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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dear College Freshmen,


In many ways, I envy you.  You are so young.  You have so much to look forward to.  You are entering one of the best phases in life.

And yet, I worry about you.  You are so young.  You have so much to learn.  You are entering a defining phase in life.

I was in your shoes 12 years ago, and the last thing I wanted was some 30 year old giving me advice.  But, that’s exactly what I’m about to do… (because I’ll sleep better at night knowing I tried to help you.)

So here it goes, my advice for college freshmen:

1.  It's okay to change your mind. Change your major. Dump your boyfriend. Set a new course. Now is the time to do it!

2.  Don't get caught up in the petty behavior that seems to follow groups of girls. Judging, gossiping, backstabbing - the sooner you quit doing those things, the better friends you’ll have and the happier you’ll be.

3.  Surround yourself by people you want to be like. If you see yourself taking on attitudes or habits or behaviors that remind you of someone else, ask yourself if that’s who you want to be.

4.  Others will make mistakes.  Forgive them.  Others have faults.  Love them anyway.  It’s no fun being mad all the time.

5.  You have faults. Love yourself anyway.  You will make mistakes.  Forgive yourself.  You will make more mistakes drunk than sober. Remember that.

6. Find an older woman you can identify with, and listen to her advice. Your boss, your coach, your advisor…she’s been there and can be your tour guide. In every phase of my life, I’ve had amazing women show me the way, and I am so thankful for that.

7. Don’t aim for perfection.  Perfection is psychotic.  Decide what’s important to you and do your best at those things.  Decide what’s not important to you, and lower your expectations in those areas.

8. Learn how to use tools.  Google how to fix your washing machine. Change your own oil.  You don’t need a man to do things for you.

9. Parenting is the hardest job you’ll ever have.  Think hard about whether or not you want to be a parent, and if you do, take that into consideration when you choose a career path.  Because when you have a full-time, stressful job, and your children are a full-time, stressful job…well, it’s a lot to handle.

10. Do things that are good for your soul, not your ego.  When you feel overwhelmed or overcommitted, make your soul a priority.

I could go on and on, and the lessons you learn on your own will be endless.  When you emerge from this place four years from now, you will be a better woman.  You will have had your share of struggles and joys and you will be ready for the rest of your life’s journey. 

Carpe diem, my friends!


*Photo courtesy From my Front Porch.*

Thursday, August 21, 2014

10 Favorite Turkey Recipes


The Iowa Food and Family Project is talking all about turkey this month! 

Turkey JMJ -Subway-32

I got to be a part of the fun in June when Iowa Girl Eats went behind the scenes at a local Subway.  Kristin (Iowa Girl Eats) is an amazing food blogger here in central Iowa.  She works with the Iowa Food and Family Project through Join My Journey.  We farmers would love to have everyone out to our farms to visit, but it’s just not feasible.  So, Kristin has visited farms and shared her “journey” through her blog on the IFFP website.

Kristin toured a turkey farm in Iowa last summer, but I just met her for the first time when we on live tv together in June.  Our favorite local morning show, Great Day, invited us in to talk about Iowa Food and Family Project, turkey and Subway!

Why Subway? Well, Iowa turkey farms supply all of Subway’s turkey nationally!

I have to say, Kristin was just as cute and sweet in person as she appears on her blog!  We had a great time talking blogging, food and kids at the Great Day studio and at Subway the next day. 

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At Subway, we all got to meet the franchise owner, Joe Fisher, Kristin made her own sandwich, and then Kristin signed (and gave away) cookbooks!

The Join my Journey blog on the Iowa Food and Family Project website has more videos and information about the Subway “Journey,” including Kristin’s perspective.

But I wanted in on the action, so I submitted a blog post to their website, too!  My post showcases my Top 10 Turkey Recipes, so click over to find out what they are!

top 10 turkey recipes

Monday, August 18, 2014

Peek at Recent DIY Decorating

I’ve sort of been on a roll lately, working on my house.

But, I seem to go through periods of “doing” and periods of blogging.

This, apparently, is a period of “doing” because although I’ve done a lot of projects, I haven’t blogged about them.

So here’s a sneak peek at some of the projects, and when life slows down, I’ll (maybe) do some more in-depth blog posts about it all.

Nesting tables for The HomeShed

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China cabinet (in progress) for The HomeShed

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Nightstand for The HomeShed using my new favorite: General Finishes Milk Paint

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New wall color in the play room

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Canvas-Sticker-Paint art for Adam’s Room

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Barn Wood Leaning Mirror for The HomeShed

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Antique Door Coffee Table for The HomeShed

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Shelves that fell off the wall in the play room. Oops.

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New paint in Isaac’s room

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So I guess I DID get something done this summer, huh?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Becoming a Runner…(and winner of the Color Fun Fest 5k giveaway!)


I used to think that there were two types of people: people who can run and people who can’t.  I was in the 2nd category.

In college, I ran 1.5 miles around the track one night.  It was amazing.  I still remember the feeling of accomplishment when I finished.  I was downright giddy.

In the following weeks, I tried to keep up the momentum.  I mapped out 1/2 mile of city blocks, and tried to run there – downhill – and failed multiple times.  I used the treadmill at the rec center, and again was unable to run nearly as far as I had that night.  I remember a football player running next to me (I was a cheerleader) telling me I just needed the right music, and offering me his headphones.  (I was so embarrassed, I didn’t realize at the time that he was flirting with me, even though I couldn’t run.  A couple weeks later, I further mortified myself in the rec room by failing to bench the bar.  But that’s another story.)

