Lambs Farm Blog

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

Participants Team up for Candle Production

Employees at Lambs Farm manage a variety of tasks in preparation for the holiday season. As event planning takes off and catalog orders pile in, busy is one way to describe the environment in the winter months. Lambs Farm relies on the importance of teamwork through the eventful days to ensure customers receive the best experience and top-notch products.

Earlier this week, five Participants worked together to assemble more than 120 candles for the new and refreshing Vanilla Spa Day basket in our Holiday Catalog. The aromatic vanilla scented candles will also be showcased at the 37th Annual Lambs Farm Holiday Lights & Craft Fair.

The Participants started the process by inserting the wick directly into the middle of the jar and placing a stick through the center for it to stay in place. After the wax was safely poured and began to dry, the Participants next task was to make sure the wicks rested entirely in the center, which is crucial for the candles presentation. The jars were then wiped off to look immaculate, and a label sticker on the bottom gave the candles a finished look.

Some Participants have been through the candle-making process before, but for others, it was an exciting opportunity to try something new. Lambs Farm is dedicated to providing productive employment to contribute to the community, and these opportunities exemplify how our organization operates in a manner that helps people grow.

All of the Participants were in agreement that working together to complete an extensive task was fun and a great accomplishment. In a matter of three hours, they managed to make all the candles, clean up and pose proudly next to their finished product.

You can get a head start on your holiday shopping and support the men and women of Lambs Farm today.

The team with their packages of vanilla scented candles.


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Tom Makes History

“I could maybe take over her job,” Tom, a Participant at Lambs Farm, says with a smile. He is referring to Elaine Bock, the manager of Magnolia Café & Bakery, as he goes through his list of tasks he has mastered while working at the restaurant.

Lambs Farm offers an abundance of meaningful work experiences on the Farm and in the community for Participants to obtain productive life skills. Tom’s interests made Magnolia Café & Bakery the perfect fit.

And for the last 22 years, Tom has been a proud employee. From cleaning tables and answering phones, to hosting and setting up banquets, Lambs Farm has given Tom the opportunity to grow, learn and persevere. With Tom’s experience in various areas of the restaurant, managers were running out of new jobs to teach him.

Tom handling meet on the grill.

But there was one job. A job no Participant has had throughout the 56 years of Lambs Farm. On September 12, Tom became the first Participant in history to cook on the line.

Tom’s dedication, passion and confidence at Magnolia Café and Bakery made him the perfect candidate. As he prepared his first hamburger from start to finish, Tom beamed with excitement and became committed to the learning process. He has already whipped up Reuben sandwiches, made fries and familiarized himself with checking temperatures.

“There is a lot to learn but I am ready to take on the challenge,” Tom said. “You need to really focus on your job, food safety, safety while cooking and not having any distractions.”

Staff have reacted to Tom’s new role in typical Lambs Farm fashion. Encouragement and enthusiasm spread through the restaurant when Tom stood in front of the grill for first time. Tom is being trained by various cooks, and they are thrilled to guide Tom through the process and help him achieve his goals. He knows that he has support from all staff.

In all of Tom’s roles and changes at the restaurant in the last two decades, one aspect of his job remains the same. “My favorite part about my job is the people I work with,” he said. “This is my home.”

Throughout the years, Elaine has seen Tom grow. He has developed valuable skills and is an essential team member at Magnolia Café and Bakery. She couldn’t be more proud. “Tom gives 100% in everything he does,” Elaine said. “He is a successful person and a great role model to everyone.”

Tom’s determination can potentially open doors for others. Participants have already shown interest in following in his footsteps as a cook. “People need to be inspired and Tom does that very well,” Elaine said.


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Fall on the Farm: A Big Success

Guests gathered for unlimited family fun all weekend long, soaking in both rain and sunshine, to support the meaningful mission of Lambs Farm.

What was traditionally Lambs Farm’s Community Tent Sale was transformed into Fall on the Farm, a brand new event which offered an abundance of fall activities to celebrate the season.

Pumpkins were beautifully painted, sand art colors glistened in bottles, fall themed games were played and Farmyard animals had countless visitors. But the fun didn’t stop there.

Smiles lit up the Farm as guests experienced a barrel train ride provided by the Lake County Farm Heritage Association and a viewing of vintage tractors. Steve Belliveau amazed families with his balloon twisting talents and supplied guests with another souvenir to take home. Those who visited solely for the Tent Sale had free access to an assortment of entertainment while shopping.

