Wednesday, January 4, 2017

This Year It's Not A Resolution, But A Commitment

As last year came to a close I found myself thinking, "What do I what in 2017?"

And then it came to me...

My commitment is 'Do More of What Makes Me Happy'!

I found myself grabbing a scrap piece of paper and coming up with a quick list of things that make me happy.  

By all means this isn't a complete list, but I'll tell you so much of this makes me happy (or will keep me happy) and that's what this year is about!  

Show horses.  You better believe that I'll still keep showing my fancy horse.  Louie and I had a great 2016, but I'd like to make 2017 epic!

Baking.  Especially during the winter months.  It's too hot and humid in the summer to heat up the house too much!
Hang with my tribe.  I have great friends.  They are near and far; and I'll do as much wine sipping and road tripping with them as I can!
Snuggle my dogs.  Who wouldn't want to snuggle them?
Listen to more vinyl and live Texas Country music.  My turntable has been getting a workout!  I'm missing a few classics, but the collection I have speaks to me.  And Texas Country; lots of back and forth trips to the honky-tonk bar where they play.  Because they wear cowboy hats and boots, not skinny jeans.

Wear more vintage, sequins, feathers and turquoise.  Maybe even all at once!  

Slay in the gym.  I freaking love working out at my gym.  I feel like a rock-star when I hit a PR (personal record) and we just have so much fun!

Ag-vocate.  Speak with passion about agriculture.  That may be in-person or online.  People need to know where their food comes from.  Period.  I'm happy help connect the dots!

Let go of negativity.  That could be people, social issues or body issues.  Don't mess with my happy.

Friday, April 1, 2016

3 Horsey Tools I'm Loving

Thank goodness winter is over!!  It can be a really trying time as a horse (or any livestock, for that matter) owner.  Whether you’re fighting frozen water tanks, blowing and drifting snow, or the desire to stay curled up under a blanket inside… We can’t simply ignore the animals we have chosen to have in our lives!  Now that it seems that spring is here to stay, I’ve been thinking about a few things that I couldn’t do without as a horse owner... 

For years, I’ve used a plastic tote to hold my grooming supplies, but this Christmas I received the Noble Outfitters Equissential Tote and honestly LOVE it!  There’s tons of pockets for storage and because of it’s height, spray bottles go in the middle and don’t fall over like they did in my old one.  The best part though?  The mesh bottom that let’s hair and dirt fall tight through.  I can’t tell you how gross my old one used to get because it just accumulated at the bottom.  Eww.  Oh, and it comes in purple and black!

As we transition from winter to spring, the days get longer and horses start shedding.  Horse hair is literally flying all over the place.  A good rule of thumb; don’t want to wear polar fleece or chapstick in the barn from February to mid-May!  To help expedite the process, I rotate between three different shedding tools… Shedding blade, a Furminator and a Sleekez.  

For the last several years, I’ve used a slow feed hay bag at the trailer or in the stall overnight at horse shows.  The slow feed hay bags are nice because they keep Louie busy, he wastes very little hay compared to a traditional hay bag, I haul less hay and it mimics his natural grazing habits.  All positives in my book.  This winter at the barn we experimented with using them on a daily basis and they worked out really well!  The stalls were easier to clean because there wasn’t hay being stirred into shavings and there wasn't the worry we'd run out of hay.  A common concern.  In the mornings there was less rowdy, “I’m starving” banging of doors because they eat all through the night.  I’ve been won over by the Hay Chix brand of hay bag simply because they’re the easiest to fill!

What are some of your 'Must Haves' in the barn?  Please share!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Make This: Slow Cooker Quinoa White Chicken Chili

Vacation is officially over.

Gone is the warm and sunny climate of New Orleans, Louisiana. It's been replaced with 45 mph wind gusts and a blizzard warning here in good ol' Illinois.  Thankfully, I don't have to head into work today because of the weather conditions! 

