DNA Kit – My Birthday Gift

 

For my 58th birthday last month my youngest daughter, Melinda, gave me a DNA kit from AncestryDNA!

You see, I was adopted when I was 5 days old…my adoptive Mom and Dad brought me home straight from the hospital in Chicago, IL to my brother who had been adopted from another family 6 months before…he was almost 3 years old at the time.

Here’s the Readers Digest version of my life so we can get right to the DNA test and my results…

My {adoptive} parents separated when I was 6 months old.  My brother stayed with my Dad in Morris, IL and I, being an infant and all, went with my Mom to my Aunt’s house in Virginia, IL for awhile.  I never knew I had a brother until I was 10ish – my Mom had told me I was adopted when I was around 8.

As time went on, I finally did meet my brother and my Dad (I’ll dispense with the “adoptive”… at this point they are my family!) and we had a long distance relationship.  My Dad passed away in 2007 and you can read all about him here.  My Mom passed away in July of 2018.

So….on to the birthday gift…

Ever since my three daughters were young they have always wanted me to find my birth family.  I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “I just want to know what your real Mom looked like”!  Of course I always wondered about them – did I look like them?  And of course I always wondered about my medical history too, especially now that I am getting older!

About 15 years ago I wrote to the Cook County Illinois Department of Vital Statistics to see about getting any non identifying information (in 1961 adoptions were “top secret”, not open like they are today) and the only information they gave me was that both of my biological parents were 16 and I was the first child for both of them.  That’s it.  That’s my family “history”. Until last week!

I mailed my DNA to Ancestry on February 26th and got text messages when they received it, started processing it, and then finally when it was done on March 17th I got an email!  I was about to cook breakfast before we headed out to church and I couldn’t believe it!!  The results were finally here!  Did I have any biological relatives?  Should I message them if I did?  Would I even be able to find them?  Would they message me back?  Did they know about me?  Would they accept me?  There were soooo many thoughts running through my head.  The first thing I did was text my daughters in our group text…the results are here!  Well, the mass texting began!

When I finally got control of my senses, I looked at the results and the first match (after my middle daughter – she did hers in January) was a man named Daniel Tvrz.  My first thought was – thank God his name isn’t something common like John Smith!!!  How many of those would I have to go through to find the right one?  My second thought was thank God his last name is so unique!  So…I sent Dan a Facebook message before I went to church.

We were all soooo excited all day, waiting to here what Dan had to say!  Early that evening he sent a reply – I didn’t see it until about 7pm.  We “talked” for a little bit and he WAS the “right” Dan, my first cousin – his Dad and my biological Mom were brother and sister!  Dan gave me his number so I called and we talked on the phone for a bit.  Another huge blessing is that Dan is a genealogy guru so I had tons of family history in minutes!  This was soooo much more than I ever could have imagined!!

Dan told me that I had a sister and 2 brothers in Morris, IL (where my adoptive Dad was from!), and then he contacted my sister, Trudi Tvrz, that night and she messaged me the next day!!  A sister!!!!  I had a sister!!!  And TWO brothers!  Trudi and I have been chatting on messenger for the past week…getting to know each other and she has been a huge help in helping me learn more about our Mom. Hopefully Trudi and I will get to meet soon!!!!

Sadly, my “real” Mom (as my girls would say when they were young) passed away in 2015 but Trudi and Dan have sent me many photos of her and I am learning more and more about her.   I have said my entire life that I am so grateful to her for putting me up for adoption rather than choosing abortion!!!  What a responsible decision for a 16 year old.  I applaud her for that and wish I had been able to tell her.

My Mother, Delores Tvrz Phillips

    

 

I also have 2 awesome 2nd-ish cousins that I have chatted with, Dan’s daughters – Bridgette and Kristina!  They have been so sweet and encouraging!  One day we are gonna do a road trip to TX to meet Dan and his family!

So….there you have it!!  My family.  People that look like me.  People that have the same DNA.  Until last week, the only people I knew that looked like me and had the same DNA were my 3 daughters and 5 grandkids!   I couldn’t be happier that my family has exploded into a huge, loving, family in the past week!  God is good y’all…God is so very good!

