Book Review – Peace in the Pressure Cooker

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Patti Davis
Patti Davis

Peace in the Pressure Cooker
by Patti Davis

Oh, what a great book.  This is an easy read.  With a cup of coffee and a quiet house you can read this lil’ keeper in just a few hours.

What makes this such a good book is that it is so REAL, everyone can identify with Patti.  Not necessarily because you have ever experienced the hardships she has endured, but because you can identify with her as a girl, as a woman, as a wife, as a mom.  She has such a sweet spirit that comes through the pages of this book.  So much so that you can not put it down.

Patti has definitely lived through more than the average woman but she never fails to give God the glory for every good thing.

So, what makes this book such a gem isn’t that she has endured hardships, it’s because she has lived to tell about it and she tells about it with such grace.  Such grace that you feel like you are a personal friend of hers by the time you finish reading her book.

This book assures you that no matter what you may be experiencing right now, it’s not the whole story.  There is hope, there is peace.  You will find encouragement on the pages of this book.

I may have never heard of this book if not for the fact that I work with one of her sons and knew of the writing of the book for a couple of years before it was published.  I have had the pleasure of meeting Patti Davis a few times and believe me, you would never know of any of the things she tells about in her book from just meeting her a few times.  She does not live in a perpetual pity party, she lives life with vitality and is a down to earth, pleasant person to be around.

*********** below is from the back of her book********************
Patti Davis has experienced physical and sexual abuse throughout her childhood, two failed marriages to the same man who couldn’t give up his addictions, being a single parent of three children, being homeless at 53, a rare form of stage III breast cancer, and a near fatal auto accident that left her with ongoing chronic pain and a brain injury. You will be amazed with how God has brought to life the truths from 2 Cor. 4:7–9 (her life verses) through her story. You will learn how to equalize the pressures of life from the inside out—just like Patti did—and ultimately find “peace in the pressure cooker

link to Patti’s page

Enjoy a good book today

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2013 Christmas Puzzle

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This year’s puzzle, a nice little Thomas Kincaid picture.  This is one that we will have to frame.   2013 puzzle







Several years ago we bought a puzzle to work on during Christmas, little did we know that we were starting a new family tradition.

It has been our tradition now for several years to work on a puzzle from Thanksgiving weekend through Christmas or the end of the year.
We always call it our Christmas puzzle, but we are not always finished with it by Christmas.  So far we have finished each one by the end of the year though.
This year we finished on December 29th.

As the kids have gotten older they don’t have as much interest in the puzzles, however it is a relaxing way to spend time together even while watching a Christmas movie and when guest come over they always like to find a few pieces.  Not to mention that working on a puzzle can also be very relaxing.

We have framed of few of the puzzles through the years, but most of them live under our sofa catching dust while stacked on a their own sheet of poster board.

While moving furniture around last summer I was tempted to throw away the puzzles that have been stashed under the sofa but, oh no, the kiddos wouldn’t hear of it.  They have a lot of memories tied up in those puzzles.  Awww, now that conjures up some warm fuzzies here, so back under the sofa they went.

The sad thing is we didn’t put a date on a lot of those puzzles so we don’t really know which year to match with several of the puzzles.  Oh well, it’s okay.  We still had fun doing the puzzles and we continue to do them at least once a year.

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2013 Triangle Walk to Cure Diabetes

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On November 2, Krista and Adam Vick will be participating in the JDRF 2013 Triangle’s Walk to Cure Diabetes.  This walk is to raise awareness and funds for research and development for the millions of people who live with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D).DSC_0062

The funds raised for this walk will help fund critical research to progressively work toward finding a cure.

All funds raised will go directly to JDRF which is the largest nongovernmental funder of Type 1  Diabetes research.  Such research is complex and costly, and every dollar that JDRF is able to direct toward  research comes from donors like you.  Continue reading

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Marine Praying with His Bride Before Their Wedding

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marine and bride praying before weddingMarine and His Bride
Praying Before Their Wedding

I don’t personally know these people, I am simply reblogging the post titled Power of Prayer on tumblr.  I stumbled across this post while looking at some other sites.  I have to say it doesn’t get any sweeter than this and I just couldn’t help but to share this beautiful picture and her story behind it.
Get out the tissues and read this precious blog post from a bride about her before the wedding picture that was posted and has gone viral.

It sure does a momma’s heart good to know there are still these type of young men in the world willing to do whatever it takes to protect the purity of the one they love.

His momma must be so very proud of him, what a lovely picture of a Godly man and that sweet precious bride of his.  I know her parents are just gushing with joy that their little girl has such a strong Godly man to protect their daughter and raise up their grandbabies.

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A Cry From Egypt – Book Review

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I just finished the book
A Cry From Egypt
by the very talented author, Hope Auer.

  The book is a cry from egypt 10written for young teens, maybe even older teens, but can certainly be enjoyed by all ages.  I know many moms who have read the book and enjoyed it as well.

OK, I just happen to be a homeschooling mom, living in the same area as the author and her family.  Since Hope Auer is a homeschooled graduate it gave me an extra incentive to purchase her book.  I was not disappointed in her story. I love that this book is a Christian historical fiction book. I love historical fiction. In the preface Hope explains that the plagues and some other events really did happened, however Jarah, (the main character) along with her family and friends are fictional. Hope brings the characters to life and makes you feel like you really know them.

I love the way the author vividly set the stage and gave us believable “real -life” characters to pull together the story.  This is one of those stories from the bible that we have read so many times before, yet, when we read the bible stories or watch the movie of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt we don’t “feel” their pain because we are historically removed from the situation, so we glaze over it.  This book paints a beautiful picture of a young girl and her family and how they could have actually lived during that time.

