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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

NYE 2015: Wear Your Party Clothes to the Barn


Tonight we aren't headed out on the town. Tonight we have two cows that are very close to calving. So we are at home keeping a close eye on them. However, that doesn't mean you can't dress up and have a little fun. So after some arm twisting sweet talking the Boy agree to putting on our party clothes and taking a picture in the barn. Never mind it is only 14 degrees out. 

So wherever you may be Happy New Year. Here is to an awesome 2015. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

New Bedding for a New Year

2015 is only days away. A new year means new beginnings including the new bedding that we put out this weekend. However, I'm not talking about this kind of bedding (although it is really pretty, and I love this look!)


I'm talking about this kind of bedding. 


On January 1st we have three cows due to calve. Although, the weather in Iowa has been amazingly warm, but it is about to get really cold, and that means we need to start planning for the new calves that will be coming soon. But things don't magically look like this. 


First we had to shovel out all the old bedding and get it clean. Thankfully those doors push open and we used a skid steer to push most of it out. 


Then we bring in the cattle bedding aka plain yellow straw. That's what cattle prefer over gold polka dotted bedding. The Boy is also in the picture waving or maybe saying under his breathe get over here and help me shake out this bedding. 


Lot of shaking happens and the panels go back up. You can't see it from this picture put there is a gate only bigger enough for the calves to fit under. This way they can sneak into their bedding and take a warm nap away from their moms. We change out the bedding throughout the winter to keep the calves happy and healthy. 

You can also check out my post from last year My Bedroom Compared to a Cow's Bedroom to see what the bedding looks like for the adult cows. To get details on the bedding and furniture in the top picture click here

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Tips For Better Air Travel

Is it vacation time? Are you planning a trip soon? Maybe you travel frequently but you feel like you could be doing it better. As 2014 comes to a close I tallied up my flights and I have been on just under 50 plane this year. Yes, I travel a lot. Work keeps me in the sky, family that lives out of state and in Canada keeps us in the sky, and thankfully the Boy loves travel too so we get in some fun trips each year as well.

1. Where should I book my ticket? I always start a Expedia or one of the other major search engines. Once I get an idea of the prices from different airlines I head directly to the airlines website and book direct through them. Why? I feel like I have received better customer service if or when there are problems (delays, baggage problems, etc) when I booked directly with the airline. This is another great blog post about How to Book the Cheapest Flights. I'm a Delta girl and I would say 90% of the time they have been great to work with which brings me to my second point.

2. Pick an airline and be loyal. I don't mean to sound high and mighty, but it kind of amazes me when people expect amazing or above and beyond customer service when you bounce around from airline to airline and buy solely based on price. Repeat customers are likely going to get better customer service. Also, when you stick with an airline you not only earn air miles that can be used towards future flights, but you move up in the membership rankings and this will earn you extra perks. For example on Delta it can mean free checked bags and customer service lines reserved especially for your membership level.

A little side note to Tip 2. Hotels often let you transfer your hotel points into air miles. I stay at lots of different hotel chains and because of this I often don't get enough points accumulated to earn a free hotel room. However, at most hotels you can link you members number to your air line membership number, thus earning more air miles, getting you closer to that free flight.

3. Use an air miles credit card. Since we fly Delta so much we have a Delta American Express. We always pay off the credit card fully each month, but we try and run everything through it. This can add up to a lot of points really quickly. When we went to Vegas for the NFR this year we paid for the Boys flight and our hotel with Delta Skymiles points. Another perks is we get free checked bags.

4. Luggage - to carry on or not? Here are the things to consider. A. Are you going to be a on a small plane? It seems like there are lots of smaller planes now a days, and that means your carry on (usually roller suitcase) likely won't be able to fit in the overhead luggage compartments. When this happens you have to check your luggage plane side and wait to pick it up plane side before you can board your next flight. This isn't an issue until you have a tighter layover and now you are anxiously waiting for your carry on plane side when you could be on your way to your next gate. B. Are you headed somewhere that you absolutely can not afford to be without particular clothing or items? The only way you'll be guaranteed to have them when you land is to carry on. To solve this problem if I HAVE to carry on I usually put these items in a backpack or a canvas duffle bag that I know I can scrunch into an overhead compartment or under the seat in front of me.