Until next time….

~Blessings

Heather

 

 

It’s time to LOSE some weight!

Actually, it’s way past time to lose it!  For those that don’t know, here’s the condensed back story…

In July of 2004 I had Gastric Bypass Surgery.  I weighed in at 308 pounds, had severe sleep apnea, was taking anti-inflammitories daily, and two types of blood pressure medication.  I was only 46 years old.  My second grandchild {my first granddaughter} was to be born in 2 months – my grandson was 13 months old.  I wanted to be able to play with them, carry them around for more than 5 minutes, and most of all…be alive to see them grow up!

 

The surgery was a HUGE success – no pun intended (well ok, maybe a little).  Over the next 11 months I lost 157 pounds – I was down to 151 and tickled pink!  I had fun playing and keeping up with my two grandbabies, and then 3 more grands after that!

2008

 

After 5 years or so, I got complacent.  I started to allow myself to do things I wasn’t supposed to do after having weight loss surgery.  I was drinking diet drinks, sometimes with a little “adult additives” (which brought about snacking on sweets), I was smoking again, and drinking caffeine…lots of it!  All the time know that these things were on my pre-surgical “no-no” list from day one.

NO…

  • Carbonation
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Cigarettes
  • Sweets

 

Fast forward to today…I am 67 pounds, SIXTY SEVEN, heavier than my lowest post-surgical weight!  That’s totally unacceptable and inexcusable!

2019

 

So….yesterday, I started Intermittent Fasting!!!

I’m trying to work my way into it slowly.  If you know me, you know I LOVE my McDonald’s coffee in the morning – WITH cream and Splenda!

For now, until I can ditch the cream (ditched the Spenda today!!!),

I am drinking “dirty” coffee in my fasting window – but I figured at least it’s a start!!  My eating “window” is 12 noon – 8pm each day!

I’ll be updating my progress here to keep myself accountable.

If you have any tips, tricks, or advice drop them in the comments below!

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Until the next update….

 

Blessings ~

Heather

 

“You Are What You Eat”

Our health is determined by what we put IN our bodies (genetics too…but we have control of what we ingest)

As I have gotten older, I soooo wish I had actually CARED about nutrition and natural health when I was raising my girls (please forgive me Melanie, Melissa, and Melinda!!!)

Getting older doesn’t have to stink. BUT…if you are like me and didn’t pay attention to – or cared – what you put in your body up til this point, getting older will definitely make you re-think EVERY food choice…and also every choice about medications {or not}, natural choices, and toxic chemicals.

I am ready to meet Jesus and when He calls me home, I’m out! BUT…until then, I want to live a happy and healthier life – I wanna hang around as long as I can and spend time with my loved ones!

If this resonates with you…check out Dr. Hyman…click on his podcasts, read his articles, learn about health and the Gut-Brain connection!!!

Don’t wait til your old like me!

Blessings ~

 

Heather

A Father’s Influence

In reading my devotional this morning from InTouch Daily Devotions titled “A Father’s Influence”,  I was instantly flooded with emotions and memories and I knew immediately that those thoughts and memories would become this post.  I normally just share my underlined devos on Facebook, but this one needed special attention!

Daughters need their Dads.

As a Mom of 3 girls – now grown women – and also a woman that was raised without a Dad, I have a little bit of insight on how much a Dad {or lack of a “present” one} has an acute impact on daughters!

Most Dads have no idea how much of an impact they make on their daughters – not just in the early years, but especially long-term into adulthood!  A woman’s self-worth plays such an important role in choosing a boyfriend and then a husband, one who will eventually be their child’s Daddy!

Here is a little back story….

Being raised without a father in my life didn’t affect me at all…or so I thought!  Looking back, after much soul searching and some counseling, I know now that having a completely absent father formed my vision on what type of man I would date, who I chose to marry, and how I thought I should be treated as a woman.  It also left me emotionally crippled – not knowing how a man is supposed to treat a woman –  and with no male influence, I felt like a flailing fish out of water when it came to relationships with men.

