Little Rituals: Honey Lemon Cayenne Tea

Lately each day, when I’m feeling chilled or sense the hint of sickness coming on, I find myself making warm honey, lemon and cayenne “tea”.  I have always sworn this concoction can nip a fuzzy headed, drippy sore-throat feeling in the bud before it ever settles in, but I’ve never really known why it always seemed to work.  This week I took time to explore that curiosity.

Little Family Rituals: Create a book for reflections and dreams

The holidays are a fantastic time to create ritual that invites us to pause and reflect on the year behind us and consider what we want most for our days ahead.  Not only does taking time to do this allow a way to integrate lessons learned both collectively and individually, it also provides a place to share these things when we might otherwise keep them stored inside.  What’s more, looking back on the ways a family has grown, or the ways dreams were realized (or turned into something completely different) after many years is the way this simple and quick ritual can turn into something priceless that can be enjoyed perhaps even by generations who will follow.

Kid Fun: Make a Tiny Wormery (and Maybe Save the World🌎)

As follow up to my recent post on the importance of helping the Earth maintain and replace healthy topsoil, here’s a simple activity to help you have this conversation with your kids: Make a Tiny Wormery!

Building Life with Soil: Compost 101

We’re talking dirt this weekend. More specifically, the process of composting and how you can get started in your own backyard to help preserve one of our planet’s most valuable resources: healthy soil.

DIY: Olive Oil Lamps

Now why on earth would you make a homemade olive oil lamp, you ask? Because it is a surprisingly delightful and easy project that adds beauty and excitement to an otherwise uneventful day.  At least that was my reason.

DIY: Tea Tree Oil Shower Spray

I’m sharing a simple recipe today for a DIY tea tree oil household spray that I’ve been using the past week or so. It inhibits the growth of mildew and molds, so if you’re interested in learning simple ways to use fewer chemicals and still have good cleaning results, read on.

Springtime on the Urban Yardstead 🌱

The most magical season for our yardstead is spring! Now that everything is in full bloom in Texas, and before the chiggers and mosquitos realize how nice and warm it’s getting, it’s time to get out in the yarden and plant all of those yummy veggies and fruits for harvesting this summer. What do you have growing or planned for your yarden this year?

A Love Letter: In the Valley

This is a love letter💌, inspired by a woman’s memories of our neighborhood land and creek, from her childhood days in the early 1900s. This post may only resonate with a few, but for the few it does, I hope it inspires you to write your own love letters about the natural areas you call home. When we love nature, and when we allows others to witness that love, the Earth sings and saves wisps of our souls in its rocks and streams for future generations. It is needed today more than ever. 💗🌿🐇🦉🐛🐠🦎💗

DIY: Whipped Shea Butter with Lavender & Vitamin E

I tend to have really dry hands due to spending all my waking hours with kids – which always includes a lot of hand washing, messy projects, clean up and food prep.  At times, particularly in winter and also when I attend hand drumming classes consistently, my hands can even develop painful cracks.  Store-bought lotions typically […]

Pest Control on the Yardstead

If you’ve lived in Central Texas for any length of time and are fortunate enough to have access to nature here, you are probably well aware that we have some gorgeous scenery, plant life and animals surrounding us every springtime. My friends in the northern states and Canada often express envy when I post pictures of […]

Yardsteading Fun: Canning Loquats

Amongst other yard treasures, we were fortunate to inherit a beautiful loquat tree at the home we moved into a little over a year ago.  I have seen loquats growing around Texas throughout my life, but for whatever reason, I was never inspired to try the fruit.  Living along the Blanco River in the Texas Hill […]

Cooking with Fire

In Michael Pollan’s recent book and Netflix documentary Cooked, we are invited to reflect upon and celebrate the influence of cooking on humanity.  I first stumbled onto the series last fall, and was delighted to see how Pollan incorporated all of the areas I care most about studying these days: tradition, ceremony, community, nature, ancestors, food. […]

Flu Season Thyme!

Texas seems to be having one of those particularly widespread flu seasons that strikes every few years.  My daughter and husband both succumbed to it in January, as did several extended family members. Fortunately all are on the mend, and I am now eagerly watching the calendar days tick closer toward spring! I was grateful to […]

DIY Citrus Vinegar Cleaning Solution

A family member sent me an easy recipe earlier this month for a homemade scented vinegar cleaning solution.  I had success with it, so I wanted to share it with you! In an effort to reduce chemical exposures in our home, we’ve almost exclusively cleaned with diluted vinegar since having children ten years ago.  It works well […]

Kid Fun: The Nature Wheel Jar

  Over the holidays, like many families, my kids had fun using an advent calendar filled with little notes to help them countdown to Christmas.  Ours had prompts that gave them an assignment to do each day. These would vary from things like helping around the house to performing a random act of kindness. Our original […]

Kombucha: Fermented Tea

“Like the earth itself, the various arts of fermentation rely on biology to transform organic matter from one state to a more interesting and nutritious other state.” ~ Michael Pollan, Cooked   Last year, one of my 2016 New Year’s resolutions was to learn how to make Kombucha tea at home.  My daughter and I […]

Yardsteading

My yard has become my sanctuary.  I moved into my current home in 2015, and it has taken some time to get to know it, including its array of edibles. For me, being able to gather edibles from my own yard, or as I like to call it, “yardsteading”, is ridiculously gratifying.  There is something special about using your own fingers to pluck the fruit, nut, vegetable or herb from the branch or dirt, and then to create the time and space to turn it into something you can enjoy or give to others.