Funeral or no…

No, if that is not a depressing title to a blog post, you need to get out more. Unfortunately, 2014 brought a few family deaths to our home, and with them came the decision to take the kids out of school and to the funeral. The last time this topic came to our home was when we lost my husband’s Grandfather Cordell on my son’s second birthday. So, it’s been a while for the discussion of how old is old enough for funerals and funeral homes.

Here in the south, we do funerals. Especially in my husbands family. He can remember staying at the funeral home all night with loved ones. I was happy to get to go home after 3-6 hours. I can still feel awkward at the long hours he feels comfortable with at funerals. But I think some of my differences have to do with my job where I see much more death than I would like.

So, back to my topic, when are kids old enough to go to funerals? Well, since all three are in school now, I got off easy this time. We elected not to take them out of school. But what if we had, how do you explain death to a five year old? Cord does not grasp the concept of waiting till Christmas, so how do you enforce concepts of death and forever? I think my ten almost eleven year old would do fine. But the eight year old feels things so deeply. She still ask about a grandfather she has never met and about a great-grandmother who died weeks after getting to hold her for the first time.

Sometimes it’s easier to skip some conversations till they are older – not sure that is the right parenting decision, but then I am never sure what is the right parenting decision sometimes.

So, I go on asking in faith daily to make the best parenting decisions that God will have me make, and hope that they grow to be better adults than I am. Maybe waiting on funerals is one idea that won’t hurt.

“I believe in God as I believe the sun has risen, not because I can see it, but because by way of it, I can see everything else.
– C. S. Lewis “

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Running behind – need a survey

A few weeks ago, I was ask to use my blog to help a grad student, Kate Gracey at Texas tech, with a survey on agricultural blogs. I said I would and although I am a bit late I still mean to try.

But I admit to myself, as I look back over my last few, ahem several post, there has not been much about agriculture posted on this blog. Does that mean that I am moving away from issues that move me, no it just means like most of you, life has a way of happening.

I still worry a great deal about current issues facing agriculture and medicine, but I also happen to be a full time working Mom and right now getting through flu season and planning a sixth birthday party is winning in the battle for my waking non-working hours.

I look at my unorganized house, clothes that need going through, and think maybe someday I get this all down pat but for now, when I have free time… I’ll pick goofing off with the kids over organizing any day. They may not remember that their closet was organized but they will remember bottle feeding calves, playing in the hay, or simply taking a run with me.

So, if you have a minute and feel like helping us understand why you choose to read the blogs that you do, please consider taking this survey.

Thanks.

BLOG POST & LINK:

Dear participant:

We would like to find out more about what factors motivate people to access agricultural blogs. There are no right or wrong answers to the questions, just what you think.

This survey will take about 15 minutes of your time, and we will use the results for a research study. We will not be able to identify you individually. If you would prefer not to answer a question, please leave it blank. Participation is voluntary and you can stop at any time.

https://aecttu.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_dfX5tkIQrp61tIh

If you have any questions about this study, please contact Kate Gracey and/or Dr. Courtney Meyers at (806) 742-2816 or by email at kate.gracey@ttu.edu or courtney.meyers@ttu.edu. Thank you for helping us with this research.

Sincerely,

Kate Gracey, Graduate Student
Agricultural Communications, Texas Tech University

Courtney Meyers, Assistant Professor
Agricultural Communications, Texas Tech University

Posted in Agriculture, daily thoughts, effective communications, engaging, farming, farms, Mom, My Life, personal choices, social media, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Valentine

A picture worth a thousand words.

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So, this was my Valentine’s this morning when I woke up. I think it is one of the best ever. Mostly because not only does it show how much my husband of going on 17 years still cares, but that he remembers little things too, even when I forget.

Happy Valentine’s Day Brian – I love you too much to say.

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Photos, photos – contest

2014 started out on our farm like it did for most of you, COLD. But on a farm, that means more chores and more checking on our stock. But it was also time to give our new puppies vaccinations. So, in the middle of five degree weather with zero wind chill, my middle daughter and husband had to vaccinate our new puppies, and get them ready for the cold. Then it was off to the state 4-H show for hogs.

I’ll put the pictures from the show on here when I am not in the middle of four back to back work shifts ( and I have some cute pictures of my eight year old drawing up meds for the puppies too) but what I really wanted right now is to use my blog for something more than my personal place to let of steam.

