Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Love Me Some Sprouting and How I Do It


In my quest for stronger and healthier teeth; which by the way is a whole other, very long story.. I have begun sprouting beans & legumes and some grains that we eat.  There is this thing called phytic acid that exists in food and it can keep your body from absorbing all the potential goodness in those nuts, beans, legumes and grains.  By soaking and sprouting you are neutralizing the phytic acid giving your body the nutrients it needs to run properly; not to mention bringing all sorts of good stuff to the surface that wasn't there before, like vitamin C and enzymes.  Once sprouted, we COOK the bean, legume or grain.  ** UPDATE: Raw kidney beans are toxic, so do NOT eat raw soaked or sprouted kidney beans **

I want to take a moment and let you know about a well-researched book called, "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon.  If you are at all interested in food and health, this book is full of information. I have found great fermentation recipes, sprouting information and how to properly make a good stock. Gut health is so important and this book is helping me get there.  She also discusses the benefits of sprouting.

Eventually I am going to figure out the grain thing; which could be it's own post.  I just haven't had the will power to cut all non-sprouted grains yet.  Life without bread?  Seriously? Although.. there is this sprouted wheat berry and apricot flatbread that could quench my cravings. You can find the recipe in, "Flatbreads & Flavors" by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.  It is perfect with a smudge of goat cheese with tea in the morning.  Mmm.. thinking about it makes me want to get a batch of wheat berries sprouting.  Okay, back to sprouting.

 

You Will Need:

* DISH DRAINER
* HALF GALLON MASON JAR
* SCREW ON SPROUTING LID FOR JAR
* BEAN, LEGUME or GRAIN to sprout

I wanted to share the sprouting setup that is working great for us.  Ikea's FINTROP dish drainer is what I found and for $11.99 I am pretty happy with it.  It is a manageable size, so doesn't take up as much counter space.  I mean, who wants one more thing to move around on the already cluttered surface?  Hah!  You can sit four half gallon jars straight up OR the three jars if you prefer to tilt them.  There is this nifty groove in the middle that makes this very easy to do.  The metal tray removes easily enough, so you don't have to have standing water in the tray once sprouts are finished dripping excess water.  All-in-all perfect for the amount of sprouting we do.

Thursday nights here is taco night.  This Thursday I wanted to sprout some black beans.  It just takes a little planning to be able to utilize the benefits of sprouting food.  I started the sprouting process for beans four days ahead.  Black beans seem to take a little longer to sprout than other beans, so I wanted to allow plenty of time.  In any jar, you can typically fill it with dry bean, legume or grain up to 1/3 the size of jar.  That is why I use half gallon size, I can easily sprout 2 cups of beans. Once sprouted, will keep in the fridge for a bit.

Add your beans to the jar and fill it up with filtered water.  Typically, I do this before I go to bed.  When I wake-up, I turn the jar over  and drain the water out with the appropriate sprout lid screwed on, rinse and then drain again.  Set it on the dish drainer and that's that.  Rinse & drain  2 to 3 times a day.  You basically don't want the seeds to be too wet or too dry.  I have been washing the black beans 4 times a day.  They seem to dry out a bit quicker.

Once the intended seed has sprouted, I will cook it.  Sprouted lentils are a great addition to a soup.  Maybe try spouted garbanzos for hummus?  You can sprout buckwheat groats and then roast them at the lowest temperature your oven will go or better yet, in a dehydrator.  We love buckwheat (Kasha) and sweet potato with an egg on top for breakfast, slathered with fermented hot sauce. Whatever you sprout, it is certain to be tasty. One thing to know when cooking your sprouted goodness, it won't take quite as long to cook or need as much liquid.  I just cook less and add a little bit less liquid.

Now what are you waiting on? Go get your sprout on!   Until the next...

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Simplify the Holidays, Musing and Crafting


Took a little hiatus from blogging.  Busy, busy bee I have been.  So busy, I haven't had time to sit down and share my thoughts.  Sometimes I feel like I am in the circus with all this juggling around I have to do.  Alas, I have a moment and I thought I would share.


