Tag: lifestyle

Christmas in the Country Gift Reveal

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and is excited for the new year ahead! It always brings a sense of renewal and possibilities. A new blog series Jessie introduced Wednesday is a Year’s Worth of Beef, which we’re excited to start sharing with you. We hope you keep checking back each week to read as she’s cooking her way through a freezer of beef.

Before we get too far into the year, I wanted to recap a fun gift exchange I participated in with citc15fellow bloggers and ag enthusiasts called Christmas in the Country. I was invited to join by a new friend I made when I attended a conference last spring, Laurie Link. She and her family raise crops and cattle in Missouri, and she blogs at CountryLinked. (I love her blog name!) #CITC is set up like a Secret Santa where the hosts (who did a ton of behind-the-scenes work to get this going) match people up, participants get to know their matches “secretly,” then send them a gift. This week we’re all “linking up” to share more about our gifts and the new friends we’ve made through the secret exchange.

We were gone during the holidays, so I was excited when we returned to find the cutest red and white package waiting for me! So excited, in fact, I totally forgot to take a photo! Anyway, Heather Maude of South Dakota had my name.

She is a fellow cattle rancher, freelance writer and photographer like me, so I love that we also share that connection. She also happens to be a relative of another ag communicator I’ve known since my college days. Such a small world! Heather blogs her photography and agriculture stories at Double H Photography.

I loved the thoughtful gifts she put together for me.

Christmas in the Country Gift Exchange

As we both share a love of livestock photography, I really appreciated the notecards and calendar with her photographs. I also needed a 2016 calendar so this is my favorite treat she included.

She learned I was a coffee drinker and the travel mug is great for taking a hot cup with me on-the-go!

Heather also included an angel cookie cutter because she thought it was cute, and I couldn’t agree more. My kids love baking and decorating sugar cookies, so this was a fun treat we can all enjoy.

The lip balm and ear warmer are much appreciated to combat the cold, dry air we experience during our Idaho winters.

Another gift was a Jesus Calling devotional. Great minds think alike as a dear friend of mine gave one to me for my birthday a few months ago. It really is a wonderful devotional and I’m going to be able to bless someone else by passing it on to them!

The last treat at the bottom of the box was a bag of Christmas M&M’s. One of my favorite IMG_1853__WEBcookie recipes are these M&M Cookies, so the chocolate candies were put to good use in a sweet treat we also shared with friends. You can find the recipe below.

Thank you Heather for these thoughtful gifts!

I had a lot of fun participating this year, as I put together a gift box for Jamie Rhoades at This Uncharted Rhoade. You can learn more about those on her blog. I’ll also have an upcoming post with more details about the projects I made for her!

I’m so glad I participated this year! It is a fun way to bring some Christmas cheer to someone, as well as learn more about others in our industry. You may want to think about joining in the fun next year! You can check out all the other participants at this LinkUp!

M&M Cookies
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal
1 package M&Ms (I use colors available for each of the holidays)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spoon flour into measuring cup then level off. Sift together with  other dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add peanut butter, eggs one at a time, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients until combined. Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet. (I like to use parchment paper or a silicon baking sheet.) Bake for 8-10 minutes.


Categories: Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle

Puppies, Gators & Year End

I’m looking out my office window reflecting on 2014 and wondering about 2015. Like everyone, the past few weeks have been full. You can see by this post’s title, we’ve enjoyed a few different things.

Puppies  Our middle daughter had been asking for a puppy for about blog-9a year.  She had her heart set on an Australian Shepherd, which in ranch country infiltrated by Border Collies, was not ordinary. Her Dad kept reminding her, “Not until one of the old dogs goes to Dog Heaven.” Not to be deterred, she posted Shepherd pictures on Pinterest, contacted breeders in Texas, and shared “puppy posts” with us at supper.

Then the Davis’ family, our neighbors up the creek, came to Dana’s aid. Like most rural families, our lives intertwine with 4-H, girl’s basketball and cattle. At a 4-H Leaders’ Meeting, Mrs. Davis confided that their Australian Shepherd female was “expecting” and the puppies might be ready by Christmas. Was Dana still looking for a Shepherd puppy? The Davis’ went to work to make this surprise happen.

blog-7The Davis’ girls and Dana play varsity basketball together. Dana kept asking the girls if they were going to have puppies anytime. The Davis’ girls kept replying, “I don’t know.” Secrets are pretty hard to keep around this neighborhood, but somehow the Davis’ girls pulled it off. Mrs. Davis called the day before Christmas with a plan. She said the puppies were ready to be weaned on Christmas. She and the girls would wash the puppies and bring them down, telling Dana “Santa delivered thepistol-7se to the wrong address.” Dana could choose from four Blue Merl females! It worked like a charm!

Even the old dogs have accepted the “new” kid. We’ve had fun with Pistol, except for the few “accidents” in my utility room!

