On the Road Again….

It’s that time in our family where the meeting of winter sports meet summer sports.  Our oldest is still playing second season hockey and has started ball practices, our middle is still prepping for her karate grading  and has also started her ball practices and our youngest is just dreaming of seeding fields on the farm – oh and his ball starts this week! My husband is going over the farm machinery, checking fields and looking after all the details for spring time work and seeding on the farm. And here I am prepping my piano students for May exams, coaching Ally’s ball team and basically organizing and scheduling our crazy life for the next couple of months.  Honestly – I wouldn’t have it any other way! We are all doing what we love to do and even though we might seem like we are going in 8 different directions at once – I do enjoy some of the one-on-one time I get with the kids because we are going in different directions.

There are a couple of things I do – prep-wise – that keep us going in the right direction.  A visible weekly schedule  – I had a fancy schmancy dry erase monthly calendar but honestly it wasn’t the best. It was overwhelming to look at the whole month as opposed to just a week at a time.  SO I pulled out a piece of paper and put it in a page protector. (Ya I’m crafty like that)   I fill it out weekly with a dry erase marker – with Manitoba weather chances are ball games are going to be cancelled and rescheduled. The kids and look and see where they are going – my farmer husband can see which towns his kids are playing if he has a chance to get away from the field – and I have a visual to see what’s going on and where everyone needs to be.  It’s cheap, it’s easy and it works.

Another prep I do for the controlled chaos is pack a snack bag.  My kids get off the school bus close to 4:00 pm and we are usually on the road again (if they have a practice or a game) by 5:00pm.  That means an early supper or a supper on the go, and once their activity is done they are hungry! Scratch that – they are HANGRY! So to feed the wild beasts I have a bag of snacks that goes in the vehicle with us.  Usually filled with snacks they like and will fill them up or tie them over till we get home.  This week we have almonds, Clif Bars, fruit cups, applesauce, granola bars.  I’ll also put fresh fruit and veggies in there or any baking that I’ve done (muffins, cookies etc).  Some juice boxes and Powerade or Gatorade will be there too , as well as the kids water bottles. Along with some wet-naps, napkins and spoons.

SO hopefully this crazy, chaotic season will run smoothly and everyone will get to the places they need to be safely and well-fed.  Moms on the go – what are your go-to time saving methods you use? Let’s help each other get through the busy seasons of life!

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Road Trip

This past weekend my husband and I went on a road trip. I haven’t been able to convince him to go on a warm vacation but I did convince him to go south….. to……. Minneapolis!!

I know what you’re thinking – “wow, Minneapolis, woo hoo, totally on my top ten places to go on a winter vay-cay 🙄”

But it was great! And here’s why.

1) there’s a lot of things happening and going on in Minneapolis. We took in a concert (Demi Lovato) and an NBA game (Timberwolves vs. Golden State Warriors). And the evening we arrived we found out that we also could’ve taken in WrestleMania – we chose to go to an Irish Pub with live music instead (#goodlifechoices)

 

“Don’t let the Bastards Grind you Down”

 

 

Demi – slaying on stage

 

 

Cover Band who opened with AC/DC TNT #legends

 

2) The Food. We didn’t have one bad meal. The food was a amazing. From the greasy pizza joint, to the fancy schmancy hotel restaurant and everything in between – we ate well.

 

Pizza La Vista 

 

3) Location, location, location. We stayed at a hotel  (The Loews) that was right across from the venue we were going to be attending. Literally a 30 second walk from the hotel to the venue. Did we pay a lot to stay there – YES. Did the visiting Golden State Warriors stay at the same hotel – YES Was my husband scared to drive/park downtown so we picked a hotel with valet parking- also YES. We were two blocks from the metro station – so we could catch the metro to anywhere in the city. We opted for the hotel driving service due to me wanting to shop at Mall of America 😁 it was a 15 minute drive and our driver was great and knowledgeable. And there was a lot going on around us that we could walk to. Restaurants, Pubs, clubs, shopping, theatres, etc.

 

Watching GSW leave the hotel 

Draymond Green – opted to walk across the street instead of taking the 30 second bus ride. 

 

We would totally go back to Minneapolis!

BUT the best thing was it was the first time in 11 years that my husband and I got to go away somewhere – just the two of us – for more than one night. Don’t get me wrong – love my kids – but it is nice to have some time with your spouse. Now you might be thinking – “what? 11 years? Seriously?” Yup – no joke. Our farming lifestyle (up until this past year) consisted of a cow/calf operation in which my husband would be feeding cows daily and during calving season was basically a walking zombie who lives off of coffee and minimal sleep. We’ve switched our operation slightly and now we don’t have the cow/calf side of the farm anymore. And this means a quieter winter – farm wise. The kids,on the other hand, had us on the go 99% of the time with hockey and karate. But there it was ONE WEEKEND, no kids, no cows – and the GSWarriors were in Minneapolis. Nothing was going to stop us!

