Friday, June 22, 2012

Some experiments with kefir

So far, this week we have made honey cinnamon kefir ice cream, kefir smoothies, kefir salad dressing, and kefir bread. Here is my take on all of these. First, the ice cream:

I used 1 1/2 cups of milk, 2 egg yolks, a little cinnamon and vanilla, about 1/4 (if that) cup of wildflower honey, a pinch of salt, and 1/4 cup of kefir.

I warmed the milk in a pot on the stove, then added the egg yolks to make a custard. Equalize the temperature by whisking the eggs in a bowl and adding hot milk a little at a time until the temperature of the eggs has been brought up. It keeps the eggs from cooking on contact. I cooked that a few minutes, removed it and added the honey, vanilla, and cinnamon. I put it in a stainless steel bowl and let it cool. I ended up putting it in the refrigerator so I could get down to business. I added the kefir after it cooled off.

I used the KA attachment to make it into ice cream. No, there isn't any cream in it, so it should just be called ice milk, but because of the thickness the egg and kefir added it seemed more like ice cream. Despite everyone thinking it would be terrible, it was delicious and they all loved it. It will be made again. :)

Kefir Smoothies are as you would expect- a tartness of the kefir with the wonderful flavor of sweet fruit. I love adding bananas to them for additional sweetness. The lavender added a smell but not really a flavor.

Kefir salad dressing was delicious. I do like salads sometimes plain (I put everything in it from sugar snap peas to garlic scapes) with just a little salt and pepper, but this dressing was incredible! I used about a Tablespoon of kefir, a little salt and pepper, and garlic of course, and whisked in some olive oil. It was the perfect amount for a large lunch salad. I had a Bubbie's Pickle on the side, but really I didn't need it. I think the bite found in the dressing was enough (I still ate the pickle anyway). I will make that again.

Kefir bread: an ever changing combination of tartness, nuttiness and sweetness all at once. Today's bread wasn't as fermented as some we've made (alright, we've forgotten we had it started and just left it for about 2 or 3 days). It rose perfectly as most sourdough, but as I was eating it with supper, I noticed the sweet and nutty flavor of the wheat too. That has been missing in my kefir breads in the past. It rained today and was incredibly hot, so maybe that made the difference. I don't know. I hope to replicate that again, but I also like the surprise of wonderful farmhouse sourdough.

Well, I'll have to be creative tomorrow. I am going out and have planned pinto beans. Maybe I'll do kefir cornbread? I do have some kefir cheese in the refrigerator that I can have with the beans. We'll see what the Lord brings tomorrow!


Friday, June 15, 2012

This week

This week has been trying for me. I started working as a knitting lady at the bookstore. I was clocked in about 10 minutes when something urgent needed my attention at home. I rushed home to take care of it, and took my littlest one to the ER for an X-ray. Yes, it was that urgent. Nothing was broken, so I went to work Monday. Sales were pretty god for a Monday from what I understand.

Tuesday morning, the little one was still hurting pretty bad, but she has always seemed to have problems with her joints. I made an appointment for the next morning to see the doctor about the problems with her joints. Tuesday afternoon we got a call from the allergy doctor about a check up for our eldest girl. I am so thankful that they make those reminder calls. I didn't have that written down anywhere, but I'm pretty sure it was on a card somewhere in the office before all of that got moved into boxes. So, this pretty much schedules my entire Wednesday. My Honey is off Wednesday and Thursday (or Tuesday and Wednesday), so he takes a Sabbath rest on Wednesday. In between doctor visits, I make sure we cook for him. The first doctor was only about 20 minutes away. The afternoon appointment was about 45 minutes away.

By Wednesday afternoon, my dear eldest girl and I were both tired from the trip, the long, hot wait in the doctor's waiting room, and the only ten minute visit with the doctor. We decided smoothies from Panera was necessary to help us cool off. On and off this whole day, I had this weird feeling in my hip- like it needed to pop, causing the lower part of my leg to sometimes feel a little tingly and heavier than it really is. I'm pretty sure I had not done anything unusual, so I just ignored it all day. Once we finally made it home (to a lovely dinner cooked by my little one) I noticed my hip actually was hurting. Driving isn't really that hard of an activity, but spending the day sitting in a car is. Sitting always wears me out. I realize how stupid that sounds, but I just feel so stiff and sometimes sore after sitting- even through a movie! My Honey has complained because I always get up and find things to do but really other than tired feet, moving makes me feel better. Anyway, the evening progressed and so did my pain. I'm not sure I slept more than a few hours. Every time I moved it hurt.

