My first wool soakers!

A dear friend of mine is having her second child.  I was so thrilled to hear she was going to give cloth diapering a try that I thought I'd start her off with a pair of handmade wool soakers. 

Yes wool soakers are a *little* more trouble to deal with then the plastic pant type covers, but it's so worth it!!  Plus, how cute is litttle Quinn's tushy going to look in these?!?!

With my first daughter I used mostly Kissaluvs with Bumkins covers and then I switched over to a total Fuzzibunz system.  With my second daughter I was way more interested in the natural fibers and I used Bamboozles with some wool soakers.  I hade soakers by Imse Vimse, Ruskovilla and a few mamamade ones.
For little one #3 I have already asked my Mom to get started on some hand knit ones and I will be making a small army of these "upcycled sweater" ones.  I'll be sure to post a picture of them all when they're done.

Here's a great link to wool soaker care instructions.
Considering cloth diapers?  Visit my friend Olivia over at Cali Cloth Diapers.  If you live in southern CA she'll come to you and do a diaper demo!

Happy cloth diapering!!

Why "Crooked Moon"?

It means so much to me...but maybe I should explain.
Crooked moon is what my daughter F calls a crescent moon.
Art by Nabila

One day, about 2 years ago now, we were walking at dusk and talking about all sorts of things.  Very important things.  Like why the dandelions turn fluffy, why we need to bring 2 poopy bags when we walk the dog, why she can't pick every flower she sees from other people's front yards...good 2 year old stuff!  We were almost back home and she looked up in the sky and got very excited!  She shouted "Mama, Mama, look!  It's a crooked moon!"  That is what she saw.  To her the crescent moon looked crooked.  I just smiled and said "You're right, it sure does!".  I thought it was so cute!  At that moment she was both a big girl: noticing the sky and moon above her and still so small: calling it crooked, because that is what popped into her open mind.
I believe she came up with "crooked" since we had just been reading a lovely book by Elsa Beskow called The Sun Egg. There's a little old gnome in it called Crooked Root.  Of course the next questions were all about how/why the moon got crooked and full.  Instead of getting all scientific and wordy I simply explained it as a sort of peek-a-boo game the moon plays with the great big sun!  She liked that idea very much indeed.
So to this day we call it a crooked moon.
When thinking about what to call my herbal remedies I like to share (and eventually have in an etsy shop!) Crooked Moon Apothecary seemed perfect.  I like to follow the moon cycles when creating herbal remedies...I'll go more into that in a later post.  If you want to hang a piece of art in your house that also happens to be a great way to follow the cycles of the moon...check out The Original Lunar Phase Calendar.  We've had them up for 2 years now and we refer to it often.

The name Crooked Moon Mama came easily when creating my blog because I had already started to connect myself to the name and I threw mama in there on the end since...well...that is what I'm all about these days!!
So, how did you choose your blog name?

New friendships are like seedlings

Over the past few months I've met some wonderful people.
A few new friendships have started to "bloom".
One of these new friends gave us a gift today!  We've been getting together lately and talking about all sorts of things.  She was recently inspired to go vegetarian, has been considering homeschooling and has an interest in herbal medicine.  Obviously, we have a lot to talk about!  Luckily she has 3 beautiful children who all get along with my little girls.

We were gifted with 2 broccoli seedlings carefully prepared in their own little eco-planter.  They are just too cute.  I almost didn't want to plant them, but the girls were so excited to get them started that we transfered them to a larger planter box right when we got home. 

Thank you my friend, for our newest addition to the garden.

While watching my little ones carefully dig up the dirt and plant the orange cups, it dawned on friendships are like little seedlings.  Any friendship actually, new or old.  They need the right kind of love and attention to grow.  When they do grow up into their mature plants they can give so much back to you!  They can nourish you and those you love.  They are very delicate though and shouldn't be neglected or over-tended.  I have had a few friendships in my my life (and plants) that for some reason or another just fizzled out.  It was no one's fault, it just simply didn't work.  So you learn and move on hopefully not making the same mistake.  It's hard when you've got so much going on with the kids, part time work, a house to run etc...but more often than not it's my friendships that keep me going.  The sharing/caring one single email/phone call can bring is priceless.

Here's my Lemon Balm.  It's a hardy little plant.  It's survived a lot.  I've cut it back to nothing almost 3 times since I planted it (not even a year ago).  I've made wonderful tinctures and glycerites out of it and shared those with friends and family.  It seems the perfect plant to give my friends.  The cuttings grow easily in water and can be transfered directly to the ground or stay in a large planter.  I'll let this little plant grow a bit more and then harvest and share it with all my friends, new and old.  So when you see a little cutting of Lemon Balm on your porch waiting for your love and just might have been dropped off by me and my little garden elves.

