Life And Adulthood

I’m at a point in my life where I am not a young adult anymore but I don’t feel like an older person yet. I read a comment that said “The elders call me kid and the kids call me ma’am” and that’s kind of what I feel it’s going on with me. I’m married, I have two children, a job, and in a few years I’ll be 30 years old and yet I seem to be stuck in my young adult years.

When you are no longer young, but not old enough
When you are no longer young, but not old enough

I’m still at the same job that I had when I was 17, I’ve scaled up a little but it’s the same company. And I don’t see myself going any further there, or at least not in the department that I am. I keep telling myself that this is a great job, with benefits and flexible schedule; the people there are great to work with. And this is all true. Many people would love a job like this one so what’s wrong with me?

I had so many dreams when I was little and I didn’t see myself where I am now. If you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would’ve said a teacher, or a lawyer, or a social worker. I would have never said a sales person. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. I love my family and friends. Everything I do is because of my children now so they can have a great present and a great future; my family is my first priority now. But I still look at going back to school and change my career. I would love to get my Master’s but I’m scared of the debt that could be left afterwards and I’m afraid I won’t be able to make it through with a full time job.

Maybe I’m right where I’m supposed to be, and maybe I should just accept it, right? But there’s something inside me that’s not comfortable with this. That’s why I start so many projects that sometimes end up to nowhere. Take this blog for instance, this is my first time writing in weeks. I know it’s best to be consistent as a blogger but sometimes I don’t know what to write about or I’m too tired to write, or maybe I’m too lazy.

I think that might be part of the problem. I’m too lazy to go after my own dreams. To try something new and explore. But at the same time, I’m responsible for a family and I can’t just take off work to try and experiment on new things. I’m just doing what everyone else does, go to work, then home, sleep, then go to work, then home and so on. Doesn’t it seem scary that we have to work sometimes as young as 16 years old and retire until we are 70 or even older than that? It’s scary to me. I mean working all those years to keep paying bills, a car, a house, college for yourself and hopefully for the kids, and at the end of it all, when we leave this world, we won’t take any of the material things this society seems to be so much in love with.

We try to live a fairly simple life with no debt. But we still need a house to live in, and it’s either rent and throw your money away or get a mortgage loan and pay a house for the next 30 years. Neither one seems to make sense to me. Especially when the mortgage company wants you to have a credit history to show you are responsible. How is it responsible when you have hundreds or thousands of dollars in debt? Anyways, I’ve purposely tried to live debt free but I did get a credit card with a max amount of $200.00 to try to establish credit.

I know I’m not the only one that feels this way because I see lots of people living off-grid, or building a tiny house, or a house with natural materials. But even then, you seem to need a lot of money. Sometimes I wish I could win the lottery, but of course I don’t play it.

It’s hard to think of all those years in school, since I was 5 years old until 21 when I graduated from college. And to think that they might be wasted in a cubicle doing tedious projects and tedious work. I feel I should be doing more, but I guess I first need to figure out what I’m good at other than what I already do. And what I want to accomplish in life. I want to help others, that’s what makes me happy and I’ve always thought so even when I was little.

Maybe this is what adulthood is all about, but it’s a little scary. I’m not ready to be a ma’am but I know I’m no longer a kid. My children look up to me, my parents expect great things from me, and there’s such a need within me to prove myself. To prove that I can be better than what I am now. And to prove that I can do better. But there’s a time for everything. Maybe I should prepare myself so that in a few years, I can start doing something different, something I like and something that will make me feel proud of myself in regards to my career.

I’d love to hear from you. Your struggles in reaching adulthood and how you’ve overcome them.

The Most Amazing DIY Chicken Coop and Run

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago about our first time experience with chicks (here). We built a fairly simple and inexpensive chick brooder and it’s still working. Now, I’m going to show you the process to build the most amazing chicken coop and run (well, to me it’s the most amazing one I’ve seen).