Even though there are painful aspects such as slavery, whippings, and mistreatment it’s not so much that it is over-bearing.  You will also find family life, love, friendship, and hope in this story.

Thanks to Hope Auer for bringing alive this story of pain and turmoil under the Pharaoh, tragedy and triumph of the people, faith and hope in God.  I am looking forward to more vivid storytelling in the next book of  The Promised Land Series.

Without me spoiling the book for you, just know that it is a good book that brings fictional characters to life in a story you already know so well, but maybe never thought of it in quite so much detail.

Now with the glowing review it breaks my heart to finish if off by stating that there are several grammatical errors in the book.  I wish with all of the proofreading and editing someone would have pointed out the errors before the final print.  I’m sure they did find many spelling and grammatical errors that were corrected, but there are several left behind.  It is disappointing when I purchase a book and run across errors like this.  The author, editors, and proofreaders put in too much time writing, and rewriting, reading and re-reading, proofing and re-proofing trying to correct everything, so it is disappointing when reader  find errors in the printed copy.

Hope is young, she has a beautiful talent, and she is counting on others to help her along the way with this endeavor.  Someone let her down on this one part of the journey.
While reading this book I was set back many times by the misuse of the word “bring”.  Please, if you are proofreading, help the author by pointing out these type of errors.
The author is in the story, the point of reference may be different in her mind.
Rule of thumb  — bring is coming to the place where you are  —- taking is going away from the place where you are.  So when you are getting linen to the queen you are taking it to her, not bringing it to her.  That example along with several other bring/take errors should have been corrected before going to copy with this book.

It does not take away from the beautiful story, the story is the same.  It does however leave the buyer feeling a little cheated for purchasing a less than perfect product.
Proofreaders, editors and publishers need to be about perfection because they are selling a product.

Enjoy a good book today :)

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Our Second Homeschooled Graduate

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Cropped at NCHE picOur Second Homeschooled Graduate

Pomp and Circumstance is playing for Homeschoolers in every state across our nation.

We are proud to once again have a graduate of our homeschool walk across the stage to get that piece of paper that essentially says “Yes, I Did It!”

After 15 years of homeschooling we still get the two most asked questions.
#1, aren’t you concerned about socialization and #2, do you plan to continue homeschooling.  Really????????  Do I still need to answer those questions.

The third question, but not as often is what do they plan on doing when they finish school.  The answer to that question could change monthly, or sometimes weekly, but the honest answer in our hearts as parents remains the same.  It is our greatest desire to know that our kids love The Lord, and know how to treat others.  We want to know that they take seriously their commitments and follow through with their obligations.  We want to watch them grow into adults that strive to be whatever God has called them to.  We want them to seek God, and not seek approval from the world.

Same as with our first graduate, (several posts ago, look under Our first Homeschool Graduate) we have to say;
Yes, we are proud parents (aren’t we supposed to be)
No, it wasn’t easy (was it supposed to be)
Yes, it was stressful (isn’t every school)
No, she didn’t learn everything without any gaps (has anybody, ever)
Yes, she is a social being (and they were all so worried)
No, we don’t homeschool college
Yes, she had plenty of outside activities
Yes, she went to Prom
Yes, she has a job
Yes, she is attending college
No, we wouldn’t trade it
Yes, we are proud parents of 2 more kids in our homeschool and yes we plan to continue.

Our Second Homeschool Graduate with the 1st one

Our Second Homeschooled Graduate with the 1st one


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Fair Trade Coffee

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Fair Trade Coffee, or not; is it important? Why should we even care?  Is it important? There’s a lot of hype going around about Fair Trade coffee, what’s good, what’s not, and why. If you really enjoy a good cup o’ joe, and you want to be fair to those that sweat bullets to get the beans to the roaster then you may want to read an article on this page is more than a cup runneth over with details about Fair Trade coffee and other Fair Trade commodities. Not only does Global Exchange helps us understand a bit more about the labor issues and the environmental issues swirling from planting to harvesting coffee, but it shines a light on history as we consider the days of tenant farmers trying to make a living while being held back by the landowners.

I am a frugal person by nature, but I am also a believer that a workman is worthy of his wages; and do not want to see people taken advantage of for the prosperity of others and especially so we can have a decent cup of coffee.

You can get your Fair Trade coffee from most anywhere these days, not just your local yuppie coffee shop, but you can get it at your local grocery stores too.  Investigate the company that produces your coffee of choice and make sure that the company is reputable.

One such company is Tropical Traditions; you can order your coffee along with Coconut Oil and many other items.
If you order from Tropical Traditions, please use this link:

Thank you kindly, now go and enjoy a good cup o’ joe.


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Homemade Spaghetti / Lasagna Sauce

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Swift Creek-20130414-00289Oh So Good -
Homemade Spaghetti / Lasagna Sauce

Do you often wish you had your own Spaghetti or Lasagna Sauce in the cabinet or freezer?  I know you don’t want to buy sauce for 2 reasons, the price and the hidden ingredients.
You can easily make the sauce and freeze it or pressure can it.

It doesn’t take any longer to make a large batch than it does to make a small batch.
Go ahead, jump in.  Make about 10 jars at approx. 30 ounces each for about $15.00 (and that includes ground turkey)  probably about $10.00 if you want to make it meatless.

The recipe is easy and makes your house smell better than an Italian Restaurant.

