Monday, January 26, 2015

Tentative 2015 Race Schedule

Hello, hello! I hope everyone had a good weekend.

My weekend was short, but productive. I kicked it off by staying after school on Friday for some North Star basketball! The Knights were taking on the Turner Tornadoes. Both girls and boys teams won their games and were very fun to watch! I saw a lot of pretty impressive play from both teams. Hopefully I can get to another game soon, and bring Jeff. :)

In the Gildford Gym.
Otherwise, I got some much-needed cleaning and housework done around home, and Jeff and I took a brief trip to Havre yesterday for some errands and a movie. We went to American Sniper. It was pretty good. I didn't know it was based off the story of a real person until the movie ended, so I found it pretty fascinating in that sense. I typically don't love war movies or long battle scenes, and this movie was a lot of both of that, but they balanced the battle scenes and war with some emotional family and relationship scenes. The main character, Chris Kyle, is an inspirational person and the story as a whole was good (and true!). Plus, I thought Bradley Cooper did a great job in his role. Definitely worth the price of admission to see this movie! After a really tough end to the week at school last week, some North Star basketball and a movie were just the escape I needed!

The other thing that happened on Friday is the RaceMT schedule came out. It's not an all-inclusive list of every race in Montana, but RaceMT is based out of Great Falls so the races they do have on their schedule are reasonably close to home for me. I've had some thoughts swimming around my head pertaining to racing and running in 2015 and trying to firm up an idea of what events I'd like to participate in this year, so the calendar from RaceMT helped solidify a few things for me. Most notably, my first race of the season!

Without further ado, here's my (tentative!) racing schedule for 2015!

May 17 (Sunday) Buffalo Jump Race Events, Ulm, MT. In the past they've done one or more of the following: Half Marathon, 10K, 5 Mile, or 3 Mile walk. I'll train for 5mile or 10K, whichever they do this year.  I think this is a trail run. They don't have a website for this race. I came pretty close to doing this one last year but decided against it in the end as I hadn't put in sufficient training to do a 10K at the time and I think the weather was bad. This race is on My Racing Bucket List, so if I do get it done this year, I'll be able to cross this one off the list!
Buffalo Jump Races
Image source: www.getevent.com
June 7- Possible 5K race in Medora, ND, called the Medora Bully Run. My friend Adria mentioned doing this one because it's close to her hometown. I would probably be up for the road trip, and it looks like a fun race! We'll see.

Mid-June-- Dawson's Run 5K(ish) in Joplin, MT.  Date not set for this race yet. Last year, I was the first place Female finisher for this race. It would be so sweet to have a repeat performance!

June 27 or 28-- 5K somewhere in Iowa, since I'll be there for my Grandma's 90th Birthday celebration and family reunion. Here are a few I'm looking into--

  • Kael Man 5K Takes place in Ames (my hometown) at Ada Hayden park, which is where I've run my ATB 5K. Would be cool to do another race there.
  • Firecracker 5K in Williamsburg, IA. Pretty close to where my Grandma lives.
  • DesMoines Color Vibe 5K. I've never done a color run, so it could be fun.


July-- Find at least one 5K or 10K somewhere in MT. Possibly corresponding with Missoula Marathon.  If I have friends who run the half or full marathon in Missoula this year, I'd like to try to go along, participate in a shorter race, and then cheer like crazy for my friends!

August-- probably no racing due to Harvest craziness.

September 12-- Kickin' Half Marathon and 10K, Great Falls, MT. 10K distance.  I did this race last September and it was pretty good. My first 10K finish!

October-- Opera Run in Bozeman (likely, but not guaranteed) I will do this one if we happen to be in Bozeman for a Bobcat game anyway. Some years it works out, some years it doesn't.

November-- Huffing for Stuffing in Bozeman or Burn the Bird in Great Falls, depending on where we are for Thanksgiving.

Of course, any and all of this is subject to change, but from here, that's more or less how I see my racing season shaping up.  For now, I'm just focusing on getting back in shape with Shape Up Montana, which starts on Sunday, and planning ahead for the Buffalo Jump race in May. It'll be here before you know it!

