Simple Moments v.II

agoldenafternoon-9School is here again!  As much as summer was especially AMAZING for me, I know that life needs the routines of the every day.  Summer wouldn’t be a gift, though, if it wasn’t a deliberate break from the ordinary, right?  It was indeed appreciated.

Homeschooling friends, have you signed up for the free Wild & Free content bundle?  There are so many inspiring homeschool mamas sharing their wisdom and stories in there!  The first PRAIRIE bundle is free, then you just pay $19/month after that to keep the content flowing!  This next month you can find ME, in the GARDEN edition, sharing a fresh tomato risotto recipe and tips on how to cook with kiddos. Go and sign up here!

This last week brought some simple moments I wanted to remember:

// The boys made wooden boats.  I LOVE that they are old enough to go in the backyard and build something from their imagination,using a hammer and nails. //

// Getting back in the granola game with my old favorites, pecan and vanilla.  I posted the recipe here this week. //

// Jack was so sad it was summer because he missed doing math.  Go figure. //

// Math-u-see blocks are part of every school day, but seeing the manipulative picture below makes me think of these wooden math blocks I just saw on Etsy here. //

// FINALLY got my vintage 5-panel door hung up in the kid’s bathroom!  Praise the Lord for finding a handyman and progress! Now, to find the piece that makes the fabulous glass handle turn.  I think my littlest guy ran off with it somewhere. Ruh roh. //

//I attempted to help my extremely tactile kiddo with letter writing by breaking out the shaving cream option.  Quite simply, it didn’t go as well as I’d like, but it did create 30 minutes of bath-time fun for the boys. //

// Every kid loves the time of year when costume magazines come nearly daily. Not sure whether to thank them for the few quiet minutes it allows or shake my fists for the junk mail. //

// Snap-circuits are amazing.  I’ve been storing them away until school started.  Have you tried them?!  The instructions are easy for the kids to follow and they love the fact that they can make an electrical circuit that creates explosive noises. //

// Peach roses forever. //

// Ice cream in a can doesn’t work with regular goat’s milk,  FYI.  Fat is necessary so cream is the only way.  Guess I’ll have to go out of my way for some raw cream so I can have some. San Diego, you can find raw milk options from Organic Pastures at some Sprouts and the little Boney’s Bayside Market on Coronado. La Mesa Sprouts is the only one I’ve actually seen it at. //

// I’ve been taking a lot of clay and salt baths lately, trying to get rid of some yuck stuck in my body during the gut healing I’ve been undergoing.  The happy effect of this is I’ve been getting some reading done. Any good books you think I can’t live without reading? //

// Experimenting with some new board balm options.  Coconut oil seems to be the only option that brings the least amount of rancid effects.  Mineral oil is a spawn of plastic so it’s weird that people think it’s cool to put it so near their food. I’ve been using a coconut oil and beeswax combo.  So far so good.  There’s a convo happening on my IG about this here. //

// Filling our pantry shelves with as much homemade canned tomato sauce as possible before the season is gone. I started with is Better Homes and Gardens recipe here, I just added the roasting element and kicked up the garlic. //

// The blessings of a backyard sunset. //


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Books Alive & Quick Dill Pickles

quickpickleYou can find me over on Paging Supermom today!  I’m sharing my quick pickle recipe, inspired by my favorite children’s story!  Jump over there and let me know what you think!

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Summer In A Jar: Lavender Strawberry Jam

It’s the last day of school.

Let me say that again.


While I love EVERY bit of teaching my kids, every teacher needs a break at some point, right?

It’s summertime.  Can you believe it?

Here in San Diego, God has been showering my garden with sunshine-y goodness and I’ve been soaking it all in.  I am so thankful to have a few sweet little strawberry patches, a large boysenberry ‘wall’, and a few blueberry and golden raspberry plants to round out our little backyard homestead of berries.  I have learned so much about gardening the past several years.  The more plants I grow, the more I want other people to experience the thrill of seeing God’s amazing creation, growing before their eyes.  If you’ve been thinking of gardening in even a small part of your yard, check these out:

“The Backyard Homestead” and “The Urban Homestead”

These books make it super easy to find a growing style that works for you and your size of yard.  Like any process, gardening is about organization and planning.  The seeds pretty much cooperate with any conditions as long as they have sun, water, and food (by way of awesome soil).  It’s easier than you think!

Summertime means jam to me and LOTS of it.  One of my favorite smells on the entire planet is that of strawberry jam cooking on a slow summer day.  There is usually music playing and I try to have friends around whenever possible.  Friends make the time pass by quickly and they usually get to take some of the goods home!

Jam is also a great thing to share with…well…anyone.  It can be a hostess gift, thank you present, get-well gesture, teacher’s gift, or can be shared with those neighbors you’ve been meaning to introduce yourself to for the last year.

Here’s how I make my lavender strawberry jam…

Lavender Strawberry Jam

(sources: many different recipes combined over many years of good and bad jam)

1 1/2 c. sugar

2 tsp. Pomona’s Universal Pectin (found online or at natural food stores like Whole Foods)

8 cups strawberries, hulled and cleaned

2 tsp. calcium water (from the Pomona’s box)

1/2 c. lemon juice, fresh squeezed

3 tsp. dried lavender blossoms, chopped

1. Start by boiling some water in a large pot for sterilizing your jam jars, if you’re using them. Place another pot on the stove for your lids.  When the water is boiled, you will add as much water as needed to cover the lids and rings.  They are sterilized separately because placing them in boiling water can melt the rubber on the lid, which is needed to seal the jar.