Once you have this sauce made you can use it for Spaghetti, Lasagna, sauce for Pizza, Bread Sticks or Cheese Sticks and in any other dish that you would normally use a jarred store bought sauce.

Oh so good sauce with no MSG, NO HFCS and none of those added “extras” that you don’t want in your sauce.

The ingredients:
2 or 3 lbs ground turkey (optional)
1 large onion (diced)
1 whole head of fresh garlic (minced)
4  6 oz cans of tomato paste
5  28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
2  Tablespoons of Italian Seasoning
1 tsp Basil (for a little extra, I know it’s in the Italian Seasoning)

The recipe:
Start with a very large heavy pot or two regular large pots 6 quarts or so and
2 or 3 lbs ground turkey (optional)
I like to mush the ground turkey up in the pot with a couple of cups of water before turning on the heat.  The water/meat/mush gives you those tiny meat pieces instead of those large clumps. This lil’ trick works for ground beef too.  I just can’t stand those big clumps of meat in my sauce or chili and the water breaks it down and does the trick for making the tiny pieces.
Once you have browned your meat, drain it and set it aside.
Now in the pot pour some olive oil (or any other oil you like) and put in the onions and garlic, cook until translucent, add a couple cups of water and continue cook a little longer.
Pour the meat back in the pot and continue cooking and add the Italian Seasoning and basil.  If you have a very large pot you can now add the tomato paste and tomato sauce and  8 – 9  cups of water.
Your total should be right about 300 ounces, so you will have 9 or 10 jars with about 30 ounces each when you are finished.
I don’t have a pot large enough to put all of this in one pot. What I do is cook all of the meat, onion, garlic and seasonings in the pot then separate that into 2 pots (a large pot and a large crockpot) and then I pour in the tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water evenly between the two pots.
Let it come to a soft boil then turn it down to simmer and let it simmer for a couple of hours.
Sometimes I like to add a couple of tablespoons of sugar to each pot if there seems to be too much acidity in the tomatoes.  The sugar is optional.
I prefer freezing this sauce in jars. I don’t like the idea of canning with meat, but I know people that do it.  You can freeze it in any container of course, even in freezer bags.

Swift Creek-20130414-00284

This picture was taken after I had taken about 30 ounces  out for a pan of lasagna.


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Dump Starbucks or Not? UPDATED

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dump or not UPDATEDump Starbucks or Not?
UPDATED, read to the end

We got the word that Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, said that if you support traditional marriage that they don’t want your business.

Oh my word!!!! I already knew they were  preaching tolerance while actually practicing intolerance liberals, but I actually liked a cup of coffee from them.  This is where Howard Schultz needs to keep his mouth shut and just make sure his company is making coffee.  See, to actually come out and say “We don’t want your business” is totally different than personally believing whatever he wants to believe.  I’m not against whatever he wants to believe, that’s his right.  However saying “we don’t want your business” means exactly what it says, and it also means they no longer get my business.

After posting the above statement on my facebook page I got several comments about how Christians shouldn’t boycott and several directed me to this page:

Yes, I understand all of that, thanks for all of those who tried to educate me.

It’s not about a Starbucks boycott

I’m not in favor at all of boycotting a business simply because they don’t believe what I believe (I think I stated something to that effect in my post).  Heck, if I did that I would walk around naked and starved.  So would everybody else, no matter what side of the issue you stand.

I have friends who believe differently than I do, that doesn’t mean we aren’t friends.

This is about Starbucks CEO saying: If You Support Traditional Marriage, We Don’t Want Your Business.

It’s the We Don’t Want Your Business part that has me saying, well okay then, if you don’t want it you don’t get it.

That is honoring their request, not boycotting.

UPDATE:  Because Howard Schultz didn’t say exactly what was stated in the above articles.
If was after Tom Strobhar, a Starbucks shareholder asked a question about the past year’s decreases in revenue, that Howard Schultz answered,
“If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it’s a free country,”. “You can sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.”

You caught that condescending, it’s a free country and thank you very much, didn’t you?

After listening to the sound byte of the exchange, I would agree that Schultz seemed a bit intolerant of any Starbucks shareholders who opposed him.  Strobhar by the way wasn’t asking simply about return on investment he was bringing up the question and a concern over what was and still is a boycott by traditional marriage supporters that revenue has dropped.
Sound bytes can be found all over the internet for the exchange between Strobhar and Schultz, but the most informed one I found was at focalpoint where you can hear the question raised by Strobhar instead of only hearing the Schultz comeback.  At focal point Strobhar also explains in profit/ loss terms which shines a different light on the 38% mentioned by Schultz, but that’s a different story.
See/hear it at

Schultz said every decision is not an economic one and that Starbucks wants to “embrace diversity of all kinds,” The crowd went absolutely wild when he made that statement.  Really?

I previously stated, I already knew they (the company) were big talkers of tolerance talk while practicing intolerance to those who oppose them. That’s not to say that I think every employee in their company stands for what the head haunchos stand for. I know a few Starbuck’s employees that are strongly opposed to the value system up top, and have been told by their manager, that’s okay, just keep it to yourself, they don’t really know us anyway.

As I stated before, I am not in favor of boycotting based only on a difference of opinion, values, or belief.  The main reason I am not in favor of boycotting is that I believe companies are made up of people but do not represent all of the people in the company. Just because a CEO, or a spokesperson for a company lives a certain lifestyle, or believes a certain thing does not represent all of its employees and /or customers.
Companies need to just be about their product or service, not about building political platforms.