The Tennessee state 4-H program is having a photo contest and Ella is in the running for this, so if you have a moment to go to their Facebook page and like her photo “Stepping out”, she has a chance for another ribbon. She got third this year in skill-a-Thon, won the photo contest at the state, got fifth and ninth for her hogs, but she ask if there was anyway that I could help get her more “likes” for her picture online. So I thought that I would be a good mom and try this.

Tennessee 4-H Livestock Page

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That is her photo so you know what you are looking for. Thanks in advance for any and all help. As a 4-H kid they work really hard with this project and ask for very little in return.

Thanks from a grateful 4-H,farm Mom

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By the way, before anyone gets concerned or worried – the kids don’t hurt the hogs with those little driving sticks. They tap the animal on the head and ears and upper back – never on a meat cut, to move the animal where they want it to go, because as you can see that is my ten year old in the arena with her 250+ pound animal and several others. As a Mom, I often worry more about the kids, but they all love it. Clay county 4-H took 24 kids to compete with their siblings and parents.

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Thanks are not enough words for all the help and support from Mr. Randle Kimes for his preparation of our kids, but also the help of his entire family, from his wife, his daughters, and his son – who was also competing – but who exemplified sportsmanship – made sure to help others. Actually all of the Clay county kids exemplify sportsmanship and helpfulness to each other.

But I digress, go and like the photo.

Posted in 4-H, Agriculture, effective communications, friends, friendship, Life in Rural America, Mom, My Life, personal choices, photo, photo contest, sharing information, social media, State 4-H, swine, Tennessee | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Freedoms and expressions of faith

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If you have ever read my blog, you surely have figured out that I live in rural America. I also go to church, pledge alliance to our flag, believe in the constitution, pray, and carry a gun. I hunt, fish, cuss on occasion, wear cameo, then dress in high heals; but I also have been blessed to have some awesome friends who choose to love members of the same sex. I have been honored to share their lives and their family trust, and consider myself richer for it. I also have been blessed to have Jewish friends, Hindu friends, Muslim friends, and even friends who proffered no faith.

Let me also say that while I could care less if there was ever another episode of Duck Dynasty made, I live with four die hard redneck fans of the show. They love it for the humor, the honesty, their family ties, and their open profession of their faith. (A faith we as a family happen to share – Church of Christ – it’s how my husband’s family was raised). It’s been difficult these last few days listening to the debates over Phil’s statements and explaining them to small children.

But, it has been fascinating to see the public outcry over this issue, when there have been so many issues that America keeps silent on.

I was however glad to see Cracker Barrel relenting and allowing the merchandise back in their stores. It is ridiculous to remove items over one statement without regarding the interview as a whole. It’s nice to know that public opinion can change things if the outcry is loud enough. I may eventually go back and eat in a Cracker Barrel after all (we go way back Cracker Barrel and I).

Cracker Barrel relents and puts Duck Dynasty back on shelves

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Posted in effective communications, engaging, Life in Rural America, My Life, personal choices, Politics, Rural America, social media | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Going Glitz

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Ok, here is a deep secret of mine… My girls do glitz beauty pageants. Yes, that’s right, the kind like you see on “Toddlers & Tiaras”. We used to do them all the time, but have not been in the habit lately. But, my middle daughter has informed me, “it’s the only hobby she has”.

So, yes, I have been and am, a pageant mom. My daughters have been spray tanned, wore fake hair and fake teeth, and done OK at it.

And you know what, they have learned quite a bit from pageants. We have learned that you don’t always win. That beauty hurts. That anything worth having is worth working for. That being in front of a crowd is no big deal. That even if you forget what you are supposed to do next, you have to keep on going with a smile on your face.

These are lessons that most adults have problems with. My girls can loose and win gracefully, be in front of a crowd, and keep going despite any issues in their routine or wardrobe.

So, I know that there is a lot about pageants that could be a negative, but if this is the hobby that my daughter has choosen, we will embrace the positive, disregarding the negative. Beauty is what you make it, and true beauty is how you behave in the face of adversity. She is learning that at home, pageants in her words are for fun and to see what “someone else thinks about me today”.

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Posted in family, Family Time, growing up, Mom, Motherhood, My Life, pageants, parenting, personal choices | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

December 13 is National Cocoa Day

McLerranMD:

I love hot cocoa!!!

