Diver by Day & Fair Goer by Night

Happy Friday Picking Wild Flowers! This week I was a diver by day and a fair goer by night. I have really loved working for extension this summer. I can see myself very happy in an extension profession.


The #CloverU theme; Oceans of Fun, had me searching for ways it was connected to agriculture- agriculture is about curiosity and passion. Then Ryker asked me, “why do you always wear a clover on your shirt to camps?” It hit me hard; I wear the clover because it holds a lot of empowerment in such a simple shape. I represent the clover through my actions, and I can say I am proud to demonstrate Head, Heart, Hand, and Health by the coordination of STEM camps this summer.

Oceans of Fun Day Camp in Kalona


I am no longer a 4-Her but I am striving to be a mentor and role model to those who are and to the kids I interact with. Attending the Johnson County fair this week brought back a lot of great memories. The photo below popped up on my news feed. It is not the trophies and the ribbons that will last a life time but it is the sweat, tears, pictures and people that truly made the fair feel like a family.

Baylie is now in Clover Kids! It is really fun to see the passion of showing pass to the next generation.

I see many connections between STEM and 4-H. Both create learning, curiosity, and life lessons.

My cousin Delaney did a great job in this years rabbit show!

“Oceans of Fun”was a very creative camp. The youth explored ocean creatures, types of water, depths of the sea, and pollution.


All of the campers enjoyed creating stuffed fish. “Did you know, fish have slime on them to protect their scales and that is why they don’t get wrinkly like we do,” one camper commented; just about melted by heart!!

Ada explored oil pollution

I had a wonderful week fishing for ocean creatures in Washington and reminiscing about my good O’l days showing at the Johnson County Fair.

Fish Bowl- cracker, frosting, and gold fish.

Check out how cute this fish bowl is! Stay tuned, I may write a summer snack post 😉





Training for a 1/2 Marathon!

WOW it is HOT!! This weekend a bunch of girls and I went camping. Mind you we had this on the calendar a month in advance! The first night we stuck it out and slept in the 90 degree weather. On Saturday we went on a float trip down the Skunk River. Seven cheery and excited ladies started the journey while seven tired and burnt ladies left the float haha. Needless to say we did not spend a second night. Next time we will be camping in the fall, but memories sure do last a lifetime.

It has been miserable running weather, but Megan and I have decided to train for a half marathon and we need all of you to help us stay motivated. I have decided what better time than the present to compete?

half marathon

Above is the training schedule. Ideally I would like to be ready by early spring. We have completed week 1. Week two is a maintenance week but it will be a very good opportunity for my muscles to recover. I have never ran more than 6 miles and I am feeling a little nervous.


My daily routine has morphed to accommodate my training schedule. I am realizing that I have to make running a major priority if I plan to run 13 miles. Both my eating and mental habits need to improve.

I am working to live an 80/20 lifestyle. Eating healthy 80% of the time and splurging the other 20%. It is all about training my mind and body to have self control.


Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a chore. This week we made a shrimp and fruit salad with a lemon dressing. The salad was a recipe that I found on “Iowa Girl Eats.”


The next day I used the left over ingredients to make a simple salad with shrimp and avocados.

Stay tuned for updates on all things Farm, Faith, Fitness, and Food related!


A Long Way Down: Designing Parachutes

Good Morning Picking Wild Flowers!


Today is “my” Friday as I finish up evaluations and press releases before driving down to Missouri for a beautiful wedding ceremony.

Wow Lots to do before we take off at 1:30 PM! Are you having that kind of summer too!? One where it feels like time is flying??

To Do List:

  1. Finish blog post (A passion of mine) 🙂
  2. Pack!!!!
  3. Go for a quick run- Need to get those steps in before a riding in a car for 5 hours 😉
  4. Laundry
  5. Check cows

But back to the reason that brought you here!

A Long Way Down: Designing Parachutes

This week the kids kept me on my toes! Campers enjoyed the story, “Paulo’s Parachute Mission,” where they learned that engineers design parachutes for spaceships; connecting the art of designing to purposeful invention. Youth had the opportunity to explore their five senses, play with a giant parachute and build group/individual parachutes that we launched from the top of the slide.


Above: Abby and Keaton built a parachute with three different suspension lengths. They were able to design a replicate of their sheets with coffee filters, string, and a bull clip.


Working with our awesome volunteers is one great part of coordinating day camps! Katie encouraged the girls to follow the directions as they created three parachutes with different canopy sizes. It has been rewarding to see the County Council interact with the campers.

13631380_1116177281754869_4636272745583035885_n Hailey tested her parachute before walking down to the park to release and time.


We had a little bit of a weather scare yesterday. The kids really impressed me as they gathered their bags and lined up at the door. They were calm and collected as we headed to the conservation center.

Lets hope the rest of our camps have sunny and cool temperatures but if not I know we have a great group of kids in Washington County that can handle it! 🙂

Good luck with the fair Washington County- Stay tuned for the last two weeks of Day Camps. #CloverU


Youth goes Mania over Bugs!


