backyard chickens,, Icelandic, Recipe, Tuna salad

Icelandic Tuna Salad

As my family grew from 5 to 6 people last December, we realized that the Mazda 5 did not work for us any longer. We needed something that would seat 6 people and still have trunk space which the Mazda did not. It sits 6 but as soon as both seats were up in the back there went the trunk. We couldn’t even go grocery shopping. Well, we went car shopping knowing that even though I NEVER thought that I would want a mini van I test drove a Honda Odyssey 2014 and I was hooked. It was more than we planned on spending. By 8K but we knew that the Hondas had a good reputation and all my mom friends that have had them have said that even though their Odyssey had over 200K miles on it, it was still going strong with out needing any work on it. We are working on getting debt free so we have a big payment for another 3 months to pay off a card so since we bought the big space ship of a van (my goodness I am spoiled and in love with that thing) we need to get frugal. So I had to give the grocery bill another look over and figure out how to cut costs for the next 3 months. Lunch meat is expensive so I started making egg salads. My chickens have started laying again after a long break this winter.
Here is how we make Tuna Salad in Iceland.

1 can Tuna in water
8 hard boiled eggs
half cup Fried Onions (you know that kind that you make green bean casserole with)
enough Mayo to blend it all together to the consistency that you like just keep adding until it looks good to you.
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Curry Powder
1/4 teaspoon Paprika

How to get it all together
Find a bowl that you can put a lid on after like the Pyrex bowls or just any glass bowl and use plastic wrap to cover it later. Peal and cut up your eggs. I use an egg cutter for finer and quicker work but you can use a knife if you don’t have one. Open the can of tuna and drain it. Add the tuna to the eggs. Then add the fried onions and add at first 3 table spoons Mayo and stir but keep adding more until the salad is not too dry. Then add the spices and blend them in well. Taste it and see if there is enough to your liking. Some people like more salt.

I like to eat it as soon as possible so that there is still a little crunch to the fried onions but it is also good left over. Sometimes I do need to add a little more mayo later since the onions soak up a lot of the moisture but make sure to seal it tight with a lid or cling wrap before putting it in the fridge to keep. 

coffee, family,, journaling, lists, Mindful, Mindfulness, to-do, work

The Importance of Self Care

I’d like to take today to talk about the importance of self care no matter what your profession is but especially when you are in a care taking job. Whether you are in the health care field, a mother, or taking care of aging parents people get depleted pretty quickly. It is difficult to keep giving and giving but a lot of people misunderstand what self care really looks like. It isn’t always a massage and a mani/pedi. Self care can be as little as just taking 15 min in the morning and reflecting on what your day will look like and remembering to acknowledge the things you can be thankful for that day. Morning journaling can go a long way in putting your mind in the mind set of getting things done and prepping for what is to come that day. Drinking your favorite warm beverage or juice while doing this can help set the mood for a wonderful day. It is just a short check in with yourself. Your feelings and your body.

Most western countries have the bad habit of hitting the ground running as soon as the alarm goes off. Believe me I make this mistake too. Especially while I was working full time. But I always tried once I got to work to make myself a cup of coffee, look over my calendar, and envision what my day will look like. What tasks I had left over from the day before and what I needed to do that day. Now as a stay at home I go over all the different tasks that I have to do to keep this family functioning.

Morning Journal is my favorite and least expensive self care technique. There are plenty of other ways.

  • Exercising (especially walking and Yoga)
  • Meditation (even if it is only checking in with your body for 5 min and using mindful breathing)
  • Coloring or drawing (art lets the part of the brain that does not have words express itself)
  • A mindful shower (where you are mindful of your body and are thankful for all it does for you)
  • Mindful cleaning (Remembering to only hold on to the things that have function and you love and get rid of the rest so it does not clutter your home or your mind)
  • Aroma therapy (essential oils can make a huge difference in mood and feeling)
  • Mindful eating (enjoy each bite of your food and check in with how it makes your body feel)
  • Chatting with a friend (make sure that this friend is a friend that helps you feel better and does not drain you of your energy) 
  • Gardening
  • Knitting (or whatever your favorite hobby is)
What is your favorite self care technique? How do you like to start or end your day?
Baby, blogging, boys,, Parenting, pregnancy, ultrasound

