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June 2010

From the Garden: Herbs

garden herbs

My herbs are looking pretty darn good these days, if I do say so myself.

Rosemary and basil thrive in this hot humid climate and I love snipping off bits of parsley and oregano to throw in whatever is cooking up for dinner. 

Are any of you out there herb fans too? We've got mint, parsley, 2 kinds of basil, rosemary, oregano, lemon balm, thyme, cilantro, sage, curry and some dill at our place. 

What are your favorites?

I had a pineapple sage years ago when we lived in cape cod and a chocolate mint there as well, both fond memories....... so very, very good!

I had some wonderful ciabatta bread here at the house and made up some herb olive oil to dip it in. Even the kids gobbled this up, it was so yummy. And one of the mouth-full-of-bread-ers even piped in "and we grew all of these flavors too".

Yep, we grew all the flavors...... so if you have some flavors growing in your yard you might like this recipe....

chop chop

Herbed Olive Oil

1 handful of fresh herbs rinsed and patted dry

(we used rosemary, sage, parsley, basil & oregano)

1/3 cup olive oil

sea salt

Remove the leaves from the stems, discard the stems. You should have about 1/4 cup of fresh herb leaves. Chop them and set aside. In a pan warm the olive oil. Add herbs and stir. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Add a bit of sea salt and serve with a good crusty bread. It is also delicious to add a splash of balsamic vinegar to this. Any leftovers can be tossed with fresh veggies like tomatoes & cucumbers for a delicious summer salad.

herbed olive oil

Happy Gardening to you!


The Waldorf Connection

I am very excited to welcome the newest sponsor of Gypsy Forest:

The Waldorf Connection ~ created by Donna Ashton.

After many, many hours spent pouring over curriculum sets when we began homeschooling .... you know the neat little "all in one box" types... our family found Waldorf. It was this total "ah-ha" moment for us. Everything about it resonated within our souls and fit beautifully into our values. 

The next step after finding it however, is living it. Many of us do not have access to Waldorf training in our communities. There are good resources out there.... but so many that wading through them can also be an overwhelming task. For me, this is where The Waldorf Connection was just what I needed. I could listen to a workshop four times if I needed to, and pull something from it each of those times. 

Donna generously offers these classes at no charge and even a 48 hour replay. If you decide to purchase them as downloads, they are very reasonably priced and an excellent resource to have. We have listened to many more than once and on my husband's last business trip I loaded them onto his Ipod :) 

The past series included workshops on several Waldorf "subjects" such as storytelling, science, math & handwork and others. The current series, which just started, is an online EXPO to help you pull things together for the upcoming school year. There are some amazing folks sharing their knowledge in this and I am really looking forward to it. Some well known speakers include Live Education, Sharifa Oppenheimer, Kristie Burns, Shea Darian, A Little Flower Garden and so many more. Wow!


In Donna's own words ::

I feel in love with Waldorf education, as it is education for the whole child. There are so many opportunities to let your child unfold into herself, rather than force academics according to a schedule. It is a very nature-based, rhythmic, and creative approach to learning. What I have learned is that is no one “way” to bring this information to your child, but many options depending on the teacher/parent. This allows for creativity, but also causes challenges in planning and teaching.

I created the Waldorf Connection to be exactly that- a place where homeschooling families can connect to teachers and experts in the Waldorf field. My goal- to bring concrete information to help parents understand the Waldorf concepts and to support the family-run Waldorf entrepreneurs. It is one thing to read a book or curriculum guide. It is another to hear the author explain how to implement the ideas. So many families have expressed how wonderful it is to listen to the workshops. It helps really internalize the information.

The Waldorf Connection was created out a need. I knew I needed it, and I was convinced others needed it too! And, it seems they do. I love the way we can hear concepts explained and ideas reinforced. And we can ask specific questions to clarify our situation.  It helps me make up my mind about curriculum choice and who really resonates with me.  I hope to expand the Waldorf Connection into a "library" of information on Waldorf Education/Homeschooling.

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These workshops are primarily set up for homeschooling families, but they are truly a wealth of knowledge for anyone interested in Waldorf education. So head on over to The Waldorf Connection and sign up for the EXPO

Wishing you all a creative and inspiring journey.


The River

Did I mention Texas is hot? I mean really, really hot. 

Midday is pretty brutal and the best way to survive is to take a trip to the river. 

