kids and eggs Feed

kids, chickens, bees, rabbits.....and airplanes

 

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This post might not exactly fit with the homesteading theme of this blog, but it fits with the culture of the north woods environment in which I live, and one of my deep rooted interests from a time period earlier in my life -aviation!   I love to keep just a spark of this interest alive by visiting our local airport each Spring when there are large, contracted aircraft stationed and ready to aid in wildland fire suppression.

At our small airport outside of town there is an U.S. Forest Service Tanker Base.  Every Spring some (pretty awesome) aircraft make their way to our neck of the woods and I work to  coordinate a kindergarten field trip to tour the airport to check out the airplanes, and to get some hands-on instruction by some wild land fire fighters and Smokey the Bear.

Last Friday was our field trip, and the weather and activity cooperated so we got to see some impressive airplanes and helicopters! To scope things out my daughter and I went out to the airport Thursday after school and we were lucky enough to have a chance to talk to some of the pilots and crew from Neptune Aviation.  We even got a chance to go aboard and sit in the cockpit of one of the planes.  The Neptune BAe 146 aircraft have been stationed in Ely and have been flying and dropping fire retardant on local fires and fires in Canada.

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So I got a little fix of the aviation bug this past week - and got to pass that on a bit to a bunch of young little dreamers and doers in my life. 


kids and eggs

 

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It sure feels like Spring in my kindergarten class!   We are reading Charlotte's Web, we have a windowsill full of plants, we have a bunny running around the classroom - and - we have chicks hatching!  So far four chicks have hatched -Lola, Chirp, Paul and Fluffers.  I posted some videos to my instagram account if you want to see them in action.  I LOVE sharing these fun experiences with the children in my life!


::welcome 2016

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This year.

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As we start the year of 2016 I want to share with you (parts) of the first column I wrote for Minnesota Parent Magazine last January - Hopes, dreams goals.

I want to carry these goals and aspirations into this new year of 2016

Parenting with purpose

My hope is to make informed decisions as I guide my children through their growing and learning early years. We make so many choices and decisions as parents that affect so many aspects of our children’s lives. Some are easier, like deciding what winter jacket to purchase or what to make for dinner on Thursday. Some are more complicated, like choosing a school or figuring out how to guide a child through a tough friendship situation. Though there are countless books on how to parent, our individual children simply don’t come with instruction manuals. However, we can do our best to make sound decisions by seeking out information and ideas that can help us validate and support decisions that are in the best interest of our family life.

Making time for connection

I want to spend meaningful, undistracted time with my children (and husband) each day. This sounds like it should be easy, but, as you can probably relate, the challenge is to be fully present without preoccupation with something else. I want to be attentive in my thoughts and actions to those around me, even if it’s in small segments of time throughout the day. This can be as simple as sharing a meal, playing a game, reading a story or listening to my child talk about his or her day.

Seeking balance, experiencing joy

We’re pulled in so many directions as parents. We, along with our children, can be overscheduled and stressed. My hope for this year is to stay grounded by working to make mindful choices, balancing family time and external commitments for myself and for my children. I also want to make time to share in the simple joys of childhood. I invite to you work toward these ideals along with me in this new year. As Gretchen Rubin notes in her book The Happiness Project, “The days are long, but the years are short.” I find this so true as a parent, especially with school-age children. Let’s make the most of these days and work to make our hopes and dreams as parents come alive.

Wishing you a wonderful start to 2016


Interview with Christine Chitnis (plus a giveaway!)

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I am so happy to have an opportunity to share with you a recent interview with one of my writing mentors, Christine Chitnis!

I first met Christine at a Squam Art Workshop a couple of years ago. Then I became one of her students in an online class that she offered.  In the class Christine was able to give me some practical knowledge and confidence to pitch my writing, which led me to the opportunity to write a monthly School Days column for Minnesota Parent Magazine.

In the November issue of Minnesota Parent I was delighted to see a recipe featured from Christine's most recent book Little Bites: 100 Healthy, Kid Friendly Snacks.  As it turns out it was a surprise for Christine as well! We were both happy to have made this unique connection in print.  And, I must say, ever since I got my hands on her book, I have had a lot of fun trying out some of the recipes with my own little ones.  Most recently I made the Carmel Apples with Sea Salt & the Broccoli and Cheese Soft Pretzel Knots, both which I highly recommend!

