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Farm Notes: May 16. 2016


It’s been awhile since I’ve done a good round of farm notes, and since spring means lots of newness around here, it seemed like time for an update. Since I’m jumping in mid-week, we’ll do this update by species. But first, let’s start with a favorite moment from the other evening–the scene we came upon driving up the lane of my grandfather’s farm a few nights ago. My husband and grandpa could put in a lot of hours in this spot, I believe.


Sheep: The sheep population has increased at Woodlawn. Last month 3 new lambs arrived at the farm–Agnes, Nora and Burris. They’ll be the lambs the girls show in the fair this summer. And after many years of anxiously awaiting her turn, Elizabeth is now old enough to show. There’s one lamb for each of them–even though they’re allowed to show two each. But feeding these suckers is super expensive so for this year we’re keeping things simple. We’ve had them on halters a few times, trying to train them to walk calmly and eventually learn how to stand for a show. Right now teaching them to walk on the halter means a lot of leaping and flopping and bolting. We’ll get there. We’re in the “let’s be friends” stage of the relationship. The girls are spending a lot of time sitting on a stool in their pen, offering handfuls of hay and grain and getting to know each other.





I think it's time to call the shearer. #sheepofinstagram

In any other year the big lambs would have been sheared by now but we’ve been battling near record-cold temps and tons of dreary rainy days. So I’ve been dragging my feet on calling the shearer to set up a haircut appointment. But things are getting a little desperate. I miss seeing those beautiful sheep eyes. I think calling the shearer will have to be on this week’s to-do list.

Heifers: The heifers were sold last week and things in the fields are pretty quiet. They were all bred and have been sold to a neighbor–where they’ll live and calve in a couple months. They’ll eventually be replaced, but in the meantime Birdy is enjoying the open space as new butterfly-catching territory. (If you’re following me on snapchat, you’ll have noticed a wee obsession in the butterfly department.)




Pony: Tinkerbell has been getting a little more attention than usual lately. Now that the weather has turned she seems to be a favorite hang out spot for the girls. I’ve even noticed her perking up her head at the sound of Elizabeth’s voice and trotting over the gate when we got out for morning chores. The attention must be getting to her, because to drag this lawn mower from her grazing takes some serious incentive.


Chickens: We’ve been having to keep our chickens locked in at all times because of a pretty bold fox that lives in the woods behind the house. We thought the drama had died down and began letting them out for a few hours. But two days into their freedom, we were down a chicken. So they are back on lockdown. So are little flock is down to four. And there’s one broody hen who refuses to get off her nest. We’ll have to deal with that this week, too.

Barn cats are status quo. Lucy gets come and go privileges between inside and out. And annoys the life out of the older barn cats.

And then there’s Willie still running up the road to visit his girlfriend or the fun neighbor kids. They don’t make cracking down on his travels very easy–he usually gets a personal escort home–by bicycle or the back of a truck. He thinks it’s great entertainment.

**In other news, I’m taking over the TodaysMama instagram feed today. I’m sharing a few stories I haven’t told and some favorite pictures from the past few weeks. Come by and check it out.

Farm Notes archives here.


good finds

Buying glasses online and a GIVEAWAY!


A few weeks ago I was lamenting to a friend about how I felt like I was going a million directions at once. I was constantly running and our schedule felt jam-packed and I just missed being at home. I missed having days with nothing on the calendar. I have this constant refrain in my head, “When things slow down, I’ll…..” but the slow down never seems to come.

In some round about way though, I got what I wished for. A few weeks ago, Dan got injured in a soccer game and is in some stage of crutches, cane or hobbling around the house waiting for the results of his MRI. Emma fell at school, catching herself with her wrist and is in a splint while we wait to see if it is just a sprain or if the radiologist thinks that something “suspicious” on the x-ray could be more. Birdy, Elizabeth and I got slammed with colds. Birdy’s turned into pink eye in both eyes. And Elizabeth woke up with pink eye and pain in both ears. I suppose if you’re going to get pink eye for the first time in your parenting life, why not go all in?

I’ve reached the point where all I can do is step back from the crazy and laugh. Perhaps that means I’m losing my marbles. But I am getting plenty of days at home. Plenty of naps snuggled in bed with my sick people. And lots of downtime. I suppose it’s a sign of real desperation for stillness when you’ll take it in the form of colds and injuries. Whoops.

But let’s talk about something more exciting. NEW GLASSES.


A few years ago I bought my first pair of glasses online. I was nervous about the process and couldn’t believe that frames could be both inexpensive and of nice quality. But I was totally surprised. So when I was asked to try out a new-to-me online glasses shop, and realized I’d been wearing that same pair of frames for several years, I was excited to try it out.

Firmoo offers a huge range of glasses and sunglasses for men and women. They have tons of great styles to choose from and the process of ordering them is simple.

Generally I can get a good feel for what glasses I want as I scroll through the different styles. But I always struggle when I get it narrowed down to those last 3 or 4 pairs. This is where Firmoo’s online “try-on” software is really nice. You can take a photo and virtually try on the frames to get an idea of how the shape, style and size looks on your face.

