading while working on our projects and will be doing some reading about volcanoes as we prepare for KAPLUIE.  Also, I am new to this, but here is my attempt to explain a co-op.  It is a group of homeschooling parents that work together to provide additional classes for the kids.  We go each Thursday for three hours.  There are a few sessions each year, but for this time around I chose a class on Johnny Appleseed for Caitlyn and Sue, puppet making for Caitlyn, Inside/Outside games for Sue (focuses on Christian attitudes when winning or losing a game), Geography for Caitlyn and National Parks for Sue.  Patrice is in preschool all three hours.  I volunteer in the first hour (Johnny Appleseed) and third hour (preschool).  It gives the girls a chance to interact with peers, continue to use and learn classroom/group etiquette and for me to interact with other homeschoolers.  There is a woman there that has been homeschooling her kids since day one.  Her oldest is working on her Ph.D, another is at Harvard, two are at Wheaton and the last is getting ready to graduate high school.  That encourages this mama a ton that it is possible to raise educated, well rounded kids…and possible to teach them how to read and write!!!


Some Pumpkin Fun

Patrice and I stayed home yesterday thanks to croup, but the others headed out to get pumpkins.


It is Fall!!!! And we welcomed it at Yates Cider Mill

Hubby and I have been going to Yates Cider Mill since we were dating.   It is not really big, it is just the right size and it has a wonderful river you can sit by and walk along.

We enjoy taking the girls there each year (seems like there are more of them every time we go!).

Just had to share this one again!

*Please go over and see how you can pray for Ali and her family.

Four Teeth and Know How to Use Them

It took several tries, but the girls and I finally made it to the farmer’s market.  We didn’t bring home as much as we did last year

 But we did get apples, potatoes and cherries.

Patrice now has 4 teeth, the bottom fronts have been through for a while, the top fronts just poked through, but she is not afraid to use them.  I originally had the big bag of apples on the floor in the kitchen, but every time I turned around I found Patrice gnawing on another one.  They are now safely out of her reach, but watching her work away at an apple is crazy amounts of cute!