Monday, February 16, 2015

Presidents Day 2015

It was just me and Bear this Monday holiday. I decided we should indulge in a slow morning, where I enjoyed my first cup of coffee in nine weeks, made us toast, twice, and stayed in our jammies until ten am. It was lovely. 

With lunch and nap time encroaching, I thought it would be an adventure to hit a new (read: new to me) local nursery for some organic vegetable seeds. For a good twenty minutes Bear explored the nursery and his voice. He said "hi" to other patrons and  loved the fluorescent wind flowers. 

I decided it was time to get down to business, which meant wrangling my two  year old under my arm and locating the organic seed section. I also pulled my crumpled list of Arizona Gardening Guide out of my back pocket that tells me when I should plant seeds or transplants and what is appropriate for mid-February.

Well, between juggling the list and a cranky toddler, I grabbed what I could see that was on my list and headed for the cashier. Do subdue my boy, I pulled one of the fluorescent wind flowers out of a pot and handed it to him. It worked. For about 10 seconds. 

Anyway, fast forward to naptime, I was able to till up my raised garden and discovered a few happy surprises. During my first observation I saw carrot sprouts nowhere near where I had ever planted carrots before. My compost carrots had sprouted! Not sure how they will do, but I moved them to a new location to see how they progress. After that, I dug up the soil turning the old and exposed into new moist growing grounds. And there were worms! I didn't even know Arizona had worms! Worms are exceptional for gardens, they fertilize and airrate the soil! Needless to say, I'm pleased as punch. 

Today I planted tomato seeds, green onions, peas, and if one dares to count it, carrots! I have cantaloupe and watermelon seeds waiting for their debut, but I need to do a little more homework on how best to plant these apparently fragile vines. 

Now, we wait. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My New Thang

If you have read my previous posts about wanting to find a passion/hobby/activity - whathaveyou - you may be interested to know I have finally found my thang. I started working with leather. What started out as a mission to repurpose old belts into bracelets became a whole new gig. I now tool the leather myself and have been moving full speed ahead. I am constantly learning and improving and always, always looking for feedback!

It started with a gift from my neighbors Christmas 2013 - the Tandy Toolkit. I was completely new to the idea and decided to dive in head first. Very quickly I started accumulating new vintage tools from my father-in-law, visiting my local Tandy Store for new dyes and necessities and I made myself an Etsy Shop - Laidlaw & Smith Leather. Some of my leather cuffs can be found at The Brass Monkey Clothing store in Twin Falls, ID too! I am so grateful for the love from my hometown!

I have found such a great community on Instagram for leather workers and have found a lot of inspiration there too. It's very nice to find crafters who are supportive of each other and encourage and offer advice and tips. 

This Autumn I will be participating in the Phoenix Flea, November 29th and have a lot of work to do and a lot of products to create! I hope you will come down and visit me if you are in the area! If you are interested in anything I create, please drop me a note and I will do my best to accommodate your request. To stay updated on my current projects follow me on Instagram @laidlawandsmith or on my Flickr Account here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Dining with a toddler

Today the fam and I hit a new hip restaurant for lunch. I’ve gone there a few times solo and have really enjoyed their vegetarian options. Although they don’t boast an organic menu, they do have healthier options for dining out, “pure clean food,” which is why I thought it would be a good choice for our family. 

The kids menu was only okay, heavy on the cheese – but there was a side of apples instead of French fries, so I ordered my Bear a grilled cheese and I had the mushroom flatbread (which I have had in the past and still love). Pat had the Chicken BLT. When our lunch was delivered to our table I was sorely disappointed in Bear’s kid meal. It was "grilled" white bread, doused in oil, and what appeared to be Kraft Singles (more oil) between each bleached slice. 

This is a common occurrence in eating out at restaurants for us. The “grown up” food is great! High quality ingredients! Then the kid’s food is subpar and cheap. I feel like I should know better by now. My little guy is certainly capable of eating anything we eat; I just look to the kid’s menu out of obedience, or looking for smaller portions so we aren’t wasteful. I have no one to blame but myself because I decide what goes in his body.

