checking in...

Well, this happens every time I get excited about Instagram again. When I post regularly on instagram I often fall off the blogging wagon. So if you're wondering where I've been be sure to hop over to The Grovestead's Instagram page and you can catch up with our daily happenings. And since it's springtime, there are lots and lots of daily happenings...

Well, I feel like I have lots to report, but all of it very random. So here's my brain dump on a Wednesday night:

-Tonight Rory came in the house and got to work in the kitchen. He had black work gloves on and was working hard by the sink. When I finally asked him what he was up to he told me, "I'm making Nettle Soup!" As in stinging nettles! We have them in abundance around our farm, have always been told of their amazing nutrition and wondered sincerely how anyone could eat them. But tonight we tried them and you know what? Even our kids liked the soup! No kidding. It was delicious!

-I went to the Minnesota Association for Christian Home Educators conference this past weekend and it was so well done. I said this last year, but I really wish it wasn't just for homeschool parents, because every workshop is excellent for parenting, discipline, marriage care, life with a toddler, homemaking, getting kids outside, the importance of reading aloud to your kids etc.. It's all applicable for every parent. I left so inspired and excited for my job as mom.

-I'm 32 weeks today! And still, on the whole, feeling great. I am basically hungry all the time lately. I could eat anything you put in front of me at any time of the day, no matter if I just ate a full meal moments before. Baby must be growing, and surely I am too.

-I took the kids to the Children's Theater today in Minneapolis. My friend Emily got group-rate tickets and invited us along. $10 a ticket to see Frog and Toad! And it was SO WONDERFUL! The show runs through the end of June and I cannot recommend it enough. It was delightful. I think you just have to have 10 people for the group rate (not totally certain, so you'll have to look this up) but if I were you, I'd pool a few families together and go. It made for such a fun and memorable outing.

-Our billy goats are almost 3 months now! And as such, they have been giving each other lots of "back hugs." That's what we say about the rooster when he has lots of love for the hens. But the billy goats were clearly getting to be of back hug age. So the vet came out yesterday and the boys were banded. And now they are quite sad, but the vet said this should just last a day or two. Poor fellas.

-Along those lines, the other night at dinner we had a very frank and upbeat conversation about what goat will be processed for meat. Everyone was making a case for sparing Presh or Cici or Precious. Later I told Ivar that he is one of only a handful of kids in the year 2017 who have to have this sort of conversation around the dinner table. But if we had lived 100 years ago, or any year before that this conversation would have been very, very normal. It was an interesting thought and made me glad my kids are this close to their food. We roast a chicken every week and make our own broth now too. There is a rhythm and a swing to all of this, and honestly, I am eager to have goat meat in our freezer. I love how handy it is to have dinner on hand all the time. (deep apologies to any vegetarians reading! but these are happy animals until their fateful day...)

Well, I suppose that is all for now. I think I am heading for bed now. Sleep is eluding me these nights and I know it's all preparation for the season to come. That's all well and good, but it does make for a very tired Mama come 4:00 when I am ready to call it a day!

Joyfully, Becca

A glorious and happy Easter

Do you see all that sunshine pouring in?!! That sort of sums up our Easter Sunday. It was a glorious day, full of resurrection and awe, basking in the glory of God. In Minnesota, a sunny, green grass, blue sky Easter comes around only every so often so I think we are especially grateful when one of these rolls around.

We started the morning by having the kids look for their Easter Buckets. Ivar's was in my white desk, but Elsie's was a bit trickier for them to find.
She kept circling the room and finally after Rory told her he was going to turn on the light to see if that would help, she found it hanging from the ceiling fan. They also got darling Easter lunch boxes from Mimi filled with candy and they were so thrilled. The morning was off to a good start.
We were going to wait for Hattie for the Egg Hunt, but she slept in until 9:15 that morning (!!!) which was awesome and crazy. And very helpful when she never got a nap the rest of the day...

I shared on instagram that just before this happy picture was taken below, one of our participants fell apart because his shoes and socks were "stocking wet!" from the dew on the grass. So the hunt had to stop while I gave him dry socks, rainboots, a kleenex and a pep talk. And then we went back out and joy was found again.
That picture above is a new favorite of mine. Elsie was into this hunt. Also, I hid two of each color egg for each kid. Which was brilliant, because they actually worked together to find every egg. Ivar would say, "Elsie! I already have my purple, but there is another purple over here!" Also, candy corresponded to the egg color, so they ended up with the exact same amount and kinds of candy. Remind me to do this every year.

Then we got all ready for church and I got the gift of a picture with my four kids. :)
We went to church and Hattie and I listened to the service from the infant room. It was a sweet time together and she kept making eye contact with me, loving that it was just the two of us for a whole hour and a half. I loved the time with just her. I'm not certain she ever really gets my 1:1 attention.

