Farm Life, Uncategorized

Start Your Clucking Empire: A Mama Farmer’s Guide to Raising Backyard Chickens

So you’ve watched way too many Reels about owning your own chickens and have decided it’s time to get your own. Let me tell you, had there been Reels around when we started this whole chicken farm at our house, I’m sure it would have made us do it, too. Fortunately for me, I have a husband who loves farm life, so he convinced me via bringing to Tractor Supply and then showing me how we can get them mailed to us.

So now, every spring, it’s like Christmas when Meyer Hatchery sends us a box of chirping fluff balls. And let me tell you, nothing beats the thrill of a call from the post office saying, “Your peeping parcel is here!”

So where to start? Let’s get the basics. Please note that I am giving advice that I have learned, I’m self-taught and we live in New England.

Essential Gear for Beginner Chicken Owners

Here’s a quick, no-fuss list of what you need to build your own backyard coop.

  1. Coop: First things first, your feathery friends need a home. You can start looking on Facebook Market place, buy plans online to build your own, or surprisingly, you can order them right off Amazon: I’m serious, click here! You want enough room for 1 box for every 2-3 chickens.
  2. Feeding/Watering: Chickens, like us, love their food and water. Invest in a good feeder and a waterer. If you live where the winters get cold, you’ll also want to get a water heater– unless you enjoy cracking ice at dawn. I prefer feeders you can hang, so they don’t get wood chips or poop in their food or water, but you do what works for you.
  3. Bedding: Get some straw or pine shavings. Chickens aren’t picky, but they do appreciate a cozy bed. Your local Blue Seal or Tractor Supply will have what you’re looking for and is likely the best you’ll find for pricing.
  4. Feed: Start with a high-quality starter feed, and then transition to layer feed as they mature. You can give your chicken veggie scraps later, but not while they’re chicks. Your local Blue Seal or Tractor Supply is best.
  5. Warmers: You can add a heat lamp or panel heater for those chilly New England winters. But remember, we’re warming chickens, not roasting them. And it’s not necessary, chickens are hearty and if your coop is insulated well enough, you don’t need to add the extra heating source.
  6. Predator-proofing: Unless you want a fox-led chicken heist, secure that coop! Latches, fencing, and keeping an eye on them is your best bet. We allow our chickens to free roam our property, so we have a goose to protect them, but that may not work for you. Chicken wire is a great start to fencing in your gals.

Where are the eggs?

Now, for the golden question: when do the eggs start coming? If you go with a breed like Plymouth Rock, prepare your egg baskets around the 5-6 month mark. Expect around 4-5 eggs per week per chicken. All breeds are different so do your research on what breed you’d like to have. Egg color, size, and chicken temperament are all different.

What now?

Raising chickens is fun. It’s not just about the fresh eggs (though they are a bonus); it’s about connecting with these quirky creatures. So, embrace the peeps and poops, the early morning wake-up calls, and the endless supply of eggs. Welcome to the flock-tastic world of chicken farming!

And remember, if your partner starts looking at chicken catalogs more than usual, brace yourself – your flock is about to expand!

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Life With Kids, Uncategorized


It’s officially cold. My flipflops are put away and I’m wearing a jacket every morning, which, if you know me, means it is cold out. It also means, it’s time for us to put away the fall books and refresh our nighttime book stack for stories about snowflakes, snowmen, and snuggly animals.

  1. The Snowy Day (Ezra Jack Keats): This timeless classic captures the simple joys of a snowy day. The beautiful illustrations and gentle storyline make it a perfect read for little ones discovering the wonders of winter.
  2. Bunny Slopes (Claudia Rueda): We love this book because it’s interactive. You can shake, tap, and turn the book to follow the storyline. There’s also a few other books in this series, but this is our pick for winter.
  3. Ten on the Sled (Kim Norman): This one is super cute and a great way to work on numbers as ten friends tumble off teh sled one by one. Lots of rhyming makes it a fun read.
  4. Walking in a Winter Wonderland (Based on the song by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith, Illustrated by Tim Hopgood): The illustrations in this one are gorgeous and a really beautiful way to bring this song to life.
  5. Little Owl’s Snow (Divya Srinivasan): This guy is so cute. Little Owl experiences his first snowfall and all the curious wonders that come with it. This book is great for teaching about the changing seasons and the beauty of nature in winter.
  6. Bear Snores On (Karma Wilson): In this charming story, Bear sleeps through a party in his den. Various animals gather, enjoying food and company while Bear snores on. It’s a heartwarming tale of friendship and fun. It’s one of our favorites.

