12 Favorite Blog Posts

12 Favorite Blog Posts

I recently celebrated 1 year of blogging here at Aduke Schulist, and while I sort of let the year slip by without doing as much as I wanted, I still marvel at the progress I made here. I am always so humbled that even 1 person finds interest in my writing, let alone all of you who faithfully read and comment – us bloggers live for comments – on Aduke Schulist.

In celebration of the past 12 months, I wanted to first share with you my 12 favorite blog posts from the past year.

12 Favorite Blog Posts by Aduke Schulist

1. Get Down Downtown 2016 – Outdoor Festival

One of my first posts on this new blog covered a yearly event called Get Down Downtown. Coincidentally that same event is coming up soon, so be on the lookout for this years coverage.
Get Down Downtown - Street Festival - Vendor Event 2016

2. Day Out at the Outlets of Little Rock

I enjoyed a girls day out with fellow blogging friend Tiffany while we shopped and learned about some of the great deals being offered by stores in the Outlets of Little Rock Shopping Mall (I still want those shoes! Why have I not bought them yet?!)

We had good food, good fun, and good memories. I can’t tell you how many times I have been back, but even the kids enjoy it.

Outlets of Little Rock

3. We are… ADOPTING! – Single Mom Adoption

We announced we are adopting. Since then, so much has changed, but not the desire to adopt. I have been putting off updating regarding the process, because there isn’t a whole lot to update at this time, but know that we are STILL planning on adopting! The time line has just been pushed back a bit while I hammer out some details.

4. Stand Still. Stay Strong. Have a VOICE.

It’s hard for me to stand up for myself and to speak my mind, but for 2017 I chose VOICE as my word of the year. With every decision I make, I am reminded of this word and what it means to me to have a say in my life.

I have noticed that I am a much stronger person because of this. I am not as easily intimidated. It has taken a lot of work, and is still a work in progress, but the progress is what’s important.

5. Fertility Awareness Method Explained and Tracking for Health

I gotta admit, I cringed myself when writing this post about the Fertility Awareness Method. Not because I don’t believe in it, but I was nervous of the reactions I would get. It still baffles me that some women are so ignorant about their own bodies. I was once one of them! Learning about my body and it’s functions has empowered me.

Ovulatory Cycle using Kindara for Fertility Awareness Method - Natural Birth Control

6. Mommy Med Spa Day – A Day Of Pampering and Pedicures

I joined Tiffany again for a day of pampering provided by the Rejuvenation Clinic Day Spa, Arkansas’s first med spa. That is a day I would love to re-live. Everything about the Spa was so relaxing, and my pedicure lasted for weeks!

Getting My Pedicure On At Rejuvenation Clinic Day Spa in Little Rock

7. 5 Reasons I Have Body Hair

Things got a little hairy when I shared 5 Reasons I Have Body Hair.

Woman with Armpit Hair - Natural Body Hair

I was surprised at how supportive some of the comments were. I was really expecting to be bombarded with how gross it is.

8. Boy Scout Camp & Disabilities

Both of my boys are in Boy Scouts, and this Summer, they both attended their first week long Boy Scout camp. Because of Losh’s disabilities and his need for assistance, I had to attend with him.
Boy Scout Camp - Camp Rockefeller - 2017

We had so much fun. I had hesitations with going, but looking back, it was a blast. I even learned how to tie a few knots myself.

9. 2016 Popsugar Reading Challenge

My love of reading was shared when I posted about the 2016 Popsugar Reading Challenge. Because of it, I found a few new favorite authors. This year, I did not participate in a reading challenge.

10. Why Being A Single Parent Is Awesome

My kids mean everything to me, and while parenting them alone is a challenge, there is so much to love. I shared some of my favorite things in Why Being A Single Parent Is Awesome.

11. Before You Get 4-H Chickens

My desire to raise chickens for eggs was somewhat fulfilled last year when we raised our first flock of baby chicks.

