Monday, December 14, 2009

Fun at the Park

Another highlight of our Thanksgiving adventure was getting to see one of my best pals, Amy, who resides 45 minutes from the farm. We met in Dodgeville and we took Abby to the park that Amy used to play at when she was a kid. They've since replenished some of the playground equipment, making it even better than before. Abby sure had fun.

So I am beginning to believe our family eats out too often. Abby's got all the words and phrases of a waitress down pat. She received the McDonald's Drive Thru window with play food when we were at Toys R Us for her birthday. So imagine her delight when she found a drive thru window at the park!!!

First she took my order, then Amy's and Dean's:

Sometimes she doesn't have what you ask for and gets a bit frustrated! I think I asked for garlic chicken pizza with white sauce and this was her response:

Then you must hand over the money and sometimes you get change - if you're lucky!

But no matter what, there is always time for playing on the equipment.

Thanks, Aim for a great day at the park! Abby's ready to go again!

I am truly blessed with great friends both near and far. Sadly, I don't get to see some of them as often as I'd like, but when we're together we pick up right where we left off. That's the beauty of true friends!

Enjoy your day,


Sunday, December 13, 2009

FFA Bake Sale a Success!

This is my second post of the day! I must be around home this week! hahahaha

Earlier this week we had our first ever cookie baking party with FFA members. We turned our normal monthly meeting into a cookie extravaganza. Loads of members showed up and many, many cookies were baked and decorated.

The goal was to get a head start on producing them for our annual bake sale at Farm and Home. It's a fun and holiday spirited day that makes us a little extra money to do the fun and educational things we do as a chapter.

Well, yesterday, we did it! Oodles and oodles of baked goods arrived at Farm and Home and we sold all but one little box that one of the amazing parents volunteered to take to her work to sell in their break room.

Here's some pictures of the table, and the helpful crew that provided fabulous customer service.

It was great to hear from so many shoppers that we were doing their holiday baking for them! I am so thankful to live in a community that supports its young people!

Thanks FFA members for a fun and festive day!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Farmer Abby Goes Artistic - LONG post

So consider me a huge agricultural advocate! I live and breathe agriculture and let others know the importance of where their food comes from. Even though I am allergic to animals, I appreciate them for the companionship and service they provide, in addition to the food they supply for our growing world. (I am also allergic to plants for that matter...thank goodness for Zyrtec D every day just so I can do my job!)

With that being said, I was SUPER excited to hear Abby talk about how she wanted to help Grandma and Grandpa Zabel on the farm during our Thanksgiving stay on the farm. Since she had never indicated an interest before, we didn't come armed with barn clothes and had to make do.

Check out Abby's boots! Also note the delightful pickle she chose to take outside with her for a "working snack."

Grandma found these boots in the far recesses of the basement and they worked out just fine. It was quite funny to watch Abby walk around since her knees were encased in the boots!

Abby set out to help with the whole process. She added the charcoal supplements to the milk.

Then she carried the big ol' bottle to the baby bulls to feed them.

The final step was feeding milk to the calves in the hutches. At Otter Creek Organic Farm, they believe that the suction of the animals nutures them more in the beginning of their lives, so for 10 1/2 weeks they live in the hutch and drink their milk from a nipple pail that's attached to the fence. They also get their starter grain too. Abby really enjoyed riding Grandma's wagon and pouring in the milk.

As an agricultural advocate and a former twice daily calf feeder, I am proud of Abby and excited that she's asking when she can go back to the farm to do it again. Too many young people today are unaware of where their food comes from and take for granted that the grocery store will always provide for them. As Abby grows up and becomes part of the agricultural world (even for short stays at Grandma and Grandpa's) I am sure she'll continue to be full of questions that I will be more than happy and willing to answer.

After all that hard work, she had one more thing on her mind...painting pictures! It was off to the kitchen table for art time with Grandma and Grandpa. Do you think she has enough paint?! hahaha You'll note she's rationalizing her decision with Grandpa Brian! :)

Again, as the holiday season is upon us I realize the blessings in my life. I was blessed to grow up on a farm. I learned things and lesson there that too few people today are learning on their own. I learned the value of hard work and dedication. Thank goodness I have those experiences to draw upon to teach young people in my classroom. I am extremely proud of my dad and Sharon for the life that they lead in helping to provide food for our growing world.

Off to count more of my blessings,


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Nashville Part 2

I eluded to my birthday party on the Redneck Comedy Tour while I was in Nashville. It wouldn't be fair if I didn't show you some pictures from that adventure. Here you'll see our tour guides, Tater and Erlene, my friend Troy getting hit by the bus and the whole crew outside the Country Music Hall of Fame! If you're ever in Nashville, you MUST look them up! It's a hilarious way to spend an afternoon. You certainly won't regret it!

Still laughing,

Friday, December 11, 2009

Holiday Fun

Every year during the holidays, I enjoy reflecting on my blessings. All of us have days when we feel like we have our fair share of troubles, so when we take time to truly reflect on our blessings, we realize how truly blessed we are.

