Saturday, September 30, 2017

Saturday's S'mores

Saturdays are days of much work and progress around here. Michael and the boys continued to pull out the wood,split it all, and make sure it was stacked with the wettest in the back.....We are still looking for dry birch to buy.

Stacia and I worked inside, created a menu for tomorrow's dinner, and went shopping. As the afternoon came to a close, Michael asked if we'd like a fire after dinner. YES. It's finally dark enough to enjoy it, not too cold....perfect. These hollowed out logs make great "chimneys."

We got the fire going, brought out the s'more fixings, and the kids showed up. Fun night. I wish it had been clear enough for a fire when JaRissa and Cy were out.
Arielle and Bella 

Warm feet 

Bre and Gideon 

Bre, Gideon, Izaak and Bella 
 We had brought some square marshmallows all the way from Oregon. Cousin Lorri had given them to us. It was fun to finally use them and to text her a photo.

Even Yuuki joined the fire
Gideon & Bella's  first campfire? Izaak demonstrates his technique while Bre & Alex look on. 
Cory and Arielle and Baby S
Sitting by the fire in the evenings is one thing we really miss about living in the RV. This was nice....and someday we'll have a pathway, a patio area and a finished fire pit....but for now...this works well. LOL There's nothing better than family, around a campfire, after a long day of work.

Friday, September 29, 2017


 FRIDAYS are wonderful!!!! Year's ago we established Fridays were for Pizza and movies. We used to make pizza. We have been visiting Papa Murphy's most recently - and we most often play games rather than movies.....but we love Fridays.  We've cut way, way back on eating out and that includes buying pizza.  This week we planned to make pizzas. We ended up doing Pasta Saturday on Friday instead.

BUT, first, I made Ooey Gooey Krisper Bars

Josiah surprised us. He had the day off and came by. We promptly put him to work splitting wood. 

JaRissa were coming out for dinner and, of course, we were thrilled to have Josiah too. The joke is, "Everyone else gets invited to dinner, I have to just show up." The truth is his schedule is so unpredictable we simply count on him to show up when he can. LOL

Bre and Gideon and Jared and Lassie (our Grand Dog)

It was a fun night of visiting - we never made it to the games. 
There was also this. 
 We've been trying to figure out one weekly "family dinner." We had thought Sunday afternoon - then yard games, games and what not, a quick devo and family prayer, followed by ice cream. BUT JaRissa have a very full day at their church and helping with the youth group in South Anchorage on Sundays.  Cy's schedule is UNPREDICTABLE (did I say that earlier)? We thought about Friday night, but Izaak has to work Friday night and Cory is often prepping to work early Saturday a.m.  We thought Saturday, but don't want to suck up every who knows? This week we had a Friday night for all but CoRielle and Izaak.....and a Sunday dinner/family time with all but Cy and JaRissa. LOL 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Do Whatever You Feel Like Doing......

While the kids diligently worked on school, I used up some ripe bananas. I discovered several of us really like banana bread. πŸ˜‡

We've noted we get RAIN and SUN in the same day. Today was a rainy afternoon. Michael worked on inside projects. Let me tell you the story of this picture.  He TOLD me he was going to hang the quilt on the right. I wondered how, but didn't give it much thought. I knew he had thought it out.  
 At some point in the day he asked, "Would you like these photos hung above the stairs?"

I replied, "Sure."

I went back to schooling and dinner prep.

I walked back by and saw THIS. He is standing on a ladder, something I don't like for him to do. But the ladder was balanced on 2x8s. One end of the board was on the stairs, the other ends balanced on two ladders below....and he grabbed his level and drill and balanced on this.
Photos and quilt hung above stairs
When I mentioned it didn't seem a very wise choice for a Parkinson's patient, he reminded me the Doctor had said he could "do whatever he felt up to doing."  I was pretty sure they didn't picture THIS. He responded it was, "Open to interpretation."

I haven't seen this in a bit of time. The two were out playing, "the game," today. It made me smile to see them, I didn't think they'd play the game in Alaska.

Blaine came, checked the chimney and installed the wood stove. 

It works well. Another project done! 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Half Way Wednesday!

We LOVE to get Wednesdays behind us. Wednesday marks the 1/2 point of the school week. We spend 2.5 hours online with Japanese classes on Wed. Wednesday is sewing club. We always love to have school done on Wednesday! It's been hard to stay focused with such beautiful fall days and the hint of winter to come in the air. 

Stacia cut out her project for sewing club today. We seem to have lost the part for the waistband/elastic. Ooops. 

We took advantage of the nice day to grab Arielle for a walk to the mail box...7 mile down....

.7 mile back.

After dinner we played Farkle. Izaak works evenings and Bre and the kids usually stop by for a bit of a visit each night. We introduced Bre to Farkle and Bella was an enthusiastic score keeper. 

The last thing on today's agenda is to move the wood stove to the place the installer wishes. 

We'll have wood heat by tomorrow night.....

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Full Love Tanks

One thing to get used to around here is the mail system. Our box is .7 mile away - we enjoy 1.4 mile the fall. 🐽😡😁 Amazon Prime - well it's FREE SHIPPING which is rare to Alaska - but they save up our orders and then mail them all at once. Gone are the days of ordering something and having it show up two hours later. 😊 The USPS will NOT deliver packages to us. Fed EX and UPS we make trips into town to the post office to get our packages sent via USPS. At the post office, they call those "picking up packages only" to the front of the line. I've waited and waited, while others are called up - and finally - I AM RECEIVING PACKAGES!  I get to go to the front of the line! 

