Remember how, last week, I was busy cleaning and crossing items off ‘to do’ lists to get ready for H’s second birthday?

Well, we survived the party and we now have a two-year-old living with us.


Nobody does fashion like HT.

What I have I learned? They’re called the terrible twos for a reason. Yikes.

Anyway, on the to the Weekly Round Up:


Happy May, all! We’re rounding the corner on the first week of May, and in our house, that means it’s birthday time for H!

H will turn two-years-old Monday, but we’re celebrating her (and all of the moms in the family since it also is Mother’s Day) with a family-only birthday party Sunday. Which means I have been cleaning like a mad woman and have made approximately 4,256 trips to the grocery store.

To Do Lists.jpg

This is my current “To Do” list, menu, and grocery list. And yes, I have written on the front and back of each sheet.

Despite the crazy, I’m pretty excited to celebrate my little lady’s birthday (but seriously, how is she two already?) because she’s at the age where everything she says is hilarious. It’s going to be a good time.

In the mean time, it’s time to check some items off my work “To Do” list and tackle this week’s Weekly Round Up.

  • This story from the Washington Post about a massive recall of frozen fruits and veggies possibly contaminated with Listeria. Take note – I had some of those veggies in my freezer.
  • This article from The Guardian about farmers in California who are farming without water during one of the state’s most devastating droughts.
  • This, because Tuesday was Teacher Appreciation Day. Of course, I have a deep appreciation for ag teachers, but all teacher deserve our respect and admiration.Teacher Appreciation Day
  • This story from the New York Post, about how Prospect Park hired a herd of goats to help eliminate weeds. Now, that’s pretty cool – and sustainable.
  • This story from the Wall Street Journal about a brewery in Belgium which built a 1,500 foot pipeline to send beer, brewed in the brewery, back into town. And yes, the article does answer the question of whether residents were able to get their own taps in their homes.
  • This, because, seriously. It’s the name of the blog! Blog
  • And finally, this article from the Center for Food Integrity, which talks about Dannon Yogurt’s decision to source milk from cows that have never consumed GMO feeds.

We’re dairy-loving people in our house – and not just because my family has dairy cattle. We genuinely love all things dairy. And my two-year-old may be the queen of the dairy-loving kingdom.

Seriously. This day, she had milk, strawberries, yogurt, and cream cheese – with a little bit of bagel because that’s just the way she rolls – for breakfast.

Like I said. HT loves her dairy.

Right now, she’s drinking whole milk. But, growing up in the “full-fat dairy will kill you!” era, I’ve wondered, “Is it time to switch to 2 percent?”

Enter “The Full-Fat Paradox: Dairy Fat linked to Lower Diabetes Risk,” on NPR’s The Salt.

For years, the dairy industry had touted the benefits of drinking milk and consuming dairy products. Health officials and nutritionists have only half agreed, saying low-fat dairy products are the best for optimum health.

However, a new study finds that the dairy fats found in milk, yogurt and cheese may help protect against one of the most prominent diseases in the U.S.: Type 2 diabetes.

Published in the journal Circulation, the study included 3,333 adults and measured circulated levels of biomarkers of dairy fat in participants” blood. Over two decades, the researched tracked who among the participants developed diabetes.

According to the study, participants who had more dairy fat in their diet had a lower risk of diabetes.

“People who had the most dairy fat in their diet had about a 50 percent lower risk of diabetes,” compared with the people who consumed the least dairy fat, said Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Polciy at Tufts University, who is also an author of the study.

That’s pretty interesting information, especially for someone like me, who grew up on the information that to eat dairy in a healthy way, you had to eat the low-fat version.

To top it off, NPR’s The Salt also recently reported that additional research shows that children and adults who have a higher intake of whole milk or 2 percent milk gain less weight over time.

Researchers don’t know why full-fat may equal full health, but that doesn’t matter.

What does matter is my two-year-old’s hefty whole milk habit (and love for all things dairy – including the cows) is a healthy habit to have.



It’s springtime in Illinois and that means one thing:


Okay, maybe it means more than one thing. But still, spring planting is pretty important.

Anyway, time for the Weekly Round Up:

  • Check out this video from the National Agricultural Aviators Association:   
     “Great video from NAAA member Jeff Chorman flying over budding orchards at risk to frost damage. Temperatures of 29 degrees can result in a 10 percent loss tot he crop; 27 degrees and below a 90 percent loss. Watch the helicopter move the needle up four degrees and warm the crop as he flies by. Ag aviators feed the world indeed!”
  • Since we’re well on our way to summer – and farmers market season – be sure to check out this article from OnlyInYourState.com, which outlines the best farmers markets in Illinois. I’m close to a couple of these, and you better believe I’ll be spending some money there this summer.
  • This, because who knew? catch a chicken
  • And speaking of chickens – did you know that chickens are quickly becoming the ‘bird of choice’ in big cities? In fact, according to a New York Times article, “There are no reliable statistics on the city’s chicken population, but one vendor alone, mypetchicken.com, says it has shipped more than 3,000 birds to New York City in the last three years, and 34 community gardens now keep flocks.”
  • As we’re wrapping up spring and heading into summer, check out these interesting sunflower facts from Country Living. Given, I’m not much of a green thumb, but I certainly didn’t know most of these flower facts.
  • And last but not least, this. Because, cows or not, that’s the truth. having it all

It’s Earth Day!



Happy Earth Day, everyone! Here in central Illinois it was a nice, warm day with a little bit of sun.

Most Illinois farmers were doing their normal Earth Day thing, working ground or even trying to get crops in the ground.

We often talk about farmers being the original conservationists — and that’s true — but on today’s farms, farmers are doing more than ever before to be good stewards of the land.

Essentially, they’re celebrating Earth Day every single day. And that task has been even easier this year with the help of nutrient stewardship grants made possible by the Illinois Farm Bureau.

Twenty-nine Illinois county Farm Bureaus were awarded grants under the first-ever Nutrient Stewardship Grant program. Illinois Farm Bureau awarded the grants – totaling more than $100,000 – to help promote local nutrient stewardship, soil health and water quality projects.

Sounds like Earth Day to me.

“We’re beyond talking about nutrient management and moving to actually help our members adopt and implement strategies and practices,” said Lauren Lurkins, director of environmental and natural resources, IFB. “We’re trying to move the needle, and these grants will help us do just that.”

Projects tackle nutrient issues relevant to local needs, soils, and farming practices, with the ultimate goal of achieving nutrient loss reduction goals under the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS).

Announced by the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in July 2015, the NLRS calls for a creation of an Agricultural Water Quality Partnership Forum to “steer outreach and education efforts to help farmers address nutrient loss.”

The plan tasks wastewater treatment plants, urban areas and agricultural areas with reducing the state’s phosphorous load by 25 percent and its nitrate-nitrogen load by 15 percent by 2025. These actions will assist in addressing water quality problems in Illinois rivers, lakes and streams. The eventual target is a 45 percent reduction in the loss of these nutrients to the Mississippi River.

The projects, which are happening this summer across the state, range from water testing and cover crop plots to saturated buffer construction and stream bank stabilization.

And farmers are doing more than just participating in the grant projects — they’re employing their own stewardship and best management practices on their own farms, independently.

Farmers rely on the land to support their families — and grow the food on which we all depend. If they don’t protect it, they’re the ones who lose.

Happy Friday, all! Big plans this weekend? Hubs and I have big plans that involve little to no sleep because we’re moving H to her ‘big girl bed.’

If that doesn’t mean, “Congrats, mom and dad, no sleep for you,” I don’t know what does.

But hey, what are parents if they aren’t gluttons for punishment? Anyway, on to the Weekly Round Up!

  • The big news here in the agriculture community is the current state of the farm economy. If you’re not intimately involved in agriculture, it may be news to you. But for farmers, the downturn in the farm economy has been brewing for a while and it doesn’t look to improve too soon. To learn more about why that’s a problem for farmers – and you – check out these articles from Reuters (this one features one of my favorite farmers, Dave Kestel!) and Farm Futures.
  • Along the same lines, Illinois Corn Growers posted an excellent breakdown of how ag products are priced and the share the farmers receives – it’s Ag Econ 101. Where was this when I was in college?
  • This, because it’s awesome. Here’s the guys and gals out there growing our food. FB_IMG_1459210414746
  • In the same vein as the farm economy stories I mentioned above, here’s another that you may not be aware of. Recently, a wildfire broke out in Oklahoma and then rapidly moved into Kansas. Across the two states, ranchlands were burned, putting ranchers in a tough spot coming in to spring. For more information on how ranchers are dealing with the fires, check out this post from Tales from a Kansas Farm Mom.
  • This, because it doesn’t seem like a day goes by without hearing some other completely incorrect nugget of information regarding GMOs. This? This is good stuff. AnFB_IMG_1454119992741
  • And, speaking of GMOs – check out this article. I realize I’m a little biased because I think GMOs are all around pretty great. And I do have some issues with a couple of the statements made here (especially about pesticide use), but overall, I think it’s a great piece that outlines just how silly mandatory GMO labeling actually is.
  • And finally, this. Because, obviously. Farm to table

Chocolate Milk

Who doesn’t love it?

H just got the opportunity to try chocolate milk the other day and was immediately hooked. In fact, I’m a little concerned I’ve created a monster.

For me, it combines two of my favorite things: chocolate and dairy cows.

Which is why, when I found this story, I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen! Plus, it will add a kick to an industry that could use some rejuvenation right now.