Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I plan conventions for the Iowa Turkey Federation. It’s one of my favorite parts of my job. I love having parties and getting people together and planning conventions in part is like that!

Every year I pick a different theme – is that necessary. No. Does it give a new life to convention and make it more fun. Absolutely! So this year I went with White-Out. I got asked a lot what that meant – people wanted to know what to wear. Easy – just wear white. You don’t have to be dressed head to toe in white (although that is awesome), you just need white somewhere – white shirt, white tie, white pants, white shoes. You get the point.

I decided that everything in white would be a little boring – so I jazzed it up with gold, glitter and sequins. I know – shocker that I would pick glitter and sequins. It turned out beautiful and we had an awesome convention!

turkey cookiescrack fries

We served white turkey cookies at lunch – this was a winner in so many ways. First – turkey farmers raise white feathered turkeys. Do you know why? It’s a simple answer…when you remove dark feathers from a turkey it leaves dark spots on the skin. Consumers don’t like that and inspectors degrade the meat. So white feathers it is. Second – they are adorable, Hy-Vee does an amazing job. Third- they are so good. Seriously. Delicious.

Peppered Fries from the West Des Moines Marriott. AMAZING. So very amazing – in fact we refer to them as crack fries. That’s how good they are. NOT that crack is good – but you can’t stop eating these. They have parmesan on them and some sort of seasoning – I’m glad I don’t have the recipe or I would eat them everyday and gain a lot of weight. If you are at the WDM Marriott. Get them. You will thank me.

Hospitality centerpieceCentepiece with turkey bowl

The hospitality room is a very important part of our convention. There is a ton of networking, lots of conversations ranging from work and turkey discussion to catching up on family news. I like to have a little something on the tables but I don’t want to take up the whole table either – these worked perfect. The bottom glass part is part of an old turkey water, then I used Epson salt, candles from the dollar store and gold ornaments, greenery and  gold “picks” from Hobby Lobby. Hospitality isn’t complete without snacks – so I used these awesome turkey bowls from Pier 1.

tablesView of table

Snack tableturkey water with candels

The banquet tables were beautiful and exactly what I wanted! A big thank you to Katie from On the Banks of Squawcreek for helping me with the centerpieces. The beautiful glass jars are old turkey waters that we got from a fellow turkey farmer – they were in an old barn. We Katie hauled them home and to the office. We washed and washed and washed them. Side note – polident works wonders, as does vinegar and Dawn dish soap. After we got them sparkling clean, we poured Epson salt in the bottom (these pictures don’t show it very well but it looks like sparkling snow – so pretty!), then put different sized candles in each one. Done. Beautiful. Fairly inexpensive. Now for my favorite part of the decorations, drumroll please…… the champagne sequin table runners. They were absolutely stunning – well worth the $20/piece rental fee. (If you love them as well and want to rent them we got them through Bella Floral in Des Moines, Iowa.) It was finished off with champagne colored silk napkins.

sheila's outfit croppedSheila, Joel, Jill color corrected

Here is my outfit for the White-Out. I loved it – it was so comfortable. I was lucky – I went to the White House Black Market and that day they had 25% off and I had a $100 gift certificate so I didn’t spend that much – the top, sweater and pants are all from there, the leopard print shoes I’ve had for a long time and have no idea where I bought them. In the 2nd picture I’m standing with Joel (the National Turkey Federation President) and Jill (the Iowa Turkey Federation Lobbyist).

Another great convention in the books. I’m working on next year’s theme’s…I’m thinking Tailgating and Roaring 20’s. What have you done that went over amazingly well?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The “D” word.

My best friend has Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). She’s had it as long as I’ve known her. To be honest, I didn’t ever really think about it. I knew she had, she would go the bathroom after eating or give herself insulin at the table. It was NEVER a problem. It was NEVER an inconvenience. It NEVER changed our plans. She took care of it. End of story.

Then a couple of months ago – my five year old daughter starting sleep walking, she tried to go to the bathroom in random places – like by our bed, “in” her vanity chair and by the stairs. I honestly thought, “It’s a phase – it will end soon.” Then she stayed at my mother-in-laws and she said Diva got up and went to the bathroom 4 times in the night. Again – I thought it’s just a phase. No worries. But it didn’t end, and she started planning what she was going to drink for the night. I will never forget picking the kids up from school and on the way home Diva said, “When we get home I’m going to have strawberry milk, then juice, then water.” What?! What 5 year old plans what they are drinking when they get home – let alone 3 drinks?

So one Friday during FAW (Friday After Work) – more to come about that later – I was talking about it. One of the mom’s said – “Sheila take her in. I doubted it too – just take her in.” This mom has a teenage daughter that was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes just a year ago.