Long time no post…

Hello everyone,

It has been a long time since I posted my last blog post and just typing this seems really odd to me. I feel rusty and not quite sure where to start. My last post was almost 10 months ago. I posted about choosing to be home with my family instead of going back out into the workforce and what that takes in effort for me. The last 10 months have not been easy. I have stumbled and gotten back up over and over. I have wished I was working many times. I have also been thankful for being home and being here for my kids moments many times. Finding a balance for a mother is hard and some of the biggest news since I posted last is that we are expecting baby boy #4. That is right.

This came as a huge surprise to us. We believed that our family was complete. I was sure that I would not want to give birth again after my last being 11lbs and 14oz. We were preventing. I cried for a couple of weeks but then I held out for the hope that just maybe this was a gift from the universe and I might just be having the little girl I always wanted. When I found out that was not the case it was even harder to carry this baby. All the aches and pains became worse. The thought of going through labor and delivery of another giant baby became harder to process. I’m having another giant boy. It has already been confirmed. I am now on a special low carb diet so that I can try to do something to limit his weight gain. This makes this pregnancy even less fun. No ice cream or any of the other food I crave.

Since mom died over 2 years ago I have struggled with my faith. When I found out I was pregnant this time the thought that I might be getting a little girl resparked my faith for a little time, sort of holding out hope that maybe mom sent me the little girl I always longed for. But when I found out that this was a little boy my faith crumbled again. I love my boys. I would never return them. I’m sure that this is a blessing and I just haven’t seen it yet. Maybe this child will be the easiest kid ever. Maybe labor and delivery will be no problem unlike last time. Maybe this will be the kid that sleeps through the night sooner than age 2. Maybe…….. But I’m not holding my breath because this is a human child that is born to me and the likelihood that he will be that much more different than my other children is slim to none.

I turned 34 yesterday and I had told myself that I would not have more children after the age of 32. I’m only 2 years younger than my mom was when she had me. Mom has been at all my births until now. Now she is gone. Now my husband and I need to do this on our own. Now I need to put my big girl pants on and face the music. My baby is due on Dec. 9th and my babies have all been at least 5 days past due so I will have a newborn this Christmas. Still bonding. Still getting breastfeeding down. Usually at 2-3 weeks my nipples are cracked and bleeding. I worry about making this Christmas magical for my children. I worry about a lot of things having this 4th child in 7 and a half years. I worry about my abilities to keep up and meeting everybody’s needs. There is only one of me and now a 4th child and a husband that really need my attention and my love.

New  baby clothes from Target

Knitting a little jump suit for the belly dweller.

I am trying hard to do things to bond and make sure that I greet this baby with open arms and an open heart. I have gone to therapy to work through my feelings, I have done some shopping since I had gotten rid of All of the baby stuff we had and Alex had outgrown before we found out that we were expecting again. I try to appreciate those belly moments where he is active and be thankful for all the other great things in my life. I know as soon as he is in my arms I will love him as much as I have loved all of my children. Thank goodness for my bodies ability to form bonding chemicals. I become that crazy mom that can’t let my baby out of my sight and you better not touch it with out asking permission first unless you are family.

I will end this post here. I could go on and on about how rough the summer was being pregnant with 3 small boys and the pelvic pain that started in the 3rd month but I believe that you get the point. As much as children are a blessing being a parent is hard and being pregnant with an unplanned pregnancy and having 3 other young boys is really hard. Especially when you don’t have a village.

What are your struggles at the moment and how are you being mindful and working in a direction of healing and happiness?

Backyard, chickens, Cochin, death, eggs, gardening, homesteading,, killed, Olive egger, Urban

The Loss of Backyard Friends.

I knew when I took on having backyard barn animals that at some point I would have some sort of loss. That something would get one of my ladies or that they would get sick or something. But my last month of experience really threw me off of my rocker.

