Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Our little Charlotte waits.  She waits patiently by her well spun egg sac for her little babies to hatch.  Every time we look she is the same place, waiting.

For a moment I thought she had died because she was always in the same place.  But the next morning I saw she had a new web, freshly spun and beautiful.  So she waits quietly, in her own pre-baby stillness.  Moving at night to spin a new web or wrap up a flapping insect.  Than moving back to guard her babies, to watch over her little ones as the sun passes over them all.

Watching her, in what seems her unending patience, reminds me of waiting for my first baby.  Of course my baby was on the inside and there was only one.  But it seems similar, the waiting.  Those last months and weeks seem so long as you grow heavier.  Spending sleepless nights thinking of the new person coming into the world, so excited to meet him/her.   Waiting.

So our little Charlotte waits and she teaches me patience, as I long to meet her little ones as well.  I feel blessed that I have had the opportunity to do the waiting game more than once.  Where Charlotte will see these many babies into the world and than she will leave it.  Patiently waiting.

To nap or not to nap . . .

My 4 1/2 year old son is traveling through some tiring times.  I talk with other moms about this current crazy faze and most of them, particularly the moms with older children confirm that this is normal.  Something they have experienced as well.  Some of these moms have 5 children, so I am comforted by their affirmations.

As we struggle through this faze, this development, whatever you would like to call it.  I am finding that Gage needs more sleep than ever.  His exhaustion is all consuming and definitely adds to the "developmental struggle" :)   But we have also found that naps don't necessarily help.  When he naps he is up until 9pm and than we begin the cycle.  Up until 9pm, therefor needs a nap - blah, blah, blah.  So my approach is to push him through those saggy, tired moments and carry on.  Make it to 7:30pm and he goes right to bed, sleeping pretty soundly.

I do however, make exceptions as we always do in parenting.  Because some times the nap just happens to him.  It just takes him over the moment motion stops.  He is barreling around the house and happens to sit down for a moment and boom he is asleep.  He is wresting and swinging himself crazy at the playground, gets into the stroller to go home and boom he is asleep.  So those moments come and I try to take a deep breath and go with it.  Some times ya just gotta sleep.  

Just yesterday was one of those moments.  Around 4pm, the worst time to take a nap, Gage pauses for a moment (and I mean a moment) in his destruction of the house.  And a nap jumps up and grabs him.  I blink and see this upon the couch.

It's official the keeping him awake game is over, so I take a deep breath and move on.  Gage has fallen asleep on the couch, Imogen and I keep playing and I began making dinner within an arms breath of him and he sleeps through it all.  An hour and a half after crashing on the couch he sits up as though startled, looks at me and I think maybe this nap has come to an end.  But instead he slouches down and spends another hour and a half like this.

This nap, that I attempted to post pone lasted 3 hours.  3 hours.  That is quite possibly the longest nap Gage has ever taken.  He woke up a changed person, well-rested, happy and cordial.  That night we tried to get him to bed on time, to no avail.  He was awake until 9:30pm and the cycle continues.  Ow well, it was so wonderful to see him sleep so deeply, so completely and to see him wake up as my son, not crazy person that has taken him over recently.

So to nap it is, whenever the nap jumps up and grabs him.  It appears to know better than I what is needed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


There are many reasons to drink Kombucha, first there’s all the benefits of detoxification, such as healthy livers and cancer prevention. One of kombucha’s greatest health benefits is its ability to detox the body. It is rich in many of the enzymes and bacterial acids your body produces and/or uses to detox your system, thus reducing your pancreatic load and easing the burden on your liver. Kombucha is very high in Glucaric acid, and recent studies have shown that glucaric acid helps prevent cancer.  Even Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the recently deceased Russian author and nobel-prize winner, in his autobiography, claimed that kombucha tea cured his stomach cancer during his internment in soviet labor camps. (And because of this testimony, President Reagan used Kombucha to halt the spread of his cancer in 1987. You’ll note he didn’t die until 2004, and that was from old age, NOT cancer.)

Next, there’s all the benefits of the glucosamines it contains, such as preventing or treating all forms of arthritis. Glucosamines increase synovial hyaluronic acid production. Hyaluronic acid functions physiologically to aid preservation of cartilage structure and prevent arthritic painwith relief comparable to NSAIDs and advantage over glucocorticoids. Hyaluronic acid enables connective tissue to bind moisture thousands of times its weight and maintains tissue structure, moisture, lubrication and flexibility and lessens free radical damage, while associated collagen retards and reduces wrinkles.
Then, there’s all the benefits of the fact that it’s a probiotic beverage, such as improved digestion, fighting candida (harmful yeast) overgrowth, and the general health and well-being associated with this. As such, it’s noted for reducing or eliminating the symptoms of fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, etc.
Plus, it’s extraordinarily anti-oxidant rich, and you all know the benefits of anti-oxidants for boosting your immune system and energy levels.
Here are some articles about the health benefits:

Once you have decided to try this beverage or if you already have a taste for  it, next you need to learn how to make it.  It is incredibly easy to make and making it will save you a lot of money.
First you need to get the starting material.  The easiest way to do this is to purchase a kit for around $13 and gallon glass jar and you are ready to get started.  There are many places on-line to purchase a kit I like Oregon Kombucha.

