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TV tickets–Free Printable!

One of the ways we try to keep our tv time in check is by using TV tickets.  The idea came from one of my co-workers, and it has worked well for us.

Tasty Turkey: Meet the Chefs

Turkey is such a versatile meat; delicious and healthy year round. I’ve been wanting to share more turkey recipes on my blog, but quite frankly, I’m a failure as a food blogger. I don’t know how many times I’ve tried, but I’m such a terrible cook that the recipes never turn out blog-worthy.  (The real problem is my aversion to measuring ingredients.  I blame Rachael Ray.)
So I called for reinforcements. I put out a plea on my facebook wall, looking for someone who is a good cook, already cooks a lot of turkey, and would be willing to contribute to my blog. Two of my friends volunteered, and I can’t wait to start sharing their turkey recipes here!
Jenn is a full-time mom who loves to cook and experiment with new ingredients. She is dedicated to providing her three children (6, 4, and 7 months) and husband with nutritious, delicious meals, while sticking to a budget. Keeping turkey in her weekly menu rotation makes it easy to accomplish those goals. Turkey is so versatile, it's easy incorporate it into many dishes. When she's not in the kitchen, she's coordinating the crafts for our local MOPS group, attending a monthly book club, sewing, and busy homeschooling (during the summer).

vn9q2jozAnn is a Registered Dietitian who loves to cook, scour the earth for new recipes and share her love of all things food with family and friends. She has worked in food service for four years, including two years in India, where she has gained a vast knowledge of what it takes to serve the good food that people need in a safe manner. Turkey is a low fat, low sodium protein option. Its functionality makes a simple yet satisfying meal. Outside of the kitchen, Ann loves reading, hosting friends and family, and travelling to new and exciting places.

Most of the recipes will come from this free cookbook from the Iowa Turkey Federation, but some will be from other sources, too.
What kind of recipes would you like to see?  Easy dinners?  Recipes for leftover turkey?  Slow-cooker options? 
I can’t wait to see what these two cook up!

Shared at: Meet Me Monday

Craving Control

Being a mom is the best job on earth.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t frustrating at times.
I just got off the phone with a friend who is on maternity leave and having a rough day.  The baby was fussing, and she had spent over two hours trying to get him and her two year old to nap.  Even though she was exhausted, she was planning to make red velvet cupcakes from scratch when we got off the phone.
I kind of laughed at her, because baking is the LAST thing I’d do when I’m tired or stressed.  But then she explained that she was just searching for something she could control, and I could totally relate.
Kids are so tricky.  Baffling, really.  And fussy babies are the hardest.  I remember, with Adam and his reflux, I’d think I had him figured out, and he’d change on me again.  I’d determine the best way to nurse him, get him to sleep, or keep him from spitting up, and it would last about 2 days before it quit working.
Source: etsy.com via Katie on Pinterest

And then, he got bigger.  And different challenges came. And we added another to the mix.  You’d think, with time, I’d become a better mom.  But still, no matter how many parenting experiments I take part in, I can’t get the desired results all the time.  I seem to have little control over how well my kids sleep, whether or not they’re picky eaters, and how they react when a friend takes a toy from them.

I think that sometimes, we when feel extra “out-of-control” we try to find something we can control, in order to balance it all out.

I don’t think that this craving for control is a really negative thing, if you can keep in check.  But, I’ll admit that sometimes, I want control of everything.  At those times, I try to remember the serenity prayer.

Do you crave control?  If so, how do you satisfy your cravings?

The Boys’ Shared Room

mix of plaids and patterns
When we moved Isaac out of our bedroom, he had to go somewhere.  And since his room’s not done, the only place for him was Adam’s room. 
little boys farm room
Adam’s room was already pretty crammed full of furniture, but we squeezed everything more tightly, and made room for the crib.

Landfill Free: Earth Day and Every Day

imageHave you seen the movie Wall-E?  It’s a cute movie, with a serious message.
In the movie, Earth has been covered in garbage, to the point that it cannot sustain life.  Humans now live in a space colony, and send probes back to Earth to see if conditions improve.  When one of the probes finds a live plant, the humans decide to return to Earth.

