October 27, 2013

DIY: the Cotton Wreath

If you have been reading this blog for a while, I have no doubt that you know agriculture is in my blood and always has been. After spending many hours on the road in North Carolina, one of my favorite crops to watch grow is cotton.  Cotton has played such a huge role in North Carolina agriculture.  During the roaring 20's, cotton was King in North Carolina, and in 1926, cotton acres reached an all time high of 1.8 million acres.  Y'all...that's a lot of blue jeans, t-shirts, and tighty-whities.  

Anyways, we moved offices last week and I was looking for unique ways to display local agriculture in my office.  After a few phone calls, I had a couple of our sales managers scouting fields for some cotton so I could make this beautiful wreath.  

Interested in making one? 

You need...
+ One grapevine wreath (any size)
+ One spool of burlap ribbon
+ Floral wire (2 pieces)
+ Hot glue gun & glue
+ Local cotton bolls (cotton bolls are what are left after the flower dies. they look like tiny footballs and are what split apart to and showcase the "southern snow")
Make your burlap bow first and use 1 piece of floral wire to tie it onto the wreath.  Once you have tied it onto the wreath, start hot gluing the pieces of cotton onto the wreath.  Press down for a few seconds to make sure the cotton gets a good hold onto the wreath.  Be careful...don't burn your fingers!
Once you have finished gluing cotton all around the wreath, take your second piece of floral wire and loop it through some of the vines on the top and twist it together.  This is what will be used to hang your wreath! I hope you enjoy making your own and supporting agriculture...Happy Fall!

October 25, 2013

high five for friday.

It's Friday! It's Friday! It's Friday!

This week has been kinda crazy for this little lady here..so let's get started with the top five.

1.  I was able to head out to the state fair with one of my good friends from college.  My friend Jonathan invited me to join along with him one late Sunday afternoon.  You can read all about that here.  I also got to go on Monday evening after work with my good friend Megan! She happens to be expecting her first child, so we indulged in all things bad in honor of that little baby :)

2. I went to see Chris Tomlin on Sunday night and absolutely loved it.  It had a great time worshipping with two of my favorite girls and loved every minute dancing to God's Great Dance Floor.

3. This hat...must be off the Mario Brothers video game.  One of the sales reps that visits our store brought this in last week and it has been a source of all jokes.  Apparently, the little flaps that come down on the sides are supposed to keep your ears warm.  I'm not so sure about all of that...but it is a funny hat none-the-less.

4. These fireworks have been going off at the state fair every night.  They start at 9:45pm and are loud.  The first time I heard them, I thought they were gunshots in my apartment complex.  Nope, just the fireworks.  I wish I could see them too!

5.  I got to go to the Joe Nichols concert with my friend Jonathan.  It was such a great time singing all of his old and new songs.  I am so glad that we got to spend that time catching up on life and laughing about the good ol' college days!

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October 24, 2013

concert frenzy.

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend 2 concerts that helped crossed an item off of my 101 in 1001 list!  

57. Go to one concert.

I have attended a couple of concerts in my life, but wanted to make sure that I stepped out of my comfort zone and went to a couple more.  See, I love listening to live music, but the crowd can sometimes get to me.  I definitely do not belong in the pit of any concert.  
Saturday was my mom's birthday, so I got up early and took her some huge cinnamon rolls from The Phoenix Bakery in Pittsboro and her birthday gift.  She had been wanting some new bathroom towels, so that's what she got. Now that's an easy gift!

Well, after I spent some time with her, I convinced myself that is was completely and totally acceptable to lounge around in my sweatpants/eat ice cream/lay in bed and watch New Girl all afternoon. That's totally normal...right?

Well anyways, in the midst of this laziness, my friend Jonathan tweeted that he had a free Joe Nichols concert ticket and was looking for someone to go.  Jonathan and I go way back...and I hadn't seen him in a while, so I was definitely interested.  BUT, that meant I actually had to put makeup on and wear real clothing...(say what?).

I'm glad I took the time to go with him.  We caught up, ate way too many free samples at the North Carolina State Fair and had a blast listening to some of Joe Nichols older and newer music. 

On Sunday night, I already had plans to go to the Chris Tomlin (Burning Lights Tour) concert with two wonderful ladies from work.  We stopped and ate a couple appetizers, grabbed our lawn chairs and blankets, and headed out to Koka Booth Ampitheatre for one of the first cold nights of fall.  Louis Giglio shared a wonderful message about the prodigal son and "God's Great Dance Floor". It was definitely a great way to start the week!

October 18, 2013

high five for friday.