This holiday season I decided to take the Simplify the Holidays Pledge. It is that time of year where we all feel the pressure to spend.  We want our friends and family to feel loved and often think the best way of going about that is emptying the bank account and/or going into debt.  Another downside can be the trash cans overflowing with more waste to add to the landfills.  It's time to put more meaning into the holiday season, support the local economy and adopt more regenerative traditions.

I PLEDGED TO:

 

*  GIVE A HANDMADE GIFT
*  CONSIDER LESS GIMMICKY, LESS COMMERCIAL GIFTS
*  CREATE A PAPERLESS HOLIDAY CARD
*  GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY
*  ADOPT A "LESS IS MORE" ATTITUDE
*  SAVE PAPER BY REUSING MATERIALS FOR WRAPPING PAPER
*  PREPARE HOLIDAY MEALS WITH SEASONAL & LOCAL FOODS AVAILABLE


I am very excited to be making Lil Guy's gifts this year.  I have to say, I am a little intimidated and *crossing my fingers* that all will get made in time.  If you haven't checked out " Growing Up Sew Liberated: Handmade Clothes & Projects for Your Creative Child", DO!  You will find so many useful patterns in this book, it can be hard to decide on the first project.  For Christmas I will be making the Lil Amigo Doll, Lil Amigo shirt and overall, and Reversible Hooded Play Cape for my wee one.  Once finished, pictures and thoughts to come.

What I love right now?  KNITTING!!!  You will find tons of crafty classes at the Dry Goods Shop and I recommend any of the knitting classes where Miss Ryan-Ashely is teaching.  Check out her blog Fray Knot.  It has been a superb way of gaining some knitting skills and getting some helpful tips.  Knitting is like my new Facebook.  No idle hands for me. 

Fun stuff coming up?  Later this week I will be hosting a dye gathering and will be sure to be taking photos to share with you. 
Oh the joys of dying!  We will have a pot of simmering natural onion skin dye and will be trying out some of Dharma Trading Co. fabric dyes.  Weather permitting we will even have a fire to gather around after all the crafting fun has subsided.  'Tis the season for hot whiskey cocktails, fire and friends. 

On My Sewing Table:


Fleece Animal Hat for my eldest.
*  Little Amigo, 16" Cloth Doll pattern from, "Growing Up Sew Liberated"; using materials from The Child of Mine.  I have a 12" ball of felted wool so far.  Can it be finished in a few weeks?
* Little Amigo doll clothing from "Growing Up Sew Liberated"; using Nursery Versery, piggies fabric for the shirt and some scrap denim for the overalls.
*  Reversible Hooded Play Cape from, "Growing Up Sew Liberated"; using a silk/hemp blend fabric. Sturdy enough to with stand the force known as Lil Guy.  Will be dying fabric at the dye gathering.

I have a busy week ahead of me.  Catch ya when I can.  Stay craftastik folks!

Don't forget to subscribe if you like what you read.  On the right hand side you will find more options to do so.  Thanks.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Outside Play Everyday & What to Wear: Part Two

Shoes & Accessories & Babywearing in the Great Outdoors

 

I'm a bit late getting this post out into the interwebs this week.  Battles with a server and computer issues will do that.  Alas, here is the information promised.

 

 

SHOES! OMG! SHOES!


Seriously, I have to exercise extreme control and tap into my sense of practicality when it comes to shoes for Lil Guy. For outside shoes it comes down to a hiking shoe, rain boot and snow boot.  When shopping for shoes, I keep my eye out at second-hand stores.  Kids grow out of shoes so fast, the wear and tear can be fairly minimal.  I'm also a member of Zulily and I was able to get two pairs of Keen shoes basically for the price of one.  Score!  If you know your kids size in a particular brand, you can be more certain of the fit. 

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For an outside shoe, you need something nice and rugged that can withstand a little mud and water. When kids are tromping around and exploring their outside world, that means getting down and dirty.  How could you not resist standing or sticking your hand in mud; being enveloped by all that sensation?!?  Keens are a perfect fit for our son's wide foot and the Gypsum is a great all-around hiker shoe for toddlers.  We are on pair number two and probably will stay with Keen as his monster feet continue to grow. 

