Saturday, June 30, 2012

Getting Ready for the Baby to be 2

We keep looking at little baby pictures from when E was born--it makes us a little weepy. She's so different now: uses phrases to communicate her wants/needs, wants to follow along and do what bigger kids do. We just finished baking the cake (Thanks to Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair!), and we're getting our decorations set aside a bit.
We don't think very many people will come actually. That's probably just fine since she's only two and is a little standoffish. We'll still try to make things beautiful and oceanic.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Nourishing Traditions

It's a bit silly to say that one is reading Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, but really, that's what I've been doing. The introduction is tons of large pages with relatively small print. It covers principles discovered by Weston A. Price and tons of other research to boot.
This book is mainly a cookbook though. I don't even think I can begin to explain what I'm learning in the introduction. It's so much information that it makes me want to commit to becoming an official student of nutrition and to start memorizing stuff. There is a lot of debate these days about best nutrition etc. We have this Weston A. Price camp. Veganism is strong, and the Paleo/GAPS people have really gained momentum. Regardless of the conclusions we make when we study these approaches indepth, I see a fundamental, obvious point linking them: get rid of all this processed, industrial junk. Eat close to home, close to the earth. Retain some sort of real connection to what we put into our bodies. Another thing this and some new-to-me cookbooks have convinced me that I need a lot more quiet/uninterrupted time with cookbooks each week!

You Can Heal Your Life

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay is a book that I kept running into for about a year. It seemed kinda hokey etc., and I didn't really see the need to read another self-help book right away. But I did read it, and I came away with some mixed feelings. Something I liked was the fervent commitment to personal responsibility and focusing our minds in a positive way. A principle notion is: don't blame others for anything--you give away your power by doing so. There are a lot of beautiful affirmations in the chapters, and I know all too well how our thoughts can shape our reality. She's more "out there" than a lot of people I read, but I don't think her views are that divergent from a lot of spiritual, ancient wisdom. Some of the details are muddy, but it's the same way that a lot of things we believe are that way. Sometimes there's decent science behind certain practices we hold dear and essential, and other times we just believe and expect that science will catch up one day and be able to observe what we experience. It's that devil may care attitude that I needed to appreciate the book. She might say something wacky like that pain in your fingers is related to some sort of anger or pent up frustration or that a sour stomach is tied to deep grief/sadness (both of which I'm making up--hers sometimes had more logical connection than that but sometimes not...). But there's part of me these days that goes, "oh, okay, maybe that's true?" Either way, I'd like to read Maya Tiwari's "Women's Power to Heal" one of these days. It's in a long line of books!

Pouring set

Earlier this month, we purchased two blue cups from Greenheart Shops so that E would have a special cup to practice drinking without a lid or a straw. (At school next year they won't use them. Along with that comes our practice of the potty too--it's all a bit rough around the edges.) For what it's worth, we liked to buy the cups since they were hand-painted by women in third world countries for a fair wage.
Well, then they had a significant sale, so we picked up two more cups, a tray and a pitcher. Often, we try to practice pouring given Montessori wisdom about such fine motor and practical life skills. This pitcher might be big for Z right now--we'll have to see. If so, she will grow into it. It's a lovely set now--love those little birds. This is the Eva line, by the way.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursday Afternoon Teas

We're trying to start a weekly, summer tradition: an afternoon tea. Today we finally gave it a go. We had music playing, read poems about the summer, drank "fairy/angel" tea (our version was apple juice, pineapple juice and chamomile tea--all chilled enough not to be warm per se). We mainly messed up a perfectly nice tablecloth, but it was a nice addition to our routine. Cleaning out a little box of chocolate tea cookies was a nice part of it. E is in LOVE with that tea--she keeps wanting to drink more.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Seasonal Intelligence Course