The kit contains black tea, sugar and your scoby.

Next you add one gallon of boiling water to the glass or ceramic container (never use a metal container).  Add the tea bag from your starter kit or 12 regular size tea bags.  Any tea will do, I prefer black.  For optimum brewing time, remove black tea bags in 4 minutes and green or white tea bags in 2 minutes.  Stir in 1 cup sugar per gallon of water.

Let the tea cool to room temperature.  Add the entire contents of the live culture packet or scoby.  This culture packet contains a piece of life kombucha culture and some kombucha tea.  The culture is a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast: a scoby.  The scoby will grow in the sweet tea you have prepared and change in into Kombucha.  During the process healthy vitamins and digestion-aiding natural acids are formed.  This process creates natural carbonation.

Cover the container with cheese cloth and rubber bands.  This keeps dirt and bugs out, but lets the Kombucha breath.

You can than cover your kombucha with a cloth napkin or dish towel to keep out some light and place it in a warm place, dark place.   In the summer anywhere will work in the winter find a warm spot in your house - near a heater vent, or a pilot light, on top of the water heater,in an insulated cooler with a jar of warm water.  Kombucha is best brewed at 80 degrees.  In cooler weather it will take much longer for the fermentation to be complete.  Kombucha can be ready in 7 days or take as much as 30 days.  Taste your Kombucha on day 7.  Everyday it will get fizzeir and more tart when it seems perfect for you, move it to the refrigerator and the brewing will stop.  Kombucha will last for moths in the refrigerator.  You can filter your Kombucha through cheese cloth to remove some of the sediment.

The scoby is a live organism and it will grow in your container while Kombucha brews. At first, it looks like a transparent film and then grows into a solid mass the size and shape of the container. It may be white, dark, smooth or bumpy.   It may grow in layers that can be separated.  You can use the scoby to grow an unlimited number of batches of Kombucha.  to keep it alive simply keep it covered in the Kobucha, at room temperature, with a cloth over the container, until you are ready to make another batch.  Give it a little fresh Kombucha or sweetened tea occasionally.  Each time you make more Kombucha you will grow another scoby, so feel free to pass it on to a friend so they can begin making their own Kombucha.  Share the pleasure of Kombucha.

Colossal Egg

I went to gather the eggs late this morning, and I found this gigantic thing awaiting me.

This egg is easily twice as big as any egg we have gotten from our chickens.  I placed it in a jumbo size egg carton and couldn't close the container.  A whopper  of an egg - I think the culprit is Yoko our Rhode Island Red.  She lays the biggest eggs on a regular basis.

Our second surprise was when we cooked the egg.  It appears the reason for this huge size is a double yolk.  Essentially we got two eggs in one.  :)  Thanks Yoko.

Killer Brownies

I brought these brownies to a potluck with friends and they disappeared in a moment.  These brownies are chocolaty, gooey, chewy yuminess.    They are easy to make and work perfectly for a quick desert for many.

Here is the recipe:

1 cup buttter
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degree oven.  Grease a 9 by 11 pan.

Melt the butter in sauce pan, add sugar, stir to combine.  Return to heat briefly until hot, but not bubbly.  It'll become shiny looking as you stir it.

Stir in cocoa, salt, baking powder and vanilla.  Add the eggs, beating until smooth, than add flour and chips, beating until combined.  Spoon batter into prepared pan.. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes.  

I think nuts would be a good addition as well.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Mother's Day

I admit I am a hypocrite.  I never put a whole lot of energy into celebrating mothers, even my own (sorry mom), before I became a mother.  Being a mother is the most incredible, fantastic, wonderful blessing to be bestowed upon me.  I am blessed with two healthy, smart, vibrant children.

That being said - motherhood is HARD and I want to be celebrated!  Not only is motherhood hard, but it is a job that is seldom recognized.  I want this day, I want a day that gets me off the hook.   I don't want things, I want treatment.  As well I know that my children are still very young and a husband can only do so much, so I come up with a few things that seem reasonable.  I also know my husband, along with many others doesn't understand hints or innuendos.  So I made this mother's day easy on him and myself - I made a clear list.  This is EXACTLY what I want on that, my special day.

Here is my list:

  1. Sleep in.  I want to sleep in so badly I get a little teary eyed thinking about it.
  2. Go out to breakfast/brunch.  I don't want to get up right after having slept in to a hungry bunch that I need to feed, to prepare a meal.  I want to wake up and go have someone else feed my hungry brood and me :)
  3. Go to a movie by myself.  Now some may think this is crazy, but one of my favorite things to do is go to a movie by myself.  I so rarely get time alone, where I don't have to be ready at any moment to answer the cry of a child in need, or help someone back to sleep or make a meal or clean, etc.  So these matinees by myself are so wonderful!  This is my greatest gift.   Mmmmm - I can't wait.

When I read it over my list seems doable, attainable.  I look forward to it almost as much as I will look forward to getting home to my perfect family as soon as my movie is over.

Happy mother's day to all you mom's out there!  Make it easy this year for you and your husband make a list and make it attainable  :).  Enjoy yourself on your special day.