The pretty Rain from those sweet Eaves
Her unintending Eyes --
Took her own Heart, including ours,
By innocent Surprise --

The wrestle in her simple Throat
To hold the feeling down
That vanquished her -- defeated Feat --
Was Fervor's sudden Crown --


Emily Dickinson
 
 
In honor of Earth Day I wanted to share how I make my own Liquid Dish Soap.  It is not as thick as normal dish soap but it works just the same.  I like to use Dr. Bronner's Lavender Castile Soap because I love getting a little aroma therapy while I do the dishes!

And check out some of my favorite reusable products:  Bee's Wrap and Mamamade

 
 
    I don't get sick...I never throw up (ok just once during pregnancy)...my mother says that I will myself not to.  I think that is her motherly way of telling me that I am stubborn and hardheaded.  It will most likely be the same thing I say to my oldest son, who is more like me then I care to admit.  So as you can most likely guess, the minute I say that that I don't get sick, a stomach virus comes and hits me like a ton of bricks (that is the expression right?)  Well a ton of bricks is what I felt like laying on the couch, and vowing to my husband that I would never eat food ever again in my life.  I guess something had to break my defenses eventually, and break me it did.  Now a few days later I have been thinking about what I would like to post next and I just cannot focus on anything food related.  Unless you are all interested in reading about how to make warm lemon water...doubt it! 

    So today I wanted to do something a little different and keep food off my mind for a little longer.  I also need to add that I have the most amazing husband and in-laws a girl could ask for.  They all graciously took care of my boys so I could keep my head firmly on the couch, for which I am eternally grateful to them for.  I had some time while I was lying on the couch to look through some pictures from the last few weeks.  I decided to pick out a few and post a few of my favorite things of late.  

This beautiful bloom is from a Quince Tree in my backyard. 

Bee's Wrap

My new favorite thing for the kitchen!  Read this article about Bee's Wrap over at HandPicked Nation.

Or Visit the Bee's Wrap Website to order some!


http://www.beeswrap.com/

More backyard blooms...cute little crocus!

lilleputt studio

My favorite handmade textile shop in Portland, Maine! 

Annika Schmidt, is the designer of these original textiles and with them she makes the most beautiful kitchen towels, pillows, table runners and the cutest baby items that make me wish I had a little girl!

http://lilleputtstudio.com/

My Favorite Blogs to read...because we all have our favorites.  (There are more I'm sure but these were the first that I thought of)

New to my Bookshelf...and on my reading list!


You also need to watch THIS! (If you have kids let them watch too!!!)

The Meyer Lemon Sprout

    When you were little did you ever get a seed in an orange or lemon and wish that you could just plant it and it would grow into a citrus tree?  No...never...really...I'm the only weirdo here? 

    So I found a picture online with directions (not in English) for sprouting citrus seeds.  You have to cut off the outer membrane and pop the inner seed in some dirt and wait...A REALLY LONG TIME!  But I was diligent and watered these dead looking seeds and after a few weeks I noticed SUCCESS!!!  A Meyer Lemon sprout!!! 

    Will I grow my own Meyer lemons...sadly not because the seeds don't produce the same fruit as the parent.  It doesn't matter though!  I got it to work and whatever comes out of this little sprout-ling is cool enough for me. 


The best thing about spring has to be when we get weather warm enough to take a day trip to the Great Bay....

"Down by the bay, Where the watermelons grow, Back to my home, I dare not go..."

 
 
 
 

Glass Straws by Soul Flower Arts

    Beautiful and functional, these glass straws are absolutely one of my favorite things!  Both my son and I, drink either a smoothie or fresh juice every day using these really fun straws.  We no longer use plastic straws because after watching the documentary, bag it I came to realize that our lives are most definitely too "plastic."  One of the little ways I thought I could reduce the amount of plastic we use in our home was to get some pretty reusable glass straws that I have seen pictured in some fancy food blogs.  My first thought was to look on a website called Etsy, a place where people set up small businesses to buy and sell handmade or vintage items.  This website is one of my favorite places to shop for things that you won't find in a regular store, and it is also a great way to support artists. 

    After searching for "glass straws" I was so excited to find a shop called soulflowerarts (Soul Flower Arts).  I saw the straws that are pictured above and instantly fell in love with them.  Each glass straw is handmade by a very talented artist, with a technique called flameworking.  These beautiful straws make drinking your juice or smoothie so much more enjoyable and fun, especially for a 2 year old.  My son loves to pick out which straw he wants to use with his daily juice and makes sure to say hello to whichever creature is looking back at him.  I also love the larger straws (with the little creatures on them) for my smoothies because if you like to make thick smoothies you know how difficult it is to drink them through a little straw.  Jane, the artist and creator of Soul Flower Arts will take requests for custom items, and also sells the most beautiful glass pendants, ornaments, sculptures and unique gifts.  To order her straws or other works of art visit http://www.etsy.com/shop/soulflowerarts. 
 
