Urban homestead in the making 

When I lived in Missouri the year hubs was in Korea for his hardship tour as they call it in the army. I enjoyed every minute of living with his family and their small farm. Nothing beats working outside. In fact I sort of question why I am continuing fashion design. Don’t get me wrong I love fashion design but I think I caught the farming bug hardcore and just wish I could homestead. 

So when we moved to Colorado last year we bought a house and we are determined to make it as homestead-ish as we can living in the urban setting and it’s very doable. We had the house fire last year so plans are finally going into effect this year. In the works are garden/planter boxes, chickens, and soon rabbits. But first thing is first here are some pics of what we did to get set up with chicks ( with a picture of seeds galore). 



Now when the upper level was ripped to the bare bones and reconstructed it left us with some base cabinets and other materials. We decided one of the cabinets could be turned into the perfect chick coop. We placed plywood on the back, and stapled hardware cloth to the top. We used hooks and eyes to keep the cabinet doors shut. Lined the bottom with newspaper and then shavings. All ready for chicks. It was very cost effective the hardware cloth was 7 bucks, heat lamp $9, shavings $8, chick total of four $3 each, chick food was on sale for $5 grabbed two bags. Water and food containers $8 each. If we had decided to buy a chick house it would have been $90. 

We really saved money by using what we had and I can guarantee I’ll be using this set up each year if we get more chickens ( depending, things happen to chickens or chicks. I could lose one or…..,while I will try my darnedest to keep that from happening. Must always be prepared to replenish the flock).

So far the chicks are doing well. The best advise I could suggest if you can( some places require a permit and have laws on size of coop and how many chickens you can have)  is reading The-Chicken-Chick blog and as many articles and books on chickens. 

I did this along with what I have learned from my granny. Now everyone does things differently I prefer to give the medicated feed for the first week or two. Especially since I got chicks last week, will get chicks this week, and some more chicks later on. We will have a total of eight chickens. You can group newer baby chicks with older chicks. Most of the time they will “behave” keep a close eye though. Chickens by nature have a pecking order and like it states they will peck at each other which can result in injury. 

On the note of integrating new flock members if you have older chickens always keep chicks separated as th chickens could kill the chicks. Wait till they are feathered/ older and we made sure to have space in the coop to make a chick area where they are closed off from the older hens. This ensures integration goes well and no one gets hurt (I wish I had pictures). 

I’m very excited about having my ladies, we live in county territory so we don’t have a number on how many chickens but chose eight for now. We plan on building the coop area beig enough for 10- always over estimate the size of the coop. The run area also needs to be a good size. But I plan on letting them out and training them to wander about the yard while I garden and then herd them back in. 

We have a lab ( bird dog) so caution is needed. Thank goodness we will have an area set aside for him where he cannot get out while outside. That’s another thing make sure coop and run are predator proof. 

Anyway! This is turning into a small novel! Along with getting our chickens we have gotten seeds to begin planting. Our boxes are in the works and we plan on being set up completely by the beginning of April. 

Here’s some pictures of the progress: 



Side of the house planter boxes in the making. My own design and I made them by myself yes gentlemen I used power tools ( we actually had a neighbor say he would never let his wife use power tools my husband is the opposite and thank goodness! We work side by side equally). The boxes are constructed of heat treated pallet wood broken down. I made this design to use as much of the pallet wood that we could manage. Waste not want not! I am having to shape the slope near the house as well.  The extra dirt is being placed at the bottom of the garden boxes ( again no waste) . Here is a sneak peek:



A full tutorial will be given in a future post. Pallets are amazing to use and I’m all about recycling/ reusing and renewing. A word of caution though for this type of project seek out heat treated pallets only. Since we are growing food we don’t want the chemically treated  kind. ( yuck!) 

So there you have it folks! 😃The beginnings of being more self-efficient. It has always been my dream to do as much as I can: gardening, raising chickens, meat rabbits, canning, etc. 

I’m glad I can share our journey with our readers and family/ friends far away. 

Stay tuned for FHE post! 

The VP’s 

Digraphs, Frustrated Learners and Learning on a Budget -Part II

From This To That Early Learning

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I frown at waste. Two wonderful things occurred last week. First and foremost, my neighbors give away the most fabulous things. In a box labelled ‘free’ next to the trash bin was this lovely charger. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it, but I figured, children like bling, so why not. Did I dumpster dive? Yup, well…kind of! 🙂

Second, I had left over digraphs from the felt sort, so it seemed perfect to recycle while repurpose the charger! I used Elmer glue to attach the photos and with wooden clothespins from Dollar Tree, this activity came together within minutes.

If you read the previous post, you read about how to minimize tears with learners by adding a self correcting feature within the activity. On the back, I used a silver permanent pen to label the back so the child can independently self-correct.

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Recycle, reuse, and…

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Meals in the Making 

Sitting here with a lovely sinus infection, miserable and the like. When a brilliant came into my mind! I was pinning irish food dishes for Saint Patrick’s Day… Suddenly it dawned on me why  don’t I theme all my meal plans to a country/ region and make those dishes for the month! 

We will get to try new food! And of course cook, bake, broil, you name it. In this house we love experimenting in the kitchen. Of course not every meal will be centered on our theme but I want a good chunk of dishes included breakfast, luncheon, dinner, etc. 

