Is a Farm Wife in the Mix?

Who Will He Choose?

As ABC’s “The Bachelor” star Chris Soules narrows down his options for a future wife, I can’t help but wonder will he make the right decision? If you have been keeping up with the show you will know that now two girls are left and the big question still remains. Will they be cut out for the farming lifestyle?

Chris works with his dad

It is no secret that Chris is the only boy in his family. With three sisters, he has leaned to be considerate of others’ feelings and is definitely not afraid of a few tears. This little bit of information also gives me insight into his work life as well. My husband is the only boy amongst girls and having seen the responsibilities his parents have put on him in preparation to take over the family farm, I expect that Chris’ parents have done the exact same thing. In an interview with Successful Farming, Chris talks a little about the early mornings and late nights in the tractor. He also said that he and his dad had to hire some seasonal help to cover his absence while filming the show. This verifies my suspicion that Chris and his dad farm together without much extra help. Earlier in the show I had wondered if they are the type to do all their own work or if they hire out. I am excited to see that Chris and his family are legit and they indeed stay true to the family farming lifestyle. Chris even says in his interview “farming is my career and my passion”. Hope his future wife is ready to support that passion.

His future wife will need patience

One thing I didn’t realize when I first got married was how much I would dread the long evenings at home alone. During spring planting and fall harvest the nights can get long. A determined farmer is no stranger to pulling a few all nighters each year to get the seeds in the ground before a rain and during harvest, he will work as late as Mother Nature will allow. This time can be a little lonely for the wife. Given that most of the contestants are city girls I can’t help but wonder if they will adjust well to living out in the middle of nowhere.

Another thing, early on in Season 19, Jimmy Kimmel sent Chris and Kaitlyn to a store to pick up random items. I couldn’t help but laugh when Kaitlyn gave a look of “are you kidding me?” when Jimmy said “this is what normal couples do!” I’ll just put it out there now, a lot of my dates include stops at the Farm Store and Parts stores… we live about 40 minutes out of town so our dates include grocery shopping and other errands. I don’t know any other farming couple that does this differently.

One last thought, his future wife can’t be emotionally driven. Of course as women, we are naturally a little more emotional. But with farming, you marry the man, yes. You also marry his career and the family business that his parents and grandparents have worked so hard to build. His parents will play a large role in their life; as family business owners, they probably make most of the decisions and control income. This is not a bad thing; it is the way it should be. The parents have devoted their entire life to build a business and be able to hand the farm down to their children. Chris and his wife are the children that will inherit and continue the farm. That is just the way works. Chris needs to make sure that whoever he chooses will not be in over her head. Sometimes it is hard to adjust to a work life, family life, a private life and social life all being intermingled together.

His wife will need to be family oriented

Because work life, family life, private life and sometimes your social life can be all intermingled, I hope his wife will like the family. It sure makes things easier! Did anyone else notice that he had mentioned in one of the episodes he wants a wife who gets along well with others? This is probably why! It is also important that the family gets along well with the wife. I like how he had his sisters, the closest women in his life, interview the girls. This speaks volumes to how much Chris values his family and trusts their instincts.

She will need to be someone who is not afraid of work

Farmers need “a little help” frequently. Another set of eyes keeps accidents from happening. Chris might also forget his supper and need someone to run it out to him, even if he is in a field 20 or 30 minutes away. He can’t just stop what he is doing and drive to the house. With slow moving equipment, that would take hours. I can imagine that Chris will ask for help for “just a minute” while his wife is trying to get ready to leave for work, or after she comes home. He might work up to the last second before they leave, or rush out to work as soon as they get home. This is just what farmers do. They have a passion for their work and an understanding of the value of getting things done.

His wife will need to be someone who values her commitment

Working crazy and long hours doesn’t mean farmers neglect their families. Often times it is just the opposite. They work hard to provide for their families and give them a better life. Farming is not a 9-5 job. If things still need done, you stay to finish the job. I have learned that if I want to spend more time with my husband, I need to meet him at his level. This includes helping in the farm repair shop and riding along in the tractor. Because farming is our only income source, it’s a little hard for me to say “it’s me or the farm”. Eventually you learn to value that time in the tractor and combining into the sunset. There is just something special about being out in nature with the man you love.