After many “boyfriends” in high school (promiscuity is another trait of being fatherless), I chose who I believed to be the right one to marry – or more specifically, the one that would be a great husband and father.  I was married at 17 – 4 months pregnant.  He was 18.  Thankfully, he was a good husband and a great father…and then suddently, without warning, he had an “indiscretion” while away going to an Air Force training school.  I was crushed – my heart is still wounded to this day.  Then 5 years later, I did the same.

After almost 16 years of marriage, we were calling it quits.  It was mainly my decision – I just couldn’t get past the fact that he had cheated on me all those years ago…after 10 years of marriage and 3 little girls, I wasn’t good enough any more (there is that self-esteem issue that being fatherless can fuel).  We had been high school sweethearts, we had that pure and innocent love.  We were going to beat the odds of a teenage marriage.  What happened?

Our lives changed…our thoughts changed.  But I believe that our love never changed.  It just got sidetracked.  Sidetracked by work, sidetracked by his studying (he was getting a nursing degree via night school), sidetracked by his second job (to pay for that college degree), and sidetracked by our outside friendships.  All of those were players in our marital demise.

I made the decision to leave.  It was my choice.  In his eyes, I’m the “bad guy” – to this day, 26 years after our divorce.  Thankfully, my girls and I have the closest relationship that daughters can have with their Mom.  We have been a “package deal” since I left their Dad.  I have apologized to them for taking them away from him.  Now that they are married and moms, they understand better.

Was leaving him the wrong choice? Yep, it was a mistake.  He was a great guy…a good Dad…a good husband.  We just grew apart.  Do I regret that decision?  I can’t.  I wouldn’t have the 5 precious grandkids that I have now if that decision hadn’t been made.  I also wouldn’t be the strong, independent woman that I am now and my daughters wouldn’t have grown into the women they are today!  I’m so very proud of them – shameless props for my girls right there 🙂

Divorce Magazine is an awesome resource and has a great articles….here are a few snippets from one of their articles…


Without Shared Parenting, a Divorced Dad’s Relationship with his Daughter May Suffer

In a divorced family, there are many ways a father-daughter bond may suffer. Based on her research, Dr. Linda Nielsen found that only 10 to 15% of fathers get to enjoy the benefits of shared parenting after divorce. Nielsen posits that while most daughters are well adjusted several years after their parents’ divorce, many have damaged relationships with their fathers. Unfortunately, if the wound is severe, a girl can grow into adulthood with low self-esteem and trust issues.

What a girl needs is a loving, predictable father figure – whether married to her mother, single, or divorced. Joshua Coleman, Ph.D., a recognized expert on parenting, explains that one of the predictors of a father’s relationship with his children after divorce is the mother’s facilitation or obstruction of the relationship. It’s crucial that divorced dads attempt to forge positive relationships with their ex because it will benefit their daughter to see them communicating in a harmonious way.

Another snippet says…

Since a daughter may perceive limited contact with her divorced dad as a personal rejection, this can lead to lowered self-esteem and trouble trusting romantic partners during adolescence and adulthood. Be sure to spend time with your daughter on a regular basis and find activities to do together that you both enjoy. These might include hobbies, sports, exercise, and cooking.  Additionally, be sure to enlist her input and surprise her with outings that you can enjoy away from other family members.

Read the complete article here.


 

I say all of that to say this…daughters NEED their Dads!!!  Desperately!  Fathers, and the relationship they have with their daughter, is the MAIN deciding factor in how a woman learns to embrace their confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth!

Two of my daughters came through our divorce with less scars than their sister.  Even though they are all in their late 30s/40ish, the relationship they each have with their Dad is somewhat strained…but it is {thankfully} better now than when they were younger – only with the help of Jesus!  One daughter of mine is painfully in need of her Daddy.  The daddy she had when she was a little girl…because that little girl still lives inside her and craves the approval, validation, and unconditional love of her Dad.  That little girl hasn’t healed.  Without full reconciliation with her Dad, and all the important things that come along with that, my little girl’s emotions and heart will never heal.  For years I have prayed for all of them – and their Dad – that their relationships will be fully and finally restored!

There are limitless articles and studies online of  how desperately daughters need their father’s love, attention, acceptance, guidance, encouragement and more!

