Friday, January 29, 2016

Food For Friday: Easy Spanish Rice

This is a weekly favorite in my house! We eat mexican food at least once a week and this is always on the menu any time it is mexican night. Not to mention Cole devours it and at the moment anything his toddler taste buds will devour I will make!

This is another skillet rice just like the one that I made last week. It is actually what inspired me to cook my fried rice the way I did. I found the original recipe on Pinterest and just change it up to my liking.

Here is what you will need:

-2 Tbsp Oil
-2 Cups Instant White Rice
-2 Cups Chicken Broth
-1 14 oz can of Tomato Sauce
-1 Tbsp Ground  Cumin
(Can also add garlic and/or onion powder to taste)

-Put your oil in the skillet and let it warm. Add the rice and let it sizzle for about a minute. Then add your chicken broth and tomato sauce and stir. Add your cumin (and garlic.onion as desired). Put the lid on the skillet and let it cook at a slow simmer (typically on medium heat). Stir a couple of times to make sure it doesn't burn to the bottom. Cook for about 7-10 minutes and then remove the lid and let it sit for a couple of minute. Then EAT UP!! 

Yummo!! It is not soggy at all and that is where rice and I part ways. I hate soggy rice! I have also made chicken flavored rice the same way, just without the cumin and garlic. Maybe add some herbs or something and go strong on the chicken broth. Sometimes I feel like rice is all Cole will eat so we just go with it. I embrace whatever he WILL eat for the day. He did not used to be picky, but now that he is it wears me out! (Shout out to fellow toddler moms on that one!)

He also loves salsa! Mom-win there! 

Another MUST HAVE in our house and something we don't live without is SWEET SAUCE!! You can buy it at Price Cutter and we tend to go through AT LEAST one jar a week! Spoon a little on top of this rice and it is even better! 

Only the best!

An attempt at "cheese"

Have a great weekend and let me know if this recipe works out for you! I am always up for more tips and tricks! Now to start thinking of next week's Food for Friday. I am thinking dessert...

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Life's Little Lessons Learned on the Farm

Life's Little Lessons Learned on the Farm...

There is always so much negativity on Facebook. Most farmers, big or small, have learned to take it with grace and to use a positive means to share our own stories and experiences. All of these anti-ag and anti-FFA posts/stories have made me think how much I really learned from living and having a farm of my own.

So here are some of those little lessons that I have learned:

*Responsibility- For most of us this is obvious. Any time you take on something that requires care around the clock you learn more about responsibility. Any parent or person with a pet can relate to that. It is more than just basic responsibility. It is knowing that the world that surrounds me is depending on us to produce milk and to have healthy cows to produce these things. It is getting up way earlier than I want and doing chores that I dread when I get home every evening. It is learning to embrace this crazy life that we chose to jump into. It is raising  healthy animals that are the future of our farm. It is raising a little boy who knows that responsibility is and how to handle it!

*Resilience- I know that any mom out there can pick up on this one. Oh how motherhood can make one resilient! On that farm that seems to be magnified. Resilience comes when a baby calf is born dead. When a mama just can't get that baby out on her own. (Now let me tell you, I can sympathize with her on that!) When a cow just isn't going to make it because she is too sick to keep going. When you walk in to feed a baby calf that was fine a little while ago, and she is no longer alive. Resilience is referred to elasticity of a person. Well believe me when I say I am more elastic that I ever thought I could be. Believe it or not this is something that my two year old is already learning. That part about the calf dying expectantly happened to us last weekend. It was my father-in-laws calf that we were feeding and it just happened. We loaded her up to haul her off and through the process Cole looks at me and says, "Mom, cow died." He gets it. He is beginning his knowledge of knowing that farming is not always fun and that sometimes animals die. He is picking up on the feeling that we have done all we can do, but we can't always prevent it all. He is understanding something that a lot of youth and even adults in today's society do not grasp. I am so thankful that God has given me this life and this little boy to raise on the farm!

*Stubbornness-  While I am naturally a stubborn red head, being on the farm has only increased that trait. I know there are things around the farm that I can't do, but I will not give up on trying a million times before admitting I can't do something. There is nothing that irritates me more than having to holler at the hubs to do something for me that I thought for sure I could myself. Yet again, my son is the same way! He is learning this one quick. He will not have the life of luxury many of his peers will have. He will not sit inside and play video games. He will grow up outside on the farm where he too will learn what it's like to be determined to solve a problem. Many of his peers and heck many of mine don't have that ability. They give up and walk away when something bad comes their way. Maybe the correct word is DETERMINATION. It is my goal to raise children that are determined and know how to deal with what life is going to throw at them. Hopefully they will learn the appropriate time for being stubborn. :)