How was your weekend? If you're a fitness enthusiast, what's on your list this year?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Registration is Open for MFU Women's Conference!

What do all of the following have in common?

  • Cheesemaking
  • Wine tasting
  • Hot springs
  • Yoga
  • Photography
  • Live Music
  • Networking
  • Goal setting
  • Blogging
  • Girl Time
These are all GUARANTEED  to happen at this year's Montana Farmers Union Women's Conference!

This is the third year of the Women's Conference and I am more excited about this one than ever! We have a really great agenda planned for everyone in attendance, beginning with the cheesemaking event on Friday evening, and it just keeps getting better through Sunday morning! There will also be a panel discussion about blogging and social media, which I was asked to participate on as a speaker. The conference is put on by Montana Farmers Union, of which I am a member, but I think we have a broad range of topics that could apply to anyone, whether they are in agriculture or not.  

I know several people who will be attending and/or helped in the planning of this conference, and it is going to be a blast! There are some seriously smart, dynamic, strong, beautiful, fun-loving, and funny women who will be there, and I'm also so, so excited to meet more people while there! 

Plus... HOT SPRINGS! Helllloooooooo! 

If you're interested in signing up, the cost for the ENTIRE WEEKEND is only $50! That includes lodging, meals, and conference seminars. And use of the hot springs. Once again... HOT SPRINGS, people! Are you sold yet? It's a smokin' deal, folks! 

3rd Annual Montana Women's Conference

You can register for the conference by clicking HERE!  The registration is, again, *only $50.00* and is going through active.com. But don't worry, it's not a boot camp or anything. Active.com just offered an easy platform to get registrations done completely online. There are only about ten rooms left, so sign up quickly if you're interested. If nothing else, you'll have a great time with some awesome, strong women! Hope to see some of you there!! Rural Women Rock, Ya'll!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thankful Thursday Giveaway

Here we are again for Thankful Thursday! I hope everyone is having a great week!  I have a few things that I'm grateful for that I'd like to share with you today, plus a quote that I find inspiring, and a GIVEAWAY. Read on to discover what I'm thankful for and what I'm giving away!

If you read yesterday's post, then you know that me and Jeff have been spending quite a bit of time in the mountains playing in the snow. I love, love, love mountains and skiing and winter recreation. I didn't know how much I enjoy being in the mountains until I moved to Wyoming back in 2007. It was like I had found something I didn't know I was missing my whole life! Since moving to Wyo back about seven years ago, I have more or less stayed in close range (har har har!) to the mountains, which is something I am thankful for. It is exciting to drive West from our house, seeing the Rocky Mountain Front stretching from north to south along the length of the horizon, with it's promise of adventure and excitement tucked into the peaks and valleys.

But today's Thankful Thursday post is actually more about the feeling of coming down from the mountains and back to the prairie. It's the feeling of coming home. As much as I do love mountains and am so thankful to live within three hours of the Front, I also love the comforting, peaceful feeling of descending down from the mountains, back to the prairie that is now my home. Driving back East from the mountains, when the plains open up with their blanket of greeting, I know I'm going back to my place in the world.

One of the best things about living on the plains, especially in a rural area, is that you have complete, unadulterated skyline views. Views of vast skies and storylines of clouds and weather unfold before us every day. Out here, you can truly see why Montana has the nickname of Big Sky State. The day we drove back from our trip to Glacier, I took Harvey for a walk and the beauty of the sky over the plains unfolded...
Sweetgrass Hills and Goldstone Church in silhouette.

Beautiful sky colors as the sun sets.

This is the "back of the sunset," or the colors reflecting on the East side of the sky.
Don't forget to turn around next time you are watching the sunset!
 Pictures truly don't do the sky and the clouds and the colors justice. 

