Friday on the Farm {Babies Galore!}

We have been so blessed this year with babies on the farm. Everyone was delivered easily, born healthy, and the mamas are all good mamas.

 

It started on Mother’s Day, with Ginny giving us a buckling.  We weren’t 100% certain she was bred, but I checked her ligaments that morning, and they were gone. I thought to myself, “well, she’s probably bred…” about 2 hours later during breakfast, I looked out and a something was laying in the barn yard. Hank (an LGD) was standing over it looking and smelling. I knew a raccoon or something didn’t get in, so I ran out.  Sure enough it was a baby goat. Lady ran out and got the mama, we got them to the stall, and they’ve been prefect since.

The following day we were waiting on Wendy to kid, when we looked up and Jolene, the Hereford, was standing over her calf! He must have just hit the ground; Jolene was already doing her mama thing. He is huge, perfect, and so sweet.

That evening, Wendy had 2 bucklings (it’s a buckling year?!). Perfectly healthy, and mostly white and gray/brown. No moon spots…

40 Acre Wood: Kids on the Farm- Wendy Twins

And finally, Lucy had 2 boys, each with moon spots. Their coloring is beautiful, but I don’t have pics yet.

 

Add rain for 2 months, and that’s been spring on the farm so far.

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Surviving Social Distancing as a Family

As parents, we are always looking for ways to have fun with our kids- and probably NOW more than ever.

If you’re on the hunt for inspiration for fun things to do at home, why not flex your creative talents and try these activities?

First, I would start with a very simple, basic routine. Type it, write it out, or get fancy and create something with a cool computer program, but make a simple routine that everyone in the family can see. No need for color coding or making things complicated. Just a general idea of how the day will flow. Be prepared to make lots of adjustments as you discover how your family works best!

We include: basic life skills/habits (brush hair, teeth, make bed, tidy bathroom), instrument practice, farm chores and house chores (some are daily, some are weekly), homeschool, reading time, quiet time, free time, outside play, etc.

Make sure you leave lots of play time, especially outdoors in your yard or social distancing at the park, walking the neighborhood, etc.

Baking

Baking is a brilliant way to introduce children to cooking; it develops counting and real life math skills can bring the family together for fun. Depending on the age of your kids, you can assign jobs, including measuring out ingredients, stirring the mixture and decorating the finished item, setting the table, slicing fruit, etc.

Baking can be therapeutic for children and adults, and there’s a tasty treat to enjoy later. There are hundreds of family-friendly recipes available online, and even cooking schools for kids online!  Before you decide on a recipe, check your pantry and make sure you’ve got everything you need. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have the right equipment before you start baking as well.

Surviving Social Distancing as a Family

Image  

Scrapbooking

Making a scrapbook is a fantastic way to remember these times together as a family, and to create something you can keep for many years to come. Scrapbooking is suitable for all ages, and adults can get involved too. You have control over the design and content of your book, so you can personalize your creation. Before you begin, stock up on supplies like papers and get some ideas from resources like this website.

You can use magazine cuttings, photographs, tickets, pictures, newspaper headlines and content you’ve downloaded online to fill your book, and accessories like buttons and ribbons to make it look fabulous. 

We also use a love the Kinship Family Journal by Fawn and Forest. It is perfect for the whole family to collaborate.

Junk modeling

If you’ve accumulated a stack of empty cereal boxes, Amazon boxes, drink cartons or used cans, now is the time to turn trash into treasure. Using your creativity, get together with your kids to transform cans and boxes into model villages, robots, animals, buses, trains or buildings. There are some brilliant resources online if you’re short on ideas, and you can get friends and family safely involved too. Set aside an afternoon and compare results with neighbors and friends via video chat or social media. 

Surviving Social Distancing as a Family

Image

Making jewelry

Do your kids love playing dress up, or is a family member due to celebrate their birthday in the coming weeks? If so, why not join forces as a family and make some bespoke pieces of DIY jewelry? You can use colored and patterned beads, rolled magazines or newspaper cuttings or buttons to make necklaces and bracelets. If you have older children, you can also use thread to craft friendship bands or metals and gems to make more adult-friendly gifts. 