Do you have other books that make your winter book stack? Share yours in the comments.

Remember, every link clicked and purchase made supports our reading journey, so thank you for your support!

Life With Kids, Uncategorized

Best Night Light Options For Toddlers

We have recently learned that toddlers do not, in fact, like the dark. Who knew?

Ok, for real though. We know we are not the only one struggling with littles who won’t stay in their beds. Sure, you can use wall plug ins, but we’ve found that’s not quite enough for our kiddos.

Here’s what we’ve found works for us.

  1. Glow-in-the-Dark Stars: A nostalgic pick for many parents. Stick them to the ceiling, and give your child a mesmerizing starry experience every night.
  2. Squishy Touch Lamps for Kids: Great for children who like being in charge. We really love the squishy ones because our littlest likes to take it into bed with them. The USB charged ones we find are the best and we don’t have to waste batteries.
  3. Year-Round Christmas Lights: This one was because my bonus child was having trouble at night when she was six. We had some Christmas lights laying around after the holidays and she’s kept them up since.
  4. Bedtime Projector Nightlights: This is one of our favorites to calm down at night. We usually grab some blankets and pillows, lay down and put one of these on. We really like this one that you can play music with: Projector NightLight.

Seeing our kids in distress is never easy. So I hope some of these options help!

Bedtime Projector Nightlight

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Toys to Burn Off Toddler Energy onn Rainy Days
Life With Kids, Toddlers

Toys to Burn Off Toddler Energy on Rainy Days

Rainy days and toddlers. Together, they make me go crazy. With two under four, I’m constantly trying to find ways to get their energy out.

If your little rascals are bouncing off the walls and the weather is less than delightful, I’ve got a bucket full of activities to help get that energy out. Here’s my magic list, each item handpicked to keep the fun flowing indoors:

The Floor is Lava with Toddler Steppingstones: Get creative and challenge your kiddos to move from one side of the room to the other without touching the floor. Toddler steppingstones are a hit in our house. They can be arranged in countless ways, ensuring a new challenge every time! These ones are our favorite because they stack for easy cleanup: Balance Stepping Stones.

    Little Tikes Indoor Trampoline: Okay, this was a game-changer for us. Perfectly sized for toddlers, it’s their very own jumping paradise. Safety barriers ensure they can bounce away to their heart’s content.

    Blow Up Tents: My boys are obsessed with this one. Their grandfather got them one and all you need is a box fan. Yes, we have the barn one, its our favorite. And it can be put up and down in seconds. Throw a few books inside or ball pit balls, and its loads of fun. This is the one we have: AirFort Blow Up Barn.

    Dance Parties: Throw on some catchy tunes and let loose! Not only is this a great way to get moving, but it’s also a surefire way to get some giggles out. Plus, it’s FREE. We usually luse tunes from the Laurie Berkner Band. “We are the Dinosaurs” is always a hit!

    Keepy Uppy: Blow up some balloons and use them for a gentle game of catch or volleyball. The slower motion of a balloon versus a ball gives those tiny arms and legs a good workout. Anyone Bluey fans?

    DIY Bowling: Set up some empty water bottles in a hallway and use a soft ball to knock them down.

    Bubble Wrap Stomp: If you’ve got some leftover bubble wrap, lay it out on the floor and let them jump and stomp on it. It’s strangely satisfying.

    Rainy days don’t mean fun’s canceled. With a bit of creativity and the right gear, your house can be a hub of giggles, jumps, and delightful memories. Happy indoor adventuring!

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