Thursday, January 26, 2012


We FINALLY got enough snow to break out the snowmobile and sleds! It didn't stay for long, but we seized the moment the other day!
 Justin & Julia
 When there aren't enough sleds for everyone...naturally you just hang on on ride on your belly. (Don't worry as soon as they got to the barn we hooked on a sled for him.)
 I really like this funky camera angle....
 Caleb riding backwards like a true rebel....
 To stay nice and cozy I borrowed Justin's super warm hat..looks silly but ohhh baby is it warm!
 Caleb again being a rebel and riding with no hands....can you guess who the dare devil in our family is?
 Now Lance doesn't want to be "showed up" so he  is snow surfing...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

More Jake LOVE....

It's been just over a week since we brought Jake home, he's doing really great!
Here is his little hut we made to keep him warm.
 He likes to stay put under the toasty heat lamp.
 We've started giving him just a little hay with his bottles....he LIKES it!
He's a cutie....we're totally smitten with him!


Last night we celebrated my sweet hubby's BIRTHday!
We love you honey....

Friday, January 20, 2012

Meet Jake......

We welcomed a new member to The Gaertegang Homestead last night. His name is Jake and he was born right at the first of the year. His mama had twins and just can't produce enough milk. Uncle Nate decided, with our permission, that this might be a great project for the boys. They are all thrilled to have him!
 Since we have ZERO knowledge about taking care of sheep. Uncle Nate was giving us a crash course in the easiest way to bottle feed him. Then it was time for them to try it out.......Lance was first.
 I think Lance was saying here, "It's not as easy as it looks mom."
 Caleb seemed to do very well...not much milk spraying when it was his turn. Caleb is planing to take this little guy for his 4-H project which makes it extra fun. (At least at this point)
 Then Zach had a turn. Zach was VERY GOOD at spraying milk all over poor Jake. Although he really didn't seem to mind all that much. After feeding him, we loaded him up and brought him home, and he was cuddled like this for the next hour and half..........
Jake seemed to enjoy all the loving and attention. Julia enjoyed petting and talking to him. Although she didn't have any interest in feeding him yet. She just kept saying, "Ahhhhh he's so cute mom." Jake seemed to enjoy his first night with all his straw bedding and heat lamp to keep his warm. Hopefully I can get some better shots of just him and share them soon.
A special thanks to Uncle Nate & Aunt Christa for thinking of us and giving the kids a chance to experience this new adventure. We are hoping it provides them with some sweet memories of spending time out in the barn together.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Glorious Way to Start the Day!

Monday morning I started by running to town for my chiropractic appt. & I was greeted by this:

Breath taking isn't it? This is the very reason I carry my camera in my purse at all times....I don't want miss moments like this.....Ohhhhhhhhhhh I love it!

On Tuesday morning I was reading my Bible when Caleb came to join me at the table with his Bible (I didn't even ask him to)! He read while I finished up. Then a few minutes later Zach woke up. The boys suddenly disappeared then I came around the corner of my room and found this:
Zach has become a great  & more confident reader in the last couple of weeks. Caleb & Zach cuddled in my bed reading his "reader books" while I made pancakes.

I don't know how tomorrow will start. I'm sure thankful for these past two morning being so dreamy!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My FIRST Quilting Retreat!

Last Friday morning, my mother-in-law Jody & I hit the road and headed to Shipshewana for my first quilting retreat experience. Two days of NO cooking, NO cleaning, NO responsibility for anyone except you understand why anyone would be crazy not to sign up :) The retreat was held at the beautiful Farmstead INN. With the gorgeous snow falling outside we set up shop and went to sewing.

In case you've never heard of not been to a retreat this is how is goes down. You pack up what seems like your entire sewing room, including all your tools, sewing machine, fabric, patterns, books. Yes it will look like your entire family is coming along with you because you have at the very least THREE large bags, along with your machine and other stuff! 
Then you arrive to your own 8ft table....and it looks a little something like this.
 There were 44 women who attended the retreat this year. I was the youngest who attended by about 20-25 years, but I certainly was the last one to care about that. There is so much advice and wisdom to soak up from these women, it was a complete joy to be there with them all!
Our first day we began around 3pm and called it a night around 10:30ish. This is what I accomplished!
 Cloth Napkins 
Baby Boy Quilt 
 This is one of my new books...and a total favorite. My napkins, and baby quilt patterns came from this book. Also the fabric line I used for the baby quilt was "Pure" also made by the authors of this beautiful book! I'm in LOVE with everything these girls do...they rock! Be sure to check out their blog here! Then you can hop over to their Esty shop and buy the book or any other their other goodies. All weekend long women were picking up this book and gasping at all the cute stuff in it...then declaring they needed to get it :)
Saturday morning I awoke at excited to get sewing again, and my mind swirling with what I was going to make. I didn't waste any time as was back at my machine around 730ish. I started off using the scraps that I had from my first quilt (above) I showed you and whipping up this lovely little boys quilt as well! I LOVED that "Pure" fabric so much I hated to waste any of it. I do have to add one more dark boarder to the outside of this yet, but I'm thrilled!
The scraps make up the middle part then I had some more charms (5" squares) around the outside.
I was able to share with all the ladies my OBSESSION, LOVE, NEED for pre-cuts. Many of them had never used them....Ohhhhhhh girls! I think I convinced many of them to get on board when you want some instant gratification (or you want to save your arms and back from all that cutting) pre-cuts are the way to go. They keep teasing me about getting so much work done and they were still on their first project....but with pre-cuts it just makes things go so much faster!
As lunch time approached we took a field trip to the local quilt store....because that would just be crazy not to! We stopped for a quick lunch and the cafe nearby and this wonderful lady offered me a FREE pretzel. She has a buy one get one FREE button. I graciously accepted and shared it with my mother-in-law......YUM! Then like any responsible blogger would do...we took a picture together!
Next stop...the quilt shop!!
 BOOKS!!! What more could you ask for? 
I walked out with that is self control at it's finest :)

Looky what we found in the parking lot? A twin to my van...
My partners in crime for the weekend...I'm also in sewing bee with these lovely ladies plus a few others.
 My precious mother in her! She's the one who got me started with my love of fabric, quilting, and beautiful patterns.....
 Cheryl...we teased her all weekend about her OCD and need to organize constantly. She was suppose to be doing a "random" scrappy pattern......hahaha
Cindy...ohhhh how we all LOVE her! She not only is super fun, but she is my long arm quilter! She does the most creative, wonderful, and gorgeous work on the long arm. She was also kind enough to show me a few things on my machine (again) to help me do some small machine quilting of my own.
The rest of my Saturday I worked on this stack of fabric...
I didn't get the quilt finished but did get 16 blocks sewn together and the top sewn together. I want to add more block plus a fun piano key boarder to it. So you'll have to wait to see the results in the weeks...or months to come.  
On Sunday morning we had "Show & Tell" with all the ladies! Here are few I captured....
 Wool Penny Rug (below)...just gorgeous!
 Isn't this darling! It was for her granddaughter Stella!
 Hand applique!
 This one was all flannel! Sooooo soft!
 These were hand towels my mother-in-law made!
 This is the twin bed quilt my mil also made this weekend!
Great weekend...Thanks to my sweet Hubby who was excited for me to go, watched all the kids the whole time I was gone, and gave me a fabulous back/neck massage when I got home!
I can't hardly wait till next year!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Plugging away...MORE THAN half way through the YEAR!!

Right before our Christmas break we hit the halfway point of our school year! REALLY?? Some days are hard, some days are easy, some days are joyous, some days are just plain rough. At the root of it all, I wouldn't trade it....okay well maybe some days I would....but schooling my kids has been one of the best investments I can think of. I feel like we have finally reached a point with everyone's ages for things to be really fun and a "little more" ( I use the term loosely) under control. There is still lots of stuff going on at the same time with 4 different grades being taught. We have so far hit all the goals I've had in mind.
I caught some shot of the kids really concentrating on some things last week. LOVE IT!

 Zach taking a math test.
 Julia cutting out pieces to be glued.
Lance working on his math.
I didn't get one of Caleb for some reason....maybe next time.
I am wanting to get a few field trips on my calendar...let me know if you have any good ideas!

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