Category Archives: homemaking

Try Homemade Pasta!

Okay, so, I have always been intimidated by the idea of homemade pasta.

But I tried it. And I love it.

And it’s not intimidating! It’s one of the easiest things I’ve ever made! (Especially considering that I bombed my last 2 loaves of sourdough bread. But let’s not focus on that right now!)

I want to share this simple, frugal, yummy recipe with you. It would be ideal to use sprouted flour, but I have yet to find a good resource for that around here. In the meantime,  I simply limit our intake of pasta and continue to search for sprouted flour. 🙂

Basic Pasta
Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 cups wholegrain flour (I like to use white whole wheat because it’s less stiff than regular whole wheat, but the choice is yours. Again, sprouted flour would be best!)
2 pastured eggs
2 pastured egg yolks
1-2 tablespoons purified water

Directions:

Place the flour in a medium bowl and create a well in the middle. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks and water.  Pour the egg mixture into the flour well. Mix until dough forms, then transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth (it will be slightly stiff, but shouldn’t be lumpy at all), about 5 minutes. If you feel like it’s too dry, use your fingers to sprinkle some more water on top, and continue to knead until smooth.

Separate the dough into 2 balls. Press each ball into a disc, cover with parchment/wax paper and let sit at room temperature for at least an hour. Then, remove the discs from the paper, and roll out on a clean, lightly floured surface. Cut as desired (or run through a pasta machine, if you’re fancy like that ;)).

If you’re not going to use the pasta immediately, I’d suggest refrigerating it (covered). When you’re ready to cook it, toss it into a pot of salted boiling water for 5 minutes.

And enjoy!

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Filed under homemaking, making food

Beautiful Plenty

I want to share something with you.

I know you didn’t really ask, but maybe someone needs

or wants

to hear (see) what I have to say.

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris

I do my best to adhere to this principle with all of my possessions. But I don’t always do a good job – especially when it comes to my kids, because I think parents are always trying to keep well-stocked for all the what-ifs of life. Still, I try.

Oh, and,

the other principle I like to stick to is

if I can’t easily figure out where it came from or how it was made or it just doesn’t even resemble its natural state of being, I probably don’t want it in my house.

I want my kids to be able to decipher where their toys came from. Not because when they turn it over, ‘Made in China‘ is imprinted upon it –

no,

I want them to see it.

Wood.

Fiber.

You know? I want them to see it and feel it and imagine it. And I want them to appreciate the art of it and the person who brought that toy to life.

Sometimes I let things fall through the cracks. But right now, we’re doing all right. I’ve done a particularly large amount of purging in the last few weeks, and this is what we are left with:

(Oh, and I know you’ll be a dear and forgive me for the awful photo quality!)

Pots and pans for cooking delicious wooden meals

Playsilks for colorful silky fun

Blocks for building houses and knocking them down as loudly as possible

A big wooden train, a big wooden plane, and a big wooden truck for driving through the house and into the kitchen and beneath my feet while I’m trying to cook dinner

A glockenspiel for making sweet music

A pocket-sized doll

A little broom and a tiny dustpan and brush and a sweet small apron for getting the job done

Whimsical books and educational books and silly books and more books

And a few sneaky stragglers that will probably be phased out eventually, except that they’re too dear to a certain little boy to tear them away quite yet – some BPA-free plastic animals and some little plastic-and-metal vehicles.

It’s not a lot, but it’s plenty.

(And there are a few things sitting in the closet for when the boys need a bit of change. Kind of like shopping from our own toy store.)

You know, useful. Beautiful. And it’s mostly obvious where the majority of it came from.

Which is good.

It’s not always easy to resist buying all those interesting bright sing-songy musical super-educational cheaply-priced toys

but

it’s worth it. Especially because buying the natural, the mostly unchanged, and the beautiful usually means one of these:

local

or at least domestic or, if not, fairly traded

high-quality

sweatshop-free

healthy

happy

simple.

