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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Turquoise Thursday: State Necklaces

A piece of home

If you are like me (or a lot of my friends) we have picked up and moved one of two times, and not just across the street. At the age of 27 I have already lived in Alberta, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa.

I have seen lots of these state necklaces on Pinterest and Etsy, however I of course was drawn to these specific necklaces with their turquoise patina.


This is a two state necklace from NINOYCHKAgoods on Etsy.


NINOYCHKAgoods also does single state necklaces. I like that on this one you can have a heart placed anywhere within the state. Maybe one to signify your hometown. 

Which state(s) would you choose? 

And as a reminder don't forget to vote for Crystal Cattle in the Best of the Barns awards. I haven't been nominated for best Cattle Blog in Category 11. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

There are better charities to donate to than HSUS

Real Simple we need to have a real talk. 

I have a monthly subscription to Real Simple. I also have a love/hate relationship with the magazine. On page 144 of the December issue there is a great article about things to keep in mind when making charitable contributions this holiday season.

Two of the tips stood out to me #3. Inquire about the charity's spending ratio, and #4. Look for accountability and transparency practice. Good advice.

Then on page 150 there is an article titled 10 Charities Worth Your Charity. And who do they have listed for their Animal Welfare recommendation none other than the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Why am I against supporting HSUS?

1. HSUS receives a "D" Grade from the Charity Watchdog
The American Institute of Philantrhophy/CharityWatch has given HSUS a "D" grade for the past two years. The reasons HSUS spends as little as half its budget on programs and spends as much as 48 cents to raise every dollar. Read more about their "factory fundraising." Charity Navigator has a poor opinion of HSUS.

2. HSUS funds don't go to local shelters.
Wayne Pacelle, President of the Humane Society of the United States said it himself "We never said we  funded animal shelters." However, HSUS's sad kitty cat and puppy dog commercial sure seem to portray  that. HSUS recently deposited more than $11 million in its executive pension fund, and HSUS has $32 million invented in Wall Street hedge funds.


3. To reiterate point #2. Local shelters need you donations, and HSUS isn't going to help them.
You hear about it time and time again about local shelters that are doing good work having to close their doors. I know my donation will have a greater impact to a local shelter. I know HSUS isn't going to pass on any of my donation to a local shelter. HSUS provides less than 1 percent of its fundraising to local shelters.

Maybe Real Simple didn't follow their own advice. Where will you be sending your donations this holiday season?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Easiest Way to Clean Your Microwave

Suzie Homemaker

This Thanksgiving weekend has been full of food, time spent at the farm getting cattle ready for picture day, and doing a little fall cleaning around our house.

I love to cook and I am pretty good at keeping things tidy, but please don't look in our microwave. However, today was the day to get it clean! Thanks to Pinterest I combined a couple suggestions and crossed my fingers that things would work out because a word to the wise not everything on Pinterest works out!


Yes, this is our microwave. Please don't judge. 


Put a microwave safe bowl filled with water and a couple tablespoons of vinegar into the microwave. You can also do the two count pour with the vinegar to measure. The vinegar is to help capture the smells that will be released from the steam cleaning. Close the door and let your microwave run for five minutes. 


Remove the bowl (caution it will be HOT!) Then take a wet cloth and begin to wipe. I was pretty impressed that by just wiping no hard scrubbing this is how clean the microwave was. I decided I didn't feel like scrubbing today so I out the bowl back in the microwave for another five minutes. 


The extra five minutes did the trick! The tough spots wiped clean the second time. A perfectly sparkling microwave.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turquoise Thursday: Black Friday Shopping

Open up those pocket books.

Who will be Black Friday, Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday shopping? Just in case you are needing a few ideas check out these turquoise deals. 


Not only is this beautiful J.Crew turquoise coat 40% off, but use coupon code GIVEANDGET and get another 15% off and free shipping on orders over $100. 


Check out this linen turquoise dress from the Loft. It is already on sale for $59.99, but with coupon code ENJOY you can get another 40% off! Steal of a deal. 


Cowgirl Crush has all kinds of deals starting tomorrow. Check out all their deals ranging from free shipping to 15% to 25% off all just in time to score this mint cardigan.


Everything online at Express is 50% including these colored skinny jeans. I have a pair of tall riding boots on my Christmas list some of these jeans would go great with them. 