If you are the child/adult child of divorce –  there is help out there!  Please seek out a counselor if you need to!

If you are a divorced parent, here are some great guidelines to follow courtesy of Divorce Magazine

  1. Never disparage your former spouse in front of your children. Because children know they are “part mom” and “part dad,” the criticism can batter the child’s self-esteem.
  2. Do not use your children as messengers between you and your former spouse. The less the children feel a part of the battle between their parents, the better.
  3. Reassure your children that they are loved and that the divorce is not their fault. Many children assume that they are to blame for their parents’ hostility.
  4. Encourage your children to see your former spouse frequently. Do everything within your power to accommodate the visitation. (my note:  this is EXTREMELY important!!!!!)
  5. At every step during your divorce, remind yourself that your children’s interests-not yours -are paramount, and act accordingly. Lavish them with love at each opportunity.
  6. Your children may be tempted to act as your caretaker. Resist the temptation to let them. Let your peers, adult family members, and mental health professionals be your counselors and sounding board. Let your children be children.
  7. If you have a drinking or drug problem, get counseling right away. An impairment inhibits your ability to reassure your children and give them the attention they need at this difficult time.
  8. If you are the non-custodial parent, pay your child support. The loss of income facing many children after divorce puts them at a financial disadvantage that has a pervasive effect on the rest of their lives.
  9. If you are the custodial parent and you are not receiving child support, do not tell your children. It feeds into the child’s sense of abandonment and further erodes his or her stability.
  10. If at all possible, do not uproot your children. Stability in their residence and school life helps buffer children from the trauma of their parents’ divorce.

 

That’s it for now y’all…thanks for listening     Image result for heart clipart

Blessings ~

Heather

 

 

 

 

Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Soup

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My husband’s “therapy” is cooking.  David has alot of emotional “disorders” – like many other folks do – and cooking is totally therapeutic for him.  He also has OCD, so his cooking becomes a very long and drawn out affair most times!

Hubby was off work this weekend, and after church on Sunday he decided he was going to “clean out the fridge” and make some soup – it was a very cold and rainy day here in eastern North Carolina – a perfect day for homemade soup!

Using the vintage cookware that we recently purchased from ebay and Etsy, a pattern that was inspired by a small dutch oven we found in my mother’s refrigerator when she passed away this summer, {meatloaf still in it, she loved her meatloaf} he proceeded to make the BEST homemade soup I have ever eaten – and he has concocted a TON of great dishes!

Getting down to business here….I’m sharing his recipe with you – I hope that you enjoy it as much as we did! Image result for line divider for website

Here’s the ingredients you’ll need….

  • 1 stick of butter, divided in half
  • 1 to 1¼ pound of boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
  • ¼ tsp coarsely ground sea salt
  • ¼ tsp coarsely ground pepper (preferably a blend)
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme, divided
  • 4 to 6 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 small sweet pepper (red, yellow, or orange) [may substitute ½ of a full size one]
  • 1-2 tbsp of flour
  • 4 cups of chicken bone broth
  • 4 small potatoes, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced small
  • 1 cup of water

Then do this….

In a large skillet, add half of the butter and melt over medium-high heat. Place chicken in the skillet and stir until well coated.  Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and thyme.  Cook chicken until light golden brown, stirring frequently.  Remove skillet from heat and set aside.

In a medium stock pot (at least 5 quarts), add remaining butter and melt over medium-high heat. Add bacon, onion, garlic, celery, and sweet pepper.  Sauté until tender, stirring occasionally.  Sprinkle flour evenly over sautéed vegetables and stir until well blended.  Pour in about half of the bone broth and stir well, making sure the flour is mixed with broth evenly; then pour in the rest of the bone broth.  Add the chicken, potatoes and carrots and stir well.  Let soup boil on high for about 10 minutes or so, stirring frequently.

Reduce heat to medium-low and cover.  Let simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour (time will depend on how small the potatoes and carrots are diced), stir occasionally to prevent sticking (NOTE:  add the cup of water if needed, and add salt and pepper to taste).

When soup is done, stir in ½ to 1 cup of half ‘n half (depends on how creamy you want the soup to be).