I'm excited to share some information about a class I'm taking online. It's called Seasonal Intelligence, and it's taught by Lindsay Wilson. She's relatively new to our general region, and I consider her an absolute jewel of a discovery. First, some friends and I went to her Fantastic Fermentation workshop (saurkraut, sourdough and kombucha), and this came along when I was starting to delve into the Weston A. Price Foundation's way of nutrition etc. (synchronicity!). I've been reading parts of Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions so the prime is pumped, and I'm in a place to learn a lot these days. This summer has been such a relieving well that way (socially too). Our course is obviously based around the seasons, and it's set up with a web chat/conference call where we can view a powerpoint as Lindsay teaches, and there's written and verbal space for us to ask questions. Participants are from various places which is neat too. This week, we looked at summer herbs, the way Traditional Chinese Medicine focuses on the heart and small intestine, good fats, healthy salts and electrolytes. It's amazing to pack so much in 90 minutes so we can email her questions later too. I'd like to experiment with yarrow and red clover this month. As for the healthy fats, I want to do some more reading about rendering them (the way the Lakota do, for example, and maybe learn more from my friend, Cavonna, who raises and processes a lot of her own pork and chicken).

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Herbal Healing Salve

I did a beginners kit from Learning Herbs (dot com) a while back that included a herbal healing salve using calendula, comphrey, plantain, saint john's wort and some lavender essential oil (with a base of olive oil and beeswax). I've enjoyed using it so much that I decided to make some more. Mountain Rose Herbs is an awesome company where I can get so many products I need for such things--they had the tins, beeswax (in pellet form, yes!) and herbs of course. I already had the lavender essential oil from doTERRA which I LOVE. Here are our little tins. Incidentally, I bought the wrong size in labels/stickers for these tins. I used a multi-colored stamp pad and a sun/moon stamp that we really like since it's so close to the Summer Solstice. Here are a couple of views--Eric and I have been experimenting with lighting since we're not photographers. :)

Beeswax Crafts

E's birthday is coming up, and we had fun putting together some going away treats. If you type in "muslin bags" for an etsy search, all sorts of beautiful comes up! We did an ocean theme this year. I made some beeswax ornaments with candy molds for sea stars, scallops and conch shells. It ended up being beeswax and a bit of lavender this time. Also with these we included sea animals from a toob and a floating beeswax acorn candle from etsy. Here's a preview of the salve (that might or might not be part of the birthday going away bags--not sure yet) while it cools and hardens more.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Felted Sun

I've worked just a little with felting (wet, needle), but I could really use some instruction/real people. Mine is messy, and I find the roving hard to manipulate at times. But it's still fun to try!

Solstice Cake

Here is my ghetto version of a sun cake. The cake turned out to be very tasty! I think this is a great alternative to super-sweet cakes. (I used lemon curd instead of icing to top it.)

Feeding the Whole Family

One of my favorite "new" cookbooks is Cynthia Lair's Feeding the Whole Family. I see it referenced a lot, and we've actually had it a while. There are so many "oh, we need to try this!" moments in this one, and I decided to start with a for our solstice sun cake. From this wonderful cookbook, we're trying "Gracie's Yellow Birthday Cake," and it's also a possible birthday cake for sweet E who turns two. This cake has things like orange juice and millet in it! :) (The Sun Cake is greatly inspired by Twig and Toadstool's magnificent creation.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Soul of Discipline

Kim John Payne is a consultant/trainer and a counselor but has been a teacher also. He wrote Simplicity Parenting (which is by far the most helpful book I've read as regards parenting). He started a course called "The Soul of Discipline: Guidance and Discipline in the First Nine Years" online, and I took the plunge. Today was our first session, and it was simply wonderful! If you have access to the materials later or if he writes a book with all of this information, it's well worth the funds. We touched on the basic principles today, and I took forward to specific examples and practical guidance for our girls. The traditional ways of interacting with young children leaves a lot to be desired for me--both in terms of efficiency (and their character and peace in the long run) and peace in my own heart.

Summer Solstice

Things are a little sickly and hectic, and our plans for the solstice have died down a bit. We thought about joining Loganberry Farm's shindig, and we had tons of crafts which have condensed down into few. We might still make sun bread, and I'd really like to do sun cake. We have a wet felting project I think we'll do still. We made sculpy-jeweled sons, and here below you see the suns we painted (various ways) and embellished with tissue. Also present are our typical decorations.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Workshop Series

Lindsay Wilson of Madhupa Maypop is doing an awesome series of workshops. The first this Sunday is Fantastic Fermentation: Sauerkraut, Kombucha, and Sourdough. The workshops seems largely related to traditional foods and healing. Lindsay is the local (Sautee) leader of the Weston A. Price chapter. She seems a wealth of knowledge and energy--I can't wait to meet her in person! Another wonderful aspect I look forward to is the class participants themselves. Fortunately I already know many of them, and they're friends I admire. It's so nice to spend time learning with peeps like that.