Mall of America #restingbuckface

Ready for Demi!!

Room with a View #theloewshotel

Finally a smile! 

 

I highly recommend planning a trip, or if that’s not an option a date night, with just you and your significant other. It was great to just talk, or be silent, singing to the radio, argue about directions or whatever. We were just us. We were able to talk and communicate without the interruption of our children or our every day responsibilities. It is so important to carve out time to work on your relationship with your spouse, because marriage is a work in progress. Is it always easy – no. Does it take work – yes. Does it take respect – yes. Does it take forgiveness and mercy – absolutely. Nobody is perfect and no marriage/relationship is perfect – BUT if you work at it and put time into it – it does get easier.

Did our kids Snapchat us? Yes. Did we miss them? I guess so….. I mean yes. But, you know what – it’s ok to miss your kids. It’s ok to spend some time away from them. I appreciated them much more after being away for even a few days. And I appreciate the guy I chose to spend the rest of my life with even more as well. Even if he doesn’t smile for selfies 🙄#restingbuckface

 

Classic – #restingbuckface

 

The Move

WE ARE IN! We have officially and successfully (?) moved down the road and around the corner – literally. We had come to the point where the house we were in was too small and either we build a new house or we come to some sort of arrangement with my in-laws where they moved out and we moved into their much larger farm house.  I mean – our house was adequate fine, but for the past 6 years we had been living without a functional basement.  The flood of 2011 paired with a high water table and ALL.OF.THE.WATER in the Turtle Mountains running through our basement to Whitewater Lake every spring – it was time for an upgrade.  They boys were sharing  room, we had one bathroom for five people (pre-teen kids should count as 3 people so it felt like 11 people vying for bathroom time), our kitchen was our dining room and the living was also the playroom (due to the basement being unusable).  It physically felt like we were living in a 3 bedroom apartment – BUT- we had enough stuff to fill a house.

We originally moved into our old place in the summer of 2006 – I was very pregnant with baby #1 and it is the house where all three of our babies came home too. I remember having friends over and fitting 8 adults plus kids (only a couple because it was before we all had babies) at a table in our kitchen/dining room and asking whoever was sitting closest to the oven to move because the garlic bread had to come out.  It is in that house where our kids had a lot of their baby/childhood firsts – laughs, birthdays, meltdowns, projectile vomit, Christmas mornings – the good and the bad.  It is the home where we learned about births and deaths.  Where we grew from a young married couple to a family of 5.  In the last couple of years you could say we were cramped, squished,  cozy in the house.

Hallway Hockey

Mini-sticks upstairs #heshootshescores

 

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One of my favourite photos – When my Grandpa John came down to visit only weeks before he passed away.  Here he’s holding baby Johnny. 

 

 

One of the many birthday parties around the kitchen table 

 

This spring we were talking with my husbands parents and they knew we needed more space and that they were not ready to move to town.  So they bought a trailer to move onto our yard and so began the process of swapping yards and the move down the road and around the corner.  After months of getting everything ready and packed – it happened.  My goal was to always be moved by Christmas – we had to  – there was no room in my living room at the old house for a Christmas tree and I wasn’t about to string lights and put a star on the boxes that consumed the living space. So the first week of December  – we did it.  We moved – and the heavens opened and the angels sang.

 

The piano move 

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Moving Day! Follow that trailer! 

 

The space – I have never been so thankful for a basement and two bathrooms and a separate dining room/kitchen.  Everyone has their personal space back.  It’s wonderful.  I have a functioning dishwasher – it’s amazing – its my new bff.  Everything has a place – there is no overlap of rooms – the living room is not the playroom – the kitchen is not the dining room – our bedroom is not the farm office.  We can have people over now and we have space for them to sit in the living room (well actually we can comfortably sit 12 in living room at the moment because my husband has moved all the couches in there and we have, what I call, surround seating)

Yes, there are some renovations we would like to do – but for now – we are happy and working towards making my husbands childhood home – our home.

 

Getting settled 

Tree is up! Bring on Christmas

Literally down the road and around the corner! 

 

Harvest is Coming…..

Any Game of Thrones fans out there? “Winter is Coming” is the catch phrase that is repeatedly tagged in the books and television show. It carries this ominous feel that once Winter arrives you’re hooped. WELL – welcome to the Canadian prairie version – HARVEST IS COMING.

