Farmers Market Meals Made Easy

Its farmers market season. You drive through town and see a farmers market or down a country road there’s a roadside stand wouldn’t you love to stop and just snoop?!

And then you don’t. Why not? Maybe the thought is “What am I going to do with a bag of vegetables?” “My kids don’t eat vegetables.” “I don’t like salad.” Any of these relatable?

Don’t worry! You need to stop anyway!

You can sign up below for my Free Farmers Market Meal Recipes and each week you will receive an email with a couple recipes so you can pick out beautiful produce  with confidence knowing that they won’t go to waste! Did I mention they’re Free?!

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Learning Forgiveness

Before I forget here is the “part 2” to Teaching I’m Sorry” from last week.

Forgiveness is a tough one, even with a heartfelt apology, some pains are very hard to forgive. One can make a meaningful apology and begin to feel better. They did what they could to right a situation and that’s that. To forgive can take an ongoing effort because forgiveness is most often tied to trust and that isn’t gained back over night. Regaining trust can take days or even months, it’s a long process that requires the offender to not repeat the offense and the offended to recognize that. Therefore, I find forgiveness to be something that is learned through unfortunate experiences and not as easily taught as an apology. (Not that apologies are that easy either.)

“Forgive but don’t forget.”

I don’t buy this as it stands. “Forgive but don’t forget.” Sounds like a good grudge to me and a grudge is only verbal forgiveness at best. Short term a grudge may seem like a faster way to move on, long term it holds you back and affects more aspects of your life that you may realize. I’m not a crazy hippie but I do believe that having inner peace is extremely important for a healthy life. The healthier way to keep the saying would be “Forgive. Let go. Forget if you like.” Then there is peace again.

Let go.

This doesn’t mean that the wrong that has been done is ok, it means that you have made peace with it. It’s not ok, but you are not going to dwell on it. You have taken some time to accept what happened and allowed yourself to move on (not hold a grudge). This may mean that you have learned a lesson to not put yourself in certain situations or that you have realized that it really wasn’t your fault. This is not to say that in some situations the offended is not partially to blame, in which case taking ownership of those actions is important too (and may require acknowledgement and/or an apology). It is very important to take time and realize your role or lack thereof; don’t just assume you’re the victim.

When I opened my bakery years ago I started with a partner. Hindsight’s 20/20.I was just barely 20 and naive to think that she was not going to talk about me as she did her own family and other so-called “friends”. She lasted the first year with the bakery and it was finally too much for her to handle. During that year, I couldn’t believe some of the things she said about her husband and sisters and looking back I can’t believe that I didn’t think she was saying things about me as well. I never took time to think much past her words to think that some may be about me. I ignored the bad and continued to look for the good.

When she left, I thought it was on good terms, we agreed that she could use the kitchen after hours to do some wedding cakes on the side to help her get going again. I called a few times just to say hi and see how things were going. All the calls were short which struck me as odd and still I was blind. It wasn’t until things started going missing and a friend of mine mentioned some of the thing that were said when I wasn’t around. Finally everything made sense. I called the former partner asking about the missing items and even gave her an easy out questioning if someone helping her grabbed them by mistake. I will never forget her reply “maybe the fell in the garbage or maybe one of the construction workers took them.” Seriously, I may have been blind but I can wake up quick. That was the last straw, I waited for another weekend to pass in hopes that the items would mysteriously show up in an odd spot and then promptly had the locks changed.

Nothing was returned, no further calls were made. That was it. I saw her mother a few months later and got a very cold shoulder. I expect a parent to side with their child but I also know that what was said in my absence was a whole lot of bologna. Between the lying to me, about me and theft, forgiveness was a long time out. There was no monetary value to what was taken, just sentimental to me and I’m not sure to her. Some contained letters from my family and recipes that she knows I would have gladly reprinted upon request among a few other things.

No apology was made and I don’t expect to ever get one (or hear from her again). These days that’s ok. It took years for me to be completely at peace with everything. There was a lot of looking back at her actions and mine. I won’t claim victim because I wasn’t helpless, just blind. Peace came when I realized the problem was indeed hers; you don’t talk about your family like that without having a personal problem, she held a grudge against her husband and more that really doesn’t need sharing. In the end she has to answer for her actions to a being much greater than I.

The material things taken were just that. I have other letters from mom, recipes from grandma and I can look up new articles about my sister’s volunteer award. Would I have liked to hang on to them? Of course! Are they a necessity to live or keep the bakery going? No. (In fact without the partner, I was able to run a much better business without her and with the help of a dear friend.)

As for what was said about me, that was probably the easiest thing for me to let go of. The truth comes out eventually and actions speak louder than words to quote another cliché. I may never get acknowledgment from anyone she spread rumors to, but given time they will see her ways and rethink their opinions. I know the truth, God knows the truth and quite frankly, that’s all that matters. I forgave. I let go. I learned many lessons. I did not forget.

Forgiveness is a journey, sometimes a very long one. It requires reflection, patience and a willingness to continue unburdened by a time consuming grudge.

It’s not easily taught. It’s not easily given. It should never be taken for granted.

