A fun weekend ahead and what i've been up to...

So, as usual, work has kept me so busy that I have been neglecting this little blog. But I have new fun stuff to report on so here goes: 1. I learned to crochet! So exciting! Actually, it was really a review as I did learn this skill as a kid but forgot how to do it. Lucky that I have a lovely friend named Amber to help refresh my memory. She came over to my abode last Saturday for a little dinner, wine, music sharing, and knitting/crocheting. I was crocheting up singles, half doubles, and doubles in no time! All the while, she was working on her new-found knitting skills. She knows more in that arena than she lets on. Three years of working for Jimmy Beans Wool has taught her a lot. I shared with her my Artesian Bread book so she could start baking bread as well. What a fun evening! Amber got me started on a hat and after a few rip-outs (not happy with my increasing or the color scheme) I was able to come up with a finished product. Here is a terrible self-taken photo of my lovely new beanie crocheted in Malabrigo Worsted Merino, color Mariposa.

2. I started volunteering a couple hours a week at my little local co-op! So excited. The Great Basin Community Food Co-op relies heavily on member support and volunteer hours in order to keep running. I've been a member for a while and since Nick and I moved into Downtown Reno, we are now just 4 blocks away from the food co-op! I am so excited to be able to volunteer each week now! It will allow me to stay connected to our local sustainability movement and give me a reason so shop there more often!

3. I've been doing a lot of experiments in the kitchen lately. And I really do mean experiments! Two weekends ago, I made my first attempt at making yogurt. It came out a little runnier than I would have liked but I forget sometimes that we often need to make adjustments here in Reno for our high elevation. We are at 4,500 feet, can you believe it?!?! So anyway, I am going to do a little more research and hopefully figure out how to successfully make yogurt here in the Sierra. Next up, I plan to make my own soy milk and tofu. (I found some great ideas and recipes in the New Farm Cookbook) Nick and I have vowed to spend the next year striving to become packaging-free meaning we are no longer going to buy products that come in packaging that has to be thrown away. We recently found out that our local recycling plant only takes plastics in bottle form. That means yogurt containers, tofu containers, and all that good stuff is not recycled here in Nevada! Yikes! Not to mention the wax-covered cardboard milk containers we usually buy that just have to get thrown away. I suppose I am too used to just putting everything with the little recycle symbol on the bottom in the plastic bin and hoping for the best. No more. We do not want to contribute anymore waste than we have to, so the test is on! We are working to find ways to make the things we usually buy in packages (ie. cereal, Soy milk, tofu, yogurt, etc.) and buying more of our cooking supplies in bulk. I am making cloth bags for our produce and certain bulk items, and we will take our own glass jars to the co-op for spices and powder goods and bulk oils. We've already started buying milk in glass bottles at the co-op (Straus Family Creamery, from the Bay Area in California as there are no local organic dairies in Nevada and Raw Milk is illegal here). Not only that, but we are continuing to support the local food movement and eating as local as possible. We ordered our CSA basket for this year and are hoping that it's a good produce year. It's been an exceptionally cold spring, so who knows! (By the way, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. This is where local farms get together and sell direct to individuals in the community. We are doing this this year because we've moved to a smaller space and no longer have room for a garden. I will miss digging in the dirt, but am glad I have a healthy alternative to growing my own food.) Either way, this is one thing that Nick and I both feel very strongly about, we are investing our time and energy into it because it's worth it to us to live as sustainably and mindfully as possible. Next up on the non-food list, making our own household products. I already made homemade laundry detergent and that was pretty successful so I am also looking at making toothpaste, cleaning agents, home remedies, lotions, and all kinds of other stuff. I figure doing all of this will get easier as I make big batches and store away extras. Maybe I can even work out trades with friends here and there sharing duties on these things. Hmm, we'll see...

4. Update on the wedding planning. Yes, it is still happening. Yes, at times it seems it has taken over my life. No, I am not letting it dominate ever piece of my day and existence. It is mind boggling at times how much there is to do still. Every time I start to feel the pangs of stress, I remind myself of how much we've already accomplished. Place to have the ceremony and reception, Check! Dress, Check! Rings, Check! (More on those coming soon, they are done but being adjusted at the moment, I plan to post on them once I have them back) Decoration scheme, Check! Ceremony music, Check! Caterer, Check! Bridesmaids dresses, almost Check! (they just need to be ordered) Mason Jars collected for the decorations, Check! Save the Dates, Check! Invitations picked out, Check! Baker for the desserts, Check! Guest list, Check! Wedding website, Check! Registries, Check! Photographer, Check! Officiant, Check! Whew, that's a lot of "checks" and that makes me smile. Left on the list to still be done: Finish purchasing decorations, purchase invitations and get them mailed out, figure out the guys' clothing and get that stuff ordered (almost there with this), get our friend Dan to make the table place cards, numbers and the programs for the ceremony, make guest gifts (homemade jam to be made this weekend actually), Flowers, Ceremony decorations, hairpieces, shoes (getting new red cowboy boots hopefully, book a band (working on that too). I also need to figure hair and makeup, find time to pamper myself a bit, figure out what the dog is wearing and how to attach the rings to him, and make a playlist for the cocktail hour and dinner. It's all about the little things. All in all, we are in the home stretch with 5 months left to go...Crazy how time flies. Both Nick and I are just so ready to be married already! Man that honeymoon is going to be awesome and relaxing after it's all over. Oh yeah, and did I mention I am also on the job hunt as my AmeriCorps year ends in July and Nick is going back to school in August for his MEd.? Yeah, let's add that to the plate as well. I just try not to think about the big picture lest it freak me out too much, I just try to stick to the here and now with my giant to-do list and try to knock a few things off each week. It seems to be working out ok. :)

5. Heading to Lodi this weekend to visit my family. Now this isn't a very unusual thing as we make it down there about once every other month or so, sometimes more frequently. But this weekend is our big jam-making extravaganza! Nick and I are leaving tomorrow, we both have the day off, and we are going straight to my mom's friend Martha's house to pick cherries....hundreds of pounds of cherries...for the wedding jam! Love it. I found a woman on craigslist who was selling 8 oz jam mason jars for $6 a case so I jumped on it. She had 19 cases so I bought them all. Such a good deal! We will be well-oiled jam making machines this weekend! Not only that but my mom and I are hoping to find time to sew which is awesome because I love any opportunity to play with her fancy sewing machine. I have a few summer clothing items I would like for this year and her machine will just do the job more nicely than mine. I am just dying to make one of Sew Liberated's Schoolhouse Tunics for every day of the week! Also, we are planning a trip to Sacramento for the day to pick up some wedding decoration items. Plenty of dinners with family friends are planned so I am looking forward to that too. I love productive weekends that include quality time with the family!

So that is it for now. I hope you all enjoy your Memorial Day weekends and stay safe! More to come next week on our friend-made wedding rings as well as some other crafty goodness!