Play Games

For each gift giving holiday (birthdays, Christmas, VDay, etc), we have given each of our children a card or board game. I’ve never been so thankful for our cabinet full of games!

We have all learned to play chess, different varieties of UNO, and many other games as a family. My husband takes his lunch break on rainy days to come upstairs and play games with the kids, he and our son start their day with a game of Chess, and even the youngest (3yo) has been enjoying games.

Getting creative at home is an excellent way to have fun together, to encourage originality and to develop motor skills. Creative activities can also lift your mood and reduce stress. If you’re looking for fun things to do as a family, hopefully, these ideas have given you some inspiration.

Tailor the activity to suit your child’s age and interests, then share the results with family and friends online or via video calls. From making gifts and baking cakes, to creating junk robots and designing scrapbooks, you’re guaranteed hours of fun. 

When all else fails, READ GOOD BOOKS. =)

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

How to Grow a Dinosaur: A Book for New Siblings {new release review}

With 4 tiny humans running around, you can bet we have had many phases, changes, and adjustments in our home over the last almost 8 years. Adding a new addition every 18 months t0 2 years can be a challenge for older siblings.

We love literature in our home, and have found that reading books and poetry usually help us with any new changes, especially when young children can comprehend but not yet express themselves verbally.

How to Grow Dinosaur , written by Jill Esbaum is a fun new book about an older sibling dinosaur who is learning all about his role as a big brother. What do babies need? What do babies do? What is my job? In this sweet-sibling story, big brother learns the bad news aaand the good news about the new baby in his family.

With Mike Boldt‘s,bright, silly, yet simple illustrations this is a great guide for siblings and parents. The pictures are sure to make the kids in your like laugh, and feel at ease about the new baby coming into their life. How to Grow a Dinosaur helps open the conversation of what is and is not appropriate behavior around a new baby, and how it can be hard for both bigger siblings, and the newest sibling.

This beautiful, large hardback book, with its 40 pages is perfect for children ages 2-5; my 7 year old was able to relate to and enjoy the story.

If there is a new baby coming into the life of a child you know and love, this makes a *great* sibling’s new baby gift. Mama and daddy are sure to appreciate the special story they can share with their children.

How to Grow a Dinosaur-sibling book

This newest book we’ve been reviewing is releasing TODAY, so get your copy now Amazon!

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Friday on the Farm: {Birthday & Camping Edition}

I am writing this on Sunday and back dating for the sake of hitting Friday on the Farm. *insert cheesy face here*

We have spent the last 2 weeks celebrating birthdays … one right after the other. It has been a joy!

The kids got a new play set/fort/swingset/tree house/whatever you want to call it for their combined birthdays. Hopefully it will last for years to come, and will eventually become an actual tree house in the woods, near the pond.

They each got a small little special for their birthdays- the 7yo a field press and the last Narnia book, The 5yo Mister a bug/small animal terrarium for nature studies and a bug field guide, and the 3yo little Miss a fairy garden house.

Each of the kids had their own special birthday cake- all gluten and dairy free. Boy did that require some special grocery store trips … But we managed to do it!

Mister’s “rocket” cake:

Big sister’s Smores ice box cake:

Little Miss’s dirt cake:

The husband smoked up some BBQ for the week:

We spent Wednesday-Saturday camping at a local state park; all 6 of us in the pop up camper and our new caravan (not forgetting to bring out RV battery as that comes in incredibly useful sometimes!) that we finally managed to get finance for (thanks to Auto Finance Online, see this site for more info). It was surprisingly less difficult than expected. More specifically, after the first day and night, we had things figured out. haha. Keeping the caravan safe and secure is definitely a concern for anyone who owns one. Wheel clamps for caravans ensure that your caravan is not going anywhere you don’t want it to!

