Lambs Farm Blog

Check back often to get the inside scoop on the happenings at Lambs Farm!

New Production Line Offers Fast, Efficient Service


We would love to help your business with your product needs!  Our new production line allows us to easily formulate your recipe, package, label and ship your product!

Long gone are the manual operations of Aunt Mary’s Country Store, where jams were cooked, bottled and labeled by hand. Now, where work stations once stood, a continuous conveyor system carries jars through vacuum, fill, metal detection, cap, date code and label stations.

This immense leap in automation is due to the generous support of the Alvin H. Baum Family Fund and several other foundations committed to helping Lambs Farm realize increased revenue by way of new, larger production opportunities.

Over time, new pieces of equipment will be added to the current set up to continue to maximize the efficiency and control all aspects of quality production. The new line also provides Participants working in this area the chance to be involved in more of each process.LambsFarmCountryStoreLogo

Presently, our Participants and staff produce an assortment of products including salad dressings, caramel and fudge sauces, dipping oils, jams, preserves, butters, hot sauce, dry mix soup and rubs.

These projects account for a significant amount of sales in the Country Store and we are always looking for growth in this area of private labeling and co-packaging.

“The great thing for and any small start-up food business is the lower run capabilities offered at Lambs. The bonus being able to help such a worthy cause,” shared customer Bob Heffernan, co-founder of, for which Lambs Farm formulates and packages dry rubs.

Working closely with each customer to ensure the highest quality end-product, Lambs Farm is eager to assist in the development of new products.

We would love to talk to any business about how we could be of use for your co-packing needs! See more about our services, or contact Amy Barry at

Read more about the Country Store here!

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From the President and CEO’s Desk…

DYaconetti_050I was giving a tour of Lambs Farm recently, and was asked, “What keeps you awake at night?” Taken aback somewhat, my first thought was “Everything.” Afterward, I wondered what the answer really is. Where to begin?

There was a time when the financial condition of the State of Illinois was at the top of that list; however, I’ve come to accept the fact that there really is nothing I can do to solve that problem. And, although it remains a concern, today there are many more things that take precedence – such as our New Beginning and what it will really mean for Lambs Farm.

First, many of our Participants have spent more than half their lives at Lambs Farm. They are proud of the skills they have mastered, the responsibilities they have taken and the independence they have enjoyed. Now, however, some have reached a point in their lives when they cannot do many of the things they once could. Those Participants are finding they no longer can work at their jobs due to diminishing dexterity or their lack of ability to stand for long periods of time; they no longer are able to take care of their own daily hygiene, dress themselves or attend to their growing medical needs; they can no longer navigate stairs; or they now need a walker or wheelchair to get around. Of necessity, we now have two staff members on second shift in each of our nine Group Homes, and have added one more nurse to our Health Services department. We have added staff and expanded the space available for our JOY (Senior) Program to accommodate new people joining, and created an Activities Program for others to preserve the skills they have and possibly acquire some new interests.

Then, there are the younger Participants, many of whom are newer to Lambs Farm. Because they literally grew up in a different world than those who have been here for many years, it is important that we work to meet their expectations in order that their life experiences, although somewhat different, are every bit as meaningful as they have been for their predecessors. Some have kept their community jobs, and many others now work in our campus businesses. We have added Softball to our Special Olympics program and continue to modify offerings from our Quest and Fine Arts programs in an effort to offer them the choices they need to continue to grow and enjoy the individual lifestyle that Lambs Farm provides.

True to our mission, we are committed to ensuring our older Participants grow old with the dignity they deserve. It is, after all, in large part due to our exemplary programming that they are living longer than ever anticipated. At the same time, after waiting to join Lambs Farm for so many years, it is more than fitting that we assure our younger Participants the ability to enhance their lives by meeting and exceeding their expectations. Of course, all of these modifications and additions to our programming do not come without a cost. With 35% of our programming dedicated to our “quality of life” programs that already do not qualify for State funding, adding even more is a very real concern. I suppose above all else that is what really keeps me awake at night.

And then I focus on the many people who have supported our efforts over the years – those of you who believe in our mission and who have made an investment in the lives of the remarkable men and women of Lambs Farm. Our New Beginning is really what the legacy of Lambs Farm has always been – to provide our Participants every opportunity to live meaningful lives. Now, more than ever, your support will ensure that they will do just that.


Dianne M. Yaconetti

Read more about our history and programs here.

Posted in President and CEO's Letters | Leave a comment

Lambs Farm can help alleviate some of your wedding planning stress!

We have amazing new special event favors that will be perfect for your wedding theme and budget, and our Magnolia Café is the perfect venue for your wedding festivities!  We would love to help you plan your special day!

Wedding favors can be just one more thing to worry about during your planning and cupcakebright1another extra cost, but if you buy them through Lambs Farm you will not only receive the best quality for your money, you will also be supporting our programs for people with developmental disabilities!  This way you can have peace of mind that your money is being well spent and your guests will be impressed!