WTTW’s BIG IDEA Traveling Lab allowed children to engage in themes such as emotions, life cycles, recycling and the natural world using the wonder, watch and learn more recipe. Lambs Farm’s Participants offered guests entertainment under the Pavilion in conjunction with the DJ on Saturday. The Aladdin cast reenacted scenes from their recent and successful production. On Sunday, there was a special appearance from An Exceptional Chorus, who sang beautifully for the crowd.

The Tent Sale vendors gave guests a diverse and enjoyable shopping experience. From animal rescue shelters and boutiques to antiques and bath products, there was something for everyone’s interests. Vendors had success and created friendships as they helped one another through windy conditions on Saturday. The perfect weather on Sunday made set up and take down a breeze.

The Lambs Farm Cedar Chest Thrift Shop displayed a copious amount of treasures in their tent, including seasonal décor, clothes, furniture and more. The Thrift Shop also maintained regular business hours, which served as the perfect place to shop on Saturday when the clouds came through and gave guests the opportunity to explore other unique items.

Lake Bluff Brewing Co. (Lake Bluff), Fine’s (Libertyville), Mario’s Cart (Carol Stream),  Rosati’s Pizza (Libertyville) and Tighthead Brewery (Mundelein) were the outstanding food and beer vendors who participated in the event. Their great customer service, along with delicious food and beer were a great addition, as they offered families quick options in midst of all the Fall on the Farm happenings. Guests could also go to the Magnolia Café & Bakery for a sit-down lunch and visit other Lambs Farm businesses throughout the day.

Special Events Coordinator, Kathy McMeins, spent months organizing and planning Fall on the Farm. Her vision was able to come to life, and she is grateful to everyone who participated. “I would like to thank all the tent sale vendors, food vendors, beer vendors for their donations, WTTW, an Exceptional Chorus and the Lake County Farm Heritage for coming out,” she said.

An integral piece of Fall on the Farm that tied all the fun together were the amazing volunteers. “There were approximately 20 volunteers per shift, which totals to about 40-50 volunteers each day, Volunteer & Groups Coordinator Angela Ramert said. “We had more than 80 volunteers throughout the weekend.”

Volunteers introduced games to guests, assisted in crafts, organized the tent sale items and helped with clean up. “The volunteers really do make it all happen,” Kathy added.

The wonderful moments captured below solidify that Fall on the Farm was a success after its first year. Lambs Farm would like to thank everyone who was involved in the event and for your support in helping people with developmental disabilities lead productive, happy lives and connecting with the human spirit in us all.

   Click here to view more Fall on the Farm photos!




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Congratulations Aladdin Cast and Crew!

Lambs Farm Musical Theater did not disappoint! After months of hard work and hours of practice, Participants took the stage and put on a fantastic show.

From the creativity in set design, to stunning costumes, the crowd enjoyed the wonderful entertainment from start to finish. They beautifully presented the important message that that you should always be yourself and and remember where you came from.

Co-directors Janine Neumann and Paige Rodriguez said they are incredibly proud of the cast this year. Many Participants memorized their lines, which shows a lot of dedication.

A new idea was executed this year, which was to get the audience more involved. This resulted in a fresh and fun experience for everyone as the cast triumphantly walked through the aisles to enter the scenes and joined in on chants.

Thank you to all volunteers and everyone who came out to support the cast!


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Yoga on the Farm

Goat yoga, have you heard of it? It’s a yoga class…with goats! Lambs Farm recently hosted Namaste on the Farm with yoga instructor Blue Sky Yoga on July 25. It was a beautiful summer evening to practice yoga in the round at the farmyard surrounded by animals. Instructor Angie Miller, owner of Blue Sky Yoga in Libertyville, led an hour long class which was open to any skill level (no experience necessary). She walked through all poses and guided the class every step of the way.

Alongside the class were farm friends including baby goats, ducks, a tortoise, a pig and chickens. The animals interacted while the class practiced yoga. The event was well received and we’re excited to plan another yoga class in the farmyard sometime in the fall.

Here are a few pictures below, as well as a video from the event. Check out more pictures on our Facebook page here.

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Subaru of America and Lambs Farm Plant a New Set of Skills in Non-Profit Participants

Subaru of America and Lambs Farm Plant a New Set of Skills in Non-Profit Participants
New partnership added to automaker’s list of charitable efforts during Subaru Loves to Care Month

Subaru of America, Inc. today announced support of Lambs Farm, a premier non-profit organization whose mission is helping people with developmental disabilities lead productive, happy lives. The support is part of the Subaru Loves to Care initiative and  Subaru funded the development of Lambs Farm’s first-ever sustainable garden, located outside of the organization’s Magnolia Cafe & Bakery, providing a “farm-to-table” experience with the restaurant as well as to provide healthy produce to the participants.

