Saturday, March 31, 2012

Teaching your kids how to live a healthy life

This post is written by Ashley Smith, a totally inspirational mother of two that has been a friend of mine since middle school! Their family raises chickens, grows their own food, and has a farm share, all things they do to help their children live healthy lives.

I never pictured myself living out in the country, raising farm animals, or growing my own food. I grew up in the suburbs in a bubble, and didn’t picture life differently until I had my own kids. I have two daughters, ages one and two.  It’s important to me that my kids have experiences that help them appreciate what they have and an understanding of how this world works together. 

Don’t get me wrong: we go to the grocery store like anyone else. We treat ourselves to our favorite foods and have lazy days, but my girls know plunking down in front of the TV with a bag of chips is an occasional thing, not our everyday routine. Most of our free time is spent exploring outside, going for walks in the woods, tending to our animals, or simply strolling through the garden. I could argue there’s nothing my oldest daughter loves more than running through rows of corn!

The girls and I participate in a farm share, which is a great experience. Much of our produce from June-October comes from a farm five miles away if it’s not straight out of our garden. Every week we go pick up our box of all kinds of fruits and veggies and I have to hold back eager children who can’t wait to tear into it.  If you don’t have the time or the space to grow your own, this is a great way to get fresh quality (usually organic) produce for a good price!
  Just last year we took on the adventure of raising our own chickens for eggs. I have to say, it has been more fun than I imagined! Even at two years old, my daughter asks every day to go feed “her” chickens. She loves collecting the eggs and putting them in her basket. Our chickens are free range, with a hen house at night for predator protection, so they are frequently chased around the yard for hugs. This spring we even raised baby chicks, and now have a total of nine hens and two roosters (oops! The boys were supposed to be girls but we love them anyway). 

We are currently getting our garden ready for this season, planting seeds and looking for worms. There’s nothing like picking a handful of fresh strawberries out of your own backyard for an afternoon snack. There are sure to be many more adventures for us in the future, and I hope that I can raise happy, healthy, well rounded children in the process.


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