One other thing that's on my mind today, pertaining to gratitude and Thankful Thursdays, is the following quote I came upon recently:

"I am in charge of how I choose to react to what life throws at me. I can't choose when my moments will happen. Gratitude is the most powerful force for healing. People are more inspired to live well by truth than fiction. Truth is fluid because we are fluid." - Lauren Fleshman, elite runner.

Lauren Fleshman is an elite runner that I follow on Instagram and other means of social media. She is super inspiring, hard working, and a great leader. I find a lot of tidbits in her blog that I transfer to my own running and coaching experience. Love her. I connected with that line "Gratitude is the most powerful force for healing," and thought it was especially pertinent in a Thankful Thursday post!

Lastly, today I'd like to announce an informal giveaway I'm doing here for my blog readers. I had a couple sheets of the stickers pictured below printed off and I'd like to share some of them with you!
To win, just share something you are thankful or grateful for, and why, and you'll be entered in the drawing for a sheet of stickers. You can leave your comment here on the blog, or email it to me, or in the comments section for this post on Facebook (I know some of you have a hard time leaving comments here on the blog, so I'm trying to accommodate you.) You have until next Thursday's Thankful Thursday post to leave your comment. I'll announce the winner in next week's post, and share some of the things you are all thankful for, too!  Most of my readership is someone I know personally, so if it happens that you win and I don't already have your address, we'll figure out a way to get that safely so I can send you the stickers. :)

Just to recap, here's some questions you could think about answering in order to be entered in the drawing:
1) What is something you are particularly thankful for, and why.
2) What is something you could be more positive about?
3) When has Gratitude helped you heal?

Thanks everyone for reading, whether you participate in the drawing or not! Have a great week!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

More Glacier Fun!

We have been so lucky this winter to have already spent two weekends of fun-filled snowy adventure in the Glacier area! Our first trip, if you recall, was around New Years Eve with my family, which you can re-read HERE. Our second trip was just this past weekend and it was a blast!

Jeff's parents have a timeshare in West Glacier at Glacier Wilderness Resort. This is either the third or fourth winter I have been there, but they've had the timeshare in the family for many, many years, so it has been a family tradition for a long time. Each year, Tom and Carol have decided on different friends and family members to share their cabin with. The past two years, we have even rented an additional unit so more of us could share in the fun and keep the tradition alive. This year, Jeff and I rented another unit at a steal of a price and shared the weekend with our friends Skyler and Deitra. Tom and Carol shared their unit with their friends Lynn and Dan, and Rick and Glenda (who are Skyler's parents). We had a great time skiing, laughing, sharing meals and playing games with the whole group.

Typically, when we drive to the cabin, the whole group of us that are heading over from the HiLine carpool and caravan our way down Highway 2. We stop in Shelby for lunch, then in Cut Bank for groceries. The Grown-Ups, as we call them, typically then stop at a little dive bar called The Snow Slip, about a half-hour from the final destination. Over the years, The Snow Slip has become something of a legend among our little group. For the first time this year, Jeff and I pulled in with the caravan to check it out.
Exterior of the Snow Slip.
No, the Mustang was not part of our caravan!
While we were staying at the cabin this year, we spent the first day skiing at Whitefish Mountain Resort--me, Jeff, Skyler, and Deitra. This was the second time Jeff and I had skied there. The weather was in the upper 20's to right around freezing, depending on where a person was on the mountain, so, pretty warm, and the snow was great. It was sunny in the morning but clouded over a bit around lunch time.
Clockwise from top left: Silhouettes of the four of us riding the lift, view from the Summit House, downhill skis on the rack, Jeff and Deitra, Snowghosts and flags at the Summit, me and Jeff.
We skied as a group the whole morning, then Jeff and I skied together just the two of us for the afternoon. I was completely blown away by how much better he has become at skiing! Now, it is I who has to try to catch up to him! Something just clicked for him and he totally rocked it on the mountain on Saturday! We had so much fun skiing the back side of the mountain and challenging ourselves on increasingly difficult terrain as the afternoon went on.