Will Chris choose Becca or Whitney to be his wife? And even after the selection, I can’t help but wonder if that love will last and if she will adjust well to his lifestyle. Who are you rooting for? Do you think they will be married and live happy ever after?

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Motherhood is Like A Dance: Step In, Step Back, Step Out, Step In…

Thoughts about mothers and daughters and their relationships consume me these days.  Motherhood is something most of us ask for and wish for; we enter willingly and with anticipation.   We almost go into it lightly and casually.   There should be classes, a degree, or a council of “Wise Old Mothers” to teach, train and warn:

This will be the best thing you ever do. 

This will be the hardest thing you ever do. 

This will be the thing you ALWAYS do. 

Motherhood is forever. 

 

Motherhood should come with a warning.

But daughters?  Well, we didn’t have much choice in the matter.  But classes along the way might be helpful.  Right about now, I’d take a PHD in daughterhood.

I am “sandwiched” between generations — a triple-decker club.  Mother, children and grandchildren.   Nothing really unique about that, I guess, as many women my age share the roles I am playing right now.  But when it is your personal script, the emotions, changes, and role reversals are fresh and new and very complex.

You wonder how the women before you have done this.

And why didn’t you pay better attention.

My youngest child is packing up everything she owns for her last semester of college.  Everything this time.  Not just what she thinks she may need for a semester or two.  This is THE move.  Her wedding will follow shortly after that final exam.  They plan to reside in his home state — 600 miles away.   I watch as closets are emptied, books are piled, drawers are scattered.  Emotions run deep.  I am happy for her.   The timing is right.   She has been an easy child.  Wise beyond her years.  Independent.  But there is a sadness too.  She has been away at college for three years, and it’s not like we will be new at this empty nest thing, but this seems final.

Everything she owns.

Wait!  I’m not ready to let her go.  I know I didn’t teach her enough.  I have so much more to say.

But she is an adult now.  Almost 22 years old.  No longer a child.  Roles…changing…

As she packs, my own mother is awaiting admittance to an Assisted Living Facility.  She has been living in my home for 4 months.  I have been her caregiver.   She has had health issues for a year now with one major surgery and then a simple condition that wasn’t diagnosed correctly.  It was missed.  The simple condition turned deadly, and months and months of illness followed which wrecked havoc on her body and her mind.   The issue has finally been addressed, and treated, but her body and mind are slow to recover.  She is now half-well/half-sick.  She was much easier to care for when she was very ill.  She is sick and tired of being sick and tired, and she just wants to go home.  And the doctors have said no.  Each day, it is more challenging to care for her in my home.  I can give her so much, but I cannot give her the one thing she wants — home.

I am trying to care for my mother.  Roles…. changing… reversed….Emotions run deep.

There were 4 children running, playing, and napping in my house yesterday.  It was chaos.  Wonderful, loud chaos.  Snacks. Bottles. Booboos. Squabbles. Diapers. Lunch.  I have the privilege of keeping these grandchildren two days a week, and I love those kiddos like my own.   I try to assume my part as Gramma — and not caregiver — whenever their Mama is around, but sometimes the roles get a little blurred.   I know sometimes I overstep.  Where the heck is that Gramma manual?

That daughter is the mother now.   She gets this season to teach and train.  Roles….

It is amazing to watch your own daughter become a mother.  She seems to do it so naturally.  Is it easier for her or is she wanting a motherhood degree herself now?  She is part of the “sandwich” as her focus is on those children yet she keeps looking back at me.

‘Mom, you doing okay?’  She wants to take care of me.

The dance continues…

Emotions again… running.

 

Links  to my blogs:

My Days Well-Lived

A Journey With Mom

 

 

Clearin’ up Acne and Kissin’ Facial Cleanser Goodbye

by Kelly Whiteman Snipes

A few weeks back, I posted a picture on my Facebook timeline of a handful of products from my bathroom drawer that I was throwing away. These were expensive products that my husband and I used daily to take care of our skin as we both battled MILD adult acne.  Adult acne? Really? I thought acne was supposed to be only for teenagers.

facial

The products consisted of acne fighting facial cleanser, facial scrub, spot treatment, serum, lotion, nose pore strips and even a $200 electronic device that claimed to zap your zits away. (My mom bought that for me years ago. It was the most exciting birthday present ever. Or not.) Getting ready for bed at night and even prepping our faces in the morning was really becoming a chore. Some products helped. Some made things worse. Long story short, after investing a lot of our money and time into our faces, the acne just wasn’t disappearing.

