Saturday, December 21, 2013

Milk and Cookies from the funny farm

I hope your card found you in happy spirits for this wonderful season and you were able to find the blog okay. It was quite a road getting them to you, but well worth the journey! (See the story below letter)

I have decided to go digital with my annual milk and cookies update. So I hope all of you have been able to take a minute and find the link on or in your Christmas card. Please enjoy our yearly update as much as I enjoy writing it. I hope it finds your family happy and full of holiday cheer :)

 


More pictures from what we have seen in 2013




Click to play this Smilebox photo album
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Click to play this Smilebox photo album
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Create a photo album

My Christmas Card Creation Catastrophe...
 It all started when I sat down to make the card on Snapfish when they had a 60% off sale and my pictures were too large to fit in their boxes and shrinking them did little but lose quality. After a sorry but there is nothing we can do chat with Snapfish I opened Picaboo to try out their cards. At first I was having the same problem, but their online chat was much more helpful and I was off creating what I wanted. They happened to be running a buy 40 get 20 free promotion so I jumped on it after checking with online chat to make sure the promotion meant if I ordered 40 I would get an additional 20 so 60 cards in total. An hour after I submitted the order I remembered I forgot to put the web address for the blog on the card so I again hopped on to online chat where I was very kindly told you only have 30 minutes to cancel and change orders. No problem, it was my fault for being forgetful. I then waited 10 days for my cards to arrive and get them ready to send. But when I opened the package I had only 40 cards.... I promptly called Picaboo support the next morning to see what happened. The nice customer service rep explained to me the discount was applied and I received 20 cards free, but misunderstood the 20 additional cards statement from my online chat, even though it made perfect sense to him because he worked there... I am still unaware how I misunderstood 20 additional cards, but I guess I do not work at Picaboo... So in panic mode I tried to figure out how I was going to get additional cards in time to send for Christmas when one hour photo from Wal-Mart popped in my head. I went searchimg to see if cards were available in one hour and YES they are. So I went to work creating a card to order, but the pictures would not upload. After trying different browsers, restarting my computer with some choice words I emailed Wal-Mart and found out you can email pics and they will upload. Problem solved, right? An hour and a half before I needed to take girls to sitter for Christmas presents I was finally creating. Once again I ran into the size issue (as Wal-Mart and Snapfish are identical sites) but I found a layout that would work and I very quickly pasted in picture and our names with one hour to when they would be ready and I was dropping girls off. Problem solved, right? I waited 10 minutes in line and Wal-Mart photo counter and watched employee 'search' for my cards. He finally found them in the drawer he started with and I was on my way. When I opened the cards at home, I noticed in my hurry to get them made, I did not see the pre entered names of the people in the store-made example card....So my card had our names and 5 additional names....Well since I forgot to put web address on cards, I decided to put stickers on these cards with web address and create small cards to put in Picaboo cards. I was in business and the girls were stuffing, licking, and labeling (until their attention switched to something else) We were all stuffed and ready when I realized I had like 20+ extra cards and some of my addresses were missing, so I went to work checking off who I did and did not have. I am not sure what happened during export of addresses, but it seems middle column was deleted... I managed to figure it all out and was ready to finish the stuff, stamp, label, and send! And as I sit here and type this I have 20 extra cards because I guess I got excited when I ordered and added 20 extra cards to the number I needed. So we will see what kind of craft project I can experiment with.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sweet Treats - part 4

001 collage (1) by mmggkane
001 collage (1), a photo by mmggkane on Flickr.

Here is the fourth collage of pictures from making sweet treats at the funny farm where everyone is gathering up the goodies to share or take home and enjoy!

Sweet Treats - part 3

001 collage (1) by mmggkane
001 collage (1), a photo by mmggkane on Flickr.

Here is the third collage of pictures from making sweet treats at the funny farm.

Sweet Treats - part 2

001 collage (1) by mmggkane
001 collage (1), a photo by mmggkane on Flickr.

Here is the second collage of pictures from making sweet treats at the Funny Farm

Sweet Treats from the funny farm - part 1

001 collage (1) by mmggkane
001 collage (1), a photo by mmggkane on Flickr.

