Hello There...

Welcome to my blog. I'm a full-time mommy of a 4-year-old & a 0-year-old, part-time waitress and a rookie blogger. Living on a farm with my son, daughter and husband among dogs, chickens, ducks and other various wildlife keeps life interesting and anything but normal!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chili Cook-Off

Fall is a great time for things like hay rides, square dancing, flannel shirts, carving pumpkins and Church Chili Cook-Offs. New Hope Community Church has been hosting an annual Chili Cook Off since before I was a member. I could ask the farmer exactly how many years, but he's not around. Anyways-for a long time. I never ate chili growing up (my mom hates it) let alone cooked my very own batch. But, for some reason, when you're a Spielman you just automatically want to do everything (or maybe it's just me?) Seriously, I always want to do everything-would that be considered a character flaw?

Anyways...I got married in the summer of 2007 and that very fall, I entered my first Chili Cook-Off @ NHCC. That year I'll admit, I sort of cheated, I just browned some ground beef and added a whole bunch of cans of "Hunt's Chili Sauce" it had all the tomatoes and seasonings right there for ya, just pour it in and let it simmer. I added some elbow macaroni to give it my own little twist, but that was about it! Surprisingly I got like the "Unofficial 3rd Place". Technically there's only 1st & 2nd awarded, but I had the next most votes. Not bad for never having cooked chili in my life! At the tender age of 21, a newly wed and fresh off a move to our 2nd home-- I was very pleased with my success.

Then 2008 rolled around, we were in another new house, I had one year under my belt and I was feeling good. I actually got a recipe this time and made the chili from scratch. The title of the recipe was "No Beans About It" I hated beans so that sounded wonderful to me! This year I added some corn for color and headed off to the chili cook off. I don't recall how many votes I got that year-2008-2009 kind of blend together in my memory. Anyways...it was a good time just as years past - great chili, good friends, square dancing and fellowship.

Then 2009 came. Now I had not one, but TWO years of Chili Cook-Off experience. I was like an old pro. No lie, we were in yet another new house (!) and this year my secret ingredient was bacon. Who doesn't love bacon? I mean really, bacon makes everything better. That should be pig farmers' slogan- "Bacon makes everything better. Period." I added some beans this year to give it texture and I was happy with the results. And for the second time I got "Unoffical 3rd" but again, I was satisfied. I only cook chili once a year, and this was only the 3rd year I'd ever made chili in my life-so for 3 times, not bad.

And 2010. (finally, same house) The year it all came together. I tried another new recipe this year. Bacon was good, but didn't do the trick. The canned stuff was fine, but still - not champion material. I needed something new, different. So I went to the only place I knew of to inspire greatness....GOOGLE. I googled chili recipes and poured over recipe after recipe. Then I found it. I was going over a recipe when in the comments section I read "I used this in my local chili cook off and won 1st Place." Done. That was the one I was going to use. It had salsa as the "secret" ingredient. MMmm, that sounded delicious. And that folks, was all it took. Some salsa, black and pinto beans and some 80/20 ground beef (and some seasonings of course). I took home the Chili Trophey last year and going into this year's Chili Cook Off I am the reigning Chili Queen!

And today (yay! still same house), I have 3 crock-pots full of chili simmering in my kitchen, my table decorations and accessories all packed up and I'm ready to head to my 5th Chili Cook Off. It's funny because we're so not chili eaters, the Chili Cook Off is literally the only time of the year we eat chili and it gives us our chili fill for the entire year! I'm not overly excited about my chili this year. I sort of just made up my own recipe -- since I have waayyy too much confidence in my chili cooking capabilities (winning will do that for you) and to be honest, I'm not too impressed with it. If I get some votes, I will be happy. I really don't think this year's chili is 1st place material. Oh well, I guess there's always next year.

I wonder what it would be like to just go to the chili cook off, and not cook chili - just eat everyone elses? Hmm, that would probably be way too easy.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Never in a Million Years

Today actually defined the epitome of this blog. The farmer sent me on a shopping trip for chicken feed. So I packed up the kiddo and headed down to Mukwonago in my BMW clad in my LC by Lauren Conrad sweater, furry boots and my mis-matchy oh-so-fashionably accessorized scarf and picked up some Layer Crumble. Now if that doesn't scream Farmer's Wife Livin' the City Life, then I don't know what does. I honestly never-in-a-million-years would have ever pinned myself as the girl who would be loading chicken feed into the trunk of my Beamer.

I was tempted to pick up a John Deere scarf and socks when I was there- but fortunately I resisted. Now that would have been crossing the line!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Shoe good to be true!

I fell upon MAJOR shoe good fortune today. As I was running errands, waiting for something to be made up for me at Office Max, Jack - in his infinite wisdom - asked me if we could go to Target! Oh do I know how to raise 'em! Just needing to waste a few minutes before we had to go pick up our order at Office Max, I quickly hit the shoe aisle (the clearance section, of course) and I stumbled upon these beauties. Yep, you're reading that right, $3.74-yes please. Even better news- they had my size! (which almost NEVER happens)


Then I got giddy when I saw these, hardly believing they'd have a 9. For some reason, these cute little ones usually only have like 11s and 5 1/2s left. One extreme or the other. And when I do happen to stumble upon a 9 it's usually because someone put them back in the wrong spot, or they're only 30% off (and I never pay retail or more than 50% off - unless I'm desperate) Things just kept getting better, I found a 9!
More good news:
75% off. Sold.

