Friday Favorites

Christmas Books with Animals, Shenanigans, and Things That Go

It’s Friday! It’s November! Yay!

We’re spending the weekend packing, hopefully taking some things to the new house, and trying to get Bert to let us listen to a little Christmas music. If you follow me on Insta, you may have seen on Instastories that I ordered Wacey’s big Santa gift this week (not premature–you have to get your orders in early for handmade stuff!!), so I officially have Christmas on the brain. Permit me this one holiday-y post and I promise I’ll do my very best to hold off until after Thanksgiving.

Sometimes when the holidays roll around, it’s hard to live in the middle of nowhere because you see everyone on social media doing all sorts of fun holiday activities like Christmas at the zoo, going ice skating, looking at lights, going to tree farms, etc., and it’s not usually possible for us to do all of those things since a real, actual big town is two hours away, and the cows need someone to take care of them. Also I don’t know about tree farms and ice skating in southeastern New Mexico.

One thing we can do, though, is read books, and we do a lot of that. We’ve started a little holiday collection for the boys, but this year I’d like to add a couple lengthier ones since Wacey is getting into longer stories. The reason I’m posting a book guide this early is that I find it can be so fun to sprinkle Christmas in here and there before getting out the tree and going full-on Clark Griswold, and books are a great way to do that. Also, even with Amazon Prime our mail is s.l.o.w so I order everything waaaayyyy in advance since it’s guaranteed to be late and there’s a decent chance it may not show up at all.

And, if your kid is like my kid, he’s been talking about Santa and Christmas trees and watching Christmas movies for weeks and you’ve got to do something to placate that little elf until you can set up the tree and go full-on Holly Jolly Christmas. Wacey is really into trucks, tractors, and trains, animals, and silliness, so that will be the realm in which we purchase books this year!

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This year, I’m definitely adding a few from this list to gift to the boys with (matching, duh) Christmas jammies in a couple weeks. The tractor one is already on order because my tiny tractor fiend just about lost his mind when he looked over my shoulder while I was typing this and saw there was a tractor Christmas book. The only one we have (that I had to include because it’s one of Wacey’s favorites) is Little Blue Truck’s Christmas.

I’m limiting myself to only buying a couple every year because I keep telling myself that we don’t need three hundred Christmas books.

Am I the only one who still struggles with need vs. want, especially around the holidays? It’s an affliction, I tell you.

Anyways. It’s Friday! The guys are working on getting equipment and cattle back to the pens since the sale of the ranch is scheduled to be closed next week and errthang’s gotta go. The boys and I are trying to find the motivation to do our part and start packing while really just running around the house and trying to convince Bert to take us to go feed cows with him.

We’re real handy to have around.

 

 

Family · Fun · Personal

Christmas and 2016

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Hey y’all, I’m baaack! I know you probably weren’t really waiting on tenterhooks or anything but if you were…here I am. Kidding.

Anyways. We’ve had a really great two weeks. Between Bert being able to take it slow at work and spend a lot more time at home before he gets really busy, and Christmas, of course, we are set up pretty contented and well-rested for the New Year. Thanks to my amazing mom, we even got to go out to a movie–our first in years! We saw Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them and it was SO GOOD, and so worth it to see it in theaters. We even got popcorn and drinks and oh man was it great. Also, please can I have all the clothes from that movie? Tailored coat game was *thumbs up emoji*

(Sidenote: going to the movies is expensive.) 

 

Christmas this year was pretty low-key, which was perfect because both Wacey and I were feeling the excess of excitement (yes, I am a child) and the lack of sleep pretty hard. I managed to surprise Bert which is always a major win, and we got to see both of our families. We were all thoroughly spoiled with both the food we had (beef tenderloin Christmas Eve, Prime Rib Christmas Day because Beef It’s What’s For Dinner) and with the gifts we received.

I also have a confession: I’ve already put away all of our Christmas decor. I know. It’s not even New Year’s! But who am I, at almost 30 weeks pregnant, to say no to an urge to clean and organize?? Also, for me the weeks leading up to Christmas are the best part, and seeing all the decorations up after it’s over can get depressing. I did leave up the outside lights so Wace wouldn’t have to go through total “la-la” withdrawal.

