brinsonfolks

June 4th, 2014 at 4:33 pm

I’m working on that sourdough, I promise. My kitchen is currently a science experiment. While I’ve successfully made sourdough starter I haven’t done it without great waste, so I’m trying to get this done without any pour off for the initial process. Waste not want not.

You see, when catching yeast every recipe I’ve come across has you add copious amounts of flour and then throw some away the next day. I’ve read that you HAVE to do this… but after months of working with starter almost every day I believe I don’t have to take this as fact. But it’s taking some trial and error. Well, there hasn’t been an error yet. I had what I found to be workable starter the second day with a new grape method I tried last week. So I threw it out and started again with a new bag of grapes just to see if it would work again- and while it didn’t catch yeast as quickly it’s still looking and smelling exactly the way I’d like it to start. Let’s just say I could get really nerdy up in here, but I won’t bore you.

Here’s my new white flour and rye starter bubbling away. I’ll be back with my results and a frugal recipe soon…

This weekend we went into the bees and added a super (fancy beekeeper word for made the hive bigger) because this sucker was oozing honey. It felt pretty darn good since we just started all over after the cold killed a colony this winter.

I get to spend every day with this.. maniac.

These two are incredible. So different. So not ever the same. Never apart. Joined at the hip.

The feeler, thinker, sensitive type…

The laid back, giving, surfer dude…

I am most proud of them, of course, out of anything David and I have built together. And if we stop being hard on ourselves and sit down to make a list we’ve created some things we should be proud of.

Like our home and this yard, that was gifted to us by god and nature. Sometimes when it all settles, and even when it doesn’t, I look around and am so incredibly grateful. This sunrise makes me want to fall to my knees. But then I might spill my coffee. So I don’t, instead I just admire it, holding my head high- thankful that I get to cohabit this spot.

We’ve been working on the front yard this year, there are trees and overgrown shrubbery purged. We plan on working as hard as we did in the back, but it will be slow. I create as I am inspired, as not to make haste and throw a bunch of things I don’t love and aren’t lasting into the mix. Catching a few shots from a firefly hunt last week certainly helps grow inspiration.

He would follow her to the ends of the earth…

more recent photos here

days in the life

May 30th, 2014 at 9:12 am

| go |

Date night is one of my favorite night of the week. To go from all babies all the time to having one night each week for just us has been monumental in our relationship after children. If we had to take out a loan I might even consider small debt to do this. It has been that important. At first I was terrified, a weekly commitment! It gave me a little anxiety as I love spending time with our babies, not to mention I’m a homebody. Now we are light on our feet on date days each week. This past week we found a special spot near the courthouse that overlooks Washington Street. I have never noticed it that I can recall. So we wandered up the steps and doted on Athens once more. Even that new parking deck and ridiculous crane for more student housing couldn’t stop us from falling in love with Athens (in the summer : sans students) again.

The kids are loving the sun + water this year, and this mama (zodiac sign : leo) is in her own personal heaven.

| eat |

For a few weeks there’s been some surprising spring runny noses around here. I’ve been learning about and diving much more deeply into bone broth than ever before. I’ve learned a lot and will share more this coming fall.

Regarding the sourdough starter recipe I promised you this week, plan for Monday or Tuesday- I’ve got some new batches bubbling. I am trying for a reduction in flour and need time to be sure it will work. Most recipes call for cups of flour each day and cups thrown out as well. I hate the waste and want to see if I can catch and feed yeast with less. I’ve been giving starter away too, so if you’re local or we have plans to visit soon ask and you shall receive.

| grow |

Blackberries are ripening. We are currently picking about a dozen or so each day right now, soon there will be enough for you friends to come and pick with us!

The first big tomato of the year.

Blueberries are chugging along, we moved the plants last fall and that might have set them back a tad. Next year will probably be a much better year for them production wise, otherwise they’re looking healthy and basking in their new location near the kids’ slide.

Our third year coreopsis are trying their best, but I think I’ll exercise patience and give them some fish emulsion and a little more time. Unbeknownst to them, my violets are trying to choke out everything they come in contact with. I recently got a new tool that is helping with that problem. If you’re in the market for a weeder, this guy is legit.

This year I hope that my hydrangeas survive the unfortunate fate of toddlers with big imaginations, the kind that uses beloved flower petals to “cook”, dance, shower, and whatever else they please.

larkspur is the loveliest it’s ever been.

calla lilies showing their stuff, coming back for round two.

| love |

I didn’t catch the moment, but I’ll forever have memory of Silas running down the hall acting like a ghost with his fanny clearly revealing his identity.

