A tribute to preschool wisdom

My family recently relocated with the military (more on that adventure here if you missed it) which means all of our young children went through the sometimes scary and always eventful process of beginning new schools and making new friends in a new place.

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Recently, while driving through our new town to my youngest son’s new preschool, I asked him to tell me a bit about his new friends in class. We discussed his peers in the true little-boy fashion I have come to know and love, which includes standard points like their names, what activities they do together, but also (and more importantly) what superheroes they like, what ninja moves they can do, and the fantastical tales they share about pirates, dinosaurs, outer space, and legos (all of which I’m certain I still don’t completely understand).IMG_6534

But what I found most interesting was his response when I asked him about one boy in particular that he mentioned playing with a lot, even garnering him with his “best buddy” status (which this kid doesn’t throw around lightly, believe. you. me.). Being the nosy mother I apparently am, I asked him what the little boy looked like. Not because it matters at all really, but because for some reason I wanted to see if I could find my son’s new “best buddy” in the class picture, or spot him on the story carpet at drop off. I don’t really know why, I think I was just excited that my little guy had a new friend more than anything else (and I tend to inherently want to know everything about everything our kids do. Sorry in advance to their girlfriends/boyfriends.)  So, I asked our son “what does your new best buddy look like?” and I really wasn’t ready for the preschool wisdom he was about to drop on me.

“I don’t know” he said.  “When I play with him, I look at him, but I just see a buddy. I don’t matter about the other stuff”

His simple, perfect answer hit me right in the chest and actually choked me up. Maybe it was because I was a little sleep deprived from being up with our 1.5-year-old the prior night, but mostly I think it was because he was so. right. on. And I… wasn’t. Because he was telling me, Mom, I don’t care about what he looks like in the way you are asking. All I see is my friend. And just like that, my little preschooler put me back in my place. Does it matter what his friend looks like? No, it doesn’t. Does it matter if I know what his friend looks like? No, it doesn’t. I don’t need to exert one ounce of my potential parental judgment into a classroom friendship that is making him happy.

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As adults, we tend to place so much emphasis on what we look like. In fact, I would even wager to say that we miss out on potential friendships because we can’t get past all of the things we “see” when we look at someone. Clothes, hair, color, shape, size, occupation… to name a few. Just think what we might see if we all looked at each other with a non-judgmental preschool heart. Past the physical qualities that so often define us to focus instead on our commonalities and shared experiences. Like being a mother or a father, a son or a daughter, a person looking for happiness, a person that likes dogs, sports, cooking, (or of course what ninja moves we can do, if only we could be as cool as our kids) or WHATEVER. What if we could “just see a buddy” in the people we meet? I for one, am going to try harder…

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So thank you, to my son for opening my eyes. And thank you, to his friend for playing with the new kid. May they enjoy many days of Batman, shark-hunting, and ninja-kicks together. And may we all bring a little preschool wisdom into our day.

 

fullsizeoutput_658Christiana is a Navy wife and mother of 3 inspiringly resilient military children, attorney and former realtor, world traveler, home renovator and decorator, yogi, fitness enthusiast, and recipe & wine explorer.

Photo credit: Tara Liebeck Photography

 

Zen As A Mother: Kristy’s Simple Guide to Creating Your At Home Zen Space

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Oh, there you are!

Now that school is back in session, I have found gratitude in some straight up sol-i-tude. Know what I’m sayin’? Rather than spending this time binge watching “This is Us” (no judgement if that is how you relax) or adding on work hours that would leave me depleted when the kids got home, I’ve decided to dedicate this time where I am transitioning in so many ways to starting each day with some zen time.

This has always been a hard concept for me, because my house has never felt…well….zen-able. I have struggled with the ability to turn off my anxiety in order to sit peacefully without the checklist of things that I have to get done before I turn my “mom” back on. I realize now, that that notion is no longer working for me.

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So, I put on my Namaste big girl pants and tackled a space in my house that has been many things. A guest room, a Massage Room, the room where I kept all my LulaRoe clothing inventory (yes I did do that for a time) and now, I have transformed it into a loving and welcoming environment for all those family members who wish to find peace with meditation.

SOOOOOOO, without further Ado, I give you my guide to making your seemingly impossible chaotic space….zenified.