Thursday morning I woke up and could not roll over due to pain! What an unusual thing to have happen- but not for me. I hurt myself in the most random and stupid ways. I'm not sure it's actually an injury because I didn't do anything out of the ordinary to cause it. I feel more like I've been tackled or something similar. Thank the Lord that my Honey was home on Thursday to help me get around a little. Mostly he was here to make me stop trying to do stuff around the house. Well, it hurt so bad I didn't really want to move off the couch! I slept some last night, but not much. Sadly I missed having dinner with my little Brother's Girlfriend, who was up for business. She stopped by to see my folks and tell them I was hurt. My Dad called me to find out if I was alright. I told him the reason I didn't tell them is because I felt stupid hurting myself while sleeping (which really isn't all that uncommon for me) and that I should be alright in a few days. If it had been anything important, I would have called them.

My Honey is at work today, and running my errands that I should have done yesterday. I talked to my Dad more today about my hip feeling out of joint. He said he does that too, but he always thought it was some sort of overuse injury. We'll see what happens. I need to be at work Sunday and Monday, but who knows if I am still going to be on crutches then? Whenever I am hurting I think to myself, "maybe it's time I see a doctor." Then I wait and start thinking of the costs involved: money, time, sometimes misdiagnosis leading to damage to health, etc.... I do not trust doctors for the most part. I know, big surprise, huh? I'm pretty sure whatever is wrong with me will resolve itself in time (well, I hope it will) and that if I were to go to the doctor, "nothing" would be wrong with me. Or that they would tell me what I told them, only in Latin and tell me to do what I'm already doing- sitting around, staying off it, but they would add to take a pain killer, then see an orthopedist if it still hurts next week. That's already part of my plan- sit around, rub some clove oil ladened coconut oil on the site of the pain (think bengay without nsaids or the side effects, plus I get to smell nice), possibly take some arnica (pain reliever) this evening so I can sleep, sleep on the couch so my Honey can get some sleep too (because I toss and turn keeping him awake), and wait and see if I can walk by some later date- maybe Tuesday.

I can say this has been good for my girls. They always step up and take responsibility whenever I cannot do something due to pain or being at work. They have been wonderful to me!  There are some things I am not asking them to do- they don't have to paint the office. They also do not have to organize my kitchen now that the washer and dryer are in there. I will do it eventually. Or I will sit and tell them where I think each thing will go and they will put it there and I will never remember where it is. :) I also haven't asked them to plant anymore of the garden without me. It's not backbreaking, but it's not the easiest job. It involves pushing a wheelbarrow full of dirt and chicken manure up a hill and across a dirt road. Even though I'm sure they are capable, I still think I like that job (along with weed eating around the place). Fortunately we have a great neighbor who cuts our grass currently.

Well, that has been my week. I love how the Lord sees our plans and says "I have something better for you." I'm trying to see what that "better" is. I'm sure there is a lesson I can learn- there always is.

I'll leave you with a picture that has nothing to do with anything:

My baby girl discovered candy corn is knead-able and really looks gross. We didn't eat it.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Most Special Day

Fourteen years ago today, I had emergency surgery. I had gone into labor a few weeks before, but as I laid in bed, waiting for Scott to get everything ready, I just felt like something was wrong. I prayed that this baby would be alright. Labor stopped and never started again. My doctor was concerned a little, but not that bad. So far everything had seemed just fine. He wasn't concerned that my labor had stopped, and was willing to wait. Eventually, we stimulated labor, and discovered that there actually was a problem. She was tightly tangled up in the umbilical cord. Every contraction made it a little tighter, eventually not letting lose. Her heart rate dropped and didn't come back up. We had never met and she was on the brink of death! The nurses prepped me in just a few minutes, wheeled me into surgery, and in about 15 minutes, I was saying hello to my baby girl. We had picked names for a boy and a girl- we didn't know which we would have. Upon first glance, she was very blue. She had the most serious look on her face. They whisked her away while the doctor finished up on me. Scott went with her. I was rolled into recovery and left to, well, recover. I had never had surgery before. The nurse came in and talked to me. As soon as I was able to wiggle any of my toes, they would take me to my room. I asked after Miriam. She said:

"You'll have to talk to the doctor about that."

That was it. No, "she's beautiful" or "I'll find out for you." My heart sank. I had never considered that my baby might not live. I had seen her beautiful face. I knew she was not doing well- she was blue!! She didn't cry out at all. She just stared into my eyes for a few brief seconds with such intensity that I'm sure she was serious- whatever her thoughts were. I had spoken her name to her and then they took her away, out of my sight.

Too much time passed. I tried over and over again to make my toes respond to my will to move them. I failed for a long time. I'm sure it was only about 30 minutes, but it felt like the nurse would never come back. I knew I couldn't go anywhere, though if I had thought for a second I could have walked down the hall to see my baby, I would have. When she finally came back, I was able to move my toes and get into my room. Still, I had not heard a thing about Miriam. The rest of the family was nowhere to be seen. We wheeled down a back hallway. I asked about the baby. She still didn't know anything. A short while passed and I finally got to see her. She was swaddled tightly so all I saw was her face. She was such a quiet baby. With help, I turned over on my side and nursed her. We had had now fourteen years to get to know each other. :)

Afterwards I was told that her cord was wrapped around her so tightly that it was not possible that she would have lived even through the labor, let alone a delivery. Her APGAR was 3 at first. What I was told was that she was on oxygen and even whisked away from her Dad so they could get her vitals normal. Once she was alright we got her back.