After first reading articles that I admit falsely quoted what Shultz said, and now listening to the sound byte, I have to admit that he didn’t say to customers that he doesn’t want our business.
However, as a customer listening to his exchange, and his demeaning manner and weighing his “every decision is not an economic one” statement, I have to wonder, if that was an implied statement to customers with opposing views. Is that why the media went crazy with the story that he said we don’t want your business?  Maybe, maybe not. The truth is that they don’t need our business.  CEO’s of multimillion dollar corporations don’t need to worry about losing business from several thousand customers. That’s no big deal. They don’t have to buckle under pressure from any group of customers stating they no longer plan to do business with them.  People will love a company or not, they will do business with a company or not.  Companies will lose a few thousand customers here and pick up a few thousand there. That’s why I say boycotts don’t work. That again is why they just need to focus on their business and not politics.

That being said, I have to ask myself, should I spend my money with a company that clearly sends a message of intolerance, who doesn’t value shareholders and thereby customers that have a difference of opinion or lifestyle?  Not a boycott, just wondering if I need to make more informed decisions.  We do all have to make decisions, where to spend our hard earned dollars.
So that leaves me right back to the first question:  To Dump or Not to Dump Starbucks?

A bit of good news about Starbucks; they pay their employees well, and they serve up fair-trade coffee.  I have read the books on how the company got started. It is an amazing story.
I personally don’t think it is the best coffee on the block, but the story of how the company got started is truly amazing.  It was about people, not profit, and certainly not politics, is an amazing story.  It makes me think about the fact that things grow and change and they should, but all growth isn’t for the best.
If you enjoy a good read get these two books.  Get Howard Behar’s book first though, because by reading his book first you really get a sense of the beginning of it all.

It’s Not About the Coffee:
Lessons on Putting People First from a Life at Starbucks
by Howard Behar

Pour Your Heart Into It:
How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time
by Howard Schultz

I would like to end this by stating that this is not about my stance for or against  gay marriage.  The older I get the more libertarian I find myself.  I know people in all walks of life, most are different than my own. None of us are perfect or blameless.

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Stomp on Jesus

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“Stomp on Jesus” is what the students were told to do, says one student from Florida Atlantic University.
You have got to be kidding me.
One student, Ryan Rotela, says it happened like this; the students were told to write “Jesus” on a piece of paper, put it on the floor and stomp on it.   Rotela, a junior in the class refused to participate and says he was suspended from the class for his refusal. Continue reading

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NutriBullet vs Juicer

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nutribullet vs juicer 5NutriBullet vs Juicer

Yesterday I made my Orange Blush Juice using my Jack Lalanne Juicer, which I love.
Today, I made the Orange Blush using my new NutriBullet, which I am getting used to.  Continue reading

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Orange Blush Juice

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Swift Creek-20130316-00242

IMG-20130316-00246Orange Blush


This is a quick and easy juice.  It takes just a couple of minutes to peel 1 grapefruit and 1 large or 2 small oranges.  Use one or 2 carrots.  Run those through the juicer, and there you have it.   A large glass of good and healthy juice.
2 minutes later  — 1 empty glass

Nutrition Breakdown:
Potassium = about 650 mg
Dietary Fiber = 10 grams (60%)
Protein = 4 grams
Vitamin A = 487 % (mostly from carrots)
Vitamin C = over 250% (mostly from citrus)
Calcium = 14%

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Kick Start Green Fruity – Detox Smoothie

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Swift Creek-20130302-00224

Kick Start your Day with a Nutrient Packed Good Morning Blended Green Fruity/Smoothie.  I like to call this one a “Fruity” instead of a smoothie.  Smoothie makes me think yogurt, creamy, hot summer day, or snack.  This one is more chunky with some “meat on it’s bones”, I can make a meal out of this one, so I call it a green fruity

Swift Creek-20130302-00220Ingredients:
1 small apple
1 small banana
1 cup of baby spinach
2 kiwis (which are always small)
1 cup of water   Continue reading

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Very Extra Large Egg

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big egg with border

Extra - Extra Large
WOW!!!! Egg

Picking up eggs this morning was just like any other day.  Getting the eggs while the girls are all around my feet wanting a treat is the usual thing.  Not until I noticed the size of one of the eggs did things get really exciting.          Continue reading

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Just a little thought for today.

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Before God gave Adam a wife

Yes, Girls, before planning to marry a guy know that he has a job.
Look for signs of stewardship, frugalness, and wisdom.
Know that he is filled with Godliness, self-control, moral character, and gentleness.

Just a thought for today.

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Ultimate made from scratch Chocolate Meringue Pie

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from scratch Chocolate Meringue PieUltimate from Scratch Chocolate Meringue Pie

You can make a homemade pie – quick and easy – from scratch. Continue reading

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Homemade Laundry Soap that Really Works

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laundry with border

Frugal Homemade Laundry Soap
that really works.

Make 5 gallons of Laundry Detergent/Soap. It’s so easy and FRUGAL to make your own laundry soap with just a few ingredients and a little bit of time.

I have tried dozens of homemade laundry detergent recipes and this one is by far my favorite.

Wash your clothes for about 5 cents per load

Ok, what you need:
1- 5 gallon bucket  — get one free at almost any restaurant
1 - heaping cupful of shredded soap
(use a natural product without the harmful chemicals)
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1 cup 20 Mule TeamBorax
a pot and some water

Optional ingredients:  Mela-Brite or other stain remover (laundry booster, or brightener), and glycerin

Directions: Continue reading

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Panko Crusted Oven FriedChicken

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panko chicken4

Panko Crusted Oven Fried Chicken

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
3 eggs beaten
1 cup milk
Panko Bread Crumbs
Italian Seasoning (optional)
Parmesean Cheese (optional)
small amount of cooking oil    Continue reading

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The Daily Juice

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juice - juicing juice - juicing 2

Juice for lunch  –

Make your own juice — fresh and ready for a quick and easy lunch.

