Monday, August 1, 2016

Comments for a Cause - Family Village Farm

Comments for a Cause - Family Village Farm
Happy August 1st!  As a new month begins, so does the start of a new Comments for a Cause.  Before we get into details about this month's cause, let's go through last month's numbers.  Throughout the month of July there were 64 comments on my blog, creating a $32 donation to KaBOOM!  Thank you for helping me support this organization that works hard to support and inspire communities to "play."

In the month of August I'm excited to be donating $0.50 for every comment made on my blog to Global Ministries's Family Village Farm.


Comments for a Cause - Family Village Farm

The first week of August is a busy one for our family because it is also Vacation Bible School week!  I have enjoyed being involved in our community's Vacation Bible School program the last several years and am this year's program's director.  My favorite part of VBS is bringing together kids from multiple churches and towns to discover something new about Jesus and be inspired to help others.  Each year's VBS has a strong mission component, and this year's "Journey to India" program is highlighting Global Ministries's Family Village Farm.

Family Village Farm is a home and community for orphans and impoverished adults in Kasam, located in Southern India.  Families are formed of ten to twelve children, a mother and grandparents living together in a cottage.  There are usually around 150 to 200 children living at Family Village Farm, along with around 15 mothers and 15 grandparents.  Creating these families gives the children and adults opportunities, housing and support.

One opportunity for the resident children is that they're able to attend the school (elementary through high school program) located at Family Village Farm.  The school and activities on the farm, help teach the children skills that will enable them to be self-supporting in the future.

Along with the school located on Family Village Farm, there is a bakery, poultry farm, feed mixing unit and dairy.  The young boys help with tending crops and fruit trees, and the young girls sew school uniforms and hospital linens to help support the Family Village Farm.

Support through Global Ministries goes to providing food, clothing, education and training for the children.  Donations also assist with improvements and infrastructure needs such as restroom upgrades and buses to transport additional children and staff to the school.

So help me continue the efforts of our community's VBS program and comment all month long to support Global Ministries's Family Village Farm.  Did you help with your local VBS this year?  What program did you do?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Country Fair Blog Party: August 2016

I know I say this pretty much every month, but how is it August 1st!  July was a busy month for my family; between 4th of July, family vacation, county fair and my annual girl's weekend - the time flew by.  August doesn't look like it's going to slow down either.  We have VBS, State Fair, a family wedding and school starts.  With so many things going on during the summer, the Country Fair Blog Party is a great way to share what you've experienced and how you like to enjoy your summertime.

Before I share the link-up for this moth's Country Fair Blog Party, here are the Blue Ribbon Winners from the July Blog Hop:

Country Fair Blog Party Blue Ribbon Winner: Best of Long Island and Central Florida's New York Push Cart Onion Sauce
During last month's Blog Party, Best of Long Island and Central Florida's New York Push Cart Onion Sauce, was the most viewed post from the link-up!  Congrats to Linda on getting the most clicks and receiving a Country Fair Blog Party Blue Ribbon!  I have to admit, when I saw this post linked-up I clicked on it right away because I thought it'd be perfect to put on some of my homemade brat burgers.  I love how the "sauce" has both onion and red pepper in it.  This recipe is easy to whip up and a great topper to use this grilling season.

Country Fair Blog Party Blue Ribbon Winner: Cooking with Carlee's Ultimate BLT Pasta Salad
The next Country Fair Blog Party Blue Ribbon goes to another recipe that'd be great for your next BBQ - Cooking with Carlee's Ultimate BLT Pasta Salad.  My family and I are huge pasta salad fans.  I bet I make a pasta salad each week during the summer.  So when I saw Carlee's spin on Pasta Salad, I knew I had to make it.  The recipe has the typical BLT ingredients in it, plus two ultimate ingredients, that make this a perfect summertime side dish.

Country Fair Blog Party Blue Ribbon Winner: Farming Grace Daily's "But what if I don't want to farm, Mom?"
My final Country Fair Blog Party Blue Ribbon goes to Julie at Farming Grace Daily.  Her post, "But what if I don't want to farm, Mom?" is a great parenting post for ALL Moms and Dads.  My Farmer and I work hard so our kids have the opportunity to carry on our family's farming legacy, but at the same time - we aren't going to force it onto anyone.  We will work hard to give them resources to succeed no matter what path they choose to go down.  There is a reason why I tell everyone that I farm "corn, 'beans, pigs and KIDS" - because the most important "crop" I'm raising is our kids.

Join the Country Fair Blog Party by linking up to 3 of your favorite food, family, farming, crafts, canning, etc. posts!
Thanks to everyone that joined our blog hop last month, and I can't wait to see what great posts get linked up to this month's Country Fair Blog Party.  Country Fairs are all about food, family, friends, farming, animals, arts and crafts, canning, baking and more.  And that is what our our blog hop is all about too.  Feel free to join our Country Fair by linking up to 3 of your posts.  This blog hop is a great opportunity to check out new blogs, and if you blog yourself, have your posts reach a new audience.  Be sure to visit some other party goers and let them know you are stopping by through the Country Fair Blog Party.

Country Fair Blog Party Co-Hosts

Also, be sure to visit my fellow co-hosts:
Jan of Tip Garden
Laurie of Country LINKed and
Nicole of Tales of a Kansas Farm Mom

We're excited to see everything you share this month!  What is your favorite link from this month's Country Fair Blog Party?  Whichever post is mentioned the most in the comments will receive my "Readers Choice" Blue Ribbon next month.  Remember to Comments for a Cause!


Friday, July 22, 2016

Back to School Farm Kid Style with Carhartt

Guess what I got in the mail yesterday?  Mr. K's school registration information.  I guess it is official then, it's time to start getting ready to go back to school.  I have to admit, it makes me a little sad because I'm going to miss having Mr. K around each day.  But at the same time, I know how much he loves school, so it makes me excited for him.

One thing Mr. K is excited about, to get ready to go to Kindergarten, is to go shopping for school supplies.  I remember this too as a child.  There's is just something fun and thrilling about getting new pencils, new notebooks, and of course, a new backpack!  When I showed Mr. K Carhartt's new line of school backpacks, he quickly (and excitedly) chose the Camo Junior Bib Pocket Pack.

Back to School Farm Kid Style with Carhartt's new line of back packs
Mr. K and his new Carhartt backpack!
The Junior Bib Pocket Backpack is the perfect size for my soon to be Kindergartner.  I don't have to worry about it hitting the back of his knees, but yet there is plenty of room in it for him to carry his folders and pair of shoes.  I also like that the backpack is water repellent for those rainy and snowy school days during the year.  Mr. K is most excited for all of the pockets!  There is a front organization panel that he says he's going to put pencils and pictures he draws in, and he is going to put his "bus toys" (he has a 45 minute bus ride to school) in the front zippered pocket.  The front zippered pocket will give his toys their own space, separate from the roomy main compartment that will hold his school work.  In the end, with a name like Carhartt, I know the backpack will be dependable, strong and durable.

Back to School Farm Kid Style with Carhartt's new line of back packs

So, would you like for your student to get ready to go back to school with a new Carhartt backpack?  I'm giving away one of Carhartt's new backpacks to a lucky reader in two weeks.  Be sure to sign-up for the drawing through the Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What was your favorite thing about going back to school?  Be sure to check out Carhartt's new backpacks and let me know which backpack you like best (Traditional or Junior Bib Pocket) and who you'd like to get a backpack for.  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Knee High by the 4th of July

Knee high by the 4th of July is an old farmer saying and benchmark for a good corn crop.  But with improved seed genetics and farming practices, farmers expect their corn to be at least waist high if not head high (or higher, like we are seeing this year) on our farm in North Iowa.

Knee High by the 4th of July in North Iowa (Franklin County) 2016
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It has become tradition for us to take a Knee High by the 4th of July photo every year.  It is a fun way to document our farm family, as well as our crop progress for the year.  Check out past years - 2015201420132012.  This year's corn crop looks the most similar to 2012, but add three more kids!

We hope you all had a great Independence Day!  What was the best part of your day?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Comments for a Cause - KaBOOM!

Comments for a Cause - KaBOOM!
Happy 4th of July everyone!  Before I start our weekend's worth of celebrating our nation's independence, I had to share about Comments for a Cause.  I had a great time creating awareness (and even getting inspired in the kitchen) about Alex's Lemonade Stand in June.  Thanks to the 47 comments last month, I am donating $23.50 to this great cause that raises money and awareness of childhood cancer "one cup at a time."

In the month of July I'm excited to be donating $0.50 for every comment made on my blog to KaBOOM!.

Comments for a Cause - KaBOOM!

Comments for a Cause - KaBOOM!
Follow me on Instagram (@PlaggeVal)
to see more of our daily adventures
Just yesterday, the kids and I spent a couple of hours at our local playground.  My kids love the freedom of running around, exploring each piece of equipment, and having fun together.  I realize that not all kids have the same opportunity as mine do.

Have you ever heard of a play desert?  Play deserts are locations primarily determined by quality of playspaces, walking distance, density of children and density of low-income households.  That is where KaBOOM! comes to play.  KaBOOM! works with city leaders through their Playful City USA program to address play deserts, and then offers grants to help them respond to their needs.

KaBOOM! is a national organization that has one simple goal - to protect and preserve playability into the daily lives of all kids, especially in America's low-income neighborhoods.  They do this by creating places to play, inspiring communities to promote and support play, and urging the national discussion about the importance of play in nurturing healthy and productive lives.  Founded in 1996, the organization has built or improved 16,300 playgrounds through the power of over 1 million volunteer hours.  To date, KaBOOM! has served and made an impact for 8.1 million children.

Do you live in a Playful City or have you heard of the program before?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Country Fair Blog Party: July 2016

It's hard to believe it is July 1st! July is the heart of County Fair season in Iowa, and is at the heart of this Country Fair Blog Party.  Before I share how you can link up to this month's Blog Hop, here are the Blue Ribbon Winners from June's Country Fair Blog Party:

Country Fair Blog Party Blue Ribbon Winner: Oak Hill Homestead's 10 Things I've Stopped Buying
During last month's Blog Party, Oak Hill Homestead's 10 Things I've Stopped Buying, was the most viewed post from the link-up!  Congrats to Kathi on getting the most clicks and receiving a Country Fair Blog Party Blue Ribbon!  This post includes several things that she now makes at home, rather than buying in the store, to not only save some money but to have control on what all is in the product.

Country Fair Blog Party Blue Ribbon Winner: A Delightful Glow's Rhubarb Surprise Pie
Each month I ask you to comment on what blog post you liked the most from the link-up and this month's Reader's Choice (and a favorite of mine as well) Country Fair Blog Party Blue Ribbon goes to A Delightful Glow's Rhubarb Surprise Pie.  Isn't Deborah's combination of a crumb crust and cutouts beautiful on this pie before she baked it.  You better check out this post to get the recipe and to discover what the surprise is!

Country Fair Blog Party Blue Ribbon Winner: Learning As I Go's Guilt Free Strawberry Freeze
My final Country Fair Blog Party Blue Ribbon goes to Learning As I Go's Guilt Free Strawberry Freeze.  I'm all about finding alternatives to ice cream.  Even though my family (and I) loved going on our Iowa Ice Cream Road Trip last month in honor of June Dairy Month, I know I don't need to eat that much ice cream, especially weekly.  In fact, now that Miss R is six weeks old, I'm working on eating healthier and exercising daily.  But that still doesn't take away the craving for something cool and sweet at night!  So I'm excited to try Katy's Guilt Free Strawberry Freeze soon!  It'll be a great recipe to add to my healthy, cool treat recipe arsenal with my 3 Ingredient Strawberry Lemonade Sorbet.

Join the Country Fair Blog Party by linking up to 3 of your favorite food, family, farming, crafts, canning, etc. posts!
I can't wait to see what great posts get linked up to this month's Country Fair Blog Party.  Country Fairs are all about food, family, friends, farming, animals, arts and crafts, canning, baking and more.  And that is what our our blog hop is all about too.  Feel free to join our Country Fair by linking up to 3 of your posts.  This blog hop is a great opportunity to check out new blogs, and if you blog yourself, have your posts reach a new audience.  Be sure to visit some other party goers and let them know you are stopping by through the Country Fair Blog Party.

Country Fair Blog Party Co-Hosts
Also, be sure to visit my fellow co-hosts:
Jan of Tip Garden
Laurie of Country LINKed and
Nicole of Tales of a Kansas Farm Mom

We're excited to see everything you share this month!  What is your favorite link from this month's Country Fair Blog Party?  Whichever post is mentioned the most in the comments will receive my "Readers Choice" Blue Ribbon next month.  Remember to Comments for a Cause!

Monday, June 27, 2016

3 Ingredient Strawberry Lemonade Sorbet

* This post has been compensated through the AE Dairy Blog Ambassador program.  All views and opinions shared are my own. *

We have been having some hot summer days lately on the farm.  And it seems like each night my whole family wants something to cool down with for dessert.  Since my family is already eating plenty of ice cream this month since we've been going on our Iowa Ice Cream Road Trip, I wanted to make an alternative.  So I got to thinking about some of my family's favorite summer flavors.  We love lemonade and strawberries are in season now - so I thought, why not marry the two and make a Strawberry Lemonade Sorbet!

This Strawberry Lemonade Sorbet is not only easy, but a delicious, healthy treat.  I used AE Dairy's Reduced Sugar Lemonade, which has a third less sugar than regular lemonade, in the recipe, along with fresh strawberries and a lemon.  You get the natural sweetness from the strawberries, along with a little tartness from the lemonade.  This turned out to be a great, light and refreshing alternative to ice cream for our family, and we especially loved eating it immediately after it came out of the ice cream maker!

3 Ingredient Strawberry Lemonade Sorbet #AEdairy

Strawberry Lemonade Sorbet

1 pound Strawberries
1 lemon (for juice and zest)

In a blender combine lemonade, strawberries, the juice of half of a lemon and a tsp of zest.  Blend till smooth.  Then put in ice cream maker and mix till desired consistency using directions from your ice cream maker.

Makes six servings. Serve immediately. Freeze leftovers up to one month.

3 Ingredient Strawberry Lemonade Sorbet #AEdairy

What do you turn to, to help cool down during the summer?

Popsicle?
Smoothie?
Remember to Comment for a Cause and let me know your favorite way to cool down.  I'll choose one of the commenters of this post at random in two weeks and will send them a coupon to try AE Dairy's Reduced Sugar Lemonade!  And what a better cause to comment for to go along with a Strawberry Lemonade Sorbet than Alex's Lemonade Stand!

3 Ingredient Strawberry Lemonade Sorbet #AEdairy