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Savvy Student Shopper’s Updates & More!

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Hi everyone! I hope you guys are enjoying summertime. I just got back from a little beach vacation; it was much, much needed. In the coming days I’ll have some new posts up, like garden updates, chicken stories (have they laid eggs yet?!), thrifty finds, and more.

I have not been able to spend much time blogging lately. I have very little free time, and most of the time I’m too tired in my free time to do anything productive! We’ll see what this semester brings, come September. Sometimes it’s easier to blog around classes but we’ll have to see. Have I mentioned this is my last semester? I’ll have my Bachelor’s degree in just a few short months. Paying off these student loans is the only thing on my mind though. On a similar note, SavvyStudentShopper.com will need a new name! In the near-ish future, I’ll probably have some sort of giveaway or suggestion opportunity to name my new site. I have no idea where to begin! The Savvy Super Shopper? Smart Savvy Shopper? Frugal Savvy Shopper? I’m not even close!

My wonderful assistant, Nerdboy, did some work on my blog recently. He changed something with the server or something like that. As you can tell, I don’t run my own site; I have a lot of help! If you do run into any problems (links not directing, pages not loading, etc.) please let me know so we he can fix it.

Gardening Update 6/24

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Howdy everyone! I have some new garden pictures to share from the week. They are in no particular order, so just follow along and try to match up the pictures as I write! This week was rather momentous for Brandi’s Garden. In addition to the usual lettuce and berries I’ve been regularly harvesting, this week I picked a yellow squash (many more to come I hope, once we get over the Blossom End Rot), potatoes (these two red ones kept forcing themselves out of my garden), and green beans! For whatever reason, this is the first time I’ve even planted beans. I think my dad was always convinced they took up too much room or something.. I don’t know, but I’m super happy with them! Tons of beans to come and they are so much fun to pick.

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Above is the pot I planted weeks and weeks ago with some lettuce and carrot seeds. It’s my “salad pot”. I’ll have to start plucking lettuce off it’s soon because my original lettuce and spinach plot is reaching the end of its life, and this 90+ degree weather is not helping!

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I have somewhere around 20 tomato plants. I have 2 in a Topsy Turvy (works great for me!) and the rest are in my garden. A few of the tomato plants are still youngins’ but that helps to space out all fruit harvesting. The deer haven’t touched anything yet (except the apple tree), but I know they are coming! I also have about 8 pepper plants, but they must be stunted or something. They haven’t grown much in weeks. My great next door neighbor let me have a bunch of his compost (leaves and grass clippings) that have been cooking for years. I spread it around all my plants on this half of my garden and now it looks fabulous! It should help keep some moisture in and make the soil richer.

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I think these are black raspberries. They aren’t blackberries and they aren’t normal raspberries. Think raspberry texture with a blackberry color. black raspberries, possibly? I got a small piece of the bush from Nerdboy when we first starting dating. Now my plant is growing better than his! 😉 They are growing great in my garden, which is good and bad. It’s great that they are flourishing, but I also want to get all the berries out of my garden because they take up a bunch of space and they spread!

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I took this picture a few days ago. I can’t wait to check them tonight when I get home. I think they are almost ready! 🙂

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Lots of green bean plants and lots of beans to pick!

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My first squash, green bean, and potato picking of the season! Yahoo! I don’t even like squash or green beans (only like canned ones) but I’m still excited.

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Lots of lettuce, spinach and berries! Lovely!
So there we go, more garden pictures! Usually 4th of July is a big turning point for my garden. I usually get my first tomato, blackberry, cucumber, and flourishing squash by then. It looks like we are right on track with the cucumber and squash, but this new variety of blackberry (grew from seeds I got from blackberries I picked at a farm last year) are amazing! They are early growers and have huge berries.

I hope you guys are enjoying your summer! It’s going to be a HOT one this week and our AC was broken all yesterday. Feel free to ask questions or share your garden stories. Garden on, my friends 🙂

Savvy Student Shopper’s Chicken Update

Bonnie eating watermelon - one of their favorite snacks!

Bonnie eating watermelon – one of their favorite snacks!

Hi guys! My chickens are doing very well and not much has changed, but I felt it was definitely time for an update. The babies are about 15 weeks old – YAY! I am ever so patiently waiting for eggs. Some chickens start laying around 16 weeks and some don’t lay until 26 weeks. I know we have at least a few more weeks to wait for fresh eggs, but I am so ready. I sort of feel like I’m just feeding them for no reason. I want a reward out of all this work! I keep checking their nesting boxes in case I get some sort of early surprise, but the only thing in there is chicken poop. Stick around with me so you can be the first to hear about my first egg. It’s like waiting for a baby to be born. I think my Rhode Island Reds will lay eggs before the Barred Rocks because their combs are redder and growing faster. Luna (who was the smallest) will probably be the last one to lay an egg. I guess she’ll always be the runt.

Welcome to the Hen House!

Welcome to the Hen House!

As much as I would love to have my chickens be 100% free range, they can’t be. My yard is not fenced in, we have woods on 2 sides of my yard, a road, and neighbors. In addition to the roaming away, the animals out in the woods pose a danger and I’m not taking that risk (especially after I’ve raised them for 14 weeks patiently waiting for eggs!). Whenever we are home, we try to let them roam as much as possible around the yard. We can usually let them out to play and check on them every 10-20 minutes, just to be sure we still have 4 chickens, they aren’t destroying mom’s flower bed, they aren’t in the neighbor’s yard, and that they aren’t lost in the woods. They absolutely love to run the yard. So many plants and bugs to eat and play with. Bonnie even ate a frog (or toad?) the other day! YAY for protein. Bonnie is seriously insane. She’s the biggest bully chicken I’ve ever met. She even took a chunk of feathers out of Biscuit and Ginger the other day. What the heck is wrong with her?

Nesting boxes

Nesting boxes

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Their outdoor living space

When the chickens aren’t roaming free, they are kept in the pen with fresh food (they love their table scraps, mostly “old” produce) and water. We also have dirt, straw, and some dug up plants in there to keep them happy. They also have access to their coop (which is made from our old play house). They are locked in the coop after dark for safety and they are let out every morning. My mom is a super duper help letting the chickens in and out. I mean, what mom wants to care for her daughter’s chickens? She’s just a great person. As I said before, need a pet sitter? Call savvy momma! In their coop they have a spot for roosting and nesting boxes. There are 4 nesting boxes, but they all prefer to sit in the same one at the same time. Chickens actually aren’t the smartest things on earth, in case you thought that.

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This is the second time Bonnie has caughter herself inside the animal trap. It’s so funny (and it doesn’t hurt her, just startles her) that I had to take a picture!

I realized I never posted good pictures of their coop/pen area, so there you go! I think they have a good life! We reused our old play house and my dog’s old pen so the cost of the Hen House was very inexpensive. We had to buy some hardware and my dad did some construction work (building nesting boxes, doors, windows, and attaching the pen to the house), but over all, I’m pleased! They prefer to roam all the time, but they are still happy and getting PLENTY of delicious and nutritious foods. Their eggs better be out of this world.

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Savvy Student Shopper’s Garden and Chicken Update 6/6

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Hey everyone! The Savvy Student Shopper is living a very busy life nowadays. Working, blogging, gardening, caring for chickens and everything else is tiring! Here’s a few new pictures from my garden the my friends, the chickens.

The only things I’ve been picking regularly are lettuce, spinach, and strawberries. Everything else is still growing but hopefully by next month I’ll be picking some more!

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My tomato plants are coming along nicely. No sign of deer yet (knock on wood!). They have been munching on my apple trees (outside of my garden) though. I just love the smell of tomato plants. You know that smell? All you have to do is light touch a tomato plant and you get the garden-y aroma. I love it!

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My yellow squash plants have started to flower, the zucchini should be soon behind. As long as the bugs stay away, I should have a bunch of squash and zucchini in a few weeks. I’m not a huge fan of either, but I do enjoy watching them grow!

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My lettuce is still producing, good thing because my newer lettuce is taking SO long to grow. The little sprouts look like they haven’t grown in weeks. We love out fresh lettuce though! So tasty for dinner and easy to grow. On the right, where it looks empty, I have some Kale coming up.

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My black raspberry plant has really taken off this year. It’s only one bush, we won’t get a ton of berries but it is very healthy looking!

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The spinach is one of my favorites so far this season. It’s my first time planting spinach seeds (not sure what I was waiting for) but I am so glad I did! I guess I’m still shocked that my leaves look just like (even fresher actually) than the spinach at the grocery store! Super cool and a great addition to our salad.

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The black raspberries coming along!

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While weeding the other day, I came across… a POTATO! What a surprise! I did plant a lot of potatoes this year and this find gave me some hope that my garden is filled with potatoes underneath. I sure hope so! I didn’t remove the potato as it was still attached to the roots under the soil (along with other potatoes I hope!). It’s not time to harvest the potatoes yet but I am totally looking forward to dig-day.

