Friday, September 28, 2012

A New Adventure Of Chickens

We have chickens. 8 of them to be exact.

Those are two sentences I never thought I would type on my blog!

But yes, we have 8 laying hens. When we moved to the country, we talked of getting chickens but not until next year. We gave ourselves a year to settle in, do some projects around the house (both inside and out), and just enjoy our new found home together.

At least that was the plan.

Then Chris got a text from a friend telling him that he had some extra chickens and that if we wanted them, they were ours. Chris enthusiastically said yes.

And that is how I became a chicken farmer's wife.

Or sort of.

Chris worked hard on designing, planning, and building his own chicken coop. I was super proud as designing comes easily for him, but building does not. Yet, he did a fantastic job! The coop has 3 boxes for laying, a waterer that can be filled from the outside, a pop door to let the chickens out each day, a side window for venting, a roost, and electricity so we can have a light on them this winter. It is seriously amazing!

As for the chickens themselves, I would say that for a girl who never really has been around chickens before, I am doing well. We let them free range, we feed them organic feed, and we feed them scraps of our food (such as leftovers from our CSA).

For a more in depth read on why we want them to truly be free range and organic, I highly suggest you to read this article on how to buy organic eggs.

I'm getting more used to them being free range and they are getting more used to me. They follow me around the yard everywhere I go. Which is quite annoying, although the girls think it is funny! I have had to chase them time and time again off our deck, and after they ate all my potted flowers out front, I was not too happy! I also had one that snuck into my house when the patio door got left open from a girl. Another one (or maybe it was the same one) jumped up on the girl's picnic table while they were eating a lunch of eggs (yes the chicken eggs) and ate the eggs right off the girls plates! One flew into Chris' car, and the new thing is chasing them off the road and away from the neighbors so we don't get in trouble for having them! So, yes outside of all of that, I mainly like them! ;) Except I do not like chicken poop. The girls have to remember to wear shoes outside now, or they get a nice surprise!

Right now, the coop is set up by our house. Next summer, I am going to have Chris move it back more into our woods so that way I don't have to chase them so much. They really have become friendly chickens who want my attention all the time.

The girls for the most part like them. Xiomara likes to try and chase them and pet them, Meridian is pretty indifferent to them, and Zoelle runs away from them as she is scared. But, they all love collecting eggs. We are averaging about 8 eggs a day which means we get way more eggs then we can eat.

Part of having chickens was so we could have fresh, organic, free range eggs. However, the other part was so that we could let the girls learn a little bit about business by collecting eggs, helping feed the chickens, clean the coop, and then selling the eggs. It is very much so a small scale business, but still something fun and educational for the girls to do.

I promise you that even though it may sound like my house or yard look hickish, we are not, nor does it. In fact, if anything the chickens have helped clean up the weeds around and in my flower beds! I also think they are really beautiful.

Yes, I just called my chickens beautiful. All in a blog post I never thought I would have to write about chickens! :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A New Milestone Reached

When I shared a picture of Zoelle forward facing in an InstaFriday post a few weeks ago, I stated how I would share more on this in the coming weeks.

Car seat safety is one of those taboo topics that no one wants to touch. Many feel that it is right up there with vaccinations, circumcision, breastfeeding, you name it! However, before I post, I want you to know my heart. This is what we have chosen to do for our family after much research. I know it's not for all familes, and I have dear friends who choose to extend rear-face and many who choose not to. I love them both.

I share today because this week is Child Passenger Safety week and it is a great way to have all the info on Extended Rear Facing in one place. You can read a larger post I have on the importance of extended rear facing here. I also share, as always, because this is a record book of the lives of my girls and for Zoelle, a new milestone was reached!

Up until a month ago, we chose to have Zoelle sitting rear facing in her Sunshine Kids Radian (now Diono) carseat. The great thing about this seat is that you can start using it at 5 lbs. and use it all the way up to 45 lbs., and that is just for rear facing! Zoelle was at about 40 lbs. but she was getting very close to outgrowing the seat in height.

