Savanna McMichael

the moments that create my life

Monday, April 9, 2018

Hess is FOUR!

I'm not exactly sure how we got to this place so quickly, but our Hess Thompson turned FOUR years old yesterday! He is just the sweetest, spunkiest, most hilarious little man. 
He loves so big and so wildly. 
We are so blessed to have him in our lives! 

 We were blessed to celebrate Hess with some of our family and sweet friends. We had a small little cake and ice cream gathering with lots of Hess' favorite things: BLUE everything, cake, sprinkles, lollipops, gummy worms, and more SPRINKLES! I think he was overwhelmed with all of the sweet options that he had! 

Sprinkles, sprinkles, and more sprinkles!

Our house is in the process of getting repainted, but we were super thankful to be able to have everyone over and to enjoy our revamped backyard! Hopefully, we will have the entire project completed soon. 

The Lord absolutely knew what he was doing when he blessed our family with Hess! He is the perfect baby brother to complete our family. It doesn't feel like we could possibly love him more, yet I'm certain that we will love him more tomorrow than today. Love is funny that way! 

Just for fun and to finish nailing the stakes into my already broken heart, let's look back at this little ONE year old, cake covered face. I miss his little bitty face and chunky cheeks so badly, yet I just adore the bigger boy that he is becoming! He still loves cake just as much as he did back then. This boy has always had a thing for the sweet stuff! 

Hessaroo~ We love you bigger than the ocean and more than all the stars in the sky and with our whole entire hearts! We can't wait to see the person that you continue to become. The years are so short and, like you reminded me just this morning, you'll be five before we know it!
Let's do FOUR the best way possible! 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Easter 2018

happy Wednesday, friends! We had a great Easter weekend with our friends and family. We spent the latter part of the week last week at The Story Shop in nearby Monroe. It is the sweetest, most imaginative bookstore run by some wonderful ladies! Our kids love to go there any chance that they get. We were able to take one of our bunnies, S'mores, for Easter story time in the Wardrobe. He got a lot of extra love over those two days! Thanks so much to the Story Shop for letting us be a part of your special story time! 

Saturday was, of course, spent at the ball field. We loved getting to spend some one on two time with our girl while her brothers stayed with grandparents early in the day. It's always nice to get to devote all of your attention to just one of the kids for a little bit. She enjoyed the extra attention and we loved getting to just watch her play instead of chasing other kids around the park. She and her teammates played tough, but went home a little earlier than we had hoped. Their day is coming though! 

Our Easter Sunday was full just like it should be. Full of family and friends, wonderful worship (because our worship team is off-the-charts awesome!) and full, thankful hearts for our Risen Savior. We had a sweet day catching up with family and hunting eggs and eating way too much!
 All of the kiddos left with extra full pockets and candy buckets. Addi Kate found the big price egg this year and has bragging rights until next year! 

I am so thankful for my people in this little frame. They are more 
than I could have ever hoped or dreamed of! 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Weekend Snaps!

Our weekend was so full! We are in this season of life where our weekends revolve mostly around sports game times and tournaments...well, actually our whole life, not just our weekends. It can be stressful and, honestly, irritating at times but it is absolutely, hands-down worth it. We have made some absolutely amazing friends around the sports fields and bike tracks! And our kids have been able to enjoy some great experiences while learning valuable life lessons along the way. 

The weekend started off with a lacrosse scrimmage on Friday night. Hutt's team split and scrimmaged each other and then scrimmaged the next age level. They played an awesome little game and were able to beat the older kids 3-0. So incredible proud of his team and how hard they work. They truthfully are a talented bunch of early elementary kids with some super skills with a lacrosse stick. It has been so fun to see Hutt grow and learn through the sport, but my most proud moments come when he isn't necessarily in the middle of a play. I'd dare say that his sportsmanship and kindness are unmatched. He is always quick to offer a high five or pat on the back for a job well done or a helping hand when there is a need. He's just an all around super kid. I couldn't adore him more! 

And he has some pretty adoring siblings.

Saturday brought us another lacrosse game and the beginnings of a softball tournament. Hutt and his lacrosse team fought a physical battle and came away with another wind. They are undefeated on the season and leading their league. I don't have any pictures from his Saturday games because, well, dad can't coach and take pictures at the same time. 

