Just a Farmer

Growing up I loved to read books about horses, country living and strong-willed women. I dreamed of life on a farm or ranch, where the field met the sky and there wasn’t another person in sight. Never in a million years did I ever think that dream would become my reality… kinda. I am a farmer’s wife. We have over 80 acres of farm land and I cannot see another person from my front yard unless I have binoculars (and that’s just creepy.) My dreams have been fulfill.

But.

Farm life is nothing like I could have ever imagined. It’s hard. It’s time consuming. It’s expensive. And while there are many rewards, as with everything in life, there is always a price. Adjusting to the reality that is farming has taken a toll on my relationship with my husband, my career, my family and mostly my mental health.

I love my husband and family and am extremely determined to make this farm life work for us. So we are at the drawing board, thinking outside the box, trying new ways and exploring new paths to continue to be the farmers we have dreamed about.

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing with you what our life as farmers looks like. And, how farm life effects my mental health, both the positive and negative.

I hear over and over in the news and on social media how the days of the small farmer are over. We are living this reality. Please join us on the journey to maintain our small homestead and continue to live off the this land.

Happy Harvesting,
Leah

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The Year Was 2017

It’s hard to believe that another year has passed and it is time again for the annual Christmas Letter Blog. Wow, time sure does fly when you’re having fun, or at least when you have three small people running around like crazy. Haha

So let’s update, we’ll go youngest to oldest!

Eli Peter, age 2. Favorites: Grandpa Joe, Grandpa Bemo, Nana, Daddy, going on four wheeler rides, drinking milk and eating granola bars, torturing his siblings and testing his parents in every way shape and form. He has a nickname of “Naughty Baby” which he will gladly call you. His words are limited, but he doesn’t have much need for them yet, he’s quite effective in getting what he wants. He’s a great climber and discoverer and a complete menace. He has a look that constantly says, “And are you going to stop me??” an energy that never stops and an unshakable love for life. This kid gives the BEST hugs, will stop mid-play to give a snuggle and always wants to laugh. He is our favorite little baby!

Charlotte Bemis, age 3. Favorites: Girl dates with mom, playing dress up and dollies, going out to Mexican with friends, wearing makeup and getting her hair done, cutting her own hair, swimming, snuggling and reading books. A highlight of Char’s year was spending her birthday on a girls trip to Janesville to go see the Fireside production of “Beauty and the Beast,” her favorite! Charlotte is everything “girly,” smart, strong and intelligent. She loves to care for others, play games and dance. She enjoys going to daycare with all her friends and visiting lots of friends and family throughout the year. She is our favorite girl!

Josiah Ross, age 5. Favorites: Working on the farm with Grandpa Joe, caring for the plants with Grandpa Bemo, going swimming with Nana, playing farm toys with his friends, waking up EXTRA early to watch movies and have breakfast with his daddy, becoming more independent every day. This was a big year for Josiah as he started Bright Beginnings-4 year old preschool. He has been going to school 4 days a week and will be going 5 days a week after the winter break, full days. He pretty much likes school, but it has been a big adjustment for him. He rides the bus and after three months, finally eats most of his lunches at school (mom was very pleased with this!) He has liked making new friends and always enjoys playing on the playground. We love his teacher and know he is learning lots and being well cared for. He was very excited for this 10 day break as he is quite a homebody and enjoys his family as much as we enjoy him! He’s our favorite big guy!

Leah, age 30. Favorites: sleeping in (haha), cooking, writing when I can fit it in, crafting, going on trips to see family and friends, watching my children grow. This year I had made my new years resolution to be more intentional with my time. This included taking my kids on several trips this summer to go camping and visit friends, working on my personal health, and finding purpose in various activities. I continue to work at TASC, inc., an organization working with adults with disabilities. I’m very excited to share that I just accepted a new position within the organization that I will be starting in the new year, working at “the center.” I’m so excited to share more of my skills while having a great schedule for my family. I’ve found a purpose and a passion in my work which is truly a huge blessing. I also turned the big 3-0 this year, celebrating the day purchasing a new bull… talk about a good time.

Ross, age 30-something… Favorites: Bacon, farming, farming with his kids, finishing projects for his wife (hahaha), golfing, farming. Ross worked on a MAJOR house project for most of the year. He installed new windows and doors through the whole house, put on new siding and build a beautiful new deck. He still has a bit of finishing work to do, but it is amazing so far and I’m so proud of all the time he had put into this project. A big thanks to both of our dad’s too for all their efforts to help us through. I’m so excited to make lots of new memories on this fun outdoor space. Highlights of Ross’s year included driving a race car in Las Vegas, various super hero movies and a new-to-him skidloader, he loves it… possibly more then me. hehe

Ross and I enjoyed a honeymoon trip in February, just before our 5th anniversary! We took a week-long trip to Las Vegas. It was amazing. Ross got to drive a real race car on a nascar track, we went to Zumanity, and ate LOTS of great food! We had such a fun time exploring and seeing new things and just spending quality time together. We did the math and realized it was the most undivided time we had EVER spent together, just the two of us! And we came back still married, so that’s a good thing! Thank you to Nana for watching our three little gems (she said we can’t go again until they are all in school!) It was time we will remember forever!