Last summer, a year ago this past June, I was invited to a Norwex Party. I didn’t know what Norwex was.  All I knew that it was a cleaning company that primarily focused on the use of naturally anti-bacterial silver embedded microfiber products over chemicals in the home.  I was excited to see the host but also slightly annoyed to partake in yet another direct sales purchase.  I went to the party with a closed mind. I listened to the distributor’s introduction of the products with a closed mind. I kept telling myself there was no way in heck that I was going to buy these expensive “rags” to clean my home when I already had owned a perfectly phenomenal roll of paper towels at home. Once the distributor started talking about how she even cleans her whole body with just these microfiber rags, I was just done. I thought, “This. Is. Nuts.”

Ready to go home, I tuned in on the mop demo and I was instantly sold. I watched even closer as a few more products were demoed. I told myself that I was going to buy the mop and that was it. I ended up purchasing the mop, a few more products and even booking a party myself for November.

November rolls around and I host my own Norwex party. I listen a lot more closely this time with a more opened mind as the same consultant,  started her speech on her shower routine with the Norwex cloths. I cringed when she mentioned not buying face wash in a long, long time. How could she not use face wash? If I were trapped on a dessert island and was only allowed to take one thing, my choice probably would have been face wash at that time. My world revolved around keeping my acne under control. I wasn’t vein, but I was ashamed of my skin.

The consultant shared a few testimonies from her friends of the cloths clearing up their acne. She had beautiful skin herself. I mean absolutely gorgeous. She was sans makeup too. I decided to give this no face wash thing a try.  I thought to myself, what do we have to lose? We’ve tried it all.

My Norwex package arrived and I sifted through the free product from my party. I tore open the package of body cloths which I would be using on my face. I was going to remove my makeup and scrub my face with the cloth then use face wash afterwards. You know, to ease myself in. I moistened the cloth with water and hesitated at the fact that I was about to wash my face with a wash cloth without soap. Gross. Right?

I lightly removed the makeup from my face. My eyes were left. I usually wear mascara and eye liner. I thought, there is no way this stuff is coming off without eye makeup remover. I soak the cloth in water and begin carefully removing my eye makeup like magic.

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Prepared to wash my face with soap, my skin felt so fresh and clean that there wasn’t a need. I was sure that I would get by with it for now but in the morning I would HAVE to use face wash. Nope, I woke up in the morning; craving that fresh, clean feeling I had from the cloth the night before. I got my cloth wet once again and washed my face without soap. “I thought, this is great and all but will this really help with my acne?”

Not even three days later, my question was answered.

I woke up that morning looked in the mirror and for the first time in YEARS, there wasn’t a zit, cyst or pimple on my face.  Could it be because of these cloths?

I’ve been using the Norwex Bodypack Cloths on my face for 9 months now. I have NOT used a facial cleanser in 9 months.

I’ve had one pimple in 9 months.

One. Pimple. In. 9. Months.

That’s why I posted a picture on Facebook of all the product I was throwing away. I never thought the day would come where I’d no longer be dependent on acne products to have clear skin.

This past weekend, I was in a wedding and someone took a picture of the bridal party before our makeup. I actually approved the tag on Facebook. WHAT?

no makeup

 

Will it work for you? There’s only one way to find out. Please keep in mind I had pretty mild acne and at some times, cystic acne. We all know though, even one pimple can ruin a day. Even a week! Even if you don’t have acne, these cloths are great for saving you money on facial cleanser and they’re perfect for the more rural lifestyle; especially those times when you have a bottle of water and can’t get to a sink!

You’ll be out maximum 30 bucks if this routine doesn’t work and you can use the three cloths for something else when you’re done.

