Wednesday, December 19, 2012

When You Wear a Santa Hat to a Kindergarten Class...

This time of year we wear Santa hats around the house.  We have about a half dozen of them and they make appearances throughout the season...
Sometimes they're just fun for dress ups!

They're especially appropriate when decorating the tree...

Sometimes they're too big...

And they add a little flair to the "Man Cave", which my poor husband surrendered to the kids and it now holds a train table and a play kitchen, along with a collection of animals that have visited the taxidermist :)
So one day after doing some shopping online and shipping gifts to family out east, I thought that since I'd been "playing Santa" that day, I'd wear a Santa hat to pick up C.W., our six year old daughter, after school. 
I have to say this one surprised me.  And I've been giggling about it since, so although I try to keep this blog G-rated, here goes.
The kids always march up the steps from their classroom and meet the parents in the entryway of the school.
I was innocently standing there in my Santa hat, smiling, awaiting my daughter, when one of her classmates, a sweet little boy, exclaimed "C.W.'s Mom looks like a Ho Ho Ho!"
It was all myself and the other parents could do not to burst out laughing!
And there ya have it folks.  You never know what the reaction will be when you wear a Santa hat to a kindergarten class :) 
Sarah :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Shopping for Kids? Check Out This Great Author- Dahlov Ipcar!

Once upon a time, I lived in the rural town town of Freeland, Maryland, which to this day does not contain a stop light, and there stood a church called Middletown United Methodist Church.  My great-grandmother, Lizetta Norris Bedgar, donated the land for that church to be built and eventually my parents were married there.  Years passed and the congregation dwindled, until the doors were closed.  At that time, my Mom was able to get the copy of "One Horse Farm" by Dahlov Ipcar that was in the nursery.

Source of photos:

Mom sent it to me here in North Dakota. The pages are tattered and the binding is taped together, but it is a treasure to my little family and one of our favorite bedtime stories.

In fact, I can barely read it without getting choked up, because it parallels the evolution of my family's dairy farm- from horse power to tractor power so closely and I imagine some of the men in my family, some whom have passed on and are dearly missed, having similar conversations.

I recently discovered that the book's author, Dahlov Ipcar, has MANY other WONDERFUL works as well!

My children will be receiving "The Cat at Night" and "Hardscrabble Harvest" this year.

 "The Cat at Night" tells of the adventures of a farm cat, while the farm animals (and the farmer) are fast asleep.

 Hardscrabble Harvest is a funny, yet realistic telling of raising a garden, and all the critters that can cause trouble on the farm.

I was also excited to find the board book versions of her Farm Alphabet and Wild Animal Alphabet for my 18 month old son.

The Island Port Press has re-released her books at:

Dahlov's biography is so interesting as well.  She was born in 1917 in Vermont and went on to farm with her husband in Maine.  She is such an intriguing and talented individual, I wish that I could meet her.

Her essay "My Family, My Life, My Art" is a very enjoyable read.  She wrote "Everything about farming was beautiful in my eyes. I loved the Jersey cows with their softly shaded coats more like deer than cows -- their wrinkled white stockings, and their eyes that looked as if they had been outlined with black mascara." 

Ah, she and I have that opinion of Jersey cows in common. FYI- I spent a year serving as a Jersey Cattle Queen :)

Hope you find this helpful as you do some last minute shopping for the youngins' on your list.
Sarah :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