Here are a few photos Jeff took from the summit:
Some "snowghosts" and pretty awesome skyline in the background!
Looking toward town of Whitefish and Whitefish Lake.
Looking toward Glacier National Park. Beautiful!
The next day, we went with the whole gang to Izaak Walton Inn for some Nordic skiing. I started the morning feeling pretty wary of my cross country ski abilities, as usual. I have a hard time getting past my own mental block that Nordic skiing is drastically different from downhill. It isn't. The balance and fundamentals are pretty similar, really. And you're going slower (or at least I am!) so if and when one does fall, it won't be nearly as painful or embarrassing! I watched Jeff's mom and her friends navigating the ups and downs of the trail, unsteady at times, but laughing all the way and told myself that if they can do it, so can I. I'm half their age, and I'm a badass, so what am I waiting for? I remembered a few pieces of advice I'm sure Jeff and Tom have given me umpteen times in the past, and went for it on the next downhill section... and it was fine! In fact, I did great! By the end of the day, I found myself wanting more downhill sections of course when in prior Nordic ski sessions, I would dread the downhills. Definite progress!


 Sorry for the blurry images in some of the squares above... Bleh.
Essex and Izaak Walton were so wonderful, as always. We have such a great time each and every time we go there. The skiing is great, the restaurant and food is really good, the ambiance of the historic hotel is perfect. Everything about this place is awesome. I love it every time we go there, winter or summer. If you're ever in Montana, it's worth a stop. :)
All in all the weekend was a great mix of super-fun winter outdoor activities, spending time with friends and family, relaxation, and personal and athletic development. Jeff and I both progressed mightily in our respective weaker skiing events, so now we're both pretty near each other's level in each. All in all, a successful and fun weekend playing in the mountains! I never knew how much I loved snow until I moved to the West! :)

Check back tomorrow for Thankful Thursday!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

StitchFix January 2015 Review

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Some of us were lucky enough to enjoy Monday off of work and bask in a long weekend, myself included. Jeff and I took our annual January trip to West Glacier, MT. We left Friday and returned last night. I'll write more about this trip and post it later this week, because today's post is going to be devoted to clothes. That's right-- I received another StitchFix box last week!

It arrived Thursday night, so with packing for our weekend away, I didn't have time to get my blog post up. But I DID make time on Thursday evening to try everything on, get Jeff to snap some photos, and decide what I'd be keeping or sending back. Read on to see what I got!

First off, I have had a few questions from friends who read my blog and want to know a little more about Stitch Fix. I haven't done an informational blurb about it yet, so I'm going to do that now. If you already feel like you know what it's all about, just scroll down.

Here's the skinny: You register on the StitchFix website and fill out a style profile-- that's all free. Even if you don't plan on signing up to receive any fixes, it's still fun to do the style profile and maybe learn something more about what you do and don't like. This is also where you set a price range for your stylist to stay within when selecting items for you. Then, you can schedule your fix for a date you'd like to receive your shipment. At this time, you'll also write a little note to your stylist with more details about what you might want to see in your fix. When your stylist ships your fix, you're charged a $20.00 styling fee. Soon after that, you receive your happy box of stuff in the mail! Yay!  You have three days to try everything on, deliberate, and decide what you'll keep. Whatever you don't want, you ship back in a postage-paid envelope, which you can send through regular USPS mail. You'll receive five items in your Fix. Typically, one pair of pants, three tops, and one accessory. Your $20.00 styling fee is credited toward the total cost of any items you decide to keep. If you keep all five of your items, your total will be less your $20.00 fee AND you get 25% off everything! You can sign up to receive your fixes automatically, or you can just go on the site and schedule a fix only when you want to receive one (that's what I do).