Here is the first collage of pictures from the weekend of making sweet treats at the funny farm.

Sweet Treats

I have meant to get on and post this for two weeks, but things have been a little busy around my house. We are getting ready for the holidays, I have been working on Christmas cards, letter, and making gifts, my dad gave me my Cricut Expression Christmas present early (which took up about three days of time trying to get set up, experiment with, and use) my Internet somehow started to have advertising pop-ups all over, and my laptop suddenly stopped talking to the wireless printer (an of course my husband has waited until December to print of information needed for tax prep and needs it now!) so I have spent lots of time on the computer creating and trying to get everything working properly.

Almost every year since before my husband and I were married we have gotten together with his family to make cookies for the Christmas holiday. It started out as just a small little afternoon gathering to let the kids have fun cutting out sugar cookies and has grown into a whole weekend of baking, cutting, decorating, dipping, and packing the goodies up to share. My sister-in-law even mixes and cooks a few days before to prepare for the weekend.

Each year I pick a new recipe to try (and usually flop) for the weekend. With the invention of Pinterest this has grown easier to find, but harder to choose just one to try. This year I tried two. One was a simple wreath decorating idea with a shortbread cookie and the other was called a hot cocoa cookie. I am happy to say I did okay. The hot cocoa cookie did not look just like the Pinterest version, but it was okay and I managed to only brown the marshmallow on top, not burn it like I have been known to do with S'Mores brownies. So now I think I have a new recipe to add to the festivities.

The cookies are nice to have and share, but the best part of the weekend is opening up our home to family and having the time with them. We have been doing it the first weekend in December for a few years now so the women bake and the men go deer hunting and come in for lunch and cookie dough for a break from the cold. My girls get to spend time with their aunts, uncles, and cousins and learn about baking (which is something I do occasionally, but not as often as my husband wants or as good as my sister-in-laws.) It is a tradition that I hope continues with our family for years to come.

The 'tail' end - comment about some fun holiday activities you do with your family to celebrate the togetherness of the season.

I am also posting some collages I made on Smilebox to show the fun we have :)


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open ajar of it every month. ~Harlan Miller

Since it is December, I can now start to acknowledge that Christmas is coming. I think Christmas starts earlier each year, but in our house nothing happens until the first week of December. My husband usually spends time deer hunting that first weekend and all my decorations make an appearance. Christmas is by far my favorite holiday and the five tubs of Christmas decorations I just hauled up from the basement would prove it. I love the spirit and magic the season brings. Growing up my brother would always sleep on my floor Christmas Eve and stay up talking and trying to catch Santa. We no longer live in the same house, but we started a new tradition of shopping together and eating dinner afterwards to prepare for the gift giving season.

After seeing many blog posts about The Elf on the Shelf I decided to start a new family tradition at our house. I love the idea of the magic the Elf brings to the month of December so I set out to make it our own on our funny farm. Before I knew it, thanks to help from my very talented sister-in-law I had a stuffed cowdeer in training named Moodolph ready to entertain my kids this month while keeping an eye on them for Santa. He flew in on the ceiling fan today and has been placed in his perch to watch us after we helped him with his lesson to be a reindeer for the day. Below is his opening note and a calendar of the items he needs help with in the month of December.







The 'tail' end - Share the traditions you have at your house for holiday spirit in the comments below.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Gobble til ya wobble

I think Christmas starts earlier every year and Thanksgiving is forgotten, so I wanted to make sure I took a moment to say thanks for all I have. Last year at this time I was barely getting out of bed and worrying about almost everything. Today I am thankful to say I was up a little too early finishing turkey cookies, checking out online deals,and helping feed calves. I am also so thankful for the family and friends who stuck with me along the rocky road - I can never thank them enough.

As I have said before Pinterest is one of my biggest time wasters and I found these fun turkey shaped cookies made with oreos the other day I thought the girls would love to help make. I pinned them and bought the supplies.

