Friday, July 29, 2011

Farmer Fridays - 11 years ago

11 years ago today, The Farmer and I said I do and the rest is history.  So Happy Anniversary to my Farmer!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Vacation Toes

I really don't like feet, but I love pedicures so in anticipation of our family vacation, Big Sissy and I both got pedicures and had some fun mother-daughter bonding in the process.

Don't we make a good pair!

Monday, July 25, 2011

A beautiful planter to help with my not-so green thumb

As much as I hate to admit it, I have never really had a green thumb.  In fact in college during my horticulture class, one of our assignments was to take care of a plant the entire semester.  Let me just say that it was a good thing that I had enough other points to get an A in the class because my golden pothos, Goldie, didn't quite make it the whole semester.  I either over water or underwater.  Now that being said, I love to have potted flowers as decor for the outside of my house during the spring and summer month so I was very happy when I had the opportunity to receive an amazing new planter from Avant Garden Decor.  I knew it would be the perfect way to accessorize our new deck.  

It was a tough decision to decide on which planter as Avant Garden Decor as an amazing selection, but I eventually landed on the CobraCo 26" Square Coco-Lined Floor Planter

I thought it would look amazing underneath the window on our deck and I think I was right if I do say so myself. (And as an added perk, it took The Farmer less than 5 minutes to put together.)

The really tough part was deciding what to plant in my planter.  I'm usually a wave petunia kind of girl, but when I saw these zinnias I knew that they would be perfect.  Now we just have to keep it alive during this record setting temperature summer.  We've done OK so far, but I'm a little nervous about  the zinnias surviving our upcoming vacation so I added this water bulb to see if it will do the trick.  

I must admit I'm not holding my breath and worse case scenario, if the zinnias don't make it, I will still have an amazing planter to use again next year and beyond.  

I must be honest though as much as I like my new planter, to Little Sissy, the best part was the big box that my planter arrived in... it made a perfect hiding place for her.  

Now thanks to Avant Garden Decor, you have the opportunity to win a hanging basket of your own.  If you would like to win a Hanging Basket of your own head over to the Real Farmwives of America & Friends Blog ( and sign up for their giveaway!"  

Avant Garden Decor did provide me with this product to review; however, the thoughts, opinions and photos shared about this product on this blog are my own.  Thanks Avant Garden Decor!


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Farmer Fridays - A Guest Post from South Dakota's Stories of a First Generation Farm Wife

Well after an extremely wet and rainy Spring, it appears we are going to endure a very hot and dry summer.  I hope it doesn't stay like this for long as the temperatures this week have been killer on our family farm.  This week we have seen temperatures in the 90s everyday with a heat index well over 100.  The worst part of the high temperatures is we have seen very little precipitation so once again it is starting to be a critical time for our corn as we need rain.  It really is as simple as that, but the good and the bad of that is we aren't in charge of that department so truthfully all we can do is worrying about what we can control and say a couple extra prayers each day and night.  So with that being said, I'm very excited to introduce you to a special lady with this special Saturday edition of Farmer Fridays.  

Morgan from Stories of a First Generation Farm Wife is a fellow native Indiana girl; however, her heart and love of agriculture led her to South Dakota.  It was such a pleasure to meet Morgan this past winter and I am so excited to introduce you to her as she is a great gal and just happens to be the newest member of The Real Farmwives of America and Friends

Picture this:

    It is really your first time ever driving past the state of Illinois. Destination: Colman, South Dakota. Iowa shows its beauty on the first leg of the trip and on the second leg, the amount of traffic that I-80 can actually hold. Minnesota brings the excitement of finally getting closer to South Dakota, only to bring a completely blown flat tire two hours from state line. Finally, after 17 hours of driving through the night, filled with frustration, you miss your exit ramp. Only to find out in South Dakota it can be miles away from the next one. Finally, you reach your destination- an exit ramp where you meet someone for the first time face to face, even though you have been talking to them several times a day for the last few months. Twenty minutes later picture meeting that special someone’s entire family and closest friends. 

Did I paint you a pretty crazy picture?!? That is where my story truly begins on how I went from being a simple Indiana girl to marrying a South Dakota farmer and his family farm. 

Currently my husband and I farm in a partnership with his two brothers, their wives, our seven nieces and nephews, and also my in laws. To add that up quickly for you that is 8 farmers, and 7 future farmers. It always warms my heart that whenever we go to wedding dances, or other community events, it goes without spoken agreement that whoever arrives first finds the biggest table in the room so we can all be together. You can imagine how hard it is to sometimes find that table! My husband and his brothers are all third generation farmers, and their wives all first generation farmer’s wives.

We farm just over 3,000 acres of corn, soybeans, and alfalfa hay. We feed approximately 2,000 head of beef cattle a year and have a small calving operation of just over 100 cow/calf pairs. Most of our cattle we sell to a producer you may be familiar with selling chicken, which is Tyson. With that acreage and cattle we support three growing families. 

