Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My One Year Anniversary of Being Welcomed to the U.S.

I guess you could call this my "immigration" story.

As some of you may know I am originally from Canada. I grew up on a farm in the province of Alberta, but school drew me to Kansas for college and then university. A string of opportunities presented themselves after college and my career began in the Midwest. Then I met my future husband and to Iowa I moved.

However, behind the scenes there was a lot of paperwork. Something that most people don’t think about when they see a blonde, white girl standing in front of them. Prior to meeting part of the Boy’s family, for the first time, he had told his cousin I was an immigrant. When I walked into the room she exclaimed, “She’s not Mexican!” Not quite. 

So how does one enjoy everything the U.S. has to offer when you aren’t a citizen.

Well, in college it was student visas. When walking into the International office at Kansas State there would often be a very puzzled look on the receptionists face. Nope I wasn’t lost, I was Canadian.

After school, a job was offered and it was time to try and get a work visa. Luckily, I was able to obtain a work visa through NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). There are certain jobs that the U.S. has determined that qualify for the NAFTA visa, and fortunately mine was on the list. The visas were only for a year long, and you applied at customs. Yes, it was a little nerve wracking standing in the customs office, at the airport, praying that they would give you another visa so you could go back to work and your life south of the border. On the other hand it was a little comical to watch the customs agents flip through the Angus Journal to learn more about my work.

And then came marriage. Thankfully, we were able to get married when I was on my NAFTA visa. However, after our big day it was time to apply for permanent residency. Permanent residency is very similar to citizenship other than I can’t vote.

The whole process again was nerve wracking. The boy and I were married now, what if they decided sorry your time is up here? We began the process late last summer, and we didn’t talk about it much other than with family and close friends. I think we were worried we would jinx it.

First there was a stack, and I mean stack of paperwork to fill out. With questions like do you plan to practice polygamy, have you ever had weapons training, do you belong to any terrorist groups? The Boy also had to sign his life away that as my sponsor no matter what happened to our marriage he was responsible for me. I guess that was just extra reassurance beyond the “until death do us part” wedding vows. I also had to get tested for TB, be up-to-date on all my vaccinations and undergo a physical.  And then there was a big check to write.

We sent off our paperwork and waited not really having any idea on how long it would take for everything to go through. And while we waited I wasn’t allowed to leave the United States. Finally, the letter came. It was time to go to Des Moines for our interview. We had been instructed that both of us could be interviewed, and the questions could range from what did you give each other for your birthdays to the color or each other’s tooth brush to much more personal questions.

Together we headed to Des Moines, and I was the first to get my name called. The interviewer was quite intrigued about how the Boy and I met. She probably doesn’t get the “we met at a cattle show” answer too much. The interview really wasn’t too intense and at the end she said, “Well we’ll be in touch with our decision, you may go.” I guess I did so well in the interview they decided they didn’t even need to talk with the Boy.

As I walked back into the waiting room and told the Boy “let’s go” he was rather confused. “What do you mean they don’t want to talk to me? I am going to tell them you are my wife and they have to let you stay.” I was just in a hurry to get out of there before they changed their minds!

We were back to waiting. And then one day shortly before Christmas 2013 another one of those official looking envelopes arrived.  Inside was my welcome to America letter and a permanent resident card. The whole process was over, and I was legit!

A lot of people ask me if I will become a US citizen, and I hope to one day. You have to have your permanent residency for so long before you can apply, but I do want to be able to vote one day. I also hope to keep my Canadian citizenship and have dual that way our future children can also have both Canadian and American citizenship.

I am pretty thankful that my “immigration” story went the way it did. There were a lot of days that were full of pure frustration.  I often would think to myself, “If I can’t figure out this immigration website and all this paperwork, considering I speak English and got a degree in the US, how is someone else that might be from one of those true ‘foreign’ countries supposed to figure it out.” This is a pretty amazing country, so it isn’t hard to see why others wouldn’t want to be apart of it.

