Monday, June 29, 2020

Baby Chick Time!

It's that time of year when I am wondering why some of my momma hens aren't going broody (want to hatch eggs) and then suddenly they are and then suddenly (actually 21 days later) we have chicks!  I needed more pullets (female chicks) so that I can increase my egg layers.  I am not able to fill my current egg orders, LOL.  I had more hens last year and got rid of a bunch because I did not have egg orders and had too many eggs.  So many of my hens are older now and not laying much but they are also pets to me and my son is attached to several of our earlier brood.  The solution, more chicks!

Abigail and some of her brood

Before all was done and said, I ended up with 3 broody moms and 13 chicks!  I ended up buying 6 pullets so I would be sure to have egg layers and the rest were hatches.  Abigail, one of my trusty moms hatched out 4 eggs, and then she took in the 6 I bought.

Josephine, my banty, sitting on two chicks

It's been a challenge housing them all, but I think I have it worked out at this point.  I have Abigail and Josephine sharing the brooder space in one of my coops and then another new mom with just one baby in a separate cage in another coop.  I have successfully let moms raise the babies and integrate them just fine into the main coop, but I have also lost chicks allowing them to do this.  I lost one this time too and it was a special one for me.  I have made the decision to never again let my moms hatch outside of the protection of a separate cage.  My plan at this point is to try to acquire some simple rabbit cages that I can put in two of my pens to be able to comfortably and safely house multiple broods.

Chick hatched by my new mom. Look at those fuzzy legs/feet!

There are some pretty and cute chicks hatched this time.  I cannot wait to see how they will feather out.  They change so much and often have a completely different color pattern as they age.  It's also amazing at how fast they feather out.

Another cutie that I am pretty sure is an easter egger mix.

It's been a lot more work having 3 mommas at the same time, but I think things are working out.  As the chicks grow it will no doubt get more interesting.  They'll start to outgrow their areas and I will be forced to let the moms integrate them into the flock. Hopefully, they will be a couple months old or older by that time.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Creative Problem Solving REVIEW

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. 

What great timing to be able to review the Creative Problem Solving Level 1 (Grades PreK-2) - ebook from The Critical Thinking Co.™  Summer is pretty much here and I have learned that it is important to have at least SOME brain work over the summer or we are at a huge disadvantage when fall classes start.  I love their critical thinking resources for students and this one has been no exception. I received a link for an electronic download of this 212-page e-book.  I printed ours out and bound it into a book so that is was easier for Little Bug to work with.

Interesting solution - but it's her imagination!

This is a fun brain challenging book that is perfect for summer activities.  Once Little Bug started working on the problems, she just couldn't put it down!  I love this statement from their book, "Creative problem solving requires more than just knowledge and thinking.  Creative problem solving is the process of independently creating a solution."  There are 11 topic areas that all contain creative thinking, problem solving activities.  The 11 topics are as follows:
  1. The Magic Pencil (draw your solution)
  2. The Creature Factory (draw a creature that would survive the situation and then explain why you think it would)
  3. Superheroes and Super Powers (choose a super power to help)
  4. Alien Designer (create a design to meet the need)
  5. The Inventor (find a solution to the problem)
  6. The Crisis Specialist (decide the order of steps to help in the emergency)
  7. The Best Tool (choose the best tool to help)
  8. The Enigma (Enigma - "A person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand." - use your imagination to discover the enigmas)
  9. The Mind Ride (close your eyes and imagine you are a character in a story)
  10. 2-D and 3-D Figures and Shading (learning about and drawing them)
  11. Play With Mechanisms (creating a mechanism)
Sample from The Inventor topic

So far she has been working in the Magic Pencil and Creature Factory areas.  She absolutely LOVES the Magic Pencil problems.  She is asked to use her creative thinking to draw a way to fix the situation presented to her.  I was amazed at how fast she came up with solutions!  She was a real hoot in this area.  I didn't agree with some of her solutions because I didn't feel that they were very realistic, but I DID NOT correct her on any of them.  I want her to feel free to use her imagination and if it works for her, it's good enough for me.  There's plenty of time and place at another time for corrections.  The purpose of these exercises is to allow her creative juices to flow and allow brainstorming to its fullest.