The first one we tried were from Our Best Bites (click on the link to see the steps we followed)
I cruised the baking and cookie/candy aisles and found -

  • Chocolate and vanilla (the girls decided not to use these) sandwich cookies -for back and base
  • Cookie icing (white and red was what I found) - for holding things together
  • Cake icing (in a squirt can) - for holding things together
  • Candy corn - for the feathers and beak 
  • Chocolate assortment (Rolos, Peanut Butter Cups, and Kisses) - for the body
  • Malted milk balls - for the head
  • Confetti sprinkles - for the eyes
Here is a Smilebox of us putting these and the next recipe together

video



If you can tell from the pictures it took like three change of clothes to get them done as we waited for the icing to hold. Gretchyn prefered to take the sandwich cookie apart and out the frosting on the cookie - then the candy corn on the frosting - then frosting on the candy corn -then top of cookie back on, but you can also just put frosting in and stick the candy corn between the two sides. The tutorial said to put the cookies against a wall after you frost the back to the base and that advice was very helpful to getting them made. I also found it helpful to wait inbetween steps to give the back, body, and head a chance to set a little. The tutorial called for peanut butter cups for the body, but we used Rolos and Kisses and they worked fine too. The tutorial also said they used the cookie icing for decorating purposes. We found this icing wasn't quite thick enough for holding things together so we used the cake icing for holding the cookies, chocolates, and candies together and the cookie icing for keeping the feathers in the cookie. The tutorial also said to use chocolate frosting, but I guess I missed that when shopping so I bought white. It worked just fine, but ours don't look as clean as the ones in their pictures, but we had fun and that is all that counts. I also did not pick up the yellow icing or chocolate sprinkles for eyes so we used the white confetti sprinkles instead. We also did not add the feet or gobbler, because it was enough to do the other parts. 

The other turkey shaped cookie we tried were from The Krazy Coupon Lady (click on the link to see the steps we followed)

The ingredients we used were - 
Chocolate covered pretzels - for the feathers
Sandwich cookies (they used fudge dipped ones, but we did not) - for the head/body
Candy eyes - for the eyes
Candy corn - for the beak 
Chocolate chips (melted with 1/2 TBSP oil) - for holding everything together

These were super simple to make and put together. I would suggest it for any quick cookie get together, to make with kiddos at daycare or school, or to send to a party when you need a quick treat. 

Now we are all ready to take to grandma's house and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!

The 'tail' end - share any fun recipes or traditions you have for Thanksgiving in the comments. 



Thursday, November 21, 2013

I do not regret the things I've done, but those I did not do - via Lucas in Empire Records

Maybe I am just a little nostalgic after my girls pulled out my senior scrapbook the other day or because I started to reminisce as I did 8 things you may or may not know about me on Facebook, but this is a thought that has been weighing on my mind lately.

I remember very clearly in high school a teacher telling us we would not be as close of friends with our high school friends in 20 years as we were then. At the time I remember not believing her and wanting so badly to be able to come back in 20 years and prove her wrong. But as I just celebrated my 15 year class reunion this summer, I realized even though I wanted her to be wrong, there was some truth to her statement.

With the changes in technology it is easier to virtually connect and keep track of friends in our lives, but I can not remember the last time I actually went out with my friends from high school as a group like we used to.

I put no blame on any of us, life changes and gets busy as we grow up.  We have work, meetings, a husband and kids to take care of, activities to attend and plan, health and life issues to deal with. We no longer have as much free time as we used to, the space between us is much greater then three lockers down the hall, and new friendships have been added over the years.

But as I get ready to give thanks for all I do have and continue to grow as a person, I want to think about how to keep in better touch with the people I grew up with - the ones who could share some silly stories about me or remind me of a lesson I have long forgotten. These are the people who shaped me and helped make me who I am today, how can we so easily let our lives get so busy we forget that? Should we just let that go because we have a time crunch? What can we do to keep in touch?

I know it will never be the same as when we were sharing classes, books, lockers, pencils, and back packs,  but can we do better then an occasional Facebook post, text message, or holiday card? I am not asking for every week or even every month, but why couldn't two or three times a year we pick a location and get together for a few hours. It could be a group supper with the spouses, a night at a wine bar, an afternoon at a coffee shop or bakery, some time at a bounce house building or park (and bring the kids). Could it be done or is that asking too much - are we just to far removed from each other?


Thought I would through in some fun pictures the girls found in the scrapbook!



The  'tail' end - Share any opportunity you use to keep in touch with old friends

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sometimes the simplest things can be the most fun

I was out looking for supplies for some thank you gifts I am thinking up and I was told about this new mini loom that makes rubber band bracelets - which I guess I am a little behind on knowing about
and you can make without the loom and with small hair ties, but I knew instantly my girls would love it. So I bought it and showed it to Gracyn when I got home (Gretchyn was taking her sometimes Kindergarten is so exhausting I still need a nap) and she couldn't get the package open or directions read fast enough! She did get a little 'tired' in the middle and asked me to finish, but that is just her seven year old attention span. Gretchyn woke up from her nap and was so excited she made two when she was supposed to be sleeping last night. They are also back at it this morning. (guess I should have sprung for the extra rubber bands too!) The only problem we are running into is we have misplaced the small plastic brackets to connect the two ends so I suggest you find a safe place for those when you open your package. And unless you are hopeless at knot tying like me you can tie the ends together.

Here is a Smilebox slideshow of Gracyn making her bracelet -

video


You can find ordering and video instructions at www.miniloom.com

The 'tail' end -please share any simple crafts you have done with your children - we would love to try them!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Singing the song again

I apologize that this post is so long, but all of it is necessary to tell my story.

I want to start by saying I am a very sensitive person. I come by it naturally, I have been told my great grandpa would cry at anyone's wedding, even if he barely knew them. My mom would send me away for the afternoon when she cleaned up the artwork cupboard because I would cry about throwing things away. I once got so upset and homesick my mom had to drive to another state to pick me up from my cousin's house. I am a natural worrier. I was always afraid my dad would not come home when he traveled to build car washes. I was so convinced a trip to the dentist would result in cavities and the drill my mom had to give me medicine and carry me in for check ups. I also had a very active imagination. I organized and married my brother and the neighbor girl in a mock wedding when they were six. I just thought all of this was part of who I am, but after my third daughter was born all this came together and became too much.
I should have known the depression was coming when the tears just started to fall the day we brought our third daughter home, but I am generally a glass half full kind of person. At least until the dark cloud pulled me under and followed me around whispering negativity in my ear.
I am no stranger to depression and anxiety, my hormones had formed a staggered formation and pulled me under just before I got pregnant with our first daughter. I knew all about not being able to get out of bed and the tears just coming (and not stopping) for no reason. It also showed its ugly face and made me wonder for awhile after our second daughter was born.
I couldn't ask for a better medical team that help me to live my life with depression and anxiety. They gave me all the information about PPD being likely to happen to me again, but we knew we could manage it. We had a plan, we were monitoring the situation, we were prepared, we thought.
What I was not ready for was the thought of ending it all. The thought of taking a few too many pills before I went to bed. The thought of not turning the wheel of the car as I came to a curve in the road. The thought that clearly my family would be better off without a mom who couldn't even take care of herself. There was one morning my 6 year old got up, got dressed, and got to the bus without any help from me. I was frozen in bed. Another morning my husband came in at 11 AM to me still in my PJs, unshowered, rocking in the chair, with the baby crying in my arms, starring ahead at nothing. I couldn't even remember if I had done anything that morning.
Then there was work. Not only do I have children at home, but I taught 6th grade. I also had close to 50 preteen children needing my attention all day. I stumbled through a couple weeks trying to make it all work. I am no stranger to work, I started my first part time job when I was 13, I finished grad school in a year and a half, my husband is the hardest working dairy farmer I know. I was raised to know what work meant, my mom worked 60+ hours a week and my dad traveled on the road running his own concrete business. But as silly as it may sound I seriously believed that I had no idea what I was doing in the classroom or with my life for that matter.
The best way for me to describe it was as if life was moving forward, but I was stuck in the mud. I could barely function.
As I have stated I tend to think on the bright side, but I was under a dark cloud with no sign of lifting. A couple extra weeks of sick leave and the caring of the people around me at work got me to summer. I still wanted to wave my white flag in defeat of being a middle school teacher. Most of my negativity seemed to focus around my job, but also the things I felt I wasn't getting done at home. I started looking into other job options. I talked to people and told them I was not happy where I was. My husband talked me into trying to let the medicine work and relax over the summer before I made any harsh decisions about my career path. I had after all had these feelings before after our middle daughter was born and I made it through it then.
I shoved all my papers, thoughts, and feelings into the cupboards of my classroom and tried to focus on the wonderful family I had at home for the summer. I was determined to love every minute of extra time with my girls I was blessed with in the summer. It started to work and I was even getting out of bed some mornings without a wake up call from my husband. I thought maybe the worst might be behind me.
I had good days sprinkled in with the bad ones. So I jumped back into work and home, but the dark cloud crept out again. I tried to push it under. I was a fighter, not a quitter. I was not going to let this win. I believed I could do it. I pushed on. I put on my brave face. Most days I thought I hid it well and made it from 7:45-3:45 with only one round of tears at my desk. When I got home I was so exhausted by my day I had no energy for my life and spent some afternoons in my chair just starring at nothing or taking naps.
My friends at work listened to my off beat thoughts, made suggestions, and said all the right things. My mom and grandma came to help around the house, played with the girls, and said the right things. My husband tried to keep me busy, helped out more around the house, and said the right things. My doctors listened to me, adjusted my medicine, tested me for other problems, and said all the right things. But all I could hear was this LOUD doubt in my head that I was not good enough or smart enough to be a wife, teacher, and mother. All I could see was everything that was going wrong. It didn't matter what I tried or what people said to me, I felt like I was a failure. I was not meant to be an educator. These fifty preteen kids were going to be scarred for life because I was their teacher. This was all I could hear and believe.
I began to isolate myself. I hardly ever left my classroom. I didn't get on social media, talk on the phone, or go out with my friends. I didn't tell anyone how I was feeling anymore because it sounded so ridiculous. It was easier to be alone then deal with the questions or try to explain something I did not understand myself.
It all became too much one day and I could not hold the tears back anymore, they came out in the middle of class and would not stop. I never understood exactly why they happened, they just did. Luckily 6th grade students are pretty self absorbed and did not notice, but I knew it was time for a break before something bad did happen. I had a very understanding administration and was given two weeks off and time to make a decision on what I wanted to do.
In those two weeks I tried to be strong and figure out how I could make it all work, but all those doubts were still in my head. To give a little more context, I had been hired at my school to be a middle school teacher-librarian and I most days loved every minute of it, but due to some state budget cuts I had been moved to the sixth grade classroom. The move was not what I wanted and (even if it was never told to me, it truly felt to me) not what the administration wanted either. I was convinced being a classroom teacher was not for me and I was not what the kids needed as a teacher. Despite what others may have told me, I was sure all my problems would go away if I was not a teacher anymore. True or not, I honestly believed educating children was not the place for me.
The one thing I was sure of was I needed to get out from under these feelings before I took myself up on the thought of not waking up the next day. To do that I felt I needed a change, so I made the tough decision to resign from my teaching job. I am lucky to have parents that would do anything for me. My dad stepped up this time and allowed me to help him out at his antique store while I figured things out. I no longer had the stress of school and I was able to make it through some days without tears, but everything was not instantly better like I had convinced myself it would be.
I was still not me and it was starting to wear on my husband. I remember one night he even said it might be better if I was not around. (I am sure I was no fun to be around daily) I was beginning to wonder if I would ever come out of this. But I had three smiling faces who did not understand why mommy was so sad. Mommy did not understand. This had been a happy occasion in my life, how will I react if something tragic ever happens to me?
I wish I could say there was a magic moment when I instantly felt better, but I can't even pinpoint the exact moment it happened before I was feeling okay enough to function and be the mom and wife I needed to be. I did not just wake up one day and feel better like I wanted, but I began to be happy with what I had and enjoy time with my family.
I still wonder about stepping down from my job even though I know I was not the best I could be for my students at the time. . There are people who are physically sick or have had tragic things happen to them and still push on and live productive lives. Why couldn't I? It is still hard to talk about and I have tried not to, but I have found writing this has been very helpful.
It was not until not long ago in my car when I was singing along to a song on the radio that I truly knew I was feeling better. Not everyday of the past 22 months have been bad, but the good days come more often and are easier to hang on to.
I still wonder if I could be a classroom teacher again, so there are some days I take a crack at it and substitute teach. I decided to take the classes I need to add a reading endorsement to my teaching certificate. I have been updating my resume. I look back and see all the great things I used to do with students and believe in myself a little more.
I can not change the past, what is done is done so now I enjoy every minute of extra time I get to spend with my girls, they truly grow up fast. I also get a chance to be on the farm to help my husband when I can.
I interviewed for a couple library jobs, but wasn't quite ready to believe in myself yet (I even said in the interviews that being a classroom teacher was not for me because I still believed it wasn't) so I think it came through in the interview. But I can finally see myself working with students again, I miss that ah-ha moment when the light clicks on and students understand what they have been taught. I am not 100% sure I could be a classroom teacher again, but I am no longer afraid to try.
I am lucky, I have a family that loves and takes care of me. I have a husband, who was stressed at times, but never gave up on me. I have three little girls that make me smile everyday. I have parents who support me for me and still try to help in anyway they can. I had a great work family (I miss them everyday) that even though I could not hear it at the time gave me encouragement daily. I have friends that listened to what I had to say and did not judge. I can never thank everyone enough for all they did even when not realizing they were doing anything.
I did not sit down and write this for anyone to give me pity (I have enough of my own). I wrote this because I found I am not alone in this and if someone else out there is struggling I hope they can find some help in my words or anyone elses.

