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Showing posts with label Home ranging. Show all postsShowing posts with label Home ranging. Show all posts

Sunday, November 03, 2013


the motherhood curator

I was just making some cheesy popcorn tonight in preparation for tomorrow’s choir rehearsal–it’s my turn for mom snack duty. {It is an easy and delicious recipe; just follow my dad’s basic popcorn recipe, then as you’re drizzling butter, also sprinkle garlic salt and grated parmesan/romano cheese.} As I was stuffing the finished product into ten snack-sized baggies, I began pondering my week ahead.

Read more »at5:41 PM8 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Home ranging,Minimalism,Parenting,Simplicity

Thursday, April 11, 2013


on not becoming The Goops

Alternate title: But I still refuse to eat snails.

Have you read French Kids Eat Everything yet? I’m not finished with it, but it’s already a game-changer for us. A lovestruck Nate turned to me at dinner last night and wistfully said, a hint of a glistening tear in his eye, “This is just how I wanted dinner to be.” Okay, I’m kidding about that. That kind of husbandly praise is the stuff of dreams…

With how much I talk (read: gloat) about feeding my kids real food, it might surprise you I have a lot to learn about teaching kids to eat well. Yes, I usually manage to get my kids to eat healthy food, BUT I have come to dread meal time due to their whininess, messiness, disregard for normal decibel levels and decent personal space, and sibling rivalry that accompany every meal. I was becoming a cross between a hair-raising psycho and a punch-drunk lunatic at dinner, getting into immature discussions with my kids about who was going to get the purple plate and which child would be allowed to sing the third verse of the rainbow song.

Then, the clouds parted, and this book fell into my lap. Or something like that.

But, seriously y’all, I was skeptical at first about whether the tricks in this book would work for us. I have employed some aspects of attachment parenting, and one of them that I associate with the trend is to offer children choices and let them articulate their preferences and control aspects of their food world. If I had to pick one thing I’ve learned in the last week, it’s that the science does not agree; in fact, it suggests children aren’t capable of deciding what they should eat, and these decisions actually stress them out.

But the proof is in the pudding: how did the experiment work for us? I am dumbfounded by the fact that not only did these fancy tricks work, but they have made ME enjoy food more. Who could have thought that was possible?
Here’s a nutshell about why I give this book two enthusiastic thumbs up, with a few caveats (so maybe, one enthusiastic thumb and another regular thumb):

Caveat first: I don’t have as many ingrained issues with food as the writer apparently does [Example: she is a self-professed lover of McDonald’s. Gag me with a spoon.], so I had trouble identifying with her tendency to whine about her great luck. She seemed to have begrudgingly taken on the challenge to feed her kids French food–WHILE LIVING IN FRANCE AND MARRIED TO A FRENCHMAN–whereas I look at these opportunities to mold and change my kids as fun experiments. To me, a person who doesn’t thank her lucky stars that she can benefit from the wisdom of the best foodies in the world has a bit of a chip on her shoulder. But then again, I try never to judge a woman for a reaction to her mother-in-law’s advice.

Having said that, I learned loads from this book. I’ve only been to France once and then only to Paris, but even after a few days there, I learned easily that the French have figured out how to make good food. They enjoy food so much and so well. What I didn’t know was that they have many rules about what, when, and how to eat. Being someone who likes to cook and eat–and someone who is sometimes painfully attempting to teach my kids good manners–I appreciate a culture that is willing to take time in crafting good, well-mannered eaters.

I also didn’t realize how many bad American eating habits I have–and even worse–that I’m passing down to my kids.  I had become resigned to my fate, forgetting–or perhaps never knowing to begin with–that I have role in their meal-time education (Rule #1). Could it be as simple as they were misbehaving because they weren’t aware that there were meal-time rules?

French Food Rules

Illustration by: Sarah Jane Wright for French Kids Eat Everything

Here are few of the rules she discusses in the book that I am most taken with (in my own words):

Up the formality!

The French lay a tablecloth (!!), even for small children; they forgo paper napkins and sippy cups, opting instead for glasses, cloth napkins, and real silverware; and they announce the beginning of the meal with a quick phrase, “To the table!” When everyone is seated, they say “Bon appetit!” to signify that everyone may begin eating. My kids love rituals so took to these improvements like buttah. Vivi sets the table with a purpose, as though she has been lying in wait for the chance to be given this task. We’ve always said a blessing, which is now like icing on the cake instead of the only ritual.