If it does work, unfortunately you may be out several hundred dollars’ worth of facial products because you won’t need them anymore.

In my case, these cloths have eliminated the need for:

-Facial Cleanser

-Facial Exfoliators

-Pore minimizers, masks, strips

-Eye makeup remover

-Additional acne products

-Foundation

Hold onto that moisturizer though.  Because, Tracy says.

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I do not work for Norwex. I am just sharing how it changed and simplified my life and I hope it can change yours.

To order the Norwex Bodypack Cloths and try the no-soap regime on your face visit here.

Red, White, & Blue 4th of July Inspiration

4th of July is literally right around the corner. But it isn’t too late to throw together the perfect BBQ, outfit, or simple craft to show off your patriotic side! Here are some of our favorite crafts, recipes, and inspirations to add a little Red, White, & Blue in your life!

How to Decorate…

Red White Blue Crafts - Rural Housewives

1. Use Red, White, & Blue Bandannas

2. Hanging Stars 

3. Chalkboard with Patriotic Saying

4. Painted Mason Jars for Silverware or Centerpieces

5. Free 4th of July Printable

6. Barn Star Pallet Flag

7. Mason Jar Luminaries

What to Make…

Red White Blue Desserts - Rural Housewives

1. Patriotic Ice Cream Sandwiches 

2. Flag Cake

3. Red, White, & Blue Fruit Pizza

4. 4th of July Rice Krispie Treats

5. Champagne Red, White, & Blue Strawberries

6. Patriotic Pudding Cups

What to Wear…

Red White Blue Outfits - Rural Housewives

1. Pinterest Inspired Outfit

2. USA Flag Painted Shorts

3. No Sew 4th of July Tank

4. Handprint Flag Shirt 

5. Patriotic Bleach Tee

What are your favorite 4th of July crafts, desserts, or even things to wear!?

From all of us here at Rural Housewives, have a safe, Happy 4th of July weekend!

 

Don’t Rain on My Parade During Wheat Harvest

We have been blessed with multiple good rains! From October to May we had about 2″ of rain (and little snow) and in the last two weeks we have had at least 3″. I have lost track because it just kept raining!  It is so frustrating that it starts to rain right in the middle of wheat harvest.  We had five hours of harvest last Monday and got rained out Tuesday morning. When Wednesday afternoon came around I was excited that we could cut again! And then it rained Thursday morning and then another 1.5″ came on Saturday. Yesterday we were finally able to start cutting again. It is frustrating when the weather doesn’t work with our schedule. But let’s be real, when does it work with our schedule?  I am rarely happy with the weather. It is always too wet or too dry, too hot or too cold, or too windy or not windy enough. The corn needs the rain, but the wheat doesn’t, now that it is ready to cut. This week has reminded me to be happy with what we have. We were just blessed with wonderful rains and the first thing that comes out of my mouth is, “why won’t it stop raining?” I am going to regret that in about a month.

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Keeping busy at the computer!

Last year I wouldn’t have complained so much. This year wheat harvest timing directly affects my schedule. The men asked me to run the truck scale this year. I am big time now! 🙂 I have the finest seat in the house and I wait for the parade of trucks to begin from my skybox.  From my skybox I have the perfect view of the trucks as they pass by to be inspected.  When the trucks come in, I weigh them and take a sample to find out the moisture and test weight.  The sample is taken with a device called a probe.   The probe is a tube that vacuums up a sample of grain that I control with a remote from inside.  Test weight is the measure of how much a bushel of wheat, corn, etc weighs. The standard weight for a bushel of wheat is 60 pounds and corn is 56 pounds.  But what is a bushel, right?  It is 2,150.42 cu. inches.  So basically, in an ideal world, 2150.42 cu. inches of wheat would weigh 60 pounds. In the real world that number can vary. That is why we have to check the test weight. Rain at harvest time can decrease the test weight, which isn’t good. So we complain and rejoice about the rain at the same time. After the trucks have unloaded, they come back over the scale to get an outbound weight. The inbound minus the outbound weight tells us how much wheat we had on the truck and eventually I can calculate what each field yielded.

