On any given day you are most likely to find us communing with the gnomes and the fairies Under The Old Oak Tree

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Creating Traditions

DS is now a year old and our little family is working very hard at starting some traditions of our very own and finding some rhythm in what can be a crazy season.
DS's birthday falls towards the end of November near Thanksgiving. This year I made him a birthday crown which he wore on the day of his party and on his actual birthday. It turned out really nice and has an accorn, a maple leaf and a pilgram on it. I followed the wonderful tutorial from Nicole at Frontier Dreams. I was also impressed and greatful that family and friends respected our no plastic toys rule. DS was blessed to recieve some beautiful wooden toys as well as gift cards which were used for some bigger ticket items we needed/wanted (like a much needed gate for the bottom of the stairs and a wooden riding toy).

On Thanksgiving morning I shared one of my favorite traditions with DS, getting up early and taking him for a walk, enjoying the time outside and everything that we have to be grateful for. I find it also helps center me for all of the family craziness that ensues later in the day.

It seems that we were then immediately in the Christmas season. We have several new traditions this year.

With DS being just a year old it seemed that my collection of beautiful handblown glass Christmas tree ornaments was not going to be practical and I was at a bit of a loss on decorating our Christmas tree. I decided that we would aim for a mostly non-breakable, homespun tree this year that incorporated more natural materials. The result has been lovely. I crochet chained about 15 yards of garland for the tree out of red wool and needle fleted an angel for the top of the tree.

For ornaments I tied pinecones on the tree with red yarn. I also hung up lots of bells, some Swedish straw ornaments, some non-edible cut out gingerbread ornaments made from apple pulp, spices and glue (it smells incredible) and some beautiful wood ornaments I bought at the Richmond Waldorf School's Holiday Bazaar.

I did also hang a couple of glass ornaments including some toadstools, a pilgram and a gnome that I just could not resist.

Also, I put this one little plastic elf on the tree. He is very special to me as he was always on the tree at my grandparents house as a kid.

I also started using our wooden advent calendar with doors on it to hold an ornament for each day which we hang up as a family. I am still needle felting these ornaments. So far they have include a holy leaf, toadstools, a pickle (like the German glass pickles) and figures from the nativity.

(more on our traditions and celebrations to come later)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy October! Pumpkin Granola Bars

Happy October! I just love this time of year with the cool mornings and beautiful afternoons! In honor of the month, I made some pumpkin granola bars this afternoon. Here's the recipe as closely as I can figure out to what I did. I have a bad habit of just throwing in a handful of this or that when I cook. I'll test this exactly next time and then make any necessary edits.

This is my own recipe loosely based on a couple of other granola bar recipes I found. Hope you enjoy them!

Pumpkin Granola Bars
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup flour
1/2 cup oat bran
3/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup sugar
1 t salt
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1 cup raisins
1 egg
1/3 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 T molasses
2t vanilla extract

Mix first 9 ingredients in a large bowl and make a well in the center. mix wet ingredients together and then add to the dry ingredients. Mix well. Pat into a greased 9x13 baking pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool for 8 minutes and then cut into bars.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Happy Michaelmas!

We are celebrating Michaelmas for the first time this year. Today I made dragon bread which smells so good! Can't wait till dinner tomorrow to have some. Traditionally, Elizabeth I of England decreed that Goose with Onion stuffing should be served on Michaelmas. We will be having game hens instead because a) I couldn't find a goose and b) there was a great sale on game hens and c) they still feel special. I will make the onion stuffing to go with them. We will also have carrots and blackberry pie which are also part of the old English Michaelmas celebration. I am still working on finding the right verses/story to read at dinner tomorrow but hope to make this a new, meaningful and enjoyable celebration/tradition for our family. This is a great article on Michaelmas traditions
I am also using this time to work on some personal growth and self improvement. The concept of will is an improtant one associated with St. Michael. To that end I have been working through the enneagram with my women's group at church and have started the exercises from A Journey Through Waldorf Homeschooling.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's been a while...

It's been a While but my Adventures of a Stay at Home Mommy blog is back up and I am eady to get back to blogging. I've missed it. Right now a lot of my time and energy is going to my knitting felting venture Under The Old Oak Tree.

DS is now 10 months old. It seems hard to believe. He has three teeth as of today and is very close to walking. I am also busy preparing for his upcoming birthday. My goal is to give him some really lovely homemade gifts including cars such as the ones I have on Under The Old Oak Tree.

There are a few things I would like to talk about in the coming weeks including the reasons we make choices to limit ds to natural toys and some of our recent kitchen adventures (such as sourdough bread).

This is all I have time for today, but I wanted to at least get back in the habit of writing a bit here!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More Fun Projects

I have been working on lots of fun projects lately. I made DS this hat which required that I learn a new method of casting on, relearn how to increase stitches, how to do magic loop knitting and learn to knit i-cord. All in all a very fun project! We call this hat the "skull protector since it seems to help cushion some of those head bumps that come along with a child who is trying to pull up on everything! I have started a second one but I think I will take it out and try my hand at a pilot cap pattern instead.

I also decided to make a felted wool ring chain for DS. He enjoys holding onto it and teething on it. It was very easy to do. I made thick i cord about 10 inches long, stitched the ends together, interlocking them to make a chain which I then felted in the washing machine. It was a very fun and easy little project and I look forward to making more of them.

I am continuing to work on the gnome for DS and I hope to finish it this week. If I did not have so many other projects going at the same time it would have been done a while ago. I still have to knit his head, stitch him up and stuff him though.

I have been working on some non-knitting projects too! I set up our first nature table the other day in our dining room. DS and I pick up little things for it when we go out for nature walks. I would like to make some cute little items to add to it as well. My hope is that I can start learning to needle felt in the next few weeks in order to do so.

I also started making window stars recently. They are really fun and easy to do! They also look really pretty. I made some multi-color ones to hang in DS's room. When we look at them together, he smiles so big. I really prefer these to the window clings we were putting up in his windows previously!

Lastly, I have been trying to learn wet on wet watercolor painting. My first attempt was yesterday and it did not look good at all! I really want to paint some 4 season trees to frame and hang in our dining room. The first one looked nothing like a tree. Today, I tried again and managed to paint a tree that looks like a tree! I am excited! It seems though that time to paint more than 1 per nap is not going to happen. I love this painting style too as I just use paint pots of the primary colors and the colors blend as you paint.

Friday, July 10, 2009

My New Creative Obsession

My new creative obsession is making toys for DS. I started the other day by knitting a crown for him out of cotton yarn that turned out way too big. I then decided to play around with the pattern I had developed and make one from wool and then felt it. While researching felting I also decided to make some felt balls out of some wool roving I had left from the time I had brief fantasies about spinning my own yarn. The whole process is so rewarding and so much fun and I think making beautiful textile toys may just be my calling in life (other than being a mommy). I am wondering if it would be worth my while to start making some of these items to sell. In the meantime DS seems very happy to test out the toys and help with market research.
I am now working on a knitted gnome for DS loosely based on this pattern . I am debating if I should attempt to felt this gnome too. Can you tell I love felting. I also need to get some more wool roving for stuffing the gnome and for making more felted balls and more yarn for making crowns.
I also have plans to make DS a play kitchen and some felt food so that he can play alongside me in the kitchen.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Just Odds and Ends Again

So I haven't written in quite a while. Things have been very busy! DS is 7 months old now and really keeps me on my toes! He continues to eat solid food like it's going out of style and I am now making his baby food and giving him some table food. He loves hummus (which he tried after ripping a piece of hummus covered pita bread out of my hand and shoving it in his mouth). This week I have made him chicken sweet potato stew and cumin scented lentils and carrots. He loves these dishes and I think I may have a junior foodie on my hands!

