31 December 2014

The Rehomesteaders' 2015 Goals

I feel like 2014 was pretty successful. There were some heartbreaks, but an overwhelming majority of the year was a wonderful adventure. Some of the goals set were thoroughly accomplished (I ran quite a few races!) while some weren't accomplished much or at all (hence my horse training goal). And while some goals are new, most are rollovers from last year because they weren't accomplished and a few will hopefully be met every year (like taking family portraits). I'm excited to see what 2015 will bring and am ready to meet the year head on. Here's some of the non-private goals we're looking forward to accomplishing in 2015!

"When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates."

Thomas S. Monson

See 2012, 2013 and 2014!

The Rehomesteaders' 2015 Goals

Personal (mostly just for fun!)

  • Enter a writing competition
  • Build a porch swing
  • Construct a bird bath
  • Correctly make croissants from scratch
  • Attend a book signing An interesting experience! 25 April 2015 Book Signing
  • Take a helicopter ride
  • Be a participant on The Amazing Race
  • Learn to paint with oils
  • Index 1,000 files Finished it! I'm going to aim higher next year... 18 Oct 2015 1,000 Names
  • Visit all 50 states
  • Learn to water ski
  • Visit every continent
  • Go on a cruise
  • Attend a filming of a game show
  • Enter an art competition
  • See the redwoods
  • Donate hair to Locks of Love
  • Make a hammock Kind of... 8 Sept 2015 A Few Goals
  • Become a better knitter
  • Get professional family portraits Thanks, Tasha! 23 Oct 2015 Photos at the Farm
  • Master watercolors
  • Sell something on Etsy
  • Build food storage shelves
  • Go canoeing Pocahontas had it wrong... 7 June 2015 Just Around the River Bend
  • Blow glass
  • Take the girls to Disney World
  • Downhill ski
  • Take a train ride
  • Learn to crochet
  • Take a family vacation to Table Rock Lake in the Ozarks
  • See the Northern Lights
  • Learn to make soap Not as hard as I thought! 30 Nov 15 Making Soap
  • Build a piece of furniture Our first piece of furniture for 2015! 14 Mar 2015 The Shoe Closet
  • Be a contestant on Wheel of Fortune
  • Prepare a will Just in case! 8 Sept 2015 A Few Goals
  • 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!
  • 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
  • Take a self-defense class I've learned a few moves to keep me safe! Self-defense 3 Nov 2015
  • Make or buy a dressform
  • Design and sew an outfit
  • Sew a quilt
  • Have a year of food storage
  • Make the girls dresses
  • Make poutine Yummy! Poutine 9 Mar 2015
  • Make homemade butter We can get a cow now! Homemade Butter 9 Nov 2015
  • Make homemade yogurt
  • Make homemade cheese
  • 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
    • Etc
  • Redo our room
    • Trim
    • Carpet
    • Bedspread
    • Etc
  • Redo master bath
    • Shower
    • Tub
    • Tile
    • Paint
    • Vanity
    • Closet
    • Etc
  • Redo girls' bath A big project is done! 10 Dec 2015 Complete
    • 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
    • Finish Back
    • Roof
    • Paint
    • Columns
  • Finish The Shoe Closet
  • Finish entryway

Farm Life and Animals
  • Ride a horse on a beach
  • Purchase a trailer
  • Take Stoney and Dancer on a trail ride
  • Dye, spin and knit an item from homegrown wool
  • Get MORE hens Got them in the winter so they're ready to lay in the spring! 31 Jan 2015 Pick Up Chicks
  • Install automatic waterers for the horses
  • Get some goats! Or maybe sheep...
  • Get a harness and cart for the horses
  • Take the girls to a leadline class What fun!!! 23 May 2015 Leadline
  • Plant a garden The garden is in! 24 April 2015 The Garden of Eliker
  • Build a greenhouse
  • See wild horses
  • Plant a berry patch
  • Plant an orchard
  • Get another hive They'll live whether they like it or not!  14 April 2015 Two Is Better Than One
  • Teach Stoney and Dancer to pull a cart or carriage
  • Get pigs
  • Breed Dancer
  • Cut cattle
  • Run barrels
  • Go on a cattle drive
  • Get a milking cow
  • Get a beef steer
  • Finish building pasture
  • Build a horse shed Got a good start! 11 July 2015 Eyesore, Finished! 10 Aug 2015 Horse Shelter
  • Build a barn
  • Ride/Work horses 52+ times in a year Getting a start! 24 Jan 2015 One Down , 8 Feb 2015 Lunge and a Haircut, Jack's found his new calling 17 May 2015 The Cowboy
  • 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  Halloween races are FUN! Trick or Treat 2 Nov 2015
  • Run a family race
  • Run in a Fun Run, Color Run, etc
  • Run a 10k
  • Run a half marathon
  • Run a full marathon
  • Complete a triathlon
  • Sign girls up for swim lessons Just got started! Mermaids 18 March 2015
  • 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...)


  • 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
  • Open a savings account for each child First goal of the new year! Savings 6 Jan 2015
  • Pay off mortgage

Reading and Writing

What's on your list?

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27 December 2014

Merry Christmas to You

After Santa stopped by.
So far, we've had a fantastic Christmas season. We've been able to spend it with family, have avoided getting terribly sick and have had all kinds of fun. Here are a few snapshots of our week:
Fun with Easy Cheese!
Eliker family history.
Santa's plate of treats.
Making jewelry.
Being silly.
Curious babies.
Movie and lunch at Amigos.
Flying fairies.
Making treats together.
Holding a lot of cute kids.
Lots of laying around.

It has been a wonderful season reflecting on and expressing gratitude for our Savior's birth. Hope your end of the year has been equally happy and blessed.

Merry Christmas to you from The Rehomesteaders!

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24 December 2014

Easy Breakfast Casserole

We had this for our family Christmas Eve gathering and it was a hit. On top of being delicious, it's also incredibly fast to assemble (it took less time to put it together than it did to warm up the oven). So, it's perfect for family gatherings, holidays or brunch because you can have a home-cooked meal without having to slave over the stove for ours on end.


24 oz frozen hash browns (about 8 cups)
16 oz ham, cubed
8 oz cheddar, shredded
12 eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine hash browns, ham and cheddar. Pour into the baking pan. Mix together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper and pour over the top of the hash brown mixture. Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes or until eggs are set and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Slice and serve after resting a few minutes.
Thanks to Wholesome Dish for the recipe inspiration!

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22 December 2014

Cinnamon Candied Pecans

These candied pecans are delicious and pair well with anything from salads to ice cream. Of course, enjoy them as a sweet, salty treat on their own too. Yum!


1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
2 Tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound pecan halves

Preheat the oven to 250F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large zip-top bag, combine the sugar, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the whites, water and vanilla. Add the pecans to the bowl and stir until all moistened. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pecans and drop them into the bag with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Seal the bag and shake to coat. Remove the pecans from the bag and place onto prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.
Thanks to the Brown-Eyed Baker for the recipe inspiration!

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18 December 2014

Crunch, Crunch, Crunch

One of the things I love about cold weather is that I get to see the horses at least twice a day.
I could seriously listen to horses chewing all day long.

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15 December 2014


Red Rock Ranch, Book 2: Showdown
Look! It's my name! In someone else's book! Brittney Joy gave me an advanced reader copy and asked my opinion so she could include a blurb in her novel. How fun is that?

And if you'd like to read it yourself, I highly recommend it! Click here for a link (affiliate) to purchase. Enjoy!

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14 December 2014

The Life of the Party

Unrivaled dimples and a never-ending giggly personality.
Claire just celebrated her fourth birthday (though when she came in our room that morning and we asked how old she was, she excited shouted, "I'm eight!"). It's an interesting thing having a child--four years really isn't all that long to know someone, but at the same time, it seems like she's been party of our family forever. It's only natural to have Claire around.
Pushing Kate on the bike while we waited for Evie to get off the school bus.
Claire is usually the life of the party--quick to laugh and make others smile, but she is also incredibly intelligent (just see her engineering skills), athletic, fearless and very kind and tenderhearted. Her heart breaks easily and as a result, she's quick to help others, whether it's pushing them on a bike, picking up something they dropped or sharing her toys. That being said, she also has a blood curdling scream that lets everyone know when she's not in the mood to share.
Whipping up a cake.
I don't mind spoiling my girls at all on their birthday. It's a rare occasion that they get toys and sweets and all the attention. Claire is the middle child and flourishes when she has an entire day of whatever she wants.
Luckily, Claire was able to celebrate her special day over the weekend, surrounded by friends and family (thank goodness for Skype!). We spend the morning making a very lavish, decked-out My Little Ponies rainbow-cake-with-grass-and-clouds-and-waterfalls-and-the-sun-and-clouds (as specified by Claire...I really should get a cake decorating kit), then opened presents and watched a few shows of her choosing...which meant My Little Pony reruns all day.
Second attempt at blowing out candles.
The weather was cloudy but decent so we went outside and fed the horses...
She's always teasing the horses.
 ...and of course, made a stop at the swings.
Jack and I had a late meeting but Claire wasn't bothered at all--she got to spend the evening with some of her favorite babysitters and got to stay up late. So, did Claire have a good birthday?
All tuckered out.
I think so!

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12 December 2014

Sweet and Tangy Mustard Chicken

This recipe produces chicken with the perfect balance of sweet and tangy--even the kids cleared their plates!


2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
1/2 cup Dijon mustard (or 1/4 cup mustard plus 1/4 mayo with a pinch of sweetener)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (good thing we can harvest our own!)
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons rosemary (optional)
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon cold water

Preheat oven to 450F and line small square baking dish with aluminum foil. Whisk together the mustard (and mayo, if using), syrup, vinegar, salt, pepper and rosemary (if using). Place the chicken in the pan and pour sauce over the top, turning to coat. Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from pan and let cool a few minutes. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth, then pour into leftover mustard sauce. Stir thoroughly until smooth and creamy. Serve over chicken and serve immediately.
A really unique flavor and a very juicy chicken recipe.
Thanks to Table for Two for the recipe inspiration!

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10 December 2014

Somebody Likes The Snow

We've had one snowfall this year and already, I'm a bit sour about snow, probably from last year's never-ending winter. I don't like the mud, the slick roads, the fact that I'm pretty much cooped inside with home improvement projects until the temperature warms up. There is a few benefits though: it's pretty, we can go sledding (and maybe someday I'll teach my horses to pull a sleigh) and the animals always have a blast.

At least somebody likes the snow.

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07 December 2014


For some reason, it seems like my thirtieth year of life flew by and yesterday, the girls and Jack were already singing Happy Birthday to me for my thirty-first.
Making kitty ears after a nice, loooong nap.
Like turning thirty, nothing magical changed the day I turned a year older. I do find a few more white hairs than I did even at thirty (it's got to start sometime, I guess) but overall, I think I'm in pretty good shape thanks to a continuous year of running and my overall God-given good health.
Getting ideas for bunk bed frames at the flea market.
In some ways, thirty was rough. Most of the tears this year were from our two miscarriages which were heartbreaking in many ways. But when I step back and really analyze the year, thirty was great in a lot of ways.
Jack and the girls made me an apple swan for my birthday weekend.
I ran a half-marathon and several other races, became a registered bone marrow donor, published my first book (and got a good start on the sequel!), visited some new places, spent lots of time with family, completed some pretty hefty home improvements, sent my oldest off to kindergarten and fulfilled dozens of personal goals in many different categories.
Jack shaved off his No-Shave November beard into a mustache at my request just so I could see what he looked like. I think it looks like he should be in a British Calvary uniform, personally...
We spent my special day being serenaded over a homemade cheesecake, opened some beautiful gifts, had a delicious Chinese lunch, looked through a very eclectic flea market, napped, relaxed and spent some time in the evening with friends at the ward Christmas party, eating more delectable food and remembering the birth of the savior. The one thing I didn't get to do was ride--the weather and ground wasn't conducive to climbing into the saddle, a regular problem with a December birthday with no indoor arena. (I'll be sure to ask for an indoor arena for Christmas, haha!)
My ward birthday Christmas party.
It was a special day and I'm looking forward to an even more special year. Thank you all for the wonderful birthday wishes and kind words. My friends and family are my favorite gifts!

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05 December 2014

An Angel With A Tractor

Jack out in the cold drilling holes while I made Thanksgiving dinner.
When most people think of angels, it's usually a heavenly messengers clothed in white but more than once, I've thought of a person and their kind gesture of nothing short of angelic. This past month, our angel came the evening before Thanksgiving in the form of a neighbor with impeccable timing and a tractor.
I'd made arrangements to rent a towable auger that could drill the 85 post holes we needed to put in the last permanent pasture fence and no sooner than we got the auger put together and drilled the first hole that a neighbor a few doors down pulled up and offered use of his tractor and auger. We exchanged numbers, thanked him profusely and raced to take the rented equipment back to save on the full charge.
Look at that straight line!
We worked hard over the extended weekend, getting holes drilled, posts set and gravel moved to fill in the gaps. It was chilly, there was a lot of complaining from the kids who's poor little hands got cold quickly and by the end of each day, we were all bone-tired.
Kate taking some hay to the horses.
Though the project was a challenge, it was the perfect time to put up a fence. The mud was a huge headache the spring we moved in and worked on the first two pastures but with a few hard freezes mixed with rain, the ground was soft enough to drill easily without causing the tractor to get stuck.
Many hands make light work.
All the hard work made Thanksgiving dinner (and the subsequent days of leftovers) all the more sweet. Working together with friends and family then having a delicious meal ranks high on my list of a good time.
More than enough food!
We returned the tractor with a loaf of homemade bread and a jar of apple butter, incredibly grateful for a virtual stranger's kindness. We only hope we can be half as generous as the angels who have blessed us in so many ways.

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