Blog, Blogger, christmas, Family, friends, guests, holiday travel, Holidays, organize, Thanksgiving, The Fit Farmer's Wife, visit

Preparing Your Home for Holiday Guests

I have been wanting to a post on preparing/organizing your guest bedroom and bathroom for quite awhile now. I thought, now would be the perfect time due to the holiday season approaching very quickly!

Since being married for almost 2 and a half years, I have gotten our guest room ready and waiting for overnight guests! It is also the room where I have my elliptical and where I store my garden potatoes and squash!! Cozy, I know! And even better, I store sweatshirts, boxes, blankets, and a guitar in the spare room closet! Ideally, I’d like to have a space that IS cozy and welcoming for guests that can meet their needs while they are staying at my home.

These are some things I have been wanting to do in my guest bedroom!

  1. Closet Cleanout. Clean out the closet! Leave lots of room for guest’s items that need to be hung, along with extra hangers, and a laundry basket incase they want to do some laundry during their stay.
  2. Decor Ideas. Think about the decor. The ideal guest room is cozy and comfortable. I try to have no personal pictures in the guest room. I like plain, colorful, warm prints of canvas or cute decorations to add color and texture. Adding candles is always a great idea! Having a few lighthearted books for guests to read is another great idea! In case they can’t sleep or need some reading materials to relax from a long traveling day, light reading or books are great ideas! I like books on fashion, farming, nature, travel, or interior design!
  3. Storage. Do think about where guests can properly put away their belongings if needed. Have a dresser or a couple of night stands where they can comfortably store away pants, sweaters, scarves, jewelry, and shoes, if needed.
  4. Think Simple and Sophisicated. My guest room is painted a beige, off-white neutral color. The bed has a white, ruffled comforter, cream sheets, and comfy, vintage throw pillows. I have a large teal, cream, and brown multi-colored canvas print from Hobby Lobby hanging over the bed. Make things simple for guests, but fun and pretty. Make sure they have plenty of light. Place a lamp or some form of good lighting by the bed, on the night stand.
  5. Cool or Warm. Some things to also add in your guest room are a fan and extra blankets! A fan incase they are warm and it doubles as a light noise machine. Your guests are in a new bedroom in a different home, they might need a little noise to get sleep! I know, I need noise to sleep when I am in a “strange” place! Blankets in case they are cold to cover up with! I already have a soft blanket in my bedding, but have a few extras in the closet or dresser for guests to use.
  6. Wash Up! Remember to wash the sheets before AND after you have guests, including the extra blankets! I like to wash them before just so everything smells pretty and clean or incase it has been awhile since I had guests over!

Now for the guest bathroom…

  1. Towels. Always have fresh towels out in plain view. I keep a few of my extra towels in a vintage, metal wire basket by the tub. That way, they are accessable for guests! I keep the hand towels and washcloths in a over-the-toilet cabinet.
  2. Toiletries. ALWAYS keep some simple toiletries on hand for guests’ needs. Things like mini shampoo, body wash, conditioner, tooth paste, an extra tooth brush, face wash, lotion, emery board, chapstick, nail clipper, and of course, toilet paper.
  3. Organize. Remember to organize and re-organize where things go and are to go in the guest bathroom! I know for us, Taylor uses our guest bathroom to shower in when he comes in late from working. I have to remember to take his shampoo and body wash out, as well as keep it cleaned up! Have designated spot for guests to hang towels and washcloths after they are done. I have a towel rack behind the door.

Hopefully, these tips help for getting your guest rooms ready for the holidays!

Almond, Arthritis, BeachBody Coach, Blog, Blogger, Clean Eats, Cook, cooking, Cooks, Fitness Blogger, Fitness Coach, Uncategorized

Sunday Dinner: Creamy, Gluten Free Turkey Wild Rice Soup

Last weekend was just a tad busy. It was a long, five day weekend for me, but I was so thankful to have some extra time off! Thanksgiving went great! We hosted for the first time at our home! I was so excited, I absolutely love entertaining, cooking, and visiting with our families!

Friday was spent cleaning and doing laundry. My house was a mess, I was tired, and things weren’t pretty at our house! Everyone needed a little TLC!

Saturday, Taylor surprised me and we went to Fargo a day early! We were originally planning to spend the night on Sunday night for my rheumatology appointment on Monday, but we stayed two! It was so great to have some time to relax and get away for a few days.

