Friday, March 30, 2012

Apple Ginger Soda- The Finished Product

Today was the day. The soda has been sitting on the counter fermenting away. I was a bit nervous to try it though. The dark, thick liquid in the bottle didn't look much like the light, bubbly beverage pictured in the original tutorial. I twisted the top and heard that beautiful pop of fermented carbonation. So far, so good. I poured some in a wine glass because we're fancy like that and passed it over to my husband. I figured his stomach of steel would fare better than mine if this whole experiment had gone horribly wrong. And then...well...I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story!

"Smells like Thai Fish Sauce"

"It's bubbly and....chunky?"

"If I was really, really thirsty I'd drink it"

"Meh....not that bad!"
My sweet husband. He was generous with his observations to spare my feeling but I tasted it too....

And if you can't tell by the look on face, it was terrible. It really did smell like Thai fish sauce. And because I used fresh squeezed apple juice, there were bits of apple floating around that morphed into these weird, chunky bits that made you feel a little like you were choking when you swallowed. The verdict?


I'm not quite sure what went wrong but I know it was during the soda making step. The bug is still going strong, bubbling away just like it should. I'm definitely going to try this again. But in the meantime, all that Thai fish sauce juice is going right down the drain!


Thursday, March 29, 2012

In My Purse

Like most women, I have a purse. A big purse.  And the older I get, the bigger my purse gets. I didn't carry a purse in high school. In college, I had a few small ones but I usually just shoved my phone in my pocket, some cash in my bra and called it good. Once I got married, I started carrying larger bags to accommodate the things my husband didn't want to carry. And then when I had Diapers, wipes, toys, crushed Cheerios, melted crayons, sippy cups, dirty onesies, extra would be amazed at the all the stuff I used to cram in to my bag!

My kids are a little older now and I've been able to lighten my load considerably. I thought about going smaller but a nagging voice in the back of my head just won't let me. My bag is my lifeline! I came across an article at Survival Mom about 18 things that every mom should have in her purse. But before I discuss the contents of my purse, let me preface it with this: My husband and I believe in preparedness. We're not of the "I need a bunker in Idaho" sort of preppers though. We're not nuts, just realistic. We've learned how to cook, garden, can, butcher, doctor, sew, ect...not only because it's a simpler, healthier and more fulfilling way to live but because by increasing our skill set, we will be able to be self sufficient in a variety of situations. In our current economic and political climate, you-know-what could hit the fan at any time. It seems silly not have some sort of plan in place!


My purse. I had several of Survival Mom's eighteen items but there were several I did not so I went Amazon shopping. The things I needed were cheap...a whistle, a mirror, a mini flashlight. These tiny items are the kinds of things that get lost at the bottom of your purse and end up coated in a fine dust of Goldfish crackers. To keep things contained and clean, I purchased two zippered pouches from Etsy (I would have made them but I'm still not friends with my zipper foot) and divided my things into two piles; beauty and survival. Things like lip glosses, chap stick, sunscreen, and nail files went in to the beauty bag. My whistle, flashlight, first aid tin, uber cute pink pocket knife (thanks honey!) and other like items went into the survival bag or as my husband likes to call it, my zombie apocalypse bag. Yeah. He loves The Walking Dead...

My pretty pink Kershaw
My purse is now super organized and I feel ready for whatever may come. Yes, there's a lot of stuff in there but honestly, it's not heavy at all. Much lighter than when it was full of bottles and diapers. Everything is contained, easy to find, and ready to go. From a power outage at a movie theater, to a scraped knee at the park I am prepped and ready.

What are some of the essential items you keep in your purse?


Monday, March 26, 2012

Ginger Bug Update

I have to admit I was skeptical. I've never fermented anything before (not on purpose anyway) and I don't exactly have a winning record in the kitchen. Seven days ago, I put some ginger, sugar and water in a jar and prayed for a miracle. Lo and behold when I opened my ginger bug jar on day three, it exhaled with a whispering sigh of carbonation. Natural carbonation. I actually squealed.