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And there you have it….the BEST soup ever!  Please let me know how much you LOVE it!

Until next time…

Blessings ~

Heather

 

 

Sadly, we are now chicken-less

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Even though we were blessed with no damage from Hurricane Florence, when we thought that NC was going to be hit with a Cat 5 (ish) hurricane, things got real and my life perspective changed immediately.

When you have to decide what to take with you and you can ONLY take what will fit in your vehicles, it really makes you think. It was a short list…

Dogs (and everything they need)
Cat (and everything she needs)
Phone and charger
Ipad
Camera
Things hubby and I need (clothes, water, food etc.)

And then there were the chickens. 12 of them. We couldn’t just leave them. Graciously, my oldest daughter said we could bring them with us to her house and keep them in the garage in kennels. That’s alot to deal with. Thinking about all of that stressed me like you can’t imagine.

I realized quickly that we were NOT prepared for emergencies/disasters where our chicken were concerned. We had made them makeshift “balconies” to keep them out of any rising water, but to actually keep them safe by taking them somewhere?

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We had no barn or out building to put them in. I feared their coops were not strong enough. So many more thoughts and emotions those few days before Flo hit. I can’t do that again. I’m too old for all that and they deserve a safe haven if this happens again.

So…we made the decision the weekend before last to at least downsize and we rehomed 7 hens to a friend.

This past weekend we rehomed the remaining 5 girls to another good friend of mine. I just can’t do it any more. I obviously was not meant to be a chicken mom…they aren’t just chickens to me, they are pets (not anything like our “real” pets, but I am still very attached to them). I would never have been able to “cull” any of them, and if one had died – it would have been extremely hard to bury her. I’m just not a “chicken Mom” I guess.

With all that said…even though we are now chicken-less, we are still a homestead and we are still living the healthier life! Our posts may be of a different nature but we are still Our Healthy Homestead!

Thanks to everyone that follows us…we appreciate you so much!

Essential Oil Purses!

B96DE799-4BCC-47E8-8B9C-B8C5AA1E15EF Y’all know that I am in oily person, we use essential oils in our lives and in the lives of our animals on our homestead! Check out these awesome essential oil purses and carrying cases!

Sew Grown is on a journey to make an impact on the world offering jobs, opportunities, and independence to Americans with disabilities! My “day job” is at a facility for the developmentally disabled, so this is close to my heart!

I ordered the Betsy this morning, which one are you going to order?

Use my discount code below at http://www.sewgrown.com to get 20% OFF !

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▶️  OUROILYHOMESTEAD ◀️

What’s all this about “IF”?

 

 

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I have been curious about Intermittent Fasting (“IF” for short) for awhile now.  Several of my friends are doing it and have raved about how they feel great, have more energy, and just generally feel better physically and emotionally!!  Who doesn’t want that?  So, I’ve done some research and was planning to write a blog article about it until I got this AWESOME email from The Daniel Plan today!  I could not possibly add anything better to this so here it is, sharing from their website!  Check out the entire post here.

What are some health benefits of IF?

(SOURCE: this is straight from the blog post from The Daniel Plan linked above)

1. Lowers cancer risk.

Multiple studies have shown a link between intermittent fasting and a reduced risk of breast cancer.

2. Enhances heart health.

Intermittent fasting is thought to lower heart disease risk due to its ability to lower triglycerides and blood pressure and raise beneficial HDL cholesterol.

3. Improves autoimmune conditions.

A fasting-mimicking diet under 1,000 calories a day for three-day cycles has been shown to improve symptoms associated with autoimmune conditions like multiple sclerosis as well as lupus.

4. Improves blood sugar.

When it comes to managing blood sugar, intermittent fasting takes center stage. With its proven ability to lower insulin resistance and increase metabolism, it’s one of my favorite tools to recommend to patients with blood sugar problems.

5. Encourages weight loss.

Weight-loss resistance can often be due to an underlying hormone imbalance. Leptin resistance occurs when your brain stops recognizing leptin’s signals to use your body’s fat stores for energy. This causes your body to continually store fat instead of using it. Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve chronic inflammation that can dull the brain’s leptin receptor sites.

