Farmhouse Friday- and a Happy Birthday!

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Welcome! We’re so glad you’re here because today is not only our family Farmhouse Friday, but also a very Happy Birthday to our boy! He turns SIX today! There’s not a better way to start a six year olds day than with a birthday plate (with his name and birthday on it of course), his favorite granola (with added birthday sprinkles in it of course), fresh raspberries and blueberries (with added chocolate chips of course), and a blue candle (because blue is his favorite color of course). And let me tell ya, that’s just the beginning. After this little morning appetizer we are headed into his favorite bakery for a donut. It’s tradition. And the kids absolutely LOVE it. Then it’s burgers for lunch with grandpa and grandma, target shooting for the afternoon, a deli-sandwich from Fred Meyer for dinner (lol- he saw it while we grocery shopped this week and that’s what he wants!) then lastly it’s a Davey Crocket movie night and root beer floats with his cousins to close out the big day. Wow, what a day. Oh the joys of a six year old birthday. We’re all looking forward to celebrating with some good ol’ fashion fun and adventure. He has such a tender heart and sweet spirit about him. We are so proud of the man he’s becoming. God gave us a blessing with the life of Silas. We love him so.

Thanks for coming by and celebrating with us here at The White Barn Farm. Enjoy the weekend ahead, friends!

PS. Aren’t birthdays the best?! Especially at SIX. 🙂

Farmhouse Friday

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Welcome to Farmhouse Friday at The White Barn Farm. Thanks for coming by today. We are always happy to have you join in on our story! Speaking of story, look at this cutie boy reading his “Vroom Vroom” book. A book with tractors (AKA vroom vroom) is a favorite with this kid. For today’s Farmhouse Friday I wanted to share with you how we keep a box of library books in our living room. It’s an extremely helpful way to keep the ‘library stash’ separated from our other books in our home. I simply use an old apple crate and the kids know it’s where they can always find the library books. Anytime, a book is not far off. I love it. And I think they do too. The easier it is to access the more likely they will venture into that box to read. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to read to this cutie boy about his Vroom Vroom’s. His mama will talk to you again soon. Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

A Mac Fam Favorite-“Energy Bites”

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Do you ever just need a little extra boost of energy part way through the day? Or how about an idea for a healthy snack to offer your kids when you’re on the go? Or what about a quick, fulfilling snack for yourself once the kids are in bed and you have a sweet tooth but don’t want to eat that 1/2 gallon of ice-cream…again? Well here’s the snack for you! It’s a favorite around these here parts.

“Energy Bites” or as my husband calls them. “Energy Balls”, but I just couldn’t get myself posting that at the top of my blog for some reason. Lol. And now I just made it more awkward I’m sure. Okay moving on, here ya go… try them, they are so good! You can’t go wrong with what you mix together as long as you keep the main binding ingredients. (binding; meaning that which holds the balls together: I use Applesauce and Bananas and crunch Adams peanut butter)

Step one-Get your Kitchen Aid ready and then Add the following (NOTE**measurements are approximate- literally I just toss ingredients in and let ‘er fly):

Mac Energy Bites

*Oats  2 cups

*Flaxseed 3 T

*Peanut butter 1/2 C

*2 mashed bananas

*Applesauce 1/2 C (we usually have those squeezable apple sauce pouches from costco so I have the kids squeeze in 1-2 of those. Easy!)

* Raisins 1 C

*Protein powder (we use chocolate organic plant based protein from Costco)

*Powdered Peanut Butter (optional- we get this from Costco as well. They like us there)

*Pure maple syrup 2T (sweetens- optional)

*Honey 2 T (sweetens-optional)

*Chocolate chips (optional; Warning! okay, so this changes the “healthy” part a bit)

Mix all ingredients in Kitchen Aid until it’s a thick dough.  Add a splash of water if additional binding needs to happen. You want the balls to stick together. I then lay out parchment paper and put bite size portions on it. We gobble up at least a 1/2 dozen right off the bat and then I freeze or refrigerate the rest to grab when needed. Yum! Give it a try and let me know what you think.

