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Easter Reflections and Yolo Balls

In our kitchen we have a photo of Josh, Leif and I from our first Easter as a family of three.  He was just 4 weeks old.  My body was very much still recovering from delivering a baby and we were oh so exhausted (that part hasn’t changed).  Two years later, Leif is joyfully collecting colorful plastic eggs filled with Equal Exchange dark chocolates and lightly sweetened coconut treats.  He’s gleefully opening each type of yummy vegan energy bar (they are our candy bars–quite a treat around here) and taking a few bites of each one.  It is so much fun to celebrate with a two year old.

Easter, like Christmas, is full of both spiritual, religious, and consumer qualities.  Look on Facebook or other social media and you’ll see an onslaught of Easter Bunny photos as well as a healthy amount of inspirational sunrise photos with bible versus or cute sayings.  Or in some cases, graphic photos of Jesus on the Cross.

People close to me have wondered where I stand on all of this.  For a while, I was an avid church attender–very involved in the youth and then college group as well as a Sunday school teacher.  I’m obviously none of those things anymore and have written before about the transformation of my spiritual life after Payton’s passing and our night lost in the African wilderness.  Not that I care too much, but I would have to guess that my feelings and beliefs about Easter, Christmas and God and Jesus probably do not satisfy either camp.  On the one hand, I wonder if my church going Christian friends think I’ve gone off the deep end into some new-agey feel good spiritual path. But then, I wonder if my belief in God, miracles, and even the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, piss off my friends who think its all a load of crap.

I’m fine with where I’m at.  I’m more fine than I’ve ever been actually.  On Saturday morning, I ran 18 glorious miles watching the sun rise as I ran along Tacoma’s Ruston Way, talking openly with friends as I made my way through old growth forests in Point Defiance…watching a doe and her twins scamper through the woods.  On Sunday morning, I made a healthy and delicious breakfast for my family, giddily hid eggs for Leif and then hunted for them with him, and watered my garden one watering can at a time from our rain barrels.  My friend (also my doctor) came over with flowers and checked Leif’s ears for signs of infection.  We sat together and made an herbal attack plan to help Leif get over this gunk.

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This, to me, is what Life is made of.  Glory to the Creator for these wonderful gifts.  Thank you for the Sunrise, Full Moons, Puget Sound, Geese, Forest, Deer, Gardens, Nourishment, Friends, and Family.  Thank you for miracles and speaking to me through horribly painful and terrifying experiences.  Thank you for holding me over the edge and telling me it’s going to all be okay.  Thank you for meeting me in the forest, my garden, the breakfast table…

I made these Saturday Evening and forgot to take them to my folks house–oops.  They are so yummy.

Yolo Balls– Inspired by Oh She Glows

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Ingredients:

1 cup dates

2 Tablespoons Cashew Butter or other nut butter

2 Tablespoons Coconut oil

1/4 cup Raw Cocoa powder

1/4 cup maple syrup

Directions:

Carmel Center:

Process dates in food processor until dough forms

add in nut butter

Coating:

In a small sauce pan, melt coconut oil

Remove from heat and stir in cocoa and maple syrup

To assemble:  form small balls with the date/nut butter mix and roll them in chocolate sauce with a fork.

Place on parchment lined container and freeze for about 20 minutes before serving.  Store the leftovers in freezer! YUM!


11 miles in, 6 to go.  Glorious sunshine over the Puget Sound.

50 Mile Week.

This was my first 50 mile week since right before getting pregnant with Leif.  This morning, I ran 17 miles. No doubt, my legs were tired and it was challenging (especially since my aunt flow made an early appearance this morning).  It feels so stinking good to be going long again.  I LOVE the feeling on Saturday night of completely spent legs–sitting back with a yummy dinner and a glass of red wine and knowing that the next day is a rest day. I’m getting better at hydrating and nutrition,which is making long runs more enjoyable.  Today, I ate a small buckwheat pancake with a little blackstrap molasses and a banana before my run and took along some homemade date bites and yerba mate tea in my hydration bottles.  The bites are fabulous and the tea gives me the extra kick I need to keep running running running.  Here’s the recipe for the date bites:

Date Bites:

Mix all ingredients in food processor, form into balls and place in fridge the night before your long run.  I put them in a zip lock baggie.  They much together a little but can still be separated and are so freaking good.

5 dates

2 TBLS coconut oil

lemon juice from half a lemon

lemon rind from half a lemon

I have also added VO2 Max workouts to my routine.  Having a high VO2 Max is closely correlated to long distance running performance–which is what I am aiming for!  VO2 Max workouts are short, intense workouts designed to increase the efficiency of oxygen transport and to increase speed–the capacity to contract a large number of muscles at one time.

There is more than one way to increase your VO2 Max–all are work.  I imagine I will change things up at some point, but here is what I’m doing right now.

On the Treadmill:

5 minute warm up at 10 min/mile pace–0% incline

3x 30/30 30 seconds at about 7:00-7:30 min/mile– 6-7% incline with 30 second rest–after the 3rd 30 second interval, I do not rest and go immediately into the next set.

2×60/60 second at same pace as previous

3×30 second at same pace as previous

5-10 minute cool down.

This takes about 20 minutes but leaves me extremely tired.  As I get stronger, I plan to increase the number of 60 second intervals up to about 10 intervals.  

Okay–its dinner time! Nom.Nom.Nom.


Women’s Health and Happiness Matters!

For the past few months, I have been working hard with a team of passionate health minded women to put together a health and happiness event for women.  Somehow, I ended up as co-chair with my dear friend Jannine.  Whew, it’s been a busy few months–finding sponsors, speakers, organizing people, places, and things… all of this with a 2 year old who has taken up nursing with a whole new level of commitment (like ALL. THE. TIME.)–more on this another day.