I had hoped to have great stories to tell and awesome experiences at the scale by now, but so far it has been slow and not much to do.  Instead of complaining that we didn’t cut much last week, I have decided to be thankful for the slow start.  It allowed me to learn the scale software and how to use the probe without the pressure of a full speed harvest.  Now I know what I am doing, so the rain can stay away for a couple weeks and we can get this done!

How many times do we complain that it is raining on our parade when we should sit back and be thankful for the rain?

Summer Book Club Update

You may remember a few weeks ago, we shared about our first installment of our Rural Housewives Summer Book Club! As a refresher or if you are just joining us, here’s a brief intro:

  • There is no “real club” to join or a sign up. We are just starting book #2 and hope to read one more before the summer ends, but this is definitely a “go at your pace” club. This book club is designed to get a great group of gals together from across the world to discuss fantastic books. The more, the merrier!
  • Books are chosen by a popular vote. Suggestions are made by you, the readers, and the founders of this page make selections based off of suggestions. A Facebook poll is then used to vote on what book you would like to read. The book with the most amount of votes wins and is read. The voting process for Book #2 just ended and the winner has been selected.
  • You chose how you want to participate, as much or as little as you want. We have formed a Facebook group to lead discussions, post favorite quotes, and get your weekly reading assignments. You can join the Facebook group by following this link: RH Summer Book Club Group
  • The book club hashtag is #RHBooks – feel free to use that on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram for discussions, thoughts, opinions, etc. Feel free to share photos of where you are reading, that you’ve picked up your book, etc.

And now… the part you’ve been waiting for… announcement of book #2. It was an extremely close poll with Antelope in the Living Room coming in second yet again!

We will be reading Lorna Landvik’s book called Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons.

Sounds interesting, right?

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I hope you will think about picking up a copy for you and a friend and joining us! Summer will be over before we know it!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask! And feel free to email, comment, or leave suggestions on our Facebook page!

Pets: More than Family.

By: Kellie Gregorich

This week was one of the hardest weeks of my life. Our family house cat passed away and I was devastated. The worst part was that people mocked me because she was ‘just a cat’. She was NOT just a cat to me. She was such a wonderful part of my family. They will never understand or appreciate what my cat did for me.

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In 2002 Bootie came to our farm. She was going to be farm kitty and nothing else. Well one day I went out in the garage and she was on the floor bleeding. I ran back in the house and got dad. Well he couldn’t take her to the vet so mom and I loaded her into the car and took her 5 miles down the road. It was the longest 5 miles of my life. We took Bootie in and we were told she needed surgery or she would die. Our choice. I will never forget the look on my mom’s face. She turned around, looked at me, and told the vet to do the surgery. ON A FARM CAT. Later my mom told me that she wasn’t going to stand there, with me behind her, and tell the vet to let her go. I will forever be grateful to my mother for making that choice.

When Bootie got out of surgery, she was allowed to stay in the mud room. It was winter out and too cold for her to recover in the garage. It was the beginning of a wonderful friendship.

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Bootie ended up NEVER leaving the house. She decided she liked it in there and no one was going to kick her out. Mom tried, oh did she try, but Bootie was adamant about getting into the house and staying there. And I was never so happy. My dream of having a house cat finally came true at the age of 12.

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Bootie was always a part of every family event. She was in my prom pictures, band uniform pictures, family pictures, and graduation pictures.

She was better than any medicine any doctor could prescribe to me when I was sick. Through wisdom teeth removal, the flu, my horse accident, and heart aches, she was there. Her soft little hair and wonderful little purr could always ease my aching body. She knew exactly when I didn’t feel good and she never let me suffer alone.

Even though I haven’t lived at home for years, she was still our family pet, she was still a part of my life, she was still my Bootie Kitty. And I loved her with my entire heart.

So when I received the phone call, I lost it. I wasn’t there for her, like she had been for me. I let her down. My best friend, gone, and I couldn’t scratch under her chin to make her feel better. As mom was telling me the bad news, she said, “Kel, you saved her once, you couldn’t do it again.” It was true, but made me feel worse.

Dad built her a casket and buried her next to my childhood dog, Pepper.

Bootie was more than just a pet. She was my memories. My happiness. My support. She provided more to me than anyone could ever before. Even as a grown woman, I still needed that cat.

