Thursday, August 28, 2014

America's Farmers Grow Rural Education

This spring, the Seminis seed representative in our area approached me and asked me if I would be willing to work with Chad on applying for the America's Farmers Grow Rural Education grant funded by Monsanto (Seminis). Deron - our representative is a huge supporter of FFA programs and really likes to see local schools win these grants. Two grants are available in our area - a $10,000 and a $25,000 and the application consists of several steps including having local growers nominate the program. The more nominations, the better!

Chad and I got to work brainstorming and after tossing around a few ideas, we decided a greenhouse renovation would be the ideal project. The Nyssa FFA Greenhouses are very productive - with poinsettias and hanging baskets - tomatoes, tilapia fish and more! BUT, they could be quite a bit more efficient and updated!

Once we got our idea formed, we set to work garnering nominations from local growers. Chad and his FFA kids were amazing at getting people to fill out the paperwork to support the grant application! After that, I attended a few online grant-writing workshops put on through the organization and set to work putting together a budget with Chad and writing the grant outlining the project details.

We were thrilled when Chad received an email at the start of August letting him know that he had won the $25,000.00 grant for the "Greenhouse & Fish Lab Agriculture Science Integration & Expansion" project!

In short, the funds will be used to build a larger, updated and energy-efficient greenhouse - and be put toward purchasing Vernier LabQuest technologies to be used in greenhouse science experiments throughout the school year. There are a lot of other smaller projects included in the grant, but that is the central idea for the funding. It will be a busy year ahead with the preparation and building of the new greenhouse, but I think Chad is excited :)

Monsanto presented the $25,000.00 check to the Nyssa FFA Chapter at the Seminis Onion Field Day this fall during the luncheon. Go us! Those late night budget and brainstorming sessions paid off big time :)
The Capital Press wrote a nice article about the program that can be found here.

Friday, August 22, 2014

January 3, 2015

Chad and I are very excited to share that we are having a baby! So far, everything has gone smooth with the pregnancy - the baby is growing, healthy, and all is totally normal. We couldn't ask for more than that!

Baby says HI!

My sweet sister, Alisha and her two youngest boys were kind enough to come out to Adrian this week to snap a few photos of us to share on our blog and capture this amazing time in our life together.

Our family is growing by these two very cute feet!
Quick Facts
Due Date: January 3, 2015
How Far Along: That makes me 21 weeks on Saturday (tomorrow) - so over halfway!
Baby's Heartrate: Healthy! That's all we have to report for those of you trying to predict the gender.
Nickname: Baby Beast Mode
How is Tiff feeling? Tired, but other than that - really good.
Cravings: Nothing strange to report.
Aversions: People touching my baby bump, so please restrain yourself :)
Baby Duck or Baby Vandal: TBD, but I'm working on my Duck influence already.
Will Tiff go back to work? Yes.
Nursery Plans: Still in the works, but open to creative gender-neutral options.
Names: I'm sure we'll have a few boy and girl names picked out and make a game-time decision when we meet him or her!
Anything Else? Baby Beast Mode is a big baby so far and was measuring nine days ahead of schedule at our 20-week ultrasound.

P.S. Happy 6th Anniversary Chad! I love you and just know you will be the best baby daddy!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Showering Baby Girl Booth {& Mama}

In August, a celebration was in order to celebrate one of my nearest and dearest and oldest friends - Miss Patricia! Patricia and her husband Bryan - due with a baby girl in September were showered by friends and family at a wonderful party organized by Holly! Let's just say there was a lot of PINK! 

Patricia, Donna, & Baby Andrew
We played several shower games organized by Patricia's sister Christine and sister-in-law CaliRose including Bingo, The Price is Right, and more!

We are so excited for Patricia and her growing family! The shower was beautiful, Holly did such an amazing job with the food, decor, and planning. 
Tiffany (18 weeks) & Patricia (34 weeks)

Mom, Alisha, and I made a quilt for Patricia - the theme of their nursery is giraffes and we found this adorable "Giraffe Love" fabric online and selected the other fabrics from there.