A couple weeks ago he received a box of toys from A Toy Garden as a late half birthday present. He received beautiful wooden stacking cups, several play silks and some herbal cloth bean bags. DS loves these toys and I am happy to say he usually will choose them over the plastic ones. This makes me happy. I plan to phase plastic toys our of our house all together over the next year and hope to make his first birthday and this coming Christmas "plastic free" events. I was amazed the other day when DS was playing with some older friends how much they loved his wooden and fabric toys. Their play became much more creative and imaginative than it had been with the plastic toys with which the boys usually play It was encouraging and I feel like I am really on the right track with this.

This also ties into the research I've been doing about Waldorf schools and Waldorf home schooling. I am so drawn to this. Granted I am in the early stages of my research but I am very intrigued by the focus on imagination and creative play and nature and art as well as daily routines and things like baking bread. I also am very intrigued by the ideas of avoiding media. I need to do more research however and begin presenting it to DH. He is very pro-public education so I feel like I am fighting a bit of an uphill battle.

Another great thing that has happened recently is that we lost the tv remote control for several weeks! It has infuriated DH but honestly we only watched a few DVD's after DS went to bed and they were things we really wanted to watch. It was not mindless watching tv just because it's there and on. It felt really good. I found the remote two days ago. DH was very excited, but even so, we have not turned the the tv on since we found it! I consider this to be a big victory for a couple of tv junkies like ourselves.

Let me see, other things, DH and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary this past week. We went to the Mount Vernon Inn for lunch and I had the salmon corn cakes just like I did at our reception. After that we took a walk on the Mount Vernon trail and spent the evening visiting with our NoVa friends. It was lovely. To celebrate our "paper anniversary" I made and printed a digital scrapbook album of our wedding. Also my parents commemorated the day by getting a deep freezer for us. I am so happy to have it and to feel like I can take advantage of good buys when I find them and I hope to start doing some once a month cooking in order to fill it up.

Also, DS and I have really upped the time we spend outdoors;particularly walking and hiking. DS has of course also increased his time on the swings too. I've been writing about this on my other blog: DS and I have also been going to the pool. He loves to be in the water sling and has realized that it is fun to splash mama.

I've also been enjoying some other creative activities such as knitting and cross stitch. These occupy my time after DS has gone to bed in the evening. I am working on a hat and scarf set for myself for this winter. DH gave me a Mount Vernon pioneer farm cross stitch kit for our anniversary which I am working on too. I also hope to get a cute little winter hat made for DS once I finish my scarf. I am also trying to do some digital scrapbooking too with the hope of making a family album and one album just for DS. I think I can manage a few pages a week and print them as we go.

Designs are freebies at ScrapbookFlair Designer Collections

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Nursing Necklace

DS is a very distractable nurser these days which makes breast feeding a bit difficult. I have been looking at nursing necklaces for a while and this week decided that I would try to make one. I already wear a large piece of amber on an adjustable leather cord most days and DS loves to play with it but it is too short for him to play with while nursing.
I found this lovely ring and pretty wood beads at the craft store today and created this necklace with a two yard length of fairly heavy leather cord. I tied a knot in between each bead as is done with amber teething necklaces to minimize choking hazards and tied the cord together after the first three beads on each side to make a loop that DS can also hold on to. Like I did on the amber necklace, I also made an adjustable slip knot closure so that I can make the necklace longer or shorter as needed.
So far DS seems to really like it, however I have to convinc him that he should keep the nipple in his mouth and the necklace in his hands, not the other way around. Hopefully we will get that sorted out and it will help DS to be a bit less distracted as we try to nurse.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Our Trip to the Farmer's Market

A new farmer's market opened up recently and is fairly close to our home but we had not gone to it yet. This morning Will and I got up early and left the house when DH left for work. I am very excited about this market! It's not very large but the produce was beautiful and there were also vendors selling eggs, chicken, seafood, beef, lamb, sorbet, bread and other baked goods and local honey as well as several handicraft vendors. One of the stands selling lamb also was selling beautiful wool yarn!