Wow, what a great day. Not to mention this final pair of keepers I picked up on Tuesday:
Online Item, returned - $8.48. Please and Thank you. You can see they're already scuffed a little, I've worn them almost a half dozen times since Tuesday (if that's even possible)

Put this week down in the books as "shoe good to be true". I came up with that all myself! Now I'm excited to hit the thrift stores next week (with some store credit that's burning a hole in my wallet) to find some coordinating threads for my new fall shoe collection. Money well-spent.

3 Pairs of Shoes < $20.00 = 1 Happy Shopper
The End.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Date Night

Started this Tuesday evening and never posted ... it's too cute not to share though!

With Donny gone off to a Boy's Night, Jack and I cozied up to a cute movie {Fox and the Hound} a big bowl of popcorn {homemade, of course} and had ourselves a fun little date night!

I forgot how sad the Fox and the Hound was, but it was cute...aside from some of the shooting scenes, although it was hunting- a sport, not murder. All in all, a fun, cute date night with my little man!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dress Dilemma

Weddings are so fun. I love the ceremony, the dinner and mostly the dancing-and of course celebrating with dear friends the joining of their lives as husband and wife. It's funny because whether it's your wedding, a friends wedding, whether you're standing up in the wedding or it's just an acquaintance getting married - what you wear can be completely stress-inducing. {at least for women, it is}

I am so excited to dress up, go on a date with my hubby and be toddler-less for an entire evening (thanks to some good friends who agreed to take Jack overnight). All while celebrating a wonderful event with two dear friends and family members.

Now I have a dilemma. In all my thriftiness, I picked up a really cute plain black dress from Target a couple months ago for $6.98. Enter brand new (tags-on) shoes from Goodwill for $4.99 and some shnazzy feather earrings and I have a completely cute wedding outfit for less than $20.00. But then I decided that maybe I want to try on a dress I've had in my closet-here comes the dilemma. Now I'm just not sure...so I have about 23 hours to decide. And so far the Farmer has been no help. When asked what he thought he said "they're OK" - wow, thanks for that inspiration.

Brown or Black?

On a more exciting note, the brown dress at the left I haven't worn in over two years, its a size 6 and it still fits! In my book, that is one post-baby victory worth bragging about!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Silly Jealousy

I had the silliest jealousy today when I was eating lunch at Noodles & Co. in New Berlin with the cutest 2-year-old on earth.

I saw this super cool family eating lunch on the "patio" outside of the restaurant. There was a mom, a dad and a son (the cutest kind of families). They {in their ultimate coolness} had ordered lunch at Noodles, walked down to the Starbucks and ordered their favorite Frappuccinos to accompany their pasta dishes. All I could say was WOW. How cool is that?

I'm slightly jealous because this kind of awesome lunch date will never happen in our family, just simply because my husband, the farmer, despises coffee and anything to do with Starbucks. Bummer. Oh well, I tried to live vicariously through them while I watched them in sadness.

It was still a fun day, I shared a WI Mac n Cheese with chicken breast with my favorite 2-year-old. Headed to Target and then played at the park on what was another fantastic October day! Wow this weather is awesome.

All-in-all no complaints, just hoping someday not only could we afford (because if you think about it 3 noodles dishes and 3 frappuccinos probably cost between $30 & $40-YIKES!) but that the farmer would find a way to enjoy a yummy {coffee free} Frappuccino over some delish Noodles & Co...in my opion the best fast food combination out there!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Little Things

On this beautiful Thursday in October, I have been reminded again and again to be thankful for little things and how abundantly I am blessed. Today has been full of blessings, small ones, but blessings nonetheless...and I'm so thankful the Lord has been intentionally pointing them out to me because on any other day I may have missed them:
  1. We got to spend this beautiful fall morning playing at an awesome park with great friends.
  2. Got to wish a sweet old friend a happy 70th birthday and hear Jack wish her a happy birthday (which is always super cute)
  3. When I told Jack it was time to come inside after playing he simply replied "Ok, Mamma" and got out of his Cozy Coupe and followed me in the house. No fuss, no fight - just obedience! (Praise the Lord)
  4. Jack at a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich! He usually refuses sandwiches and only eats things for lunch that require time and preperation (ie macaroni, chicken nuggets, etc) So eating a sandwich today was a small victory in the ongoing "what-to-eat-for-lucnh" war.
  5. I took a jog with Jack-which I was too tired and lazy to do, but forced myself to anyways. Now I feel great, and Jack is sound asleep in his bed.
This day reminds me to be more intentional about seeking out the blessings in my life and not get caught up in the little struggles that seem to burden my spirit from time-to-time. I serve such a wonderful, powerful, loving God and He reminds me daily of His perfect love.

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances ; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Midnight Snack

Here on the farm, we don't take our Midnight Snacks lightly...litereally.

We just finished eating a full breakfast and it's 10 minutes to Midnight. Hmmm, that can't be good for my waistline. I'll just consider my 1.25 mile run today for nothing :(

We got home from Bible study tonight, not having eaten a full meal before we left the house and by 10pm Donny and I were both starving. We rummaged around and Donny decided that scrambled eggs and hash sounded good. So, an hour and a half later, here I sit - blogging over my cup of coffee, perfectly flavored with 1/2 and 1/2 and just a pinch of raw sugar, and a piece of cinnamon toast (in my opinion, the perfect breakfast dessert!) Although I did toy with the idea of my dad's famous chocolate milk and brown-sugar toast ... but we have no Hershey's syrup (note to self: add Hershey's syrup to the shopping list)

So tonight, our midnight snack [or perhaps-- more appropriate, our "bedtime snack"] consisted of country style hash browns, sauteed onions and green peppers, bacon and scrambled cheesy eggs. MMmmm MMMmmm! Good stuff. The eggs were farm fresh, of course! Now if only I could churn my own butter...

Sweet dreams!