But she is not lacking for attention! That is for sure! We got to my mom and dad's house for Easter lunch and there she found cousin Mara in the flesh! Hattie walks around with a magnet of Mara's soccer picture and talks to it all day. And gives magnetic Mara rides in tupperware containers. She loves her Mara and Mara loves her right back.
Mom made her traditional meal and it was perfect. Ham and hot fruit on top, potato casserole, layered jello salad, relishes, peas, rolls, a green salad and Uncle Don brought two homemade pies: cherry and apple. And he makes unbelievable pies.
Hattie got a lot of attention from everyone. And she was very worthy of every drop. Mom and Dad's egg hunt assigned a color egg to each kid. Ivar was Blue, Elsie was Pink and Hattie was Orange. It meant that the orange eggs were basically throw on the grass. But Mara, the eleven year old, was Green. And her green eggs were a lot trickier to find. So smart.

Hattie walked around with Jedd for the hunt and he helped her find her eggs. There was something about her cardigan sweater, holding a basket and waddling around that made her look very much like an old woman gathering chicken eggs. It was so, so entertaining and darling.
The egg hunt was a huge success and the kids were very pleased with their six eggs each. We came back in the house and everyone talked. The kids and ladies all went for a walk and then came back and Mara painted Elsie's toe nails. We ate candy and some read and some napped and others of us just kept eating candy...

At the very end Hattie found Jedd putting on his shoes on her favorite little step. She was so pleased to have his company and they read a book before we all left to go home.
It was a great Easter. Full of the gifts from God: family and time together and celebration for what He has done in our lives. We have so much to be grateful for...the fruit of our family walking with the Lord is all around us. And it is good, good fruit. Thank you Jesus for bridging our sinful selves back to our Holy God. Alleluja!

It takes a Family

Monday night I was up all night with round ligament pain in my belly. Oh it hurt so bad. And I could hardly get comfortable. I had spent a lot of Monday moving big tubs of clothes as I changed everyone's dressers from winter to summer. I was bent over in the attic crawl space pulling them out and then I was carrying laundry baskets up and down the stairs doing laundry at the same time. I knew I was overdoing it, and that night my body told me that it also knew I was overdoing it. (I'm 30 weeks pregnant tomorrow!)

I woke up Tuesday morning and knew I had to lay low. Trouble was, my folks were coming and I was planning on grocery shopping and picking up two new chairs for our sunny room while they were here. So I called my mom at 8:00 and told her my predicament. And then emailed her a grocery list and the delivery number for the chairs. And she and my dad spent their morning doing my grocery shopping and picking up my chairs arriving at noon with my days worth of errands.

We put the groceries away and then I went to take a hot bath while Dad cleaned out my entire garage and Mom did Easter crafts with my kids.
I went from the hot bath into bed and took a long nap. And after I woke up Mom started making Chicken Salad for supper and Dad started vacuuming my whole house.
Oma Zina and Auntie Lisa arrived so that Lisa could help plant the garden with Rory. Zina asked if I had any laundry to fold. Ha! I had five loads! She worked with Hattie and folded my clothes like they have never been folded before. Her folding is really an art form...
Meanwhile, Lisa worked with Rory and Ivar to grid the garden so it was ready to plant. And while they worked, the rest of us had a picnic outside. It was cold. But delicious.
After supper Zina went to the raspberries and cut off last years berries so the energy can go into the new fruit. And Rory and Lisa planted onions, beets, potatoes and peas. Ivar and Elsie got really goofy and Hattie went to bed.
The day was absolutely dreamy. I hardly did a thing, but was so grateful to receive every bit of love and care. We now have a kitchen full of groceries, two awesome chairs in the sunny room, a clean garage, folded laundry, a clean kitchen, chicken salad for tomorrow, a garden that is underway, raspberries that are ready for the spring and crafts that are darling hung in my kitchen. And all I had to do was take a bath and a nap! It is fun to think this is how the family farm used to operate with generations living on one homestead. I think they had the right idea back then. It is just so good and satisfying and right.

weekend in review

Oh man. This girl. She got to come with me to her first Bridal Shower and she was completely enraptured with the whole experience. I had told her it was a party just for girls and ladies, to celebrate our friend Elena who is going to marry Max in June. I told her there would be cake and punch and that we would get to watch Elena open presents from everyone to fill their kitchen so she could cook good food. So Elsie wore a lovely dress with her white tennis shoes and sat transfixed on the bride (who we got to sit with!) and ate so much sugar she got a tummy ache.

At lunch she had asked me how Elena and Max knew they wanted to get married. I told her that they were good friends and that at some point while being good friends they decided they wanted to be friends for the rest of their lives. That they couldn't imagine not being each other's friend. Elsie liked that answer and was glad that Daddy and I are good friends for the rest of our lives.

