I feel like things are going so fast and so slow at the same time.
Winter is seemingly picking up and getting colder but also we are just about to start Maple Syrup and seed starting.
Learning to be proud and appreciative of what we have – and getting stronger in our skills and utilizing what we have.
2019 was a year of growing (as they all are, but especially this one). 2020 will be a year of honing in skills and accepting what we have.
I have said it once and I will say it again… there is something blissful about winter beauty.
The air is still and the insulating snow absorbs any sound. As soon as we got out of the family vehicle you could hear a trickling noise of water.
It is rare to hear the creek in the summer, but the silence of winter brings awareness to the movement.
This winter has been relatively mild allowing family time outside. Feeding the animals has been less than a chore most days, the kids exercise their lungs in the fresh air, all-in-all we have been blessed.
Summer gets so chaotic and after the Holidays winter seems so STILL. We are basically chomping at the bit to start the next project. How soon we forget to be just STILL. Still in this moment of life. Enjoying the footprints captured in the snow, the relaxation of no chores, the ability to plan and let the mind wonder.
I am learning to ask myself why do I long for the stillness in the midst of summer? Why do I yearn for the hustle and bustle in the ides of winter?
Enjoy the stillness NOW.
Enjoy the hustle when it is present.
Let the frost bite your nose and chill your bones. Then warm them up with a cup of coffee and a cozy blanket.
Let your mind wonder to what you want to plan and do. And do it. You have time NOW. Go do it NOW.
Antiquing for the Family.
Antiquing and auctioning are two pastimes we enjoy as a family. The kids are finding their favorite items to collect, and it is fun to watch their interests change. Currently here are our treasures:
The boys: vintage capguns
Aaron: antique tools and farm equipment
Me: 1900’s kitchen utensils and cookbooks
We have learned to respect each other’s interests and help others find something that peaks their interest as well as patiently wait while we can’t find anything we are looking for.
One thing that stuck out to me on our last venture was the array of cookbooks and the titles on them. With social media we and inundated with marketing gimmicks and tag lines to get us to read the article or click the link. ‘Clickbait’ is what it is generally referred to as. Take a look at the cookbooks above. The tag lines.
So funny how we think the world has changed so much, when in reality it hasn’t. People were on the hunt for the next best recipe and gadget, or trying to sell their idea or gadget.
The only thing that has changed is the vehicle. We spend a lot of time in front of screens whereas before we spent a lot of time in front of paper. Companies put out entire cookbooks based on ONE product. A new shortening or baking powder would trigger a whole cookbook of recipes mostly involving that ingredient.
From finding passions, learning history, and connecting old and new…. there is a lot to be learned from shopping antiques and auctions. I am so glad that the kids are learning to enjoy this family activity. I can’t wait until they can share their takeaways with us.
Birthday on a Budget.
One underlying pillar of the homesteading community is ‘frugality’ or how to save or reduce spending money.
When having 3/4 family members with December birthdays, it is especially important to cut corners on costs. This allows the creative juices to flow for birthdays because I am the birthday queen. Not for myself, but for the kids. It is one of my favorite days because it is the only ‘holiday’ I host and it is a celebration of two of the greatest gifts in my life. The kids wholeheartedly enjoy the decorations (for now) and I enjoy doing it.
I have a few tips for creating a fun decorated space on a budget. Getting a good color scheme going will help get the cohesive vibes across the entire set of frugal party tips.
- Streamers. For about a dollar a roll, a little goes a long way. We have used streamers for Spider-Man’s webs, backdrop or ceiling decor. We usually spend $3 on streamers and get a whole house of decor. Twist them and tape them, let them hang, drape them… streamers are literally the most versatile party decor.
- Balloons. The second most versatile party decor are balloons. Keep the color scheme alive and get latex and/or Mylar balloons. Typically we get dollar store Mylar balloons with helium and a bag or two of latex balloons we blow up. Blowing up latex balloons at varied sizes keeps the decoration interesting and appealing. This year we got fancy and did the Mylar letter balloons and spelled ‘RAWR’ across the streamers.
- Toys. Usually the driving force behind it all. The boys are in the stage of life that theme birthdays are alive and well. From monster trucks to dinosaurs we typically have an abundance of whatever toy is matching the theme. Toys are strategically placed around the house and on/around the food. This year our dinosaurs even got party hats. Get creative with the decor. One year I saw a bunch of decor for Halloween on sale. I bought a bunch of black decor that was 90% off and did a black and gold party. 🤷🏼♀️ Who can say no to 10¢ party decor?
