2017 Year in Review!

I blinked… And, then an eternity went by!

This past year had its fair share of challenges, but looking back it wasn’t all bad. The kids are growing like little weeds and they are the light of my life. Gwen has developed her own little personality and is quite the character. She is a joy and her brother adores her. Harrison had an eventful year… trips to the ER, dental surgery, T-Ball, and started wrestling class. He’s my favorite little dude and I’m so dang proud of him.

Here’s our 2017 in less than 2 min. Enjoy!

Gwen Turned 1! (two months ago)

Better late than never, right? 😉

It feels like it was just yesterday. Where does time go? I mean, really? Time needs to slow down. I can’t keep up. One day I’m telling the husband that our little family of 3 was soon to be 4, and then bam…. she’s here. And then, she’s sitting up, crawling, collecting 6 teeth at once, eating like a freight train, finally walking, and oh yeah… stealing my heart every chance she gets.

Can’t even begin to describe the love I have for her.

Her namesakes, Great Great Grandma Gwen & Grandma Kathy would be so proud. I know I am.

Do Babies Dream?

I sure wish I knew. She seems so peaceful when she sleeps. Usually. I would like to think that she’s having good dreams, as it appears she’s having in these examples below…

       But then there are those rare occurrences where out of nowhere she will let out a scream like something out of a horror movie. It’s unreal. But once she hears my voice all is is OK in her world. And mine. 😘

Sweet dreams, Gwen.  Always. 💜

Hen & Rooster Love Lost

Well, I don’t know how else to describe it other than there is certainly no love lost between one of our hens and our rooster, Spartacus.

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Pretty obvious which one Spartacus is, right?

Spartacus is a Light Brahma, which is a large breed of chicken. (Yes, named after the great and mighty Spartacus!) Let’s just say sometimes he likes to assert his size. A lot. On all of “his girls”. There’s this one hen, an Ameracauna we call “Dirty” (because she looks like she’s covered in dirt) that he likes a little more than the others and I think she’s had enough.

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“Dirty”

For the past 4 nights, she’s decided that she didn’t want to go into the coop at dusk with the others. Instead, she’s decided to find solace on our deck very close to the house. The first night I noticed this, an opossum decided to make an appearance scaring the absolute crap out of me. And of course, this was on a night that my husband was working. So what do I do? I grab the air pellet gun and blast that sucker. That thing was gross! Well, Dirty didn’t let me grab her to take her to safety and instead perched on the clothesline, and there she stayed until morning. I felt horrible that she was out all night, especially since it was raining, but what was I to do? I could barely reach her and she wasn’t budging. Then, the following 3 nights she’s perched herself on our grill or deck furniture at dusk. However, unlike the first night, I allowed her to rest and then gently picked her up and walked her to the coop where at least she’d be safe from predators although I suppose she views Spartacus as a predator now.

I know this because my husband and I have both noticed she ventures away from the rest of the flock, she hangs out on the deck a lot hiding, and when we do scurry her away and towards the flock, Spartacus lets her have it. A lot. And, it’s rough. It’s tough for me to watch. Yes, he’s large, but I don’t think he’s too large for them, is he? He “likes” all the hens and this is normal behavior from what I’m told, but maybe she’s too old and can’t take it anymore? We adopted her from a friend who had already had her for a couple of years so she’s at least 3 years old. Is it time to send her to chicken heaven? Should I let her stay on our deck if that’s where she feels safe? Should I get more hens to even out our flock? Currently, we have 12 hens and Spartacus. With it being spring we were planning on getting some more pullets anyway, so maybe this will work itself out.

It should be known that Spartacus is a really GOOD rooster, the best we’ve had. He’s gentle with our son. He doesn’t chase our dogs, and vice-versa, and he really does look after his girls. Except Dirty. 😉

Farm life. Gotta love it!

Advice appreciated!

St. Patrick’s Day, 1 Month Old, and Sweet Moments

Our family doesn’t get too worked up with the “smaller” holidays, i.e. Valentines Day, National Doughnut Day, or even St. Patrick’s Day. Well, maybe National Doughnut Day 😉

However, there was this onesie that I had to buy and of course, get a photo of Gwen wearing, even if it was only for 10 min before she spit up everywhere. 🙂 So, here is my obligatory picture of her wearing her green attire. She wasn’t having it. Funny, I know.

Gwen on Luck

A holiday I do celebrate and want to always feel like I go overboard for… my children’s birthdays. While 1 month old isn’t necessarily a birthday, it’s a milestone, I can’t believe my little girl is a month old already! Time FLIES! She’s already holding her head up pretty well, and now letting Mommy sleep up to 4 hours at night. Yay! Hey, it’s an improvement. The occasional bursts of “cluster feeding”… that’s another story. I plan on doing a monthly picture of Gwen until she reaches 24 months. It’ll be nice to be able to look back on her growth over her first 2 years. I’ll more than likely put all the pictures in a montage and frame it. 🙂

So, for the 1st monthly pic:

Gwen - 1 month

Last night, after feeding her, I spent some extra time for cuddles. I love cuddles. I know she does. It was nice to just chill, and with a 3.5 yr old bouncing off the walls most of the time, it’s hard to find time to relax with the baby. So, I get in my quiet cuddles when I can. My heart melts at how sweet that chubby face is and how much she’s grown in such a short period of time. Don’t grow too fast too soon, Gwen! She was teetering back and forth with falling asleep, and of course, I had to capture it in photos.

