Not the start we were hoping for this year…

Well I’ll get right to the bad news, we lost all three of our bee hives this Winter. We have learned during our couple of years of Bee Keeping that Bees are quite finicky. Their ecosystem has to be perfect all year round, and this Winter it was not.

One hive we lost to mice. Thomas and I are still dumbfounded how they got in. But they did and they killed the hive. So we will definitely be upgrading our metal covers that we put on to reduce the risk next Winter.

The other two took a couple of weeks of investigation. We quickly ruled out mites as the cause and a disease. The mite count was very low, and I inspected about three hundred bees and saw no abnormalities with their bodies or wings. What really stood out to us was a bit of frost inside the hive, so we are guessing condensation was the cause.

Bee Keeping is an art, and we have discovered that all artist do it differently. We opted not to put moisture barriers in the hives when we closed them up for the season. But I guess we should have. It’s hard because you never know. We are thinking the wonky warm weather we had in December caused the condensation, then the bitter cold January froze the built up moisture in the hives.

This Summer I’m going to reach out to more mentors and learn about moisture barrier boards. Again, some Bee Keepers use them and some don’t. It’s a personal preference, but it’s something Thomas and I need to learn more about.

So what does that mean for Piper Creek Homestead?

Well we are still Bee Keeping and have our new Nucs ordered for the beginning of June. Although it was a terrible loss, we aren’t completely discouraged. Many mentors have explained that it takes years of practise and even the most experienced Apiaries can have big losses some years. We understood that losses like this could happen.

And we see this as an opportunity to also finesse our bee yard. We actually plan on moving our hives to a different area. More privacy for the bees and less interaction from us. Before we had them in a garden area, where us and the kids would end up everyday. As well as the dogs and we have learned that our oldest dog Odin, he is allergic to bees. So having the bees in a more isolated area will be beneficial for everyone and the bees. Their new area will be where our future chicken coop is to be built. We hope mutualism will be achieved; the chickens will eat the bugs and reduce possible bug threats in the hives, while getting a snack.

So stay tuned for our bee yard move!

Thanks for joining along on our journey!

Jaclyn xo.

Mini Freezer Meatballs

We are finally through the wind down from Christmas, and have completed the first birthday of the year. From Christmas till the end of March it is one big birthday party. It gets a little nuts in our house, and I find it is the craziest time of year for us.

I’m currently in restock mode when it comes to our pantry and freezer. I don’t know about you but Christmas tends to wipe out everything I had stocked.

I love having our freezer stocked with a variety of different foods and meals to make my days somewhat easier. Most of the meals I prepare for the freezer are great for crockpots. But I love having a stash of mini meatballs for a variety of different meals.

These meatballs are prefect because of their mini size, easy to eat and fun for the kids. They are versatile and can work with a variety of different meals.

  • Cook the meatballs in a pan with a teriyaki sauce. Serve with rice and vegetables.
  • Add them to a pasta sauce.
  • Cook on their own with a side of vegetables.

Really the possibilities are endless! My kids love these because they are tasty. Also perfect for little ones and their tiny hands.

The best part of these meatballs is that you can easily freeze them. The trick is to lay them out on a pan to freeze. Once frozen, then you add them to a freezer bag or container. This ensures that the meatballs won’t stick together. So if you only need a few for lunch, you’re not having to jab at the pile of meatballs with a knife.

What makes these meatballs so delicious (I can’t believe I am giving away this secret) is to sauté the onion, garlic and spices in a pan before adding it to the ground beef. The heat vamps up the flavour, making these mini meatballs delicious!

After scrolling down and reading the ingredient list, you will notice there is not a ton of ingredients. Not fillers like bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese or egg. I find if you give the meat mixture a really good mix with your hands. And a good roll of the balls, the meatballs will keep their shape. I recommend baking on a baking sheet, this will help them keep their form.

Let’s get cooking!

Mini Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1lb lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instructions:

  1. In a small pan, add oil, onion, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and garlic.
  2. Sauté on low-medium for 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl add beef and the cooked pan mixture.
  4. Using your hands or a spoon throughly combine.
  5. Taken your desired size, I usually use a Tbsp measurement to scoop out the meat. They end up being about 1 inch to 1.5 inch wide. Roll into balls.
  6. Place on a baking pan.
  7. Put in the freezer for two hours before adding to a freezer bag or container.

They are really that simple and easy! Be sure to tag @thejaclynyvonne in your creations!

Creating the Perfect Schedule

Ontarians are now under lockdown restrictions, and most parents are facing the struggles of virtual learning. I have to admit we have transitioned nicely this week mainly because of all the practise we have had over the last two years. Here is hoping this is the last time children and parents will have to endure this horrible method of education.

What has helped the most with the transition is creating a rock solid schedule. For some it may be a little much. But with three kids, two dogs, a whole house hold and a Husband working from home. Things can get out of hand quite fast. Having a schedule to reference throughout the day helps us stay on task, and keeps us from getting out of control.

Here is our current schedule:

Our schedule is broken up into a range of different time intervals. The most important for us is to make sure we have enough time when we are eating. A big part of my Motherhood is having the kids in the kitchen helping me. So I always want more time so I don’t feel rushed, and we can enjoy cooking together.

And yes, I like to write out all the activities are going to do. It makes those chaotic times simpler by already knowing what the kids will do at that time. It also helps me stay on top of our craft and activity stock. Nothing worse than a toddler upset because we are out of paint.

A schedule makes all the difference in our world. Here are some tips I have learned when creating a schedule for our family.