Gators  After a month of blessed moisture, we were all getting a bit tired of the mud.   When it snowed last week, we were all glad to see something white and clean. After chores, the kids couldn’t wait to tie on to the Gator for a little snow time. I’m not sure who had more fun, the driver, the sledders or the Cow Audience! blog-15







Year End  Like most ranch wives, our job descriptions change daily depending on the priorities and agenda. Simply put, many of us fall between two categories this time of year: “a Mom who does the books” or “the Chief Financial Officer of a diversified livestock operation.” As I looked at my desk and the year-end financials, I realized this CFO was also managing laundry, cooking a crew meal and relaying information between my husband and accountant! That is the joy of being a ranch wife. . .you never have to find something to do!blog-5

We are thankful for our blessings of the past year and look forward with hope. Welcome 2015!

~ Julie

Categories: Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle, Ranch kids, Ranch Life

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We’re taking a little blogging break through the rest of the year, but don’t worry we’ll be back in 2015! Check out our Facebook page for updates and holiday posts! Enjoy this season and time with your family!


Hope your home and heart are festive this time of year!

~ The Idaho CattleWomen

Categories: Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle, Ranch Life

Bedtime Stories


This really is a mess of books, but I choose to affectionately call it our special bedtime story spot.

One of the most special things I cherish with my 2 1/2 year old daughter is reading bedtime stories. I often think she will grow tired of it and refuse, but each night she has a lighted expression when I ask if she is ready to read books. Heck, if I can get away with it I may read her bed time stories until she graduates! We all know that is just a mom dreaming, but I will drag this shenanigan out as long as she will allow it. Our routine goes as follows: we march into her room, kick the cat out of the chair, she picks two or six books from an overflowing pile, then she chooses the order in which we read them. About a month ago she let ME pick out books, which of course are either approved or thrown out anyway, but I sure felt special! Finally, with Mesa on my lap, we fill the next 15-20 minutes with lovely stories. We have many favorite books but I have grouped a few that I am sure have passed the million times read milestone.

The neat thing about books is they all have a story besides the one that is written on their pages. Second hand books are especially my favorite. Many of Mesa’s have inscriptions on the inside cover that are addressed to friends or family, hand-me-downs from generations. There are even a few that have scribbles from when I was her age. One of her favorites (which I may have influenced) that is not pictured is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Who doesn’t love that book?!

These are just two that Santa will bring this year. I might have went a little crazy with ordering Mesa new books this Christmas. Eeeek! Its just so much fun!

“Once there was a tree…… And she loved little boy. And every day the boy would come
And he would gather her leaves And make them into crowns and play king of the forest.
He would climb up her trunk And swing from her branches And when he was tired, he
would sleep in her shade. And the boy loved the tree…..Very much,
And the tree was happy.”


She is “reading” Clifford the Big Red Dog, to herself. Anything to delay bedtime!

Now, sometimes there are circumstances that force a book to be removed from the pile of options. My own mother warned me about this, when she told me she almost had to hide One fish, Two fish, Red fish Blue fish from me as a child. That darn Fox in Sox book may just get the boot.

“Clocks on fox tick.
Clocks on Knox tock.
Six sick bricks tick.
Six sick chicks tock.”

Thankfully Mesa doesn’t choose it very often, but I will tell you it’s a tough read! It’s a thoroughly mental taxation that comes at the end of the day, no less. Sometimes I am tempted to get it for a baby shower gift just to spread the joy.

Although I was never the kid who read our high school geometry book front to back, I do believe there is some magic within these pages. The way a hard bound creaks as it’s opened, the musty smell of the pages, maybe some food droppings or a page corner folded, it is all irreplaceable. The probability of Mesa reading mostly online or from an electronic device as she grows up is very high, however I hope she will appreciate sitting down with ol’ Mom and reading from the tattered pages of a book.

Do you have a favorite book to read to your children? Or maybe a favorite book from your childhood? Please share!


Some of our current favorites. The bottom left book entitled Wombat, was a present to Mesa from our friends in Australia. Do you recognize any of these?


As for me, if I have any extra minutes before bed, I have been reading on this book. I found it at my local grocery store of all places. Very Interesting read.
















~ Diana

Diana and her husband grew up farming and ranching. Now they own a crop and rangeland spraying business, and their own herd of cattle. Diana is a busy ranch wife and mom to a two-year-old little girl. When not helping with their spraying or cattle, she travels throughout north Idaho discussing feed programs with ranchers as a full-time feed consultant.

Categories: Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle, Ranch kids

Don’t Let Winter Get You Down

It’s probably no surprise to you when I say, “I absolutely love working outside.” Every day brings something different from the last, and always leaves me thinking about how blessed I really am. Everybody jokes that their ranch is God’s Country, but let me be the first to say, I am constantly blown away at the beauty of this place I get to call home.

