Friday, December 10, 2021

Christmas Cookies, "Work Christmas Party", and Run Like No One Is Chasing Me!

 Hello again to old friends and new!

It has been on my heart and mind to continue with blog entries as often as possible.  So, here I go!  I LOVE to bake as you may know and especially for the holidays!  A friend asked recently as I posted a photo of "Cookie #12", "What do you do with all of these cookies?"  Well.. here's what I do:

  • Platter for where ever we go for an event
  • Plate for each local neighbor - I typically do this on Christmas Eve Eve!
  • Each of our pastors receive a plate. 
  • Small box to each of my cousins, aunts/uncles, siblings, parents
  • We ship a big box to far away family and some friends
  • Oh and I eat them. More than I should, probably? haha  They are just so tasty!  

Here's a beautiful platter I took to my sister's for Thanksgiving!  

I made a bunch of flavors since then and I have 6-8 more kinds to go if I'm really ambitious!  I think a cookie that is creeping up to be one of my top faves is a new cookie for me as of last year - Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip!  It has big chocolate chips and mini-chocolate chips! I'll keep you posted!  Here's a link to the recipe at Of course I doubled it but should have tripled it - well except it wouldn't have fit into my mixing bowl!

As you may know, our Affiliate Partners are all over the USA & Canada.  As I mentioned previously, Homestead Miranda works the phones and completes a lot of admin items but does so remotely.  Since Homestead McKenna is local to us and works at our home office in her own space, I decided we needed to have an official "Work Christmas Party"!  I remember old work Christmas parties were so fun!  Usually everyone brought food to share and maybe there was a white elephant gift exchange or a secret Santa.  Yesterday, after chatting with Homestead Phil prior, I announced to Homestead McKenna that we planned on taking some time during her shift to have a "Work Christmas Party"!  I said I'd make some delish food, we'd feast, and enjoy some time together.  She was so excited and planned to wear festive clothes - which I've been doing since Thanksgiving! haha  You probably hardly recognize us without our blue Rent The Chicken shirts on! 

  • I made this Short Rib Instant Pot recipe from  We purchased the ribs right from our local farm friends.  If you don't buy direct from a farmer or from a farmers market. Please consider it!
  • I use this bbq sauce recipe instead of the one they have in their recipe. Of course I double it. Combine all ingredients in a stove top pot and bring to a low simmer for five minutes. As much as I LOVE Sweet Baby Rays.... this is a million times better!

1 c ketchup
1/3 c brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp paprika

  • This AMAZING Gouda based Mac & Cheese recipe. I love it! It's not my go to and I make it only for special occasions like a Work Christmas Party and in my cast iron pan of course!
  • I also made this delish go to Cornbread recipe again in a cast iron skillet -

WOW! My belly is FULL.... I really should go for a long-ish run today but the full belly is delaying my desire to run.  It is nearly 60F outside though! Decisions Decisions!

The saying "run like someone is chasing me" is not true for me.  I literally run like no one is chasing me If they were, they'd for sure catch me! haha  I participated in my 5th half marathon of 2021 and ever for me in November.  My Mom has been a great pit crew for me for a few races this year and this race was no different!  My cousin Eric carted his mom, my Aunt Mary, and my Mom for the entire race where the trail crossed over a road.  They had a great time and it was super encouraging me to have them cheering for me!  I share the following collage to show off my Rent The Chicken gear and my lovely sparkly skirt that was gifted to me recently. It's not my kind of style at all but I love it!  I receive so many compliments on it!!  The second photo isn't very clear but I see so much strength and determination in my entire being in the photo!  The third photo is of my pit and support crew!  YAY!  And finally... my final race metal of 2021! I participated in 12 races in 2021. 5 half marathons, 2 5ks, 2 10ks, a 100 mile relay, 1 miler, and a 10 miler. 16 months ago, I was excited to make it a mile! As I mentioned previously, I do walk / run intervals so I'm not running the entire distance.  But my foot crosses the finish line every time whether it's a training run or a race just like someone who runs the whole thing.  Praise be to God!

Seize the day!  Reach out to a friend or family member that you haven't chatted with in awhile. Enjoy those around you.  Bake or buy a batch of cookies and give them to a neighbor just because!  Thanks for reading!  You are appreciated!

Friday, November 19, 2021

New leaf? Old leaf? Leave it? Enjoy the leaves?

Oh friends... old and new!

It's been on my heart to put some of my words into my blog again. My last stint of blogging only lasted a month (and I typically would only blog once a week!). I did make the statement that I was not claiming to turn over a new leaf because I didn't know how long I would make it a priority for. So many instead of turning over a new leaf, I'm just going to dig up an old leaf in this blog? I enjoy connecting with others in this way to move to just leave it and I think I'd just like to enjoy the leaves I have here on the blog when I take the time to be engulfed in the process. Wow that was a lot of words without saying much of anything! :)

I think if there's a time in my life that I can make an effort to dedicate back to blogging, now is the time. I go through phases in life where I'm a big hot mess and other phases where I really feel like I'm adulting well and keeping my priorities in order. I'm definitely in a current phase where I feel pretty confident that I'm actively making wise choices, helping others, being healthy-ish, fairly active, a decent wife, and spiritually connected with God. Maybe best ever actually. But you know... when you say bold statements like that, the world comes crashing down around you! So maybe I take back that "best ever". haha

In all seriousness, Rent The Chicken has been growing with more and more amazing Affiliate Partners. We are always actively looking to grow as well. If there's not an Affiliate Partner in your area and you're looking to expand your hobby farm / homestead / farm to have a (or an additional) revenue stream, let's chat! Click here for more details regarding our Affiliate Program.

At our local level, more than a year ago, we brought on Homestead Miranda to help with the phones, emails, supporting various Affiliates, etc. She's AMAZING! Depending on the day you make a call to us, you may chat with Homestead Miranda! Before Homestead Miranda, we hired Homestead Isabella here in Western Pennsylvania to tackle cleaning all of our Hatch The Chicken supplies. Oh my! Homestead Phil was THRILLED to be released from Hatch The Chicken cage and supply cleaning! In the Spring, Homestead McKenna came on board to deliver and pick up Hatch The Chicken rentals. This was part of Homestead Phil's duties as well so he gained another number of hours per week with Homestead McKenna's help. Six or weeks ago, Homestead McKenna added Rent The Chicken Phone Extraordinaire to her Hatch The Chicken Transporter Liaison role. So now when you give us a call or receive a call from us, you might chat with me, Homestead Phil, Homestead Miranda, or Homestead McKenna! With all of the support here at The Homestead, I really feel like I can better support each of our Affiliate Partners, continue to work on tweaking the behind the scenes efforts of Rent The Chicken and Hatch The Chicken, and work on being purposeful with my health, fitness level, relationships, and my faith.

Almost two years ago on this very blog, I outted myself in regards to Intermittent Fasting. I've continued the adventure and I cannot even believe #1 that I've stuck with it and #2 I've continued to slim down and not gain back the weight. WOW! If you've read some blog posts from yesteryear, you may realize that we are "go big or go home" people. Well... I've rephrased it to "go big or stay home"! I blogged previously also about dabbling in some running. I'm back in full force! I laced up my running shoes in August of 2020 when I met a substantial weight loss goal, and I have been running 3-4 days a week since. I still use Jeff Galloway's Run / Walk / Run Philosophy. I LOVE it so much! Of course I sport the Rent The Chicken logo whenever I can!
Because I'm so focused on my next interval cue, and my next step, and breathing, there's ZERO space in my brain for anything else! I perused my older blogs about running and I was injured and still posted my pace times. I'm on average 4 minutes faster per mile now than I was in 2018. WOW! (I mean and nearly 60 pounds less!) I've been participating in some foot races even! I am not out to break records or "win" but I am out there to prove to myself that I can do it and that I can do my best to do better than my last event. In the Spring when I started to accumulate finisher medals, Homestead Phil gifted me with this lovely medal holder. These are all from the last 12 months! Needless to say, I've been wearing out my running shoes and grinning while taking it all in!

I'm in the thick of holiday cookie baking and planning for our Annual Holiday Dinner as well as our Rent The Chicken Owners Conference. Busy and more busy! I'll keep you posted and I promise it won't be so long before my next entry! I mean... I have another half marathon in just over a week and I know you'll be on pins and needles (whatever that means) for my race report! :)

Friday, January 15, 2021

Welcome to 2021!

Hi all!

What a whirlwind of 2021 so far, right?! Every January, Homestead Phil and I host a Rent The Chicken Owners Conference for each of our Affiliate farm partners to be able to focus on growing their business, chat with other Affiliates, and enjoy a weekend away. We've hosted it in Myrtle Beach, Western Pennsylvania, and last year was our favorite - a luxury vacation home near Orlando, Florida! This year, with Covid, and Canada / USA borders closed, we had to make some changes like most other conferences and move to a virtual option. We started our weekend with special guests like Lisa Steele of Fresh Eggs Daily, the publisher of the Fresh Eggs Daily book - Paul Kelly of St Lynns Press, the Head Hen of Cutest Coops - Kathy, and Brad from Coop Dreams. Signe Langford who wrote Happy Hens & Fresh Eggs which is a book we provide in Canada made a video for us to share as she was unable to attend virtually. Oh my goodness, we did this fun activity to recreate the "American Gothic" image. We for sure had some good ones. Take a look:

We dove into "why" we each provide Rent The Chicken and Hatch The Chicken. It was moving as each of us have a different perspective on why we are in this crazy business. Stay tuned as I'm sure we'll be sharing some of the videos on our Facebook page as time continues. We covered parts of a book called Eat That Frog and ways to help reach each of you so you know what we have to offer through Rent The Chicken and Hatch The Chicken! Our friend and business coach, Wendy, joined us for a session as well! Check out the Group Photo!

Looking forward to hugging necks and seeing our attendees in person in 2022!