Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month

You might remember that earlier this month we were in the Purina First Egg Happy Dance contest, which we won (thanks to all who voted.) Besides winning chicken feed, we had the chance to get to know one of the other entrants in the contest and her amazing chicken loving son, Blake.

Just like the oldest country kid, Blake isn't your "typical" kids. And while our oldest country kid was born on the spectrum and Blake is rocking an extra chromosome, they both LOVE their chickens. Just because children may seem different to others, they are just like any other kid, really. And their love of life (and chickens) make them amazing to know.

Since October is Down Syndrome Awareness month, I wanted you to have the chance to learn a little more about Down Syndrome and have the chance to "meet" Blake. Down syndrome is a genetic condition that occurs in 1 in every 792 live births. Individuals with Down syndrome have 47 chromosomes instead of the usual 46. Down Syndrome is the most frequently occurring chromosomal disorder. Down syndrome is not related to race, nationality, religion or socioeconomic status. When I asked Blake's mom about what she wanted folks to know about Down Syndrome she said "The most important fact to know about individuals with Down syndrome is that they are more like others than they are different." Like their love of chickens!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Week of Homestead Photos October 16th - 22nd

It has been a long, full of activities, not a lot of blogging kind of week. Sometimes you just have to walk away from the computer and embrace life! That was this week for me.

The littlest country kid went on his first field trip to the pumpkin patch. Both boys and I went to an orchard that had a play area. The marching bad played a Beetles tribute concert. Heidi the homestead hound and I had some girls time out. Just lots of busy stuff.

And while I didn't write any new blogs this week, I had the time of my life. I think disconnecting has refueled me and I am ready to jump back in to life and blogging with both feet.

So what made me smile this week?

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop October 22


Welcome to the Simple Saturdays Blog Hop. We can't wait to see what you have to share this week! 

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

Please join us, submit YOUR Self-Reliant post (maybe even 2 or 3), browse around, visit a site or two and learn some new Simple tips or Self Reliant How'To's!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Week of Homestead Photos October 9th - 15th

We survived another year of Halloween camping. The country kids always look forward to this trip. I on the other hand get so worn out in just one weekend! But it is tradition, so you know we will do it again next year.

The littlest country kid is FINALLY getting over his cold, but preschool is still wearing him out. He has developed such an attitude lately, ugh! But he is learning to behave better at school, so I guess he just needs to finally let go when he gets home.

Fall is in full force, the trees are changing, the birds are migrating, and I am starting to panic! I am still not back up to 100% after my hysterectomy and there is so much that still needs to be done in preparation for the first snow fall. *sigh*

So what made me smile this week?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Super Easy One Pot Lasagna

This is the easiest 30 minute lasagna you will ever make! And you can make it in a single pot! There is no boiling of the pasta, no layering of ingredients, none of those labor intensive activities. I kid you not, the pasta gets cooked right in the pan! And the taste? It is lasagna, baby, how could you go wrong!

With homeschooling and my hands full of country kids, it is sometimes hard to cook a decent meal, or even get dinner going some days. With this recipe I have no excuses as it only takes 30 minutes to whip up and I can put the country kids on tasks like shredding cheese or grabbing me spices to help me keep them busy and get the meal done.

And the fact this whole meal is made in one pot.... clean up is a breeze!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Halloween Camping

Every year, for what seems like forever now, our family has an October tradition that some years seems to even overshadow actual Halloween...... Going camping for the Harvestfest weekend at our local state park! Each year more then 200 campsites fill up and it becomes one of the friendliest family events ever. You can only book your site six months in advance and they fill up F-A-S-T. The country kids were so excited to find out that next year, reservations for the event start on my birthday. Gee, I wonder what I will be doing that day!?!?!?

And as much as the boys love to go each year, I tell ya, it wears this mama out! There is all the prep work, getting the camper stocked, costumes, procuring enough candy to give the world diabetes.... And then it is hurry, rush, must get to all the events. I fell over exhausted the day after we got home and I am just now recovering from it all.... a week later!

So what is Halloween camping? Well it starts with some decorating while my hubby levels the camper and the kids bug us to head out to the playground to hook up with the other roving bands of children.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Week of Homestead Photos October 2nd - 8th

So the big news of the week is, we won the Purina First Egg contest and got a YEAR of free feed!!!! Thank you to everyone who voted for us. This means the world to us.

Of course with any high, there comes lows. My mother fell down some stairs and broke her ankle in multiple places. Luckily the surgery went well and she is home recovering.

