Mexico 2015.

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The plain old truth is that I haven’t quite known what to say.  I’ve toyed with shutting my little blog down because I hardly think what I have to share is of any consequence in light of my recent discoveries in all things spiritual.  Then again maybe the little things of life are that much more important because ‘heaven is all around us’ as it were.

We went to Mexico again this year and it was amazing.

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It was a slower pace than normal for me and I realize that part of my emotional/spiritual journey will be learning how to truly slow down.  It is only when I slow down that I can enjoy motherhood.  As a mother I am constantly pulled to move quickly to avoid a child’s meltdown, to keep up with the laundry; to keep up with the dishes, the diapers, the nursing, the teaching and answering questions, the endless amount of chores to be done while also being a good mom.  That is not even to mention the never-ending dust bunnies that I see and I know I just vacuumed yesterday (or was that last week already?).  I will never keep up with all of it.  I will never do enough.  And if I try I might just end up not being as good of a mom as I want to be.

So I need to slow down.

There is a parallel here that I am discovering ever so slowly.  Just as I will never be able to do all that I need to do to reach perfection in my daily life as wife and mother, I will also never be able to be good enough, pure enough, strong enough, brave enough, loving enough, kind enough, etc., etc.  Not without Jesus.  What He did for me is only now beginning to take shape in my heart and mind.  It is just beginning and it is OVERWHELMING.

So you see why I’m having a hard time coming up with something snippy and useful to post?  My normal attitudinal diatribe is sort of paling in comparison to the greatness that is HE who is everything, and HE who has saved us, and guess what?  You have been saved too.  Yup, I said it.  JESUS loves you.  Haha, I don’t even care that I sound like a WWJD bracelet wearing-card carrying thumper.  If you don’t know this I’m gonna tell you, because you don’t know until He has introduced himself to you, but once He does, hold on to your behind.  Not joking.

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So, in light of the revelation that has totally taken over my life (because, you will remember, I thought I was a Christian.  I thought I loved Jesus, but YOU GUYS…I had no idea.  I had never MET Him), you can see why I’m considering my blog to be somewhat ‘meh’ these days.

But this morning a dear friend sent me a text and in it she said something about me being an inspiration.  ME??  I thought about that for a minute, and it was surprising and it felt so good, especially coming from her.  She is the one who is inspiring.  But anyway, it got me thinking about my blog.  If my, ‘testimony’ were to reach ONE person, that is enough.

There was this guy who went to preach in Africa.  He was straight-up American with no foreign languages on the docket.  When he opened his mouth to speak to a large crowd of people his words came out in German.  He was speaking fluent German and he doesn’t speak German.  He later found out there was one person in the audience who only spoke German for whom his testimony had obviously been intended.  This is what I’m talking about.  This is my God.  He cares to go after that one lost sheep so badly that He will go to insane lengths with unfathomable patience to get you.  To get you.

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Yeah that’s right, Mr. H. is staring you down.  Be slightly nervous.  I fell for him because he smoked, drank, had tattoos and dropped the F bomb regularly whilst having a sprinkling of reverence for God which I thought was attractive in that sexy-humble kind of way.  That was us pre-children I’ll have you know.  But God is sneaky because it was marrying Mr. H. that really got me.  Slowly but surely his love for the Lord and prayer for my soul caught me in that net and as I look around at all the other fish here with me I realize that my God is MOVING right now in a way I never knew possible.

He is after you.  Don’t doubt it for a minute, and His brilliance in going after those of us who have lived in DEEP sin and rebellion is that once we find that absolute TRUTH, we are unafraid of what others think of us since we have lived a life on the outside our entire lives.  A girlfriend I never would have imagined would give her heart to Jesus texted me in January that she has met the Lord and now all we do is talk about Him.  You should have seen us 12 years ago (you should have seen me two months ago).

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Oh yeah, Mexico.  This is basically how I lived down there.  Dolly chunk-a-munk lived on me and we walked everywhere like this.  It’s our jam at home now and I love it.

