31 December 2016

New Year's Eve 2016

The last day of 2016 was a lot like any other Saturday. We cleaned, took care of the animals, worked on a few projects, and lazed around a bit. Around dinnertime, though, we started our traditional New Year's Eve party.
First, we went wild and crazy, setting up our new family-sized tent we'd received for Christmas. That thing is at least twice as spacious as our old tent and already, we're looking forward to using it (although Henry was kind of freaked out that we willing crawled into something that he was sure was a monster). Here's hoping we have some good spring weather before the next baby arrives so we can try it out!
Then we had a buffet-style dinner with all kinds of fruit, cheese, bread, dips, and snacks. Maybe not the healthiest but no one complained.
 We introduced Henry to the joy of spray whipped cream...
The great room floor is high on my 2017 list of goals...
...and we introduced all our kids to the joy of Silly String.

Even if it was only about seven seconds worth of fun.
Jack announced at about 7pm that he wasn't sure he'd be able to make it to midnight. We're real party animals.
Now, we're in the middle of a Lord of the Rings movie marathon and are enjoying the quiet evening at home. I know 2016 has gotten a bad rap on many fronts, but Jack and I were talking about what a great year it's really been, from news of a new baby to job promotions and raises to completing some pretty hefty home improvement projects, new books written, and crossing off lots of goals off our 2016 list. Overall, we were healthy, happy, and the future looks bright because it is what we make of it.
Watching a Puffin Rock countdown a couple hours early.
We hope you had a fantastic New Year's Eve
and that you're ready for a wonderful start to 2017!

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30 December 2016

Swimming with Dolphins

Dolphin spotting in the early morning.
Way back when we took our trip to Florida, one of the things I was hoping to do was to swim with dolphins. While there's an aquarium nearby that offers it, it was an-arm-and-a-leg expensive and wasn't quite the experience I was looking for. So, I resigned myself to spotting dolphins from the beach early in the morning waaaaay out in the gulf.
About mid-week, the whole family took a ferry out to Shell Island, where we walked along the beach, picking up shells and trying not to get pinched by the ornery crabs. Then, the ferry took us around, looking for one of the pods of dolphins that hangs around the area without any luck. By far my favorite part was feeding the seagulls that followed the ferry and watching the girls squeal with delight as they snatched treats from their fingers. Not exactly a dolphin sighting but I'm not picky when it comes to animal encounters.
Watching for dolphins.
While I was hanging out on the beach with the kids and Jack was snorkeling, he happened upon a couple who started talking about their recent excursion with some of the local dolphins. Jack got the information and within a matter of hours, he and I had a date. We drove to the dock and boarded a small boat with a couple of other people and the captain. The ride out was quick and reminded me of the many summers I spent in the Ozarks on my grandfather's boat, speeding over the smooth water. It was obvious we'd arrived at our destination when we found about a dozen other boats and jet skis circling a spot on the water--in the middle, a pod of dolphins was playing. The captain gave us instructions and reminded us about the rules of swimming with dolphins--no touching, no feeding, no jumping on top--and once he drove us into position, he gave us the cue to jump in.

After a few tries, here's what we saw:
Though the encounter was brief and a teensy bit intimidating, it was absolutely thrilling. The GoPro didn't pick up my underwater squeal of delight as the dolphins swam under and tilted toward us in curiosity. They were so close that we could have touched them if we tried and their interest in us was incredible like they'd condescended to even glance in our direction. It was one of the highlights of the trip for me and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. We returned to the boat, where the rocking boat promptly made me seasick right over the side of the boat with an audience of a couple dozen people. Oh, well. I swam with dolphins!

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27 December 2016

Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men

Merry Christmas!
The Christmas weekend was a whirlwind of festivities that always passes a little too quickly. While there are always glitches in the celebration--tears, fights, illness (mercifully we had our turn with the stomach bug before our Nebraska pilgrimage), meltdowns, hurt feelings, and on and on--for the most part, we really were able to enjoy ourselves.
 There was cookie decorating...
 ...and treat making.
 A few friendly duels of vintage video games.
Plenty of music, including Jack and me singing O Little Town of Bethlehem with some of his family at a Christmas Eve program.
Santa sightings.
Wrapping paper roll fights.
A bit of overeating.
Opening presents (which was easily Henry's favorite because he got to DESTROY).
Enjoying the aftermath.
And, crashing hard when all was said and done.
Poor Lydia had her turn with the stomach flu on Christmas day.
Jack and I were talking about Christmas and this whole year in general, which seem to have been perceived as a tumultuous one, and how healing the holiday season is for everyone. People are a little more patient, cheerful, and generous. In short, there's more peace on earth and goodwill to men, which I fully attribute to the babe of Bethlehem whose birth we're celebrating. Like Ebeneezer Scrooge, I hope to keep that spirit throughout the year.

