Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Look Back at March

March was a good and busy month! Here is our month in a picture recap:

We gained 5 new members at the farm...chicks!
They are growing rapidly and ready to move from the empty stock tank to the chicken coop! 

I helped throw a baby shower for Ashley and baby Cooper. His arrival is expected in less than two weeks!! :) 

Over Spring Break Ashley and I took Cole and Jami to Jump Mania.
Cole wore me out! They had a blast! 

This was the BIG slide that he just had to go up multiple times. I had to go with him each time. I think he is a better climber than I am! 

The jumping kids!
*Note to Self- Take bigger kids with us next time to keep up with these two! :) 

Cole got to have some Boone's BBQ! That place is one of our favorites.
He might have eaten an entire order of fried pickles by himself! 

We helped Grandpa Rick and Wendy haul some hog housing equipment. Cole was quite the worker! 

Mr. Messy Face off to feed his chickens. 

Uncle Dylan paid a visit finally!

After spending the day with Grammy Patty, she left an Easter basket full of treats. 
Cole had his first Peeps and he loved them! He also got a fishing pole and can't wait to use it! 

My yard got a much needed make-over thanks to the handy hubs. He took down a tree and knocked out some bushes that were not attractive! See the before picture ON THE BOTTOM...and the after on top. Not the greatest after picture, but it is so open and clean looking now. 

We dyed Easter Eggs!

After milking (of course) the Easter Bunny had paid Cole a visit. He brought some good stuff!

My little baseball star! He just loves baseball! 

He also got Play Dough from Nana and enjoyed playing with it! 
*No he isn't actually eating the P.D. Trust me :) 

Finished out Easter Sunday with some piano from the boy.
He could play that thing forever! 

Happy April!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Grey Hair Moments! (First Edition)

I decided last night while standing in the milk barn on a new "series" of posts that I am going to start. They will be called...


Yep, you guessed it! This mama is going grey. I have been fortunate to keep the grey hairs to a minimum, but recently they seem to be making a fierce appearance on my head! So how does this tie to anything you ask? Well last night the hubs had to work a little later so that meant Cole and I were set out to get chores and milking started.

Let me give you a little background. Every night when we get home, Cole jumps out of the car and takes off for his toys and the chances of me pulling him inside anytime soon become few. The boy would live outside most of the time, and if he is going in the house it is only to get more toys for digging in the dirt. This is great other than the fact that the fight to get his "barn clothes" on and into his rubber boots is typically on. Luckily last night a trip to the potty helped cut this fight for me in half. (Okay Heather get to the point...) Cole plays while I do the feeding and other chores and then I have to do some serious bargaining or dragging to get him in to the barn at milk time.

We love dirt :) 

Begin grey hair moment HERE- As I drove the 4-Wheeler up the fence line with my boy to feed the bull and 53 heifer the pup "Wrangler" usually follows. Of course today was no different. He is a cow dog and is learning to chase them now. So he thought why not practice on 53. You see the problem here is I DID NOT NEED HER TO BE CHASED!! Being the cute little pup he is, he did not listen to my blood-boiling screams to STOP! Therefore, he chased her far enough that she jumped the fence and went into the manure pit. Not her first rodeo in there, but not because she wanted to this time around.

So enter frustrating "grey hair" moment when I had to open 3 sets of gates, walk around the ledge of the pit 15 times, and spend 20 minutes convincing 53 to get OUT of the manure pit. She sure thought she was going to jump out the way she came in, but had a little vertical problem on the inside. So after about 15 minutes of making "scary" or just ridiculous noises and using a stick as my "cattle stick" she finally found her way out. Then came the task of getting her from the pen she was in back to the place she belonged. Task accomplished. Thank you 4-Wheeler. In this amount of time I could have been happily milking and a quarter of the way finished.

Anyways, I am feeling lucky that there were no cameras around. It could have made for lots of laughs for everyone. Especially with the commentary provided by a certain 2 year old. He even said to me once, "It's ok Mom. Don't worry." He is a hoot! So we set off to the barn to get it read for milking. When said 2 year old found himself standing on the wall for being ornery and next lead to a pee-pants incident that resulted in another delay and trip inside for new clothes.

