Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Power of McFood

Some suppers are not about well put together meals, but simply feeding the masses quickly in between a variety of activities. Tonight was one of those nights. I prepared PB&J sandwiches, fish filets and baked mashed potato puffs. As the kids walked through the kitchen they were not impressed and asked what I was making for breakfast tomorrow.

I quickly thought.... Cereal! Nothing like forgoing a hot breakfast in efforts of getting them to eat dinner. Then one said. I think I will wait and eat at school in the morning. Thinking fast again, "What? You don't want McFish and McTaters?" I replied.

"McFish? Yah I'll have that. Can I have ranch?", said the previously not interested child. And so the McFood became a hit. All four big kids ate without a complaint.

I will openly admit that I am sick of McDonalds and my kids' desperate plea to eat there each time we go to Bismarck, but I am thankful tonight to the McSensation and for its influence on the now empty space in my freezer and the full bellies of my kids!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Campfire on the Carpet

Every six months or so, I have one child, my 5 year old, that is involved in some sort of accident. Most of the time Mr. Chris ends up in the ER with a cast or stitches. This time we stayed home, but his heart was still pounding!

I was upstairs putting away groceries. Chris was downstairs playing. He decided that he was going to hide a paper fortune cookie (origami paper fortune teller) in the wall light to keep his sister from finding it. Yes, the light was on!

As I was putting the milk away I heard, "FIRE, FIRE, MOOOOOOOOOOOM, FIRE!" I dashed to the stairs and immediately saw and smoke. I pause to tell you that we are staying at my in-laws for a few weeks while we do some work on our house. I have been a bit fussy (ok anal retentive)about everything- eating and drinking only in the kitchen, toys get put away, no crayons or markers or playdoh downstairs, clothes picked up etc. So, the smoke and fire sent me into a panic.

I leaped down the stairs to almost the bottom to a nice pile of burning paper on the steps. I put the fire out and to my amazement Chris was distraught because I had used his favorite notebook to smother it!

I wanted to ask, "What were you thinking?" but instead muttered up, " Are you ok? Did that scare you? Where did you find fire?" After some discussion I mustered up the energy to get the wet/ dry vac and suck the ashes up and then drag out the carpet scrubber and rinse, rinse and rinse again the carpet. After about 10 rinses and a bit of cleaner, it was looking a bit better.

But I have a bit more cleaning to do! Perhaps even a haircut to get rid of the melted strands.

Needless to say, the smell of campfire has invaded my in-laws home. I chuckled to myself and thought... I wonder if there are any marshmallows and chocolate bars around. The greatest challenge to the whole situation is telling my in-laws. They are gone for a few more weeks so I may have a bit of time to get the carpet looking even better. Maybe they won't notice? Then I took quick glimpse, I decided they had to to be told. Perhaps, the 5 year old should break the news. You can't get upset at him, right? And after all they did survive raising my husband who can be "accident" prone and very curious and spontaneous..... Hmmmm. Yes, Chris will break the news!
Now to find the chocolate!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Taking on the Prom

Today was a first for this mom... PROM! No my kids aren't in high school, but one of our babysitters is and asked Chris, age 5 to walk in the Grand March with her.

He was VERY excited! The evening started with the official getting "manned up" process. Yes that included shaving, " man- spray", and deoderant! Chris even insited that he wear his underwear and sock to "man-up" just like the men do.

After a bit of prep work he was ready to put on his clothes. Nothing like a little guy in a vest and tie to win you over, right? But then we added the hat... and as he said, " the ladies will melt like butter". Where he gets his lines, I am not sure, but he was right!

We headed out the door in plenty of time to meet his "date". When we got to the school he found her right away! He allowed us to snap a few pictures and then waited for his turn to walk down the aisle. At the end of the aisle he kneeled and presented her with flowers. The audience sighed! What a little man!

The evening ended with a dance and a few punch cups, which he took home to save until the next time his date babysits so they can continue the party!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Crazy Bedtime Routine

Most nights I push my kids to get cleaned up, in PJs, and snuggled in bed. Tonight Steven came home later than most winter nights so everything was running behind. Suddenly it was VERY late and wild!

The kids decided that wrestling and spinning and sliding down the stairs was a better idea than baths, teeth brushing and a story.

After I finally took the stair sliding box away and convinced one of the kids that she should find a book for dad to read, that things started to calm down... Well kind of... Story time became combined with wrestling.

The night ended just prior to injuries and with a pile of kids trying to convince me that they can sleep with dad on the floor!
Good times and good memories. It was also good timing since dad will be out much later very soon when the planting season of the farm year begins.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Mommy's Day(s) Out

With five kids running around and a busy time for farming right around the corner, I have decided that I needed to do something for myself! Funny thing is, it ties directly into my busy life. I, along with a friend of mine - another busy mom- decided to attend the Women's Farm and Forestry Conference this week in St. Paul, MN!