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  1. Find a subtle corner: It doesn’t have to be an elaborate room or even a huge space, if you feel at peace in a corner of your bathroom with Cindy Lauper blaring, do that.
  2. Declutter your space; Declutter your mind: Make sure you vacuum, sweep, remove any trash or clutter items, so that energy can flow nicely and there are less distractions in your space. In the Ultimate Beginners Guide to Feng Shui, (Feng Shui being an ancient Chinese version of creating harmony in your living or working space) “In a clear and organized space, energy can flow freely and feelings of guilt and unrest might vanish too.” I know that clutter makes me feel irritated and judegmental of myself and my surroundings, and disorganization of my space adds to my anxiety and scatter-brained moments. So, clear answer is a clear space leads to a clear mind.
  3. Meaningful Decorating: For me, it is super important to feel inspired by the art that surrounds me. Whether it invokes a sense of peace, a pleasant memory, or makes me feel cloaked in the guidance of a loved one who has passed, each piece in my zen space has meaning. My personal space has some living energy in the plants that remind me of divine guidance and the readiness of life to bloom at any moment.
  4. Sacred clearing: Not only do we declutter our space of “things”, we must also declutter our space of energy. If you haven’t heard of smudgingimg_0031 with sacred sage before, now is the time to jump on that train. It can be a smudge stick, or it can come in spray form, but the idea is the same. According to Jane Alexander in her article Smudging, “It [smudging] is the equivalent of spiritual spring cleaning.” There is a ton of information out there about the origins of this practice, but for our purposes here, I will explain my intentions. Sacred sage, for me, allows any energy that will influence my mediation practice to be cleared. I believe the smoke from burning the smudge stick will attach to the energies. So, I fill the room, open all the windows, and blow the energy out to the earth. This way, I am clear of any influences or energies that are not my own.
  5. Sound Elements: Sound therapy is always a plus for keeping energy flowing and clear as it is moving through your space. In this amazing book, How to Heal with Singing Bowls, Suren Shrethsa explains that “clients have experienced a wide array of benefits from deep stress relief and relaxation, to a reduction in chronic pain.” One can also use music of all kinds, guided meditation tapes, or water elements such as this fountain for the sound therapy as well.
  6. Get Cozy: In my zen space, I use a sham pillow that’s cushy and cozy to sit on. You, however, may choose to lay, sit in a meditation chair, stand, or even do yoga. The choice is yours, just get comfy so your body can fully relax.
  7. Set up your Altar: There are a million ways to set up your altar space. Setting up an altar with statues, figures, photos, intention candles, or relics that pay homage to your higher power, can help ground your reflections and connect you to that source you find most comforting. It does not have to be about an organized religion, but just think about what makes you feel unconditional love, and place your reminders on your altar. Mine has a heart that reminds me of the sacred union between my heart and the universe, and a mantra that reminds me to light my soul’s fire and be fearless in that. I also love to remember that the world is full of magic, so I am inspired by peacock feathers and a fairy next to my orchid.
  8. Protect your space: believe it or not, it’s super easy to be effected by the energy of others while creating sacred space for you. If your kids are at home, or your neighbors are cutting the grass, their influential distractions can take their toll. I like to put up special mirrors, called Bagua mirrors that deflect negative energies and keep them from entering your space and on the other side, keep positive vibes in. Rad, right?
  9. Time for zen. Now, it’s up to you. Go forth, my loves, and get your zen on, whatever that means to you.

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Kristy is a doula, massage therapist, energy worker and mom of 2 in Virginia.

Welcome to Real

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In the beginning

Once upon a time (circa 2000), in a faraway land (Maryland), four young ladies found their soulmates in high school. No, not dudes. Best friends who balance each other in the best way and support each other through (literal and figurative) thick and thin.

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Fast forward 18 years…  We are now a doctor, a lawyer, a doula, and a financial planner deep in the weeds of young motherhood who learned to laugh together, cry together, learn together, and support each other through this season of life via one (in our humble opinion) very real, very wise, and brilliantly entertaining text chain, which is the foundation of much of this blog’s content.

We decided one day, on a whim, to start sharing our collective experience – the good, the bad and the ugly – with other people out there. The core value: keeping it #real with advice on parenthood, health, home, style, money and just whatever else comes up. LockersToLittles was that flying-by-the-seat-of-our-pants adventure and wow, that was somethin’ else!