6. Curbs cravings.

If you’re worried you’ll be starving while fasting, you’ll be pleasantly surprised! Intermittent fasting decreases your hunger hormone ghrelin, which in turn can increase dopamine levels in the brain. (Just another example of the gut-brain axis at work.) Fasting can also help free people from emotional eating and kill cravings by transitioning your metabolism from unstable sugar-burning to steady fat-burning.

7. Increases cognitive function.

Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can improve degenerative brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

8. Improves lung health.

One study showed intermittent fasting’s ability to decrease asthma symptoms as well as reduce oxidative stress.

9. Helps heal the gut 

Lowering inflammation in the gut with intermittent fasting improves inflammatory gut problems such as IBS, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.

While the idea of fasting can be overwhelming, especially if you haven’t done it before, intermittent fasting can actually be a lot easier than many other types of eating plans. Since you are fasting for a good chunk of the day, you’ll be eating less food, which eliminates a lot of the stress around having to meal prep. When you are eating, you’ll still want to focus mainly on healthy fats, clean protein, and carbohydrates from whole food sources—but this isn’t an excuse to hit the drive-thru and load up on sugar the rest of the time!

_________________________________________________________

I trust The Daniel Plan to give us the best info possible and not lead us astray!  There is a ton more info over at their Blog, so hop on over there to find out how IF works, some great recipe suggestions, and more!

If you are one of those that is doing IF, drop me a comment below and tell us what you think about it and how it makes you feel!  I’d love to hear from all the IF-ers out there!

Until next time…

Blessings ~

Heather

 

 

 

How to Brew Kombucha at Home

Brewing Kombucha at Home

Makes approx. 1 gallon

You will need…

  • 3 1/2 quarts water
  • 1 cup of sugar (regular white “table” sugar is fine)
  • 8 bags black tea (or 2 tablespoons loose tea)
  • 2 cups of starter tea from last batch of kombucha or from a friend
  • 1 SCOBY for each jar (a SCOBY is NOT a must – the starter tea IS!)
  • Stovetop pot to make the tea
  • 1-gallon glass jar (I use old 1 gallon pickle jars…wash them well and let them air out for about a week before)
  • Tightly woven cloth (like clean cloth napkins or towels), coffee filters, or paper towels to cover the jar (I use a rubber band to keep my coffee filters/paper towels in place)
  • Bottles for the “booch” when it is done brewing – I use wide mouth Mason Jars (for everything!) I normally use (3) one-quart jars (you’ll need to save 2 cups for the next batch)
  • Small funnel (optional, good is you use smaller neck bottles)
  • Large stainless steel strainer (optional – I strain my kombucha when I bottle it and when I pour a glass!)

 

Instructions

*** Avoid contact between #allthingsmetal and your kombucha during and after brewing. It could affect the flavor of your kombucha.


How to make the tea…     

 **(if you are a southerner, you already know how to do this!)

Bring the water to a boil. Take the water off the heat and add the sugar, stir until it dissolves. Drop in the tea (bags or loose) and allow it to steep until the water cools. When the tea has cooled off, remove the tea bags or strain the loose tea from the pot, pour the sweet tea in your gallon jar, and then stir in the starter tea – be sure to use a wooden spoon (plastic will work but I prefer wooden when stirring Kombucha😉 )

booch1Adding the SCOBY: Pick up the SCOBY (use CLEAN hands to avoid any bad bacteria getting in your tea – yeah…it’s slimy too so don’t drop it!) and gently slide it into the jar. Cover the mouth of the jar with a few layers of tightly-woven cloth, coffee filters, or paper towels and secure it with a rubber band. I have found that coffee filters work best – especially when I write the start date of the brew on the filter!

 booch2

 

Fermentation time!

