Saturday, September 10, 2011

Days Gone By

I cannot believe how quickly our summer went by. I mean, I've lived here before...I knew it would happen like this...but still. Crazy quick. We had a fairly cool, wet summer. Thankfully, we still found time to hang out with our friends, go to the beach, etc. It was a good summer. I didn't realize how much daylight we had lost until I happened to notice the sunrise/sunset times on my daily weather channel check on my phone. Sunrise is at about 7am, sunset is about 8:30pm. Darkness is coming folks...quicker than we realize.
Benjamin and I took a trip to Seattle last month for a doctor appointment. Isn't it weird that we have to travel so far to see a doctor? To be fair, we do have doctors here in the Last Frontier. Just not a lot of specialists. Benjamin and I were fortunate enough to be able to stay with family, see some friends we haven't seen in years, and visit the Space Needle! We really did have a good time. It's a good thing, 'cause we get to do it again in a couple of weeks for surgery #4 on that stinkin' ear.
We just completed Week 3 of homeschooling. So far, things are going well. Our days are crazy busy. I really don't think I've ever been busier in my life than I am right now. I haven't decided if that's a good thing or not. I have all five kids at home this year. Devin is busy with work and learning to play the guitar, the girls are all continuing with their piano lessons, Benjamin is taking up the violin, plus various other classes including rock climbing, ASL, Creative Dance, Ice-Skating, etc. Fun times, fun times.
I'm trying to find more time to knit. I barely knit a stitch since May, and I don't like it one bit. I'm working on a rainbow colored poncho for Liberty right now. Pictures will come later. I've begun my knitting list for Christmas, but it's short. There just isn't enough time for me to accomplish much.
Mike has been gone for nearly 5 months. Five, longggg months. We are still 4 months or so away from a visit. Seems like forever since we've seen him, but I know the wait will be worth it. I'm thankful God has given me a man worth missing.
Oh yes, I witnessed a baby BIRTHday this summer. I'll share that story another time.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Food for Thought

I read this on the Good Morning Girls blog this morning. I'm posting it here, so I can find it later. I seriously need to ponder this list some more.

1. Be the type of wife you’d want your son to be married to.

2. Smile at him.

3. Be forgiving.

4. Be direct……but kindly. Men can’t read minds and neither can we.

5. Be excited to see him when he comes home.

6. Allow him to have alone time.

7. Be an encourager.

8. Don’t nag…honestly it doesn’t work and only hurts the relationship.

9. Give him grace, you aren’t the perfect wife and he isn’t the perfect husband.

10. Pray for him and allow God to work in his life.

11. Remember you are not his Holy Spirit

12. There is only one “Prince Charming” and his name is Jesus…release your husband from the burden of fulfilling all your needs…..he can’t. Only Jesus can.

The person who wrote this list was thinking back over the 12 years she had been married to her husband and made a list of things she had learned. Some of these I am doing fairly well, most not. I also liked this quote:

Our life isn’t perfect and neither are we, but I love seeing where God started us, where He has taken us and I look eagerly to the future with my Lord, my husband and my children.

Baking Day

The past few days have been pretty cool. Today was in the low to mid-60s. It's supposed to get into the 70s again though, so I figured I had better use today to bake. I didn't accomplish everything I had planned to make, but I did make at least accomplish something. That's saying a lot considering I had to get up at 6:45am for a doctor appointment that was canceled!!! Oh well. We rescheduled for tomorrow, meaning I'll be up at 6:45am two days in a row. Imagine that! :-) Anyway, here's what I made:
One regular sized loaf of Whole Wheat bread, 4 mini-loaves, that were still pretty large, Pepperoni Rolls, Cinnamon Rolls and French Bread.
You'll notice there is a mini-loaf of bread missing. We ate it for dinner. I grabbed it off the cooling rack before I snapped a picture.
Someday, I'll have nice pretty counter tops to photograph my good eats on, but alas, that day is not today.
Here is my French bread...
Please don't laugh. It's flat, that I know. I think I should have added a bit more flour to it. It was the first time I had used this recipe. I'm sure MrsMamaHen makes it MUCH better than I do. We're still going to eat it though. I think it'll work nicely for some stuffed bread? The real point of this picture though, was the pan. Don't you just LOVE that super cute French Bread pan? I've had it for a few weeks now, and just now got around to trying it out. It makes a really nice crust on the loaf, that is for sure.
The mini bread loaves were a test run. I think the kids are going to LOVE them. They fit in the toaster perfectly. My larger loaves are too tall. Plus, it'll be much easier for the kids to cut the mini-loaves as well. I think I'll still do a couple of regular sized loaves, but the mini-loaves might be my go to size for a while. Plus, they just look so cute made up as a sandwich!

