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Busy and Me

Busy and me don't really get along. Sometimes I think it's just me, that I should be able to juggle more, plenty of other people have fuller plates than I do. But then I crawl out from under the shroud of self-doubt and realize that no, it's not me, Busy is truly just a pain in the ass... an uninvited guest that won't leave. Busy, come July and August, I am instating a zero tolerance policy for you.

It's so lame that I come here every couple of weeks with the proclamation that "I'm too busy to post - hang on - it'll get interesting soon - I hope..." I've never really thought of this as a Craft Blog, I'm not nearly as talented or prolific as most of the talented ladies out there. It's also not a Food Blog (though if I had decent lighting in my kitchen for photos I guarantee you it could be!). It's not a Yoga Blog. Yoga is just about the most precious thing in the world to me, how it has impacted, healed and changed my life could never be captured with words. Occasionally I try, but the words never really suffice.

So, not sure where I was going with that. Maybe to say that really, this is just a Heather Blog. And dang it, Heather is busy these days. Have I mentioned that I'm a soccer mom now? Whoa. Didn't see that one coming did you? Me neither! 

A Year of Planning and Exploring














Normally when we head to Vermont, we head straight to the woods and sleep on a dirt floor. This weekend was different. It marked the beginning of our year long journey to explore the various communities of Vermont, to find the one that is a match for us. We ate at local places, combed potential grocery stores, looked at schools, searched for real estate. And through what sounds like a busy weekend, we all felt incredibly quiet and still. We breathed easily. 

We are looking forward to many more trips like this throughout the year.

Our plan has always been to return to Vermont when Emily completed sixth grade. We fully recognize that given the current climate, we will need to be more creative than ever to make our dream a reality.

We will either have our home sold or rented (whichever comes first) and be headed north, one year (and 2-3 months) from now... to live.

In Vermont.


Let's hope life has the same plan for us...

A Whole Lotta Good Going On

Things feel like they are overflowing right now, in the best of ways. I love when that happens, so I'm going to go ahead and revel in it for the next few days.

~ I finished my new yoga room here at the house, the timing was perfect, a month long Tantric Hatha Yoga Workshop just began and I am so grateful to be taking it. So there is some pretty consistent yoga going on at the moment. Regular, on the mat practice slipped with the start of my new job, but the workshop this month requests the discipline needed to reclaim that. Exactly what I needed.

~ Headed to Vermont for a warm and sunny spring weekend. Bliss.

~ Last week Iris emailed me with a link to her friends blog, she thought I'd like to check out a new project he has going on... it's pretty incredible and completely inspiring and hopeful. You should check it out too. It got me thinking... and with that came a question for you.

If the current hand you are playing in life folded... whatever it is you 'do' right now, if today was your final call... what would you then do? It seems we all need a Plan B these days. I think of my own husband, and the Rough Houses he's made. He likely never would have had the time to explore that part of himself if he wasn't unemployed those several months.

So tell me... what thing, skill, service or offering do you have up your sleeve that could be tossed out to the universe while you waited on resume responses? What kind of business would you drum up? I'm not talking about a major start-up that requires venture capitalists and commercial real estate... think cottage industry, low start, little if any overhead. Got anything? I bet you all do...

Thanks for playing along, I'll go start things off in the comments.

Almost There


We were hoping to go to Vermont this weekend but I have a meeting tomorrow that I cannot miss. So, we'll head up next weekend... which is fine because instead I've been spending the day fixing up a few corners of that room of mine, we are so close to being done now!

I've been dreaming of a corner like this for quite a while.

Now, I think I'll go pour a glass of wine and settle into my favorite chair right there... enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Grain Salads


This is the post in which I'll share a few grain recipes, not only are grains nutritional powerhouses, but they can be a top notch convenience food.  

I feel like I should add a disclaimer of sorts here... although I dream of the day I can study this area intensely, I am not a professional chef or a nutritional scientist, I bring no certified wisdom to these sort of topics. I do however cook everyday, and I am borderline obsessive about the source and journey of the food that I feed to my family. I am of the mindset that you are what you eat, drink and breathe, you are also a result of how you move. So, as much responsibility as I can take in these areas, the better off I hope my golden years to be.  

Okay, so with that out of the way, let's start with a few words from someone who is considered an expert...

"... whole grains are feeding you - pumping minerals, vitamins,fiber,and the amazing, balancing vibes of the natural universe into your body. They are a force to be reckoned with. Give them a chance."