And all of that is really, really good, too.

Some of my favorite places to find these happy toys:

Nova Natural Toys & Crafts

Willow Toys

Imagination Kids

Imagine Childhood

PS – I wasn’t paid or given anythingatall to post the links to those sites. I just love them and I like to share the love. Go there and love them yourself. ❤

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Filed under homemaking, on being a mama

this state of being

As I sit here, my mischievous little one-year-old is behind me, playing in the baker’s rack. He crawling on top of the cast iron griddle, and banging the lids of the pots together. He’s so loud and Jack is sleeping but Jack sleeps through everything and I’m just happy that Forrest is happy.

I’m munching on carrots and peanut butter because I am sotired this afternoon and I what I want is to eat vanilla yogurt with my homemade granola, but I know that the sugar will only make me more tired.

Sometimes I think an attitude adjustment is a really clever thing to talk about, and then it occurs to me that I pretty much need an attitude adjustment every week. But isn’t that a good thing? I don’t know a whole lot, but I do know that I never want to become complacent. So I think I’m okay with frequent attitude adjustments, and the fact that they’re not really anything new.

This week, I’ve come to the understanding that I have to stop looking at housework as something to complete. It’s never complete, and treating it as if it is only causes me more stress. Housework is…never ending, but purposeful, and the only reason I have housework to do is because I’m taking care of a family – my family. That’s a really, really good reason to do housework. So, no, my housework isn’t complete once the bathroom and kitchen are cleaned, the floors are swept, the laundry picked up and the toys are put away. There’s always more. And it’s always good. Homemaking isn’t a verb as much as it is a state of being. You know? I am a wife and a mama and I make my home. Every day. All day long. And it’s just lovely.

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Filed under Forrest, homemaking, Jack, tea-timing

This & That

Gosh. I keep thinking that every other blogger out there must live quite a busy life, too, but they manage to update their blogs, like, 98% more often than I do! I obviously need to figure out how to write more frequently…but you’d be amazed at how easily I am sidetracked. It seems that there’s always something to be cleaned or someone to be taken care of or something to cook and the list goes on!

Today has been a full day – the kind of full that feels good and purposeful and kind of crazy. I like these kinds of days because they give me a lot of time for reflection. You wouldn’t think that, but I find that cooking, cleaning, taking walks and the like all cause me to be very introspective.

Some things I’ve been thinking about…

:: How do I cultivate gratitude in my home? Sometimes, I’m not very grateful at all. I get caught up in missing my extended family, or in having little storage space in this small (but admittedly adequate) duplex, or wishing I had more time with Ryan. And somehow, I manage to forget the simple pleasures. I overlook the mundane, ordinary, everyday beauty of my life. And I know that those little things are what make my life. So…I don’t have an answer yet, but I’m seeking. I’m praying and I’m just doing my best to keep my eyes open for opportunities to give thanks. I have this lovely necklace charm, and on one side, it says “gratitude,” and on the other side, it says “abundance.” I think, although abundance does (should?) beget gratitude, gratitude also begets abundance. Because we won’t recognize the abundance of blessings we have until we master the art of gratitude.

:: I love watching Jack play with his toy kitchen. He got it for his first birthday and he’s always loved it, but only recently has he begun to get it. He takes his little enamel pots, fills them with wooden food, puts the whole thing in the oven, looks at me and says, “Okay, wait. It’s cooking.” When he decides it’s finished, he pulls it out of the oven, brings it to me and tells me it’s a surprise! and hands me a piece. Usually, I’m instructed to blow! and he always asks me if it’s good. I guess this brings warmth to my soul because I know he understands how beautiful and important it is to feed someone. In our house, we spend so much time preparing, cooking and serving food. The kitchen really is the heart of our home. And I love sharing that with my boy – even when the food is wooden and (it should go without saying) totally inedible. 🙂

:: I’ve finally managed to acquire my first sourdough starter! I already made two (delicious!) loaves and I’m in the process of making English muffins! I cannot begin to explain how much happy this brings to my life. I’ll post some photos soon.