5. Know your way around the airport like a pro. One of my favorite apps is the Delta app. American Airlines, Southwest, etc. all have their own app. Why do I LOVE this app? The app is extremely handy when you have a layover and especially a short connection. It will tell you what gate you are landing at and what gate your next flight is taking off at. This way you can plan you route through the airport before you have even landed. It has reduced my stress level many times, and I it has been the fastest way to make friends with the people I am sitting next to on the plane.

6. What do you do when you run into flight problem? Get on the phone ASAP. You can stand in line and the gate agents will definitely try and work their magic. However, if you call the help line they usually have an option where they will call you back when you are the next one in the line. This way as you are standing in line to talk to a gate agent with the other 100 passengers you may get someone on the phone faster.

How often do you travel? What are some of your best travel tips? Where is your next trip to?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Easy Meringue Christmas Cookies

Are you in a panic because you don't have your Christmas cookies made. Need something super simple, but way impressive. Yes, I said way. Then you must make these meringues. What is a meringue? Think the top of your grandma's lemon meringue pie, but a little crispier on the outside and just a gooey on the inside.

What does this recipe require? A little time, because you have to let the egg whites come to room temperature. And these bad boys are in the oven for a long time like 2.5 hours. But think of all the fun things you can be doing in the time. Like I don't know shaking the presents under the tree to figure out what your family members bought you.



Now all the credit for this recipe goes to Make Bake Celebrate. You must go check out her blog, as she has the easiest, most creative sweets recipes. She had meringue ideas for about every season or holiday and tons of cupcake ideas. My meringues aren't quite as amazing as hers, but I would say still impressive. Just like yours will be - way impressive. Do you feel the theme here.

Ingredients

4 Egg Whites
1 1/3 cup sugar (if you can buy extra fine sugar, get that)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cream of tarter
green gel coloring (don't use regular food coloring. Also, in our Walmart this is buy the spices not the sprinkles and cookie decorating stuff)
parchment paper
pipping bag
fat round icing tip for the trees like this
big start tip for the white swirls like this

1. Preheat your oven to 150 degrees. Separate the eggs yolk from the egg whites, and place egg whites in an electric bowl (I used my Kitchen Aid mixer). Let these come to room temperature.
2. Beat eggs until white and foamy. Mix in 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of cream of tarter until soft peaks form.
3. Set time for 7 minutes. Slowly add in sugar a bit at a time taking the entire 7 minutes to do so. This is where finer sugar comes in handy because it dissolves better.
4. If you plan on doing multiple colors this is when you will separate the meringue into groups. Add green gel until you get the color desired. It doesn't take much color to get green.
5. Add the mixture to your piping bags.
6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
7. To make the trees hold your piping bag straight up and down. Squeeze the mixture onto the parchment paper until the base of your tree is big enough, then move your bag upwards and squeeze again until you have your second tier, and then a third. To make the swirls use the star tip and make a swirl (great direction there). Think of how they make ice cream corner as a reference.
8. Add you sprinkles or light star toppers.
9. The meringues don't expand like cookies so you can place them pretty close together. This recipe makes a lot so you will want to get a fair number on a cookie sheet.
10. Place the baking sheet in the center of the oven and bake for 2.5 hours.

I did some googling about whether or not you can freeze meringues and verdicts seems out. Some say yes, others were appalled by the idea. They will last about a week in an airtight container.



And they the cutest little, fat, sometimes crooked Christmas trees you ever did see. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Anniversary Beauty Swap Product Review and Link Up

It's time for the big reveal. I've been watching everyone's Instagram pictures pouring in with the #ccbeautyswap hashtag and I must say I think we are all on Santa's nice list because we got spoiled!

For those that have never heard of a Beauty Swap you can read about the details here, and I promise after the new year we'll be having another one.

This time I was partnered up with my co-host of the Beauty Swap Melanie from The Traveling Cowgirl. Melanie and I first met when I lived in the Kansas City area, now we both live in Iowa and we love turquoise! I think we must have been reading each other minds because she got me the perfect products.



1. Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lash - I was really excited to get this mascara as I've hear so much about the product, but have been really skeptical. I guess part of the reason was because I kept seeing people take the results too far and have these cobwebby looking lashes. So what does it do? Well it is a three part mascara. 1. apply what is similar to a regular mascara, then 2. apply what look like tiny fibers (they remind me of feathers) to your "wet" coat to help build your lashes, and 3. reapply the regular mascara to seal. The result is way full lashes without having to wear false lashes. I've been really impressed with the product, and I've been able to get a fuller lash line without them looking fake or too unnatural. 

