Friday, August 26, 2016

T-minus Nine Days till Germany!

L├╝beck, Germany, 2013

I'm at the point where I have no other big event coming up or visitors arriving before we leave for Germany. And so there's nothing to distract me from my dread of traveling so far with the kids  (let's just say that last time, all three changes of clothes ended up covered in kid vomit before we had even embarked on the Atlantic flight). However, that need not concern you. What may concern you is that I will NOT be putting the shop on vacation while we are gone. You will still be able to view product images/listing pages and purchase items; I will just not be shipping them out until we return at the end of Sept. That said, if you do order doing that time, I will be offering a 15% off discount code, WithLoveFromGermany2016, as a way of saying "thank you for putting up with the shipping delay!"

The Deets:
-Friday, Sept 2nd is the last day to purchase shop items and have them shipped before we leave (must purchase before noon). That afternoon I will make the coupon code live (again, it's WithLoveFromGermany2016).
-Any purchase made between Sat, Sept 3 and Thurs, Sept 22 will be shipped on Monday, Sept 26.
-To use the coupon code during that period (one last time, it's WithLoveFromGermany2016), start the normal Etsy checkout process, and you will be given the option to use a coupon code.
-I am hoping to at least have some spotty internet service and will try to respond to questions via convos that come in during that period. However, if you don't hear back from me, I promise I'm not ignoring you, and I will respond ASAP upon our return to the States and widespread wifi.

And if you are the praying type, or the good vibes from the universe type, please start sending it our way. I'd love for this visit to be free of vomit, visits to foreign hospitals, major flight delays, etc. A girl can dream . . . 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Life Recently

A boy and his dog. #instaluther #dogsofinstagram #yellowlab #labsofinstagram #childhoodLuther's never going to want to come home . . . #grandparents #georgiaonmymind #fishing #boyhood
Luther spent a week and half down South without us; first a week with my parents, my sister, and the family dog, Sailor, and then a couple of days with Piercen's parents, his younger brother, and his brother's girlfriend. We missed him terribly; he had the time of his life.
Baby girl may share my revulsion of sea water. #ugh #itssosticky #dayatthebeach #instasinclairNo offense to you Ben Folds, but I am the luckiest. #motherhood #instasinclair #babygirl
While Luther was gone, Piercen, Sinclair, and I spent a sweltering hot Saturday at the Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival. | Sinclair really missed Luther; we had to have lots of extra snuggle time.
The littlest flower girl. From yesterday. #unclebusgetsmarried #instasinclair #flowergirl  #weddingAt Lance and Heather's wedding. #wedding #family #instaluther #instasinclair
We were reunited with Luther in Cumberland, Ohio where the family was gathering for Piercen's brother Lance's wedding. | Luther was the ring bearer and Sinclair a flower girl.
Ready for Luther to arrive home on Sunday; can't wait to see him tomorrow in Ohio! #welcomehome
Luther was greeted at home with a special banner.
A scene from our morning stroll. #morning #walk #saint #newenglandUntitled
In preparation for when Luther starts preschool, I've been trying to establish a routine where we all get up early in the morning. I've also been trying to start a routine where we take a neighborhood walk in the morning. | Happy Half Birthday Sinclair!
Reading Calvin and Hobbes. #instasinclair #instaluther #siblings #childhood #calvinandhobbes
There two are old enough now to start enjoying each other's company. My favorite moments recently have been watching them chase each other around the house and falling down with laughter.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Urban Foraging: Sugared Pinks Flowers

Urban Foraging Candied Flowers
Freshly picked blue borage flowers from my garden and pinks flowers from the yard. 
Urban Foraging Candied Flowers

My borage plants are blooming blue and beautiful, so I decided preserve some of them via the sugaring method. Then it occurred to me that we have other plants around the yard with flowers that might be good candidates for sugaring.  In particular, we have these small plants with deep pink flowers near the side of the house. I used the myGardenAnswers app on my phone to identify them as pinks (carnations are in the same "dianthus" genus) and then read on to discover that the flowers are indeed edible and sugar-ible. Bingo.

Now to be fair, these plants were in all likelihood planted by the previous homeowner and thus not wild; however, since I did not plant them and they are pretty common/wild in urban city settings, I'm going to count this as urban foraging.
Urban Foraging Candied Flowers
I briefly soaked the flowers in a ice water bath to get rid of any debris/bugs, took the sepal leaves off the pinks which caused the petals to separate, then dried them off on a towel.

