I Am Baker

how to dominate after school snacks

Did you know that I have been a homeschooling mom for the last 4 years? It was great!

Well, kinda great.  I love everything about homeschooling and still stand strong in my support of it.

But I got overwhelmed. And stressed. And sometimes angry. And impatient with my kids and found teaching three different grades at once to be more than I could handle.  And I realized… I may not be doing the best thing for my kids by homeschooling.

Rettke Kids first day of school 2014

We just happen to live near a very small private school (57 kids total in K-12).  I enrolled them and now have not one, not two, but three first time students!  I joined the ranks of so many others and celebrated this momentous occasion with a “first day of school” picture.

But I cried.  I cried a lot.

Rettke Kids first day of school 2014

They did not.  I still want them home with me in the worst way, but they are absolutely thriving in their school and truly love it.  They are excited every day to go and excited every day when I pick them up.

On top of everything that comes with sending your babies off to school for the first time (and the guilt of feeling like I failed at homeschooling), what to feed the kids after school turned into an issue. They seemed to be starving the second they walked in the door, but I was woefully unprepared and was always scrambling to find something light enough to not fill them up but that was healthy enough to re-charge their little bodies.

I spend enough time worrying about actual meals that snacks were getting seriously neglected. I hopped online and researched ‘after school snacks’.  (Don’t laugh!)

How to Dominate After School Snacks

Here is what I found:

1. BE CONSISTENT. The kids should know what their options are and where to find them.  Keeping them in the same place is a great way to avoid the “what can I have to eat” discussion every single day.  As you can see above, I set up a Snack Station.  Fresh fruit compliments the granola, bars, cookies and crackers that the kids have to choose from.

How to Dominate After School Snacks

2. OFFER A VARIETY OF CHOICES.  When they feel empowered to choose what they having they are more likely to not complain if it is healthy, good for them, or just not as sweet as they would like.

Teaching them to reach for protein based snacks as a child will help to steer them clear of heavy sugar-laden snacks as an adult.  I also talk to my kids about what they are eating.  When they eat veggies fresh from the garden I ask them to pay attention to how their body feels after.  Alternatively, when I have made a ridiculously sugary cake and they get a small piece, they are to observe how that makes them feel as well.  It is awesome to see how they can distinguish between good energy and the drastic decent of a sugar high, leaving them with headaches, stomach aches and sometimes hunger!

I want my kids to make good choices on their own and based on their own experiences.

How to Dominate After School Snacks

3. TIMING IS EVERYTHING.  They are allowed a snack when they get home, but not after 4:00.

We get home from school at 3:15 and eat dinner around 6:00, so a small snack is just fine for their growing bodies.  If they eat after 4:00 is starts to affect dinner time (which is also always family time) so they are encouraged to have something right away.

How to Dominate After School Snacks

Those cookies are the Oat Bran Cookies from CVS/pharmacy, but with my job there is often baked goods in the house.  I will share homemade cookies and treats when it is appropriate, but being a baker heavily relying on sugar, my cookies are not always the best option.

The kids get the option of fresh fruit, cookies and bars, and fresh cut veggies in the fridge.  I have found that if they are cut up and presented in a pretty way the kids are more likely to eat them.  Also, we still have an abundance of veggies in the garden, so they are welcome to snack on anything they find. (carrots, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, peas)

To get ready for the week I head to CVS/pharmacy and get everything I can in their Gold Emblem “Abound” snack line.  The products are free from artificial preservatives and flavors, low in sodium (except for some nuts),  and really delicious.

Our new favorite is the Lime & Black Pepper Baked Rice Thins.  There is so  much flavor and texture that you really feel full after just a few bites!

In all honesty, I have started using them as MY go-to snack in the afternoon because they make me feel full and satisfied and I don’t have the urge to reach for sugar!  Which is a miracle!! (I am highly addicted to sugar)  So yeah, I may have bought 10 packages.

How to Dominate After School Snacks

Myself and the big kids are not the only ones who enjoy a snack… the little ones do to!  It is great having them all in one spot so I can grab some for a long car ride or if I need to hop on the phone and quiet a little one or even if they are just hungry!

It has been a blessing to be able to work with CVS/pharmacy and share their Gold Emblem Abound products.  I feel like the timing was just perfect! It has been difficult transitioning into having kids in school and working from home and still taking cake of the little kids and feeling “mom-guilt” over the less-then-healthy snack options I was reaching for.

I try to only work with brands and companies that are a good fit for my family, and CVS/pharmacy has exceeded my expectations.  So while I was compensated to work with them, I can honestly tell you that I am thrilled with their product and will be using it on a regular basis!

I Am Baker

daddy’s girl

They didn’t know I was there.

Olivia and Daddy

Watching them.  Feeling my heart ache as she looked up at her daddy with such love and delight in her eyes.

Olivia and Daddy

Giggling to myself as she collapsed in a fit of belly laughs after the tickle monster came to visit.

Olivia and Daddy

Feeling blessed and thankful after seeing her close her eyes and lean into daddy’s kisses.

Olivia and Daddy

There is just something about a content child, a happy and loved child, that makes everything right in the world.



“The soul is healed by being with children.”

-English Proverb

I Am Baker

grilled chicken rainbow cobb salad

This post is brought to you by Aldi’s.

I used fruit and vegetables to turn this salad into a beautiful and refreshing meal!  A bit different from my norm, wouldn’t you say?

Grilled Chicken Rainbow Cobb Salad!


One of my favorite meals in the world is a Cobb Salad.  It has a little of everything; meat (usually chicken), greens/vegetables.  This particular version of a Cobb Salad has all of that as well as some fruit and bacon!

Bacon.  #bacon #bacon #bacon


Grilled Chicken Rainbow Cobb Salad!


I laid it out here with all of the ingredients lined up and covering a bed of lettuce,  but you could just as easily put all ingredients in a large bowl.

Grilled Chicken Rainbow Cobb Salad!


But I can’t help but love the way it looks when laid out in rainbow color order.  There is just something so beautiful and fresh about it all!  And there is bacon.  Did I mention I adore bacon?

Grilled Chicken Rainbow Cobb Salad!


The recipe is for a quick assembly, but do feel free to customize in a way that is most pleasing to you!

Grilled Chicken Rainbow Cobb Salad


  • 2 grilled chicken breasts
  • 4 roma tomatoes, cut into round sections
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup corn (can be canned)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup purple cabbage
  • bacon
  • I head lettuce, rinsed and shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vinaigrette salad dressing to taste


  1. Prepare ½ pound bacon. I put mine in the oven at 425 for 15 minutes.
  2. Coat chicken in salt and pepper and grill for about 5 minutes per side. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  3. Place lettuce in a large bowl. Prepare all vegetable’s and place on top of lettuce. Sprinkle bacon.
  4. Pour vinaigrette over everything.
  5. Cut chicken into sections and place over vegetables.
  6. Serve immediately.
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Grilled Chicken Rainbow Cobb Salad!


Of course, if you want to really have fun with your food, put it all in a jar!  Not only is this beautiful, but convenient. Place it all in a jar then head out for a picnic with your family!

I shared this recipe over at Aldi’s blog!  I was able to buy all the ingredients for this salad at Aldi’s and on a budget.  Which is awesome when you make this as often as I do!

I Am Baker

how not to do a selfie (i.e. with underwear on your head)

Or maybe I should title this, “How to absolutely do a selfie.”  I haven’t decided.  But I digress.

Every Tuesday is garbage day.  Which means that when my husband is out of town and just happens to have the 4-wheeler with him, I need to walk the large and often heavy garbage to the end of the driveway.

Most would not think that is a big deal.

Our Driveway


However, when you can’t even see the end of your driveway, it can be a very big deal.