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That blog life

The last 3 months have been a profound learning experience. We’ve laughed our buns off, cried in frustration and all 4 of us have learned more about ourselves than any of us thought possible. And most importantly, we discovered that there are other people out there who want to share our experience – you!! Wow! Our feedback and followers have blown us away with their support, ideas, and general awesomeness over and over.

We are taking that feedback and blasting off into a whole new level of the blogosphere peeps! You spoke and we have listened are are ready to serve.

To Infinity and Beyond

We are here to help others grow into the best version of themselves, and in the process are working to do the same. The best workouts for moms with no time? We gotcha. Best way to save for retirement no matter what age you start? You bet! Kids won’t eat vegetables? Coming to the rescue! Wondering what’s up with eating brie in pregnancy? #answeredthat. Just want to commiserate about this season in life being hard AF sometimes??? Oh yeah. Between the 4 of us we’ve had a whole lot of life happen and if it hasn’t happened to us, trust us, we know a guy.

People! The sky is the limit. Or is it?

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So if you haven’t visited with us before, then WELCOME. To all our returning followers, THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS. You’ve been with us this far and we cannot wait to share what we have in store with you.

To reach our much desired goals, we need YOU! Please enjoy and visit or lightly stalk us on our various social media outlets. Got a topic you want covered? Give us a comment, girl! Share your experiences, this is #momtribe and #parentlife and we’re all in this together. Oh, and share! ALLLLLLLL the sharing!

Welcome to REAL AS A M*THER!

xo, Annie, Christiana, Kristy and Margo

 

Friday Faves: Rainy day “bored games”

If you’re like many of us East Coasters here lately, there are only so many interesting muddy puddles to be found in a rain-filled summer like ours.  With the weekend forecast looking something like this for um, the ENTIRE coast… we thought some of you parents out there might be in need of some rainy-day entertainment for the kids.

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 So,  here is our list of favorite rainy day family “bored” games when the weather takes you and your littles indoors, again.

Kristy’s picks

Chutes and Ladders

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This classic game is simple enough for the youngest players and nostalgic fun for the whole family. If you have a competitive guy, like I do, they’ll have so much fun laddering up to take the win!
 And, um, consider yourself warned if you have more than one competitive guy (or girl)…

Hedbanz

This game has us using our brains, laughing, and teaching our kids how to ask relevant and out of the box questions. We love it for the laugh factor, and the fact that there are moving parts that can be delegated amongst all the kids.

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One kid is on timer, one divvies out the winner’s coins, and the oldest plays the games. Our little one has the job of the main “yes, no, or maybe” regulator which adds an extra element of fun while teaching her how to spell and understand the word that is in play.

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Annie’s Picks

I’m not afraid to say that I may be a bit of a board game traditionalist. These oldies but goodies keep us (and more importantly) the kids coming back time and time again.

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Candyland

Everyone still plays this game for a reason. There are simple instructions for the youngest players,  bright colors, matching, and a little healthy family competition.  (The health of said competition may depend, however on your sibling situation…) “WHY DO I ALWAYS GET THE ICE CREAM?!?!” You know the feeling. We all do.

Uno

Another classic. UNO is awesome for one, because it is a card game with NO board to take up space in avalanche that is your board game cabinet. You’re welcome.

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UNO is also super educational and can easily be played at whatever level suit your child’s abilities. Players take turns matching one of their cards with the color or number card shown on the top of the deck, and first player out of cards wins. You can write your own rules with customizable wild cards that older kids love, too. 

Christiana’s Picks

I will just come straight out and say that both of my picks here are for NON-competitive games. As a mother to fiercely competitive brothers who turn life’s most mundane daily activities into a competition, some days I really just don’t need another “I WON!!” in my life. With that in mind…

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Hoot Owl Hoot

Hoot Owl Hoot is an adorable, award winning cooperative matching game that encourages players to work together instead of compete against each other to win.  I wasn’t sure if my boys would go for it, but BEHOLD! They love it. 

Our family has fun working together to “fly all the owls back to their nest” and our middle child loves the suspense of moving the sun toward the dawn as we race to the finish. As a bonus, this game can be played at two difficulty levels so it can grow with your children. Highly recommend!

Wooden Dominoes

I love the look and feel of this sweet wooden domino set. Our kids love matching, playing and building with these, and the illustrations keep even our little 18 month old engaged.

