My husband, Aaron, and I are the typical young family.
I overhauled my grocery shopping strategy and now I NEVER pay full price for meat.
We got married right out of college, both started chasing our dream jobs from the bottom (I established Celeste Communications and he went back to the family restaurant), had a baby and live in a little rental house.
We’re working hard and saving as much as we can to buy a house/farm, upgrade from the vehicles that got us through college and someday put another kid through diapers (not anytime soon though!)
When I was pregnant with Lorelei, I was completely terrified of all the added expenses of a baby. While covering two different events for two different clients, I found myself sitting in on sessions about couponing.
One of those was given by a farm wife much like me. Couponing was not a necessity for her family, however, the more she could save the more they could put towards their future goals.
When she mentioned that her sister-in-law never paid for baby wipes I was sold.
The next weekend, Aaron and I started implementing a drastic overhaul of our grocery shopping strategy.
Lorelei is walking and climbing and nothing in our house is safe anymore.
Aaron is staying busy at Harned’s Drive-In and we’re both ready for a break when the restaurant closes to clean in a few weeks.
Our three adorable nieces spent the three weeks here bouncing between their grandparents, great-grandmother and our house. (Which Lorelei absolutely loved!)
On top of it all, Celeste Communications launched the Etsy shop!
I started kicking around the idea of adding an online store to Celeste Comm in December when after Christmas, friends kept mentioning that they didn’t realize they could have had me design gifts for them.
After a few months of research, I floated the idea by Aaron. As my trusty “CFO,” he did even more research and soon jumped on board.
We decided Etsy was the right fit for Celeste Comm and then began researching all the in’s and out’s and rules of owning an Etsy shop.
All the while I was designing. Wedding invitations, metal signs, greeting cards, birthday party invitations, save-the-dates. You name it!
The Celeste Comm shop opened on June 25 and two days later, with no promotion on Facebook or Pinterest or anything like that, I made my first sale.
To say we were excited would be the understatement of the year!
I kicked off the grand opening on my Facebook page on July 10 and was completely overwhelmed by the support from my Facebook fans and twitter and instagram followers.
Thank you all for your kind words, retweets, shares and pins. You’re the best!
The shop is off to a busy start and I’m loving every minute of it.
Like many of you, my thoughts and prayers have been with the families whose lives were literally uprooted by the devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma on Monday.
I can not imagine what it must be like to lose your home, neighborhood and loved ones all in a matter of minutes.
One group of tornado victims lost their livelihood as well: the many family farmers and ranchers in the storm’s path.
“Rescue workers recover a horse from a destroyed barn.” Photo and caption from the Associated Press
Farmers and ranchers lost barns, storage sheds and shops that housed millions of dollars of livestock or equipment.
Their crop fields were ravaged and their pasture fences destroyed.
When many of their neighbors return to work in their offices, these farmers will still be cleaning up debris.
When their friends are once again bringing home a paycheck, these farmers will still be a long way from being ready to raise animals or crops again.
My heart goes out to these hard working families because I know they have a long road ahead of them.
My friend Holly Carroll, a former Kentucky FFA state officer and agriculture educator, now works for Oklahoma Farm Bureau.
Yesterday, she shared with me one way that we can help the Oklahoma farm families affected by the tornadoes by donating to the Oklahoma Farming and Ranching Foundation.
In a facebook message she said,
“At this point we look at it like a marathon, not a sprint. We are trying to think long term for clean up on the farms.”
Holly said they plan to use donations to purchase the basics for rebuilding and cleaning up farms, such as gloves, shovels, rakes, etc…
If you’d like to donate, mail a check to:
Oklahoma Farming and Ranching Foundation Attn: Monica Wilke 2501 N Stiles Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Please make checks out to Oklahoma Farming and Ranching Foundation and write “tornado relief” on the memo line or an enclosed note.
If you’d like more information or have questions, you can contact Holly Carroll directly by phone at 405-301-6610 or email at email@example.com.
