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“Grandpa’s Barn” Wall Art

When my Great Grandpa died, we found this really neat book in his house – The Farmer’s New Guide, published in 1895.  It is really cool – almost 800 pages of “how-to farm” information. Farmers' New Guide
Antique Farmers' Guide

One of my favorite parts is the flipbook style illustrations of a cow and horse.  Each “page” shows a different body system. 

Antique flip book cow anatomy

I knew I wanted to do something cool with the images, so I scanned them and then printed them as 5x7’s on heavy duty cardstock.

antique farm animal images

Then, I dug some barn wood out of a shed.  (Remember?  When Great Grandpa’s barn was taken down, my dad salvaged some of the wood for me!  I used it to make barn wood shelves in the kitchen, too.)

I cut it down to size, washed it off, and attached my pictures.

farm wall art

I found these tacks in the shop, and thought they looked like perfect old fashioned nails.

img_9559(rev 0)
I stuck them in with my thumb, made sure the placement was right, and then hammered them in.

DIY farm wall art

I like to think that maybe a farmer or farm kid hung these images in their barn 100 years ago, to use as a reference, when caring for their animals.

Barn board art

Now, a “modern” child can use these to study, too!  The art will be for sale at our Fall for Junk barn sale coming up at the end of September!

reclaimed barn board and antique farm animals

To see the scanned images up close, check out my facebook page – I’ll be posting them there!

Shared at Funky Junk Interiors Saturday Night Special 
Shared at: Funky Junk Interiors Party Junk  - Salvaged Junk Projects

Dear Teachers,

dear teacherWe, the parents, have given you an enormous responsibility, entrusting you with our most valuable possession: our children. 

Soon, our kids will be in your care for most of their waking hours. You will watch their successes, failures, and everything in between.

And our kids will be watching you.  They will watch the way you respond to a variety of situations, the way you show your emotions, the way you speak and the way you treat others.  They will probably idolize you, whether you deserve it or not.

So please, this school year, keep us in the loop.  Let us know what you see in our children.  To you, things may be obvious, but to us, at home, things might look different.  Tell us what our child’s strengths and weaknesses are.  Tell us what we should be proud of, and what we should be concerned about.  Tell us what accomplishments to celebrate, and what we can do at home to help you.

We send our young children to you full of excitement, curiosity, and a love of learning.  Ask yourself everyday if you are suppressing those feelings in the name of classroom management, or encouraging them.  Do not allow our children to lose that excitement for learning.

Our older children have started to experience failure, and the way you treat that failure will influence them forever.  Embrace it.  Focus on the process, not the end result.  Praise effort and hard work.  Demonstrate that practice leads to improvement, and offer opportunities to practice constantly.

Our teenagers are looking to you for guidance.  You must show them what it means to be a responsible, dependable adult.  You must show them how to treat others, find their strengths, deal with unpleasant people, and work through a problem from beginning to end.  Remember that the way you treat them has a big influence on how and what they learn from you.

We think our children are special. In fact, they’re one of the most important things in our lives. Treat them that way. Remember that we want what’s best for our children, just like you do.  If you and I don’t agree on what is best, explain your viewpoint, so we can understand your actions.

Take the time to get to know our kids.  Remember that they are each unique, they each learn differently, and it is YOUR job to figure out how they learn.  Do not expect that the same approach will work for every student, and do not accept failure.  Every student can make progress, and that is your responsibility.

Finally, remember why you decided to become a teacher.  Savor those “perfect” moments when your 4th graders don’t realize it’s time for recess because they’re so engrossed writing books, when a child who struggles with long division finally “gets it” and when your dream, cross-curricular unit comes together and inspires a student to write award winning poetry.  Your job is important and I know it is stressful, but it is not without joy.  Cherish those joyful moments and it will make a difference for you and your students.




(former teacher and 1st time mom of a preschooler)

Our Day at the Fair

Last Friday, we were presented with “The Way we Live Award” at the Iowa State Fair.  The award is for farm families who are dedicated to livestock production.img_9354(rev 0)

We started out the day in the Animal Learning Center.  This is such a neat building.  It has a variety of farm animals, and you can even watch live births of livestock like pigs, an opportunity most fair go-ers don’t get very often!  It’s located close to all of the action, air conditioned, AND has nice bathrooms, so it’s a really popular spot!

The stage in the Animal Learning Center hosted the “Thank a Farmer Magic Show” right before our awards ceremony, and it was so fun to watch!  Great message and great entertainment!img_9360(rev 0)

Then it was our turn.  The president of the fair board, Gary McConnell, read our nomination essay and presented us with our plaque.  Other members of the fair board were on hand to congratulate us, and the state fair queen came for a photo.  Our parents and siblings were there, along with some fellow turkey farmers, family and friends.

img_9368After our awards ceremony, we took some pictures…this cardboard cutout is actually a photo of Bart.  People have been texting us and facebook tagging us with pictures of THEIR
faces on Bart’s body.  It’s given us quite a laugh. :)img_9379img_9380

Then it was time to head out to enjoy the rest of the fair.  We were absolutely blessed with beautiful weather.  Iowa State Fair and blistering heat seem to go together, so the mild temps (60s that morning! and 80s in the afternoon) were a real treat.

img_9404img_9405img_9409-1(rev 0)img_9412-1(rev 0)img_9420-1(rev 0)img_9416-1(rev 0)img_9423(rev 0)img_9424-1(rev 0)img_9428img_9432(rev 0)img_9434img_9436(rev 0)img_9443-1(rev 0)Adam loved the carnival rides, and Bart ate like a champ (like usual!)  There were so many things to see and do…wish we would have been there for more than one day, but the turkeys were waiting at home, so home we went.


