October 14, 2016 by Sarah
If you follow along here at all, it’s pretty clear that I’m really into gardening and cooking. What I haven’t shared as much yet is my interest in skin care. I think I get it from my mom, growing up I always tagged along as she got her creams and other skin products from various make-up counters. Starting in my 20’s I started using a daily moisturizer with SPF and an eye cream, but then I really got into it after our family’s visit to South Korea 2 years ago. I picked up a number of products during that trip, and since then I started following a few blogs and different sites to learn more. It’s a little bit of a rabbit-hole and more recently, I haven’t been following or reading much of anything. But, I have my little routine going. Curious? Here’s what my routine looks like.
In the mornings, I keep it really simple. I splash my face just with water, and after it’s dry, I use Misscha Essence Sun Milk. It’s SPF 50 and very light. If I remember, I put a little dab of eye creme under my eyes and a little dusting of bareMinerals foundation.
Things get a little more involved at the end of the day. I use the double cleanse method which has worked really well for me in getting my face very clean. I start with an oil based cleanser, I have this one and this one that I alternate between. I follow with this foaming cleanser, and if I need it, remove any lingering eye make up with makeup remover.
Not all of the night routine happens every night! Sometimes I just use the foaming cleanser and call it good and maybe I’ll remember to moisturize.
Category musings | Tags:
October 7, 2016 by Sarah
About a year and a half ago, I wrote a few posts on living green. You can find them here and here. Pat and I continue to try to live in a way that minimizes waste, saves water, and cares for the environment. One of the things I’ve been learning more recently is that in our current life stage, we can’t do it all. Free time is scarce with 3 young kids, and if hanging laundry outside to dry takes away precious time to be present with my children, I can’t do it. Later I can, but not now.
With living green, there is definitely a wide range when it comes to convenience. I’ve ordered the following 5 things we’ve been doing from easy to more time consuming. We do our best and leave it at that.
Replace disposable sponges with reusable ones: I had an epiphany earlier this year when I discovered that you can buy reusable sponges! After trying out several different kinds that I didn’t like, I found these at a local market and love them. I use the ones shown above for dishwashing and these for wiping counters. They get dirty pretty quickly, usually after a few days, I just throw them in the laundry and hang them to dry.
Shop the bulk section when you can: I buy beans, raisins, and flours in bulk and try to bring along my reusable produce bags to bring them home in. Whole Foods has a great bulk section and if you’re in my area, Country Sun in Palo Alto is also great. *I just saw last night that Whole Foods is having it’s 20% off bulk sale next week!
Buy a Tea Ball and loose leaf tea, instead of tea bags: I drink tea every morning. After using tea bags for years and years, I finally bought a stainless steel mesh tea ball and a tin of loose leaf tea. You just fill up the tea ball with your desired amount of loose leaf tea, add hot water, and remove when it’s done. I’ve since discovered that you can buy loose leaf tea in bulk.
Make your own body wash and use eco-friendly shampoos and conditioners: You’ll read below that we recently installed a grey water system. In preparation, we needed to convert the shower products we were using to grey water friendly ones. I followed a simple recipe to make body wash and we started using Aubrey Organic shampoo and conditioner. Grey water friendly products come from companies who take greater measures to care for the environment.
Install a grey water system: Ok, this one, is very time consuming and not cheap. Pat was the one who made this happen. Grey water is reusing water from your showers, bathroom sinks, and laundry to irrigate your yard. We remodeled our house last year and during the construction phase, Pat got plans drawn up for a grey water system. We did some of the initial piping work then and more recently, had someone install a system to run from our master bathroom shower and sink, and powder room sink to irrigate our backyard fruit trees. We hope to route a line from our laundry into this system as well and maybe in the future, do a system from another bathroom into our front yard. One of the easier things to do is the laundry system. We live in the bay area and it hasn’t rained for months, water is scarce around here. Let me know if you want our contact!
