I really am a woman of many interests. I like to dabble in a little bit of everything, and so this list is a bit eclectic. When I’ve got a bit of downtime and I’m cruising the web, or when I’m desperately in need of some fresh ideas, here’s where I usually turn:
Craftsy is an online video learning platform that covers everything from needle crafts like sewing, knitting, and crochet to gardening, cooking, and candymaking. The cost of paid classes varies, but most are affordably within the $20-$50 range. Once enrolled, you can download class materials and review the course as many times as you like and even get help from the instructor and your fellow classmates via the embedded forum and communications tools. There are a fair number of free “mini” classes you can sign up for to test out the platform (these don’t offer instructor assistance but you can still ask your classmates for help). So far, I’ve enrolled in Bag Making Basics, Sewing Machine 911, and Dipped, Dusted, and Rolled. If you’ve got a maker in your life you can also gift classes (hint, hint). And, depending on the class, you might get a nice return on your investment. You know what they say, give a girl a truffle and she’ll love you for a day. Teach a girl how to make truffles and you’ll love her for life.
Environmental Health News
I can’t overstate the usefulness of Environmental Health News. The site is an aggregator of all kinds of environmental stories. I subscribe to the daily news feed Above The Fold, which appears in my inbox seven days a week. It’s important to me to stay on top of the latest news about children’s health, environmental health, and climate change. EHN lets me customize my RSS feed by selecting specific keywords like “mercury” or “BPA” and then receive a selection of stories that match my specifications. Many of the blog posts I’ve written for www.safemilk.org were inspired by stories that showed up in my daily Above The Fold feed.
I used to LOVE to cook. Now, I do it because it needs to be done. I often feel stuck in a rut with meals and tend to make a few things repeatedly because they are #1 Fast and because they are #2 Likely to be eaten by the kids without complaint.
Between 4pm-6pm each night is the witching hour at our house. It’s the time when the two oldest kids are home from school, homework needs to get done, my three-month old needs to be fed, and I’ve got to whip up dinner. At our house someone is always crying during this time. The kids because they’re hungry, and me because I have no idea what to make for dinner.
While I’m still working on a plan to make mealtimes easier, I do get inspiration from Recipe.com. I’ve subscribed to the DailyRecipe newsletter and look forward to receiving it in my inbox each day.
Alameda Antiques Faire
I am addicted to shows like Antiques Roadshow and Storage Wars. There is just something thrilling about the potential to find treasure among a pile of trash. My daughter and I go regularly to the enormous antique fair in Alameda each month. Over the years I’ve bought several items there: a bench for our entryway that I reupholstered, framed art, a set of six dining chairs, and a vintage catcher’s mask for my son. It’s something we look forward to each month. She gets to learn the value of money and gets to try her hand at negotiating. Some days we find treasure; others we leave empty-handed. Well, not quite empty-handed. We do usually score a couple of decadent chocolate cupcakes from the SweetTreat cupcake truck. A nice way to spend the few bucks burning a hole in our pockets.
100 Days of Real Food
I just LOVE this website. It’s so easy to get into the rut of buying processed and pre-packaged foods because of convenience. Even healthy organic food can be overly processed. Lisa Leake the author of 100DaysofRealFood offers a ton of ideas, advice, and recipes for feeding a family nutritious, tasty food that they will actually want to eat. We are huge fans of the Whole Wheat Carrot Applesauce Muffins. Super delicious.
Ana White, Homemaker
This woman ROCKS! If you’ve ever wanted to build a piece of furniture, shelf, or really any of the drool-worthy storage solutions you find in HGTV glamour pics, get thee to this site right now. Ana offers free DIY plans for how to build almost anything you can imagine. We are planning to make the outdoor garden swing and possibly the kid-size picnic table. The site also features a video feed of the build-in-progress of the “MOMPlex” (duplex) she’s building in Alaska for her mom and mother-in-law. The tutorial of her installing a toilet while 8-months pregnant is very inspiring. This mom nails it. Too much?