It was such an awesome day and such an awesome honor.  I’ve said it before – there are a LOT of other families working as hard as we do everyday, but it’s nice to be acknowledged for our work.  Bart works 365 days a year with no vacation, and he’s often (often!) envious of those with “town jobs” who have work-free weekends and vacations.  He (and other farmers) are the hardest workers I know.  Our award helps remind him that people appreciate the work that he does, and that it’s something he should be proud of.

Cashew Turkey Stir Fry

I’m sorry – I’ve been slacking on turkey recipes lately.  I have 5 or 6 ready to go from my lovely turkey chefs, and I just haven’t gotten around to posting them.  So, while Bart and Adam are taking a few blood samples, I’m lining up a few recipes!  (We take random blood samples from the turkeys to test for illness before they go to market.  Bart holds the turkeys and draws blood, and Adam hands him the test tubes and then puts the filled tubes in the box.  He’s a great helper.)

Without further ado, here’s a recipe Ann cooked up from the Iowa Turkey Federation’s cookbook, found here.

This stir fry is delicious! It was not very difficult to make and tasted amazing. I love that it uses so many pantry staples.  I will definitely be making this one again.

1 (14 1/2 ounce) can chicken broth or turkey broth
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I used crunchy because that’s what we had in the house)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 pounds turkey breast, cut into 1” pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
2 (12 ounce) bags frozen stir fry vegetables, thawed
3 (2 1/4 ounce) packages Ramen noodles (any flavor) – {For a lower sodium option, substitute white or brown rice}
1/2 cup cashews or peanuts
1. Wash hands.
2. In a medium bowl combine first 5 ingredients. Whisk until combined (mixture will not be smooth); set sauce aside.
3. In a large skillet or wok heat 1 tablespoon oil for 2 to 3 minutes over medium-high heat. Add turkey and 2 garlic cloves. Cook and stir 6 to 7 minutes or until turkey is no longer pink. Remove from skillet; keep warm.
4. Reduce heat to medium. Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in same skillet. Add vegetables and 2 garlic cloves. Cook and stir 2 to 4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.
5. Return turkey to skillet and add sauce. Bring to a boil; remove from heat.
6. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring 8 cups water to a boil. Break Ramen noodles and add to boiling water. Add seasoning if desired. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain. OR begin preparing rice as directed on package.
7. Place noodles in 13x9x2 inch baking pan and top with turkey-vegetable mixture. Top with cashews, as desired.


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.

The Way We Live

The Iowa State Fair…you may have heard of it.  But you may not have heard of the “Way We Live Award.”  I hadn’t, until I got a call in June saying that we had WON!


The Iowa Turkey Federation nominated our family for the award, which “recognizes industrious Iowa families who demonstrate a daily dedication to animal agriculture and exemplify farm values derived from hard work and a love for the occupation of farming.”

We are so honored to receive this award.  I’ve only been a part of animal agriculture for about 3 years now, but I’ve learned so much in that time.  I know that there are other families who do what we do, and have been doing so for much, much longer, so to be chosen as an award winner is pretty cool.  I hope that we represent Iowa’s farm families well!

We will be at the fair Friday for our recognition ceremony.  If you’re going to be at the fair, check out our video in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center, and make sure you look for the cutout of the turkey farmer…it’s Bart. :)



The Way We Live Award Winners

Our nomination essay

I love my kids’ birthdays

I love my kids’ birthdays. It’s such a great time to reflect on their lives.  In the days leading up to Adam’s 4th birthday, Bart and I reminisced about my pregnancy, his birth and his newborn days.  We are amazed at how blessed we are and how awesome Adam is, but in everyday life, we don’t always appreciate those things.  His birthday, once a year, is a good reminder of how much he’s grown, how fast time is going, and how much he really means to us.


And then, there are the parties. On his actual birthday, we let him open his presents from us throughout the day.  He couldn’t contain his excitement.  He threw his arms around my waist and declared that he loved me.  (This from a boy who already refuses to let me kiss him.) 

We made cupcakes, and that evening, we had a grandparents party in the air conditioning.  Adam was surrounded by 3 aunts, 1 uncle, 4 grandparents and 7 great grandparents who absolutely adore him. 

Then, the next day, there was a party for friends at the park. It was a million degrees, and lots of fun.

I just absolutely adore seeing him so excited about things. And opening presents with his family and friends made him just giddy. I love it.img_8818img_8827


I stayed true to my holiday motto: Keep it Simple, Make it Meaningful.  Making the cupcakes wasn’t necessarily as simple as buying them, but it was more meaningful.   Adam and I love spending time in the kitchen together.  And the party at the park?  It was his choice, and he got to play with his best friends.  img_8877img_8879

img_8878img_8859I truly don’t think he’ll mind that there were no handmade decorations or gourmet desserts – what matters to him is that he got to spend time with the people he loves, and have a day devoted to Awesome Adam!