Sep 20, 2014

Beehiving with Rosebud Valley Honey

   Being that I have never been stung by a bee in my 31 (shhh!) years of life, I was a bit nervous about going to visit our friend Jordan's bee hives. I am pretty adventurous (lol) so I figured it was worth a look see, but the thought of our babies being stung was also a little off-putting. Jordan reassured me that it would be ok, and that he has an Epipen in his car should any of us get stung and swell up like a blueberry. 

   He gave us the lowdown on beehive instructions, where to, and not to walk, to stay calm, not swat, let the bees land on you, and that they are not out to harm us. And definitely don't get freaked out and start running. I was all calm and cool until the lid of the first beehive came off, then I started to feel my senses heighten. Every time a bee flew close I just closed my eyes and pretended it wasn't there, and hoped that it would just keep flying and not land on me. Because I could not be the wuss of the gang and show all the little 4 year olds around what it looks like when a grown woman cries from a bee sting! There was no cussing, no frantic movements, no crying done on my part. So proud!

   I did just fine. One of them even landed on me, and I just let it happen. Breath in, breath out. The kids did awesome too. There were a couple of times where we could here the bee buzzing pitch get higher and we slowly, and calmly evacuated the area, under Jordan's advisement. But once the bees were "smoked" a bit more they calmed down and we could return and watch the honey cultivating procedure. 

   It was a neat process to watch. One I had never seen before. First smoking all the bees so they head to the bottom of the hive, gorge themselves on honey and get sugar drunk, and then slowly pull out the slats (I am sure they have a different name but half of the info I learned got lost while I was focusing on staying zen) and see how much honey they made, and store them in the car to bring back home to extract. Once at the house they scrapped the honeycombs with a fork to make sure all the holes (once again, there is a more technical name) were open so the honey could pour out, and then into the big spinner they went. Set a bucket below the valve, et voila, watch the golden goodness run out.

   Our girls weren't fazed at all by the bees and all their brains were focusing on is how much free honey sampling they could get out of Jordan. At least they kept their manners, and when they asked for more honey every two minutes, it came with a please. I do believe that Ellia, la Gordita, is slightly addicted. The stuff tastes amazing, and if you want to check them out or get some for yourself head to Jordan and Kelsey's website for Rosebud Valley Honey.

left to right: Nova, Ellia, Eben, Arias, Genevieve, Jordan (the Honey man, as the girls call him)

Ellia likes her first try

yep, we let Ellia hold the bee thing, full of bees

Eben gives it a go

more honey eating

and more...

and more...

once we told them no more honey, they moved on to eating the waxing honeycombs

and once the sugar kicked in they started climbing hay bales

Nova, Arias, and Asher
back at the shed the extraction begins

the spinner to get the honey out
giving it a try and getting my hands sticky

Sep 17, 2014

Shopping For A Cause: Project AK-47

   Projects involving children are my weak spot. Not just because most kids are usually stinkin' cute, but now that I have kids of my own I cannot fathom my girls having to go through some of the hardships that other children in the world face. One very scary reality that still exists in our world, one that we often ignore, neglect, or turn a blind eye to is slavery. Modern day slavery still exists in many forms, such as when little ones are forced or coerced into becoming child solders or sex trafficking victims. So when I come across an organization that works closely with these issues, and does it right, by getting involved with the locals and authorities in the communities to ensure they are being culturally sound, well then I am all for spreading their name and cause on our blog.

   Project AK-47 exists to rescue child soldiers from the lives of violence, restore their identities, and reshape regions of conflict. They run several different programs. They have an educational program which aims at providing children with an education, by first off providing communities with schools, so that they can be better prepared for when recruiters come seeking children to fight. They have safe houses, for children who are living in bad situations, and may be more vulnerable to being sold or traded by their own families. They run youth programs, giving teenagers goals to strive for through the discipline of sports. And they run vocational training and community programs, training and creating work for communities in need. By giving someone a job, they are less likely to feel strapped for cash and seek some horrible means of making some quick, it is often their ticket away from the front lines of fighting.

   This organization has chosen two very strong symbols to represent themselves. The first is their name, Project AK-47. They chose the name because the AK-47 has been dubbed as the "people's gun". It was the first gun of modern warfare that enabled armed groups to use children in combat, because even a child can learn to shoot an AK. Their second symbol, the one that adorns their shirts, are the two black bars. In sensitive documents and information, black bars are often used to hide facts and faces. The black bars in their logo represent a hidden story and an identity in need of protection.

   There are a few different ways to get involved with Project AK-47. They invite you to donate, join as an advocate, share your story, and simply shop. For an organization to write publicly that at least 85% of their profit goes to helping children through their services is very impressive. So once again, if getting involved is not a possibility, shopping always is. These guys sell t-shits, bracelets, and dog tags, which all go towards supporting their programs and their hard work. 

Sep 15, 2014

Monkey See, Monkey Do

   Ellia has become Arias' mini shadow. Whatever her big sister does or says, she repeats. It is adorable seeing this little sisterly bond that they are creating. It can also be a tad annoying having to listen to everything Arias says twice, as her mini-me copies her. One of the cutest "If she can do it I can too" moments I have witnessed to date, is watching Ellia decide to finally take part in circus class, like her sister.

   Over our six months in Sosua Ellia chose to sit by my side, watching her big sis take circus class, while she nibbled away on any snack I brought for her. Until our final month. She then decided that she wanted to be just like her sister and she wanted to take to be a part in the Big Kids class too. The first class she wanted me by her side for the entire floor routine. I was her personal trainer! And her following two classes she has made it through about 10 minutes of the activities and then came whining back to me, asking to eat rather than "workout". Yet another reason why she has been nicknamed "habichuela" (bean) and "gelatina" (gelatine). haha. Oh but how I love that gelatinous bean.

So she figured out that circus class may not be for her, but that doesn't stop her from shadowing Arias in everything else that she does.

this is usually around the point where she chooses food over class

in her words "mama I no know how to do dat"

her and her twinkle toes did have fun on the trampoline though

Arias and her best buddy Gaia

Sep 6, 2014

Green Spaces in Canada

   We've been back in Canada only a day but it is surprising how much of a nice feeling I am getting seeing the girls enjoying themselves out in the green spaces. We are in Rosebud, small town, Alberta. This town is surrounded by rolling hills, creeks, and farmers' fields. There is an abundance of green everywhere, tinted by the afternoon sun. My favourite part of today was watching the girls run free. There is hardly anything here that we would have to worry about. We can see them as they run in the distance. There are no oceans to drown in, no cliffs to fall off, no one else in sight. Just us, and plenty of running room. I have never been a huge fan of the country, merely because of personal boredom. But watching the girls with the freedom this environment gives them is soothing. It was highly relaxing, just sitting back, hanging out as adults, as the kids created their own fun. They rolled down hills, threw grass at each other, hunted bugs and held critters, played hide and seek, played king of the hill, and made up their very own soundtrack to accompany their adventures. For lack of any other word, it was beautiful, and filled me with simple, pure, happiness. 

even on land she finds creepy critters

Ellia got a little tired after a while and became quite dramatic. Eben empathized