Tuesday, April 29, 2014

An Easy Birthday Banner.







This Birthday Banner took about an hour to make.

I used some twine and strung up the #3 flag I had made out of Kraft Paper. Then I just started tying ribbon to the twine. I alternated lengths and tried to have a variety of thicknesses.

I already had about half of the ribbon from another project. I hung all those ribbon and then I was able to judge what other colors I needed.

I spent about $10 on new ribbon. I couldn't resist adding those fun pom-poms!

I love this project because it didn't take forever. Plus, I can reuse all the ribbon by either untying the ribbons or cutting them off the twine.

Simple, right?

The Simplicity Month. Gardening with Milk Crates.



I really want to grow some veggies this Summer. But, we are moving in June. What to do?

Container Gardening.

Most of our pots are already inhabited by some Herbs. Buying lots of pots can get expensive very quickly. So, I decided to use what we already have...

Milk Crates.

My Mother found 8 crates along side the road, last year. She gave them to us, but I hadn't found a really good use for them.

Enter Landscaping Fabric.




I bought a 50 foot roll that is suppose to last 15 years (so I can reuse the crates for several years). The Landscaping Fabric keeps all that precious soil INSIDE of the crate. 

I cut a large piece of the fabric for each crate and put it inside. Some people staple or sew the fabric around the crates. I was out of staples, so I didn't bother.

I had originally thought of drilling some holes in some extra tubs we have laying around. But, the crates completely eliminated the need to drill any holes for drainage. Wahoo...less work for me.




After I put the Landscaping Fabric in the crates, I filled each one with a mixture of Potting Soil and Compost. I bought the bags at the family-run Hardware Store, down the street. These are the bags I bought....







I mixed all the Potting Soil and Compost one of those blue tarps. Each time, I dumped half a bag of Potting Soil and half a bag of Compost and mixed in a 1/4 of the Lobster Compost.




I planted (from seed) Arugula, Radishes, Turnips, Cabbage and a Basic Salad Mix. The seeds were left over from our failed Microgreens Experiment.

I'll add some Tomato and Pepper plants soon.

I love the fact the crates have handles, so they will be easy to move to our new home. Crossing my fingers that this works!

I'll keep you updated.

Cost


Crates. Free.

Landscaping Fabric. $11 for 50 feet.

2 Bags of Potting Soil, 2 Bags of Compost and 1 Bag of Lobster Compost. $40.

Seeds. Free.



DC Yoga Week 2013 is Here.


It's that time of year again.

DC Yoga Week. April 28-May 4, 2014.

Over 30 studios in the DC/NOVA/MD area are offering free and reduced cost prices classes. This is a great time to check out a studio, you may have been eyeing but have never visited.

Last night, I went to Honest Soul Yoga's free class.

It was the first time I've gone to a yoga class since the baby was born (almost a year ago).

It felt great.

I love the vibe of the studio. Very welcoming and relaxed. It was one of the most diverse racially, body-wise and age-wise classes I have ever attended.

And, the most exciting part is that the studio will be in walking distance of our new home (when we move in June).

If you live in the area, do yourself a favor and take a free yoga class this week! There will also be a massive event on the National Mall. Yoga on the Mall will take place on Saturday, May 3rd from 10-noon.

Yoga on the Mall 
May 3rd   10:00 am  - Noon
Links to participating Yoga Studios.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

National Arboretum.



I've been wanting to visit the National Arboretum for at least two years. 

On Friday, we finally made it.

Our Family has been a "One-Car Family" for about 4 months now (which has been a relatively easy transition). But, it means that trips with the girls have only been happening on the Weekends. 

With the weather turning nicer, I decided it was time to venture past our neighborhood

I dropped off Papa Bear at work and bit the bullet and drove into D.C.. I am notorious for getting flustered and lost, while driving in D.C..

So, I wasn't surprised when it took an extra 40 minutes for me to find the place.

It's HUGE.

We had a nice time despite the mile walk to and from the parking lot. And, the baby missing her morning nap, and the 3 year-old pooping in her underwear and the overly-tired baby screaming during most of the walk back.

It was fun, I promise. 

The Capital Columns were beautiful and both girls had a blast exploring them.

We were only able to explore a very tiny part of the grounds.

There is a large Herb Garden that I can't wait to see. But, I think I'll either go by myself or wait until the girls are a little older.

There is A LOT of walking (unless you can figure out the Tram Schedule).

The United States National Arboretum is a wonderful local resource. They have numerous workshops and an amazing Plant Sale (that actually started on Friday). There are tons of Bonsai Trees and Azaleas. And, even a Full Moon Hike.

It's a photographer's Dream.

Here a few of my favorites...
















Roasted Cauliflower and Butter-bean Soup. Gluten-Free.



I am always on the look out for a new Soup Recipe.

This one didn't take much effort and was easy to do with kiddos underfoot.

Roast veggies at 400 degrees (Cauliflower and Onions). 

Add Stock and Beans and Herbs

Blend. 

Bam. You are done.

I used Butter-beans instead of Limas (since that is what Papa Bear came home with) and I snuck in some Dandelion Greens.

Pretty darn good. Although, next time I'll blend it much longer.

You can see the Recipe I adapted right here.





A Little Breather.



I'm back.

Sorry for the short absence.

A Stomach Bug swept through our Family and both girls took a really long time to recover.

I've missed this space. But, I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed by Life and didn't have the energy or motivation to finish all the posts I had started for this Month.

Let's see how many I can squeeze in these last few days of April. Okay?


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Babies Discovery Basket: Shells.





Poor second kid. She has totally gotten the shaft.