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And lastly, my babies. The chickens are going on 13 weeks old and we are patiently waiting for them to surprise us with our first egg! Bonnie is still the largest, especially compared to her other black/white sister, Luna. Bonnie has these fluffy thighs that are so cute, like chubby baby thighs I guess. Bonnie is also the loudest. Instead of clucking or peeping, I think moos at us. It’s a very odd sound. Luna, still the runt, is probably still the most timid. Ginger and Biscuit, the two reds, are pretty spunky. All 4 absolutely love to run around the yard. Just yesterday I found 2 in my neighbor’s yard! But, we have discovered the chickens love mulch. My mom spent last weekend laying down mulch, weeding the flower bed, and planting new flowers. LOOK what the babies did! The scratched away the mulch like it’s some kind of game. Mom is not happy with the chickens. On a more fun note, the chickens L-O-V-E grapes! They go crazy over grapes, especially Bonnie.

That’s all for now! I hope you all are enjoying your summer. To those of you who raise chickens and/or have a garden, good luck and keep it up!

Savvy Student Shopper’s Thrifty Finds 6/1

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I hope you all are having a great Spring/Summer (it’s definitely Summer weather here in Maryland now!). I am working and it takes so, so much time away from blogging and thrifting. During the school year, I could thrift in between classes or after class, but it’s not so easy in the summer. There aren’t any large thrift stores close to my house; I’d have to drive 15-25 minutes to hit a couple of them and sometimes it’s just not worth it and  I can’t do it every day like I did at school (thanks to the free campus bus)! But I am still trying to get some good deals. I’ve been hitting the flea market as early as I can get my sleepy butt up and I also go to some yard sales, though I never have yard sale luck around here.

At the flea market, mom and I scooped up 2 lovely Pyrex casserole dishes. We found the Kim Chee (#043) promotional piece for $2 and the New Holland (#045) for $4. My dad asked for the blue New Holland for Father’s Day because he liked it so much! I also scored 12 canning jars, including the blue, for $1.50!

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At a recent trip to Value Village, I found 2 hard-to-find Pyrex Colonial Mist mixing bowls (both 404s). I am keeping one and the other is being traded/sold at the moment. They were priced at $7 (which I think is super high for a stupid bowl). Value Village’s prices have absolutely skyrocketed. It’s sickening. You can go on any given day and find an item from the dollar store or the Dollar Spot in Target, priced at more than $1 at Value Village. Why I still go is simply for the hunt. Sometimes you find good things and have to suck up the prices. I would much rather give my money to other charitable shops or people at yard sales. I also found a primary blue refrigerator dish for about $2.50 and another (yep, that makes #3) Pandora Cupcake jewelry holder.

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Over Memorial Day weekend, we went up to the mountains and you know I cannot give up my thrifting hobby. We went to a few antique stores and yard sales while we were up there. I bought the blue mixing bowl (401) for $3. It’s unnumbered which means it goes to the set made in the ’40s. I think that’s just insane! How amazing that these adorable bowls survive all those years and come out looking so pretty!? I am 1 bowl (green) away from completing my 1940s primary mixing bowl set and spent $10 so far. Patience pays off! One of the yard sales we stopped at had a “FREE” box. Those are my favorite. Who doesn’t love free?! I found a canning jar (quart size), Butterfly Gold salt/pepper shakers, and the Butterfly Gold cream and sugar bowls in the box. Michael bought some cake decorating supplies, so I didn’t feel as bad taking the freebies. Michael’s sister also got 8 free Butterfly Gold mugs for her apartment (she goes to college this August!). We stopped at a Goodwill and I picked up the (2) Spring Blossoms mixing bowls (#401) and the lid for $4.50 total. Yes, I have 5 of those green bowls now, thanks for reminding me 😉 I simply can’t leave the 401s behind.

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Today Michael and I took a ride to another city for some nice yard sales. FINALLY I found some Pyrex at a yard sale and at great prices! The big Daisy bowl (#444) was $0.25!! I wish I could have seen the look on my face when the lady said “a quarter!”. The Butterfly Gold refrigerator dishes (502 and 503) were $3, the Butterprint Cinderella Bowl (441) was $1, and the Apple Dumplin’ (friends of Strawberry Shortcake) mug was $0.25. I found the 503 lid for $2 at an antique store along the way. And the blue and red primary refrigerator dishes were found at my local flea market for $4. I was a beautiful morning, we hit some great sales, and had a lovely time together! That is my kind of date 🙂 (We drove his new car and we stopped and got donuts, too, so Nerdboy was satisfied).

