When Blogging Becomes Stagnant

When Blogging Becomes Stagnant

Let’s face it, any job can become boring; blogging isn’t exempt from that. Sure, us bloggers love blogging, but like any job, it can have it’s drawbacks. I suppose the greatest thing about blogging is that even while I am not “actively working” on my blog, my blog is still working for me.

But, we all know that nothing remains stagnant. Unless one is actively trying to better something, over time it will degrade. As evidenced in my lack of posting, I have not been working on this blog. I have so many topics I want to discuss, but I often feel like putting them here isn’t the right choice.

So….. The time has come to move on. I will no longer be blogging at Life as a Convert.

Please note that Life as A Convert is not shutting down completely… The Life as a Convert domain will remain open, but from now on, I will be posting at AdukeSchulist.com

Social Media Transfers

I have already changed all of my social media over to the new AdukeSchulist moniker. Some of you may have already noticed the change on social media. I can be found on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube. Please note the YouTube URL is still “LifeAsAConvertTV” but the name has changed to Aduke Schulist.

Aduke Schulist - lifestyle blogger

Why did I choose Aduke Schulist?

Simply enough, Aduke is a second name and Schulist is my last name. I wanted something that didn’t back me into a corner.

There was nothing at all wrong with Life as a Convert. In fact, it lead to many discussions about my religion, and I created it as a way to share my life and my religion with others, but I felt increasingly with the “convert” part that I should be doing more religious posts. I don’t particularly feel that the Life as a Convert name backed me into a religious corner because it encompassed all of my life, but many readers came looking for religious material or wondering what I am “converting”.

Have you ever re-branded your blog?

Being such a small blogger made it easier to switch things over, but I imagine a bigger brand would likely have more troubles.

Don’t forget to add AdukeSchulist.com to your blog readers and check for new posts every Friday at 8 am Central Standard Time.

Aroma Sense Therapy & Spina Bifida

Aroma Sense Therapy & Spina Bifida

This post has been sponsored by Aroma Sense USA. All opinions are the property of Life as a Convert. - Seriously guys, go check them out!

Aroma Sense and Stretching - Spina Bifida

Have you ever met somebody in a wheelchair?

Probably.

Did they have spina bifida?

Possibly.

My son, Aloshua, was born with spina bifida. Spina bifida is a neural tube defect affecting approximately 1-10 out of every 1,000 births. One thing people with spina bifida struggle with is atrophy. This is a fancy way of saying that because certain muscles (like those in the legs) are underused, they begin to waste away and can become tight making it difficult and often times painful for the individual to function normally.

Aloshua - 11 Year old with Spina Bifida - Wheelchair User

Have you ever tried to do the splits, only to end up crying out in pain because you pulled a muscle? It’s pretty painful. Now imagine that this happens whenever you stretch your legs AT ALL. This is what some people with spina bifida experience on a regular basis. Since their legs don’t stretch the way that most people’s do, even basic stretching can be painful. In fact, stretching their legs is something that is often a primary focus during physical therapy sessions.

Spina Bifida and Stretching

Parents of children with spina bifida are taught when their children are young how to stretch their muscles and it is important that it be done consistently. This is something that my son, Aloshua, struggles with. It is painful and can often leave him sore if he is over-stretched. I recently discovered that some parents use bath products to help make routine stretching easier on their children.

The more I thought about it, the more I knew I wanted to try bath time for our stretching regime.

Kid with Spina Bifida in Bath stretching legs with Aroma Sense Luxury Shower Head

Thanks to Aroma Sense and their handheld shower heads, I can join in on bath time stretching. Aroma Sense is a US based company specializing in luxury shower heads. Each shower head comes with a cartridge of an essential oil based aroma therapy blend. Additional cartridges can be purchased through their website. There are numerous options including lemon, citrus mango, lavender, jasmine, and eucalyptus. You can see the benefits of each aroma therapy scent on their features page.

I chose lavender.

Aroma Sense Shower Head Lavendar Replacement Cartridges

Lavender oil is helpful in treating migraines, headaches, depression, nervous tension and emotional stress. It can inhibit bacteria that causes acne, and help to regulate sebum excretion. In aromatherapy, it induces sleep to relieve insomnia and makes an excellent solution for anxiety issues. (Source)

I like that lavender has so many added benefits that weren’t even on my radar originally. Aloshua struggles with migraine headaches, my daughter and I struggle with insomnia, and my older son struggles with acne, so it is a win-win for all of the family.

