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The Iowa I Know and Love...

Now that the pressure valve has let off some of the steam that had built up and resulted in yesterday's pot of sarcasm, I thought today I would post links to a few additional articles posted at the Atlantic that describe the Iowa, and rural middle America, with which I am much more familiar.

In Defense of Iowa Food
by Kurt Friese

Look to Iowa's Future, Not its Past: A Response to Bloom by Bernard Sherman

And quite possibly my favorite response that you simply must read with a bit of a southern accent, sugar...

What Stephen Bloom is Missing About Iowa by Lynda Waddington

Sure Iowa has its problems...just like each of the other 49 US states and the nations beyond our borders and across the oceans. But let's face it, the life my family lives as Iowans in a small town once built on the back of agriculture and industry is one mostly of comfort and privilege. We live in a beautiful old home with a history of its own that I hope will continue to be written well after our time here comes to an end. We are fortunate to be surrounded by caring neighbors who keep an eye on our girls as they walk to school or play for hours on end in our unfenced back-yard. Neighbors with whom we have traded snow shoveling duties, a quick friendly wave in passing, or a beer (or bottle of wine) on the patio at the end of a beautiful summer day.

It's no secret that I have my own grievances with the community we now call home. Carlisle has had a tough, tough job in becoming a place that I embrace as much as I did (and still do) the community of Grinnell. That being said this town is full of what helped make Grinnell the community I loved so much...real, caring, and amazing people. Some who have lived here their whole lives, have raised their families here, and who still choose to be active promoters of this community. Some who, like me, are transplants looking for a good school district and affordable housing in a small community near the employment opportunities of the big city. We have different religious practices. Different political affiliations. Some of us hunt. Some of us don't. Many of us have grown up in rural communities and now see the benefits of raising our kids in a similar small town. Some have transplanted from a larger urban area in search of a simpler life. Yet in the end, despite our differences, we all seems to be working towards the same goal: creating a community in which we can all live rich, safe, long, healthy, engaged lives.

That is the Iowa I know and love. It's the part of being a proud born and raised Midwesterner that will ALWAYS bring out the "mother bear defending her cubs" side of me when someone bitterly judges the blessed, simple life I have made a very conscious decision to live...right here in the middle of good old rural Iowa.

Now with that all said and put out of the way, it's back to the more immediate task at hand: giving this old house a good cleaning so we can get down to the business of fun filled holiday activities such as pizzelle making, gift wrapping, and scrabble playing. (Thank goodness I don't actually have reason to figure out how to creatively wrap a shot gun!)



My Most Read Thoughts


Today while I sat in a classroom supervising students as they worked on their math assignments, I watched Lexi through the window enjoying time with her friends during recess. My heart smiled.

Those moments, moments of learning and carefree fun, those are the moments that SHOULD make up a school day. As a Mom, and an elementary school employee, my heart is breaking over the news and images coming out of Connecticut today. 
I send my kids off to school everyday without a second thought that they will return safely come day's end, just as I'm sure each one of those parents in Newtown did this morning.
Every day I walk into my school for work without a second thought to my personal safety, just as I'm sure each of those teachers, paras, custodians, sectretaries, etc in Newtown did this morning. 
Theories will be published. Evidence will be presented. Words will be exchanged about gun control and the need for change in our current culture of violence. I don't suspec…

DIY: Reusable Produce Bags

With Earth Day festivities gearing up for tomorrow, I thought I'd take a moment to post a short DIY tutorial on making your own reusable cloth produce bags. (Tutorial inspired by my favorite crafty mom blog, Crazy Mom Quilts. Produce bags inspired by running into my friend Laura at the grocery store while she was stuffing her produce into these.) This is my next step in the fight against the excessive use of plastic bags.

Our family has been making small environmentally minded changes in our daily lives over the past few years. We use reusable shopping bags. We've stopped buying/using Ziploc bags and plastic wrap. I'm trying to commute around town via bike more. I'm being more mindful about where the food we buy comes from and how it was produced. We more often hang our laundry on the line to dry in the spring and summer instead of just throwing it in the dryer. (Which is convenient at the moment since our dryer has decided to quit drying.) As we use up chemically clean…

Sunday Morning Silly...

Once in a while Dando's curiosity urges him to venture off the bookshelf so he check out other toys in the house.

I think he thinks Froggy is missing a few marbles.