Keep the jar at room temperature (in the winter time you can buy flat heat strips or use a small string of non-LED clear lights – it needs to stay between 70-80 degrees), out of direct sunlight, and where it won’t get bumped.  Let it ferment for 7 to 10 days, checking the taste daily starting about day 6 (you can lift the “lid” and sneak a straw under the SCOBY and pull out a little “booch” in the straw to taste it)

 

booch3

It’s not unusual for the SCOBY to float at the top, bottom, or even sideways during fermentation. A new transparent looking layer of SCOBY should start forming on the surface of the Kombucha in a few days. It usually attaches itself to the old SCOBY, but if it doesn’t it’s ok!!! You may also see brown stringy “tentacles” floating under the SCOBY, or some collecting at the bottom of your jar, and bubbles collecting around the SCOBY. These are all signs that the fermentation is happening and it’s perfectly normal.

 

Bottling Time!

Wash your hands thoroughly and then lift the SCOBY out of the kombucha and put it on a clean plate. If it is getting too thick, you can pull the bottom layer (or two) off.

 

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Using a glass measuring cup, pour 2 cups of kombucha into glass bowl or Mason Jar to save for your next batch.  The rest of the “booch” you can strain (you don’t have to if you don’t mind the “sediment”) into glass bottles or jars for storage (again, I use wide mouth mason jars).  **Note:  never use plastic bottles to brew or store your Kombucha!

 

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Putting your Kombucha in the fridge at this point stops any more fermentation.  You should have a little bit of fizz from this 1st fermentation and if you are going to flavor and do a second fermentation, do not refrigerate! Your bottled and refrigerated Kombucha is good for about a month or so in the fridge.

With your reserved starter tea, start the process all over again to you’re your next batch of Kombucha Tea!!!!

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And there you have it…Home Brewed Kombucha!  Enjoy !!!

 

Until next time…

Blessings,

~ Heather

 

 

 

 

Diets, oh my!!!!

I truly think that diets are the new craze!  There are TONS of diets floating around out there – which one do we choose?  Are any of them the “right” diet?

I don’t think that these “new” diets are really dieting…they are more of an eating habit than a diet, which in itself is a good thing!  We could all probably stand to change our eating habits to a healthier lifestyle!  Check out some of the “eating lifestyles” we have to choose from today…

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There is seriously a “Hay Diet”???  And what in the world would you eat on a Prison Loaf diet?  Or do I really want to know?

What do we do with all of this indecisive diet planning – do I eat meat or do I not eat meat?  Do I eat fat, or not eat fat?  Do I eat lots of protein, or just a little protein?  Do I…you get my drift.

So, I have come up with the Oily Homestead Diet!  Our meals “normally” consist of healthier foods – no fried food, minimal salt, good fats, veggies, tuna (hubby doesn’t like fish but I could eat fish daily!), organic/free range chicken, grassfed/organic beef on occasion, and fruits, especially the berry family fruits – although I have been “addicted” to oranges recently!

We have cut back on the amount of gluten and sugar we eat because I do believe that gut health determines your overall physical and emotional wellness!  Gluten and sugar are not “gut friendly” so therefore we (we in this case means more “I” than “we”) try to stay away from both as much as possible.  My dear hubby is diabetic so he already eats a {mostly} sugar free diet.

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Basically, we try to eat healthy foods.  Foods that are low in “bad” fats, low in sugar, minimal gluten, and mostly lean protein.  We don’t drink milk {we just don’t like it} but we do eat yogurt, cottage cheese, and a lot of “real” cheese, so we are obviously not “dairy free”! That’s pretty much our “diet”!  Personally, I honestly believe that we need to take care of the temple God gave us, but being obsessed about what goes IN to our body is, in my opinion, unhealthy.  We need “treats” sometimes, we need to be able to eat that piece of cake at a birthday party and not beat ourselves up about it for days, we should be able to splurge now and then by getting dessert on date night.  We need to actually enjoy life while we are here, while at the same time, eating healthy foods so we can hang out here a little longer than if we didn’t eat those healthy foods!  Does that make sense?

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For a little extra gut boost, we take a really good probiotic, I drink kombucha first thing in the morning before anything else goes in my gut (fermented foods are an excellent natural probiotic !), we stay away from taking any antibiotics unless it’s a life threatening necessity!  We do also eat prebotic foods like onions, garlic, and oatmeal, apples and  bananas.

I’d love to hear about YOUR eating plan!!!  I’m always up for new and better ideas!

Until next time…

~ Blessings

Heather