- Food Names. Maybe the most creative bit that gets overlooked but also adds some fun to the party. A few pieces of our dinosaur food party food were: Carnivore (sloppy joes), Herbivore (salad & veggies), Dino Egg (cheese ball), Dino Scales (crackers), Dino Bones (white pretzels), and Prehistoric Punch. These are fun to come up with and are easy to label. I write on the table cloth or just fold some index cards in half. Easy peasy and adds to the theme.
- Pictures. My FAVORITE party decor because this makes the decor personal. Every year I print pics from the year and collage them into the number the kids are turning. Extras get posted on another wall. When the party is over the printed photos are put into a photo album and a year’s worth of pictures are saved from the black hole of the tech world. Win-win in my book. The kids love reminiscing and I like to believe the guests enjoy seeing how they have changed.
Party decor does not have to be expensive or gaudy. Our cheap decor is cute but DOES take some elbow grease. I enjoy it though, and as long as the kids do too, I will keep it up.
Aloe Plant for Everyone.
Old pic. But awhile back I received a giant Aloe Vera plant from my mother. This puppy was super old and had a bunch of baby plants surrounding it. With some research I successfully transplanted most of the plants and realized that we had too many.
After many months of pawning these off on people, I finally came across a dear friend that was able to take them all.
Aloe plants purify the air. They remove toxins and keep the air we breathe fresh and clean. My friend I referred to earlier had a coworker that put an aloe plant in each room of their house and was never sick that year. How cool?! More than aloe plants remove toxins, but aloe is fairly easy to grow.
Talking with my friend and she mentioned that she heard about how great aloe plants are. She asked me where she could maybe find some and I basically did a flip! She had five children and was able to give each of her children an Aloe plant for their room and I believe she also had one for her living room. Her children named their plants and were so grateful!
It feels so good to give to grateful people. It feels so good to allow my simple skills to benefit someone else’s life. How happy they all were over something as simple as having Aloe plants warms my heart.
Do something for someone else. It may seem simple to you, or it may even seem like they’re doing you a favor, but you never know how you will touch someone’s life.
Owwww, My Heart.
Can I even do a blog post without an animal cruelty? Ugh.
Todd is one of our roosters that hangs out in the barn, not the chicken coop.
He also is our farm ‘dog’. He roams the property running up to us and guests to say hi and begs for snacks. I mean, really. For someone who is allergic to dogs, he’s the closest we get.
One warm either day I let the chicken coop out for free ranging and fresh air. They free range with Todd very easily and at night everyone typically goes their own way. Aaron locked up the chicken coop and did not check which animals were where and failed to notice Todd in the chicken coop.
The next day was either extremely cold or busy and I did not check the animals.
The day after I checked the coop and there was a bloody mess. Todd was cowering in a corner and when I showed him his home in the barn he kept running into things and walking in circles. I assumed he was jostled from the fight and he was lost and unbalanced.
The next day I checked on him and he was on a low perch in the barn. He let me walk all the way up to him and then jumped. I looked at his wounds and noticed his eyes were pecked. What?! Yup. Pecked.
We have another house chicken.
Got Todd a home inside our home and washed him up. Went to bed for the night and was startled awake at 6am with a COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO!
The kids were not due to wake up for an hour and a half so I ran downstairs and I closed him into a room with a door.
That day he snuggled me all day and was nuzzling my arm. I held him and washed him and loved him. He soaked it all in. He was perking up more and more as the day went on. By the end of the day both eyes peeked open.
By dinner he hopped out of his infirmary and was waltzing around the house. I placed him back in his home and he just popped back out and was trying to beg for food at the dinner table.
Back to the barn he went. Reluctantly on my part.
I kept a close eye on him and very quickly he was able to find his place once again. His eyes still sore looking, but his personality is back.
I find it so hard when I see animals, especially chickens, injured. It is difficult to find information online on how to care for them because most people get an injured bird and cull them. I just cannot. I always try to separate myself from the animal and the life. But even if it’s a bird I do not ‘love’ and is just part of the flock… it kills me to let that go. Cull a bird just because it is sick or hurt?!
By no means am I a vegetarian, but also… for me to be the acting force that removes the soul from the animal… is not what I was meant to do.
Maybe I am soft. Maybe I care too much.
Ya know what? That’s okay.
It is okay to accept the people we are and just own it. We are unique for a reason and the world needs us to be who we are.
I can’t cull a chicken because it is sick, but maybe the world needs my softness.
I can rescue a chicken and not shame others who choose to do the opposite. Plus human blood gets my tummy turning so maybe these chicken infirmaries are building up my tolerance so in the event the boys get hurt I do not pass out.
If you ever have any questions, or ideas for future blogs, comment below or shoot me an email!
From the farm,