A few veggie dishes this week

Thanks to Heather Bruggeman and her 30 Day Vegan (among so many other things: Whole Food Kitchen, Beauty that Moves and Nourish the Whole Self, I was introduced to a new-to-me way to eat cucumbers: minty fresh cucumber salad. It has apple in it and lemon too. Yum. This works out since we have that wonderfully rogue mint that grows no matter what happens, winters, bales of straw, weeds... A trip to Jaemor Farms recently brought a bunch of sweet potatoes. They're not exactly in season, but I was silly with fresh food. Since I have a bunch, I'm hunting new recipes like I do with our CSA vegetables. Here's one for crash hot sweet potatoes. They cease to be crispy quickly so I'd eat them pronto.

Some foraging, some gifting

Sweetness knew I was having a tough day--lots of kids coughing and throwing up etc. So he foraged in the area right around his class and got delicious blackberries (which became mini crisps that we had for dessert last night). He also brought a couple of flowers from the multitudes there. I need to recount Sweetness' relationship with blackberries and my crisps in general. He usually finds my crisps (normal size) to be too mushy--somehow that topping doesn't stay crisp when juices move around. His grandmother promised him and a cousin that she'd make them a blackberry cobbler each if they'd go pick enough blackberries. They did, and he made himself SICK eating it. So these are probably the first blackberries he's had since that juncture in his childhood. And he liked them. Crispy and not sickness-inducing via memories. Success.

Cairn Rock Farm

I'm excited to share about another farm not too far from here: Cairn Rock Farm They have some needs, and they're striving to do such good things in the Sautee-Nacoochee area in particular. They bring veggies to Clarkesville's and White County's Farmers Markets I think. Check out their campaign:

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Sage Market Saturday

While Eric had a full day ahead with a Black Belt Test, we carved out an hour for me to play at our Sage Market and to get a cup of coffee. We got excellent breads from Finnegans' Baked Goods. Even though I like to make bread and want to make more, it's hard to resist their treats! We also bought lovely flowers from some young girls--for six dollars, I now have six vases of varying sizes around the house with beaUtiful hydrangeas. I read online that to freeze basil, it's good to chop it up and freeze into cubes and then store them as long as we want. It's said that water really helps to keep and bring out the flavor. Our basil plant is pretty strong so we have to harvest from time to time. In fact, the whole garden is giant--crazy sized squash/zucchini, tons of tomatoes ready to turn colors. But I see that now as a problem in that it's evidence that I messed up as regards fertilizer. I used 10-10-10 which seems okay, but it zaps the soil of the nitrogen etc. (which is why our harvest is crazy)--I don't want to damage that soil to where following years aren't good. So I'll use compost and really work on the soil this winter. Maybe I can repair the damage over time? Taylor Creek Farm (our CSA) had an awesome variety at the market--I've been looking for new recipes so I can make this week's menu. Hopefully we'll find new ways for the kids to try these vegetables!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Linen storage

There's nothing wrong with our daily linens being in the pantry, but we're always looking for more pantry space. So whilst procuring enamelware to store my CSA goodies in the refrigerator, I found this vintage market metal basket. It's a sturdy basket--such clean lines there but not too clean. Our towels and napkins never looked so good.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

CSA offerings

This week's bundle had turnips so I've been investigating those recipes. To start, though, I put their two types of tomatoes, kale, basil and cucumbers together as part of a summer salad. Yum. We'll likely grill zucchini, broccoli etc. I'm going to saute the cabbage the way my mom does which is heavenly (with onion and bacon). There's lettuce and more tomatoes for typical salads too.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The green, the good

Here are some green visions from our garden (tomatoes, green beans, chinese lantern)

Fairy Mischief

After the rain is an interesting time in our yard. So much growing here, in the shadows even.