Winter is happening just how I like it – with the cold weather outside, and me, inside, by the cozy warm fire. I don’t mean to complain one bit, but OOOOOH baby, it’s cold outside! My inner scientist can’t decide if this evidence for or against global warming, but I for one wouldn’t mind a little extra warm right now!

Frigid temps mean the animals need some extra TLC. That means trading out frozen water buckets for fresh a couple times a day and making sure they have lots of extra clean, dry bedding to snuggle in. And while the goats and chickens don’t seem to love the snow covered ground, the don’t seem to mind the frigid temps at all. The roosters are outside first thing, happily scratching in their chicken run and cockadoodling the day away.

When frozen padlocks tried to trip us up, we got creative! We discovered a great use for the rice handwarmers on the Tiny Happy Acres etsy shop.  I just heated them up a little extra hot, and my hubby held them on the locks until the ice melted enough to open. So much easier than trying to get a hairdryer out there! It’s definitely worth having a few on hand for that reason.

Speaking of the Etsy, you’re going to want to go sign up for the newsletter ASAP!!!! Don’t wait a minute. Why? First of all, right now you can get a free printable of 10 (Christian) affirmations for kids. We have a great time at breakfast reading and repeating these affirmations. It helps us all start the day on a positive note and helps the little ones learn to read, too.

And the second reason to sign up for the newsletter? So you can be the FIRST TO KNOW about the unveiling of our Tiny Happy Acres Spring product line. I’m so excited I can barely keep that secret, I just know you’re going to love it and right now the office smells so good that I don’t ever want to leave. I’m practically in heaven! So hurry up, don’t delay, sign up for the newsletter! Right here! 

And although it’s January and the ground is frozen, we are busy working on the farm! That’s right, we are planning a major farm expansion for this spring and we are working on our business plans. We are working on nutritious veggies, gorgeous sunflowers, the best eggs around, and we are plotting and planning on bringing you some brand new adorable pets, too! 2018 is a year for growth and I hope that you will jump in and join us in creating an abundant life. I hope we can inspire you to care for your body, your soul, and our planet.

As I look out across the frozen tundra that has taken over my backyard farm, I can’t help but think that even though everything looks dead and frozen, God has instilled life and it is just waiting for the opportune moment to burst forth in beauty and bloom. And even if your life, your dreams, your soul, seem frozen and dead, remember that God is still hard at work. Keep that hope alive and burning within you because at any moment you may find that bloom that changes everything. Take this time to rest, to nourish your body and soul so that you can bloom. It’s our mission and our passion. Nourish. Bloom. Repeat.

Stay tuned because amazingness is in the works!

Hot coffee and apple cobbler in a cup
Hot coffee and apple cobbler in a cup

There is an udeniable connection between food and the soul. From tiny babies who comfort nurse in their mommy’s arms, to the little hands that grasp a lollipop in the doctor’s scary office, to would-be, wanna-be, hopefully-becoming grown ups seeking asylum in a steaming gingerbread latte. There is comfort in the rhythms of a morning cup of coffee or a glass of milk and a bowl of oatmeal, shared before the busy day begins.

We love food.

Food nourishes the body while gathering around the dinner table with our favorite people nourishes the soul. It is no wonder that Jesus asked us to remember Him with a glass of wine and a loaf of bread shared among believers.  A shared meal binds us together, delicious aromas remind us of happy times, and shared stories bring us hope, laughter, and joy. A family meal fosters love, and isn’t that just what we all need?

I am no Martha Steward, no culinary genius, no master chef. But I can whip up a mean grilled cheese sandwhich, simmer soups from scratch, and I know how to delight my little ones with Goldfish crakers, pretzels, veggies, and plenty of dip. I readily accepted ketchup as vegetable since my small people have forever devoured it on any number of side dishes like green beans, apples, and even, gag, strawberries. But then Baby number 5 came along and opened my eyes to the potential of ketchup as an entree. He can make a meal out of a plate of ketchup and a spoon. And again I say, gag.

Food doesn’t have to be fancy to fill up the soul. A hot meal, a cold meal, a simple dinner or a fancy fare, Jesus gave us the right idea – share it together among loved ones, remember Him, ask for His blessing.  My busy, big family doesn’t have it all together often, we’re too busy running here and there, cleaning up, picking up, dropping off, and taking naps. But if we do nothing else right, we eat together and often. It nourishes the soul and grows the family stronger with every bite.

This morning, while my kids snacked on Goldfish crackers and milk, I tested an idea that I had been dreaming up. And surprisingly, it actually worked! This might make a yummy, easy snack, a quick desert, or even a steaming hot breakfast for a cold day. Try this out…

Apple cobbler in a cup. Serves 1.

Cut up one apple, any kind will do, into bite size pieces in a microwave safe mug.

Cover with a layer of brown sugar (you can substitute maple syrup if you prefer).

Top with four small chunks of butter (a tablespoon or two will do)

In a small bowl, mix equal parts of instant oatmeal and whole wheat flour – just a couple of spoonfuls is plenty. Add a drizzle of olive oil and mix until crumbs form -you may need to add a bit more olive oil until you find that just right consistency. Dump your crumbs on top and microwave for 2 minutes.

The results? Delicious!  Just becareful, because the apples in the bottom are very hot!

Make one mug per person and enjoy!