Christmas in the Country gift exchange

citc14-1This was my first year to participate in the Christmas in the Country gift exchange. This was a secret Santa experience for ag bloggers and online agvocates. It was a lot of fun and I want to share my experience with you.

I received Val at Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids. She is Wonder Woman – a mom, wife, farmer, volunteer, agvocate, blogger, woman of faith and community located in northern Iowa. And she is getting ready to have a third baby! I look forward to getting to know her more and following her adventures through her various social media platforms. I have to admit that I might have freaked Val out with my gift, as I checked her out online and sent personalized gifts for her whole family. Since Val and her husband raise pork, I found that she and I seem to be on the same page when it comes to bacon – we both love it. And Val had indicated that faith is important to her. I have made stacked crosses for several friends in the past, and I thought I would make one for Val too.

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Hand-made Christmas ornaments… This one is for Val. I also made one with the initial’s of her husband and their kiddos and a generic one with a pig on it for Baby #3.
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I tried to use my artistic talents as best as possible and make this specific to her blog title… Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids.
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My attempt at a pig 🙂
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I filled Val’s and her husband’s ornaments with Christmas “stuff” and the kiddos with hot chocolate mix. I figured they could eventually fill it with legos, corn, beans, or whatever they wanted!
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Bacon…enough said. And in case Val needed ideas for more ways to use the delicious goodness, she got this recipe book. Yum!
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Val indicated green was her favorite color, so I tried to pick hues of green for this stacked cross.
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Off to the post office to ensure they received this before Christmas!

My hubs and I headed to Northern California for Christmas, but I was delighted to find my secret Santa gift waiting for me when I returned.

My gift box was put together by Kim at Kim’s County Line. Kim is a wife, mom, a young grandmother, farmer’s wife, photographer, and an amazing woman in south central Kansas. Kim sent me a great gift box of Kansas themed items! All of them were perfect. She sent food items: spiced tea mix, chocolate covered sunflower seeds, cinnamon apple butter, and Hudson Cream corn bread mix and country gravy mix – I am a huge fan of eating, so everything has been a hit! Kim also takes excellent photos, and she sent some blank cards with her photos on them! I know as I write thank you cards for Christmas gifts my family will love receiving these cards. Kim also included a wine stopper, a snowflake ornament, recipes, and a Kansas bookmark! Isn’t she great!?

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A great letter from Kim explaining all of the gifts. After I mailed my package to Val I thought I should have included a note for her to open after opening the gifts so I could explain them a little more…next year I will do that!
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My pile of booty from Kim – and all Kansas items too! She did a great job of finding things that are/were perfect for me and my interests!
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Look at these notecards made with Kim’s pictures, I think they are awesome and that Kim is very talented. Kim does sell these, so if you would like a few for yourself, reach out to her.
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Tonight the Hubs and I are having beans and ham hocks so we can try out the cornbread mix.
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I have been enjoying the spiced tea (and the Hubs really likes it too). Kim sent a great cookie recipe I will have to try, but it seems as I will have to buy more chocolate covered sunflower seeds as the ones she sent have made for good snacks!

Prior to this exchange I was not familiar with Val or Kim, and I am glad that I have gotten to know two more wonderful ladies through Christmas in the Country. I encourage you to check them both out and see what they up to, as they are wonderful women who are living life to the fullest with their families and loves ones.

This was a wonderful experience, and I look forward to participating again next year!

Many thanks to Christmas in the Country hosts: Country LINKed, This Uncharted Rhoade,The Ranchwife Chronicles, and Diaries from the Dirt Road.

If you are interested in knowing more about this gift exchange, check out the original post on Country LINKed.

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Dr. Lindsay can also be found on:

– Website (http://food.unl.edu/ag-and-food)
– Twitter/Instagram (agwithdrlindsay)
– Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/agwithdrlindsay)
– Pinterest (Lindsay Chichester-Medahunsi)

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Road trip to Minnesota

My colleague and I drove from Nebraska to Minnesota for our last National Extension Leadership Development (NELD) session. I have blogged about our other sessions here, here, and here.

We were told about roadtrippers.com which is a fun website that let’s you choose how far off your road you would like to travel to see a variety of things. On this trip I selected no more than 5 miles, and for us to see tourist attractions and other odd ball things.

Below are some of the fun things we saw through Iowa which included the site of a Bonnie and Clyde bank robbery, the largest concrete gnome in the world, the oldest Dutch windmill in Iowa, and a spider made from a Volkswagen beetle!
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Timing food, bathroom, and fuel breaks around these stops helped to make this an efficient adventure!

What adventures do you look forward to?
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– Website (http://food.unl.edu/ag-and-food)
– Twitter/Instagram (agwithdrlindsay)
– Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/agwithdrlindsay)
– Pinterest (Lindsay Chichester-Medahunsi)