Friday, January 31, 2014

Farm Boy Friday: What SC Farm Boys do in the SNOW

I realize that for some of you snow and ice are just a part of a normal winter day,
however for those of us FAR FAR below the Mason-Dixon Line it's a BIG deal.

I mean really...didn't you see the news from Alabama & Atlanta.  
I feel very bad for all of those affected but originally hailing from South Georgia, 
Atlanta makes me giggle...because well a lot of those folks are ones that grew up 
"up north" and they "know" how to drive in winter weather.  

Anyways...around our area the weather didn't start until late Tuesday afternoon.
At 4 there was nothing by 5 this was my car's front window.

By the time we got home...this was what it looked like.

Needless to say I had one little boy dying to play, sled, build a snowman, and do all the other fun things kids love to do in the snow, so slowing down for Momma to take pictures was no fun.  Baby boy however...this was his first snow.  He was thoroughly unimpressed as far as I could tell.  

But just because it snowed in SC doesn't mean the hubby got off early, 
or that cows didn't need to be fed...

he still had to fix lights on one of the tractors,
so we waited on him to really play 

The big kid loved it!  And that the same one William used as a child...perhaps even Nana.
Here's a throwback to one of Wyatt's first rides on that sled

He was such a cutie...

So needless to say yesterday the schools and the county was shut down. 
Today the schools are still closed and the county was delayed.  

Here's a few more pictures from yesterday...

Oh & the baby got to have his 1st Snow Cream...which of course he LOVED!

And I would love to share snow covered cow photos with you but I wasn't able to get any yesterday because my phone died about the time we were feeding up :( 
Maybe next time~ which from what weather forecasters are saying maybe as early as next weekend.
If it must come I pray it's here and gone by next Sunday (2/9) at 2 or I am going to have one very unhappy 6 year old!  

Until next time stay warm where you are 
(it's going to be close to 60 here Sunday).


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thin Down Thursday: Week 4

Wow!  I can't believe it's been 4 weeks since I started this!  
I haven't made huge changes in my life,
but I have been making changes.

One of the biggest changes I have made is logging all my food & all my exercise.  
I have been using Weight Watchers as my go to app,
but honestly it cost me $19/month to keep and I only have 1 more week for this month.
So this week I have been using the My Fitness Pal app to log as well.

I just wanted to see the comparison.  
Can I do this without shelling out the extra cash?  

So here are my thoughts between the two.

Both apps are only as reliable as I am consistence.   
The plans I have chosen require me to enter the food and activities that I have done.  
Both have online sites I can visit as well for better views and progress reports, however My Fitness Pal also has this feature in app.  

Weight Watchers gives me points for any activity I complete that takes 10 minutes.
So if I do squats for 10 minutes I get 1 point, however My Fitness Pal doesn't.  I don't get to count calories burned during strength training exercises, but it does allow for better tracking as I enter the reps, sets, and weights used.  

I feel that using My Fitness Pal gives me a better idea of how weight is actually lost.
I know that I have to have more cardio than strength training to get rid of the fat.
Also I don't get cheats with My Fitness Pal, if I go over my calorie limit my choice is to live with it or to burn it off!  For me that's motivation!  

Also with Weight Watchers I can eat all the fruit and veggies I want with out really racking up any points.  So if I want to eat 15 bananas in a day that's ok, I wouldn't get docked any points.  But we all know that bananas have calories and I can't eat my normal meals and 15 bananas without packing on some pounds.  

Sooo after this initial month with Weight Watchers I will not be renewing.  It's not that it isn't a great program but for me I need more.  I'm not an everyone gets a trophy kind of person.  I need to be challenged...I need someone to tell me to stuck it up...that doughnut might have tasted good but now you keep it or WORK!  So I will be using the My Fitness Pal app exclusively starting February 8th.  

