Photo Purge

I had quite a few photos on my phone and was running out of room.  So why not share them here.

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Lili and Naomi get a little help from Zoey

 

 

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Visit to the Gandhi Garden

 

This girl loves Snapchat and I have a lot more pictures to prove it.  Just don’t have the room here to post them all 🙂

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We went to the museum and found out that there will be a new exhibit soon.  Lili is VERY EXCITED!!!!  I’m guessing we will see this exhibit several times.  Good thing we have a family pass.

 

 

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Time for a selfie while waiting for our friends to arrive.

 

In looking at these photos, I think it’s pretty clear to tell which one likes to have her picture taken.

 

Mom, Can I Have a Baby Chick?

This was the question Naomi asked me recently.

We’ve had discussion about the animals that will one day be on our little farm and hae made it clear that a coop will be built (if there isn’t already one in place) and baby chicks will be the first farmyard animals to grace our homestead.

We have 3 dogs and 1 of them belongs to Lili.

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Naomi doesn’t have her own pet and longs for one she can call her very own.  I don’t know that a chicken is the best choice for a pet, but Naomi has plans.  She wants to pick out her baby chick.  She wants to name it.  She wants to hold it gently, like she did this chick when we visited our friend Cecilia on her farm.

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She wants to take care of it and keep it in her room.  I informed her that the baby chicks will all need to stay together and she has concerns about how she will remember which one is her.  We can figure that out.

One of the things I look forward to on the homestead is the space.  Space for animals.  Maybe some cats for the barn.  I would love a Great Pyrenees or two to guard the farm and animals.  Naomi could have her baby chick, goat, dog, or cat.  She has also expressed her desire to have a Kunekune pig like Cecilia’s.

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With more room to roam, Naomi can decide what animal she wants to call her own – within reason of course.  It’s important to her and I can’t wait to see what animals she ends up choosing.  Although knowing her she’ll want a dog, cat, baby chick, goat, Kunekune and more 🙂

 

Thru the Eyes of a Child

45 days until Christmas!!!!!!

Christmas is going to be quite the event at our house this year with two little boys added to the mix.

The girls have started working on their Santa’s lists and FS1 has been pretty clueless.

Recently though, as we’ve talked about Christmas we’ve begun to realize that Christmas here is going to be very different for these two little guys.

While we aren’t 100% sure, it appears that FS1 hasn’t experienced a Christmas with gifts under the tree.

Recently, hubby asked him if he has ever gone to sit on Santa’s lap and he responded, “No.”  Hubby then asked, “Well Santa still brings you presents right?”  He responded, “No, nobody gets presents.”

Because we don’t always know if he is fully comprehending everything, I talked to him a little about Christmas today.   I asked if he had a Christmas tree at his house and he said, “Yes.”  I asked if Santa came to put presents under the tree and he said, “Yes.”  I asked him what he got for Christmas and he began listing off all the toys he plays with here at our house.  As I inquired more he told me he didn’t get presents at home.

This will most certainly be different from the Christmas’s he’s known.

Christmas at our house includes a trip to see Santa 2-3 weeks before Christmas.  It means writing Dear Santa letters and mailing them off to the North Pole.  It’s sending and receiving Christmas cards in the mail.  It’s an annual trip to see Christmas lights.  It’s listening to Christmas music.  It’s watching our favorite Christmas movies.  It’s about decorating the tree together.  It’s waking up Christmas morning to see gifts under the tree.  It’s about smiles, laugher and excitement as gifts are unwrapped.  It’s baking and decorating Christmas cookies.  It’s spending time with family.

Over the next 45 days, we’ll begin doing those things we do each year in the World of Weeks.  It may be the only Christmas the boys experience in the World of Weeks and I hope we can make it a happy and memorable Christmas for all.

A Visit to the Farmy (Long Post, Lots – o – Pictures)

When hubby and I first decided to switch direction and move to a more self-sufficient lifestyle in the country, I began searching for other like-minded folks. My search lead me to a blog, written by a woman who lives here in Central Illinois. Immediately, I knew I would enjoy following Cecilia’s blog posts over at The Kitchens Garden.  (If you’ve never visited The Kitchens Garden, I encourage you to hop over and follow along.)

I shared our desire to move to the country where we can raise our own food and Cecilia graciously invited us to take advantage of the space she has at her farmy, to begin raising some of our food.  The invitation was so very appreciated and the excitement of organic, humanely raised meat one day gracing our table was exciting.  We were being given the opportunity to experience just a small piece of the life we hope to one day live and we jumped at the opportunity.

After reading her blog for many, many months and then trading a few emails, we took a drive to meet Cecilia.

Having seen so many pictures of Cecilia’s home on The Kitchens Garden, I was sure I would recognize the house.  Then, as we turned off the main road, I saw it.  The farmy I had seen so many times in picture, was before my very eyes.  I spotted the Barn Across the Way and felt my excitement grow.

As we pulled onto the lane, I was again assured we were at the farmy.  Daisy, Queenie, the Bobbies and Marcel were grazing in the pasture.  Mama and her crew were enjoying a sunny graze further back in the pasture.  The Big Dog and Ton Ton greeted us as we pulled up in front of the house.  Boo was by the barn barking excitedly upon our arrival.

Cecilia came to the car to welcome us and she was just as I had expected and more.  A lovely woman who made us feel so very welcome at the farmy.

We were introduced to John, affectionately known as “Our John” on her blog and then we were off to meet our pig, Number Three.

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We were told that he’s growing fast and is certainly bigger than his pen companion.  He was more than happy to come see us and the girls were happy to give him some love and attention.  We had brought some food scraps from home for him.  It was just a little, but made me happy to know that we contributed just a little bit to his care.

 

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As I expected, Naomi asked what his name was and when she discovered he had no name she promptly called him Sasha.  Our attempts at teaching our girls to not name their food has been a complete failure.  One day Sasha will grace our dinner plates and my hope is that Naomi will be happy to know that she provided Sasha with some love and attention, which is certain to make the meal even more tasty 🙂

We then moved into the barn to see the Red Pig and just a few steps further were Sheila and Poppy.

Poppy very kindly gave me a muddy smile.

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And Sheila waited until we all moved outside before saying “cheese.”

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Lili loves animals and seems to have a way with them.  Boo absolutely enjoyed some Lili love.

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Later Ton Ton got lots of attention and exercise as the girls threw toys and sticks for him to fetch.

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Of course the girls fell head-over-hills for Tima.  Being such a cute and personable little pig, how could one not love Tima.

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We saw the baby chicks and ducks.

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And the girls were able to experience their first time holding a baby chick.

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We had a delicious lunch of homemade pizza and later Lili and I were able to churn butter!

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I really can’t express how thrilled I was about churning butter and Lili, full of concentration, did the majority of the churning.

Cecilia was a wonderful teacher as she walked me thru the final steps.

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As I listened and watched intently, I neglected to continue taking pictures of the process, but I’m sure I can remember to strain off the buttermilk (use for pancakes the next day), pour ice-cold water over the butter and using a wooden spatula, carefully push and separate the butter working the remaining buttermilk out of the butter.  Continue rinsing with ice-cold water until there is no more creamy white water left.  If desired, add a little Kosher salt, mold, wrap and refrigerate.

Now I want a dairy cow, a butter churn, and molds.

The girls collected eggs from the chickens, we met some newer farmy neighbors who stopped by and then met the Matriarch.

Four hours later we said our good-byes.  We left with fresh eggs, butter that we churned, new friendships, and wonderful memories.  A day that we very much-needed and I thank you Cecilia for your hospitality, the experiences, the wonderful food and the memories.  We look forward to our next visit, hopefully in the not-too-distant future.   And as Naomi said so eloquently, “Cecilia, your farm is amazing!!”

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A Round of Applause for Kiwi Crates

For Christmas, we gave each of the girls a monthly subscription to Kiwi Crates. For those who don’t know what Kiwi Crates are, they are kits shipped directly to your child which include everything needed to create multiple craft, science, art and game projects.  Each month there are different projects to complete.

I wasn’t sure how much Naomi would enjoy hers, but knew Lili was going to love Kiwi Crates and Naomi was not going to be happy if she didn’t get one as well.  I’m thrilled to report that both girls love them and so do I.

Their first kits included everything they needed to make their own window clings (seriously, I would have never thought of this project on my own).

Can you see their clings on the window?
Can you see their clings on the window?

They made polar bear mitts out of felt and yarn then added the little Velcro circles to the little ping-pong ball in their kits and have played several fun games of catch.  Each of their kits included a snowflake cookie cutter along with recipe for making sugar cookies.

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 We made the cookies last week.

As a mom, I’m particularly pleased with this company.  Not just because they send all the supplies needed for some fun projects, but because the box everything arrives in is also a project.  There is a picture to be colored and cutouts so they can create their own story and scene.

The project for this month was Special Agent.  They had everything needed to make their own masks and periscope.  They also received a pad of paper and pen that allowed them to draw or write secret messages that could only been seen with the little light at the opposite end of the pen.  They also received instructions on another project using lemon juice to decode message.

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I can certainly understand why Kiwi Crates has received so many awards and am almost as excited when they receive their boxes as they are.

If you would like to give a child the gift of Kiwi Crates and save $10, please click on the link to join.  http://www.kiwicrate.com/Refer?i=DebraW5