Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Growing Pains...sometimes they affect the parents more than the kids.

Yesterday I did something that I have been trying to avoid for quite a while. Yesterday we had to go and get Evelyn's hair cut. A few months back, Evelyn decided that she needed a new hairstyle and cut a rather large chunk out of the top of her hair. Thankfully it was in a spot that could be "fixed" until it could grow out. Well a few days ago she decided that she needed to try again; this time she was more determined to get a new look.This time she choose to go all the way to the scalp in several places, at the top of her head, on the side of her head and in the back. Luckily many of the places can be hidden. She was just thinning it out, right?

 I tried to fight it for a couple of days, but then reality set in and something had to be done. We went to the salon and because of the type of hair style she went with I fully expected to have to get a very short boy type haircut. She did such a "good" job with her styling, that we couldn't even do that. Her cuts went so close that there was just no way to recover from them and any style would have looked chopped up. At that point I relied on the expert advice of the stylist and she shaped it into a cute little bob.

 As she started cutting, the stylist asked lots of questions like is it hard to watch all her long hair go? Her daddy must be sad to see all that beautiful hair get cut off...Yes, it was hard to watch. Yes, her daddy is very disappointed to see it cut. Yes, I really miss seeing her long flowing slightly curly hair blowing in the wind, but it is really cute and it will grow back...hopefully. For now this is her new look. And I love it, too. She is such a sweet happy girl and this hair cut really brings out that bubbly personality that she has. I do miss it, but it is just hair, and it will grow back...until the next time. Something tells me this is preparation for a scary future of questionable hairstyles as a teenager.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Chicken Trauma

Today is a sad day for us. More of our chickens have been taken.
I can not even begin to tell you how sad, frustrated, and angry this makes me...I don't know what to do anymore. It makes me so sad that we have not been able to protect these guys. The whole point to this is to have happy chickens who are given a happy life and collect happy eggs, and eventually when they come to the end of their lives, we have happy dumplings, gumbo, or stew.

On a chicken swap page we jokingly talk about chicken math. Many people talk about how they started and suddenly they go from 5 chickens to 100 chickens within a couple of weeks. ..well our chicken math is more of a subtraction thing instead of an addition thing...well it is an adding and subtracting thing for us. I keep adding chickens and life seems to keep subtracting them for us.
It seems that we have had to start over almost completely every year because of predators that surround our area. Mostly we have had trouble with dogs, from the neighborhood, as well as strays just passing through. This year we have also added raccoons and a fox to the list.

Today three more chickens have been taken...and now we are down to two young pullets, three laying hens and a rooster.
We started out this year with 23, lost some to some mysterious death, put some extra roosters in the freezer, bought new chicks to add to the flock and brought it back up to 21, lost 12 of those, got an incubator and hatched 11, 1 died, sold 3 and lost 6 of the 7 that were left, added 2(still have these), hatched 11 more, one died. These are currently in the house and I really don't want to send them out in the world.

 We have been at this raising chickens thing for almost 4 years now and it seems like every fall we are whittled down to a handful of chickens and have to start completely over in the spring. Our goal is to use our chickens in a sustainable way, having young hens for eggs, eating the extra roosters and the older hens, and hatching out new chicks for future seasons. So far we have managed to have 6 roosters for ourselves, and enjoyed, shared, and sold lots of yummy eggs, but sadly for the most part all our hard work and effort has gone to the predators surrounding our property.

Most of the pictures were some of the really nice chickens and the great ducks that we have had and lost. Some days I just want to quit, not worry about continuing to purchase or hatch more chicks only to feed them to whatever is lurking around the yard and ready to strike.
Some of our options is to get a guard dog of our own, but the issue is we don't have a fence and don't want to have a dog that will roam the neighborhood. The other option we have I just don't like because it means that our chickens will be contained. Part of the joy of having them is that they are allowed access to the yard to graze and clear our property of weeds and bugs and also supply us with lovely rich eggs full of nutrients because they are free range.
This will also mean building a larger, stronger enclosure that is also predator proof...can we say chicken prison. Really, chicken prison is not an option to me; I guess this means back to the drawing board. I'm starting to feel a bit like Wiley Coyote trying to outwit that the Roadrunner.