So to everyone who told me that Bootie was ‘just a cat’, you don’t get it. You never will. That little black and white kitty brought so much to my life. And took a little bit with her.

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doin what it takes includes visiting the cherry tree

The weather decided to get a little crazy for the custom harvesting industry this year. And, there’s nothing you can do about the weather! There is one thing certain about this industry – nothing is certain.

2014 marks the fourth year the Midwest farmer and custom harvester have had to deal with the blow of drought and late season freezes. We honestly thought last summer was tough and it couldn’t get any worse…it did. The acres we had lined up for 2014 in Texas and Oklahoma were “zeroed” out. It didn’t come as a surprise. Jim and I started hearing about the possibility early in April. The drought was taking a toll on the struggling wheat and when those late season freezes hit, they pretty much sealed the deal. Jim made the dreaded phone calls knowing what we were up against. Still…he had to find out for sure. “The insurance adjuster just left about an hour ago. Don’t bother coming”. That’s what he heard.

For the past six weeks, we’ve been waiting for the wheat harvest to move into the SW corner of Kansas; constantly watching the weather. This was our first hope of getting any acres through the Yellow Beast. If that crop was gone, we wouldn’t leave home until our Colorado job was ready. It will soon be two weeks ago that Jim and Taylor moved the Yellow Beast to the farm near Garden City, KS. It has been nearly a week that the Cottage on Wheels and Frank (my Freightliner truck) headed to Kansas to be reunited with the rest. And still we sit. We have to find out if the dry land acres will yield enough for the farmer (who has a combine) to justify hiring us. We will get to cut the irrigated acres for sure but they won’t be ready for at least ten more days.

IMG_0825The Cottage on Wheels is parked right next to the door. 

The process of getting to the point of actually driving out the driveway is HORRIBLE!

I figure it takes about three good days once I start loading. I have a good idea of what needs to go but I still question what is needed for being on the road 100+ days. I usually start with the basement and go through the pantry. I used to take everything in the pantry. Now that I think about it, that was so silly. Afterall, every town usually has a grocery store. I now take only enough to get started. A couple cans of soup, some canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, etc. Any unopened boxes of cereal usually gets thrown in and anything else that doesn’t weigh much. Callie recently asked me if I thought everyone had a pantry like ours and I told her I didn’t know. “It’s like having our own grocery store in the basement” (Callie)

IMG_0837Jim putting his clothes in the trailer.

After I gather what’s needed in the basement, my laundry basket (this is what I use to move from one house to the other) and I move into the kitchen, bathroom and finally my clothes & shoes. Everything in the kitchen usually gets loaded. I go through my spices and baking products. Don’t forget the crock pot, hand mixer, griddle, that “special” pan, cookbooks, etc. You get the picture. The refrigerator and freezer have to be unloaded and re-loaded into the Cottage. It’s amazing how much food a “Barbie” refrigerator can hold! Then there’s the clothes. What do you take and how much? I usually overpack. But sometimes it’s just because I don’t want to leave something back in case I have a reason to wear it. I usually kick myself at the end of the year when I’m taking everything back in the house because I wore like three pairs of shorts and the same two shirts. My pull-on boots or my lace-ups? I decide to take both. What winter type clothes should I take? You never know what the weather will be like. Finally, I just take the clothes I have laid out and go with it. I could stand in front of my closet for hours debating what I should and shouldn’t take.

Going through the house twice a year certainly helps eliminate the unneeded!

Once I get rolling, it doesn’t seem to take nearly as long as it does in my head. It’s always so hard to get started. I find myself getting more tired each year. The days are long – usually getting to bed after midnight. Once everything is loaded, the house needs cleaned. I do less cleaning than I used to. I don’t dust anymore – seems silly since I have to do it again when I get home. I will strip the beds and leave them un-made (lessens the chances of spiders to crawl in and make it their bed), wash the refrigerator, clean the bathroom and vacuum the floors.

IMG_0836Jamie taking care of the vacuuming.

The girls came over the last day of packing and cleaning. And so did Eli. Guess what I did. Jamie took over the cleaning. Bless her heart! She said since I had Eli, the cleaning gave her a break (aw…I so remember those days). I think I had the better part of that deal!

