Life Update: Beel Babies Coming Summer 2023


We are delighted to be sharing this news with you today! (If you're wondering where I was for 3 months, this should explain it ;))

We are so grateful to be welcoming TWO babies into our family early this summer! Yes, you read that right. We're having twins! After years in the wilderness, the Lord is doing a new thing in our family and words can't express our thankfulness.

"Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19




We are praising the Lord for these two little precious lives that I'm carrying in my belly. I can't believe I get to do this. I never, ever thought I'd be a twin mom, but God had other plans and we are trusting Him!

If you're wondering if we were shocked when we found out there was two, the answer is yes. I wish I had recorded my husband's face, because it was just SO GOOD! I will share more about all of that another time.



If you've been following along for a while, you'll know that we had been struggling to conceive for a few years. It was the hardest season of my life. I was so nervous to share about our struggle here, because you never know how the internet will react to vulnerability. But my fears were quickly shattered when I was met with the kindest encouragement, sweet words, hundreds of people telling me they were praying for us, cards in the mail, and more. It was so humbling and I will be forever grateful for every ounce of kindness we were shown on our infertility journey. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Because of our infertility, you may be wondering "how did this happen?!" I will be sure to share ALL the details soon. My hope is to be an open book, encouragement and a resource for others going through this now. 

This top ultrasound picture shows the two of them next to each other :) Also, poor Lincoln. He has no idea what's coming- ha!



Because I share about our struggle openly, I've collected many women here who are also struggling with infertility. If that is you and you're reading this post with tears in your eyes because it's so hard to see yet another pregnancy announcement, I want to speak right to you:

I know this ache. I am so sorry for your pain. I don't know what your story holds, but I know that with God, there is always good to be found. There is always hope. On this whole journey, and even as we navigate hard feelings and challenges during pregnancy after years of infertility, God has not and will not ever stop being good. You are not forgotten, you are not alone. You are brave, you are loved, and you will be an amazing mama!



Thank you for being here. I know some of you have been following since I was in college in Seattle! Maybe you found me when we were getting married 6.5 years ago. Or maybe you found me through our infertility journey. However you got here, I am thankful and humbled you're here! I am excited to share this new chapter with you and would love your prayers for health, renewed energy, and protection as we continue on in this twin pregnancy. 

xoxo




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Pumpkin Shaped Sourdough Bread

Want to take fall, halloween and thanksgiving decor to the next level?! Let's make pumpkin shaped sourdough loaves! I do realize this will probably only apply to those of you who already make sourdough, but perhaps this idea is cute enough to convince you to get into bread making ;) If you're new to this, you can find my sourdough recipe and how-to blog post here. It'll help you through the entire process!


WHAT YOU'LL NEED TO MAKE PUMPKIN SHAPED BREAD:


+ your dough (here's my recipe!)
+ bakers string (dipped in olive oil so it doesn't stick to your bread)
+ bread lame (took to score the pattern into your dough)

LET'S GET STARTED!



Once your dough has done it's overnight proof in the refrigerator, you will cut your string, dip it in olive oil (so it doesn't stick to your bread), and lay it out on the dough before baking.

As seen below, cut 4 pieces of string, each about 20" long. Lay them out over the banneton (in bannetons, the top of the loaf is face down, so what you see here is the bottom of the loaf) in the pattern that you would cut a pizza. You should have 8 triangles. 


You'll want to cut out a round piece of parchment paper (cut to size that you know will fit your loaf) but be sure to leave little "handles" on the sides so you can easily use those to lift the dough into the dutch oven when it's time. I learned this the hard way-- I didn't do this for my first loaf, hence why you won't see the handles in my pictures. I realized it would have been very handy after the fact!

Cover your banneton with the parchment paper and carefully flip it over!

I flipped it over onto a paper plate to give me more stability. As you can see, the strings are now on the bottom of the loaf.

Now you will tie up each set of string to meet in the middle so that the loaf looks like this:


Next up, you score the loaf. I did a simple alternating pattern in each triangle. 

Lift your tied up dough into the dutch oven and cover it with a lid.

In my recipe, I bake it for 26 minutes at 475 with the lid on, then remove the lid and bake it for another 15 minutes at 450. This photo was taken after I removed the lid:


After baking, it should look like this! Let the bread cool for an hour with the string on. After the hour, remove the string by cutting if off, and insert the cinnamon stick in the center of the top of the loaf. It'll go right in!


Aren't they adorable?! 

I made one plain loaf and one cinnamon raisin. The cinnamon raisin was SO good!! If you're interested, my recipe calls for 1000 grams of flour and makes two loaves. My cinnamon raisin ratio is 300g raisins (don't forget to soak them!), 3 tablespoons cinnamon, 3 tablespoons coconut or regular sugar per 1000g of flour. (Since I only did one flavored loaf, I cut this in half.)

