Monday, July 30, 2012

Tomatoes, Green Beans & Nasturtiums... Oh My!

As you can probably guess by the title, we have a lot of activity going on in our garden right now. New tomatoes are coming ripe daily, the nasturtiums are in full bloom, and we took in our first harvest of bush beans today! Yum! We also have watermelons and cucumbers working on growing, and tons more tomatoes and beans yet to come! The carrots are getting big, though I've been advised to leave them in the ground until the ground is starting to freeze to get the sweetest possible harvest, so wait we shall! I'm really excited about how our 4 interesting and different varieties of heirloom tomatoes are coming along. The smaller, cherry style tomatoes are mass producers and ripening quickly, the medium sized come more slowly, and the super exciting giant heirloom tomatoes are still very green and getting *gulp!* bigger! :) But don't take my word for it, check them out for yourself:


I am putting the finishing touches on a custom order this evening. I'll post a little sneak peak of the peasant dress. Also included in the order are a sweet ruffled baby bonnet, bloomers and a crochet headband, all made to coordinate with the dress, but surely cute enough to stand on their own! I love, love, love this Ice Cream Dream (this is my own name for it!) fabric it just screams summer! Once my current customs are completed, I've had a personal request to make some new shorts for the little man in my life, so you may see those on here soon! I also have some fun ideas for the shop I'm playing around with. Lots to do!! :)


P.S. Hubby's Cherry Cheesecake Ice Cream Cake came out great! I'll try to post a couple recipes soon, but time constraints have kept me away from the computer lately. Soon! I promise... Thanks for stopping by!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Busy, busy, busy!

I've been rather busy lately, hence my lack of new posts. We went to the Isanti County Fair on Sunday and had a lot of fun. Hoping to get some pictures posted later in the week, and I have a great recipe for our beloved diaper rash cream (Cloth Diaper Safe!!) that I'll be posting soon. I need to make another batch so I'll take a few pictures to post along with the recipe. It is so easy and so effective! We love it.

I've had the fortune of having a couple of fun custom orders come in this week, so I've been busy working at those in my (copious amounts of) spare time... Ha! I completed the first of 2 orders for my Custom Baby Ring Stacker Toys. Here's a little sneak peek of what the lucky 6 week old recipient will be getting!


Next I'll be moving on to a really fun matching set for a First Birthday Gift! Custom-made Peasant dress with matching Bloomers, Baby Bonnet and Crochet Headband. I have some adorable fabric I'll be using for these. I'll post some more pictures as we go along, or once it's completed (mostly depending on whether I'm able to get any work done during daylight - aka picture lighting conducive - hours on only at night)...

My Darling Husband's birthday is tomorrow, so I'll also be squeezing in making an Ice Cream Cake (his favorite!) for him sometime today and early tomorrow! I am really excited because I'm going to be making a Cherry Cheesecake Ice Cream for the cake and doing a Graham Cracker Crumb Crust!! YUM!! :-) 

On that note I'm realizing how very much I need to accomplish today! So I'll say TTFN! That's Ta-ta For Now in Winnie-the-Pooh speak in case you're not fluent ..... ;-)

Friday, July 20, 2012

All Purpose Cleaner Recipe & Bird Mobile!

My kids requested pancakes this morning and I almost made them... but decided I was too tired to deal with the mess and the massive amount of dishes making pancakes from scratch seem to make. Yes, DIY-ing is not always sunshine and roses! :-( I did get as far as making baking powder for our recipe since the can we had was full of nasty phosphates and expired about a year ago O_O  So I'll throw that recipe in here too in case anyone wants it. It was from food.com

DIY BAKING POWDER:
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
1 teaspoon Cornstarch
Combine & stir or shake to mix. Done!

