Weeks 3&4 – Eli

I got a little behind with blogging. Studying and making Christmas presents will do that to you!

So where are we at with Eli? I’ve seen some huge improvements. I haven’t seen Β any of the longer, partial type seizures in two weeks, and Eli said he hasn’t experienced any of them. That in itself gives me hope. He’s still having the absence seizures but the ones I’ve witnessed have been very short…maybe 3-5 seconds. It’s basically been a month and we just adjusted dosage a little so I think it’s just a matter of patience and waiting now.

 

 

Sun Dogs

northdakotasundogs
“Sun dogs… are an atmospheric phenomenon that consists of a pair of bright spots on either horizontal side on the Sun…Sun dogs are a member of a large family of halos, created by light interacting with ice crystals in the atmosphere. Sun dogs typically appear as two subtly colored patches of light to the left and right of the Sun…” (Wikipedia)
This afternoon, the kids and I saw this phenomenon…it was much more beautiful than the first time I’d seen it. I wish I had an awesome camera so I could have gotten a good picture. I’m guessing it was more spectacular this time because of the super cold air temperature! The rainbows on each side of the sun were so wide, so bright and SO long.
I asked Eli if he remembered the first time we’d seen them. I had to tell him the story again (he was only 5 at the time). It was EXACTLY two years after we’d lost Jonah. Memories hit hard sometimes, but I’m really glad we experienced this again today. That day it took the sweet innocence of my five year old to help me see the light in the darkness.

Kombucha!

This has become such a huge part of my life that I felt it only appropriate to do a post about it!

When we lived in Iowa, I made my own water kefir. I never really cared for the taste of store bought kombucha but I really enjoyed water kefir that I had bought from a local health food store. When I realized how simple it was, I was hooked. When we moved, I didn’t bring my grains because it was a two day trip and I wasn’t even sure what to expect from the water or conditions in North Dakota. Once we settled in here, I bought new grains and started over. To my dismay, it just didn’t go as well as it had previously.

Pretty quickly,Β  I became obsessed with store bought kombucha…no lie, it was an obsession! It was a very expensive obsession…almost $4 a bottle! I knew if I wanted to continue drinking kombucha for the health benefits and my own happiness, I was going to need to brew my own. It seemed like such a daunting ordeal. I couldn’t find any where close by that sold kombucha SCOBYs (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) and I knew better than to buy a dehydrated one. I asked on the city Facebook swap page but no one seemed to have a SCOBY to spare. I really didn’t want one shipped USPS because, well, our postal service has issues. I decided I only had one real option: grow my own. I found some fantastic instructions online, bought a bottle of unflavored organic kombucha, and away we went. I wish I had a picture of the beginning…basically you have a jar with some stringy kombucha. If you’ve ever drank one from the store, you know what I mean…there are floaties that nobody really wants to drink πŸ™‚

Here is a picture from about 10 days into the growth: Tiny, thin and just starting to get a good surface on it.10days

At 3 weeks, I was ready to brew my first batch”3weeks3weeks2

So that brings me to today. The first picture, from 10 days, was on August 24th. I began brewing two weeks later. Today, I started my 7th batch, and put batch #6 into carbonation/flavoring stage. I always enjoy doing this so today I photo documented my creating. Enjoy!

This is the batch that was done with its first fermentation, ready to go into bottles for flavoring and carbonation (sometimes called second fermentation online. My husband the beer brewer has informed me on more than one occasion that this term is not really correct!)img_20161202_094650

Below is a picture of the SCOBY I grew…the mother. Tiny SCOBYs or babies grow under her each time you brew. It’s actually really cool! Look how much bigger she is NOW compared to when I started!img_20161202_094754

Next up,Β  what do you do with the babies until you need them? They get to hang out in a SCOBY hotel. After separating a baby from the mother today, I have 4 backups. They just get fresh sweet tea every time I brew and hang out in the cupboard.img_20161202_094852

Now I’ve got all the fermented tea in the plastic jug, and fresh sweet tea in the fermenting jar. Notice the huge color difference? Same tea both time (black tea)…one fresh, one fermented.img_20161202_095123

Time to get the mother SCOBY into the fresh tea and let her get to workimg_20161202_095130

All set. Cloth cover on to allow oxygen to get in, but keep cat fur and any potential critters out!img_20161202_095327

This is how they’ll hang out for the next, oh, 3 weeks probably. Then I’ll test the pH level and probably start it on the second phase. When it gets cold in here, I have a long rice sock that I warm up to keep them cozy.img_20161202_095437

Now to create Kombucha goodness. I’ve been keeping track of my process in here:img_20161202_104038img_20161202_100319

My last batch turned out so delicious that I decided to do the same thing for this batch: cranberry ginger raspberry and lemon.img_20161202_101114

Ginger sliced and lemons juicedimg_20161202_101925

Ready to put all this goodness into the bottlesimg_20161202_101953

Ginger slices and raspberries in…the cranberry and lemon juice went straight into the pitcher of teaimg_20161202_102453

Bottles filled and capped…img_20161202_102949

…fully dressed with their date-stamped bow ties…img_20161202_103030

…and in their own hotel for the next 7-10 days. I like to keep them under the sink forΒ  a couple reasons. First, if the pressure builds up too much and one explodes, the mess is more or less contained. Second, the temperature down there stays a bit warmer and I find it carbonates faster than when I used to keep it elsewhere. I’m impatient when it comes to my kombucha! After 7 days, I’ll check one. Usually they need to stay under the sink for 10 days before I’ve reached the carbonation level that I prefer.img_20161202_103143

So there you have it! How about you? Do you brew your own kombucha? What are your favorite flavor combinations? I always prefer the more sour blends but I’m sure there are great ideas out there! Next blog post NEEDS to be about my journey back to school to become a certified aromatherapist…it’s been an exciting start already!