*Needs vs. Wants- I could sum this up to say FINANCES, but I think as we all are forced to become adults, we learn this one way or another and most of the time on our own. What I really mean here is learning to know what you really do need versus what you really do just want. I can WANT things with the best of them! Living on a farm forces you to learn what you do really need. You really do need to put the needs of your animals before your own. They really do need to have certain things that they must have. I really do think this is just a part of growing up and becoming an adult, especially when you have kids!! You just seem to take it to a who new level when you throw in kids and animals. My "wanted" accessories in life just changed a little from cute shoes to pink Muck Boots. See the differences are minimal really. :)

*Selflessness and Service- This is something that I know we all strive for in our lives and for those of us who are parents, we know what it is like to constantly put others before us. On the farm you learn to give everything you have to anyone who might be in need. A fine example of this is hay season. Every hay season it is a group effort to get it all done. Typically it is a full family affair that includes friends who might as well be family. Last year during hay season we decided selling our house, living in a camper, and then moving into a new farm would be a great idea. This resulted in lots of late nights with zero time to spare. When it comes down to it, I see my husband out there busting it to make sure that our hay is up, father-in-law's hay is up, brother-in-law's hay is up, bff #1 & 2's hay is up, and so on. There are so many times that we volunteer to help when our own time is coming up short. Let me tell you one thing, hay season is that time of year you always seem to learn who your loyal friends are! They are the ones that will help out before you even ask. It is more a matter of "What can I do to help?"  We are there in a hurry to help in any way that we can and they do the same for us. Being a farmer means doing what you have to just to get the job done, and more often than not it means helping others out and expecting nothing in return. It is just what we do. Society today is so focused on how will I benefit from something. Society like to focus on ME, MYSELF, and I. Life on the farm brings you selflessness because you learn to focus on how can WE get something accomplished and learning to enjoy the accomplishment without ever worrying about the reward.

*FAITH- I will end with this, farming has taught me that there is someone else in charge. There have been so many times that I have just had to stop and think, "God has a better plan." God knows the outcome of everything that happens to us. He has taught me to put my faith in him and let him lead us where we need to go. His plan is always bigger and better than ours. This is one of the hardest lessons to learn. I love to be in control of my own life, but I have come to (and am still dealing with) the realization that I am not in control. I found another blog (check it here) that said this, "When we are going through difficult times, we can have faith that God is mindful of what we are experiencing and may be preparing us for a new season in our life. If we keep going, and walk by faith, He will help us through the storms and lead us to brighter  days ahead."

While these lessons are common in life, I just know that these anti-agriculture people just don't get it. If you "get it" then I hope you think about it and give credit to the times in your life and the circumstances that allowed you to learn these lessons. After all God always knows what he is doing with our lives, even if we don't.

Check back tomorrow for some FOOD FOR FRIDAY!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Spoiled Cows and Uneducated People

As I sit here pondering what exactly to write about, I can't help think about some of the CRAZY things I have seen circulating Facebook over the last couple of days.

The first that comes to mind is one that looks like this...
SERIOUSLY PEOPLE?? The stupidity is unbelievable! 

I sit here shaking my head in disbelief that people can honestly be so stupid uneducated! This is what we (ok not most of us, but others in society) have to look forward to in life. These uneducated people are at the age of beginning to reproduce and raise more uneducated children. While I completely and totally understand that this is not everywhere, (For example, this is less often seen around rural Missouri and more often found in upstate NY and etc.) I cannot for one second understand how society came to be this dumb!

Are we lacking in our education fields a basic education of science and the function of animals? It really struck me hard that even in large cities, teachers are not teaching their students the basics of what life is. I know that they teach things like the life cycle of a butterfly and in most schools of an egg! SO how are we missing the point that animals were created to provide for our needs. It is in the Bible people, look it up. 

Who am I kidding? Many of these people do not believe in the Bible and live on assumptions that are so far out there is not help for them. 

Newsflash: COWS DO NOT DIE TO GIVE MILK. Now for a cheeseburger, yes they do, but only after living a life long enough to fulfill their purpose of creating food for our hungry world. 

A funny story: Our farm runs directly along Interstate 44. Less than two months after we started milking, it rained. One morning my husband was out milking cows that morning most likely before the sun came up. Later that day he happened to be home when a Sheriff pulls in the driveway. The Sheriff proceeds to tell my husband that they had received a complaint from a passer-by on the interstate that our cows were being forced to stand out in the rain and mud. No, this is not a joke!

The back our our barn where the cows were exiting at that time faces the interstate. The gate that lets them in and out of our barn and in to the free-stall barn was WIDE open. This means that those spoiled cows could walk their happy little muddy feet right into our barn and camped out all day long vegging on hay and sipping on fresh water. They are animals!! They can choose their surroundings according to their needs. While the Sheriff and my husband had a good laugh about it, it still never ceases to amaze me how little people know.

