Down on the Farm

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already met Noodle and Gelato, our foster bunnies.  If you’ve followed me for over a year, you know we had foster chicks last year.  You should really follow me on Instagram…What started out as a couple of curious foster bunnies exploring our playroom, turned into a summer adventure of farm experiences!What started out as a couple of curious foster bunnies exploring our playroom, turned into a summer adventure of farm experiences!Anyway, this year, we opted for baby bunnies, and our friend Mr. Paul happens to have a hobby farm up the road from us.  He helps out with the animals at Bee City, our favorite local petting zoo, and has quite the menagerie of his own.  So when he offered to let us borrow some of the baby bunnies from his farm, we jumped on the chance to visit the rest of the animals too!What started out as a couple of curious foster bunnies exploring our playroom, turned into a summer adventure of farm experiences!And we’ve been back almost weekly ever since!  Another year or so and I’m gonna just start sending the kids to work on the farm for the summer!  Some of the things we’ve learned during our visits:

Don’t wear “cute” clothes.  Or shoes that can’t be hosed off.  There is poop everywhere, so crocs or rain boots are best!What started out as a couple of curious foster bunnies exploring our playroom, turned into a summer adventure of farm experiences!Chickens love to be fed, but do not like to be caught.  Lincoln has no fear and continues to try to pick them up….they’ve learned to run away from him, but just can’t resist him when he’s got the feed tin!What started out as a couple of curious foster bunnies exploring our playroom, turned into a summer adventure of farm experiences!Although they are stinky, chickens can be beautiful!  And there is just nothing like fresh eggs for breakfast.What started out as a couple of curious foster bunnies exploring our playroom, turned into a summer adventure of farm experiences!The chicks and bunnies have helped the kiddos learn responsibility and gentleness.  I loved watching them interact with the animals, both at our house as well as down on the farm.  I’m just amazed at how comfortable they all are around 200 pound pigs and flocks of hungry chickens.  Nothing phases them!  And although we’ve returned the bunnies {who turned out to be escape artists who preferred to live in the dollhouse rather than their crate}, we’ve become regular fixtures on the farm!

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12 Essential Manners that All Kids Need to Know

Is it me, or do kids these days seem socially awkward, discontent and downright rude?  Not all kids, of course, but it seems that on a daily basis I’m out somewhere and completely appalled at what a youngster is getting away with.

12 Essential Manners that every parent needs to make sure their kiddo knowsSo, in case you were wondering what essential manners to teach your children, or to expect from the kiddos in your life…here is my unsolicited opinion.

  • “Please” and “Thank you” are givens for all.  “Yes, ma’am, No sir” is polite {and essential!} in my Southern home.
  • When you receive something {a gift, a snack, a compliment, a ride, etc.}, you look at the person and give a sincere “thank you.”
  • When asked by an adult to do something, do it without grumbles or questioning.  Even if you aren’t asked to do something, if you can, offer to help.
  • Share what you have.  Offer a guest a snack, take turns with toys, buy lunch for someone hungry.
  • When someone is speaking to you, look at them…especially if it is an adult.
  • If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.  Only comment on the way someone looks if you are giving them a compliment.
  • Don’t interrupt anyone, but especially adults.  If you aren’t bleeding and no one is in danger, it can wait until I finish my sentence.  Then, you may say “Excuse me…”
  • Open doors for others.  In our house, the men open doors for the ladies {we’re even teaching our two year old son!}, but you should always hold the door open for the person coming in behind you, and offer to go ahead of and open doors for people using strollers, wheelchairs, or who just have their hands full.
  • Take what you want, but eat what you take.  Chew with your mouth closed and wait until you are done chewing before speaking.
  • Bodily noises should be avoided if possible, but if not, say “Excuse Me” and remove yourself quickly to the restroom if needed.
  • Inside voices inside buildings and vehicles.  For the safety and sanity of everyone!
  • Speak when someone speaks to you.  Even if it’s just a “Hello.”  or “I’m fine, thank you.”

What would you add to the list of essential manners?  Anything you’d take off because I’m being completely unreasonable?  Leave a comment!

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The Ballet Recital

Believe it or not, this blog started out as a teeny little website primarily to share pictures of my brand new baby, Jayna.  It was easier to post on a website than email pictures to our extended family, so it worked well.  And now, thanks to your shares and word of mouth, I have over 1,000 “fans” on Facebook and have about 20,000 visits to my blog each month.  These numbers help sponsors find me, so I can make a little money, try some new products {and report back to you}, and have allowed me to contribute to over 15 different publications and blogging networks.  Every time you visit my website, you are helping to support my family…thank you!

But, today, I’m going back to the basics to brag on my Middle Little a bit.  She has been taking ballet and tap since January with some friends from the neighborhood and from school.  And now, in her spare time, she plies and leaps and twirls in front of any reflective surface!

Can you see Millie?  She is second from the right.

Her recital was a typical 2 hour dance company recital…a showcase for all the different classes, plus a few solo acts form the older ballerinas.  The little ones were so cute and terrible at the same time…always a couple of tots who were on the money with their routine; a few who just stood there and cried; and then the majority, who were a few beats behind with their moves…or just doing their own thing altogether.A little stage makeup and a tutu makes for a sassy ballerina at the ballet recital!Apparently mascara and a little bit of lip gloss cures any hint of stage fright….in fact, it adds an element of sass! {as if she needed any more!}Mama her her little ballerina after the ballet recital.Jayna sang along with the lyrical music, while Lincoln was mesmerized by the pretty ballerinas everywhere…he literally watched {and often imitated!} the entire performance!  It was a long show, but they both did great.She was so happy that SueSue was able to come to her ballet recital!She was so happy that MomMom was able to come to her ballet recital!And luckily, both grandmas were there to corral the Littles in the few moments of boredom.  And Millie was just thrilled to have a whole entourage accompanying her to the show!Silly ballerinas shine after their ballet recital!And after her few minutes of delicate dancing in her elegant costume….she was right back to her silly self!

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Sunday Scripture: Marriage

Happy Sunday!  We are enjoying some family time this weekend in Atlanta at a cousin’s wedding.  It’s been awhile since we’ve been to a wedding, but I just love them….brings me back to my wedding planning days.  And listening to the newlyweds repeating their vows just reminds me how much I love my husband, and our little life together.

And it just so happens that our church’s memory verse for the sermon series is Ecclesiastes 4:9…which literally ties into today’s Sunday Scripture:

“Two people are better than one.  They can help each other in everything they do…And a rope made out of three cords isn’t easily broken.” -Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12b NIRVSunday Scripture: Marriage, Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12b #faith #SundayScripture #BibleVerses #marriage #weddingscripture

I found this Unity Braid Shadow box from BCPlaxidermy on Etsy, and thought it would be a great image for this week’s Sunday Scripture.  I’d love to have this in my house….it’s a great reminder of the strength of a God-centered marriage.  Check out the link above to see more details about it.

Have a blessed week!

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A Garden Story: Part 2

The first days of summer vacation are here and we are up to our ears in greenery.  We have been working hard in our luscious garden along with Rita from Rita’s Roots, and it’s completely flourishing.  We have already reached the end of our first spring harvest.  And let me tell you, our 12 tiny little lettuce plants have produces beautiful salads for us about three times a week.  We have more lettuce than we know what to do with….giving it away to neighbors and friends weekly!  And just think…the bunnies have eaten half of it!A Garden Story: Part Two.....okra and tomatoes and cukes, oh my!Next to bloom is tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and okra…and we’ll be planting some sweet potatoes this week.  We have three different kinds of Basil {sweet, cinnamon, and lemon}…with the purple being the prettiest!A Garden Story: Part Two.....okra and tomatoes and cukes, oh my!And see those big leaves in the left hand corner?  They are broccoli plants!  We’ve gotten some huge heads so far, and have found a few yummy and fast recipes for baked broccoli, that I’ll share with you soon.A Garden Story: Part Two.....okra and tomatoes and cukes, oh my! We’ve also added some cutting flowers in the corner, and marigolds to keep the bugs away from the tomatoes.  We are a little “arugula-ed” out, so the bunnies have been helping to keep those massive plants producing.  And way back in the right hand corner, our carrots are starting to sprout!I love how they created this small garden at the end of their backyard....shows ways to use every inch of space including planters boxes, vines and trellis.

Stay tuned for the next installment of our Garden Story!

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10 Ways to Tell if Your Neighborhood is Really a Village

 “It takes a village to raise a child.”

