Do You Take Advantage of Opportunities?

I love the fact that because of Goat Milk Stuff, we’ve been able to take the family on many adventures to many cities.  We’ve been on television in St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Green Bay, and New York City.  Our latest trip brought us to Kansas City.

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We really enjoy the chance to be on television and share our soaps (and now our caramels) with the television reporters and their viewers.  But our favorite part is getting to explore the city and learn a little about the culture and what makes it special.  After the filming, we headed back to our hotel, got changed, ate “second breakfast”, and then drove around Kansas City before heading to Loose Park.

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It was beautiful and the weather was perfect!  We then headed to the Kansas City Library where the children thought the large books on the walls of the parking garage were cool:

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There was also a large chess set on the roof of the library that they had fun with:

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The sad part was that Indigo found a book that she’s been coveting and thought she’d be able to “borrow it from the library.”  She started crying when she realized she couldn’t (making the librarian feel pretty bad).

After lunch (yes, Kansas City really does have AWESOME barbeque!) we headed over to the World War I Memorial.

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Then we walked to the Kansas City Federal Reserve and toured the “Money Museum”.  The Fed was pretty cool but I wish that they had some better tools to teach the children about exactly what the Fed does.  There was a video (but I wasn’t impressed).  I spend a lot of time teaching the children about money and borrowing and interest rates and I was hoping they’d have some good books at their little shop.

We were only in Kansas City for a total of about 36 hours, but we got a good overview of the city and their Barbeque!  I thought Kansas City was well kept with friendly people and was surprised by how much elevation there was.  I actually earned a “Redwood Forest” badge from my fitbit* from walking up and down as we walked around the city.

One of the reasons we’re able to enjoy the city so much is because not only are the children older (so they can walk and enjoy the sites), but also because Jim does a lot of prep-work finding out about the city and what our family would enjoy doing before we even arrive.  He had a list of places we could visit and the children got to choose which ones they were most interested in.

You don’t have to be on television to take advantage of the opportunities around you.  I know there are a few dozen things that I want to visit within a two hour radius of our home that I haven’t gotten around to doing – yet!

Where’s the latest place you’ve visited?




5K Color Run

Exercise is something important to our family so we can stay healthy. All of the boys run cross country and track.

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Last Saturday we all participated in a 5K Color Run, to help raise money to fight cancer!

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All of the children ran the race, while Jim and I chose to just walk it.

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Before running Colter said he wasn’t going to get any color on him, but as you can see he did end up with a little on himself.

We were all very proud of him; he placed 1st in the race!

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As you can see, after the race we were a very colorful bunch:

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We had a blast with it, and it helped raise money for a good cause!

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Have you ever run or walked a 5K?




Knitting For Playmobil

All my kids have enjoyed playmobil at some point during their childhood. But as they have gotten older, some of them have “outgrown” it.

Fletcher, Hewitt, Indigo, and Jade however all still very much love playmobil*, and regularly request it for their birthdays and Christmas.

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Recently, those who still play with playmobil, had the idea that they could buy MORE from older siblings, (who don’t play with it anymore) to expand their collections.

On the surface, I saw nothing wrong with this, and didn’t think much of it.  But turns out they had absolutely no grasp of the value of the pieces/sets, and were charging each other a lot more than they were worth new.

So after telling them they weren’t being fair to each other, we put an end to the playmobil* buying and selling.

They (being Fletcher, Hewitt, Indigo, & Jade) then came to me later and said “If we can’t buy playmobil from Colter, can we knit washcloths and trade them for playmobil?” After this, Colter would cash in the washcloths for money at the soaproom to be sold in the retail room and online.

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I was so impressed with their creativity, and thinking outside the box that I told them that was fine.

So now everyone is happy! The older kids get a little extra cash, and the younger ones get more playmobil*.  And, they now have a better grasp on the value of the pieces/sets, and are working for their goals.






Everyone in our family absolutely LOVES musicals.  While we were visiting New York City, we had the opportunity to see three broadway musicals, including Newsies. My siblings and I absolutely love the Newsies movie*, so we couldn’t pass up the chance to see the play. It was absolutely amazing, and we couldn’t stop talking about it.

Well, a few months ago, it came to Louisville – so of course we went to see it again!


Indigo was trying to pose like the guy on the poster. LOL



After the show, we went around to the back of the theater hoping to meet the cast – and we were able to get pictures with some of them! This is Angela Grovey, who plays Medda Larkin.


The girls and I were very excited to see Stephanie Styles, who plays Katherine,


and the boys loved getting to meet the star of the show, Dan DeLuca, who plays Jack Kelly!


We were able to give several of the cast copies of our catalog, which got its name from Newsies! We named the catalog “The Banner” so that we could be “Carrying The Banner” – which is one of our favorite Newsies songs!

It was a great night! So great that the little girls got in the car to go home and promptly fell asleep. LOL


Have you ever heard of Newsies? If not, look it up! It’s amazing, and it’s a Jonas Family Favorite!




Visiting Clifty Falls State Park

A month or two ago, Mom decided that we’d never been to Clifty Falls State Park, and we had a free day, and by golly, we were going to finally go to Clifty Falls. Going to this park has been on Mom’s “We Should Do” list for quite some time, but we’d never gotten around to it.

One Sunday afternoon, Mom told us all to get in the car and we drove on over. We brought subs and mini cupcakes and had a picnic before setting off to hike one of the trails.

While we were waiting for Mom and Dad to catch up, the kids got started on a leaf war.

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For more than 20 minutes, they ran,

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and dodged,

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and threw leaves at each other.

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They had a blast, and didn’t want to stop when Mom said that she was growing cold, standing in the shadows. LOL

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We made our way down one of the trails,

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and the kids were amazed at the stick that was holding up this huge rock.

We also went down these really cool rock steps, which led to an overlook.

It was a beautiful day, and we’re so glad that we took the time to go hiking before the winter set in!


Ask A Jonas – Colter’s Thoughts On Learning To Drive

We get asked lots of questions when we’re doing farm toursselling soap at craft fairs, or simply running errands.  Since most of those answers are heard only by the person who asked, we decided to share some of the common questions here on the blog.  And of course you can ask a question of your own!

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Colter, how is your driving going? Do you like learning to drive? ~Elaine

According to Indiana law you have to get 50 hours logged before you can take your driver’s test.  I’ve gotten four of those with Dad.  He says when I get 6-8 hours then I can start driving my siblings which will make it much easier to get my hours. It will make it much easier since I rarely go anywhere without my brothers.  I like learning to drive, maybe not as much as the average teenage boy would, but I’m not counting down the days.




Have a question for a Jonas? Fill out the form and send it in – maybe we’ll pick yours!

The Cross Country Season

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about the boys winning the title of Homeschool Cross Country Champions. That was only the final highlight of a fantastic season.

This season, the team spent hours listening to Coach Sweetland.

This season, the team spent hours running warm ups, cool downs, and practices together.

This season, the team spent hours helping each other pin – and lose – countless safety pins.

This season, the team spent hours goofing off and having fun together.

This season, the team ran as a team, running side by side during their races.

This season, the team ran as a team, and won as a team.

We’re super proud of our boys and the rest of the team. They all ran extremely well this season, and we can’t wait until next season!




Ask A Jonas – Do The Kids Like Their Unique Names?

We get asked lots of questions when we’re doing farm toursselling soap at craft fairs, or simply running errands.  Since most of those answers are heard only by the person who asked, we decided to share some of the common questions here on the blog.  And of course you can ask a question of your own!

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Jonas Kids, what is it like having such unique names? Do you like it?  ~Kim

Brett: I love my name. The only downside is when everyone thinks that I’m a guy, because my name is typically a guy name. We’ll get emails saying that “Brett is such a nice young man, I’m so glad he signed my invoice” and stuff like that. It’s kinda funny, most of the time. So are the ways people spell my name. I’ve seen it spelled Britt, Brat, Bratt, and my personal favorite, Bertt. But I do like that I’m the only Brett that most of my friends know. It’s not like some other names – for instance, I know four Josh’s. That’s confusing! LOL
Colter: I never really saw my name as unique – I mean, I know it’s not your normal John, or Josh, or something like that. I don’t normally get confused with other people,which is nice.  I enjoy having a different name.

Emery: I’ve never really thought about it being unique.  I know of three other guys named Emery, so it just doesn’t seem too different.  They don’t all spell it the same way I do, but they all sound the same.   I don’t know anybody with the name “Bob” so that seems more unique than Emery.

Fletcher: It’s really nice having a different name, because even though I’m mixed up with Emery and Greyden, my name is always different, and people can learn the difference. It’s really fun having a unique name because then if you find someone else with the same name, it’s really cool.

Greyden: I’ve never met somebody with my name.  It is kind of cool when people say it is a cool name.  My name was the only one not in the 1000 Baby Names book.   And it is spelled with two “E”s.

Hewitt: I think it’s cool that I’m the only Hewitt I’ve ever met in my entire life and I think it’s cool that most of my family hasn’t met anyone else of their names. I like having my name, but sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I had a different name. I just think it would be strange, to have a different name. I like it, that Mom and Dad called me Hewitt.

Indigo: It’s really fun, having a name that no one else has, and I have a really cool name. The best thing about it is that my name is my favorite color – purple! Most people don’t have their favorite color as their name.

Jade: I think it’s cool, in a way, that everyone pretty much knows my name and it’s really cool that all of my siblings have names that no one has met anyone else with that name. I have not met another Jade, which is very cool, but Indigo and Emery have met other Indigo’s and Emery’s. So it’s really cool that I get to be the only one that I’ve met.

Have a question for a Jonas? Fill out the form and send it in – maybe we’ll pick yours!

Goat Collars

We mentioned the new goat collars in the post about our goat photoshoot, but we didn’t explain why the collars all look different, and why that’s important.

When we were talking about getting collars for our goats, we realized that we could use them as a tool. We figured out a system, and now, just by looking at a goat, I can tell you who the parents of that particular goat are. The color of the collar tells us who the dam is, and the color of the words tell us who the sire is.

We began by taking the older goats and assigning them a color.  We chose pink for Zuzu – the matriarch of one of our goat families.  And made her letters brown because we like how that looks. LOL

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But other than the senior does, everybody’s collar color is based on their heritage.

For example, Tapioca’s collar is light blue, with green letters. The light blue tells me that she’s out of the Payton line (since Payton’s color is light blue) and the green tells me that her sire is Panini. (If you really want to get detailed, her Dam is Thalia, Payton’s daughter, and I know that because her name starts with a T.)  Tapioca is chewing on her twin’s collar, which is the same color as hers. The only difference is that her twin’s collar says “Tempest” instead of “Tapioca”!

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Now that you know what the different colors mean, take a look at this picture. Each group of collars is a different family. If you see a collar that is a different color, it just means that goat has an identical twin and we made the collar slightly different so we could tell them apart more easily. I’m holding our buck collars – see how they’re brown, with different colored letters? The letter colors tell us the buck’s color.

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What do you think of our system? Do you think it’s too complicated, or do you think it’s cool?

I love it, because all I have to do is memorize which color belongs to which of our senior does, and with a glance at a goat’s collar, I can tell you who they are. It’s really handy when we’re working on breeding plans, because we can see who the goat can’t be bred to with just a single glance.

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We’ve only had the collars on the goats for a few days, but it’s been great!

When people come on tours they can see the names of the goats, and call them by name. Both the goats (yes, they do know their names) and the people love it!




UPDATE: See the video and get a coupon code!


Ask A Jonas – Colter’s Thoughts On Having Seven Siblings

We get asked lots of questions when we’re doing farm toursselling soap at craft fairs, or simply running errands.  Since most of those answers are heard only by the person who asked, we decided to share some of the common questions here on the blog.  And of course you can ask a question of your own!

Ask a Jonas-colter_seven siblings_blog

Colter, what’s it like having so many siblings, and what’s your favorite part about it? ~Dawn B

It’s pretty hectic, with this many siblings, because everyone is always do something. There is usually one pair of siblings who are bickering at any point in time. So it tends to be loud.

It’s also very challenging as the oldest brother, because I have to try to not cause my siblings to stumble. There is a verse in the Bible that says “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)

I remember one day, when I was probably about 10 years old, Dad caught me leading my brothers in a pantry raid – we were after the chocolate chips. The next day he hung a little two pound hand weight in a bag around my neck, like a necklace, and made me carry it around. I’ve never forgotten that, and ever since then, I’ve tried to keep that verse in my mind.

My favorite part about having so many siblings is that it is never boring around here. There is always something interesting going on and always someone to play with or talk to.

Even though we do sometimes fight, I wouldn’t trade my siblings for the world. I have a different relationship with each of them and it’s really cool to be the big brother to each of them.  I’m the only one in the family who has that role.




Have a question for a Jonas? Fill out the form and send it in – maybe we’ll pick yours!

Meet The Goats – Ivy

Our dairy goats are not only foundational to Goat Milk Stuff, but they are a big part of our family as well. Each of them has a personality and during this series we’re hoping you’ll get to know more about them.

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Ivy is one of our biggest and strongest goats.  She is Colter’s favorite goat, and is very sweet to him.

But she lets everyone else know that she’s in charge and so the little girls (and me too) are very careful around Ivy. I was talking with the boys about her the other day and the conversation went something like this:

Brett: So, what can you tell me about Ivy?

Hewitt: She’s mean.

Colter: She’s not mean, she’s great.

Hewitt: No, she’s pretty mean.

Emery: Yeah, remember the time I was trying to fill the feeder and she wouldn’t let me? She kept getting in my way.

Colter: She just wanted to let you know that she’s in charge, and you’re mean to her.

Emery: I’m not mean to her! I just don’t like her as much because she’s bossy.

Colter: She’s bossy to you because you talk badly about her.

Emery: What? I don’t.

Colter: Yes you do, you stand on the other side of the fence and say how bad she is and it hurts her feelings. You have to be strong around Ivy – she only respects strong people.

Emery: Yeah, she thinks she’s the queen.

Colter: No, she just values strength. If you show her you won’t be pushed around, she won’t be what you call “mean”.


The conversation went on for several more minutes, with Colter defending Ivy through thick and thin. Ivy has always been his favorite, and it shows when she’s with him – she is so sweet with him.

We also talked about how funny it was that Ivy showed her attitude even when she got sick. In fact, we knew she was better because she became ornery again.  LOL  Greyden mentioned that Ivy looks very different from anyone else in our herd, and Emery brought up the fact that even when she had single bucklings, she still gave us tons of milk.

In fact, every year Ivy has given us a single buckling.  Except this year!  She finally gave Colter the girls that he wanted from her.  We will probably be keeping Idina this year, and I know that Colter would like to keep more of her doelings in the future!

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Yep, Ivy can be stubborn and ornery, but underneath it all she’s a sweetheart.

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As long as you’re good (and strong) to Ivy, she’ll be good to you!





Splitting Firewood

We heated our old house exclusively with wood.  We have a fireplace insert at our new house, but we also use gas heat (which is good because my bedroom is at the opposite end of the house from the fireplace).


We have a lot of downed trees from the construction on our new farm.  A couple of weeks ago, Dad said it was time to start splitting the logs that were too big to fit in the fireplace. Colter was prepared to split it all by hand, but fortunately we have a neighbor who has a hydraulic splitter*.

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Because he’s awesome, he came over and helped Colter learn how to use it.

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Hewitt spent the whole day moving wood.

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“It was hard work, but we got a lot done!”

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“There was a LOT of wood.”

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“But I’m strong enough to take care of it!”

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I’m really grateful that I have such strong brothers to take care of work like this, so I don’t have to!





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Colorful Bedrooms

When they painted our bedrooms, we were that much closer to living in our bedrooms. We still needed carpet, lights, switches, trim, doors, and a whole lot more, but the rooms were very colorful.

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Which made all of us beyond excited!