Wednesday, October 23, 2013

two of our favorite drinks

Although the cool weather is really just starting here, we drink toasty, cozy drinks around here all year long! I have been making fake chais or steamers for Hazel for a couple years now. I froth the milk and add honey & cinnamon to the milk and Blamo@! a delicious, low sugar drink for kids! you could certainly use Stevia or a different natural sweetner- agave etc. 
Foxy Honey Steamer w/ cinnamon

her favorite mug- christmas 2012

mama's hot cocoa w/some homemade whipped cream and naturally-colored sprinkles!
I tend to get into the habit of making a batch of whipped cream that I can give the kids when they have pancakes or waffles with berries in the morning- plus when I want some at night while knitting/sewing or hanging out with Zach, I don't have to go into the laundry room to make it. Yes, sometimes we call the laundry room the whipcreamery. I go in with a Ball jar usually with heavy cream & honey and my hand mixer. I stand at the washer mixing my whipped cream with the door closed so not to wake the babies fast asleep and unaware of my hot cocoa party! Ohh the things we do, I tell ya!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Muffin Top

I couldn't resist. Since we have all been trying to follow the Bob's Red Mill October Unprocessed- Challenge we've been loving the coupons that allow us to get their amazing products- just a little bit cheaper! Here we used the Gluten Free Cornbread mix, to which we added 1/2c of pumpkin and 3/4 of a banana. Instead of using regular milk- (we were low), I use some powdered milk from Organic Valley. Powdered milk is like my most favorite thing ever. I'm so happy to have it on hand! I also ended up making some mini muffins and regular sized ones. Again I was low on the wrappers- so today was an all around perfect Thursday. Tomorrow we go food shopping and eat like KINGS! I'm joking, at least we won't be rationing milk and muffin wrappers.

My assistant, Hazel who was still in her p.j.'s assured me if she were making these to sell she would have gotten dressed. Hear that any perspective muffin orderers?

I can't believe how big she looks here. Soon she'll be five and I still have to take that in!

Mixy Mixy

Mama's girl

Gluten free pumpkin, banana cornbread muffins

Last night I got a fair amount of pinning done. Now tonight I need to stitch all of the goodies together! Along with that, I am really trying to do this meal planning along with coupons to try and optimize our food budget. Whew sometimes it feels very overwhelming but I do like the challenge. Tonight we had leftover veggie soup mixed with a pot of brown rice. It was simple, yet we all devoured it along with our muffins and some butter. The perfect fall comfort food. 

I received my Seeds of Change seed book and I am already thinking of what I would like to try next year. Thinking of how big we can extend our small box for next year. Thinking of those chickens that are totally calling my name. One thing at a time.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hi Hobos Happy Fall! As you can see it has been quite some time since I have blogged. We have come to terms with Haze missing the cutoff date, she's in preschool again and loving it! Guthrie just turned 15 months and is saying new words everyday- he's also climbing ever flat surface around. So we are always moving something in order to keep him safe.  In between getting the house ready for colder weather, I have been able to find a little space to get some sewing done. Between naps and preschool, between bedtime for the kidlets and myself, I have been trying to push myself to get stuff done, I hope you are finding some time too! 
In the Shop Now!

Celebrate with delicious banners! In the shop!

moustache! child not included!

My beautiful Hazel on her first day of Science Camp this past summer!

Mama wearing her Downtown Abbey scarf compliments of Aunt Linda!

The boys. Matchy matchy! Guthrie is much bigger with a mouth full of teeth and a head full of hair. he doesn't stand still enough to take many pictures these days!

Please stop back for weekly- possibly even semi-regular updates- and visit our shop for adorable coffee cuffs and upcycled tom foolery!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

On a Tuesday
Our daughter was born on december 2nd. 1:59 am. In new york, the cut off date for kindergarten is december 1st... can you believe that?! I don't know where they came up with this date- and there will alaways be a mother saying the same thing somewhere- I know. But our Hazel is ready.