4-h-chickens-walking-in-food

Spoiler: most of them died, and we ultimately didn’t get a single egg, but learned a lot and are patiently awaiting an egg from our second flock of chickens.

12. Hashimoto’s and Dietary Changes

Sharing my health journey began when I learned that I had Hashimoto’s and started taking medication to treat it. I posted about how I am making dietary changes to help keep this in check…

Thyroid Medication for Hashimoto's Levothyroxine

It’s hard y’all! I’m still struggling with removing gluten from my diet, but have drastically reduced my intake. I don’t notice any difference yet.

So, there you have it.. my 12 favorite posts from the last 12 months. I hope you took the time to view a few of these as you were making your way down the list. Tell me below in the comments…

Which one of these was your favorite?

White County Fair – 4-H Poultry Chain 2017

White County Fair – 4-H Poultry Chain 2017

I’ve taken a break from KonMari-ing my house in order to do some fun and exciting things… like attend the local County Fair.

Around here, the County Fair is a big deal and has no age limit. Young and old all bring in their homemade goods, homegrown items, and animals to be shown and judged.

White County Fair - Poultry Chain - A 4-H Program

Poultry Chain

We participated in the fair as part of a 4-H program called the Poultry Chain.

Every spring, those 4-H members who sign up are given approximately 20 freshly hatched baby chicks. The participants raise these chickens and then take the best 3 out of the flock to the fair. They are judged, then sold in an auction. The proceeds from the auction go towards paying off the chickens. Whatever is left is split among the participants and awarded based on what ribbon they won. For example, all those who won first place ribbons will get X amount of dollars, while those who receive a second place with get slightly less.

Losh and his chickens

This is our second year doing the poultry chain, and this time both of my boys participated.

Due to restrictions where we live, we started out with 16 chicks instead of the 40 my kids were supposed to have. Unfortunately we had some deaths and when the county fair rolled around, we had 10 remaining.

Judging the Chickens

We picked our best 6 (3 each) and headed to the county fair.

Arkansas White County Fair 4-H Poultry Chain Chickens in Cages

The chickens are placed in cages alongside all the other participants and a judge looks at each chicken individually. They are mainly being judged on how big they are, the space between their breast bones and vent, and the size and color of their comb and wattle. Last year Kaia got a first place ribbon for his chickens. I was really surprised as it was our first time and I felt like we had no clue what we were doing.

This year, Kaia earned another blue ribbon, but Losh only got a red one.

Kaia and first place ribbon for chickens

I was really expecting them to both place second, because our chickens this year just didn’t seem very big, but I am glad it worked out the way it did because Kaia helped much more (including building the coop!) than Losh did.

County Fair Fun

After the auction, we walked around the fair checking out all the educational materials, items entered, and rides. One of my favorite things about the fair is seeing all the items that people have entered. I tell myself while viewing them that I should enter my own (and we did one year), but I never went back to pick up ribbons or anything.

Admiring artwork at the county fair - Arkansas White County

I love how the items are judged in order for more than one to win a first prize ribbon. So much time and dedication goes into some of these projects – like the quilts or giant pumpkins.

I can’t even grow a single pumpkin, let alone a GIANT one.

Can you imagine how many pumpkin pies that thing would make?

Giant Pumpkins at White County Fair

Unfortunately, we didn’t ride any rides or consume any delicious food (hello fried Oreos and fresh squeezed lemonade!) this night, but the fun we had made up for it.

What is your favorite part about your county fair?

Treat Your Good Boy To Homemade Dog Treats

This post contains affiliate links.
Homemade Dog Treats

When your good boy is a great boy and needs a special treat, regular store bought treats just won’t work. So, gather these ingredients and make your favorite pup some delicious homemade dog treats.

Homemade Dog Treats - 5 Simple Ingredients - by Aduke Schulist

These treats contain only 5 ingredients and come together within minutes.

