Wednesday, June 30, 2010
My family has been enjoying local CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture) for 5 years now. For those of you who don't know what a CSA is, in a nut shell...you pay a fee to join a farm in return for a share of their delicious produce each week.
We absolutely love receiving fresh local produce each week....but it is more than this. We grow our own food in the back yard and visit the farmers market at least once a week, so some would say...why join a farm on top of this? We do it for the community...we love getting involved in causes we believe in and supporting local food is a big one on our list.
This year we joined a new farm, Grant Family Farm, and have been very excited about getting involved in a new community of like minded folks. We had not yet "worked" on a farm and when the opportunity of a working member share was presented to us, we jumped on board. In exchange for some work on the farm, we receive a discount on our CSA account...not to mention the amazing experience!
Yesterday was our first work day and it was a good one! We dragged the kids out of bed, packed up some snacks, and headed out to Wellington for a 4 hour work day. Upon arriving we were greeted by Mike, an upbeat friendly guy, who told us to head out to the flower field...the kids eyes lit up! We spent the next hour harvesting flowers while the kids helped very enthusiastically. The next 3 hours were spent pulling weeds and again the kids helped out...until about another hour in when their attention turned to searching for bugs, making mud balls, singing songs, and using the pulled weeds to sweep their field houses clean (such imaginations).
What a great day...some hard work in the fields, a rest, them some pool time and a cold beer! Now that's what I call summer!
For more information and to connect with Grant Family Farms, please visit the websites below
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
The truth is folks...although I am a huge breastfeeding supporter, I did not breast feed my first child. In fact, one of the reasons my business never turns down a breastfeeding organization when asked for a donation is partly because of my personal experience. Here is my story:
Magnolia was born in April 2004 and I was totally thrilled to have my first baby girl. I planned on breastfeeding and thought it would just come natural. At the time I didn't have many friends with kids nor did I think I would need a breastfeeding support group....like I said, I just thought breastfeeding came easy to a new mom. I was so wrong. Magnolia latched on and I experienced such intense pain, it would bring tears to my eyes. Eventually my nipples were bloody and scabby and in more pain than I had ever experienced. Then the fever hit and I was miserable having no idea what was going on (turns out I had a bad case of Mastitis). I told my mom I wanted to stop breastfeeding and she helped me get some formula and get Magnolia on the bottle. I felt completely relieved...until the guilt started setting a few weeks later....I gave up, I failed!
I promised myself I would never give up on breastfeeding again. During my second pregnancy I was in the process of becoming an API Leader and start a chapter in my town. For this process, I was required to do a lot of reading and a lot of the books I chose were breastfeeding books. I read, I researched, I reached out to other moms, and I was determined to make it work this time around.
Once Sienna was born, again I was thrilled and ready to nurse. I got immediate help from some lactation consultants at the hospital and made it clear that I needed someone to visit my room frequently to help me. Unfortunately, one particular consultant told me I was doing great and sent me on my way....I didn't believe her. A few days later I was going through the same situation as I did with Magnolia....but I wasn't going to give up. I visited another lactation consultant, lifted my shirt to show her my beat up nipples, and she just shook her head and said "you poor poor thing". This woman was my savior to say the least! She showed me the proper way to have Sienna latch on, gave me some advice on how to heal my nipples, and sent me on my way feeling confident! I rented a hospital grade pump and pumped/bottle fed alternating with breastfeedings for about 2 weeks until I felt ready to go back to exclusive breastfeeding.
So, there you have it! Not all sunshine and rainbows on the breastfeeding front around here! I am very thankful for all the lactation consultants, La Leche League Leaders, and anyone else out there willing to help out struggling Mamas. Breastfeeding does not always come easy and natural and we need to let new moms know that there is help out there! I couldn't have done it without help!
Monday, June 28, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
The Alluvial Fan is an incredible water fall that you can walk right up to and take in it's powerful presence. While sitting next to the water fall and staring into it's intense nature I felt completely at peace and terrified at the same time.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
My favorite moments included sitting on the deck drinking coffee while listening to the river rush by and visiting an enormous water fall while sitting just a few feet from it's magnificence.
We visited Rocky Mountain National Park several times while we were there and it occurred to me how lucky I am to live so close to such an amazing park (45 minutes from my home).
Andy and I both decided to view things with new eyes on this trip....from the start of the trip driving through the canyon, to sitting on the deck and hiking around a lake...we used new eyes to appreciate and fully enjoy our surroundings. By doing this we had a whole new and exciting adventure in one of our favorite "playgrounds"!
