Nature Journaling at School

For the past seven weeks, I've been spending Thursday afternoons nature journaling with my oldest daughter's classmates. Their small Montessori school offers an abundance of natural spaces to explore, including a trail through the woods, a sun-drenched lake, fields with tall grasses gone to seed, and peaceful shady areas right outside their classroom doors. We've discovered them all.
It's been my true pleasure to guide these eager-to-learn children through the basics of observing nature (use all your senses!), as well recording their observations on the blank page (write, draw, create, express!). They've explored seeds & seed vessels; collected fallen leaves; followed animal tracks; and gathered lichen-covered sticks, colorful mushrooms, wild grapefruit, and even a large animal bone!
Week by week, these budding naturalists have written haikus, made field notes & lists, rubbed leaves, sketched objects & scenes, stamped with harvest vegetables & fruits, created nature collages, and explored with color.
And all along the way, we've discussed how keeping a nature journal can help one foster mindfulness, practice gratitude, and express their creativity.
This week, we're wrapping it up, completing any unfinished pages and "binding" the journals with found sticks. Each book will have a few blank pages added in to the back in the hope that the kids will keep journaling even after our workshop has ended. I'm so proud of their work, and truly honored to have shared this special time together!


Cover Story!

A few weeks ago I gave you a sneak peek at the photo shoot for an upcoming article I wrote - La Vie Boheme. It officially hit the stands this week and guess what? I finally got a cover featuring my Naked Olive Oil & Orange Blossom Cake!
I'm so excited to share this piece with you... it's the manifestation of an idea I've had brewing for some time - a bohemian-style dinner party featuring a French Provençal menu. The recipes include the Typsy Gypsy Cocktail, a Cheese Board with Honey-Herb Candied Nuts, a Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Maple Apple-Cider Vinaigrette, Provençal Lamb Stew, and the cake, which is layered with an Almond-Orange Buttercream. You can see all the recipes and style inspiration in the digital issue of Edible Sarasota COOKS! This article starts on page 37, but start at the beginning and see the cover, plus all the other goodies in this annual keeper-issue. Oh, and...
...be sure to go all the way to pages 52-55 to get my go-to Freezer Meals - Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion & Spinach Lasagna, White Bean & Tomatillo Turkey Chili, and Curried Chicken Pot Pie. These are real life savers during the busy holiday season that is now upon us!
I hope you enjoy the whole issue; it's such an honor for me to work with this publication! {If you want to view more pictures from the boho dinner party, see my previous post.}
xoxo - Liz


A Few of My Favorite Things... (from the Country Living Fair)

A couple of weeks ago, my mother and I took a road trip to the Country Living Fair. What a feast of inspiration! We stood in line on the first day with droves of ladies who looked, well, just like us. Armed with a modest stack of cash, a push cart, and a whole lot of enthusiasm, we tackled the expansive fair with the gusto of kids on Christmas morning.
Everywhere we looked, we saw things we loved... old typewriters and dried flowers... rustic bread boards and salvaged windows... sheepskin throws and crates of antlers... It was a mix of vintage, salvage, handmade, repurposed, and only a dash of commercial products. I picked up a few treasures to bring home, including a fabulous old typewriter table to hold my blue 1950s Royal machine. The table has a pull out desk and a small drawer that is stocked with aged typewriter paper (remember, that nice textured, thick paper with a watermark?). The kids are having a blast with it!
Many of the vendors wowed us with their creative displays and booths. Those rustic chairs in the top image were balanced atop a fence railing! And I really loved the vignettes created at another booth, like the ones pictured below - little curio cabinets and displays of found and repurposed objects, mixed with ferns, moss, and bits of whimsy. The whole fair was like taking a stroll through my Pinterest pages!
Check out these huge signs hanging among the trees. Yes, there is also a bike, a deer head, and a chandelier suspended in the top picture! (I bought some great mushroom botanical prints "torn from an old gypsy book" from this creative vendor. I plan to mount them on canvases and hang them in my living room.)
So, I'm curious... do you like this kind of stuff too? If you want, I'll do a follow up post featuring the goodies I brought home and showing how I'm incorporating them into my nest, using inspiration gleaned from the Country Living Fair. Leave a comment and let me know if you're interested!

xoxo - Liz


Happy Halloween (+ Easy Costume Ideas)

If you've never worn false eyelashes before, you should really try it. Halloween is a perfect excuse! We dressed up for a Halloween party and I was a scarecrow. Obviously. This costume was so easy because I had everything I needed on hand... flannel shirt, jeans and boots, straw hat, and a package of raffia.  If you need a quick costume, this is it! (Don't forget to try some big, fluffy false eyelashes, because they are just too fun!)
The girls are scary & sweet again (see this post circa 2010) - one a corpse bride and one a candy corn witch. I bought both their costumes on Amazon for under $40 total. They are super happy, and frankly, so am I. Easy and ready to go!
So here's the whole lot of us. My hubby is the cute farmer - a real departure for my city boy! After enjoying a good laugh at the sight of him in overalls, the look grew on me. The farmer costume is another easy one, especially if you're looking to dress as a couple. We went to every thrift store in town looking for overalls, then ended up snagging a pair at Walmart (oh, the shame). Check out this rockin' family Halloween shot (from 2008!) for another easy couple costume idea.