Installing Aroma Sense Luxury Shower Head

Setting up the shower head was a breeze. We previously had a shower hose from our durable medical equipment supply company. All I had to do was unscrew the head from that hose and screw on the new shower head. I chose the handheld option for the ability to target specific areas of his legs. Aroma Sense also offers wall mounted version.

Not only is the water pressure great, it is an even pressure and uses less water than a standard shower head. Take a peek at this video to see a similar comparison of what we previously used to what we are using now:

The only con I have ran into is the inability to turn the hose off at the handheld part. This is not a big deal as I am able to turn it off at the wall.

Using Aroma Sense Therapy

As you can see, the hose I have is long enough to reach the entirety of the tub, allowing Aloshua to hold the shower head himself so I can stretch his legs.

Aroma Sense Shower Head - Aroma Therapy Massage Stretching

Since getting the Aroma Sense shower head, Aloshua has been more willing to allow me to stretch him. The combination of warm water and lavender scent relaxes him and reduces anxiety related to past, painful stretching experiences.

If you have a child with spina bifida and are looking for a better way to help loosen those tight muscles, I definitely recommend Aroma Sense’s Luxury Shower Heads. If you are anybody else, I also recommend getting one. Hello, eucalyptus and jasmine scents! The cartridges are affordable and very easy to change out. Just unscrew and pop a new one in.

Be sure to like Aroma Sense on Facebook and receive great deals and other health information.

Have you ever used essential oils in your shower routine? 

What is your favorite scent? 

4-H Poultry Chain – First Time Chicken Owners

4-H Poultry Chain – First Time Chicken Owners 

For the longest time I have wanted chickens for eggs. In my mind I thought they were super hard to prepare for, so I never took any steps to actually getting some. This year when 4-H Poultry Chain came about, I forced myself to sign up. There is no greater motivation to prepare/finish something than a looming deadline and chickens were expect the end of Spring!

What is 4-H Poultry Chain?

The 4-H Poultry Chain is a great way to teach children responsibility and how to care for a family flock. Basically, 4-H gives each participant a certain number of day old chicks that members must raise and take care of. When the county fair rolls around, members must take their 3 best chicks for a Show and Sell where they are judged and then auctioned off. The winner gets prize money, but ribbons are awarded as well. The money earned from the auctions is divided amongst the 4-H program and I think the participating members if their chicks sell, though I could be wrong on that last part. I do know that part of the money is used to buy the chicks for the next year.

We were told to expect anywhere from 15-30 chicks for each child signed up. There was no way I wanted more than that, so I only signed up Kaia. This year, 4-H gave everybody 18 baby chicks.  We had the option to purchase roosters, so I purchased 3. Silly me thought that in order for the chickens to lay eggs that a rooster must be present. Boy, do I have a lot to learn! We ended up with a total of 23 baby chicks (somebody miscounted ours along the way and we got 2 extra).

We picked them up on the 11th of May.

4-H Poultry Chain Chicks 2016 Arkansas - Amberlink

Brooding Day Old Chicks

The kids fell in the love with them. Every chance they got, they were watching, holding, and carrying them around with them. I had seen brooders set up many different ways, but chose to use an old watering trough for mine with sand as the bedding. The thought process behind choosing this was that it was wide enough to give them plenty of space, and tall enough where they couldn’t hop out of it as easily as a swimming pool. I seriously overestimated how big of a space 23 baby chicks needed. There was plenty of room in the brooder, but the chicks mostly stayed together. I chose the sand after a lot of research because it was supposed to be the least smelly, easiest to keep clean and also the least expensive in the long run.

Aybra’s favorite chicks were the roosters. She named one Duck and even had a photo shoot with it. I’m not sure that she could actually tell them apart, but she insisted that she could and always chose “Duck” when holding a chick.