A few random camping with tiny humans tips we found made things easier:

  • Get one of these for the baby. just trust me. There is a time and place for a pack n play, but these little sleep tents are amazing when traveling! They fit in the tiniest spaces and can easily be covered with a light blanket for darkness
  • cover baby’s sleep tent or pack n play with a blanket
  • noise. machine. We took the humidifier we use at home in the kids’ rooms, but then remembered the pop-up has an AC fan, so we used that. PERFECT for blocking out the noise at a camp ground during naps and bedtimes
  • kiddie potty. We just keep on in the camper now, because it is easier than them using the camper potty, and we dont have to go up to the bath house, AND we don’t have to worry about them having privacy from fellow campers
  • wagon– saved our lives. when baby wasn’t being toted around in it, fed in it, or just playing in it, the 3yo was pulling it around for fun
  • picnic blanket– again, couldn’t have done without it
  • crocs for every child
  • overalls the kids can rewear each day, with a clean shirt underneath
  • just leave all the luggage bags in the car to keep camping space clear and organized. It’s a tip I learned from a friend after they hired a campervan with Rent.is on their European adventure, and it makes sense. Each night I got out their PJs, they changed before going into the camper, and I put their dirty clothes into the dirty clothes bag. Clothes to be reworn were placed on top of their bag (in the car) for the next day

Just some camping fun:

I woke each morning to my husband making coffee and breakfast over the fire. He is irreplaceable.

It was a lot of hard work, but one of the best family vacations we have had. My sweet husband did most all of the heavy lifting and hard work, and though I know he enjoys it, it was such a blessing to me. I actually got to chill and not really fret about anything. It was really nice.

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Baby #3 {2 Year Summary}

Poor Ila … she has hardly any updates just for her.  I know, having a 3rd really shows in my writing … or lack there of.  But, she is getting her 2 year update. =)

Well, Baby #3 was a perfect baby.  She didn’t cry until she was cutting her first tooth.  She was floppy, and lazy and let everyone squish her and tote her and tickle her until she was about 8 months old.  Then she started walking at 13 months and became a different baby! *ehum* a toddler …

ila-is-2-baby-summary

The girl is a spit fire!  She is SO fun, but man can she be a naughty one.  😉  She is precious, but has definitely made it clear she will not be lost in the shuffle of a big family!

Everything is, “don’t like” right now, even if she does in fact like it.  She has discovered stomping her feet (whaaat?  I don’t think so!) and throws herself down in a silent protest.

Yep.

We have entered terrible two territory.

She hates having her hair brushed, and is insanely tender headed; her hair is really long right now so soon we are cutting it off again soon.  I hate to see her cry over brushing her hair and because she still has baby soft, fine hair it gets tangles super easily.  She loves to brush her teeth, and putting on “big girl panties.”

She has potty trained!  Well, at home. =/

When we leave home she tells me when she needs to go, and she sits on the potty (whether the little car potty or a big potty wherever we are) but she is really tense and won’t relax, so then she won’t actually go.  So next week at home we are going to start practicing TTing on the big potty.  Sometimes when we leave home she stays dry, but today we went to the doctor, then the park, and despite sitting on the potty multiple times, she had 2 accidents.

We are going to keep working on it.. But no more accidents at home which means only 1 baby in diapers! Woo hoo!

But along with the terrible two’s comes lots of learning, and growing, developing, and FUN!

Ila loves doing puzzles, she enjoys naming animals, is obsessed with books (all books- board books, picture books, and loves thumbing through chapter books.  They’re probably her favorite) and gets very excited when anyone writes the ABCs on her magnadoodle while singing the ABC song.  She wants to read like her big brother and sister; it’s really precious when she points to every letter and makes the t or s sound.  She’s trying.  😉

Ila is still sleeping in a sleep sack in her crib, with her sister in the same room.  She naps from 12:00-3:00 every day and typically sleeps for the entire nap.  She goes to bed at 6:45pm each night, but stays awake waiting on big sister to come in at 7:00pm.