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These sets are durable, fun, and great for teaching animal names, as well as counting, hand-eye coordination, and word recognition. Perfect for a rainy day!

Oh, and muddy puddles aren’t all that bad either. 😉 Happy summer showers, friends!

 

 

Kristy, Au Naturale: “The Road to Serenity is Ahead” No Judgement Journaling

*Explicit language warning 😀 in this post…

IMG_9854I don’t feel like I am alone in this when I say that I have the best of intentions when it comes to making the time to write in my journal  all my journals. Mustering the courage to write my truth has always seemed too daunting a task. Faced with a blank page and SO MANY FEELINGS?

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so many journals, so little time

But… where do I start? What do I say? Somehow, my therapy via written word always finds a way of brushing itself aside with “I don’t have the time right now. Maybe later” and “Its 2:38 am, I should sleep. Ok, now its 3:02, 3:15, I’ll totally fall asleep because I’m so tired.”

Or, the all time most frequent anti-journaling monster…..distraction.

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Why should I journal anyways?? Before I got myself on the journaling wagon, I read a bunch of information about the benefits of journaling in PsychCentral.com articles, books and even Huffington post. Why bother? Here’s a few reasons:

  1. Writing can be an impressive way of challenging the mind to find words that otherwise may not be used in your everyday speech. Thus, expanding your vocabulary and your brainpower. (higher IQ levels for the win)
  2. Writing can also help boost your memory by actively beckoning the mind to remember events or ideas and then recalling them to the present.
  3. Bringing you into a state of mindfulness, journaling can create a level of self-awareness of just how deeply an issue, situation, or an emotion is felt. It helps you truthfully live in these experiences, so that you may be able to relate more appropriately to others.  Empathizing can be a powerful tool in emotional development. Being in the present moment, as well, can help to subdue the gravity of worries of the past, or the fiery pangs of the anxious ones to come. In essence, it’s helping you figure out your sh*&, so you can learn handy tools in dealing with your well-being going forward, and stop lamenting the worries of yesterday. (see what I did there?? I never use “lamenting” when I’m speaking to people. BRAIN BOOST POINTS)
  4. Others benefits, according to the PsychCentral.com article, can be related to problem solving, clarity of thoughts and feelings that can help you to know yourself better, and improving your interpersonal relationship communication.
  5. Sleep!!

So I touched on sleep above. Err, lack of sleep, rather.  Has anyone had those glorious nights where your kids are happily nuzzled cozy in their beds and sleeping all night, yet YOU can’t sleep because your mind is running around anazlying and worrying about everything and anything?

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The process of journaling has also been found to decrease the stressors that typically affect one’s ability to rest peacefully through the healing power of RELEASE. Dr. James Pennebaker authors a book titled, Writing to Heal, in which he expresses the true art of unblocking emotional barriers and traumas. We can give them a voice to be heard, understood, and therefore not over analyzed in our minds. He explains that writing exercises can

leave you with a stronger sense of value in the world, and the ability to accept that life can be good–even when it is sometimes bad.

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I know all this and yet…. Think of an excuse, and I’ve said it to myself to avoid journaling my thoughts and emotions that cause me stress and at their worst, keep me from sleeping. Truth is, if I just took five minutes out of my day to write that “thing” that is sucking my awareness into it down on paper, the huge monstrosity of looped thought may just exit my brain altogether. And hopefully, for good.

Here is the kicker: Journaling is also an awesome lesson in self-discipline. And with self-discipline, practice makes perfect.

I’ve admittedly been highly unsuccessful at keeping up with any journal.  It wasn’t that “I sucked at journaling” self judgey much? I just felt so overwhelmed with it, that I never even began to try. Frustration would set in before any therapeutic benefit could be reached.  The answer was that I hadn’t yet been connected to a journal that fit my personality/emotional needs.

It was through a gift from a dear friend that changed my perspective on that feeling. Suddenly, I was given a daily theme, a dated logbook with meditations, and small practical guidance to look within myself.  I found the points above were key factors in my adherence to writing behaviors. Helpful and simple tools, like this one below, are very powerful.

So, going through these insightful motions of jotting down my physical, emotional, and psychological thoughts for that day and relating them to an intention was my Aha! moment. I loved it, and looked forward to the time in bed right before I fell asleep when I could journal.