I will never get it all done and I will always wonder if I am doing it right, but I now know I am just me and I need to be happy with that. I am still sensitive, a worrier, and have an overactive imagination, but I have learned to take each day and live it, no matter what happens because at least I have a tomorrow.
The ‘tail’ end - I have been inspired to tell my story because of the stories I have found online of women who have learned to live with postpartum depression. If you or someone you know has a story I would love to hear it - please share in the comments!


I really do not care for this picture of me, but I keep it and share it because I think it bests shows how I was feeling.
At the time I could barely smile and that was no joke...



Monday, November 4, 2013

Gone trick or treating, be back when my bag is full

I meant to get this posted before Halloween, but we got a little busy creating :)

I have always loved to create things. I loved making paper bag puppets to tell stories when I was young and I remember learning to draw bubble letters at a summer day camp and spending the next months of summer putting bubble letters on anything I could write on. I have what my husband calls a 'crap' room in our  basement, Pinterest is one of my biggest time suckers, and I think I have passed the crafting on to my daughters.

The girls wanted to make something to take to school for Halloween to share with their class so we created pencil witches to share. Below is a Smilebox slideshow with materials and steps to make them.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
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We may have bit off a little much in making 46- my kitchen counter turned into a crafting bonanza for about a week, I burnt a few fingers with hot glue, but the girls had fun helping (most of the time) and they got some nice thank yous when they handed them out on Halloween.

The tail end - Share some things you make for Halloween tricks or treats


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Farm Living is the Life for Me (Green Acres Theme Song)

 As the crops begin to be harvested and the fields fill up with heavy equipment I want to take a minute to share about the husband who is truly my rock, puts up with everything about me, and works harder then anyone I know (even if I do tell him often he does works too much)

I have to admit that I grew up in town and loved every minute of it. I suppose it helped that my house was less then a block away from the swimming pool, there were four of us the same age, my backyard neighbors had a playhouse, and we had an empty lot on a dead end street that became a regular place for softball and kick the can games. It created some of the best memories and friendships of my life.

But know that I am raising my own family, I have to say growing up on a farm is pretty amazing for my kids. I may sometimes complain to my husband about his long hours, how he always has something to do, and grumble a little about feeding calves in the dark in the morning and evening this time of year, but when I stop to think about it my kids are gaining so much.