I also have been using 5K Runner (as a training program) and Map My Run to keep track of the routes I take.  I love that 5k Runner has voice and beeping commands that tell me when to run and when to walk.  I love that Map My Run tracks my time, distance and pace.  That makes it much easier to know how to enter it into the other apps I use.   

All the above apps expect for Weight Watchers are free to download and use.

Ok enough about apps already how did week 4 go??

Well let's say that I learned that eating pizza and wings can really kill your diet when you don't stop at one serving size.  I learned that when I am lazy and don't cook at home that I tend to eat more calories.  I have found that I can live without an intravenous drip of diet coke, and that 2 cups of coffee in the morning typically satisfied my caffeine cravings.  Oh and drinking water really does help you to not be hungry as often..who knew?

So below you will find my chart.  I did gain 0.5 lbs back but I lost and 1.5 in my waist, which I can tell because jeans that I couldn't wear comfortably I can now wear them.  I have also continued to lose inches in my arms, thighs, and calves.  
So overall I am happy with my progress. 

 My goals for next week include: 
exercising every morning before work,  
creating a motivation board (check my Fitness Board on Pinterest)
and making better food choices consistently.

This is not a sprint to the finish line but a marathon to better health.  

Until Next time~ 



Friday, January 24, 2014

Farming Friday: Raising kids & meat animals

My husband, William & I are blessed.  
We have 2 wonderful little boys,
are living on land that has been in his family for generations,
and able to share our passion for agriculture with what we hope will become the 11th generation of farmers!

With that said there are some challenges to raising kids on a farm,
we worry about their safety,
we worry about what they are missing,
and we worry about them learning too much to quickly.

We are a family farm,
we farm together as a family and everyone is expected to pull their weight, (sometimes quite literally)
each dollar that comes in we need to cover the cost of keeping the farm operating.
We aren't going to be millionaires no matter our gross is on our tax forms,
our net barely makes us middle class.

One part of our farm is raising animals for meat and we think it's important for the boys to understand where the meat in the grocery store began.  
Most of the time we raise calves to about 700 pounds before we sell them to a feed yard in the Midwest to finish them for a few months.  Those calves could end up on your dinner plate or mine. 
However, because we have the ability to there are years where we raise our own.  We also raise a few hogs each year as well.  Since we aren't a hog farm we don't have large number of hogs, so that makes them more interesting to the boys.  When something is more interesting the kids spend more time with it.  They develop a bond...which can make eating that animal more difficult.

This is where the lessons for the boys, especially Wyatt come in.
Wyatt's job is to help feed and care for market animals, especially his 2 market hogs.
Wyatt went with his daddy & Pop a few weeks ago and picked out 2 pig.  They weighed approximately 100 lbs and we will keep them fro 75 days.

Wyatt has to water and feed the pigs daily plus he has to get them use to him so he can exhibit them at the local show.  This means we spend a lot of time with our market pigs.  As parents, William & I, have to help Wyatt understand that the pigs have a purpose and that purpose is to supply meat for humans to eat.  It can be a hard concept to understand and many people struggle with the idea, but that is the reality of life.

So how does our 5 year old deal with these realities??
He takes a realistic view.
He ask questions that help him understand.
He gives the pigs the utmost care, ensuring they are always
well fed, watered and comfortable.
He also will remind me in the grocery store that we only have xx days
until our freezer is full of sausage, bacon, porkchops, & ham.

Yes, its a balancing act but I love that my son appreciates how
a farmer works to supply us with food to eat.  He knows the time and energy it takes to care for an animal and get them to market.  But he also has learned that a farmer must truly care for his animals and give them the best to ensure they are healthy.  Raising meat animals isn't always easy or fun but it is rewarding.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thin Down Thursday Week 3

So we are a couple of weeks into this journey and honestly this week hasn't been great.
I as usual have eaten pretty much whatever I wanted.
I have cut down on portion sizes which I honestly think is a lot of my problem.
(I only ate 1/2 a foot long sub instead of the whole thing)

I didn't exercise nearly enough and I know that.
Only about 80 minutes total for 7 days.
Sad but's been cold and I have been unmotivated :(

I am still using weight watchers to track my food & activity and that does help me realize what and how much I am eating.  Over the next week I plan to compare my weight watchers app with a few others I have such as myfitnesspal and mapmyrun.  