Documentation of our first foray into tableclothing. It’s a Kenyan wrap skirt. Cute, huh?

Respect each other…and the food! 

Imagine a meal with small children in which you don’t have to endure loud interruptions and whining. Wonderful, right? How is this magic accomplished??

Actually, it isn’t that hard. Once I got started, I figured out quickly that the rules I was implementing were exactly what they were already doing at school. Duh. If they say “But I wanted the purple plate!,” I say “You get what you get, and you don’t get upset.” If they say “I don’t want tabbouleh!,” then I say “You don’t have to like it, you just have to taste it.” And after both of those phrases, they pipe in with “That’s what my teachers say!” Oh, right.

I can’t believe I didn’t use these rules sooner. I always imagined that if I stopped them from jumping around and yelling, I would somehow be stifling their joy. But while I previously would have used my “Let kids be kids!” go-to parenting rule, I now realize that what I was doing was robbing everyone, including myself, of a chance to eat a peaceful meal. By stopping the chaos, I offer respect to my dinner guests and myself–and to the food we are eating, for that matter.

Plus, I’ve added an element of fun by asking them a few questions about their day, like their favorite thing, something they didn’t like, a funny part of the day, and a time they helped someone. Both of the girls relish this time to shine with everyone listening. And I relish the opportunity to start new Mom catchphrases.

No food bribes or rewards (Rule #2).

This rule is actually harder for me than I had thought. In my opinion, this rule exempts the once-a-year bribe of “If you do well at the doctor, you can have a lollipop!” But it also means that you can’t stuff your kid’s face with animal crackers every time you’re in line at the bank. You can’t jump into the car knowing you’re going to get stuck in traffic and bribe your kids with fruit snacks and chips to make it the duration. You can’t swoop in after your kid falls down or doesn’t get the purple plate and say “If you eat your peas, you will get a popsicle!” What I failed to realize is that I was teaching my kids to fill their voids with food, and by doing that, I was making their relationship with food emotional. Yikes.

No snacking (Rule #7).

This rule is tied with the rule above. “It’s okay for them to be hungry” has become my new internal mantra. Once I attempted to stop our constant snacking, it occurred to me I had been teaching Charlotte to be a snack monster (see: toddler terrorist post). Her hunger monster still rears its head on occasion; however, just as I wouldn’t back down when I tell her it’s time to brush her teeth, I feel confident that keeping her from simple carbs and sugary juice is going to pay off in the end when she learns to reward her patience with satiety instead of stifling it with empty calories.

Eat family meals together (Rule #4).

I always wanted to enact this rule, and I had done it sometimes, but I admit there were many occasions that I would spend their meal doing dishes or reading blogs in the kitchen instead of sitting with them. Now I look upon meal time as an important part of their education and sit at the table with them, even if I on rare occasion am not eating a meal myself (and I try to make sure I am eating with them). When they are finished with the meal, I let them have time to blow off steam and be silly (read: not at the dining room table), and I take that time to do my quiet recharging or cleaning.

I’ve been reciting a poem to the girls called “The Goops” that my parents recited to me as a child, and it has taken on a new meaning lately. Turns out that “The Goops” is actually a series of books written in the early 1900’s to teach children manners, so it’s no wonder it stands out now.

The Goops by Gelett Burgess (1900)
The Goops they lick their fingers,The Goops they lick their knives,They spill their broth on the tablecloth-Oh, they lead disgusting lives!
The Goops they talk while eating,And loud and fast they chew,And that is why that I 
Am glad I’m not a Goop–are you?

the goops
Image credit:

Author’s Note: I shared this post with Tasty TraditionsWorks for Me Wednesday, and Whole Foods Wednesday
at11:52 PM10 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Books,Challenge,Crunchy Mama,Dinner,Discipline,Education,Food,Health,Home ranging,Kids,Parenting,Poem,Real Food,Resolution,School,Toddlers

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


on making our own lard

{Secondary/Alternate Title: Yes, We are Those People}

My plan was to publish a post today about pocket meat pies. That post will need to wait a day because to make a meat pie, you need a sturdy savory crust. I believe that crust should start with one surprising but important ingredient: lard. I’ve gotten on my lard soap box before, so rather than beat it to death, I’ll simplify the conversation today and boil it down–so to speak (hardy har)–to a few quick paragraphs.

