Fun weekend!

It’s the little things in life that make me smile. This weekend was one of those times that just made me giddy.

Saturday was the big day! The day I have been waiting for since April, when I bought all those fuzzy chicks home. That’s right folks! I got an egg!

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Here is proud egg layer!

Thing 1

Thing 1

The first egg arrived on Saturday morning. I happen to hear one of the other hens singing the egg song so I went rushing out there thinking she laid an egg. But really she just likes announcing when others have made a nest and our laying their eggs. That is when I found Thing 1, not in the nesting boxes, but in her own little homemade nest. So for about an hour, I kept peeking at her and finally it was there. And I squealed like a girl. But hey, farmer’s can be girly!

Then Sunday, she took almost all day to lay again. And I sent little man out to gather the egg. But she wasn’t done yet. So we found these beauties in the garden instead.

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Thirty minutes later, little man and I went out again and found our 2nd egg.

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Needless to say, my kids are so excited about having to check for eggs everyday.

Check in with my flock

It’s been a while since I have done a chicken post. Mostly because I have been waiting for an egg, but they are almost 19 weeks and nothing so far. So that will have to be another post later; whenever it happens. Let me start by saying that everyone is right. Having chickens is addicting! I am already planning a bigger run for them because they are spoiled rotten. But anyone that knows me knew that was gonna happen.

Photo Bomb! I’m the center of attention!

 

This journey hasn’t been without bumps in the road though. In the beginning, we lost two of our baby chicks to Coccidiosis. It is fatal to chickens, but thankfully because of the internet and some wonderful bloggers, I was able to treat the rest and have had no problems with that.

Then there was the too many rooster problems. I ended up with 3 and one became aggressive towards the others. We had a lot of injuries. So it was time to relocate him to our next door neighbors, where he found a hen that is his twin and fell deeply in love.

Be nice to your new girlfriend, Speckles.

Be nice to your new girlfriend, Speckles.

 

Next, was the summer cold of 2014. It hit a few of our girls pretty hard. I didn’t want too, but had to give out antibiotics. Within a day, they were all good. I am trying to do the natural thing, but with this the oregano, which acts as a natural antibiotic, wasn’t cutting it.

Lastly, I had to escapees. Two different times, two different hens! They got so excited that Mommy was coming in with treats that they ran out the door. As soon as they realized they were out and the others were in, they paced the fence trying to get back. So I was able to easily catch them.

Okay~ on to the chickens now.

Little baby at the beginning of summer.

Little baby at the beginning of summer.

Little baby now

Little baby now

Big Bertha then

Big Bertha then

Nutmeg then

Nutmeg then

Big Bertha (right) and Nutmeg (left)

Big Bertha (right) and Nutmeg (left)

Midnight then

Midnight then

Midnight now

Midnight now

Precious then

Precious then

Precious now

Precious now

Thing 1 and Thing 2 then

Thing 1 and Thing 2 then

Thing 1 now

Thing 1 now

Thing 2 now

Thing 2 now

Luna then

Luna then

Luna now

Luna now

And last, but not least

Ninja then

Ninja then

Ninja now

Ninja now

And I just want to add he is the perfect Rooster. Let’s the girls eat first, watches out for predators and is the first out in the morning and the last one in at night.

UPDATE: I started writing this 2 days ago and as of 15 minutes ago, Thing 1 is in the coop making a nest. We are hoping for an egg by the end of the day. Follow me on Facebook or Instagram for updates.

 

Coffee Cake Muffins

Today is the first day of school here. We have had a long standing tradition of pancakes for breakfast, but my daughter is beginning her junior year.  I felt it was time for a bit of a change to celebrate her grown-ness (yeah I just made that word up). I found a yummy recipe in my 2012 Taste of Home Quick Cooking cookbook that I felt was perfect for your teens first day back to school or a mom’s brunch.

These true (yes, there is coffee) Coffee Cake Muffins have a crumb topping with a jam filled center. Amazing!

