30 December 2013

Paint with Joy

Joy whipped this card up in about 30 minutes.  Oh, while instructing me.
Artistry runs through my blood.  I've several family members who draw, photograph, paint, woodwork, carve, knit, sew, quilt and bead like nobody's business.  So, it only was natural that I struck an interest while young in art.
One of Joy's paintings.
Though I've already revamped my goal list for 2014, there are still a few goals I've managed to squeeze in before 2013 comes to an end.  A family friend kindly took some family photos for us (in exchange for a bag of wheat, haha!) and tomorrow night, another friend and I are running a 10k at 10pm and assuming I finish, that'll be the very last goal knocked off the list.
Getting started!
One of my 2013 goals was to learn to paint with watercolors.  Though I love dabbling in all kinds of artwork, watercolors have always been elusive to me.
Progress on the hollyhocks.
Thankfully, I've some wonderful friends, one of whom is Joy Frame, an accomplished artist who's done everything from winning art competitions to selling her own work and illustrating children's books.
She has been so kind to give me lessons when I'm back in Nebraska and though our time is limited, she patiently unravels the mystery of the craft.
Almost done!
I've a long way to go before I begin to feel comfortable with watercolors, much less mastering the medium, but for now, I'm just happy to paint with Joy.
My mentor. :)
Are you finishing up any before the new year?

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Mealworms

Dried mealworms: the way to every hen's heart.
Little Red getting some serious hang time.
If you ever want to befriend a flock of poultry, just whip out the dried mealworms.  I went out to collect the eggs from my mom's eclectic flock and they were obviously expecting some compensation for their work.
Twenty minutes and a sore thumb later, I managed to escape the frenzy.

Barely.
That hen can jump! (Unfortunately for my fingers, she has terrible aim).

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29 December 2013

The Rehomesteaders' 2014 Goals

There are a lot of different sentiments when it comes to goals.  Some people loathe them (New Year's Resolutions anyone?) but I happen to love being able to check something off and feel like a list helps keep me accountable by tracking my progress.  As usual, I'm a bit early with my 2014 goals but why wait?  I know my list is lofty and ambitious but many of the goals will be pursued over a lifetime (which is why some are repeats!).  Personal goals will be kept, well, personal but I assure you, I've got plenty of virtues and attributes I'd like to work on.  Never fear about my sanity--I still manage to find plenty of time with friends, family, church, service, naps on the couch and time to just be.  So, what are YOU hoping to accomplish in this upcoming year?

I don't care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don't harness it and focus it on a specific target, and hold it there you're never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.
"Zig" Ziglar

See 2012 and 2013!

The Rehomesteaders' 2014 Goals

Personal (mostly just for fun!)
  • Master watercolors
  • Enter a writing competition
  • Make croissants from scratch The first attempt wasn't terrible... Croissants: First Attempt 4 Nov 2014
  • Attend a book signing
  • Be a participant on The Amazing Race
  • Learn to paint with oils
  • Visit all 50 states
  • Learn to water ski
  • Visit every continent
  • Attend a filming of a game show
  • Enter an art competition
  • See the redwoods
  • Donate hair to Locks of Love I think that was my 4th or 5th donation! Someone Else 29 June 2014
  • Make a hammock
  • Complete a cross stitch and frame it Took about three years but I did it! Cross Stitch 2 Aug 2014
  • Become a better knitter
  • Assemble 72-hour kits for each family member Better safe than sorry! 72-Hour Kit 8 Sept 2014
  • Get professional family portraits She did a great job capturing our family's personality! Amy Silva Photography 2 Nov 2014
  • Sell something on Etsy
  • Go canoeing What a fun trip! Canoeing at Cagles Mill 27 July 2014
  • Be a bone marrow donor All signed up! Bone Marrow Donor 8 May 2014
  • Blow glass
  • Go fishing with the girls--and catch one We caught THREE! A Catch 1 June 2014
  • Downhill ski
  • Take a train ride
  • Learn to crochet
  • Take a family vacation to Table Rock Lake in the Ozarks
  • See the Northern Lights
  • Build a piece of furniture
  • Be a contestant on Wheel of Fortune
  • Prepare a will
  • Take up photography
  • Go back to Montreal (and swing by NYC to see Kristin since we'd be close anyway!)
  • Enter something in a State Fair
  • Paint a portrait
  • Be an extra in a movie (preferably on horseback)
  • Attend a major music concert (other than MoTab)
  • Go to the Rolex Event...again! One of the most fun goals! Rolex #2 27 April 2014
  • Take up pottery
  • Take a tropical family vacation
  • Restore Jack's Mustang
  • Invent something functional and useful
  • Visit France (and I suppose the rest of Europe looks pretty fascinating too, haha!)
  • Rock a short hair cut Someday I'll go even shorter... Someone Else 29 June 2014
  • Take a self-defense class
  • Make or buy a dressform
  • Design and sew an outfit
  • Sew a quilt
  • Dance on stage.  Get video proof.
  • Have a year of food storage
  • Make the girls Easter dresses
  • Be able to do the splits....
  • Prepare at least a four generation family history chart

Home Improvements
  • Redo girls' room
    • Carpet or flooring
    • Curtains and bedspreads
    • Trim and doors
    • Etc
  • Redo our room
    • Paint, trim
    • Carpet
    • Curtains and bedspread
    • Build shelves Got a place to put our books, photos, etc. Stack My Stuff 24 Jan 2014
    • Etc
  • Redo master bath
    • Shower
    • Tub
    • Tile
    • Paint
    • Vanity
    • Closet
    • Etc
  • Redo girls' bath
    • Shower/tub
    • Tile
    • Paint
    • Vanity
    • Etc
  • Redo Kate's room
    • Window
    • Paint
    • Trim
    • Carpet
    • Etc
  • Kitchen
    • Paint
    • Cabinets and counters
    • Tile
    • Electrical, plumbing, etc
  • Great room
    • Paint, 
    • Carpet/tile
    • Trim
    • Stair rail, etc
  • Downstairs guest bath
    • Redo shower
    • Tile
    • Paint, etc
  • Exterior
  • ETC, ETC, ETC

Farm Life and Animals
  • Continue to train Dancer
  • Take Stoney and Dancer on a trail ride
  • Dye, spin and knit an item from homegrown wool
  • Adopt a dog (or maybe two...) Oh, yes, Jack did! Welcome Home Raven! 21 March 2014
  • Get MORE hens I forgot to tell Jack but he didn't mind :) Three Adorable Chicks 6 May 2014
  • Get some goats! Or maybe sheep...
  • Learn to operate a tractor A combo of good timing and a generous neighbor made this possible! Tractor Driving Lessons 28 Nov 2014
  • Get a harness and cart for the horses
  • Take the girls to a leadline class
  • Plant a garden Backbreaking but worth it!  Multiply and Replenish 19 May 2014
  • Get a new hive Too cold this winter! Poor Bees 24 Feb 2014, New Girls 16 May 2014
  • Move second beehive out They didn't make it either...
  • Teach Stoney and Dancer to pull a cart or carriage
  • Get pigs
  • Breed Dancer
  • Go on a cattle drive
  • Get a milking cow
  • Get a beef steer
  • Build another horse pasture (or two!) Got a start thanks to our kind neighbor! An Angel With A Tractor 5 Dec 2014
  • Build a horse shed
  • Build a barn
  • Build a chicken coop and yard Wasn't planning on it, but it happened and we're glad it did! Chicken Fortress 17 June 2014
  • Build a goat/pig, etc enclosure
  • Build a riding arena or round pen
  • Ride an elephant (for more than three minutes...)
  • Feed sharks
  • See the salmon run
  • Watch a cheetah chase down prey
  • Swim with dolphins
  • Take a whale watching expedition
  • Be in a dog sled race
  • Ride an ostrich
  • Ride a camel

Health, Fitness and Sports 
  • Run another 5k First race of the year and I PRed! Polar Bear Run 22 Feb 2014
  • Run in a Fun Run, Color Run, etc. Lots of mud, lots of hills, but lots of fun! The Great Pumpkin Run 11 Oct 2014
  • Run a 10k It was a chilly run, but still fun! Capital Warrior Run 15 Nov 2014
  • Run a half marathon I was close to death (or so it seemed) but I finished! 13.1 7 June 2014
  • Run a full marathon
  • Complete a triathlon
  • Take Dancer to a show
  • 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...)