**Herbal tip**  Can't sleep?  Make a simple tea out of fresh Lemon Balm leaves, add a bit of honey and you're off to dreamland...

CSA Wednesdays

CSA - Community Supported Agriculture

For a few years now I've been participating in the CSA program down at Tanaka Farms.  We receive a weekly box jam packed with fresh organic produce.  All the vegetables are grown right there at Tanaka Farms.  Sometimes they supplement the organic fruit from other growers to round out the vegetable heavy box.  They are famous for their sweet juicy strawberries, so during strawberry season we CSAers are usually spoiled.  A year ago I became the CSA coordinator for Maple Village School.  I enjoy creating meals out of what we receive in our box, so I decided to do a weekly recipe email for the families who order the box.  So far it's been great fun and I think they are enjoying it too!

This is what a typical Winter box looks like:

Red leaf lettuce
Huge romaine lettuce
Large bunch of spinach
Bunch of carrots with their green tops (for my green smoothies!)
Bunch of beets (you can cook their greens like you would spinach or mustard greens...don't throw them out!)
Broccoli raab
Box of cherry tomatoes
Box of snap peas (entertains the kids for at least 1/2 an hour!)
2 boxes of strawberries
2 lemons
4 apples

I could barely keep the little one away from those huge yummy stawberries long enough to take the picture!

Here are the recipes I am sharing for this week.

Broccoli raab. A bit more bitter than it’s cousin broccoli. It’s a great side dish prepared simply like this:

1.5 lbs broccoli raab
2 tsp minced garlic
3 Tbs butter
2 Tbs minced fresh parsley (or cilantro since that’s in your box this week!)
2 tsp fresh lemon zest (in the box too!)

(I made this tonight!)
Wash the broccoli raab and discard the tough stems and any yellow leaves. Toss it in a pot and add enough water to cover. Turn on the stove and cook (simmer) until broccoli is tender (10-15 min). While broccoli is cooking, sauté the garlic in the butter over med-low heat. Drain the cooked broccoli and toss with the butter/garlic mixture and add the parsley and lemon zest. Yum!

Over at VeganDad I have made this yummy curry to help use up some of my cilantro.  Check it out here.

Apples!  I enjoy eating them the old school way, but here's something a little more fun.
Try this in the morning as a warming breakfast for you and your little ones. We have this quite often in the Fall/Winter.

4 apples
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup pecans
¼ cup raisins or cranberries
¾ cup boiling water
Cooked oatmeal (you can make the oatmeal while your apples are baking

Preheat oven to 375. Core apples down to the bottom of the apple. In a small bowl combine the pecans, raisins and cinnamon. In a square 8X8 pan place the apples and stuff with the cinnamon mixture. Top each apple with a little pat of butter. Add the boiling water to the pan and pop it in the oven for about 30-35 min until the apples are very tender. Spoon your freshly cooked oatmeal into bowls. Place your apple on top of the oatmeal and then spoon some of the yummy juice from the cooking pan over the apple and oatmeal. Enjoy. My girls always feel like they’re having dessert for breakfast, although there’s no added sugar or anything!
**Frugal tip** If you have leftover rice from dinner last night, prepare a simple rice porridge.  Heat the rice up on the stove and soften it by adding soymilk (or whatever type of milk you drink) and a dash of cinnamon.  Let it simmer until the rice is heated through and the milk has plumped it up.

Here's a shot of my 3rd batch of Kimchi from last week's chinese cabbage.  Did anyone else make some?

As always, let me know what you think of these recipes and share your own too!

Rise the Moon

We were coming home from the Library (we try to go once a week for storytime) and the girls were thumbing through their "new" books when F says:
"Mama! Mama!...wait stop!". 
I pull the car over of course.
"What?  What's wrong?"
I can tell it's not an emergency, but something she's really excited about.
"This book....someone drew a picture of you and me when I was a baby!"
"What?"  I say, "Let me see."

There's a beauiful drawing of a red-haired mama holding her red-haired newborn.  A truly sweet picture that my photo does not do justice.
The book is called Rise The Moon by Eileen Spinelli and it is a gem! 

I've already decided to get it for F for her birthday since we'll eventually have to give back the library copy.  I hopped into the back with the girls and we read the book right then and there.  I just thought it was so sweet that my little one saw us in the drawing.  She really likes that we both have red-hair.

Little E picked out Strega Nona's Harvest by Tomie De Paola.

It's a sweet story about Strega Nona and her vegetable garden with Big Anthony up to his silly antics again.  I liked the fact that Strega Nona plants by the moon cycles...can we say Biodynamic Gardening?!?

I picked out Alphabears: An ABC Book by Kathleen Hague.

I had this book when I was little and it brought back a flood of memories.  I remembered every page...especially L. It was fun to share it with my own children.  Hey Mom and Dad?  Do you still have my copy in the attic somewhere?!?

