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Jesus and Germs (and turkeys and prevention)

Wash your hands, cover your cough…Anyone who spends time around children repeats it endlessly this time of year.  Some of us even get to exclaim phrases like, “Don’t lick the cart!”  We don’t want our kids to get sick, and we don’t want to get sick.

Wash Your Hands and Say Your Prayers Free Printable

We don’t want our turkeys to get sick, either.  So we take precautionary measures to keep our birds healthy.  Although we know that antibiotics are necessary at times, we try to avoid using them whenever possible.  So, what is the turkey version of wash your hands and cover your cough?

Father and son farming

1.  Our turkeys are given a probiotic as soon as they hatch.  The probiotics help regulate their finicky digestive system. 
2.  Turkeys are also vaccinated for various common ailments.  Just as we vaccinate our children, turkey vaccines help prevent disease outbreaks.
3.  We keep germs out of the barns. We limit visitors, wear clean clothing and boots in the barns, and shower before entering the brooder house. 
4.  We try to minimize any stress on the birds.  I tend to get sick following a particularly stressful period and turkeys are no different.  A very stable environment, with little temperature fluctuations and 24-hour access to food and water keeps the birds comfortable and less susceptible to illness. 
If those measures fail, we are thankful that we have antibiotics to use, but our main focus is always on preventing disease in the first place.
Now, back to the pretty printables I made.  These printables are a free gift for my email subscribers.  In order to download the files (without the watermark) you must sign up for my email list below.  After you sign up, you’ll get a confirmation email that has the link to download the printables. (Check your spam folder if you don’t see it right away.)  Any questions, just let me know in the comments!
Wash your hands - gray Wash your hands and say your prayers

Germs and Jesus Free PrintableFree Printable - Wash Your Hands and Say Your PrayersGerms and Jesus - Free Printable

Shared at:
One Project at a Time

 Click on each picture to see more of my original Word Art.
8x10wordart - Page 093 8x10wordart - Page 046 Irish Blessings - Page 001
10x8 word arts - Page 032 10x8 word arts - Page 028 10x8 word arts - Page 027
10x8 word arts - Page 034 10x8 word arts - Page 029

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Help for Picky Eaters

Help for Picky EatersMy boys are picky eaters.  Especially Adam (4 1/2), who has become more and more particular about foods as he’s gotten older.  Isaac (22 months) was off to a good start, but he also became pickier as time went on.
This has been a problem for me for some time, and feeding my kids was stressing me out a LOT.  So when I came across Your Kid’s Table, I was thrilled.  I read through all the Basic Strategies and I knew that I had to make some changes. 
Your Kid's Table
The biggest changes I needed to make were eating at the table and spacing meals/snacks properly.  I’m embarrassed to admit it, but up until just a few weeks ago, our family ate almost all of our meals in the living room.  That was a problem.  The second big problem was that I was letting my kids “graze” all day long, so when I did convince them it was time for a meal, they weren’t even all that hungry.
I started to work on those two things, and I noticed a difference.  But shortly before Christmas, I decided to ask for individualized help.  Feeding my children had become so challenging, and something HAD to change. Alisha (Your Kid’s Table) offers personalized consultations via email, skype or phone. (By the way, this is NOT a sponsored post – I will sing Alisha’s praises for free forever.)
I chose to do a hybrid email/phone consultation.  After answering a lot of questions about what the boys eat, how they eat, and where they eat, Alisha called and we talked through some things more in depth.
Help for a picky eater
After we chatted, Alisha wrote up THREE pages of personalized suggestions to help my kids improve their eating.  And it has been so helpful!  Even through this last crazy month, my boys’ eating habits have improved!
One of the most helpful things Alisha taught me is to recognize the small steps as victories.  Isaac put his finger in ketchup one night.  He didn’t eat it, but because he hates messy things, this was a major victory.  Adam ate at the table 4 nights in a row without complaining.  He didn’t try any new foods and he didn’t have a perfectly well-balanced meal, but it was still another major victory.  Identifying those small successes has helped me stay motivated to continue on the right track.
I am forever grateful to Alisha for the professional advice, as well as the “mom-to-mom, I’m not judging you” attitude she had with me.  The small price I paid to do the consult was definitely worth it – Alisha has changed our lives.  My boys have healthier eating habits and my stress level has decreased significantly.  As I said earlier, this is not a sponsored post.  I am just eternally thankful that I decided to ask Alisha for help, and I want other moms out there to know that she can help you, too!

Baby, it’s cold outside!