My purchases were as follows:

  • new potatoes

  • strawberries

  • spinach

  • romaine lettuce

  • whipped raw cinnamon honey

  • lamb stew meat
I came home and started putting together a lamb stew for dinner incorporating the lamb and the potatoes. I plan on serving this with a spinach and strawberry salad this evening. If possible, I also would like to make some bread to eat with the honey. We will see how patient DS can be with me this afternoon.

I would love to be able to go to the market to purchase ingredients for dinner at least once a week. It is so much fun and I love talking to and learning from the local producers!

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Half-Cleaned House and A Productive Morning

To explain this unheard of phenomenon, I guess I should back up to last week. A friend emailed me about setting up a play date for our children. I suggested that I host knowing that this would be a much needed kick in the behind to get the public parts of our home all cleaned up. I had been trying to do fifteen minutes here and there a la flylady but that has not helped to make significant progress and I became discouraged and gave up for a few weeks.

Fast forward to this week. Wednesday ended up being crazy and I was up very late but I managed to get the house clean and make some goodies for the play date. I spent the day trying to work and entertain DS the best I could. While he was awake I did tasks like sorting through mail/papers and putting things away in the living room/ dining room. He was not a cooperative nap taker so things like the bathroom and kitchen had to wait till after he went to bed for the night. My wonderful DH pitched in and we got it all done. The play date went over well and after they left I did do some basic straightening up and swept the crumbs off the floor. (It is amazing how many crumbs our sweet little one year old visitor was able to create. I'm in trouble 6 months down the road!)

Last night before bed I managed to get all the toys we had been playing with put away and the kitchen decently straightened up. This morning I wasn't feeling great (probably due to too many goodies from yesterday) so I decided we would not be able to attend the large group play date as we had planned. After nursing DS we came down stairs and I had breakfast,(some of my yummy baked oatmeal and homemade yogurt which are good foods for the unhappy but hungry tummy) and played with DS for a bit. I then decided that I should give the floors a basic sweep and vacuum the living room rug which gets dirty so fast! DS played in the exosaucer while I did this. It took next to no time and I think he was excited by the vacuum! Then we went to the kitchen, washed up the breakfast dishes, and made dinner with chicken in the crock pot and rice in my trusty rice cooker, ran the dishwasher, put in a load of laundry and cleaned up all of the mess there. This of course was all done while playing games of peakaboo with a kitchen towel and singing. I am amazed but DS did not get cranky till I was almost done with all of that. I put him down for a nap (Yes! He actually went down for a nap!) and now I hardly know what to do with myself!

So I know all of this probably seems pretty basic, but in our house since DS was born 6 months ago, productive days like this have been unheard of. It feels strange but exciting! Now if I can just keep it up! I think this is where I may turn back to flylady. Once things have been done well I can see the 15 minutes here and there actually working to keep things done.

Next big project will be the bedrooms! Maybe I can tackle one of them next week! The wonderful thing about having things done down here is that now I feel free to think about other projects (like bread baking) that I would like to pursue again!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

More Odds and Ends

So things have supposedly slowed down for the summer but with a baby who is now officially six months old, there is not any slowing down! This past week was pretty busy. We returned from visiting family in New Jersey on Tuesday. Wednesday DS nursed and clung to me literally all day. Thursday, we had La Leche League, Friday was our weekly Indian cooking lesson and Saturday, I tried to get some food made and do some things around the house.

La Leche League was wonderful on Thursday. I started attending meetings when I was pregnant with DS and they have seen me through so many of our nursing issues. Honestly, if it were not for the support that I have received there, I do not think DS would still be nursing at all. They helped with his early nursing issues and with his weight gain issues and these remarkable women are now helping to support us through our process of trying to wean DS from formula now that his weight is stable. I am so grateful to and for them. I really cherish all of the fellow attachment parenting friends I have made through them and through my natural and attachment parenting group. Sometimes it is difficult parenting when you believe what is best for your child is a challenge to the cultural norm.

Also, a big thing this week has been making some delicious whole foods. I cooked chickpeas and made the hummus I posted about before and have been giving DS a few little bites of mashed chickpeas with his lunch. So far he seems to like them.

