One of the parents at the school I am about to send my oldest to used the word “pedagogy” casually in conversation with me.
Various thoughts ran through my head:
What? What does that word mean? Are you seriously using it in casual conversation? Am I dumb? Should I know what that word means? Does it mean something like hierarchy? Am I sending my son to a snobby school? Do I need to step up my parenting game? Stop being insecure. Just nod and smile and agree.
I’ve heard that word before, but not in recent months or even years, in which I’ve been immersed in toddler speak, photography, river flows, Broncos football talk, and the well-being of all of my family members.
Turns out it is: the discipline that deals with the theory and practice of education.
I am pretty sure I will still never ever be using it in a sentence.
It is definitely possible that I’ve been living in a closet for the past few months…
Ever since I stumbled upon the Strumbellas on SiriusXM’s Coffee House channel last week, I’ve been hooked. I can’t get enough of this acoustic version of the Strumbellas singing their song “Spirits.” It was even in my dreams last night, and I woke up singing it.
Does anyone know where I can own an acoustic version of it? Please?!
On an evening when I was feeling particularly motivated, my husband and I made really good tacos AND homemade corn tortillas. (I am still not quite sure what got into me.)
The taco recipe was worth every second of time–I am not so sure about the homemade corn tortillas.
After doing a bit more research, I stumbled upon this recipe from the New York Times website, and it is motivating me to make my own tortillas again.
To give you an idea of the steps I went through, see below:
1. I combined the masa harina with a teaspoon of veggie oil, a 1/4 tsp of salt, and 1 1/4 cups of water to form a dough with the consistency of play-dough. (After further research, it seems to me the dough should be a bit more moist than that.) I let my dough sit for 5 minutes, but the NY Times recipe suggests letting it sit for 30 minutes to a few hours.
2. I separated the dough into the number of tortillas I was planning to make.
3. I placed a piece of dough between a zip-lock bag (of which I had cut open the two side seams).
4. I flattened the dough into a tortilla shape using my hand. (At one point, I did use a pizza dough roller which made the dough too thin for me to work with.)
5. I peeled open the bag and plopped my tortilla into a non-stick skillet that was set to medium-high heat. After cooking for 30 seconds, I flipped over my tortilla and cooked it until the edges curled. I then flipped it one more time. My recipe mentioned brown dots as a sign of being done, but my tortillas never really turned brown even though I cooked them for far longer than the recipe suggested (30 seconds and then about 60 seconds a side).
6. After removing the tortilla from the skillet, I placed it in between two plates that were lined with a damp dish cloth. If I did this again, I may line each tortilla with a damp cloth.
**Plan to use two skillets to expedite this process! I wasn’t prepared for how long it took to make each tortilla, and made space for a second skillet about half-way through. Next time I am starting with two!
I didn’t think that the flavor of these was worth the extra effort, and I definitely didn’t nail the texture (mine were pretty crumbly), but because we eat tacos about once a week, it would be worth it to tinker with this recipe (and others) a couple times to see if I can get outstanding homemade tortillas.
There is nothing sexy about budgeting. I am the worst at it. Let’s just throw that out there. Numbers, tracking, expenses…poke my eyeballs with pins please.
Of course, this is not a great way to be, especially when you have kids and are self-employed. And feel you have outgrown your house.
One of my current goals is to become completely debt-free. (This is really hard to do when ace&jig spring/summer clothes are on heavy sale and their new fall line is just appearing.) (It has taken every ounce of my willpower to resist this.)
Seven Ideas to Get Out of Debt/Make a Bit of Extra Cash/Spend Less Money
1. Sell designer duds on Instagram.
If you love clothes as much as I do, you may have come across several accounts who will list your designer duds for a small posting fee. These accounts have many followers who are eager to snap up your gently used items. Payment is handled through Paypal, and you ship directly to the buyer. This is a win-win for all! (And when I say designer duds, I am talking about brands like Madewell, J.Crew, and then awesome ethical brands like Esby Apparel, Ilana Kohn, ace&jig, Atelier Delphine…)
2. Bring other nice clothing and housewares to a local consignment shop.
I still have some clothes left over from my days when I worked in an office…and when I was willing to show more skin before I had kiddos…it’s time to bring some of the J.Crew, Anthropologie, Madewell, Lucky Brand duds to local consignment shops. I use Fabulous Finds Consignment in Longmont for my age-appropriate clothes and Rags Consignment in Boulder for my more trendy items.
3. Craigslist a few things as well.
Um, please old sailboat sitting in our back alley? And that blue rug with the thick pile that I bought for the nursery and very quickly realized the cats would destroy it within a week?
