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Meet 6 New (or Improved) Iowa Bloggers!

Celiac disease, Type 1 Diabetes, bratwurst, running, quilting, conservation, volunteering, parenting – what do these things have in common? They are all topics covered by the bloggers I’ve been working with recently!

One of my dreams came true this past month. For the last couple of years, I’ve really wanted to combine two of my passions: teaching and blogging.  And in April, thanks to Iowa Corn and the Iowa Turkey Federation, I got to do just that.

new bloggers

With our ag organizations’ support, I was able to bring together a small group of new and aspiring Iowa bloggers, and help them get off on the right foot.  The group met one night a week for four weeks, for what was really a crash course in blogging, writing, photography, social media and more.  We had a lot of fun, and I think all of us learned a lot (including me!)

After creating the course, I decided I need a “home” for it online.  So I am launching another website – this one will focus on social media, blogging, and storytelling, with an agriculture twist.  If you are a farmer, I encourage you to check out KatieOlthoff.com and sign up for my email list. I have a few freebies for my email subscribers and will be putting my blogging course content into an ebook for subscribers.

And be sure to check out these new (and/or improved!) bloggers:

Val from Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids.

I live by the saying "Bloom where you are planted."  I am proud to be a farmer, a farmer's wife and a stay at home mom.  Combine that passion with my love for my community and volunteering, there always seems to be "fields of opportunities" for me and my family in rural North Iowa.
My blog shares all of my life's passions and roles.  At the heart of it all is my growing family.  They are the ones who motivate me to do my best and be the best wife, mom and role model possible.  My family members include (all of our children's nicknames are what we referred to them as before they entered the world - Little (LP), Mini (MP) and Junior (JP)):
  • My Farmer:  AKA my husband of seven years.  We met and started dating while we were freshman at Iowa State University and married a year after graduating.  He enjoys farming, butchering and smoking meat, and hunting.  My Farmer is not only my husband but my best friend.  
  • LP:  Our son is 4 years old and loves using his imagination!  He likes pretending to be a superhero, an astronaut, animals, Daddy, etc.  You name it, he's probably pretended to be it.  He also enjoys putting things together and taking things apart; he loves to figure out how things work!  He also loves helping on the farm.
  • MP:  Our oldest daughter will be 2 at the end of May and is known for her big smile and big laugh!  She loves reading books and playing with her baby dolls, which makes having a real life baby in our house a treat for her.  She is her brother LP's best friend and gives her sister JP kisses and hugs all day long.  MP is my right hand gal in the tractor!
  • JP:  Our youngest daughter was born in January of 2015.  She enjoys watching her older siblings and learning how to be a country girl.  She is an easy going baby who has jumped right in and adjusted well to our family's active lifestyle.
  • Bailey:  My Farmer's and my dog who we received as a wedding present from one of my sisters.  She is a great companion and playmate to all of us.

Sheila from Sheilapalooza

Hi everyone! My name is Sheila and I’m a Sheiliac. What’s a Sheiliac you ask? Well – it’s really just my name and Celiac Disease put together. Why? Because I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in the fall of 2012 and it’s who I am, it’s a big part of my life and it’s never going to go away. I’m also a farmwife and mom of two – a sweet farm boy (G-money) and a sassy Diva. Sophie (a miniature schnauzer) our inside dog and Lucy (a black lab) our outside dog complete our family.

I can’t forget my “other” full-time job! I work at the Iowa Turkey Federation as the Director of Membership Services. I love it. I get to visit with farmers and all the companies that supply goods to the farmers and I plan the parties – I mean meetings. I also design our magazine –Turkey Talk. It lets me be creative and showcase all the wonderful things our organization, famers and allied members do throughout the year.
Why I started blogging – well that’s actually a really long story but my friend Katie, from On the Banks of Squaw Creek – has told me and told me I needed to. I had seriously thought about it when I (and my daughter) were diagnosed with Celiac Disease but then my daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and I knew it was time.
So what is Sheiliac going to blog about anyway? Good question. Seriously. This is why it took me so long. What the heck did people want to read about and why would they want to read mine??? I struggled. Now – I know. Hearing other people’s struggles and success with Celiac Disease and Type 1 Diabetes has been a life saver. It makes it easier somehow. So….
  • The Diva & Diabetes – I will share the stories about my sassy little Diva living with Type 1 Diabetes and anything else related to her – not to mention our favorite diabetic recipes.
  • Sheiliac – it’s really all about me. LOL. Seriously though – my life, celiac disease and gluten free recipes. Trust me, my grandma (GG) is awesome at making recipes into GF recipes. LOVE HER.
  • Sparkling Chaos – Life is awesome but let’s face it, it’s always a little chaotic. Plus I am a major sucker for fashion, glitter, sequins, design and parties.
  • Levis & Boots – my husband and our little farm boy and of course our farm. What’s on the farm? Glad you asked – we areturkey farmers and we also row crop corn and soybeans. It’s awesome and I can’t wait to help you understand farming more.
Other stuff I love and that I just might blog about sometime – DIY, summer life – aww, warm nights and steamy days, water skiing, fitness and photography.
All of this makes up Sheilapalooza – it’s a crazy life but hey it is what it is. So let’s be friends – I’d love to know about your chaotic life too!

