Saturday, February 17, 2018

34 Ways to Pay It Forward

Today is National Random Acts of Kindness Day and since my birthday in late October I have been on a mission to complete 33 Random Acts of Kindness in honor of my 33rd Birthday, and I am proud to say that I have completed 34 as of today!

34 Ways to Pay It Forward for National Random Acts of Kindness Day

Having the Pay it Forward mindset over the last few months has opened up my eyes of simple ways to show kindness, generosity and giving.  Doing these acts hasn't only been a benefit for others, but every time I complete an act I feel blessed.  In fact, I've enjoyed this so much that I didn't stop when I reached 33 and plan on continuing past the 34 I've completed.  Here is a list of what I have done so far:

  1. Tipped generously at restaurant.
  2. Brought donuts to co-workers (I brought a couple boxes to the shop for all of our employees on the farm).
  3. Brought donuts to church staff and volunteers (I guess I love spreading smiles through donuts...).
  4. Donated to a friend's Facebook non-profit support campaign.
  5. Donated books to local Little Free Library.
  6. Sent gas card to family traveling for cancer treatments with a thinking of you card.
  7. Participated in a birthday card shower for a friend's mother.
  8. Brought flowers to great-aunt just because.
  9. Donated board games to nursing home.
  10. Brought donuts to nurses and staff taking care of loved one in the hospital (there I go again with the donuts...).
  11. Wrote a note to the hospital sharing about individuals who gave outstanding care to loved one while in the hospital.
  12. Dropped off food to a family with a new baby.
  13. Gave my Fleet Farm Black Friday stuffed animal to woman who wanted one but didn't arrive early enough to get one herself.
  14. Donated to every Red Kettle I walked by during the holidays.
  15. Sent Advent devotions to a couple of friends.
  16. Donated toys to Operation Santa drive.
  17. Supported friends who had Giving Tuesday Facebook campaigns.
  18. Set out drinks and snacks for delivery drivers at house during holiday season.
  19. Participated in my children's school's food drive.
  20. Paid overdrawn school lunch account for a family at my children's school.
  21. Sponsored a local family in need over the holidays.
  22. Donated items to the Ronald McDonald House through local McDonald's giving tree.
  23. Donated hams to a couple local families in need through La Luz Hispana and Hams Across America.
  24. Reconnected with old friend.
  25. Sent thinking of you card to friend.
  26. Left positive reviews for three businesses online.
  27. Ordered champagne for two people I saw get engaged.
  28. Helped a friend's cousin with getting settled in new home after going through some hard times by donating some house supplies.
  29. Left positive review for resort that we visited on our anniversary trip.
  30. Participated in National Wear Red Day to bring awareness to women's heart disease.
  31. Supported friend's Cookies for Kids Cancer campaign.
  32. Donated to local grocery store's MDA campaign.
  33. Left Valentines in public restrooms wishing everyone who saw the hearts a great day.
  34. Donated to a family's medical/health issues Go Fund Me account.

So I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and celebrate National Random Acts of Kindness Day.  Be sure to comment and let me know what you did to celebrate, or share ideas so we all can pay it forward.  And remember to Comment for a Cause.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Slice of Iowa Pizza

It's National Pizza Day and why not celebrate with my Slice of Iowa Pizza, with two of Iowa's top agricultural products and "the sauce America loves to eat."

Slice of Iowa Pizza - full of Iowa flavors and perfect for a fun family night

When I found out that today was National Pizza Day I couldn't pass up the chance to:
  • #1 eat pizza
  • #2 share my love of Iowa
  • #3 talk about my farm 😊

Who doesn't love pizza?  My family and I have a weekly tradition of having pizza every Friday night.  We make a couple pizzas (because one doesn't cut it anymore for my growing kids), pop a bag of popcorn and throw it in our "official" popcorn bowl with some M&Ms, and have a picnic in the living room and watch a movie.  Pizza always hits the spot for people of all ages and I love how you can top your pizza with anything.

When we make homemade pizza at home the kids usually ask for one of our go-to favorites - pepperoni or sausage and mushroom for one of the pizzas and the second is deemed "the parents" pizza, so we usually do a little more with it.  So I decided it would be fun to make an "Iowa" pizza topped with some of our favorite Iowa foods.

The first thing I thought of was shredded pork.  I love making shredded pork with and for everything.  Plus it is a great make once, eat twice freezer staple of our house.  We raise pigs on our farm so we always have a lot of pork on hand.  And did you know that Iowa has more pigs than any other state in the nation.  In fact, Iowa raises nearly one-third of all pigs in the United States.

The second ingredient that I added was sweet corn.  Now, Minnesota is actually the top producer of sweet corn, but Iowa raises the most corn total (field, sweet and pop) in the nation.  A large majority of that corn Iowa raises is field corn, which primarily goes towards livestock feed and ethanol.  But I figured I couldn't claim to have an Iowa pizza with out sweet corn on it!

And the last ingredient that completes the Slice of Iowa Pizza is Cookies BBQ Sauce.  Cookies is made in Wall Lake, Iowa and they make several flavors of BBQ Sauce, other sauces, seasonings and salsas.  I use their Flavor Enhancer on everything and love their Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce and Wings-N-Things Hot Sauce.  Using one of the BBQ Sauces as the pizza sauce was the perfect way of pulling the Iowa pizza all together.

Slice of Iowa Pizza - full of Iowa flavors and perfect for a fun family night

Slice of Iowa Pizza

1 prepared Pizza Crust (in true Iowa fashion I used Fareway's Crispy Pizza Crust mix)
1/2 cup Cookies Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce
1 heaping cup Shredded Pork
1/2 cup Sweet Corn kernels, drained
2 cups Pizza blend shredded cheese

Prepare pizza crust as directed by package, or use your favorite homemade recipe, and bake at 425°F for 3 minutes.  Then top the crust with the BBQ Sauce, Pork, Corn and Cheese.  Bake 10 to 12 additional minutes until the top is brown and bubbly.

Slice of Iowa Pizza - full of Iowa flavors and perfect for a fun family night

Are you hungry now?  I love the flavor combination of BBQ Sauce with the shredded Corn, and the sweet corn gives a nice little sweet pop in each bite!  I hope you gather with your family and enjoy a Slice of Iowa Pizza soon!  What is your favorite flavor of pizza?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Slice of Iowa Pizza - full of Iowa flavors and perfect for a fun family night

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Comments for a Cause - The Do More Agriculture Foundation

Comments for a Cause - The Do More Agriculture Foundation
It's the 1st of February and time to introduce my new Comments for a Cause recipient.  But before I share about February's organization, I need to recap January's cause, Quilts of Honor.  In the month of January I had a total of 45 comments, creating a donation of $22.50 to help provide "quilted hugs of gratitude" to veterans and warriors across the nation.  As a member of a military family, I want to especially thank everyone for their comments and interest in January's Comments for a Cause program.

I'm excited to highlight a new organization that is aiming to help farmers called The Do More Agriculture Foundation in February.  I am donating $0.50 for every comment made on my blog to help their efforts.

Comments for a Cause - The Do More Agriculture Foundation, championing mental well-being for all Canadian producers

The Do More Agriculture Foundation is a non-profit organization focusing on mental health in agriculture across Canada and was started on January 30, 2018.  The four founders, Kim Keller, Lesley Kelly, Himanshu Singh and Kirk Muyres saw a need to build awareness about mental health in agriculture and provide support and resources to those impacted.

Mental health is a huge issue for all communities, including those in agriculture.  Farmers are known to be hard workers, resilient, independent and private.  While all those traits can be good, they also can become barriers for speaking up and seeking help.

Farming can be a stressful job.  It is physically and emotionally demanding as farmers usually live where they work and have a hard time ever "leaving the office".  Farmers work from sunrise to sunset (and sometimes longer) and have jobs that require they are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  Farmers take pride in their land, animals, families and communities, and can feel the weight of providing for all them, during good and bad times in the farm economy.

Do More Ag is focusing on "creating awareness about mental health in agriculture and breaking the stigma that currently exists while building a community of support and resources for those impacted and affected."  Farmers don't have to feel alone or that they are letting anyone down.  Instead, they have an entire industry behind them, supporting them.

Help me give best wishes to this new foundation as they work hard to make changes in mental health for farmers.  I hope that they get so much support they expand to helping farmers in the United States too.  Remember to Comment for a Cause all month long to "do more" and help spread awareness of mental health in agriculture.