Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It’s Boll Time

It’s officially football time and everybody’s thinking about what bowl their team will go to. We’re thinking about bolls too – just not the football kind! About this time every year, Brad starts bringing in cotton bolls from the field for me to see. I usually keep one in my car during the fall. It’s a little early this year for cotton bolls, but it is so incredibly dry that they’re here early!


The one on the right is a five lock boll that is nicely fluffed out. The one on the left is also five lock, but it was not open when Brad gave them to me. When all of the moisture leaves, it will be nice and fluffy too.

If you missed Cotton Elementary last season, check it out! I’ve learned so much about cotton and love sharing it!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Blair eats…encouragement for parents of non-eaters.

Blair will be 3 in October. That means that we have spent almost two and one half years offering meat to our child and for almost two and one half years, she has gagged, refused it, or spit it out. She has lived on yogurt and fruit. Until now.

022Sweets have never been an issue.

I’m so pleased to announce that my daughter Blair now eats chicken. And bacon. And fish. So exciting!!!!!

And (gasp) she asks for it!

I would like to go on. This week she at some pork chop. Asparagus. Eggs. Rice. Cabbage (?!?!). Corn on the cob. And I’ve even seen her eat real pizza! All of these developments have happened in the last few weeks. She began eating chicken consistently a month or so ago, and she has slowly added foods since. Every night at the supper table, Brad and I look at each other in disbelief.

I can even feed her what we eat instead of making a PB&J or easy mac
(with whipping cream!).

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Our lesson: don’t stop trying! Every time I went to Chick-fil-a I got her chicken. Even when she wasn’t eating it or would only take one bite. And I still cooked her eggs. Even when she wouldn’t eat them. And we insisted that she try one bite of foods we ate at home just to keep her from completely refusing everything. Sometimes she gagged or spit it out, but she tried it. She cooked with me. She knew all of the foods’ names. She saw us eat meat and vegetables at home. Our persistence has paid off.

And tonight Blair blessed the food like she always does: “Dear God, thank you for our food.” But she added, “…and thank you for… ketchup! A-mee-yan” And mommy is thankful too because I let her put it on anything if it means she’s eating!

Now I’m looking for poundage, people. We’ve got meat in the tummy. Now we need to add some MEAT to these bones!

Food Fight

I wrote the following post at the beginning of June and never got around to posting it. I’m doing it now because we’ve had developments. Big developments. The kind that have me asking, “WHERE is my child?!”


“Eat three bites.”

“You have to eat … before you ….”

“What do you want for breakfast/lunch/supper?” “No ma’am.”

“You have to try one bite.”

Gagging. Coughing. No ma’am-ing. Stalling. All done-ing.

This is our food battle. Every day.

We wake up in the morning, and we wait. I offer food. No ma’am. We wait. No milk allowed until she eats. We wait some more. And with all that, Blair will go hours before she eats.

She helps me cook. I offer ketchup. I withhold milk until after meals. It’s all hit or miss. Every once in a while she eats really well for a whole day, but mostly she just picks. I even send her to bed without milk if she won’t eat her supper. This hasn’t worked either. She’s supposed to be drinking milk for the calories, so I want her to have it, but dadgum, she needs to eat!

She ate almost two whole (small) chicken nuggets the other day, and I wanted to hoop and holler! She rarely eats meat at all.

I offered her everything I could think of as a baby, and she ate it. But her frequent gagging (and throwing up) affected her eating table food. Now I don’t know what to do!

I’m all ears…. (See next post for update.)

Giveaway Winner

The winner of my measuring cup and honey giveaway….

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Congratulations Jen O’Daniel at theodaniels.blogspot.com!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Georgia FB Young Farmers at Callaway

This year we had our Farm Bureau Young Farmer Leadership Conference at Callaway Gardens. Lake Blackshear was a blast last year, but if those of us who live among the gnats can’t handle them, you can bet what the others from other parts of the state thought! No one was going back for a second swatfest (and sweatfest!).

yf conference 072211 (8)Blair snoozed on the drive over. Leg prop and all.

yf conference 072211 (18)She was so excited about swimming, which is the first thing we did!

I didn’t take many pictures this time because I was involved in the meetings and couldn’t, but we had a great time. Two friends who are also on the state YF Committee and I presented on social media during the breakout sessions. That was fun!

I got to show an attendee a social media app on my phone.

twitterPhoto Georgia Farm Bureau

yf conference 072311 (1)Janie going over our handouts.

I really enjoyed the discussion meet! What great discussions we had! The final four discussion will take place at the Farm Bureau State Convention on Jekyll Island in December -- there’s a trip to Hawaii on the line – and an ATV!


The YF committee had a whole weekend of activities planned for the kids while parents were in sessions. We had some indoor games and took them to the butterfly garden. They really had a blast. Blair came with us, but instead of mixing in with the group while Brad and I were doing committee stuff, she stayed with Uncle John mostly! It’s a germ thing. I’ll just say it once again… maybe next year. Blair will get to be a normal playing-with-other-kids kid at some point.

We had some time Saturday afternoon so we took the kids to the animal safari. They had a ball!

yf conference 072311 (2)yf conference 072311 (9)yf conference 072311 (13)yf conference 072311 (27)My brother John was so sweet to be our nanny for the weekend!

We also had a lakeside cookout Saturday night. Good food and good friends… until it got rained out.

yf conference 072311 (53)yf conference 072311 (57)Blair and Brad headed in to supper one night.