Financial
  • 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
Reading and Writing
  • Read 25 books in a year 25 books isn't a lot unless the only chance to read is ten minutes at night before drifting off to sleep. ;)
    • The Santa Society by Kristine McCord
    • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
    • The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
    • War Brides by Helen Bryan
    • The Call of the Wild by Jack London
    • Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth
    • Divergent by Veronica Roth
    • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
    • Hidalgo by Danny Dunne
    • Nikola Tesla: Imagination and the Man Than Invented the 20th Century by Sean Patrick
    • Laughs, Luck . . . and Lucy by Jess Oppenheimer
    • Headed for the Win by Rachael Eliker (oui, c'est moi!  I read it about a thousand times before publishing!)
    • Ambition by Natalie Keller Reinert
    • These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prines by Nancy E. Turner
    • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
    • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
    • Red Rock Ranch: Lucy's Chance by Brittney Joy
    • Sarah's Quilt: A novel of Sarah Agnes Prine and the Arizona Territory, 1906 by Nancy E. Turner
    • The Star Garden by Nancy E. Turner
    • Turning on a Dime by Maggie Dana
    • And We Danced by Toni Mari
    • The Polaris Effect by A.E. Fairfield
    • Appaloosa Summer by Tudor Robins
    • Cut and Run: Aspen Eyes Book One by Amy Elizabeth
    • Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
    • Red Rock Ranch Book 2: Showdown by Brittney Joy
    • The Subtle Beauty by Ann Hunter
    • Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
    • Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson
  • Reach 250,000 blog reads Reached 2 May 2014 Yippee!
  • Reach 500,000 blog reads
  • Reach 500 FB likes Accomplished 3 May 2014 Awesome!
  • Reach 1000 FB likes
  • Reach 20,000+ pageviews in a month
  • 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 A long time coming! Headed for the Win 14 June 2014!
  • Publish a young adult novel I can hardly believe I finished! BUY IT HERE! (affiliate link) Published 15 July 2014!
  • Write an adult fiction novel
  • Publish an adult fiction novel
Do you have a list already made?

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28 December 2013

Snowball Fight

Kate's first real interaction with snow.
What started out an innocent inspection of snow turned into a full-blown snowball fight.
In sixty degree weather.
After the initial shock of being struck by a ball of cold (I think I accidentally managed to get it down Claire's shirt--oops!), the girls joined in the fun.
Close range shot.
If only all snowball fights could be in such weather.

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26 December 2013

Merry and Bright

Kate in the middle of the action.
We made it to Christmas!  Despite the weather, the long drive home, the sleep deprivation, the last minute gift wrapping and treat making, we made it!  And I only made my sister cry once.  Okay, twice.  Breaking news: I'm not perfect (sorry if that's a shock to anyone!) but you know what?  Santa deemed me good enough to drop off gifts instead of coal, so I can't be that naughty.
Silly Kate!  That's a baby doll bed!
We started the morning at Jack's parents and enjoyed a few hours chatting and opening presents before running back to my family's get together...
I guess Jay wanted to take up as little room as possible.
...where we all received several gifts that were spot on what we asked for.  Aww, thank you!  It was especially fun hearing Evie shriek, "It's what I always wanted!" when she ripped open her Lalaloopsy doll.  They may creep me out but she and Claire are happy girls.
Now Jack can avoid bee stings to the hands and face!
After tidying up our mess at my parents'...
(...and Jordan repackaging his kids to try and sell them perhaps?)
...we headed back to the Elikers to have a late lunch and most importantly, video chat with his family from across the country.  There were Nebraskans, Idahoans, Utahans and West Virginians who were actually in New York.  Technology really is a miracle.
We had a light dinner with my family before everyone settled into a happy post-holiday stupor and headed home or crashed on the couch.  What a happy day!

