Monday, December 19, 2011

Barnes Boys Fashion - Golf Day

sadly these posts have died out since bryson started kindergarten and wears his uniform every day. on the weekends we have been doing soccer, then church/ it seems like bryson rarely gets to wear normal play clothes these days. this weekend bryson had a golf lesson and bryan took bodie along too - getting him prepared for the next year or so...bodie is scary good already...its kinda freaky...and little bobby already knows how to hit the ball...i look forward to the future with my saturdays all to myself....and bryan with his foursome...but i think i have a while to go...

on bobby:
hat - H&M
shirt - H&M

on Bodie:
hat - thrifted
shirt - Penguin
pants - thrifted
shoes - puma

i found this vest at the thrift store and bryson loved it and he had a bow tie to match and so i asked him if he wanted to wear it. he told me that he didnt think golfers wore bow ties...i then showed him all these rad pictures of golfers from the 20s, 30s and 40s - with their knickers and argyle and sweater vests....he was totally into it - and i made him promise if he ever becomes a pro golfer that he has to dress like this...he pinky promised. so he wanted to pose like the golfers he told me...

on bryson:
hat - gorin
shirt - H&M
vest - thrifted
bow tie - thrifted
shorts - Shaun White for Target
shoes - Vans

look at this guy...he is so big i cant stand it...i keep wondering how i got a 6 year old all the strange that they become little people...

Friday, December 16, 2011

DIY Varsity Shirt

i was at this festival the other weekend and this dude had on this vintage varsity sweatshirt and i loved it. i looked up some varsity "B"s online and found one in my old high school colors and made a felt one for bryson...i loved how it turned out...he was kinda into it too...which is nice -it is getting trickier and trickier to sew for that boy.

i am into these varsity sweatshirts too...may make some for some b-day presents - i have a bunch of fleece that may be good to use for it as well - but its all very nostalgic and silly to me...i told bryson he lettered in golf and he was like, "oh...awesome!" like he knows what that means, ha!

(i found that plaid fabric in the remnant bin at Jo-anns for couple bucks so i picked it up and made this little handkerchief for bryson out of it...super simple...took all of 5 would be a great gift for a fashionable little guy, or gal.)

Bread Success! (and fail)

so...i got some crazy wild baking/cooking hair in my pants this weekend...i went nuts - i made 2 different types of pumpkin bread, a loaf of bread (fail), granola bars, soup and some healthy snack thing that turned out awful and my kids looked at me like i was poisoning them...dont you like us mom? why would you make that? i dont know...i was trying to be healthy...but baking and healthy is not always the best combinations...sometimes you just need "a litta bitta butter" as Paula Deen would say!

i have been thinking about bread and the smell of fresh baked bread and how i want my kids to have those smell memories. part of my job when i worked at this Alzheimer home was to do the bread machine every day as a part of aroma-therapy for the residents...there is something healing about bread. so i have made a sort of goal for myself to attempt it at least once a month for a year...maybe trying different kinds of breads and things, but of course trying to master or semi-master this amazing recipe.

i was trying to call my mom to get her bread "recipe" before i attempted bread, but no luck, so i printed one out from the interwebs somewhere and it was awful...and complicated...bread shouldnt be so complicated i dont think... i dont own a kitchenaid mixer...and it seems like every recipe i find in blogs and stuff for baking and bread calls for one...i dont know but my mom never had one and made bread just anyways - my sister was able to get her recipe and i wanted to share it- both for selfish purposes and knowing i can have access to it whenever i need...wherever i may be...and also for your benefit as well.

my mom and her sisters and cousins wrote down a bunch of family recipes for a family cookbook, complete with stories and everything...i thought it was so touching...wanted to share..

Basic Barmore Bread Recipe
1 cup warm water (see yeast pkg. for temp-not too hot or the yeast will die.)
2 packages dry yeast (rapid rise)

Mix together yeast and water: add 1 tsp. sugar and set aside for 10 minutes until bubbly.