We've really been enjoying our library trips.

Go visit your local library and share with me what treasures you've found lately...

Hummus, Blackberries, crackers and more!

So here are the recipes I promised from yesterday's post about my herbal class.

Let's start with the Raw Cashew Balls and Raw Cherry Pie Balls since they are oh so easy to make and the kids enjoy helping too!
E's balls turn out more like rolls!

Raw Cashew Balls:

2 cups raw cashews

2 cups medjool dates (pitted)

Whirl the cashews in your food processor for about 30 sec and then start dropping the dates in 1 at a time until they are thoroughly combined and a ball starts forming in your processor. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9X9 pan. Pop it in the fridge and in an hour or so. Take a teaspoon of the mixture and roll into a ball (kids love to help with this). Store in an air-tight container for 3 days in the fridge, or freeze half the batch. They thaw out well in the refrigerator over night for lunch/breakfast the next day!

Raw Cherry Pie Balls:

Same as above, but I add a handful of dried cherries and 2 TBS chia seeds with the dates. Yum!

Raw Blackberry Dip:
1 cup raw cashews

½ cup blueberries OR blackberries or mixed (strawberries are nice too)

¼ cup agave nectar

1 TBS Vanilla

A pinch of sea salt.

Soak your cashews in water overnight. Strain out most of the water reserving ½ cup to blend back in. Add all ingredients to the food processor (or a high power blender like Vita Mix/ Blendtech – more water will be needed)and process for a good 3-5 minutes to achieve a nice smooth consistency. Add a bit more water for a more yogurt/cream like consistency. Enjoy!
** I actually first heard of this recipe from my dear friend Isa.

Green Goddess Hummus:

In a food processor combine:

2 cups chickpeas (drained and rinsed)

3 TBS sesame seeds (soaked for 1 hour and drained)

3-5 cloves of garlic

2 handfuls of fresh parsley

Juice of 1 lemon

1 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar

1 TBS Braggs (or nama-shoyu / soy sauce)

Lots of fresh ground pepper

¼ cup of olive oil.

Whirl it in the processor for 30 seconds. Stop to scrape down sides and adjust for taste. Whirl it again until it reaches a smooth consistency. You may need to add more olive oil, or more garlic to find the right taste for your palette.

Raw Curry Flax crackers:

Now these change every time I make them, but I think this was what I did:

2 cups carrot/apple juice pulp (from the juice I made that morning)

2 cups flax seeds soaked in 2 cups of water overnight

1 cup of raw almonds soaked overnight with enough water to cover

Large handful of fresh cilantro

3 garlic cloves

1 TBS Braggs

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp ground cumin

Drain and rinse almonds. Process them in the food processor with the cilantro, garlic, Braggs, onion powder and cumin. Get the almond nice and homogenized. Put mixture into a large bowl and add the pulp and the flax seeds (the flax seeds do not get drained and rinsed because the flax seeds have soaked up all the water!). Mix well.

Spread out onto 4 dehydrator trays lined with teflex.

Dehydrate at 145 for 2 hours, then turn down to 115 and dehydrate for another 6-8 hours. Flip crackers over and peel off teflex. Dehydrate another 2 hours or so until crackers are totally dry and crispy. Break into cracker sizes and store in airtight containers. This a basic recipe. Play with different spices and different juice pulp to vary the taste of your crackers.

The Kimchee (or Kimchi) comes from a wonderful vegetarian cookbook: Madhur Jaffrey's World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking.
• 1 lb. Chinese cabbage (about 1/2 a large head)

• 1 lb. white radish

• 3 T. salt

• 2 T. finely minced ginger (fresh is *much* better!)

• 1 1/2 T. minced garlic

• 5 scallions, cut into fine rounds, including green tops

• 1 T. cayenne or hot Korean red pepper

• 1 t. sugar.

Slice cabbage in either bite-sized chunks or strips about 2 inches in length. Peel radish, cut in half lengthwise then crosswise into 1/8 inch slices.

In a large bowl, put 5 C. water and 2 T. plus 2 t. of the salt.

Mix. Add cabbage and radish and dunk a few times, as they have a tendency to float.

Leave in the salty water, cover loosely and set aside for 12 hours, turning veggies over a few times.

After the soak period, take the ginger, garlic, scallions, cayenne, sugar and remaining 1 t. salt in another large bowl.

Mix well.

Take the cabbage out of the soaking liquid with a slotted spoon (save the liquid) and add to the bowl with the seasonings and mix well.

Put this mixture in a 2 quart jar or crock. Pour enough of the salt water over to cover veggies.

Cover loosely with a clean cloth and set aside for 3 to 7 days to ferment.

Stir/turn veggies over daily.

When done to your liking, cover jar and refrigerate.

Post a comment and let me know how you like these recipes or if you have any questions.
Later this week I'll share my favorite Kale Chips recipe!  Kale's an addiction. :)

Immune Boosting Herbal Class!

Well, as you know I've been studying/practicing herbalism for the past few years.  I am a part of the Green Wisdom Herbal Studies group led by the well-known Master Herbalist Julie James.  This woman amazes me with her knowledge and love of the Herbal world.  I also truly enjoy her energy and spirit she brings to everything she does.  Check out her Green Wisdom here.

I taught a class today on how to make my 4 favorite remedies for boosting your immunity and keeping the cold/flu germies at bay.  I had about 15 local mommies attend and with the help of my friend's lovely kitchen (thank you Lisa!) I think we all had a good time.  This was a hands-on class where I actually made all 4 remedies right there.  Unfortunately for me (new blogger mistake)  I completely forgot to use my camera!  I was hoping to get a good shot of all of us together as well as some action shots.  I did however manage to get some set-up shots, so I'll share those:
Amber and cobalt bottles waiting to be filled with herbal goodness!

Class notes and 3 of my favorite home remedy books.

Lovely herbs just waiting to be prepared....
Since I love food so much and consider your diet a huge part of getting and remaining healthy...I just had to snap a shot of all the snacks I made to show the class that herbs can be powerful and yummy too!
Raw Boysenberry Dip, Raw Indian Flax Crackers, Raw Cashew Balls and Green Goddess Hummus.
I'll post these recipes tomorrow night...see you then!

My first sewing project off a pattern!

Ok, so it may be the easiest pattern in the world, but it's a pattern.
I've been sewing for a while now, but only what I like to call "free-form" style. My Mom gave me a quick lesson when I first got my machine, but with her all the way over on the other side of the country, it's hard to schedule lessons.  I can whip out some cute bean bags,

pillowcase dresses

and simple twirl skirts no problem...

but put a pattern in front of me and I freeze up!  It's big and crinkly...with lots of lines all over the place!  Ah!
Enter my crafty mentor Carin from The Knitted Garden.   This amazing woman has taught me how to knit, crochet and now sew from a pattern!  I am forever grateful for her friendship and tutoring.  I am secretly hoping she doesn't move to TN any time soon (shhh!).
I made some simple pajama pants for my super cute nephew. 

His uncle picked out the pattern...what can I say?  I hope he likes them! 

Now that I have some confidence in pattern reading, guess what I'm making next?

The Ever Changing Nature Table

We keep a small nature table in our home to remind us of the season and to display little bits of nature we find on our outings. F takes great pride in creating new ones, however sometimes she gets impatient and is ready to move on before nature's ready.
Such was the case today: "Mama, I'm ready for spring now".  As she starts to remove the winter whites and blues to make way for the pretty green and yellow silks she's found, I remind her that winter is still here.  The spring has not yet come.  Perhaps instead of changing our nature table before it is time, we should give it a good make-over?  There's an idea!!  Off she went to gather more winter themed goodies and here is the new scene.
Our nature tables usually change and grow through out the seasons, but I thought I'd share since this one was rather drastic.  I believe she was inspired by our new favorite book (for this week), When the Root Children Wake Up by Audrey Wood.  We picked this up at the library last week and it's been read only about 50 times or so already!  We own Mother Earth and Her Children: A Quilted Fairy Tale by Sybille von Offers, so it was a treat to read the same story in a different light.
F is convinced that she is going to actually see the Root Children on parade this year...I certainly hope we do!

Here's our nature table from last Fall:
Going through and seeing if I can find old pictures is making me realize I really need to categorize them better!
Any tips?
Back to Nature Tables though...
Want to start this tradition in your home?  I recommend this book.
I'll be back with another picture on March 20th, the Spring (vernal) Equinox.

Well, I did it!

I started a blog.  That's right.  I always said I never would and couldn't undertsand why people did...and then I got sucked in.
A few friends started blogs and I so enjoy reading them!  Especially since we are all so busy these days, even making a phone call is too much to handle on a night where you've finally put the kids to bed and there's a sink full of dishes still calling your name.
My main goal for starting this blog is to help me document and capture this time in my life while allowing me to share it with friends and family.  I have two little girls and another one coming soon.  Since I have yet to start on E's baby book, I fear the worst for #3.  I have loads of photos and a few home videos, but no time to compile them sensibly into any sort of scrapbook or meaningful album.  I have recently become addicted to knitting and I just can't put down the needles to work on an album.  *Sigh*  Oh well.  I am ok with that.
My dear Mom and Dad live off in PA and this way they can log on and check the status of their favorite (ok, only) grandkids any time they want!
So come back and visit often to keep abreast of our crazy days...


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