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
I first learned of Sarah's Silks when my oldest daughter was about 2 years old. She was playing with some play silks at a friends house and I was very drawn to them...the colors, the fabric, the imaginative play. I immediately went home and ordered a few silks for my daughter. When they arrived and I gave them to her, she knew just what to do with them. Over the years we have accumulated many play silks that have been used to build forts, play dress up, carry their dolls, as doors, waterfalls, and so much more! When Hip Mountain Mama was first created, Sarah's Silks items were some of the very first products I added to the store. We absolutely love the imaginative and creative playthings and the fact that Sarah's Silks is still a family owned company. I recently had the privilege of interviewing Sarah, the owner, of Sarah's Silks and she was very generous to also offer a giveaway!
Suzy Thank you, Sarah, for taking some time today to talk with us.
Sarah Thank you for asking me!
Suzy Can you tell us a little bit about why you started Sarah's Silks and where the inspiration came from?
Sarah I was a nurse and wanted to work at home to be with my baby, so I was open to a business. My friend and I dyed some silk as a fun project one day; I saw how beautiful the silk was to play with and decided to try selling it. There was a small Waldorf toy store in our town, the owner grabbed them up and asked for more. And we grew from there. Creating the rainbow silk and many other items inspired by the Waldorf early childhood curriculum.
Suzy What attracted you to the Waldorf philosophy?
Sarah I read about Waldorf schools in Mothering magazine in 1989 when I was pregnant with my oldest son and knew it was for me. The careful way the curriculum is structured to meet the growing child at each stage of development is perfect. And of course I love the creative play in the kindergartens!
Suzy There has been a lot of concern over the past few years about products made in other countries. Can you tell us a bit about where your products are made and what the working conditions are like?
Sarah Silk is an ancient product of China . My husband is Chinese and has spent time in China making a photo journal of how our silk is made. He first went to the farmers who grow the mulberry trees, it takes up to 100 trees to make one pound of silk! And one pound of silk makes around 8 play silks. **Note-The trees do not die... They keep on growing leaves to feed the silk worms, the good part is that farmers are planting lots of trees in China in order to feed the worms, and there is a terrible deforestation problem in China.
He finally went to the village near Shanghai where the women sew our playsilks, they hand hem the edges. We have an agent there who has worked with us and these same women for 10 years. We pay them above the average pay for sewing, and they are in their homes with their kids!
Mike also visited the Chengdu Waldorf School in China . He played string games with them and had a delicious lunch! We are partnering with some of the handwork teachers on silk painting projects.
I feel it is important not to dismiss all “made in China ” products but rather to look carefully and see how things are made, and to see the conditions of the workers.
(Please view a slide show on how Sarah's Silks Play Silks are made here)
Suzy If you had 1 day without and any responsibilities, how would you spend it?
Sarah Snorkeling in the coral reefs off the coast of Belize , with my family.
Suzy As a fairly new business owner with young children I am often inspired by other successful business owning Mamas. Can you share your secret for creating your successful business while also raising your children?
Sarah Learning to use a sling in 1994 was the absolute number one thing that allowed me to dye silk, contact customers, fill orders, etc. while nursing! I was lucky to have a husband who was laid off his job in the first year I started, and then between the two of us we worked (at home) and watched the kids. We have 3 boys, 20, 16 and 10. They have been given many jobs over the years, from modeling, to product testing, to dyeing, and now Josh (20 year old) has taken over making string games; it is his job while in art school.
Sometimes I get up early and work and sometimes I work late at night. It can be tricky juggling it all, but I am grateful to have been able to be with my kids and work. They all understand business too, can explain profit margins, wholesale marketing, and more!
Suzy Thank you very much for taking time out of your busy life to share with us today!
Please leave a comment here and tell us about your favorite Sarah's Silks items
We will announce the winner on Friday June 25...Good Luck!
Saturday, June 19, 2010
June 25, 2009
I am fairly new to growing veggies. This is our third year to grow a garden, but the first year to attempt kale and spinach. To our excitement, they have really been thriving. I am positive our compost has a lot to do with how well our garden is growing this year (and all the rain we have had). I have been happily plucking spinach and kale from the garden every morning, before I even get dressed, to put in our breakfast smoothies.
I used to be very intimidated by freezing produce...like it was going to be this big huge task that I would never be able to complete. Well, I was wrong. I went to my friend google and asked how to freeze greens. Google showed me many websites that calmed my fears and showed me step by step how easy it is to freeze greens.
In a nut shell, you harvest, you wash, you blanch (2 min in boiling water), you soak in ice water, you drain, you freeze....easy peasy!
Through my google search I found a few different methods for freezing my kale and below is the method I went with.
Blanch your kale, by submerging in boiling water for 2 minutes
After the 2 minutes is up, transfer the kale from the boiling water into a bowl of ice water for about 2 minutes (save the boiling water for the next batch)
Then you can either lay it out to dry, or put it in a salad spinner. I just dried it a bit in a towel then put it in the zip lock freezer bag. You can use a vacuum sealer if you have one, or do what I did. Zip the bag closed all the way except for one little opening big enough for a straw. Stick the straw in and suck all the air out, then zip it shut all the way.
