My Other More Exciting Self

Farm Raised, Shoe Enthusiast, Turkey Talker, Wine Lover, Mom

You guys!

You know how I love me some turkey. And I’m especially fond of all the hard-working turkey farmers out there – like my new friend and blogger, Katie over at On the Banks of Squaw Creek. Katie and her husband raise turkeys in Iowa and I’ve been following her blog for quite a while. Then she got a communications job off the farm, as well, with the Iowa Turkey Federation and suddenly we’re colleagues, too, which is super cool. She’s one of the few bloggers I know who writes about turkeys and I love her passion and enthusiasm for blogging, social media, and sharing her family’s stories as turkey farmers.

On the Banks of Squaw Creek - Turkey Farmers | via

Plus she also coerced me into creating a Facebook page for my blog, which I was kind of hemming and hawing about at the time. I’m so glad she helped me see the light – thank you, Katie! :)

Which brings me to a few links and my FIRST EVER giveaway on my blog!

Katie has written a non-fiction children’s book about life on a turkey farm in Iowa.  The premise goes like this: Adam is a 6-year-old farm boy that lives on a turkey farm that raises more than 100,000 turkeys every year.  Through the book, kids (and their parents) can learn how farmers take care of turkeys through Adam’s eyes, as he takes us on a virtual tour of his turkey farm. It’s really a great read for all ages!

My Family's Farm by Katie Olthoff | via

While educators can click on a link on the Iowa Turkey Federation’s website to download a virtual copy of the book, I have a PRINTED copy to giveaway to one lucky reader! You can enter at the bottom of this blog post – it’s easy!

What’s also awesome about Katie and the rest of the good folks at the Iowa Turkey Federation is they have some other fun resources for kids – just perfect for Thanksgiving weekend. (Although certainly I believe learning where your food comes from should be a year-round experience.)

You will find an activity book here that’s been created by former teachers. It gives students from kindergarten through 5th grade some basic knowledge about turkeys and turkey farms – while also strengthening basic reading, math and problem-solving skills.

And I can’t leave my organization, Minnesota Turkey, out of this either. Our office works with our sister organization, the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota, to provide complimentary teacher kits on turkeys, eggs and chickens at the Education Minnesota Conference annually in October. A variety of brochures, flyers and recipes are available in each kit. If you are an educator or you home-school your kids and are looking for more information about poultry, email and we’ll make sure you get one – for free if you are from Minnesota!

Don’t forget – enter the giveaway for your chance to win a copy of Katie’s book. All you have to do is comment below on your favorite way to use turkey leftovers. Yep, that’s it! I’ll pick a random winner on next week and announce it on my Facebook page.

Good luck!

WCCO Interview with Minnesota Turkey farmer Scott Heymer | via

It’s that time of year again for me.

Turkey time. Talking turkey. Thanksgiving countdown.

However you want to say it … it’s time for this turkey queen (an inherited nickname from my friend, Sherrie, who showed me the turkey queen ropes while she was at the National Turkey Federation) to handle the litany of media calls and requests for information and interviews.

Inexplicably, this always seems to sneak up on me – such that when I arrived at the office today, I was taken aback by the number of phone calls and voice mails awaiting me. In true turkey queen fashion, however, I handled the initial stress and proceeded to schedule interviews and answer questions with apparent ease. (I did wonder how in the world that Scripps News reporter from Washington DC got my cell number, though.)

Then while Joe was at his piano lessons after work, I vented internally and wrote a few tips I wish reporters would know before they contact me:

  1. You can’t expect a farmer to be available immediately. He or she might be in the barn or at an appointment and not get my message right away. It can take time reach them and even then, they are people with jobs to do – just like the rest of us. Except they typically don’t have assistants to track them down and they have thousands of birds that take precedence over a media request.
  2. Don’t demand that you need to talk to someone now. There are more professional ways to get your point across. I know you’ve got a deadline – I get it; you usually have a quick turnaround (I was a reporter once, too) – but if you are obnoxious about it, that only succeeds in making me unhappy and frustrated.
  3. Polite and professional will get you a long ways. Empathize with me that you know it’s crazy short notice and have a little extra patience (see #1). I will go the extra mile for you. Seasoned reporters seem to know this far more than newbies. Learn from the veterans, people.
  4. Don’t just show up at a farm expecting to talk to someone. That’s annoying at best and often comes off as downright rude. You may get the interview but I won’t appreciate your overzealous methods for future stories and I will talk in the office about your lack of professionalism. (I’m just kidding about that last part. Well, no. Actually I’m not.)
  5. Don’t leave a voice mail for me at the office at 10 pm at night and assume I’m going to get it first thing in the morning. I might be out of the office or get wrapped up in a deadline. The best way to get in front of me anytime of day is email – and/or call me back in the morning during office hours.
  6. Don’t email or call on Saturday and expect an immediate interview. I don’t usually check email or voice mail on Saturday (unless it is an emergency, of course). If you contact me in advance, I will usually be happy to help you out – so think about planning ahead a little if this is related to the weekend.  I try really hard to keep Saturday and most of Sunday focused on family time as much as possible. (And yes, I do understand that sometimes stories just happen and you can’t think ahead. In those cases, I completely understand.)

Am I asking too much? I don’t think so. It all comes down to being professional and polite and kind. I never take a media request lightly or blow reporters off, but I am ultimately much happier about helping a reporter if I’m treated with respect and I get the sense they understand that farmers are busy people, too.

