Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hermione's Summer Reading List

I love these socks.  A lot.  So much that I went outside in 93 degree weather (did I mention it was 8:30 at night) to take these pictures.



I even put them on.

They are absolutely delicious and it breaks my heart that they'll sit unused until September at the earliest, but I have a feeling they'll be used enough to make up for the missed time.

 The pattern is the Hermione's Everyday Socks pattern from the lovely Dreams in Fiber.  I apologize for the wonky color, I couldn't adjust the pictures to get the true hue without distorting the rest of the picture.  I used Cascade Heritage Paints number 9770 and even the website doesn't show how dark and lovely it is properly.

Like Hermione I've got a big summer reading list planned.  I just cracked open Coop and am hoping to get my hands on Barnheart and Radical Homemaking sometime soon.  I'm finishing up Unconditional Parenting, but to be honest I can take it or leave it - there are somethings she brings up that I don't agree with 100% and most of her "unconditional parenting" approaches seem to be a rehash of most attachment parenting techniques, just applied to old kids so it's nothing too new.  Win some, lose some.

I also have my next big craft project started, which came in the mail the day after I finished Hermione

 (managed to score a larger needlework frame at the consignment shop today, so bye-bye embroidery hoop!)

I've got a long ways to go and have a September deadline for this one!

Shared @ Frontier Dreams, Small Things and CrunchyCatholicMama

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Almost Crunchy

Welcome to the June 2012 Simplicity Parenting Carnival: Green Living
This post was written as part of the monthly Simplicity Parenting Carnival hosted by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM. This month we are discussing how we find ways to be more natural parents and stewards of the environment. Be sure to read to the end to see a list of the rest of the excellent carnival contributors.

I. Am. A. Hypocrite.

Upstairs, next to my bed, is a stack of "good food" books - Nourishing Traditions, Slow Food Nation, a Moosewood Cookbook - and I just opened a packet of "cheese" sauce to ladle on to some noodles.

It happens.  It's embarrassing and I promise myself next time I'll do better.

I'm not Super Crunchy.  Heck, I probably won't even pass for "Mostly Crunchy" on a good day, but I'm getting there.  I'm sitting contentedly at the corner of "Almost" and "Crunchy" after a trip to the local grocery store with organic milk in a plastic bag in the back seat while my kid munches on baked carrot chips and I sip on a nice cold Dr. Pepper.

It's where I'm at and looking back on where I've been I'm happy with the progress.


It starts with a book.  It will be a different book for every person, but for me it was a combination of Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food", "Your Money or Your Life" and Duane Elgin's "Voluntary Simplicity".  I had been searching for a proper title for the ideas running around in my head.  That a person could live well with out making a lot of money, that the home life was important and perhaps there was a reason my farming ancestors lived so long (I had ancestors living to their 90's in the 1800's and their 70's in the 1700's) might have something to do with good, real food and a good days work.

That moment began almost five years ago.  We started small, trying to shop at local markets and worked diligently paying off over 10k worth of debt in under two years (all well never making more than $12.00 an hour).

We became a single car family for a while and my year spent walking the mile and a half to work was one of the most peaceful in my memory.

We made a pledge to furnish our home with only things that are "necessary, useful and beautiful" instead of giving in to the modern idea of "convenient, replaceable and trendy."

We moved back "home" in time for the arrival of our contribution to the next generation.  We live close to family now, making them a central focus of our lives.

We adjusted our lives so that we work to live, to afford those things that cannot be produced by our own hands, rather than living to work.

We started really utilizing our kitchen, yard and surrounding farms to provide us with good, wholesome foods.

We say no to the latest and greatest.

We say yes to the satisfaction that comes with a little extra elbow grease knowing that we are meant to actively pursue life with all of our senses.

We strung up a line and can go months without turning on our dryer.

We focus on collecting experiences rather than things.

We limit our schedules and focus on the home first.

We plan ahead to teach our children the benefits and satisfaction of doing things with their own two hands.

We take the time, on a regular basis to stop and examine what goes into our bodies and our home continually comparing what we have, what we need and what we want.


We're not always perfect.  I give into fashion and have been swearing to make my own cleaners for a year now.  We have more things for ourselves and our child than we probably need.  We take the car when we should walk and I don't check every label.

I'm not 100% organic, pasture feed, free range Crunchy, not yet.

But I'm getting there.

Thanks for reading the Simplicity Parenting Blog Carnival! We hope you’ll take time to read these other great contributors’ posts: SimParCarButton150x150
  • Almost Crunchy - Molly at Molly Makes Do writes about her life as "Almost Crunchy" and the baby steps she's taken to get from "Not at All" to "Almost."
  • A (Mostly) Plastic Free Life - Kellie at Our Mindful Life reflects on the recent intrusion of plastic into her usual plastic free home.
  • Slowly Greening Our Home - Dana at Urban Hippie Momma has slowly reduced the amount of paper waste in her home with a few simple practices.
  • Being Green - Anne at Raising Sweet Grace shares her tips on being a green parent.
  • Back to Basics - Justine at The Lone Home Ranger channels her greatgrandmother’s cleaning tips to make her household healthier, more frugal, and more earth-friendly.
  • It's Not (Always) Easy Being Green - Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM discusses the little things her family does to be more eco-friendly but admits it's not always as easy as it sounds.
Thanks to all the fabulous writers and readers for being a part of our simplicity parenting community! Stop by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM to see how to join us for a future carnival.
*Also shared as a Guest Post  @ NotYourAverageZoe,    
and at Frugally Sustainable - Frugal Days Sustainable Ways and Sorta Crunchy - Green Resource (on Thursday) and Little House in the Suburbs - Weekly Link Up (Friday)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Good Weekend for Garage Sale-ing

