Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Winter Travel Survival Tips

Winter survival kits are not just for motorists who drive back roads. Unexpected weather conditions can find even city drivers in a predicament. No matter where you drive, you are your own first line of defense against Old Man Winter, because you never know when help will arrive. Do you have a winter travel car kit? Do you know what should be in them? Do you know how to handle an emergency situation? Don’t worry, because we are going to help you prepare!

Winter travel survival starts before the first snow flake falls. You will need to make sure your vehicle is ready, your emergency kit is packed and in the trunk, and what to do in basic emergencies. Feeling overwhelemed? Don't be, we will break it down for you. And if all goes well, you will never need the second two, but if you do, you will be prepared!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Take a Peek at our Week November 12 - 18

Winter is trying to blow it's way in, but luckily the flurries have been melting as soon as they hit the ground. While I am not ready for snow, I am getting tired of the rain and mud. I know living in Michigan we get four seasons, but they don't all have to be in the same day!

We have had an adventure in the coop this week. I thought the girls were just slacking in their egg production, but it turns out we had a little furry thief. He has been bounced from his cushy corner of the coop where he has been gobbling up MY eggs. I just hope the girls can forgive me for the lectures I have been giving them about getting some eggs laid for us! Oops!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop November 18th


Welcome back to another week of the Simple Saturdays Blog Hop! We can not wait to see what you have been up to! 

This blog hop is brought to you by a group of co-hosts committed to the simple ways of life and learning to be more self reliant.  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop is a way for each of us to share the various ways we are learning to do more for ourselves in our homes and on our land. This is all about building community, learning new skills and growing more self-sufficient!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Kindness is Just a Stone's Throw Away

It was just another day..... We were running errands and happened to be heading into the bank when I spotted a beautifully painted rock in the bushes by the building. I pointed it out to my oldest, who picked it up to get a better look at it. It had a message on it that just so happened to fit what he needed to hear about himself that day. He asked if he could keep it, and of course I said yes. The inspirational message touched him, and I knew that owning it would help build his spirit. It would be something that would sit on his shelf and make him smile every time he looked at it.

That rock wasn't just a painted rock, it was a smile waiting to be found. That was the day we learned about the Kindness Rocks movement. Yes, painting rocks and hiding them for others to find has been a big thing this year. If you haven't been a part of the whole rock phenomenon, let me explain it to you. You paint rocks, hide them and hunt them. Simple, right? But why?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Take a Peek at our Week November 5 - 11

There is a chill in the air. Okay, more then a chill. It been down to 11 degrees at one point. I think fall is officially over. And the smattering of snow flurries near the weekend only confirm my suspicions that Old Man Winter is creeping around here. Dirty old man needs to wait a little longer before he starts strutting around acting like he owns the place!

We have been keeping busy with the last minute winter prep. There is always so much to do to get ready and never enough time. Though I am thankful that when I am working outside and come in the house, 64 degrees (what we keep out thermostat at) feels like a sauna!

Thw winter "hobbies" are being picked back up, with evenings of knitting by my men folks. I am also starting to get the itch to bake everything now that running the oven feels so good in the house. And of course I am starting to plan our little Thanksgiving meal. I'm can't wait to bake up all those lovely pies and bread items for the table!

So what made me smile this week?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Oven-Baked Scrambled Eggs

These light and fluffy scrambled eggs are a snap to make! The recipe is perfect for a big crowd too. Why would you need enough scrambled eggs to feed a big crowed? Ummm, because the littlest country kid's teacher asked me to bring in scrambled eggs for the class Halloween party which was in the morning. I thought it an odd request and I didn't look forward to standing in front of my stove scrambling eggs like a mad woman. Thankfully you can bake scrambled eggs!

Don't worry if you don't need to feed an army, this recipe is easy to adjust! Just keep cutting everything in half and use a smaller pan. This recipe is perfect for large family brunches, say on Thanksgiving and Christmas, because they are SO easy to make.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Cold Weather Duck Care

For anyone in colder climates, caring for outdoor animals in the winter can cause worry, especially if it is your first winter caring for these animals. But when it comes to domestic ducks, like other waterfowl, they are well adapted to handle cold temperatures.