It's Friday and I couldn't be more excited!  Our office at work has been packing all week and will be moving this weekend and part of next week.  It will be nice when we are all settled in and work life can resume to normal (somewhat).
Here are my top 5:

1. I got BRAND NEW tires on my lil' red this week.  First time I have ever bought tires, so it's a huge step into the grown up world. Atlantic Tire even gave my car back washed and detailed...now that's service.  Anyways, more on that next week as it is one of my 101 in 1001 goals that I haven't blogged about yet.

2. We have this little food truck rodeo in Research Triangle Park once a month or so.  This week, my friend and I finally missed the lines and got to try the Chirba Chirba Dumplings. They are AMAZING...especially with their pineapple dipping sauce.

3. I texted my roommate one afternoon and told her that we were having pancakes for dinner.  Now, I am not very good at making pancakes, so it could have turned into a Chinese takeout type of night, but it was awesome.  I perfected my art of pancake flipping and will be going out to purchase another one of Trader Joe's Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle Mixes before they leave the store.  A must try with REAL maple syrup (they sell this at TJs too!)

4. I was feeling especially tired Tuesday night, but my mind was racing and I had to try to stay up for my class online.  I grabbed the sleepy-time tea, brewed it, and found myself snoozing through half of my class.  Whoops. Gotta catch up on that this weekend.

5. My roommate wants me to run a half marathon with her in April while she runs the full marathon.  I think she's crazy, but we both started "training" this week.  What have I gotten myself into?

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October 16, 2013

bring on the fair.

In honor of the North Carolina State Fair that begins tomorrow, I thought it would be fun to reflect on my fair days as a show kid.  While watching the fair news coverage every morning, I have been kind of upset how the most talked about topic is the latest food craze (AKA, the Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe, fried oreos, etc.)  While this is an important part of the fair, fairs were created to display exhibits of home-cooked goods and hand- made products. Many people work hard to prepare their animals for show and hope to bring home that prized blue-ribbon.

Agriculture has always been in my blood. When I was about 2 years old, my parent's started their own feed business.  Both of my parents had an interest in agriculture, and I like to think that is the one thing that led me to where I am today (you can read about our store here

At the age of nine I was FINALLY old enough to start raising livestock for the local Oakland County 4-H Fair.  My parents took me up the road to a man that raised kids (this is what baby goats are called) for the local 4-H member's livestock projects.  

I got two kids my first year in the 4-H program, joined the Oakland County Livestock Club, and began raising these babies.  Our barn was a bit drafty, so we built a pen in the basement and they lived there until they got a little bit bigger.  They were bottle-fed twice daily and grew like weeds.  The moment we heard little goat hooves climbing up the basement stairs during supper one evening, we quickly learned they could jump the pen and it was time for them to go outside.  

These goats taught me the value of hard work. They encouraged me get up at 5:00am each morning to prepare a bottle, to keep close records, and to develop friendships with those in the show ring.  They taught me responsibility and the value of a dollar.  When I purchased these goats, I knew they were going to auction at the county fair.  I wrote letters to family, friends, and people in the community encouraging them to purchase my goats that year.  My dad's first boss (a feed store owner) bought each goat for $600 a piece.  Folks, that's a lot of money to a 9 year old!

As the years went on, I chose to start showing other species of livestock.  I got my first calf, started raising market hogs, and even went into the chicken world for a year or two.  All in all, raising livestock taught me responsibility and gave me a love for animals.
So, if you plan on attending your local county or state fair this year, please take some time to go check out the exhibits and watch kids show their livestock.  Ask them questions...they will love it.  Smile, take pictures, and enjoy what agriculture can do for you. Many show kids are proud of their animals and are not afraid to show them off outside the show ring.  Most of all, HAVE FUN!

October 14, 2013

it's boss's day...did you remember?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 is Boss's Day...so don't freak out yet, you still have this afternoon to put together a little something for him or her!

Do you need some help deciding what you should do for him or her? Here are a couple cheap simple ideas.

+Bag of their favorite candy bars

+A bouquet of flowers (get a cheap vase from the dollar store and a $5 bouquet from Trader Joes, the grocery store, or your local farmers market)

+Bag of homemade cookies

+Take them out to lunch

+Bring breakfast to work

+New coffee mug with some coffee cookies inside


+A couple caramel apples

+Chocolate covered pretzels

+and as always....a sweet HANDWRITTEN card :)

My boss is honestly the best and I couldn't have picked someone better to teach me more than he has! I wanted to do a little something special for him, so I made the little goody bag above. The bag has some trail mix and his favorite candy bars.  I found the perfect card and added my own note thanking him for all he does.  