I am too.

It was quite the exciting weekend as Saturday began by picking the winner for the maple syrup giveaway. Congrats to Joy Peterson! Big winner from right here in our town! I wore my favorite maternity dress for the big reveal video on facebook and only once we posted it did I realize that I cannot wear that short dress any more! My belly has grown in the last few weeks, shortening the dress considerably! But I couldn't really tell that while wearing the dress because I can't see past my big belly. But I could definitely tell on the video! Hilarious. And that darling dress is now retired.

Then we went to the Home and Garden show in our town. Which translates to: walk around the ice arena getting candy and balloons and entering giveaways and seeing everyone and their grandma there. It was so fun! My kids actually thought it was some sort of carnival. And to our great joy, we met a neighbor how has sheep and knows how to sheer them! Hooray!

We came home and my sister-in-law Sara came over with her kids for the afternoon. My kids love their big cousins so, so much. And Kirby and Toby and Ruby are so great with my kids. Kirby recently gave Ivar TONS of Hex Bugs and Hex Bug Track (which we didn't even know existed...but now we do!) and so they got to play with Hex Bugs, and visit the animals and Toby even taught Ivar a magic trick that Ivar is impressively good at (Toby is a really good magician!) I got to talk to Sara for a good long time and the afternoon was awesome.

They pulled out of our driveway and minutes later our good friends showed up and dropped off their three girls for a babysitter swap, as they had watched our kids on my birthday. So with all six kids, we ventured outside for an easter egg hunt. It was awesome and so fun. And two little one-year-olds can cover a lot of farm yard, heading in different directions, quite quickly!

Those girls left at 7, I put the kids down and then made 55 Matzo Rolls for a Seder Meal that happened here in our town. And then I finished my book!

This morning I got up and could hardly put my pants on. For real. I was so tired. But we made it to church and I taught about Palm Sunday and sincerely enjoyed every minute with the 3-6 year olds I get to teach. They are a really great crew.

We came home, there was a sheep Baaing like crazy at us in the field and Ivar went to investigate. He came running back, "I think a sheep is having a baby! Her butt is SO RED!!!" Rory ran out there and sure enough, there was a little lamb, still in the sack. So we spent the next few hours delighting in the straight forward birth and the darling little lamb trying to stand on its sturdy legs.

I asked Elsie if she wanted to go see the lamb and she said, "No, because once I saw a goat being born and it was very gross to me." So instead she prepped for the bridal shower.

And when we got home from the bridal shower we ate scrambled eggs and tator tots and called it a great supper.

We cleaned the house a bit, folded laundry and got the kids down and then Rory and I went out to the barn to see our darling lamb named Sunday. It started to rain and we went to the upstairs of the barn where Ivar used his walkie talkie to tell us that it was raining very hard. We talked back and forth with him for a while, him in the window of the house with Elsie, us up in the big window of the barn, everyone waving and saying I love you back and forth.

And then Rory and I stayed up in that upstairs for an hour and talked and it was one of my favorite dates ever.

Then I came in the house and talked to my mom about my weekend and said, "I really should go blog about this, because these are some fun memories..."

We will be posting pictures of the baby lamb (and soon to be lambs, when the other sheep go into labor) like crazy people on our instagram page, if you're interested in pictures of darling barnyard babies...

the grovestead newsletter

For years Rory and I have talked about starting a newsletter for our farm. Obviously we both blog. And now I'm sharing every day on instagram. It's not like we don't share a whole lot of our hobby farm anyway. But we both have always said that a quarterly newsletter would be so fun to work on...to sum up that season, write about what is to come. And to share favorite quotes and scripture, favorite links or websites, books or resources that we are coming across. A total hodgepodge, but all centered around that season and the happenings at The Grovestead.

So in order to kickstart this newsletter we are hosting a Maple Syrup giveaway. It's a total gimmick to help us spread the word in order to find as may people interested in our hobby farming ventures as possible. And, to our great excitement, it is working! We posted a week ago on our facebook page (@thegrovestead) and have had a great response of people curious enough to add their email to the list for either the newsletter or the chance to win the maple syrup. Either way, we are enthused.

We are going to draw the winner Friday afternoon, and it just dawned on me that I never posted about this on my very own blog. Duh. (Though that duck, duck, GREY DUCK video was very adorable!)

So if you want to be added to the email newsletter list, and if you want a chance to win a jar of our beautiful maple syrup CLICK RIGHT HERE AND SIGN YOURSELF UP! (And anyone else you think may be interested!) By entering your email, you are also entered into the syrup raffle. :)

We'll draw for the syrup winner Friday at noon. I'm so sorry for the late notice!