But even more exciting is the price. Their frames are so affordable and the quality of both pairs I received was great. The lenses matched my prescription and aside from getting used to a larger frame (I went a little bolder this time. Eek!) they were easy to wear and didn’t require a long adjustment period like I’ve experienced with some frames.

In order to order glasses with Firmoo or any online retailer, you’ll need your prescription and your pupillary distance code. I love that my ophthalmologist doesn’t mind giving me a paper copy of my prescription, but if yours doesn’t do that, it’s easy to get.


My Firmoo glasses arrived quickly and I loved the style. And for the price, I think I’ll also get pairs for both of my glasses-wearing girls. With the way they “take care” of their glasses, I think it will be smart to have a back-up pair ready since they both rely on them so heavily in school.

I’m so excited to share that Firmoo is giving away 5 pairs of glasses to 5 lucky MommyCoddle readers who have never used Firmoo before! Wooohooo! Simply go to this link and let me know which pair of frames speaks to you. Each winner will receive a voucher which covers the frame with 1.50 index single vision lenses. Please note that each winner will be required to pay shipping. Giveaway ends at midnight eastern on Saturday, May 7th. Good luck and enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Firmoo sent me a pair of glasses to try out for this review and giveaway. All opinions are my own. 

good finds / HEALTHY LIVING / sponsored / Uncategorized

30 healthy ideas to pack in your kids’ lunches


Disclaimer: Thanks to GoGo squeeZ and Socialstars for encouraging the conversation about healthy choices for kids’ lunches and snacks. This post is sponsored but all opinions are my own. (Well, and my kids, too.) #GoGosqueeZSquad

I don’t know exactly when it happened, but at some point in this school year my kids started packing their lunches by themselves. Maybe this is a normal occurrence in most families but between busy evening schedules and homework (Oh the homework, don’t get me started.) and rushed mornings the task fell onto my plate. When I come to think of it, I think this transition may have happened when I was out of town for a few days. It’s funny the changes that happen when Dan’s in charge–someone can suddenly go to bed all by herself, someone else can haul water buckets without an help, and apparently two people can make their own lunches.

But despite passing the lunchbox torch, I still keep a close eye on what goes in them. School days are long, especially when there’s lots of activities after and for my migraine kid, having a well-balanced lunch that’s high in protein is really key. One of her biggest triggers is hunger, followed closely by dehydration and exhaustion, so I’m always doing my best to make sure she’s putting good stuff in that lunchbox.

But don’t get me wrong. It isn’t always easy. In fact, its rarely easy.

In my dreams there is food to go in lunch boxes that is both convenient and healthy. But often those things don’t go hand in hand. So I’m always glad to discover something new on the grocery shelves that falls into those categories. In particular, I was excited about GoGosqueeZ launching a brand new yogurt pouch. They can be stored at room temperature–after going through the same process as refrigerated yogurt with an additional heating step. They have nothing artificial, contain no growth hormones, no preservatives and no mess. And they’re full of protein, calcium and Vitamin D. And they are super convenient for the grab-and-go flurry of lunch packing.


At this time of year, it’s really easy to get in a major rut with lunches. So discovering something new like this is a huge plus as we push through the last several weeks of school.

A few years ago (2009!!) I wrote a blog post about wanting to add more protein and whole grains to our meals and snacks, especially lunches. And the comments on the post blew up with great ideas. I actually click back on that post often when I’m feeling burned out and blah about feeding my kids. The list contains mostly ideas for snacks and “accessories” as I call them for your kids lunches. But it’s chock-full of great ideas.

So if you’re anything like me, you could probably use a little lunch and snack inspiration list. Check out some of my favorite suggestions from that post below:

  • edamame
  • peanut butter on rice cake
  • pretzels and hummus
  • trail mix (cereal, nuts, pretzels, dried fruit, chocolate chips)
  • frozen yogurt(put the pouches in the freezer!)
  • popcorn
  • peanut butter powerballs
  • whole wheat pita pockets with eggs and salsa or ham
  • hard boiled eggs
  • hummus and carrot sticks
  • tamari almonds
  • almond butter on rice cakes
  • celery and peanut butter
  • whole grain crackers and sliced cheese
  • tortillas wrapped with cream cheese
  • toast spread with almond butter and honey
  • plain almonds and raisins and semisweet chocolate chips mixed together
  • almonds with dried apricots
  • lemony turkish red lentil balls
  • sloppy joes which include black beans with the ground beef
  • chickpea popcorn: Once the chickpeas are ready (either open the can or make the chickpeas so they are cooked through) then heat a pan on medium/ medium high with olive oil. When the pan is hot add one clove of garlic smashed and diced tiny. Also add some dried oregano or basil and saute until they start to “pop” and are smooth not chalky. Stick them in a bowl and enjoy.
  • string cheese, apples, carrot sticks and sometimes grapes
  • grain + beans + chopped hard veg + herbs + a little dressing
  • quesadillas
  • cottage cheese and pineapple
  • tuna with tomatoes
  • Rancho Gordo beans
  • mini bagels with cream cheese-nuts
  • cashews, pistachios
  • Cottage cheese with fruit

Save it for later on Pinterest:

Great ideas for things to put in your kids lunches that have a lot of protein and whole grains

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by GoGosqueeZ but all opinions are my own. #GoGosqueeZSquad