Our year was filled with all kinds of great memories including a new nephew, an official new niece, purchasing our farm and all the ups and downs that go with it- selling cow you didn’t plan to sell, buying tractors you didn’t plan to buy, family weddings and graduations, celebrated Bemo’s retirement, raising calves and puppies, trips to the water park, summer nights with friends, a new tradition of a before-school-starts trip, visits to the ER for naughty roosters and dangerous mandolin slicers. We dressed up as dragons, watched “Game of Thrones” and “Beauty and the Beast” and “How to Train Your Dragon.”  We went to the park, ate ice cream, and rode the tractor. We laughed and cried and struggled and celebrated and loved deeply.

Yet again, I am reminded how greatly blessed I am, through the havoc, chaos and exhaustion that this life encompasses, there is no better life for me. Since becoming a mom, this season of Christmas means so much more to me. I think of Mary, welcoming her precious child in that lowly stable, no place for a bed. God giving his own son so that I may have this glorious life. It’s amazing and I am thankful.

Thank you to all who visited us this year, and know you are always welcome!

Merry Christmas and Happy Harvesting,

Leah

 

Words

So, if I’m being honest, I should be husking corn to prep for freezing and mopping my kitchen floors right now, but I have too much on my mind. I need to get it out first. Cleaning will wait. Cleaning can always wait.

A lot has happened in our world, our country in the last week. Things that I thought we were close to being done with. Things I thought I would be able to teach my kids as part of a “history” lesson, not “current events.” Things that have make me angry, cry, and devastate me. Our world does not need to be a hateful place. Why do so many think these actions are ok?! I simply cannot wrap my head around it.

My theory is: You can be proud of who you are. You can be proud of the accomplishments of yourself and those you love. You can share your pride with others. You DO NOT get to be an ass hole to ANYONE! Period. You don’t get to be mean. You don’t get to say hurtful things and above all you CAN NOT HURT another person! I teach this to my one year old and three year old and four year old with relatively good success… adults should not have an issue learning this lesson.

So here’s my “true life” point, something that happened to me yesterday that restored a little faith in the world. I had some errands to run and needed to bribe my children to get through them. So we went to McDonald’s for lunch. My kids were SO well behaved as they had to wait by my side for our food. Then I balanced a wiggly one year old on my hip and carried a fully loaded tray to a table, with one child racing ahead and one dawdling behind. I set the tray on a table and looked around for the next best course of action. I needed to fill three drink cups, but the kids wanted to play in the small play area (not one with the big slide and tubes, just a little house that would only keep their attention for a few short seconds). I could see the area from where the drinks were and decided to take my chances. I asked my oldest to watch my youngest (useless words, but I tried) and I scurried over to fill the drinks, keeping a close eye over my shoulder in case the baby decided to run for it. I also filled three ketchup cups. Because fries and chicken nuggets cannot be eaten without ketchup. Around me I could see three other moms with older children, upper elementary age at least, and a few single people eating and waiting to fill drinks. I get my drinks and balance the ketchup on top. I think I have it under control and BAM. Ketchup cups slip off and cover the floor. I quickly set the drinks down, use the pile of napkins I had grabbed to mop up ketchup and hustle to the table, as I can see the baby start to look for me. No one offered a hand or help. No one came to my rescue. I got the kids their meals and was able to sneak over quick and refill the ketchup before any major melt downs. We finished our meals and headed to the bathroom before leaving. My little parade of blond haired ducklings marched into the bathroom. My kids had been so well behaved the entire time, but I was still starting to feel worn out. I scooted my crew into the large stall, all four of us, excusing ourselves as we walked by a lady washing her hands. And as we passed her, she turned to me and said the most simple thing. She asked, “Do you need some help?” That’s it. Nothing big, nothing major, just a simple offer. I knew the baby wouldn’t go to her, and the other two had to pee. But the simple words completely uplifted my spirits. I thanked her for the generous offer and that we had it under control. But my, how that changed the rest of my day. To know that there was someone out there who was willing. I know I have offered the same kind of assistance on many occasions to others, especially moms of multiples. Why? Because I’ve been there. It’s hard to be a mom and accomplish, well, anything. It’s hard to keep it together when you really want to do is fall apart and cry (often just like that child infront of you is doing).

