Friday, July 31, 2009

Totally boring

Sorry to have been boring lately. We have had a not so great week. Yesterday we were supposed to go to the beach... a nice big family outing that we had been planning all week. We got all geared up and all we needed to do is get Don's car to the Les Schwab for new tires first, we also had a stop at the library to pick up a book I needed for a class I am teaching today. Thinking that both errands would be quick and easy, we head out early and excited about a family day.

We go from the tire place to Starbucks and are just about to the library when we get call saying that there are locking bolts on Don's tires and they can't get them off without the special bolt head. Alright... so we get my book, and quickly turn around... Don's says the locking bolt is in his car.

We look, and look, and look. Not there. We decide it must have gotten dropped when he was putting the spare on the other day. Ugh...

So we decide to go to the VW dealership to get a new one. The VW dealership (which is 15 miles in the opposite direction from the tire place) says that the locking bolts are chosen AT RANDOM and there are at least 15 of them... so if he doesn't have the car with him, there is nothing they can do. So back to the tire place through traffic we go. We have now been doing this for just under two hours, and the kids are bored out of their little minds.

We get back there, drop Don off, (two hours of getting nowhere and the kids are starting to get twitchy) and I take the kids to the park while we wait. We wait and wait, and then we go to Micheal's to pick up a couple of things... Don goes BACK to the VW dealership, has them put new bolts on his tires. We wait some more while Don goes BACK to the tire place and has them put the tires we just bought on his car.... The kids and I stop by the pet store to look at the fishies and grab a couple quarters worth of candy from the vending machines for my children who are just now starting to lose patience (I was done hours ago, they did way better than me).

It is now 1:30pm, Logan is cranky and crying, and it is 98*... no one is going to the beach today. So we go home.

Happy family day.

Blech...

On a happier note, Cyan and I have done some really cool art projects with Shrinky Dinks (remember those???) and my Fine Arts class starts today!

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AND THE WINNER IS...

Drum roll please!

Taken at random, the winner is:

Callista :)

Please send me the width of your two favorite bowls and your address to receive your Ecolovies Bowl Covers!

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

LAST DAY FOR MY GIVEAWAY!

Last day for my giveaway... Follow this link and comment for a chance to win two of my ecolovies bowl covers. :)

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Anyone wondering where everything went?

The pictures on the left hand sidebar are links. :) Fun ones too... as the first one is my homeschool blog, which is usually filled with all sorts of fun stuff the kids have done and that are geared to 'educate'... but most of the time the kids don't even know I am 'educating' them... so they have to be pretty fun. ;)

The next one is my Local Living tab. It has all my local living adventures, things I discover about my area and wild foods, and sometimes even helpful tips to get people started. It is guaranteed to be good reading for those wanting to live a more local lifestyle.

The third picture link down is my Ecolovies crafts. I am picky about recycled crafts. Well, I am picky about crafts in general. They have to be functional and if they are going to be made of garbage they cannot LOOK as though they were made of garbage. So each of my crafts is hand picked to be classy, easy, super cheap, and they have to be really functional or pretty darn cute.

The last picture is a link to my garden posts. Those of you who have met me over the last year have not really seen how much of an central part of my life my garden is. This is going to come back now that we have bought a house. It is a huge part of my existence, and if you go back to the very start of this blog, the garden posts are really the only ones that are there. It is why the blog was started.

This is a no add blog. I don't want to make money off of this blog... it is for fun only. I want the whole thing to be stress free for me and for as many other people as possible. I try very hard to keep all my links up to date and easy to follow. I want you to be able to find what you want to find on here... I want you to be able to look up the links that I love, and love them too... that is my goal of this blog. If any ideas that you have would make it easier to understand or to follow along with something I am doing that you want to know about, please ask questions. My goal is to give (and get!) ideas for a fun, crafty, and ecofriendly life.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Crazy hot! (ie: how to stay cool in over 100* weather)


Currently, it is 102* here. The back poarch temp says 102* the front poarch temp (not in the sun, but behind a pole that is in the sun) says 106*. This is Western WA for goodness sake... this is scary. Yesterday it was 'neat'... today it is completely scary.

The kids and I are staying indoors where we will not get heatstroke and eating frozen grapes and having smoothies and sandwiches for dinner. I worry for our world when things are this off. I worry for our planet and what we have done to it.

Tomorrows forcast: 105*

In Seattle? That is insane.

So... lets turn this around... some things to do to stay cool:

Use a bandana, soaked in water, wrapped around your neck. This not only cools you down, but will also help protect from sunburn.

