Monday, December 10, 2012

a recipe for happy*

 turn the tv off * listen to silly music * eat favorite foods * dance like you mean it * bundle up and get outside * get wet and muddy and cold * come inside and change into something soft and elastic waisted * cuddle in blankets and drink tea * read stories and tell your own * giggle lots, tickle, hug, kiss, and get sleepy * settle in for a cozy nap


yesterday was the worst and i cried after the kids went to bed and decided that we have to make some big changes for my sanity and well being as well as theirs. 
today is the best! fresh air, lots of play and music and books and sleep! 
happy mama ♥ happy toddler

Monday, December 03, 2012

inspired mama MAKES! just a little update*

 hello friends! here i am, back to blogging, simply because i can. and i want to. the truth is i have been missing this space and my blog friends and my readers terribly, so here goes, a little show and tell ::

i made these sweet girlies for a market last weekend. my original plan was to also sew some little boy dolls with super hero masks and capes. and some beautiful dark skinned dolls. and maybe some crowns and pixie hats for them all. but, as often happens, my dreams were much more grand than my real life allows and the five little ladies in the photos are what i was able to complete.


 i also made these sweet little gift tags to give away with purchases. i have a tag shaped punch and cut these from card stock then glued the wool felt leaves and buttons in the corner and added a piece of bakers twine (i hadn't added the twine when i snapped the pic above) and that's it! adorable gift tags!

here is my table display at the hip holiday market. i sold crowns, dolls, pixie hats, coloring wallets and other miscellany. i participate in this market every year and it is always a wonderful time!

yours in the handmade holiday spirit,
erika

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

chicken funnies*


luca picked up our biggest hen and said "look at me, mom!" and i snapped a couple pics with my iphone. then esmé said "aw, look at her legs! i bet that is how you put pants on a chicken."

i hope you are all having a lovely weekend, friends!
xx

Sunday, July 29, 2012

inspired mama*sunday

yesterday i cleaned the house. like scrub floors, wash windows, dust shelves, wipe walls - that kind of cleaning up. 

today i grocery shopped, kid-free, then returned home and baked 1 chocolate zucchini-coconut cake and 4 loaves of zucchini bread for the freezer. i prepped salads and sides for our weekly menu. i cut copious amounts of fruit for breakfast smoothies. i brewed tea for new batches of kombucha, started a fresh pitcher of cold brewed iced coffee and made a jar of simple syrup to sugar it up a bit.

i cleaned up after each creation so my kitchen looks sweet and smells even sweeter. however the rest of the house looks like mama took the day off and let a bunch of wild turkeys roam the rooms. sticky doorknobs, sticky floors {big thanks to homemade ice pops!}, an emptied knitting bag {grumble} and toy cars from here to there and everywhere in between. i maybe-might just ignore it all until tomorrow. with exception to my knitting bag...

in other news i have decided that i am going to lose 20 pounds {i am super serious this time} and am already down 5. woohoo! a few diet modifications {less snacking and self medicating with food. ahem} and lots of walking, hooping, yoga and urban farm girl chores. go me. if when i reach my goal i am buying a new wardrobe. you have been warned inspired daddy.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

wild and magical*

 i almost stayed behind with luca. i was feeling so overwhelmed and grouchy and just not nice to be around. at the very last second i packed up some clothes and books and my hula hoops and drove two hours with my family to spend a couple of the most magical days in the woods.


it turns out breathing woodland air under a lush canopy of trees, two hour hikes, gushing mountain streams, wild huckleberries, quiet lakes, campfire coffee, happy little folk, and wonderful company along the way is good medicine for the soul.

we found this little piece of a robin's egg shell and could see where the tiny bird pecked its way out. we also saw a mule deer eating something tasty left behind by another camper just a few feet from our tent, a little red fox and the most exciting sighting was a mama bear with her twin cubs on a mountain road on our way to the lake.

