Our Backyard Chickens Part 1

One thing we really wanted when we were house shopping was a nice sized yard for us to have a garden and a chicken coop.  So when we found this house to rent, you can imagine our excitement when it came with both!

We couldn’t wait to get some chickens to fill our coop.  We have never been pet people, so getting chickens was a HUGE commitment for us.  

We traveled out to a feed store, Wagon Train, in Orange to pick out our new pets.  We drove through amazing horse farms to find this store, and we were not disappointed when we arrived.  They had baby chicks, baby goats, baby quails, and baby bunnies.  We were lucky to only leave with baby chicks.

Here are the first two we picked. 

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Wendy (named after a character from Peter Pan), on the left, and Bunny on the right (rightly named since she is an “Easter-egger”)  

Bunny I picked because she looked so cute, and Wendy because she had one solo feather on top of her head.

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Who knew chickens could be so fun??

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We only took two chickens that  day, because they only had a couple breeds in stock, and I felt sure I needed a variety of fancy chickens.

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It was hard to catch an action shot, but you better believe those chickens went down the slide, over, and over again.

Also, they poop, A LOT.  We went through so many baby wipes during chicken playtime.

The following week, we would get two more chickens.  

To Be Continued….

Apple picking

Taj and Mommy picking apples

This past week we took our fall traditional trip to Julian, CA, in north San Diego.  It is an adorable and picturesque little town, full of apple and pear orchards.  This year we went to Raven Hill Orchard.  We picked the loveliest apples from their dwarf trees.  And ate the whole bushel in 3 days, yes, they were that good!

Kai and Daddy picking apples

Julian is also home to some amazing apple pies!!  This year we were in the midst of the 21 day Restoration plan so we didn’t get to indulge as usual.  But hopefully next year!!

While in Julian we went on the Julian train, super fun, educational, and dirty (as in actual dust and dirt).

It was such a joy traveling to Julian for the first time as a family of four!

 

A real live space shuttle!

Space Shuttle's Final Flight

If Kai has any memories from early childhood, I sure hope this is one of them!  Everyday, this child sees an airplane and asks if its a “space shuttle.”  We look at space flashcards, we watch the airplane movie that shows planes carrying shuttles, and we play airplane/rocket/shuttle all day long, so to get to see a real live space shuttle in our own backyard was so fun!

I wish I had a video of his reaction, it was so sweet!  He cheered, he clapped and he raised his arms.  He was so patient waiting 45 minutes (flight was delayed) for it to fly over, and was so excited when it finally came.  The plane was flying really low, and had two jets to the rear of the plane.  People were out all over the place!  Bigger crowd than the fourth of July.  Feels so nice to be apart of something so “American” and see people rally together.

This picture does not do the experience justice!

Why you should be drinking kombucha

The groovy picture of my “cute baby SCOBY” has seemed to cause some confusion, so I thought I would help clarify. 🙂

Mama SCOBY

For about 6 months now we have been brewing a “super elixir” called Kombucha.  People who have never heard of kombucha always ask us “what is it?”  and I never explain the same way.  But according to Wikipedia, “Kombucha is an effervescent fermentation of sweetened tea that is used as a functional food.” So there you have it, fermented sweet tea, which is fermented with a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast).

Until writing about our kombucha brewing, I wasn’t aware of how “controversial” kombucha can be.  If you read sites like the mayo clinic, it will tell you kombucha isn’t researched, not approved by the FDA, blah, blah, blah…a bunch of haters.  However, when I read about the benefits of kombucha…this is what I found….

Kombucha contains:

Acetic acid, which is mildly antibacterial

Butyric acid, suppresses inflammation in the gut and other tissues (http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/12/butyric-acid-ancient-controller-of.html)

B-vitamins, support cell metabolism aka: energy

Gluconic acid, helps fight yeast infections such as candida and thrush

Lactic acid, essential to the digestive system

Malic acid, helps the body to detox

Oxalic acid, encourages cellular production of energy

This is the best summary I have found on how kombucha works….

“The bacteria in the intestines can be divided into two main types;1 the less acid-forming bacteroides are responsible for the decaying matter in the colon; elderly people tend to have more gastric disorders; these stem from a low hydrochloric acid production in the stomach, creating more room for fungi and parasites to take hold; bacteroides are encouraged by a diet high in fats and proteins.

The more acidic ones, called bifidobacteria, are more beneficial because they produce essential organic acids, such as acetic, lactic and folic acids, which raise the acidity of the intestines, preventing invading pathogens from taking hold. In addition, by keeping down the bacteroides population, they discourage the putrefaction from becoming toxic. The bifidobacteria are favoured by a diet high in carbohydrate, fiber and lactose-vegetarian food and are more common in individuals who were breast-fed as babies. They are also assisted by drinking Kombucha tea” (http://www.anahatabalance.com/teakombucha2.html)

Happy Brewing and Drinking!