And this day, it was feeling more like a burden than a regular chore.  (A chore which I honestly don’t mind doing, just don’t tell my kids that.)

I had had a tough week and weekend and being responsible was really the last thing I was concerned with.  And that fact that I was going to have to make this trip twice (it was recycling week as well) was weighing my shoulders down like a 100 pound backpack.

The fact that this particular load of garbage happened to contain the remains of a guinea and a chicken was yet another weight added to the load, mentally as well as figuratively.

I started my long slow walk and made it all of 2 steps before this guy was at my side.

Our Driveway


“Can I come with you mom?”

“Eddie… what is that you have on your head?”

He smiled.  He tried to look into my eyes but the sun was too bright.

As he was glancing at the hard rocks he said, “My underwear.  My underwear-hat.  And this is my sword!”

I really don’t know what happened in that instant, but all of a sudden I was grinning from ear to ear.

“Of course you can come with me little man.  And tell me all about your sword!  Are you going to battle some tall weeds along the way?”

Eddie launched into a story about an epic battle (his words, I think he got it from Angry Birds Epic) and was happily chattering and dancing along as I pulled to garbage to the end.  By the time we got there, my load seemed considerably lighter.  Not just because this is where I could leave that cumbersome garbage can, but because little Eddie has helped me to enjoy that long walk.

Together we delighted in the sun and battled imaginary weed monsters and laughed.

On the way back he stopped suddenly, as the underwear and slipped over his eyes.

I reached over to pull them up a bit and he stopped me.

“No, you wear now.  I am done.”

I stopped and started to shake my head no, incredulous that he would even ask.

But instead of an adamant no, I found myself saying yes.

Kneeling down at the end of our driveway on a warm summers afternoon, I calmly let my son adjust his (clean) underwear on my head.  When his face lit up at the sight of me, all seemed right with the world.

Our Driveway


So I did something I normally do not do.  I would even go so far as to say never do.

I took a selfie.

Looking at that picture brings tears to my eyes.  Happy tears, tears of relief, grateful tears.  I left so many emotions at the end of my driveway that day.  I let go of the anxiety and the stress and the fear that I couldn’t handle parenting alone.  I said goodbye to the birds that had taken up residence in our hearts as well as backyard.  I left behind some of the insecurity and un-belief in myself.

It was all over, that overwhelming week of trials, and the bigger picture was blue skies, fluffy clouds, happy boys and underwear-hat wearing selfies.

Eddie has no idea how much his time and company meant to me that day, but hopefully someday (when we are much older) we can look at this picture together , laugh at the silliness of it, and I can tell him all about it.

I Am Baker


Our property is overcome with “weeds”.  These wild grasses and flowers and mushrooms pop up in the garden, in the grass, in the driveway, in the pond.  I decided to document this subtle overrun of the vibrant visitors, and share a few quotes a long the way.

(Most of these images were taken an hour before sunset on August 4th, 2014)

"A good garden may have some weeds." - Proverb

“But a weed is simply a plant that wants to grow where people want something else. In blaming nature, people mistake the culprit.   Weeds are people’s idea, not nature’s.”


"A good garden may have some weeds." - Proverb “Wisdom is oftentimes nearer when we stoop than when we soar.”
-  William Wordsworth, 1798

"A good garden may have some weeds." - Proverb

“You fight dandelions all weekend, and late Monday afternoon there they are, pert as all get out, in full and gorgeous bloom, pretty as can be, thriving as only dandelions can in the face of adversity.”
-  Hal Borland

"A good garden may have some weeds." - Proverb

“Everyone has enough weeding to do in their own garden.”
-  Flemish proverb

"A good garden may have some weeds." - Proverb

 “A flower is an educated weed.”
-  Luther Burbank

"A good garden may have some weeds." - Proverb

“I always think of my sins when I weed.  They grow apace in the same way and are harder still to get rid of.”
-  Helena Rutherfurd Ely, A Woman’s Hardy Garden, 1903 

