Ohio Road Trip

There's been a winner of the fabric stash! (sorry for the delay...reasoning below in this post.) The winner is Becky Johnson~ I'll reach out Becky and we'll get you a whole buncha' fabric soon! :) 

A glorious road trip delayed that winner announcement last week. I swept up the boys just one week prior to school starting and we headed out for the cornfields, diners, ice cream parlors, lakes and state parks of Ohio.

I grew up in Columbus (GO Bucks!) and yet most of our activities were a first for all of us. Except this one.
Slate Run Farm. Ahh....THIS place is magical. I grew up going to Slate Run on school field trips and weekend outings with my dad. I have the absolute best childhood memories here.

So, it caught be by surprise when I actually loved it even more now! Isn't it usually the opposite? We have incredibly lofty early memories that don't quiet live up to the hype in adulthood, right? Not so with my beloved Slate Run Farm.

First of all, I am still blown away that its free. FREE! No parking charges or donation boxes. Just absolutely free of charge to come spend the day, stepping back in time. Oh right...so I should explain a bit about this magical place. Slate Run Farm is a living historical farm. Its legit. They grow their own crops to preserve and eat, they smoke meat, they care for farm animals and hang laundry out to dry. They tend the fields, push around old timey wheelbarrows with hay....and although in essence its "staged", its not your typical historical representation themed attraction. The workers eat their meals there in the farmhouse kitchen while visitors meander freely. There are no guided tours, no employees talking your ear off with an overload of information about life in the olden days. I guess what makes this place magical, and what I appreciated about it even more as an adult, is the easiness it offers.

The boys and I spent nearly all afternoon wandering, sitting, playing (it was a tad surreal seeing them play with the exact wooden toys I remember playing with), feeding animals, taking a slow walk out to the pasture and petting baby cows. Heck, I could have laid down in the hay next to sweet 3 week old Primrose the calf and taken a nap! Its just that chill here at the old farm.

Luckily we went when the weather was absolutely glorious AND I think most kids in Ohio must have already gone back to school or were at abercrombie buying back to school clothes. Because it felt, for an afternoon, like we were getting a glimpse of what life on our farm might look like someday.


Christopher Kimball and the Crescent Roll

Years of entries on this blog have made it clear; my first born son loves to cook. If anything seems to have been somehow infused into his DNA through hours of headphones on my belly when I was pregnant with him and introducing him to the sounds of Mozart in the womb, its his appreciation for the finer things in life. Jazz music and food being at the top of the list. This fall, at the ripe old age of 10, he will take an college level food science class through Harvard. Its seriously a passion of his.

While on a date night this week, sipping blackberry soda and homemade peach ice cream floats, I asked him if he would rather have a job someday making lots of money but more stress or less stress and a more enjoyable job (not that you can't have both money and no stress...this was just for conversation sake). His answer? "Doing what I love for less money. Like being a chef."

I'm not sure most chefs would agree with that no-stress factor, but the fact that Canaan counts America's Test Kitchen's Christopher Kimball as the epitome of chef amazingness, its easy to see how life as a chef in a Vermont farmhouse kitchen might be a quintessentially perfect one.

(If you are completely lost after that last paragraph, its time for some Google exploration.) 

This summer, on the break between his 4th and 5th grade years, Canaan has immersed himself (between Beyblade battles with Ezra, Skylanders, tennis and the backyard Slip and Slide) in the New Best Recipe Cookbook and episodes of Kimball's shows on Amazon Prime to hone his skills in the kitchen.

**As I write this I can hear him schooling Ezra in the difference between cinnamon rolls and cinnamon buns (per the cookbook's descriptions). The conversation is intense.

Two days ago, Canaan declared he was going to make croissants after watching an episode of the show. The confusion must have been apparent on my face when I came into the kitchen early yesterday morning (the dough is a 2 day process) to find he had mixed up crescent and croissant. Rookie mistake ;) So crescent rolls yesterday...and croissants to make an appearance this weekend.

The rolls were flaky and delicious. I'm continually blown away at his patience and appreciation for the art of baking. Cooking has been such a great way to watch him (who has a tendency to be overly hard on himself~ verging on perfectionism) to blossom in the skills most adults are still trying to aspire to; reading and following instructions, flexibility and adaptability when all the ingredients aren't at hand, ingenuity, accepting failure when something flops, having a calm/levelheaded approach when things get "heated" in the kitchen.

He was up far before we were yesterday morning. When I stumbled out of bed and into the kitchen for the first cup of Yorkshire tea with milk I found him working away. Soon enough Otto woke up and Canaan, growing into his role as a big brother and mentor, gave Otto the end pieces of the dough and patiently taught him the proper rolling technique.

On our date this week Canaan told me about a recent episode of America's Test Kitchen where a woman wrote Christopher Kimball a poem that he read on air. In Canaan's words:

He loved the poem so much that he invited her to come eat lunch with them and tour the studio. I would love to do that. But honestly mom, that poem made no sense. I couldn't make filly or fally out of it.


Art of Homemaking Fabric Giveaway

There comes a time in life when a creative person must part with some fabric. For me, the time has come. The sewing machine has gathered its fair amount of dust and the horizon is looking fairly grim for threading needles, pinning patterns to fabric, ironing, measuring, cutting and sewing as I head into the third issue...the fall issue...of CAKE&WHISKEY magazine.
So instead of letting all of this gorgeous fabric sit unused, I'd love to pass it along to one of you~ to put it to really great use. Create stunning quilts, aprons, baby pants, bibs, curtains and softies, will ya? There are days I yearn to stand in a fabric store and have a near anxiety attack about choosing the most compatible fabrics for a friends baby quilt.
I imagine I'll be back at my sewing machine someday down the road. I've held back a stash of my most prized fabric for that very day. Until then, I relish in the experience of being able to purchase from others, like you, creating some amazing things.

Giveaway Details:

  • You're getting the ENTIRE stash pictured here. Loads and loads...too much to measure and tell you the yardage. There's all sorts of pieces~ large and small.
  • Enter once by leaving a comment.
  • Entries will close at midnight August 10th
And you might as well take a peak at CAKE&WHISKEY's summer issue while we're talking about inspiring, creative things ~