 

Coffee Cake Muffins

1 1/2 cups All purpose flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup brewed coffee

1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil

1 egg

1/4 cup apricot preserves I have apricot preserves, but I think peach or strawberry would also be yummy.

 

Topping:

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

 

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and then stir in the coffee, oil and egg.

Fill paper lined muffin tins about a 1/4 of the way full. Drop 1 teaspoon of preserves in the center.

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Cover with remaining batter.

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Time to make the topping. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon and cut in the cold butter.  Stir in the walnuts. Sprinkle over the tops.

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Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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And yes there are 2 without topping on it. Not because I didn’t have enough, but because my son doesn’t like walnuts.

Enjoy!

 

 

Real Food Challenge

This summer I took the time to really learn about our food. I am tired of hearing my hubby complain about feeling sick and tired. Every week there is something new. I also started thinking about how I could feel better and it really comes down to the way we treat our bodies. I wonder how many illnesses and diseases could be cured just with a healthy diet.  The list of unpronounceable names of ingredients that ends up in our food is disgusting. I mean whatever happen to simple is better. You shouldn’t have a huge list of ingredients in a can of green beans. It’s just green beans, for goodness sake!

Everyone has a different definition of what Real Food is. Some say it is all organic, all the time. Some say it is back to basics like our ancestors. Some say it is raising and growing your own food. I am very jealous of anyone who can do all of these all the time.

I am eclectic, a little of each. As much as I would love to raise and grow ALL of our food, it takes money and time and knowledge.  I do agree with making it from scratch instead of buying prepackaged mixes or food. In all reality, you already have everything on hand for pancakes, waffles and various cakes or cookies. And food should taste like food, not cardboard. Buy organic when you can, but especially try to buy organic for the dirty dozen. Corn is another vegetable you want to grow or buy organic due to the possibility of it being GMO. Also try to buy products that are non-GMO verified.

So here are my starting points:

  • Make small changes each month
  • Farm fresh eggs, natural chicken and pork and grass fed beef, when possible.
  • Organic for the dirty dozen and corn or whenever I can find it for reasonable.
  • Process items must have less than 5 ingredients and for the most part I want to know what they are.
  • Eating out only twice a month and not at drive thru type restaurants.

Remember these are my starting points, you can jump in with both feet or just dip your toes in. It’s up to you. I will be blogging my journey to help others along the way. Our official start date is September 1st. So look for a post next week on our grocery list and goals for month 1.

In the meantime, check out the blog 100 day food challenge. It’s amazing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Strawberry Pie

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A few months back I took the kids strawberry picking. This is an activity we do every year when the U-pick em’s open up. While we were picking Dakota was listing all the things we could make with our strawberries. Then I hear, “Momma, I want a strawberry pie. Can you make a strawberry pie?” So of course I say yes, because I can’t say no to him. And there began our strawberry pie challenge.

When I am making something new, I usually read several recipes and then mix and mingle them together to accommodate it to my family’s taste or to my pantry supply.

The original recipe is from 2006 Taste of Home Annual Recipes, but this is my version of it.

Fresh Strawberry Pie

1 pre-made pie crust, frozen or refrigerated. I used the refrigerated Pillsbury pie crust.

1 package of cream cheese, softened

2 tbs sugar

1 tbs milk

Fresh strawberries about a quart, sliced

1 container Sugar free Strawberry Glaze, my kids grabbed the sugar free when I sent them to get it. I couldn’t tell the difference.

1)Preheat oven to 450

2) Unroll your pie crust and place in your pan. Trim edge and flute. Line unpricked crust with heavy duty foil.

3) Bake for 8 minutes, remove foil and bake 7 minutes longer. Cool completely.

4) Beat cream cheese, sugar and milk in a small bowl until smooth.

5) Spread over the crust and arrange strawberries on top.

6) Spread Strawberry Glaze over the top and chill until serving.