How will you be celebrating Boss's Day?

October 13, 2013

a trip to ikea and a toilet brush.

My mom and I have been wanting to go to Ikea for a while now...so last week we started talking about taking Saturday and going out to Charlotte, North Carolina for a little weekend trip. My dad wanted to tag along and check out what the hype was all about...and eat a plate of those delightful little Swedish meatballs.

So we got in the car and went...

Sometimes I wish I lived a little closer to an Ikea because it is super fun to look around, but my wallet is extremely thankful that I don't.  Such a fun place with any home furnishing you can think of. My mom had visited Ikea in Michigan, but my dad hadn't and I couldn't remember if I went when I was younger.

The place is shaped like a maze, so the arrows are projected onto the floor to help guide you through to the end.  

After we finished our shopping, we wandered up to the Ikea restaurant to use our $2 off coupons on a couple of meatball plates. They were good meatballs, but my dad and I didn't think that they were awesome.  If you have had their meatballs before, why did you think they were so great? I did love that ligonberry jam though...that stuff made the meatballs really good! My mom got some salmon lasagna...I had never heard of salmon lasagna before this trip!

So, after wandering through 356,000 square feet of nothing but fun, cute, practical things for my home, I came home with this... a $.99 toilet brush. And folks, that's my Ikea experience for you.

October 11, 2013

high five for friday.

Most of these pictures are from last week when I was on my trip out to Oregon and Washington.  I was flying all day Friday, so I didn't get a chance to write a High Five for Friday post. I was really excited and energized from my week out west and am excited to tell you about it this week!

1. When you order black bean chili, you get a whole lotta black beans with a little bit of chili.  Needless to say, I was full and a little bit more regulated than usual.  Since I work with almost all men, I became the brunt of all "farting" jokes. Any time there was an awkward smell or noise during the meeting, about 4 guys would look over to me and smile. Let's just say there was lots of laughter and I smelled like a rose!

2. I am officially my brother's favorite sister in the whole wide world. He called me yesterday and begged me to pick up this golf bag for him from a course near my office.  Of course I wanted to be the favorite sister, so I kindly obliged (good luck Katherine!)

3. I was able to go zip-lining for the first time. A group of us went out and bonded while swinging through the trees.  At first I was nervous, but after my first zip through the forest, I was ready to go.  What a fun activity...I hope I can go again sometime soon!

4. This view. I was lucky enough to look at this beautiful scene several times a day. The lodge had a wonderful fireplace with a couple rocking chairs. So, I sat my little hiney in front of the fire, drank some hot cocoa, and watched the Columbia River Gorge any chance I could get.

5. How can I go a week without adding a picture of this cute little one wanting to play with me?

October 9, 2013

what does a balloon mean to you?

I have been thinking about balloons a lot lately...pictures of them have been floating around in my head (no pun intended). Pictures of colorful balloons across a beautiful gray sky have been making me think about life. Strange...I know, but just read a little bit more.

After attending church on Sunday I have really been thinking about Christ dying on the cross for the world's sin.  Never have I been more thankful for Christ's death on the cross for my sins. He could have just told the world "I have forgiven your sins" from heaven, but instead He became a human so we could SEE Him take our sin away.  

We saw Him suffer through it...we saw the nails in his hands
we read about the pain and suffering He went through for us.  

He died and gave us a physical representation of it.

Back to the balloons...balloons to me have been a physical sign of prayer, a physical sign of healing for me.  I went out and bought several colorful balloons today during my lunch and wrote my prayers on them today.  I know that God can hear my thoughts and listens to them daily, but this physical representation of releasing balloons to the sky was for me.  It came with tears, it came with hurt, but with it came healing of the heart, soul, and mind. These balloons put a smile on my face. The colors made me happy and releasing my feelings to the heavens made me feel so much better.

Balloons are for celebrations...and today is a celebration.  There is peace in my heart.

October 2, 2013

new Bible study.

74. Complete a full personal Bible study and begin another- DONE! (09/26/13) 

I finished my Missing Pieces Bible study and have finally started a new one!  One of my co-workers and I started talking about faith and realized that we really needed to brush up on some of our scriptural knowledge.  

She found our newest Bible study Why Do You Believe That by Mary Jo Sharp.  At one time the author was an atheist and is now a believer in Jesus Christ.  I am just a few days in and the author asks really challenging questions about why Christians believe certain things. I love that it is scripture based and is willing to challenge my walk with Christ.  I can't wait to share more with y'all once I get a little further along!