DISCLAIMER: No, that is NOT fresh lettuce and tomatoes from my garden. We are making progress, but still no edible veggies as of yet. I might have seen a baby zuchini the last time I looked. The jury is still out.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Birthday Present

In March, when I went to a scrapbooking retreat in Healy, AK, I found out Trace Adkins was coming to Fairbanks for a concert. I called Mike, who was home with the kids, and told him I would like to go. Within an hour, he had bought me 2 tickets. Not just two tickets, but two floor seats!!! He's good like that, eh? :-) It was a TON of fun. I wish Mike could have come with me, he totally would have enjoyed it, but I know he takes great satisfaction in the fact that he was able to send me and my friend Heidi. This concert was just a few days after Mr. Adkins house burnt down. There was a little bit of worry as to whether or not the concert was going to take place, but thankfully it did. It was a fun night out!
Not a great pic, but I couldn't resist...arms are kind of my thing...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Garden Progress

When we moved into this house, the people who lived here before us left TONS of garbage for us to deal with. However, they left a few things we were pretty excited about. Four things in fact. Raised beds....
Pay no attention to the dirt and weeds underneath the bed. Our backyard is a nightmare. Anyway, we kept two beds, and I loaned 2 to a friend of mine to try out. I actually only planted one, 'cause I am a bit of a procrastinator. Plus, I really didn't know what I was doing. I planted broccoli and a couple of different kinds of lettuce. The broccoli is actually doing pretty well, considering we started it from seed. The lettuce needs some sun. We've had so much rain, it's kind of stunted its growth.
Here is my sad tomatoes and one good looking pepper plant. Something seems to be eating my tomato leaves, but I can't figure out what it is. I can't find any bugs or caterpillars. I think I'm going to have to get something to sprinkle on the leaves lest they be eaten all gone!
I also planted cucumbers and zucchini, which was a total experiment. I think the cukes will be an epic fail, because the zucchinis are monsters!!!!!
This is a total experiment year for us. I have no idea what I'm doing, and Mike is gone. Next summer, when he is here and we have a little more growing experience under our belts, I totally plan to fill all 4 raised beds. After all...I'll have the resident farming expert back home with me!!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bosch, baby, Bosch!!

A few times over the last few months Mike and I have talked about whether or not we should get a Bosch Universal Plus Mixer. I've wavered back and forth. Yes, I want it's too expensive...yes, I need, it's a frivolous purchase. I've went to two bread classes through Holy Living since Mike has been gone. I took Katie with me the first time, Mikayla the second. We've all enjoyed them! Of course, the teachers both have Bosch Mixers. Last Monday was the second bread class I attended. Shortly after I got home, Mike called me on the phone. I was telling him about the class, talking to him about my mixer dilemma, etc. He was very stealthy in asking questions, apparently asking what he needed to know to be sure he didn't order the wrong one!!!!! Within ten minutes of hanging up the phone, he had went on-line and ordered me one. Not only did he order the Mixer, he bought the stainless bowl, the cookie paddles, AND the wire wisks to go with it! I CANNOT believe it!!!!! It came today. Pretty swiftly if I might add AND with free shipping to Alaska!!! Most people won't care to see these pictures, but I wanted Mike to be able to see me open the box.
I should put in a disclaimer in case you look...please don't mind my cluttered house. I've been sick. Plus, this house is a wee bit small for a family of 7, so it always looks cluttered. :-)





I will say, I was sad to take my KitchenAid Professional machine off the counter today. I'm not going to get rid of it yet, just in case you know, but I'm pretty sure I'll love the Beast. Did you know the Bosch Mixer can make 5 loaves of bread at one time? It can mix something like 20 cups of flour!!!! If you have the meat grinding attachment, it can grind 4 lbs. of meat per minute. Amazing. I just mixed up this recipe of hamburger buns. I think I added a bit too much flour, but we will see. I need to remember that the dough gets less sticky as it kneads. Anyway, I'm still totally in awe that my husband bought this for me. He's currently saving for a down payment on a truck, something he has wanted for many years now. He's been driving the same car for almost 15 years. So, his money is precious to him. Yet he still spent a good portion of his money on me. I love that man.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Birdie Anyone?

I promised a sewing post some time ago. I've got an obsession. An obsession with Amy Butler's Birdie Sling. I LOVE this bag, way more than I thought I would. So far, I've made one for myself to use as a knitting bag. One can never have too many knitting bags, right? I've also made 2 for my Mom. One for knitting, and one for everyday use.

The pattern doesn't call for piping, but I really think it adds a lot to the bag. It's not terribly difficult to add, so it's totally worth it.

When Mom got here, I gave her the knitting bag for an early birthday gift. The next day she promptly went to the fabric store and picked out some more fabric for me to make her another one. This is what we ended up with:

I did alter the inside pockets this time. Instead of two smaller pockets, I added 4 pockets. I also used a magnetic button to hold the bag closed.

Here's a close up of the pleating detail, the piping and the button.

I have a particular teenage girl waiting for a neon green and hot pink bag. The fabric may or may not have already been bought. :p I need to make another one for myself as well. I'm thinking I could fit an awful lot of candy to sneak into the movie theater in this bag. Ya think? :p

Saturday, June 4, 2011

5K Family Fun Run/Walk

Today, Katie, Benjamin and I ran/walked a 5K. This was both mine and Katie's second race, and Benjamin's first. They did great! Let's just say, Benjamin is not a runner. He's a football player...he plays defense. That says a lot, eh? ;-) He said, "I don't know why they call this a FUN's not very fun." HA! But, by the time it was finished, he was ready to race again. This might have something to do with why....


Katie one first place in her age group, and Benjamin won third!!!! This race had a small turn-out, which was probably why they won. Lord knows we weren't super fast. But, this was a GREAT confidence booster for them! They're already looking forward to the next one, which is an ice-cream skedaddle in July.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Time Out!!!

I know I've promised you some sewing posts, but we're taking a time out from our regularly scheduled programming. We have visitors!!!!!! My parents flew in last week to spend the next 10 or so days with us. We're planning a trip to Valdez tomorrow. I can't wait!!! The kids aren't overly impressed with the long drive we'll be making. I truly don't believe any of us have recovered from the nearly 5000 mile trek up here to the great state of AK yet. We've had a great time together so far! Mother Daughter Tea, Pioneer Park, the Pipeline, various shopping expeditions, walks to the park, etc. Fun times, good memories.




Don't worry...there really WILL be a crafty post coming soon. I've been so buy sewing I haven't had time to blog! :p I have two words for you...Birdie Sling.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Toy!!!

Yesterday, we brought a new toy home with us.


Yup, that is a Nutrimill. Mike and I have been talking about getting one for a while. He had no qualms with it, even though it is a bit spendy. His goal is for us to one day be self-sufficient. A Nutrimill is a step in that direction. HA! We did have trouble finding the kinds of wheat we were looking for in this little town. Thankfully, there are several places we can order from. For now, I will just have to deal with the Hard Red Wheat. Towards the middle of May I should have some Hard and Soft White Wheat.

The kids were wondering what exactly do wheat berries look like?


Pay no attention the the clutter in my kitchen. I do not have near enough counter space in this house.


I just ground a little flour to begin with, since I had no idea how much flour the amount of wheat berries I put in there would actually make.


Not bad for my first loaf of bread with freshly milled flour!


It was a little dry for my liking. The kids didn't mind. They ate half of the loaf for dinner! I've pretty much decided it's not worth my time to make only one loaf. I have to do at least two at a time. If you have a 100% whole wheat recipe that you love, please do share it with me!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Little Easter Fun!

Easter was pretty low key around here this year. We did baskets, but they were pretty small. We are attempting at cutting back at holidays. I've went overboard for too many years. We are now paying the consequences. I hadn't planned on making a dinner on Easter since we made it the weekend before while Mike was still here. We were invited to our friends house for dinner, which was VERY enjoyable!!!! No family pictures were taken that day. This is all there is...



I should tell you, I've been sewing. You may see a sewing post within the next couple of days. :-)

Edited to fix the photo link!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spring in Alaska

There are many different things that remind people Spring is on its way. Possibly flowers blooming, seedling starting, trees budding, snow melting, mud puddles, etc. For me, one of the most prevalent things that let me know Spring is on its way is the honking of geese! They pretty much honk over-head all night. I hear them when I'm laying in bed getting ready to go to sleep, and I hear them before I'm even out of bed in the morning. We enjoy going to Creamers Field to view the different water fowl species. We saw a couple of swans this visit through the binoculars, but weren't able to get a good picture with the camera.