I could seriously go on forever about how uneducated people are, but most of you reading this know all too well how dumb people can be. So let me give you a few ways that our cows, or "the ladies" as we often call them are more spoiled than WE are!

1. They get fed breakfast and dinner before we ever do. Their needs come before ours each morning and each evening. 

Cole helping dad feed a new baby.
I can't believe how much Cole has grown since the fall!

2. Dairy cows MUST be milked at least twice a day. NOT milking them can cause dangerous infections that can result in death to the animal. So the ladies are more than willing to be milked. They are anxious to be munchin' on grain while getting milked. 

The ladies feasting on some hay!

3. The cows health comes before our health. Within obvious reason of course! If a cow is sick or a calf is sick we drop everything we are doing and go into full survival mode. We make fast and important trips to the vets office or they make f
ast trips to the farm in order to save the animal. As humans we often wait until the last minute to admit and treat most common illnesses. With our cows, there is no wait. They receive immediate medical attention!

4. The cows are free to be themselves and do as they please over 90% of the time. Roughly 5% of a cows day (or even less) is spent in the milk barn. The rest of their day they are able to choose exactly what they want to do. If they want to stand in the rain, eat hay from barn, eat hay outside the barn, lay in the hay, run circles around the field, or veg out inside the barn, it does not matter to any one other than themselves. 

Mom and her new baby from this fall

Needless to say, 99% of farmers put the needs of their farms before their own needs. If you do not believe me ask any farmer you see and they will have one answer to back up the thought that their animals are spoiled. 

This leads me to a short mini-series that I am going to do called "Fast Facts About Dairy." I will start leaving you with a fact or two about Dairy farming every now and again. So keep an eye out for that series! 

Thanks for sticking with me through this post. It was between this one and the anti-FFA article. I will save that rant/information for another day! Add in a super busy school schedule, a little one who didn't sleep well last night or more like this morning, and a tired mommy who doesn't get Saturday "off" this weekend it all seems pretty scatter-brained. :) Not to mention it took me several sittings to finally get it all done! 

For now, smile, eat well, and thank a farmer! 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Food for Friday- Panda Express Orange Chicken

This week's Food for Friday is something new I tried and LOVED!! I LOVE Panda Express' Orange Chicken! While the husband and I were shopping the other day at Price Cutter, I found a bottle of Panda Express Orange Chicken sauce! I had already bought some fried rice seasoning and knew I had a meal! A quick and easy meal!

Panda Express Orange Chicken and Fried Rice

What you need: 
-Panda Express Orange Chicken Sauce (I found it with the oriental stuff at grocery store. Any sauce that you choose would work, but this was my choice. And it only took half of the bottle!
-Fried Rice Seasoning (or make your own)
-2 cups Chicken Broth 
-Approx 4 tbsp Veggie Oil (more or less based on preference)
-2 cups Instant White Rice (needs to be instant)
-Chicken Breasts (I did about 1.5 lbs)
-1 to 2 Eggs
-Soy sauce if you please!

Ok, before I start...I use a lot of chicken and beef broth in my kitchen. I got this at Sams for under $5. It lasts me forever!! I love it and it is way cheaper than buying the cans or the cubes. 

For the RICE...

In a skillet with a lid heat up about 2 Tbsp of oil. Add the rice (1 usually do close to 3 cups. I am not one that measures much) and let it sit for about 2 minutes. Then add your chicken broth and your Fried Rice Seasoning. I do not follow what the seasoning package says to do! Mix it all up and throw the lid on it. Let it simmer for a little while like you would Rice-a-Roni. Stir a couple of times to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom. I usually have mine cooking for about 10 minutes and then it is done! 

Now I make Spanish rice in a similar method and there are never left overs. I hate soggy rice and with this method my rice never ends up soggy like it always seems to when you do it the way the seasoning says to. I also scramble my egg separately then add it in, but you can do it in the same pan.

For the CHICKEN...

Cut your chicken into small pieces and "fry" it in a skillet with the oil of your choice. When it is cooked thoroughly add the desired amount of Panda Express Orange Chicken Sauce and let it cook or caramelize. Then you are done!! Put it on a plate and eat up.

Here is the only picture I have of this one...I told you I am NOT a food blogger or photographer. 

It was so good and FAST. It was also something different than what we usually eat. Plus I felt better after eating this chicken than I did the real fried stuff. 

I will give my recipe for the easiest and best Spanish Rice next week or just on a random day. We seriously devour it every time I make it. Plus Cole LOVES rice! That is a huge reason we eat it often. 

If you decide to make this recipe, let me know how it works for you!! Comments are always welcome! 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

10 Things You Might Not Know About ME!

Some of my readers might not know me as well as others. So here is 10 Things that you MIGHT NOT Know About ME!