You will want a rain boot for rainy days and puddle jumping.  Again, we went with Keen and their Coronado boot.  When the boot got a lil snug, we just took the foot bed out and it gave him a little more room to grow.  Plenty of width and I liked the treaded sole.  The lining is nice because it can wicks some of the moisture that builds up in a rubber boot.  It's now time for a new boot though and I'm not sure what we are going to try out this time?  Thinking about the Blog Glosh.  I  like that it is a lighter boot with pull on handles and the rugged sole. What are your favorite pair of rain boots?

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To be honest, I don't have a lot of experience with snow boots.  It didn't really snow that much last winter and it can be a bit on the warmer side in the Asheville area.  Year before that is another story, but our wee one didn't need boots.  Alas, I was lucky to score a pair of MOON BOOTS at Target for ten bucks last year and think they will fit him through winter!  If you know me at all, you know how crazy I am about moon boots.  Dream moon boots for Lil Guy would be kid's Crocband Gust Boot in black.  If it were colder here and we had more snow, I would invest in a serious winter boot like the Sorel Children's Flurry TP boot.  Order a size tad larger, room enough for a wool lining  I would make for extra added coziness for the feet.  Boot like that would keep your feet dry and toasty, that's for certain.

Accessories 

Hats, Mittens, Gloves & Snap Cowls

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Oh the hat.  There are so many different styles of hats and I could fill a book with examples. When it comes down to choosing a hat, just remember that wicking synthetics and wool are your best friend.  In this case cotton is rotten.   For cold and wet weather,  you want a hat with waterproof properties, or a waterproof hood to keep your hat dry.  This Elodie Details Classic Wool Cap is a great all-in-one.  PU-laminate lines are sandwiched between wool making it wind and water resistant.  Since our two year old has the head size of a five year old, we will be finding a new winter cap.  Big fan of hats with flaps that come around your chin.  Guarantees those lil ears are covered and protected from the elements.  For a handmade twist check out Worthy Goods' Toddler Country Hat made with tweed and a wool fleece lining. 

Snap Cowl
When it comes to the wee ones, I prefer mittens as they are easier to get on.  The Elodie Details Classic Wool Mittens match nicely with the Classic Wool cap.  Larger sizes feature a zipper that runs all the way up the thumb for ease of putting on.  A velcro strap insures the mitten stays on.   This year we went with an Outdoor Research Adrenaline Mitts for toddlers.  It is an insulated toddler mitt with a zipper for easy on/off for cold weather play.  What I like about this mitten is that it allows for movement and a firm grip.  If my toddler cannot pick things up easy enough, he is going to tear those suckers off.  These are not a waterproof mitten but have a repellency.  Polarn O. Pyret's mittens with cuffs look great and would be a good option for cold and snowy winter landscapes. I like the cuff as it tucks nicely under the jacket sleeves insuring that snow doesn't get down in your wee one's mittens. As far as gloves go, don't have much experience with those and until then I can only comment on mittens.  Important thing is to make sure your child's hands stay dry and warm!

Sometimes it is nice to have a little more protection from the cold winds and a scarf of sorts can come in handy.  Ever try and keep a scarf on a toddler?  Never had such luck with mine, so that why I came up with snap cowls.  You can quickly and easily snap the fleece scarf around your child's neck for added warmth.  Pull it up or turn it around to cover more of the face for extra protection. Again, for really cold weather I would use a polyester fleece to cover my babe's face.  Organic cotton fleece for colder day of running around with mama or papa on errands and you are just needing a lil warmth and not worried about needing to wick moisture.

Babywearing in the Great Outdoors

 

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Babywearing allowed me to get out of the house and get active.  No matter the weather, I was prepared and that gave me freedom.  There are so many different options out there that will help to keep you and your baby warm  and dry when hiking around.  You will find DIY tutorials, PDF patterns and babywearing coats on my Outside Play Everyday Pinterest board. 