Mainly my role within our farm is the same as both of my sister in laws, we all three share the task of maintaining our farm accounts, calving records, running various pieces of farming equipment, and cooking, which means a weekly rotation of cooking the noon meal, or “dinner”, if you are from South Dakota. We are also known for having to drop everything we are doing on a moment’s notice to give rides to various fields, jump in a tractor, or whip up 10 sandwiches to bring to the field “as soon as we get a chance”. Although translate that into our husbands' terms and that means, right now. Our family is not unique in the fact that we work together each day, many farming families do, and like many farming families we face our hardships, but with those hardships come times of joy, laughter, and complete wholeness. 

Being a part of a farming family is stressful, but so is being a part of farming, or even being a part of any family. However, being a part of my farming family is also fun, full of laughter, and true bonding time. When I go up to the farm and see my niece sitting on the floor while her dad works on a tractor I can’t help but smile, or I see my nephews pushing corn into a pile with their little toy tractors. I relish in the fact that all I have to do is drive a mile up the road to see the family that I love so much. We have our crabby days don’t get we wrong, we do have 8 people who work together every day, but at the end of the day we all are there for each other and support one another, just like any other family, the difference being sometimes our family time is just spent doing bookwork, harvesting corn, or working cattle. I couldn’t think of a better environment to raise my future children in.

People ask me often about what I love so much about the agricultural industry and in the past couple of years my answer has changed. What I love most about being involved in the agricultural industry is my family and families like mine. We aren’t the only farming family in the nation, or South Dakota. But we work hard at being farmers because it is our livelihood and we take pride in providing for our nation’s food supply, and our nation’s future farmers.

I hope you have enjoyed getting to learn a little bit about our farm and will enjoy reading more about our day to day operations over at my blog:  Stories of a First Generation Farm Wife.

Stop by and check it out!

Thanks Morgan and welcome to The Real Farmwives of America and Friends!!!

Is it possible?

As you know my pal Miss Ott, A likes to keep me on my toes in the kitchen with her monthly Iron Chef Challenges.  From duck to lamb to canned tomatoes and more, we've tried it all thanks to her.  Thankfully, this month's challenge fell a little bit closer to home as the secret ingredient for July is flour, but not just any flour, King Arthur flour to be exact.

We love to bake at this pigpen so we use a lot of flour around here; however, we don't normally buy King Arthur flour so I was very excited to have a reason to try it for this challenge.  (My mother-in-law bakes with King Arthur quite frequently so I am familiar with its goodness.)  And to even sweeten the deal, I received a coupon from King Arthur for a free bag of flour so I was pretty pumped to get baking for this challenge.

Truthfully, the big challenge for me was finding the time to actually bake as it's been a little crazier than normal around this pigpen.  Well tonight, Bubby decided we needed to make some chocolate chip cookies so we thought we would see if it was possible to make the Original Nestle' Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies even better with King Arthur flour.

Bubby can be a tough critic at times, but I'll let you be the judge on if the cookies were a hit or not.

The recipe we used was straight off the chocolate chip cookie bag, but in case you don't have one handy, here it is:

2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 large eggs
2 cups Nestle' Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 c. chopped nuts (optional at this pigpen)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.

Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in a large mixer bowl until creamy.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Gradually beat in flour mixture.

Stir in morsels and mix.

Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets (we lined ours with parchment paper).

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes ; remove to wire racks.

Enjoy and Thanks again to King Arthur flour!!



Monday, July 18, 2011

Oh how I love traveling for work

Well I'm currently sitting on the airplane waiting to take-off. We were supposed to leave 30 minutes ago yet we are still sitting here. They are working on our plane for mechanical reasons. Now don't get me wrong, I would much rather them take the time to fix the plane as opposed to having problems while we are in the air; however, I have never understood why these issues aren't figured out before we board the plane. But I will not complain as they are still letting me use my iPad and remember, it can always be worse. There is a family with three small children on our plane that aren't too happy we're delayed either. I'm so glad I'm traveling alone at the moment and hope this isn't any foreshadowing of our big family road trip this weekend.

Since I'm still on the ground, I have no idea what I'll be having for dinner or when I'll be eating but be sure to check out my guest post for Sweet Jeanette if you need some inspiration for dinner.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Diamonds are a girl's best friend

So after the course of events the other morning that all took place during a 10 minute period of time, I've decided that I must have a guardian angel.

While I was changing Little Sissy's diaper the other day, she handed me something that I thought she had picked up off the floor.  I will admit it looked like a gem sort of thing, but I didn't really think much of it.  I figured it was one of Big Sissy's gem stickers and threw it in the trash.

A few minutes later, I was filling up my water bottle to take with me for the day.  (Thankfully, our water dispenser is not on the outside of our fridge door but rather on the inside of the fridge so it requires two hands to fill a water bottle.)  So as I began to fill my water bottle by holding the water bottle with my right hand and pushing the button with my left hand, I noticed that my diamond was no longer in my engagement ring.