Today’s lunch was a quick juice.
Just 1 mango, 1 kiwi, 1 apple, 1 orange, and 2 small carrots.

Throw it all in the Jack LaLanne Juicer and lunch was ready and healthy in just a few minutes.
Now when in the world would you ever sit down and eat that plate full of fruit or veggies?  Juicing is a wonderful way to add more fruit and veggies to your daily diet.

Go ahead, juice it up!
Share your juice inspirations too.

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FREE Kindle book: How to Manage Your Money When You Don’t Have Any

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How to Manage Your Money
When You Don’t have Any
by Erik Wecks
Free kindle download.
I stumbled across this free kindle download today.  I’m sure this is a keeper.  I have not taken the time to look at it yet.  I wanted to share this as soon as possible since I know the freebies ususally don’t last long.  Today is January 29, 2013 and I did download it today.  Hopefully you will be able to get it while it’s still free.



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Swift Creek-20130117-00085

Best Ever Coconut Macaroons

With just a few ingredients you can make your Homemade Coconut Macaroons quick and easy.  Got company coming, you can put these together in just a few minutes with a few ingredients and you have a great little dessert or snack.

Swift Creek-20130117-00082See, just five ingredients is all you need for the Best Coconut Macaroons you have ever had.
Don’t you love those light green colored eggs there? Compliments of our girls that lay those beautiful light blue and light green eggs.

I love Coconut Macaroons and have tried several different recipes and adapted recipes through the years.  This one is my favorite because of the outside crispness, the inside chewiness and that it is so easy and quick to make.

The five ingredients you need are:
7 oz. shredded coconut
2 egg whites
3 Tablespoons of plain flour
1/3 cup of sugar
1 tsp of almond extract
(almond extract is optional, if you don’t care for it you can leave it out and now you are down to 4 ingredients)
Put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Beat egg whites until stiff, (don’t over beat) add almond extract if you have it on hand and like it.  If not just leave it out or you can use vanilla extract.
Blend the dry ingredients with the egg whites until just blended.

Swift Creek-20130117-00084Scoop onto your baking sheet.  Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Watch them closely and take them out when they just start to brown around the edges.  Place immediately onto cooling rack.


Swift Creek-20130117-00085
This only makes about 15 macaroons, since I am the only one in the family that enjoys them, I don’t make too many at a time.  The recipe is easily doubled when I am taking them to a party or having guest.

If you have a macaroon recipe that you like, please share it in the comments section.


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Homemade Vegetable Soup and Homemade Bread

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soup and bread (2)

Homemade Vegetable Soup in your crockpot
and Homemade Bread

It’s a cold rainy day here in NC, so what better to have cooking in the kitchen than a good pot of soup and loaves homemade bread.

I have decided that I am going to use the crockpot more often this year.  I love the crockpot, I just don’t use it as much as I should.

Making homemade soup from scratch is easy to do.  Making from scratch means you scratch around to see what you have and use it.  It’s frugal too, especially when you don’t have time to go running off to the store to get ingredients for supper.
So let’s go see what’s in the freezer.  Here we have some corn, and garden peas, the pantry has a can of green beans and a can of crushed tomatoes, a few potatoes and an onion.  The refrigerator has a little bit of celery and some carrots.   Oh look, there’s a bowl with some leftover beans, that’s going in the soup too.
See just look around and use whatever you have on hand for your soup.  You can’t go wrong.
We are well on our way to a beautiful pot of soup.

First sautee the onion and throw in a little fresh garlic if you have some.  Then add that along with everything else to your crockpot, fill it with water and let it cook away for the rest of day.  You will also want to add salt, pepper, a little red pepper and any other seasoning you like.  Let it cook and simmer away in the crockpot making the house smell good while you sit on the couch eating bon bons.  :)
No, not really, now is when you need to be making your bread.
If you don’t have a bread recipe that you like just follow mine here.  It’s a good and easy basic white bread that goes great with everything.

Have fun and enjoy!


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Detox Smoothies

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I have been “pinteresting” again.  It’s amazing how 15 minutes can turn into 2 hours once I pull up pinterest.

Today I ran across a real jewel.  You know I love coffee, I enjoy smoothies, and juicing, so this one really caught my eye. Continue reading

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Breadless Breakfast Casserole

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Breakfast Casserole Makeover.  For years we have had that same old breakfast casserole, you know that usual breakfast casserole with eggs, bread, and sausage? No sausage for ours but you know the casserole that I’m talking about. 6 slices of bread mixed with eggs, milk, and cheese. Well, years ago we decided it needed a makeover.
We rarely have a big family breakfast.  On Christmas morning though we always do.  Since the Christmas season is already filled slam full of all the goodies that we love but don’t eat on a regular basis we sure didn’t need to start Christmas day with a bunch of bread in the casserole to go along with all the cinnamon rolls that we have.  So we decided to nix the bread.  Maybe that sounds a little bit boring but it’s really like a big cheese omelet with peppers and onions in a 9 x 13.  So if you like a good cheese omelet with peppers and onions go ahead and do the makeover.
Continue reading

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Crockpot Chocolate Peanut Clusters

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Peanut Clusters Chocolate Peanut Clusters

28 ounces of lightly salted peanuts (dry roasted works well for this recipe) you can use 2 jars of lightly salted or one jar salted and one jar unsalted.
12 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1- 8 oz. block of Baker’s brand German Chocolate (break it into chunks)
2 pounds of Almond Bark (white chocolate coating, break it into chunks)
Waxed paper      Continue reading

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Fudgy Bon-Bons

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Fudgy Bon-BonsAnother recipe from my friend Elise Johnson.  For more wonderful recipes from Elise go to  Her cookbook is a keeper too, don’t miss out, order yours today.


