Tips for Stressing Less and Entertaining More
What do you do when company unexpectedly arrives? Scott and Cindy Rasmussen of Burt, Iowa, keep food on hand that can be fixed quickly, which makes entertaining fun and easy. Now that their three children have families of their own, their freezer and pantry are filled with treats and snacks their grandkids also will enjoy.
“Our approach is to keep it simple. We prep food ahead of time, so we can enjoy more time with our friends and family when they arrive,” says Cindy, who works part-time off the farm for an attorney and also helps with field work during the spring and fall.
Scott, the other half of this husband-wife team, shares one of their entertaining secrets. Ziploc® freezer bags filled with Rye Bread Appetizers and Party Pretzels are a quick fix when company arrives. It’s a trick they used as their kids were growing up, and it’s still their secret weapon now that they have eight grandchildren.
“All of our kids were very active in high school with sports and extracurricular activities like 4-H,” says Scott, who served as 4-H club leader for 11 years and coached their AAU basketball teams. Cindy was a Sunday School teacher and Scott served as a trustee. They both served as T-ball coaches when their kids were young.
Adds Cindy, “It took some planning, especially during spring and fall, but we really wanted our kids to experience life outside of farming, choose their own paths, and earn a four-year degree. Now our kids help us farm during the busy seasons.”
The Rasmussen’s oldest son, Noah, graduated from Algona High School in 2000. Upon earning a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University (ISU), he began working for John Deere in Urbandale. He and his wife, Rachel, live with their three daughters near Cambridge. Noah helps his parents stay informed about advanced technology and has been known to pull an all-nighter to help on the farm in the fall. Rachel graduated from ISU with a master’s in public administration and works in human relations.
The Rasmussen’s second son, Drew, graduated from high school in 2005. He earned a degree in Industrial Systems Technology (Ag Systems Technology) with a minor in safety from ISU and works for AGP as a compliance officer. Drew farms with his parents and looks forward to farming on his own someday. Drew and his wife, Sierra, built a home on the farm place where Scott was raised. Scott’s parents also live on the homeplace, so Drew and Sierra help them as needed. The couple has twins (a boy and a girl), and Sierra also works for the Farm Service Agency.
The Rasmussen’s daughter, Chelsie, graduated from high school in 2007. She earned a degree in psychology from the University of Iowa. She and her husband, Tom, purchased an acreage that was homesteaded in 1877 by Scott’s family. Their acreage is located between Drew and Sierra’s home and Scott and Cindy’s home, so they all live within three miles of each other. Chelsie works as a physical therapist assistant in Algona, and the couple has two daughters and a son.
“There is so much family history here, and we feel blessed that our children are committed to preserving it,” says Cindy. “It is wonderful to have everyone close by. It makes it easier for them to help on the farm as their schedules allow. Tom is not only our insurance agent, but he has taken over many tasks. Like Drew, Tom helps us work ground, pick up rocks, and runs the grain cart in the fall. Their help has allowed me to spend more time with grandchildren.”
When their children were growing up, the Rasmussens had a farrow-to-finish operation in addition to their cropping operation. When hog prices went to $8 in 2000, Scott was determined to find a way to make up for lost income. He worked at Aluma Trailers in Bancroft around his farming schedule. After a year of working at Aluma, Scott’s dad retired from farming. Scott continued working part-time and farmed additional acres. Then in 2008, he converted the barn into a heated shop where he enjoys maintaining his line of farm equipment and woodworking especially during the winter months.
Surround Yourself with Good People
“I really enjoyed working at Aluma and my boss was really good to me,” says Scott. “He was one person who really helped make a difference. Cindy and I have really been blessed by the people who have helped us along the way.”
Other people who made a difference for Scott and Cindy are the farm manager of the Stockwell Memorial Farm, who helped them start farming on their own; an elderly neighbor who chose Scott to farm his land when he decided to retire; and Bill and Linda Latham who chose Scott to farm their land near Burt, Iowa.
“As we have gotten older, we reflect on the people who made a difference in our life. Bill and Linda Latham are two of those people. We could feel Bill’s passion for his work, his family and the seed industry. Of course, behind every good man is a great woman!” says Scott.
“I would also like to express my total appreciation for all the little things that Latham Seeds does for its customers and dealers,” adds Scott. “Latham goes above and beyond, that is what sets this company apart from the others. I always get an answer from a real person, so I’m not caught in a telephone nightmare or waiting on hold. To all the Latham family and employees, thank you!”
“We’ve learned to surround ourselves with good people, and that’s one of the reasons we enjoy working with Latham Seeds,” says Scott. “The company is filled with good people. I know that I can call the office and be connected to someone who has the answer to my question. I really enjoy Latham’s personal service, plus Latham® products really perform well.”
During the growing season, the Rasmussens enjoy making time for fishing, boating and attending their grandchildren’s activities. The couple also enjoys antiquing, refinishing and repurposing furniture in their leisure. They turned a cabinet into a buffet to camouflage a dorm-sized refrigerator. They also put locking wheels on an island in their kitchen, which readily extends their kitchen counter space if they want to set up a buffet line. Both items make entertaining easy.
Today the Rasmussens are sharing a family-favorite Taco Dip recipe to help you spend less time in the kitchen and more time socializing with friends and family. Or freeze Party Pretzels, so you can grab a bag to take in the tractor cab or the fishing boat.
Recipe by the Rasmussen Family
- 1 8oz. cream cheese (softened)
- 1pt. sour cream
- 1 pkg. dry taco seasoning
- Mix together, spread on a plate about 1” thick.
- Top with layers of finely chopped onions, grated cheddar & pepper cheese, chopped tomatoes, black olives (sliced).
- Serve with taco chips.