By the time her Sister was the same age, I had done lots of interesting, fun Activities with her. I carefully rotated out her toys and materials every 2 weeks. She had been to numerous Music Together Classes and even a Yoga Class or two.

Not this time.

The Living Room is starting to starting to feel overwhelming, so it's time for a "Toy Rotation."

Sorting out Toys, prompted me to put together this quick Discovery Basket.

I collected around 10 or so Shells from our various collections. I made sure none were too small. I sat right next to her, after introducing the Discovery Basket and made sure that all the Shells stayed on the Sheepskin Rug. The Living Room has wooden floors and I was concerned that if she started walking around with the Shells, one would drop and shatter.

Each and every one of the Shells went into her mouth (of course). It was fun seeing which ones, she really responded to and kept picking up again and again.

This is such a simple, but beautiful Activity to share with your baby! 













Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Simple Lacing Activity. Fruit. Ages 2+ and Up.








Last Halloween, when Nye-Nye got dressed up as a Fruit Fly, I created a Trash Bag Stroller for the Del Ray Halloween Parade.

My Sissy helped me created several Fruit Peels using card stock, Sharpies and watercolors. I drew out the shapes in pencil and then went over them with a Sharpie.

Aunt Mimi cut out the shapes and then I painted them with the watercolors. It took about an hour to make them. 

I liked how they looked, so I didn't want to throw them in the Recycling Bin, after Halloween was over. 

Recently, I figured out a new use for them.

"A Lacing Activity."

All I had to do was use a hole-punch around the edge and then tie a ribbon around one hole.

I say "all I had to do is" but honestly, those little suckers are hard to punch. As you can see, I haven't finished the Banana Peel or the Apple Core. The paper was closer to cardboard weight and hurt my hands to punch through...so spending 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there may be the way to go.

I can't wait until Nye-Nye expresses more interest in lacing. Then, I'll create some more with a different theme.

I think this is such an easy, cheap Activity for Preschoolers.

The possibilities are endless!



Monday, April 7, 2014

River Farm's Spring Garden Market. April 10-12, 2014.









River Farm is one of my favorite local spots. It is the headquarters for the American Horticultural Society and has the most inspirational Children's Garden I have ever seen.

This Thursday will be the start of their annual Spring Garden Market. Tons of plants, seeds, garden accessories, etc... will all be on sale.

Master Gardeners will also be available to answer any questions.

If you have been bitten by the Gardening Bug and live in the area, you definitely will want to check it out.

Cost to park is $5 for those non-AHS members.


Thurday. 3 pm- 7 pm AHS Members only.

Friday. 9 am- 6 pm. Open to the Public.

Saturday. 9 am- 4 pm.



You can find out more details right here.

I have written about River Farm before here, here and here.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Born Out of What You Don't Like Much at All.




"You could probably say much the same for other marriages, because marriage seems to give us far more of what we dislike in one another than what we like. We might quickly conclude that we chose poorly: erring by type, looks, interests, values, background, or beliefs. This may be the case, but it's still irrelevant. It's what we do with our mismatch that matters. Deep, transformational love is born out of what you don't much like at all."


-Karen Maezen Miller from "hand wash cold: care instructions for an ordinary life"



I am so thrilled. She is coming to D.C. to Lil Omm Yoga Studio. Saturday, June 21st and Sunday June 22nd. You can register here.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Simplicity Month. 2014.



What can you look forward to this Simplicity Month?

Straightforward meals. Uncomplicated activities for kiddos. Simple Birthday ideas. A couple of easy Herb-y things. A few simple changes in habits that have made my life Healthier.

You know, the good stuff.

Welcome.

The Simplicity Month. Egyptian Red Lentil Soup.




This has been one of my quick, simple go-to meals for several years now. It's crazy cheap and crazy good. 

It's a terrific soup to freeze, if you are pregnant and trying to stock-up your freezer.

My friend gave me the recipe at one of my Soup Swaps. Thanks, Molly for introducing it to me!


Ingredients

2 tablespoons of Butter or Coconut Oil
1 Onion
3 cloves of Garlic
1 cup of Carrots
1 tablespoon of Dried Thyme
1 teaspoon of Cumin
2 cups of Red Lentils
8 cups of Water, Veggie Stock or Chicken Stock
Sea Salt to taste



Directions


1. In a large pot, melt the Butter (or Coconut Oil). 

2. Add Onion and Carrots. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently (about 5 minutes). 

3. Add Cumin, Thyme and Garlic (about 1 minute).

4. Add Lentils (3 minutes). Keep stirring so they don't stick.

5. Add Water, Veggie Stock or Chicken Stock (or a combination of all 3).

6. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

7. Blend if desired.


***Sorry for the unappealing photo. My Sissy wanted this recipe today and I didn't have any photos of bowl of my "Egyptian Red Lentil Soup." I didn't want to defrost this container just so I could take a photo, so this will have to do. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Potato and Cauliflower Pattie-Cakes with Shallots and Rosemary. Gluten Free.



Today, I was trying to figure out what I was going to eat for Lunch.

We had some left over Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower.

What's a simple dish that takes 15 minutes and is delicious and something ALL of my family can eat?

Potato Patties.

Here is my Gluten-Free take on them...


Ingredients

  • 2 Cups of Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower
  • 1 Cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 1 very large Shallot (diced)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons of Rosemary (diced)
  • 1/2 Cup of Coconut Oil




Directions

  1. Mix Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower, Brown Rice Flour, Shallot, Egg, Black pepper, and Salt together in a bowl until batter consistency.
  2. Heat Coconut Oil in a skillet over medium heat. Drop 4-inch circles of batter into hot oil. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining batter.
This made about 10 patties.

Total Yumminess.
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