Monday, August 15, 2011

What's Cooking

...Or what was cooking last night. I am finally getting some produce from my overgrown and under-producing garden. Zucchini. However, I think summer squash is the easiest thing ever to grow and they produce like crazy. So I don't think those two squash say much about my green thumb.

With my first two zucchini I wanted to do something simple that would showcase the squash itself, so i decided to make pasta. That and I am a carboholic. (WHAT! Spell check says Carboholic is not a word! I just can't believe that is true.)The man of the house does the grilling, so he took the squash I sliced and gave it some good grill marks, as requested.
While he did that, I boiled some pasta.
When the squash and pasta were cooked, I sliced the squash and some fresh garlic.
Then I sauteed the garlic in olive oil for one minute. Then added the squash, tossed in the pasta, drizzled on more olive oil and spooned into bowls. The last ingredient I added was some shaved Parmesan.Very Simple, but also very delicious. I originally intended to complete this post by including a recipe, but there really wasn't one. Those were all the ingredients I used and I can't really say how much of each I used. This really is a to taste meal. And It tasted delicious!
(Ok, so I forgot to include the salt and pepper, but that was a given, right?)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Beats Peat

Gardening is my favorite pastime. There is something about getting outside and working in the dirt that quiets my soul. Maybe it has something to do with getting back to a simpler life, cutting out all the distractions of our world and just helping things grow. Or perhaps it is the feel of the soil between my fingers and toes. Whatever the reason, I have been working the dirt and making things grow since I was a kid.

These days, as I settle into my role as stay at home mom, I think one of the best parts of gardening is how content and undemanding my kids are outside in the garden with me. They will play together or quietly to themselves for hours. I get to enjoy myself and they get to play and everyone is happy. I also love that I can spend $50 and raise all the produce I need for the summer. That is my goal at least. This year we spent a little bit more than that and didn't get the best production rate due to all the preparation we had to do. We moved to a new house last year and we had to put in raised beds, fill with dirt, buy bare root fruit trees, etc.

I am realizing now that I am pursuing gardening for feeding my family, not just for fun, that there is still a lot I don't know and need to learn. I am also learning about how to garden in a way that is good for the environment as well. This weekend, we went to the home improvement store with the intention of purchasing some peat moss and plants to improve our box turtle's home. When we got there we couldn't find the peat moss, however we did find some thing called, Beats Peat. Beats Peat is 100% coconut coir, the outer hairy husk of the coconut. I didn't know until I read the package that peat moss harvesting is really bad for the environment. According to the Beats peat packaging, one year of peat moss harvesting takes 220 years to regrow. And with peat bogs being a carbon dioxide storage place, removing the moss is doubly bad. Coconuts conversely are a very sustainable product. One coconut tree can produce 75 to 150 nuts per year and can produce for 75 years. Those are pretty good stats to me.

So we opted for the Beats peat as well as some ground cover plants and geraniums. Box turtles normally live in the forest and need a moist environment as well as plants that they can eat. It turned out really well. I used the coconut coir as mulch and as a way to keep her house moist.

She seems to really enjoy her new digs. And I will definitely be using the leftover Beats peat to improve the soil in my raised beds. I have been having issues with plants wilting and not getting enough water. The water just seems to sit on top of the dirt and not reach the roots ever. The coconut coir will improve this I hope.

Thanks, Lois for the great pose. And happy new house to you!

Friday, August 5, 2011

THe wheels are turning

The wheels of my sewing machine that is. I have been working hard this week and, after fixing a few issues with my pattern and doing a lot of computer leg work, I was able to get my Etsy shop up and running. J'aime Snack Bags are available for purchase. I have the option to choose a custom bag in my shop, but also wanted to have some available for purchase as is. So I have been cutting, sewing, piecing together and generally just doing my job as crafter. My plan is to post them about every twelve hours or so which will keep me at the top of the recent post list for a while. I am trying to create awareness. I have not had the time to read and utilize all the tools they have on for making your shop better. All those improvements will come in time. For now, I am enjoying the ride and remembering what it is all little helpers.
By the way this photo was taken mid-tantrum. She started crying, but when she saw the camera, went, "oh, take my picture." Obviously she was very upset!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

this is the beginning of it all

This is my very first blog post. I can't believe I have actually arrived in the blogosphere. Technically I don't think I can count this as having arrived since I have zero followers. But still that is not the point. Some day, some other mama, who is wanting to get her thoughts out there for someone to read and appreciate will sit down at her computer, find my blog and search for my very first entry. She will be inspired to put down words, turning them into thoughts, that hopefully will be meaningful and special to someone, thereby adding purpose to her life. Of course all us mamas, mommies, moms and mothers have one very important purpose: raising our children. But when there have been too many diapers and not enough quiet moments with a cup of tea or coffee, too many what doings? and not enough I know exactly what you means, that is when a mama can start to feel that her life has no meaning, that her purpose has become confused or perhaps too focused on one profound and too self-giving thing. We all need a place to be something other than the fulfiller of demands, the cleaner of messes, and the witness and arbitrator of tantrums. This is that place for me and I hope it can be that place for you too.

So, what is this place exactly?

Well, this is J'aime to blog. What? Let me explain. This is the start of my blog which will chronicle my journey as crafter, mother, budding urban homesteader and cook.

First and foremost, there is my New company , J'aime. This is a french word which translates to "I love". My goal is to eventually encompass all things I love and are marketable in the crafting world. I chose this name for two reasons: one being how the name could encompass all those things I love like J'aime to blog and Also because my first name is Jamie. Different spelling I know, but during my first trip to Paris as a girl, I found myself surrounded by my name or a version of it in the form of key chains, t-shirt etc. They all said J'aime Paris. I asked my sister, who is much better with languages than I what this was all about and she translated for me. I found the knowledge that this version of my name in french meant "i love" or "to love" enchanting. Here I was a young hopeless romantic in the city of love and it was as if the city was unceasingly calling out to me. That experience has stuck with me all my life. It only seemed fitting to bring that bit of my past into the present and hopefully the future as well.

This little craft business of mine currently has only one J'aime.This is a childs snack trap that I have designed. It so far has been a much greater success with my daughters than the other similar products on the market. Want to know more? Check them out Here or email me at

Second, third and fourth in priority are my roles as mother, budding farmer and cook. These are the things my life is centered around right now and the things I have much to say about. So stick around and find out if there is anything her that will make you say J'aime this blog!

Must stop there. I am being beckoned by the cries of precious one #2.