Since I decided to start this based of my pinning Irish cuisine of course March will be nothing but ( maybe with a mix of dishes from surrounding areas as some will be similar think Scottland and England/UK) 

The rest of the year theme ideas so far: 

April-   Japan/ China  ( I will be in heaven! Also I make one awesome super egg roll- my friends mom whose from China taught me how) 

May-  Mediterranean/ Middle East/ Near East ( gyros baby!) 

June-  Spain 

July-  South America ( Mexico, Chile, etc going past the tacos man)  

August- North America ( it sounds silly but I plan on going in search of dishes that aren’t “typically” associated with the U.S like  Cajun/ Creole, and I can’t forget to add our neighbors north of us -Canadian cuisine, Native American too ( minus blood pudding though!) it will still be BBQ central here in our household… maybe a low country broil… Southern dishes some might not be aware of ( I’ll also include some Hawaiian dishes in the mix) 

September- Germany/ Belgium/ Poland 

October-  France

November-  Finland/ Norway/ Sweden 

December- Russia 

This might evolve or change I’m very unsure! This was really hard to come up with and I definitely included regions for obvious reasons easier to expand on different recipes to try.  We will see how it goes! 

The VP’s

Menu Planning

So I’ve been wanting to do this for some time now and have started planning out my meals and snacks for a whole month. I’ve finally found my niche in doing so, of course I checked out blogs and we even had a relief society activity that went over the method ( I took notes) some of which I think are totally useful of course.

Here are some ways to meal plan: 

Make your meal plan centered around your coupons: like it says start your list after you’ve clipped your coupons and prepare you meal plans around that 

If you have food storage, rotate that storage into your meal plan to keep a good flow. 

Or heck do both, coupons clipping to save on immediate needs and rotate food storage into the mix. 

You can even just plan week by week and have a shopping list especially if you’re dishes include fresh ingredients. 

I do a month of planning so I can buy what I need, I have a food saver so I separate foods, vacuum and seal to keep fresh. I do set aside money for buy fresh food every week mainly fruits, veggies, herbs. 

I also clip coupons, upload coupons from safeway app( where we shop), and add the U deals. It ends up saving me money and we get gas rewards which helps us majorly! We have diesel truck and those gas rewards make all the difference. 

However you can shop wherever but always make use of their deals, club cards, etc. 

Work your meal planning around your budget always it will save you money! 

Some helpful links to review: 

Skinny Mom Supper Club

Meal plan printables

Bi weekly meal planning

Why meal plan?

Meal planning saves money

Stayed tuned for the next post that is in the meal series. It’s about to get creative 

The VP’s 

Getting things Montessori with a touch of Waldorf 

so I’ve always been interested in Motessori and Waldorf. Been researching a lot of links. Instead of writing a novel blog post go here for links: 

My Montessori/ Waldorf inspired Pinterest board

And this link: 

Top 10 Montessori Principles

Some of the things I like most about Montessori are hands on learning, following the child ( this helps you determine learning activities, etc), practical life skills, organic materials for toys instead of synthetic, you will see lots of wooden blocks, etc. I don’t totally exclude plastic I just make very precise decisions- like Munchkin’s megabloks she can still build things with them. I also keep around the Care Bears, etc for imaginative play. 

Waldorf is all about feeding the creative mind, and suggests a longer period before learning certain things like math, etc. Again another link! Free play,etc 

Waldorf in the Home

Personally I like a mixture, munchkin is high energy and needs that free play, but she loves to tinker and learn so I incorporate montessori trays, etc for learning time. I also limit TV it’s a reward not a given. 

Here is what I have so far in the way of her room 

Books within reach for her to explore: simple set up of toys, keep well organized 



This was my Walmart / thrift store shopping spree… I still deciding what to do with the shelves. 



The trays: 



Both munchkin and kiddo I watch daily enjoyed the trays. Beads for placing in lady bugs on number cards ( for the kiddo I watch who is five great learning tool)  and stencils to practice letters and numbers. 

The second tray is all about shapes with cards for matching and then paper shapes and pieces to create the shapes.  Both kiddos enjoyed them. 

As I incorporate more and do more I will post on this. Even if you only implement a few things from Montessori and Waldorf you will be presently surprised. 

The VP’s

Inspired 

the VP’s are busy busy as per usual. Whether it’s just the day to day hustle and bustle or our ever growing list of projects to complete ( so much to do so little time it seems) my latest projects include painting the walls we started in Munchkin’s bathroom, a nice light mint green, we also decided to place bead board/ wainscoting on half the wall to break up the serious minty-ness going on in there and it looks great ( wasn’t badly priced either in the way of DIY). 

The kitchen is almost finished paint-wise and I can’t wait to do our living room area. White walls just bother me, a blank canvas just waiting for a splash of color! Here’s the bathroom half way through love love love this color!!! I plan on making hello kitty art that goes with the color but it’s something I can change up without having to redo much besides changing wall art really. 



And then the kitchen: lots of white going on but now green! Yay! 😃



I actually never thought I’d go for such a green but I’ve stepped outside my box to add color usually we tend to go for the neutral, earthy, but we’ve since left that behind and I like where it is headed! 😃

The VP’s