But here we are, less than three weeks from the event and things are coming together.  I dream about the event and emails that have been sent (or not sent…I can’t remember if I dreamt it or not)…Which I think I means I’m in it deep!  No backing out now!  Tickets, which are FREE, are going quick–exciting! Here are the facts:

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And here is the link to GET YOUR FREE TICKET!


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Springing into Spring

It is officially Spring!  It’s been acting like Spring for some time now but there is just something so hopeful about it actually being SPRING!  Guess what is after Spring?  SUMMER!  Long days, warmer temps, booming gardens…its happening.

With Spring officially here, there is much to do around the homestead.  Our garden/yard are sort of kind of a mess.  We have multiple projects happening and garden beds that need prepping.  I feel like we made some head way this morning.  I put Son to work moving the large pile of mulching that remained in the front garden bed.  It is getting smaller!  I need it clear in a week or two to start planting!  Shovel, Son, Shovel!  We had an abundance of large containers for composting and some hydroponics gear someone gave to us that I’m not interested in at the moment.  It was taking up space, collecting water, and becoming a breeding ground for mosquito larva. No thanks.  So I dumped all the water out and rearrange things.  Some of the containers will be used as fun climbing toys for Leif.  Some will be donated and others will be thrown out.

I knew we had to work fast today because my iPhone told me rain was coming around noon (what did farmers do before iPhones??? joking, guys, joking).  And come it did.  But not before we moved a lot of mulching, cleaned up the yard a bit, and direct seeded some carrots, beets, peas, beans, sunflowers and German Chamomile.  Right as I was finishing up the last row of beets, the rain rolled in.  I retreated to my greenhouse, jotted down some notes about my planting for the day (I’m trying to be strategic and keep better track of things this year), and enjoyed gazing at my starts while the rain pounded on the roof. aaaaahhhh…gardeners bliss.

While I was planting today with a light drizzle begging me to hurry before the rain really started coming, I was reminded of how sweet it is to find commune with the Creator in my garden.  I’ve wrote before about stepping away from the traditional since of church and finding God in the places I’ve always felt him–in nature.  As I was covering my seeds with soil today, I said a little prayer– “Creator of the Universe, Sustainer of Life– help these seeds to grow and nourish my family.” So simple.  So much more real to me that anything I ever experienced in a church service.  This, after Leif and I had watched two sweet birds pull twigs and loose weeds from our garden to make a nest. mmm. so good.

While Leif snoozed, I snuck out for an easy 5 mile run in the rain.  I was pleasantly surprised how good my legs felt after yesterdays 15 miler!  I past 40 miles this week!  Onward!


I met this blond beauty in Seoul, South Korea...and then drug her to South Africa with me to run.

Cape Town Bound July 25!

I bought my Cape Town ticket this week!  It was scary.  Really scary.  There are about a million and one emotions associated with Cape Town.  On the one hand, it is a place of peace for me.  I feel at home squished between the mountain and the ocean or between two mama’s in a crowded minibus.  I LOVE sipping wine or roiboos with my friends. I get high on mountain runs and watching baboons munch in the trees.  It is my heaven in so many ways.

The last time I was in Cape Town, I was in a bit of an emotional conundrum.  It was a very intense time in my life. I left many material and non material things when I left, thinking I was going to be back soon.  Two months after leaving South Africa, I found out I was pregnant.  The last few years have been full of pregnancy and being a mama.  Its been wild.  Its been really wild.  And I’ve loved it.  I love being Leif’s mama more than anything.  The thing is though, to be Leif’s mama in the best way possible, I must also allow my heart to be full.  So, despite my anxiety of leaving my sweet boy for two weeks to fly across the world to South Africa, I know I need it.  I need to revisit some of the things I left there 3 years ago.  Maybe some I will take back for myself…and others I will just remember and leave them again with more of a healed heart.

I suppose this trip to Cape Town is a bit of a pilgrimage for me.  I am also vowing to make sure my next trip does not take so long to take.  I am in charge of my own destiny–if a visit to Cape Town every year or two keeps my soul fresh, then it is a small sacrifice to make spending a bit of money on a flight and kissing my family goodbye for a couple of weeks (or bringing them with me when the time is right).

This is where my heart settles in so peacefully and heave surrounds me.

This is where my heart settles in so peacefully and heave surrounds me.

This Moutain.

This Moutain.



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Banana Buckwheat Pancakes

We are on a breakfast roll!  Both Leif and the 4 year old gal I care for from time to time enjoyed these pancakes.  They are very filling and nutritious. Leif managed to finagle his diaper off before coming downstairs this morning so I just went with it and he ate his breakfast in the nude–best way to eat pancakes if I do say so myself.

check out those cheeks.

check out those cheeks.

While it’s name is misleading, buckwheat is not wheat!  It is actually a seed from the rhubarb family.  It contains eight essential amino acids including a high amount of tryptophan–a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin–which helps to enhance mood!  It is also high in vitamins E and B, Calcium and manganese!  Hip-hip hooray!  Happy and Healthy Pancakes!  Ours turned out extra thick, which I dig, but if you want a bit thinner of a pancake, just add more water or use a bit of almond milk! This is another Thrive modification!

Buckwheat Banana Pancakes

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup hemp protein powder
  • 1/4 cup maca powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 banana
  • 2-3 dates
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup barley flakes

Directions:

In a bowl, mix buckwheat flour, flaxseed, hemp protein, baking powder, maca, and cinnamon

In a blender–blend water, banana, and dates until smooth

Slowly pour wet mixture into dry ingredients and mix well

Stir in barley flakes

Lightly oil skillet with coconut oil and heat over medium heat.  Pour pancake batter to desired size an cook for about 5 minutes on each side.

Enjoy!