-African Proverb

It’s one of the most well-known quotes in the world.  The basic meaning is that child upbringing is a communal effort.  Everyone in the extended family, as well as in the wider physical community; is involved in the raising of the children, the tending of the land, and the overall health of the village.

Do you live in a “village?”  Many of us live in neighborhoods, but can we consider them our “village”?"It takes a village...." Everyone has good neighbors, but do you consider yours a village?Here are 10 ways to tell if the people in your neighborhood are really your village.

  1. They are the unofficial neighborhood watch.  They post on Facebook if there is a loose dog or a creepy truck hanging around.  They call and confirm with you when they see a random dude in a nondescript uniform walking around in the backyard.  They are keeping the whole village safe.
  2. They are your kids’ home away from home.  Your kids feel safe talking to and being around them.  You feel comfortable with your kids spending significant time in their homes.  Often they have similar rules to yours, and so you feel good about your kids being raised there for a couple of hours every day.
  3. Everyone’s alley, sidewalk, driveway and yard is fair game.  Because of #1 and #2, you know that someone always has eyes on the kids, and will have band aides or a bathroom available at any given moment.  And at the very least, they are willing to yell “CAR!!!!” as the children scramble to to sides of the alley, out of the way.
  4. They are your social life too!  Porch gatherings, block parties, game nights, pool days.  It’s nice to have other grown-ups to talk to…  We have even gone on vacation with some of our neighbors!!
  5. They take care of your “stuff.”  They bring you meals when you have a baby, mow your lawn when your hubby is out of town, chase after the trash that blew out of your overflowing trashcan, bring in your mail and water your garden when you are on vacation, and let your dog out when you are stuck in traffic.
  6. They are a portable grocery store.  Need a cup of sugar?  Next door.  Two aspirin?  Three doors down.  Three scoops of dog food?  Behind you.  An extra carseat for the day?  Across the street.  No sweat.
  7. They support you and your kids financially.  They are willing to take one for the team and buy 6 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies and 12 rolls of wrapping paper.  Not to mention, they will come to every.  single.  one.  of your Arbonne/Thirty-One Bags/Pampered Chef parties so you can get the free hostess gifts.  Provide mimosas and you’ll double the crowd!
  8. They yell at your kids.  They care about the well-being of your children enough to know when they need to be corrected.  And the relationship they have with you allows them to feel comfortable doing it.  And you are fine with it! {see #2}
  9. They don’t judge you.  They have seen you, your family, and your home, at your best and worst.  And they still love you.
  10. They trust you with their needs too.  You are more than willing to carpool, be an emergency contact or even an occasional babysitter, and you are happy to do #1-#7 for them too!  But just like them, you also are a shoulder to cry on and an ear to vent to.  After all, the health of the village is dependent on the health of the adults in it.

I am so very lucky to live and raise my kids in a fabulous village…how about you?

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Fearlessly Creative Mammas

 

Sunday Scripture: Cherish

I’m not sure if you know this or not, but blogging can be quite a process.  Between coming up with something to write about, actually prepping and doing the activity I may be writing about, editing pictures and then actually writing the post and scheduling it for all of social media….it’s about a 5 hour process.  Per post.  Now, obviously, I’m always working on about 4 posts at a time, editing pictures late at night or writing a post over the course of a week, so those 5 hours are rarely all at once….but it’s still a lot of time.

But, I love it.  I love sharing the stuff that we are doing, making, cooking, etc.  So, I’m always trying to find a happy balance between enjoying life and cherishing those memories in person, as well as documenting everything online {I think of my blog as a scrapbook/photo album/journal}.

So today’s Sunday Scripture is just a reminder for me to continue to take advantage of every moment I have on this earth.  I’m trying to really soak up moments with my Littles this summer, and participate in their day to day a little more {other than just toting them to and from camp!}.  I’ve made messes with Lincoln, built Lego kingdoms with Jayna, and snuggled with Millie while she reads to me.  I’ve managed to keep the computer work to nap time and even managed to sit on the porch and drink hot {HOT!!!} coffee.  #priorities right?

Sunday Scripture: Cherishing Moments

                                   Thanks to The Flourishing Abode for today’s print!

So can we all just send up a little “Thank you” right now for the little moments that renew our souls.  Whether it’s drinking your coffee while it’s still hot or singing along with the kids in the car, these are the days of summer.  Rejoice and be glad.

To see more of my summer’s little moments….follow me on instagram!