The Most Amazing DIY Chicken Coop and Run
The Most Amazing DIY Chicken Coop and Run

We didn’t spend much money as we tried to use a lot of recycled and free materials. If you have some basic tools, you can do this as well! For this process, Craiglist was our best friend. It took us a few weeks to gather all the materials we needed but we got lots of free pallets, free insulation, free shingles and a few other free pieces of wood. And we used these items to build it. My husband is amazing, he really showed his dedication and patience while working on this project. Me, not so much. But I’m glad it’s all finished now. And I have to give a shout to our families, they all helped from each side on multiple weekends and I know we couldn’t have done it without them.

DIY Chicken Coop and Run
DIY Chicken Coop and Run

If you don’t have tools, you can borrow them from family or friends, or if you know you’ll be using them in the future, purchase the basic ones (such as a saw). We had to buy nails and screws. We also bought plywood for the roof and the inside walls because we didn’t have enough pallets at the time and it was a lot easier to do it this way; we used 6 plywoods in total. And we bought poultry netting for the run and 3 roof panels for part of it since we wanted some shade and protection from the rain for the chickens. I didn’t keep track as I wanted to but I’m sure it was less than $200.00 on everything we bought to build this. So it took little money but a lot of time and hard work to build our awesome chicken coop.

I’m going to share some images of the process and hopefully you can get the idea on how to build something similar. Our coop is 8′ x 4′. I read about the space the chickens need and most sources said they need between 2 to 4 square feet to be comfortable. Our chicken coop is 32 square feet and it gives them over 2 square feet each (we have 12 chickens). And we also have a chicken run and it’s about 16′ x 7′. At first, I thought we could train the chickens to come out the yard to roam on the open space but we have spotted a hawk flying around and they’ll probably be safer if they stay inside (at least for now).

There are a lot of pictures so we’ve decided to put together a video slideshow. I hope you enjoy watching the pictures and I hope it can give you some idea to build your own:

A Letter To My Wonderful Husband

Today I want to take a moment to write a note to my wonderful husband and the father of my children. It is his birthday and I want to let him know how important he is for us and how much I love him. So here it goes:

Dear husband,

I want to wish you the best birthday yet. I want you to know that I love you with all my heart and that marrying you has been one of the best decisions in my life. You are everything I was looking for in a man and much more. We’ve been through alot together, good things and bad things, and in every moment you’ve been there. I know I don’t always say it but thank you for everything you do and everything you bring into my life.

A Letter to My Wonderful Husband on His Birthday!
A Letter to My Wonderful Husband on His Birthday!

Thank you for your dedication to our family and for the way you take care of us every day, without complaining. Thank you for your patience towards me and our little ones. Thank you for listening to me when I’m mad, stressed, happy or sad. I love that about you. Thank you for taking the time to teach our children about right and wrong. And for encouraging me to be the best I can be. You make me a better person, a stronger person, and you’ve taught me how to stand up for myself. Our children love you so much and I do too.

I’m sorry if I’ve ever made you feel unimportant, and I apologize for making you mad at certain times. I know I’m not the perfect wife but I try hard every day to be better than before. You are very important to me and I can’t imagine life without you. Every day is a special day for me when you are by my side.

I hope we get to share many, many more birthdays together, and I pray to God to always keep you in good health and away from harm. And I’d like to encourage you to find time to do the things you like to do, such as go running or biking. I know you’ve sacrifice a lot of time for us and I thank you for that as well. You are a wonderful man.

You are the best husband and the best father for our family. And I know you are not perfect, no one is, but you are perfect for me. I LOVE YOU and I’m excited about our future together.

With all my heart,

Your wife

Raising Respectful Children

Sunday night at last! It’s been a busy weekend and I woke up sick Saturday morning to top it off. I had been fighting a sinus infection for about a week, and it ended with a fever and body ache on Saturday and it was not fun. And we had family over so I had to get better quick. So I finally gave in and had to purchase some pain medicine and something for my sinus infection and by Saturday evening I was almost 100% myself.

So the main reason we had family over was because my sister-in-law’s husband came to help my husband with the chicken pen that he has been working on for what it seems like a long time now. So they worked on it most of the day Sunday, and I was on toddler duty all day. I never thought it would take this much work and this much time to get that chicken coop and pen up and running. And even so, they didn’t finish but it’s closed to being done and hopefully I can finally write a post about how we built it.

