Sunday, January 19, 2020

Winter Survival Tip #838

Yes, this windshield cover is worth its price. No more scraping the windshield in -0 weather.  No driving to town with 3 inches of viewing space (not that I would ever do that).

YES, I DO let it warm up for 15 min....but it was often NOT defrosted OR warm!  I just pull the cover off and throw it in the back....clear windshield.

If you don't store your car in a garage - heed THIS winter survival tip....BUY ONE OF THESE!

Friday, January 17, 2020

Buying Meat

I only buy meat when I can get it at 50% off or better....and then I stock up. This week I found boneless, skinless, fresh chicken breasts for $2.49 a lb. I canned 22 pints....and about 6 pints of red beans too.

It makes me happy to have canned chicken on the shelves. It's GREAT to whip up a chicken salad, add to green salads, or make Chicken divan, enchiladas, rice bowls, soups, etc... a life saver during our busy school year schedule.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Winter Bonfire

It's been a tad bit chilly for winter bonfires - but maybe it's warm enough to give it a shot. Hot chocolate and s'mores around the fire in the winter...priceless.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

News from Afar

It was a red-letter day around here....a postcard from Nate and Heather. Seems THEY spent Christmas in Brunei and it's a tad bit warmer than it is in Alaska.

We can't get too worked up about their warmth - they are living in Kstan now and it's rumored to have a winter similar to ours.

It's always fun to hear from them.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Dreaming of Summer?

As I went about morning outside chores I couldn't help indulging in a bit of summer dreaming....

I coaxed the chickens out of the coop with the lure of fresh scraps.  You can see Phoenix is up and about now...but definitely has touches of frost bite.  

I dropped compost in the lasagna bed in the garden. The moose have been out here. Glad to do my part to keep them fed. 

It really IS beautiful here in the winter. It isn't my favorite time of year, but it is the prettiest time of year. 

Oops - good thing this is here to keep the mosquitoes at bay. LOL 

Summer will come again. 

It may be cold outside - but it's warm inside. See the smoke from our wood stove? It HAS warmed up to 10* today....much better than -18*.  We also gained about 4 min of sun today....Those pale areas on the corners of the house - frost.

Monday, January 13, 2020

No More Workouts With The Chickens

They made it happen. They knew I was looking for a chance to move all the exercise equiptment inside....and THEY MADE IT HAPPEN!!!! 
Alex, Krista, Stacia
 Note there is not ONE CHICKEN enjoying the covered area we created for them. LOL 

And now....I can work out without a rooster perching on the handles.....ah, the joy.

Michael is pretty happy to have more room in "his garage".... the riding mower is inside...maybe a car sooner or later....but if nothing else more space for the workshop.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Family Everywhere

 This can only mean one thing....

Our day in the nursery at MAG. We walked in the door and were surprised to see Benny and Arielle. Cory works on Sunday and it can be a long day to fill. I had told her we were in the nursery and if she needed a play date to stop by. Unfortunately, I mentioned this in front of Benny. They pulled up at their church and he said, "Not Baachan's church."  LOL Arielle decided to stop by after their service and let him play with all of us. 

 Michael didn't get enough play time in the nursery - there are kids under there....

We opted for lunch at DQ - sort of. I may have had a bit of contraband food - but this family gives them so much business they were o.k. with that. It was a fun visit as Allie and Caitlynn joined us.  The plans are in motion to have people over here instead of eating out every week - but I need to really work the plan before we jump. LOL

After lunch we headed to BreZaak's. They had several from their church and all of the family congregate to celebrate Annie turning 1!!!

A great day spent with family - church and natural. We're blessed.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Breakfasts, Showers and Projects

Michael and Dad went to Men's breakfast. I began my Saturday with a tray of fruit....
 Those strawberries were not easy to find this time of year. Produce has sky-rocketed even since the last time I went shopping. Strawberries were $5 a lb and I had to buy 2 lbs to get this many that were suitable to cover and eat. LOL

Why the fancy fruit? A baby Shower! It's always such fun to meet to celebrate an upcoming blessing. Kaitlynn is having a baby boy!
Everyone brings a little and it creates a
blessing - That'll preach.

Krista suggested we visit Arielle after the shower. Our presence was welcomed. Arielle had a project going on and needed extra hands. Krista was happy to provide the hands while Staci and I were happy to relax with Benny.

THIS decal was not attached to the sticky film when it arrived. They got it done....

The house is coming together.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Yes! Friday....

Hot drinks, fun atmosphere, interesting company and the chance to get to know each other a bit more...what is better than a coffee date with a friend? Siakayle got a fun design in HER cup...probably because mine is tea and not coffee. 

Stacia got to play with  Siakayle's kids while we enjoyed time together. Stacia and I headed to Freddies to pick up a few things for an event tomorrow. As we were leaving I heard, "Hi, De'Etta."

I automatically replied, "Hi," as I turned to see who it was.