"A good garden may have some weeds." - Proverb

 “Gardening is a kind of disease.  It infects you, you cannot escape it.  When you go visiting, your eyes rove about the garden; you interrupt the serious cocktail drinking because of an irresistible impulse to get up and pull a weed.”
-  Lewis Gannit 

"A good garden may have some weeds." - Proverb

 “The prayer of the farmer kneeling in his field to weed it, the prayer of the rower kneeling with the stroke of his oar, are true prayers heard throughout nature.”
-  Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A good garden may have some weeds." - Proverb

“Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.”
-  A. A. Milne,  Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh

"A good garden may have some weeds." - Proverb

“A person’s character and their garden both reflect the amount of weeding that was done during the growing season.”
-  Author Unknown 

"A good garden may have some weeds." - Proverb

 “Weeds are Like People: We may be different but you gotta dig us.”
-  Lyndsay

"A good garden may have some weeds." - Proverb

“We plant seeds that will flower as results in our lives, so best to remove the weeds of anger, avarice, envy and doubt, that peace and abundance may manifest for all.”  
-  Dorothy Day 

I Am Baker

(un)invited house guests

You may remember the frog incident; Our ponds and surrounding swampy areas were inundated with frog mating and frog babies and croaking and leeches.  To call it traumatic was an understatement.  Well actually it’s not, according to the dictionary traumatic describes it perfectly.  But anywho.

We have snake.

our snake


Here he is in action.  It is a common gardner snake and harmless.  Well, that is what people say, but it really all depends on who is defining “harmless”.

You can also see that he is no skinny minny.  At least four feet in length and about a quarter size around in girth.  Starving he is not.

My kids discovered him and I should have won an Oscar for the amount excitement I shared with them.  For me snakes=not so exciting.  But I do not want to pass on my fears to them, so I try to not show it every single time wildlife freaks me out.

Which is often.  It all freaks me out.

Yay, I live in the country!

But, as is often the case with these types of things, circumstances have changed.

Our Snakes iambaker.net

Now we have two snakes.

Our Snakes iambaker.net

Two creepy crawly slithering snakes.

Two sets of beady eyes and shed skins.

Two bulging bellys leaving us to wonder what on earth have they been feasting on.

Our Snakes iambaker.net


We think they live right outside in the rocks.

I mean, that is where they are during the day.

where the snakes live

At night is a whole different story.  I have no idea where they slither off to.

But that uncertainty is exactly why they are still alive.

Let me explain.

We live in the country where there are mice.

Snakes eat mice.  Mice try to get inside the house.  Snakes usually stay outside.

Snakes win.

Our SnakesAs much as I dislike those serpent eyes watching my every move, they are here to stay.

As long as they stay OUTSIDE in the rocks eating other rodents and stuff I don’t like.

Which they have, for 3 weeks now they are basking in the sun on the rocks everyday.

Somedays, when I a feeling particularly brave, I will get my camera and take some pictures.

Snake Eating a Frog!

(I don’t think this will end well for the frog.)

Snake Eating a Frog

How cool is that picture?  For people who are used to country life this is no big deal… but I am still completely fascinated by it all!

And maybe I am off my rocker, but I swear those snakes are posing for me!

Smiling Snake

Doesn’t it look like he is smiling?  As much as snakes can smile I suppose.

Wonder what pets we will discover next?

Hopefully bunnies. Playful adorable little bunnies.

I Am Baker

not gonna lie…

… it’s been a tough week.

My husband and two oldest children left early in the week for a fishing trip in Canada.

Roughly a day later our chickens and guineas were attacked by neighborhood dogs and a couple of them were killed.  I tried to save some and in the process didn’t realize my little boy had come outside behind me.  One of the large energy-filled dogs ran at him and jumped on him, throwing him to the ground and terrifying him.