As a farm wife – this phrase can cause the most organized and prepared person to freeze in their tracks and start hyperventilating. There you are going through summer – nonchalantly going to the lake, bonfires in the backyard, weeding the garden, mowing the lawn….etc etc. Then out of nowhere – BAM! – your husband informs you that he started swathing the barley.   Uh – Wait – What? Harvest is Coming – are you ready? NO – I AM NOT READY!!! It’s only the beginning of August – OH MY GOODNESS – harvest is coming early this year. *As one who grew up on a grain/cattle farm one would think that I would be aware that harvest can come early – this is clearly NOT the case*


So what does one do when harvest arrives earlier than anticipated? Please follow the 10 steps provided below:

  1. Cry
  2. Go to the local library and check out all books on 9×13 pan recipes, 5-ingredient recipes, and freezer meals. (sorry Boissevain peeps – all the good ones are signed out thanks to Yours Truly)
  3. Head over to the Co-op and purchase all of the tin-foil 9×13 pans (again sorry Boissevain peeps)
  4.  Also –  purchase any and all beverages with caffeine in them. Your Farmer will thank you when we hit week 2 of harvest.
  5. Drive home  from town – listen to some gangster rap on the way to prep mentally for a meal-making marathon.
  6.  Defrost 15 pounds of hamburger and mass produces burgers, meatballs and meatloaf.  #cattlefarmers #eatallthemeat #moo
  7. Put wine in fridge (Trust me – you’ll thank me later)
  8. Pull your seasonal BFF – Sally Slow Cooker – out of storage and dust her off.
  9. Turn on the Jays game, grab that bottle of wine and flip through the 10 books you checked out of the library – add sticky notes to the recipes you want to try.
  10. Take two Advil – Go to Bed and hopefully sleep – in the morning grab your coffee and start quizzing your Farmer on the names and locations of the fields this early harvest will be on – and take notes  – TAKE ALL THE NOTES!

So from one farm wife to another…..

This Harvest
May your meals be tasty and hot
May your farmer never tire of sandwiches for lunch
May your vehicles never be empty of fuel or have flat tires
May you remember all nicknames of all land locations
May the dust fly not in your face when the combine circles around
And may you have a safe, happy, healthy and bountiful harvest

#agmorethanever #farmlife #harvest2017 #farm365 #familyfarm #Canadianfarmers #farmwife #whitewatermusings

Running

So I’m a part of a Facebook group/online community called Healthy Habits Happy Moms (aka HHHM for short), and right now they are promoting a #walkthisway challenge.  It’s a month long challenge that encourages you to walk/run for 30 minutes a day.  So I thought – ” Hey! I can do that!” And so started my adventure…..


A little bit of back story is necessary …. I hate loathe long-ish distant running.  Long being defined as farther than 100 meters.  Unless I am playing a sport that involves running (soccer, basketball, softball) or see a spider 🕷 –  I feel that running is totally useless and unnecessary. I totally understand, from a health perspective,  why people run long distances – I don’t understand why they WANT to run long distances.  This is something that I’ve never enjoyed doing – ever! Even in elementary school – in Grades 5 and 6 – we would run around the block to get ready for the Arden cross-country run, you could do a 2 kilometer or a 5 kilometer run (I think – I’ve tried to block it from my memory). I was an athletic kid and all I could do was 2 laps around the block.  Long distance just was not my thing! Give me a baton and three other girls to run with and I could give you 110% for 100 meters in a relay race – but 2 kilometers – ya not happening.

So today I’m out for my walk – and I’ve been walking around a section of land – roughly 4 miles or 7 kilometers.  I have my hand picked playlist of upbeat and/or motivational songs (Running/walking/dancing playlist on Spotify ) – I also might break out into dance mode on my walk – so I can keep a decent pace.  GDFR by Flo Rida came on and I just couldn’t walk – I had to *gasp* run.  I ran while the entire song was playing – this was GOING DOWN FOR REAL.  But maybe that is what was missing in my youth – a hand picked playlist. Sure I had a Walkman and even a Disc-man but there is something about the music not skipping when you take a step.  And Beyonce – she was missing too – you know her forceful vocals that sound borderline angry and you shouldn’t mess with her unless you want to get messed up. #queenbey #lemonade #freedom

So there I was channelling my inner Rocky Balboa , while Eye of the Tiger was playing and running. It was weird and yet very satisfying at the same time. Dare I say – I was enjoying running? Now don’t get me wrong – it’s not like I ran the entire 7 km – 🤣 #nothappening – but I did challenge myself to run the distance between hydro poles or for an entire inspirational song. Baby steps people – baby steps. Kudos to those who “do running” you are crazy but intriguing and I admire you. Who knows this whole running thing might grow on me and one day I could be running the entire 7km. #onlytimewilltell

Prairie Summers 

Sooooo it’s been a while since I’ve taken the time to write something. Schools out (and has been for almost a month!), the rain has finally stopped, and SUMMER IS HERE!!!!!! 