At our Bakery we strive to provide the best products for any event you may put on.  Whether you are having a rustic themed wedding or an elegant, traditional wedding, our favor selection will have something to meet your need.

The bonus is that we can also help you to customize with ribbons, hangtags and labels.  You can choose from one our branded labels to show everyone the cause that you are supporting, or we can design a label that will fit your theme perfectly!

soapbrightFrom handmade soaps in a burlap pouch, to delicious cupcakes in a mason jar, our products are perfect for all your events!  View all of our favors at our online shop and call Sales Manager, Amy Barry at 847.990.3797 today to talk about your event!

Our Magnolia Café & Bakery also has a banquet room that could be a great venue for your wedding rehearsal dinner wedding reception, or even the family brunch the following day!  We have a full-service bar, many meal options to fit your budget and a newly refinished banquet room that can fit up to 110 guests.  In addition to the delicious assortment of fine foods prepared especially for you in our kitchen, you will find our home baked goods to be fresh and decadent!  Read more about hosting special events at Lambs Farm or call 847.362.5050 to talk to Elaine Bock the Café Manager.

Find out more about the mission of Lambs Farm, and the men and women that your purchases are supporting!

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Bob Dold Visits Lambs Farm

CSOn Friday, February 21, Republican Congressional candidate Bob Dold visited Lambs Farm to learn about our programs and current needs.  As part of his campaign for Congress, he has established a People with Disabilities Coalition.

He and his guests, Coalition Co-Chairs Phyllis and Jon Stillman, enjoyed a meal at the Magnolia Cafe & Bakery and then toured the businesses and the houses to see what life is like here at Lambs Farm.

In response to his visit, his campaign office posted a facebook message later that Bakeryevening stating that, “People with disabilities are an untapped workforce and customer base. I encourage you to think about how your workplace can add people with disabilities to your staff.”

Click here find out more about our programs.

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Participants’s New Year’s Resolutions

HolidayParty3smallAs 2013 comes to a close, many Participants are looking back on the past year and making goals for 2014.

Now that all of the Holiday parties are over, new year’s resolutions are beginning to take shape as we all look forward to the upcoming year.

Below are some of the Lambs Farm Participants’s resolutions for 2014:

“I would like to improve my relationships with the other people in my house and to work out more.” – Joe P.

“I will do more speaking about Williams Syndrome.” – Catherine N.

“Mine is to ride the stationary bike more.” – Michele H.

“To spend more time with my nephew.” – Tom D.

“I want to stay at a job for 15 years.” – Marc N.

“I will spend more time with my family.” – David F.

“Learning to navigate the mall with the elevators.” – Mary Lee S.

“Go to work.” – Kitty L.

“I want to give up pop.” – Debbie G.

“Mine is to lose weight.” – Kris F.

“To stop losing things.” – Paul N.

What are your resolutions?

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New Healthy Menu at Magnolia Cafe

CafeBakeryfromPDFBeginning January 6, the Magnolia Café will be kicking off the year with new healthy Daily Fit Meal specials that will be featured alongside the other specials. They are all under 500 calories and under 20 grams of fat! Each meal is served with a fresh fruit side and a 20 oz. brewed iced or hot tea- all for only $5.99 each.

A loyalty punch card will also be available for the Daily Fit meals, so if you buy 9 meals then you get the 10th for free.

Stop by the Magnolia Cafe for more information and to pick up your punch card today!

We now have a two week rotation of Fit meals!  Please call the Magnolia Cafe & Bakery at 847-362-5050 to find out which Fit meal menu is running.

Week 1-

Fresh Asian chicken sandwich on a bagel thin
435 calories, 6g fat

Housemade chicken stew
493 calories, 18g fat

Housemade turkey burger on whole grain bun w/ a vegetable and mashed cauliflower
500 calories, 13g fat

Fit vegetable egg white frittata (pictured)Thursday
369 calories, 12g fat

BBQ chicken salad features light ranch BBQ dressing
394 calories, 7g fat


Week 2-

Turkey sloppy joe on a whole grain bun w/ a vegetable and mashed cauliflower
383 calories, 8g fat

Chicken scaloppini w/ a vegetable and mashed cauliflower
426 calories, 8g fat

Vegetable meatloaf w/ a vegetable and mashed cauliflower
455 calories, 17g fat

Light chopped salad – a lighter version of our house chopped salad (pictured)Choppedsalad
486 calories, 13g fat

Two fish tacos w/ pico de gallo and coleslaw
407 calories, 16g fat


All Saturdays
Green salsa chicken w/ a vegetable and Spanish rice
423 calories, 7g fat

All Sundays
Three bean vegetarian chili w/ cornbread
474 calories, 9g fat

Find out more about the Lambs Farm restaurant and view the whole menu here.

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Fundraise for Lambs Farm- Fast and Easy!

logo-goodsearch-tagline-large-1As you are searching online for present ideas, buying your gifts and going out to eat this Holiday season, consider doing it all for a great cause! 