Anyways, sorry about the long intro. My sister-in-law has a daughter that is one year older than my own daughter, so they love to be around each other and play together. I love my niece and she is my goddaughter as well so we are very connected. But I feel like her parents aren’t doing such a great job about educating her. I know I will have to bring up the topic to them because as her godmother, I have the responsibility to see that she is being raised properly and respectfully, but I’m not sure how to do it. The mom is my sister-in-law and I don’t want to say something that will upset our relationship. Anyways, that is not why I’m writing this post.

There are certain things that my niece did during the stay that I don’t agree with, and much less with the manner on how the parents handled the situations. For starters, she hit her mom. Just like that, she slapped her on the arm because her mom was trying to feed her breakfast and she didn’t want to eat it. She made a tantrum because she didn’t have her way on something that I forgot what it was. She didn’t want to share the swing with my son, two years younger than him, and she made another tantrum and hit her own older brother because of it. She also talks back, and she tried to command my daughter to do something she didn’t necessarily want to do. And the list goes on, and on.

And this just got me thinking about all those teenagers out there in the world that are rude, indifferent, and want to do their own will. And I couldn’t help to think about how it all starts. And I strongly believe that it all starts at home, with the parents. We are responsible for teaching our children what is right and what is wrong. But even further, we are responsible to raise respectful children, educated children, caring children, polite children, good children. Because these children will become teenagers, and these teenagers will become young adults. And these adults will become parents, and so the cycle starts again. And soon, generations are lost because we couldn’t raise our children well.

Raising respectful children - thoughts and ideas
Raising respectful children – thoughts and ideas

I know that this is a lot of responsibility. We are not only parents making sure our children are well fed, well dressed and well taken care of but we are also educators. We are their first teachers and their first examples of what they should be when they grow up. Oh yes, it is a lot of responsibility. Children are the future, and I’m sure you’ve heard that before, and we want a great future so we need to prepare them and we need to raise them to be better than our own selves.

You want your children to be better than you, don’t you? You want them to succeed more than you, don’t you? You want them to have a better life than you, don’t you? I DO. I want my children to be 100 times better than me in all ways possible. My expectations are high but I was raised that way. My parents would tell me that all the time, they would say that they wanted me to be better than them and so they raised me with high standards.

So how do we raised respectful children? I have some ideas based on my parents own doing, but I’m no expert. I’m learning as I go and I’m teaching my children what I think is appropriate for children to learn.

For starters, they don’t watch TV meant for grown ups. Why do I point this, you might asked? Because I know a lot of parents that watch a movie, or another TV show, with their small children seating by their side. In those movies/shows, they hear cause words, they see violence, they see sex, the see drugs/alcohol, and they start learning things they should not see or hear until they are older. I don’t even let my toddlers watch news because all they show is a bad world. I’m not trying to keep them away from this, but I’m postponing it as much as I can so they have an opinion of their own. So once they are ready, they can make their own decisions about what is good or bad, not what the TV shows them.

Technology is everywhere now; this makes things different from where you and I were raised. I don’t have anything against technology, I enjoy it very much myself. But I will not allow technology to teach my children for me. That is my job and my joy. And with God’s grace, I will one day see the fruit from my labor. Now, there are ways to use technology properly to teach them and we make sure the TV shows and movies they are something that we want them to see. Is everything they see the best choice? Maybe not, but I do try to explain what’s going on if I feel is not too appropriate.

I’m also trying to instill basic manners on them, such as to greet people when they arrive or say goodbye when they leave. I’m teaching them to say please, thank you, I’m sorry and excuse me when appropriate. They are learning to not interrupt when mommy and daddy are talking, or when other adults are talking. I’m teaching them that when we are out, they have to be by my side unless I’ve allowed them to go running around. I’m also teaching them not to talk to strangers, or accept anything from them unless I’m there with them and I’ve told them they can take it. I’m also teaching them not to take anything that does not belong to them. And I’m teaching them to not hit anybody, including us. I’m teaching them to be kind to people and animals. To be generous. To be polite. To be curious. To love to learn. To love life and enjoy it. And the list goes on and on here as well.