Homemade Dog Treats Ingredients

Ingredients:
 1 cup whole wheat flour
 1 cup oats
 1/2 cup flax seed
 2/3 cup broth
 1/4 cup peanut butter

Directions:
 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients together. Add the broth and peanut butter, stirring until the mixture forms a ball of dough. If mixture is too dry, add more broth. Roll out the dough on a slightly floured surface, cut into desired shapes. Bake for 10 minutes, turn treats over, and bake an additional 10 minutes.

The best part about these treats is I always have the ingredients on hand. So grab a mixing bowl and your favorite dog shaped cookie cutters and treat your good boy – or girl – to these homemade dog treats.

Homemade Dog Treats - Peanut Butter and Beef Flavored
Homemade Dog Treats - Peanut Butter and Beef Flavored
Homemade Dog Treats - Peanut Butter and Beef Flavored
Homemade Dog Treats Yum

Homemade Dog Treats - Peanut Butter and Beef Flavored

What I lack in decorating skills, these treats made up for in taste. Rok (our husky) LOVES them.

Homemade Dog Treats - Peanut Butter and Beef Flavored

 

Have you ever made homemade dog treats? 

Before You Get 4-H Chickens

4-H Chickens: First time chicken owners

I blogged on Life as a Convert a while back about our 4-H Chickens. It was basically me saying I had no clue what I was doing raising baby chicks and that I hoped beyond all hoping that I could keep enough alive (3) to fulfill our obligation to 4-H. I’m happy to report that I was able to keep exactly enough pullets alive to participate in the Show and Sell required as part of getting the 4-H chickens. Kaia’s chickens got a blue ribbon and sold for right over $30.

Before you get Chickens..

 

After auctioning our remaining three pullets off, we were left with three roosters. They served no purpose except eating the bugs outside. Two of them have since died, but we are keeping the third and only surviving chicken as somewhat of a pet.

Kanga-Rooster AKA Roo is a friendly little chicken who enjoys popcorn and pecking at the window when it’s time to come inside at night. From the time we got him and his siblings (RIP little chickens), we have learned so much and want to share with you you what you should know before getting 4-H chickens (or any chickens!) for the first time.

They eat and drink a lot.

– Seriously, a LOT! I grossly underestimated how much they would eat/drink. Even as day old chicks, those suckers devoured food. Depending on how many chickens you have, I recommended getting double the amount of food you think you will need.

4-h-chickens-walking-in-food

Not only do they eat a lot, they waste some by scratching in it, or even defecating in it. My advice? Go to your local farm store and stock up! Buy.All.The.Food!!

They need to be kept “high and dry” and have a place to roost at night.

– Maybe this one is obvious, but I had to learn it the hard way. We turned an old dog house into a chicken coop and thought it would be great for the chickens. Except it was super hard to clean out, and my attempts at cleaning it, only left bleach soaked poo on the ground.

Dog House Turned Into Chicken Coop - 4-H Chickens

After living in it for a little over a month my entire flock got sick and half of them died. This was due to them being on the ground (with their poop) at night. It’s best to have a coop that is safe from predators, easy to clean and access, and has a place for them to roost. (We are looking into getting a chicken tractor or remodeling the current coop in the meantime Roo (our single remaining chicken) spends the night in the house inside a dog cage that is much easier to keep clean)

They will peck you!

– They most definitely will. They will peck your toes and ankles and anything else within pecking reach. It won’t hurt, but it will scare you and make you jump. The anticipation of getting pecked will cause fear. Feeding time – when all the chickens come running towards you – will result in you (or Kaia) running around like a chicken trying to avoid getting pecked.

Chicken wire isn’t made for chicken coops.

– This was another hard lesson. I ended up using three different kinds of wire on our dog house coop before declaring it secure. I recommend getting the ¼ – ½ inch hardware cloth wire and using that. It will keep your chickens in and predators out. Keeping the chickens in is just as important as keeping the predators out. Our first death happened from a chicken getting stuck in the wire (pictured above) trying to get out. It could have been avoided with hardware cloth.