September 30, 2016 by Sarah
A few months ago, my friend Christie wrote a post called “These are the Days Of,” inspired by the book Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman. I’ve since been following Emily’s blog and am just finishing her book.
I’ve noticed that I’m constantly looking ahead to things in the future. From the day to day activities being done, to events that are weeks away and upcoming trips. The upside to this is that I can and do plan well, the downside is that it can and often does leave me feeling distracted and not able to be present to what’s in front of me. As a mom, I also find myself thinking, “if only we can get ourselves to such and such stage, things will be so much easier!” But, I’m not in “that stage” and I want to grow in embracing the here and now.
Since reading Christie’s post, I’ll find myself stopping from time to time when I feel like I’m looking too far ahead, and I’ve been making a mental list of my own “these are the days of…” Here’s what the list looks like now.
These Are the Days of:
New routines of school drop-offs every weekday
Being woken multiple times a night, every night. To nurse, soothe, change wet undies.
Toys and dirty footprints everywhere
Sweet friendships growing between my kids, it’s beautiful to watch
Time being very scarce to do anything beyond love my kids and husband, feed them, and return the house to a tidier state at the end of the day.
Saying no to lots of things and yes only to the most important.
Needing to scale back on my garden, it’s too big for what I can handle.
Plans being made and aborted due to meltdowns.
Baby toes, children’s laughter, and snuggles. The best.
Lots of reliance on Pat’s parents who live close-by, I don’t know what we would do without them.
Having lists of new recipes I want to try but only being able to cook the simple, old-faithful ones.
Loads of silliness and getting to enjoy my kids’ wild imaginations.
Lots and lots of children’s books.
Poop. Tons of poop that I am responsible for cleaning.
Getting used to Pat traveling more for work.
Loving to see how much Gianna enjoys school, it’s fascinating to watch her grow and learn. She is wonderful.
Lots of new in my faith-life, learning different ways to pray and walk with God.
Harder questions from my kids, ones that I don’t always know how to answer.
Stashes of dark chocolate in the pantry that I treat myself to throughout the day.
So much joy. Deep, good, wonderful joy.
Category musings | Tags:
September 23, 2016 by Sarah
I do a lot of reading with the kids. We currently have three huge stacks of books around the house: in the kids’ room, in my room, and in the family room. And the piles are getting bigger! Over the summer we went to the library twice a week, and while I always told the kids that they can choose two books each, they always convinced me to get a few more, and I was always finding a few that I wanted to bring home too. I adore children’s books. But, there are definitely books and authors that I love more than others. Some I just dread! Is it bad that I… hide them?
I always appreciate book recommendations because there are so many books out there. Here are a six that the kids and I have been enjoying lately.
Annie and the Wild Animals, by Jan Brett.
I love grabbing books by Jan Brett, she tells a lot of classic fairy tales from an assortment of different cultures around the world. The stories are sweet, and just the right length for both Gianna (almost 5) and Caleb (just turned 3)
Strega Nona’s Harvest, Tomie de Paola
This is my absolute favorite right now. I am passionate about gardening and I love this story about an abundant harvest and the sharing of it. The pictures are charming and the characters are endearing. We’ve been picking up other Strega Nona stories since reading this one, some of Tomie de Paola’s stories are too long, but this series is just right.
A Squash and a Squeeze, by Julia Donaldson
Easy Street, by Rita Gray
The Firefighters, by Sue Whiting
This book always finds its way back from the library into one of our stacks. It sparks a lot of imagination in the kids.
The Brambley Hedge Series, by Jill Barklem
I discovered this series through a library book recommendation list. It’s more for older 4’s and up, but Caleb enjoys them too. The books are about a little community of mice that live in trees and the illustrations are so detailed and charming.
I’d love more recommendations for books!