So, to Recap what we have learned:

  1. Keeping a journal is a healthy and awesome way to release emotional blockages and enhance your super smartness (which you already have a level of that for reading our blog;))
  2. You’ll need to find a journal that excites you, enticing you to make the time to use it as the tool it can be.
  3. Start slow. Pick a theme or an emotion to narrow in on in order to really understand it.
  4. Write quickly, without judgement, and in a space that can feel private and safe.
  5. Enjoy the process of opening up to yourself. You might be surprised at how in tune you become with your inner workings.

I’ll use my current theme as an example.  It is related to one of my favorite books, the Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck The title speaks for itself. Buy it. Read it. Live it. You will thank me.

The Journal, also a gift, called “Zen as F*CK” A Journal For Practicing The Mindful Art of Not Giving A SH*T”, has me laughing like an awesomely carefree mad scientist and I am 514B7Y42PML._AC_US218_LOVING it. Each page can take less than 20 minutes. I find myself smiling when I am done, accomplished in my mindfulness task for that day.

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One of the factors that I never found in my research about writing therapy, was the amazing affect it has had on my hopefulness. In the last 2-3 months since beginning this practice, albeit not daily but almost, I am slowly rediscovering who I was always meant to be. I am finding a woman who knows how to be confident in feeling happy, kind, warm, and balanced. Oh, and hilarious. Definitely hilarious. (if you can’t laugh at yourself, right?) And to think, it wasn’t that I found any old journal and started writing.  This all started to happened because,

          a journal helped me find my way back to me.

-Psssst, and I totally dig this new me. She’s kinda awesome.

I hope you take this time to rediscover you through the art of writing. Because chances are, you’re freaking incredible. Have an amazing voyage!

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Kristy is a doula, massage therapist, mom of 2 and homesteader in Virginia.

Save Our Water Series, Vol. 2: Sustainable Agriculture and The Importance of Supporting Regenerative Practices

In our first volume of the Save Our Water Series, we spoke about rain barrel production and the benefits on small gardens to big farms.  Today’s volume will illuminate the myriad of important information gleaned when researching sustainable farming, and what it can do to really save our planet.

We will begin by understanding what Sustainable Agriculture is.  In short, this type of farming practice keeps the greater good in mind. It protects the environment, public health, animal health and habitat, and allows us the ability to produce good food without hindering the next generations ability to do so.

Well what is GOOD FOOD? Great question. “Good” food, in my opinion, is local(the further it travels, the more preservatives have to be used), truly organic (get your round up out my face) properly fed (grass fed, or true omnivore diet for chickens because chickens are NOT vegetarian), non hormone or GMO enhanced (screw you Monsanto and the three headed , genetically modified horse you rode in on), FOOD grown or grazed in soil that not only is rich in proper nutrient densities and ratios, but also maintains a pesticide and herbicide free grade.

Let’s break down the difference between Industrial Practices and Sustainable practices.

Industrial Crop and Livestock Production

So basically, Industrial crop and livestock production uses a type of monoculture. What is Monoculture, you say? Oh, let’s let the experts explain.

“Monoculture is a common practice in modern agriculture in which large acreages of land are planted with one type of crop, usually multiple years in a row. Often such techniques are used to supply goods to other regions or countries. Monocultures deplete the soil and crops grown in this manner become more susceptible to pests and disease than those grown in a diverse crop environment, thus requiring larger amounts of chemical sprays (i.e. pesticides). Monoculture on animal factory farms refers to the raising of one type of animal (generally chickens, turkeys, cattle, or pigs) confined in densely packed expanses, often treated with hormones and antibiotics to maximize growth and prevent the diseases that would otherwise spread quickly through the farm. These operations produce much more waste than the surrounding land can handle, and the farms are associated with numerous environmental hazards as well as animal cruelty. The government calls these facilities Concentrated (or Confined) Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).”

Sounds AWESOME, right?

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This seems, to me, that they are operating under the notion that they are gonna treat everything like crap, just to “feed the world” chemically downgraded food that is low in nutrients, and high in toxic crap.

Sustainable Livestock Production

Farmers that use practices with sustainable focuses allow their animals to eat an instinctive, natural diet, to move freely on pasture, and to eliminate the stress and disease (hello no disease, no antibiotics needed…f*#%ing DUH) that a cramped environment produces.