 
    I don't remember how I got interested in growing sprouts, but I do remember that my interest in juicing is what got me to finally do the research and buy a sprouter.  I was reading that you could juice sprouts, and it further jogged my memory of this elusive heath food item.  There are several types of sprouters available to buy and many people even choose to make their own out of canning jars with mesh lids.  I chose to go with the Victorio® 4-Tray Seed Sprouter because I liked how small it was.  It sits in a little corner of my kitchen that is out of direct sunlight and thanks to the multiple levels I can grow 4 different sprouts without taking up any more space on my counter top.  There are tiny grooves in the bottom of each tray along with small holes around the perimeter for drainage.  The white base is actually a drip tray that collects any extra water from rinsing your sprouts.  I read a few reviews that said these types of sprouters are not good because they hold too much water around the seeds.  I've found as long as you are diligent about rinsing your sprouts and making sure you don't have a lot of excess water in the trays you shouldn't have a problem with rot.  There are basically 4 major steps to growing your sprouts:

    1.  Soaking the seeds for a given time period based on the type of sprout
    2.  Rinsing the sprouts twice a day; once in the morning and once at night.
    3.  Repeating the rinsing until the sprouts have fully matured to your taste preference.
    4.  De-hulling the sprouts with removable hulls (depending on type of sprout)

    It is actually an extremely easy thing to do and it requires as much effort as it does to brush your teeth (with the same schedule too).  Sprouts are an extremely healthy food to incorporate into your diet.  They are fun to add to salads and wraps, and they make beautiful garnishes on just about anything. 

    The best resource for growing sprouts that I found on the internet is a website called, Sprout People.  They have everything you could ever want to know about sprouts.  They include pictures and write out all the soaking/rinsing cycles so you can follow them step by step.  They sell supplies, sprouting seeds and sprout kits.  They offer a few great recipes and the author of the site is fun to read and watch in his videos.  With all this free information at your fingertips it is hard to find an excuse not to grow your own sprouts.
 
 
Picture
The Breville Juice Fountain ® Compact (Review)

    * I am not an expert on juicing, and this is the first and only juicer I have used.

    I did a lot of research on juicers for a few months before buying one. Like most big kitchen appliances there is a huge range of types and prices. I also learned that there are basically two types of juicers: masticating and centrifugal. Overall the masticating juicers are the most expensive, but they are superior in keeping the most nutrients in your juice due to lower speeds and "chewing" augers.  Although a masticating juicer would have been the better choice, I decided not to go this route because I've never juiced before. The main purpose of my buying one was to see if I could get my son to drink fresh juice instead of the "sugar water" that you find at the store.  I really didn't want to drop 3 or 4 hundred dollars on a machine that would take up tons of space on my counter and may never get used.  So that's when I decided to narrow my focus on finding an easy to use and easy to clean, centrifugal juicer.  I read lots of reviews and watched quite a few too.  That's what finally drove me to getting the Breville Juice Fountain ® Compact.  At around 100 dollars (plus or minus shipping), it was a reasonable price and I figured that if we made juice consistently for more then a year I would eventually upgrade to a masticating juicer. 

    Well, I LOVE this juicer!  One thing I love about it is the compact size, because I know if I had to constantly take out and put away a juicer I would probably never use it.  It fits comfortably under my cabinets, and because the pulp is collected inside the unit there is no additional collection bin taking up space.  Another reason why I love this model is how easy it is to clean.  There are 4 major components to wash: the juice collector (or base), the filter basket, the top with press and the measuring cup where the juice is extracted into.  The combination brush and pulp-scooper, aids in the clean up process.  It also has a funky little electrical plug that has a hole for making it easier to pull out of the outlet (I wish every plug had this).  

    If I could find one fault with this machine it would be the most common complaint among centrifugal juicers; foam (as seen below).  Foam doesn't taste good, but to deal with the excess foam the measuring cup that comes with this juicer has a special lid that pushes back the foam as you pour it into a glass to drink.  Thanks to this little feature I find that the foam really doesn't bother me that much.  Drinking your juice through a straw also helps too.    

    Overall I think this is a great juicer for the money.  Its compact size is great for someone with limited real estate on their kitchen counter tops.  It is extremely easy to use and it is a breeze to clean.  It's a great juicer for the beginner who is really trying to figure out if juicing is something they would really like to incorporate into their diet.  For my household it worked wonders, because I can rest knowing that my children are getting their vegetables everyday!  I don't have to fight them to eat their broccoli, because it was already hiding in their afternoon juice. 

 

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