How to Make Yogurt, Greek Yogurt, and Skyr

yogurt-small-jarsThere’s almost nothing easier than making your own yogurt! With the back to school and back-to-serious season now in swing, you may be tempted to stock up on the Go-gurt style tubes for kids or even some of those new, beautiful little artisan yogurt tubs for you, to appease your healthy-slash-convenient sensibilities.  But nay nay!  Here’s a fun project for your weekend.

You can make your very own super delicious and wholesome regular yogurt, Greek yogurt, and even Icelandic-style Skyr Scandinavian yogurt right at home.  It’s not only less expensive and more holistic, but good for the environment, too, producing far less waste.  Let me walk you through the traditional stovetop method for making your very own homemade yogurt.   Continue reading

Fairy Forest Cottage with a Side of Jam

Fairy Forest signsWow!  So it’s been almost 2 months since I’ve posted anything here – which is definitely a sign of the season.  With the onset of spring gardening and the end of Mighty O’s school year, needless to say, we have been MIGHTY busy!!!

When we moved in last year, I declared that 2016 would be the year of OUTSIDE – since there was so much work INSIDE  to deal with for 2015… and so it’s been off to the races since the sun came out here.

Top projects over the last several weeks have included handmade teacher gifts (lavender sugar and lavender lemongrass body scrub), tending to the Great Northern Gardening Experiment sprouts and getting them into the ground, clearing and re-envisioning long-neglected beds, planting in over 250 bulbs and roots, and over 30 fruit shrubs and flowering bushes (with a few trees still to go!), turning our “mud pit” off the deck into a huge pebble patio, and – of course – keeping the Elf entertained with plenty of books, hikes, creative projects, and even a few camp days and play dates here and there.

Shew!! So now that I’ve exhausted myself just thinking about all of that… I decided it’s time for a new hobby (of course).   Continue reading

Soothe Eyes Naturally with Chamomile & Honey

Soothe Eyes Naturally with an Herbal Poultice

Soothe Eyes Naturally with an Herbal Poultice

And the allergy season is upon us!  Seasonal allergies definitely throw us for a loop around here – and we need a solution to soothe eyes STAT!   Whether irritated from pollen, cedar, or baby bunny fur (a story for another time ;), Mother Nature is here to help.

An easy, homemade natural remedy can be a saving grace to soothe eyes, and often works better than over-the-counter and prescription eye drops…

And believe you me, I have tried them AWwwwLlll, honeychile. Continue reading

Easy Peasy Cranberry Citrus Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp with Cranberries and OrangeThere’s almost nothing I like better than apple crisp.  It’s been a favorite since childhood, which I will happily eat any time of day or night, as a dessert, breakfast, or snack.  Plus – it’s so easy,  even the little chefs of the house can practically make it themselves!

Traditional apple crisp is OMmmazing, though I’m also  a big fan of tangy, so I try to work this flavor profile in wherever I can.

What better twist on an age-old classic than to toss in fresh cranberries, and even a little citrus?  Continue reading

Great Northern Gardening Experiment: Starting Seeds

Starting Seeds CompleteAs a newer gardener – and brand new to growing in the Northern latitudes – there’s a lot I am figuring out… like the necessity of starting seeds early to work with a much shorter and cooler growing season.

Last Spring, my first priority was settling into our new house, so I got a pretty late start on things.  Besides which, a garden plot still had to be tilled out, compost delivered, and finally starting seeds commenced, and somewhat randomly, since I wasn’t really sure  what might grow successfully in our new environment. Continue reading

The Upcycle: Maximizing Your Clothing

Skina ShipmentWe’ve all heard the phrase Reduce-Reuse-Recycle.  Over the years, I’ve gotten progressively more engaged with these ideas, and now I feel guilty anytime I don’t… reduce, reuse, or recycle.  I’ve eliminated our trash can at home, replacing with a large recycle bin and composting, and now find there are really only tiny amounts of “garbage.”  It’s been an interesting process to realize how much we threw out before that could have gone to better use!  I’m of the mind now that unless it’s hazardous waste, there is probably some way to put it back into the stream.

Today, I thought I’d describe my personal upcycle/recycle process when it comes to clothing, which is one of the easiest (and most fun ;) ways to begin incorporating a more eco-friendly approach in household consumption. Minimizing my wardrobe is a continual work in progress, so as I do, I want to make sure that I make the most of what I’ve got and have already soaked up in terms of resources.  A lot of this can apply to other items throughout the house, too.

Continue reading

Hearty Vegetarian Black-Eyed Pea Stew

Blackeyed Pea StewOn a chilly day (and most any day ;), I love a good, hearty soup.   Unless you’re from the South, you may come across black-eyed peas only around New Year’s, when it’s traditionally eaten for good luck.   For vegetarians and others looking to eat a healthier diet, even then, you may associate these fiber-rich, protein-packed beans with ham hocks and sausage, as they are typically served… so they may not be in your usual repertoire at all.

However, these beans are amazing little fellas with an earthy, savory flavor all their own, which taste great in a tomato-based, hearty stew.  This super-healthy recipe is vegan and gluten-free, though vegetarian sausage can be added to give that down-home flavor you may have in mind around this lucky legume. This soup reminds me of all the comforts and smells of my grandmother’s house, yet in a recipe I created for a more earth-friendly Aquarian lifestyle.  Grab yer okry and let’s get choppin’! Continue reading

FREE Kundalini Yoga & Meditation Video: Ground * Center * Cleanse

I’d like to share this FREE Kundalini Yoga & Meditation video with you that I recently posted in my online studio, taken from a live class in December just before the holidays.   This session is designed to ground, center, and cleanse you in mind, body & spirit!  You’ll enjoy an active, accessible yoga practice that will leave you enlivened with fresh energy to face challenges. Great anytime you need extra stability and vigor for your endeavors.  (And who doesn’t? ;)   Continue reading

3 Steps to Super Cute Storage: Adding Rustic Style to Glass Jars in Just 2 Minutes

Ribbon Jars 3 FinalMy mantra over the last few years has been “Simplify.” Each time the New Year rolls around, I renew my dedication to this principle – and this year is no exception.  This journey is very much a work in progress, though the more I get down this road, the more I realize that the key to simplifying successfully is to find just a few things that work in my home and life for a number of different purposes.

Using up and whittling down the excess starts to get more clear and a whole lot easier this way. As I identify the hard-core multi-taskers of daily life, it’s helping me have to manage less, buy less, and be able to do the things I enjoy a lot more.  This concept seems to apply well across the board, whether it’s wardrobe, cleaning products, cooking ingredients, or what have you.  I’ve found that one of the most effective tools to rise to the top of my utility scale are glass jars.   Continue reading

Homemade Holiday Gifting: Vanilla Brown Sugar Moisturizing All-Natural Body Scrub

Brown Sugar Scrub WrappedI love homemade gifts.  There’s nothing that says love and care better than something you create with your own two hands, whether it’s for the holidays, a birthday, or just because.  I’m always creating something, or 10 things (more likely ;)… whether it’s big home projects or small crafts, though most often it’s for my home, family, or sometimes to sell – and not as often as I’d like for something to give.  So when the time comes, I really enjoy making gifts – and I like to keep it pretty simple, too.  During the holidays, it’s especially helpful if a project is quick and easy , for you or even the kids to create.  This one is great for last minute gifts, too – since you probably already have everything you need to make it. Continue reading