Young bucks nowadays

I’m 32 years old and really the only thing I have accomplished in my life is being a mom. I never went to college. I never traveled the world. I never had any dreams or aspirations because I never thought I could reach them. So I just didn’t. And now at 32 years old, I struggle to know who I am and feel as though I am just watching the world go by.

Then I see a young 19 year old. Who is top of the class at culinary school and is just letting the opportunities pass by. They’re right there in arms reach, a hand starts to reach for it, then hesitates and draws back. The 19 year old and the chip on the shoulder settles with many excuses to go around about why not now.

My question exactly WHY NOT NOW?

Why not go to London and cook at a 5 star restaurant? Life back home will still be there.

Why not go and intern with Graham Elliot from Masterchef in Chicago? Home will still be here.

Why not take a leap of faith and explore the world? Family will still be here.

I am just a low man on the totem pole home cook, but I would jump at those opportunities. Going to culinary school alone, would make me over the moon! But to have these kind of opportunities is amazing and once in a lifetime opportunities.

So to all the young bucks, children, kids or teenagers! Take it from someone who wishes she made more of her life. Just a little friendly advice or encouragement.

I wish I had the opportunities you have or will have in your lives. Don’t be afraid to go out there and explore this world. Yes, it will be scary. But take that leap. Take as many opportunities that come your way. Go to London to cook with a 5 star restaurant. Or go to college in another state where they have 4 seasons. If you fall in love with that place, don’t be sad that you left us behind because we will still be here cheering you on. Leave the nest and spread your wings. Don’t ever settle in life. Make your life what you want it to be.

I wish I had to opportunity to live in a different state or country. To experience a new culture and see new things.

I wish I had a career goal and knew what I wanted to be and went for it.

I wish I had some passions and just went for it.

It’s not going to be easy but life never is. Things may not always work out how you pictured, but life never does.

In the end, you will make mistakes and you will live and learn. And you will grow!

But at least you lived your life, instead of watching it pass you by.

Because no matter what path you choose, you always end up where you need to be.

Home.

Family

 

Here comes the chicks…..

Now that our babies are getting bigger and have their feathers coming in, I am able to give them proper names to fit them and their personality.

Introducing our flock……

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This is Big Bertha. She is the oldest by a few days and the biggest of our chickens.

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This is Luna. It took me forever to come up with a name for her. She is starting to get more comfortable with me and will jump on me every once and a while.

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This is Precious. This one belongs to Brianna. Which is appropriate because she is the same age as Luna but so much smaller, just like her owner.

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Twinsies! They were easy to name because they are always into something. Thing 1 is at the top, she has a smaller and lighter colored beak. Thing 2 at the bottom, much larger beak and even has some black lines running through it.

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This is Speckles. This one belongs to Alissa. UMMM I am not sure what it is; girl or boy! But it’s pretty.

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This is Nutmeg. She has adopted herself as mine. When she sees me, she finds a way to jump on my back. She likes to look me eye to eye and talk to me. She is a gossiper.

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This is Midnight. She too has become a Momma’s girl. Her and Nutmeg like to fight over who sits where on Momma’s back.

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This is Ninja and in case you can’t tell; yup he’s a rooster. No eggs from this little fellow. He belongs to Cailin. And she changed his name from Fizzy to Ninja when he started running around and karate kicking the other chickens. Now before you say what happened to his feathers. It’s okay; He is a Frizzle chicken. Let me just say if anyone was going to pick the odd ball of the bunch it was going to be Cailin. And she is very proud of herself.

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Last but not least, Lil Baby. This one was named by Dakota. He took a liking to the youngest of the group. I am 95% sure Lil baby is a rooster. But he is so darn cute!

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Look at that he could be a chicken model! Adorable!

So here they are! We have had no health problems and they are the highlight of our day. Someone is always checking on them, feeding them snacks or thinking of something new to make for them. It really has been a fun family project.