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!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2015 Christmas in the Country Gift Reveal

After keeping quiet for several weeks, I can finally reveal my Christmas in the Country swap partner!  I received a box of goodies from Miss Amanda of The Good Stuff.

Amanda is currently working in DC and utilizing her degree in Ag Communication that she received from Kansas State University.  #EMAW, isn't that y'all's hashtag?  I see it all over my social media sites because I'm friends with a host of alumni.  And the school's primary color is purple.  I can dig it!

In addition to being professionals (haha!) in the agriculture community, we share an affinity for turquoise, mason jars and wine!  What I need her to teach me... How do you create and rock that messy hair look?!  Amanda has also inspired me to get my butt in gear and create/post my 101 in 1001 that I talked about way back when...

To my swap partner I sent some cute measuring spoons and rubber spatulas from Crate and Barrel; along with a pad of notepaper.  She creates recipes and I thought that she'd be able to put those three things to good use.  In addition to the kitchen inspired goodies, I sent her a snowman figurine/photo display and some loose leaf tea.  The tea, oh the tea... What a calamity!  Unbeknownst to me, Miss Haddie got into the box of goodies I was sending and it was only after talking with some of the co-hosts did I realize that someone covered up Haddie's indiscretions.  Long story short, the tea was undrinkable.  Talk about a huge embarrassment, I felt terrible!  The best laid plans.

Okay, back to task at hand here's the scoop on the gifts Amanda sent!

First off... those caramels.  Y'all they have rum IN THEM!  Hello, delicious.  I'm also totally stoked about the glass nail file and the fact that it has a case to keep it in!  I can't tell you how many pairs of sunglasses I've ruined because they get scratched up in my purse.  And the notepad, I'm a list maker from way back and this is perfect!  Amanda also sent some really cute bev naps and a deck of wine cards that help you pair wine with your favorite foods.  Sold.  The four little jars?  They're spice containers!  They remind me of the ones my grandparents kept on their kitchen table when I was a little girl.  I love them!

Amanda did a bang up job and I hope that one day our paths cross!  The agricultural community is pretty small and I'd be willing to bet there's a good chance that us meeting IRL might truly happen!

I want to thank all the hosts (Laurie, Jamie, Kirby and Lara) of this year's Christmas in the Country swap for organizing such an undertaking!  Thanks for dreaming up this event that connects like-minded gals, that hopefully lead to great friendships despite the many miles that can separate us!