People are led to believe that in order to feed more people, we must use genetics to produce food that can withstand drought, bugs, weeds, and weather patterns. That is just untrue in a lot of cases. Sure, the big companies take a hit in the wallet when these things happen, but to truly teach sustainable farming will impact our whole world.

“Regenerative Agriculture describes farming and grazing practices that, among other benefits, reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity – resulting in both carbon drawdown and improving the water cycle.”

I cannot explain the benefits any better than Regeneration International can in their well researched list below.

A Global Shift to Regenerative Agriculture Can:

  • Feed the world: Small farmers already feed the world with less than a quarter of all farmland. > Read the GRAIN Report
  • Decrease GHG emissions: A new food system could be a key driver of solutions to climate change. The current industrial food system is responsible for 44 to 57% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. > Read the GRAIN Report
  • Reverse climate change: Emissions reduction alone is simply inadequate. Luckily, the science says that we can actually reverse climate change by increasing soil carbon stocks. > Read the Rodale Institute Report
  • Improve yields: In cases of extreme weather and climate change, yields on organic farms are significantly higher than conventional farms. > Read the Report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
  • Create drought-resistant soil: The addition of organic matter to the soil increases the water holding capacity of the soil. Regenerative organic agriculture builds soil organic matter. > Learn More
  • Revitalize local economies: Family farming represents an opportunity to boost local economies. > Read the FAO Report
  • Preserve traditional knowledge: Understanding indigenous farming systems reveals important ecological clues for the development of regenerative organic agricultural systems. > Read the Action Aid Nepal Report
  • Nurture biodiversity: Biodiversity is fundamental to agricultural production and food security, as well as a valuable ingredient of environmental conservation. > Read the Report
  • Restore grasslands: One third of the earth’s surface is grasslands, 70% of which have been degraded. We can restore them using holistic planned grazing. > See the Evidence
  • Improve nutrition: Nutritionists now increasingly insist on the need for more diverse agro-ecosystems, in order to ensure a more diversified nutrient output of the farming systems. > Read the Report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

We Can’t Afford Healthy Food

This is a legit concern as health food stores are quite pricey when it comes to organic food. Finding your local farmers market (yes, they have them in cities all the time) or finding a crop sharing organization such as Agriberry here in Virginia and Maryland, helps keeps the cost of truly organic farm fresh foods down.  It also provide the added benefit of having your family eat what is in season, which requires less industrial farming interventions.

 

In small towns, like ours here in Virginia, farmers markets supply these local farms a venue to sell the fruits of their hard labor. We utilize these markets for produce, and have a gone in for several years on purchasing a cow sharefrom a local SUSTAINABLE farm here in Orange, VA called Renewed Pastures Farms.

Farmer’s Market Setup

The owners, Jason Goforth and his wife, invited the family and I to tour the farm and see exactly what the farm does to remain sustainable. We could even see how the cows live and graze if we wanted to!

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‘Sup, Jason?!

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In the health food store, a pound of Grass-fed meat is roughly $6-$8 depending on the store and the company. Over time if you are an avid beef eater like we are, the tax, price for gas for the trip, the packaging, and price fluctuation in the market adds up quickly. So, we do a cow-share with some friends of ours. We get 1/2 a cow that is cut to order and will last us roughly 8-12 months. At less than $8 per pound, we get filets, flank steaks, London broils, and even or ground beef allotment for a STEAL compared to grocery store. And Jason delivers it right to our deep freezer!

So we have local (within 100 miles), preservative free (freezing is their only method), and true sustainably farmed meat that our family can rely on for an unbeatable price.

How can we NOT afford that?

*** Check out this PDF on Grass-fed Cow Market News.***

The simple truth is this, we have to support our farmers who work their butts off to uphold truly sustainable farms. They rely on us to purchase their products, be it produce or meats, in order to keep their higher standards up. So let’s get out there and support our local folks!

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Friday Faves: Summer Grilling

With Fourth of July festivities behind us, summer grilling season is officially in full swing. And nothing quite says summer like the unmistakable smell of dinner on the grill after a day in the summer sun. So…. who’s grilling this weekend? We are!

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So let’s take a look at what’s cooking, good looking. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the all-time favorites from our Lockers to Littles summer grilling menu.