30 Washington County campers explored insects, habitats, and all things bug related at the 2016 Bug Mania Day Camp. To be honest; this was one topic I felt a little queasy about. I am not a fan of bugs, insects, or anything that could be considered a “pest,” but these kids really made me feel like I jumped to judge the topic. At the end of the day; this was one of my favorite camps to teach.


Mya was working on creating her own bug from three different head, thorax, and abdomen choices. The campers could be creative and imaginative as they cut and glued the pieces. I learned that the abdomen can include up to ten segments. The kids were surprised to hear this as well. As you can see on Mya’s sheet; she has a couple pieces that have six to eight segments.


The day consisted of many art projects including large group habitats, coffee filter butterflies, insect hats, and finger puppets.


Mariah holds up her insects as she prepares to adventure into a imaginative story plot line for her puppets.


I would say my favorite part of Bug Mania was the variety. The campers had the opportunity to enjoy insect puzzles, BINGO, Bug Hunts, and relay races. I had a great time mingling with the kids and learning all about their adventures with lady bugs, lighting bugs, and caterpillars. Each student had a story to share and it was fun to see them exploring nature on such a beautiful day.

Ask your child what they learned! I learned that grasshoppers have the strongest legs of all insects. Thanks Sam! 😉






Women in the Bible had Courage

Wow this week is just flying! Last weekend was packed full of fireworks, parades, 5Ks and socializing. Through the craziness I made sure to spend time with God each day. I have been working through a study that looks at the stories of women in the bible.

Fourth of July Cookies

I have noticed a reoccurring theme of courage. The study began with the first women God ever created; Eve. Eve’s first ounce of courage was shown when she confessed her sins to Adam. It took even more courage to place her sins in front of God. It is often easy to run and hide like Adam and Even did in the Garden of Eden but God wants us to come to him with our trespasses.

I decided to read while the cookies were in the oven

The study walks through the lives of Sarah and Rebekah in Genesis 18-24. Sarah was much to old to have children but God provided for her and she trusted in the lord to raise Isaac up to be a follower of Christ.

I added red dye but it turned out to be more pink haha

Judges 4 was really inspiring; Deborah was a judge, leader, poet, and prophet. She lead her nation to victory and beat an army of 9,000. Women often get overlooked in the bible but Deborah stood out among the crowd.

Adding the chocolate chips!

The study continued on to Ruth, Esther, and Mary. Mary had more courage than I ever will. She made sacrifice after sacrifice but gave no second thought to saying yes to having Jesus. Mary endured doubts from Joseph, friends, and family. She had to watch her son die on the cross but in the end Jesus saved her just like he saved all of us.

Final dozen in the oven. Red with blue sprinkles!

I have learned a lot about what it takes to say yes to God without hesitation. Am I there personally… no. But I will always be working to better my relationship with God and that means opening my mind to courageous acts and humble responsibility.


Chocolate Chip Cookies were a hit on Fourth of July. Want the recipe!?!? Look on the back of the chocolate chip bag!

Secret tip # 1- Do not cook the cookies for the full time. Take them out right when they are beginning to brown. They will be soft and chewy.

Secret tip #2- Don’t melt the butter; let it thaw before hand.


Let’s get Messy with Science

This was my last week with Region 15 Clover University. We wrapped up Iowa, Johnson, and Washington #CloverU camps with Messy Science Sensations.

62 pre-kindergarten to first grade campers explored slime, bubbling lava lamps, alka seltzer, food coloring dispersed in milk, and elephant tooth paste.

What is elephant tooth paste you ask!?


Peroxide, food coloring, hot water, dish soap, and yeast. Adding the yeast last creates the peroxide to rise and pour out the top in a “toothpaste” like manner. The kids loved this experiment. One asked if he could try brushing his teeth with it. 😉

Let me tell you! 62 five year old campers have loads and loads of energy. If only I was a kid again…

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Oh trust me… I got my fair share of experiments and fun in this week. Here is my marshmallow tower that I built in Iowa County (reminiscing on the good ol’days when I was at camp haha).

I asked the kids at the end of the day if they liked science and if they could see it as something they continued to explore. Many of the campers agreed they have a love for discovery.

Where is that point in our lives when we get to busy to experiment with our curiosity. Where does it transition from fun to work?

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) based curriculum encourages students to be open minded as they enter all levels of school. Making it more fun and interesting to all ages.  I have seen the goals of STEM in action and I am completely on board with the missions of 4-H and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

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I have enjoyed getting to work with all three counties. I have a lot of respect for those who work with students. Each camper has a unique personality and background that they bring to the day camps. It is rewarding to watch an idea click and to see learning take place.

Starting next week I will begin Washington Summer Day Camps. Be sure to stay tuned for Bug Mania, Parachute, Oceans Deep, and Babysitting updates.

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