So Monday rolled around, I called the doctor and made an appointment. We went in and they tested her urine. As the doctor was playing with my daughter he turned and said, “Unfortunately, there is sugar in her urine. This typically means diabetes, but can also mean kidney problems.” We will take blood and see what comes back. Go grab a bite to eat and come back in an hour or so. I talked to my mother-in-law and then my husband. I was scared. I was worried terrified. My sister-in-law drove my husband down to meet us – so we didn’t have two cars, but truthfully it’s because she was concerned he was too upset to drive. Diva and I had a great lunch at Noodles and Company – one of our absolute favorites (because they have gluten free noodles). Then we went back to the doctor. We heard the words that changed our lives forever. “Your daughter’s blood sugar is 385, she has diabetes.” No parent should ever have to hear that. From that time on our life has been complete chaos completely different.

The next morning we were sitting with the specialist at 7:30 am. We spent hours learning about diabetes and what we had to do to keep our daughter healthy alive. It was simply the worst day of my life. I had to poke my daughter’s finger and give her an injection. It took two people to hold her down while I did it. I felt like the worst most horrible mother in the world. I cried for a long time. How could I do this to my daughter several times a day, every day? When it was finished, she kicked me, she hit me and I didn’t blame her. I just held her and cried. My husband cried. My mother-in-law cried. Truthfully, I’m crying typing this. You cannot imagine the emotions you go through.

1. Blame and Guilt. I know it’s ridiculous and the doctor’s tell you a hundred times that it’s nothing you did. It’s nothing she did. It just happens. They don’t know why yet. It just is. But you can’t help but think, what if… Then the doctor’s tell you again - Type 1 Diabetes cannot be prevented and it is not curable. Hopefully someday they will know why and they will be able to prevent and/or cure it.

2. Sorrow. The weird thing about sorrow is the range it spans. I am sad that she will never have a “normal” life. I am sad that her fingers are going to get callused from all the finger pokes. I’m sorry that she has to get at least 4 injections a day. It makes me sad that she always has to have supplies with her. 24/7. And it makes me sad that people don’t understand T1D.

3. Fear. This is a BIG one. I am constantly thinking of her numbers – I am so scarred that she is going to have a low. (Low blood sugars can lead to a coma or even death) I’ve never been one to be able to fall asleep quickly. Now it’s even worse. I can’t help but think what happens if she dips low while we are sleeping and I don’t know it?! I’m scared of her rebelling when she’s older and not taking care of it properly. Basically, I’m just scared of everything when it comes to T1D.

4. Frustration/Mad. Frustration is a daily feeling. I get frustrated when we are doing everything by the book and she still gets a low or high (blood sugars). I get frustrated when she is high and is crying, screaming and throwing a fit about something ridiculous. And the frustration with the health care system and insurance is the biggest. It is ridiculous what they charge for test strips to test blood sugars simply because they know we have to have them. I’m mad that my daughter has to deal with this and I’m mad that she has to deal with it at such a young age.

5. Happy. Ok – happy seems really weird especially given the other four emotions. But it’s true. I’m happy that I KNOW what is going on with her body. I’m happy that I live in the time that I do – and that insulin exists and I can get it. I’m happy that with proper management she can have a very “normal” life.

As the days go on, it gets “easier”. The school and all the staff have been AMAZING and I can’t thank them enough. The school nurse has made sending Diva to school not scary. She knows what to watch for. She checks her blood sugar before lunch, before snack and any other time Diva doesn’t feel the best. She sends me a text each time to let me know where her numbers are and if she isn’t sure about something she calls. She is so good that when we are at home Diva will occasionally request the school nurse give her the insulin. I then have to explain we are at home and she has to pick one of us there! The school is making everything go so smoothly and I know they will take the best care of Diva.

We are very lucky to have a lot of family close by. My in-laws live just a mile up the road from us and have been lifesavers! My mother-in-law has been to all the appointments with us and has helped me with every little detail while my husband was in the field. My husband’s sisters and their families also live close and have all been so supportive. Lots of thanks to all the Diva’s cousins who have made it “cool” and held her hand, watched or gave her a high five when she’s done getting an insulin injection or getting her finger poked for a blood sugar test.

Diabetes suppliesDiva with Frozen Bag

(The first picture shows some of her supplies for the day: 4 insulin injections. At least 6 pokes for blood sugar testing, ketone strips and a juice in case of a low. The other picture shows Diva with a Frozen bag that was made for her by a really sweet couple in Jewell to hold her supplies. She loves the bag – it makes it easy for her to have her stuff with her 24/7.)

It’s amazing how your life can change in a matter of seconds. It’s amazing how different you see things and people. To my bestie with T1D – I’m sorry if I wasn’t compassionate enough. I’m sorry that I didn’t really understand your disease and I’m sorry I didn’t understand how amazingly strong you are. Thank you for being an amazing friend and for helping me through the first few weeks of my daughter’s diagnosis.

So why blog about it? Writing it down helps me put everything into perspective. The T1D community is amazing. So many people have reached out and said – call me, text me, email me with any questions, concerns or frustrations. They have given gifts from food scales and measuring cups (which get used every time we are going to eat anything) to princess teddy bears and coloring books/activities. Every single gift has made Diva and me smile. I want to return the favor and help someone that just found out their child has T1D. I want to tell them it will be ok. You can do this. Yes – it is sad and it is frustrating but you have an entire community of people willing to help out anytime, anywhere.


