Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Farmlife | Buddy and a Bunny


It's been awhile since I've shared a Buddy-Long-Nose story... 
Beware, this one is not for the faint of heart, but it's #farmlife. 

If you've been following me for awhile, you know Buddy is our runaway collie. We rescued him from the NE Iowa Humane Society, where he kept finding himself after he constantly ran away from his previous owners. I was POSITIVE that I'd give him so much love and attention that he would never run away again. Pfffft! 

Life lesson learned: Don't judge or assume an animal runs away because it doesn't get enough attention.

He stayed home for a solid week before he grew comfortable enough to start his Saint Olaf explorations. Zach and I even purchased a GPS tracker for his collar to help us keep up with our little adventure seeker. The tracker worked for awhile, but over time he's turned into an inside dog... with the occasional excursion through the timber (timber= how Iowa folks refer to "woods"). 

Anyway, If you saw him lying around snoozing in the sunshine you'd never guess he had the energy to take off and run marathons like he does. He's definitely an explorer at heart. He especially loves to chase the deer out of our yard, sends squirrels straight for the tree tops, and goes crazy when large birds fly overhead. You would think that our yard would be animal free after almost three years with Buddy-Long-Nose, and I definitely would never expect to find a wild animal in Buddy's doghouse or kennel.

Now comes the gross grownup part.... 

Last week we were outside enjoying the last of the snow before it melted, and what did we come across? A HUGE rabbit that had gotten caught in Buddy's kennel! Unfortunately the rabbit had gotten stuck in the cage and froze solid. The kennel door was open, but the rabbit had tried to escape from the back of the kennel by squeezing through the tiny fencing. It made it part of the way but apparently couldn't get all the way through. 

 After mourning the sweet bunny, my brain quickly turned to "bunny removal mode." I seriously didn't think I could do it myself. I don't think Buddy had anything to do with the bunny getting stuck in the kennel, but I was disgusted at the thought of him trying to get it out (by eating it) if I didn't get rid of it first. I tried to talk the husband into handling the situation, but he didn't want to have anything to do with it. He suggested calling one of our friends who hunts and would have more experience in dealing with a deceased creature. I thought about it but couldn't ask someone else to do this sad/gross task for us, and I was NOT going to leave it for Buddy. 

So after consulting with our hunter/gatherer friend, Aaron, I waited until it was below freezing (less blood), put on rubber gloves (even though I didn't plan on touching it with my hands), and managed to free the rabbit from the kennel fencing and dispose of it (ax + shovel) ALL BY MYSELF. I did have to shut my eyes, hold my breath, and get it done as quickly as possible. 

Life lesson number two: There are things you hope you never have to do, but sometimes you just have to suck it up and handle it. 

On the bright side, for future gross grownup situations that need handling, I'll just remind Z that handled the rabbit. 

Who takes care of the gross stuff at your house? 
Would you have called your neighbor?
Sorry, Naomi.. I should have called you!


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Traveling with a Toddler | our flight home

Our Flight Home:

For those of you following my tips for traveling with a toddler, I told you I'd give you an update on our flight home. There's almost always something unexpected, which was the case, but it turned out to be a pretty good flight! 

So, I have been super lucky flying with Emmajean. She's now flown 16 times, and I've even done it by myself for a few of them! She has done so well, and I have to think that it's thanks to having snacks, an awesome carrier, and my fav diaper bag.

Obviously flying with a companion is by far the best help, so flying to NC with Gima Dawn was a breeze, and knowing I'd be flying home with Zach's help calmed those pre-travel jitters. It wasn't until we boarded the plane back to Iowa that my "I got this" attitude took a dive, and you'll know why in a minute! 

The night before we flew, we checked in online. We didn't select our seats when we checked in to print our boarding passes because it costs extra, and they often make adjustments at the airport if you're flying with an infant on your lap. Sometimes they won't even let me check in online if I've selected lap infant. They have to be sure there is an extra oxygen mask in the row with a lap infant, which means you have to sit on the right side of the plane. 

After we printed our boarding passes, we were relieved to see that they put us in seats 8C and 8D -- side by side, or so we thought! I planned to take my usual window seat and Zach would take the aisle. If we hadn't automatically received these "side by side seats," we would have asked at the gate to see if they could seat us together. We boarded the plane and realized we were across the aisle from each other! I thought, SHOOT....not the end of the world, but not ideal.

HENCE, TIP # FOUR: You can pay to select your seats when you check in online at home or take a gamble and ask to sit together when you're checking in or at the gate. They are generally super helpful and will seat you together if possible (especially if you have an infant). Just be sure to ask! If you're trying to fly next to a companion and you didn't pay to select seats from the online diagram at check-in, don't rely on your seat numbers. Check to be sure your seats are actually beside each other when you get to your gate.

In theory, the person beside me could have easily switched with Zach. I told the nice lady already sitting in the window seat beside me that my husband would be happy to trade seats with her if she didn't want to ride beside a baby (who would?). To my surprise, she was thrilled to ride next to a baby-- LOL! Luckily, Zach was right across the aisle so he could help me get adjusted and help with Emmajean's snacks/bribes during the flight. I just crossed my fingers that she would behave and, hopefully, nap. 

