Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Tattling on my younger self...

Several things I've witnessed in the land of Facebook over the past few weeks, coupled with the college and high school graduations I've attended, have led me to do some deep thinking.

I almost wish I could go back to my early 20's. A time when I knew everything about everything, and wasn't afraid to share unsolicited knowledge and advice as I felt necessary, regardless of how it made people around me feel. After all, I was an adult, I had the right to say and share whatever I wanted. If people were offended, so what. Ignorance was, in fact, much bliss.
Here are just a few of my past know-it-all moments:

As a teacher, I would NEVER do things the way my Ag teacher did...I knew how I would handle every situation, and it would turn out a million times better.

FALSE: I ended up calling my Ag teacher in my third year of teaching to apologize for being such an all knowing dick. While I still joke that I think of how he would do something and do the exact opposite, the man knew his stuff, and I attribute my career to his influence.

As a spouse, I would NEVER struggle in my marriage. Why can't two adults just come to an agreement through compromise anyway? It can't be that hard.

FALSE: Marriage is way hard y'all. Way hard. Taking two completely different people and putting them in close quarters and expecting everything to be butterflies and glitter? Insane....especially when one of them is a woman who's mother trained her (a little too well) to be completely independent.

As a mother, I would NEVER allow my children to behave the way other children do. Have you seen the way kids behave!!? It's terrible! Their parents clearly don't know what they're doing.

FALSE: We're on day two of summer break and I'm ready to ship my two treasures overseas. The adjustment period of them having to live together all day every day is driving me INSANE!!! I don't care how much of a rock star parent you portray yourself to be on social media....someone knows you and your kids in real life and can probably tell us all about your less than stellar parenting moments....we all have them. Go ahead childless readers.....say it'll never happen to know you want to.

I would also never struggle with mental that even a thing? How can people be so selfish and attention seeking? Seriously, why can't they just get over it an be happy? Maybe take a walk in the woods....I hear that helps.

FALSE: I happen to fit in to the two most stigmatized categories in society...I'm fat and, for the most part, don't care (do you know how many people are outraged by a fat woman that thinks she looks good?), and I have depression. No, I'm not sad and mopey all the time...actually, most of the time I'm awesome, thanks to modern medicine and Big Pharma (I love you Big Pharma)...but I have my moments. Mental illness is still a pretty taboo topic with most people, simply because they think, or want to think, it doesn't exist. It's not real, it's all in my head. I have lost track of how any times my husband has said "Why can't you just be happy? You have such a great life." Oh if only it worked that way...

In reality, my twenty-something self knew very little ABOUT very little. I have had to eat my "I would never" so many times I can tell tastes terrible. As a thirty-something, I look back on things I posted on social media even 5 years ago and think "What the hell..."
So, twenty-something's, before you share the next snarky meme and make the next all-knowing post about some social issue, realize that you probably know very little about what you're about to spout off about (that was a lot of abouts), and you never know who's reading, a friend struggling with mental illness, or parenting, or their marriage, or a future boss (yes, future employers do in fact Google you). Trust me, you too will look back on some of your social media posts one day and think "What. The. Hell. I was such an idiot."

Monday, January 25, 2016

Ask the Expert...

There's a local news channel that does a weekly "Ask the Expert" segment where they bring in local doctors, lawyers, social workers, veterinarians, etc.; you know, people that are considered experts in their field. They take calls from viewers and answer everything from simple to complex questions in an attempt to educate the public about their chosen field, and give them an opportunity to get free's awesome. I was thinking about this segment the other day after some discussions I had been involved in on social media and wondered....when will those involved in the Agriculture industry first hand be regarded as "experts?" When will our enormous amount and breadth of agricultural knowledge be sought out instead of Google search results? When will the information and facts we have to share not be given the side eye as though we're part of some global conspiracy?

I see this not just in the field of Agriculture, but in the field of education as well; so as an Agriculture Education Instructor, I get a double dose of side eye....because not only am I part of the "Ag Cartel," those who can't, teach....amIright? When it comes to education, everyone from the government all the way to down to the very students we serve are convinced they could do our jobs better than we do. So this is something I experience EVERY. DAY. Whether it's from the Ag side, or the education side.

I love Google, don't get me wrong, it's amazing when I'm trying to locate something really quick, but I'm also able to discern between a credible source and a non credible source. To me, credible sources typically have what we in the business of education like to call "sources," and not just any sources will do....I'm looking for peer reviewed stuff; things that show up in science journals or university studies. I'm not going to use an article about how dairy products are going to kill us all, from a mom blogger that has no educational background in 1. food science & safety, 2. dairy science, or any animal science for that matter, or 3. human medicine. Most of the conversations I jump in to on social media revolve around an article that was written by someone with no educational background in what they're talking about and guess what else it lacks? SOURCES! I don't care what format you use, MLA, APA, or MYAB (that's Mind Your Own Business....I just made it up), just give me some credible peer-reviewed sources that back up what your claiming! Seriously y' eyes are going to stick in my forehead due to the amount of eye rolling I've done this week.

