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November 23, 2013

My Mom's Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate has forever been a part of my life - my Mom loves it, fixes it all the time and it seems like she always has!

The temps started dropping last week and with several things going on the next couple of weeks involving a lot of work outside the first thing the kids requested was that I learn to make 'Grandma's Hot Chocolate' - my reaction was 'fine, if my Swiss Miss isn't good enough for you' and they said 'it's not'!!!!

So I called Mom expecting some long concoction of ingredients to pre-mix but what I got was this:

"Well I have had so many different recipes over the years but what I currently use is my favorite!"

Prepared with my pen and paper, saying a small prayer that I had all the ingredients on hand and (I won't lie) a slight roll of my eyes at the prospect of a trip to the grocery store- I braced myself for the recipe!

"Dove chocolate squares!"

"Just heat your milk up, drop in however many Dove chocolate squares you want, stir and you have the best hot chocolate ever - oh and if you are going to blog this secret could you at least try to get me a lifetime supply of Dove Chocolate"

Now what she didn't verbally express in our conversation is an unwritten (and obviously unspoken) ingredient that always goes in my Mom's hot chocolate:


there you have it folks-let's be honest, pretty much doesn't matter what the base recipe is for hot chocolate - you add a dip of ice cream and you have put it over the top!

Topped with cow sprinkles makes it even yummier!

My Mom's Hot Chocolate


Dove Chocolate Squares (Milk Chocolate or Dark Chocolate-your choice)
vanilla ice cream
sprinkles - optional

Heat your milk up (microwave or stovetop), pour into a mug and add as many or as little Dove Chocolate squares as you desire-stir to melt chocolate and combine with milk.

Top with a dip of vanilla ice cream and sprinkles!

November 15, 2013

Fall Pumpkin Squares

These are one of my favorite fall things to make-super easy and super yummy!  My Mom has made these ever since I can remember -they are always a huge hit if I take them somewhere!

The recipe I use is from one of my favorite Gooseberry Patch books:

Welcome Home For The Holidays

Fall Pumpkin Square

Pumpkin Squares:
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 cups pumpkin
1 cup oil
Mix all ingredients together.  Spread in a jelly pan for thinner bars or a 9x13 for thicker bars.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean).

2 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces bar of cream cheese
3/4 stick butter
2 tsp. vanilla

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Spread on cooled pumpkin squares
Keep refrigerated.

November 12, 2013


I felt like I lived in the laundry room today!

I laughed and cried at the things that I found in my washer and dryer (luckily no livestock markers-been there done that), the sheer amount of laundry and the fact that I still can't find anything to wear!  You know last night I had an hour to kill in town waiting on the middle and I opted to pop into Kohls and buy myself a couple of pairs of new underwear-it's how I treat myself-I know for two days I won't have to hunt for clean underwear!

The only farming I did today was hauling manure soaked and splattered clothes into the washer-load after load after load after load after load.................

More Dirty Laundry:

November 10, 2013


I made the mistake of stating my plans for the day on Facebook-and of course the majority of those didn't get accomplished - but in the end it was a good day and like every other day - just not the one I had planned!


I laughed a lot today (and maybe stomped my foot) -I couldn't hit a clay pigeon with a shot if it were laying on the ground 15 foot in front of me!!!


I got to watch the boy run his double crop beans - he also planted them!  I am positive he was more excited about being in the operators seat of the combine while Grumpy (Chris' Dad) rode in the buddy seat than he was about the fact they made 20 bpa-a respectable number for double crops!

My Seriously Amazing Mac & Cheese

So let's try this again - only with a little more appetizing picture!

I originally posted this recipe in January of last year-I even stated in the post that the pictures pretty much sucked but not to let that affect your opinion of the recipe-because this recipe totally rocks!  But over the past few months I have been working on my food photography skills and so here is the recipe again with a much more appetizing picture - although I still stand behind the picture of the beer and cheese in the original post-because, well it is beer and cheese!

My Seriously Amazing Mac & Cheese

Recipe by Jent
  • 3 cups Dry Macaroni - cooked & drained
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 3/4 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 cup Velveeta
  • 2-2 1/2 cups Shredded Cheese - any combination you choose
  • 1 stick Butter
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine all ingredients, put in a 9x13 pan, cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour.

I am participating in Indiana's Family of Farmers Table Talk Series and received a gift in exchange for my participation.

November 9, 2013


I watched the sunrise from my small town, ate breakfast at my Moms surrounded by family and watched the sunset from the cab of a tractor!