it was everything i needed and more. inspired mama, fixed up right by those wild, woodland ways!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

life as of late*

sundresses * bountiful garden * happy chickens * happier kids * popscicles * bubble blowing * wildflower bouquets * bare feet * glitter pedicures * summer bliss

Friday, June 29, 2012

on a whim*

a couple days ago we packed up the kids and drove to the mountains for a spontaneous afternoon trip. we stopped at this little creek to throw rocks, play in the dirt, get our feet wet and eat lunch. the highlight of the day was the little frog that paid us a visit.

i gave esmé a pile of wool felt scraps and she made super hero cuffs and masks for harper, harper's friend and harper's scruffy puppy. it has also come to light this week that dr. seuss converse are the preferred footwear of super heroes everywhere.

yesterday we spent the day at the discovery center museum of science.
bubble wall = mad fun. 

happy friday, friends!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

crock pot honey greek yogurt :: a tutorial

 there are tutorials and recipes for crock pot yogurt all over the internet right now. after reading a couple, er, a dozen of them yesterday i decided to dabble a little and see if i could get this to work for me. after all incubating yogurt in a crock pot makes perfect sense, right? everything went well though it took me a lot  longer than i expected, partly because i was experimenting some and also because my little crock pot is pretty basic and definitely not top of any line. so i changed a few things to suit my needs and wrote up a quick tutorial so you can give it a try too!

CROCK POT HONEY GREEK YOGURT

 gather your ingredients. you will need ::
1/2 gallon (8 cups) of milk. i used 2% but it my understanding any will work. in my yogurt making experience the higher the fat content the richer and creamier the yogurt.
1/4-1/2 cup starter yogurt. i had approximately 1/4 cup of our favorite honey greek yogurt left so that is what i used. make sure your starter yogurt has live cultures in it. after your homemade yogurt is done you will save a half cup of it to add to your next batch and so on.
3/4 cup honey.

the process is pretty simple - you will need to slowly heat the milk to 180 degrees, or until it is hot and steamy and just below a boil. the first batch in my crock pot on low heat took 3.5 hours to reach this point! instead of waiting the second time i preheated my crock by turning it to low and putting the lid on, then i heated the milk in a sauce pan over med-low heat on the stove until it was hot enough. just be careful not to scald your milk otherwise your yogurt will have a charred taste. no good.

once it has reached the proper temp pour it into the warm crock and let it cool uncovered until it is 110 degrees or you can do the finger test - the milk should be very warm but not hot. it took about 90 minutes for mine to cool. at this point i scooped a cup out and stirred my starter yogurt into it then added the cup back to the crock. now it is time to add the flavoring - i whisked in 3/4 cup of raw honey.

next you will put the lid on the crock and carefully wrap it in a heavy towel or better yet, a wool blanket, and place it in the oven and let it sit, undisturbed, for 8-9 hours. this is the incubation period. if you plan your yogurt making right you can pop it in the oven just before bed and let it sit over night. when it is time remove it from the oven and take a peek inside - you should have yogurt! refrigerate for a couple hours and move on to "greeking" your yogurt.

time to transform that yummy but runny yogurt into the thick, creamy treat we all love!
you will line a colander with a couple layers of cheesecloth - i used some organic cotton gauze that i had hanging out in my studio. i can rinse it out after each batch and use it over and over! set your lined colander in a bowl and make sure the bottom of the colander sets high enough that it will not rest in the liquid that drains off. scoop your yogurt into the colander and cover it up (my crock pot lid fit perfect!) and place in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. you can check on it periodically until it has reached a thickness you prefer.

that's it! you just replicated your favorite honey greek yogurt! yay! my batch nearly filled the 32 ounce container in the photo. we ate it for lunch with homemade strawberry jam mixed in. 

and that suspicious looking yellow liquid in the mason jar, that is what drained off the yogurt. it is called whey and can be used for all sorts of things so don't toss it! you can use it in place of milk or water when baking. it can be made into ricotta cheese. i have read that soaking oats or beans in whey will make them cook faster. and apparently plants and chickens LOVE this stuff so that is likely what mine will be used for this time.