I am sorry I haven’t been posting much.  I am sorry I’m not posting fun food stuff.  I have a ton to share there.  I’ve been baking 100% rye sourdough and it’s good but it’s kind of super rye-ee.  Now I’m trying a mix of rye and spelt.  I just want to steer clear of wheat, but you guys.  I can’t seem to pull off beautiful bread, artisan style crumb, with 100% whole grains.  Anyway, I’m going to get to a place where I’m thrilled with something in that department before I post.  I have a couple of tricks I’ve learned from a sweet little rye cookbook I bought HERE that I will share soon.

I’m making water kefir again, but it is taking about 15 batches for it to be lively enough to be super bubbly and delicious.  I’ll post on that once it’s a total success.

Truthfully I haven’t been inspired in the kitchen.  Just doing the few things I do because I know how, but not venturing out much.  I don’t know if all moms with two kids under two have a hard time finding TIME, but I sure do.  Very often I have to choose between washing my hair or changing new poo diapers; catching up on emails or sleep.  The fact that I’m writing this post right now basically means my living room is covered in legos, there is flour all over the kitchen counter, and I need to vacuum before the Mr. gets home.  Will it get done?  No really, I’m actually asking ’cause I don’t know.

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That is either a crocodile or an alligator, but either way, not cool.  You know how they kill you right?  Spinning down down, creepy evil buggars if you ask me.

Back to Jesus.

There is something I have to say here.  You truly just cannot and will not know until you know.  You are an atheist.  Fine.  I have many friends who are.  I’m woo-woo and you can write me off and that is fine because you know what?  He will have His way.  If the hound of heaven is after you, you almost have no hope of escaping.  I sure didn’t, and thank goodness because now that I KNOW, I am just plain overwhelmed that I may have never known Him.  And I’m only talking about in THIS LIFE.  There is eternity to consider here.  You know the whole ‘you don’t have a soul you are a soul’ thing right?  That’s a deal.  And also, C.S. Lewis said God has placed eternity in our hearts.  It’s true.  I knew it.  That longing, that unfillable by any other means thing.  And believe me, I have tried those other means.  All. Of. Them.  You don’t have a longing?  You are stoned then, and that doesn’t count.  You can’t really measure anything if you don’t take the test properly.

And one more thing.  I was in the camp for a while that subscribes to the whole “well, might as well be safe and believe Jesus died for my sins, because if it isn’t true then no harm, and if it is, ‘yay, no hell for me’.”  I say take that one step further and really put it to the test.  Put Christianity to the gosh-darn test and take your coffee loving, book reading, science-y-snobby-hipster-bottom to your favorite coffee shop, pull out your mac, sip your black americano (or true italian macchiato; none of this ‘starbucks macchiato made-like-a-late’ bull honkey) and follow this foolish little formula:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself to you (he doesn’t exist right?  So you can do this safely just to prove it).

Read the bible.  I mean, like the whole thing (no, not in one sitting you have to sleep).  Every time you open it though you have to ask to meet the Lord, and you have to actually want the Truth.  If you don’t really want to know the Truth, whether that be that God doesn’t or does exist, then you are just an angry atheist and those are just funny (Richard Dawkins) because they are so angry at God that they spend their entire lives trying to get others to stumble…oh how grateful I am that my sins are forgiven because I have made so many stumble…but I digress.  Anyway, if you want the Truth regardless of what it is, then you will find it.  I promise you.

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This guy here is a dragon.  This guy dares you to do it.

-Bee

Workout Routine. Healthy Breakfast. Baby Vacuum Obsession.

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First, breakfast.  Or should I eat breakfast first?  Normally I do, but in pondering a workout schedule it seems to me that my day would get off to the best start if I went for a nice jog and then thought about breakfast.  I have this mommy play group on Fridays.  Well, actually it’s our cousin and her two babies and Dub and I.  We sit in the sun and talk about healthy food and homemaking and we drink beer.  Yeah, it’s actually funny because since I have replaced my nightly beer with water kefir, Friday is pretty much the only day I drink, and so it’s about 1/2 a beer and I’m having a GOOD time.  Super cheap date.  Anyway, it is Lashawna that convinced me to run.  Well, I wouldn’t call what I do running exactly.  I jog.  I only started last night but this is the thing; I know it’s for me.