Lexie has started volunteering to help dress Ila, get her out of the bath, and ready for bed.  She pulls her around the yard in the wagon.  They bounce on the trampoline together, although Ila prefers to do this by herself.  She is hilarious bouncing all around.

Her new favorite phrases are, don’t like, wait me!, and eat whole apple!  She enjoys eating, singing to me while I cook, and LOVES to give giant hugs.  We were at the park after checkup appointments and as we left, she just stopped and gave another mama a great big hug and said bye bye!  It was sweet.

She is genuinely a sweet girl, even if she is determined to get her way- but what 2 year old isn’t?

As Lexie plays with her dolls, Ila will often brush her mini American Girl Doll’s hair; she carries her around in a purse.  I love watching her play with baby dolls; Lexie never played with baby dolls much as a toddler but Ila *loves* them.  She feeds, changes, and burps her babies.  She also insists on helping me with her new baby sister, Coralie.  It’s nice having her under foot to help carry diapers to the trash and grab burp cloths too. 😉

Ila is growing up to be a very snuggly, silly, yet independent girl.  We have so much fun with her and I can’t wait to see what the next year will have in store for us!

What is your favorite age/stage in motherhood?

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Preschooler {3 yrs old} and Toddler {23 mo old} Summaries

(Written Thursday, August 28, 2014)

17 days until baby wright #3 should be here (September 14th) … of course it could be more or less than that, only the baby and God know the plan.  I talked with my very sweet friend that is going to have Bug and Mister while I labor, and it feels good to know my babies will not only be safe and taken care of, but that someone else is praying about this for me.  God knows our circumstances, and theirs and we know He will send baby on when the time is right.

I woke up this morning, about 2:30am, to more storms.  We have had a TON of rain here the last 10 days, so much the trail and parks we enjoy most are flooded terribly.  (Good thing we decided not to have the birthday party at those parks, just in case in rained).  I couldn’t go back to sleep so I hopped in the shower and am drinking my first cup of coffee since July 2nd.  I quit coffee, mainly because I like it with cream and I am doing no dairy for baby, so this is really nice even if it is with rice milk.

I can’t believe that next week  my babies will be four and two years old!  I will begin with Lexie’s summary.

birthday dress

Proud of her birthday dress

To say Lexie is vibrant, happy, and full of silliness is an understatement.  She loves to play in her dressy dresses, go “camping” with Max, and read books (all. day. long).  She is currently reading the Bob Books: Advanced Beginners books.  You can read a bit more about that Here.

She enjoys our learning time together, helping me bake, and playing downstairs.  Of course outside is usually her very first choice of play time, especially if it involves water.  Developmentally, her language is amazing.  Her fine motor (writing) skills are improving, and her confidence has grown by leaps and bounds.

If there is anything I can say about being a parent for the first time, it is that you can definitely go with your gut.  Lexie has always been very social, but despite being in daycare and Mother’s Day Out when we lived in Arkansas, she was/is still very introverted in a group.  Whether it is at daycare, library story time, or gymnastics, if it wasn’t her close friends and family, she wanted to sit by the grown up in charge and watch (she is my people watcher!) or play mostly by herself.  Today, she starts out that way in a new setting, but quickly warms up!  And just a few weeks ago at the neighborhood block party she jumped right into the festivities without needing us to encourage her at all!  My point is- we have never rushed her.  We did not push her to stay the night with family before we felt she was ready, participate in things she didn’t feel comfortable with, and here she is learning within her OWN boundaries how to feel confident.  There are definitely rules to raising an introverted child, and being an introvert myself I understand her insecurities and what makes them “flare.”

I love watching her grow and change, but am very sad my baby is almost four and not such a baby anymore.

Lexie and Max are sleeping in the same room now; it is going surprisingly well!  Hopefully it continues to go well after baby arrives …  Lexie wakes some nights needing to go potty, and sometimes that wakes Max up, but in the last few weeks he has gotten used to her being in the same room and he sleeps through it.