Mix in:
1/4 cup soft or cooled melted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup old fashion oats
1 tsp. salt

1 cup flour-mix together (Total flour will be around 3-4 cups)

After the flour is mixed in, continue to add in 1 cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time until the mixture cannot be mixed easily with a spoon.
**warning**careful here:  the key is to knead the dough until it is no longer sticky. Grandma said that this is the key part to making a loaf and it is mostly by feel of the dough.  If you add too much flour, the bread does not rise.  Flour a breadboard and knead the dough until no longer sticky.

Butter a bowl and set the dough in the bowl.  Cover with hot towel and let rise 1 hour.  After 1 hour (it should have risen to twice its size)  punch down the dough.  Roll out with a rolling pin and roll to fit into a buttered loaf pan.  Cover with damp warm towel and let sit for 1/2  to 1 hour.  Heat oven to 350 degrees and bake the bread for 40-45 minutes.  Pull the bread from the oven and coat the top with butter to soften the crust.

"I had Grandma show me how to make bread when she visited my home when my kids were young. She would grab the butter dish and throw in an undetermined amount, then shake the salt in, handful of oatmeal, etc. It was so hard to actually stop her to get some sort of measurement since it was so random and fast. I'm sure this is how she had to make the 30 or so loaves of bread every day in Jungo, NV when she had to get up at 4:00 am and ride 20 miles to the ranch to bake and cook for the ranch hands.

But finally- after many failures- I was able to make a loaf that  resembled hers somewhat. This basic dough can be used to make cinnamon rolls or flavored bread of any kind by just adding different ingredients in with he wet ingredients."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Lil' Gnome

a while back i went on this fleece hat sewing spree...i had one left and just remembered i stuck it on my little gnome! i love it! he the most delectable little gnome you ever did see? this little coat was a little early Christmas present that i could not resist - on sale from the nutmeg tree (on vacation now...sorry!) - other things happening in this picture i would like to point out...he is only wearing one shoe...which has since been found luckily - we are on the 4th pair of shoes for this kid- i dont know what his deal is...
also...those rings on the ground are golf instructional thingees...a birthday present for bryson...i am also hearing rumors about a certain someone installing a putting green in our backyard...hmmm...

in other news...i haven't done a zoodies update for a while now...cause i have been so busy with orders - thank you! i went on a zoodies making spree as well and updated the shop - all zoodies in stock should ship out in time for Christmas! 

Hope you are enjoying the Advent Season!

Monday, November 14, 2011

I Love it! Patchwork Long Beach Edition

Patchwork came in town to Long Beach on the 6th and I was able to pop on by for a bit. It was a rainy morning, but I was so happy to see that the venue still had a good turnout...i was able to cross a few people off my christmas shopping list and check out some amazing artists and crafts - i wanted to share some of my favorite finds with you!

1. Artwork by Andrea Zuill

loved her grumpy kid drawings and her halloween-ey stuff - i asked her if she is in any children's books
and she said that she was so close...that is where and what she wants to be doing. it will just be a matter of time before you see her art in books - don't you think?

2. Sass & Peril - prints

they had the sweetest little animals and artwork - perfect for a nursery or kids room...they also had fun tote bags and cards - loved them!

3. Pommes Frites - home decor

i may have picked up one of these hollowed out books...but i could have bought a ton more! i loved them - so fun and sturdy and i could think of at least 10 people who would absolutely love it!

4. home spun vintage - kids vintage clothes

the bargain bin was awesome! she also had some pin on bow ties made from men's ties that were too good to pass up. i love the extra details she added to the pieces to give them a little more handmade feel. so cute!

5. Yellow 108 - accessories

they had such an amazing assortment of handmade hats. i wanted them to have some for kiddos, but i know a certain husband that would love to add to his collection!

and i lost the business card to the last little booth i wanted to share. i bought the sweetest little hanging succulent ceramic planter from this booth...forgot the name...but if anyone knows who i am talking about, please let me know so i can share!

if you are in the socal area - check out the next patchwork shows!