Most of all, keep these farming and ranching families in your thoughts and prayers. They have a long, hard road ahead of them but if they’re anything like the farm families I know (and I have a feeling they are) they won’t stop working until their farms are in even better shape than before.
Through my work with the Kentucky FFA Association, I have the privilege of working some truly amazing agriculture teachers.
I get to photograph and video teachers who are changing their students lives every day, both in the classroom and in their FFA activities.
It doesn’t get much better than that!
The biggest FFA event of the year is the Kentucky FFA Convention in June. As I write this post, that’s a mere 33 days away. (Not that anyone is counting!)
As I’m sure you can imagine, things are starting to get stressful.
On Tuesday morning, I was stressed out about trying to get a big FFA project finished as well as keeping up with my other clients and somehow finding time to write a blog post, all while taking care of a teething Lorelei.
When Aaron called to check in on things before the restaurant opened, I spent the entire conversation complaining about all the things I needed to do and how I had reached the point of being so stressed out that I just wanted to run away.
Instead of joining in on the pity party like I wanted him to, Aaron insisted that I watch a YouTube video come across earlier that morning. He promised it would make me feel better and remind me what really matters.
5 minutes later, my entire outlook on life had changed.
You absolutely MUST watch this video, but to sum it up, the FFA chapter at Noble High School in Oklahoma hosts a livestock show each year for special needs students.
The FFA members pair up with the show participants to teach them how to care for their animals, fit/prepare them for a show and then help them exhibit the animals in a show.
This video touched every sentimental bone in my body.
In 2006, my sister Anna made the Ky State Fair Sale of Champions. Even though she was 11 years old, the banner was almost as long as her.
Having a sister with physical special needs, I’ve seen first hand how livestock shows can be a level playing field for children who often can’t compete in the same way as their peers in sports or other extracurricular activities.
Showing livestock is the only thing that all 5 of the Laurent kids could do together. I can’t even put into words how special that is for our family.
I want to congratulate these amazing agriculture educators and FFA members for making this program a reality for a very deserving group of students.
Words can’t describe the impact you are making on those students and their families.
If you ever need a judge, just let me know. I can’t imagine a higher honor.
Note: I realize that this video is a few years old, but with only 350 views I thought it was a story that hadn’t been shared nearly enough. If anyone knows of any more up to date information about this program, please share it in the comments.
During my many years showing livestock, my friends and I always talked about what we as livestock exhibitors wished we could tell everyone who attended the Kentucky State Fair.
This year, I finally took the time to write it all down.
While I do mention specifics about the Kentucky State Fair, I’m sure that the same tips could apply to any state. My hope is that these tips will help the showmen, fair goers and livestock have a safe and enjoyable state fair.
I’ve been showing pigs at the Kentucky State Fair since I was a child and over the years I’ve noticed a thing or two about you.
In some ways, you and I have a lot in common. We’re both excited to take in the sights, do a little shopping and eat an ice cream cone the size of our head.
There is one key difference between you and I, however… I am here to show my livestock. Continue reading →
On this blog, I often write about complex aspects of food and farming and interact with my predominately adult readers.
Renee with one of our piglets at a school assembly in March of 2011.
My sister Renee, on the other hand, has always preferred to teach children about our farm.
She’s brought our pigs to local schools and throughout high school provided the pigs for the local 3rd grade farm field trip.
Renee knows that its important that kids today learn the basics of where their food comes from.
I’m very proud of her for being a part of a the Kentucky Farms Feed Me virtual field trip series to help students across Kentucky learn just that!
The camera crew met up with Renee at one of her favorite places – a hog show!
A screenshot of Renee talking about caring for pigs at the North American International Livestock Expo.
In the video, you’ll hear her discuss what showing pigs is all about and some basics of caring for pigs.
The virtual field trip wraps up with a trip to Purnell’s “Old Folks” Sausage Company in Simpsonville, Ky. to see how it goes from pig to pork.
If you’re a teacher interested in using these videos and their coordinating lesson plans in your classroom, you can find more information on the Kentucky Farms Feed Me website. (Note: Not all of the content is up yet but according to the site it will all be ready to go by August 1, 2012).