Monthly Archives: June 2014

Quirks That Keep Us Healthy and Happy

I’ve got some quirks, I’ll admit that. In fact, my whole family has quirks… sometimes they drive us nuts and sometimes we all share the same quirk so we think it’s completely normal and sane. Don’t try to hide it… you have quirks too!

Three out of the four of us are full fledged germaphobes. Not the “ewwww all germs are gross” kind of germaphobes but rather “not a fan of people germs.” When giving a tour of our hobby farm I will grab up a goat berry (for those of you non-goaty people, goat poo is called “berries”) with my bare hands to show kids what they look like up close and how they differ from a rabbit pellets (rabbit poo is called “pellets”). OK, with that being said you can probably easily guess what the first quirk is…

1.  Be a germaphobe… you don’t have to be rude about it or make a big deal. It is as simple as not sharing drinks (is it really that hard to make sure everyone has their own bottle of water?), ice cream cones, and anything else that another person has put their mouth directly on or manhandled with unwashed hands.

My husband is not as much of a germaphobe as I know he’d drink and probably eat after any one of us in the family but he does like a good handwashing and never really liked public pools and buffets due to the suspected germ content.

How does this help with staying healthy? Well, just think about it. Often times we are ill before we really show many (if any) signs and symptoms and when we directly share food and drinks we are also sharing that bacteria, virus, and any other unmentionable bug that is just waiting to make us sick.

Our boys like to point out that I will not share a drink with Kevin but yet will give or receive a kiss in a heartbeat… what can I say, for a kiss from my love of 17 years I’ll throw all caution to the wind and I bet they will too when they get married!

2.  Wash your hands… Remember when I said I pick up goat poo… and rabbit poo… and… well you get the picture. Well, I am also a big fan of handwashing and make sure I wash my hands after such crazy behavior before I touch anything that will be touched by others or later by me (i.e doorknobs, animal feed bowls etc.). I also like to wear the thin surgical gloves when I’m working with particularly messy jobs (fecal tests etc.) and work gloves when cleaning horse and goat stalls, paddocks, and enclosures. I still always wash my hands whenever I come into the house from being out working around the farm. A vinegar and tea tree solution is used to wipe down door handles and faucets every other day or so.

My quirk in this area is the simple fact that I have taught our boys to wash their hands as soon as they come home from being out and about as well. Public places have some germy door handles and our woods have lots of poison ivy. Never hurts to give those hands a good ol’ washing! I do the same. The first thing I do when I walk into my house is go and wash my hands.

How does this keep you healthy? Washing away the germs brought in from the “outside world” **go ahead and shudder** significantly helps cut down your risk of common colds, viruses, and all sorts of other little illness causing buggers.

3.  Sanitize your dish rag… I know some folks who use a new dishrag every time they wash the dishes. My quirk isn’t that I don’t like doing laundry much but rather I found a way to use the same dish rag for a whole week! And it’s not even ewwwww! I just sanitize my dish rag before each use by wetting it down (if it’s not already wet) and popping it in the microwave. From what I’ve read you only need it in there for 30 seconds but I decided two minutes would make SURE all those nasty germs were dead so that’s what I do. Make sure the dishrag is wet when you put it in and watch out, it will be hot when you take it out. I use the same dish rag in this fashion for about a week, just keep resanitizing.

How does this keep us healthy? Kitchen towels and dish rags are total breeding grounds for bacteria due to moist damp conditions. Those nasty buggers transfer to your skin and dishes and before long they will make their way into your mouth or nose without you even thinking about it. Just think how often your hands go up around your mouth and it seems little kids can’t keep their hands OUT of their mouths to save their lives!

4.  Practice good hygiene…OK, this seems so darn basic and not even quirk worthy but seriously, some folks need the reminder abut how integral good hygiene is to keeping our bodies healthy. Our youngest son (10 yeasr old) is in the “I don’t want to take a shower” stage and it drives me bonkers on the inside. I am a shower every day kind of person and when our cistern is super full I’ll take a couple showers! My quirk is only a quirk because in this day and age I really don’t hear parents ensuring their kids are washing well. Well, I do…

Before my kids get in the shower I give a loving reminder to make sure they shampoo, wash their face, behind their ears, in between their fingers and toes, bottom of their feet and all the private places on their body. I get the “ok, sounds good mom” with a subtle undertone of “you tell us the same speal EVERY day, I think we know by now” that never gets verbalized (good thing for them… something like that would be considered disrespectful and earn some pushups in our home). When they hop out of the shower I have no issues doing a quick fingernail or behind the ear check and have been known to make them get back in the shower and “try again.” Yes, I do random spot checks on teeth after they brush and I often have them do a quick check on each other’s teeth and will have them rebrush or refloss if needed.

I explain my quirk like this… God gave us these bodies to care for in the best way we are able. We have been blessed with clean water in which to wash, great smelling soap to help enjoy the experience, and all the toothpaste and toothbrushes we could ever want to ensure our teeth remain in good working order. To do things “just good enough” or “half way” is saying that we don’t consider what God has given as important and worthy of our best care. It is our job while our boys are under our roof and our instruction to teach them how to do this well and the importance of it.

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.

Make it habitual now so they will continue and hopefully teach their kids the same.

5.  Eat healthy and eat often… So, what’s my quirk with this one? I eat constantly. I really love to eat. I love great healthy food and I love great unhealthy food. Yes, my kids and I eat donuts (those yummy little powdered kind and the white iced with sprinkles and many others), Doritoes, and many other “off limts, they are going to slowly kill you” foods. However, we also eat a ton of really good for you foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains. My kids devour homemade pancakes (made with majority whole wheat flour), turkey bacon, fruits and vegetables galore.

When cooking supper I usually put out a plate of fruits and veggies and the boys eat a ton while their taste buds start to tingle from a yummy supper cooking. At that moment they are “starving” and will try just about anything I put in front of them… I choose fruits, vegetables and cheeses for them to fill their tummies. Sure, sometimes they aren’t as hungry for dinner but I’m not complaining that they filled up on vitamin and mineral packed fruits and vegetables!

We also eat often at The Shepherd Hobby Farm. While we are working outside in the summer and fall we often stop for breaks and check out the garden or berry bushes for a snack. I just love munching on freshly picked sugar snap peas, black raspberries, and slicing up a cucumber while watching the horses play in the paddock! While inside, we graze on mostly healthy fare though we do love some of those “horrible foods” as well and find balance is the key.

Stay hydrated… we do this by drinking a lot of water and limiting sugary drinks. Our youngest son tried soda (Sprite if I remember right) once when he was at a friend’s house and has never wanted to try it again. However, he does love Minute Maid lemonade in the can. Our oldest son (15 years old) likes pop but drinks mostly water. They are each allowed 1 soda (or lemonade for our youngest son) per day. The rest is water.

How does this help keep us healthy? Our energy is kept at even levels because of the foods we eat as well as how often we eat. Plenty of water ensures our bodies are able to function at the best of their ability and keeps things “regular” in the system. Both of my boys get headaches easily if dehydrated so that that is something we always need to watch. If the boys are sitting still they know to always have a glass of water close by to drink!

6.  Exercise… I really love to exercise. However, I love it even more when I trick my body into thinking it’s day to day living and not a concerted effort to “exercise”. Carrying five gallon buckets of water to animal enclosures, chopping and stacking firewood, spreading mulch, cleaning out stalls, paddocks and enclosures, housework, exercises with the kids… I try to think of it all as either a game or a way to go about daily living.