Happy Halloween, from my family to yours!


Slow Risin' and Slow Cookin'

That's me, mixing up some sourdough bread! Remember the photo shoot at my nest I mentioned last month? Well, the articles and recipes are now available online. Read Slow Rise: The Art of Breadmaking with recipes for Slow-Rise Sourdough Bread, as well as good stuff to make with it: Maple-Cinnamon Sourdough French Toast... Grilled Brie, Bacon & Pear on Sourdough... and Sausage & Chard Sourdough Stuffing.

And the BBQ ribs photographed atop an old whiskey barrel on my back porch? Here they are! Get the recipe for these Slow-Cooked Honey BBQ Ribs in Southern Comfort from the Slow Cooker, along with recipes for: Shrimp & Slow-Cooked Grits and a Tomato Cobbler with Cheddar Biscuit Crust. Plus, some slow cooker tips & tricks!

Speaking of southern comfort... I'm hitting the road with my mother tomorrow - we're headed to the Country Living Fair in Stone Mountain, Georgia. So excited!! Anyone else going? I'll be back next week to share whatever country goodness I find.

Have a super rest of the week & weekend!

xoxo- Liz



Style Shoot - La Vie Boheme {+ a Special Deal}

A sneak peek of ...
...the table,
... the cocktail,
... the scene,
... the food,
 ... and the cake. Oh, the cake!

I recently worked my first full-fledged style shoot for an article in the upcoming, annual Edible Sarasota COOKS issue. I helped style the food for the recipes I wrote. Then, I ran around behind the official photographer to get a few shots of my own. It was so exciting to watch my idea for a Provencal bohemian dinner party come to life. I can hardly wait to share the full piece with you next month... the recipes are divine! {Watch this space mid-November for a link to the article.}

A Special Deal

Meanwhile... a quick thank you for all the kind comments on my last post about Celebrations of Light, a wintertime family eGuide. I really want to share this holiday resource with all of you, so I'm offering $5 OFF with the discount code WARMTH, through Monday, October 27. Enjoy! {Click here to order.}


It's Just Around the Corner... {+ a Giveaway!)

I know it can be hard to face it, but really, the holidays are not that far away. While most of us are still scrambling to figure out Halloween, and possibly starting to think about Thanksgiving, the stores are way ahead of us. They've already decked the aisles for the winter holiday season... yikes! It always gives me a bit of a jolt to see it all come out so early, but over the years I've come to understand the value of planning ahead for the holiday season. Little efforts here and there lead to less-stressful celebrations.

So, in that spirit, I wanted to remind you, albeit a bit early, of the Wintertime Family eGuide that I compiled with some of my favorite bloggers and writers - Celebrations of Light.
This digital guide walks you through five wintertime celebrations of light and warmth: Advent, St. Nicholas Day, St. Lucia Day, the Winter Solstice, and New Year's Eve.
Each celebration includes:
- a non-denominational ritual
- a seasonal craft or project
- a warming recipe
- and a meaningful "bright idea."
This guide is so thoughtfully written, and full of beautiful, inspiring images - it's truly a one-of-a-kind resource for creating sweet wintertime traditions for your family. Here's a little peek inside:

For more information about the Celebrations of Light eGuide, or to order your copy for immediate download, click here.

The Giveaway! - contest closed

WINNERS: Kimberly Huff and Fantask MayClan

Congratulations! Please send me your email addresses so I can send your copies out.
Thank you to everyone who entered. I really want you ALL to enjoy the Celebrations of Light eGuide, so I've created a special discount through October 27th. Use the discount code WARMTH at checkout and SAVE $5 on your copy!
For more information or to order your copy for immediate download, click here.
Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a copy of Celebrations of Light - I'm giving away 2!  Help me spread the word for more chances to win: share links to this post on any social media site and receive more chances to win! Just be sure to come back and leave a separate comment here for each post you make. Winners will be announced on Monday, October 20th.  

xoxo - Liz