Saturday, June 30, 2012

If You Give A Three-Year-Old An iPhone...

Avery May has always been infatuated with my iPhone.  

She absolutely loves to see herself move on the screen when I flip the camera and she can easily scan through pictures, so we get a lot of this when it's in her hand: "Look at this one. Look at this one. Oh Jamie, look at this one."

Last weekend, she discovered that you can point it at someone else and take a picture, which was a major game changer in her book. However, while she might be the smartest three-year-old you will meet, she's still working on the hand-eye coordination and it was pretty darn tricky to hold the phone, point it where you wanted and press the button.

So, in turn, we got a lot of almost-there shots. I narrowed it down to a few of my favorites; I definitely think she has a future in photography. :)
{left: lots of green grass and little three-year-old foot. top right: my cute husband bottom from the chin down right: time for a close up.}
{top left: we told her to point the camera at us, instead she pointed her finger at us. Oh well, we are getting closer! bottom left: I've always wanted a picture of these shoes. top right: We finally found a subject! blake man swinging. bottom right: Mark & Blake playing. I think she was on to something with the angle!}

 So here's my take away:

1. It's fun to see the world in the eyes of a three-year-old. What if we all simplified to this?
2. Kuddos to the iPhone (I accidentally just wrote eye-phone. Editor brain is officially turned off.) for being a camera that you can hand to a toddler and they can take a decent picture.
3. And finally, can you even dare to imagine what our world is going to be like when these three-year-olds that are already obsessed with an iPhone (and that honestly understand how to use it) grow up? They will be a generation that will know nothing but file sharing through Dropbox, messaging through Facebook, immediate information and gratification online and the Apple domination. I can't even imagine the things they will create after growing up in a world where things were always bigger, better & at their fingertips.

If you're a forward thinker, it's actually pretty exciting to think about it.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Weekly Wisdom | Stop Stumbling

You lucky ducks get two posts in one day, but I couldn't resist sharing this quote I saw on Pinterest this week. 

  Source: via Jamie on Pinterest

Such simple words that will always ring true. 

In fact, I wish someone would have shown me this five years ago; I could have used this friendly reminder. Luckily, life has been pretty darn good lately and there hasn't been much to stumble over, but it's a good reminder to keep the past in the past and do nothing but enjoy the present.

Happy Wednesday - we are halfway there! Will you be joining us on Friday for a H5F4? I sure hope so!


Every Three-Year-Old Should Have A Mustang

Meet the coolest three-year-old in southern Minnesota.

Yes, of course she drives a mustang. What three-year-old doesn't?

She may or may not have gotten her bright red convertible from her Daddy's friend who ordered it for her late one night after too much fun at the bar.

It's the shiniest car in her little town and she fits right in with the local golf-cart gang. (What? Your little town doesn't have a golf-cart gang? You are missing out.)

She even was generous enough to let me drive. 

As you can see, I am an excellent mentor for her with my beer in hand.

But, let's be honest, she actually might have forced me to drive, because she has already (three days in) declared herself a terrible driver. According to her, she would much rather walk. 

What more can you expect from a girl who likes her bike helmet and her safety bell more than the trike itself? She's officially Miss Safety Pants.

But, unfortunately, my butt is too big to really make this little beauty look good.

 And Blake Man might be a talented little baby, but he can't quite reach the pedals yet.

Thank goodness his sister loves him enough to give him a ride home.

Plus, watermelon was a really good bribe for driving the car back to the garage. :)

Really, this is what summer is all about - a happy baby and a juicy slice of watermelon.

Well, and Greg's Meats & Oak Meadow brats on the grill. Next time you drive down 52, you must stop and pick up a packet of Mushroom Swiss brats.  

Best. thing. ever.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Must Watch | I'm Farming & I Grow It

This parody by these three Kansas farm boys is definitely going viral. 

"I got passion for my plants and I ain't afraid to show it show it show it show it.
I'm farming and I grow it."

A Really Fabulous Weekend


I hope you survived your Monday. I more than survived mine, so I am calling it a success. :)

We were cattle-show free this weekend and took advantage of our freedom. Don't get me wrong, I love hanging out on a showbox and working with cattle, but sometimes, it's nice to actually do your hair, dress up in cute clothes, sit on a patio, drink a beer and just relax.

