From the monthly archives:

July 2011

First, I would like to take a moment to introduce you to my friend Jasmine Brown, the author of today’s guest post.  We first met when we were roommates and the Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged conference back in June.  Jasmine is easily one of the most fun and most passionate people I have ever met!  When Jasmine speaks, you listen!  She commands an audience and I am so glad that she has agreed to write a guest post on a topic that I too am passionate about, Organic and Local Eating!  Additionally, I would like to add a sincere CONGRATULATIONS to Jasmine and her husband Garrett as she gave birth to their third child, Tobias, LAST NIGHT!  Check out her blog The Brokins, which she co-writes with her friend Sadie, to read all of her hilarious antics and to see some pictures of her adorable little one!

“Organic and Local” Eating: The Beginning of Jasmine’s Journey
By Jasmine Brown of The Brokins

As an African American kid growing up in the projects the word “organic” was never mentioned. We lived on food stamps and government subsidies and struggled to make ends meet. Buying “name brand” was an awesome privilege and I remember being very excited to be able to buy the same box cereals that other kids were able to eat. Some of my precious childhood memories involve the CareBears and Captain Crunch Cereal.

When I left home for college I found myself excited about so many new opportunities. I inundated myself with book after book about things that interested me, amongst the titles were numerous “organic eating” books.

I spent a year really diving into what food was about, how it shaped healthy, culture, and life. I am a planner and I wasn’t going to commit to something that I wasn’t really educated on. I asked farmers, friends, and educators questions. I read articles, blogs, and recipe books. I learned about the importance of food earnestly and respecting that strawberries have a season. I had NO idea about seasons. I knew my grandma gardened in the summer… but when we should be eating certain things never occurred to me.

In 2006 my husband and I decided to embark on the journey of eating more locally and organically, keeping our home free of most dangerous
chemicals (including makeup and  hygiene products), and being more environmentally conscience. It was a slow change where we educated ourselves on what did and didn’t work for us. Five years later we can’ imagine doing things we used to do. Though we aren’t “100% organic” and local we make sure the “big impact” items of our family are sourced organic and/or locally.

 

*We buy our beef from our neighbor three houses down.
*We buy our poultry from a local hermitage and our eggs from a local farmer, Jesse, that we have had the chance to know.
*We reduce packaging by shopping in bulk and using our own containers (usually glass)
*We refrain from body and household products that contain sulfates, parabens, or are not 100% biodegradable or organic.
*We employ farmer’s markets, CSA’s, and our family garden to provide fresh (and seasonally canned produce) all year long.

You don’t have to do everything… even small changes make a difference. I am holding on to the belief the what I am doing for the lives of and health of my children will make a difference in them. I was very sick as child, I think a lot of the health issues I had were rooted in malnutrition. I want my kids to enjoy eating, respect the land and the people who grow their food, and understand that you don’t have to have anything RIGHT NOW.  I am proud that my son knows that July is tomato season :) Moreover, food helps us open up much needed discussion with our children about stewardship, thankfulness, and being a good neighbor.

“Organic/Local” eating is a hot topic. Contentious even. It doesn’t have to be, at least I don’t think so. How different are your eating habits from what they were in childhood? What do you believe about the “organic and local movement”?

Are you interested in guest posting for Eggs and Herbs?  We’d love to feature you and we are open to a wide range of topics!  Please send a brief summary of your post idea to willowtreecreek@gmail.com and we will get back to you!

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How To Become an Artist

by Julie Kohl on July 30, 2011


I am an art teacher and it always surprises me when kids tell me they don’t want to take art class because they don’t know how to draw!  Really?  Did you know how to do calculus before you took a math class?  Did you know the Preamble to the Constitution before you took American History?  Probably not.  So when people say, “But I don’t know how to draw!” I say, “GOOD! You’ve come to the right place!”

Not everyone was born with a natural artistic talent.  Sure it comes easier to some than others but we all have room to learn and grow.  We can all achieve some level of talent with the right tools and lots of practice.  The key is to find what you love and build on that.

Personally I am very good at drawing, especially architectural drawing.  I have a good eye for perspective and I love the meticulous technical detail that comes with architectural drawing.  My passion however is for painting.  I can get lost in a painting for hours.  Painting for me is meditative and hypnotic.  That doesn’t happen to me with drawing.  But…painting doesn’t come easy for me.  I really have to work at it.

I have tried virtually every art and craft outlet available from knitting, to scrap-booking, drawing, painting and sewing. I’ve crocheted snowflakes out of the tiniest of threads and built a chicken coop by hand with large boards and power tools.  If it can be made, built, crafted or somehow put on paper I have probably tried it at least once.

My point is that being an “artist” can look like many different things.  Experiment, look at art and see what stand out to you, find some tools that look fun to try.  Once you have chosen the art form you wish to pursue I have three pieces of advice.

1.  Practice
2.  Allow your self to make mistakes! After all there are no mistakes in art, only happy accidents!
3.  Practice some more.

One of the new features that you will regularly find here is my creativity series.  I will posting tips and tutorials in all different creative areas.  I will also address a variety of skill levels.  There is a lot of creativity going on here on the farm and I want to share that with you.  Here are a few posts you can look forward to in the near future.

Beginning Drawing 101 – I have a pencil and paper, now what?

Acrylic Painting Basics – Intuitive Abstract Painting Tutorial

What is Art Journaling?

How to Make a Simple Art Journal with an Old Magazine

Look for my art related posts on Fridays and/or Saturdays!  Is there something you would like me to show?  A specific tutorial you are looking for?  Let me know!

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#ClearAmerican Strawberry Basil Lemonade Spritzer (#ad #cbias)

July 28, 2011

I love sparkling water so I was excited when I was asked to give Clear American a try.  Clear American is a ZERO calorie flavored sparkling water beverage sold at Walmart and Sam’s Club.  The company makes a TON of flavors and the Clear American section in our Walmart was fully stocked.  The thought of […]

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For the Love of Turtles (Mostly Wordless Wednesday)

July 27, 2011

This is my dog Kensi.  She died a few summers ago.  Today would have been her 11th birthday.  Kensi loved turtles and that is something I will always remember about her!  I miss you Kensi!

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5 Kitchen Gadgets I Can’t Live Without

July 25, 2011

Recently in my post 10Reasons You Are Buying Take-out Instead of Cooking, I mentioned that lack of adequate and appropriate kitchen tools can keep us out of the kitchen.  Having the right tools can make cooking more fun and seem less like a chore.  Having the wrong or inadequate kitchen tools can cost time and […]

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Stop Watching, Start Doing (A Guest Post)

July 24, 2011

By Karen Isaacson of iamrushmore I used to be a lurker. Skulking through the aisles of Borders, drooling on the art books, buying dozens of titles and reading them alone, in private. Scrolling through endless art blogs and flickr streams. Never leaving comments, never making contacts, and never making art. Looking at other people’s work […]

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Looking for Guest Posts: I want YOU

July 22, 2011

This Sunday I am launching a new section on my blog!  Each Sunday I will be bringing you a guest post from one of my readers, a cook, an artist, a blogger I admire or perhaps even YOU!  Submission is super easy and you can write on whatever topic feels near and dear to you.  […]

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Wordless Wednesday

July 20, 2011

                                           

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10 Reasons You Are Buying Take-out Instead of Cooking (Plus an easy recipe you can cook tonight!)

July 18, 2011

You could search the internet and find hundreds if not thousands of resources, studies and surveys that all show that cooking at home rather than eating out is less expensive and better for our figures and our health.  Yet, even when armed with all this knowledge, we are still tempted to partake in take-out.  Why?  […]

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A Farm Map

July 17, 2011

I have always loved maps.  When I was a kid I had a friend named Hope.  We liked to draw maps.  We had notebooks full of maps of my house, her house, the woods, our church, our schools, our neighborhoods, whatever we could think of.  We sometimes  used the maps to trick her little brother […]

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