1. I love digital design! - If I could make a living creating invitations, custom photobooks, announcements, and anything else I would in a heartbeat. That is why I sell a few of my teaching things on Teachers Pay Teachers! I do not have Photoshop yet, but it is something I am determined to invest in as soon as I can.

My latest invite creation

2. I can not leave dirty dishes in the sink at night! - Yep, you heard that one right. Now let me give you a small disclaimer- I have a dishwasher. A brand new dishwasher. However, I cannot go to bed at  night with my kitchen in disarray. I have to load and start the dishwasher and hand wash any left overs. At the old house the dishwasher wasn't reliable and I hand washed them every night and put them away the next morning.

3. I am not a sound sleeper! Ok so this is kind of boring, but that means that anytime my little on coughs, I wake up. Which in turn means a full nights sleep is seriously rare for me!

He is worth every sleepless minute

4. Today is my anniversary! I have been married 5 years today! Josh and I eloped on a snow day and if I wasn't at a private school, I would have had another snow day today!

5. I don't leave the house without make-up on- I think I look "dead" if I do not have make up on. I actually put make up on before heading to the ER a couple of weeks ago. The kind nurse even complimented the fact that I had it on and was so sick. It isn't because I am vain, it is because I don't like looking dead. :)

6. I have been teaching for 6 years! This is my 6th year teaching and I am now teaching 5th grade at a private school. Before my almost two years here I taught at a public school with some pretty fantastic ladies!

7. I LOVE to cook! Ok, so this may not be a surprise. However, I love to cook food that typically isn't healthy. I like a good home-cooked meal! I also LOVE to cook for others. In fact, we have company (usually friends) almost weekly.

8. I do not know how to drive a standard. I have never had a vehicle that I could learn on. Give me a break people! I can drive the tractor though...beat that :)

My 2 year old driving the tractor yesterday

9. I love SWEET TEA and DR PEPPER! Maybe not new to some of you, but I did just recently quit drinking DP again. Josh and I both quit after we both had a stomach virus and it didn't sound good. We thought then was just as good of a time as any.

10. Related to #9- I make 2-4 gallons of sweet tea a NIGHT! My husband goes through it pretty quickly, so I make at least one batch a night. I don't drink my own tea that often (I have no explanation for this), but when I do we seem to knock through it quickly. Not to mention if we have company that sweet tea doesn't stand a chance at lasting long.

Well, there you have it! I have had to stretch to come up with a couple, but I just wanted something a little different than a boring about me post! Heads up because tomorrow is FOOD FOR FRIDAY!! I have had a hard time picking, but this time I even took pictures!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Learning to Balance

I pondered for a while over the long weekend about what to post next. It just seemed like the weekend went by so fast, but was such a good and productive one! We had time to relax a little and get things done without being swamped with commitments. It was nice. Through all of the thinking and pondering I came to realize that a happy life is all about balance.

While there are parts of life that are not as balanced as they should be, my diet for example (that is a whole post itself- ha). There are parts that without a little balance I would not survive. A typical week for us is more than I want to think about, but I will give you some insight...

Monday morning the alarm starts sounding around 3:30. By 4 the hubs is out the door and on to the milk barn to get it started sanitizing the lines before he can milk. Then shortly after the cows are up and moved into the holding lot and ready for milking. By 4:30 at the latest I am up and functioning at some level. This really means throwing on layers of clothing so that I don't freeze while doing the morning chores. I DO NOT DO COLD WEATHER. It is not for me. I head off to the barn to make bottles for the babies and then head out to feed the babies and make sure everyone has water for the day. Right now that means busting ice and bringing in water for those whose is frozen solid. YUCK! Throw in the random "I have to run to the house and make sure that by some odd chance Cole isn't awake" and finishing up chores takes me roughly 30-40 minutes.

Layers...the only way to survive winter!
Sorry for the terrible picture ;)

At this point I am rushing in to the house to start getting myself ready to head to work. By 6:00 I have to be waking Cole up and getting him dressed, teeth brushed, and a stop on the potty. Hoping to make it out the door by 6:15 or 6:30 at the latest. Hubs usually finds his way in around 6:00 to get himself showered and off to work as well. I venture to the babysitters which is right off of the interstate at my exit and then am off to work where I spend my day loving and teaching 5th graders. Throw in tutoring after school two days a week and follow that up with heading back down the interstate to that little boy who sits just off the 107 at the most amazing babysitter EVER's house. Load him up and head back to the farm to start feeding and chores all over again! At this point I cross my fingers Josh will be home before me or around the same time so that we can effectively divide and conquer before milking all over again.

Where does dinner and laundry fit in?? Well if all goes well and J isn't work later than expected then I am in the house around 6:30 to get dinner rounded up and start on load #2 of laundry. (Typically load #1 is started before I head out to do chores) Did I mention we are in bed around 8:30 a large portion of the time??

