Considering that I’ve spent most of my week with a sick toddler who, despite her sore throat and nasty cough, was still energetic enough to want to be entertained, today’s website is pretty appropriate.

Maybe not for my toddler (I’m trying – and failing – to limit screen time, you guys), but definitely for your (slightly older) kids, and maybe even you.

Luckily for me, a giant box from Amazon turned out to be pretty good entertainment...

Luckily for me, a giant box from Amazon turned out to be pretty good entertainment…

...as did her sunglasses.

…as did her sunglasses.

www.MyAmericanFarm.org, a special project of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, is home to games, activities and educational resources aimed at teaching agricultural literacy. Through the interactive computer game, players learn where food comes from and how those products get form the farm to the dinner plate.

The latest addition to the website, “The Buzz,” is an interactive game which asks players to travel to “Pollinatorville,” where they’ll learn more about the important role bees and butterflies play in food production.

The best part? The Buzz can be played both in the classroom and at home. For teachers, there’s a supporting lesson plan, “My Butterfly Book,” which will help young readers explore the pollinator process as they develop their own book.

And that’s not the only game on the website. In fact, there are more than 20 games which focus on a variety of subjects, including health and wellness, science and math. Games vary in target age, so there’s a little something for every kid in your life.

Oh, and your kids can play it on your phone (read: keeping kids entertained at the grocery store is AWESOME) when you download the app.

To see the rest of the 30-day series, check out the links below:

No flash, no artsy pictures, no fancy words. Just lots of good info for consumers who want to know.

And if you want to know about food sold here in the U.S., there’s no better place to go than the Food and Drug Administration, or the FDA.

The FDA is a federal agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulations and supervision of, well, lots of stuff: food safety, tobacco products, dietary supplements, prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical drugs, vaccines, medical devices, animal foods and feed, veterinary products and more.

For consumers who want to know about food, recalls, advisories and more, the best place to go is their resources page.

From there, you can learn more about all kinds of stuff, including:

That may seems like a (relatively) short list, hit up any of those links and you’ll be busy for hours. Lots of great stuff for anyone with questions about health and food.

To see the rest of the 30-day series, check out the links below:

I’m on day 2 of having a sick toddler at home and day 11 of this 30-day challenge.

This is what I’ve learned: Managing each, separately, is a marathon, not a sprint. Together, it’s like competing in the Iron Man, and I’ve never been much of an athlete. Yikes.

After a full day of Sesame Street yesterday, I decided to pony up and buy the first season of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on Amazon. It was a good decision. After all, Mickey doesn't consistently speak in the third person (I'm looking at you, Elmo).

After a full day of Sesame Street yesterday, I decided to pony up and buy the first season of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on Amazon. It was a good decision. After all, Mickey doesn’t consistently speak in the third person (I’m looking at you, Elmo).

Thankfully H is on the upswing and, rather than mommy staying home another day tomorrow, she’ll be spending the day with her Nana. So, check no. 1 off the list.

And to check off no. 2, I’ll need you to visit Ryan Goodman’s blog, Agriculture Proud.

Goodman started his blog, simply, to share his story about agriculture and raising cattle:

“I didn’t know it at the time, but a summer spent on a Wyoming cattle ranch launched an entirely new world for me by sharing daily experiences of ranch life. On this blog you’ll find more stories about my passion for the cattle industry and the community of folks involved in producing our food.”

Goodman’s blog is an excellent place to stop anytime you have a question about production agriculture of any kind. While his experience lies in cattle production, Goodman often invites guest bloggers to his page to write about their experiences and expertise in agriculture, to give his readers a wide range of information.

Plus, Agriculture Proud is always a good blog to visit for a review or farmer or rancher opinion on hot topics in ag. Goodman was one of the first to dissect Subway’s announcement on antibiotics, giving an excellent rundown on the problems with the announcement, as he saw them, and what that meant for farmers and ranchers.

On his blog, you’ll find a section to ask farmers questions about agriculture, how to up your stats if you write a blog yourself, and info about his current home state of Montana. And if that isn’t enough, be sure to check him out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

In a nutshell, Agriculture Proud is home to lots of good information straight from the farmers and ranchers who work the land. It’s an excellent blog to add to your list of bookmarked sites.

To see the rest of the 30-day series, check out the links below:

Whew. Having a sick kid at home is no joke, you guys. We started the day with puke and ended the day with daddy keeping H company until it was time for her to go to bed so mommy could have a nap on the couch. And the in between, well, let’s just leave that as the in between. Ugh.

Long story short, that’s why 9 p.m. is prime time for blog time.

Today, I’m sending you to the perfect place to get all the best Illinois agricultural and travel info: Illinois Farm Bureau Partners Magazine.

IFB Partners 2

Produced by Illinois Farm Bureau for all of the 405,977 members statewide, Illinois Farm Bureau Partners is a magazine for anyone who enjoys travel, eating (I mean, who doesn’t?) and so much more.

On the website, you’ll find Illinois events, attractions and other travel ideas; farmer profiles, agritourism destinations and gardening tips; recipes, local restaurants and more.

Oh, and there’s an accompanying radio show, which also can be found on the website. And the pictures! I’m telling you — there are some great shots.

It’s worth a visit. The feature stories are well-written and super interesting and, in the time it took me to write this post, I already have our next three weekend mini-vacations already picked out. It’s seriously worth the time.

To see the rest of the 30-day series, check out the links below:

Switching gears today, guys. Instead of food and general ag information, I’m sending you to website where you can dig a little deeper into how and why the world uses fertilizers, and what we all must do to protect the environment.