FINALLY, after about a 40 minute series of delays we were off to milk cows. My goal for each night is dinner before 8:00. Well, we failed on that one for the night. Maybe tomorrow. :)

So until the next "grey hair moment..."

**Disclaimer- The events in this story were quite humorous even if they were frustrating. It is ok to laugh at my expense. That is pretty much the goal.

Monday, April 11, 2016


I haven't walked away from this blog, but I haven't had time to put anything together either. I no longer have internet at home. That is the downfall to living out in the country. The only crazy part is that I don't live in the middle of no where. Actually my backyard is along the interstate. BUT apparently fast internet just doesn't exist right now at my house. So until something better than Total Highspeed comes is just me and the cell phone. Long story short, this doesn't make blogging easy! My phone is full to the brim so I can't even download the blogger!

Anyways...this post is about Grace. God's grace. I have been working on become a more graceful person recently. Gosh is seems like something that should be so simple, but it is not!

I read in a post from Rick Warren the following words:

"God’s Word says your weaknesses, doubts, and insecurities are no surprise to God. You may try to hide them from others, but you can’t hide them from the one who created you.
The truth is, God created you with weaknesses. And, since he’s God, he couldn’t have made a mistake. Is it possible he created you with weaknesses in order to keep you on your knees before him? With you dependent upon him, you’re able to do all things through him who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13–14)." Found HERE
The original scripture aligned with this post is: 
Graphic from HERE

My thoughts more recently have centered upon WHY is this happening? I know that all of the time we are all thinking that to ourselves. So with every struggle, stress, and frustration that comes in life I have decided to remember that God's grace is sufficient. I know that God does not give me more than I can handle. He gives me WHAT he has designed me to handle. SO when times of distress, stress, and frustration come my way I have been trying with all of my might to handle it gracefully. What do I mean by this? I have had to work hard to convince myself to GIVE IT ALL TO GOD. I tell myself everyday that I cannot make it on my own. God is my guide and I will rejoice in knowing that everything is going according to his plans and not my own. Handling life with GRACE is the hardest thing for me to do. BUT I know that God's plan is always greater than mine. 

One final reminder from God today...

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace” (Ecclesiates 3:1-8, ESV).
Join me in the venture of becoming a Graceful woman! All I can say is that prayer is the best medicine and God never fails. Even if we cannot see it right away. 
For now...I share my struggles with you and hope that I can post more often! 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Food For Friday: Crockpot Mexican Chicken Chili

Today's Food for Friday:

Crockpot Mexican Chicken Chili

This is one of my favorite on-the-go or "dump" recipes as I sometimes like to call them. They are truly a throw in the crockpot, walk away, shred chicken, and eat kind of meals. Almost all of the ingredients are canned AND for the most part this is a healthy recipe. It is husband approved in my house and that always says a lot!

1 can of black beans (rinse before adding)
2 cans of chili beans
1 can of corn
1 can of enchilada sauce
3-4 chicken breasts (I used frozen)
1 package of cream cheese (optional)
2 cups chicken broth
1-2 cups milk
Tortilla Strips of Chips for topping
Salsa (optional topping)

In a crock pot add all of the canned ingredients. broth, and the chicken breasts. Obviously drain and rinse the black beans. I sometimes drain a bit of the liquid from the chili beans so that there isn't too much liquid, but that is totally optional. Cook in the crock pot on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. After cooking, take the chicken out and shred it. I throw mine in the bowl of my stand mixer and let the paddle attachment do the shredding for me. Then dump it back in the crock pot. At this point, you have to do what your taste buds are telling you. My favorite way is to add about 1 cup of milk and 1 brick of cream cheese to a mixing bowl and cream them together. To be totally honest, I pulled the cream cheese out of the fridge. Put it in a glass measuring bowl. Heated until it was soft. Added a little milk and stirred until it was good and creamy. Then I added it to the crock pot, stirring to mix well.

At this point you are ready to eat! We always top ours with some seasoned tortilla strips. They are usually found in the isle next to the croutons. This time around hubs and I felt that ours was missing something so he added hot sauce and I added Mild Salsa from Mexican Villa. This made it just right! I have also added a bit of cumin and chili powder in the past as well. That is the beauty of this can throw whatever your family will eat into it. Most recipes similar to this call for Rotel or some kind of tomato. We don't really eat tomatoes so we obviously skip this one.

