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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Getting Back in the Saddle with an Old Favorite Game

I've been trying to get back to you dear readers for a while now, but you know how this crazy life of mine works......Besides the effort to start carving out time for myself again, I wasn't quite sure how to say, "I'm BACK!!!!!!!"  As I was reading a blog post from Cranberry Morning, it dawned on me to get back to my roots, grab a badge, and join a group of other bloggers in sharing ideas on the same thoughts.

So, if I can remember how to insert the badge,..........Here's to

1. Way back when (the Hodgepodge bicentennial to be precise) several of you submitted questions as part of a giveaway I was hosting. I went back to that list for inspiration today and found a question  submitted by Marla, who blogs over atMarla's Musings. Thanks Marla! 

She asks-At what age did you feel like a 'grown-up'? What keeps you young now?   

~That's such a great question Marla.....I honestly have to say it came in stages, from driving on my own the first time, to going away to college, moving to a new town for my first job and living on my own, about my sixth year of teaching, falling in love with Tall Guy, becoming Mrs. Tall Guy (at the grand age of 39), and then becoming a mother.  I do have to say, that about the time I would feel like a grown up, I would also wish that I was a kid again. At 53 with girls "almost"11 and 13, and becoming an active part of our farm operation, I just have to keep thinking young thoughts.  My one secret, though, is sometimes I just like to go out and take a walk with Sadie, our dog, or go find a purring kitten to play with for a while as the stresses melt away, and my inner happy self gets the upper hand.
2. When did you last buy a vehicle? Was this by design or because you had no other option? Was the car/truck purchased for your own personal use or was it bought for someone else to drive? On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being delightful and 1 being 'pass the Excedrin') how would you rate the experience?

~We bought our Honda Odyssey van about three years ago, new, and it's time to trade her in for a newer model.  It has 80,000 miles on it, and I am here to tell you that these vehicles are GOLD!  We are constantly getting mailings from our dealer asking us if we are ready to trade.  This next Odyssey, though, will NOT be silver.  Silver seems to be the color of preference for Odyssey owners, and more than once I have tried to get into a van that was not mine! Our dealer is pretty wonderful, so I rate this experience a 10.

3. Corn bread, corn chips, corn pudding, corn on the cob, cornflakes, corn chowder-your favorite of the corn-y foods listed? What needs to be served alongside your selection?

~Any person from Indiana would have to go with corn on the cob!  TO.DIE.FOR!  Our favorite question at the table is, "Do you want any dirt on your corn?"  Dirt is pepper, and there are very strong feelings on both sides of this question.  The very best food to serve along side corn on the cob is a hamburger or steak from our beef cows.......  Icing on the cake would be fresh tomatoes. 

This corn was already frozen, but it once was on the cob! 
I like dirt on my corn! And BUTTER!

4. What's something in your life that regularly requires you to 'put your thinking cap on'?

~Coming up with meal ideas.  I have a ton of cookbooks, and my friends and Gooseberry Patch have blessed me with several options, but we have been going in so many directions lately that it's hard to get into a meal planning routine.
~Keeping our youngest, Bear, on an even keel.  At almost 11, puberty is showing signs of arriving, and stress seems to be her big hurdle.
~Trying to let our oldest, Tink, spread her wings as she goes to the junior/senior high school for the first time.  She is a bit of an introvert, and that makes me worry that she will stay in the background. So far, though, she has been a very happy girl, and she is playing on the co-ed junior high soccer team.

5. Share a favorite movie set in a school or classroom, or whose theme relates to school days in some way.

~Oh Gosh!  It has to be Dead Poet's Society.  As a former English teacher with 18 years in the classroom, that one jumps to mind immediately, and the "Captain! My Captain!" scene makes me cry every time.

6. Reading, writing, and 'rithmatic' are commonly referred to as the three R's. What are the three R's in your life right now?

~Running, as in getting girls to volleyball and soccer practices,  Reclaiming my house by trying to clean and file all the summer stuff before we go to the field.  Right now there is a terrible smell coming from my pantry.  I bravely went through all the shelves, but I have not found the source. There may be a dead mouse a the root of this evil (NOT my favorite thing to look for), but I have purged my pantry of several items way past their expiration date.  There might have been a can of V-8 juice with a 2001 expiration date on it........, and Remembering my Aunt Sue who left us today at the wonderful age of 96.  What a wonderful life she had, and what wonderful memories she gave us all.  She is in the front of this picture with two of her sisters, her daughter, and an adorable niece and nephew....the niece is me ;-)

7. What's something you've learned or tried recently you can say was as 'easy as ABC'?

~Hmmmm....... nothing in my life lately has been as 'easy as ABC' lately. That one is a tuffy!  Drifting off to read a book from the Outlander or Lord John series is pretty darned easy, but it's also counter-productive to my efforts to get the house clean and files filed......sigh....

8. Insert your own random thought here.

~I'm so glad to me joining this Wednesday blog session with you!  I have missed my blogging friends and making new ones through posts like this one.  Thanks for letting me share!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Keeping It Fun and Healthy This Summer with #FuelUpPlayLearn !

Well, Hey there!  How is your summer going?  Mine has been on the fast track, but the girls are away at 4-H camp, and I have found some precious time to check back in with you all.

With the girls being out of school, I've been trying to find ways to keep them from adhering their hind parts to the comfy seats in our home.  Are you having fun with that too?  While they are in school, it's fairly easy to make sure they are eating healthy and getting enough activity during the day, Remember my Fuel Up to Play 60 posts from the spring?  Click here and here for a quick refresher.

Now that school is out, however, it's my turn to make sure they are keeping up their activity levels over the summer, and I wanted to incorporate some kitchen time with them so that both girls start being more self-sufficient make their own meals and snacks.  That would really help me out come this fall when I'm out in the fields with the guys helping with harvest, and the girls are homing wondering what I am going to fix for supper.

So how DO we keep the kids off the couch?  Around here, there are always chores to do, and while they might not involve a lot of movement, there is some heavy lifting and "weights" involved in feeding and getting their calves ready for the 4-H in July.

Another great option to keep them moving is taking advantage of different camps offered in your area through out the summer.  Like I mentioned up at the top, both girls are away at 4-H camp, where I know they will be up and going.  Bear also attended a three day volleyball camp for girls her age.

Other ways are to let your older children start offering to babysit.  We all know how much energy is involved with corralling toddlers and preschoolers.    Then there is always the one aerobic activity just about everyone female in the world enjoys (except for me!):  shopping!

I will admit that I have been logging some major step totals when we do venture out to the mall.  The key part is to keep them busy and limit "tush on the cush" time.

The other part of the Fuel Up to Play 60 idea centers around eating habits.  With all the fresh veggies and fruits available throughout the summer months, there are so many ways to eat healthy, BUT it's nice if kids can start pulling simple meals together.  The National Dairy Council is a major sponsor of this movement, so lets not forget how important dairy is to a growing child's daily nutrition intake.

One new item in our refrigerator is this milk from our neighbor to the north, Fair Oaks Dairy:

It has helped Tink out with some digestive issues, and we and thankful for that.  The ultra filter milk

lactose free!

As for preparing meals, Miss Bear has her yummy cheese quesadillas, down to an art!

By itself, this snack is a great source of protein and calcium.  It is a great, simple building block for kids to create a healthy meal.  You can add vegetables, beef or chicken strips, and hit all of your food groups.  Now if I could just get bear to add these yummies to her quesadilla....  She will eat hers on the side along with some fresh berries or watermelon.

What fun healthy foods can your kids make?  I would love to read about them. What are some of your kids' favorite outside summer activities Let's share and start a new summer project of kids cooking healthy in our kitchens and staying active through the summer.  Use the hashtag #FuelUpPlayLearn.  I can't wait to see your ideas!


Monday, May 25, 2015

Our Own Indy 500 Here on the Farm

Happy Memorial Day Everyone!

I have to admit, I felt just a tinge of that green devil as I saw all the fun camping and race pictures feeding through Facebook yesterday.   Here's what our very own Pit Crew looked like after helping Dad and Gpa fill the bean planter.......

....but we started the weekend off clean.

We rarely get to relax like that this time of year, at least not as a family.  The girls and I did scoot off for a bit of fun Saturday in West Lafayette,  We discovered these newest street art projects on the West Side.  I believe the theme is "Lions and Tigers and Bears~!"  The one Lion and one Tiger, though, I believe reside across the river.

All Fired Up fun......

Lupper (Lunch/Supper) at Scotty's and then we saw Pitch Perfect 2......

but yesterday was more work focused.

This is the sunrise that travelers saw as they made their way to Indianapolis for the Indy 500.  It's also the same sunrise campers woke up to, and farmers judged the sky and weather by.

After church and a parts run, the girls and I headed out to pick some more asparagus, but we had to have our own little version of a Pit Stop to help Tall Guy and Grandpa load up the bean planter.

Guess which one was on graphite duty on this first pit stop?

After wading through some very tall grass, finding a good bag full of our favorite veggie, and saying, "Hello!" to Mr. Crane,

we had a call to come back and help with the planter again.

Tink's turn with the Graphite bottle.....Gpa is trying to giver her a few, uhm, pointers????

Did I mention that it was EXTREMELY windy out on the Ridge and Prairie?  Sheesh!

We might not have clocked a pit stop in and out in under 10 seconds, it was more like 10 minutes, but working with the good ol' "Many hands make for light work,"  we helped the planter get back in the field in pretty good time.  As I type, we have one more bean field to plant of ours, one possible replant on 80 acres of corn, and about 100 acres of beans in the next county south to get in for a friend.  Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend with family and friends.  Say a thankful prayer for those who are serving our county and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy these moments.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Fuel Up to Play 60 in Action

After learning the basics about Fuel Up to Play 60 in yesterday's post, I thought I would share some insights from three people who have implemented this program at their schools.

First up is Caren Walker, Family and Consumer Science teacher at Klondike Middle School.  Ms. Walker has worked with FUTP60 for five years. She describes how she got her fellow teachers and school on board with the program:

     " [I]collaborate with the PE, Health and FACS teachers!!  Get everyone together and brainstorm what you’d do with X amount of money, then brainstorm how your departments could work together to promote health, nutrition and exercise with your students.  I also contacted the Food Service Director for our school’s corporation and got her on board since I needed her to supply some of the information for the grant (amount of milk consumed, etc)."  

Below Ms. Walker and two other teachers accept a check from Diane Ruyack and Mary Nicholson, Indiana's Fuel up to Play 60 Leaders from the Indiana Dairy Association.

One of Klondike's most successful activities was a tailgate party before a KMS football game, "It was a huge success with parents and the school community loving this activity.  We will do this again is we receive a grant for the next school year since there was some cost to this activity."

A bit farther south from me is Crawfordsville, where Angie Frost RD, CD works with the Crawfordsville School Corporation to give the students there healthy choices for their school meals. Here is her opinion of the FUTP60 program:

       "FUTP60 has helped us reinforce our message of healthy eating and physical activity. As a Registered Dietitian and sutrition educator for a school corporation, I love how the programs teaches kids that healthy eacting and physical activity have to go hand-ih-hand so they can be the best they can be in the classroom, on the field and in health. The lessons learned from this program also trickle into the family home as well. For instance, after a taste testing a, student went home to tell her parents about the hummus and yellow bell peppers that we tried during a lesson. The mom, who had never tried hummus was skeptical but bought some hummus at the store and is now hooked and loves all the flavors. During a class celebration, the same mom brought hummus and veggie strips to share bringing the lesson full circle!"

Here are some pictures of Crawfordsville students learning about the new "My Plate" by playing a version of corn hole, a beloved game here in Indiana.

My Plate has a regular dinner plate divided up in to the five food groups that every meal should try to include.

At our wonderful little school, Sacred Heart, Teresa Gretencord, our P.E. teacher at the time, joined with Fuel Up to Play 60 to help students become more active.  From the money she received, she was able to purchase small pedometers for all of the students. Her goal was that they would become more conscious of how much activity they they did or didn't have in a day.  They recorded their steps every day, and then at the end of grading periods, they would total them up to see just how far they walked.  By the end of the school year, they were surprised to see just how many miles they had accomplished! By the map of Indiana posted in the front hall, the kids saw those miles turn in to trips to cities and towns around the state!

This push to walk evolved to a morning walking program that we still have.  Several of our students are car riders, and they get to school before the classrooms are open.  They all now know to drop their coats and bags in the gym and start walking until the 8:00 bell rings.  It's a great time for them to chat with friends and catch up on the latest news.  Sometimes you will see much younger siblings walking with their big brothers/sisters.  This program is a great way to get the kids out of any morning sluggishness and jump start their brains for a productive day!

Our principal, Mrs. McPherson, evens joins the kids in the morning walk.  It's a great way to get to know kids and see how their day is starting.

So, Fuel Up to Play 60 is a program for kids 1-15 and beyond.  Teachers, dietitians, and parents see the great benefits from students being more active and eating healthier foods and snacks.  Is your school involved with FUTP60? For the schools in Indiana, Mary Nicholson would love to talk to any one interested in learning more about the program.  Her contact information is nicholson@winnersdrinkmilk.com.  As a farmer, a mother, and a former educator, I am completely behind this program to help our kids eat healthy, whole foods and exercise every day.  This is a win-win team effort.  I hope you will consider joining the team.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by American Dairy Association Indiana and the NFL’s Fuel Up To Play 60 Program. Through a series of posts, I’ll be sharing information about Fuel Up To Play 60 and how you and your kids can get involved.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Do Your Kids Fuel Up to Play 60?

Have you heard of Fuel Up to Play 60?  Do you remember seeing commercials about this program while watching your favorite NFL team play?  This is a great program for kids, schools, and families, and it is available to all who sign up to play.

So do your kids Fuel Up to Play 60?

What does that mean exactly?

Fuel Up to Play 60, FUTP60,  is actually a nation-wide project taken on by the American Dairy Association (ADA) and the National Football League to encourage kids, schools, and families to prepare and eat healthy meals and move at least 60 minutes a day.

I know it's hard for us to get our heads around the fact that some children arrive at school without eating breakfast.  You've heard the assertions from doctors and teachers that students learn better with a nutritionally balanced breakfast to start the day.  It's also hard to imagine kids not wanting to go outside to play until the crickets start chirping and the pinks and oranges fill the western sky.  With the busy schedules we keep and the easy accessibility of games on phones and tablets/iPads, however, kids just don't get enough feet to the ground time.  In some elementary schools, P.E. is only taught once a week.

The ADA and NFL came up with Fuel Up to Play 60 to provide students, teachers, and parents motivating and life changing activities to promote and ingrain healthy eating and exercise habits. How do you learn more?  Just go to the national website:  http://www.fueluptoplay60.com/about/  At the bottom of the Home Page, there are several links.  Click on the ABOUT link, then click on "you can help bring Fuel Up to Play 60 to your school."  There is a very clever letter that involves kids in taking the initiative to get their school involve with the program by helping them create a letter to their school's principal or teacher.  Here's a bit of the letter to see just how Fuel Up to Play 60 will help get a program started in a school:

"When we sign up for Fuel Up to Play 60, our school gets:

• A free School Wellness Kit with a Quick Start Guide, banners and removable decals we can hang around school and other planning tools for adults and students

• Access to an online Playbook with ideas for spreading the word and challenging kids at our school to eat right and stay active. The Playbook includes “plays” or Action Strategies that help students and adults bring the program to life. Plays include fun ideas like a Milk Moustache Booth, Menu Makeovers, Trivia Contests, Schoolwide Walking Club and In-Class Activity Breaks.

• Access to the Fuel Up to Play 60 Online Tracker where we can log and track our healthy eating and physical activity behaviors.

• Opportunity to engage in Challenges for a chance to unlock digital rewards (e.g., badges) and win other cool rewards."

In Indiana, we have our own state website:  http://winnersdrinkmilk.com/ that will help implement Fuel UP to Play 60 in our schools.  Indiana Dairy Council works closely with the Indianapolis Colts to encourage kids to eat well and get up and play for 60 minutes a day.  There are even grants up to $4000.00 that schools can apply for to help get programs started.  Other states have their own programs as well.

As I've read more and more about this program's foundation, I really like how it puts students' health first and encourages them to share their new found fun with their friends.   Tomorrow, I will share with you perspectives from two schools and a registered dietitian that show the benefits to children in FUTP60's program.  In between times, ask your kids if they know about Fuel Up to Play 60.  If they know about it, listen to what they have learned.  If they don't know what it is, take some time to look at the links above to see how your school can join in the movement to eat well and play. Check out the Free Downloads under the Order Materials on the Indiana site.  There are several tools to help you promote good health at home.  Come back tomorrow to learn more about Fuel Up to Play 60 #FuelPlay

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by American Dairy Association Indiana and the NFL’s Fuel Up To Play 60 Program. Through a series of posts, I’ll be sharing information about Fuel Up To Play 60 and how you and your kids can get involved.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hey There Lover Boy!

Hmmmmm....... Looks like our eight special heifers have a visitor.  Why are these eight ladies special?  Tall Guy culled them out of our beef herd to become breeder cows to start our little cow/calf operation.  Who is their visitor?  He's a gentleman from a few miles west;  I think we will call him Bubba the Bull.  Bubba has an exciting two weeks or so ahead of him.  He gets to meet these ladies up close and personal so that in January or February we will have the calf part of our new little venture.  Let's see how their first date is going shall we?

He seems to like the food here.  That's a good start.

Awww....Looks like he's bashful or playing hard to get.

Oh look!  This young lady has discovered Mr. Bubba and has decided to introduce herself.

What?!?!?!  Smooching behind the bleachers already?  We may have a hussy on our hands.

Now the rest of the ladies, in a true act of female "inquisitiveness," have decided that our hussy shouldn't be the only one to have Bubba's attention.

Good Grief!  Is there a kissing booth going on back there?

Mr. Bubba has decided to take a stroll around his vacation home, and the ladies don't want him going away lonely.

These four seem to be the most bold  and forward of the eight.

Dinner for three????  Guess it's not considered a crowd in the World of Moo.

Here they are, up close and personal.  Who do you think he will "service" first?  I wonder if there is something weird about watching bovine mating rituals?  It is important to make sure everyonen is getting along and getting friendly.

Bachelorette #1?

Bachelorette #2?

Bachelorette #3?

or Bachelorette #4?

I will keep you up dated on any fraternization that I see in the weeks to come.  No, I won't be taking pictures of it all, but I will let you know if he was successful in his efforts.   


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