Fudgy Bon-Bons

1- 12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1- 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp pur vanilla extract
60 Hershey Kisses, unwrapped of course
2 oz. white baking chocolate chips
1 tsp vegetable oil  (I like to use coconut oil) Continue reading

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Elise’s Best Biscotti

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This recipe is from my good friend and talented chef Elise Johnson.  My daughter took a cooking class with Elise a few years ago and she has been baking and perfecting her cooking skills ever since (my daughter, not Elise). The Biscotti and Fudgy Bon-Bons, which are also from Elise are always top of the Christmas baking list. You can follow Elise on facebook by looking for Cooking with Elise, or go straight to her website Elise also has an awesome cookbook that I highly recommend.  Elise is down to earth, funny, talented, and an exceptional cook.  The title of her cookbook is
You Never Cook Alone
A Cookbook for The Well Fed Family
by: Elise Johnson

Now onto the promised recipe :) Continue reading

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Christmas Baking

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Fudgy Bon-BonsChristmas Baking makes the house smell so sweet that I think I gain a couple of pounds just from the aroma.  This year we are cutting back and baking just some of our favorites.  One of my girls loves baking, thankfully she gets more joy from baking and giving gifts of her baked goods than eating them.  Me, whew, I enjoy eating the goodies so we really have to cut back. Continue reading

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Make an Heirloom Christmas Tree Skirt

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Make an Heirloom Christmas Tree Skirt

In December 2004 I was waiting in line to get fabric cut to make a round tree skirt.  I was trying to figure out how much I needed to make it large enough and of course I would have to get enough to make it round and it would need to be hemmed.  Like I said I was waiting in line, it was a long line.  It hit me like a ton of bricks, get out of this line and go get a red, round table cloth.  So that’s exactly what I did.

I picked up some gold paint, gold glitter, and gold paint pen.  Do you see the theme I had in mind?
I was planning on getting the kids to go all along the hem line with their handprints in gold paint, then write their names with the gold paint pen, and put some gold glitter here and there out lining their names.  Continue reading

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Faux Bacon is in the house aka Turkey Bacon

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Along with celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, December brings with it all sorts of excitement.  We look forward to seeing family and friends that we don’t see very often, singing Christmas carols, watching once a year movies, wearing sweaters (ugly as some of them are) that can only be worn once a year. We hope for snow which rarely happens around here, we hope for cold weather at least but that often doesn’t happen either.  We decorate the house, bring in a tree, cook more than usual, certainly eat a lot more than usual, and just have a jolly feeling all in side.
In our house the thing that marks December is here, Christmas is near, is the sudden appearance of Turkey Bacon.
Yep, we can go all year without having turkey bacon, but we can’t make it through December without it.
The kids open the fridge and the first one to spot it usually yells, “Faux Bacon in the House” now we can get on with Christmas planning and celebrating.  Continue reading

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

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Chewy Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

1 can Pumpkin  (not pumpkin pie filling)
Before you get started you need to dehydrate 1 can of pumpkin in a pan over medium high heat to get most of the moisture out of it. — I like to do this step the night before, but you don’t have to Continue reading

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Pumpkin Smoothie

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Move over Egg Nog –
Hello Pumpkin Smoothie!

I’m sure that I am not the first to come up with this, but since no one shared it with me, and I didn’t find it anywhere else.  My lil’ mind says, “hey look what I thought of”.

I had some pumpkin puree left over from baking cookies, so I decided that a pumpkin smoothie would be good.
I put the ingredients in a blender for about a minute and I had a beautiful, creamy smoothie. Continue reading

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Almost Homemade Wickles type Pickles Recipe

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Everything you need for  7day Wickles

This is a recipe that has been around for many generations, and it is so easy to make.  I bet your Grandma has made this recipe.


First you start with a gallon jar of Sour pickles (not dill pickles, Sour pickles) Continue reading

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Remember, before – Daily reminder

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Green Smoothie

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It’s Green Smoothie time.  Yeah, it’s pumpkin time too.  Every season is green smoothie time. I do love pumpkin everything and I have several really good pumpkin recipes that I might get around to posting sometime before this season is over but for now, it’s green smoothie / spinach smoothie time

The best green smoothie is so simple to make.
Just put about 1 cup of apple juice in your blender (maybe a little more)
throw in a banana
toss in a handful of frozen mango
after all of that is good and blended put in a heaping handful of baby spinach

Yummo, Yummo, this gets a little green in my kids that otherwise won’t get near the stuff.  If you or your kiddos don’t like spinach, don’t worry, go ahead and try it anyway.  There is no spinach flavor but all the benefits.

The amount of the recipe above made three of these glasses.

This is a great snack or even a meal on the go.

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Hauling off the Trash to Save Money

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Hauling off the Trash
You can save $200 -$300 a year by hauling your own trash to the landfill.

