Thursday, January 28, 2010


So, I got the last of my seeds cleaned and stored away last week. This week I kept myself busy setting up the seed starting bench. Lights, heating mat, timer, the whole works. I now have a flat of herbs, hopefully, sprouting. :-) Too early for veggies, soon though.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Baby is growing up.

Well, this week Rowen decided he was done with nursing. No trauma, no problems, just him wanting to eat real food like Mom and Dad I think. He happily nurses at night when we're all snuggled in bed, but he has insisted on food every day since Sunday.
On the positive side of things we're finally using the baby food I put away this fall in the freezer. He loves fruit and some veggies. The baby food I made was all local organic produce, steamed and blended then frozen in ice cube trays. It will also make going back to work easier with him weaned during the day. He's got 5 teeth now, so my nipples will probably be much happier with him eating food. :-)
My boobs were a little sore this weekend, but they're much better today, totally adjusted to the change. I had to pump a few times, just to relieve the worst of the pressure, but I didn't have to resort to any herbs or compresses or anything. Rowen had a couple of days of adjustment too, as far as bowel movements go, but the past couple of days have been regular, so no intervention needed there either. Pretty smooth. :-)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Saving Ottoman

At some point while I was in college my parents bought me a chair and ottoman set. They have seen a lot of love, some of it tough. Rowen is in his "Let's Eat Everything" stage and I knew I had to get the ottoman covered for his health. It's still structurally sound, so I couldn't bear to just throw it away.
So, I made a nice slip cover for it this weekend with 10$ worth of decorator fabric from the fabric store. Here's the before and after shots.
For those interested in such details I used a little over 1 yard of fabric, (it's a big ottoman) reinforced the seams and left the last 2 inches open on the bottom of the vertical side seams to aid taking on and off.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Eating out of the Garden: Winter

Soups and roasting are my go to's in winter. We are doing a little of both tonight, so I thought I'd share some recipes.

Chicken and Veggie soup
1/4 cup dry beans *I use a white Northern bean*
Water, at least 5 cups
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
2 pieces of chicken * I used two thighs*
1/2 cup of carrots *I used canned carrots from my garden*
1/2 cup of shredded butternut squash
1 Tbs dried Oregano
2 Tbs dried Kale
1/2 Tbs Thyme
" Garlic Powder
" Salt
" Pepper
pinch of ginger
" Turmeric

Prep your beans, I start mine when I'm cooking breakfast, boil them for two min, let stand, covered, for 3-9 hours.
Combine everything at least a couple hours before serving, cooking on a medium heat and stirring occasionally.
I just use a peeler and 'shave' the squash, it's less messy. You could dice it instead, it doesn't matter, it dissolves into the soup base.
Before serving, scoop out the chicken bones and skin, adjust salt and spices to your taste.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Take a sweet potato, or a couple if they are small, mine was a locally grown monster the size of 2 fists. Cut it up smallish. I think the cut is called a julienne, the end results are french fry-ish bites. Now this is the hardest part of the whole dish. You want the pieces to be fairly even, so they'll cook at the same time. The sweet potato is kinda tough, and the skin can be a pain to remove. Trust me it's worth it.
Put the cut up sweet potato in a baking pan, I used a glass 9x9. Add 1/3 to 1/2 stick of butter, dust liberally with cinnamon and some salt.
Roast at 400 for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. You'll know they're ready when some crunchy bits appear on the edges, and smaller bits have caramelized.
It'll taste like candy.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A post for Sarah

One of the Yule presents I gave out this year was a small trial set of cloth pads for one of my cousins. I totally forgot to include a set of instructions for them, and I'm sure she has no idea what to do with them. Well, beyond the obvious. :-P So, this post is mostly for my cuz, Sarah, but maybe it'll help others. The first question to answer is, "why cloth pads?" Well, they feel better, they smell better, they're cheaper and more sustainable. Point one, feel better, I make mine out of natural bamboo fabrics, both for smell and feel. They breathe more than disposable plastic/paper pads, which keeps things nicer down there. There's no risk of TDD or any other horrible reaction to the chemicals common in disposable choices. No sticky tape/glue to stick to skin or hair or anything else, just nice soft fabric. Point three, cheaper, if you menstruate for 33 years and you use a couple dozen pads per cycle, you'll throw away close to 10,000 pads. Not only is that expensive for you, but also expensive to the landfill.

The average woman will throw away almost 300 pounds of disposable menstrual products in her lifetime. That is 300 pounds of chemicals, processed wood pulp and petroleum based plastic. Not to mention the resources needed to haul all that stuff to a factory, waste created while the products are being made, packaging materials, and the fuel needed to haul those disposable products to a store - and the fuel and time needed to purchase them and take them home.

Tampons are no better than pads when it comes to the environment. Tampons clog plumbing (plumbers make a lot of money off those "flushed away" tampons). Tampons also contribute heavily to the sewage sludge problem that cities are dealing with all over the industrialized world. Sewage overflows lead to tampons and applicators washing up on beaches, in fact, tampon applicators are one of the most common sources of beach debris! Or look up the trash island in the Pacific, I bet a lot of them end up there too.

Cloth pads require only an extra small load of laundry or two each month and can last 5-7 years or more. That's much more sustainable than disposables. Producing cloth pads also requires less resource investment as there is minimal packaging, much lower fossil fuel cost for transportation, and far fewer chemicals and waste produced in their manufacture. Lower usage of petroleum will make your life easier, ask Aunt Jakie if she remembers the oil crisis of 1973, I know my mom still does. Fast forward 40 years and now we have even less reserves of oil, more industrialized nations wanting oil, and more barrels per day coming from foreign sources. Any supply hiccups at all, and the '73 shock will look like a picnic.

Hmm, I've strayed a little from the subject at hand. Let's just leave with this, even if you don't want to use them as your first line of defense, having some cloth pads around as a backup is never a bad idea. :-)

Care for them is really easy. You'll want a container, large enough to hold an inch or so of water and a couple of pads. Place your used pads in the container of cold water while you are between laundry loads. If you use a tupperware or something, you can keep the lid perched on it loosely, but air tight would be a bad idea. There are ceramic options out there, if you find you like cloth and want to invest in something discreet and functional. (Some ladies use old ceramic cookie jars) The blue bag I put your pads in has a waterproof layer sewn into it, but it can't hold water. Use the bag as storage or as the To Go option. Store used pads in it until you can get home and put them in the container/jar, everything stays neat and clean and contained, and then you can just wash the To Go bag with the load of pads and it's ready to go again. Wash them on hot, and tumble dry if you like. I usually wash mine on warm and air dry them where sunlight can get to them. The sun bleaches them white again. (That's not to say there's a crazy amount of staining, there really isn't.)

There you have it. Enjoy your new cloth pads, let me know if you ever want a different size or different absorbency or different color, I'll happily make you more. Love you!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Learning to knit!

One of my new year resolutions is to learn to knit.
So, yesterday while I was buying yarn to knot my quilt together I bought a ball of yarn to knit into a scarf and a pair of needles. Last night I managed to get 10 stitches cast on and I'd started the next row of knit, but then I dropped a needle and lost the whole thing. :-P
My eventual goal is to get good enough to knit socks. I love love LOVE wool socks, and Dave goes through lots of socks, Rowen will need socks... seems like a real useful skill.