Sunday, September 7, 2014

Blog Make-Over

Hello!  Hope you are all having a fantastic weekend!  It's been a busy one around here with Husker and Cyclone football games yesterday, the first day of Sunday School and church this morning, and now I'm trying to finish canning some tomatoes that I got from my sister, Morgan, do a little work on my computer, prepare for a presentation that I have to give on GMOs both Monday and Tuesday, and I need to go mow the yard.  Looking forward to that 1.5 hours of me time on the lawnmower!

Anyways, I just wanted to drop you a note to tell you that I have been working closely with a new friend who has been working behind the scenes on my blog.  I just got the email yesterday that she's getting ready to roll my blog into the new one that she created.  So if things aren't working properly this week you will know why!  She said my blog may be down a day or two, but hopefully you will be seeing a new look soon!  I wanted to include a screen shot of what my blog looks like now, because the new one is going to look so much better!  I can't wait to share it with you this week!

So this will be my last post for a few days until she's got it up and running on the new website!  Stay tuned!  Thanks for being patient with us if the blog is down for a little while!  Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

August Recap

How is summer already gone?!?!  I knew it would fly by because we were really busy, but I feel like I just blinked and it was over!  Does anyone else feel that way?

The month started off with a little road trip for the boys and I back to my hometown in Nebraska for our county fair.  It's known around those parts as the "World's Fair".  It's a pretty big deal!

My sister and I ran a 5k while we were home and Hudson ran a half mile.  Ax was just our cheering team along with Grandpa and Grandma.

Megan and I some how managed to both get first place in our age groups (note: this is a small county fair so it's not like there were 100s of people running this race!).

Then we hit the fair.  Hudson wanted so badly to ride the octopus, so Aunt Megan and I said we'd ride with him.  Once was enough for me.  He wanted to go again so he talked Andrew (Aunt Megan's boyfriend) into riding it with him.  Once was enough for him too!

Ax loved the ponies.  He could have went around in circles all night long if we would have let him!

We also got to spend a little time on the water that weekend.  I think that was the only time on the water other than a boat ride or two!  :(

Then it was time for some back-to-school shopping for Hudson and I, after we had a little frozen yogurt!

We also got to meet some good friends' of our's little baby girl.  Axten just adored her!

On August 12th it was off to the Iowa State Fair.  We only made it one day this year and it was to receive the Century Farm award for the Ross family farm.

The boys got to hang with their cousins for awhile that afternoon.

Since school was beginning, we had to get into a better bedtime routine.  Axten just loves to read!  He was not wanting to give this book up when it was time to get dressed for bed one night!

My favorite photo from this entire summer was this one that I took one night when the boys and I went to check on the cattle.  

The weekend before school started I decided to rearrange the boys bedroom.  We're getting really close to moving Axten from the crop into the toddler bed and turning the crib into a full size bed for Hudson to sleep on.  We'll see how that goes when we decide to take the plunge!

Then it was finally school time.  Hudson was so excited and is still loving school three weeks in to it!

Axten was just patiently waiting for me to finish with supper one night when I looked over and saw him "reading" a cattle magazine!  I think I have the same picture of Hudson, only he's sitting on a potty!  (The boys are just going to love the pictures that I have of them when they get older!)

We also had both a Tawain Ag group and a Chinese Media group (more on that soon!) visit our farm and talk to us about U.S. agriculture, GMOs, our family farm, etc.  For not ever hosting an international group to our farm before, it turned out great and was a lot of fun meeting everyone!  Look forward to doing more of that again in the future.

Pretty much everything in the garden didn't make it this year due to the frost and hail that we received early one.  The onions, carrots, a few squash and ears of sweet corn did manage to survive.  In the picture below, Hudson was going on a carrot run next door to Great Grandma's to see if she wanted any carrots.

The second to last weekend of August took Kevin and I to Des Moines for the Iowa Corn Grower's annual meeting.  We had a great view of the Iowa State Capital from our hotel room.  It is so pretty all lit up at night and then the next morning I could barely see it through the fog/humidity!

We finally reached the end of August which also brought us Labor Day weekend.  That Saturday, Kevin and HD went to Ames to cheer on the Cyclones.  Ax and I stayed home, cleaned, mowed, and watched parts of both the Iowa State and Nebraska football games.  We were very productive while they were gone!

Last Sunday was spent around the house and with family.  Same for Monday.  It was really nice to have a three day weekend where we were actually home for most of it!

Now it's on to September.  This month brings me a few trips, one to China!  I don't know a lot about it yet, but I will definitely be sharing with you as I go!  Also, keep an eye out for a new look around here.  My blog is in the process of getting a major make-over!  I'm so excited!

Hope you have a great rest of this week and a great month too!  Talk to you soon!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My Baby is Growing Up

Last Monday morning I woke up and saw this pretty view out my front window.  It was a great way to start a day.  A day I knew was coming for the last four and a half years, but a day that I couldn't believe had arrived so fast.  

It was Hudson's first day of school.  He's attending pre-school in the same school that Kevin grew up in.  It's the same school that his grandma Rhonda had just retired from teaching 5th grade.  It's the same school where his best friend was also attending. 

It was not hard to get him up that morning.  He hoped right out of bed and put on the clothes that he picked out the night before.  Of course the shirt had Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on it! 

He was so happy and excited that he patiently stood by the sign in our front yard and waited for me to take a bunch of pictures.  That never happens! 

We had just planted that white swamp oak the week before with the Taiwan Ag group that came and visited our farm.  I thought since it was about the same size as Hudson that it would be fun to take his picture by it every year on the first day of school to see who grows faster (it'll probably all depend on how often I remember to water the tree!). 

Right before we left that morning, we got Axten to stand still long enough to take a picture with his brother.  He definitely looks like he's up to something in this picture doesn't he?

Axten-1.5 years old and Huson-4.5 years old

After we dropped Axten of at daycare, Hudson and I arrived at his new school.  I wasn't sure what he would do when we got there.  Part of me knew how excited he was, but part of me knew that sometimes he plays the shy card around new people. 

He walked like a big kid right now the hallways to his classroom.  I think schools have certain smells when you first walk into them at the start of a new year.  It brought back so many memories from my school that I went to in Nebraska.  I was so excited for him, for all the things that he's going to learn, all the friends that he's going to meet, and all the memories that he's going to make.

Since it was the first day, I came into his classroom with him and got to see his seat and his locker. 

He seemed right at home there.  We had already had the opportunity to meet his teacher two times before school actually started, so he was ready for this.  So I said my goodbyes and headed to work...with no tears shed by anyone other than Axten.  He was NOT happy that we left his at daycare without his big brother.  He cried for about five minutes and then was fine I was told. 

So this whole school thing snuck up on me I feel like, but it makes me so happy to see how excited he is about school and making new friends!  When I picked him up at the end of the day he told me all about it!  The first thing he said was, "I had no time outs!"  Haha!  That's good!
He told me what he had for his snacks and for lunch, and that he had some new friends in his class.  The pre-school class is so big that they have three classes this year.  He didn't know anyone in his class going into that day, but he now said that Charlie and Owen are his friends during school, and that Martin and Quentin are his friends in the afternoon.  (Pre-school in only in the morning for him but he stays for the afternoon extended care program, so he's basically going to school all day long already!)  When I asked if any of his new friends were girls, he said, "I just can't figure them out!"  I told him not to worry, that most guys feel the same way!
One last thing that we did to mark the start of his first year of school was to try out a new app that I recently downloaded to my iPhone.  It's called OneDay and is currently free for iOS users. 
What you do is select a topic from the app and it walks you through questions to ask.  These questions tend to lean towards children, but you could also capture your friends and families answers too!  Once you decide on a topic, you will record the candid answers and then at the end OneDay creates a video for you.  This did not take long to do as long as your subject cooperates!  For this video, I choose the Back to School questions.  Hudson loved watching the video afterwards, so I'm sure we will be making many more to share with you!  Stay tuned!

Disclaimer: I was asked to review the OneDay app, but all opinions and comments are 100%  my own.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Taiwan Ag Group Visits Our Family Farm

About a week and a half ago we had a Taiwan Grain Production and Quality Study Team come and visit our farm in SW Iowa.  This was the first international group that we have had visit, but I know it won't be the last!  This group was in the United States for 10 days.  They visited farmers and looked at crop fields in Nebraska, Iowa, and the New Orleans area.  They were also lucky enough to get to go to the Iowa State Fair while they were here too.  

This group was traveling with the U.S. Grains Council, which is a private, non-profit partnership of producers and agribusinesses committed to building and expanding international markets for U.S. barley, corn, grain sorghum, and their products.  The Council is headquartered in Washington D.C. and has nine international offices (one of which is in Taipei, Taiwan) that oversee programs in more than 50 countries.  Their main focuses are to promote the value of trade, advance food security, be a trade policy resource, and be a reliable supplier.  

There were nine participants that came to our farm.  Mr. Clover Shueh-Yi Chang is the Director of the U.S. Grains Council Taiwan office and Kevin and I have known him for a few years now.  It was fun to have him come to our farm and see where we live.  Kevin's been to Taiwan, but I haven't yet and Clover told me that I need to come with Kevin next time!  Sounds like a plan to me!  

One of the ladies from the group was Ms. Reuy-Perng Lin and she is the Section Chief, Council of Agriculture in Taiwan, which I was told was the equivalent of the head of the USDA here in the United States.  She was really interesting to talk to.  There was also the Chairman of the Poultry Association, Managers of agriculture businesses, a Specialist in the National Farmers' Association, a farm manager, and a professor with the group.  

They had already stopped at a soybean and corn field of ours on their way to our house and also a machine shed to see some different types of equipment and meet with the Pottawattamie County Corn & Soybean Grower President, Shane Schaaf, and Steve Killpack.  

They asked a lot of questions about being a beginning farmer today, GMOs, equipment, what we feed our cattle, and how the crops were doing this year, among many others.  

When they arrived at our farm, it was a perfect day outside, so we sat on our back deck and talked for awhile and then walked around our farm.  

We showed them some of our cattle, the feed that we feed them, and our machine shed.  They also got to sample some deer jerky and loved it!

Since they were visiting in the afternoon, I wanted to make them something to eat for a snack, so with the help of my Facebook friends, I came up with Sweet Corn Ice Cream with a Blackberry Sauce.  

Sweet Corn Ice Cream with Blackberry Sauce Recipe

We also grilled some sweet corn for them to try too.  It was all a hit!  I was told that I needed to commercialize my sweet corn ice cream and that they would buy a ton of grain and a container of ice cream at the same time!  

Right before the group left, we planted a tree that I recently received at my Ag-Urban Initiative Leadership graduation.  Each of my classmates were given a Swamp White Oak tree (native to Iowa) from our leaders.  It was a really neat gift and really symbolic of everything that we talked about in our classes over the past six months.  We thought that it would be a neat thing to do with the Taiwan group while they were here.  

Ms. Linda Ruey-Perng Lin, Section Chief , Council of Agriculture in Taiwan.

After that, we had to say our goodbyes.  I wish we had more time together, but they had to head back to Omaha, NE for the evening.  

Hudson giving Clover a high-five before they left.

I look forward to staying in touch with this wonderful group and hopefully being able to make a trip to Taiwan in the near future to see their country and learn more from them!