Lately my days have been measured not by the amount that I've accomplished but rather by the amount of new information that my brain can remember and if I move a little faster and more confidently tomorrow than I did today - yay for new jobs and patient coworkers!
Plant some seeds today, and watch them grow. Happy Monday!
Since I start back at a full time job tomorrow (yikes!) I thought now was a good time to bring back my weekly inspirational posts. Because you can't use a few encouraging words each Monday? I know I sure can. Enjoy!
Life has been a little active around here in the past two weeks of the new year - in a mostly good way. We had the same crazy low temps and wind chills that much of the midwest experienced - but we made it through with little damage.
The waterers froze up for a few days at the pasture ground we rent for our cattle, but thankfully we had alternative sources and it warmed up enough for them to start working again after a few days. We rolled out a bale of hay on the ground one day to help them stay warm, and they seemed to appreciate it. The calves all faired well, and although I half expected her to calve in the middle of a snowstorm, Tink is still as pregnant as ever and I'm pretty sure past her due date, but she prefers to take her time. I have to watch her closely though because since not the best mother material... pet cows, always a pain.
More recently, I had my first published piece of writing show up in the mail today. Back in December I was asked to write a freelance piece for the Missouri Soybean Farmer magazine, and today it showed up in the mail! This is the first published piece of work I've had and I'm immensely excited about it, and hope to continue to freelance write much more in the future!
And finally, as of next Tuesday I will no longer be unemployed! (Well, technically I was still in layoff period, but same difference). My previous grant funded job was terminated at the end of November, and I've been "on vacation" since almost the beginning of November. I had been job searching since at least October, probably earlier. Had a few interviews but no leads.
I even wrote a post about it and those who really know me know I went through some rough times. Well, as fate would have it I actually had two jobs offered to me within a few days of each other and ended up going with the same employer I worked with before, but it's a different position in a different area. It will still be in research, but thankfully not grant funded this time!
I'll start next week, and while I'm thankful to have employment (and health benefits!) again, I'm on a bit of a mission to get quite a few things done in the next week that I said I would do before I started work again. Actually as I re-read that list I actually accomplished quite a few of those things and am planning on a few more - go me! And while I'm being honest I'm spending this last week also slightly mourning the fact that I will no longer be able to sleep in every since morning! Back to the life of being an adult I suppose :)
How is your 2014 going so far? Any big accomplishments for anyone else? Any exciting plans for the new year?
Happy Friday ya'll! I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas and is having a great new year. I don't know about you all, but the holidays hit hard around here and now we are battling sub-zero temps which makes it a little hard to get out and about. But thankfully we were super blessed with some great Christmas presents (hello, new keurig!) to help keep us warm.
First of all, thank you so so so much to all of you who participated in the gift swap! It was a raging success - more so than Laurie and I could have ever imagined! Personally, I'm looking forward to doing it again next year and I hope some of you are as well! If anyone has any suggestions on how to make it better or run smoother please let us know - the more ideas the merrier!
And now, for the gift I received! I got the sweetest package in the mail from one Miss Darleen over at The Farmer's Daughter . Darleen is in Oregon and sent me some local treats and managed to do it all while being very pregnant!
So... a little bit of a backstory - Darleen was planning on also sending me a bottle of her favorite local wine along with my chocolate, candies, and cow-pig - but unfortunately the shipping was outrageous so that plan didn't work out :( Guess I'll just have to figure out a way to get up to see her and drink my wine!
As soon as I took these pictures, I tried out that raspberry candy - so delicious and tasted exactly like fresh berries - and those sea salt caramel chocolates. Let me tell you, I've tried a lot of chocolate in my life, and I'm not exaggerating one bit when I tell you that this was the most delicious chocolate I've ever ate in my whole life! I'm going to have to limit myself and may be begging Darleen to send me a steady supply, because now that I know about it my life will not be complete without it!
Darleen also sent me the sweetest note and pig card - and her adorable son included a personal note as well! Made my day to see his little scribbles - I'm so glad you included his note Darleen!
My package was sent over to Kalya Jo at Creek Side Ranch - hop over to her Facebook page to check out what she received here.
Now comes the fun part! If you participated in the gift exchange, use the app below to add your blog to the linkup so everyone can check out what everyone else received - and who got who! If you have any issues adding your blog, send me an email and I'll try to help you out. After you add your blog - check out the others and leave some comments on the other blogs! Be sure to check back for a few days as more are added to see everyone's great gifts!
