Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter Traditions - Creating Memories!

Happy Good Friday!  I'm looking forward to Easter this weekend to not only celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and to spend time with family, but to also continue traditions and start new ones with my family.  I thought I'd share a few of our Easter traditions with all of you!

  • Make Easter Cards for Family Members - So, anyone that knows me well, knows I'm a little bit of a card junkie.  I don't know what it is, but I love sending cards to loved ones.  Now that LP is getting older he has been helping me make cards.  This year we made egg shaped, shaving cream marbled, cards.  For anyone who hasn't marbled paper using the shaving cream method before, you'll have to give it a try - it is easy and creates beautiful patterns and colors!
LP checking out a couple baby chicks
  • Visit Baby Chicks, Ducks and Turkeys - This year LP and I went to our local feed store and visited all the baby chicks, ducks and turkeys that they got in this week.  I never did this growing up but decided to start this tradition based off a recommendation from our children's librarian.  LP had a great time checking all of them out!
  • New Easter Outfits - Easter is an excuse for me to not only find some new church clothes for LP, but for My Farmer and I too.  This year I bought LP a new polo shirt, My Farmer a new shirt and me a new dress.  (Don't tell anyone but I decided to wear my new dress last night to Maundy Thursday service instead of Easter Sunday - I guess I was too excited to wear it!)  Growing up, my sisters and I got new Easter dresses quite often, so I guess this is why I continue to do this tradition.  Did you know that this tradition actually started a long-time ago?  Early Christians sometimes wore the same clothes throughout Lent.  This was an exercise in self-denial and spiritual discipline used to help Christians focus on the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus.  The period of abstaining from changing clothing ended on Easter Day, when everyone would don new apparel for their Easter celebration.
  • Easter Lily Memorial at Church - Every year through our church, my Farmer and I buy an Easter Lily plant, which then is displayed at church starting on Easter Sunday morning and for a couple weeks following.  You can denote your lily as a memorial or honor towards someone, which we have usually made ours a memorial to loved ones who have passed away.  This year we decided to make ours in "Celebration of the Resurrection."
LP with his Easter Basket last yar
    • Easter Basket - I love putting together an Easter basket with a couple things in it for LP.  This year he is getting candy, sidewalk chalk, a train car and a new Easter story book.  One of my Mom's cousin's also made him a cute Easter basket out of an old milk jug last year that I put everything in.  We always go to Sunrise Service at church, followed by the Youth Group Easter Breakfast and then come home to get ready for Easter Dinner.  LP gets his Easter basket after church and before dinner preparations.
    • Read the Easter Story - Growing up my Grandma would read the Easter story to all my cousins, sisters and I before we went on our Easter Egg Hunt at my grandparent's house.  Now, I have started reading the Easter story to LP on the night before Easter.  The children's story book I have been using for LP so far has been The Easter Story, by Patricia A. Pingry.  I like how my Grandma read the Easter story to all of us before our hunt, so I think this year before our hunt I'll share the story of Easter by making Resurrection Rolls.
    • Resurrection Rolls - Last year was the first time I had heard of these, through the wonderful world of Pinterest, and I'm excited that this year LP might be old enough to enjoy doing them (or at least LP and his older cousin).  If you haven't heard of these, it is a great way to share the Easter story through food.
    My niece and LP at last year's Easter Egg Hunt
    (This year is going to have to be inside the shop though,
    it'll be too wet to have it outside
    • Easter Egg Hunt - This year I'm hosting an Easter Egg Hunt. for a second year, for LP and his older cousin on Easter Sunday afternoon.  I carry on a similar Easter Egg Hunt tradition that my Grandma did for my cousins, sisters and I growing up.  The kids search for plastic eggs that have bible verses, special messages - such as give your Dad a hug or spin in a circle three times, and of course prize eggs.  About a third of the eggs are prize eggs, a third have interactive messages in them and a third have bible verses in them.  My Mom helped me put the hunt together last year and helped me out already for this year's hunt too.  (If you're looking for an Easter Egg Hunt to do for slightly older children, check out this hunt from iMom.  It has the kids find puzzle pieces that tell the Easter Story.)
    • Deviled Eggs - Of course food is a big part of any tradition right?  Well for me, I feel like you can't have Easter Dinner without Deviled Eggs.  For something fun and different, I'm going to try dying my deviled eggs!
    What are some of your favorite Easter traditions or memories?  Join the conversation on the Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids facebook page!