I am sure I laughed today-I laugh everyday-I love to laugh!  I am sure that at breakfast lots of funny things were said-there is always a ton of laughter around the Eck Family table but to be honest it was a tough day emotionally - I really missed Dad today - and then it tears at my heart to think that my Mom, Brother and SIL - who spent everyday with him must feel like this a lot more than I do and I cry for them.


Had one of the best seats in the house as we finished Harvest 2013!

I am not a cemetery person!

It has never been a place I went to 'visit' those that I love who have died-it isn't where they are.  But in the past month I have found it is one of the only places (the other being a tractor cab working) that you can cry and think without people trying to make you feel better.

That is where I am sitting this moment watching the sun come up-Dad's graveside service was small-just our family and it was at sunrise-his favorite time of day.  Dad was a morning person and by morning I mean he would of made an excellent dairy farmer-rising and shining before the sun came up is something he excelled at-when I was little I remember him coming in having already fed the cattle while we were still warm in bed and still dark out and waking us up with his cold hands and just laughing.

My Dad would be the first person to say "yep this is sad but there is nothing we can do to change it so just keep moving forward" and I believe this; so why this is hitting so hard today I don't know-

November 6, 2013


It felt like I lived in my truck today: Chris and I went to look at a feed truck in Greenfield, broke a tooth at lunch so straight back to the dentist, 3 trips to town for kids activities!


My own tweet made me laugh! And cry a little!


We watched the radar and rain all day-chomping at the bit to get busy at the last 110 acres!

November 5, 2013


When you see views like this everyday and they still amaze you and take your breath away-well you know life is good!


"Rocking the hair nets #millionmealmarathonindy #selfies #farmsmatter"

This pic on Instagram totally made me laugh!
I love my friends, they are the best in the world!


We finished up west of town, all that is left is 110 acres of corn!


Well technically yesterday - but this post is supposed to be Day 4 of 30 Days of Ag -anyway you get it - I am a slacker-

I don't know how you can spend all day in a tractor and still be racking your brain about something agricultural to write about - but I am - I am just not happy with how I am handling this series - I am kind of a random person but this is even too far out there for me - I came up with an idea (well about 15 ideas) yesterday but ditched them all, went back to a couple, shrugged them off, grasped at them again . . . . you get the point - but as I really need to get outside here in a few I am going to throw caution to the wind, try a different direction and see if it sticks to the ceiling!


This is where I live - in beautiful central Indiana!
This picture does not begin to do justice to the colors of the leaves, I was able to look at these colors all day from the cab of a tractor - it just doesn't get much better!


Middle: Good Afternoon
Me: Hi Sweetie
Middle: How are you?
Me: Fine
Middle: What are you doing?
Me: Running the grain cart, did you have a good day?
Middle: Head hurts but yeah, we now have assigned seats on the bus
Me: Why, what happened?
Middle: Joey left something inappropriate on the bus.
Me: Joey who and what!
Middle: Smith and idk I heard Chassidy yelling at him for something
Middle: Not like a condom mom!
Me: Ok-I guess that particular item hadn't occurred to me but good to know it was not that!

This made me laugh!
The middle knew I was in the field and wouldn't be home when she got off the bus so while on the bus she texted to ask how my day was going - this is how the conversation went!


This was where we farmed today!
Out west of Franklin, I ran the grain cart, my FIL ran the combine and Chris, Josh and Doug spent all day make round trips in the semi's, dumping corn at home in the bins and my MIL fed us all!

November 3, 2013

Day 3 Plans-we don't make no stinkin' plans!

Day 3 of 30 Days of Agriculture is a prime example of why we don't make plans!

I'll be honest I was in hopes of an uneventful day-and by uneventful that means that nothing breaks down, livestock doesn't escape, nobody runs out of feed ......... so on and so on!

But alas it was not to be - before lunch standing right inside the garage hollering my name is a husband covered in hog manure along with mumbling random phrases including things like:

hogs broke feeder, hogs busted waterline, feed line timed out, feed on the floor, hungry hogs

followed by-"I have never been too dirty or smell too much to go to Lowes but I do today-find me a pair of cleaner jeans, not clean jeans (thank God cause there were none) just not shit covered jeans-then would you ride to Lowes with me, I will drop you off you can fix lunch while I fix the hog barn issue, we will eat lunch and then move equipment to Arrowhead"


In the middle of the afternoon we moved the combine, grain cart and corn head to the west side of town!

But while this wasn't exactly how I saw my day going when I went to bed last night and woke up this morning- but when you can close your day with images such as these

well life is good when you


Oh and 3 calves now dingle berry free - in case you were keeping score!