Perhaps one of my favorites - just put the worm in a bag!  LOL

I would have just put a structure over him to protect him
but Little Bug decided he needed a getaway car! LOL

The added plus for us is that she is also getting to work on her artistic skills and handwriting since she is drawing pictures and having to answer quick questions about her solutions in some of the activities.

She has all summer long to "have fun" with this book.  She has so much more to explore in the other topics.  They all challenge your thinking skills and beg for creative answers.  The last two topics (no. 10 and 11) are tagged as "Super Challenge."  They will definitely be more parent intensive for the younger ones, but look so fun.  We haven't tried any out yet but I'm sure we will before the summer ends.

Sample from The Enigma

Sample from 2D and 3 Figures and Shading

Sample from Play with Mechanisms

When she comes to me every morning and asks if she can work on her "puzzles" and her "magic pencil"  I know we have a hit.  I love that she enjoys these challenges and has such fun coming up with solutions.  The Creative Problem Solving Level 1 (Grades PreK-2) - ebook is a definite hit in our book and we give it two thumbs up.  What a great resource to get for part of your summer fun activities.  You can connect with The Critical Thinking Co.™ on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, PINTEREST, and YOUTUBE.

Also, be sure to check out what my fellow Crew members have to say about this company and some other resources that they reviewed by clicking on the graphic link below.  If you have children in other age groups or are in need of something else you just might find it in one of the other reviews.  Have fun!

Creative Problem Solving, Dare to Compare Math, Mastering Logic & Math and Who Is This Kid? Colleges Want to Know! {The Critical Thinking Co.™ Reviews}

They Are Easily Amused

I installed an upgraded version of their summer water jug this morning and you would have thought it was Christmas.  Silly chickens are so easily amused and they were loving and playing around with their new waterer.  We have found that these sideways nipple waterers are the best and least wasteful.  Very little if any water is spilled out and it of course stays clean and cool in the cooler.  We add ice or ice jugs in the hot hot summer which is pretty much upon us now.

The problem I currently have is that I don't really have the freezer space right now for the freezer jugs (we use 1/2 gal milk jugs filled 3/4 of the way full with water).  The freezer jugs are awesome in the 100-degree weather!  I have an ice maker machine on order because our current refrigerator is absolutely awesome in every way except the ice maker!  It is the worst ice maker EVER!  Something gets jammed or the sensor fails or something and we often run out of ice because it just isn't making any.  The tray is very small to begin with and when it stops making ice because it THINKS it's full, then it is a long time before we actually have any ice.

I'll keep you updated on the ice machine as to whether or not it solves our problem.  From the reviews I've read I am a little concerned that I might be in a similar situation in which we are short on ice.  The machine can make I think about 26 lbs. of ice in 24 hours, but it doesn't store that much and it evidently takes time to produce each batch of ice.  With no place to store the ice that is made, I might have a problem.

On to more projects for the day.  Hope your day is blessed!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Math Shed_Spelling Shed REVIEW

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. 

With all the crazy that is going on right now in our country with Covid-19 and students needing to complete online and distance learning in school, it's nice to know there are some fun programs out there for our children to use.  I received a one-year online subscription to both Spelling Shed and Math Shed from EdShed (Education Shed Inc.).  EdShed is a company run by teachers for teachers.  They are a registered company in England and Wales.

Choose which game to play and even edit your avatar

These programs are not a curriculum per se but rather more along the line of practice programs.  Once you register your child and sign on they can choose which game they want to play (if you have subscribed to both).  Your child also has a personal avatar that can be edited as they choose.  They will have to earn points in the game to save up to "buy" extra accessories for their avatar.