Summertime

Fortunately, our summers in Southern California are pretty mild near the ocean. Most days we complain that its not hot enough. Lately, that is not the case. We can’t stand being inside it’s so hot. Naps can only be done with fans blowing directly on you, and you still awake a mean and sweaty mess.

Here are a couple pictures from our outside, post-nap cool-down play.

 

Playing with his new helicopter

Kai’s first Birthday Party (for his 3rd Birthday)

This year was Kai’s first Birthday party. The first two years we decided not to have big parties for him because he a.) did not care and b.) cried when people sang “Happy Birthday.” With that, it seemed like a waste of efforts. However, this year was different. Kai understood the privilege of having a birthday and being the guest of honor at his party. So….we finally threw our first Birthday Party for Kai!
With Kai’s love for planes, trains, and automobiles, we thought a party at Goat Hill Junction would be just perfect. We had two hours to ride the model trains with our friends, eat cupcakes, and let toddlers and preschoolers run wild. What a fun day it was! Enough writing, here are the pictures..

The Birthday Boy

Getting ready for the party! I actually found some time to make Kai a shirt for his party.

The homemade treats!

My first attempt at homemade fondant, for 4 dozen gluten free chocolate cupcakes.

The kids all took home train whistles and conductor hats that were wrapped up in a bandanna.

I managed to capture the Birthday Boy long enough for a quick picture.

Grammy riding the train with the Birthday Boy

It was a great day!  We are so blessed to have so many sweet friends to help us celebrate.  Kai had such a great time and his friends gave him some awesome gifts, that we are enjoying everyday!

Some of our pictures are not real great, however my friend Kasie posted a blog here with some great photos.  She got a cute family photo of the 4 of us!

What’s for dinner

Since the beginning of February, we have been strictly following a paleo/no processed foods diet.  A lot of people, like ourselves, initially find the idea intimidating.  But after giving it a chance, we love it!  Its the best diet ever!  I don’t feel like there is really anything we miss.  At first I had no idea what to cook but after a little internet research we found some great recipes that have quickly become staples.

A first favorite is Chocolate Coconut Stacks from PaleOMG  These are fantastic, and Kai calls them “cookies.”

 

Another from PaleOMG is their Caramel Pecan Bars  We have been known to eat these till we’re sick….

 

Now for some real food favorites, our friend Denise has a new grain and sugar free recipe blog called Edible Harmony.

We just tried her Not Potato Salad the other night, complete with her homemade mayo.  Who knew that’s where mayo came from?  Super yummy and filling, we ate it for a few days.

And in case you miss rice on this eating plan, Denise has lots of yummy “rice” recipes with again, cauliflower…what an amazing vegetable. 🙂

The Mexican Paleo rice is one of our favorites.  Sorry, no pretty picture for this one, but follow the link for recipe.

Happy Healthy Eating!

This post is dedicated to Helen Grayson, a cooking inspiration and queen of the Cusinart.

 

 

Confessions of a dumpster diver

I guess its about time we told someone.  We sometimes take things from the trash.  This may sound crazy to most people, but people in Southern California know that everyone here is wasteful and you are sure to find something valuable in the trash!  So among all the bottle/can collectors you will also find us.  We have lived in apartments for the last 7 1/2 years.  And in every place we have lived we have scored some awesome things from the trash.  For example, clothes, electronics, books, housewares, etc.  All of these finds were good, but just recently we found the ultimate find…a model airplane!

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Sure, it was a little banged up and had a cigarette but inside, but it didn’t kill our excitement.  

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Fixing things with duct tape is such a redneck stereotype….so we used clear packaging tape. 

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One dive and a few inches of tape, provided hours of fun.  Now that is a success story.  

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Remind me to post later what I got from the dump a couple days ago! 

Kai turns 3

It has been 3 quick years since Kai Michael Day has came into our world and made it even brighter.  

His third birthday has proven to be a lot of fun and worth all the efforts!  This year he was able to sing “happy birthday,” blow out his candles, and unwrap his gifts (well mostly, he was not sure why it was okay to tear up all that paper).  This was also Kai’s first birthday celebrated as a big brother.

 We also had a special guest this year, “Peepaw” (aka Grandpa Russell).  

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The day was spent playing with new gifts, eating hotdogs (birthday boy request), eating Strickland’s homemade icecream, riding rides and playing games at Boomers, and of course finishing the day off with some Susie Cakes.  

Pee Wee’s Hot Dogs  The Hawaiian Dog with grilled pineapple with mango salsa was amazing!

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Oh, and he insisted on wearing the sticker on his shirt. 

Next was Boomers

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And of course Susie Cakes!

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What a fun day!