The flight was actually fairly comfortable, and Emmajean enjoyed sitting next to her new friend. With about thirty minutes left to fly, Emmajean and I both dozed off. Wondering how I was able to snooze with a baby on my lap? Check out my tips for traveling with an infant/ toddler. The plane landed, and we said goodbye to the nice woman beside us. She was still in shock over how well Emmajean traveled! 

No matter how many times we fly, I always breathe a sigh of relief when we've landed with no major meltdowns. Thinking of booking your first or next flight with your little one? GO FOR IT! You've got this! 

Flight Tips for Toddlers in summary:

1. Snacks/Bribes
2. A comfortable carrier
3. an easy access diaper bag
4. Check to be sure you're seated beside your travel companion by asking at the ticket counter or at the gate or be prepared to enjoy the company of a new travel companion.

I hope these tips help you fly with confidence, and feel free to share! :)  

Happy Travels!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Iowa Corn | A lot to learn


Nine years ago, Zach brought me across the country to visit his grandparents at the farm. Since I hadn't yet been west of Tennessee, you can imagine my surprise as I observed the changes in the landscape. From the rolling hills of North Carolina, over the Appalachian Mountains (pronounced App-a-latch-un, if you're a native North Carolinian), across the breathtaking horse pastures of Kentucky, and into the Midwest where the sky stretches forever and the fields are filled with corn, soybeans, and windmills into the horizon. 

I remember being amazed as we made our way into Iowa. The sheer amount of corn had me in awe as we drove through "the land of opportunity."  The fields spread as far as I could see, and we drove past one farm after another. Can you imagine the shock when I found out that 99% off all of that corn wasn't for eating? I was seeing "field corn," which is not what you buy at the grocery to eat. I was quite stunned when I found out that only one percent of the corn grown in the US is sweet corn and grown for human consumption. To be perfectly honest, I had no idea I was eating "sweet corn"... we've always just called it corn. :) 

Can you tell I've had quite a bit to learn about Iowa and corn? Don't worry, Saint Olaf folks... I've got my kernels straight and know what's for dinner... SWEET CORN!

Well, I thought I had it all figured out, until I was recently gifted a few ears of popcorn from a neighbor. My generous neighbor has a friend who grows popcorn. That made me wonder, what category does popcorn fall under? Thanks to google search and some quick research, I found out: popcorn is yet another variety of corn that has a hard, moisture-resistant hull that surrounds a dense pocket of starch that will pop when heated, and it's a whole grain. So it isn't sweet corn or field corn. You can find more on this over at ModernFarmer.com. After reading their story, I'm going to have to try theirs next! 

Iowa Pop!

This was my first time making popcorn straight from the cob! Zach is the popcorn maker in our family, so I'll actually give him the credit.

If you're interested, our favorite popcorn tips are: the Warring Pro popcorn maker (which we got to have at our wedding reception 6 years ago), and coconut oil. I know what you're probably thinking, who really pulls out a big popcorn maker at home and where in the world do you store it? We do, and it's totally worth it! LOL! We love it and have used it regularly for six years. It's always a crowd pleaser, and after research, and trial and error, Zach has gotten our "movie theater popcorn" at home down to an art!

I'm not gonna lie, I've been on a popcorn binge for the last several months. It's fitting that I've finally learned something about it. 

I've also learned that though the kernels of some wild types will pop, the cultivated strain is 
Zea mays evertaand that there are actually two different varieties of popcorn: a fluffy "butterfly" variety and a sturdier variety called "mushroom popcorn" that is most often used for coating with flavorings. 

Do you have a favorite popcorn? Do you prefer movie theater pop or sweet caramel corn? I love them all! 

...And it turned out DELICIOUS!!
I'm looking forward to trying it again with different toppings!


Maybe I've piqued your interest in Iowa corn? Find more facts by visiting: https://www.iowacorn.org/media-page/corn-facts/

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Happy New Year!

It's hard to believe that it's been 2018 for over a WEEK! Have you been able to keep your resolutions so far? My resolution is a work in progress.

The first week of the new year meant our time in NC had come to an end, and it was time for our flight home to Saint Olaf. It doesn't get any easier saying goodbye to our family, but it was a blessing to spend so much quality time together over the last month. 

Here are some of the highlights from our time in NC:

Spending lots of time with Grandma and PawPaw!

Riding the old "rocking horse"

Playing with toys from my childhood

Exploring new cupboards

Playing games with Aunt Britt and Uncle Teurin (and getting to see their new house)!

Seeing friends ♥

Sleeping through the night (finally) after eating ice cream!

Having our last family gathering at Gima and Grandpa Herrmann's NC house -- it SOLD!

Meeting Emmajean's newest cousin 

and time with her slightly older, yet wiser, ones

Going to the Greensboro Children's Museum

Date nights, sappy Christmas movies, and cute PJs

Watching Emmajean enjoy her 2nd Christmas 

I may have been the most excited about the new doctor kit!

Turns out E likes to give shots... 

Loves Peppa Pig 

& can't get enough of her new super soft blankie!

Lazy days playing in the yard, yummy food, Boggle, and Mastermind

Baby girl playing the baby grand

Most importantly...spending time with family
We sure missed our Florida family!

and last, but definitely not least...
a smooth flight home!

Throughout the year, I pray you find peace and joy in the blessings of everyday life, no matter how big or small. I genuinely wish you a year filled with happiness, love, health, and adventure... and quality time with the ones you hold dear!