Monday was a very dreaded day for me. I usually never scared of doctors or dentists, but today was different. I was scared out of my mind. It was so hard waiting in a waiting room full of well, much older people, possibly waiting to see the same doctor as I. We were literally the last ones to go in. I was very blessed to find such a knowable doctor. He practically tested me for EVERYTHING! They took 10 vials of blood from me, and I ended up passing out cold on the last one!

It was so scary for me! It took the longest time for me to get my vision back. They called Taylor back into the lab, and there were at least 3 or 4 nurses in with me, trying to keep me awake. Not being able to see for several minutes was the worst. After, I felt icky the entire day. Almost like I had the 24 hour flu. Achy, no energy, and just cold and clammy. Good thing we ate at Chipotle after! We were Chipotle virgins, so we didn’t have an idea of how to order, or what to expect! Nonetheless, it was VERY taste and the best part?! I had an excuse to totally pig out! 🙂

After we got home, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some of that leftover smoked turkey from our Thanksgiving Day fest! I love smoked turkey and I knew exactly what I wanted to make, wild rice soup!

Since my appointment, I have been more thoughtful of what I am feeding my body with. I am making myself a goal, to be completely gluten and dairy free in 2016, and do more strictly of  the paleo diet. I know as a farmer’s wife, I sometimes get a lot of flack for posting dairy free, gluten free recipes, but that is why. I need to eat this why for my rheumatoid arthritis. That is all. I am off my soapbox.

What You’ll Need

  • 2 heaping cups of Turkey (preferably smoked), shredded
  • 2 boxed of unsalted chicken broth
  • 2 cups Half & Half
  • 3 Medium Carrots, chopped
  • 4 Medium Celery Stalks, chopped
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons Almond Flour
  • 2 cups Gluten Free Wild Rice Blend (I used Lundberg Farms)
  • 2 Teapsoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

First chop all the veggies, carrots, celery, and onion. Place in a large soup kettle, along with 1 cup of the unsalted chicken broth and olive oil. Cook the veggies until translucent and tender. While the veggies are cooking, start shredding the turkey. After the veggies are cooked, add in the almond flour and stir until the mixture thickens. Then, add in the rest of the chicken broth and rice. Let simmer until the rice is soft, or about 30 minutes. Stirring in-between. After rice is fully cooked and soft, add in the turkey and cream. Continue cooking for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Take off from heat and enjoy!

Makes about 8-9, one cup servings

 

autumn, Centerpiece, decor, Decorating, fall, Fall Decor, Festive, Fun, Ideas, Table, Thankful, The Fit Farmer's Wife, Weekend

Have a Happy Weekend: 10 Fall Table Centerpieces

Some things in life, just make me h.a.p.p.y. and decorating and design is one of them! No matter what the season, there is something so festive about table centerpieces! Our dinning room area, is pretty much dead-center of our home, therefore, sets the mood for the rest of the house! I love creating decorative and seasonal centerpieces! Here are a few to inspire YOU!

  1. I love lanterns!

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2. How neat is this?!

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3. Perfect Thanksgiving Centerpiece!

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4. Anothern Lantern…

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5. More Lanterns…

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6. So cute!

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7. Lanterns again… And would make a cute fall wedding centerpiece!

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8. Candles are so cozy!

Fall-Centerpiece

9. So beautiful!

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10. I love the idea of using a pumpkin as a vase!

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Have a Happy Weekend! Xo

Family, Food, History, Love, Memories, Thankful, Thanksgiving, Traditions

Thanksgiving: Through the Years

Have you ever heard the Faith Hill song (AKA: The Charlie Brown Christmas theme song?) “Where are you Christmas”?! The lyrics say….

Where are you Christmas
Why can’t I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can’t I hear music play

My world is changing
I’m rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too

Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I’m not the same one
See what the time’s done
Is that why you have let me go

For me, I change out the word Christmas for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has been and probably will always be my favorite holiday. It’s been close to 10 years now since Thanksgiving was the grand family event that it should be. Back then, I had two grandmas and one great-grandma that really knew how to put on a show, and there would be left overs for every single family member. As I write this, and read the lyrics of the song above, I tear up knowing I’ll never have a Thanksgiving again with them.