I wish I could say there is a perfect way to raise perfect children. But nobody is perfect. We are going to make mistakes as parents, and our children our going to make mistakes as children. And that is okay, as long as we use those mistakes and learn from them.

If anything, I want you to take away something from this post, and that is: the next time you see a teenager misbehaving, disrespectful, indifferent, annoying, mean, a criminal, and ignorant, make sure that teenager is not yours. Make sure you’ve raised your children better than that. Make sure you’ve raised your children to make you proud, because after all, we’ll be, in part, responsible for their futures, and in turn responsible for the future of an entire country. So let’s make a difference and raise respectful children now. God will help us in our journey.

 

6 Activities For Toddlers (Most Are Free)

Today was a short day at work, only two hours to be exact (and gym before hand). We had planned an outing to the museum and it was great, for the most part. My sister and nieces joined us and the kids seemed to have lots of fun. Except for the occasional crying, tripping, fighting, screaming, and a little stubbornness from both kids and parents (well, really from me but I can’t take all the blame).

It was an important day because I usually can’t join them due to work so I’m glad I took the day today and was able to enjoy my family. I want my children to know that mommy is there for them at all times. I must say that I had forgotten how tiring walking around the museum was, specially when it was 80 degrees outside. The museum has an inside area and an outside, larger playground. And with such a beautiful weather outside, we spent most of the time out.

Our children are very active and we like it that way because I don’t want them in front of the TV, a computer, or a cell phone all day long. So my husband usually has an activity for them in the morning, and we do another one together in the evening after I get home from work. The kids are still little, I guess they’ll always be little for me, but they are relatively small and so they can’t do all the jumping and running around as an older kid can. So we have to find activities that are safe for them to do and fun.

Every time we went to their well child check-ups, we were reminded that they should watch no more than 2 hours of TV a day. And they should get at least 1 hour of physical activity per day. And so that’s only 3 hours, my question has always been, what does a one-year old and a two-year old do the rest of that time while awake? I searched Pinterest for hours trying to find activities fit for toddlers but I thought some were too complex for my little ones. I guess now that they are getting a little bigger, they are trying new activities and we are making sure that they utilize their body and mind when engaging on what they are doing. But a few months back, we weren’t sure what to do with them.

So here’s a list of a few activities we do with them and most of them are free:

6 Activities for Active Toddlers (Most Are Free)
6 Activities for Active Toddlers (Most Are Free)
  1. Go outside. I know this one is pretty obvious but I know of people that don’t want to take their kids outside their house because of bugs or mosquito bites. But I think it’s great for the kids to explore. My husband built a couple of swings for them, a see-saw, and we have other games outside that they get to enjoy. And they also enjoy walks up and down the driveway, so something as simple as walking is fun for them. We also have a few soccer balls that they enjoy kicking around.
  2. Go to your city park. We have at last 5 parks within 15 minutes from our house and they visit a couple of them a week. Some parks have playgrounds, others have walking trails, and one even has a lake with ducks and a pond with very colorful fish. My children love to feed the ducks and watch the fish. They also like swings a lot.
  3. Go sight seeing at a mall or other large store. During the evening, most of the parks and museums are closed so we tend to go walking to the mall or the grocery store. At the mall closest to us, there’s a merry-go-round so they get to enjoy that as well sometimes. Now don’t take your wallet or otherwise you’ll end up spending money but it’s nice to be indoors when it’s cold or when there are too many mosquitoes outside.
  4. Have a play date with family/friends. My niece is one year older than my daughter, so they love to play together. We try to get them together at least once a week and it’s nice seeing them share. We also have friends that have little kids and we try to get together a couple of times a month to catch up and they enjoy playing.
  5. Dance. I like to dance, I’m not really good at it but I enjoy it. So a few times a week, when we don’t go out during the evening, we dance for about an hour in our living room. I have a Youtube playlist with some dancing videos and my children really like watching them. And my daughter dances along. My son is smaller so he doesn’t dance much but he’s starting to feel the music.
  6. Visit a museum. We have a share membership to our local museum with my sister, so we do pay for this one but it’s not too much. And we get unlimited access to their facilities. My children love, love to go to this one There are so many things they can do and they engage their creativity as well. This is the one we did today and it was lots of fun. There are also free museums but they are about 40 minutes away from us and I think it’s a little far.

