winter snow 09Feb2017 - house

Cinnamon Ginger Hot Cocoa

We are finally getting our first proper snowstorm of the winter and the boys are super excited.  Snow day! 

This hot cocoa is the number one thing that the kids request when they go outside for a snow day in the wintertime. 


This is another recipe where it is easy to make a large batch and store the rest in the fridge for another day (or one hour later when you decide that you want another cup of steaming awesomeness!). 


Joe and I actually prefer to combine the hot cocoa with equal part coffee for a sort of homemade mocha pick-me-up.  In fact, I am enjoying a mug of it right now.  Yum…..


As with the Cinnamon Ginger Comfort Tea, this recipe contains cinnamon, ginger, and honey – all of which are super healthy for your immune system.  

[However, due to the risk of botulism, never give honey to a child under the age of one.]


ingredients to make cinnamon ginger hot cocoa


Cinnamon Ginger Hot Cocoa
  1. 2 cups milk of your choice (cow, soy, rice, almond, coconut) or water
  2. 2 Tablespoons honey
  3. ¼ cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  4. ½ teaspoon ground Ceylon cinnamon
  5. ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  1. Warm milk and honey in a pot over medium heat.
  2. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder, cinnamon, and ginger, stirring constantly until completely incorporated. Serve warm.
Life From Scratch


Here are some more pictures from our snow day…hope you are warm and cozy wherever you are today!


winter snow 09Feb2017 - trees 2 winter snow 09Feb2017 - building a snowman winter snow 09Feb2017 - trees 3

winter snow 09Feb2017 - trees 1

April snow showers

April Snow Showers

Spring is (supposedly) in full swing now, even though it is snowing outside as I type this post (does this sound familiar?).  I had the opportunity to attend a Native American storytelling session at my son’s kindergarten class this past week and one of the stories was about the annual battle between Old Man Winter and Young Man Spring.  The moral of the story was that these two mythical creatures have a hard-fought battle at this time every year and, although we never know how long the battle will last, we do know that Young Man Spring will always eventually defeat Old Man Winter.  This year, it seemed that Young Man Spring was set to have an early win back in March.  But, right about now, it is apparent that Old Man Winter is fighting hard and holding on longer than usual.  Come on, Spring!  We are all routing for you down here under this blanket of snow!  Don’t let us down!


But, regardless of April snow showers, our little homestead is marching forward with our annual spring activities, as well as a new one for us – baby chicks! 

baby Barred Plymouth Rock chicks

We have had layer chickens (Rhode Island Reds from a local place called Moyers Chicks) for the past 4 years but we have always gotten them as pullets, which are like teenage chickens – typically about 18-20 weeks old at the time you get them and should start laying eggs within the next 4-6 weeks after arrival.  While that has worked out well in the past, we thought it might be fun to try something new this year.  So we went online to a website called and ordered 9 female chicks of the Barred Plymouth Rock breed to be delivered to us in the mail when they were only one day old.  This particular breed is known to be tolerant of the cold weather and fairly docile around little humans and also a productive egg layer.  Perfect for us!  Also, they are super cute!  Right now, they look like little black fluff balls and will grow up to be pretty good looking as well, with a black and white checkered look.  So we have the 9 of those little gals set up in a cardboard box in the living room for now – with access to chick starter feed and water, and a heat lamp to keep it at about 95 degrees. (And I’d just like to point out that these new additions to our flock bring the female-to-male ratio on our homestead up to 23-to-5.  Yay for the girls!  If only one of the other females around here were interested in curling up on the sofa with a glass of wine and talking through our problems together…)


In addition to the baby chicks, the kids are also keeping a close eye on their Easter caterpillars that have gorged themselves for the past 2 weeks and are now all tucked away in their chrysalis and awaiting the moment when they will emerge as beautiful Painted Lady butterflies. 

painted lady caterpillars in chrysalis form


Another fun spring activity is planting seeds that will eventually be transferred outside when (if?) it ever gets warm enough to support plant life!  This year, the kids planted seeds for tomatoes, peppers, basil, and parsley and have been monitoring the tiny plots of soil daily to check the soil for water and to thin out the sprouts as they overcrowd the egg cartons where they are growing and competing for water and sunshine.  They also helped Joe to plant a bunch of flower seeds indoors in the hopes that we can transfer them outside and attract more beneficial pollinators to our little corner of the woods. 

 April 2016 sowing flower seeds indoors


Lastly, we bred the rabbits on March 16 and so are expecting two kits of bunnies to arrive around April 15.  Hopefully we will have news of them soon.  I don’t know about you but I find this time of year so exciting and encouraging when I look around to hunt for signs of spring and new life and am happily rewarded with splashes of color in our otherwise drab and dreary looking forest and the sound of songbirds returning to the trees and the anticipation of new babies on the way!  Life is good!