So. 2016. Everyone says it was the Worst Year Ever, but I think that’s ridiculous because there are a whole lotta years in not-so-distant history that were a lot worse. Lots of big, important, sometimes not-so-great things happened in the world, but that’s how every year is! There’s good things, there’s bad things, and in the end,

Our year was actually pretty amazing! We got to watch Wacey grow from a baby into the best, most wonderful, hilarious tiny human on the planet.Being his mama makes me an infinitely better person. We found out that he’s going to be a big brother and that’s a big, happy deal. We spent tons of time together as a family, and while we didn’t take a family vacation this year, we went to some bull sales, and a lot of fun rodeos to watch Bert and the guys kick butt. Wacey and I also got to go to Indiana for a wedding and to see my extended family, and that was so, so great.  I wish we all lived closer! I went to three beef industry conferences–a symposium about beef and sustainability at Colorado State University, the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, and the MBA Top of the Class training at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in Denver–and learned so much. I also got the courage to finally start this blog, and I’ve already requested Girl Boss at the library so I can Girl Boss the heck outta 2017.

Yes, in 2017 I will continue to put things on hold at the library.

I also feel like I grew a lot personally. I still have a long way to go, but I’ll keep on keepin’ on, and that’s the best any of us can do, right?

I’ll write a post about my 2017 goals, but today I’m squeezing my boys, and being thankful for a year that was pretty darn good. We don’t have big New Year’s Eve plans but we’re continuing our tradition of Chinese takeout and a movie (Finding Dory), we got ice cream and pregnant lady champagne (aka sparkling cider), and donuts for tomorrow morning. We won’t be staying up until midnight, but I can’t imagine a better way to ring in the new year than snuggled in bed, fast asleep. #pregnantmamadreams

Happy New Year! Have a wonderful evening, whether you’re out on the town or home with your people. 2017 is going to be great!

Celebrate · Fun

Cowgirl Gift Guide

So, Christmas is in four more sleeps, y’all! I know it’s a little late to be posting a gift guide, but I know a number of people who haven’t finished (or maybe even started!) their holiday shopping. With the help of a good friend, I put together this handy-dandy gift guide for cowgirls, ranch wives, and amazing women everywhere!

It takes a lot to wear as many hats as most women do, and gifts that help her stay organized, look and feel good, and make things more convenient are always a win. If the person you’re shopping for is a working cowgirl, check out the ideas for custom gear on my Cowboy Gift Guide.

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Heart of the Farm Planner: This is a farm-specific planner, and it’s beautiful and functional. Some others I love: The Anchored Press Devotional Planner (I got the gold stripe for 2017), the Kate Spade planner (for the gal who loves a little glam and a good sale as it’s hugely discounted right now!), and this planner from Etsy (for the gal who loves to customize and organize everything).

Pretty Note Set: Beautiful paper products are lovely to have around, and this set from Vera Bradley has several different sizes of sticky note pads. Plus, one thing I’ve learned? If it’s pretty, the guys will be less likely to steal it.

Rifle Paper Co Notepad: If you (or your gift-receiver) is anything like me, she forgets things unless she writes them down, and loves to make lists. This handy dandy notepad is perfect for either one of those things, plus it’s really pretty. I like pretty.

Let’s talk barn stuff. Many of the ranch/farm women I know spend their fair share of time in the barn, whether it’s working cattle, taking numbers and notes, lambing, kidding, calving-you name it, they do it. Here are some things to make that barn life a little better.

LL Bean Hunter’s Tote: I wish I had known about this sooner, because I would have put it on my own wishlist! This would be great for hauling anything–bottles, notebooks, laptops, much food–to the barn or anywhere, without having to worry about it getting beat up or ruining another bag. I love the zippered top, and how sturdy it is. They don’t have many colors to choose from, but I’d jazz this up with a monogram in a fun color, like bright pink or maybe lavender or teal. Not puce, though. Basically I want these for every member of my family for when we travel. Dreams.

North Face Tech Gloves: These would be great for taking numbers and notes at the chute or any other time when you need a lot of dexterity. Thin enough to hold a pen, but warm, and you don’t have to take them off to answer your phone, or maybe pull up your online database for info about a cow.

Stormy Kromer Petal Pusher Cap: Stormy Kromers have ended up on all of my gift guides, and we can’t leave out the girls! I’m a sucker for a floral detail, so I love this style, but they have something for everyone (if you’re in a really cold place, this earflap model might suit a little better). If you’re not into full-blown hats or prefer to wear your hair high up, try out one of these messy bun hats!

Carhartt Coat: I love my Carhartt coats, and I love the look of this slightly longer one. It comes in more colors than your standard brown or tan, and you can trust the quality since it’s Carhartt.