The boys and I like to do family exercises together and usually end up in a heap laughing towards the middle. Who am I kidding… I can never get past a couple sit-ups without the boys laughing hysterically at my complete inability to do very many sit ups. I’ve never been good at sit ups and I really don’t care to get any better. I’m a push up kind of lady. Then there’s jumping jacks… seriously? I’m horrible and my youngest son isn’t the best either so we are always begging my oldest son to let us in on his secret to expert jumping jacks. He’s not telling. Lunges down the hallways… yup we are pushing, shoving and racing to see who can do it the fastest but still keep perfect form… yup, kinda a quirk… have to keep perfect form or it doesn’t count.

We have TVs for movie watching only (no cables, satellite etc.) so there’s no wasting hours upon hours on the couch mindlessly tuned into the latest and greatest show about a dysfunctional family or reality star wedding.

How does this keep us healthy? It keeps us moving and continously maintaining these amazing bodies God created. An active balanced lifestyle helps the immune system fight off any intruders much more effectively. Do I make our sons play organized sports? Nope. Do I offer? Yup. Do they take me up on it and play organized sports? Some seasons they do and some they don’t. We balance our activity with plenty of rest which brings me to my next quirk…

7.  Rest… I don’t need much sleep but the rest of my family certainly does! My body does really well and I am most comfortable with about 6 to 7 hours of sleep. My husband functions best on 8 to 9 and both of our boys need at least 12 hours of sleep to be at their best… physically, mentally and emotionally. The summer usually affords more opportunity for kids to rest and there’s absolutely no shame in bringing back the good ol’ rest time in the middle of the day! Everyone gets a book, settles down and even closes their eyes for an hour or two sometime during the day (parents, I know this may not be possible with work but what about the weekends?). Don’t get so busy busy busy that you don’t give your body time to rest and recharge.

What’s the quirk here? I guess the fact that I don’t need much sleep but perhaps also that I absolutely love to go to bed. When I hit my “wall”, that point where I can’t take another step because I am physically too tired, I seriously get excited to go to bed, it’s my favorite time of the day! I guess I should say night.

Because we eclectically unschool (type of homeschooling) our boys do not have bedtimes. They are able to stay up as late as they want. Our oldest (15) goes to bed pretty early, usually about 10pm, shortly after we do, while our youngest (10) is a total night owl. He loves to stay up late and sleep til’ noon or 1pm. I don’t mind as long as he is rested. If we have somewhere to go the next day I will let them know what time we have to leave and both boys are actually really good about kowing how much sleep they need and will get to bed accordingly. When they were younger we cetrainly had bedtimes as they were not mature enough yet to understand their own needs in regards to sleep.

8.  Lots of animals…I know many aren’t able to have lots of animals and I do not recommend lots of animals if you already are allergic to them. However, if you are allergy free try to get your kids around animals. All types… barnyard, typical pets, etc. Our kids have gorwn up with cats and dogs their whole life and for the past five years have had quite a few more animals to call their own. Not a single allergy of any kind with these boys. I have a mammal meat allergy but that is from a freak of nature lone star tick and his nasty alphagels!

Research shows that raising kids around animals leads to less allergies of all types later in life. The American Medical Association has released numerous studies on the subject supporting this fact in the Journal of American Medical Association ( WebMD agrees…

If WebMD says it then it has to be true, right?

So, every time I get another goat that they have get to help take care of I simply tell my kids, “it’s for your own good, you’ll thank me later when you don’t have any allergies.”

9.  Laugh, dont’ be so serious, stress less, give more… Play out in the rain, splash in puddles, go catch lightning bugs, everyone help with dinner, read a book together each day complete with funny voices for each character, go play with cats and puppies at the humane society, share cute jokes with each other and then make up your own, put the phone down, get away from the computer, pretend there’s no electricity for a day, make a scavenger hunt for each other, and the list goes on and on. Just relax, enjoy your family and chill out.

Stress in our bodies leads to a less effective immune system. Worry and stress are a vicious cycle that leaves no room for contentment and a servant’s heart. To want something or a situation that is out of your control to be a cetrain way is a slippery slope to idolatry and self-focused living. It leads to a hardened heart.