Take a cold shower. Even a 5 minute dunk in some luke warm water will help cool you off for a couple hours.

Wet your hair. I am always cold after washing my hair in the winter. The effect lasts all day long. So in the summer, I wash my hair much more often because it helps keep me cool, even though my hair is usually tightly in a bun.

Put your feet in cold water. Most of your heat is lost through your feet and your head. If your hair is wet, and your feet are in cold water the relief from the sweltering heat of the day will be huge.

Remember to stay hydrated!! I don't mean soda or even beer. As much as those things can be a momentary relief from the heat, they do the exact opposite of what your body needs when you are hot... they deplete your body of water! So keep up with staying hydrated with good old fashioned H20.

If you are cool on the inside, you will be cooler on the outside so keep up with your icewater and frozen treats. My friend Sarah posted this awesome list of her 'cool down' ideas on her facebook that included things like eating frozen blueberries, frozen grapes, sitting in front of a fan with a bowl of ice, and water games like her slip and slide (which she brought over to my house and they all had a blast when it was only 96* out). All of these things will help keep us cool and some will even make the day way more fun!

Wishing blogland a very safe and cool Wednesday!

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

HOT!

It is 100 degrees on my back porch (in the shade) right this second.

And I am sitting my my 77* house feeling very very happy about having air conditioning for the very first time. I am trying to be reasonable about how I use my new air conditioning. We have only had it on once before this week, but all week long I have had it set at 77* while the outside temp has risen from 90* to 95 and now to hit 100.

I know people who set their air conditioning down as low as 64*. That makes me twitch a bit. It is summer. It is supposed to be warm. Warm enough for heat stroke? No thank you. But warm enough for tank tops and no-cook dinners. ;) It should be... right?

I feel for all those other Seattlites that are sitting in this heat right now... baking inside their houses that don't come with this wonderful tool that I have now grown to love. I never ever thought I would need air conditioning. Even when we bought this house, I thought central air was a frivolous thing to put in a house in WA and had no idea why Don was so excited about it. And we just moved in June. But now... well I have eaten crow to my dh a couple times now about how nice it has been to have this machine. As Don wanders around saying "I love my house." lol...

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Preserving Food ~ Frozen Grapes


You may remember from this post that frozen organic grapes are a good Fast Food for Foodies. Well, If you were ever wondering when 'grape season' is, it is now. LOL! Organic grapes are at an all time low of $1.19/lb and I bought 10lbs to freeze. They are from CA too, which isn't exactly local (like at all) but it isn't Chili either. First, we washed them (because even the organic grapes get residue on them) and then we took them off the stalks and put them onto a baking sheet.


We put the baking sheet as stably as we can in the freezer, and leave for 2 hours. (There was another one balanced between the two top baskets for the same two hours. I was worried about it the whole time... but all was well. :) I only lost two grapes to the depths of my freezer... I consider that a win.)

After they are sufficiently frozen, I take them off the sheets and put them in baggies like this.

This is less than half of them. More to come!

They get tucked right in along with my frozen strawberries and cloud berries (which are also in season) and then I have them for those scorching days we have been having as a cool-off snack for my kiddos.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Cloud berries are ripe again!

So this is the time of year that my blog turns into a great big article on what I am eating each and every day. LOL! I would like to call it a food blog, but really, I eat all this stuff. So it turns into a 'my dinner and obsession with food' blog. Wild foods, local foods, preserved foods, foods I get from my garden... all of those take front and center for the next three months. Beware. I will do my best to walk everyone through the foods that are in season (for Western WA, much of the upper states of the US, and lower Canada as well), how to preserve them, and where to find the free wild foods that are lurking in your area.

Today it is cloud berries. They are a native berry that has been used in landscaping for the last few years and I have seen it popping up all over the place. If you have never heard of them and think I am crazy for going to the next town overs town hall to pick them from the side of the road at 8am... well, you'd be right. (And my husband totally agrees with you!) Here is the link on how I found them and identified them.

The thing you may not know is that they are stinkin' good! They taste between a raspberry and a tangerine, almost like a salmon berry but not as tart.... and they work amazingly well with peaches in... well anything. This link is the amazingly delicious recipe I will be making before 8 am tomorrow morning. (All this early morning stuff is due to a crazy heat wave we are having. It is supposed to be 95* or over for a week.)

This morning, Cyan and I picked a whole basket of them. Most of which will be going into the recipe I linked earlier. I am hoping to find another plot up here... but if not, I will be going back to my first plot next to the school sometime in the next week to pick more for winter. They are easy to store as well... just rinse and freeze! They work in any blackberry, raspberry, or salmon berry recipe 1 to 1. Find them. Love them!