Throughout my pregnancy I did yoga every morning.  I know it kept my old body (yes, 32.5 is old, it’s older than I have ever been) from breaking when the day came to push my baby out.  I lived in Seattle for years and I always had an exercise routine.  I walked miles every day and many times I also did pilates and rode my bike.  I thrive when I have a real exercise schedule and somehow I’ve gotten away from that.

So, here is my goal.  I want to run a little every day until I can easily have a 5 mile morning run and do that 5 days a week.  I think 5 days a week is good because it will go well with Mr. H’s work schedule and get my day started right.

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Following my morning exercise awesomeness I will make a healthy breakfast for Baby Dub and I (note: I will have already fed the husband and sent him out the door with his lunch, as I do).  The Nut Bread from My New Roots, a fresh egg from our chickens, and some kind of vegetable will be a perfect after-run brekky.  Weston eats the yoke with his hands, and the vegetables, and I sort of Africa-mother-out and pre-chew the nut bread and then give it to him.  I do that with roasted pumpkin seeds too.  I know some people might think that is strange, but when you think about it it’s actually safer for him and also, mixing my saliva with it helps his body to more easily assimilate the nutrients.

Next, is anybody else’s baby obsessed with the vacuum?  I mean OBSESSED.  He says good morning to it first thing, and goodnight last; speaks to it, shares food with it, crawls at insane speeds to it, follows it around as it cleans and screams with it.  So, like any good mother, when I need to get something done I just lay the vacuum on the floor and allow baby Dub to be transfixed by its suckticulous powers.

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Next, more pie.  I KNOW!  I’m out of control.  After that though, I promise you something savory.  Why not a burger?  Brace yourself.

Happy June and happy exercising!  Happy eating too.

-Bee

Bounty.

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I’m struck by the blessings that surround me, even in this time of hardship.  Mr. H. is still in the hospital and I don’t really know what the point is without him.  Well it’s Weston, of course, but having him gone makes me realize just how much of what I do is for him.  Only a few years ago I couldn’t find the coffee cups in the kitchen much less dominate, as I do now (that is a bit tongue in cheek since I view myself as a perfect example for the most illiterate of wanna-be cooks).  Mr. H. was there to test every FAIL and build me up; to literally pick me up off the kitchen floor when something I’d spent all day preparing was found burnt to a crisp in the oven because I had forgotten to set the final timer.  I’ve tried to keep the torches burning for him up in that big and foreboding hospital building.  Maybe at a time when we are not there to greet him when he wakes, he can find a piece of home on his iPad and feel comforted.

This one is for you Mr. H.

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Melon Kefir so fresh and delicious it screams of summer.  

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The ladies are pumping these beauties out like you are here to help me eat them.  Weston is only good for about 1/2 yoke or so.

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I’m reading and researching and readying my engines for you and that voracious appetite to return.

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THIS is happening like crazy in the front yard right now.

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Certain liberties are being taken in your absence; I never thought I would miss your reprimands.

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The Kefir is SO BUBBLY you would be singing my praises even though it has nothing to do with me.

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And this face is being made a lot.  He sees you every day at the hospital, but he keeps staring at the front door around dinner time.  We love you Mr. H.  Come home and celebrate this bounty with us!

Water Kefir: Fit For A Queen (Bee).

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You know how at the end of the day most of the time a beer is necessary?  Maybe you aren’t like me.  It’s almost a requirement at the end of my days around here, and as much as I love a truly well-crafted beer I’m kind of getting old.  Beer is starting to make me feel poopy the next morning.  Yes, after one.  I still do it, but my body punishes me.  Well, I would like to share with you something that has almost completely replaced my evening beer.  Water Kefir.

Most people know about milk kefir.  It’s like yogurt in taste but you drink it, and it contains billions of healthy bacteria for your intestinal flora.  Water kefir has the same benefits but it’s dairy-free and you can flavor it in any way you see fit.  The bombest thing about it is that it’s good for you.  The second bombest thing is that it kind of has a teensy bit of alcohol due to the slight fermentation process and so when you don’t drink the beers but you drink the kefirs you get a tiny buzz, but without the morning ramifications.  BOOM you’re welcome.  Also, watered down this makes a super baby drink.  I know I seem off my rocker since in the previous sentence I said there is alcohol in it.  That’s why I said to water it down.