Originally posted on Foodimentary - National Food Holidays:

5 Star Recipe from MyRecipes.com


National Cocoa Day

Today’s Food History

on this day in…

1779 The Smithfield Cattle and Sheep Society held the first Smithfield Show in London. It is now the leading agriculture show in the UK.

1827 John & Peter Delmonico opened their first restaurant in New York, Delmonico & Brother Cafe at 23 William Street.

1838 Pierre-Marie-Alexis Millardet was born. A French botanist, he saved the vineyards of France from total destruction by the grape phylloxera, a small greenish-yellow insect which sucks the fluid from grapevines. He did so by grafting the French vines on American rootstock, which was resistant to phylloxera. He also developed the first widely used plant fungicide.

1856 Charles Dickens wrote in ‘Household Words,’ “Aluminum may probably send tin to the right about face, drive copper saucepans into penal servitude, and blow up German-silver sky high into nothing.”

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Sledding the wrong way

It has been said there is a right and a wrong way to do everything. And if there can be a way to fall up hill, I can find out how. So, it should be know surprise to some that know me, that our sledding fun yesterday ended up with a trip to the emergency room. Like me, my oldest daughter has inherited my ability to walk into doors, fall uphill, and in general live up to her middle name of “grace”.

So, first of, I would like to point out that yes as a mom and a doctor, I know that you should never ever tie a sled behind a John Deer Gator and pull said sled with children on it.

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But, what is childhood if not a place to do things that we all no you really should not do. And, never let it be said that I am anything but the fun mom and aunt, cause guess where we were yesterday in the thin skiff of snow on our farm but out in the middle of a cow pasture hauling our three children and our nephew (who never ever not once bothered to tell me that he is FORBIDDEN to sled like that). And all was going merrily along.

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But, as much fun as we all had. These photos came with a price. I know that this was not a safe activity. We were not secure in the Gator, and we were pulling the kids with a sled with a rope. We got away with this for a while, but alas in a dip Ella over corrected and went over and hurt her neck. She had to end up in an ambulance which was interesting getting an ambulance on the farm in a cow pasture anyway, not to mention keeping a ten year old calm in full c-spine immobilization. We got her to the hospital and got her a CT scan and lord blessed she was not hurt. Nor, to her happiness did we have to cut off any of her clothing.

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So, what has the mommy in me learned by this. I guess I should say no to activities like pulling the kids on a sled behind the Gator, but I had fun too. So, does that mean I suck at this Mommy thing. I wanted to crawl up inside myself and die when Ella ask me “what we would do if she was paralyzed?”, I mean we were just sledding, I mean redneck sledding. So, I am really at a loss. I would love to say that I have grown in Mommy wisdom and will never let or encourage my children to engage in such dangerous activities again, but the truth is, I got hurt worse after we got home walking down the stairs.

Life has to be lived, and I want them to have memories of fun. Sometimes memories and making memories will engender some risk. I can hear the the gasp and exclamations of shame as some of you read this, but that does not change the fact that I will choose for my children to live life – risk included. I may regret that someday, but bruises, stiff neck, and wounded pride Included, I still look at the faces from sledding and say we had a good day.

Posted in common sense, daily thoughts, effective communications, Family Time, friends, growing up, Life in Rural America, Mom, Motherhood, My Life, parenting, personal choices | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Sweet potatoes casserole from real potatoes

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I am gonna try something different tonight. I have cooked a lot in my life, in a few really cool places. But I have never ever tried to blog a recipe. Mostly because when I cook, I am a lot like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (ehem, you can stop laughing now, no I am not a lady of the night and I don’t cook in thigh high boots… But Brian might like that…) I am a fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl. I put a little of this, a dash of that… Till it taste right. Usually it does, ask my husband though, sometimes it hasn’t.

This recipe is my favorite way of doing sweet potatoes for the holidays, and is in honor of a bachelor friend who thought that the only way to make a sweet potato casserole involved using the canned variety. So, to he who shall remain nameless, start with real sweet potatoes and put them in a hot oven set to roast on a sheet pan. The oven should be set to roast, if it has that setting, at 350 degrees, and roast on a sheet pan till they are soft to the touch. (Be careful, they will be hot)

This time will depend on how big the tator is to start with. Time to roast is typically from 20-50 minutes. And this step gives the finished product a wonderful deep flavor. And a word to those who hate dishes, cover that sheet pan in foil, it saves on clean up later.