A day later the baby, Eddie (3) and Audrey (5) and I were playing in the yard.  We have a huge frog population here due to the numerous ponds on our property.  As we were catching  little tiny frogs (about dime sized) and then feeding them to the chickens (#momfail?) Audrey held one up to my face.  I was startled and asked, “Audrey, what is that?”

“I like to pull off their arms and legs!”

#momfail #amphibianfail

And gross.  Just, gross.  What the heck do I say to that?  I feel like, “We do not pull arms and legs off of frogs.” is just so obvious.

On Thursday morning, (the morning after the Chicken Incident) my mom drove over.  I also had a sitter and planned on stealing my mom away from the grandkids to take her shopping and to lunch.  I needed a break and having a girls afternoon with my mom was going to be just what I needed.

At the last minute  we decided to bring Audrey with us ( it was better for the frogs) as she doesn’t get mommy and grandma time very often, if ever actually.  Then, 10 miles away from home I realized I had left my money at home.  All of it.  I had nothing.  Not even my license.

Now there would be no shopping and my mom had to pay for lunch!

#momfail #goodcitizenfail

On Thursday afternoon, I had to run pick up the milk we buy from a local farm.  I buy 3 gallons and it is $8 a gallon.  I ran and got it, got home and let the sitter (Deanna, she is wonderful) head home.  The kids and I played and tried to pick up and watched movies until bedtime.

Saturday morning (yes, a full day and a half later) I went to get the milk out of the fridge in the garage.  It wasn’t there.


Of course, it wasn’t!  Because I had left it in my car that whole time, tucked in so securely.

#momfail #greenfail

Last night was a long night and I yelled more than I should have and was terribly short with my sweet kids.  I finally gave up and sent them to bed an hour early, simply because I was completely incapable of dealing with them anymore.  I tear up just saying that, as it is not something I ever imagined I would say publicly.  It is NOT a reflection of them at all,  they are just wonderfully curious and energetic and sometimes forgetful kids.  I, however, am impatient and short tempered and ornery.  After I put them to bed I went outside to get the chickens in their coop.  I stopped in the garden and moved the sprinkler and pulled some weeds.  After a few minutes, I made my way to the house.

And realized I was locked out.

I knocked.  I rang the doorbell.  I hollered.


I screamed and pounded on the door and rang the doorbell repeatedly.  Finally groggy little Audrey made her way upstairs and let me in.  Kids now awake.


That ended up being a blessing in disguise because it gave me an opportunity to talk to the kids.  I went to their room and asked them to forgive me.  They agreed, I got more hugs and kisses and we all went to bed with a lighter heart.

On top of being home with the kids and trying to keep everyone alive and healthy, I am trying to do a full time job;  running my blog.

I know most people do not understand how this could possibly be a full-time job, and I get that.  In the simplest of terms, an average recipe posted on my blog takes about 8 hours to complete.  I need to shop for supplies, bake recipe, style it for the pictures, take the pictures, edit the pictures, then write a post and publish.  Once it is published I try to promote on social media; facebook, twitter, Instgram, google+ and pinterest.  In addition to trying to promote my little blog daily I try to stop by other blogs and comment, pin, tweet, or share their content as well.  Blogging is a community after all.

My whole point in telling you that is that I didn’t get my job done this week.  I baked and photographed two measly recipes. (should be doing five a week)

#momfail #bloggerfail

"Marry Me" Cookies!

I will be posting these cookies soon as this was one of the two recipes I was able to tackle.  Feel free to stop by and see the recipe tomorrow.  The title is almost as fun as the cookie itself!  And thank you. :)

While my husband was out of town I had big plans of converting our laundry room into my office.  It’s a fairly big room with high ceiling, storage and a big window.  I was going to paint and organize it and proudly have a big reveal moment when he walked in the door.

I bought the paint.  And that’s it.