So after that long (my apologies) explanation of my seemingly long, but really just average day, comes one important aspect, BALANCE. It is how I "survive" this busy life. I work very very hard at work with intentions of bringing nothing home with me. This assures me that my time with Cole is just that, time with Cole. We play together and have fun while doing the things that we love to do. He rides around with  me on the "Wheeler" as he would call it and he plays in the mud or with the dogs or the calves while we do our chores together. He has chores of his own like feeding the dogs. He thinks that he HAS to be the one to do this or it is the end of the world. He also HAS TO put these two parts that I won't dare to explain in the sink in the parlor room each night.

The little man helping us move babies this weekend.
Yes, that is Josh's hat from working in ND. Yes, he HAS to wear Daddy's hat.
Cuteness Overload

Get it? Balance. It is about coming home, throwing on chore worthy clothes and layers, and heading out to do chores so that the hubs isn't on his own and outside until bed time. It is about doing my part of the chores even when I have a bad attitude because I  know it will make my life easier. It is about biting the bullet and milking when J needs to go out and feed hay, even if it means dinner will consist of a baked potato or plain nachos. It is about learning to let go of the fact that some nights the laundry just can't get put away.

Balance is what allows me to enjoy this crazy life that we live. Don't get me wrong, it did not come easy and it still takes adjusting, but I have finally found that point in our new routine where I have learned to look for that balance. I even successfully left dirty dishes in the sink ONE NIGHT because Cole fell asleep in my lap and I didn't want to wake him.

Sometimes life really is messy and beautiful and hard. All at the same time. That is why my next goal is to try to GIVE IT TO GOD way more than I do.

Up this week... a reflection on the weekend, 10 things you might not know about me, and Food for Friday of course!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Food for Friday

I am going to start a new "series" on my blog called Food for Friday. Each Friday I will share one of my favorite go-to recipes. Basically none of my recipes are original and if they come from somewhere else I will link it to the original recipe. However most of them have derived or been adapted from another recipe or several recipes.

I will tell you this now, I am NOT a food blogger and I am NOT a photographer. So none of these posts will be like those you see on the typical food blogs. As a matter of fact, I do not even have a picture of this one! I will try and think it through a little better for next week. I have the typical mom-prob of too many pictures and not enough storage on my phone and the camera is typically never charged. So you get what you get.

Today I was going to share my favorite "go-to" Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe, BUT I can't find it and don't want to mess it up. So maybe next week. There is only one cookie recipe that means more to me than any recipe I will find on the internet...that is my grandma's sugar cookies. This woman could make the BEST sugar cookies ever. She passed away of cancer almost a year ago and I am SO blessed to have gotten this recipe from her. My sugar cookies will never be hers, but I will say they are pretty darn close. The one thing I DON'T do that the original recipe called for is OLEO or margarine. That is a HUGE NO NO in this dairy farm kitchen. So here it is. It is my honor to pass this beauty on to the world. Now get in that kitchen, grab your favorite little person, and get to baking!

My cookie helper. This is my Granny's AMAZING sugar cookies. 
I can tell by the Cream of Tartar.

The Recipe:

Granny’s Sugar Cookies
By: The Life of a Dairy Wife
1 cup sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter– softened/almost melted
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
4 cups + 4 tsp flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tarter
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the sugars, butter, and vegetable oil. Then add the eggs. Blend well. The add flour, baking soda and cream of tarter. Mix. Add vanilla. Eat a few bites. Then roll into balls and place on cookie sheet. Gently “smoosh” them with a fork. Sprinkle extra sugar on top and bake at 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes. Do not let them get too brown or they will be too hard. Place on cooling rack to cool and sprinkle with more sugar if desired.
For a thicker cookie, chill the dough before baking. Grandma’s cookies were always flat and amazing!

Grandma and Cole and Grandma and Me in 2010.

**Disclaimer** If I happened to make a mistake on the recipe, I will take it down until next week. I am hoping the memory didn't fail me.

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

I am that mom...

I am that mom...and I am not sorry about.

*Disclaimer* This post is about me as a mom. You may be totally different as a mother and I appreciate that. I am not judging anyone as I hope you are not judging me.

I read an article the other day that sparked me to write this post. I have been thinking about it over the past few days and just can't get it out of my head. It would have been put into words much sooner had a horrific stomach bug not hit my house this weekend leading to an ER visit for me and a husband at home also sharing the same virus. Needless to say we are seriously thankful for good friends who stepped in and helped out us in a time of need. Unfortunately the cows still need attention even when you are both sick to the point of not wanting to function. All of that excitement aside here it goes...

Many times my friends and even acquaintances that are around my age will be talking about all of the things they did over the weekend. A weekend where they just needed to "get away" and have some time to themselves or to be free of responsibilities (a.k.a. their children). I am very often faced with the question of "Why don't you just get a babysitter?" or "Why don't you guys ever go out?"