Space Heater: This is for the gal who has to stand or sit by the chute in freezing weather. I’ve frozen many a hiney (or rather, my hiney many times) doing just that, and it always makes for a miserable day. It gets cold when you don’t get to move around a lot, and a space heater will keep you (and the crew, by extension) a much happier camper. I chose this tall one so that you get warm air from your toes to your nose, which sounds so great!

Now, every girl likes to have things that are functional, but let’s talk about stuff for when y’all go to town!

Bean Boots: These were on my list this year! I get tired of wearing my muck boots or Sorels to town, but often something waterproof and sturdy is necessary. I think these are a great compromise! A tip I got: get them unlined, so you can wear them both in the fall/spring when it’s warmer without sweating your feet off, and also in the winter with wool socks. Plus, lifetime warranty. Roll on over to Pinterest for how to style them!

Johnny Was Duster: Every girl likes something luxurious and pretty to wear to town, and a duster/cardigan like this one would go beautifully with everything from a dress to jeans.

Boots: Ohhhhh, boots. Everyone loves boots. I love these boots. I want these boots. They are beautiful. That is all. I will lust after them until they go on sale, in which case I will hope and pray that they have my size.

Whipping Post Vintage Tote Bag: Another thing every gal loves? High-quality leather bags. I received this exact bag for my birthday a few years ago and it is one of the prettiest things I own–I get compliments every time I carry it. Now, if the lady you’re shopping for has a baby, or will, get her one of these beauties. I treated myself to the Meggan last year, and it was such an excellent purchase. High-quality, tons of pockets, and four words: converts to backpack carry. Pricey, yes, but it doesn’t look like a diaper bag and the quality is so great  so  I’ll be using it (and my Whipping Post bag) for years. Or forever. Probably that. If it ain’t broke, and only gets better with age…

Now, sometimes things don’t fall into one category or another. Here are a few things that are for all aspects of life!

Seche Vite top coat: Not all gals like having painted nails, but for the ones that do, this is primo. It makes manicures last a week with no effort, even through barn work. Grab some Essie (available at Target and the Walmarts since rural America has yet to understand about Target) and you’re really on top of things.

Pendleton Flannel: Beautiful, warm, high-quality, and can go from the barn to town in a cinch, provided it’s not covered in poop or other bodily fluids.

Wild Rag: A gorgeous, feminine wild rag is one of my favorite things. It adds a little girly to barn attire, and dresses up a coat or vest at the barn or in town. Bonus if it matches that Pendleton 😉 Double bonus if you get a pretty rag slide to go with.

Yeti Rambler: Whether you’re a tea drinker or a coffee drinker, a good go cup is a must. I love the seafoam color, and the fact that you can get monogram decals from about a million shops on Etsy. Again, too pretty for the boys to steal, hopefully!

Now, after all the time put in wearing all those hats, it’s nice for a girl to have some comfy, pretty lounge clothes to change into when she gets home!

LL Bean Mocs: We usually get ourselves a small something with a tiny portion our tax return (because this year the big portion will be spent on Brother, #reallife), and these might be what I treat myself to this year. I seem to be very hard on moccasins and have worn all mine out, and I would really love a new pair to wear when I’m in the hospital in March. Also, again with that LL Bean lifetime warranty!

Handy AF: this shirt cracks me up. I kind of want one but feel funny getting one for myself. Whether you are (or your gal is) handy with a rope, or with a calving book, or with kiddos, or just life in general, this shirt is the perfect amount of brag. This is also a great gift for a friend who is needing a little pick-me-up, because every gal is Handy AF at something, and a reminder is nice!

Lounge pants: These are just pretty and look so comfy. Every gal needs (or would like) a pair or two of lounge pants that are a step above jammies but aren’t leggings. I promise. These specific ones are no longer available, apparently, but you get the idea.

Coffee Then Cows shirt: This was on my list this  year because I just love it. I’m not into graphic tees, really, but I like this one because it’s pretty much true. It’s truer for Bert than me as mine would read “Frappucino or Black Tea, Wrangle Children, Then Cows,” but that’s not quite succinct enough for a good tee.

I’ll be taking a holiday break from blogging for a week or so to enjoy the last bits of 2016 with my boys. But, I’ll be back in 2017 with so much good stuff y’all–Stock Show and the start of calving season both happen next month,and that’s a whole lotta pretty cows and fuzzy calves to share!