We went with Suse's Kindercoat Deluxe in a large enough size for both of us to fit into it.  I didn't really care if it was a little bulky as long as the little guy and me were cozy.  Best feature about the Kindercoat is it does it all; front, back and hip babywearing in the rain, cold, sunshine or snow.  The midlayer is fleece and can be worn on its own.. leaving you with a waterproof shell to be used as a raincoat in warmer weather.  Combined together you and the babe will stay roasty toasty.  Coat tested exploring 12 inches of fresh snow on the ground and going on multiple winter hikes.

If you have an Ergo you might like their winter weather cover.  Definitely a little more friendly to one's pocket book.  Adds a nice buffer to the elements and keeps them extra cozy.  I would definitely dress them up in weather appropriate outerwear that will keep them appropriately warm under the fleece. 


So ya, that's my two cents on bundling your kiddos up for outdoor excursions.  Next week is Thanksgiving and I have yet to do a gratitude themed craft.  Any ideas?  Perhaps I will think of something crafty and share with you.  Until the next...

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Outside Play Everday and What to Wear, Part One Layers


Here at our house, we try and get Lil Guy outside everyday.  Yes folks, I said EVERYDAY, regardless of weather.  I love this article,  "10 Reasons Why Kids Should Play Outside", which gives reasons to spend more time outside. The raw materials that children find in a natural environment nourishes the whole person; intellect, personality, emotions, physical body health and spirit.  Also, have you ever noticed how well your child sleeps after playing outside for a good chunk of time?  That alone has me on the outside play bandwagon; that and my own memories of being a kid and my daily adventures outside.  I get to play too!

"Whether the weather be cold or
Whether the weather be hot
We'll weather together, whatever the weather
Whether we like it or not!"

If you're playing outside as much as we do, you need to be able to dress for the weather.  As the temperature starts to drop and the possibility of snow beckons, the layering begins!  I am kinda a dork for outdoor gear.. actually a serious dork.  So much a dork, that this is going to be a two-part post.  Talking about layers today and part two post will be about shoes, accessories and babywearing in the great outdoors in any weather.  Be sure to check out my Outside Play Everyday and What to Wear Pinterest board for more great gear.

It always starts with a base layer.  A person once told me, "cotton is rotten, man" and indeed he is correct when it comes to weathering the elements of mother nature, especially in colder weather.  This is where synthetics or wool become your best friend.  You want something that wicks the moisture away from your body so you can stay dry.  Sweat is our personal air conditioner and you don't want that effect happening when you are in the cold.

Base Layer 

 

Under Woollies
Last two winter seasons we used Patagonia Baby Capilene® set for Lil Guy's base layer. At $50.00 dollars you might think that is a bit expensive?  This set will cost you less than a nice Merino wool set and definitely easier to wash.  I also like to buy things a bit big and hope that I will get more use out of it next season.  When they outgrow them, you can always get some of your money back through consignment or listing for sell online. 

This season I decided to purchase 100% Merino wool jersey from Nature's Fabrics and make my own under woolie set.  This is by far the most economical way.  I bought a couple of yards of natural fabric and dyed it in a big ol' pot on the stove.  Cost was approximately $30.00 for a nice Merino set of under woolies.  THAT is a great deal AND they are one-of-a-kind.

Now don't forget your socks!  Keep your wee one's feet and little toes all cozy wrapped up in the warmth of Smartwool through fall and winter.  I've also recently discovered Darn Tough Vermont socks for myself and love them. I  haven't bought a pair for Lil Guy, but foresee that happening in the future. Luckily he has a BIG foot for a two year old and will fit into their kids small size.  Doesn't look like they have socks for babies or toddlers. 