2. Too Faced Palette Boudoir Soft and Sexy Eyes - This was total surprise to receive this palette. Melanie said she's been wearing the colors from this palette for awhile and I can see why. It's actually similar to some MAC shades I've been wearing, but this palette gives you way more colors and a lower price. The grey's have a purple undertone which is great for my eye color. 

3. Ole Henriksen The Clean Truth - Melanie totally read my mind on this one. I had recently gone to Sephora to pick up some stuff for our NFR Vegas trip. When I sat in the beauty chair the beauty consultant asked me to remove my make-up with this wipe. It smelled amazing! Come to find out that it was the Ole Henriksen wipe. What I love about these two products is not only do they remove make-up but they also contain vitamin C and a bunch of other stuff to brighten and refresh your face. Plus, when I am home I can use the foam cleanser and on the road use the wipes. And did I mention they smell amazing. I'll definitely be purchasing this product once I run out. 

Melanie also include some Josie Argan Nail Polish remover, which is funny because I sent her Argan Face Oil, a really cute turquoise burlap bag and some other fun samples. 

Now here is the good news. Melanie sells the 3D Fiber Lash Mascara and want to give a set away to one of our Beauty Swappers. All you have to do it link up to you blog or Instagram post or leave a comment in the comment section. You have until Dec. 31 to enter and link up. 

Thanks so much to everyone that joined in on the fun. I've even met some of our swappers in person now and it's fun to watch new friendships form! 



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Real Life Social Media Friends

The past few days the Boy and I have been in Vegas for the National Finals Rodeo. It was a bit of a last minute trip, but we had been looking forward to the seeing the rodeo, the food, shopping and seeing if Lady Luck was going to show up. However, there was another reason why I was really excited about the trip.

Meeting online social media friends in real life.

My blog and other social media accounts have served as a Match.com set up for me finding like minded women. Women that are passionate and driven. They have to be open minded. They have to love clothing and make-up. They don't have to be farmers, but they do have to have an appreciation for those that grow and raise food.

I guess if there was a Match.com for finding girlfriends that is how my profile would read. Darcy and Myla are two of the gals that have fit the criteria. I can't remember how we all began connecting. I think Darcy actually might have found my blog first, and I think I found Myla's blog through a comment she left on another blog I was reading. Now I enjoy reading there posts or tweets each week, and I really felt like I "know them."

However, our status has changed to official. A few weeks ago e found out we were all going to be in Vegas the same time. So Monday morning us three social media friends, our husbands and a few other travel partners got together for breakfast. We talked for three hours and I am pretty sure could have gone on for longer!


Topic ranged from boots and make-up, to artificially inseminating cows, to our love of agriculture. Online isn't such a bad place to meet and make friends. So thanks girls for the awesome time and I can't wait for the next social media friends that I get to meet in person.   

Now go check out 
Darcy's blog - Success is Reason Enough 
Myla's blog - Purple Front Door


Monday, December 1, 2014

Ask for Cows for Christmas to Help Others


When I am telling you that I am asking for cows for Christmas it probably isn't going to come as much of a shock to most of you. Cows have literally been on my Christmas list before. However, this time the cows I am asking for are not for me but rather to help feed others in parts of the world where knowing where your next meal is coming from isn't a simple answer.

There are nearly 870 million people around the world that don't know where their next meal is coming from. Heifer International has been helping those families lift themselves out of hunger and poverty. Providing animals to families is the backbone of Heifer Internationals work. The animals that Heifer International provide for families in return provide milk, cheese, eggs, honey and wool. Also, the female livestock go onto produce offspring which allows more families to reap benefits. It is pretty amazing all the information on Heifer International's website about the process. They even consider the breed of livestock that will be best for the area.

On Facebook you may have seen a group called Rockin' Rural Women. We are a community of women that are passionate about agriculture, farming and rural communities. We have also been blessed by agriculture. Each day agriculture provides us with three meals, clothing and impacts every aspect of our life. This is an opportunity for us to use our blessing to create blessings in others lives.

If you are interested in helping our cause whether is only a dollar or more click here.
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