Friday, November 11, 2011

20 things I have learned/am learning about having kids

1. having 3 kids is quite different than being one of three kids in your family. i think it has something to do with responsibility...and the more recent love for peace and quiet.
2. repetition is apparently never annoying to kids...ever...even after 5,698 times...
3. the laundry is NEVER done.
4. either are the dishes.
5. lets just say all housekeeping is not the greatest at this point in our lives
6. i have made peace with the fact that at any given point, at least one of my children is not going to be happy with whatever is going on.
7. i have almost made peace when 2 lose it at the same time.
8. when its all three...that is when i visit crazy town.
9. i know a lot about furniture being used as ladders. and how they can be used. even if you think "no way" - they don't think like that.
10. little boys are the worst roommates in the planet
11. but i did teach bryson to replace the toilet paper roll, so at least one other person in this family does that now...
12. kids are the best teachers sometimes.
13. and the most forgiving people.
14. when my children wake they are usually the sweetest in the world.
15. 4:00 - 7:00 is when aliens abduct my children and turn them into whiny crazy spastic lunatics.
16. if i ever think i finally have a calm minute and i can call so and kids remind me about 2 minutes later- you can not mom...talking on the phone is absolutely unacceptable for a mother. the rudeness.
17. the idea of time to now just narrowed down to pooping.
18. kids have gotten me over the taboo of saying poop...sorry...
19. i will never be the same as i was before kids.
20. and that is for the better of all mankind. thank you kiddos!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

table runner re-cycle

goodness...i just checked my post and i got these feed sacks at this garage sale a year and a half ago! i can not believe it has been that long...yes i can...never any rate - i did not know what to do exactly with them, so they have sat in my fabric pile for a while now...a year and a half i guess...and so i decided to fashion them into a table runner.

i did them in a way so that i could easily take them out and still use them on whatever...pillow? curtain? i dont know...which is why they have sat for so long...but i am enjoying seeing them every day on my table. i love the graphic and the colors of the feed sack, and the owner pretty much gave them to me as a consolation prize...he was probably thinking, "who would want to buy these old sacks?"

do any of you all have any grand feed sack ideas? they could still be re-purposed!

Friday, October 28, 2011

scurvy pirates

i think the first year i got to dress my little boy up i picked something cute, but warm...the second year i let him kinda pick...and i have done pretty good at letting them all tell me what they want to be (i guess not bobby yet...he doesnt get a say so...but thats on account-a he doesnt talk). so anyway - i let them pick and bryson wanted to be either Finn from Adventure Time or David Bowie ala the Labyrinth. Bodie wanted to be Harold and the Purple Crayon.

I am still working on bryson's costume...bodie's was easy - a blue footed pajama and a big purple crayon. the only thing was that i didnt account for all these daytime costume parties - dressing up at school...for a birthday party...for another little party...for all kinds of activities during the HOT days...some days it has been in the i decided to execute halloween plan B. pirates. 

i just whipped these up the other night without asking them if they wanted to be pirates...without really measuring fact i made basically the same size for both of the boys - just really loose and forgiving. i didnt overlock anything...i just kept it super simple and the greatest thing is...they can get it dirty and muss it up and it will just add to the authenticity of it all - brilliant! 

it isnt my finest piece of work...but i was proud of myself for using only things i had laying around and things that i havent used for years...and also making a shirt and vest, which i had never done before. dont inspect them too closely...i warn you...but how fitting for a couple of scurvy pirates! i have to add that it did make me a teensy bit proud that amid the sea of pirates in his class...bodie had the only authentic i just need to whip up a couple of eye patches!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Podcasts to check out

do you do podcasts? i feel like there isnt a whole lotta talk about them, but i have found myself scouring the archives for good podcasts. is that geeky? i dont know if this is okay to admit...but i almost never listen to music in the car by myself anymore. i almost exclusively listen to NPR, and more exactly, PRX. I had the opportunity to listen to some of my favorite shows and thought it would be fun to share with those of you who don't have XM or sirius and want some fun podcasts to listen to. I listen to podcasts while i do my sewing at nights home alone - i also listen to them doing remedial office work like filing or billing (with ear phones on). they are a fun way to pass the time...anyway - here are some of my favorites!