I have some left at home, so I will TRY and remember a picture of this delicious and simple dinner solution. Perfect for nights when you want something good, but you don't have a lot of time to do so! Enjoy! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Look Back at February

February went by in the blink of an eye! I was completely OK with this as it meant Spring weather and Spring Break were just around the corner! I am counting down the days to summer already!

A little picture recap of how our month went...

Have I mentioned that my boys both LOVE Honey Buns for breakfast?? Cole decided that Wrangler needed a honey bun. Then he proceeded to break down because the dog ate his HB (yes, the same one that he personally fed the of a toddler)

Around the beginning of the month our ceiling fell through in the milk barn. Luckily there were no cows in the barn at the time. There were feed sack remains and a large metal ball that busted the feed auger line eventually causing a break through. What a mess! 

We did some finger painting for Valentine's Day! 

The owner of Flame brought these to our classroom Valentine's Party. They were chocolate covered cheesecake bites. They were heavenly! 

Every couple of months we have a major barn cleaning day. Cole love to help with the cleaning. 

We started shopping around for mowers. We are not sure our little mower will make it this year. It takes three hours to mow our whole yard with the poor thing. 

Little man reading...just because he is cute this one made the list! 

We worked ground and planted oats. They are sprouting nicely and are bright green after the early March rain that we have received. 

We took some time to enjoy the beautiful weather and did some pond fishing. Cole is going to need his own pole as he wanted to do it all himself. 

We welcomed a new bull calf into the world. This one was tiny and a twin. Our first set of twins. The other one was not born alive. This little guy made it just fine. We have since had 3 more bull calves.

Little man was sick with a fever so we headed to the doctor to find out that he did NOT have an ear infection. Woo! Hoo! 

We worked our calves (de-horned and vaccinated) and Cole enjoyed some outside play time. 

That was February in a nut shell! Nothing super exciting, but just a little bit of life. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Food For Friday: Oooey Gooey (Cake Mix) Butter Bars

There is seriously a reason that I am NOT a food blogger! I cannot remember to take pictures of my cooking creations to save my life!! This is a recipe that I have been requested to repeat ASAP, so hopefully I will have a picture to add soon.

Truth be told, I was in search for a good sweet treat for a couple of farm boys who had been on the road and/or working and farming all day. I went with burgers cooked in cast, mac and cheese, and corn for dinner, but dessert was tricky! I looked through a dozen recipes and never had all of the right ingredients until I scrolled across the one for Oooey Gooey (Cake Mix) Butter Bars. I always have cake mixes in the cabinet and luckily I had enough cream cheese on hand AND this was as good as a cheesecake, but less time consuming! So a WIN WIN in my household!

I got the recipe from HERE. But it is not a "new" recipe and Paula Deen has her own version as well.

Oooey Gooey (Cake Mix) Butter Bars

My beautiful food photo on my lovely Tupperware plastic plates.
No worries they were SO good I would probably eat them off anything ;)
1 yellow cake mix (just the mix)
1/2 cup of butter melted
3 eggs (not all used together- see directions)
8 oz cream cheese, softened
16 oz powdered sugar (m/l on preference)

WARNING: This is not a DIET friendly recipe. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take out a 9x13 pan and grease the bottom. In a bowl, combine the dry cake mix, melted butter, and ONE egg. Mix well. Spread the mixture into the bottom of the pan. I used my fingers and palms to do this. In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the cream cheese. Add the two remaining eggs and beat until they are well combined. Add the powdered sugar.** Continue until well mixed. Pour over the crust and bake for 25-30 minutes. Do not over bake. This should be oooey and gooey in the middle. If you over bake, the bars will be hard and not delicious. Allow it to cool completely(ish) before cutting. Keep leftovers in fridge!

**I used 16 oz, but many of the reviews for this said that they were too sweet and to cut back on the powdered sugar. Be your own judge! 

Be prepared for this one to be requested daily. My hubs might have a new favorite. Plus it is simple and AMAZING!! Farm boy approved to say the least!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

What are you teaching your children?

Lately finding time to write a blog has just been impossible. I am far too busy throughout the school day and we just shut our internet off at home this week. Not to mention I haven't even been taking my laptop back home lately, because I know it is completely pointless. I so very ready for Spring Break to arrive and some actual free time to come my way! Another reason I have struggled has been somewhat of a "writer's block" situation. I come up with things I want to blog about, but either can't put my thoughts together or am afraid what I have to say is too direct for some people.