So here is to a year of being a permanent resident and thanks for letting me be apart of your country. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Best Recipes of 2013

Each year I like to give a little recap of what your favorite posts were. Since New Years Eve is right around the corner and I know some of your are still looking for appetizer or meal ideas I thought I would start the recap off with your favorite Crystal Cattle recipes.

5. Apple Cookie Recipe 

This was another new recipe this year that I got from Jent's Front Porch. I have made these cookies quite a few times and they are great for breakfast or a treat.

4. Best Tailgating Dip Ever 

Otherwise know as Ugly Dip, I am very thankful that one of my good college girlfriends let me in on this recipe

3. Best Pumpkin Pie Recipe

I love pumpkin pie. This recipe is pretty much fool proof. It's not fancy by any means, but it sure is delicious.

2. Flat Iron Steak with Green Peppers

This is seriously one of our favorite recipes and it hardly takes any time to make. I also really like that you can make this with a variety of cuts of beef from more expensive sirloins to less expensive round steaks.

1. Baked Tacos

These tacos were a brand new recipe I tried this year. Lean ground beef is easy on the budget and the taco seasoning that goes with this recipe is to die for. I make the seasoning in big batches now to save time.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Thank a Farmer For Your Christmas Tree

I am a farmer and I raise cattle and corn. Last year, I met a Christmas Tree farmer from Michigan. She wasn't too much older than me and I thought that has got to be a pretty cool job.

Unfortunately, this year this is no live Christmas tree in the Blin house. We leave for Canada on Friday for Christmas, and we were afraid that our poor Christmas tree might a little dry and crispy by the time we got home. So, this year it is Mr. Plastic tree, covered in lights and love.

Now back to the farmer and their Christmas trees. Yesterday, I read 7 Things You Don't Know About the Surprisingly Huge Christmas Tree Business. Yes, I was shocked to learn that the Christmas tree business employes 100,000 (most part-time) workers. And I had no idea that the Christmas tree business generated more than $1 billion annual (compare that to the $600 billion we spend on holiday shopping).

However, this is the fact that I thought was the coolest because it relates directly to me.

"There are 15,000 Christmas tree farms in America, upon which  350 million trees grow on 350,000 acres of land. To put that in perspective, the U.S. harvests 84 million acres of corn each year, 9.5 billion acres of cotton, and 345,950 acres of apple trees."

That is a lot of Christmas cheer. What is in your house? Real or fake? Or maybe you have some other Christmas tradition?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Turquoise Thursday: Agrarian Apparel Giveaway

Today's Turquoise Thursday is a day late, but it is so great I didn't want to wait until next week. Recently, on of my cattle friends launched a new clothing line called Agrarian Apparel. It is full of cute clothing that celebrates farming and food. And it doesn't hurt that she has a few turquoise options!

I received my first Agrarian Apparel T-shirt this week, and I love it. The cotton is great, and I love the length of the shirt. Not one of those too short shirts that shrink in the wash. Now I just need to convince Rachel to make a few more long sleeve versions because it is freezing in Iowa.

Turquoise Thursday: Agrarian Apparel

The even better news is that Agrarian Apparel is giving Crystal Cattle readers the opportunity to win three $25 gift certificates to their online store. Perfect timing to purchase a Christmas gift for that special someone or maybe even yourself. These shirts are a great way to show off your personal style all while promoting agriculture.

Congrats to Sarah Hamm, Samantha Bolen and Lindsey Rader on winning the giveaway! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Beauty: The Best Detangling Hair Brush EVER

Recently, I tried out a new hair salon. The girl gave me a great cut, however the product she sent me home with has changed my life. Seriously.

This year my hair has gotten really long. And although I have fine hair it gets supper knotted up/tangled. I had tried to use a pick on as much as possible but somedays it felt like I was ripping chunks of hair out. I was telling the hairdresser about this problem and she said I need a "Wet Brush."

