Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Ain't She Sweet

Took these photos of niece JJ when she first started eating baby food. She's a pro now.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, March 25, 2011

RFOA: The Cycle of Life

Today is the day when the Real Farmwives of America and Friends get together and all talk blog around the same theme. Please be sure to check out all the posts at

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Oh, To Be a Kid Again

To celebrate the first full day of spring...

To use up some steaks from my parents' freezer before the new beef arrives...

To just hang out and enjoy the 70 degree weather...

...the family gathered at the cabin for our first official cookout of the year on Monday night.

I caught my youngest nephew entertaining himself on some logs leftover from the cabin build. He was having so much fun that I really wanted to join him.

Be sure to scroll to the bottom photo...I call that his "I'm practicing for my life as a male model" pose!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Iron Chef Challenge: Pizza Dip

This weekend a couple of my college gal pals and their daughters came over for a fun girls weekend.

We did some scrapbooking, took in a movie (Tangled in 3D, it was a great show), laughed until we hurt, and, of course, had a little something to eat and drink.

I took this opportunity to prepare my entry into Ott, A's Iron Chef Challenge: Canned Tomatoes.

Jane, from Going Jane, just happened to have some cookbooks in her car - doesn't everyone travel with cookbooks - and had flagged a recipe for Pizza Dip. We decided it would be the perfect dish to snack during an afternoon of scrapbooking.

Here's the final product...

I started out with my ingredients, including a couple of small cans of Red Gold tomato sauce. I didn't have all the "toppings" so I improvised and left a few out. This dip is like pizza - your choice of toppings.

The recipe called for pizza sauce but I used the tomato sauce and Italian Seasoning and made my own.

Then I cut up some pepperoni.

Then spread the cream cheese into the bottom of my Pampered Chef round baking dish. The recipe said to use a 9-inch pie plate but I use mine in the microwave (a story for another day).

Then I poured the tomato sauce on top of the cream cheese and added the pepperoni. I decided to up the tomato factor by adding some Red Gold Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic and Oregano.

I only added the tomatoes to one half of the dish because some people don't like chunky tomatoes and some people do.

Then I covered it in cheese - a mix of mozzarella and parmesan - and put it into the oven.

While it was baking, I cut up part of a loaf of French bread and spread them on my Pampered Chef pizza stone. Do you see a pattern of Pampered Chef use this weekend? I went to a Pampered Chef party on Friday night and got inspired.

I wanted to jazz up the bread a bit so I brushed on some EVOO (olive oil) and sprinkled some Italian Seasoning on top. Then I cranked up the broiler and put them in the oven with the pizza dip.

It was a hit judging by the three batches of bread I had to fix!

If you feel up to joining Ott, A's Iron Chef Challenge, go here:

Pizza Dip
1 (8-oz) package of cream cheese, softened
1 (14-oz) jar pizza sauce OR tomato sauce with your choice of seasoning
1/2 cup green bell pepper
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup pepperoni
1 (2 1/4-oz) can sliced ripe olives
1 (8-oz) package shredded mozzarella cheese (or Italian mix or some Parmesan)
2 green onions, chopped

Spread cream cheese in bottom of a 9-inch pieplate; spread pizza sauce over cream cheese. Sprinkle bell pepper, pepperoni, and olives (or diced tomatoes or mushrooms or well, you get the idea) over sauce. Top with mozzarella cheese (or Parmesan or Italian mix).

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 or 12 minutes or until cheese melts. (I cranked up the broiler for the last couple of minutes.) Serve warm with corn chips or French bread or whatever you want!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patty's Day Greetings

A co-worker brought in some St. Patrick's Day treats. God Bless her Irish roots!

The cupcake is still sitting on my desk tempting me to devour it in two bites. So far I've resisted...though there's a bit less icing now than in the photo above.

St. Patrick's Day always reminds me of 4-H...guess it's the clover, huh?

So here's my shout-out to what I think is THE best youth organization out there...


Any other 10-year 4-Hers out there?

I still remember...
  • the hours sitting by the back door in front of a fan with a bucket of soybeans to separate out the trash and pick out the cracked beans for a perfect jar of soybeans to exhibit...
  • the time I had to throw out an entire cake batter (or was it muffins?) because I forgot the eggs...
  • the pistachio coffee cake which took top honors in the microwave cooking project - nothing like a bright green bundt cake to wow the judges...
  • my dad yelling EVERY year as we loaded up the hogs to take to the fair because my sister and I NEVER took the project seriously enough...sorry Dad...
  • the tromping through the woods and the stopping by the side of the road to collect the perfect leaf from a tree or weed from the ditch...gotta love forestry and weed identification projects...
  • and so many more great memories!
Do you have a favorite 4-H memory? If so, please share!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Helping a School in Kenya

A caring young teacher in Indiana has dedicated herself to supporting - not only financially but also with her time, talent and love - a school in Kenya. $10 is needed to send a single child to school for a year there. She's selling t-shirts to make this happen and to allow her to go back there this summer to make sure the school continues to thrive.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

et tu Brute: Ides of March

In honor of the ides of March (March 15th):

Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue shriller than all the music
Cry "Caesar!" Speak, Caesar is turn'd to hear.

Beware the ides of March.

What man is that?

A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.
Julius Caesar Act 1, scene 2, 15-19

I found this too and it made me laugh...If Historical Events had Facebook Statuses:

However, thanks to my Latin/English teaching mama, I know that it should be "at the domus tonight" NOT "at the casa tonight." Julius Caesar (not Ceasar) was a Roman NOT a Spaniard!

Also, did you know that we celebrated National Pi Day yesterday?
I know what Pi is but totally missed the significance of celebrating it on March 14... 3/14...3.14...
A co-worker had to spell it out on my white board for me...D-oh!

Monday, March 14, 2011

RFOA: How Did I Get Here?

Several months ago, my bloggy and IRL friend Heather over at 3 Kids and Lots of Pigs started a little phenomenon over on Facebook called the Real Farmwives of America and Friends (RFOA).

There are some great blogs that feed into this Facebook site and it's a great place to go and find lots of great posts in one place.

When RFOA started, I was asked to join the group. Since I don't live on the farm anymore and I'm not a wife, I didn't feel comfortable joining. However, since the majority of the ladies on the "Real Housewives" series are not wives or housewives, I have changed my mind!

So, here we go...I'm playing catch up and posting my introductory piece "How Did I Get Here?"


I grew up on a farm in central Indiana. My dad grew corn and soybeans and raised hogs with his dad (my grandpa) and my mom's brother (my uncle). Today, my dad and uncle still farm together and my brother-in-law is joining them this year.

I am a child of the late '70s so forgive the "hooker clothes" (thanks Leah for the label - my mom thanks you too) below. (Jent - I posted this for you!)

This is one of my favorite childhood photos. I'm on the right in red. My older sister and I were "helping" our dad move hogs. When the baby pigs got big enough to be weaned from their mama, Dad and Uncle Sam would sort the pigs by size so the pigs in each pen were all around the same size. The "runts" (little guys) of the litter were separated and taken to a different barn. We were holding a couple of the runts.

Now, I won't claim that the above photo is a reflection of my involvement on the farm as a youth. To my dad's dismay, none of his daughters were all that interested in helping out in the barn.

However, as an active 4-H member, I had the opportunity to participate in 4-H Roundup as a 7th grader. I headed to Purdue University for a couple of days and found my calling...Agricultural Communications!

For two days, I got to build my own newspaper page and record my own television interview and LOVED it. So, when I got home, I told my parents that I knew where I was going to college - PURDUE - and what I was going to major in - Agricultural Communications.

I have always felt that this was the perfect combination of my dad, the farmer, and my mom, the high school English teacher!

When folks ask me what Agricultural Communications IS, I tell them I'm trained to talk to corn...they are all EARS!

PAUSE for groans...

But, really I've been lucky to stay involved with agriculture while not staying on the farm. I've done everything from working at Iowa State University for their College of Agriculture to reporting about agriculture as an editor for a regional farm newspaper to working with farmers (corn, soybean, cranberry and more) to help them talk to others about the crops they raise, how they raise them and how they are used.

So, that's how I got here! I'm excited to be a part of this group of funny, intelligent, wise, cool, funny (repeated this one for a reason) and I hope you go and check them out.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Starting the Day DEMENTD

I commute 50 miles to work each way five days a week.

It's really not that bad...mostly Interstate travel.

I was asked recently if I see the same cars on my commute to and from work. You would think that I would but I don't normally recognize the cars around me from one day to the next.

Maybe it's because it's normally dark as I drive in - I head out around 6:15 a.m. most mornings.

Maybe it's because I'm too busy reading license plates and mocking those who I think have a longer commute than I do.

Maybe it's because I'm in a zone and just don't process the cars that either I'm passing or are passing me.

Who knows?

Well, that all changed this morning. I pulled out of Starbucks after my daily stop for caffeine and recognized not a car but a license plate.

It read...DEMENTD.

Wonder why I remembered it?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday...Randomness and Hockey

I'm loving that these cookies were the snack in my meeting today... even if it's Ash Wednesday and I had to put them away to enjoy tomorrow.

I'm loving that the Real Farmwives of America and Friends launched a Twitter account this week - @realfarmwives and are really close to reaching 300 "likes" on Facebook

I'm loving that The Hungry Housewife cooked for me (and 100 others) last week and shared her super-secret chicken salad recipe with us. YUMMY! Did I mention her white truffle bacon deviled eggs? OMG!

I'm loving that I went to my first NHL hockey game last week, but am bummed that there was not ONE fight!

I'm loving that the "Fonzie thumbs up" is her standard pose in most of her photos...even a self-portrait at the hockey game.

I'm loving that I got to feel sand between my toes while watching the sunset over the ocean with a Mojito in my hand.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Very Bad, Awful, Trying Day

DISCLAIMER: This is a really wordy post with NO photos to break it up. Sorry!!

Yesterday, I was driving through a parking garage in downtown Indianapolis in my company's mini van. I was reminded of the last time I was in the very same van in a different parking garage in downtown Indianapolis.

I refer to that day as my "Very bad, awful, trying day!"

I was trying to find an image to illustrate how I felt that day and came up with this...

That sums up the day.

It started out with me being uber-stressed because I was getting ready for an event that I was partly in-charge of making sure went off without a hitch (or at least not a major one).

I rushed out of work to head downtown to scope out the lay of the land - skipping lunch because I was too busy and too stressed to eat.

I loaded up our almost new mini-van and went on my merry way. This was at the end of January and we had had snow on the ground since early December but the day was clear and sunny so no worries there...or so I thought.

I was tooling down the road, talking on my cell phone (yes, I know that's bad - at least I wasn't texting) when I felt the first one hit my hand.

A drop of water...that's weird. I brushed it off and kept talking.

A few minutes later, another drop of water and another. I looked up and the fabric around the sunroof looked damp. I then ran my finger across it (big mistake) and indeed it was wet.

Interesting, I thought.
As I pulled into the parking garage, I felt a few more drops, this time on my lap. I was driving in a parking garage talking on the phone with my BFF. (I needed a laugh and she can get me going more than anyone else.) I was telling her about the drip, drip, drip and not really paying attention to what I was doing. This spelled disaster.

Before I know it, I'm going the WRONG WAY in the parking garage as my skirt is soaked by a continuous flow of water from the van ceiling. At this point, I'm almost in tears. I think my BFF was laughing at my pain. This did NOT amuse me.

It's awful. It's terrible. I want my mommy!

Finally, I decide to heck with this garage (after coming face-to-face with a car going the RIGHT way in the garage) and I pay my $4 and escape to the garage next door which I know how to navigate. I park the van, beg my coworker to come switch me vehicles and make my way to my meeting.

Remember, my skirt is soaked and looks as if I had an accident - a BIG ONE - and I had to walk about 5 minutes to my destination and of course, it was in a busy area.

So, I get to the conference room and realize that I brought the WRONG bag and had to go back to the van for my stuff. Luckily, a very nice guy working the event with me offered to go back to the van with me and help me carry my stuff.

He asked if I had a cart and I said "no problem, I came prepared." Well, we get to the van and I go to gather my stuff from the front as he unloads the heavy boxes onto the cart I so smartly brought with me.

He - being the smart man he is - hesitantly asked me if I had checked the tires on the cart. Nope, they rolled fine when I loaded it into the van. Well, put some weight on it and wa-la flat as can be!

I almost lost it then. Luckily, my nice companion quickly loaded the boxes back in the van, took my key and ran off to get his cart to finish the job.

Luckily, the day got skirt dried, the run-through went OK and a co-worker arrived with a Coke Zero, waffle fries and 4 small bottles of booze.

Is that a friend or what? Now, I didn't break into the bottles then and there, but I thought about it!

Well, the waffle fries and Coke Zero perked me up and I got through the rest of the day without a hitch (the next day went well too). I even was lucky enough to spend an evening with two great gal pals and Roger Thurow, the keynote speaker for the next day's event.
Roger was a Wall Street Journal columnist for many years and has spent the last several years writing a book or two) on hunger, Africa and its farmers. The man is a wealth of knowledge and I enjoyed his insights. I am planning a post about the dinner soon but here are some hightlights:
  • HUNGRY FARMERS - that is a phrase we should NEVER hear.
  • We should let Africans - nations and farmers - decide how they want to farm. The EU and US should quit fighting the biotechnology battle over there.
  • Much of the crop in Africa is lost before it gets to market because of poor storage methods.
  • Many African farmers still scatter their corn across the field like they are feeding chickens - NOT plant it in rows.
  • The Figlmuller in Vienna has great Schnitzel. (Sorry he lived in Vienna for years and I'm going soon and I had to ask.)
And that was my very bad, awful, trying day...

“It is an amazing thing, the difference to one’s powers of concentration a pair of comfortable shoes can make.”
― Laurie R. King

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wordless Thursday...Wish I was Ocean Bound

I know what you are thinking...Wordless Thursday...there's no such thing. Well, I didn't get this posted yesterday so I'm going rogue.


Related Posts with Thumbnails