We did some serious garage sale-ing on Saturday and me-oh-my was it the right day to do so.  I set out with $50 in my pocket and came home with about $10 and some change.

There was the necessary baby clothes for fall and winter - 3 pants, 3 shirts and a pair of shoes from a whopping $10.50, but that's not the good stuff.  One of the best places we hit was an estate sale near the end of our day.  My mother came home with this beauty.

And antique (oak, I think) potato chest.  It's fantastic and in great shape.

She also rescued that little box on the top left, which is actually a "Bible Box" with the crumbling remains of an 1850's bible inside, complete with a short genealogy of it's original family.

I came home with my own treasures from the estate sale.  A hard bound collection of various works of William Shakespeare (compete with notes in the margins, I can't wait to really delve into these and see what's in them), a vintage dinosaur book, an expandable towel rack and a beautiful large clothes drying rack that I've already put to use as of this afternoon.  The towel rack and clothes rack were items I've been searching for and couldn't believe I found them both for about $8 total (books were another $7) after our 25% discount.  I'm not really sure why we were getting a discount, but I was happy to oblige.

But wait, 

the best is yet to come and this was scored first thing in the morning.  Something I wasn't really looking for, but couldn't pass up due to the price.

That's not your eyes deceiving you - vintage school chair and desk for a whopping $5 dollars total, not for each, but TOTAL.

It's the perfect size for my aspiring academic (oh who am I kidding, it'll be used to color pictures of Thomas the Train and the Avengers for the next 4 years at least) and we've got plans to touch up the paint and to try and add a chalkboard surface on the top of the next.

It was a good weekend for garage sale-ing, wouldn't you say?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Anything Goes {Pizza}

In my {slowly} expanding repertoire of family meals are a number of basics that I can put just about anything into and still have it turn out great.

One of these is my "Anything Goes" Pizza.  There's really not much to it and I cheat a little - the crust is store bought, pre-made and so is the sauce just because I haven't found the perfect recipes for these yet, but it's whats on top that counts and that's where the "anything" part comes in - it really is just what ever is pizza worthy in the fridge.  A few weeks ago AG  Pizza included bacon, green onion, garlic scapes and a liberal helping of Colby jack cheese and a regular favorite is "Pepperonioni" Pizza - onions, peppers and pepperoni.

Crust, Olive Oil, Tomato/Pizza Sauce, Veggies, Cheese, Pepperoni/Meat, a Little More Cheese.

I've found that this is the order it has to be in for me.  As a holdover from my extremely picky eating youth sometimes too many visible veggies can make me regress in my ways (please roll your eyes now, it's entirely appropriate) so I use the greatest mommy trick ever -Smaller pieces, sauteed soft and hidden to insure that I am always ready to chow down.

I was the kid who firmly believed that pizza and veggies did not mix; in fact I was leery of anything other than pepperoni and cheese for years, but now I find myself devouring pizza topped with onions, peppers, and even tonight's CSA addition - Bok Choy!  It seems silly for someone edging closer to 30, but for me it's such an accomplishment.

If you ever stop by the house and need a bite to eat, I highly recommend the "Anything Goes" Pizza.
{please be warned that for the next few weeks all AGPizza will include liberal amounts of bok choy and the proprietors take no responsibility for the bok choy that finds it way into your purse or carry-on}

Shared @  SortaCrunchy (and friends!)
Frugally Sustainable

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Paulie and Hermione

I often wonder what "normal" folk do during their summers and hope that I'm not terribly odd for my penchant of knitting things like wool sweaters and knit socks during a drought (or near drought, please start praying for rain if you get a chance).

I've found that sock knitting is just the ticket to keep my hands busy on my bus ride and during family movie nights so I'm thinking my Hermione's should be done this week which is just in time for my next project to arrive; a cross-stitch for my parent's 30th wedding anniversary this September.

Add to that list the quilt I want to complete for Henry's second birthday, his winter hats and sweater for Henry,  my husbands new {Trigger} Gloves (he's worn holes in the pair I made him three years ago) and hopefully some hand-mades for Henry's cousins (including my recently announce Godson!) I think my hands will be busy thru next spring.

Other than the knitting we've been trying to keep cool here.  Biweekly swimming lessons are helping, along with long trips to the library at least once a week and future trips to the splash pad are in order.

Check out {here} to see some of the new books we've checked out and a few that are still on our list.

"Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it."
~Russel Baker

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Little Stroll in the Rain

It's always good to take a little stroll in the rain.

