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Because Momma Know’s Best: Potty Training Snafu

By on Jan 28, 2015

There’s been times when I didn’t listen to my Momma, and most of those times I wished that I had. But for the most part I’ve been a good steward of the advice that she’s offered me over the years. I figured that she’s seen enough in her years to be able to help me avoid both major and minor pitfalls. Why make life harder than it already is? You see, this Mommy/Daughter trust relationship starts at a young age, and while I understand giving your kids the space to make their own mistakes, there is something to be said about encouraging your kids to just trust Momma’s wisdom. I’ve been trying to strike the proper balance between advising Zoe and Jada and giving them the freedom to make their own decisions. I let them dress however they like during the day, no matter if they’ve layered on 2 princess dresses and 4 tutusĀ  all at once. They can...

Awesome Crock-Pot Red Beans and Rice with…(gasp)…Ham Hocks!

By on Jan 27, 2015

As much as I love visiting local Illinois Farms and chatting it up about farming practices and animal welfare, you might be surprised to know that I’m not much of a cook. In fact, when I asked Carla Hall, co-host of The Chew, Top Chef Contestant and mastermind behind the following recipe what tips she had for someone who despises cooking, she looked past me and stared squarely at Mr. Nevels and declared that I should “find someone to cook for [me]!” Unfortunately, Mr. Nevels is 10x’s worse at cooking than I, AND he’s extremely slow. Dinner meals are easily transformed into midnight snacks when he’s on cooking duty. But this recipe here is totally legitimate and easy enough for even the most novice cook. After Carla and I had a good laugh, she proceeded to encourage me to make lots of crock-pot stews and casseroles to shorten my time in the kitchen...

IL Pork Farmer Donates to Food Pantries Because “It’s The Right Thing To Do!”

By on Dec 31, 2014

We’re all familiar with the value of holiday traditions. Whether it’s baking cookies with the family on Christmas Eve or trading the winter coats for bathing suits in pursuit of warm weather to start the New Year. Either way, it’s those Holiday traditions and experiences that stick with us through our youth and adulthood. My family and I are still trying to forge our own tradition but what’s most important to us is that the tradition is meaningful and encourages our girls to be socially conscious. Recently, I had the pleasure of connecting with Illinois Farmer Brent Scholl who raises hogs alongside his brother. This year their family farm contributed 1000 pounds of pork to the Pork Power Program (the equivalent of 5 market weight hogs). The Pork Power Program is an organization that receives pork donations, processes them into 2 lb ground pork packages and then...

Surviving Zoe and Jada…One Day at a Time!

By on Dec 19, 2014

It’s been a while since last I spoke to you. My latest posts have all been geared toward food and farming, but I think it’s high time we get back to the Zoe and Jada saga, which by the way has increased ten-fold. Zoe is now a pre-schooler who thinks she’s a high schooler. She frequently pretends to talk to Grandma Brenda on her play phone and refuses to wear any clothing item I’ve chosen for her (be it to school or to bed) that isn’t pink, purple, fluffed, ruffled or sparkly. She is the self-proclaimed Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen,” and frequently belts out the lyrics to “Let it Go” at the top of her lungs while strumming my out-of-tune guitar. And all the while her side-kick Jada, who dutifully plays her assigned role of Anna, dishes out a soul-stirring interpretive dance. But don’t get me wrong…little Miss Jada...

From the Turkey Farm to Your Thanksgiving Table: Understanding the Process by which Turkey’s are Raised on the Farm

By on Nov 20, 2014

Ever wondered about the process by which your Thanksgiving turkey arrived at your table? I sure have, and finally, I’ve got a window into the foreign world of turkey farming! I had the pleasure of interviewing Greg Sinn of Sinn Turkey Farms in Tremont, IL. This 80-year-old family turkey farm was started by father Sinn and is now ran by his two sons. Greg Sinn was gracious enough to chat with me about how he runs his farm and what to consider when purchasing a turkey. So if you’ve ever wondered how your Turkey get’s to market, here’s a crash course. About the Sinn Farm The Sinn Farm is one of few Turkey Farms in IL due to very few processing plants in our state. The majority of Turkeys come from places like Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina, Indiana and Arkansas. This family farm is unique in that they solely purchase male turkeys because they can grow to be...

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