So here you have it. We structure our week around these activities to get them moving every day. Of course, when they are not jumping around, they are playing with their building blocks, or trying to color something (even the walls) so they also do other activities. But they are used to walking and running and actually get bored if they are inside all day.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on activities with your little ones, they are not very demanding and will enjoy spending time with you. I’m also trying to get my daughter to do yoga with me and she’s starting to follow the directions I give her so I’m going to start implementing this as well as she gets a little older. But if you have older kids, doing exercise with them would be very beneficial to both of you. Or doing a sport would be a fun activity to do as a family.

I hope you enjoy the list and use some of these activities for your little ones.

Fight For Your Dreams!

I haven’t written in a few weeks and that was not my intention at all. But it’s been a few busy weeks and life just happens. It’s funny that when we are teenagers we want to grow-up, have a house of our own, have a family, have a nice job, live the American dream, etc. But we don’t think about the responsibilities that come with all of those things. Now, with two little children, a job, bills to pay, food to buy, decisions to make, it’s a different story.

I knew that being an adult was not easy, but I never thought it would be as difficult as it gets sometimes. I love my life and I love my family; they are my everything. And I would never change any of the things we’ve gone through because that has made us stronger, and it has defined who we are as individuals and as a family.

When my husband and I got married, we got a place of our own (well rented an apartment), we each had our own jobs, and we had a thousand dreams that we wanted to see come true. Some dreams were personal and some dreams were shared, but they were our dreams. It seems silly to write about dreams at this age and stage of my life. It’s something that children and teenagers usually talk about it. But I think dreams are a very important part in our lives, even if we are adults.

Maybe you don’t call them dreams, maybe you call them goals. Whatever name, dreams are the driving force behind everything we do. We get up everyday to go to work (or stay at home) for a reason. And I know that sometimes it feels like it’s just for paying bills, but there’s more to life than that. And somewhere deep inside us, we still have dreams and things we want to accomplish in life.

No one but you can make your dreams come true - fight for them!
No one but you can make your dreams come true – fight for them!

My dreams today are not the same as they were when I was little, or even a teenager. My dreams now involve my family, more specifically my children. They are the strongest driving force for me. They are the reason I get up every morning, and the reason I stay up late every night. We all have different dreams and they all have a different complexity level. Some dreams are easier to obtain than others. Some require a short period of time to accomplish while others might take a life time.

Whatever it is, “no dream is too big and no dreamer is too small”. I heard this from the DreamWorks’ movie Turbo. I’ve been watching a lot of animated movies lately due to my children but I try to choose them carefully so that they learn a few things from those movies. I love this quote from Turbo and I enjoy watching that movie due to its message. It really encourages people to follow their dreams and to never give up.

No dream is too big, and no dreamer is too small (Turbo)
No dream is too big, and no dreamer is too small (Turbo)

I think sometimes with the failures we have in life for one reason or another, we stop dreaming because we don’t think we’ll succeed. But keep on dreaming, and fighting with your last cell to see those dreams come true for you and your family. And yes, you have to fight fiercely for your dreams because there will be 1000 problems to get them but you have to be strong enough and willing to work for them and find 1000 solutions.

It has happened to me that I’ve shared my dreams with family and friends and they laugh right in front of me, and they have told me why or how my dream would fail. And that’s very disappointing because these are the people that know you and that you trust to encourage you to fight for your dreams, not deter you from getting to them. I just want you to know that this is normal and it is okay. They have probably had lots of failures and want you avoid you going through one but don’t know how to best approach the topic.

But just because they have failed at certain things does not mean that you will fail too. If you really want something, with all your heart and all your might, and you are willing to work for it, you can accomplish every one of your dreams and goals. So don’t listen to those people that tell you it cannot be done; listen and follow those fighters that will tell you it’s possible.

It’s important to note that dreams won’t come true by themselves. There is work to be done and, depending on what your dream is, there will be a struggle to get to it. But I think if you really want a dream, you can find a way to make sure you see it through.

I encourage you to keep on dreaming, to keep on fighting, and to keep on believing because this world needs more dreamers and more doers, and we all can make a difference.