Giving Up Groceries: Part 2

(I’m a little late posting this – it got pushed back because I really felt compelled to post about my struggles last week instead.  Have no idea what this post is about?  Read Part 1 here.)

I shared my idea with one of my friends and she told me how her family received baskets of food from the church when she was growing up. She said it was such a blessing and made such a difference for her family. Others have told me the same thing – of the difference that a stranger’s donation made or how much their family appreciated the kindness shown to them.
Giving Up Groceries

There have been several emotional moments during the past few weeks, each affecting the way that I look at food and the money that I spend on food.

Worry and Prayer

For a couple months now, I’ve suspected that Isaac was sensitive to gluten.  Crackers in the evening leads to a gassy, sleepless baby at night.  So, at his one year appointment, I had the doctor do a blood test to check for gluten intolerance.
Adam and Isaac on Easter
The next morning, Dr. S. called to let me know that he didn’t have the results of the gluten test back, but that Isaac’s platelet count was high.  It was probably because of a recent virus, but when I googled it, I saw that it can also be a sign of celiac disease.

Antibiotics and Farm Animals: My Fears Put to Rest

My husband and I often get asked questions about our farm, and sometimes, the misleading information out there really gets to us.  For example, some people believe that visitors aren’t allowed in barns because the farmers have something to hide.  However, we do not allow visitors in our turkey barns because of the chance that they’ll carry in a disease that could wipe out our flock. We have nothing to hide; we just have birds to protect.
“Help Prevent Disease: Please do not enter without permission.”
There was one question, however, that I didn’t know the truth about. The question was about the “sub-therapeutic” use of antibiotics and the suggestion that they pose a risk to human health. So, I asked my husband whether or not we use antibiotics to promote growth. I’ll admit, I lost some sleep worrying about the idea that we were putting human health at risk in order to raise our turkeys. He assured me that everything we do is safe, and I needn’t worry.

But I’m a modern (stubborn, skeptical) woman, and I wasn’t totally convinced. I have two little boys – I really wanted to make sure that we, as a farm, and we, as an industry, weren’t doing something that would endanger them.
Instead of taking my husband’s word for it, I talked to the experts. I spoke with vets and animal scientists with a string of letters after their names. I weaseled myself into a seat next to them at lunch last fall at the Iowa Turkey Federation Convention, interrupted one of them during breakfast at a recent area meeting for turkey farmers, and called one in his office as recently as yesterday.

As I’ve said before, I believe we should leave animal health decisions to the experts, and trust me, these guys are experts. I almost needed a translator to understand what they were saying at times (although that could be because of Dr. Mills’ northern Wisconsin accent.)

But after their lengthy explanations and scientific statistics, here’s the bottom line – I’m no longer worried. Our local turkey and hog vet, whose son will be in Adam’s class, assured me that he’s never lost sleep over the issue. He’s a former delegate to the American Veterinary Medical Association and current Vice-President of the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association. He told me that there isn’t sufficient data to study a link between antibiotic use in food animals to antibiotic resistance in humans. (source) And I’m pretty sure that he knows more about antibiotics than I’ll ever know about anything.

Another V.M.D, Ph.D., DACPV explained how the term “growth promoter” was coined in the first place. He said that when animals were first given antibiotics back in the 1940s, farmers and scientists didn’t know why they were getting bigger, but they were! Now, according to Dr. Robert Owen, animal scientists understand antibiotics are working “to make a healthier environment within the intestine, and because it’s healthier, the animal feels better, the animal digests better, and the animal absorbs nutrients better.  And what would we expect to be the outcome of having a healthier intestine?  They would grow better.”

And Dr. Mills, the third expert I spoke with? Well, he told me something, but I couldn’t understand it because of the big words he used and that darn accent I mentioned earlier. Then he told us how his family spent Thanksgiving “planking” on the kitchen island and how he once fell out of a boat on Little Wall Lake and thought he was going to have to tread water while his inexperienced wife tried to get help from shore, only to find out the “lake” was just waist deep.

Anyway, the FDA has made new guidelines aimed at limiting the use of antibiotics on farms. I’m not sure exactly how it will affect us yet, but I do know this: I’m not losing any more sleep over animals and antibiotics. My fears have been put to rest.