Unfortunately when you’re outside 8+ hours a day, seven days a week, those elements can start to take a toll on your body—especially if you’re a woman. For a man, sunburns and cracked hands are just part of the job; but for me, those are things I try to stay away from. Just to make things clear, I don’t spend an hour before work putting on my makeup and making sure my hair has the perfect pouf. Very rarely is my hair styled in something other than a braid, and chapstick is surely all you’ll find on these lips. But at the end of the day, I want it to be extremely apparent that I am a Jessie, not a Jesse.

Because I know that women are always looking for new beauty products, I’ve taken the liberty to share a few of my favorites that help keep me feeling like a lady, even when I am out working with the guys. You can find links to all of the products I talk about within this post, but if you have any questions be sure to leave a comment so I can get back to you! Also, please know that this is not a sponsored post. I use all of these products on a daily basis, do not get paid for it (unfortunately, because wouldn’t that be nice), and wouldn’t suggest them to others if I didn’t believe in their quality.

It's only November 17, and its already setting in to be a cold winter! Hopefully a few of my favorite products will help keep you looking fresh throughout these chilling months!

It’s only November 17, and its already setting in to be a cold winter! Hopefully a few of my favorite products will help keep you looking fresh throughout these chilling months!

Body:  I will be the first to tell you, if you only put one thing on your body, be sure that is sunscreen. I would rather tell me dad that I wrecked my car, than tell my dermatologist that I don’t regularly wear sunscreen. This is not a lie. And she (my dermatologist) is right. Regardless of what month it is, sunscreen is a must. Melanoma (skin cancer) has been on the rise for the last 30 years, and it won’t be going away any time soon. Sunscreen is your best defense against this killer; and let me be the first to tell you, tan skin is not worth it. There are tons of faux tanners out there that will give you the perfect sun-kissed glow in no time, without the harsh effects of too much sun. My favorite facial sunscreen is a mineral stick that I brush on over my makeup. As for the rest of my skin, I use anything with an SPF of 45 or higher and a decent smell. This Hawaiian Tropic stuff is my favorite!

As much as I love Idaho, its dry climate is not a friend to skin—especially anytime November-March. Combine the cold with a 10-20mph breeze, and your skin really has something to complain about. When it comes to a general lotion, I live by Cetaphil products. They have a really great moisturizing lotion that’s perfect for all-over use. However, when things start getting really cold and dry I always add some Bio Oil in with my lotion. It adds in a lot of moisture without being extra greasy. Coconut oil also works great, except it stays solid above 72 degrees, so you have to put a little more work into getting it in oil form. I generally buy these products at Costco because that’s where I’ve found them to be cheapest.

Face:  My facial ritual is extremely simple. Morning and night, I moisturize with Cetaphil’s Moisturizing Cream. On those days when the wind is really howling, I mix equal parts hydrocortisone cream and Neosporin, applying it to my nose and cheeks. This mixture really helps to keep redness and wind burn at bay. As for lips, I always try to keep them protected with an SPF lip balm. ChapStick brand is a great go-to, but I also really like Eos’ Sphere Lip Balm. The shape makes it super easy to apply, although it’s not made to be put in one’s hind pocket.

Hands: More often than not, my hands take the worst hit from Mother Nature. I love getting a manicure just as much as every other girl, but unfortunately they just aren’t built to outlast ranch work. Instead, I will be forever plagued with hang nails, cracked knuckles, and jammed-so-often-they’re-crooked thumbs. Luckily enough, I’ve found a product that works just a good at keeping my hands looking as ladylike, as possible. This Just a Minute Hand Scrub from Bath and Body Works is something I absolutely swear by. It always manages to get rid of whatever grime I have underneath my fingernails, removes cuticle like a champ, and leaves my hands feeling oh-so soft. Afterwards, I use a combination of Bio Oil and Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream (both linked above), to really lock in moisture.

Hair: In an effort to keep hat hair at bay, I’ve found a miracle product. Josie Maran Argan Hair Serum. Yes, it’s a mouthful—but never have I found something better at protecting my locks. One pump of this stuff, and I’m ready to take on the day! Now, when I say one pump I truly mean it—anymore than that and looking like you swam in a bacon fryer. I will be the first to warn you, at first glance this stuff is expensive. But it lasts forever and is absolutely worth it. I’m still working at a two-ounce bottle that I’ve had since last Christmas, which pencils out to $0.14/day.

So whether you work outside all day or are just looking for some new beauty products to pamper yourself this winter, I hope you check them out.

~ J

Jessie has returned to her roots on her family’s commercial Black Angus cattle ranch in southern Idaho after time away at college and working on behalf of the state’s cattle producers. She’s passionate about agriculture and the western way of life. When she isn’t doing ranch work or writing, Jessie enjoys baking, golfing and drinking coffee. As a newlywed, she’s also turning a little cabin on the ranch into a home.

Categories: Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle