night bugs and community

 

I tried to go to bed an hour and a half ago. It didn’t work out.

I will admit to being a woman easily startled in the night. When walking around downstairs whilst the rest of my family sleeps, I can convince myself that I saw something out of the corner of my eye or that the sound of the house creaking/settling was something sinister. I would prefer to not be walking about the house in the middle of the night. But, if I can’t sleep, sometimes I simply have to change my surroundings. So I land downstairs and make my way to my favorite spot chill. It’s where I find myself tonight. I get that the light from the computer screen is counterproductive to my efforts to induce sleepiness. However, some nights, it’s just what it is and I need to write a little something.

It wasn’t a banner evening in the parenting life I live. It was stressful and unsettling, and beautiful and redemptive. All at once. It was one of the bigger conversations we’ve had with one of our children, confessions on both sides that we are works in process and there are big life lessons to be learned from some recent experiences we’ve had both separately and together. Necessary words, thoughts and lessons, growth to be had. And we are so thankful for it all.

But, though I am thankful, I am worn out. And have a little bit of a latent stress reaction to the situation, so, here I sit instead of sleeping in my bed. And I am reflecting on how you might think you’re alone — waiting for the house to creak or the shadow to catch your eye — there are others up at this time of the day (night) too. And they’re looking for loved ones to commune with in the late hours that are filled with big struggles or emotions. I opened Facebook when I got to my chair. And I read recent posts by my friends: there was sleeplessness due to rain, anger at the state of our country, longing for comfort and relief from grief at the loss of a loved one. And mingled in was the post from a mom friend who laid on the floor next to her daughter’s bed when asked at bedtime, and a photo of her daughter’s tiny hand in her own as the little one fell asleep. Life is full and everyone is somewhere tonight living out a story that is all their own, yet shared. And oftentimes it is m e s s y . And sometimes unbearable, or confusing, or threatens to overwhelm. Or, so bittersweet it brings tears. And reading through real-time responses and interactions between dear friends going through the mess of life, navigating their way through the weeds that can sometimes block the path they are looking for, I was reminded that the world is smaller than it can feel. And in sharing in the life struggles of friends — simple fellowship and a few words amongst friends in what can be lonely hours — can lessen my own burdens as I share in their life experiences. We are part of a larger story and there is every hour give and take, ebb and flow.

And there are night bugs. The incredible yard full of crickets. They are the soundtrack tonight. They are the warm reminder that the God of all creation is at work. A vibrant chorus that surrounds me. Voices reaching out to one another in the night, in the dark. Community. And I am glad I gave up my earlier quest for sleep, because sometimes, it can wait.

dinner, 10:15 p.m.

 

Sometimes, Mom Life looks like this. At 10:15 p.m. When family activities are many, and much is packed into one evening, you get going and don’t feed yourself well, nor at a reasonable hour. Everyone else eats, albeit at different times, (and your husband asks, “You’re going to feed yourself too, right?”) But, you get going with drop offs and pick ups, errands to the likes of Target, grocery shopping, book reading, goodnight hugs & prayers. Feeding the fish. And this — a bowl of boxed, gluten free mac n’ cheese — sounds pretty much perfect on this late summer evening. I mean, it may be boxed, but it’s fresh. It’s not warmed up leftover mac n’ cheese; I made it just now. That has to count for something, right?

summer morning

Summer mornings don’t get much more lovely than this. Well, by my estimation. It’s bright, sunny…the air is warm and getting warmer, but there is an incredible cool breeze. I appreciate cool breezes — warm ones make me dizzy. My children are chasing each other, laughing, through sun-filtered grass. And I am drinking the loveliest Moonlight Jasmine tea that tastes just like the scent of the fields of my childhood summers.

Not every hour in my day will be like this. Soon there will be sibling squabbles, dishes, decluttering, and more laundry. But for now, I will enjoy the summer bliss. Here I go….

mint chip ice cream

5.24.16

 

I have a recipe to share today. Having finally concocted a mint chip ice cream recipe that I LOVE, the end of May seems a fitting time pass it along. It is free of dairy, refined sugar, corn, and gluten. Hope you enjoy it! Into summer we go!


 

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

1 can (13.5 oz) full-fat coconut milk

1 cup cashew milk (or other nut milk of choice)

4 egg yolks

10 medjool dates, pitted

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 and a 1/2  tsp peppermint extract

1 Tbsp gelatin

1/4 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

Place your pitted dates into a small bowl and cover them with very warm water. Pour coconut milk into a high speed blender container. Add egg yolks. Blend on lowest speed for 10-15 seconds. Your objective is to blend the cream back into the milk, as well as mix in the yolks; you do not want to overblend the egg. Once combined, pour the mixture into a medium saucepan. Heat on medium-low for 4 to 5 minutes, whisking gently, but constantly. This process will temper your eggs; you do not, however, want your eggs to scramble. After tempering, pour the mixture back into your blender container. Return to the bowl of dates and drain & discard the water. To the egg and coconut milk mixture add the cashew milk, softened dates, and vanilla and peppermint extracts. Blend on medium/high for a minute, or until the dates have been incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Chill this mixture in refrigerator for approximately two hours (it should be cold!) Return the blender to its stand. In a small bowl, pour 1/4 cup boiling water. Mix in 1 Tbsp gelatin powder, stirring very well to dissolve. Add the gelatin liquid to your chilled mixture, and blend for 30 seconds on medium. Your ice cream base is now ready! Pour into your 2-quart ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Just before removing the ice cream at the end of t’s processing cycle, pour the chocolate chips into the cylinder to mix in. Eat right away or freeze until hardened.

As always, my gentle reminder: The recipes on this blog are my own. Should you choose to use them or lightly adapt them in a post on your own website, please do me the courtesy of linking back to my original recipe on this page. The photos, as well, are mine and copyrighted as such. Thank you for respecting and honoring my work.