I have wanted to hold onto that baby as tightly as possible. Homeschooling has been a wonderful way to help our relationship be stable and grow in love as she grows older. I have always heard teenagers were just so hard, but she's such a blessing! Even though she's now 14, she still needs me sometimes. Mostly at midnight when she's trying to find something to wear, or to talk about her favorite music, or a book she's reading, etc.... I figure I can sleep when she's an adult. Of all the things I could hope to do better for her it is this: to love more, to be gentler and kinder, and to show mercy more often.

I love you so much my dear Miriam. You are one of a kind!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Numbers 30 and Liberty

My girls and I have been slowly reading So Much More by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin. It has been a blessing to us to have time to read books on womanly things together. We try and read once per week at least. In the third chapter of the book, entitled "Fathers, Daughters and Protection," they quote from Numbers chapter 30 which says:

"30 And Moses spake unto the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded.
If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.
If a woman also vow a vow unto the Lord, and bind herself by a bond, being in her father's house in her youth;
And her father hear her vow, and her bond wherewith she hath bound her soul, and her father shall hold his peace at her; then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she hath bound her soul shall stand.
But if her father disallow her in the day that he heareth; not any of her vows, or of her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand: and the Lord shall forgive her, because her father disallowed her.
And if she had at all an husband, when she vowed, or uttered ought out of her lips, wherewith she bound her soul;
And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her in the day that he heard it: then her vows shall stand, and her bonds wherewith she bound her soul shall stand.
But if her husband disallowed her on the day that he heard it; then he shall make her vow which she vowed, and that which she uttered with her lips, wherewith she bound her soul, of none effect: and the Lord shall forgive her.
But every vow of a widow, and of her that is divorced, wherewith they have bound their souls, shall stand against her.
10 And if she vowed in her husband's house, or bound her soul by a bond with an oath;
11 And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her, and disallowed her not: then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she bound her soul shall stand.
12 But if her husband hath utterly made them void on the day he heard them; then whatsoever proceeded out of her lips concerning her vows, or concerning the bond of her soul, shall not stand: her husband hath made them void; and the Lord shall forgive her.
13 Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void.
14 But if her husband altogether hold his peace at her from day to day; then he establisheth all her vows, or all her bonds, which are upon her: he confirmeth them, because he held his peace at her in the day that he heard them.
15 But if he shall any ways make them void after that he hath heard them; then he shall bear her iniquity.
16 These are the statutes, which the Lord commanded Moses, between a man and his wife, between the father and his daughter, being yet in her youth in her father's house."

I love that. A decade ago, I would have felt trapped by the very protection God offers me in this. My thinking then was "that's not fair that anyone else should be able to tell me what to do, etc..." God shows us mercy by allowing us a way out if we make a rash vow. Well, I for one am queen of getting caught up and making rash vows! I an so thankful that my Honey has the final say!

Notice in the passage that no one can hold her accountable if her Husband or her Dad says no. Not even God holds her accountable for promises made! I see in my life how hard things become for me when I disregard my protection. I recently had a situation where I did not consider my husband's "advice" on stopping me from saying something. I felt the need to comment on something that he had told me to let go. I told him how I thought I needed to say something because this was within the family of Christ, and of course he would want me to say something and maybe he didn't know the whole situation. Possibly, I reasoned, if he knew the whole story he would come up with some wise (read: think the way I did about it) thing to say to this person. I wrote an email, read it to him and even though I was met with a disappointed look, I decided to send it anyway. I got a scathing email back, which prompted me to want to say something else. I got myself caught up in this: this person needed council, but I was in no position to be the one to give it. I was heartbroken, not for myself, but for this person who was so bitter and angry. A day passed and I thought of it all day long, neglecting my responsibilities at home while worrying about things I could not change. The night came, and I had barely eaten because I spent my day worrying (the very thing Christ tells us not to do). That night as I lay in bed, it dawned on me that I had just made a decision against my husband's advice and this is why my heart was in such turmoil. I had opened that can of worms alone and now I was feeling the results of it. I apologized to my Honey and told him how it had affected me all day long. I didn't stop thinking of the person I so desperately felt the need to counsel, but I prayed about the whole thing. I prayed for that person. I prayed that I would remember that my Honey has the authority in my vows- whether to give me permission or make them void. I prayed that I would not disobey him again in this way- thinking I knew best when really the Lord has put me under the authority, care, and protection of my husband. I had read the passages in the New Testament about wives obeying husbands, but seeing the mercy God has given me through my husband having the final say really backs up the "why" I need to obey him. :) The real amazing thing is that not only do I not have to be accountable for the vows I make before man if they are rash (which I pray they are not), but even God Himself will not hold me accountable. What a merciful God we serve!

Here is a link to some commentary on this passage. I hope you are as blessed in reading this as I was.