I would like to see if tracking using either of the previous 2 systems will help me work toward my goal without me having to shell out $20/month.  I realize that there are 100's of apps out there however these are ones I have used in the past.  

So for my lack of will power and activity what do I have to show???
Here's this week's breakdown of measurements...I didn't have as much success but still the numbers are going down...YAY!!

My goals for next week?

At least 120 minutes of activity
Not to use all of my bonus points 

Until next time


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Oh Dear What can the matter be & Thin Down Thursday

So I realized when I logged on to post my stats today for Thin Down Thursday...that the previous blog post never posted!!  So much for Blogger working from my phone!  

So if you missed Wrangler Wednesday it will be next week!.  

So how did my first week in my challenge go? 

Well let's just say I picked a heck of a week to try start this!  
I started this journey really years ago but restarted last Thursday,
and on Saturday (very early) I headed west to Texas for the Annual Farm Bureau Convention.

Do you see where I am going with this?
I mean yes there was lots of walking, but there were also lots of food & fun times to be had.

I did have the forethought before heading out to join Weight Watchers...mainly for accountability and to help me learn how to portion myself with food.  Have I mentioned I LOVE LOVE food?  All kinds really?

Anyways...for $19/month Weight Watchers helps me to reach my weight loss goals by telling me how many points I can eat each day.  Plus I get a few extra cheat points each week, that I can use and still lose weight.  In addition for every 10 minutes of activity I do I get a point and if the need arises I can swap those points out as well.  They do offer a no tracking plan as well if you don't want to keep up but for me that is a very needed part of this exercise!  I of course downloaded the app for my phone so I can keep up with it on the go.  

Last week  I went above my daily target each day!  Not really my goal but it happened.  I used up all my extra too and had to swap in some points as well :( I didn't change my eating habits at all.  You may be wondering well that was a waste of money...but actually no.  It gave me a good look at how I regularly eat.  

Did I mention I went to a convention?  In San Antonio?  The riverwalk?
Yeah it was beautiful!  I was actually able to log 4 hours and 15 mins worth of exercise last week!!  That was up probably 1,000% from the week before!  So with that said...last week, my first week was pretty darn successful!

Here's the breakdown

I did learn that I need to do better about tracking my Healthy Checks on WW and being sure to curb my portion sizes.  I have been slacking off on the diet cokes in favor of more water as well.  

Can't wait to see what next week brings!


Monday, January 13, 2014

Mommy Monday: Home Management...MY WAY!

For years I have wanted and tried to put together a Home Management Binder.
And each time I fail miserably.  

It's not that I don't like the concept, they just don't fit my life!

We live life- fully- perhaps over committed but "it is what it is."  I don't have time to schedule household chores into my day...because honestly I don't know what my day will hold.  Yes I have an off farm full time job that takes me away from home 11 hours a day but I also have 2 kids, a farmer husband and commitments that I have to keep.  Sometimes on Tuesday at 5 a.m. I am milking cows, other weeks I am snoring, and then there are the days when I am feeding the baby, doing laundry, and fixing my makeup.  My life doesn't fit an hourly timeframe.  

For me I wash dishes while cooking supper, helping with homework and feeding the baby, I fold clothes between changing diapers, playing sword fight and reading stories.  I'm not structured to a time table.  I'm better at long list that I can mark off when complete.  Maybe if I was on a time table my house would always be ready for company and supper would be on the table at 7 each night and the baby would sleep peacefully through the night without throwing up, crying or wetting the bed...but that's just not me.

So how do I do everything and stay somewhat organized?  

