Friday, July 31, 2009

Beauty That Moves.....Me!

I promised I would tell you all about these beautiful little pouches I purchased at the market a few Sunday's ago, well here it is! I read in our weekly newsletter that Heather from "Beauty That Moves" would have these budget pouches available for our "Frugal Frolic Market". I absolutely love the beautiful items Heather creates. They are perfectly stitched, with perfectly sown zippers upon perfectly chosen fabrics! These are crafted in a way I could only dream of being able to do. They are exquisite, everything that she makes is. I would love to start a collection one of each please! I feel in love with the fabric and I just had to get them, even if I didn't use them the way they were intended! I would give their true purpose a genuine go, I owed it to the pouches to at least try! I had heard of this way of keeping track of where you spent your money and that it was a great way to stick to a budget. It was great, Heather had me choose what I wanted stamped on the front of each pouch, where I thought my weekly spending would most likely be going. It made the purchase even more personal, these were my pouches and they represented a huge lifestyle change - a Budget! I have somewhat of a simple budget that we work with each month, you know, "we won't spend more than $$____ on eating out or groceries" etc...... We all know how that works out, it isn't until you look back that you realize that you had spent more than planned on pretty much everything! These beautiful zippered pouches that look so sweet and innocent are a force to be reckoned with, they hold you responsible. It still seems like a very simple idea; you put the allocated amount in each pouch and when it is gone, IT IS GONE! "It Is Gone" is a very hard thing to accept sometimes, the other pouches start to look very inviting, but the same goes for each pouch - GONE. That word has gone through my mind on many, many occasions lately. You can begin to play scenarios in your mind how if you borrow this much from here you can then move this much over here to cover that and then you can make up that next week - what??? You see how these pouches work; they make you really see how you waste your money! I plan on putting this new budget in full affect in August, which is fast approaching. I am excited and nervous all at the same time. I am so very ready for this change, I am just having a little bit of self-doubt. Will I be able to stick with it and obey the rules laid out in front of me? Will I be able to handle spending restrictions? Yes, yes I think I can. I am looking forward to this new set of pouch rules and the place it will lead me. I look at these pouches as a new beginning, a step towards our ultimate goal of becoming more self-sufficient and self-responsible. I think this will teach us far more than the obvious. I believe this set of responsibility all zipped up in a neat little pouch is well worth the effort and I strongly urge anyone who is looking for some sort of new start, direction or a stepping stone should get yourself a set of Heathers pouches. The craftsmanship and beauty of them is incentive enough to look forward to all the possibilities that await you! Make sure you stop by "Beauty That Moves" at , it is worth the visit.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Market: Part 2

So, this is actually part two of my previous post! I have gushed about the Coventry Farmers Market so many times before, but this time I am taking the time to really explain why I love it so very much. I had left off with Bird Song Farm and their amazing vegetables, I think I forgot to mention the name of their farm!!
I guess I will begin this post with another of my all-time favorites, Bean & Leaf! I had the pleasure of first tasting their coffee last year when they came to the market as a Guest Vendor. Well, needless to say it immediately turned into an addiction! I actually think I had more than one cup in the two hours I was there. I was at that time not yet a "vendor" so I was at the market as a "shopper" and shop I loved to do. I bought two bags of their coffee, I knew I would begin having withdrawal symptoms as soon as I got home. Thank goodness they were there again the next week and then the next....... Chris and Lani are two of the nicest people you will ever meet and the fact that they bring those bins full of deliciousness is just icing on the beautiful coffee cupcake! I now am able to get that hot cup of yum every Sunday, even though I brew my own cup every other day, it just tastes so much better coming straight from them! Like I mentioned, I would come to the market each Sunday with my children and father; we had a routine and we very rarely every changed it. It was a necessity to follow those first few steps so then we could get on with the rest of our market experience. Bean & Leaf was our first stop, no if-ands-or buts about it!! Once we had our cup of coffee we would move onto our next stop, La Petite France! I feel in love with the Cheese Stars when I was given one at a different market. They are so delicate, the tips of the star melt in your mouth then you reach the creamy center and you feel like you are floating on a cloud! That is not all, oh no...croissant's the size of one of my children filled with flaky buttery air and please do not forget the ones filled with chocolate and then there is the Sarah's Surprise: Delicate puffed pastry topped with raspberry's and a sweet cream cheese, do you all see why they are one of the first stops I had to make? I would love to spend a day in the kitchen with Roméo to witness the magic that must take place there. You will know you are in the correct spot when you are greeted by Alexandra, you simply cannot miss her. She is so petite with the largest most genuine smile I have ever seen and her voice is so full and heavy of France if you closed your eyes you would swear you were standing in Paris. We would sit on the bench under our favorite tree and enjoy our first two purchases of the day, with much anticipation of the ones that were yet to be made. Once we were finished savoring every bite and down to the very last sip we would happily continue on our venture through "Market-Ville". Next stop 18Th Century Purity Farm to see Paul. He is such a very kind sweet man, he has such a sense of honesty that emanates from him. His fruit carries on that feeling, pure honest goodness. When you eat his raspberries they taste exactly what you would imagine the picture perfect raspberry would taste like. These perfect little berries often grace the tops of my Truffle Brownie Bites that I offer at the market. I love going over to his table to see what I can top those yummy little bites with each week. Once he had the smallest, sweetest little strawberries, I just had to have them. They looked so perfect taking center stage on top of a cloud of sweet chocolate frosting. The market is full of wonderful vendors who offer such amazing things each and every week. I can attempt to mention everyone all at once, but that would be one very full post, so I will show you a little bit of all my favorites a little at a time! Next post I will share a story about a purchase I made this past Sunday at our "Frugal Frolic" from "Beauty That Moves".