We’re all in this together, after all.

Want to view a news report that aired today about Minnesota’s turkey farmers? Check this out.

Whoa, this week went fast. Okay, I probably always feel that way but it doesn’t make it any less true. In any case, I’m so glad it’s Friday for one very big reason: it’s my annual Girls’ Weekend! Every November, my cousin, sister and sister-in-law get together for a couple of days of catching up, shopping, eating and lots of wine. (Hello, prerequisite.) I can’t wait to see everyone – I’m hosting at my house this year so by day I’ve been doing my usual work thing, and by night I’ve been cleaning and pre-cooking. :) It’s going to be soooooo much fun!

A few highlights of my week:

High Five for Friday |

Technically this is NOT a highlight, but it certainly captures my Monday to a tee. A foot of snow – a little early, I’d say – but what are we going to do? It made the roads a mess, but Minnesotans persevere – or so I tell myself. School was closed on Monday but life was back to normal 24 hours later. I wasn’t ready for instant winter but it is certainly ready for us.

High Five for Friday |

In preparation for my company this weekend, I actually switched out the shower curtain in Joe’s bathroom from the cutesy penguin that, frankly, he has completely outgrown to something a little more sophisticated. Love this pattern and colors – and best of all, it’s a Target find!

High Five for Friday |

My new planner for 2015 arrived today. Yes, I’m totally old school. While I keep a calendar in Outlook at work, I wanted a paper planner for my blog and family schedule. I am hoping to be a little more organized with my blog posts this year – and this planner gives me the perfect place to jot down my ideas. I love this thing! (I found it on Etsy from Plum Paper Designs – here.)

High Five for Friday |

My parents are so funny when their phones autocorrect during a text message. I had texted to double-check whether both my great aunts were in Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps or if it was just Tillie. (I wrote a blog post on Veterans Day about this here.) As you can see, I eventually got to the bottom of things – Tillie (not Rollie or Gillie or Bertha) was in WAAC. This still cracks me up right now.

Earl the #Pug | via

And just to add a double dose of cuteness to your Friday, I give you Joe and Earl the #Pug. Enough said,

I’m linking up with The Diary of a Real Housewife, The Farmer’s Wife and September FARM this week!

Have a great weekend, everyone!


I stumbled upon this post this morning on Facebook and thought it was a fun and interesting resource on where our Thanksgiving meal comes from. Of course, I also loved it because of the shout out to Minnesota turkey farmers, who raise more turkeys than any other state in the U.S.

Great stuff here to share with your kids, too – they are never too young to start learning where their food comes from. Check it out!

Originally posted on Iowa Agriculture Literacy:

pretty tableThanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I like that it is fairly low-key, centers around a meal of comfort food enjoyed with family, and focuses on being thankful. Like many families, mine cannot start Thanksgiving dinner without going around the table and sharing what we are thankful for. I never tire of this tradition.

Among the many things shared each year is the amazing food on the table. It takes an army of farmers across the country that work hard throughout the year caring for animals and tending crops needed for our Thanksgiving feast.

We are all thankful for food and farmers on Thanksgiving, but have you ever thought about where the ingredients for your Thanksgiving dinner grow?

Top Producing States of Thanksgiving Favorites


  • Turkeys

    Turkeys are raised in barns to protect them from predators and extreme weather conditions.

    Our neighbor to the north is the…

View original 837 more words

Veterans Day Musings | via

First of all, I love this picture. It makes my heart happy to see it, and yet bittersweet, too, because I miss these fine folks.

My Dad’s family had many World War II veterans, including my Grandpa Joe (pictured above; and who my own son, Joe, is named after). If I recall correctly, all of Grandpa Joe’s siblings were involved in the military or women’s auxiliary during this time. Grandpa Joe was stationed in England for the Air Force and was a radio guy who flew bombing raids over Europe; Great Uncle Ham (not his real name but the nickname I knew him by – he was a real ham radio enthusiast) was in the Pacific for the Navy; and Great Uncle Butch (also his beloved nickname) was on the ground in Italy in the Army. Plus one of their sisters, my Great Aunt Tillie (also pictured above) was in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps.

Once in awhile, I think about what that was like for their parents – the worry and concern they must have faced at home with three sons overseas fighting for freedom. My mom just emailed me a copy of a letter that my Grandpa sent to his parents. What an amazing keepsake to read and cherish!

WW II soldier's letter home | via

As for my Great Aunt Tillie, I’ve always found it inspiring that she, as woman during the 1940s, would serve in this capacity as well and initially I wondered what WAAC was all about. Here’s what I found:

“Over 150,000 American women served in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) during World War 11. Members of the WAC were the first women other than nurses to serve within the ranks of the United States Army. Both the Army and the American public initially had difficulty accepting the concept of women in uniform. However, political and military leaders, faced with fighting a two-front war and supplying men and materiel for that war while continuing to send lend-lease material to the Allies, realized that women could supply the additional resources so desperately needed in the military and industrial sectors. Given the opportunity to make a major contribution to the national war effort, women seized it. By the end of the war their contributions would be widely heralded.”

I’m not surprised Tillie wanted to be involved in this way – she was a strong, independent-minded female and she would’ve been committed to helping however she could.

I know so many people over the years who have served for our country – including my father-in-law, Norman, who fought in the Korean War – and many other relatives and friends. I am so grateful for my family members and the sacrifices they made for our country. To all veterans, I say thank you and Happy Veterans Day.

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