1. This American Life.

With host, Ira Glass. if you haven't heard of it...please check it out. Every episode I have heard (and that is a lot) has been either entertaining or interesting or both. I can not recall a single bad episode. The layout of the show is usually centered around a theme and 3-4 "acts" or different stories related to that theme. Some of my favorite episodes:

The Invention of Money - fascinating episode about how we invent money and worth
How to Talk to Kids - so good...just listen...
Break-Up   - even better after you read Twilight

2. The MOTH                

These are true stories told by *semi* real people. I say *semi* because probably 80% of them are in the entertainment business somehow, but sometimes you get an AMAZING story from a non-celeb and at least most of the ones i have heard are heartfelt in one way or another. listen to a couple and you will be hooked...swear...

Toast - by Colin Quinn - a true story about a horrible gig      
One of the best ones i heard, i found on youtube - A.J. Jacobs talking about Outsourcing his Life.

you can also attend the story slams...there is one coming up next week i think in LA - i have gone before and it was awesome!

3. 99% Invisible

With host, Roman Mars - a show about design and architecture - there was this fascinating story i heard on one the other day where he investigated the history behind the columns in the washington arboretum...every one i have heard has brought these amazing stories to spaces - love them!

4. The Memory Palace

with host, Nate DiMeo - its harder to explain concisely - usually a compilation of music and stories around a central theme with questionable history. i have loved every episode i have heard.

here is one that is great - consumer electric eulogy

5. The Kitchen Sisters

gosh..everybody loves them...they are highly respected broadcast journalists and it seems like every piece i have heard by them is a knock out!

here is their more recent work - and every one is amazing...again...i swear!

so there you go...a few podcasts to look know...if you are into that sorta thing...if you don't think you are, but aren't sure...give one (or two) a try - you never know - you just may be a geek like me!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Captain USA Zoodie

i am a little terrified of words like infringement and copyright and all those types of things...can you tell? i had a friend ask me to make a couple of these for his nephews and at first i hesitated because bryson's super-zoodie ended up taking me a long while and i still have yet to find a way to attach the cape and make it friendly on the pocket in order to sell. but to my delight Captn USA does not have a cape...and in fact these came out fairly easy! but the real deal has red and white stripes along the bottom and i havent figured a way to include that without making the pocket obsolete...any suggestions?

these are also horribly photographed also BTW...i am missing my photographer around...we have been two ships lately passing...last night we were supposed to have a little date at home together and watch a movie and i fell asleep on the couch at 7...woke up at 8...declared i am done for...and brushed my teeth, took off my shoes and collapsed in bed. i believe it was the first time ever i fell asleep before my kids. we have both been working very hard...almost non-stop. i realized last night that as much as my brain wanted to get stuff done, my body just wasn't cooperating. it couldnt even watch television. that was when i knew i needed to listen to body and give in.

anyway...dont know where that all went, but i wanted to show you all this little number and ask if you think it should go up in the shop? should i make it more "costumey" or is it nice that it is simple? i get torn a lot on that - i personally like them simple. bryson goes to a school with a uniform dress code and i feel like i could send him in this without violating long as he keeps the hood down during school. a little fun in a sea of same-ness :) but please...spill your beans...if you feel so inclined i would love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

conflict resolution - part one

i get a little obsessed over themes...or ideas...and it seems to me that there is always one overwhelming theme or idea that sorta pervades parenting through a phase in your child(ren)'s life.

once my middle child bodie (2.5) got to be old enough to play with his older brother bryson (5.5) it seemed like all of the sudden there was constant conflict. there are several steps we have taken as an intentional course in ridding our household of conflict.

step one...get rid of stupid toys. i have been to many a house of parents with children who have bins upon bins with toys...and i am always amazed that their children actually play with their toys. my kids are not of that temperament. my kids like to take a toy and then fight over that one toy for an hour...then the next day that toy sits...and the next...and the next...for months. its like they just want an excuse to fight over it. i also personally am not a fan of toys that make noise- i feel like children are born with this amazing capability to re-create sounds and make their own *amazing* sounds for toys and it breaks my heart a little when a toy does it automatically for them. for instance...light sabers that light up and make noise. my husband bought one for bryson without any consultation and i was a little sad that it was no longer him making "woosh" sounds, but the toy doing it for him. also - imagine 3 boys all with different sound making toys...i just can't handle it. for my own selfish sanity sake. plus my boys are always better with outside toys anyway - i would much rather spend money on a scooter than a box of legos because i will not trip over a scooter in my house (cause its outside you see) and also they are getting fresh air and exercise, which i believe are two key ingredients to a child's overall well being!