I hope you guys are still enjoying these posts! I love, love, love my thrifty finds and really love reading about your finds too!

Savvy Student Shopper’s Garden Update 5/20

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The first official harvest from the garden! A basket of lettuce for dinner, our first red strawberry, and some pretty flowers for the table

My garden is definitely coming along now! I’ve been working in it every chance I get. Everyone that gardens knows that there is always something still on your to-do list. It’s always a work in progress. Gardening is one of my favorite past times and I love to share that with you! My dream would be to have a sand-free and deer-free yard, but that’s just a part of game when you live on the woods near the water, I guess. I also have lots of herbs and a pallet filled with lettuce and spinach sprouts that aren’t pictured. It’s time for me to let the chickens out and play in some dirt. Catch ya later!

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See that pretty red strawberry? Stupid bird got it before I did!

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Strawberry patch (wooden planter was upcycled from my childhood tree house)

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Potatoes in trashcans – still doing well!

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The right side of the garden (cucumbers, yellow squash, onion,lettuce, radish, zucchini, raspberries, blackberries, pumpkin, gourds). I have room for one more planting.. what should it be?!

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Close up of the newly transplanted cucumbers

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Onion patch and radishes in the middle (just planted yesterday)

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Squash, lettuce, and zucchini

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My first tomato!! My other half of the garden contains tomatoes (12 plants so far), green beans, more potatoes, some straggling asparagus, and garlic. More tomatoes and peppers are still on the to-do list.

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Our apple tree has apples!! Last year we got ONE lonely apple, this year is looking much better. The deer keep munching the tree though, so I hope we still get some apples for us! I also remembered my neighbor right up the street has an enormous peach tree in his front yard. I’ll be talking to him soon 😉

Savvy Student Shopper’s Thrifty Finds 5/15

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The grease stains came off and it looks great! One of my newest faves -Pyrex Pink Daisy Spacesaver

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Hit the jackpot at this estate sale! Mom went crazy!

Gorgeous Dansk turquoise paella pan found at Value Village!

Gorgeous Dansk turquoise paella pan found at Value Village!

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All for $1! A wool sweater, sugar shaker, milk glass vase, Merry Mushroom salt/pepper shakers, and a leaf tray

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2 Terra Corning/Pyrex Berry Bowls

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Wool!

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A new bowl for Nerdboy’s doggy -These sell for $14, this one was $1!

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Jars! The blue one is a Made in Mexico knock off -darn it!

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Hazel Atlas Striped Tumbler and 2 Federal flower bowls

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Some Yankee Candle tarts and another Pandora cupcake (will sell on Ebay)

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Some salt and pepper shakers (got all for $1), 2 more Terra berry bowls, and some Lustroware canisters

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All in the same evening at Goodwill and Value Village: Primary 404, Town and Country 503 & 502, plus extra lids!

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Mom picked this beauty up on the side of the road! She’s working on making it a little better and then I’ll take another picture of it.

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Some yard sale finds: Canning jars (all for $2), a Pyrex lid (5 cents!!!), and a Spring Blossom Gravy Boat – with box!

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Butterprint Butterdish – Bought for $3

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Nerdboy went to Value Village for me when I couldn’t! Butterprint 503 and Daisy 502. He’s a sweetie!

Welcome to a catch-up version of Savvy Student Shopper’s thrifty finds! This covers most of the stuff I’ve found in April and May. I’ve been going to yard sales and the flea market, but I’ve had very, very little luck. Maybe people haven’t done their Spring cleaning yet?

Value Village is my hot spot, probably because I go every day! Now that I am officially finished school for the summer, I promise I’ll post more thrifty finds posts like I used to! I just hope I find some luck this summer because I will be leaving my favorite Value Village and returning back home on Friday. It’s bittersweet.

If you have any questions about what I bought or any questions in general, leave a comment or shoot me an email! As always, you are encouraged to share your thrifty finds!

Adios!

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A Peek Into My Week: Chicken Update, Garden Update, & More!

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What my life has come to

As I mentioned, it is finals week for the Savvy Student Shopper. Instead of spending time hunting for deals, blogging, and coupon shopping, I’ve been attempting to study and write up my final papers. Wednesday is my last day.. the end is near!

