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Rocking Out

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life

My first thought: now this is an unusual badge.

My second thought: this is a badge I can rock!

My third thought: I got rhythm … I got music … who could ask for anything more? Well, a girl could ask for Gene Kelly, but I’m realistic.

A whole merit badge on music; I am sooo ready for this.

I was sooo over confident.


Turns out I’m not as melodiously gifted as I once thought. I mean, yeah, I can peg the winner of American Idol three weeks in, sure, and I can nail a few childhood campfire songs. And you can bet I’m a good go-to karaoke partner, but REALLY knowing the ins and outs of crooning? Well, surprisingly enough, there’s more to it than I originally thought.

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Horse Dreams

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life

I already told you about my love affair with horses (well, okay, more a love affair OF horses. The other isn’t quite right if you stop to think about it) so when I saw a way to earn a Merit Badge equestrian style, you better believe my boots were on before you could say “giddy up!”

And I’m not kidding around about the boots. Cowgirl boots are one of the best fashion statements EVAH. And they never go out of style! Boots with shorts, boots with fluffy skirts, boots with jeans; is there anything they don’t complement? I think not.


All dressed up, I headed out on a little Pony Scavenger Hunt, so to speak. I brought along a few horse books from the library, my binoculars, camera, and my cowgirl spirit. I figured driving along the back country roads, top down, wind in my hair, spying for my favorite animal in the entire world, was a pretty good way to spend my afternoon! I decided each time I saw a horse, I would look up its breed and jot it down in my journal. And who knows, maybe I’d get lucky and get to meet an owner who liked to share his livestock … you know? Just a turn or two around the corral?

Thumbing through my book, I realized I hadn’t known as much about the animal as I had originally thought. Turns out, owning every My Little Pony ever made doesn’t give you a real foundation for knowledge of the breeds.

My first lightbulb moment was learning that a pony isn’t a pony. I mean, a PONY is a pony, but a baby horse is a foal! Wha?? I know. I was just as confused as you are now. You aren’t confused? Well, humor me. Anyway, turns out a pony is an actual breed, not just a miniature horse. A Miniature Horse is a miniature horse. Are you with me? Hang on; the ride’s about to get even bumpier. Stallions don’t have to be black. Who knew, right? You knew? Fine. Now I know, too.

At the end of my drive, I had a journal list of the horses I’d seen and identified, a yearning for a Palomino all my own (or maybe an Appaloosa), and a database of new words like

Hand (for measuring how tall a horse is; one hand=4 inches)

My list of horse friends was growing, too. On it, I had

American Paint Horse
American Quarter Horse
Appaloosa (swoon!)
American Saddlebred
Peruvian Paso
Tennessee Walking Horse
Clydesdale (made me want to be pulled on a sleigh while singing Christmas carols, but maybe that’s just me)

Palomino (squeal!)

I even got lucky and set up a riding lesson with the owner of an adorable Quarter Horse named Spunky. Spunky and I are going to be good friends; I can feel it. She even matches my boots.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    WOw, somehow I missed this new badge and it looks like lots of fun! I used to ride for many years , but was never able to own a horse. When we purchased horses for our girls, I was busy doing “chores” and working to keep them fed and all that goes with paying board, gas, and horse stuff. This badge would be fun for me because I don’t have to get my old bones up on the horse and could spend time renewing an old love of mine. And just sayin’, I bought my first really good cowboy boots last winter and they are begging for some time out of the box! When it cools down here in Florida, this badge would be a perfect way to enjoy some exploration AND break in those boots!

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Merit Badge Awardees

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Farm Kitchen: Dad’s Baked Beans

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life

The other day, I got to thinking. I know. It happens sometimes, usually when I least expect it. I was thinking, pondering, marinating if you will, on food. Yup. Food. That glorious stuff I’m really learning to enjoy mightily now that I’ve taken the plunge to really notice what I’m putting in my body. And you know what they say: You are what you eat. For too many years, I was a Big Mac with fries and a Diet Coke. Now I’m more of a veggie pita with iced sun tea!

