Thursday, June 18, 2015

A normal Wednesday morning at our house...

I hope your Wednesday was as beautiful as ours!  The weather was perfect, the sun was perfect, lots got done around the house and farm, no complaints here!

In the morning, the kids had their 4-H cattle out for walks and baths.  I took pictures of the kids' yearling heifers.  They are actually aunt and niece, I think...  I know for sure that Bossy (Danny's first heifer, now 6 year old cow?) is mother to one, and grandmother to another.  You can keep trying to figure it out, but I --for one-- am on vacation.

Don't you think this picture needs a caption?
Carrie's choice:  Blair says, "Beth, can you keep a secret?"
Drew's choice:  Blair says,  "Mmmm... Beth, your face tastes yummy!"
Holly's choice:  Blair says, " Tastes like rope!"

Leave your suggestion in the comments below!

And finally, here's a picture of Holly all by herself.  Isn't she a doll?

P.S. I've already ordered a 5 x 7 for my desk at work :)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

It is so good to have a sister!

The day Emma was born, the delivery room nurse said, "This is the best gift you'll ever give your older daughter", and how right she is.  I know my own sister is one of my greatest treasurers!

It rained today, so that meant staying inside.  Holly decided it would be a good day to start her sewing project for 4-H.  She bought some material with jelly beans on it last spring, with the intention of making pajama pants.  Holly's been reading through the project book and decided maybe this year we should start with the skirt.  But, she seems to be over the jelly bean thing, so I suggested that she make a "practice" skirt for Emma out of the material!  (This was also a great way to force us into making a second skirt, since she'll have to model her piece on judging day.  She can't model Emma's skirt, so we can't slack off now!)

Emma was the most obliging fashion model you'll ever meet.  It was "take your jeans off", then "put your jeans back on, it'll be a while", then "take them off again and try on the skirt--watch out for the pins!", then, "okay, take it off again"...

Holly had a lot of fun measuring her and making the skirt for her!  She was so proud of how well it fit and how much Emma liked it!

Holly did a great job for her first try! She remembered a lot of the things we learned at the sewing clinic last February. She is thinking of using something black and white for a more  "classic" type skirt, to be worn with a black sweater and black sandals.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

An afternoon well spent...

Danny received a new fishing pole from his aunt and uncle for his birthday/promotion/confirmation present and wanted to christen it at his favorite fishing spot, a private pond owned by some friends who live "across the country block" as they say.

We picked up his best fishing buddy and we headed over.
The kids headed off to the "Best Spot" on the other side of the lake while I sat down in their beautiful gazebo and began my mental list of all the things I should be doing:

  • cleaning up the kitchen from lunch (we had to rush out in a hurry)
  • folding the 6 loads of laundry on my bed
  • cleaning out closets,
  • vacuuming behind the washer and dryer 
  • sorting through the hats&gloves&mittens&winter coats that all need to be laundered and put away
  • I'll stop boring you with the list now.
After a while, though, the serenity sunk in and I decided to just relax.  

It was a GORGEOUS day!  Not too hot, a slight breeze, the fish were biting, and my kids were NOT fighting with each other!

And here is the miracle in it all:  When I got home the kitchen wasn't really the disaster area I had in my mind, it only took a few minutes to load the dishwasher and wipe down the counters!  Also, the closets still haven't been sorted through, but yet we are somehow all still alive.  Weird, right? Maybe it IS okay to sit back and relax on a beautiful Thursday afternoon and spend time with my children, doing something other than chores!

Hmm... I'll have to try it again to see if it was perhaps an isolated incident...

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The annual well-baby visit...

Yesterday the calves had their well-baby check ups!

We had lots of helpful hands, including my cousin's son, Jake.  He was the lucky winner of the "hold the tail" job.  He also had to push the calves into the head-gate and then out of it when the shots were finished.

 The calves were counted,
vaccinated for pink eye and given a dewormer,
 and implanted with a growth hormone to boost production performance.  After spending all of about a minute and a half in the chute, they were sent on their way, back out to the nice green grass and shady trees!

In today's media, there is so much bad information about growth implants, but here are some FACTS:
  • a 3 ounce serving of non-implanted beef contains 1.3 nanograms of estrogen
  • a 3 ounce serving of implanted beef contains 1.85 nanograms of estrogen
  • a 3 ounce serving of peas contains 341 nanograms of estrogen,
and it was explained to me (by our nutritionist from Dekalb Feeds) that a nanogram is equivalent to 1 blade of grass on a football field. For more information, click here to read more from the University of Nebraska.

The cows also got to take a turn in the chute, too, receiving a new fly tag and a splash of de-louser.  These will keep them SO much more comfortable this summer!  You know what they say, "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy"!

My job was to stay out of the way and take farm-girl selfies!

Monday, May 18, 2015

I'm back. I hope.

I know it's been a long time, loyal blog followers.  I'm sorry.  But here are my excuses, whether you want to hear them or not.

We were in The Wizard of Oz last month!  It was AMAZING!  Everyone had so much fun, the girls were munchkins/lullaby league girls, and Drew was my official page turner as I played the piano for the pit band.  This was the first time PHS has put on a musical since I was in high school (over 20 years ago), and I feel so honored to be able to have been a part of it (both then and now).  I can't wait to see what the future holds!