~ Jessica Porter, author of The Hip Chicks Guide to Macrobiotics


The grain salads that I'm writing down here today do not have any legumes in them, sometimes my salads do, sometimes they do not. There is the added benefit of a more 'complete' protein if a handful of beans are thrown in, so feel free to do that with any of these recipes. Personally, I don't get that worked up about protein. It's everywhere, it's in everything. Some would even argue that we get too much protein. For me, I feel like if I just focus on whole foods, and a variety of them, my protein needs are met naturally and there is no need to carefully plan or obsess over combining things to complete the protein. I've taken a couple of classes from a woman who is a macrobiotic chef and holistic health counselor, and she says that of all the nutritional/health disorders we face in this country, protein deficiency isn't even on the list. I imagine the protein question for strict vegans or vegetarians is like the socialization question for homeschoolers.

I find the easiest way for me to ensure grains consistently make it into the daily diet around here is to always have a grain salad or two on hand. When the 3 or 4 pm munchies kick in (whether at home or the office) having a little container of something like this on hand leaves you feeling satisfied and guilt-free.

Grain Salad # 1 - This is inspired by a salad in a popular vegan book that is on the market. Unfortunately, I don't like 95% of the book so I don't want to mention the title, because I feel bad. So, my version is called...

Wheatberry Salad (you should call it something more interesting than that)

  • 1 cup hard wheat berries

  • 3 cups pr more water

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1/4 cup apple or orange juice

  • 2 Tbls rice vinegar

  • 2 Tbls agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup

  • 3/4 tsp sea salt (or to taste)

  • 1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper

  • 2 celery stalks, diced small

  • 2-3 scallions, diced

  • 1 apple (your choice) cut into 1/4 inch or so cubes

  • a little diced red onion - I only use a few Tbls, worth

  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

  • 1/4 cup dried (diced up) pineapple - if you'd like

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts - or any kind of nut

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Place wheatberries in a pan and cover with water by a little more than an inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover, simmer for 50-60 minutes. Or until berries are tender. Add more water during cooking time if needed. Place wheatberries in a pan and cover with water by a little more than an inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover, simmer for 50-60 minutes. Or until berries are tender. Add more water during cooking time if needed.

Meanwhile, in a small bowlcombine the oil, juice, rice vinegar, sweetener, salt and pepper.Set this aside. Once the berries are cooked, drain any excess water then place wheatberries in a large bowl. Add 1/2 the dressing and stir, let it sit until wheatberries have cooled to room temperature. Once that happens, stir in the rest of the ingredients and dressing, toss gently. Serve cold! Yum!!

Mediterranean Barley Salad


  • 2 Tbls fresh lemon juice

  • 1 Tbls Dijon or stoneground mustard

  • Pinh of sea salt

  • 1 Tbls apple cider vinegar

  • 1 Tbls umeboshi vinegar

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 1 Tbls shallot if you like


  • 5 cups water

  • 2 cups hulled barley

  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 2 Tbls chopped fresh oregano or 2 tsp. dried

  • 1/3 cup pitted and chopped Kalamata olives

  • 1/3 cup drained capers (I rinse them too)

  • ½ cup pine nuts

  • ¼ cup chopped green onions (scallions)

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Combine all the ingredients for dressing and set aside.To make the salad, bring water to a boil. Add the barley, sea salt and bay leaves. Simmer for 1 hours, adding a little more water if needed. Cook until barley is tender, drain excess water if there is any. Let the grains cool, add the dressing and oregano, stir. Then add  the other ingredients, combine gently. Chill, serve cold.


Quinoa Salad - Adapted from The Hip Chicks Guide to Macrobiotics

  • ¼ cup red onion, diced fine

  • ½ cup (about 5) radish diced

  • 2 Tbls umeboshi vinegar

  • 1 Tbls brown rice vinegar

  • 1 ½ cups quinoa

  • 3 cups water

  • ¼ tsp sea salt

  • 2/3 cup nuts - lately I’ve been using cashews

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 Tbls chopped fresh mint (if you have it)

  • ½ cup raisins, soaked for a bit in some warm water.