It's probably unconventional and even a little risky but I write, you know like with a paper and a pencil!
I love my gadgets and do use them for somethings like tracking what I eat and what workouts I do but for most everything else I write it down.  If you see me I always have 4 things with me

1. My calendar 
2. My project notebook
3. My journal
4. My iphone

plus somewhere in my bag you will also find a zippered pouch (full of pencils, pens, highlighters, paperclips, post-its) and possibly a folder with a few of my favorite printables as well.  

Everything goes into my calendar in pencil first.  Because I like to change things pens are reserved for those times when I know something isn't going to change think school holiday or birthdays.  I start with my month at a glance section and pencil in appointments, blog post, events, etc.  This way I can easily see what is happening that month so that I can make plans quickly.  My work and personal life all go in one calendar...I can't keep them separate because then I have to check 2 calendars to see if I am available and well that's extra work.  

My calendar has the weeks as a 2 page spread which I love!  It gives me room to make notes about each day, list appointments, blog post titles, and more!  This is the page that stays open on my desk all day.  I take notes about phone calls on the day I receive them.  This allows me to be able to go back and find out when someone called and information about their call.  If it's a long convo or I need more detail notes my first go to is a post-it stuck on that day...if I need more room that is where my project notebook comes into play.  I highlight the original note in my planner and then write everything into the notebook (more on the nbook in a moment).  I also paper clip any forms that need to be returned and mail into the calendar based on the week it needs to be completed.  My weekly Bible verses or study is clipped in the calendar as well.  That way I am reminded to study God's word daily.  It also let's me review the verses more often.  

My project notebook contains everything that needs more detail in my life, from meeting notes to birthday invite list to menu plans.  This allows me to keep everything at my finger tips.  I date my notebooks in sharpie using the day I started one to the last day it was used.  I keep all my old notebooks in a box under my desk at my office.  Why at my office?  Mainly because the notebooks contain work info as well and it's much more likely I need to know about a work file than what we had for supper in July of 2011 ;) 
Then we have my journal (I keep all of these as well) but they are personal.  My journal is where I write down my daily verses, my Bible study, sermon notes, prayers, and trinkets about life.  This is my space, my personal space where I dig into God's word and pour my soul out to him.  It gives me peace to be able to confess to him and praise him.

My phone is the last thing that I ALWAYS have with me.  It has all my contacts plus it's how I keep track of my fitness and weight loss goals.  In addition my budgeting is all done through an Excel spreadsheet so I have it on there as well.  

So there you have it.  How the most unorganized person in the world keeps up with life!

How do you do it?


Friday, January 10, 2014

Farming Friday: GMO's & Cheerios

So I realized at the end of 2013 that a good portion of my blog had become a mommy blog.  
And don't get me wrong that's OK, because that is what season of life I am in however I wanted to be sure that in 2014 I made an effort to concentrate on farming and agriculture as well.  

Agriculture is my passion, it runs deep in me.  I mean really deep!  William & I are the 10th generation in each family to be involved in production agriculture.  I started this blog to help others understand how our food is grown and to connect with a farm family.  I also wanted a place to share my views and opinions on current issues facing American farmers and ranchers.  

So each Friday on the blog I am going to focus on farming or an issue dealing with agriculture.  

This week's issue...GMO's & Cheerios.

Waylon & Wyatt love Cheerios.  They don't care what the Cheerios are made of...they love the simple taste.  In our house they are eaten more as a snack than as a breakfast cereal.  I was caught off guard recently when General Mills announced that Cheerios will no longer contain GMO ingredients.  Some folk think they have won a revolution of sorts. I personally am chuckling.  Why would I chuckle?  I have 3 reasons why I am chuckling over this...

1. because the number one ingredient in Cheerios is oats and there are NO GMO oats! 
2.  the fact that General Mill's VP of global communications, Tom Forsythe, stated that  ”It’s simple. We did it because we think consumers may embrace it.”  That comment tells me that marketing played a roll in their decision as well.  
3. Margaret Smith, professor at Cornell University stated the product will be nutritionally and chemically the same as it was prior. 