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Today, the three of us went out on a lunch date. My son’s favorite place = Sonic! No complaints here. He decided to get in his exercising and he ate like a champ, which isn’t an easy feat. He’s “too busy” to eat most of the time.

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And to cap off the sweetness factor, after we got home my son says he wants to hold his sister. Obviously, I wasn’t going to pass up this moment, or photo op. He really has fallen in love with her. It’s hard not to be.

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So, that was our last two days. Until next time!

 

Spring has Sprung!

There’s a little more color on the homestead lately. And I love it!! I can’t wait until everything is in full bloom. My allergies on the other hand, maybe not so much. It’s the season for planting and sprucing up, but with the new baby I’m not sure what I’ll get accomplished. And that’s ok. We’re here to stay. There’s plenty of time. (Trying to convince my ocd self that)

The longer days are awesome. The gorgeous, non-humid weather is great too. No complaints from the E Family homestead!! 

  

How to Add a Social Media Bar to Your Blog 

When I first started blogging, it was about the same time as Twitter exploding and then Pinterest. Like a lot of other bloggers, I wanted to be able to add a social media area to my blog to direct people to my other sites, but for the life of me, I could NOT figure it out. This was around the same time that I was becoming more and more knowledgeable with HTML and CSS coding in general. But, this seemingly simple task had me stumped. Finally, many years ago, I finally figured it out so I thought I would share with those who may be interested. To clarify, this is to show your followers where you post in the social media world… it is not for having your followers share to their social media sites.

First, you’ll need to find the exact social media buttons/images you want to use. There are quite a few websites that offer free downloads of high-quality images, but here are two of my favorites:

  1. designcrazed.org 
  2. www.vandelaydesign.com

** Once you’ve found the icons you want to use, save them to your computer. **

Whether you use WordPress.com or Blogger, the next step is essentially the same. You’ll want to add a “Text/HTML” widget to configure your social media bar. The intention of this tutorial is to have your social media bar set in your sidebar or “widget” area. See an example of mine below.

Social Example

Page example

The widget is aligned at the top of my sidebar, however, you can place yours wherever you’d like. Just be sure to add the coding below in a “Text/HTML” widget (Blogger & WordPress.com).

  1. Once you have the icons you want to use, plan ahead on how you want to line them up and in what order. I’ll leave that up to you! 🙂
  2. You’ll want to host the images with an image host such as PhotoBucket or Postimage.org. I prefer PhotoBucket. This is so your images are able to have a link associated with them so they can be used and sourced. This is how I learned so that’s how I am sharing. 😉
  3. After you have uploaded the social media icons/images you’ve downloaded, copy the “direct link” from your hosting site for each image. It will start with “http”. Copy these codes in notepad, stickies, or word, etc., just for the time being so you can easily get to them in the next step.
  4. Gather your social media site’s link for your profile page, i.e. the page you want your viewers/followers to be directed to. Copy/paste them into notepad, etc. for the time being.

As you’ll see from my media bar, I have 4 places where I’m social. You may have more. You may have less. The code listed below can be customized to meet your needs. NOTE: Copy the code EXACTLY as it’s listed below and edit with YOUR info.

<div style="text-align:center;">
<a href="http://twitter.com/USERNAME">
<img src="DIRECT LINK FROM IMAGE HOST"
title="Tweet Me @USERNAME!" /></a>
<a href="SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILE PAGE">
<img src="DIRECT LINK FROM IMAGE HOST"
title="PHRASE FOR THIS IMAGE" /></a>
<a href="SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILE PAGE">
<img src="DIRECT LINK FROM IMAGE HOST"
title="PHRASE FOR THIS IMAGE" /></a>
<a href="SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILE PAGE">
<img src="DIRECT LINK FROM IMAGE HOST"
title="PHRASE FOR THIS IMAGE" /></a></div>
  • You’ll need to change what is in BLUE text to your info.
  • Do NOT omit the ” “. These are necessary.
  • Only change the details within the ” “.
  • I did mine 2 across by adding a <br> after the second icon. Cater this to your liking and width availability within your widget. Simply omit or add the <br> as needed. Add it immediately after the entire code for the image to be right justified.
  • You’ll notice I have phrases that appear when you hover over my images. You can customize this phrase to your liking, but I would keep it simple.
  • Essentially, the coding above is 1) the link to your social media landing/profile page, 2) the link to the image you downloaded and then hosted, and finally the 3) Phrase
  • Don’t alter this code or it may not work.
  • Don’t create or omit any spaces or it may not work.
  • WordPress.com will update your code in real time, so you’ll be able to see your media bar in action.
  • Once it appears as it should in your widget/sidebar, click save and voila!

ENJOY your new social media bar!

If you have any questions or if you run into any problems, let me know. I’m happy to help!

~April