After 2 years of preschool- we hate to send her to a third year of the same thing AGAIN! She started at a smaller school- where the classroom was at least 12 kids. She was a shining star, but there were many kids and with only 2 teachers- we felt that she was getting bored. Especially when there were a few kids who misbehaved on a constant basis or ones who just needed a little more care, when I would come in those specific kids were always with the teachers getting one on one while the more adjusted kids played happily (I might add). So we switched to a school with a smaller classroom kids and size, where they get a fair amount of one on one with teachers and play with kids. However, this year she was in a 4 year class and next year aside from maybe having a different teacher- she'll be learning the same things again. I suppose one can never know the alphabet well enough or their numbers, but we feel she doesn't need to revisit this again. But it isn't just us! My husband's family has 2 K-1 teachers and 1 middle school and they all feel she is ready. As does my own family of day care teachers and college adjuncts!
So we wrote to our elementary principal- we were immediately told their is no evaluation for kindergarten, because is they don't make the birth date there is no question. Um Ok thanks... so after more thought and conversation with family, we realized we are tax payers dammit! We want to explore this and it would be really helpful to our budget if we could free up money for Hazel's school towards bills. (Of course we spared the principal our financial woes)and chose to then write the superintendant. We've heard through the grapevine that the school and the disctrict really have the power to decide. We wrote the email a week ago. We were told that the superintendant would discuss it with the principal. I worry that we have created a scarlet letter situation and now we will forever have BIG RED K's on our chest- but we all have to advocate for our baby bears! So now we are in a waiting game. Honestly, what will be will be and I am all ready(and excited) to try and homeschool her for kindergarten. Between the several teachers and friends we have in education as well as some wonderful online resources, I am looking forward to this if it comes to be.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

On Procrastination:
So I'm listening to Wish Fulfillment, by Sonic Youth. In high school this was one of my favorite songs and I eventually ruined the tape by playing this album so much. I like listening to music, when I can. I am much more productive when I am listening as opposed to watching something.

Sometimes it's really hard to do anymore than I do now. During the day I'm adding band-aids, cutting up snack after snack, half folding loads of laundry and rewashing the same one sometimes more than twice.... (I always add more soap), watching my littler person learn to crawl, eventually feeding the cats and *sometimes yelling at the dog to get off the couch. The day feels like I am a just trying to get from one meal to the next. Attempting to make 4 square meals 3 times a day- ACK! My husband, puts our 4 year old to sleep and I tackle the baby. For the most part he goes down easily enough. Somewhere between 6:30/7:30 everyone is asleep and I have time to do everything and nothing. I know this schedule hardly seems like something to complain about. My mother even now likes to remind me that my father didn't really pitch in on things like bedtime, baths or dinner. But I can't help of I think of the nights when I first started selling my wares for profit- we use to stay up all night, watching Law & Order marathons while my sewing machine whizzed into the wee hours. I guess it really made a difference when I could wake up whenever and wasn't woken up in the middle of the night by little babies. If I have to be woken up, there is nothing sweeter, I just wish I could find the drive in the early evening to reconnect with things I love to do. I read other blogs and these other mamas are getting sh*t done! Some have multiples and are still able to create these amazing projects.. what is their secret?
 ( if I could only harness her energy and put it in pill form!)
Could my real lack of sleep be affecting me more than I truly realize? I'm not sure. I've tried to cut out coffee and black tea and I don't drink caffeine( green tea) past 3 or 4. If I had to make some sort of hunch, my TV and procrastination is sucking the energy out of me. I've started to try and  stop watching as many shows... because- why do I need these? I am riding my exercise bike, trying to watch what I eat and have even been gluten free for several weeks...I can only hope with the spring and summery days in the near future- it will inspire me. Oh daffodils, oh crocus, oh tulips- please hurry... I need your inspiration.