I hate to quote “Frozen” but “Let it go!” Don’t try to control others or uncontrollable situations. Guide your kids instead of controlling them. I’m not saying to “let go and let God” as many try to say… we still have responsibilities. However, if you are providing for those around you as best you can, being a partner to your spouse in a biblical manner, being present in each moment for your family and friends, working on your own right relationship with God full of repentence and dieing to one’s self then certainly LET IT GO (stress, worry, etc.)!

Let the pressure of work and people go, let the past mistakes go as you turn away from them and ask for forgiveness, let the money worries melt away as you look around and see you have life and all you truly need in Christ. Your time on this earth is going to be just a blink compared to your eternal life. Where will you spend that eternal life? Here’s probably my biggest quirk… I want you all to know what I know and I’m not ashamed to shout it from the rooftops! I’m a sinner (that’s not the quirk, we all are sinners), I need a savior, there is only one and we are told quite clearly it is Christ.

John 14:6

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me


Healthy living here on earth… I care to a point but know it’s not going to make or break my salvation. A healthy and right relationship with God, that’s what it’s ALL about.


You can drink green smoothies every day, exercise, always wear sunblock, wash your hands, and have the best job and family in the world but it’s not going to matter. You’re still a sinner, just as I am. Without a savior,Jesus Christ, you won’t be enjoying an eternal and everlasting life with Christ. Weeping, gnashing of teeth… Does that sound better to you? No thanks, not for me. That will be the lot for some and even the best physical body today isn’t going to help them one bit when that comes to unbelievers.

So, my quirks that keep me healthy and happy… yup I’ll keep at em’ but I’m not putting all my eggs in that basket. All of my eggs are going into my basket with my relationship with God because that’s the only one that really matters. As I grow and am filled with his love, compassion and caring Spirit I can pour out love, compassion, and caring to so many others. It is through that power that I am able to do anything and everything in my life with such unashamed vigor and zeal!

Another quirk… I’m really not a fan of top 10 lists (though I know I’ve made a couple) so I’ll leave you with 9 quirks that keep us healthy and happy here on The Shepherd Hobby Farm.

Happy handwashing to you all!





Father’s Day… Should We Celebrate It?

Guess what… THIS Sunday is Father’s Day…June 15th, 2014. Are you ready to party? Hold it right there… should we throw a big party on these “Hallmark holidays”?

If you were looking for a blog to get you out of any type of work, thoughtfulness, or kind words for your husband or father on Father’s Day then you have come to the wrong blog. I am all about taking the opportunity, every opportunity, to tell and show my father how much he means to me and my husband how incredible I think he is as a father. I just think that every day should have a bit of “Father’s Day” sentiment and that we shouldn’t save it all up for that one day in June.

With that being said it’s never too late to start some fun traditions. In our home we have a very simple tradition on days that celebrate a specific member of the family (birthdays, mother’s day, father’s day etc.). We make cards. Yes we get out the cardstock, construction paper, markers, crayons, stickers and anything else that we find around and we make cards. It’s fun to see my normally anti-crafty boys channel this side of their brains and oh how I long for at last one kid who wants to create scrapbook pages, quilts, cards, and the other multitudes of crafty items that my boys personally think are “the most boring and tedious projects in the world.” Boring… really? Apparently they’ve never watched paint dry.

*Note to self, have boys watch paint dry so there is something more boring than crafting in their opinion.

Ok, back to fathers and the Day of Fathers.  My husband’s opinion on the whole thing is that it is a Hallmark holiday and there is no need for celebration. He goes a step further to point out that he is not my father so there is no need for any type of celebration, gift giving, extra kindness, etc. from me… I should direct all of that to my father, who is actually my father and the natural recipient of MY Father’s Day wonderfulness. He’s got the same sentiments about Mother’s Day (I am not his mother so there should be no wonderfulness, other than normal day to day wonderfulness coming from him… it’s all on our sons)…  I’m still coming to grips with that (not sure I ever will, I am a selfish person… especially on Mother’s Day.)