so we purged. like totally purged. we only kept the things they play with on a consistent basis and also boxed up sets so they could be taken out and played with during a set constructive time. its not overwhelming for them and that way they are actually excited about it.

step two...remove the parent from (most) conflict(s). i learned this at bryson's pre-school...and i am sure there are probably many of books on the subject and this is not something i made up...although i think the idea is pretty genius. when a normal conflict happens between the two older boys and one runs up to me and says "bodie hit me in the face" my response is something along the lines of "i am so sorry he did that! did you ask him why? did you tell him how that made you feel?" and then i sit back and watch him ask "bodie...why did you hit me? that hurt! i was only trying to show you how to play with that!" and then i smile if bodie says "i'm sorry" and gives him a hug. it doesn't always end like that of course, but that is a part of parenting conflict. teaching them to resolve it among themselves. i will not always be there to mediate conflict.

step three...stepping in. when i found out i was having a second boy and not knowing about brothers (our family had 2 girls and one boy and so did my husband's family) i asked a dear friend who happens to be one of five boys (!) what to do with brothers...when to step in and when to let them get it out. his reply was immediate and direct "when there is blood". i have (almost completely) taken this to heart. i realize that boys like to physically express emotions sometimes and there is a healthy version to that. even in complete friendship and fun there is physicality...and it can be hard as a mom to sit back and watch your son get pinned and all red in the face and not tell the other kid to let go of him...but i do...because i believe it is all a part of teaching them healthy conflict resolution.

please don't peg me wrong - i dont let my boys go all out and i never step in. i step in when there is a serious threat, or i feel like someone is taking advantage or manipulating wrongly and correct them, but the point is - i let them try to figure it out first. i think that is an important point.

step four...modeling healthy conflict resolution. here lies my struggle. of course. my husband and i come from two very different models of conflict. one model they openly had conflict in front of their kids in maybe the not so healthiest of ways. in another model they only argued behind closed doors, so that when it happened the children were scared of divorce. so our whole overwhelming theme right now is how to model healthy conflict and conflict resolution to our children, without making them aware of very adult discussions that they should not be aware of. i should also add here that this is a constant theme because my husband and i work there is that. enough said.

i think the point of it is that in every relationship that is of worth and value there will be conflict. that is completely normal, right? so it all comes down to your choices in how to react and resolve said conflict. and, i might to make your children aware that conflict is okay...and not scary.

i remember when we were newly-ish married and starting to really get into conflict (past the honeymoon phase) i was reading marriage books and "love" books...and then somehow i got turned on to the book "The 5 Languages of Apology". this was an amazing eye-opener of a book for me. at the time whenever we dealt with conflict my husband would re-hash the whole series of events of where i went wrong...then explain his reaction...then tell me about my reaction...oh my goodness - this took hours my friends...and the whole time i would be defensive saying "but i said SORRY!!" my reaction was always the same...i felt he was beating a dead horse...i would get super defensive. i am the quick to blow up and quick to forgive type. not him. he was the SLOW to blow up and SUPER SLOW to resolve conflict. so this book helped me see where he was coming from. it helped me to see that everyone has different ways to accept and give apologies. it is still my go-to source for conflict resolution in intimate relationships.

so...we are obviously still learning...10 years later...we still have a LONG way to go to be anywhere near being good at it...but it is still in my immediate thoughts and concerns.

this is already a long post and i have a lot more thoughts on the subject...but will save it for a different time, but if you have any conflict resolution parenting books or relationship books or advice you want to share - PLEASE comment and share!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Money Matters - Mint (dot) com

i just have to post this. i hope i dont have to tell anyone that they did not pay me to do this...but they did not pay me to do this.

i help my husband run our family business....i also run my own business...i am also responsible for our personal finances. because of this...especially because our family business is like a full time accounting job that i cram in to 20 hours a week...our personal finances get overlooked. like majorly overlooked. like i never know how much i even have in my account. i have operated from a "feeling" that we have enough to cover this...well...turns out my feelings dont always match up with my bank's feelings...