4-H Poultry Chain - Baby Rooster Amberlink

The Setup

In the brooder, I used a 60-100 watt bulb in a clip on fixture for heat. The temperate in my house was set around 73-78* varying on the day’s weather. The chicks seemed to stay plenty warm, but would also huddle together in a cute little cuddle puddle under the lamp as they slept. Another thing I learned was that heating lamps have a lot more watts (250!) than regular bulbs and give off a lot more heat. I think I chose the best option for me since my container was more enclosed than some other options (like a kiddie swimming pool).

4-H Poultry Chain Amberlink Chicks Brooding

The chicks had 1 long red feeder as seen in the above picture, and 2 quart size waterers. I had to change the water multiple times a day because the chicks got it dirty, and also drank it! I underestimated how much they would eat and drink. I probably should have had two of the feeders and a larger watering system. In the future, I will try to find a way to slightly elevate the water in order to avoid them getting it dirty so fast. I’m not sure how shavings differ in terms of water cleanliness, but I imagine shavings would be a slightly cleaner option.

As far as keeping them alive, that was the easy part. I was under the impression that a few of our chicks would die from various reasons and that it was hard to keep 4-H poultry chain chicks alive. That was not my experience. We didn’t experience any loss inside.

Growing Up

I planned on keeping the 4-H poultry chain chicks inside for 3-4 weeks depending on when they started hopping out of their enclosure. I knew that once they were big enough to get out of their enclosure that I wanted them outside. I did NOT want chickens wandering around my house. Another factor was the smell. At first, the chickens didn’t smell. In fact, people were surprised when they came to visit and I would tell them we had chickens inside. They were in my living room, so they weren’t hidden away, but they were very quiet. They only started smelling the last week they were inside. 23 chicks make a whole lot of chicken poop!

4-H Poultry Chain - Amberlink Chicks

As they got older, I found some limbs to put inside their enclosure. We called it the Chicken Playground. They enjoyed playing on them, and it wasn’t uncommon to see 6-7 chicks lined up on a log sleeping. It was so much fun watching them growing every day. I’m not even kidding, they grow up so fast! Once they started getting their feathers they looked a little awkward, but still cute.

4-H Poultry Chain Amberlink Chicks Feathering

 

Moving Around

We got them on the 11th of May. I was banking on having a couple weeks to prepare their outside coop while they were busy growing inside. During the last few days inside I moved them from the trough into some rubbermaid totes. The trough was getting harder to clean and I was having to clean it much more often. The only problem with that was the chicks could get out of the totes. I thought about putting a wire over the top to keep them inside, but feared one may get stuck and hang itself. The chicks liked to get on top and hop back and forth between the two totes. I didn’t have one large enough for them all, so I split them up into two.

4-H Poultry Chain Chicks - Tote Brooder

On the 29th of May, we had our first chicken escape. It was cute and comical, but also made me realize that I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was. Long story short, I was hoping to build or buy a coop, but the funds I was going to use, ended up falling through. I made do with what I had which happened to be a dog house that came with the house when I moved in.

The Coop

4-H Poultry Chain - Chicken Coop Dog House

The dog house has a concrete foundation, two rooms, and multiple windows/entrances. I kept one entrance open (pictured) and wired the others closed. The open entrance leads to the porch/run. I wrapped rectangular wire around the porch/run and realized the wire I used wasn’t small enough, so I went back and added poultry wire around it. I used zip ties to attach the two wires together and I used some cup hooks attached to the side of the house to close and secure the wire against the house. This is how I enter the run. I simply unhook it. There are multiple hooks for extra protection. The downside to this is that the entrance is very tiny and I have to work really hard to squeeze my butt in there. It’s very doable though.

Moving Out

On the 30th of May, they moved outside. Despite the double wire, chickens could escape! One even got stuck in between the wires, and had to be rescued. Unfortunately another got stuck overnight and died. It was our first loss and quite upsetting since I feel it could have been avoided had I known better.

4-H Poultry Chain Amberlink Chicks Awkward Teenage Stage

I ended up adding another layer of wire just along the bottom and then stacking bricks two high inside and outside the run. Looking back, I should have just used the tiny wire in the first place. Chickens cannot escape the tiny hardware cloth wire and cannot get stuck in it.