Mid Layer 

 

So now we come to mid layers.  You usually see a lot of fleece in this catagory; fleece jackets and wool sweaters. You want something that is going to add a nice layer of warmth.  Polarn O. Pyret is one of my favorite places to get quality children's clothing that are made to be played in.  Their windfleece jacket is a  great mid layer because not only will it keep them warm, it is windproof and water resistant. Works great as an all around jacket during the fall weather when it isn't cold enough for all layers. Has nifty thumb holes in the arm cuffs, so hands stay warmer, gloves stay on and tucked underneath. You can also snap these jackets into their shell, which I don't have any experience with.  Maybe next year.  He is getting ready to outgrow his PO.P fleece and plan on making him his next jacket using some sort of Polartec® fleece; which is an option for all you craftastik folks out there who like to sew.

Usually for bottoms I put a pair of jeans or cords on him and if it is cold enough outside, he will have his woolies underneath.  PO.P's carpenter pants are rugged and made for children to move in; Lil Guy's most used pant.  FYI: Subscribing to the PO.P t mailing list is a great way to be notified of any sales they have going on.  You can save a lot of money this way and  even buy larger sizes for future use.  That's what I do anyways.  

Outer Layer


I always think of the outer layer as the skin, it's going to add a little more warmth, should be waterproof and windproof.  You are going to use this if it is REALLY cold outside or WET.  This is your first defense against the elements and you want it to keep you warm and dry.  You will find a lot of winter coats will have shells that will usually connect with the mid layer. Some outer shells work great as rain coats, just not as easy to stash in away for on the go kind of moments.  

For REALLY cold days outside and snowy days, we have a coverall for Lil Guy and it is both mid and out layer.  I find with children that are still in diapers, this is okay.  Next year, I will definitely be looking for separate pieces.  When it comes to children's outerwear, you cannot beat Didriksons.  I was lucky enough to find an extremely good deal on a kids coverall last year that will fit him again this year!  Heck, it might fit him next year too?  The large fit wasn't a big deal because the cuffs on the arms and legs have tabs that pull and velcro to make the cuff fit closely around limbs keeping it from sliding off.  The stirrups that loop around boot to keep the pants legs in place and water out.  On the sleeves it has inner cuffs with thumb holes so your glove or mitten cuff stays unexposed, tucked in nicely. I could go on and on about this coverall, really I could.  Check out the system guide for yourself here.  Now, only I wish they had a store in the USA.  Luckily, there is always P.OP and other unexplored options.  I live in the mountains and you never know what you will find at second-hand shops.  OR maybe I will get lucky again?


Mole Hill Rainsuit
If you live in a rainy area, you might want to explore rain gear.  Great for muddy walks, wet playgrounds and jumping in puddles of water. We sure get our fair share around here and is probably the most used outdoor gear throughout the year.  For when Lil Guy was just crawling and learning to walk, we loved the Mole Hill rainsuit.  Again, if they are in diapers I am going with a one piece. We got a lot of use out of that suit.

Once he outgrew that, I found an awesome fireman bib overall from PO.P, that they no longer seem to carry.  Lucky for me, I snagged couple on sale and bought one the next size up!  They are kelly green with reflective tape on the legs for low light visibility.  Adjustable straps that snap together and elasticized straps keep the pants over the boots.  A nice sized large pocket adorns the front of the bib.  A great place for wee one's to stash rocks and twigs, or carry a snack.

We have a discount outdoor store here and I found a packable XS Red Ledge's youth Thunderlight Jacket.  It is HUGE on Lil Guy, it is more like a dress.  It's quite comical actually.  Luckily for elasticized wrist bands, you can just bunch it up and it doesn't slip over the hands. Also, doesn't ever hurt to have more coverage when you are dealing with mud and water.  The hood curves to his head nicely and has a bill the juts out to keep the rain from dripping down his face.  When it comes to rain coats, its nice to make sure you have enough room to add a mid layer for colder days.  

A lot of what you go with will depend on your location and your particular needs.  Investing in good outdoor gear and getting to play outside with your kiddo is priceless.  It's those moments you will cherish in your heart for an eternity.  Help your child foster a relationship with nature, it's never too early or late to start.

Check back later this week for Part Two of this post; shoes, accessories and babywearing in the great outdoors.  Don't forget to SUBSCRIBE; which you will find options to do on the right hand side.  Everyone have a craftastik week!

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