so this past month has been a real "come to Jesus" as far as my accounting goes. i realized i suck as an accountant. i begged my husband to fire me for like 4 days straight...when he explained that it was neither a financial option nor a marital option...i tried to figure out how to get it all straight.

i have spent about 10 hours just working on budgets...i still have about a weeks more worth of work in figuring everything out...that is just how mixed and crazy it all is. we recently had this amazing opportunity in our business to finally stop working from a cash negative stand point, so the BUDGET has become full focused.

my problems with budgets in the past is that i dont enter all my receipts until months after the fact. so if i am over budget and continue to be over budget it all happens much too late. also - i dont really have a grasp on all the things we spend money on during the month on a regular basis. we have multiple businesses and our personal finances get all wrapped it gets tricky.

enter Mint.

this is so incredible.

i signed up (for free) and plugged in my bank accounts and my credit card and they categorized all my spending and i set up my budgets. and now on my phone (and my husband's) we can look at a glance where we are with spending. if we are where we should be...if we are over...if our bank account is getting low...if we need to be focusing our budget on other things. its all there...and i cant help myself from looking at it at least 10 times a day right now.

if you are a budget-challenged person like might just love this app. it is also a website if you dont have a droid or iphone...and so easy to easy to manage. this has completely changed our (financial) life.

so check it out...seriously...and tell them they should pay me or something.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dinos are for Girls Too!

Hey - Girls like dinos too! Like me, for instance...i recently became obsessed with them. I came home from the Santa Ana Discovery Center and i told my husband - there were dinosaurs right here in Long Beach! isnt that amazing? and he told me i just discovered what every 10 year old boy discovers every day. so i am a little late to the party, but still - i find them amazing! 

I have done some custom girly dinos in the past, but just finally got around to adding some to our stock. Available now in sizes 18 months (American Apparel size 2), 2 (American Apparel size 4) & 4 (American Apparel size 6)

Go check it out here!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Custom Mouse Zoodie - Size 18 Months - In Stock

I had made this custom mouse zoodie for a friend...then realized i made it in the wrong size :( so i made her another one and have kept this one and am finally getting around to posting seriously a year later. i get behind sometimes. i blame a third child. and kindergarten. and summer. i'll take anything - that is just how i roll friends. anyway - it would be fun to wear to a certain theme park and probably cheaper than their souvenirs...

in size 18 months (American Apparel size 2) and ready to ship! available here

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I Made a Skirt Y'all!

i am a little silly about this skirt. its really not even anything to brag about other than the fact that it is the first thing i have made for myself that i actually wear...out. the pattern (yardsale skirt from the book weekend sewing by heather ross) is super easy to follow, but make sure you read her errata on her website, or else you may end up with this... least this one covers my bum! that is nice for everyone. i love the length and how it twirls and how easy it wears and washes. i also love how easy the whole thing was to put together....definitely this sewing for yourself can become quite addicting...especially since i am watching project runway currently  and getting all kinds of inspired...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fuzzy Wuzzy Zoodie - Size 3 - In Stock and Ready to Ship!

fuzzy wuzzy was a bear, fuzzy wuzzy had blonde hair? how did this kid get blond hair? its wierd, but also pretty cool. i had originally bought this sweatshirt to do a custom zoodie for a friend who wanted a size 3, but i didn't realize it was lined with fur for some reason...

i thought it would make a cute bear for a cute kid who lives in a colder climate than SoCal...or maybe here too for like 3 days. 

In stock and ready to ship and available here

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Riley's Apple Farm

Spartans all ready for us!

brothers...they melt my heart when they are in love

he is mad-dogging the bees eating the rotten apples, but i think this picture is hilarious! 

making cider - the most yummy stuff on earth!


we made the trek out to Oak Glen last Sunday to visit Riley's Apple Farm...i remembered my post from last year (goodness how bodie has changed!) and remembered to go one stop past Riley's Farm to Riley's Apple Farm (same family, different farms). it was a lot easier to pick apples at this farm. there were only 2 types of apples ripe - Spartan and Rome - there was only one Rome tree ripe for picking and you know we picked it good! the romes are better for cooking and i made some applesauce the next day and oh man! so good! there are few things better than eating hot homemade applesauce - delish!