He naps in his crib from 12:15-2:30/3:00.  J.Tom comes home for lunch and Lexie spends that time with him; at about 12:45 she goes downstairs and has “rest time” on the bed down there.  She is allowed her books on the bed with her but must be quiet.  She does pretty good with it.

As for Max Payne, well he is a little “stinky pot,” as he calls himself.  He is TT potty trained; we are still working on poopy, which he usually does after he wakes up at nap time, but some days that isn’t the case.  I am not sure he has distinguished between having gas and needing to potty, or if he is just a bit afraid of using the potty?  Either way, he will get there and we have aaaall winter inside to get it down!  haha  In the mean time, we are down to using 2 diapers a day (nap and night time) and that makes this mama a happy camper!

He does and says everything big sister does.  Everything.  They are a mess together and I am thankful they are such good friends (for now..) and pray we can continue to foster that relationship as they grow.  He can identify many of his letters, but not all.  He just hasn’t been interested in learning them like Lexie was, and if there isn’t interest it just isn’t going to happen.  So I haven’t been pushing it.  He loves to count and read nursery rhymes.

Oddly, he isn’t a big fan of messy play or crafts.  He gets most interested in painting, but even that doesn’t hold his attention long.  He would rather be driving trucks and engines around on the floor and furniture.  =)  Or playing in water.  The boy still loves water, and being outside.  He and Lexie will spend what seems like hours downstairs playing pretend together.

At this point (well, for a while now), he is jumping with two feet, climbing everything he can get a foot on, and LOVES to bounce on the trampoline.  “Dog dog” is his buddy- poor Charlie girl puts up with a lot from Max!  He refuses to say Charlie, although we know he can.  She is just “dog dog” for now.  She doesn’t seem to mind.  =)

Best Buddies

loving on his “dog dog”

His personality has just blossomed in the last 6-8 months- he is funny, rowdy, and so sweet.  He and Lexie are both obsessed with their Daddy, and we are so thankful we have had this summer home with him.  It has been wonderful watching him do nap time with Lexie during his lunch hour every day, and eating dinner with him every night.

The Bears (that’s the boys, per Lexie) spend time together every night when Daddy gets home, just rough-housing and being “bears.”  Lexie gets a bit jealous; she is very much her daddy’s girl and wants to join them, but she loves to laugh at them and their silliness.  We try to encourage her to let daddy and Mister have bear time.  Both of them are super snuggly and I think they will do great with Baby #3!

 

 

 

 

trip to the county fair

petting the “baby cow” at the fair

enjoying the cool mornings

enjoying the cool mornings and teaching Max to swing

 

enjoying the cool mornings

Silly babies!

I really can’t believe we will be a family of 5 soon- Lexie and Max will both be such good big siblings.  *feeling blessed*

Pregnancy #3 Update: Beginning of Second Trimester

Well, with my first two pregnancies I updated pretty regularly. This time, we didn’t announce the pregnancy until almost 12 weeks, so I haven’t really been writing updates thus far.

We are almost 16 weeks along now; I had a doctor appointment last week and everything was great. The heartbeat was 157 (I think…) and the doctor okayed me to stop the progesterone supplements. My next appointment is in April and we will have the anatomy scan. Here, they only do one ultrasound (what’s up with that?!) at 20 weeks. We had an ultrasound at 6 weeks, to date and confirm the pregnancy.

6 week 2 day ultrasound- Quiet in the chaos

We will not, however, be finding out the gender. We have a girl and a boy, all babies are September babies and the nursery can be gender neutral. I am good with that. (ok, so if you know me well, you are probably as surprised as I am that I am okay with not “planning” for a girl or boy…) The urge I have to perform a home baby gender test is a little too strong at the moment!

