Thursday, March 31, 2011

The last day of spring.

At least for a while.
I pulled up in the drive at nearly 7pm last night to this, minus the blue tarp.
I really should have taken a picture from where I first saw the sight.
I was tossed back in time to looking at Forest Service cabin rentals on the internet and one I've always wanted to stay in. A white one with green trim somewhere in northern Arizona. And for a moment I wondered what on earth we are doing ... fixing up things so someone else can possibly enjoy them. I can see what it will look like when it is done. And I think I love it.
After a full day of work on my feet they felt like a moment's respite. I hopped online for a quick minute. I rarely hit the newspaper websites. I don't know why I did, but thank goodness!
I'm not delusional enough to think that winter is over. It is, after all, only the last day of March today. Yesterday was only the 30th. Just to make sure, though, I hit the Anchorage Daily News as well. And then we got busy.
 The temps here have been deliciously warm lately. The driveway turning to soup and slush. One day this week the thermometer in the car read 50F. It has been in the 40s and we're loving it. 
Rhubarb hasn't started sprouting yet, I checked.
The days are lighter longer. I could see the outline of mountains against the sky last night at 9:30 pm.
We feel it coming. This spring.
Just not quite yet.
While I can sit and drool about this porch lined with rocking chairs, the snow will be here first. That's okay.
I'll charge the camera battery and go for a little drive today.
 After reading that we may have some "white weather" overnight, the tarp came out to cover the siding that still has to go on. (The goal had been to have this job done by now. Goal reset.)
Trash got picked up outside before it got buried again. The dog doodoo is still there. It needs to firm up a bit. Yuck. Dumpster to the point of nearly jump on the lid and down to the end of the drive. And as long as the weather was gorgeous ... off to muck out my car. With the Norwex rags in hand I happily wiped and pitched other people's garbage. I really do like the Norwex. I probably should get a few more someday.
Another favorite of mine is Young Living's Thieves Household Cleaner. Smells so good and does a bang up job. (If you're interested in any one of these products ... let me know!)

I'll head out later today with the camera and drive in a clean car to see what I can see out there in my Ansel Adams world that is going to be stunning. The snow is heavy and hanging on the trees.

In other news: we're praying for our nephew Jacob's safe recovery from a fall he suffered while working. He fell 25 feet and has a fractured skull along with 2 subdural hematomas. I know he is in very talented hands, I've worked with his neurosurgery team. We pray that God would protect Jacob and his family on this journey and accept  that His will be done.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Did I do anything but eat?

I just looked at the pictures I'm uploading and realized that I've done nothing but eat all weekend! No wonder the "fat pants" are getting to feel like skinny pants. Seriously. And they aren't the stretch variety either.

I am nearly ashamed to admit this. I sent more than a few jars of jelly down to the Lower 48 for Christmas. Without trying a single one. I finally opened the Raspberry & Currant Jelly this weekend. I was pleasantly surprised! I like it!

Pulla is a staple around here. I really like the knots that are full of cinnamon and sugar, however, even a braid will do. Easier and less mess ... and I make the dough in the bread machine. Just take out the dough when it's done and whip up a few braids. Raise and bake. Even twice a week is easy enough to do .... 

and keeps my hubby in shape! (Don't you just love the plate?)

We spent our Saturday afternoon visiting with Charlie, Charisse and boys. A trip to Walmart in the evening. I don't know what else we did. The laundry room saw me for a while and actually looks like it. Took a look out in the cabin and decided that I wasn't interested in cleaning out there. Turned around, locked the door and left it. It was just one of those kinds of Saturdays.

And then there is Sunday. A day that we like to spend a part of on the phone. Not that I ever run out of minutes on my cell phone, but catching up during the week gets challenging. Especially with time zone differences. A few chats today. And then there is the visit via iphone. What on earth is this world coming to?! I guess it gives me a chance to share my ice cream and brownie sundae with homemade hot fudge ... with Frans in Phoenix. It really is cruel .. I know.

We played some of this. I lost. We've exhausted the Monopoly Deal craze for the moment. This week it has been Rummikub among other things.

Being as I love trying out new recipes on other folks ... I tried a Potato Cheddar Soup today made with hashbrowns. They liked it. That's always good. I also tried making bread bowls. I was not impressed. Will try it again with a different bread recipe. These turned out heavier than I would have liked. 

And then there are the littles. That are quickly growing to be the bigs.
My little had the camera again today. Thank goodness. She really needs her own one of these days.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The paint fumes are so thick I may go join the chickens for the nite

Dad: "Sometimes I wonder how much longer I can take this",
as Tia is chattering nonstop at about 100mph.
Tia: "Who, me? You'll make it, you only have four years left. And plus ...
Mom says she wants to keep me forever!"

Last night I hit the chair with a blanket at 8:10 pm and then I moved to my bed at 10ish.
Guess that sums up yesterday!

Today I was off and did a little something around here.
I also came up with several plans.
From now on (remind me, would you please?) when we paint a room, I am going to save and label a small container of paint for patching up things. The tan in the living room and dining room is gone. What was left has been mixed with other stuff and used elsewhere. Ugh. I managed the rest of the color patching today. Now I need to peel off a piece of paint and go color match it this weekend.
And, no, we are not going to use the color match app on the iphone. I fear it might be off.
That would spell disaster.