Ducks are amazing at regulating their body heat in the cold. While a duck's body temperature is around 104 degrees, their feet, due to a unique vessel system, stay much cooler. Ducks have a counter-current heat exchange system between the arteries and veins in their legs. That means the warm blood coming out of the body warms the cold blood coming back in from the feet as it circulates. By the time the blood makes it to the feet, it is already cooled off (and the blood going back into the body is warmed up.) This keeps the feet supplied with just enough blood to provide tissues with food and oxygen, and just warm enough to help avoid frostbite. This neat little evolutionary advance is how they can stand in a cold lake in the dead of winter!

There are certain things YOU can do to make your ducks’ winter a more comfortable and enjoyable one. With just a few tips and tricks, you can relax this winter knowing your ducks are ready. So what do you need to know about caring for ducks in the winter?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Take a Peek at our Week October 29 - November 4

It's been a week of tricks and treats. We have made progress on our roofing project but it's been a trick to cut and place the metal sheets. The treat is that there is no more leak or sunlight coming through the roof!

We have been busy this week with extra activities like basketball, school parties, 4H, and autism programs. It's nice to spend time with family away from the homestead (and roofing LOL) But the weather continues to be a pain. I can handle the colder temps but the constant rain is getting really, really old.

I had a rude awaking this week that I am not as young as I used to be. LOL Roofing has made both my knees hurt something terrible and my left wrist is a hot mess. Thank goodness for ibuprofen and acetaminophen!

So what made me smile this week?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Putting a New Roof on the Critter Shed

We knew the roof had issues, but so did our bank account. We knew it was getting weaker and weaker every time it rained. And then the dripping started. There is nothing worse them walking into your animals' home and the floor is covered in water. The topic of reroofing would come up every few month and we could never afford or find the materials to get it done. That is until the roof actually started collapsing!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Take a Peek at our Week October 22-28

It has been the longest, wetest week ever. I am so over being wet. The ducks are loving it, but I am not. Nor am I enjoying the nasty mess that is forming in our critter shed because part of the roof collapsed. Thankfully this week, or should I say this past weekend, hubby and I got to work tearing off the old roof and getting the new one on before the snow flies.

I am so ready for day light savings time. I am not a fan of driving in the dark. Can you see a theme this week? Not a fan of rain. Not a fan of dark. I don't mean to be down in the dumps, but it really has been a week of things I don't care for. I think I am just overtired, but I can still find happiness in the small things.

So what made me smile this week?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Halloween Cookie Sheet Crafts (with a bonus!)

Every year for Halloween, I try to come up with a new decoration that I can make myself, because let's face it, Halloween decor prices can be down right scary! The past couple years I have made headstones and vultures out of flamingos, but this year I wanted to go with something with more "cute." Something you could hang on your front door and not scare the neighborhood kids to death with.

Cookie sheets and pizza pans are amazing to craft with. Seriously, you can pick them up for $1 a piece at Dollar Tree and turn them into something for any holiday, from painted to magnetic displays. You have to love cheap pans! The key to crafting with them is to scuff them up with sand paper before you paint on them so the paint adheres, and always make sure you seal your finished project! There is nothing more heart breaking them to get your craft on, only to have Mother Nature (or your kids LOL) ruin it.

You can use either spray paint or acrylic paint to make these affordable Halloween Cookie Sheet "monsters." In fact, I used both! I am cheap, ummm, I mean frugal, so I used what paint I had on hand, which was a mix of the two types. I used acrylic orange paint because for some unknown reason, orange spray paint is like one of the most expensive colors on the shelf at our local hardware store! And since I already had green acrylic, well you get it, use what you have.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Take a Peek at our Week October 15-21

The rains have finally stopped! To bad they are coming back. I am sooooo over being wet! I am so tired of the temp patch I did on the critter shed leaking. But we took advantage of the nice days this week to dry out.

I really enjoyed being able to spend more time with my flock and harvest seeds. The sound of the migrating Sand Hill cranes are echoing in my ears. They are migrating this time of year and while their return always makes me sad that the snow will fly soon, they are so beautiful to see. We get thousands of them during this time of year and again in the spring. I am much happier to see them in spring! LOL

We also picked up building materials this week, so we can start reroofing the critter shed! I am so over the moon happy about this. Too bad we will have to sit out a few more days of rain before we can begin.