Homeschooling has been a struggle this week for the oldest country kid. It's never easy when your mom is your teacher. And on top of that the littlest country kid has a bad cold and a horrible cough, so he missed some preschool and was home with us, causing distraction.

But the weekend came and so did our annual Halloween camping trip at our local state park. So I guess the world is right again! LOL At least we ended the week on an upswing!

So what made me smile this week?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

30 Minute Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

In my quest to cook more, I have found I just don't have the tie to make elaborate meals. I mean who am I kidding, I have a lot to do and I'm sure you do too. That is why this 30 Minute Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs recipe is so great. It is easy peasy to whip up, taste great, and really fills your belly.

I was a little worried that the country kids were going to turn their noses up at having just meatballs for dinner, but that was far from the case. In fact, the oldest country kid turned his meal, which included some bread into a meatball sandwich! He even asked for more meatballs. You could also boil up some spaghetti to go with it if you fell so inclined.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Easy DIY Vultures!

A few Christmases back my uncle gave me four pink flamingos. I'm still not sure why he decided I needed four pink birds for my lawn. I don't particularly care for flamingos or the color pink and frankly, living in Michigan, you don't see them too often in people's yards as decoration.

So the odd gift got put away, taking up space, because, well they were a gift and I didn't want to just get rid of them. I mean that would just be rude. I'm sure there is a rule on how many years you have to wait to re-gift something too. So they were just tucked away.

They sat, collecting dust for a few years till I saw a photo where someone had turned their flamingos into vultures for Halloween. I love Halloween!!!! This was perfect!!! But the photo didn't say who had done it or how they did it. Bummer. But I figured it couldn't be that hard and I really wanted to give those stupid flamingos a purpose in life, so I dug them out, hit the home improvement store and got to work.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A Week of Homestead Photos September 25 th - October 1st

Homeschool, preschool..... lots of school. I feel like fall is on fast forward for the country kids. They are staying busy and getting totally exhausted using their brains. Which means by the time I ask them to do something around the homestead.... well, no more brain power. I feel like I am constantly repeating myself and correcting bad behavior. *sigh*

The temps are dipping and mornings are clocked in fog lately. The critters are not enjoying the earlier bad time because of the shorter days. Sorry guys, but predators lurk in the dark.

All of our hens are laying now! Nothing like having a stock pile of precious eggs. Time to start whipping us some great recipes, like Dutch Babies, that call for extraordinary amounts of eggs. It really does take quite a few eggs to make everyone in the family their very own Dutch Baby, and while ordinarily I hord my precious eggs, when we have this many, we celebrate with an amazing breakfast on the weekends.

So what made me smile this week?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Meet Cinder!!

This week, the spotlight falls on one of the newer members of our flock, Cinder. She is a Black Jersey Giant that we picked up this spring at just a couple days old from a local feed store.

Cinder may not have been around here very long, but she has certainly made an impact on us all in one way or another. There is just something about a shiny black chicken who's feathers reflect beautiful colors in the sun light. It's kind of hard not to appreciate what a good looking chicken she is. The oldest country kid regularly comments on how stunning she is.

To bad she is a pain in the rear sometimes.... Kind of like another chicken, Buffy, was in her younger days. But let's start this tale from the very beginning..... a feed store, a cheeping box, and a cute little fluffy butt!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Mixed Berry Steak Salad with a Balsamic Vinaigrette

I am a baker, so why am I making dinner?!?! Because I don't want to be "just" the baker in the family. To be honest though, meat has always intimidated me, as I don't eat very much of it. But I have a family and it is about high time I become more than "just" a baker.

So I decided to let my hubby off the hook of making dinner almost every night, and according to the family, this was a home run! Hubby even said I cooked the steak perfect medium!! Yeah me! And get this.... my lettuce hating offspring.... NO COMPLAINTS. I kid you not, they were sucking down lettuce at an alarming rate. And the oldest country kid said he would eat anything I put the vinaigrette on, anything. Not bad for my first steak and first vinaigrette I have EVER made in my life!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Week of Homestead Photos September 18th - 24th

Fall has fallen!!! Leaves are turning a little, some are dropping and the temps at night are chilly. I broke out the sweatpants! The Sandhill Cranes have begun to trickle in. We are a stop on their migration south. While I love hearing them call, it does make me panic that winter is coming.

Don't get me wrong, I love winter, but being only three week out on my hysterectomy, there is so much that needs to be done before the snow flies and well I am still useless. The mind is willing but the body say, try it fat girl and die.

This week was the first week of preschool for the littlest country kid. He seems to enjoy it, but it is taking a toll on him. He is so overtired I don't know if his little body will ever catch up.

So what made me smile this week?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Meet Baby Girl

It's time to get to know another of the characters that call this place home, Baby Girl. She is another one of our "home grown" critters, meaning she was born right here!

You see, a couple springs ago, Betty, our female duck, got this crazy idea to go broody. The desire to be a mama was strong and our drake, Mr. Bill was totally on board with his mate's crazy scheme to fill our yard full of the pitter patter of little webbed feet. Baby Girl was one of those many little fluff balls they hatched out that year.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

7 Tips for a Tidy Nest Box

When it comes to backyard chickens and collecting eggs, no one wants to get an egg with dirt or worse, poo, on it. But how do you keep your eggs from getting soiled? It's really simple and easier then you might think! It is all about keeping your nest box in tip top, laying condition and these seven tips will show you how.

First you need to think like a chicken, then you need to act like a keeper. What I mean is, look at laying time through your chickens eyes. If you can't imagine, let me paint you a picture....

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Week of Homestead Photos September 11th - 17th

It has been a busy week around here with homeschooling the oldest country kid and getting the littlest country kid ready to head of to public preschool. We had his teacher home visit and open house at the school this week and he is super excited to start first thing Monday morning.

I had a check up with my doctor and she said I am healing great. Too bad I then went out and over did it! LOL I am a little soar but it was so nice to get out of the house.

Fall is defiantly knock on Summer's door. Our evening temps have been dropping and the trees are starting to turn a little and drop a few leaves. Before long it will be a blaze of color and time to rake.

So what made me smile this week?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Meet Buffy

This week's Critter Spotlight falls on a hen with an amazing story, Buffy. If you hang out with us on Facebook, you have seen Buffy a lot over the last four years. In fact you would have seen her grow up!

For the longest time, I honestly hated her. She was the worst pain in the butt chicken I had ever owned. She flapped to the beat of her own drum, this one. But life takes many twists and turns, building us, breaking us, sculpting us into the people or hens we are to become. Buffy has gone through a lot in her little life, but she has emerged an amazing bird.

When my alpha hen, Goldie, passed away this year, unassuming Buffy rose from third position in the flock to queen of the yard! But I am getting ahead of myself.......

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Week of Homestead Photos September 4th - 10th

Well I guess if you're reading this, you will know I made it through my hysterectomy surgery. Yup, totally lived, though it took a few hours longer then was planned. Still not sure what went on, but I am home and a week later, feeling fantastic. Okay, maybe not fantastic, but I am getting by.

My greatest laugh this week was when I posted on Facebook that I had finally had a bowl movement and close to 240 people liked/loved my post! I guess as you get older, you start cheering for other folks who are getting older, because at some point in our lives, we have all needed to go! LOL

So what made me smile this week?

Friday, September 9, 2016

Time for Fall Vegetable Gardening!

I know, I know.... But it is still summer! But now is the time to get your fall vegetable garden growing before Mother Nature sends the first frost. Of course frost dates vary depending on where you live, but here in Michigan, with our shorter growing season, we are already looking down the barrel of Old Man Winter's gun. We have a 50% chance of our first frost hitting the first week of October, so it's do or die time for us. You on the other hand may still have plenty of time to think and plan.

Don't know when your frost dates are? No problem! There are many websites that offer up both spring and fall frost dates. You can also look yours up by your zip code in the good old Farmer's Almanac.

So the big question is, what do you put in a fall garden? Easy answer, colder temp loving veggies and plants that are hardy. But which veggies fall into that category? Well here are a few for you to think about......

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Meet Lily

Today's Critter Spotlight falls on another "home grown" critter, Lily! She is a sibling to a former spotlight critter, Blaze.

Back when the oldest country kid wasn't that old, he let two of our bunnies (yup, one male and one female) out to play together. I'm pretty sure you can figure out that when he told me they were giving each other "piggy back rides," what was really going on. *smacks forehead* So just 28 days after that fateful day of piggy back rides, Lily came to be part of our homestead.

She is a one of a kind kind of girl. From the moment she was born she has stood out. While all of her siblings either took after mom (big and grey) or dad (small and tan), Lily decided to combine all the genetics available and popped out an odd little mix up of color.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

A Week of Homestead Photos August 28th - September 3rd

This week has been super busy with me trying to get all my ducks in a row before my surgery, which happened on Thursday, thus cutting my week of photos short. Don't worry, I will make up for it next week, maybe, if the pain killers have worn off by then. LOL

We said goodbye to all the baby ducklings this week and hello to a new member of our family, a pheasant. The oldest country kid thinks he is going to tame her and they are going to be best friends like he was with his pet quail. We shall see. For now she just hisses at us! I never knew pheasants hissed!!!!

So what made me smile this week?

Thursday, September 1, 2016

We interrupt this broadcast....

So, today is the day. I am having a hysterectomy. I tried to prepare this blog, my facebook page and everything behind the scenes, aka my family and home, for this event. I have posts scheduled, but I still don't feel ready. So just a heads up my friends....

You will see our hop on Saturday. There will be an abbreviated version of our Week of Homestead Photos. Heck, I even have a Critter Spotlight scheduled for next Tuesday. But, I have no idea how I am going to feel once I get home. I have no idea how looped up on pain meds I will be. Heck, in the event of something going really wrong, I have no way to tell you all I dropped dead. *sigh*

So if after Tuesday you never see another post on this blog, well I guess you will figure it out. You're smart people.

Wish me luck and a speedy recovery. I will miss the friendship you all have given me while I am sitting in that majorly uncomfortable hospital bed, but I hope to be back with you all very soon.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Meet Anna

So who is this week's Critter Spotlight? None other than the polydactyl puddy tat, Anna! We have a soft spot for rescue critters, and Anna is just one of the rescue critters we have taken in over the years. She came from a local shelter and was only about 6 months old when we got her. How anyone could not want this long haired beauty, I have no clue. But I am glad she needed a home, because we lover her, and all her oddities.

As I mentioned, Anna is polydactyl. That means she has more toes on her paws then a normal cat. A "normal" Cat has 18 toes. Anna has a total of 24. The world record for number of toes on a cat is 28. Even though she is 4 toes short of the world record, she has MORE than enough toe nails to prick the heck out of you when she jumps on you or to get herself stuck to blankets and furniture!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Week of Homestead Photos August 21st - 27th

Hubby was on vacation this week. Since money is tight and we have critters to take care of, we didn't go any where as usual. But we did have fun being adults when the country kids went to their grandparents for a few days!

Adult? Oh yeah, we are wild and crazy. We made a run to Sam's club, hit a casino with $5 each and came out 3 cents ahead, and even when and had an adult beverage!

We found new homes for half of our duckling this week. They went to a family with five children who will love on them. I am so happy they went to a great home.

So what made me smile this week?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Pokemon Go Tips for Homestead Kids (or folks who just like to play)

Unless you live under a rock, you have at least heard of the phone app game gripping the nation called Pokemon Go. Heck, I live under a rock and not only have I heard of it, I got roped into playing it with the oldest country kid who is NUTS about the game.

Now before you go saying how stupid it is, what do you really know about the game? Seriously? Because you see, while some idiots may have walked off a cliff chasing a Pokemon, for the most part, this game, at least to me, has some positive benefits for today's youth, my country kids included.

The oldest country kid has Aspberger's which is on the autism spectrum. He used to like to sit in front of a computer all day and had a hard time socializing with others. Let me tell you, because of this game he now BEGS to go for walks! Not only that, he talks to the other kids and adults he runs into who are play. Since they have something in common, it makes conversation much easier for him. Not only that, he has roped me in, and it is now something he and I do together for fun!

So for those not in the know on the whole Pokemon Go crazy, I'll give you the basics, and some of our own tips on how to play!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Meet Blaze

This week's spotlight is on a critter that was made right here, Blaze the bunny. What do I mean he was made right here? Well when the oldest country kid wasn't that old, he let two of our bunnies (yup, one male and one female) out to play together. I'm pretty sure you can figure out that when he told me they were giving each other "piggy back rides," what was really going on. *smacks forehead* So Blaze was born here just 28 days after that fateful day of piggy back rides.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Week of Homestead Photos August 14th - 20th

Time to take a deep breath and relax! The 4-H projects made it to the fair, my health is rebounding, the temperature is dropping, and we have nothing on the schedule! It feels so strange to not be going in fifty different directions, but I'll take it.

The ducklings are growing well and will be heading to their new homes soon. The chicks we got this spring are now starting to lay! And for once they finally got their eggs IN the nest box. Hey, it is the simple things that thrill me.

The oldest country kid is already planning for the fair next year (and it isn't even over yet for this year.) I am planning for the coming school year. The littlest country kid is heading off to public preschool and the oldest country kid will be homeschooled again.

So what made me smile this week?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Tasty Worms Review and Giveaway

From time to time I am asked by various businesses to review their products. I don't always say yes, but when I was contacted by Tasty Worms about their new Tasty Grubs, I was not only willing to give them a try, but excited to do so. You see the folks behind Tasty Worms are a small family business that not only provide quality protein treats for chickens, but they support bat rehabilitation effort in Central Florida! They also work with the endangered gopher tortoise.

Did you know insectivorous bats can eat their own weight in insects per night. We here at The (mis)Adventures love bats, so this product is not only great for our chickens, but supports wildlife! Win/win!!! If you would like to know more about the work the folks behind Tasty Worms do, check them out at City Bats Conservancy on Facebook!

When the 5 lb bag of Tasty Grubs arrived, I was excited to see what these dried Black Soldier Fly larvae were all about. My first impression was the size and quality of these larvae. Mealworms are small and rather light and airy, not a lot of substance to the the treat, kind of like a fast food meal. These Tasty Grubs were bigger, thicker, and actually had some substance to them, like a sit down meal!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Bloggers are people too!

The internet has become a part of our daily lives. Whether you are doing a google search, looking for information or participating in social media for entertainment, the majority of us find our way to the internet on a daily bases. But do you ever stop to think about where all the information floating around out there comes from? Those articles and tutorials are the work of real people, just like you. Do you ever stop to consider those people who produce these works?

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Week of Homestead Photos August 7th - 13th

I know I sound like a broken record, but this heat! Ugh. This is been such a yucky summer with heat and humidity that just make it unbearable to get things done outside. Lucky for us, there were lots of things to do inside since it was the last week before the county fair and the oldest country kid had lots of projects to wrap up.

I had to take a trip to the emergency room this week which put a wrinkle in getting fair projects finished. But I am excited to say not only did I get out of the hospital but I was able to get him to judging day at the fair! It may have been exhausting but it was so wonderful getting to see him show the projects he worked so hard on.

So what made me smile this week?

Sunday, August 7, 2016

A Week of Homestead Photos July 31st - August 6th

Summer heat is in full force and I am wilting like a flower! While I am not keen on long Michigan winters, I would take them over sitting still in the shade and dripping sweat. Ugh! Not to mention the heat is causing havoc on the littlest country kid's bowls. He just will not take a break from playing outside in the heat, and well, ummm. I am too old for this "crap." I gave up cleaning drawers a year ago! Despite the oldest country kid's horror at my wastefulness, I have tossed a pair of undies or two this week. LOL

Our nest of duck eggs decided it was too hot too and started hatching on 2nd. I wasn't expecting them till today! We currently have 14 adorable ducklings. Of course in life, things happen, so we will keep our fingers crossed for those 14 little ones.

The heat has been great for the garden and my peppers are growing amazingly! It is so fun to finally see the rewards of all the early spring planting. Another month though till it is time to check the onions and potatoes, but I am so delighted with the way things are going.

This is the final week before our county fair. The oldest country kid is in panic mode trying to finish up all the projects he signed up to take. Even if he doesn't finish all of them (like a total of 30!) he still has a LOT of really nice stuff to take.

So what made me smile this week?

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Ducklings are Here!

When you let nature do what nature does, you can never be sure when nature will do it! What do I mean by that? Well I wasn't expecting our nest of duck eggs to start hatching till around the 7th of August. Well, nature decided they were going to start hatching on the 2nd! That's right, Tuesday morning I woke to a bunch of eggs pipping under our two mamas, Betty and Baby Girl. Pipping is when the duckling pecks a small hole in the egg's shell to allow oxygen in.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Meet Ratty Rat

This weeks spotlight is on one of the newer members of our homestead household. She is not your typical kind of livestock! Okay, she isn't livestock at all. She was a gift. Yes, a gift. Who gives the gift of a rat? My hubby! Why you might ask, well I will tell you......

Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Week of Homestead Photos July 24th - 30th

We had an amazingly busy week of fun and wonderful news this week. The country kids and I had fun going to library in the park and seeing a free movie. The family visit the zoo, went to a Pokemon party and watched the volunteer firemen's firework show. Over all it was a wonderful week of just being with family and enjoying our time together.

I also got back some wonderful news from my doctor this week. I had a biopsy on Monday and in just a couple days she called to let me know I do NOT have cancer!!! While I still need to have a hysterectomy, at least there is no cancer!! I am so thankful that there is one less thing to have to "handle."

The oldest country kid continues to work on fair projects for next month. He is really doing an amazing job on his projects. He is such a creative kid!

So what made me smile this week?

Friday, July 29, 2016

Easy DIY Beehive (with Bees!)

Our county fair is coming up next month and that means the oldest country kid is busy making projects to enter. This easy DIY beehive decoration is one of the projects he made! I don't know about you, but I think it is super cute!! And I love how the wind makes the bees on the wire dance around the hive. This is such a fun project, not only to make, but to interact with when it is done.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Meet Heidi the Homestead Hound

This week's Critter Spotlight is on a member of the (mis)Adventures that wasn't supposed to be. What do I mean by that? Well you see, for many years we had an amazing dog named Mazzie. When he passed, we decided a few month later that maybe we should start looking for a small dog for the country kids. Why small? Well because Mazzie had seizures near the end of his life and he was really hard for me to carry back into the house when he would collapse.

Now you noticed I said small dog and that we would START to look, not that we were going to go to a shelter and bring home the biggest dog they had. But, that is exactly what happened. *smacks forehead* While none of the smaller dogs were clicking when we would visit with them, the littlest country kid had squatted down in front of a pen containing a lab/mastiff mix and was becoming bestest friends. Fine, we would look at her. She was a nice dog, but way to big. And she was young, just 10 months old. This was NOT the dog I was looking for, but it was obvious that we where who she was looking for. And so my hubby went to start the adoption paper work. As I stood there crying and saying "I don't think this is a good idea" Heidi the homestead hound became part of our family on November 14, 2013.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Week of Homestead Photos July 17th - 23rd

It has been a very long and emotionally hard week here at the homestead. You may not know this about me, but our first son was stillborn at 38 weeks. Sadly this week, my niece's little girl was born still. My heart breaks for her know the pain she is going through. It also brought back a lot of emotions for me. I struggled, trying to handle my emotions, be there for her, and continue to be the mommy my boys needed me to be. I am doing better, but the blog has been quiet. Honestly, I just had nothing worth saying this week.

But one of the things I learned when I lost my dear Andrew is that you have to cherish the small things in life, find happiness where you can, and smile as often as possible. And despite the pain this week, I did find moments that made my heart smile.

So what made me smile this week?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Week of Homestead Photos July 10th - 16th

We have been working on my hubby's genealogy as one of the oldest country kid's 4H projects. We found that he is related to the 7th Earl of Douglas (also known as James the gross.) *giggle* James and King James II of Scotland didn't get along to well. Probably because King James stabbed the guy 26 times and threw his body out a window. Seriously! I can't make this stuff up!! Amazing where 4H can take you!

Our hearts broke this week when the national spotlight got too close to home. My father is a retired police officer. He took another job serving the public after he retired, as a bailiff. My dad retired from the court house in Berrien County where two bailiffs where gunned down.  He knew both of the men who died and is taking it rather hard. Our family, friends, and neighbors rallied around him with love and support and that made me smile.

Our garden is growing, our ducks are jerks, and life goes on. It has been a busy week of ups and down, lots of activities, and well this mama is exhausted!

So what made me smile this week?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Oops, They Did It Again......

If you have been around our blog a while, you may remember last year how we got Betty (our female duck) a boyfriend because she was getting, ummm, mature, and that was one need I could not fill for her. Of course they "fell in love" and had a little family. If you aren't familiar with the whole sorted story, you can read all about it over at our Duck Tales. Trust me, they are some crazy ducks!

Well as spring rolled around this year, Bill and Betty decided they wanted to do the whole parenting thing again. How do I know? Well because eggs stopped showing up where they should have been, and Betty would disappear for long periods of time. That could only mean on thing, she wanted to be broody (aka hatch some more kids.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Meet Lizzy

Our Critter Spotlight falls this week on one of our odder critters here at the homestead, Lizzy the leopard gecko. Why do we have a gecko?!?! Oh well that is an easy question to answer, because we homeschool of course! She was our "classroom" pet this year and helped the oldest country kid learn all about the food web and other nature based scientific topics. Not to mention, she is just plan cool!