To me the answer is simple...because I value the time I get to spend with my family. I love spending time with Cole more than just about anything else in the world. I would rather stay home and watch endless episodes of Thomas (I feel cross about that show) and playing with every tractor and cow we own than get a babysitter. I can honestly count the times on one-hand that I have had to get a babysitter for something. Out of all of those times, I can honestly say that none of them have been just to go out and have fun. I am that mom.

It's all tractors and discs around here ;)

I do not apologize for being that mom and I do not judge other moms. Trust me, there have been times when I have been off during the summer that I have needed a little "me" time. Stay-at-home moms, I envy you, but I also know the struggle from your perspective as well. However, I am just not that person. I have never left my 2 year old over night and I have not left him for anything other than work related things for long periods more than a regular work day. Maybe I am being selfish, but I made the choice to be a mom and I embrace the blessing that God has bestowed upon me.

Aside from the fact that I just plain LOVE my kid to pieces, I do not trust just anyone with him. His aunts and uncles, grandparents, and 2 of our close friends who might as well be his aunts and uncles are the only babysitters that he has. (Well aside from my AMAZING daytime/work time sitter who I would be completely lost without) I know that they all love their time with Cole and cherish it, but I am that person who does not like to inconvenience anyone at any cost. Not to mention Cole is a pretty well behaved child and we take him just about anywhere we need to go. He knows how to act in public and does very well for a 2 year old. Melt downs do happen from time to time, but all things considered I am a lucky mom.

He BEGS to make cookies every night!

I am that mom who realizes that I want to raise a son who knows that family comes first. Even when he is older and has his own kids, I want him to know that I will be there any time he lets me to spend time with his kids or even with just him. I will not be that mom who puts my own selfish or unnecessary "needs" (more like wants) before my family. It is just not me. If there is one thing that breaks my heart it is to see parents who constantly pawn their kids of for unnecessary or selfish reasons. Trust me, the kids will eventually see it in life and know that they are not a priority. (Note that I am strictly referencing SELFISH reasons. Not those necessary times.)

My FAVORITE family picture!

Now that we all grasp the fact that I am selfish with my son, here  is another "I am that mom" point. Very rarely will you see me post things on FB about what my kid is doing developmentally. I do not like to brag about things he does and does not do. I do not get jealous of things that other moms post either. I do know that it can be so easy to say "Look here at Johnny who can count to 100 before he is even 3." However, I also know that it can be daunting to be that mom whose child is 3 and doesn't even count to 10 or doesn't have very good social skills. While I am very well informed on my child's development and what is developmentally appropriate for his age (I am a teacher people), I also know that not all children are the same and not all parents have the same opportunities to teach their children.

I am not worried that my adorable and ornery little blonde boy refuses to count with me half of the time or that he sometimes won't tell me his name. I am his mother and I know what he is capable of and so do the people who make the choice to spend time with him. So I am not in to the "mom-shaming" that goes on even when people aren't aware they are doing it. What I am aware of is that my child is developing just fine and is probably one of the most polite little things you will ever meet. He says Thank You for EVERYTHING you do and knows to say please almost all of the time. He does not have to be prompted for these and even says the cutest "Your Welcome" you will hear. One thing I know more than anything is that he knows how loved he is. Trust me he hears it ALL the time.

Yes, that is right, I am that mom....

The mom who doesn't leave their hardly ever.
The mom who doesn't post a million "look at what my kid did" things on social media.
The mom who does post a million cute pictures of my kid on FB.
The mom who does love her son more than words can say.
The mom who values time spent as a family of three more than any night out on the town.

The mom who hopes I am raising my child to put his family first and his needs second when it is appropriate.

Most importantly, I am that mom who loves my child, and chooses not to judge other moms on their decisions. After all, I am not walking in their shoes. This is just a little glimpse in to why I am the way I am.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

My Thoughts on Winter...

We received a lovely snowfall this weekend. It was several inches less than what they initially said it would be. However it brought a wave of very cold air with it. Have I mentioned how much I despise being cold???