It was Alicia! Alicia was on the International PWOC board when I was a Regional President...we trained women's ministry leaders in Korea and Japan together. Imagine - Korea and now ALASKA! The places we bump into each other. AnyHOW....we're all military retirees now....her husband works right here in our town and they live in the town over.

WE certainly need a coffee date to catch up. If not in January, I will make sure to schedule it in February.

Stacia and I ran by the library, mail box, and Papa Murphy's, before heading home.  Michael and Alex were waiting for the van so they could go to THEIR lunch/Bible study.

I spent an hour or so working on retreat sessions.

We dipped some strawberries for tomorrow, Krista got home from work, Dad came out of his room, the guys all got home...and we had dinner.

BreZaak took the kids with them to Alive Alaska tonight. I love watching the kids, however, I do miss Family Friday nights here at home. This is the first time I've been home with the family in 2 1/2 months on a Friday night.

We lingered over dinner....because we COULD. It was nice not to have a meeting to which we needed to rush off. We played Forbidden Island. Well these 4 played. Dad opted to make phone calls and go to bed. Michael worked on a puzzle; I watched to see how the game is played.  I had chicken in the canner and needed to fill some time. The kids have been watching MacGyver so we watched an episode followed by the movie, "Overcomer."  It was a refreshing night home together after a refreshing day out around the town.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Winter Survival Gear

Krista, Nolan and myself were gifted vehicle winter survival kits...and I am glad to have mine....but THIS is my favorite gift from Michael (so far). It has improved my winter comfort, and therefore disposition, immeasurably.

It's 20 oz. It's steel. It's double walled and guaranteed to keep drinks as "cold or as hot as scientifically possible."  My water stays cool all night.....and my tea?

My tea stayed hot Sunday all through church, lunch out, and was still warm when I got home hours later. Yes, this is truly winter survival at it's best for this tropical transplant.

This is my latest winter lesson learned.

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Busy Day

I discovered running out the door, down the steps, and into the garage in -18* cold wearing t-shirt sans gloves and coat, adds extra energy to a workout!  Phoenix gave me a bit of a start! I'd forgotten he was sequestered in the garage. We hope he recovers.

Arielle worked today; Cory had the day off but wanted to get some work done on their house. I plan to have Benny on instead of me going THERE....Benny came HERE for  Baachan day. He was excited about it.  He let GG and Baachan both know he loved us.  It's always good when the grands come over - makes Dad's day!

Benny and GG 
I hadn't expected to be home all day, but Benny was here so it wasn't a good office or study day. LOL  I made use of the time to do a bit of meal prep. I roasted 3 big pans of veggies....about 1/3 of it got eaten before reaching the fridge. LOL  These are great for meals, Autumn Breakfast Casserole,  and to throw in omelets and soups. I made chicken salad...lean protein for snacking and throwing on lettuce for lunch.
Benny's a great help with veggie prep
I had hoped to can some chicken I found on sale - maybe tomorrow. I need to can some more beans and maybe rice too.

I'm finally realizing - with our family schedule - dinner is going to be at 5 p.m. more often than not. That makes for a very short time off between school and dinner....but it will work best.  I made some white saucy meatball and pasta thing for everyone. I didn't feel much like the meatball part of the show and settled for broccoli and sauce. LOL

Krista is leading youth group. We took Alex and Stacia to youth group and then shared a pre-marital counseling session with a young couple.

In between it all Michael and I worked to transfer files from the Dell laptop to my new HP laptop.

We're ready to call it a day.

Kitchen Window

I've always dreamed of a big kitchen window....God was gracious to give me just that....and a moose out the window too!

This is NOT Rosy - this is a bull moose - but he has a red collar as well. I am thinking all the moose being watched by the state are finding their way to our moose refuge. LOL 

I do love Alaska. 

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Madder than a Wet Rooster

An unexpected sight greeted Stacia this a.m. in the chicken coop. Phoenix was bleeding.   I checked and sure enough....
The problem with chickens is when they see blood (or red, or something odd) they peck.  And the hens were starting to peck at him.

We took him into the warm garage and cleaned him up. It appears it's frostbite. We didn't see wounds on his neck when we got the blood cleaned up. We were taking the precautions other chicken owners up here take...but his comb and wattles were just to big for these cold temps.
I'm moving my exercise equipment - enough with the
Chickens perching on them. 
That phrase "madder than a wet hen?"  It applies to roosters too. We could tell he needed help as he LET us hold him and wash him without pecking...just tracking with his head and giving me the evil eye.

We put Blu-Kot on him to keep the hens from pecking....and Vaseline as it's supposed to stop frostbite.  We've got him segregated in the garage at this point.

We headed to the coop and gooped up everyone with a comb.

It's sweet that he found Petunia's box (our lame chicken which lives in the garage) almost immediately. He's settled in with her. She doesn't seem inclined to peck him.  He was always very protective of her before we separated her from the riotous hens. He's a good boy.

Stacia spent this cold afternoon working on a sewing project. She's made a cute, wrap around shirt for Annie's birthday. I think I want one.