4. Dismiss the idea that it is only $50, only $25, only $100…
Every bit of cash put towards debt is less money owed!
5. Change your mindset.
Saving IS sexy. Immediate gratification is silly. Experiences are far more important than things.
6. Make your own…yogurt, cheese, fill in the blank.
I need to do a cost analysis of making my own yogurt and cheese. Am I saving any money? If I am not, and unless it is super delicious, time to switch back to store bought items.
7. DIY Christmas gifts for family/friends.
I have already started the process of making Christmas gifts. Yes, originally this was an excuse to try some DIY beauty, but if I stick with it, I hope to save a lot of money come Christmas time!
No, these aren’t going to get me there as quickly as booking more weddings and taking on more photo sessions, but these tips should help make a dent towards my debt-free goals!
I’ve been reading about how easy it is to make homemade yogurt, and my MIL has been making it for a while, so I was pretty open to trying.
I stumbled upon the Cultures for Health website when I searched the internet for yogurt making. I wasn’t sure what culture to purchase, so I bought a pack of four different types of yogurt in hopes that my kids will love one of them.
When I found a bit of free time, I made my first batch. I followed the directions that came with my purchase, and mixed cold milk with the viili starter in a mason jar. I placed the jar in my oven and waited…and waited…and waited. My milk wasn’t doing a thing.
So the next day I turned off our air before I headed out for the day. And when I returned hours later, I sure had some yogurt. I smelled my mixture and couldn’t decide if it smelled good or bad. (I don’t really tend to love the smell of any dairy products.) I put it in the fridge and sampled a spoonful. It was just okay.
Because I wasn’t sure if the yogurt was good or not, I decided to make another batch.
The Second Batch
I decided to switch things up a bit for Batch 2.
I heated up a couple cups of milk to 180F and then reduced the heat to 110F. Once it reached that temperature, I added 2 TBS of my first batch, mixed it up, and then put it in my oven.
This time, I turned off the AC in the house at the beginning of the process. I turned on my oven so that the light went on, but didn’t select a temperature.
Within 6-7 hours, the yogurt had set and I put it in the fridge.
I ate a bit today and sweetened it with honey. Although I was slightly skeptical of my ability to make yogurt that wouldn’t make me sick, I seem to be just fine and plan to have some more for breakfast tomorrow with granola and less honey.
It all started with my CSA with Aspen Moon Farm in Hygiene, Colorado.
From that, I searched Amazon for some farmer’s market friendly cookbooks, and ended up with Ilona Oppenheim’s Savor in my cart.
I was inspired by her recipe for making your own yogurt, which I was already open to the idea because my mother-in-law does this.
So I poked around the internet and came across the Cultures for Health website. I knew I didn’t need a sleek yogurt kit, but I also knew what I do need is ease. I have two toddler boys, and easiest/fastest wins.
While on the site, I got side-tracked. DIY beauty! Christmas presents?! Salt scrub! Salt scrubs as Christmas presents! So easy. (Although I am not sure how excited my mom would be to receive a salt scrub from me, but that’s neither here nor there.)
I ended up ordering several different products from the site, including Dead Sea Salts (be sure to let your spouse know that these are not for consumption or ice cream making!)(ahem!) and Aura Cacia essential oils.
Last night I made my first two batches of the salt scrub. The ingredients were just coconut oil, Dead Sea Salt, and approx. 10 drops of essential oils (which I know very little about, but do know some can irritate your skin). One of my batches was straight up sweet orange and the other was a blend of 7 drops of spearmint and 3 drops of the sweet orange.
DIY Salt Scrub Recipe
This is the recipe I used, courtesy of the Cultures for Health website and from many other sources on the web.
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup Dead Sea Salt
Approx. 10 drops of essential oils (which I know very little about, but do know some can irritate your skin)(I did one of just sweet orange and one that was a mix of 7 drops of speramint and 3 drops of the sweet orange)
Mix the above ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Once mixed, put in jars/plastic containers/etc. (I used plastic jars that I bought on the Cultures for Life website.)(I would prefer glass, but since I shower in the same bathroom that my toddler sons bathe in, leaving glass in there seems a little dangerous to me.)
I didn’t have time to take a shower today to test out my efforts, but I am already searching for a recipe that doesn’t include the coconut oil. Other than citrus, I am not a fan of non-herbal scents, and coconut oil just reminds me a little bit too much of Malibu Rum. And that week I tested everyone’s favorite internet fad of swishing, which makes my jaw ache just thinking about it.
I have found some intriguing recipes, but they don’t promise to keep for about 4 months. I don’t want to give my girlfriends a gift that needs to be used within a week or two.
So look for another blog post as I continue to hone this recipe.