It is called the Wet Brush and seriously it may be the best beauty product I have bought this year. With only a couple passes it will untangle the biggest of knots in my hair. My hairdresser said she not only recommends it to long-haired ladies, but also to little girls. She said it is gentle enough that even little girls can get those awful tangles out of their hair. I believe her.

I have used it both when my hair is wet and dry and it works great both way. You can buy this brush through the Wet Brush website or I have found them at even a better price through Ulta.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hunk of Meat Monday: Nothing Hamburger, Cream and a Jalapeño can't fix

Lately, I have been on a Pioneer Woman recipe kick. I was really wanting to make this Spicy Macaroni and Cheese recipe however there were a couple little problems. 1. I had no macaroni (maybe a big problem). 2. I only had a green pepper, and the boy doesn't like corn or red onions. 3. I really wanted to incorporate hamburger into the meal. So what does one do? Well you make up your own recipe!

Cheesy, Spicy Hamburger and Spaghetti (the Boy helped me come up with the name)

4 cups of spaghetti (or about half the box if you are guestimating)
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 tablespoon butter
1 green pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño, finely diced
1 4 oz can chopped green chilies
2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup cream 
1 cup (or a little more) grated Pepper Jack cheese
Salt & Pepper

Break pasta into thirds and boil until al dente. Make sure you water is salted well. 

In skillet, add olive oil and butter. Saute garlic and vegetables over medium heat for a couple minutes. 

In a second skillet brown hamburger, seasoning with salt and pepper. When hamburger is almost browned add the green chilies and vegetable mixture. (You could probably just use one skillet, cooking the hamburger first and then adding the vegetables. However, I haven't experimented with this yet.)

Add pasta to hamburger mixture. Pour on cream and then cheese, and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir all together and let the flavors meld together for a few minutes before serving.

With Thanksgiving this is a great time to think about all the people you are thankful for. I am thankful for agriculture because not only has it give me a job, it also is my passion. I am also thankful for the beef farmers, dairyman, and vegetable growers that made this meal possible!

p.s. sorry for no picture on this one. I wasn't sure how the recipe would turn out so I didn't take one before we ate. And then the next day we ate the leftovers so fast I forgot! 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Turquoise Thursday: It's a new Crystal Cattle

Today's Turquoise Thursday is about this new look. Did you notice ;) I am not sure if it is turquoise enough for me, and there are a few hiccups I am still working work. However, overall I am liking the new look, and I think it is a good representation of Crystal Cattle.

But, since you come to the blog to get your turquoise fix I'll give you a little turquoise from one of my favorite blog House of Turquoise. Yes, a full blog dedicated to turquoise everyday! I am in love with this ottoman.

And don't forget you only have a few more days to sign up for the Holiday Beauty Swap!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Where does your beef come from: Commercial, Crossbred and Purebred Cows

I have mentioned before that the Boy and I raise Hereford cattle. This year one of our bull calves was born on our Florida cousin's birthday, so we named him Parker after the birthday boy. One of the first questions Parker asked us was would we keep Parker or would we be eating him. This is a question we get quite often so I came up with a few pictures for you.

In the cow business there are two types of cattle: commercial (sometimes called crossbred) and purebred (sometimes called seedstock). Commercial cows are made up of multiple breeds of cattle and are typically bred to purebred bulls. If the cow has a bull (boy) calf 99% of the time the calf is castrated and turned into a steer. These steers are then weaned and fattened and will eventually enter the food chain. (Commercial cattle can be any color).

If one of those commercial cows has a heifer (female) calf that heifer calf will likely be used as a breeding female, as long as she is the quality the farmer or rancher is looking for. She could stay in the farmer or rancher's herd or be sold to another cattlemen for him to use as a breeding female. 

If the quality isn't there or the farmer or rancher isn't keeping females that year the heifer calves could also enter the food chain. Clear as mud?!

Purebred cows are made up of one breed, and lots of them have a registration paper with a pedigree similar to a purebred dog. If the calves from a purebred cow are the quality that we are looking for the heifer calves are used as breeding females. The bull calves will also be used for breeding. However, if the quality isn't there then they may enter the food chain just like a commercial calf. 

The cows that you see at most cattle shows are purebred cattle. Some people buy cattle from purebred breeders like the Boy and I to exhibit at shows before those animals become breeding animals. 

What is boils down to is that most of the beef you are eating is from commercial cattle. Even more important is whether the animals are commercial or purebred they are both quality beef for your family. And finally to answer the initial question Parker the bull is not going to be eaten!  

Monday, November 18, 2013

Holiday Beauty Swap

Are you a make-up junkie? Have a draw full of beauty products? Love getting product suggestions from friends? Well here is your opportunity. I am excited to announce the first Crystal Cattle Beauty Swap, and to help me this month is Jenny of j.l.d. Photography and Rural Housewives.

How does it work? Once you have signed up we’ll pair you with another beauty loving blogger. You’ll have a little bit of time to get to know your new blogging friend, and then you’ll send each other a gift of beauty products. Sign up for the Holiday Beauty Swap will take place November 18-25. We’ll send out the pairings by Dec. 1. Get to know your partner and be sure to get your package in the mail by Dec. 15.

Once you have received you box feel free to link up and share your new beauty finds! You don't have to have a blog to participate. Below is a list of a few rules and guidelines. We ask that you try and stick to the rules as closely as possible.

  1. Follow the Crystal Cattle and j.l.d. Photography blogs or Facebook pages.
  2. Email your partner within 72 hours of receiving your match. If you haven’t heard from your match after three days are up, let us know and we’ll pair you with someone else. 
  3. Be sure to ask your partner questions about their likes and disklikes, skin tone, preferred colors, etc. or maybe they want to be surprised! 
  4. Each box should contain a min. of $15 worth of product. Please include one full size item. You may also include samples of products with your one full size item. 
  5. Items must be new, unless you’ve discussed this with your partner. (Perhaps she loves purple nail polish and you have bottle you know you won’t use anymore.) 
  6. Packages must be shipped by Dec. 15. If possible it is a good idea to get a tracking number incase something gets lost. 
  7. Once you receive your package create a post revealing what you received and link up with us on January 2.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I am Not a Mommy Blogger but I have Influence

I am not a mommy blogger. I think that exact phrase was first coined by Brooke Clay on her blog. It is no secret that through my blog I want to give people a glimpse of what life on a farm is really like. It's hard, and frustrating, and some days we make money and some days we lose a lot of money. And many days I have cow poop on my shoes or clothes, but I also am probably wearing MAC lipstick. That is what farm life is.

I am a multigeneration farmer. I have been doing this my while life. I have two degrees in agriculture. I know my stuff. But yet somedays I feel like I don't have credibility.

Awhile back Trent Loos interviewed me about my blog and path to share agriculture's story and he asked me if I communicated much with mommy bloggers? My response was, "No."

You see it seems like until you have kids other people just don't trust you as much when you are talking about food. It is was even worse when I was single. At least now I am married. That somehow seemed to give me more street cred. And I am not alone in my thinking.

Dr. Jude Capper, an amazing rancher and scientist and lady behind the Bovidia blog, wrote a post asking "Do Moms Have Instant Beef Credibility?" Dr. Jude is expecting her first child and she confirmed what I have always suspected. She and other mothers are more credible than me, and all those other young women that are either too busy chasing their dream or just plain not interested in having children.

However, that doesn't mean I don't have influential. If you have heard me speak before there is this great book out there called The Influentials. And in it discusses how one in 10 Americans tells the other nine what to vote, where to eat and what to buy.

You have influential no matter what stage of life you are in. And you have to decide how you are going to use that influential. I hope I can influence you to believe that farmers no matter how big or little their farm is, whether they use GMO seed or only do organic, if they use antibiotics or not, they are all good people that care about the food they are producing. And if you are confused about why and the world would a farmer do that you would ask one or ask me and I'll help you find the answer. And two if you are going to invest in a longwear lipstick it should be MAC Pro Longwear Lipcreme.

One of the Hereford heifers we raised. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Turquoise Thursday: HMK and the Most Beautiful Notecards

Each year because of work I get to take a trip to the American Royal for the livestock show. During the day I get to visit with current and potential customers about their feeding programs, watch the judges select their Grand Champions and catch up with good friends from across the country.

The nights however are filled with trips to the Plaza shopping district for MAC Make-Up, H&M and a new favorite HMK. (OK maybe it was only one night but it reminded me why I love Kansas City and its shopping). Lipstick and cows go together in my world. 

I was about ready to head home when I spotted a store I hadn't seen before by the Apple Store called HMK. It was a boutique style store with the most gorgeous wrapping paper, cards and stationery you have ever seen. They also had lots of fun jewelry and handbags at all different price points, and a cute selection of children's wear and gift. 

It was on of those boutiques that you knew as soon as you walked in you were walking out with something. My heart settled on these.

Notecards by waste not paper

I didn't do a very good job of taking pictures in the store but they had a whole selection of these gorgeous turquoise and gold leaf note cards with accents of lime green, navy & purple. These are definitely going to be special occasion note cards. 

After visiting with a couple of the sales ladies they informed me that HMK is actually a concept store for Hallmark. We also talked about Turquoise Thursday and my cows so if you are reading hello ladies! Hopefully Hallmark takes this concept nationwide (or maybe just to Cedar Falls, IA). 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

We leave a lot up to Mother Nature, and Mother Nature never takes a day off.

Other than updates from the Boy I have been pretty removed from the farm this past week. My agriculture office job has taken me to Kansas City and Fresno, California this week helping market the products I represent (they are a vitamin and mineral supplement for livestock cattle VitaFerm and Sure Champ.)

The Boy has been fighting against the weather as they try and finish up the last little bit of corn harvest. Another inch of rain has delayed things again today. Although, Mother Nature is creating an inconvenience she isn't in threatening mode yet. 

So why I am really brining up Mother Nature? Because of this video I saw today about a new movie called Farmland. It gave me goosebumps. I hope that's not just because I am a farmer, but because this story will resonate will all people. Even though you might not live on a farm or even know someone that lives on a farm trust me agriculture still impacts you. 

I hope you'll take a minute to watch the Farmland trailer. And this spring maybe we can all have a virtual viewing party. 

 Photo credit Don Holtz

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Turquoise Thursday: Outerwear

Anyone else think this fall has been a little odd. Yes, we have had some cold days, and yes we did get a little bit of snow already (it melted quickly), but other than that it has been pretty darn warm. The other week I made my very first trip to North Dakota. I made sure I unpacked a few of my winter things, only to discover that it was much warmer in North Dakota those days than in Iowa.

Turquoise Outerwear

I find the easiest way to add some cheeriness to a winer wardrobe is a little pop of color. And what better color to select than turquoise. 

Now this is a lot of turquoise, but this Turquoise Peacoat from J.Crew would brighten up anyone's day. 

I also really like this turquoise fleece jacket by North Face. 

The turquoise puffy vest by North Face would be perfect for layering, and would be a piece that could be worn through the Fall, Winter and Spring. 

Are you ready for winter? Are you the kind of girl that buys a new winter jacket every year or just new gloves because you can only find one of the pair! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Beauty: Miracle Worker Moisturizer

A couple weeks ago we had a good blog discussion about one of my favorite long wear lipsticks. On my Facebook page the question came up about moisturizers.

Quick story before I tell you about my new favorite.

Awhile back the Boy and I were having hectic night. I made a deal with him I would take care of supper if he could run to Walmart for me and pick up a few things before I headed out on another trip. Those things included a few groceries and an adventure into the beauty aisle to pick up some moisturizer for me. At the time I was using one of the Regenerist Olay moisturizers.

Upon arriving back from the store the Boy claimed I can't believe you use that stuff. I was curious as to why this was his reaction. "You use anti-aging stuff? Isn't that unfair to the ladies that need it. If you are already using this stuff at your age you won't ever age!"

This is how men think.

Now back to my new moisturizer of choice. This spring my old Olay standby wasn't working. I was having a combination of dry skin, redness and breakouts. It was time for a change. While I was in Ulta (Iowa's version of Sephora) I noticed the Philosophy Miracle Maker sample size in the checkout line. I figured that I would give it a shot since the reviews I had seen online were pretty positive. The results - I love it.

The moisturizer feels heavy when it goes on, but absorbs extremely quickly and isn't oily. My skin feels great, and although I don't know if it is preventing age from creeping in it doesn't seem to hurt. I can definitely tell a difference when I'm traveling and forgot it at home.

I have now gone through two regular size (2 oz.) jars since my sample purchase. Although, it is a little more expensive initially it seems to last a lot longer that what was in the Olay container.

What is your favorite moisturizer? And where do you love to shop for your beauty products. Walking into a Sephora requires a lot of self control from me!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Crystal Cattle Radio Debut

Have you ever heard a radio segment include a discussion about a cattle show, free range eggs, youth in agriculture, the South Dakota blizzard, Dairy Queen, and a ban on cowboy Halloween costumes? Well if not today is your lucky day. 

This morning as I sat in our trade show booth at the American Royal Trent Loos, host of the Rural Route Radio show, thought that I would make a great guest on his radio show. 

If you are interested in tuning in you can listen hear to today's Rural Routes. Trent's show airs Monday through Friday every week. 

And if you are really wanting to know about the ban on cowboy Halloween costume check out this new story.  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Beauty: Stila Long Wear Lipstick

Over the past couple of  years I have developed a love for bright colored lipstick. The problem is lipstick doesn't stick to my lips. I can use primer, lipliner, all the trick and it just wears off. However, that is when I discovered two of my favorite long-wear lipsticks Stila Long Wear Lip Color, and Mac Pro Long Wear (we'll talk about that one another day).

This was a candid photo the Boy snapped of me at one of our cattle sales. We were just gooding around, but I love the picture. 

Reasons I love Stila Long Wear Lip Color:

1. Great color: Intriguing is my favorite. It is a bright bold hot pink. If you are wanting a neon pink go with Exhilarating. 
2. Staying Power: This lipstick lasts. All day. Through food, smooches, working on the cattle, you name it this stuff lasts. 
3. Non-drying: I also really like the matte finish of this lip color. However, it definitely isn't drying. 

Now the bad news... Stila discounted this lipstick! I thought I was going to cry when I couldn't track it down on Sephora anymore. However, this week after some searching I found that Beauty.com still has some in stock. 

What is your favorite long wear lipstick? Have you learned any tricks over the years to keep your make-up in place? 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

10 Years of Change

Today, like most days I am really thankful for the life I have. As I sit in our living room typing this post, I get to look out on our pasture of cattle, the Boy is in a grain cart helping with harvest, and I can honestly say that 10 years ago I had no idea this is where I would end up.

This fall marks the 10-year anniversary of a pretty important decision I made. 

In August 2003, I made the move from Alberta farm girl to Kansas college student and livestock judging team member. 

I wasn't sure what the end goal was, but I knew that if I wanted to get on the right path I had to get to the Midwest. Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas, seemed like the perfect fit. I had a student visa, scholarship, three bags of clothes, no car, and hadn't met any of my soon to be new friends and teammates. It was exciting and scary. However, if I hadn't taken that leap of faith there is no way I would have ended up here.

Two years of college at Butler and another two and half years at Kansa State University meant a lot of adjustment, growing up, friendships and heart break, however I knew the entire time I was right where I was supposed to be. 

It isn't easy leaving your family behind in Canada, and I know it wasn't easy on them knowing that I probably wasn't coming home. However, the opportunities down here were so much greater and bigger. My experiences in Canada had prepared me for the opportunities that United States was giving me. 

During the past 10 years I watched things moving forward at home without me, relationships with old friends changed, and there were new people filling the roles that I once had. But I knew that I was in the right place because what I was experiencing "down here" were things I couldn't get at home. 

I had seen vineyards in California, gone skiing in Telluride, seen the Dallas Cowboys Stadium, saw the White House and President Eisenhowe's home and farm, was an official photographer at the World Dairy Expo, went to Disneyland and Universal Studios, I've been to more college football games than I can count, got to go shopping on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago, seen cotton and tobacco fields in Alabama, my name has appeared in stories or author of stories in numerous national livestock magazine and newspapers, I spent New Years Eve in Nashville, made new best friends, watch Garth Brooks in concert and learned what Red Dirt music is all about, I seen the Alamo and drank a margarita on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, I've been to every major livestock show.

I got to work for the largest cattle breed association in the United States, I can call some of the most respected cattlemen in the country my friends, I've traveled 26 different states, and have an amazing job with a company that gives back to agriculture everyday. 

Life has been really good.

One thing I like to remind people is that I am not the only one who has had all these opportunities. I am not unique. I however did decide to use my talents and take advantage of what was out there. 

And then I met my husband. We met in January 2009, got married in April 2011, and bought our first farm and home in July 2013. If I hadn't left Canada 10 years ago I wouldn't have found him. And he is the best thing about my life.   

So here is to another 10 years. There are things I want to achieve, and there will be other obstacles and opportunities that will pop up along the way. The only thing I do know is this is where I need to be to start on the next path. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Turquoise Thursday: South Dakoata #RancherRelief

What better way to combine our love of turquoise with lending a helping hand. Lots of blogging friends Dairy Carrie, Double H Photography, South Dakota Cowgirl have been blogging about the terrible natural disaster South Dakota ranchers have been faced with.

Thousands of head of cattle were killed in the Atlas Snowstorm. Not only is it the worst feeling in the world to not be able to save and care for your livestock like you want, but these cattle are also these ranchers livelihood. As Heather from Double H Photography, this is their Katrina. These people lose everything, and they aren't going to be able to rebuild without our help. 

There have been lots of non-profits set up to help these ranch families. Another simple way you can help out is with the purchase of this turquoise sweatshirt. Proceeds will go to the Rancher's Relief Fund.

Turquoise Thursday: Support South Dakota Ranchers

A couple other comments about this outfit. These Seven For Mankind Dojo Jeans are amazing. I love the fit, wide leg, and the wide hem at the bottom. However, the price is not budget friendly. However, thanks to Poshmark I was able to score a pair of these regularly $169 jeans for $25! Also, I love these Old Gringo boots from Country Outfitters. A good friend of mine has them and the subtle turquoise embroidery is perfect.

Remember there are lots of ways you can thank a rancher and lend support. It might be a prayer, it might be purchasing this sweatshirt, it might be making a donation, or it might be reading one of my friends' blogs and sharing their story.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Best Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Today, October 14, is Canadian Thanksgiving. My absolute favorite part of Thanksgiving is pumpkin pie. A few years ago I found the easierst and best pumpkin pie recipe. Ready for the secret? Buy a can of Libby's Pumpkin Pie and then use the recipe on the back! Yes, that's right the recipe on the can is my famous pumpkin pie recipe. 

Pumpkin Pie Recipe

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves

2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 can (12 fl. oz.) Carnation Evaporated Milk
1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell

Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a small bowl. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

Pour into pie shell.

Bake in preheated 425 F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 F and bake for 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Note: Do not freeze the pie, as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.

Also, since it is Thanksgiving please keep the South Dakota ranchers in your prayers. Thousands of cattle were killed in South Dakota Atlas Blizzard. These cattle were their passion and livelihoods. Take a minute to read what Heather of Double D Photography Blog and her family went through. She stops by this blog quite often. Let's lend her some support.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Turquoise Thursday: ILY Couture

Thanks to From Paris with Love, I discovered ILY Couture about a year and a half ago. They have now become a favorite amongst my family and girlfriends. My sister even wore their "Wifey" sweatshirt to brunch, the morning after her wedding.

Recently, ILY Couture has added a bunch of new arrivals, all perfect for fall.

Turquoise Thursday: ILY Couture Bib Necklace

I love this turquoise and navy bib necklace. And you must run out and buy this J.Crew shirt immediately. Typically, I wait for the J.Crew sale or I make a trip to the Factory Store to make my J.Crew purchases but as soon as I tried on this shirt, in the Mall of American J.Crew, I had to have it. The fit is great, and it is so easy to dress up or down. 

Turquoise Thursday: Ily Couture Multi Strand Necklace

And since navy has become my new black I am pretty sure the Navy version of J.Crew's crepe henley is going to be on my Christmas list. I love this multi-strand Turquoise necklace also from Ily Couture. The price is great too at $32. I bought this bright lipstick from the MAC store also on my Mall of America trip. Typically, I swear by the MAC Pro Longwear Lipsticks, but I loved the matte finish of this lipstick called All Fired Up. It definitely doesn't wear as long, and it is a little drying, but I love the look so its staying in the make-up bag for now.

p.s. how do you like my Polyvore creations. I signed up ages ago, but never really used it. I think you might start seeing more of these from me. If you click on the items below the collage it will take you to that item, and you can get to the store website. Any other Polyvore creators out there?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Apple Cookie Recipe

Lately, I have been on a cooking kick. Muffins, Halloween pretzel sticks and now Apple Cookies. Today, was actually the second time in a week that I have whipped up a batch of these. Thankfully, Jennifer, from Jent's Front Porch, posted a picture of these on Instagram or I would have never even known about them!

I love this recipe because it doesn't take much time and the cookies freeze well. This is important for me because with only two people in our house there is no need to have a ton of cookies around. The other reason why I like these cookies is they remind me of my mom's raisin cookies, which I don't hardly make because the boy dosen't like raisins. I think Apple Cookies are going to make a great substitute.

Apple Cookies


2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/3 c. light brown sugar, packed
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 c. chopped apple (I actually think the recip needs a little bit more apple, so I like a 1 1/4 c. of apples. We also like it better when the apples are peeled).
1/4 c. apple cider

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter and brown sugar. Then add egg. In separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Give this a quick mix. Slowly add the dry mixture to the brown sugar mixture, and mix until combined. Add cider and apples, and mix gently.

Drop LARGE spoonfuls of mixture onto a greased cookie sheet. I actually love using my Pampered Chef Large Cookie Scoop. (If you don't have one of these scoops they are a must for baking!) I usually can only fit eight cookies on a sheet.

Bake for 18-22 minutes. These cookies will be dark because of the brown sugar. Don't be scared.

This recipe gives me about 16 give or take each time I make them. If you are looking for an even sweeter treat check out the icing/drizzle mixture that Jent's Front Porch recommends.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Winter is Coming - Time for Silage

With the crazy winter weather our friends to the north of us had, I think in Iowa we are all aware the winter could come anytime now. During the summer our cows get to graze on grass. However, in the winter that grass is dead and covered with snow, and trust me cows don't do so well on snowballs.

Two types of feed that famers commonly feed their cattle in winter are hay or silage. On our farm we feed some of both. Hay is grass that was cut during the summer, dried and then baled into round or square bales. For the first time last year, we also fed our cows silage. Silage is the corn you see in the field chopped, leaves, corn, the whole darn plant, into small pieces. It is then packed into a pit of a bag where it "cures" so that during the colder weather it will be ready for the cattle. Silage can also be made made out of other times of crops. 

The boy and a silage crew worked on putting up the silage for our cows this week. This is a neat YouTube video he made showing just a little bit of the process. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...