Several weeks ago I went and got new chickens. The Cream Legbar that I had was laying white eggs instead of the blue that she was supposed to be laying and the breeder was nice enough to get me another pullet that would for sure lay blue eggs. While there, 2 more pullets followed me home. There was a cross between a Cochin and a Road Island Red and a Maran/Cream Legbar cross. The Cochin I named Sweety Pie because that is exactly what she was and the Maran mix I named Heidi because she just seemed like a Heidi to me. 3 days in to having them the Cochin was killed by something and it ate her head and left the rest. Two weeks later the Cream Legbar (which I named Stinky because she smelled so bad on the way home) had gotten caught on a neighbors fence and been there for some time and when I got her down she died shortly after. It was really sad. I hated that she had gone through that. The temp was over 100 that day and she hung upside down, for God knows how long, before we found her. I feel so horrible about that. I just thought she was in the shade somewhere in my backyard. Then only a few days after that Heidi starts looking a little lethargic but still spunky when I got close to her one day and only hours later I walk out and find her dead with her legs int he air. Having never lost a chicken before I was shocked. All 3 different ways. My other girls are fine. No problems there for over 18 months. Have you ever had a sting of bad luck like that?

Sadly, due to not wanting to invite carnivores to come hang out in our backyard, I had to put their bodies in the landfill. That brought on guilt too. If you have chickens how do you deal with your carcasses when there is a loss?

Backyard, bees, carrots, chickens, farm, gardening, heirloom, herbs,, peas, squash, tomatoes

2014 Spring Garden

This year in my garden I focused more on getting things planted to grow rather than to make it pretty or well organized. My older son helped a lot and because of that I had all kinds of things sprouting all over the place. Here are some photos of what is going on at the moment. 
Cilantro from Botanical Interests was quick to sprout and has been thriving well. 
This was one of those “just stick something in the ground and lets see what it ends up becoming” I don’t know what kind of squash it is but I do know that it is squash. 

Lady Gaga my Polish hen is quite the sight and interesting to watch but all she does is teach my other hens bad habits. I really need to rehome her. She finally started laying this spring but like I said she is more trouble than she is worth. 

 This Zucchini is growing so fast and has plenty of female flowers on it already even thought they are not blooming yet I am looking forward to some amazing zucchini dishes this summer

 I planted some Sweeter Yet Cucumbers this spring and I look forward to eating them. They are not an heirloom but they are REALLY good. And they already have female flowers growing. So excited! Hope to eat plenty of these this summer.

 This basil popped up so quickly. It is one of Botanical Interest’s variety  packs and it is so nice to have all the different types of basil to try.

 A few days after I took this photo these vines wilted due to a vine borer infestation. I was so sad to see them wilt and not being able to do much for them. What do you do to save your plants from the vine borer?

 In the past years I have not done well with peas. I have had poor plants and poor yields but this year was not bad at all. It is getting towards the end of these peas but I have enjoyed they fresh and cooked. Beside the peas I have carrots in all different colors. I love how I am surprised each time I pull one up at what color it is. In the past I have had a problem with my carrots tasting bitter. Is there a trick to making sure that they taste sweet?

Something keeps eating my Okra pants. I love Okra and was looking forward to eating plenty of it since over 10 plants sprouted but due to both chickens making it into the veggie garden and just some sort of bug eating them I am starting to wonder if I will get any. I love the flowers that bloom on these and since this is red okra the seed pods are beautiful too. I haven’t seen what is eating them. Do you know of anything that eats Okra plants like this and if so how do you stop it?

Swiss Chard that seems to be thriving.

 My Bees bouncing back from having lost their queen at some point. I checked the hive 3 weeks ago and there were queen cells and little to no brood. I was worried that I had lost my bees but they are growing in numbers again so I will have to go in and check on them again next weekend.

