Hanging out with AG

Our family loves when we have the opportunity to hang out with Ashli Grace.

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K loves being a little Mama (check out MJ photo bombing off to the right), G loves playing with her and cooing over her and MJ, well, she loves to torture her.

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MJ is not a huge fan of sharing me with anyone, including Adam. She pushes the kids off my lap and when Adam and I dance in the living room she stands in between us and screams. She is such a sweetie (insert sarcasm). She really is a great kid but she still thinks it is all about her. So AG would be sitting up playing and MJ would come over, steal her toy and then proceed to sit on top of her. I don’t think it hurt AG (MJ only weighs a pound more) but most kids don’t like other kids turning around, sticking their butt in their face and sitting on their lap.

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I love the innocence in MJ’s face here; “What? I didn’t do anything.”

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They did play a little and then MJ would become interested in things she could poke her finger in; AG ears, nose and mouth. AG loves it, right?

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Don’t worry AG, I would look at her like that if she stole my toy too!

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We had a great time playing with her and having a baby in the house again. Plus it is nice being able to bless Debbie with a much needed break. Enjoy the pictures!

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I had to post the following picture because G and MJ look like twins here.

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Life with 3 littles

I haven’t posted pictures of the kids lately so I thought I would post an update. K is such a fun-loving kid and definitely keeps us on her toes with her questions! Last week, she “decorated” the living room. She loves maps, so it wasn’t surprising that she made the map the center of the room.

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She is a ball of energy and even when she is sitting (not often), at least one part of her body is moving. She loves to climb trees, play in the dirt, cook and help Adam on the farm.

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I noticed during school last year that K was squinting when reading. She wasn’t on our vision insurance in 2014 so the first week in January this year, we took her to the eye doctor; especially when she started complaining of double vision and headaches. It turns out, like her daddy, she has a pretty significant astigmatism and she is farsighted (I had to look it up to understand). Here are 2 quick stories to help you understand. The day after she received her glasses she said to me, “Mama, before I had my glasses when I looked at the light and then at you, you looked blurry. Now I can look at the light and then look at you and you look clear.” She also said, “Everything is so big!” When we left the eye doctor she was over exaggerating her steps (it was quite hilarious) because her eyes had adjusted so well to the astigmatism without glasses. Now with glasses, everything looked extra large to her. A curb looked like a mountain. While it has been a struggle to keep her glasses on her face, she loves them!

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Little man had his first trip to the barber shop with his Grandpa. Here is G pre-haircut:

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He thought it was the coolest thing! I have always cut the kids’ hair and Adam’s hair as well. He came home and told he got his hair cut at “the barbeque shop.” Man, I love that kid! He looks so handsome. He loves the shirt he is wearing in the 3rd picture. He says to me, “Mama, do you know what my shirt says? It says DIRT MAGNET!”

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He has such a great imagination and he talks non-stop. He likes to play with guns, trucks and transformers. Like any boy should, he loves to get dirty and dig in the dirt. He likes climbing, jumping and ramming himself into things, especially me. I have figured out that it is one way he shows affection. He will just run as hard as he can right into the back of my legs and then hug me.¬† He keeps us entertained for sure! He is also a very sweet child. Multiple times a day he walks over and leans in to me and says, “Mama, no matter what I will always love¬† you.” (This is a phrase we use after they are disciplined). It is so precious when he says it to us.

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MJ is tiny little ball of energy. She is so petite but she has quite a personality. She is a child that knows what she wants and she will let you know! She talks a lot too, just like her big brother and sister, but most of it I have no idea what she is saying. She is very petite and very fast. In the last week she has become attached to one of K’s baby dolls and during that time she weaned herself. It has been a difficult transition for me but she is happy and growing up.

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It is difficulty capturing pictures of all 3 kids, mostly because MJ doesn’t sit still for long. We are so thankful at how well the kids get along. They play so well together and the older kids miss each other when they are apart. Minus slight bickering, they really are best friends. It is a sweet relationship and I am blessed to be a part of it. MJ has recently learned to smile during pictures so enjoy!

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K was reading the Bible to them; it was very sweet to watch and listen.

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Some days are hard but every day is rewarding. We are so blessed for these rambunctious kiddos. They are a constant reminder of Christ’s love for us. They teach us patience, humility, forgiveness and how to laugh at the little things.