So, anyway, I was thinking about food from my past. Like, for example, that red velvet cake I had for my seventh birthday, Uncle Bill’s chocolate chip cookies, Midge’s waldorf salad, Gramma Barbie’s pot roast, Mom’s eggnog, and Dad’s baked beans. You know, food that has a specific time and date and memory attached to them? Yeah, those kinds. Eggnog from 1994, that’s what I’m looking for … figuratively speaking, of course.

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  1. drMolly says:

    YES!! go beans – as the BeanQueen I applaud ANY good use of beans in cooking. And as MBA Jane says one can use dry beans of any variety – have fun experimenting – you won’t regret it.

  2. Just love this, and I will bake a batch this weekend! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Trish says:

    Just wondering…what doll is your lovely model?

    • MaryJane says:

      Just click on FORMER LIFE:
      Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life …

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What’s your simple country pleasure?

For the next issue of our magazine, we’re going to dedicate a couple of pages to Simple Country Pleasures. I thought it might be fun to list our COLLECTIVE ideas on that here—for a two-page collage in MaryJanesFarm magazine with each of our names attached.

What is (or are) your simple country pleasures?????

At the top of my list is the sound that pine needles make in the wind. It’s a far-away sound that washes over me like surf. When I take a moment to stop and listen, I feel like I’m floating, bobbing above the surface of all my busyness.

Anyone love going barefoot in their garden?

How about lovin’ the country wave?

Night sounds that lull you to sleep?

  1. Terry Steinmetz says:

    My favorite simple country pleasure is to sit on my front porch, with a cup of tea & listen to the birds singing. It’s a beautiful symphony to me!

  2. Shery says:

    Going for a drive in the country for that reason alone … going just to see what is OUT THERE … and maybe stopping along the way to check out a pond or whatever it may be that sparks an interest. My grandparents loved to go for a sunday drive and I can remember laying on the back seat with my feet dangling out, feeling the cool wind on them. I can still see that vision, like an old photo … my feet as a child … smaller and cuter back then :o)

  3. Kat Tylee says:

    I love hanging laundry on the line in the sunshine. Especially if it is a little breezy. All my cares and worries seem to get hung out to dry up and go away too. There is something meditative about hanging laundry.

    The other one is going out to the garden to see what is ready for that night’s supper. Usually I’m barefoot and I can spend forever just hanging out and smelling the tomatoes, onions, lemon balm, strawberries, and above all, the dirt. 🙂

  4. Keely says:

    Ahhh…the sounds of the night. Coyote’s crying in the distance…even better when they come close. Whip-poor-wills calling back and forth…bull frogs calling for a mate in the pond. The stillness of the night is music to my soul.

  5. Sabrena Orr says:

    The sounds of children’s laughter while playing outside is my all-time favorite sound. During a recent spell of HOT weather, we laid out a huge plastic tarp, added a sprinkler, and our kids, the neighborhood kids, and even the adults got in on the fun. The tinkling sound of children’s laughter lights up my day!

  6. Debra Davis says:

    Barefoot in the garden, check. Hanging laundry, check. Fresh corn on the cob. Cottonwood leaves. The smell of woodsmoke. Old pioneer apple trees gone sprawly and tangled, old varieties like Gravenstein and Yellow Transparent. Looking up at the stars at night, following the Big Dipper and Orion as he rises in the fall. Watching the phases of the moon, feeling close to the turning of the seasons.

    The little things noticed every day are what give life magic and poetry, pull our heads out of the clouds and place our feet firmly back on earth.

  7. Jan Culton says:

    We lived in a city of half a million for many years; it is never quiet there…not for one, blessed second! My favorite thing about living here is the quiet. There are sounds of course, but it is not noisy!

