Thursday, April 16, 2015

Fuel Up to Play 60 in Action

After learning the basics about Fuel Up to Play 60 in yesterday's post, I thought I would share some insights from three people who have implemented this program at their schools.

First up is Caren Walker, Family and Consumer Science teacher at Klondike Middle School.  Ms. Walker has worked with FUTP60 for five years. She describes how she got her fellow teachers and school on board with the program:

     " [I]collaborate with the PE, Health and FACS teachers!!  Get everyone together and brainstorm what you’d do with X amount of money, then brainstorm how your departments could work together to promote health, nutrition and exercise with your students.  I also contacted the Food Service Director for our school’s corporation and got her on board since I needed her to supply some of the information for the grant (amount of milk consumed, etc)."  

Below Ms. Walker and two other teachers accept a check from Diane Ruyack and Mary Nicholson, Indiana's Fuel up to Play 60 Leaders from the Indiana Dairy Association.

One of Klondike's most successful activities was a tailgate party before a KMS football game, "It was a huge success with parents and the school community loving this activity.  We will do this again is we receive a grant for the next school year since there was some cost to this activity."

A bit farther south from me is Crawfordsville, where Angie Frost RD, CD works with the Crawfordsville School Corporation to give the students there healthy choices for their school meals. Here is her opinion of the FUTP60 program:

       "FUTP60 has helped us reinforce our message of healthy eating and physical activity. As a Registered Dietitian and sutrition educator for a school corporation, I love how the programs teaches kids that healthy eacting and physical activity have to go hand-ih-hand so they can be the best they can be in the classroom, on the field and in health. The lessons learned from this program also trickle into the family home as well. For instance, after a taste testing a, student went home to tell her parents about the hummus and yellow bell peppers that we tried during a lesson. The mom, who had never tried hummus was skeptical but bought some hummus at the store and is now hooked and loves all the flavors. During a class celebration, the same mom brought hummus and veggie strips to share bringing the lesson full circle!"

Here are some pictures of Crawfordsville students learning about the new "My Plate" by playing a version of corn hole, a beloved game here in Indiana.

My Plate has a regular dinner plate divided up in to the five food groups that every meal should try to include.

At our wonderful little school, Sacred Heart, Teresa Gretencord, our P.E. teacher at the time, joined with Fuel Up to Play 60 to help students become more active.  From the money she received, she was able to purchase small pedometers for all of the students. Her goal was that they would become more conscious of how much activity they they did or didn't have in a day.  They recorded their steps every day, and then at the end of grading periods, they would total them up to see just how far they walked.  By the end of the school year, they were surprised to see just how many miles they had accomplished! By the map of Indiana posted in the front hall, the kids saw those miles turn in to trips to cities and towns around the state!

This push to walk evolved to a morning walking program that we still have.  Several of our students are car riders, and they get to school before the classrooms are open.  They all now know to drop their coats and bags in the gym and start walking until the 8:00 bell rings.  It's a great time for them to chat with friends and catch up on the latest news.  Sometimes you will see much younger siblings walking with their big brothers/sisters.  This program is a great way to get the kids out of any morning sluggishness and jump start their brains for a productive day!

Our principal, Mrs. McPherson, evens joins the kids in the morning walk.  It's a great way to get to know kids and see how their day is starting.

So, Fuel Up to Play 60 is a program for kids 1-15 and beyond.  Teachers, dietitians, and parents see the great benefits from students being more active and eating healthier foods and snacks.  Is your school involved with FUTP60? For the schools in Indiana, Mary Nicholson would love to talk to any one interested in learning more about the program.  Her contact information is  As a farmer, a mother, and a former educator, I am completely behind this program to help our kids eat healthy, whole foods and exercise every day.  This is a win-win team effort.  I hope you will consider joining the team.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by American Dairy Association Indiana and the NFL’s Fuel Up To Play 60 Program. Through a series of posts, I’ll be sharing information about Fuel Up To Play 60 and how you and your kids can get involved.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Do Your Kids Fuel Up to Play 60?

Have you heard of Fuel Up to Play 60?  Do you remember seeing commercials about this program while watching your favorite NFL team play?  This is a great program for kids, schools, and families, and it is available to all who sign up to play.

So do your kids Fuel Up to Play 60?

What does that mean exactly?