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Dry Rubbed Baby Back ribs with Raspberry Chipotle sauce

These are the only ribs we will ever make in our house ever. again. They are total summer perfection with all the flavor and just enough kick. The rub is from Food Network chef Jamie Deen (Yep, that would be Paula’s son, so you know he’s legit. You can link to the original recipe here.) We give it our own twist by teaming it up with Raspberry Chipotle sauce for the perfect blend of spicy and sweet.

For the rub:

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp finely grated orange zest
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 lbs baby back ribs

For the sauce:

  • 1 bottle BBQ sauce of choice
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries or raspberry preserves
  • 1 can chipotles in adobo sauce

OR

  • Robert Rothchild’s Raspberry Chipotle BBQ sauce

In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients except the ribs. Rub mixture all over both sides of the ribs. Wrap ribs in foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 (or up to 12) hours.

For the sauce, I love this Robert Rothschild prepared raspberry chipotle bbq sauce made with simple, fresh ingredients, or you can make your own raspberry chipotle sauce by adding raspberries (or raspberry preserves) and chipotles in adobo sauce to any BBQ sauce and adjust the heat to taste with red pepper flakes and honey.

When ready to cook, preheat the grill to medium heat. Arrange the ribs on the BBQ and brush generously with raspberry chipotle sauce. Reserve any extra sauce. Grill for 40 to 45 minutes, turning occasionally (and sipping requisite summer beverage of choice). Cook until the meat is browned and crisp on the outside. Serve with remaining sauce on the side (and lots of napkins).

Recommended Bev Pairing: A light wheat Beer such as Hoegaarden or Bell’s Oberon

lobster

Grilled Lobster with Garlic-Parsley Butter

If you like lobster in the slightest, stop what you are doing right now and make this recipe. Credit for this recipe is fully given to Saveur, and we have changed nothing because it’s perfect.

  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
  • 1 12 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lobster (about 1 to 1 12 lb), halved
  • 14 cup olive oil

Combine butter, parsley, chile flakes, garlic, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a bowl; set aside. Transfer lobster halves, shell side down, to a baking sheet; crack claws and place them on the baking sheet. Drizzle halves and claws with oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high; bank coals or turn off burner on one side (see “Grilling 101”). Place lobster halves, flesh side down, and claws on hottest part of grill; cook until slightly charred, 2-3 minutes. Flip lobster over and using a spoon, spread lobster with the garlic-parsley butter; continue grilling until lobster meat is tender, 3-5 minutes more.

If you’re dealing with live lobster, learn how to humanely prepare your lobster here. Please don’t boil.

Recommended Bev Pairing: A crisp Sauvignon Blanc, or a smooth Unoaked Chardonnay

 Tyler Florence has always been a go-to for me in the grilled meat department. He nails it with this bacon wrapped scallop recipe. The spicy Sriracha Mayo is the perfect sweet heat compliment to the saltiness of the grilled scallop with bacon.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pound large scallops
  • 1/2 pound thin-sliced bacon
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup good quality mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup hot chili paste (recommended: Sriracha Hot Chili Paste)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 2 heads Bibb lettuce, washed
  • 3 avocados, sliced

Instructions

****Pssst…the recipe calls for a broiler but the smoky flavor that the grill can add to the scallop is divine!*******

Heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high; bank coals or turn burner to low on one side (see “Grilling 101”).

Wrap each scallop in a piece of bacon and secure it with a toothpick. Place the bacon wrapped scallops onto grill, drizzle them with olive oil, and season them with salt and pepper. Grill them away from hottest part of grill for about 10 to 15 minutes until the bacon is cooked through, turning halfway through.

Make the spicy mayo by combining the mayonnaise, chili paste, lime juice, and chopped cilantro. Stir well and refrigerate until ready to use.