And if you're curious as to who all participated in the swap - here's a complete list for you. Be sure to follow some new blogs and make some new friends!
Unsurprisingly, I'm a few days late to the party with the New Year festivities. I've been having a rough few months with job searching and what not so the idea of a fresh start and a new year of opportunities doesn't hold quite the appeal that it should right now. Here's to hoping 2014 turns into a great year - for me and for all of you as well. Thanks so much to everyone who stops by here on a regular basis or just occasionally - I appreciate it all!
And now, my 2013 in review - brought to you by my instagram photos!
(Spoiler alert - it's mostly pictures of pigs and cows, with a couple others thrown in for good measure.)
Be sure to stop back by tomorrow to check out the Christmas in the Country gift exchange link up party!
Anybody need a last minute Christmas idea? Something homemade and custom but super easy to make and takes less than an hour total? Well, here's your answer. DIY Sharpie Mug.
They are actually very easy to do - and turn out great if you follow a few simple guidelines I figured out along the way.
1. Use a cheap mug. The cheaper, the better the sharpie will adhere to the mug when it bakes. I used a mainstays on from Walmart, and it made it through the dishwasher fine. The ones pictured here are Better Home and Garden ones from Walmart, they ran about $3-4 a piece. I haven't tried to run them through the dishwasher yet, but I washed them by hand and they held up.
2. Only use Oil Based Sharpies. Regular ones won't hold up for this. You can find Oil Based ones at a craft store for about $10 for a pack of 5. If you go to Hobby Lobby or Michaels you can use a 40% off coupon and save some money.
3. While we are on the topic of sharpies... some of them will discolor when you bake the mugs. I splurged on a big pack of colored sharpies on Amazon, and now I wish I wouldn't have since many of them didn't hold up in the oven. To get the best results, follow these color rules. If I was to do it again I would only invest in the good colors, and maybe red since you can use it, just know that it will darken.
Good Colors (ones that hold up perfectly in the oven) - Black, Silver, Gold, Yellow, Pink, Brown, Dark Green.
Bad Colors (ones that change - use with caution) - Orange (turns brown), Blues, both dark and light (turn green), Purple (turns pink), Red (turns a dark burgundy), Lime Green (turns to more of a pea green), White (yellows).
4. The sharpies work great, as long as you limit your designs to smaller lines and words. However, if you try to color in a large area, or layer colors on top of one another, the paint will chip off after it bakes. If you were doing a platter or something that would never need to be used, and you could get by without baking it, you could color large areas. But if you are doing mugs and planning on baking them, keep your designs limited to lines, dots, and words and it will turn out great. For example, my pig noses and the buck started to chip off after baking, but the deer prints were small enough to stay on. I tried coloring over the chipped off parts and baking again and it totally failed.
5. If you can, try wiping the mug down with rubbing alcohol (and letting it dry) before writing on it to remove any oils from the surface, it will help the marker to stay on better. If you make a mistake, the marker will come off easily with rubbing alcohol before it is baked.
6. To get many of my designs, I found an image or saying that I liked and traced it off of my computer or printed it out. I then used graphite paper (also found at the craft store) to transfer my image to the mug. Basically just tape your image where you want it, place graphite paper underneath, and use a pen to trace over your image. The graphite paper will leave an imprint on the mug you can then draw over, but it will wipe away easily so you have to be careful not to touch it. You can also try drawing your image first on the mug with a pencil, but I found my mugs were too "shiny" to be able
to draw well.
7. Let design dry on the mugs for 24 hours if possible. When ready, place mugs in cold oven (I always turn mine upside down to help prevent tipping). Preheat to 400 degrees. Once it reaches the temperature, set timer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn the over off, but leave the mugs in. I sometimes crack the door open just a bit. Remove when completely cooled. Be aware that these do put off a chemical smell while they are baking. Hopefully, this doesn't cause brain cancer or anything, but you've been warned. Open a window if you want, or just try not to get high off the fumes like I do.
The possibilities for these are pretty limitless! You can completely customize to what your gift recipient likes - and they would work for all kinds of gifts, not just Christmas! There is an investment when you first buy your sharpies, but overall it's a budget friendly easily personalized gift!
Anyone else ever try this? What was your results if you did? I've heard you can also use BIC markers, but haven't tried them myself. I think these would make super cute wedding gifts or as personalized plate for Santa cookies! If anyone attempts this let me know how they turn out! Even if the designs don't stay forever, it's still a cute gift for a last minute project!