* Zach and I disagree sometimes on this. I want Bella to lay with us on the couch, but she's huge and she's a dog. We had to get rid of our loveseat b/c it just smelled of dog...but I am conflicted and a hug wuss. All she has to do is flash her doggie eyebrows and I give in.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cornbread
I just managed to make 2 pots of soup for lunch and dinner. One has lots of spinach, carrots,chicken,garlic & onions and the one for Zach & Hazel has chicken, carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic and orzo. The bone broth was from the other day and I sauteed the meat with tumeric,garlic, onions,parsley and ginger- then divided the pan up into two different pots of soup. Then to make things crazy and to use up all of the ingredients the day BEFORE we go shopping I decided to make a cornbread with the few chips, a dash of vanilla the last 2 eggs and almost all the milk... tomorrow morning should make for an interesting meal (mental note: put a crockpot on of oats before bed!). In more exciting news, here are some pictures of the children!

Hazel at her school's Winter Olympics

Lounging and Eating Books, of course!

On a job site for the Teamsters. Serious, look at this kids arms and that hat- I try to eat him daily.

My beautiful girl at a friend's party, she made cat ears to be in a performance of Cats!

These two keep me pretty busy. Pretty crazy too. Last night Guthrie who we sometimes call Gus, was up at 3:30- then was ready to rise & shine at 5:30. Plus we started watching Game of Thrones.. so we didn't nearly get to bed at a good hour... and I think I was shocked at just how misogynistic the show seemed. I found myself looking away a lot of the time. But itdoes have Peter Dinklage (who I love) and I like the aspect of the direwolves protecting the children (SPOILER ALERT!). Zach says it does change over the season, so I am hoping it isn't like that through the whole thing.

Well the cornbread came out of the oven, it was a bit crumbly- but yummers with a few bits of chocolate! Here it is 4pm and I am about to strap Guthrie to my back and I don't have any hustling for dinner... it's already made and simmering on the stove! 
Isn't that the best feeling?!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

While Dinner Cooks

Most nights, around 5ish, Zach gets off of work ( he now works at home 4 days a week from our bedroom/home office) he comes out and practically takes over in a good way. He usually takes Hazel and our pup Bella out in the yard for some serious run around time. Meanwhile, I can get dinner on then we get to sit down
t o g e t h e r. Which really means so much to me and to Hazel
(I think). For 2 years of Hazel's life her papa hussled it down into the city and didn't get home till almost bath time... so now I feel spoiled and grateful and just plain lucky to be blessed with the job Zach has. I hope he feels that way too.
An older post- never posted, I wanted to share this because I am still so grateful..only now I have a baby boy to add to my gratefulness. I feel very lucky indeed.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

1001 Uses For a Fishnet

Way back when I didn't wear random, comfy pregnant t-shirts under my regular clothes I had a very nice collection of fancy tights and such. Fishnets as wide as the eye could see- in large holes, smaller and teeny. Blue, purple, red, yellow and traditional black (if you can call a fishnet traditional). 

Today I am trying to get dinner together as I do most days at 4pm, with a baby strapped to my back and a 4 year old going through a random mismatched basket of my fishnet socks(they came out of an old suitcase we got down from the attic to put other random things in) and stockings she yells out at least 15 different games she is playing with the stockings. " Look mama, I'm tying the sock to my boot and I caught a boot!" Look mama, I caught a stuffed animal in your fishnets! or look mama, I tied my legs together with your stockings and I am walking funny, aren't I?"!  
Hilarious. Sometimes when Tuesdays really feel like Mondays and the baby will only STOP crying if you are carrying or wearing him and the dog wants to be let out 9 million times so she can bark and the neighbors again today, we have to be reminded by someone- anyone- or that special 4 year old to just breathe because material items are nothing.. everything moves so fast. One day you're wearing fancy stockings to the office or out on a date with the man you are going to marry and now your child is playing with those tights in your living room. It's all so fleeting and wonderful and silly and children just make things hysterical, don't they? xo