Why lard?

In the middle of the last century, well-meaning scientists told us saturated-fat-containing ingredients like lard caused heart disease, and law-abiding citizens ran fleeing from it. Since then, we’ve learned that the replacements for lard–like vegetable shortening–contain trans fats, which are much worse for you than saturated fat. Not only that, but lard also contains monounsaturated fat that is necessary for brain function. Even leaving health out of the discussion for a moment, I am sold on the idea of lard because I am a firm believer in nose-to-tail cooking. Hence, we actually eat tail from time to time

In a nutshell, lard is not your enemy, and the people who want you to go on believing it is have ulterior motives.  Set aside what you think you know, do your research, and make your own decision.

Where can you buy lard? 

To make lard, you need to get your hands on pork kidney fat called leaf lard. The reason you want leaf lard is that you can render it into a neutral fat that doesn’t taste of pork, assuming you cooked it low and slow enough. I’ll get to that part in a minute. We get our leaf lard for a $1/pound from a cooler at our monthly meat CSA. If you don’t have a CSA, I bet you can strike up a deal with any pork seller at your local farmer’s market if you’re friendly. Heck, you might even be able to get it already rendered from your butcher if you’re lucky.

Remember how I said I was going to start saying yes to ideas, even if they sounded scary or impossible? Ahem. To be frank, the rendering process is not as pleasant as I’d like it to be. But then, with a process called “rendering fat,” did you expect it to be pleasant? For one thing, it’s messy, in that “fat gets on things and won’t come off things” way. For another thing, it doesn’t look good. Mine wasn’t even photographable. For a third thing, it’s smelly. Not “I’m frying up some bacon” good smelly, but “I’ve been working in the kitchen of a 24-hour diner” bad smelly. I advise you to make a giant batch in one day, then hang on to it in your freezer for the next six months. Let it be a warm enough day that you can crack a window–for us, that’s around 40 degF, but our standards are influenced by the chilly Beantown climate.

Nourished Kitchen
Image credit: Nourished Kitchen

How do you render lard?

Now that we’ve gotten the purchasing and caveats out of the way, let’s get down to cooking. The actual directions couldn’t be much simpler, so rather than reinvent the wheel I’m connecting to blogs that have already written them. If you are making a batch of savory lard and you don’t mind a slight porky flavor–in fact, you might even be going for that–you can make it in a Dutch oven on the stovetop. If you want it for sweet pie crust and don’t want it to taste like pork at all, then you should probably make it in a slow cooker. For either method, you’ll want to start by chopping the fat into small pieces (Note: if you’re getting it from the butcher, you can ask to have it ground, or you can do the grinding yourself if you have one of those sausage attachments on your stand mixer).

Here again are links to the two methods:

Tomorrow, we’ll delve into the fruits of our labor and discuss delectable meat pies. I promise it will all be worth the stinky effort.

Author’s Note: This post is part of Fight Back Friday Tasty Traditions Real Food Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, and Whole Foods Wednesdayat4:44 PM3 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Challenge,Chestnut Farms,Education,Frugality,Heirloom,Home ranging,Locavore,Real Food,Resolution,The Three Rs,Tutorial,Whackadoo

Saturday, January 05, 2013


sculpting a legacy

I have been thinking about the Huff Post article about living without regret from the other day, the one I linked to a few days ago. His metaphorical deathbed question of “What is your legacy?” stuck with me. What a fun question! What is my legacy? Fortunately, unless you’re Tiger Woods or Taylor Swift, you probably don’t need to have that question answered by your thirties.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012


ministering to my dear ones, Betty Crocker style

The book pictured above is one my mom found me at Marshall’s many years ago; it’s a reprint of the original Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book from 1950. She figured correctly that I would love the illustrations and descriptions (as well as some of the recipes of course). I rediscovered it in my daily basement organizing a few days ago and have been delighting and chuckling in reading it ever since. Here’s one of my favorite passages from the introduction:

We dedicate [this book] to homemakers everywhere, –to all of you who like to minister to your dear ones by serving them good food. That’s an age-old way to express love and concern for their welfare. And it’s just as important today when we make use of the latest short cuts, equipment and prepared foods as it was when women made their own bread, butter, cheese, –all the foods their families ate.