I'm not sure what the solution will be...there will be a solution.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Life Lessons...Connecting with the Natural World

We don't have a proper farm, by any means, but what we do have does give us a glimpse of living that life, by keeping chickens and gardening, with to possibility of adding to our "farm" in the future, keeping bees, and possibly having other types of animals. This allows us to be a part of something bigger and open up a whole other world for our children. Our world has become so detached from the natural world because of hectic lifestyles and the advances of technology.

In thinking about our school year officially starting up soon, I have been thinking about all the lessons that our children will have in all of the subjects provided in the books that we study in each year, and realized that what we are giving to our children beyond the books, is really beyond compare. I truly love our homeschool life no matter the challenges, setbacks, struggles; it is truly a blessing and a gift to be able to explore life with our children and learn and grow together, not only in knowledge, but also in faith, family, spirit, and community.

In living a "farm: life" we also give our children the knowledge of where their food comes from and keeping them in touch with nature and the importance of that balance.

This week we have new chicks hatching. Of some of the lessons learned in the process patience is the biggest.
Chicks take twenty one days to hatch...the waiting is horribly excruciating, even(especially) for me. We haven't learned to candle the eggs yet so we have been having to wait the whole twenty one days to see what happens.
Yesterday they began to come out of the eggs and so out of eighteen there are eleven.

 This clutch of chickens hatched almost two days late which added to the stress of hatching. The next biggest lesson is disappointment. Knowing that death is part of life and it is natural, it is still a very difficult thing to handle. Some eggs just never develop for whatever reason, but it is still so hard to sit and watch the unhatched eggs and realize that it isn't viable.

You move on, though because the next lesson is caring for something smaller than you. These little guys need lots of time and attention. They have to be fed, given water, kept warm, and kept clean. It teaches responsibility, charity, and dedication. Animals are also a great supplemental education tool for teaching science and math.

During hatching the kids and I have to chart the progress and make sure that the variables are at their best. It is also a game of percentages when the eggs hatch because you never know how many will actually hatch for what ever reason. The egg development and life cycle(we haven't figured out candling, but there are lots of pictures out on the internet of the development of a chick) is amazing and fascinating. The other thing that I came across recently in the science of hatching eggs is the genetic aspect. I loved this as a kid. It is amazing to me how the different traits being combined can create new and wonderful(or sometimes not so wonderful) differences in living things. One fact sheet that I found touched on a few of these things and it was great to share it with the kids.

Funny story that got me searching for information. One of the chicks after being taken out of the incubator and put in the brooder box, still only a couple of hours old and still slightly wet, stretched his neck, flapped his little wings, and let out this little "reeep". I knew instantly that I had to see if it was a girl or boy. So I searched for wing sexing and decided to try. From what I could tell according to the previous fact sheet mentioned he is a boy. I was amazed that at that age he was already showing rooster traits. I can not even begin to describe how adorably cute it was I wish I could have gotten a video of it. So needless to say having a mini farm is a wealth of investigation, exploration, and learning opportunity.

Do you have a hands on lifestyle for your children? What are some of the opportunities that you give your children a chance to explore with?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Stuffed Zucchini Squash

Yesterday I came home from our local CSA,Yokna Bottoms, distribution with some great goodies; dragon beans, purple green beans, a variety of peppers, eggplants, a great big bunch of basil for pesto, but the highlight of this pick up was the cutest squash I have ever seen. They were eight ball zucchini squash. I picked out 6 that were about the size of baseballs intending to do something with them for supper since Friday night is one of our meatless nights(at least we try). So here is what I did with them. I should have taken pictures through the process, but forgot.

