make your own: elderberry syrup.

    September 25, 2017

    elderberry syrup | reading my tea leaves

    I’ve been sniffly for the past few weeks. Which has been kind of yucky and kind of uncomfortable but also a marker of the season and a good reminder to take a few proactive steps to combat the worst of the season’s germs. I’ll be scheduling a flu shot for myself to stay on the safe side, but I also mixed up a batch of immunity boosting elderberry syrup. We made this batch from scratch early on a Thursday morning while Silas slept and Faye could flex her berry smashing muscles.elderberry syrup | reading my tea leaves

    I stick to a fairly basic recipe: just dried elderberries, water, a few cloves, and a cinnamon stick, plus wildflower honey. Clean brown amber bottles are a nice choice for bottling up the syrup, but anything sterilized will do. I keep the bottle in the refrigerator and try to remember to take a daily teaspoonful for the duration of the fall and winter months. This year, Faye’s finding the results a bit too treacly for her liking, but stirred into morning oatmeal or smoothies or other yummy things, she gets the benefit of the berries without suffering through a spoonful.elderberry syrup | reading my tea leaves

    Elderberry Syrup
    adapted from Mountain Rose Herbals

    4 cups cold water

    2 cups of dried elderberries 

    1 cinnamon stick

    4-5 cloves

    local honey (~1 pound)

    Combine the berries and spices with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Remove from the heat and mash berries with the back of a wooden spoon. Strain over a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth (or, in a pinch, a nut bag you don’t mind staining a bit). Measure the juices and combine with an equal amount of honey (for this recipe that will be approximately a pound of honey, but the exact amount will depend on how much you reduce the juices while cooking.) Bottle in a sterile dark glass bottle. The syrup should last through the winter (~3-6 months) if kept refrigerated. (Needless to say, this recipe has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration!) elderberry syrup | reading my tea leaves

    For more immunity boosting goodness, try fire cider.


    my week in objects (mostly).

    September 22, 2017

    five things that made my week.

    1. this new bottle.   
    {after two weeks i reconciled that i left my old one on the subway. found it the day after this arrived. and then there were two.}

    2. this baby.
    {a gift from hazel village to an extremely excited kid in this house.}

    3. this sweater.

    {made for a kid, worn by a grownup. (this one.)}

    4. the mug behind the camera.

    {cause you can’t tell here but there was a bang trim and an eyebrow shaping and everything just feels better.}

    5. this pre-school art.
    {girl’s got a really good color palette going on.}

    disaster relief efforts:

    for folks in mexico. (also: a wishlist (in pesos). and topos.)

    for folks in puerto rico. (also: save the children.)

    other things:

    an obligation to be political?

    gritty woman.

    little virtues.

    never seen an organized fridge i didn’t like.

    dime novels via poppytalk.

    very into faceted (!) opals.

    lessons from year one.



    just go read everything here.

    welcome fall, two ways.

    September 21, 2017

    fall, two ways | reading my tea leaves

    Tomorrow, fall, which seems deserving of celebration in spite of everything. I’ve always been something of a season watcher. It’s worth the moment to marvel, I think, at the way the light changes in a room after dinner, or to notice that the crabapples are starting to blush, or that the squirrels have renewed their scampering along a window ledge, mouths puffed up with evidence of their hard work. Having kids makes the seasons’ passing seem all the more poignant. Last fall, only the glimmer of acknowledgement from a two-year-old that leaves had changed color. This fall, every day a new question about when the colors will start to creep in and if it’s time to fill up our bucket with acorns. “We can look for stars at bedtime now, Mama.”

    Pick apples, two ways.
    + Head to the local market, fill up a bag with apples, make apple sauce.
    + Visit a local orchard and pick your own right off the tree.

    Fend off colds, two ways.
     Stock up on hankies.
    Whip up a batch of fire cider.

    Snuggle up, two ways.
     Dig your favorite throw blanket out of deep storage.
    + Consider one of these beauties.

    Embrace autumn colors, two ways.
    + Gather yourself some goldenrod.
    + Wear a maple-hued sweater

    Bring in the light.
    + Make a tin can lantern.
    + Stock up on tapers

    Enjoy fall leaves, two ways:
    + Gather colorful leaves and make a leaf wall.
    + Make nutmeg maple butter cookies and cut ’em into leaf shapes.

    Get into nature, two ways:
    + Download a plant list, head out on a treasure hunt. (First one to find sneezeweed wins!)
    + Take a train, walk a ways in the woods, head home again.

  • baby proof: bedtime stories lately.

    Well, we finally did it. We outgrew the shelf space we’d allotted in our tiny apartment for picture books. Too many good books, I guess. (Too many people who love us and know that I’d prefer…

    September 20, 2017 19 Comments
  • life in a tiny apartment.

    Survival Tip #156: Make it sized to fit. On Saturday night, we ate spaghetti. There were two big white bowls filled with pasta smothered in Marcella Hazan’s famous sauce, a smaller wooden one, filled with…

    September 18, 2017 24 Comments
  • my week in objects (mostly).

    five little things that made my week: 1. this bag.   {the very perfect spot for too many balls of twine.} 2. this little knife. {and wonky, crinkle cut vegetables.} 3. this mask.  {because ’tis…

    September 15, 2017 13 Comments
  • make-believe: first day of school.

    I loved the first day of school as a kid, but I loved it equally much in college. Incredibly, in the first years of college, we would line up outside the main building on campus…

    September 13, 2017 7 Comments
  • natural beauty: bar soap, part two.

    That I enjoy lathering up with bar soap is hardly news. I could receive bars of freshly cut handmade soap for every birthday from now until the day I die and I’d be happy. Nothing quite…

    September 11, 2017 48 Comments
  • my week in objects, mostly.

    five little things that made my week. 1. this bib.  {because i’m working with my friend abby on a full-coverage design and this prototype is already a+} 2. this little backpack. {because someone’s heading off…

    September 8, 2017 8 Comments