I think it turned out pretty adorable! 
Mom put together a couple floral arrangements for the shower - and as always, she amazed everyone with her skills. I was lucky enough to take one of the arrangements home with me and enjoyed it on my desk at work all week :)
Congratulations Patricia & Bryan - we love you (and Baby Girl Booth)!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Billy's Baptism

Chad and I were so honored when our friends McKenzie and Brian asked us to be the God-Parents of their first born son, William Henry. To be honest, Chad was a little confused because he's a little less than "churchy", but I think Billy's dad might have had hunting motives in mind with Chad and assumed I would take care of the religious aspects :)

McKenzie and I have been friends since I walked into her awaiting arms at Beta Omega Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma on Bid Day 2004. Though we had never met before that moment, McKenzie was selected to be my "Big Sis" and I cannot even tell you how grateful I am for that match. Throughout the years, we have stayed close friends and our husbands even get along (score)! Even after graduation, we have made treks back and forth across the State of Oregon to spend a weekend here or there together and I know we plan to keep that tradition alive in the coming years, which makes me very happy.

When McKenzie called to ask if we would be Billy's God-Parents, I obviously said yes and after a few tears, we hashed out a few potential dates and scheduled a weekend to travel to Washington for the big event (and to meet Billy for the first time)!

Most of the weekend was pretty low-key with travel and a new baby around, but Chad got to tour Glory Acres (McKenzie & Brian's property) and McKenzie and I got to play catch-up while putting in some Billy time!

I did a poor job documenting the weekend and took very few photos (which just means I was enjoying myself too much to bust out the camera), so I borrowed these photos from McKenize's blog post.
Congratulations Van Hoy Family! We love you! 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

BirchBox: April-June

Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel
I recently grew out my brows a little more, so this product arrived with perfect timing to help tame the sometimes wild strays that tried to get away from me on occasion! I don't use it every day, but often enough to keep it in my regular makeup bag.

Supergoop! Daily Correct CC Cream
I'm working on the last of some of my BB Cream and this is in the lineup for sampling soon!

Color Club Gala's Gems Collection Nail Polish - Green
Rarely do my nails sport polish, and when they do - green is definitely not the color of choice. I gave it a shot, but the color of this polish was just not my style. I love green and yellow - Go Ducks, but on fingers and toes, the colors remind me of foot fungus and other issues. Definitely a no-go. If you want it, let me know! :)

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant
I haven't had a chance to use this yet!

KIND Healthy Grain Bars
These granola bars are amazing! I ordered a box of them and have really enjoyed stashing them in my desk, purse, car, etc. for a quick snack. They are full of healthy ingredients, but also taste great!

Favorite Item: KIND Healthy Grain Bars

Least Favorite Item: Color Club Gala's Gems Collection Nail Polish - Green


Gilchrist & Soames Spa Therapy Body Lotion
You can never have too many lotions and the BirchBox versions are perfect for travel bags. I like this G&S lotion better than the version they sent me in a previous box because of the scent.

Nexxus Color Assure Pre-Wash Primer, Shampoo, & Conditioner
I tossed this in a go-bag to use on a trip, but I'm sure it is great.

Pixi Shea Butter Lip Balm - Coral Crush
I was excited about this product, but the color is not for me! It's definitely a little too coral/orange for my complexion - however, the smell and actual lip balm seem to work pretty well.

Whish Shave Crave Shaving Cream - Acai Grapefruit
I had high hopes for the shaving cream, but the smell was a little funky. I also use a razor with built in moisturizer and the combination of the razor and shave cream was not good. I think if I were using a plain razor, I might have better results.

32 Oral Care Effervescent Breath Crystals with IsoVoxy
I didn't use these - it seemed a little strange!

Favorite Item: Gilchrist & Soames Spa Therapy Body Lotion
Least Favorite Item: Pixi Shea Butter Lip Balm - Coral Crush

Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo, Conditioner, & Ol All in One Milk
This shampoo and conditioner is targeted toward dry and frizzy hair - which I do not really have. The shampoo smells wonderful, but didn't lather as well as I would like. The conditioner is very thick and works extremely well. I used the All in One Milk and really did not like the smell. After the freshness of the shampoo and conditioner, it seemed a little off to me.

Joie Folle de Joie Eau de Parfum
Pretty pricey and smells great - but not worth the investment for this low-maintenance (at least on the perfume front) girl.