One of the biggest problems we're facing in the Ag industry right now is that consumers eat this junk up! It's almost like people feel better about feeling bad about, they feel better believing that we're inhuman to animals and that we're trying to kill everyone slowly with science. It gives them something to seethe about at their play dates and at the gym; why do we as a society enjoy the negative? I'll never understand it. I've encouraged people numerous times to seek out local producers in their area and ask questions, take tours, etc. SEE HOW IT'S DONE IN THE REAL WORLD; but they don't want to. They CHOOSE to believe the meme circulating social media, and honestly they don't WANT to believe different....I mean, I get it, anyone that includes the avocado in their full name must be legit (insert eye roll....they're probably going to stick this time).

The Ag industry is becoming more and more transparent in an attempt to share our production practices and stories; in an attempt to eventually break free from the demonetization that goes along with the job. I'll undoubtedly continue to be the wet blanket on people's crusades to discredit agricultural professionals, and I'll undoubtedly be told that I know nothing....after all, I'm just an Ag teacher....

Monday, January 11, 2016

Christmas in the Country Gift Reveal!

After a spring-like December, and a Christmas that didn't feel at all like Christmas (how do you southerner's do it? I need cold and snow!) winter has finally arrived in Ohio! I awoke to a -9 windchill this morning and there is snow in the forecast for this evening in to tomorrow. As a teacher, I sometimes pray for snow seems to be the only chance I have at catching up on housework.

This was my second year participating in the Christmas in the Country Blogger Gift Swap, and this year was awesome! It's always fun getting paired up with someone from somewhere around the country and getting a taste of their personality in the mail. This year I had the privilege of receiving goodies from Alison, who blogs at Outside the Ag Room, she is a former Ag teacher, and I feel that most women ag teachers feel a sort of kindred spiritedness or sisterhood among each other. So it was exciting receiving items from someone that knew so much about my career and love of all things Ag and FFA.

I received some awesome soap from The Dirty Goat, which hits my right in the feels, because I raised dairy goats as my high school FFA project, and still have a soft spot for them. I also received some awesome sea salt caramels, an owl wallflower (can't go wrong with owls when you're shopping for a FFA advsior), and some great Illinois Cattlewomen items! I also received an awesome bracelet that has owl and initial charms on it. I wear it pretty much everyday!

Off topic, but isn't my watch the absolute best!?
I had the pleasure of sending items to Lisa, who blogs at Cow Spots & Tales. I sent her some pretty awesome goodies, and you're going to have to check out her blog to see what I sent!

I ended up sending Alison some Ohio love in the form of a North Central FFA t-shirt. She has a picture of herself wearing it up on her blog, so be sure to check it out!

A huge thank you to the ladies that spend so much time putting this swap together! 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Crystal Cattle Beauty Swap: Round 3!

Two years ago I did a post about participating in the Crystal Cattle beauty swap; I didn't post about last year's swap, probably because I didn't take the time to do it. I noticed today that I haven't blogged since anyway, if you want the nitty gritty on what the swap is all about, check out my earlier post about it. On to this year's swap!

I was paired up with Angela, who hails from Montana. She's a former Ag teacher, so it was awesome talking to someone that "got" my job. We spent quite a bit of time "talking shop" and commiserating on the irritations that is public education. If you have read my previous beauty swap post, or know me at all, then you know I don't wear makeup that often, but own a ton of it. Not exaggerating....I own a ton of makeup. I'm a direct sales junkie and since many of my friends are always selling something, I'm usually buying because I'm a firm believer in supporting people. I guess I love knowing that I have the option to wear something on my face if I want to....and I also like having a lot of options.....

I can't divulge in what I sent Angela, because its supposed to arrive in Montana tomorrow, and I wanted to write this post while I was still thinking about it and had some time to do so.....because, unlike makeup, I don't have much time to myself. If Angela does a blog post about what I sent her, I'll get a link up so you can check it out!

So here's what I received:

I have to say that out of everything she sent, I'm most excited about the curl cream (because I love me some good hair products!), and the chunky necklaces!

Angela also has a printing business, The Rural Rose, you can check out her awesome designs on her Facebook page and Instagram! She made the kids some awesome "Future FFA Member" t-shirts, but I need to take a picture of the shirts without my children in them.....which I haven't done yet. I promised my mom I would never post pictures of my kids on my you're welcome Mom.... BUT, they are posted on the Rural Rose Instagram page, so check them out! My kids were so excited to get them!

This was once again, so much fun, and Angela and I chat regularly via Facebook....because we're basically social media best friends I allowed to say that? Is it too soon to declare online best friend-ship? Anyway, you don't have to be a blogger to participate in the beauty swap! Follow Crystal Cattle on her blog or Facebook and join in on the next swap!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Why I Take Attacks on Agriculture Personally