I mean literally hauling off the trash. We live in a rural area, we are not in a sub-division and we only live a couple of miles from the landfill which we drive by often.  So all of this makes perfect sense.
By the end of December last year our yearly payment to the company that we used to pick up our trash was due for the next year.  We paid yearly so we could get a free month.  The costs was $250.00 per year.  Now that’s not too much for the convenience of having someone come by every Tuesday in the wee hours of the morning to pick up the trash.  It’s like having a trash Ginnie and the job was done before the light of day and we were good to go again for a week.  Continue reading

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2012 North Carolina Voter Guide

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2012 North Carolina Voter Guide.

What’s on your ballot?
Check out your ballot before heading to the polls.
Go to the link and put in your address, then get your ballot and learn more about your candidates.                                                                      2012 North Carolina Voter Guide.

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Biden’s bizarre question to father of Navy SEAL who died in Benghazi attack.

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Say What?????
Ok, I know I said I’m just a passive politicker, but I just can’t believe the nerve of this guy.
He said WHAT??????
Oh my word, Mr Woods should get the opportunity to take Joe Biden “out behind the barn” for this one.
Somebody please put a muzzle on the guy before he makes himself look like a fool…. oh wait.

‘Did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?’ Biden’s bizarre question to father of Navy SEAL who died in Benghazi attack | Mail Online.

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Words of Wisdom from your Momma

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(great sign: I don’t know where it came from or who made it)

A couple more that somehow didn’t make the cut

#22.  My mother taught me about PHYSICS,
“Do you want to see me turn this car around?”
#23.  My mother taught me about SELFLESS GIVING
“This hurts me more than it hurts you”

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Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil

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I just ordered my Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil.  They have a Buy One Get One Free special going right now.  Plus Free Shipping for using the code 221211.
The code expires at midnight on October 25, 2012.  So hurry, get your order in.

For more information about Tropical Traditions and Coconut Oil, visit their site:

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Even if you don’t have a tendency toward finding / purchasing Made in USA products, you can still support your locals.

Shop your Mom and Pop stores, look in the older downtown districts for those Mom and Pop locations.  Go to Craft Fairs and Flea Markets, ask around if you are new to your area.
Look for and frequent your local independently owned and operated businesses.

You can always find fresh local produce.  Continue reading

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Made in the USA “List”

Are you concerned about the lack of American made items you can find in your local stores.  You will not find very many in the big box stores. It is depressing and the only way to combat this is to take action.  It is time for Americans to demand American made products. Bring jobs back to America.  We need to stop being held captive by the manipulation of currency by China and Japan.  Let’s put America back to work. Build manufacturing, build economy. Take Action Now: Our actions speak volumes. Start now shopping as much as you possibly can for American made products. Search your hometown or home state and find products made “at home”. Continue reading

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Teaching your child to read

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Learning to read can be fun and it can be quite a challenge for both parent and child.  If your little scholar is ready to read, then go ahead and teach. If little munchkin is not ready don’t push.  Hey, who said they have to read by the time they are the grand old age of 5.

One great resource any parent can easily use is “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons”.  Continue reading

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Benghazi terror attack, yes or no? Video to blame, yes or no?

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Say What??
Benghazi terror attack, yes or no?  Video to blame, yes or no?

Yeah, What did they say? Can’t they get it straight? First they blamed a video, then they said that they didn’t blame a video for the 9-11-12 attack.
Get it straight now y’all. Continue reading

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Bread that doesn’t mold. Really?

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While standing in line at the grocery store yesterday, I overheard the lady in front of me declare wonderful news about her bread.

She said to the cashier, “this is the best bread I have ever had” after a little chitchat back and forth with the cashier the lady stated the reason she likes this bread.  She stated:  “I can have this bread on my counter for 3 weeks without it molding”  Really???? Continue reading

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Not funny “math problem”

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Not funny, not cute, not math. Diabetes doesn’t come from what you eat. It comes from the fact that your pancreas no longer produces insulin. Just like ignorance there is no cure for diabetes.

Yeah, I have to admit that when I ran across the post-it picture that so many people thought was funny it set a fire within me. No, all sense of humor hasn’t been lost but making fun of a life altering chronic disease just isn’t funny.  I have to wonder if people who make funny jokes about diabetes also make funny jokes about cancer or down syndrome or the many other epidemics we are faced with in this day and time.

Just pondering,

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Backyard Chickens vs Hawks

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Chickens + Hawks = Trauma in the flock.

Do you have free ranging backyard chickens?  If so, you are always worried about hawks, and dogs, and any other critter that might make it into the yard and cause havoc among the flock.

Flight Netting could help with issues that may arise.

We have lost a hen  here and there to a hawk or a dog.  Always a sad situation. A couple of months ago though we had a relentless predator in our yard that would not let up.  We are down to 11 chickens from the 27 we had just a couple of months ago.  Most went missing without a trace, and a few were left behind after the killing.

We do prefer free ranging chickens over those in a run or pen.  However, since the recent attacks hubby put up flight netting over the run which has been a good addition.  Most days now, we leave them in the run area so they can be out and about but under the covering of the flight netting.  On days that we know we will be home most of the day we will let them out and let them run around the yard having a fun time scratching and pecking.

Hubby wanted to make it easy for us to enter the run area so he put a  3″ x 8′ PVC pipe  in the ground in the center of the run.  Then we put the netting across that and pulled it to the edges of the run and  stapled it to  that all the way around.

So far it has worked well at keeping the flock safe.

Flight netting is inexpensive as well as the PVC pipe.

Hope this helps you work through a situation you may be having in your Backyard Chickens vs Hawks.

