34 Things I’ve Learned

In honor of my 34th birthday that’s quickly approaching, here are the top 34 things I’ve learned so far on my years here on earth! In no particular order, mind you…

  1. Always pet your dog.
  2. Travel…to Eastern Washington or Eastern Europe. It doesn’t matter!
  3. Dessert is OK for breakfast sometimes.
  4. Call your grandparents.
  5. Explore your own backyard. Try that restaurant around the corner or bird watch from your patio.
  6. Turn off the TV and pick up a book now and then.
  7. Shop local.
  8. Be prepared. Have the basic emergency items on hand.
  9. Grow something.
  10. Send out photos. Not everyone is on the Facebook.
  11. Know how to make a good cup of coffee at home.
  12. Save a little.
  13. Find comfortable shoes and wear them to death.
  14. Have a signature dish that can be the star at any party.
  15. Purposely leave your phone at home sometimes.
  16. Take your vitamins.
  17. Buy new bras every 6 months.
  18. Stay connected to your friends. I’ve found that life can get in the way more and more as we get older.
  19. A glass of wine on a Tuesday can taste better than a glass on Saturday.
  20. Less is more (and the less you have to clean up!)
  21. Appreciate your family.
  22. Yoga can actually be a workout.
  23. It’s always helpful to have your favorite cookie recipe memorized.
  24. Moisturize on the daily.
  25. Take a hike.
  26. Support a farmer.
  27. Find the best foundation for your face, no matter the cost.
  28. Be grateful.
  29. Try and speak your partner’s love language.
  30. Have a dress that makes you feel like thebomb.com. and can be worn night or day.
  31. Make plans. And more importantly, keep them.
  32. Create things.
  33. Find a little grace within yourself.
  34. There’s no such thing as too many naps.
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2016 Garden Plans

blogger-image-699941818Yes my friends. It is time. Planning for the 2016 garden season has begun! These rainy weekends are perfect for sketching, list building and seed catalog scouring. My focus this year is getting the main bed organized by divvying it up into eight plots. Other goals include:

  • Get raspberries healthy again – I had a major case of rust last year
  • Add more blueberry bushes as you can never have too many IMO
  • Incorporate more color with perennials, especially ones that are pollinator friendly!

Designating the eight plots will help me closely keep track of what’s been planted where year to year. I’m also really good about stomping all over so I’m hoping these new beds will keep me from doing that. Although it seems like I’ll have less space, I think I’ll be able to “do more with less” with smart companion planting. My plan is to border these beds with strawberries, herbs and perennials to draw all of the bugs to the yard! Well the good ones, so to speak.

I’ve become a bit more selective in what I’m planting this year. While it’s fun to plant a million different veggies, I’ve tried to narrow it down to what grows well in our yard and what we’ll actually consume. Here’s what will be sown this year:

  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato – from 3 plants up to 6 this year
  • Peas – both sugar and snap
  • Green beans
  • Potatoes – so fun to grow and harvest!
  • Squash – max 3 as we always have way too much, acorn though. Always acorn.

I like to support local and will be purchasing my seeds from the Seattle Seed Company in Madrona and will hopefully be sourcing my blueberry bushes at the Seattle Tilth edible plant sale coming up in March. The three bushes I got last year did amazing for their first year.

What are your 2016 plans? Do share!

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Vashon Island

Took a quick day trip to Vashon Island the other weekend to get outta town and get some more practice time with my camera. The island is about a 10 minute ferry ride from West Seattle and is far more rural than I’d expected. We spent most of the afternoon driving around, spotting farm animals and snapping pics. We also had lunch at The Hardware Store, which served solid sandwiches and delish fries.

Tell me about your favorite day trip? Where should we go next?

Seattle ferry boat SealthSeattle ferry boat SealthFDSC_0145FDSC_0181 FDSC_0184 FDSC_0187

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Brewing kombucha at home

Homebrewed kombuchaOh fermentation. I’ve got a big ole fat crush on you and all of the yummy things you create! I’ve been interested in trying to brew my own kombucha at home but you know me, I’m a visual person and like to see something done by an expert first. Luckily, my friends at the Beacon Food Forest had a 101 class a few months ago that I eagerly signed up for. Three delish samples and 1.5 hours later and I felt like I could totally do this at home.

