Friday, April 27, 2012

This Moment: beach buddies

This is a special moment from the past week that I want to stop, savor and enjoy.  If you are so inspired, please leave a comment for me with your own special moment and check out other moments this morning at soulemama.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

radish harvest = radish kimchi

We harvested all of our radishes one early morning this week and turned them into radish kimchi. Jetta processed the radishes and we saved the greens to saute and eat at a later time. I picked some wild garlic to add to the veggie mixture then the kids helped me chop it all up. Pilot had fun with the peeler making the carrots into small rectangle shapes. I figure long strips of carrots will just make the kimchi even more unique and keeps him interested and participating in the project. We didn't have all the "kimchi" ingredients except fish sauce, so we made due using chili flakes and some hot peppers I froze from last years garden. We used sea salt dissolved in water to ferment the kimchi and after a few days of sitting on the counter we are seeing bubbles. Yes, that means it is working. They are alive! We can't wait to taste them in a few more days. No if the rain would stop we can get back out to the garden to sow more radish seeds to hopefully be ready for the next kimchi batch when this on gets eaten up.

label design by Jetta

Monday, April 23, 2012

more wild eating

We made a lovely and delicious violet salad with the flowers and the greens from the violets growing in our back yard. The gully that was once a major eye sore in our yard, has now become the home of the most amazing assortment of wild edible plants. I harvested almost all of the garlic mustard the other day to freeze for later in the year. It was so easy. I just sauteed the greens in butter for a minute,then let them cool, and stored in freezer bags. They will be a great substitute for frozen spinach in many recipes. Next on the urban farm agenda, chickens. My town just passed legislation to allow chickens in the city. We are planning to raise a few from chicks and hopefully some day have a few eggs each morning fresh from the hen house. I find that the garden is the best classroom a child could have. What a lesson it is to be able to identify, harvest, and eat wild plants at age 5 and 7. I think they love our wild garden as much or maybe more then the one we planted. Who knew that I could experience farm life on less then 1/20 of an acre of land right in the middle of the city. 

This is what wild mustard greens look like.

Linking up with {into nature}

Friday, April 20, 2012

This Moment: park nap

This is a special moment from the past week that I want to stop, savor and enjoy.  If you are so inspired, please leave a comment for me with your own special moment and check out other moments this morning at soulemama.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

a hard knock life (making costumes)

I teach a musical theatre class and this year we are doing some songs from Annie, so I had my kids sew their own costumes. I think they turned out quite nice. This is a great costume project for beginner sewers since all of your mistakes just make the costume look more authentic. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

hard working little hands

Sometimes I feel like my 5 year old all over the place and I can't get him to focus on what I am saying or the task at hand. It is so frustrating trying to get him to stop for a moment and listen to directions from beginning  to end and almost impossible to get him to follow through with them on his own. As unfocused as he can be on my agenda, when he is interested in something or has a plan of his own, there is no way you can break his concentration. More and more I see how, not only my five year old, but really all of us have focus and follow through for those things in life that really speak to us. I feel like it is my job as a parent to notice what those things are for my children, and help supply ample amounts of time for them to explore what they love so they have the opportunity to feel that satisfaction that comes from delving deep into a project and working hard. They can see that hard work is fun and I find the best way to show that is by example. My five year old loves working hard on building or fixing projects with Dad and they can work for hours on something with complete concentration and attention to detail. No complaining or getting distracted. And no coercion on our part. The joy of the job and the satisfaction of seeing their efforts being used in our family is all the reward they need. Working side by side with Dad and feeling useful and needed is also a big plus.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

grassy sidewalk art

When your mom keeps forgetting to buy chalk, what do you go? Well, if you are a creative little 7 year old, you just mix the neighbor's grass clippings with water and voila, green paint! Problem solved.

Friday, April 13, 2012

this moment: brother joy

This is a special moment from the past week that I want to stop, savor and enjoy.  If you are so inspired, please leave a comment for me with your own special moment and check out other moments this morning at soulemama. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

random act of kindness

This is what the mail carrier brought to me today to let me know what a great mom I am. I have to say I was in tears. This definitely made my day, if not year!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

52 weeks happiness: week 4

For all of you who grew up wanted to be  Pippi Longstocking like me, here is a fun way to make cleaning not such a struggle to get the kids to participate in. Inspired by Pipi we decided to make the job fun. We kicked off our shoes, filled a bucket with soapy water and got some brooms to scrub the back deck which was in real need of a good cleaning. As we scrubbed we sang "Scrubbing Day" from the Pippi Longstocking movie. It kept the energy up and really made the job fun for all of us. I wonder what the neighbors were thinking as they heard us singing.