here are a few ideas i came up with for flavoring future batches of yogurt ::
vanilla
vanilla-honey
lemon extract and raw sugar
maple syrup
...

so there you have it! please let me know if you give this a try! and i am also open to more flavoring suggestions.
happy yogurt making, friends!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

summer solstice garden*

our garden, or what i have affectionately been calling it, our cardboard jungle.
 i have been layering cardboard around the beds in the garden area to keep the grass and weeds from growing. it is working quite well though it isn't the prettiest of ground cover options. however, cardboard is free of charge and free of plastic. good and good.

these are the front beds and they are growing tomatoes, beets, carrots, corn, snap peas, zucchini and butternut squash.

everything seems to be slow growing this year, with the tomatoes and corn being the exception. i had planted nice, even rows of corn but the squirrels dug up several of the baby plants. this is what they left behind.

 the back bed has cucumbers and green beans and way back in the corner to the left we have potatoes growing in a wire cage.

 this is my very favorite thing about this year's garden. my little control panel that opens and closes the valves to the soaker hose that we added to each of the front garden beds.

today is the summer solstice and we plan to spend the longest day of the year outside :: bike ride to the BUGS produce stand, playing in the sun and a birthday party for a friend late in the afternoon.
summer lovin' done right!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

busy bees*

hot coffee * kombucha * organic orders * freezer jam * tending chickens * tending gardens * tending small people * picnic lunch * iced coffee * summer sewing * woolly knitting * fairy tales and chapter books *
good on you, wednesday.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

sunny the roo*delilah the baby

one of our araucanas turned out to be a big, handsome rooster. it became pretty evident when he was about 8 weeks old. my husband was positive that Sunny was a he, but i remained in denial. 

 this is what finally convinced me. about 15 seconds in. 

i had already talked to a friend about the possibility of a roo in our flock and she said she would love to welcome him to her one acre urban homestead.

this was sunny's last day in the rainbow coop. it was silly how attached to this guy we had all become. 

here he is with his girls.

 we dropped him off at the huberty homestead where he can happily free range and has a whole lot of hens to watch over. we brought home this little araucana in trade. we call her delilah. she is half the size of our big girls. it is quite difficult to bring a new hen into an established group of chickens. it is even harder to bring in a tiny, lone girl.

 we kept her in the house at night. she slept in the brooder box in my sewing room. esmé would wrap her in cloth diapers and let sleep in her arms on the couch. certainly not the typical chicken lifestyle. in the morning i would take her out to the coop and watch closely while she tried to interact with the big girls. they pecked at her and i let them. i just made sure there were no brutal attacks, and there never were. in fact only one hen, a black sex link named jojo, seemed bothered by her presence. i put a wire cage inside their enclosure and that is where delilah stayed with her own food and water, for nearly a week. it seemed like a safe way for them all to get acquainted with each other.  the night before last i left her in the coop to sleep all night. after dark i went out to check and the five big girls were all snuggled up on one roost and little delilah was all by herself on the empty roost. but she was safely in the coop so i let her be. last night i went out after dark and could not find her. i took a flashlight out and looked and looked and then there she was, all cute and cozy on the big girl roost, right in the middle. it took one week and it seems that they have accepted her presence. 
she is acting like a chicken once again and all is well in the happy, hippie rainbow coop! next order of business, eggs. glorious, fresh eggs...!


Friday, June 08, 2012

perfect chaos*

 summer vacation has arrived and the super busy, fun packed schedule was right behind. lots to do, lots to see, lots to make and lots to read. the kids and i signed up for the summer reading program through the public library. as soon as harper found out prizes and free books were involved he has talked about little else.

 esmé made a wall pocket for her teacher for an end of the year thank you gift. she picked out the fabrics and put her artwork on the front pocket and i stitched it together.
they are just like the wall pockets we made here.


 and she got straight A's on her report card! YaY! we heard through the grapevine that krispy kreme gives kids a free doughnut for each A. esmé earned ten fresh, sugary doughnuts for her hard work and she was sweet enough to share with her whole family.

 riley went from this...