November 2, 2013

Day2 Dingle berries-1 Jent-0

Day 2 of 30 Days of Agriculture - We are going to jump feet first (and I think there is still some in my hair) straight into the deep stuff - shit (not to offend any one but it is what is is) - it is a part of every day life on a livestock farm, it is also on almost every pair of shoes we own, has to be swept off my kitchen floor daily and honestly not a person in this house can smell it any more!

We are 35 days and counting from Hoosier Beef Congress - time to get busy - we have almost finished harvest, made it thru soil judging season and wrapped up National FFA Convention today!

I have told my kids from day 1 with the 'show' calves - We are in this for fun, not for the banners!  To be honest we basically can't afford them and we suck at being show stock jocks - we really do!

Today for example was spent washing, brushing and picking a months worth of dingle berries off of a couple of the calves we will be taking to congress-tmw we will conquer two more!

Fighting dingleberries on show calves for 10 years and counting:

But at the end of the day when your Facebook status says:

"I won't lie-an hour and half ago I was ticked off because the boy was whining about dingle berries (on his calf not himself)!  but just now I looked out my bedroom window, the sun is shining and what I see and hear make my heart smile-we have 4 trees well over 80 years old in our yard and the leaves are amazing shades of red, yellow and orange-rustling and falling in the breeze; my son and nephew are raking them into big piles, jumping in the repeatedly and giggling; the middle is washing her heifer and singing (off key and loudly); Chris is unloading feed and there are four extra trucks parked in my driveway belong to FFA member who met at my house this morning who took my Explorer to Louisville for the day so that they could attend the last session of the National FFA Convention and their last day of convention as FFA members."

well even if you have bits of shit in your hair you just


Day 1-FFA

Go figure is November 2 and I am already behind on this project!

Hello my name is Jennifer Campbell-I procrastinate, I work best on a last minute adrenaline rush and can always formulate an excellant excuse as to why I am always on the verge of lateness!

I have no plan for this series (welcome to my life), I have given it a lot of thought, discussed it with Chris and thought about ditching it because it just wasn't flowing for me - But just like my very first blog post says:

And so just like everything else in my life I will jump in head first, full of enthusiasm and figure out the logistics of it later!!!!

So here we go:

30 Days of Agriculture In My Life

{Link will take you to other much better blogs participating in this}

I have said before and will say again:

so as oppossed to writing about a single educational topic that would enlighten you and make you smarter this will be just 30 days of how we (like most farmers) live and breath our jobs/lifestyle 24/7/365!

We will kick this party off in true Jennifer fashion with my first excuse for being late that of course involved agriculture:

I was planning on heading down to Louisville on my own Friday to visit with truly one of my best friends from Nebraska who I met on Twitter (yes I am addicted to Social Media) who was attending Convention as a chaperone for her kids FFA Chapter-but I received a phone call late Wednesday evening asking if I could come down Thursday morning to help chaperone our chapter and stay Thursday night-I very seldom tell people no!  So some quick rearranging of what I had planned for Thursday and at 10am the next morning I set out for Louisville.  The next 24 hours would consist of almost drowning being surrounded by well over 50,000 blue corduroy jackets, rain & wind, a harrowing trip to Lexington (where our hotel was) in the dark, 12 hours with no electricity, 3 fire alarm evacuations, no shower (which in and of itself is traumatizing for me) and a mass (grab what you own we are never coming back to this hotel) exodus!  Friday I spent a few hours walking around the trade show with my oldest who was bound and determined to make herself and her desire for an internship known to every agriculture company represented there and I got the honor of meeting Janice in person -

All in all it wasn't bad-I won't lie, I had a ton more fun at the 1986 National FFA Convention in Kansas City - but that was probably because I was a lot younger!

I have watched these kids for the last 4 years grow, mature (somewhat) and learn about agriculture - and while not every single one of them will be directly involved in the industry for the rest of their lives they have definitely developed a love and respect for it.

And when you are scrolling thru your Facebook feed and find this:


well you tear up a little and you know it is all worth it!


November 1, 2013


I have a mantra, a code, a mission statement to my life!

And I am using it as my 'theme' to 30 Days of Agriculture!

I first came across this 'saying' maybe 2 years ago - thanks to Agriculture Impressions and her shop on Etsy!

It has become my favorite-it says exactly who I am (or strive to be) everyday!

I have a shirt!

I have written it in the bean dust on my Explorer!

I label pictures of my kids with it!

I have it on the back of my truck!

And when I turned my Dad's work belt into a cuff - well this only made sense.

So the next 30 days tag along to LIVE.LAUGH.FARM with me!

Day by Day:

Day 1 - FFA
Day 2 - Dingle berries
Day 3 - Plans, I laugh in your face
Day 4 - Today
Day 5 - 
Day 6
Day 7
Day 8
Day 9
Day 10
Day 11