Points and earnings




The program keeps track of points and your "earnings balance" which is used to purchase extras for your avatar.  Little Bug gets so tickled when she sees her score going up, but can't understand why it is taking so long to earn her rewards to be able to upgrade her avatar.  When signing on to Spelling Shed she has a choice of what level to start at.  From what I can see the spelling lists go all the way through 8th grade.  You can also add your own customized spelling lists.

Standard menu with no customized spelling lists

Choose what to play

Levels of difficulty

Definition of levels of difficulty

Little Bug is having a blast with these games.  She loves the challenge and is having fun practicing her mouse skills to boot.  You can enter your answers via the keyboard by typing or by mouse by clicking on the letters.  She uses both and prefers the mouse because it is just fun right now.  Adding your own customized lists is not too hard once you get the hang of it.  It's best to be in the teacher hub section to add customized lists that way you can "assign" them to your student(s).  The key to success with this program in my opinion is making sure you go to the teacher hub first and download/read the QUICK START GUIDE.  Then play around in the TEACHER HUB area to familiarize yourself with what it has and can do.  There is SO MUCH MORE to this program than what it appears.  


Teacher Hub (this is where you should add customized
 lists and assign them to your student(s).


I did not find the Spelling Shed program very user friendly at first but then realized that with some time and a fairly short learning curve I got more comfortable with it and realized its potential.  The same is true for the Math Shed program.  I love that there are not official grade levels listed for the students and you can assign them lists from anywhere.  Being able to create your own custom lists is also a big plus.

Math Shed menu


Times Tables

If everything available is still not enough then check out the RESOURCES tab in the teacher hub for more projects and activities that can even be printed out!

Extra resources available

If you are looking for a customizable and expansive spelling or math program that is online, fun, and a great challenge for your kid(s) I highly recommend you check out Spelling Shed and Math Shed from EdShed.  They both have FREE 30 day trials so they are very much worth checking out.  I don't think you will be disappointed if you give it a try and have a little bit of patience.

You can connect with EdShed on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, and YOUTUBE.  Please also be sure to check out the reviews from my fellow Crew members to see what they have to say about these two programs. Just click on the graphic link below.

Spelling Shed & Math Shed {Education Shed Reviews}

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

June Garden Updates

It is amazing how fast things change in the garden.  It seems that one day you have little sprouts and seedlings and before you know it the garden is just bursting with life.  We had a lot of rain recently and it really got things going in the garden.  This year my clematis vines have decided to just burst out with profuse growth and blossoms.  I am just loving them.  It was what I had dreamed of for the garden gate.  It is so exciting to see it come to pass.

Black raspberries

It's also berry picking time here.  The strawberries are pretty much done at this point, but the mulberries are well on their way as are the black raspberries.  We had a problem with the red raspberries a year ago and now I can't seem to get them to recover.  We might have to start over in that department.  The thornless blackberries are starting to take off a little.  I only have 1 of 3 plants left so hopefully the one that is doing so well now will continue to be in good health and grow and produce lots of new shoots for fruiting next year.


Normally my canning season doesn't start till August or much later, closer to October.  But, I am finding lately that as I learn more I am canning more and with the awesome new canning shelf hubby built ( I will share on another post) I have a need to get it filled.  My two most recent endeavors were canning pineapple and strawberry rhubarb pie filling.  I have never tried pie filling before but wanted to.  I was sure I was going to can apple pie filling last year but it just never worked out.

Canned pineapple and some extra pineapple juice!!

I am so excited to try the pie filling.  I have meant to make a pie for several days now but our schedule has just been so crazy.  I definitely have it on the agenda to make right away!  I LOVE strawberry rhubarb pie and the thought of having jars of homemade pie filling on my shelf makes me smile!  It is extra special because both the strawberries and the rhubarb came from the garden.  No sprays, no chemicals, just fresh food.

Strawberry rhubarb pie filling

What's on your canning shelf?  Have you tried any new recipes that you love?  Sometime soon I want to try canning beans like pinto and kidney.  Probably even black beans.  My goal is to eventually have food on our shelf instead of running for fast food or opening a metal can from the store.

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