Processing Jewelweed

Last week I talked about how we harvested jewelweed to be used in our jewelweed soap and jewelweed salve.  Once Greyden and Emery collect all of the jewelweed, it’s time to process it.

Jade does “quality control on it first”.

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She sorts through and makes sure to remove any weeds or items we don’t want to use.

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Then it gets passed to Emery who puts it through the food processor.

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All the chopped-up jewelweed is then infused in organic extra-virgin olive oil.  This is a multi-step process that we’ve developed over the years that does an amazing job of getting all of the valuable properties of the plant into the olive oil.

It’s a very big job that we do.

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But fortunately it goes pretty quickly and only needs to be done once a year!




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?




Happy 8th Birthday Jade!

I can’t believe my little fire cracker is 8!
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Since Jade’s birthday is the 4th of July we had lots of family visiting, which meant lots of breakfast birthday cake! Looking back at the last few years, you can really see how she has grown.

Jade’s 7th Birthday (2014):

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Jade’s 6th Birthday (2013):

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Keeping our tradition, Jade did her birthday hugs:

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Happy Birthday Jade!




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?




Baby Goats Visiting the Nursing Home

Remember when we brought some baby goats to the nursing home?

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We did it again! Emery, Fletcher, Greyden, Hewitt, Indigo, Jade, and Dad brought two or three of our youngest babies to visit.

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The residents loved it!

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The babies gave them kisses,

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and nibbled on their fingers,

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and even let some of the residents hold them.

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The smiles totally made our day!

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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!




Ask a Jonas – Jade’s Thoughts on Working

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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SunshineFan asks:  Do you think you are too young to work?

Jade:  I don’t think I am too young to work.  I’ve been helping my family since I was, like, 3.   We spend time working, but we spend more time having fun.  Everybody here makes sure I get my reading done and some work done.  I only spend part of my day in the soaproom.  I like to go from table to table talking to different employees and family.  I’ve learned how to work and talk at the same time.  Hewitt and I like to tell stories when we are working together.  It makes the time go faster and we still get a lot done.


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

Signature Jade



What Do We Do In Our Spare Time?

We get asked all the time, “What do you do in your spare time?” And without fail, everyone’s answer to that question is, “I read”.

We read outside,

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on the couch,

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(in any position we find comfortable,)

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while we’re walking around the house,

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in bed,

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and with our siblings.

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We’ve even got the cat reading the dictionary! 😉

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Hewitt and Jade recently started reading, so now the entire family can read. If you can’t find one of the Jonas children, there’s a pretty good chance they’ve found a new hiding spot, and they’re curled up in it with their latest book!

Do you like to read?



Healthy Field, Healthy Goats!

I’m not a big fan of chemicals.  They have their place and are useful in certain applications.  But in general, I think that as a society we rely too heavily on them. We work hard on the farm to avoid chemicals – especially if there is a healthier, more natural method available to us.

One example involves our hay field.  When you grow your own hay, you regularly harvest it and remove it from the ground in which it was grown.  As a result, you need to do something to add nutrients back to the soil.  If you don’t, the soil gets depleted and doesn’t grow much except weeds.

Many farms rely on chemical fertilizers to add nutrients back to the soil.  Instead, we recycle what we have lots of  – manure laden bedding.   We shovel the goats’ stalls and use wheel barrows to take the dirty bedding to the hay fields.

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We then spread it out into thin layers with a rake (or more commonly) our boots:

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Spreading the bedding out accomplishes several things.  As previously mentioned, it returns the nutrients back to the soil.  But it also allows the bedding to dry out which keeps flies away. Plus a thin layer of bedding allows the grass to grow through the bedding (as opposed to a large pile which would kill the grass).

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We add the rabbit waste back to the garden for the same reason.

If you look closely in the photo below, you can see the line where the children spread manure last year.  (I added arrows so you can see the line better.) See how there is a line where the grass changes from dark green to light green?  The dark green is where the bedding was spread.

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The color difference in the grass is an outward indication of the fact that healthy soil produces healthier grass.

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It’s a lot of work to spread all that bedding by hand. But it’s worth it!

Healthier soil leads to healthier grass.  Healthier grass leads to healthier hay.  Healthier hay leads to healthier goats.  Healthier goats leads to healthier milk.  Healthier milk leads to better soap!




Taping Boxes and Making Forts

Here at Goat Milk Stuff, we go through lots of mailing boxes. Normally, when we run out of prepared boxes, we’ll get everyone together and have a big box taping party. But the other day, some of the kids decided to have a box making battle.

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They split into two teams to make forts, with each team trying to make the biggest and “strongest”.

Fletcher was a team by himself,

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And Emery, Indigo, and Jade were the other team. (And in case you don’t think that’s fair, Fletcher had the large boxes, and the other kids had smaller boxes, so they had to make more to build a good fort.)

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Within an hour, they had made several hundred boxes, and had a great time. We love making work fun! And we also love when we don’t have to make boxes for a few weeks. LOL


Ask a Jonas – Jade & signing her name

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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Jade, how many times a day do you sign your name? ~Dan and Ann

I don’t know, but it is a lot.  Sometimes I just do it a few times a day.  Sometimes I do it like a hundred times.  If we have been on tv or the radio, it can be way more than that. On those times it sometimes feels like my hand falls off. We race to see who can sign the most invoices, but I don’t usually win. I’m still kinda slow at my writing.  It is hard sometimes to be excited about signing my name, but I still do it because the customers like it a lot.

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


Kids Decorating the Christmas Tree

This year, when we went to get our family Christmas Tree, Mom had the brilliant idea of getting a tree for the front porch of the soaproom.

The only problem was that we didn’t have any ornaments for it.

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So the kids made some!

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They took some of our packing paper from the shipping area.

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Drew their ornaments and put some yarn on them.

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And went out to decorate the tree!

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Didn’t they do a good job? It looks so cute!


Ask a Jonas — Jade’s Thoughts on Learning to Read

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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Jade, what do you like about learning to read? ~Ryan

I’ve been learning how to read right now and it’s been really fun. I like reading because it’s fun to read and once you learn to read you can read super fun books that are super large.

You can have lots of fun with all the books you read. So far I have read the Phonics book, The Tales Of Virtue Book, God Loves Me Bible, The Beginner’s Bible, and I am reading The Mouse and the Motorcycle. And I love all the books I’ve been reading. I also have been reading the Corduroy books and the Little Critter books and the Dr. Suess books. Oh, and the Billy And Blaze books. They’re super fun books.

Signature Jade



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

Jade and the Umbrella

A couple of weeks ago, we bought some big red and white striped umbrellas to keep in the soaproom, so that we could let people on tours use them if it was raining. Well, we haven’t had a tour use them yet, but the Jonas family has been loving them.

The other day it was raining, and Jade was going back to the house for lunch. So she grabbed one of the umbrellas and opened it, tried to walk out the door, and got stuck.

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She tried to twist the umbrella, but it was too big.

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Her solution to the problem? Open the garage door.

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Safely out of the soaproom, with her umbrella guarding her from the rain, she started walking back to the house, singing a song.

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She didn’t get wet at all! Of course, a bunch of rain came into the soaproom through the garage door – which she left open – but she wasn’t wet.

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And she was very happy about that.