First of all, let's talk about these eggs. I did not dye them, they come from the farm that way. I know. Okay, onto the recipe. I love having eggs for dinner. They are so quick to make, and they are so satisfying after a long, busy day. When I finished classes on Monday I celebrated by making this dish, paired with a rather large glass of wine. I discovered this recipe for truffled scrambled eggs a few years ago when I ventured over to Brooklyn for a late night dinner at Marlow and Sons while I was in NYC for a trade show. I've replicated it at home using thinly sliced shitake mushrooms and truffle oil. The trick to making perfectly satiny scrambled eggs starts with farm fresh eggs like these, with big bright yellow yolks. You can get them at the Farmer's Market when in season (yes, eggs have a season?!) read more about farm eggs, and where to find them in your neck of the woods here. To make my style of scrambled eggs, simply whisk the eggs until completely combined, don't add any milk. For this recipe, saute the mushrooms in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium flame, until soft, with slightly crispy edges, add the beaten eggs, scraping in long straight strokes, folding the eggs until almost cooked. Don't "stir", just move them gently back and forth. Remove from heat and allow to finish cooking in the pan. Drizzle with truffle oil and sprinkle with course sea salt, cracked pepper and fresh herbs. I love the texture of smooth layers, and the softness of a just cooked egg.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
I'm contributing over at Playful Learning today, where I share my strategy for taking a three year old to the grocery store. If you have a three year old then you know why you need a strategy. Check it out here!
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Funny fact about me: I spoke with a proper English accent in elementary school. I wore a tie and carried a briefcase- a young lady version of Alex P. Keaton. We lived outside the United States for a few years in the mid-1980's which really informed who I am today. If I ever get the chance, I'd love to do the same thing for my kids. My dear friend Julie Kemp met an English man named Jonathan here in the Bay Area. They fell in love and she hopped the pond. Now with two young children, Daisy and Charlie, she gets to experience raising children abroad. I asked her some questions about her experience...
Tell us about yourself, and your life as an American "Mum".
I moved to the UK in 2006, a single girl going to live with her British boyfriend in Notting Hill. It was a split minute decision, one I didn't even consider twice - a no-brainer. We had just finished backpacking together for about 14 months, and he had a house in London while I didn't own a property in the Bay Area. Now, nearly 7 years later, married with two kids and totally engrained in society with no definitive date of ever moving back, I wonder if I should have given that decision more thought?? ;) Nah, I really like it here, even love it at times! The kids have dual nationality and have done since birth. They are British through and through, especially Daisy - my 4.5 year old daughter, mostly because she has started "Reception" (Kindergarten equivalent, which starts at age 4) this year. We wanted her to go to a public school, but being London and everything totally oversubscribed, she did not get into any of our 5 (FIVE!) schools of choice so she now goes to a local private preparatory school where she is being taught to be a proper little English girl - full uniform and all, including a pinafore dress, real tie (not even the clip on kind!), crisp white collar shirt, blazer (complete with large shoulder pads), felt harrow hat (see photograph), etc etc. Basically an 8 piece uniform that takes forever to put on in the mornings.
How do you find your experience differs from your American friends?
People ask all the time how parenting here differs from "the States" and it's so strange to try and answer that question. Even though I was brought up completely and totally in the U.S., I've never had kids there - and since things have changed so much since I was a small child, I really feel out of touch with how people raise little ones back home. For the most part, by comparing stories with my American friends, I feel like life here and there must be fairly similar - the differences mostly being based around whether you live in a city or in the suburbs in either country. We live here in an area called Chiswick - a leafy subset of West London. It's a great happy medium between the city and the 'burbs and feels very neighborhoody while everything we need is within walking distance from our house. The tube (subway) is 10 minute walk away, the bus at the end of our street goes right into Central London (Piccadilly, Oxford Circus, etc.) and there are tons of shops and restaurants a stones throw away.
What has been your favorite thing about raising your family in England?
What's it like having kids that speak with an English accent in British English?
You became a mother while living in England, what are some differences in your experience compared with your American friends?
Do you have any European brands/trends that you'd recommend to Poppy Haus readers?
You grew up in the Bay Area, what do you miss the most about "home"?
Monday, May 20, 2013
Here's the reason I will be posting my feature on being an American Mum in England tomorrow rather than today as scheduled! That and the fact that I am having to type this on a laptop that is failing with each successive keystroke (my new Macbook Air gets here Friday!). It's funny to have final projects and big tests when you are an old lady like me. I can't wait to start designing real spaces... For now, take in the magic of my Danish modern, preppy-bohemian space. I'm going on break! xo, Heather
Friday, May 17, 2013
I was really excited to read this book to Jasper when he was little, because I remembered it from my childhood. He liked it so much that he chewed the side of the book up. I made up this activity as part of a preschool parent share at Wylie's school, because the kids are studying insects. They raised caterpillars and released them as butterflies today. The teachers read The Very Hungry Caterpillar while I set up the activity and then the kids gathered around and made their own hungry caterpillar sushi rolls. See the photo tutorial below. Today is the day that I announce the winner of the Kikkerland Birch Paper Straws...Congratulations to reader Jen!