You never know what you might be missing.
 And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. 
Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.
G.K. Chesterton
I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.  
~e.e. cummings

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gandalf the Green or "Holy CSA, Batman"

Before I get into the thick of it I just want to say thank you, Molly Makes Do has gotten quite a bit of attention the last couple of days thanks to "Inspired: A Simple Living Booklist for Kids" being featured on a number of sites.  I'm flattered and humbled and I can't wait to have a moment to make my way to the blogs of all my new commenters, I'm on my way!

Thank you to Little House in the Suburbs and Lived Renewed for the Feature!  Please check the bottom of Booklist for an updated list of shared links!

Anyways, on the meat of it all ... and by meat I mean vegetables ... and by vegetables I mean...

holy batman look at those onions!

That's my 31 inch tall "baby" next to our two "green onions" from our first CSA box.  Thanks to Bass Family Farms I will never look at those little grocery store green onions the same way.

And look what else they had for us.

{Broccoli, Radishes, Lettuce, Bok Choy, Kholrabi and Kale}

This was all from our first "full share family box" that we are splitting with my parents.  We get a box of between 5 - 17lbs of vegetables every week for 16 weeks.  With the price split between our two families we are paying a whopping $13.25/week for a box full of pesticide free local produce.  Who says eating well and eating local is expensive.


We've got plans for this food - the broccoli, radishes and lettuce is open game for a weeks worth of salad.  The bokchoy is going into the grilled veggie pot and the kohlrabi is going to be made into a kohlrabi coleslaw for our Father's Day grill out on Sunday.  Tomorrow after work Mom and I will be making our first ever batch of Kale Chips. 


I need to head out and cut up some of the veggies and soak some lettuce before bed time, so I leave you with "Gandalf the Green".

{fun fact: we spent the thanksgiving dinner when Henry was in utero telling family that we'd decided to name him "Gandalf McSassenbrook".  True Story.}

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Stitches and Rice

I've been happily plugging away at my "Paulie Sweater" and finally separated the arms, so now I feel like I can show something that look vaguely like a sweater {yay!).

I've been faithfully carting this around with me, knitting a few every chance I get and slowly but surely we're making progress.  It's my first adult sized sweater and it's still new enough to be a little bit of learning experience and fun at the same time. 

Speaking of which, I learned that 3-year old stale rice and couscous can be great fun (everyone has 3 year old stale rice and couscous in their pantries right?).  A plastic container full of the stuff and a collection of bathtoys and digging tools spells fun at the Make Do house this week.


A Little Bear tells me it is an experience most enjoyed sans-pants.  {In the best interest of remaining cordial with the neighbors I refrained from indulging in that part of the experience, but darn if that stuff isn't fun to play with).

For the folks stopping over from Ginny's Yarn Along check out "Inspired: A Simple Living Booklist for Kids" to get a taste of what's on our nightstands right now!  I'm also working on "Nourishing Traditions" and "Slow Food Nation".

I've also linked up to this weeks "Keep Calm and Craft On" and will be link in the next "Stash Bash" over "CrunchyCatholicMomma".

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday in the Garden

 {Grape Clusters}

 {Herbs and A Great White Tomato}


 {Strawberry Fields}

 {Big Boy}

 {Black Raspberries}

 {Almost Black Raspberry}

 {Taters, Precious}


 {It's a rough year for corn}


 {Tomatoes from Seed}

 {Beans and Cuc's}

 {A Sweet Smelling Stoop - Rosemary, Oregano, Sage, Basil}


 {Lillies and Paste Tomatoes}

{Paste Tomato}

Pictures!  I know, finally right?  It's been quite a scorcher in the midwest this summer - we could count the times we've mowed the lawn on one hand due to lack of rain.  So things are growing in spurts and I hang my head in shame about the sorry state of my sweet corn, but in my defense I'm looking after two house's gardens and a few things do slip thru my fingers.

The black raspberry bush we planted last year has borne it's first fruit, and we've delighted in introducing of the branch berry eating to Henry who devours the berries by the chubby little hand full.

The potatoes and onions seem to be doing well,  but we still have a couple months to go before we really find out?  Any advice on potatoes, they're a bit of a mystery to me.

Come August we'll be swimming in tomatoes, we have 10 different varieties growing between the Big House and Little House.

Speaking of the Little House, we haven't done too much gardening/growing this year - staying true to our promise to give it one year to see exactly what we have.  Now that I've seen I'm ready to dig in and make it my own.  I believe we'll be adding a 4'x8' raised garden bed next year, cutting back on the peonies and turning one corner bed into veggies or fruit for next spring.  We also need to add some higher garden beds around the back of the house to help with a sloping lawn problem.  I love the planning, but oh it's going to be a lot of work!

So far my proudest achievement for the garden are the tomato plants that I started from seed - we'll see if they get big enough to really produce in time (we didn't start them until March), but I've heard it's notoriously hard to start tomatoes from seed and I've done it!  Also, and not shown, I'm thrilled at the rate at which my compost pile is composting.  At this rate we'll have a nice layer of black gold for the raised beds next year.

What's going on in your backyard?
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