#momfail #DIYfail

On top of everything, I agreed to volunteer at Vacation Bible School (VBS) this week.  That means I need to get up early, get Eddie and Audrey ready and head to church.  That also means that I am behind on posting on my blog already, as the mornings are normally when I bake and photograph things.  I should have gotten five recipes done for this week, but I didn’t.  So now I am behind.

#momfail #bloggerfail #satanfail

Other things not as important but still of consequence:

I found potato bugs in the garden.

potato bugs

Having no clue how to deal with this, I uprooted the entire plant and threw it in the garbage.  I am sure my husband will not be pleased, but OH MY WORD THEY ARE MINIATURE SLIMEY DEADLY ALIENS.

Olivia was playing quietly in the pantry and I was soaking up the moment’s peace.

Olivia making messes

“Um, no mom.  I didn’t do that.  Nope.  Not me.”

#momfail #cleaningitupfail #itsstillthere

As I was working yesterday Eddie came running up to me and said, “Mom, look what I found!”

It was an almost-dead bird, still convulsing slightly.  It had flown into the front window and Eddie thought I would want to see it, so brought it  inside to show me.  It was delicately nestled into his hands.  We brought it outside (after I FREAKED OUT) and I asked him to set it down while I figured out what to do.  He then proceeded to stomp on it. (it was dead at that point)

I won’t share a picture of that.

#momfail #momfail #momfail

And now, to top off the whole fabulous experience, I just went outside and found another dead chicken.  No idea what happened.  None at all.

Chicken Feathers


I don’t know which one this was because it was so badly mutilated.  So yeah.  That was an interesting thing to clean up.

#chickenmomfail #stomachfail

How am I going to explain this to my kids???

It’s been a tough week.  Nothing compared to what some people deal with on a daily basis, but for me it’s been hard.  I kinda sorta want to give up, to throw in the towel and let the world know that it was all too much for me.  I failed.

But, I won’t.  Not because I am strong, but because it’s almost bedtime and I might get to actually watch Reckless on CBS tonight and drink Moosehead beer because that is all I have in the fridge.  Wish me luck.



I hope it is obvious that I did in fact talk about how wrong it is to harm frogs, and that we all mourned the loss of the pets.  I hope it is obvious that I am horrified that Audrey and Eddie did something unkind to an animal.  We talked about it for hours, for days, and they had consequences.   It is my hope that they will learn to respect and care for all creatures, as they will be able to see how we treat them and know what is right.

I Am Baker

today is a new day

(an update from ‘the best laid plans…‘)

Last night was definitely a long night, with countless tosses and turns.  Crying babies (Olivia developed a small fever) and racing thoughts.  I did not sleep well and felt groggy and a bit dejected as I thought about what was in store for today.

But then my eyes opened.  And I saw the rising sun and I knew that this morning was new.  Golden and clean and new.

Once I saw the beauty the sun was sharing, I grabbed my camera and headed outside.

Sunrise on the Pond


Everything was still.  I could hear the trickle of droplets as they fell off of leaves into the pond.  I felt like I could almost hear the sun itself, straining over the trees, reaching out her arms to the farthest corners of the sky.

Sunrise on the Pond


It was mesmerizing really.  The calm.  The grass and leaves so wet with dew their tops were touching the ground.  The field grasses were so thick with the glassy drops of water they almost looked like crystal spider webs for as far as I could see.

Sunrise on the Pond


So delicate, I dared not get to close.  To disturb such balance and beauty seemed a crime.

And honestly, I was savoring the quiet.

Sunrise on the Pond


The last time I was on this path it was chaos.  The chickens were scattering and squawking, the dogs leaping and biting, and me with my shrill panicked shrieks racing around trying to catch a trailing leash.

Sunrise on the Pond


There were times last evening that I was everywhere but the nicely mowed paths my husband has created.  The chickens had tried to find safety in the thick undergrowth and thorny shrubs, and we went in after them.

