Wednesday, May 29, 2013

new beginnings, endings and a little in between*

the past few weeks have presented my family with many changes - a new school for the kids, exciting employment opportunities,  a change in summer plans, just to name a few. transformation is hard, but so is stagnant living. so i am currently rolling with the tide, trying to keep my head above water and just waiting anxiously to see where life leads us.

i recently made the huge decision to close up my little handmade and organic shops. this was not an easy choice to make and i am still very sad to let it all go but i am also breathing a sigh of relief. i am participating in one last event this fall with some friends, so if you are local please come visit me at my last Hyde Park Street Fair appearance! i am hoping i can spend my creative time sewing and knitting items for my family and tending to my garden and my animals and canning, baking, cooking... all those lovely homestead-y things i truly enjoy doing but often do not have time for!

i have also decided to start a brand new journey and i recently joined the Barefoot Books company - my family has loved these books for years! i bought a couple at a children's fair several years ago and then had a book party in my home a couple years after that. last month i wanted to purchase a barefoot book for each of my kids for their birthdays and i discovered that this wonderful company was sadly under-represented in my neck of the woods. after a whole lot of discussion with my hubby and some friends i decided to sign up and bring these amazing stories and gifts to my valley! i will be honest, i had a somewhat hard time talking myself into this - multi-level marketing has never been my cup of tea, but i adore these books so much - the diversity, the art, the magical tales - i am proud and very excited to share them with others!

so there you have it. wish me luck, sweet friends! here we grow again...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

real foodies*start a swap!

 A few weeks ago I posted in a local natural family group on facebook asking if anyone had kefir grains to share or to trade for a kombucha scoby. I ended up finding milk kefir grains and I traded two kombucha starters for a giant bunch of beautiful rhubarb and the tastiest homemade elderberry jelly as a result of that post. I then had a big, bright light bulb moment - what if we met up regularly with all of our homemade real food and starters and produce and such and had a big swap?
I mentioned my idea in the same facebook group and there was a lot of interest. So The Treasure Valley Real Foodies was born. Of course this idea isn't new and real food swaps are actually becoming quite popular! Here is how ours came to be... 
The first step was to start a facebook group and invite all the local real food lovers and ask them to invite all their friends. Within a couple days there were 50 members. Next I offered to host the first swap in my home and put up a poll with some tentative dates so everyone could vote for the day that worked best for most. Once the date was settled I created a facebook event and invited everyone in the group. When each member RSVP'd to the event they would post a list of what they would be bringing to swap and what they were in search of. We decided to include a few non-food items in our swaps like organic soap, wool yarn, recipe cards and paper goods and other handmade things.


In typical Inspired Mama fashion I completely forgot about my camera while everyone was here for the swap, dang it! But above is a photo of the lovely items I ended up with - several plants (mint, parsley, lettuce, hen and chicks, wonderberry, and a tiny apricot tree!), a fresh baked whole wheat loaf and some handmade recipe cards. I also got some bundles of dried sage and catnip for tea.
Other items that were swapped ::
*natural elk burger and sausage
*sourdough starters with care instructions and recipes
*an oak tree
*canned jelly
*kombucha scobys
*hand dyed wool yarn
*letterpress items
*milk kefir grains
* herb filled dream pillows
We each explained and identified what we had to contribute and when it was time to trade it was a lot of "Hey! I would love this! Can I trade you for a pound of burger or a bar of organic soap?" There was no set value for the swap items, we all just worked out our own little deals and everyone left happy with bags full of goodies.
As the season progresses we will have plenty of backyard produce and canned goods to add to our swaps. We have decided to meet once a month for now but may meet every other week when our gardens are in full bloom.
Do you have a similar food swap in your community? If so I would love to hear all about it! And if you are inspired to start your own local swap please let me know that too! And next time I attend a food swap I will make sure to take lots and lots of photos...