Grand, isn’t it? My favorite chapter above all others is “Meal-Planning & Table Service.” You can imagine all the juicy sentences I’ve been gleaning from it. The first is the introduction, which tells you the basic seven foods to eat. Behold, the “Circle of Good Nutrition.” Because that’s a thing.

Group 1: Green and Yellow Vegetables

Group 2: Oranges, Tomatoes, Grapefruit (or raw cabbage and salad greens)

Group 3: Potatoes and Other Vegetables and Fruits

Group 4: Milk and Milk Products

Group 5: Meat, Poultry, Fish, or Eggs (or dried beans, peas, nuts, peanut butter)

Group 6: Bread, Flour and Cereals

Group 7: Butter and Fortified Margarine (with added vitamin A)

I must report to you that you’ve been doing it all wrong. According to the wisdom of 1950, we all need to be eating more yellow vegetables, oh and some fortified margarine (with vitamin A!). Margarine is so important, in fact, that it gets its own CATEGORY. Boy, I was way off. I think the best is when they combine potatoes with fruit. Science, y’all.

Here are a few other passages from that chapter (italics are theirs):

Planning, preparing, and serving meals is an art which develops through inspiration and thought…It’s important to plan a variety of foods for well balanced meals to keep your family well nourished. But above all, be sure those meals are appetizing, attractive, and delicious to eat. For mealtime should help build happy home life.

Indeed. Here, here!

It may be only a ruffle of lettuce to set off a salad; a bunch of purple grapes for an accent note on a platter of roast chicken; a few tiny pimiento bells to add color to a bowl of oyster stew at Christmastime. Whatever the finishing touch, be sure to make it as good to eat as it is to see.

Mmmm, pimiento bells. One of the more underrated garnishes, apparently.

The cocktail section begins with the best sentence ever written in 1950…

The clever wife has a simple appetizing cocktail (cold in summer, hot in winter) ready for her weary husband when he comes home at night.

Amen, sistah.

From a chapter titled “Short Cuts,” here are some suggestions for keeping your personal outlook high (bold is mine, it’s a must-read):

Eat proper food for health and vitality. Every morning before breakfast, comb hair, apply make-up, a dash of cologne, and perhaps some simple earrings. Does wonders for your morale. While children are napping, do something refreshing. Write, knit, or listen to pleasant music. Harbor pleasant thoughts while working. It will make every task lighter and pleasanter. Notice humorous and interesting incidents to relate at dinnertime.

Can’t you just imagine this perfect housewife, cheerily handing her husband a drink and reporting the mysterious incident with the missing sock (spoiler alert: the dog ate it!)? I wish it were still a job to write such passages in today’s world. I would so rock at that job. Except that I’d probably be fired for suggesting that housewives meet their husbands at the door wearing only a cocktail and a smile. Heck, they could have used some shaking up of tradition, right?

Here is Betty’s suggestion for a Sunday evening supper dish:

Welsh rarebit with tomato slices, anchovies, and gherkins. Chilled pears. Chocolate cupcakes. Coffee, milk, and tea.
Because nothing goes better with my rarebit than some gherkins and tea.

Thanks for indulging a weirdo historical cookbook lover and reading along with me!

Happy cooking, ladies.

Editor’s note: This post is a part of Real Food Wednesday Monday Mania, and The Homestead Barn Hop and:

at4:51 PM5 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Aimless Digression,Books,Home ranging

Monday, October 01, 2012


raison d’être

Charlie on her first morning of “stay and play” school.

October already? We have an action-packed month, including a move, some of my first doula clients, and getting in shape for my reunion row in a month. To give myself an outlet for discussing all that’s happening and to hold myself accountable in my desire to exercise every day, I’ve decided to join up with NaBloPoMo, that thing where you blog every day for a month. I hope you’ll read along!

If you know me well, you might know that today’s post title happens to be the name of one of my favorite beers. But I’m not writing about beer this time, I’m writing about my discovery in the last two years of what really matters to me. My reason for existence, my everything, my be all to end all.

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Friday, August 17, 2012


learning about life and death through chickens: {guest post}

I’m thrilled to have a guest post today from Kassandra. Her ability to change what could have potentially been a disastrous experience with her family into a positive one is an inspiring story. I only hope I can be half as insightful about my own family moments. Be sure to read through to the bottom so you can see her bio and her discount offer to Ranger readers!