Other than making my sister cry.

She'll forgive me.

I think...
Evie sporting her bling.
The day ended with the rereading of Luke 2 and pondering on the blessings that came from the Savior's birth.  It's been so fun to watch the girls more fully understand the reason for the holiday season as we've read the scriptures, discussed them and reenacted the Nativity.
Claire crashes where Claire feels like it.
What a beautiful day.  Hope yours was merry and bright too.
Santa took the form of family members and friends.

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23 December 2013

Santa Grandpa

The girls had a surprise at Grandma and Grandpa Eliker's last night: Santa came for a visit!  After their initial excitement, none of them seemed to be able to find their voices to ask him what they wanted for Christmas.
However, upon closer inspection, Santa looked kind of familiar...
...and so the hybrid "Santa Grandpa" was born.

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21 December 2013

Peanut Brittle

One of my holiday favorites.  Bonus: it's quick and easy too!

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 cup raw peanuts
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda

Combine peanuts, sugar, corn syrup and salt in a microwave-safe glass bowl.  Microwave on high for five minutes.  Stir.  Microwave three minutes more and stir in vanilla and butter.  Microwave two minutes more until peanuts are browned and syrup is very hot.

Add baking soda and stir gently until light and foamy.  Pour on a greased cookie sheet or a piece of greased waxed paper.  Cool at room temperature.  When hard, break into serving pieces and store in a sealed container.
Enjoy!

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20 December 2013

Assembled

Instructions from Ana White's collection...thanks for the recommendation Katherine!
As the year winds to a closer, I reviewed my goals to see what I had and hadn't accomplished.  Some weren't surprising--no one asked me to be a movie extra on horseback--but I am pleased with what I did cross off.  I decided I also had time to build myself a piece of furniture so I got the wood and a couple afternoons while the girls snoozed, I assembled it.  I ran out of time and sandpaper so it's only assembled and not stained or varnished.  Still, I'm giving myself credit and will be considering that goal met.

Last goal for the year will be a 10k on New Year's Eve!
(Unless I get a call before midnight to ride a horse as an extra in an upcoming movie...)

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19 December 2013

Brownie Tarts

These brownie tarts have been a staple holiday platter treat for as long as I can recall.  They're not too rich, bite sized and have the added bonus of a peanut butter or caramel center.
Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 oz semisweet chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
Rolos or peanut butter cup candies

Heat oven to 350F.  Beat the butter, sugar and egg together.  Add the rest of the ingredients except for the chocolate candies.  Spritz mini muffin pan with cooking spray and spoon about 1 Tablespoon of batter into each up.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until just baked (don't overbake!).  Take out of the oven and push 1 Rolo or peanut butter cup into the center of each brownie until level with the top.  Cool on a rack for 10 minutes then remove tarts and cool completely (if it's tricky to get them out, try sticking the pan in the freezer for a few minutes).  Frost if desired and remember to spritz the pan with cooking spray for each batch.
Enjoy!

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18 December 2013

Sleep On Little One

Claire got herself lost at the store the other day.  No big surprise there.  I was kind of dreading it would happen sooner or later.  She's so darned independent!  I knew she was missing when the happy shrieks abruptly stopped.  Fortunately, she found a store employee (which was an impressive feat--I couldn't find one to help me) and quietly returned.  Two minutes later she was scolding me for finding her because it was she and Evelyn who were playing hide and seek and I ruined the game.  Well, excuse me!

The rest of the day was normal until the odd silence of Claire not giggling or screaming settled over the house.  Instead of finding trouble,  I found her sweetly napping on the glider.

Sleep on little one.

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