And then this, kisses and love pats for Papa right before a big storm set in…

More photos from the rest of the week, my favorite is when Silas keeps trying to alert Singer because their Papa has arrived home. The look on her face when she finally realizes, well that is why I lug that big old camera around, but mostly why I married this man. Luckily we get to see that look almost every day.

| listen |

Next Tuesday Andrew Bird’s new album Things Are Really Great Here, Sort of…. will be here, stream tin foiled here:

| watch |

This week I had enough of Netflix Streaming. We may be on the same page, noting that it doesn’t change quickly enough, and by quickly enough everyone knows the same streaming options have been there for months. I’m not even a big tv person and I feel this way. I’ve seen everything that’s available that I want to see and I only look at the television after chores are done and children are asleep at night, and that’s only sometimes. So we’ve gone back to two dvds at a time for five extra dollars. Seems worth it to me after not having that option for a few years and getting burned out. Maybe I’ll be able to report back next week with some stellar movies.

| read |

I’ve been to a “cool bar” once in my entire life, you know the real thing- in Atlanta. There was a bar that some folks thought was cool in college that I went to on a regular boom boom night a few times, they had not regular nights too with bands they banished to the back room. Good bands so you had to grin and bear it through the boom boom room to get to the good stuff. And then there was the cool, as in everyone was pretty chill, bar I hung out at in college. All of these bars can be referenced towards the end of Why You Secretly Hate Cool Bars. Wait But Why does it again. My Daddy was right when he said nothing good happens after midnight, he was simply two decades too early in telling me that.

The best thing (next to date night!) I’ve done in the last three years is throwing out what anyone else may think (minus my husband) about my parenting. When Singer was born I held her, wore her, fed her when she wanted, and we wanted her to sleep with us, a very old- but very renewed way of parenting. This felt right to me, but the nagging glances and comments from other people bothered me endlessly as a new mother. Silas soon came and we did all the same things with him, because they worked for us. A few weeks ago a new mom made a comment about situations of doubt due to comments that are hardly warranted or invited. The best thing I can tell a new mama is to find your confidence as a mother and the rest will fall into place. I think finding that place can go a lot like: Am I doing the right things? Im so annoyed by comments other people make, the internet is making me crazy! to the end result of having these things make no difference to you. No eye roll, no anxiety, no second guessing. It is a beautiful place to be. I liked a lot of the words in Finding Your Confidence As A Mama, and you might too.

 cheers!

Recipe: Red Cabbage and Kale Salad

May 27th, 2014 at 9:24 am

Yesterday I decided to forgo the brussels and kale salad that has been in heavy rotation, and use up some red cabbage I had in the fridge that was set to expire before the brussels. Plus we had the brussels salad for two days straight since Saturday. I’ll share that one next time I can snap a photo of it. For now, this one will taste equally as fresh and satisfying, plan on leftovers for two or four servings.

Red Cabbage and Kale Salad

Ingredients

4 cups kale
3 cups cabbage
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon sunflower oil
3 tablespoons whole grain dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic, chopped
juice from 1/2 lemon
fresh ground salt and pepper

Optional toppings:

nuts of choice
cheese, parmesan or something equally crumbly and smelly

Preparation:

Remove kale stems and chop, chop red cabbage. Toss in bowl with olive oil and salt, gently massage kale and cabbage. This will give your salad a better mouth feel.
To make the dressing mix yogurt, rice vinegar, sunflower oil, mustard, garlic and lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix with kale and cabbage. Add nuts and cheese. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

A Trike of a Different Color

May 26th, 2014 at 5:45 am

Months ago we scored Singer’s trike off of Craigslist from a nice guy whom we ended up having friends in common with, but we didn’t know it at the time. However, this is Athens, so you can go ahead assume that much is true. I searched for pedals for the barren axels but couldn’t find a good fit for a trike this old, without paying a fortune. Months later I put out a plea to Facebook for pedals and a friend gave reference to the same guy the bike initially came from. He came through, he recently bought a box of old bike parts and a pair fit! We finally had the parts to make this machine work, I was ready to start my project. That project was met with a firm request from the little girl who lives here. The only color that would do was pink. You know, I get it, I once loved pink too.

{sidenote: I love a good small world story, I try to play it’s a small world all the time. It shows just how amazing the town/world we live in can be, and how connected we are. Here’s some more fun, I go looking for swimming lessons and the same fairy bike angel teaches them. Score. This guy is solving all of our little dilemmas, eh? Our world can be so small. Comfortably so, sometimes.}


The pedal-less bike. The wheels on this baby are airless. They’re hard and close to solid, never seen anything like it.