Sunrise on the Pond


The aftermath was obvious.  Tall grasses flattened along murky ponds and feathers gently quivering in each gentle breeze.  An empty chicken coop, it’s door left open with the hopes that they just might return and seek shelter in the only home they had ever known.

I had always seen those pesky chickens as a source of eggs.  With all the baking I do, going through 2 dozen a week was the norm, and I was so excited at the thought of have my own organic eggs from my own chickens.  For free!

But it turns out that they were more than that.  They were a beloved pet to my children.  They were a source of joy and fun for us, as we often just huddled around them watching them eat and experience new things like mowed grass or ticks we would save and feed them.  They were teaching my small kids responsibility and work ethic.

They really were a part of our family.

Sunrise on the Pond

And that is when I heard them.

Our chickens came home!

The seven remaining chickens all found their way back to us!

I jumped up and down and tried to get a picture that wasn’t shaky.

Our Chickens in the Yard

Talk about a sight for sore eyes… that is the prettiest group of chickens I have ever seen!  Turbo, August, Pecky Peck, Fred, Bright Bright, Chewy McFlussner, and one more name I seriously can’t remember!

They ran around and explored and revisited every happy spot they had once lingered in.  I watched with a permanent smile on my face and couldn’t wait for the kids to get up so I could share the news.

While we will still mourn the loss of Wingman and guinea, having the birds return is such a blessing!  Thank you, thank you all so much for the prayers and well wishes.  I had felt so alone last evening, and you really comforted me with your comments and support.  You are a blessing.

Thank you and YAY for the Chickens and Guineas!!

I Am Baker

the best laid plans…

UPDATE: ‘today is a new day’

Here is how my evening should have gone.

Get kids dressed.  Head out to Audrey’s very last soccer game and picnic for all the players and parents.  (Husband is on a fishing trip in Canada with Colton and Parker, so it is just me Audrey, Eddie and Olivia.)

Come home, put the chickens and guinea’s away, bathe kids, tuck them in and head to bed.


Here is what happened instead.

Audrey comes running up to me while I was changing, “MOM!  There are two dogs chasing the guinea’s!”


Look out the window and see a dog trying to kill a chicken right before my eyes.

SCREAM OUT IN HORROR.  Terrify the children.

Tell Audrey (who is five mind you) to watch Olivia (who is one) while I try to save the chickens.  Throw some clothes on and run outside just in time to see a dog finishing off a chicken and running to find some more.

Chase dogs.  All over property. ( we have 15 acres) Literally running faster than I have ever run and screaming like a mad woman.  (I am not kidding, I have never been more thankful that our neighbors are not within screaming distance.)

chickensour sweet chickens as babies

There are two dogs.  Chickens scatter.  Eddie runs out behind me and one dog runs over to him and jumps on him at full speed, laying him flat out.  Eddie starts screaming.  Run to him, he is ok, just scared and screaming.

Catch one dog.  Then the other.

Stand there holding dogs not knowing what to do as I don’t have my phone or shoes or my wits about me.  Yell to Eddie, he is ok.  Just got the wind knocked out of him.  (but upset still)

Dogs freaking out jumping trying to get away.  I realize that one is a German Shorthair pointer, a breed we love and used to have two of.  The other is a German Wirehair and he is a gentle giant.

I get the dogs to our front step and see that the dog has a heavy duty long leash on him that has been chewed through.  Seeing this, I know I can’t let the dogs go or they will bolt and I don’t know where my chickens and guinea’s are and I need to see how Eddie is.

Check him and he is ok… realize that I left my five year old in charge of my one year old and that I am insane and clearly cannot think rationally in a crisis.  They are sitting in the middle of the living room playing patty-cake.  Thank God!

I am sobbing.

One dead chicken that I know of.  A scared little boy.

A hysterical, crying mom who has no idea what to do or who to call.

I mouth through the window for Audrey to bring me my phone and she does.  I call the number on the tags and let the owners know I have their dogs.  They are on their way.