Be aware of what predators are in your area and safeguard against them.

– We had a few chickens die from predators. I take the blame for this. They did not get into the coop, but rather got the chickens when they were free-ranging.

They need space and entertainment.

– I had no clue that chickens would peck each other. Not only do they peck each other, they draw blood, de-feather each other, and still continue to peck! Overcrowding will cause them to peck each other.

4-H Chickens - Overcrowding in a Coop

I’ve since learned that you should have about 4 square foot of space per chicken. Also, chickens get bored and will peck each other when bored. I solved the boredom by giving them cabbage, corn on the cob, and other treats. My chickens’ boredom was a result of them being “cooped up” prior to them being big enough to be let out of the coop. They were confined to their coop until they were no longer able to squeeze through the fence separating my yard from the neighbors’ yards.

Overall, they aren’t too hard to take care of. There are just a lot of dos and don’ts that you should familiarize yourself with before signing up for 4-H chickens. I recommend websites like Backyard Chickens and Facebook poultry groups specific to your area. Additionally, individuals who have participated in the 4-H Chickens/Poultry programs before can be a great source of information.

Have you ever raised day old chickens?

Meet ROK

Meet ROK!

I am sitting here sorting through pics and thinking back to just a few short months ago when we got our second dog, Rok. I know, I know! I never even blogged about it. Whoops! Consider this, my introduction: In May, we got Rok. Rok is 75% husky, 25% albino shepherd, and 100% gorgeous! Meet Rok:

Meet Rok

It all started many months before when my kids were begging me to get another dog. They wanted a Husky, but I refused to spend $400+ on a dog. I told them I would like to just get an older dog and give it some love before it passed away. Older dogs don’t get adopted as quickly as puppies do. I also told them if a husky became available at a shelter we would get it, otherwise we were getting an older dog.

Rok the Husky : Husky & Albino Shepherd Puppy

When I told everybody I was looking for a senior dog, they thought I was crazy.

“You should get a puppy” they said

And,  “An older dog is going to die sonner.”

That was kind of the whole point. I knew getting an older dog would mean watching them pass, but I also knew that we could give an older dog lots of love and let the years or months they had left be some of the best ones.

We searched for months on all the local animal shelter websites and social media pages, looking for the one that was just right for our family. We even went to the animal shelters a few times and though we saw a couple, none seemed right for our family.  

Rok the Husky - Puppy

Then, a friend on Facebook said her dog was pregnant with Husky puppies. Her dog is an Albino Shepherd/Husky mix and the dad is full Husky. Before the puppies were even born, we told her we wanted one. That ended our search for the perfect dog. I wasn’t really thrilled with getting a puppy, but the kids were all about it.

Rok was born March 15th and we brought him home on May 2nd.

A boy and his dog - Rok the Husky - Puppy

The kids named him Rok after my Uncle’s dog Roc who lived with us a few short weeks in January after my Uncle passed away.  

Upon bringing him home, I insisted the kids work with him and get him trained! Our other dog came to us as an adult and to this day will not follow simple commands like sit or stay. One of the first things was crate training. I’ve never crate trained a dog before, but it has been much easier than I anticipated. Rok will go to his crate when told “Go to bed”, and he will “wait” to get out until we “release” him. He will also wait to eat until we “release” him. He knows “sit” and will walk on a leash which our other dog won’t.

I couldn’t be more thrilled with how obedient he is. The kids have done a wonderful job training him. He is now 7 months old and growing like a weed. His coat is much darker and he is super playful. Rok hasn’t met a dog he doesn’t want to play with. His favorite things are chewing rawhides and annoying his little Yorkie sister Malori

Six Month Old Husky Puppy

Does your family have any pets? If so, what kind?
Currently, we have 2 dogs and 1 chicken. The chicken is like a 3rd dog, spending its days outside and nights in the house inside a dog crate.