2. Mix the sugar and pectin in a bowl and set aside for later.

3. Crush the strawberries until you are happy with them.  I like mine with a few chunks so squish yours a lot if you prefer your jam smoother. This is a GREAT thing to have kids help with.  They love it!

4. Bring the strawberries to a boil, then add the lemon juice and calcium water.

5. Gradually stir the pectin and sugar mixture in with the strawberries, until combined.  Add the dried lavender.  Return to a boil and stir frequently so it doesn’t burn.

7. While it’s returning to a boil, lay out 1 towel for your hot jars to lay on and 1 towel for the completed jars to sit on.

8.  Skim the foam, if it is present (trust me, you have to do this or it will leave a funky looking white layer on the top of your jam which resembles mold.  I may or may not know that from experience).  Remove sterilized jars from the water with tongs and place them on the towel.  Keep water boiling.

9. Carefully fill the jars until there is a 1/4 space between the jam and the top (that space is called ‘headspace’ in the jam world :)).  Wipe around the rim of the glass with a clean rag or paper towel.  Use the tongs to place the lid on top and then used your fingers to screw the outer rings on.  Not too tight, just finger tight.

10. Place the filled jars back in the boiling water for 10 minutes.  Remove and place on the towel.  In an hour, tap the lids to make sure they are tight and don’t press in.  If the lids do pop in and out, then immediately place those jars in the fridge.  They are still good to eat.  Let the others sit still for a day and then they are ready to hand out to friends and family or store away for the winter!

For some cute canning jar labels check out the link below:

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Orangecello + Bon’s Sidecar

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Forgive me, I am about to go off about Downton Abbey again so hang with me if this bores you because either way, there is a drink recipe at the end.


We all know I am obsessed with Downton Abbey, like the rest of the world, it seems.  I find inspiration from that time period everywhere and this time I found it in my cocktail.  A month before Christmas, I threw some vodka in a few jars of oranges.  It was supposed to be a Christmas present for my sister but I clearly didn’t make it in time if I thought a miracle would turn it to liqueur in time.  So, I kinda forgot about it until I was suddenly craving a “Sidecar”.  This lovely drink was brought about in France during/after WWI because of the 2 available liquors, Cointreau and  Cognac.  It apparently floated over to the U.S. during a not so convenient time, Prohibition.  Today it is ever so popular because of the increasingly fascinating speakeasy establishments  of today which I am kinda obsessed with right now.  Obviously, purchasing alcohol is not illegal anymore and we are not threatened with imprisonment, but it’s still super-fun to be in a place that is secret or exclusive in some way, don’t you think?


I enjoy a good handcrafted cocktail, especially on the weekends when I have a chance to wind down from teaching school, managing a household, and just the running around that comes with the average week.  The cleaning and the cooking always stay but that’s just the way it is.  We have to eat and I prefer to have it clean around here anyway.  All that to say, it’s nice to have something to relax you for the weekend or during the weekend.


For the Sidecar:


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For the classic sidecar cocktail, there are supposed to be equal parts orange liqueur, cognac, and lemon juice.  I made it three different ways and picked my favorite.  Equal parts left too much sour lemon flavor for my taste.  Cognac is often swapped for Brandy or even Bourbon.   Even though I love Bourbon,  I actually prefer Brandy or Cognac in mine because I think it balances better with the lemon.

In the end, I chose this combo:

Bon’s Sidecar:

1 part orange liqueur (as made below or Cointreau)

1 part Cognac

1/2 part lemon juice

Shake on ice and pour over ice.

(note:  If you are planning on making this as a gift, start it about 12 weeks before you want to give it away)


orange vodka-

4 c. vodka

4 oranges, cleaned and the sweeter the better

Simply slice all of the oranges and put them in a lidded jar with 4 c. of vodka.  Place it in a cool place for at least 2 weeks (mine was a month).  Then strain the pieces out and store for another few weeks.  Now it’s ready to be sweetened…

orangecello/orange liqueur-

1 Part water

1 part sugar

4 parts orange flavored vodka

Dissolve the sugar in the water over medium heat.  Cool.  Now, add the simple syrup (sugar+water) to the orange vodka until it tastes the way you want it too (I use all of it:)).    Put the resulting liquid in a jar and leave in a dark place for at least 6 weeks. You can find jars like mine for gifting at The Container Store.

Be sure to share with a friend…it’s always better that way.

Has anyone made it before?

What’s your favorite drink to mix it in?


Easy Meals.

I get asked A LOT about some easy and quick meal ideas.  Those two words mean something different to each person because there is no way I could cook you the dinner you might be picturing in the time it takes you to go through a drive-thru.  However, clearly if you read my blog you probably cook some, right?  So, I thought I’d show you a snapshot of some of my “quickie” meals and snacks over the last couple weeks.

All of the above pictures were taken on instagram…just a quick snap before we ate of the deliciousness.

If you’d like to  keep up with these little food snippets:

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(from top right row across)

  • local grapefruit for breakfast
  • snickerdoodles from Martha Stewart
  • organic tomato soup with caramelized fennel
  • orange liqueur
  • chicken sausage and spinach orecchiette pasta
  • cheese plate with pears and honey
  • toasted pecans
  • brown butter pasta with mizithra cheese (spaghetti factory style)
  • meatless tacos with all the fixings
  • Suzie’s farm awesome broccoli
  • sausage calzones
  • strawberries are here!
  • chinese vegetable fried rice
  • monkey bread
  • pea risotto with sautéed garlic mushrooms (From Harvest to Heat)
  • pre-dice pickles for tuna


life rearranged(linking late but hopefully it’s ok :))

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