Friday, February 28, 2014

Our week in photos

We are pretty much over winter around here but the winter is not saying good bye to us :-( We are suppose to get more snow in the next 2 days. We are trying to beat the blues, go on with our school and hang out with our friends. Here is a peak into the past week at our little backyard farm. 

We got some oranges from my friend so I pulled out this good old fashion style juicer ;-) 

I collect postcards... now if I could just find the best place to display them... Take a look at the Postcrossing website if you are interested in receiving some awesome snail mail ;-)

It was time for field trip! We always look for free days at local museums and other attractions for kids. This time we went to the aquarium.

The best dog in the world! He lets the kids do whatever... But I wouldn't want to be a stranger coming up to our yard ;-)

School in pajamas... telling time... Eeboo games are the best! Homeschooling rocks!!!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Venison Goulash

My husband is a deer hunter and there for our freezer is usually filled with deer meat. Trust me when I tell you that deer meat, also called venison, is very delicious and very rich in flavor. I will share with you one of the ways I like to prepare it - as goulash.

1lbs of Venison Roast
1 Medium Onion
 3 tbs Olive Oil
1 tbs Garlic Salt
1 tbs Sweet Paprika
1/2 tsp Pepper
Salt to taste

For sauce thickening:
All Purpose Flour
Cold Water

Try to get organized day before (but if you don't, that's ok - just skip the "marinate over night" step) and marinate your venison in the fridge like this: Wash the meat, cut it into cubes and place it into a bowl. Dice onion into small pieces and put it into the bowl with the meat. Pour the olive oil over it and add all the spices. Mix it all together, cover it and place it into the fridge. 

If you marinated your meat overnight, take it out of the fridge and place it into a large pot on the stove. Turn your burner on high and fry the meat mixture, constantly stirring. Then pour little bit of water over the mixture, just enough to almost cover the meat. 

Cover and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Then add more water - I use my judgment to measure how much water I pour... it depends on how much sauce I would like.

Cover it again and simmer for about 20 minutes. After that keep checking the meat tenderness. Venison can be tough so you might want to let it simmer for just a bit more. Add water if necessary. 

Then take out the meat and thicken the sauce by using the following mixture: all purpose flour and cold water. I use 3 heaping tablespoons of flour into 1 1/2 cup of water. Mix it in a cup and pour into the pot. I use hand blender to mix the sauce in the pot so I end up with smooth sauce. 

Put the meat back in, cook for another 10 minutes, and your goulash is ready!

I serve it with fresh home made bread (you can find my recipe by clicking here) or potatoes. Hope you enjoy your dinner!

Friday, February 21, 2014


This is my second week joining the InstaFriday over at Jeannett's blog. Please, follow me on Instagram - I am Monika at littlebackyardfarm

I make this awesome homemade oven baked bread but I just can't manage to get the shape right. 

I love this little guilt drink from Trader Joe's.

I can't take a picture with this guy for the life of me, he licks my face every time I try 

I have an ongoing battle with my office/craft room. It's a love/hate relationship of constant organizing and reorganizing. This is the most stable spot in here.

The weather warmed up a bit - so we got done quickly with school and went out to enjoy it!

Happy 100th Day of school to us! Building LEGO structure using 100 pieces. We had a fun time celebrating!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

How it all started ... The Chicken Coop

I decided to reminiscence a little about the start of our little backyard farm. I am talking about going back 11 years and show you how it all started. I am talking about going back to the time when I had no digital camera (which means I had to scan and fix every photo in this post). But this was lots of fun! I completely forgot how different this place looked 11 years ago...

First I got my first chickens as a birthday gift from my husband the first year we bought the house! We had two miniature chickens (one got killed by a fox - yes in the city!) and two White Crested Black Polish. They needed a home!

I had to take a picture of our first eggs! The chickens used to live on the ground in a small space we were able to separate for them in the shed. We were a little disorganized at the time but made the best of it ;-)

I don't have a picture of the original red shed but you can somehow make it out from the following.

With some help from our friends and family, we were able to put new roof and siding on the original shed. The helpful thing was that there was electricity in shed because someone used to live there before (it was a teenager style house ;-)
- everyone is looking so young ;-) - 

This is the back of the shed with original siding. Look, the compost bin used to be right by it. So much have changed...

View from another side. This is the side, where the outside was built for the chickens to be able to get out and get some fresh air. (NO GARDEN)

The front - it looks like we did tons of work to this cute little "residence"... We also got rid of all those bushes.

Inside also got a complete makeover...

My husband is working on the outside part of the chicken coop. Wow, it all looks so clean and new!

And here is the picture most of you had a chance to see on top of my page... The Present Look

And of course we let the girls push their boundaries ;-) 

Next stop will be the construction of the pond.. stay tuned!

Monday, February 17, 2014

One Day in Our Life...

As a homeschooling mom, with a mini farm behind my house, I often feel like there is not enough time in my day to do all that I plan to do. At the end of the day I wonder how in the world do other homeschooling moms do it. Being a mom and a teacher at the same time is very time demanding. 