Also, I made more of the yogurt that I posted about before. I can easily go through the whole half gallon I make of this a week. I have also found a new trick that helps quite a lot with the consistency of the yogurt. Previously I had been adding some gelatin to thicken it up a bit, but I have since found that adding some nonfat dry milk (about a cup to the 1/2 gallon of milk) when I add in the yogurt cultures does wonders for thickening it up.

I also learned to cook brown rice in the rice cooker by putting in 2 of the little cups of rice and filling the water up to the line for cooking three cups. The rice came out beautifully and tasted so good!

My last cooking adventure this week was making baked oatmeal. Someone on one of the message boards I belong to had posted the recipe and I have to say this stuff is incredible and I think it will probably be one of those things I make weekly. It is very custard like; almost like a moist bread pudding but with oats instead of the bread. It has lots of cinnamon in it and I put in some dried cherries. Baked oatmeal with homemade yogurt is possibly the best breakfast I can think of. Next time I have to make something for a brunch, this is quite possibly going to be what I make. It is yummy!

Food wise, my goals for this next week are to make some bread and to cook up some quinoa. Of course I will also have to make more yogurt and baked oats as well. I also may have to make more hummus because it is just so good. DS's latest food obsession is pita bread so I am thinking that I will have to either make that or some roti for him this week too.

Other goals for the week are to get the house cleaned up and to have dinner either ready to go on the grill or in the crock pot each day by the time DH gets home from work. It amazes me how difficult it is for me to get just some of the basics done each day. DS takes so much time and attention and always wants me to be holding him. Even with trying to wear him in the wrap or the sling it is a real challenge to get anything done. Still, we will keep trying!

Friday, May 22, 2009


Today, I finally got around to cooking chickpeas and making some hummus! All I can say is yum! My mom first made this for me after I became a vegetarian my freshman year of college. She took a vegetarian cooking class so she would have some foods to make for me and this was one of our favorites. Over the years my recipe changed a bit. I met Leslie McEachern of the Angelica Kitchen in New York City who inspired me to add a bit of cumin and cayenne pepper to the mix. Also, I learned to cook my own chickpeas with a cinnamon stick and some bay leaves.

The following is my hummus recipe that I followed today:

1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
8 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
juice of 1 lemon
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 cup tahini
about 1/2 cup reserved chickpea cooking liquid (or enough to achieve desired consistency)

Soak the chickpeas in water over night.
Place in slow cooker with 8 cups water, the cinnamon stick and bay leaves.
Cook on high for 5-6 hours or until chickpeas are very soft.
Remove cinnamon stick and bay leaves.
Drain chickpeas, reserving cooking liquid.
Place chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, salt, cumin, cayenne pepper and tahini in food processor and pulse.
With food processor running drizzle in cooking liquid until reaching desired consistency. (I like my hummus on the thick side so I only use about 1/2 cup but the measurement on this is not exact).

Enjoy! I like to eat this with pita bread or as a dip for veggies such as sweet red pepper strips or celery. I am really looking forward to my lunches for this next week.

First items from my little garden

I am happy to report that I this week, I had a first meal including items from my little garden. I was able to pick enough spinach, malabar spinach, lettuce, basil and radishes to have a lovely salad for lunch the other day. It may be a while before there is enough to do this again, but I certainly did enjoy it! There is just something about being able to grow food and then harvest it and eat it.

The garden is looking wonderful and everything is growing like crazy! Now the biggest challenge is to keep up with the watering as we do not have a hose or a place to attach one. This means multiple trips from the sink to the garden with the watering can. This is a hot dry week in Virginia so watering is proving to be very important.

Now I just need to take care of planting some pots for my front porch. I have one with a geranium ready to go and I have some marigolds to plant in another. I already planted marigolds and red petunias in the ground in front of the bushes and they seem to be thriving.

It is certainly a blessing to have a place to plant both flowers and vegetables and to be able to eat some of the items I have grown.