We started the weekend with a grill-out featuring fresh guacamole, brats on the grill, watermelon and Sierra Nevada's SUMMERFEST. And of course, my adorable niece & nephew.
{Check back tomorrow for more on that shiny red car they are driving!}
Bright and early Saturday morning, we road-tripped up to St. Paul to visit Summit Brewery. I am a huge beer fan and have a goal of visiting as many breweries as possible in my lifetime. As we were pulling in, my husband informed me that he believes once you see one, you've seen them all. Glad we are on the same page.

Since I vow to hold nothing back from you, the tour itself was not fantastic, but you do get three free samples at the end, so it's good enough for me! :)

Here's your Summit Fun Facts for the day:
  • 90% of Summit beer is consumed in Minnesota and 65% in the Twin Cities. As of now, it's not distributed west of the Dakotas.
  • Their most popular beer is the Summit Extra Pale Ale, but my personal favorites are their new Summer Ale, their classic Pilsner and the Oatmeal Stout. In fact, you should add the Oatmeal Stout to your list of things to drink before you die...yes, it's that good.
  • The Twin Cities sits on top of five excellent aquifers, meaning we have exceptional water to brew beer with, which is part of the secret behind Summit's success. Who knew?
  • If you work at Summit, it's totally acceptable to drink beer on your lunch break. Do you think that is true in the marketing department, too? :)
  • At any time, they have nearly 3 months supply of beer on hand. Not a bad place to get lost in. 
  • And perhaps the most important, while they might not charge you anything for the tour, three not-so-small samples later, you'll make it worthwhile to them in the gift shop. Be warned.

{Of course, we all walked out with new Summit apparel and proudly wore it for the rest of the day!}
Plus, when you start your beer tour at 10:30 am, there is still a lot of day left to fill. Ours consisted of a patio lunch & bloody mary bar with Mark's Grandpa, a quick game of euchre, my first ever stop at Trader Joe's (I scooped up some butternut squash raviloi -- any tips how to make it?), another patio dinner by the river and a perfect night listening to acoustic music in downtown Northfield.

We spent Sunday cleaning, doing cattle chores and some TV time with a season of Gossip Girl.  

Sounds like a pretty darn good weekend huh?

And if you are still following today's random thoughts, here is one more. I heard on the radio last weekend about some research that shows the summer when you are 24 will be your best ever. I am 24 and last weekend was the first weekend of summer. So far, it's definitely right for me. Was 24 your favorite?

Cheers to the rest of the best summer of my life!

Friday, June 22, 2012

High Five For Friday - Pork Chops, Hair Cuts, Jeans, & More

You know what is the worst?

When you think your Monday is Thursday, making your Tuesday a Friday, so when Tuesday finally comes, your completely disappointed that you still have three more days until the weekend.

Does that make any sense at all? 

If you by any means can follow my craziness, it means that I was way off this week and as a result, Friday took flat out FOREVER to get here. 

So, being happy that it finally is actually Friday is an understatement. This girl is officially ecstatic.

First & foremost, before I get into too many happy thoughts about the last seven days, I need to apologize for being a little MIA. Folks, I have so much to blog fact, I have a list of ten blogs that I really want to write and I need to share with you pictures of what's going on in the fields, because it's ugly out there. But gosh, I have been just crazy busy. And the one night I had free, my husband offered to help me clean the house (cue the singing angels!) and I had to take advantage of it. 

Anyway, I am making time for a High Five For Friday with Lauren @ From My Grey Desk. Why? Because I am a firm believer in celebrating the little things! And I'm not leaving the house tonight until I get a few things ready for you for the weekend, consider it a promise. 

#1 - Haircut

{Goodbye hair! It's so much easier to take care of it & I am completely loving it. You can read more about it here.}
#2 - The Perfect Jeans
After my hair appointment, I made a quick stop at the outlet malls north of the Twin Cities and I scooped up an awesome deal on "the perfect jeans." 70% (yes, you read that right!) of dark denim jean trousers in petite, AKA, pants I can put immediately on my body and not have to wait for my mother to hem. (This deserves a #shortgirlproblems hashtag.) Don't you love when that happens?