The surprise of finding out in the delivery room with only my husband far surpasses my innate need to plan, design, and decorate. I can’t wait to spend that moment with him. We are also not talking names. To anyone. Or to each other, for that matter. =)

J.Tom and I haven’t even discussed names, because we can’t seem to agree on anything. So, I figure if we wait until we have him or her in our arms, we can whip out the handy dandy name list and we can go from there. I just don’t feel like arguing over names, or listening to other people’s opinions of names when we don’t even have a name semi narrowed down yet. *and I’m not saying that all snotty* If we happen to come up with names before the baby arrives, I will be happy to discuss. But we said this time we want to wait until we have our baby in our arms, and that’s what I am sticking with.

It will be fun.

Lexie is very excited about “baby #3.” We don’t call the baby “the new baby” because that just seems mean to the siblings. So it is baby #3. Max is pretty clueless, of course. He is too obsessed with eating, throwing things, and chasing the dog.

Oh yes, we got a new dog. She’s furry, and sweet, and smart, and precious.

We will room Lexie and Max together. For now we are planning on J.Tom building bunk beds- the top bunk will be above the crib, and then when Max is ready to move to a big bed we will build a bed frame for a bottom bunk. I really like snuggling in the bed with Lexie, so maybe I will just put the crib in her room and take out a dresser…. It is up in the air for now.

It is hard watching my babies all grow up on me! It is exciting, of course. This pregnancy wasn’t originally planned. After experiencing a loss in early December, we decided at the very last minute (literally) to try for baby #3. The timing worked out to being another September baby, which I had hoped would happen, but hadn’t actually thought would happen. Just before our loss and all we decided to wait another year. Funny how God works.

No nausea since about week 12-13. I have 3-4 days of TONS of energy, and then a day or two where I am exhausted and can’t keep my eyes open. I workout a few times a week with T25, or we go for walks on warmer days. No weight gain so far (well, technically I gained back the weight I lost in the fall, but that happened before this pregnancy, so I don’t count it) but I am pretty sure my hips are bigger! How does that happen? … And I haven’t lost the weight from Max, so it doesn’t seem likely that I need to gain much. The doctor is good with that.

Still praying for a healthy 5 more months. I hope to go full term, as usual. Big healthy babies seem more durable when you have a Max Payne running around the house. Poor Mister, he has no idea what is coming! Then again, neither do I.

Pray for me, friends! =)

 

{healthy} Whole Wheat, Dairy & refined-sugar-free, chocolate cake

Say that 5xs fast!

Yesterday, we made this ah-mazing cake.  Oh my goodness, really.  It is so good.  And much healthier than your average homemade of boxed cake.

Healthy, whole wheat (dairy and refined sugar free) chocolate cake- Better then regular homemade chocolate cake. And easy!

It doesn’t take long, and makes either two round cakes, or one 9×13 cake.

Whole Wheat, Dairy-and-refined-sugar-free chocolate cake {with Marriage and Menu Monday linky}

20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

See Detailed Nutrition Info on

Ingredients

  • This recipe is adapted from the Better Homes and Garden chocolate cake recipe
  • 3/4 c coconut oil (not melted)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking sode
  • 3/4 tsp aluminum free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp real salt
  • 2 c sucanat
  • 2 tsp real, organic vanilla (or homemade)
  • 1 1/2 c rice milk (or you choice of non dairy milk)

Instructions

  1. Grease your 2 round, or 1 9x13 pan(s)
  2. In a medium bowl stir together: flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt- set aside
  3. Preheat oven to 350*
  4. In a large mixing bowl beat coconut oil on med-high speed for 30 seconds
  5. Gradually add sucanat 1/4c at a time, beating at med speed until well combined
  6. Scrape side of bowl; beat 2 minutes
  7. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition (trust me, it makes a difference)
  8. Beat in vanilla
  9. Now, Alternately add flour mixture and rice milk to coconut oil mixture, beating on low speed until combined
  10. Beat on medium to high speed 20 seconds more
  11. Spread into pans
  12. Bake 30-40 minutes, check doneness with a toothpick in center.

Notes

**If you want the healthy recipe but don't mind the dairy, replace the coconut oil with butter and the rice milk with cow's milk. 1:1


error: Content is protected !!