Ashley from The Journey by Ashley Smeby

The Journey
My name is Ashley, and this is my journey. I grew up on a farm in northern Iowa where my passion for agriculture began.I am currently a student at Iowa State University studying Agronomy and Animal Science. 
Why the journey you ask?
1.) This crazy thing we call life is the journey 
2.) Each new day is a different journey worth finding joy in
3.) The journey through my final years of school as a Sophomore at Iowa State 
4.) Being raised by faith, each new day is a journey in our faith whether the day ends in smiles or tears my God is always leading my journey. 
I began blogging after starting a communications internship, and realized how important it is to tell our individual story in agriculture. 

Kellie from Home Again Finnegan

Home Again Finnegan
“I am a mom in central Iowa advocating the family farm!  We are the 4th generation on our farm and have lots of stories to tell.  I grew up on a farm in western Iowa.  I went to Iowa State University and majored in Forestry and Agronomy.  While at ISU I met the love of my life and moved to the farm.  We have 2 wonderful kids, of whom most of my stories surround.  The Lord has looked after me, and given me great responsibility to tell my story!”

Emily from Wynns of Change

“My name is Emily.  I am a born and raised fifth generation Iowa farm girl who has a passion for her family, her new marriage and her family farm.  I am lucky enough to live on the family farm; where my husband and I raise hogs, cattle, corn and soybeans with my brother and sister-in-law and my mom and dad.
I work at my dream job; where I have the opportunity to educate and inform the million plus visitors of the Iowa State Fair each year on agriculture. My husband and I may have off farm jobs but we get to come home and live our farm dreams every night right along side my farm family.”

Mama Hen from Beneath the Old Oak Trees

Beneath the Old Oak Trees
“Welcome to my daily life as a mother, wife, cook, gardener, runner, reader, world traveler, educator, and blogger.  I began my journey in a small, midwestern town with parents who were open-minded; loved local adventure, nature, sports, and most of all family.  I spent summers on the softball diamond and the school year running cross country, track and playing golf, all the while with my nose constantly in my books.  At a young age I developed a love for learning and that grew into a teaching career.  This passion of learning took me to attend college out of state in a large city and, eventually, around the world to England, Ireland, Italy, and Hawaii.  After all of this travel, and much adored city-living, my heart still belonged back home with my high school sweetheart, whom I married.  We settled just outside of my hometown and live on an acreage adjacent to our large family-owned century farm.  We raise turkeys, grow corn and soybeans and, of course, have started a little brood of our own kiddos.”

Are you an Iowa blogger? Share a link to your blog in the comments so we can all get to know each other!

Would you like to comment?

  1. Katie, this is FANTASTIC! Your new role is absolutely perfect for you, your experience and personality! Can't wait to see what's in store for your new site!

    Also, how great are all these Iowa bloggers? I love finding new ones to follow! Adding them to my blogroll now-- thanks for sharing. :-)


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  3. What a great idea! I blog at www.naturalplusnursery.com/blog/ about our take over of my husband's family nursery. Can't wait to check out all of the Iowa blogs you introduced me to!

  4. Love this! I've been trying to find some more Iowa gals to follow. Turns out one is right up the road and I know her family! :)

  5. It was a great program to be apart of! Thanks for letting me join in on the fun. Also, thanks for all the work you put into the program.

  6. Awesome Katie! Looking forward to checking out your other website too.