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I was so glad to get to see my friend Jessica. She even talked about my blog during the discussion meet!

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On Sunday, Georgia FB President Zippy Duvall had a great message for us during worship service. After the awards we headed home. We can’t wait for our next Young Farmer event!

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It was a great family weekend!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Measure Away: A Giveaway!

So you know that I like to write about stuff that I find neat or very useful, and I had said that I would do a giveaway after my 100th follower. Well, that happened a while back, and I have racked my brain for a giveaway-worthy item! Finally, it came to me while I was grabbing one of my most used kitchen tools the other day – my measuring cups.

These are not just any old measuring cups. These are special measuring cups because they measure ODD amounts.

Meet Williams-Sonoma’s All-Clad Odd-Measure cups and spoons.

img5mphoto Williams-Sonoma

I use these cups almost daily. Not a necessity, but I sure do like ‘em! The cups measure 1 1/2 cups, 3/4 cup and 2/3 cup. The spoons measure 2 tsp, 1 1/2 tbsp, and 2 tbsp. I bought these years ago with a gift certificate from my friend, and I have loved them from day one. I actually have a 2 cup as well, but for some reason that set is not made anymore.

So I’m going to give these measuring cups away, and I’m going to throw in a bottle of honey from our watermelon bees!

You can enter the giveaway like this:

  1. Comment on this post. Any old comment will do!
  2. Be a blog follower of Across the Branch, and leave me another comment to tell me.
  3. Post about my giveaway on your blog or facebook (or both, but only one entry please), and leave me another comment to tell me that too!

The giveaway ends Monday, August 22 at 7pm est. Happy weekend!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Craniofacial Clinic plus fun!

Last week was Blair’s follow up appointment at the Craniofacial Clinic. Last time we went to see Dr. Riski, he suggested that Blair would probably need surgery for a submucosal cleft palate.

We went up the night before because the only appointment they had in  months after we scheduled was at 7:30. No problem! We have a great friend that lets us use her house, so the trip is lots of fun!

It turns out that this time Linsey and Faegan were available to meet us in Atlanta for the night. We also met my oldest best friend for a sushi supper that night and had a great time.

atlanta 0809 (14)atlanta 0809 (1)There are no words for the yumminess on this plate.

atlanta 0809 (4)Blair liked the living fish the best!

atlanta 0809 (5)But she did try the noodles!

atlanta 0809 (13)Faegan just slept. Isn’t she precious?!

The next morning we were up bright an early for Blair’s appointment. I told Dr. Riski how well Blair was doing – she’s now blowing out of her mouth and puffing her cheeks up to “pop” them! He really didn’t believe me until he saw it. She really is doing those things! After she cooperated so well and demonstrated, Dr. Riski was thrilled. He said Blair made his week with her amazing progress! He suggested that we still meet with the surgeon as planned but that we didn’t need to plan on surgery at all at this point since she is actually using the narrow muscles that make up her palate! What wonderful news!

No surgery for now, but this means that we still have a lot of work because Blair still says A LOT of stuff that is understandable to many. There are only a handful of folks like me who speak fluent Blair. The only thing is that the surgery wouldn’t have actually corrected her speech/bad habits. It would have only given her the tools -- tools we didn’t think she had -- with which she could make the sounds correctly . Even with surgery, she still would have to break all her bad habits. Now that we know she has a palate that she can actually use, for the time being we’ll just work on breaking the habits without surgery. Make sense?

We met with the surgeon who said her palate is not all that bad actually. He was very nice and will continue to follow Blair. The plan is to go back in three months to see Dr. Riski again so that he can assess her progress. Yay! We are thankful to God for the continued blessings and answered prayers!

After the appointment it was playtime! Before we went, I had planned to take Blair to the zoo. I thought they might stick a camera down her nose, and the zoo was going to be her prize. They didn’t do the camera, thank goodness, but we still went to the zoo!

zoo 0810 (12)zoo 0810 (40)Priss liked the flamingos. They are fascinating.

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zoo 0810 (9)The gorillas were neat. There were three babies. Do you see the one in this picture?!

zoo 0810 (24)zoo 0810 (31)The petting zoo was fun!

zoo 0810 (41)Lin and I with our girls!

Mommy got a prize too because we at a Taquería del Sol!

After a nice nap (for Blair) and a few errands, we headed back home. It was a great trip – great food, great news, and time with my family – including my new and only niece!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Christmas Wedding Shower: A Jump Start on the Newlyweds’ Holiday Decor

I thought I’d join in on Kelly’s Korner’s Wedding Shower ideas – but I can’t find my pictures :(. I had some great wedding parties leading up to our wedding. We got married in January, a perfect month to get married! Most everything is cheaper – except the flowers. Valentine’s day being just around the corner doesn’t help there. Overall, we loved our January wedding!

I had a Christmas shower in the months leading up to my wedding. To this day I’m so thankful for all of the decorations I received at my shower. Every year I pull all of my plastic boxes of decorations out of the attic, and I can remember who gave us each piece as I decorate our house for Christmas.

A Christmas shower is obviously easier to do in the months before Christmas or just after. Since mine was in November, I was able to register for some decorations, and I also got some beautiful things that I didn’t pick out.

A good thing for the hostesses throwing a Christmas shower is that the decorations for the shower can be gifts for the bride or vice versa! One of my favorite themed showers by far!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Hoarding Watermelons

I’ve been hoarding watermelons lately. You know, the season only lasts so long around here.


And my baby chickens need to continue to be spoiled with treats!