So what made me smile this week?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Take a Peek at our Week October 8-14

It has been a loooong wet week around the homestead. The roof on our critter shed had a collapse and we are trying our best to deal with it as we are sort on funds to repair it properly. It has been an ongoing battle to keep everyone dry. We are currently looking at ways to reroof the shed, but it's going to take some time. Why does everything take money?!?! LOL

Speaking of dry, we had a hard time keeping ourselves dry as well this week. We headed out for our annual family Halloween camping trip, only to be flooded out and returning home early. But despite all the water related issues around here, we kept our heads up and found the positive moments we could.

So what made me smile this week?

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Take a Peek at our Week October 1-7

Mother Nature still can't make up her mind, but the temps are slowly staring to creep back down, thankfully. Our garden is coming to an end and we have been harvesting the straglers.

This week has been one of celebration as the oldest country kid got a 4H award and our Duck Baby Girl was crowned Miss Flock-tobor 2017. It's nice to have truely wonderful things happen every once in a while.

Our plates are full of fall chores as we prepare for old man winter coming soon. I love fall, with all of its beautiful colors, but I'm not so fond of having to prepare the homestead for snow. Snow is beautiful if you don't have to drive in it or tend critters! LOL

So what made me smile this week?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Celebrate With Us and Win!

I am so excited to announce that our duck, Baby Girl, has been crowned Miss Flock-tober 2017!!! Not only that, we are making history, as this is the first time a duck has ever won the title!!! So, in honor of Baby Girl, I have teamed up with my dear friend, Lisa Steele, to help others on their path to ducky greatness, by giving away a signed copy of her book, Duck Eggs Daily. If you already have ducks or are considering becoming a duck owner, this beautiful and informative book will be a handy guide.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Take a Peek at our Week September 24th - 30th

This week has been a week full of Mondays. The oldest country kid is having a hard time in life, partly due to his hitting puberty and his Asperger's. The ugly side of social media reared it's head. And my over all lack of sleep has just made for a zombie like week.

Don't worry, I did put on my big girl panties and kept on keeping on. I rebranded my entire website (still working on getting everything working right again) and all my social media. Nothing has really changed but the name. But I like getting a fresh new push.

And despite being a week that seemed like it was from that warm place below, I still managed to find moments that made me smile. Smiles are what keep me going sometimes. You know, the little things in life.

So what made me smile this week?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Take a Peek at our Week September 17th - 23rd

This week has taken me to the edge of sanity and back. Critters have gone missing, only to reappear unharmed. Country kids have pushed my to the brink, only to make me smile. I am telling ya, this old girl needs a nap!

The beginning of the week saw cooler temps. The trees started to change. I was so excited because my favorite season was here. WRONG. Mother Nature is a cruel mistress. We have had temps in the 90's for the last few days and it is scheduled to continue throughout the week. Seriously Mother Nature!?!?!

I have also tried this week to focus more on being calm. I feel so stressed lately, that I am making it even more of a point to find the small things in life to smile about. It is amazing how a drive down a dirt road in the middle of nowhere can really center a girl!

So what made me smile this week?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Avocado and Hummus Taquitos

Ever get in a food rut? You know, the same five dinners always showing up on your table? We got into one of those ruts a while back and decided to branch out, be brave, and take our taste buds on a culinary journey.

Now I know when you read the title of this recipe you either went "dang that sounds good!" or "She can't be serious!" But here I am, serious as can be. Avocado and hummus taquitos are tortillas with hummus, sliced avocado, and shredded cheese rolled up into tubes, and baked until crunchy. They are simple to make, use few ingredients, and even my skeptical children agreed, these are the bomb! Not to mention, they are quit filling little things!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

3 DIY All Natural Skin Care Recipes

Let's face it, none of us are getting any younger. Let's also face the fact, few of us age like fine wine. Now I want to go on record and say, I am NOT one of those women who really gives much time to beauty. I wash, brush and go. I rarely use makeup, but I am getting older and skin care is becoming more important to me.

And while taking care of my skin has become more of a concern, I was not all that thrilled by the ingredients and the prices of commercial "beauty aid" products. If I can't pronounce it, I surely do not want it on my face. So what's a girl to do?

Head to the kitchen! No, not to eat away my sorrows of aging skin, but to grab some common household, all natural ingredients, to make my own products! That's right, your pantry has everything you need to have healthier skin!

