Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Everything is Better Ala Mode

Everything is Better Ala Mode

Service with a smile from our church youth group at our
church's annual Ice Cream Social this past Sunday
This past Sunday was our church's annual Ice Cream Social.  This event is definitely a community effort!  Members of the church make homemade pie for the dinner, if you don't make pie then you bring browned hamburger for the beef burgers, a select group of ladies make the potato salad with the official church recipe and the youth group makes the ice cream.  So many people work together to make this event happen and I'm so proud to be apart of it.  I made an apple pie and a pecan pie for the social.  Overall, the best part of the Ice Cream Social, hands down, is picking out your slice of pie and getting homemade ice cream put on top of it - because everything is better ala mode!

My Favorite - Homemade Pecan Pie and Homemade Ice Cream
What is your favorite flavor of pie?  Be sure to comment here or join the discussion on my blog's Facebook page.  Mine is pecan, but I do have to say hearing other's favorites on Facebook such as apple, banana cream, peach and cherry, has made me decide all pie is delicious and that I just love pie!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Spending Time with Family

A goal of mine this summer (and items on our Summer Bucket List
was to spend time with not just the kid's grandparents, 
but their great-grandparents too.  
Here is a quick look at some of the adventures 
we've had with our family this month!

MP and LP went on a train ride with their Great Grandma M
LP loves trains and loved going on the Boone Scenic Valley Railroad train ride!
We went to the Iowa State Fair with Papa T
Here MP, LP and Papa T are enjoying some Dairy Barn Ice Cream!
While My Farmer was at a meeting in Des Moines the kids and I took
the opportunity to go to the Blank Park Zoo with their
Grandma B and Great Grandma J
Here we are after enjoying the seal and sea lion show

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Look Inside Our Pig Barns

Yesterday morning this guy:

and 1,144 of his closest family and friends arrived on our farm!

My farmer and I have two feeder to finish pig barns where we bring in pigs around 40 pounds and feed them to a finishing weight of around 270 pounds.  Each barn can hold up to 1,250 hogs, so in the case of this group it will hold 1,145 pigs.  We buy our hogs on the open market, as we do not raise pigs for any specific pork company.  This group of hogs came from a sow operation in Atlantic, Iowa (around 170 miles away) that our family is part owners of.  Our other barn has pigs in it from Minnesota.  We also commonly get pigs from Canada to fill our barns.

Usually just My Farmer takes care of the hogs but yesterday LP, MP and I got to participate in the unloading of the new hogs.

My Farmer and LP counting the pigs as they come off the truck
LP really enjoyed helping his Dad count the pigs as they came off the truck (good thing My Farmer was there to help him though since LP can only count to three...), checking the waters and the feeders, and in general just checking out all of the pigs.

LP making sure the first truck of pigs (first half)
were all settled and comfortable before the second truck arrived
The second semi-truck is here with a little more than 550 feeder pigs on it
Three Generations checking pigs as they come off the truck
The barn is full!
If you are interested in learning more about our hogs on our farm check out these other posts:

Monday, August 12, 2013

Moving Up Monday

Hopefully we're nearing the end of Moving Up Monday updates!  Our initial goal was to be in the house by the end of July and now our goal is the end of August.  We will be in the house by the end of the month - no if, ands or buts about it!   I think by the last week of the month, the house really will be ready to move into.

Since the last report only three rooms have had any improvements made to them - the upstairs half bath, the downstairs main bath, and the mudroom/laundry room/office.  Here is a look at how those rooms have changed:

Upstairs Half Bath

The upstairs half bath now has had its toilet, sink and many of the fixtures installed in it!  The electricity and plumbing hasn't been officially turned on yet, but we almost have a functioning bathroom in the house now!

Here is our toilet in the upstairs half bath
(Photo taken August 5, 2013)
View of the bathroom from inside doorway
Left to right - sink, toilet, built in storage
(Photo taken August 11, 2013)
Above the sink is the access to the attic
and above the toilet is a sensor light and fan
(Photo taken August 11, 2013)
Medicine cabinet, pedestal sink and toilet
(Photo taken August 11, 2013)
Downstairs Main Bathroom

The Downstairs Bathroom is moving along nicely.  We've had a few set backs including a cracked bath tub and realizing we never ordered a vanity counter top after changing our plans for the counter top at the beginning of the summer...  But like I said, things are coming along nicely.

One of our plumbers working on the bath tub
(Photo taken July 30, 2013)
Bathroom walls mudded
(Photo taken July 30, 2013)
Bath tub installed and with other materials for bathroom being stored in it
(Photo taken August 11, 2013)
Bathroom walls are painted and the vanity is installed
(Photo taken August 11, 2013)
Mudroom/Laundry Room/Office

I love how this space has changed the flow and function of the house!  I'm happy we turned the original laundry hallway that led no where and had lots of stuff just dumped off in it and the small bedroom with very little space into this large entry area with lots of storage!

Cabinets getting ready to be installed
(Photo taken July 30, 2013)
New walls being finished
(Photo taken July 30, 2013)
Our general contractor installing some of the office cabinets
(Photo taken August 5, 2013)
Walls are painted and everything is set for the washing machine and dryer
to be installed along south wall
(Photo taken August 11, 2013)
Built in entry closet is finished
(Photo taken August 11, 2013)
Office cabinet installed.  The open space is where a desk will be placed.
(Photo taken August 11, 2013)
Mudroom sink in entry way
(Photo taken August 11, 2013)
Other updates

I just had to share a few other photos from the last two weeks!

The heating and air guys working on the new vent system
for our central air/heat.
(Photo taken July 30, 2013)
Looks like someone is tired during a shopping trip after church
the other week - we had a cart full!
(Photo taken July 21, 2013)
Someone else was tired too as we got more paint and painting supplies
(Photo taken July 21, 2013)
We took an old tractor tire and put it in our side yard for a sandbox
(Photo taken August 5, 2013)
The sand will sift down over time...
(Photo taken August 5, 2013)
So there it is!  Hopefully the next time I give an update in a couple of weeks the house will have all the flooring installed and work will have been done in the kitchen!

Check out how far we've come on our home remodel by checking out past "Moving Up Monday" reports:

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Iowa State Fair Food Guide

The Iowa State Fair is in one week and I can't wait!  I have enjoyed going to the Iowa State Fair since I was a kid, and really fell in love when I was in high school after I started working for the 4-H livestock department.  For many years I have literally lived at the fair for all ten days.  This year will be different though, with MP only being two months old and with everything going on with the house and hopefully the soon to be move, I will not be volunteering or working anywhere and we don't even have a date set yet to visit (but don't worry, we'll make it at least for one day).

One aspect of any fair that I think everyone loves is fair food!  Lets just say I've been around the block, or should I say up and down Grand and Rock Island Avenues, a time or two, and have tried many fair foods on the state fairgrounds.  Through my years of living at the State Fair I have came up with a must-eat fair food list that I'd like to share with all of you.  It was really easy to make it through my list when I was there for ten days but will be challenging (not to mention gut wrenching) to accomplish in one day...

  • Pork Chop on a Stick (Iowa Pork Chop Shop)
  • Chocolate Milk Shake (Dairy Barn)
  • Turkey Tenderloin Sandwich (Iowa Turkey Grill)
  • Mark & Gary Burger (Iowa Cattlemen's Beef Quarters) - and I'm looking forward to trying a new menu item of their's - Deep Fried Bull Fries - that's right people, you can get Rocky Mountain Oysters at this year's fair!
  • Pulled BBQ Pork Sandwich Meal - includes baked beans and chips (Iowa Pork Tent)
  • Lamb Burger (Iowa Sheep Industry trailer)
  • Fried Pickle Dawg (Dawg House)
  • Cheese Curds (Brad & Harry's) - and new this year they have a Cajun flavored cheese curd that I'll have to try
  • Cookies in a Cup (Barksdale)
  • Fried Vegetables - Cauliflower, Pickles, Jalapeno Poppers, etc. (Veggie-Table)
  • Pork Tenderloin Sandwich (Xtreme Tenderloins)
  • Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (The Best Around)
  • Gyro (Greek Garden)
  • Strawberry Shortcake (Iowa Fruit and Veggie Stand)
Ok, wow, after looking over this list I realize that this is in no way possible in one or two days!  Can you tell I use to be at the fair for all ten days?!?  I realize now that I need to share a must eat one day list.  So, drumroll please...
  • Pork Chop on a Stick (Main Meal)
  • Fried Pickle Dawg (Snack)
  • Chocolate Milk Shake (Dairy Barn)
  • Deep Fried Bull Fries (New Food)

Did you know that at the 2012 Iowa State Fair the Iowa Pork Producer's
sold more than 60,000 Chops on a Stick!
Here is a photo of My Farmer (on the left) and two of our friends
working at the Chop Shop last year

What are you hungry for?  What is your favorite fair food?  Have fun at the fair - after all "Nothing Compares"!