"I put my scrubbing shoes on and I never get the blues on Monday morning, yeah yeah
This dust'll be a goner as I hit each dirty corner
Without warning, yeah yeah
Throwing soap suds everywhere, we're being careful, very careful
To enjoy ourselves each step of the way

Scrubbing day is a holiday and the game we play
Is as wild as it can get
Scrubbing day is my favorite day, 'cause on scrubbing day
We make everything get wet

The greater the confusion, I have come to the conclusion
Things get cleaner, oh yeah
The white is whiter, red is redder, blue is bluer,
And the green gets greener, yeah yeah
Throwing water everywhere, there is a feeling in the air
That any minute we could all float away

Scrubbing day is a holiday and the game we play
Is as wild as it can get
Scrubbing day is my favorite day, 'cause on scrubbing day
We make everything get wet"
Now we just need to make some scrubbing shoes. This clean up job definitely made me a happy Mama on a day that I was feeling less then patient. 
Join the Happiness project!

Monday, April 09, 2012

wild garlic mustard pesto - edible weeds

this blog is part of Real Food Wednesdays
I was introduced to wild edible plants by my sister in law years ago, but only in the past year or so have I ventured out into the wild around my yard to enjoy them. What took me so long!? I do love gardening and planting in my raised beds, but I am really starting to love the fact that there are SO many wild greens around my garden beds that are healthy, happy, so yummy and take no work at all. You don't have to water them or take care of them in any way and they come back every year. Again, why did it take me so long to jump on this bandwagon???? I feel like there have been boxes of food placed on my door step every day for years and I haven't been able to see them. There is is much out there that I can hardly take a step without stepping on a meal. 

One of them that is everywhere right now and is a part of our dinner every night is Wild Garlic Mustard. I even made pesto out of it. It really tastes like garlic. yum! You can eat the leaves, the flowers and the roots, although I haven't tried the roots yet. The leaves are great for sauteing, in salad, soups, and in just about anything. 
Here is a great little video that shows you some other wild edibles you may have in your garden. Might save you a trip to the store and be so much more healthy and tasty. 
In this pesto I used wild garlic mustard, sesame seeds, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon zest and salt. It has a very earthy deep flavor that is delicious. I put some on mini pizzas and froze the rest in ice cube trays then popped them into freezer bags for storage. 

Saturday, April 07, 2012

my little piece of earth - in and around the garden

This is my little piece of earth.  I have grown to love this land that I live on however small or uninhabitable it has seemed at times. I dreamed of living on a farm or in a bigger house but instead of moving I decided to find the beauty in what I had. And can I tell you,  it is so much more fun to take something that is less than desirable and transform it into a little slice of (my idea of) heaven. During times when I need to escape and find a bit of solitude and connection to mother earth I can find it here in my garden. Even the smallest snippets of time spent here feeds my soul in ways I could not have predicted. When we moved to this house we had a sloping back yard that  was so full of bramble bushes that we would loose a ball forever if it dared to be thrown in its direction. So for the past few years this bit of earth has been is constant transformation. Finding gratitude for the magic that this small yard was holding deep inside was a very important step. It was only when we decided to see it and appreciate it for what it was did we see and get to experience it's beauty. Our view began to change one step at a time. The run off  city drainage ditch which once was a disappointing addition to the back of  our yard, became a magical stream that would appears after rainy days that the kids could play in and the birds could bathe in. Instead of wishing for a bigger yard we saw how lucky we were to have wonderful neighbor that allowed our children to run from yard to yard feeling free and cared for by the whole village. Every day I step out onto the mulch and walk through this garden I am reminded of the deep lessons it holds. Birth, death, re-birth, sickness, heath, sacrifice, gratitude, acceptance, abundance, failure, success, joy. With some grace and understanding we can find all this in the garden and in ourselves. Each day is a new beginning and may bring unexpected things for us to learn and take care of. It may be a new bug eating our squash plants or it may be helping a loved one through a rough patch.  Whatever it is, finding the hidden treasure in it seems to be what it is calling us to do. The garden calls for us to find its secret treasures and bring them to the light. Reminding us of the light we all stem from.

boys at work
John and Pilot installing hoop houses

a nice afternoon out front

mulberries are coming!!!!

hoops are up! Very modern arty.

wild garlic mustard. so good!

me and scout