Every day we were at the Folk Fest we made it to this river at least once. The car ride to it is beautiful with fields of wildflowers to admire along the way. The clean clear water of the river is a nice change from the bayou where we live. No creepy critters hiding in the mud.... like alligators and poisonous snakes to watch out for! There was a nice swimming hole with a rope to swing on and just enough current to be fun without the worry of the kids getting swept away. Best of all it was in the shade so we were able to hang out in bathing suits and completely avoid sunscreen. 

It was perfect! I think rocky rivers are my favorite form of water play :) Maybe that someday farm of mine will have a river winding through it.

And since yesterday I went on and on and on about our wonderful trip, I'll just let the pictures do the talking today......


texas wildflowers

swimming hole



river rocks

his own rock


more swingin' 


Summer bliss - it's good stuff. Hope your adventures are just as magical.


Kerrville Folk Festival 2010

This is one of those posts where there are so many things running through my mind to tell you I can't imagine where to begin....

It all started with wanting to take my girls to see the Indigo Girls. We were looking at concert dates and found out they were playing at a folk festival about 9 hours away in Texas. The Kerrville Folk Festival

We started researching a bit and the more we read, the more we realized this could be our kind of place. So we decided to make the trip and stay three days.....

Upon arrival to the Kerrville gates we saw a sea of tents and campers and RV's and more tie-dyed sarongs hanging up to shield the sun than you could imagine. Volkswagen buses. Long haired guys and girls with unshaven legs..... all smiling and hooting out "Welcome Home". (this is what they say to everyone as they arrive and many people say it around camp as you meet them)

I look at Joe and say "I might never leave."

The place was packed but some nice guys at Camp Lethargy squeezed us in. We were soon chatting with our tent neighbors like old friends. Most of them have been coming to this event for as  long as they could remember. Joe met a guy that had his great grandson in tow and had been coming for over 30 years. (this was the fest's 39th year) So many folks we enjoyed visiting with that left me saying to Joe "These are our people!"

Now some of you might want to run.... but I've always known I was born a few decades too late. Joe too. I didn't think places like this existed anymore. The energy of this place was amazing. All these people come from all over and get together to play music, listen to music, chase kids and visit with one another. Everyone is friendly. Everyone keeps a watchful eye over the kids. The kids don't even bother asking each other's names or ages.... they just run and play. 

The stage area is a mix of benches and lawn. The parents with young kids tend to sit in the back so they can let the kids run & play while they enjoy the amazing live music. They serve vegetarian pizza and drinks if you brought your own cup, a bottle of wine for $15. There hula hoop dancers and craft booths and henna tattoos. Free water coolers all over to fill up your water bottle. A beautiful river near by to cool off in. A covered area with kid friendly activities and a sandbox and toys for the kids.

There are concerts throughout the day and then around campfires music is played all---night---long! If you wake up at 3 am to stumble to the outhouse, you can stop at a campfire on the way back to your sleeping bag and listen to some of the best music your ears will ever hear. The nights are cool and bug free and many folks stay up all night long jamming or listening and sleep during the day. Of course I'd like to add that the music is acoustic and the folks considerate so tired babes are able to sleep right through all of this :)

It was hot. There were big spiders. (TARANTULAS!!) And we never wanted to leave. None of us. After the second day the kids were asking us "We're coming back next year, right?"


at camp 




most of us 


wine & music

free bird 






The Indigo Girls 


after 8 hours in the car
             After 8 hours of riding in the car!


The people, the music and of course watching my kids belt out the lyrics to their favorite songs right along with Emily & Amy, who by the way are AMAZING live, are memories to last a lifetime. An adventure that I am so grateful to have enjoyed as a family.

On the morning of the fourth day as we packed up the camp site and the kids new pals called out to them "see you next year!" I thought to myself..... I get it.... Welcome Home

Kerville, I think we're in love!


Rhythm of the Home

Hello! We're back from our amazing trip...... I plan to share more about that tomorrow, but today I want to share something else.....

Rhythm of Home summer edition is out! Those ever dedicated and talented mamas have put together another gorgeous selection of summer inspired crafting, cooking and living. Bernadette, Heather & Julia really do an amazing job of pulling this all together and they are really wonderful to work with as well. I am quite honored to have two projects featured in the summer edition of Rhythm of home. 

A tutorial to make a lovely vintage patchwork picnic blanket.....

patchwork squares 


vintage patchwork blanket

And a recipe for a favorite summer treat of ours, Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler..... yum!

strawberry rhubarb cobbler 


So what are you waiting for? Head on over there to get lost in a beautiful creative space... bring coffee.... I'm quite sure you'll be there for a bit.