Farmhouse in the Snow

I first shared that photo on my facebook page, when we had our first big blizzard of the season.  The boys lasted exactly 8 minutes outside in the blowing snow, which is probably 7 minutes longer than these boys would last:
turkey farm
But even when the temperature swings from almost 50 degrees yesterday to 10 degrees and snowing today, we don’t have to worry about how our turkeys will handle the weather.
baby turkeys
Inside the barn, thermometers measure the temperature, and the 16 heaters keep the temperature constant.
family farm
When Bart’s grandpa began raising turkeys over 50 years ago, he raised one flock per year, outdoors.  I remember him telling me how they prayed that the snow would hold off until after the turkeys had gone to market for Thanksgiving.  But some years, the snow would come, drift around the fences, and create a nice little ramp for the turkeys to use to climb over the fence and escape.  I have heard stories about shoveling drifts in blizzards to prevent that from happening.

turkey barn
But today, on this cold snowy day, we don’t have to worry about that.  We are confident that our turkeys are warm and dry in the cozy barns.

turkey brooder house

The Wise Words of Ms. Laura Ingalls Wilder

I have always loved the Little House series, and dressed as Laura several times for Halloween as a kid.  I even named my blog based on one of her books (On the Banks of Plum Creek.)
But it has been years since I have read the novels.  Now, I’m rediscovering them with Adam, and it’s quite possible that I love them even more now that I’m an adult.  As a child, I enjoyed reading about life on the prairie.  As an adult, I am in awe of what the pioneers endured, and inspired by Laura’s wise words and attitude.

With that in mind, I created a series of word art with some sage advice from the author.

These printables are a free gift for my email subscribers.  In order to download the files (without the watermark) you must sign up for my email list below.  After you sign up, you’ll get a confirmation email that has the link to download the printables. (Check your spam folder if you don’t see it right away.)  Any questions, just let me know in the comments!

Laura Ingalls Wilder Simple Things ArtLaura Ingalls Wilder Quote Free Printable ArtLaura Ingalls Wilder wisdom free printable artLaura Ingalls Wilder ArtLaura Ingalls Wilder quote art
Which is your favorite?

Tree Planning

Last week, we braved the cold and stood outside planning some tree plantings around our turkey barns.  We’ve talked about doing this for awhile, especially since two of our barns on along a well-traveled state highway.  But we weren’t sure exactly what to plant or where.
turkey barn with tunnel ventilation
There are a lot of reasons to plant trees around barns like ours – aesthetics, windbreak, snow fence, reduce odor - but there are also a lot of questions to ask.  Will the trees affect the ventilation in the barns?  Will they block air flow?  How do you plant trees to create an effective windbreak?  What’s the most effective way to plant a snow fence?  Will my new trees cause snow to drift where I don’t want it to?  Will it cause snow to drift onto the highway?  What kind of upkeep do the trees need?  What about watering?  What species are best?  How far apart should they be?  And on, and on, and on.

So for this big project, we decided to ask for help.  The Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers works with Trees Forever and the Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association to assist farmers like us, who want to plant trees but don’t know where to start.  We met with them this morning and are excited to get plans in motion for some beautiful trees. 
Most barn sites are long and narrow, leaving just enough room for straight rows of trees, kind of like this:
Case Study 2
But we’ve got a little bit more room, and it really is On the Banks of Squaw Creek, so we’re hoping for a bit more naturalized look.   The trees will be along the left side of this photo. 
To learn more about these services, check out the Green Farmstead Partner Program.

Our Farmhouse Mudroom: Before (and a sneak peek)

It’s been a long time coming – almost 5 years – but our entryway/mudroom is almost done!
We use this area as our main entrance to the house, for us and guests.  It is also where hubby changes in/out of his chore clothes for working on the farm.  My goal is simple.  I wanted the entryway to be a beautiful place where I could set down everything in my arms where it belongs, when I walk in the door.  That means there had to be room for all coats, bags, shoes, and maybe even another infant carseat someday.
But it just wasn’t working for us.  These before pictures tell the story…low ceilings (like, Bart-hit-his-head-several-times-low), dark and gloomy, no heat, and the lack of useable storage.
Farmhouse Mudroom Before Makeover
Although we’ve done most of the work on our house ourselves, we decided to hire a contractor for this job.  We had to gut the space to insulate and rewire it.  Demolition revealed problems with the roof joists, and so, a new roof was put on.  But not before we raised the ceiling two feet.  Nine foot ceiling, yahoo!
Mudroom Remodel

There was a closet on the opposite side, but we took it out because it really wasn’t very functional, and really closed in the space.  We made the knee wall 4 1/2 feet tall so that if we put a chair in the little nook, there would still be a tall enough wall to keep my kids from plummeting to the concrete stairs on the other side.  I am going to line this area with coat hooks after I get it painted.
A heat run was added, which has made it much easier to put shoes, coats and bags in the entryway during the winter.  Not to mention, Bart doesn’t have to put cold clothes on before he goes out to work (although he’s since started changing the basement, anyway.)