 I thought after I fenced the chickens off in a smaller part of the yard that this would definitely not happen. I thought that in such a small space they would keep it nice and mowed if not completely void of vegetation but this is what my chicken run looked like a few days ago. I have since chopped down all of the weeds but left the sunflowers for shade. Does this ever happen in your chicken run?

This is what looks to me like a pumpkin vine popped up on its own. Anybody have a different opinion on what this could be?  it is right in front of my grape vine and I struggle with deciding if I should let it be there or not and am worried that it will take all the nutrients away from my growing grapevine. Do you ever have surprise veggies pop up in your garden? I had several tomato plans shoot up this spring. If you do what kind of surprises have you had?

Backyard, Cat, chickens, Coop,, IKEA, mother, working

Time Flies….

Happy Sunday!

I know it has been a long time since I last posted. I have been very busy with life as a working mother the last couple of months. I have finished the “training stage” of work and actually started working as an intake therapist at a local inpatient psych facility. I really enjoy work. I know that I am making a difference in peoples lives. I am sometimes the first step in someones road to recovery from mental illness. I enjoy the people I work with and even though at times I feel like I don’t know what I am doing I know I have people supporting me that do.

My office at work.

It is hard to leave my children in the care of others each morning though. If I wasn’t finishing my candidacy hours then I would probably not be working full time. But I only get so long to finish my hours and I already took 18 months off to have Alexander. So I pay 2032 dollars a month so that someone else can watch my children. Mamma guilt gets to me when I am picking up my children at 5:30 or later because I couldn’t leave work fast enough. I try not to think about how many hours they spend in other peoples care. I hate that I spend the days that I do have them cleaning, grocery shopping and doing all the things that need to be done to keep this family of five running. Just yesterday I went grocery shopping and then to get my hair fixed for the first time in 4 months. Today I am about to spend the rest of the day putting clean sheets on all the beds, doing all the laundry, cleaning the bathroom, and mowing the backyard.

Speaking of the back yard. I got a new coop. The great coop that my husband made me was not big enough for all the birds I have. It is better suited for 2-3 standard birds or 3-4 bantams. So that coop will be sold. The new one I put together myself!!! With power tools and all!! I am so proud of myself and the birds like it. They actually go in the coop instead of trying to roost on my back porch which was becoming really GROSS! Lady Gaga is the only chicken that keeps trying to roost on the back porch still. But she is not the brightest of the bunch. I got this coop at  While it looks nice it was very beat up when I got it and broken in several places that I ended up having to fix. Unless you are handy I would not order from them.

My chickens have been molting and they also got an upper respiratory infection from the Americauna that I traded the rooster Cowboy for. Being a new chicken keeper I didn’t know that hearing a chicken sneeze is a bad thing. Well it is. Very bad. Stopped all of my chickens from laying for over a month. I got my first egg yesterday and that in the nesting box. It was one of Buff’s eggs. I was so happy to see it. I was so scared that they had gotten a line of strep that keeps chickens from laying for ever. Can’t wait for them all to be laying and the beautiful colors that will come with it.

We have had a visitor in our back yard this week. This poor cat looks like its hind quarters have been saved. Also it is hard to see in this pic but it’s tail is either dislocated or broken. I’ve been letting it eat our cat food. It has been getting cold at night and I can’t think of not helping him grow his fur in by feeding him some good food. 

 Alex and his baby. We got that baby in IKEA in Iceland this summer when my mother died. He didn’t show much interest in it then but now he walks around and hugs on it and kisses. It also sleeps with him at night. Poor Alex has had pneumonia and a double ear infection. He has been a trouper about it too. He almost had to go to the hospital last weekend but we got pediatric home health to come to the house instead. He was still drinking and eating fine so I didn’t see a point in stressing him by putting him in the hospital. 

Amazon, free,, Prime, Review

Try Amazon Prime Free!

OK here is my review of Amazon Prime. I have been using Amazon Prime for several years now. I have bought everything from a lawn mower to floss from Amazon since with Prime you get FREE 2 day shipping of all Prime Products. Not all the products on Amazon are Prime products but I almost ALWAYS find what I need on Amazon and can have it shipped to my door with in 2 business days.  This has made a huge difference for this busy mamma of 3. I can just pop online and shop for things with out having to drag my monkeys alone with me to the store. They even have dry good groceries.