But, y’all, COMPASSION and EMPATHY. It’s the name of the game. Put yourself in their shoes. That lady took nothing out of her day to say those few little words to me, and yet they completely impacted me. Now, think about a small little action. The lady in front of you in the grocery line is $0.16 short on her bill and you toss out a quarter. What’s a quarter to most of us, but to her it was not having to pick between milk and tampons. No one wants to make that choice. Or offer to push out a stroller for the Dad who’s baby is refusing to get back in and the three year old is running in the other direction and he just wants to leave the store so baby can take a nap. Almost zero effort on your part => HUGE difference in their day.

Please, take a moment today. Think about the other side. Give a little extra. Give a little more. If we all put in the effort, change will happen, differences will be made.

Happy Harvesting,

Leah

If I Die Young

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Photo Credit: Von Collins, Waukon, Iowa

If I die young bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song
Uh oh uh oh

Lord make me a rainbow, I’ll shine down on my mother
She’ll know I’m safe with you when
She stands under my colours, oh and
Life ain’t always what you think it oughta be, no
Ain’t even grey, but she buries her baby
The sharp knife of a short life,
Well, I’ve had just enough time
-Lyrics from “If I Die Young” as performed by The Band Perry
If I die young… This song, it is completely beautiful in melody and lyrics. It is a song that always makes me sing and makes me think. What would happen if I died young?
I’ve been thinking a lot of this topic lately, throughout the summer. As we’ve attended weddings, celebrations, parties. As we prepare to welcome new lives in our families and as we’ve said good-byes. As we struggle with really hard choices and enjoy lots of simple pleasures such as sticky Popsicle hands and dirt covered knees.
If I die young, what do I leave behind?
What would my legacy be?
First and foremost, know that I am in heaven. I believe that I will leave this life for a much better one and will be with all those I love and have been loved by. Heaven is a wonderful place and I want to go there! I’m not afraid to die because I’ll be in the presence of my King. Grace is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given.
Please know that I love my life and am not planning to leave it anytime soon, but I don’t control the world (thank goodness!)
If I die young, I leave behind a husband and the three most beautiful children I’ve ever created. I leave behind a farm and job I love. I leave behind a community that is my home.
Please tell my kids, that above all, my greatest gift in life, what I loved most, was their dad. He is my everything. He gave me a life beyond my wildest dreams. He provided for his family with every fiber of his being. He loves deeply and wholly and without fear. I am beyond honored to stand beside him, both in this life and the next. I am so proud to be his wife and vow my life to him.
Please tell my children that I am proud of them. I am proud of them for simply being good people. They don’t have to do anything to win my love, to make me happy. If they become doctors or construction workers or farmers or billionaires, I am proud. If they are football stars, amazing artists, or make straight D’s, I’m proud of them. No matter the choices they make in life, every thing they do, I will claim them as mine. I will always want them. I will always love them.
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If I die young I wonder what will be remembered about me. I haven’t accomplished any major feats. I’m not overly skilled or talented at any thing. I haven’t touched thousands of lives with mine. I haven’t “done” anything. But I hope that the things I live behind are lessons to my children and others. I hope that I have chosen love first. I hope I have showed kindness to all. I hope I have lived humbly and given encouragement to others. I want to spread Passion, living it, breathing it, doing it. I pray that my legacy will be remembered in how I treat people.
If I die young, don’t bury me (it takes up too much possible park space, right Dad?), put me in a firework, and set me off at sunset. Send me away with laughter and cheers. Lord, make me a rainbow to shine down on my mother, a gentle rain for my sister, a sunbeam for my husband and a breeze for my babies. I haven’t had enough time, but the time I’ve had is perfect. I will be with each of you again.
Happy Harvesting,
Leah

The Hardest Job

For those that have been following me, you know that I’m a mother of three wonderful and rambunctious kiddos. They are young, full of energy, and quite the handful. Being a parent is hard. Really hard. But that isn’t the hardest job. You see, while my kids are trying to my patience, my lifestyle, and my sanity in every way, I created them. They are literally a part of me. They are bonded to me in a way no one else can ever compare to. No matter what they or I do in life, we will always have that bond. I will always love them.

My hardest job is one I vowed to keep just over five years ago. A job I took with the promise of eternity. My hardest job is my marriage.

 

My husband and I were married 53 weeks after the day we met. We got engaged after knowing each other for 2 months. I was 17 weeks pregnant on our wedding day. I moved from my downtown, city apartment into his country home a hour away from my home and friends. We now have been married 5 years, have 3 kids, have bought our 86 acre farm along with all the livestock and machinery that go with it. My husband works an average of 55 hours a week at his job before getting home and running the farm. I have changed my job 6 times trying to find a fit and a place in a new community. The pressure has been real.

My husband and I, we bicker and argue. We have even had a few fights. I’ve gone to bed and woken up mad. I hate the way he can’t tell time. He frequently forgets to respond to my text messages and is always late in picking up the kids from daycare. He leaves his pop cans laying all over the house and he goes through more pairs of jeans then any person I’ve ever met. And that is just the start…

He and I, we love in very different ways. Which is something we are still working on figuring out. We aren’t always good at loving each other in way we need to be love. We love in the way we want, not in the way our spouse needs.

Not every marriage is perfect and sometime they need to end. But do you know what? In my world, it’s worth it. Every struggle. Every argument. Every hurt feeling is worth it. Not because either one of use deserves any of it, but because we work tirelessly to get better.

My husband and I, we love hard. We communicate and we listen. We forgive and we move on. I love the way he does the dishes and makes breakfast on Saturday mornings. I love the way he includes our kids in everything he does on our farm. I am so proud of how much he gives of himself to anyone in need. He gets up way to early and works late into the night to make sure our family is provided for and that we want for nothing. He supports all of my crazy ideas. He equips me the tools needed to provide proper self-care for myself. He picks up my pieces and holds me together. He gives me what I need to be a good care-giver, mother, friend, community member and woman.

I have truly been blessed to have a relationships to last a life time. I have a partner in life who gives me life. When I took on the job of “wife” I did so much more then sign a contract and make a promise. I made a vow. Some days this job is easy, full of laughter and happiness. Some days it’s dark and wearing. This is a job I choose every day. Nothing keeps me here but my love for this man. I choose to keep our hard days along with our good ones. I choose to stay in this job because it’s the most rewarding job I’ve ever had.

Happy Harvesting,

Leah

Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken

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Ok y’all, a while back I found this recipe for Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken. My husband is a big fan of rotisserie chicken. If he’s in charge of supper we will have one of 4 things; eggs and bacon, cereal, Chinese take out, or rotisserie chicken from the deli. Luckily, these are all things I like so it works. But anyway… I thought if I could MAKE the chicken that might be a win for all parties!

Click HERE to find the original recipe

It wasn’t. I’m just going to come out and say it… this was a fail for me. Now I’m not going to blame this recipe, it very much could be user error. But for me,the next time I want rotisserie chicken, I’m going to go to the deli and buy it. End of story.

It was a hot mess from the very beginning… here is how it went.

First, did you know it takes 12989347824 days for a frozen chicken to thaw!?!? That might be a slight over exaggeration, but not much. I had the 6 pound chicken in the refrigerator for two and a half days and then set it out for half a day. IT WAS STILL FROZEN! I had to run cool water over the dumb bird to finish the thawing process and get the gross innards out. Once the bird was thawed I looked it over. This chicken that I had bought at the store was COVERED with PIN FEATHERS. I thought it was going to fly away! I had to go over the entire thing pulling out these little feathers. I don’t remember the brand of bird I had purchased, but I won’t be buying it again.

So, FINALLY I was ready to prep the bird… an hour and a half later then I had intended! The recipe instructs to make a seasoning rub, then mix a little of the rub with butter to put under the skin. Can someone please inform me as to which end you are supposed to start with the under the skin thing?? Because I’m pretty sure I did bad things to that bird that are not safe to share. Anyway, I put the butter mix on. Finally I put the remaining rub on the chicken. There was like SIX CUPS of seasoning left (again with the over exaggeration). I was caking the stuff on the chicken.It was ALOT of seasoning. I then put the chicken into the Crockpot, on top of foil balls and a can of beer. I let the chicken cook for the time instructed.

When the chicken was finished the skin had split (probably due to being mutilated) and the seasoning was THICK. It was intense and too spicy to eat. PLUS, it was too late in the night to eat.We had made something else for supper because I got the chicken in the Crockpot so late in the day. Ugh.

When we went to eat it the next day, it tasted fine (with the skin removed). Nothing special and not like rotisserie chicken. Overall, it was a flop and not one I’ll be repeating.

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Click To Join

In other news… I’ve started a group on Facebook for a 7 Day Sugar Free Challenge. We started on Sunday, but you can still get in on it for 5 days! I’m sharing hints, tips, tricks and recipes (that turn out!) We’d love to have you!! Even if you aren’t ready to commit to being Sugar Free but want to just follow along and make a couple healthy changes in your life! All are welcome!!

 

CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE CHALLENGE

Happy Harvesting,

Leah

No Guilt, Only Big Hearts

First off… I tricked you. Haha! With a title like “No Guilt, Only Big Hearts” you likely expected some deep thoughts filled with wisdom or at least cute stories about kids or farm life. But it’s not. I’m choosing to share RECIPES with you!! If you read my recent post, you know I’ve been working hard at improving my health, body and overall wholeness.

I LOVE to cook and have a crazy wild dream of opening a tea room some day. But until then my husband has to put up with my ideas and anyone else who is suckered into coming over for supper. If you follow my Instagram (lstammeyer) you’ve seen my food pictures. They aren’t very good pictures, but oh well! Recently I made two recipes that I had a lot of requests for the recipe. I’m going to share them with you, with a couple of side notes. First, I make up A LOT of stuff as I cook. These measurements are as close as I can give to what I actually did. I usually just throw stuff in until it looks right! Second, I make substitutions ALL the time! If there is something here you don’t like, or something that you think would make a good addition, DO IT! I’d love to hear your ideas as well!!

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First up, Fiery Hearts Chicken. I came up with that name all on my own 🙂

Ingredients: 4 chicken breast, 1 can fire roasted tomatoes, pre-made pesto sauce, 1 can artichoke hearts, and mozzarella cheese.

Set your oven to 350-425 (I give a range because my oven runs a little cold, so I always bump up it up a bit… whatever you normally bake chicken at is what you want!) Spray a baking dish, lay our your chicken. If you have thick chicken, I might recommend pounding it down to a one and a half-inch thickness. Drain the artichoke hearts and dice. In a bowl mix together artichoke hearts, tomatoes and 4-6 tablespoons of pesto. I love pesto and so does my family so I always add extra, you do you! Stir together, spoon mixture onto chicken and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake for 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. ENJOY! This one made for a great left over as well due to the flavors marinating together.

If you are following 21 Day Fix, I counted one serving as a chicken breast. This was 2 red, 1 green, 1/2-1 blue (depending on how much cheese you put on).

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I promise this is lasagna… it’s just hard to get a picture of it!

Next up is Guiltless Lasagna.

This recipe is going to be a little harder to explain as it’s a modification off a recipe I’ve been making for many, many years. But I’ll do my best! If you have any questions, please let me know and I’ll clarify!! But I hope this is helpful!!

Ingredients: 6 roma tomatoes, 1 pound hamburger (or turkey burger), 2 tsp diced garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 medium onion-diced, 1 can tomato sauce (14oz), 2 packets dry spaghetti seasoning, 1 cup V8 juice, 1 eggplant, mini peppers, 3-5 carrots (or a few handfuls of baby carrots), 1-2 zucchini, 1 medium container cottage cheese, 1 small container ricotta cheese, Mozzarella cheese.

Start by browning the meat in a large deep pan (sautee or wok style), along with the onion, near the end of the cooking process add the garlic. While the meat is browning, using a mandolin (or other thinly slicing device) slice eggplant, carrots, peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes. When the meat has finished cooking, drain and return to stove. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, V8, peppers, carrots, and seasoning to the pan. Stir well and let simmer at least 10 minutes. The longer you can simmer, the better.

Mix together ricotta and cottage cheese and a cup of mozzarella. Recently I made this recipe and didn’t have either of the cheese I needed, I substituted with a cup of sour cream, a cup of Greek yogurt, half cup of pesto, half cup of Parmesan cheese and a cup of mozzarella cheese. The results were fantastic!

In a deep baking dish, begin with a later of sauce, spread a layer of eggplant over the sauce covering the entire pan. Put a layer of the cheese mixture over the eggplant and a layer of zucchini over that. Repeat the process until you run out of pan or ingredients! End with a layer of sauce. Cover the pan with tinfoil and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes-1 hour. Remove foil and sprinkle mozzarella on top. Wait 15 minutes to serve for sauce to thicken. SO YUMMY!! This dish is also GREAT to freeze, so make two pans at once!

For 21 Day Fix, I counted a serving (12 pieces to a pan) as 1 green, .5 purple, 1.5 red (depending on cheese type), 1 blue, 1 tsp (if you use any oil to fry the meat)

The great thing about these recipes is that they are no to very low CARBS! Pair them with a side salad topped with some fruit and you will be sitting pretty for meals!!

I hope this all makes sense as, like I said… I make this stuff up as I go!

And because I didn’t want to leave you without ANY feel good feelings… my little girl turned THREE last week (I’m not exactly sure how that could happen…) and we celebrated in some very fun ways! My mom treated the girls of the family to Beauty and The Beast at the Fireside Dinner Theater. This was Charlotte’s first experience with live theater and I think it was a success! We also celebrated with family and a special castle cake! It was a fabulous few days of BEING THREE!! (it’s gone down hill from there… because…three)

P.S. if anyone knows a modeling agent, Char is looking!