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A lovely for Monday


This wallpaper will have to find it's way into my house someday. Isn't it beautiful? Maybe in our bedroom where I need some style?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ecolovies ~ Blueberry Stationary

It is almost blueberry season. I have been calling my blueberry farmer for the date of the first blueberries that will be ripe from our area. He says two weeks yet, and I wait impatiently. We have been reading blueberry books, talking about blueberry muffins, and we even finished off the very last bag of blueberries from last year. Almost... so close.

A couple of weeks ago, I was surfing and I don't even remember what I was looking for.... but I stumbled across By Sun and Candlelight on accident and I was fully enthralled for quite a while. This mama is incredible!

So by this post I came by this craft.

It was so amazingly simple! You just take a cork (or a few different sizes) and stick a Phillips head screw driver in the bottom of it. Tap a few times on a blue ink pad and voila, you have a blueberry! The leaves I just cut half of the cork off to make a half circle. It was simple. I even used scissors! The kids were stamping away within minutes and were having a blast. :)

Logan, Cyan, and I had a great time doing making stationary for the upcoming blueberry season and then, like all things, the project evolved.

We even broke out the big guns (pens)!

Turnips or strawberries?

Cyan's stamping evoloved even further:

I just love what her little mind thinks up! Do you see the blueberry cart being pulled by a horse? (top to the right, the view is from the top of the cart.) And my personal favorite, the bottom far right... she called it "Bush of Currents".

I wonder what type of stamps we will dream up next?

Don't forget to go and comment on my giveaway... it's over on Friday, July 31st.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

NEW FARMERS MARKET!


I am not working market this weekend. It is sort of a relief for me, because my weeks have been so crazy busy. So that meant that I got to try out one of our local markets to try to get my weekly goodies. This week I bought 2 bunches Chioggia Beets (the peppermint striped ones), 2 bunches golden beets, apricots, peaches, purple carrots, romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, speckle red leaf lettuce, cilantro, a bag of the largest chocolate and peanut butter cookies I had ever seen, and worm tea for my roses.

I have about 10 rose bushes, and I honestly, having never had flowers before, don't have any idea how to make them healthy. The sign above the worm tea (which I have used and made before for my veggie garden) said "Will reduce black rot in roses!" So I figured that I would try it out for my flowers now too. She gave me a little list of instructions along with my tea and she said to only spray them in the morning. Here's hoping it helps my new rose bushes. :)

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28/52 ~ First bounty

This is my first bounty out of my garden that I actually planted.

Market is canceled this week, parties are done, Alex is off, and I can breath (and garden) again.


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Friday, July 24, 2009

Cold, Wet, Beach trip ~ ie: My Husband Got a Wild Hair

Planning trips is not my dh's forte. It goes without saying that I am usually in charge of family outings. He has been known to forget things like diapers or jackets, snacks or sunscreen... constantly. So when he wanted to plan a beach trip for a day this week (our weekend) I was nervous, but he said that he would try to remember "everything".

We woke on the day of our beach trip and got up and Cyan and I headed off to history class. I knew it would be a long drive so I reminded Don to pack snacks and to check the weather. It was beautiful and already 70* where we were, so I thought we were headed into a beautiful day if it was that way at the beach as well.

When we got home, Don had packed lunches (adorably in the husband fashion, he even added carrots for a 'vegetable' and brought it up to me on the trip several times... "Did you see I packed 'vegetables'?!? LOL!) It did seem as though he remembered a lot of what we were supposed to bring. I was really proud of him! He said it was supposed to be nice and sunny all day, and so I ran and got sunscreen and we left.

As we neared the beach however, (which is three hours from us) it was obvious that it was no where near 'nice and sunny' at the beach. It was about 56* and terribly windy. So I asked him... where did you check the weather dear? "At home." "Why would you check the weather at home if we are traveling three hours to get to the beach?" Sigh.

So we were at the beach for a shorter amount of time than it took to drive there.

But man... my husband was SO happy to see the ocean that it made up for it all.

Cyan and I spent time making a sand castle while Logan and Don took a walk. Then Cyan took a walk with Don and Logan and I chased Seagulls. For a short and cold trip, it was a good one.

Cyan wasn't daunted by the cold weather... she walked right in.

Back on the dunes, we started to find neat little treats, like this alpine strawberry... we snacked as we walked and enjoyed our treasures. Then we drove around the beach, and looked at everyone else's wonderful castle creations.