Ten years ago, my Grandma Sharon would have had the family over on Thanksgiving day. I would have woke up and started the day with the Thanksgiving Day Parade in my pajamas. Then, stuffed myself full along side all my cousins and family, with turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie, and my personal favorite of my Grandma Sharon’s, mashed potatoes! If anyone reading this has had my grandma’s mashed potatoes, you know what I am talking about! They were creamy, light but heavy, and perfectly smooth in texture. Then, while the guys napped and watched football downstairs, everyone else who wan’t napping, would play Bingo! There was prizes for all, along with tons of laughter echoing through the house. It was a wonderful afternoon and honestly, I would do anything to have it back.

On Friday, we never went Black Friday Shopping, instead we spent it at my Great-Grandma Esther’s house in the small town of Gackle, North Dakota. Where there is absolutely no where to shop, but no one cared. We were family, and that was all that mattered. Her house, I swear, it got 20 degrees warmer every Thanksgiving because of all the food and hungry children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren inside. The whole house probably glowed from the inside out, just like grandma. It was wonderful. Grandma would always be the last one to sit down, even my Aunt Joyce would tell her to sit and eat, but she made sure everyone else was served before she sat. We had turkey, duck, and sometimes pheasant, depending on what my Uncle Dana caught that year. And then there was the dumplings. For all of you non-Germans out there, dumplings are heavenly clumps of cooked dough with potatoes. I know, it doesn’t sound that great, but they are amazing. I am not sure how many dumplings grandma actually made, but they were gone in the blink of an eye. Literally. Grandma, no matter how old, she always had to wash the dishes, even though there were plenty of us grand-kids to help. I some times wonder how many hours grandma spent over her kitchen sink. She died at the age of 92, so I am assuming more than I could count. This year, we are divided. Some spend the holiday in Dickinson, North Dakota with my great aunt, my grandpa is in Idaho for the winter. It’s so different now.

Finally, at somewhere from Thursday through Saturday, we would go to Jamestown, our local “big town”, to my Grandpa and Grandma Hess’s for Thanksgiving dinner. I still remember the floor plan of grandpa and grandma’s tiny house, it was filled with love and BIG Hess boys, so it seemed smaller than it was. Grandpa always did the turkey in a bag. It melted in your mouth. My dad and my older cousins, Matt, Jason and Scott would be found on the living room floor, wrestling (I for one would like to see this now! Pretty sure my dad would get his butt kicked!). Grandma Hess was a wonderful cook and I only hope to be a fraction as good as she was, but everyone knew that her specialty was her buns. My cousins and I would sneak one or maybe five before supper. Seriously, they were amazing. I am not sure what special ingredient she added to them, but they are never the same made by someone else, and probably never will be. After my grandparents died, I don’t think all of us Hess’ have had one Thanksgiving together with all of us. To be honest, I am not even sure what the Hess Family is doing this year, but I know, I won’t be there.

It’s not the same and it probably never will be again. I miss those days, of having nothing but family for the entire weekend. Now, I am married. Taylor and I are going to my mom’s tomorrow for Thanksgiving Day lunch and then to his mom’s in the evening. Not that I am not thankful to be spending it with my family and my in-laws, because I am very thankful and excited, but there is something missing. I am not sure if it’s the dumplings, Grandma Hess’s buns, or my grandparents themselves or all of it. Whatever it is, I miss having huge thanksgivings with all my cousins and laughing and talking for hours. There was so much love and no one bothered to think of “how many hours til Walmart opens?!”. I miss getting together with each family at Thanksgiving. It’s been years now, and many Thanksgivings have passed, but it never gets easier. As the song goes on to say “If there is love in your heart and in your mind, then it will feel like Christmas all the time”. I guess that is true. Grandpa and Grandma can’t be here right now with us, but they are forever in our hears. We on Earth make new traditions, but we always keep the traditions and memories of the wonderful Thanksgivings passed in our hearts. And this year, more than ever, I am thankful for my family and the great memories we have together.

