31 December 2012

The Rehomesteaders' 2013 Goals

I realize I am a tad early with my goals for the new year but what can I say?  I love lists.  Some of them are repeats from last year, some will certainly be accomplished in 2013 but some will take a lifetime to achieve, if ever.  This list is also sure to be modified as certain goals are met such as buying a new acreage.  Last year was pretty successful so feel free to peruse our 2013 goals and make comments or suggestions if you like!

***And may I also emphasize that this is only a partial list.  I have plenty of other goals for things like working on my character flaws, spending copious amounts of time with friends and family, etc. but those are written in my personal journal.  The ones I share here are public and measurable and since I share them, I can be more accountable to others for completing them.  Enjoy!***

The Rehomesteaders' 2013 Goals

Personal (mostly just for fun!)
  • Learn to paint with watercolors So fun! Paint with Joy 30 Dec 2013
  • Enter a writing competition
  • Be a participant on The Amazing Race
  • Learn to paint with oils
  • Attend a filming of a game show
  • Enter an art competition
  • Make a hammock
  • Become a better knitter
  • Get professional family portraits Just waiting for them to be edited!
  • Sell something on Etsy
  • Learn to crochet
  • Take a family vacation to Table Rock Lake in the Ozarks
  • Build a piece of furniture Mostly done...if I hadn't have run out of sandpaper! Assembled 20 Dec 2013
  • Be a contestant on Wheel of Fortune
  • Take up photography
  • Go back to Montreal (and swing by NYC since we'd be close anyway!)
  • Enter something in a State Fair
  • Be an extra in a movie (preferably on horseback)
  • Attend a major music concert I'm counting it! Does This Count? 18 June 2013
  • See a cheetah chase down prey in real life
  • Go to the Rolex Three Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park FINALLY (it only took 15 years)! A Taste of The Rolex 5 May 2013
  • Take up pottery
  • Invent something functional and useful
  • Ride an elephant (for more than three minutes...)
  • Get a piano, practice myself and teach the girls Thank you Jack! The Entertainer 23 June 2013
  • Visit France (and I suppose the rest of Europe looks pretty fascinating too, haha!)
  • Make or buy a dressform
  • Take a whale watching expedition
  • Design and sew an outfit
  • Swim with dolphins
  • Donate blood First accomplished goal of the new year! An Excuse 18 Jan 2013
  • Donate breast milk Done!  Thank you Indiana Mother's Milk Bank! Mother's Milk 19 Mar 2013
  • Sew a quilt
  • Have a year of food storage
  • Be able to do the splits....
  • Prepare a six generation family history chart

Home Improvements
  • Buy an acreage in Indiana We closed 8 Mar 2013!
  • Redo girls' room
  • Redo Kate's room
  • Redo our room
    • Paint, trim
    • Carpet
    • Curtains and bedspread
    • Etc
  • Redo master bath
    • Shower
    • Tub
    • Tile
    • Paint
    • Vanity
    • Closet
    • Etc
  • Redo girls' bath
    • Shower/tub
    • Tile
    • Paint
    • Vanity
    • Etc
  • Move kitchen downstairs
    • Paint
    • Cabinets
    • Tile
    • Electrical, plumbing, etc
  • Great room
    • Paint, 
    • Carpet/tile
    • Trim
    • Stair rail, etc
  • Downstairs guest bath
    • Redo shower
    • Tile
    • Paint, etc

Farm Life

Health, Fitness and Sports
  • Lose the rest of the baby weight (and reward myself accordingly)
  • Run a 5k It was surprisingly fun! Totally Justified 29 Nov 2013
  • Run a 10k The vvveeerrrrryyyyy last goal of 2013! Last Race 2013 31 Dec 2013
  • Run a half marathon
  • Run a full marathon
  • Complete a triathlon
  • Take Dancer to a show
  • Take the girls to a leadline class
  • Compete in a dressage show
  • Compete in a jumping show (either show jumping or hunter classes)
  • Compete in a two day horse trial
  • Compete in a three day horse trial
  • Compete internationally (a girl can always dream...)