#3 - Organization
When you decide to travel the state every Saturday & Sunday to cattle shows and then book every week night with appointments, drinks with friends and volleyball games, it leaves little time for house cleaning, bill paying and "life stuff." Luckily, we took Wednesday night to catch up. Thank goodness. 
{Plus, while picking up bins for packing away winter clothes, I found these fabulous little bins from Target for $5.99 for five and I scooped them right up. They are perfect for my slightly out-of-control craft shelf.}
#4 - Catching Up W/High School Friends
I got blessed with some really great friends in high school and I finally got to catch up with them again.  These days, babies, houses & weddings are our favorite subjects. :)

#5 - Pork Chops On A Stick
Our family friends win the award for best graduation party food this year (or ever).  

Yum! We took this one right off the grill before we left and it was SO DARN GOOD we couldn't stop ourselves from taking a bite before the picture. I am definitely thankful for the pork farmer that provided that tasty goodness! :)

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I'm Rocking A New Look

And I am absolutely loving it. 

That old hair was just dragging me down.

Let's face it. A girl who is five foot nothing is not meant to have 20 inches of hair. And if for some reason that I would ever want to try it again, it at least needs to have layers, be thinned and have some body. I was rocking a long, thick, layerless mob that had been nothing but trimmed for 8 months. It had to go.

{#86 on my 101 in 1001 list is complete!}
And go it went. My gorgeous friend Casey at Artistic Salon cut off 11 inches & that's not even counting the huge pile of "thinned out" hair on the floor.  I love my before and after - what a difference a haircut can make. Plus, it took me approximately five minutes to get ready this morning - big win in my book!

But there was a reason for the drab before look and I am so excited to send those two ponytails of hair off to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths so they can go into a wig for someone who needs it.

By the way, not to discredit any donation that you might have made to Locks of Love in the past (who I initially planned to donate to myself), but if you are considering cutting off your hair to donate, I highly encourage you to take a look at Pantene's program. Unlike Locks of Love, their wigs are donated to cancer patients or women who need them, where Locks of Love typically sells them for thousands of dollars and is a profit organization, which I was surprised to learn. I 100% believe that regardless if they are free or not, the hair is appreciated, but I personally wanted my hair to help another women feel beautiful, regardless of her financial situation. Just something to think about...

And another random thought for the day, I am thinking my new hair will finally be the motivation to get a new driver's license with my correct last name. No more dreading a new picture! :)

Have you ever donated your hair before? And/or blogged about it? Share the link, I would love to see the transformation! 



P.S. I'm hoping to get a new Corn Report up for you tomorrow -- darn Mother Nature has been making our life a little more complicated lately. Such is the life of a farmer I guess!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Food Always Tastes Better On Stick

Can you tell I am a Minnesota State Fair addict?
I think it's fair to say that "everything tastes better on a stick" is the MN state motto -- or at least our State Fair motto --and I usually agree.

In fact, my mouth is currently watering thinking about those mashed potatoes on a stick that I lived off of for two weeks of the summer last year. They were soooo good. Is it August 24th yet?

This summer, Mark & I have been digging quick & easy kabobs on the grill, which I might add is a much healthier meal on a stick than those tasty mashed potatoes. :)

Anyone else digging kabobs this summer?

I was going to post a recipe (which would be a first ever at CCC), but I really don't believe in recipes in general, and especially not for kabobs. Why? Because they are the tastiest when you're using up whatever is left in your fridge. And it really takes nothing more than some fresh veggies, wooden skewers, salt & pepper, a hot grill and some juicy pieces of steak (I used ribeye). No directions needed.

{Is there anything more delicious than fresh veggies?}
I started off with a plate full of fresh vegetables. I love anything with mushrooms and I am a new BIG fan of peppers, then add in some onions (and why not make them red onions so they are pretty and add more color?!) and tomatoes and you are set. Easy, peasy.

{I spoke too soon...veggies always are better when they are paired with beef.}
Just a friendly reminder, before you load of your skewers, don't forget Kabob 101. Soak your wooden skewers and THEN load them up with all your veggies and seasoned meat. Chicken or shrimp would probably be darn tasty additions, too.