I scooped the inside out and chopped it up finely. We happened to have a barley pesto salad that I had made a couple of nights previously so I decided to use that and added the chopped zucchini to the barley, then I started going through the fridge to see what could be added and found some feta cheese, colby jack cheese, purple and white onions, and bell peppers. I chopped all the vegetables up finely, and added all the ingredients to the barley pesto. each zucchini cup was then stuffed with the mixture topped each with a pat of  butter and put in the oven and baked. The tops that were cut off were also saved and baked on a separate pan. I baked them for about 20 minutes.

 I served these with a salad that had cucumbers, peaches, and grapes(it's what we had in the refrigerator at the time). These came out really good, so good in fact my two picky boys asked for seconds and one asked for thirds. They were little gooey cheesy bowls of goodness. I will definitely be making these again. Just like so many of my other recipes, it will be very versatile and can be stuffed in so many different ways, I can't wait to try a new filling.

What would you stuff in the great little bowls?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Another School Year is on the Horizon

So in the next couple of weeks we will begin our next school year adventure. This year we will officially have four of our five children in some type of learning experience. Our oldest will be entering Eighth Grade it is amazing to me that we are on the edge of High School, like the tide coming in and lapping at our feet. We are trying something a little different this year. This year he will be enrolled at a school, have support from teachers and a counselor, and he will be accountable to someone other than just us for getting his work done and assignments completed. Because of the idea of high school looming we want to make sure that he has transcripts and that his knowledge base is well rounded.

Our younger children will be entering the third grade, kindergarten, and pre-k 3. I am hoping that the focus of their year is full of adventures in learning and integrating lots of real life lessons that will back up the things that they learn in "books" this year. Charlotte Mason has a wonderful way of learning and teaching that I would really like to incorporate into their school year.

We will try to document some of our learning this year along with our other projects and happenings at the Zerangue Homestead. Lots of things happening this year and new changes coming up this year, with home improvement, farm changes, lots of garden expansion...stay tuned to watch us grow and change.

Oh and...our new addition!
No not another baby, we've adopted a dog.
Meet Scout

What do you have in the works for your families this year?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Farm Trouble

 We are slowly trying to build on our sustainable lifestyle, and as you all know we have chickens. Well the last couple of weeks have been very difficult. We recently hatched out our first set of eggs in late June. Last week 6 of the 7 that we had were attacked and eaten out of the coop. We secured what we thought was the weak spots on the coop and run and the next day we discovered that we were wrong and there were other weak areas that needed to be fixed...and lost 3 laying hens. 

While fixing the coop Matt had to chase down a fox in early afternoon that decided to grab one of our hens and try to run off with it. The story of the fox actually has a funny side...our cat chased down the fox too when he saw Matt going after it! Kind of unbelievable, and I wish I had been able to see that. He is a really cool cat, a great mouser, and squirrel hunter! But chasing down a fox...that's pretty cool.

For now we have fixed the weak spots and the chickens are protected again, the one chick we have left has a new friend to keep it company until they are big enough to go into the coop with the others, and we have more eggs in the incubator getting ready to begin a new life. It is really hard to lose chickens, from a financial standpoint, because of all the time, care, energy, food, etc, that we put into raising them, but also because even though they are livestock and have a purpose we really do love them and they each have a distinct personality and being able to watch them grow and provide for us is a really wonderful and enduring trait. Each one is named, each one is loved and each one is remembered. 

In the last few weeks we have also been talking about adding goats, probably just 2, to help with the brush, overgrowth and neglect of the property. We have been here for almost 4 years now and clearing out our overgrown woods is proving to be a very daunting task. We keep toying with the idea of getting help of the furry sort, but losing goats would be so much harder to deal with than losing our chickens. There are so many issues, like fencing, a guard dog, keeping our pets/animals in our yard, keeping other animals out of our yard, and doing it all without killing them or having something kill ours. It is a balance, just like everything else in life.
I don't know what it is about this year, I have seen more wild animals this year than ever before, hawks, owls, squirrels, rabbits, deer, fox...I love nature and love that all these animals are hanging around our house, and woods. It is great to know that our woods are alive. We even have a honey tree! I want to respect and preserve the balance that we have, but I also want to be able to control what lives here.