To serve, carefully peel away the lettuce leaves and line a large platter with the lettuce cups. Top each with a bacon wrapped scallop, 2 slices of avocado, and a spoonful of spicy mayonnaise. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Recommended Bev Pairing: A crisp and light Rose to compliment the heat of the recipe

Proscuitto-Wrapped Grilled Brie with Pineapple

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Photo from Food Network

Hold the phone, Food Network. You’re grilling cheese with pineapple and wrapping it in Ham? Holy delicious sweet gooeyness, this app will tell the other cheese on your cheese board to step up their game. My favorite grilled appetizer recipes comes from the Food Network’s Show: How to Win Summer

Ingredients

  • One 1-inch-thick slice pineapple, peeled and cored
  • One 8- to 12-ounce wheel Brie or Camembert, cut in half horizontally
  • 8 slices prosciutto (about 8 ounces)
  • Crackers and bread, for serving

Instructions

Prepare a grill for direct and indirect heat: For gas grills (with 3 or more burners), turn all the burners to medium-high heat; after about 15 minutes turn off one of the side burners and turn the remaining burners down to medium. For charcoal grills, bank one chimney starter-full of lit and ashed-over charcoal briquettes to one side of the grill. Set up a drip pan on the other side to avoid flare-ups. (Be sure to consult the grill manufacturer’s guide for best results.)

Grill the pineapple over direct heat until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Let cool 5 minutes, then place on the cut side of one of the cheese halves. Place the other piece of cheese on top with the cut side touching the pineapple. Lay the prosciutto slices out on a work surface so they overlap in the middle and look like the spokes of a wheel. Put the cheese and pineapple round in the middle of the prosciutto and bring up one slice at a time to cover. The cheese and pineapple should be fully wrapped in prosciutto.

Grill over direct heat until starting to turn golden and crisp, about 3 minutes. Flip with a spatula and cook until golden and crisp on the other side, about 3 minutes. Move to indirect heat and cover the grill. Cook until hot throughout and gooey, 5 to 8 minutes more depending on your grill. Serve immediately with crackers and bread.

Recommended Bev Pairing: A deliciously smooth white wine blend or if you’re a beer person, try a Farmhouse Saison brew such as SmartMouth Alter Ego.

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asparagus bunch bundle close up
Photo by Foodie Factor on Pexels.com

Grilled Asparagus with Curried Dill Sauce

We are rounding out the end of asparagus season depending on your climate and this one makes an excellent grand finale for the spears.

  • 1-2 bunches of medium to thick speared asparagus
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon (set aside other half)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

*As soon as you get home from the store: Trim bottom 1/2 inch off asparagus and place in a bowl of water in a sunny window. This will plump them up so they’re crisp. If you’re on a time crunch, use warm water. Can be left here for 1 day.

Combine all of the above in a gallon baggie or in the bag in which you brought the asparagus home. Squish around to mix. Make Sauce (see below)

Heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high; bank coals or turn burner to low on one side (see “Grilling 101”). Place spears crosswise to the grill on the low side; cook 2-3 minutes and flip. Cook until just starting to char, 3-5 minutes more. Remove to platter, do not cover.

Curried Dill Sauce

  • 1/4 C good quality mayo (we love Sir Kensington’s) or Greek Yogurt
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried dill – crushed in your hand before adding or 1/2 tsp fresh finely chopped dill
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Mix together and chill. Serve with Asparagus. Works equally well as sauce for steamed artichokes, fish, or broccoli rabe.

Recommended Bev Pairing: A crisp Sauvignon Blanc (a Sancerre if you can find) or Pouilly Fume

fruit apricot knife kitchen
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Grilled Peaches with Creme Freche

This is one of the universe’s most delightful summer desserts and it’s not even that bad for you! Winning!

  • ~6 medium firm, but not hard, free-stone** peaches (1 per serving)
  • Avocado oil or coconut oil
  • 1/2 pint Creme Freche (or plain whole milk yogurt if you can’t find but you’ll need to add more honey)
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon or lime plus ~1Tbs of juice
  • 2 TBS Finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1/8 C good quality honey

**free stone peaches will twist off their pits when halved – as at the store if they know which ones work, or if they’ll cut one for you to test

Heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high; bank coals or turn burner to low on one side (see “Grilling 101”). Halve peaches and remove pits. Brush skin and face with oil (if using coconut, you’ll have to warm it to liquid). Grill peaches over high heat face down for 2 minutes. Turn skin side down on low heat area of grill and cook until softened and skin is starting to easily pull away – about 6-8 minutes more.

While peaches cool, combine Creme Freche with juice and zest. When peaches have cooled to room temp, serve with a dollop of Creme, sprinkle of mint and generous drizzle of honey across the top.

Recommended Bev Pairing: A mellow chardonnay, Fume Blanc or sweeter dessert wine if you like them.

Eat, drink and be very, very merry friends!

xoxo, Lockers to Littles