31 December 2018

The Rehomesteaders 2019 Goals

There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind. ~C.S. Lewis
One of my favorite things about the transition from one year to the next is the feeling of a fresh start, which makes it the perfect time to set new goals and review past ones. We've been setting goals for several years, and it's been fun to see what we've already accomplished--some of them have been unexpectedly accomplished as opportunities have arisen, and some may be lifetime goals that take time and means to achieve them, and some still are reoccurring (like family portraits, for example). Whatever the case may be, we love setting goals, and seeing where the year takes us!

See goals from 201820172016, 201520142013 and 2012!

The Rehomesteaders' 2019 Goals

Personal (mostly just for fun!)
  • Sign older kids up for 4H
  • Correctly make croissants from scratch I did it! Homemade Croissants 27 April 2018
  • Make pasta from scratch
  • Visit Yellowstone
  • Take a helicopter ride
  • Sign up kids for and complete a summer reading program
  • Be a participant on The Amazing Race
  • Learn to paint with oils
  • Sign Kate up for ballet
  • Index 1,000 names
  • Make a custom bed frame
  • Visit a black sand beach
  • Visit all 50 states
  • Learn to water ski
  • Visit every continent
  • Make shoes
  • Attend the filming of a game show
  • Enter an art competition
  • Cook at least one new meal once a month Here's our list! January (Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken)February (Egg, Ham & Cheese Cups), June (Veggie and Ham Egg Bake)
  • See the redwoods
  • Donate hair
  • Make ten different types of bread
  • Become a better knitter
  • Get professional family portraits
  • Take a family backpacking trip
  • Master watercolors
  • Refinish the piano
  • Enter a writing competition
  • Build a porch swing
  • Construct a birdbath
  • Volunteer as a family
  • Build a teeter-totter
  • Take a family hike A little scary, but we made it! 16 Dec 2019 One Dozen
  • Sell something on Etsy (or another similar online craft site)
  • Build or purchase food storage shelves
  • Go canoeing
  • Make a permanent Family Home Evening chart
  • Attend The Nutcracker
  • Donate blood
  • Bank or donate cord blood How cool that the hospital took blood and placenta donations! That's A Lot of Cake 3 May 2019
  • Blow glass
  • Take the kids 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
  • Build a piece of furniture
  • 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
  • Paint a portrait
  • Be an extra in a movie (preferably on horseback)
  • Attend a major music concert (other than MoTab)
  • Go to the Kentucky Event...again!
  • Take up pottery
  • Buy a boat
  • Buy a 4-wheeler/farm vehicle
  • 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 haircut
  • Sign the girls up for art camp
  • Attend a theatrical performance
  • Attend a melodrama Went over the 4th of July in NE! 30 July 2019 Partied Til You Dropped
  • Take another self-defense class
  • Make or buy a dressform
  • Go on a family bike ride
  • Ride on the Polar Express
  • Design and sew an outfit
  • Sew a quilt
  • Go to a theme park With FREE tickets even! 25 Aug 2019 Kings Island
  • Digitize mission and family photos
  • Make everyone a personalized stocking
  • Have a sugar free week
  • Have a year of food storage
  • Make the girls dresses
  • Visit an observatory Went over the 4th of July! 30 July 2019 Partied Til You Dropped
  • Start the girls on piano lessons
  • Make homemade yogurt It wasn't as hard as I thought! 1 Feb 2019 Homemade Yogurt
  • Make homemade cheese
  • Be able to do the splits....
  • Prepare at least a four generation family history chart I love remembering those who've gone before. 5 May 2019 Four Generations, Done!
Home Improvements
  • Kids' Rooms
    • Carpet or flooring
    • Paint
    • Replace doors
  • Our Room
    • Carpet or flooring
    • Paint
    • Replace doors
  • Kitchen
    • Paint
    • Build shelf for farm supplies
    • Build broom closet
  • Family room
    • Paint
    • New blinds
  • Downstairs room
    • Paint
    • Tile
    • Carpet or flooring
    • Build toy shelves
    • Build coat/shoe rack
    • Build a closet
    • New exterior door
    • Hang a world map
    • Decorate "picture wall"
  • Storage room
    • Hang drywall
    • Paint
    • Flooring
    • Build shelves
  • Kids' Bath
    • Install double vanity
    • Hang larger mirror
    • Install bathtub
  • Sitting Room
    • Refinish floor
    • Build half wall
    • New banister
    • New curtains and area rug
  • Exterior
    • Paint doors
    • New front door
    • New deck/patio in back
    • Backyard fence
    • Build playground
    • Paint garage doors
    • Install gates and fencing at front of property
    • Make a bigger beach for the pond
    • Cut down dead ash trees in the forest
    • Redo landscaping
    • Paver sidewalk out front
    • Install jacuzzi tub
    • Pour driveway loop
  • Master Bed and Bath
    • Build new garage
    • Build master bed
    • Build master bath
Farm Life and Animals
  • Gallop a horse on the beach
  • Register Dancer
  • Rim ride at the Grand Canyon
  • Trail ride in Yellowstone
  • Build a floating dock for the pond
  • Purchase a horse trailer
  • Purchase an auger
  • Purchase hay baling equipment
  • Professional horse portraits...again!
  • Take Stoney and Dancer on a trail ride
  • Dye, spin and knit an item from homegrown wool
  • Tin barn and other outbuildings
  • Build riding arena
  • Purchase skidloader
  • Enclose larger chicken run, install swings, dust bath
  • Get a peacock and peahen
  • Install automatic waterers for the cows
  • Fix corral fencing
  • Fix back forest fencing
  • Build goat enclosure
  • Get some goats! Or maybe sheep...
  • Purchase a child's saddle
  • Build a bench to overlook the pond
  • Get a harness and cart for the horses
  • Take the girls to a leadline class
  • Tap trees for maple syrup Thank goodness we get something to eat in winter 17 Feb 2019 Produces in Winter
  • Plant a garden Already looking forward to next year! It's a Start 22 Sept 2019
  • Construct a woodshed
  • Build a greenhouse
  • See wild horses
  • Plant an alfalfa or hay field
  • Plant a berry patch
  • Get another hive
  • Purchase/cut hay for winter
  • Purchase a horse trailer
  • Teach Stoney and Dancer to pull a cart or carriage
  • Get pigs
  • Breed Dancer
  • Cut cattle
  • Run barrels
  • Go on a cattle drive
  • Buy a log splitter
  • Swim with a whale shark
  • Have yearly wood supply for fireplace
  • Get a beef steer
  • Swim with humpback whales
  • Ride/Work horses 52+ times in a year
  • Build a goat/pig, etc enclosure
  • Build a round pen
  • Ride an elephant (for more than three minutes...)
  • Feed sharks/dive cage with sharks
  • Go scuba diving
  • Hold a koala
  • Hold a sloth
  • See the salmon run
  • Watch a cheetah chase down prey
  • Do a polar bear expedition
  • Swim with dolphins...again!
  • Take a whale watching expedition
  • Be in a dog sled race
  • Ride an ostrich
  • Ride a camel

Health, Fitness, and Sports 

  • Lose baby weight
  • Run another 5k Ran an early morning race with Claire! Pacing 3 Aug 2019
  • 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
  • Take Dancer to a show
  • Compete in a dressage show
  • Compete in a jumping competition (either showjumping 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 Rachael's student loans
  • Pay off Jack's student loans
  • Build a one-month emergency fund
  • Build a six-month emergency fund
  • Open a savings account for the kids
  • Buy new van (preferably with cash)
  • Buy a work truck for the farm
  • Pay off mortgage

Reading and Writing

What are your 2019 goals?

30 December 2018

Farm Dog, City Dog

It's been nearly five years since Raven joined our family but it seems like she's been around all along. She really is a great dog, and enjoys being in the thick of things, especially if it involves being outside, around the kids, or if there's a ball for her to chase.
Photo bomber.
One of the best qualities she has is that she is an absolute gem around the kids. While we teach all the children to be gentle with the animals, sometimes babies and toddlers just don't grasp the concept. Even while being tugged or jumped on, she patiently enjoys whatever attention she's receiving.
She's even happy to share her crate with any visitors.
As a multipurpose pet, one of Raven's favorite things to do is help pull the stroller around the neighborhood. She's a great pacesetter and has improved in confidence with each trip out. Mowers, squirrels, cars, and plastic bags no longer intimidate her, though if we're chased down by an unfettered neighborhood dog, she's basically useless. That's alright. I have no trouble taking care of vicious dogs and sending them running, tucktail back home.
She even loves running up the driveway with the kids to wave goodbye to visiting friends and family.
Thankfully, Raven has come out of her shell in the years since she's been a part of the farm. At first, the horses were terrifying to her, but now, she doesn't blink when they're close by. In fact, when they're getting their hooves trimmed, it's practically impossible to keep her away as she sneaks hoof pieces to gnaw on.
Another fun thing Raven has learned since arriving is that it's fun to chase and retrieve a ball, which makes getting her exercise in when we're unable to go jogging a lot easier. She'll run down everything from a tennis ball, to soccer balls, to my wool dryer balls that somehow end up outside.

Snowballs also count as chaseable balls.
Speaking of snow, of the whole family, nobody loves snow more than Raven. It certainly makes it less miserable going out in the cold when Raven is running circles around us.
Though Raven is completely at home in the barn, she isn't solely confined to the farm.
She's very well0traveled and loves a family car ride.
We've taken her camping...
Waiting for someone to come over to pet her.
...to the local feed store...
...to grandma and grandpa's house, where she keeps a watchful eye over the kids as they play outside...
...and even a few hotel stays.
Really, as long as she can be near us (and it's not too wild and crazy--she makes her appearances most often when the house is quiet), she's happy.
My writing buddy.
Though Raven has the potential from her sheer size to be a dominant dog, she is so docile that little Nova bossed her around.
When it comes to playing with her puppy friends, she's all in, but would never seriously hurt anyone. That's about as rough and tumble as she ever gets and even then, it's all in good fun.
When Raven's not running with the horses, chasing a tennis ball, or playing with her friends, her favorite pasttime is being brushed. Even having her nails trimmed, she willingly rolls over and lets me give her a quick manicure.
She also makes a willing, impromptu pillow.
And on a hot summer day, she's even taught herself to swim after the girls coaxed her into the water. It might not be her very favorite thing to do, but she seems to recognize that it's the quickest way to cool off.
We love Raven and are so happy that she fits into our life so well as an all-around dog.
She's a farm dog, city dog, family dog, friendly dog, useful dog, cuddly dog, healthy dog, happy dog, and basically, the perfect dog for us.

28 December 2018

And to All a Good Night!

Happiest holidays from The Rehomesteaders! It has been a whirlwind week of long hours of travel, celebrations, delectable food, family, and loads of new memories.
Once we got settled in Nebraska, we were quickly reunited with the twin cousins, visited the grandparents, and prepared for Christmas (meaning we wrapped a bunch of presents we had shipped here so we didn't have to travel with them in the trunk).
We made all the traditional sweet treats, and have been munching on them ever since, saving a few for Santa, of course.
Part of the fun of Christmas, especially with little kids running underfoot, is the anticipation of it. So, while we were waiting for Santa to come, we played games...
...jumped on the trampoline...
...built miniature snowmen...
...and took a few sled rides down the slope of snow in the soybean field behind grandma and grandpa's house.
Come Christmas morning, the kids were all up by 5:30am, except for Henry, who somehow managed to sleep until 8am, even amidst the shrieks of delight from his sisters. When everyone finally woke up, we enjoyed two Christmases in one day. There was excitement about everything from oversized stuffed animals...
...kitten wall calendars...
...new suits...
He always did look good in a new suit.
...and potty training seats. 
That's as much a gift for me as it is for her!
Though we'll remember Christmas as a happy time, pretending like it was perfect is a little unfair. There were plenty of headaches, bickering, stealing others' presents, crying over others' presents, being jealous over others' presents, and in general, being cranky and dramatic from too much sugar, too much excitement, and too little sleep.
Tug-o-war over the soft blanket that neither wanted to share.
But, since it was interspersed with happy squeals of glee, genuine gratitude, and periods of happiness, it all worked out fine.
Everyone in their jammies, watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
When all was said and done, we were all worn out. That's kind of the way it goes when you're all in for a holiday. And, when we get home, we have one more Christmas to celebrate together with just our little family. Since everyone's been spoiled with all kinds of fun toys and gadgets, Santa will be bringing toothbrushes and snow gloves and new coats to Indiana, because Santa is a need-based at the end of the season.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
What a dynamic trip it's been! We hope your holiday season has been one of peace, gratitude, and reflecting on the gift of our Savior's birth, surrounded by friends, family, delicious food, and happy memories. We wish you all the best and a happy end to 2018, and an exciting, refreshing start to 2019!
We must've been good. Santa came!

17 December 2018

Loch Ness

In early March, when the ice finally thawed, we kept noticing a rather large fish flapping its pectoral fin above the water. For hours on end, the enormous fish would swim back and forth on its side, waving its fin above the water. Though we'd go outside to see it, it was always really difficult to get a picture of because of the reflection of the water. As best as we could guess, it was several feet long, and we nicknamed it Loch Ness because it was so mysterious. We knew the pond was stocked with minnows, sunfish, largemouth bass, bluegill, and grass carp, so we assumed the big guy was the plant-eating grass carp, which prefers to eat the algae and other plant matter in the pond.
This weekend, Evelyn kept telling me that she could see a dead fish out in the pond and repeatedly, I kept blowing her off. It isn't uncommon to find something floating dead out on the water. It wasn't until I took the time to look that I realized, yeah, there really was a dead fish and it was HUGE.
It's hard to say what did the poor thing in but judging by its size, it had a nice, long life, paddling around the pond and eating our algae. Jack had to drag the thing out of the water and it was heavy work.
For size comparison, Kate agreed to lay down next to the smelly fish. She's over four feet tall, so your guess is as good as mine. However long it was, it was the biggest thing we've ever pulled out of the water.
Then, we had to decide what to do with the poor thing. Jack suggested it could go decompose in the garden (ummmm, no. I don't want to be weeding through an enormous fish skeleton next season) or out back in the manure pile. Since the manure pile is far enough away that we wouldn't get a whiff of the stink it'll surely produce, I had him haul it to the back. Of course, with the number of predators and scavengers we have around here, I wouldn't be surprised if it got ripped to shreds and eaten tonight. Even Raven was trying to sneak a sniff or two in. She'd better leave it alone or she's going to get a cold bath outside if she comes wandering back, smelling like rotting fish.
Come spring, we'll buy a new batch of grass carp that'll have plenty to do in the pond. For now, fish tacos, anyone? ;)
I gagged when I brought these up from the storage room and thought of making fish tacos from carp...
 RIP Nessie.


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