Fuel Up to Play 60, FUTP60,  is actually a nation-wide project taken on by the American Dairy Association (ADA) and the National Football League to encourage kids, schools, and families to prepare and eat healthy meals and move at least 60 minutes a day.

I know it's hard for us to get our heads around the fact that some children arrive at school without eating breakfast.  You've heard the assertions from doctors and teachers that students learn better with a nutritionally balanced breakfast to start the day.  It's also hard to imagine kids not wanting to go outside to play until the crickets start chirping and the pinks and oranges fill the western sky.  With the busy schedules we keep and the easy accessibility of games on phones and tablets/iPads, however, kids just don't get enough feet to the ground time.  In some elementary schools, P.E. is only taught once a week.

The ADA and NFL came up with Fuel Up to Play 60 to provide students, teachers, and parents motivating and life changing activities to promote and ingrain healthy eating and exercise habits. How do you learn more?  Just go to the national website:  At the bottom of the Home Page, there are several links.  Click on the ABOUT link, then click on "you can help bring Fuel Up to Play 60 to your school."  There is a very clever letter that involves kids in taking the initiative to get their school involve with the program by helping them create a letter to their school's principal or teacher.  Here's a bit of the letter to see just how Fuel Up to Play 60 will help get a program started in a school:

"When we sign up for Fuel Up to Play 60, our school gets:

• A free School Wellness Kit with a Quick Start Guide, banners and removable decals we can hang around school and other planning tools for adults and students

• Access to an online Playbook with ideas for spreading the word and challenging kids at our school to eat right and stay active. The Playbook includes “plays” or Action Strategies that help students and adults bring the program to life. Plays include fun ideas like a Milk Moustache Booth, Menu Makeovers, Trivia Contests, Schoolwide Walking Club and In-Class Activity Breaks.

• Access to the Fuel Up to Play 60 Online Tracker where we can log and track our healthy eating and physical activity behaviors.

• Opportunity to engage in Challenges for a chance to unlock digital rewards (e.g., badges) and win other cool rewards."

In Indiana, we have our own state website: that will help implement Fuel UP to Play 60 in our schools.  Indiana Dairy Council works closely with the Indianapolis Colts to encourage kids to eat well and get up and play for 60 minutes a day.  There are even grants up to $4000.00 that schools can apply for to help get programs started.  Other states have their own programs as well.

As I've read more and more about this program's foundation, I really like how it puts students' health first and encourages them to share their new found fun with their friends.   Tomorrow, I will share with you perspectives from two schools and a registered dietitian that show the benefits to children in FUTP60's program.  In between times, ask your kids if they know about Fuel Up to Play 60.  If they know about it, listen to what they have learned.  If they don't know what it is, take some time to look at the links above to see how your school can join in the movement to eat well and play. Check out the Free Downloads under the Order Materials on the Indiana site.  There are several tools to help you promote good health at home.  Come back tomorrow to learn more about Fuel Up to Play 60 #FuelPlay

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by American Dairy Association Indiana and the NFL’s Fuel Up To Play 60 Program. Through a series of posts, I’ll be sharing information about Fuel Up To Play 60 and how you and your kids can get involved.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hey There Lover Boy!

Hmmmmm....... Looks like our eight special heifers have a visitor.  Why are these eight ladies special?  Tall Guy culled them out of our beef herd to become breeder cows to start our little cow/calf operation.  Who is their visitor?  He's a gentleman from a few miles west;  I think we will call him Bubba the Bull.  Bubba has an exciting two weeks or so ahead of him.  He gets to meet these ladies up close and personal so that in January or February we will have the calf part of our new little venture.  Let's see how their first date is going shall we?

He seems to like the food here.  That's a good start.

Awww....Looks like he's bashful or playing hard to get.

Oh look!  This young lady has discovered Mr. Bubba and has decided to introduce herself.

What?!?!?!  Smooching behind the bleachers already?  We may have a hussy on our hands.

Now the rest of the ladies, in a true act of female "inquisitiveness," have decided that our hussy shouldn't be the only one to have Bubba's attention.

Good Grief!  Is there a kissing booth going on back there?

Mr. Bubba has decided to take a stroll around his vacation home, and the ladies don't want him going away lonely.

These four seem to be the most bold  and forward of the eight.

Dinner for three????  Guess it's not considered a crowd in the World of Moo.

Here they are, up close and personal.  Who do you think he will "service" first?  I wonder if there is something weird about watching bovine mating rituals?  It is important to make sure everyonen is getting along and getting friendly.