{by the way, remember when we bought that new grill? It started a whole one time by it takes a match. Dang.}
And then enjoy some sunshine and wine while you grill. Or relax on the couch while your hubby grills. Whatever works. :)

{are you hungry yet?}
And viola...your done. Healthy, protein-packed, beautiful kabobs for supper.

{a little burned around the edges means they are perfectly done}

Are you a kabob pro? Share your secrets! What do you add to your skewers? I want to try some fruit, but just haven't got gutsy yet. Or actually, I haven't convinced myself that I know how to cut a pineapple yet (am I really 24 & I don't know to cut a pineapple!?).

Basically, I love summer & the simplicity of outdoor cooking. What's your favorite meal on the grill?

Enjoy yourself a #MeatyMonday!

Friday, June 15, 2012

High Five For Friday | June 15

I'm welcoming Friday with open arms this week.

Let's get real -- I welcome it every week with open arms -- I may or may not live for my weekends in the summer. Doesn't everyone?

My crazy, busy schedule has forced me to miss a few High Five For Fridays, but that just means I have a lot of stuff to celebrate this week. I am once again linking up with Lauren @ From My Grey Desk for her H54F.

So in no particular order, here's my favorite things from the past week!

1. I got my second Birchbox in the mail and this time, I was completely impressed. I have a few more things to try before I give a review, but from my tests so far, I am back on the Birchbox bandwagon.

{are you a Birchbox subscriber? What did you get?}

2. I also discovered a FABULOUS iPhone app that can make a blah picture amazing in just seconds like below. I am working on a post for you on Tuesday that explains everything you need to know it, so make sure to stop back & visit. Really, how did people live without smart phones?

{slightly off subject, but I absolutely love a perfectly wrapped present & that adorable tape is my new BFF. Best part? I got it at Target.}

3. It's my last weekend with long hair! I can't wait to chop off these locks and hand them off to someone who needs them much more to me. I'll admit, I am a little nervous and wish I could keep my hair long for a little bit longer, but it always grows back, right? And, worst of all I have no idea what I am going to do. Any suggestions? I think I am going to try to go back to something similar to this picture, but I don't know how much hair I get to keep it, so we might be playing it by ear... :)

{I randomly went to a beauty school for this haircut. She easily cut off 10 inches, it took her 2 hours and she cut herself has to turn out better this time! :)}

4. We have another road trip planned for cattle shows this weekend - this time to northern Minnesota on Saturday and south to Iowa on Sunday. Oh the things we do...

{the second heifer in the lineup is my younger brother with my "wedding present." We call her Scarface.}
Make sure to check out yesterday's post for a review of last weekend's show. Plus, if you are new to agriculture, let alone crazy people who show cattle, I answered some of Katie's questions in the comments that might help clear things up for you!

5. And last but not least, I am excited that I finally washed my dry-clean only pile. H54F is about celebrating the little things, right? Well, I just added 10 super cute items back to my closet that have been MIA for months and for a girl who is trying to avoid the mall this month, it's the best I can do. :)

And one last shout out to Whitney @ The Observant Turtle - I am a featured sponsor today! Yeah! Stop over and give her some blogging love. She's great.

Happy Friday Friends!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer = Cattle Shows

For most people, summer means relaxing at the lake, barbequing with friends, ect. You know...activities that involve a cold beverage and a potential suntan. Bliss, right?

But for Marko & I, summer equals cattle shows. It kind of makes me laugh how accustomed our friends our to us being MIA nearly every Saturday from June to August.

OK, I'll admit, it's not every Saturday. In fact, I have an empty Saturday in my planner as early as next week, but I promise you, this summer I will be spending a lot of time on the wash rack and a lot of quality time with my husband behind the wheel of a truck hauling a trailer. But really, we don't mind. This is our thing.

Do I have to get sappy and remind you that our love story started at a cattle show?

We kicked off our "show season" last weekend at a two-day show in Preston, MN. Two days means double the work and double the fun. :)

Saturday morning started at 4 am. Besides a quick freakout when a classic case of miscommunication resulted in us almost losing the back end of the Jeep (not a scratch, thank goodness) and a mild setback waking up our third wheel, the commute went pretty well.

 As soon as we got there, though, it was go, go, go, go, go, I need to continue? The point is, we were busy. And I was a sweaty, hot mess, but folks, you don't go to a cattle show to look pretty.

