Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Day in the Life of Princess Kay

Earlier this Summer, I became the Minnesota Dairy Princess Coordinator. I told you all about it in my blog post 12 Good Reasons.
On the eve before the start of the Minnesota State Fair, Kyla Mauk became our 62nd Princess Kay of the Milky Way, Minnesota's dairy ambassador. Congratulations to Kyla!
One of my duties as Minnesota Dairy Princess Coordinator is to chaperone Princess Kay and the eleven princess finalists at the Minnesota State Fair, so from August 26th to September 8th, I packed my bags and moved from the farm to a hotel near the state fair to spend morning, noon, and night with 12 of the best Minnesota farm girls I know!

So what does Princess Kay and the finalists do for 12 days of the Great Minnesota Get-Together? 

Princess Kay, and each of the finalists get their likeness carved from a 90 pound block of sweet, creamy butter. This tradition has been going on for 40+ years, and Princess Kay is tradtionally carved on the first day of the Fair. While fairgoers watched, six to eight hours of Princess Kyla's first day of her reign were spent in a 40 degree, rotating cooler as sculptor Linda Christensen worked her magic.

 Every afternoon Princess Kay climbed aboard the float with State Fair mascots Fairborne and Fairchild for some fun during the daily parade.  

 Each day there were amatuer butter sculptures to be judged,
presentations to be given,
 and thousands of fair-goers to greet...and lots of photo opportunities!
 Sunday morning was spent handing out chocolate milk to re-fuel the runners at the finish line of the annual "Milk Run."
   There were also many chances for Kyla to share about dairy farming and dairy foods as she was scheduled for many media appearances. Whether it was a cow milking contest-
a radio interview-
handing out Salted Caramel Puff Malts-

or helping out the local weather man-
it was always done with a smile!

As Princess Kyla looks forward to the upcoming year of representing Minnesota's nearly 3,400 dairy farmers, I look forward to watching her journey, as I am proud to say she's representing the dairy community I love!


Thursday, August 20, 2015

"Never A Dull Moment" Dinner

I feel certain you have heard the phrase, "Never a dull moment." If our family had a motto, this would be it! Fortunately, my family and I thrive on being busy.

Sara and the 8th grade class of 2015.
Daughter Sara is thinking back to school. It's not only the students that prepare for, and anticipate the first day of school, but teachers like Sara have school in mind as well. She has been rearranging and reorganizing her classroom library, "beautifying" her classroom, mentoring new 8th grade Language Arts teachers, and preparing for a student teacher from a nearby college. Never a dull moment! 

 She is a great example of one of those people that was born to teach! I know I sound like a bragging mom, but she, like so many other great teachers, always put the students first. She's creative and is always coming up with new ideas. I mean, let's face it- how many new and different ways can you think of to teach historical fiction and grammar, and still keep 14 year old's engaged? She goes the proverbial extra mile for the kids. Which is why there is never a dull moment for Sara!

So in honor of Sara, and dedicated teachers everywhere, I'm sharing one of the first recipes Sara learned to make-

Sara's Impossible Cheeseburger Pie 
1 pound hamburger
1/2 cup minced onions, if desired
1 cup milk
3 eggs
3/4 cup Bisquick
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Brown hamburger and onions, drain. Beat milk, eggs, Bisquick, salt and pepper. Put browned meat mixture in 10" pie pan. Pour liquid mixture over this and bake at 400 degrees F. for 25 minutes. Take from oven. Top with tomatoes and cheese. Return to oven and bake until knife inserted in center comes out clean. (5-8 minutes) Serves 6-8.

And then when Sara's school day is over, it's on to farm chores.
 Never a dull moment...

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Batter Up For America

I don't claim to be the biggest sports fan in America, but I do enjoy following our Minnesota teams. I'm also one of those people who gets a bit "star-struck" when I get the opportunity to meet one of these athletes. 

When I recently got asked to represent dairy farmers at an autograph signing with Minnesota Twins own baseball rookie, Eddie Rosario, I thought wow! A Minnesota sports celebrity and promoting dairy? That's a win-win situation!

The focus of this event was to share the importance of the
 Great American Milk Drive
which, with your help, makes milk available to children and families in need,
 especially in the summer months. 

According to Feeding America, more than half a million people in Minnesota are food insecure. Nearly 1-in-6 children throughout Minnesota struggle with hunger and may be at risk of missing out on milk's nutrition during the summer months.

Bob Chatmas, of Second Harvest, shared that milk is the single most requested nutritious item by food bank clients, but it's rarely donated. On average, food banks are only able to provide one gallon of milk per person per year. This means food bank clients can't even come close to the recommended three servings of dairy each day!