I just love this picture of Benjamin...



Devin went to prom Saturday evening. He said he had a good time, although he wasn't very forth-coming with information. :p None-the-less, he cleaned up pretty well. I can't believe my oldest kid is old enough to go to Junior prom!


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Is Your Day Well Planned?

Two years ago, I stumbled upon the Well Planned Day. The publisher was offering a sale at that time, so I decided to place an order. I had tried Homeschool Tracker Plus, as well as countless other attempts at planning our day, but hadn't found anything that worked the way I wanted it to. Can I just say that I LOVE the Well Planned Day?

Well Planned Day 2011-2012 Preview

There are pages for listing curriculum we're using, pages for keeping track of what books we're reading, what field trips we're planning, etc. There are even spaces for keeping track of budgets!!! Each planner can track up to 4 kids worth of homeschooling info. You can use it to keep track of attendance as well as grades. I like that there are articles and verses throughout the book. On each weekly pages, there is a space for meal planning, weekly activities and weekend activities. Have I told you how much I love this planner? I just received next years planner in the mail. I'll actually have to change things up a bit next year, as we'll be back to homeschooling 5 kids again, but I'll figure something out. I've never seen the high school planners, but more than likely one will be showing up on my doorstep soon. Happy Planning!!!!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Trudging Along

It's been a couple of weeks since I've blogged, which doesn't please me. I don't want to go back to my old blogging habits. :p We've been busy lately, although I'm not exactly sure what has been taking up so much of our time. I did get a dishwasher installed, thanks to my husband! He did a GREAT job! He had never installed an appliance like that before, so I'm very proud of him! It is so nice to be able to start the dishwasher at night and waken to clean dishes!! My two biggest kids appreciate it as well. It sure does make their job easier! HA!
I have been doing a little knitting here and there, but not a ton. I was sick this week, which hasn't helped. I did read a book though. Heaven is for Real. If you haven't read it, do it. It'll certainly give you lots to think about!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Break Fun!!!!

Mike's block leave coincided with Spring Break this year. How convenient! :-) We didn't really go anywhere, but did more of a "staycation" type of thing. We had a great week! Mike and I were able to get away for a night by ourselves, which we enjoyed immensely. Chena Hot Springs was our destination.
We didn't do any of the extra stuff the "Resort" has to offer, but we sure did have a great time. Some time, we want to tour the Ice Hotel. Can you believe they are able to keep this standing year round? Even in the summer time! Amazing!
You can spend the night in the hotel for a measly $600 a night!!!!
The next day, we took the kids to the Ice Park. Absolutely beautiful! The kids had a great time on the ice slides and viewing the sculptures!
I might of sort of played with a little bit of photo editing there. I'm not very good, but it is fun.
Next on the agenda was The Knotty Shop. We hadn't been there since we lived here almost 10 years ago. We used to drive all the way down there just to get ice-cream. Which is precisely what we did this week. Fun times. I didn't get any photos of us eating ice cream, but I did get this interesting shot...
Yesterday, we pretty much stayed home. Devin had soccer practice and we had a parent meeting, plus we had about 7 trips to Lowes. Why so many trips you might ask? Because my rockin' husband installed a dishwasher for me!!!!!! He had never done anything like this before, so I am so proud of him for doing it with only verbal help from a friend!!!! YouTube may have helped as well. :p No pics yet though. He still has to finish closing it in. He says that will happen tomorrow.
Today, we had planned to go tubing at Birch Hill. It was Family Day, which meant a discounted rate. It also meant a 1.5-2 hour wait. Not happening. So, we drove over to the ice-park and let the kids play some more on the ice slides. They also skated on their first outdoor ice rink! They had a blast!
I'm still hoping for one more visit to the ice park. Preferably at night. The sculptures are so pretty when they're all lit up!
Mike has one more week off from work. We're planning a couple of fun things, but mostly back to the old grind. Skating lessons, piano, school, etc. Fun times ahead!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

20+ Degrees? Yes, Please!

What happens when it's 20 above zero in Alaska? This....

This was the first time we had went tubing at Birch Hill as a family. Fun times, I tell ya. I wasn't feeling particularly hot, so I stood at the bottom of the hill and observed. Next time, I'm tubing man. It looked so much FUN! After we spent a couple of hours at the tubing hill, we went to view this...


That's the Pipeline! Pretty neat. However, the kids were more excited to play in the deep snow we've got!