Now, let's get into my Fix from January! I had high hopes for this fix because my last one was really great and I felt like I had been very specific in my note to my Stylist and in the pins I put on my Pinterest board. Again, I"ll mention as a disclaimer that this is NOT a fashion blog and my husband is NOT a fashion photographer! Ha! That being said, I think we do at least an OK job of showing the clothes in the photos.  Here's what I got:

Outfit One, Featuring Mavi Gold Nigel Skinny Jean and Evolution by Cyrus Bolina Marled Knit Sweater.
I had specifically requested another pair of pants that fit like the black cords I received in my last fix. These did fit like the last pants and are the same brand, but I just didn't think they were as flattering somehow. Maybe some strategic sandblasting would have been good? For the price, they just didn't Wow me and when it comes to pants, I want them to pretty much be perfect before I'll keep them.

The sweater was my stylists response to my request for "Montana Snow Bunny" and ski lodge apparel. I knew I'd have several fun ski weekends planned for this winter and specifically requested some fun sweaters for that reason. This sweater, however, did not fit the bill for me. I thought it was just sort of sad and frumpy and too big. In addition to looking bad on me, it was boring. Not what I'd want to wear for beers at the lodge.

Outfit Two, Featuring Mavi Gold Nigel Skinny Jean and Market and Spruce Elissa French Terry Striped Moto Jacket.
This is a top I had seen on someone else's StitchFix review blog post and really liked. It was pinned on my Pinterest board and my stylist delivered on this one! The fit is great and I love all the cute zipper details. The fabric is soft and the colors are neutral. I can wear this with a lot. I think this is the third or fourth item that I've kept overall from Market and Spruce, so this seems to be a brand that matches my style and fits me well. I'm looking forward to wearing this jacket this week with some black pants and a bold colored top underneath. Definite keeper!

The same jeans as in the previous outfit. Again, I just don't think they really do anything for me, especially for the price (which was just a little higher than my targeted price range).

Outfit Three, Featuring Sweet Rain Sterling Quilted Pullover Top and Octavia Harlow Heart Print Infinity Scarf.
 I tried this top on with some of my own jeans and threw it over a tank top. I have requested Navy in my note each time I go for a fix because it's a color I wear a lot, but I didn't care for this top overall. It was comfortable and soft, but again I thought it looked frumpy on me. Jeff said, "That looks like it came from Kmart," and I described it as, "I think it's a confused sweatshirt." Too boxy. Quilting idea is not bad, but this style just didn't work for me.

The heart-print scarf was cute and would have been really fun for Valentine's Day, especially since I work in a school, but once again this scarf was pretty similar to something I already have. The scarf wasn't expensive, but since it didn't really fill a need for me, it went back. If I hadn't been already planning on keeping something else from this fix, I would have kept the scarf so as not to lose my $20 styling fee. I would also have kept it in order to get 25% off my order if I had been keeping everything else. Neither of those situations was happening, so buh-bye scarf.
 Harvey weighed in with his opinion, which was primarily something to the effect of, "I don't care which scarf you keep. Just please pet me, Mom, pet me!"  Gotta love the Velcro Vizsla photobomb!

All of my items from this fix, in a neat little pile! 
Just to recap what I got and what I kept, here's a list:
Mavi Gold Nigel Skinny Jean: Returned.
Octavia Harlow Heart Print Infinity Scarf: Returned.
Market and Spruce Elissa French Terry Striped Moto Jacket: Kept! Yay!
Evolution by Cyrus Bolina Marled Knit Sweater: Returned.
Sweet Rain Sterling Quilted Pullover Top: Returned.

What did you think of what I got? What would you have kept or returned? Overall, I wanted more from this fix and was disappointed in what I got, other than the Moto Jacket. I had specifically written in my note about a new black skirt I had received for Christmas and wanting something to wear with it. My stylist this time didn't even address that, even though I had called it out and pinned a couple of images of the skirt on my Pinterest board. I had a different stylist again this time, and I think the ones I had previously understood my style a little better.

If you want to check out my posts about previous fixes, you can do that here:
StitchFix December 2014 Review
StitchFix September 2014 Review

I plan to set up my next fix to be delivered in March, and I think I'll request the same stylist I had from my December fix because so far, I've been happiest with that one. I'm still having lots of fun with StitchFix and I can't wait for my next fix to come!

If you want to give it a try, click this link to get started: Katie's Referral Link to Sign Up for Stitch Fix! I would really appreciate the credit. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thankful Thursday: Community and Snowplows

Welcome to the second week of Thankful Thursday!

In this weekly segment, I'll be posting about something I'm thankful or especially grateful for each week. My New Years Resolution this year was to Practice Gratitude and just to try to be more positive and appreciative of all the good things I have going for me in life! I hope you'll find something in these weekly posts that you can connect to as well!

The past few weeks have been pretty cold and snowy up here in north-central Montana. If you've been following my blog, then you know that last week we even had some early-outs, delayed starts and a full day off from school due to snow and poor driving conditions!  Monday's commute to school was the first I had been out on the roads since the previous week, when they were completely snow-logged and in some cases, pretty difficult to drive on.

Last week on Tuesday and Wednesday in particular, the roads were pretty bad. Snowplows hadn't caught up with the weather yet and really, our not-often-traveled county roads aren't the top priority. I'm pretty sure the gravel roads that I live on and travel most frequently are pretty near the bottom of the county's priority. That's fine and understandable-- the focus really should be on Highway 2 first.

All that being said, the contrast between the roadways from last week compared to how they are this week is night and day! So that leads me to my Thankful Thursday topic this week: I am sooooooooo grateful for snowplows! Thanks to everyone who plows our roads, in city and country, on paved highways or gravel roads. When we are so dependent on travel by car, it is essential to have clear, safe roads to get where we need to go. It was so nice to drive to work this week and have the roadways cleared. Even our gravel country roads had a plow over (some of) them, which was fantastic! I haven't been worried about getting stuck, like I was last week.

Jeff even got busy in our yard and moved a whole bunch of snow around over the weekend with the tractor. Again, so awesome to be able to walk from the house to the shop (where I park my car in cold weather) without walking through knee-deep snow!!! Kudos to Jeff!
Just for kicks, I did an internet image search of "snow plow jokes" and most of them were at the expense of snowplows. It was kind of tricky to find one that was actually positive...Seems like a lot of people would rather complain about snow plows being in their way than be thankful for plows keeping their roadways safe! Anyway. Here's one image that I kind of liked:
Getting Plowed

I also liked this one:
Minnesota...Montana... whatever!
When you live in a snowy northern state, you just get to deal with snow!

Anyway, since it's Thankful Thursday, I also wanted to share this excerpt from an email from my friends at Shepherd's Way Farms, thanking people for contributing to their kickstarter. This email embodies the spirit of Thankful Thursday and also makes me think a little. Read on:

Yesterday one of the supporting tweets called out for a miracle, to bring the Kickstarter to the funding goal. And amazingly, pledges rolled in, backers increased their original amount and by end of day we'd surged forward.
Would I call that a miracle? I thought about it, looked up "miracle" while the Kickstarter page was again refreshing and this is what it says:
Miracle:  * A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency.    * A highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences. 
Well then, yes indeed, I have seen a miracle! In fact, I experience miracles every day here.
Of course, a sweet new lamb is the epitome of the miracle of life. Milk changing into cheese may be explainable by scientific laws yet it feels pretty miraculous. The small but lovely miracles I may often take for granted, like a planted seed sprouting or fresh water pumping out even on a subzero day. Once I start looking, these miracles are all around.
But of all the miracles I may not recognize or appreciate, the extraordinary development that I hadn't quite expected is the miracle of community. Over all the years we have been farming, persisting, working to adapt & grow, we are continually bolstered and lifted up by our food & farming friends. We really wouldn't be here without you.
This Kickstarter is a bright reminder of that community and its commitment to what we do. Thank you to everyone!

What a great way to think about community- as a miracle! It truly takes everyone working together to make a city or town or country neighborhood feel like more than a collection of buildings and houses, but a community of people who care about one another and care about making their little corner of the world a better place to be. I'm pretty grateful for the awesome communities I am part of here and also for the broader communities I am part of. Communities that are not linked by geographical proximity but by friendship.

