Saturday, March 15, 2008


Meet our kefir. It is very nice and kind to us. Though, if we don't pay attention to it often it turns sour. It reproduces itself everyday. When we drink its milk, our tummies are healthier and are able to fight off any foreign invaders that might like to make us sick.

I gotta tell you about kefir (key-fur). It is VERY easy to make...very inexpensive...very good for you. We've been making our own yogurt for years now and we love that too...but making kefir is so much easier and better for you. I learned that kefir has many more billions of beneficial bacteria and more varieties than yogurt does. There is also no lactose in it so it is palatable for those who are lactose intolerant. I also read that many people around the world feed it to their infants in place of formula or cow's milk. I documented, with photos, how to make it. All you need is: a spoonful of live kefir grains (these may be hard to come by...I bought mine through eBay), a clean glass jar with lid (or cover the jar with a paper towel with a rubber band to allow for air to escape), a PLASTIC slotted spoon to strain the grains (NEVER touch the grains with metal), and milk. Unlike yogurt, kefir is not temperature sensitive. This is what makes it incredibly easy to make.

Here's how to make it:

These first pictures are what the final product will look like. It kinda looks scary, but don't think too hard about it. After you blenderize it all, it will look and taste like a thin yogurt smoothie.

Then you strain the kefir grains out with the plastic spoon. Set them aside.

This is what the kefir grains look like. Some resemblance to popcorn or little cauliflowers.

Pour the kefir into the blender.

Add a tablespoon of honey or other sweetener. Vanilla is really good too. And for a real treat, add frozen berries or other fruit.


Pour the kefir into a glass jar.

Store in the fridge. It lasts for a few weeks.


Feel good about what you are putting in your body.

Put the kefir grains back into the kefir jar.

Pour fridge-temperature milk over the top, cover, place in a dark place. And start the process all over again anywhere from 12-24 hours later. I do mine every morning for breakfast. Riley loves it and so do we.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bird walking

We went on a beautiful walk at the Wildlife Refuge last weekend. This is located just south of Eureka about ten miles, on the way to Fortuna and Ferndale. The trails go for miles and miles and the include walking around the marsh, bay, and ocean...all in one loop. Pretty cool. The only bummer is no dogs allowed so Naya had to stay in the back of the car.

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Leftover Garden

Here are some recent photos of our garden, which is left over from last summer. The artichoke is now huge...bigger than Riley! We have some winter salad and our chard is bog and beautiful. Chard has to be the easiest vegetable to grow- and one of the most beautiful! What to do with it? Throw it into any soup, salad, or smoothie for an instant boost in nutrients. Or slice it and saute it with a little garlic and olive oil until it wilts. Yummy.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Cabin on the Van Duzen

Last weekend we were blessed to stay in a cabin belonging to a friend of a friend. We spent Friday through Sunday relaxing on the Van Duzen river. We took the time away from home as a sort of be alone, yet together...enjoying one another...talking with God, listening to Him...seeking His will for direction for our future. Riley and Naya loved the river. Riley would throw a stick and Naya would bring it back everytime. Riley can't throw that far, though, so we had to supplement his throwing with ours to get Naya's energy out. The cabin had a wood stove and we made smores for dessert. Yummy. Enjoy the photos!

Okay, is this cute or what? Sorry Garrett-- I hope this doesn't offend you...if they weren't so innocent, so cute, so two years old, we wouldn't publish this...but c'mon. When the Taylor's came to visit a month ago, the kiddos were running around (notice the red, rosy cheeks and sweaty foreheads) and kissed each other goodnight. Annabelle and Riley 2 1/2 years old.
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Valentine's Day with the Homeschoolers

On Valentine's Day we walked over to Grace Baptist Church for lunch and the stuffing of the Valentine bags. Every child put their bags (that they decorated) in a line and then each child dropped one valentine into every bag. Riley got to bring home all kinds of cute valentines, pencils, bookmarks, candy, cookies, and little toys. Riley had a great time!

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A copy of our recent newsletter sent out to friends and supporters

The Rickstrew Family

To catch you up…
It has been almost four and a half years now since we have been home from living in Niger, West Africa. Most of you know that we were sent out by our local church to partner with YWAM in planting churches among the Wodaabe people. We lived there for two years and came home when our commitment was complete in order for Tracy to go to nursing school and for us to see what God had in store for us next. This past December Tracy finished nursing school at HSU and became an RN in January!!! In the middle of all of this...our son, Riley Dean, was born August 2005. He is now 2 1/2 years old. He is a spunky “big” little guy who is now proud to be able to recite the alphabet and count to 20 (though he skips fourteen every time =). We bought our first home in Eureka two years ago and have been enjoying the responsibility of homeownership! Our yellow lab, Naya, is now 3 1/2 and still acts like a big puppy most of the time. Tom is just about finished with a project he has been working on at our local high school. He impressively worked his way up the ladder to end up managing the whole project after starting out as an assistant. When this project ends, we do not know what the future holds for us as far as employment for Tom is concerned. Since we have been home from Niger, Tom has been blessed with excellent work opportunities but nothing ever seems to last for more than a year. This factor, along with what we think is a calling on our lives, has caused us to look into other options for our future. We have focused our prayers and efforts towards looking into ministry opportunities, particularly overseas. As more time passes from being home from Niger, we miss being a simple life, depending on God for everything, and sharing Jesus with people who have never heard of Him before. The last weekend in February we had our first “family prayer retreat” at a cabin on the Van Duzen river. We all enjoyed the time spent with the Lord and the refreshment that comes from taking time out to spend with Him. We thought this format would be a good way to reach out to people we love and ask for your prayers on our behalf as we seek the Lord’s will for our lives. We would love to hear from you!

Prayers to be Prayed

· Pray that we would confidently know His will and have the courage and faith to live it

· Pray that God will open doors for us

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth” Ps. 8:1