Beginning a New Year with Family Traditions

Ringing in the New Year for this Franklin County family means celebrating Christmas and then heading to Hilton Coliseum to watch the Iowa State Men’s Basketball game.

Kari and the kids enjoying a New Years Eve game at Hilton Coliseum

Kari and the kids enjoying a New Years Eve game at Hilton Coliseum

“My parents, both of my sisters and one of my brothers-in-law all graduated from Iowa State, so we are truly a Cyclone Family,” said Kari (Berghoefer) Subbert of Hampton. “It’s a lot of fun to take our kids and teach them about Cyclone traditions.”

Another Cyclone tradition for the Berghoefer family is participating each spring in Cy’s House of Trivia. The family has entered as a team since the contest began in 2006. They’ve earned a spot in the Top 10 each year, placing third in 2013 and winning it all in 2014!

In addition to cheering on the Cyclones, Kari’s family shares a love of rural living. She and her husband, Nathan, lived in Cedar Rapids for nearly 10 years but knew they wanted to raise their children in a small town. Nathan grew up on a Century Farm in Greene County, north of Churdan, where his dad still farms. Kari grew up on a beef cattle and grain operation just south Hampton that has been in her family for three generations. When the opportunity came up to rent land upon her dad’s retirement, the couple jumped at the chance to pursue their dream of farming.

Nathan feels fortunate that he’s been able to telecommute for his job as a software engineer at Rockwell Collins, which was his full-time job before he began farming. His background in engineering helps him keep up-to-date with the new technology being used in agriculture, too.

Kari, who graduated with a degree in journalism, worked for a publishing company in Cedar Rapids. She still does freelance design work, and she’s a full-time mom to three very active children. Grant is almost nine and in third grade; six-year-old Maren is in kindergarten; and Henry is three. Grant enjoys reading, building with Legos, playing the piano and showing a bucket calf at the county fair. Maren likes her dance and tumbling classes, playing dress-up and drawing. Henry loves anything with wheels – especially trucks, tractors and trains.

Subbert Family

Kari, Nathan, Maren, Grant and Henry Subbert

The Subbert children are learning life’s lessons from the farm. “This year was Grant’s second year taking a bucket calf. He’s learning that it takes a lot of time and responsibility to care for animals,” says Kari. “He knows that he must go feed the animals even if he doesn’t want to because they depend on him to take care of them no matter what. Grant is also learning perseverance. Those calves can be stubborn when you’re teaching them to lead, but you have to keep working at it.”

Outside the home, Kari enjoys volunteering for the Hampton-Dumont PTO and serving on the Hampton Community Christian Daycare board. Her hobbies include reading, photography and baking, which were sparked by her nine years as a member of the Reeve Royalties 4-H Club for nine years.

“We were always allowed to help in the kitchen growing up,” says Kari. “My mom would let me decide what kind of pies we were going to make for the 4-H and church food stands at the county fair, as long as I made them from start to finish. Those years of practice led me to become the official pie baker for all family gatherings, and I still make four pies each year for our church food stand at the Franklin County Fair.”

Even though she’s known across the county for her aesthetically pleasing and equally delicious pies, Kari’s kids prefer her homemade banana bread. Today she’s sharing with us that recipe plus another one of their favorite soup recipes. “Both are easy to make and comforting, especially in the winter,” she says. Go ahead and celebrate January Soup Month, beginning this weekend!

Sausage Vegetable Beef Soup

1 lb ground beef
1 T minced onion (dried or fresh)
12 oz kielbasa sausage
4 c (32 oz) beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes (with juice)
1 ½ c frozen mixed vegetables
1 c Wacky Mac pasta
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown ground beef with minced onion. Add broth and tomatoes. Mix in vegetables and pasta. Bring to a boil and then turn down heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Slice sausage into disks and heat in microwave. Add to soup with salt and pepper to taste, simmer 5 minutes and eat.

This is a soup that everyone in our family will eat – even the picky three-year-old. It’s easy to throw together on a weeknight and makes a hearty, filling meal. You can add other spices such as oregano, thyme or basil to change the flavor slightly as well.

Best-Ever Banana Bread


1 ¾ c flour
1 ½ c sugar
1 t baking soda
½ t salt
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
½ c vegetable oil
1/3 c buttermilk
1 t vanilla
1 c chopped nuts (optional)


In a large bow, stir together flour, sugar, soda and salt. In another bowl, combine eggs, banana, oil, buttermilk and vanilla. Add to flour mix and stir until just combined. Fold in nuts if desired. Pour in a greased 9x5x3 loaf pan. Bake at 325 for 70-80 minutes until top is brown and toothpick inserted into loaf comes out clean.


I always seem to have a supply of overripe bananas in the freezer, and this bread is a great way to use them up. The bread is nice and moist thanks to the buttermilk and has a good, but not overpowering, banana flavor. I usually make two loaves at a time, and they never last more