As an update, the Shepherd's Way Farms Kickstarter campaign ended this afternoon and they not only made their goal, they smashed it out of the ballpark! They ended up seven thousand dollars over their goal!! Thanks to any of my readers who decided to contribute. I don't know about you, but I CAN'T WAIT for my cheese samples to come in!!! There *may* be a wine and cheese tasting event in my near future!! :)
photo courtesy of Nichole Day Diggins, Redoux Home
Photo by Nichole Ray Diggins, from www.shepherdswayfarms.com
That's it for this week's edition of Thankful Thursday! What are you grateful for this week?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Check This Out!

Happy Monday, everyone. Back to the work week, back to the grind. Hopefully it's not too much of a grind! I'm actually happy to be back in school, even though the long weekend was nice. I'm looking forward to getting back into routine and working with my awesome kids at the Elementary and High School! But first, I have a few things that I want to share with all of my faithful readers today. Links to three different websites or campaigns I'd encourage each of you to check out.

First off, let's revisit the barnraiser I wrote about last week. There are only THREE DAYS LEFT to pledge to the Shepherd's Way Farms Kickstarter campaign to make some much-needed barn improvements on their farm. I did a post about this last week, which you can read BY CLICKING RIGHT HERE!  They have some seriously good thank you gifts for pledging. If I lived in Minnesota, some of the wine and beer and cheese tasting parties would definitely be my pick! Here's a blurb from a recent email newsletter they sent out about their campaign: 
As I was talking with some friends about our project, I was surprised to discover that they didn't realize that Kickstarter is all or nothing. When I explained that if we don't reach the goal, the project doesn't get one penny, they were so shocked. And it also renewed their energy for the project -- 'Well let's get this going and what are we waiting for!'  You are doing far more than just pledging to a project, you truly are helping support local family farming. Farming is a tough business and small farms especially rely on their communities to survive and flourish. Thank you for embracing all that we work for and for being part of what we do.
Displaying
Brand new lambs born over the weekend on Shepherd's Way Farms!
So, if you haven't pledged yet, please consider doing so today! These are some good friends of ours and I hope you'll all think about helping them out. Here's the link to do so: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1054711590/shepherds-way-farms-build-the-barns-grow-the-flock

Ok. Next up. Many of you who read my blog comment that you enjoy the photos that I take and include in my posts. I really appreciate your kindness! If you like my photos, you'll LOVE the photography of my Mom! She's taken up photography as a hobby and has gotten better and better at it over the past few years. Recently, she decided to start a blog of her own to showcase her work! If you love photography, especially nature and landscape photography, you'll love her images!  Click on over here: http://adamphotography.zenfolio.com/blog to check it out. She posts once a week or once every other week or so. Here's a sample to pique your interest:
Farms in the Iowa countryside. Beautiful, no?
Next up, another philanthropy-related item. Some of you may know that I'm kinda into sports. This time of year, it's all about college basketball. Specifically, my Iowa State Cyclones. Hometown pride, guys! This year, the ISU Men's Basketball Coach, Fred Hoiberg, is participating in the Infiniti Coaches' Charity Challenge. Coach Hoiberg is strutting his dance skills, hoping to raise money for the charity of his choice, the American Heart Association. The video below is just for fun and to get people excited to vote for him. It's also just plain fantastic to watch a very tall, gangly guy trying to do some hip hop dancing! Check out the video, then click on over the ESPN website and give him a vote. Coaches with the highest percentage of votes move on to the next round and win some cash for their charity! Here's the link to go vote: http://promo.espn.go.com/espn/contests/infiniti/2015/index?next=home. You'll need an ESPN account to vote.
  I would also like to point out that Bill Self, coach of the Kansas Jayhawks, currently has zero percent of the vote. Boo hoo, chalk. ;)

So there's a few things for you to check out in your spare time. I hope you like or connect with at least one of the above! Now, to leave you with one last image to hopefully make you smile. My mother-in-law sent me this comic recently, and I thought it was kind of silly and funny. Enjoy, and have a great week, everyone!