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IMG_0831Keeping Eli corralled in the basket was a little bit easier with a kitten.

Throughout the day, we would take mini breaks. One of those mini breaks was to visit the cherry tree.

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Some of my fondest memories of visiting my Grandma was climbing her cherry tree. I don’t remember ever picking cherries. I never really thought about it before but I’d be willing to bet we were never at her house when the cherries were ripe. She was on harvest.

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A dear friend gave that cherry tree to me the spring of 1991. I’ve never picked a cherry from it – until this year. One of the many blessings for leaving so late! Eli and I stood there and ate cherry after cherry. I wonder if we could have eaten too many? He loved them. Taylor decided she was going to pick enough to make a cherry pie. In previous years, my neighbor has been so good about picking enough cherries to share with me. She picked them, pitted them and packaged them for me. I, again, had the better part of that deal! These cherries make the BEST cherry pieBecause you are my friend, I will share my cherry pie recipe with you. The recipe can be found after the pictures (thank you, Taylor, for sharing these with me).

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Ohio Cherry Pie

1 20 oz. bag frozen unsweetened pitted tart cherries (about 4 cups) or you can use 2 16 oz. cans, drained (reserve ½ cup liquid). Reduce sugar in filling to 1 cup. Add 5 or 6 drops of red food coloring.

1 ¼ c. sugar

¼ c. cornstarch

¾ tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. almond extract

2 Tbsp. margarine/butter

1-2 drops red food color

In 3 qt. saucepan, cook frozen cherries, sugar & cornstarch, stirring occasionally until mixture boils and thickens; boil 1 minute. Remove saucepan from heat, stir in vanilla & almond, margarine/butter & food coloring. Cool one hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Put filling in prepared pie crust (I use the boxed pie crust found in the refrigeration section of the grocery store). Brush pie with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake 35-40 minutes until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Cool.

Good luck! Makes me wish I had brought a couple packages of those frozen cherries along with me. I may have to call home and have Taylor and Callie bring some with them when they come. Speaking of them, they didn’t join us right now. Callie will be going to Nashville for the National FBLA conference and won’t get home until July 3. I’m fairly certain the girls will opt to stay home for their very first 4th of July at home with their friends. I wouldn’t blame them!

Will you do me a favor? If you make this pie, would you let me know what you think?

God bless!

(Credit for the photos goes to Taylor – thank you, Taylor!)

Parenthood: Things I Remember from the Outside

By: Ashley Kennedy

A note from Ashley: I will start out by saying this, I am not experienced in parenthood. I am not out to make anyone mad and I am not trying to tell you (the parents) how to do your job. This is totally my opinion. As someone who wants to be a parent some day that enjoys working I know I will deal with guilt of being a working mom. So I decided to write this after seeing some other friend’s opinions on the internet. 

During the past few weeks I have been reading a lot on Facebook about how my friends hated the fact that their dads or parents worked a lot. It caused me to reflect on this because we all know time is precious and we never know how long we have. But on the other side of the coin, I enjoy working. Which I would guess is similar to these parents my Facebook friends are referring to. I am not ashamed to say that if I was a Stay Home Parent I would go crazy. And honestly, I don’t know how you do it and give you all the credit in the world.

The matriarch of our family, our mother and father.

The matriarch of our family, our mother and father.

So here it is:

My dad worked a lot.

And I mean a lot.

My parents did not go to college. My parents went to the school of learning from experience. When I was young my mother was a stay at home mom who also worked on the farm and my dad worked full time on the farm. Once us kids were in school she started working full time on the farm with my dad.

My parents always had goals and lofty ones at that. My dad had business goals which have allowed them to be where they are today. Comfortably living their 2 year old dream house (which is really a one story ranch that they built… not a mansion) with a business that has allowed them and their children to live a comfortable, but not indulged life.  Getting there was not easy. My dad has many stories about how he would be out in the barn at midnight breeding a cow, while everyone else was in bed.

Even just a few years ago, I remember him coming home at midnight from planting a field that needed to be planted and time was running short. My dad was such a hard worker and he did it to give us a better life. He did it so my husband and I have the chance to raise our children on the farm.