Most of us don't have to think twice about picking up a gallon of milk when we run out, and yes, even though I'm a dairy farmer surrounded by milk, I buy my milk at the store, just like you. But some families in our communities are missing this nutrient rich beverage. It's a problem that impacts all sorts of families - in urban, suburban and rural communities. Hunger is everywhere.

The Great American Milk Drive is a Feeding America program that's made possible by the nation's milk companies and dairy farmers, like me. It is designed to make it easy for all of us to donate much-needed milk to local food banks. I've donated several times by clicking on the link above. 
Won't you?

Monday, July 27, 2015

12 Good Reasons

I bet you're thinking, "Sure! Jan blogs like crazy everyday during June Dairy Month, and then BAM! nothing much for July." Well, you are partly right. I haven't been blogging, but I have been busy! And I have a good reason. Actually, I have 12 good reasons, and here they are.

On July 1st I was contracted by Midwest Dairy Association to be the new Minnesota Dairy Princess Coordinator. So what does this mean? The young ladies you see pictured here are the finalists for Princess Kay of the Milky Way.

Princess Kay is Minnesota's dairy ambassador, and a new one is crowned each August, on the eve of the Minnesota State Fair. The selection process began in May with judging and the naming of these 12 finalists. This past weekend the gals met again for orientation in preparation for the upcoming final round of judging that is held in late August.

These events are organized by Cindy, another Minnesota Dairy Princess Coordinator. Once our new Princess Kay is crowned, I move into action! Starting bright and early the morning after coronation, Princess Kay and her court of eleven princesses begin their appearances  at the state fair. It is my responsibility to schedule, chaperone and keep everyone smiling for the 12 days of the fair.

Following the fair, I will be working with Princess Kay on her appearances, speeches and media presentations.
I am beyond thrilled to be associated with the Minnesota princess program. I am a past County Dairy Princess, and a proud mom of a past Princess Kay state finalist. I have seen this program build confidence and poise in hundreds of young ladies in the dairy community, and I am so proud to be a part of it in this new capacity!

The photos seen here were taken at the recent orientation event.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

It's About Time- Tater Tot Hotdish

Other than my college stint in Iowa, I have lived in Minnesota all my life. For some reason Minnesotans are associated with hotdish, or to those of you non-Minnesotans...casseroles. According to Wikipedia hotdish is served at family gatherings and church dinners. 
This past weekend I decided it was about time. We were invited to a 4th of July potluck picnic at the Pemble's and I had never made Tater Tot Hotdish before. It's about time! I mean from what I hear, it is supposed to be THE Minnesota hotdish! See what you think...

Tater Tot Hotdish


1 lb ground beef or turkey, browned, seasoned & drained
2-3 c of canned (drained) or frozen vegetable of choice: green beans, corn, peas or mixed vegetables (optional)
3 lb frozen tater tots
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 c milk
8-12 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
1. Spread browned meat in a greased 9x13 pan.
2. Add a layer of vegetables. 
3. Cover with tater tots.
4. Combine the soups and milk, and pour over tots.
5. Bake for 45 minutes at 350'. Add the cheese & bake for 10-15 more minutes. 
It's a simple, tasty meal, and that's the way this farm mom likes to cook! 
What's your simple, quick, go-to meal?


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Land That I Love

God bless America,
Land that I love,

 Stand beside her and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above;

From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans white with foam,

God bless America,
My home, sweet home.

God bless America,
My home, sweet home.

Wishing you a happy and safe 4th Of July!


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Z Is For Zoom

I'm taking you on a journey from A to Z throughout June Dairy Month.
So come on in...the barn doors are open!
Z Is For Zoom
Holy moly, Rocky! Have you ever seen time fly as fast as June Dairy Month? Each year when I make my commitment to blog each day during the month of June, I think "What the...? Are you nuts?" and before our cow Bessie can even bat her big, brown eyes, zoom the month is nearly over! 
If there's at least one thing you have learned from my June Dairy Month stories; I feel I have accomplished my goal. As you have followed my A to Z journey this month, I hope you have come to realize how passionate my family and I are about the farming lifestyle that we live. We take much pride in everything we do at Bremer Farms, and we thank God for the opportunities He has given us.
No, not every day is peaches and cream, or smooth as silk, but we have never regretted the decision to be dairy farmers. After all, we can proudly say, "We're feedin' a nation!"
 Thank you for visiting during June Dairy Month. I hope you'll come back often, and maybe even invite a friend or two to join us. Shoot me a comment or email if you have a topic idea or a question to answer. 
 You may also want to read my previous years posts for June Dairy Month...