I sob some more.  I don’t know who to call.  Literally every adult in my life that I would call is fishing in Canada and has no cell service.

I call my mom.  She doesnt answer.

Finally, I call the police.  “Hello, Anoka County Dispatch.”

“Um, I don’t know what to do.  Not sure if I am supposed to call?  There are two dogs on my property and one jumped on my child and also killed one chicken that I know of and the rest of my birds are gone.”

“Yes, you should definitely call us.  I will send out a deputy right now.”

chickensour sweet chickens as babies

Twenty minutes later they all arrive.  (It’s hard to find our place)  I have been standing there barefoot holding these dogs, thinking about my dead chicken and trying to calm Eddie down.  We have a dog (Dodger, a yorki-poo), but all of a sudden he is afraid of dogs.

Everyone gets out of their cars and I tell the story, thankfully not crying anymore.  The owners are very apologetic.  The police man kind.  (From this point on this the story, I am carrying Olivia.)

We talk about the breed.  Seeing as we used to own shorthairs, I know they are bird dogs.  They are bred to kill pheasant and game and in watching them attack our chickens, I know they were just doing what they were born to do.  Other than that, the dogs were mostly well behaved, although quite full of energy.  I have no issue with the dogs nor do I think they should be punished in any way, but I do think they need to be trained to not chew through leash’s and not to run away.  They had run over  a half mile to get to our property.

At this point we need to try and see how many birds were killed and find the rest.  As we are walking along Eddie tells Officer Nick, “Wingman is dead.”  Understandably confused, I inform him that that all of our chickens are named and are like pets to us.  The dead chicken we found was named Wingman.  My two boys, Colton and Parker, are going to be devastated that their pet chickens are gone.

After walking to property, we find another guinea, alive but badly injured.  Officer Nick offers to put him out of his misery and I begrudgingly agree.  I gather the kids and we run away. (Again, I start crying.  I literally have zero control over my emotions.)  So thankful that Officer Nick was willing to do that as there is no way I would have been able to do what he did.

The officer and dog owners end up finding all the guinea’s but they will not go back into their coop.  I decide to move on, as I feel like I am wasting Officer Nick’s time and that he should leave if there are actual crimes taking place. The owners and I continue to look for the chickens as Officer Nick goes and writes up his report and citation for the owners.

We look.  And look.  And walk through thick brush and heavily wooded areas thick with thorns.  (I have the raw scraped skin to show for it, as I was trying to shield Olivia and took the brunt of it)

We do not find the chickens.

Officer Nick has finished.  He leaves.  The owners leave.

Officer Nick and Kids

Before he left the kids wanted a picture with him.  He was so kind and gentle with them, so concerned with their feelings and loss.  Such a wonderful and thoughtful man.  Thank you Officer Nick!

It is now 7:30 at night and has been 2 hours since I first saw the dog attack my chicken.

I got the kids in the tub.  I got them to bed.  And now I am tired.

Honestly, just still really upset about it all.  Sad that Audrey had to miss her last game and seeing her soccer friends and get her award.  Sad that my arms are scraped and throbbing.   Sad that Wingman and the guinea are gone.  Sad that our sweet chickens are out scattered (or dead) in the forest.  Sad that Eddie got bumped and maybe bruised in the process.

Sad that I am going through this alone.  So sad and so tired.

Hopefully the chickens will find a safe place to sleep tonight.

I Am Baker

she gets it from me

Hey.  Mom.

Olivia and her First Marshmallow


What’s that you got there?

Yeah, the white thing.

Olivia and her First Marshmallow


Um, can I have one.

Just one.

I really want one.

Olivia and her First Marshmallow



Wait.  Really?

Are you sure?

I can eat this whole thing?

Olivia and her First Marshmallow


Cause I am eating it.

All of it.

Right now.

You can’t take it back no matter what.

Olivia and her First Marshmallow





Hey mommy.  Can I have another?