  8. Colleen Easlon says:

    I like living in a very small town, where everyone knows each other very well. Things are so slow and laid back here, so tourists don’t like it too much. It doesn’t matter if an item can be paid for today, because the shop owner knows it will be paid tomorrow or sometime next week. We seem to know everything about each other, even the embarrassing stuff. But it’s okay! Rumors and gossip spread through town like wildfire, then it’s over with because the next rumor starts. We try to support the tiny businesses that are here, and also barter a lot. The auto repair place rotated my tires last week for a cb radio that I had. I get sheeps wool for spinning in exchange for eggs. This place and these people, are my simply country pleasure.

  9. Dolly Sarrio says:

    I love nature, listening to the wildlife behind me in the Swamp, hearing the coyotes, roosters crowing. Sitting on the front porch (if I ever have the time) sipping iced tea or lemonaid and watching the birds at the feeders and the beautiful sunsets are out of this world…Taking walks down the dirt road…simple things.

  10. No noise! And woodsmoke! We are currently living in a large city and are not allowed to even burn logs in the fireplace due to air pollution regulations! Can you believe it? So one of the things I LOVE to do when I go visit my parents is to have a fire – even better, a fire in the pit outside! Woodsmoke is so soothing to me!

  11. Heather says:

    I live in the city, but recently an ordinance was passed for backyard chickens. I love nothing more than sitting in my back yard at night, listening to “my girls” clucking as they free-range in the back yard. I also love tomatoes from my garden, warm from the vine and mixed with fresh basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and mozzarella ciliegine, spooned atop slices of fresh french bread. Nothing tastes better on a hot summer evening.

  12. Nancy says:

    When I lived in the Inland Empire, I loved the wheat fields just before harvest – “The waves of grain”! Living in Fort Worth, TX, I find great pleasure watching the butterflies in my front yard. Late September and all of October there are usually 50 during the day. They come to eat the blue mist, flitting around all day.

  13. Tami Garcia says:

    I love walking around my property, with my dog, visiting the cows, chickens and the gardens. Fresh air, warm sunshine caressing my skin, listening to the rythem of my heart beat and the sound of my feet hitting the ground. I am trully blessed to be surrounded by so much beauty!

  14. bobbie calgaro says:

    I love to be able to walk in the fall with the leaves swirling all around. Crunching leaves on the way to school was a favorite past time as a child and I still love it today. The colors and spicy fragrance of autumn leaves is just a thrill. I live in the South and hate the heat so when that cool air that signify the start of fall comes around, I am in seventh heaven. If not walking then just sitting on my deck and taking in the splendor.

  15. Philena Betz says:

    My favorite simple country pleasure is rain. There is nothing more relaxing than sitting on my covered-porch listening to and watching the rain. It is so peaceful and allows me to slow down and enjoy nature.

  16. Kristi says:

    My favorite country pleasure is sitting on the porch watching the hummingbirds argue over who gets the next drink from the feeders. They make me laugh out loud.

  17. Billie Jo Moffett says:

    There are several sounds I love to hear that bring back so many memories of when I was a young girl at my grandmother’s farm in East Texas. We would have to lay down in the afternoon and the windows would be open because there was no air conditioning. We could hear the trains coming through the woods, some times blowing their horns, the chickens clucking as they scratched the ground around the house outside the window, and on a really hot day when the heat melted the pine tree sap, the aroma filled the air. Today, my senses are still aroused and I get a feeling of butterflies in my stomach on hot days when I encounter the same smell of the pine trees, hearing the ghostly sound of a train echoing through the woods, or listening to chickens quietly clucking as if they are talking to each other.

  18. calle says:

    A nightime wilderness sky , as the stars look like huge diamonds on black velvet. You feel as if you can reach up and touch them and they make you feel like a little girl again. The wonder of no city lights to pollute the night sky. It envelopes you , holds you tight and you feel safe


  19. Some of my favorite simple country pleasures are seasonal: the sound of cicadas singing in the trees in summer, sharing warm apple cider on crisp fall day in a pumpkin patch against the backdrop of changing leaves, the quiet, peaceful sound of a gentle, steady winter snowfall, and throwing the windows open on the first warm day of spring.