In addition to building the sustainable garden, team members from Subaru of America collaborated with the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners to install the garden and provide Lambs Farm participants the training needed for its proper maintenance. This training will also provide participants with a new set of skills that they can utilize in the growing garden or take with them to jobs in the surrounding community.

“Proper nutrition and exercise are important to the health of the Lambs Farm participants, so when we found out that they didn’t have a sustainable garden on-site, we knew that we could make a meaningful impact to this great cause,” said Jason Leopold, Zone Retailer Marketing Manager, Subaru of America, Inc. “The Subaru Loves to Care initiative is all about supporting organizations that are committed to helping our local communities and making the world a better place. It is our vision to show love and respect to all people, and working with Lambs Farm allows us to do that in a meaningful way.”

About Subaru of America, Inc.
Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Subaru Corporation of Japan. Headquartered at a zero-landfill office in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of more than 620 retailers across the United States. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero-landfill production plants and Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. is the only U.S. automobile production plant to be designated a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. For additional information visit Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Farmyard & Attractions Open for the Season!

The Farmyard & Attractions is open for the season! We love our visitors of all ages! Currently, our hours are Monday – Friday 10am – 4pm. Weekends are 10am – 5pm. Please note, on Monday’s only, no attractions will be available.

We love Field Trips! Schools, Summer Camps, Day Cares and more, Lambs Farm Farmyard & Attractions is a great place to visit! Not only a fun filled day with animals, mini golf and a train ride, but learn more about the mission of Lambs Farm and the people we serve! You can find Field Trip Reservation forms here.

For more information on the Farmyard & Attractions such as pricing, please click here.

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Magnolia Cafe & Bakery introduces new line of FIT meals!

Avocado on Wheat Toast with Two Eggs over easy

A few years ago, Lambs Farm Dietitian Darlene Holop collaborated with the Magnolia Cafe & Bakery staff to create healthful meals to be offered on a daily basis. FIT Meals were introduced, offered with a side of fresh fruit and iced tea or coffee all for 500 calories or less.

FIT Meals are offered Monday through Friday on a two week rotation (one FIT Meal is offered a day). Customers are able to receive a free punch card so when they purchase nine FIT Meals, their tenth is free! All FIT Meals are $5.99.

The new line up of FIT meals have arrived for spring and boy are they delicious! If you haven’t been to the Magnolia Cafe & Bakery lately, make plans to stop by and try a FIT meal today!


Week 1
Avocado over Wheat Toast and Two Eggs over easy
Heart Healthy Turkey Panini on Wheat
Caprese Chicken Panini
Rainbow Veggie Salad Bowl with Jalapeno Ranch
Corn Meal Crusted Tilapia Salad

Week 2
Italian Roasted Chicken
Avocado Ranch Tuna Melt on Rye
Sweet Baby Spinach Salad with Chicken & Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing
Green Chili Broiled Tilapia withGarbanzo & Lentil Pilaf

Week 3 FIT Meal Favorites
BBQ Chicken Salad
Avocado, Tomato & Chicken Panini
Turkey Burger with Mashed Cauliflower
Oven Chicken Fajitas
Roasted Fish Crispy Slaw Wrap



Check out the Rainbow Veggie Bowl with Jalapeno Dressing video!





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Lambs Express!

All aboard the Lambs Express! The Magnolia Cafe & Bakery staff are excited to announce their new meal delivery program starting today, March 6. Staff who work on site at Lambs Farm will now have the option to order lunch and have it be personally delivered to them by our very own Participants who work at the Magnolia Cafe & Bakery. Staff are able to partake in ordering their meals for delivery Monday through Friday during a set time.

Participants are looking forward to having the opportunity to delivery meals to staff as part of their job. It will keep them busy and provide them with more responsibilities during the work day. It’s a win win for everyone!

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Wellness Center Presents: Let’s Dance!

Staff Member Cherie leads a Zumba class on January 26!

Lambs Farm Participants are gearing up for “Just Dance,” the Wellness Center theme for 2017. Participants love dancing and the plan is to bolster that love by incorporating more dance classes throughout the week. Participants who opt to join a dance class can earn Healthy Lambs exercise credit toward prizes. Dancing is a legitimate form of aerobic and anaerobic exercise if done at a moderate to vigorous intensity. It promotes flexibility, strength and balance while the music also inspires and encourages people to be creative.

The plan is to offer more dance classes for Participants in the morning, after work and throughout the year via our monthly Wellness series. Wellness Manager, Kreig Alm, hopes to bring in some dance troupes performances and instructors to lead Participants in a variety of dancing styles. Dancing is both appropriate and adaptable for all of the Participants, so we are very excited about the year ahead!

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