Planting season!

Hi Friends! I promise to post the cheese recipes tomorrow! This week has been crazy busy!

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In the meantime… Guess what I did today!!! As part of my goal of working toward owning my own care farm someday, I figured I should start learning as much as possible about organic farming. I found an awesome farm owner a few towns over who was kind enough to “let” me hangout and plant crops today. The weather was TERRIBLE, but seeds need to grow, right? The day was incredibly interesting and I learned a lot of little stuff I didn’t know before. (For example: the best time to transplant seedlings is on a cloudy day so the fragile roots don’t get burned up in the sun.)  Julie, the farm owner, was awesome about answering all of my questions and even fed me lunch in addition to sending me home with two dozen fresh eggs. (Guess I’ll make omelettes for breakfast tomorrow!)

In addition to a great learning experience, I gained sore muscles, very muddy shoes, and a feeling of relaxation that I haven’t felt since the hubby and I moved to this tiny apartment in the city. It seems I’m a country girl at heart and need a bit of dirt under my fingernails to feel sane. Who knew?

I plan to continue volunteering at the farm once a week throughout the summer and can’t wait to keep you all posted on what I learn! Happy Wednesday!

Adventures in cheese making!

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Ok, it’s been WAY too long since my last post. These past few weeks have been a whirlwind, but I wanted to let you all know about a class I took this week.

The husband and I took a class on how to make fresh mozzarella and it was AMAZING! Oh goodness, if you have never tried mozzarella right from the pot, you have a new assignment! It was not only delicious but super easy as well. Only a half hour after we started, Patrick and I were enjoying the Caprese salad pictured above.

Better yet! After making the mozzarella, we took the leftover whey home and I experimented with making fresh ricotta. Although much more time went into draining the ricotta, it was just as simple to make. I’ll try to post both recipes tomorrow!

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I can’t wait to make more! Not only did both cheeses taste fantastic, but just making them was a huge stress reliever. Making cheese seemed to be a task where I was able to be focused on what I was doing and not on the b**** who hung up on me at work AND I got to eat a delicious snack after we were done!

Three cheers for therapeutic cheese making!

The Benefits of a Two Day Vacation

The benefits of a two day vacation: growingwellness.wordpress.com

Ok, so maybe it wasn’t exactly a vacation, but boy was it rejuvenating! This past week, I was sent to Jackson, Florida to go to a “Counseling for Careers” workshop. It was very informative and I learned wonderful things to bring back to my co-workers, but the best part was the hour every day I was able to sit out in the sun.

This short, two day trip reminded me of the benefits the sun brings to us. Living in a place where it is currently March and 15 degrees outside can be draining. Many of us spend hour upon hour inside waiting patiently for the warm air to return. All the time, getting a bit more gray as the days pass. It’s not until the first warm spring day that people start to come alive again.

The benefits of the sunlight are well known: vitamin D, improved sleep quality, and even prevention of some cancers. However, my favorite gift from the sun is the warm, happy feeling I get when I am outdoors for an hour or so. There is a bit of science behind that happy feeling the sun provides for us, but the important part is that it is proven to increase mood and decrease depression. How cool is that? Free therapy!!! Especially in the colder states, people are not outdoors nearly enough in the winter and it is bringing us all down! We need to do something about our primarily indoor lifestyles.

The moral of my story is this: Feeling down? Take a walk, sit out in the sun, find a friend and go on a picnic, sit by a gigantic window, or take a two day vacation to somewhere you can get a tan!

Can Being Outdoors Affect Child Development?

Go Play Outside: Can being outdoors enhance brain development/ www.growingwellness.wordpress.comI’ve been doing a lot of research lately on how being outdoors can affect a person’s mood. Along the way, I came across an article from Richard Louv at psychologytoday.com. It discusses the benefits of teaching your child about nature and getting out of the house more often. Louv states: “A growing body of primarily correlative evidence suggests that, even in the densest urban neighborhoods, negative stress, obesity and other health problems are reduced and psychological and physical health improved when children and adults experience more nature in their everyday lives.”

As the number of hours of sitting in front of a tv, computer, or iDevice increase, it seems that mental health across the country is deteriorating. The correlation between being “stuck” indoors and poor mental health is undeniable. It’s time that we as a community begin to get back to our roots and reunite with nature.

I believe that humans have a strong physiological connection to the planet in more ways than we have discovered. As I keep researching, I’ll continue to pass along all of the great info I find.

As my mom used to say: “Alright, enough sitting around in front of this screen,
go play outside!”

Click here to read the full article:
Do Early Outdoor Experiences Help Build Healthier Brains?