LAQA & Co. Sheer Lip Lube Pencil - Menatour
Probably one of my favorite BirchBox products to date. The color is definitely not something I would pick up off the shelf, but I love it. It's sheer enough that I can wear a small amount, or layer it on for a more dramatic impact. It also smells great and is a full size product so I can use it for months to come.

Supergoop! Everyday SPF 30 with Cellular Response Technology
You can never have too much sunscreen and this is the perfect size to toss in my purse for those "emergency" moments!

Vasanti Cosmetics BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator
I haven't had a chance to use this yet!

Favorite Item: LAQA & Co. Sheer Lip Lube Pencil - Menatour
Least Favorite Item: Davines Love Smoothing All in One Milk

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Like Butta

So, this whole renting thing - it has its perks. I'm sure I'll get to those one of these days. Not having air conditioning though... well, that is not one of them. We did buy a window cooler and installed that in the bedroom so we can keep our sleeping area cool and comfortable, but the rest of the house is hot.

Like... melt a whole cube of butter on the counter during the day because you forgot to put it back in the refrigerator... hot.

McKenzie tells me this will be funny to look back on in a couple years.

Seriously though, what did people do before air conditioning?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

April Rewind

Architect Meeting
Chad and I met with our architect - Wayne from LKV Architects up at the property. He seems very knowledgeable, talented, and interested in our home building project - which I like! Wayne was very involved in checking out the property, taking pictures, envisioning layouts, and discussing what we wanted in addition to trying to take best advantage of the incredible views of the property. We are excited to see what he comes up with!

Young Couples Get-Together: Final Four
Don't you remember in the good ol days when our parents would get together with friends for pinochle? Your parents didn't do that? Mine did! Anyway, it seems like Chad and I don't make it out often enough to see our friends so we are now a part of a "Young Couples Club". Our first event was at Big Al's in Meridian where we watched the March Madness Final Four games. During the first couple hours, it was just the Cruickshank/Holthus crew, but by the end of the night - we had twelve or so people and it was a lot of fun! We hope to have great monthly turnouts in our future get-togethers :)

FFA Banquet
Annually, Chad and I make a trek to Costco and stock up on things like tri-tip and butter. We are given strange looks and are often asked, "where's the party?" from curious onlookers as we traipse through the store with two giant carts filled with romaine lettuce, dinner rolls, croutons, and cheese. We continually explain that we are shopping for the Nyssa FFA Banquet, which is a fundraiser, awards ceremony, and community event all rolled into one!

This year, I got to the kitchen at my normal time - assuming everything would  be running smoothly because this would be the first banquet we put on where Chad was not sidetracked by baseball practice. I was mistaken. The cafeteria looked wonderful with decorations galore, but the food was still in the ag-shop refrigerators! People gotta eat! I whipped those kids and that advisor into shape and we got everything moved to the kitchen where we rushed to get everything prepped and ready to go. The banquet started one hour earlier than normal and I would say we needed every minute to get ready!

For the first time, we charged for admission and we still had a huge turnout - so that was awesome! The auction went well and the chapter and alumni earned several thousand dollars to put toward FFA scholarships. I must say, I'm always happy when the FFA Banquet is completed - it is a lot of work!

During an especially emotionally taxing week in April, I saw this on my Instagram feed and it resonated with me and what I was/am dealing with. Life is not fair. I shouldn't expect it to be fair. I think I want it to be fair, but then again - what would my life look like if everything was fair? We are extremely fortunate in many ways and I might not like what I see if life was actually, fair. Regardless, I'm glad April was busy, because it was a little rough.

McBrides had a few brandings in April that I was able to attend - all of these pictures were taken at the steel corrals at Alkali, at two brandings about a week apart. The first was windy and very dusty and the second was just about perfect with regard to weather! There is not much I enjoy more than a nice branding in the spring!
Matthew catching two feet - with Tom on the head.
Peter helping recover a wind-blown hat.
Willy & Tiff hanging out after a long day at work!
Tiffany on Lightning with Jody coming in for the heels.

We celebrated Easter with Mom & Dan and the McBride clan this year by attending the Elk's Lodge breakfast. Chad's grandpa, Papa Cruickshank joined us for breakfast as well. More details and cute pictures from the Easter Egg hunt here.
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