pretty little things...

aren't these sweet little jars? a thrift store score at something like five cents each (part of a much bigger haul of regular canning jars which were also insanely inexpensive). the little lids on these cuties pop on and off, making them perfect for kiddie hands to manage. for about 2 seconds, i planned on reselling them, but immediately talked myself out of it. they're just too cheery to pass up!


how it's done...

two moms. four kids (all under the age of three). 20 pounds of organic, local pears. a short window of time--after breakfast, but before lunch--to turn that bounty into 18 pints of honey syrup-packed goodness. can it be done? yes. but not without some serious upheaval of the valley girl home. all's fair when it comes to unsupervised playtime, i suppose!

yes, that is sidewalk chalk in a mama's tea...

all's well that ends well?


my thredup experience...

have you heard about the clothes-swapping site thredup? it's fairly straightforward--members list standard size boxes of children's clothing. boxes can be searched by gender, size and season. if you come across a box you like, you pay for shipping only ($15). then, to fufill your end of the "swap," you list a box of clothing on the site. membership is free. it sounds good enough--despite the fairly high shipping charge, boxes usually contain between 10 and 15 items. boxes are sent priority mail, so they arrive quickly after purchase.

i'd been wanting to try out the site for awhile and finally sprung for a box a couple of weeks ago. after reading the details of quite a few boxes, i chose one that seemed pretty perfect for lucy--mostly 3T winter bottoms with a few summer dresses in size 4. higher end brands like gap and roxy. no mention of any of the disney princesses or dora the explorer. i waited super impatiently for my box to arrive and....

eh. this is a common case of "one man's trash..." but in this case, the situation was reversed. i was underwhelmed by the contents of my box to say the least. the majority of it just wasn't stuff i'd put on my kid. written descriptions can make things sound better than they are, obviously, even when they're staying pretty close to the truth. a picture is worth a thousand words, anyone? out of 12 pieces, i think i kept 5, 2 of which are pending some alterations. most of it, while true to style description, just looked a little worn out. and while i'm all about second (and third) hand, i do try to only buy stuff that looks fairly new.

another cause for complaint was the smell coming from the box. no, it wasn't cigarette smoke or animal fur or food. it was fabric softener. oh my goodness. it's funny how when you stop using something you become re-sensitized to it, don't you think? i used to buy my laundry detergent according to smell--the stronger the better. then i'd sweeten the deal by adding not one, not two but THREE dryer sheets to the mix. i thought my clothes (though kinda slick from all that chemical coating) smelled pretty great. what a difference a couple of years makes! at first whiff (i could smell it at the mailbox) the fabric softener on these clothes transported me right back to my laundry-folding self of yester-year. the act of opening the box gave me an almost instant headache, and prompted lucy to ask what spilled. no kidding. 3 washes and i can still smell it. i'm thinking a soak in vinegar may be in order.

anyway, that's my teeny experience with thredup. i certainly don't want to deter anyone from using the site, so i'll disclaim that i am picky and hard to please and have a high sensitivity to synthetic fragrances. if you are without these issues, you will probably love the site. especially if you are shopping for a girl and have a penchant for princesses.



this moment...

inspired, as always, by soulemama.


a bit of beaching...

hard to believe that the weather was nice enough for a bit of beach action this late in november. the kids even did a bit of bare-bottomed wading. shrieks of (chilled) delight echoed from end to end of heart's desire beach, much to my own personal enjoyment.

we've been off trying to make the most of these glorious autumn days. days which, though short, actually feel more like the summer we didn't really have. the holidays may be lurking, but i'm trying to ignore them for time being--except for a whole lot of crafting which has recently taken place in my sewing studio. partially for upcoming craft fairs, partially for some special birthday presents. along with a ton of other random projects on the pile--i' m hoping to share more as time allows.

thanks for hanging in.



friday lent us nice enough weather to take a little daytrip to samuel taylor state park with friends. we recently camped there, but this time spent time exploring new paths and woodsy areas. in anticipation of our day out (and because we've recently been reading lots of books about autumn, the change of seasons and animals that live in the forest), i sewed a gathering apron for lucy. it was a quick little project that involved a vintage pillowcase and some scrap fabric. no fussy pockets, just a large bag-style compartment perfect for collecting pebbles and leaves and acorns. which, by the way, she did very little of. too much other good stuff to see and do, i guess.

oh well. she liked it well enough and looked sweet in it. it should fit for years--and there are many return trips to the woods in our future. back to work on the concept of collecting...


a walk in the woods...

the key term here, of course, is walking. happy weekend!


we had a picnic...

the weather was lovely, the kids were in great moods. and so, come noon, we headed outdoors for a picnic. spread out a big blanket, brought out the dishes. thinking that the slight chill in the air could be combated with some hearty autumn fare, chili was on the menu.


my mistake. i now understand why picnics are usually relegated to handheld food. at least when a couple of toddlers are on the invite list.

it started innocently enough. a big bowl of chili for the three of us to share, plus some fruit on the side.

aaaaand.... it went downhill from there.

as with any good outdoor meal, there was lots of what i refer to as "picnic shrapnel." crumbs and spills, miscellaneous tiny utensils and hunks of uneaten foods. only this time, lots of it was smeared across faces, mashed into the picnic blanket, stuck under fingernails and wiped across my jeans. i make a fabulous (and eco-friendly!) napkin.

the good news is that cookies do, officially, make everything better. especially when consumed with a beer while ill-mannered toddlers are napping.


27 pints...

i wish i could take credit for all of the chopping that took place in our house last weekend, but alas, i cannot. jeremy put in almost all of the work required to turn 22 pounds of organic summer squash into bread & butter pickles.

we got the squash from the food preservationist csa put together by happy girl kitchen. they work with local farms to provide bulk organic produce directly to the food preservationist at lower costs. had i bought this squash at the market today, it would have cost me $66.00. we paid $35.

still, making these pickles was much more costly than i figured it would be. 12 cups of organic sugar. 16 cups of organic apple cider vinegar. organic (and conventional) spices. it all added up to be a somewhat costly endeavor, especially if you count the cost of jars and lids. only jeremy can tell you if he had a good time making the pickles. i kind of think not. it's a lot more labor intensive than stirring a pot of jam.

we eat a lot of bread and butter pickles around here. our favorite brand is locally handcrafted and costs $8 per jar. more often than not, we get the $3-4/jar brand from trader joes or whole foods. these particular pickles are destined to be given away as favors at hudson's first hoedown. it's true--he's a day away from turning one. yee-haw!