I was very excited to spend time with another adult,and with minimal interruptions. The plan was to not have a plan for a day and a half and then attend the conference. For the most part this panned out. We started the day with lunch and then a glimpse at a home project of hers. After some down time in the town of Jamestown, ND we were off for the Twin Cities!

We talked and talked and talked! We also hit ND/MN late winter roads.... rain, snow, sun and wind make for SLOW interesting driving!

Day 2 was full of shopping! We spent 4 hours at IKEA. We found plenty, loaded the pickup up and still have lists of things that we want to purchase!

We also hit the Mall of America (MOA) and could have spent the next few days there, but only had a few hours so we stopped at the American Girls store of course!
After a long day shopping, my friend and I hit up the mexican restaurantfro dinner with my parents! They even brought me my favorite bread! SCORE!

We checked in to the St. Paul Hotel....VERY BEAUTIFUL.... and with Valet Parking. I was elated that I didn't have to squeeze my truck in or out of a small parking spot in the city! Then we got ready to enjoy quality uninterrupted sleep. We even promised not to snore!

Monday and Tuesday were a blast!

There was a lot of info, brainstorming, and networking! One of the best parts was meeeting some of the people I follow on Facebook that are currently having a big impact in the US on agricultural issues. I also thoroughly enjoyed meeting numerous new fabulous people that shared so much and got me thinking about more things than usual!

Mommy's day(s) out were filled with a variety of activities. Ones that were well worth the travel and time away from the kids, farm and office. But I will be honest, this mommy was ready to give hugs and snuggle with her family when she returned home.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A New Learning Format For Me

I am a life long learner. I actively seek out information on a variety of topics. I attend numerous conferences, classes, and read several publications hoping to gain understanding and in efforts of broadening my knowledge base. I prefer learning opportunities in person, with small groups where I can apply the info to something that will make a difference in my farm business or in my teaching. Today, I was introduced to the direction that learning opportunities are headed in a very fast pace.... ONLINE!

Kevin Klair from the Center of Farm Financial Management at the University of Minnesota shared the following info....


Which says to me that I need to get comfy with online format, should I choose to learn online, I can do so in my PJ's and with less time invested in transportation, and that I also should be more successful because I am an older than average student and female. Another bonus is that it is less expensive to take many trainings online than in person. (It does cost significantly more to develop online material... 1 online hour takes about 220 hours of prep work!)

I guess I will be logging on with yet another ID and password in my efforts of staying in fashion with the learning community!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Helping Hands and Warm Hearts!

A quote was recently shared with me that touched a special place in my heart.

This past fall My family spent time volunteering. We made meal packs for a group called Feed My Starving Children. My husband and three oldest, along with my dad, my sister and niece all spent a few hours doing something that helps lots of other people! This organization relies on donations and volunteers. The food packs are distributed to 70 countries around the world.

The food in each Manna pack in considered a complete meal. It contains a "meal" that is made of a chicken flavor and spices, soy protein with 20 vitamins, dehydrated potatoes and vegetables, and rice.

The meals do not contain a meat source because the packs are distributed world wide and many different cultures and belief systems have different rules about meat consumption.

Through this experience I am reminded how much I have that I take for granted. I am amazed by how far just a small amount can really go. I am also very grateful for all that I have and am able to share! I am also aware that no matter how big or small, young or old there is a way that all can volunteer!

Some interesting facts....
1 Manna Pack feed about 5.5 people
Each pack contains 2800 calories
1 box, 36 Manna packs costs $50 to make.
Just over 1.5 boxes ($80) will feed a child for 1 year.

Approximately 1 in 7 people world-wide go hungry each day
18000 kids die each day from starvation

Sunday, March 3, 2013

He Must Be Listening

There are days that I wonder if any of my children get anything out of church. During most Sunday masses, I am lucky if I can catch a sentence or two. Today, when I left the kids in the car to grab a few things in the office, my middle child decided to let me know that despite his busy behavior and character that he does indeed glean information during mass and CCD. This is what I came back to the car to find... boots and socks off, dry erase marker uncapped, and a look of glee across his face. I looked at him closely and saw the following.....

How could I be upset. So innocent, so rich in belief, and so simple. He was listening, he heard, and hopefully will take the message of sacrifice to heart as he continues to grow. I know it made me think... How am I living my life? What am I doing to strengthen my relationships and faith? Perhaps, he was sending me a message.

PS. He also put a cross on his baby sister's head.... so cute!