Primer coat


I had to spray the trike in a series of layers: first primer, then black for the handles, pedal axel, and seat. Pink came next as requested for the frame, and finally white spokes. There was a lot of wrapping and taping + unwrapping and tape removal because the bike is too rusted due to age to take apart and spray separately. It certainly could have used a good sandblast or powder coating, but this is a three year olds bike, fleetingly so, I left perfection wayside. It was a peaceful and patience building nap time project.


I didn’t catch a good shot of the presentation to the kids Thursday morning. Singer ran ahead of Silas to her trike and once he figured out what was going on he was flabbergasted.


The finished product for Singer. She can’t quite reach the pedals yet, so I installed these pedal blocks around them for an easier time. {see them in the picture up there?} We also purchased a basket for the front, but it’s far too big, so I’m still searching for the right basket, per Singer’s suggestion of adding one in the first place. How could I resist such a reasonable request?


Silas’ trike was bought off of craigstlist too, but was in perfect condition, ready to ride. He can’t reach the pedals yet either, so we are thinking about supplementing with one of these swivel guys until then.


switcheroo.

more photographs {complete with sibling rivalry and dash of empathy} here.

days in the life

May 23rd, 2014 at 8:38 am

| r e a d |

Our coffee table usually looks about like this:

A casserole of titles piled high, many on the floor surrounding because the kids are reading theirs and ours throughout the day.

Right now I’m working my way through Seven by Jen Hatmaker.  I like this book and I would recommend it to many. Buyer beware. I have many friends that don’t identify with Christian faith, and for those that do I still caution this read because I know your hearts and sometimes Jen gets it wrong. I’ve enjoyed the premise of this book, but the tone ranges from self deprecating to congratulatory. The book isn’t about Jesus so much as it is about Jen Hatmaker. I don’t take issue with her low grade of narcissism as much as I do many of her comments regarding the children that she was in the process of adopting at the time, and their country. One particular thing that Jen said that stood out to me was on page 91. I can’t get behind her often holier than thou tone, “bring him to me, I’ll be his mother.”  This is in reference to a student of one of her friends who didn’t have properly fitting clothes. Eluding to the boy’s very own mother/caregiver not being enough. The writer with a means could take better care of him, because his clothes don’t fit. There are many points in the book with this tone- jokes about the poor, drug addicts, and others that Jesus told us to love. I’ve had a hard time getting through the book due to her ability to be so shallow, but she can also produce depth. I have taken many good ideas and much love from the book as well. This one is a toss up. Of course the writer is flawed, and she is trying to make herself better, which is admirable.  I’m having trouble relating to the tone of writing that so many women are pumping out right now. Casual, you’re talking to your girlfriends over a glass of wine speak. I’m a candid person. I love sessions with my ladies, but when we’re reaching for more and trying to be more, I expect it. I want this new crop of writers to give it to me, to challenge me and help me think critically, to see a new way. These books have their places, they can be good on a beach with a cocktail. Right now I’m looking for something deeper, and I know it’s out there. Next month I’m moving on to Anne Lamott, I believe I need a little bit more class and grace.

| e a t |

This week there is a little boy with the sniffles living among us, so there has been lots of pho and chicken bone broth brewing. Once my husband sees the recipe, honey lime siracha chicken will be happen next, I am certain.

| l o v e |

Last night I got the kids out of the bathtub like I always do, wrapping them snuggly in their “wigwams” that they just can’t do with out. Suddenly, as if they had planned an escape all along, they both dropped their towels and danced down the hall and out the open back door, then down the deck steps back to the place that they acquired all the dirt that was now resting in the tub. It was a gift of camaraderie, given to their mother, who of course let them stay up and out for at least thirty more minutes. Children: 100% washable, towel dry. 

| w a t c h |

If you like soul music and haven’t listened to Charles Bradley yet, you should because you will most likely enjoy him. If you already do and haven’t seen Soul of America, the documentary is currently streaming on Netflix.

| l i n k s |

For the  parent that’s currently feeling frustrated with their youngin(s), 5 Reasons Toddlers Won’t Follow Directions is a good reminder. Heck, sometimes I feel like these are reasons I don’t want to follow directions.

Emotions vs. Release of Emotions

TONIGHT: Everything you need to know: Camelopardalids could be the best meteor shower this year

I love a big, sturdy yet light wine glass. This is why: The Importance of a Wine Glass

cheers.