Then label your bags and stick them in the freezer! All done!
Friday, June 18, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
After a play date last week, with The NoCo Nature Tribe, at my favorite park up the canyon a bit, we drove home feeling ready for some lunch and a nap. As we were driving we approached a little shop that I had driven by about 100 times before and never stopped. It is one of those places I would tell myself I would pop in on another day and just never did. Well, on this day, with this challenge in mind...we stopped!
The Colorado Cherry Company is a family-owned and operated business that prides itself on the most delicious ciders, jams/preserves, syrups and condiments ever consumed! I was overwhelmed by all the delicious products they offered and was so glad to have stopped in.
Supporting small and local businesses is something we are very passionate about, and this place definitely fits the bill. I know I will be back to do some holiday shopping and encourage you to stop in if you are ever in or near The Big Thompson Canyon.
What have you been exploring?
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Last year we headed out to my first Mishawaka show with Hot Buttered Rum and it turned out to be an amazing experience. (You can read last year's blog post here). When I heard Hot Buttered Rum was going to be playing Mishawaka again this summer, it was a no brainer...we were going. In fact, I don't imagine we will ever miss a Hot Buttered Rum show at The Mish!
Since it was pouring rain on Sunday we decided to leave the kids with some friends for the day. Andy and I packed our rain jackets and headed to the back roads for an incredibly beautiful hour drive out to Mishawaka. We arrived around 3, parked the car, and paused for a few minutes to take in the breathtaking view of the raging river.
We walked into the show to watch the opening band, March Fourth Marching Band , complete with lots of horns, some dancers, and even a few folks on stilts...this is a show worth checking out if you ever get a chance! We enjoyed talking with members of Hot Buttered Rum, old friends, and new friends while rain lightly poured on all the concert goers who were decked out in rain jackets.
Hot Buttered Rum came on stage around 5 and we quickly went to the front of the stage to watch our favorite band play our favorite songs. They played 2 magical sets while we danced, sang, and fully enjoyed the amazing scenery that Mishawaka has to offer.
After the show we talked with a few band members who invited us back stage for a beer and a quick jam session. I sang along with Nat as he strummed his guitar and sang Amanda Lynn.
All in all an amazing day out at Mishawaka and as I look forward to many more fun concerts and festivals this summer, I will anxiously be waiting for next years Hot Buttered Rum/Mishawaka event!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
With the increased outdoor time and traveling this summer, we believe there are 3 summer time essentials that every family should have.
1. Sunscreen...using sunscreen on ourselves and our kids is very important when planning days filled with outdoor activities. We recommend using Mama Rose's Naturals 30 SPF Sunblocker. Each ingredient in this outstanding product has been carefully chosen to serve its own individual purpose in nourishing, protecting, and moisturizing the skin. Mama Rose’s Naturals SunBlocker is the perfect blend of ingredients resulting in a pleasant-smelling sunscreen lotion without any dangerous artificial chemicals or synthetic fragrances. For this reason you can feel great about putting it on your skin, as well as your children's!
2. Bug Spray...bugs can be a nuisance when outside enjoying the summer weather, but it is not always feasible to wear long pants and long shirts to prevent bites. For this reason, it is always good to have a natural bug spray on hand. At Hip Mountain Mama we recommend using Mama Rose's Naturals Bug Blocker Insect Repellent. Mama Rose's Naturals BugBlocker is a pleasant smelling 100% natural anti-bug spray. It is safe to use on children, and even pets! Enjoy the outdoors without the use of DEET and harsh chemicals. Each active ingredient in this special formulation is a known natural deterrent to bug bites, so you can feel totally confident in using it freely. You’ll love how natural and gentle it is to your skin.
3. Sunshine Spray...you are probably wondering what this award winning product is and I was curious at first also. It is now something that I don't know how I ever lived without. When my kids get a boo boo, all they need is a spray of sunshine to make it all better....it soothes sunburns, it soothes attitudes when sprayed in the air, it can be used to wash the diaper area, used in the bath, to disinfect toys, to freshen the bathroom or diaper pail, remove make up, and so many other uses. Sunshine Spray is an exceptionally mild combination of floral waters, known for being aroma-therapeutic, antiseptic, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory. Sunshine Spray can help relax and ease anxiety, while also helping to relieve and cool skin irritation and diaper rash. This is a great product to have in the car, diaper bag, and while traveling.
Having these 3 summer essentials will get you through the summer months filled with all your outdoor adventures. Don't leave home without these 3 items and you won't ever be caught in a jam.
For the summer months we are offering these 3 items as a Summer Essential Pack at a discounted price.