Friday, May 15, 2009


One of my recent desires has been to reduce the amount of meat our family consumes. I was a vegetarian for years, but over time, I started to have a desire to cook and eat meat. Of course DH is very into eating meat and has never paticulalry enjoyed my vegetarian meals. One of my goals is that we start eating vegetarian meals as a family a couple times a week and that I not eat meat at lunch if DH is at work. There are multiple reasons for this, but just quickly, meat is a considerable part of our weekly grocery bill which I am constantly trying to reduce, and I am concerned about the amount of resources that go into producing the meat that we eat.

Today, I was at a playdate for DS where hummus was served. It was so good! I haven't eaten any in a while and really enjoyed it. So, this got me thinking about chickpeas and how they have always been my favorite legume and all of the things I used to like making out of them back when I was a vegetarian. I would like to start making at least some of these items again to eat for my lunches/some veggie dinners.

  1. humus-love the stuff and can't get enough!
  2. chickpea oat patties-I used to use these instead of chicken to make things like non-chicken parm.
  3. roasted chickpeas-a great snack
  4. chickpea and almond pasta (this is one veggie dish DH actually likes).

Off the top of my head that's what I can think of without consulting my recipes. I think next week I will start making and posting some of these items on here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Odds and Ends

Nothing huge going on in our world right now. My cat had surgery going on two weeks ago to remove what seems to have been a whole spool of thread from his digestive track and I am pleased to say that he seems to be doing very well.

The garden is growing and looks pretty good! I noticed this morning that the lawn care guys at our apartment complex went around it very carefully with the weed wack instead of mowing up close to it which was very nice of them! I am looking forward to the peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, spinach, lettuce and radishes not to mention all my herbs! It's exciting.

We joined freecycle a week or so ago and I was able to get a rice cooker which is very exciting to me! I love rice but for years have only made the boil-in-bag kind because I always seem to ruin it. Well... not with my trusty rice cooker....I have been making and eating rice like there's no's great. I am also in the process of looking up some rice cooker recipes to try soon.

DS is doing well. He's still eating his avocado and banana and loving it, Neither last week's oatmeal or this week's apples have gone over quite so well, but we keep trying them. I am also excited that , while he is still taking formula, I was able to find some affordable organic soy formula to give him. Our local Krogers has changed the size of the cans they carry and I was able to get some on clearance for next to nothing. It's a relief that if he isn't able to manage on just mama milk and solids, at least he is not getting bunches of genetically modified soy anymore.

Today, my plan is to make some yogurt in the crock pot following these directions: I have made this before and just love it! I can't wait to give this to DS when he is able to eat yogurt!

Also, a dear friend of mine has started giving another friend and I lessons in Indian cooking. This is so much fun and the food is pure comfort food to me. This past week she made spinach fritters, roti, dal and potatoes and peas. It was such a great time! I can't wait for next week and I also am looking forward to a trip to the Indian grocery store with her sometime in the near future. I have a notion to start making some of her recipes to eat for my lunches since DH keeps telling me he doesn't like Indian food (whenever my friend brings me some to try DH always wants to try it though and usually seems to like it). Like I said it is comfort food for me but it is all vegetarian and mostly whole grain made from simple inexpensive ingredients. I love it! If she will consent, I will take better notes and some pictures next time for my blog.

Other than that, many things around here seem to be winding down for the summer. My Moving On group for women who have moved to Richmond ended last week, Community Bible Study ended this week. It leaves DS and I looking for ways to fill our mornings a couple days a week. DS loves my "ladies groups"and is a very social young man.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Loveliest First Mother's Day as a Mom and the most beautiful gift from my own mother

I hope that all of the mothers out there had a wonderful Mother's Day. Mine was really beautiful. What I really wanted out of the day was just to spend some relaxing family time with my guys and I got just that. After church, DH, DS and I went to Meadow Farm Park where we had a really lovely picnic and then spent time looking at all of the animals and went on a tour of the house. What a great park! I enjoyed our time there very much. Then we came home and I spent time playing with DS while DH helped me out with some cleaning and made dinner (for the rest of the week I think)!