The paneling and trim are from Lowes, and our contractor installed them.  Mudroom RemodelAnd now, I sooo wish I was ready for a big reveal, but I said I’d paint it myself, but I’m regretting that. Nine-foot ceiling + stairwell = really, really high. Not to mention all the trim work means LOTS of cutting in. And I’m a pretty rotten cutter-inner anyway. So, I’m taking a break, and then will tackle it again when I’ve recovered a bit. :)
So, all you get for now is a little sneak peek.  I have a babysitter coming tomorrow and I might get some more painting done, but no promises.  For now, we’ve made it semi-functional and we’re loving it!  What do you think?
kitchen scale
Shared at Thrifty Decor Chick's January Before and After Party 
Funky Junk Interiors Saturday Night Special
Between Naps on the Porch

Top 12 Posts of 2012

Can it seriously be 2013 already?  Time has been flying by lately, so although I had good intentions, I’m a little late with my Top 12.  But here they are anyway - the top posts from the last 12 months!  I based the list on page views, with the most viewed post at #1.  
12. Antibiotics and Farm Animals: My Fears Put to Rest...  I’m kind of disappointed that more of my farm related posts didn’t make the top 12, but I’m glad you all read this one.  There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and hopefully I can clear up some things for you.old rusty "prevent disease" sign
11. Our Multipurpose Dining Room  So y’all love my dining room?  I loved it like this, too.  Then, it got demolished (like, literally) when we had a wall removed, and it’s not quite back together yet.  I moved those bookcases upstairs to Adam’s room and am on the hunt for a new set with a bit more character.  Matching bookcases are hard to find, though!
bookcases for toy storage
10. Storage Solution: Clean Laundry Closet  This still works wonderfully for me, although I’ve been told that I’m “weird” because I don’t fold my laundry.  That’s weird?  That’s just the tip of the iceberg. :)
clean laundry baskets
9.  Knock Off Pouf Ah yes, my feet are resting on this beautiful leather “pouf” as I type.  It’s still hanging in there, looking as good as the day I spray painted it.  And I’ve seen a couple similar ones at resale shops recently.  So go, make yo’self a pouf!

knock off pouf with turquoise chairs 8.  10 Indoor Activities using Household Items – I should re-read this post from time to time.  Thank goodness school started again today!  We were getting bored around here!
10 Indoor Activities Using Household Items
7.  The Boys’ Shared Room I have no clue why you all loved this post so much.  You should know, though, that they are no longer sharing a room and this room may undergo some changes soon!  I’ll keep you updated!
little boy bedroom
6.  Taking a Risk with Turquoise  Still loving these chairs!  Got a great picture of my friends’ husbands sitting in them at New Year’s.  They looked really tough and manly in my vintage turquoise wingbacks. :)
turquoise chairs
5.  Vintage Primary Nursery Mood Board Oh, Baby Hayden, I miss you.  Hayden is my friend from work’s baby.  And since I don’t work anymore, and my friend lives the opposite direction from work than I do, I haven’t seen Hayden, or his sister, or his momma in several months.  It’s still a cute nursery design, though!
Vintage Nursery Moodboard
4.  Tulips in the Toolbox: How to  It’s time to plant your tulips!  Do it now!
Tulips in a Toolbox
3.  A Child Friendly Family Room  I can totally see why this guest post from Crystal at The Weekend Homemaker was a top post.  Who wouldn’t love this sweet room?!?!?
Kid Friendly Family Room
2.  Ground Turkey Tuesday: 10 ways to use it!  Mmm, yummm, ground turkey.
10 Ground Turkey Recipes

1.  Love Your Little House: Smart Furniture  I’m sure that this post was number 1 because of all the other pretty eye candy I included.  So head on over and check it out!
Multipurpose Furniture
Add caption

So…which post was your favorite?  If I based this list on comments, instead of page views, it would probably be quite different, but apparently the interweb loves my home d├ęcor posts.  So this year, I guess I’ll give the people what they want!  With some major house projects wrapping up, that shouldn’t be too hard.