Our Titans started off their two day tournament with a bang. They played four games on Saturday, outscoring their opponents 47-6! I'm pretty sure that they had the most fun they've had since the team got together in the Fall. It was a great day that afforded us some great softball and lots of good times with our friends. Unfortunately, Mother Nature flooded the fields early Sunday morning and ruined our girls' plans to take the tournament! But they're already excited to get back at it for the next tournament. It brings us such joy to see these girls work hard, make it through adversity, and learn more than just softball on that field. Through all of our sports endeavors, our goal is for our kids to learn more life skills than sports skills. If they can be better mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends, doctors, teachers, missionaries (whatever the Lord has written in their story) because of it, then it will have been undoubtedly worth every second and every penny. 

Since the rain called the tournament off for Sunday, we got to enjoy a big breakfast and church, lunch with family, and some much needed farm time Sunday afternoon. Ranger got some extra love from all of the kids. Pretty sure that he missed us on Saturday as he was really enjoying all of the extra attention! He just lets the kids rub and touch all over him. We got some pretty bird feeders hung in our backyard, dirt moved to help keep the chickens inside the pasture and out of our backyard, and extra attention for everyone to start the week off. It was such a nice and relaxed way to end our weekend.

We crashed for movie time....have y'all seen The Greatest Showman? We are HUGE fans. The soundtrack has been on repeat since it was released and now the movie is following in the same tracks. There are so many opportunities throughout the movie for really good conversation and learning experiences. And its just a magnificent story line with amazing music! Just overall a top favorite movie, EVER! Such an exhausting weekend caught up with our little guy though. He was out like a light before we even got meatball subs finished for dinner. 

I am just so thankful for this crew! It is a joy to get to do life together and an honor to have been entrusted these babies to raise. (even though they aren't babies anymore. look at how long Hess' legs are getting!!!) 
Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Kitchen Renovation

When we first started our renovation, the kitchen was hands-down the place that we needed to start! We jumped right in and started tearing out cabinets and removing walls. In fact, I don't have a single before picture. So some of the "wow" factor may be a little bit lost since I can't show you where we started at. 
When we started designing how we wanted our renovations to play out, we knew that we wanted clean lines, semi-neutral colors (whites, grey, black, and blues), and lots of metal. We don't have a  specific 'theme' to the house. Our main goal was to be sure to use things that we truly love! So we've ended up with a mix of a modern farmhouse/industrial styled home. 
As far as the kitchen goes, we knew that it would be the main room in the house. We opened up the kitchen, breakfast area, and living room to be one big area. We love to have family meals, invite our friends and family over and just enjoy each others' company. To increase our available kitchen space, we enclosed a hallway to create a large pantry and opened up a laundry room, closet, and existing pantry to become part of the kitchen. 

Once everything was opened up, we were able to really get our cabinet design finalized. We wanted to maximize storage space and utilize the majority of the middle for an island. Our vision was for the island to be surrounded by friends and family enjoying each other's company whether that be our family dinners or parties or Saturday morning breakfast! The process was long and arduous. But it was absolutely worth it! Our kitchen is definitely the focal point of the house. It is the most amazing spot to gather around and chat. We've spent countless hours sitting in the barstools mulling over life and goals and spending time with friends. There is great flow that allows you to be in the kitchen, but still heavily involved in what may be going on in the living room and breakfast area.  

The paint colors are HGTV by Sherwin Williams from Lowe's.
walls- Latitude (HGSW1446)
main island- Raven Wing (HGSW1442)
wall cabinets- Noreaster

All of our cabinets were designed, manufactured, painted and installed by Toby Trice at Woodcraft Unlimited. Our hardware was also purchased through Woodcraft. Toby is local to us and was a breeze to work with. Our cabinets have upheld their quality and awesome appearance despite all of the battering that they get. 

Granite was cut and installed by Artistic Granite and Cabinet Designs, LLC. Ryan is also a great guy who is local to us. He made the process of picking out granite and having it installed so easy. The Viscount White granite that we chose is SO BEAUTIFUL! It has the most wonderful detail. They cut the pieces exactly as I asked so to maximize the gorgeous black swirls. Our countertops have held up better than we could have hoped! They still look gorgeous a year into using them. 