Have a Happy Henhouse


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So Much Curricula – Only 13 Years

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So Much Curricula – Only 13 Years

Are you an overwhelmed Homeschool Momma, looking at all the choices and have no idea which way to turn?

Getting started with homeschool you actually wondered where you would get books and curriculum.  Now you know there are more choices than you could have ever imagined and your head is spinning because you don’t know what to do.

OK, slow down.  Take a deep breath.  I know, I know, you go to church with Sister Suzy better than you. Sister Suzy is using the XYZ Continue reading

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Hatching Baby Chicks

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Hatching baby chicks, naturally.
No incubator needed.

baby chick 1 hour

Hatching Baby Chicks is a lot of fun and excitement for the kids, and adults too.


How do you know when you have a broody girl:
She will not leave the nest, when she sits in the nesting box she is in a flattened out posture, she steals eggs pushes them under her and will squawk and peck at you for trying to lift her.  No worries, she can’t really hurt you even though she tries, unless she gets you just right to draw blood when she pecks at you.  Don’t worry about that drawing blood thing, it’s unlikely, wear gloves if you are worried.

Taking care of Broody Hens:
When you have a broody hen you will want to separate her from the others.
OK, now that you know you have a broody girl you are probably noticing that when you go out to collect eggs there are fewer than before, most likely she is rolling the eggs from another box to her own because you see, you have been collecting hers everyday while she has been trying gather her clutch.  Now is the time to let the sweet girl be a kleptomaniac and give her 8 – 15 eggs.
You can also collect eggs for her and hold them in a cool dark room and give them back to her when you have gathered as many as you want.

When the incubation time is ready (the eggs have been collected) You need to move her to a quiet and comfortable place away from the others.  The other girls have a way of getting jealous over the momma to be.  The others will wait for her to leave the nest the one time a day that she does and try to go in and attack the eggs.

A large dog crate is a great place for a broody hen sitting on her eggs.  We put it right on the back porch so we can keep a good watch on her.  fill is with some nice clean pine shavings, we hang food and water feeders on the door, and in the back of the crate we put a cardboard box that has a bottom just a little smaller than the crate, and we cut it down so it’s just about 2″ – 3″ high and put shavings in it too.
Now lil’ momma has a nice quiet, shady place.  We do lock her in when we aren’t out there watching her.  That isn’t so much to keep her in but any other critters out.  We open it in the morning and let her run out in the yard if she wants to, but most often she isn’t leaving that crate.  She has enough room in there to get off her nest to poop which she only does once a day, and it’s easy enough to scoop it out to keep the crate clean for her.  She only touches the food and water the once a day that she is off the nest.  We like to give her the option to leave the crate though and once in a while after she’s been in there for over 2 weeks she will venture out for just a few minutes.  She doesn’t get too far from the crate and keeps a watch on it all the time.

If you are using a dog crate, which we have found to be a wonderful little hatching house make sure to use a large one.  Hang the food and water on the wire door so that it doesn’t get spilled.  Use chick starter feed for her because she doesn’t need the extra calcium in the layer feed, and you will also need the chick starter feed for the chicks.

Mark your calendar for 21 days, it could be longer because she may not have been finished collecting her clutch so it may take her a day or two to realize that she has all the eggs she going to have for this clutch.  The 21 days doesn’t start until she is sitting all but a few minutes a day on the eggs. Usually by the time you have discovered she’s broody and she has collected eggs and you get her moved to her quiet place you can be pretty close to the 21 days.

On the 21st day be ready for the excitement, amazement, and the thrill as you watch your little momma’s baby chicks arrive.

Another advantage to using a dog crate is that you can take the top off and let the kids watch.  Lil Momma does not mind, just don’t try to handle her.  When you see the newly hatched chicks if they still look wet, dont’ touch them.  Let their momma take care of them.  After they begin to fluff out in an hour or so you can handle them.  Don’t over indulge the kiddos by letting them handle the chicks too much and make sure hands are washed before and after handling the chicks.

What to feed the chicks:  Use a started feed, which momma already has because she didn’t need the extra calcium while sitting on the eggs.  The chicks may not eat for 2 or 3 days so don’t worry, Momma knows exactly what to do.  It is totally amazing to watch as lil momma takes a little food out of the feeder and puts in before the chicks and shows them what to do.  It is exciting to watch the chicks at about a week old climb on momma’s back and start to play around in the crate.  At about 2 weeks Momma will want to venture out but the chicks need to stay in the crate for another couple of weeks.  You can let her out and let her roam the yard for a few minutes while you watch the babies and then let her back in the crate when she comes back to the door.  When she takes the babies out for the first tour, you will really want to have your video camera ready because it is so sweet to watch her guide and protect them and then return back to the crate in just a few minutes.

As the days go on momma will want to introduce her little ones to the flock, if you have a free range flock you can move the crate from the back porch to underneath a shady tree and watch them.  A few more days and momma will take her littles right into the run and coop with the others.
Since the chicks aren’t big enough to get on the roost yet, momma will gather them in a nesting box and either stay with them at night or she will return to the roost after gathering her littles in one nesting box.

If you have never had the opportunity to watch a momma hen and her chicks, you will want to make it happen.  Spring is the best time of the year, so be watching those girls and hopefully you will get a broody one.
If you have kiddos in your house this will be the most exciting spring/summer event for them.

Have fun hatchin’

baby chick             3 days old baby chicks 3 days old


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White Sugar – White Flour Fetish

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Just so that I am perfectly not misunderstood on my healthier choices statement.
I publicly admit to having a White Sugar and White Flour FetishContinue reading

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