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One of the benefits, in my opinion, of having never spent the Christmas holidays in your own home is that you do not have to decorate. Photo (and exhibit) courtesy of the National Park Service We make special trips to see the lavish decorations at the U.S. Botanic Gardens and around the Whitehouse elipse and ... [Read more]

Halifax Collage

The sun came out for a couple of lovely days at the end of our Halifax trip. The photo above was taken from the Halifax-Dartmouth Ferry on Monday on our way to the science museum, the Halifax Discovery Centre. After that, we went to a Natal Day pirate festival in Dartmouth turn in early, after ... [Read more]

Human Landscape Dance and company spent the day yesterday Musquodobit Harbour, Nova Scotia. We dipped our toes in the surf and Maya road her first amusement park ride. 1. Oh that North Atlantic is COLD!, 2. Surf and sand (1), 3. Surf and sand (2), 4. Surf and sand (3), 5. Surf and Sand (mostly ... [Read more]

When I embarked on making Kefir at home, I expected it to be an extension of our long-established habit of making our own yogurt. However, incorporating this fermented food into my diet took a little trial and error. In honor of Farmer's Daughter's Green Moms Carnival this month on preserving food, I'll describe lessons I learned making kefir, so that you might find your ideal routine more quickly than I did.

kefir ready for new milkWhile kefir and yogurt both ferment milk, the process and our resulting routine are very different:

  • Unlike yogurt, making kefir with live cultures does not involve heating and cooling the milk.
  • Kefir ferments at room temperature (or lower, as I discovered) and does not require being kept warm over night.
  • Kefir continues to culture until it is consumed, even if the grains are removed, so must be eaten quickly. (The same is true of yogurt, but the process is much slower.)

There are many websites with instructions for making kefir, and some of them make the process seem very complicated and involved. It doesn't have to be. My kefir routine involves just a tiny bit of planning and adds only a few minutes to my smoothie routine every couple of days.

Standard Homemade Kefir Instructions

  1. Put your grains into a clean glass jar.
  2. Add milk.
  3. Cover jar with a clean towel, not a lid (it carbonates), and store at room temperature.
  4. 24 hours later, or when the kefir reaches the desired sourness, strain kefir grains.
  5. Drink kefir.
  6. Go back to step 1.

That system didn't work for me in the warm climate of Washington, DC, mostly because I found I was making a quart of kefir every 12 hours. Even when I reduced the amount of grains in the jar, I simply couldn't keep up. I had to figure out a way to slow production, and since I had been storing extra grains in the refrigerator, where they still fermented the milk in which they were stored, I decided to try putting the whole process in there.

1. Ann Marie Mulgrew & Dancers, 2. Human Landscape Dance, 3. Anne Marie Mulgrew and Dancers (2), 4. Funny Faces at the Folklife Festival, 5. Funny Faces at the Folklife Festival (2), 6. Slippery Dance Floor at the Folklife Festival, 7.Documenting the Haircut, 8. Yards Park Canal w/Daddy, 9. Yards Park Canal

It's not just here. I've barely been posting to twitter and only sporatically posting at Care2.  I've simply found myself busier than expected in 2011: managing the day to day, but also figuring, planning, and dreaming. Your best bet for keeping up with me lately is Facebook. I even have a page for yoga, check ... [Read more]

 “I ride the metro with God.” That was the thought that struck me at the end of chapter 7 of Donna Farhi’s Bringing Yoga to Life. The thought drove home the magnitude of creation, the sheer magnitude of Grace manifested into the diversity of this reality and its potential for constant rediscovery of the Self. ... [Read more]

HAPPY CHRISTMAS BOKEH! XXXphoto © 2009 Simon 'Kelp' Keeping | more info (via: Wylio)

My husband and I don't give each other presents: not birthday presents, not anniversary presents, not Christmas presents. <Gasp!>

The appropriate cultural response: How do you show the other how much you love them without buying them gifts?

Um, wow. Did you hear what you just said? (Ok, i typed it, but whatever.)

Why We Don't Buy Gifts

My husband and I don't buy each other stuff. We do stuff for each other and with each other. And we do it all year long.

It's a pattern we sort of naturally fell into over a decade of marriage. With limited time and money, we found we'd much rather spend both on building or doing something the other wanted than shopping.

The conscious decision not to buy presents adds even more meaning to the everyday gifts we give each other –– preparing meals, looking after household tasks, listening to the others hopes and dreams, or covering childcare so the other can pursue an interest -- and to the occasional gifts like building something around the house. For example, the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that line nearly every free wall we've got are more than essential storage in a tiny urban row-house; the memories of afternoons we spent building them have been incorporated into the glue that holds our marriage together.

In her #reverb10 prompt this morning, Gwen Bell asked participants to define 2010 in one word. Mine is "transition." While 2009 was actually the year in which I left my full time job, it was in 2010 that I really attempted to figure out what that meant. I began a yoga teacher training program and ... [Read more]

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