I don’t even know where to begin! Prairie summers are so much fun! (Well it’s all I’ve ever known so of course they are the best 😉) Ally’s softball team won provincials – Yay!!, Johnny’s baseball team hosted provincials – Whoop,whoop!, we’ve done some camping, and strawberry, saskatoon and cherry picking…..and of course the Boissevain Farmers Market!!  

But the one thing that can be counted on in a Prairie Summer is thunderstorms 😬. Yesterday was no exception. It was blinking hot and humid and anyone who has grown up in rural southwest Manitoba knows that Hot + Humid =⛈⚡️🌩🌪💨        

I personally am not a huge fan of storms. I like consistent weather – hot is fine – just don’t add humidity that will melt people’s faces off when they walk outside. It’s that humidity that messes with nice summer days. Yesterday went like this…

  • Open door to feed cats – face melts off because of humidity – turn on air conditioner 
  • Plan pool play dates (yes more than one) 
  • Pack 30 bottles of sunscreen and 50 bottles of water. Gotta keep the Ginger (me) somewhat shielded from the burning sun. 
  • Check temperature on phone- you know how the weather app tells you the actually temperature and then what it “feels” like well yesterday was  30 degrees – feels like burning 
  • Attend pool party #1 
  • Reapply sunscreen, hydrate and feed kids – go to pool closer to home. It’s now mid- late afternoon the clear skies are now being invaded by thunderhead clouds. My spidey-senses start going off. 
  • Hear weather-app alert going off – check phone – actually there’s three alerts – 1)heat warning (duh), 2) severe thunderstorm watch (of course), 3) tornado warning (just for fun 🙄). 
  • Check radar 
  • Check radar again 
  • Check radar again 
  • Tell kids it’s time for supper 
  • Pull angry kids out of pool
  • Head inside – get supper ready 
  • Go out and take a couple of photos from a “safe” distance from ominous clouds – burn rubber on the quad racing back to the yard when the rain starts. 
  • Walk in house – promptly tell kids we are having a picnic in the basement 
  • Watch radar till storm is over – and check Twitter to see #mbstorm was trending – then look at all funnel clouds, tornadoes and shelf clouds the storm chasers are posting
  • Text all friends living in area asking about rain/hail/wind damage. 
  • Check radar one more time – nothing showing up – go to bed. 

You would think I would get used to it – but no. Mother Nature is not to be messed with and I, for one, am ok hanging out in the basement while she rages on outside! 

Farming

I’m a farm girl. I was born and raised in a farm family and when people say farming is in your blood – it’s absolutely true.  I’m now married to a farmer – coming on 11 years in July.  And now my kids are being raised on a farm and it’s part of their blood too.

We have a mixed operation with grain and beef cattle.  Farming is a year round venture when you are in a mixed operation.  There is no time off.  We move from calving to seeding – to getting cows out to pasture to harvest – to bringing cows home from pasture to feeding and bedding them all winter and then the cycle starts over.

There are no guarantees with farming. There is no weekly paycheck , and the hours are far from 9-5. Farming is the biggest gamble out there. (And I don’t even like to gamble!!!) We are at the mercy of the weather and mother nature is not always kind. (I don’t like her right now 😒) It takes nerves of steel, and a heart of hope to farm. It is not for the weary, the lazy or the nervous. And I would say that those of us who deal with animals – there is an added responsibility.

This past weekend was hard – very hard- on our cattle operation. Our animals calve in the spring – when it’s supposed to be warmer and a little drier than winter. But as Manitoba weather would have it – we got a blast of wet, heavy snow. Not just a skiff of it either, I’m talking inches upon inches of snow- not ideal weather to begin with and especially frustrating when calving. So some newborn babies came into the shop where we warmed them up. We lost some calves and the kids were devestated (and us too). But they also got to see how much their Dad cares about the animals we raise, and how much we play a part in their survival.

Our Family that the kids made in the fresh snow 


Helping with the calves   

Warming up in the shop 

 

New baby warming up in the shop

 

 We are not in it for the money – because honestly – there are A LOT of other occupations out there that are a lot easier and make waaaaay more in a year than we do. But what we are in it for is the lifestyle. My kids get to play in the outdoors whenever they want.  They get to see first hand what it takes to grow food for the world. (Thank a farmer next time you see one!) They get to learn about animal responsibility and the work ethic that’s needed to have a sustainable operation. They get to have meals in the field and rides in the combine. They get to help bottle feed calves if we need to do that. And they get to have stellar immune systems from playing in the dirt (and probably manure at times) and drinking from the garden hose. They get to see neighbours help each other finish the harvest or baling before the rain comes (well at least that’s how it works in Whitewater 😊). They will learn to drive machinery when they’re  old enough, and will come off the farm with life skills that they can use. And maybe, just maybe one of them will want to farm as well.
Is it easy – no. Is it worth it – 100% yes.