Prime also has ebooks that you can borrow for free for a month. Not all of their books mind you but I did read the Hunger Games this way and there are many more very popular books and of course all of the classics are free.

Prime also has lots of free shows and movies for members. I haven’t used this option much since I watch more Netflix and Hulu than Amazon but I have tried it and the experience was pleasant.

Here is what I recommend. If you are wanting something super heavy like, lets say, a lawn mower or a grill or a shed and need it shipped then why not take the opportunity and use the free 30 day trial?

The few times that I have had a problem with a product they have sent a replacement before I know it and paid for the return of the product that there was a problem with. What have you got to lose? Just click on the button at the top of the blog post and sign up! You will not be sorry.

child,, introvert, Job, Parenting, therapist, working

Heigh ho heigh ho it’s off to work I go!

I’ve been a little quite around here and I’m sure you all understand with my mother passing away and all. But there are other reasons as well. Since even before I had children I have wrestled with the idea of how to be a good, working mother. Because in my mind for some reason you couldn’t be both. But I have a calling. Really two callings. I desperately wanted children and I am a good therapist. Puzzling the two together for everyone’s benefit has proven to be hard. Especially with the strict criteria to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). To become an LPC in Oklahoma I have to finish 3000 hours of candidacy under the supervision of another licensed counselor.  To earn your hour you have to finish at least 20 hours of work a week and they have strict restrictions on what they call work. This fall, I planed on working for a friend of mine that is starting her own agency and build up my client base slowly so that my kids wouldn’t have to go to daycare full time until maybe after Christmas. But things were not adding up so I had a decision to make. Find another job or stay home for another year with my boys.

When I had to go home to Iceland for my mother’s funeral in July it threw our finances for a loop. We would have had to tighten our belts even further for a while to make up for the financial hardship that trip put on us if I were to keep staying at home. Also since I had already started working towards my 3000 hours I have to finish for my candidacy as an LPC in 2012 I only have 5 years to finish them or I would have to reapply and start over again.

Last time I worked I made the mistake of working under contract and under circumstances that were causing me to become very ill which in return lead me to have to quit working. I decided I would not be bullied into taking clients I didn’t think I was equipped to work with again and that I would never again have to put forth so much effort for so little pay unless I wanted to. I was a therapist scorned after I quit my last job because of medical issues. Even started thinking about giving up on the profession since everyone I talked to told me that the only jobs out there for people still finishing their candidacy hours were those types of jobs. The ones you feel used an abused after when you dragged your emotionally worn out soul back to your family.

I believe that the most important thing for a therapist is self care. To be kind to one’s self and take care of body and soul. I believe that employers of therapists need to impose self care on their staff. That there should be at least a week and a half of vacation days each year that the person has to plan in advance to actually take a vacation and not to take care of their sick kids or go to a Dr’s appointment. That gentle relaxation in the morning before the work day starts is mandatory. As a European I think most companies in the USA treat their employees poorly and don’t understand how important it is for the employee to take a vacation from work. OK enough about that….. back to what I really came here to talk about.

I GOT A FULL TIME JOB!!!! I had this urge to check out a local agencies website and there was one job that I applied for. I decided that it was my Russian roulette and if I got it I would go back to work but if I didn’t get it I would just try hard to save our family money and stay home for another year. When I got the job I was in shock. I go back and forth about how great and crazy it is. I go from telling myself that I am a horrible mother for going to work from my only 11 month old child to telling myself that it will be good for him to be around other children during the day. If you only knew how much I beat myself up for looking forward to being around adults for 9 hours a day. How much mommy guilt I have about how happy I am when I drop them off at daycare and I hear silence in the car for more than a min. They have been going for 2 days now for a half a day each time and I enjoy the first 3 hours and then I start getting anxious to know how they are doing and if everything is OK. I’m an introvert so I get my energy from quite and being alone. I have gotten little to NONE of that for the past 16 months since my oldest two quit napping and now I look forward to having patches of it here and there.