I’ve met our sons… in fact I know them really well. They are not all about celebrations and meaningful remembrances of love and appreciation. At fifteen and ten they are usually looking for the easiest way out of, into, and around anything. Expert easy road finders, they won’t touch celebrations with a ten foot pole.  Celebrations=work and usually plenty of it. Couple that with the fact that they know their parents aren’t fans of extravagant purchasing and gift giving and what’s left is the horrible world of craftiness and creativity.

This year I’m forcing it on them though. They will be helping me make dad (by dad I mean my husband, their father… I refuse to buckle to his thoughts of what I should and shouldn’t do in loving wonderfulness for him on Father’s Day) a big breakfast (unless we go out to eat after church which I am sure my boys will suggest if I tell them of this plan ahead of time… so I’m not telling them) and then we will ask Kevin (aka “dad”) what he wants to do for the day. I’m guessing he will want to go on a bike ride (he and I do that every Sunday and he likes routine… oh and we need to train for a 535 mile ride), play a few board games (the boys and I love that, seriously, no sarcasm, we’re a gaming family), eat a big brunch (homemade, he’s not a big fan of restaurants), grill something for dinner, have a clean house (this would be the ultimate gift for him), family devotions in the evening, and see some cute cards made by his sons.

Dad and youngest son gaming!

Dad and youngest son gaming!

Now think about this folks… what looks different here from a normal day in our home? Not a whole lot. If my sons made him cards any other day you wouldn’t be able to tell this day from a normal day in our home (except for the brunch… Kevin would be at work). That’s the point. We try to live every day as it is a celebration of each other not because we are the most important things in life or on this earth but because we are filled with grace, humbled exuberance, and awe of what God has blessed us with, each other. God could have seen fit to never give Kevin and I children and Father’s Day would have been just for our own fathers. However, he gave us two amazing boys to raise up in His Word and teachings. This is why God made fathers, to protect and provide for the family and raise up and guide children to praise and glorify God!

This is what we strive for. Appreciating each other every day of our lives and finding ways to tell and show each other how blessed we are to have one another. There are so many people out there who have never known their fathers, had them pass away, or distanced themselves from their dad’s for one reason or another. Don’t use a Hallmark holiday as your one day to show dad (husband, father, grandfather, uncle, friend…you know who fits that bill for you) how much you love and appreciate him. At the same time use Father’s Day as a fun day to celebrate a little extra how much you love and appreciate him.  Make him a card 🙂

Since I mentioned gaming I have to throw out a few games that you may consider purchasing for dad this Father’s Day to start a gaming tradition in your home.

Fuzzy wanted to play too

Fuzzy wanted to play too

I have to tell you nights and afternoons of gaming are so much better than sitting in front of the TV! Our family favorites are as follows…









Castle Panic (our favorite lately)

Castle Panic

Castle Panic


















The Legend of DrizzT

Legend of DrizzT

Legend of DrizzT







Battlestar Glactica (yes, from the television series… we are that nerdy)

Battlestar Glactica

Battlestar Glactica








Age of Empires III

Age of Empires III

Age of Empires III








Wings of War (Kevin and the boys love it, I’m ok with it… they always beat me)

Wings of War

Wings of War








Gulo Gulo (Kevin and I can never seem to beat the boys at this one… great for ages 4 and up… not even kidding adults are usually worse at it than kids)

Gulo Gulo

Gulo Gulo



















Settlers of Catan (gotta love the ore, wheat, sheep combo)

Settlers of Catan

Settlers of Catan








Agricola (you get to make a farm folks… seriously! And Kevin actually likes this one…. Score!)









Let’s Jet (a Simply Fun game and a god one)

Let's Jet

Let’s Jet






These games can be found at Hobby Town USA in Evansville, Barnes & Noble, and of course online (Amazon etc.). We try to get a new board game every Christmas, birthdays, and sometimes Father’s Day. Start a collection folks, it turns into a collection of great memories!