Bachelorette #1?

Bachelorette #2?

Bachelorette #3?

or Bachelorette #4?

I will keep you up dated on any fraternization that I see in the weeks to come.  No, I won't be taking pictures of it all, but I will let you know if he was successful in his efforts.   

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How Hard Is It to Drive a Tractor? (or Move over Captain Kirk and Scotty)

I have added another job to my laundry list of "Things I Can Do."  Until this year, I haven't been out in the field during planting season, unless you count bringing food and running for parts or graphite! It is a lot of gadgets to have at the tips of your fingers, and it's a big tractor pulling two attachments, but with the right directions, it's not too difficult to drive a tractor.  Now I get to sit in this seat, kind of like the chair Captain Kirk sat in as he guided the USS Enterprise, and for a Trekkie, this is sooo cool!

Driving this tractor

After my trusty "Scotty" checked over the bearings and gave me a few rounds in the field to make sure I knew what to do, he deemed me ready to drive.  It does help that I have already driven other tractors, but each one is a bit newer or different from the others, and disking is different that pulling a grain auger wagon.

We are a minimal tilling operation, and this field had gone two years without any ground work.  We discovered some "varmint" damage along a couple tile lines.  Time to disrupt their habitat.  By varmints, I mean mice.  No endangered species were put at risk.  We flagged a few for Grandpa to check out.  This light turning of the soil will also help wet spots dry out.

HEY!  Welcome back Grandma and Grandpa!  Our little snow birds came home to roost last week :-) I've missed having someone to tease and engage in lively conversation! 

So this is my front view:

And this little screen tells me where I am going.  Now don't judge me because I am using the auto steer.  I'm out there driving the tractor so TG can haul grain, and I am pretty darned busy checking to make sure I am "lightly" disking the ground and looking for varmint holes to flag.  I think I did more swiveling in that chair than Captain Kirk fighting off Klingons or Chubby Checker doing his thing.

It's a shaky picture, but the whole goal was to keep that flag (the pinkish colored object just above the round red bar) in line with the whitish bar you see.  I could give you all the technical terms (maybe), but in short the white bar is the hydrolic cylinder stop that controls how much of the disk goes into the ground.  If you can't see it, then the disk is all the way in the ground and too deep for what TG was wanting.  You have to keep an eye on it because after a bit down the field, it all starts to settle, so there is a bit of switch flipping that goes on as I traveled up and down the field.  After a few rounds, I got into a rhythm, and every turn was easier.

Now, since TG was on the road in the semi, I really considered asking if I could have this Scot be my Scotty while he's on the road....

Oh.My.Gosh!  Don't tell TG, but this guy could beam me up any time he wants to!  (Hey, He swoons over Sandra Bullock so......)  Whew! I need all of you Outlander fans to talk to me about Sam and Claire!  I am on my second go round of the books.  I simply fell in love with this story, and I am thrilled to say that the series on Starz is very respectful of the story keeping all the great lines and a wee bit steamy moments true to Diana Gabaldon's books.  I was reading them in the combine last fall, and polished the last one off over the winter.  Sigh.....

So in conclusion, it's not too hard to drive a tractor IF you take it slow and pay attention.  Remember, every tractor is different, but most of the basics are similar.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Meet My New Pal, Gizmo!

The end of March is usually marked on our calendars with lots of circles and colorful letters that spell out 
S P R I N G  B R E A K, 
followed by even more exclamation marks.  This year was no exception, and we went to a place we are very familiar with, Daytona Beach.  For a change, we stayed at Dayton's Ocean Walk, a Wyndham Resort with everything a sickly family needed to have a restful and relaxing vacation.  We had access to two indoor pools, an outdoor pool and lazy river, plus the beach, the ocean, and a little mall with several shops, restaurants, and a theater.

To prep for this adventure, I decided to give my friend Kyle over at Verizon a call and see what fun techy stuff she might be able to let me try out while on vacation.  We came up with a cool new phone, the Motorola Droid Turbo, and a new pal, Gizmo.

The phone was put to use right away as a hotspot for the girls to plug into and have WiFi access on the long drive down.  Bear has an iPad that Tink surrendered to her after we gave her (Tink) my old Samsung phone. Unfortunately for these girls, neither device is "active;" they rely on FREE WiFi to get out to the grand old World Wide Web (Do we even call it that any more?)  They were happy, and TG and I were happy that they were happy.  I also had a bit of time in the passenger seat to finally figure out how to get Pandora in the van through a smart phone, 

(We listen to country most of the time, but every hundred miles or so we just have to ROCK OUT!) 