I'll admit, turning her forward facing was a sad thing for me, and I still think it's weird to look in my rear-view mirror and see her face. She loves it, although she has a hard time with where to put her legs so she tries to sit Indian style as much as possible.

This picture really has nothing to with this post. Rather I found it, and thought it a cute one to share! :)

I can say now, five years later that I never once regretted our decision to extend rear face. It wasn't any more of an inconvience to us, or her, than it would have been had she been forward facing. As she got older, she would mention to me that she noticed a friend sitting forward facing and would ask me why they got to sit looking forward and she did not. I explained to her, as I do on other things, that each family chooses to do things differently, and in this case, we chose to keep her and her sisters rear facing until they are older. She seemed to accept it just fine and never complained or had an issue with it.

So here we are in a new milestone of our life and I thought it would be something fun to remember in the years to come!

Have you ever reached a milestone in your child's life that was hard for either you or your child?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Then You Were A Kindergartener

Today you enter Kindergarten. I can't believe it. I remember when you were born, I tried to think ahead to this day and I just couldn't quite grasp that it would ever happen. Yet here we are. On the brink of a major change in our lives.

We signed you up to attend a local private school and then about a month before school was to start, your dad and I felt a lot like Miss Clavel on your favorite movie Madeline when she declares: "Something is not right". We began to have doubts about school and so we spent a month praying over our decision.

Things changed in the school (a new teacher), we moved (necessitating a longer drive to/from school each day) and things changed with you (you started reading Little House On The Prairie chapter books). We began to talk extensively about how it seemed like a waste to spend money on school when you can read so well, and also when you can add/subtract. I didn't want you to be bored in school. I also wanted to encourage your love of learning while I could.

Thus last week, when those around us were heading to school, you stayed home to start your first "official" year of homeschooling.

But for your dad, the decision was not an easy one. He thrived on the socialization of school. He worried you would miss out. Worried that you would become behind. I had to gently remind him that you are already ahead and that, for this year, he doesn't have to worry about you being behind. I explained to him how you will be in story time, Sunday school, children's church, and children's choir. Plenty of time for you to make friends.

I worried too with this decision. For me, it means a lot more work. For I will be trying to do a little preschool with your sisters during the day too. It also means that I have to work extra hard at our relationship. I'm not naive enough to think the days will be all rosy and perfect, but for some reason I really think this year will be beautiful, healing, and a balm for both of our souls.

We are taking this on a year by year basis. But for this year, I am so confident that this is the right decision for you! You will thrive being home another year with us. Expanding your mind, exploring your world.

Yet at the same time, even though you are homeschooling, I want you to be aware that this is a big step for you. For you truly are growing up. Kindergarten is a big leap into the future and while we have never been able to go back, somehow this feels like we truly are leaping in the future. That future is up to you baby girl, and it all starts now.

Welcome to kindergarten!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil Review and Giveaway

Over the past year, as I journey into a more natural lifestyle, I have increasingly been using things that in the past have been foreign to me. One of those things is coconut oil. I had never heard of coconut oil, let alone used it until about a year or so ago. Once I heard about it, I had to research it, and research I did.

I learned there are many amazing benefits to using coconut oil. You can use coconut oil in your cooking and/or baking or even use it as a moisturizer (as I do for myself and the girls). In fact, right now I am eating a tasty and healthy snack that has coconut oil in it.

Before knowing a lot about coconut oil, I just went out and bought a cheap bottle at a local store. However, it wasn't long after that, that I started seeing online about a certain brand called Tropical Traditions. I kept hearing about how great their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil was and I decided I needed to try it out for myself to see.

I was not disappointed! I have tasted a lot of different coconut oils, but the taste of Tropical Traditions Gold Label is a taste that I just can't begin to describe. It is so good. So pure. So smooth. So natural. It is amazing!

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz.
Win 1 quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!
Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

You can also watch the video they produced about Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil:
Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality

coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.
Tropical Traditions have generously offered one of my readers here at Jewels & Treasures a chance at winning a quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil (Open to the US or Canada residents only).
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.