So what are we gaining by using non-GMO crops?

Nothing... in my opinion.  General Mills is feeding the hype and creating more questions than answers for consumers, especially since they have no plans to make any other cereals GMO-Free.  Supermarket shelves are already full of misinformation leading shoppers to believe that this product is nutritionally better than that one and so on.  

Now let's look a little closer at GMO's or genetically modified organisms.  Below is an infographic from CommonGround that does a great job of explaining the talk vs. the truth.  

So do we grow GMO's on our farm?  Yes, many of the crops we grow are from GM seed.  Why do we choose to use GM seed? For us using GM seed allows us to increase our harvest amounts without increasing our farm size, spray & fertilize our fields less and utilize no till or low till planting methods.   

Do you have more questions about GMO's?  Please feel free to ask them!  I will be happy to help you understand when, where, how & why farmers may choose to use GM seeds.  

For our family Cheerios will still be a staple but not because they are labeled "Non-GMOs" but because we like the taste.  


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Thin Me Down Thursday

Ok so almost two years ago I posted about a new feature on the blog Thin Me Down Thrusday
Well sad to say that was 2 YEARS AGO and I am only 5 lbs less than I was then.  
In my defense (mainly because I need to defend myself to well myself) I did find out in July of 2012 I was expecting baby #2, so I threw the rest of the year out the window.  

Yes, Yes I know I didn't have to but I did!  And then 2013 I had a new baby...and I tried a couple of times to get motivated but it just wasn't there.  So here we are again.  Dreading what number that scale will show me especially after my carb/fat loaded Arby's lunch.  

So what are my goals?
Where am I starting from?

My goals:
1. Exercise 3-4 days a week 
2. Make better food choices at each meal
3. Complete a 5K

Weight Loss
in 4 weeks lose 5 lbs (2/6/14)
in 8 weeks lose 15 lbs (3/6/14)
in 12 weeks lose 20 lbs (4/3/14)
in 20 weeks lose 30 lbs (5/30/14)

(It works out to losing a 1.5 lbs per week)

So where am I starting from?

My current height 5 feet 2.25 inches
Weight  205 lbs
Waist 49 inches
Hips 47 inches
Bust 46 inches
Pants Size 16-18

My Before Picture

So some may ask why I am doing this?  
Am I trying to get beach body ready? Fit into a bridesmaids dress?
No I want to show my kids that God blessed us with a body to care for 
and hardwork and good choices help us care for the blessings God gave us. 

William is a great example for the boys.
I am married to a man who can eat his weight in Oreos daily and not gain a pound,
however the reason is he works hard each and everyday.  He doesn't sit behind a desk,
he doesn't snack, he works.  His way of life is the same reason there were many obese people until the last 50 years or so.  All the calories he consumes he burns them off.  Daily the boys watch him chop wood, load hay, run across a field to head off a cow...he may not go to a gym but I would bet his strength and endurance against most men his age.  He shows them that hard work is a way of life...I on the other hand don't.  

So I want to change that.  Plus I want to be able to chase after them...and keep up!!
Anyone want to join me on this journey?  


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wrangler Wednesday

I decided to dedicate this first Wrangler Wednesday of 2014 
to a very special man whom our entire family loved.

These are all the pictures posted on this blog of PawPaw in the last few years.

Even though he has gone home to the Lord I know that he's still farming in heaven.  

His strength and determination was always an inspiration 

Wyatt & PawPaw cutting hay in 2010

PawPaw helping Wyatt up the hill 

They both love this old beat up truck

PawPaw & William

Teaching Wyatt to plant a garden

Wyatt & PawPaw fishing...their favorite thing to do together

Caught one!

PawPaw & Pet

Those are some big shoes to fill Wyatt

One of my favorite views on Flat Rock

Ashley's Birthday 2009

Easter 2009

March 2009

PawPaw & his boys

Waylon's Baptism

Grandma & PawPaw

loving on Waylon

So much joy and happiness