Monday, August 25, 2014

Cold Brew Iced Coffee Recipe

You guys, it is finally feeling like the Arkansas summer I know and love dread. Humid. Muggy. Hot. I mean, it's hard to complain though. It is late August and, since we have had such a mild and pleasant summer, I suppose we can bear through a few weeks of 120 degree heat with 150% humidity.

But to get you through summer's last hoo-rah, I thought I'd share a new-found secret of mine: cold brew iced coffee! Ree posted it on her website ages ago and I've been dying to try it ever since; if the Pioneer Woman says it is good, you better believe it as truth.

Before we knew the error of our ways, if Josh and I wanted iced coffee we would brew it hot, throw it in the fridge, and wait for as long as possible (aka: 30 minutes) to fill the cup up with ice and call it good. Oh, how we've entered the light.

This cold brew method leaves us with better coffee and more time in the morning to sleep in. (Cause, you know, using a Keurig takes sooo long.) But seriously, the coffee is way better. It can last a month in your fridge, in a tightly sealed container, but it only has lasted us 2 weeks. What can I say. We like our iced coffee.

You may need to tweak your coffee:water ratio and how long you let it sit to find the perfect strength you like, but here is the basis.

Cold Brew Iced Coffee 
(adapted from Pioneer Woman)

12oz ground coffee. I recommend a medium roast
6 quarts of cold water.
a big bowl/bucket/trough
a pitch with a lid

In a large bowl, combine the coffee and cold water. Gently stir to make sure the coffee in submerged in the water. This bowl might be deceiving, but it is huge. 

Cover and sit a room temperature for 8 hours. I let our's go to 10 and it was a tad too strong. 

Once it is ready, using a fine-meshed strainer and cheese cloth, pour the coffee into a pitcher. I had to use two pitches because I didn't have one large enough to hold all the coffee. Think ahead people; don't be like me. 

It may take it a bit to drain, but be patient. And definitely use cheese cloth. The grounds will get through if you just use a strainer. And nothing is worse that drinking coffee with grounds in it. Yuck.

Put a lid on your pitcher and stick it in the fridge. When you wake up in the morning you can pour yourself a wonderful glass of iced goodness. 

And of course, Half N Half makes everything better...

Friends, you must try it. You'll thank me for it. I swear. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A decade ago

10 years ago today I said "yes" to a date with a young, funny, and persistent blue eyed boy. Today, I am married to the man God knew I needed; the man that makes me smile, calms me down, and truly lifts my spirits. 
Josh, I am honored to be your wife and I am lucky to call you my best friend. 

Thanks for asking me out, all those years ago.












Sunday, August 17, 2014

Library Love: Pursue the Intentional Life

I am apart of a Lord-loving, food-eating, and laughter-seeking girls group that has been meeting every Thursday for the past several years. They've grown together, grieved together, and have opened their arms and hearts to me.

This summer we read Purse the Intentional Life by Jean Fleming. And you guys, it changed my life. I want to shake each of you and demand you read it. Jean has concepts and thoughts that I have never considered before and she writes so beautifully. It's like snippets of her diary, a window into her heart.

The title explains what the book is about- how to live our lives with intention. How to slow down, redirect, and focus on what God really wants from our brief time on earth. Jean shares with us from her "old woman file" lessons God has taught her and questions she is still pursuing. Her searching ignites my hunger.

"I find that contemplating the end of life leads not to depression but to clarity and invigoration. Setting my life in parentheses and holding it at arm's length helps me to think more critically about the direction of my life..."
"...Life is short. Soon my life on earth will give way to my life in heaven. Rather than leading to panic, the reality leads to a peaceful and settled urgency. Although thoughts of heaven are so lovely to consider, the Lord reminds me that my short stay on earth is my only chance to honor Him with faith and faithfulness."

In my 19,000 some-odd days left on earth, Lord willing, I want my life to be intentional. I want my actions, my words, and my thoughts to be spirit-filled and God-led. I want to constantly refocus my gaze, realign my heart, and point others to the only hope we have. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Family weekend: Lake house edition

With summer sadly coming to a close and the school year/fall quick upon us, I was glad to take a long weekend away with my family at our lake house this past weekend. The whole crew came, minus my cool aunt, and we couldn't have had a better time.

We all arrived on Friday and immediate got in the boat to warm up our tubing skills and dare the driver to flip us off. 
Uncle Scott and my mom are the two best drivers of the group. Want to die on a tube? Just put them behind the wheel. 

Even though it rained a little bit each day, that gave us a good excuse to come inside, stuff our faces, and play countless rounds of cards. Seriously, you must learn to shuffle and play cards to be apart of this family. We'll play any card game, but we're partial to Spades and Hearts. 
I'm pretty sure Scott and I won that round, hence his proud presentation of his hand.

We did some fishing without success and attempted to teach Jaden how to ski. It was an all around good time. 

And the last day, with the rain clouds finally away, we decided to get in some last minute skiing and kneeboarding. We threw on swimsuits, said "no" to wallets, shoes, water, and sunscreen and jumped in the boat. As, you know, we were only going to be gone for an hour or so...famous last words. 

Several miles away from the house, with Drake epically skiing, the boat came to a sputtering stop. With multiple attempts and tries, we officially diagnosed the boat as dead. Stranded, we did the only thing we thought to do... pull it ourselves. 
They all three are pulling the boat with ropes. After 20 minutes, we may have gone 300 yards.

But luckily, some good Samaritans with bottled water came and towed us to the nearest ramp where the  rest of the family came to pick us up. Great way to end the weekend. 
"Hey guys, turn around and smile so I can take a pictures of the guy towing us!"

I seriously can't wait to go back. Here's to another weekend of family bonding! 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Half a year: An eternity

This week it will be 6 months since we said hello, and goodbye, to Olivia. 
Half a year.
My, how we've changed.

One part of me says, it's a day just like any other.
A day that I still don't have her.
I can't miss her any more on that day compared to all the other days without her. 

But in the same breath, my life seems to revolve around these anniversaries.

Such a milestone. 
Such an eternity. 

I can't believe we've made it 6 months.
I can't believe I've made it 6 months.

Life just isn't.
Isn't full enough.
Isn't happy enough.
Isn't good enough.

The only thing that is, is God.
He is fullness, happiness, and goodness.
He is enough.

Or, this is what I scream at my heart.
But my heart is human.
And it hurts.

It hurts so deeply.