The rest of the pictures are in the slideshow below, including our coolest sand castle EVER! :)



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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ecolovies ~ Pillow case dress/top

There are a lot of *beautiful* gently used pillow cases out there... unfortunately, when you buy used you can never guarantee a matched pair for your bed. But I pick the pillow cases up every so often anyhow, with this dress in mind. And the pattern is seriously so simple, that it could easily be a first sewing project.

Materials you need:

1 standard sized pillow case with a decorative edge or a great fabric
1 package 1/2 or 1/4 inch coordinating bias tape
a sewing machine
matching thread
scissors
a shirt (for a pattern... will not be cut up!)

First, cut the top 2 inches off your pillow case for a dress... cut 9 inches for a top (or measure you child for an even more custom fit... remember, these won't shrink... they have already been washed many times!). Make sure to cut square with the sides of the pillow case (which is easy, because the side seams are already done for you.)

Take one of your little girl's shirts... lay it down so that the arms are folded back so you can see the line of the arm seam. Fold the pillow case in half so that you have both edges and cut the pillow case along the arm seam like the picture above.


Open the pillow case and lay the bias open at the top of the arm seam under the fabric (inside of garment). Fold over the edge of the fabric so that the fabric is in the middle of the two folds of bias. Pin if you need to.... I don't, but sometimes with the 1/2 inch bias it helps. Sew along the entire arm seam (from front, then under armpit part, than to the back) on both sides so when you are done, your garment looks like this:


Then fold over 1 inch at the top of the neck piece of the pillow case top, and sew a hem, making sure to leave enough room for your bias tape to fit through. Sew this hem on both sides of the top of the garment.

Can you see the hole?

Then to make the straps, fold over the edge of the bias like shown here. Then fold in half and sew, leaving a long ribbon where both ends look like this:

Take a safety pin and attach it to the end of this piece... then run it through the hole we left in the top hem of the dress/top. Put it on your daughter and tie at the shoulders... gathering the center bit to fit.

Most pillow cases are light and extremely soft... so this dress ends up being the PERFECT summer play dress or top for a little girl. It will fit most little girls about age 5 to 9.

Happy Sewing!

Don't forget to go comment on my giveaway!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A question and a giveaway!

I have tons to tell you all about, but for right now I would like to concentrate on the changes around here on my blog. What do you all think? I have been trying to come up with a new 'face' for my blog for a while and this one seems to fit the best. I have been writing here for nearly 4 years with the same background and everything and that makes it really hard to change ANYTHING. But I love green. It is my very favorite color, and the soft details of this background seem to fit me and my personality best. I have contacted someone to make me something like this that is my own (unique and not free) and we will see where that goes, and how different I want to make it. But for now I could use some opinions.

I also have a giveaway in mind for right now.

These bowl covers I have made have worked out SO well that I would really like to share the love. I will give two custom covers to a randomly chosen commenter next Friday. All you have to do is leave me a comment... it could be about anything. What you think of the blog background, environmentally friendly living, Waldorf home education, gardening, cooking, etc... you name it! Just leave me some love and I will pick somebody to get these sweet washable covers (well, not these ones, ones that will fit YOUR bowls) sent to your door!

Happy Commenting!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Birthday gifts and project success!

Ahhhh... that is me breathing a sigh of relief that the parties for the month are ALL FINISHED! I will sleep really well tonight. :)

The kids birthday gifts have gone over well this year. Since Alex is at the very ritualistic age of 13, I decided to buy him something that came with some responsibility. So he got a knife, and some money. A friend told me that in her family of 10 children, when each one turned 13 they started to get money instead of gifts. And each of the younger children thought that was the coolest thing and they WAITED until they turned 13 to get the cash. So I thought I would start this tradition in my family as well. (Not all of the cash in this picture is from me.)


Cyan turned 8 last Monday and she got gifts that were based on her new found skills in art and reading.


This is a needle felting kit. I made it from the natural fibers stores we have around here. In this kit I added 3 different colors of roving, a felting block, needles, and three different squares of wool felt to needle on. She loves it!

And project success! I have been getting tons of lettuce from the farm and from friends. And I want it to last until we can eat it. I usually store it in my salad spinner, but with the new fridge, I have pulled it out a couple times frozen on one side. So I decided to try it in the bowl with my new bowl covers. SUCCESS! This salad above was cut 3 days ago and it is still crisp and perfect! We had it for lunch today, and I was SO please with the success of the bowl cover that I have decided to hold a giveaway sometime next week. So look out for that giveaway post!