When Things Don’t Go The Way You Want

Today is my birthday… I can’t believe I’m 27 years old now. I wasn’t planning on anything special, to be honest I forgot it was my birthday until last Monday when my sister asked me what I was going to do on my special day. I worked half a day today and I thought about what I wanted to do later in the day and decided I wanted to have dinner at Chili’s. So I told my husband of the plans and he agreed so we got everyone ready and of to the restaurant we went.

Dinner was nice, the time was perfect. The food was great. And the company was even better. My children behaved for the most part and I had a wonderful time. After dinner, we stopped at the store because we needed to pick-up some items and everything was great. But as we came out of the store, my husband notice a scratch on one of the doors of our SUV. Needless to say, he was upset. He actually noticed that the car parked on the opposite side might have been the culprit because it had the color of our van on it. He wanted to scratch the car back but I dissuaded him and he didn’t do it.

After the store we left to my sister’s house for some cake and we enjoyed some family time there, with a little bit of crying mix in there from the kids (mine and hers). While driving, my husband didn’t make a stop at a 4-way stop and it was our luck that a state trooper was parked closed by and saw us (as a side note, we feel like he did make the stop but when a trooper stops you and says you didn’t stop, I don’t think you can argue with him). So he received a ticket for it. And again he was very upset about it.

I actually didn’t get upset at any of these situations. And I tried to make him see the positive side of things but he wasn’t in the mood to hear it. As I’m writing this, I know he’s still a little upset. But he’s watching a movie and he seems to be getting in a better mood. I love him and I know he wanted to make this a very special day for me. And it was very special because I have my family and they are the most important persons in my life.

But what to do when things don’t go the way we want them to? Well, the way I see it, the best thing to do is pray, smile and look your best!

When things don't go the way we want
When things don’t go the way we want

God has plans for us and earlier this week I was thinking how I felt that God was trying to tell me something but I haven’t figured out what it is. I still haven’t figure it out but I’m working on it. But what I’m trying to say is that no matter what we do or what we plan, God’s plan will always come first. And we must find the clues and signs he sends us to find the right path.

Proverbs 19:31 - God's plans come first
Proverbs 19:31 – God’s plans come first

We have to stay positive and believe that there is a reason for everything that happens. I think the reason why I was so happy today is because I started the day by saying “Today is going to be a great day”. I usually say a little prayer every morning before I start my drive to work. I thank God for giving me another day, I thank him for my family and I ask him to keep harm away from them. And I finish by stating that today will be a great day. And this helps me stay focus throughout my day and makes me feel better and in turn I can accept the situations that I cannot change.

I encourage you to seek God in everyday moments, when you are happy and when you are sad, when you are angry and when you are tired, seek him at everyday and He will give you the strength and courage you need.

Am I a Good Mom?

Unlike any other profession/career in life, no one teaches us how to be mothers, or how to be a good one at that. We seem to learn from our own mothers, those lucky enough to grow up with one, but as far as I remember, my mom didn’t give me tips or instruction on how to be a good mother. My mom is great, I love her with all my heart, and I think she did a really good job with my sister and me; we turned out okay. But there are instances where I thought she wasn’t right. There are instances where I was really scared of her and I don’t want my children to feel that way about me, ever.

Am I a Good Mom?
Am I a Good Mom?

I’m afraid of becoming a monster mom. I’m afraid of missing out on what’s really important in life. I’m afraid of ruining my children’s lives.

This is not an inclusive list, I have more things to be afraid of, but I wanted to make my point. Sometimes I have such a huge dilemma in my heart when it comes to my parenting style. For example, I got home from work today (after stopping for some groceries) and my daughter had a crying period because she wanted to be with mommy. I held her for a little while but it was getting late and I had to cook dinner, so I asked her to watch TV for a little while. I didn’t scream at her or anything like that but it did bother me that she was acting up. And half of my brain was thinking that she’s still a little girl and she misses me; and the other half of my brain thinks that I’m tired and I need to cook so we have food to eat. And the list goes on and on like this.