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Markets are a time to Wish and Enjoy....

I have the opportunity to be part of an amazing group of people who come together every Sunday for the Coventry Farmers Market. I am in awe of the things that these people create and the talent that surrounds me. I would love to be able to spend a week with each of them just to get a feel for their trade, just to learn a sliver of their knowledge, just to watch the grace and perfection that they put into everything that passes through their hands. I wish there were more hours in the day, these things I would love to learn. For now I will have to be thankful that I have the opportunity to obtain these fine items. They make me smile, they make me happy whenever I get to use them. I have my favorites that have become almost somewhat of an obsession!

Sleepy Moon Soap........ where do I begin? These bars have a scent that lures you in, your nose will lead you and you must follow. They are beautiful; almost too beautiful to use but you will use them because the temptation is just too strong. You will want to take a shower the minute you get home! They produce the perfect amount of lather and your skin feels just like the silk that Winter puts into each bar. Scents and colors that go along with the season. Each one reminds me of a yummy piece of candy. Swirls of color, smells that remind you of things close to your heart - how do you choose? I don't walk away with any less than four at a time and the ones I must leave behind, I promise I will return for you! They are, simply put ~ Beautifully Perfect!
Then there is the Pizza from Farm to Hearth........ those beautiful, rounds of crispy, cheesy goodness topped with all those crazy yummy things that just scream "FRESH"!!! Todd, how do you do it - how does that mind of yours work? I would love a look inside and see a glimpse of that creativity. I had the pleasure of eating a Pesto Pizza, I actually had to share it or actually fight over it, with my son who so graciously waited in line to get one. We had heard so many people gush over these pizzas we just had to try one, why not? Oh my!!! It was steaming hot and smelled of heaven, the spicy side of heaven, and we stood there staring waiting to taste; well worth the wait and at the same time shame on us for waiting for so long to give this a try. We had missed out on so many weeks of this wonderful stuff. Gooey salty melted cheese, nutty pesto and that crust, oh that crust! I spend most of my weekdays waiting for Sunday, just to have a slice of heaven! I will add some photos as soon as I can get some....the pizza just does not hang around long enough for a picture!

Then there are the vegetables; colorful and oh so fresh. You can rest assured that you are getting the freshest produce you can find, picked that morning and brought straight to you. If you find something that sparks your interest and you are not sure how to prepare it, just ask. I often find things I want to try but I just don't know what to do with it, so I ask Abby and Bruce. They are the best neighbors I could have ever wished for. This is my first year being part of this wonderful market, so I am learning as I go, but rest assured I look forward to Sundays because of the encouragement I get from my neighbors. They are always full of kind words, encouragement, great conversation and always a bunch of laughs! Besides all that, they have the best produce. They place their veggies in baskets spread across covered tables that look like they are straight out of a magazine page. I swear there is a taste that I get every time I have their salad mix that reminds me of being a kid again, when we would eat right out of our garden. It is a earthy crisp kind-of rain taste. Hard to explain, but I love it. I am lucky enough to be able to "barter" at the end of the market for the vegetables they might have left, they usually sell out pretty early. I am so happy when I see that they have a few things still in their baskets because I am hoping they will be coming home with me for dinner. Yum!!!
I have so many great vendors to mention, I will have to continue this one! Next up Beltane Farms, 18Th Century Purity Farm & La Petite Bakery!
Welcome! I plan on using this blog to write about my family's adventures in farming, baking and our steps toward becoming more self-sustainable. I will try to post my weekly market findings and how I will or have used them for dinner along with lots of pictures! I look forward to this journey and all the comments you can share. I'll post my first official post shortly!