Have a blessed week!

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Low-Calorie Summer Ale Recipe

And just like that, our nice, breezy spring is gone and summer has it full force.  It was 95 degrees today and was like stepping into an oven as soon as the door opened.  Stifling.  As in, hard to breathe muggy.  And so with the temperatures already soaring and all the monsters kids home for the entire summer …       I need a drink!

Annnnnd…once again, Summer Ale saves the day.  Passed around the neighborhood and the internet about a dozen different ways, I’m gonna share my lower calorie version with you today.  It’s refreshing, simple to make, and made with beer and tequila….so it’s the manliest cocktail around!Low Calorie Summer Ale: a necessity for hot summer days

You’ll need:

a 2 qt pitcher

about a half of a 2L bottle of Sprite Zero 

2 bottles of Corona Light

about a half a bottle of Tequila

a can of frozen Minute Maid LimeadeLow Calorie Summer Ale: a necessity for hot summer days

Dump the frozen limeade into the pitcher.  Fill the empty limeade can up with tequila and dump it in.  Then pour the two Coronas in.  Fill up the empty limeade can with Sprite and dump it in, and you should have room for one more can full of Sprite.  Mix it all up until it is a pitcher full of fizzy goodness!

Enjoy!

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Lime Shaving Cream Playdough

Sometimes, you just gotta make a mess with your kid.  Lincoln is all boy….but he does not like getting “messy.”  He’s the first one to ask for a napkin or baby wipe at dinner, and often is skeptical about eating yogurt or applesauce {not in a pouch}, because it’s “too messy.”  So today, while the big girls were at Cheer Camp, we decided to get a little messy!  We made Lime Shaving Cream Playdough!Lime Shaving Cream Play Dough Tutorial: our messy trials and errors! Now, I found pretty much the same recipe all over Pinterest, so I figured it couldn’t be that hard.

Equal parts Corn Starch and Shaving Cream with a pack of Jello powder mixed in for color and a pleasant smell.  {Remind the kids it’s not to taste!}Lime Shaving Cream Play Dough Tutorial: our messy trials and errors!Lincoln was not so sure about it at first…he had about a 2 minute show-down with the shaving cream.  I physically had to put his hand in it and move it around before he started enjoying it!  {He immediately asked for a baby wipe!}Lime Shaving Cream Play Dough Tutorial: our messy trials and errors!As for our equal-parts concoction….I forgot that the jello made it more powdery, so it was pretty crumbly at first.  So I added some more shaving cream.Lime Shaving Cream Play Dough Tutorial: our messy trials and errors!Whoops!  Too much!  I forgot how fast shaving cream comes out, and how quickly it expands.  So we added more cornstarch….nope.  Then more shaving cream.  Then the last of the cornstarch…and it was still a little too moist.  So, I gave up and just let him play in the mess {which he seemed perfectly fine with, now!}.Lime Shaving Cream Play Dough Tutorial: our messy trials and errors!But then a funny thing happened… the more we worked with it, the better the consistency got.  I’m not sure if the shaving cream kind of evaporated after a few minutes, or what, but we just kept playing with it and it dried up to the perfect consistency after about 2 minutes of messy, sticky, gooey play.Lime Shaving Cream Play Dough Tutorial: our messy trials and errors! The end product reminded me of Moon Dough…a little crumbly, but fun to roll around.  And perfect for little toddler hands to manipulate, squish and roll.Lime Shaving Cream Play Dough Tutorial: our messy trials and errors!

So, by trying to mix the cornstarch and the shaving cream together on the tray, it ended up being a messier project than necessary…I think next time I will mix it up in a bowl first.  But the experience was really good for Lincoln, and he ended up really enjoying himself!  He rolled the shaving cream play dough around into balls, counted them, and lined them up by size {“Daddy, Mama, Sissy, MiMi, Nincon”}, and smooshed  everything!  An overall success!

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Sunday Scripture: Memorial Day

In the midst of this celebration weekend…the BBQs, the pool parties, the beach houses…let’s take a moment and remember those who have given us the freedom to be able to do all these things.  And although we will never be able to repay those who have sacrificed for us, maybe we can remember this verse from Galatians in our daily lives.Sunday Scripture: Memorial DayThanks to Sonoma Christian Home for today’s Sunday Scripture image.

And from the bottom of my heart, thank you to all those in service to our wonderful country.

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