Happy Harvesting,

Leah

 

21 Day Fix

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If you follow me on instagram (lstammeyer) or facebook you know that I’ve started to try and get my body into a shape that is slightly less “round.” I’ve tried before (haven’t we all??) but I’m really putting in some major effort. My new year’s resolution was to be more intentional with my time. I want to be the best me possible, giving the best of me to those I love and care about.

My body has always come last on my list of priorities. As I have struggled with my depression, managing my mental and emotional state often took all my energy, leaving nothing for my physical health. In the last few years I’ve spend a lot of time being pregnant or with a new born. With all my pregnancies I was incredibly sick through the entire pregnancy. The thought of working out made me want to throw up. So I didn’t.

And now I’m here. With three young children who have energy coming out their ears (really… I’ve seen it!) and a farm and home to manage and care for. Not to mention a job and life I enjoy. I want to keep up! I don’t want to be a sidelines mom. I want to be a stuck in the middle, active, participating mom. I don’t want my kids to remember me watching, I want them to remember me DOING! So I have to get my butt moving!

I knew that I needed something to hold me accountable and a program to follow so that I stayed on track. However, I wanted something that could fit into my family lifestyle and would be easy to maintain long term. I also needed something cheap. I didn’t want to invest alot of money I wasn’t sure of.

Enter my friend, Jenny, who is a coach with Beachbody fitness. Jenny asked me several questions about my past habits, my goals and my lifestyle in order to recommend the best program for me. Jenny recommended 21 Day Fix.This was a program I was familiar with as I have several friends and family members who have tried it. The investment was just right and it had both an exercise and nutrition components. There wasn’t anything extra that I had to buy. I decided to give it a go!

Y’all, it works! I have been SO happy with my results. The program runs in… you guessed it… 21 day cycles. However, you can do it continuously! I was preparing for a honeymoon trip to Las Vegas 6 weeks from my start date so I was able to do 2 complete rounds. In 22 days I lost 16 pounds! It has been so refreshing to put in the effort and see results. And honestly, this hasn’t been that hard.

I love the nutrition program. It’s easy. All it takes is figuring out the number as to how many containers you get (use this calculator!), then fill them up! I’m able to eat things I like and not feel like I’m giving up my treats. I’ve also been challenged to find new ways to get “all my containers” in for the day. I love to cook, so it’s been really fun for me to find the best ways to fit in my fruits, veggies, proteins and carbs in a balanced way.

I also have fallen in love with the work outs. Now, let me start with the fact that I’ve always been a “gym” girl.When I was working out in the past, I always liked going to a gym best. I never liked working out at home, nor did I ever find something that worked well for me. That has changed! I’m pretty sure that the biggest reason it has changed is out of necessity. I can’t take my kids with me to the gym, and the expense of it just doesn’t work for our family. I just haven’t been able to fit a trip to the gym into my day without giving up something else that I value more. (Note: I have time, I don’t want to use it. It’s my choice to not have time for the gym!) Most mornings I get up at 5:30am, whether I need to or not, and get my workout in first thing. The workouts are only 30 minutes. It gets me going in the morning and my day started on a really positive note. It’s been a great journey.

I’m currently two months into this health improvement journey and I’m down 20 pounds. Y’all, I just said TWENTY POUNDS!!! That’s the size of a standard dining room chair or a tire! I’m losing that spare tire! I still have a LONG way to go until I reach my goal weight, but I’m well on my way and can’t wait to continue to go. My next mini goal is to be down 30 pounds by my 30th birthday in June. I’d say “Wish me luck” but I don’t need luck. I’m going to be intentional with my time, put in the work, and EARN this just for me!

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If you are all interested in learning more about BeachBody, my personal experiences or how to get yourself on a better health track, let me know!! I’m an open book and would be happy to help motivate you to the best you.

Happy Harvesting,

Leah

Intentions

Happy New Year to you all! I know I’m a little behind, but that’s ok. It took me a few extra days to formulate the words I wanted to say.

I hope you all had a blessed holiday season filled with loved ones, relaxation and maybe a few treats too! This year Christmas was so fun in our house due to the ages of our kiddos. Our oldest, Josiah, is 4. He really started to understand what all was happening, especially the presents. But his delight was not for material goods as much as the experience of opening something special that was just for him. Every present he we thrilled to find “A BOX!!!” Honestly, he said that. It was magic. All our kids were spoiled in just the right amounts. And we were lucky enough to be sick before and after the holidays and fairly healthy on them! Haha!