  • Drizzle of olive oil

Combine red onion, radish and both vinegars in a bowl, set aside. Wash quinoa under cool water and drain. Roast in a dry heavy bottomed pan, stirring continuously as grain turns golden and a little puffy. Bring water and salt to a boil in saucepan, add quinoa. Cover, turn heat down low and simmer about 20 minutes until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes, then fluff with fork and cool, at least to room temperature. Combine the quinoa with the rest of the ingredients, season with a little sea salt and pepper to taste, and serve chilled or room temperature. This salad is mellow in flavor which is nice, the flavor of the ingredients play strongly as there is very little dressing to speak of.

Are you all still with me? Gosh, this seems like the longest post in history. I wouldn't be lying either if I told you I've been working on it for two days now! For some reason my feet were dragging through the actual writing of these recipes. I've also been easily distracted by Spring Break sort of things. Like heading to guitar lessons in shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops... freshly painted bookcases... clean closets... the arrival of the completely amazing and generous package for May's First Friday Giveaway (you won't want to miss this!!)...  breakfast with friends... sleepovers... and trying very hard to sneak out of here and head to Vermont for the weekend. You know... life.

Oh! A final word about these recipes. In my house these are not considered kid friendly, but hopefully your child would disagree. And as far as husbands who might grumble at the absence of steak as the main ingredient... if your guy is like mine, and is hungry all the time, he will likely appreciate the ready and waiting big bowl of something in the fridge. ;)

Wishing each of you a very big and full of life kind of weekend...

The Simplest Idea


Over the holiday weekend I shared in conversation with my cousin and aunt how I bring my bulk foods home from the Co-op. I'm pretty sure I've never specifically discussed that here, and it is by no means an elaborate system, quite the opposite actually. But it works for me, and it just might work for someone else out there looking for their own improved system.

In my pantry, all of my grains, beans, dried fruits and so on are stored in glass canisters and jars. I've seen many people take their empty glass jars down to the Co-op and even have the tare weight marked with permanent marker on the bottom of them. I would definitely break a few with each shopping trip, I can't be trusted with that many glass jars against the Co-op's cement floor.

Looking at the basket in the photo, you've probably already figured out my entire system and words here are totally unnecessary. It's filled with heavy duty ziploc bags, gallon size. While I'm not comfortable storing my food in plastic bags long term in my home, I am okay with transporting them home this way. And let me tell you, slipping the ziplocs under the bulk bin dispenser to fill, and  then closing them quickly brings tremendous ease to my life (it's the little things), the bags will last for years as well. This basket sits in the pantry filled with labeled bags. Each has the name of food and the PLU # for weighing them at check out. I have bags for coffee as well.

When I write up my shopping list I just head into the pantry and pull out the bags that are needed for that trip and I'm on my way. When I return home I dump the contents from the ziplocs into my glass jars and place the bags back in the basket for another time. There is no need to wash them out in between each trip, maybe a once every six months hot water rinse but nothing more than that.

This idea is so incredibly simple it is almost embarrassing to write about. But I bet many of you have similar ideas that are working for you. Please share your best earth friendly, purse friendly homemaking tip in the comments. What little and simple thing have you put into practice in your home?

Also... after you leave us your tip, stop on by Simple Green Frugal Co-op!

Taking a Break


First, I have to tell you how funny your comments were on the last post! Boy, you ask a group of ladies what they like in a handbag and you open up a big ol' can of worms. But if I was left with any doubt before as to what people liked, I have a clear understanding now. As to be expected, there was a bit of a mix (I will most certainly represent that in the selection I put together!), but I can say with pretty clear conviction that the majority of you like a bag with straps that rest on the shoulder and the bag tucks under the arm (that is my preference too!)... they must not be too long so the bag drags on the ground if you should choose to hold it in your hand (how annoying)... and really... it would be nice if it was big enough to hold the occasional bag of flour, because you never know. Oh, and there is a home for sale in the comments too. It's a beauty, and Indiana seems to be where it's at for awesome real estate bargains! Thanks everyone, it was incredibly helpful to me that you chimed in. I feel much less indecisive now.

Guess what? I don't have to go to work outside of my house for ten whole days! We are on Spring break, Emily and I will be home and I really just feel like laying low, getting into the garden, and deep cleaning my house. I am also very excited to put the finishing touches on the major room swap project (what used to take me 3 days now seems take 4 weeks with our schedule changes). I think I'm going to turn this computer of mine off for the next week. Well, I will need to turn it on once a day to do a little Mayberries Vintage check-in, but otherwise it will be off and I will return soon, hopefully with a mulched garden, possibly a painted front porch, and a sparkling clean home.