This Christmas Season, Make the Time- In Loving Memory of Grandpa Wilson

This week, one year ago, we were getting ready to make the big trip east with the kiddos for Christmas with my family.  It was a crazy-busy time, but knowing we'd miss the family get-togethers here in North Dakota, I made special plans with my husband's Grandpa's Girlfriend (got that?), Lorraine, to have Christmas supper with Grandpa out at the farm.
We had completed our first full year of operating our farm on the Wilson farmstead that Grandpa's father purchased, here in rural Jamestown, North Dakota, in 1935. 
They barely scratched a living out of the place in back in the "Dirty Thirties" and somehow recovered from going broke on two other farmsteads in the area. Great-Grandpa and his sons had marched their dairy cows across the countryside from a township away, and were eventually able to move a house onto the place.
The Wilson Farmstead in the 1930's. The verse in the upper left was a favorite of Great-grandmother Susan Wilson's.
Then in 1962, Grandpa, along with friends and family, tore the old house down and in the same spot, built the house that stands today. 
There we were in late 2011, with another of the fifth generation of Wilson's on the farm having arrived in our young son.  We had good reason to celebrate!
Our normally jovial Grandpa Wilson had just turned 91 in November, and he hadn't let age stand in his way before, but that week, he wasn't really in the Christmas spirit. Grandpa didn't want to decorate. He didn't want to really go anywhere and he wasn't feeling so well after battling a variety of illnesses over the recent months, but once Lorraine (or Grandma Bair, as we refer to her) and I had made supper plans things began to change.
When we arrived at the farm that night, we were all happily surprised to find that Grandma had convinced him to decorate the whole house up- every window was decked out- and there in the middle of the living room floor was a sight my girls still talk about- a three foot tall glowing Santa, surrounded by presents.
That night Lorraine and I really put out a spread, and I have to give her most of the credit, because we only brought the pork chops and stuffing. It was an old-fashioned Christmas dinner with all the fixings and a sight to behold.
Grandpa, Grandma Bair, Jeremy and I, and our three children gathered around the table.
We ate, we visited, Grandpa reminisced.  It was like a Norman Rockwell painting brought to life. 
After dinner we settled in around the living room and exchanged gifts. Grandpa and Grandma Bair were even good sports and donned the paper crowns that came in their "Christmas crackers", which are a family tradition my Aunt started years ago.

I forgot my camera, so we snapped these with one of our cell phones.
These are the last photos I have of our precious Grandpa Wilson. 
Later that week, sitting in his chair by the door, with his boots and coat on, waiting for Lorraine to comb her hair so they could go to town, he quietly passed away.
Except for a short time in his early married life when he and Ruth (his late wife) lived in town, he had lived all 91 years on the farm. He hadn't spent a day in a nursing home, and was with the second great love of his life when he passed.  I say it was a blessing we had his company as long as we did.  It was a privilege to have spent many hours recording family history with him.  He was a friend, a mentor, a wealth of knowledge, and hardly a day passes where I don't wish I could ask him just one more thing.
My question to you today- with all the busyness of this Christmas season, will you MAKE the time to reconnect with a loved one, or make a new friend, or simply find a way to bless someone?  You will never, ever regret it, and it may just be one of the best memories you ever make. This, my friends, is what Christmas is all about.
God bless you this CHRISTmas,
Sarah :)

 In loving memory of W.C. "Bill" Wilson, November 1, 1920 - December 16, 2011.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Meeting Miss America at NDSU Collegiate Farm Bureau Food Awareness Week

In early April 2012, the North Dakota State University Collegiate Farm Bureau Chapter (of which I am proud to be a founding member) hosted their first "Food Awareness Week".

I was flattered when the group asked me to come present as part of this event.

My friend, Katie Pinke  and I tag-teamed that night, which was great fun! 

(Katie writes a fabulous blog over at The Pinke Post !)

First, I gave some background on how the animal rights and environmental movements have gained ground in our nation and described their resources, tactics, and a few specific organizations.  It's important to thoroughly understand what challenges American agriculture is facing if we are to move ahead and prepare ourselves for the future. 

Thanks to Katie for snapping these photos.

Following up on my presentation that motivated the group to take action on behalf of agriculture, Katie presented about social media tools we can to use to tell the story of American agriculture and explain the work we are doing on our farms and ranches.  
From left, Katie Pinke, Marketing and Information Director, ND Department of Agriculture; Karmen Kirkeby, then President of the NDSU Collegiate Farm Bureau; myself. 

The second day of "Food Awareness Week" was a presentation by Teresa Scanlan, Miss America 2011.  My colleague and I brought our daughters along for this one :)  After all, it's not often that Miss America visits North Dakota.

Miss S and Miss CW are very excited to meet Miss America!

The picture C.W. colored for "Miss Amerinca".

These girls were bursting with excitement and the moment they met Miss America was even captured by Dave Wallis, a reporter for the Fargo Forum.
Teresa did a phenomenal job, not only making a dream come true for my little girl, but giving a fantastic presentation about agriculture.
Yes, that's right, Miss America is carrying the torch for America's farmers and ranchers.
As the middle child of seven homeschooled children in rural Nebraska she talked about learning at an early age the importance of farmers and ranchers in her community.  She said "there is a thin green line between a safe, abundant, domestic food supply and imported food", citing that there are 210,000 working farms in the United States, yet there are 925 million people going hungry throughout the world.  Farmers and ranchers have an important job to do, yet they are "being attacked from all angles".
Recently, she joined forces with "The Hand That Feeds U.S." and says that serving as Miss America "was my chance to stand up for what I believe in" and a "chance to represent the farmers and ranchers".
More coverage of the event can be found at the North Dakota Farm Bureau website:
Video here:
Many thanks to the NDSU Collegiate Farm Bureau Chapter for putting together Food Awareness Week and to Miss Teresa Scanlan for being such a dedicated ambassador for American agriculture.
- Sarah :)


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Monsanto Representative Visits the Wilson Home and Farm

I first met Janice "JP" Person (otherwise known on Twitter as @JPLovesCotton) when I attended the AgChat Training in Chicago in 2010.

I've blogged about her before...

She was full of energy and I was amazed and what a whiz she was with social media tools. She has helped open my eyes to a whole new realm of connectivity with farmers and ranchers around the world, with those who purchase and consume the end products made from the crops we grow, and folks in between.

We kept running into each other at industry events and keeping in touch online. Here she included me in the list of folks she visited with at the American Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Leadership Conference in Orlando...

She reads, and references, my blog (scroll down to "Want to know more about wheat?")

Then when she planned a summer vacation to North Dakota, I was flattered that the Wilson Farm made the list of her "must sees".

I wish I could introduce everyone I know to Janice because she is one of those really special people that is completely genuine and by knowing her, I know there are people in the corporate world that really care (and she cares deeply) about those of us trying to make a living in agriculture. She cares enough that she keeps coming back to North Dakota to learn more and to share her expertise and experiences. Even yesterday, when it was REALLY cold, she travelled to Bismarck.

I am writing now because I realized how much I missed seeing her this time around.

She came to North Dakota the first time this summer and she blogged about her experiences...

She also made this touching video called "Parenting on the Prairie", which features our family, and causes me to tear up (with joy) everytime I watch it:

This summer, we met up with Janice at a friends house where she and Jeremy "agnerded"
about farm-related iPhone apps.
Later that week, she stayed with our family and spent the day touring our farm and our town.

She drove one of our tractors.

She checked our crops with us.

She stayed, even though our "guest room" (which doubles as my office) was formerly my six year old's bedroom and is all Disney Princessed-out.

She stayed, even though there is duct tape on the inside of our ONLY bathroom door. (My kids are infamous for playing with the lock, then closing the door behind them, so I took care of that, lol)

She stayed, even though my three year old daughter had wiped poop on our shower curtain. (Apparently, my little gal couldn't reach the toilet paper, so I guess she went for the next closest thing).

Bless her heart! Janice is a representative of one of the largest agricultural corporations in the world (which we are proud to do business with). She could have gone anywhere on her vacation, but she chose to come see our little family in our little town.

Then a few weeks after she left, the most amazing gift arrived.

A lovely card and a USB drive with all the photos she took while she was here. Janice is a VERY talented photographer and I treasure these photos because not only are they candid shots of us just being us, but I'm in them with my family. You see, I'm almost always behind the camera, so photos of me interacting with my family are worth more than precious jewels to me.

God bless you Janice, in all you do. THANK YOU for the work you do at Monsanto and on your personal time. Your passion is inspiring. THANK YOU for choosing to share your talents with agriculture, when you had the freedom to go anywhere and do anything. THANK YOU for making the effort to really get to know the people behind the products you represent.

Our door is always open (and the lock will likely be covered in tape).

Sarah :)

My Favorite Parenting Book Becomes Inadvertently Scandolous

At times throughout my parenting journey, I am inadvertently scandolous.

I have to share with you that my favorite book on parenting (other than the Bible) is

"Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours" by Dr. Kevin Leman.

It is a wonderful guide to parenting that is both entertaining and VERY helpful and was recommended by the wife of a pastor who is a dear friend of our family, which makes the following story all the more blush-inducing.

One evening Jeremy and I got to go on a rare, but well-deserved "real date" (this is a date that does not involve any children or farm equipment).

The babysitter arrived- a lovely gal whom we met through a Bible-study at church.  I gave her instructions, and off we went.

When I returned home and was about to fall into bed, I looked down and realized that I had haphazardly stuck the book into a basket on my nightstand- in plain view of anyone who came in to tend to the baby in the crib in our room.

My jaw dropped.

There it was... "Making Children"! 

Can't make this stuff up. LOL.
Sarah :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

All Time Favorite Christmas Photo

This may not be what you expected, but this is my all-time favorite photo from Christmases of the Wilson past.

My darling daughter, CW, was proudly showing me the painting she made for me on when nature decided to call :)

A millisecond after I snapped this, she was running down the hall toward the bathroom hollering "I gotta go potteeeeeee!!!!!....."
Priceless :)
Hope you got a little giggle like I did when I came across this :)
Sarah :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Uh, that's not Chapstick...

Today as I was driving across town (in a hurry, as usual), my lips were feeling dry, so I stuck my hand into the depths of my purse and retrieved what I thought was one of my daughter's fat tubes of ChapStick.  I thought, ah well, she zerberts all over my face, what's a little Chapstick sharing.

With one hand, I popped the cap off and puckered up...only to catch this bright orange color out of the corner of my eye...instead of ChapStick, it was a GLUE STICK!

Thankfully, I caught my error before I applied any, but the good news is it would have gone on purple, but dried clear :)

Farmer Sarah Visits the Classroom! Coverage by KXNews in Bismarck, North Dakota

Many thanks to my friend Sarah Gustin of KXNews in Bismarck, North Dakota for spending some time with my eldest daughter's kindergarten class this fall to cover this story!" title="KXNet - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson">KXNet - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson

Now, get on out there and share your agricultural experiences with children in YOUR community!

For more resources go to the American Farm Bureau Federation Foundation at or the National Ag in the Classroom Program at

Sarah :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Farmer Style (Gangnam Style Parody) is another hit for Peterson Farm Bros!

The "Peterson Farm Bros" who brought the world "I'm Farming and I Grow It", which has now hit over 7,700,000 views, have struck video gold again with their latest parody video, which is an entertaining and educational tour of how food gets from the farm to our plates.

This time, they do "Farmer Style", which parodies "Gangnam Style", a pop song by South Korean artist PSY. Of course, this is according to Wikipedia, because honestly, I hadn't heard of the song until the Peterson Farm Bros parodied it.  Let's just say Gangnam Style isn't exactly played on K-LOVE or our local AM radio station, so I had missed the memo on how hugely popular it was :)

Watch "Farmer Style" here...

And if you want to see Greg Peterson, the elder Peterson Farm Bro, in person, be sure to attend the 2013 North Dakota Farm Bureau Leadership Conference in Bismarck, February 1-3 as he'll be a featured guest and performer.  You can print a registration form HERE.

This guy has some SERIOUS talent, so be sure to check out his YouTube channel as well:

 Now be sure to SHARE this video with your friends! Let's help these boys make Farmer Style viral!

Sarah :)

p.s. Fun random fact: The Peterson family is from Salina County, Kansas, where my husband's great-grandparents, J.Harry and Susan Wilson, once farmed in the early 1900's. Small world!