I am glad that The Simple Homeschool blog is having "Share Your Day With Us" feature! I am so going to peak in everyone's school day ;-) And to be fair, I am joining it as well :-)

So here is my random day I picked last week to share with you

5:30am - Wake up (oh my husband has been already working out for the past hour so don't feel bad for me ;-)

6am - An hour long Yoga class (at this point I feel like I could stay in Shavasana for the rest of today)

7:20am - Bible story, memory verse, and prayer with the kids.

7:45am - Kids are hovered around daddy, watching the Olympics... Breakfast is almost ready

8:15am - They talked me into making a smoothie (at this point I am not sure if I am going to have a chance to shower?)

8:30am - while I shower, kids are getting ready for school, finishing their morning chores (I have to be shouting from the bathroom to make sure they stay on task - works half the time ;-)

8:50am - I realize that T hasn't practiced his piano yet - sigh - school will have to start later

9:15am - School started - today I am just trying to keep everyone focused - it's one of those days

9:15am - (If T was on time with his piano we would have started at 9am). Calendar is first... they write the date, day of the week, and the name of this month (everyday). We also switch our wall calendar...

9:25am - Now we have 2 math workboxes. T is working on Addition using Math-U-See and Money counting using Kumon. B learns basic addition using Kumon workbook and a game.

9:45am - T is doing Spelling using Sonlight Language Arts for 2nd Grade and B is learning Letter Sound of the week "S". She is usually finished before T so I will have her read to me - Bob Book or Dick and Jane.

10:00am - Handwriting time for both of them - we are using Handwriting Without Tears.

10:15am - Bible story reading (notice the heater... we are freezing around here ;-)

10:30pm - We go back to writing. This one might be longer or shorter, depends on the day but we use Sonlight Language Arts for 2nd grade with T and Letter Sound worksheets I printed from the internet with B.

10:50am or so - It's Social Studies time. They both work together. We are learning about the USA. Right now we focus mainly on learning the state names and capitols, as well as their location on the map. We start with this video most of the days

And go on to some fun facts about the state we are talking about that week - we do one state per week. This takes usually 2 workboxes and 30 minutes. We get to color, draw, do fun projects, read books or watch videos. We follow this curriculum Road Trip USA

11:30am - Czech School - I just added this to our day and we are all trying to adjust. I teach them my native language in detail (grammar, reading, vocabulary) The advantage is that they understand and somewhat speak it anyway. But they need to learn more.

12:00pm - Lunch and right after that T has to leave for piano lesson

12:15pm - Going to feed the girls and gather eggs (if this was summer there would be way more to do out there)

Since daddy is home I take the next hour to run some errands (I love Bed, Bath and Beyond return policy!!!)

1:30pm - Just got to B's ballet class. I will have the next hour to catch up on some blog stuff. T is skiing with daddy. (Usually I have T finish some extra school work he didn't get to last week or give him his extra activities. The next 30 minutes he would be free to play games)

2:30pm - Time to go back home

3pm - Xtramath - we love this online program and I highly recommend it to anyone who needs to practice math problems!

3:30pm - Get kids to a playdate - yahoo!!! I will spend the next 2 hours organizing my office and school room #notenoughtime

6pm - Dinner and evening routine starts. I will confess that this is not my favorite time of the day. I am tired and need to still finish laundry and dishes and prepare for the next day school. And the kids are trying to prolong their bedtime as much as possible... But I do enjoy reading with the kiddos - that is our special time of the day :-)

8pm - On a good day this is when my evening chores start. After about an hour I am ready to wind down with a book or a show. Sometimes I get to knit or finish up on my blog posts.

(one of my late night creations)

11pm is usually my bedtime - on a good day ;-)

I should add that 2x a week we have longer school during which my nephews and my sister-in-law join us. We have snack at around 11am and then go on to study Science, Art, and Social Studies together till probably 2:00. During this time we try to incorporate team projects, art projects, parties and other group related activities :-) We love it!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, February 14, 2014


Hello everyone, and welcome to my little backyard farm. I am joining InstaFriday over at Jeannett for the very first time. While you are here, please stay a while and look around. If you would like to follow me on Instagram I am Monika over at littlebackyardfarm

I love when B wear pins in her hair. That happens so rarely that I almost always take  a picture of it. #thepleatedpoppy (who is sadly closing her shop)

I am ready to start researching crop for this year. There is no end in sight to this winter so this is bringing me closer to Spring. 

Every Tuesday we have pasta for dinner and this week we were actually out of pasta. There was only one option for me since I had the house full of kids - pull out my magic machine. It always turns out that making homemade pasta is actually so easy and I should do it more often. 

The girls are laying again! Molting is over, bring on the omelets!

 Kids were having good old fashion fun with some blankets... Starting school will be pretty painful ;-)

I love listening to her telling me stories. This sequence puzzle is perfect for that.

It's Valentine's Day everyone! We love our backyard birds - we made them some peanut butter treats during our Valentine's Day Party!

This is it for me! What a wonderful week we had! Now if only the cold would give up ;-)