So in the spirit of balance we have decided to re-home these guys when we catch them instead of killing them. There is a wonderful National Forest not far from our home with lots and lots of place for them to live happily...and I don't feel guilty of cutting his life short.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Helping Hands

I truly love these days, the days that my little ones ask to help out. It doesn't happen often, and when it does it is usually to help out in the kitchen. Most of the time I am too busy, distracted, or frustrated to have them "help" me out, then I feel really bad about not including them. So the other day, while the older two boys were out with friends I decided to let these guys help. No, it wasn't easy and they really didn't listen very well, but they helped, they had fun doing it, and we will be doing it a lot more often. We were making Old Fashioned Banana Cream Pie. They squealed with delight when I told them they would be cutting up the bananas for the pie. The very idea that I allowed them to use a knife was so exciting for them, all of a sudden they grew up before my eyes, concentrated on their task and the seriousness and focus is just too cute. Chores, keeping the house clean, getting the kids to willingly help out and keep the house running smooth has been very difficult over the last few years, so with a new school year just around the corner and me needing to focus on planning.
This day of help has really made me think about how to structure our new year, and lots of hands on learning will be incorporated this year in the form of Home Economics course for all the kids. My husband recently came across a post that recommended 10 minute cleaning sessions which sounded promising in getting them to learn gradually and hopefully begin to, dare I say, enjoy the idea of a clean house. I wish I could remember the site it came from it was a great article. My favorite part was the idea that fun things could be added to the "jar of chores" one might pick 10 minutes of reading instead of a cleaning chore. She wasn't very specific about how many times she did this, but I am thinking that if we could get a total of 30-40 minutes of cleaning per day even if it isn't a perfect 30-40 minutes a day it is better than the close to no cleaning per day that we usually get, right?

We are still working on becoming a family that yells less and loves more and I think that this trial run of restructuring our life will only help to make that a reality. Update: We are still striving to have a week free of yelling and honestly I don't think it has happened yet, but we have had a few days in a row that were free of yelling and any progress is progress. We will keep working...

The Banana Cream Pie was wonderful by the way...and on a side note do you see the amazing bowl of big beautiful tomatoes that came out of our garden.

How do you calmly include your children in daily tasks in your family....

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Pecan Pie

I love pecan pie! It is one of my all time favorites. I used to like making pecan pie too, but my husband didn't like eating the pie that I would make because it wasn't his Grandmother's pie. The regular way was too sweet and sticky to him. So for several years I would try to work on it and figure out the right texture and consistency to make one that we both like. Tonight it finally happened!

Pecan Pie
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup of sugar
3 eggs slightly beaten
3/4 cup of corn syrup, honey, or other syrup
2 1/2 cups of ground pecans(I left some larger chunks so that it wasn't too finely ground and had no chunky texture)
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Soften the butter, cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs and blend well. Next add the syrup and vanilla and stir to combine. Stir in the pecans and mix until they are evenly incorporated into the mixture. Pour into the pie shell and cook for 40-45 minutes. When the pie is puffed up it is ready to come out of the oven.

One thing that I did differently was to use brown sugar Rapadura, actually instead of white so the pie is darker in color, and has a little more of a molasses flavor in it.

In the future I would like to experiment with other syrups to see if substituting honey, sorghum, maple, or molasses, would be an option over corn syrup. I know it's still dessert, but if we can make even small adjustments, it will be helpful in our overall health.

This was a great pie! Try it and let me know what you thought...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Chickens: Results from the first hatch.