Once upon a time I thought snow was pretty...and then we bought a dairy farm. Here is what cold means for farmers...FREEZING to death! Okay so not really, but to further explain why winter is no fun when you are a farmer I have made a list.
1) Freezing water lines...I feel like no matter what you do to prepare something always sneaks up on you. With this being our first winter on our farm we still have lots to learn. Our morning started out with no hot water in our barn. This is a large problem as you have to have hot water to clean and sanitize your barn and lines. Needless to say they (hubs and his dad) have been working on figuring out how and/or what is wrong with our water heater since this morning.
2) Buckets of water...I hate carrying buckets of water, but the poor animals have to drink! All of our little calves have water in hanging buckets in their pens. It is so cold outside that the water freezes basically no matter what you do. Therefore you have to bust the ice when they freeze solid OR carry buckets of water to freshen up their frozen water. For those who have pond water you have to bust the ice on it when it freezes over. All large water tanks (none of ours are heated) have to have ice busted as well. Needless to say it takes forever and it makes me hate winter that much more!
3) Laundry... As if we don't all hate this one enough, imagine the layers it takes to keep warm. These layers require washing. Need I say more? My laundry multiplies!
4) Cold Feet...I hate when my feet get cold. I have insulated muck boots and my feet still get cold. So it is double socks for me!
5) ICE... Imagine falling on a sheet of ice you didn't know was there. OUCH! Well, one of our cows did just that this morning. The poor girl was down on a small concrete walkway between the two barns where water have run over and frozen into a thick sheet of ice. She couldn't get up so it was time to quickly retrieve the ag sand we use to help with traction and to get her turned so she could scoot to solid ground. Then off to the store for rock salt to help solve that problem. One of those things that we now know and are better prepared for. Live and learn. The mama is up and moving now with just a minor "boo-boo."
6) The aftermath...When the snow melts it turns to MUD. Lots and lots of mud. Everywhere. Mud. Yucky and messy! In with that whole laundry thing...mud makes for even more of it.
While winter is is also messy and cold and yucky! I do however love sledding behind the four-wheeler and hot chocolate. We did not get enough good snow to break out the sled yet. Maybe next time. Unless warm weather blesses us first :)
So I leave you with this thought...when you see a farmer Thank them for their hard work! Winter is not friendly or easy on the farmer, but like I said in my previous post, we turn to God and thank him for the opportunity and responsibility that he has given us. Keep calm and stay warm!!!! I am off to cry now because I have to return to work tomorrow and today hasn't been near as "relaxing" as I was hoping it to be.

Peace, Love, Blessings, and Cows!

60 says hello!

The beauty of the farm from the road :)

Friday, January 8, 2016

God's Gift to Us

I am buried in taxes and bookkeeping at this point, but I wanted to take a minute to get this post in. I spend a lot of time answering one question, "How are you liking milking?" I rank that question up there with "Hey, when are you going to have another baby?" Not that there is anything wrong with any of those questions, but really how am I supposed to answer?

I typically say everything is great or good or fine and that we are really learning a lot. OR well it is good, but it is a bit stressful. I am not going to lie I just really don't know what to answer mainly because I feel like you are really only asking because you want me to say that I hate it. Well, just so you know...I don't hate it.

So here is my heart-felt broken down answer...It is going and we are surviving! Who has a head-over heels love for getting up at 4:00 every morning and having to be home by 4:00 every day or stop what they are doing in the middle of the day to milk cows no matter what they were currently doing?? Who loves twice the laundry just to keep your nice clothes nice and because you were knee deep in it this morning and now those clothes must go straight to the washer before anything else? Who loves bundling up to go out when its freezing cold??  Having a dairy farm is a major commitment that WE chose to make in our (my husband and I) lives. We know that not everyday is full of rainbows and butterflies. Some days are full of waking up at 4 am to a puking child, finally getting him to sleep just to sneak out of the house to pull a baby calf, and in the meantime enjoying freezing wind chills, all the while washing 4 loads of puke and barn clothes all before 7 a.m. Some days run as smooth as silk and everything goes great. ANY farmer will tell you the same story about how there are good days and there are absolutely terrible days.

BUT at the end of any day are we ever sorry we made the choice that we made??? Absolutely not! Not everyone in this world is blessed with the gift of being able to be a part of feeding the world! So those of you just wanting me to say no, I hate our choice of starting a might as well just stop asking! I am in no way sorry for this decision. My outlook on this is- I AM BLESSED! GOD thought enough of Josh and I to bless us to be able to handle the ups and downs of farming. Not everyone is fit to handled those obstacles and they are not easy! Through it all there is one thing that I try to never lose site of is just that, God has a plan for us. We are here because this is right where he wants us to be. Everyday we get up and commit to our four-legged friends and we put their needs before us. We do everything it takes to make sure they have a comfortable life and we make sure that our production is done in a manner that will help safely and efficiently feed the world.

Our family has been blessed in more ways than I ever imagined, but I feel very blessed in knowing that he trusted us enough to give us the talent, knowledge, ability, resources, and heart to be dairy farmers. We are part of a small number of small family farms around the world these days and we are proud to be right where God wants us to be. So to answer your question, yes I am happy we chose to follow God's path and we are blessed to being living the life that we have dreamed of.

With this I leave you sad that today is the last week day of my month long Christmas vacation!! I am off to start chores and then spend the weekend cuddling (or more like wrestling) with my favorite two year old. May you have a very blessed weekend!