This new job is a 8-5 job. I will have to drop the kids off at daycare at 7:45 and then be at work at 8. This being 40 hours a week will help me knock out my hours SUPER fast. I don’t have to go to people’s homes to do therapy, which is why I got so sick at the other job, and it is just doing intake and testing. So I decide if the person needs the services that are offered at the location I am at or if that person needs different accommodations. I only work with adults and 16-35 year old’s are where I do my best work. I get to work in an office environment and I am just super excited all around. But then the mommy guilt comes to haunt me.

Working mammas, how do you do it? How do you leave your kids with strangers and just go to work? 

Australorp, Backyard, bees, black americauna, Buff Orpington, chickens, farm,, sunflowers, Urban Homestead, veggie

Mini Farm Update

In my backyard I am trying to be more self sufficient. I have 4 chickens for eggs and entertainment, a veggie garden and a bee hive. I live on  an 1/8 of an acre so I don’t have much room but I am doing the best I can with what I have.
This video was recorded soon after we got back from Iceland. Since then the rooster (Cowboy) has gotten a new home and we got a Black Ameraucana Pullet as a trade. She is only 4 months so it will be a while before she lays her blue eggs.
First eggs laid in our backyard the day after we got them back from the friend that was nice enough to watch the chickens while I was in Iceland. The chickens started laying for her while I was in Iceland.
 One of the ladies kept laying double yokers and did that for almost a week straight.
You see the difference. The one on the bottom is the double yoker. You can tell be the thick band in the middle of it. 
 They made a nest under the deck so I put a bucket next box under there and they made a next right next to it so that I have to crawl under there to get them.

Chipmunk the Cream Legbar should start laying blue eggs by the end of the month and Mathilda the Australorp is the one that laid that egg next to the nest box.

Buff the Buff Orpington laid an egg for me this morning that I had already collected. She is like clockwork while Mathilda is a little off laying either double yokers, shell less eggs or oddly shaped eggs.
This is our new girl! A black Ameraucana and we named her Crow. She both looks like one and sounds like one when you pick her up.
 Sunflowers are really the only thing that I have grown well this year.
 My crazy overgrown garden.
As you can see in the video my garden is really overgrown since I went to Iceland and it was not being taken care of. I have had a hard time keeping up with it after mom died so I’m being kind to myself and not beating myself up for it. 
As you can see that the second deep is not full at all. They have a ways to go before there will be honey to harvest. The First Deep is full thought so that is good. 
How is your summer going? Growing anything? Knitting anything?

Wanting to read the book The Urban Homestead. Any of you read it? Is it any good?
4oz, Fiber, giveaway, Grief,, interview, Job, Kindergarten, Malabrigo, roving, spinning, Wheel, winner

And the Winners are……………

Helen W and Angela J!!! 
Congratulations ladies!!! 
I have contacted you individually via email and am waiting for address information to be able to send you your prizes.

I have been spinning with the Malabrigo NUBE roving myself and I have to say I really enjoy the color that is coming from it and spinning with it. Drafting it in the places that are colored pretty dark is a bit difficult but I’m new to spinning and that might be normal. I like to draft the roving well before sitting down at the wheel. I have not finished the 4oz roving to actually ply it to make a yarn so that I will leave for another post with pretty photos but I have finished more than half of it and on the wheel it goes pretty quickly. Spinning almost 2 oz in an evening. I think pre drafting it is what takes up most of my time. 

I am so sorry for the delay. I meant to announce the winners last week. I meant to blog about all kinds of things last week but grief has got the better of me. My days roll by one after the other and so fast. I’m sort of lost through the day. Also with that said I have been busy. My oldest is starting kindergarten tomorrow and I had a job interview yesterday. So with getting school uniforms and having to make some purchases for myself to be updated for the interview I have been a little busy.

What have you been up to? Please distract me with your comments.