Being a teacher has taught me sooooooooo many things. While I have only been a mother for just over two years, I have been a teacher for 6 years. In those 6 years I have learned so many things about parenting that make me strive to be a better parent. I know all of my teacher friends can relate! There are so many heartbreaking things that we see as teachers that make us realize how good we have it and what we are determined not to do as parents.

When I seem to get frustrated with the world around me, I find myself looking on Pinterest for quotes that say how I feel or what I am thinking. Maybe a silly thing to do, but I refuse to post anything on Facebook about my somewhat negative thoughts and this just lets me come up with something. I ran across the above Jim Henson quote that fit so well in to what I was thinking. 

So many times as parents, we are so busy trying to teach our kids to do things that we forget that they are learning more from watching us everyday than we will ever be able to teach them. So I had to stop and ask myself, "Am I teaching Cole to be who I want him to be by my daily actions?" I think that is something that as parents (and even those of us who are teachers) need to stop and think about more often. 

When thinking through this there were a few conclusions I was able to come up with. Cole will know what the value of hard work is. He already has his own "chores" or jobs that helps us with, but more importantly he will know what hard work is because he sees it from both of his parents on a daily basis. Josh and I are always working to make our lives better. We are busting it to make farming a reality all while work full time jobs. Cole may only be two, but I know he already sees it. There is not time for laziness in our lives right now. He sees that too. I see SO many kids at school (in the last 6 years) who do not know what hard work is like. Some of them do not even know what it is like to work! They sit around and expect to get by with whatever they feel like doing or only putting in minimal work. I am always asking myself how I can help these kiddos. I seldom find a way to "change" their mind set, but how can I expect them to see the value in hard work when they don't see that from the people who brought them into this world? I can't. 

No, I don't mean all parents should be working multiple jobs and showing their kids how hard it is to be an adult. I mean that parents should be a model of what they want their kids to be. You want your kids to have chores such as doing the dishes or their own laundry? Then you have to set the example for them! If you never wash a dish or put your own clothes away, what is that teaching your kids? That is teaching them that they should not have to do it either, because they see that when they are adults like you are that they will have the choice NOT to. Again, the same goes for school work. If you are not a hard worker and your kids see you often quitting in the middle of things or with no desire to work, they are going to have the same attitude. 

I guess it really comes down to YOU as a parent! Are you setting your expectations for your kids to be higher than the expectations for yourself?? I know that my expectations for Cole in life at age two and at age twenty-two will always be sky high. I also know that he will be able to achieve anything and not be afraid of hard work, because he will have grown up seeing his parents always giving everything their all. It is my wish for that boy to always know how loved he is and that his parents are working in every way to make his life a great one. I hope that we can all say that for our children!

Looking back, one of my firsts posts was about me being "That Mom." The frustration I feel when someone acts as if their child is an inconvenience is explainable. In that post I expressed my feeling of how I love my child and hate spending any time away from him. (Check it out if you haven't!) So one of my recent frustrations has been from people who act like their children are nothing more than an inconvenience to them! There are so many childless mothers out there that would LOVE nothing more than to be the one carrying your child or taking care of the ones you already have. So for the love of all of these mothers out there STOP COMPLAINING!!! Enjoy the time that you have to be with those children and find ways to appreciate their successes and their positive features. As I said in the beginning of the post, your children are learning from YOU! If you want them to grow up to be caring husbands and wives and loving parents, SHOW THEM WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE!! 

No child benefits from being neglected. Avoiding your children and pushing them off on someone else is teaching them that they are not a priority. If they are not a priority in life, they will not obey or listen to you as if you were a priority. I just wish ALL parents understood this. This is something that as a teacher I have seen from so many of my students. They have no respect for their parents or just have no relationship with them. Have we ever just stopped and thought to ourselves that we NEED to be that example for them?? As a teacher (and a mother) I strive to be that adult that they can learn from. While I am far from perfect, I am a positive role model for them. I love nothing more than seeing the joy in their faces when I run into them. The same goes for me as a parent. I love that my son loves to see me. I love that he gets so excited for me to pick him up. I love to see the love that he is shown on a daily basis come through in his actions around his friends.