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Yum!  
To add to the fun, I have an interview with Christine to share with you and an opportunity for you to win  a copy of Little Bites!

Enjoy - and good luck!

Christine, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

When I'm not busy writing and photographing, I can be found chasing after my two wild boys or escaping to my studio for a bit of sewing and knitting.  I am an avid home cook, passionate about feeding my family wholesome, delicious, seasonal fare.  I live in Providence, Rhode Island with my family, three chickens and overflowing community garden plot.  You can follow along on my adventures here: @c.chitnis (https://instagram.com/c.chitnis/) or christinechitnis.com.

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What inspired you to write Little Bites?  Can you tell us about your collaboration with co-author Sarah Waldman on the book?

Our goal with Little Bites is to offer recipes for simple, wholesome food made from ingredients that everyone can recognize, and to leave families with the feeling that making their own snacks is easy and enjoyable.  Children think of snacks as fun, tasty, easy-to-eat foods, but we parents know that the very best snacks are all that and more: when done right, snacks give our kids a needed boost of energy and they deliver dense amounts of nutrition in a small package.  

I worked on Little Bites for a year with my co-author, though from the initial idea to publication took over two years!  As Sarah worked on the recipes, I would focus on photographing the seasons and the food, along with helping her test the recipes.  We felt strongly about writing and cooking with the seasons, instead of trying to rush the process.  I also wrote each chapter in season, which really helped me capture the seasonal feelings that I wanted to convey.

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Do you have a favorite recipe in Little Bites?
 
I can honestly say that I love every recipe in the book so it makes it tough to pick favorites.  Since it's fall, I'll highlight a few of my fall favorites: on the savory side I can't get enough of the Roasted Pumpkin Hummus.  We eat a ton of hummus in our house, and I really appreciate this seasonal twist to add a bit of flare to our regular recipe.  When it comes to sweets, the Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies are insanely delicious!  I've had a bumper crop of carrots from my garden this year, and I'm thrilled to be able to turn them into something sweet.
 
Tell us about your upcoming book.
 
My third book will hit shelves in April of 2016.  Icy, Creamy, Healthy, Sweet: 75 Recipes for Dairy-Free Ice Cream, Fruit-Forward Ice Pops, Frozen Yogurt, Granitas, Slushies, Shakes and More.  I'm all about healthy eating but I don't like the idea of making certain foods off-limits.  We eat dessert all the time in our family, but I make it from scratch from real, whole foods ingredients.  These frozen treat recipes are all free of refined sugar, instead relying on natural sweeteners and fruit for their flavor.  They are light, delicious desserts that you can feel good about eating, while still satisfying your sweet tooth.  It is a gorgeous book, I have to say: hardcover, luscious matte pages, and full page pictures of each recipe.  I really love Roost, my publisher, for their commitment to producing books that feel and look beautiful.  It is truly an honor to be counted among their roster of authors.
 
Thank you Christine!  
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*photos are from www.christinechitnus.com - except the images of the salted carmel apples and pretzels -
 

To enter my giveaway to win a copy of Little Bites: 100 Healthy, Kid Friendly Snacks, leave a comment below:

Comments will close by 9am CST on Saturday. Winners will be chosen by Random Number Generator and announced in this post shortly after.

Comments closed - The winner is:  #8 Kelly with the comment:

Thanks for putting her book on my radar - looks like one I'd like to add to my collection. Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies? Yum.

Congratulations Kelly!- 

 


Garden Notes 7/2- a photographic garden journal

 

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The garden is coming along!  

New this week:  green tomatoes and many blooming flowers.

 We welcomed also have been welcoming  the bunny into the garden for some fun, exercise and foraging.

*bunny notes:  When we adopted this bunny we really did not know much about him, I was told he may be part Angora rabbit - and he does have super-soft fiber that I have been collecting to spin in the future.  However, researching rabbits a bit more I am coming to the conclusion that he resembles an American Fuzzy Lop rabbit much more than an Angora rabbit.  Because he has been in a couple of homes during his life, we will probably never know or he very well could be some mix.  Regardless we are happy with his addition to the homestead and I am enjoying my first experience with a fiber animal.