Last Sunday, mother’s day, we went to see my mother-in-law, and the rest of my husband’s family. My little angels didn’t take their nap and so they had all the energy in the world. They are the smallest of all cousins so we really had to watch them to make sure they didn’t get into trouble or had any accidents. Needless to say, we all got home and were extremely tired. And I’m still feeling a little tired today. And I’ve been like this for the last few weeks. I’ve been exercising more so I think that has to do with it since my body is adjusting but here’s the dilemma: do I stop exercising to have more energy and enjoy less stressful moments with my family?

I usually don’t see my children until 5pm since I’m at work until then and so I want to spend most of my evenings with them. But when they start crying or things don’t go the way I want them to go, it gets tough. I love them with all my heart and they are the reason I get up everyday and do what I do. And I just want to make sure they know that.

I want them to feel loved and secured whenever they are with me, and I want to enjoy them as much as I can. But there are so many responsibilities that need to be tended to around the house that I guess I need to find a balance. I searched for “when you are too tired” on Pinterest today and I came across these two wonderful posts, here and here.

I felt a lot better after reading these posts; the authors hit a lot of points that I hadn’t thought of. And I guess that I just need to take one day at a time. I don’t think I should feel bad about doing something for me only, and that doesn’t make me a bad mom. I am working on thinking before speaking to make sure I don’t yell at my kids (or my husband) and to make sure I’m using encouraging words for them at all times.

Being a mother is not an easy task and I need to remember not to be too hard on myself. And if I take care of myself, I can take better care of my children. So am I a good mom? Maybe not where I want to be but I do I think I’m in a good path. I hope to be a better mom and continue asking God to give me strength and guidance.

Thoughts on Food and Nutrition

Last year, I really didn’t pay too much attention to the ingredients’ list on the foods we bought. I always thought as long as we err on the healthier side of foods, you know whole wheat, lean meats, whole grain cereal, etc, we should be okay. When my husband and I met, we were both fairly healthy. We exercised regularly, ate at home most of the time, and had an ideal BMI. After having two children, this changed for me. I gained weight and it was very hard to lose it; I’ve gone back to my ideal BMI again but I still have the muffin top to get rid of (but this is another story).

Anyways, a few months ago my sister forwarded me an image of the picture of the ingredient list on Walmart’s Tilapias’ Filets (frozen) and it included Carbon Monoxide. Yes, that is the same CO2 that is bad for people to breathe, and it’s included in the food. Apparently, they use it to maintain the fish color (which I think it’s ridiculously because I don’t eat fish for its color). I’ve bought this type of fish before and ate it, and I tried to give it to my children (and now I’m glad they didn’t want to eat!).

So now, I try to read all the ingredients on the things I buy and make sure they don’t have anything dangerous (that I know of) or names I can’t read (which happens more often than not). Now, this is not only for the processed food but also for fresh fruits and vegetables. Have you ever tried an organic banana and a non-organic one? There is a huge difference. Organic apples versus non-organic apples? I found my love of apples again after I ate an organic one.

So now I find myself looking for the USDA Organic label more often at the store. Ideally, I would go to the farmer’s market every week but we haven’t made a priority yet so organic at the store is the next best thing. Well, there is one better, growing our own food. Yes, we started a little vegetable garden this year and we now have fresh spinach and cilantro right in our backyard (the other vegetables/herbs are not ready yet but they are coming along nicely).

Previously, I wrote about having baby chicks so in a couple of months we will have fresh, organic eggs from chickens we own. I’m so excited! The reason behind all these changes? My angels, who are currently sleeping (my husband included, and yes, he’s sleeping too!). I want my children to be healthy and food has such an impact in our health. I really think that many of the diseases that we see nowadays are in part due to all the chemicals and hormones on the food. Little girls in the U.S. seem to grow-up faster than in other countries (see, too many hormones).

I don’t want my children to be exposed to all these additions to the food that should nourish them, not hurt them. I know that I won’t be able to protect them from everything but I at least can try, and will try. That’s the reason why we started the vegetable garden and why we bought the chicks. One of our goals now is to purchase land to start our own micro-farm so we can raise most of our food there. But we still have a couple of years to go for that.