What great deals have you found? Even though a lot of these sales are pretty tempting I really try not to buy anything for myself during this time of year since we are so close to Christmas. Plus, there will be a lot of pumpkin calling my name today so the shopping will have to wait. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A week of Instagram: Very Thankful

It's a thankful time of year. 

It's another two weeks of Instagram photos. I've been seeing a lot of Facebook statuses of things people are thankful for this year and I think the pictures below are a good representation of things I am grateful this week and all year long.

Flying over Iowa
I've been traveling again. This time Missouri, Oklahoma, and Indiana. When I look down on all that farmland I am thankful that I have a really cool job, raising food for other families. I am all thankful for all the other people out there that also choose farming as their occupation. If you are on Twitter consider using the hashtag #foodthanks to show your thanks to farmers through the holiday season.

Fried pickles
Sometimes it is the little things you are thankful for like your favorite food. These fried pickles from the So Long Saloon in Manhattan are probably in my top five. In the middle is their cream cheese ranch. To. Die. For.  

Symphony on top and Celeste on the bottom
I am thankful for these heifers. 1. Because working on cattle means spending time with the Boy. 2. cattle are my passion, and make me happy. 3. They will provide income for us when we sell them in February, and that income means buying a farm next summer!


I am thankful for to be recognized by my peers. The Crystal Cattle blog was nominated again this year as a Top Cattle Blog in the Best of the Barns Awards. You can help me clinch the title by voting for me   in Category 11.

The Boy and I on our way to our immigration interview.

I am grateful to have an awesome husband. I posted on my Facebook page that Monday was our immigration interview for my residency, and it went awesome! I sent in a couple more documents when we got home and now we are really close. I promise I will share all the details as soon as I have that green card in my hand. The Boy has been by me every step of the way. Couldn't find a better reason than him for wanting to live in the U.S.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends, and have just as much or more to be thankful for this year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gift Guide: Instagram Magnets

It's time to start shopping!

Who is excited about Christmas? This girl. I have started to pick up a couple little gifts here and there, and have been working on my own Christmas list. With Pinterest I was able to create a Crystal's Wish List board that family and friends can pull ideas off of. Does anyone else do this?

One of the gifts I gave last year were Instagram Magnets from Stickygram. Stickygram is an awesome way to turn your Instagram pictures into magnets.

A couple of the magnets on our fridge.

The process is quite simple.
1. Visit www.stickygram.com
2. It'll ask you to login into you Instagram account
3. Pick you favorite photos. You pay $14.99 for each sheet, and the shipping is free.

You get to pick out nine different photos, or you can choose multiples of the same photo.

4. Pay, and then anxiously await for your magnets.

And as an added bonus I have two coupon codes that you can use. Use FRIEND26CL to receive $2 off your order or use STICKYYAM to get a buy two get a third free deal (this one expires on Friday). Ready to do some shopping?!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Passionate about Purple.

Bleeding Purple

If you haven't heard the Kansas State Wildcats are #1. Yup, my team, my alma mater is #1. It has been a little surreal this football season. Win or lose you won't find fans that love their team or their coach (the amazing Bill Snyder) as much as we do, but on top of that we are #1 is slightly unbelievable. If this is a dream I don't want to wake up. 

The Boy and I cheering on the Cats in Manhattan when we played Oklahoma State. 

When at the K-State game a couple weeks ago I got a little emotional. When I looked around I realized how much purple has shaped my life. If it is wasn't for me attending Kansas State University I have no idea what path I would be on and I think I am in a pretty amazing place in my life right now. What I owe to K-State and my K-State Family is really unmeasurable. 

It would be amazing if Collin Klein and our Wildcats brought home that crystal football, but if those players experience at K-State was anything like mine they hearts are already so full that they will know they have already won. Cheesy yes, but true. 

While at the game they filmed a shot of the Championship Trophy right in front of us. I apologize for the incredibly blurry iPhone picture because that crystal football is beautiful to see. 


This weekend the Boy and are are going to a Notre Dame game with the farming group. I am really excited to see the campus, however I will be proudly sporting my K-State purple. I know where my heart lies. If you ever have the opportunity to stop in Manhattan, or have a son or daughter or friend that is about to go to college tell them to consider Kansas State. It is the least I can go to spread the purple pride. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Two things that go together Christmas and Candy

Betty Crocker's favorite time of year.