So here they are! Our new brood. 10 chicks out of 12 eggs all healthy happy and thriving so far. There is one Copper Maran, a couple of Copper Maran/Australorp, a couple of Copper Maran/Easter Egger mixes, and possibly a couple of Copper Maran/mutt chicks. 

The whole group

Sunshine our Copper Maran
Add caption

What projects do you have hatching this summer?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Successful Hatch!

Success! This was our first attempt at incubating eggs. It is/was a very exciting and anxious 21 days! Early this morning our first baby chick was born, and since then at least 3 others have broken their shells. This guy is active, curious and running around the incubator like crazy pecking at everything he sees.

 Most of these should be Olive Eggers. It will be very exciting to see what we end up with. Two are Copper Maran eggs and I really hope these make it through the hatch.

I will post progress over the next couple of days:
We have a poll going in the family on how many eggs will actually hatch. We have 12 total.
Matt 4
Jacob 5
Michelle 6
Noah 7
Nathan 8
Evelyn 10

Evelyn  is very optimistic,  and I am hoping she is right, but I guess I can't count my chickens before they hatch, lol!

Friday, July 5, 2013

New Salad Creation: Fruity Summer Spinach Salad

Tonight's supper lead to the creation of a new salad. It was a really light, yummy summery salad to go with grilled salmon. We don't often eat fish, when we do it is usually a treat. Tonight Matt decided that grilled fish of some sort sounded good. I looked up several recipes for a salad to go along with it for a light side dish and salad was what I thought of, but couldn't find what I I improvised.
There are several salads that have strawberries and spinach and it sounded good so we started with that, then I cut up a couple of peaches threw in some blueberries, added a cucumber and made a dressing with red wine vinegar, poppy seeds, and honey. On top to add texture and crunch I added some toasted pecans. It was sweet, tangy, fruity, and well just plain delicious! It was a great side dish for the fish also.

Fruity Summer Spinach Salad

Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves
1 chopped cucumber
6 chopped strawberries
1-2 peaches
handful or two of blueberries
Broken  Pecan pieces roasted in butter

a little sugar or honey(sweeten to taste)
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1/4 cup of white grape juice
tablespoon of poppy seeds
1/3 cup of salad oil of choice

Whisk together sugar(honey), red wine vinegar, and grape juice. Slowly add the oil and whisk all the ingredients together, add poppy seeds and pour over salad just before serving.

I think this would also be good with avocado, mango, celery, pears, cranberry, feta, or blue cheese depending on the fruit combinations. Just by adding a couple of different things this salad could be adjusted for lots of meals.

Fire grilled corn, avocado, mango, tomato, fire grilled jalapeno, would make a great southwestern salad(needs a different dressing, will have to work on something)

Pear, strawberry, blue cheese/Gorgonzola, walnuts

Avocado, strawberry, cucumber

This is a great summer salad for whatever is in the refrigerator...I love that kind of cooking!

Experiment and let me know what you come up with...

Monday, June 10, 2013

One of Life's Little Challenges(The Orange Rhino Challenge)...

Well maybe not one of the little challenges, but more like a big huge life changing least in our family.
I was recently introduced, by a friend, to the Orange Rhino Challenge. I was quickly intrigued and determined that this is definitely something for me to institute into my life and for my family. 

If you are unaware of it, it is a challenge to stop yelling. It is something that I have been struggling with for a while now(YES, I YELL, way too much, and way too often) and it has seemed to escalate exponentially over the last few years with each of the children. Everything changes with time and I am not at all the person(mom) I expected to be. As I brush my hair today and watch all the hair collect in the brush, I silently think, " It's just the hormone changes happening after baby #5."- He's 4 months old now and all those negative feelings and things like serious hair fall out, and postpartum blues, etc are going on right now.- It is really easy to sit and blame away why I yell...Today I feel like it is time to take control. It doesn't matter why I yell...I yell and it is unacceptable. Okay, so step one is done; acknowledgement and admittance.