I do have lots of ideas on what I want to have on the farm but that will be for another post. I did find this wonderful post about “50 Ways to Homestead…”, here, and I thought it was great. I will try to implement more ways where we live now to eat better and be healthier. And I hope you give this a try because eating healthier foods will positively impact your life in more ways than one.

Baby Chicks and Brooder

This year, as a family, we have been doing things we’ve never done before, well then again we have toddlers so there’s something new everyday with them around. I think the projects we’ve done, and are in the middle of doing, are mainly because of our children. My husband built a couple of swings for them, a see-saw, an awesome bird-house, and is in the middle of building a chicken coop. Yes, we got chicks! As a side note, I’m hoping to write the instructions on these projects and how we are saving money on them.

Baby Chicks - DIY Brooder and how to take care of them
Baby Chicks – DIY Brooder and how to take care of them

So, back to the chicks. The main idea here is that in a couple of months, we will have free, organic eggs. And our children get to be involved with the chicks and hopefully learn responsibilities but they are so small now that we just hope they have fun and enjoy the baby chicks.

We live in an area that allows us to have chicks. We are not getting a rooster because I think that’s more responsibility and I’m not a morning person so I’m not sure how I would feel about waking up at 5am. And I found out that chickens don’t need a rooster to lay eggs; the rooster is needed when raising fertilized eggs to have more chickens instead of buying more (this was news to me). I read a lot before getting the chicks on what type of chicks we should get, how to take care of them once they are little, how to take care of them once they get older, how to build the chicken coop and pen, and how to keep predators out and everything in between. It seemed very overwhelming but after getting the chicks, we realized that it’s not as hard as we thought.

Caring for the chicks is not too difficult. They just need their own place, water, food and warmth. I read about homemade brooders and they are fairly simple. This is what we got:

DIY Chick Brooder and Items Needed
DIY Chick Brooder and Items Needed
  1. Large plastic container
  2. Feeder and waterer
  3. Pine shavings (I’ve read the flakes are better for them)
  4. Chick Starter Feed
  5. Heat lamp and bulb
  6. Thermometer (optional)

We spent about $100.00 on them, including the cost of the 12 chicks and everything above, except the thermometer since we already had one. But if you have a plastic container already and create your own feeder and waterer, you can probably save money here. Pinterest is full of tutorials and ideas to raise chickens, I even have a board called “Chickens” because I have lots of information on them. I listed the thermometer as optional because you don’t really need it. The chicks need to be warm enough because they don’t regulate body heat yet so the thermometer helps to make sure it’s warm enough. But the chicks will let you know based on their behaviour whether or not they need more heat. If they are huddled up in one little ball, they do need heat. If they are all trying to get away from the heat lamp, it’s too much. But if they are walking casually around the container and all spread out, the temperature is just right.

My husband is the best! He’s usually the one looking after the chicks and making sure they have food and clean water. And he cleans the container when needed. Taking care of them only takes about 10 minutes a day if cleaning the container. If it’s not too dirty, you can just add more pine shavings on top but my husband likes to keep them clean so he usually changes the shaving every day (the chicks poop a lot!). And he cleans the waterer twice a day because the chicks get shavings on there and the water is not very clean afterwards. So far, it takes them about two days to finish the food from the feeder so that one doesn’t get refill everyday. And we check on them to make sure the heat is okay. That’s it! Fairly simple.

Our daughters says the chicks are hers :)
Our daughter says the chicks are hers 🙂

We got the chicks at our local store and we have 10 ISA Brown chickens and 2 Silkies (more for decorative purposes since they don’t lay as many eggs but my husband really wanted them). When I first researched about chickens, I came to the conclusion that I wanted Rhode Island Reds or Sussex breeds because they are considered heritage chickens and lay lots of eggs. But they didn’t have them at our local store and I wasn’t sure about ordering them online; I just don’t know about the condition they would arrive. But I’ve read that the ISA Browns are a really good option for those that are just starting out on this venture, like us. I’m happy with our chicks and hope to have lots of fresh and organic eggs soon.

If you are thinking about getting chicks, you should! It is not that hard to take care of them. Our chicken coop should be ready soon so hopefully I’ll have pictures for you and the process to build it.