Christmas is coming! Yes, I know Thanksgiving isn't isn't over yet, but since I grew up in Canada we celebrated Thanksgiving in October. That means about the middle of November my brain gets wired for Christmas.

Although, I have no idea what I am going to be asking for (my mom is already wanting my Christmas list) I have been dreaming about all the Christmas goodies that I will be whipping up. Thanks to Pinterest I think I might just turn the kitchen into a sweet zone. I am sure that will be good for the waistline.

These are a few of the ideas I like so far.

                                                                              Source: delish.com via Crystal on Pinterest

They call these Shortbread Bites, and supposedly they are very additive.

                                                                      Source: adventuresinsavings.com via Crystal on Pinterest


I am a huge fan of things on a stick. Last year I made a ton of pretzel sticks and I think this year I'll be including some chocolate covered marshmallows.

                                                                  Source: happyhourprojects.com via Crystal on Pinterest


Aren't these pretty. You do them in ice cube makers. Melted chocolate and I are big friends during the holidays.

I'm a sweet maker, are you a cookie baker, or cake maker? What are you favorite Christmas treats? To see more fun ideas check out my Sweet Treats board on Pinterest.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Turquoise Thursday: Simple Turquoise Bracelet and Earrings

Just a hint. 

Sometimes it just takes a little bit of a good thing. Like this bracelet and earring from Stone Wear Designs.



What are some of the good turquoise finds you have found recently? 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Today I won't be voting

No sticker for me. 

Today is a big day, election day. However, I won't be casting my ballot. Why? I am not an American citizen. I am working towards it (I'm Canadian), and hopefully in the next election I will have the opportunity. I still have an opinion on who should win, and I know who I would be casting my vote for but it won't be happening this year.

Since I don't have any say in the outcome one thing I have concluded to is that no matter who ends up being President I am still responsible for my own success. Yes, there maybe additional obstacles to overcome depending on who wins, but that doesn't mean that I can't strive to achieve success in my family, career, community and on our farm. I won't use government as a crutch.

I hope you'll get out and vote today because you have that privilege and I don't.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A new way to farm

And having a little FUN while we do it. 

Last week I was featured on a website called www.FarmOn.com. They are an amazing resource for particularly young people in agriculture. The website is full of interviews, videos, workshops and more for those who are looking for advice on making your farm more successful or getting into farming. Topics include time manage, business plans, marketing through farmer's markets, social media advice, the list goes on.

In my post I shared information about the crop side of the Boy and I's farm. In additional to our Hereford cattle we also grow corn. However, we farm a little differently than most of our neighbors as we are involved in a farming group called Farmers United Network aka FUN. It has been an awesome way for us to grow our farm, learn from others, and not overextend ourselves financially.

I hope you'll check out the article and be sure to let me know if you have any questions.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Setting your priotities

Being a grown-up means figuring things out. 

Best husband and friend ever.
Do you sometimes wonder how you are going balance or manage everything? To me things go God, family and then career. When I say or write it down it seems so clear. However, when you are living life things seem to get a little more jumbled.

God is truly number one. However, recently I had a conversation about the other two (family and career) with the Boy. The past three weeks there has been a lot going on. We are in the process of working on my residency. I'm a Canadian, and although I have been in the U.S. for nine years it has always been on student or work visas. Now that the Boy and I are married we are working on my residency. I really want to write a more in-depth post later on all about it. We also had the Boy's family's cattle dispersal. Which meant time in Oklahoma, a lot of hard work and lots of emotions both happy and sad. And then there has been three major work events in three weeks. Yes, it has been fun to see so many friends, support my family, watch new doors open and find success in my career but things are a little stressful at times, too.

Then add on top of it all my blog has suffered. I guess I'll just fall back on the rule to blogging that there are no rules. Therefore, the only pressure I have is the pressure on myself.

Exasperated, I told the Boy that whenever I seem to focus on family work suffers and when I focus on work it isn't fair to him or my family. Being the awesome person he is he simply said, "It's OK babe, I think these things take some time to figure out. I think you are doing an awesome job." Sigh of relief.

How to you manage all the balls up in the air, and how long does it take to figure these things out? Tough questions I guess. Good thing I got faith in the big guy at the top.



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