My dad was blessed with three daughters; he raised us as the sons he never had. We helped with pretty much everything on the farm; working ground, planting, harvest, equipment breakdowns and maintenance, we were what he had to work with. We've since grown up and started our own families, making our availability to help with the farm non-existent.
I stopped in to my parent's this past week while Dad was trying to get a field of beans finished up, and things weren't going so well. We had gotten a little rain earlier in the week and it had made things just wet enough to cause some problems in low lying areas. So Dad ended up getting really stuck. He used a larger tractor to pull himself out and continued planting, only to hit another wet spot and get stuck again. The really frustrating part of all of this was that he was almost finished with the close to being done! He finally finished and moved on to another field; when there's rain in the forecast, you have to keep moving. I had an appointment to keep so I left my parent's house and passed by Dad as drove away, it looked like he was in the second pass of the new field and had a flat tire...things just weren't going his way that day.
I kept thinking about all of Dad's issues as the day went on. I was helping a friend plan her son's first birthday party and she was asking me why I hate Chipotle so much, after I had rejected it as a suggestion for dinner...I knew she wouldn't understand, but I tried to explain anyway. I told her that any business that launches an attack on agriculture, launches an attack on my family. Especially with their new non-GMO campaign. Conventional farmers, like my dad, are targeted; they're portrayed by excellent marketing schemes to be money hungry people that will harm people and animals to make a buck. I know differently, I know this is anything but the truth. Conventional farmers are people like my dad, a man that farms during the week and spends his weekend working in a factory to support his farming habit (ha ha). He doesn't have new equipment, or fancy things like auto-steer, and some days spends more time fixing equipment breakdowns in the middle of a field with the sun beating down on him than actually getting seed in the field. So when multi-million dollar companies, like Chipotle, attempt to destroy the image of conventional farmers with their "integrity laced food," I take it personally, because it's my parent's integrity that they're targeting.
If you're confused about agriculture, or why things are done certain ways, seek out your. nearest farmer....or my dad, they'll be happy to talk to you about it. Just don't ask Chipotle, because it's difficult to get a clear picture of rural America from a high rise in the city.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Baby Shower Part 2

Last weekend I had the privilege of hosting a brunch for my friend that will be having a baby in just a couple weeks! We not only teach at the same school, but are also a part of the same small group in our church. So we see a lot of each other. She's such an awesome lady; I was so thrilled to do this for her! As many things, I tend to go overboard; so what was supposed to just be a simple brunch with our small group ladies, turned in to decorations, special cupcakes, crafts, you get the idea.

CHECK OUT THE TISSUE PUFF BALLS! If you read my post about my sister's baby shower, I mentioned that the puff balls I made ended up in disappointment. These turned out great! They were full, and actually round! My friend is having a girl, so I stuck with hot pink, white, and antique gold tissue, several of them were glittery...because duh...glitter makes everything better.

My sister's friend had this awesome cupcake stand that she let me borrow!

I made this banner on the fly with really no idea what I was going to do with it. My mom had leftover burlap ruffles from making a bed skirt, so I sewed a few together and then stitched pieces of card stock on them that I had written letters on. I ended up putting it on my chalkboard...which I conveniently forgot to erase.

I picked up the most beautiful piece of 2 1/2 inch square maple lumber from our local lumber yard. I cut it in to square blocks and we made baby blocks using Sharpie markers.

My friend, Julie, has commissioned me to plan her son's 1st birthday party, which will be later in June. So be sure to check back and see what we come up with!'s kinda my thing. Baby Shower Part 1

If there ever comes a day when I decide to lose the teaching gig, I'm going to become an event planner. Not to toot my own horn, but I'm pretty good at hosting events. Both my sister, and a close friend are expecting babies at the end of June, so I've been in baby shower mode lately. Pinterest is going to be the death of me; I remember when I first created an account, I didn't get what the big deal was. Why was everyone raving about this? Now, I'm hooked. I consult Pinterest for everything...because you can literally find ideas for everything on Pinterest.
Anyway, baby showers; first up was my sister's. She's expecting a boy, and is really in to western decor. I did this shower with my mom and youngest sister; so while it was really fun, my sister and I were both ready for it to be over because Mom was freaking out.

I found the "Rock Me Mama" prints on line as a digital download; frames were from Kohl's. The sign in the middle I made using a bare bones frame I picked up at Hobby Lobby. I cut a piece of plywood for the back, painted it and hot glued tin letters on, also from Hobby Lobby. I finished it off with a "lasso" made out of of some jute rope. Mom picked up an adorable button down onesie and jeans to hang on the line we strung on the split rail fence.

While I do have links to some pretty awesome florists, we ordered bulk sunflowers from Sam's Club and accented them with some baby's breath and burlap. The guest tables had mason jars, like the one pictured above, and the larger arrangements were in tall galvanized buckets.

Diaper cakes are SUPER EASY to make! I found a tutorial on Pinterest (of course). Most of it is hidden by the huge bow I decided to put on the top layer.

Another Pinterest find! We had guests write special messages to my sister and her husband on diapers to provide a little late night comedic relief when they find themselves sleep deprived and changing another blow-out at 3am.

We hosted the shower as a brunch, so the food centered around breakfast (my favorite!).

I found a tutorial from Martha Stewart to make tissue paper puff balls. Mine turned out a little flat (Martha makes everything look so easy), but at that point, I was exhausted and just put them up anyway.

The day was a success, and I think my sister was pretty pleased with how things turned out. Check out Baby Shower Part 2 to see what I cooked up for my friend, also expecting in June!