By no means am I an expert, but I wanted to share with you what I’ve learned so far. If you love kombucha as much as I do, but hate the $4+ price tag for a single bottle, well then home brewing just might be the way for you to go!

DIRECTIONS for Continuous Brewing
*Generously provided by Rowan Maya Lang*

Supplies needed:
1 kombucha mother (aka SCOBY) in 4 oz. of “starter” tea – you’ll need to get this from a homebrewer such as myself! Happy to share!
1 cup organic sugar
7 bags organic tea OR 1/4 cup loose leaf tea (green or black tea is preferred!)
1 large pot
1 fine-mesh strainer
2 two gallon wide mouth glass jars (PCC or brewing stores carry them for around $5 each) one for brewing and one for the SCOBY hotel if you continuous brew
1 gallon filtered or distilled water
1 square, clean cotton cloth, such as a napkin or bandanna
Rubber band or string to secure cloth over top of jar
1 straw for testing your first ferment
Smaller jars or bottles for final product or second fermentation (optional)

How to brew:

  1. Wash your hands and brewing containers thoroughly with soap and water to remove any unhealthy bacteria and reduce chances of mold or other contaminants.
  2. Bring 1 gallon of water to a roiling boil and stir in 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup loose leaf teas or tea bags. Remove from heat, cover and leave overnight to cool.
  3. When cool, pour your tea-sugar mixture through a fine-mesh strainer and into the 1 gallon wide mouth glass jar being sure to leave 3 to 4 inches of space at the top of the jar. You’ll want some leftover liquid for your SCOBY Hotel (mentioned in step 6 below). Slide your kombucha mother into the container along with the 4 oz. of starter tea. It should float nicely!
  4. Secure cloth with rubber band or string on the top of the jar and place it in a cupboard or closet where it will be undisturbed and out of direct sunlight for 5 to 10 days. Check every few days for mold, which will be a very obvious black, green or blue fuzz. A healthy brew will naturally grown strands of yeast, which appear as gold or brown strands in the liquid hanging from the bottom of the mother. A normal mixture will also grow a “baby” on the top of the tea-sugar mixture, even if the mother has sunk to the bottom. It will start our as a thin, milky white membrane and will grow in thickness.
  5. At day 5, have a little taste of your tea. A straw is an easy tool for checking! You may like it sweet/tart and mildly fermented at days 5 to 7 or if you find it’s too sweet, then let it brew for a few more days. Check daily until desired acidity is reached. Fermentation speeds up in the hot summer months and slows way down in the wintertime. Add a heating pad or a string of lights in the winter months helps keep fermentation speedy.
  6. Once your kombucha is at your preferred taste level, remove the mother and baby with clean hands. Peel them apart and place one in the second wide mouth jar (SCOBY Hotel) and pour 4 oz. of leftover tea-sugar liquid to cover. The other SCOBY will stay in the current jar with it’s own 4 oz. of fermented liquid to repeat the process!
  7. Strain kombucha tea through fine-mesh strainer basket into your small jars. Refrigerate and enjoy!

DIRECTIONS for Continuous Brewing – Second Fermentation (where you can add flavors and get a ton of fizz!) (more…)

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New Year, New Thoughts

IMG_8150I’ve been experimenting with making do with less (especially around my wardrobe), and this story is spot on.

Vowing to add more quinoa to our menu rotation. I’m inspired (and hungry).

26 things every person should do for themselves at least once a year: #3 – check! #8 – check! #21 is a 2016 goal and #16 is an awfully good idea. All great food for thought as we start off 2016.

I’m a morbid thinker and this article plays into all of those fears about how much time we have left. I’m so grateful that I live close by my loved ones.

Impulse bought these jeans. They remind me that spring is right around the corner.

I love looking at Shutterbean’s ‘My Everyday Life’ photos each week. They remind me just how amazing day to day life can be if you pay attention to the little things.

I’m guilty of duality thinking all of the time (something I’m hoping to work on) and am starting to realize how powerful happy gratitude can be. Now if I can just find that inner grace stuff…..

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