Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Note to Self: Free Doesn't Always Equal Good

Monday, September 27, 2010

City Kids + Dairy Farm = Entertaining Education!

One warm hot day this summer, Hannah of Off the Cuff and I headed over to Kelsay Farms to 1) tour a working dairy farm and 2) observe a group of inner-city kids experiencing a farm for the first time.

A group of farmers sponsored trips to Kelsay Farms for busloads of schoolchildren from the Indy Parks summer camps. This was a great hands-on, real-life learning experience for the kids.

Aren't they cute in their matching T-shirts?

Amy (meet her over at Two Maids a Milking) took the group (and me) into the "milk house" and the milking parlor to walk us through the milking process.

She explained that her family and their employees milked 500 cows three times a day. I'm a visual learner so I appreciated her props...see the 8 gallon jugs below?

These 8 jugs represent the average daily milk production of their cows! 1 cow = 8 gallons of milk/day

They keep all of that milk in this 6,000-gallon refrigerated milk tank until the milk truck comes to haul it away.

After a trip to the milking parlor (photos turned out way too dark to post), we headed to the barn to see The Ladies "at home."

As you can see the barn is open so the cows can have a nice breeze (and when there isn't one, there are fans). To teach the kids about where the cows sleep and eat, our tour guide asked the kids about the things they have in their own homes and then pointed out the similarities between their home and a cow's home!

For example, she asked the group what they eat for breakfast, lunch & dinner. Then she asked them what they thought the cows eat.

The answer: Cows eat about 100 pounds of feed each day, which is a combination of hay, grain and silage (fermented corn or grass). They drink a lot of water too – up to 50 gallons a day. The tour guide made a great comparison to get the point across that cows drink a lot of water. She said that one cow drinks the equivalent of a bathtub full of water a day. Yikes!

Once we were done in the barn, we headed to the shed where a new born calf was resting. The calf was a huge hit with the kids.

They all wanted to pet it and all it wanted to do was sleep!

To end the tour of the farm, the group gathered in the shed for a little nutrition lesson.

When the lesson was over, everyone got one of their three servings of dairy in the form of string cheese. Yummy!

Overall, this was a great experience.Watching these kids who didn't have any idea what a working farm looked like, was awesome.

The other cool thing...Kelsay Farms opens their "barn doors" to the public in October and has a lot of awesome activities for the entire family - like a corn maze, hayrides, rope maze and a lot more.

Check out for more information!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Five Question Friday is Back

I really love the idea of Five Question Friday but I usually forget to do it. NOT this week!

So, here we go...

1. If you could speak with a different accent, what would it be (i.e Australian, Scottish)?

Well, I melt when I hear a guy with an Irish accent (think Colin Farrell) but I'm not sure I want to speak in one. I think I'll go with an English accent...I worked for a company that was owned by a British firm and whenever I was around my British bosses, I wanted to adopt their accent!

2. Can you fall asleep anywhere? (i.e floor, couch, deck)

I can NOT sleep on an airplane but I can instantly fall asleep on a bus and in a car!

My favorite place to fall asleep is my couch...Big Red.

3. Do you use public restrooms? If so, do you sit on the toilet?

I do NOT use port-a-pots unless there is NO other option and I can't hold it any longer! I do use public restrooms and I do sit if they look "clean." While traveling, I do tend to stop at fast food joints instead of gas stations to use the facilities. Just recently I've re-discovered that rest stop bathrooms are normally clean and not so smelly.

4. If you were stuck in an elevator for 24 hours, what celebrity would you most want to be stuck with?
See question 1.

5. Where did you & your significant other go on your 1st date?
Yet to be determined...

Also, some of my friends have started a cool new series...the Real Farmwives of America - check 'em out!

Smart and Trendy Moms

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Happiness is like a butterfly...

Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp,
but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
-Nathaniel Hawthorne

These butterflies were in my mom's garden earlier this month. There had to be hundreds of them! There would have been more if my mom realized earlier that the ugly worms she kept killing this summer were actually caterpillars!



Monday, September 20, 2010

I'm not Crazy...How I Met Your Mother is New

I've been looking forward to this Monday night for a while. It's the start of the fall TV season - at least on network television. Now, I'd be more excited if a) I didn't have DVR (I heart DVR) and b) Big Bang Theory was still on Monday nights.

I really liked starting my Monday night with How I Met Your Mother and ending it with Sheldon and the gang. One of my all-time favorite lines came from Sheldon last season: "I'm not crazy. My mother had me tested."

Bummer...we still didn't meet the mother...sorry I'm watching TV as I type!

Back to the regularly scheduled post...

In my younger years (and possibly still) I was known in my family for knowing what TV show was on when. I may have even once told a friend that it was time to quit dating a guy because the new TV season was set to start.

Now, the real reason I wanted to stop dating said guy was that he had - what I would call - an unhealthy love (and too large of a collection) of firearms AND he had the habit of NOT returning DVDs rented in my name on time (I hate late fees). Two very big no-nos in my book.

But what a great excuse to break things off with someone. So much more original than "I have to wash my hair" OR "My dog died."

So if I don't post anything for the next few weeks, you'll know what I'm doing, because you know Cougar Town is new on Wednesday too!

I have to "go wash my hair."

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Force was Indeed with Us

As you know from previous posts, I hosted a Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 3 premiere party last night. Thanks to House Party for providing the party pack and many of you for the suggestions on games and food.

I was told by my sister and a friend that I was crazy brave to invite nine children (and Going Jane's 3 who participated virtually) into my home and host a theme party. A party that was not celebrating a holiday or a birthday. I scoffed at them. I'm an AUNT. Aunt Mimi to be exact. I'm the fun aunt. I'm the one who bought all of my nephews Star Wars shirts to wear to the party! I can handle a 3-hour party, right?

How hard could it be? Put out some food, plan some activities and let them go at it.

Well, I forgot that I'm a nervous party hostess. I worry about the food. I worry that everyone is enjoying themselves. I worry about the kids (boys mostly) killing hurting each other as they wrestle on my rolling ottoman on my hard surface floors! More on that later...

I took Friday off of work to clean the house and prep for the party. It's amazing what you can get done in a day. In addition to cleaning the house and the garage and fixing way too much food, I also got four - that's FOUR - loads of laundry done. On a Friday no less. That's awesome for a working gal who usually has to fit housework and laundry into her weekend.

I have to admit that I took the easy route when it came to decorations and games. I snapped up some of the fun SW party paraphernalia from Wal-Mart, including plates, napkins, favor bags and stickers.

I even re-purposed the plastic tablecloth into a photo background that each child posed in front of at the start of the party. Kind of like those backgrounds on the red carpet. You know, the ones that celebrities pose in front of at movie openings and such.

When the boys walked in and saw the wall, they went nuts. "Yoda, mama. Look, it's Master Yoda!" Too cute.

Don't they look like lil' celebrities!

As you can see that the cool action figures from Hasbro were a HUGE hit from the very start. I meant to hold onto them for a big reveal but the nephews knew they were on the premise so I just went with the flow (that's important at a kids party, right?) and let them each choose an action figure.

House Party also provided some cool tattoos se we applied those as well. See... (it's Boo and Princess from Beyer Beware)

Even some of the big kids adults put them on. Doesn't Anakin look cool on Lil' Sister?

She couldn't quite convince her son/my youngest nephew to get one. This situation may be reversed in another 16 years! However, when she put him in bed that night, he asked for a tattoo!

Captain Rex even made an appearance!

Brat (aka my youngest sister) found the costume at a garage sale recently. It was a hit. We even got one of the nephews to do a classic Capt. Rex pose.


Well, we were supposed to play the cool new Galactic Battle Game with action figures but that required each child giving up his/her new action figure to use in the game and I'm sorry that was SO not happening. So, they just had some fun in the garage. My older sis took home the game board because as mother to three of four of my nephews, she has many Star Wars action figures at home and saw the value in the cool organizer on the back of the board.

After some serious playing, it was time to eat! Here are some of my fun Star Wars-themed goodies!

The fun moved inside after we ate and the kids really, really wanted to watch some Clone Wars. Unfortunately, it was about an hour until the new season of the show started on the Cartoon Network. However, I anticipated this situation and had DVR'd a few episodes of last season's show!

Everyone was interested at first...

But as the real show began, only the diehard fans remained.

The others were running in circles around my house chasing each other, spilling their bowls of M&Ms all over my floor and throwing balls into my bedroom while standing on the stairs! All except one, this precious, quiet child was hard at work on the fun activity sheets House Party provided.

By the end of the show, only the two 3rd graders remained! But they LOVED it.

Overall, a great time was had by all. The kiddos enjoyed the festivities and the adults enjoyed some "grown up" conversation among the chaos!

So in the end, it was a success but my confidence on my ability to host a rockin' kids party AND maintain my sanity was sorely tested. I'm still recovering. Thank goodness I have the weekend!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Blog Hopping and Party Prepping Friday!

Forgive me for the very short and sweet blog post today.

I'm actually taking a vacation day (yeah) and prepping for my Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 3 premiere party later tonight.

Baking, cleaning, setting up...oh my! But I'm going to do some blog hopping before I start.

All I can say is...Let the Force be with ME!!

Smart and Trendy Moms

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Random Thoughts from My Commute...the License Plate Game

I have a weird talent. Well, I'm not sure it's so much a talent as it is a store of fairly useless knowledge.

In Indiana, counties are assigned a number according to alphabetical order. i.e. Adams County is 1. Whitley County is 92.

If you give me a number between 1 and 92, I can most likely name the county assigned to that number or at least be very, very close (within one or two counties).

I amazed a coworker the other day while sitting in a staff meeting. We were reviewing a project that had the counties listed by number and she would throw a number out and I would tell her the county. (Our staff meetings can get a little long and it's better to do that than start spinning in my chair which I've been known to do on occasion.)

Now this ability is not so much a gift. It's more like it was a way to pass time while I'm in the car.

You see, our license plates USED to prominently display the county number as the first two numbers on the plate. See...

41 is Johnson County! See, I'm good.

My coworker blamed attributed my incredible talent to the fact that I grew up in the country. She said as a city girl, she had never known anyone with this particular ability. I'm not sure it's so much a factor of country living as it is a factor of growing up with my parents. I can't honestly say that I know of anyone else outside my immediate family with this same talent!

Looking at license plates and figuring out the county is something I remember doing with my family while in the car as a child. It's something that I still do to this day.

As I've said in the past, I have a 50-mile one way commute to work each day and much of it's on the Interstate. So as I'm driving along, I like to see where my fellow drivers are from. If they are from counties farther away than my county, I like to think that they have a longer commute than I do and I give a little giggle. It's mean, I know, but it sustains me some mornings.

So, you can imagine my disappointment when the state changed the style of license plates a couple of years ago. Now they look like this...

Note that the county name and number are displayed in small letters at the very top of the plate. Now, this is very hard to read as you are driving down the Interstate at high rates of speed. Unless you are tailgating. I don't suggest tailgating...the cop won't accept the answer "I was just trying to see what county the car in front of me is from." Trust me, I've tried!

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