From the Hess’s to the Rivinius’s to the Zenker’s to the Schlenker’s, Happy Thanksgiving! I can’t wait to celebrate Thanksgiving everyday in heaven with all of my grandparents one day. And there will be enough of Grandma Sharon’s mashed potatoes, Grandma Hess’s buns, and Grandma Esther’s dumplings for all. And to you and yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Faith, Marriage, Orphan, Shaping Destiny, Sponsoring A Child, Sponsorship

Sponsoring A Child: One Year of Allain

A year ago, Taylor and I had a mutual family friend, that is our age, who went on a mission trip to an orphanage in Cameroon, Africa through Shaping Destiny.

http://www.shapingdestiny.org/

She came back around Christmas time last year, and was home for a few weeks. During that time, we got to hear her speak in church about her time there. Travel back to early fall, before she left, she raised enough money to have a small well dug at the orphanage she was going to be staying at. When she spoke, about how the kids, who are all orphans, loved to praise God. They loved to sing and study. They wake very early every morning to have devotions and study for school. Our friend showed us a video of them praising and signing for Jesus. Even though they have no family, very little food, and have just the clothes on their back, they still sing praises to our Father. This amazed me and humbled me. It reminded me of the Bible verse, Acts 16:25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. What an impact, children with absolutely nothing, praising the Lord can have! Much like the impact on the prisoners while Paul and Silas sang hymns and prayed.
We come from a country that has everything and more. Most likely you or I have never experienced having nothing to eat, being orphaned, or having only one outfit in our giant American closet.

I knew from that moment, I wanted to do something, to help in whatever way I could. So, I talked to Taylor and we prayed about it. A week had passed and the issue was still on my heart, and as million questions were running through my mind, God finally spoke to me through my daily devotion. My devotion read, “Thank you Lord, for caring about us so much that you would give us the opportunity to experience marriage. May we live as a team to  minister to other. May our hearts be sensitive to where you are calling us and to whom you are asking us to bless. May we be prepared to give as you ask of us, no matter how big or small. I pray that others may see your love story reflected in our love…” (Wife After God) That was the biggest and most blunt YES! from God! So, we called over our friend and she helped us sign up. The next question, was which child to sponsor?! Some of the children already had sponsors. When you sponsor a child, it basically covers their basic needs like doctor bills, clothing, school supplies, etc… We went through a list of possible children we could sponsor. One that stood out was a boy named Allian (who was about 17), that wanted to be a construction builder. Being I studied architecture and am now a civil drafter, God spoke again. So, we took Allian! A few months into our sponsorship, we got more information on him, and it turns out his birthday is July 7th! The significance of it is, our wedding anniversary is July 5th, and my birthday is July 6th! How incredible; only our God could have planned something so perfect!

Allain Tetuh Ngoh

  • Birthdate : July 7th, 1997
  • Future Dream: Building contractor
  • His story:
  • His parents died from HIV/AIDS infections leaving him and his six siblings alone at a very young age. His siblings were separated to live with other relatives and friends while he was brought to live with his grandmother. His grandmother also had seven other children living with her and within two years four of them died. They were all heart broken, frustrated, and struggling financially. He received very little love and grew up having to take care of himself. He was brought to the orphanage and his life was transformed because he met other children who had experienced similar hardships. He is now loved and cared for and has been able to continue school. He is so thankful for the services that Shaping Destiny has provided and everyone who supports the ministry. He used to feel hopeless but today he is a happy and blessed child. He like playing football. He surrendered his life to the lord Jesus Christ and is determined to serve the lord for the rest of his life. He appreciate the services rendered by the ministry.

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For almost a year now, we have been blessed by Allian. Yes, we have been blessed by him. He always makes us realize how lucky we are to have each other and how blessed we are for everything, especially our families. Just this week, we got another letter from him saying he was studying for some exams at school. I replied back with another letter, and in my letter I encouraged him and told him he can do it, and that he is smart. I later thought, he probably has never heard those words before. Encouragement is something we all need to hear. We just signed up for another year of Allian. We are excited to see how we continue our relationship with Allian this year!

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Marriage is such a wonderful gift from God. God created marriage to reflect His love story. I am so thankful that Taylor and I are able to reach out and extend our love to someone who needs a lot of it, an orphan. I only wish we could do more. Hopefully one day, we can sponsor two. I am so happy that we have this opportunity now, in our marriage and in our life to do this.

Today, I encourage you, to check out the sponsorship program through Shaping Destiny. For $35 a month, you can also sponsor a child. It is a great way to give plus have a penpal and prayer partner! You will be truly blessed!