Goodsearch, Goodshop and Gooddining offer unique ways for users to support their favorite charities, like Lambs Farm, through simple everyday actions.  Do you ever search the web for information, shop online or dine out?  By using Goodsearch, Goodshop and Gooddining, you can do it all while raising money for Lambs Farm! is the search engine with a unique social mission.  It’s powered by Yahoo!, so you get the same great search results, but each time you do a search, GoodSearch makes a donation to your selected cause such as Lambs Farm.

Similarly, by making online purchases through, where you can shop at more than 2,600 top online retailers, a percentage of your purchases will go to Lambs Farm.  You pay the same price as you normally would, but a donation goes to your cause!

You can also enroll in the Gooddining program. Eat at over 10,000 participating restaurants nationwide and you can earn up to 6% of every dollar spent on the meal as a donation to Lambs Farm!

Just by making a slight, initial adjustment to normal daily activities, you can make a difference for Lambs Farm!

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Lambs Farm Participants Lend a Helping Hand

Bernies2webThe Co-founders vision of seeing people with developmental disabilities grow into active members of society is continually realized by the men and women of Lambs Farm. From retirement homes to local churches, many Participants are motivated to give back to their community by volunteering their time each week.

Several Participants frequently spend time at Winchester House Healthcare and Rehabilitation helping to set up, facilitate and engage in activities with the residents. They provide time, care and support that is much needed and appreciated by the staff and residents.

Many Participants also volunteer at their local churches each week as active members of their congregations, and organizations like Equestrian Connection which offers therapeutic horse back riding.

Through their hard work, they show everyone that they are not just recipients of services, but are contributors and desire to show the community the same care they receive.
Additionally, due to this ongoing interest, our Helping Hands Quest class is offered to the Participants as another easy way to engage in volunteer work around the area each week.

For the Fall Quest session, our Participants have volunteered at Bernie’s Book Bank, Northern Illinois Food Bank, The Park at Vernon Hills-Brookdale Senior Living and Feed My Starving Children.

“This is my favorite Quest class,” said Participant Marc Nachtman. “I like to get out in the community and help other people.”

Uniquely, these opportunities come full circle for us here! Often the Northern Illinois Food Bank provides food for our residences at Lambs Farm and in the community. Due to these donations, our Participants are able to enjoy delicious meals and enhance their daily living skills while preparing the food together with staff. We are so thankful for these contributions!

Find out more about our programs for people with developmental disabilities here.

Watch a video that displays the mission and vision of Lambs Farm.

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New Wellness Program Launched at Lambs Farm

Wellness FlyerwebWe’re very excited to have Darlene Holop, Registered Dietitian, back with us at Lambs Farm. Darlene was the architect of what had been our full-scale Nutrition program and the founder of our Dietary department. She developed programs to teach Participants about portion control and healthier choices, and otherwise making better choices in their diets.

Unfortunately, after she left, many of those programs were not properly maintained.  So, the theme of her new plan, The Right to be Healthy,  will include the many changes necessary to return to an overall philosophy of maintaining healthy lifestyles.

The goal of the program, of course, is to provide all Participants, young and older, the tools necessary for them to enjoy healthy and active lives.

“As opposed to restrictions, we will be focusing on wellness and making choices that are both healthier and taste good,” said Darlene.  “Education will be key for staff and Participants”.

The first step will be for Residential staff to take part in a training session to understand the changes that will be made.  They will sample some of the new menu items, learn about the revised menu cycle and new recipes with family style meals and portion control.  In addition, suggestions will be made on how to assist Participants in making “better for you” choices whether on outings, out on the Rainbow Run and when visiting family and friends.

Ultimately, Darlene’s goal (and that of Lambs Farm) is for every Participant to be happy and healthy.  After all, they have a Right to Be Healthy, and we have a responsibility to show them the way.

We are continually striving to offer life-enriching programs and opportunities for all of our Participants.  Read about our Adaptive Sports Program here and our overall programs for people with developmental disabilities here.

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Participant Elected to Williams Syndrome Association’s Board

NorlinwebOur Participant Catherine N. was recently elected to sit on the Williams Syndrome Association’s Board of Directors beginning in 2014! Catherine has been actively involved in the WSA for many years and her father sat on the Board as well.

As part of this two year Board commitment, she will be able to engage in many speaking opportunities and will also take part in Board meetings to provide the WSA with valuable information and direction from someone who has Williams Syndrome.

“I am very happy to be on the Board. Since my dad passed away this year, I feel I am keeping his legacy going. I guess my dad is looking out for me,” Catherine said.

She is most excited about being able to advocate for people with Williams Syndrome and help create awareness wherever she goes. Catherine also hopes to be able to organise some awareness events in the area to fundraise for the WSA and to be able to speak to the community.

“I have spoken to a lot of people and I really care about everyone,” she said. “I have been through a lot and I am a really strong person, so I think I will make a great Board member.”

Catherine is a valuable part of our restaurant’s, Magnolia Cafe & Bakery, staff serving our delicious bakery treats to customers every day. She has been a part of Lambs Farm for 13 years and we are very proud of her for this accomplishment!

Find out more about Williams Syndrome and about the WSA here.

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