Today I start on a new path toward a more peaceful and harmonious family life. I love my kids more than I could ever voice, so why the yelling? Stress, frustration, limited time, lack of sleep, cranky from not eating well, very short fuse to temper,  too much time together, no place to escape to, and sometimes just because I don't know what else to do. Some may be thinking, sure, I get that, everyone gets that way at some point, it just happens. Yes, I realize that too, I grew up with a lot of yelling and overall I turned out okay and I am not completely scarred, but I didn't like it then and to me it is not a good way to raise a family. I think that it should happen far less than it does in our domain.

Once you go down the path of using yelling as a tool to get what you need done it becomes a downward spiraling cycle that effects everyone in the family even down to the littlest. It puts everyone on edge and makes it difficult to move forward. Yes everyone is loved, everyone knows and feels love, but there is something else hanging there, a tension that is just waiting for that moment when mom has had enough and snaps, or when dad just doesn't feel like dealing with a situation, or brothers have had enough of each other, or there parent, maybe the sweet little sister has gotten into things that she shouldn' is a heavy cloud that just hangs in wait and in weight. A burden of proportions too much for anyone to handle.

So here's to a new start! For now I am going to use the rest of this month as my challenge, from there out I would like to go month to month and work toward a whole year. Things can always change, always be reversed, always made better...Love is stronger than anything out there. So I will periodically be posting of our trials, tribulations, advances, setbacks, breakthroughs, and overall progress toward Loving each other more. 

Wish us Luck!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sambazon Product Review and Giveaway

Sambazon is a brand that I had actually not heard of before doing this review. It is a company dedicated to bringing nutritional food based on some of the exotic fruits and plants available in the Amazon. Its mission so to help the the Brazilian Amazon, and its people supporting sound environmental practices both fair trade and organic, and bringing quality nutrition to the rest of the world in the form of wonderful superfoods.

We have been trying really hard to adjust our diets to include more fresh healthy options. We are juicing, and making smoothies at home, eating more organic, adding more fresh, local and organic vegetables and fruits. 

Recently we were given the opportunity to try Sambazon's Protein Smoothie products through Moms Meet. Locally we could only find two flavors of the protein smoothie; we tried Chocolate and Vanilla. I say we because I included the kids on the review. They are a good indication on how good something is-especially if it has a label of healthy. 

The kids and I were all excited about trying these smoothies. First we opened the vanilla and they all liked it. To me is was okay, but the soy flavor kind of overpowered flavors in the smoothie. We opened the Chocolate next and I have to say I'm glad that is the flavor we decided to get two of. all of the kids were fighting over who was going to finish off the bottles. The chocolate was delicious. The soy was less prominent, and the chocolate flavor was rich and deep and true to chocolate flavor. They were both a little more sweet than I liked.

Although my focus is trying to include fresh local items in our diet, we are still a family of young growing children that is often on the go. These drinks would be a great addition to keeping our family on track , helping to remove the temptation of stopping at a fast food place while we are out and about.

Do you want to try Sambazon? 
Here's your chance, enter this giveaway. One winner will receive this great wooden bowl and spoon and vouchers to try it for yourself. Which Flavor would you like to try?

To enter:

Like Sambazon on Facebook/Go to their website and check out their products
Follow Handmade and Homegrown's Blog
Like Handmade and Homegrown on Facebook
Leave a comment on my blog letting me know which you would try first.

A winner will be chosen on Friday May 31st...Good Luck!
This giveaway is limited only to U.S. Residence. 

To learn more about the company and the products:

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetSM blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Garden: First Harvest!