The mud room floor got a fresh coat of color today. I just love red.
The smell? It wasn't the same stuff we used before. Who knows where this stuff came from.
It is so bad that I'm surprised Duke isn't walking around in circles howling.
Really bad.

The other plan.
I need to quit worrying.
I was even looking online for things to help in that department last night.
I did find one thing and am going to try it.
A notebook or journal to write down the worries.
If a person writes them down with the intention of addressing them later, the brain is faked out into thinking you will actually go back to them. Whether you do or not doesn't matter. The brain thinks you will. Hence, you stop worrying about that particular thing because you've already taken care of it.
Consciously I know that I am worrying about things I have no control over. They aren't anything that is in my hands.
My worry seems centered around my kids lately.
Although I know that never ends until the day I die, it really doesn't need to be consuming quite so much of my energy .. especially when I can't do anything about it!
If you have any hints or tips ... I'd love to hear them.
And, Mom, please don't tell me it is a genetic predisposition. I already know that. :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Blayde is winging his way ...

through the friendly skies and currently stopped in Salt Lake City on a layover.
Phoenix is his destination this morning.
Long time pals are waiting for him to arrive.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

We'll miss you ... and see you soon.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

You learn something new every day.

Somedays I figure my day is done when I've learned that one thing.
Usually it isn't.

Yesterday Tia was working on a project while I was doing Saturday like things.
The project included a piece of wood and a hand held cordless small power tool.
She found that ....

if you have long hair that is not tied back ....

and you have a handy little Dremel tool with a slightly larger circular apparatus on the end of it than this picture shows ...
and you have the tool set on high ....

if it should come in contact with your hair, it whips it up in no time flat.
I have another blurrier picture that may show it better, but trust me.
Sort of mix between afro and berber carpet.
I thought for sure we were going to chop off a hunk of it, but we didn't.

Once the corded knot was out she headed right back to her project.
This time with a hair tie.
Homework got done .. at least in Tia's department.
Rather than doing it pool side while vacationing, we watched snow angels out the front window while working angles.

Anna is working, working, working. I fear for her homework which is due tomorrow.
As for Saturdays. Why is it that when a working mom has hours on Saturday in which she accomplishes things like shining the sink and scrubbing the foors, she feels that she has accomplished much. Let her get the house vacuumed and dusted and you may as well have given her roses. Laundry done (and laundry room neat and organized) equates to hours on the beach in the Caribbean. That is a stretch, but not my much. Add grocery shopping and library hopping ... and she's ready for nearly anything. Bills paid, mail sorted, book finished. All topped with a strawberry shortcake at the Valley Hotel last night while watching the full moon rise with a mighty handsome hubby.
We were celebrating more new paint.

Yes, we're readying a house for the market.
Promise to share more on that in the next week or two.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

This morning ...

my eyeballs really didn't want to open.
I've had this problem with sleeping in since we got home.
The kids are on spring break and I know that I don't have to be up at the crack of predawn ... so I sleep in. It is getting frustrating. I lose valuable internet time sleeping in.
Last night I told Jari that I really needed help getting up this morning ... early.
He tried. 7:23 a.m. my eyelids flew open.
I work at 8:00.
I made it.
Even if our world was covered with white this morning and the roads slow going.
Dear Hubby climbed out of bed and shoveled off my car right quick.
While I was gone today, he spent some precious time out moving snow.

I absolutely love fresh snow.
I was starting to feel like I needed to get out the pick and chisel.
The dog doodoo around the yard was starting to get to me.
Now I can't see it. Perfect!
What I could see (even if the picture is a bit off) is that no one had made a track to the chicken coop today.
They are seriously loving the warm weather and laying a few more eggs for us. 

While all that white snow is beautiful, I'm guessing it won't be lasting long.
Not if you watch the stuff coming out of the gutters.
Bummer. Might have to get to that dog stuff after all! 

One of my frustrations that I vented about in AZ was the fact that somehow all my scrapbooking digital papers had disappeared off my computer.
I have no clue where they went or how they got there, but I sure couldn't find them.
Someone suggested that the site I downloaded them from originally would have my previous downloads.

Thank you so much!

I might be missing some of the paper, but I got most of it back.
I am dreadfully behind in the scrapbooking department. The morning scrapping hasn't worked out this school year with my jaunts to the bus stops and the school ... and blog hopping.

I usually load my pages with photos and am not one for many doodads, rather for journaling instead. This photo courtesy of my dear SIL Jenny is a serious keeper.

The gusto department was busy for the past hour and a half.
I think I just pitched about 20 pair of shoes and 2 winter jackets.
On a roll!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

You know you're happy to be home ...

when you find yourself puttering in the kitchen.
I have an addiction. Okay. Maybe more than one.
This one happens to be one high in calories and is called the Morning Bun from the Northstar Bakery. If you live anywhere near Palmer/Wasilla, it is certainly worth the trip to get one. I've been wanting to try make some myself, so I did. Try, that is.