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It’s super simple to make.  The only challenge you may have is finding the kefir grains.  The kefir grains survive by metabolizing sugar.  You feed them every two days and they completely metabolize the sugar into what becomes this amazing probiotic beverage.  It’s astounding actually.  I purchased my grains HERE the first time and because, like kombucha (but WAY freaking easier believe me-when I lived in Seattle my kitchen was literally overrun by my brewing kombucha) your kefir grains will reproduce, you can give them away to everyone you know (like I did and then get mad at people for killing them when they never asked for them in the first place), or your dogs, or put them in a smoothie, or feed them to your chickens, or put them in your garden, or compost!  The reason I’m harping on what to do with the extra little buggers is that you really do want to stick to the basic measurements in this recipe.  I ALWAYS mess with the measurements and in certain circumstances it just doesn’t work.  Hence the death of my first kefir grains.  I did keep them alive for over 2 years, however.

This latest batch is from a lovely girlfriend of mine and they are so happy and big and amazing!  They have doubled every two days they are so happy.  Here is what they look like.  (Those little brown specs are just tiny seeds from the figs I had in with them.)

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So let’s get down to ‘brass tacks’ shall we?

(I always double this recipe but I always make more of everything because I have an unhealthy fear of running out of stuff.  Don’t be like me.  Or do, no actually DO and we’ll be friends.)

What you will need:

-several two-quart mason jars OR just some mason jars and a pitcher.  Nothing can be metal of any kind except your mason jar lids.  It will kill the wonderful bacteria.

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a mesh strainer (or you could get crazy and use cheesecloth or something but do invest in a strainer if you have to buy the grains anyway.  WORTH IT.

-wooden spoon

-kitchen towel and rubber band

-ingredients as follows

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Water Kefir (Day 1)

4c cool water (the bacteria seem to thrive with the minerals found in our water here in the NW; only use tap if you know it’s not fluoridated, or if it’s relatively clean)

1/4c organic sugar (the kefir really does metabolize the sugar so have no fear)

1/4c kefir grains

Handfull of unsulfured dried fruit (for example I use 4-5 figs, but you could use a handfull of raisins, a few prunes, apricots work great, really anything)

1/4c pre-prepared kefir OR 1/2 organic lemon

Fresh fruit of your choice for the next phase which is Day 3

Fill your container with water.  Add sugar and stir to dissolve.  Add kefir grains, dried fruit, and kefir  or lemon (squeeze juice in and drop the 1/2 lemon into the mixutre) and stir gently to combine.  Cover with towel and leave to sit out on the counter for two days.  This timing is very important so if you start it in the morning on Monday, tend to it on Wednsday in the morning as well.  Mark a note for yourself if you need to.  I do that every single time.

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Day 3

After waiting for your kefir to metabolize the sugar you are now ready to transfer to the fridge.  Strain the liquid through your mesh strainer into your ball jars and leave about an inch of room at the top.  Fill with fresh fruit of your choice to where there is only 1/4 in room at the top.  Close lid tightly and place in fridge for two more days.  At the end of the two days in the fridge your kefir is ready to drink!  I find that oranges and strawberries give me the most fizziness.  I add a bit of those to most of my batches.  Try every taste combination you can think of.  Beet-cucumber, beet-strawberry, melon-pear, pineapple-coconut.  The list is endless.

As for how to keep up your ever-growing batch of kefir you may re-use the dried fruit one time for a total of two uses.  Make sure to gently rinse off your grains once in a while before starting a new batch.  Do make sure to measure out your grains each time since too many grains means there won’t be enough sugar and they will start to struggle.

I make kefir every two days around here in the summer and it is heaven.  People love to receive it as a gift and it’s awesome to bring to friends houses since people always want to know “WHAT IS THIS DELICIOUSNESS THAT HAS FOUND ITS WAY INTO MY MOUTH?”  Oh, it’s only my friends that talk like that?  Anyway you get the picture.

I really need to start doing videos of this stuff hu?  Way easier.  I’ll think about it.

Happy kefir-summer-hippie days to ya.