 

 

 

All you need is…..SLEEP

It has been a long and eventful weekend around here. My cousin’s wedding was on Saturday in Live Oak, FL and we were all prepared to attend. Last week, the kids came down with a cold which kept us up at night with coughing children. By Friday, we were exhausted and K was still coughing all night. We decided that Adam would stay home with K and I would take the younger kids to his brother’s house in Marianna so I could attend the wedding and visit with family. Nice plan right? Well, MJ wouldn’t let me leave her sight so G stayed and played on Saturday with his cousins in Marianna and MJ and I took a road trip to Live Oak. It was such a blessing to attend the wedding and see family we aren’t able to visit with often. I did my best to keep my eyes open and to pretend I had a little bit of energy! We returned home late Saturday night and we rested most of the day yesterday. So today, since Adam is off, we were busy catching up with things on the farm. Adam started building a greenhouse last weekend and finished it this weekend. He is busy preparing a new area for the chickens, along with shelter, so we can give our 1/2 acre pasture rest and recovery the next few months. I was busy inside preparing sourdough bread, kombucha and making laundry detergent. Now the kids are sleeping and we are taking a few deep breaths before they wake up full of energy! Enjoy the pictures!!

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I don’t have a picture of the front finished, but you get the idea. We have our spring seeds in soil cubes inside the nice and toasty greenhouse!

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The kids were so exhausted. This is how they slept all the way home. G didn’t seem to mind that MJ’s foot was slammed in his face.

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The beautiful Mr. and Mrs. Dustin Woods

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These are all of our family from the Ft.Meade area. It was great visiting with everyone!

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Sausage anyone?

A few years ago my parents bought us a KitchenAid mixer. I have to say, it is the most used kitchen appliance (and most well made too). We have slowly added attachments to use with our mixer. We bought a grinder and sausage stuffer last year. We have used the grinder several times for grinding rabbit and pork to make burgers but we had never tried to stuff our sausage. We finally ordered sausage casings (when we send our next 2 hogs to the butcher, we will ask for the intestine lining to make our own casings). Adam ground 2 rabbits and added some pork from the ribs of our last hog (her names Easter). He also added salt, pepper and herbs from the garden. We let it sit in the fridge for a few days and really soak up the seasonings. Here are some pictures of us stuffing our first homemade sausage!! It tasted so delicious and we had plenty to freeze for later.

Here are the pork ribs. The first step was to soak the casing and rinse it with cold water.

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The next step is to carefully thread the casing onto the KitchenAid attachment.

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One person had to push the sausage through and the other person needed two hands to tightly stuff the sausage into the casing and twist it off each time we needed to start a new piece.

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Finished product!

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Whole or quartered? Feet or no feet?

Last Saturday we finished butchering our latest flock of broilers (chickens we raise for approximately 8 weeks for meat). We had 5 left and Adam enlisted my help since we pluck our chickens by hand when we’re unable to use the gracious services of our friends’ chicken processing equipment. Typically, we use shrink bags to process and bag the whole chicken. The bags keep it airtight and it looks professional. I asked Adam if we could quarter the last 5 chickens before we bagged them in order to have more quick meal options without having to thaw a whole chicken. It usually takes between 12-24 hours to thaw our whole chickens depending on the temperature in the house. He graciously accepted to quarter them I am excited to have these bags in the freezer for different recipe options! We now have bags of wings, breasts, thighs and chicken tenders.

 

We have beautiful whole chickens!

We have beautiful whole chickens!

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Since I always make broth from our chicken and rabbit carcasses, I took advantage of having 5 chicken carcasses and I added the 10 chicken feet to the broth as well. Chicken feet add natural gelatin and if you are buying your whole chickens from a local farmer they might give you the feet for no extra charge. It never hurts to ask! With some fresh herbs, celery, onion and carrot I simmered the carcasses and feet for 12+ hours and the aroma in the house was delightful. I have been able to bless people all week with this healing broth. I hope everyone is able to make or purchase bone broth; it is delicious and has many healing qualities! Stay away from the store bought broth if you can. It is loaded with sodium and additives and the taste doesn’t even compare. If your kiddos are not fond of drinking straight broth here is a little trick: make rice and use bone broth instead of water. Not only does it make the rice so much more tasty, it ensures your little ones are getting the nutrients they need for healing and gut health. Happy simmering!

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