My first year of Business Applications and Math class is finally coming to an end!  In April, I taught my students how to fill out a 1040EZ and we discussed taxpayer rights, where tax money goes, etc..  We looked at credit and loans after we finished learning about income tax, and then learned ALL about credit scores!  I had the kids work in groups to create a board game with the purpose of learning about/teaching others about credit scores.  The games were all quite different (out of 35 students, I ended up with 7 games), and the kids --once again-- surprised me with what they can come up with!
It's been great, but it's been a lot of work: researching topics to study, learning things so I can teach, writing tests and developing activities to keep the kids interested, but I did it!  8 days to go!  PHEW!

Prom was also in there, but I don't have any pictures.   Let's just say that I've become a bottle-tan fan.  And they mean it when they say go easy on the ankles and toes.  Um... yeah... orange-a-lish.... or not...

Now it's just a count down to the end of the school year!  8 more days!  My garden is planted and we are in the heart of Asparagus season!  Yum!  It's time to think about 4-H projects, but it's also time to R.E.L.A.X.!

Thanks for hanging in there, everyone!  Talk to you soon!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

You know you're a fair kid's MOM when...

My "fair friend" (really she's my always friend, but we know each other mostly through years of 4-H,) shared an article with me on Facebook, "You know you're a fair kid when..." and all of it rang true.

But it got me thinking about all the things that could be said about being a fair kid's mom.  Here goes:

Image result for 4h1.  If your name is on the stall card, it's your responsibility... but if the animals in the next stall over need something, or more specifically-- poop scooped, you do it.  Even if it isn't your animal.  It's called animal husbandry and common courtesy.

2.  You work hard to make sure your kids get at least one decent meal a day during fair week.  For us, this means community style lunches with some club friends-- tacos in a bag, barbecues, or sub sandwiches.  Even if it's just out of the back of my minivan, at least I know where it came from and whose hands touched it!  Also, if a fellow 4-Her is hungry, SHARE!  The 4-H motto:  "for my club, my community, and my world" rings loud and true during fair week!

3.  You know how to stay composed.  When my kids come in last place, I dig deep and always try to be a good example.  On me, this looks like congratulating and patting-on-the-back our fellow 4-Hers who won first in their class or took top place in showmanship.  The judge doesn't care that MY kid was out in the pasture everyday bottle feeding his animal.  He or she really doesn't care that my kid knows how to pull a calf, administer medicine, or spends most of his summer vacation working side by side his dad and grandpa on the farm.  His animal isn't the fluffiest, and yes it's crossbred.  That's what we do.

4.  You learned the politics early on.  But, you try and be the best YOU you can be, because the future of the program depends on the example you set for those who will one day have 4-Her's of their own.  At the end of the week, if we've had fun and spent quality time with our friends, then that is all that matters.  I don't remember the winning or losing from when I was a kid, I remember the good times and the friendships I made!

See where "Mom" is?  At the hind end, making sure everyone stays where they need to.  By the way, did you know that calves tend to kick?  Yeah, they do.  It hurts.  Also, it's not glitter and sprinkles that come out of that end...
5.  Crying at the auction is allowed.  But I have to admit that I get choked up LONG before sale day.  When we're leading the cattle up and down the road in the evenings, when the kids are brushing, washing, petting, and caring for their animals in general, it breaks my heart to know how much their hearts will hurt on Sunday when they have to load the trailer--and not OUR trailer, not headed for OUR farm.  It really doesn't get easier as the years pass, either.  It also brings tears of joy to my eyes to see their hard work pay off as they lead their animals around the show ring and again on sale day, when so many people come out support the 4-Hers and the program.  All in all, 4-H is "good people".

6.  And the clothes:  yes.  The clothes.  I wouldn't be caught dead in my workplace (or public, for that matter) wearing what I can usually be found wearing at the wash rack early in the morning of fair week.  But for those 5 days, it's a matter of getting the job done.  I figure that people see me at my "best" 360 days of the year, they'll forgive me my sopping wet overalls, bandanna and rubber boots.  As far as those show clothes:   my iron and ironing board see more action on the Sunday or Monday before the fair than it does all year.  It's the ONLY time (well maybe at Easter) that my kids get their shirts (and sometimes jeans) ironed!  I don't think that the average person understands how long those clothes STAY clean.  MAYBE 2 minutes.  Those nicely pressed shirts are slobbery/sweaty/dusty mere minutes after being donned.

So, in closing, please remember that behind every "fair kid" are dedicated, hard working, and tired parents.  Parents who sometimes believe more firmly in "making the best better" than is humanly possible.  But, at least we're trying?!?!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sewing Clinic!

Today I had the pleasure of taking Holly to a 4-H sewing clinic sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension.  Holly is signed up for Sewing 1, where her ultimate "project" will be either a pair of pajama pants, a skirt, a pair of shorts, or a 9-patch pillow.  I think she's leaning toward a pair of pajama pants as of right now.

First, the girls were given an introduction to the project judging day (which happens in July, a month or so before the actual fair), and were told what to expect at the "fashion revue", which is a fashion show in the afternoon, where they display their projects for an audience.

Learning the parts of a sewing machine...
Practicing sewing a straight line, turning, and sewing a curved line...
Then the girls split into groups and worked their way around 5 stations where they learned the different aspects of sewing and clothing construction.

Learning to cut out a pattern...
Taking measurements to correctly size a garment...
At the end of the stations, the girls then selected material and made a drawstring bag.  Holly loved every part of the day!

Working on the drawstring bag...

We both learned so much!  I can't wait for spring break when we have hours on end to play around with patterns, fabric, and the sewing machine!