Moral of this long and wordy post, BE THE EXAMPLE YOU WANT YOUR KIDS TO BE! Don't expect them to be something that they don't see in you. Want them to work hard? Show them the true meaning of being a hard worker. Don't force on them so much hard work to make life easier for you. Give them work they can be proud of and make you proud of. Don't set a bad example for them. After all they are a true blessing and not an inconvenience! 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Food For Friday: Stroganoff

I am going to throw this recipe out there since this is one of the 4 things I cooked this week. It is quick, easy, cheap, and husband approved.

FYI this is the Heinz picture from the Heinz recipe :) My photog skills and iPhone will never be that good. Nor is that my fiesta-ware.

Easy Peasy Beef Stroganoff
1 lb Ground Beef
1 jar of Heinz Beef Gravy
1/2 cup sour cream
Cooked Egg Noodles (I just always cook the whole bag)
*Can add mushrooms if you like those things :)

In a skillet, cook the ground beef until browned. Meanwhile boil your noodles and drain when they are cooked. (Duh!) Dump Add in the brown gravy to the skillet and simmer. Then add in the sour cream and stir until combined. Add a little salt or a lot in my household. Then serve over the noodles when they are finished.

I promise that next week I will be back to blogging. I just haven't had a spare minute this week and am typing this one as fast as my fat fingers will go. I have been "blog-spired" this week and have several good posts in the works. Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Good Friends are Hard to Find!

Good friends are hard to find...

I think as we all grow up and become adults we come to realize that good friends really are hard to find. We all have those friends that have been there forever and for some of us none of those friends are close by. We are all spread out in my case. I love them just as much now as then and we can pick up where we left off no matter how much time has passed. BUT we have almost all had kids, married, and moved away. So for all of us there becomes a time where you start that search for new friends. Not to replace the old ones of course, but new friends to build new memories with.

When I stop and think about what it takes to be friends with us, I realize we may seem a little out there. I mean who wants to be friends with people who have to be home every morning and every evening to milk cows? Who wants to be friends with people who know nothing outside of working full time and farming? So maybe we are just weird, but I will take it! 

Looking back at the close friends we have acquired since we got married and moved to Elkland, it is funny that we really were never just introduced. God knew exactly who we needed in our lives and exactly when we needed them. We became friends instantly and family over time. Over a short period of time their kids have become more like nieces and nephews and we are more like their aunt and uncle than anything else. Cole loves them all and can't wait to play with them anytime!!

God has blessed us with friends who stop at the drop of the hat to come and help us out. I can't even count the number of times that I have made dinner for both families and sometimes all three families. We have gatherings almost weekly, and most of the time they are completely unplanned. I am that person who will cook for anyone and refuse to let someone go hungry. I love to cook and think the more the merrier. One of my fondest memories from the last two years before we moved was the annual planting season dinner. All of the boys work together to get everything planted and we always gather at the end of the day, typically well after dark and settle down for dinner all together. All 6 adults and 6 kiddos. My favorite time of the year! One of the best feelings in the world is a house full of people who are near and dear to my heart. The mess those kiddos create is well worth it. We aren't just passing time, we are making memories.

I stand constantly amazed at the things God gives us in life. Many of which we probably don't even deserve. The moral of this post is just that, God knew who we needed in our life, and he put them there exactly when we needed them. Those friends who seemed so hard to find were all a part of his bigger plan for us. He knew when we needed some one to depend on, vent with, someone to take you to the emergency room when you are puking your guts up for way too long, someone to help you milk when you are sicker than you ever want to be, someone to watch your kiddo when you have to be somewhere unplanned, someone to help out when you have major wardrobe malfunctions in public, someone to help you fix the sub floor and bathroom in your new house in 90 degree heat with, and someone just to listen when you need an ear.

Brody reading to Cole

Amanda painting away. 90 degrees and NO air! 

Ashley painting away. 90 degrees and NO air! 

Pool time with our favorites

The boys watch the tractor trying to pull the other one out

We all have those friends around that are there no matter what. I consider them more like family, but I know they were put in our lives for a reason. God is good all the time!

Sometimes things just don't go as planned...

Digging out

Red getting ready to pull out the Green thing

Thank God for good friends!