We came home yesterday from a mini vacation of sorts from Vicksburg, MS. Matt attended the Knights of Columbus Conference and while there the kids and I explored the town and saw a few sites. More on that to come in another post. This morning I was eager to get back to juicing some kind of fresh vegetable/fruit mixture, and looked out over the garden. It seems like everything doubled since the last photo. Yes, I have to brag a little about the beauty in our garden, not because I want anyone to feel bad, but because I don't think that we have ever had such a beautiful garden as we do this year. Timing worked out just right for us.
The cool start to spring set us on a perfect planting schedule and everything is on track...well mostly, our peas are a little behind, but I am hopeful. Our harvest included, several heads of lettuce, a beautiful bouquet of rainbow swiss chard, spinach, a handful of green onion tops, a lovely bunch of kale, a beautiful little basket of micro-greens(beet,lettuce,mustard, etc) and some endive.

Anyone else out there like endive? It is a great little plant for variety of flavor. It is a sharp, pungent, peppery flavor that gives your salad a little lift, kind of like a mustard, but different. The whole plant is great; leaves, flowers, and even the young stems are good to eat. The older stems get tough and stringy like asparagus. Endive is an early spring plant that will bolt when it gets too hot, so plant it early and continue to clip the new leaves and flowers for as long as you can and enjoy a different flavor in your greens. I was going to add a picture of our endive, but forgot to photograph it before I harvested. I will try to remember to add a picture.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Garden: Growing Beautifully

It's been really busy here with visiting family, First Communion, Baptism, school, making soap, the new chickens, the big chickens, the kids and activities, the gardens.
It has been very fast paced and hectic but for the most part lots of fun. One of the most enjoyable parts of the last couple of weeks was getting out to enjoy this beautiful Spring weather.

 Our family garden has really taken off in the last couple of weeks. We have been very excited with the progress and have even begun to taste the success of what we have toiled over. We have been able to harvest several bunches of spinach, the strawberry plants are beginning to explode with lots of little green berries that the kids are anxiously anticipating.

Swiss Chard has also given us some lovely colorful stalks that the kids have enjoyed straight out the garden.

This week we will pick one of our beautiful Romaine Lettuce heads.

The kale is growing by leaps and bounds and soon we will be able to add fresh from the garden kale to our juicing, salads, and future meals.

There are also lots of sprouts to thin that will soon become micro greens, lettuce greens for as long as they last before it gets hot, and hopefully a crop of beets. Sugar Snap peas are reaching up and grabbing onto their trellising, and everything else looks like it is making a great start.

The broccoli is amazing, it's the first time that I have had anything bigger than a sprout come up and manage to make it. Right now we have beautiful dark green leaves, and anticipating seeing flower heads soon. 

So Happy Earth Day to you all. Hope you went out there on this lovely, cool, sunny, Spring day and helped make our Earth a better place to live...

What did you do on Earth Day 2013?

Baptisms are Beautiful

Benjamin getting ready for his big day.
What could be better than spending the day with friends and  family in the presence of God. Last Sunday, our newest baby was Baptized into the Catholic Church.
 This was the first time we have baptized one of our children in Mississippi. We usually go home to Louisiana in the presence of most of our family and what we have come to call our family priest. Father Gary has been with our family since my parents were married. He has been with us for many, many weddings, funerals, and baptisms, not to mention many many years of being the priest at several churches that we attended including being part of our years in Catholic school. Because of circumstances here and at home in Louisiana, we found ourselves here in Mississippi, and although the atmosphere of this particular baptism -because we were surrounded with a lot less family that is related by blood, we created new bonds with a new extended family - it was very different, but we had a great day; it was a wonderful and beautiful experience. We are so very blessed to have met some wonderful people here who have truly touched our lives, and I know will be a wonderful blessing in Benjamin's life.
Fr. Joe, Parrin, and Nanny
We shared the day with Father Joe, our friends the Richmond's(Godparents), Matt's father(Gramps), and of course our children. Benjamin was dressed in my father's Baptismal Gown. Which has been such a wonderful gift and family treasure that most of my children have been dressed in. Benjamin was wide awake and smiling the whole time, even when he was blessed with holy water. The cold water was a little shocking, but other than being a little surprised, it didn't phase him; he kept on smiling.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Noah's First Communion