I started with the Puff Pastry sheets and rolled them out a bit to make them just a wee bit bigger. Then I covered it with butter. No cheating either. You have to use the real thing. (I'm telling you. Those Morning Buns are floating in it!) Next I slathered sugar over the whole thing and then I rolled and cut them. Placed them in a greased pan and baked until the bottoms were golden brown.
And they didn't look or taste anything like the the Morning Bun.
Highly disappointing.
My family did inhale them rather quickly.
That's because I've not introduced them to the real thing. And I don't intend to.

Instead ... I'll feed them things like Stovetop Stuffing Casserole. Full of healthy things like chicken and broccoli.

At least until they get into the other goodies. I had the great fortune to win a raffle basket Saturday evening that is full of butter and sugar.
Katrina does some mighty fine baking ... and we are thoroughly enjoying it over here!

I really am not hungry as I'm posting this late evening. Tia made dinner tonite. It was rather fun. A mix of pasta, potatoes, ground beef, corn, celery, soup ... and although I would have never combined them ... it did taste good!

Will see what she comes up with tomorrow. Maybe I'll help a little and have her work on some chicken enchiladas.

Made it through the first day back to work today. I remembered my locker combination. Why do I always worry that I'll forget that?! Although it feels delicious to be a sloth once in a while, it really feels good to be back up and running again. In new shoes. In new shoes that squeak. That could very well be the reason I found them at Last Chance. At least they look nice.

Day off tomorrow. That almost feels wrong. Jari has the basement looking so tip top that I nearly want to run out and buy a ping pong or pool table! He is in serious need of a hot tub at the moment. I have a feeling that tomorrow will be full of cleaning ... downstairs.

I think I might just need some sugar to make it through the day. (I sort of feel like the author of If You Give a Moose a Muffin right now.) All it took was the word day. Reminded me that I need to tell you that my world was daylight when I went to work this morning ... and the sun was still up when I left. Simply amazing what 2 weeks does for the amount of daylight here.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

One of many treats ...

our Arizona vacation gave us was the chance to visit with both sets of parents/grandparents. Both of them live in Minnesota now and both were visiting
in Arizona. This is one of the bigger bummers of having moved so far away.
Missing spending precious time with our parents.

Had to give Mom a hard time about hauling out her handwork in the church bench.
She was busy showing her latest project to the neighboring gal pals.

The car that has carried them many miles and been quite faithful on their journeys.
After Arizona, they were off to Texas to visit before heading back home.

We also got to spend time with Pappa and Mummu. If you're reading this and don't know what Pappa and Mummu mean ... grandpa and grandma in Finnish. Our children have always called their maternal grandparents by Grandpa and Grandma, their paternal grandparents by Pappa and Mummu. I grew up doing just the opposite.

This is the first winter they have spent in Minnesota in many years. The winter has been a bit on the chilly side and they headed to Arizona to warm up. As luck would have it, the temps dropped in Arizona as well. We're glad they were there and we were able to see them as well!

In the past few weeks I have shared with many people our wish to move back to Arizona. To be honest, I've not made a big secret of that.
If you scroll back up this page, start at the top and scroll back down to this point,
you might be able to appreciate part of what is tugging at my heart strings and calling me home.

* I did find a small part of my gusto yesterday.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

After vacation blahs

I need the magic cure to snap me out of it. I am usually quite capable of going with gusto. Right now the gusto has gone up and went somewhere else.

Today. Is. The. Day.
I will get something done.

Maybe the gusto got left at Ronda's poolside ...

at Desert Ridge, Kierland, Paradise Valley Mall or Goodwill. We do have quite the range of places we frequented! I became quite a fan of Thursdays at Goodwill, although I only made it there once on a Thursday.

It may have flown out the window on our drive to Prescott.

Let's hope the windmill didn't get it. Maybe not. The air was still and it wasn't even moving.

It was probably caught in this little straw blowing war. My gusto is probably sitting in midst the gumbo at the Golden Corral in Prescott.

In the meantime, while the gusto is missing, I'll continue to watch coverage of the tragedy in Japan and pray for their people.
I'll keep an eye on the Iditarod, whose start we missed this year.
I'll also keep wishing I could snuggle our newest family members: twins in a NICU in Anchorage (both of who are doing very well) and a newborn little farm girl in northern Minnesota.

Gusto or not ... the dust layer is thick around here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

From the warm and sunny

sidewalks of Kierland at 2pm yesterday afternoon ...

we were home at 2 a.m. to winds gusting at 45 mph.
We had a wonderful time basking in friendship and sunshine.
Now it might be time to hit the laundry and mail piles .. in about that order.
(I really like to put off the latter as long as I can.)

I do have to tell you that Anna walked into the Holiday gas station store last night in Anchorage dressed just as lightly as she was having a cold drink with her godmother Fran yesterday afternoon.

Made me nearly giggle.

Monday, March 7, 2011

We're still traveling ...

and soaking up sunshine. It is mixed in with a few clouds today, but I'm still wearing flip flops. :)

Be home in a few days and I'll have something on here by the weekend.