• kids forest
    In the Family

    Don’t Tell Kids This Is The Best Time of Their Lives!

    I’m no psychologist and I am far from a perfect mother. I strongly believe in gray areas so I’m not the biggest rule enforcer. My kids have eaten cereal for dinner. Sometimes when I’m grouchy or busy I send them upstairs or outside, or give them a screen. Only time will tell how many of my kids will end up in counseling. I try to be a good parent though and help them navigate their way in this world. Recently in two separate circumstances I heard about an adult telling a child that the child is now living the best years of his life. The first time the parent was…

  • Valentine's hearts snowy day
    In the Family

    Top 5 Things To Do With Your Family In February

    Go outside and play Bundle up and go build a snowman! Make snow angels, go sledding, or throw snowballs! If you’re lucky and there’s none of that dreaded white stuff around, go outside and challenge your family shooting some hoops, playing football, or just playing a game of catch (that’s my speed). It’s a great cure for the cabin fever that sets in this time of year! Make Valentines Even if you don’t have crayons, construction paper, and glitter in your house, you can still get creative. Make Valentines out of whatever you’ve got (my father was famous for writing humorous and inspirational words in a spiral on plain old…

  • woods forest trees deer ticks
    In the Family

    The misunderstood disease that can ruin your life

    Let me begin by saying that I have no medical training whatsoever, and I cannot give you any concrete reason for taking my advice at the end of this post.  That is not going to stop me from offering my strong opinion on this matter though.  I can only tell you the story of our experience with the misunderstood disease that can ruin your life: Lyme disease.  This is our personal story, but sadly we have seen it repeated in friends and with others who have shared their experiences with us.  We put it out there with the hope that soon more medical professionals (and the general public) will recognize…

  • walk in woods winter
    In the Family

    Top 5 Things To Do With Your Family in January

    1. Volunteer together The holidays may be over, but the need for help never ends. People in need often need more help after the holidays when fewer people are helping. Help someone start the year off well. Children are never too young to learn about giving. Look for volunteer opportunities at churches, hospitals, libraries, schools, senior centers, food banks, animal shelters, nursing homes, homeless shelters, etc. 2. Get rid of stuff Work together to clean out everyone’s closets, toy boxes, the garage, basement, attic, storage shed, etc. Get rid of everything you haven’t used in more than a year. There are so many places to donate items year round, or…

  • strengthen boost immune system stay healthy
    In the Family

    How to boost your immune system

    ‘Tis the season to be stuffy!  Keeping yourself and your family healthy during germ season is not easy.  It can add stress to a season that should be peaceful and joyful!  How can you boost your immune system? I will preface this by saying that I am not a doctor, nor do I play one online. I am just a mom, a mother with three kids. These three kids go to school, play with friends, do extracurricular activities, and are exposed to many germs. My older two kids were sick so much in elementary school. Seriously, in kindergarten, they had something every month, and they were the healthy kids in the class! …

  • christmas card
    In the Family

    Get Christmas Spirit with these Christmas Song Games

    Earlier this week I posted dessert recipes for the upcoming holidays, which is kind of off-topic for this journal. This is about trying to live healthier, more active lives. But I just couldn’t resist sharing something related to Christmas, and everyone is allowed to go off-topic and indulge once in a while! I’m going to share one more holiday post that you can share with your family and friends because we all need a little more Christmas spirit. Then we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled outdoor / gardening / travel / family fun!Here are two games you can play while traveling to Grandma’s house, around the tree while drinking…

  • christmas cookies
    In the Family

    8 Christmas Dessert Recipes You Will Love

    Are you in the Christmas spirit yet?  My youngest one has the countdown going and each morning she enthusiastically reports how many days are left.  I know it’s exciting for Christmas to come, but I really like enjoying the whole season and making it last. One of my favorite traditions is baking with family and friends.  Although we really try to eat healthy all year, we just can’t resist baking our traditional desserts this month.  Sugar gets added as a food group in December.  The truth is that we just love making them, and we always set aside at least one day to spend making treats, which we usually share…

  • fire bonfire campfire firepit
    In the Family

    Top 5 Things To Do With Your Family in December

    Each month, we would like to throw out some activity ideas you may want to use to get your family together and ideally outside, active, or, at the minimum, away from technology. Most of the ideas will be for families of all ages.  If you have no nearby family, get your friends together. Lifestyles are becoming too sedentary and people are becoming too self-absorbed (in my very own opinion, ha ha). One of our goals with this website is to bring people together, and spending time with family and/or friends is one of life’s greatest joys. Because it is the holiday season, most of this month’s ideas are based on…

  • gardener gift ideas
    In the Family,  In the Garden

    Gardeners Will Love These Gift Ideas

    Are you shopping for a gardener?  This time of year it is hard to look outside and get inspiration and ideas for gardeners. Luckily for you, gardening is what we do year round, so we’ve got some gift ideas for gardeners in your life! NOTE: Some of the links in this post contain affiliate links, which means if you click on these links and make a purchase, Garden Shack Farm will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  We only recommend items we love, and we appreciate your support in this way! MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION A gardening magazine is a wonderful tool for inspiration and education, especially in…

  • gift ideas
    In the Family

    Best Gift Ideas To Inspire People To Get Active

    ‘Tis the season for people everywhere to start thinking about what to buy those special (and not-so-special) someones on their list. Everywhere you look you’ll be bombarded with annoying advertisements for “the hottest” gifts around. I usually try to encourage people to give gifts of their time or talent because everyone seems to have plenty of stuff junking up the space around them. Additionally, experiences (especially shared experiences) actually make people happier than things do. But it’s more difficult to put together a gift of time, and it’s a process.  You can’t just wrap up an experience and hand it over. You still have to follow through, and people are…