Cutie Cat that’s been Keeping Me Up at Night

Thank you for all your comments and messages yesterday.  That’s one of the reasons I blog – to connect with other women for support and commiseration.
I have a new plan today – I’m going to make some more baby food purees and try just giving him those in the evening.  I’m hoping they’ll be easier to digest and the tummy troubles will disappear.  Wish us luck!

Now, here’s the little troublemaker, Isaac, at 1 year old…
He has big blue eyes, 6 teeth, and a few curls.


I’ve been struggling lately.  Struggling to get caught up.  Struggling to get ahead.  Struggling through the days and struggling to keep my patience, see the joy in little things, and keep a positive attitude.
I feel like I need a super-hero to come rescue me.

Master Bedroom Plans

Hope you had a great Easter weekend!

A couple of updates on the blog I wanted to share...I dropped the ".blogspot"  Now, you can just go to www.onthebanksofsquawcreek.com.  If you have the site bookmarked with the old address, no worries.  It will automatically redirect you.

I also added the "Recent Post" thumbnails above the new post.  I love it because I see adorable pictures of my boys the minute I bring up the page.

Third - I have began "truncating" some posts.  The most recent post will always be shown in full, but for the rest on the home page, you'll need to click "read more" to see the rest of the post.

And now, on to some super important home decor ideas. :)

We recently moved Isaac’s crib into Adam’s room, so after a year of having an extra roommate, we’re almost ready to declare the master bedroom “For Grown-Ups Only.”
And I’ve got plans.
master bedroom

The plan starts with this headboard.  I bought it at the Goodwill for $25 and gave it a quick coat of spray paint.

img_6915(rev 0)img_6917(rev 0)

I’ve posted about how much I loathe spray paint before, but this was a totally different experience.  This Rustoleum paint worked so. well.  And people, you must NOT attempt any spray painting without this handy-dandy Rustoleum handle thingy.  And no, they’re not paying me to say that.


When it was dry, I propped the headboard behind the bed, just to get an idea of how it would look. 

img_6981(rev 0)

I want to raise it up a foot or so, and upholster the inset part with a bright coral fabric

img_6983(rev 0)

I also have a pretty, curvy mirror that I bought the same day for $12.99.  Gotta spray it, and then it will go on the wall opposite the bed, to bring some of the curviness to the other end of the room.

Other to-dos:
  • bamboo shades
  • put up the rest of the trim
  • fix the hand-me-down drapes – remove the tabs and sew a rod pocket.
  • new/different nightstand
  • lamps
  • new rug?  eh – probably not, but it sounds nice

I’m really excited to finally have a pretty bedroom!

Shared at Tuts and Tips Not to Miss 
Piece of Work Wednesday 
Metamorphosis Monday 
How to Nest for Less  
May Before and After Party at Thrifty Decor Chick

Isaac’s First Birthday

Isaac’s first birthday was last week.  I stuck to the plan and kept my little guy’s birthday simple but meaningful.
I made him a felt hat, similar to what Adam wore on his first birthday.  And I ordered a simple cake from Walmart.  (They have THE BEST buttercream frosting.)

March in Review

Wow, March flew by!!!
I finished up the Love Your Little House Series, and my post on Smart Furniture was one of the most popular posts on my blog to date.  I think it’s because you all loved my Tulips in the Toolbox so much.
The post on closet organization  (from Ellie at Beauty for Ashes) was also very popular, as was my reveal of our “multi-purpose dining/play room.”

How Isaac Learned to Tell Us He’s Hungry

Hey everyone!  I’m guest posting over at one of my favorite blogs for parents: Little Stories.  Check it out to see how I taught Isaac (12 months) to tell us when he’s hungry.

10 Indoor Activities using Household Items

There are days when I hear a constant refrain of “What should I do now?  What should I do next?” from Adam, my 3 year old.  We are spending much of our time outside lately, but when we can’t get out to play, I’ve had to be creative.  
For your benefit and mine, here are 10 indoor activities for preschoolers and beyond using ordinary household items. 
10 Indoor Activities Using Household Items10 activities