:: Although I didn’t get time to report this as it was happening, Ryan got his appendix removed a few weeks ago, and then last week, we all sort of got a weird version of the flu. Forrest was affected most and only seems to be truly on the mend as of today. It’s amazing how sickness (or surgery!) can really throw us off track. I’m just thankful that we all seem to be healthier now!

And now that I have a mad baby yelling for my attention…gotta go! 😉

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Filed under homemaking, Jack, my delightful husband, tea-timing

Start Right Now

Everywhere I look, I see things that don’t belong to me.

I imagine space where there isn’t space. I imagine warmth coming from the cold wood stove. I mentally replace all the fluff with beautiful, necessary objects. My objects. My beautiful cookware. My bed. My beat up old coffee table. Jack’s little wooden kitchen. Some sort of proof that children live here.

I see a house. The land sprawls all around it. Inside, it is bright, and happy, and the creativity just flows. There are instruments. There are textures and colors and soft, squishy pillows. There is food – oh yes, there is food – and there is laughter. There are flowers in vases and bookcases full of classics. The music is intriguing and maybe jumbled by a child’s sweet attempts, but it’s enjoyed and it’s treasured and it’s framed in a picture on my kitchen wall.

More importantly than the house or the things that fill it, there are lots and lots of people. Family. My husband. My children. The house pulses with the beat of footsteps. They’re everywhere. They play, and cuddle, and eat up bowlfuls of my motherlove. There is always a pair of arms to give an embrace, there’s always a sling to fall asleep in while Mama works, and there is endless conversation, whether verbal or physical. We love, we create, we learn, we grow, we live.

I can see it. I imagine it, but I also believe it. And every day, I just look around and build it all up around me.

I will not always be surrounded by things that do not belong to me.

The day will come. That day is coming.

And the loving and creating and learning and growing and living? That can start right now.

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Filed under homemaking, tea-timing

In Which I Share a Homemade Toothpaste Recipe

Several weeks ago, Ryan and I went downtown to check out our local food co-op. While at the checkout stand, I just so happened to notice a magazine that was practically screaming for me to buy it – MaryJanesFarm: the Everyday Organic Lifestyle magazine. I don’t want to tell you too much about it because I really hope you’ll go buy one yourself {or better yet, subscribe!} but I want to share something I found in the particular issue I picked up that day.

In the Home Safe Home section under Personal Care, there is a fun little recipe for homemade toothpaste:

“Sarah from Minnesota submitted it and she says, ‘I’ve been using the following recipe for homemade toothpaste for over six month now, and I love it. So easy to mix up, very effective, and there’s not a harmful chemical in sight.’

The recipe is as follows:

1/2 cup baking soda
1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide {you can add more or less, depending on the consistency you like}
1-3 drops peppermint essential oil
1-2 drops tea tree oil

If you want a smoother feel, you can add vegetable glycerin, and for a sweeter taste, you can add powdered stevia. It may take a little getting used to, but it’s so cheap and easy, and it allows you to avoid the fluoride and additives found in conventional toothpastes.”

I just mixed up our first double-batch last night and it was a great success. While the texture is definitely different that your average toothpaste, it reminds me a lot of the Tom’s of Maine or Trader Joe’s brands. My mouth feels clean and fresh after brushing, and the toothpaste is stored easily in a mason jar {along with a spoon, for stirring} on the bathroom counter.

Let me know if you try it, too!

{Full disclosure: I’m writing about MaryJanesFarm purely and simply because I love the magazine – I was not compensated in any way!}

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Filed under homemaking

Still Brand New

the way

we know the way, we’ve got the way

we’ll share the way

to bring you back home to the peace where you belong

so many lost highways that used to lead home

but now they seem used up and gone

they sure had the magic when they were first found

but not this road, this road has never been closed

it’s still brand new

{Neil Young, The Way}

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Filed under homemaking