This year Noah made his First Confession and First Communion(Sunday April 7th).
 It is so important to remember that these are the cherished moments in life that we need to look forward to and hold dear. Even though there are fewer of them in life, they are what makes life so memorable. We are so happy for you Noah during this most treasured day in your life...I hope it stands out for you throughout your life as you grow up.
 It was an absolutely perfect day, wonderful Mass and everything was beautiful. All of the children were so cute, and they all did a great job. It was a beautiful day to share with all of the families and our Church Parish. We are so proud to share such a wonderful moment with our little man. Seriously, could he be any cuter dressed up in his coat and slacks. They grow so quickly and these moments just seem to be coming quicker with each child.

It seems like it wasn't that long ago that Nathan made his First Communion and this year he was sitting up at the alter as an Alter Server watching over his little brother.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Soap: New Batches...

Just out of the molds and onto the curing racks. These are the first batches of the year. As with all the soap we make, every bar is a unique and individual creation cut by hand. Each one will differ slightly size and shape. Every bar containing color, or herbs will vary from bar to bar as well as batch to batch. The color, design and sometimes even the scent are always a state of evolution... I love the ability of always having a product that is growing, changing, and evolving over time...I hope you do too.

Plain, simple, gentle, fabulous. If you are a fan of Lavender this bar of soap will probably win you over. It is one of the simplest bars that we make other than plain old soap, unscented Oat and Grain, and Lavender Oatmeal. A simple base soap of Olive, Palm, Coconut, Castor, Almond and Shea Butter, with Lavender and Tea Tree essential oils for scent. These bars contain no color, or exfoliants, they are made simply so that even the most sensitive skins can use it. . Lavender is a calming and soothing scent. These make great soaps the days you need a bath to unwind, or a soothing bath for baby.
Orange Eucalyptus

This is an excellent bar of soap for a citrus lover, the combination of Orange, Eucalyptus, and a cinnamon swirl makes this bar a wonderful morning shower bar. It has a warm, spicy herbal scent, sometimes it reminds me of orange cinnamon rolls.

Patchouli Lavender
The mixture of Patchouli and Lavender creates the most amazing scent combination, it is  warm, earthy, inviting scent. Even though floral scents are used, this soap is actually designed to be a manly scent. It has become our best selling unisex bar, and probably our most popular bar sold.

Patchouli Rose
Very similar to Patchouli Lavender, this bar is a beautiful combination of the earthy scent of Patchouli, and the lovely scent of rose a creates the most amazing scent combination, it is  warm, earthy, and inviting and maybe even sensual and alluring.This is NOT the sweet rose fragrance oil that comes to mind when you first think of rose scent. This soap is a special soap that we don't make very often because it uses the real essential oil of rose that creates depth in the scent that fragrance oils just can not reach.

Rosemary Mint
Another of our most popular scents. Rosemary is a blend of several essential oils with the main focus being a mixture of  Rosemary and Peppermint. Each of our scent blends are carefully considered and blended together to make the wonderful scents in the finished bars...It is almost like layering the flavors of a fine wine. This is a classic scent that is liked by most, strong, invigorating, wake you up kind of scent. The peppermint even leaves a tingle when you use it. 

This bar is a citrus floral that we love making at the beginning of  spring. The scent combination just seems to be Spring-like. The juicy scent of lime, mixed with the floral of several lovely flowers, come together reminiscent of fresh dew on new spring leaves.

These will all be available next week, and for the May Maker's Market on the Square in Oxford. We will also be restocking at Mississippi Madness, and The Farmer's Market. We are always open at Cypress Lake Soap's Website visit us there to see what is currently available. 

 Keep checking back with us to see what will be coming up next...and along with these new batches, new sample bars and soap rocks have also been created. If you like smaller sizes of soap or want to try something out first, be sure to check out these options.