AND I listened to Purdue's first round game on a streaming sports station.  I'm probably showing how lame I am at all this technology available to me, but this busy girl is catching up as quickly as she can. 

"Use voice commands to ask a question, post a status to Facebook® or take a selfie and zap it to others. With Active Display, receive notifications without interruption. Icons appear on screen—peek to view them. Droid Turbo even adapts based on where you are, such as silencing at home after a specified time, through Droid Assist."

The Droid Turbo also lived up to its name in quick charging time,  

"Rejuvenate your battery with a Turbo charge
Droid Turbo is made to keep going all day and night. It comes with a Turbo Charger—get up to eight hours of battery life in just 15 minutes†. Enjoy up to 48-hour battery life*. It even offers convenient built-in wireless charging."

and it has a lot of different ideas as to how to help its user have a better experience, maybe even a smarter one!

The big "new thing" I wanted to try out was the Gizmopal by LG.  

This cute little wrist device was going to be involved with a big adventure for the girls.  Because Tink's phone cannot be used as a phone, we really did not feel comfortable letting the girls out of our sight.......BUT they are 12 and 10, and they are responsible young ladies, so we let them go out on a one hour excursion to the attached mall with this device on Miss Bear's arm.  It is a two-fold tracking devise.  The app allows me or TG to track them as they go here and there, 

and it also serves as a two-way phone, set up to call the Droid Turbo or TG's phone.  They could call us, and we could call them.  We had already walked around the mall and determined that there were enough vendors to keep safe eyes on the girls.  It was an outdoor mall with three levels.  So we were just about ready to set them loose, when we couldn't get the tracking app to work.  ACK!

Kyle set me up with a Verizon manager to help me walk through the process of setting up the phone and parring it to the Gizmopal.  When we went to activate it in Daytona, it said it was still our in the middle of now where Benton County, Indiana.  I made a quick call to Kyle, and she had the same manager call me back, and after several attempts, we decided that the Gizmopal just wasn't going to talk with the phone.  Sigh.....

Now why on earth would I write a review for a device that did not work?  Well, ONE the phone did work.  The girls called in three times, and we were able to communicate just fine with them.  TWO, If this had been my personal Gizmopal, I would have been able to go to any Verizon store and exchange it for a more cooperative one.  The customer service with Verizon was fast, patient, and professional, and that's something you don't always know until a problem occurs.  

If we lived in an urban area and didn't want to go to the cost of putting both girls into phones and data packages, this would be the way to go.  It gives parental piece of mind, and a way for kids to venture out thinking with the comfort of knowing they can call any time.  

If your kids are at an age that you are comfortable taking walks to a community park or over to a neighbor's house, the Gizmopal would be a great piece of mind for all parties involved.  Our girls were ready for a big of big girl freedom, and we were very pleased with the results.  Thanks Verizon for allowing my TG and I to put a little controlled air under our girls' wings.  

Verizon did not pay me to write this post.  They sent me these devices to try and blog about, and I shipped them back to Verizon yesterday.  These words are my own thoughts and observations :-)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Who Let the Cows Out? Moo Moo Moo Moo Moo!?!?!?!

Wednesday's little excitement reminded me I forgot to share this story with you.  It happened a couple weeks ago, right before Tall Guy came down with Influenza B, I had a major sinus infection, and we left for vacation.  Oy!  I am happy to report that we are both feeling so much better....I wish I could say the same for our yard.  Here you go....

Beef cattle

For Pete's Sake~!  This is a crazy tale, or tail depending on how you look at it.  Sigh.......  Now that the girls are a bit older, Tall Guy and I are starting to scoot out of the house now and then for some adult gatherings.  We only leave them for a couple hours, and they have been doing an awesome job of not killing each other or objects in the house.  This particular night was going to be one of those nights, but our awesome neighbor, Miss Wannie called and asked the girls to come hang down at her house and entertain the grandkids.  Tink and Bear LOVE Miss L and Mr. B, so off they went, and we gained a couple hours out.  Win Win right?     To a point.......

We had a great time.  Dropped the girls off about 5:00, and came home around 9:00.  As we turned off highway to head down our road, we hadn't gotten too far when Tall Guy started squinting at the road....

