“Get Some Sleep!” Part 3: Help for Mama

“Get Some Sleep!” – Part 3: Help for Mama

I’ve already shared quite a bit of our sleep challenges with my Baby Boy Love in my previous posts:

My New Year’s Mantra: “Get Some Sleep!”
Get Some Sleep – Part 1: The Struggle Is Real
Get Some Sleep – Part 2: Help for Baby)

So I’ll just get right to the good stuff…Here’s how mama got her sleep back:

1. Getting off coffee

I know, I know…this is not going to be a popular concept for most mamas out there.

Honestly, I did not get the allure of coffee (other than the smell – oohlala!) until I became a parent. Once I was a mama, I felt like I needed it to function… to survive the day. It was my “SuperMama Parenting Juice.”

I started by stealing little sips of my husbands coffee every morning once we got home from the hospital, then I went into a full blown frothy BulletProof mug just for me every morning.

But what I realized after 2+ years of the daily coffee habit is that not only was coffee draining my already depleted adrenals and messing with my body’s ability to balance my blood sugar…

On coffee, I was agitated, anxious, and sometimes, aggressive.

I did not like the person, or parent I became on coffee. And while the initial withdrawal was intense, I feel SO much more balanced without it.

The very same day we started sleep training, I attempted to go off coffee. My mom asked if I thought my drinking coffee had any impact on J’s sleep…I didn’t think so before, but looking back, I wonder if I was just in denial and being defensive of my “necessary” habit.

To be frank, it took me 7 tries (yes, seven!!!!!!!) to get off of coffee between January and May of this year. One rough night of sleep with my son and I was back on the juice.

I do still have one cup of yerba mate or a matcha green tea latte every morning, both of which contain some caffeine, but it burns cleaner in my body than coffee does.

2. Consistent Bedtime Routine aka Evening Ritual

While it is not a perfect science, I have a few certain rituals in place that help my body know that it’s time to wind down.

I love taking a hot shower to wash off the day and making a cup of Mother’s Milk & Ginger tea to sip before bed to help me re-up my supply for the next morning’s nursing session.

I also rub some lavender balm on the bottom of each foot. The relaxing aroma and soothing practice seems to help send me off to dreamland.

3. Set a bed time

When we first started the sleep training process, I actually went to bed at the same time as my son (8pm) for many, many nights. Because we shared a room, I didn’t want my entering and exiting to possibly wake him up. And because my well-being became my sole focus (aside from nurturing and caring for our son), there was nothing more important to me than stacking hours of sleep.

I don’t always hit it, but now I attempt to be upstairs and in bed by 10pm. 11pm is my absolute cut off, even on weekends, because I know that my son is reliably going to wake up by 6am, no matter what time I go to sleep. And when I am tempted to stay up, to watch a movie or connect with my husband I have to say “Putting myself to bed is a gift I choose to give to my tomorrow self.” It works, most of the time 😉

4. Turn off media

Exposure to light at night can impact the brain’s natural ability to produce melatonin. Blue light, which has the biggest negative impact on melatonin production, is most often consumed by us through our TVs, tablets and smart phones.

I do my best to turn off my phone before I begin my evening ritual, but sometimes I allow myself to get sucked back in. I sleep much better if I am off of media for 30-60 minutes before bed.

5. The darker the better

As stated above, exposure to light impacts sleep. I wear a sleep mask to help block light emitted from our thermostat and white noise machine. Also, it helps me not wake up when dawn breaks over the top of the mountain and pours into our floor to ceiling bedroom window. Black out curtains for the balcony doors will be the next big investment we make in our family’s sleep.

6. Sleepytime Supplements

There are plenty of non-habit forming sleep supplements on the market. But not all work the same for every body.

My current go-to sleep supplement cocktail is one capsule each of:

Magnesium Oxide & 5-HTP (an amino acid that supports serotonin production)

(Note: individual amino acids are not intended for pregnant and nursing mamas. I take the 5-HTP at my own risk, considering my son is still nursing. That said, we have given our son micro-doses of 5-HTP in the past when he has woken up from sleep apnea or due to vomiting and been unable to fall back to sleep for hours. We noticed this helped him in those instances to go from an almost manic state to peaceful enough to fall asleep. Because of our previous observations, I felt safe taking it, knowing he would likely get some of it through my milk).

Experience with other supplements:

Melatonin
I have tried melatonin, but noticed that if I was woken up in the middle of the very deep sleep it put me in, I would feel enraged and have an excruciating headache the next morning. This did not work for my body, nor for the way I want to feel towards my son when he wakes me up in the middle of the night. We also tried it with him, and while he would fall into a deep sleep, he would wake up more often with the melatonin. Currently we don’t give our son any supplements for sleep. He does take magnesium oxide (recommended by his Naturopathic Doc) in a smoothie every morning to help with chronic constipation.

GABA
My husband takes GABA, another amino acid that helps calm busy brain. It is helping him sleep better too!

Calms Forte
One homeopathic remedy I have used in the past for anxiety related sleep disturbance is Calms Forte by Hylands. It is around $10 for 100 tablets. You can take 1 during the day to quell anxiety and take the edge off, or 3 at night for helping falling and staying asleep. I used this religiously when I was a teacher and it helped me tremendously.

DIsclaimer: Always ask your Doctor or healthcare practitioner first before starting supplements, Pregnant and nursing mamas, especially!

Wishing you deep, sweet slumber!

Love,

Richele

“Get Some Sleep!” Part 2: Help for Baby

Let me start by saying, I am not an expert on baby sleep.

And if you’ve already read my previous post about our son’s sleep challenges, you would know that I would have hung upside down like a bat, drank mud or cut off my pinkie toe if I thought it would help my kid go to sleep.

What I’m about to share is what helped us help our little guy learn how to be a good sleeper. I’m not saying everyone should try these methods, or that they would work for every child. But what I will say is that this is what is working for us (90-95% of the time).

First, what didn’t work…

Last fall, we moved to a new place, Jacob turned 2 and he started rejecting his binkie, all at the same time.

Every night when he woke up, I would bring him into bed with me, and nurse him back to sleep.

Once asleep, I would transition him back into his crib, like I had always done, but without the help of the binkie, he woke up every. single. time. when I tried putting him back into his crib.

Instead, I let him start sleeping in bed with me. Using my boob as a pacifier all night, rolling around and kicking me in the face did not make for a restful night of sleep for mama. I let this go on for months.

So I had this bright idea to make him a toddler bed at the foot of my bed, with a rolled up yoga mat and body pillow tucked in the sheet as a bumper so he wouldn’t roll out. I would lie down next to Jacob and nurse him to sleep, then slink out from underneath him and into my own bed. I thought my plan was brilliant! It worked…for a few days.

But then he started waking up after only 10 minutes. Just as I would be falling back to sleep, I would feel him patting my feet and crawling up into bed with me. UGH! I hated the feeling of wanting my son to get as far away from me as possible, but I was out of reserves and desperate for sleep.

The day I finally hit my breaking point, I reached out to a dear friend and colleague, Laura Jack (author of The Compassion Code), who had success with the help of a sleep trainer. She introduced me to Natalie Willes of www.babysleeptrainer.com

I completed the sleep audit form on her website right away. I think my sign off was:

“Mama needs some f*ing sleep!”

I can only imagine what she was thinking. 😛

I was really looking forward to the consult with her. But instead, I got a text that night saying that because of Jacob’s sleep apnea diagnosis and special needs, we were beyond her scope of practice.

I’ll admit, I was super bummed.
But I completely understood where she was coming from.

Even though she couldn’t work with us, I was resolved to find a solution. I read every single word on her website and watched every video she posted. Her style is funny and super down to Earth. Not preachy at all. She gives it to you straight.

The best advice I learned from her and applied that very night (and every night since) is this:

  • Do not let baby fall asleep on the boob.
    (What?!!? This was a revelation).
  • Put them in their OWN BED (read: crib)
    sleepy, but with eyes still open.

The first night we got the crib all set up again, and decided we would let him cry for no longer than an hour. We set a timer. We kept the monitor off (we could hear him through the ceiling) and turned on the new Jungle Book movie to drown out the sound.

For first-time parents, having a child we almost lost in his first moments on this earthly plane, we had an unspoken pact to never let our son cry, unless it was completely necessary or beyond our control.

Listening to him cry was excruciating. It was beyond hard, for both of us. But we knew that learning how to fall asleep on his own was necessary for mama’s sanity and well-being.

He cried for exactly 48 minutes the first night, 33 minutes the second night, 12 minutes the third night and now it’s for seconds or not at all.

This was a game-changer for us!

Now, here are a few other strategies that have also made a difference for us:

  1. Stick to a consistent naptime schedule

When Jacob was only 6 months old we followed the advice of another friend and ordered the book “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child,” by Dr. Weissbluth. The information on how sleep deprivation affects the developing child is astounding. Even though nighttime sleep was our biggest challenge because of sleep apnea, we have used the proposed nap rhythm in the book all along and have found it helpful as we transitioned from 3 naps, to 2 naps, to now 1 solid 90-minute to 2-hour nap per day. We also try our best to get him to bed as close to 8pm as possible. This feels harder in the summertime when it is light out. (We still need to invest in some black out curtains!)

This book also has a section on sleep problems, for those parents like us who have kiddos that have bigger issues going on that might be impacting their sleep, and resources for how to get set up with a sleep study. (Happy to chat with anyone about this, as we have gone through 3 sleep studies so far).

2. Go outside & play, play, play (weather permitting)

Physical exertion, time in nature, fresh air, sunshine and splashing in the water during waking hours help produce quality naps and nighttime sleep.

In the warmer months, Jacob spends almost the entire day outside on a blanket, under a shady tree, reading his books and scooting around. When my husband gets off work each night he takes J to the river to practice their father-son synchronized swimming / comedy routine. I often stay home to make dinner, but when I do tag along, I get rewarded with ear-to-ear smiles and lots of belly laughs. After the swimming our boy is ravenous, then super energized, then he crashes. It works like a charm.

3. Keep the pooping on point

Nowadays, if J is having rough nights with sleep, it is usually because of tummy issues. He takes lots of supplements but the one we never miss is Magnesium Oxide. If he gets this daily, he usually doesn’t miss a beat.

4. Happy Tummy, Better Sleep

Ok, this one probably seems totally obvious, but worth mentioning. If baby doesn’t eat enough during the day, they will wake up hungry in the middle of the night If our guy doesn’t get enough calorie dense foods during dinner, guaranteed he will wake up to nurse by midnight.

This was especially hard for us earlier on because our son could not, would not eat anything (read: only nursed) until he was about 15 month old, and even then he was only willing to eat small quantities of fruit. We had to mix all of his daily supplements in a thimble sized amount of purees and we could barely get him to eat it. He is a much better eater now, with quite a big appetite. While he still prefers fruit, he has a more broad palate now so we have more options. I digress, this post is supposed to be about sleep, not feeding challenges, but hey, it’s all connected, right!?!?

5. Lullaby & Good night

Designate special books, stories, songs and rituals baby can associate with sleeping.
J knows that when we “Go up” it’s time to get ready for nighty night. We have a special book for getting pajamas on, “Pajama Time” by Sandra Boynton, and then there is a pillow fight and tickling with Papa, before we go into his room, rock in the glider and I have special songs I sing for nursing, and a sweet send off I say exactly the same every night before I put him in his bed. It might seem redundant, or get boring but I think the association with certain soothing sounds and sleep is healthy and helpful.

6. Keep the nose clear

It is less and less of a problem now that he is getting bigger and it’s summertime, but almost every night J’s nose has required copious amounts of saline (encouraged by his ENT doc). We use Baby XClear if he has a cold because it has grapefruit seed extract and xylitol, both natural antibiotics. But for everyday use, we use the Arm & Hammer Baby Saline nasal spray.

7.  White noise it up

We love our NUK air purifier that doubles as a white noise machine, gifted to us by a dear family friend…we learned about white noise for baby sleep from the “Happiest Baby on the Block” also a great book for the early days with baby.

8.  Soothe baby with scents

I don’t sell essential oils and I’m not an expert, but I use them and believe they work. While you would never put essential oils directly on baby’s skin, you can mix a drop of lavender oil with coconut oil and massage onto baby’s feet, or use EO’s in a diffuser. Currently, I am using the Badger Sleepytime Balm on the bottom’s of his feet, which includes Lavender, Ginger, and a few other oils in a nice soothing blend. One of my all time favorite blends is Serenity by DoTerra.

And last, but certainly not least…

9. Never publicly praise your child’s sleep

Seriously. I mean it. It is a recipe for disaster. And I keep learning this the hard way As my mother-in-law so plainly put it “you have to keep that under your hat dear” 😉 After my last post about Jacob now sleeping through the night, he didn’t sleep throughout he night for a week. Call me superstitious, but I’m pulling from experience.

I hope sharing these resources and the techniques that are working for us will be helpful for another Mama & Papa out there.

In “Get Some Sleep” Part 3, I’ll cover “Help for Mama.”

Wishing you sweet slumber!

XO,

Richele

“Get Some Sleep!” Part1: The Struggle is Real

“My Year of Healing” –  6-month update

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…Sleep deprivation is its own brand of torture.

In my experience, it is incredibly difficult to be the peaceful and present parent you want to be with your child when your head is pounding, your eyeballs feel like they are on fire, and your life is a scene straight out of the zombie apocalypse.

There may be moments when you lose your temper (I have pounded a pillow or to in my day), or fall behind on work, self-care or your daily domestic duties because you cannot muster up one extra ounce of energy to do anything beyond what is absolutely necessary to survive the day. Relationships suffer. Both the friendship kind and the romantic kind. It can be challenging to feel sexy or operate from your “higher self” when you are simply…
SO. F*ING. TIRED.

The cruelest joke ever played by the Universe is when baby sleeps through the night for the first time, but mama can’t catch a wink.

After 2+ years of multiple wake ups each night, my adrenals were shot, my nerves were fried and coffee was a necessity for daily survival.

As a kid, I was a champion sleeper. You know that phrase “sleep like the dead” Yeah, that was me. My mom would sometimes squirt me with water and my dad would threaten with “the tickle monster” to get me out of bed for school in the morning. In hindsight, I probably had adrenal fatigue as a kid, but had enough reserves stored up to be able to stay up late and still function the next day.

After becoming a mama to a son born with health challenges and special needs, there were no more reserves. You’d think being as exhausted as I was that I’d be able to nap during the day or sleep at night, but NO.

Since the day we came home from the NICU, I have co-slept (mostly separate beds, in the same room) with my son. I could hear every single sniff, snore, snort and roll over. And no matter how hard I tried, I could not get myself into a deep sleep. Through the ambient white noise, I would hear the faintest rustle and feel my entire system go into fight-flight-freeze mode.

Perhaps becoming a light sleeper is the fate of all new mamas. I felt especially prone to this, having a baby with breathing issues. Sometimes I would wake in the night and wonder “Is he breathing?!” and get close enough to hear his breath. Double damn for the times I accidentally woke him up while checking to see if he was, indeed, alive.

“Oh no…Is he going to wake up?”

“Please, please, please go back to sleep!” I would silently beg.

Every wake-up requires nursing to get him back to sleep. Consider this baby with sleep apnea, waking up 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, sometimes 7 times per night, and needing mama milk to get him back to sleep. (He refused a bottle, so pumping and having someone else feed him was not an option for us). Once he was down again, I would often lie there awake, anticipating the next wake up, because it seemed less painful than falling asleep only to be woken up again.

For the past 6 months, we have been actively implementing a gentle sleep training rhythm that has helped tremendously with Jacob’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. And it works about 85-90% of the time.

During this time, I have been stacking nights of better and deeper sleep, and diving into my own healing on all levels.

And as of two weeks ago…. Jacob has HIS OWN ROOM!
This is HUGE!

I am sharing all of this because there might be another mama out there with a baby with sleep difficulties. If you are reading this, I want you to know…You are not alone.

Check out my posts about what has been helpful for me in teaching my son how to be a good sleeper and  re-training my body how to sleep again, in hopes that it might be of service to another exhausted mama (or papa) out there.

“Get Some Sleep!” Part 2: Help for Baby

“Get Some Sleep!” Part 3: Help for Mama

Nighty Night!

RIchele

My New Year’s Mantra: Get Some Sleep!

I got one hour of sleep last night…
Not because I was out late dancing or having a romantic rendezvous with my husband, but because I am a
Mama, and sometimes that means being up all night with a teething nursling.

Truth be told, I haven’t had much sleep at all in the past 2 years since Jacob arrived. I can count on two hands, with a few fingers leftover, the number of times he has slept through from night till morning, and more cups of coffee than I can count.

I. Am. Exhausted.

My adrenals are shot.

I have dark circles under my eyes.

Some moments I have wondered if I am depressed (or insane), but I realize that’s the fatigue talking and that severe sleep deprivation is it’s own brand of torture.

While I don’t love having my sleep disturbed, I do love this child.

And you do what you gotta do…
for the love.

I’d prefer to post a New Years photo of myself looking well-rested, joyful, grateful, contemplative, peaceful and svelte, in a beautiful locale or doing something fun (maybe next year), but this is what I’ve got:

Here I am getting kicked in the head with a footie Jammie and rocking a giant wrinkle in my brow.

Happy New Year Y’all!

Here’s to another year with lots of love, guaranteed opportunities for growth, and so many unknowns in this crazy world we live in…

May you embrace it all with grace.

And to all the mamas out there, I bow to you with a wink, a nod, a hug, a cheer and a tear for all that you are and all that you do: Thank you!!!!!

May I offer a gentle reminder? Take care of YOU.

Because you deserve to feel good, and your entire family and the whole world benefits from you showing up fulfilled and giving your love & presence freely…
and that can only happen if your cup is filled up first.

I’m taking a dose of my own advice…
So here’s #mynewyearsmantra

Get. Some. Sleep.

I am prepared to practice the wisdom of so many mamas who’ve come before to “sleep when baby sleeps,” going to bed early, skipping evening snuggle time with my hubby, and saying “no” to lots of amazing opportunities that I simply don’t have the energy for yet. I’m already having a little FOMO (fear of missing out), but my experience of life moment-to-moment, even of the mundane, will be tremendously enhanced and enjoyable if I am well-rested.

And I know, with ever cell of my whole being that sleep is the foundation to my well-being, and that is deeply important to me.

This is the best I can do right now for myself, my family, the world…and I’m declaring that my best is good enough.

See you in 2017…hopefully I won’t sleep the whole year away! 😴

XO,
Richele

the gift of being different [VIDEO]

The gift of being different.

Here’s a little life update and my reflections on breaking free from the old “compare and despair” paradigm and learning to embrace the gifts (and challenges) of being different.

I trust that you’ll get something of value that you can apply to your unique life experience.

“Comparison is the death of joy” ~ Mark Twain

Acceptance and love are the keys to peace.

Now that I’ve shared what’s coming up for me… I’d love to hear from you!

  • What’s resonating for you in this conversation?
  • Where in your life do you compare yourself?
  • How can you practice embracing the contrast and loving who you are more fully?

Looking forward to reading your reflections in the comments below.

With love and deep reverence to your journey,

Richele

Richele tree

I Let Go

I Let Go

I’m letting go of doubt
I’m letting go of fears
I’m letting go of shame
Accumulated through the years

I’m letting go of not enough
I’m letting go of shoulds
I’m letting go of judgments
If I try, I know I could

I let go of standing idly by
while injustices take place
pretending my voice doesn’t matter
withholding my love from the human race

I’m letting go of numbing out
I’m letting go of pain
May the Divine plan unfold
Body & Soul cleansed by the heavens’ rains

I surrender to the release
Allow my tears and breath to flow
As I heal, so does the world
I let go
I let go
I let go

 

 

 

 

My story of healing through miscarriage

Do you trust the divine wisdom of your body?

(a story of healing)

You know how I like to dive deep, right?

Before I go on, it’s important that you know What you’ll read below (and why I’m sharing this with you)

My intention is to inspire and invite healing and love, for myself, for you and for our world, by sharing personal experience.

Stories are incredibly healing tools, as long as we share not from our mess, to perpetuate our hurt or to get agreement from others, but instead from a place of love.

I promise to never share from my mess. I vow to always do my inner and outer work, get the support I need and bring myself to a place of completion so that I may access the gift and then impart it to you, if it feels relevant and occurs as a contribution.

While there’s a small voice in my mind that says, “This is too much. Too intense!,” there’s a knowing deep inside that someone needs to hear this now and will benefit from this learning.

The teachings are applicable to so many aspects of this human life in this precious body, so I hope you will continue reading and take what is valuable and helpful to you and apply it to your life. Leave behind what doesn’t resonate.

OK, here we go…

Trusting the Partnership between God and the Body

Two months after our wedding, my body started speaking to me through various physical and emotional signals. I felt very clear that change was brewing.

I took a test that confirmed what my body already told me was true…Lucas and I were pregnant.

While on our honeymoon, I had a vivid dream that our baby was lying in between us, and we were all happy together.

After I expressed the dream to him, we went for a bike ride and my new husband developed severe back spasms and was incapacitated for a good portion of our honeymoon. Coincidence? I think not!

You might think we are weird, and you’d be right, but at the time  we worked with an intuitive healer regularly.

She told Lucas that he had “Peter Pan Syndrome” and helped him release his fear of growing up, which is obviously required for one to be responsible for another human life.

We agreed, being married for all of a few days, to table our conversation about kids and address it again after our first anniversary.

So, when I learned that I was pregnant, I felt happy, peaceful and bubbling with anticipation.

Yet, within the same breath, I was nervous to tell my husband. What if he gets mad at me for breaking our agreement?

Once I shared the news with him, there was a bit of shock, followed by fear. “What if we screw up?” And as we rode the wave of emotion, what emerged was deep love, connection and inspiration.

We reveled in joyfully making plans, being in action and preparing for the ride of a lifetime.

But within 48 hours, I could sense that something was shifting in my body. There were new physical and emotional signals delivering communication.

In response to what I sensed, the mind immediately went into fear “Oh no, what’s happening?!” I knew I was having a miscarriage.

Instead of stressing, freaking out and worrying my way through, like I’d done so many moments of my life when injured, sick or experiencing scary symptoms, I was able to access another way of being.

I deepened my breath and prayed.

I asked God, Universe, Creative Life Force, the Divine, Higher Self (whatever you like to call it) to allow whatever be for our highest good to come to fruition.

And then I did something I’ve never done before…

I let go and surrendered fully.

Trusting completely and wholeheartedly in the divine partnership between God and my body.

There was no need for me to worry, analyze or figure anything out.

I invited my mind to let go of the need to control what was beyond my control. It was out of my hands.

All that was required of me was to relax into the reality of what was occurring. I got quiet and listened.

When my body told me it needed something, I heard the call and took action. I had faith and trusted that my body was being guided, and knew exactly what it needed to do. And it did.

Did I grieve the loss? Yes, absolutely.

When I felt the sadness wash over me, I did not stuff it down with food, or put on a happy face for others.

I allowed myself to fully feel it, and release the emotion through tears. Emotional release is a very healthy thing.

Am I blaming and beating myself up for what happened? Absolutely not.

In the past I would have questioned everything I’d done, taking it on as “my fault” and not forgiving myself.

I believe it all unfolded in the exactly perfect way. Believing anything other than that would be a recipe for suffering.

Needless to say, it was an intense time of surfing the waves on the sea of human emotion.

I have learned so much, about myself, about life, about God. And in hindsight, feeling grateful for this deeply rich and raw human experience.

Albeit brief, the little life force that graced us with its presence made a huge impact on us and the “Blessons” (blessings + lessons) we gleaned are immeasurable.

Clarity where there was once confusion
Lucas and I realized that we want to create a family together.

Time and space to prepare with intention
We can align our choices with what we want and be prepared.

Trusting and surrendering, instead of stressing
The body is incredibly intelligent, and all we need to do is be quiet and listen and it will tell us exactly what it needs from us to support its healing process.

Knowing the divine is in partnership with the body
There’s is a knowing beyond our minds, and if we let go of the control and the worry everything will unfold as it is intended, for our highest good.

All actions and outcomes have a positive intention
Even if it is hard to see them in the moment, as we move through the initial shock and the emotions that follow, we can shift our lens so we can witness the gifts.

Often, we will need time, space and support from friends, family or a professional to help us move through the pain and into a place of gratitude and love.

Writing has been such a helpful tool for me to process.

If you feel called to it, I invite you to explore the writing exercise below. Take a pen and notebook and let your responses and emotions flow.

  • Which experiences in your life are you still grieving? (Or haven’t fully allowed yourself to grieve yet?)
  • Do you fully explore and express your emotions in a healthy ways? How so? (acknowledge yourself for it)
  • Have you been stressing and holding on to the need to control or fix a situation that is beyond your control?
  • Are you willing to ask for divine guidance? What would it take to trust and surrender to it?
  • What could go right if you did?
  • What are the Blessons (blessings + lessons) you are gleaning from your experience so far?

Thank you for allowing me to share this with you.

I realize this is a deeply personal topic and the journey is unique to each individual. If you feel called, I welcome you to share what was helpful for you and what you are taking away and applying to your own life experience.

All my love,

Richele

Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes with Maple Vanilla Frosting

These are the cupcakes I obsessed over in preparation for our wedding back in 2013, and now, as my son turns 3 today, I have revamped and simplified the recipe yet again. Enjoy with the ones you love!

chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting
Ingredients:

– ½ cup cocoa powder
– 1 cup Pamela’s Gluten free baking & pancake mix
(does contain cultured buttermilk, dairy-free version also available)
– ½ cup organic coconut crystals
– 1 organic egg *
– ½ cup coconut or almond milk
– ½ cup coconut oil (warm to liquid consistency)
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– ½ cup hot water or hot organic coffee

* for an egg free version, mix 1 tbsp chia seeds with 3 tbsp water, mix thoroughly and allow to set for 5 mins.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with 12 unbleached paper liners.

2. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients: gf flour, cocoa, and coconut crystals. Mix well.

3. In a food processor, Vitamix, or by hand with an electric mixer, in a separate mixing bowl add all the wet ingredients: egg, almond or coconut milk, coconut oil, vanilla extract and hot water (or coffee). Blend until smooth.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the mixer, blender or mixing bowl. Mix until a smooth, gooey texture is formed.

5. Divide batter evenly among the prepared muffin wells.

6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

7. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before slathering with frosting 🙂

Maple Vanilla Frosting

Adapted from a recipe by Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen

Ingredients:
1 cups organic palm/coconut shortening (Spectrum)
1/2 cup arrowroot powder
1/2 cup Organic grade B maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in the Vitamix or whip together with an electric mixer.

2. Once cupcakes have thoroughly cooled, top each one with a dollop of the Maple Vanilla icing and smooth to cover.

3. Dressed cupcakes can be stored at room temp, refrigerated or frozen and thawed out for later use.

 

Enjoy my loves!