Since I also discovered I was almost out of my All-Purpose Spray Cleaner when I pulled the baking soda out from under the sink, I decided I would make some more of that this morning instead since it is as easy as the baking powder. Sorry kids, your pancakes lost out to a much easier recipe... I use this to clean everything from the kitchen to the bathroom. It has the disinfectant power of vinegar, and added power of odor removal if you add lemon juice and anti-fungal/viral properties if you add essential oils. It works great for windows and mirrors. My tip for using cloth instead of newspaper/paper towels to clean windows and mirrors - Have a wet and a dry rag. Spray just enough to thoroughly clean your surface, go over with the wet rag and wipe the cleaner off, then go over with the dry towel to kind of buff the surface dry. I never have streaks with this method, though I will happily admit I couldn't care less if I did! Anyhow, here's the recipe:

ALL-PURPOSE VINEGAR SPRAY CLEANER:
1. Obtain an empty spray bottle. You can buy an empty one from any major retailer in the cleaning aisle. If you decide to upcycle an older cleaner bottle just make sure to thoroughly clean it out with water and maybe a little baking soda and vinegar shaken up in there to remove the residual chemicals.
2. Fill your bottle halfway with white vinegar.
3. Leaving a small gap at the top for mixing (a few inches) fill most of the rest of the way up with water (I like to add a tiny bit more vinegar than water, but if you're getting used to the smell you can add a little more water instead.)
4. Add roughly 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (This is optional)
5. Add 30-40 drops of your choice of essential oils (This is optional) I use Tea Tree Oil, Lavender Oil, Grapefruit Oil, Sweet Orange Oil, and a Lemon and Eucalyptus Oil Blend.
6. Add the spray top, shake to mix, and go clean! Wasn't that EASY?



In other news I finally finished (& LOVE!) my crochet birdie mobile! This is a step in the right direction for my shop as I am trying to make a move toward more unique items with customization and individuality as the focus going forward. In other words, simplicity should have a purpose and serve to enhance the pleasure of the viewer, otherwise more embellishment is needed! A fair goal considering that was always my intent... (Sorry Mies van der Rohe, sometimes More is More!) ;-) Without further ado, here is a link to the listing for the Birds of a Feather Mobile and some pictures: http://www.etsy.com/listing/104675185/crochet-bird-mobile-baby-mobile-birds


Just for fun I'll also offer a picture of a cute naked baby! Hi Izze!



Thanks for stopping by again! Please feel free to share your questions, comments, and any brands or websites you find especially helpful - let everyone know what YOU think!



Monday, July 16, 2012

Garden Pics & Lemonade Recipe!

So my mission for yesterday was to work some more on my cute birdie mobile, but unfortunately that didn't happen... I did, however, get to have dinner solo with my husband which is a rare occurrence, so I'll still count that as a win! Not to mention finding a restaurant within 10 minutes of our house that is not only *not* fast food or Applebee's, but cooks a good steak to a true medium rare is a great find!

I did manage to get photographs taken of all of my fabrics so that I can upload them to Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/greenfoxfarms I am uploading those pictures as I type this and will hopefully manage to get them labeled with the fabric type, weight and amount available by the end of the day. :-) I have also resolved to add at least one picture to my blog posts as I find them much more attractive and interesting that way... Do you agree?


It's was another hot day. I wanted the kids to spend some time in their kiddie pool today to cool off, but they had other plans (TV!) which I had to thwart repeatedly... We managed to make brownies and homemade vanilla ice cream with brownie chunks finally! :-) Yum, yum, yum! Recipe post coming soon I promise ;-) In the meantime, here's one for the Super Easy Lemonade we made to beat the heat today!


SUPER EASY HOMEMADE LEMONADE RECIPE:
Ingredients: (Makes 1/2 gallon)
1-1/4 cup sugar (We used Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Sugar)
1-1/2 cup Lemon Juice (We used Italian Volcano Organic Lemon Juice & I would really recommend using this or squeezing your own as it is soooo much better than the grocery store stuff!)
5-1/4 cups water
Directions:
1. Start by adding the sugar to a 2 cup or larger glass liquid measuring cup and add 3/4 water to the sugar.
2. Microwave the sugar/water mixture for 2-3 minutes until sugar is somewhat dissolved (but it does not need to be dissolved all the way, just enough to help the sugar blend better)
3. Stir and add to your pitcher.
4. Next add lemon juice and stir.
5. Mix in remaining 4-1/2 cups of water and add ice as desired.
6. Enjoy! (Refrigerate and consume within 3-4 days for maximum freshness!)