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Once, the potatoes are roasted and have COOLED… Yes this takes time, and you can slip the skins off while the potatoes are hot but you need to be much more careful to not burn your hands, BUT the point is to get all the skins off the potatoes. But, looks like I missed a piece of skin in my picture. So, it won’t kill you or affect the taste and the skins are good for you but the finished product is smoother without them.

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Once all the skins are removed then place the potatoes in a blender like a Vitamix or in a bowl and use hand mixer to make the custard. The custard for the sweet potato casserole is made up of roasted sweet potatoes, heavy cream, eggs, fresh ground nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar, canned whole pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix), chipotle pepper, vanilla, and salt. Then blend/beat till smooth.

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Now, here is where I taste and make sure my custard taste right to me. (Yes, I am a doctor and yes, I just said I tasted food with raw eggs in it, but I hate serving cooked food that taste bad, so I take a small taste to check flavor – feel free to leave this step out.). After tasting, place custard in a 9″x9″ foil line baking dish. Again, the foil saves so much on clean up down the line.

Now, we make the topping. Melt one stick of butter, and mix with 1 cup of chopped nuts (I like pecans than have been lightly toasted in a pan to bring out their flavor). Also, mix with the nuts and butter the brown sugar. You will also need a pinch of salt, and you may need 1-3 tablespoons of flour to thicken the mixture. This is best mixed with your hand.

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Then, this mixture will need to be spread over the top of your custard mixture, again best with your hand. And if you have time, let this sit for a few minutes the topping will spread and bake more evenly. Once you are ready to bake, then bake in oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes till top is brown and bubbly.

The benefit of this recipe is this can be frozen once the topping has been placed over the top and held for up to a week.

Hope y’all enjoy this as much as my family does.

    Ingredients

      3-4 medium sweet potatoes

      1/2 can whole pumpkins ( you could use the same amount from any small roasted squash or pumpkin but I could not find a roasting pumpkin this year)

      1/2 – 1 cup heavy cream

      2-3 eggs

      1/4 tsp. cinnamon (you can adjust this to your own taste)

      1/8 – 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

      1/8 tsp. chipotle pepper spice or 1/2 tsp. chipotle pepper in Adobe sauce minced fine (my secret ingredient – it cuts the sweet)

      1-2 tsp. vanilla

      1 cup brown sugar

      Salt to taste

      For the topping:

      1/2- 1 stick butter

      1 cup brown sugar

      Pinch of salt

      1 cup chopped toasted nuts (pecans or walnuts)

      May need 1-3 tablespoons of flour to thicken if too runny or wet feeling

      Enjoy!!!

        One final note, as a mom and a MD, I do try to encourage healthy eating habits and good lifestyle choices for my family. And no this is not a typical menu item for me and mine. This is holiday meal choice as it is loaded with heavy cream, butter, sugar, etc. and as I try to teach my children treats are OK as treats.

        But, if you have diabetes, like my mom there are a few tricks, aka substitutes you can make. Try using low fat sour cream instead of the heavy cream in the custard. Use 1 egg and chicken broth or use egg beaters instead. Add more chipotle and less brown sugar, or use less brown sugar and substitute truvia instead.

        In the topping, use chicken broth with a little butter and 1/2 truvia and 1/2 brown sugar.

        I hope this helps as you plan for those with special dietary needs in you holiday meal.

Posted in cooking, family, Family Time, food, Food Choices, Food Thanks, holiday, hungry planet, Mom, personal choices, potatoes, thanksgiving | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dear America

McLerranMD:

Prayers and blessings on all who serve.

Originally posted on Chris Martin Writes:

This is the hardest letter I’ve ever written. I hate to address this to such a broad audience, but it’s the only way I can possibly get my point across. As we all know, Thanksgiving is coming up, which means Christmas is right around the corner as well. I beg you to appreciate what you have and all the people in your life. Do not take for granted those things that so easily are, and remember the privilege you have of spending quality time with the ones you love.

I haven’t seen my wife in six months, three weeks, two days, fifteen hours, thirty-seven minutes, and let’s see, twenty seconds now. I spend my nights in bed alone, if not in a hole somewhere on the opposite side of the world. Instead of drifting off to sleep to the sound of my wife’s steady breathing, I lie awake as explosions…

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