So, to sign off for a little bit I will leave you with this :

It's part of an article that was given to me a couple of years ago by Emily's former school teacher. This particular teacher always saw Emily for exactly who she was, she gave her room to be who she needed to be, and I will always be grateful to her for that, for getting my child. She once likened Emily's character and spirit to that of Nelson Mandela's, which is such a powerful thing to say and at the same time very sweet and humbling. I've always found there to be such an important lesson in these words...

"Nelson Mandela made a grand, elegant, dignified exit from prison and it was very, very powerful for the world to see. But as I watched him walking down the dusty road, I wondered whether he was thinking about the last 27 years, whether he was angry all over again. Later, many years later, I had a chance to ask him. I said. 'Come on, you were a great man, you invited your jailers to your inauguration, you put your pressures on the government. But tell me the truth. Weren't you really angry all over again?' And he said, 'Yes, I was angry. And I was a little afraid. After all I'd not been free in so long. But,' he said, 'when I felt that anger well up inside of me I realized that if I hated them after I got outside that gate than they would still have me.' And he smiled and said, ' I wanted to be free, so I let it go.' It was an astonishing moment in my life. It changed me.

"He's got so much to teach us about forgiveness. It isn't about being soft-headed and kind-hearted and essentially weak or forgetful although the Bible says God both forgives and forgets. Mandela found that forgiveness was a strategy for survival. Because he found a forgiving heart under the most adverse circumstances, because he learned to hate the apartheid cause without hating the South Africans, he had space left inside to learn and grow and become great."

~ Bill Clinton former U.S. president

Take it easy everyone, I'll be back soon.

What's Your Pleasure?

I have some exciting ideas unfolding as I work on several new crafty type designs. I'm a little stuck on something though so I'd really love your advice/opinion. When imaging the perfect, most festive summer tote bag for yourself (not all of my plans involve tote bags, I promise there will be other things popping up as well...), does it have long straps that slip over the shoulder or does it have cute and sassy shorter straps that rest on your wrist while your hands push the stroller or the cart at the market?

Most of what I make travels with me to the Farmers Market. (Check out the short video on the front page, look closely and you'll see my zipper pouches in there! I'm so honored to be a part of this fantastic group.) But there will be an exciting Spring update in my handmade shop in about two weeks, there will be some lovely Mothers Day ideas for you as well any-day ideas! ;)

The design and flavor of my summer design plans are clear in my mind - I just want to make the construction of these bags with the correct features. And for some reason I'm incredibly indecisive about the straps, maybe I should do a mix!

It's such a personal preference... what's yours?

And for extra credit...

What would you use it for? Handbag... diaper/kiddo bag... library trips... day trip survival/activity bag... mama's traveling craft studio... to the park and more...?

Thank you kindly for helping me out!

Let's Talk About Paint Colors


One of the most commonly asked questions I receive from readers has to do with the paint colors in my home. I thought I'd put together what little information I have into a post for you.  Unfortunately, there is only one 'name' of a color that I can give, but I do hope to point you in several useful directions! 

I love food and I love plants and flowers, I pretty much adore any color that can be found in the natural world. Many years ago I realized (as I stood with eyes glazed over staring at the sea of paint chips at our local paint store) that nature offers the most perfect color wheel... and man has developed a super-techno method of identically matching any object into a liquid-y substance that can then be applied permanently to walls! It's a method that has worked for me time and time again. Nature offers the color, man mimics it pretty nicely.


When we moved into our home five years ago, we had just come from spending four years in a log cabin where there isn't a whole lot of opportunity to play with color on the walls (though let's be serious, living in a log cabin has some major perks of it's own), This first room in our home, the living room, is huge. It runs the entire length of the front of the house, (the foyer is part of it), I think it's about 25 feet x 12 (or so) feet. A pretty big space that could hold a good punch of color just fine. You can't see all of the windows in this picture, but in this room alone there are a total of seven windows, plus the front door, all surrounded by original woodwork, and I am one of those girls that you will never see take a paint brush to a natural wood surface. Never. So the color I chose needed to compliment this woodwork...

A friend of mine who is an artist (and a whiz with color), was over one day and we determined (as we stared at a checkerboard of rejected paint colors on the dirty white walls) to find our color solution that day, somewhere in my home...