At 6am on a Tuesday morning, I went outside to answer the call of nature and saw that nature had called in a totally unexpected way during the night. Our backyard was suspiciously silent, and as I peeked around the corner I noticed a chilling sight. The night before there had been 10 lively three week-old chicks. Now, five half-eaten chicken filets, and two whole dead chicks lay on the ground. We never found any trace of the others.

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Sunday, August 12, 2012


the end of an era

Something you might not know about me is: I don’t cry. I just don’t. It’s an event so rare that when I do cry in front of the hubster, he stops what he is doing and holds me and says “Whatever happened, if it’s something I did, I was wrong. Are you okay?”

So I guess that’s what you’d call a perk about not crying often. I’ve often been called even-keel, which I mostly think of as a compliment. But one of the downsides of being emotionally steady is that sometimes my emotions are too far under the surface for me to notice, and they bubble up when I least expect. Before I know it, I am bursting into tears while standing in an aisle at CVS trying to decide which hair clips will be best for Vivi at school this fall.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012


on {lack of} productivity

So, about that Simplicity Parenting carnival….

Emily and I made a collectively timely decision for both our families to move our productivity theme to next month. Yup, we see the irony in postponing the productivity carnival too. Ha! Oh well, that’s summer life, no? As a true Shakespeare fan, I will not admit impediments, but suffice it to say, being productive enough to write about productivity is setting the bar a bit high this month. You can see the new carnival schedule here

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Tuesday, July 03, 2012


jewel weed: natural poison ivy treatment

I have been using jewel weed to treat poison ivy since I was a child. I learned about the plant at summer camp as a Native American folk remedy, and it quickly became one of my favorite plants to identify because of its tell-tale leaves that look silver when placed in water.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012


back to basics

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.

A few months ago I wrote about my switch to the “no poo” method of washing my hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar. In case you didn’t read it or my updates, I still love it and have never looked back. My hair is shiny, less greasy, and never has tangles. I also wash the girls’ hair in baking soda, and when combined with Vivi’s pixie hair cut, I basically never need to brush her hair. It’s like magic!

Using more natural personal care products has motivated me to find other green and natural uses for these magical kitchen items that previously took a back seat on the shelf. Prior to having kids, my method of being “green” was to buy Seventh Generation and leave it at that. But once I started delving deeper into the types of products I use, I realized you can go so much further toward sustainable, earth-friendly methods of cleaning without even needing to purchase new items. A little know-how goes a long way.

Just in time for my desire to learn, I stayed with my grandmother for a week, and she gave me some great tips. My great grandmother used to work at a professional laundry service, and as a result, she passed along some wonderful cleaning advice. For instance, did you know the “treat animal with animal” stain trick? If you soak blood stains overnight in milk, they come right out!

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Wednesday, June 06, 2012


stuff is happening

Watching them play peacefully from inside the house. Two peas in an adorable pod, they are.

Seems like we’re due for me to give y’all a what-I’m-up-to brain dump. I mean, enough with the organization and the structured posts already, right? Things are going along swimmingly, that is if you don’t count the fact that I got a second nasty cold in two months (so much for my moronic “I haven’t been sick in two years!!” bragging, s’pose I had it coming), and the fact that it has been the dreariest of dreary weather for too long to count, and the fact that I am so disorganized right now that I missed Vivi’s last-day-of-school-sing-along. And then two of my friends called later to ask “What was up with you not being there?” And then a third friend emailed to say “We missed you at the sing-along!”

Nevermind all that. I can’t even. I might start crying.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012


weekend work: make-ahead menu + the pantry plan

Oh lawdy bee, I need Nate to come home STAT. I’ve been holding up my end of the bargain for so long (must be all that tiger blood), and I am nearing the end of my proverbial rope. I have such sweet friends though, y’all. They seem to understand how hard it is to single-parent two kids for two months even better than I do–and yet–they don’t give me the pity eyes. You know the look moms give, with the chinless, puckered mouth thing. Dislike! I have gotten this look a ton in the past month. My two Beantown besties do not do this, which is why we can be friends.

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Saturday, April 21, 2012


where did the day go?: work flow and routines for the rest of us

I invited some fabulous bloggers–and fellow home rangers–to write guest posts on The Lone Home Ranger for this entire week during Vivi’s Spring Break (called “April Vacation” in Beantown). These lovely ladies will be bringing you features focused on healthy, natural, and simple living. Enjoy!