I really do love these little restaurants popping up. Locally owned shops that have character and the drive to succeed in a shitty economy, but man am I disappointed that their quality of food stops at 5 years old. I looked at the menu again to look for Mom & Bear approved items. Perhaps these will pop into your head when you are cringing at the “Chicken Nugget” choices on your favorite restaurant menu:

  • Hummus Plate
  • Sweet Potato Fries
  • Vegetable Wild Rice
  • Seasonal Fruit
  • Side of avocado

You may have to mix and match some items to get a meal for your kiddo, but you won’t have nightmares about what toxic ingredients you have allowed your child to ingest.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Root of Us

It's been a while. In this while, I have been on a wandering path. There are so many things to talk to- to explore, but the most important at this point is food. It is the root of our well being.

In several heartfelt emails to one of my longtime friends, I have shared that, in food I find spirituality. I have thought about starting a new blog based around this. On my passion for healthy, organic, non-gmo foods. I thought if I could start a new blog, in a new space, I would be able to effect more people. Educate more people. Help more people. But then I realized: I don't blog to educate, I blog to explore and learn. The people that I need to help are my family - the people I feed. If people pass through this space and pick up a little bit of passion about what they are putting in their bodies, then I think great. If no one reads this, or is effected by it, that is great too. I am doing my due diligence as a mother, wife, and friend to provide what I believe to be a healthy life to my kin. 

If you follow me on Instagram you have probably seen this coming. I have been on a local organic kick and I think everyone should join me! I don't want to be political or overly passionate, but I think it is important and something our generation should not take lightly.

Becoming a mother, and feeding my infant (now toddler) son is what brought a lot of this to light in me. Yes, years ago I read Skinny Bitch and - while I thought it was eye opening - I didn't stick with it.  When I started to think about what I was putting in my son's body, I knew it was my responsibility to give him the best. I also needed to be an example. So I blended and mashed and blended and mashed. He finally can chew stuff without his gag reflex kicking in and we get to try all sorts of fun foods. He often eats what we eat, and 90% of the time it is organic. 

I know he will experience Halloween candy, and Dairy Queen Blizzards, and Gatorade at sporting events, and I might even be the one who introduces him to these things. But the important this is  I am starting the foundation of a healthy life in a healthy home. I don't want to hyper-parent him into gorging and binging on sweets when he is at a friend's house, but I do want him to know what is and isn't good for him. I want him to be able to make good decisions for himself when I am not around. Educating him, and the rest of my family is my goal and duty.  


There is much to discuss on this topic - and I will for certain. But in the meanwhile, I encourage anyone who reads this to start thinking about what you are eating. If it turns out that processed, Genetically Modified Organisms are good for us, then I will happily eat crow and jump on the McDonalds bandwagon.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

9 months and counting : Quinoa, Carrots & Broccoli

At Bear's recent 9 month visit our pediatrician said "He can eat anything now." He then corrected himself by saying not to feed him citrus, nuts or honey, but everything else is fair game. This made me feel a little braver when it comes to Bear's food now. I motivated me to be a little more creative than mixing a sweet potato puree with an apple puree. (This happens to be Bear's favorite). It also encouraged me to move away from cereal as the only "thickening" agent.

Last night he had quinoa, carrots and broccoli. No mush. Just regular ol' people food. He did great! I am so happy that we are braving some new flavors and new textures.


Organic whole carrots
Organic frozen broccoli

To make

  • Wash and cook the organic carrots (leave the skins on for more nutrition). I baked my carrots for about 40 minutes at 400 degrees.
  • Meanwhile rinse 1/2 cup quinoa then add to 1 cup of boiling water, Reduce heat to low and cover for about 20 minutes.
  • Boil about 1/2 cup frozen broccoli until thawed, 5-8 mins
  • Finely chop the veggies as to avoid a choking hazard. Mix with quinoa.
  • If your little one still wants some much, add some organic apple sauce or pears.
This is easily tossed into a food processor for younger babies who still are on Level 2 food.

See! Easy peasy! It all works nicely together. This is also an easy way to incorporate healthy eating at the grown up table! This makes for a great side dish!