She walked over to the bookshelf, pulled down a copy of A Traveller in Rome, pointed to the binding of the book and said, "Here, this is your color." And so it was. But wait, it's not food you say? Not a color pulled directly from nature? Next time you are at the market, take a look at the most vibrant, healthy looking butternut squash you see, look at the skin, that is also the color of these walls. I realized that just as I handed this book across the counter to the color matching guru (okay, I know it's all computerized) at my paint store.

That little powdery pile next to the book is cornmeal. I'm surprised to say I don't have a room here in this color, it was a color I had mixed for an apartment years ago. Yellow is difficult to settle on, most of them are too green and depending on the lighting in your home, yellow can be very finicky. If you are longing to discover the perfect, warm, soft yellow, get yourself a little scoop of good quality cornmeal and head down to the paint store.

I think I'd like to see this color in my home again very soon.


More than any other color in my home, people seem to be the most curious about that of my bedroom and yoga room (same color). Here is what I did, one day while out shopping, I saw the most beautiful fresh artichoke in the produce section and immediately knew that was my green. I scooped that little leafy vegetable up with pride, and you can guess where I went to next... "2 gallons please!"

Artichoke green is truly a thing of beauty.


This room is painted in a fairly predictable green, but still it is so gentle and pretty. It is the color of celery. Not the pasty, half-alive color of celery that hangs around the grocery store for too long. This is Farmer's Market celery... this is Garden Fresh Celery.

Okay, this is the color that I can give you a name for! It is Covington Blue by Bejamin Moore, and is just the prettiest blue I have ever seen. Blues are tough. I like blue, but it can easily feel too cool. This blue is somehow warm and cozy - I think it needs to find it's way into a larger room in my house. Our tiny powder room doesn't offer a high enough dose of this very soothing color. 

And who wouldn't love a black raspberry ice cream bathroom? With a Covington Blue floor... and a butternut squash hallway... and beyond that second door, an artichoke green bedroom...?

We do live with an awful lot of color, I couldn't help it after log cabin living for so many years! Looking at these pictures all together makes me think I may have missed my calling in life, perhaps I should have been a Carnival set designer... is it too late?

A Performance to Remember

Good morning! Emily has been home with a fever (this is day two), which means the working mom is home too... hence my ability to post two days in a row, just like the old days. 

For all you parents out there, or anyone who just needs a little comic relief... please come on a little tour with me of Emily's Geography Fair at school two nights ago.


This post isn't about her highly unusual request for a special dress and magnetic clip earrings... or that awesome, goofy smile.


It's not about whether or not she wanted an up-doo or a down-doo or an up-doo or a down-doo (repeat that 12 times...).picnikfile_pObL4X

It's not even about the fantastic job she did on her presentation of Venezuela, or the delicious platter of Arepas Con Queso that she offered as people stopped by her booth. Those were actually really good by the way... we used 1/2 the sugar suggested, pepper jack cheese instead of mozzarella, and left the corn kernels whole. We also mixed the batter a day in advance and it made them even fluffier and more pancake like. Trying to be frugal and efficient... when Emily and I sat down to choose her recipe, I suggested we make something that we already had all the ingredients for... and so we did!


This isn't even about the fact that my girl actually loves playing the recorder and how cute I think that is - because when I was in 5th grade, pretty much nobody in my class found this to be fun.

No, this post is about none of that. This post is about those moments in our lives as parents that will remain etched in our memories forever. You see, after her class played a few South American numbers on these traditional instruments, it was time to perform a number using their homemade instruments that they had made in art class. These instruments have been in the creative stage for some time... I'm just saying there was probably time to change one's direction if they were so inclined, but they were not. They were perfectly content and quite amused (as was the rest of the class) with their bamboo flute type thing with the trumpet mouth piece insert... yeah.

It was quite a sound, check it out...

Am I a terrible mother for laughing out loud while video taping this performance and practically dropping the camera in my husband's lap? It was made even funnier by the fact that she just saw the humor in it and wasn't too shy or mortified to get up there and play her flute in front the crowd and her peers... even if they all do lovingly refer to it as The Fart Flute. I think that may be the one and only time you will see that word typed on this blog. ;)

Oh well, all in good fun. Her music teacher (who is my good friend and neighbor) was just so proud of her for being able to "get a sound out of such a very difficult instrument, flutes are so hard to play!" This cracked me up because she meant it in all seriousness and kindness.

Have a good one friends, Emily will be resting up today hoping to kick this fever. She needs to get back to her musical pursuits... afterall, there is talk of a summer tour to prepare for.