we went on a Sunday and it was not crowded at all! i was so surprised...maybe because it was early in the season? whatever the reason, it was next to a perfect day - it would have been completely perfect if it was not 82 degrees - can't i please find fall somewhere? my heart is seriously aching right now for cooler temps and jeans and pumpkin spices and not to mention my beer that needs to be in the 70s - so quit messing around with us summer...we are through. its over. move on. no seriously - please dont even call me. harumph.

a little outing like this was a teensy bit easier than last year and it has me with high hopes that day...we will be able to travel with our boys and actually enjoy it. i mean, we enjoy it now of course...but one day it will be even easier and we will be out of the "twos" and that will be both sad and lovely all at the same time. back to the apple farm - we picked some apples, ate some apples, shot some bows and arrows...apparently i really impressed the guy working there because i was making the target....i took archery in college...and got a C because i wasnt that good and the test was the actual target and making it! how lame...couldnt we have just written a paper about the target...that is why i never did PE. okay, anyway again...we made some cider and met the chickens and the pig and her baby cute piglets...i want a pig so bad...bryan does not share this sentiment.

its a fun little family tradition and it will be fun to watch the kids remember it each year. its a trek, but well worth it!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Zoodies on Sale!

y'all are the first to know! cause i love you like that! i am trying to push out the zoodies that are already made and give people a little incentive (almost 20% off!) to purchase ones in stock. Go check it out...maybe buy one...or two...or tell a friend...or think they are time for back to school and Halloween!

Check them out -

Winter Ale

pany hose steep sack...classy

wort after first set of hops

ready to pitch the yeast

oh...friends...let me tell you how nice it is to be brewing again after a 2 year hiatus...i still can't believe its been that long, but i know this to be true since this is the first time i have made beer in our current home. i planned on giving some home-brew as a Christmas gift...also i missed brewing, so at the faintest hint of fall i jumped right in. (also - at the faintest hint of fall i began roasting and soup-making and fall decorating, but i suppose that is a different post all together...i am a bit of an optimist)

i wanted to make a beer i hadnt made before. i also wanted to make a "spicey" beer. the few fall beers i have made before just were not that spicey enough for me...but i have a feeling from the aromas of this wort that this beer will carry that spice all the way through. there is cinnamon and nutmeg and lemon zest and all kinds of hops - 4 oz of hops to be exact, at all different stages of brewing.

there are also grains. so i think this is the most complicated beer i have made thus far. hopefully it will be the most complicated, but successful since i have attempted complicated before and not quite seen it through.

but oh...the happiness...of seeing the wort come together. of smelling the thick air of malt. of the spices. of being able to occupy my time sewing right around the corner...checking in on it every few minutes, while getting some projects crossed off. of remembering my happy brewing times and the thrill of making something yourself that could easily be bought at the store.

if you are interested in getting started in home-brewing and live in the long beach area - please go find Steinfillers - they are so helpful and they drink beer while they talk to you. awesome. if you are not in long beach, then google your nearest home brew store and go make friends. i have popped my little head into many a home brew store outside of my home town and found each one to be so eager to help anyone get started. i have steinfillers on speed dial and frequently call them with questions and not once have i been treated with anything other than some other beer nerd so happy to help!

PS - if you are curious about the process you can read about how i make beer
PPS - apologies for the horrible pics...i couldnt find my camera...

some notes to myself for next time:

you do not need any more iodine carlee - you have like 6 bottles. are more than set for like 100 more batches.

for that matter - you also have enough bottle caps to bottle about a thousand bottles.

you need to get yourself some grain steeping sacks because you have no more panty-hose to cut up.

you also need to plan on brewing better and buy distilled water and ice, ice, ice...because waiting 2 hours for your wort to chill is not only not fun, but not good for the beer.

do not ever let your children see your glass carboy - they think its a fun receptacle to put leaves and trash and what-not in...(dont worry...i spent over 40 minutes cleaning it and sanitizing it before i attempted brewing)

and finally, remember to have beer in your fridge while makes brewing THAT much better!