Merry Christmas from The Rehomesteaders!
We hope it was a wonderful weekend for you and your loved ones!

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23 December 2016

You're So Lucky!

I'm not sure if I'm lucky because I'm still pregnant or unlucky because I already have kids... ;) Either way, this clip always makes me laugh (along with Mother Power).

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22 December 2016

DIY Kid's Christmas Star Ornament

Here's a fun craft you can make with your kids to help decorate your Christmas tree or hand out to friends. They take less than five minutes to assemble and though simple, are adorable.
You'll Need:

Foam Craft Sheets
Pipe Cleaner
Fleece Scraps
Straw (or other dried grass)
Hot Glue
1. Trace the desired size star onto the foam craft sheet. Cut out.
2. Glue pipe cleaner on the back of the star.
3. Glue straw onto the front of the star.
4. Trace coin onto the foam craft sheet. Cut out.
5. Draw face and glue head right above the straw.
6. Cut out fleece for the blanket. Glue it next to the head.
7. Hang!
Thanks to Freebie Finding Mom for the inspiration!

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21 December 2016

Le Bureau

I've had a lot of people asking what home improvements we've been doing and I have to be honest, they were at a standstill for a while. Between our Florida trip, kids in school, replacing the roof, enduring some long lasting morning sickness, and Jack's multiple work trips, I haven't been doing anything major (does anyone want to see pictures of some of the trim I painted...?). Now that I the timing is right, I decided we should finish the office.
Remember our Indiana home tour?  The office is a quaint little space off the living area. It was dark, covered in scraps of wallpaper, with a rough, poorly done ceiling texture. I painted it pretty quickly to take care of any lingering smoke smell, then, it kind of became our black hole of clutter...
It's easy to forget a mess when you're not staring at it.
The kick in the bum to get the office done came when a friend who was moving offered us some lovely office furniture to replace our hand-me-down, well-used office desk. We picked it up but I refused to put it in until everything else was done. Plus, they were really heavy and the thought of dragging huge, awkward things up the stairs always makes me procrastinate.
First, we took care of the ceiling. I smoothed out the roughest peaks with drywall putty, then we used the same planks that we'd put in our master bath (which also had the horrible ceiling texturing). It was slow going, as ceiling work is, but once it was done, it looked fantastic.
Then, it was time for the floor. The poor parquet flooring had been pretty worn down from about forty years of use. So, I rented a floor sander and--lucky me!--I ended up getting it for free because the person before didn't clean it out and the store didn't catch it, which they compensated me for monetarily. I am always up to saving money if all I need is a little elbow grease. Once the floor was a clean slate, I decided to stain it to give it a little color.
And voila! All I needed to do was the trim and some touch-up paint. Oh, and get that heavy furniture up the stairs. I solved that problem by feeding the missionaries from church some dinner and when they asked if we needed any help with anything, I casually mentioned the desk waiting downstairs. Five minutes later, it was up the steps. Win!
It's more fun to dust when you can climb on stuff.
I spent an hour cleaning out the old desk and putting it in the new. A lot of stuff got tossed, some treasures were found (like Dancer's registration papers--YAY!), and now, everything looks a lot more organized.
Ah, creative space!
That is, when I'm not using the office as my very own private crafting room.
Le bureau est fini! And we love it!

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20 December 2016


For the most part, we've managed to stay healthy this fall but like it always does, I knew something was going to hit us. One by one, we all fell victim to a stomach bug that culminated it one horrible day where four of the six of us were useless. Normally, I can handle the neverending battle of laundry and handing out crackers and pop, on top of my regular duties but it wasn't a surprise when I got sick, too (it may have had something to do with the kids always drinking out of my cup and constantly sneezing on me). I fully intended on waking up with Jack, making his lunch, and sending him to work but when I vaguely heard him say that he was going to stay home to take care of us, I fell back asleep for a couple of hours with only a morsel of guilt and a boatload of gratitude.
Jack is quite capable of becoming a stay-at-home dad position when needed. By the time I rolled out of bed, he already had the fire going, the animals fed, Henry (the only child who mercifully wasn't sick--he'd already had and gotten over his turn of illness) cleaned up and changed, the laundry going, and breakfast cooking. He put in eight hours of work from home, picked up some groceries and checked on us while the women of the house laid around, watching movies, and drifting in and out of consciousness.
There's what real love looks like, people.
By the end of the day, the dual positions caught up with him and he crashed, too. Thankfully, the day off helped me recuperate, Jack's still managed not to get sick, and today, we're all feeling like a million bucks, which allowed us to get caught up on the housework that was put off (primarily cleaning up the crackers Henry crushed all over the place while I was powerless to stop him).

That is one good househusband. Thanks for the sick day off work, Jack!

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