Don’t be too strict: The schedule is more for reference, when you find you are in a moment of chaos and need things to be back in order. Just take a peak at the schedule to see what you should be doing at this time, and do that activity. Don’t add more stress to your life by killing yourself over sticking to the scheulde minute by minute.

Create reasonable time-frames: I know sometimes you want to make the most of everyday. And get done whatever you can. But when creating your schedule make sure you create time blocks that are achievable. Thirty minutes might not be enough some days? Then set the time block as more. You want to set yourself up for success.

Schedule time for YOURSELF: As a Mom myself, I know if I don’t schedule the time, it most likely will not happen. So don’t feel selfish making the time visible for yourself, you deserve it.

Be prepared to revise: Don’t think you are going to create this schedule and that is that. You might find after a week you need to revise because something you planned is not working for you, or your family. No need to feel discouraged. Nothing is perfect the first time. And I find I change our schedule with the seasons. Usually warmer months we are outside more doing homestead work compared to the Winter.

Go over it with the whole family: You the creator of the schedule will primarily be in charge. But some days you might find your partner jumps in, and so it’s good for them to know: where the schedule is, how it works, make sure some questions are out of the way. And if you have older kids, it might be good to hear their input, they might want something changed or added.

Creating the perfect schedules takes many trials and errors. And don’t think your schedule needs to be broken down into small increments. You break your day into what works best for you. So if larger blocks of time are more your thing, than go for it! The goal of creating a schedule is to keep your day organized, and your sanity somewhat in check. Not completely because… c’mon you’re a Mom!

I hope this helps with your everyday! Be sure to tag me in your schedule creations @thejaclynyvonne! I love to see how I am helping others, and I appreciate the love!!

Tips to Relieve Holiday Stress

The calendar is filling up with events! The to-do list is getting longer. The kids broke yet another ornament off the tree. And apparently there is a bake sale happening tomorrow! The holiday season is magical, but can be quite chaotic for some families. Especially when you have young children experiencing the Christmas Holidays.

But don’t let that snow ruffle your feathers! Here are some easy tips to help you navigate through the holidays, to hopefully help reduce your stress.

You work so hard to create the magic, don’t forget to enjoy it yourself!

Discuss your Expectations with Family

Holiday events can be hard to organize because most of the time it ends up being a juggle to get everyone at the same place, at the same time. The time might not agree with your routine, or you might have to leave early. Make sure you are open about this with your family, and explain to them your plan. And don’t be afraid to say, “if the baby is not handling the crowd very well, you might leave early.” Telling people ahead of time, setting the expectation will make the moment a lot easier to handle.

Balance Child Greediness

Create some opportunities for your child to “give” this holiday season. Yes it’s ok for them to have a long wish list, and want specific toys. But give them the opportunity to really understand the idea of “gift giving” and supporting those in your community. Have them help pick out toys for a Giving Tree, have them donate some of their own money. Or have them help you pick out a charity or two to donate too as a family.

Try to Stick to a Routine

This is a hard one! But I’ve learned that it’s important as a parent to enjoy all the Christmas Magic too. And it can be hard to do that with cranky, over tired kids. Try your best to plan events around your schedule. And don’t feel guilty if you have to say no to some because they don’t worm for you. But don’t feel bad if you do end up straying from the routine. We usually pick one event, one that is special to us where we don’t mind deviating from the schedule.

Talk to your child about their boundaries

With family events come people wanting hugs, maybe a kiss on the cheek. But it’s important to talk to your child and let them know they have a voice, no matter their age. So if they don’t want to give a hug, they can say no. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Expect Meltdowns

Epic meltdowns are going to happen, I’m just going to be honest. Instead of trying to completely avoid them, accept that it might happen before it does. There is a lot that happens during the holidays. Large gatherings, huge excitement and many miles. And when it doesn’t happen that often, it can be a huge load for a child to take that all on emotionally. So just know, they’re going to happen, and maybe finesse how you will deal with them. Try to create moments of down time in between busy events.

Discuss clothing options before an event

This is always a big issue around the holidays, and it ends up in parents frustrated and kids upset. And years down the road, you won’t remember the outfit, you will remember the struggle. A few days before the event, talk about the outfits. Lay out your expectations, or maybe have them help you pick it out. So they have a say in what they will be wearing. I do find laying out the expectations before the events makes the whole “getting ready” part that much simpler. And if your child is really putting their foot down. Try to work together to come up with a solution that you both can live with.


A little planning ahead can make all the difference around the holiday season. So find time to sit down, maybe with a glass of wine. And do a bit of prep work to help you make the most out of this holiday season!

Banana Oat Muffins

Ethan is starting to really get into solid foods. And I like to find different ways to have him eat fruits while getting enough iron. These banana muffins are perfect for him! Packed with nutrients to help Ethan grow while the perfect size for him to eat with his little hands.

You’ll see quite a few different options in this recipe. Because my son is only eight months old, I omit the sugar. Trust me the bananas with cinnamon give these muffins a delicious taste. That’s why sometimes I top some muffins with vegan chocolate chips for myself or my girls. But you can add half a cup of either maple syrup or honey to add some sweetness to your batch.

You can also omit the eggs and use flaxseed as a egg substitute if you’re wanting vegan muffins. It’s really easy! 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp of water. Give that a good mix and let it sit for 10 minutes. You will see the mixture become gelatinous, similar to eggs.

Now I don’t like to talk too much…. So see the recipe below!

Don’t forget to tag @thejaclynyvonne on social media!! I love seeing your creations!

Enjoy xo.