I am in the process of selling textbooks backs too. It has become a game for me the past 3 years. Eventually I’ll write up a post about textbook buying/reselling. This year, I think I may have broken even! Meaning I’ll be making back close to what I originally spent in January. I have learned a ton about buying/reselling textbooks and I’ll definitely share some of that with you.

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The chickens are doing great – very big and healthy! I’m looking forward to their egg laying stage in a few months. They are still spending the nights in my bathroom because their coop is not 100% secure (My dad was supposed to have it done by now) and I don’t want to chance anything since I live on the woods with lots of hungry animals. They do spend the day in their outdoor coop and they love it!

Every time I’m home, I try to spend a little bit of time getting the garden in shape. Gardening is a lot to keep up with, especially when you are only home a few times a month! Some nasty buggers have already attacked my chives. Like 100 little black bugs per chive stalk. Disgusting. Between the deer, bugs, droughts, sandy soil, birds, etc., I think I have more garden mishaps than garden successes, but it’s alright.

My older lettuce about ready for harvesting.

My older lettuce about ready for harvesting.

Raspberries are thriving! I hope I actually get some berries this year and not just leaves.

Raspberries are thriving! I hope I actually get some berries this year and not just leaves.

Onions

Onions

Potatoes in cans

Potatoes in cans

Baby spinach

Baby spinach

My strawberry patch is doing the best it has ever done! As long as the birds and bugs leave it alone, I should have dozens of berries!

My strawberry patch is doing the best it has ever done! As long as the birds and bugs leave it alone, I should have dozens of berries!

Some more potatoes on the one side of my garden. (Please ignore all weeds)

Some more potatoes on the one side of my garden. (Please ignore all weeds)

I think I’m hitting up CVS this weekend, so I’ll try to share my trip! As soon as I’m done with school, I’ll get back into the grocery store deals and Target! I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

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A Peek Into Our Week 4/29

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Hello, my friends! I hope you all have been having a great Spring. I’m still anxiously awaiting the warm weather here. I have been so totally busy this year and the blog has been taking a hit. Taking 18 credits, finding a summer nanny job, finding a Fall internship, a subleaser, raising chickens, thrifting, cooking, cleaning and everything is exhausting! I wanted to share some pictures from the past week to give everyone a look at what has been going on. You’ll see the newest pictures of the chickadees. Above (from left to right) is Biscuit, Bonnie, Luna (on my right arm), Ginger on my knee, and jealous Jake the golden retriever. I feel like I live on a farm! As long as the coop is ready, the babies will be headed outside this weekend – YAY! They have totally tore up the bathroom. There’s poop caked everywhere, holes in the walls, the toilet is scratched, and there are feathers and feed dust floating everywhere. Plus… it STINKS. If you ever need pet sitting, chat it up with my mom. She is by far the greatest. She took care of 4 stinky chicks for the past 7 weeks while I’ve been at school. Is that love or what?

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Ginger! Look had big they are getting!

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Little Luna – still the little runt!

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On Sunday, Nerdboy and I took a date out to DC to do the tourist thing since we’ve been living a metro ride away. This is the second time this year we’ve been caught in the rain in DC. Let me add that I TOLD HIM to bring an umbrella this time. 10% chance of rain isn’t anything to mess with! Luckily we didn’t get very wet and were able to stay inside when it was raining hard.

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We enjoyed lunch outside before the rain at Tortilla Cafe. Mike saw their episode on the Food Network and wanted to give it a try! We also walked around the Eastern Market Flea Market. I was so glad I wore jeans instead of a dress because it was chilly all day.

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We walked around the Conservatory at the U.S. Botanic Garden for a bit after lunch. I love flowers, especially orchids so I thought the place was pretty neat. Not to mention, it was nice and warm and humid in there 🙂 I needed to warm up since it was chilly and wet outside. Don’t you wish you could grow orchids in your house like this?

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And check out my new bling! A 45 carat diamond necklace, gorgeous, right? Too bad it was locked up in a case and a security guard was standing there. This gorgeous Hope Diamond can be found at the Smithsonian. Make sure you take a look at all the other gorgeous gems in the exhibit. There’s really something there for everyone: gems, dinosaurs, early humans, animals, bugs, sea life, and more! We also stopped by the Air and Space museum. So much great stuff to do in DC! The metro ride was very inexpensive as well – just about $5 round trip. Despite the weather, it was a wonderful day 🙂

That’s all for now! Have a good week!

Raising Backyard Chickens Update 4/26

Take a look below at how big my chickens are getting! The top pictures are the newest. They have been with us for about 7 weeks and are headed outside soon!

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