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
I found the perfect popsicle molds at World Market. They are the classic shape and they use regulation sticks, which make them better than the usual plastic handled set or even the Zoku Pop Maker in my book. I've had today's recipe in my head for a little while now. By using coconut water you add some electrolytes to the treat (good on a hot day), plus it's sweet, but low in sugar. I added a teensy bit of fresh ginger to the strawberries in the juicer to add a little kick. The kids didn't seem to mind. Here's the recipe:
16 oz of fresh, sweet strawberries
4 limes (or meyer lemons, or tangerines)
2 cups coconut water
1 tbsp sugar (optional)
1 tbsp fresh ginger (optional)
Push capped strawberries and ginger through a juicer*. Juice limes and add to the strawberry puree, add coconut water and sugar if using. Stir well and pour into popsicle molds. Freeze for about 3 hours.
* If you don't have a juicer (you should get one) you can also use a blender, omit ginger as it's will overpower the mix. The strawberries will have seeds, but it will still be delicious!
Monday, May 13, 2013
I have a lot of irons in the fire right now...school is wrapping up (I can read blueprints!), I'm working on a new design for the site to launch sometime this summer, and I'm beginning a new video project for Poppy Haus that will occasionally put me on the other side of the camera. It's this last bit that has me contemplating things. Are you comfortable in your own skin? I'll admit it, when it comes to pictures I'm my own worst critic. I've talked about this before. I took a little practice video of Wylie and I hanging out together to test out a video app and see how I looked on camera, and it took a few tries for me to really see myself objectively and realize that I didn't look that bad. I was so distracted by the little things that I'm pretty sure no one else can see. Video is funny because you see yourself talking, which looks incredibly weird. It's not like looking in the mirror, you get to see what everyone else sees all the time. I really need to get over myself, because I have a some fun ideas to share, so to conquer my fear of the camera, and for your viewing pleasure, I give you "Heather and Wylie Talk Animals", a completely unedited, grainy picture with no plot. Enjoy!
Friday, May 10, 2013
Hint to my fellas, this is my idea of a Mother's Day treat. Let me sleep in until at least 8am, and then bring me breakfast in bed. Bonus points if this is the breakfast, made with lemon-rosemary bread from Della Fattoria- my Petaluma mom's know. I learned how to make this little egg treat years ago when I worked at an artisanal bakery in Portland. It has a lot of different names: One Eye, Egg in the basket, Toastie...this recipe is really quite simple to make. I added a little finely chopped asparagus tip and sliced pecorino cheese to mine. See photo tutorial below. Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas out there, I hope we all get to sleep in. xo, Heather
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Since Mother's Day is fast approaching, I thought I'd switch things up and share a little DIY today. Mother's day is more than brunch and flowers, it's a time show your appreciation for all of the little things she's done for you. I made a set of vases for my mama from these beautiful birch print paper straws I found at Paper Source. My mom has always been an enthusiastic supporter of my work, even when it was just macaroni necklaces and finger paint. Because many of you are moms yourselves, I thought today's post should be a giveaway. All you have to do is leave a little comment to be entered to win your own pack of 144 birch paper straws.
Birch Straw Vases
1 Package of straws
2 Cans, washed and dried
Hot glue gun
Dot hot glue in the center of the can. Use a seam to position the straw vertically. Add straws, applying glue and placing straws flush with one another. See pictures below.
Monday, May 6, 2013
I think that my favorite thing about Poppy Haus is that I get to write a little everyday. When you spend the majority of your time making light sabers out of cardboard tubes, discussing the yuck-factor of green beans, refereeing fights, often while in a state of mild sleep deprivation from the never ending series of nightmares and stomach flu you start to go batty, and at least for me, my brain gets a little mushy. This last part accounts for most of my typos. The act of writing something, even if it's instructions on how to make oatmeal pancakes forces me to consider my words, and taps into the part of my brain once reserved for term papers and event proposals. When I was a little girl, I used to make colored pencil paper books about the things that interested me, like dinosaurs or ponies. I'd put little facts about them under the detailed drawings. I liked to take pictures with my 110-film camera and make photo-journals of our backyard. In 1986 when the space shuttle Challenger exploded, much like Punky Brewster, I was heartbroken, so I sat down at our Commodore 64 and typed out a story about the accident from the perspective of a kid. You wouldn't know it from meeting me, but I've always been little bit shy, and I think from the beginning, I've felt more comfortable expressing myself with written words.