So what's "wrong" with your skin? Me? Well my issues vary depending on the time of the year. During the summer I tend to be oily, but in the winter I am dry. And don't even get me started on the occasional bouts of acne. While I no longer suffer like a teenager, I on rare occasions sprout a lone, evil, large, red, icky bump that used to take forever to get rid of. While I am not vain, I do not like sporting Rudolph's red nose!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Take a Peek at our Week September 10th - 16th

It's been a long week with fog, bad behavior, and a battle to win. With the weather fluctuating between summer temps and the push of fall, the mornings have been so foggy that I just keep saying "brains" in a zombie voice as I drive the country kids to school. LOL

The oldest country kid is struggling with the start of school. He isn't doing well with getting to class on time and turning in things *sigh* Not to mention at home he losses his mind when we call him on it. I hate to see the teenage years if this is a preview.

But on a better note, we battled all week long in the Purina Poultry Miss Flock-tober event to get Baby Girl one of the four spots in the final. It was close and I know October 2nd is going to be our biggest battle yet to win the title!

So what made me smile this week?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Everything You Need to Know About Molting

Does it look like a pillow just exploded in your coop? Does you hen look like a pin cushion? Relax, your flock is just molting! Molting? Yup and it's a natural and vital part of being a happy, healthy chicken!

You see chicken's feathers are made up of tiny barbs and barbules that grow off the feather shaft and lock together like velcro to create a water resistant and windproof coat. Under the protective outer feathers are the downy feathers that have more flexible barbs and barbules that allow the chicken to fluff and regulate heat.

Over time, the feathers get worn out and lose their ability to be preened back into shape. Kind of like your coat getting a hole in it. You can still wear it, but it doesn't do a very good job of keeping you warm and dry. While we can go to a store and buy a new coat, chickens have to go about growing their own. Molting is the process of discarding the old worn feathers and growing a nice new set of protective feathers that will carry them through the colder winter months.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Baby Girl wants to be Miss Flock-tober!

If you follow any of our social media platforms, you might have noticed we have entered our duck, Baby Girl into the Purina Poultry weekly photo contest in a quest to become the first duck to be crowned Miss Flock-tober! She has to win one of the weekly contests in order to reach the finals. This week is Miss Performance and we entered:

Not only does Baby Girl our duck produce an egg a day, she sometimes hatches those eggs into beautiful little ducklings! She takes performance to the next level with her amazing maternal skills!! We can always count on her for fresh eggs and a yearly hatching of total cuteness!

So what can you do to make one little duck's dream of being crowned Miss Flock-tober come true? Go to the Purina Poultry Facebook post and hit like on the above photo in the comment section to vote. It's simple, its easy, and it would mean the world to us! Being crowned Miss Flock-tober would mean a year supply of feed for our flock of ducks and chickens and bragging right that a duck won! Because not all poultry comes in chicken form, ya know!

Thanks so much for taking the time to vote!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Take a Peek at our Week September 3rd - 9th

Fall is here! I don't care what the calendar says, when it is in the 40's in the morning, it's fall, y'all. Unfortunately with the weather change, the "crud" has invaded our home. I am not sure if it is a cold thing or allergies (which I have never had before.) No matter what it is, it has nailed three out of the four of us. *sigh*

The critters are feeling the weather change as well. Our flock is beginning to molt, with Ester being hit hard. She is a fast molter which means she drops feathers at an alarming rate. Poor old girl is so frazzled looking and spends her days hiding in the bushes because I honestly believe she is embarrassed by her current state of undress.

Fall also means fundraiser time. We recently had our 4-H club bake sale which is always fun. I love getting to watch the oldest country kid learn to engage and interact with people. Alas, it's also fundraising time for our school band. I really don't like the door to door selling they want the kids to do, but alas, it's part of being in the band.

So what made me smile this week?

Thursday, September 7, 2017

DIY Scented Candles on the Cheap!

Before you drop a small fortune on scented candles, try this easy DIY instead!

A candle is a simple thing, but there is something about lighting a candle.... the flicker, the scent... It makes a home feel even cozier. I admit I have a love affair with candles. But I am not in love with spending an arm and a leg on products at a store that don't last very long. There had to be a way to get all of the comfort from a candle without breaking the bank!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A Trip Back in Time.... Riding a Steam Train

Recently hubby had a week of vacation time. Since we really couldn't afford a "real" vacation, not to mention we can't really leave all the critters to fend for themselves, we did a couple day trips to add a little spice to our lives.

The littlest country kid had been asking for some time if we could ride a train. There are tracks that run through our tiny town and he loves to ride his bike to the end of the street to watch trains pass a few blocks away. I really wanted to make his dream come true, but was having a hard time finding anything local and affordable. I was about to give up when I came across the Little River Railroad about an hour from our house.