~ The Sheiliac

Uggs. Love them or hate them? Dressing for the winter– BLAH!

Ok. Don’t hate on me – I’ve always thought Uggs were ugly. GASP! I know, right. But I couldn’t help it. Everyone said they were amazing, they are warm and so comfortable. Yeah ok, but have you looked in the mirror?!


Then winter showed its ugly face in Iowa again and I needed some warm boots. I was shopping with my husband (which never happens), my mother in law and Diva. My husband wanted Uggs to wear around the house. I thought, whatever, it’s only in the house and he does have plantar fasciitis and really can’t walk around without shoes, so ok. Since we were in the shoe department my mother in law and I headed over to our section. That’s when I found these bad boys.

front view of ugg bootsFull picture with ugg bootsside view of ugg boots

They are Uggs = warm and comfortable but they look like riding boots = looks good. Could it be true? Could I really have warm and comfortable boots that also looked good? Yes, yes it is true. I seriously LOVE them. They are amazing. So worth the $275 damage to my pocket book. To top it off, I just found out they also have these bad boys in black. Oh yeah. Trust me on this one. Go get some now.



~ The Sheiliac

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I may not have gone where I intended to go…

Family Photo in turkey barn 2007

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.”

I’m a farmer’s wife.

I grew up in the country. It took thirty minutes for me to get to school or to see my friends. It drove me crazy. I always said I wouldn’t marry a farmer and I certainly wasn’t going to live in the country. I liked the city. I liked the action and I loved the convenience.

The funny thing is – I loved growing up in the country. My grandma who farmed lived just down the road, so did my cousins Billie and Lindsey (they really are more like sisters though). We played in the pasture, we got to feed the baby calves, and we jumped hay bales. It was awesome. We had so much fun and I have more wonderful memories than I can count.

Then I went to Iowa State University. I loved everything about it. There was always something to do or see. I started out as a psychology major but after a year I realized that wasn’t for me. I switched to Communication Studies and Political Science. I was hooked. I decided I was moving to Washington D.C. and was going to be someone…

Then I met Chad – a turkey farmer. My response was, “There are turkey farms in Iowa?!” Wow – I’ve learned so much since then! Long story short, I didn’t go to Washington D.C. – I married the turkey farmer and live in the country. One of my favorite quotes is “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be” – it describes my situation perfectly. Little did I know that being a farmer was being someone – someone who helps feed the world. I’m proud to say I’m married to a farmer.


~ The Sheiliac

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hey! I’m Sheila and I’m a Sheiliac. There I said it.

Hi everyone! My name is Sheila and I’m a Sheiliac. What’s a Sheiliac you ask? Well – it’s really just my name and Celiac Disease put together. Why? Because I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in the fall of 2012 and it’s who I am, it’s a big part of my life and it’s never going to go away. I’m also a farmwife and mom of two – a sweet farm boy (G-money) and a sassy Diva. Sophie (a miniature schnauzer) our inside dog and Lucy (a black lab) our outside dog complete our family.


I can’t forget my “other” full-time job! I work at the Iowa Turkey Federation as the Director of Membership Services. I love it. I get to visit with farmers and all the companies that supply goods to the farmers and I plan the parties – I mean meetings. I also design our magazine – Turkey Talk. It lets me be creative and showcase all the wonderful things our organization, famers and allied members do throughout the year.

Why I started blogging – well that’s actually a really long story but my friend Katie, from On the Banks of Squaw Creek – has told me and told me I needed to. I had seriously thought about it when I (and my daughter) were diagnosed with Celiac Disease but then my daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and I knew it was time.

So what is Sheiliac going to blog about anyway? Good question. Seriously. This is why it took me so long. What the heck did people want to read about and why would they want to read mine??? I struggled. Now – I know. Hearing other people’s struggles and success with Celiac Disease and Type 1 Diabetes has been a life saver. It makes it easier somehow. So….

  • The Diva & Diabetes – I will share the stories about my sassy little Diva living with Type 1 Diabetes and anything else related to her – not to mention our favorite diabetic recipes.
  • Sheiliac – it’s really all about me. LOL. Seriously though – my life, celiac disease and gluten free recipes. Trust me, my grandma (GG) is awesome at making recipes into GF recipes. LOVE HER.
  • Sparkling Chaos – Life is awesome but let’s face it, it’s always a little chaotic. Plus I am a major sucker for fashion, glitter, sequins, design and parties.
  • Levis & Boots – my husband and our little farm boy and of course our farm. What’s on the farm? Glad you asked – we are turkey farmers and we also row crop corn and soybeans. It’s awesome and I can’t wait to help you understand farming more.

Other stuff I love and that I just might blog about sometime – DIY, summer life – aww, warm nights and steamy days, water skiing, fitness and photography.

All of this makes up Sheilapalooza – it’s a crazy life but hey it is what it is. So let’s be friends – I’d love to know about your chaotic life too!


~ The Sheiliac