Today’s post comes from Barb over at A Life in Balance. Be sure to read through to the bottom of the post to see her bio and link to her blog. I included Barb’s post on Saturday because it’s when I do my breakdown of how the week went and what I need to do the following week to keep the household running smoothly.


Here’s a little secret about me: I don’t follow a schedule.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012


fun with pop can tabs!

I invited some fabulous bloggers–and fellow home rangers–to write guest posts on The Lone Home Ranger for this entire week during Vivi’s Spring Break (called “April Vacation” in Beantown). These lovely ladies will be bringing you features focused on healthy, natural, and simple living. Enjoy!

Today’s post comes from Jamie over at hands on : as we grow. Be sure to read through to the bottom of the post to see her bio and link to her blog. She makes me miss Wisconsin the way she calls them “pop cans;” where I’m from–Atlanta–they are “coke cans,” no matter what beverage they contain.

Fun with Pop Can Tabs

Simple toys. Gotta love them. I’ve been collecting pop cans tabs ever since I collected ideas for the Upcycle Your Recyclables roundup. I couldn’t for the life of me find any way to use pop cans or the pop can tabs. I know the pop cans have the sharp edges at the mouth, so I’ve put that idea aside for awhile. But we did have some fun with the pop can tabs. So, if you have a collection of pop can tabs. Add some pipe cleaners to the mix and you’ve created a threaded activity for the kids to keep busy with. (Plus the dumping out and picking up of the pop can tabs can definitely keep them busy in itself.)

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Saturday, April 14, 2012


guest post at CityKids Homeschooling + my series this week

I am honored that Kerry of City Kids Homeschooling–a fellow Bostonian!–asked me to be a part of her DIY homesteading and natural family living series. My guest post is up today, and in it I discuss my ‘Made from Scratch’ Life. Among other things I never thought I’d do, I’ve been making crackers, y’all! I hope you’ll go check it out, and while you’re there, you can read the other fantastic posts in the series.

Speaking of guest posts, I am hosting my own {Simple and Healthy Living} series starting on Monday and running the whole week. Seven brilliant bloggers will be coming here to share their tips and tricks with you. I hope you’ll join me in reading their stories. I’m excited about all that I’ll learn from them!at9:27 AM1 comment: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:DIY,Guest Post,Home ranging

Friday, April 13, 2012


the library: an urban homesteader’s most trusted companion

As a budding urban homesteader, I often felt disconnected from my rural counterparts, who I imagined were spending their days picking up tips and tricks from each other in knitting circles and at community pot-lucks. Whether they actually ever attend these events is unknown to me, but these scenarios have been firmly entrenched in my fantasy of rural life. I felt left out of their knowledge loop, like a shy schoolgirl who sits on the periphery of the cafeteria.

I’m happy to report I have managed to join the homesteading reindeer games, and the instructions weren’t as difficult to come by as I once imagined. My take-home point is an old lesson but a good one: Ask, and you shall receive. Today I’m sharing a prodigious source of information for the urban homesteader that connects me to the past, present, and future of natural family living and DIY homesteading: My library!

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Sunday, April 01, 2012


canning round-up [squared] & my first of many mistakes

Making yogurt is easy.

I’m beginning with the above affirmation, both because it’s the message I want you to walk away from this post with and because I am adopting it as a new mantra after my less-than-easy first experience. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

As part of my Urban Farm Handbook challenge, I made it a goal to make yogurt (in keeping with the dairy theme of March) by the end of the month. It was a modest goal considering all I technically needed to take on the task was…leftover yogurt with active cultures and milk. Seriously, that’s all. I say ‘technically’ because I knew there a few other items that would make the experience more user-friendly, so I opted to grab some canning jars and a jar-extractor-thingy from my favorite local hardware store.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012


wordless Wednesday: this week on the range

Real St. Paddy’s Green

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012


spring cleaning and preparing

Happy first day of spring! I adore spring. Doesn’t everyone? Did you see the Marimekko Google doodle today? I’ve mentioned once or a thousand times that a favorite spring tradition is bargain hunting. A less-loved though no less necessary activity is spring cleaning. Have you begun your cleaning yet? I am enjoying Simple Mom’s {Project Simplify 2012} series because it gives me certain areas to focus on each week, providing interest to an otherwise boring operation. I must say that I do LOVE the purging part of spring cleaning. Simple Mom’s area of focus in the last week of the challenge is “choose your own adventure.” For me, this adventure is emergency preparedness

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