Not long ago I took the FFA members to the Deerfield (an elderly apartment dwelling in town) armed with small animals and big bingo plans! We had so much fun as a multi-generational group. The students showed off their pets. Our elderly friends reminisced about their pets. We played garden bingo and had a ball! Our new friends hugged and even kissed the kids and I heard comment after comment about what great students I had. They're right! I am blessed with students that are polite, appreciative and respectful. The best part was that the Deerfield's Activities Director is a former student and FFA member, so it was fun to catch up with Amber and see her in action. Fun was had by all! We're looking forward to a spring trip with larger animals and new bingo games we create for the residents.

Happy to be a teacher,

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Life in the Fast Lane...

It's been entirely too long since I have updated my blog! Sorry about that!

Since my last update, I have been to Nashville for the National Association of Agricultural Educators Conference. While there, I won a National Teacher Mentor Award. You'll see me here with my sponsors from CEV Multimedia. It's an honor to be chosen for such an award by my peers. Winning at the state level and advancing onto Regionals was an amazing experience for me. I appreciate this award so very much.

While I was in Nashville, I celebrated my birthday. I had the most unique birthday party ever. Sixteen friends (fellow Wisconsin Agriscience Instructors) and I boarded a camoflauge bus complete with Texas longhorns and a holiday wreath on the front! Our tour guides were Tater and Erlene and we headed out for a redneck comedy tour of the city. They were so knowledgeable and shared things with us we wouldn't have found out otherwise. We laughed and laughed! It was the kind of side splitting laughter that hurts your face and your sides for our hours afterward. The two and a half hours flew by! And it's something that I will never get the opportunity to do again.

Aside from having tons of fun and winning an award, I also attended MANY helpful and educational workshops that will help my students and myself long into the future. I went to classes about Food Science, taxidermy, operating commercial greenhouses and heard from Chef Jeff Henderson and Stedman Graham. It was truly an amazing convention!

Until later,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Another Week Gone By...

The week has been a whirlwind!

Last Thursday the New Richmond FFA conducted one of our favorite citizenship activities...our Corn Drive for Camp Courage. This year was a little different because we took the corn part and student resources were our main reasons. All the financial contributions go directly to help campers with disabilities attend camp in the summer. They need more nurses and helpers due to their special needs, so it's important we help out. In fact, in the last 30 years, the community of New Richmond has donated more than $105,000 in funds. I am so proud of our members who went out and collected donations. I am so thankful for such a supportive community!

Friday was Scrapbook Club. Abby goes crazy when "the ladies come over!" She enjoys creating projects right along side us.

Saturday, Dean left for his week in Michigan to work at our camps and get things ready for winter. He built a deck and a fire pit in the reserve and that left the girls home alone for a "Girls Weekend."

Abby and I had plenty of shopping to do with our friend, Diane. We explored many small towns on the way to Frederic, where we attended a Butterfly Boutique party. Then Sunday, we went to Abby's favorite store (Fleet Farm) for jerky samples and supplies to do the jerky lab at school.

Monday brought some curriculum writing at Amery High School...note to the teachers...Don't take a 3 year old to write curriculum! You won't get much done! haha

Last night, Abby and I hung out at home because she was feeling a bit under the weather...and that brings us to the present time where my migraine headache is sending me to bed early...perhaps it's the speed of my life that creates tension and headaches...hmmmm.....

Wishing you well,

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Our Black Kitty Cat

Abby sure enjoyed being a black kitty cat. You should note one of Mommy's favorite necklaces that she asked to borrow to complete her outfit! hahaha She's all about the jewels just like me.

She was ready to load the truck and get the party started!! Too bad it's sooo stinkin' cold every Halloween! Yikes! She still has enough candy to last until next Halloween. We managed to snap these pictures when it was still 60 degrees in the afternoon.

Enjoy your evening!

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Crafting Weekend...

So after the black kitty cat went trick or treating on Saturday and we had some family movie time (You can't beat Dora's Halloween flick), it was time to get crafting!

I love how Abby crafts right along with me. At three years old, she's quite skilled at stamping, cutting with her snizzers and the paper cutter, using her stickers and markers, and using Mom's "gluer" (aka Tombow) to create masterpieces. Her latest crafts were her paper tents and paper flags just last night.

While she was busy working, I made my cards for the Masculine Card Swap and began my 16 sets of pages for the Fall Page Swap. It's no secret that I LOVE swapping with my teammates each month! I guess I enjoy doing things in bulk! hahaha

I will see if I can master adding some pics to this blog tonight and you'll see the masterpieces of the weekend. It'll be a real swap spoiler. :)

Until's off to school for the start of another week! Tonight is a Parli Pro Workshop for FFA at UWRF. It should be fun to get the kids rolling as they learn how to properly run meetings.

Enjoy your day,

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Inaugural Reflection

Well, the time has come! I have been stalking blogs for quite awhile now and there are days when I think, "If I had a blog, I would totally reflect on this situation!" Or when I create the perfect art project I think, "If I had a blog, I would share this with my readers!"

So the time has come for me to enter the blogging world and to share more of myself and my life both as a person and as a paper crafter.

Welcome to Rachel's Reflections! May you find inspiration, laughs and celebrations as we take this journey together. Thanks for coming along for the ride!!!