I immediately panicked and then I realized my diamond was the little sticker gem that I had thrown away in Little Sissy's room when I was changing her diaper.  I ran to her room and carefully yet quickly went through her trash can and found my diamond.

I couldn't believe how lucky I was in the sequence of events.  If I had lost that diamond anywhere else I don't know if I would have ever found it and if I hadn't filled up my water bottle who knows when I would have realized it and where all I would have searched for my diamond.

So for now, my diamond and engagement ring are in a Ziploc bag in my bedroom waiting to be reset.  I was kinda hoping that this was a sign to The Farmer that for our 11th anniversary in a little less than 2 weeks, he should have my diamond reset.  I know that this is a long shot and that is OK.  I'm just glad that I had a guardian angel watching over me and I found my diamond as we all know that diamonds are a girl's best friend.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Bubbles anyone?

I don't let him do it very often; but, Bubby requests to take a bubble bath in our whirlpool tub with the jets on quite often.

He was pretty pumped when I let him take one the other night.  He made sure I took his picture complete with this bubble beard.

In the scheme of things, this is pretty cheap entertainment and an easy way to get Bubby clean from a hard day's work as a 5 year old farm boy.  

Linked to the following Wordless Wednesday parties:


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cooking with an 8 year old : Somewhere over the rainbow cupcakes

As you know our fair is this week and it is Big Sissy's last year as a mini 4-Her.  She will be in real 4-H next year which is quite scary for this momma for many reasons.

This year for her mini 4-H cake decorating project, she was challenged with exhibiting 3 cupcakes that she decorated with icing, using a cake decorating tip, and candy.  On one of our many trips North to visit my family this summer, she spent some time on my iPad googling cupcake designs  and found the perfect one for her.

So after making 2 dozen chocolate cupcakes, she made a double batch of our homemade butter cream icing to make sure we had more than enough.  She then put a portion of the icing in a bowl as she needed white icing and blue icing for her cupcakes.  After dividing off some of the white icing, she dyed the remaining icing blue using Wilton's royal blue icing coloring.

She then iced all of the cupcakes blue

and then dipped her spatula in warm water to smooth out the icing.

After selecting her best 3 cupcakes, she then used her star tip (that she got from our amazing cousin as a birthday present) to create white clouds on her blue cupcakes.

Then she used Airheads Xtreme Sour Belts, to create the rainbow between the two white clouds.

As a finishing touch, she sprinkled clear edible sprinkles on her cupcakes.

I realized I'm a little biased, but I think she did pretty good.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Farmer Fridays - What does the county fair mean to you?

Our county fair started today which is always a favorite time of year at this pigpen.  As you know 4-H and the county and state fair played a big role in mine and The Farmer's lives growing up and continue to do so today.

I saw a status update on Facebook today complaining about the midway/carnival rides at our county fair this year (long story short, our old vendor recently filed bankruptcy and the fair board had to scramble at the last minute to find something for the midway so I will be the first to admit it is less than desirable this year) which got me thinking the midway never has been and never will be why my family goes to the fair.

Now don't get me wrong, I've been known to ride a ride or two in my past at the county fair, but the county fair is so much more to me.

Growing up, it was where my family was a family.  The Farmer and I are both third generation 4-Hers so our families each have many traditions and memories around the county fair.  Going to the county fair is about seeing our friends from all over the county that we may of may not see that much throughout the year.  It is about showcasing the 4-H projects that the 4-Hers have worked hard on during the year and weeks and days leading up to the fair.  It is about the livestock that the 4-Hers and their families have raised with the dream of winning that purple ribbon.  Truthfully, it is a way of life for many of us that are proud former 4-Hers because 4-H helped make us the people we are today.

So I realize you may not have all of these deeply rooted reasons for going to the fair and it may just be about the fair food and midway which is OK, but just remember, the fair is about so much more.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Our 4th of July Weekend

I can't believe the 4th of July has already come and gone.  I mean where is the time going!?!

Although time is flying by, we fit as much in as we could over the 4th of July weekend.

In addition to all of our work on the farm, we visited my Aunt S who is in the hospital fighting leukemia.  She still has a long road ahead of her but we got some good news on Monday so time will tell.  (Your continued prayers are appreciated.)

Big Sissy, Bubby, and Little Sissy had fun with all of their first cousins on my side of the family

and spent lots of time in the pool. 

Then when we got back home, Big Sissy checked on her green beans for her mini 4-H project

while Cousin E checked on my mother-in-law's brussels sprouts.

Bubby and Cousin N went fishing

while Cousin E blew bubbles.  

Big Sissy caught a little fish

and so did Bubby.

And then it was time for the sparklers

and fireworks.

What a great family weekend!
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