If I had the necessary ingredients my Slow Cooker Quinoa White Chicken Chili would the perfect accompaniment to this day.... Alas. The recipe is posted over on my friend Ashley's blog Messy Kennedy for you to enjoy! 

Slow Cooker Quinoa White Chicken Chili

1 medium onion, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, diced*
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ teaspoons cumin
4 cups chicken broth or chicken stock
1 cup salsa verde
1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breasts, thawed
2 small zucchinis, chopped
1 15 oz. can white beans
½ cup quinoa, rinsed
1 teaspoon oregano
½ a lime, juiced
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients, except the lime and cilantro, into the pot of your slow cooker.  Cook on high for 3-4 hours.  Before serving, remove the chicken and shred it.  Return the chicken to the slow cooker along with the lime juice and cilantro. 
*I cleaned one pepper really well and left some of the seeds and ribs in the other for some spice!  

I’m lucky because Matt loves a good, hearty soup and this one is doesn’t require much else to go along with it since it’s loaded with veggies, beans and quinoa.  It really is easy to throw together in the slow cooker and go on about your business.  It’s a perfect, set it and forget it meal!  

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Make This: Wine Cork Wreath

For the last several weeks, I've been participating in A Bowl Full of Lemons Home Organization Challenge.  To date, I've purged the kitchen, pantry and most recently our dining room.  The idea is to go through everrrryythinnnggg and rid your house of excess!  Challengers have a facebook page where organizational/functionality ideas are shared and it helps keep many of us accountable.  Sunday after I checked all the items off the list of things to do, I posted a picture on Instagram and in the facebook group to mark my weekly achievement. 

Fellow Challengers posted lovely comments about the room and the decorating style (which I'd sum up as: farmhouse, rustic and country) that we've chosen for our home.  I had questions about how I redid the chairs, the A-frame wine rack and if I had made the placemats, but folks were gaga over the wine cork wreath! Since there was such a genuine interest in how it was made, I promised a tutorial would appear on the blog this week.  So as promised....

Make This: Wine Cork Wreath

Items Needed:
Straw Wreath
Wine Corks

First and foremost, do yourself a favor and leave the plastic wrapping on the wreath!  Your wreath will be full of corks and you won't even see it.  It's not worth the mess you'll have if you remove it. 

Cut a rather long piece of jute (or cord or some other heavy string), that will be how your wreath is hung up.  The length is purely your decision.  The jute in the tutorial was 22 inches long.  You'll double it up and lay it underneath your straw wreath.  Feed the tails through the loop at the top and finish by knotting the tails together, as shown.

Now, grab a wine cork and a toothpick.  You will carefully pierce the toothpick into one end of your cork.  You may have to wiggle the toothpick and hold your mouth just so to get it started...  Once you've got the toothpick attached to the cork, start placing the toothpicks into the straw wreath. 

You will continue the process of attaching the toothpick to the cork and place them into the wreath.  Place each cork close to it's neighbor so that you see very little of the straw wreath.  

Inevitably, you will have a toothpick break on you.  Just pull it out and start again.

As you continue to place the cork/toothpicks into the wreath you'll want to remember to fill in the middle and outside edge of the wreath. 

As I was creating this wreath several years ago, I had a couple friends saving corks for me.  I solemnly swear I didn't drink every bottle associated with each cork!  There was a point that I just started sticking the corks in the wreath and added to it as I came across more.  Just last week I added a few corks to a spot or two that was thin.  My wreath is always evolving!  I'd encourage you to jump right in and not wait until you have enough corks.  Honestly, I have no idea how many are enough...

Oh oh!!  Something else that's noteworthy... Depending on the size of your wreath it can get really HEAVY!!!  Seriously.  If you decide to hang it on your wall use an anchor or double-check it's hanging from a stud.  It would be really sad for your wall and your wreath if it came crashing down!

Go collect your supplies, open a bottle of wine because you'll need the cork and get crafting!