I really didn't want much in terms of gifts. My mom had sent a bit of money and I used some of it to buy some plants for my little garden and to put on my front porch. DH bought me some perfume which was lovely. The most moving gift however, came from my mother. I had recently told her that I am trying to switch from paper tissues to cloth handkerchiefs so she sent me several packages of men's handkerchiefs (which seem to be the only kind that are readily available in the stores anymore) and a beautiful box of 16 antique handkerchiefs that belonged to my great grandmother Lillie with a note to please use and enjoy them. When I talked to my mom, she said that she would rather see them in use and being enjoyed than just sitting in a box in the closet. I can not think of a lovelier gift that she could have sent.

Friday, May 1, 2009

My Garden

I am very excited about my garden this year. I have not had one in two years because our last apartment did not have any outdoor space. Before that in Brooklyn I grew a garden completely in pots on my roof-top deck. This year is actually the first year I have a little plot of ground for my garden which is wonderful!

Last week I spent 2 days cleaning out the little wood framed bed by our back door left by a previous tenant. It seems that it has not been used for a very long time and was overgrown with weeds and full of garbage.

I worked in some new soil and manure and planted some carrots, radishes, a bell pepper and zucchini. I planted marigolds along the perimeter. I also put some spinach and lettuce in window boxes and a strawberry and basil in pots on the porch. So far the radishes spinach and lettuce have all germinated and the pepper and zucchini plants are thriving!

Yesterday I received the best present from my mother in the mail! A box of carefully packed plants! She sent me several tomato plants, an eggplant, some Malabar spinach, garlic chives, thyme and tarragon.

So, this morning while I wait for the vet to call, I am going to go plant the rest of my little garden! I will add pictures to this post when it is finished!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Old Family Cold Remedy

So the summer colds have hit our family in a big way; first our son and now my husband and myself. As a nursing mother I am leary or using many medications at this point. This concoction may not cure a cold but it has been used in my family for at least five generations and it does make you feel a bit better if you can get past the taste. Personally, I find the taste to be comforting and soothing when I have a cold since my mother and grandmother used to give this to me when I was sick. I plan on making some tonight and I am sure it will at the very least make me feel a little better and more comfortable.

Great Great Grandmother Smith’s Cough Remedy
Depending on your toleration for sourness or tartness, use a water and vinegar or lemon juice combination such as:
3l4 cup water
1 - 2 tablespoons cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 -2 teaspoons sugar or honey
1 teaspoon butter (to coat the throat)
1/8 to ¼ teaspoon black pepper (as can tolerate)
Heat all ingredients and sip as needed.

My personal preference is to make like my mom did with cider vinegar and honey.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Attempting to go "no poo"

For a few years now I have been hearing about people who either stop using shampoo all together or greatly reduce how often they use it. My reaction has always been "Oh I could never do that. My hair is so fine I would be a complete grease bucket." I always thought this was something only for people who have thick curly hair.

Recently it seems that this has been coming up more and more often so yesterday I decided to do some research and then to take the plunge! I used the directions found here: I was shocked that I could replace my shampoo and conditioner with baking soda and apple cider vinegar.

My mother always told me that she had used acv on her hair as a kid to make it shine and I vaguely remember trying it myself once as a kid but feeling like I smelled like vinegar all day (it seems I must not have rinsed it out enough).

I have to say I am so happy with how this turned out! I was prepared for having several weeks of greasy nasty hair as my scalp adjusts to producing less oil but the first day it looked pretty good and I think today after doing this for the second time it looks even better. It has lots of body, is not greasy at all and is soft and shinny! Also, I do not feel like I need to put additional styling products into my hair.

I love this whole idea for several reasons. First off my hair looks great. Secondly I'm not putting harmful chemicals on my body or back into the environment. And most of all this is so cheap! I figure this option will cost me less than $2 per month as opposed to the five to seven dollars a month it would typically cost me to wash condition and style my hair using commercial shampoo, conditioner and styling products purchased with sales and coupons. This is a win-win solution!


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