June blues

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We found a little blueberry jackpot today on a mid-afternoon hike in our backwoods.

I was happy that I decided to bring along an empty water bottle and my camera, just in case.

We were pleasantly surprised with an abundance of blues, ripe and ready for picking.

 Today we filled up four bellies and one 32 ounce bottle with wonderful, ripe wild blueberries, as we are already starting a collection in the freezer to be savored over the winter.  What a perfect way to end the first full and blissful month of summer, and a great way to welcome the turn of the calendar to July 2015.


::July - Kids in the Wild

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The June issue of Minnesota Parent is on stands and available online now!

The topic of my School Days column for this issue is hiking with kids.

(It is especially fun to see two of my favorite ten year olds made the issue posing by a local waterfall.)

You can find the article through THIS LINK.

I also have a feature recipe article in print in this issue "Cool Pops"

on pages 26 & 27 (link coming soon!)

Be sure to check out the full issue for all of the other great content as well.

 


pigs!

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Some little porkers arrived in our neighborhood, and we are happy that we will be sharing in the experience of raising hogs again this year.  Those of you who have been following along for a while know that a couple of years ago we raised three hogs on our own homestead.  This year, we are joining the endeavor with less of a commitment (we're going in on half a pig and a share of the farm chores when needed)

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Yup, I am officially Mrs. Arable, again.  

I love it.


Garden notes 5/11 -a photographic garden journal

I am going to try to record, document and share snapshots of our garden this year.

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Here's our starting point!   Not too exciting, but I am happy to be digging in the dirt again.

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We have a little garden neighbor - our angora bunny, who has been dubbed "Checker."  He was hopping all around today, excited with a little company (the mama digging in the dirt and four crazy kids in the backyard playing on the swing set).IMG_9460

We still have our girls.  I am still waiting on a hatch in my kindergarten classroom.  But we will be holding steady with this batch of layers this year.

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I have two nucs of bees on order, but right now they are somewhere warmer than here - which is just fine.  I am eager to plant, but as  it is currently snowing, I am content keeping all of our seedlings indoors.

Cheers to the start of a new garden season!

 


It's slackline season

It's slackline season!  

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 I thought it would be timely to repost these tips I put together a while back to have some fun with kids on a slackline.  Enjoy!

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What is slacklining?  Slacklining is a portable outdoor activity that puts the ideas of tightrope walking and bouncing on a trampoline together in a portable, simple, yet challenging activity that practices balance, focus, and coordination. 

We purchased an ENO Slackwire slackline at the beginning of the summer for outdoor play.  At first, it was a little too challenging but then we added a simple guide-wire.  For us this simply meant setting up the slackline parallel to our clothesline and tying a jump rope to one end to make it easy for the kids to pull down the guide-wire within reach for independent play.  This simple adaption makes slacklining fun for kids and beginner adults.  Now our slackline has turned into a daily go-to place for play.

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Once you get your slackwire and guideline set up it's time to play!  Try these suggestions for kid-friendly slackline ideas, tips, and activities for outdoor fun on a slackline:

  • Walk the Tightrope - Start by simply working to walk across the slackline without falling off using the guide-wire whenever needed.  As confidence, balance, and coordination build work to measure the distance or count the steps you take without the guide-wire. 

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  • Slackline Balance -  This can be done as an individual or as a competition.  Count how many seconds you can balance unsupported on the slackline or see who can stay on the line the longest.

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  • Play Slackline Champion -  This game was developed by our four kids.  The gist of the game?  Do everything you can to knock the other person off the line.  The last one standing wins!

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  • Slackline Obstacle Course - Create a backyard obstacle course with a slackline as one of the elements of the design.  

Slacklineoobstaclecourse*note -the top picture with 4 kiddos on a slackline was photographed just mere seconds before pandemonium.  Stick with the aforementioned recommendations - forego the effort to photograph four children smiling and engaged on one slackline. :-)