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#BeMine

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Happy Valentines Day! Last week I shared about some ways we celebrate this holiday. Today I’m letting you see our baking adventure we had in preparation for today. I hope you enjoy some of these moments as much as I. Making memories with the little people in our lives is such a treat. Even more so than the ‘treats’ themselves! I realize that now… but by the look of these kiddos faces, I think they still find that the actual treats themselves are pretty awesome! The appreciation for memories will settle in their hearts later on…

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We spent an afternoon baking and decorating heart shaped sugar cookies. Okay stop right there. I need to rephrase that; Actually, my good friend Fred Meyer spent the day baking and Betty Crocker prepared our frosting for us this time. Yes, it was one of those weeks. Not everything can be homemade overtime in my life. So we go with the help of others as often as needed. And I have learned to be okay with that. Remember my post last week?! Keep it sweet and simple. So for us, this was our sweet and simple. And you know what, the kids loved every moment of it (even the purchases at the store were a thrill because they anticipated the creations and consumption all the way home)!

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I had to keep at least one on a covered pedestal for myself or else the kids would want to eat them all, but look what happened…

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Look at Seth Luke’s (my two year old) eyes. Don’t they innocently scream “I want that!” I was upstairs and then came down to this…I happen to have my camera on me to capture his sneaky mission… ha!

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He took the lid off, dipped his finger in the frosting and was on repeat for about 5x before I said, “Seth Luke, what are you doing.” And this was the face I got. Lol. Now many of you are probably like, “Well why in the world did you leave that on a table he can reach?!” Well let me answer that, I had left it there for some IG pics I was doing a few minutes prior to me having to run upstairs for something. Within seconds, he was a smart cookie to figure out how to take a little bit at a time so mom wouldn’t notice. He hasn’t learned moms have eyes behind our heads yet, nor cameras that allow us to share it with the world. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Keeping it Sweet and Simple #valentines

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner so I wanted to share with you a simple, budget friendly means to celebrate the day with your littles. I like to keep things simplified whenever possible. So part of the way I decorate and celebrate is with simple designs and ideas. It makes it more doable for me, replicable for others, and inspirational for all of us.

This year I found these darling gift sacks to put a couple special items in for each child. The ones that appear ‘plain’ actually have small pink hearts on them. Obviously I am still learning how to take quality photographs. lol.

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I literally put just a few heart shaped chocolates and a pack of pink bubble gum. I had to stick (no pun intended) with the pink theme for the occasion. That’s it! Sweet and simple. We don’t have an over abundance of treats at our home on a regular basis so for us this works. My kids will love it. I figure if I keep it sweet and simple through the little years the expectations won’t drown me as they get older and we can practice being easily blessed as a family. Simple blessings in the everyday ordinary. That is what makes this life extra-ordinary, right?

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I plan to set the table with each Valentine sack at the kids’ place setting. We will have a fun breakfast Valentine’s Day morning as well. Maybe I’ll attempt heart shaped pancakes, aaaand that’s a big maybe. It could be entertaining to say the least. Ha! Or I’ll make pancakes and put red berries on top instead. That will probably be more of a reality.

Just remember; It’s in the thought and effort mamas. Not in the perfection. Our kids won’t remember what we get them each year or what extravagant meal we made them, but rather they will remember the heart of the the one whom gave it to them. Was it a heart that was cold, run-down, angry, anxious, easy irritated?…or a heart that was warm, welcoming, loving, energized, joyful, and at peace. It’s my prayer I will be the latter. Honestly not every moment I am, but that is the deepest desire of my heart.

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I hope this blog post will encourage you to be okay with ‘keeping it sweet and simple’ this Valentines Day and focus more on the heart of the giver. That’s you. And that’s me. Love your littles, dear friends. They need it, in the simplest of ways. Happy (soon) Valentine’s Day.

The School Room and so much more…

Wait, you homeschool with four children seven and under?!  Yes, yes I do. Stop, don’t leave! I’m not going to start making every post about what curriculum is best, or what books to read, or what denim skirt looks best to wear with your bun and scrunchy (eek, do they still make those things)? I promise. Hmm, come to think of it my daughter is on a side bun kick lately. Yikes, that’s for consideration another time. Lol, wink.

I totally get that homeschooling is not for everyone. And that is a very good thing. We are all made beautifully unique. Wherever you are at…to the ends of the earth.  With that said, I simply hope this post will encourage all of you mamas out there to love your little ones well by creating a space for them to imagine, dream, and learn. They are a gift to us. Teach them well through giving them the gift of learning. In whatever capacity that may be. We all spend a lifetime of learning. Yes, all of us. Let’s embrace learning together again. I know I have much to learn!

So for us this is a year of homeschooling. And we love it. That’s my motto- One year at a time. I can handle that. One single year, month, day, and if I’m honest with myself, moment at a time.  Breathe in, breathe out. By God’s grace we are taking it a year at a time. And truth be told…it is a joy and honor for me right now.