I haven't talked about this much before, but I've found that one of the drawbacks of being a stay-at-home mom is that you don't have a professional identity, as in "I'm a writer", nor do you ever have the need for an out-of-office reply on your email. It's a non-stop job being a mom (employed or not), and it's mentally taxing, but when you don't get to change gears and identities when you walk out the door in the morning you lose the ability to step out into the world on your own. I shower, I promise you, and I try not to wear yoga pants unless I'm actually doing yoga, but some days I don't get to do much more outside the confines of our house than drive my minivan around and go to the grocery store. It's also really gratifying to bring home the bacon. As it turns out, being a mom is not a paid position.
We made the decision that I would stay home with the kids after Wylie was born. Before that I had been working just short of full-time managing a showroom in San Francisco, while co-managing a small business in the off-hours, often late at night, or on the weekends. Now with two kids, the expense of full-time daycare or a nanny-share, an after-school program, coupled with the the logistics and costs of activities, lessons, and summer camps, seemed to outweigh the advantage of the money we'd retain after doling it all out every month. The hassle of negotiating the morning routine myself considering my husband's early work day and erratic evening schedule (he's a high school principal) sealed the deal. I would be a stay-at-home mom. I would eventually give up the business that I'd been working at for several years. I'd like to say I did it for them, but really I did it for myself. I was burnt out trying to make it work, and life has been easier ever since I committed to staying home. Even though we can't take big family vacations or have a gym membership, and we've had to put our plan buying a house on hold, I think it was the right decision.
I'm also convinced that writing this blog has actually made me a better mom, and a much happier person. I get to spend my time at home with the kids, but I also get to create something of value that gives me a little bit of that other identity I so crave. The simple act of writing a little every day, taking pictures, working on recipes, designing projects and sharing them with people is a very satisfying way to make my way through this experience staying home while they are very young. I also like that I get to collaborate with my kids. They love to make things, and to see themselves in the pictures, and they are mostly good sports when I ask them to wash their hands and put on a clean shirt to taste a bowl of soup. It seems that they like living this way; our house being half test-kitchen, half Etsy shop. And while I know this time as a young family is fleeting, we will always have this to look back on.
Friday, May 3, 2013
I somehow hoodwinked Tiffanie Turner of Corner Blog into sharing one of her amazing projects with us today. This oilcloth bunting makes for a perfect Cinco de Mayo decoration, but I think I would be tempted to leave it up in the backyard all summer long. Check out more of her work here. xo, Heather
Hi there! Getting to know Heather is one of the best things I "took away" from our time at ALT this year, and I'm really happy to be sharing this post here today at beautiful Poppy Haus!
Here in San Francisco there are some great resources for Mexican oilcloth (this place especially). It comes in so many amazing colors and patterns, I often buy it before I even know how I'll use it. Suffice it to say I have a giant tablecloth stash now! The idea for oilcloth buntings came to me last May as I was cooking up some fun ideas for Cinco de Mayo. Here's a little tutorial, it's really a piece of cake.
You can chose whatever oilcloth and triangle proportion that appeals to you. For a nice long bunting like I made (about 18-20 feet long) you will need a yard of oilcloth. I bought four 1/4 yard pieces in a few different patterns, and some bonus pieces as well for other buntings. The person who cut the oilcloth gave me wide enough pieces that I was able to fit two 5" wide triangles across each strip, but check your oilcloth and adjust your triangle size accordingly.
Along with the oilcloth, you will need some sort of twine (I used crochet twine) and hot glue.
Start by making a triangle-shaped template on some card stock or a file folder. Fold the paper over so the base of the triangle is along the fold, because eventually you want this to open up to a diamond shape. My triangle dimensions were 7 1/2" high by 5" wide at the base, but again, check your oilcloth to see what will fit most efficiently.
Next, fold each piece back into a triangle, creasing the base well with your finger or the edge of a ruler. With your twine at the ready, spread the entire inside of the crease with hot glue and then press the twine into the glue. I doubled up my twine to make it stronger, but that may not be necessary for you. Fold over quickly and carefully press closed along the twine to make sure glue affixes the two sides of the triangle together. Add a long dollop of glue at the inside tip of the triangle and affix to inside of other tip, sealing the flag closed. The edges will not be glued together, but that's okay. Doing that makes the flags really clunky and keeps them from sitting nicely. Keep stringing them with a 1 1/2" gap in between each flag until you get the length of bunting you want.
Now you're ready for a fiesta! That was fast, right? I made some smaller, more subdued buntings with 4" wide x 3 1/2" high triangles for my kitchen. Also fast!
Have a happy Cinco de Mayo! xoxo