5 Reasons Your Kids Should Show Livestock

5 Reasons Your Kids Should Show Livestock

Just in case you're on the fence.

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One of the coolest parts of my childhood was showing animals, and I would love nothing more than for my kids to be able to do the same one day. But if you didn't grow up in the livestock world yourself, it can seem a little overwhelming at first. Despite this, here are five reasons you should take the plunge and join the show world.

1. They'll learn the value of a dollar 

Showing livestock isn't really a free hobby to pick up, but it has a lot of learning moments to it. Get kids involved in the whole process, including the budgeting of feed and care. That's how most of my friends growing up first started ever learning about money, and it made their transition into adulthood that much smoother.

2. And they can even make some money 

When it comes time for the animals to finally go to auction, the goal is always to at least break even, but ideally to make a profit. That's how I paid for my half of my first car, from the money I made selling my livestock. College fund, anyone?

3. It's a great way to make friends

Some of the closest friends I've ever made, I met from 4-H and livestock shows. I've made the best memories with these people, and I'm beyond thankful for the opportunity I had to meet them.

4. They'll learn how to win humbly

Nothing feels better than that handshake that names you Grand Champion. You want to smile and celebrate, but, there's a right way to do it. Smile, shake the judge's hand, say thank you and shake the hand of your competitor. Save the celebration til you're out of the ring.

5. And to lose graciously

You win some, and you lose some. Some days you won't place as well as you hoped, but it happens. You can't throw a fit just because you didn't win. Shake the judge's hand, listen to what they have to say, and congratulate your competitor.

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5 Ways Impulsively Getting A Dog Saved My Mental Health

Those four paws are good for a lot more than just face kisses.

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Shortly before my husband and I officially moved out onto our own, he surprised me with a puppy in hand on the morning of our anniversary. Moving out, tackling college, and everything in between, I thought another huge responsibility was the last thing I needed. However, in reality, Oakley, the lab/Australian shepard/collie mix, was exactly what I needed to get back to "me."


He provides emotional support

One of the most obvious reasons is how much emotional support dogs, (and other respective animals) can provide. His paws have been accidentally stepped on, and he certainly isn't a fan of the forced flea/tick medication doses, but less than 30 seconds later, he is without fail immediately by my side again, tail wagging and ready for more kisses. Although he is not trained or certified as an ESA, it's without a doubt he has effectively (and unconsciously) combated random anxiety attacks or feelings of being alone.

He requires being cared for

You'll heavily judge every crazy fur mama, as did, I until you become one. Getting Oakley immediately got me consistently back on my feet and forced me to ask myself, "What does he need today?"Even simple, easy tasks like taking him out to run/go to the bathroom had me excited and forced me to find a motive in the day to day activities. I loved no longer having even the mere choice to be unproductive. Don't want to start your day? Well, Oakley needs his day started, so let's get moving.

He serves as protection

It's no surprise how far a dog's loyalty will go to protect their owner. For decades, specially trained dogs have had life-saving responsibilities assigned to them. Even being married, my husband and I's schedules vary significantly to where it is not uncommon for me to be alone. The slightest sound or shadow from outside our door immediately initiates barking. In the bathroom taking a shower? He's there. Knowing that Oakley is looking out, even when I get carried away with tasks like cooking dinner, always calms my nerves.

He's become something to look forward to

The nice thing about having Oakley is regardless of how my day goes, I know exactly how it is going to end. Whether I passed an exam with flying colors or got the lowest grade in the class, I know what waits for me when I open the door at home. After a long day, nothing resets my mood like walking into a face that is just as happy and excited to see me!

He encourages bonds with others

If you want your social interaction to sky rocket: get a puppy. No, I'm serious. You'll have people wanting to come over and visit "you" (let's be real… your puppy), like it's your last day on Earth. For me, this was exactly what I needed. Getting Oakley had family members constantly checking in to see how he was growing, learning, etc. Not only did this encourage more interactions with family and friends, but it also "livened" my husband and I's home life. Instead of the "normal" weekend nights consisting of Netflix and MarioKart, (which are enjoyable in their own respective ways), spending our nights playing Monkey in the Middle with our new four-legged friend has proven much more entertaining.

So ideally was it the right time to get a dog? Probably not. However, adding Oakley to my small little family combated anxiety and depression in ways I wouldn't have ever thought possible.

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6 Lessons I've Learned From Seattle's Snowmageddon

The Seattle freeze is real.

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From epic school closures to hundreds of flight cancellations — Snowmageddon took no prisoners in Washington. Like an ultimate game of freeze tag, it blustered through Seattle and the surrounding Puget sound areas — putting everyone's lives on pause. Things that normally wouldn't have happened — happened: Snow reached record heights, delivery trucks jack-knifed, grocery stores emptied, and power outages left thousands in the dark. In North Bend — where the snow reached 16 to 24 inches, the Washington National Guard was called to help save a man trapped in his home located down a snowed-in drive way. It's been an unusually rough couple of weeks so far for Washingtonians. But through the storm I've learned some very valuable lessons:

1. Always be prepared --- stock up on groceries early.

Grocery Store

I will never wait the day before a storm hits to buy groceries again. During Snowmageddon, parking spaces were almost non-existent and the lines of nearly every grocery store spilled down the aisles. Soccer moms fought over the few remaining carts. As children (and possibly cashiers) pondered if the world was coming to an end.

2. Sleep is your best friend --- and worst enemy.

Bed with natural light

Being snowed in for these past two weeks has allowed me to enjoy some of the best sleep of my college career. In addition to a daily 8-hour rest — I've also been able to get in a few power naps. But I've learned if you sleep too much you can miss out on the winter wonderland that awaits outdoors. Or procrastinate on your assignments. So it's best to keep one's schedule in tact and set an alarm.

3. Many Western Washingtonians can't drive --- especially in snow.

Snow covered road

Videos of sliding cars on icy hills and slick streets in Seattle can be found on YouTube. While those maybe entertaining — what's not funny is the hundreds of car accidents that occurred during Snowmagedden. The main comment from authorities and drivers alike is that too many people were driving too fast for the conditions. Like seriously, people. Slow down.

4. Candles over everything.

Lit candle

As a child, I remember my mom would light vanilla scented candles whenever our went power out. No matter how scary the storm or how cold we felt in the darkness — I'll never forget how the warm glow of the flame and delicious scent always made me feel safe. Whether you prefer wax, soy or flameless have a candle nearby for instant light and security.

5. Have games and activities on deck.

Scrabble game pieces

If you have a candle or lantern handy — you'll find games like Scrabble, Charades, Glow in the dark Air hockey and Cards against Humanity can be fun to play in the dark.

6. Disasters really do bring people together.

Hands with words of uniting on them

I work part-time at Safeway and am fortunate to have a manager who cares about employees. When the heavy snow hit and everyone began making calls, my manager drove people to work. Even my co-workers who weren't fond of him were appreciative. Throughout the week, I heard stories of people checking in on seniors, neighbors sharing food, strangers helping others dig out stuck vehicles and temporary homeless shelters opening up around the area. Proof positive that Snowmageddon may have chilled our bodies — but it hasn't frozen our hearts.

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