 

4-H Poultry Chain Amberlink Chicks Coop

Cooped Up

The first couple weeks they were outside I kept them inside their coop full time. There were a few reasons for this, but mostly for their safety. 23 chickens is a lot to keep up with! At the end of June I gave 9 away. I never intended on keeping all of them in the first place. While I couldn’t find any laws specific to my town, laws around my area state that you can have 6 hens but no rooster in city limits. I live in the middle of the city!

After giving away the 9, I had 13 left. 10 hens and 3 roosters. We plan on eventually eating the roosters, taking 3 to the fair, and then having the others for eggs. If all goes as planned this will leave me with 7 egg layers. It’s slightly over the assumed limit, but gives me a little room in case we lose another one. I think we have been very lucky in that department. Some people started out with double what we had and now have less than what we do.

Free Ranging

The beginning of July I was finally able to let our 4-H poultry chain chicks out of their coop. The first few days they stayed right around their coop and along the fence line near their coop, but have now progressed to roaming the entire backyard.

4-H Poultry Chain Amberlink Chick Pullet Free Range

Our 4-H Poultry Chain chicks are doing really well and will hopefully eat all the yucky fleas and ticks in my yard (another reason for wanting chickens). I let them roam the yard during the day and lock them up at night. Our main threats are opossums and raccoons. We have snakes, but nothing too big that come into our yard. I’m crossing my fingers that their coop is secure enough to protect from predators.

I worried about the chickens hopping the fence and either getting run over by a train or killed by my neighbors dog, but so far they have not gotten on the fence and the neighbor’s dog hasn’t jumped the fence either. As the chickens learn to fly/jump higher we will clip their wings to discourage them hopping the fence.

It will be a few more months before they begin laying eggs which gives me plenty of time to prepare a coop that allows easier access to collecting eggs. I am looking into a portable coop so the chickens can stay secure while still “roaming” the yard.

Overall this has been a great experience thus far for me and the kids. We are all learning how to take care of them and already know some things we will do differently next time. If you are thinking about getting some chickens for a backyard flock I definitely recommend it!

Revenge Eggs (What Revenge Tastes Like)

I didn't intend to have two back-to-back posts involving the same thing (food/hummus), but life got in the way of blogging. A few weeks ago I did a campaign with Bush's Beans and their new Hummus Made Easy.  We loved the hummus so much, I decided to use it in my Revenge Mayo recipe. (This post is NOT sponsored by any product or brand mentioned in this post)

You know what Revenge tastes like?

In March, I was in a grocery store grabbing the final items I needed before checking out. Aybra was pushing our shopping cart while I walked behind her when suddenly, I felt something ram into the back of my legs. I turned around to find a grown lady. She said “Excuse me” rather rudely and instead of responding back I ignored it, smiled sweetly in a “It’s ok” kind of gesture and told Aybra “Ok Abby, let’s go find a checkout now” as she started pushing towards the nearest one.

The lady that rammed into the back of my legs then proceeded to race as fast as she could around me and Aybra and cut in front of us in the line. She heard me tell Aybra to head to the check out and she was intent on getting there before us. My jaw dropped to the floor. I was stunned and couldn’t utter a word, yet so angry that I knew if I said anything I would have cursed at her. She didn’t have as many items as we did, and I would have had no problem letting her go in front of us, but the way she did it left me floored. And I don’t care how bad of a day you are having, you don’t shove your way past a little kid pushing a shopping cart.

We made it home later that day to find the rude woman’s mayonnaise in our bags.

So, in case you were wondering, revenge tastes like mayonnaise and I am going to enjoy every bite of it…

Revenge Mayonnaise - Deviled Eggs with Hummus Recipe by Life as a Convert

I waited for the perfect opportunity to use this mayonnaise and that came when making deviled eggs.

Revenge Eggs - Deviled Egg Recipe with Hummus #hummusmadeeasy

Revenge Eggs Filling

After boiling, peeling, and slicing a dozen eggs in half mix the following ingredients together and fill the halved eggs. 

Yolk from the cooked eggs
2 tablespoons Mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons prepared Bush's Hummus Made Easy 

Enjoy!
 Simple enough, right? I know some people like to flavor their deviled eggs with mustard, but the hint of garlic from the hummus is just enough. Add a sprinkle of Sriracha for the perfect kick.
What do you like to top your deviled eggs with?