Because I have always been a fan of the Top 10 List, but I also like odd numbers (my wedding started at 3:08) here are 11 reasons why it's a benefit for my kids to grow up on a farm.

1. Going on a kitty hunt
I recently had the joy of following my girls around the barn in search of two small kittens that had found a home behind the milking parlor. We pointed and coaxed patiently for them to come see us.
It produced a lot of giggles and stories about why the kitties were hiding from us.

2. Exploring the hay mountain (as my 5 year old calls it)
Bailing hay and straw are probably among the jobs I look least forward to on the farm, (I am kind of a wimp) but my daughters thinking filling up the hay mountain is an amazing experience. They especially love climbing the bails and exploring all around.

3. Feeding a baby calf
I may get frustrated the first time, when it hasn't quite got the hang of drinking from a bottle yet, but after that it is a pretty rewarding job.. It gets even more interesting when the bottle is finished but the calf is still hungry and begins to suck on your fingers!

4. Driving the 4wheeler or combine in the field
I have never heard so much excitement come from my daughters stories as from those about driving the farm equipment with their dad. Their faces light up as they explain every detail about pushing the throttle or steering the wheel.

5. Rides on tractors
My oldest daughter has been riding since she was four months old, my middle daughter will follow her dad around waiting for a ride, and my youngest daughter knows when it's time to go stand by the tractor to get her ride. There must be a great view from the seat of daddy's knee.

6. A red heeler as part of the family 
She may mistake you for a cow every now and then by nipping at your heels, but you will not find anyone tougher or more protective yet still fun and loveable. She loves her belly rubbed and wants in on the game of catch.

7. A journey down the lane
The best time to watch this is when my girls come home from school. You can hear them chatter about their day or what they plan to do with the rest of it. It is also a bike trail/raceway or a journey to the mailbox.

8. The snow drifts
I am sure these are my husbands least favorite, but it still warms my heart to bundle up with the girls and explore the drifts or use them as a sledding hill. A cup of hot cocoa and giggles is a great way to warm up after.

9. Wide open spaces to explore and imagine
The other day I found my two oldest girls inside the boat we store for my nephew 'fishing' off the side and 'floating' down the river. We also have enjoyed voyages around the hay field to games of eye spy as we explore.

10. Observe the life cycle in action
My girls have set glued to the gate watching their daddy pull a calf and traveled on the skid loader to help bury a calf who was not strong enough to make it. And every summer we attempt a garden with different vegetables we want to see grow from seeds to plants. I also remember a friend who grew up on a farm telling me how her and her brother used to pull up a five gallon bucket to sit on and bet on if the piglets would be boys or girls!

11. See how hard work accomplishes many things 
Even though my husband and I sometimes argue about this.  I believe kids should enjoy being kids and he has been helping on the farm since he could walk. But our kids do help with chores and see how hard their daddy works everyday to make the farm work and continue the work his mom and dad started.


The 'tail' end - Share some special things about where you raise your kids! 


Below is the Dodge commercial that makes me so proud my husband is a farmer - 


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Always kiss your children good night, even if they are already asleep (H Jackson Brown Jr)

 Every night since my oldest daughter was old enough for a toddler bed we have read a book before bed. I still remember my mom and dad reading to me before bed (my dad says it was a lot easier before I realized he sometimes skipped some words because I was tired!) and I wanted to keep that tradition going. So we always start the bedtime routine with a book (or two depending on how early we start bedtime)

Along the way we started the hug, secret, kiss to the routine. And let me tell you I hear some good secrets (I will always love you, I can't wait to..., Today so and so did this, I want to ride on the merry go round, and many more) I wish I would have started writing them down when we started this because some of them have made me laugh and I would love to go back someday and see what they thought was so important to tell me before bed. From now on I think I might make a quick note of it and share each week so we can look back when they are older. I also hope this tradition continues until they are too old to have me tuck them in at night. I always want to be able to keep their secrets close to me.

The 'tail' end -  Share some of you have fun bed time rituals