Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Beauty IS in the Eye of the Beholder

Well, last night I decided that it was time to start taking care of the veggies that were ready in my garden. Now, let me say that being that it is my first official year gardening I have not been the best at taking care of all my produce. I forgot that certain veggies need to be dusted or sprayed for things like larva, bugs etc. So, never the less I found some unexpected creatures when I went to collect the broccoli and cabbage. WORMS!

Immediately I wanted to curse, but I screamed instead. This caused my 4 year little guy Chris to come running over. "What mom," he says. So I showed him the hundreds of eggs and numerous little green worms. "That is so cool! Can I have them?" he continued. I wanted to ask if he was kidding, but by the look on his face I knew that he was serious and excited as a 4 year old could be. So, I continued to collect the broccoli and cabbage with their worms and all and carry them into the house.

Chris grabbed a bucket, tossed some veggie leaves in and said, "I need them all. They turn into the pretty butterflies." He tossed the bucket on the counter and headed off to play a bit more. I on the other hand spent the next 3 hours de-worming, cutting cleaning and packaging veggies. When I was done Chris had a nice collection in his bucket
and my freezer was starting to look a bit more colorful.

I will say that a few thoughts traveled through my mind as I was working. Some of them include...
*Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.
*I wish I was excited about worms as Chris.
*Next year I will powder and spray for critters.
*I wonder if my food from the store, Farmer's market etc. has worms that I just don't know about.
*Thank the good Lord that we have people smart enough to figure out how to make and when to apply products to make our food sources safe.

...and then my dimmly lit light bulb of a brain after hours of picking realized that as frustrated that I am about my small inconvience in my garden it is nothing compared to the stress and constant battle that our farmers (organic and non-organic) and ranchers face each and every day in order to keep our crops and livestock healthy so that it is safe for our consumption.

So, in honor of the WORMS, I thank Chris for seeing a silver lining and finding some fun in my frustration and I thank all that work to make the food in the USA the safe!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hidden Messages, Hear What is Really Being Said

Today I opened up my email and saw a forward from my mom. Now, I wasn't alarmed because she sends these about once a week. Some of them are cute, funny and some I admit I delete without even opening. Today the subject line caught my eye, "Tyson Foods".

So, I opened it and began reading.....

The initial line said " verified by Snopes and Fox" which peeked my curiousity even more. So I actually READ, not skimmed the email.

Overall it was about boycotting the Tyson company because their Tennesse plant negotiated to switch paid holidays from Labor Day to that of a Muslim holiday in response to the high number of Muslim employees. The email made it seem like this was recent, but in actuality if one does the research this happened about 3 years ago and the switch was made in only one of the processing plants. I can see why people get worked up about a switch of this matter, but one must realize that we are living in the 21st Century. We choose to live in a country with a vast variety of cultures and religiuos beliefs. We also need to remember that we have our personal beliefs and then we have our businesses. Sometimes these two perspectives do not see eye to eye.

Anyway, my response to this email was, " I guess one needs to look at this wholistically... As a business, we need to accommodate those who work for us. We have to set our personal beliefs aside and figure out what is best for the company. We also cannot persecute and entire culture/religion for what a small number of brain-washed crazy people have done. So I guess I am saying that if a company has a large number of employees whose culture/ religion should prevent them from being able to work on a particular day, then the company should consider changing up the work schedule in order to accommodate their work force. Also, it is important to note that not all Muslims are recent relocators from the Middle East. The religion has what we may call " white" or non-traditional believers. I think if we look at history we one will see that if we group them all into one category, we will find ourselves on the wrong side of the argument and assumption."

I also would like to say, that the circulation of this email is concerning to me, especially since this is a matter of 3 years ago. My gut says that this is not really an email about the change of a paid holiday. My concern comes from the increasing negative publicity from special interest groups that are taking wild and far reaching actions to discredit, terrorize and destroy animal agriculture in the United States. With that being said, I encourage you to gather accurate information from those who work directly in the animal agriculture industry. Do not let a wild card emails, commercials, mailings etc persuade you to travel down a road of inaccuracies. When hearing information question it, research it and look to those within the realm of the information for their side and info before passing it on to someone else. And if nothing else, PLEASE read between the lines!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Food Budget Out of Control

As a mom of four I have come to accept that I will only have to keep increasing the food budget over the next several years! It amazes me how much we actually spend and then also how much we end up throwing away.

I have a few picky eaters, one that will not eat leftovers and 2 that if can be eaten they will comsume it. So, I am always looking for easy, flexible dinner ideas that use leftovers (without anyone knowing). I am getting to be a pro at reseasoning beef, pork and chicken for use in soup, stew, between tortillas or in gravy. Sometimes we reheat, then set out a wide variety of sauces for "doctoring it up", cheeses and a choice side. (They say it is kids choice night.) Most of the time the kids think I worked really hard to make several things... Little do they know they are eating last nights hambergers crumbled with pizza seasoning on their homemade pizza or the leftover brats sliced and fried with the cut up extra baked potatos and then scrambled with eggs for breakfast....I figure what they don't know won't hurt them. :)

Tonight I opened my pantry and found 2 gallon sized bags of cookies, left over from a family celebration about 10 days ago. The ones that were left were not to the liking of my kids.. so now what do I do. Make them into bars! Here's what I did....

Preheat oven to 350
Crumble cookies (I took all 3 kinds- oatmeal raisin, peanut butter and sugar)
Melt enough butter to make cookies moist
Grease a 9x13 pan
Pat cookie mix into bottom of pan
Mix up a family size (enough for 9x13 pan) brownie mix and spread over cookie mix
Add any additional goodies desired ( choc. chips, nuts, coconut etc.)
Cook for about 20 minutes or until done
Let cool
(I know, no specific measurements... sorry, that is how I cook.)

So, now to figure out what to do with all that other stuff just hanging around the pantry and fridge. Here's to hoping reducing the amount of food I make, and reusing the leftovers helps out the good old pocket book! CHEERS!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sitting the Bench

As of tonight Ben, now 10, will be riding the bench for the remainder of the baseball season. He will also have to miss out on the elementary football season, trampoline jumping, and any movement that is not in the pool or on a bike... the growth plates in his heels are badly inflammed and he winces in pain each time he steps.

He was supposed to sit out tonight, but after a bit of begging, puppy eyes and a few batted eyelashes, I let him play in 2 baseball games. It saddens me to know how sad he is to not do the things he loves, but warms my heart to know he's taking it in stride. He pointed out that he can still cheer on his team, shoot blackbirds out the playhouse windows and catch his brother when he bounces off the tramp. What a great kid.

What really got me today was when he said to me, "Mom, I am sorry I put you through all this. I know it is a lot of work to give us all we need." Fighting tears, I simply said, "No need for sorry. This is what being a mom is all about. It is my job to run you here and there and make sure you are taken care of." He then says, "But who takes care of you?" I didn't know what to say, but I know that there is a God because just then I was saved from an out pouring of tears by the spunky nurse/ physician's assistant that walked into the room. THANK YOU!

Wow! What a day! And now it's time for the tears, an extra hug good night for my kids and bed for myself. Tomorrow will be another adventure that will start earlier than I desire.

Cookin' Up My Favorites!

Food is always coming in thr house and then flying out of my fridge and cupboards. I took a minute the other day to look at what my kiddos were eating. Some of it was good and some of it was not so good! So, I brought some of the good old easy summer recipes back.

Campfire Apple "Pie"
Apples of your choice
Pot holder
Stick entire apple on a stick.
Cook over open fire or grill until tender to touch ( use pot holder to squeeze)
Peel off burnt skin and eat. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar if desired.

Pineapple Dream
Cut a fresh pineapple into circles of half circles 1/2-1 inch thick.
Place on grill for 2-3 minutes on each side.
You can also cut into chunks and use kabobs or roasting sticks and a fire.
Add ham chunks on kabobs for a meal.

Pickle & Pork Poppers
1 pound bacon of your choice
Dill pickles ( 1 per bacon slice)
Tooth Picks (soaked for 5-10 minutes in water before use)

Wrap pickle in bacon. Secure with soaked toothpick.
Cook for about 5 minutes or until bacon is to desired crispness.
**If using store bought already cooked bacon, cook over low heat to allow pickle to get warm and avoiding burning the bacon.

For hot days... Frozen watermelon and grapes are a super treat. Also, Freezing pudding in paper cups with a spoon stuck inside makes for calcium rich treats!


Monday, July 11, 2011

To Say What When

Ok... Something I have been struggling with ever since I moved to my small town is how to say what when. What I mean is that because we are small, many people do not voice concerns for fear that they will make waves, because it has always been this or that way, their family will be affected, etc. AS a non-small town girl I get upset because at what point do we as people lose our rights because we live in a small town. I also become frustrated at the fact the we have many differnet roles that we play (parent, community member, board member, cousin, brother etc) and that we need to be able to seperate those roles when we have concerns or congratulations to share. I may be a tax payer, teacher and a community member, but I still have the right to be heard as the parent of my child. I have become upset at small town politics and the struggle to do what is right for fear of what might happen.

What I am in search of is how do you get others to see that making the right decision is not always easy, will not always give you an immediate sense of relief/ accomplishment, and may not be of benefit to you, but may simply be the right thing to do? In 11 years I have continued to beat my head against the wall. Yet, I do not give up hope for there has to be someone or a group of someones that still have their feet on the ground, head screwed on straight, and thick skin. So, until I find them, I continue to gentally ruffle feathers looking for the flock that stands for what is right and not easy!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Few Moments to Play?

After a long 6 weeks and no post (once again) I can say what could be planted is, insurance and other paperwork has met the deadline, some sleep has been caught up on and a deep breath has been taken. Yet, as so many of us know, you can never get ahead of mother nature. Infact, I was told just a few days ago, I have two days to go until spraying is caught up and then I will find myself 5 days behind. All I could do is think, I don't even know what to say.

Then I thought, if you don't go check the field for a day, you won't know that you are 5 days behind! So that is what we did! We took a much needed break, 2 infact and boy did it make EVERYTHING so much better.

Steven headed camping and four wheeling in the Badlands 2 weekends ago and then yesterday we headed to the lake without kids, but with family and friends for an afternoon. It's amazing how much more can get done when you set out, take a break and see the "world" instead of feeling like your world is getting smaller and smaller.

One great thing we have in ND is wide open space, and with is comes the ability to see things in the distance, a sense of natural freedom and feeling that all things are possible. So I have again been reminded, when the times get tough, the tough step outside (the house, the car, the tractor etc.) and breathe in possibility, patience and perservence! How awesome ND is and how lucky we are to live here!