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Teaching “I’m Sorry”

I stumbled upon a blog post explaining why a mother did not make her kids apologize when they’ve done something wrong. Found here. I found the title intriguing and by the time I was done reading I was a believer in the concept with a couple changes. In all fairness, I don’t recall a single time so far that I have ever said “Say you’re sorry.” The little boy knows the rules. He doesn’t always obey, we are learning, not perfect. So this isn’t switching directions on him; I’m not sure it would make a difference if it was though. As parents, we have already been doing some of this without realizing. I just took the time to write it down and hey, we aren’t doing half bad!

Long example: When we talk about going to church on Sunday with the little boy, we state that it is important to be quiet when we are in church, to listen to the stories and sing the songs. When we are in church we need to sit still, it is not time to play. Most Sundays after mass coffee and doughnuts are available and this is my “no bribe” rule exception. If you are good in church we can have a doughnut. Before church we go over the expectations once more. After church, we take a quick minute to ask “Were you good? Did you sit still? Were you quiet?” Usually the reply is “no” to 2 of 3. But it makes him take a second to think about his actions. He has learned he doesn’t want to leave early. We’ve made a little progress there.

Thinking about your actions is the first step in being sorry. What do you have to be sorry for? In the beginning just telling the child to “Say I’m sorry.” Really doesn’t do anything but possibly force a lie. Instead, we started with “I should not have ___. I know it wasn’t right.” They are taking ownership of what they did and acknowledging it wasn’t right. This may need a couple helpful questions; “Did you___? Is that something we are supposed to do?” This simple reflection of what just took place is usually enough time for them to realize just what they did and after a few times will lead to feeling sorry (with any luck).

Them feeling sorry for their actions is when “I should not have ___. I know it wasn’t right. I’m sorry.” comes in to play. From here things can usually move a little quicker with a couple more reflection questions: “why are you sorry? How do you think that makes___ feel?” By the time you are able to ask these questions, the previous questions usually can be skipped because the child has gown enough to make that connection.

Now that they are taking time to think about how it made the other person feel you can encourage “I should not have ___. I know it wasn’t right. I’m sorry I made you feel___.” This doesn’t happen overnight, in fact it can take a couple years depending on age. This takes a lot of personal growth and maturity, which takes time. Once you have made it this far the very last step is the easiest to teach and the hardest for everyone to do:

“I should not have ___. I know it wasn’t right. I’m sorry I made you feel___. I will try to not do that again.”

This last statement is what we are striving for should the event arise. Really, we are trying to do good so we don’t have to go through this but it doesn’t matter the age of the person apologies need to be made every now and then. It can be very hard to own up to what you done especially when talking to the person whom you are apologizing to. In fact I’m quite positive there are some adults who have never got this lesson and really should. Their quality of life would improve if they were capable of something so simple as saying “I’m sorry” meaningfully.

Being able to give an honest and meaningful apology isn’t the end of the lesson. Once the child (or adult) has this skill, they are thinking not only about themselves and their actions but of others and how they can affect those around them, good or bad. Thinking about others will be second nature, which means they are much more likely to be helpful, caring and compassionate. This means they will be using the skills they have learned to not need to apologize (not often anyway). They will be able to think ahead of what could happen should they do or say something and prevent the hurt feeling or whatever the outcome may be. That is the key.



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Making a Resurrection Garden

Spring can mean many different things depending on who you ask. From our farm view it is the start of the New Year. It brings baby animals, buds on the trees, blooms on the flowering crab trees, tulips (that I forgot to plant last fall! Ugh!) There’s spring cleaning of the house, yard, barn, flowerbeds, and gardens. It can get really crazy as things come out of winter hibernation. Spring is also a time to slow down and be thankful. That’s right being thankful isn’t limited to one day in November, you know the day before people go to town and fight over the latest gadget.

Giving thanks really should be done daily. In fact many studies have shown that the more one takes note of what they have to be thankful for the happier and more content they are. This is everything from a simple act of kindness, good health, an unexpected phone call from a friend or the orange soda you had for lunch. Every season brings something more to be thankful for and in the spring it’s the resurrection and what that means for us.

The weeks leading up to Easter are observed with fasting, self-reflecting, and most commonly the giving up something; such as the ever popular “sweets” or coffee. It seems like kind of a cop-out really. Give up the same thing every year because it requires no real soul searching or thought; “My pants are tight from Christmas, I suppose giving up sweets would be a good idea.” I’m not saying going without coffee or chocolate cake is an easy task, especially when you are still coming down from the cookie high of the holidays. But really, does it do you any spiritual good? Probably not. I knew a gal that for lent she said she was going to go to church every day for a year. Ho-ly Bananas! God bless her! She did it. I for one, am quite positive that a Lenten task such as that I would be setting myself up for complete failure. I mean done by day two failure.

For the past years, I have skipped the usual giving something up in the coffee sense of it. Instead I donate a minimum of one laundry basket of stuff a week. Yes, I would say the first few years were an easy route. I had a lot of clothes that I didn’t wear, old decorations I didn’t put up and so on. As the years have gone by this has begun to get tougher. I don’t collect nearly as much stuff as I used to and with our small house I have been getting rid of things year round. So each passing year is causing me to dig deeper into some of the things that I hold on to a little more dearly. The family heirlooms aren’t going anywhere but my ever growing book collection, cookbooks especially, I hate to part with for example. Going through the shelves is a sacrifice for me. But there is still not much in the spiritual department so to speak.

