Thirty-five Things to be Thankful for … on my 35th Birthday xxx

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It’s funny how what we value changes over the years.  I am continuing to count 1000 gifts (along with everyone else and Ann Voscamp), and I would never have dreamed even 10 years ago, that I am SO thankful now for the following ….

1.  Waking up to THIS beautiful family ….

Family @ Hills Homestead

2.  Eary morning walk …

3. Seeing the sunrise, the colours… AMAZING… the fresh morning air … AMAZING …

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4.  An outdoor SHADE

5. A child’s handmade ‘happy birthday’ SIGN

6. Scrambled EGGS/TOMATO/CAPSICUM and something else!? I couldn’t guess 🙂  made by my 7 yr old

7. Hot COFFEE poured by my husband

8. Phone calls from family …

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9. Friends

10. Making MESS in the KITCHEN and girls making LEMONADE to have with dinner

11.  Kefir milkshakes in the sun

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12.  Boys occupied and HAPPY and safe

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13. New chicks hatching EVERY day

14. Life

15. Children holding life tenderly and carefully …

16. Breathtaking moments

17. The 4 yr old boy innocently and gently finding out how many chickens will fit into a tissue box …. stopped by his mother just in time!

18.  A gentle father teaching and training and leading by example

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19.  Homegrown cherry TOMATOES

20. Exuberance and ENERGY and a 1 yr old’s love of life and adventure

21. Encouragement from a fellow hills JAM maker (thanks Jenny! YOU are inspiring)

Gift numbers 22. to 34…. see the gifts pictured below.   Even a year ago, who would have thought I would get so excited over some Quinoa, an African handwoven basket (yes, I’m an OT, no, I’ve never woven my own basket!), some ‘naked’ food, Fairtrade coffee beans, a beautifully handmade bag, homemade snacks in blue and white Op Shop tins …  thanks everyone ….

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 35.  Laughing and chatting with FEET in the cool water down at ‘mum’s creek’ ….

(and I’ll squeeze in a number 36. A huge dinner with family and friends to complete a perfect day … feeling blessed and loved and glad to be alive … )




Picking Home-grown Apples


Apple Picking (7) Apple Picking (12)  Have you EVER picked and eaten an apple straight of the tree?  I do hope so!!!  There is nothing like it, the taste, the crunch, the juice that squirts everywhere, the crisp skin (not waxy and tough to get through!), … oh, it is lovely.  Every few days over the last 2 weeks, we have been picking a couple of bucketfuls of our home-grown Royal Gala apples.  They get eaten straight away or go into our fridges for snacks/lunches over the next few days.  The kids ride around on their bikes, then stop, and duck under the bird netting! and pick their own ‘snacks for the road’!!  I’m hoping we have too many to eat soon so that I can make apple pies, but I have a feeling that between the kids and our families and friends, we will be eating them all.


Fresh apples in school and kindy lunch boxes (the apples keep nice and cold next to the fresh fruit sorbet leftover from the night before – whizzed up in the Thermomix of course 🙂 )


Jake getting the wagon to cart all the buckets of apples up to the house!!



The John Deere wagon that we bought they boys for Christmas is the MOST useful gift!!!

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Getting underneath the bird netting is the most time-consuming business!

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Our Royal Gala apples Feb/Mar 2013

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Jake’s things to do with an apple 1. throw the one’s eaten by birds 2. balance them on your head 3. roll them down the hill to the chickens 4. eat them 5. pop them into a bird’s next 6. find the black hole in the apple and dig at it with a stick to try to ‘find the worms’ 7.  oh, PUT THEM IN THE BUCKET!  .. I don’t think even ONE of Jake’s apples made it into the bucket!

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The apple cores go back into the ground they grew from under the apple tree, great compost!

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Lovely kisses Jake!!!

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Charlie having a go with the camera – she had my camera in one hand, a 1/2 eaten apple in the other, a balloon under her arm, and one foot perched on the wagon to balance herself!

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A rest after a difficult and labour intensive… 10 minutes or so of picking apples!!!


Apple Picking (12)  Action for the week – plant your own apple tree, or buy someone (or yourself) an apple tree as a gift!

… and if you can’t grow your own, buy locally grown, in season, and organic apples if possible.

signed - hayley @ hills homestead