ProAg's resident Old Farmer had the opportunity to attend a discussion of agricultural job opportunities with a local youth ag group, and couldn't help to hear a little bit of his father in this Albert Schweitzer quote that was hanging in the room::

This is happiness and it's true on a #farm

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

My New Blogging Adventure

Where do I start...? I have always thought that I should start a blog. I like writing and try not to overload Facebook with my life. Here is the answer- Life of a Dairy Wife! I will be journaling the journey of my family throughout the start of our new adventures!

Here is a little background to get started with. In the spring of 2015 my husband and I started pricing the construction of a new milk barn on our current 18 acre property. We knew it would not be cheap, but we did not want to completely relocate and knew that eventually we would be able to acquire a little more land. We also started the USDA paper work process as well. Any farmer who has worked through USDA knows the paper work is intense! As we were browsing local real estate listings as we always did, we stumbled upon a farm that had a dairy barn on it. It was only 15 miles away and would actually be a great location for my commute to work. So we went and looked at it and started a whole new conversation with USDA. In order to apply for their loans you must have a contract on the property. After much deliberation we decided to put an offer in. A couple of weeks later we were under contract on our "dream" farm. It wasn't perfect, but it fit our needs very well. We also put our house on the market at this time. It was very nerve-racking to have our house on the market without the promise of USDA going through as planned. To say it took a lot of faith would be an understatement.

After a few weeks of waiting and finally getting a little further with USDA, we decided to lower the price on our house. We had lots of immediate interest and multiple offers. We went with the best offer and were under contract on our house. Things started to align very well! Other than the fact that it was looking like we were going to be homeless for a week or so due to the time difference with buying and selling. So we moved into a camper and stored our belongings for what should have been just over a week.

The day before closing came, and the buyers of our place started to cause trouble. They started making demands that were unrealistic and wanted repairs "re-done" before proceeding. I won't go into details, but there were lots of tense moments, tears, lost hope, severe anger, heated arguments, and lots of mixed emotions. After all we were already living on a friend's property in a camper...with a 2 year old and no hot water! Long story (full of BS and drama) short, the buyers backed out because they wanted a several $1000 unnecessary foundation fix. They broke contract. It was absolutely heart-breaking. We were going to have to move back in to our house and say good-bye to all of the work we had went through on the new farm. Our relator stepped in and bought our house as an investment. It was a blessing and a stress as we lost a lot of money this way.

Finally, we were set to close on BOTH places and be ready to move on with our life. The day of move in was crazy busy as it was hay season and there was LOTS of hay to be baled all while my husband was working full time and trying to get us moved in. Our belongings were being stored in our new shop, but had become soaked in the process. I had to wash everything and spray everything for mold. On top of that, the air went out the day before we moved it. It took 3 days to get the part, so our first weekend was spent sleeping in the mud room on air mattresses with a window until air conditioner.
Cole sleeping in the mud room

The house needed some love, so we went to work getting rid of the worst PEE smell I have ever experienced. If you could only see what those little pet pee pads did to this carpet, you would second guess your use of those nasty things! Needless to say it took a 21 year old with no sense of smell to get the carpet removed.
Brother ripping up beautiful blue carpet

A work in progress

Within about a week we were done tearing out and had our new carpet in most rooms. Painting was under way and we had started on some floor repair due to termite damage. In the midst of flooring repairs, we discovered there were termites and had to treat for that. We all know how cheap that was....NOT! I guess that is just part of buying an older house, but it still wasn't fun. I will save anymore house details for a later day. I am proud to say our house is in wonderful living, but not perfect condition in less than 6 months time.
New carpet and furniture in (no paint yet)

On to the farm- We now had to focus our time on our milking facility. It took us until the beginning of September to get everything up and running. We bought our cows and they started calving in September as well. Our other cows that were at a friends house for the time being were also brought home. While one would like to think this would be a joyous and happy time, it was a very stressful time on the farm. We were having to get used to the way our barn ran (which was different than we were used to) and get cows and even a few heifers broke to the new facility. It was a tense time for several weeks. We were both working full time and trying to start a dairy farm. I think exhausting doesn't even begin to cover it.
The only farm picture I can find. The view from the road. Behind those trees is the house and you can see the red milk barn in the far left.
Bringing the ladies home - A wonderful and HOT day!

Welcome home girls!

I think I need to frame this one! The start of something beautiful!

Milking in progress!

I am happy to report that now that we have approached the new year the farm is going very well. We are up and running and have most of the kinks worked out. Things still continue to go wrong, but that is to be expected on any farm. I look forward to posting the happenings on our farm, with our family, and in my career as a teacher. I will be sharing my favorite recipes and other household secrets along the way. In addition, I will share life's greatest moments with Cole, my favorite blonde headed 2 year old!

Stay posted for some (much shorter) posts about my life as a dairy wife!