  20. Melissa Bailes says:

    We lived at the “family home place” when my kids were young. We would ride up to the top of the hill to watch the sunset to finish our warm weather days. Chasing grass hoppers thru the tall grass and listening to the frogs in the nearby pond. When there was a meteor shower we laid out the sleeping bags and had thermoses of hot cocoa to watch the stars fall through the night. They remember picking grapes off the vines and eating them warmed by the sunshine. I remember them playing on the big round hay bales where the boys chased the dragons away from their princess sister. I miss the sounds of laughter coming in the open windows along with the breeze and sun light.

  21. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I love picking apples off the tree in the fall at U-Pick farms. Then I love to take home sacks full and make apple butter, apple pie, fresh applesauce, baked apples and eat them everyday in my lunch! Apple trees full of big beautiful apples make me so happy. The possibilities of what to do with them are endless and they are just the happiest harbinger of Fall.

  22. Dianne Nixon says:

    I live outside Salt Lake City, so star gazing is a little difficult; but I try to spend time outdoors at night. I get home from work after 11 pm and fix me a plate to take to my patio. I have several fountains on and around the patio to drown out the city noise. Just finished a pita sandwich with avacado(store bought) with tomatoes and basil from my garden. I can smell my roses, herbs and petunias in their pots. This is summer in the “country” for me.

  23. Kathy says:

    The silence of a snowfall.

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Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters!

Merit Badge Awardees

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That’s right, peeps …

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life

For this week’s merit badge, I’m making a commitment …

A commitment to never hearing these words again:

“Would you like paper or plastic?”


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  1. Lynne says:

    A GREENIE here . . .
    I have three bags, (purchased) not hand made like yours. They roll up, two have a band snap closure, one a pouch. All three fit in my purse, each being less than one half the size of a hot dog bun. I have been using them all the time for the past few years for groceries and for fun shopping trips! I use a plastic bag only for something drippy, moist or packages of chicken/meat. I am amazed at how many items can fit in the bags.

    (I have heavier bags in the car . . . always forget to take them in the store.)

    You gave me my first smile of the morning . . .

  2. Eileen Stone says:

    I LOVE this Barbie! Is she yours? Maybe you could hang one of her tiny, little shopping bags from the rear view mirror of your car as a reminder. (That’s SOME POTATOE she has scored there in her little bag!)

  3. Bunny says:

    I hang my bags by the door I leave the house by. I actually go out the back door so they are hanging on the doorknob to the backyard. You could also hang hooks by the door, hand your purse and the bags there. It helps. When I put all my groceries away, I put them all in one bag so I only have to grab one.
    It will become a habit after a while. My Fred Meyer store gives you a 5cent discount for each bag used for groceries. That alone kinda makes me remember.

  4. Dana Hinton says:

    I usually shop alone, so they bags stay in the passeger seat of my car. I have’nt forgotten them since they moved up from the trunk.

  5. i, too, leave them in my car…in the backseat. It’s a habit now. Love not having those plastic bags to deal with! And yes, it’s fun having all sorts of cute reuse bags. I left one of my favorites accidently in my cart yesterday( had an extra) went back today no one turned it in. Figured such, it was from Ron Jon’s Surf Shop i. Cocoa Beach, FL. It was turqoise!

  6. Pingback: Giveaway: and BINGO was the game-o | Raising Jane Journal

  7. Tina says:

    Thats sound like my beginnings of the reuse bag you will get the hang of it .. Now I find my self in buying to many of the differant reuse bags need to quit that … than I found myself storing things in them too which can be nice if your trying to reorganize closets and that sort of thing..I have fun going green:)

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Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters!

Merit Badge Awardees

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