Monday, March 4, 2013

Since I last wrote, we've been working on all of our little house issues- but it still is an upward battle. But, we are trying to fall in love with our little place- regardless of all trouble it has given us. Adding little touches that make things feel good. A small shelf for our coffee mugs and some hooks to hold the extras. A small cabinet ( which use to hold the mugs) has now grown into a lovely little baking cabinet (much thanks to taking the Whole Food kitchen class with Heather Bruggerman). By the way if anyone from my class ( fall 2012) is reading- I wondered if they would be so kind to send me modules 5-7! I've lost them before getting a chance to print them!
Back to the house, Hazel said today, "mama I love our house" and zach replied with we're glad we do too! Sometimes when you are down or upset we forget our children can sense that and you don't want to let on too much so that their feelings of safety or anything regarding their home makes them uncomfortable... so we try not to discuss too too much. We want the kids to walk in and think ahhh... there's no place like home.
This weekend we have not a plan in site! I'm so excited to try and get things done! We decided to use a group of mismatched hardware on the top cabinets in the kitchen. The walls and cabinets are white- I'm think of painting the hardware a bright red or green to unify. I'd like to put a rug down under the rocking chir in our bedroom to cushion the squeak and maybe muffle it. The rocking chair was given to us on freecycle, by a very nice woman who had used it for 40 years and 4 children! Wow! Aside from recovering the cushions and putting a handmade padding on the tips of the rocker's landing ( what is the real word?) it is the same as when she handed it over.
Today I boiled a chicken- which may sound eewish, but I need the bone broth. I've started back on a gluten free diet. So far it has not been very difficult because I am still supplementing wit Udi's and Quinoa pasta. But the broth is to make some soup and try to transition back to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. We'll see how it goes... I might be able to give up chocolate, but I have developed a hot cocoa habit... however in the summer, who knows what will happen! Well just a quick update and hello.

A picture explanation: in 2008, when I was pregnant with Hazel and we were moving. I was making sure the tub was the right size!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Making Do and Mending
When we purchased our house in June of 2010 we had no idea what we were in for. Have you ever seen The Money Pit? Well let me tell you we are very close to that it seems. Problems- you name it! Well and water bacteria, heating issues and of course the lack of funds. There is only so much you can get new and fix before you are deep in debt. I'm not writing all this for sympathy- I don't even know who/how many people would even read this- it is more to just get it out.I haven't been journaling lately.. so I guess this is how I make sense of it.

What exactly does my title have to do with this post? Well similar to the Make Do and Mend campaign of the 1940's we too have to try and use what we have and fix it if it breaks. That means sometimes dressing my little baby boy in something that might obviously have been his sisters(think pink and flower long Johns!)- if his "boy clothes" are all dirty. Not running to the store to buy the latest cute stuff and just trying to use my sewing abilities to bring joy to our family.We are lucky that I have many items stored away for Guthrie and for Hazel, that we get things sent from her wonderful aunts and cousins. It means making the coffee at home,the chai, the hot cocoa, the green tea all of these delicious yum yums- to save money need to be made at home. Which most of the time I am fine with. I get to use my own organic ingredients and know that things like natural flavor is not, thankyouverymuch in my drink! But it is really hard to not fall into old habits..REALLY HARD! Especially when your 4 year old also has a habit with you- " mama can we go to the coffee shop to get me a chocolate milk?" to say no to that breaks my heart because my habit has become hers and who wants to say no to their child?! But this becomes a learning moment where we can break the habit together and just go home and make it better! Rough! It means trying to be resourceful and using all the food in the frig and freezer before running to the store. Things we try to do- but now are really important because every little penny needs to go to bills and fixing this house. Sometimes it can be daunting, sometimes I'm just happy we have a safe,dry, happy environment to raise our kids- regardless of the problems we are having. xo

 I've been trying to ride my exercise bike every night- but sometimes it isn't as easy as I thought it would be. Running around with two little ones, can exhaust you. So last night I forced myself to ride for a mere 16 minutes. It was enough, I was riding next to a blazing fire and sweating to death. Tonight I will make myself do it again.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

You Can Always Go Home

At least that is how I feel about my childhood home, luckily. This past week, Z was at ToyFair- so that means this year was 9 years give or take of being a ToyFair widow as many call it. But in the previous years I didn't have 2 children and a dog. I worked in the city or a bookstore, we were dating or it was when we weren't married yet.

When a partner goes away for more than an overnight trip it can really screw up your schedule. It especially sucks if one of you r e a l l y does not like to be alone at night. It complicates things-thankfully my parents have an open door policy. The 2 kids, the dog, a bouncy chair, a laptop bring it a l l. Plus it helps that there is fresh brewed coffee 2-3 times daily and prime cable channels. It's kinda like being on vacation!  Along with my mother's patience and parenting wisdom. I'm so appreciative that both my parent's and my in-laws are always welcoming us. We are very lucky.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bringing it All Back Home

I'm sitting at the kitchen table a cup of warm tea by my side and I am staring at our grateful bowl. Our grateful bowl is a coconut -like shell bowl filled with trinkets,seashells, tiny pine cones, rocks and special buttons. Each night or before any meal we try to pick one special item from the bowl and share what we are thankful for. I have so much to be thankful for in this new year. I'm thankful for this new little person we call Guthrie Jackson. Born in July,what a big, silly, boy he is becoming. He delights us all- it is especially wonderful to watch his big 4 year old sister, Hazel tend to him. Making him laugh, dancing, singing, feeding him she is doing great at being a mama's best helper!
I'm also grateful for our view. Since our house is just a wee little cottage, I can see the beautiful, frozen lake from my kitchen table. Mostly frozen you can see the occasional swan making it's way through. A beautiful winter sight.

The holidays came and left so quickly this year. I think I am still in a fog- daily I am getting headaches, not exactly sure why but I have a sneaky suspicion that my sugar intake as of the last year has something to do with it. I have started to make small changes- in my coffee ( which I don't really drink a lot of) I use honey as the sweetener of choice. The same goes for making hot cocoa (which I have at least 1 cup a day). I didn't make any real, hardy resolutions, but in my head there are a few mantras I have yet to put on paper.

This holiday season, our little shop Hobocamp Crafts was busy enough, but I have not put much new in the shop. However I have things in my shop I made before I even had children and luckily they are not food-based so they sit in my shop waiting for the right owner to scoop them up! 

Lately I have been sewing for my family.Something I usually feel guilty doing. I guess I think that if I am sewing for the house or myself- I could be sewing something to make and sell and bring in money... it's kind of a curse doing something you love sometimes. But ANYHOW- For Christmas I made a bunch of pillows (Joann's was selling beautiful upholstery samples) that I made use of by making sweet, little pillows for my mother and mother-in-law. I made Hazel a crayon roll and all of the girls got cute little pillows made from recycled t-shirts. This is really one of the easiest and aesthetically pleasing, quick gifts to make. It also is super eco-friendly. Saving your favorite t-shirt and cutting it into a square, rectangle or even the perimeter of the design. You can use a machine or by hand. Add little tags of ribbon peeking out of the edge- use crazy buttons to accentuate the design (eyes perhaps?!). Either way it ends up being adorable, kids love it and you can reuse and open up an old pillow for stuffing, use sewing scraps and wool or put anything soft and pillow-like inside... maybe even add some dried herbs like lavender. I also made our new addition, Guthrie a tag blanket and some other things that my brain-fogged memory is forgetting.
Since Hazel is now 4! We thought for a brief moment she might get to go to Kindergarten in September, but the cut off date is Dec 1st. She was born Dec 2nd-- how lame, can you even believe that! But honestly, when this all came to a head the other day I felt anxious that a year- our last year together- would have been taken so quickly. I've vowed to myself that although she'll be in preschool 3 days a week- I'd like to try and home school her the rest of the time. Look into an actual curriculum otherwise I worry she will be very bored in the 3rd year of preschool.

So basically, not a whole lot has changed since I last blogged here. I want to try to sneak away and share a little bit each day even if it is just a paragraph. I'm off Facebook at the moment (well because anyone who uses FB knows there is a time a a place for taking a hiatus) and frankly right before the new year was my time and it feels really great!

Hope your new year is shaping up too!