I wanted to take a minute to share with you my “new year’s resolution.” I put this in quotes because I have mixed feelings on the whole idea of resolutions. Part of me says, what’s so different about this day, why not start ‘being better’on any other day. But the other part of me says, it’s a new beginning. We all need a new beginning, whether it is a new day, week or year. Each opportunity to start afresh is a great thing, and should be taken advantage of. So while it may just be another day, it’s a new day. Start new.

Above are Vision Board Pages I made to put in my planner to remind myself daily of where I’m going and why.

I have narrowed my resolution down to one word. Intention. Nine small letters filled with big meaning. Intention. I’ve been thinking, journaling, talking, and praying on this word this word for some time. Too often we hear the word “busy” thrown around. I’m too busy, my schedule is so busy, my life is busy. What does ‘busy’ mean?!? I started a new job a few months back that I LOVE. I have to document my day in this job and one of the key terms we often use is “person CHOOSES how to spend their free time.” We are encouraged to document on the free-will choices of the people we work. This of course sends me back to my own choices. I am not ‘too busy’ for anything. I have made a choice on how to spend my time. No one forces me to do anything. I chose. And thus, Intention. “Too busy” is an excuse. Priorities, people. If I choose to work extra and miss out of family time, that’s my choice. If I choose to work extra to make extra money towards a really good experience with my family, that’s my choice. My day is filled with opportunities. Some I take, some I don’t.

I no longer want to be caught in the churning current of life. My time is important. My energy is important. My passions are important. I want to use it in a more meaningful way. I am going to be INTENTIONAL with my time, energy and passion. Convenience is no longer going to rule me. I don’t want to waste away, using ‘busy’ as an excuse and watch life pass me by. Excuses are for watchers, Intentions are for DOERS. I want to be the DOER.

I want to have dreams and goals. But I also want accomplishments and memories.

Intention.img_20161230_072209568

So for the past nine days, I have been living it. Not just dreaming it. It’s a small start, but it’s a start nonetheless. Here are some of the things I’ve been doing to be a better me:

  • I have been trying to plan my days with my kids, working to turn off the TV and turn on the doing. I struggle with this. I get tired and frustrated and want to just turn to the easy path. But then at the end of the day, I’m disappointed in myself for wasting another day with them, when I know the days are so precious and numbered. Even if the activity is washing the dishes, or cleaning the windows, if I’m joyful in the work, my kids are too. They just want to be with mom. I need to live in that desire.
  • I have been trying to journal more. I’m a list maker, so my journaling is often list of things that are on my mind. But, it works for me, so I’m sticking to it.
  • My husband and I are FINALLY taking a honeymoon, only 5 years and three kids late… We have decided that the time and money is greatly needed to invest in our relationship right now. We need to reconnect on a deeper level that we haven’t been able to reach lately. And the planner in me LOVES a trip to prepare for!
  • I have started 21-day fix. I need to have my body in a better place. While round is a shape, it’s not the one I want to be in 🙂 I want my physical health to be in a better place so that I can offer my kids a better mom, and live a happier, healthier life.
  • After watching my very dear friend track her happiness for a year, I too have begun tracking my happiness. I have a calendar and each day write on it something that made me/my family happy. I will choose to be happy in this crazy life.

I have started using instagram as my personal accountability tracker. I’m sure it’s super annoying for some people, but it’s for me, follow if you’d like. I like to post pictures of what I’m eating, planning, thinking or doing. It’s a record in pictures of how I’m CHOOSING to live life. I invite you to follow me if you’re interested in seeing how my intention flows- CLICK HERE.

This morning I shared on Instagram a picture of these YUMMY pancakes I had for breakfast! I wanted to share the recipes. The pumpkin pancakes are AMAZING- and taste very much like “regular” pancakes. They are not overly pumpkin-y. Find the recipe HERE. The banana pancakes are made using 1 medium banana, 2 eggs and a teaspoon of cinnamon, mashed to the consistency of your choosing. That’s it! I think they taste a bit like a banana bread. I topped them with fresh raspberries. It made for a great breakfast, plus lots of protein, vegetables and fruit along with just enough carbs! Happy eating!img_20170109_070801170.jpg

Happy Harvesting and Intentional Choosing,

Leah

 

A Christmas Card

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to each and very one of you!! It has been another busy, bustling year on the Harvesting Roots Farmstead. We have been richly blessed with health and happiness. Having each of you with us, continues to be a blessing and exciting adventure, thank you for sharing with us! Now, a small snippet of the past year and some of the highlights we have had in a MERRY CHRISTMAS way.

winter-picture

M-Married 4 years. Ross and I continue to grow in love and life together. We celebrated our 4 wedding anniversary in April and are looking forward to a “honeymoon” trip to celebrate the fifth year this spring.

E-Eli turned ONE! On December 5th, we celebrated the first year of our little baby. He is a true light in our lives. He is the most laid back, content, happy baby I’ve ever met. He adores his siblings. His best friend is Grandpa Joe, and he is glued to his daddy every chance he gets. He loves to laugh and make others laugh too! He’s my favorite little baby

R– Ringing wedding bells. We were lucky to share in the weddings days with many cousins and friends as they joined their lives and love together this year. A big one, was the marriage of my sister to my now brother-in-law. It was a great year of planning and celebrating! Marriage is the greatest gift of my life and I was so happy to share in that with my sister.

R– Riding tractors. Josiah is now 4 and loves nothing more then a good tractor ride! He is a farmer to the core, spending his day following his daddy and grandpa around, feeding animals, tending to crops and shoveling poop. He also loves to ride his bike, build with legos and push his little bother on the swing. He is smart and has a great sense of humor. He is my most favorite big boy!

Y-Yolks from Chickens. We continue to raise chickens, cows and crops on our farm. Great for our kids and our bellies!

 

C-Camping and Summer fun. We had a great time spending many summer afternoons at my parents camper. They rented a seasonal camp site on the Upper Iowa River just a few minutes from our house. It was SO much fun until Mother Nature reared her ugly head, flooded the river, and took the camper away. 😦 Luckily, all were safe from the raging waters, but the camper did not make it out alive. The bridge it smashed into ended that…

H– Hauling Hogs. Ross continues to work for Holden Farms Inc. hauling pigs all over Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. He also works to maintain our farm and home. Rarely does the man take a break, even to sleep. He is the kids idol and loves them somethin’ fierce. I thank God everyday for bringing him into my life!

R– Running a business. This year I started a new adventure as an Independent Consultant for Paparazzi Accessories, selling fabulous $5 jewelry! I love the people I get to meet and the beautiful jewelry too! I’ve also started working part time for TASC Inc, an organization that works with adults with disabilities. I work in the residential program and sub at the center. I absolutely LOVE this job, the people I work with and my new co-workers. It has been passion fulfilling and a great balance for my home and work life.

I– Introducing Pan and Fergus! Along with our cows, chickens, cats and other furry friends we added two more fur-babies to the mix. Pan is a our foal, born last spring. He’s a spunky little guy and we look forward to spending lots of time with his this coming summer to get his ready for riders in another year! We also brought home a yellow bundle of fun, Fergus, our lab puppy. We had to say good-bye for now to two of our dogs, Thor and Snuffy. While they cannot be replaced, Fergus has helped to bring balance back to the pack of Tulip and Chubbs.

S– Stitches for everyone! Both Charlotte and Josiah got their first Emergency Room experience this year, within two weeks of each other too! Both received stitches, and luckily nothing more serious. It has proven to be valuable as I am able to use “do you want more stitches???” as a weighted threat!

T-Two! Charlotte is TWO! And both terrible and terrific all at the same time! She a genuine care for others that is pure beauty. She also is devious and cunning. She loves to read books, watch princess movies, color, play in the sand, ride horses and torment her brothers on a very regular basis. She is my most favorite little girl.

M– Madison and Waupaca Vacations. In July we ventured to Madison, Wisconsin for a week of play! We camped at Lake Keegonsa State Park and spent our days adventuring in “the big city.” We had an absolute blast!! We visited the state capital, went to music on the square, stopped at the zoo and children’s museum and even visited Chris Farley’s grave. We were able to visit many friends and family along the way too! It was a great week. In August, we spend a long weekend in Waupaca, Wisconsin, staying with my aunt and uncle at their lakeside home. We swam and played and had an all-around fabulous time!! My kiddos are already planning our next trips to visit the family they have come to love so dearly. I love that my kids love these people as much as I do!

A– A LOT of water! Remember that nasty Mother Nature I mentioned earlier. She didn’t just reek havoc on the riverbed, but also on our basement!! The late summer had us more days then not with a couple of inches of water in the basement. Ross and I became pretty effective at pushing it around and were very thankful for the help of both our fathers who came to the rescue on several occasions. This also means that we are about to embark on a big remodel project in the basement! If any one wants to help tear out or put up drywall, let me know!!!

S-Spending time with Family and Friends! Along with our summer vacations and annual camping trips, we loved hosting and visiting many loved ones this year. We truly have the best of the best in our lives and are so thankful to each of you!!! Please come visit us! We are surrounded by beautiful scenery, fun sites, and three wild-things that love to entertain! All are welcome at Harvesting Roots Family Farm!

May your new year be blessed with Love and Light!

Merry Christmas and Happy Harvesting,

Leah, Ross, Josiah, Charlotte and Eli