Category musings | Tags:
September 16, 2016 by Sarah
When I talk about my go-to dishes, some variation of this sauce is used in most all of the Korean dishes that I pull together. My mom taught it to me when I was first starting to cook in college, and I quickly learned that there are a million and one different ways to use it. Like most Korean moms I know, she didn’t have a recipe written out for it, and she couldn’t even tell me measurements. She just showed me. And after making it over and over again, I’ve become the same way with it. I pour in a little bit of soy sauce, add a small drizzle of sesame oil, and then a little of this and that. After being asked for the recipe many, many times, I decided to put it in recipe form to share.
I most often use this sauce to dress tofu salads which become a side dish for a Korean/Asian meal. A typical version I’ll make is tofu, chopped cucumber, carrot shavings, and chopped green onion. You can add any and every kind of vegetable you like in a salad! This week I made a one with thinly sliced red cabbage, tofu, and chives because that’s what I had in the fridge.
This week I also tossed the dressing with steamed broccoli as another simple side. And, you’ll notice that a variation of this dressing is used in this Korean braised chicken slow cooker dish. Minus the sesame oil, and subbing in a cooking wine, or vinegar, you can use this dressing to marinate many different kinds of meat and even fish. It’s super versatile!
Korean Everything Sauce
1/3 cup soy sauce*
1tsp – scant 1TB sesame oil, be carefuly, a little goes a long way
1 small glove garlic, minced
1 scant tablespoon honey or sugar
1tsp sesame seeds, more to garnish at the end
optional, 1/2 tsp Korean red pepper flakes
Mix everything together and pour over whatever you want to dress it with.
* I use Monggo Sun Soy sauce, it’s less salty than the Kikkoman brand. If you use the latter or a soy sauce that’s on the saltier side, you can dilute the sauce with a little water.
Category in the kitchen | Tags:
September 9, 2016 by Sarah
One thing I learned this last month is that one single ingredient or food item can inspire multiple meals and dishes around it. For example, an amazing country loaf that I picked up when visiting the new Tartine Manufactory in San Francisco. We had so many tasty meals where the bread became the star. It was the same with roast chicken, make it a good one and you’ll thank yourself in the days after.
Here are a few of the things we’ve been eating the last few weeks:
Pat’s dads homemade bread with butter and honey, hardboiled eggs, fruit.
Mussels with Spicy Tomato Oil: Pat and I had a dish like this on a date night a while back, and the Tartine loaf made me want something tomato-y to dip in. This is definitely not a typical lunch, Pat was home on paternity leave. I would make this again as a dinner, it’s surprisingly quick.
Korean Soybean Paste Soup with Tofu and Squash: One of my go-to’s that the kids love. I’ll post my recipe for it soon, the one linked is a general one I found. We eat in with rice.
Margherita Pizza: Again, with Pat being home this week, I got to cook more than usual! We had tomatoes and basil from the garden, and I picked up fresh mozzarella. So good. The link is to the pizza dough recipe we used.
Chicken Soup: I simmered chicken bones from dinner’s roast chicken and added carrots, celery, and potatoes the next day for chicken soup. Tartine bread on the side.
Roast Chicken: With summer coming to the end, it’s time for roast chicken! I make this sometimes once a week in the fall and winter. It turns into so many meals.
Chicken Salad on tortilla: I made the salad dressing that I linked in my last “What we Ate” post and used it for many salads. The kids love making their own “burritos” with tortillas, they’ll eat anything I give them with it. For this particular salad, I chopped lettuce, steamed brocolli and green beans, and corn together. Sliced almonds added a nice crunch.
Chicken Salad with Cheesy/Tomato Toasts: Melted mozzarella onto bread and added tomatoes on top, drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Done!
Korean Beef Soup with Kimchi Fried Rice: Looks like I need to post some more of my recipes soon!
What I Bookmarked
This Banh Mi is calling my name.
Coconut Yellow Split Pea Soup for a fall lunch.
Afternoon pick-me up, Energy Bites
These Roasted Carrots would make a yummy side.
I have Chocolate Cake on my mind.
Category in the kitchen | Tags: