Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas- What Stress...

Somehow I lost 10 days in my blogging schedule. Oh wait I know what happened- Christmas! Although I didn't think I was experiencing much stress this season, I guess I was in survival mode and things like keeping up with this project was not in the plan. Looking back over the past week and a half I'm actually quiet proud of all I accomplished.

Little Helpers
At the start of last week My Cowboy resumed our basement finishing project.  We have been working on a bedroom and bathroom in the basement for 6 months now and this is the week he decides to start again.  So, I do what any wife who wants her basement done I pitch in and help.  After our great friend Lowell helped us finish texturing the walls we were ready to paint. Ha Yoo! The bedroom is Miss O's and she had her heart set on yellow. So, Lighting Bug Yellow it is. I have to admit I think it looks amazing and she claims it is exactly what she "saw in her head". The bathroom is Texas Sage, me and My Cowboy love the color and are thinking of covering the white hospital walls upstairs with this shade. As you can see we had help from the kids- and I do believe that all of the yellow is out of Miss R's hair now. Teigen didn't mean to  rest the roller on her head- guess she was just the right hight.

I also did some baking for the Christmas meal that I hosted. The kids & I love to bake together. One thing that we always make is spritz cookies. I think the kids like it so much because they get to use a machine that makes the cookies.

I still use my mom's old Kitchen Aid mixer that I can remember at the age of 8 my dad and I buying her for Christmas.  That old mixer has whipped, kneaded and mixed more treats for 4 generations then I could even begin to count.  I'm getting to the point that I'm ready for it to wear out so I can get one of the cool colored ones.  That's how I got it, my mom got a new red one and I inherited the old one.
I also had all the other Christmas stuff to prepare for like tons of gift wrapping and a lot of house cleaning! Not to mention my paying jobs that I accomplished a lot on-very excited about this.
I'm happy the craziness of the Holiday's are over. But now I have only 12 days to prepare for the family trip to Disney World- our next big family adventure! Sure will take any advice on prep from those who have been.

Friday, December 16, 2011

One Less Wise Man in the Hadrick House

The animals & Wise Men surrounding the manger. Created by Miss R
Long before I had children I purchased this beautiful hand painted nativity set. The key phrase here was before I had children- as many of you know these words are used by people who have children-in our house it is BC (before children) and AC (after children). Had it been AC, I would have spent the money on something that was kid proof.  But alas, every year I drag out my precious barn and figurines and try to place them where they will be safe. Now, I'm happy that my kids love to touch and play with them but over the years there have been a few tiny fingers broken off and the shepherds hook is a little bit shorter (there are only 2 sheep so he can handle the herd).

Today, there was a major accident occurred just outside the manger. I was passing by the set and noticed that one of the Wise Men had lost his head. I'm not sure how this tragedy happened for sure but I did question the 2 suspects- Miss O and Miss R. They both claimed that they had no idea how it happened. I don't believe them but nevertheless I am one Wise Man down now.  I think he is fixable but I'm not sure he will ever be the same- certainly not going to be leading the charge that is for sure. For now he is in the glue sickbay with the elves I talked about before.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Movie Review-Tradition #2

One of the things our family loves to do the most to mark the Christmas season is to watch our favorite movies. We have a handful of must see's, but as the kids get older the movie selection continues to broaden.  This year we have added National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation to our family movie must see.  For the first time as a family we sat and watched the ABC Family version so it was language appropriate. There is nothing like watching your kids see something new for the first time. I found more joy in watching our son laugh at all the good parts then watching them myself. We have been reliving the scenes for a week now-and we still are laughing. The kids demanded I blog about their favorite parts:

Master T's favorite line:
When Clark asks Aunt Bethany to say grace. (using the voice & all)
Uncle Lewis: "He wants you to say grace"
Aunt Bethany: "Grace died 30 years ago"
Uncle Lewis: "no, the blessing"

He will just randomly say these lines, and every time it just makes him giggle.

On a side note- this is even funnier for My Cowboy & I, when he was 5 we asked him to say the prayer one night before supper and out of the blue (because he had not seen the movie) he started saying the Pledge of Allegiance. I was laughing so hard I could not even talk.

Miss O spent most of the movie having us explain it to her.  She kept saying I don't understand why he (Clark) is being so stupid. (she is the logical one of the family).  Once she got into the silliness of the movie she couldn't stop watching.

Her favorite part (well actually 2):
1. When cousin Eddie brings the gift that Aunt Bethany brought to Clark & Ellen. Ellen touches the green stuff leaking and cousin Eddie licks it off her finger. "Mmm Lime"

2. Her other part is when cousin Eddie points out to Clark that he can't swim right after Clark tells the group he is getting the swimming pool.  She can't tell me why she thinks it's funny but for what ever reason it makes her laugh.

Finally, Miss R honestly only got through the first half, but the way she 'remembers' all the the parts we keep laughing about you would think she saw the whole movie.

Her favorite part (she also has 2):
1. She too loves the lime jello scene.  I think mostly because we keep talking about it she thinks she actually saw it.

2. When the dog pukes, here again she didn't see this part either, but what kid does not like throw up, I'm sure she sees it in her mind.

My favorite you ask- it's the cat in the box! Who can't help but laugh out loud when you see that box shake. Brings me to tears every time.

On deck for our next holiday movies- Christmas Story - who doesn't love the lady leg lamp!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sending A Thank You

I try not to let a day go by that I don't thank the Dear Lord for the many many blessing my family has. Maybe I'm at that point in my life that I reflect on those things more but I know especially this last year I have taken time to dwell on the positives and be thankful of all I have. One thing I started a few years ago was to say thank you to those who are serving in the military every chance I get.  Because I fly a lot I often see military personal in the airports. I have gone out of my way to walk up to a complete stranger to tell them and their families thank you for the freedom they are providing my family.  The response has been one of gratitude from them and always a smile. This summer when Teigen went with us on a trip I was so proud of him, as I said thank you to 3 men dressed in fatigues riding on a train with us, he looked at each of the men and said thank you too.

Our box all packed and ready to go
Today I sent a Christmas package to a dear friend who is in the military and stationed overseas. I turned My Cowboy loose in the grocery store this weekend to fill one of those flat rate boxes from the Post Office. He seems to enjoy buying random things and he did well with his purchases. When it came down to it we have 3 bags of candy, a handheld game, snacks, pens, puzzle book, beef jerky (of course), 2 containers of homemade cookies, 2 handwritten notes, and the latest BEEF magazine. The box was stuffed to the brim. Writing my note to Pat I thought about what a great friend he is to us and all the fun and adventures we have had. Sending this box was the least we could do to say Thank You.

So, Pat if you're reading this- the cookies with green frosting are from Marilyn (they are wonderful!!) the one's with sprinkles were made with love from the Hadrick women-keep that in mind because taste isn't really what we accomplished with this batch. We'll keep working on the recipe and send you more when we get them perfected.

For those of you who don't know someone in the military who will be away from their family this Christmas- find someone who knows someone and take the time to send thank you.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sand on My Shoes

It's no secret-My Cowboy & I travel. A big misconception is that we travel for enjoyment - it's work, although it is fun- it is still work.  I often have to tell people it may sound glamours that we are going to XXX (insert your glamourous place here) but in reality we often get on a plane fly to 'glamours place' get off plane- go to hotel-work (which we love)-go back to airport-go home.  We usually don't have time to do go sight seeing. But on our last run of the year we had a rare down day. Since we are following winter travel rules (someday I will share) we completed our work in Des Moines and headed to our next job in Corpus Christi. For a South Dakota girl it is very exciting to think about south Texas in the winter.  I couldn't bring myself to pack anything but my regular winter clothes-wool socks & sweaters. Needless to say I didn't need them in the 70+ degree weather. But to stay consistent I chose to wear them, so not to mess my internal climate clock up. It was a little awkward but I'm a girl of my convictions. 

pastedGraphic.pdfWe had a whole day to do what ever we wanted. We spent the morning catching up on work and had the rare interrupted adult conversation. But our afternoon was free-we are not beach people and although I packed my suit, we tend to pick museums over sitting on the beach. First stop: USS Lexington. This beautiful aircraft carrier has been turned into a museum and the all access walking tour for 3 hours was a real treat to experience. My Cowboy and I checked out everything -he reads all the stuff while I skim it.

As we left the ship I thought I should at least touch the sand & so I wondered onto the beach to snap a picture to share with the kids. You might think it's cruel to show them a picture, but we like to share with them living proof of water in it's liquid form this time of year.  
That night we ventured out to the IceRay Hockey game. I know nothing about hockey but do enjoy watching and this was truly the case of we went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.  Spirited young men gave it all that night and there was even a suspensive overtime period. 
We sure had a lot of fun in Texas.  I am very grateful for the opportunity for us to have the day to take time and enjoy our surroundings! By the way the Texas Farm Bureau meeting was wonderful too and we would love to come back and work with you guys any time.  Thanks for the opportunity to have a free day- I loved every minute of it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Tradition #1-The Village

The first sign of Christmas in our house is by far our favorite family tradition. My Cowboy & started a Department 56 Village shortly after we got married.  I have to say My Cowboy was not really excited about the village but has come around and is usually the one who is the first to suggest we put it up.  Every year right after Halloween we all start to itch to put up the village.  This is a process and takes a lot of mental preparation! We have over 40 pieces and it takes a lot of walking up and down the stairs to bring up each individual box. Once the boxes are upstairs, the real works begins- we place each piece with love and a plan. You can't have the Real Plastic Snow Factory next to the Taffy Factory- who wants to risk the food safety issues there? The placement of the village is only half the battle.  The lighting is the next challenge. My Cowboy takes the lighting very seriously, over the years we have developed a special system that appears as northern lights at night.

We all love the village and each of us have our favorite pieces.  It is so important to us that we considered house plans with the village placement in mind. Our new house has plug-ins above the cabinets and it is the perfect place to display our collection. This is our second Christmas in the house and we continued to adjust our design but all agree this is a cool location to show off our North Pole Village. 

Every year we break something- this year our first casualty was an unsuspecting elf that loads Santa's Sleigh.  He was up on the ladder and a cupboard door shut a little too hard nocked him onto the counter (thousands of elf feet below).  This time of year I have lots of crazy glue on hand, so we were able to fix him up and after spending some time at the Elf Clinic for some R&R he has returned to his station. Just in time for the busy season! 

I'm sure I will continue to share pictures of the village throughout the Christmas season- I will also keep you updated on any more casualties that may occur with the elves. It's a busy season, although safety is important accidents do happen. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Connecting Farm & City Kids

My family had the opportunity last year to be adopted by a classroom in Sioux Falls, SD our largest city in SD. They wanted to connect with farmers and we jumped at the opportunity to connect with city youth. We send them monthly videos of what we are doing on the farm and they send us a list of questions as long as my arm back.  It's been a cool experience and when they asked if we would like to do it again, we jumped at the chance.

This past week we traveled to Sioux Falls and were able to meet with the now 3 classrooms that have adopted us. We showed them our video on weaning calves. It's a good video (I took most of the footage) of how we transport the calves, process them by giving shots and weighing them. We also show the calves in our backgrounding lot where they are fed through the winter. The short video sparked a ton of questions about our cattle. Like what we do with them when they get sick? We give them medicine to make them better, just like they would get.  We shared that we spend a lot of our day with the cattle making sure they are not sick so when one is we quickly get them medicine.
Smelling the ground hay
The difference between male and female cattle? This question always comes up with groups of youth and we often explain that all mammals, just like humans have male and female 'parts'. What are the things in the cattle ears? We talk about how all of our calves have individual ear tags that have a number assigned to them, which is like having a name.

We also took feed samples of what the cattle are fed.  Everything from silage to ground hay to ground corn.  The kids were able to touch and smell the samples.  This year Kelly from Ag United joined us and brought cotton seeds too. Many kids had no idea that their jeans were made from cotton that is a plant!

Probably the thing I was most proud of was our middle daughter Miss O and her interaction with a small group of students.  She is very shy and usually does not interact with a group well. She had shared her story about her bucket calf she took care of for the last 7 months in front of the large group.  A few students starting asking her questions and she did amazing with answering with detail and enthusiasm. 

Although we only got to spend 45 minutes with the classrooms we made the most of our time and I'm excited we were able to connect with the students on how their food is made. My Cowboy and I love we we do as farmers and my kids are proud to be farmers and that makes me proud. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Going to the Big Town

Prairie life has it’s benefits. I can only see one house from mine and they are related to me. That is a benefit because no one drives by and looks in my windows.  Which is good because I have not found the right window treatments for my new house so I’ve saved money by not hurrying up and buying some. Another example I had 8 errands to run today in our little town. I dropped my car off to get the oil changed and only had to walk 4 blocks and I went to the bank, quilt shop, pharmacy, Extension Office, church, and school- I love that.  But the one down side to living on the prairie is the lack of shopping diversity.  Don’t get me wrong, we’ve got excellent shopping in my small town, the quilt shop, pharmacy (which has a good wine selection), and Uniquely Yours that has clothes, toys, amazing home decorations and everything else- plus tanning in the back, and what those places don’t have the Hardware store does. But, with Christmas coming getting to a ‘big’ town to ogle at all the exciting shiny stuff is a must. I do a lot internet shopping but sometimes you just need to touch stuff before you buy it. 
This weekend we are headed to the ‘big’ town of Sioux Falls, SD. It is the largest town in our state with a population of 150,000.  This ‘big’ town has it all and I can’t wait to do a lot of looking at all the cool store displays and get some serious Christmas shopping done!  Now the thing about ranchers is we seldom leave the cattle to just have fun and this weekend the only reason I get to go to the big town is because our annual Farm Bureau meeting is Friday & Saturday. So, my shopping will have to be furious and pointed. Which means I have come with a list and a map to make the most out of my driving time too. 
P.S. I have to say a huge Thank You to my friend Heather AKA Porkmom for taking me shopping this fall when I got to visit her in Indianapolis. It was an amazing treat for me to get to shop with a friend and all the fun the two women can have in a store.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Learning Life Lessons from Morgan the Show Heifer

This was our son's first year in 4-H and he enjoyed showing his first large animal.  I was so proud of how he took the responsibility of caring for an animal very seriously.  All summer long he would ride his bike over to his grandparents house where Morgan, the show heifer was housed in the barn and corrals.  Many times a day he would check on her, make sure she had enough water, food and was comfortable.  There were several life lessons that T learned this summer, but probably the most important one was Morgan set the bar on how a woman prefer to be treated. Here are the top 4 things he learned about this topic.
#1. Be patient & calm.  Women don't like to be pushed and Morgan certainly preferred a quiet calm voice and if you lose your temper she certainly would snub him until he apologized.
#2. Women like to be pampered.  Every morning Morgan would insist on T giving her a bath before she would do anything else. She loved to be scrubbed from head to toe. She then would prefer to be dried off with the blower while she ate her breakfast. Which leads me to #3. Take a lady out for a good meal. Every morning he would bring her the special bucket of feed that he carefully measured to make sure she had just the right amount. He learned quickly that it is important to feed her on time.
#4 Women need a lot of products to make their hair & nails look nice.  Morgan has special brushes and many different sprays and foams to make her hair have more body, stay combed forward and shine.  She also needed spray paint to make her hooves be shinny black.  This is a must before going into the show ring.
This is the outline her hooves left on the ground
after we touched them up with paint

After months of living the show animal lifestyle, we turned Morgan out to pasture with the other cows and bred heifers.  I'm sure she has had an adjustment going back to be a regular cow, but we know that she is doing well.  The pasture she is in is right outside our kitchen window and I glance out every now and then to see if I can find her and I smile.  Thanks Morgan!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sunshine In A Box

Two times a year a box of sunshine arrives at my house.  It is something that I wait for with great anticipation and open it right away.

For our 10 year wedding anniversary I talked my cowboy into going wine tasting in Sonoma.  It was an amazing trip- we had never done anything like it before and since then we have developed some great friends in California that we try to get back and visit as much as possible. On our second trip to Sonoma we were introduced to Williamson Wines by our great friends the Sweets. We had so much fun at their tasting room that we joined their wine club. So, now 2 times a year they ship me wine! aaahhh.

Now, my shipment only comes two times a year because I live in an 'extreme' climate according to Williamson Wines. I realize that South Dakota can be deemed extreme because it does get really cold in the winter and we can get many feet of snow, plus we can get over 100 degrees in the summer- But so does California.  But in wine terms I guess we are too extreme here and I am limited to 2 shipments a year.

 Now for some of you a wine drinking cowboy may not be the image you had.  Don't get me wrong, My cowboy certainly enjoys a bottle of beer but given the opportunity he really enjoys drinking a good bottle of wine- and every once in a while dumping wine on the ground too- but that story is for a different post.

I'm currently planning the perfect meal, I'm thinking steak tips, to enjoy one of these bottles with and I might just share it with my Cowboy....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Happy Hair, Happy Girls

I was blessed with two beautiful little girls, which meant I had to accept pink into my life and have considered investing in a make-up company.  Over the past 6 years I've acquired many new girl raising skills, but the one that still is my great nemesis is creating the cute hair styles my girls desire. Anyone who knows me, knows my favorite hair style is a pony tail.  I simply was not given the skills and patience to create even the simplest of hair creations.  As a little girl my Barbie dolls were dressed to the hilt but their hair was always in a pony tail.  Over the years I've bought all the hair gadgets, currently I have 2 flat irons, 3 curling irons, and dozens of hair sprays, mousse and products to do every which thing with hair and still I have limited hair fixing abilities.

My oldest daughter, O has long straight as a board hair and her dream is to have it to the floor.  My youngest daughter, R has curly curly hair that is manageable if we keep shorter.  My cowboy & I often laugh about seeing our girls in the future: O curling her hair and R straightening hers. For that reason we added extra plug in's to their bathroom when we built it. Needless to say I have two hair challenges.

My girls love to have their hair braided, I can braid but I can't do much more then that. R has been bagging me to french braid her hair for some time now, and I have been putting it off. This week she caught me at an adventurous moment- so with ipad in hand we headed to the bathroom for our tools.   Thank goodness for YouTube! After watching a great tutorial 3 times I made my first attempt at a french braid. I got started just fine and after 2 more times of watching the video and bagging her to stay very still, I was able to complete the task.
Here is my 2nd attempt! She made me take out the first one-not up to her standards. 
Look at this happy face, all worth acquiring my new skill.
So, I don't think I'm ready to enter into a braiding competition but I see trying a side braid in my future. As for my own hair, I have an appointment with Stacy (my hairdresser has my same name) and I can't wait to see her, because at least tomorrow my hair will look amazing!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Building A Blog- What's my Recipe?

As I launch my blog I'm thinking about the recipe I will follow.  The main ingredient I have in my blog is family.  I'm the mother of 3 growing children, Teigen, Olivia & Reese.  Although they are young we are busy with school, 4-H, and church.  I'm also married to my best friend, my cowboy.  My cowboy and I raise cattle & crops on the prairie.  We love where we live and appreciate the lifestyle we are raising our children in.
My recipe also includes my job beyond being a mom & wife. I have many 'paying' jobs that I will continue to share. I'm also an entrepreneur,  my cowboy & I have developed a business that we continue to build with all the challenges and joys of working with your spouse!
I also have a full cup of travel, I'm fortunate to have a job that gets me out of the tri-county area on a regular basis.  Add another cup of community. I'm involved as a 4-H & youth group leader and see those continuing to develop and keeping me running more.
Throw in a big dash of rural life on the prairie. I have to drive 65 miles to get to a town with shopping.  I'm an hour from WalMart, Starbucks and McDonalds.  This rural living makes me have to plan ahead for lots of things since my small town does not have many of the features most are use to having.
That's my recipe for my blog.  I look forward to connecting with people about the joys of my rural lifestyle.