The garden needed my love as well, and I was excited to see if any of the flowers on our bush beans have turned into beans yet (a few have!) and I finally managed to take some pictures of the garden today. Here's a couple of my favorite shots and a collage of all of them:









Saturday, July 14, 2012

Our Sunny Saturday...

So just for fun I thought I'd try a post in the morning about our plans for the day. This will also hold me accountable for actually accomplishing my plan for the day! So here goes... 


1.) Go out to the garden and water, check on our plants' progress, inspect for gophers holes (hoping they've moved to another section of the lawn!!!), and pick anything that is ready and ripe. One new hole near one of my raspberry bushes which was half buried in the dirt pile :-( Got a few peas and watering done!
2.) Take pictures of Zoie in the crochet headband I finished yesterday so I can add the listing to my shop. I'll post a link to it once I've added the photographs. https://www.etsy.com/listing/104329323/cij-sale-20-off-girls-crochet-flower 

3.) Make pizza for lunch (dough is rising as we speak) with basil from our garden! Complete & Delicious! We used fresh basil and oregano from the garden. The crust got a little out of hand, but this is the first time I've made pizza from fresh rather than refrigerated dough. I'll add a post soon with the dough recipe!

4.) Make ice cream or granola bars. I'll post a recipe and pics when it's completed! I made chocolate syrup with Zoie and Evan and I were never able to make granola bars as afternoon naps never happened...Recipes soon to follow in a separate post.
5.) Play outside either in the pool or riding bikes, etc for some exercise! We did not get out yesterday so this is a MUST!!! While I watered the garden after dinner the kids performed Operation Toad Rescue from our egress window to the garden. Hope those toads do their job as we found a wood tick on Zoie when they came 
6.) Do some schoolwork with Evan and Zoie. Evan was last seen playing on starfall.com so I may be able to count that! Check! Evan played on starfall.com and Zoie worked in her Twin Sisters workbooks!
7.) Work on the crochet mobile I started last night! Very excited about this cute new addition I'm working on for my shop :-) Progress was made, hoping to finish and photograph this today! Sneak peek.... 





That's a list so I'd better get cracking! See you this evening and I'll update on how well that went... To be continued...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Introduction...

I am up far too late as is typical these days, poignant I suppose for a first blog entry to be written at such a late hour. I often find myself trying to do too much with too little time, but aiming big allows me to accomplish something and we've all learned to be more realistic about what we can truly accomplish.


This has been a year of great changes for us as I altered my previous life path from that of a reluctant nursing student pursuing a path I chose several years (and a lifetime of changes!) ago to that of a Homeschooling (new), Hobby Farming (new), Homemaking (not so new), Etsy-an (very new). We bought our first home which we are hoping to (slowly) transform into a small (4.5 acres) hobby farm over the next several years (as long as it takes!)... 


What am I hoping to accomplish here? Aside from rambling about my life and my children, who are not my intentional subject matter necessarily - but almost impossible to sidestep - I hope to share my journey toward a more intentional life. I want to talk about our attempts and failures to live a greener life in every way possible, about homeschooling, our leanings toward natural and attachment parenting practices (here we go again!) and what that means to us, hobby farming & homesteading (slowly, slowly - I am still learning!), making Real Food (and my shame when I don't!), about sewing, crocheting, and creating Art (I think that needed to be capitalized... Or crafting?) for myself, my Etsy shop & with those darn kids I can't seem to stop talking about! We might even delve into my serious abuse of the parentheses in this post! ;-) 


We'll start with schooling since it's on my mind... My oldest is now five and a half years and officially entering the realm of kindergarten age and I have now come to the point where I have the *ahem* privilege of attempting to explain that he will not be entering school in the fall and "why" as well as trying to educate others about what homeschooling is to us (? we're still figuring this out!) While this is very fun for me and not at all nerve wracking (read sarcasm here!) it does help me to clarify what it is I am attempting to accomplish with this apparent feat (quality, customized, enjoyable, Real Life education for my children) and what I am not (trying to change the system, be different, hide my children away from the world, or whatever else people think but rarely say aloud...) in any way aiming for with this journey. I also have a confession to make... I'm hoping to learn a lot as we go along too! 


Thanks for stopping by! Please feel free to share your thoughts, questions or experiences!