This is where it all began with me!  The memories with the family.

This is where it all began with me! The memories with the family.

He had goals and he knew sacrifices needed to be made. He knew they wouldn’t be forever but at the beginning he sacrificed it for today’s life. The ironic thing was, I don’t remember feeling like my dad wasn’t around. Maybe there were days I missed him, but I don’t remember feeling like he was missing in my life. I know he was working just outside on the farm but we didn’t go out and do chores with him too often. But I never felt like I suffered from a “lack” of my father’s attention.

I think this is why: We always ate dinner as a family. The only time we didn’t eat as a family was if he was behind planting or harvesting or a true emergency happened on the farm.

I know, I am not a parent. My husband and I hope to be some day and he often mentions how I work too much and he will be the one going to our children’s events. I guess I do have a little bit of my dad in me. But I think it all about balancing. And I’m not saying selling the cows and getting a “normal” job is the key.

I believe it’s easy as taking 30 minutes to an hour out of your day and having family time, like a family dinner. I have so many memories of us talking, laughing and sharing our days around the dinner table. My parents always asked us how our day went and what happened. It didn’t matter that my dad wasn’t around a lot because he was working. We always knew we had that time each day to spend as a family.

Did my parents make it to every volleyball game, FFA competition or band concert? No, but did they make it to a lot of them? Yes. Growing up we understood that our dad just worked a lot. It was necessary to keep the farm running. But he never let it get in the way of the important things. We took vacations, even if it was one 3 day weekend a year. There is that balance thing. We didn’t take a lot of vacations but when we did they were special.

I don’t think it’s always the amount of time you spend with your kids, as much as the quality of time. When we spent time with my parents we had their undivided attention. We knew how much they loved us and we had fun together. I can only imagine how difficult it was for my parents to learn the balancing act of working to give your family the life you want and remembering that life is short. But they did it and I think that any parent can do it if they make it a priority.

By working hard to provide your family with a stable living is very important. Sometimes that means we make sacrifices and have to miss some memories. That 30 minutes a day, even on the busiest day, could mean the world to them and they will never forget it.

Originally published on MessyKennedy.com by Ashley. 

Small Town Girl Big Town Fashion: Denim Daze with DakotaChic

Hi- I’m Sarah Jo & I write the lifestyle blog DakotaChic.

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DakotaChic, not be confused with Dakota chick, (although I’m technically that too) is a lifestyle blog that brings together all of my favorite things- food, fashion, beauty and home decor.

I started DakotaChic because I believe that living in the Midwest doesn’t mean we can’t be just as stylish as our friends in New York or California. My blog is designed to inspire others to step up their style and add a little chic into their everyday lives.

Denim Daze

I love the idea of Small Town Girl, Big Town Fashion, and was so excited when Rural Housewives asked me to submit a post. I am a firm believer that living in a fashion desert is not an excuse to live in your sweatpants, (We have the internet!) and that just because you live in a small town doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your personal style.

There are a lot of fun styles trending for this summer, but this post is dedicated to the one trend I think we can all get behind, and that’s DENIM! I don’t know about you, but if I could only wear one fabric for the rest of my life, it would be the ever-versatile denim. Light wash, dark wash, acid wash, distressed, vests, jackets, jeans, dresses… the list goes on and on.

Here’s a few ways that you can incorporate denim into your look beyond your usual blue jeans:

Denim Vest 

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Trust me, it will go with more than you think! Pair with a maxi skirt or LBD for something you could easily wear out on a Friday night.

Denim Dress 

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Earlier this spring I came across this denim dress. It is light and incredibly comfy for summer. (BONUS: It’s acid wash, which is also back in style!)

Canadian Tux 

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And if you’re like me and are so obsessed with denim that you want to cover yourself in this incredible fabric from head to toe… go for it! The Canadian Tux is even socially acceptable this season. Grab a denim or chambray shirt and throw it on with your favorite blue jeans and a pair of cute heels.

For outfit details and more, take a look at my full Denim Daze series on www.dakotachic.com.

Are you a fan of denim? What are your favorite pieces?