When it comes to fertilizer, farmers are fairly large consumers. Yet, contrary to popular belief (read: any Google search about agriculture and the environment), farmers work very hard to be good stewards of the land.

Before applying chemicals, they go through extensive training and follow label directions. They employ conservation practices like no-till farming, remove land from production and set it aside for conservation, or even plant cover crops. They even utilize technology like precision planting and GPS technology to reduce waste on farms. And that’s not even all of it.

In other words, they do a lot. And they do it because they want to make sure the land is in good shape for the next generation of farmers.

But farmers aren’t the only ones who use nutrients. Homeowners, parks, golf courses and more all use nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium to keep lawns and landscapes healthy. All of those nutrients must be managed appropriately to keep the earth and water healthy.

So what role can you play? A good first step is to visit www.NutrientsForLife.org.

Nutrients for Life is a global organization consisting of members and collaborative partners that develops and distributes science-based materials to improve plant nutrient literacy, soil health knowledge and promotes fertilizer’s role in sustaining a growing population.

The website is chuck full of information for every kind of person who might be interested in environmental stewardship — stakeholders of all kinds, teachers, and even students.

Spend some time on the Nutrients for Life website and you’ll know more than you ever realized you needed to know about managing fertilizer — and that’s a good thing.

To see more of the 30-day series, check out the links below:

Have you noticed the plethora of labels on today’s food products? It’s crazy the amount of labels that get slapped on everything from boxed dinners to fresh meat. All natural, organic, gluten free, low fat, no fat, grass fed and more.

Food Labels 1 Food Labels 2When it comes to meat, the labels get even more complicated — and even misleading. Take, for example, this label:

antiotic free meatThe first line on the label says, “No Antibiotics.” Awesome, right? Well, yes, if you don’t know that all meat is free of antibiotics because it’s against the law for farmers to market animals if they still have antibiotics in their systems.

So, where do you turn when you need help deciphering all of these crazy labels —  especially when it comes to protein? Why, Mom at the Meat Counter, of course.

Meat scientist and mom Janeal Yancy started blogging at Mom at the Meat Counter four years ago, after she gave birth to her daughter, hoping to return the gift of advice that so many moms had given her.

Janeal Yancy

“When you become a mom, you join this special club,” Janeal said. “Moms love to help each other out. After my daughter was born, I realized that I was getting all this great help and advice from other moms and I wanted to contribute something back to other moms.

“I realized that lots of moms didn’t know much about how their food was produced. They had lots of questions and concerns about food and meat production. It can be really stressful to hear or read scary things about the food supply and not know where to get good answers. I had an understanding of meat production that other moms didn’t. I could help other moms feel better about the food they feed their kids and I could help give them some confidence in buying food.”

Thus, Mom at the Meat Counter was born. Janeal, who still works in academia at the University of Arkansas, is oversees the meats quiz bowl and academic quadrathlon teams (you go, Janeal! I have a toddler, and let me say, if you can get all that done, you deserve a cape!) and loves working with students in the university’s Block and Bridle Club.

On her blog you kind find all kinds of great information about how your favorite protein is raised, harvested and marketed. Janeal tackles the topic that brought me to her blog in the first place, which is labeling, as well as food safety, and processed meats, among other things.

But Janeal says her favorite blog topics come from other moms who have questions about their food and says that, no matter the question, it’s always worth asking — and answering.

“I love questions and comments,” Janeal said. “My best posts come from readers’ questions. No questions are off limits. If you are worried about something in the meat supply, ask me about it. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find someone who does.”

Be sure to check out all of the excellent information Janeal posts at her blog and her Facebook page. You can find both at the Meat Counter. And if you have questions, take her up on her offer! Post comments, ask questions and engage in conversation. Janeal and I have had the opportunity to meet online a couple of times now and she’s absolutely wonderful!

To see the rest of the 30-day series, check out the links below:

We made it to the weekend, you guys! I don’t know about you, but I have big plans this weekend. The Hubs is adding another mile to the odometer this weekend, so we’re celebrating with…oh, who am I kidding? We have a toddler. We’re probably going to put H to bed and marathon The Office with a bowl of popcorn.

Nothing says, “Happy Birthday!” like a couple hours of Dwight and Jim pranks. What can I say? We’re livin’ the dream.

"Identity theft is not a joke, Jim!"

“Identity theft is not a joke, Jim!”

You know who else is livin’ the we’ve-got-little-kids-and-no-time dream? Emily Webel over at Confessions of a Farm Wife — the first personal blog to be featured during the 30-day challenge.

I don’t know Emily personally, but hers is one of my favorite blogs to read because she brings an interesting perspective the many farm blogs out there today. Sure, she’s a farm wife and mom, but if you’ve followed her for a while, you know that she didn’t really intend to settle on the farm. And she does an excellent job of keeping consumers’ concerns top-of-mind when writing.

She tackles the same tough topics that mom’s today are concerned about and she doesn’t an excellent job of breaking down complicated information into easily digestible nuggets.

Oh, and she and her ag teacher husband have some pretty cute kids. Six of them, to be exact. The youngest two are twins. I guess what I’m trying to say is, the pictures (and funny parenting stories) she posts about her kids are reason enough to visit her blog regularly. But if you don’t have the time to sit down and read a blog, follow her on Facebook! Same great pics and stories, fewer words.

To see the rest of the 30-day series, check out the links below:


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 11,571 other followers