My husband, Bart, was in cross country in high school.  We ran 1/2 mile together once.  Twelve years ago.

One of my teacher friends was the track coach. She tried to help me.  I made it around the block.  The next day, my shins hurt so bad, I gave up for another few years.

(This story has a happy ending, I promise.)

Last summer, I took part in a diet/fitness challenge, and I decided that running seemed like a good way to burn a lot of calories quickly.  I downloaded RunDouble on my phone and started out with a good friend.  The first time we ran, a chunk of my shoes literally fell off.  The only tennis shoes I had were used for gardening and farming, and too many trips through the washing machine led to part of the sole coming loose mid-run.  Turns out, bad shoes lead to bad pain.  My hips hurt so bad I could hardly walk the next day.

The next week, I got new shoes (Asics Kayunos) and started again.  Much better this time around, and the next week was a turning point.  I was on week 2 of Couch to 5k, thinking I was going to die, when I started chanting to myself, “It isn’t any harder than walking. It isn’t any harder than walking. It isn’t any harder than walking.” (except, it sort of is.) I completed the run, and for the first time, I felt confident that I could complete the training program and become a runner.

But then, another turning point.  I ran on a crappy treadmill, and my knees wouldn’t forgive me.  By the time they decided to cooperate, it was cold and icy.  I ran inside a couple of times over the winter, and started again with C25k in the spring.

And then, another turning point.  I wanted to see if I could make it from my house to the highway.  Four tenths (.4) of a mile.  So I set out one day, ran to the corner, and then ran back home.  It ended up being nine tenths total – further than I had run since that night in 2002.

Since then, I’ve been running fairly regularly, although I’m taking it slowly and am only up to week 4 (of 9) of Couch to 5k.  My shins have been bothering me the past couple of months, and it’s making me crazy.  My shins are holding me back.


Finally, last week, I bought new shoes (again.)  I went to Kyle’s Bikes, in Ankeny, where Bill (marathoner x19) used the Dartfish Gait Analysis to choose 4 different pairs of shoes for me to try.  I ran for a minute on the treadmill with each pair (which is an accomplishment in itself – couldn’t do that a year ago!) and chose the ones that felt the best.

I chose Brooks Pureflow 3, because of the way they felt on my feet and shins when I ran.  I’ve only ran in them once, but so far, I’m smitten, and ready for my first “race!”

(Kyle’s Bikes did not, in any way, compensate me or sponsor this post. I’m just one happy customer!)


So anyway, the moral of the story is this:

You can run. 

If you…

Start slowly…really slowly. I repeated week 1 of C25k three or four times before I was ready to move on.

Buy good shoes.  But don’t just pick your own.  Find an expert that will “fit” you to the perfect shoe.  Shoes can make or break you.

Find the right music.  That football player was right.  I prefer 80s cardio type, but whatever works for you.

Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for – the winner of the Color Fun Fest 5K giveaway is (drumroll, please…) SHAUNNA!

Shaunna just happens to be a fellow Iowa blogger who’s blog is called (get this) Mama’s 13 Minute Mile.


If you didn’t win and still want to participate in the run, buy your tickets from the Color Fun Fest 5k website using the code CREEK20.  Your registration will only be $20! (Thanks to the Color Fun Fest 5k for sponsoring the giveaway and discounted tickets!)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Couch to Color FunFest 5k (and a giveaway!)


This is it. I’m doing it for real.


Last summer, I downloaded the RunDouble app on my phone and started Couch to 5k.  My knees didn’t cooperate and I quit.  But I started up again this summer, and even though my shins are the ones giving me fits right now, I’m making progress.  I can now run further than I ever thought I could, and I’m ready for my first “race.”


So when Color Fun Fest 5k contacted me, I squealed with excitement!  They are working with me to giveaway 2 tickets to my readers!

But first, here are the details:

• What: Color Fun Fest is an EPIC & electrifying adventure just waiting for you to come and be apart of it. Run for fun, party for free! At this event you will forget about your worries as you get swept away by dazzling plumes of colored powder that leave you looking like a human rainbow.

Run through 5 color stations on a 5k course and finish with one big party! Don’t miss out on the EPICOLORTOSS during the finish line festival, when everyone counts down to zero and simultaneously throws color packets into the sky and over the entire crowd. Look out for FUN Blasters that run through the crowd with color fire extinguishers. This is an event you will not soon forget, so get your butt out here and have some fun!

• Who: The team of Color Fun Fest has a colorful track record, to say the least. From extreme sports to EDM events to epic 5k runs, this team constantly grows with experience in throwing the best events you’ll ever attend. Family managed and operated, this team will stop at nothing to produce 100% entertainment.

• Who should attend: Whole community­ including kids/parents, couples, groups of friends, fitness gurus, dance enthusiasts, runners, joggers, walkers, bloggers, couch potatoes, the young, the old, and basically everyone and anyone that likes to have fun!

• When: August 23, 2014 : 3:30pm ­ 10:00pm Day Run: 6:30 PM / Night Run: 8:30 PM

• Where: Iowa Cubs Sports Turf Management Co (Principal Park) 1 Line Dr, Des Moines IA 50309

• Tickets:­moines­2014



I mean, seriously, if you’re going to torture yourself run, doesn’t that look like a fun way to do it!?!?!


Now, on to the important business – the contest!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!