    Wednesday, March 27, 2013

    Hump Day Bump Report

    Whop! Whop!  30 weeks!  That means I'm 75% done with the pregnancy and MP will be making his/her debut in just a couple of months.  Here are ten questions to let you know how my pregnancy is going:

    • How far along?  30 weeks down - 10 to go!
    • Baby size:  Cucumber
    • Baby milestone:  The baby is strong enough to grasp a finger!
    • How are doctor appointments going?  I'm at the point now that I visit the doctor every other week.  This also means that I have appointments with the other OB/GYNs on staff besides my doctor, because at my hospital, whoever is on call is the one who delivers your baby.  I had an appointment at the end of last week with another doctor and he told me that he thought the baby would come early.  He actually thought my due date was wrong, so that is always good to hear that the baby just might come early!
    • What is the best thing about being pregnant?  The best part is probably not feeling that guilty falling into temptations of food cravings.
    • What is the worst thing about being pregnant?  For me it is the feeling of being fatigue and the hormone changes.  I don't know why, but for some reason both with LP's pregnancy and now MP's, my body reacts to hormone changes by growing skin tags.  Not a fun thing but I guess things could be worst.
    • Have you been having any weird baby dreams?  I haven't had a weird baby dream since the very beginning.  I take that as meaning that I am pretty comfortable, calm and cool about this pregnancy, labor and life after baby.  I think during LP's pregnancy I did have some weird baby dreams but that was probably because there was more of an unknown and probably a little anxiety.
    • Do you have any swelling?  Not too bad.  I can feel a little swelling in my fingers, but I'm still able to wear my wedding ring.  And as for my ankles, they're still good - I can still wear my cowboy boots with ease!
    • Food cravings:  Nothing too crazy again.  If anything I'd say Reese's peanut butter eggs - but that could just be because I have Easter candy in the house...
    • Emotions:  I guess you could say that I am feeling busy lately.  I don't know if it is because I'd rather sleep, than work on my to do list, or if it is because I simply just have a lot going on.
    What questions do you have for me about my pregnancy or about being pregnant for the second time?

    Thursday, March 21, 2013

    A Quick Blogging Brief

    And now, a quick blogging brief from our sponsors...

    Or should I say from the writer or owner or I don't know - it's from me!  So, I wanted to let you all know that I've done two updates to my blog lately.

    • First, all comments will now need to correctly type a "word verification" before the comments will be posted.  I hate having to do this but I have been receiving a lot of spam comments lately, which then makes me go into my blog and delete them, which then made me accidently delete some actual user/friend/follower comments.  Like I said, I hate to do this, but the amount of spam I have been receiving lately has been driving me crazy and this is one of the easiest ways I figure I can keep my sanity!  I hope you all understand.  Please keep posting comments - I love hearing from my readers!
    • Second, for those that use Google Reader to read blogs, you probably have heard or seen that Google Reader is shutting down July 1st.  I even noticed today that Google took the Reader link off its top menu bar.  I loved using Reader to keep up to date on all the blogs I follow, so with the news of Reader going away I searched for a replacement and I have decided to go with Bloglovin.  First, it is easy to transfer your Reader list to Bloglovin.  Second, Bloglovin has easy tools to categorize your blogs that you follow and I love how you can look at similar blogs to those that you already follow if you're looking at expanding your blog network.  Here is the direct link to my blog!
    Thank you all for going through these changes with me.  I hope this "quick blogging brief" is helpful for all of you!

    Wednesday, March 20, 2013

    Hump Day Bump Report

    My winter exercise routine - leg presses with LP
    This is week 29 and I do have to say that I'm definitely starting to feel like I'm in the final trimester.  Here are ten questions to let you know how my pregnancy is going:

    • How far along?  29 weeks down - 11 to go!
    • Baby size:  Acorn Squash
    • Baby milestone:  The baby is growing white fat deposits under its skin which is giving the baby a surge in energy
    • Due date story:  So... when we first got pregnant and had our first ultrasound the baby was moving so much they could never get a good reading/measurement, so my doctor gave me the due date of May 24th according to my cycle calendar.  The following month my doctor checked MP again and thought the baby wasn't that far along to have a due date of May 24th and he switched my due date to June 6th.  Then at my mid-point ultra sound the baby was measuring at May 30th for a due date.  So... officially my due date is June 6th but I've been telling everyone Memorial Day.  The baby is measuring a little big so maybe MP will follow suit of it's brother and come early (LP came 10 days early)!  A girl can hope right?
    • Any new feelings since entering the Third Trimester? Not to get too personal, but I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom for the first time last night - that made me feel like I officially entered the third trimester.  And MP just seems a lot more active which is probably because the baby is getting bigger and things are starting to get more "cramped" inside the womb.
    • How is it being pregnant with a toddler?  To tell you the truth I was a little worried about my energy level, since it seems like when you're pregnant and when you have a new born you can be tired often but so far I think I've managed fairly well keeping up with a toddler.  I do have to say that now when LP coughs he'll run to the bathroom and cough over the waste basket...
    • How are the baby names coming along?  My Farmer and I haven't talked baby names in awhile so we should probably get back at it.  We have names that we like for both a boy and a girl but right now I like our girl names more than our boy names.  And no, we aren't telling anyone any of our ideas.
    • Are you going to take any professional maternity photos?  No, I guess I've never really gotten into the maternity photos but we did have two-year old photos of LP taken at the beginning of the month, so our family photos kind of show me pregnant in them.
    • Food cravings:  Nothing too crazy this past week - but I do enjoy having something sweet for dessert!
    • Emotions:  I think I'm feeling pretty good and am overall pretty happy-go-lucky.  I do feel like things have been busy lately and that time is flying by.  I swear it was just the other day I couldn't believe it was March and now it is March 20th!  (But I don't think it is only pregnant women feeling that way!)
    What questions do you have for me about this pregnancy or about being pregnant for the second time?

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

    An Ag Day Poem: A Day in the Life of My Farmer

    My Farmer starting his morning this Ag Day
    As I got to thinking about National Ag Day I thought about my family, especially my husband, who I affectionately call My Farmer.  My Farmer works hard all day, every day of the year.  Many people wonder what a farmer even does in the winter – well, here is a look at a typical winter day lately for My Farmer:  

    He’s starting up his pick-up, often before the morning sun is due.
    The coffee pot is brewing, to help him make it through his list to do.

    First thing on the list is to check the hogs – good thing he has his snow plow ready so he can get there,
    See, he’s the first one on the gravel roads, neighbors depend on him to clear the way as much as the hogs care.

    After the hog chores are done and the neighborhood roads and driveways are clear,
    Its 9 o’clock and time to meet with the banker – I get a call that asks to set out some clean clothes to wear.

    Following the morning meeting it is back to the list, he consults his memory to figure out what is next,
    Check the grain bins and work on the semi – we’ll be hauling to town next week and they could use a check.

    It’s the end of March and planning has started for spring,
    But it’s hard to be thinking corn and soybeans when wondering what the next snow storm will bring.

    Better run the plow one more time around – it’s getting late and the sun is going down.
    Can’t wait to eat supper with the family and play one round of tickle monster before a church meeting in town,

    At home at last, ready to call it a night,
    Check the overnight trades and go through the bills under the office light.

    Kisses good night from everyone, prayers for strength to get up in the morning and go,
    This isn’t a life of a super hero or the wealthiest person around – it’s a day in the life of My Farmer, a man I love and cherish more than you’ll ever know.

    Happy National Ag Day everyone!  If you want to check out other Ag Day posts from people across the United States check out today's Agriculture Proud blog.  What will you do to celebrate?

    Wednesday, March 13, 2013

    Hump Day Bump Report

    I'm now 28 weeks pregnant and officially in the third and final trimester!  Yesterday I had my glucose test and I'm happy to report that I passed!  I have to admit, I was nervous about the idea of being gestational diabetic.  Even though I'm not, just getting nervous about the test reminds me I still need to watch what I'm eating.  Here are ten questions to let you know how my pregnancy is going:

    • How far along?  28 weeks down - 12 to go!
    • Baby size:  Eggplant
    • Baby milestone:  Baby is breathing and showing signs of brain activity
    • How does this pregnancy compare to LP's:  The pregnancies have been very similar.  I had minimal morning sickness with both and have felt pretty good the entire time.  I would have to say that MP is moving a little more than LP did.
    • How do you think your parenting style will change with two kids in the house?  I think I'll probably be a little more laid back but I'm still planning on keeping a routine and schedule - I think that helped LP be a good baby and toddler (and everyone that knows me, knows I love to be scheduled!)
    • Are you going to have a baby shower for MP?  I know some people have a baby shower for kids after the first-born but I am not going to.  I'm planning on getting a couple new things on my own for this baby, but other than that, the baby will use hand-me-downs and I'm excited for garage sale season this summer!
    • Have you bought any new maternity clothes?  Not yet, but I probably will this spring, because I'll need some short-sleeve options.  LP was a winter baby so all of my maternity clothes from the first time around have worked well so far this winter.
    • What is your favorite pregnancy book?  "Babywise" - I'm not sure it is a pregnancy book but it is a parenting book for sure.  I've continued using the "Babywise" series throughout LP's development and am currently starting to read "Pottywise"
    • Food cravings:  Mug cakes - I have fallen in love with making my own individual coffee cake in the morning and if I'm craving something sweet at night I make my own chocolate chip cookie or chocolate cake
    • Emotions:  Relieved and happy (that I'm not gestational diabetic).
    Thank you to My Farmer for having way too much fun taking pictures for me!

    Wordless Wednesday

    A wonderful thing arrived in the mail today...

    A new charger for my computer!!!

    It seems like when you have a lot of work to do is when technology fails on you - whether that be your phone or your computer.  For me, it was Monday morning when my charger for my laptop literally broke - the cord ripped apart from the charger.  So, I've been patiently waiting till today for the arrival of my new charger!  I'm so excited to get to work on my growing to do list!

    Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    Hump Day Bump Report

    LP and I at my doctor's appointment today
    (Looks like I should have taken his stocking cap off sooner than I did...)
    I'm currently 27 weeks pregnant and I had my last "monthly" check-up today.  It is crazy to think that now I start seeing the doctor every other week!  Realizing that today makes me think about how fast this baby really be here.  Here are ten questions to let you know how my pregnancy is going:

    • How far along?  27 weeks down - 13 weeks to go
    • Baby size:  Head of Cauliflower
    • Baby milestone:  Baby is showing brain activity
    • Weight gained in pregnancy:  I'm up 9 lbs so far, which I feel is pretty good
    • Labor signs:  None yet but my doctor said I could start getting Braxton Hicks, which I had for probably a couple months prior to LP's birth
    • How did you find out you were pregnant?  I took a home pregnancy test the day after a bachelorette party...  The test showed that I was pregnant so I called the doctor's office first thing on Monday morning and got in that week to double check
    • What was your first reaction?  I immediately tried figuring out when the due date would be.  I guess it is the farmer in me but I found out I was pregnant during fall harvest and I checked to see if the baby would come after spring planting (which hopefully the baby will come after planting and before field work)
    • Have you bought anything for the baby yet?  No I haven't but I have a couple things I'd like to get that I just need to sit down and actually order online - I have my eye on a fold and go bassinet that I think will be a good asset with a busy toddler to also take care of
    • Food cravings:  Milk, milk and milk - I think I'm drinking two gallons myself a week!
    • Emotions:  I do have to admit I got emotional today about something I really didn't need too - I think my pregnancy hormones got the best of me...

    Tuesday, March 5, 2013

    LP's 2nd Birthday Train Party

    It is hard to believe it has already been a little over a week since LP turned 2 years old!  And today, depending on the weather, we are going to have LP's 2 year old photos taken by my college roommate who owns her own photography studio in Kansas City.  LP is one lucky guy, Anj has traveled almost 300 miles to take his photos - this morning we are just seeing if she can make it the last 70!

    Anyways, last Sunday we had a family birthday party for LP.  Last year we had a tractor birthday party but we decided to move onto another form of transportation this year, so we moved to his second favorite thing with wheels - trains!  We based the whole birthday party off of one of LP's go-to books, Freight Train.

    Anyone that knows me, knows I love to send cards, and now that LP is getting older, I love to make cards with him.  So LP and I made his birthday card by using his thumb and finger prints to create the Freight Train from the book.

    Once we got the invites out, it was time to work on the birthday party decorations.  I do have to admit I had way too much fun putting all this together.  I guess it is the event planner in me that just loves doing things like this!  The first thing to make was a banner.  I just made this banner on my computer and I put it up behind our kitchen table, that way it'd be in the background of photos while LP was eating his cake and ice cream.

    My Farmer, LP, Niece and Father-in-Law helping LP blow out his candles
    Then the next must thing I feel like you need for a kid's birthday party is photos to show how they've grown over the year.  I continued the Freight Train theme by making each train car from the book out of card stock and then including a photo of LP on each car.  I put the photo train on top of our entertainment center because I knew LP would be opening his gifts in the living room.

    Next, I made a couple "Welcome" signs for both of our front doors.  These are just something simple to make that hopefully gets all of our family ready and excited for the birthday party.  I just made these on my computer by using the same train I used for the banner and a scanned image from the Freight Train book for the other.


    The last decor item I made was a "2 yr old crossing" sign.  I saw something similar to this in the background of a photo on Pinterest and I thought it was too cute not to make.  I used an entire sheet of poster board to make this and then but a yard stick behind it so it could be moved around.  LP really enjoyed the crossing sign and played with it before and after the party.

    LP opening gifts next to the crossing sign
    I'm not quite sure what is going on with his face, looks like he's getting ready to kiss someone
    Now onto the food!  I was actually gone the weekend of LP's birthday so I decided to take it a little easy on the food.  We ordered pizza and had a popcorn bar for supper and then I made a couple kinds of cupcakes that I formed into a train for his cake and of course we made homemade ice cream to go with!

    Popcorn bar on top of table cloth I simply made by using a large black marker
    My Farmer, LP and I next to his train cupcakes
    I made a "railroad track" out of kit-kats and frosting  in the shape of a 2
    and I made train cars with graham crackers and oreos
    that I placed on top of a poster board
    LP enjoying his cupcake and ice cream
    Overall, we had a great time celebrating LP's birthday!  All the things I did to create the train theme were very simple and fun to make.

    What was your favorite birthday party as a child?  What made it so memorable?

    Friday, March 1, 2013

    Breakfast Battle Celebrates National Food Check-Out Week

    Some of you may know that last week, February 17-23, was National Food Check-Out Week.  National Food Check-Out Week represents the short time-frame that it takes for the average American family to pay for their groceries in a year.  I am the PR chair for my local Franklin County Farm Bureau and this year we recognized Food Check-Out Week by hosting the 2nd Annual Breakfast Battle at our local Fareway grocery store in Hampton, Iowa on February 27 (It was originally on February 22 but due to snow got postponed to this past Wednesday).

    This event not only raised knowledge of National Food Check-Out Week, it also increased awareness of finding solutions to eating healthy on a stretched budget by having twelve teams race around the grocery store finding breakfast, dinner and supper for a family of four between $45 and $50.

    Members of the Greater Franklin County Chamber of Commerce and
    First National Bank teams racing in the dairy and frozen sections
    The Breakfast Battle included two races; the first was a competition between nine businesses and the second was a battle between two Tall Corn FFA chapter teams and a Fareway team.  Teams consisted of three members each.  Team members drew menus for breakfast, dinner and supper Wednesday morning and then raced around the grocery store getting all their recipe ingredients, plus adding in optional food and drinks for a day’s worth of meals to get their cart total between $45 and $50.  Teams were timed from the moment they left the cart area till they reached the checkout lane.  Time bonuses were given to those that answered agriculture and Farm Bureau trivia questions correctly before the race and there was a time bonus for the team having the most votes on the Franklin County Farm Bureau’s Facebook “Fan Favorite” team poll.  Time penalties were given for every dollar over or under the $45 to $50 cart total range.  Following the race, twelve Franklin County families that utilize the Franklin County Food Pantry in Hampton and the Immanuel UCC Food Pantry in Latimer received the bags of groceries, which included both perishable and non-perishable items.  Donations were also collected for both food pantries.

    “We feel like everyone was a winner!” said Brook Boehmler, Executive Director of the Greater Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, who had a team in the business race.  “All nine teams (in the business race) are Chamber members and the food collected in the battle went to families who need it.  All the teams had a good time, and we really look forward to being a part of it next year.”

    Members and Supporters of the
    1st Place Greater Franklin County Chamber of Commerce team
    In the business battle, the Greater Franklin County Chamber of Commerce came in first place with a final time of 2:55.  Second place went to CellTech with a final time of 3:32 and third place went to Franklin County Extension with a final time of 3:36.  Other business teams that competed were Latham Hi-Tech Seeds, First National Bank, ABCM/Rehabilitation Center of Hampton, Farm Bureau Al Menning Insurance, United Bank & Trust and Immanuel UCC.

    I had so much fun being a part of this event.  Did you celebrate National Food Check-Out Week?  If so, what did you do in your community?