Today, we had two notices, one for us and one for the S family. Neither of us were expecting anything.  The first surprise was who they were from. I received a package from John and Mary (Mike's oldest sister). Arielle received a package from Emma (a young one she used to baby sit, daughter of a friend of mine). 

Our love tanks are full. Mary K heard about the shortage of Pumpkin Spice muffins in the Anchorage/Valley area. (Y'all I checked with THOMPSONS they did not ship any up here.)  She arranged a ride (she doesn't drive), went shopping, WROTE A LETTER, packaged it all up, found another ride to the post office, and totally SURPRISED ME! 

It was like a giant hug from afar! I ate 2 muffins,  and packaged the rest for the freezer. She also sent some pumpkin BREAD. 

Meanwhile, I delivered Arielle's package. Emma is so sweet and smart. She sent Arielle two packages of Pumpkin Spice English Muffins. It's truly fall around here. 

Pretty Section of Lowes or Gravel Spreading Again

 A few weeks ago, I was sent to Lowes. Finding a gadget at Lowes is as befuddling for me, as picking out a frippery at Claire's would be for Michael.  I invariably get the wrong doohickey. I've had lots of Lowe's practice the past few months. On this trip,  I discovered the pretty section of Lowe's. Interestingly enough, I've not been sent back alone since. I came back with everything they asked for!!!! - AND this hanging tree, some pretty work gloves and a BBQ grill. πŸ˜‰

My pretty work gloves were  essential today. Michael and I ran a couple of errands, the kids did a full day of school and  we continued to spread gravel all afternoon and into the evening. 

 Some have asked about why we had loads of gravel delivered.  There was quite a drop from the road to the top of our driveway and several big pot holes in the driveway. We wanted to fill them before winter arrives and we have big ice slicks to deal with under the snow.  The company insisted we needed this mixture of sand and gravel. I still think more gravel and less sand would have been a better idea. 🐽
Load after load to the top of the driveway

The proper job for an expectant Mommy. 

After weeks of looking, Izaak said I finally found edible mushrooms on the property! 

Wait - where's STACIA?  She stayed inside and made fresh lemonade and Veggie Pot Pie for dinner. 

It was a full and productive day! Hard work in school and home, followed by a yummy meal and relaxing at the table!

Monday, September 25, 2017


The weather forecast called for no rain on Monday and Tuesday. Perfect for another pre-winter project on Michael's list. I went grocery shopping and came home to this....
They insisted this is what we needed for the driveway.....personally, I would like less sand and more gravel, but I do appreciate they didn't try to sell us the most expensive thing they carried. They delivered 2 loads within an hour and a half. If we get another load I'm going to ask for all gravel to balance out the sand. ::snort::

Michael and Izaak created and built a device to try to level and spread the gravel. It had limited success at spreading. It will be more useful when we get to leveling.

The kids and Arielle jumped in with shovels when they were all done with school. 

To be clear, Arielle had a rake and did no lifting. I kept an eye on her - and reminded myself women have been able to tell what was, "too much," for centuries. She is a careful mom.  Of course, I balanced these thoughts with reminding her Cory would NOT like it if I let her shovel gravel and she went into labor.

Michael put the snow blade together and used it to move a bit of the gravel. 

At 7:00 p.m we called it a day. I figured everyone was getting tired of beans and rice and rice and beans. I picked up some chuck steaks....and all were appreciative at the end of a long day of work.

Yogurt in the Instant Pot

*Note I would normally not post a recipe until I had it all figured out and lots of photos...but this tie I want to remember which recipes I used as I play with the whole thing. 

My new Instant Pot has several features the 6 qt doesn't.  One is the yogurt button. It is time to learn how to use this.  I combined tips from this recipe  and this recipe and it worked.  I'm noting it here so I can find them again. When I am totally happy with the results, I will write up what I do. LOL
A moment of panic came after the milk had boiled, cooled, and the starter was added. When I pushed my yogurt button and the + it did NOT give me 8 hours as both authors above said it would. It appears mine counts up on the YOGURT FEATURE - every other feature counts down.  I pushed yogurt, it BRIEFLY said 8 hours, and then 0:00....but it counted up to 8 hours of time.

I used 1/2 a gal of milk and made a big thing of blueberry for Michael (he eats every day), plain (for stroganoff) and a bit vanilla. Michael said this is good.  I am not a yogurt eater and I didn't puke when I tasted it. ::wink::

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sunday Afternoon Visits

Sunday afternoon Josiah called to see if he could come out. YES. It seems like we haven't seen him in a long time. ACTUALLY,  the guys see him more often as they've been going fishing on his days off.  *I* haven't seen him in a long time - 2 1/2 weeks. LOL  Izaak doesn't work on the weekends and so we were able to have all four of the BreZaak team and CoRielle here for the visit, too. Josiah didn't quite win Bella over; he scored with Gideon.
Mike, Josiah, Gideon, Bre, Izaak 

I was happy to have some leftovers from Sunday Dinner/Lunch to offer Josiah. He was happy to oblige. It was fun to catch up with him.
Nolan, Arielle, Cory