How cold is it? It was -18* on our way home from Bible Study.  Krista is leading our study on the book of Ruth. It was really fun to participate, rather than lead.

I'm wondering if the cold effects the size of eggs? I mean seriously - what's with THIS one? We thought maybe it was Petunia's first egg....but it came from the coop.

It seems we must have a late bloomer in the coop who has started laying today.

Hard Core Full-Timer

Most of you know Michael & I, along  with 3  Gherkins were full-time RV'ers for 2 years. That is, we LIVED in our trailer (and then an RV) for two years after Michael retired from the Air Force. We loved it and would do it again...may do it again in another season...who knows? 

We came off the road and bought a home when the Gherkin migration to Alaska began. By the end of Summer 2017 eight of our children moved up here. We, of course, joined them. We enjoyed the past two years with adult children moving in with us until they settled in their new homes. We love having Dad with us now. We do at times miss the road.  However, we love our state and we especially love our little niche in the Valley north of Anchorage. 

Full-timing in Alaska is for the hard core adventurer! It's COLD at -15 and -23 (temps in our valley on a recent morning). These folks have a WOOD-STOVE in their trailer....there was smoke coming out of their many concerns on so many levels...but it made us smile,  and fondly remember our time on the road and ingenuity of the  the people we met.

I haven't seen something like this in any other state we visited. 

Monday, January 06, 2020

Another Cold Day

Feeding the chickens and visiting the lasagna beds with compost  had added dimensions of adventure in -11* weather.
I must buy gloves. 
This is the oddest winter. A couple of weeks ago we had the warmest day EVER recorded in December in Anchorage, then we had the biggest snowfall in a 24 hour period in Anchorage, followed by a record-breaking cold day in Anchorage.  All of this after our really WARM record-breaking summer. 
My winter garden...the moose enjoy the lasagna bed

Michael and I drove to Anchorage this a.m. to meet with Bill Welch, the Superintendent of the Alaska Ministry Network (Assembly of God). Michael is contemplating a doctorate and had a few questions about the Assembly of God doctoral programs. He is considering two programs at two other universities, as we thought the Assembly of God Theological Seminary was closed to us.  He's considering various D. Ed or PhD programs. He does NOT want to take any more Hebrew classes.

While in town we met Karen and sold her 12 doz eggs. Meeting in parking lots all over Anchorage to sell eggs - that's us. ::snort::

Nora was ready to be released from the hospital. We were happy to be able to pick her up and drive her home to her family. It was nice to have a bit of time for a leisurely talk. I do think surgery to make it happen may be a bit extreme.

Michael and I  took time for a bite together,  picked up a few groceries and meds for dad, came home and cooked dinner, and then Krista and Nolan headed to Young Adults at the church. The rest of us played a few rounds of Farkle.

Regardless of stories you may hear - Dad does not win every game. ::snort:: 

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Sundays are for Worship and Rest

Leon, our worship pastor, kicked off the year by sharing some of my very favorite verses. The focus was "one thing." It was a home run. 

The boys met us at the Grill for lunch. Arielle had asked us to text when we were at home so she, Benny and Kimber could come visit. 

We did. When it's -14* outside Grannie Annie's (Mike's grandma) rocker in front of the wood stove is my favorite place to be. Benny wanted my rocker. I have Great Grandpa Sim's rocker. He was a small man; therefore,  chair is small. It's old, very old. I don't let people sit in holds a pillow in my nook....but it's PERFECT for toddlers. I don't know why I hadn't realized this before.  
Benny & Baachan
We sat in our antique rockers, in front of the stove and rocked. Benny loved it. Benny said those magical words again, "Baachan, my loves you." 

As a side note - I dressed today to match my warmest pair of wool/fleece socks! I must go get more of these socks. They were clearanced at Sportsman Warehouse.
Sweet smile

We desperately wanted to watch the Seahawk game. We couldn't find it anywhere...but Michael found some highlight vids that the guys were happy to watch.  GG's feet are to the left - I can't get everyone in, but soon that tree will be gone and GG will be back in his corner. LOL
GG foot, Nolan, Jamin, Josiah, Michael

At some point these guys moved to the multi-purpose room in the basement, formerly CoRielle's kitchen/living room. 
Nolan, Krista, Stacia, Michael

Arielle cut Alex's hair. 
Alex & Arielle

Benny and I played Rock the Boat.

GG was watching news clips on YouTube and finally had enough. I pulled out the play-dough for he, Benny and I....and Arielle and Stacia joined us too. There is something therapeutic about play-dough. Don't you think? 
Benny, my chair LOL, Arielle, Stacia, G Dog

Cory got off work, his family went to meet him. Dad headed to bed.  I candled 12 dozen eggs. The kids played Nolan's new Christmas Game - Forbidden Island.
Alex, Nolan, Krista, Stacia
It appears the next plan is ice cream and something on Netflix. I'm avoiding the ice cream thing by blogging.