We have been so pleased with the quality of all of the work that was done, except the tile. While we love our tile, it wasn't laid properly. We have experienced a lot of loose grout and several popped or cracked tiles. Unfortunately, the best way to fix this is to remove the tile and have it done over again. The tile is still beautiful! There are just some little flaws. So some advice would be to really double check your contractors. Look at multiple references and see the actual property. We did try to cut cost doing the tile and it has not been beneficial to us. 

All of our appliances were purchased through Lowe's. We chose a gas stovetop by Samsung for our island. Our dishwasher and refrigerator are also by Samsung. I will link those as well. Some Samsung products didn't have the greatest reviews. As we researched and asked our family/friends, we found that those were the products that were considered more builder grade. We went with a higher end level of appliance and have loved them. We have not had a single issue with any of our appliances.
For our oven, we chose a Bosch product that is a double oven/microwave combination. The top door is the microwave that doubles as a smaller oven. We did decide to go with stainless steel on all of our appliances. They do show finger and handprints despite their marketings, but we love the look still!
Samsung Premium Plus stovetop

Samsung 4-Door Flex w/ Food Showcase
 Our refrigerator is a flex unit, meaning that the bottom doors can both be freezers or switched to refrigerator. We also have the Food Showcase which we have enjoyed for drinks, creamers, and things we use very often.
Samsung WaterWall Built-in Dishwasher
 The dishwasher that we chose has a WaterWall that helps get dishes even cleaner and rinsed well. It operates at only 42 decibels so it is incredibly quiet. 

Bosch Self-cleaning Microwave Wall Oven Combo

We have truly loved every aspect of our kitchen design! We are so thrilled with the way everything turned out and have enjoyed it so much. It was worth every bit of hard work and budget splurging to get it exactly how we want it! 

We truly love our kitchen! I hope that you've gained some inspiration from it as well. Our hope and desire is that we would have many years of memories that fill this space! 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

a chicken update

Our chickens have faired well so far this winter. They've appreciated the warmer weather that we've had! Just a little refresher, the breeds that we have from our original purchases are Plymouth Barred Rock, ISA Brown, Leghorn, and Rhode Island Red. We also have two Bantam Silkie roosters that are not at all beneficial...They just get everyone wound up and make the bigger roosters mad when they try to interact with the ladies. We have added Australorps and Araucanas, two each, to our flock.

I have been working on a review as we are coming up on one year since we started caring for chickens. Our eggs have quite the demand so we are looking into adding to our flock. We also desire to move into meat production so we are weighing the costs and possible interest in that. As I'm reviewing, I'm looking to see which breeds have been most hardy, resilient and productive. Temperament is also of big importance to us as our kids are a vital part in their daily lives. There are always younger kids here at our house and we need chickens that range without causing an issue with them.

Here is my little breakdown:

Rhode Island Reds: We currently have two hens and one rooster. They have excellent personalities. The rooster is calm and protective, yet never bothers the kids. He has yet to cause an issue or attack a person. The hens are docile and easy to deal with. They don't love to be picked up, but don't fight it. They have been efficient layers. We previously lost two of Rhode Island Red roosters, unfortunately to our own dogs. At times, we do rely on our dogs to help herd the chickens into the coop. The loss of the roosters was a combination of the dogs being over zealous and the roosters, extra stubborn. 

ISA Browns: The ISA Browns are one of our favorites. They have all been so friendly and incredibly easy to handle. They return to the coop without much fight every evening. The ISA Browns are a breed that is considered to be more of an industrial layer. They lay very consistently, about every 24-36 hours from what I can tell. During the summer months, we consistently get double yolk eggs from the ISAs. The only real issue that we have had with them has been their inability to escape demise. We have lost more ISA Browns to predators than any of the other breeds. An accurate ratio would be 4:1, ISA Brown to Barred Rock. I don’t know what makes the difference, but it has been unfortunate to lose so many ISAs.

Plymouth Barred Rocks: These birds are very hardy. They’ve handled all of the weather extremes very well. They are productive layers with a gentle personality. Being picked up is not their preference, but they do tolerate it. The Barred Rocks have been successful rangers with very little issues. They return to the coop at night when it is dark or they’re coaxed with feed.  We have only lost one Barred Rock over the course of raising the chickens. Like the ISAs, they are very productive layers and began to lay eggs earlier than any other breed we have.

Australorps & Araucanas:  The Australorps and Araucanas have been a sweet addition to our flock. They have docile personalities and enjoy being around us. We acquired them when they were already several months old, but they adapted well and took right to us. They come up to us when we are outside, will eat out of our hands, and have been successful at ranging. I have noticed that these hens have just started laying. The Australorps lay a light brown egg. The Araucana hen has given us our first white (almost light blue) egg. We have seen eggs from them almost every day this week. I have loved having them as part of our flock. In the future, I would love to add some more!

We also have ten chicks from our December hatch. I am fairly certain that at least four of the chicks are roosters and will need new homes. They are White Leghorn crossed with either ISA or Barred Rock. Those personalities seem to be a bit less combative than their dad’s was as a chick. Our Leghorn rooster is not a fan favorite. He is very protective of the hens, quickly letting you know if he wants you to leave them alone. There have been several times that he has had unfavorable encounters with the kids so we do have to watch him when he’s near. We have kept him on the farm though because we do highly value his ability to protect the girls.

I am hopeful that the other six chicks will turn out to be pullets. We would love to keep them here on the farm and see how their mixed breeds present as far as temperament and productivity.

As we contemplate adding to our flock, the Barred Rocks are the highest on our list. We have loved the ISAs and would consider adding a few more. Their inability to keep themselves safe makes it a little more difficult to add too many more of them. The Barred Rocks have overall been our favorite breed. We would also love to raise some Orpingtons, Black Marans, and Easter Eggers (for the fun colored eggs!). Our barn is due for some updating, mainly for a brooder room. Once that is done, we hope to add about twenty more chicks to our flock. Having a brooder room will also open up opportunity for us to be able to begin moving into meat production. We have high expectations for the meat that our family consumes. By moving towards meat production, our goal is to be part of every step of the production process, knowing exactly what goes into the meats that we eat.

As always, our desire is to raise all of our animals with the most ethical, respectful practices. All of our animals are antibiotic and vaccine free and fed organic, GMO-free feed. The pastured animals range on areas that are free of pesticides, fertilizers, and other stuff that’s just gross and doesn’t belong in our food or bodies!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Weekend Snaps

We had the best low key weekend! Those don't happen very often this time of year for us. We had a great dinner and fun time with friends on Friday night. Hutt had a friend over to spend the night, which was fun. We are just getting into having boys sleep over. It's a great kind of different from the girls....less squealing and drama and a lot of roughness and noise! Both are awesome and it's so fun to have the kids' friends over. Saturday was pretty free with only one practice to get to. The sweetest daddy took all of the kids to the trampoline park and let this mama go to the nail salon. 
Sundays are my favorite days to just relax. We made it to church on time with no rushing and enjoyed a sweet lunch just the five of us. The rain caused all of our afternoon games and races to be cancelled. SO we got to come home and change into pjs. We spent the whole afternoon relaxing, watching the Olympics, relaxing, catching up on laundry and relaxing! There was definitely a relaxing/napping theme to our day. Games and races are always exciting to watch, but the days at home just being with my people will always be my favorites. 

When it was time to go out and feed the animals and put them up for the night, no one wanted to come out of their pjs. So we just went out in our robes and pjs! (and undies, for one little naked cowboy!)  
My pretty girl is getting too big!
I'm having to work really hard lately on being present and not letting the rushed, busy-ness of life weigh me down. These kids are growing at lightning speed and if I spend all of my time cleaning, organizing, creating, and nagging I am going to miss the most important days! So I'm working on better using my time to get things finished and having more time to really be present. I want to listen more with my eyes locked on theirs. I want to truly hear their stories and remember their expressions. There is a balance to marking things off of the to-do list and really being present for my people. I haven't been great at keeping the balance over the past couple of months, but I'm working at getting better! Our low key weekend was just what I needed to recharge for the week ahead! 

Speaking of the week ahead, Happy LOVE week! We're off to do our last minute Valentine picking today! Enjoy the extra excuse to love on all of your people!