 ...to this!
amazing what a haircut and shave can do!

 he graduated from high school the next day and yesterday he turned 18. i am such a proud mama!!

 harper picked up a new summer hobby. when he isn't reading books to earn cool prizes he strums away on this little guitar.

 the girls in the happy rainbow coop are growing so big! we should have fresh eggs by the end of july, i estimate.

i have been relying heavily on sweetened iced coffee with milk to get me through these hectic summer days. i use this cold brew recipe. i made a simple syrup by pouring 2 cups of boiling water over 1 cup of sugar and stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. i pour the coffee over ice, add a little of the simple syrup and top it off with a splash of 2%. per-fec-tion.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

birthday number nine for esmé*

our sweet and sassy esmé rose is NINE today! 
nine. half way to 18. the last year her age will be in the single digits. a great big girl who loves bright red nail polish, skinny jeans and who desperately wants her ears pierced. 
when she was born a family friend said her name sounded like pig latin so we called her esmé-ooyay for a long time. and esmé rosie-toes. and her papa likes to call her esmé bublé, just because it has a nice ring to it.

here is esme's eighth birthday post.
this is a sweet post showing how she has changed and grown over the years.
and her love for crafting and creating can be seen here and here.

looking back at blog entries and photo albums today has brought us lots of smiles and some laughter as we remember all the fun and special times we have shared. i wonder how in the world i got so lucky to have such a cool little chick in my life.

happiest birthday, little miss.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

mama musings*

my little guy is sick today. or it might be allergies. either way he is miserable, whiny and clingy. so we are spending the day on the couch cuddling and watching movies and drinking emergen-c in our green smoothies.

i missed sew, mama, sew's big giveaway day. i knew it was coming up but it completely slipped my mind until i started cruising around blogland this morning and everyone i read has an amazing offering posted. i have participated in every single giveaway day until now. i am not sad really. i still have lots of time to enter!

also note worthy, i have never won a giveaway day prize. i think it is time for my luck to change, yes? there are several things that i would be thrilled to receive - amazing quilts, lots of flea market fancy charm packs and jelly rolls, some fun patterns, an adorable handmade book 3 pack...

it rained last night (or maybe early this morning?) and i am so happy to not have to water the garden today. the garden in which the squirrels are digging up itty-bitty plant by itty-bitty plant {angry face!} a couple friends suggested sprinkling cayenne pepper around the plants. i plan to give that a try and will let you all know how it goes. and of course i am open to any other suggestions because it is killing me to see my sweet little seedlings destroyed!
cool, rainy weather also makes cuddling with a sick little monkey wrapped in a quilt more tolerable.

okay friends, i am off to enjoy a lazy tuesday on the couch in a messy room with movies and a second round of green juice. and perhaps a few more giveaway entries... wish me luck!
xo,
erika



Friday, May 18, 2012

this moment*itty bitty supers

 {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A group of photos - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
inspired by Soule Mama.






Thursday, May 17, 2012

cloud dough*

have you tried cloud dough yet, friends? i have seen recipes and tutorials all over the internet so earlier this week we decided to give it a try. 

i used vegetable oil in our blend instead of the more commonly used mineral oil just because i had a suspicious feeling one of my sweet boys would just have to sneak a taste...

cloud dough ::
8 cups white flour
1 cup vegetable oil

mix well, with your hands, and it is ready for play!
 




my boys loved it! they played for a good 45 minutes before losing interest. to be honest i quite enjoyed running my own fingers through the silky-soft dough as i mixed it up for them. it is a lovely sensory experience, for sure. it is mold-able too so you can make little cloud dough castles! i set them up on our deck to play in the morning sunshine. it was quite messy but i was able to sweep it up pretty easily. the leftover dough is still very soft, several days later, so i am guessing it can be played with over and over until it is gone.

so there you go, friends! go mix up a batch and have some messy, creative play time with your kiddos!