Normally they charge $20 a person for their steam train rides, but lucky for us they were hosting their Lazy Days of Summer Specials. Of course the ride was shorter than their normal run, but then again, it was only $10 a person, which was totally doable for our budget! So we decided to load up the country kids and make a little boy's dream come true.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Take a Peek at our Week August 27th - September 2nd

What happened to our Week of Homestead Photos?!?! Nothing! It's still the same, just a new name! It's all still here, I promise!!

Summer is coming to an end. The country kids have already been in school for four days, but to me, summer doesn't officially end till Labor Day. This was the first year the boys have had to go back to school BEFORE Labor Day. It just feels so weird. But the early return to school didn't put a damper on our week one bit.

Despite the country kids being in school, the garden still grew, and the critters were up to their normal antics. We did have some out of town visitors this week. It was nice to spend time, reminisce and giggle about old times. It is always fun to slow down a little and just take time to connect with others.

So what made me smile this week?

Friday, September 1, 2017

DIY Rustic 2x4 Pumpkins

Pumpkin season is almost here once again. A time of warm days and crisp night. A time for giving thanks and trick or treating. I admit it, Fall is my favorite season, sorry summer. I love the smell of fallen leaves baking in the sun, the juicy apples right off the tree and cornstalks leaning on my front porch!

When it comes to Fall, I love to decorate, be it for Thanksgiving or Halloween. What I don't like are the high prices in stores for cute decorations. I am a frugal (or as my family puts it, cheap) woman. I prefer to make my own decorations at a fraction of the cost. I even impress myself sometimes at what I can pull of like spider pumpkin candle holders and mummy jars. And for Halloween I turned yard flamingos into vultures and whipped up our own headstones for the yard.

This year my oldest son got into the crafting spirit with me and we made a some rustic 2x4 pumpkins that were not only super easy to make, but are down right adorable. This project actually came about because our county fair has a class for seasonal decorations and my oldest wanted to make something to enter.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

A Week of Homestead Photos August 20th - 26th

The county fair is over and the country kids are already planning projects for next year. Meanwhile, this mama is making plans for the start of school! The backpacks are filled and linged up by the door, ready for little minds to learn great things. Okay, maybe mama's just excited about the silence! Yeah, I might be little too excited. LOL

Hubby was on vacation this week. Of course we can't afford to go anywhere and wouldn't think of leaving our critters unattended, so we did a few day trips and traveled the world by eating meals from forgein countries. We have done Egypetion, Indian, and Italian and have plans to do Polish and Austrailian recipes next week even though hubby will be back to work. We had to give the country kids a break every other night as they weren't used to such a varied meals. LOL

So what made me smile this week?

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Viewing An Eclipse Homestead Style (We don't need no stinkin eclipse glasses!)

August 21, 2017 is a day most of our country stopped and looked up. For weeks there was hype about getting eclipse glasses to view this amazing event. Folks drove to the path of totality, spending large amounts of money on viewing equipment and accommodations. Since we had critters to tend to, we however stayed home. We would have over 80% coverage at the peak of the eclipse and that was good enough for our pocketbook!

Of course we couldn't let this opportunity for scientific exploration go by, but we were not about to drop a pretty penny on eclipse glasses who actual safety could be in question. So what's a mama to do? Go old school! It was good enough for me in 1979...... So I introduced my children to the simple but effective pin hole camera made from a cardboard box.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A Week of Homestead Photos August 13th - 19th

Fair week is over! As you read this (well if you read this Sunday morning LOL), the country kids and I are at the fair grounds picking up all their projects and awards. Thank goodness we are done for another year. Now to get back to crafting so there is no crafting death march two weeks before fair next year!

Hubby is officially on vacation this week. We don't have the money to go anywhere, not to mention no one to critter sit, so it will be interesting if we all make it out alive. Next week's Week of Homestead Photos might get interesting, or there might be no photo at all! LOL It's hard to tell with our family how things are going to go.

It's also crunch time for getting the country kids ready for school. I see a shopping trip in our future. *sigh* I really am not excited to spend a pretty penny on things that will be lost, never used, or possible given to other kids to use. Some days I miss homeschooling, then I remember my students and well, I'm over it. I will be happy to see them go! I am so looking forward to hearing myself think again......

So what made me smile this week?

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