  • Pay off credit cards
  • Pay off Rachael's student loans
  • Pay off Jack's student loans
  • Build a $1000 emergency fund
  • Build a one month emergency fund
  • Build a six month emergency fund
  • Pay off mortgage
  • Pay for next vehicle with cash I'm now sporting a minivan, paid in full. :)

Reading and Writing
  • Read 12 classics
    • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
    • Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
    • O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
    • Dracula by Bram Stoker
    • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
    • The Birds' Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggin
    • On Christmas Day In The Evening by Grace Smith Richmond
  • Read 12 biographies and historical novels
    • The Princess Pocahontas by Virginia Watson
    • The Life of Abraham Lincoln by Henry Ketcham
    • George Washington by William Roscoe Thayer
    • An Autobiography of Buffalo Bill by William Fredrick Cody
    • History of 'Billy the Kid' by Charles A. Siringo
  • Reach 50,000 blog reads 31 Jan 2013 Let's Celebrate: A Pageview Milestone!
  • Reach 75,000 blog reads Wahoo!
  • Reach 100,000 blog reads Accomplished 26 May 2013 Yay!
  • Reach 250,000 blog reads
  • Reach 500,000 blog reads
  • Get blog professionally designed
  • Guest blog
  • Have a guest blogger
  • Publish an article online or in a magazine
  • Write a book proposal for The Rehomesteaders Memoir
  • Publish The Rehomesteaders Memoir
  • Write a children's picture book
  • Publish a children's picture book
  • Write a young reader chapter book
  • Publish a young reader chapter book
  • Write a young adult novel I did it!  Now to get an agent who can get it published...
  • Publish a young adult novel
  • Write an adult fiction novel
  • Publish an adult fiction novel
This list will is lofty and ambitious and will therefore be ongoing and ever changing.  If you have suggestions, encouragement or want to let me know I'm crazy, speak up!

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30 December 2012


There are some things the felines definitely are missing about being farm cats.  They are going stir crazy not having anything other than an old fuzzy ball to hunt and they aren't thrilled about being confined to using a litter box when they're used to wandering outside for some privacy.
About the only job the cats have now are guarding the kids while they nap.
However, I think they're enjoying being a bit lazy for a while.
Smile Snickers!

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28 December 2012

Spritz Cookies

This recipe not only makes a delicious, less-sweet sugar cookie but with a little food coloring and some sprinkles and a cookie press, they turn out beautifully.


1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla flavoring
2 1/2 cups flour, sifted

Mix thoroughly together butter, sugar, egg yolks and flavoring.  Work in flour with hands.  If using food coloring, divide out dough and add a few drops, blending in with a hand mixer.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet using a cookie press (don't be afraid to put two or more colors in--the results can be quite artistic).  Bake at 400F for 6 to 9 minutes being careful not to overbake.  Remove to cookie rack or paper bag to cool.

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27 December 2012

Sugared Beer Nuts

These sweet and salty nuts have been a longtime family holiday staple and though they're usually enjoyed in pubs with a pint of beer, we prefer to consume them alongside our favorite root beer.  They're quick to cook up and are a light, crunchy snack that everyone can enjoy.
Savor with your favorite root beer!

3/4 cup water
1 1/2 cup sugar
24 oz raw peanuts

Stir together in a glass bowl.  Microwave on high for 16 minutes, stirring at three minute intervals or until liquid is gone (it's important all the liquid has evaporated).  Pour nuts into a 9x13 glass dish.  Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt.  Microwave on high two minutes.  Stir.  Sprinkle with another 2 teaspoons salt.  Microwave 2 minutes more.  Break apart and cool.  Note: the peanuts should be brown and crispy--some microwaves will require additional cooking time.


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26 December 2012

Spicy Crackers

This is a tasty snack or wonderful holiday addition to offset the innumerable sweet treats available at holiday gatherings.  And despite being dubbed "spicy," they're really more tangy.  Loved by kids and adults alike!


3/4 cup oil
1 package (1 oz) Ranch salad dressing mix
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
12 to 16 oz plain oyster crackers

Whisk together all the ingredients except the oyster crackers.  Pour over crackers and stir to coat.  Spread on two baking sheets and bake at 275F for 15 to 20 minutes.
Kid friendly and approved!

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Until Christmas

Grandma snuggling with Katherine late in the evening after Santa already paid us a visit.
This week has been hectic to say the least. Between packing, a windy, bitterly cold snowstorm that delayed the movers not once, but twice, sicknesses, dreadfully long car rides on scary, slippery roads and a mad dash to get ready for Christmas, I was feeling a bit lost in the rush.
The early Christmas morning gathering at the in laws.
Until Christmas.
Cousins and candy canes!
It was a happy, relaxing day spent with family.  It was a much needed break from the whirlwind that has been our lives this past year and a wonderful reminder just how incredibly blessed we have been.

Hope you had a Merry Christmas too!

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18 December 2012

One of the Few

When it comes to home improvements, there are few things that Jack and I haven't done, usually with the help of hardworking, more experienced friends and family.  We've fixed everything from steep, narrow stairs to building our own kitchen floor to constructing and hanging our own shutters.

One of the few things we did pay someone else to do was put in a new septic system.

No complaints here.  I hope to never attempt that line of work.

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17 December 2012

Quick Pan Cornbread

I am happy to have found this cornbread recipe.  Not only is it slightly sweet and very buttery, it's a quick side and since it's baked in a pan, it means I don't have to wash out a muffin tin when dinner is over (of course, if you want to make muffins, this recipe would work for that too).  It's a great side for soups, chilis, stews or barbecue. Kids and adults alike will devour it.  Guaranteed.


1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375F.  Spritz a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.  In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Sift together cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt.  Dump into the butter mixture and blend.  Slowly add milk until creamy.
Pour into greased pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool five minutes before slicing.
Don't forget to pull out the happy honey bear to drizzle on your cornbread!
Thank you to The Farm Girl Recipes for the inspiration!

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16 December 2012

Mystery Croissants

The girls and I had a few extra croissants after making a batch of Chicken Pillows.  Rather than simply roll them up and bake them, we invented "Mystery Croissants" as an after dinner treat.  Basically, we grabbed a bunch of goodies from our baking supplies and randomly put them in the croissants.  Once rolled up and baked, there wasn't any way to tell them apart so the first bite was a surprise!

Here are some ingredient ideas:

Peanut Butter, Butter or Nutella
Pecans, Slivered Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, etc
Brown Sugar or Cinnamon Sugar
Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate Chips, etc
Cream Cheese
M&Ms, Toffee bits, etc
Shredded Coconut
Shredded Mozzarella (it goes especially well with chocolate)
Raisins, Craisins, etc
Whatever combination you conceive is destined to be delicious and it's fun to let little kids help put them together.  After they're made, roll them up and bake according to package instructions.

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15 December 2012


Herc is one of the last animals still at our homestead.
We are nearly animaless.  The sheep and goats went a few weeks ago.  Some of the chickens headed back to their original owners and our neighbors will be taking the rest.  And the horses were shipped off this morning.  It wasn't nearly as sad seeing them leave.

For most of us.
What makes me laugh about Evelyn's reaction is that they're heading to her grandparents house in Nebraska, so we'll be seeing them just as regularly as we see them here.
Still, I sort of understand.  I'll miss my mischievous friends too.

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14 December 2012


How old are you Claire?
How old?
My, how time flies when you're having fun!
Especially when you've got gobs of cake and ice cream to help celebrate and an armful of new princesses to play with!

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Roasted Chickpeas

Jack made these roasted chickpeas for a snack.  They're really tasty and have a crunch akin to corn nuts.  It's a great way to satisfy a craving for something crunchy, salty and slightly spicy without a lot of calories.  You can use either canned garbanzo beans or soak dried beans overnight as a substitute.


2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper
Salt to taste
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Mix thoroughly the oil and dry ingredients.  Add the chickpeas and toss to coat.  Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Roast for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally (they should be brown and crispy when done--test a garbanzo bean by letting it cool slightly since they will crisp more when cooled).

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12 December 2012

The Knolls Hot Chocolate

Jack brought home this recipe from a restaurant at Iowa State University.  It's from the 11th president's wife who surely knew how to entertain--it makes a deliciously frothy, sweet, rich, fudgey hot chocolate.  We made it for our farewell party and it was a hit.  It does take a bit of preparation beforehand and there is no skimping on the calories, but it's worth it for a holiday get together.  The recipe can be reduced for entertaining a smaller crowd too.


Cocoa Mixture
2 cups cocoa
3 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 Tablespoon salt
Mix together in a saucepan and over medium-high heat, bring to 218-220F (use a candy thermometer), stirring constantly.  Do not scrape the sides of the pan.  Chill overnight.

Chocolate Cream
1 quart whipping cream
Chilled cocoa mixture
Whip cream until soft peaks form.  Fold in cocoa mixture.  Keep chilled until needed.
Try your best not to eat all the whipped chocolate...
Steamed Vanilla Milk
2 gallons whole milk
2 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla

Heat milk until hot.  Add vanilla.

To serve:  Mix one or two heaping spoonfuls of chocolate cream in cup.  Add hot milk and stir.  Top with marshmallows or whipped cream if desired.
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