Health Benefits

Carrots - Full of Vitamin A. Good for eye health.
Broccoli - Vitamin A, C, Folic Acid, Calcium & Fiber. Broccoli is also labeled as a "cruciferous" veggie. This means it can lower one's cancer risks. Excellent!
Quinoa - Ah the "Super Food." Protein, Protein, Protein! (It is the perfect protein with all 9 essential amino acids), Iron, Fiber, Lysine, Magnesium, Riboflavin (B2), Manganese.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Standin' on the Corner....

... In Winslow, AZ. You know the song. But did you know Winslow has a festival, just for being mentioned in a song? Well, They do! My favorite neighbors have a mobile pizza oven and were signed up to be vendors for the Festival. And I signed up to help them! 

Thursday night after work, Bear and I jumped into Neighbor J's Ford and we headed off into the sunset to Winslow. We were headed for a weekend of pizza, madness and cooler weather. 

The two babes slept soundly in the backseat with me until we hit some silly potholes about an hour outside of our destination. Do you want to know a fun car activity? Sing "The Wheels on the Bus" over and over and over and over and over... It is the only song to calm my little guy. Little M wasn't soothed... or she was singing along... who's to know?

After a restless night of sleep in a new place, we were up with the sun and headed to set up the pizza oven. The babes stayed behind with Little M's grandma, Mrs. C., and they were SPOILED with toys! Bear has never seen so many colorful toys in his life! I knew he was in good hands. Our hosts are the kind of people that want to take care of you. That are happy to clean up your messes and happy to cook every meal and clean up the dog poop in the back bedroom that your dog may or may not have left for you to step in. I stepped in it. It went in between my toes. Mrs. C. wiped my foot off while I stood on one foot holding Bear all the while. They are the hosts that have lived in this teeny town their whole lives and can tell you the history and the gossip all in the same breath. I was in heaven.

The Festival was less than I expected, but we all know how I am with my expectations. There were not many vendors, but we lucked out by being stationed by the beer garden. What goes better with beer than pizza? There was live music playing most of the time and we had lots of repeat customers. It was fun getting to know the folks of this little town. Even the crazy lady who threatened me with "meeting [my] maker" because I wouldn't give her a piece of pizza. Tip: You catch more flies with honey than vinegar toots.

Joe slung dough, while Pat turned the pizza in the oven. Joe's sister was the prep gal and J and I worked the "front of the house" by taking orders and moola. We danced in the dirt to the music - interpretive dancing mostly, our backs hurt, there was literally blood, sweat and tears. (The tears came from the deliriously tired laughter late at night). I climbed fences with buckets full of pizza dough (Shout out to the hippies that helped me with that- we gave them a free pizza). My dear neighbors made a name for themselves, and I had one of the best weekends of my life.

Sunday morning we all sat in the living room of our gracious hosts and drank coffee, reminisced about the weekend. I hope that I will be invited to help them again next year! 

Follow Forno Legna Catering on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram : @fornolegnacater

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Winterizing Wardrobes

Now that the days have been 100 degrees and under, for like 3 days straight, I realized it is time to start winterizing Bear's wardrobe. Also, we are going to visit my sister in Little Rock, which is about 30 degrees cooler there. 

I have Fridays off so Bear and I hit up H&M, which is a GREAT place for kids clothes. They have a section of organic pieces : 3 for $12. I can't buy second-hand clothes for that price! I generally have a rule about paying too much for his clothes that he won't wear in a month or two, so I love being able to find little fashion forward pieces for him.  

I bought these little mustard yellow jean at Baby GAP when Bear was just a few months old. I knew he wouldn't be needing jeans for a while because of our scalding summers, so I bough 6-12 months. I pulled them out a few weeks ago. As you can see, past the adorableness, they are squeezing his little baby belly a little too tightly. 

So, here's a tip: don't spend $24.99 on a pair of baby jeans. 

H&M has them now for $9.95 if you can find them in your wee one's size. I unfortunately could not, therefore, he now has blue pants.

But if you think that striped onsie is cute, well, that I got as part of the 3 for $12 deal! Major Score!