Meet our little brothers - Jason & Matt. Jason had the Reserve Champion Angus Heifer on Day 2; Matt had the Reserve Champion Angus Heifer on Day 1. They are old pros at this showing thing.

Jason is showing a Style daughter this summer for Mark & I. You might have seen some pictures of her on the blog before – she's my wedding present from Mark. Yes, my husband gave me a heifer for a wedding present. Yes, I gave him a decanter. Yes, it wasn't a fair gift exchange. Don't remind me.

Matt is showing a Saugahatchee heifer our of our donor cow Molly. Jason & Matt's heifers are half-sisters and I promise you they couldn't be more different. Scarface (notice the birthmark on her face) is tiny, big-bodied, and a baby to work with. #1 (creative name huh?) is maternal, extended and crrrazzy. But in the end, we are pretty confident they are going to be really good cows and that is what matters. They are also both half-sibs to these calves I posted about before.


Saturday took forever. Let me slow it down and say it in Sandlot style...FOORREEVVERR.

I snapped this picture at 9:30 pm when the kids were just finishing up the judging contest portion of the show. At 10 pm when it finally wrapped up, we piled in the truck to grab some find the only place open in town was the Casey's gas station. Jackpot!

 And then, we got up at 6 am and started it again all over again on Sunday.

And of course, we are doing it all again this Saturday and Sunday. :)



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom | Do Good Anyway

Somewhere in the mess of my childhood bedroom that my blessed mother has somehow left untouched, there is a note card from my sister with a folded up piece up paper with these exact words.
Source: via Erica on Pinterest
I can't remember exactly when Cathy mailed me the note or what exact challenge I was facing that week, but I do remember how powerful the words were to me at that moment. And regardless of how many times I have unfolded that worn-out note, the feeling is the same.

And I'll admit, this past week has been a little challenging at times. Basically, I needed this reminder from Mother Teresa.  

Do good anyway. Be happy anyway. Succeed anyway. Be kind anyway. Forgive them anyway. 

Because in the end, it never was between you and them anyway.

Happy Wednesday!



Friday, June 8, 2012

Why This Blogger Has Been MIA

Blogger MIA Alert!

I know I have been missing for nearly a week. So sorry friends, but life all of sudden got really busy.

And I am still running short on time, so here's your super quick review brought to you by our friend, Instagram.

I think the hectic schedule started when Mark convinced me to buy an old, crappy coffee table to refinish for him. And then it continued with a meeting up with friends, farmer's markets, graduation parties, family get-togethers, lots of cattle clipping, an overwhelming amount of stripping & sanding on a table that actually looks like it might have a future, volleyball games, judging practice, more cattle, running, lots of working and not enough sleep.

And now I am here. It's Friday afternoon, I am at my favorite (and best) mall in America enjoying a smoothie from Caribou, a tomato & cumumber salad from Noodles and finally catching up over lunch hour. Thank goodness for 60 minutes of rest. :)

Enjoy your weekend friends! I am off to a cattle show with my Marko & brothers, like I most likely will be every weekend until September! :)


Friday, June 1, 2012

We Have A Winner!

Today couldn't be a better day.

1. It's Friday and I have a High-Five For Friday post to put up momentarily. 2. It's a gorgeous day and I have date with my hubby for lunch and with my girlfriends for supper. 3. I have one of those weekends ahead that offers flexibility, which I absolutely love. 4. I get to announce the winner of my first CCC giveaway.

First and foremost, a big thank you to everyone who entered. This week was one of my favorite weeks on the blog – so many new faces and better yet, so many sweet comments. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I headed over to the famous random number generator website and had my husband to press the "generate" button this AM. Drumroll please......

Who was lucky number 11 you ask!?

Yeah! I am excited to send a little homemade goodness off to my fellow #agblog friend! Please email me at cowscorncountryblog(at)gmail(dot)com with your mailing address and I will get it sent off tommorow! By the way, you must check out Coolidge Life On The Farm - they grow grapes & sheep, so it's a little twist on your corn & cattle chat you get here!

Also, just a little house work, but if anyone is ever interested in sponsoring a giveaway on the blog, I'd love to chat! Just shoot me an email and we can work out the details!

Happy Friday Friends!