"What the HECK!  Someone has been driving out in the fields mudding~!" (Mudding, or Muddin' is an activity done with off-road vehicles that involves driving through some pretty wet, soft ground,  It tears the crud out of the land, covers said vehicles in mud, and should never be done in a farm field of any kind at any time.)

He was right.  About a mile from our house there was mud all over the roads, then we went through the intersection before going up the hill to our house, and his tune started to change.....


I said, "What?  Translation please?"


"Uh.....Oh......*&&*$#@!"  It's pitch black out, most of our cows are black, and about the only good thing was that we are down to 30 instead of our usual 100 or so.

We pulled into the drive, and it was a huge mess.  We drove through the barn lot, and it was a mud mess too.  Then we pulled over to our second lane, and saw at least one partial white face on a black to find the rest.

TG took me up to the house, I put Sadie in the garage, grabbed my "muck" boots and TG's truck, and headed down to Wannie's to get the kids and maybe some help.  When I got there and explained our urgent dilemma, Bear piped up with, "That's why we heard them bawling and carrying on!"

While I explained the fact that hearing the cows carry on is unusual and should be investigate if it should ever happen again, Mr. Mike was up and trotting to his 4-Wheeler, and his daughter and her husband were jumping in his truck.

I have to stop here and say Son-in-law was very excited about this development.  He was amazed to think that our cows might have been right behind him in his father-in-law's field, and he really wanted to catch a cow.  Yep, he is from the concrete part of our universe.

The good news in all this mess is that the cows were all gathered up in our back lot, visiting with the 4-H calves and were apparently ready to return to their lot.  The bad news came in the light of day. Our cows had gone a'wandering all over a good part of a mile!

Here's the story in pictures:

Going east from our house...

Looking west...

Down the road east to Wannie and Mike's.....

Mike's bean field just east of us.....

Directly across the road from our house heading north.......

The barn lot where we park equipment.  I mow this area!  Or at least I used to mow it.  My back hurts just looking at this mess!

West of the house in last year's wheat and bean field....

Heading further west......

Stopping for a water break in our waterway........

Just about a mile west of the farm now!

Behind the old garage heading toward the wood boiler.

These dudes weigh about 1200 pounds and made HUGE and DEEP tracks in our yards!

We are truly amazed that no one called or apparently saw them walking around God's many acres.  I guess we will put this down to all's well that ends well, BUT people around here need to start checking the gates they open!  Happily, I know these past two times were not on me, but I'm not cheering too loud because it can happen any time, day or night!  Just be careful as you drive by our place, and keep an eye out for large black/brown/and tan objects moving along the road!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

NOT an April Fool's Joke!

I had this great post forming in my head about going out to work down tile lines at my dad and mom's farm.  You know, The first day of playing in the dirt as we kick off #plant15, but.........

Tonight, while Tall Guy was several miles away (like 20 in the tractor bringing the disk home), we got a call from Miss Amy, our neighbor a mile south, that the cows were out!  I grabbed Bear and the Gator, and headed down the road and south.  There they were about 3/4 of a mile south of the house.  I kept looking for the rest of the herd, but I could only see five.....then it dawned on me, "OH!!!  They are the 4-H calves!"  

I sent Bear back to the house to get Tink, and I took off at an alarming speed to "head them off at the pass" or before they got to the next road.  My, uhm, well, you know, my "girls" were quite a bit jostled in the whole business, but at least I was going through a bean field rather than a corn field.  I got around the calves and started driving in front of them, hoping they would follow me.  They did for a while, but then I apparently wasn't entertaining enough for them so they chose another direction.  Just then the cavalry showed up in the form of our neighbor, Mr. Mike, on his 4-Wheeler!  

We would have made pretty good cow pokes.  

It took a bit, but we got them up to the feed lot where Mr. Scott, one of my husband's cousins, had opened the fence. With his help and the help of the girls, we finally guided them through the feed lot and back in the tool shed with the gates CLOSED and LOCKED!

A Big THANK YOU to Miss Amy for sounding the alarm and  Mr. Mike and Mr. Scott for coming to our rescue.  Country neighbors are the BEST!!!

Now you would think that my next post would be back to the ground working story, but this little exercise reminded me that I haven't shared another similar event with you.  Keep your boots on and your ropes ready for the next installment.  Yee Haw!