Beefing Up Exercise with Chores & Family Meals

By Sara Ross

Hi! My name is Sara Ross, and I’m from southwest Iowa. My husband of almost 13 years and I farm with our four young boys (Hudson 9, Axten 7, Carver and Hollis 4). 

I grew up in town, and when I was young, I really knew nothing about where my food came from – other than the grocery store. Our town was an agricultural community and my family’s business is in the insurance industry.  Still, I had no clue what farming was all about until I met my husband, Kevin. He’s a sixth-generation farmer, so I guess you could say it’s in his blood. Seeing our boys growing up on our family farm, I’d have to say it’s in theirs, too! 

I love sharing what we do on our farm with friends, family and even people I’ve never met. Social media is the easiest and fastest way to share updates, so follow along with me to get a glimpse inside our family farm life (@the_mrssaraross on Twitter and Instagram). 

Please note, by clicking the links you will be leaving a partially funded checkoff site. 

As a young girl, I was always active and involved in sports and that lifestyle has carried into adulthood. Now with four very active boys, I work out to keep up with them! A typical day for me starts with a 5 a.m. wake-up call. If I don’t get up early and get my workout in, more than likely, it won’t happen later in the day because life gets crazy once everyone starts to wake up!  So, I try and get my workouts down first thing in the morning when it’s quiet. It’s my “Me Time.” Sometimes the boys do the workouts with me. It can get really crowded in our basement when I have four other workout partners! 

Another way I’ve been burning extra calories this past week is moving snow and doing farm chores. Bundling up is necessary with the sub-zero temperatures, but that also makes getting around a little harder. Scooping snow from the storm on Friday, Jan. 17, hauling buckets of feed for 4-H calves and climbing over fences to check watering systems is all necessary on our farm. These activities also give me an extra workout even though it doesn’t feel like it.  

Meal planning is a must to keep my family eating healthy! Our lives are extremely busy with school, work, sports practices and meetings, so the weeks that I prioritize meal planning are the most successful. I don’t like hitting 5 p.m. and not knowing what I’m going to make for my family for supper. But when I have my meals all planned, it’s a no brainer and relieves a lot of stress for this working mom.

We raise beef on our farm and grow corn and soybeans. We have a cow/calf operation, which means that we have momma cows that have babies every spring. We raise the calves with their moms until early fall when we wean them and sell them. Then, they go on to be finished at a cattle feedlot and become the meat you can buy in your grocery store. 

Our family loves to eat beef, although we also enjoy a lot of pork, lamb, venison, chicken, turkey and fish, too!  One of my favorite family-friendly recipes is cooking a quick and easy classic pot roast with vegetables in my Instant Pot or slow cooker. I usually grab and throw ingredients into the mix, but for those who like an actual recipe, it is usually something like this Instant Pot Classic Pot Roast from Betty Crocker.

I’m excited to be a part of the Iowa Food & Family Project’s Farm Team for the Live Healthy Iowa 10 Week Wellness Challenge. I look forward to sharing more about our farm, family and fitness with all of you!