Urban Foraging Candied Flowers
Next step was to whip up an egg white until a bit frothy.
Urban Foraging Candied Flowers
My colleague and I then took small paint brushes, lightly painted the egg wash onto the top side of the petals/flowers, then sprinkled them with castor (sugar fine) sugar. We let them dry a bit on parchment paper, then did the bottom side. I've done this a couple of times now and have discovered it's easier to put down a thin lay of sugar on the parchment, then coat both sides of the petal/flower at the same time, lay the bottom of the flower on top of the sugar layer, and then sprinkle more sugar on top of the petal/flower.

Urban Foraging Candied Flowers
The full set of sugared petals/flowers ready to dry. 
Urban Foraging Candied Flowers
Finished sugared borage and pinks. 

We were having some humid weather, so instead of letting these sit on the counter to dry, I put them in the oven for 24 hours with the oven light on. With later batches, the humidity hasn't been as bad, so I just set them out on a shelf for a couple of days.

After they are completely dry, they should be stored in an airtight container and kept, according to most sources in a room temp location (should be good for about 3-6 months.) Now, I did find one source that recommended storing them in the fridge, so I am storing half the batch on a shelf in the kitchen and the other half in the fridge; I'll report back. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

America the Beautiful / Life Recently

Happy birthday America! In honor of our beloved country, I've gathered up a few recent-ish pics of us out and about in its natural loveliness.
Checking out the chickens with Vicar Alissa. #newengland #farmgirl #countrylife #chicken
Towards the end of May, Sinclair and I joined a group from our church on a tour of New Lands Farm where refugee and immigrant farmers are given the opportunity and support to practice the agriculture heritage of their birth countries.
Ridiculous child. #instasinclair #children
At the very end of May, we biked from our house over to Revere Beach, America's first public beach, and had lunch in celebration of Piercen's birthday.
Boston is literally built out of Legos. #Boston #legos #instaluther
In early June, while Pierce and Sinclair were down South visiting family, Luther and I popped down to Boston for the day and discovered that this bastion of American history is really being propped up by Legos. Clearly, we owe a lot to the Danes.
Day at the farm. #instasi nclair #instaluther #farm Later in June, the kids and I joined some friends for a visit to the Great Brook Farm State Park in Carlisle, MA. We had a picnic, looked at animals, and ate icecream. #publictransportation #mbta #urbanlife #instaluther #fatherhood #fatherandson Obvs the U.S. has neither the monopoly on public transportation nor the best systems, but regardless,  they are an vital part of American urban life. They may be my favorite part of living near a big cityIt's an unattractive area. #newhampshire #camping #river At the end of June, we went camping for a long weekend near the White Mountains National ForestThe spelunker. #instaluther #spelunking #exploring #childhood The Flume Gorge is so very tall! #latergram #americathebeautiful #newhampshire We hiked in the Flume Gorge. Another unattractive locale. #americathebeautiful #mtwashington And did the drive up the Mt. Washington auto mileYesterday at the top of the world. It's rather chilly there.
At the top of Mt. Washington, the highest point in the Northeast, we visited the museum and the visitors center and tried not to freeze our buns off. It was an awe-inspiring visit.

At times like these, when it seems like the political passions have split us into two different countries who don't even recognize each other, it's good to take some time to remember what an amazing country we live in and how blessed we are to be Americans.

Happy birthday America!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Home Garden Update: Late Spring (May)

Victory Garden: May 2016
Borage, cauliflower, cabbage, and pepper plants soon to go into the ground.

Our last average last frost date is around May 4th, so after once it passed, I transplanted the borage, cauliflower, cabbage, and nasturtium plants into the long bed and the first two short beds. I also direct seeded lettuces, carrots, marigold, cucumber, zinnia and dill seeds into the same beds. 
Victory Garden: May 2016
Arugula, peas, broccoli, and spinach--direct seeded in March and coming up now. 

By this point, the peas were coming up nicely. The spinach and arugula has also sprouted up but were not growing very quickly. We were still having some rather cold days into late May. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Luther Turns Four!

This is the face of a four-year-old. Happy birthday dear assist Luther! #happybirthday #instaluther #childhood #fouryearsold
The face of a four year old!
#fouryearsold #happybirthday #pancakes
Birthday pancakes. 

Two weeks ago, Luther turned four years old. This seemed like a big one to me. Four years old is a not a little kid age, it's like a real kid age. I'm trying not to think too much about it.