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Christmas In The Country: Gift Exchange Reveal

A few weeks ago I shared that I was going to be participating in the Christmas In The Country Gift Exchange and today I get to reveal what I received from my secret Santa, as well as what I sent as my gift to Darcy!

The gift that I received was from Amber Rugan of A Gentle Word. Amber is from Kansas and writes about faith, family, food, farming, fun and photography. I wasn’t familiar with Amber’s blog so I was looking forward to meeting someone new and learning more about her!

Amber’s Secret Santa gift to me came in two stages. First I received this large box on my doorstep which contained a real Christmas wreath from Delp Christmas Tree Farm, a local farm in her area. How neat!

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We always had a real Christmas tree when I was growing up so this was a nice little reminder of home for the holidays. She later revealed that she tried to send me a wreath with Purdue colors but it didn’t work out. (That would have been awesome though!) But the wreath she ended up sending worked perfectly and was right in time to add some more festive decorations for the Christmas Sweater Party we had at our house!

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The box the wreath came in didn’t have much description of who it came from besides her name so I was intrigued to learn more! A week or so after that I received Amber’s second package. It included a very sweet note sharing more about her and the story behind her gifts, some cute mini jars with mints in them for me to share, a package of M&M’s to share, a blog ornament and the infamous Christmas Gift Exchange lump of coal! (I’ll explain more about that in a minute).

Amber joked that the blog ornament was tacky and it was the only one that she could find. But I think it’s just perfect. I’ve never even seen a blog ornament before so great job to you, Amber, for even finding one! 🙂  I already have it hanging up in my office at home!

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Alright, now for the story behind the lump of coal. Back in 2013, this bag of coal was gifted to Amber as part of her Gift Exchange present by Colby Miller of MyAgLife.com. It serves as a light hearted reminder that coal-deserving sin places us on Santa’s naughty list. But thankfully, naughty boys and girls are offered the gift of Jesus.

In reading the tag closer, I realized it is actually a bar of soap colored and scented like real coal, but what a creative reminder about the real reason for the season! You can read more about Amber’s experience of receiving the coal here. On the back of the tag it has the history of where this coal has traveled each year so my job now is to keep it and pass it on to someone next year!

Thank you Amber for all of your creative and thoughtful gifts! I truly enjoyed them and am grateful for the opportunity to meet and learn more about you. I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and I look forward to keeping in touch!

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The recipient of my Secret Santa gifts was Darcy Sexson of Success is Reason Enough from Oregon! I had never been to Oregon so I had to do a little research on her blog to find out what type of things she  might like.

I wanted to send her something local, something fun, and something homemade. I started with a cute calendar from a local shop that featured images from Indiana. Then, in reading Darcy’s bio, it said she isn’t a huge fan of cleaning (who is, really?) and ended up finding the perfect little decoration for her! And my homemade item was an arm-knitted infinity scarf!

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I was really proud of this one because it was my first attempt at making one. It wasn’t the easiest of project at first, but it turned out great once I got the hang of it.

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I was really excited to see what Darcy thought of my gifts and based off of the sweet thank you card she sent me and her gift reveal blog, she loved them! You can check out her response and learn more about her here. Glad you enjoyed your gifts, Darcy! 🙂

Finally, I want to say thank you so much to Robyn at The Ranch Wife Chronicles, Jamie at This Unchartered Rhoade, Laurie at Country Linked, and Erin at Diaries From the Dirt Road for hosting and organizing this fun event!

To see all of the other bloggers who participated, click on one of the host’s links above for the link up!

~Chelsea

Beef is red, right?

As I was doing my regular check of the news and social media this morning, I came across an article on “Pink Slime.”  This is has been a viral topic in the news and social media which has been scaring consumers into boycotting beef, even though it is perfectly safe and we have been consuming it for over 20 years with no problems to anyone’s health or safety.

But that’s a whole separate topic… what I was most concerned about was a comment below the article from some reader which read:

“…The next thing that should be looked at is the red dye that is put on meat products either sent to grocery stores or put on by the grocery store to make the meat appear fresh. Real beef steak is not “red” it is grey. It is time to start providing consumers with the “real products” instead of “doctored” products…”

GREY! SERIOUSLY? I was instantly flabbergasted. I couldn’t believe that this person legitimately thought that steak meat was grey.

With all due respect sir, it’s called “red meat” for a reason.

WHY IS BEEF CALLED A “RED” MEAT?
Oxygen is delivered to muscles by the red cells in the blood. One of the proteins in meat, myoglobin, holds the oxygen in the muscle. The amount of myoglobin in animal muscles determines the color of meat. Beef is called a “red” meat because it contains more myoglobin than chicken or fish. Other “red” meats are veal, lamb, and pork.

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There is no “dye” which is used to make meat red. They only way it can look grey is if it sits out for a few days, is cooked, or is vacuum sealed which removes the oxygen. But even then, when you re-expose the meat to oxygen, it will return to its red color within a few minutes.

But this blog isn’t even about that “red vs. grey” subject. Most importantly, I’m using this as an example to highlight the serious DISCONNECT that most consumers have with the agricultural industry.

A large percentage of the public doesn’t even know where their food comes from. They just assume that it shows up magically in their grocery store. That is why they get so scared when media or anti-industry groups come out with dramatic or falsified articles regarding food or agriculture.

Being that I am an agricultural communications graduate, this is one of my most passionate topics. As an industry, we need to continue working to increase the public’s awareness of how things are produced. There have been a lot of programs started to help fix this disconnect such as agri-tourism businesses, farm to fork tours and Ag In the Classroom, but we still need to work harder to share our stories.

We need to work to create a clear line of communication and understanding between the public and our industry so that they can be informed to make educated choices about the food they eat.

How do you help share your agricultural story?

Send me a link to your “Ag-Story” and I will put a list together to post in a future blog. 

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