See the bubbles??

Today is day seven and I took the next step in the soda making process. I broke out the juicer and juiced 3 1/2 cups of fresh apple juice and about two teaspoons of fresh ginger juice. To that, I added 1/4 cup of my bubbling bug. After a quick stir, I poured the mixture into two old kombucha bottles, tightened the caps, and put them on the counter to continue fermenting for a couple of days. Hopefully by Thursday, my family and I will be enjoying yummy, bubbly, probiotic rich apple ginger soda!

Stay tuned for the final result!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Summer Fashions

It's warming up in my neck of the woods and I have started combing through my children's dressers, putting away winter items that might be useful next season, and figuring out if any of their summer clothes may still be wearable. Both of my children are growing like weeds (as children tend do) and are in need of a few items to bolster their wardrobes. I've been bookmarking tutorials and lusting after fabric and I'm ready to get sewing!

I started with a ruffle sleeve top for K. I used a yellow gingham that my Grandma sent me ages ago. It's soft and buttery and reminds me of fluffy baby chickens. Perfect for spring. And girls just look cute in gingham, don't you think? It sewed up easily and I love the buttons. I love any button that I don't have to sew a button hole for!

The dog was licking her toes...she couldn't stop giggling!

Sweet Daisy Buttons
Stop it doggie!
Oh! Did I forget to mention we got a dog? Yes! We got a dog. A red tick heeler to be exact. We named him Zuma. We adopted him from a local shelter and he's just the sweetest dog. He's only been with us a couple of weeks and already he's a member of the family.
She finally gave in to the toe licking and gave him some belly scratches!

I am also planning to make K a few Lazy Days skirts. I made three of them for her last summer and she wore them constantly. As for J, I plan on making him a few pairs of shorts using a tutorial found at Make It Love It. They have a faux zipper and another button hole free button! I haven't decided which fabric to use...something sturdy for sure!

Are you sewing up anything for summer? Do share!



Monday, March 19, 2012

The Bug

It's no secret....I loooove me some soda pop. I know how bad it is. I know how much sugar is in it. I know that it can contribute to a host of diseases and yet still, I drink it. It's not just the bubbles as some soda addicts claim. It's not even the caffeine buzz. It's the taste. I LIKE the taste of Coke. It tastes good! But because I know that it's ruining my teeth, my organs and my figure, I have tried (and failed) to quit more times than I care to mention. I need an alternative...something bubbly and sweet and something that tastes good.

A few months back, we went out to dinner with some friends at a fabulous little hole in the wall called Tuck Shop. The atmosphere was kitchy-cool, the food was local and fantastic, and they had home brewed ginger ale that was to die for. I like regular old store bought ginger ale but to compare the canned version to homemade is like comparing apples to oranges. Homemade simply blows 'ol Canada Dry right out of the water. It's effervescent, it's full of gut friendly probiotics and doesn't look all that difficult to make.

To begin, you need a bug. A ginger bug that is! After reading about fermentation over at Holistic Kid, I gathered my supplies and started fermenting my very own ginger bug. All you need is sugar, ginger and jar to put it in. Each day, you "feed" your bug more sugar and more ginger. It may seem counterintuitive to keep adding sugar to a "healthy" beverage but the bacteria in the bug will consume most of it. In turn, the bacteria create the bubbly, probiotic drink we're aiming for.

Photo from Holistic Kid
After about a week, the bug should be bubbly and ready to be made in to sodas! My starter is only a couple days old so no bubbles yet. I can't wait for it to be ready. I have a recipe for apple ginger soda that I'm dying to try. I'll keep you posted!


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Back in the Saddle

She begged.

She pleaded.

And eventually, she got her way. 

I can't buy her a horse.

But I can give her two hours a week with Hummer, one of the sweetest and most patient horses I've ever met.

My girl is happiest when she's in the saddle...