Here is a look at where we spend a good portion of our day…It is a room that works hard for our family as it puts on several hats including: office, playroom, daddy wrestling room, crafting, story times, guest room, and school room.

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A reading corner in a TeePee? Why not! Wouldn’t you want story time in a TeePee?

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Each kiddo has their own desk space. This is super helpful for storing each of their own supplies and books. We painted the kids’ desk tops with some chalkboard paint.  They have fun writing their name or doodling on it. That’s doodling, not drooling. Although that can happen sometimes too. I do have a 2 year old.

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This is our ART area. I like to keep a variety of markers, pens, pencils, crayons, tape etc. accessible to the kids here. They know they can be creative anytime as long as the items are put back where it was taken from.  This keeps us from ‘loosing’ items and helps maintain some sort of order in the school/play room.

Thanks for coming by to see our School Room today. Or at least parts of it. And for those of you wondering if everything is always in it’s perfect place like these photos show…think again. We are real people. And my kids are kids. Everyday (sometimes multiple times a day) we have an entire house cleanup time!

Take heart mamas. You’re doing a great job.Give your littles a hug and kiss.That will go a long way and could very well be all the lesson they need to know today… that they are loved, always.

Christmas Craft

Every year we have created a homemade Christmas ornament for our friends and family.  I thought I would share what we did this year in hopes you will enjoy it too.  It is simple, non messy(can I get a woot woot), country farmhouse inspired, and easy on the pocket book.  Here is what you’ll need:

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Twine- 1$ spot at Target / Glass ornaments, tiny jingle bells, gold wire S hooks- Craft Warehouse / Fresh clippings from your Christmas tree… or your neighbors if you have an artificial 🙂 .

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Gather your supplies and I’m sure you can figure out the rest! Have fun and create an adorable ornament to be enjoyed for years to come.  They are also very cute laying in a dish, bowl, or tray for a center piece or as a guest party-favor.

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Here it is all completed with that cute little piece of our tree inside.  I like that we will have a part of the tree to carry into next year too!  As a final touch we always add a tag with the year on it so we remember each creation in the years to come.

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This year’s ornament is definitely on of my very favorites.  Merry Christmas and happy crafting friends!

Gingerbread and Star Eyes

My mom, fondly called Nani, visited us recently and brought an edible Christmas surprise ‘craft’ to do with the kids.   img_8346

This is one of our traditions to do together as a family each year.  Nani jumped in on the fun with us this year too. And let me just say, those costco kits are incredible if you don’t have an architectural itch for the day.  The gingerbread is pre-made and the walls are already frosted in place. No, rather glued into place. Lots of hands on it, and that house was solid!  There was enough candy for the four kids to each have a small dish full and they could all design and taste test to their hearts content (wellll, to mommy’s hearts content rather)

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It’s always fun to make memories together during this time of year. Especially stary-eyed ones you can eat!

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Kids Advent Garland and Tree

The Christmas traditions are being prepared around here at The White Barn Farm.  I’ve spent the last couple nights getting this sweet little flocked tree’s garland filled with our 2016 December treats and adventures.  I found this burlap pocket garland at Craft Warehouse a couple years ago and every year since this is a favorite Christmas tradition.  Each pocket has a number corresponding to the date they can ‘open’ or take out the note that greets them inside.  With shrieks of excitement they find out what special event/treat awaits them for that day.  Honestly, they are still young enough that simple pleasures go a long way.  Oh to be young again!

Here are some of what our December adventures entail.  I hope this gives you some ideas of what to do with your family and/or friends in preparation for the greatest day to celebrate of the month… December 25th!

*Hot chocolate date with daddy

*Ice-Skating

*White Christmas Play at community High School

*Girls Date Night with Daddy -(they usually go to The Nutcracker)

*Cookie Baking Day

*Christmas Craft Day

*Look at Christmas lights in Leavenworth, Wa

*Special surprise once in your P.J’s (of which we will take kids out of bed and go see Grandma and Grandpa for Christmas treat late at night!)

*Check your stocking for a hidden treasure

*Go sledding

*Lights of Christmas at Warm Beach, WA

*Christmas Party- Dress up tonight!

*Read The Christmas Story

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Once I have the garland finished the kids get to decorate the tree. The ornaments, ribbon, nor picks are perfectly and precisely placed during these young years, but I don’t mind. There is so much joy in their gleaming eyes for them to have a chance to help and be apart of making memories.  It’s definitely worth all the ‘imperfections’ in decorating as we build traditions together, right?!  What are some of your traditions around this time of year? Do you have any similar advent traditions at your home too?  I’d love to hear and thanks for coming by!