Which two are not like the others?! ;)


I hope you give this a try! It's a show stopper :)


Happy fall, my friends!
Michaela

michaela 





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Cut Flower Garden 2022

I'm so not ready for it, but sadly, the growing season in Michigan is coming to an end. As you know, gardening and flowers are two of my favorite things! It was so nice to be outside this summer and watch everything grow. I wouldn't say it was my best cut flower garden year (I remember producing a lot more last year), but it was great, nonetheless. Any amount of flowers are better than none!

From the peonies in June...





To the cut flower garden that bloomed from late July-October... (but look how they started when I planted them in late May!)


Here's how it looks now... (well, as of 3 weeks ago when these pictures were taken!)



I've also been so happy with how my roses did this year. I got this new rose bush called Angel Face in the spring and it did amazingly well!



These are Asters and behind that, cosmos (which bloomed incredibly late, but are doing well!)

Here's the scabiosa and phlox...


Lots of pretty zinnia!




The hydrangeas also did really well! I'm excited to see all the pretty colors they'll turn next year. 

 

I had a couple pots on our deck filled with this dainty Euphorbia, alyssum and Vinca.


Things I'm going to do differently in my cut garden next year:


+ I realized I can pack a lot more plants in my small patch, so I'm going to hope to double the amount of flowers I plant next year
+ fertilize more often (I didn't even realize I should do this until last month ha!) 
+ I love zinnias and I did a ton of them this year, but I would have loved to have more of other varieties. I really want to get more snap dragons, phlox (in different colors, this year mine were super bright which was fun, but I'd love to have a more subtle color as well), asters, scabiosa, globe amaranth, and strawflower.
+ Next year I'd love to try to grow some greens/filler varieties. Maybe lemon basil and some snow on the mountain.


I'm already excited for gardening in 2023! Before the cut garden though, I'm hoping to produce a lot of spring bulb flowers by growing them in different pots of the winter. I'd love to put the pots on our porch in the spring and have them exploding with hyacinth, daffodils and tulips! We'll see how it goes ;)

Thanks for following along in all my flower adventures.

xoxo



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End of Summer Lemon Party

Last week I hosted an end-of-summer party in our backyard and it was so fun, I just have to tell you about it in case you want to throw your own. It's not too late, you know! Summer doesn't officially end until September 21st ;) (Yes, I'm one of those who protests fall until October 1st!)  I love any excuse to gather, celebrate, create beauty, and see friends, so this just thrilled my heart to put together. I wanted to have a bit of a theme, so I thought "what's more summery than lemon?!" 

Almost every food item at the party had a hint of lemon, and it just made it that much more festive and fun. We did apps, a full dinner and desserts. I asked some of my friends to bring apps or desserts so I could focus on the main course, and it worked out perfectly. I'll go through the menu throughout the post!

To start, I sent out an evite with the details and asked for the guests to let me know if they could bring a lemon-themed app or dessert. In the invitation, I also told my friends to wear their favorite summer dress! Such an easy way to make the evening feel even more special :)

Oh, and here's the playlist I used for the party. It was perfect in every way. If you know Nancy Myers movies, then you just know!

THE LEMONADE BAR


One thing I knew right away I wanted to do was create a lemonade bar. We had an ice bucket full of other drinks, in addition to a few wine choices, but this lemonade bar was the true favorite! I had pink and regular lemonade, then 3 garnishes of mint, muddled blueberries and raspberries. What summer party is complete without a signature cocktail?! Enter the Limoncello Spritz!

If guests wanted to, they could add prosecco and club soda to their lemonade to make a little cocktail. It was so delicious and summery! I love making sure there's an interactive element at any party. It gives people something direct to do and makes things feel more celebratory. 



DINING ALFRESCO

We ate in our backyard, so I really wanted to make it feel extra special and elevated. We strung up more twinkle lights, then set up two 6' tables with inexpensive white, floor length linens and yellow colored runners. Then I borrowed all the tabletop dishes and glassware from a friend who is an amazing thrifter! Her basement is like a treasure trove of every dish you could ever need. I knew I wanted to mix blue chinoiserie dishes with the yellow runner. I added napkins, candles, mix matched amber glasses and I just love the way it all played so well together! It felt very Santorini ;)

I am so thankful to have a couple friends with gorgeous flower gardens, so I grabbed all my flowers from them! 










THE MENU


For appetizers, we enjoyed homemade bruschetta with lemon basil and a charcuterie complete with a lemon-feta dip that truly was a hit!

For dinner, we served cilantro-citrus chicken skewers with veggies, a subtle lemon garlic couscous, salad with apples, raisins, parmesan cheese and a lemon dressing, fruit salad and of course, homemade sourdough bread ;)









Dessert was also delicious! Friends brought lemon bars, brownies, scotcheroos (if you've never heard of them, you must try them!) and a dutch almond cake topped with strawberries. It was the perfect assortment! 



So grateful for all these sweet friends and neighbors!



Here's your nudge to throw a party for the heck of it! Sometimes you just need to do something fun for no reason at all, especially in the midst of hard seasons, like it has been for us. It was the best evening and it may just become a new summer tradition!






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