Thursday, March 30, 2017

6 Truths About Being a Mom of 4 Kids

Being a Mom is something that I absolutely love and it is something I am very proud of.  I've wanted to be a Mom ever since I was a little girl.  And to tell you the truth, I've wanted to be a Mom of four ever since I was a little girl.  Sure I thought I was going to have a household of boys when I was growing up, but now I wouldn't trade in my one son and three daughters for anything.

6 Truths About Being a Mom of 4 Kids
My Kids and I from L to R: Miss R, Mr. K, Miss A and Miss L
Since I became a Mom six years ago a lot has changed.  First, obviously, is now I have a house full of kids.  Second, is my parenting style has slightly changed.  Now while I feel like I've always been a pretty laid back parent that is guided by structure and guidelines, I feel like with each year that passes and with each kid added to our family I've learned a few things:

Be Prepared to Share Your Food (And Really Everything...)
I'm not sure the last time I was able to eat an entire meal without someone asking me if they could finish or eat something from my plate...  From part of my salad, to finishing my grapes, to just one bite of my pork chop.  It seems like I'm always being asked to share...  But, I guess we're teaching our kids to share...  So, I guess I need to do a better job of telling them Mom's food is off limits 😉

Teach Responsibility
We are teaching our kids responsibility by having them take care of not only the house, but help on the farm and in our community.  When it comes to teaching responsibility at home, make sure you get your kids involved in taking care of your house.  I actually had a blog post drafted a couple years ago that I never published about chore charts, because by the time I was ready to publish it, I realized I didn't use chore charts anymore.  We have a rule in our house that everybody pitches in.  If something needs picked up, then whoever is close by is going to pick it up.  Everyone helps with setting and clearing the kitchen table, everyone helps with diaper duty, etc.  There is a way for everyone to get involved no matter how old they may be.

You Will Never Have Enough Hands
Think about it, you have two hands but have four kids... the math doesn't quite add up for being able to hold everyone's hands to help them out.  But that is the glorious part of maybe instead thinking how you have lots of hands.  I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "it takes a village to raise a child."  I guess in a way My Farmer and I have created our own village and it is amazing to see how the older children naturally step up and their nurturing abilities take over, even as young as 18 months!  All of our kids do a great job of playing and working together.  They care deeply for one another and are willing and able to help each other out.

Now while going grocery shopping or crossing through a parking lot I still may wish My Farmer's extra hands were always there, we can and do make it work.  It's all apart of taking care of our village.

Have a Daily Routine
I understand with kids you need to have some flexibility, but I believe with any number of kids - one or ten, you need to have a daily routine.  We have a morning routine, a "quiet time" routine, a bedtime routine, and even a routine for leaving the house.  This helps your children to know what to expect during their day, which leads them to simply functioning better, and resulting in being happy.  And like I said, sometimes things get moved slightly and we might not have "quiet time" (aka naps for the younger kids and individual quiet play/activities for the older kids and Mom 😉) start as early as we want, but we do work it in everyday.

One is an Accessory, Two is a Lifestyle, so Four is...
My Farmer always says the saying that "One is an Accessory, Two is a Lifestyle."  It's true, when you have just one kid it's simple to bring them wherever you go, traveling (with or without your child) isn't a huge deal, and while yes you have some toys, you have toys for one developmental stage and for one child.  Add in baby number two and you realize that your children become part of your lifestyle.  Now while we still bring our kids to most places with us, there are times and situations that we realize that we either need to find a sitter or stay at home.  Traveling with a van full of kids takes a bit more patience and a bit more strategy than just one, and getting away and traveling without your kids also takes more organization and commitment.  And toys - we have toys for four different developmental stages.  My advice with that is try to get activities that work for more than one kid.  I will also add that we have a rule in our house that no matter who received the toy, game, etc. anyone can play with it.  It's not "just mine"; everyone can use it.

Lots of Love
In the end, the best part or truth of having four kids is that there is lots of love in your home.  Love from parent to child, child to child, and parent to parent.  I never have to worry about going a day without kisses and hugs from everyone.  Build up your family's love by making your own traditions - from Friday Night Pizza & Movie Night, to Birthday Waffles, to Family Date Nights.  Always be building on your foundation of love.

6 Truths About Being a Mom of 4 Kids

What truths of parenting would you add?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Farmers Helping Neighbors on National Ag Day

Living in the country, the term "neighbor" has a pretty broad meaning.  Factually saying, my nearest neighbor is one mile away.  But if we limit neighbors to just one mile, then I only have three neighbors.  So like many rural residents, I stretch the boundaries of neighbors more than Wikipedia probably accepts.

One thing I love about the farming community is that we stretch our community boundaries, and are always willing and wanting to help out a neighbor.  Several years ago we partnered with many other neighbors to help out some neighbors (they live 5 miles away) harvest their husband/father's fields after he unexpectedly passed away.  We were there for Therron's family not expecting anything in return.  We were there because it is what a neighbor does.  We help each other out.  We are a friendly face giving the farmer wave driving down the road.  We care for the well being of our entire community.

Farmers Helping Neighbors on National Ag Day - Help with Wildfire Relief
The harvest crew for the Therron Miller family, October 2011
Right now is a time that the farming community is coming together to help our neighbors in Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas that have been impacted by wildfires.  Through these wildfires, more than 2,300 square miles have been burned and tragically seven people have died and thousands of cattle have been killed.

Last Friday, Iowa's Governor Terry Branstad signed a proclamation to allow the transportation of oversize and overweight loads of forage on Iowa's roads for the next two months.  This is allowing people to drive large bales of hay and other forages to the ranchers in need.

Another way Iowa's farmers are lending a hand is by an online auction happening on Friday, April 7th at 10 a.m. to raise funds for victims of the recent wildfires.  This is being hosted by the Iowa Cattlemen's Foundation, Iowa Cattlemen's Association and Dream Dirt.  You can learn more about the auction by checking out my friend, and neighbor, Cristen of Food & Swine's recent post.

You can also find a list of other aid efforts on AgWeb.

Do you know of any other ways to help our neighbors affected by the wildfires?  Be sure to share in the comment section below and always remember to Comment for a Cause!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

March Madness Farm Edition

It is the start of March Madness and while I'm getting excited to watch some basketball tonight and hope to see a few ISU Cyclone victories, we're also gearing up for spring planting which will start in just a month.

Getting the Planter Ready

March Madness Farm Edition - Getting the Planter Ready
We've been working on the planter in the shop
Even though there is snow on the ground, we've been working hard in the shop giving our planter its spring-time inspection, maintenance and adjustment done.

Just like your car or truck, farm equipment has many parts that wear down and this is the time of year that we take time to lubricate and get replacements for those parts.  This hopefully will help us to not have any breakdowns after we get into the fields this spring.

Planter Clinics

March Madness Farm Edition - Planter Clinics help Precision Planting Equipment to work properly and efficiently
Getting our planter meters checked ensures
accuracy placing the seed in the ground
Yesterday, My Farmer went to our local tractor dealership for a Planter Clinic, where they learned how to calibrate and set up our planter.  This is essential for making sure our GPS and precision planting equipment are working properly.

Next week we will be getting our planter meters checked, as seen in the photo above.  Seed meters are part of our precision planting system that controls the seeding rate and population of individual rows on our planter.  Each row has its own meter.  This system allows us to start and stop seeding on individual rows, all on the go.  Our seed meters are checked for their efficiency by checking how many skips or double plants the meter gave through a test on the meter machine.  Making sure our meters are working properly is one way for us to make sure that our planter is putting seed into the ground accurately.

Corn and Soybean Seed is Here and Arriving

March Madness Farm Edition - Corn and Soybean Seed is Here and Arriving
Our corn and soybean seed is stored in seed tender boxes
Most of our corn seed has arrived and is being stored in the shop (in fact if you look at the top photo of the planter in the shop, you can see the seed tender boxes along the back wall), and most of our soybean seed will be arriving by the end of the month.

We use tender boxes to store our seed because it allows us to easily switch between different varieties while filling the planter out in the field, plus the tender boxes hold a lot more seed.  Tender boxes hold an average of 2,500 pounds of grain, where traditional bags hold 50 pounds.

So, as you can see, we are having our own version of March Madness here on the farm.  If you are interested in getting a sneak peak at spring planting, check out some of these posts:

What do you look forward to with Spring's arrival?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pi{e} Day Link Up Party + Easy Sour Cream & Raisin Pie

Happy 3.14, also known as Pi Day, where everyone that loves pie (which includes me 😉) has an excuse to eat pie!  I love to not only eat pie, but also make pie.  Something about making the crust, rolling it out, making the filling, getting creative in the kitchen - making pie gives me a sense of accomplishment and happiness.

One of my go to pies in my recipe collection is my Easy Sour Cream & Raisin Pie.  It is a go to recipe because it is super simple and is a fast pie to make, as well as it's a favorite of both My Farmer and my Father-in-Law.  In fact my Father-in-Law has requested this pie from me for his birthday the last few years.

Easy Sour Cream & Raisin Pie

Easy Sour Cream & Raisin Pie

1 cup Flour
5 Tbsp Powdered Sugar
1/2 cup Butter, softened
Dash Salt
1 cup Raisins
2 tsp Cinnamon
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 - 3.4 oz box Instant Vanilla Pudding
1 1/2 cup Milk
1 - 8 oz container Whipped Topping

To start, make your crust by blending the flour, powdered sugar, butter and salt with a pastry blender and press into a 9" or 10" pie plate.  Bake for 10 minutes at 350°F.  Let the crust cool and begin to make your filling.

For the filling, start by boiling the raisins.  After the raisins have boiled for a minute, drain off the juice and add cinnamon, brown sugar and sour cream.  In a mixing bowl combine the vanilla pudding mix and milk.  Then stir in 2/3 cup whipped topping.  Add raisin mixture and combine.  Pour mixture into cooled pie crust and then top with the rest of the whipped topping.

Easy Sour Cream & Raisin Pie

Besides having a slice of pie today, I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate then having a Pi{e} Day Link Up Party.  I have partnered with my old Country Fair Blog Party Co-Hosts: Jan of The Tip Garden and Nicole of Tales of a Kansas Farm Mom to bring this link up to all of you today.  Feel free to link-up any and all of your pie recipes - sweet to savory, traditional to unique.  We want to see them all!

What's your favorite kind of pie?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Monday, March 13, 2017

When Life Gets Busy? Refocus Priorities

It's been awhile since I've blogged.  In the last month I've ran in the Cupid's Undie Run, celebrated Mr. K's 6th birthday and lead a couple activities through some of my volunteer commitments, not to mention being a mom to four kids, wife to a farmer, and have dealt with a couple rounds of "crud" going through our household.

Needless to say, life's been busy.

In fact, I've been doing a lot of thinking and praying lately about my busy life, because it has seemed like I've just been busy and not really productive.  I realized that this was not good for me, and not good for my family.  I needed to refocus and really think about what my priorities are.

So what are my priorities?  

My top priority is obviously my family.  My relationship with My Farmer and taking care of my kids is #1.  I never want to get so busy that I miss out being there for my family.

When Life Gets Busy? Refocus Priorities - Family is always #1
I am so lucky that I get to be Mom to these four 💗
My next priority ties in with supporting my husband and that is the farm.  Anything I can do to help My Farmer and help our farm is a priority.  Farming isn't only the way we make a living, it is also both of our dream and the way we want to raise our family.  Spring time is around the corner and then this role and priority in my life will become greater.

When Life Gets Busy? Refocus Priorities - Farming is more than just how we make a living
Spring planting will be here before we know it for My Farmer and I
My final priority is being a positive role model and a supportive influence for others.  I feel like I can do this through my volunteer efforts.  But I will admit, this is an area where I've been taking a lot of time to think and pray on refocusing where my time would be best spent.  I am a loyal person and that can make it hard to step away.  But as my family and farm both grow, I know I need to give a little in this area.  It's not that my volunteer commitments don't align with my goals and priorities, it is just that I realistically don't have time to fulfill all of these commitments properly and on time.  That is something I recognize and I don't like to give less than all.

So what does this all mean?  What changes am I making?

I'm not positive yet, but it is something that My Farmer and I have been talking through together.  Serving is an important thing to me and it will always be apart of my life, but at this time I know I need to decrease my commitments.  I will add though, that this blog has and is something that I enjoy.  It not only is a personal outlet for me, I know it is supportive tool for our farm too.  Thank you for catching up with me today and I look forward to bringing my blog back into my focus and priorities.

Have you ever had to just stop yourself and refocus when life seems too busy?  What steps have you taken to refocus your priorities?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!