In addition to my usual (not quite) daily readings I have added a few other quiet tasks to my Lenten list. I needed something more, something that would teach. Something not just for me but for the family as a whole. With tiny ones (1 and 2 years old) teaching the concept to Easter is a tough one. The little boy knows the story of Christmas. He can tell you who’s who in the books and nativity scenes, (some of which are out all year in our home, a gentle reminder). He will tell you Joseph had to sleep in the barn and Mary had baby Jesus. There were animals, angels and shepherds and so on. Easter, on the other hand, seems harder to teach this age. He can learn the story but the story is a violent journey ending in joy that is not quite comprehensible for such a little mind.

We do put a small gift or two in the stockings and one gift from Santa but try to emphasize the true meaning of Christmas. It’s easier with Christmas. It’s a happy story for the entire journey. Easter, comes with bunnies, jelly beans and Easter egg hunts and a man being killed on a cross and then rising from the dead. Such violence is hard to explain to someone who has never experienced something more violent than a flick on the mouth for talking back or a time out. The crucifix in our living room is looked at with a puzzled look when he is told “that’s Jesus”. He hasn’t thought about why Jesus is up there or how he got there or the pain and suffering that put him there.

The rebirth, and new beginnings can symbolized in some of what has become another over-commercialized holiday but it can be found. Empty plastic eggs compared to an empty tomb, bunnies and baby chicks to new life or candy as a celebration for fasting. Ok that last one is a stretch but you get the picture.

Our dining room table always has a center piece and for the Lenten season it is an empty patch of dirt, with a cross of nails and a small cave. Jesus is sad for these weeks, there is no green grass or pretty flowers. When we talk back or push our sister it makes Jesus sad and the empty dirt is a reminder to be nice. We water the empty dirt on Friday and tell Jesus we are sorry for the things we shouldn’t have done, what we are thankful for and good deeds we did. These are simple things- talked back, threw a toy not meant for throwing, thankful for a warm house and family, we helped put the books back on the shelf and set the table.

A week and a half or so before Easter the dirt is heavily seeded with grass seed. As we continue to water during reflection time grass begins to sprout. On Easter morning, the grass is full and green and there might be a butterfly or flowers. Jesus is happy and we are too.

It’s the least violent way I could think of to teach about this season to a toddler. The repent for our sins is made into as simple terms as possible. We are learning to take ownership of our actions and acknowledge all that we have been giving.

Don’t get me wrong, come Easter morning their baskets will be “hidden” with a treat, a dyed egg and new toothbrush. The Easter bunny will have come and left a couple dishes of special candies and with any luck there may be an egg hunt later in the day. We can have the “bunny fun” as a side note of Easter and not the center of attention.

(We always got a new toothbrush from Santa and the Easter Bunny. Give one for Halloween and you know everyone is getting a fresh brush a few times a year anyway.)

Resurrection Garden
Resurrection Garden
Resurrection Garden
Resurrection Garden
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Tales of the Pregnant Farmer is Back!

I’m happy to announce that Tales of the Pregnant Farmer will be starting again. The morning I got two positive tests, yes two, I didn’t believe the first, I was out catching chickens. Starting this pregnancy off right, again!

Here’s weeks leading up to now…

Chores were done in the usual, high class fashion, at 5 am that morning. My best bedhead, bath robe, barn coat and boots. Classy! There was nothing out of the ordinary with that morning’s routine other than I had to catch 3-4 chickens to bring to town to be sold before work. I must say my chicken catching skills have greatly improved since last fall. It didn’t take too long to have the ladies in the crate and ready for town.

A few days later…

I’m not going to claim pregnancy brain as of yet, even though most days I think I’ve lost my memory and mind when our oldest came along, I’m holding out hope anyway. I was having a usual day at work, nothing exciting to speak of, when my husband called.

“Did you use the back door this morning?”

“Probably? I assume so. I don’t remember I guess.” (I did remember later, yes I went out on the porch to get a trellis for a plant that was drooping.)

“The door was wide open. Did you leave the dogs out?”

“Yes, the two big ones.”

Apparently they were all outside and the cat who lives in the barn had ventured into the house. He wasn’t in there when Mike arrived, but the evidence was stuck to his foot. The little fella must have really been snooping, because when he was found outside he was attached to a sticky mouse trap. Better than a snap trap I guess.

So after we got all that figured out and gave a second thought to the furnace that was most likely running all morning. I hung up and continued working. Not too long after the phone rang again.

“You must have been sleep walking this morning; the gate was open in the barn too.”

“Oh for heaven’s sake!”

The cows were out in the corral and if any of them would have wandered that direction it would have been the boys and they would have just hung out and ate hay off the stack. Thank goodness.

The little boy was a breeze. The little Miss was a physical challenge between chores and dress (the Christmas party incident). Number three could be quite a doozey at this rate!




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